and spirit...encouragement for your soul.

Hopefully this will be a place of resources and information for living a healthy lifestyle while feeding your soul. Recipes, links to helpful sites, words of encouragement and scripture....all to help you and your family make wise decisions for your life.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The little old lady who lives in my head!!

I attended a seminar by Bob Samara, personal coach, back in 2008 and he talked about the "little old lady who lives in your head." The old hag doesn't want things to change and every time you think you have conquered defeat she pops up again. Nah nah nah nah nah!! "You are never going to amount to anything." "You will never change." "You will never accomplish your goals." "You will never pass that test." Yadda yadda yadda! Bob says it's all about the images you hold in your subconscious mind. If the image in your subconscious is not in alignment with your reality, your subconscious wins. You will create what you think about.

Doesn't the Word of God tell us the same thing. "When you pray, pray believing..." "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he..." "I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me." Joel O'steen talks about "the surpassing greatness of God's favor."

I am simply scratching the surface of the subconscious mind and God's will for our lives but it is certainly worth exploring. I can't tell you how many times that old lady has caused me trouble. She is much smaller today than she used to be but she isn't dead. Maybe in the next few months I can let her "rest in peace." Perhaps I'll invite Bob Samara to make a few comments. It can't hurt and may help some of the folks who read my blog. I hope so!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Container gardening 101

One of the wonderful gifts I received for my birthday was a book on container gardening. The title is "Container Gardens for Florida" by Pamela Crawford. My buddy, Paula, gave it to me. Although I received it weeks ago I just found time to sit down and browse through it yesterday. It came with a DVD that has demonstrations on how to do things and what NOT to do. I can't find the DVD and the book keeps referring to it. My quest for today is to find that DVD!!

One wonderful thing about the book is the pictures of the containers after they are planted and arranged in groups. The pictures were so inspiring I barely thumbed through 10 pages before I found myself at the garden center picking out plants. I had a most enjoyable afternoon matching up colors, textures and sizes, sun loving plants vs. shade lovers, flowering vs. foilage.

Of course, all gardeners will recognize themselves when I tell you that my selection of pots were dingy and dull and I found it necessary to paint a pot before I could plant it. It's like starting to clean out a closet and before you know it you are cleaning the entire house and planning a garage sale. I retrieved the cans of spray paint and got started. I didn't like the first color I tried so I used several colors and made it a "mottled" look. The colors look very nice with the colors of the plants and I am pleased with the outcome. I hope I can keep the new planted containers looking good all surmmer and into the fall.

I had decided I would use three small pots a friend had given me to use in my patio courtyard. Instead I planted two big pots because I purchased too many plants and they were all too big for the three small pots. I am sitting here thinking now about how to plant those three small pots. Another trip to the garden center today is eminent. I have more empty and unused pots and they MUST be filled.

Thank you God for flowers and foiliage. I see you in all the beauty that surrounds me. Thank you for the good health I enjoy that enables me to complete my gardening tasks. Amen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

God knows I love to travel but coming home is it's own reward. Normally I like a four day trip. A little trip to the beach for a few days of R and R is a wonderful thing. I have even done a four day trip to Europe more than once. (I get there, cram in as much as possible and get back before my body can realize what's happened.)

The trip to Phoenix was a full eight days. Much, much longer than I like but I have to say it was most enjoyable. We were so busy sight seeing and Juice Plus conferencing we never had the "down" time to start missing our own bed and shower.

As I wrote previously, the landscape was beautifully in bloom, the weather was good and the company was great! I loved the art work and the native American culture. The food was wonderful and the massage was so relaxing I fell asleep several times. Wayne's magnificent gift was particularly appreciated. I can't wait to go back in two years!

But home sweet home is not just a cliche'. It wasn't easy getting here and we arrived at 0200. In the middle of the night while unpacking the car I found myself moving my potted plants out into the storm so they would receive God given rain water. In the dark I walked around our small courtyard to soak in the flowers and herbs. It seems the lush, tropical landscaping is in bloom here too. My gardenias are about to pop! I can hardly wait. (I shall post pictures when the buds are open.)

I am so happy to be back in my own bed, shower in my own shower have access to my own refrigerator. It takes so little to make me happy. I am just happy to be home sweet home.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Sonoran Desert

I have to admit I am a lover of tropical landscapes. I love the palm trees swaying in the gentle breezes, the red hibiscus in bloom everywhere and the orange blossom's fragrance is such a blessing. I also love never being very far from a body of water. While I was "exiled" in Cincinnati that is what I missed most, water...and also azaleas.

