One Happy Day

Whenever I make a Chemex it makes me smile in more ways than one. I was thinking of an exchange I had with my daughter and it still brings a grin to my face during the first pour. I had told her, “I need a timer to count the first pour”, to which she cutely replied, “You can’t count to 30?” I know, she needs to treat me better. 😂

Standing by the window, that’s what comes to mind while making the Chemex, but then I noticed a miracle in the making outside the window. There’s a bowl of water sitting at the edge of the pebbled walkway, and mind you it’s been sitting there all summer. It was placed there for the birds, but I’ve only seen squirrels drink from it, until today.

Isn’t it pretty?

The birds finally found it, and it was a thrilling moment for all! I thought it was funny how it’s been sitting there for months, but this was brand new to them. It reminded me of how God has everything already lined up and waiting for us to realize it. I used to think I spent a lot of time waiting on God, but in reality He was more than likely waiting on me. Just because we haven’t seen it yet, doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting. (faith)

Like this bowl of water. It’s been sitting there waiting for them all summer long, but once they found it, that became one happy day.

More Like Him

Dogs are fabulous creatures, but what makes me smile more often is our cat. His name is Chomby, even though the Vet has him listed as Chungus. When using voice text on my phone, it records his name as Giambi. My daughter and I laughed and call him Giambi sometimes for the heck of it.

This week I watched him everyday just to see if he does this every morning, and he does. As soon as I let him out of his house, he goes straight to the window. This is before food, water, or even the potty box. I found his posture so intriguing and snapped this picture for you. It’s like he can’t wait to see what all is happening in the new day.

Giambi/Chomby

This week, I’ve seen myself doing something similar as Chombs. As soon as I wake up I find a window to look out of, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted to be outside. Yes, it’s hot, and humid, but I’m not willing to let that stop me. The sweet spot outside is found early in the morning. The flowers I planted in March and April aren’t going to care for themselves.

This morning, I noticed the flowers planted in the Vintage Flower cart looked sad. They weren’t getting enough water, or if they were, it was draining right through. I pulled them out and planted them in the shade. The flower cart was empty again. I’ve tried placing it in various places all over the yard, but this time I stood still and waited for the answer to come.

I spotted a bare patch of ground where the birdseed is poured every morning, so I rolled the flower cart there. Immediately I knew the birds would use it as a perch while taking turns eating the seed scattered below. For now, it serves a purpose empty, but we have a purpose to fulfill and empty won’t cut it. We can tap into what we know will fill us back up.

Seeing our cat faceplanted to a window reminds me to be excited for a new day. Let’s strive to be more like him.

Life is Good

I woke up at 5:00 am. The house is really dark that time of morning. I reached over to turn on the lamp beside my bed and with one click the room was illumined. Glancing at the floor to my surprise there is a puppo curled up sound asleep. The click of the switch caused her to raise her head and give me a squinting look like, “Really?” Another click, click, and the lamp goes off resuming darkness.

Sitting in the dark, yet knowing it’s a new day.

I decided to go ahead and do my meditation, and then stumble my way toward the coffee bar to choose a coffee method. The French press sounded simple enough. I put the kettle on, but instead of turning on a light, I lit a nearby candle. During the day, I don’t think much about having a candle lit, (there is always one lit) but in the darkness is when it puts on a show!

I was so mesmerized by the candle, I forgot about the press, and didn’t do a very good job. The water was too hot, and I used too many grinds, so all it took was one sip to realize, this is not magical. I took another sip, trying to make it work, but just couldn’t do it. It was awful!

The beginning of the year, I changed my tagline for this Blog, and it was time to heed those words. “Never settle. Don’t even think about it.” The second sentence is the most important part. I can think about something long enough and settle into the idea of it, and it doesn’t seem that bad. That’s where the settling mindset begins.

I don’t want a life of, “It’s not that bad.” No darling, I firmly believe, “Life is good.”

From Good to Great

My daughter’s mini lecture before leaving the house for the day. “I want you to eat something of sustenance, and that doesn’t mean chocolate and gummi vitamins.” All those years of mothering are paying off where she is now mothering me! I’m diggin’ it.

I did pretty well with scrambled farm fresh eggs, by adding some shredded gouda and thyme. Along with slices of everything bread toasted and cut into toast points to hold some fig jam. It was delicious and I took this photo as proof that I ate something good.

I like a little bit of egg with my thyme.

This only added to an already great day.

