Gratitude Day 205 – Christmas Cactus

Tues., Jan. 29, 2019

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass dries up; the flower withers, but our God’s word will exist forever.

I love having plants and flowers inside the house. For me, they are like a little breath of fresh air; a bit of color that brightens a room and brings a smile to your face.

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In early November, this Christmas cactus bloomed. Last winter, it bloomed very close to Thanksgiving. It hasn’t quite figured out when it’s the Christmas season and blooms whenever it wants!

Imagine my surprise when about 10 days ago, IT BLOOMED AGAIN!!

How did this happen?

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Some friends were visiting just as the blossoms were bursting into their deep magenta color. One asked how I teased the Christmas cactus into blooming again. My answer was quite scientific: “I just let it be.”

The right answer has something about less daylight and more darkness and less water. Yes, I think I put it someplace where it would get less light. Often, I only water plants so the plants don’t get overwatered. Honestly, I didn’t plan for these things to happen so the cactus would bloom again. It did it all on its own; much to my joy and surprise.

This second blooming was maybe a bit more meaningful because the cactus bloomed right about the one-year anniversary of my Mom’s death. And this plant used to be her cactus.

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As much as I love plants and flowers in the house, I don’t fuss over them. I don’t spend hours and hours making sure they are getting the right amount of sunshine. I try to put fertilizer in the water every other week. Sometimes I remember. Sometimes I forget.

For as little attention as they receive, sometimes the plants look great. Other times, they really could use a little mothering. Unfortunately, they are on their own too much of the time.

Yet, I do enjoy having a few real plants in the house, especially in the winter. When there is less light in general and no pretty flowers to cut outside and bring inside, my heart yearns for something, anything, that is living and breathing. Why? Because they give me hope.

Hope for spring.

Hope for warmer weather.

Hope that just as a plant cycles through its life cycle, so do I.

Sometimes I’m blooming.

Other times, my flowers have withered.

All the time, I need sun and water and a fertilizer to keep my soul nurtured.

Even if my flowers have withered, God’s presence in my life is consistent and never-ending. It’s not God who wanders away from me; it’s me who has wandered away from God.

Soon, these flowers will wither, and I’ll pluck them off the plant. When will it bloom again? I’m not sure. Will I be more attentive to doing the “right” things so it will bloom? Maybe … or maybe not. Either way, God is with me. God loves my heart and soul, even when it’s a little dry and needs some fertilizer. God never gives up on me, even if I doubt or am angry or disappointed. And I have the hope that even if I’m not as attentive to God as I should be, God keeps hoping for the spring day in my life when I come wandering back to God. Looking for a little fertilizer. Searching for a good drink of water. Ready to deepen my relationship with God once again.

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For a God who loves me even when wither, I am grateful.

Almighty God – thank you for the beautiful flowers on this Christmas cactus not just once this winter, but twice. Thank you for the little lessons even this small plant can instill in my life. Thank you for loving me when I bloom and when I withered.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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2 Replies to “Gratitude Day 205 – Christmas Cactus”

  1. Hi Diane,

    I’m Myhia Chapman’s mother-in-law. I’ve been following your daily post for quite some time. I really enjoy your lessons – they speak to where I am!!

    I have to tell you that a friend of mine adds 2 tbsp. epsom salts (per gallon) to the water she uses for her Christmas cactus. She only does this when she wants the plant to bloom. Honestly, I tried it and for the first time ever, my plant did not bloom at Christmas! My mom tried it on a cactus that the rabbits chewed to pieces last summer and hers bloomed.

    Thank you for daily encouraging me to find gratitude in my living.

    Sue Moen

    >

    1. Sue – Thanks for reaching out to me. And so glad that you follow along and that the posts speak to where you are. Too funny about your experiences of getting (or not getting) Christmas cactuses to bloom. I should probably do a little research … but then again, it’s fun to hear what others know! Blessings – Dianne

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