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    Bloom in the Right Climate

    I grew up in Southeast Texas, where azaleas bloom in abundance. My husband has enjoyed only limited success with them here in North Texas because of harsher winters. The record snow and ice and consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures in 2011 resulted in near death to those in our yard. With sadness we replaced them with other plants that thrive here. If you find yourself struggling as a believer, consider whether you are in the right climate to bloom. Look at these factors for your present community (not just your church but your go-to friends): Do you feel free to share your sins and failures because you are given grace?…

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    The Tapeworm Gallery: Empty

           Your Bible is just where I like it—on your nightstand covered in dust. You have power to make me flee. Yet you never do. What I want most of yours He won’t let me have. So I’ll settle for your time and attention.             You make it so easy I can hardly take credit for it, though. By the way, your nail polish is chipping again. And time to redo the extensions on those perfectly normal eyelashes. Because every forty-year-old woman deserves the dark lush lashes of a teenager. Who cares what Mark says? They look natural to me. Besides, letting a non-medically trained kid approach your…

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    Shame-Based Families, Grace-Based Families

    The messages of a shame-based family (NOT the one shown here!): “Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel.” “Everybody has to put their needs aside so we can tiptoe around _____ and not make them mad.” “Why did you do that, you dumb b*tt?” “If you disappoint me this much, how much more are you disappointing God?” “Oh please, you’re not wearing that, are you?” “Loser . . . stupid . . . such an embarrassment . . . I hope nobody knows you’re my daughter . . . You’ll never amount to anything . . . I wish I’d never had you . . . You’re so fat. And ugly.”…