In Real Time

All this talk about the draft folder is really just the tip of the iceberg. I left out the part about all the emails I’ve sent to myself with pictures attached. Looking through some of them lastnight I noticed there’s an additional folder entitled ‘Blog Ideas’, chocked full from 2019. Let’s not forget the journals and slips of paper I come across every now and then. I even text myself ideas when the inspiration hits. So really, the draft folder is the least of it.

There’s no lack for inspiration here.

This laptop has memes sitting on the desktop, just waiting for a story. Every so often, it begins to look cluttered, so I file them into a folder. My first Zoom conference this year with the man I work with was truly embarrassing. We were sharing our screens, going over email platforms, and our screens were extreme opposites. His was full of Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and word documents, but you know what he saw on Barb’s?

Pretty pictures and memes.

There was a long pause as he viewed my desktop, and I couldn’t leave the meeting fast enough. The meme I used as the featured photo in this post is one I ‘borrowed’ from Cristian Mahai, but here it is again.

Sitting at the kitchen table this morning, it doesn’t surprise me to see a container of glitter sitting here with me. I purchased the glitter for a small project, but you know I love glitter, and have been known to sprinkle it anywhere I darn well please. Now, I’m not going to throw it at my computer screen, but it’s safe to say, I have a glittery life. No longer embarrassed over my desktop either, because if I had to choose between mine, and the man I work with, it would easily be this one.

I’m starting to believe, instead of continuing to file away inspiration, it’s to be shared in real time.

Download the App

I completed a ’30 Days to Better Sleep’ mediation, and it worked really well. I didn’t hear the end of several of the meditations, because I fell asleep. 😂

I enjoyed the voice and positive attitude of the man who narrated the meditation, so I looked him up. He was easy to find on social media. He was hosting a week-long meditation on mindfulness, and I thought about signing up, but there was a catch. The only way to participate was to download the app. I enjoy listening to him on Simple Habits, so didn’t see a need to download the app.

I’ve been thinking about apps, and have come to the conclusion, they are good if they help save time, otherwise, they eat up time. Case in point, I downloaded a banking app. Being home most of the time, it’s become routine to check everything via my laptop, including banking. I’ve been helping down at the pizza place when needed, so my paychecks have a tendency to pile up. I don’t want the owner of the pizza place to think his money isn’t appreciated, so once a week I drive to the bank.

No more. Barb downloaded a banking app and does mobile banking. My phone automatically takes a picture of the check, and it’s deposited into my account. Life just got sweeter, and for that, I will happily download the app.

A Quiet Life

Side note: If you’re reading this, it’s been in the draft folder since October. We’re down to four! 🙂

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?

Try We Must

It’s no secret this year is different.

We are in December, and there’s still no full size Christmas tree in our home. I bought a small one and it’s perched on the built-in cabinet in the back of the house. The dogs enjoy the soft glow of the lights at night.

This is our third year in this little lake house, and the last couple of years I’ve thought about hanging Christmas lights across the front of the house. I’d always talk myself out of it with a mountain of excuses, but this year there were no more excuses.

I had a tangled up mass of multi-colored icicle lights that have moved with me over the years. I began the task of gently untangling them, plugged them in, and to my surprise they still worked.

I began tacking them along the roofline, and don’t know why I saw it as such a daunting task. My mind told me it would take al lot of time, when in reality it took very little time and went along seamlessly. The task looked more difficult in my mind than it actually was.

I think a lot of things in life are like that. We tend to overthink our ideas, which prevents us from doing what the heart wants, and simply walking through. We are vehicles of the heart, and my hope is that you’ll follow yours. It may look daunting at first, but you’ll never know unless you try, and try we must.

A Sacred Bow

As we approach the end of the year, let’s take this opportunity to look back … so that we can learn from our experience, set intentions going forward, and improve our practice and structure.

Leo Babauta

Since June, I’ve been a part of the Fearless Community, and it was one of the best things I did for myself all year. A lot of what I’ve posted here this year was due in large part to Fearless Training. The Fearless practice brought my meaningful work to the forefront of my everyday.

This morning, as I walked into my room, the light from my window was hitting something shiny and causing it to shimmer. You know that’s going to grab my attention. 🙂

It was a medallion my daughter gifted me with 3 years ago, and it’s one of my favorites. The medallion was something I always looked forward to in the rooms. To celebrate years of sobriety, the meeting you frequented the most would hold a birthday meeting every month. It was called birthday night and they’d hand you a medallion with your year embossed on it, and there was cake.

I paused at the window and looked down at the medallion resting in the little love dish. ‘To thy own self be true’ is the inscription. It reminded me of the sacred bow, so I gave it a little bow. (Bow rhymes with cow)

I have a stack of these medallions.

The first few medallions were bronze color, but I received my first ‘pretty’ one after 2 years. There’s Bloggers who have given up alcohol this year, and that is a massive accomplishment. Medallions signify a lot of ‘one day at a times’. Those days accumulate into years, and then you get to hold that year in the palm of your hand.

Some people carry them in their pocket, or place them on a key ring. It’s a good reminder of what you hold sacred.

