What Gardening and Lawn Care Has Taught Me

Lessons from the Garden

As a mom and homeowner, lawn maintenance and the upkeep of the garden are important to me. Gardening is my therapy, and I want a lawn on which our son can run around and play in without me worrying that he will find something that could harm him. My son is only 9 months and already walking. Having him walk around and do as much activity as possible to tire himself out to sleep through the night is what I look forward to because I miss sleeping through the night.

Even though we have a lawn care service that we can call, there are times I like to get my hands dirty by mowing the grass, edging the lawn, and trimming the bushes. Being outside and tilling the land is somewhat therapeutic for me. Every morning I wake up, head to the backyard, grab the garden hose, and water the seeds planted in hopes that they will bloom into beautiful vegetables, particularly my tomato plants. This is my third year gardening, and it’s still a learning curve for me. My first year, I started a compost, and that was a mess, and I didn’t end up using it. In my second year, I became pregnant, so a lot of the vegetables I didn’t pick in time. A lot of them spoiled on the vines and perhaps withered and dried out. This year I am getting back into it, perhaps at a late start, but none the less, I’m doing this. But in the three years that I have been attending to the lawn and gardening, this is what it has taught me.

  1. Patience as things take time.

Psalms 40:1

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”

Some plants I start by seed, and some are starter plants. Whichever route I decided to go, it took time. Seeds are very delicate because if not planted correctly, they don’t have a fighting chance. With seeds, there are a lot of things that go on under the surface before the seed breaks through the surface. And from the outside, it seems like nothing is happening, and my patience begins to waver. With all the digging, sweating, and toiling, you want something beautiful to come from your hard work.

And this same concept applies to life and business. If you want a great relationship or marriage, it takes work. Learning each other’s love language and how to communicate. Launching and growing a profitable business takes time and dedication, even when you do not see the benefits right away. The grass is greener on the other side because someone put in the hard work. They plucked out all the weeds, trimmed back those brushes, toiled in the hot sun, and did what was necessary to get the desired results. They did all of this over time, and the results didn’t happen overnight and what you see is the result of their patience.

We have to be patient when seeing the fruits of our labor.

  1. Facing you fears

Isiah 41:13

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

The house next door is an abandoned house, so there is no telling what non-human things have taken residency in it. While I was edging the lawn, I was caught off guard when a snake ended up on the receiving end of it. This was the second snake I had killed within a few months. After this incident, my nerves were shaken and being that I was with child, I figured I would take it easy (no judgment on this page). I had taken some months off from working the lawn. So this is where we called our lawn care service and resumed service for some time. But a few months after having our son, I wanted to get back in my garden, but the fear of what was out in the lawn consumed me for some time. But my need for therapeutic release through gardening became greater than my fear of what could be in the garden. 

Facing my fears and cutting through the high weeds gave me confidence. Confidence that I could take into other areas of my life. When I slip into my moments of comparison and begin to feel as if I am not good enough or feel as if I don’t belong in the room, I remember how tough I was for going back into the jungle that I had of a lawn and my confidence rises. Now I know that lawn care isn’t the greatest obstacle to overcome. Trust me, I know. But the feeling I had when I decided to overcome my fear stayed with me. I was in “momma bear” mode. I wanted to protect my mental health and the well-being of our son when he’s outside. That moment showed me how brave I could be, and it stuck.

  1. A hard days work is rewarding

Psalm 128:2

“When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.”

It is such a satisfying and rewarding feeling after a successful day of managing the garden and lawn. When I see the seeds sprouting up and the lines in the grass from a freshly cut lawn, it feels so good. I like to look at the work done and think, “I did that.” When you work hard and are diligent, it’s such a rewarding feeling when you see the results you desire.

Do you enjoy gardening or maintaining your lawn? If so, what do you love most about it? I want to hear from you. Comment below.

