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  • Writer's pictureJen Henry

Rooted And Connected

Hello my treasured friends, happy Friday, I've missed you! I am hoping you have all been well and your last few weeks have gone by pretty smoothly, but I know it has not been without a few challenges along the way. I am aware this has been a pretty tough week for some, and I want you to know I am uplifting you in prayer. Be reminded, God hears our prayers and is by our side! I think all in all, most of us are so ready for the weekend and saying,"TGIF" It is time to do something nice for ourselves and recharge those batteries. That is where healthy simple pleasures kick in. They can bring so much rejuvenation to your body and soul. Sometimes it is as simple as spending time catching up with a friend or family member or picking out a new recipe, preparing it, and enjoying the fruits of your labor. We did that this week and had so much fun bonding in the kitchen. Maybe it's taking a relaxing walk and enjoying nature, or getting that bike or vehicle out of the garage that has been collecting dust, and taking it out for a spin. Maybe it's jumping in your car this weekend and planning a new day adventure. How about partaking in a hobby you love, listening to your favorite music and dancing around as if you were back in high school again. Whatever it is, "I Hope You Dance," like Lee Ann Womack sings ;-) I had to say that, I just love the lyrics to that song!

Spending time in Northern Arizona over the last few weeks, I am in awe of the beauty around us as we venture out. I thought Arizona consisted of a bunch of prickly cacti and a lot of dirt, until I dug in a bit further. One of our simple pleasures is going on different hikes and discovering something new. It is amazing how rejuvenating it can be to your senses, to just step outside your door and enjoy nature, especially as the enjoyable fall season is upon us. If you do not have the opportunity to get out of town, I am sure there is a lovely park close by to enjoy. If you have a dog, they will love you for it!

As we were driving about an hour north of Scottsdale, we began to see and feel the changes in our surroundings. What we were mainly seeing was the dry neutral colored desert covered in uniquely shaped Saguaro's looking as if they were waving hello as we passed through. As we climbed in elevation and headed north, that familiar scenery turned into a blanked of lush green pine trees standing at attention. As we proceeded a half hour further, we experienced a breathtaking surprise that I still can't get out of my mind. The timing was perfect as we experienced a window of opportunity during the fall season, I had never had the pleasure of seeing. Not only was there green everywhere but now the green forest was accompanied by various vibrant shades of yellow, red, pink, and orange. We were suddenly in the midst of a forest of majestic Maple Trees showing off their stunning coats of brilliant colors. As we pulled up to a parking area, I could barely wait for the car to stop. I grabbed my cell and jumped out on a mission to capture this beauty as if it were to be vanishing in the next few seconds. We only had about a half hour until it was dark, so we proceeded to walk deeper into the forest. I thought I was in heaven even though I was a little apprehensive of what Mike and I could encounter, but the peace and beauty that drew us in, overshadowed most of our apprehension. I have never personally been in the midst of such beautiful and vivacious natural color in this capacity, except for when I visited the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Ca. when the stunning array of flowers were in bloom in spring and I had the opportunity to take pictures of my son Chase asking his lovely now bride Ann, to be his wife. I know many of you reading this have experienced such majesty, but it was new for me.

(Beginning our journey into the maple forest, we were in such awe...)

My eyes could hardly fathom the beauty that surrounded me. I couldn't believe just minutes before we arrived, all we could see was green Ponderosa Pine trees, then all of a sudden we noticed the colors were changing, and minutes later we were walking in the midst of a forest filled with brilliant colored Maple Tree's. It was somewhat of a spiritual experience I felt, being surrounded by this God-given natural beauty.

Writing on this topic, I thought it would be interesting to look at the different definitions of this word NATURE:

  1. The phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations. "the breathtaking beauty of nature"

  2. The basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it. "helping them to realize the nature of their problems"

As I think about how this post came to fruition, I am in awe of the goodness of God and how this story came to pass. Experiencing the colorful beauty of this Maple Forest and the different stages of life a Maple Tree and it's leaves go through, gave me a better understanding to be able to write about it. I am so grateful The Lord allowed us to experience this small window of transformation.

Before I started this post earlier this week, I began my morning with reading my one-year devotional called The God Of Our Story by Brian Hardin and it never fails, I am reminded that I am right where I am supposed to be in this book. You see I am writing this in November, and I was only on September 24th which was day 267 out of 365. I started reading this book in the early spring, which makes me not up to date, but I am fully at ease, I am right where I am supposed to be. God has a great way of doing that if we pray and try and stay connected with Him :-) As I read that day's devotional, Brian included this scripture. It was perfect for the post God put on my heart to write.

