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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

 

I’m Decorating For Christmas

As I begin to decorate for Christmas, I thought it might be nice to share some decorating ideas!  We take pictures of the house every year after we have decorated.  Each year is different — like the year we went all out getting ready for a tour of homes, and the year we decorated just for our grandchildren, and the year I didn't decorate much at all… or even the year we put lights EVERYWHERE! 

As I said, each year is certainly different.  I have so many decorations!  I'm sure you can imagine being the owner of a business that, for 15 years, was totally transformed into a "Christmas Wonderland" shop from June to December!  There were so many special things I ordered hoping that at season's end maybe one or two wouldn't sell, so that I could "bring my work home with me."  Well, I am happy (or maybe unhappy – I don't really know which) to say that happened quite a bit.  It was good in the sense that I brought home some very beautiful and special Christmas decorations.  It was also bad that I had them left over to bring home instead of selling them! 

With so many "Christmas Treasures" we really never get around to using all of them.  So we begin this "ordeal" each and every year bringing every box down from the attic… deciding which will stay down to be used, and which will be taken back up the steps waiting for yet another Christmas to sparkle and shine!


We love the front of our home at Christmas!  A large, sparkling wreath hangs from our custom glass front doors with garlands encircling it.  Behind the door you can always see our large Christmas tree so filled with lights…we have no clue how many there are (we have had several strands burn out through the years, but it is hardly noticeable because there are so many left!  Our neighbors across the street give us a hard time each year when we "undecorate"… saying that we should leave them up all the time.  They really enjoy the lights and the view from their home!


I have to show you two views of our large back porch at Christmas!  It is very comfortable and "homey" — one of my favorite places to relax!  Now that I think about it, there is nothing "new" on our porch.  There are many pieces of furniture which were family pieces, and to those I have added many "distressed" yard sale finds, which mean much more to me than anything new.  If you look closely enough, you'll see our sweet dog, Sebastian, who is no longer with us – but will live in our hearts forever!  

 

Yes, we have double glass doors in the back also…I guess you can tell I like plenty of light.  It brightens my life and my spirits!  We enjoy spending a lot of time out there, reading, or just sitting and talking with friends and neighbors.  We have at least one Christmas tree on the porch – sometimes more, and of course double wreaths for the double back doors – also with garlands wrapped around them. 



When talking about our home at Christmas, I just cannot leave out our Pergola.  We spend a lot of time out there roasting marshmellows over the fire pit right in the center — especially at Christmastime.  The Pergola is now covered with wisteria and Lady Banks rose bushes, so it is kind of like a totally enclosed porch.  As you can see in the picture, we have three slim trees clustered all together; there is a five foot, a seven foot, and a nine foot tree.  I put all natural leaves berries, twigs, birds and nests in them.  They get all the weather but that is okay… I don't mind if they fade a little.

This morning, I just sent out a newsletter for Ladybug Wreaths.  If you would like to see more pictures of decorating from our home, click on the following link:  http://nancysramblings.com/?page_id=463

I do hope each of you have a blessed Christmas!  It is nice to have a home we enjoy decorating for Christmas, and it is nice to have parties and enjoy it with our friends, but that isn't the true meaning of Christmas for us.  It is Jesus…His Grace…His Love…and His Wondrous Miracles and Blessings in our lives!! 

Enjoy your family and friends this Holiday Season…because they are among our Greatest Blessings from God!

Christmas Spirit

I Have the Christmas Spirit

Oh yes, I certainly do know what you’re thinking….Seems a little crazy to me also.  But to retailers – Christmas is upon us.  I have ordered and received all of my Christmas supplies.  My shop is filled to overflowing.  And…. my husband’s garage, which he lost to me a long time ago, is stacked to the rafters.  We have arms attached to every wall sticking way out into the middle of the garage, and they are filled with our wild birch wreath forms and birch baskets.

Tables run right down the center with open boxes of Christmas supplies stacked upon each other.  Every one is open with little twigs of reds, greens, glittered treasures, and ornaments.  Santa and Snowman heads, yes, and bodies are hanging out of one box, while garlands are hanging out of another.  The shelves around the walls are full.  It’s like walking into a very cold (no heat) winter wonderland. 

It is so much fun now that we are designing our Christmas creations!  We have about 6 new wreaths made and ready to list.  That is, as soon as my computer expert, John, comes over this morning and gets the virus off my computer which I somehow managed, last night, to entice to join me!  I am usually very careful, and never take a chance, but there was a free program that I wanted so very  badly, that my greed took the place of my common sense, and yes, I got in trouble!  A quick call to John at 8:30, and I was hearing a message saying…..flip the switch…..turn the whole system off, and don’t touch it until I can get there in the morning.

Boy, what a downer.  I had a teacher coming over to give me my weekly class on Photo Shop, and after that I was all ready, with pictures already loaded to list all of my newly made wreaths.  Shirley made these for me yesterday while I was typing away and working on my website, and eBay.

But, I am all ready to go this morning.  It is 8 am, and Shirley is in the shop working away, I am working on my husband’s computer gettings shipping labels printed and orders answered while awaiting the computer expert’s arrival.  I WANT and NEED my own computer back – I am totally lost without it!

OK, I know that is enought ranting and raving for this morning!  Tee Hee Hee!!! 

Oh, I almost forgot, “THE CONTEST” you have exactly 26 days left to sign up for newsletter contest.  The response has been phenonemal – over 100 new members in the last 2 1/2 weeks.  By joining my newsletter list, you have a chance to win  any of over $1,000.00 worth of prizes!  The drawing will be November 15th at noon eastern time.  Make sure you enter, and get your name added to my free newsletter.  By reading in the posting below, you can find out exactly what each prize is – and I mean, they are really GREAT prizes.

In the upcoming months, we have so many articles about Christmas and home decorating, tips on wreath and floral design, and more contests as well as give-aways on the horizon.  So, join now, and don’t miss any of these very special treats we have in store for you!  Oh, also, and now is the time to purchase your Instructional Floral Design Videos!  You have time to get them in, view them, go shoping for all your supplies, and then begin making all of your Christmas presents for this year.  Your friends and family will be so very impressed!!!!

Have a very special day filled with blooms and blossoms!  Smiles…. Nancy