Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 41

Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 41


I was talking with a friend on the phone yesterday and she was telling me that she had been on vacation the week before. I asked her where she went and she said “Illinois”. So of course I asked if she had gone to Chicago (I LOVE Chicago). She said they drove by Chicago but that they went to Olney. I asked her what was in Olney, and she chuckled. “White squirrels” was her reply. She sent me a couple of pictures, and then I looked at their website. Right there on the banner of their website they boast “City of Olney – ‘Home of the White Squirrels’”.

Squirrels are nothing more than a rat with bushy tales to some, and the worst type of lawn and garden pest to others. I know that every year my parents lose a significant number of their pecans to the squirrels. My uncle in Denver has a particular dislike for squirrels for nesting up under his truck and chewing the wires. To his credit he did catch them in live traps and release them back into the wild, far from the city.

So that takes me back to Olney, Illinois, a city with a unique white squirrel population. They have embraced the uniqueness of the white squirrel rather than treat it like a pest. This little town of about 8500 realize they have something special and are excited to share it with the world.

Each and every one of us has something unique to us. The definition of unique is: 1.Being the only one of its kind; 2. Without an equal or equivalent; unparalleled.

Our unique qualities are very likely those things that got picked on or hushed or squelched in our younger days and they came with words like ‘weird’, ‘odd’, ‘bizarre’, ‘geeky’. The wonderful thing is that if you did not throw that uniqueness away when people tried to push it down, it is still within you, and it is just waiting to get out! Not one of us was made just like another. Those quirks or novelties are so very special, and can also help us find our niche or special purpose in life. Embrace your one of a kind, unparalleled thing, your uniqueness. Embrace your white squirrel.

Today’s Challenge: Ask yourself what makes you unique. If that one of a kind special something has been put away seek it out, uncork it, let it bubble up and pour out!

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” ~ Walt Disney

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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Uncategorized


Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 40

Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 40

Ask for Help

I’m sure that many of you are done reading about my lack of outdoorsy qualities and know by now that I am not a gardener of any sort. I have learned a great deal about gardening from my family; parents and siblings and my husband. I have also learned from reading online. When I run into questions that stump me I can either ask someone I know (I believe I have even asked a couple of you) or ask someone I don’t know. The latter generally occurs by going to one of the local greenhouse and garden stores and speaking with someone there.

That’s one of the great things about gardening. There are abundant resources to turn to when you have questions or need a hand.

You can also ask for help in the physical parts of gardening. From planting or pruning to cutting or canning most people know someone they can get to, at the bare minimum, be another set of hands. It is especially nice if that someone has done it before, but certainly is not a requirement.

The same is true of moving toward your goals to enjoy the fruits of your success.

I realize that on an earlier day I did discuss the benefits of resources such as the internet or friends, and also mentioned getting a mentor.

What I did not mention is that there are other types of help that might be as helpful or more helpful in YOU obtaining your goals. Included in those, but not limited to, are hiring an assistant to help with organizing your space. Maybe you need someone to help you maintain the household while you are busy working on other things. Household chores like folding clothes can be delegated to even small family members. If you have the need to hire a maid service, do that. If you feel you can’t afford maid service do two things: determine if the cost of the service is worth the extra money that you might make (or the progress toward a non-monetary goal) or determine if you know someone you can trade or barter with. Maybe you have a teenage neighbor who could use a service you provide (maybe you make jewelry, or are a nail tech).

Another thing to think about when it comes to moving toward your goals is that someone you know may actually be able to help you reach them. Maybe someone in your circle of friends is an exercise physiologist and would be delighted to show you a couple of moves to firm you tush faster. Or maybe you are looking to take a home-based business to the web and your friends daughter is taking a class in web design. If you don’t ask someone for help, the answer is always ‘no’. If you ask and they say ‘no’ you are in exactly the same place you were before– no harm, no foul.

Today’s Challenge: See if there is a goal area that you could use some help in and then ask for help.

“The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.” ~ Rona Barrett

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Posted by on July 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 39

White Butterflies

One weekend, Daughter Number Four  and I noticed an abundance of small white butterflies in the garden and yard. Being less of an insectologist than I am a botanist I can only guess at why they are so prevalent right now. My best guess is the phlox, although I could be way off, which is just fine with me. The ‘why’ they are there is not as important to me as that they are. My daughter and I both love watching them flit through the garden, and I am always reminded of the metamorphosis of the butterfly when I see them. I am in awe of their journey from caterpillar to butterfly, even these small, white ones.

