The Perfect Cup

I’ve drank some sad coffee this week, and it was of my own making. One morning I made a cup of instant just to use the frother, and it was too strong. I misjudged the balance between the oat milk and grinds.

I moved on to the French Press, thinking I wouldn’t get it wrong, but there again it was bloody awful. I didn’t weigh the grinds and just took a wild guess, before placing them in the press. There was not enough grinds for the amount of water heated, so it poured out and resembled muddy water.

I had all the tools at my disposal for good coffee, and had received beans from three different coffee roasters. My daughter walked by the coffee bar and asked, “You got enough coffee?” My response was, “Yes my darling I’m trying to decide which one I like best, and have it narrowed down to two.”

This one resonates at the moment considering all the rude boys I’ve encountered while learning to date again.

Wild Gift Coffee, Austin, TX.

By Wednesday, I needed to savor a really good cup of coffee. This is when we go back to what we know, and I know the dripper will produce the perfect cup. I chose a cup from the coffee bar and measured the grinds and water specifically for that cup. That first sip was soothing and everything running through my mind for the day ahead melted away, as I embraced a moment of bliss.

It took constant practice to make what I classify as the perfect cup. I can’t control every part of my day, but I can control how it begins, and every step can lead to a sad cup or a perfect cup. Make it a priority and choose the perfect cup.

More to Say

It was March 30th when I posted The Grand Finale. Maybe you’re wondering, what happened to the grand finale, Barb? It obviously wasn’t all that grand. I returned a month later, on April 30th with the scattered words. Even though I wasn’t posting, I continued writing.

I took a 30 day break from Blogging, but then a decision had to be made. I received an email from WordPress reminding me my domain name was up for renewal. Recently, I spotted this written in a journal, “Make a decision and it’ll show you a direction.” I renewed my domain name and decided to continue Blogging for another year.

I don’t write when things go wrong, and this month there’s a list! Being a believer of ‘everything happens for a reason’, I wait and share the good that came from it.

Taking a break was good for the soul, and God showed me other ways to use my writing to encourage others. It’s alright to step away from doing what we love, and doing so gave me a renewed appreciation of being here. Guess what my darlings? I have more to say.

If you have anything nice to say, say it all.

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.

Strength and Beauty

One of my daughter’s favorite things in our yard is something I didn’t plant. It was here when we moved in, and it survived this year’s snow and ice storm. I began pampering it in March, and have paid attention to it along with all the other plants and shrubs. It bloomed the first of June, but the blooms are now fading.

It’s a young Crepe Myrtle, and I’m thrilled it bloomed this year. Being young it’s resilient, and hasn’t stood here long enough to toughen up, but it will.

It was early morning and the rain had stopped leaving it partly cloudy. The sun was trying it’s best to break through and claim the day. I headed out the door for a walk through the neighborhood, letting my feet lead the way with no certain route in mind.

I turned on one of my favorite streets, and luckily had my phone in my pocket to capture this picture. As I stood there in awe, I wondered how long this Crepe Myrtle has been standing here. It’s a tree that calls for you to sit a spell and listen for it’s stories.

After taking this photo, I continued my walk and it began to rain. It wasn’t heavy, just a fine mist that felt good to my skin. I wondered how much rain that Crepe Myrtle has stood through. My guess would be enough to reach it’s roots, because that’s what it takes to grow in strength and beauty.

Breathtaking

I’ve been caring for it since March.

My philosophy while caring for flowers is: “You’re either gonna thrive or die.” I shower them with love, and a lot of them have been loved to death.

This one plant in particular is a Hibiscus, which is relatively easy to grow. When purchased, it wasn’t in bloom, but the picture on the tag showed what it was going to look like in bloom. Let me just go ahead and say, the photo didn’t do it justice. It has been a while since the purchase, so I had forgotten what color it was, but remembered it was unique, and one I haven’t seen before.

It would grow a bud and look like it was going to bloom, but the bud would fall to the ground. It would just drop off thanks to some type of insect eating it from the inside, but I just kept giving it the same treatment as everything else in the yard. Everyday I’d look at it and see buds, but wonder if it was going to bloom.

It was just a normal morning in the yard, hose in hand with my back to the Hibiscus. I was making my way around to it, when I saw one of the buds had opened into a bloom and gasped at the sight of it!

It was so much more than I imagined that it took my breath away. That’s the kind of life He has planned for us lovelies. Breathtaking.

Live a Life of Band-Aids

My new thing is wearing nice clothes when leaving the house, but let’s set the bar. I live in faded, blue jeans and t-shirts, so dressing up means nice jeans, a silk shirt and smart looking shoes. 😉

As mentioned in Feel the Music, my friend and I met for our monthly coffee/tea. I wanted to wear something nice and took time to choose my outfit the evening before. Some of my prettier shirts call for ironing and my people are important enough to use an iron if needed.

When we met, she appreciated my choice in clothing, but there was one small problem. I was wearing the wrong shoes. These shoes were one of my favorite ‘slip on and go’ pair of shoes. I remembered them being comfortable enough to walk in all day long, but it’d been a while since I’d worn them and they were crucifying my feet!

