Photo of mystery blooms

What are these mystery blooms?

A couple of days ago while taking a morning walk around Karen’s gardens, I was reminded of something Lindsey Dolan told me at Anthony and Jennifer (Hendricks) Skinner’s wedding reception this past Saturday. Lindsey and some of our other Christian friends recently completed the grueling 232-miles of Montana’s Headwaters Relay.

After reminding Lindsey that she and the rest of the team are all crazy, I asked her about the difficulties of mountain-running in hot weather, and she shared with me one focus that helped carry her through. As she pressed forward to do her part for their eight-member relay team, Lindsey kept taking happy note of the panoramas around her and celebrating in her thoughts Romans 1:21:

“…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made….”

As the beauty of Karen’s sunlit plants and flowers enriched my soul during that morning stroll, I reflected on Lindsey’s Romans verse and found myself singing Albert S. Williams’ country song from the 1950s: “How Can You Say There Is No God?” Here are the first three lines:

“Each little flower within my garden,
Each little sparrow that’s playing there
Proclaims the love of my matchless Savior….”

From a plant one might not expect to generate such pretty blooms, have sprung in Karen’s garden beds the delicate little flowers shown above. How they captured my admiring attention, and how they did proclaim to me the “love of my matchless Savior”!

Just as we see the Lord often take loving control of common people around us and transform their lives into unexpected beauty, so the “mystery blooms” you see in my photo have been created by God through budding a stem I might once have thought incapable of such a delicate floral display. And even for this once barefoot, run-of-the-mill Aussie boy, there is a message of joy from those little blossoms as they blend in my grateful thoughts with lines from another song:

“Something beautiful, something good;
All my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.” 1

Two questions:

1. What are a couple of unexpected ways in which you have seen our Lord transform you or someone you know?

2. Can you identify the common name of the plant genus that produced the “mystery blooms” in the photo above? ICF will award a little prize to the first person who responds correctly in the comments section below!

Update: this small contest is now closed. Thank you for your entries and comments, and congratulations to our winner, Monte Pocock!

Show 1 footnote

  1. © 1971 William J. Gaither, Inc. ARR UBP of Gaither Copyright Management: CCLI License No. 1735873


An ex-patriate Australian living full-throttle in Big Sky Country until he “lays rubber all the way into Heaven!”

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15 Responses to Mystery Blooms

  1. Emilia Mello says:

    Beautiful post Graham! I tried using the internet to find out the name of the flower, but only Sea Rockets looked close and it couldn’t be that!

  2. Darla Seifert Baliko says:

    I’m guessing crab apple. And, as for some unexpected ways God has transformed me… uhmmm… has He transformed me into a serial winner of Nicolson-family sweepstakes??? 🙂

    • Grahame Nicolson says:

      Ix-nay on the crab apple notion! No serial winning there, but you are a still winner with us always! Hugs all around Baliko Barracks. GN

  3. Sharry Palagi says:

    Good morning to the Nicolson’s from Rockville, MD! I am guessing those blossoms are dogwood. And about God transforming lives – I have a neighbor whom I invited to Church with me about a year ago. She was not a believer at that time. She is now! She spent our commute together this morning excitedly relating the wonderful time she had with fellow believers last night when they met for dinner and group discussion. It is such a blessing to see this new one in Christ grow in Him! Our God is full of “surprises”!
    Blessings to my Montana brothers and sisters!

    • Grahame Nicolson says:

      Great to hear from you, Sharry. Nope, not dogwood. We think fondly of you often. Thanks for sharing that story about your neighbor and the Lord’s transforming work; how full of surprises He is! His peace. G for G&K.

  4. Jared Bennett says:

    Is it a Cuckoo Flower? Looks pretty similar to the Dogwood, but the stamen are different.

    • Jared Bennett says:

      By the way, I am always thankful to receive your email updates. I remember my brief stop in Montana with you and Ms. Karen while making my long drive from Anchorage down here to Liberty U.

      • Grahame Nicolson says:

        Yes, and we fondly remember your visit at the farm. We now live on a couple of acres south of Great Falls. Do you have a CD on the market? GN

        • Jared Bennett says:

          Haha! No, I don’t have a CD out. I have had some awesome musical and ministry opportunities here at LU though. I actually work full-time now for the School of Music and am praying and searching as to what the next step in life and ministry will be.

    • Grahame Nicolson says:

      Hey, Jared! Nope,it’s not a Cuckoo Flower, although I can sure’ see some similarity there. God’s peace. GN

  5. Trent Zempel says:

    No idea and no guess (not good with plants, next time can the question be about math…)

    The Lord has blessed me in many ways to see changes in people and myself. Some have grown to know the Lord while others have had their heart pricked/cut/gashed as they search for the light and hope that is found in Christ. Although I look forward to the change that I want to see in people. I go back to a note I’ve received from a friend that I haven’t seen in over 7 years, and because of it I know the Lord is working in his life. I can feel the water behind my eyes, my throat seizes a little as I think of where he must be at. But praise the Lord as I know he’s searching.

    Changes in myself are harder to recognize as they happen gradually. However I see them as the Lord has put people in my life to show/teach/stretch me to be more Christ like. I think of the past couple years with many changes (moving, marriage, baby, more moving) have conditioned me to survive the moment, but it also (I hope) to condition me to love in the moment, to share in the moment as that moment might be all I get with that person. It’s made for more awkwardness at times but an infinitely more rewarding life as well.

    • Grahame Nicolson says:

      Aah…dear Brother Trent…what an enrichment to my morning, as I’ve been up since early working away, has it been to read and read again your heart-sharing message! It’s men, real men like you, who spur me on to follow Christ more honestly, more nearly, and more dearly. Thank you, thank you. Hugs all around the Zempel Team. -GN

  6. Monte Pocock says:

    Even if the flower pictured isn’t a radish, the vegetable we eat reminds me of life! When the plant is young, the root is sweet, but the longer you leave it in the ground, the more bitter it becomes. Lord keep me from becoming bitter and sarcastic as I age! I guess the key is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, following His example of when He joyfully endured the cross. Even as I write this, it sounds churchy, trite, even though I know it to be true.
    Seeing people change under the caring hand of our Father God, also keeps me from becoming bitter. If He can do that for them, then there’s hope for me. If He can change me, then there’s hope for the least likely to change or respond to HIm. I think the biggest changes I’ve seen in my own life are those that result from an awareness of deeply ingrained sin. God has used trauma and crisis to reveal it to me, otherwise I would never have seen it. Painful and humbling, it is hard to realize how selfish I am, and how carefully my self tries to conceal it, or even dress it up so I can make others believe that it’s righteousness. Thanks be to Hiim, who blessed me with a wife who not only endures the consequences of most of my selfishness, but also for loves me like Christ while I struggle to be more like Him.

    • Grahame Nicolson says:

      A winner! Yes, yes, yes, Monte…they are blooms from radish!
      And thank you for the wonderful, challenging meditation.
      Hugs all around the Pocock Platoon.

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