The Good Life

I stopped by the Water Gardens and saw three of them sitting on the edge of a wood table. Two were in bloom and I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed such delicate beauty making this loud of a statement.

Similar to the pillow mentioned in Feel the Music, there was no need for another plant, but if it could be happy in my yard, I’d literally stare in wonder at it while it bloomed. Three days later, I went back to the Water Gardens and made my way over to where they’d been sitting previously. It blended in with all the other plants on the table, but there was one left. It wasn’t in bloom, but I recognized the foliage and not being in bloom is how it was overlooked.

Curcuma-Siam-Sparkling-Tulip

Last year the yard was all about the bloom, but this year it’s about watching and waiting for that one spectacular moment. There’s nurturing in between every bloom, but the rewards far outweigh the attention given. In the book, Simple Abundance, the author has been talking quite a bit about gardening. This reading is titled The Good Life, and she shares an excerpt from the book, Loving and Leaving the Good Life, by Helen Nearing.

  • Do the best you can, whatever arises.
  • Be at peace with yourself.
  • Find a job you enjoy.
  • Live in simple conditions; housing, food, clothing; get rid of clutter.
  • Contact nature every day; feel the earth under your feet.
  • Take physical exercise through hard work; through gardening or walking.
  • Don’t worry; live one day at a time.
  • Share something every day with someone else; if you live alone, write someone; give something away; help someone else somehow.
  • Take time to wonder at life and the world; see humor in life where you can.
  • Observe the one life in all things.
  • Be kind to creatures.

I’ve been helping a woman water the flower beds at church once a week and noticed she didn’t have a sprayer on the end of the water hose, so I brought her my rain head to use. I attached it to the hose, turned it on and handed it to her. Just the sound of the water the rain head gives and watching it shower over the plants was such a peaceful moment she didn’t want it to end. It’s moments like that you know you’re standing in the good life.

Feel the Music

I went to a friends shop looking for a pair of jeans and found a pair that fit perfectly, but didn’t buy them. I said, “I’m church hopping and need a pair for church.” She was surprised by the words, ‘church hopping’ and neither of us were sure what church jeans were supposed to look like.

TobyMac dropped a new song and I’ve been thinking a lot about the goodness in my life. It was 7 years ago I was standing in a post office in small town Texas, when a man walked in whose presence engulfed the lobby. I asked, “How are you?”, and still remember what he looked like and the conviction in his voice as he spoke these words, “I’m blessed and highly favored.”

Not only did he say it, but he owned it, and I knew right then, I wanted to be able to respond like that.

Earlier this year at another friend’s shop, I saw this pillow and picked it up and held it every time I walked in. It’s a frivolous purchase, like I need one more pillow, but still remember it and how it made me smile. The original pillow sold, but a couple of weeks ago I was talking with my friend and mentioned that pillow. She offered to special order me a new one.

Kendall Designs

My daughter says it looks like I killed a Yak, but I see God’s favor.

When this post airs, I’ll be sitting in the same church for the second time and I’m treating it like a date, so let’s see if we make it to number three. Sometimes God’s goodness is tangible like this pillow, but it isn’t always so obvious. The true goodness in life is God Himself consistently showing up. Maybe I’ll practice saying, “Blessed and highly favored”, at church. That’ll reveal pretty quick if I’m at the right building.

TobyMac-The Goodness

Practice the Always

Always holds big meaning to only have six letters.

I have a few things that I always do, like I’ll always drink in house cold brew, and always brush my teeth before leaving the house. If you don’t, you’ll run into someone you haven’t seen in years, and they’ll want to hug and stand around and laugh, so it’s best to have clean teeth.

I’m becoming more comfortable with empty spaces. What works for me is looking at an area full of stuff, and emptying it out completely. Wipe the surface down and only put back the meaningful. It’s funny but even after putting back what was meaningful one day, they begin to lose some of their meaning the next. I’m excited to see what our house looks like by the end of the year, or better yet, one year from now.

After framing some art and having a wall of it in my room, I removed one painting and put it in the kitchen where it belongs. That’s where it was originally, but I used it to fill an empty space. I’ve been looking at that empty space along my bedroom wall all week, and knew what I wanted to put there. It’s a page from a magazine that was in another frame, but I utilized that frame and laid this clipping aside.

When people see it, they scream, “Is that Justin Bieber?!!” He was just a kid in this photo, and you can’t see his face, but his name is underneath the quote. I have signs hanging throughout our home as reminders of what’s important, and this is of the utmost importance.

