Content Is Crucial: You Can’t Monetize From Obscurity

Income in your business is built on the relationships you cultivate and nurture with your clients and prospects. When people know, like, and trust you, they start to buy.

One important way to keep those relationships growing and to start new relationships is to provide great content and spread the word.

You may have heard the marketing expression, ‘content is king’. There’s a lot of truth in that: great content draws people and keeps them engaged with you.

In your business, you’re on a great adventure. You’re learning and exploring new things all the time. If you share that experience with your audience, you’ll bring them in on the adventure!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my adventure of starting a podcast on my blog. Because my audience is business owners, it’s relevant: I shared the ‘behind the curtain’ experience of starting something new, something different, and what I went through to bring it to life.

By doing that, you can share in the experience, you know you’re not alone in your own new project, not alone in your challenges. You can relate to the experience, and hopefully be inspired to go on your own adventure!

Podcasts aren’t the only content you can offer. The content you provide will vary depending on the business you have. Here’s a quick list to pick from: newsletter, blog articles, research notes, guest articles, podcast, radio interviews, manifestos, diagrams or infographics, frequently asked questions and your answers, transcriptions of a talk or workshop you gave, notes from a conference presentation, a tool you’ve created, audios, or Periscope videos.

If you’re not a writer, you can still create great written content. Hire a transcriber (not a big cost) to take notes as you talk through something, or record your thoughts and have someone draft it for you to edit.

Many of the things I listed are usually offered free. Not all of your great content will be free. Your content includes what you offer for sale. If you’re a coach, it can be a program on a specific topic. If you’re an author, it can be a workbook or a retreat based on your book. If you’re a photographer, it can be a book of one area of your work.

This content thing can start to feel pretty overwhelming. I won’t kid you. Creating fresh content takes a lot of time and energy. The thing is, you don’t have to keep cranking out new stuff every day. You just have to create content that stays fresh and doesn’t go out of date.

Create content out of something you’re developing. Think of it as the extra 10%, something that grows naturally out what you’re already doing. If you’re creating a program, then share the research you’ve done in an article.

Other ways to share content is to work with what you already have. A blog post that was really well received and proved to be valuable can be reposted, to help remind your audience or introduce those ideas to newcomers. Curate content from other sources: make discriminating choices from articles and news to share with your audience.

There are a lot of options for content to share and avenues to share it. Be strategic in your choices. What will be most valuable to your audience? Where are ideal clients and customers most likely to see it?

I often get the question, is it possible to share too much? If I’m just giving so much away, then how will my business ever make money? It’s a natural fear, but it’s small and pales in comparison to the bigger issue: releasing products and services that no one knows about. It’s hard to monetize the great work you offer if no one knows what you are offering.

Plant Garlic in Autumn for an Abundant Summer Crop

If you want large bulbs bursting with flavor, plant your garlic in the fall. You will have to wait until the next summer to harvest, but it is worth the wait.

Garlic belongs to the onion genus species and is closely related to chives, leek, onions, and shallots. It is cold-hardy, which makes fall-planting favorable for most climates.

The best results are achieved if you plant cloves about four to six weeks before the ground freezes, and the soil is still manageable. The cloves need about that much time to build strong root systems. Don’t worry about the cold. Your crop will go dormant and wake up once warmer temperatures and spring rolls around.

Selecting Quality Garlic Seed Stock

Some gardeners prefer to grow garlic from actual seeds. It is a tough process and one of the reasons most growers prefer using cloves.

Start by researching which varieties grow best in your area and climate. I prefer German White, which belongs to the hardneck garlic family. A moderately spicy flavor and plump cloves set this garlic apart from other varieties. A German White bulb typically has up to six cloves. The bulbs store well in Michigan when kept in a cool area.

You can buy garlic anywhere. It is not recommended to use garlic from local grocery stores as they may have been treated with chemical agents to slow down sprouting. Nonetheless, you can plant the cloves if you are in a pinch. On the other hand, the best results are obtained if you buy bulbs from reputable on- or offline seed dealers. Start with a moderate amount. You can increase your seed supply over the years by using more and more of the cloves you harvested.

Garlic Planting Time

Plant too late and the root system will be weak. Plant too early and the cloves grow above ground shoots. Find out for your area when frost sets in. Check the weather forecasts online. Start planning when temperatures start to go down and stay low.

Planting Instructions

Prepare your planting bed by adding well-composted manure. Remove weeds. Garlic prefers a well-drained, sandy-clay soil. Separate and inspect the garlic bulbs you selected for seed just before planting. Remove blemished cloves.

I lay all the seed cloves out on the bed to eyeball acceptable spacing distances. Space the seed about six to eight inches apart. Plant them at least three inches deep in the ground, with the pointy end facing up. Water the bed thoroughly. Keep the soil moist to allow the cloves to grow roots. You may even need to water during the winter if you live in a mild climate. Do not overwater as the seed will rot.

Popular Garlic Varieties

Softneck garlic has a flexible stalk and keeps longer. Silverskin and artichoke are usually sold at supermarkets.

