GOD GARDENING ~ a personal experience


Anyone who knows me knows I love gardening.  My garden is Eden to me.  I have planned it to attract birds, bees, squirrels.

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I’m not really accomplished at it, not really a green thumb here as the compost pile can attest to. Lots of failures in terms of trying to grow something and having poor results.  I remember the first time I tried to have a pot plant. I was 17 yrs. old.  My first apartment was over a garage and it was so rickety the dresser mirror slapped the wall when a person walked across the floor. It was downtown Alexandria on Fisk Street, the rent was $40/month, and my landlord was Mr. T.W. Moreau. But it was home for me and I loved it. I wanted to make it my own by having a real live potted plant. I went downstairs and dug up some dirt, put it in a pot, and planted a piece of ivy someone gave me. First of all, Mr. Moreau wasn’t happy about the hole I dug, and secondly, I had no clue about a plant’s basic needs like light and water. Or potting soil. Funny thing now that I look back on it, I didn’t have a clue about a much of anything!

A lot has changed since then. I can call myself a gardener about as well as I can call myself a writer and an artist. I use too many quotation marks, commas, and colons. I start over with a painting as much as I have finished results.  Ha!  The painting I’m working on now, I had to wipe out 4 times before I got what I wanted and that was just the undercoat!  That’s just what I do. That doesn’t mean I have reached the pinnacle of what the world deems success, it just means that I have done what my heart desired. I have learned to nurture.  I’ve learned to garden.

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There are shortcuts to gardening and maybe everything else. I have found over the years that the rules of gardening correlate to the rules in life. For example, the species of humans must have community, friends if you will. Gardening is like that. All your friends want to give you a piece of theirs. You accept seeds or a plant from one friend, then another, then one more.  And before you know it – a little piece of all your friend’s gardens now live at your house. You water when it’s dry, throw a little Miracle Grow around when you think about it, pull a couple of weeds every time you go outside – then voila, people think you have a green thumb. It’s simply not true. You just have very good friends. My garden has my mother’s and Aunt Kat’s hostas. Faye, Sylivia, Deborah have shared a multitude of flora and fauna with me. Sue gives me a start of a Night Blooming Cereus every year. Every year, yeah, because somehow I manage to…. Well, I don’t even want to say it. I have daylilies galore. They keep multiplying, kind of like friends. A shortcut, but one with staggering success if you put your heart into it. My heart is into it because of my grandmother. She had a real greenhouse. I can remember the smell and her constant attention to it. It represented something akin to love and security to me.

Over the years I found that gardening is like loving God. Yes, it is. He who made all things. He who loves. He who nurtures. You wouldn’t believe how thankful I am for that! Gardening has revealed Him to me. He provides just the right amount of whatever is needed by His creation. Don’t you just love that? Please let me show you how He works this into our very own lives:

We’ve kind of had a struggle the past three years. There has been major illnesses for both my husband and myself. I have kicked it in the butt but my husband is seriously ill at the moment. We are two (barely) old folks who love each other very much, fight like cats and dogs (it’s in our DNA) and share every aspect of our lives. When I hurt, he hurts. When he hurts, I do too. Sometimes we have worldly needs that might take some creative financing. You know, the limited (barely) old folks budget thing because of medical bills, etc. Here is something I have learned; it is not necessary to worry about these things. Period.

A couple of months ago, I was commissioned to paint a picture for a Christian organization called the ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, Service) retreat community. To my surprise, I found it easy to come up with a composition reflecting the theme to match the future retreat for women as requested. Must have been the art angel sprinkling grace dust upon me. I don’t know. Anyway, I painted two pictures and over the weeks it took, I made it clear that this art was a donation to the community because my own spirituality had grown due to them. I love the ACTS organization. They are amazingly talented in revealing the love of the Lord to one and all. Finally the day arrived when two reps from the community, Charlotte Wasmer and Father Derek Ducote, came to assess my simple paintings and make a choice as to which one they would choose.  Fr. Derek asked Charlotte which one she wanted. She quietly said “I want both of them”. I couldn’t believe it and was so happy and humbled. We had a great visit for a couple of hours before they left taking both paintings with them. It was wonderful.  They gave me a beautiful card of sweet gratitude signed by several ACTS personal.  Before long, I got a text from Charlotte saying she left a love offering and I would know it when I saw it.   What!?   I found the envelope. I got chills when I opened it. I took it to the living room where my husband was lying down. I told him “you have to look at this”. He said he didn’t need to. I told him more firmly, “you have to look at this. I told you God would provide.” He took the envelope and his mouth dropped open.

