Twig Tips

My wreath-making expertise was gained in bits and pieces, kinda like twigs. I’ve offered those tidbits to you in the same way: in bits and pieces. So…

My twig tip for today is….

Honeysuckle. Why are our wreath designs so unique, gorgeous and long-lasting? We spell it h-o-n-e-y-s-u-c-k-l-e! It gives our creations that wild, woodsy and natural look and it also provides perfect resting places for bird nests and other critters. Honeysuckle enhances the shape of the wreath and adds strength and durability to your wreath. In fact, when you make a character wreath, some of those sentimental pieces are made of wood or pottery and can be quite heavy. For example, if I want to add a clay pot to the wreath, I tie the honeysuckle into a ring and slide the pot into the ring – securing it with glue, and then covering it with fresh mosses. The honeysuckle vine will hold such an addition securely and generally enhances or adds to the strength of the wreath base.

Drive down any wooded country road and you can find honeysuckle vines in the undergrowth or at the base of a tree or fence. It likes to twine around these and grow up among the branches. Now is the time of year to look for it, as honeysuckle has not begun to leaf out yet. If you do happen to harvest honeysuckle when it has leaves on it, just let them dry and rub them off the stems. Just cut the vine at the point where it comes up out of the ground and then merely pull the remainder of the vine out of the tree or bush.

As soon as you have collected the honeysuckle vine, wrap it around in a circle and secure it with wire. This allows it to dry curved instead of straight, for as honeysuckle dries, it becomes brittle. Only cut as much as you may need, so that it will be fresh as you add it to your wreath. When incorporating honeysuckle into your twig wreath, use pipe cleaners or wire to tie it to the twig wreath base. In fact, I demonstrate this process in every wreath-making video. You can see these on my product page. Be creative by having it extend above and below the wreath. Make loops and curls; let your imagination be your guide.

So get busy and start creating those spring wreaths! I know you can do it!

Blessings,

Nancy

For more ideas on how to find your unique style and incorporate freshly harvested honeysuckle vines into your wreaths, “Spring Meadow” is the book for you!

To find your style, it is imperative that you first learn the basics of wreath design. This book will teach you these basics, along with all tips, ideas and a technique that I have developed during my thirty years in the floral & home décor industry.

A beginner with no experience to a professional designer will benefit from this beautiful, easy to follow book.

I start with a “wild birch” base exclusive to Ladybug Wreaths. Then I use freshly harvested honeysuckle vines adding loops and curls to give your wreath a wild & natural look.

You learn how to incorporate large, medium, and small blossoms as well as different forms of fillers and berries. My instructions will teach you how to securely attach a pick to a stem, make sure your “critters” such as birds, ladybugs, nests, and bird houses are anchored securely.

And, of course, I’ll share how to tie a beautiful single, double, or triple ribbon bow for which Ladybug Wreaths is so well known.

I’m delighted to be able to share my tips and secrets with you through “Spring Meadow.”

New Year’s – Oh, The Possibilities

Well, we made it through another year and now 2018 is upon us. If you’re like me, you’re refreshed, ready for a new start—almost like a blank slate (or empty wreath) to be creative with! And like you, I find inspiration in the world around me—in nature, poetry, devotions, and songs. But I am also inspired by you!

I have received emails, comments, and notes from my customers for many years expressing how I’ve inspired them. They mean so much to me, touching my heart and my life in ways I cannot explain. They inspire me to do more, teach more, and film more to help you reach your life's goals and dreams.

I feel led today to share a few quotes from these emails to show you what a blessing these are in my life. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having so much confidence in me! You give me inspiration, strength and purpose to put smiles on your faces as I encourage and teach you a hobby that has done so much for me.

Nancy, you and your wreath making videos have literally brought me back to life.  It's been so long since I've had a desire to do anything creative. Your beautiful smile and your gift of presentation are so inspiring. God Bless you as you continue to inspire others…

Thank you for your boldness and proudly proclaiming you are a Christian. What a testimony you have through your business…thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sweet spirit, ALWAYS wearing a smile and always being such a positive influence…

You have been such a blessing to me.  I have been making wreaths for years and selling them.  I feel like I have been to a wreath seminar… I have really learned a lot from you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart…

Such emails are humbling and heart-warming. I love all of you and wish you the best in the New Year. You’re truly an inspiration to me. I want to encourage all of you to make 2018 the best year ever—in your life, family, and business. Challenge yourself to think outside the box and be as creative as ever. Knock down those mental barriers that are keeping you from doing so. I know you can do it!

Blessings,

Nancy

Being Thankful In Our Weakness

You may be wondering why I'm writing about weakness when I'm the founder of a successful Internet business.

I receive so many emails from women battling chronic illness (like myself) while trying to succeed in the marketplace. Many subscribe to my Inner Circle or follow me on Facebook and enjoy my Ladybug Wreaths website while building their business.

