Do you garden? I started a flower garden.

garden

Do you garden–flowers, plants, or produce? My grandmother Moore always had a “green thumb” and could grow anything. This year I’ve started my own little garden here at our new home!

I’ve never had very good “luck” with flowers and plants, so this is an exercise of faith. I’m quickly finding out that gardening is hard, hot work! It’s been in the 90’s here in Missouri where I live, and I’ve just been dripping and so sore afterward…feeling the work in every muscle that I haven’t been using! Below are pics of my arm and leg, after I had washed them off some!

my arm
my arm
my leg
my leg

First I got a vision for what I wanted in my mind. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, KJV, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” I knew that I wanted big yellow rose bushes in the area by the patio and brightly colored annuals, with at least one butterfly bush to draw butterflies, in the area by our garage.

Then for a couple of days, I took off in the car, hitting several nurseries and garden places like Suburban Lawn & Garden in Martin City, MO and Lowe’s in Belton, MO, buying supplies: green bamboo garden gloves, a cheery, bright yellow watering can for my flowers (love it!), rose food, mulch, flowers, and stones for a border. Ray and I already had a shovel, big and little rakes, and a hoe. 

Rose food, green bamboo garden gloves, and friendly, bright yellow watering can
Rose food, green bamboo garden gloves, and friendly, bright yellow watering can

Just for fun, I tried on a purple hat at Suburban Lawn & Garden and posted the pic on Facebook, “Do I look like a gardener, lol?” I actually got several compliments from it. I didn’t buy it, but maybe I should have!

me trying on purple gardening hat, just for fun
me trying on purple gardening hat, just for fun

Prepare first

Before buying the supplies, though, I started preparing my flower gardens with the area by the patio, which had lots of weeds. One of my friends on Facebook told me these particular weeds are called “Creeping Charlie” which is everywhere, but can be used for teas and medicines. She said it could be easily pulled or mowed.

I used a hoe and a rake to clear this specific area of grass and stones, which took a long time. But I found the Creeping Charlie weeds to be easier to pull with my hands than with a tool.

“I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.” ~ Martha Smith

Creeping Charlie weed by patio area
Creeping Charlie weed by patio area

My Facebook friend Rose, who has rose and flower gardens and works every day in her yard, advised me to lay down cardboard boxes flat on top of the dirt because it’s biodegradable and seems to work better than the landscape fabrics. I cut out round holes for the place where I’d plant the three rose bushes. This is more work than it seems, or maybe I needed sharper scissors!

cardboard
cardboard

Rose said then cover it with bark mulch as it helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds, keeps the soil cool, and makes the garden bed look more attractive. I googled online first, and then went shopping with our daughter Leah at Lowe’s for the mulch.

Our beautiful youngest daughter Leah
Our beautiful youngest daughter Leah

Leah is an amazing, self-taught artist and I sought her opinion on the mulch color before buying it. She and I agreed that red would probably look best. I didn’t really like the color of the bark mulch (a black-brown).

red mulch
red mulch

After shopping several places, I found my big yellow rose shrubs at Lowe’s. One of my favorite lines in the movie Sweet Dreams about country singer Patsy Cline, starring Jessica Lange, is when she said, “Please help me get my house with the yellow roses!”

I told our daughter Heather and my sister Maria, who had seen the movie with me the first time, “I finally did it! I got my house with the yellow roses!” I think they look so pretty and love them! Now if only I can keep them alive and thriving!

yellow roses
yellow roses

Initially I bought small, square ceramic stones for a border around the yellow roses, but I wasn’t satisfied with the way it looked. I saw some boulder rocks from Colorado at Suburban Lawn & Garden in Martin City, and bought them.

To my surprise they were only 19 cents a pound–much cheaper than the flowers! I LOVE the way it looks now, a much more natural look! I bought one of the boulders called “Royal Gorge” because I liked the name and the pretty silver in it. They had some huge ones, that I’d like to go back and buy for a separate “rock garden” one day.

