Introduction: 31 days of paying attention

After Irma churned through Central Florida in the middle of the night nearly a month ago, the first thing I noticed about my backyard—aside from the fence, which was mostly on the ground—was that my beloved crepe myrtle had been stripped bare. The crepe is my favorite thing in our yard, because it’s huge—around 20 feet high and just as wide—and in the summer it explodes with magenta blooms.

When the storm came in September, the last of the season’s papery-thin flowers were just hanging on. It was a lost cause, I knew, with 80mph gusts on the way, but I didn’t expect to feel so glum at how pitiful my tree looked afterward, naked branches whipping around in the lingering winds.

In community group last week, our leader posed a question that left us sitting in contemplative silence:

“How is it that we miss God?”

We forget to look for Him.

The crepe caught my eye from our kitchen window one morning, a week after Irma. I squinted.

Is that… green?

I slipped on Dan’s old topsiders by the porch door and trekked across the yard in my pajamas to get a closer look.

It was green. From those stripped branches, fresh leaves popped. Overnight my beloved, wrecked crepe had birthed something new—and it was beautiful.

God whispered simple promises to my heart:

New life. 

Second chances. 


Gifts, God-given.

Worth paying attention to.

31 days of paying attention is a month-long mission to document and give thanks for the everyday, mundane, and beautiful. It’s a series I’m writing for Write 31 Days, a yearly challenge in which bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October. Thanks for reading along! 

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