Last fall I wrote about how I had planted 275 bulbs–mostly daffodils and tulips. I have never done well with growing flowers. Years ago I planted 42 rose bushes in my back yard; I’d hoped they would grow into a hedge to frame the outer edges of the yard. They never made it into the second season.
 
One day my friend Hannah came over with a a cute sunflower seedling. She said, “Just plant this. They grow anywhere.” Well, it never made it even to adolescence.
 
I’ve bought and planted perennials by the dozens over the years, only to have creatures devour them. One summer I planted a bunch of them (and hey, they’re expensive!), then headed off for weeks to take a course in Sacramento, 150 miles away. When I came home, I found that our oldest had let her 4-H lamb into the back yard “to mow the yard.” Well, that critter also trimmed my perennials down to nothing.
 
So, planting bulbs was an act of faith–that somehow they’d not only survive the Sierra winter but also my propensity to kill about anything flora.
 
However, the couple days of planting meant something more. In the midst of virus paralysis, I wanted to grow professionally. I had shied away from anything tech, thinking I was too old or too dumb or just too tired to figure out new skills. So I prayed while I dug and stuck bulbs into the earth: “Lord, grow me. Help me develop more #grit in my life. Help me not get frustrated and quit but instead figure out how to master at least some of the technology challenges that have been frustrating me. Use me, Lord.”
 
So . . . #grit became my Word for 2021. And here’s a progress report:
 
1. Because I got my certification as a life coach late in December, in January I set up my Janet McHenry Coaching business and for the FIRST TIME created and launched a page on my website: janetmchenry.com/lookingup/Janet-McHenry-Coaching.
 
2. Shortly thereafter I designed the Sierra Valley Writers Retreat and created my webpage advertising retreats for April and May. The first one is next week! If you’re interested, I just opened up new dates for June 17-20: https://janetmchenry.com/lookingup/sierra-valley-writers-retreat/.
 
3. My writing coach, Alice Crider, encouraged me last year to consider putting together an online masterclass called Prayer School. After months of thought and outlining, I wrote the course and launched it in February. Writing it wasn’t hard, but the tech challenges to put the pieces together in the Teachable format was NOT easy. Prayer School is a five-module, 21-lesson course in prayer that will challenge your thinking and help you shift to a praying-without-ceasing mindset. It’s basically FREE because the course fee ($47) essentially just covers the three course books: PrayerWalk, PrayerStreaming, and The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. You can check it out at prayerschool.teachable.com.
 
4. The final big tech challenge came with the recording of my book PrayerWalk in audiobook form. The day before I was scheduled to record it in a studio in Reno last November, the studio shut down due to Covid. I waited and waited for it to reopen, but that didn’t happen, so I decided to order the equipment myself and figure out how to do it. After some frustrations and a little help from a techie friend, it is done and submitted. More news to come on that front soon!
 
I’m happy to report that about 100 of those 275 bulbs are emerging from the stubborn soil of my back yard. There are lovely daffodils so far, with tulips developing.
 
And I’m happy to report that God has grown something in and through me as well. I no longer see technology as an enemy or even a necessary evil. It’s a mechanism I am friending as I simply encourage others to keep #lookingup.
 
Thank you, friend, for your encouragement during this walk. I’m excited to see what’s next in this chapter of life!
 
Janet McHenry is a speaker and author of 24 books–six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She prayerwalks for her small town in the Sierra Valley in northern California, where her husband Craig is a rancher and where they raised their four kids. She would love to connect with you on social media or here: janetmchenry.com.
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