Can you barter with a pinecone?

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My wife, Susan, writes a blog, too. She beat me to the punch on a post I was contemplating, so I asked for permission to share her thoughts on the topic here with you. She graciously agreed.

 As written by Susan Nowell at My Place to Yours


Well, can you? Barter with a pinecone?

 I honestly don’t know. I’ve never tried. Have you?

I’ve filled baskets with pinecones, used them in tablescapes, hung them from Christmas trees… I’ve even shown you how to clean them!

I haven‘t ever tried to bleach them, but some of you have. In fact, it’s quite the craze here in Blogland in case you haven’t noticed.

For me, pinecones signal a change of seasons, bringing thoughts of steamy-hot soup, snuggly-warm throws, and early-dark nights.


They’ve always held happy memories; serving as an unexpected symbol of security.

Until …


The investigation began when the child showed up at a neighboring residence saying he was hungry—offering to exchange for food a pinecone he had found.

That’s what it said in my local small-town paper.

A little boy—7 years old—attempting to barter for food with a pinecone.

Oh, it gets worse. Much worse.

Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I’ll spare you the horrific details. Just be aware that they include torture, captivity, adoptive parents—and four more children ages 3 to 14 in the house; the three youngest adopted, too. And the “parents”? A real estate agent and a registered nurse.

I doubt I’ll ever look at pinecones the same again.

I hope not. I hope you won’t either.

Perhaps it’s a sign of maturing as Christians when the “everyday” pretties around us don’t allow us to close our eyes to the EVERY DAY uglies.

Pinecones1 B

When we open our eyes—and hearts, and minds—and admit that no matter where we live in the world, it’s almost certain that within a very short distance from our safe and comfy homes there is a child, children, adults experiencing a living hell.

Sometimes it’s only by accident—or escape—that anyone ever finds out.

We’ve got to start talking about this in our churches and communities!

If we don’t care, who will?

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