Hidden Potential…

As posted on Green Garden Therapy.com where you can find Lilka in the garden.

For the twenty years I’ve lived in my home, I assumed the trees in my backyard are some variety of maple based on the shape of the leaves and their brilliant fall color. Only recently did I realize that they are instead American sweetgum. This is rather amusing considering my yard is scattered with their brown spiny seedpods.

I noticed birds picking at the seedpods a few days ago. Apparently, they provide quite the buffet. That’s when I realized the seedpods were hanging from my maple imposters. All these years, I thought those brown balls were just wandering over from my neighbor’s yard.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I did a bit of research. First, I was perplexed when I found that you can purchase these same seedpods online. Pinterest has several uses for them. There is quite a demand for something I consider yard trash.

More importantly, I learned that the seeds found in these pods contain shikimic acid—one ingredient in the prescription antiviral Tamilfu. As a pharmacist, I find that fascinating. What I consider a nuisance is loaded with healing potential. The sap from this same tree is thought to have antiseptic and antifungal properties as well.

My newfound discovery makes me wonder what other things in life are right in front of me that I’ve underestimated and underappreciated. As creatures with our own prejudices, I think we often fail to see the hidden potential in things (and people) unless we are forced to. Some people readily see the positive in everything. Still, for most of us, it takes a bit of work.

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Gardening has taught me that there is usually far more to everything than I can physically see. In these challenging times, let us seek to find the hidden potential in all of us.

Devotional prompt:  The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. Psalms 146:8 NKJV

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. It is good to be back though I am trying to navigate GreenGardenTherapy.com as my primary blog. I’ve had a lot of major life changes these past few years and just think it’s time to do something new. I’m hopeful that I can rejoin the WP family on a steady schedule once again.


  1. Hi Lilka! Been a very long time since I have been on my blog. I am trying to get motivated to get back on, but still dragging my feet. I am praying for a decision on how I could or should use my blog to honor God. Or if that is what He wants me to do. These past two years have been crazy ones. Especially last year. I hope and pray that all is well with you and your family and friends.
    I really liked this post. Fascinating information. I am trying to remember if I have seen these pods around our farm. Strange looking things. Take care and hopefully I will see more of your posts again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there!
      I can very much relate to your plight, I haven’t been blogging regularly since 2018. I had aspirations to begin again and life got in the way. Like you, the past few years have been crazy for me as well.
      I really see this as a Divine connection because your question mirrored my own. But this time I really felt like God is prompting me to blog again so I picked it back up but I also feel led to do something a bit different, hence the new site–Green Garden Therapy. I won’t shut down my blessed blog but I won’t be writing on it much. I’m hoping people will join me on the new one as I begin writing again.

      God will lead you. Don’t pressure yourself over it. I found blogging is more appealing when I relaxed and decided that I will let God do with it what He will. At this point, I’m just trying to be obedient. Maybe we can encourage each other!
      Sweet gum trees are quite prolific throughout the country. Odds are in your favor that you’ve seen them before. Take care and thank you for taking time to stop by and comment! Hopefully, I’ll see you again soon! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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