When house hunting to make the move to Benton more than a year ago, we decided that the one thing that we knew we did not want in a house is a yard with a “gum ball tree” in it. However, after finding the ideal place for what we needed, we did have to compromise in our desires and guidelines in buying a house. We not only acquired a gum tree, we acquired six huge gum trees that are actually in the yard, with two that are on the perimeter. We put a circle gravel drive in the front yard which I like to keep clean to keep organic matter from being embedded in it. In blowing the gum balls off the drive way I observed that the end of the stem of the gum ball is sort of enlarged so that it easily hooks onto things, even pieces of gravel, so that doesn’t easily blow off. The other day I walked away from the task of blowing the driveway off in preparation of a great grandchild’s birthday party, saying that the streets of hell must be paved with those tormenting, spiny, gum balls that resist being blown off the driveway and that will hardly burn! The good news is that five of our trees are in the front yard and only one in the back yard with the two perimeter trees. So it doesn’t cover the whole 1.67 acres, and it is a flat lawn that enables me to sweep them up pretty good with a large mechanical sweeper that is pulled behind the riding mower. I try to remind myself of the good points of having the beautiful shade trees when I am walking across gum balls or while I am in the process of having to clean them up. Barb and I looked out the window yesterday and observed a favorite tender plant just breaking ground in a pot, and it had a gum ball sitting on it! We all have “gum balls” in our lives in one form or another.

We have a choice. We can focus on all the negative aspects of having gum trees with the accompanying gum balls, and allow that to govern our outlook and attitude in life. It is easy to carry a hard, spiny, no burn gum ball attitude in life. Or, we can get the gum balls cleaned up after they all fall and forget about them while for most of the year we focus on enjoying the shade, the beauty, and the brilliant fall colors. The Word says to think on the good and pleasant things in life (Philippians 4:8). Even when I think about my gum balls, I can remember that at least I have a machine that helps to manage them. That’s good. And, one of those perimeter gum trees will probably become firewood next year. That’s good. I will focus on the good things and carry an attitude of thanksgiving.


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