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?

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.

When Grey Turns to Blue

Refining what we have. Paying attention to what’s in front of us and making small adjustments toward better.

I painted a wall, and it wasn’t even a large wall, but it is the first wall you see when you walk in the front door. The paint job has always bothered me. Before we moved in, someone touched up the walls, and used a shiny finish paint, instead of flat. It’s the same color as the wall, just a different finish, so the touch up was noticeable.

Before

Walking by the wall this morning, I’m really glad I only painted the one wall and not half the house. The early morning light made the grey look blue.

The framed note you see hanging on the wall is my newest addition of reminders. I walk by it 100 times a day, and each time I glance at it to remind myself of what’s here.

There’s a lot of grey in the world today, but we hold the paintbrush and can paint our little corner of the world any color we choose. If your world is looking grey, my hope for you today is just like this wall, your grey turns to blue.

After

Moments of Gratitude

There’s something about November that brings gratitude to the forefront. I saw a post written my Michelle GD and signed up for her Gratitude notes. This morning, I found myself looking forward to her email of ‘Day Two’.

Michelle and I have similar philosophies. It’s the little things in life that I’m grateful for the most. In yesterday’s gratitude notes, she asked that we make note of what we see that we’re grateful for, so I took a few pictures.

I bribed myself to go for a walk.

Actually, I thought of it as a reward. I made a Chemex and let it sit telling myself it would still be hot and ready to enjoy on my return. On my way out the door, I snapped this pic of the steam rolling off. It’s a thing of beauty.

Chemex Coffemaker with Bluebottle Coffee

When it was time for brunch, I grabbed Leo.

My daughter brought him home because we use fresh herbs to cook with, and Leo makes chopping herbs fun. He’s our pretty, yet highly functional find. It’s celebratory when it’s pretty and practical. Sometimes it’s just pretty.

She found him on the clearance rack.

BergHOFF Leo Herb Cutter Set

While in the kitchen I glanced at the front door standing open. I told my daughter we need to petition fresh Christmas Trees being available for purchase November 1st. If they were, our tree would already be up and decorated. We love Christmas decor!

We have balls!

Scrolling through my camera roll this morning, it resembles gratitude notes. That’s what a photo is for me. Moments of gratitude.

The Wrong Screen

The main reason I joined the Fearless community was to confirm what’s meaningful and rediscover my meaningful work. I knew writing was meaningful, but it doesn’t feel like work, hence the confusion.

I struggled for a while finding time to blog. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the changes happening within my job, but here’s what I know today. There’s no amount of money worth taking up all of my time.

Writing is not something I try to find time for, it’s what I want to do. It’s about allowing a space to open, sitting down in that space and not leaving until I’m out of words. It’s a sacred space to let the words spill, and spill they do.

Taking time to write in our lives gives us the time of our lives.

Julia Cameron-The Writer’s Life
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

It’s a cool morning in Texas halleluiah!

The front door swung open early to let the cool breeze wash over the inside of our home. Our house cat, Chombus, loves sitting in front of the screen door. I noticed him staring intently at something on the front porch, so I walked over to investigate his fascination.

It was a twig rocking back and forth, being moved by the wind. Being an indoor cat, he’s never experienced a twig, so I opened the door and brought it inside to lay it on the floor in front of him. He moved it around and tried to bite it, just doing cat things to the twig.

That’s the kind of life I enjoy, where I’m never too busy to hand our cat a twig. As I finish typing this up to go back to my work, I can’t really classify writing as meaningful work. It doesn’t feel like work but is packed full of meaning.

There’s meaningful moments within our everyday life. It’s a matter of stepping away from the computer screen and standing in front of the screen door. Thank you Chombus, (the cat) for reminding me this morning not to spend too much time in front of the wrong screen.

Happy Friday my darlings. ~ 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.

Follow the Breadcrumbs

Once you connect with the dream in your heart, it won’t leave, but it’s easy to put everything else before it. Since posting The Beach Rug, I’ve been following the trail of breadcrumbs.

I’ve had this cutting board for as long as I can remember. Why I took it with me when I left my marriage, I’m not sure, but am grateful I did. I was standing in the kitchen slicing a lemon for a pitcher of lemon water. No matter what I’m cutting, or how much pressure is applied, it just sits there unmoved.

I have a secret to share. When life gets to be a little much, or my job is throwing darts at rapid fire, I make croutons. My daughter will concur, a French Baguette in the house means contentment. I walk into the kitchen, lay it on the cutting board, and pull out my bread knife. I slice it in half, then slice it again lengthwise and continue slicing into the shape of croutons.

Step One of the croutons.

I’ve been doing this since mid March, so it doesn’t require any thought. This is my time to think through some thoughts. With each slice a thought floats by that may or may not need attention. When the slices are complete, I dump them into my red bowl to add garlic, parmesan and olive oil.

Slow the pace to watch your thoughts and only keep the ones of value. By letting go of the ones taking up space, we make room to see what’s important. Focus on that.

Always the red bowl and spatula.

My friend Shawna over at Finding a Sober Miracle left this comment, “This is exactly how my life works! And it happens all the time. And this morning, your blog is another bread crumb in my quest to find out just where I should be focusing my attention.” I found her comment in Spam as I was writing this post. Oh yes, darling check your Spam! Breadcrumbs have a way of hiding.

She left the comment on Breathe It in, and has no idea I’m writing this post which was titled days ago. When I told my daughter about the comment, she asked, “How does it make you feel?” I said, “It’s like confirmation of the path.” Watch for clues that you’re on the right path and follow the breadcrumbs.

Completed croutons in Caesar Salad.

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

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