The guards in my front yard

Sentinels

June 28 2022

There are two sentry’s that watch and guard the entrance to my house. They are at least twelve feet tall and are symmetrically built. They stand guard, day and night, through wind and rain, even in storm and sleet.

As I pass them on the way to my walk every morning, it may be just my imagination, but they seem to be getting even taller and more significant over time.

The “sentry’s” that I am referring to, are the two matching sego palms, on either side of the walkway in the front yard. They have been there since we bought the house.

These palms are lovely, always green, and very hardy and I appreciate their classy and stately presence as a focal point in our landscaping as they gracefully “watch and guard” the entrance.

But unfortunately, a few years ago, something happened that seemed to cause a problem for this handsome duo.

What happened is that we had a “once in a lifetime” storm, where the normally sunny streets were slick with ice, and the snow piled up in places that had never before seen snow. Everything was “frozen”. Power was out everywhere and the wind turbines that were supposed to supply emergency power were frozen as well and would not turn.

It was about this time in our country, that we were seeing the installation of a new president, one I believe did not obtain the win “legitimately”. This dishonesty, served to put the “legitimate” president “on ice”, while the one who was fake, installed himself and took office.

Everyone in BOTH arena’s was “frozen” in disbelief, and this arctic blast, shrouded the two sentinel segos, with cloaks of snow and ice. Could they endure? Could they make a difference?

When the ice melted, and the snow blew away, I hate to say it, but they looked dead. The limbs were brown and had to be cut off. In the same way, it seemed that all that was “good” about our economy that our former president had worked to achieve, seemed cut off as well.

During this time of shock and dismay, my family took a wait and see attitude. Wait and see if there was still life left in the system, and could it endure. The plant system, and the government system we prayed would endure in spite of the devastation it had faced and would come back to life, and be honest, fresh and functional again.

Before that happened however we had considered just giving up in general, on our home and all the things surrounding it, and buying a new home. We found a lovely home in a more northern part of town, and it had a unique diamond shaped yard, perpendicular to the street. There was spectacular lighting in the home. and dual matching showers, and a gigantic family room with electronic shades that opened with the push of a button to reveal glorious sunsets. But the neatest thing about this house to me, was that it was completely white decor, and I called it “the white house”.

From an aesthetic perspective, this “white house” checked all the right buttons. But it was also a new build so there was no way to know if it could hold its value compared to the home we currently owned.

We initially felt we wanted to purchase the white house …our house had drainage problems in the back yard when it rained that caused the pool to take in dirty water and it was like a swamp. There was going to be a lot of cost involved in fixing this problem, that involved completely taking out the surrounding concrete and fixing the drainage including mitigating tree roots and broken pipes that were causing leaks.

The pool had broken tiles and also leaked water. The interior of our home was in better shape but we had grown tired of the windows and the blinds on the windows that were too difficult to shut, so they offered neither privacy nor ambiance, and we felt that they made the home look dated. This new home, seemed so much more fresh and bright and appealing.

But when we put a pencil to it, we realized that if we moved into “the white house” we would only be getting half the house, size wise, of the house we already owned, and would be paying twice the cost. It did not make financial sense, plus we have always been people to not discard something just because it is older or worn, when it is still very functional.

About this time, we got a letter from a person who wanted to purchase our home, and the prospective buyer said that they were willing “to put sweat equity” into getting our own house back in shape.

That made me sit up and take notice as we had ALREADY put sweat equity into our home, keeping it painted, keeping it clean, and redoing the garage, painting the interior, and updating the kitchen and bathroom.

We felt like we HAD invested and contributed some sweat equity to the home.

So we turned down “the white house”, in spite of how beautiful and different it looked and decided to work on “the swamp”.

We felt like our home had good “nuts and bolts” so we stopped considering a move and decided to get back into fixing up and repairing what we already had, and decided to be grateful that our home was well made, and was worthy of our investment. Our sentinel’s in the front yard however continued to look “dead”.

As we watched day by day, week by week, and month by month, the “guards” in our front yard stayed the same. Their glorious headdress of leaves was still missing. Sadly, it seemed that they reflected how the true head of our country, the one who SHOULD have been installed, was missing as well.

