Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

Victory – Success – It’s an Inside Job

With the current challenge Bill and I are facing – especially in the last few months – it’s been hard to get adequate sleep and it’s easy to slip in to feelings of despair and even self pity. I know you relate, because we’ve all been there.

When troubles come to you, do you come out of them victorious? Do you consider yourself a survivor no matter what life has thrown your way so far? Or do you break like a tea cup or buckle like a weak board?

Years ago I never thought of myself as a survivor. After surviving things that many people tell me they could not have survived, I took a different look at my strong points as well as my weak points. Come to find out, I am a survivor, even though I never looked at it that way.

As I pointed out in a previous post, if a situation can’t be avoided you have to work through it the very best that you can. Sorta like having a bad hand dealt to you in a card game: you have to play with the hand you’ve been dealt.


How you react to any situation has a lot more to do with how you’ll fare over the long haul rather than the situation itself. The right attitude can get you mentally past the unavoidable and help you look for opportunities that will better shape your world, not only in this moment but the future.

The Price You Pay for Handling Things Your Way (Especially If It’s Not Mainstream)

Bill and I spoke to a group of home-schooled kids after one of his major exhibits back in 2006.

My part of the talk was brief, but it was a message that I wanted them to have and hopefully carry through life with them. As it turns out, I was told by several parents (who also attended) that it helped them to better deal with situations they were dealing with (probably more than it helped or will ever help the kids).

Here’s What I Told Them:

You can do almost anything you want to in life, but there will always be a price to be paid. “Prices” can come in many forms.

One of them is the loss of acceptance or camaraderie from someone you hold dear.

Know up front that you cannot expect anyone to totally share your point of view, your goals, or to see exactly why you are doing what you are doing. That includes your mother, father, sister, brother, your children, any other relatives, AND even your BEST friends!

In all probability, if what you want and are doing does not match what the vast majority is doing, you’ll be criticized.

It can be very much of an emotional loss to “lose” someone you thought you were on the same wave length with. But in order to walk the road you’ve chosen, you need to be prepared to risk and accept that loss.

In many cases, just keeping what you’re doing to yourself will avoid a lot of problems.

Criticism – Knowing It’s Coming and Using It to Help You

One of the things I learned to do long ago, was to take a criticism or a negative comment when it comes (no matter the source), weigh it out, and then make it work to help make me stronger.

I know it sounds odd, but doing this is sometimes where one of your greatest sources of help will stem.

For example: I have a dear friend with whom I felt I could share the details of our situation even though I knew her mindset on handling the problem would be different than mine. It was unwise of me to share with her and I ended up upsetting her. (Mainly because she cares for us, and I think she deems our course of action to be the wrong one.)

She asked “How much more can (you) take and how much more before you buckle under this strain?” She then made suggestions on how she would handle the problem, which is not at all like Bill and I would consider handling the problem.

Nonetheless, her question has turned out to be one of my greatest sources of strength so far.

While reading her email over and over, I thought back on my life and how all the “problems” or difficulties that I’ve had over my life have strengthened me to bear what must be borne now. In the 70 some years I’ve lived I’ve formulated the path I want to walk and what I want to stand for.  There is no way that I can expect someone else to totally understand because they have not lived my life.

I thought of all the difficulties men and women have had to bear over the course of history.  They had to be strong rather than fainthearted.  This country would never have been founded if everyone buckled at the first sign of adversity or even well into the adversity.  Many things have been done over the course of time that people, in this country especially, consider impossible now.

As hard as our situation is, as unpleasant as it is, as painful as it is, as much as I hate it, Bill and I have looked for the good and have found it.  We are still walking in the direction of the outcome we desire, but have faced the reality of the other possibilities.

Whatever the outcome, I know I’ll never be the same in many ways. But hopefully, I will be better overall and able to be of benefit to others.

