Fresh Start

“Oh, Honey,” I asked, “what happened,” finding my youngest grandchild attempting to scoop handfuls of dirt off the carpet. Bursting into tears, this precious child sobbed, “I was gonna get paper and colors out of the desk. When I opened the drawer, the plant tipped over.”

I noticed my Christmas cactus was a little wonky but upright on its table. I got down on my knees hugging and assuring my six-year-old granddaughter that she did nothing wrong. “Grandma set the plant too close when she brought it inside for winter.” I moved the little table away from the desk and explained, “I’ll clean it up later. You can get your things and color while I finish making lunch.”

I ignored the mess for the remainder of her weekend stay. The morning after she left, I had no motivation and felt incapable of tackling it. My decade-old cactus had several broken cladodes, the fleshy green segments. I picked segments off the floor, laid them on the table, and ignored the task for several more days.

Later, I chided myself, “It’s a plant! Get on it and clean up the mess.” While I went to retrieve the vacuum, a thought occurred to me, “Maybe the pieces can be used for propagation.” A quick internet search confirmed my hunch, and my delayed cleanup became advantageous.

“Hmm mid-November, I have time to start some cuttings and give them as gifts.” What was an unpleasant chore now excited me. I could give others the possibility of bright blooms that deliver festive color to me each year.

After educating myself on the best methods of cacti propagation, I settled my wonky-looking plant back to its former position, pruned off all broken cladodes, and salvaged several cuttings, 15 to be exact. On my kitchen table, I set out five half-pint jelly jars, starting my mini greenhouse. Then I waited to see if any would sprout. In about a week, new growth of little white roots began appearing. In three weeks, all had varying lengths of tiny roots. I felt confident I could pot them and give the new cuttings away.

I decorated the rims of some terra cotta pots, placed them in drainage saucers with colored glass gems, and planted the new cuttings. While admiring the new life in a row of ready-to-giveaway plants, the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit spoke:

“That’s a visual of what I do with broken lives. You may only see the horror of damage. However, once a heart is yielded to me, a broken and healed soul will still bloom. And greater yet, new life can be cultivated as people testify to what I have done.”

Similarly, God provided Ezekiel a vision of Israel’s glorious restoration:

“The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by his Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’

I replied, ‘Lord GOD, only you know.’

He said to me, ‘Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Lord GOD says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD’ ” (Ezekiel 37:1-6, CSB).

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes. . .” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, CSB).

Dear Reader, have you trusted God to transform your heart causing you to bloom? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate restoration and new life through the word of your testimony?

Dear Father God, I’m so glad that You can heal all soul wounds—thank You. You are great, from a field of dry bones You generate new life. It’s not too difficult for You to bring forth blooms in broken people. LORD, let the words of my mouth testify of Your greatness pointing others to You the giver of new life. Glory and honor to our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Author Bio
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.

Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.

Check the Free Gifts page for downloadable/printable study guides and resources.

Copyright © 2020-2023 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.

Published by musingsofmanettekay

Sharing bits of memoir in the format of devotionals, prayers, short stories, and occasionally a poem.

27 thoughts on “Fresh Start

  1. What a lovely illustration Manette of the saving Grace of our Father God, who lifts us up when we fall. In Him we are saved and grow in the most difficult of circumstances. You reminded me of a habit Susan and I have, when we visit the garden centre we always check out the reject plants…basically in ER. Over the years some of our most precious shrubs have been those rejected and near death.
    It is great to read your words again in 2023 Manette, may our Father God continue to guide and bless you each day of this New Year, Amen. 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alan, thank you for your prayer of blessing! I always appreciate your additional thoughts and insights shared. I have some of the plant “rejects” you spoke of in my yard that have produced for years.

      Your story brought to mind an inspiring documentary-style movie I saw years ago. The title is “A Man Named Pearl” it can be rented and viewed through streaming sources. It is the story of African-American artist Pearl Fryar who breaks societal rules with love. In the process lives are changed. The links below are the film trailer and an article about Pearl’s life work including photos of his garden:

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was such a beautiful story; as a Christian, a grandmother and a plant lover, I can relate on so many levels. I was particularly touched by the calm reaction to the fallen plant. Superbly done!

    My late mother-in-law had incredibly thriving houseplants and she taught me many things about indoor gardening. I will never forget the time she told me if a plant is doing very poorly, I should not give up on it. “Don’t be afraid to cut it back as far as you can” she instructed me “and with patience, time and TLC it will be restored.” She was right.

    Sounds a bit like our relationship with God. Thank you for this wonderful post. 🪴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nancy. It means a lot coming from a master story writer.

