Firewood

During the Texas snow/ice storm, I saw a post on Facebook that made me smile. It was a photo of a front yard covered in tree branches, and said, “It’s raining firewood.”

I needed to see that because the most unnerving part of that week for me was the location of our home. The house is surrounded by ginormous oak trees and rests beneath their canopy. We’d hear the crack of a branch, then boom onto the roof, and the branch would slide and fall to the ground. I did a lot of meditating that week, and thanked God for metal roofs.

Once the snow had melted away, I stepped outside to look at the front yard, and was in agreement that it had rained firewood. The yard was covered with sticks, twigs and a few branches, but I looked at the sticks as, ‘kindling’, and the branches were easily broken into firewood. No healthy branch breaks. It was a good day for a fire, as I removed the cover from the firepit.

God knows my heart and knows I love to sit near a fire. I gathered up all the sticks and laid some in the pit. There were so many I had to start a pile of them nearby, along with the smaller broken branches. The larger branches were laid aside for future use. I sat by the fire for hours that day, and just pondered God’s goodness and grace. If it’s gonna rain, let it rain firewood.

Footprints

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We didn’t allow the snow and ice to hinder us from taking a walk. After the first fallen snow, it was light powder and easy to walk through, but then a fine layer of ice fell on top. That made it a little more challenging, but where there’s a will, there’s also a way.

Photography by Simply Semloh

You have to stomp your foot through the icy layer, to get down to the powdery snow. There your footing will hold, and not slip. Here we were, stomping our way through the neighborhood, and it was invigorating to say the least, at an outdoor temp of 18 degrees.

We made a trail of footprints. Some were on the road, but most were through the edge of the neighbors yards. The road had turned into a solid sheet of ice, so we had to make our own path off the road. The next day, I went for a walk alone, but found myself following the path we had taken the day before. Even though the snow was melting away, I could still see some of our footprints and it made me think.

What kind of footprint do I really want to leave for these neighbors? Not just a snowy one alongside their yard, but a footprint in their life. My thoughts expanded to what kind of footprint do I want to leave on this world? Thanks to the snow/ice storm that shut down Texas, I’m pondering footprints.

Crossing the Line

I’ve been using the pour over coffee dripper for my coffee each morning for a while now. It offers flexibility in cup size, and on Monday we go big.

It will fill any size cup you choose to sit under it. You just have to measure the right amount of water for the size of the cup. This morning, I measured 16 ounces of water for the gooseneck kettle, knowing this cup could hold it, but I’ve miscalculated before and that was messy.

My favorite cup and Blue Bottle coffee dripper.

One morning I grabbed a large mug thinking it was just as big as this one and treated it the same way, with 16 ounces of water. I allow time for the dripper to drain in between pours, so after the third and final pour, I walked into the next room. A few minutes later I went back into the kitchen for my coffee, only to find it pouring over the rim of the mug onto the chopping block.

It had poured over alright!

Thank God the spill had stayed on the chopping block, but I must have crossed the 16 ounce line. It’s times like these you go with what you know and make sure your Monday cup is cleaned on Sunday night.

The coffee dripper adds mystery to my morning. I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get. It calls for the water measurement to be precise, but I’m doing good just to get the water into the measuring cup much less read the lines. It’s when I cross the line that life gets messy.

I have an email to send this morning, and it feels like I may be crossing the line. That’s not going to stop me from sending it because I don’t live my life in the safe zone. When God opens the door of opportunity, communication can be awkward at first, but we don’t really know where the lines are, if any, until we cross them.

This is me, on a Monday, crossing the line.

That’s My God

It’s the little things in life that never cease to amuse me. Standing at my kitchen window after an hour’s worth of steady rain, looking at the plants I just watered yesterday. A smile came to my lips as I chuckled at the conversation I was having with God in my heart.

The weather forecast wasn’t calling for rain, but I can’t rely on weather predictions. The best way to know the weather around here is by noticing what it’s doing. God wants to be noticed and it was like He was saying, “If you’d waited Barb, you would have seen my plan for those plants.” We have conversations like that more than we should.

I depend on God in every situation, but sometimes I run ahead. One of my most spoken prayers is, “Here’s my life. I lay it at your feet. Your will be done, not mine.” Then I go on about my day with my plans and actions, so I’m grateful when God shows up with a similar plan, only better.

Life is amusing when it comes down to my plan versus God’s plan, and it’s instances like these that continue to amuse me. That’s my God.

