I'm Amanda Matthews. It's a pleasure to meet you!
I'm so glad you found Orchideria. If you're wondering who writes the articles and makes the tutorials, here's a little about me.
My parents were overseas missionaries, so I've had the privilege to travel with them to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, and Israel. We were stationed in Brazil for the majority of my life. So although I'm American, I consider myself a child of several nationalities.
After receiving a Masters of Divinity in Theology, I went back to Brazil and worked with the underprivileged children in the suburbs.
Drug addiction, adolescent pregnancy, abortions, school dropouts, unresolved family relationships, and substance abuse were common.
I know... you're wondering where do orchids fit in the conglomerate here... I'm getting to it. :)
Heart-wrenching fact: 1 in 5 women are murdered everyday by their husbands in Brazil.
So twelve years later, I specialized in the Theology of Comparative Religion and became a women’s pastor dealing with topics of marriage, divorce, and abuse to help these women.
Little did I know, I had married an abusive and manipulative partner myself. My husband had grown in the military ranks and was now the highest-ranking colonel in the Brazilian military.
Fearing for my life, so I said a prayer, packed a suitcase, and fled in the middle of the night with my two small children. I only had $ 250.00 dollars in my purse and half a tank of gas. I lived off the grid for three years, not knowing where my next meal would be our how I'd cross 5,000 miles of land to get back home to Kansas.
See the Price on Amazon
I narrated that emotion-filled, gut-wrenching story into a memoir, titled Shattered Sanctuary.
You can check out my author page and more about my bio here
. I have built a smaller, more simple website to promote leaving toxic relationships, which you can check out at www.fromtearstotenacity.com
. The goal with that page is to encourage people to rebuild their life after difficult divorces or relationships.
The only two blessings resulting from those 19 years I was married are my two children, Gabriela and Miguel, who live with me.
On To Better Days...
Fast forwarding to the present day, now I dedicate my time to help others find the courage and strength to walk away from the hurt and build a new life. I'm a theologian, a pastor, and a motivational speaker, focusing on overcoming obstacles and rebuilding your life after toxic relationships. My main goal is to bring people closer to God.
So what does all this have to do with orchids?
Finally, the whole point of why I had the idea to build this website... Once I moved back home to the USA after living most my life in tropical sun-filled climates, I had a hard time making it through the horrendous winter in Kansas. (Honestly - it's warmer in Moscow. I'd check the temperatures daily.) Accustomed to living in 60 to 80 degree weather year round with long sunny days, I didn't adapt too well with almost 6 months of cold weather and dark, short days.
Since I couldn't return to Brazil, I either could bring nature inside my home by recreating those tropical surroundings, or move to Hong Kong (the weather is similar to Brazil's.) After failing miserably in my three-minute Mandarin lesson, I pulled up my big-girl britches and faced the Kansas winters. Kansas adaptation it is.
I hadn't realized how much I missed being around orchids, which was a natural thing in Brazil. They were attached to every tree I owned in my house there.
In addition to helping me with seasonal depression, working with orchids gave me a sense of peace and fulfillment. I'm naturally a teacher...albeit a theological professor one, but nonetheless...and love to share what I know. I certainly don't have ll the answers since I've had to relearn how to grow these amazing plants in a totally new environment.
I've sadly killed many orchids in the process of trying to bring such an exotic plant into my dry and sun-deprived living-room. This didn't help my depression, either.
So I spent hours online, in the library (yes, I'm old fashioned and still go to those...LOL) and doing courses, investing in books, tutorials, and webinars, all to try to relearn what I once knew, just with a different angle. My initial question was: How in the world can I grow an orchid in Kansas? Literally thousands of hours of research went into to making my living room a natural habitat just so my small orchid plants would survive. It was my way of surviving winter.
The initial knowledge lead me to share what I know on this website. I still get a lot of things wrong, and that is why I love the community, where we can exchange information and learn together. That is why I encourage the comments and interaction.
Unrelated information about me: when I'm not working on my next theological book, I'm out hiking on a nature trail, exploring waterfalls, or inventing new recipes to barbecue on the grill. I'm in love with this new phase of my life. Googling new places to camp out has become my expertise while I hear the crackling of the fireplace. The only negative sound I hear is my alarm clock persuading me to get up and face a 3-mile run. But that one, I don’t mind at all.
If you’d like to see some of the funnier things I post, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Just google me! We could all use more friends.
~Amanda June Matthews.