Royal Gourge boulders from Colorado
Royal Gourge boulders from Colorado
boulder rocks around roses' garden
boulder rocks around roses’ garden

Next I worked on the area by our garage. This area gets only partial sun. I asked the opinion of my gardener friends on Facebook and the clerk who worked at the Mennonite shop in town about what flowers to get, since it doesn’t receive full sun.

A hosta plant had already been planted there before we moved here, which requires quite a bit of shade to do well, my friends told me, so I needed to take that into consideration.

hosta
hosta

I went to the Mennonite shop and bought most of my flowers there: waterfall color petunias (purple, white, pink, and “Dreams” red), a Butterfly Bush which draws butterflies, some pretty little purple flowers (not sure of the name, but they are perennials, the clerk said), and purple Veronica flowers.

Butterfly Bush
Butterfly Bush
Dreams Red petunias
Dreams Red petunias
purple petunias
purple petunias
little purple perennials
little purple perennials
my pretty flower garden
my pretty flower garden

I also bought a Pink Phlox shrub, from Suburban Lawn & Garden which is supposed to draw butterflies to your garden and adds a nice, vibrant splash of color, and the next day I bought a White Althea shrub to plant on the other side of the rose garden.

Pink Phlox that draws butterflies
Pink Phlox that draws butterflies
White Althea shrub
White Althea shrub
Althea flower
Althea flower

My husband Ray suggested that I buy a purple rose in the rose garden, when I asked him what he thought I plant last. Ray was raised in the Tyler, Texas area which is the rose capitol; about 20% of commercial rose bushes in the U.S. are grown in Tyler and Smith County. The Texas Rose festival draws more than 10,000 people every year. 

When I get an idea in my head, I can’t let it go. I went to four or five nurseries and places hunting down a purple rose shrub, and nobody had one! One clerk told me they are rare (at least in this area).

After wearing myself out in the sweltering 90+F degree heat, I texted Ray I couldn’t find one. He told me to come home and order it online, because I was “getting cranky.” I texted back, “Too late, I’m already cranky!”

He knew he was in trouble then. I told him do not even ask me what is for supper when I came home, as I was not cooking over a hot stove! (You can learn more about our stormy marriage in my book, Stained Glass & Marriage, available for sale at Amazon.)

I did find the perfect purple rose shrub online from Heirloom Roses called Midnight Blue, which one of the nursery owners told me about and can’t wait for it to arrive. The rose is a velvet purple rose, with a spice clove fragrance. I’ll then be finished with my gardens–unless I get more wild ideas!

Midnight Blue rose Image source: https://www.gardeningexpress.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/D/D/DD82C82F083C00B4375D2D0A0890CE7B.jpg
Midnight Blue rose
Image source: https://www.gardeningexpress.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/D/D/DD82C82F083C00B4375D2D0A0890CE7B.jpg

I can’t wait for it to arrive to plant. I’m praying and have been asking friends and family to pray over my gardens, as this is a first for me and all very new. Please pray my flowers will live and thrive!

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” ~ Luther Burbank

What do you garden? How has your gardening experiences been? Leave your comments below. I’ll be be blogging more about gardening in the weeks to come.

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I got a part-time job

married couple
married couple

My husband Ray has been forcing wanting me to get a job outside the home since last year to make a more consistent income so we can get out of debt faster. Last week I was hired for a part-time job. 

It is a local, extremely successful business and the daytime hours I work are ideal, while still allowing me time to pursue my big dreams. If you have heard me speak before or read my books, you know one of my mottos is, “Dream big because we serve a big God!”

The business has a stellar reputation in our community and excellent products and customer service. Everyone there is so nice and has made me feel very welcome. I wish so much that I could take pics at work and share them with you, as it’s very interesting and it’d make AMAZING pictures! Just let me get through training first….and then I’d have to ask my boss for permission to do that.

It is more manual labor than the mental work I currently do working from home, as a women’s conference speaker and author. The part-time hours enable me to still pursue speaking and writing. I’ll also be able to still go to church on Sundays.