So now I am in Peoria AZ. It's about thirty miles north of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert. I may as well be in a foreign land. As I drove out of Phoenix into the desert landscape my first thought was "this is ugly." Then I began to see the big awesome cacti. They are amazing! I was actually lost and in the middle of nowhere because I programed the wrong street number into the GPS. God has a sense of humor that way. I would never have seen the giant cacti and the smaller ones (don't no the name) that are in full bloom with bright red flowers on their tippy tops. When the GPS announced "I had arrived" there was not a building or human in sight. That's when I realized the desert has it's own beauty and it should be appreciated.

I sat there on the side of the road looking around at the barren land with the hills and mountains rising in the distance. There were no trees and seemingly very little color. However upon closer examination I found there is much color in the desert, not the bright vibrant kind but dusty hues or green and gray along with the earth tone colors of the hills.

I am intending to visit a botanical garden and a couple of nurseries this week to learn the names of some the beautiful specimens I have spotted already. There won't be any effort going into learning about lawn grasses. There aren't any. Every "yard" is sand and rock. I can't say I could live without St. Augustine but on the other hand there are no chinch bugs and no mowing! Wouldn't that be something!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My hair hurts!

I am exhausted! All the Rotarians are exhausted! Wayne is exhausted too. How did we go and go and go when we were younger? I can't think of any area of my body that doesn't hurt. My hair even hurts! Or at least that was the expression many years ago. You get the idea.

The Dragon Boat Festival was a huge success. There were thousands and thousands of people there today. I never had time to walk the park and see all the sights. We were busy mixing up smoothies and helping people be healthy. I could hear the drums and saw the "awakening the dragon" ceremony. It was loud and colorful. The Chinese Acrobats were amazing and the drummers were incredible.

The food was delicious. I hate to admit we tried dogs, hamburgers, fried egg rolls, fried shrimp, fried pickels, funnel cake, oh my! Wayne even took his Juice Plus capsules with beer. What's up with that?

The paddlers are well organized and seem to have a ton of fun paddling. Each team had their own tent and many of them brought elaborate buffets or grills for grilling, chairs, mats, etc. They were true athletes, working out and stretching before they competed. Many of them inquired at our tent and purchased smoothies so I think we will have some new, health conscious followers soon.

When we arrived home we had to unload the car again. Empty the coolers, wash the blenders, put things away....AGAIN! Next year will be different. I shall offer discounts to the paddlers and get word to them ahead of time. I'll have a wagon to bring our "stuff" into our tent and back to the car. I'll also bring food since none of need the junk we ate today. I did enjoy it though. 80/20

Now we start packing as our flight to Phoenix leaves at 0830 tomorrow from Orlando. At least when we arrive at the Cibola Vista in Peoria AZ we will have nothing to do but relax for four days!! Thank you Jesus!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A good time was had by all!

Opening ceremonies are over, the dragon is awake and the paddlers are ready to compete. The dinner honoring our invited dragon boat officials and local elected officials went well. The food was delicious and the pina coladas were magnificent! Our Rotary District Governor and Assistant Governor were in attendance along with the District Foundation Chair. Thanks to all who made it a successful event. A special thank you to our sponsors, Danny and Dr. Susan Caddell and Vann Gannaway Chevrolet.

Wayne and I have spent the evening loading the car at home, unloading the car at the festival, reloading the car at the festival, unloading the car at home and reloading the car for tomorrow. WHEW!

I have a Juice Plus tent and we are selling smoothies! Come on down and try something healthy. When you are out of sight of my tent you can go indulge in hot dogs or barbecue! Just don't let me see you.

Don't forget THS grad, Robert (Bob) Douce will be signing his book "Cosmic Light." He will be delighted to see all his old friends.

Don't miss this very fun time tomorrow. There will be a few sea planes, many pleasure boats and lots and lots of dragon boats and paddlers. Some of the paddlers are serious. Others are just fun. We have several teams from The Villages. I believe I heard they are the first "seniors" team in dragon boat racing. Everyone should enjoy the waterfront and the festival.

God keep all of us safe and bless the City of Tavares and the Dragon Boat Festival! Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Okay...the Dragon Boat Festival VIP Tent (my responsibility) is nearing completion. The Cups, glasses, plates, napkins and utensils are bagged and ready for the truck. The wine, beer and alcohol are purchased and ready to be transported, iced and served. The tent is erected, the tables ready to be set up, the table cloths ready to be laid and the decorations placed.

I still have a few things left to get ready for my Juice Plus tent on Saturday but Friday night is under control. It will be an early morning tomorrow with last minute details and pit falls. (The hotel rooms for our officials and out town guests were given away and we just found out about it. There are very few rooms left in the area! Ugh!) I am sure President Becky has that under control by now.

