Make the Cut

This year my collection of gardening tools has grown. There is a tool for every task, and I’m learning what tool’s I need. I told the clerk at the hardware store, “I want to cut things”, and she said, “How big of a cut do you want to make Barb?” Here’s what I brought home.

Best insect repellent to wear while gardening, Mrs. Murphy’s.

I’m equipped to handle big jobs and small jobs, but not much in between. The Fiskars Micro-tip pruner are perfect for snipping overgrowth from the top of plants. The needle nose is precise, but the tiniest tools can cause bloodshed. It comes with a safety cover which is smart to use, or we opt to live a life of band aides.

We have a vine that returns every year. No matter the winter it endures, which this year was snow and ice, it comes back. My daughter loves this vine, so I can’t remove it completely, but I do keep it in check, or it’ll take over. I have these wicker lanterns hanging throughout the yard and the vine saw it as an opportunity to further it’s growth.

At first I thought, ‘That’s cool’, but after all the rain we had you could barely see the lantern. I took the Fiskars and trimmed it back, but left some resting on top. For now it adds to the beauty of the lantern, but time will tell if it adds beauty or too much weight.

Looking down at the path below, the vine was crawling away from the fence and creeping across the path. I try to be mindful of what sneaks in along the path, but I’ll let it grow for now. If it wants to cross the path, that’s fine, but we want to keep the path in sight.

What began as a pleasant addition to our lives, shouldn’t become added weight. Pay attention my darling and you’ll know when it’s time to make the cut.

The Grand Finale

This title has been sitting in my draft folder since last October. I wasn’t sure what it was for then, but today it seems appropriate.

Being dated late October, I’m guessing it was about fall and the grand finale of the flowers bloom. This year I had some flower beds created in the front yard, so I can witness even more bloom. The front porch has quickly become one of my favorite places to be.

I’ve decided to take some time away from Blogging and enjoy the journey. There is a book or two that long to be written and my creative side wants to be let off the leash. Julia Cameron writes in The Sound of Paper, “We are too busy living a life, to have a life worth living.” It’s time to enjoy the here and now, but this site will remain in my absence. I didn’t want to leave you wondering.

Here’s the grand finale of memes. My darling, I hope that whatever you choose to do with this one beautiful life, you go all in.

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?

Be the Reason

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a pillow and wanted it, but didn’t buy it. I was shopping with a friend, and told myself I didn’t need one more pillow. It wasn’t a need, but a want from years ago, regarding a similar pillow.

When I first saw the pillow it was sitting on the floor with some other sale items. The sales lady picked it up admiring it’s cuteness and announced, “It’s on sale for 30% off!”

Oh the temptation of it all! I knew the brand and it wasn’t cheap. It was the same brand as the framed note I shared in when grey turns to blue. I left the store without it, but the pillow stayed on my mind. A couple of days later, I called the store, but the pillow was nowhere to be found.

I wasn’t discouraged. When something like this happens, I just see it as the timing being off. It didn’t stop me from walking into the store to look at candles a few days after the call. I didn’t see a candle that I had to have, so I strolled around the shoppe. There was a wall with pillows on display, and looking up at the wall I saw the pillow.

The pillow that had been 30% off was on display, and not on sale anymore. I wished everyone a good day, and left the shoppe. I found it interesting and saw it as a chance for someone to do the right thing, but would they?

On the way home, my phone rang.

It was a clerk from the store asking if anyone ever found the pillow for me. She had come across my note and wanted to ask. I told her no one had located it, but I saw it today. It was on the wall display with the other pillows.

She was flabbergasted, and apologized profusely. I smiled and told her it was no bother. She said, “Maybe it will be on sale again after Christmas.” I said, “Maybe it will.” We hung up and the conversation was over, so I thought.

An hour later, my phone rang again.

It was the same lady I had spoken with previously. She said the store manager would like for me to have the pillow, and would sell it to me for 50% off! I told her I’d be right there.

Hello Darling Pillow

When I walked into the store, the manager saw me and said, “You could have just told me the situation.”

I thanked her for providing excellent customer service, but she knew I was waiting to see how it would end, and was happy she did the next right thing.

