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Jeff’s Schedule for June 27-July 2, 2016

Here’s where I’ll be this week. Come join me!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 6:00—8:00PM
The Successful Gardener:
Something’s Eating My Plants! : A Baker’s Dozen of the Most Common Garden Pests. $10.00
Reynolds Homestead, 407 Homestead Lane, Critz, VA, 24082
Here’s more info:
Gardens are places of Life in all of its Abundance. Some of that Abundance is shared, not always willingly, with the critters that we call pests. We’ll talk about 13 (or more if we have the time) of the pests we most often encounter in our gardens.
Contact: Lisa Martin (276)694-7181 ext. 22 or martinlm@vt.edu

June 29 – July 2, 2016 In the Herb Garden
Valle Crucis Conference Center, Valle Crucis, NC
I’m doing garden maintenance at the Conference Center later in the week. If you live in the Boone, NC, area and you’d like me to come by and help you with a garden consultation, I’d love to do it. I’m familiar with mountain gardens, their challenges and their beauty. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! If you’re interested, contact me here.
As a farmer and NC Cooperative Extension agent, I learned a LOT about farm production and farm business management. I can help you with organic certification, transition to organic practices, and marketing your farm and food products.
I’m a certified small business consultant as well. In these times of great opportunity, strategic planning is essential for success. I can help you write a business plan, construct enterprise and cash flow budgets, and do market research. Individual consultations and group trainings are options for getting the information you need to succeed!
If you’re interested, contact me here.

Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener!

Hope to see you some time this week!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Love & Passion & Celebration

This is a piece I wrote over a year ago. It made me smile, thinking about Gwendolyn, New Orleans, and living a passionate Life.

My dear friend Gwendolyn Coleman was asked to lead the Blessing at a dinner in New Orleans. She went and got her tambourine from her bag, and led the group in a rhythmic chant of Thanksgiving. When I made the comment that was the first prayer I’d heard accompanied by a rhythm section, she grinned and said, “What’s a prayer without a tambourine?”

Gwen is a professional musician, and a drummer of unbelievable skill. I tell folks she can play a separate rhythm with each hand, two more different rhythms with each foot, and sing to yet another beat. And she certainly marches to the beat of a different drummer. How many people do you know that always have a tambourine in their bag?

Living by your own rhythms lets your Creative juices flow freely, letting you Create the Life You Love with all of the Passion humans can bring. We love a party. We are always celebrating birthdays, weddings, & anniversaries. Why not carry that celebratory passion into all of Life? Love your family with intense passion, even if that is woven into a family history of strife that needs “tough Love”. Be so Thankful for the meal you are eating that you need musical accompaniment, complete with shouts of “Amen!” & “Hallelujah!” Do work that excites you so much you wake up before the alarm clock goes off, ready to be about your Life’s work. Be so Loving & Compassionate that you Insist that everyone be given all the respect of being Human, free of prejudice, resentment, & hatred. Be so excited by your Life that you’ve just GOT to Live it!!!

REMEMBER – I AM Living MY LIFE, with all of the Love & Passion & Celebration I can muster.
And So It Is!!!
– Inspired by memories of my first visit to New Orleans.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Where Is All This Coming From?

I have had a close relationship with anger for a good part of my adult life. I wasn’t an angry kid. My childhood was as near perfect as you can imagine. But somewhere along the way, I picked up this temper that burned hot and fast. Being a person who wants to know the why of things, I’ve thought a lot about this recently. Because after a rather long hiatus, that temper is showing up again. How did I create this?

I believe I create the things in my My Life by My Personal Mythology – all of the thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions that I use to write the stories of My Life. So some story that I’ve written makes me react in anger to a person or situation, instead of creating a response out of Unconditional Love. Now I don’t think Love and anger are necessarily mutually exclusive. But the results of pissed off reaction to inconvenience are quite different from a Loving response to injustice or harm.

Here’s the deal. I’ve written a lot of words in drafting this post explaining this reason or that exposure. But it comes down to this. Our own beliefs set up how we see the world. Those perceptions tell us stories that we use to interpret what we see. Those stories steer us to reacting to them. You see, we’re not really reacting to a person or a situation. We’re reacting to what we BELIEVE about that person or situation. That’s why we have so many religions, political systems, and cultures. We have different beliefs about different things. And that reactionary response is the reason for so much of the conflict in the world. We believe differently, and OUR belief is The Truth, right?