I’m very thankful for this job, but it’s been an adjustment. I’m still in training, and I’m trying to do my best job possible. When I’m through the training period, I”ll share more with you about what my job specifically is!

comfort zone

I made the mistake of buying new sneakers for the first day, since I’d be standing on my feet all day. My feet hurt SO bad that day; I was in intense PAIN!

Omgosh! I took a hot bath immediately after getting home from work; it felt like HEAVEN! 

bubble bath with candles
bubble bath with candles

I plan to buy some Nikes or Skechers shoes asap, since most of my work at this new job involves standing or moving around a lot. Several friends on Facebook recommended Skechers when I shared about my aching feet the first day.  

One of my coworkers says she always uses Nike and my boss ordered Brooks. If your work requires you to stand a lot or all day, what brand shoes do you wear? 

Skech-air shoes
Skech-air shoes

I feel it’s very important to start my day off right, any day, but especially on the days that I’m scheduled to work at this job.

First, I try to go to bed at a decent time the night before I work to get enough sleep. Sometimes I struggle with insomnia, and I’m praying that doesn’t happen now. I don’t function well without sufficient sleep; I’m irritable and can’t think straight. Like a kitty cat, I need my rest!

Grey sleeping cat -"Image courtesy of [papaija2008] / FreeDigitalPhotos.ne
Grey sleeping cat
I am so not a morning person, but I’m waking up earlier now since I go into work at 8 a.m. Right now it’s 5:45 a.m. and it still doesn’t seem very long! I actually set 2 alarms to wake me up, one with batteries, in case the power goes off in the middle of the night from a thunderstorm, because I don’t want to oversleep and be late to work!

woman with clock
woman with alarm clock

I start my day off with “coffee with God.” I make the coffee first thing, cook a fried egg (one or two), and then drink my coffee while praying, reading the Bible, and journaling in the quiet of the morning.

Your morning time is crucial to your daily success. Here’s a great article on 1morning routines that highly successful people follow to make them extraordinary.

woman with coffee Source: Lightstock
woman with coffee
Source: Lightstock

A time-saver tip is that I pack my lunch the night before: usually a salad and maybe some crackers and cheese. This can save you at least 5 to 15 minutes in the morning to get ready for work!

“Brown-bagging” your lunch (making your lunch at home to take to work) saves a LOT of money, is healthier for you (no drive-through fast food places!), and also saves time.

salad
salad

Sure, there may be days when I opt to go grab some lunch somewhere (or even just go home for some place quieter like my coworker does, who lives nearby in town), but for now this is working great. My lunch period is only a half hour, so I wouldn’t have time to go sit down in a restaurant and eat anyway.

I bring my lunch in a soft lunch box, to put in the fridge at work. This sounds funny, but I also pack my toothbrush and toothpaste in it!

lunch box
lunch box

I’m really trying to push water at work. 

water
water

Since I’m in training, I’ve been taking a journal and Sharpie pen to work to write down notes to learn the job effectively and to not forget important details I need for my tasks.

my journal to take down notes
my journal to take down notes

I’m a visual/hands-on learner, so I have to see something and then DO it to be able to really “get” it–to LEARN it. Other people are auditory learners.

The women who have been training me at this job have been doing it for years and are really good and very fast! They are teaching me how to do it by example (me seeing them do it), and then I do the task (kinesthetic or hands-on learning). What is your learning style? How do you learn something new best?

ABC blocks
ABC blocks

 

The biggest challenge so far, other than my feet hurting and trying to learn everything and do it well, is finding time to exercise when I’m off work. As soon as I get off work, I want to just COLLAPSE and do NOTHING the rest of the day! But I need to make exercise, healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and sufficient rest and fun priorities in my life!

woman in hammock
woman in hammock

This job is NOT rocket science, but there is a LOT to learn. I will have one primary job title, but I’ll also be handling other responsibilities that I’m being trained for now. Please pray that God will help me to catch on and learn the job quickly with efficiency and productivity, and that I’ll do an excellent job as unto the Lord.

Please pray for me starting this new job
Please pray for me starting this new job!

 

The goal of this job is to help our family get out of debt faster. 

woman with money
woman with money

I’ll still be speaking and writing, so if you need a speaker for your women’s conference, please contact me here.

