Three delightful apples fell from this mother tree – a daughter, who was recently married, adding a wonderful sun-in-law to our orchard; a son in college, and a teenage daughter who keeps us from becoming empty-nesters just yet. These three bring me joy every day. Next to me in the orchard is my shade-giving, anchoring husband, Louis. We’ve been planted side-by-side for close to 28 years and Louis’ singing started it all when I was just 18. (That is a love story for another day! The motherland soil still sticking to my roots is rich with South-African grit but the green East-Tennessee hills are now my home. In what seems like a previous life-time I was a speech, language and hearing therapist in a multi-disciplinary practice, specializing in learning, behavioral and concentration challenges in children. I gained extensive experience in diagnostics, therapy and parental guidance. In 1998 I pioneered an educational project for disadvantaged children. It was while working at this center that my passion for the uniqueness of children and the empowerment of parents branched me onto a new career path. Parenting talks and seminars gradually lead to the development of the Evergreen Parenting course, the publishing of several books, and and international speaking platform. The birth of the Tall Trees Profiles company, which is currently a core focus, extended my work from the fields of family into the corporate and leadership arenas.
My greatest thrill comes from equipping others to be compassionate, respectful and intentional tree-trimmers, tree-lovers, and tree-growers.
It’s not been all about study, writing and personality style profiles, though! My life has been and still is a thrilling adventure that has taken me to extremely challenging and breathtakingly beautiful places. I’ve had the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro with 37 amazing women, hike from the French to the Swiss Alps, eat dates off the tree in an Egyptian oasis, stand on the Great Wall of China and give parenting classes in the Ukraine. But I’ve also survived a home-invasion during which I was attacked and Louis was kidnapped. Seeing both edelweiss and evil up close enlarges one’s heart, if you let it. Likewise, little people turn into purpose-fulfilling miracles, if you let them. “Letting them” means defending the wonder of God’s brilliant design and a calling to glorious purposes in each of them!
The deeper stuff, for those who want to know…
When I step beyond my parenting orchard, past the corporate acres of webinars, training and profile development, I go to the wide open space of grace where the canopy over me is evergreen Hope. My full names (Hester Cecilia) mean “star of hope” and “blind.” Go figure! I have never been able to “see” complete devastation, permanent damage, senseless tragedy or utter loss. How could I, when in my own darkest night the Morning Star was brighter and nearer than ever?
This hope is what I can offer. It is not a mirage; it is a Rock. Everything I write, speak or build has this foundation. I know that this Rock is an offense to some but He has been faithful and good to me beyond what anyone could ever deserve. I’ll do more than mention Him; I will ring out His renown every chance I get.
“Discover what God has already built into you to equip you for a fruitful life. His blueprint is full of adventure, healing, grace and new beginnings. The painful realities in your world cannot derail God’s eternal and good plan for you and your family.”
Romans 15:13 (The Message)
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!