Feel the Music

My daughter: “You haven’t done a Feel the Music in a while.”

Me: I don’t drive that much anymore.” I hear most of these songs for Feel the Music while driving, but I wasn’t prepared for this song to start playing as soon as I started my truck. It just started playing like it was queued up and ready, but I wasn’t.

The hard to listen to songs. The ones that bring back memories of a love gone sideways, or swept up by crashing waves and drug out to the middle of the ocean. You see, I’ve been listening to the hard songs all year, but at some point you have to dance to it.

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

This song is sang by Cody Johnson. Mr. Smith told me about Cody and I have his CD in my truck. I enjoy his music, but the first song on the CD is the one I share with you today. It’s the hard to listen to song I usually skip over, but today I was able to listen.

Just try to quit smokin’ and reel back the drinkin’
Don’t always tell her everything you’re thinkin’
And dance her when she needs dancin’

It’s bittersweet because there are parts of the song that Smith nailed, but there are also parts he didn’t. He couldn’t quit smoking, even though it was important to me. I wanted him to be around another 50 years. Smith shared at the beginning of our relationship that he knew how to dance, and was good at it.

I’ve always wanted to be good at dancing, and have a partner who would show me. He didn’t dance me when I needed dancing.

Photo by Akemy Mory on Unsplash

The part of the song he was always good at was listening. Smith never tried to fix me, but would offer suggestions on how we could fix my world when it cracked. When I would get upset I’d go sit in the middle of the bed. He’d give me some time, but eventually come in and lay on the bed as an open invitation to talk.

I wasn’t good at sharing what was wrong because I was always concerned he would laugh, or it think it was silly. That wasn’t the point though, he just wanted me to spill it.

Crawl up in that bed right next to her and listen
Instead of having all the answers

It’s a simple country song, and the name of it is, “Ain’t Nothin’ to It”, but obviously there is something to it. To the couples who have made it through the years it takes to solidify a relationship, go grab your partner and dance them like they need dancing.

My guess would be that’s all they really need.

The Beach Rug

This Google photo was the start of my vision of living near the beach. The first time I uploaded it to WordPress was June of 2017, so it’s been held in my heart and mind for years. I’m not willing to let it go until it comes to fruition.

The first time I saw it, I knew it was me. The woman in the photo is younger and I have short hair, but it’s the the way she’s seated all in white, gazing out at the ocean like she’s home.

Recently, I was sitting on my front porch and I can’t help but look down at the rug beneath my feet. It makes me smile every time I see it. The first time I saw it was February 2019 at a house Mr. Smith and I stayed in for Valentine’s Day weekend. So many things resonated with me about this house. The owner is a creative and had sacred spaces graciously placed.

A tranquil path with water feature between the main house and guest house.

This is where I saw the rug. There were several rugs scattered around the outdoor living area, but there was one I couldn’t forget. I took a quick picture of it as we were leaving.

Once back home, It didn’t take long to find it online. At the time it seemed like a silly purchase, a rug for outside, but it reminded me of the beach. It brings me pure joy every time I see it, so it was worth the hunt and it was on sale.

Looking at the rug, I remembered emailing myself the picture to shop for it online. I wondered if I still had that picture, because when I snapped it, there was more in it than just the rug.

The rug on my front porch, is the one the cat is standing on.

Have you seen our cat? He looks just like this cat, but ours is a Munchkin and came into our lives just a few months ago. My daughter thinks this photo is pretty creepy. That I just happen to snap a picture as a reminder of the rug, as a cat was standing on it and we now have both. The vision is rolling right along.

Believe in your dreams and keep reminders in front of you. Thank you for being here and I hope you enjoyed the beach rug. ~Barb.

Putting It Off

I finished going through my archives.

I stopped at 2019, but will glance through those as well. Reading each post from 2014-2018 was like reliving Breast Cancer, and seeing how much I loved Mr. Smith, all over again.

It was worth going through twice.

I no longer cringe when people read my archives. I know what’s there, and am happy with the woman who emerged. Going through my archives is something I’ve put off doing for a long time.

I’m done putting things off.

did

It’s funny how they start off small.

Like, taking a shower. I can put something in front of that small task all day long, until I’m sitting here at night with no shower. Running the vacuum. Every time the sunlight hits the floor I see the dog hair, but continue on with my day.

I got my nose pierced. A small thing I’ve been putting off.

