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Do You Love Hydrangeas?

Do You Love Hydrangeas?

Each fall, even though I’m not sure if it is proper horticulture etiquette or not, I trim back my hydrangeas.  In the back yard, (in the postage stamp size back yard), there is a concrete slab (aka partial basketball court) lined with beautiful hydrangea bushes.  The hydrangeas are the Limelight (light green, almost white) variety.  This year they have bloomed like I was fertilizing and watering them.  And I did neither.  The only activity I completed towards them was delightfully viewing them.  They grew so magnificently in color and size.  This year, I decided I wanted to preserve the blooms a little longer (through some simple creativity).  Do you love hydrangeas as much as I do?

Hydrangeas

How to:

When the blooms turn from the beautiful light green to the shades of tans and browns is when I usually trim the bushes back for winter.  Instead of haphazardly piling the branches up for disposal, this year I carefully trimmed the branches so they could be used for creating wreaths.  With the simple tools of scissors, masking tape, and some sealant spray, I was able to take the “garbage” and turn it into my front door decoration.  (I was so happy with it, I even made one for the my back door).  And over the last few weeks of drying time, they have just become even more beautiful (if that’s possible).  The petals have turned into a rustic brown color (perfect for fall).  Who would have thought something so simple could turn into a beautiful decoration for this time of year?

Hydrangeas tools

Hydrangeas Drying

Next year I hope to make even more wreaths to share with friends and family.  Turning the simple gifts of nature into something preserved and also shared with others will delight me as much as my “hard work” of just viewing them in the back yard!

Hydrangeas Back Door

Daily Vitamin C:  Turn trash into treasure this fall.

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Inspiring Harvest Is Here!

Inspiring Harvest Is Here!

 

I had the privalege to interview my friend Amy early in my attempt at blogging. She was gracious enough to allow me to use her as a “genie pig” in my early writing. Amy was then and still is a true inspiration to me on a daily basis.  Amy is my personal fitness trainer and someone I consider a close friend.  I have watched her grow consistently day in and day out in her craft as well as in her personal life.  She has built a fitness business from the ground up.   And she has even transformed herself in order to even go into this preferred line of work.  Amy puts everything that she is and has into her work and family and to watch someone with such dedication is the ultimate of inspiring.  Now I am getting the pleasure of watching her “inspiring harvest.”

How does she do it?

I simply have no idea how she does it.  As a single mom of two boys, she runs a business by herself to provide for their needs.  She never gives up, takes a break, or retreats.  I seem to give up whenever I even get a paper cut or a minor headache.  She only seems to get more energized and presses harder with time. Amy has overcome surgery, divorce, disappointments, setbacks, and hardships.  A question that Joshua Medcalf (whose work I am currently obsessed with – more to come at a later time!) has written the question well worth asking –  “Are you waiting for a moment, or training for a moment?”  I see Amy as constantly training.  She realizes that reward (her moment) is right around the corner.  With autumn being upon us, I know Amy’s harvest is soon to be reaped.  Her hard work and drive have brought her to this moment.  And I am sure there are many more great rewards on the horizon.

Be inspired!

Please take the time to learn more about my friend and her inspiring story on Facebook at Amy Evert Fitness.  She is also part of Sisters in Shape, a group of trainers empowering women through fitness.  Look her up at www.sisinshape.com.  It will be well worth the time to get inspired by someone who transformed her own life in order to transform others!

Daily Vitamin C:  Take a minute to be inspired to train for your moment!

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Easiest Spring Decoration Ever!

Easiest Spring Decoration Ever!

Easiest Spring Decoration – Make It Today!

Now this is not my creative genius coming to the surface – this is just me seeing something online and saying “I could do that!”  Sometimes I say that, and I end up being dead wrong, but this time I found something super easy, super cute and contagious!!!!  I showed my craft project to my friends and it has spread like wildfire!  So if you don’t want to catch the fever to make the easiest spring decoration ever – don’t read on……

Easiest Spring Decoration
Spring Decoration – Plaid Umbrella

Supplies Needed:

  • Umbrella
  • Artificial flowers
  • Ribbon
  • Wire (optional)

Now there are options, put it all depends on your creativity and budget!  Because I was just “testing” my theory that I could make it, I bought an extremely cheap umbrella (that can be used later as an actual umbrella).  The flowers that I used came from the Dollar Tree.  (I’m sure you could use real flowers, if the decoration is only supposed to be used for a short period of time).  The ribbon I had left over from some craft project (you know what I’m talking about….a closet of “left overs”).  And the wire I used to help hang the creation (since my first umbrella didn’t have a cute hook), came from one of my “junk” drawers.



