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My chief hobby is growing roses, a tradition handed down from my grandmother through my mom and now to me. But more than a connection to my family or a source of peace and therapy, such an undertaking has afforded me many life lessons, serving as a highly effective metaphor.

The essential ingredients to growing great roses are the correct soil mixture and proper preparation of the bed in which the rose shall be planted. The right mix of nutrients, the right drainage and retention of water, the right depth of the roots, and the right amount of mulch are all critical aspects. Miss these details, and the roses will fail to thrive, and may even die, regardless of effort or expense.

Likewise, if I do not have the proper “soil and preparation” for my life/soul, then it suffers greatly. I know from personal experience. I nearly died from lack of spiritual principles in my life. But since embracing honesty, acceptance, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, love, discipline, perseverance, prayer/meditation, and service to others, my life has thrived, even in the face of severe adversity.

Roses require regular spraying and fertilizing to stay healthy. Otherwise diseases and insects can decimate them quickly. In a similar fashion, I must stay in close contact with people who can hold me accountable, read Scripture daily, meditate daily, and be of service to others regularly. The days when I do not involve these disciplines in my life to my best ability tend to be rough regardless of circumstances. However, those days that I do leverage these simple yet powerful actions are filled with peace and strength, despite any challenges that might come my way.

Roses are flowers of incredible beauty, delighting the senses in so many ways. But despite their beauty, they can be very painful to harvest. But enduring the pain of thorns is worth it to add the beautiful roses they guard to a bouquet. This fact helps me to remember that even the best aspects and events of my life will have some pain associated with them. However, if I focus on the beauty (best done by making a “gratitude list”) of life, the painful parts are much more bearable.

Pruning is also a highly important task to allow roses to thrive. It enhances the quality and quantity of roses the bush will produces, and contributes greatly to the long term health of the plant. The process can appear rather gruesome to the casual observer, however. It entails cutting back most of the growth of the previous year, and the complete removal of some of the canes. The plant can appear dead to the untrained eye. This is perhaps the most poignant lesson I have learned. There will be seasons of “pruning” in my life that will make way for new vibrant growth. I must embrace those times, and allow God’s glory to shine through me in new ways.

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Jeff Wuchich is the President of the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation ( He is also the father of a child (Matthew) who has this rare, permanent, debilitating disorder. Since becoming President in August, 2010, Jeff has been instrumental in transforming the Foundation, leading the campaign that won $250,000 from Pepsi in the Refresh Project, rebranding the Foundation, launching a new website, revitalizing the Board of Directors, opening records & documentation to inform donors & regulators easily, and facilitating new collaboration amongst researchers & sister patient advocacy organizations.

Jeff is also an exceptional software sales executive, who has successfully represented the likes of large companies like SAS & IBM, yet also helped start-ups & niche software vendors through his own company.

Jeff is answering a call to ordained ministry & is currently pursuing the M.Div. degree at Asbury Theological Seminary through their Extended Learning Program. He has discerned a calling to pastoral counseling & outreach to the special needs children community.

Jeff was born & raised in the suburbs of Chicago & is a proud graduate of Fenwick High School & the University of Chicago. He is an alumnus of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Jeff has a love for the Chicago Cubs, Bears, & Bulls.

Jeff now resides in Raleigh with his wife Renee of 8 years & their 1 child Matthew. Jeff is hopeful that a cure for Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood is within reach in time to help Matthew and the dozens of other children and adults who suffer that he has met.

In his limited spare time, Jeff loves to grow roses, walk, read, and play video games.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. God has truly blessed us your energy and you have blessed God through your use of that energy! Blooming where you are planted!

  2. Jeff,
    Greetings from your junior high school principal. 40 years ago we saw your potential and merit, enough to push for you to get into Fenwick for scholarship. Your choices to enter ministry reflect a mature life choice to give back and lead others with ethics and faith. Good for you. You’ve proven our trust in you is well deserved.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story Jeff:) It’s incredible that nature can nurture us. Do gardening is nurturing us too. As I have a quote from David Attenborough that” just look in the nature, then you will understand all”, unquote. I love doing gardening, put my fingers in the soil, touching all the leaves and branch and at the same time admire them how beautiful each of them. Take care, learn a lot of the different of the plants I can forget everything when I do gardening, it makes me smile, joyful.

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