Garden Notes



Slept in a little this morning. Woke up feeling a little discouraged.  Headed outside to the garden wearing pajamas and flip flops.  I wonder what the neighbor thinks.  I know he’s awake, he just let his dogs out. 

For years I looked to my garden to see analogies about getting closer to God.  Now that I am a life coach, I look for coaching metaphors there too.  They are all out there. 

This morning I grabbed my scissors and my new roll of garden Velcro.  Things are just getting growing and need a little support.  I Velcro’d the sunflowers to a pole, the cucumbers to a trellis and then pointed the green beans to their arch.  I stopped and looked at everyone, encouraging, pulling a weed, and clipping and making a mental notes about what needed attention.  I was just wrapping up my morning rounds when I noticed the clematis.  It started blooming like crazy about a week ago.  It’s trellised against an arch that my mother bought for herself years ago and then couldn’t figure out how to get to California and left at my house. I planted the clematis and it looks so beautiful.  Clematis is viney and it climbs without much encouragement, but I noticed a big bunch that was growing away from the arch.  All I did was grab the whole bunch and Velcro it to the arch.  So simple, but if allowed to grow that way it was it would have pulled the other vines away from the arch too.

So how is clematis like life coaching?  Sometimes we are blooming beautifully and growing strongly when we notice that something in our lives is out of balance and growing the wrong way.  Sometimes we just need a little help to pull it back and anchor it.  Coaching can help with that. 

Weight Loss Wednesday – Who me? I don’t cheat!

Strawberry Cake

I always think I know everything, and it’s a real shock to continually find that I am learning new things about myself every day.  I keep a daily food journal and I eat food that I planned and shopped for in advance.  My over-arching guide is my food protocol, which essentially says that I don’t eat added sugar or gluten, and I use intermittent fasting. 

Last week while at my daughter’s house, I went to Safeway and bought a gluten free cake that I ate over 3 days during my daily eating windows.  Gluten free cakes are small and expensive. However I didn’t put this cake on my meal plan, even when I knew I was going to eat it the next day, and the next day.  I can have exceptions to my food protocol if I plan them 24 hours in advance – so the cake would have been fine as long as I wrote it on my plan.  It was a really simple thing.  Why didn’t I do it? 

This is where having a weight loss coach comes in really handy.  I didn’t see eating the cake as a problem at all.  I was at the grocery store, I saw the cake and I wanted it and felt that I deserved it. Then I bought the cake and ate a little each day – and the result was that I didn’t lose any weight last week.  My coach asked me about 5 different ways about the cake – “Tell me about the cake?” “Why did you eat it?” “Did you have this cake on your plan?” “What about following your protocol?” Then the clencher question – “Do you follow your food protocol or not?”  While I was talking with my coach I thought she went a little overboard as she kept questioning the cake thing, apparently she could see clearly what I could not. After our call I started wondering why she kept asking me about the cake and my protocol.  All of the sudden it was like I woke up.  Wait a minute! Do I follow my protocol or not?  Do I follow my protocol and not eat sugar? It turns out that I don’t eat sugar – well, unless I happen to want something, and then I eat whatever I want…

One of the mantras that I used early in my weight loss journey was, “I would never dream of cheating on my husband – I won’t cheat on my food protocol either”.  I have certainly kept part of this mantra and as you can guess it is my food protocol that I have been cheating on. In reality you can’t change anything if you aren’t aware of it.  Now with my awakened awareness I can see that I need to believe and act like a person who follows her protocol, no matter what.  I have a family reunion coming up soon that will let me practice. I can’t wait!

Target Ball & Red Balloon – Time For a Change?

Red balloon

Several months ago I had a dream – it was short but powerful. 

I dreamt that I was outside of Target in front of the big red concrete balls.  I was circling around the red ball and I knew that I was going to pick it up and put it on my shoulders.  Then I heard a voice say, “you don’t understand, look!” All of the sudden the Target ball turned into a big red balloon, I held the string in my hand and the balloon flew up to the sky.  The same voice said, “You hold the string, you can take it where you go”.  The dream ended.     

It was so vivid that it seemed like a message.  I started thinking about what it meant.  I learned that concrete Target balls weigh about a thousand pounds.  If I had managed to lift a Target ball up on my shoulders, it would have crushed me.  I started making a list of what I called “target ball feelings”.  They included feelings like: burdened, drained, exhausted, overwhelmed, weighed down, worried, resentful and worn out.  I was amazed at how often I had “Target ball” thoughts, feelings and actions.  Of-course with all those heavy thoughts and feelings, I was truly burdened.  One of my favorite phrases is “Water what you want to grow”, and I was really watering these burdened feelings.  In “The Beautiful No” Sherri Salata talks about wearing ruts in your mind the size of the Grand Canyon.  I definitely had some pretty deep ruts and I was wearing them deeper constantly.   

