Feel the Music

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted a Feel the Music. That surprised me, but even more so was looking through and realizing the first one was posted almost 4 years ago! I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I remember the day Feel the Music was born.

I was driving my truck down a back road, listening to the radio, and pondering my Blog. A song began to play, and it was Big Daddy Weave singing, ‘My Story’. Right then, I knew Feel the Music was supposed to become a series in my Blog. It contained those three words, like all my Blog titles did, but this was more than one post. It was going to be a regular thing.

I didn’t drive my truck very much last year, so some time has passed since posting one, but I still have a heart for music. It has helped pull me through some tough spots in my life. I’ve used it as an escape, and I’ve played it to chase after God. From cleaning a chicken coop knowing my marriage was at it’s end, to standing on a pier on 40 acres of land, surrounded by nothingness.

Music healed my heart many times.

Yesterday, I told my daughter something I needed to hear too. I said, “You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” The inspiration for this song didn’t come while driving my truck, so I need to make myself available to inspiration other than my truck.

Someone in my Fearless community posted a meme of this song because he is halfway to his monthly goal. Maybe we are all halfway there and don’t even realize it. The one thing I do know is, life wouldn’t be worth living without a prayer. Enjoy!

Life is Good

I woke up at 5:00 am. The house is really dark that time of morning. I reached over to turn on the lamp beside my bed and with one click the room was illumined. Glancing at the floor to my surprise there is a puppo curled up sound asleep. The click of the switch caused her to raise her head and give me a squinting look like, “Really?” Another click, click, and the lamp goes off resuming darkness.

Sitting in the dark, yet knowing it’s a new day.

I decided to go ahead and do my meditation, and then stumble my way toward the coffee bar to choose a coffee method. The French press sounded simple enough. I put the kettle on, but instead of turning on a light, I lit a nearby candle. During the day, I don’t think much about having a candle lit, (there is always one lit) but in the darkness is when it puts on a show!

I was so mesmerized by the candle, I forgot about the press, and didn’t do a very good job. The water was too hot, and I used too many grinds, so all it took was one sip to realize, this is not magical. I took another sip, trying to make it work, but just couldn’t do it. It was awful!

The beginning of the year, I changed my tagline for this Blog, and it was time to heed those words. “Never settle. Don’t even think about it.” The second sentence is the most important part. I can think about something long enough and settle into the idea of it, and it doesn’t seem that bad. That’s where the settling mindset begins.

I don’t want a life of, “It’s not that bad.” No darling, I firmly believe, “Life is good.”

In Responsive Mode

I may be a perfectionist. Yes, I’ll admit to it, but I’ve tried watering that down with, ‘I’m picky, or particular’. None of those words sound very complementary, but they are a part of who I am.

I’ve stopped drinking coffee first thing in the morning. Make sure you read that entire sentence, because Barb has no plans of dismantling the coffee bar and giving away her gadgets. It’s taken years to acquire each and every one of them, and to learn how to not only use, but appreciate their performance.

This morning I chose the French press.

But let’s back up a little bit to the comment of not drinking coffee first thing anymore. I drink water instead. This morning I woke up very early and walked through the house drinking my water. I noticed the birdfeeder hanging outside the window, and how it still bothers me it doesn’t hang in the center of the window. (Yes, I bought another one, but that’s another story all on it’s own.)

When I brought the feeder home from the store, I just hung it on an existing hook. The hook was off center and it held the feeder, but it’s bothered me ever since. This morning, I stepped outside to retrieve the feeder, but couldn’t reach it from the front porch. I remembered using a small ladder to hang it there, so I haven’t had any coffee, but I’m going to climb a ladder before dawn. That’s when I heard myself grumble ‘perfectionist.’

The lengths I go to, to line everything up in my life.

Yesterday, I noticed the kitchen island off center of the lines in the tile floor. That was an easy fix because the wheels weren’t locked in place tightly enough, but that’s what I do, I notice when things are off center and then figure out how to fix it. The birdfeeder was an easy fix too. The scariest part was climbing a 3 foot ladder that early in the morning, but I got the feeder down, moved the hook to the center of the window, and now it’s centered.

Two hours later, I sat down at the kitchen table with a fresh cup of coffee and began to type. It’s nice to know I don’t have to drink coffee to start my day, or to successfully climb a ladder and move a feeder. I can look at coffee more like a treat to be savored after drinking my water. My morning devotional reminded me of what each day should look like. It’s okay to have perfectionist tendencies, but I’ll never be perfect and that’s okay too.

“I have prepared this day for you with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page you need to fill up, try living in responsive mode; being on the lookout for all that I’m doing. This sounds easy, but it requires a deep level of trust, based on the knowledge that My way is perfect.”-Jesus Calling by Sarah Young-March 10th.

Instead of using the word ‘perfectionist’, I’ll just tell myself, “I’m in responsive mode.” That sounds better! Have a beautiful day lovelies. This is Barb, signing off for today, in responsive mode.

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

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.