Tag: a simple life

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

The Warning Signs

In previous years, my path has been altered for me by an increase in rent. If I couldn’t afford the increase that was a sign, it was time to move on. God has blessed me with two jobs I’ve grown to love, so I’m grateful that’s not the case today. With new construction popping up all over our neighborhood, I came to a crossroad and it looks something like this.

Do I want to stay? If so, for how long?

You see, you have to take note of the warning signs, and there have been quite a few! I was talking with my friend on Marco Polo and she began recounting the signs we’ve seen since last year. When I told her my rent increased she said, “Just in case you need one more sign Barb, here it is!”

Last year one of my favorite neighbors moved back home to Kentucky. I’ve written about her in She’s That Neighbor, but we keep in touch and remain close to this day. Right after she moved, a builder removed the woods next to our houses, which was mentioned in A Moment’s Notice.

I paid attention, but to really drive it home, the washing machine flooded onto the floor, and right after we got that fixed, the dryer broke. (These appliances are less than 4 years old) The most recent thing that happened was a puff of smoke emitted from behind the stove while it was preheating.

I was listening in the stillness when these words rose up. “Start where you are and with what you have.” Looking at the items we’ve accumulated over the years, I began asking myself, “Do I love it and is it useful?” I can begin by blessing others, and keep my eyes open for more of the warning signs.

The Put Off’s

I took my dog to have his nails trimmed.

It’s one of those things I’ve been putting off, but then remembered saying that prayer. “Hey God. Open up a space one day this week to take him.” Friday morning, standing at the kitchen window, I knew it was the day.

I’ve been looking at those type things fondly called, ‘the put off’s’. During the winter months, I put off walking until evening, letting the day become as warm as possible. I’d put off waking up with the dawn, just to get a little more sleep. I’d put off meditating until I was fully awake, instead of taking advantage of that sweet spot where the brain isn’t alert and engaged.

Now mind you, I completed my intentions and morning ritual, but it felt like a wrestling match of putting it off, if only for a moment.

And then I decided to stop.

I woke up and sat up in bed before dawn. Drank my bottle of water and did a body scan. Moved to my desk for the Morning Pages, and then went for a walk. Yes, I had to bundle up, but this offered a chance to wear my favorite fuzzy scarf once more. Now I remember why I was so enamored with walking in the mornings, and taking in the new day as it’s coming to life.

All of my put off’s were small, but faithfulness in the small things, prepares us for bigger. This is me, putting a stop to the put off’s.


P.S. If you haven’t met Michelle GD, you need to. She’s a blogger here at WordPress and hosts a monthly workshop entitled, ‘The Quiet Page.’ I just signed up for April 20th, and would love to see you there.

P.S.S. Thank you Collette over at Wine to Water for recommending the app Abide. It’s a lovely part of my evening wind down ritual.

A Moment’s Notice

I woke up to the sound of a bulldozer knocking down trees next to my home. The woods that offered privacy, shade and homes for the animals are no more. Poof.

I stood at the kitchen window in horror as trees were tossed carelessly into a dumpster. Their life and the years they stood became irrelevant in the path of progress.

The edge of our driveway is the beam to the left.

The last few days the machine’s have been still, and that’s been much needed. I knew the two lots were for sale, but didn’t realize they’d sold. Someone is building a couple of houses there, with one facing the street I live on, and another one facing the street behind me. My daughter and I had no warning this was about to happen. It all transpired within a moment’s notice.

This morning I sat in silence on my bench in the front yard for the first time in days. The one positive I’ve noticed is there’s more light with less trees. Over the weekend I was still adjusting to the new landscape, or the lack thereof and texted my daughter. I felt helpless over the situation and was distraught over the woods being gone. Then my daughter responded with this nugget of wisdom.

“I understand Momma. I wish we would’ve had a head’s up, but maybe it’s better that we didn’t”. ~My daughter.

This cup is empty, but my heart is full.

