trying to redeem the waste area out back

1-IMG_2951 - CopyThis has been an absolutely spectacular week so far here in Wake Forest. Today it’s sunny again, and this time we’re rocking a balmy 71-degrees. Too bad playing golf hasn’t fit with my schedule.

Monday morning, however, Rebekah and I did manage to find a little time to do some work in the back garden. To be more accurate, Rebekah wandered out to “take a look” and a couple of hours later I realized she was up to her knees in work.

This is the difficult to care for area beyond the fence all the way back to the road behind our property. It’s kind of a waste area that does a wonderful job of screening during the summer. Then in winter we realize just how much there is that could be done. So we were cutting out “trash” trees, pulling down rotted out trunks, and removing scraggly bushes, vines, and dead branches that had fallen during the storms.

Once we get it sufficiently cleaned out we could maybe lay out some beds for daffodils, clear a nice pathway, plant some flowering shrubs, and give the area some personality.

1-IMG_2937 - CopyI am always struck by how completely different our home looks from the back. It’s only visible part of the year, but we really would like the “Maul-Hall” look to be more than an “eyes front” only “public face.”

Who we are runs a little deeper than that.

Home and yard initiatives, however, are all subject to the availability of time and resources. As we creep deeper into our sixties it seems like time – which should have slowed down and grown some now that we’re not raising our family any more – is in reality speeding up and contracting. I don’t know, maybe we just get tired more easily. Or, and I believe this is likely closer to the truth, we are more consumed by thinking, writing, leading, teaching, and caring for people.

Regardless, this is a good reminder to me that who we are is a lot more than what shows when we answer the front door, well-groomed and mostly put together. Come round back sometime, when we’re up to our eyeballs in the mess. That’s us too. Believe me, we’re nowhere near as on top of things as you may like to think!

Authentically, DerekĀ 


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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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