When the President said, “All in all, this has been a tough week,” in our nation I couldn’t have agreed more.  Every headline was awful—bombings, manhunts, explosions, and Congress waffling on gun control.  Man’s free will in a variety of ways, shapes, and forms at its ugliest.  It was sickening.

Desperate for something cheery I stopped at the store to buy some flowers.  Fresh cut anything in a vase makes me smile.  Flowers are my best comfort food—aromatherapy minus the calories.

When I asked the florist what she had that was the freshest she told me the tulips were.  “Oh darn,” I said.  “I don’t like to buy tulips because they wilt so quickly.  I do love them though.”

She showed me some other flowers and none of them excited me.  They were all pretty but just didn’t pop out at me.  Finally I went back to the tulips and said, “What the heck, I’ll go for it even if they just last a day or two.”

She wrapped the flowers, I paid, and then as I was leaving said, “Make sure to put a penny in the water with them.  It will help them stand up straight.”

“A penny?” I asked.  “I’ve never heard of that.”

“Yeah, I don’t know why but for some reason they make the tulips stand up straight.”

I laughed and as I started to walk away said, “Pennies make me stand up straight too.”Tulips

I came home eager to test her suggestion.  I cut the flowers and arranged them in a vase and took a penny from my day’s finds and put it in the water.  Several of the stems were a little bowed so it was a perfect test case.

Nothing happened immediately but sure enough a couple hours later my tulips were standing tall.  I couldn’t believe it.  They looked perfect—no drooping.

The rest of the afternoon I was so struck by this I kept finding myself stopped in front of the bouquet mesmerized by it.  The irony wasn’t lost on me.  Pennies have been perspective changers for me for a while.  But, to think that they could make a tulip stand taller too was priceless.

Gazing at my flowers I wondered at the end of this long week if every American needs to find their penny.  Not literally speaking, but metaphorically.  Because everyone has something like a penny that makes them stand up a little straighter and squared shoulders is what our nation needs right now.  Bowing to evil only gives it more power but facing it with inner strength and beauty forces it to surrender.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippinas 4:8






  1. You know, I had not thought of the penny+tulip trick in forever! That’s awesome!

    I bought some yellow roses earlier this week for exactly the same reason — I wanted some cheer in the house in the midst of this crazy, crazy week. They barely lasted two days, but that’s OK … it was enough to bring a smile.

  2. I feel like I won a spirt-uplifting lottery by reading this short post.
    Without question just what I needed today, right now, this minute.

    I just saw a kingfisher, my favorite bird… now I know it was ‘my’ penny.
    I’m feeling more at peace because of that.

  3. I never heard of the penny/tulip trick! I cannot wait to try it!

    I had a head cold this week which just sapped my energy.

    My son was argumentative as well. (Karen – he is 17 and for the next year and a half – I will endure a lot of bickering.)

    We had 100 year floods in Grand Rapids all week (we are sandbagged in).

    And the national news was bleak.

    Tough week is right. Next time I am out, I will buy some tulips!

  4. Karen,
    What a beautiful true story!I often find pennies, pick them up and think of my wonderful daughter. I picked one up today in the alley behind the condo. Now I need some tulips.


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