CoffeeJavaMochaCuppa Joe LatteCappuccinoEspresso… anyway you brew it,  I love it!

Can’t help but treat myself to more than one cup a day. It’s funny,  because I never was a coffee drinker in the past. But even then, as a non-consumer, I  delighted in the smell of those richly roasted beans.

Now, there is something good, even vital, about starting the day with a favorite mug full of this steamy liquid. And often, I will admit, afternoons are highlighted by an extra cup. Occasionally, The Hubs and I might indulge in a dessert coffee, powdering our brew with dark cocoa, spooning in a bit of whipped cream, and  garnishing peaks with dark chocolate chips.

I recently won a bag of some of my favorite coffee in the whole world! I was so excited to hear that I not only would receive  a bag of beans, but was also selected to have a large burlap bag bearing their label.

I am talking about Nicaraguan coffee, specifically, CALLING NATIONS COFFEE!!!

When we heard from our young friend, Pastor Joe, that we had won, we ordered a couple of extra bags so we would be able to share it with our friends and not run out too soon.

What a treat when we opened our box and the aroma of that first sample hit our noses!!!

It took me back to my first visit to the country of Nicaragua in the fall of 2013.

A small group of ladies from my home church began planning a trip to teach at a Women’s Bible Study Retreat and asked me to fly back to Arkansas and join them on this adventure. What an unforgettable privilege to be a part of that journey!!!

We started each of our days in Nicaragua with special moments of fellowship over cups of this warm, sweet brew.  It was a joy to sit with dear ones and drink it in and talk of the precious people we met and came to love there.

Pastor Joe has joined with Cafe’ Diego in Matagalpa, Nicaragua to be a part of CALLING NATIONS COFFEE to bring this fine arabica coffee to the US and benefit the people of Nicaragua and Central America.

Through the efforts of coffee grower, Diego Chavarria and his farmers, profits from this coffee has planted over 30 churches in the northern mountains of Nicaragua, as well as helped in ministering to the needs of pastors, missionaries, and the people of this area.

Most recently, CALLING NATIONS MINISTRIES has added  STRONG TOWER COFFEE to their product line. This direct trade coffee benefits the STRONG TOWER CHILDREN’S HOME in El Salvador.  The proceeds from these sales help the children and ministries there to be self supported.

Both CALLING NATIONS COFFEE and STRONG TOWER COFFEE  are brought to the states, roasted fresh, and distributed from Texas to their customers.

I urge you to read their stories, peruse the websites, and support the efforts of the hardworking coffee producers, missionaries, pastors, and children’s home staff members as they reach out to the needy of the nations.

And I guarantee you will enjoy your coffee even more!

Calling Nations Coffee Video

Visit them and learn their stories, meet Diego, and fall in love with the special people and their land, and of course, order the delicious coffee here:

(*as a note, I filled my suitcase with bags of this delicious coffee on my visit there. I did receive a bag of beans as a gift in a drawing, along with the bag last month, but I wanted to write this and lend my support to Joe and other missionary friends and the people of Nicaragua).

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Budding Gardener

gar-den-ernoun, a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime; any person who is skillful at growing plants; someone who enjoys working in their own garden growing flowers, or vegetables.

(my goal…).

Growing up, I didn’t do much in the way of gardening, but remember following some of my family members down the sun-warmed rows of their gardens.

I appreciated the way the cooks in my family could turn that harvest into some of the tastiest meals that I have ever eaten. There is nothing quite like a meal of fresh garden produce, crowned with a wedge of southern cornbread and ripe tomato. 

I have always loved plants and enjoyed the beauty they add to any decor. Regardless of your style, there seems to be a plant or flower to accent perfectly.

Victorian antiques look lovely with classic roses, a bit of southern charm is always bettered by the multiple lacy petals of a peony, the scent of a lilac, or a lazy droop of wisteria. How about a rockscape with succulents?

Whether indoors or out, plants, flower, trees, and vines seem to make everything better.

My kids used to say that I had a brown thumb, because regardless of the variety, plants and flowers just seem to wither in my presence.

Perhaps it was less about my skills and more about having 3 sons, very close in age, homeschooling them and having a home business, as well as my volunteering opportunities.

I tried to seek houseplants that thrived on neglect and low light at one point.

Later, moving into a larger home with a great sun-room, I again got hopeful about my chance to have lush houseplants and vases of fresh cut bouquets gracing my surfaces.

When we moved the kids off to college and had a little more free time, I became a little more focused on my houseplants, envisioned  turning a storage building into a potting shed, and started working more in my flower beds.

I tried to pick up tips, making notes in a journal, and scavenged yard sales and book fairs for good how-to books. Most good tips are timeless, even if the book seems a little outdated, right?


I confess, I never quite grew the sought-after flowers, nor did my veggies feed multitudes, but my journal became a lot fatter and we did have a few small triumphs and a funny story or two.

Like the year we tried a lasagna garden technique using our own compost mix, and grew the best accidental garden to date, from the seeds not- yet- broken- down in our compost. Also, since we lived in a small town and didn’t have one, I remember stopping by a well-known coffee bar to get large bags of used grounds for our garden each time that we traveled out of town. On our return trip, the entire SUV smelled like a fresh cuppa joe. One time, we added the coffee grounds, fresh compost, and soil to our raised beds, turned on the sprinkler and went inside to shower. Our sweet white pup found a lovely puddle formed from the runoff and happily dyed himself a nice shade of mocha….lol.

Upon relocating  to a different area, I decided that being in a new-to-me growing zone and not knowing anyone, it would be a good to join a garden club and solve both problems. Making friends in the club, I am constantly learning new things and bringing home fledgling cuttings to challenge my nurturing skills. I have completed one Landscape Design course so far with plans to continue more.

After moving around a few times to learn the area, the Hubs, Chloe, and I are happy homeowners now and steadily working on the landscape.

Well, enough for now. The garden is calling and I have much work to do.  I hope you enjoy seeing some of our latest blossoms.

Please feel free to share any garden tips you have in the comments and posts on my Facebook page, Traveling Ancient Paths, and sign up to get my blog and newsletter updates.

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. -Isaiah 61:11.



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