Bet You’re Wondering How This Effects You and Your Garden

Our situation will severely limit my time in the garden.  Since we depend on our garden for our food I’ll have to be very creative to find a way to do the necessary tasks. Out of adversity will come many new discoveries about how things can be done more easily and efficiently.

I’ll have lots of new ideas to share with YOU.

Final Thoughts

When problems and difficulties come your way as they do to us all, try to dwell on how you want to be through it all.

Look for the good things, no matter how small.  The little joys can get us through the big problems.

And although all of us have a certain outcome we desire when experiencing difficulties, the desired outcome alone is not the real victory when all is said and done.

It’s what we achieve inside ourselves that makes all the difference: That “elusive victory from within” that can make us the men or women of strength that we really want to be.


Related Posts:

Playing with the Hand You’ve Been Dealt – Even in the Garden

Your Focus Will Determine Your Outcome and Lifestyle


All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com.


  • I’ve said it privately, and I’ll say it publicly – you know I love you, right?

    I raised my children telling them they could do / act any way they wanted – as long as they understood the consequences of their actions and were willing to accept those. Sound familiar?

    For me personally – I crack under pressure, spend a few weeks weeping hysterically, and then hitch up the big girl panties and get on with life. I usually have my feet firmly planted on my path and understand my life’s goal and purpose, but sometimes I stumble, and sometimes I fall flat, and have to pick myself up and start again – and remember that I am never, ever alone.

    <> – probably the hardest lesson I have had to learn this go-round.

  • Theresa, I love your mindset in the midst of your storm. Through my cancer journey this year, God has shown me so much mercy and so many blessings! As a Christian, I consider that I am in a win/win situation, but while I am here and breathing, I will choose each day to be thankful and smile. I can truly say my life has so much joy and peace, and I know that comes from the Lord. I do not know your storm, but I know Who is there with you through it! I listen to praise music if I start feeling down (focus off the Lord), and it redirects my focus back to Him where there is light, hope, mercy, joy, and my future!!! God bless you, Theresa!

  • Dear Theresa –

    You have given so much to all of us — how I wish I knew someway in which WE can help YOU.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers. Please let us know how in any way we can help.

  • Theresa,
    You are indeed so loved for who you have become to me. You have shared some very important life lessons which in turn has helped so many people not only with their gardening, but with some very large life hurdles.
    I sure do wish we could help you and Bill as well.

  • I appreciate your thoughts and wish you the best in your current struggles. It sounds like you will work out a plan and find ways to make it work. I will have you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Here I’ve been blathering on about our crazy heat in Utah while you are suffering–I’m sorry. Your thoughts on what people have gone through before is a way I try to look at the big picture. I especially think of the Civil War where our country was ripped apart for many years. You are a Survivor–keep looking for the little joys and victories.

  • Theresa,
    I may never know what you are dealing with as a couple, rest assured God is more than able to lead us through the valley of the shadow of death in a victorious way, more than just surviving. From what I can tell you are more than just a survivor. I feel like you are relying on the one and only true God for strength. It resonates from your being.
    I can relate to your sufferings in a small way having Parkinson’s, menieres syndrome/disease, glaucoma, and a number of other difficulties. However I am blessed and certainly feel that way most days, there are occasions where I am not feeling it. That being said you are right about being your own person with God. Others will never have your personal struggle or experience, ultimately most people will challenge us in a negative way.

    Some do understand and encourage us with a good understanding.
    I encourage you to keep faith in God and never give up.

  • You and Bill are in my prayers.

    Thankfully with your gardening approach, your garden can thrive with very little from you except planting.

    This has been a tough Winter, but Spring is on the way.

    You have inspired so many and been such a tremendous resource, may you be the recipient of Gods love in this time especially.

  • This is going into my devotional folder as words to live by. What a blessing to read these comments and see what beautiful friends you both have, Theresa and Bill. I know that God works all things to the good of those who love Him. I am only one – but I see a wonderfully good thing in being blessed with the many seeds that you’ve both planted in my and my family’s hearts. They will grow, multiply, and bless many more. Who can put a measure on that harvest. We love you both and will keep on praying.

