My favorite flowers for the sweltering Texas summer heat

I am one of those people who have favorite words. Plethora, for example, has always tickled my fancy. And sweltering. Living in Texas, I get to use those magnificent, king sized words quite often!

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But y’all, this is a bit much! We started out with heat indexes around 105° in late June, then had a little relief the first week of July (when I was gone), and it seems to be climbing since! This is the external temperature recorded in my minivan last Wednesday… while we were moving! (photo by my son in the passenger seat)

So what’s a Texas gardener to do?

Well, not much right now, if your garden is in full sun.

So I’ll back up to last month when our temperatures were only hovering around 100°. The heat baked or stunted most of my vegetables, but a few bloomers have risen to the top of my list for their high heat, low water tolerance, and beautiful display.

The Belle of this year’s garden has been the lovely zinnias.

I had some zinnias from seeds saved in previous years. They originally were given to me by a gardening friend. There used to be several colors, but over the years, only pink lasted. This year I added more seeds : Purple Prince (of course) and a mixed pouch.

The tiny red spider zinnias have reseeded themselves for about three years now. The heat did cause many blooms to be to be smaller this year, but these are always that tiny.

The next superstar has been my sunflowers.

In the past, I stuck to the Skyscraper sunflowers because I liked having the giant bloom. But that was so much growth and just one bloom per plant.

This year, I tried Lemon Queen and Giant Primrose, from Baker Creek, for multiple blooms and I found a new love!

And look how lovely they are together!

Of course, I also have one “weed” aka a native sunflower that is found in our pastures, that I allowed to grow in my garden space. Here’s why – when the temp is soaring well over 100, nothing phases this natural beauty!

Is big and gangly with many spent blossoms and beauties at the same time. And my bumbles love it.

What’s your favorite flower for summer?

 

Resources:

Heirloom Seeds – This is the first company I ever used for heirloom seed and they’ve always been excellent seed source!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This is the second year I’ve used Baker Creek.  I didn’t have much success with this year’s seeds, but that is probably largely due to the extreme weather we’ve had this year.

The beautiful hair clip my daughter is wearing in the big sunflower picture, is from the wonderful company I represent!

20th Anniversary!

20th Anniversary!

I had an awesome getaway with my hubby for our anniversary! We celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary on the island of St John, US Virgin Islands! We spent a lot of time face down in the water, marveling at God’s creation. (Snorkeling – I got sunburned on the back of my legs only! LOL!) Still in recovery from category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria in 2017, we also saw much devastation.

The hiking trails, beaches, and reefs were definitely changed by these natural disasters, but recovery is coming. If you’d like to learn more about the recovery efforts, and how you can help, please visit USVI Recovery.

I’ll have to do another post on the gorgeous flora and fauna because the underwater pics are on hubby’s camera.

Y’all, this crab was huge! That big claw was bigger than my hand!

Meanwhile back home, Lilla Rose announced an exciting discount on New Stylist Kits!

With $25 off and about $15 saved on shipping, this is such an awesome value! That Fast Start option comes out to well over 50% commission when you sell those items, too!

Highlights of the Lilla Rose opportunity include :

  • Fun times playing with hair!
  • Wholesale access to all the hairthings you and your family could ever need!
  • Free website with no fees for upkeep!
  • No monthly or quarterly minimum requirements!
  • Free weekly training sessions and lots of Home Office support!
  • A strong community of Lilla Rose sisters (and a few bros)!
  • Opportunity to add to your family’s income through commissions and bonuses!

We have a neat Remarkable Opportunity group, too. It’s a place where you can gather with friends to learn about the LR business opportunity in a fun, casual, no-pressure way! You will be able to read and watch testimonials from other stylists, as well as get a small taste of the wonderful close-knit community we stylists enjoy! It is truly a powerful insight into Lilla Rose culture!

To keep the group a supportive and safe place for everyone, we do have a few guidelines: Guests must answer the entrance question of who their stylist is, and/or who invited them. (That would be me, Sue Ellen Hale, unless another Stylist invited you first.) Stylists do not try to recruit you in this group, they always refer you back to your own Stylist, and no recruiting for any other companies is allowed. Let me know if you join the group so I can welcome you! Or comment below so I can add you.

So, between the anniversary, the trip, and the enrollment special, wow what a week! Now if I can just get my body to catch up with these time changes…

When life gives you zucchini

My kids’ favorite vegetable is zucchini. Yep, all of them just LOVE the stuff!  They’d eat it morning, noon & night!  Here’s the recipe I use that got them hooked on this amazing vegetable:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 1/2 c shredded, raw zucchini
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips (I mix milk chocolate & semi-sweet chips)

Preheat oven to 350* and grease or spray loaf pan.  Grate zucchini and set aside.  Does not need to be squeezed dry.