A Beautiful Morning

I’ve been thinking about this, and had a vision I’d like to share. It took some thought and planning ahead, but it’s well worth every effort. The first thing I saw to do was to scrub the beach rug clean.

It’s odd, but in January hundreds of birds fly overhead all day long dropping red berries. My truck looks like it lost a paintball match and everything is covered in bright, red, splatters, including my front porch. That is where the beach rug resides.

The beach rug laying on the front porch.

For me this year, outside is where I see a sacred space. To sit Yogi style on the rug at sunrise, wrapped in a warm blanket, and tap into the sights and sounds of the early morning. I imagine it being like unguided meditation at it’s best.

What is a beautiful morning?

It’s about creating some space for meditation, reflection, movement, writing, or anything else you’d like to have room for in your life. And finding some space in the mornings for that, a sacred space that takes advantage of the quiet and beautiful light of the mornings.

Leo Babauta-Zenhabits.net

After posting a good night’s sleep I learned as soon as my eyes open, to sit up in the middle of the bed immediately. To sip a glass of water and give my body a chance to catch up with my brain. Sitting in the middle of the bed meditating in that quiet, stillness of the morning is beautiful for me, but recently I find myself gazing out windows often. Like my heart is nudging me outside.

The front porch is clean and waiting.

Let’s follow the heart outside and see what we learn by being present in the early morning light. I’ll let you know where this leads, but in the meantime I wish you a beautiful morning.

The Sunny Spot

When I first started this Blog, I could sit and write for hours and post daily. That has mellowed over time. I enjoy my pieces of life that don’t require Internet.

The dogs know my favorite time to write is around 9:00 am, and they become very still and quiet. It’s like they are giving me space to do what I love, or maybe they just see it as quiet time, because typing is not very rambunctious. I’m sitting at the kitchen table gazing out the window at the front yard. There’s a gentle breeze moving the trees and bushes, and birds are hopping around in the sunny spots of the yard. I can completely relate to the birds, because I love the sunny spots of life.

February and March are good months to be outside. In February, the temps will be in the high 60’s, and in March they’ll reach the 70’s, but by April we’ll be in the 80’s and then it’s on. I’ve lived here long enough where the high temperatures don’t really bother me anymore. You just praise God everyday for air conditioning.

We can look at our lives, and see what’s important. Our lives reflect an accumulation of small choices made daily. It’s a continual effort to weed out the bad and bring in the good, but we get to choose the life we’re sitting in today. With every action throughout the day, pay attention to the details. And if you find yourself gazing out the window like me, step outside and embrace the sunny spot.

From Good to Great

My daughter’s mini lecture before leaving the house for the day. “I want you to eat something of sustenance, and that doesn’t mean chocolate and gummi vitamins.” All those years of mothering are paying off where she is now mothering me! I’m diggin’ it.

I did pretty well with scrambled farm fresh eggs, by adding some shredded gouda and thyme. Along with slices of everything bread toasted and cut into toast points to hold some fig jam. It was delicious and I took this photo as proof that I ate something good.

I like a little bit of egg with my thyme.

This only added to an already great day.

Because everyday we wake up to a new day is pretty great, right? I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s drives my friends crazy how happy I am. When they ask, “How are you?”, the answer is always, “I’m doing great!” Even if I’m not feeling especially perky, or there’s trouble brewing ahead, it’s always the same response…”Great!” My daughter knows I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder’s when she asks, “How are you?”, and I say. “Okay…”

I don’t know about you but ‘okay’ is unacceptable in my mind, and I’ve been blessed with a very good life, but what about better than good? I’ve been saying ‘great’ for so long now, and to a lot of people the life I live is great, but what does great really look like? This year I want to step outside the knowing of what’s ‘good’, and go for the ‘great.’

We can be mindful of our day, and take note of how to make adjustments for a better tomorrow. Each day a little bit better than the last sounds like a solid path for this life to emerge over time from good to great.

Let Love Be Loud

I’ve been reading my morning devotional, and jotting down whatever jumps out, or resonates. Here’s this week’s favorite.

When things seem all wrong, trust me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way.

Jesus Calling-1/26/2021

I’ve had 5 days that feel like Monday with a client at work. I really want it to feel like midweek, so I’m just gonna settle in here with you for a moment. You know, I can take happy clients all day long, and that’s the fun part of the job, but the ones who are high strung and relentless are the ones who make me better.

The circumstances were all wrong, but I believe God handed me the right responses every time.

