She’s That Neighbor

When she told me she was moving, I was happy for her, but sad for me. We didn’t have to see one another everyday to know we had each other’s back. She was my neighbor.

When we had the snow and ice storm earlier this year, she texted me for a Chemex filter. I placed some in a ziplock baggie, and made my way through the snow to her back door. I loved the fact that with everything we could run out of, the Chemex was a priority.

That day confirmed, she’s that neighbor.

I’ve written about ‘M’ before in Just Say Yes and that Blogpost was written through inspiration from her. I can’t fault her for moving because she went back home to be near family, and it’s a joyous occasion when we know where home is. Thursday was my birthday and she revealed herself in a magical way.

I noticed a car parked in front of my house. A woman stepped into the yard smiling brightly, and holding a bouquet of flowers. I stepped outside to meet her and she asked, “Are you Barb?” I nodded my head in agreement, not fully certain what was going on. She strolled down the path to stand in front of me, held out the bouquet and said, “Happy Birthday from M!”

She remembered my birthday and asked a friend to bring flowers! I felt her presence in that moment. Today, she lives in Kentucky, but we chat every week. I believe we’re closer now than when she lived behind me, but that’s how it happens. People like her move into your heart, not just your hood.

Now, she’s in a new neighborhood where she’ll make new friends and soon they’ll discover. Not only is she a forever friend, she’s that neighbor.

I Need To

Earlier this week while writing my Morning Pages, I noticed the final paragraph was filled with these three words, I need to. There’s a smallish list of things I’ve been setting aside that my heart wants to do.

I need to write some letters to friends, and have been wanting to for weeks. I need to fill out an application for free parking at the lake for my truck, and hopefully have my paddleboard in tow. My board hasn’t been dropped into the water all year. I need to keep calling around about a new windshield for my truck that was hit by a rock and cracked. Things like that.

This month I’ve been looking at commitments, and diving deeper into them. It really made me take a look at what I’m committed to and the quality time I give those commitments. I need to recommit to dating because right now it feels like men are making an appointment to see me. My two jobs are taking all of my commitment, but that’s not good for the mind, body, or spirit in the long run. We need to carve out time for what feeds our hearts.

That night I was reading my Magnolia magazine during a huge thunderstorm. What began as a distraction from the thunder and torrential rain became just what I needed. I didn’t realize this month’s issue was focused on commitment, until I read what’s posted below by Joanna Gaines. This year, I’ve learned to have commitments without projecting any particular outcome and it’s a very freeing experience to just remain committed, no matter what.

“So, as I sit here now, thinking about the pursuits and the people I’m committed to, I’m not worrying about outcomes, or how they should look through the lens of a culture that so highly values results. Because maybe the true purpose of being devoted to something isn’t found in how it ends, but in the way it takes shape~~or even ends up shaping us~~along the way.” ~Joanna Gaines.

So, my lovelies, this weekend I’m going to find some stillness to hear my heart and do what it says I need to.

The Grand Finale

This title has been sitting in my draft folder since last October. I wasn’t sure what it was for then, but today it seems appropriate.

Being dated late October, I’m guessing it was about fall and the grand finale of the flowers bloom. This year I had some flower beds created in the front yard, so I can witness even more bloom. The front porch has quickly become one of my favorite places to be.

I’ve decided to take some time away from Blogging and enjoy the journey. There is a book or two that long to be written and my creative side wants to be let off the leash. Julia Cameron writes in The Sound of Paper, “We are too busy living a life, to have a life worth living.” It’s time to enjoy the here and now, but this site will remain in my absence. I didn’t want to leave you wondering.

Here’s the grand finale of memes. My darling, I hope that whatever you choose to do with this one beautiful life, you go all in.

Feel the Music

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted a Feel the Music. That surprised me, but even more so was looking through and realizing the first one was posted almost 4 years ago! I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I remember the day Feel the Music was born.