With all the hard work for all the Rotarians it will still be a fun weekend. There will be much racing a little imbibing and a lot of fellowship. There will also be a great deal of pride in the Tavares waterfront!

To top it all off I just returned from a virtual franchise presentation and hope I have a really dynamite new team member! Thank you God for helping us all get through this very hectic last few days with grace and peace. Keep us safe and along with all our guests. Amen

So much to do and the clock is ticking!

It's crunch time. The Dragon Boat Festival begins tomorrow night and there is still much to do. The Rotary leadership is very well organized and it's certainly not the first time at the dance for most. It is for me. Although I joined Rotary last spring I could not participate in the Dragon Boat Festival last year due to a prior commitment. Now I am learning while doing.

Everyone has been working hard and it's going to be a fabulous event! There will be sponsors and vendors,several hundred paddlers and thousands of spectators. There will be great food creating wonderful aromas in the park. The water park will be open for the kids and the waterfront in Tavares has never looked better. The City of Tavares is doing a great job of handling all the festivals each weekend. Congrats go to all involved.

I can't wait to see the "Awakening the Dragon" ceremony tomorrow night and I know the acrobats and drummers will be a special treat. We'll be ready and hope you'll be there to have fun with us.

Unfortunately, I have been so busy with Dragon Boat I am still not packed for our trip to to Phoenix. We are leaving Sunday morning for a few days at the beautiful Cibola Vista Resort and Spa in Peoria AZ. I also have a Virtual Franchise presentation tonight for which I am barely prepared. Since Wayne and I will be at the festival tomorrow night and all day Saturday I am just not sure when we are going to pack and get ready to go. I don't see a lot of sleep in our future.

Yesterday was our 17th wedding anniversary and we didn't even have time to celebrate. The Cibola Vista will be a relaxing and celebratory time for both of us. Four wonderful days of pampering and resting and reflecting. Can't wait to just sit and read a book. Any suggestions for a good novel to read on our trip?

Following our four days of indulgence we begin four days of the Juice Plus Leadership Conference in Phoenix. I always look forward to the conference and reconnecting with my JP+ family and leadership. It's going to be a busy few days and a relaxing week following. Let the frenzy begin!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surprise, surprise, surprise....

How much fun are surprise parties? I can't even begin to describe it. I have always claimed (and it's true) no one can surprise me, I'm too intuitive. Many have tried, many have failed. That is until last night.

Paula and Wayne pulled off the near impossible. Wayne had mentioned we were going out for dinner "next Monday night." I didn't give that much thought and promptly forgot about it. Last night I was beginning to prepare dinner when Wayne walked in and reminded me we were going out tonight. Of course, I wanted to know where we were going and he told me it was casual so I could go in jeans if I wanted. (I never trust his judgement about what is casual. He thinks all restaurants are casual.) So I bathed and dressed and told him I was ready to go. I had to wear really high heels because my pants were too long. Not so casual but still in pants.

Now I'm thinking, darn! Our anniversary is day after tomorrow and he is taking me out for an early anniversary dinner and I haven't even bought a card yet. Now I have it all figured out so he still has not surprised me. We drove through Mount Dora and out Highlands so I'm thinking we are headed to Orlando. He slows in front of a restaurant I didn't even know was there and says, "What about this place?" I told him I didn't know anything about it and had never even noticed it. He says, "let's try it." fine but there is no place to park. It's a very small parking lot so we parked across the street.

When we crossed over to the restaurant a wait staff member was at the door motioning us to come to that door. (The restaurant entrance can easily be confused with the kitchen door.) We walked through the door and a mighty racket scared me to death. There they all were with party hats, noise makers, clappers and balloons everywhere. I wish I could have seen the look on my face. What a wonderful surprise with great friends, good wine and fabulous food! Thanks to all who participated.

Now a word about the restaurant. It is called the "Saucy Spoon Bistro" and it's only open on Saturday night, Sunday for brunch and Monday night. They have an appetizer buffet for all and the menu is very limited and very special. Our entrees were accompanied by family style roasted vegetables and potato croquettes. YUM! I can't wait to go back. Next time it will be Sunday brunch.

Now the really good part. After dinner we all went back to Paula and Jim's for dessert! Paula made a flan and an Italian cream cake. Susan had made wedding cookies and coconut cookies and Alan had made one of his world famous Key lime pies. I am still smiling. It was wonderfully indulgent.

The gifts were equally wonderful and I received an instant face lift from the group. (Duct tape!)

