7 Summer Garden Tasks

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It is officially summer! And with this season the garden matures. Plants are growing and blooming. Herbs become fragrant and vegetables bear fruit. This is the time of year for maintenance and weed and pest control!

These seven summer garden tasks ensure that your garden remains beautiful until late fall.

7 Summer Garden Tasks title meme

Summer Garden Tasks

These tasks can be accomplished in a few minutes a day. Walking through the garden area once a day, perhaps while watering, creates an awareness of what’s happening there. If something is amiss or needs attention, you can spot it and act quickly.


This is the biggie among summer garden tasks! Warming temperatures and all those spring showers help the flowers and plants grow…and the weeds too! In fact, a great time to weed is right after a shower, when the ground is damp. Weeds pull up with little effort.

And the easiest weeds to pull are young ones. I’ve learned this from experience. As I walk through the garden daily, I pull any weeds that I see and drop them into a five gallon bucket. When the bucket fills up, I dump the contents into the large trash bin outside the fence, for trash pickup.

If weeds are overrunning the garden, pick an area and work through it diligently. Take a break and then move on to the next area. As the garden grows over the summer, weeds generally become less of a problem. The thriving plants create shade and fill in the area, deterring weed growth.

Use a mix of white vinegar with a squirt of dish soap in a spray bottle to kill weeds in areas away from flowers and herb. Drench the weeds with the mixture, on a hot sunny day, and they will be dead within 48 hours.


Classify this task under maintenance. As temperatures continue to rise and the rains come less frequently, watering becomes vital.

Containers tend to dry out more quickly than the rest of the garden. During hot, dry weather daily watering is essential. For containers a good indicator is to stick your finger into the dirt, up to the first knuckle. If the soil feels dry, water.

The rest of the garden needs approximately an inch of water a week. Note how often it rains and how much you get. During dry spells, sprinklers are a great way to water large areas. Soak the garden for half an hour and then move the sprinkler to another area. A well established garden can tolerate a bit of dryness. I very rarely have to water my  in-ground garden, however I water containers daily during the summer.

Once a month use a water soluble plant food to give the garden a boost of nutrition as it grows.

Summer Watering

Deadheading/Trimming Back

As you water containers, pinch off faded blooms. Called deadheading, this practice keeps plants flowering longer. Many flowering plants don’t need to be deadheaded. The blooms naturally fall off. However, if you see dried flowers on the plant, it’s beneficial to remove them.

Some perennials and herbs benefit from cutting the plants back, after they bloom, shearing away the dried flowers. Often the plants will bloom a second time. They include:

  • dianthus
  • daisies
  • hostas
  • coral bells
  • salvia
  • garden phlox
  • speedwell
  • lemon balm
  • bee balm
  • catmint

Fill In Bare Spots

As the garden matures, look for empty spots. Sprinkle the bare patch with seeds or add blooming annuals for an instant pop of color.

Or be creative and add rocks, driftwood, garden statues or a fairy garden. If you don’t have cats, a birdbath makes a wonderful addition to the garden. I place upside down clay flowerpots throughout my garden, to encourage spiders to make themselves at home. And I created a couple of toad houses from bricks and small slabs of concrete. These critters are garden allies that feed on unwanted pests.

Summer Garden Toad House

Control Pests

If your garden is home to spiders, toads, praying mantis and lady bugs, pests are kept to a minimum. I use natural approaches to pest control, as much as possible. See Ecological Garden Hacks.

As you water, weed and deadhead, watch for Japanese beetles. Pluck them off the plants…they don’t bite…and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. I do the same with cabbage worms in the vegetable garden.

Support Climbing Vines and Tall Plants

As plants mature, watch for those that need a little extra support. Use simple wooden stakes or bamboo canes for medium height plants needing support. For vines or taller plants, get creative. Make your own trellises from long sticks, fence sections, metal rods or extra garden rakes. Or purchase trellises and obelisks.

Tomato cages are available to support plants as they grow. Just add the cages while the tomato plants are still small and can easily fit inside them.

Summer Garden DIY Trellis

Mulch as Needed

Finally, check the layer of mulch in the garden and add to it as needed.

Mulch is a great way to keep weeds down, hold moisture in during the hot summer months and enrich the soil as it breaks down. It also keeps a garden looking neat and tidy. And if you use cedar mulch, it smells wonderful.