I was driving my truck down a back road, listening to the radio, and pondering my Blog. A song began to play, and it was Big Daddy Weave singing, ‘My Story’. Right then, I knew Feel the Music was supposed to become a series in my Blog. It contained those three words, like all my Blog titles did, but this was more than one post. It was going to be a regular thing.

I didn’t drive my truck very much last year, so some time has passed since posting one, but I still have a heart for music. It has helped pull me through some tough spots in my life. I’ve used it as an escape, and I’ve played it to chase after God. From cleaning a chicken coop knowing my marriage was at it’s end, to standing on a pier on 40 acres of land, surrounded by nothingness.

Music healed my heart many times.

Yesterday, I told my daughter something I needed to hear too. I said, “You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” The inspiration for this song didn’t come while driving my truck, so I need to make myself available to inspiration other than my truck.

Someone in my Fearless community posted a meme of this song because he is halfway to his monthly goal. Maybe we are all halfway there and don’t even realize it. The one thing I do know is, life wouldn’t be worth living without a prayer. Enjoy!

Crossing the Line

I’ve been using the pour over coffee dripper for my coffee each morning for a while now. It offers flexibility in cup size, and on Monday we go big.

It will fill any size cup you choose to sit under it. You just have to measure the right amount of water for the size of the cup. This morning, I measured 16 ounces of water for the gooseneck kettle, knowing this cup could hold it, but I’ve miscalculated before and that was messy.

My favorite cup and Blue Bottle coffee dripper.

One morning I grabbed a large mug thinking it was just as big as this one and treated it the same way, with 16 ounces of water. I allow time for the dripper to drain in between pours, so after the third and final pour, I walked into the next room. A few minutes later I went back into the kitchen for my coffee, only to find it pouring over the rim of the mug onto the chopping block.

It had poured over alright!

Thank God the spill had stayed on the chopping block, but I must have crossed the 16 ounce line. It’s times like these you go with what you know and make sure your Monday cup is cleaned on Sunday night.

The coffee dripper adds mystery to my morning. I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get. It calls for the water measurement to be precise, but I’m doing good just to get the water into the measuring cup much less read the lines. It’s when I cross the line that life gets messy.

I have an email to send this morning, and it feels like I may be crossing the line. That’s not going to stop me from sending it because I don’t live my life in the safe zone. When God opens the door of opportunity, communication can be awkward at first, but we don’t really know where the lines are, if any, until we cross them.

This is me, on a Monday, crossing the line.

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.

Try We Must

It’s no secret this year is different.

We are in December, and there’s still no full size Christmas tree in our home. I bought a small one and it’s perched on the built-in cabinet in the back of the house. The dogs enjoy the soft glow of the lights at night.

This is our third year in this little lake house, and the last couple of years I’ve thought about hanging Christmas lights across the front of the house. I’d always talk myself out of it with a mountain of excuses, but this year there were no more excuses.

I had a tangled up mass of multi-colored icicle lights that have moved with me over the years. I began the task of gently untangling them, plugged them in, and to my surprise they still worked.

I began tacking them along the roofline, and don’t know why I saw it as such a daunting task. My mind told me it would take al lot of time, when in reality it took very little time and went along seamlessly. The task looked more difficult in my mind than it actually was.

I think a lot of things in life are like that. We tend to overthink our ideas, which prevents us from doing what the heart wants, and simply walking through. We are vehicles of the heart, and my hope is that you’ll follow yours. It may look daunting at first, but you’ll never know unless you try, and try we must.

Bowl of Scraps

There’s a lady who sells these handmade bowls at a farmer’s market I attend on the weekends. They are made from strips of fabric she refers to as scraps. Her display has so many colors and designs it’s difficult to choose, but if that’s my toughest decision of the day, life is good.

She wraps clothes line wiring with strips of fabric and sews them together to make the bowl. Allow me show you how simply beautiful scraps woven together can be.

Yesterday, I was on my Team Call through Fearless Warrior and told them I’ve decided to leave the Fearless Warrior Community. It was a solid investment of money and time well spent, but the heart knows when it’s time to move on. We’ve been meeting every week for several months and feel woven together, similar to this bowl.