Don’t betray your dreams

Faithbox - Embrace Your Faith Today!
We have dreams when we are growing up. Most of us have vivid visions of what we imagine our lives will look like and be when we grow up. Here’s the thing, most of us forget those dreams as the realities and responsibilities of living day-to-day shove the dreams down, to be buried and forgotten. Even though these dreams may have been rooted in our passions, we are slowly taught to be practical or that we don’t have what it takes to achieve our dreams. The messages may have been subtle or they may have been loud and clear. Maybe the pragmatism is warranted, but you don’t need to abandon a dream altogether.
So I ask you, did you pursue your dream or did you betray it and leave it buried?
First, examine the definition of “to betray” or “betrayal.” According to Webster, the definition that best suits here is “to disappoint, prove undependable; to abandon, forsake.” Do your dreams fall into that category?
Don’t live your life without including your dreams in some way. Scientists are finding that dreams, waking dreams and sleeping dreams, are important to our mental and physical health. They give us a reason to get out of bed and have the drive to meet the day.
Use your time to discover a fun way or even a pragmatic way to connect with your dreams in your everyday life. For example, did you dream of running track, but you are now past the age when that is a possibility? It is not too late to be connected to that passion. You may not be able to run competitively, but you can still run. Join a running club and run on the weekends. You will be surrounded by like-minded people. They will give you energy.
Another suggestion would be to spend some of your free time volunteering with a high school track team or, if possible, join the staff of a track club. Don’t overlook how exhilarating and how connected to your dream you can feel if you do something that is a part of your dream.
Did you dream of being a dancer? The fact is, dancing is a profession that also takes years of hard work and discipline. It takes access to teachers and studios and, quite frankly, it’s also expensive. If none of that was possible (and in reality, you have two left feet), but you are still passionate about dance, find other ways to make it part of your life. For example, you could:
  • open a dance studio,
  • take advantage of adult dancing lessons,
  • volunteer at the local dance theater,
  • create your own opportunities to dance for for fun,
  • work for a dance company nonprofit

What about another type of dream, such as the type of environment you would live in or the lifestyle you would have? Did you dream of living near the ocean, but in reality, you are stuck in some urban jungle? Take action to make the ocean setting become a part of your life. Start planning to actually move closer to the ocean. Explore jobs that might be in the vicinity you are dreaming of. 

Another option would be to make living near the ocean the location of your second home. Why not take steps to acquire that second home. At least some of the time you will wake up to the sound of the ocean waves. What kind of action could you take to make it a reality?

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”      Henry David Thoreau

You may not have reached your actual dream, however, keep in mind that the perceived “failure” of a dream may merely mean it’s time to open another door. This is when God’s guidance is so important. Ephesians 4:23 says we should “…be new in the attitude of our minds…” and as Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us, 

God is always a part of our dreams. He has given us skill-sets. Those skill-sets may lead us to a new aspect of our dream. You may not be able to fully realize your dreams in the way that you originally envisioned, but with a little ingenuity, if God has truly put this dream in your heart, you can usually connect with it in some way.

Precious Moments

Nurture your mental health; don’t betray your dreams. Be very intentional about maintaining a connection with them, even if you are past the time in your life when you can actively perform a dream such as professionally dance or run competitive track. 

We all have a purpose in life and that purpose is often connected to a dream or a passion. Stay as close to your dreams as possible. Try not to be guilty of betraying your dreams. Life is to be enjoyed and there is joy and contentment in following your dream or at least keeping them close.

What dreams have you betrayed, abandoned and left behind? I would love for you to leave your comments below.

You were meant to live an abundant life.

The seeds of greatness are in you; you were meant to live an abundant, successful, and fruitful life. Unfortunately, many of us don’t live anywhere near the abundant lives we are naturally entitled to.