In mixer bowl, beat together the applesauce, sugars, eggs, vanilla until well blended.  With mixer running, add in the dry ingredients, starting with the spices first, then cocoa, then flour.  Slow mixer, or fold in grated zucchini.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Scrape into the prepared pan and bake until tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Of course, if you hit a chocolate chip, your tester will not be clean, so it may take several tests. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool on a rack.

So, that’s why zucchini is my kids’ favorite vegetable.  Go figure.

Photos possibly coming soon…

What does it mean to work from home?

I work from home.  There’s a number of ways you can work this type of business, but for me, I do about 12 vendor shows a year, mostly work my business online, and sometimes do in-home parties.  With the ever-changing “algorithm” to deal with, and rural internet service, online work can be a challenge.  I’ve done a number of online parties, where I intended to do a live video.  Thankfully, I have a pre-recorded video stored on YouTube, I can link to when I’m in a pinch.

Imagine my surprise when my live actually worked last week!

LydiaPartyVidScreenShotAll that to give you an idea of what it means to work from home.  So here’s the scene…

I did my live video outside, on the back porch, because my daughters & husband were watching Hello Dolly (rather loudly) in the house.  I called one of the clips by the wrong size.  Goats were bleating in the background.  Sometime, when I turned around to show my hair, I was out of the screen.  My son walked in on the video, then wiped his mouth on his arm in the background.  At least he wasn’t picking his nose, right?  Then a goose started honking loudly.  All that happened within a 10 minute video.

Obviously, working from home is not always picture perfect!  If you’re waiting for everything to be in order before you start your work from home business, you’re going to be waiting forever!

But if you don’t get started, you’ll never be a business owner!  And you’ll never be growing a real business!  It’s work and it’s real life.  It’s balancing homeschool, customer follow-up, and healthy meals.  It’s things not always going as expected.  It’s stretching out of your comfort zone, but the freedom to do it from your comfort zone, with all the craziness going on around you.  It’s earning the title, “work from home mom.”  It’s teaching children to be entrepreneurs, to be responsible, and how to put labels on materials straight.  It’s having a cheering squad in the back seat when you open an incentive award package at the post office.  It’s teaching them that success is within reach, without giving up bedtime prayers.

“Network marketing isn’t perfect; but it is better!” – Eric Worre

Resources:

One of those days

wordswag_1525988318961808452499.pngHave you ever had one of those days?

No, not a bad day (that’s coming); but a day when you saw yourself and thought, “Wow! That’s me? That actually looks good!”

I had one of my daughters take a picture of my hair this morning because I was going to use it for Instagram, if it turned out ok. I did a simple hairband tuck with a Flexi twist in the back.

You can’t even see the hairband in the photo and there were about 15 blurry shots to this one shot. But I liked it! And that surprised me. And then I realized that God was using this to teach me something.

 

In our homeschool, the kids and I have been studying James.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

– James 1:2-3

We’ve been having some deep discussions about trials and having a firm foundation. I’ve explained to them that my goal is to give them a firm foundation, to hide the Word so deep in their hearts that it automatically comes out when they face trials. That was my experience. I know it works to get me through horrendous trials. I want that for them.

I tell them, it doesn’t matter what the trial, what the world throws at you, what the deceiver tries to convince you of. If you know who God is and what the Bible really says, you don’t have to fall for it. I even wrote down a few things for them to make this point. These things I know to be true, based on who I know God to be and what His word says…even through the trials:

  • He is faithful and true to his word.
  • He is always for me.
  • He always loves me and follows hard after me.
  • He will always protect me, even through the darkest night.
  • He will never change.
  • He can never be taken away from me.
  • He will always give me direction if I ask him.
  • He will always make himself known to me when I feel alone.
  • He knows pain of betrayal.
  • He knows loss.
  • He knows what it feels like to be mocked and rejected.
  • He knows me inside and out. He loves me anyway!
  • He knows my heart when I draw it back from everyone else.
  • He will not let me stumble.
  • He will carry me through.
  • He was with me from my first breath and will be with me beyond my last.
  • He walks with me every day of my life.
  • He will never leave me.
  • He gave his life to be with me.

Now let me tell you a few things that have happened the last two weeks. We returned home from the trip to California (think vacation laundry) to discover that our washing machine had died. In the next three days, two of the children had a stomach bug. Still no washing machine. Hubby was working extra days and not home much. We have a fencing project going, and were ready to stretch the goat wire. Again, failure. The washing machine part arrived but the washer still doesn’t work. Then it started smelling hot on top of not draining. The lawnmower launched a projectile across the yard, completely shattering the back window of my van. Completely. Then the other lawnmower quit.