The title to this post has been sitting in drafts for a while. I’ve been waiting for something like this to unfold to use it. There is still goodness in people. We may not see it as often as we like, but that’s when we have the opportunity to be the reason.

Let It Bloom

It’s been a life-long love affair with the Hydrangea, but the seasons are changing and it’s going away until Spring. This morning I noticed myself having a bit of trouble letting it go.

My daughter and I were out shopping this week. When I disappeared from view, she knew where to find me. We were near the flower department and there I was staring at the massive bouquet of multicolored Hydrangea. We carried it to the checkout, and when she beeped the bouquet and saw the price, she gave me a surprised look, or maybe it was shock.

I knew better than to meet her gaze and looked away thinking, you only live once. We came home and put them in water.

This morning I walked by the coffee table where they sit. Some of them had drooped overnight, so I grabbed the vase and took it into the kitchen. I laid them out on the cutting board, grabbed a sharp knife and sliced a good chunk of the ends off each stem. I chose a different vase, filled it with cool water and placed them in. They looked pretty sad, but I remained hopeful.

Looking out the window, I saw my neighbors outside, so took a walk around the block for a short visit. There’s nothing like listening to a toddler talk about life. When I returned home, the Hydrangeas were perking up and struggling their best. As I write, all are standing tall and looking refreshed, except for one.

We have a fear of loss and try and fix things to make them last longer. As I saw this one stem not revive itself I thought, well, I can always buy more, but then stopped that thought. It shouldn’t be that easy to replace. I’m just going to let them bloom, stay as long as they wish and move into a new season.

Seasons are temporary and I look forward to seeing the Hydrangea in the spring. Until then, I can have peace in knowing I didn’t try to make it stay. All I did was let it bloom.

To Be Free

The time has come for a WordPress hiatus.

I’ve felt it gnawing at me for a while, but this week it became crystal clear. I’m determined to keep the portions on my plate in balance, and there’s new opportunity just over the horizon.

It’s been challenging to keep my plate clean, because I’m a doer, but I want to give God plenty of room to move. There are times when we don’t see Him move in our lives, and wonder where He is. Even God needs room.

I’ve been thinking about the Taylor Swift documentary I watched earlier this year. There was this one thing she spoke about that jumped out at me, and it’s still on my mind.

In 2016, she took a year off.

Just disappeared from the public eye for one year.

To me, that sounds like freedom.

uncertainty

In a card for my birthday last October, my daughter wrote, ‘This is your year!’, and she’s right, but there’s so much more I want to experience, and accomplish. I hope she writes that in every birthday card from here on out.

After going through my archives, I thought I’d be rejuvenated about Blogging, but instead, there’s a relief in it. There’s no pressure to Blog everyday, or every week for that matter. Now I know, I went through them to be happily satisfied with what’s here, leading up to this day.

Thank you for walking alongside me on this path, but it’s time to step over to a new one. There’s so much freedom in letting go, especially with people, places and things you love. I wish for you to receive every bit of goodness God has in store. May you learn what it feels like in your bones, to be free.

A Steady Pace

There’s a section of my drive home where the view is spectacular. The road sits high, and begins winding it’s way through the Texas Hill-country. It’s not a very long stretch of hill-country, but it’s my favorite part of the drive. The view is distracting which makes keeping my eyes on the road a challenge.

The other day I was driving home, and got to that part of the journey. It’a a five lane highway, but the traffic in the right lane was going unusually slow. The speed limit is 55, and if you drive below 50, it’s hazardous. I pulled into the left lane, and held a steady speed between 55 and 60 mph.

Cops sit on the sidelines waiting for speeders.

direction

Cruising in the left lane, I noticed a car speeding up on my right. It feels odd to be passed in the left lane, by someone driving in the right. The right lane was designed for slower traffic, but that was not the case that day. They were in a hurry to reach their destination, and completely missed the view.

I’m headed in the right direction of this journey, and there’s no rush. After my 55th birthday, I slowed down somewhat, and it’s quite refreshing actually after spending 30 years in the fast lane. When you slow the pace, there’s more intention in everything you do. I enjoy keeping a steady pace.

Prioritize the Meaningful

I just logged off of work, to come over here, and finish this post. This is my happy place, but I tend to make work my first priority. I’m Finding That Balance, to prioritize the meaningful.

