Redefining Self Care

Self-care began as a weekend treat, but now it’s a part of my everyday life. My neighbor saw me sitting outside and asked, “What are you doing Barbara?”

Me: “Staring at a page with a question in the middle of it! It says, ‘I want to say thank you to myself because…'” He just nodded his head and said, “Okay Barbara!” 🙂

It didn’t phase him one bit. He thought it was normal for me to be doing that. I still haven’t filled in the page. How often have I said, ‘thank you’ to me?

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I can recall a handful of times.

This month I can feel a shift.

I show up for myself everyday, no matter what happened the previous day. To just continually show up and remain present. “Be still and know that I am God”, is one of my favorite verses. A season of stillness is where I am and so thankful to be aware and acknowledge it.

And be good with it.

I can begin filling in the page with, “Thank you Barbara for being still and standing calmly in place.” Just by showing up every day, no matter the circumstances, is a redefinition of self care.

Quiet and Stillness

I want to listen for Him more.

He’s not loud, nor does He speak with a booming voice to try and rise above the noise. He doesn’t have to. For me, God whispers to my heart in the quiet and stillness.

It’s difficult to find quiet and stillness, but you can create it. There’s a lot to be heard in the quiet and you can see more clearly when everything is still. This meme aligns with this particular part of my journey.

Don’t miss Him in the quiet looking for Him in the loud. Hello Friday and November my lovelies.

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Listening for quiet

Making a coffee pour over has a calming effect over me.

Once I go through all the steps of setting it up, I’m forced to slow down, and enjoy the process. Watching as the boiling hot water, slowly escapes from the spout of the pour over kettle. It hits the coarse grounds, and they begin to bloom. (My fave) Today, I poured the water very slowly, in attempt to keep the bloom alive for as long as possible.

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That magnificent bloom.

I listened intently during the process. When the water first hit the grounds, and the liquid drained into the empty cup, it was noisy. I could hear it trickling. As the cup filled with the hot liquid, the trickling became quieter, and quieter.

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I knew the cup was full when it was completely quiet.

Feel the Music

This song has randomly played through my home all week.

My daughter will be playing music on her phone, or watching something on Netflix, and this song begins playing.

Thank you for freely giving your love, and waiting with me. The silence isn’t quiet, and I will share, but just know, I will rise up for God. I am unafraid, and He sees the fighter in me even when I don’t.

Together, we will continue to move mountains.

 

Together in Stillness

Last Friday, a friend asked what I had planned for the weekend. If I had anything productive, as in getting a lot done. The weekends are well spent replenishing my soul.

I try and get everything I want to accomplish, completed during the week. I have a couple of things left to do this week, so today is my last day to get them done. Otherwise, they fall over onto next weeks to-do list.

That is never fun. A new week should have new accomplishments. That is how I gauge moving forward in life. Get it done and move on.

 

Friday also means final Radiation treatment for the week. I get two days off, and my skin needs that. Yesterday, I noticed I was getting a slight burn by it. I had to increase the lotion.

What does Friday mean to you?

I hope it’s not just another day, because they truly are special. It’s the wind down of the week, and the anticipation of the weekend. If my daughter is home, we do something fun. One of our favorite brunch restaurants is only open on the weekend, so maybe we go there.

If she goes to see her father, I spend time on me. Catching up on my reading, and learning new things, or just relaxing in the stillness of the moment. I encourage you to do whatever replenishes your soul. Whether it’s alone, or with loved ones.

If my daughter was 5 years old again, and I knew what I know now, our weekends would have been much different. I used to work right through them, whether it being house chores, or actual business. I never stopped. Today, I would sit on the floor with her, and play a game, or build a Lego kingdom. I would slow down the pace and enjoy the weekend.

This is what we’ve done for the past 4 years, and I am blessed by it. We slowed the pace of life to match our heartbeat. Yesterday, she spent alone time in her room, just caring for her tender soul. I spent a large part of the day sitting on her bed, just to be there. Self care doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Sometimes it’s two hearts sitting together in stillness.

The Silver Bracelet

My heart is heavy this fall morning in Texas. My best friend in the Chemo room, went to be with the Lord this week. She is healed, happy and whole, but we all miss her smiling face.

When I walked into that room to begin my treatment in April, God knew I needed a friend. Someone special, that I would connect with immediately. That would be Vicki Davis.

I think I drove her crazy with my positive outlook on life. Nothing she could say would dampen my spirit. She tried to be grumpy with me because she had been down a very long road with this disease. I would smile at her, and just love on her until she smiled in return.