I had been praying that this republic, one that has endured and held itself accountable, with its three branches, the judicial, legislative and executive, would spring into action and hold evil accountable. I had also been praying for the two sego palms as well.

The “Ice” we had experienced, that had caused the shock to our plants, with the rare weather, I felt could represent the problems our country was having with immigration control enforcement, or could represent U.S. A. populations who were dealing with “addictions”. Ice is a slang reference to Chrystal meth, and I felt like ANY drug problem being “catered to” was not in the best interest of families, churches or communities and yet drugs, and illegitimately gotten power seemed to be of key interest to the current presidents’ son and the president’s administration.

In the last James Bond movie, no time to die, the child at the beginning is watched by a masked evil entity as she is struggling under the ice, seemingly about to drown when she falls in after being chased out on the ice. She is a little girl and it seems she has no chance of making it. This is no time to die I thought, projecting my thoughts onto our sego palms.

I thought of myself as a little girl and how my dad had been killed in a plane crash. But he had told me to always “smile” at people because it would make their day better. My dad was all about joy and optimism. He did not know what things would challenge me in my life, or what was in my future, but he expressed a desire for me to give my smile to everyone I met. He wanted me to choose joy.

I had been told that I had a “million dollar smile”. But during covid, and during the appalling lack of backbone by our republic in refusing to hold criminals accountable, I felt I was only smiling on the inside.
And though one of the “sentinels” in the front yard finally burst forth with green branches again, it’s mirror image, the other half, like my smile, seemed to be unable to find itself.

But I kept praying. “Choose life” the bible advises us to do. I did! I supported the protection of the unborn, and I supported honesty and integrity in government that does not allow people to benefit who have achieved their status illegally or immorally. Our country, which says “in God we trust” considers it’s moral fiber a strength not a weakness. I felt the supreme court “branch” of our government was finally coming alive again! HURRAY!

But as if to read my thoughts, my husband finally said, the other morning, when we were at breakfast at waffle house, that I need to write down that I would agree to cut down that second sego palm, if it had not “returned” to life, by a specific date.

It had, by this time, been stagnant for upwards of two years.

We got home and I thought about my smile. I thought about the word
“Million” and how my dad told me to give my smile to everyone. What was the chance of someone who needed it finding my smile, especially if it was just one in a million? Likewise, what were the chances of a palm that looked dead returning after two years of nothing? Yikes…not good huh?

And then I laughed to myself because God has a sense of humor and puts thoughts in our heads to help us be happy even when things seem hopeless. For me, he put in my head, the movie “Ace Ventura pet detective”, because when the detective is told that his chances are one in a million, he famously says, “so you say there’s a chance”.

That’s right I thought to myself. I am paying attention to what God knows, not to what I see with my eyes, and God, GOOD, can do the seemingly impossible. I knew God sees everything and is a just God. And then I walked out to the front yard to talk to that giant friendly sego palm, I had been praying for, and GUESS WHAT!!

There was a tiny sprig of growth coming from the top of that tree. I grabbed my husband and took him to see and he stood there laughing…”I can’t believe it”, he said. “Didn’t I just tell you to write down a date for chopping this down”. “Wow”, he shook his head. “That is amazing”.

Our swampy backyard has been dug up, repaired and freshly painted and we got the best crew possible to do the work and we spared no expense. A new fence is drilled into the concrete. The dead branches have all been cut and taken out. The landscaping has been fertilized and watered and prayed for. And now, as if to say “trust me” God has completed the scene, and made that little tree spring back to life.

So for all of us out there who have been holding our breath, it must be the judicial branch that has come back to life. And it is just the start. The executive and legislative branches will come back too. When God SAYS “GO”, the plant starts to go! (it is a se”go” after all)

IF you have been feeling hopeless, melancholy or depressed regarding the current state of events, DON”T BE. God has his BEST yet to come.
I can’t wait to see it!! And both “sego’s” and all their branches, will be there to watch! Keep watch. Psalm 46:10 “be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”.

Thank you God for this new day and I know you hear me always.

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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.