Doing the big things, but ignoring the small ones. It’s time to spend the next 30 days cultivating self trust. When a small thing needs to be done, I’ll just do it, and write it down once it’s complete. Instead of a ‘to-do list’, it will be a ‘done’ list.

No more putting it off.

Life’s Icing

I am back in my little Farmhouse.

The drives get longer, even though the route doesn’t change. The drive out of here to the lake seems short, but the drive back seems long.

My daughter is not here yet. It took her a while to pack up and leave her Dad’s. The house is still, and rather chilly from being closed up. Seymour messaged me asking if I was okay. I told her, “There is nothing in my life that cannot be fixed with a cupcake, and icing.” I love icing.

img_20170206_101115

We had a celebration at Smith’s families house yesterday. We celebrated birthdays, and the end of my Radiation treatment. They presented me with this plate of cupcakes. This is a very beautiful thing to me. They gave me icing, and they represent the icing in my life.

My daughter gives me icing all the time. I am watching her grow, and mature, and she is quite the young lady. She does things for us, and she keeps me ‘in the know’ of what’s going on, so I can maintain my ‘Cool Mom’ status. I used to watch her make a coffee pour over, and then asked her to teach me. She now has me hooked on the pour over method.

img_20170202_115416635

It’s a soulful experience, almost meditative.

Mr. Smith gave my daughter a beautiful one for Christmas, but I have not graduated to that one yet. It’s made of glass, and brass, which is a scary thing for me before coffee, much less while making it. My daughter, and Smith put icing on my life with simple actions. After spending 17 years teaching her, she is now teaching me new things.

I was messaging a friend over the weekend, she said, “Sounds to me that you are climbing mountains in the direction your heart is leading you.” I hadn’t thought of this next phase of my life as climbing a mountain before, but that is how it feels.

My heart doesn’t take me to a valley. It’s always reaching higher.

And when I reach the top of this mountain, it will be covered in icing.

These Two Worlds

If I sit in the presence of Mr. Smith long enough, the conversation tends to grow deep. Not from me, but from him. I listen, become more quiet, until no words can form. I feel it.

This morning, we were sitting on the back porch, coffee in hand, watching Stork fly in over the lake. I feel a sense of peace when I see Stork. He has always revealed I am in a safe space. This morning, I felt my layers being peeled back one by one, and it was a gentle process. Smith was pointing out how I visit on the weekend, and then I pack up and leave.

I have two lives. The one with Smith on the weekends, and the one with my daughter during the week. My daughter visits some, but that is all it looks like is a weekend visit. My heart is torn between these two worlds.

16388036_1298028700236006_5808028556618898766_n

Smith has never loved me like I imagined I would be loved. He loves me better.

This morning was one of those times where he gently dug down to the heart of the matter. No more skimming over the surface, and the end result was a feeling of rawness. I thought I was holding it together pretty well, living this double life. But, I don’t have to ‘hold it all together’ anymore.

It’s always been my daughter, and me. Even when I was married to her father, it was really just the two of us. There comes a time where you don’t know which way is home. I have two houses, but which one is home?

Bringing three lives together, and enjoying one life. People say it’s a hard thing to do, but from where I sit, it’s harder not to.

One More Day

I am going to post two Blogs today. It doesn’t happen often, but I have another one in me. If you are reading this, you may want to read the one from this morning, “Which Way Home.” A change of events occurred after posting that one, and I got my one more day.

Note to self. Do not let the dog outside as you’re loading up your truck.

Mr. Smith has a Min Pin, (miniature Doberman Pincher), that decided to race out the door as soon as I opened it. I didn’t think too much about it because he usually comes back in a few minutes. Once I finished loading my truck, I noticed the time was moving closer to my Radiation appointment, and he hadn’t returned. I was going to have to go look for him.

My left breast has a deep burn going on after 21 treatments. I started putting pure Aloe Vera on it yesterday, and thought, it would be nice to have one more day to keep it covered in Aloe. Thanks to Mr. Smith’s dog, I got my one more day. He came home an hour later.

img_20170116_144233930_hdr

There was one thing I wanted to do while Smith was at work. To clean up my room.

Smith gave me this room to enjoy as I write, and tinker with stained glass. It got covered up with boxes from Christmas, and the table was full. I love this room and the view! By taking one more day to soothe my soul, I would also have it to heal my burned boob. I took a shower, put on Aloe , my Yoga pants, a comfortable t-shirt, and walked into the room.

