Grow Your Own Luffa


grow your own luffaNo really you can. It’s not a joke! It’s not a sea sponge, it a gourd. Gourds are actually fruits by definition.  I was looking around in Target at the clearance items in the seasonal Lawn and Garden section and happen to find the seeds. I got a little curious so a purchased some seeds and looked up how to grow it. Now honestly I do not have a green thumb to grow things properly at all! So I’m starting out with very little faith in it actually growing due to my own undeveloped skills in gardening, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.

Why add Luffa gourds to your garden? A Luffa is edible. It’s similar to zucchini. It is said to be sweet and great to include in salads. It can be stir fried, baked, roasted and sauteed.

Picture Credit: Luffa.info (http://www.luffa.info)

Mature luffa gourds can grow up to 2 feet long. If left on the vine until the skin begins to shrivel, it dries up and can be harvested as a sponge. Luffa gourds love full sun so it will not tolerate a frost. It takes about 120 days or 3-4 months to mature.

Picture Credit Luffa.info (http://www.luffa.info)

Well according to Mother Earth News,  luffa gourds are quite versatile “Besides being handy bath accessories, they’re great as pot scrubbers, particularly for no-stick pans. During World War II, the durable fiber was used in surgical operations, as filter material in the Navy’s steam and diesel engines, and—because of its insulating properties—in Army helmet linings. Luffa gourds have also been processed into potholders, doormats, gloves, sandals, and stuffing for mattresses and saddles.”

Even if it doesn’t produce a the luffa gourds it will grow these beautiful yellow flowers which can be up to five inches in diameter!

Picture Credit: Luffa.info (http://www.luffa.info)

Well there you have it. A luffa or Loofa is a gourd.

Have you planted Luffa before? Did you know you could grow your own?

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I Accept Me.

"When I accept myself, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me." - Steve Maraboli

“Not everyone is going to like you.”

Gasp! What!? I thought my mother was so cruel for speaking those words to me. Those words hurt me. It felt like rejection. I felt like I was blemished, damaged and no one would accept me.  Why wouldn’t everyone like me?? My 12 year old self could not fathom why! At that time I had no idea how true those words were.  They were true! Very true! It hurt to hear that at that point in time because of the stage in life I was in, but they did no harm to me. Instead it made me think and ask, “…But why??? What’s wrong with me?” I was a needy Jr. High kid when that bit of reality intruded in on my goal of being a “very lovable, people pleasing, everyone has to like me kind of girl.” I just could not comprehend why anyone would not like me. I tried to be nice, quiet, and smile at everyone. When that didn’t shoot my popularity up, I tried to fit in…

That definitely did not work. I ended up being bullied and found out that I could never fit in. Guess what… still don’t and that is perfectly ok! Thinking back to that time and knowing who I am today kind of makes me laugh at myself past self a little. I was a bit silly. At that time I was searching for acceptance and wanted to be liked so badly. Oh goodness, if another hormonal Jr. High teen girl was mad at me, my world was shattered and over! I cried and worried. I was afraid that I would be rejected and eventually my fears came true when I faced bullying in the 8th grade. That was the price I paid for wanting to be a part of something. I wanted to be in with the cool kids the only thing was I wasn’t their kind of cool. I was my own kind of cool that I didn’t want to see or accept. No one was like me. Nerdy, I didn’t know the all of latest fads in clothes or slang, and I was quiet awkward. Very awkward. Yeah and that’s pretty much me today.

I did not realize that my need for acceptance was self inflicted stress and anxiety until

I asked myself what does another person’s approval do for my life?

What a heavy burden to seek acceptance from others! What if we don’t get that approval? What if we do? We cannot and should not try to please everyone. That has never been our assignment in life. Really, that is way too much to put on ourselves and require of others. All is still well if another person doesn’t like you. For me, as long as I have not offended you, I’m at ease because everyone has their preferences. I know everyone will not identify with my life, my choices, and my personality. If I didn’t like everyone, then why on earth would I assume I am entitled for everyone like me? Hmmm… It took years to understand that and give that grace and freedom to myself and others. Everyone didn’t like Christ, and goodness He healed people, spoke about love (John 15:17-18). He was the Son of God and was still crucified!

There are freedoms in accepting ourselves!

We no longer have the burden to try to keep up with others and become copies of other people. *Whew* let that all go. Oh boy, let me tell you, letting go of the need of acceptance takes time, but when you realize you are enough, it’s freeing! When I understood that God makes everyone different, I began to know that included me and I should never aim to be a copy of someone else (1 Peter 4:10). You shouldn’t aim for that either. You are enough!

We realize the true value of being accepted by others. It’s not worth a lot. It can’t solve your problems, it can’t pay your bills, however it can give you a false sense of ego. What does being acceptance mean anyway? Sure we want to be loved by our friends and family but love is different! Seeking God’s acceptance by salvation given by grace will far out weigh the favor of man (Galatians 1:10). We shouldn’t fear those who cannot kill the soul (Matthew 10:28). We are all fragile humans. Yes some have trail blazed, became famous, made billions but still they are mere humans not able to the universe. Some of us can’t even control ourselves! Look above for favor!

We have nothing to lose in giving up the need for acceptance. With carrying the desire for acceptance there is always a price to pay for it.  What are you willing to pay in order to achieve acceptance from others? Reputation? Trust? Health? Morals? How far do you go in the quest from acceptance?

