Before and After

There’s a chapter in my book about a pillow. The chapter is referencing how things fit into our life at just the right time, and this particular chapter reflects on yearly increments. A year is a long enough time span where changes are easily seen, but what about the month to month changes, or better yet, the daily ones?

I’ve heard, “The moment between before and after is called truth.” I took a photo of the pillow for the book and just came across it on my desktop. It revealed how much my life has changed in two months time. You know me, anything less than a year is considered brisk. Here’s a glimpse into my before and after.

Taken March 28, 2021.

Looking at this picture today, I find it interesting that I plopped the new pillow in this weathered and worn wooden chair for it’s photo shoot. My intention has always been to paint this chair, but haven’t been able to decide on a color. Even though this chair is well made, it’s not very comfortable to sit in for any length of time.

I envisioned the front porch having comfy chairs, that invite you to sit for as long as the moment requires. Like curling up in your favorite chair in the den, I wanted a similar feel for the front porch. Barb went on a mission to find two outdoor chairs at a reasonable price. Life offers a series of clues that assist in making quick decisions. When I found these chairs there were only two of them sitting on the showroom floor.

Taken May 15, 2021.

I used this photo a couple of posts ago in To Be Seen, but that pillow has taught me a lot since then. The pillow is made for outdoors, but doesn’t sit well in rain. It rained the entire month of May, and storms hit fast. I forgot the pillow was sitting outside, so it got rained on. When I stepped outside to retrieve it, the yarn that makes up the wheels on the vehicle had bled, and it looked like the wheels were crying.

I washed it and it looks better, but I can still see faint signs of it being left outside in the storm. Sometimes we have to sit through some rain, and our wheels may feel like crying, but afterwards we will see a difference in before and after.

A Curated Life

Most people have made, or at least entertained the idea of making some sort of resolution or intention during this end and beginning of years. Even vowing not to make resolutions is in itself a resolution. We like the idea of grand gestures, big promises and dramatic results.

However, any lasting and significant change in our lives is not some instantaneous transformation. The big events we go through that we call major life changes are more of a wading into difference. A marriage, a move, a divorce, a birth or a death…they happen in moments, over days and seasons of time. Joining your life with someone isn’t just the big day when you say “I Do”. It’s the weeks and years where you live out the highs and lows of life together. Losing someone isn’t just the moment of loss. It is the hours and days that follow where you have to navigate a life without them.

That’s why, if you feel stuck and are wanting to embark on a journey of transformation, you have to learn to start with today, and each moment contained within this little block of time. It takes an appreciation of moments in time, to settle into lasting change.

Twenty-one months ago, I made a big promise to myself in a small moment of darkness. I promised to no longer be carried by the current of addiction, but to find my footing, and start to walk. My drinking habit, the behavior that had been with me for the majority of my life, had completely overtaken my sense of self, any ambitions I may have harbored, and all of the authentic relationships within reach. In the small hours of that long night, I’d finally had enough.

But hitting a wall isn’t the change. The promise isn’t the change. The resolution isn’t the result, it’s a starting point. Any meaningful change that you want to see in yourself happens in the moments, days, weeks and years that follow. Whether or not you are successful in making the change depends on what makes up the living you do in the moments.

It is in showing up and doing the work each day that we keep our promises to ourselves. However, merely showing up and going through the motions isn’t enough. Life needs our participation. Moments don’t simply arrive to pass us by; they are meant to be lived. And it is by living in the small moments, the often mundane and repeated moments, that we create a life. A life of our choosing, orchestrated by our engagement in the process.

It is not until we learn to appreciate and be taken up in and by the moments of our day that we actually learn to live. The wonderful part is that we do have some say in what those moments will be. Tasks and obligations are inevitable, but we can choose our attitude while performing them. We also get to choose the way we set up our daily routine, whether it’s taking in the sunrise with God each morning, or taking a meditative walk with the dog each evening.

If it is truly important to the journey, we will commit to living these moments with consistency and authenticity. So, don’t be taken in by the idea of overnight change, or dramatic “before and after’s.” Instead, be taken in by the moments you live each day.

Because that is how you curate a life.

This is a guest post written by my friend Collette, who I met on WordPress. You can visit her Blog, Wine to Water here. Thank you Collette.

A Lightbulb Moment

I know you are thinking, “Barb’s going to share some profound wisdom with us here.” Unfortunately lovely, I’ve actually been wrestling with a lightbulb.

For longer than a moment. It’s been weeks.

Obviously, I don’t give up easily, but I learned something from this lightbulb. I’m really good with change, if it’s a change I decide to make. If the change is made for me, with no say so in the matter, that’s not so good.

I have lamps that use 3-way bulbs. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a lightbulb that has 3 different settings, and each setting has a level of light. I’ve loved these light bulbs all my life, but someone decided to make a change.

Photo by Federico Bottos on Unsplash

This is the LED version of the 3-way bulb.

Looks harmless enough, right? The original 3-way bulb would start out on a low setting. You turn the knob of the lamp, and it would get brighter. A third turn of the knob and it would be at it’s brightest light. It would start out low and gradually become brighter.

The LED version does the opposite. As soon as you turn on the lamp, the bulb starts out with the brightest setting.

Gives a whole new meaning to, ‘blinded by the light!’

With each click of the knob, the light grows dim.

My only consolation is at night while laying in bed reading, it’s kinda nice the light gets softer instead of brighter.

I’m proud of myself for not replacing it with a normal one, although there is one in the cabinet, just in case I snap. Enough time has passed now where it really doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve adapted to the change. Here’s to you darling, and may you have a lightbulb moment.

The Easy Road

Another one of my new favorite things is how our cat drinks water. He just started doing this and it’s looks so difficult, but he does live in this house and we don’t do things the easy way.

