©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

Nurture renewed what was nearly dead, bringing it back to thriving, growing and blossoming. 

A year ago, in January after the holidays, our once beautiful poinsettia had turned into barren spires jutting out of the dirt like spindly fingers stretching upward.

The temptation to toss the plant aside was great.  It no longer looked lovely or added beauty to our lives.  Could it, would it, ever bloom again?

Usually I’m super optimistic, but in this case, I wasn’t sure it was worth the effort.  But we decided to try.

To get the best light from the sun, we moved it around the house numerous times. We watered it enough to nourish it, but not enough to drown it.  When frigid temperatures threatened its wellbeing on our sunporch, we moved it back inside.  Over time, it became a mission to keep it alive.

Along the way, our efforts to cultivate the poinsettia caused us to encourage each other about it.

“Did you water the plant?”

“Where should we move the plant?”

“It looks sickly; what can we do?”

After being out of town, we occasionally returned home to find the poinsettia’s soil cracked and dry with numerous brittle and dead leaves in the bottom and on the floor.  We’d rush to water and take care of it even before checking the mail or unpacking our luggage.

With water, sun and attention, that struggling plant revived and began to flourish. Leaf after leaf popped out, until its once barren stalks were full again.

As it began to grow and flourish, we got excited about its renewal.  Then in late November around Thanksgiving, it happened. The first blossom of a flower emerged, then another.  New life!

As I looked at that healthy, vibrant poinsettia in our home this January, I thought of the effort my husband and I put in to cultivate that plant back to a place where it would grow and blossom.

While contemplating the lush foliage and two blossom leaves, my 2020 focus word for the New Year came to me.


Stimulate growth.  Demonstrate care.  Incite development.


Would you like to use more of that in your own life?  How about with others?

Sure, we all demonstrate care – take food to an ailing neighbor, listen to a friend who’s struggling, or treat ourselves to a relaxing afternoon reading or relaxing.

Perhaps you’d like to join me to nurture more intently this year than ever before…starting with our own lives.

  • Nurture our souls with God’s Word, meditating on his guidance and his faithfulness.
  • Nurture our dreams by fighting fear and finding fun in the journey.
  • Nurture our faith by trusting God more and worrying less.
  • Nurture our hope by focusing on the good in the world and in others.
  • Nurture our peace by relying on and resting in God’s presence and promises.

When we nurture ourselves in the right ways, we become examples that may move others.

  • Nurture dialogue not diatribes.
  • Nurture understanding not gossip.
  • Nurture compassion not criticism.

Ideals in action inspire others.      

  • Nurture kindness by giving away smiles and soft words to each person on the path.
  • Nurture relationships with time, forgiveness, laughter and abiding, ever deepening love.
  • Nurture the value of life with attentiveness to the elderly, thoughtfulness towards those physically and mentally challenged, and love for the unborn.

Attitudes that lead with love change our hearts and fertilize our communities. 

  • Nurture health by eating less and exercising more.
  • Nurture listening by speaking less and focusing more.
  • Nurture gratitude by complaining less and thanking more.

When we sort out the less and mores needed in our lives, we grow stronger, wiser and healthier – inside and out. 

Nurture growth by pruning energy-sappers and moving more into the Son-light.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 3:1-2 NIV

Nurture the hearts of others by walking each day reflecting the love of the Lord.

  • What do you most need to nurture in your own life this year?
  • In what ways can you best encourage those in your family in 2020?  Your friends? Others?
  • When is a time recently you’ve felt nurtured by someone else? What have you done to encourage someone or help them grow?
  • How can you nurture your relationship with God this year?

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.  1 Corinthians 3:6-9 NIV

Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!