I also have a new book on Amazon, my 2nd fiction book, Afflicted: A woman missionary kidnapped by terrorists in Africa, which you can find out more about or purchase by clicking here.

It is another Amazon Best Seller–woot! Below is the beautiful cover my graphic designer made for me. I LOVE it! I chose the image at Istock and she created it. What do you think?  

Afflicted: A woman missionary kidnapped by terrorists in Africa Available at Amazon
Afflicted: A woman missionary kidnapped by terrorists in Africa
Available at Amazon

You can also see the other books I’ve written at my Amazon Author page by clicking here.

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I run

I run
I run

Today is National Running Day. I want to celebrate together with you. It’s held each year on the first Wednesday in June, when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. 

I’m definitely not a fast runner, but I walk daily and jog (slowly), slowly building my endurance and stamina in hopes one day I can run fast! (Hey, don’t laugh!)

My goal is to walk/jog at least one 5K this year, hopefully more. Several years ago, I walked my first 5K’s and would love to do it again!

In January this year I radically changed my lifestyle, eating healthier, exercising, and drinking water instead of Coke. Weather permitting, I walk daily at the track in town, and recently our daughter Leah joined me.

The Bible says in Philippians 3:13-14, The Message: “I’m not saying that I have all this together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wonderously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.”

I love that, don’t you?

While I’m certainly no expert, either, I do have goals and today I want to share some tips for personal and business success, using the topic of running:

1. Who or what are you running from? God? Your past? Sins you’ve committed? If you are under shame and condemnation for something you’ve done wrong, bring it to the Cross. God will forgive you if you ask Him. (1 John 1:9)

The Bible says that God’s mercy is new every morning. Jesus died for your sins and if you have a relationship with Him as your savior, His forgiveness is complete.

Are you running from a relationship with your spouse, a child, a friend, or someone at work? Pray and ask God to help you love that person with His love and for His grace in dealing with him or her. You may not have the answer for how to resolve the problem, but God does. 

2. Who or what are you running to? God? Are you running to your spouse-or someone who is not your spouse when you’re hurting? (which is dangerous) Your child? A friend? Sometimes we may go to a friend talking about all our problems, when instead we need to go to God or our spouse. 

Are you running to drugs or alcohol? Food? Shopping? Money/wealth as your god? God is the only one who can fill up that black hole inside of you. 

3. What are you running for? What is your purpose? When I began exercising in January 2015, it was for one purpose: for fitness and health. I can’t fulfill the purpose for which God created me (speaking, writing books, traveling/missions) if I don’t feel well or if I become sick.

Losing weight was a side benefit to my new routine. I now have an additional goal, which is to reach my idea weight (I have 20 pounds to go!). 

I want to run this race of life well so that when I meet God face to face, I will hear from Him, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)  I want to accomplish the purpose for which God made me. What about you?

4. When will you start running? When will you do what God has called you to do? It’s time! Even though I knew I needed to eat healthy, drink water, and exercise regularly, I had so many excuses for why I didn’t. My extra weight was “baby fat.” Our daughter Leah is 20 years old now, so that was no longer an excuse!

I was “too tired” to exercise. Now that I eat healthy, drink water, and exercise, I have much more energy!

What hindrances or obstacles are keeping you from your purpose and calling? For years, I was too scared to speak in front of people. God had to drag me into it, and now I LOVE it, especially speaking at live events (if you are an event planner or know someone who needs a speaker, contact me here!). 

I didn’t know how to do webinars or to create videos, but I learned. Maybe it’s time for you to do them, too. (I’m very tech challenged, so if I can learn, you can!)

I had never written a book before, but that didn’t stop me. I’ve now written eight books and am writing three more. The one I’m working on now is my first fiction book. Maybe God has told you to write a book, too. Now is the time; this is the year!

What are your excuses? What hindrances or obstacles are in the way of your personal and business success? As Nike says, just do it!