I have to thank God for good friends, lifelong friends, a loving spouse and the trouble they go to in making your birthdays special. I love them all and know I am blessed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Criss crossed lives....

Have you ever prayed for guidance to know what you should be doing with your life? I have. Many, many times. The answer I received was the same each time but it took me a while to realize it. I think God speaks clearly to me. I just don't always hear Him. Listening is the issue. When I finally "got it" I began moving to follow the path I believed was mine. Then the doubts began. Why does that always happen?

I think my problem has been I didn't understand WHY God wanted me to do what He wanted me to do. WHY is a very big word. When the "why" of something is defined it changes everything. The purpose becomes crystal clear and the doubts recede.

The purpose for my path is the people who will be touched in ways that I could never understand. People come into our lives for a purpose and it doesn't always have to be about me. Maybe, just maybe, it's about them and their lives. I am very okay with that now that I understand it. Our lives criss cross until we are all woven together. The "fabric of our lives" is not just a slogan or a cliche' but a reality. We are all connected like a patchwork quilt and God is the stitching.

I can't believe how many times the answer to my WHY has been spoken to me by others who didn't know they were giving me a message. Now that I understand it I can remember time and time again hearing the same expressions but I never heard them. Sometimes God, a brick up side the head may be more effective. Now that I understand I feel so foolish for not realizing it before. Do you suppose He ever grows weary of our lack of understanding?

I know there is a scripture that could be inserted here but I can't think of it. Maybe someone out there can help me with that?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yard work....the results!

Does God create anything more beautiful than flowers? I suppose you could say children but I'm talking about just the shear beauty of a simple plant or tree with a bud that opens to a remarkable splash of color. It is easier this time of year for me to "feel" God's presence in my garden. I find myself meandering around the house with a cup of tea thinking each bloom is prettier than the last. As I approach each bed I whisper, "Thank you Lord!"

The extremely long period of cold weather has damaged so many of the tropicals making it necessary to cut them back to the ground. The really good news is they will come back! That means there is going to be another flush of blooms later in the year when they all recover. If they do not recover sufficiently this year then the rewards will be delayed but the rewards will most assuredly be there. Isn't that just the way God works?

I hesitate to admit I am trying to grow tomatoes again this year. Each year I try and each year I declare I am never trying to grow tomatoes again. I am defeated by bugs, blossom end rot, worms and insufficient nutrients. I am an avid and experienced gardener but tomatoes cause me frustration to no end. I love tomatoes and consume them daily. It would be cheaper to just buy them but I can't seem to put to rest the desire to grow them. When I was exiled to the north I grew them successfully every year. Is it Florida?

God thank you for flowers. Thank you for the peacefullness of my garden. I know you are there with me. Thank you for the sweet, sweet fragrance of the orange blossoms and the melody of the birds singing. Help me remember to enjoy your gifts of beauty. Amen

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gadget techno geek?

Do I fit that category? I have to admit I am saving my pennies (literally) for an iPad! I love my iPhone, Bluetooth, my computer, my lap top and most especially the DVR. The GPS has saved me many, many hours of frustration with my hubby! Satellite radio saves me when I'm traveling and digital cameras, well need I say more?

Most of my Juice Plus business is completed via computer as well. It seems everyone is busy and few want to venture out at night for a presentation. Fortunately, someone recognized this and came up with an online presentation. Now it's twenty minutes, you at your computer, me at mine (both in our pajamas if we want) and we walk through the web page. How cool is that??

Much of the paper work of what I do has been eliminated. My family's business, my Juice Plus business, my church committees, my position as Treasurer of the Rotary. All of it on the computer. I print out only what is needed at a meeting. Almost everything is point and click.

Transfers online, reserve books at the library, order products (even shoes), pay the bills, do background checks on potential tenants, contribute to charities, research medical conditions.... Is there any end to the ways the Internet has made our lives easier?

Of course, there are always down sides to everything. Identity theft is huge, carpal tunnel is on the rise but for the most part I'll take the technology any day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yard work....

Those two words conjure up all kinds of feelings for most people. For our handyman, Ray, it strikes fear in his heart. He knows when the weather is warm and I leave the park in the truck he is going to have to do yard work. This year has been particularly fearful because there has been so much cold damage. We have been forced, much to my chagrin, to dig out some very old tropicals that have been here for many, many years. Most of our established plants are coming back but we have some 70+ year old gardenias that were eight feet tall that are not showing any signs of life. I am still hopeful. Ray just keeps chanting, "Plastic, they make these things in plastic."