I typically add a four inch layer of fresh mulch every other year. Garden Centers often sell mulch by the truckload, which is more economical than purchasing individual bags of it.

Summer Garden Tasks Create a Happy Garden

Performing these simple summer garden tasks will keep your backyard paradise healthy and thriving, providing months of beauty. Getting out into the garden is also good for the body and soul. I make weeding and watering meditative experiences or times of expressing gratitude.

I benefit so much from my backyard garden. It brings me much joy and provides herbs for teas and veggies to eat. Tending my garden moves and stretches my body, contributing to my health. And sitting in my garden on summer evenings, with candlelight and a fire in the fire pit is pure bliss.

The very least I can do is take care of this magical place.

Summer Border

Check out these posts in the Backyard Garden Series

Easy Container Gardening

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow


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12 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

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Today’s blog post about reducing plastic waste came from a conversation with my granddaughter Aubrey.

As we watched a movie together this afternoon, she scrolled through photos online. Pausing the movie, she showed me one that halted her scrolling. An ocean bay, filled with thousands of water bottles and scraps of plastic, concerned her. Even more tragic were photos showing the devastating effects of plastics on marine life.

“What do we do?” Aubrey asked.

12 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste Title Meme

What Do We Do to Reduce Plastic Waste?

I’m so glad she asked.

My immediate response was to point to my metal water bottle, resting on the ottoman in front of us. We stop buying one-use plastics, I told her. I explained that recently I stopped using plastic water bottles, straws, sandwich bags and other plastics that are used once and tossed.

Her questions, as our conversation continued, were great. She wondered what I did at restaurants, if offered a straw. I decline it or lay it aside on the table, unopened. At home I use metal straws and glass containers for filtered water poured from a Brita pitcher.

This 10 year old child and I talked about ways to reduce plastic waste and clean up our oceans. I shared what I am currently doing and what habits I intend to shift. She quickly grasped that even small actions create change, as more and more people become aware and join together .

Her curiosity even led to a discussion about living a plant based lifestyle and how that helps the planet. This is a decision she can make as she gets older. However, there are many things she and I…and all of us…can do now, to help make a difference and bring healing to our home, planet Earth.

Plastic Waste on the Beach

12 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

In 2018 more 38 million tons of plastic waste were generated in the US. Only 7% of that plastic found its way into recycling bins. Worldwide, 8 million metric tons of plastic waste, per year, ends up in our oceans. Need a visual of that enormous number? Imagine a huge garbage truck dumping a load of plastic into the ocean, every minute of every day.

One-use plastics especially, such as straws, water bottles and containers, are a huge problem. All that plastic is not just unsightly as it litters beaches and clogs inlets and bays. It’s destroying marine life and releasing toxins into the environment.

Here are 12 easy ways to begin reducing plastic waste:

Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

Most grocery stores offer the option of bringing your own cloth or reusable plastic shopping bags from home. Some stores, like Natural Grocers and Aldi’s don’t provide plastic shopping bags at all.

Use cardboard boxes or reusable shopping bags and bag up your own groceries. Take that practice one step further and bring your own reusable produce bags as well.


Click photo to order reusable mesh produce bags.

Stop Purchasing Products Containing Microplastics

Much of the plastic pollution in the ocean comes from microplastics. These are commonly added to consumer products such as toothpaste and face cleanser. The tiny beads are intended as exfoliators. Wastewater treatment facilities aren’t able to screen them out.

Instead, look for biodegradable alternatives. Avoid products with polypropylene or polyethylene on the ingredient lists.

Don’t Use Plastic Water Bottles

We’ve become so accustomed to the convenience of plastic bottles. However, these bottles are accumulating at an alarming rate in landfills and bodies of water. This is such an easy first step to take, in reducing plastic waste.

As an alternative, use metal water bottles. These come in a variety of sizes and colors, with loops for attaching to backpacks if desired. I’ve already become accustomed to carrying a metal water bottle with me and refilling it as needed. I even pour herbal teas into my bottle.

Similarly, carry a refillable coffee mug or thermos to coffee shops rather than using their disposable styrofoam cups.

Click photo to order stainless steel water bottles.

