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Acknowledgement

The dictionary says that to acknowledge someone is to recognize them in some fashion. It may be to say hello, or notice and announce their presence at some function. But in looking back at the origins of the word in Middle English, to acknowledge someone or some thing is to understand the person or situation. In addition, you have this knowledge and you use it in some way. Applied knowledge combined with the experience gained from that application is one way to define Wisdom. In my corollary to Fuller’s Equation of Abundance (Energy x Knowledge = Abundance), I multiply the effects of knowledge by experience, both the experience gained by the application of the knowledge as well as the knowledge gained by the experience. This algebraic effect increases wisdom much more rapidly than knowledge alone.

But the mere presence of Wisdom is not enough. The second part of Fuller’s Equation is energy. I see this as the energy to take action and apply this wisdom to Life. Having a lot of information in your head is a fine thing. APPLYing that information in a positive manner is even better. And Creating a world we want to Live & Thrive in is one of the manifestations of Abundance. Does this mean that if you don’t live in a big house with a fine car and a huge bank account you aren’t smart enough or don’t work hard enough? NO.

True Abundance is a state of Being, a manifestation of Unconditional Love. As Laurence Boldt puts it, a “psychology of Plenty, in a state of constant Thanksgiving.” Abundance can be a big part of your Personal Mythology, driving so many of your beliefs, shaping your perceptions of your world, and influencing the actions you take. Seeing yourself surrounded by an Abundant world creates a very different set of actions than a mindset of lack and poverty. This is not to deny there are those who don’t have a roof over their head or enough food in their belly. Those situations are too often the result of a psychology of lack and greed exercised by those in power who won’t share, and continue to want more and more. Which makes it all the more important that we see the world for the Abundant place it is, and be willing to help those who don’t have access to that Plenty. Whether it is through the dollar bill or the ballot box is not the point, the point is to share with those who need it. And that Generosity is best done from a sense of Abundance.

We don’t create our world in a vacuum, either. Everything we do sends out ripples of energy or effect or whatever you want to call it. And if enough of us are selfish or afraid, then more of that energy is put out into the world. I believe that it is vitally important that we concentrate on putting more Love & Generosity into the world. This is true for us as individuals and as a society. I know we can always do better at nearly everything. But to ignore Positive situations is to generate more negativity. It’s been said that “Energy flows where attention goes.” So what we pay attention to, we get more of. We see what we want to see. So if we believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket, we’ll see every shitty thing that happens. If we see the world for a place of Peace, Grace, & Love, then you’ll see manifestations of that wherever you look. Most of us fall somewhere between the two. Let’s just not ignore one aspect or the other, especially when it comes to looking after each other.

What it comes down to is acknowledging each other, trying to understand each other. Not having to always agree, but talking to each other instead of talking past each other. This way we can gain more knowledge about each other, have more experiences with each other, gaining more Wisdom, and thus creating a more Abundant world.

REMEMBER – I AM acknowledging more of the people I meet, so I can understand them better.
And So It Is!!!

~ Inspired by the Season of Nonviolence, and Buckminster Fuller’s Book, Critical Mass

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for 8/1-8/6, 2016

I’m volunteering this week at The House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site, in Moore County NC. It’s time for the annual Battle Reenactment, honoring the people on both sides of the FIRST American Civil War, commonly referred to as The American Revolution. It’s the story of two men with big egos and bad tempers who got into a serious firefight that had to be sorted out by a very brave and sensible woman. Some things never change, I guess. If you’re interested, here’s more info.

While I’ll be pretty busy this week, I can always make time to help YOU be a Successful Gardener! If you live in Chatham, Lee, or Moore County, NC, 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 all kinds of landscapes, urban lot or country homestead, good red land of the Piedmont, or the sandy loam of the Sandhills. They each have 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 farmed and operated a plant nursery in NC for 15 years, and was an NC Cooperative Extension agent for 8 years. In that time, 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. To learn how to cultivate profit on your farm, contact me here.

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! To take advantage of the opportunities that are available to small business owners, 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! Come see me at The ‘Shoe next weekend!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Love & Patience II

Patience has been a lesson for me these last weeks. As I usually do, I was writing a piece on something that is challenging to me. I remembered this post, and it was better than what I was writing. So here it is again, edited to reflect new experiences.
– Jeff

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love and this Love is manifested in MY LIFE as Patience, Love’s empathy.

Patience is often described as remaining calm while tolerating a difficult situation. I think Patience is seeing the Divine in everything, remembering we are One with all there is, and dealing with what is in a Loving way. Having a connection with someone or something creates a different experience from dealing with “the other”.

We are connected to all of Creation in many different ways. As Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, “We are all connected. To each other, biologically; to the Earth, chemically, and to the Universe, atomically.” I’d add, “to All That Is, Spiritually”.

While acknowledging the unity found in the cosmos, we should also recognize our own individuality. As distinct aspects of the Oneness of the Universe, we encounter all kinds of individuals. They are all living their own journey. They have their own stuff to work through, and in all likelihood, it’s very different from our own. It’s inevitable that we meet a person or situation that tries our patience or frustrates us or just plain pisses us off. When you think on it, usually that happens because the person or situation didn’t meet our expectations. They didn’t play by our rules. Never mind that we never shared our rules with anybody, much less a specific individual. We’re pissed because we didn’t get what we wanted, #@&&!+!!! Isn’t that more than a little arrogant?

