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.

The First Step

I woke up at 4am, and couldn’t decide whether or not to go back to sleep. It’s amazing how many tiny choices we make in a day, with each one altering the next.

I began thinking of my French Press and how I haven’t used it very much. It was one of those things Barb ‘had to have’, but I couldn’t get satisfied with the taste of the coffee. I have read articles from coffee experts, and the instructions that came with the press, but this early in the morning, I wanted some simple steps. Google led me to an article by the easy to follow woman behind Gimme Some Oven.

Her way of making it just made sense to me, so I hopped outta bed at 5:00 am, and strolled quietly into the kitchen with instructions in hand, ready to try again. There are several steps involved in making a French Press, but anything that’s worthwhile has steps.

First I had to see how much water the press would hold. It held 4 cups, so I poured the water into the gooseneck kettle and sat it on the stove to bring it to a boil. Then waited. After it begins to boil, the water needs to rest for a minute, so I took it off the burner to rest.

I opened the timer on my phone and set it for 4 minutes, and poured the freshly ground beans into the French Press, just going through the steps. The hot water was poured just over the bed of grinds, about 2 inches, and stirred with a wooden chopstick to wet every grind, and the timer began.

My favorite part is watching it bloom. Putting my face over the press, I inhaled the magical aroma. If it’s really good coffee it should bloom, or foam up. The more it foams, the better quality. After one minute had passed, the rest of the water was poured in and the lid was put into place. The screen rested on top of the water with the plunger standing up.

I watched the countdown of time ticking by with the numbers illuminated blue in color. It was interesting when the timer got down to the last 30 seconds, the numbers turned red.

The one thing that bothered me about using the French press in the past was the feel of the pressing. I know how it’s supposed to feel when you press the plunger down with the palm of your hand. It should have some resistance, and not be effortless. This time it had plenty of resistance, so in the past I hadn’t poured enough in.

Le Creuset Café Stoneware French Press

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t go back to sleep. The day is waiting for us to step into it.
  2. Keep using what we have and get it right.
  3. Follow some instruction. If the first ones aren’t to our liking, find better instructions.
  4. There’s a waiting period after every step.
  5. Let the water get boiling hot, but don’t let it spew. Anything that gets that hot needs a minute to rest.
  6. Watch the time, and be attentive to the red zone.
  7. Pause and enjoy the bloom. Breathe it in.
  8. When we begin to press through and there’s resistance, it’s normal. Nothing worthwhile should feel like an easy plunge, just continue to gently press.

Was getting up early, and trying once again to make a French Press worth it? You better believe it! That was excellent coffee. Keep trying and be willing to go through some steps to get to where you really want to be.

It all begins with the first step.

A Curated Life

Most people have made, or at least entertained the idea of making some sort of resolution or intention during this end and beginning of years. Even vowing not to make resolutions is in itself a resolution. We like the idea of grand gestures, big promises and dramatic results.

However, any lasting and significant change in our lives is not some instantaneous transformation. The big events we go through that we call major life changes are more of a wading into difference. A marriage, a move, a divorce, a birth or a death…they happen in moments, over days and seasons of time. Joining your life with someone isn’t just the big day when you say “I Do”. It’s the weeks and years where you live out the highs and lows of life together. Losing someone isn’t just the moment of loss. It is the hours and days that follow where you have to navigate a life without them.

That’s why, if you feel stuck and are wanting to embark on a journey of transformation, you have to learn to start with today, and each moment contained within this little block of time. It takes an appreciation of moments in time, to settle into lasting change.

Twenty-one months ago, I made a big promise to myself in a small moment of darkness. I promised to no longer be carried by the current of addiction, but to find my footing, and start to walk. My drinking habit, the behavior that had been with me for the majority of my life, had completely overtaken my sense of self, any ambitions I may have harbored, and all of the authentic relationships within reach. In the small hours of that long night, I’d finally had enough.

But hitting a wall isn’t the change. The promise isn’t the change. The resolution isn’t the result, it’s a starting point. Any meaningful change that you want to see in yourself happens in the moments, days, weeks and years that follow. Whether or not you are successful in making the change depends on what makes up the living you do in the moments.

It is in showing up and doing the work each day that we keep our promises to ourselves. However, merely showing up and going through the motions isn’t enough. Life needs our participation. Moments don’t simply arrive to pass us by; they are meant to be lived. And it is by living in the small moments, the often mundane and repeated moments, that we create a life. A life of our choosing, orchestrated by our engagement in the process.

It is not until we learn to appreciate and be taken up in and by the moments of our day that we actually learn to live. The wonderful part is that we do have some say in what those moments will be. Tasks and obligations are inevitable, but we can choose our attitude while performing them. We also get to choose the way we set up our daily routine, whether it’s taking in the sunrise with God each morning, or taking a meditative walk with the dog each evening.

If it is truly important to the journey, we will commit to living these moments with consistency and authenticity. So, don’t be taken in by the idea of overnight change, or dramatic “before and after’s.” Instead, be taken in by the moments you live each day.

Because that is how you curate a life.

This is a guest post written by my friend Collette, who I met on WordPress. You can visit her Blog, Wine to Water here. Thank you Collette.

Filled with peace

When I first started this Blog, I wanted to write like Melody Beattie. I’ve read her books more than once and she brings me peace. It was more than her words, maybe it was her vibe while writing, like she was filled with peace and laying it on the page to be shared.

