Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

That Little Extra Effort; Thanks, and the Hope of Returning the Favor

I think we are all capable of doing something great with our life.  To accomplish that takes focus and choosing carefully how we spend our time.

Having a goal that is a bit different than the ones our friends and family have, can give rise to a lot of criticism.

When our path is the one less traveled especially, we can be handed a lot of discouragement from the world in general.

Although it seems very popular now for many to blame everyone else and everything else for what they do and don’t do, have and don’t have, – when it really comes down to it, each of us is responsible for how we live.

There are times in life when all of us have to push through difficult times with only ourselves to encourage us on the path we’ve chosen.

The Concepts and Ideas Have to Already Be There

That being said, it’s much easier to do if we’ve encountered encouraging concepts and ideas along the way that we can mentally review when those difficult times come.

This in itself is a great reason to seek out encouraging writings and information via books and the internet. If you do that just for a few minutes each day, it can make a big difference in how you come through the next difficult time. It’s also a good reason to associate with folks (even on the internet) who are uplifting and going in your direction, rather than those who are constantly negative and criticizing.

Difficult Times Come in Varying Degrees

The years Bill and I spent in poverty trying to accomplish something that was different than the norm (making a living with his art) was much harder and more severe than any stressful experience with my new book, Organic Gardening – Cutting Through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening.

The tedious and rather stressful time I’ve experienced over the past 6 weeks in dealing with technical issues of getting the book printed are in no way as severe as the years Bill and I spent in poverty (and I mean that literally) trying to accomplish a goal that was different than the norm.  (check it out here: http://www.billmartz.com)

Nonetheless, there were moments that I wondered why I had ever decided to write the book in the first place!  There were also times that it was all I could do to get through the technical aspects, much less worry about things like not catching all the mistakes in the book.

A Background Story Leading to the Point I Want to Make

Years ago I worked for law firms.  Many times it would be necessary to proof legal documents with another co-worker.  Although we’d read it together more than once,  it was seldom that all the mistakes would be caught and corrected.

The more you experience this type of thing on your travels through life, the more you realize that it’s next to impossible to have something published that is totally error free.  There comes a point with anything, that there is just not enough time remaining to continue proofing over and over.

And in many cases, the costs to hire professionals cannot be afforded or justified, if afforded. And even with professionals or many people proofing that doesn’t mean the work will be totally error free.

When I started the book, it only took a little research to find out the expense of a proofreader and any other professional was beyond my means.   If the book was to be done, I would have to lay it out, design the cover, proof it and everything else that needed to be done to make it a reality. As much as I hated the idea of the possibility of having the book come out with numerous mistakes, it looked like I might have to live with that, like it, or not.

What Happened

As time passed, two readers of TMG, Toni and Patricia previewed a certain section of the book and proofed as they read.  As grateful as I was for their help, it left a lot of book “unproofed” by anyone but Bill and me.

Then one of those unexpected wonderful things happened.  I received an email from a long time reader of TMG advising me of some errors I had made in posts that she didn’t want me to carry over to the book. She also mentioned that she would be willing to help me in any way she could. (Her major was journalism and English.)  She even included her phone number. It only took me a few minutes to pick up the phone.

This angel’s name is Sue and she resides in Oklahoma but was heaven sent.

Almost every day from January 23rd through February 12th, I received corrections via email from Sue.

She not only caught errors in grammar, but spelling, spacing, and various inconsistencies in form.  In several spots where I had struggled for the right words (and not found them), she picked up on it and recommended better wording! In a couple of spots she suggested that the reader needed more explanation and of course, she was right.

The Main Point

I know you must wonder where in the world I’m going with the story and what point I want to make.

The main the point is that at 211 degrees water is hot.  At 212 degrees it boils.  With boiling water comes steam and that one degree of difference can power a locomotive.  It’s the one extra degree of effort in business and in life (including the garden, this book, or anything else) that separates the good from the great.

I’m pretty good at motivating myself, because I’ve trained myself that way.  But there are times when all of us falter (start to lose strength and momentum) and need the help of another (even if just through words and ideas).

At the beginning (of writing this book), I received invaluable input from Sandra. And a piece of advice from Alice that made me more sensitive to the way others may feel about certain things.  As the end came into sight, I received input from Toni, Patricia, Suzanne, Jack and Don.  Then numerous readers of TMG left messages of encouragement for me on my posts about the book.

