Jennifer Dukes Lee

Chilling and Warming Stories for December Nights

Stories that Chill Note: Clicking on the picture of the book will take you to Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate. Net Galley sends me advanced digital copies of these books in exchange for my honest opinion on their website. I only feature books that I really love on my blog. Imperfect Justice—December 5 By Cara Putman In the second in the Hidden Justice series (you don’t have to read the first one to enjoy this one), author Cara Putman…

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What Should You do When Disaster Lurks Near?

Disaster Might Lurk Nearer Than You Ever Imagined Three years ago, I never would have imagined that disaster stalked. Sure, I knew Sarah, our youngest daughter, struggled with depression and an eating disorder. But I didn’t know how near disaster lurked. Back then, my knowledge of mental illness could fit within 140 characters. Today, I could write a book. Sure, I’d heard about things like schizophrenia and psychosis. Mania was something that people back in the 60s experienced when the…

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Start Your Journey to Wholeness Today!

jour•ney—noun, verb: passage from one place to another; to travel over or through. Your Journey Starts Today! I confess, I find it difficult to sort out selfishness from self-care in this busy world where so many things cry out for my attention. One thing I do know. On this journey we call life, we have to take care of ourselves, but learn not to indulge ourselves. If we fail to take care of ourselves, we won’t have the energy or…

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Spiritual Wholeness in a Discordant World

spir-i-tu-al • adjective: of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit. Music Lessons When our daughters took music lessons, I remember the teacher sitting next to them on the bench playing the harmony to the simple tunes in their music books. Each time the girls hit a wrong note, it would sound discordant simply because the master musician played the harmony. The teacher never had to point out their errors—they could hear them and self-correct. Likewise, spiritual wholeness provides…

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The Importance of Finding Your Zone of Proximal Development

Knowl-edge • noun: information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education. The first part of this series focused on mental wholeness—how to achieve it and why it matters. That constitutes the M in the MAPS acronym. The next section focuses on the A—academic and artistic wholeness. There’s no Growth in the Comfort Zone “Ewww! That’s gross!” one of my students said as she sliced along a herring’s lateral line with a sharp knife. I noticed that her…

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Just Journal Your Way to Mental Wholeness!

jour-nal • noun: a book in which you write down your personal experiences and thoughts. Yesterday I defined the term ‘mental wholeness.’ For the next few days, I’ll share ways to yourself as you seek mental wholeness. Bad Beginnings The Diary of Anne Frank inspired my first attempt at journaling. I decided that I, too, would write to ‘Kitty’—after all, my regular correspondents, my older cousins, suddenly had no interest in writing letters to a snotty younger cousin once they hit their…

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Overlooking the Plain is Overlooking the Plan

A Plain Bird I spotted a bird sitting on the curb across from my house as I headed out the door for a run. Never one to miss a photo op with a bird, I ran back inside for my camera. I thought that perhaps the resident juvenile Cooper’s Hawk had dropped by for a visit. Focusing the lens, I called out to my youngest daughter. “Sarah!  It’s not my hawk, it’s a roadrunner!”  We took turns looking through the…

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What the Tangle of Texas Traffic Taught Me About Church

To all my Texan friends: I apologize in advance for anything I say that may sound as if I don’t like Texas or Texans. Please bear with me. I love Texans and any state that provides two new birds per day for my life list is an awesome place! Starbucks on the Right The first time I drove through a Texas city, I saw a Starbucks off the freeway. “Perfect!” I thought. “I need a late afternoon pick-me-up. I’ll just…

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Birder’s Paradise? Or Birding in Paradise

Texas in the Summer I clutched the dripping Gatorade bottle with one sweaty palm and unscrewed the cap with trembling fingers. They might call Texas a birder’s paradise, but it felt a little more…hotish, shall we say? For the past three hours, I had wandered the trails of Resaca de la Palma State Park—on a toasty 98˚ with 80 percent humidity July day. Most people enjoy the World Birding Center parks in the fall or spring. The weather turns balmy…

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The Story of the Humble Milkweed and the Mighty Monarch

First the Monarch This post is prompted by the community I discovered at the Five Minute Friday Retreat this weekend. Thank you, each and every one of my new in real life friends! Egg. Caterpillar. Pupa. Butterfly. Metamorphosis. Ugly words, some of them. None of which describes the beauty of a monarch butterfly—orange, black, graceful, dancing, enduring, migrating. I first heard the story of the monarch the year I turned ten. Bursting outside the hot house into the hotter North…

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