As I shared in my Thanksgiving newsletter, I want to encourage all of you to be thankful in your weakness. As strange as that may sound, it's an integral part of success.

Most of you know my battle with fibromyalgia, brought on by undiagnosed celiac disease, and the damage it did to my body and my marriage. Subsequently, I suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Did I mention low self-image, as I tried to live my life and build my business? I chronicle all of this in my book, "My Journey Through Fibromyalgia: Rumors, Ravages & The Rescue."

I knew Bible verses about being content in your circumstances like Philippians 4:12 or 1 Timothy 6:6-7, but I'd never thought about actually being thankful regardless of my circumstances. After all, I had been chronically sick for decades without a diagnosis. It was hard for me to rejoice in that.

During those years I was so ill that sometimes I was bedridden, I found many Bible verses of God's love and promises. I clung to them with every ounce of strength I had left in my body. And, of course, I prayed for healing. I fought my way out of the pit of despair through my faith and dependence on God.

After my diagnosis, I made adjustments to my lifestyle, especially my diet. I can now do things I haven't been able to do in forty years. My husband and I now share a closeness filled with love and joy, but I'm not completely well. I don't say those words often, because I have come such a long way.

So you might be wondering, "Nancy, where does the weakness come in?"

Well, unless you lived with me day in and day out, you wouldn't notice my weaknesses. I could live the rest of my life hiding my insecurities, as well as the health issues I still deal with. I've wrestled with how my weaknesses fit the model of success.

I felt that until I conquered all of my issues, I hadn't succeeded. I wouldn't have run the race successfully that God put me on this earth to run. Then one morning in church, listening to the pastor's message on weakness, I finally realized how wrong my thinking had been.

I learned it takes a strong person to expose their weakness. Our culture avoids weakness. We only want to share our success. But, and this is the exciting thing, in God's kingdom, weakness is a magnet. If we show our weakness to others, then God's work in our lives is glorified and magnified by His glory. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God said to Paul:"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Paul continues in that passage: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Do you see? I finally did! When I am weak, I am strong. God was pruning me so I could bear fruit. Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15: 1-2).

All those years when I prayed that God would heal me…that He would remove this illness from me, it was not His will. Instead, God used my illness — my weakness — to shape me into a person He could use. I can honestly sympathize with those of you suffering with chronic illness. More than that, if I can encourage or inspire you, my weakness is worth it.

I am happy! I have a husband that I adore and who adores me. We enjoy a beautiful family of children and grandchildren. We still face problems, but I see them as mere hindrances I'll live with as long as the Lord deems necessary. I no longer feel I'm running a race to make up for forty years I felt were lost. Those were important years which led me to an important purpose.

Meditate on the fact that God wants to do great work in you. Pray for comfort and for healing, yes, but also ask God how your weakness can help others. Count the blessings you do have in life, no matter how big or small. Cling to God's promises for a better tomorrow.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

With Love, Nancy

Our Hope Is Within God

Most of you know me as the lady behind Ladybug Wreaths. You may have even read my book or followed my blog posts as I’ve shared my journey through fibromyalgia. I’ve spoken about my successes and some of my failures. But rarely do I speak about the really dark years, the ones where God allowed me to sink to the bottom of the "pit" with no hope of a better life.

Or at least, I thought there was no hope. God knew better.

My husband Steve and I no longer had a life together. We were strangers in the same house growing further and further apart with each passing year. Neither of us could understand my illness with all of its debilitating pain and strange peculiarities. How could Steve understand what I was going through when I couldn't even understand it myself to explain it to him? And then God reached out His hand to us.

Only by God’s power did our marriage survive the attacks from Satan. God is using this experience now in both of us, not only for the sake of our marriage, but to encourage others.

So many of you are battling chronic illnesses, and even for those who aren’t, you still might be facing tremendous hurt in your marriages. Allow God to speak to your heart this Christmas. Be open to His plan for your life and your marriage, whatever it may be.

My blog, my website, and our story reach people from all over the world; people in pain and have no hope. Our hope is within God, and we gladly share that with you. He has poured His miracles down upon us by giving my husband a new heart, and a new understanding, along with an undying – cherishing, forever-after kind of love! And me – well, I have a healthier body along with courage built on a determination and strength that I never knew I possessed.

Ours is a very painful and personal story…but one that we feel God wants us to share with those who are desperately searching for the answer in their painful lives. I share the details in my book, My Journey Through Fibromyalgia. But for today, I encourage you to pray with your spouse, if they’re willing, for God to restore your marriage. Pray alone, if you have to.