Two weeks or so before, I threw a fleece before the Lord. If you don’t know the term, it means asking the Lord to provide for a specific need. I needed new tires on my car. I asked for that. And I trusted.

The envelope contained $400. The tires cost $398.

If that’s not GOD GARDENING, I don’t know what is!

Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Let us all turn to God.

 

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Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Your prayers are very much needed.  Let us all turn to God.

 

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NaBloPoMo #6


When I took on this challenge to post to my blog every day for 30 days, I thought I would never come up with enough interesting matter to fill the month.

I was right.

So I am going to tell you about my plan to do everything on my Bucket List. The problem is that as I cross off one thing, two things take it’s place! Isn’t that the way it always is?

Anyway, for many years I have wanted to learn how to play the piano. I dreamed of it. I longed for it. It never crossed my mind that I actually would be able to do it. And yet, thanks to the generosity of my husband and a very good friend, a beautiful Baldwin piano sits in my living room. This is more than learning how to play. It’s more than satisfying my quest to do ‘things’ before I die. What it really is about is confidence, self esteem, and overcoming many issues. Not to dwell on the past or share a woe-is-me sob story that may or may not be as real as remembered, but I grew up with zero self esteem. Whether it was because of my family environment, my extreme shyness, or the inner dialog in my head, I was always the one to hang back and not join in or abandon my fears to reach for the stars.

Whatever.

When I started my bucket list many years after I grew up, I added things to it that I truly wanted to do at some point, but deep inside never had the confidence to start. I had to challenge myself. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles like fibromyalgia, clinical depression, and a huge tendency to rely on stinkin’ thinkin’. But I was determined that I would do something on my list, anything just to prove to myself that I could. What followed was just weird. As I began to finish and cross off bucket list tasks, I started feeling different. It didn’t happen overnight and it began with #1 on the list. My heart’s desire was to write a book. It took me three years to do it but I did. It’s not perfect, probably could still use some work, and it is self-published, but I love it. Oh not because, to my surprise, it has been received well, but because it gave me the shot in the ass I needed to begin nurturing a little I-can-do-it attitude.

This brings me to another bucket list item, my piano. I bought a piano instructional manual for adult beginners, and I opened the first page. It looked simple enough. Right hand black keys, left hand black keys. Moving on to the white keys one hand at a time. Then both hands, first one than the other playing a tune from childhood memory simple enough for an adult beginner to bravely put fingers (and heart) in position to learn. It’s only taken a few weeks to learn the Alphabet Waltz, Joy to the World, Ode to Joy, and The River Is Wide. I haven’t learned about chords, major, minor whatevers, and timing, But I am having so much fun. And like writing a book, I am going to keep plugging at it until I am satisfied that I’ve learned all I can. I have visions of playing along with a Yanni cd someday. LOL! A girl can dream can’t she? After all isn’t that what it’s all about – reaching for your dreams? Besides, if I have learned anything on this journey, I have learned this: You never stop learning, that is, if you don’t want to. I don’t want to stop learning. I feel like I was a late bloomer and now is the time to catch up.

a dream come true

a dream come true

What would you love to do/learn now at this point in your life? Believe in yourself and do it. God will smile with you.

By the way, don’t forget to pray for peace. Please.

Book Review – Save Us A Seat Fletcher McHale NaBloPoMo #4


save us a seat

We had a busy weekend as you can see by my previous post. Not only did we do the bike run to Monroe, but I had the pleasure of meeting Fletcher McHale at her book signing at Tincy’s on the Corner in Ville Platte, La. If you haven’t heard of Fletcher yet, don’t worry, you will. She is a woman with a dynamite personality bigger than life and describes herself as a “regular girl living in the middle of a cow pasture”. Nobody has to guess how she feels about anything; she is an open book, pardon the pun. It would be hard not to see her blue eyes sparkle with laughter, or flash with anger. Save Us A Seat is her debut novel although it certainly doesn’t read like it was produced by a first-timer.

