Gratefulness

It doesn’t take much to keep me happy, or content. Recently I noticed myself walking through the house at night barefoot and felt gratefulness. I haven’t done that in years.

My daughter and I have lived in houses nestled atop farmland. With farmland comes critters and at night a scorpion would sometimes make it’s way into the house. We learned quickly not to walk to through the house barefoot at night and carrying a flashlight was a necessity. If you saw something move across the floor, scream for assistance.

I became good at determining the various intensities of “Mom?!!!” She would stand still keeping an eye on the critter, as I retrieved a glass to sit over it. Once our heartbeats resumed normalcy, we’d devise a plan. It was a Team effort walking through the house at night, but today it’s thrilling to walk barefoot and not have to stare at the floor.

I’ve learned quite a bit about gratefulness and it doesn’t always begin as a positive impact. It doesn’t come gushing into our hearts and lives like gratitude. Gratefulness for me normally disguises itself as disappointment. When we pause in that moment and peel back the layers for a more in-depth look, we will see that in the end it was all a part of a greater plan.

Last week, a friend of mine posted a Duster style jacket on Facebook that was for sale in her shop. It caught my eye, and I gave myself the weekend to think about it, but vowed to stop by on Monday knowing I’d be in that part of town. I was excited to see the Duster and envisioned myself taking it home. When I walked into her shop, I saw the display hanging on the wall, like in the picture, but the jacket didn’t look the same. Maybe the original jacket sold because the one on display wasn’t my taste at all.

I left the store jacketless, but right alongside it came gratefulness.

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.

Feel the Music

I was driving to meet my friend for our monthly coffee/tea, and heard this song. It was released in 2004, so around 2006 I heard it playing all the time. My mind began flipping through images and they weren’t all pretty, but I could see how far our life has come.

In 2008, I created an email address called abetterlife08. It was a Yahoo account and I named it that to keep those words in front of me while I worked. I can barely remember what happened two days ago, but I still remember sitting in the corner of that home office opening a Yahoo account and naming it abetterlife08. I was 10 years sober and life was better, but I didn’t recognize the man I was married to. When I think about that part of my life long enough, I can feel the tension that home office held.

In 2013 I exited that life.

Standing here in this little lake house 8 years later, I’m overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace. Did it take 8 years Barb? No, I began seeing a better life the very first year, but it all began with believing there was one. Using that email address kept abetterlife at the forefront of my mind until the time was right to step into a better life.

The Sunny Spot

When I first started this Blog, I could sit and write for hours and post daily. That has mellowed over time. I enjoy my pieces of life that don’t require Internet.

The dogs know my favorite time to write is around 9:00 am, and they become very still and quiet. It’s like they are giving me space to do what I love, or maybe they just see it as quiet time, because typing is not very rambunctious. I’m sitting at the kitchen table gazing out the window at the front yard. There’s a gentle breeze moving the trees and bushes, and birds are hopping around in the sunny spots of the yard. I can completely relate to the birds, because I love the sunny spots of life.

February and March are good months to be outside. In February, the temps will be in the high 60’s, and in March they’ll reach the 70’s, but by April we’ll be in the 80’s and then it’s on. I’ve lived here long enough where the high temperatures don’t really bother me anymore. You just praise God everyday for air conditioning.

We can look at our lives, and see what’s important. Our lives reflect an accumulation of small choices made daily. It’s a continual effort to weed out the bad and bring in the good, but we get to choose the life we’re sitting in today. With every action throughout the day, pay attention to the details. And if you find yourself gazing out the window like me, step outside and embrace the sunny spot.

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.

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

Little Bit of Everything

Life happens. It’s what we choose to do with it that matters. We can continually deal with what it throws at us, take a side step and live in denial, or step up and make a shift. Ask yourself, “What are three options?”, toward every situation. Then take a step toward what’s best.

I’m a country girl, and love country music. Being young at heart, my fave artists are Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Chris Young and Keith Urban. These guys sing about love, having fun, enjoying a simple life and getting through the rough spots. These are not your, “Let’s get drunk push Mama off a train,” kinda guys. Their songs will make you smile. Keith Urban actually laughs during some of his songs! One song in particular by Keith opened my eyes to endless options of what we can receive from life. A Little Bit of Everything.

The beginning of the song, Keith mentions hanging a disco ball from an old oak tree. Having an old oak tree in my backyard this worked for me! Why not?

discoball

The song is about endless options.

Keith doesn’t focus on how to quickly fix his situation. He projects options and leaves the door wide open for ‘a little bit of everything’ to occur. It’s not about what we think we need, it’s about taking the limits off what could happen. He sings, “Well, I know that I don’t need a whole lot of anything…I just want a little bit of everything.”

Participating in a Letting Go Workshop, we learn to ‘Let Go’ of what is not serving us or anyone around us. I collected a lot of material and mental debris over the years. When it became obvious it was time to start downsizing my home, I would have never guessed it was going to take me where I am today. A lot of time, energy and money go into maintaining a large home full of stuff. What if that same time, energy and money was available again? What would that look like?

If my plate is full, or overcrowded, that doesn’t allow room for anything new! God has cleaned my plate many a time over the past 10 years, and there’s always change involved. I live in a house that is 5 times smaller than where I began.  The material items are minimal, but each one brings me joy! The same amount of time spent to clean one bathroom before, is spent cleaning my entire house today.

I have time and freedom which is precious.

NO

As I was going though The Letting Go process, I realized these methods would continue to serve me throughout everyday life. The downsizing of material things showed me there’s a huge difference between want and need. What brings you joy?

I hope it’s a little bit of everything.