"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 8, 2010
I am not good with house plants. I tend to forget about watering and caring for them, until they begin drooping and become wilted. I think they're pretty, and at times "think" I would enjoy having a few, but generally they end up drying up and I have to throw them away. That's why I enjoy fresh cut flowers (hint, hint Jon!). I can enjoy them for a while, and don't feel guilty when they wilt and I have to toss them out. I also like outdoor flowers and bushes, but not the care involved. That's why I try to choose plants that I can just put in the ground, then forget about. In the springtime when the weather warms up and it gets nice enough to plant, I always go through about 2 weeks of "planting fever". Jon doesn't say anything and lets me go wild, because he knows it's not going to last long. I love going to Lowe's and looking at all their plants in the spring. I will spend 1-2 hours there every day or so looking at plants, while trying to figure out which ones are hardy and will do well in our yard. But after the plants are in the ground and get established, then the planting fever has left and I'm through. I don't like weeding or watering, especially when it gets hot out, but want to be able to just sit back and enjoy the beauty of the flowers.
When my dad passed away almost 3 years ago, I brought home a peace lily plant. It was beautiful and full of white blooms. I had read somewhere that you always need to re-pot plants that come from florists because the pots are too small and the roots get bound. I bought a bigger pot and potting soil shortly after bringing the plant home, and re-planted it. Surprisingly, for 3 years it has lived. Granted, the care is pretty much a no-brainer. When the leaves start drooping, then I know it's time to water. Then I do nothing else until they start drooping again.
But after the initial white flowers died back, this peace lily has not produced anymore blooms. I looked online and the consensus seems to be that several people have had this same dilemma. I've tried different things, with no results. It's been like this since the original flowers died back. After a while, I concluded that it will only be a green plant with no blooms.
Suddenly, a few days ago my peace lily had a white bloom on it! I haven't done anything different, that I'm aware of. I don't know the reason the plant bloomed, after all this time. I wish I knew why, so perhaps I could get it to continue flowering. I had completely given up on ever seeing the peace lily ever flowering again, so seeing this flower was a complete surprise.
I have watched a lot of gardening shows in the past few years. One piece of advice I've heard is to never buy plants that have already started flowering. Plants you buy are generally raised in greenhouses and are coaxed to grow quickly. Often, they begin blooming before they're truly ready. Due to the constant temperature, watering and humidity of the greenhouse, they have a rather sheltered beginning. But if you buy a plant that has not yet bloomed, you can plant it in the ground and allow it time to adjust to the change in surroundings. These will often be your more healthy plants that will later flower profusely, when they're ready, and do well. Often these plants will be healthier and have the prettiest blooms. But if you force growth, it doesn't always adjust well when taken out of the controlled environment, and can die or become diseased.
There have been some plants that I've put in the ground and not touched, and they've excelled and done exceptionally well. Then there have been some that I've babied and tried to keep healthy, and they wilt and die. Sometimes it seems no matter what I do, I cannot save them.
Jon and I have tried twice to grow maple trees in our back yard, and they have died both times. Each time they were seemingly healthy, strong trees that were probably 6-8 feet tall when we planted them. We watered, fertilized, and babied those trees to try and protect them and get them to grow. They looked really good for a while, then before we knew it, they would be brittle and dead.
On the other hand, last fall I bought a young crepe myrtle tree that was maybe 12 inches tall. It was the end of the plant season at Lowe's and I had gotten it on clearance for $2.00 or so. I planted it when I got home and have left it alone. I really didn't do anything to it, because my attitude was, "I didn't pay much for it, so whether it lives or dies is no big deal." This year it has grown several inches and has done amazingly well. Towards the end of spring it was looking a little brown and wilted so Jon and I thought we'd lost it over the winter. We decided to give it a few more weeks before pulling it out of the ground. It was only a few days later that we checked and it was full of green leaves. It has bloomed most of the summer and was really pretty. I haven't watered it but maybe once or twice in the midst of all the heat of the summer and lack of rain. But it has been sturdy and hearty and grown, despite my lack of attention.
