Practice the Always

Always holds big meaning to only have six letters.

I have a few things that I always do, like I’ll always drink in house cold brew, and always brush my teeth before leaving the house. If you don’t, you’ll run into someone you haven’t seen in years, and they’ll want to hug and stand around and laugh, so it’s best to have clean teeth.

I’m becoming more comfortable with empty spaces. What works for me is looking at an area full of stuff, and emptying it out completely. Wipe the surface down and only put back the meaningful. It’s funny but even after putting back what was meaningful one day, they begin to lose some of their meaning the next. I’m excited to see what our house looks like by the end of the year, or better yet, one year from now.

After framing some art and having a wall of it in my room, I removed one painting and put it in the kitchen where it belongs. That’s where it was originally, but I used it to fill an empty space. I’ve been looking at that empty space along my bedroom wall all week, and knew what I wanted to put there. It’s a page from a magazine that was in another frame, but I utilized that frame and laid this clipping aside.

When people see it, they scream, “Is that Justin Bieber?!!” He was just a kid in this photo, and you can’t see his face, but his name is underneath the quote. I have signs hanging throughout our home as reminders of what’s important, and this is of the utmost importance.

It says, “I always thank God for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with this talent.” ~ Justin Bieber

I bought a frame for it and filled in the empty space. This frame looked lighter in the store, so it’s probably going to be exchanged for another one, but it works for now. The word ‘always’ is what jumps out at me from this quote. We have all been given at least one gift and should be on the lookout for ample opportunity to use it. I’m guilty of not thanking God nearly enough for the opportunities He’s given me, but I’m willing to practice.

I see this photo as soon as I wake up in the morning, so at first light, let’s practice the always.

Find Your Words

I spoke with Hercules before lighting the firepit. He’s my neighbor and ‘good choice’ guru, but he’ll tell you it’s because he’s made a lifetime of not so good choices that he can offer better answers today. He said, “Barbara, if you want to light your pit, then you should do it. Just drop a hose nearby.” I mentioned writing about him in a Blog and our conversation went something like this…

Him: I didn’t think you were Blogging anymore.

Me: Yes, I renewed my website for another year.

Him: But, the last time we talked you were going to stop Blogging.

Me: I tell myself that all the time.

Him: Well, I stopped reading the Blog because you said you were going to stop. I’ll go find the Blog.

Me: Awesome. You are Hercules!

He laughed and said, “Barbara, it’s from thinking I was Hercules all those years that got me in the shape I’m in today!”

Hercules supports my crazy ideas and doesn’t mind that I write about him. When I first met him it didn’t take long to realize how much wisdom he holds and I told him, “You should write a book!” He laughed, and shook his head, but now he lives next-door to someone who will.

I ran across a Blogsite where a man stopped Blogging last year and wondered if he lost his voice, but blogging helped me find my voice and refines it. My disclaimer is, “If you’re in my life, you’re probably going to be in a story.” The blogger who lost his voice was in a season where family was involved in every storyline, and he didn’t feel it was solely his story to tell. As writer’s we get to tell our side of the story.

Finding your voice is a path paved by alphabetized keys, or pen to paper. This Blog began in 2014, and you’d never know by reading it that my divorce was one of the nastiest times of my life. As a writer, we get to choose the parts we want to tell and can uncover the good parts if we want to badly enough. I’d venture to speculate the blogger who lost his voice didn’t lose it, but instead someone voiced their opinion about his writing and silenced him.

We have a voice and writing is practice for finding it. You haven’t lost your voice my darling, but you may need to sit with yourself in front of the blank page until you find your words.

Feel the Music

When leaving the house, I like to leave music playing for the animals. I know I’m not alone in this because my neighbor, Hercules, does it for his pets and possibly you do as well. The other day I came home and left the music playing softly in the background while trying to wrap my mind around work, but this song came on and snagged my attention. The beginning reminded me of when Shania Twain said, “Let’s go girls”, but Kane Brown has a deeper voice when he says, “Let’s get it”.

It’s a fun song and who knows, maybe one day I’ll love a man like I love coffee and Chemex. It could happen! 😂

Kane Brown-I love you like I love country music.