Purchase in Bulk

Much plastic waste occurs in the kitchen, as many foods come in plastic packaging that is tossed after opening. Consider buying foods such as rice, beans, nuts, cereals, pasta and spices in bulk. Bring your own containers to tote them home in.

Think Differently About Food Storage

Rather than using one-time use plastic storage bags consider using glass or reusable containers for storage. Pack lunches in bento boxes, with compartmentalized spaces. Use stackable glass bowls with lids for leftovers in the fridge. Even glass canning jars make great storage containers.

Try taking your own clean containers to restaurants for take home food. I’ve done this for Thai take out…and no one said a word. They simply used the container, returning it to me with my food to go.

There are a wealth of reusable storage containers and options other than  baggies and plastic wrap available for purchase.

Click photo to purchase reusable sandwich wrap.

Replace Disposable Razors

Instead of using plastic disposable razors, opt for razors that have replaceable blades.

Switch to Cloth Diapers

I know what you are thinking. However, cloth diapers have changed greatly in recent years. You don’t even need diaper pins, if you purchase one of the new self securing styles. And they come in a variety of fun designs and patterns.

If you’ve had babies and toddlers, you know how many disposable diapers end up in the trashcan in a day. The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of diapers are tossed yearly, in the US. Washable cloth diapers not only lessen waste, they save money too.

Click on photo above to order cloth diapers.

Refuse Plastic Cutlery

Use the real forks, knives and spoons at home, instead of plasticware. And in restaurants, refuse plastic cutlery when toting food home.

Stop Using Plastic Straws

At home, switch to metal or glass straws, if you want to use them. I have a set of metal straws that I sometimes use when drinking smoothies or cold lemon/lime water. My set came with a tiny bottle-style brush for easy cleaning.

In restaurants, refuse plastic straws. Sip directly out of the glass. This practice has been easy for me to adopt. I drink water anyway in restaurants, on the rare occasions that I eat out. And now I don’t use a straw.

Click on photo to order metal straws.

Purchase Second Hand Items

Most toys, electronic gadgets and household items come packaged in plastic. Purchasing these things through second hand stores, flea markets and yard sales saves money and reduces plastic waste. And don’t you hate opening those bulky plastic packages anyway? They often require a knife or a pair of scissors, just to get them open.

Travel Without Plastics

With an international trip coming up next month, my granddaughter and I discussed what I could do about the required quart sized plastic bag that TSA requires for toiletries. You know the rule. All 3.4 ounce containers, or smaller, must be in a clear quart sized bag, one bag per traveler.

I looked on Amazon, under TSA Approved Clear Quart Sized Travel Bags. And….there are alternatives! You know I’ll be purchasing these. I can’t wait to tell Aubrey. And the two piece set below means I can give the other one to my sister to use.

Click photo to order TSA approved clear travel bags.

Support Companies Using Ecological Packaging

More and more companies are making ecologically sound choices when it comes to packaging. Look for those companies and support them by purchasing their products. Those actions send a strong message as well to the companies who are packaging with plastics.

Here are a few brands to get you started:

Seed Phytonutrients – This company packages clean and natural hair, face and body products in shower-friendly paper bottles.

Plaine Products – Purchase bath and body products that are packaged in aluminum bottles. Plus the company offers a refill program.

PAPELYCO – This company supplies plantable paper plates…which is so very cool…and green. After use, place the plate in the ground and a plant grows out of it!

One Step at a Time

I hope you found at least one action that you can take, to reduce plastic waste. I am continuing to adopt new practices and do research.

As I drove to Subway, so Aubrey could get a sandwich, we continued our discussion about making a difference and reducing plastic use. She even declared, with a great deal of zeal, that at some point in her life, she would shift her eating habits and become plant based.

“I’m going to become a vege-freaking-tarian!”  Aubrey

I love that girl’s fire and spirit! Plus, she makes me laugh.

She makes me proud too.

At Subway she ordered a plain sandwich, a bag of chips and a small cup of water…NO STRAW.

That’s my girl.

Reduce Plastic Waste in Our Oceans

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We Carry Kevan Book Review

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Thank you to SMITH PUBLICITY, INC for sending me this book, We Carry Kevan, for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


Image developing, at age 29,  the intense desire to travel and explore the world with close friends.

And imagine, after a year of planning, fund raising and making arrangements in France, England and Ireland, seeing that dream become reality.