Fletcher McHale

Fletcher McHale

Oh. My. Gosh. I love this book! Look, folks, I had tears dripping from my chin onto the pages of more than one chapter. No, it isn’t a hopelessly sappy book. How can I describe it? Real life. Crazy. Funny. Emotional. Sad. Supremely happy. Enlightening. And again, funny. The story revolves around three women, best friends for life, living in the small community of Bon Dieu Falls, Louisiana. As with most tiny communities, everybody knows everybody else’s business and nothing is off limits for discussion. Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine know that fact all too well. They have managed to keep their friendship solid and thriving despite all the drama that small town living brings. Then restlessness creeps in, tragedy hits hard, and life as they know it will never be the same. Written in first person, Fletcher McHale has woven together a saucy story that is captivating and wrings every ounce of every emotion from the reader. The three main characters are delightfully funny with a shot of smart-ass thrown in and a bond with each other that lasts through thick and thin, right or wrong.

I highly recommend this book. Do ya’ll remember the commercial on TV that shows a little girl telling an interviewer “We want more, we want more”? Picture me on my knees saying the same thing to Fletcher McHale. Save Us A Seat is available through online bookstores everywhere.

On another note, I want to remind you to pray for peace. I talk to God pretty regular and I know He is listening. It’s the human race – we’re a mess. How we haven’t completely obliterated the earth of mankind, I’ll never know.

Book of the Month! NaBloPoMo #3


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A couple of nights ago a delightful woman by the name of Virginia Kerth called to interview me. Me, the small town old gal who lives in the woods, me. She wanted me to know that it was her turn to choose the book of the month for her book club. And she chose mine. She chose mine! A book club in Kansas is going to read Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. They will meet afterwards, review it, discuss it, chew on it for a while and then decide whether or not it is a good read. I am beyond thrilled!

Virginia is such a sweet person that I wanted to interview her. We talked on the phone like long lost friends finding each other at last. Without giving any details of her private life, I can tell you that she is an avid book reader (duh), and apparently a social butterfly. She must know how to entertain as well because she told me her plans for the book club meeting which will be at her home, include creating the refreshments around all things Louisiana and the Old Ladies’ Club. Isn’t that a hoot? She will be serving shrimp, pecan pie and rum drinks with little umbrellas in them. (You have to read the book to understand that.)

By the time I hung up the phone, my head had swelled beyond what I thought it ever could. And then I got out of bed, put my slippers on, let the dogs go out, made the cat go out, fed the fish, and fixed a cup of blueberry tea. Then I got kind of scared. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s a bust? Virginia told me that she would let me know what the club thinks of it and she promised me she would tell me about ALL the reviews – good and bad. Ok, that will shrink a swelled head down to size in a hurry. So all I could do was talk to God about it. I realized He has always given me the desires of my heart. And I know He has great plans for me. And I believe that through Him I can soar like eagles. What the heck am I worried about? I am so weird.

I think the night Virginia called was the same day I found out that my book is on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17397862-secrets-of-the-old-ladies-club?ac) and on Books A Million online (http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Secrets-Old-Ladies-Club/Nan-Tubre/9781475975123?id=5831605601006). Can you imagine that? I got so excited about it I am hosting a book give-away on the Goodreads site. I’m giving away a copy to five lucky people. You’ll have to go here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway. The last day to enter is Dec 3rd and Goodreads will select the winners.

I also have a give-away on my facebook author page. It runs through November 15th. All you have to do is find the post mentioning the give-away, share it with your friends and ‘like’ my page. My two year old granddaughter will select that winner. Don’t ask.

Oh, and how could I forget…if you want a copy of my book, send a message to me and I give you the details.

It would be a huge help to me if you would offer a comment or two here. Don’t be shy, share me with your friends! I’ll just love you forever for that.

And don’t forget to pray for peace.

NaBloPoMo ??


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Have you heard of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month? It is a an organization of a varied assortment of writers – novice, seasoned, occasional, you name it. During the month of November they gather in one cyber-spot and write. That’s all. They write. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November and hopefully participants will have a good jump on constructing their own novel. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is JUST DO IT. Don’t you love that? I certainly do. I have participated in the event a few times. The first time, I wasn’t able to accomplish 50,000 words. But the next year, I did! The following year, my husband asked me not to participate. He was patient, he said, but he wanted to be the center of my attention that particular November. Well, those weren’t his exact words, but you get the picture.