Ephesians 3:14 (NLT)

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

In the morning before I began this post and read the September 24th daily devotional, I was reminded of the different characteristics of the leaves I had been in the midst of in the Maple Forest. As I reached up and felt the leaves connected to the trees, I noticed they were so vibrant in color, soft, and pliable. They even had a slight fuzzy, full of life feeling, on the underside of the leaf. As I reached down to gather some of the leaves that had recently fallen to the ground, I noticed some were soft, colorful, and still had that fuzzy feel to them, but others that looked fairly similar, had little holes eaten in them, by tiny pests due to being on the ground for a while. Other leaves were no longer fuzzy or flat because they had been disconnected from the main source of the tree for too long, and others were beginning to change to a muted color and were becoming dull as they had been on the ground for some time. As I looked around closer, I then discovered other leaves that were completely shriveling up and were now becoming hard and dried out due to no longer being connected to the trees that were supplying them nourishment and giving them life by being grounded and fed by the stream nearby.

(Leaves gathered from the ground that had become hard and separated from the main vine)

(Notice the difference between the colorful leaves below and the dry hardened leaves)

As I think more about this connection, I am reminded of another beautiful verse about the importance of being rooted in Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

When we become disconnected and distanced from our life source, which I believe is the creator God our Abba Father, we are not joined as one, and therefore out of synchronicity with Him. If we are choosing to not be connected with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that means we are choosing our own way, not His. Once again, it says in Ephesians 3 that our roots will grow down into God's love and keep us strong when we make his home in our hearts. If we are allowing God to make His home in our hearts, that means we are connected. If we are allowing Christ and His Holy Spirit to reside in us and work through us, we will better reflect His nature, which is what the fruit of the Holy Spirit produces.

This is seen in Galatians 5: 22-23.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness gooodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but at times we find ourselves partially connected and hanging there by a thread, like a broken branch does when it is barely hanging on. Sometimes we only want to be connected to God in certain areas of our lives and not others. As long as we continue to hold on by a thread to the life source, we risk being easily disconnected at any time. If we stay completely attached, we have the opportunity to be in synchronicity with the Holy Spirt dancing in perfect harmony like the leaves on trees, when the wind blows gently through them. When we are fully attached it creates strength and puts us in a better position to be prepared if a troublesome windstorm comes blowing through our lives. It goes along with the saying, "it's not (if) you get locked out of your car, it's (when) you get locked out of your car... I am sure it has happened to most all of us at one time or another, back in the day. Trouble always seems to somehow make it into our lives. Isn't it so much better when we are prepared and coming from a position of strength, before that windstorm hits?!

Since I took a few days to create and finalize this post as I pondered it more, I was able to read more devotionals this week to try and catch up to finish the book by the end of the year. I am actually so glad I did, because Brian actually included another verse during my reading that I think goes so well with this topic, even though he was writing on a completely different subject. This verse shows how we are so much stronger if we stay connected to The Lord.

Proverbs 24:16

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

As I conclude this post, I would just like to take a second to remind everyone, God loves us all so much! We are His beautiful masterpiece! Scripture doesn't say he loves us if we are perfect and are coming to him unblemished without ever falling. The scripture above says, the godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. They get up again because they draw their strength form their life sourse, and are deeply rooted. Jesus died for all of our sins over 2000 years ago not just for the perfect. If we had the capability of being perfect and abiding by every rule with perfection, Jesus would not have needed to suffer and die on the cross to bear our sins. It's a gift we should never take for granted. We are redeemed through Him dying on the cross and made new, if we want the free gift, by asking Christ to live in our hearts and to be the Savior of our lives. Asking him to forgive our sins, and asking Him to help us not continue to repeat them, free's us of our sin and produces the peace only Christ can bring. That is where faith kicks in, knowing He could die for a sinner like me.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. All we have to do is ask Him genuinely for all of this in prayer. He is standing by, ready and waiting.

I am so happy to connect with you again. If you have any feedback I would love to hear what is on your hearts or minds in the comments section or you can private message me as well. I invite you to explore more on my website  The "About" section will help you learn more about my inspiration for writing this BLOG if you would like to read it. I invite you to click on "BLOG" to see more of my previous posts, as only a few are shown on the front page or click on "All Posts" to read more. If you view this on your cell, you can click on the brown square menu button at the top of the HOMEPAGE or you can use the arrows below under the most recent posts, to find more. I have added links in the FOOD FOR THOUGHT section as well for additional info and resources. If you are encouraged by what you read, I invite you to "SUBSCRIBE" with your email to this Blog (if you have not already done so) and you will automatically receive notification via email, when I publish a new post. Feel free to pass my website on.

Know I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers frequently. You are a great gift to me, and I am so grateful for all of you. Have an amazing and blessed rest of your week and have a very enjoyable Thanksgiving. We all have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

Big hugs,

Jen Henry


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