Our big dog, Denver, has two metal bowls in a stand so they’re off the ground. You probably know the feeding stands I’m referring to. There’s one for water and one for food, side by side, but less than 10 inches off the ground.

Our munchkin cat, Chombus, waits until Denver has emptied his food bowl which I believe is very considerate, and climbs into the empty food bowl. Then he reaches over to the water bowl next to it and drinks water.

So his rear end is sitting in the empty food bowl, while is head is in the water bowl. Why doesn’t he just stand in front of the water bowl and drink? I guess that’s too easy.

Our cat has a good life, so maybe this is his way of challenging himself. Any worthwhile goal doesn’t come easy, but the path that will challenge us the most is never crowded. Let’s hope they’re practicing social distancing on the easy road.

Do Hard Things

At 6:00 am I was sitting on the bathroom floor with a stressed out doggo. There was a tornado warning for our area.

A couple of hours later, the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. We are enjoying the breeze coming through the screen door, and that little dog that was pacing the house, is laying on her bed completely entertained by a squirrel in the front yard.

That is how suddenly things change.

I’ve been paying attention to my kitchen this week. Since purchasing the planter, to use as a tool caddy, inspiration ensued. Sitting at my kitchen table, I’m beginning to enjoy the view.

This painting was hanging in another part of the house, but I sat it in the kitchen as a much needed reminder.

painting

I don’t read it as a question. I start with the word ‘You’, and go up to ‘can’ before returning to the statement. For me it reads:

Beautiful Girl. You can do hard things.

Pandemic = Way too much time on Etsy.

These cabinet knobs sparkle from across the room. The Great Blue Heron holds a special place in my heart.

stork

Things change suddenly my darling, and you can do hard things.

My Front Yard

This is one of my favorite memes.

ayear

Last year, I wrote about The Bird Feeder.

I loved it, but spent a lot of time agonizing over the squirrels. They wouldn’t stay off the feeder and wound up destroying one of them.

Fast forward to today, I feed the squirrels.

I pour the feed right on the ground. Didn’t realize they make a feed for squirrels and birds to share. I found it at the local hardware store. My daughter laughs at me for doing this.

At first, she saw it as defeat. I’d given up on having a pretty feeder and the squirrels won, but I don’t see it as that. I see it as making a difference in their lives. If they come into my yard, they’ll be fed without a fight.

I don’t dump food out everyday, but this is the year of making a difference in community. Last year prepared me for this year.

I added to the meme.

imaginewhat

I didn’t spend a lot of time on this meme to make a difference in what it says.

Last year was preparation. This year is to make a difference. It seems that begins in my own front yard.

 

It Pays to Wait

It was New Years eve and my work-space was quiet. I took advantage of the time and thoroughly went through all of the WordPress themes. I saw one I really liked, but it wasn’t free. My daughter liked it too, but when I asked her if I should buy it she said, “You like to change your theme often, so if you buy it you might feel stuck with it.”

My first purchase was a couple of years ago with the personal plan, just to get rid of the annoying adds.

There’s over 450 themes to choose from and was close to giving up, when I spotted this one. I imagine it was entertaining for someone visiting my Blog during this marathon of themes. It changed every few minutes. This one was free and met all the criteria, but the final test was to see if it was mobile friendly.

Screenshot_2020-01-01-18-29-02
It passed!

 

This morning, I received an email from WordPress. It was almost time to renew this site. I’ve been pondering moving from personal to premium, so today I did.

I knew I’d have more options with the premium plan, but what I didn’t know is, all of the themes are free!

I’m glad I waited and didn’t purchase the theme. For a few more dollars, I have the premium plan and can choose from any of the themes. I really like this theme and won’t change it anytime soon, but it’s nice to have that option. It pays to wait.

There Is Happiness

Writing is happiness.

I’m not sure if it brings it in, or if I have so much happiness, it’s a form of release.

sloth

Sloth’s and candles are happiness.

Being here with you is happiness.

Thank you for the love and care on my previous post. I was struggling to find my happy again. A friend asked if I was okay, and I responded with, “Yes. I did this to myself. I tried doing everything in my own strength.”

I’ve always been an overachiever and that includes giving of myself. Be mindful of where you give. It needs to be reciprocated, or you’ll find yourself empty.

There was a lot of glitter involved in bringing back my happy. I spray painted pumpkins with a clear coat of gold glitter and I’ve been working on the coffee bar. It’s a work in progress and every time my daughter comes home it looks different.

Change is an outlet for growth.

Coffee is complete happiness.

I added this to the coffee bar, so it’s one of the first things we see each morning. You don’t have to look for signs around here. I’ll buy ’em and hang ’em.

settle

Read the fine print. There is happiness.

 

Unleash Some Inspiration

I gave my Gmail a deep cleaning.

Once I took care of the pile of email, I saw 12 Blog posts ideas sitting there.

You see my darling, I write from the heart. When I feel inspiration come from within, I take the appropriate pictures, or download the meme and send it to myself.

They sit and wait to be used. Some emails have a title, but the title is subject to change while typing. The one I’m posting today has been waiting a long time.

When you write from the heart, there is no schedule. My heart is full and when it overflows you see a post daily. While the heart takes a rest, you won’t see a post.

I also text ideas to myself, but that list is shorter than what’s sitting in email. I have about half a dozen ideas on text and they are more recent. When you over 50 and become inspired, you write it down, or soon forget!

Then there’s the ‘not forgetting’ you wrote something down in a moment of inspiration. Hence the emails and texts to myself. 🙂

The beginning is where we’ll start.

This meme inspired me on January 9, 2019. Let’s unleash some inspiration.

inspiration

And Everything Changes

If you don’t like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree. -Jim Rohn

Then you see this…

rooted

…and everything changes. ❤