From the Editor: Used People, Danger: Ripe Tomato, Planted: Cherokee Sunset Rudbeckia, Jumajo Writing Company

Used People

A few nights ago, I finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, Holland’s first licensed woman watchmaker, born to a watchmaker dad who was born to a watchmaker dad. After her mom passed away and other siblings moved out, she lived in the family home with her older sister Betsie and her dad, Casper. Betsie, assumed unable to bear children because of a medical issue, didn’t consider marriage. Corrie anticipated marrying the man she loved; however, his family wanted different than Corrie. As I read her words, my heart broke as she opened the door to find the man and his fiancée standing on the front porch, waiting to be invited inside as though they were all dear friends.

History says Corrie, her family and other underground workers saved the lives of 800 Jews during the Holocaust. Though I’m finding it difficult to be hush hush and prevent myself from spilling spoilers, I will keep Corrie’s writing to a minimum. Read. the. book.

What I want to say is this: Corrie and her family, the man who tattled to authorities, the Nazis who not only caused death but failed to prevent it, the thousands of women in the extermination camp, the kind people who worked at the same table as the enemy and inconspicuously showed love to Corrie and Betsie — all used people.

Brave Reader, admit or not, accept it or not, rest in it or not, each of us is used people in the hands of God. Each of us purposefully created, breathed life into, for this moment, good or bad, for God’s glory.

Betsie assured and reassured and reassured and continued to provide hope and direction and encouragement and focus to Corrie. One night after Corrie had a vision she was convinced was real, her sister comforted her. “But if God has shown us bad times ahead,” Bestie said, “it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know — to tell us that this too is in His hands.”

In 1942, German soldiers walked the streets of Holland. Of that time, Corrie writes, “That was the thing the occupation had done for Holland; churches were packed.” The Bible speaks of such a time. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, says to them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

Used people. You and me, Friend. As we read the stories of others like us within this issue of Homegrown Journal, may we see this title as honorable, with our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Julie Johnson
editor in chief

COVER  My grandpa introducing me to twin calves born around Thanksgiving 1979. More than 30 years earlier, he fought in World War II as an airman in the U.S. Air Force. He was incredibly proud to be a veteran.

Danger, Ripe Tomato

My grandparents used to have an antenna on their roof. Once a visit or so, someone (my grandpa, usually) would have to go outside and fiddle with it before we could watch TV. THIS IS WHAT’S GOING ON WITH MY TOMATOES. My plants have struggled in the no rain, 100 degrees, broken record weather we have endured through the summer. The plants are willing, but the heat has all but paused production. However. One tomato was one day away from peak ripeness when it was picked off by not me, but a furry-tailed unwelcomed, uninvited garden visitor. The foil became the plan. It’s peculiar. It looks like it came from outer space. But it appears to be working. Feel free to use the idea at your leisure. I’ll keep you updated at

Planted: Cherokee Sunset Rudbeckia

I am a big dreamer. I enjoy planning and imagining and wondering and figuring. Last summer, I planted rudbeckias for the first time, specifically the “Cherokee Sunset” variety from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri. I placed them in too much shade, but by the end of summer, a patch of rudbeckias was brilliant in the evening magic of sun-going-down sunlight. Beauties, I tell you. During the winter months, my visions of gardening shifted to pinks and oranges and berry colors. In my research, I discovered the “Sahara” variety of rudbeckia. When last year’s plants began to grow, I moved them to the side of the house where my vegetable garden resides, giving room for the newcomers among the other flowers. A good idea, says the local rabbit. Yesterday evening, I turned the corner and found Cottontail with a mouth full of rudbeckia, enjoying himself to the fullest. So glad to be in agreement.  

Homegrown Journal + Jumajo Writing Company, LLC

Homegrown Journal is on mission to encourage each of us to lead lives worthy of our calling. Every issue features writers who tell their stories with the expectant hope that shared experiences will rally us to persevere in our aspirations, empower us to move beyond the giants in our paths, to be bold in loving our neighbors. Though our focus is on southwest Missouri, we welcome readers and storytellers from all over the world.

Homegrown Journal is published by Jumajo Writing Company, LLC. Learn more about Jumajo and its writing, editing and design services at We also invite you to be part of our social community at

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