Once you realize your role in your own frustration, then Patience becomes the key to Loving that person or situation. And I don’t mean affection when I say Love here. I’m just talking tolerance or at least not wanting to strangle the #%^£€¥#. And being patient with yourself as well. Because you’ll slip up and get angry with somebody. Then you’ll get angry with yourself. And that doesn’t help at all. So when that happens, take a deep breath, and remember the Oneness behind all this crazy individuality.

(I’ll add here that it’s very useful to remember that we may (probably have) been a stressor to someone else, or as I put it in a FaceBook post yesterday (7/28/16) the “@$$£0/€” in someone else’s life, even unknowingly. It’s true that while each of us are responsible for how we experience our Lives, it’s humbling to realize that with a thoughtless action or a simple mistake, we can make some stranger as angry as they make us. If that realization bothers you (It bothers me!), remember to Create from the lesson in Humility. Don’t react to the  feelings of imperfection.)

I find it helpful, when confronted by a frustrating person (which includes me) or a trying experience, to lovingly offer this blessing. “It’s all good, ’cause it’s all God. So Good on ya!” This reminds me to see the Divine in everybody and everything. This looking for the Sacred in the sound & fury can be difficult, but the effort pays off in the end.

REMEMBER – I AM a Patient, Loving person, bringing a Positive influence to the world.
And So It Is!
– Inspired by Galatians 5:22-23, my studies, & my experiences.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 25-30, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 6:00—8:00PM
The Successful Gardener:
Go Forth and Multiply: Plant Propagation $10.00
Reynolds Homestead, 407 Homestead Lane, Critz, VA, 24082
Here’s more info

Lots of food plants are very easy to propagate. We’ll learn the basics of making new plants from root or stem cuttings, and from divisions. Propagating plants is an easy and fun way to grow more fresh food!

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

July 29 – August 1, 2016 Matthews, NC
Home landscape consultations, Farm and small business consultations.

Remember that Summer is a good time to make plans for fall landscape projects. If you live in the Charlotte, 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 urban landscapes, 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 farmed and operated a plant nursery in NC for 15 years, and was an NC Cooperative Extension agent for 8 years. In that time, 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. To learn how to cultivate profit on your farm, contact me here.

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! To take advantage of the opportunities that are available to small business owners, 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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Jeff’s Schedule for July 18-24, 2016

We’ve had a lot of strong storms in the last few days, so I’ll start the week in Patrick County, Virginia, checking on my demonstration and research gardens.

Monday, I’ll be on Locust Ridge, working in my Living Garden trial garden. This is the spot where I try lots of ideas, make big messes, and kill lots of plants. It’s also the place where I find out if an idea I’m propagating should be planted in other gardens.

I’ll be at the Reynolds Homestead on Tuesday, working in the Successful Gardener Demonstration Garden. Come by and see what we’re up to!

Friday, I’m headed to one of my favorite places – Valle Crucis, NC. I’m teaching and working at Wild Herb Weekend, an event sponsored by the NC Herb Association. It’s 3 days of learning, teaching, and doing at the beautiful Valle Crucis Conference Center. You can find out about registration here.

Remember that Summer is a good time to make plans for fall landscape projects. If you need help with your home or business landscape, contact me for a consultation. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! I’m booking consultations now for August and September. Contact me here for a consult!

I farmed and operated a plant nursery in NC for 15 years, and was an NC Cooperative Extension agent for almost 10 years. In that time, 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 can help your business prosper. To learn how to cultivate profit in your farm or food business, contact me here.

I’m a small business consultant as well. In the last 20 years, I’ve helped many small business owners, from vegetable farmers to motorcycle shops to opera singers*! In these times of great opportunity, strategic planning is essential for success. I can help you write a business plan, show you how to construct enterprise and cash flow budgets, and teach you DIY methods of market research. To learn how to run a successful small business, contact me here.

Individual consultations and group trainings are options for getting the information you need to succeed! Contact me here to find out more about these options.

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

*Opera singers are independent contractors, and so are considered small business owners. I didn’t know that either until the client came to see me.

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 11-16, 2016

I’ll be in the Patrick County, Virginia area this week, working on some local projects.

I’ll be at the Reynolds Homestead on Monday, working on the Successful Gardener Demonstration Garden. I’ll be there from 9AM til 12 noon. Come by and see what we’re up to!

Summer is a good time to make plans for fall landscape projects. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! I’m booking consultations now for August and September.

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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The Vessel You Choose

A maxim in education is, “If you really want to learn something, teach it!” A corollary to that statement is, “If you really want to teach something well, experience it for yourself!” That can be both a benefit and a trial, as I am coming to discover. In the great Christian devotional, My Upmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, “You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself…”.