And one of my daughters was practicing her memory verse, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds…” on me. Thank you, Child.

Maybe it seems like this doesn’t do with the hair picture, but it does. Our (very relative, third world) trials and my seeing the bad in myself are working together. How will I respond?

I’m going to be thankful.

  • I’m thankful that I still have my hair and my accessories always look good!
  • I’m thankful that I don’t have to carry my laundry to the creek and wash it on a rock!
  • I’m thankful for a hard working husband!
  • I’m thankful that only two of six got the stomach bug!
  • I’m thankful that my husband’s car wasn’t damaged!
  • I’m thankful that none of my children were in the way of that projectile!
  • I’m thankful that my son is strong and still able to push mow!
  • I’m thankful for so much more that I can’t event write it all out!

So…all that came pouring into me today from one surprised reaction to a good hair day. I can choose to consider it all joy and look for things in which to be thankful! I can choose to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for me! And whether things look up or not, I still have that firm foundation…And God will see me through.

Ready, Set, Win!

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The Pacific Ocean at Laguna Beach

I just got home from an ahh-maze-ing weekend in Southern California!

Our company national convention was what took me across the country, and boy, was it worth it! If you’re in direct sales, you NEED to attend your company conventions! There is such an energy and excitement that comes from these events, and in my company, it’s like a family reunion for our family of Stylists. Of course, there is valuable training and new products that come along with convention, too!

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My Team Leader’s Brunch

The most exciting announcement at our convention was the introduction of a New Stylist Ready Set Win program! I know many companies already have programs for success in the first three months, but this was new for us and HQ did a bang up job on this program! AND… just wait till you hear what they did for us!!

HQ is giving all, yes ALL, current Stylists the opportunity to go through the program, starting May 1! Who does that?! They love us so much and are so generous with us!!!

I know you’re dying to know, so here’s what can be earned through the Ready Set Win program (and this will be available to all New Stylists at the time of their sign-up, to help get your new business off to a great start):

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  • First Full Month – Bring a friend with you into the business! Studies show that when you start a new business with a friend, you both achieve success together! Enroll 1 new active Stylist in your first full month and earn the Lilla Bag display purse! ($80 value)
  • First Full Month – Reach $350 in Personal Volume (PV) and earn a $75 Inventory Shopping Spree! (Easily achieved with your Grand Opening and 1 additional home party/Style Up!)
  • Second Full Month – Reach $525 in PV and earn a $100 Inventory Shopping Spree! (Easily achieved with 2-3 Style Ups!)
  • Third Full Month – Reach $700 in PV and earn a $150 Inventory Shopping Spree! (Easily achieved with Style Ups, and perhaps a craft/vendor show!)
  • Winning Start – Reach a cumulative $2,000 in the first three months and enroll a cumulative 3 active Stylists to earn a sterling silver Lilla Rose necklace!

And don’t forget, if those New Stylists select the Fast Start kit, that’s a $200 bonus check in your pocket!

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My Team at the Purple Party

Now you see why there was such excitement at Convention? The room went crazy! It’s such a great program to boost sales and grow a team at the same time! And that bag… well, after all, it is purple!

Lilla Rose also provides a training guide to help you achieve each step, weekly training calls, a free website for online sales, a community of helpful and encouraging Stylists, and an upline sponsor (me!) that loves to see others succeed!


Want to hear from other Lilla Rose Stylists as well? I’d love to add you to our no-pressure testimony group on FB! Comment to connect with me so I can invite you to the private group.

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If you’re interested in my own personal story of becoming involved in this direct sales business opportunity, click here.

Why do goats have those weird rectangular pupils?

We have a couple of crazy goats here on the homestead. And one very inquisitive thirteen-year-old boy. Yesterday’s question of the day (ok, one of the many!):

Why do the goats have such weird eyes?

So we did a little supervised googling.

Yes, I said that. My teen’s online activity is supervised.

Anyway. We learned a few interesting things about goat eyes, and other pupils, as well.

Thorin, our Nigerian Dwarf

Turns out that the horizontal, rectangular pupil of a goat, and other animals, allow them to see a wide range around itself (up to 280° around themselves), but they have limited vertical range. This extended range of horizontal vision helps them protect themselves. They are also large enough that aerial predation is not really a problem.

We also learned that the narrower the pupil is, horizontally, the greater the accuracy of depth perception in the peripheral vision. So they can see more around them, with greater accuracy. What an ingenious design!

Rectangular pupils are most often found in animals that are considered prey, such as goats, sheep, octopuses, toads, horses and even hippopotamus. (The vertical slit pupil is usually predatory.)

See if you can identify these eyes…