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Peonies in December

This particular grocery store has a row of fresh cut flowers on display as soon as you enter. I pause, look and smile. Strolling by the row of buckets, each containing fresh cut bouquets, I stood still and gazed at the last bucket.

There stood our favorite flower.

The Peony.

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This flower is prevalent in summer.

Sitting at the coffee table this morning gazing at the Christmas tree, through a vase full of Peonies. It’s fabulous as cold as it’s been to have a moment like this in December. Unrush my darling. Moments are waiting for attention.

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Peonies in December.

Pause and Rest

I walked out on the front porch with coffee in hand. It was early morning, but the temperature was already warm. August in Texas.

My daughter gauges my well-being by the amount of glitter on the porch. This morning, you could tell it has not been maintained and every potted plant was struggling. I sat down with my coffee and gazed at the yard, knowing what it needs.

It needed a good drenching.

I’ve been working a lot. Having three part-time jobs is taking it’s toll on my body, mind and spirit. My work load has intensified and some days I work two jobs on the same day. On Thursday, I worked all three. Bossman at the Pizza place said, “Everybody wants a piece of Barb.”

The key is to not run out of pieces.

I walked over and grabbed the hose.

♥ ♥ ♥

What you just read has been sitting in drafts since last week. That’s as far as I got with it, but this morning, I was right back at the same spot.

Sitting on the porch with coffee. Looking at the little bit of glitter scattered across the porch and covered by debris. The yard was coughing at me from lack of water. My daughter didn’t have to ask how I was doing this morning. She took one look at me and said, “You’re tired.”

But the great thing about this is….awareness. There was a time in my life that I would have just pushed through, but not today. You work at a slower pace. I turned the phone off for 30 minutes to allow myself a moment to catch up.

Awareness and knowing when to pause.

I stopped typing this post last week and left it in drafts, but knew I’d come back to it. I don’t have to quit. I’m just practicing pause and rest.

 

Worth the Fight

A form of letting go is to ‘let it be.’

To breathe in the early morning was to sit on the front porch with coffee and watch the birds feed from the bird feeder. Now my yard is still and quiet.

The bird feeder sits on the floor by the back door. The squirrels took the joy out of having a feeder. They are relentless in their pursuit of free food.

I was spending time and brain cells trying to out maneuver them, but this time darling, I knew to let go. The battle wasn’t worth the fight.

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Then I saw a battle that needed a fight.

My daughter had a rough week with anxiety and depression. She was able to work through it, but it hurts my heart watching her have to.

God spoke to me during my battle with the squirrels. It was like He said, “Hey Barb. What would happen if you put as much energy into praying for your daughter as you are battling these squirrels? I’ll take care of the birds.” (Matt. 6:26)

God got my attention.

The yard is still and quiet.

The bird feeder sits by the back door.

Pick your battles. Choose what’s worth the fight.

It’s a Choice

There are no bad days. I don’t invite them into my life. When Boss man asks, “How’s life Barb?”, he already knows what my answer will be. He knows I’m gonna say, “Beautiful! Life is simply beautiful!”

He receives the same, or similar answer every time. It’s my choice to either see life as beautiful, or not.

♦ ♦ ♦

Yesterday, I began my cross stitch that says, ‘Carpe all the Diems.‘ I went to a different store in search of the materials needed. Once again, the bin for the recommended color was empty. This was the second store I had gone to so, I made a choice. I chose two colors that differed from the instructions.

A dark grey for the lettering, and silver for the crown. Sticking to the color used on the pattern wasn’t fruitful. It was time to choose for myself.

It’s overcast and rainy this morning.

I can choose for my mood to reflect the weather, or rise above it. Once my daughter left for class, I set the stage for the type morning I desired. Cozy.

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It doesn’t matter what’s going on outside.

What matters is what’s happening inside.

♦ ♦ ♦

I poured a fresh cup of coffee, lit a candle and sat down to do some cross stitch. Are you loving that basket? It’s wool with cotton trim. It was sitting on the bottom shelf all alone just screaming to go home with me! It holds my supplies and makes me smile.

What is your day looking like?

Remember my lovelies. It’s a choice.

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.

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The coffee bloom and a Chemex.

My relationship with coffee became quite serious this year.

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.

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

 

That is Love

You know I frequent a small town coffee-house.

The coffee is a bonus. It’s the people I gravitate toward. Today, their love and kindness blew me away. God had it all lined up for me to walk in at just the right moment. The owner was making something specifically for my heart.

I walked in and he yelled, “Barbara! I am making something for you!” The timing is what amazed me, because I rarely walk in the same time of day. My daughter said, “When they know you all too well at the coffee shop?” That is love.

He had bought a beautiful pour over, along with my favorite kettle! I was literally screaming in awe of this magnificent sight! He was beaming with excitement. It was a moment.

He said that he envisioned my daughter and I sitting at a table, sharing this moment. He would be right. Just the other day, my daughter said she wished he had a pour over.

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A friend takes time out of her busy schedule each day to send a video of her life, and thoughts. That is love.

You are here, taking time to read this. That is love.

A Vintage hat box full of stars. That is love.

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Letting Go of One Connection, for Another

Some days require a do-over. The dogs were up way too early. I hadn’t had enough coffee to deal with their playfulness. I let them get some of their energy out, and in their houses they went. It was that easy to find some peace.

I drove down to the corner store to grab a cup of coffee. Walking in, I notice a table full of people. They are usually there in the mornings, and this brought a smile to my face. We said our, “Good mornings”, as I took a look at their table.

There were no cell phones in sight. The newspaper was opened to the crossword puzzle, like it was a team effort to fill it in. They were laughing, talking, and enjoying time together.

As I was walking toward the door to exit, an elderly man walked in and said, “Good Morning Ms. Barbara.” I gave him a hug, and he grunted like I squeezed him too hard.

Getting into my truck, I spot two women on horses. They are prancing through the grass in front of the Post Office. I wished I had my phone to take a picture, but it was at home.

Once I returned home, I drank my coffee, and called a friend. We spent an hour talking, and making a game plan for the week. We are meeting tomorrow to implement some small changes in her life to regain her independence.

I let the dogs outside, and stood on the porch. It was almost time to drench the Boston Ferns. They are ginormous! Denver, one of our dogs, acted like he was listening intently to something. I could barely hear a woman’s voice, and then I heard two women talking. It was the women on horses!

They came to a halt, and turned the horses around, bringing them up to stand by my front yard gate. What a beautiful sight. They said, “Good Morning! We love your ferns. They are huge!” I smiled and thanked them for their kindness. They asked if I rode, and I told them, “Yes. I used to.” They said, “We have one more horse that needs a rider if you’re interested.” I laughed, thanked them, and will ponder it.

Life is happening right in front of us, and I am connected.