Hello and happy Monday, everyone!

I am currently writing to you from Clay County, West Virginia, where Taylor and I have just arrived and unpacked for the beginning of this week. It’s a beautiful Sunday evening, so it’s nice to sit, relax, and reflect after a long drive and a busy last week of travel. We spent the past week visiting 3 more of ASP’s service counties: Lee County, VA, Breathitt County, KY, and Sullivan County, TN.  

When we were in Breathitt last week, we drove through rocky mountain roads that had essentially been carved through a mountain, which had trees growing on them. Coming from Mississippi, I don’t see very many mountains, so it was especially beautiful to me seeing life that one would think seemingly impossible is being sustained on such rough terrain. It’s where I would think no plants, much less beautiful trees, could grow; however, they do so beautifully.  

It also happened that I saw a towel in the Breathitt County center that said, “Bloom where you are planted,” almost immediately upon arriving there. I’ve been reflecting a lot on that quote this past week, especially as I watched the mountains and trees pass as we traveled from county to county.  

The lessons we learn from the environment around us can often be applied to our own lives, and this example is no different. The terrain represents the seasons of life we’re in, and the trees themselves are symbolic of us. There are seasons of life where the fruit we produce falls and fades, but there are also seasons of abundance and beauty within each of our lives.    

The trees growing up from the rocky mountainside provide a reminder and encouragement I think we all can use at one point or another. The rocky mountain soil represents the tough seasons in life– whether they are after a loss, heartbreak, or simply the result of change (because let’s face it, change is hard). The growing trees prove that we, as humans, are capable of blooming in seasons and places where it seems the most unlikely.  

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” I truly believe that no matter what season of life you’re in, this– right here and right now– is your time. It’s your time to grow, and learn, and laugh, and love, and be joyful. I aspire to do all of these things.  

I aspire to be present in every moment and diligent in growing my faith and dependence upon God through every season. Even in the hardest seasons of life, there is so much to be experienced and so much life to be lived. 

The trees on the mountainside are not just surviving, but they are thriving. I want to encourage you and myself with this. Let’s not just aim to survive the season we are in. Let’s pray, hope, and work to thrive right where we are. God has a purpose for you right where you are. God has goodness for you right where you are. God has beauty for you right where you are. You have the opportunity to grow and flourish right where you’re at. Just as the towel in Breathitt County said– Bloom where you are planted. 

Talk soon! 


Sarah Brassfield

Story Gathering Intern