Why aren’t we living that abundant life? Why is it that the majority of us spend most of our lives asking that very question? For the answer, look inside. Look at the messages you feed your brain – consciously and unconsciously. Most of us are living and breathing unhealthy thoughts about success and living abundantly. Our attitude is not a positive one.
Granted, there are events and issues that we may have no control over, but we do have control over how we react to them.
Check your messages. How do you process them? Do you listen to what others are saying to you? I’m not referring to the bona fide wisdom that many can impart to us, rather I am referring to those messages that kill dreams and smash hopes even before they come to fruition. These are the messages that negatively define who you are and put limitations on how far you can go, how much you can achieve.
You are meant to live an abundant life, naysayers not withstanding. Remember, naysayers and dream smashers are usually coming from their own place of limiting beliefs; their place of failures and doubts. If you listen, they will prevent you from soaring.

If you are in doubt about the life you are meant to live, take a peak at what God has says about have what you need and will have. You will be convinced that living abundantly was intended for you. 

The next time your little voice inside or someone’s loud voice out side says “no, you can’t,” shut them out. Believe in the power of God to make things happen in your life for the good. This is particularly important if you are an entrepreneur or considering becoming an entrepreneur.

Adopt a positive attitude and use it like a shield when the cash flow doesn’t match your expectations or when the contract you coveted and expected to come your way does not, but is awarded to your competition instead. Without a positive attitude your thoughts will turn to the land of “never” – “I’ll never be successful, I’ll never get the good contracts, or I’ll never make enough to pay the bills.” I don’t doubt that you can think of more thoughts that creep out of the land of never.
Faithbox - Embrace Your Faith Today!

Maybe it never occurred to you to use the Bible as one of the means to keep that positive attitude even in the face of adversity. There are many stories and many verses illustrating that belief in the power inside and outside of yourself makes it happen. 

Faith is powerful, belief is powerful and a positive attitude can’t exist without them both. With that positive attitude you can make things happen; you will live the abundant life you were meant to live. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Can you think of those times in your life when you ignored the naysayers, kept a positive attitude, took it to God and you made things happen that added to the abundance in your life? Share them. In sharing you help others see that there is power in believing and that they can live abundant lives.
Live abundantly.
Teabloom Flowering Teas and Blooming Tea Gift Sets

Do Not Limit Your Prosperity

Prosperity means many things to just as many people. For some prosperity is limited to the amount of money you have, for others it takes into account the quality of health, relationships and the ability to maintain a particular lifestyle.
However, and here’s the thing, many Christians are actually reluctant to add monetary wealth to our list of what prosperity means, partly because of what is often taught about money. We are often taught that money is a bad thing and that God will frown upon you if you prosper monetarily. In reality, money has no value except that which is assigned to it by one’s culture.
We each have to find our own truth about prosperity and wealth based on our religious teachings. However, from many of the verses in the Bible, it appears that God would like us to be able to take care of our families and to be able to honor him with tithes. Neither can be done without faith in Him and without prospering in our businesses or our careers.
The one thing we should not have is limiting beliefs about the success you can have in your business. The consequence of success is usually wealth. Further, your business is a reflection of some portion of your talent. We know that our talents should not be squandered or ignored.
Consider that when you have a fear of becoming wealthy, you just might subconsciously sabotage your business. This is because the more successful you are, you are bound to make money. With limiting beliefs, you limit how successful your business will be so that you don’t make money. In turn, you may limit how much you can bless others because you don’t believe it is good to be wealthy or that being wealthy will somehow interfere with Christian beliefs.
Deuteronomy 8:18, 19 says, “And thou say in thine heart, Mine power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth, But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish his covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
There are many other verses that point to God’s intention for you to prosper if you obey his commandments and laws because by doing so you are able to then glorify him. Those verses also point to His hand in your prosperity, whatever your definition.
Consider how many more can be blessed if you have the money like Bill Gates, who developed an extremely successful business. He is able spend millions on research, medicines and vaccines that will, in turn, save millions of lives. Wealth, even modest means, can help eliminate some of the suffering in the world on an even larger scale. Eliminating suffering and ministering to the those that have the least is what Jesus teaches in his words.
Focus on giving and serving. In fact, giving is the ultimate definition of prosperity to Jesus. His teachings are tied to giving. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives…” James 4:3. The ultimate motive should be on how can each of us best serve others because when you do, you also serve Jesus. Working with the goal of making your business prosper, you serve others with your products and services and you go on to serve and share your prosperity.
Ultimately, growing your business is tied to using your talents, which you are told to do. You should not hide, ignore or hoard your talents, which goes against Gods principles. Acknowledging and using your talents, growing your business and, subsequently, blessing others, allows you to prosper and experience abundance in many ways, meeting some of your definitions of prosperity.
Just remember, if monetary wealth is a goal, cling to your faith in God, obey his laws and precepts; allow God to be your guide and prosperity, whatever your definition, will be more attainable.