Hardneck varieties have fewer, larger cloves. They are more delicate because they have a thinner outer bulb wrapper. This also reduces their shelf life. I dehydrate most of my garlic and grind it into garlic powder, which will stay fresh until the next season. The three main hardneck garlic types are porcelain, purple stripe, and rocambole.

Companion Planting

The sulfur that garlic accumulates as it grows turns it into a natural fungicide. This can be beneficial to plants attracting pests easily. Naturally-occurring fungicide can help protect your plants from diseases.

Garlic works well in various situations as long as it is grown in full sun. Plant it near broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, fruit trees, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, peppers, roses, tomatoes, etc. It does not like parsley, peas, potatoes, or legumes like beans. Try not to plant these near your garlic.


Garlic is very hardy. Many varieties perform best when subjected to harsh winter weather. Try several varieties to determine which are most suitable for your garden.

Calculate how many bulbs you need for planting and add 2 or 3 as some cloves may have blemishes. Brown spots can develop over time. They may not be noticeable until you start separating the cloves right before planting.

Store garlic for seed away from those bulbs you want to use in the kitchen. It prevents that you accidentally use your seed.

I cover my garlic bed with straw. It keeps moisture in, protects against extreme cold temperatures, slows down weeds, and adds extra nutrients when the straw starts to decompose.

Garlic deters Japanese beetles and aphids. Use garlic tea to repel potato blight.

Use grass clipping to cover the bed if you have no straw.

Are you experimenting with several varieties? Be sure to keep them separate and label the beds.

Designing a Conservatory As a Spa

A conservatory is an extremely versatile structure that is commonly used for dining, entertaining, and gardening. A somewhat lesser known application includes incorporating a spa into a conservatory. Conservatories provide unobstructed views of the outdoors, allowing users to enjoy the serenity of nature without leaving the structure. Whether designed as a lean-to addition or a standalone structure, any sized conservatory can be specifically designed for or converted into a spa.

Why Choose a Conservatory for a Spa

With the high level of stress that most individuals face, spas have increased in popularity. Individuals leave the spa well rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated. The idea is to reset the body, mind, and soul by releasing the negative toxins that we unknowingly absorb in our daily lives. A spa does this by promoting a calming connection with nature. Given that nature is one of the most soothing remedies, it is only appropriate to house a spa in a structure that will give users the strongest connection to nature without requiring them to endure the elements.

Since the conservatory is a glass structure it provides users with the opportunity to experience the surrounding outdoor beauty, no matter the time of day or year. The natural light that a conservatory provides greatly reduces the need for harsh, artificial lighting. Conservatories are the ideal environment for plant growth as well, so the peaceful outdoors can truly be brought indoors in a spa conservatory.

Options to Consider When Planning a Spa in a Conservatory

Some think that since a conservatory is made almost entirely of glass, it is bound to be cold in the winter and hot in the summer. This is simply untrue and when properly designed, a conservatory can be comfortable at any time of year. Selecting the correct ventilation is essential to ensure adequate air flow throughout a conservatory spa. Ridge vents are ideal, along with operable windows, doors, and skylights, all of which are engineered with matching sightlines to create one cohesive structure. Stand alone conservatories typically include their own HVAC units while lean-to conservatories utilize the HVAC system of the structure to which it is attached. Either way, a comfortable temperature is easily achieved in the spa.

4 Hopes of Purpose and 4 Seasons of Peace In the Psalms

HOPES of purpose and seasons of peace. Life has them both. My thesis is there are four of each along the continuum of life.

The hopes of purpose are the stages through which life flows. There are these four purposes of hope: 1) our base identity – in Christ; 2) growth propelling us to contribute; 3) contribution-making forging a legacy; and, 4) the legacy we give that makes life worthwhile as we invest in others. All of our lives might feature any and all of these hopes of purpose. At the pinnacle of life we experience all four simultaneously – solidity of identity, the fullness of growth, the self-worthiness of contribution, and the value-to-others of legacy.

The four seasons of peace are different. These are actual locales of the heart and mind during which each season might be enjoyed for a different outcome of peace – but peace all the same. Four seasons of peace that I suggest are: 1) abundance – the joy that comes when our lives feel full of blessing; 2) contentedness – the joy that comes, being at peace, whether in want or in plenty; 3) stilled-of-soul – the nexus of human spirituality as it merges into the divine, notwithstanding suffering and challenging realities; and, 4) assurance – a stand-alone form of peace interconnected with the other seasons for the brief consideration of what lies awaiting us in eternity. These are seasons of peace to strive for, to attain, and to maintain.


Psalm 100 is a regal psalm of thanksgiving; so pithy yet powerful. It anchors our identity in the abundance of praise for God’s goodness in our createdness.

David appreciated how the LORD had given him the abundance of his heart’s desires in Psalm 21. Such a psalm inspires faith for the faithfulness of God when we face the uglier periods of growth.

Psalm 96 gives us an abundance of confidence in the God of creation as we preach the gospel to all nations – as we make an evangelistic contribution, as we all should. We preach out of the abundance that God has given us in our hearts.

Psalm 8 is simply a majestic psalm pregnant with abundance. It’s something we can sit in, within our legacy. The LORD is always enough!


