There are several reasons why I enjoy New Year's Day so much: all day football, black-eyed pea salad, the boys home from school, and a chance to look at new ways of growing. This New Year's Day I want to show you two examples of growing against the odds - of being willing to thrive where others may think it impossible.
The picture above is an Abutilon (Flowering Maple - zones 8-10) that I had in a hanging basket at my home this summer where it was extremely happy all spring, summer, and fall. Then we got hit with several 25 degree overnight temps before I remembered to bring it in and I thought it was toast. But these last few weeks have been unseasonably warm - temps in the 60s - and I looked out my window to see new leaves had sprouted on the Abutilon over the weeks. This plant shouldn't have survived. But it defied the odds - in a hanging basket no less!
In the picture above, the husband of my friend Kimberly Mote is making Christmas cookies for the first time. Blind since birth, Gordon Mote has spent his whole life defying the odds. At 3 he began playing the piano, and Gordon became one of the first blind students in the country to mainstream into the public school system, graduating from high school with honors, while serving as band captain of his high school's award winning marching band. During his time in college, he began capturing the attention of some of the music industry's brightest names, including Grammy winning recording artist Lee Greenwood, who hired Mote as keyboard player and background vocalist just two days after graduation. Throughout his exciting career, he has shared the stage with such popular performers as Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood and famed Grand Ole Opry star, Porter Wagoner. Crossing the genre of country and Christian music, Gordon is a sought after performer who travels the country to entertain and uplift with his ear tickling and soul stirring music.
But Gordon had never made Christmas cookies! This year, his wife Kimberly decided it was time for him to learn so he could join in all the fun of holiday baking. I'm thinking that teenage daughter, Samantha might have picked out that apron for him... I'm also thinking that being blind doesn't protect a parent from teenage pranks.The Oreo balls are done. And Gordon has proven once again that there are still ways to grow, to learn, to defy the odds and do what others say is impossible.
"If You Could See Through My Eyes" by Gordon Mote
May your year be filled with opportunities to grow, even in the hard places, to live against the odds, to find hope in the impossible.
Grow where you are planted.