In the last few months, my life has been in a bit of a turmoil. Nothing major, just time and time again, my faith has been challenged in some way. Some small thing would bump up against my Personal Mythology. A firmly set Intention seems to be heading nowhere fast. Normally, It’s a chance to let go of some old outmoded belief, or an opportunity to fine tune that “I AM” statement. Lately, however, some major things have come up that really challenge what I teach. So much so that I have really begun to question my faith in myself and what I teach.

One of those times was yesterday. I did something really stupid, and by the Grace of God, a set of good brakes and an alert driver in the other car, nobody got hurt. No fenders even dented. Frankly, it scared the living day lights out of me. And what did I do? I reacted to the event. I got so angry with myself that I had to pull over and cool off. It took me a long time to come to a place of calm where I could even begin to change from reactive mode to Creative thinking. After years of writing and meditating about creating versus reacting, something happens at a different level than I have experienced. I reacted instead of Created. And this is where Chambers’ phrase “the great depths of God” comes to mind.

Those Great Depths of God, as I’ll write them from now on, are the challenges we face in our growth as human beings. Just as the ocean plunges to great depths, depths that we think we cannot reach, the opportunities and challenges afforded us on this planet are beyond our current self-imposed limits as well. They can take us to great heights if we are willing to take sail. Be advised that those depths can be perilous, but the rewards can be great. With the challenges we face in this world, we cannot afford to stay in safe harbors of economic, gender, or racial privilege. Sitting on the dock makes for good lyrics for a song, but eventually you have to get up off your ass to get where your heart wants to be. And if we really want to Create our world, it looks as though we will encounter challenges again and again. Einstein is to have said that we can’t solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. So what do we do? Practice, that’s what.

I wrote a few months back that we practice for the times that can’t. Those times that happen in an instant. The times that we can’t find a quiet spot to practice. Even, or especially, the times we mess up. Gratitude practice is what allowed me to begin the Creative process of how to deal with new experiences. If your practice is Prayer, remember that Paul tells us, “Pray without ceasing”. If it’s Yoga, put your ass on the mat so you can take your heart where you want it to be. If it’s Gratitude, cultivate a constant psychology of Thankfulness. Journaling is a very effective way to deal with all of the sound & fury in the world.

Try new Practices, especially if they make you uncomfortable. Unconditional Love is a practice that I struggle with that is changing the way I see the world. Yoga brought me to that practice. Yoga offers up a lot of resistance, even today, to a guy like me – an older, white guy raised in the South. But the benefits, especially Spiritual, are beyond my expectations. Prayer and meditation are becoming more a part of mainstream life, and the benefits from that practice show up in myriad ways. Service to others offers so many different ways to practice. Nonviolence is a much needed practice in these unsettled times. But the point is to practice. For the times you can’t. And for those who can’t.

Whether you choose to sail out on The Great Depths of God is up to you. The vessel you choose is the practice you use.

REMEMBER – I AM sailing out on The Great Depths of God.
And So It Is!!!

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Jeff’s Schedule for July 5-9, 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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Freedom’s Not Just Another Word

The word “Freedom” gets bandied about a lot in this contentious political season. Most of the time, the definition of freedom seems to be “I get to do whatever the hell I want to do”. Buried deep in that interpretation is, “I get to do what I want, screw you if you don’t like it!” Before you start forming an opinion of the political orientation of the article, I believe the 2 main political philosophies of American politics (and many of the others) all suffer from the “I’m right, and you’re a dumbass” school of thought.

Freedom is of course, defined as “the power to determine action without restraint”. So from that standpoint, I suppose you CAN do “whatever the hell you want”. But what quality of Life does that kind of freedom bring anybody? Eventually, somebody’s “freedom” steps squarely in the middle of yours. Keep in mind that all the while, your “freedom” has been stomping all over someone else’s. That’s because “freedom” in and of itself, isn’t enough for a Good or Happy Life. Both in it’s practice and it’s experience, freedom isn’t a standalone virtue, if I can call it such. Like a chair with one leg, that kind of freedom is tricky to deal with. For most folks, a freedom balanced with one or more of the other virtues brings the kind of Life they are really looking for.

First among those is Unconditional Love. I’ve written on that many times, but I’ll repeat the best definition of Love that I know of. The Understanding, Creative Goodwill for ALL people, as Dr. King put it. This applies to EVERYBODY, mind you, even the folks that get on your last nerve. Even when THEY don’t extend YOU the SAME Love. It ain’t easy. But it’s what we’re called to do. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. It doesn’t mean we have to like them or what they do. What it DOES mean is that we are called to a code of conduct of Compassion, of Empathy, of Self-Control. No person is useless, no one is a wasted Life. All of us are a physical manifestation of some Higher Power. You’re free to choose what to call that Power. Yeah, I picked that word on purpose.

Freedom, leavened with Love, Compassion, and Empathy is a very different choice from freedom influenced by fear, selfishness, and greed. It produces a very different Life. With enough people practicing that kind of Freedom, it produces a very different world. As we celebrate this Independence Day, let’s practice the Freedom to Love Unconditionally, to Live Compassionately, and to Thrive Gratefully.

REMEMBER – I AM Free! Free to Love, Free to Share, Free to Thrive!

– Inspired by Independence Day (the holiday, not the movie)

Peace, Grace, & Love…& FREEDOM!
Jeff

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