We are all different ages with different ideas and beliefs and we live in various parts of the world, but we have a common bond. A mutual love and respect for one another. I have found similar souls here in WordPress. My Fearless Team has decided to continue meeting at least once a month outside the community to continue encouraging one another down life’s path.

When we stand alone we might feel like one strip of fabric, but together we can be woven with love into something meaningful and purposeful. Just like this bowl of scraps.

Feel the Music

My daughter: “You haven’t done a Feel the Music in a while.”

Me: I don’t drive that much anymore.” I hear most of these songs for Feel the Music while driving, but I wasn’t prepared for this song to start playing as soon as I started my truck. It just started playing like it was queued up and ready, but I wasn’t.

The hard to listen to songs. The ones that bring back memories of a love gone sideways, or swept up by crashing waves and drug out to the middle of the ocean. You see, I’ve been listening to the hard songs all year, but at some point you have to dance to it.

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

This song is sang by Cody Johnson. Mr. Smith told me about Cody and I have his CD in my truck. I enjoy his music, but the first song on the CD is the one I share with you today. It’s the hard to listen to song I usually skip over, but today I was able to listen.

Just try to quit smokin’ and reel back the drinkin’
Don’t always tell her everything you’re thinkin’
And dance her when she needs dancin’

It’s bittersweet because there are parts of the song that Smith nailed, but there are also parts he didn’t. He couldn’t quit smoking, even though it was important to me. I wanted him to be around another 50 years. Smith shared at the beginning of our relationship that he knew how to dance, and was good at it.

I’ve always wanted to be good at dancing, and have a partner who would show me. He didn’t dance me when I needed dancing.

Photo by Akemy Mory on Unsplash

The part of the song he was always good at was listening. Smith never tried to fix me, but would offer suggestions on how we could fix my world when it cracked. When I would get upset I’d go sit in the middle of the bed. He’d give me some time, but eventually come in and lay on the bed as an open invitation to talk.

I wasn’t good at sharing what was wrong because I was always concerned he would laugh, or it think it was silly. That wasn’t the point though, he just wanted me to spill it.

Crawl up in that bed right next to her and listen
Instead of having all the answers

It’s a simple country song, and the name of it is, “Ain’t Nothin’ to It”, but obviously there is something to it. To the couples who have made it through the years it takes to solidify a relationship, go grab your partner and dance them like they need dancing.

My guess would be that’s all they really need.

Now and Next

I’m taking steps this year, toward where I want to be this time next year. It takes some planning, but I keep an open mind. One of my most used prayers is, “God, if this is not your will, stop me now!”

I jotted down this note from 7/26 in the Jesus Calling book. “RELAX AND LET ME LEAD YOU through this day. I have everything under control.” The first sentence wasn’t capitalized by me, it’s in the book like that. They say using all caps is like yelling, so I can see the irony in this. Then there’s the whole giving up control thing and being willing to be lead.

If you haven’t read Stephen King’s, “On Writing”, it’s an inspiring read and one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you want to be inspired, read something inspiring. It’s that simple.

What you do now plays an integral part in what will happen next, but the most important part is to start. If there’s something you’ve been putting off starting, look at where you are now, start and watch for what’s next. That’s the funny thing about purpose. We were designed to be so much more than we currently are, if only we’d let go of our preconceived outcome and start.

I believe each and every one of us has a calling on our life, but we get scared. Then we start running our ideas by others and it’s hard for them to be supportive because they have a dream in their heart that scares them too. You can be scared together and encourage one another through the scary start. You will know if it feeds your heart, but you will never know until you start.

It’s okay to be scared, but I always tell my daughter, “What do you have to lose?” There’s usually nothing to lose, but oh so much to gain. Another line in the devotional says, “As you look to me, I show you what do do now and next.” Our roadmap for where this life will lead, if we’re willing, is in the now and next.