Sustainability, Gardening, the Bible, and, What Weeds? with James Van Dyke

When James Van Dyke (shown with his adorable wife) came on Fireside Talk Radio lately to talk about entrepreneurship, I was giddy with excitement. I might not get compost, but entrepreneurship stirs my heart. Plus, I have a long history with gardening sustainability. 

The Right Spot

Once, when I was a kid, my dad let me pick out seed packets and a new trowel. The only thing Dad didn’t let me choose was my spot in the yard.

“Dad, this is the dogs’ pen!” I exclaimed in dismay.

“Yes, but I’m not sure you’ll remember to weed your flower bed. If you take care of this one, next year I’ll give you a spot other people can enjoy, too,” he responded with a twinkle in his eye.

Weeds? What Weeds?

Two months later, Dad asked me if I had checked on my garden. Nope, not once. I hurried out to the spot, delighted to discover a flower bed brimming with marigolds, inpatients, and petunias in profusions of colors – all surrounded by a healthy bouquet of weeds! Apparently, the dogs provided sublime organic fertilizer.

Fertile Ground

I love what James is doing as a young businessman with Texas Organics. Plus, there’s that side business of flipping houses with his amazing wife. Not to mention raising their darling small children.He makes entrepreneurship look easy, even when I know better! Yep, life is blossoming under James’s loving attention and hard work. 

Stewardship and Sustainability

Stewardship, according to James, is a guiding principle when it comes to entrepreneurship. An environmental scientist, he explained how he’s learned to appreciate the process of culling, replenishing, and germination.

For example, he told of one field that wouldn’t grow a thing. The story has a happily-ever-after ending, though, because now it’s fertile and flourishing.

Hydrogen, carbon, and all that fancy chemistry stuff graced our conversation, as he inspired me with tales of reclaimed fields, organic compost, and soil samples. Best of all, having given a lot of thought to sustainability, he took a moment to offer some specific spiritual insight.

Principles For Stewarding in Business and Life

“I would say stewardship is the opportunity to maintain and care for the things around you, with sustainability in mind. That sounds pretty cheesy,” he laughed, adding, “to make something sustainable” is key. Here’re some choice things James shared about stewarding companies, the land, and relationships with customers. (To hear James’s entire podcastsclick here.)

#1 Being a good steward is the most profitable option. As an example of how smart business people think, he noted that the timber industry in East Texas replants because it’s in everybody’s best interests, especially theirs.

#2 Business thrives on efficiency. Whatever industry you’re in recycling ends up being the most efficient way to increase profits, according to James.

#3 Problem solving serves your customers. James says the mindset, “I’m a problem solver; that’s when you develop a relationship with customers.”

#4 Steward relationships for sustainability, too. Stewardship includes building strong customer relationships by taking care of needs, according to James.

May we all take heed from our loamy East Texas soil and this wise young entrepreneur and grow!

In Other News: 

Checklist Charlie, my column which just hit its eleventh birthday last June, gained a new home on-line in the Tri County Leader. At the Tri County Leader, it’s the same staff you trust and see at Brookshires or the Post Office. As always, their commitment to good old fashioned reporting and real news coverage continues for a great big chunk of East Texas. Please support this local bastion of accountability by subscribing. (No one pays me to say that, I just think our democracy needs trustworthy reporting.)

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, so many people are taking the risk of becoming independent through entrepreneurship. I ask now for Your blessing on their efforts to steward their lives in ways that honors You. May we treat all around us with loving respect. Help us take note of Your creative design for sustaining not only the physical stuff in our life, but also our relationships. Teach us to serve as Your beloved Son served, with a heart to do what is best for others. Bless our efforts, O Lord, that we may care for our families. Please bless especially those with young children. Give young entrepreneurs grace, strength,, and courage as they face daily challenges. We ask in Jesus name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What makes your heart happy in the garden? When you think of sustainability and entrepreneurship, what new idea are you wanting to try? Since James and other environmental scientists get giddy over good soil, what are you doing to keep your heart rich and ready to grow?

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Cathy Krafve, Texas Columnist, Speaker, Radio Host, and “almost” Author focusing on fellowship in Marriage, Family, and Community, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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