If you are a pet lover then you know at least twice a year there is an abundance of fur falling to the ground. The fur piles up so quickly in my house I could fill a pillow in a matter of days. During the fall season is when I notice the difference the quickest in my animals. One cat specifically goes from a normal handsome kitty to a spectacular looking Maine Coon. But the shedding of the old fur has to take place before the new, thicker, more plush fur can take over.

Every fall it becomes necessary to trim back those annuals, except for roses of course, but nonetheless, before the spring of the following year they need to be pruned. The pruning process leaves ugly stems and sticks that are drab and dreary. But the bushes, flowers, roses, etc need to be trimmed back in order to experience a more fruitful spring that usually produces beautiful green leaves and brilliant blooms.

And then there are storms – Lightening and thunder, tornadoes, and hurricanes. I hate them. What I have learned about storms though is that it always, always, always brings out the best in people. The caring for neighbors, the clean up, the rescuing of humans and pets in flooded areas. The meals provided for those without power and water, the helping hand . . .  People come to together after the storms stronger and better. I’ve also noticed that usually after the storm comes beautiful weather – clean air, cooler temperatures, and clear skies.

Seasons. I have always wanted to live somewhere where I can experience all four seasons of the year. And while in Florida we often have azaleas and other flowers blooming in winter, the blooms are sparse in relation to what they will look like in the splendor of Spring. But in order for the blooms to flourish in the Spring, we must experience Fall and Winter. It is then the greenery turns to a crunch brown and eventually falls to the grown. Many trees will lie dormant in a restful state during the Fall and Winter months to prepare for the new growth to flourish in the Spring.

I am intentionally slowing down these days. I am saying no to people and busy schedules. I’ve even been unfriended on social media because I said I couldn’t be available to help a family out. I think that’s pretty shallow, but that’s neither here nor there. Slowing down doesn’t mean not doing – I am simply walking in the season of shedding. I’ve been emotionally eating and gorging since dad passed away. I wasn’t prepared for the mass of emotions that would come my way. I became aware I was doing that (stuffing my face) when I realized my pants were getting snug – so along with shedding the weight of the world on my shoulders, I will work diligently to shed back the calorie intake of an entire bag of White Cheddar Popcorn that seems to disappear rather quickly. I am seeing this season as an opportunity for growth, new beginnings, new chapters, and maybe even a new direction in my life altogether. While the process of growth and change isn’t always pleasant, the end result will make me stronger, quicker to understand, and give another testimony of God’s splendor and grace. Until then, I rest, waiting for the next blooming season to begin in the life of Stacey.

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
He has made everything appropriate in its time . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11