What’s your story?

The year was 1974…the place was Gainesville Florida…the day was my 21st birthday.

My husband Wade gave me a potted sheffelaria plant which was about three feet tall. Those were the college years…little money, but lots of love.

My plan was to have us plant the sheffelaria in the yard of our first home.

When I graduated from Nursing School, the plant remained in the pot when we moved to a rental home near Daytona Beach…then to an apartment where we lived and had our first son.

When I went into labor we left our two labrador retrievers locked up in our large kitchen along with the sheffelaria. My husband asked a friend to stop by the apartment to let the dogs out.

Our friend called Wade after checking on the labs…I hope you’re not real attached to that plant in the kitchen!


Unfortunately to pass the time, the dogs DESTROYED the sheffelaria. Every leaf was pulled off, along with most of the stems.

The sheffelaria looked like a lost cause and was casted out onto the back patio where it stayed for the next five months…. ignored by us. Somehow it survived the winter and that spring when we moved it had a few leaves. The sun and rain had sustained it despite our neglect.

We bought our first home and Wade planted it by the front door. Would it survive?

With a new home and brand new baby, caring for the sheffelaria was not high on our to do list. Despite us, it grew taller than our house. Over the years there were winters where it froze causing the leaves to turn brown and it would look hopeless again. But…it was hardy and it survived.

One year I came home from work and our oldest son stood in front of the house holding hedge clippers with a big smile and proudly announced he had done some trimming.

Oh my gosh have you ever seen a sheffelaria with every leaf and stem removed in its midsection? It looked like an umbrella with a skirt!

He was so proud I did not have the heart to get mad.

We lived in that house for 25 years. As the plant grew so did our family. Together we weathered various storms. The kids became adults, moved out and we sold the house.

The buyer was told there were two things we were taking with us…the bathroom linen closet door with the kid’s heights marked on it (now nailed to the garage wall) and a cutting of the sheffelaria (and we would return for more cuttings if we could not get the first attempt to take root.)wp-1448838783047.jpg

That was almost 14 years ago. Our sheffelaria is now 20+ feet tall. It is fertilized and watered regularly, plus it is planted where it can soak up the sun throughout the day. This year for the first time it is producing berries…beautiful red berries.wp-1448838774656.jpg

When our oldest son and his family were here for Thanksgiving this year (2015) we reminisced about the sheffelaria “stories”…we laughed remembering the “trimming”.

Later after everyone had gone home after celebrating Thanksgiving, I looked around our backyard…we have numerous plants that have a story to tell…but none like our sheffelaria. It has weathered many a storms.
Plants from sister-in-law, Janna, for my Dad’s funeral. (They started out in a medium size planter!)

Crown of Thorns…started as a cutting from neighbor.

Started with 5 little leaves…gift from friend while visiting San Francisco.


Planter I made for Women’s Luncheon at church.

There are many more plants in our yard that have a story. Some have been sick, we’ve cared for them and nurtured them back to life. Most have had to be pruned to ensure they remained healthy.

A picture of how God cares for us!

For most of us our lives travel similar rocky paths…we may feel like our leaves have been stripped away…or we may experience damage that seems like our souls have withered…but if we are rooted in Christ the SON…His love will rain down and will sustain us. The results? Beautiful fruit…you and I will bear godly fruit.

What is your story?

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. Then it gives peace. It is gentle and willing to obey. It is full of loving-kindness and of doing good. It has no doubts and does not pretend to be something it is not. (James 3:17 NIV)


Blessings, Susan


Susan Werthem is a Bible study leader, speaker and author.

She takes the Word of God and shares His truth in a humorous, unique and insightful way.

To contact Susan to plan a retreat or seminar Click here.


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