I found that I couldn’t go to these new “Red Balloon” thoughts instantly.  I started paying attention and any time I started to feel heavy or weighed down – I offered myself a new thought – which was either “I don’t do heavy anymore” or “this thought is not helpful”.   

Before I knew it, I was recognizing the feeling and stopping it before it could even get started.  This felt like such a positive change in my life.  I love giving up this unhelpful mindset.  It didn’t happen overnight, it took a while and I am still working on it, but it feels amazing to let go of many things I saw as heavy burdens.   

I am learning to recognize what I call “Red balloon moments” and the feelings that accompany them.  Energized, committed, confident and joyful are becoming my new “go to” feelings.  I am on the look-out for fun ways to approach life and all the things I want in my future.  There is more laughter in my life and a lot less worry, as a matter of fact there is a lot more love in my life.   

I am slowly wearing new grooves in my brain however they aren’t very deep yet, so I must consciously work on practicing these new thoughts.   I love these new feelings and I am starting to see red balloons everywhere, and I am having more and more red balloon experiences.   

What about you?  Do you have Target ball or Red Balloon experiences in your life?  Perhaps it is time for a change?  

Coaching WORKS!

Coaching Works!

For the past two years I have been learning how to use “thought-work” to help me navigate situations or problems that come up in my life.  Recently I had a glimpse of the actual transformation in my life.

Last week I had a major project due for my advanced coaching course.  It was to develop and record a one-hour webinar and submit it by Sunday evening.  I haven’t ever created a webinar before and I was anxious about all the details, writing the script, making the slides, recording it – all the steps.  So I set aside plenty of time to get everything done.  I purchased a Power Point template and started jotting down the script.  My plan was to do a few of the steps every day and record it on Saturday.

Then on Monday morning a close family friend passed away and the family asked me to help make a display of his life for the funeral.  Of course I said I would, because this is something I truly love to do.  When we owned our scrapbook store I felt great satisfaction from helping to make bereavement boards. I love stories and storytelling and I am particularly enamored when learning more about people after they have passed, because you find out so many things that you never knew about them.

By Wednesday I was starting to panic a little because I realized that I couldn’t do coaching, make a webinar and make the funeral display that I promised. Oh, and take Lee on a special Father’s Day date Friday night that we planned and had tickets for.  

Two years ago, I would have tried to do everything and made myself a crazy woman.  I always ended up spreading my crazy to everyone else around me (including Lee), and for a while I felt I was going to do the same this time too. Then I thought about what I was creating for myself and others close to me by going “crazy woman” and decided that’s not how I wanted to operate this time.  

Thursday morning after I got done with clients I wrote a note to my course instructor letting her know that I would not be handing in any work this week, and explaining why – and then I didn’t give it another thought. I made the choice that I felt was best and didn’t waste any time second guessing myself. Next I went out and purchased the supplies I needed for the display. Friday morning I woke up early because I was excited to get started. Usually  I waste a lot of time deciding what to do. This time I admit asking for Heavenly help for this project, and getting it. I felt like I could see every step laid out for me, and all I had to do was follow them.  

While picking up all of the items for the display I made a voice recording of what I was told about each of the pieces.  When I reached home I simply transcribed the recording and got to work formatting paragraphs explaining each of the items.  I used the same formatting for each caption for little tent cards to be placed in front of each item.  Before I knew it, it was time to print and cut. I didn’t have enough freestanding holders for all the tags, so I made tent style mats. This was my favorite part – even the math for the mats came to mind easily, measure the length of the copy, add ½” inch and double it. I didn’t make any mistakes and I used every scrap of red mat paper that I had. It was so much fun to have things go so smoothly. I finished in time Friday to get pretty for our relaxing date.

The funeral was very special, and the family and attendees seemed to enjoy the display. I was also pleased and knew I had done better than my best. Two years ago I would have never been satisfied with my efforts, and now I was.  This is a big transformation for me to be content with my choices and efforts, rather than always feeling deficient – and I loved it.

This was yet another confirmation to me that the concepts I am learning and teaching actually work.  I am applying the same principles in my life and it is amazing to see how far I’ve come!

Weight Loss Wednesday – No Fruit??