We had an immediate bond, and were good for one another. She showed me what true strength looked like, and I showed her I could love her no matter what. I marveled at everything she, and her body went through, hoping for a cure.

She was growing weary in her fight, and I asked her, “How much can the human body take?” She said, “We will see!”

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God has us scheduled for Chemo on the same day, Tuesdays, at about the same time. When you are sitting in a Chemo chair, you can either laugh, cry, or sleep. We chose to laugh. Anyone who has heard my laugh knows, it’s loud. Vicki had a laugh that matched. Both of us laughing was quite disturbing.

One time, we sat in a semi private part of the room, away from everybody else. You could look across the room and see everyone lined up sleeping through their treatment. Vicki and I were trying to outdo one another with stories of stupid things we had done in our lives.

We busted out laughing at the same time, and startled the sleeping souls lined up across the way.

Like a row of dominoes, they jumped, looked around, relaxed and then smiled. They were relieved it was just us having more fun than we should have been. That was life with Vicki.

My last day of Chemo, as I was getting ready to leave, I felt God tug at my heart. It was time to let go of something very precious to me. I was given a bracelet last Christmas by another lady God placed in my life. Little did this lady know, I would be wearing it during Chemo treatments, a few months later.

My Chemo was coming to an end, but I thought Vicki’s wasn’t quite over yet.

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It was engraved with one of my favorite verses, and encompassed my wrist as a reminder of what I was supposed to be doing. Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It was a challenge for Vicki and me to sit still in those chairs. It was long hours, but being with Vicki made the time fly by. On my last day, the nurses saved a chair for me to sit beside her.

Vicki was growing weary in her journey, and she had every right to be. I gazed at her resting in her chair, and sat down in mine. There was silence between the two of us, but the love was always there. Her IV bag was almost empty, as the nurse had just hung mine. I got out of my chair, kneeled down beside her, slid the bracelet off my wrist, and onto hers.

Her eyes opened as she smiled at me groggily.

She touched the bracelet, and regretted not having her reading glasses, so she could see it more clearly. I told her what is was, and what it said, and that I wanted her to have it for the remainder of her journey.

That was not even three weeks ago. It was her last Chemo that day too. Thank you God for bringing her home.

How to Fly

I’ve written quite a bit about this Breast Cancer Journey. Talking to a dear friend earlier, it made me realize I haven’t really summed up the changes in writing. It’s easy for me to forget all the small things I went through. My journey has been relatively easy compared to others, but maybe that is so I can encourage them, and continue writing.

All of the hair completely fell off my body. The hair on my head was messy, but the rest went without a sound. I was looking at my arm one day, noticing the longish hairs thinning out. The next time I looked, it was gone, and replaced with a layer of fuzz.

The same with my legs. The sun came through my bedroom window one morning and revealed a layer of peach fuzz. It almost seems cruel to shave them because they fought so hard to get here.

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It’s easy for me to look at this now, and see how God has gone before me. I had no idea what to expect, but He knew, and He has been with me every step of the way. Thank you Jesus.

The doctor told me, this last round of Chemo would show me extreme fatigue. I thought I knew what tired was, because my body was very tired. No…extreme fatigue is something completely different. It’s extreme!

I will be doing something, or planning to do something, and my body just marches off to the bedroom and lays down.

Sometimes I sleep, and sometimes I lay.

I lay differently now. Where I used to curl up under the covers, I now lay on top with my favorite throw. During the night, I get hot, and then cold, so it easier with a throw instead of sheets and blankets.

Pillows are thrown all over the bed, so I have many positions to choose from. The body will heal itself if we only be still and let it do what it was designed to do.

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I cannot drink coffee anymore. Anyone who knows me, knows this is huge. It tastes awful, and makes my body feel bad. I don’t get hungry, and feel no hunger pains. After losing almost 20 pounds, I learned I had to make myself eat regardless of my body being quiet.

It’s like my body only wants good things.

Oh, I’ve eaten cookies, and cake for quick calories, but my body is not happy afterwards. Just like we are coming into the new fall season, God is making me new. Everything that I thought was so important before Chemo, is really not important at all. God has scraped my plate clean, and is preparing me for new.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I have carried that verse with me this entire journey. That has been my daily lesson. I haven’t really done anything in this journey to help it along.

I don’t have an agenda anymore, but somehow everything gets done. All I needed was to surrender myself to Him, and trust Him completely. He has caught me every time I fell across my bed, as a reminder to rest my body, so I will be strong enough to fly.

Way Beyond Me

I had a call from a friend this morning.

