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Co-author of 2 dozen books with her husband, Dr. Les Parrott
Has appeared on numerous TV shows, Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, etc.
WALKS ON DISCOVERY BEACH
During the year before Leslie turned 40, she began taking walks on Discovery Beach which is located a few minutes from her home in Seattle, Washington. Leslie, now 44, says she was searching for something – what, she did not know. All she seemed to bring home from her walks were little pieces of sea glass, bits of glass sculpted over time by the wind, waves and sand into smooth random shapes. At first, Leslie would jangle them in her pocket but then finding the pieces became a fixation. With each piece she collected, she felt a sense of calm.
Leslie says that she keeps the pieces in a jar and every time she sees it, she is reminded of how she is designed to make a difference. The times on the beach renewed and restored the love in her heart for the unrehearsed moments in her life and helped her to see them as a worthy composition.
“Each hodgepodge of my life, no matter how haphazard, represents a part of what I do and who I am,” says Leslie.
Over ten years ago, when Leslie was 27 years old, her father left her mother on their 35th wedding anniversary. Leslie’s dad, a low-key, well-liked pastor, called it quits on his marriage. Devastated, Leslie watched her mother pick up the pieces of her life.
Questions pummeled her mind and day after day, Leslie cried. Even today, more than a decade later, Leslie says the same questions can still pierce and cause tears to flow.
While many people in her life offered Leslie and her mom comfort, she says that no one ever told her how her father’s leaving would affect her own marriage. No matter how caring Les was, Leslie still felt alone.
“For the first time in our eight year marriage, I felt painfully detached,” she says. Her old casual confidence she had about her marriage slipped away.
But Leslie says the pain she has experienced from her father leaving has sharpened her ability to love in ways she would not have been able to before. She likens the pain in our hearts to the continual grinding of the sea against sea glass.
“It takes the sharp edges of our personalities and smooths them into a person who can be tender with another’s wounds.”
Once Les saw Leslie crying over a bowl of oatmeal in their Seattle apartment. He asked what was wrong. She replied, “I thought if I burned this oatmeal, you would leave me.” While Les simply hugged her, Leslie expressed gratitude for her husband. “These were the first heartfelt words of thanks I had uttered since the devastating news of my dad’s decision,” says Leslie. “And that was the turning point….when I eked out a little gratitude for this pain that was helping me to become the person I was becoming. At one point, I even whispered a few words of thanks for my dad in spite of what he had done.”
Leslie’s dad is 68 today and remarried.
Leslie says that when in conversation with women, it is the subject of dreams that gets most of them excited. She says that most women ask themselves, “What will the rest of my life count for? Am I doing anything worthwhile?”
She says that we become confident about the future and the power of our dreams. Her own personal dreams today have more to do with significance rather than success. “I care deeply about the state of marriage in our country,” says Leslie. “I put a lot of energy into that dream.” Today, Leslie is codirector with her husband, Les, at the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University.
Leslie says when we pursue our dreams we move from becoming a half – a person who is waiting in the wings for something – to a whole.”
She says that a woman’s dreams are a vital means to helping her discover how she is designed to make a difference. Leslie says her mom caught a new vision for her life after her divorce and her move to Seattle. Her mom now plays the piano in a local worship service, invests time in her grandchildren and reaches out to seniors just moving into a retirement center. She has also developed a prayer ministry that stretches around the globe.
“I’ve never known my mom to enjoy so much hope as she does today, and it’s because she dared to dream about a new life after being terribly wounded,” says Leslie.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.