I tore down all the empty boxes, and have them ready to be picked up. Then it was time to organize all this glass. Smith’s grandmother used to work with glass, and I am blessed to have all her leftover pieces. The tool caddy needed to be put together completely, so I did that as well. While looking at what I had in the caddy, I realized two things I would need.

While doing a Google search for the items, I felt my heart prompting me to look through the box of glass. Pulling out all of the pieces, and getting down to the bottom of the box. There is where I found the items I needed. The tool caddy is complete, and the room is cleaned, and organized. Sometimes the body and soul just need that one more day.

Eye See You

Yesterday, I drove to the lake to see Mr. Smith. On the drive here, I watched as the outdoor temperature dropped. Checking the weather before I left prompted me to pack items for 70 degree weather. The temperature outside went from the 70’s to the 50’s upon arrival.

Mr. Smith had the doors, and windows of the house open. He had been enjoying the 70 degree temps as well. I walked in, and saw him standing in the sliding glass doorway, and he looked so different. We had not seen each other since Christmas, but we talk everyday. He was wearing flannel lounging pants, a white tank, and had a bandanna tied over his hair.

Mr. Smith is a Chef, and yesterday he looked the part. He looked at ease in his skin.

It caught me off guard, and I tried to respond naturally, but I could not connect. I know who he is, and what he is, but my heart was arguing with my head. We were disconnected.

I started pondering what love is, and that is what I started writing about. Today, I see what my eyes were seeing, and what my heart was showing me. Let’s look at a few examples of love in action. There are many ways he displays his love, but for the sake of brevity, we will stick with examples from yesterday, starting with the state of the house.

Chef knows I live an uncluttered life. He has been doing some ‘spring cleaning’ he says, but I see it differently. The closets, and inside the cabinets have all been cleaned out and organized. You can look around and tell that Chef is willing to share his life.

He has a knack of doing things for both of us, but I believe I receive the biggest thrill. Chef and I love music even though our taste in music are different, there’s one thing we know. It feeds the soul.

He bought something easy for me to play music on. Before yesterday, I had to try and figure out his sound system, and it was hit or miss for me. This morning when he left for work, I hit two buttons, and was quickly listening to my favorite  Jennifer Nettles CD.

img_20170114_095731001

To clear a spot for our simple sound system, he put his knife collection in a closet, but as you can see, he left my Jesus Calling devotional laying out. This is a picture of happiness.

I’ve had a difficult time recently with my part time job, but that is another Blog. Between the stress I was feeling from that, my boob stinging from the radiation, and then this disconnect, I was a mess. I went and laid across the bed, and watched the wind blow outside. Chef came back to check on me, but he knew I was off center, so he gave me space.

Then, I heard it. The music. It started out slow, and soothing, but then it changed.

Chef was in the kitchen, doing what he loves to do. Cook! He was actually cooking a spectacular dinner that I was supposed to be helping with, but I was pondering.

He changed the music to country, which I love. I heard Brad Paisley, and some of the greats singing away. Then the music changed again, but this time, it almost made me cry.

I heard Lionel Richie. Ladies, if your man plays Lionel Richie, that man loves you.

By this time, I was back in front of my laptop trying to do my job, but I could feel the words to each song drifting down the hallway to where I was sitting. Chef was trying to reach me, but give me space. He gave me my 3 minute heads up on dinner being plated as I finished my work. Joining him at the dining room table, I felt like a big bowl of mush.

He will read this Blog at some point today, and I’m grateful he doesn’t embarrass easily. I was concerned for half a minute what he would think, but who am I kidding? He already knows all of this; he knew it yesterday. Chef sees everything, but best of all, he sees me.

Different Is Good

When I’m at the lake, the coffee maker usually wakes me up. It’s set on a timer to start brewing, but this morning that didn’t happen.

I overslept because I forgot to add water.

This year has been so different. Not only walking through Breast Cancer, but my daughter and I were apart for Thanksgiving.

This was when having two separate lives showed up. She felt led to be with her father, and I wanted to be with Chef and his family. I missed her terribly, but it was nice cooking with Chef, and having Thanksgiving here.

nothing-changes-quote-8280727989

I have spent twenty something years cooking the entire Thanksgiving dinner myself. This year I was only responsible for two dishes. The dressing, and some sweet potatoes. Chef had everything else under control. We were going to cook the entire dinner for his family. It’s funny looking at it now, but I was so nervous about cooking the dressing!