Because everyday we wake up to a new day is pretty great, right? I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s drives my friends crazy how happy I am. When they ask, “How are you?”, the answer is always, “I’m doing great!” Even if I’m not feeling especially perky, or there’s trouble brewing ahead, it’s always the same response…”Great!” My daughter knows I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder’s when she asks, “How are you?”, and I say. “Okay…”

I don’t know about you but ‘okay’ is unacceptable in my mind, and I’ve been blessed with a very good life, but what about better than good? I’ve been saying ‘great’ for so long now, and to a lot of people the life I live is great, but what does great really look like? This year I want to step outside the knowing of what’s ‘good’, and go for the ‘great.’

We can be mindful of our day, and take note of how to make adjustments for a better tomorrow. Each day a little bit better than the last sounds like a solid path for this life to emerge over time from good to great.

New Favorite Things

I’m accumulating quite a few ‘new favorite things.’ One was discovered a few weeks ago by making ghee to cook with. Just like many things in life, it helps to have the right tools and then start. We were long overdue for a new pan.

My daughter and I went to H Mart because we love their cooking section. Everything is pretty, yet affordable. I’ve had a lifetime of Al-Clad and Calphalon and still use those at times, but this has been the year of try something new.

Hello Home Eco-Tech Ceramic Coating Fry Pan

It’s pretty and performs. Nothing sticks to this pan.

I love potato hash, but haven’t been successful making it in the past. It’s scary to keep trying things over again, but I refuse to let my past define my present. Every day we’re given is new, with ample opportunity to try again.

I’ve been practicing cooking all year and finally found the recipe that turns out perfect every single time.

It’s bulletproof my friends.

The key was cooking the potatoes in a layer of ghee. I’ve seen ghee sold at markets, but didn’t realize how easy it is to make. Ghee is melted butter with the dairy part skimmed off the top. Once you take away the dairy, it can withstand high heat and food won’t burn.

Unless you walk away and forget you’re cooking.

Potato Hash

This dish has become a staple with brunch. It’s a pleasure to make and eat. Using this pan to make potato hash has quickly become one of my new favorite things.

Technically that’s two things. 🙂 Big love-Barb.

Everyday is Orchestrated

‘Take what you have and use it’. That was my first thing in the morning thought. My daughter went to college via Zoom, I went for my walk and that’s where I saw it.

I wasn’t using my meditation app as intended.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

It’s easy to envision mediation as the photo above.

It can be that way, but I enjoy walking and mediating. I’ve been using the free version of the Simple Habits app this year, but mainly for relaxation and sleep. I told myself if I upgraded to a subscription, I could download a mediation to listen to anywhere, anytime, and even while walking.

I rarely take my phone with me on a walk, but today I popped in one earbud, and left the other one out. Barb being Barb wants the best of both worlds. To be able to hear nature while listening to the mediation.

It was surprising how many of them began with, “Find a comfortable position, whether it’s sitting, or lying down.” I was halfway through my walk before finding what I need.

It wasn’t surprising that it was a prayer meditation by Westley West entitled, “Uplifting Morning Prayers”.

It was like being on a movie set where everything was perfectly orchestrated. As I turned the corner onto a straightaway, the clouds began to thin and the sun came streaming through. Stepping onto the street leading up a hill, I felt a light breeze and there was a spring in my step that made the hill less effort.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

By the time I reached my street, I was refreshed, energized and grateful for a new day. That short morning walk helped me realize, my higher power has everyday orchestrated, if I’ll take what I have and use it.

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

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

The Screen Door

There’s something about a screen door.

The hinges always squeak when you pull it open, and I have no fancy to oil them. It’s part of it’s charm. Then, that slam once released.

It’s like announcing, “I’m home!”

screendoor1

This house didn’t have one when we moved in. Our previous houses did, and it was my most favorite thing this time of year.

Especially first thing in the morning, when the night air is mixed in with the new day.

My neighbor installed it for me last fall. Afterwards, he asked what kind of handle I wanted to use. I stepped inside and found a pull in the shape of a heart. It didn’t surprise him that a heart would be used for the handle, and he seemed pleased by it.

screendoor2

It’s entertainment for the doggos.

They watch wildlife visit the front yard, and get over excited when someone walks by. Especially if they’re walking a dog.

I hope you have a screen door.

If not, you need to visit someone who does. Give it a pull, and listen for the squeak. When you step inside, let it slam. May you feel at home after stepping through the screen door.

screendoor