A group of seven friends parked their van at the airport and gathered up their gear, ready to depart on the adventure of a lifetime. One item they deliberately left behind…a wheelchair belonging to Kevan Chandler.

We Carry Kevan Book Review


Kevan Chandler

Born with a degenerative neuromuscular disease, Kevan is the youngest of three children born to Peter and Diana Chandler. And, he’s the second in his family with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

His muscles grow weaker, as he ages, and he has very limited use of his arms and legs. However, Kevan is not limited in the way he lives his life. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in counseling and he is an avid writer and storyteller.

Kevan’s compassionate  heart and big personality draw people to him.  He  often joins friends for dinners, road trips or spur of the moment parties.

And Kevan dreams big dreams. One wistful idea, of traveling in Europe, met with encouragement and enthusiasm from his friends. In the summer of 2016 Kevan spent three weeks fulfilling his dream by vising three countries with six friends, without the aid of his motorized wheelchair.

Riding in a custom made backpack, Kevan’s friends carried him everywhere they went, including to the peak of an island mountain in Ireland. We Carry Kevan is the story of a shared adventure, yes. However, it is primarily a story of faith, trust and incredible friendship.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewParis, France. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in Paris France

The friends arrived in Paris, France on June 20, 2016 in time for summer solstice celebrations the next night. They quickly discovered that the people of Paris go all out when they celebrate, with music and singing and dancing in the streets.

And music is what drew Kevan to Paris in the first place. His desire to visit the home of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt became reality when the group attended a festival honoring the musician.

Kevan feels a connection to the guitarist, who lost the use of his ring and pinky fingers on his left hand after an accident. And yet that didn’t stop the musical genius from adapting. He emerged stronger and better, becoming one of the greatest known guitarists.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewLondon, England. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in London

London offered the opportunity for Kevan and his friends, Ben, Tom, Phillip, Luke, Robbie and Mr. Hill, to meet up with online friends.

As the group planned their trip, people from the countries they intended to visit provided places to stay and acted as tour guides. From the small town of Oxted, the friends returned to London to mark Kensington Gardens off the “must visit” list.

While in London, Kevan seized the opportunity to stop by the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and view the Peter Pan statue in Kensington. Author J.M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan and made contributions to the children’s hospital, inspires the storyteller within Kevan. Standing where the author once stood, as he perched on the back of a friend, Kevan considered the great legacy Barrie left behind, and pondered what his own might be.

We Carry Kevan Book ReviewSkellig Michael, Ireland. Photo from We Carry Kevan book.

We Carry Kevan in Ireland

Finally the friends explored Ireland. Although they traveled throughout the country, their ultimate destination was Skellig Michael, a craggy island in County Kerry. Known for its rugged and stark beauty, Skellig Michael is the tip of a mountain jutting up from the ocean. An ancient monastery rests at the peak, which is accessible by climbing 600 stone steps.

Scaling the island mountain marked the pinnacle, literally, of the trip and presented the greatest challenge for those carrying Kevan on their backs. And yet, the men trained and prepared themselves, physically and mentally, for this very challenge. Up the mountain they went, to the very top. Taking turns carrying Kevan as they climbed, they ascended and descended, to the applause of others visiting the site.

Here is where the love of his traveling companions shone so brilliantly. About the unconditional love of friends, Kevan wrote:

“They were driven unexplainably to carry me, literally, through the impossible. Not because I’m cool or because I’m an inspiration to them, but because of a true love beyond themselves, beyond any of us. And this put us on a wonderful adventure across the known world.”

Be Inspired

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Authored by Kevan, the story moves expertly through the grand adventure shared by this amazing group of friends. He writes honesty and openly about his disabilities, with a style that is imaginative and compelling.

I felt humbled by all that these young men accomplished and deeply moved by the compassion and trust that the group shares. Kevan requires assistance for everything…bathing, brushing his teeth, using the bathroom, getting dressed. And yet, he is definitely not a burden. Kevan is a courageous and bright adventurer with extraordinary friends who care for him and offer their very best…and their backs…to make his dreams come true.

Together they saw the world, says Kevan, as we all are meant to see it…big and beautiful and full of life. After their first trip, Kevan  started a nonprofit organization to redefine accessibility and to assist other disabled people in fulfilling their adventures. Check it out HERE.