Steps:

  1. Prepare you mental creativity. You have it – I promise you!
  2. Gather supplies
  3. Open up the velcro tie around the umbrella, and let the umbrella “fan out” on its side.  Let the spokes fall where they may.
  4. Take the flowers and insert them in the umbrella (trying to insert, or wedge them between the spokes).
  5. Gather the umbrella around the stem area, and use the ribbon to tie around it with a bow.
  6. Add a piece of wire to the back of the umbrella (between the spokes next to the handle) and create a loop (or circle) with the wire.
  7. Rejoice!  You just made the easiest spring decoration ever!  And remember….it’s contagious!

Daily Vitamin C:  April showers bring May flowers (or umbrellas with Dollar Tree flowers)!

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Spring Is Here!

Spring Is Here!

Today has simply been a gorgeous day in Kentucky!  Kentucky is my home, and here in the Bluegrass we rejoice when Spring finally arrives.  The birds are singing, the trees are in bloom, and the temperature is “just right.”  (This sounds like the beginning of Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, but I digress).  Spring has finally made its arrival in a spectacular way!  But this year I don’t want to take this short season for granted.  I want to take the time to study the lessons of nature and learn from God’s “painting.”


I believe there are four lessons to soak in (besides the sunshine)……


First spring is a time of experiential growth.  It’s the time where seeds and bulbs start to peek out of the ground and buds start to bloom.  (Sorry to all those with Kentucky allergies!)  The world is in action.  Nature is growing.  This is now a chance to analyze how I can grow personally.  What plans do I need to put into action?  What “go” button do I need to press?  Nature is in action and I should be too!

The second lesson is nature is getting adjusted to the surroundings.  The baby birds are learning how to fly and the leaves are learning to grow toward the sunshine.  This is the time of learning and continuing until success.  The things of nature are not cowering back or succoming to fear.  Action is taken and lessons are learned along the way.  This is a time for us to forgive ourselves if we stumble.  It’s a time of learning and taking action despite fear.

 

Nature’s third lesson is being grounded in gratitude.  The flowers and trees are grateful for the sunshine and Spring rains to grow.  The animals are grateful for the weather in order to explore and to have a time of discovery.  I am just grateful for the warmer weather and the opportunity to put away the heavy parkas.  This is a time just to be grateful that we survived the winter and we have been given an opportunity start anew.  Spring has been given to us as a gift.  Be thankful!

The fourth and last lesson (of the millions that this season gives us) is Spring is a time to rejoice in the colors of life!  Nature is gracing us with so many beautiful colors.  From the yellows, to pinks, to greens, the painting is developing before our eyes.  Rejoice!  Embrace the colors of this world. Embrace the differences and variety on display.  God has given us a beautiful gift, wrapped in wonderful packaging, and He has called it Spring!  Get out and enjoy it!

Daily Vitamin C:  Receive the gifts (lessons) of Spring!

 

Shine On!

Shine On!

Have you ever met someone who has experienced such unbearable pain in his or her life – that you cannot imagine or even comprehend? It’s amazing what we can live through with determination and hope. It’s also amazing that the bad can be used for good. To help shine light where there is darkness. To teach others to live with happiness in their hearts. My friend Kylie has a world of insight to share with others. Get prepared to be enlightened.

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Kylie’s year did not start off like most. She had the devastating event of discovering the body of her love (her boyfriend). He was addicted to drugs and during a depressive state, (coming down of the high), he completed suicide. He was not discovered for a couple of days until his friend (and love) Kylie came looking for him. She sensed something was wrong and found her worst nightmare.

So Kylie was surprised when I wanted to talk to her about happiness. What could she provide? My reasoning is that from an outsider perspective, she has been to the depths of darkness and has risen to light up the world. Even though I am sure there have been dark trying days, I have seen her with smiles, laughter, and joy! Kylie is my dog’s groomer (and probably the love of his life). He has always wanted to be around her (and they sense that kind of stuff). Kylie is full of love. She loves to make her dogs (clients) feel special, as well as their owners. You feel like the best pet owner in the world when you see her. She is encouraging, loving, and full (deep down) with joy.