Psalm 84 is a psalm for those who wish to ground their identities in contentedness perhaps because it’s absent.

An appreciation for God’s good grace permeates Psalm 32, the blessings replete of obedient honesty, which breed contentedness and esteem the purveyor to growth.

For those wanting stability in a relationship of sole devotion in the LORD, there is Psalm 16. This is a most personal psalm of David’s; the disciple of a heart after God, alone.

When we’re desperate we need to know we can reach out to the LORD in desperation to be heard and delivered. Psalm 34 speaks of God’s faithfulness to that end. Even in the grip of desperation we can pray this psalm over our lives and borrow contentedness from the LORD.

Psalms of contentedness, as we reflect over them, in whatever season the day brings us to, give us a glimpse into what might be. Contentedness is something we might rarely achieve, but it’s something so worthy to aspire to.


With Psalm 30 we have another faithfulness psalm; one this time that wreaks of stillness-of-soul. It speaks of David’s reflection when he cried out to God, and then was answered; from weeping came joy, and from mourning, dancing.

Psalm 46 is famous, of course, for verse 10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” There can truly be no more powerful a word in seeking or having attained to a stillness-of-soul.

Psalm 24 speaks of the unison of God’s prevailing majesty over the earth, and, in the form of Psalm 15, the confident stillness-of-soul to be had in a cogently simple obedience.

And no better psalm carries us off into the image of a stilled soul than Psalm 131. A royal psalm of ascent, this one helps us reflect over a life of being still-of-soul just as much as it calls us into that serenity-of-being.


The assurance of the LORD is known in the love of the LORD. Psalm 103 is purely regal in this regard. Its theology is comprehensive as it provides for our identity in the matter of assurance.

The LORD is the rock and our salvation in whom all should trust, for trust in idols proves a folly. Psalm 62 is a great assurance that the nature of life is generally trustworthy, though justice flags with the truth, and both lag well behind falsehood. But the LORD will not let the guilty go free – let’s be freshly assured.

Psalm 91 is an assurance psalm, and it will help anyone whose faith is shaken.

Wisdom psalms prove a windfall when it comes to assurance. They’re steady and sound. Such a poem is Psalm 111. It speaks unswervingly of God’s unchangeable character.


The fourfold purposes of hope drive us through life on a wave of meaning. With an identity grounded in hope, we have a hope for growth so a worthy contribution can be made, and a legacy can be left. Yet any and all of these purposes of hope have a unique role in our spiritual lives depending on where the moment holds us. These four hopes, therefore, run in series and in parallel.

Healthy Meal Ideas: Green Herbs For Laksa Soup And Pasta Dishes

Cooking a dish to perfection is getting hold of the mix and match secrets of herbs behind the kitchen walls.

For instance, a number of bulbous and green herbs go into the making of the soup base of laksa noodles. On the other hand, the herbs are chopped or sliced, before being added into the pasta and sauce for a pasta dish.

Curry Laksa Noodle Soup

For example, laksa soup uses lots of fresh herbs to pull together a delicious dish that makes you hankering for more.

There is, for instance, at least 8 herbs you need to get hold of before you can create the quintessential sweet and spicy taste of coconut milk in curry laksa soup; these are the kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic, lemon grass bulb, mint leaves and ginger; as well as laksa leaves for garnishing.

Tamarind Laksa Noodle Soup

Further, you may be put off by an equally long herb list for tamarind laksa soup: polygonum leaves, ginger buds, shallots, lemongrass, fresh galangal ginger; with red onions, and mint leaves for garnish.

Considering the amount of work involved with all that rinsing, slicing, and chopping of all the herbs, no laksa stall operator in his right mind will offer both versions. A tall order to fill, indeed.

Aside, I know a chef with a natural feel for herbs; she carries all the recipes in her head without even letting slip a single ingredient!

Her forte lies in an intuitive grasp of culinary herb blends, an impeccable sense in combining several herbs that work well with each other, and all herbs together synergetically. Well, she certainly knows how to pack in lots of oomph to rock a dish!

Pasta Dishes

As for the ‘Pasta with Pesto and Fresh Herbs’ recipe from ‘Good Food’ magazine, it requires at least 5 herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, sage leaves, chives, basil and tarragon to awaken your green taste buds.

Similarly, for a Martha Stewart recipe ‘Pasta with Spring Herbs’, you will need 5 herbs: parsley, chervil, tarragon, dill, and basil.

Another recipe from Delia’s vegetarian collection, which is, ‘Lemon Pasta with Herbs and Cracked Pepper’, uses 4 herbs: basil, mint, spring onions and garlic.

However a recipe by Lindsay Ostrom, ‘Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Herbs’, has only 2 herbs: garlic and basil.

Thus, to prepare all these pasta dishes, you will need either all green herbs or a mixture of bulbous and green herbs. Only one strong-flavored herb, sage or basil is included while the remaining herbs are either medium or delicate-flavored.

As in the case of laksa noodle soup, the dominant strong-flavored herb root is ginger while the rest is a mixture of medium and mild-flavored herbs.

The point is you must strike a balance among the different flavors of herbs as in this instance, it is all about taste!