The Clean Spot

Recently, my daughter told me something that I could have taken the wrong way. She said something to the affect of, “I’m not sure you taught me good things growing up.” Here is her example.

While she was growing up, I didn’t want to get upset over a spill, or if she dropped something on the floor, and it made a mess. I enjoyed showing her the proper way to clean up the mess. Life can get messy, and it was my job to show her what to do if it did.

I’m her Mama, not her lifetime repair woman.

To make light of the situation, I would tell her, “After you clean up that mess, it will be the cleanest spot in the house!”, and that became our motto.

She was at a friends house helping them do laundry.

She spilled some laundry detergent on the carpet.

The detergent was blue, and the carpet was white.

She said as she was down on her hands and knees, scrubbing the carpet, she was shaking her head and laughing at my voice in her head! She said out loud, “This is going to be one heck of a clean spot!”

She had heard those words many times before.

We were newly on our own, and standing in the check out line of a grocery store. The check out line was always a stressful moment because she was hoping I had enough money to pay for the purchases. What she didn’t know was, I had already tallied them up in my head to avoid embarrassment.

She wanted to be helpful, and insisted on carrying the milk to the car. She looked so small, holding that gallon of milk. It was gathering condensation being out of the cooler, and was slippery. She was trying to hold onto it, but it didn’t take long for it to slip from her hands, and go crashing to the floor.

She was sure everyone in the store was looking.

The gallon of spilled milk looked more like a lake.

The cashier sympathized, and called for a clean up.

I placed my arm around my daughter’s shoulders and guided her mortified body to the exit saying, “That’s gonna be one heck of a clean spot.”

Puzzles and Life

Meet Andy at the Blogsite Growing Pains. He wrote a piece that reminded me of a topic I was going to write about, and forgot. The puzzles of life.

When my daughter was learning to manage depression/anxiety, I was pondering what to do to help. My Mama worked a puzzle on the kitchen table at least once a month. I don’t know her exact philosophy behind this, but it brought us together as a family. One couldn’t walk by without stopping to help, and visit with Mama.

My daughter and I have a ginormous coffee table.

I went and bought a puzzle that spoke to my heart.

One I could leave laying out for days while we worked on it. We would spend hours sitting there together with 1,000 pieces scattered across the table.We talked about anything and everything.

To make something beautiful out of the chaos. This is how life can feel at times.

We had a love/hate thing going on with the puzzle. You couldn’t sit in front of it without trying to get a piece to fit, but our favorite pieces were last few. We felt accomplished when those final pieces would snap into place!

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In the Blog I read this morning, Andy’s puzzle fell and shattered. It wasn’t his fault, and he was distraught when he walked into the room and saw it scattered across the floor. He saw it as all their hard work being lost, but when he told his wife, I love her response.

She said, “I guess we have more work to do.”

That is what I wanted to reveal to my daughter.

What she is learning to manage will take work, but with every piece the puzzle will come together, and it will be beautiful.

Much love to you. xx Barb xx

Take Every Test

My daughter is sitting in a college classroom, preparing for a test. She is young, and hasn’t been through many tests.

She has been home-schooled since 4th grade, and we have used life’s classroom. Of course, we used curriculum, but life is a fabulous teacher! Have we passed every test? Of course not, but every test failed, prepares us to succeed.

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My daughter had to learn to fail, and not let that stop her. When she takes a test for school, it’s okay to fail. Homeschooling allows you the freedom to retake the test. If she wasn’t happy with her grade, and knew she could do better, I would let her take the test again. Just like in life.

Learning from mistakes equals knowledge. I don’t believe ‘knowledge is power.’ The power comes from what we do with the knowledge. Anyone can sit full of knowledge.

My daughter had no pressure from me to go to college.

My philosophy is this. “Don’t waste my money, or your time on college, unless you know what you want to be.”

She is wicked smart, and her grades qualify for college, but she has seen many friends flounder in college for years, and leave with no usable degree. She is starting with community college, and I’m so happy for her! She will take some classes and discern her path, or just blaze a trail, but either way, it will be affordable, and not consume our lives.

She has learned through life, more than any curriculum. At her young age, she knows there will be many tests, and it’s okay not to pass it each time. The more tests you take, the more experience gained, and knowledge received.

Let go of the outcome, and be willing to take every test.

 

Free to Be

My darling. This is the day you walked through with grace.

Last December, he ripped your heart out, and threw it away. It was so unexpected. Two years of your life, gone, just like that. No warning of the words he said. You crumbled to the floor, and I held you while you screamed.

He decided to take a road trip with a buddy to California. They drove through Texas, and stopped in Austin today. You have an appointment scheduled in Austin this afternoon. Were your hands shaking on the wheel while driving?

To add to the injury, he is posting on social media from the same places you shared together. I don’t know what he is thinking by doing that, but you are under impressed.

You wonder why you can’t hate him. Like that would be easier to do. Because you are my daughter. We carry no hate in our hearts, and we don’t let that word slide from our lips. You know the power of words. They are like seeds that take root. You will just slowly unlove him with more time.

When he left, we moved, and you finished high school.

You are enjoying the summer months, and making plans for the fall. You are trying to discover who you are now, and better yet, who you want to become. I’m so pleased by who you are, and am excited to see who you become, and what you do in this world. Two companies already see the greatness within, and asked you to be their Ambassador!

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Be our Ambassador photo.

Life may not make much sense today. It may feel like a cruel joke, but I’m watching you. He can’t hurt you anymore my love, and he’s only passing through. There’s that grace.