Butterflies are a symbol of rebirth and evolution. Their complete transformation from a caterpillar, to the cocoon, to a butterfly is symbolic in a multitude of cultures. What I had not previously realized is that in many cultures butterflies mean so much more. To the ancient Greeks the butterfly symbolized the soul. To Native Americans butterflies symbolized change, joy, and color. The Irish believed that a Golden butterfly at the burial of a loved one ensured the soul’s place in heaven. Other colors of butterflies have different meanings, also. White butterflies symbolize peace and change that occurs rapidly.

Thinking about butterflies and their metamorphosis it is easy to see why they are a good representation of moving toward our goals. In the beginning of our Summer, it was as if we were caterpillars crawling around, gathering supplies for our metamorphosis. Then we wrap ourselves up in the work and skills learned to reach our goals, and emerge a beautiful butterfly ready to fly into the world and awe people with the gloriousness of metamorphosis!

We may not be white butterflies and be able to change rapidly, but I do hope this process provides you with some peace.

Today’s Challenge: Let go of old behaviors, wrap yourself in the warmth of positive thoughts and activity, and move toward emerging into the new stage of your life! That is where you will be able to alight on the Fruits of Your Success!

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller


Posted by on July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Fruitful Summer 2016 – Day 38

Fruitful Summer 2016 – Day 38

Is it ripe yet???

One of the hardest parts of growing a vegetable garden is waiting for things to be ready to pick. Daughter Number Four  has a hard time with patience, whether it’s in the car on a trip (“Are we there yet?”), when I’m baking (“Is it done yet?”), waiting for an event (“Is it time yet?”) and then with the garden (“Is it ripe yet?”). Over the weekend we visited the garden and looked at the teeny tiny peppers on the plants and the green tomatoes. “Are they ripe yet?” she asked as she held up a very large green tomato she had plucked from the vine.

Who hasn’t done that with a fruit or vegetable? Picked it too early and stopped the ripening. Sometimes tomatoes and other fruits will ripen a bit more on the counter. Other times, you just end up with an under-ripe product.

“Patience is a virtue” is a proverbial phrase that has its root in a 5th century poem about the Seven Heavenly Virtues. The word ‘patient’ means ‘Able to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious.’

In growing any type of garden it is important to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious. If everyone who grows a garden gets so anxious for the fruits of their labor that they pick everything before it is ready the garden will not be as productive as it could or should.

The same is definitely true of reaping your rewards that you have planted in way of your goals. While it is fairly normal to become anxious for the end result or annoyed that it seems to be taking so long, it is important to practice patience and wait for the fruits to ripen so that the full bounty can be enjoyed. If you pluck the tomatoes of success off of the vines of your goals before they have ripened you will have wasted time and resources. If you continue to water, weed, and nourish your plants and goals on a regular schedule you will move toward your goals and not pick the fruits or let the garden go to waste because it did not happen in the timeframe that YOU wanted it to happen within.

Gary Ryan Blair states that ‘Patience is the ability to maintain self-control over the impulse that rises suddenly when something disagreeable happens. When there is no time to wait and be patient there is often no time to think, to connect to other people, or create lasting memories.’

Although an occasional dish of fried green tomatoes is tasty (and a good use of those too-soon plucked tomatoes) I think most people would agree that the fully ripe, deep red, juicy tomatoes are the ultimate success in growing tomatoes.

Today’s Challenge: Decide if you are becoming annoyed or anxious about the fruition of your goals. Are you being patient and allowing them time to fully ripen? Be patient.

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Uncategorized


Fruitful Summer 2016 – Day 37

Fruitful Summer 2016 – Day 37


Kansas summers with the rain and extremely warm (HOT) temperatures have the humidity level hanging at ‘oppressive’. It can be hard to breathe and constricting. When the humidity gets up this high it is really hard to get out and do any gardening or yard work. High humidity changes the way a person breathes, sweats, and regulates temperature. It also increases allergens like molds and some types of bacteria and viruses which can lead to illness in people.