And in the last month of struggle with technical issues, Sue pushed me to do more and be better at a time I was definitely faltering. Her attitude and effort on my behalf made me strive for that extra degree of difference that I think has taken the book to a higher level.

My Goal to Help You

My goal with the book, TMG,  and  FlowerBorders.net is to be a part of the encouraging concepts you encounter along life’s path that will help you through the difficult times when they come.  If you’ve been reading TMG for a while you know that attitude is just as much a part of my method of gardening as the actual work involved.

Where I Heard About “212 Degrees”

I first heard about “212 degrees” via an email I received years ago from Nightingale Conant, the largest publisher of personal development programs in the world.  It was in the form of a 2 1/2 minute video.

It made a big difference in how I looked at things.  I’m sharing it with you and hope you will find as much encouragement in it as I have.  Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/l7mf5as

Final Thoughts

The printer indicated that I should see a bound proof by sometime next week.

Thank you for being part of my life and all the encouragement you’ve given me.  I hope I can return the favor.
My best and warmest wishes to you and yours,


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  • Your words are beautiful and
    tears came to my eyes. Thank
    you for sharing your wisdom
    and encouragement.


  • Thank YOU for becoming a part of my life! You have made a difference in my gardening as well as just by being a friend even though I have never met you in person. And my friend wrote a book!!

  • This is so moving and so incredibly TRUE! I love your practical suggestions on surrounding yourself with like-minded people, encouraging books and the like. Focusing our time and choices on things to support our goals make such a difference. Thank you for the reminder. Also, I literally cut and pasted the paragraph about the locomotive into my own inspirational page that I add to as I come across those things that resonate with me. I will be reading that bit of advice every day!

    Stumbling across this site has been one of those things that provide, not just stellar gardening advice, but also support many life goals of mine. You have a great talent for taking so many different things that seem too big or complicated to tackle and making them completely simple and manageable.

  • Theresa,
    Beautiful post!
    As they say ‘what goes around comes around’.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • One of my mottos is “whatever blesses one, blesses all.” I think it is simply a law of life itself. Theresa, your motivation is to generously share what you have learned, so it seems fitting that your ‘angel’ was ready to generously support you at the time you needed it. And, no doubt, she was also blessed by her involvement. Thank you for your continual encouragement and for sharing your stories of blessings to enrich your readers’ lives. This is truly the best ‘stuff’ of life!

  • Theresa, I’m sending you what my mother refers to as an “e-hug”. I give you so much credit for everything you have accomplished and thank you for sharing your knowledge with your readers in the many ways that you do. I so look forward to reading your book.

  • Theresa,
    I am so excited for your book and look forward to reading it thoroughly.

    Though I comment infrequently, I read each post you write as though I am a sponge; sucking up every last word you write, and holding onto it tightly. As a new gardener (I’ll be planting my garden for the 3rd year in the next few weeks), your philosophy on gardening is inspiring. I feel light years ahead of some of my friends who have been gardening for much longer than I, and it is all thanks to you and your easy to read, vital information.

    Thank you, and I’m so happy you found that last push you needed!!

  • Theresa, I was moved to tears when I read this post. If you ever get tired of gardening (unlikely, I know), I think you have a great future as a motivational writer!

    The last part of your book, as well as a lot of your most recent post, are applicable to so many things in people’s lives in terms of not giving up, believing in yourself, making deals with yourself to do something for only a few minutes if that’s all you can do, etc.

    This encouragement can be every bit as valuable as your gardening wisdom, and I thank you for sharing it with all your readers.

  • Theresa,
    Thank you for this most meaningful post. I can’t tell you enough how much your words mean to me. And at a time when I really need to ‘hear’ them.
    I feel so blessed to be even a small a part of your life, to be inspired by you every time I read your posts.
    And I must add how extra special it makes it to be in the company of the caring and articulate gardeners who follow your blog.

  • I am so glad this post came at a time you really needed to “hear” it. We all need encouragement and it’s wonderful when it comes in a timely fashion. It encourages me that you are inspired by what I write.
    And I feel as you do that it is extra special to be in the company of the caring and wonderful gardeners who read TMG!
    Thank you Sharon, for sharing how you felt.

  • This is such a heartfelt and moving post. I too feel blessed to be a part of this “community” that Theresa has created. Theresa, you have been such a motivation to me in so many ways. You completely brighten my day. I can’t thank you enough.

  • What can I add except to agree with everyone above who expressed their admiration, appreciation and thanks. You are special.

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