Plants aren’t just plants, sometimes

Spring flowers one

I want to make it perfectly clear from the start that I’m not about to work hard to inject deep meaning into this piece. Something dawned on me as I was watering my plants this morning.

I’m one of those people who can’t tell you the name of one plant from the other; however, for years I’ve nurtured plants in our house. For some reason, plants thrive under my care. Each spring, I make a trip to the Home Depot, Lowe’s or some garden center to buy fresh potting plants. They just seem to make the decks (front and back) on our house look alive and welcoming. They also add a nice touch to the inside, too.

Back to what came across my mind as I was watering the plants scattered around our living room this morning. The other day, a friend of mine posted a picture of a plant on Facebook. I won’t mention her name, because I’m not sure she would want it in a blog deposited in cyberspace. She lost her mom a few years ago, and I thought it touching that she would post the picture of one of her mom’s plants. It was the picture of a Drunkard Dream. (Since I know very little about the names of plants, I accept what she called it as what it is.) The post said, “My momma’s Drunkard Dream is blooming. Such cherry yellow flowers for dreary winter days. She would be so happy.” I think you can tell by these words that she holds her mother very dearly in her heart and that this plant is more than just a plant.

karen's mom's plnt

The Drunkard Dream

My friend’s posting prompted an exchange between the two of us. I too lost my mom. She died due to complications related to Alzheimer’s a year ago this past July. I have a plant that occupies a special place in our house. It didn’t belong to my mom, but it was one of the many bright floral spots that adorned the space surrounding her casket.

Mom's plant

Plant from mom’s funeral

My friend also mentioned, as we conversed on Facebook, that she had one of the same types of plants from her father-in-law’s funeral that I collected from my mom’s funeral. I’m sure it wouldn’t still be there, being nourished and cared for if it didn’t have special meaning.

I’m getting these mental images as I stroke the keys to my laptop. I see an old hickory nut tree standing stately in the center of one of my maternal grandfather’s fields. I remember many days playing underneath that tree as a boy, collecting hickory nuts in the fall and watching my grandfather resting beneath it after a hard morning of tilling the soil with his team of mules. I remember the drooping limbs of Weeping Willows in my grandparent’s yard gently blowing in the light breezes of many hot, humid summers in Cross County, Arkansas. There was also and old Oak tree in one corner of their yard that grandpa used to hang and stretch fishing poles he made from sticks he gathered, from where, I have no clue. That tree was also used for hanging animals, as he skinned them.

I guess I didn’t keep my promise. There is deep meaning in plants, as they unintentionally help us remember tender points in our lives.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Why a counter argument?

argument 1

As I move from this sentence to the rest of these little musings, I’m going to try my best not to show left- or right-wing bias. Of course, I can’t promise anything. The title of this piece was prompted by a letter to the editor I just read in my local newspaper. The writer was obviously bothered by a position someone in the community had taken on an issue. As I read the letter, I couldn’t help but think why, why the reader felt compelled to write this letter. Then, it dawned on me, most of us have a problem allowing someone else to have the last word, the last idea, the last proposal for the good of the order.

I honestly believe that there are some people who, if I walked outside, as I started my day, and I proclaimed it to be a beautiful day, they would say it’s not. Some folks would be offended by my acknowledgement of what I felt to be a God-given day to enjoy to the fullest. My proclamation wouldn’t have risked harm to anyone, yet it was offensive somehow.

Let’s advance this idea of “why a counter argument?” Scientists have concluded that climate change is caused by two sources; 1) Natural – Volcanic eruptions would be an example of this. The heat and gases spewed from volcanoes have a direct impact on the environment. Most of us would have no argument with that; and 2) Humans- We produce harmful gases due to our efforts to make the planet more hospitable for our existence. The latter does produce countless counter arguments. Even if some of us are not overwhelmingly convinced that we are major contributors to global warming, why can’t we agree that efforts to clean up the environment would be a good thing for everyone? Why can’t positions taken by those of us intended for good, and not inherently harmful for anyone be worthy of consideration versus an attack on mom, baseball and apple pie? If you think like me, you have strong suspicions why, but as I said earlier, I’m going to try to keep my bias out of this. Conversely, why can’t someone bothered by a sunny day, with calm winds and temperature at 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius), be an opportunity to have a civil conversation with someone who felt differently, versus an argument?

reasoning together

It seems sometimes that we spend inordinate amounts of time arguing over issues that really don’t matter. Meantime, we demonstrate very little concern for the human needs that prevail all around us. The Christian Bible contains two verses in Isaiah 1: 17- 18a – “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now and let us reason together…” There are some who would take argument with that. Really. How could you? Oops. My bias is showing, isn’t it?