I’m inspired to continue my travels, and see the world the way Kevan sees it. I feel renewed gratitude for my left knee. Although it sometimes falters, my knee does the very best that it can, to take me where I desire to go. And, I see what Kevan does, moving beyond his comfort zone, on so many levels, to manifest his dreams.  I know I can do the same.

Grab this book and settle into your favorite chair, with a cup of herbal tea. And prepare to be inspired as well.

We Carry Kevan Book Review

Order your copy of We Carry Kevan by clicking on photo link below:



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Movie Review: Rocketman

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While still enjoying the film Bohemian Rhapsody at the theater, the preview of an upcoming movie intrigued me as well.

Another music biopic, Rocketman tells singer Elton John’s story. Every time I saw the preview, I felt drawn to this powerful film.

Movie Review Rocketman

 Rocketman Cast

Rocketman stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Matthew Illesley and Kit Connor. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Rocketman carries an R rating for moderate language, the portrayal of drug and alcohol use and moderate sexuality. It has a run time of 2 hours and 1 minute.

The Early Years

The film alternates between the present day, where Elton John (Egerton) appears to be in a group counseling session, and the past. The story is woven together as the present day singer recounts his childhood and rise to stardom.

Born Reginald Dwight, Reggie (Illesley) is a quiet child raised by troubled parents. His mostly absent father, Stanley (Mackintosh), passes his appreciation of music on to his young son. However, he cannot connect with Reggie emotionally. In fact, he refuses to hug his son or express love in any way.

Reggie’s mother Sheila (Howard) is cold, distant and as hungry as her son, for love. She seeks affection outside her home, which ultimately destroys the marriage. The real champion in the lonely boy’s life is his grandmother (Jones). When Reggie shows musical talent, she encourages him to play the piano and to pursue his passion.

Reggie’s desire to play and sing leads him to the Royal Academy of Music. As he enters his teen years (Connor), he begins performing in local pubs and forms a band called Bluesology.

Movie Review Rocketman

Movie Review Rocketman

Elton John is Born

As a young adult, Reggie and Bluesology are hired as a backup band for an American jazz band touring England. One of the singers gives the serious young man advice, to become famous: change his name, write his own songs, “kill” the old Reggie and become the person he is meant to be.

Inspired, Reggie adopts the name Elton John. He shares a few early songs with a studio, receiving moderate praise and interest. He acquires a manager who partners him with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Bell). The two become best friends and collaborators. Bernie writes song lyrics while Elton produces the melodies.

Their song, Your Song, lands them a performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Elton overcomes a major case of the nerves to give an exceptional performance that ignites the audience and captures the attention of manager John Reid (Madden).

Movie Review Rocketman

Movie Review Rocketman

The Rise and Fall of a Rocketman

As Elton attempts to shed his old persona, and become a showman, his manager John shifts from showing romantic interest in the performer to openly manipulating him.

Once again denied the love that he craves, Elton throws himself into his performances. His costumes become more and more outlandish, to the delight of his audiences. In front of a crowd Elton is all smiles and brilliant show. Behind the scenes, his pain and loneliness drive him to drugs, alcohol and anger.

His long time friend and musical partner leaves. Elton truly finds himself alone and depressed, in the midst of incredible fame, and fortune, and people who want from him but have nothing to offer in return.

The past and the present day at last align, as Elton concludes his story. Realizing his life is spiraling downward, he walks away from a sold out concert and seeks help.

Can his career survive, he wonders, if he is sober and clean and more…ordinary?

Movie Review Rocketman

My Thoughts on Rocketman

Rocketman is a beautiful, clever musical, skillfully weaving Elton’s songs throughout the movie. They tell his story in illuminating ways, showing snapshots of who he was at different times in his life.

I’ve long been a fan of Elton John. His songs are an integral part of my storyline. Hearing them I can recount the events in my own life as his tunes topped the charts. I know his songs. However, the film taught me a great deal that I did not know about the man.

Elton’s story is overshadowed with sadness. It’s difficult for me to understand how love can be withheld from a child. In my heart it feels so wrong. And yet, it is possible that Elton’s early years birthed more than an extraordinary performer who wowed audiences. His pain gave incredible depth to his music. He truly is a musical genius. And although I teared up many times during this film, I experienced a deep appreciation for the way that he endured as he sought to be who he is.