Sobriety is so worthy of a sacred bow.

A Lightbulb Moment

I know you are thinking, “Barb’s going to share some profound wisdom with us here.” Unfortunately lovely, I’ve actually been wrestling with a lightbulb.

For longer than a moment. It’s been weeks.

Obviously, I don’t give up easily, but I learned something from this lightbulb. I’m really good with change, if it’s a change I decide to make. If the change is made for me, with no say so in the matter, that’s not so good.

I have lamps that use 3-way bulbs. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a lightbulb that has 3 different settings, and each setting has a level of light. I’ve loved these light bulbs all my life, but someone decided to make a change.

Photo by Federico Bottos on Unsplash

This is the LED version of the 3-way bulb.

Looks harmless enough, right? The original 3-way bulb would start out on a low setting. You turn the knob of the lamp, and it would get brighter. A third turn of the knob and it would be at it’s brightest light. It would start out low and gradually become brighter.

The LED version does the opposite. As soon as you turn on the lamp, the bulb starts out with the brightest setting.

Gives a whole new meaning to, ‘blinded by the light!’

With each click of the knob, the light grows dim.

My only consolation is at night while laying in bed reading, it’s kinda nice the light gets softer instead of brighter.

I’m proud of myself for not replacing it with a normal one, although there is one in the cabinet, just in case I snap. Enough time has passed now where it really doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve adapted to the change. Here’s to you darling, and may you have a lightbulb moment.

Working and Writing

I’ve heard you don’t have to be ‘in the mood’ to write. You can just sit down at any time and write, but I believe the mood will reflect in your writing.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not about finding time, because we all have the same amount of time. It’s sitting down everyday and writing until the words run out. Running out of words doesn’t come easy for me, but we are keenly aware of running out of time. It’s precious.

Saturday was cold and rainy, but I decided to accept it for what it was. I lit a candle, and turned on our heater that resembles a woodstove. My work got done, but with it being the Saturday after Thanksgiving it didn’t have the sense of urgency it has during the week.

Photo by Kam Pratt on Pexels.com

I do this quite often. Work a little while and then come over to WordPress and write. If I’m having a challenging day with work, WordPress tends to be my happy spot. Responding to your comments, or fixing a cup of tea and taking time out to read your Blogs are important to me.

I love to write, and when I spend time on the page, other areas of my life become better. When I don’t write, it feels like a part of me is missing.

I was overly focused on work, so my writing and Blog suffered. I knew there had to be a balance, so one day while working, I pulled up my Blog and started to write. I left two tabs open. One for work and one for writing and I’d go back and forth between the two. Writing brings joy that spills over into my work.

That’s how I found balance between working from home and writing. They became equally important.

Embrace the Unexpected

I cannot remember the last time I went Black Friday shopping, but I went this year. There was one store having a sale, and I wondered what it would be like to go shopping on Black Friday during a pandemic. It was nothing like I thought it would be.

I made a deal with God Thursday night before bed. I told Him, “If going to this store Friday morning would be a beautiful experience, then wake me up early.” I woke up at 3:00 am, smiled and said, “Not this early. Let’s shoot for 6.” The next time I woke up it was precisely 6:00 a.m.

By 7:00 a.m., I was out the door.

It was foggy, and there was no traffic. When I arrived at the store, there were hardly any cars in the parking lot. Slipping on my mask, I saw a huge sign sitting at the storefront that said, “No more than 35 people allowed inside.” So far, it was nothing like I expected.

I went to the sale for their candles being buy 3, get 3 free. At first I thought, what a deal, but not really. They used to have a sale every month where their candles were half price. I would normally just buy a couple, but the black Friday sale insured me walking out of the store with six!

When the sales clerk handed me the bag full of candles, I was a little bit embarrassed by it size. It was enormous!

What we expect and what God has in store are different sizes. I catch myself not thinking big enough because it’s comfortable walking through the store with a small bag. We need to get good at carrying the enormous bag.

That’s the size of His plans for us if we embrace the unexpected. Hope my neighbors like candles.

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.

Dusting My Soul

I noticed the piano sitting away from the wall more than it used to. It’s out on the floor. It used to be pressed up against the wall out of the way, with the music stand folded down. It was a piece of furniture dusted off every week.

I took piano lessons as a child, but didn’t like being made to do something. I’m still that way, but a couple of weekends ago, as my daughter was leaving the house, she looked at me and said, “Do something special for yourself.” The Rolodex in my mind started flipping through images, but came up empty on something specific.

I’ve created the kind of life where I enjoy everything I do, but what about something for my soul besides writing. Playing piano was a part of my childhood that feels incomplete. My neighbor offered piano lessons a while ago, so I walked inside and sent her a message.

I asked if the offer still stands, and if she’d be willing to give me lessons. She said yes, and we chose a day and time to begin. When I asked whose house she wanted you use, she chose mine and referred to it as a calm getaway.

The piano doesn’t need dusting as often, now that it’s being used. Everyday I sit down to practice, and run my hand across the keys I feel the progress dusting my soul.