Self Care Sunday

I texted my daughter, “When you walk out of Whole Foods with a French baguette, hearts of Romaine, and Stumptown Chocolate cold brew?” She replied, “Sounds like self-care to me!”

Sunday feels like an appropriate day for self care as it was planned to be. My work doesn’t offer much time off on Sunday, so I’ve been watching for windows of time on Monday or Wednesday. Have to admit though, Self Care Monday doesn’t sound the same! 

Writing is a form of self care because if I see an hour of sacred space opening up, I’m gonna write. I wait for it and start typing. For me, it’s not about finding the time to write, it’s about finding the sacred space. We will make time for what’s important, and writing is like breathing to me. It hasn’t always been that way, but it became that way after clicking publish 100’s of times.

A good gauge for selfcare is my neighbor. The more often I can walk over and spend time with him, the better. If I don’t see him all week, it’s time to look at my week. Sitting with him on his front porch, he took one look at his dog and said, “I’m taking an hour this week just for me.” He gives a lotta love to dogs and they are spoiled, but he knows he needs some time without them.

I was happy to hear him say that.

He knows taking time for himself, even for an hour, will make him a better person to be around. Maybe we can’t take a full day and call it Selfcare Sunday, but we can carve out some time for ourselves when it’s important, and I believe it’s vital.

There are seven days in the week to choose from, so pick one. Name it and claim it as your very own self care Sunday.

Follow the Breadcrumbs

Once you connect with the dream in your heart, it won’t leave, but it’s easy to put everything else before it. Since posting The Beach Rug, I’ve been following the trail of breadcrumbs.

I’ve had this cutting board for as long as I can remember. Why I took it with me when I left my marriage, I’m not sure, but am grateful I did. I was standing in the kitchen slicing a lemon for a pitcher of lemon water. No matter what I’m cutting, or how much pressure is applied, it just sits there unmoved.

I have a secret to share. When life gets to be a little much, or my job is throwing darts at rapid fire, I make croutons. My daughter will concur, a French Baguette in the house means contentment. I walk into the kitchen, lay it on the cutting board, and pull out my bread knife. I slice it in half, then slice it again lengthwise and continue slicing into the shape of croutons.

Step One of the croutons.

I’ve been doing this since mid March, so it doesn’t require any thought. This is my time to think through some thoughts. With each slice a thought floats by that may or may not need attention. When the slices are complete, I dump them into my red bowl to add garlic, parmesan and olive oil.

Slow the pace to watch your thoughts and only keep the ones of value. By letting go of the ones taking up space, we make room to see what’s important. Focus on that.

Always the red bowl and spatula.

My friend Shawna over at Finding a Sober Miracle left this comment, “This is exactly how my life works! And it happens all the time. And this morning, your blog is another bread crumb in my quest to find out just where I should be focusing my attention.” I found her comment in Spam as I was writing this post. Oh yes, darling check your Spam! Breadcrumbs have a way of hiding.

She left the comment on Breathe It in, and has no idea I’m writing this post which was titled days ago. When I told my daughter about the comment, she asked, “How does it make you feel?” I said, “It’s like confirmation of the path.” Watch for clues that you’re on the right path and follow the breadcrumbs.

Completed croutons in Caesar Salad.

We’ve been talking about living the dream. Here are the posts in order up to now. Thank you for your love and support. ~Barb

Living With Intention

I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing morning pages.

Oh, it was so tempting to sleep just one more minute, but I sat up and listened to a mediation instead. He was talking about living enthusiastically. I’m not sure I can be called enthusiastic, but I do live with intention and maybe that’s a form of enthusiasm.

After the mediation, I got out of bed and let the pups outside. Walking through the house, it was like every action was ceremonial in welcoming the new day.

Opening the mini-blinds and pulling the string so they rest in place halfway up the window. Window one, two, three and open the front door to let fresh air in. Walking into the kitchen I see our dishes from the night before. A counter full of dirty dishes, but my thought was, “We use pretty pieces, so it’s a pretty mess.”

