Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 290: Today, I am grateful for sunflowers. 

For me, sunflowers evoke some sweet, strong memories. The fields of sunflowers in North Dakota are forever etched in my memory. Sugar beets, the north flowing Red River and the sunflowers. 

Dad and Uncle Mel's cousin. Linda Graluum, recently died. She was so vibrant and alive. She lived every day until she didn't. She is from the Daschner side of the family and lived in Fargo, ND... so we rarely saw her. Still, Dad and Uncle Mel kept up with her and would report what they knew. Linda and her husband, Bob, made the journey when Dad died, and I am so glad they came. It wasn't too long after that her Bob died. Another reminder to take the time to connect when you can. 

We loved that Linda wasn't afraid of new technology. She became quite proficient at Facebook. She could keep up with the grandchildren, enjoy pictures and stay connected, even when the evenings might have been lonely after Bob was gone. I can't think of Linda without thinking of sunflowers. Her bright smile could light a room. She was vivacious and resilient. She was a bit like the sunflowers she grew up surrounding her. 

For those who don't know... young sunflowers with turn to follow the sun. NPR recently posted an article about new discoveries as to why that phenomenon occurs. It... like we humans... has an "internal clock" set for 24 hours. If the used artificial light, the plant would behave normally in a 24 hour cycle... but a 30 hour adjustment would cause the plant to be unreliable in behavior. Ponder that for a minute.

 "A young sunflower plant not only tracks the sun during the day but also reorients at night in anticipation of dawn."  It actually adjusts stem length to make this happen. It is a living thing. 

Then, as it matures, the sunflower changes behavior to spend it's day facing the east watchfully. As a Christian, this delights my soul to ponder nature's design. Still, let' s finish the explanation

In doing so, the flower head stays warmed by the sun and it attracts five times as many pollinators. Bees like their flowers warm. As it faces east with confidence, the flower becomes more of what the bee needs. The sun provides what the flower needs. The flower provides what the bee need. "Let heaven and nature sing." 

With maturity, the needs change and the purpose changes. The plant grows into what it needs to be to bring life to other living creatures. 

We, too, were born to see the Son. To seek His light and follow him, until at last we mature. Then, our purpose changes. Not just awaiting death, but feeding others in the warmth of His light and standing tall watching the Eastern sky. With each new discovery of science and archeology... I feel the time getting short. 

"He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” -Luke 19:40

If we will not praise him the rocks and the flowers will cry out.  

Linda battled cancer, but in her final days, I never say a complaint. She was ready. She gave praise for each day to love others... but her heart longed for heavenly reunions, too. She could stand beautifully mature with her face to the east. Yes, sunflowers will always make me think of Linda. 

We may revisit the sunflower phenomena another time. Our God is awesome. 

Today, I am grateful for sunflowers.

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