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Meet our partner

Ephesus Investments

Myra Johnson, Creative Director of Mother's Day Walk

Myra Johnson is CEO of Ephesus Investments and a mother of two. Recently married, she welcomed three additional kids to her blended family and will sometimes count her cat and dog among her children, as well. Unexpected events led her to discover that walking outdoors and lessons from nature can have incredible impacts on our interactions with others. Now she’s offering other families the chance to have the same experience. Learn more and register for the May 12 Mother’s Day Walk event here

At times, Mother’s Day was a difficult holiday for Myra Johnson to celebrate. 

“Being a mom is hard for many reasons. And as a single mom specifically, you’re often overworked, with a never-ending to-do list. It can feel like nothing you do is ever enough,” she explained. “There were years when I didn’t like Mother’s Day and felt like I didn’t deserve it.”  

Instead of a family brunch or other traditional celebration, she shifted the focus away from herself and toward helping others. Johnson began planning a small philanthropic activity each Mother’s Day. Volunteering at a women’s shelter with her children, and sometimes a few friends, became a welcome and rewarding alternative.

“I found that when you shift your focus toward the progress you have made, the lessons you have learned, and anchor yourself in gratitude, there’s a sense of hope, momentum, and strength that comes from that. It only grows when you connect with others and give what you do have to give.  Compassion, time, a listening ear, and inspirational words help both you and others,” said Johnson. 

The power of walking
While her new tradition was an effective way to commemorate the journey of motherhood on Mother’s Day, her role as a mother faced a new challenge once her daughter was diagnosed with a serious medical condition. The business of life and school, along with the shock and frustration of the situation, made it difficult to communicate with each other, and Johnson found herself searching for ways to ease their anxiety and support her daughter. 

With easy access to nearby trails, trees, flowers, and lakes, she believed spending time in the fresh air, surrounded by nature, would benefit them both. She instituted mandatory after-school walks, and the impact was even more profound than Johnson had hoped. 

“It loosened the pressure that often comes from sitting across from someone, in a confined space, eye to eye. The environment gave us things to talk about, admire, and observe. Little by little, tension and stress between us decreased, and our communication increased,” she said. “Walking together healed our relationship and gave us a bond we’d never had before.” 

Johnson soon began embracing the technique in other parts of her life. She would take phone calls while walking and encourage her clients to do the same during their conversations. In-person, walking meetings became a regular part of her routine. Now a newlywed, even the first date with her husband was not a meal or a movie, but a walk on a nearby nature trail.

In December 2023, she organized a Christmas outing with her extended family to walk through the Houston Botanic Garden’s Radiant Nature exhibit. It was Johnson’s first time experiencing the urban oasis in person, and she was struck by the gorgeous setting and variety of plant life.

Growing a new tradition
“It is such a special place, filled with variety, that teaches and nurtures. I believe the Garden represents Houston; full of beautiful unique things that thrive together in the most unexpected ways,” she said. “It also reinforced what I learned trying to restore my backyard after a terrible freeze – plants of all kinds, together, is what makes a garden. And beautiful gardens attract people, providing comfort and inspiration. So the trick is discovering what each plant needs to thrive by being observant and attentive. This requires choosing patience to allow growth, positioning the plant in the right environment, and working consistently to remove anything that may harm it –  it can be very much the same with relationships.”

Her visit sparked an idea to transform her private Mother’s Day tradition into something bigger. Rather than just sharing a few hours of her time at a local shelter for mothers and children, she envisioned the inaugural Mother’s Day Walk: Nature + Nurture for a Cause. 

Johnson is CEO of Ephesus Investments and specializes in connecting companies with communities. She found a willing co-host in Houston Running Co. and knew the Garden would be a perfect venue. 

The walk is designed to introduce more families to Johnson’s commitment to giving back on Mother’s Day, while highlighting the value time and movement in nature can have on our interactions with others.

“I wanted to create an experience that gives families the space to have meaningful conversations and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of nature,” said Johnson. “The walks with my daughter helped me to discover what she needed to blossom as a person and allowed me to focus on supporting her. It doesn’t surprise me that a lot of research demonstrates the power that walking and talking can have on relationships.”

A gift worth giving
In addition to a relaxing 2.1-mile stroll through the Garden, the inaugural Mother’s Day Walk will feature several interactive experiences and  vendors. Participants can purchase a general admission ticket for the event or upgrade to a VIP experience that provides access to a climate-controlled tent, elevated refreshments, beauty and wellness treatments, and more. 

Johnson and her co-hosts will also collect in-kind donations to benefit the Salvation Army Jones Family Residence Center and Kids Meals, Inc. 

“My hope is that people see this event as the perfect Mother’s Day gift,” she added. “It’s a way to celebrate your mom, treat your mom,  and also help other moms and children in great need. For those families who can’t find the time to participate, consider donating tickets or stopping by briefly to drop off an in-kind donation anytime before 2 p.m.”

Our Mission

Enriching life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.

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DAILY
9:00 am — 5:00 pm

Garden Entrance
One Botanic Lane
Houston, TX 77017
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8205 N. Bayou Drive
Houston, TX 77017

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