Yes darling. I’m going to show you my dirty kitchen, or at least the view from where I’m sitting. There is a flow to this life, but I believe if we get caught up in the flow, we can lose direction. Pause the flow and live with intention.

An up close view from the kitchen table.

The main thing that got my attention is the bamboo drying rack. I used to have a plastic one for the wet dishes to drain, but it would get gross and moldy if not wiped dry after use. I’m not going to take time to do that, so eventually it’d need replacing and having done so many times is like throwing money out the window. This bamboo one has held up for years.

My daughter bought the lilies and they’ve been sitting here for almost two weeks. We laugh at how long they’ve lasted. They just won’t stop being pretty! She bought them for me after a rough day at the Dentist. Just like the ribbon vase, she found the right container to place them in to do them justice. The purple mason jar was waiting patiently under the sink.

You’d never know the purple stock pot is dirty, but it’s sitting there waiting to be washed. I have to wash what’s in the sink first, because it needs a lot of room and relies on all the strength of the bamboo drying rack to hold it. It’s a solid piece, just like the crystal pitcher sitting beside the drying rack.

When choosing pieces for your life, choose solid.

The stock pot takes a grease cutting dishwashing liquid, but that sits in the cabinet out of sight. Here’s the one sitting by the sink.

There’s a misconception that pretty has to be expensive, but that’s nonsense if you keep it simple. If I need dishwashing liquid, I’ll choose pretty as long as it’s performs as good as it looks. That’s how I can sit at this table, beside a kitchen full of dirty dishes and think it’s pretty, because every piece of it is.

It’s a life well lived and loved by living with intention.

We’ve been talking about living the dream. Here are the posts in order up to now. Thank you for your love and support. ~Barb

Breathe It In

Collette left a comment on The Beach Rug, “Maybe I should start being more intentional about the little fantasy that has danced around the back of my mind most of my life.” Right on darling.

That is why I began the simple habit of walking to the end of the street everyday. To become more intentional. It’s so simple I was sure I could do it without fail. The only time I didn’t accomplish it was when I ran out of day. Other tasks were placed before it, but then I had a revelation. Take the time limit off it Barb!

I have all day to walk to the end of the street. It doesn’t have to be any certain time. It’s the same with dreams and goals. Take the time limit off yourself, but do one thing toward it consistently.

I intentionally make my bed every morning. This morning, I noticed a little black book sitting on the bedside table. I’ve had ideas toward my daydream, but realized I’ve written them down in various places. This notebook hasn’t been used much and still has plenty of blank pages inside, so I gathered up all my notes and wrote them in the little book. Keep your ideas together.

Keep your dream close to your heart and don’t tell everyone. I’ve told 4 people and 2 of them gave me an odd look, but the other two who know me well are supportive. Be careful who you confide in. Some will try and talk you out of your dream.

You need to trust your crazy ideas.

After making my bed and dusting off the notebook I remembered a candle I saw a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea why I thought of this candle, (like I need one more candle), but felt led to follow the path. I grabbed my keys and drove to where I saw it. The candle was all soy and smelled divine is all I remembered.

When I walked into the shoppe, I didn’t see the display. A sales lady asked if she could help, so I told her what I knew about the candle. She lead me over to the display, which had been moved since my last visit. There were half a dozen fragrances and one of each on display, so I picked one up to smell it.

Ella B. Candles

I had no idea this was their label, but it coincides with the notebook. God knows the dream in your heart and wants to encourage us to walk the path of uncertainty. He’ll lay things right in front of us like the notebook and a candle always gets my attention. I brought one home, lit it and breathed it in.

The dream never leaves the heart, it just gets covered up with life, but it’s trying to get your attention. It can evolve over time, but every part of your life has prepared you for your purpose.

Light it up darling and once it’s lit, breathe it in.

