Monthly Archives: July 2022

A Handful of Bulbs

We have tried for years to find a bright plant that likes the white brick wall under our kitchen window on the patio. The place gets a nice dose of morning sunshine but none in the afternoon. We inherited an old black wash pot from Grandma Graham and we planted at different times geraniums, begonias, bougainvillea, impatiens and pansies. None of them thrived, most died. Ferns would be pretty, I thought. But I really wanted something colorful against that white brick wall. We decided to try one more thing: caladiums.

Now there was a reason we hadn’t tried caladiums for many years. At one time we enjoyed a healthy row of beautiful caladiums. The Georgia thumpers enjoyed them too–for dinner! You know Georgia thumpers? They are large meaty grasshopper things about three inches long with very muscular legs and beady eyes. They like lilies, lots of flowers, and especially caladiums, we learned to our sorrow. At first the colorful red and green plants were just fine. Then one day the thumpers discovered them and proceeded to strip them like a plague of locusts. Already, I didn’t like those thumpers and that finished any com-passion I might feel for the red and yellow monsters. We didn’t want to grow their dinner for them. So we dug up the caladium bulbs and planted good, steady green border grass.

But now we were in another time, another place. We hadn’t seen Georgia thumpers in years. So off we went to Lowe’s hunting caladiums. All they had were little boxes of bulbs, no plants already started. I was skeptical because I thought it was too late in the season to be planting bulbs. But we bought them and Charles planted the five nubby bulbs in a pot inside the wash pot. In case they didn’t make it we could easily move them.

We waited and waited for what seemed a very long time. Finally one, then two tiny points broke through the soil. Every day I checked to see if more had come up. There were only five bulbs but as time went on dozens of caladium leaves developed. I hadn’t realized that each bulb had several knots, each of which would sprout.

Now we are rewarded with a lush beautiful pot full of bright huge leaves. We are amazed at the number of plants and also by their size. It was only a handful of bulbs but now they’re making a bountiful display against the white brick wall. Not only amazed by the number of leaves, I’m fascinated with the intricacies of each unique leaf. Each one has its own pattern reminding me of a road map, or a large fancy valentine, or even a perfect cover for a toad to hide from the rain.

I keep thinking–God can take a boy’s small lunch and feed 5,000 plus people. He can spangle the sky with stars with a word. He can fill the ocean with teeming schools of fish, large and small. And God can take the smallest efforts we put forth, if done in His name, to change lives and turn problems into opportunities and even a thing of beauty.

We hope our caladiums continue to thrive and that we have no visits from Georgia thumpers. These great, wonderful leaves all from one handful of bulbs? Only God could do it!

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Maybe it’s the need for cataract surgery that has me thinking about windows although, truth be told, I just really like windows. Who doesn’t? As we age our lens become like dirty windows, as if our glasses are always smeared. But no cleaning will do it. The lens have to be replaced, thus surgery. I’m so looking forward to being able to see clearly again.

But, yes, I do like windows. The first thing I like to do when we enter a hotel room is to pull back the drapes and see what’s outside. It could be a beautiful garden, distant mountain slopes, a sandy beach with surf rolling in. Or it might be a view of the interstate or another building not far away. Whatever the sights, almost always there’s a view of sky, blue and bright, gray and threatening, or suffused with sunset color. The view outside the window is almost as important as the comfort of the bed.

For some the view from a window may be all they have. As a youth I read a book titled Eight Panes of Glass. An invalid lady told the stories of people in her community as she viewed their comings and goings through her eight panes of glass. The lady was confined. But she had a window.

In the first prairie houses, the soddies, there often were no windows. Through the dark cold winter months it had to be so dreary inside those little houses. Families were protected from the wind and warmed as they made quilts by candlelight. But–no windows?

At Stone Gables washing windows was a pretty big deal. Every spring and whenever there was to be a wedding, Mamma set us to work washing windows. It was a real challenge to wash the outsides of upstairs windows. I remember clinging to the stone wall while standing in a swivel window trying to reach every pane. But I enjoyed cleaning the hundreds of small lead-framed panes so the beautiful outside world could come into focus.

Sometimes no amount of elbow grease and glass cleaner results in a clear, bright window. Whether using greatly acclaimed new cleaners or old-fashioned ones, like vinegar applied with newspaper, the finished job can be very disappointing. Our kitchen window needs washing often, on the outside and in. It can seem so clear after a good cleaning, almost as if it weren’t even there. Then the sun shines in and suddenly I can see smears and smudges on every pane.

Aside from real, physical windows, God gives us windows into the world through the written word and other media. What we see outside our windows can be affected by our mood, whether expectant or bored, thankful or stagnant. We might see a whole story develop like the author of Eight Panes of Glass or we might see a lovely little wren clinging to a tree branch.

When our own windows, our eyes, even the eyes to our souls, become smeared with worry and fear, God’s sunshine will show us we need a window washing, more than just cataract surgery. Prayer, scripture, interaction with other Christians, a lot of singing–all these can contribute to a good dramatic polishing of our “windows.”

Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing better after cataract surgery. I also have the very real hope that in heaven I will have perfectly clear sight. Our vision will be so good then and we will be amazed at the wonderful sights before us.

For we now see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known. I Corinthians 13:12

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Thy Word Have I Hid

On the front page of The Cairo Messenger a headline caught my eye: Cairo is part of statewide Bible reading event. I was immediately excited. On Thursday, July 14 at 7:14 a.m. all 159 Georgia counties will participate in reading the Bible at their respective courthouses. Each county will have a designated scripture which volunteers will read. The goal is for the whole Bible to be read that morning in Georgia alone.

This interdenominational project, according to The Messenger, was started in Iowa by Dianne Bentley in 2018. Last year there were 16 states and 57 countries that participated. The exact time for the beginning of the one-hour reading probably piqued your interest. The basis for this reading, according to organizers, is 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says: “If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

There’s so little we can do to counteract the unconscionable things going on in our country. Horrible violence, defunding of police, convicts turned out on the streets while innocent people are sent to jail, folks demanding rights for women but paying no heed to the rights of helpless babies, all these and so many more. Parents are losing their rights to be involved in their own children’s education. In fact, there’s a movement demanding that parents no longer be called father and mother. Children four and five years old are being instructed in some school systems that they can choose whether they want to be a girl or a boy. Oh, and in some places, such as Disney World, children are not called boys and girls but simply people. Wonder what Mickey and Minnie think about that.

So–what can we do? Of course we can vote and that we must! But, mainly, we can follow the instruction of the God who made us and knows what is best. We can pray. We can seek His face. We can turn from our wicked ways. Then, if we are “called by His name,” He will hear us! And He will heal our land. We can meet July 14 at 7:14 and be a part of this Bible reading project, thus taking this opportunity to “stand and be counted.”

For more information e-mail: Georgia state project leader, Jerri Tuck, For Grady County information e-mail Jessica Lee

A Bible verse I learned as a child and have “owned” for decades is Psalms 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against thee.” 7:14 is early for me and my walker but I plan to be there! How could we not?

See you at the courthouse!


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