As long as we choose to enforce these beliefs on others, we face a lot of anger and division. If, on the other hand, we extended the Loving parts of our beliefs to others, we could create a whole new world. Part of getting a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Alchemy (AKA getting your shit together) is taking responsibility for how you react or create in your Life. Writing stories into your Personal Mythology that create out of Love is a simple way to get started on that. You don’t have to change your politics or your religion. But you might have to change how you practice them.

Are you willing to give up being pissed off at the world? Are you ready to “participate joyfully in the sorrows of Life”*? Taking responsibility for how you respond to people or situations that are outside you own beliefs is a good first step to a more tranquil world. It’s not the only one, and it may not change the world. But it will change you. That’s what changes the world, anyway.

REMEMBER – I AM willing to create, not react.
And So It Is!

~ Inspired by events in My Life

* Joseph Campbell

Peace, Grace, and Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 20-25, 2016

I’ll be in the Patrick County, Virginia area this week, working on some local projects. If you live in the Stuart, VA, or Mount Airy, NC, area and you’d like me to come by and help you with a garden consultation, I’d love to do it. I’m familiar with mountain and foothills gardens, their challenges and their beauty. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more!

As a farmer and NC Cooperative Extension agent, I learned a LOT about farm production and farm business management. I can help you with organic certification, transition to organic practices, and marketing your farm and food products.

I’m a certified small business consultant as well. In these times of great opportunity, strategic planning is essential for success. I can help you write a business plan, construct enterprise and cash flow budgets, and do market research. Individual consultations and group trainings are options for getting the information you need to succeed!

If you’re interested, contact me here.

Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener!

Hope to see you some time this week!

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 13, 2016

Here’s where I’ll be this week. Come join me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 6:30—8:30PM Something’s Eating My Plants! A Baker’s Dozen of the Most Common Garden Plants
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
Cost: $20.00 per person, 2 or more family members $15.00 each

Gardens are places of Life in all its abundance. Some of that abundance is shared, not always willingly, with the critters that we call pests. We’ll talk about 13 (or more if we have time) of the pests we most often encounter in our gardens.

Contact: pressly@renfrowfarm.com or call the store and leave a message 704- 847-4088. You
can also join us without registering.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 10:00AM-12:00PM Morning Edition, Something’s Eating My Plants!
Renfrow Hardware, 188 North Trade Street, Matthews, NC
Cost: $20.00 per person, 2 or more family members $15.00 each

For those of you who can’t make it on Tuesday, here’s your second chance to learn about the 13(or more if we have time) of the pests we most often encounter in our gardens.

Contact: pressly@renfrowfarm.com or call the store and leave a message 704- 847-4088. You
can also join us without registering.

Friday, June 17, 2016 Reynolds Homestead Sustainability Workshop
Reynolds Homestead, 407 Homestead Lane, Critz, VA, 24082
Here’s more info.

I’ll be teaching 2 classes this year:
830AM Four season Gardening: In this session Jeff will talk about the best garden design to produce year-round vegetables, including the best crops for each season – even winter! If you love the joys of eating home-garden  vegetables but have always thought those joys had to stop at the end of the summer, then this session is for you. We have abundant sunshine throughout the year here in the mid-Atlantic that can be taken advantage of easily to keep your larder full year-round.
3PM Natural landscaping: Also called native gardening, this is the use of native plants, including trees, shrubs, ground-covers, and grasses which are indigenous to the geographic area of the garden. Natural landscaping is adapted to the climate, geography and hydrology and should require no pesticides, fertilizers and watering to maintain, given that native plants have adapted and evolved to local conditions over thousands of years. Native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping, with many species vigorous and hardy and able to survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they can flourish without irrigation or fertilization, and are resistant to most pests and diseases.

Contact: Lisa Martin (276)694-7181 ext. 22 or martinlm@vt.edu

I’m available for Home Landscape consultations, Farm visits, and small business training and consultation. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify opportunities, and help you enjoy your farm, garden, or business even more! If you’re interested, you can reach me here.

Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener!

Hope to see you some time this week!

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Savoring and Reveling…Again

This quote from Rob Brezsny is one of my favorites. It was on my mind, so I thought I’d share it again. You know, so we can savor it a bit…

“Don’t just count your Blessings. Name them, speak them, savor them, revel in them, give thanks for them.”

~ Rob Brezsny

A few days ago I wrote about a new practice I’m starting that combines Affirmation practice and technology. Today I want to write about another part of the practice that is important to it’s effectiveness. And that’s Gratitude. For new readers, I’ve written about my Gratitude practice before. Gratitude is a real amplifier of most any other practice you do. That’s researched based information, too. Find it here.

I like the approach that Brezsny takes to Gratitude. Counting your Blessings is a concept we are all familiar with. Let’s take it deeper.

Naming the Blessing is the traditional form of counting your Blessings. It’s the list of things that we had happen to us that made us feel good. Those are Blissful Blessings. What about the so-called bad things that happened to us that resulted in us making changes that brought Good into our Lives? That’s a Painful Blessing. It might have hurt like #*!!, but still created Good in our Lives. That counts, too.

Speaking the Blessing is acknowledging the positive impact of the Blessing on your Life. It’s important to notice how that Blessing is transforming your Life. It’s important to do that on a regular basis. “One and done” lessens the impact.

Savor the Blessing. Just like enjoying a Good meal, you can feel joy about the things that happen in your Life. Feel the Good that the Blessing is bringing into your Life.

Revel in your Blessings. Celebrate the Blessing. Delight in the Good you have in Life. Just pause for a moment in your busy day and feel how good it is too be Blessed.

And of course, be Grateful for all of the Good Things in your Life. There are THOUSANDS of Good things happening in your Life every day, beginning with the moment you wake up (Brezsny).

Even in tragedy – in my experience, especially then – it’s important to see some kind of Good in Life. Maybe not in that event, but acknowledging something, somewhere, sometime, as Good will light a small flame of Hope and Healing. As a person that’s been Blessed greatly in Life, it’s easy for me to say, “Count your Blessings”. Even the most painful things in My Life will not equal some of the things that have happened and are happening to others. All I can speak from is my own experience. And when My Life was at it’s lowest, it was only when I started to acknowledge that at least some of it was worth Living, that I began to recover. And the more I name and speak and savor and revel in all of the thousands of things that go right for me every single day, I become more of Who I Really Am.

So how does all this Gratitude do anything for the Affirmation practice? I feel Grateful that the Affirmation is already a part of My Life. For instance, when I say the Affirmation, “I have a positive mental attitude”, I recall how I feel when I am positive. I savor that feeling, taking a minute or so to appreciate it. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and makes me feel better if nothing else. My experience is that the more often I act “as if” I already have the subject of the Affirmation, the sooner the Affirmation takes effect in the world.

Based on Dr Emmons’ Gratitude research, It’s SEE the Affirmation, SAVOR the affirmation, and then SHARE the results of the Affirmation with the world.

I hope you’re trying the Affirmation practice. I recommend it, and I hope you’ll share the results of it with the world through your own Life.

REMEMBER – I AM seeing the Good in My Life. I Savor it ever day. I share it with the world by how I Live My Life.
And So It Is!

~ Inspired by Brezsny www.freewillastrology.com

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for June 6-11, 2016

Here’s where I’ll be this week. Come join me!

Monday, June 6, 2016 6:00-9:00PM. Agripreneurship Seminar: The Plan & The Business
This is a FREE seminar!
Small Business Center, Stanly Community College, 143 N 2nd St, Albemarle, NC 28001
Here’s more info:

Ag Entrepreneurs create new ways of solving problems and creating value while using and protecting our natural resources. They meet the needs of our society while nourishing our families and developing our communities. They may create new production methods, or even new ways to do business. Tonight you’ll find out how to create a business plan that you can USE in your business! Set goals, take action, evaluate results, maybe even borrow money!

