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We live in a bountiful part of New York, with lots of fruit trees and vineyards dotting the rolling hills of the Finger Lake region. Immigrants come here annually from Mexico and Jamaica to tend the trees and prune the vineyards and help pick the fruit. Some of their jobs have been replaced by machinery, but one of the essential jobs that they do, which no machine can manage, is cutting away the creepers that climb the trees. These vines are a perennial nuisance that have to be diligently attacked each year because if they are allowed to grow they will ruin the roots, climb on the branches and weigh them down, stressing the trees, or block out the much needed sunlight. Either way, they will prevent the tree from producing fruit. In fact, I have been told that if a creeper is allowed to grow onto an apple tree that it will not produce a single apple. Imagine that!

Here’s my question: What are the creepers in our lives? Can you make a list of things that prevent you from being fruitful, weighing you down, keeping you stress, and hindering growth? Some creepers even look nice, turning bright colors in the fall, but they are subtle killers. While it would be nice to have a permanent, one-time solution for this, I don’t know of any. It simply requires diligence to keep on top of the creepers of life.

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