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Decorating Indoors for Spring!

I love decorating indoors for spring!

Transform your winter "blahs" into something beautiful!

Each of you has special niches in your home that draw you to them. You’ve made it through the cold, drab winter and now it’s time to spruce things up a bit. Think about the colors you love the most. Your special colors are cheerful; they make you smile; they warm your heart. Those colors have worked their magic before pulling you out of the "blahs" and lifting your spirits. They’re also what invites others into your special niches.

In this newsletter, I want to discuss the colors I use in my favorite spot, my kitchen table…where family and friends gather to enjoy meals and good company!  First of all, I'm sure you can tell I like white. I love the brightness of light and have many windows — large ones — along with extra tall doors with plenty of glass. The more light there is in my space, the more my colors seem to "pop."

Right after these photos were made, we closed in our long porch.  It is now a sunroom that we love.  The whole family enjoys it.

The table you see was one we had a friend to make for us a year or so ago. We made it as long as it could be (7 1/2 ft.)and still fit in my space.

I'm still using my T-back antique chairs. We've had then tightened up and recovered several times. I plan on using them for many years to come. I've never seen others that I enjoy as much as these. Do you notice there are two each of three different styles of chairs here?  Most people don't unless you pay close attention to the back of the chairs.

Believe it or not, white shades of paint are hard…there are so many of them out there! I mixed this shade myself and then took a painted piece of cardboard to my favorite paint store to have more mixed. We named it "Granny White" after my favorite great grandmother, Granny White. This is the color used on the legs of my 7 foot table and all the chairs.

Behind my table, you can see my cute display cabinet with glass shelves. I love changing things up and filling it with some of our family treasures.  I have a small lamp on the top shelf. When turned on, it shines down through the glass shelves making the colors rich and bright.

There is a mixture of colors, shapes, and items here. A green cabbage bowl with small cabbage salt and pepper shakers was made by me as a teenager. Beside it there is my mother's old yellow Hull pitcher with mini-leaf ivy. (No, it's not arranged…just sitting inside).  It is good to use larger plates or platters on plate stands toward the back of some shelves. Yellow lemons falling out of the fruit bowl provide another hue to this collection. Right beside the lemons is a very old aluminum milk carrier which displays my old red-handled kitchen utensils, two antique wooden rolling pins, along with another bunch of ivy.

Another “pretty spot” in my kitchen is the china cabinet. I have a friend who retired after being an international airline attendant. After she retired, she was lucky enough to be able to fly to Zurich once a month absolutely free. She knew all of the best "flea markets" and found the rest of my "impossible to find" "Old Mill Stream" red and white china by Johnson Bros.

I want to point out that even though just the china alone would be pretty, the red and white in my white hutch just wouldn't quite have that pizzaz – it wouldn't have "popped." So, I started collecting green to add to this hutch. I just picked up a piece here and there, Fiestaware was given to me for birthdays and other occasions. I have picked up the small, inexpensive green vases at antique malls, and yard sales. You cannot tell, but I have an old butter churn, ivy, and an antique bird cage on top — it looks great!

I now love the way my china shows up along with the greens. I have some grapes nestled in among the dishes, along with some pears and strawberries filling a bowl. Small accents of color can make such a difference in any display in your home. In fact, some of the pieces I have are for their color alone.

Below, you'll see a reflection of the top of my china cabinet in a mirror in my den – a very old one at that!

Here is a reflection of the top of my red and white china on the top of my china cabinet. I bring the style and colors from my kitchen area to the dining area and into our living area.

Have fun with your decorating and with colors! Don’t be afraid to try something, even if you’ve never seen it done before. If you’re having fun, those you invite in will feel the happiness and warmth you put into your home. You might just find ideas for new wreaths as you delve into your home projects, as well.

Blessings,
Nancy

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!

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