God is listening and He cares about your broken heart. Mine was so broken at one time that I thought it could never be mended. But by God's own strong and tender hands, He did so. I believe He will do this for anyone suffering from a broken heart who puts their faith in Him. God's strong, gentle hands can change lives, molding the pieces of your life back together even while you are experiencing deep hurt. He can miraculously make us whole (and sometimes better than we were before) by reaching into our soul, making our lives more beautiful, more fulfilling, and more meaningful than we could have ever possibly imagined.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

My prayer for you this Christmas is one of joy, peace, and reconciliation. Life is short and peace is scarce in our world. May you rest in the supernatural peace found in the birth of our Savior.

God bless,

Nancy

 

Looking Back… Thank you God That I am Tired…

Looking Back…
This blog post was written almost 8 years ago.  It was the day when "My Secret Vendors" was first released. This first release contained 200 pages.  Now, after 7 rewrites, it contains OVER 750 pages of my "SECRETS" 

 

"Thank You God" By, Nancy Alexander


That I Am Tired

Where Do I Start? I'll start where every good thing in our lives comes from — God. 

Knowing that I can and do get up every single morning and put on the "full armor of God" fills me with such security and confidence.  It ensures that I can have a day filled with Happiness and Joy which come from God's grace.  Now, that doesn't mean that I don't have bad days, I DO!  That doesn't mean that I don't slip back into the past very often and have to battle with "the evil one", I DO!  That does not mean that I don't slide down that "slippery slope" quite often that Beth Moore describes in her Bible Studies, because I DO!

It does mean that I have a Father who loves me beyond words…He is always there in my life holding out a hand to pull me out and rescue me…He is always there to soothe my broken heart…He is always there pouring blessings and miracles upon me that I certainly do not now, nor ever will deserve.

He had to choose between his "two loves" when he sent his son onto this earth!  How could a Father choose between His two loves:  one – flesh of His own flesh, and the other – His children created by Him to love and worship Him, and that He could also love and cherish in return.

I am speechless…I am in awe…that He chose His son to feel our pain and give His life so that there could be an open pathway flowing between us and our Father every single second of every single day for the rest of our lives.

God has worked such miracles in my family that there are way too many to list, and way too many to go into.  But I will say that during these last two years, He has made His presence known to us in such a way that leaves me amazed!

My husband, Steve, and I have just completed an exciting project together which was totally inspired by God — there is no other explanation.  We found that we could work side by side at our computers, electronically sharing and writing on the same pages at once.  With my strengths multiplying his weaknesses, and Steve's strengths doing the same for mine…well, that is something so wonderful we were blessed to share!  We enjoyed these (literally hundreds) of hours together and finished with an e-Book, a project that we never would have guessed could come to fruition.  And, we ended up with ideas to write at least 10 more books!

You see, God's hand was with us in this from the very beginning!  He sent people into our lives at just the right time when they were needed:  Jim Cockrum from www.SilentJim.com (an Internet Entrepreneur), who is so well known because of his honest and knowledgeable style — and who also charges $700 an hour just for a phone consultation; Linda Joseph from www.WebTechEnterprises.com (our coach), a very smart entrepreneur in her own right, a patient God-loving woman, who has handled so much of the technical "stuff" we didn't know how to do, or have the time to learn; and John Ritskowitz from www.marketing-medic.com (an amazing copywriter whom we were so blessed to be able to work with).  And, no, we could not afford these wonderfully brilliant people God sent into our paths, but He figured out a way!

Today was the "launch" date for this new book: "Secret Vendor List", where I totally and completely reveal ALL of my secrets and suppliers I worked 25 years to obtain.  In the wholesale/retail world, this is just NOT done!  Each retailer researches, studies, walks the halls in the large National Markets looking for the best suppliers with the best prices.  You know…the ones you can really trust!  Those are so hard to find these days!  I have felt led by God for some time with a soft spot in my heart for my customers…there is an attachment with them which I cannot explain…some really need help and that help just may be me.  So many of them are at places in their lives right now where I was for many years, and that is not a very pleasant or happy place to be.

Through our work (together, side-by-side) on this 200 page book, plus two more smaller e-Books, Steve and I have been working into the wee hours of the morning, and then jumping out of bed with a start the next morning to complete this amazing task.  Last night was one of those late nights, and this morning…well, another early morning.  So much to be done; newsletters to write; web pages to be redone; older e-Books to be revised and rewritten, auto-responders to be set up, and so much more!

Now…the joys…and amazement come as I am watching the "stats" as people come to my website and my blog from all over the world – 20 different countries so far!  I am answering emails about sales and downloads…I just feel so humbled that God reached down into our broken lives two years ago and changed them in such amazing ways! He has a plan for us.  He has a path for us…and we will certainly, blindly follow Him on this path for the rest of our lives knowing more Joy and Happiness awaits us than we can begin to imagine!

 

This is why I can thank God that I am tired! 

 

NOTE:  "My Secret Vendors" is even more popular today than it was when it was written.  Here is the link if you wish more information:  http://www.MySecretVendors.com​