  • Even if you are not gardening right now, you are still helping people, Theresa. These comments testify to this.

  • Hello Theresa,
    I never step into my garden without thinking of you! (Maybe it is the foot of mulched leaves? lol)
    Regardless, your post reminds me of the amazing life story of Steven Hawking. We saw The Theory of Everything this weekend and I am so humbled by what one man has done with his life and his poor and pitifully deformed body. It sure puts my life in a different perspective,
    mainly because he did not allow the limitations of his body to control the limitless ability of his amazing mind. It is truly inspiring to watch, even though it is entirely painful to comprehend.
    You have been and always will be the most inspiring gardener I will ever have the privilege to follow. Know this…even if your footsteps cannot be in the garden, you have paved the way for countless other organic gardeners to walk proudly in ours.
    Suzanne@Le Farm

  • Dear friend, the power of love and life is greater than all other powers. One of my favorite books refers to our ‘being’ as a result of “unfoldment, not accretion; it manifests no material growth from molecule to mind, but an impartation of the divine Mind to man and the universe.” Accretion means adding something to, whereas unfoldment means the development of something that is already a part of our being, so it just keeps coming to fruition, unfolding the glorious qualities of life and love. May you feel the strength that comes from knowing you are cherished.

  • Thanks to each of you for these encouraging and uplifting comments. Bill and I appreciate them more than I can express to you.

    Regarding – being in the garden: The only reason I’m not in the garden right now if because it is covered with ice and snow. Because of the situation, it will be difficult this year (unless things improve) to have more than 20 minutes outside at a time. But I will continue to find ways to do what I have to do.

    Anne, thank you for you willingness and desire to help. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.
    The only other way you can help is to help make it possible for me to continue with TMG by becoming a sponsor.

    If you feel you’d like to be a sponsor and help keep TMG alive:

    • you can contribute through Pay Pal by going to PayPal.com. Click on “send money to friends and family” and type in my email address – tmartz6@verizon.net – and the amount you want to contribute. If you do it this way, Pay Pal will not charge me a percentage of your contribution.
    • If a PayPal button is easier for you to use, you may click here /pay pal button/ to contribute. (Pay Pal takes 3.2% of the total when you use the button.)

    If you’d like to order my book, Organic Gardening – Cutting Through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening for $24.95 (You save $4.00 off the retail price of $28.95) Use the button below.


    Thank you all again for your warm wishes and wonderful comments. I’ve read them over and over and will continue to draw strength from them.
    You’re the best of best!

  • Dear Theresa

    I am sorry to hear about your difficult times.

    It is clear that you have many loving followers.

    You recent appeals for donations for sponsorship leave me quite cold, as I see no information on your site as how you are a non-profit nor any information as how a sponsor may benefit for doing so.

    All due respects.

  • Dear Henry,

    I never really thought about it before, but after reading your comment I can certainly understand why a request for help in keeping TMG online would not be well received by someone who has just “arrived”. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

    Regarding non-profit: I certainly hope that in the future I will NOT be non-profit (I’m non-profit, but not on purpose), but rather can make a profit on my writings that will keep TMG up and running and also support me as well.

    I spend a good bit of time helping people at no charge – which is just about unheard of – but from what folks tell me when they write to me, it has made a difference in their life. Those that have benefited from this site and from the help I have given them are the ones who would donate to help me keep the site up.

    I would not expect those who are new or those who have not greatly benefited to contribute anything.

    As far as how a sponsor may benefit: if TMG continues, they will continue to receive my help and get the benefit of my 37 years of gardening know-how.

    Thank you again for your comment.

  • Theresa, I sincerely hope that you and Bill will completely overcome the difficulties you are facing. May you always find the strength you need to meet your challenges. You are both in my prayers.

  • Thanks Sue. It’s been difficult at best, but we’re giving it everything we’ve got. Appreciate your prayers.

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