I was able to practice listening and could hear what was really fueling his anger. It wasn’t this situation at all.

This job has taught me I cannot make people happy. They need to be happy in their own skin first, and there’s a lot of people who are not happy. I like to call this the ‘rewarding challenge’ of the job. Without any challenging circumstance there is little reward.

Whatever comes your way today, I encourage you take a pause to see what is the right response. It helps to not take the situation personally, but rather to give the kind of response to make the situation better. We have the power to make someone’s day a light-hearted and memorable experience, and people need that now more than ever. Let love be the loudest thing about you.

Take Some Time

The watch went back into it’s original box. The ginormous clock was removed from the bedroom wall and moved to the breezeway. I can still see it from the bedroom, so it will continue to be enjoyed, but it’s out of my room, and there’s no more ticking sound. I want to stop watching time.

This post was in my draft folder, and I realized that folder wasn’t emptied last year like I wrote about here. It went down to two drafts, but I felt a pause in publishing them. They are still in drafts and I’ve been adding to the folder this year, so we are back up to seven drafts!


The first week of January I shared with friends, “I’m taking the month off from life itself.” That’s when I removed the clock from my bedroom, and stopped wearing a wristwatch, but it didn’t last. A week later, the clock returned to my room, just like this draft wound up in the folder. There’s some comfort in seeing time, and knowing there’s a draft, or six, suspended in time.

That’s what January has felt like for me, just suspended it in time. Taking time to organize my life by putting things in their rightful place. Everything should have a place, or it needs to be passed along for someone else to enjoy. Sometimes we acquire items not meant for us, but we can keep them until that person shows up to give it to. That has happened quite a bit in my life. The keeper of goodness to be handed off to someone else along life’s path. That’s a good description of how we should live our lives.

Don’t sweat the draft folder. When the time is right, it will become a published post just like this one did.

Put everything in it’s rightful place, and if it doesn’t have a space, pass it on to who you believe will enjoy it.

Take notice of what comes into our lives. It may not be meant for us, but God will reveal the rightful owner.

When you find yourself anointed the keeper of goodness, that is something that surely must be given away daily.

Whatever it is you wish to pour into this world to make it a prettier place, this is your permission slip to figure out your start. The world is waiting for what you have to offer, so don’t be afraid to take some time.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

PS. Just not too much time.

A Better Listener

Last year I had a side goal of emptying my draft folder. I got it down to two drafts, but just couldn’t bring myself to publish them. The timing felt off, and now I’ve begun to add to the draft folder again. I can have a goal, but it’s important to be in God’s timing to execute.

My main goal for this year is…

To be a better listener.

My environment is quiet, so I can hear every sound. I know where our cat is laying by hearing him breathe. Progress was made last year when I could tell the water in the kettle was ready, by listening to it heat up. I’d remove it from the heat just as puffs of steam were exiting the holes in the lid. There were times I was out of sync, and my daughter would say, “Your water is spewing!”

That’s where I want to improve.

To not allow my words to get to the spewing point. I was a witness to this over the weekend, and I’m not pleased by it, but there’s a solution at hand.

There’s been a lot happening with work, and it’s moving very fast. I’ve felt out of touch with the man I work with, and let him know I’d like to talk.

We tried to pinpoint a time, but life got busy. I know we’re running an empire, but communication is key to a smooth ride. On a whim, I dialed his number with the intention of leaving a rehearsed voicemail. It was over the weekend and late afternoon, so I didn’t expect him to answer, but he did! It was shocking to hear his welcoming voice.

I wasn’t prepared for our talk, and it had been so long since we had spoken to one another, we began talking at the same time. It felt like we were talking over one another, as I tried my best to pause and listen. This went on for an hour, and we covered everything, but I felt like it was a wreck on my end, and vowed to do better. This call revealed, there is more practice needed in listening.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t call on a whim. Schedule a time.
  2. Keep a notepad nearby of things to discuss.
  3. Ask more questions and pause to listen. I felt like he asked the questions and I spent a lot of time explaining.
  4. He tried several times to compliment my work, and said, “Keep delivering excellence”, but I brushed that off.
  5. Accept the compliment and give one in return.

After the call was over I knew to schedule time once a month to speak with him. My eyes and ears are all over his business and there are things we need to discuss. I’ll take notes throughout the month and be prepared for the next call. God offers endless opportunity to improve, and I’m not just practicing with people. God is in there too.

Success occurs when our preparedness collides with God’s timing. This is Barb, striving to be a better listener.

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