His wife wants to move out to the country. He is a city boy and had lots of questions about wild animals, sustainable living and the Internet. He thinks I’m brave being a single Mom, living in the country.

I think he’s brave for living in the city.

You just can’t beat the drive. Listening to music with the windows open, in no hurry at all. I drive a little over the speed limit, but someone always comes flying up behind me on this last stretch of highway to my house. They are in such a hurry, and the passing lanes are few.

Sometimes, I’ll pull over and let them pass, so that I can continue to enjoy the drive. They are focused on the destination, not the journey.

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This is the road that I get to drive down.

Did you notice I said, “Get to?” I pulled over earlier today and took this picture to share with you. Within minutes, it will look different, but just as stunningly beautiful. I have run off the side of the road while driving and staring at this sky. This is way beyond me.

I love the way God give us things to enjoy, but they are out of our reach. Like this incredible sky is all Him, and we ‘get to’ enjoy it’s beauty. TobyMac has a song entitled, “Beyond Me“, and he talks about God giving us the stars but putting them out of reach. Called us to waters a little too deep. God wants us to know, He did this.

I wrote a Blog a couple of days ago entitled, God Is Sneaky. I put that wooden sign in my truck and headed into town. On the way there, I had the feeling it wasn’t for the person I had intended it for. God had a better plan.

This morning at church, we had a guest preacher. His wife stood up and told us about their daughter being in a serious car accident. She said she lost all control when she heard the news.

She was out in the driveway, half dressed, twirling around in a frenzy when God called her to a standstill. If you read the Blog I mentioned, you can guess what He told her. “Be still.” Be still and know that I am God.

As I was leaving the church, I asked a lady to walk to my truck with me. I reached in my truck and handed her the wooden sign to give to the preacher’s wife because Matthew 6:4 says, “So your giving may be done in secret.” The lady was amazed I had this in my truck, realizing this verse is what God had told that preacher’s wife after the wreck.

I pray she is blessed, and God is glorified over that wooden sign. It’s not about me and thank God this is way beyond me.

God Is Sneaky

I’ve listened to a lot of Joyce Meyer over the years.

I enjoy her because she yells, and yes, I need that.

She went through a season where she was afraid to wear any of her favorite jewelry out in public. She was afraid God would tell her to give it away. I laugh at that now, but there was a season in my life it wasn’t so funny.

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Everything we own is on loan to us from God.

You may think you bought something for yourself or a family member’s use, but God might have other plans. I have been standing at the checkout of a grocery store before, and the cashier fell in love with the bracelet I was wearing. As I said, “Thank you,” God prompted me to give it to her.

God is sneaky that way. A few weeks ago, I was standing in an aisle of one of my favorite stores looking at notebooks for my daughter. I spotted this wooden sign with one of my favorite verses on it. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

The isle I was in didn’t have these on display, so it was out of place, just laying there for me to see. It is bright pink, which is not my style for this type thing, but I already knew it was not for me. It got my attention with it’s bright color, and that verse. My daughter looked at me inquisitively when I bought it, but then she knew. It’s not ours.

I collect those wooden signs, so God knew that I would see it. Do you have things you have bought and not sure why?

Let me encourage you today to be grateful for everything you have, look at what you don’t need, and ask God, ‘Who’s it for?”

Only Our Hearts

It’s an honor to be writing for the Sisters of Serenity and Sobriety each Friday. What a fabulous end to my work week!

Losing my home and having it go through foreclosure years ago was heart wrenching. Ever since then I have rented a home to live in. Sometimes for a only a year, or two, but we enjoy moving, and living wherever God leads.

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The home my daughter and I live in today is an old farmhouse, on 5 acres, that has been restored to its natural beauty. We have been here four months and the rent is due the first week of the month. I received a text last night from my landlord, asking for it pronto. I made myself sit still.

If this would have happened before sobriety, it would have prompted me to drink. The majority of my income goes into PayPal, so it takes a few days for it to move into my checking. There was not enough money in my checking to cover rent this quickly.

I was so grateful for that moment. To be able to be caught off guard and not react in a drunken spew. Stopping and asking God for guidance and to be my words is all it took. We talked it through via text and it will all work out. The first thing I said to my daughter when it happened was, “This is a test. I have to pass this test!”

It’s little things like this that make us stronger. I handed my landlord the check this morning and told him I have moved the money from PayPal, but when it shows up is in God’s hands. Moving forward, I will pay them on the first of every month.

I encourage you today to be still and know, He is God. He doesn’t need our help, only our hearts.