“…the Lord your God will bless you in all you produce and in all the works of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.” Deuteronomy 16:15

I ask you, “Do you have limiting beliefs about prosperity? In what area of life have you prospered?”
Sleepwear that soothes like touch | Nested Bean

Is your faith showing?

Walking in faith is like wearing your heart on your sleeve. You are understood and admired by many, but many more may ridicule and admonish you about being so open concerning your beliefs.

It is often the same when we start a business. Not everyone believes in your venture, nor will they support what you are trying to accomplish by becoming an entrepreneur. Instead, you hear all the reason you should not follow through on what you believe. There are many reasons for this: jealousy, lack of understanding, even lack of courage. Sound familiar?
While you can’t always cut naysayers out of your life, you can control and even limit the amount and the quality of time you spend with them. In a sense, it is not very different from what I do with my t-shirts.
Some time ago, I created my line of t-shirts because I believe strongly in spreading the Word and I know that others would like to as well. What better way than to wear your beliefs where they can be seen? What better way to witness even in the face of those who want to know why you would want to spread the word let alone wear it? or believe anyone else would want to wear it.
I have faith in my God and I have faith in my abilities to be successful with my business.

“Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23
If you are starting down the path of entrepreneurship, you should have that kind of faith in your ability to be successful. You are your own support.

I encourage others to explore their own beliefs without ever in saying a word. My line of t-shirts made it possible to silently affirm or to engage in lively conversation about faith. I am inspired when I see how warmly they were accepted by others who also walk in faith. But I am continually disappointed when I am approached by those who clearly would rather not have to read the words on my shirts.
Faith is an important, driving, living force in my life. It cannot be separated from the entrepreneur in me, my relationships or any other part of my life. It is “…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:3

Is God on your team?

As I review my company and what I want it to look like in the coming year, I realize something very important to the company’s survival: Just because one is a solo entrepreneur or very small business owner does not mean that you are running or, even should be running, your business alone. Admittedly, it can sometimes make you feel very powerful when you are in control of all the various aspects of your business, but the elation only lasts a short while. You cannot know it all and there is certainly not enough time in the day to address all that needs to be done.
Sometimes there are individuals you consider members of you team who don’t even know they are. I have team members like that. These are persons you might emulate or follow. Usually they are in the same business you are and have already made through many of the challenges you know you may face in the future.
However, if you are a person of Faith, there is one member of you team who is very important and you should check in with him daily. That team member is God. God never expects you to handle life’s challenges alone. It is written that you should ask him for help. He should be a permanent member of your team. He is a major part of mine. I turn to him daily, sometimes multiple times during the day, in order to get guidance for major decisions or clarity on the direction my company takes.
It is quite obvious that no one else will nurture your company the way that you do, but God will. His input will keep you on track. Obeying his principles means you will not stray far from the best course of action and you will make fewer mistakes.
The input of other team members should also be valued. I am very glad for all of these those that I work with. It keeps my business going, but so is my Faith in God essential to the survival of my business.
I look to God as my most trusted team member, always remembering, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5. I start my day speaking with him and I end it the same way.
As for the value of having a team you can turn to for help with the areas you don’t have the expertise or the time for, “Come let us get together says the Word. If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the fruit of the land.” Isaiah 1:18 – 19.
Who is on your team? Include God as your most important member.