It took years of writing to catch that peaceful vibe, but that’s what draws people in. I want you to feel peace, even if it’s just for the 2 minutes it takes to read this page, but this is more than just a Blog, it’s real life, and I want it to spill over into your life and envelop you.

Write the kind of Blog that you’d like to read.

Cristian Mahai

Every now and then, we order pizza and have it delivered to our door. There’s a small wooden table by the front door, specifically for contactless delivery. The other night, we had a pizza delivered, and I thought I’d given the driver ample time to leave, only to find he hadn’t left. He was standing in the yard underneath the Arbor. He saw me walk out to retrieve the pizza and said…

“I’m not supposed to say this, but you have a great setup here. This is the most peaceful front yard, I’ve ever walked through. It’s only my second time delivering here, but it’s by far my favorite. It’s filled with peace.”

With so many Blog posts to choose from, thank you for choosing mine. My hope is as you hang out on the page, you will be filled with peace.- Be happy and well, Barb.

To Stay Planted

My friend who I meet for coffee once a month gave me a beautiful mug. It’s a travel mug, which I didn’t have. I usually drink my coffee before leaving the house, so it’s rather liberating knowing my coffee can now travel.

The box has been sitting on the coffee bar, and it’s just as pretty as the mug. Every time I pass by and read the words on the box, the phrase sticks with me for a minute while walking through the house. It’s one of my favorite sayings, “Bloom where you are planted.”

I’ve written about ‘bloom‘ because it fascinates me. What does it take for something to bloom, and waiting to see when it will bloom. Nothing blooms all the time, but just like an actual flower, we have days where blooming comes naturally. It’s no secret 2020 has been a year, and everyone is anxiously awaiting a new year, but we can decide to bloom where we’re planted. To find contentment where we are, and to shower kindness on ourselves and others.

Do what you can, where you are, and with what you have. To bloom where you’re planted works best when you’re willing to stay planted.

In Real Time

All this talk about the draft folder is really just the tip of the iceberg. I left out the part about all the emails I’ve sent to myself with pictures attached. Looking through some of them lastnight I noticed there’s an additional folder entitled ‘Blog Ideas’, chocked full from 2019. Let’s not forget the journals and slips of paper I come across every now and then. I even text myself ideas when the inspiration hits. So really, the draft folder is the least of it.

There’s no lack for inspiration here.

This laptop has memes sitting on the desktop, just waiting for a story. Every so often, it begins to look cluttered, so I file them into a folder. My first Zoom conference this year with the man I work with was truly embarrassing. We were sharing our screens, going over email platforms, and our screens were extreme opposites. His was full of Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and word documents, but you know what he saw on Barb’s?

Pretty pictures and memes.

There was a long pause as he viewed my desktop, and I couldn’t leave the meeting fast enough. The meme I used as the featured photo in this post is one I ‘borrowed’ from Cristian Mahai, but here it is again.

Sitting at the kitchen table this morning, it doesn’t surprise me to see a container of glitter sitting here with me. I purchased the glitter for a small project, but you know I love glitter, and have been known to sprinkle it anywhere I darn well please. Now, I’m not going to throw it at my computer screen, but it’s safe to say, I have a glittery life. No longer embarrassed over my desktop either, because if I had to choose between mine, and the man I work with, it would easily be this one.

I’m starting to believe, instead of continuing to file away inspiration, it’s to be shared in real time.

Download the App

I completed a ’30 Days to Better Sleep’ mediation, and it worked really well. I didn’t hear the end of several of the meditations, because I fell asleep. 😂

I enjoyed the voice and positive attitude of the man who narrated the meditation, so I looked him up. He was easy to find on social media. He was hosting a week-long meditation on mindfulness, and I thought about signing up, but there was a catch. The only way to participate was to download the app. I enjoy listening to him on Simple Habits, so didn’t see a need to download the app.

I’ve been thinking about apps, and have come to the conclusion, they are good if they help save time, otherwise, they eat up time. Case in point, I downloaded a banking app. Being home most of the time, it’s become routine to check everything via my laptop, including banking. I’ve been helping down at the pizza place when needed, so my paychecks have a tendency to pile up. I don’t want the owner of the pizza place to think his money isn’t appreciated, so once a week I drive to the bank.

No more. Barb downloaded a banking app and does mobile banking. My phone automatically takes a picture of the check, and it’s deposited into my account. Life just got sweeter, and for that, I will happily download the app.

A Quiet Life

Side note: If you’re reading this, it’s been in the draft folder since October. We’re down to four! 🙂

The Draft Folder

I’m being drawn toward the draft folder, so I’ve dedicated the month of December to cleaning out drafts. If you see a random post that doesn’t quite go with the flow, you’ll know Barb finished a draft. 🙂

A full draft folder used to feel overwhelming. There are no stacks of paper piled up on my desk because it feels like clutter, but the draft folder felt like stacks of paper, so once it piled up, it was sorted through.

Some were trashed, but most were published. There were posts sitting in there for years, but that’s when the old rule that works in all areas of my life came into play. “If it hasn’t been used in a year, it’s probably not gonna be used.” December is a good month to declutter.

Think of drafts as stories waiting for their Writer to return. There are six drafts in my draft folder, but if you’re reading this, it went down to five.

What’s waiting for you in your draft folder?