This time of the year is not only when we burn most of our wood, but it’s also when we acquire most of it. The five cords of wood stacked on the side of the barn are from a tree that fell two winters ago. Today, we’ll be warm twice; first, while we cut, haul and stack the tree that a storm brought down, but next when we enjoy the warmth of the wood stove.

One of the teens helping us today stretches his back and points up the hill, “That one looks like it’s going to fall next.”

My husband, who knows this property well, says, “That’s cedar, it will be here long after you and I have become dirt.” Then he looks around and points to a cottonwood and says, “Now that one can go anytime and probably will!”

The young man said, “What’s the difference?”

“The difference is in the root structure. The one laying across the driveway has shallow roots. It sucks up all the rainwater, and the roots aren’t anchored deep enough in the soil, so they can’t support the weight. Which means that tree becomes firewood.”

They went back to work, and as I filled the truck with the wood rounds, I began to think about dreams, failures, success, life, and aspirations. Every year at this time, I intentionally map out my year. I set new goals, evaluate last year’s lumps and bumps, relationships and my future goals.

Life, like these trees, offers a visual reminder. Grow shallow roots and the next storm can take you down. Grow deep roots and not much will interrupt your longevity.

When your roots grow deep, you live from a place of strength, peace, and confidence. You don’t operate from a place of fear. Who you are is not affected by superficial ‘things’ around you.
How do you grow deep roots? It’s a choice.

Refuse to allow the negative things around you to make you negative.

Refuse to be paralyzed by financial worries.

Don’t confuse things that happen to you and who you are. Your identity is based on how you handle things that happen to you, not by the events.

Refuse to defend yourself from those who talk poorly of you.

Spend planned quiet moments to consider life’s direction and design.

Commit to being a problem solver rather than a complainer.

Build your well of wisdom on experiences and gathering wise counsel.

One way you can tell if you have deep or shallow roots is to measure how you’re affected by minor things like traffic, tangled Christmas lights, unexpected unbudgeted expenses, and people who are less than kind. I used to be fearful of things that might happen in the future. In the last several years, we’ve been tested by fire, and we’ve weathered the storms well. So rather than be fearful of more tough life issues, I remind myself that I’ve already weathered storms before and I’ll weather them again. That gives me a peaceful calm.

Don’t confuse things that happen to you and who you are. Your identity is based on how you handle things that happen to you, not by the event. A victim is someone who has been injured by someone else. I’m not making lite of someone’s pain, but often the injured person continues to stay in the wounded position and continues the work of the perpetrator. Do whatever you need to do to heal and let go of the power over you. Then find a way to use the event to challenge your root growth and become all you are intended to be.

If you don’t have deep roots, your happiness in life will be a roller coaster ride. If your joy and peace depend on your circumstances, you’ve grown shallow roots. If you don’t have peace on the inside, you can’t have peace on the outside. Operating from a place of peace is a place of power and confidence.
Deep Roots—worth the effort.

What depth will this Season bring for you?