Going through my archived posts, was one of the best things I’ve ever done. A year ago, I deleted photos from media to free up memory. That worked, but it also left broken links in the published posts. My God knew that would bother me just enough to have to go in and fix it.

I started at the beginning, (2014) and read almost 500 posts.

At first it seemed overwhelming, and a lot of work, but at the end of 2018, I was pleased with what’s here. In 2017, I caught the first glimpse of the voice I have today, but it took another year to relax into it. I didn’t have to read many posts from last year or this year, because I found my voice, and am using it.

define

I saw how many times I almost quit Blogging.

I saw the struggles I’ve had with social media.

I saw so many moments within those archives, but I also saw gradual growth by prioritizing the meaningful.

Other Blogger’s posts I had shared were no longer active. Even if I decided not to Blog anymore, I’d leave this site here. The 30 day challenge took on a whole new meaning while reading 30 straight posts. Won’t do that again. 🙂

On another note, I’m two weeks into the self trust cultivator, and will stick with it two more weeks, and reassess after 30 days. I already see myself no longer putting things off for a more convenient time, or tomorrow.

My plate of life has open space which is new. As I ponder refilling it, it’s time to prioritize the meaningful.

Creating That Space

Last November, I went to the lake near my home and sat down to just stare at the water. I knew there was too much on my plate, but had forgotten, I’m the one holding the spoon.

My daily life was full of unfulfilling acts. Life is designed to be fulfilling, but my actions were fulfilling a need in others, and draining me. It’s been a gradual process beginning in January.

balance

I sat down at the lake craving calm. This stack of rocks was sitting to my right, and I wanted my life to be as Zen as this moment. I wondered where the rocks came from, but saw it as a divine appointment. They were sitting there, so I would see them. In the stillness, I heard three words, ‘Scrape your plate.’

I was raised in an era where I was responsible for everything I put on my plate. At dinner Mama would watch as we scooped out large portions of mashed potatoes, or took one too many slices of ham. She never forced us to eat everything she offered, but she expected us to eat what we took out.

Before leaving the table she’d say, “Clean your plate.”

She was never angry if I didn’t eat everything, but she wanted me to learn the value of her time. I learned to take out what I knew I could eat, and go back for seconds if still hungry, but I lost that lesson somewhere along the way. We control the spoon.

I’d help clear the table, and Mama would open the kitchen trashcan, point to it and say, ‘Scrape your plate’.

There’s a balance to life, but also a timing.

As soon as the new year began, I knew what needed to be scraped. Some people would be upset, and others disappointed, but I’d get through it. Anything I laid my hand to that wasn’t fulfilling got removed from the plate. By the end of June my plate was clean, except for my one job taking up adequate space.

And I haven’t picked up another spoon. Finding that space.

jamesclear

This is in continuation of Finding That Balance.

Finding That Balance

For brunch, I chose a different chair to sit in at the dining room table. One I don’t normally use. Still disrupting patterns.

This dining room chair offered a spectacular view of the front yard. A warm breeze was blowing, and I noticed the Whirligig, with it’s one side spinning. It’s double-sided, but only one side of it spins. The other side stands still.

My daughter reminded me that the Whirligig fell over in the yard once, so it must be bent. I’ve tried fixing it, to help it spin to no avail, so today I took a more gentle approach, to observe.

whirlygig

I didn’t see anything majorly bent, but it was off balance.

I saw it as two sides of life. Sometimes it’s moving rapidly and spinning freely, and other times if feels as if nothing is happening, and it’s still. I studied one side, and the other, then noticed this difference. The side that spins freely, has some extra space.

Where one set of circles end, and another set begins, there’s a gap. I put some space between the circles on the non-spinning side by gently separating the ends. It began rocking back, and forth, like it could finally breathe and find it’s balance.

Putting space between our thoughts, creates pause between our actions. There’s a balance. If we move too quickly after the thought, it’s an impulsive move. If we keep putting it off, it can fall into procrastination, or soon be forgotten altogether.

I’m using the self trust cultivator to move more promptly with my thoughts. If it seems like a good idea, or something that can easily be accomplished, I do it and it becomes a part of the done list.

balance

But I had to create space first. Up next, creating that space.