How God Used Floral Design To Save My Life…

Let me tell you about my gift from God…a hobby that gave me such a purpose and drive to greet every day. But first, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles.

When I was twenty-eight years old and first sick with fibromyalgia, it was very depressing to wake up in the morning not knowing how my body was going to feel when I stood up…and I mean waking up "if" I had been able to sleep at all the night before. The question always appeared at dawn’s first light: would I be able to do anything to make my day worthwhile?

Would I be able to drive my children to school? Could I really attend tonight’s basketball game? Would I be able to get in my car and run errands? For a while, no…I couldn't do any of these. Even accomplishing the simplest of tasks around my home, tasks that everyone else would take for granted, was not taken for granted by me. I have been sick for over 30 years with Fibromyalgia and Celiac disease, along with the various other health problems related to these conditions. I’ve chronicled this, along with my business failures and successes, in my book, “My Journey Through Fibromyalgia: Rumors, Ravages & The Rescue.”

For years, as my Fibromyalgia symptoms appeared and disappeared back and forth so many times, I felt like there were two different people living in my body. I tried to run retail shops in several locations. Considering the trying times along with severe pain I faced, I fought with all my might every single day to succeed in providing the finest of silk floral arrangements and wreaths to the most elegant homes in Anderson, SC, and the surrounding area. But, in order to run my business, I always hired more people to work for me than I really could afford to pay; you see, I couldn't depend upon my own body…so I had to depend upon others. There were times when I would have to leave and go home at a moment's notice — or even lie down on the floor until the severe dizzy spell would pass. I never wanted to have to close my shop because of my illness.

Later, after the economy started to change, my husband and I decided we could no longer afford to keep my business open. That was such a hard decision for me. I felt like I was giving up the only thing that had given me purpose — except my children, of course. There were then and still are the joy of my life. Our boys have married wonderful wives who have given us the five most beautiful grandchildren on the planet! I know, I know… just a little bit biased here! LOL

After closing my business, I was determined not to give up. It would have been very easy for me to give in to my pain and despair staying at home all day feeling sorry for myself. But, NO, I couldn't do that! Someone had mentioned eBay to me. Even though I didn't know much at all about it, I began to read and read and read. It wasn't easy, but I figured it out finally and after five or six months, became a power seller on eBay – before eBay began to implode. Now, I am a successful entrepreneur, teacher, writer, and businesswoman, selling my floral creations and educational products from my own website.

This all happened for me because I took a hobby that I was pretty good at and took a chance at making it something more. A hobby is something that makes you feel good about yourself, an activity that you can share with friends and neighbors and one that, hopefully, you are really good at doing – if not, you can learn! And when illness or a tragedy knocks the breath out of you and literally flattens you, that same hobby can be the support you need to climb back up and face your battles.

Floral design gave me joy, value, excitement, a reason to feel alive, and a reason to jump out of bed with such a start in the morning that even I was surprised.

Oh, can you just imagine? This hobby of mine can become your new hobby, too. Even more, this new skill can bring in much needed extra income, if you want to take it in that direction. Maybe you’re a mother with young children to care for and you don’t have a job outside of your home. Maybe you are a widow, who is alone and needs something to keep your mind and hands busy. My heart’s desire is to share this wonderful hobby that I love so much, but you must realize that you will have to accept the joy and excitement that comes with it…at no extra charge! Depending on what you do with this new skill, you may also receive bonuses, like confidence, pride, and some extra cash for your bank account!

You might be a young-at-heart Baby Boomer who needs the sense of accomplishment, inspiration, and joy that comes when you complete your first project with your own two hands – all by yourself! I honestly believe my floral experiences and business skills have equipped me at this point in my life, to teach, encourage, help and inspire you to do more than you ever thought possible.

I can finally say, and truly believe, that I am GRATEFUL for my illness, because God has used it for a greater good, to encourage me to spend time taking stock of my life. I focused on my skills and goals, which brought me to this point in my life where I now understand that one of my strongest goals is to follow God's leading and give something back to each one of you reading this.

What do I have to offer you? I offer you my care, my interest in your lives, my talent, experience, skills, and creative energy doing something that I love, and something that has changed my life in a very positive way. Floral design can turn your life around, too!

Family Blessings

Busy Week; Joyful Week

Even when I'm having a hard week physically as Fibromyalgia seems to attack my body more, My heart is still smiling this morning.

We woke up this morning to the three precious kiddos who have been with us since Friday. Matt's job at New Spring church took him to Charleston, SC to run the sound for a special weekend event. Sara had a chance to leave with him on Friday morning. And we were blessed to pick up Ava and Wyatt in the long school line which wrapped around the school for almost a half block

As we were greeted with big smiles as well as, "that's my Mimi & Poppy," made the wait in the school line seem like nothing at all!  It was worth every second. Lucas is in his first year at jr. high… oh my gosh did I just really say that!!??  PLEASE tell me that our first grandson has grown up that fast!!

Poppy has always been physicall able to do all the fun things with the kiddos that my fibro prevents me from doing; that does not mean I didn't have a very special weekend; as a matter of fact, it was awesome!  We recently put up a backetball goal, so you know what Steve (poppy) and the boys did!

Lucas, our very first is really smart! He's the one who joined a new church class after moving to Charleston 5 or 6 years ago saying: "If we are going to be learning the 'fruits of the spirit,' I already know those as he commenced to name each!  Lucas is a voracious reader and understands more large words that I do! 

I sometimes wonder what he will be when he grows up… maybe a marine biologist (because he can name ALL the sea life we can find photos of to trip him up!)  Or… maybe something to do with researching animals – their habitat – or wildlife, because he knows ALL their names also. I do hope I'm still here to see which career path he chooses? 🙂

Ava Grace, our only girl, is nine – soon to be ten is growing just as fast. She can be a 'tom boy' and do all the things the boys can do, but… she is also a sweet and pretty 'girly girl.' still loving dolls & stuffed animals while she is reading, for the second time, the entire series of the Harry Potter Books. 🙂 

And then there is sweet little Wyatt, the youngest, who will be eight years old in August. Wyatt was our 'hugger' for many years, but as he is growing up, I now have to tackle him to get a hug. He is really smart, tender hearted and still a little 'shy', which you'll notice sometimes when he hides his handsome face. 

Steve and I have had fun this week end.  We're also worm out… lol  

And, I you might say I'm a little sad this morning. I just watched Steve and our 3 kiddos leave for church; I couldn't go this morning – again because of my fibromyalgia; today I would have had a hard time sitting too long.

But, in spite of my fibro, I am blessed!  We are blessed.  We get to attend a birthday party this afternoon for our newest, little Brendan, who is now 2 years old today.

Life continues, blessings continues, Family & Love are PRECIOUS gifts from above! 


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!



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!



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