Contact: Alicia Herrin (704) 991-0182 or aherrin2506@stanly.edu

I’ll be in the Patrick County, Virginia area for the balance of the week, working on some local projects. If you live in the Stuart, VA, or Mount Airy, NC, area and you’d like me to come by and help you with a garden consultation, I’d love to do it. I’m familiar with mountain and foothills gardens, their challenges and their beauty. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! If you’re interested, contact me here.

I’m available for Home Landscape consultations, Farm visits, and small business training and consultation. You can reach me here.

Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener!

Hope to see you some time this week!

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The Way We See The World

In this day and age, it is far too easy to gloss over hurting someone by getting angry about it and blaming something or somebody else. It’s even easier to be angry about something that somebody did to you. It seems as though anger is our “go to” emotion. We get mad at other drivers, we get mad at politicians, we get mad at our bosses. There are probably as many reasons for the anger as there are angry people. Some of those reasons may even be justified, though I’m less and less sure of that as time goes by.

You see, anger, at least as practiced in modern society, is a reactive force. Usually a negative one, dividing families, communities, and nations. Somebody does something to hurt us, sometimes purposely, sometimes not, and we react to it by getting angry. Over time, this reaction becomes habitual, our default setting for any slight, real or imagined.

Here’s the thing. We learned this behavior, maybe as a kid or a young adult. So we can unlearn it, too. We can take responsibility for our lives, and begin to be Creative instead of reactive. Because changing the world begins with changing ourselves. As much as we think those “other people” caused all of our troubles, nine times out of ten, the “others” may not even be aware that they’ve done anything wrong. And at some point in our lives, WE are those “other people” for someone else. That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?

I’ve learned recently that many of our behaviors are the result of our brain’s evolution not keeping up with the changes in our society. We’re still worried about being eaten by a saber tooth tiger! We’re much too frightened of dangers that don’t exist for most of us any more. So our brain reacts to things with a fight or flight response. We get scared, and that makes us mad. But we can’t or won’t say we’re scared. We’re worried about money, we get mad at somebody else about it. We’re worried that our country is falling apart, we get angry at the politicians. Even when we’re worried about getting to work on time, we get mad at everybody that’s in your way. Fear, then anger. Fear, then anger. And always at the “other” person or thing. But it’s us.

I’m not talking about fault or blame. I’m talking about responsibility. Our responsibility, yours and mine. I’m talking about changing how you create with any given situation. And the first step is to create with a sense of Unconditional Love.

Let me get one thing straight here. I’m not saying we are to take on the blame for every situation. Nor are we to ignore that something happened. What I’m saying is that we have the opportunity to approach all of that with a different attitude. Instead of fear and anger, we can approach a situation with Love, Peace, & Compassion. I’ve written often about Dr. King’s take on Loving your enemies. That’s the kind of Love I’m talking about. “The understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all…” I can only speak for myself when I say that’s a pretty tall order. But it’s in that kind of radical change in ourselves that we change the world.

So how do we do that?

For me, it all begins with realizing that we are all connected right down to the atomic level. If we’re all the same “star stuff”, as Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson have said, then you begin to realize that those “other people” may not be so different from you. They are no better or no worse than you are. And all those differences that we make so much ado about? Usually those come not from “truth” but from Mythology that’s passed down through the ages. “THOSE people are ___________”, because such-and-such happened 100 years ago. It’s a reaction passed down from Great Granpa or Granma or Dad or Mom. It’s a thought that came to be so deeply believed that it colored everything we experienced. It was “real”. But only because we said it was.

After you get through worrying over the differences between us, then you can begin to see where change can be made in your own Personal Mythology. Because it’s our own stuff we need to change first. Not because we’re “bad”, but because, oddly enough, when we are able to change, we change how we see the world. Maybe that thing that made us so angry just isn’t a big deal anymore. Or that change has allowed us to let go of any hurt in our lives. That’s happened to me more than once.

As we change the way we see the world and everyone in it, the things that seemed so important at one time now seem less so. Or more likely, Loving the world Unconditionally has made you one of those “other people” that are changing the world one person at a time. That one person is you.

REMEMBER – I AM changing my world by opening myself to Unconditional Love.
And So It Is!

~ Inspired by The Season of Nonviolence

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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