It says, “I always thank God for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with this talent.” ~ Justin Bieber

I bought a frame for it and filled in the empty space. This frame looked lighter in the store, so it’s probably going to be exchanged for another one, but it works for now. The word ‘always’ is what jumps out at me from this quote. We have all been given at least one gift and should be on the lookout for ample opportunity to use it. I’m guilty of not thanking God nearly enough for the opportunities He’s given me, but I’m willing to practice.

I see this photo as soon as I wake up in the morning, so at first light, let’s practice the always.

Find Your Words

I spoke with Hercules before lighting the firepit. He’s my neighbor and ‘good choice’ guru, but he’ll tell you it’s because he’s made a lifetime of not so good choices that he can offer better answers today. He said, “Barbara, if you want to light your pit, then you should do it. Just drop a hose nearby.” I mentioned writing about him in a Blog and our conversation went something like this…

Him: I didn’t think you were Blogging anymore.

Me: Yes, I renewed my website for another year.

Him: But, the last time we talked you were going to stop Blogging.

Me: I tell myself that all the time.

Him: Well, I stopped reading the Blog because you said you were going to stop. I’ll go find the Blog.

Me: Awesome. You are Hercules!

He laughed and said, “Barbara, it’s from thinking I was Hercules all those years that got me in the shape I’m in today!”

Hercules supports my crazy ideas and doesn’t mind that I write about him. When I first met him it didn’t take long to realize how much wisdom he holds and I told him, “You should write a book!” He laughed, and shook his head, but now he lives next-door to someone who will.

I ran across a Blogsite where a man stopped Blogging last year and wondered if he lost his voice, but blogging helped me find my voice and refines it. My disclaimer is, “If you’re in my life, you’re probably going to be in a story.” The blogger who lost his voice was in a season where family was involved in every storyline, and he didn’t feel it was solely his story to tell. As writer’s we get to tell our side of the story.

Finding your voice is a path paved by alphabetized keys, or pen to paper. This Blog began in 2014, and you’d never know by reading it that my divorce was one of the nastiest times of my life. As a writer, we get to choose the parts we want to tell and can uncover the good parts if we want to badly enough. I’d venture to speculate the blogger who lost his voice didn’t lose it, but instead someone voiced their opinion about his writing, and their words cut his vocal chords.

We have a voice and writing is like pushups for finding it. You haven’t lost your voice my darling, but you may need to sit with yourself in front of the blank page until you find your words.

Feel the Music

When leaving the house, I like to leave music playing for the animals. I know I’m not alone in this because my neighbor, Hercules, does it for his pets and possibly you do as well. The other day I came home and left the music playing softly in the background while trying to wrap my mind around work, but this song came on and snagged my attention. The beginning reminded me of when Shania Twain said, “Let’s go girls”, but Kane Brown has a deeper voice when he says, “Let’s get it”.

It’s a fun song and who knows, maybe one day I’ll love a man like I love coffee and Chemex. It could happen! 😂

Kane Brown-I love you like I love country music.

The Plant Wipes

My daughter stood in the doorway and said, “Your room has such a vibe since adding that plant.” I agreed, and a couple have been added to her room, but she’s been forewarned “If you come home one day and your room is my new studio, you stayed gone too long.” 😂


Hill Country Water Gardens began as an Artist date, but now it’s routine for immediate inspiration. I’ve written about it here, and it’s my happy place, but instead of looking for flowers for the yard, I discovered the magical, massive greenhouse filled to the brim with houseplants. That’s where the plant wipes were stacked as a display and just seemed like they would add value to my life and the plants.

You saw the smallish Fiddle-leaf Fig in the post, The Plant Stand, and that one is doing so well, I purchased a larger version for my bedroom. I don’t know if you noticed the tree in the feature photo of Queen of Everything, but that’s Jordan’s Fiddle-leaf Fig. They’ll get huge if you let them. The leaves are large, but I noticed over the weekend they love to collect dust. Well, that simply won’t do.

I brought the plants wipes home, opened the container which was reminiscent of baby wipes. Pulled one out, laid a leaf in my hand, and wiped the entire surface. I started at the top and worked my way down, one leaf at a time. The wipe began turning black, revealing evidence of dirt from each leaf. I’d discard it, grab a fresh one and keep wiping. It was a meditative experience.

I learned things about the plant being that close up, and they say working with your hands is food for the soul. Maybe that’s why I’m happiest in the yard with dirt covered hands. As you can see, there’s no dirt on this plant thanks to an odd little item we’ll remember as the plant wipes.