What’s Governing You?

As I was reading Matthew 28:11-15, it made me wonder what’s ruling people. In the passage, I saw the guard’s decision to report back to the chief priest instead of the governor as fear, as it was the governor who gave them the assignment. I saw the chief priest’s decision to lie as pride because it was their ultimate goal to disprove Jesus as the savior.
People are sometimes ruled by what’s going to make them the most money, perhaps by integrity, fear, greed, love, gluttony, and so many other things.
Reading this passage made me do a self-check. Is there anything I am allowing to govern me besides God’s will? Have I made some decisions based off of fear? Have I not been honest with myself because I’m afraid of what the truth looks like? Have I disregarded God’s instructions because I wanted to please my flesh?
I’m not “super-spiritual” to say that you need to seek God to figure out if it’s ok for you to cross the street, but I am a proponent of seeking him daily. Why not? Why not converse with God daily to hear what he has planned for you and to ensure you’re not being governed by something else that isn’t God’s will. Why not spend time with the creator as he has given you everything you need?
So, whether you converse with God daily or only when you need him, I challenge you to do a self-check. What’s governing you? What have you given to rule over you?

How To Stay Productive

Most of the world are asked to stay inside, and some are being stretched beyond what they could’ve imagined. Parents are now teachers. Living rooms are now offices, and kitchens are now studying areas. Everything has been turned upside down, but how does one remain productive when everything has changed?I manage to make things happen amid chaos by making sure I do these few things.

1. Pray

There is power in prayer, and spending time with God before I begin work helps me to focus and get things done. I like to talk to God and study his word so that I may release any concerns or frustrations that I may have and listen to whatever he may have to say to me.

2. Set an agenda for the day and work it

Each night, I like to write down my agenda for the next day. I used to have a list of like 20 things, but I would feel defeated when I didn’t accomplish all of them. Trying to do all that was ludicrous, but I’ve learned that I should focus on accomplishing two or three things a day, and everything else is a bonus. When I started doing this, I realized I would feel accomplished and actually get more things done.

3. Take care of self

Self-care is not selfish, and it’s more than just taking a bath. It’s setting boundaries and knowing when to say no. Burnout is real. Your health and self-care have to come first NOT last. You can get more done if you’re healthy, energized, and efficient. When I learned that it’s ok to take breaks and not be on everyone else’s timeline, I experienced such a release. I wasn’t as stressed, and thus I enjoyed more of what I did.

4. Use a planner

As a writer, I write everything down, so using a planner is a must for me. My planner helps me stay focused on what matters most, especially when those last-minute requests come. My planner helps me stay organized and focused on building the life that I love!

5. Goal setting

Another way I stay productive is to set goals and write down what I need to do to achieve them. If my goal is to sell 70 books, then I know I need to send out x amount of emails and social media posts and spend x amount of money on advertisements to make it happen. When you set your goals, it’s not enough just to write them down but to have a plan that you will implement to achieve that goal.If you are looking for an easy, simple, and flexible system that allows you to plan your life without a lot of complicated rules that don’t fit you or your family, check out the Productivity Bundle 2020 (Affiliate link). It will help you identify the problem areas in your day, develop solutions for creating smooth and easy days, and set yourself up to successfully follow your personalized routines.This bundle has 10 eBooks, 29 eCourses, 28 workbooks & printables, and a membership site.

  • Learn how to build a better week with a simple system to manage your to-do lists and create prioritized weekly plans, using the worksheets and Trello templates provided, or your own favorite paper or digital planner.
  • Give purpose and direction to your mornings with a short meditation and reflection practice with meditations to start your day.
  • Learn an easy method to organize your email, apps, and phone to get things done and prevent mindless scrolling
  • Create your own personal development goal-setting blueprint that puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life and gives you the tools you need to make goal-setting sustainable, effective, and really, really simple.
  • And more… Check it out here.