There are individuals who at one time may have bloomed and really seemed to be making something of themselves. Then there may have come a period of time where seemingly the blooms were all gone, and they were no longer being fruitful and growing. I've heard comments concerning them, "I'm so disappointed in them! I really thought they were going to make something of themselves." And often, people will personally say things outright to those individuals who have seemingly let them down.
But it could be that they were pushed out of the "greenhouse" before they were really ready and the pressures around them were overwhelming. Perhaps the stress was more than they could handle at that particular time in their life. They may need time to slow down and figure out what they really want. It doesn't mean that they're a failure, and we need to be sure that we don't make them feel as if they're insignificant or a loser. That can do a lot of damage to their self-confidence. Feeling as if others are disappointed in them can cause a lot of hurt to an individual.
And some just bloom later than others. I have a nephew who is 38 years old. He has always wanted to be an architect. He went to school for a semester right out of high school, but wasn't ready for it at that time. Over the years he got busy trying to make a living and supporting himself, then went through a period where he felt as if he was too old to accomplish his dream. But the time for him to bloom has finally arrived. He's going back to school full-time this semester and is working towards his goal of being an architect. I am so proud of him for not giving up on his dream and for going forward in his pursuit of getting his degree.
On the other hand, Jon has known from the time he was a young boy that he wanted to be an electrical engineer and computer programmer. He pursued that dream right after high school and achieved his goal. But even then, he's had times in his life when the blooms weren't as apparent in his life. Much like my peace lily plant that went dormant for a few years before blooming again, Jon has had dormant periods in his life.
What we need to remember is that when someone is going through those dormant years, it doesn't meant that God isn't working in their life. It also doesn't mean that it's time to give up on that person and throw them aside. Sometimes it's during those periods, when we can't see the apparent signs of growth, that God is doing the most in their life. He may be preparing them for something greater than they've experienced up to that point. When they begin to bloom again, they may have a new level of maturity that was lacking in the past. They may be stronger and be capable of doing things that they weren't before. What others see as a period of failure or unapparent growth, may be a period where God is getting rid of all the old dead blossoms and pruning.
The truth is, we never know what God is preparing an individual for. We can only see a particular moment, and not beyond that. We have no idea what God may be doing in the heart of a man or woman in order to prepare them for a specific work.
And most of us go through those times of God pruning back the old dead blossoms in our lives. It's not very pleasant, and sometimes even hurts, but in the end we will be more fruitful than ever before. And we will be stronger and more mature than we were in the past.
So next time you see someone that seems as if they're wilting or have stopped blooming, instead of being disappointed in them and judging them, wait and see what God may be doing in their life. Watch and see what happens once they begin blooming again. It just may amaze and astound you!
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
We have another nephew who, at 21, is disappointed in his own growth. He has an AA degree already, and is working toward a Master's Degree. He even owns his own home. But he said recently that he expected to have done more.
We have several pecan trees that started growing on their own about 6 years ago. They range anywhere from about 4 feet tall to about 12 feet. And they range from about 1 inch thick to about 3 inches thick at the base. Some are nice and straight, while some are twisted. There's a lot of variety, even though they are the same age.
But none of them are 50 feet tall yet. And they shouldn't expect to be. They aren't disappointed to be the size they are. Our nephew could learn something from them. We each grow at our own pace, even if it's a pace we don't like.
This man is known as a traitor.
This woman is known for her weak eyes.
This man is known for conversing with his donkey.
This man is known for being short.
This man is known for being fat.
Chicken and Rice
1 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breast -- cut into bite-sized pieces
3 stalks celery, diced
2 Tbsp. Butter or olive oil
1 box (fast cook) long grain and wild rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
Prepare rice according to package directions. Spread in bottom of glass baking dish. Saute chicken and celery in butter or olive oil until cooked. Layer cooked chicken over the rice; top with warmed soup (thinned with milk, if desired). Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Judas Iscariot (Mark 14:10)
Leah (Genesis 29:17)
Balaam (Numbers 22:29)
Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-4)
Eglon (Judges 3:17)
Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2
We love you!
Loretta & Jon