His Mother has always made the dressing, and I was in charge of making something they had certain memories of. Keeping it Grandma’s Dressing recipe, all I could do was my very best. Thanksgiving morning, Mr. Smith went to his families home to put the turkey in the oven, and I started making my dressing. Why was I so nervous about making this one dish?

Meanwhile, my daughter had volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her Dad, and brother. She called me stressed out about cooking the ham. Being a mother, I just wanted to step in and help her, but I couldn’t. This was something she chose to do, and at 17 years old, I had faith that she could.

img_11751

She did all of this. I love the way she put the pottery I left behind to good use. This picture reflects what she saw over the years, and she duplicated it amazingly well at her young age. She make it look like Thanksgiving, even though we were apart.

The expectations we place on ourselves can be brutal.

My daughter and I both have a bit of perfectionism we struggle to let go of. The dressing turned out well, and we had a beautiful Thanksgiving. Chef did an amazing job in his Mother’s kitchen, pulling the entire meal together in record time. It’s incredible to watch him, and he only burned his fingers twice.

Maybe your holiday’s look different this year, but I am finding that different is good.

Letting go of expectations of myself, allows me to enjoy what’s in front of me instead.

 

You Are Sexy

I came home from Chemo treatment today, and it wasn’t long, I was ready to rest. It’s important to listen to my body now, more than ever. There is one area I have been struggling with though. The changes on the outside are messing with my sexiness.

me (191x340)

I sent my man this pic today, letting him know I was going to rest. It reminded me of a picture I sent him early on in our relationship. He had gone to Colorado for a week, to a family reunion. The pic was like this one, except I was wearing white.

You can tell by my eyes, I miss him, even though, I just saw him hours ago. He went to listen to the doctor, and he sat through Chemo with me. He sat across from me, and watched me sleep. He said I was cute in the chair.

His response to this pic today was one word. “Sexy.”

That is all I needed to hear. He is such a magnificent, “Beholder.” Talking over the weekend, he swears I haven’t changed. He still sees me as the woman he fell in love with.

I see less hair, and I’ve lost a little weight. I now know how men feel about that receding hairline. My hair was grey in front, so when Mr. Smith shaved it super short, the grey patches look very interesting. They are vague, so it looks like nothing is there. Just fuzz.

I have a Blog in mind to tell you what God did in that doctor’s office today, but this has been on my heart and mind. He doesn’t see what I see. Ladies…give your man a break. We are much too hard on ourselves.

The first picture I sent to Mr. Smith, while he was in Colorado, he liked. He liked it so much, I think he sent it to his Mother, and showed everyone at that reunion! I was so embarrassed, but he saw nothing wrong with it.

The eye of the Beholder. It’s not what we see, it’s what they see, even if we think it’s not so pretty. You are still sexy, even during Chemo.

To Be Brave

I have not thought of myself as brave. I can be a Badass, but that occurs when  something, or someone pushes me too far. My daughters says, ‘At that point, you better run.’

blog1

I have just enough redneck in me to be scary. People are calling me brave for this Breast Cancer Journey I’m on.

The ones that are brave, are the ones that went before me, and shared their story. This lights my path, and helps ease my fear of the unknown. Those women are Badasses.

Fear is of the devil himself. His goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. He is such a coward, and you will notice this, if you look at when he attacks. It’s in the timing of it all.  While we sleep, and right before we wake up.

me (135x240)

No matter what you’re going through, you are not alone. Another tactic of the devil, is to keep you in solitude. Put that stinkin’ devil under your feet! I knew God wanted me to share this journey, but at first I was afraid. I’m more afraid of being disobedient to God than anything else.

Surround yourself with people who will love you through it. Mr. Smith shaved my hair down to almost the skin this weekend. It was falling out anyways, but it took time and patience from a good man, to get me there.

He is a chef, so he tied a bandanna to resemble a Chef’s cap. Be brave Beauties, and unleash the Badass in you.

P.S. Another fear of mine was the port for Chemo. You can see the stitches in this pic. I love wearing tank tops when it’s warm, but there again, the scarring. My daughter said, “Own that tank top Mama! You look like you got into a bar fight, got stabbed in the chest, and won!”