The Plant Wipes

My daughter stood in the doorway and said, “Your room has such a vibe since adding that plant.” I agreed, and a couple have been added to her room, but she’s been forewarned “If you come home one day and your room is my new studio, you stayed gone too long.” 😂


Hill Country Water Gardens began as an Artist date, but now it’s routine for immediate inspiration. I’ve written about it here, and it’s my happy place, but instead of looking for flowers for the yard, I discovered the magical, massive greenhouse filled to the brim with houseplants. That’s where the plant wipes were stacked as a display and just seemed like they would add value to my life and the plants.

You saw the smallish Fiddle-leaf Fig in the post, The Plant Stand, and that one is doing so well, I purchased a larger version for my bedroom. I don’t know if you noticed the tree in the feature photo of Queen of Everything, but that’s Jordan’s Fiddle-leaf Fig. They’ll get huge if you let them. The leaves are large, but I noticed over the weekend they love to collect dust. Well, that simply won’t do.

I brought the plants wipes home, opened the container which was reminiscent of baby wipes. Pulled one out, laid a leaf in my hand, and wiped the entire surface. I started at the top and worked my way down, one leaf at a time. The wipe began turning black, revealing evidence of dirt from each leaf. I’d discard it, grab a fresh one and keep wiping. It was a meditative experience.

I learned things about the plant being that close up, and they say working with your hands is food for the soul. Maybe that’s why I’m happiest in the yard with dirt covered hands. As you can see, there’s no dirt on this plant thanks to an odd little item we’ll remember as the plant wipes.

The Order Within

Two days dedicated to feeding my soul.

My soul craves order. It’s when things aren’t in order around me I feel the order within slipping away. Every thing has it’s place, but I’ve relaxed this philosophy since my daughter isn’t here as often anymore. I used the hammer and level to hang an item on the wall, and instead of returning them to the tool caddy, I left them laying. Do this enough times and the house becomes out of order.

A month ago, I hung a hanging basket of Bougainvillea on each side of the front door. One morning I stepped outside onto the front porch and noticed dirt all over the left side of the porch. I didn’t think much about it and swept it away with the broom, but then it was there again the next morning. Same thing, different day. I looked at the hanging basket and it was missing half it’s dirt. There was a birds nest in place.

I moved the hanging basket out to the arbor, not to be tempted to disturb the making of the nest, but we still have the other one hanging by the front door. Earlier this week, I walked outside with my morning glass of water to dirt all over the other side of the front porch. Yes, there’s a birds nest being built inside the other hanging basket as well. It’s painful to recall how many garden centers I visited, and the weeks it took to find this color Bougainvillea in bloom to compliment the house.

Obviously there’s a couple of birds appreciative of my effort. From what I’ve seen so far is, if we’re living this life it’s going to get messy, but each day offers new opportunity to cultivate the order within.

Rejoice in what I’m doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding.

Jesus Calling ~ May 22

Feed Your Soul

It’s hard for me to disappoint people and be okay with it. I felt the need to step away from one of my jobs for the weekend, but that means the weekly newsletter won’t go out. Of course I could sit here and push through to get it composed and scheduled, but my thought all week has been, “What condition is your soul in, Barb?”

Over the years I’ve often remembered a song by TobyMac where he sings, “I don’t wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul.” I’ve always wanted to impact people’s lives in a positive way, but what they don’t tell you as you’re pouring into other people’s lives, there’s a balance. To all my world changers out there, take time to pour into your own world.

A photo shared with my daughter last night.

Reading Simple Abundance this week has fed my soul. What she’s writing about is precisely where I am. Examining every piece that makes up my world and asking it, “Are you pretty and useful, or just pretty useful?” As there’s almost another decade in the rearview, there’s still purpose burning deep inside.

I’m going through items in my home room by room with that question in mind. I moved a large piece of art I’ve had for years from my bedroom to the kitchen and it’s like it has new life. I’ve learned that plants love light, but aren’t happy sitting on the window sill in the heat, so, why do I still have one sitting by me on the sill looking miserable?

Because I like it there. The container it’s in is a gorgeous deep jade, but there’s not enough energy for it here where I sit and type, so we’ll move it to another room until we find the balance of light and energy it needs. I moved it to the kitchen near the window, but now I have an empty space beside my desk. I’m learning to be good with spaces.

I followed the words of Simple Abundance and am listening to the soundtrack of Out of Africa, and it feeds my soul. I refuse to look at any work related apps until Monday, and am pondering how I want my coffee this a.m. Will it be a pour over, or Chemex?

When my daughter asks, “What are your plans for the weekend?”, I’ll swiftly respond…”Whatever feeds my soul.”