5. Why are you running – from God, from relationships, from problems, from yourself, from your calling and purpose? Identify the root issue. Most likely, it’s fear. Fears keep you and me in a prison and from fulfilling our purpose. God doesn’t want you afraid but to “be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:9)

Perfectionism will trip you up. Sometimes it’s a self-worth issue. Or you may be trying to compete with others, comparing yourself with others and feeling jealous, envious, and “less than.” God doesn’t want you to feel this way. He made you unique, wonderfully and fearfully. (Psalm 139:14)

When I started walking/jogging in January this year, my reason was for fitness/health. A side (wonderful) benefit was losing weight.

Now I’ve set a new goal, to lose 20 more pounds to reach my ideal weight, and to walk/jog at least one 5K this year.

It’s important to have dreams and goals in your life and to achieve them. My motto is, “Dream big because we serve a big God.” More than anything, my desire is to do God’s will. 

British athelete/runner Eric Liddell said in the movie Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

That’s why I want to run in this race of life, too–to feel God’s pleasure. To glorify Jesus Christ. Are you feeling God’s pleasure in what you’re doing right now? You can start today.

6. How are you running? Are you a tortoise or a hare? Are you running slow, lagging behind God–procrastinating, putting things off, blaming, being a perfectionist? Procrastination and perfectionism will trip you up and will keep you from fulfilling your purpose.

Or maybe like me, you’re like a racehorse, rarin’ to get out of the starting gate. You were BORN TO RUN FAST, like Secretariat the race horse. You are serious about the calling of God on your life and you know you have no time to waste. But sometimes, you run out ahead of God! 

Maybe you’re busy, busy, busy. You stay busy, trying to fill up that empty hole inside of you.  But staying busy doesn’t always mean being productive. Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)

We have to make sure that we’re in sync with God, flowing in rhythm with His heartbeat, as my friend Doreen Penner says.

When you first start walking or running, you have to pace yourself, not going too slow or too fast. You have to listen to your body. It will give you signals. 

God does this, too. He speaks to you in His still, small voice. In prayer. Through His eternal word. From a spouse, child, or friend. 

Little nudges and whispers. Dreams. Signs. Confirmations. Learn to listen carefully and obey God’s still, small voice and you’ll experience His blessings.

7. Finally, to walk and run, you need the right equipment. When I first started walking this year, I started out just with what I already had: t-shirts, yoga pants, and my aerobic shoes that I’d bought for walking and for our daughter Heather’s Zumba class.

My goal is to buy some really good running shoes to walk/jog at least one 5K this year. A good pair starts at about $75 and up. The best stores help you with fitting, including watching you walk/jog.

I did buy some walking/running clothes earlier this year–a black, short sleeved walking shirt and some black running pants that are a little “stretchy” and very comfortable (both light weight, so I won’t get too hot). Changing into this outfit and my walking/running shoes gets me into the “mindset” of discipline for walking/jogging.

You don’t want to be uncomfortable while walking/running, and I highly recommend getting some good walking/running shoes. You can’t walk or run in boots or stilettos!

What “equipment” do you need to fulfill God’s calling and purpose for your life? Maybe you want to be a paid speaker. Try Toastmaster’s or other professional training. You might get coaching to learn how to write a book. (I offer coaching for beginner speakers, writers, and entrepreneurs.) Getting a college degree may help you advance in your field of study. If you aren’t sure about college, dip your little toe in the water and just enroll in one class. Attend webinars and telecalls. Continually read good books. I believe we are to be life-long learners. This will help you to become “equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

God has unique shoes Divinely-designed just for you!  Just as no one else’s foot could fit in
Cinderella’s slipper, no one else can walk in your unique purpose

Today, let’s celebrate National Running Day together. Use the hashtag #nationalrunningday on Twitter and social media. Get out there and walk, jog or run. (Or if you don’t enjoy that, swim, ride a bike, skate, dance, or do an exercise video).

You can download an app to track your miles to contribute to the charity you want. There’s resources and deals at the website, National Running Day

Let’s also run this race of life well, reaching for the high prize of Jesus Christ. No more holding back. God and I are cheering you onto the finish line. You can do it! 

I created a video blog (called a vlog) covering the same tips in this blog post with my web cam today. You can view it by clicking here

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