For my husband, Wayne, it means spending time that would have been devoted to refurbishing a mobile or making needed repairs. To say he doesn't enjoy it would be an understatement. He is good about taking care of the irrigation and major mechanical needs and he doesn't mind that so much. I can't even say he complains about the work as he always appreciates how nice everything looks when we are finished.

Gardening is my hobby. I love it! I love it! I have missed getting out there and digging in the dirt. I don't really do much of the actual digging any more but I do "supervise" quite well. (I hurt my hip last year and no one wants a repeat of that.) This week we had to remulch, replant, prune, fertilize, dig out, replace, repot. In a couple of instances we had to move stuff I just planted two weeks ago. Why do they sell plants in Florida that can't withstand the heat??

The other pleasantry is the wonderful Florida aroma of orange blossoms in bloom. Everyday I thank God for that beautiful frangrance filling the air. If a "smell" could be music, this time of year would be like a symphony! By the time the orange blossoms are finished the conferderate jasmine will be in full bloom and oh my, the wisteria is gorgeous and fragrant.

The park's butterfly garden needs much work this year. The poor monarchs have no place to lay their eggs because my milk weed is just dead. There are plenty of nectar plants and water but no host plants available. Sorry Ray, that's the next project. Love, hate and fear all wrapped up into two words....yard work.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I am healed! One of five important women in my life in a foreign land.

Once upon a time I found myself in a foreign land called Kentucky. I had been misplaced by a spouse in search of the perfect job where he could be both powerful and beloved. My family was uprooted from central Florida and plopped down in sub zero weather in the middle of the snow covered countryside somewhere outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Ohio river was frozen over, something that doesn't often happen. The Cincinnati Bengals were playing in the Super Bowl, something that doesn't often happen. We arrived in the frigid north to move into our new home on this day so there was noone to help us even navigate the icy roadways. They were all watching the bowl game.

Of course, the first thing I did, once it was safe to venture outside, was find a church. In that little church in a small town in northern Kentucky I made friends. I was an outsider and therefore suspicious but some of the indigenous people were willing to trust me and invited me to a Bible study in their homes. Five of these women would become, for a time, the most important people in my life.

I'm going to leave out the minor details, like my spouse was unfaithful with one or more of his students,(He was teaching at the local University.) and these women saw me through that and much, much more. This was a group of amazing Christian women who introduced me to events such as the "Praise Gathering For Believers" in Indianapolis, IN. They saw me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. (See previous post "The most difficult decision.")

One of the women was diagnosed with breast cancer about one year into my exile. She was a very special lady who braved every hardship with grace and concern for her family and friends. The reason I focus on her is she made a profound statement during one of my visits to her sick bed. She said, "don't worry about me. Because I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I am healed." I am sure she noticed my puzzled looked so she elaborated, "if I live, obviously, I'm healed. If I die, I am healed as I join Christ in heaven." I never forgot that brilliant understanding of Christ's healing power.

Not many people have the peace to walk in faith through the darkness with the assurance of the light on the other side. I am blessed to have known these incredible women who made a differnce in my life. (I'll write about the others later.)

I am praying tonight for that kind of peace and faithfullness for my friend who is braving a profound illness in her family. God bless you my friend.

Lazy Saturday...I thought!

This is the first Saturday in months I have nothing scheduled other than dinner and a movie at church tonight. I usually have a Juice Plus conference call at 9:00 AM and even that has been cancelled. I am not sure what to do with this time!

Of course, there is plenty I COULD do: clean my desk and file the piles, finish cleaning up my yard, work on getting taxes together (I'm late), prepare Easter dinner ahead, grocery shop for Easter dinner. Finding the proper balance between work and relaxation is an ongoing battle for me. I am quite sure I'm not alone in this struggle.

I have been so busy the last few days my head is spinning. I have literally run from one appointment to another, one meeting to another, one conference call to another. I have been asked to take leadership positions in at least three different organizations. (Another commonality for most of us??) Fortunately I have learned in my golden years to say NO! EXCEPT when it comes to Doris Ragan....she just doesn't take no for an answer. Can anyone identify?

Mrs. Ragan came in to the Rotary Club meeting Thursday and handed me a pile of manila envelopes and said, "Read these and get them back to me by Sunday." Then, even though she is a Rotarian, she left. What she handed me was the Women's Club scholarship essays from Tavares High School seniors. There are not only essays to read but letters of recommendation and transcripts. I distinctly remember telling her I could not help with this. I think she remembers it differently.

I guess I know now what I shall be doing with my unscheduled hours this morning. When I finish reading and complaining I'll relax a little and ejoy this beautiful day the Lord has made.