      I hear great wisdom in your mother-in-law’s instruction and guidance. I have one house plant that is 46 years old. It was given to me as a cutting from my great-grandmother. I was 16 at the time and new nothing about house plants or their care. I remember thinking it would be dead before I got home because I had a 30-minute drive. If at all possible, because of the connection to her and our conversation, I became determined to keep it alive.

      Over the years, through numerous moves, different seasons of life, and changing priorities, I have watched that plant survive stages of near extinction to fully flourishing and everything in between.

      When I gave a cutting to my son, after telling the history, I jokingly said, “Now see if you can keep it alive for the next 40+ years.”

      Yehovah bless you in 2023.


      1. Thank you for that monumental comment! Very kind indeed.

        I learned a great deal from my mother-in-law about life and plants. She was a great woman. I also have a plant that is 51 years old, given to me by my MIL shortly after I got married. That plant has been divided numerous times, cut back to the dirt and still manages to come back stronger than ever. Now my green thumb rivals hers and it’s all because of what she taught me.

        The very best to you in 2023!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Manette, this correlates perfectly with a verse that popped off the page of my Bible during my morning devotions- “When Christ, who is your life, appears” (Col. 3:4). You’ve reminded us of the important lesson that from disaster can come life. Was your grand-daughter one of the recipients of a give-away cactus plant?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Manette, I love the way that unfortunate accident actually turned into a blessing–fifteen times over! God used your post to remind me of a dry-bone season in my own life, which he redeemed as only our Lord can do. The memory brought tears to my eyes–he is SO good!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Manette this is a beautiful post! Perfect example of God using brokenness. Thank you for sharing. I have Christmas cactus that has outgrown it’s container. I’m thinking maybe instead of a bigger “barn” I should make plans starts and share the beauty of God’s creation with others liked you are doing. Thanks for the inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Benita, if you choose to start some cuttings for propagation, the main plant can still be repotted. The top photo is my cactus about a week after the pruning and it still bloomed. It was quite easy to start the new cuttings. Through this experience, I learned that Christmas cacti are very hardy and can live a loooooong time. Some people have passed a cactus from generation to generation with people owning plants 100-200 years old. Yehovah bless you and your endeavors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe I didn’t look closely enough, but did you put the cuttings in a jar with water first? I think I just stuck it in potting soil to root them, but I can’t remember. I’m impressed that your cactus looked so good after the cuttings. Thanks for your advice, I am definitely going to work on my cactus soon!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Benita, I did start mine in water. They can also be started in potting soil. I found a YouTube tutorial that did a side-by-side time-lapsed comparison, one in water and one in soil. The one in water sprouted roots in about half the time.

        The water depth no more then half the first fleshy segment. Looking closely at my second photo with the roots you can see the waterline on the first cladode. That also became the planting depth when transferred to potting soil.

        Whether in soil or water, it is recommended the cuttings be no more than 3-4 segments in length. First, you leave the cuttings lay until the bottom “scabs” or you see new white roots beginning to emerge, about 3-5 days, then start by your preferred method.

        I chose water because of it being faster and then I could “see” the actual growth. I wanted to be assured I was gifting viable plants. The roots in my photo was around week three of standing them in shallow water.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I have many Christmas cactus tales! But right now the one I savour is that my cactus bloomed 7 times in the 2021-22 season. It reminds of the children’s song, “Bloom Where You’re Planted”. God’s miracles happen anytime.
    PS. I came upon something just moments ago that reminded me that we have been following each other’s blogs for 10 years. Interesting…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a remarkable number of blooms, David, what a blessing!

      You may have confused me with someone else regarding following each other’s blogs for 10 years. I started my blog in April of 2020, not yet three years ago. Prior to that I never followed or read any others. I didn’t know what blogging was.

      I may have perhaps liked or commented on an older post of yours. When I cross paths with a new follower on my blog, I will often check out both their current writing and dig back to some of their earliest posts. I like viewing a snapshot perspective of an author’s growth and direction. Although I’m not three years into blogging I may currently “like” something now that another author posted 10+ years ago.

      Blessings to you in 2023.


  7. I love this. It is reminding of during one of our moves I had put my house plants in the back seat of our car to transport. The sun coming through the window killed them black and limp. My friend, who we were staying with said, just leave them and I will try to revive them, or pitch was does not make it. We went on our overseas journey for three years and upon returning to our friends she was excited to show me how cutting those plants back to the dirt line and treating them gently restored them to new beauty. How often I have been cut back to dirt during the heat of trial. Yet, here I am replying to your blog with more faith in Him then I ever had before. God loves to restore us, bring us back in better and wiser than before. I ditto the pat on the back for handling your grandchild with compassion and love that one will always remember how they were treated There is great lessons os wisdom in your post, glad I stopped to read it and let God work in my heart today You have blessed all who read…Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

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