The Ribbon Vase

It’s easy to lose sight of a dream, but the more it rolls around the mind, the more refined it becomes. I believe God recently revealed a larger picture of where this dream is headed. Of course, I chuckled and shook my head like, “No way!”

The big picture feels overwhelming and out of reach. That’s why He only gives a glimpse at a time, but rest assured everything in life prepares us for the next moment, and the next until you’re standing right in the middle of your purpose.

Yesterday, I was arranging a vase of mixed greenery. I knew when I bought them which vase would be used. It’s called the ribbon vase, and I’ve had it for over 20 years. As I was working the greenery into the vase, it took me back to the days when we entertained large groups of business associates in our home.

This vase would be filled with fresh flowers and put on display on a massive formal dining room table the day before the event.

I’ve always loved making arrangements, but yesterday I saw real progress. I snapped a pic to share it with my friends on FB. It was still sitting in my kitchen with an old towel underneath to soak up the water I had spilled while adding water to the vase!

The arrangement before the clean up.

It’s exhilarating to see that vase full again, but I don’t own a table today large enough to display it. I’m humbled that my life doesn’t have to be on display anymore, even though you guys see a lot the pieces that make up this beautiful life.

When in doubt, use the coffee table Barb.

This morning, my daughter and I sat down at the coffee table to chat before her classes. The arrangement was so massive, we couldn’t see each other’s faces because of it. We had to laugh, but just for a moment I thought about adding flowers to it. I stopped that thought and enjoyed the simplicity of it.

That dream inside you has taken root, now let it grow. It’s nice to know I still have it in me to think big and use the ribbon vase.

It’s nice when you walk by, but don’t sit down.

The Beach Rug

This Google photo was the start of my vision of living near the beach. The first time I uploaded it to WordPress was June of 2017, so it’s been held in my heart and mind for years. I’m not willing to let it go until it comes to fruition.

The first time I saw it, I knew it was me. The woman in the photo is younger and I have short hair, but it’s the the way she’s seated all in white, gazing out at the ocean like she’s home.

Recently, I was sitting on my front porch and I can’t help but look down at the rug beneath my feet. It makes me smile every time I see it. The first time I saw it was February 2019 at a house Mr. Smith and I stayed in for Valentine’s Day weekend. So many things resonated with me about this house. The owner is a creative and had sacred spaces graciously placed.

A tranquil path with water feature between the main house and guest house.

This is where I saw the rug. There were several rugs scattered around the outdoor living area, but there was one I couldn’t forget. I took a quick picture of it as we were leaving.

Once back home, It didn’t take long to find it online. At the time it seemed like a silly purchase, a rug for outside, but it reminded me of the beach. It brings me pure joy every time I see it, so it was worth the hunt and it was on sale.

Looking at the rug, I remembered emailing myself the picture to shop for it online. I wondered if I still had that picture, because when I snapped it, there was more in it than just the rug.

The rug on my front porch, is the one the cat is standing on.

Have you seen our cat? He looks just like this cat, but ours is a Munchkin and came into our lives just a few months ago. My daughter thinks this photo is pretty creepy. That I just happen to snap a picture as a reminder of the rug, as a cat was standing on it and we now have both. The vision is rolling right along.

Believe in your dreams and keep reminders in front of you. Thank you for being here and I hope you enjoyed the beach rug. ~Barb.

You’re Not Failing

I love the sound of the ocean. Looking at the expansive body of water, reminds me how big my God really is. The water rolls in with crashing force, but then playfully slips ashore. If you’re standing nearby, it will find your feet like it’s trying to get you to join in on the moment.

Thinking about waves reminded me of this meme I made years ago, and searched my computer until it was found. My daughter jokingly exclaims, “You were on LSD when you made that?” 🙂

No my darling, I was learning.

The program I use to make memes added new options overnight. What began as a black and white photo of my daughter became the explosion of color you see above. I added layer, upon layer of color and texture, just to see what the new buttons would do, but then ran into a problem. Once added, I couldn’t figure out how to remove it. I spotted a tiny little button that said, “Undo”, but saved this beforehand. It’s a reminder of how easily I can get caught up and swept away in a wave of options.