The end credits are worth staying for. Actual photos and text tell the rest of Elton’s story, bringing us to the actual present day.

The tagline for Rocketman is an apt one.

“The only way to tell his story is to live his fantasy.”

What a moving way to get to know the heart of this man.

Movie Review Rocketman


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A Healing Journey Leads to Woman’s World Magazine

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Three years ago next month, my mother and I embarked on a healing journey together. I actually headed down that new path first, desperate to heal chronic sciatica that severely limited my mobility. Seeing improvement in my health, my mom, who struggled with a host of ailments herself, joined me in this trek toward better health.

Little did we know then, that incredible healing would transform our lives. And we could not imagine the opportunities that would come, to share our stories.

This is the timeline, of a healing journey that leads to Woman’s World Magazine.

Healing Journey Title Meme


Finding Hope

Four years ago, my sciatica worsened, after 22 years of daily chronic pain, to the point where I required a cane to walk. A car accident set off a series of reactions in my body that I could not seem to recover from. I faced the prospect of being in a wheelchair. (Read more about my story here.)

Through a Divine twist, I came across a post on Facebook by Anthony William, also known as the Medical Medium. He shared that often chronic pain after an accident has the Epstein Barr Virus as its source. The virus can attack organs or in my case, nerves. In the past I’d tried so many things to relieve my pain: physical therapy, pain meds, massage, energy work, exercise, electrical stimulation, injections, steroids and chiropractic manipulation. Nothing helped enough.

Anthony advocated a change in diet, something that had never been suggested to me before. Willing to try anything, I  began drinking celery juice. After reading Anthony’s first book, Medical Medium, I began a 28 Day Cleanse and ultimately switched to a plant based diet.

During the cleanse I parked the cane in a corner and there it remains. Mom noticed my improving health and decided to join me on the cleanse.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineThis “before” photo, taken in October 2015, captures the cane resting against my right thigh. I was on pain meds so that I could participate in a fun evening with family. Mom and I both were at our heaviest, due to decreasing mobility and inactivity as a result of pain.

Inspiration for Change

Mom and I had reasons for changing our health, beyond the desire to feel better. I had a trip scheduled to Italy in May 2017, with my grandson and daughter. And mom and I had a trip to the UK with my sisters and niece planned for September of the same year. We wanted to feel like traveling and needed the energy and stamina to keep up.

In the span of a week, I accompanied my mom to all of her doctor appointments. I spoke with each doctor, explaining the plant based diet and the cleanse, and received their hearty approvals. It also gave Mom a baseline to measure improvement against.

We had one year before the trip, to take charge of our health and create change. With a great deal of determination and commitment, our healing journey began.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineWe made it to the UK, enjoying Ireland, Scotland and England. Photo taken in Dublin, Ireland. No cane! And no pain meds.

To the UK…and Beyond

One year later, mom and I boarded that plane with my sisters and niece and experienced twelve wonderful days in the UK.

What incredible changes we experienced, health wise. My sciatica cleared up. And I healed from so many minor ailments such as severe acid reflux, hives and rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, seasonal allergies and headaches. Mom’s improvements were more dramatic. She experienced a huge decrease in the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, improvements in her entire digestive system and the healing of issues with her lungs and heart.

We both lost weight, easily, as a result of embracing a plant based diet, while our energy increased.

We felt so much better that we agreed to continue with the plant based lifestyle. As I share with others, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. There was no going back for either of us. Three years along this path we’ve chosen, our health continues to improve. Mom’s heart doctor recently told her she didn’t need to come back for a year. “I wish all my patients would eat a plant based diet,” he told mom.

And precancerous spots in Mom’s stomach have completely disappeared. Her liver is free from fat and disease, which is remarkable for her age. I am thrilled with her level of health.

A Healing Journey Leads to Woman's World MagazineAn “after” photo for the magazine, with shirt possibilities.

The Healing Journey Leads to Woman’s World Magazine

Being a blogger, I regularly share posts and updates on social media, about my healing journey, and mom’s, as they are so connected. About a month ago, I received an email from an editor with the national publication, Woman’s World Magazine. She found me on Instagram, through my connection there with Anthony. After reading about the health journey Mom and I share, she asked if she could send us questions to answer, for an upcoming feature on Anthony William and celery juice.

