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Kenny's Korner- Unseen Bloodsuckers

by Kenny Rader


When I left for college in Tennessee in 2003, I often traveled back home to see my kids, mom, and brothers. Trying not to bother anyone by staying with them, I often found a motel – a cheap motel. I sometimes stayed with family and kids, but I tried not to wear out my welcome. While I found several nice inexpensive motels between home and Tennessee, I also found a few extremely cheap places that I realized my mistake upon entering the room. But after a couple of years, I found the safest, economically friendly places.


That all changed with the infestation of bedbugs. Upon checking my favorite motels and their ratings online, many had bedbugs. You know, those hidden-by-day little bloodsuckers that come out from under the crevices of your bed at night and suck blood from your body. They don’t wake you, but you see the results in the morning of little red spots on your legs and body. I quickly eliminated some of my favorite motels and switched to better ones. Fortunately, I never experienced a bedbug bite and have never seen a bedbug, neither alive nor dead yet to this day. EW!!!


Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the creek catching crayfish, minnows, tadpoles, snails, frogs, snakes, and other water creatures. I've seen leeches in the water but never had one latch on and suck my blood. We've all seen movies of people, especially in warmer climates, that when they come out of the water, they might have one or several leeches attached to them sucking their blood. Just the thought of them makes our skin crawl. 


Just a side note here, did you know they actually and really do still use leeches in modern medicine? Doctors have used leeches for thousands of years, and much to my surprise, doctors still use them today for special situations. YUCK!!!

Water-sucking tree roots

One corner of my garden doesn't produce very well, and I know why. That corner is closest to one of two maple trees in the backyard. Long ago, a tree trimmer told me that maple trees, one of the most beautiful trees in nature, send roots far out from the main trunk. Those roots go everywhere in search of water and nutrients, and when it finds them, it thrives. It's why maple trees plug drainage tile and unsealed sewer lines more than most other trees. If a maple tree finds one little hole in a water source, it sends a tiny root through the hole and forms a mass of hair-like roots inside the line or tile, thus plugging it.   


So, back to my garden. With a rich source of fertilizer on the garden, and a water source (I water the garden if we don't get regular rainfall), the maple tree roots work their way into that spot of the garden. I planted onions in that area this year because onions have shallow roots and won’t have to compete with the tree roots. After the onion harvest, weeds proceeded taking over, so I recently hoed the weeds and was astonished that the area was full of hair-like tree roots that had come up to just below the soil's surface. Now, understand that I dig up the garden every fall to a depth of about eight to nine inches and turn the ground over. I destroy those roots every fall and around the outside edge of the garden.  I purposely sever every tree root, but over the winter and summer, they regrow both from the outer edge and from below the depth that I dug up the previous fall. Those maple tree roots suck the moisture and nutrients from the garden. They are water and nutrient suckers. ARGH!!!  

Other life-suckers

Bedbugs, leeches, and water-sucking tree roots all sap life from their host. They are all parasites that feed off a subject for their own benefit and often cause significant harm to the host. Sometimes, both the parasite and the host benefit, but not in these three instances (when looking at a leech attaching itself to you while in the water).


So, when we look at parasites for what they are, can you recognize other harmful parasites? How about parasites of a different nature? How about things that suck the life out of you? Now, we’re not talking insects, poisonous plants, infections, or diseases. We’re talking about the life-draining aspects of life. Sometimes these are things that make you anxious: family problems, worry, work issues, deadlines, the daily overload of life, people, plus other matters. There are many, many concerns that make our lives miserable, and while some are out of our control, most result from our choices.  

What’s sucking you dry?

Let’s turn the conversation toward you. Are you perpetually tired? Overwhelmed? Is there too much on your agenda, and you can’t get caught up? Are you perplexed, angry, disillusioned, or dissatisfied?


Now, think. Why do you have those feelings? What is causing them? If you have a distressing emotion but can't find the source, it's like trying to figure out why you have red spots on your legs when you get out of bed in the morning. After close investigation, you discover you have a bedbug problem. So, analyze your life. What is causing you to feel drained? Something is causing it. What is it?

What are you going to do about it?

Okay, now the solution – but you might not like it. You have a choice since you’ve discovered the problem.  You can remain drained, or you can take control and get your life back. How? That's the tricky part. Let's look at some examples of how to attack the problem.


Are you feeling lethargic? What is causing it? Are you getting enough sleep? Then get more sleep. What do you need to give up so you can get more sleep? A television show? Reading too late at night? Computer work? Looking at your smartphone too late into the evening? Staying out too late?


Maybe you're lethargic because of a weight problem. Do you need to lose weight? Are you eating the wrong kinds of foods? Unhealthy foods are high-calorie, plus they cause other health issues. Too much sugar maybe, too many baked foods, or too much fat and greasy foods? These can all contribute to lethargic issues. Perhaps you have a health problem that is causing you to be lethargic. Do you need to visit your doctor?


Maybe you’re stressed and full of anxiety. What is causing it? Your job? What do you need to do to remedy that problem? Do you need to change jobs? Talk with your employer or coworkers? Is there a family issue that you need to resolve? Family problems are some of the toughest to remedy, but what will it take? Are you strong enough to face it or the person and get it resolved?  

Other ways to improve your life

Maybe you want to improve yourself in some way, but you’ve procrastinated. So, what are you going to do about it? Many people have said they wish they had a college degree. So, get it. It's never been more available than today with online courses. Do you wish you could change careers? Investigate it and stop dreaming. Make that dream come true. Do you wish you knew more about the Bible? So, are you reading it regularly? Are you studying it? Have you purchased any Bible commentaries or study books and actually studied them? Maybe you want more friends. Have you attempted to be a friend to someone? What’s stopping you? It’s likely you that is stopping you.

What are we getting at?

Too many times, we wish we had a different life, but we do not attempt it. Now, today is the time for you to become the man or woman you've dreamed of becoming. Turn to the Bible for guidance. The writer of Proverbs gives us great wisdom.


1 My son, if you accept my words

    and store up my commands within you,


turning your ear to wisdom

    and applying your heart to understanding—


indeed, if you call out for insight

    and cry aloud for understanding,


and if you look for it as for silver

    and search for it as for hidden treasure,


then you will understand the fear of the Lord

    and find the knowledge of God.


For the Lord gives wisdom;

    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.


He holds success in store for the upright,

    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,


for he guards the course of the just

    and protects the way of his faithful ones.


Then you will understand what is right and just

    and fair—every good path.


10 For wisdom will enter your heart,

    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.


11 Discretion will protect you,

    and understanding will guard you.


- Proverbs 2:1-11 (NIV)


One more; this one from Jesus.


21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 -Matthew 6:21 (NIV)


Think about it and pray on it. What can you do today to improve your tomorrow?


Love you & God Bless,