Growing to Live Healthier

When you have a garden the word grow is often directed towards a visible plant.

That makes sense because plants grow and in return we’re blessed with the benefits, like living healthier and enjoying natural beauty.

Rarely is the word “grow” used to describe ourselves. Perhaps this is because it’s easy to overlook personal growth as we go about our day?

As a gardener sometimes we have to dig deep.  Deep into soil to nurture the ground and grow the beauty our heart desires.

Some of us have to dig beyond the garden to uncover what’s holding us back.

A Bag of Lily Bulbs

Several months ago, Robert and I were grocery shopping.  For most of us this activity is a chore but for us it’s more like an event.

Sometimes even comical and if we’re ever spotted, we’d be seen laughing or sometimes having deep conversations, that end in more laughter.

Over the year’s grocery shopping has become an adventure and one afternoon Robert insisted I purchase a bag of ornamental lily bulbs.

At the time I wasn’t even excited about gardening because our weather left my heart feeling heavy.

I thought it was pointless to purchase bulbs, it was late in the season and they’d probably just rot. I was being negative and perhaps even a little lazy. But not wanting to disappoint I said, “Sure, why not!”

The bulbs were planted right away and to my surprise, a week later shades of green began sprouting.

This experience left my heart feeling lighter.

I realized my original doubts could have kept me from this feeling, thus holding me back.

That point in time was eye opening.

A 6-month Journey

Those green stems continued to grow, eventually buds appeared and recently amazing flowers bloomed.

My attention and joy were centered on these plants while the rest of the garden was looking pitiful due to our weather.

Watching them grow became therapeutic because they were thriving.  It was incredible; I began seeking similar growth for myself through a 6 month journey.

This started with exercise, taking vitamins, eating out less and enjoying real food.

This step was difficult at first, until I noticed the positive impact it was having on my attitude.

I realized every time after walking or working out I felt better about myself.

After a couple weeks a routine was set and that’s when I decided to dig deeper and uncover what’s been holding me back.

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I started Reading Again

I started reading…  Beginning with “Think Better Live Better.”  A book that fell in my hands on another shopping trip with Robert.

The biggest lesson I took from this book was realizing it’s okay to “Hit the Delete Button” especially when people say negative things.

That step to delete had a huge impact on my daily activity, it was pretty awesome and over time my days became quieter.

It’s a funny thing, sometimes when you’re going through a period of improvement it feels like people scatter.  I don’t really know if that’s true but the distance is helpful because in the hours of quiet no one is trying to influence.

Another nugget, was the minder that God designed me perfectly and for a purpose.

Deep down I knew this but it’s so easy to let opinions, life events and obstacles we face unravel truth.

My desire to keep reading continued…

Which led me to a couple more books, The Alter Ego Effect. This was good but I didn’t agree with everything.

Through each chapter I was able to recognize how negative and positive situatons have influenced my past and present.

This read was really interesting and I chose a Llama as my alter ego because after years of observing them on the farm I discovered llamas to be fearless animals.

We had four at different times for various purposes. I didn’t even realize how much I missed them until reading this book because their qualities inspired me on a daily basis.

They’re the bravest and most loyal animal you can have to protect your livestock.

When you see those qualities in action words cannot describe their willingness to lead.  Sometimes they’ll even make you laugh with their corky behavior and expressions.

This book helped me recognize my weaknesses but most of all how to overcome without blaming others.   True ownership for my actions surfaced which is fantastic because it’s so easy to get stuck in the blame game.

Do It Scared….

I finished this series with Do it Scared, Ruth Soukup.  She has a passion for self-improvement and this book is actually about facing your fears and overcoming adversity.

I discovered I’m an outcast with a bit of perfectionism mixed in.  That’s quite the mix but what I loved is she explains the drawbacks but also points out the positives of those archetypes.  You can take the free assessment here if you’re interested, it’s pretty cool.

Of course, being a realistic person, I didn’t agree with everything she wrote either and that’s probably because not every book is a one size fits all.

It’s definitely another great read because she pin points key areas that tend to hold people back.  Fear is huge, it’s real and when we ignore that fear it grows.

Deciding to release my fear was a big decision; I’ve found life without new growth is a heavy sense of emptiness.

Nowadays, I’m reading my bible and rediscovering there’s no greater book.  It’s always relevant and feels like it was written especially for me.  Whether I read a couple verses or an entire chapter I sense God’s comfort and that makes my heart even lighter.

Something else I’ve been enjoying is the Unashamed Podcast. Their message is about as real as it gets and I look forward to it every week.

After two months into this journey I found that digging deep isn’t easy.  I was holding myself back, feeling weak in times when I should have felt strong.  I was also pushing myself in areas where I should have been retrieving.