How to Love Your Family from Afar

As a believer in Christ, you would hope that everyone you love and come in contact with would share your same faith and belief in Christ. You want everyone to know the joy and love of Christ as you do. But what happens when they don’t? What do you do when your loved ones—that once knew Christ—no longer serve him.
I am living in this very moment. A particular family member has informed me that they are not Christian, as they believe that Jesus is not the only way. What really brought on the emotional tug to write this post is when I spoke to her—how should I put this nicely—intimate partner.
This family member believes that their sexual life is personal and is none of anyone’s business, and I 100% agree. However, Galatians 6:1-2 states, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” and as a believer, it is my responsibility to do my best to live by the word. I am far from perfect, and I’ve missed plenty of shots, but the conviction of God came over me so heavily that I couldn’t hold my tongue.
This particular beau admitted the day before, I spoke to him that he was Christian and a prayer warrior. I paid it no mind, knowing that he was sleeping with this particular family member. But the next morning, as I was listening to the word of God on television, conviction fell on me. In my silence, I had condoned sin. If I call myself a believer and a leader in Christ, I must speak out against sin. Please note that in my worldly days, honey, I sinned. I was a big fornicator, and even when I came into the body of Christ, I fell a couple of times until I was able to abstain for years before marriage. So, this was by no means to find fault, but to simply plant the seed and allow the Holy Spirit to water it.
I pray to God to give me an opportunity to speak with him privately, and God allowed it. I asked the gentleman if I could have a moment of his time, and he said yes. Before I went into the conversation, I had to confirm some things. So, I asked him if he was a Christian since he mentioned he was a prayer warrior. He said yes. I asked if he believed in Jesus Christ. Yes, he responded. I asked if he believed in the Bible. Yes, again. So, I first apologized that as his sister in Christ, I did not say anything sooner and that in me not speaking sooner, it gave the appearance that I was okay with him fornicating.
I asked this young man what was his stance on sex before marriage. He beat around the bush for a while until I informed him that I am not perfect. I had sex before marriage, but as my faith grew in Christ, I was able to abstain for several years before marriage. I wasn’t here to judge him but simply plant a seed and allow God or someone else to do the watering. He finally admitted that he believes sex should wait until marriage. I let him know that it’s our job to hold each other accountable and be an example to unbelievers. Surprisingly, he took the information well and thanked me. He said it’s generally the ones that don’t care that doesn’t say anything, but the ones that do care for you, speak up and correct you. I was glad that the word was received.
So my intent was that the conversation would remain between us and that God will begin to work on his heart, and he would stop fornicating. Later on that very day, the family member asked what my conversation was about, and I was 100% honest. I felt as if this family member was offended—based on tone and demeanor—and informed me that my belief is my belief, which will not dictate their sex life.
Psst, that was fine with me. All I do is give the word and allow the word of God to work. But, I was hurt as I could envision this particular family member hurting from something and in need of healing. Why does everything have to be defensive with the person? Or if things aren’t going their way, then they react instead of responding. I want my relationship with this person to be better and meaningful, but I’m not going to put my faith and beliefs aside to do so.
So back to my question of, how do you love someone from afar? Well, this is what I plan on doing.

1. Pray and fast

Mark 9:29 states, “And he said to them, ‘This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer,’” So, I have to pray and fast for my loved one and pray that they come back into the family of believers.

2. Speak up when needed

When you see sin, speak up. Never force it or be rude about it. Simply give the word of God, with supporting scriptures if needed, and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

3. Trust that God’s will, will be done in their life

After praying, fasting, and speaking when needed.
Everything is easier said than done but when you take the first step and continue to make progress, it get’s easier with time. No one said that this walk would be easier, but it sure is worth it. So pray for my strength in the Lord and my family member as I pray for you.