To this day I don’t see it as a failed meme.

I told my daughter, “What I see as a learning experience, someone else will love.” (Someone who thrives on color) The only failure from that day would be to stop making memes, and that didn’t happen. I’m not going to be intimidated by a bunch of buttons and neither should you my friend.

I saw this quote this morning and thank Craig Maloney for posting it. He has written an excellent post regarding failure that you can read here. Failure waits for us in the ‘not showing up’ for what life has to offer. Thank you for showing up here today. ~ Barb.

As long as you’re learning, you’re not failing.

Bob Ross

One More Time

The most gratifying part of Blogging is the readers.

You never know who you’re gong to reach, or who your words will touch. The phrase, “I’m just gonna write in hopes that someone needs to read it”, has served me well. The good night’s sleep series was fun to write, but my reward was you reading it. You encouraged me with your comments to continue the path.

To just write about it one more time.

This wasn’t a planned series. What began as an experiment in August to find out why I wasn’t sleeping good was fun to share. So, I started with the main one being a good night’s sleep, and then you nudged me on toward the next one, until there were five!

A lot of you could relate to watching TV before bed, and there were a few that recalled those early days of the Twilight Zone. The original Twilight Zone, in black and white from the early 60’s, still haunts us. Maybe there was an episode entitled, ‘2020’ that never aired because it was too unbelievable. 🙂

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

What truly thrills my soul is when you become inspired. You read something and feel a spark, and then you fan it until it grows into a flame to light the page. That is what happened with one of my Reader’s, and here’s part of his comment, “I’ve always been blessed with good sleep. In fact, I now wonder why I haven’t ever written about it. One thing for sure, placing a “do not disturb” rule on you phone doesn’t hurt!”~ Des from Think Ahead.

I don’t know many people who sleep good, so I encouraged him to teach us his ways by writing about it, and he did.

You can read Des’ Blog post entitled, Thankful For Every Good Night’s Sleep, here. Our list of sleep snatchers are similar, but Des showed me it really comes down to being thankful for every good sleep. It won’t be perfect and it doesn’t happen every night, but by doing what’s best to ensure it, it happens one more time.

Set the stage

I don’t have a set time to go to bed. Knowing how many hours sleep is needed, the earlier I go to bed, the earlier I wake up. If I stay up late, I wake up later than usual, but that’s okay at the end of the week. I prepare my bedroom first thing in the morning for evening, by making my bed and removing all evidence I was there. When I walk in later in the day for sleep it feels inviting, restorative and pleasing to the eye.

The sheets are changed once a week, or every two weeks, depending on the week. Invest in yourself by owning good sheets and pillows. Think of sheets as your favorite shirt you can wear all day long, without even noticing it’s there. It feels that good to your skin, like your skin really vibes with the fabric it’s made from. Sheets should feel good to your skin. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel.

These are my favorite at the moment.

Sheets are an item I need to walk into a store for. No shopping online for these, but I’m the same way with my shirts. If I see a set that appeals to me, I unzip the bag to feel them. I don’t pull them out of the bag, just a touch is enough. They can be expensive, but on sale is a sweet find. The true test is wrapping myself up in them. Once purchased, I take them home to wash them in perfumed wash and place them on the bed to in hopes they add quality to my sleep. The smell and feel is a win.

If I absolutely fall in love with a certain brand, then it’s safe to order them online. Especially when they’re priced at a really good deal. Keeping them washed, I don’t need many sets of sheets, just a few good quality ones.

The bed is my main piece of furniture in the room.

There’s a table on each side of the bed holding some of my favorite things, and that’s really it. It’s not a workout room, storage room, or an office. It’s designed for sleep. There’s a vintage vanity chair at the foot of the bed to sit and put my shoes on before leaving the house. Sitting on the bed, messes up the bed! 🙂

I’m single, so I get away with as much bling as I want. My bedroom isn’t girly by any means, but there are feminine touches. Pillows and blankets add a cozy feel. For color, I stuck with the classics: white, silver and gold, but any item with bling fits the room.