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

I’m visiting my ancestral home

chris and hosea in dashikis


I wrote a piece a few months ago about the trip Chris and I are planning to make to Ghana. The closer the time of the trip gets, the more anxious I’m becoming. Recently, I saw a You-Tube video of three young Africans (born in America) reviewing their visit to Ghana. The interviewer was interviewing them in Accra, the Capital City. They were standing in Independence Square which contains monuments to Ghana’s independence struggle, including the Independence Arch, Black Star Gate, and the Liberation Day Monument. Independence Square is the second largest City Square in the world after the Tiananmen Square.

African ancesters 1

While visiting one of the slave dungeons, one of the young people interviewed said they felt a sense of connection with their ancestors who were stolen from Africa. They felt their visit to Ghana was an answer to the inscription on the dungeon door which reads “Door of No Return.” After four hundred or so years, this young person’s family had come full circle. She was the representative chosen (by God, the universe, her ancestors) to make the return home. A return no African could remotely fathom four hundred years ago. I’ve heard this story on more than one occasion. Each time I hear it, I feel an emotional awakening. To this point those emotions are vicarious. God willing, I will feel the real thing in short order.

As I watched the video of these young folks, from New Orleans by the way, I felt a twinge of envy. They are young and making this trip to our land of origin with a good chance of many years left to visit other countries in Africa. One of the three had already been to several other countries on the continent. Why am I envious? I’m sixty-nine years old, living with a life-threatening disease, with probably little chance left of trekking back a fourth (with any significant repetitive degree) to my motherland. I’ve come late in life to an awareness of just how valuable my experience with Africa can be. I’m praying that the old saying of “better late than never” will be true with Mother Africa and me.

African ancesters 2

I do find myself thinking of what I will still miss even with my trip to Ghana. I’ll miss being able to make the precise connection to the two people, who were stashed in the cargo hold of a ship, brought to a foreign land and consummated the beginning of the generational journey that resulted in me sitting at this keyboard, composing these musings. The technology of ancestral investigation has come a long way in recent times; however, the most I can expect is discovery of regional or tribal identity somewhere in West Africa. Most of us can’t do what Alex Haley did with Roots. It would be nice though to find cousins remotely removed.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too

Reflections from past Januarys

Hosea with second cousins


My primary avenue, as it is with most bloggers, is to observe and write about personal observations. My handle, “Old and Blessed” makes it clear, at least I hope so, that being blessed to be at my age is an awesome thing. Nineteen years ago, I didn’t expect to be here, but God has decided that I should be. I’ve been looking back at some of my Facebook posts from past Januarys. I think many of them look bloggable. Let’s give it a try. Here goes:

January 3, 2019
Human history is replete with shining moments which shout to us that hope must not be discarded. The sacrifice of our Lord and Savior is preeminent among them all. Reflect and find reasons to keep the faith…

Kids at piano

January 3, 2019
I’m just sitting here, thinking about 2018. I lost my mom, and there were other losses, too. However, I was blessed to have had all the folks I lost. Furthermore, God blessed me in so many ways. There’s a little rain inside…

January 3, 2017
I was watching an episode of the Tavis Smiley Show recently, where he was interviewing Bonnie Raitt. Their conversation drifted into aging. Tavis made a comment that resonated with me, “Aging is cool.” He said it because he’s more comfortable with himself now, and happier than he’s been at any age prior to now. That got me thinking about my own age. Although I’m dealing with cancer, not as vibrant and physically flexible as I was in earlier years, my aging process has been cool. I am comfortable with this space on the chronological map. Thank God for aging and the growth that comes with it.

January 3, 2017
I can’t think of anything too much more powerful than self-conviction (motivated by the word of God). Once I, you, everyone is aware of their own sin, judging others becomes a dirty little practice of the past. You realize that when you judge others, you’re in that mix, too. Our job is to love, as Jesus loves.

January 1, 2018
It’s 9:22 and I’m tired. We had our annual New Year’s Day family gathering. This is something we’ve been doing for some thirty years. We invite many relatives over from both sides of our family, eat, talk and have fun for a few hours. The cooking starts the night before and usually ends an hour or so before everyone starts to arrive at 1:00.

This gives us some quality time to visit with family we don’t make the opportunity to visit during the year. It’s also a wonderful time to collectively count our blessings, and to thank God for all He’s done, and is doing in our lives.

This is great way to start the new year!

chris and hosea in dashikis


I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.