It was all I could do to get back home in them. It was odd how they were once so comfortable, but turned into shoes from the devil himself. Entering the house, I kicked them off with a sigh of relief. This made me wonder what else in my life looked comfortable, but capable of pain.

I sat on the edge of my bed to inspect my foot and a blister had formed above the instep. My daughter stood in the doorway inquiring what happened and I told her about the devilish shoes. She said, “You slap three band-aids on it and keep moving.” It didn’t call for three, but I did slap a band-aid on it to continue stepping through life.

Keep living life my darlin’. Stock up on band aides.

“God will take care of what you go through. You take care of how you go through it.”

Zig Ziglar

Before and After

There’s a chapter in my book about a pillow. The chapter is referencing how things fit into our life at just the right time, and this particular chapter reflects on yearly increments. A year is a long enough time span where changes are easily seen, but what about the month to month changes, or better yet, the daily ones?

I’ve heard, “The moment between before and after is called truth.” I took a photo of the pillow for the book and just came across it on my desktop. It revealed how much my life has changed in two months time. You know me, anything less than a year is considered brisk. Here’s a glimpse into my before and after.

Taken March 28, 2021.

Looking at this picture today, I find it interesting that I plopped the new pillow in this weathered and worn wooden chair for it’s photo shoot. My intention has always been to paint this chair, but haven’t been able to decide on a color. Even though this chair is well made, it’s not very comfortable to sit in for any length of time.

I envisioned the front porch having comfy chairs, that invite you to sit for as long as the moment requires. Like curling up in your favorite chair in the den, I wanted a similar feel for the front porch. Barb went on a mission to find two outdoor chairs at a reasonable price. Life offers a series of clues that assist in making quick decisions. When I found these chairs there were only two of them sitting on the showroom floor.

Taken May 15, 2021.

I used this photo a couple of posts ago in To Be Seen, but that pillow has taught me a lot since then. The pillow is made for outdoors, but doesn’t sit well in rain. It rained the entire month of May, and storms hit fast. I forgot the pillow was sitting outside, so it got rained on. When I stepped outside to retrieve it, the yarn that makes up the wheels on the vehicle had bled, and it looked like the wheels were crying.

I washed it and it looks better, but I can still see faint signs of it being left outside in the storm. Sometimes we have to sit through some rain, and our wheels may feel like crying, but afterwards we will see a difference in before and after.

All that Peace

It’s easy to give away pieces of ourselves to everyone around us, but we need to keep some of that peace for ourselves. We love our people, but I’ve heard we need to treat ourselves like someone we love.

This meme by SC Lourie is sitting on my desktop wanting to be shared. I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder and printed it out to view regularly.

SC Lourie/Butterflies and Pebbles

It’s a give and take, and I do better at giving than receiving. I love people and it brings me joy to give away my smiles, my laughter, and pretty soon some hugs, but it’s also a responsibility to give that all back to me. Otherwise, I won’t have anything to give and that would be a sad day Inbarbsworld.

To have all that peace, I do peaceful things, like going for walks. Just a stroll around the neighborhood, and taking some deep breaths does wonders. My coffee intake has gone from sipping the magical brew throughout the day to drinking a couple of cups. I light candles to enhance the atmosphere of the day. The one I have burning right now is a frosted pine scent and smells like Christmas.

To keep all that peace it’s best to not let anyone take it. People aren’t allowed to walk into my life and take my peace (family included). Be kind to yourself my darling, and take a moment for yourself to gather up all that peace.

The Scattered Words

My Fearless community adds value to my life. On our Team call, I recommended the Morning Pages to a Team member, because I used to do them and saw value in them. Then I asked myself, “Why did you stop writing them Barb?”

My Fearless Team member ran with the idea, and has 3 weeks under his belt. He’s doing so well with it, he inspired me to start writing them again. The main reason I stopped was out of frustration. I couldn’t complete the 3 pages of longhand Julia recommends, but then I heard her voice say, ‘Grab three pieces of paper.’

I’d been using a notebook to write the morning pages, and it was uncomfortable to write in. It was bulky and larger than a regular piece of notebook paper. Eyeing the stack of notebook paper from my daughter’s school stash, I grabbed three pieces of paper and laid them on the table. As I began to write I felt my hand glide across the page and noticed it was resting flat on the table, not elevated by the thickness of the notebook. After completing page one, I went on to page two and then three!

Morning pages are to be written first thing in the morning, and it’s different than Blogging. These are thoughts not fully formed in the mind and feel scattered. Pen to paper helps pull them together and smooth them out. They are not to be shared with anyone, so you can say whatever you darn well please. I do this before anything else, even coffee, so there’s a commitment.

As soon as your eyes open you’ll need:

Three pieces of paper.

Your favorite writing utensil.

Staring out a window helps gather thoughts.

What better place to scatter words than onto an empty page? Be happy and well loved. ~Barb