Anyway, now I hear there is a movement about called NaBloPoMo. National Blog Posting Month. Similar to NaNoWriMo, the goal is to post a blog entry every day in November. Yayyy! I can do that. Can’t I? Can’t I?

I’m going to give it a shot, folks, and, yes, I’m excited about it. There are no rules. I can blog on anything I want to. You may want to fasten your seat belts now because I’m going to fly with this challenge. I have a lot planned for the month of November and if you come along, you will get a picture of the life I live down here in Louisiana. It won’t be easy. My husband just walked in and said “I don’t know why you spend SO much time on the computer! It’s not healthy!” Brings new meaning to the word challenge.

Until tomorrow,
Nancy

Crossing off the Bucket List!


Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Who knew life after 50 could be so much fun?? And I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever. I am deep into my 50’s and the funny part about that is that I didn’t have a clue about life until middle age began it’s uphill climb over my being. I hear people talk about their high school years being the best time of their life. I’ve heard people say early marriage and motherhood ‘completed’ them. I have even heard one or two people wish they were a child again. Not me. Nope. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world (mostly because I have the most adorable grandchildren) but as far as high school and childhood – you can have ’em. The simple fact is, for a late bloomer like myself, hitting that 50 mark was like getting permission to finally have a life. Suddenly, young people call me “ma’am”. I seem to have acquired respect through no effort of my own, although I will admit that the first time I was asked if I wanted a senior citizen discount, I was just a pinch offended. Of course, now I ask for it. Hey. It’s been earned.

Along with garnering respect, another perk of aging is suddenly realizing that you can do anything your little heart desires. Confidence is no longer elusive, it’s a new friend. For example, I confidently do not color my hair any longer. Screech. Yes, it’s true. Let the grays come on down! What does it matter? Who cares? My husband told me the other day I’m starting to look like a silver fox. I haven’t figured out if that’s a good thing or not, but it doesn’t really matter anyway. I choose wear it confidently. It’s all good.

I am living life actively and happily now more than at any other time in my life. A by-product of that is the development of my own Bucket List. You know what that is, I’ve written about it before, taking inspiration from the fab movie of the same name. If you recall, the number One spot on my Bucket List was to write a book. Joyfully, I can cross that off the list. I wrote and published my own book, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club (available on amazon, B&N, etsy, and a few shops locally). Yes, I’m aglow. And I intend to write more books, actually, a few more are in the wings.

Age and confidence gave me permission to add many things to my Bucket List and do way more than I ever really thought I could. What else, you say? I learned how to belly dance. Uh huh. It wasn’t pretty considering I am more belly than anything else, but at least I had the confidence to go for it. Again, who cares what my dancing looks like as long as I enjoy it? The truth is I crossed that off my Bucket List pretty early on. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

But my most most favorite favorite favorite thing to cross off my list is I am finally learning to play the piano! Imagine that! It’s something I have wanted to do since I was a child so when the opportunity to purchase a piano at a ridiculously low price (thanks again Mary!), I jumped at it. I can’t describe how excited I am. I guess if I would have had the opportunity when I was younger, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do today. The only regret I have is concerning my boys. I wish I could have given them the chance to learn how to play the piano. One of my sons did play the alto sax for a little while, but the other son never was musically inclined. Come to think of it, sax-boy wasn’t that instrumentally inclined, proof of which became evident when he traded said saxophone for a stereo when I wasn’t looking.

This much I have learned: The purpose of having a Bucket List is to give yourself permission to do that which you are passionate about. Awesome.

Here’s something else I am passionate about; creating art. I just finished a series of works with various interpretations of the Tree of Life. It’s not a new concept, just a new interpretation. It’s a subject we artists love because of the unique individual spin we can add to it. I constructed my trees using silver-plated, bronze, copper, and gold-tone wire, added semi-precious stone chips, glass beads, Swarovski crystal and charms. The symbolism includes three main roots to the tree (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), twelve branches (twelve tribes of Isreal), amethyst (royalty), sodalite (peace), aventurine and jade (new life), jasper and agate (earth) and a garnet to depict a ‘drop of His blood’. These are mounted within shadow boxes with backgrounds of religious connotations. I will be taking this line of art to a little shop down in Henderson, Louisiana tomorrow. The owner, Jennifer Casanova, is an art lover and she especially loves to offer home-grown Louisiana artwork in her store. If you get a chance, schedule a fly-by and tell her Nancy sent you!
https://www.facebook.com/casanovamarketshops

Bayou Religion

Bayou Religion


Tree of Life

Tree of Life


Word of God Tree of Life

Word of God
Tree of Life

Please don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. The whole world needs your prayers.