We will have more time to truly better ourselves. Seeking and worrying about acceptance takes up time and it’s draining! Focusing on other things that will encourage your dreams and enjoyment will be more fulfilling than seeking to please others for their acceptance. Seek more time to develop into the beautiful person you are and will become with confidence. It’s about you, not them. Become an authentic you. If what you are doing doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right. Be authentic to your whole being, giving attention to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. People can tell when others are doing things only for attention. It is a huge turn off. If you like yourself, you have all the attention you need. 😉 Find out about yourself. God had made a wonderful person in you. He doesn’t make mistakes! What do you like? What makes you happy? What makes you excited? What gives you inspiration? What can you do to grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially? Focus on a better you and you will find people are more at ease with that. It’s not the acceptance really, it’s living in peace with others.

Accept yourself. Accept yo self! You are just as important as anyone else. Know that! Don’t fall into doing things because you think it will get you more friends, likes, retweets, and popularity.

If I had known what I know now, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache. Maybe so, but I thank God I’ve matured.

If you had a chance to tell your former self something, what would it be? If I had a chance to tell my former self something, it would be,

“It’s ok to like different things. It’s actually better not to fit in.
Things will be ok. You are enough. Oh and your husband isn’t going to be anyone around you, in fact he’s going to be from England and you will have 5 kids.”
*excited girly squeal with past and future self*

 

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Worry Less. Live More. 8 Things To Do Instead of Worry.

Worry Less. Live More

Well as you see, I’ve been MIA since March. That’s not exactly a good thing for blogging. I know that. I apologize. I’ve had one tough spring. It has not been the best Spring season of my life at all, but I know in it all the Lord is teaching me a lot of things (Not to stress and worry…). A lot of hard lessons. The world is big place and I’ve got a lot to learn!

One thing I’ve had to come to terms with is worry. It’s something that I do often. It’s something that I misunderstood. I believed that if I stopped worrying that meant I stopped caring. Not true.  Worrying about a situation does not mean you care more about it. Worrying will not change the situation.  As a mom, worrying about our kids comes naturally but it also will deplete our health. I thought if I stopped worrying that meant I didn’t care about my kids. WRONG. In fact the Lord almighty told us NOT to worry (Matthew 6:25-34) .

Matthew 25-27 Do Not Worry:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Well it makes sense right? Somethings you just can not change. So why waste time on the worrying that builds stress when the stress will not change the outcome? You might as well be happy and continue on with life. Not worrying doesn’t mean you don’t care, it just means you are giving the problems over to God. God almighty can change things. Pray and give it over to God. Pray instead of stress, wish and worry.

So what are you going to do with all that mental space freed up by releasing the worry? Well here are a few suggestions!

  1. Pray. When you start to worry start to pray! Pray and give it back to God. Sometimes when we say we are done with it, we start to worry again. It’s ok. We aren’t perfect and giving up the worry can be a difficult habit to break. Here’s an article Science Proves The Healing Power of Prayer that points out the effects of prayer and research findings. So when worry knocks on your thoughts, let prayer answer.
  2. Dance. Put on some praise music, some music with encouraging and fun lyrics. Maybe you can do with a fun break? Take your mind off of the difficult things in life and break out in dance. If you have kids, they will enjoy the fun break. Let them join in. This will get you moving and soon your mind will be on the good things in life. It’s scientifically proven that dancing uplifts you!
  3. Read. Read the Bible, read a good book, read something that peaks your interest. Reading is also scientifically proven to reduce stress. Its called Bibliotherapy.
  4. Meditate. Meditation is certainly proven to reduce stress in many ways. It helps reduce depression, and stabilizes moods and can regulate anxiety issues. Research on mediation has found that it increases concentration, learning, and memory among other benefits. Read up here: Benefits of Meditation
  5. Talk. Talk to someone if you can’t break the worrying habit. Sometimes you just need to hear advice, or maybe speak to a medical profession. From Life Coaches to Psychologist, someone is there to help. You just have to reach out. Don’t be ashamed to seek out help. I’ve had to on several occasions. It does do a body good to care for yourself and seek help from the pros!
  6.  Enjoy. Invest in your hobbies, life goals, bucket list, other well deserving people. It is ok to do something you like. Find the thing that makes you excited and do it. Kick the fear out, in other words… stop worrying, and get to doing fun things.
  7. Volunteer. Get out and help someone local or far away. The more you give to others in a great way (not out of guilt, and feeling drained), the less time you will have to worry. Besides, doing good in the community is such a great way to pay it forward and forget about our own problems!
  8. Exercise. Ugh that word! Yes you know what, it can be rewarding!  You don’t have to be a full on crazy fitness person to do a few exercises. Try stretching, yoga, or taking a walk. There are plenty of Youtube exercise videos! I even found a channel that does full videos yoga for kids!  It’s so cute because she does yoga poses in story form! Recently some wonderful friends of mine decided to try some new classes at the gym. It’s been fun! I got a free pass to the gym to see how I liked them, and although I was that chick in the back learning the moves,  I really enjoyed the classes! The workouts are great ways to burn calories and get my mind off of all the wrong things in life. I also got to be with a few friends.

Those are only a few things to do. There are plenty of other ways to use our mental and emotional energy to promote goodness in our lives. Don’t opt out to stress and worry. It’s not going to change the results, but it can do a number on your health (Proverbs 17:22)! Take care of yourselves.

You deserve it!

bookcover Hooray!!! I'm publishing my first book! Pre-Order and get more information here: Shapes and Colors