“Of course”, I replied. I’m always happy to offer hope to others who are suffering and share about our healing experiences. The editor requested before and after photos as well, when she learned that both of us lost weight as a result of the changes in our diet. Again, we happily complied.

Imagine our surprise when the editor contacted me a couple of days later, saying they intended to use the info we supplied in the article…and next up was a professional photo shoot!


The healing journey took an unexpected and wildly fun turn. I asked Mom if she was game for an adventure. Bless this woman. I often end up in crazy adventures. And she never says “no” to joining me!

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineAsenath works her magic! She was so fun to be around. We appreciated all that she did.

Prepping for Photos

We literally had three days to prep for a photo shoot. A photographer from Los Angeles contacted me and began the process of securing a professional here to take the photos. He found Patty Jessee, with Patty Jessee Photography, and what a fun and kind woman she was to work with.

I was tasked with finding a hair and make up person. Her job included creating a natural look with make up and styling our hair. Due for a trim at Dr. Fly’s Salon, I met with stylist Asenath there. She graciously agreed to give up her Sunday afternoon to meet us at Mom’s house.

And Mom and I received detailed instructions on what to wear, including shirt colors and shoe styles. Every step in the process included photos taken and sent to the photographer in LA and to the editor. Shirts and slacks and shoes were approved…or not. I swapped out the light green shirt in the after photo above for a pink one. We purchased extra celery so that we could make juice to feature in the photos and have bunches of celery to hold.

After three whirlwind days, everyone met at Mom’s on Sunday afternoon, to get ready for the photo shoot.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans World MagazineTaking a test photo.

The Photo Shoot

Patty arrived just as Asenath finished our hair and make up. After scouting out my mom’s backyard, she made the decision to move to a nearby location, where sunlight could filter through trees. I learned that there is so much to a professional photo shoot! We began about 4:00 PM and finished at a little after 8:00 PM.

Lighting is critical, as is the background for the shoot. Patty is immensely patient. She used great care setting up equipment, directing our poses, and keeping track of all of the details. We smiled until our cheeks ached, and changed clothes in the back of my car so that the magazine had different options.

And we laughed. Patty made the process fun and she knew exactly what to do. With everything going on, I totally failed to get a photo of her, as she snapped pics of my mom. We appreciated Patty’s skills, her great sense of humor and her endurance. She took about three hundred photos.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans Day MagazineThe magazine is on sale. Articles are deliberately covered up. Purchase a magazine to read the article and our stories!

The Healing Journey Continues

Yesterday the Woman’s World Magazine, featuring the story about Anthony William and celery juice, hit the news stands. The magazine is on sale through June 12, at Walmart, Target and other stores that carry magazines.

And there on the cover, in the lower right corner, is my cute little mama. She’s holding a glass of celery juice. Inside the publication are two more photos, one of me, one of Mom, and our healing stories.

I’m so proud of my mom, for many reasons, not least of which is that she is so willing to jump on board with me on these adventures. She’s such a good sport.

I’m proud of my mom too for her accomplishments in turning her health around. The magazine deal was fun….and a wonderful experience. I’m so glad I got to share it with Mom. And I am beyond grateful for the healing experience we’ve shared. That journey continues on.

Our great desire is that the magazine article and our stories give hope to those who are hurting, feeling sick and looking for answers. Healing can take place. Health can be restored. There is hope.

We know. Health and vibrancy have returned to us. We are healed.

A Healing Journey Leads to Womans World Magazine

Order Celery Juice, by Anthony William, by clicking on the photo below:


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Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

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Saturday my mother and I enjoyed a rain free morning by exploring the Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center. This gem of a garden is located south of Joplin, between Seneca and Neosho. The address is 18284 Gazelle Drive, Neosho, but use your phone’s GPS. This farmette , nestled in a gorgeous valley in Newton County, is in the middle of nowhere.

However, that’s part of it’s charm.

We successfully navigated the country roads, locating Back in Thyme Gardens in about half an hour, driving from Joplin. I’m so glad that we decided to follow curiosity and check it out. Truthfully, my mom had me at the word “garden”. It’s so much more than that though.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Creating Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Owners John and Brenda Coleman created the gardens four years ago, in an empty field across the road from their home. It could properly be called a hobby farm. However, I know from working in my own backyard garden that this hobby requires a great deal of work and maintenance.