Vintage Vanity Chair. Voluspa mercury glass candle nestled in a Bath and Body Works Coaster. Backdrop-My favorite custom drapes made 15 years ago.

I like to go in and light a candle 30 minutes before bed.

This little chair made it’s debut in a post written in February of this year. That weekend I went to a local vintage shoppe and found some pieces for my room, so even back in February I was staging for better sleep. At the end of that post, I mentioned drinking Bluebottle Cold Brew and it was late in the day. This journey revealed I cannot do that and sleep. You can read the post here, and see more bedroom items purchased that day.

Standing in the middle of my room, I was pleased with the newly added Vintage pieces that helped restore it’s haven-hood. I later learned there was something that needed to be removed, and it was right in the palm of my hand.

Reflections from ‘I’m Still Learning‘ by Letitgocoach

Voluspa is an all soy candle, but sometimes I opt for a diffuser filled with distilled water and essential oil. The soothing sound and smell of the diffuser helps me fall to sleep.

The final thing that helps me drift off to sleep is a nighttime tea. When this finding sleep experiment began in August, I tried lots of teas, but always came back to this one. It’s affordable and can steep for up to 15 minutes, so by the time it’s done steeping, it’s the right temperature to drink and enjoy.

Pukka Tea

This concludes our little series. Thank you for following alongside me, and here’s a recap of what was brought to light:

The journey begins to a good night’s sleep. Next up was Know Your Flow. I stopped drinking coffee by noon. Then Mama Knew Best showed us that it matters what you watch before bed. Determine how much sleep you need and go to bed in time to get it, but don’t overdo it One More Minute. When you wake up in the morning, get out of bed to prevent falling back to sleep.

Up next, I’ll reveal what I learned while writing this series and highlight some souls who stepped up on the path. As always, thank you for your love, kind comments and support. ~ Barb.

One More Minute

I’m tired today, but I also know why.

To know is revolutionary. Knowing where I messed up allows room for improvement in that area, and there’s always room for improvement. The simple fact is…I overslept.

I know how much sleep my body needs. It runs with optimum capacity of 7 hours sleep. Looking back on my life, it varied and could run on less when I was younger. The body knows what it needs. All it asks is we pay attention.

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

What you just read was written yesterday.

It’s a new day and I’m not tired. It’s 7:30 am and I’m listening to it rain as I type. My goal is to publish at least one post a week, and Wednesday’s at 9:00 am work best. I woke up an hour ago and sat up to drink from the water bottle beside the bed. Soaking up this morning stillness, offering up gratitude for a new day.

It would have been easy to stay in bed and listen to the rain, but I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday. My body naturally woke up after 7 hours sleep and I know the key to success. Get out of the bed. If I lay there telling myself, ‘One more minute’, I’ll fall back to sleep and wake up an hour later feeling tired. That’s not a good tired.

This all started month’s ago while creating simple habits. I was tired of disappointing myself by putting things off. Laying in bed in the morning was one of them. I knew if I laid there long enough, the inevitable would happen. A simple habit is just that. Placing my feet on the floor and butt out of bed is relatively simple.

What a difference it makes waking up before dawn and watching the day begin. I get to start the day instead of oversleeping and falling into the day that began without me. My mind is clear, the body is refueled, and I think this is the first morning post I’ve written with no coffee in my body, which is terrifying.

Coffee will appear soon enough. I just wanted to share this special part of the day. I’m going to tag this post and schedule it for 9:00 am, so I can keep that promise to myself. I encourage you to give your body the sleep it needs, but not one more minute.

This is part of what seems to be the never-ending series of how to get a good night’s sleep. You can read them in order here:

1. A Good Night’s Sleep

2. Know Your Flow

3. Mama Knew Best