Faith Featured

The Red Leaf

Written by Betty Streff

I had a “duh” moment a while back. Each time I post I would struggle to find just the right photo to accompany what I wrote and then I had a mini epiphany. I have been marveling at my brother’s photography for a long time and it finally occurred to me to ask him if I could use his images and he said yes! Awesome answer! How often do we overlook the gold glittering right before our eyes only to run off digging somewhere else? We’ll delve into that whole subject another time. It, too, begs to be mined more deeply.

A few days ago he put this feature image up on Facebook and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Hey, this was backwards! This time the image was just begging for words. And then, as if the image alone was not enough to inspire some pondering, he sent along this quote:

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Autumn this year has been glorious, long and colorful. It has been exceptional in every way with great weather and a frost so late it will go in the record book. Just this week I spent a whole day working like a crazy woman, putting garden hoses away, raking leaves, clearing flower beds, and washing windows because I knew a cold front was moving in quickly. Exhausted, I sat down at sunset and marveled at the 60 degree day in November knowing that the forecast for the morning called for a 40 degree plunge in temperatures and snow! Right then, it seemed an impossibility.

My thoughts turned again to the image of the still supple, brilliant red leaf surprised to find itself on a bed of snow. Change can come so quickly and life can turn on a dime. It is often difficult to accept but it always arrives exactly on time to teach us what we need to know in our journey towards fulfillment.  Once we learn to accept that life is never static but instead is always flowing and changing like a river, we can begin to relax a bit when circumstances change. And when we learn to soften our stance and yield more, we realize that this too is just a part of an endless process of change and adaptation. It is said that “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”  Whether or not you agree with some of his beliefs, Charles Darwin was right on this one.

The more firmly we cast our anchor in our faith, our Heavenly Father, and His eternal promise, the easier it is to endure any changes that life can bring. There is really only one thing that does not change and that is Jesus and His endless love for us.  Hebrews 13:8 teaches that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.”  

That passage should be a source of peace and comfort and a good one to hold close to your heart when the winds of change begin to blow.

About the author

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn’t?

Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick.

The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses.

She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.