Being reminded that I was created for a purpose was heartwarming and that message helped pull me away from the negativity.

However, knowing I’ve allowed other people’s opinions, my outcast mentality and perfectionism keep me from God’s purpose was an awakening.

As I continue this journey, I’m rediscovering my voice and gifts… The one’s God has blessed me with…

Opening my heart to the natural scent of beauty is what I want for my soul, for me that’s what growing to live healthier means.

Taking action, through recognition and willingness to improve made all the difference. To think this journey was inspired by a bag of lily bulbs is also pretty fantastic.

It’s my hope you’re encouraged to dig deep, grow and live healthier.

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  1. Patti says:

    What a great post. Isn’t it just amazing the vast amount of resources there is out now there from books, to blogs to podcasts. In some ways, we are so fortunate. We just have to make the right choices. One of my best friends from childhood is a huge Joel Osteen fan. Often quoting, “even if you can’t see a way.. God has a way..” Eventually, I subscribed to “Today’s Word” and try to read it every day. Always a good lesson there.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you, this hasn’t been easy but so glad I’m trying to push through the things that are holding me back. I was in my art class yesterday and discovered how to paint trees. Something so simple made me feel like I grew so much. I’m really getting into this watercolor painting it has been such a great addition to my life.

      I agree there’s so much out there and I was even finding that a lot of it is just an updated version of books that were published 20 years ago. Same concept just vamped up. So I’m careful about what I choose to read…

      I do like the way Joel writes. Smooth is a good way to describe and there’s no fluff. I can’t stand fluff… LOL

      I’ll have to check out “Today’s Word” Sounds like a neat addition. Hope you have a great 4th – we’re going to kick back…

  2. Christine says:

    A truly inspiring post, Carole! I too am on a road to discovering myself again. As time changes and the years pass I think it’s even more important for us to find a way to stop the noise and find quiet time to reflect and grow. Reading inspiring words is definitely one way to do that. I’ve read two of the books you mentioned and found both to be eye-opening in many ways. I’m currently reading an older book I found at a thrift store entitled A Woman After God’s Own Heart. I’m just in the second chapter and feel such a connection to the author. I hope to finish it on vacation! Good Luck with your journey and I hope you continue to share along the way!

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you! Findinf the road to discovery is good and they seem to happen at different chapters of life as I realize it’s different for everyone. I will continue to share as things for me went beyond reading, exercise and eating healthier. Action was required and I’m looking forward to sharing more towards the end of summer into September. Course I’m sharing a little through Instagram too. Enjoy your vacation!

  3. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal journey. It would seem as though there are a lot of us out there doing our own journeys too. The lilies are so beautiful that first photo got me. Hope you continue to share. The water colors too. Best, Kim

    1. Carole says:

      Yes I will continue to share and watercolors will be part of that as that journey is part of this growth. Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed. Journeys are a good thing!

  4. daisy says:

    Oh, Carole, you are such a gift to so many. I’m sorry that your spirit was hurt by negativity. You give of yourself and share your talent with others, helping them become their best selves. Glad you are finding your way again.

    Continued blessings, my friend…daisy

    1. Carole says:

      Oh you know it happens to all of us at some point. I believe the ongoing rain played a big roll, I just don’t do well in gloomy weather. Hope you have a great 4th and I bet your garden is looking pretty fantastic.

  5. Great book suggestions. You’re the second person today who’s mentioned hitting the delete key on toxic people. 🙂 That’s good advice any day.

    1. Carole says:

      I enjoyed each one and I’m telling you that “Delete” option is huge… Hope y’all have a nice July 4th.

  6. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Hi Carole….haven’t chatted with you in a while. This is such an inspirational post today. I am a “book freak” so will be checking out the ones you recommended. I’d like to add a book by Joyce Meyer “You Can Begin Again”. She reminds us that we can start from where you are and go on to have a beautiful fulfilling life.

    Love your story about the flower bulbs. A few years ago My sister bought a huge bag of daffodil bulbs well after the end of the season and brought them to me saying she couldn’t resist them as they were so cheap (80% off). There must have been 250 or 300 bulbs in the bag. She laughed so hard when she gave them to me. I did get them in the ground two days before a big freeze came. Well I want you to know that those flowers are now in “TP’s daffodil row” along the edge of one of my beds.

    Those are lovely photos of your lilies. Did You take them?

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Mickie – Nice to hear from you!
      I did take these photos – was a fun morning with the camera.

      Thanks for the book recommendation sounds and I bet those daffodils looked amazing. They are a favorite here but don’t last very long here in the south.
      Where I grew up those acres and acres of those lovelys in the farm fields.

      Hope you’re having a nice July 4th weekend.

  7. Sharon says:

    Fantastic, helpful, and inspirational post! Looking forward to others along your journey. 🙂

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