Ripe Cherries

I am glad that you are coming along on this journey with me.  I decided that I would just be honest with some of the struggles that I have with weight loss instead of painting a very rosy picture that makes me look pretty much perfect.  I hope you will bear with me. 

I met with my weight loss coach this week.  The first time I talked to her I told her that I couldn’t give up fruit. No negotiation.  I felt like with all my food allergies, I have given up so many wonderful foods, I could not be asked to give up anymore.  She brought up the idea of giving up fruit again this week.  I said with a perfectly straight face, “I can’t give up fruit right now, it’s cherry season”. We talked for a long time, she explained the reason was to “see what comes up” which is coach speak for “lets take away your buffers (a buffer is something that you use to avoid feeling emotion) and see what else you need to work on”.  I know the reason that I hired her was to help me see what I am doing to sabotage weight loss that I can’t see myself.  I am learning to lose weight the way I intend to keep it off, by learning habits that help me deal with all the emotions that I feel without turning to food for comfort or choosing another equally self-defeating buffer.  After negotiating that “giving up fruit” only meant two weeks without fruit, I agreed to the experiment, thinking that I would eat all of the fruit in the fridge that day and start the next day.  She didn’t go for that.  The experiment of not eating fruit started that minute and everything came up.  First, I could not BEGIN to imagine what on earth people ate if they didn’t eat gluten, sugar, dairy and now fruit.  That was my first adult temper tantrum, “What am I supposed to eat?!!”  Oddly enough, the answer was simple, I eat exactly what I eat every day minus the fruit.  I felt urges – I talked about the urge jar last week.  I added more beads in that day than I have in the past several weeks.  It was hard. 

The next day was temple day.  I usually spend half a day in the temple and I usually fast, because I am so busy that I don’t have time to think about food.  It was so easy.  I thought I had mastered handling everything that comes up.  I thought it was because I was so good at handling my emotions.

The next day, I was faced with a series of disappointments. Things that I needed to do that I didn’t want to do and things that I didn’t want to do that I needed to take care of.   After about the fourth one, I stood in my kitchen crying because I felt terrible and I knew I could fix it with something sweet.  I was neck deep in the river of misery.    Another adult temper tantrum. I went to bed, a little sleep makes everything better.  First thing the next morning, I went out to the garden and watered.  This is where I find peace and quiet and answers.  I knew that I needed to re-prioritize my time.  I do not think I would have faced it so quickly if I had something to “buffer” with.  I am pretty sure that more things are going to “come up” during this two-week experiment.  I am learning faster than I did on my own and it’s hard.  I don’t love swimming in the river of misery, and I wouldn’t even consider it if I didn’t want to learn the lesson of controlling urges and appetites. 

By the way, the scale has budged just a little this week… 
Is it possible that I was eating too much fruit??

Rootbound – Who Me?


I learn so much outside in the garden.  I love being outside, I love working with my body, feeling the sunshine and watching nature.  It is my favorite thing about summer.  The thing is that when I am working in the garden my hands are so busy that my brain can relax and slip into “watcher” mode.  That’s when I feel like I hear God and when my brain automatically comes up with solutions to problems that I didn’t even know it had.  The garden is my meditation place.  My favorite place.

Today I want to talk about roots.  Roots are amazing. They anchor a plant to the ground and support it so it can stand in place, they absorb, transfer and store water and nutrients needed for growth and they filter toxins in the soil.  That really is amazing. 

When I bought annuals this year, I bought a lot a lot of plants one day.  I wasn’t very careful about checking their roots. When I got ready to plant, several were rootbound. That means that the plant had grown too big for its container and the roots grow in a tight circular fashion like the shape of the plant’s container.  If you plant them this way the roots will continue to grow in a circle and eventually choke the plant.  A gardener loosens the root ball, untangles the roots and spreads them out so that they can grow strongly into the soil. 

That’s what I did.  First, I flattened the root ball, then I carefully pulled roots from the side of the root ball. Then I pulled the roots from the bottom, untangling the circular growth so they would reach out to the soil. Next I carefully put the plants in soil that I prepared with plenty of food. Then I packed more soil around each plant, pushing down and firming it as I got to the soil line.  Finally I watered each plant and babied it for a few days until its roots started growing in its new home.

