I finally got around to telling my luggage that there isn’t going to be a vacation this year. Now I’m dealing with emotional baggage. (Pause until the groans subside). For five weeks I’ve had that joke written into the first draft of each week’s sermon manuscript. It never quite fit, so every week it got cut. My son and his fiancé are getting married in a couple months and they’ve ordered an emotional cake for the reception. I asked them what an emotional cake was and they said, “It’s a cake that’s in tiers.” (More groaning here). That’s another one that never made it to the sanctuary, which shows us that there really is a God who protects us from things. All kidding aside, the “Beautiful Despite it All” series had a large emphasis on grappling with our emotions. It can be hard to precisely identify how we feel. As I was researching material for the series I came across an emotional tree (which also ended up on the cutting room floor). The emotional tree is a tool used by Dana Rickerich, who is a guidance counselor at an elementary school in Kittery Point Maine. She uses it to help students identify their emotions. The idea is that if students can see someone else’s emotions it might make it easier for them to relate their own emotions to those that they see. The emotional tree is pictured below.