Increased humidity can certainly be felt, but most people do not realize the other issues surrounding humidity. If you are going to be outside during a very humid day pay attention to potential allergy triggers and drink more water. Also, the humidity can have a negative impact on your plants. If higher humidity increases the ability for mold to thrive it can cause more mold types to grow at the roots of your plants, and the leaves, flowers, fruits and vegetables, too. Humidity will also cause more bacteria and viruses to grow which can also increase diseases in your plants.

How does humidity challenge your successful journey? The oppressive nature of humidity is not unlike some of the challenges we face on our road to personal growth. One of the definitions of oppression is ‘the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.’

There are times as we climb the tree of success to reach for the fruits we desire there are adverse conditions, that like humidity, cause our breathing to become labored and seem to make the molds and bacteria grow and damage our plants. Many times these conditions are merely phantoms that our minds create. Other times they are changes in our jobs or personal lives.

The following is from I Ching, and I think it describes more beautifully than I can how to respond to adversity.

Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to

success if they befall the right man. When a strong man meets with

adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the

source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate. He who

lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if

adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in

time to manifest itself. No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great

man brings about good fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the

time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no

effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and

sparing of words.



Today’s Challenge: Measure the humidity in your world. If you are feeling heavily burdened by something turn on life’s dehumidifier. Remain cheerful and do not let your spirit be exhausted.


“You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.” ~ James Baldwin

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Posted by on July 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 36

Fruitful Summer 2016 ~ Day 36

Why do you have your garden space? If you have a vegetable garden the answer might be to have fresh organically grown vegetables. If you have a flower garden it might be that you enjoy sitting on your porch looking out at the beauty of the flowers, and for some of you the answer might be that you enjoy getting your hands in the soil and being in nature. Whatever you reason is, it is almost certain that you are growing the gardens or plants because it brings you enjoyment. Most people do not choose to do things that take hard work if they do not enjoy them!

This is also important in working toward your goals. Remember during the growth of your fruits of success to enjoy the process of growth!

If you have as a goal to weigh a certain amount that is less than you currently weigh and you know that you will have to do additional exercise to make that happen choose something that you enjoy! You may not like running – so don’t run. You may enjoy bicycling instead. Get a used bicycle or borrow one from a friend. You may not like crunches – so don’t crunch! Hula hoop instead. That is so much fun for me and it brings joy to my kids, too! They love laughing at me while I hula hoop.

What if your big goal is work related and you just don’t like the work. I can give you a couple of quick bits to help with this. Spend the next 5 work days telling yourself how much you like your job and how good you are at it. Pick out some things about your job that you truly do enjoy and focus on those. At the end of the week, see if you have found more enjoyment in your job. If you haven’t then you might want to start looking for a job that you do enjoy. If you are not enjoying it, you will not do your best and it is not even healthy for you.

Another thing I have discovered is that sometimes you get so caught up in the process that it becomes robotic or monotonous. Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Bring the passion back that you had on the day that you decided to reach for this goal. The fruits of your success will taste much sweeter if you enjoy the climb!

Today’s Challenge: Enjoy what you do today. If you aren’t enjoying what you do ask yourself why you aren’t and make changes to move toward enjoyment (or ask yourself why you’re doing it)!

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. ~ Charles Spurgeon

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Posted by on July 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Fruitful Summer 2016 – Day 35

Fruitful Summer 2016 – Day 35

Sometimes I get a little chuckle when people tell me how much they are doing in their gardens or yards, but nature is against them so they aren’t producing or look bad. Just a little chuckle. The nature of ‘nature’ is that it naturally wants to live, grow, and succeed. Naturally. I am not a green thumb, as I have said throughout the early days of this challenge. With very little work I have grown flowers in pots and plants in planters. Reality is that if those people who spend their time telling themselves or others how the heat or bad soil or whatever calamity caused their gardens not to grow would spend their time doing a little bit in their garden or yard, even 30 minutes a day, it would turn out much better.

The same is true of your life goals. If you spend just a few extra minutes a day working toward your goals you will move toward your goals. If you spend more time kvetching about not reaching your goals (being too heavy, in debt, etc.) than you spend moving toward them, you will have more weeds than blooms.

Today’s Challenge: Spend more time working toward your goals than talking about the weeds.

“Without hard work nothing grows but weeds.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


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