I started thinking about my own roots.  A few years ago my husband and some of my children stopped coming to church.  I felt like I was thrown into my own faith crisis as I talked and listened and understood their concerns.  I had to take a look at my own “spiritual” roots, they were a little rootbound for sure and they had grown to fit the container I was grown in – my own faith community where we had lived and participated each Sunday for 30 years.  I don’t know how plants feel when they get removed from their container, flattened and have their roots tugged and untangled, but I can tell you that for me, it was REALLY uncomfortable, even painful.  It took a while to untangle my roots, but once they were, I found rich soil and my life continues to flourish. 

Is it possible that you are root bound?  Have you paid any attention to your roots recently? We may find ourselves rootbound anytime in our life we face a life transition, a death, children leaving home, a new job, retirement or divorce.  These are all times to take a look at our roots and give them a little TLC.

If I can help with your roots, please reach out to me, we can get on a call and talk.

I am Jennifer with JennieB Coaching, I am a gardener, I help flowers, food and people grow. 

Jody Moore – My Teacher

My daughter Erin introduced me to Jody Moore’s podcast.

I loved what I heard in each and every episode.

I signed up for her coaching program and learned even more.

I listened to her talk about her teacher, Brooke Castillo.

I listened to Brooke Castillo’s podcast and also loved what I heard.

I signed up for Brooke’s program – Self Coaching Scholars.

It changed my life, and I decided that I wanted be a life coach.

I applied to attend Brooke Castillo’s “The Life Coach School”.

I am now a certified life coach.

Being introduced to Jody Moore’s podcast was such an awakening for me, and that is why I want to share a few things I learned from her with you.  Jody Moore is an LDS life coach whose audience is mostly mom’s with kids, but she is a genius at explaining how your mind works. 

As I listened to Jody’s podcasts I was so excited.  The most life changing concept that I learned was that nobody causes me to feel “bad”.  It turns out that “feeling bad” is simply a thought that we apply to situations.  This EXPLODED my brain!  I NEVER realized how much power and control I had in my life.  I thought everybody else (husband, kids, family, friends, church etc.) had control over me, my time, and how I felt.  I learned that I get to create how I feel for myself.   I get to choose not only how I feel, but also how I create my own life.  I learned exactly what it means to have and use AGENCY

I would love for you get to know Jody too.  Here’s is one of her recent podcasts that I particularly enjoyed – it’s about finding your purpose in life.  I am so excited; I am going to see and hear Jody in person at her LIVE EVENT in Seattle this week.  I’m sure she will continue to share mind expanding concepts, and I will share what I learn with you.

Weight-loss Wednesday – The Urge Jar

Urge Jar

I’ve been learning so much about myself since I started losing weight 18 months ago.  One of my favorite tools  I’ve been using is called “The Urge Jar”.  I love It because my brain is a sucker for shiny objects.  I’ve been filling my jar with pretty pink marbles for a couple of months. I want to have jars full of marbles lined up in my window by the end of summer. 

Let me explain how it works for me.  I discovered that one of my persistent habits is to sit down at my desk and in a couple of minutes, run into the kitchen to get something to eat.  I was having a hard time focusing on getting any work done because I kept distracting myself  getting food from the kitchen when I was supposed to be writing. Not only was I not getting any work done, I was eating so much I wasn’t losing weight.   Jumping up and going into the kitchen to get food is an “urge”  (a strong desire or impulse).  When I would have an urge to run and get food from the kitchen, I would set a timer for 10 minutes, then I would sit at my desk and “allow” the urge.  I didn’t resist it or tell myself that something was wrong.  I was kind to myself and said things like “I know you want some chocolate, but we don’t do that anymore”.  Usually the feeling would go away in about 2 minutes. Sometimes a little longer – especially if I wanted chocolate…  After the timer rang and I had not gone to get food,  I would line a bead up on my desk and go about my work until the next urge hit, and I would repeat the process.  At the end of the day I would dump all my marbles in my jar on the window sill.  My brain went from having two-year old temper tantrums – like full blown throw yourself on the floor and kick and scream, to quiet sneaky thoughts like “a little chocolate sure would taste good about now.” To finally saying – “Oh yeah, we don’t do this anymore – do we?” Some days there would be 5 or 6 marbles lined up one the desk.  It took several weeks to de-condition the habit.

Marbles I’ve earned.

 It’s so nice to be able to sit at my desk and concentrate, and get some work done without being distracted by food.  That doesn’t mean that I never feel urges any more, it just means that when I feel them – my brain goes along with me when I tell it “that’s not how we roll any more”.

The urge jar works so well for me that I am using it other places I feel urges.  I use it to manage time, money and of course food.  Check out this link to the podcast where I learned about The Urge Jar.