For a couple years I have been trying to keep poinsettia growing after the Christmas season.  With a tropical plant that thrives in a certain humidity and temperature range,  this “trial-and-error”-trained amateur botanist, has finally kept a potted plant alive through the bone-dry August heat and into the 2018 Christmas season. I managed to keep it growing, surrounded by other partial shade- and humidity-loving plants under a coral tree in my backyard. 

Most plants in my backyard either thrive or die;  there are few plants that muddle along. Plants have to be tough as I have two dogs who love to pee and dig. Using an ornamental fence, chicken wire, and scavenged wood I have kept the monsters mostly apart from the plants. Dexter only dug out my plants twice. He and they survived.  Between dog pee, difficult growing conditions of drought and accidental over-watering, most everything has survived. The poinsettia is the one I am most surprised by. 

I subscribe to the idea that God puts plants, animals and people in places in the places they are found. Of course, people and environment change, so things can be more difficult over time.   Challenges in our environment might be means God uses to strengthen us. 

Maintaining one’s pluck when an employer, without warning, shutters its doors, is very daunting for a senior manager who has numerous students and employees feeling abandoned. For one particular manager, a woman I know very well, (because I am married to her)   the sense of duty and responsibility for her subordinates and her students, is completely in keeping with her character.  Quite understandably, some respond with anger and hostility.  For others, shock and grief. It is at times such as these that relationships, reputation, and pluck can carry the day. 

You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.  Joel Osteen


Like my poinsettia, the difficult conditions, poor decision-making, and financial challenges of the parent company and senior management, were threats that, had it not been for the ongoing teamwork of the local administration and faculty, the plant (the school) would have failed earlier. Given the amount of passion and grit, and compassion, integrity, and sense of duty to her customers and faculty, this senior manager put in the work to build their hopes and find some stability in the final weeks of the year. In the weeks before the Christmas holidays, she persuades bureaucrats to accept students credentials, venues to host “graduation” ceremonies without charge, and other schools to enroll the abandoned students and employ the abandoned faculty. And lead by positive example. There really is no characteristic to determine whether a person, or a poinsettia is going to thrive in a given environment. But through conditioning, mettle, and the right times and places, both can bloom again.

pluck:  spirited and determined courage.
synonyms: courage, bravery, nerve, backbone, spine, daring, spirit, intrepidity, fearlessness, mettle, grit, true grit, determination, fortitude, resolve, stout-heartedness, dauntlessness, valor, heroism, audacity;



  1. Thank you for the very important message about responsibility and stewardship.

    And congrats on keeping the Poinsettia alive! That is no small feat!

    As for your wife, I thank God for people like her, because they care so very much for others and put their responsibilities towards them uppermost in their lives. I’m sure she will find another position soon, and probably one that she likes even better.

    In spite of the situation, I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The same to you and yours, Biff! Merry Christmas. Between the excitement of recent weeks, life lessons, dogs with sore paws, boomerang kid and a grandchild, there’s a lot of material to blog about. Sheri has prospects already and my work shows no sign of slowing. It’s a good problem ?

      Liked by 1 person

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