The pain people cause, is a reflection of the pain they are in. Let him post all he wants. There has to be a part of you that is happy not to be in those pictures anymore.

You know how you have your good days, and sad days?

This morning we sat on the front porch, and you wept while sharing this news. We talked about how tall the weeds are in our yard, and embraced them as our friends. I prepared myself for a sad day, but it hasn’t been a sad day at all.

Watching you today, you look like a Queen that has been set free. Yes darling, my Queen B, and you are free to be!

To Be Inspired

To get in the habit of writing again. Taking time off becomes easier, and soon, you find yourself not writing. In speaking with a friend this morning she said, “Write about coffee!”

My daughter returned from Boston with a brown bag of goodness. Out of all the things she could have brought, she knows my heart. It was a bag of Blue Bottle coffee beans.

The way I view coffee has evolved over time. What used to be my morning ‘wake me up’, is now a magical moment.

chemex
The coffee bloom and a Chemex.

My relationship with coffee became quite serious this year.

Visit local coffee houses, (not franchises), or the coffee booth at a Farmers Market, and ask questions like…

Where do your beans come from? When were they roasted?

When you purchase whole bean, check the bottom of the bag. It should have a roasted date stamped on it. Beans stay fresh for two weeks before they start losing their freshness. Only grind the amount you are going to use.

I used to made my coffee at night, and set the machine to brew automatically for the next morning. Stumbling out of bed, after the beep was the start of my day. I didn’t realize what the machine was doing for me is actually a magical moment. Moments aren’t timed or automatic.

Moments are deliberately made in the present moment.

I placed the coffee maker on a shelf to give away, and pulled out a french press. That is how I made my coffee each morning, but eventually I knew there was more to learn. My daughter taught me the magic of a pour over. It took time to get it just right, but what a challenge to learn!

When my daughter brought home Blue Bottle, I graduated to the Chemex. This has been the most challenging, yet rewarding of all! I don’t have it mastered, but I keep trying.

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The Chemex.

My daughter has the Chemex down to a science, and an amazing cup of coffee is a science. A Burr type grinder crushes each bean, instead of emulsifying them with a blade, so they are uniform. You can weigh the grinds, (my daughter would), but I don’t go that far. Even after using a French Press, Blue Bottle taught me how to improve. To time the steep for 4 minutes, and no more. Then press the brew, and how much resistance the press should have.

In the heat of the summer, cold brew is refreshing in the afternoon, so today I ordered a bottle to make it myself.

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Hario Cold Brew Bottle by Blue Bottle.

There is always something to improve upon. I went from having ‘just coffee’, to altering my morning routine for this moment. Now when I awake, I drink a bottle of water to give my body time to wake up. The Chemex is complex, and it’s early, so I wait for my daughter to appear. She makes a Chemex, but if she’s not here, I do a pour over, or French Press, and practice with the Chemex after I’m fully awake.

My friend asked me this morning, “What inspires you?” Well my friend, you do, along with a really good cup of coffee.

 

I Want Normal

The life my daughter and I share is not normal. We care for one another at a very high level. We watch each other, and learn how to do so. We are now down to the details.

I bought a new toothbrush holder, and noticed the openings are large enough to hold more than a toothbrush, so I put my razor in it. I recently noticed she had followed suit. Her razor now stands beside her toothbrush too.

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To love one another like God loves us. Unconditionally.

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Fresh flowers in the house as often as possible is normal.

crepes

She makes her famous crepes when I need some extra care.

At a young age I told her, “Everything has it’s place. When you take something from it’s place, you need to put it back when you’re done using it.” We know where things are.

When my daughter visits her Dad for the weekend, I want it to feel like home when she returns. Her room is never messy, but I go in and change her sheets, open the blinds, add fresh flowers if we have them, and light a candle.

I don’t have to ask her to do things. She knows when she’s away from home, this feels good to come home to. She has been shown to uncover the beauty.

When I am gone for the day, she goes in my room and makes the bed, opens the blinds, and lights my candle. Not because I asked, she just knows what that feels like.

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She surpasses me. I didn’t take time to make cookies throughout her life, but she knows I love them. After a long day on Thursday, I walked into the house to these.

cookies

And yes, I made a coffee pour over to go with them!

Our kids are watching. What are we showing them?

My daughter is now watching me stretch and grow myself. This year, I’ve been doing the hard stuff. Cleaning house in more ways than one, but that will be another Blog.

My daughter has gifts and talents to make this world a better place. We are called to use everything God has given us, so I am walking through every door He is opening.

lourie

All of the notes I left for her when she was a child have come full circle. She left this on the fridge for me last week.

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I told her, “I am happy for us, that this is normal.”

Let It Snow

It’s snowing on WordPress, and in my home.

My daughter loves Christmas. It’s the most beautiful time of the year! A couple of years ago, I took a picture of a Vintage Shoppe’s window display of snow. It was so cute, I showed it my daughter this week. Well…..she ran with the idea.

Once we figured out how it was made, she ran to the store for fishing line, and cotton balls. She fluffed each cotton ball, and cut a strand of fishing line to her desired length. She passed the line through an eye of a needle, and stuck the needle through the ball. It fell down the line and stopped at the knot. She tied another knot where she wanted the next cotton ball to land, and continued on.

letitsnow
Photo cred Semloh Photography

She found it very soothing to make, and I find snowballs hanging in the windows a soothing addition to our home.

This picture displays only one window she did. Yep…every window in out home will have snow by the time she’s done.

We are moving into a new home at the end of the year, so while I’m wrapping my mind around what needs to leave this house, she is adding more to it. This would stress some people out, but I’m gonna let her have at it, and let it snow.