When God wants us to stand still and trust in His plan, we relinquish control. Instead of focusing on what’s gone, I can appreciate what this change brought, such as more light and a cool breeze entering the yard. We won’t see His full plan immediately, but He’s watching how we behave in a moment’s notice.

Calm Amid the Chaos

In Fire and Rain I was on a mission to find the perfect bench for the firepit area. The bench purchase was a little outside my comfort zone, but I wanted to enhance the sanctuary vibe encompassed by the yard. Well…Tada!

Once the bench was in place, I wanted a little table, or outdoor pouf to sit between the chair and bench. This is the worst time of year to find outdoor furniture, but I drove to all my favorite stores to see my options. Instead of furniture I saw stacks of unopened boxes of Christmas trees. 😮

The table in the photo was at Target, in the Magnolia section with no price tag. (There’s 3 things right there that scare my wallet.) I found an employee to scan it for me, and when she told me the price, I laughed out loud, and exited the store. The next morning the table was still on my mind, but I continued to Google ‘outdoor side table’. I saw one at Urban Outfitters that looked similar, but with shipping it would cost more than the one at Target, so I followed my heart back to Target and gave the table a home.

This entire process brought up the thought of ‘what a year can do’. There’s a noticeable difference in what the yard looks like now compared to last year, but it took an entire year to get it here. We want immediate change, but lasting change occurs gradually over time. I wouldn’t have made these furniture choices a year ago, but I’ve been pondering the possibilities for months. It’s a foundational start, but more time will pass before it’s complete.


I don’t invite people to my home very often, but this year I want them to feel invited in. This space was created to connect and soak up some calm amid the chaos.


Here’s all of the posts about creating spaces:

Wide Open Spaces, Fire and Rain, In My Corner, and Spaces to Grow.


Space to Grow

I’m reading The Artist’s Way for a second time. This year my Kindle died, but instead of replacing the device, I’m replacing digital books with real ones. Julia Cameron was first on the list for replacement, and I found a whole stack of her books at a second hand sale. 🥳

The Morning pages and I have a longtime love/hate relationship. I still can’t write all three pages every morning, but one solid page is better than none. Maybe it’s something you have to build up to, like each stroke across the page is strengthening the muscle needed to go onto page 2 and then 3. I had to smile at Julia’s description of her Morning Pages in The Artist’s Way.

“In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the Morning Pages,” says Julia. That’s one of the things I fancy most about these spaces I’ve shared with you this week. Only one has a valid reason, and that’s only temporary. The other two are pointless, and have no solid reason behind them, but when you have no particular reason you stand before the door of possibilities.

This morning my corner wasn’t comfortable to write the Morning Pages, so I moved to the kitchen table. The first sentence said, “I don’t have much to say today,” but before long I was filling in the last line of the page. What Julia describes as an apparently pointless process, is where the magic in this simple practice is revealed.

At this stage of my life there is not a lot of reasoning behind the majority of what takes place. It’s not so much the actual space as it is allowing time within that space to grow.

Feel the Music

I get excited over buying dirt.

Before planting anything in the yard this year, I needed to spread a layer of dirt. I talked to people who work at garden centers about what dirt for where, and what was being planted. The better the dirt, the happier everything grows and blooms, except a weed. They’ll grow but won’t bloom in good dirt.

I remember buying high dollar dirt for 25 cents because the bag had busted during delivery. It didn’t matter to me the bags were a wreck, I was going to dump it out anyways. A neighbor gave me some sprigs of her moon flower vine to plant along my front fence. It engulfed the fence but didn’t bloom.

My daughter found out later it won’t bloom in good dirt because it’s used to poor dirt. That vine is no longer on the fence. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I heard this song and looked up the video. Being a woman whose heart lives in the country I know it holds true. Anything you want to build or grow begins with a layer of dirt. You might not be able to buy happiness, but you can buy dirt.

To view video, click here.