What does happiness mean to Kylie? She says happiness usually takes a long time to develop. It’s feeling complete with unconditional love. (Dog is man’s best friend). Happiness is also having a purpose for others. To help others.

What makes Kylie happy? Having a good day at work. She gets to spend the day loving on living things. She says seeing certain dog names on the schedule cheers her up for the day! (I’m hoping that Linus, my dog, is one of them).

What makes Kylie unique? She has aimg_4991n excellent memory. She says that unfortunately she is loud and blunt. (If she only knew that some of us respect both those qualities, especially those of us that have to work at both).

Kylie is also passionate. Passionate for her dogs and for her life. She is already a success and has only just started. With her passion, she can go anywhere and do anything.

What one thing would Kylie teach us? (If there is just one). Don’t walk away from someone/something that you know in your gut that you shouldn’t. Kylie was working with her boyfriend to get him help. And she even had stopped him from completing suicide once before. She knew the signs. She even sensed something was wrong. She wishes she could have helped just one more time.

Kylie’s heart is unbelievable. She wanted to help save a person from darkness. She wanted to share light with her love. Now she shares that light with others (and with her four-legged friends). Kylie has herself been clean for five years – and I can say that she is such an inspiration and light in this world. Shine on Kylie! I am so honored to know you. You inspire us all to be brighten this world!

Daily Vitamin C: Be a light in the time of darkness!


My Diary

Happy Life Through Service

Happy Life Through Service

Now I have been delaying writing this interview – I think for a couple of reasons. The friend I interviewed was someone I met and adored in college, and I admit, I have not maintained the best of jobs keeping in touch. Even though I was beside myself in joy getting the opportunity to interview him, the first reason for delay was his now beautiful and talented wife is a published author. (She’s an author and I am an author wannabe – so talk about pressure!) The second reason is because the overall theme of the interview made me question my own drive in life.  It paralyzed me. I believe God does this to stop me in my tracks and force me take inventory of where I am.  I knew the subject that we talked about was so important and somehow, someway I needed to grow from it. Big enough, that now I ask you to please take the time to learn from my friend Ron.

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What does happiness mean? Per Ron, happiness is very abstract and can be viewed in various ways. Ron is a happy guy – always has been. (The opposite of me for I am the one who is often on an emotional rollercoaster). But Ron knows that scripture says that God has a plan of happiness for us. The plan is demonstrated through the blueprint of Jesus Christ coming to the earth to show us how to live. The instructions are right there – we just have to follow them (and not the type of instructions that came with your appliances written in a different language that you just ignore!)

Happiness for Ron is living a less stressful life. Ron has a couple of businesses and deals daily with various clientele. He would rather forgo sales than deal with people that shower stress on others. Ron knows that the stress is something that he does not want around him, to in turn, spread to others like a virus.

What makes Ron happy is his wife and kids. He has an absolutely beautiful family. They are his world.

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Now Ron’s “happy place” is time in music. (This is actually where we met in college in the School of Music). Just playing the piano and singing – he could lose himself in it for hours. For those of us that have that creative (and musical) spirit, we know what it feels like. We are transported somewhere else and the destination has no stress, no worry, and only peace and thankfulness. To some, it may be called heaven.

What makes my friend unique? Ron is self aware of what is truly important in life – he has found the secret. Life is about service.

And this is the one lesson that Ron would teach us. Not serving is not existing. (I think these are the actual words that stopped me in my tracks. Please read them again.) Not serving is not existing.

Am I?

Ron continually serves others. He serves his wife, his kids, his friends, his neighbors, and everyone he meets. He says you will find happiness if you live life as a servant. God calls us to love Him and to love our neighbors (which is anyone around us).

If you don’t like someone, learn to love him or her through service. Immediately jump into a service role for them. Learn how to serve. Learn what they need. Learn about them. Follow the example that Jesus gave us. Be in the world, but not of the world. Take a different path of service than today’s world follows.   Instead of hate, find love. Instead of dislike, serve. Instead of being disgruntled, find happiness.

Daily Vitamin C: Live a happy life through service.