Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

A Thought for The New Year

In order to keep my wits about me and keep focused on my goals and the things that need to be accomplished immediately, in the near future and in the distant future, I need thinking time.

Usually, I set aside a few minutes just before bedtime to refresh my written lists. And once a week, I take a little more time to reevaluate what has to have priority, what can be taken off the list, and what needs to be added.

If you don’t keep lists, why not try it. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll get done. Once you write things down, your subconscious takes over to help you. When opportunities present themselves, you’ll be ready.

We all hear and read things when we least expect it that can motivate us and move us towards being and doing better. No matter how short I might be for time when that happens, I try to jot it down and then later record it in a more permanent place.

In the process of reevaluating things and making another list tonight, I came across a quote I had scribbled down. Not sure if it came from a book, something I read, or a movie:

To survive I had to make myself more than I was. Not the boy who was ship wrecked.

I know you must be wondering why in the world I would find that motivating and helpful in my situation. But I’ve always found encouragement in the most unlikely things.

Losing Bill was like losing part of me. I’ll never get over it, but I must learn to go on, accomplish, and be of value while I still have life. Although I consider my life with Bill the most wonderful part of my life, I know I must make NOW the most precious time. It is what I’ve been given and like all time — it goes quickly.

Life constantly presents us with challenges. If we are to survive, run our race, and face our challenges successfully, we can’t stay the same. We have to grow and make ourselves MORE than we were and not remain the “boy who was ship wrecked”.

Happy New Year dear friends. May it be your best and may you find yourself “more” at it’s end than at its beginning!


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  • I am a big list maker – it is the only way I can set things aside from my overactive brain. I have just started my “gardening” lists for the year, it is going to take me days this year to get settled.

    My innate tendency is to live in the past, or the future – and not now. So I work extra hard to make sure each year is better than the last, and corral myself almost daily to return to the present. You are so right – we can’t stay the same – but sometimes I wish it was not so hard to always strive forward. And, as I have gotten older, I appreciate the days when I just chuck it all and wallow.

  • You are an inspiration!! May God bless you during this difficult time. You are a courageous woman

  • God has given you many talents. One is gardening, one is teaching, one is writing, and another is being an inspiration to those around you that need to be uplifted. To share your life, hopes, dreams, hurts, joys, and knowledge can come from only Him who wants us to be more than conquerors. God Bless and keep up the “good work”.

  • Ideas from unlikely places:Talking with a friend recovering from surgery, I complimented her for her ‘patience and persistence one minute at a time’ and then realized that could have been my mantra last year. So now I repeat it to myself daily, especially with exercises that made such a difference last summer in the garden. Just this morning facing a new year, I asked myself,”Self, what are you ‘in training’ for?” The answer that I ‘heard’ was, “I’m in training for old age.” I really do want to stay as fit as I’m able for as long as I’m able. I learned enough from your book and blogs to last several more seasons! The gardener’s lament: ‘well, there’s always next year,’ may not be true, but seeing the garden growing keeps me active and eating better. Wishing you Love and Light as you practice ‘patience and persistence’ during these grey days. In one sense, the longest and darkest night is behind us for this year, getting lighter every day 2 minutes at a time. Actually,I look forward to the day after the Winter Solstice for that very reason.

  • Happy New Year Theresa,
    I would like to fix this post into audio and play it in my ear every morning as I’ve slumped into becoming “less and less” as I age. You always give me a lift and just the right amount of motivation.
    Thank you,

  • Sending wishes for a productive New Year my dear gardening friend and thank you for the positive reinforcemnet you have provided.

  • Theresa,

    Thank you for another inspiring post. May your every day be filled with light and love.

    I am going to be making lists and going over them each evening before I turn in…and I will be thinking of you as I do so. I like the idea of refining as you go along.



  • God bless you, woman!

    Best attitude toward Life to have, yes! I’ve drawn inspiration from you some with a little “Desert Greens” newsletter of my own (which I’ve let languish. And maybe now with encouragement and the New Year and I can pick back up on it.

    Again, God Bless! And Happy New Year to you!

  • Happy New Year to you too, Theresa. May it be your best also. I have no doubt that you will find yourself “more” at its end than at its beginning.

    Thanks for this reminder about lists. I know that due to your encouragement to keep lists – I keep them on my computer – I have had one of my most successful gardening seasons to date. Another valuable lesson that ties right in with this – especially for those who have less time, or less physical strength, is your post on the power of a little. Those two, in combination are unbeatable and they have helped me put one foot in front of the other on the days where everything seemed to be falling to bits.

  • Your blog is the only one I follow because it is based on “tried and true” and it focuses on the garden and the gardener. You are very inspiring and I am continually amazed by you. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight.

  • I am a firm believer in the saying “A short pencil is better than a long memory”. One of the most important lists I compile each year is what I title, “Things Not to do in Next Year’s Garden”. I also make specific goals for next year’s garden such as trying something new. On a monthly basis during the summer, I also prepare a “State of the Garden” note specific to each planting area in my garden. All of these lists serve me well while planning my next garden season.

  • Theresa,
    I cannot garden much anymore due to health issues but I love reading your blog. You have been so positive and inspiring and that helps me to remember to think that way also. I especially need that now in times of yet another transition in my life–moving to a retirement community (absolutely the right thing to do for us). Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us all. Love to you!

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