A hobby farm is defined as a small farm operated for pleasure or for supplemental income, rather than being a source of primary income.

I don’t know if this is true for John and Brenda. It’s evident that Back in Thyme thrives under their continual care and they do take pleasure in their gardens. This place is truly a work of art and a labor of love, with emphasis on the labor part.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center is open Thursday through Saturday, from spring until early summer. Along with the gardens to wander through, there are nursery plants for sale, a retail center and a delightful assortment of friendly animals. While there are items for sale, it does not cost anything to explore this magical place. Guests are encouraged to ask questions, smell the flowers and nibble on the edible plants.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

The Inhabitants of Back in Thyme Gardens

Mom and I arrived at the gardens just as they opened for the day.  I laughed as soon as we stepped out of the car.  Gracie the dog greeted us, along with the cutest trio of animals I’ve ever seen. Two pot belly pigs grunted a welcome to us as they crowded eagerly against the fence.

Of course I had to get closer. What made me laugh, however, was their sidekick friend tagging along. She’s a turkey! These three stayed side by side in their enclosure, obviously best buds.

As we entered the gardens, the trio trotted across their pen to meet us on the interior side. I couldn’t resist. I scratched their snouts, which the pigs seemed to enjoy, and petted the turkey.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

It was equally fun to visit the chicken enclosure and watch all the chicks come running! These well cared for animals appear to enjoy human interaction. The ducks waddled over to check us out as well and preen a bit. The back of the gardens contains bee hives. We stayed clear of those, so as not to disturb them.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Exploring Back in Thyme Gardens

I love that one can stand in any spot and see most of the gardens, and yet there are many paths to wander down and alcoves to explore.

We took our time  walking down each pathway.

Colorful flowers spill over huge metal tubs. Herbs share space with veggies and fruits. It was fun to identify each plant we found, or failing to come up with a name, look at the little signs. I like that the gardens are a mix of many plants. It’s how I garden, with a certain amount of riotous chaos. It makes for an interesting and beautiful space.

We spied an Alice in Wonderland themed garden. And alcoves both large and small intrigued us with statues, plants and repurposed items.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Wandering the gardens, I felt inspired. I took mental notes of ideas I could incorporate into my own backyard paradise. For example, an old brass headboard painted green serves as a decoration in the garden, as does a vintage metal settee bench. I love using repurposed metal in my garden. I’ll be watching for a headboard at a flea market or yard sale to “plant” in my backyard.

As we left the front gardens, we entered into the nursery section, where low wooden tables held containers of herbs and flowers for sale.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

The Back in Thyme Nursery

The back section of the gardens offers row after row of plants for sale. Mom and I enjoyed walking down each row. We discovered flowers that are new to us. And we exclaimed over the many varieties of peonies, a fragrant spring flower that my grandfather loved.

Butterflies and bees flitted from flower to flower, a sign of a healthy and attractive garden.

As I look around, I’m impressed with this garden center. And I feel so at home here. If I owned a couple of acres, this is what I’d love to create. The Colemans have transformed a field into beautiful gardens and launched a dream.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Finally we wandered into the little retail shop. It’s cool interior welcomed us after our exploring outdoors. The shop offers an assortment of gardening books and supplies, seeds, raw organic honey from the onsite bees, windchimes and many other fun items.

Gracie the dog enjoys the shop too. She sprawls on the floor, hoping for a belly rub.

We purchase packets of seeds, to fill the last of our empty containers.

The Search for Eden

In the movie, A Little Chaos, Andre Le Nortre, the master gardener, asks Sabine about her small and wildly beautiful garden.

“This abundance of chaos…is this your Eden?”

“My search for it,” she answers.

Perhaps those of us who enjoy gardening…who love getting our hands into the dirt and think nothing of talking to  plants…perhaps we are instinctively searching for Eden. By creating our own paradises, we find our way back to the garden. We return home.

If you enjoy gardens or herbs or flowers or barnyard animals, you must visit Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center. Future plans expand on the culinary part, with cooking classes and demonstrations offered.

I so look forward to that. And I look forward to returning to this piece of Eden.

Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center

Visit the Back in Thyme Gardens & Culinary Center Facebook page HERE.

Stream A Little Chaos HERE on Amazon Prime.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.