And please don’t forget to drop a comment or like this post. I’ve been told when you do that, something really great will happen in your life! 😉 And that will make me very happy!

What have I been doing, you ask?


There is more to me than meets the eye… not saying that’s always a good thing…but it has it’s advantages. I’ve shared some of my work outside of writing at the end of this post. I love my life.

voices
Bwahahahah!

I have renewed enthusiasm concerning my novel, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. One lesson I learned early on about self-publishing is that it’s hard to get the book out there, especially if you cannot afford a marketing package. So you can imagine how excited I was to get a phone call from a group of ladies at the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism in Ville Platte bidding me to come for a cup of coffee. If you are not from Louisiana, let me tell you that when you are invited for coffee by anyone, it’s a sign – a good one. I was so excited about the coffee klatch, even having the tire on my brand new car go flat on the way didn’t discourage me, although I do admit to being nervous for arriving late. Nervous? Not much! I was a basket case. But come to find out, the people I met were awesome and equally as excited as I was. It appeared that my 15 minutes of fame was extended to an entire 16 minutes. They thought they had a celebrity in the house. Who, me? The one who stuttered and had sweaty palms? The one who worried for many an hour about choosing a suitable outfit from my vast array of jeans and tee shirts for this coffee/meeting? Yes, me.

Worrying is pointless and I must re-learn over and over that it accomplishes nothing. The coffee klatch was a success. It started out with me saying a few words about the characters in my book, then, to my relief, the room exploded into hilarity as, one by one, the ladies reported ways in which they identified with my characters. One story shared led to another, and another and before long, all of us were laughing, slapping our knees, and gasping for air until someone passed a box of tissues to mop up the dripping Niagra of tears while we caught our breath. We couldn’t help it. Old ladies are fun.

So to cap it off, I was asked to give a little talk during the Chamber of Tourism dinner, which I did last Wednesday. And to the October Chamber of Commerce dinner coming up. And someone asked me to speak to the Rotary Club. Add to that, the person in charge of ordering books for Evangeline parish (not county, c’mon, we live in Louisiana) informed me that she had ordered copies of my book for every library in the parish. I. am. surprised. And can’t believe how blessed I am. The author of this blog does not ‘do’ social activity well. I break out in hives, blank-outs, and nausea when I meet people I don’t know. Usually. The good news is when I talk about my book, I rarely have to finish a sentence before someone else in the group takes over and within moments everyone is talking and laughing at the same time. That’s what makes it easy. I start, someone else finishes. I just sit back with a smile on my face, nod my head, and have a good time.

Truthfully, I don’t know how it happened that I have gone from 15 minutes of fame to at least 19 minutes now. I just started with some crazy old lady busting out of my head to get her story on paper. Or something like that anyway. If you have ever written a story, you know that the characters come to life in a unique and delightful way. Once you write about them, they move in. They don’t leave. It’s wonderful.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

In an earlier post I’ve mentioned that I have a habit of going through what my husband and step-son call ‘phases’, meaning I go off on a tangent with one of my many hobbies until I have come completely undone. It’s fun. To my husband’s surprise, or perhaps disdain, I rather like it.

My latest burst of energy produced some pretty positive results. Here are a few pictures:

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A bold statement-of-faith necklace and a St. Theresa Chaplet prayer beads.

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A one-decade rosary with a locket crucifix, a one decade world peace rosary with a “drop of His blood”

These are listed in my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ToLoveAlways

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And some five decade tee-tiny little rosaries made for baby’s baptism, or keep one close beside you in your pocket, or give it as the perfect original shower gift.

And these little darlings are not yet listed, but soon…

Oh, and don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. God answers prayers. We wait for His time, but continue our vigil of prayer.