Do Great Things

The commitment I made to my writing is to complete two writing practices a day, whether I want to or not. Most days it flows through the fingers, but today it didn’t. One practice is equal to 30 minutes which is comparatively a Pomodoro. If you’re not familiar with the Pomodoro technique, you can learn more about it here.

If you’re familiar with this plug-in already, my hope is you’re sharing it with everyone you know who sits in front of a computer the majority of the day. It wasn’t always a happy moment to pull up my browser window for work, but now I look forward to it. I see a breathtaking photo, and receive a poke of encouragement from my browser.

Google Chrome Momentum Plug-in

I posted this on our Fearless Slack channel as a mighty revelation! A man chimed in on the post saying he uses this on all his browsers. I wish he had shared this with us. Sometimes we assume everyone knows what we know, and we’re hesitant to share. I’ve received countless comments from the simplest of shares.

After the motivational phrase it says, ‘Good morning, afternoon or evening Barbara’, dependent upon the time of day it is. It asks what you want to focus on today, and if there’s a project that needs completion, I type that in as a reminder, but most days it’s on a more personal level like writing! A tiny box is over to the left, so at the end of the day I get to check it off and watch it receive a strikethrough.

Pay attention to the small things and let God handle the big ones. Out of all the tasks I do each day, keeping this commitment to my writing feels like a really great thing.

Make the Cut

This year my collection of gardening tools has grown. There is a tool for every task, and I’m learning what tool’s I need. I told the clerk at the hardware store, “I want to cut things”, and she said, “How big of a cut do you want to make Barb?” Here’s what I brought home.

Best insect repellent to wear while gardening, Mrs. Murphy’s.

I’m equipped to handle big jobs and small jobs, but not much in between. The Fiskars Micro-tip pruner are perfect for snipping overgrowth from the top of plants. The needle nose is precise, but the tiniest tools can cause bloodshed. It comes with a safety cover which is smart to use, or we opt to live a life of band aides.

We have a vine that returns every year. No matter the winter it endures, which this year was snow and ice, it comes back. My daughter loves this vine, so I can’t remove it completely, but I do keep it in check, or it’ll take over. I have these wicker lanterns hanging throughout the yard and the vine saw it as an opportunity to further it’s growth.

At first I thought, ‘That’s cool’, but after all the rain we had you could barely see the lantern. I took the Fiskars and trimmed it back, but left some resting on top. For now it adds to the beauty of the lantern, but time will tell if it adds beauty or too much weight.

Looking down at the path below, the vine was crawling away from the fence and creeping across the path. I try to be mindful of what sneaks in along the path, but I’ll let it grow for now. If it wants to cross the path, that’s fine, but we want to keep the path in sight.

What began as a pleasant addition to our lives, shouldn’t become added weight. Pay attention my darling and you’ll know when it’s time to make the cut.

Strength and Beauty

One of my daughter’s favorite things in our yard is something I didn’t plant. It was here when we moved in, and it survived this year’s snow and ice storm. I began pampering it in March, and have paid attention to it along with all the other plants and shrubs. It bloomed the first of June, but the blooms are now fading.

It’s a young Crepe Myrtle, and I’m thrilled it bloomed this year. Being young it’s resilient, and hasn’t stood here long enough to toughen up, but it will.

It was early morning and the rain had stopped leaving it partly cloudy. The sun was trying it’s best to break through and claim the day. I headed out the door for a walk through the neighborhood, letting my feet lead the way with no certain route in mind.

I turned on one of my favorite streets, and luckily had my phone in my pocket to capture this picture. As I stood there in awe, I wondered how long this Crepe Myrtle has been standing here. It’s a tree that calls for you to sit a spell and listen for it’s stories.

After taking this photo, I continued my walk and it began to rain. It wasn’t heavy, just a fine mist that felt good to my skin. I wondered how much rain that Crepe Myrtle has stood through. My guess would be enough to reach it’s roots, because that’s what it takes to grow in strength and beauty.

Live a Life of Band-Aids

My new thing is wearing nice clothes when leaving the house, but let’s set the bar. I live in faded, blue jeans and t-shirts, so dressing up means nice jeans, a silk shirt and smart looking shoes. 😉

As mentioned in Feel the Music, my friend and I met for our monthly coffee/tea. I wanted to wear something nice and took time to choose my outfit the evening before. Some of my prettier shirts call for ironing and my people are important enough to use an iron if needed.

When we met, she appreciated my choice in clothing, but there was one small problem. I was wearing the wrong shoes. These shoes were one of my favorite ‘slip on and go’ pair of shoes. I remembered them being comfortable enough to walk in all day long, but it’d been a while since I’d worn them and they were crucifying my feet!

It was all I could do to get back home in them. It was odd how they were once so comfortable, but turned into shoes from the devil himself. Entering the house, I kicked them off with a sigh of relief. This made me wonder what else in my life looked comfortable, but capable of pain.

I sat on the edge of my bed to inspect my foot and a blister had formed above the instep. My daughter stood in the doorway inquiring what happened and I told her about the devilish shoes. She said, “You slap three band-aids on it and keep moving.” It didn’t call for three, but I did slap a band-aid on it to continue stepping through life.

Keep living life my darlin’. Stock up on band aides.

“God will take care of what you go through. You take care of how you go through it.”

Zig Ziglar

More Like Him

Dogs are fabulous creatures, but what makes me smile more often is our cat. His name is Chomby, even though the Vet has him listed as Chungus. When using voice text on my phone, it records his name as Giambi. My daughter and I laughed and call him Giambi sometimes for the heck of it.

This week I watched him everyday just to see if he does this every morning, and he does. As soon as I let him out of his house, he goes straight to the window. This is before food, water, or even the potty box. I found his posture so intriguing and snapped this picture for you. It’s like he can’t wait to see what all is happening in the new day.

Giambi/Chomby

This week, I’ve seen myself doing something similar as Chombs. As soon as I wake up I find a window to look out of, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted to be outside. Yes, it’s hot, and humid, but I’m not willing to let that stop me. The sweet spot outside is found early in the morning. The flowers I planted in March and April aren’t going to care for themselves.

This morning, I noticed the flowers planted in the Vintage Flower cart looked sad. They weren’t getting enough water, or if they were, it was draining right through. I pulled them out and planted them in the shade. The flower cart was empty again. I’ve tried placing it in various places all over the yard, but this time I stood still and waited for the answer to come.

I spotted a bare patch of ground where the birdseed is poured every morning, so I rolled the flower cart there. Immediately I knew the birds would use it as a perch while taking turns eating the seed scattered below. For now, it serves a purpose empty, but we have a purpose to fulfill and empty won’t cut it. We can tap into what we know will fill us back up.

Seeing our cat faceplanted to a window reminds me to be excited for a new day. Let’s strive to be more like him.

The Scattered Words

My Fearless community adds value to my life. On our Team call, I recommended the Morning Pages to a Team member, because I used to do them and saw value in them. Then I asked myself, “Why did you stop writing them Barb?”

My Fearless Team member ran with the idea, and has 3 weeks under his belt. He’s doing so well with it, he inspired me to start writing them again. The main reason I stopped was out of frustration. I couldn’t complete the 3 pages of longhand Julia recommends, but then I heard her voice say, ‘Grab three pieces of paper.’

I’d been using a notebook to write the morning pages, and it was uncomfortable to write in. It was bulky and larger than a regular piece of notebook paper. Eyeing the stack of notebook paper from my daughter’s school stash, I grabbed three pieces of paper and laid them on the table. As I began to write I felt my hand glide across the page and noticed it was resting flat on the table, not elevated by the thickness of the notebook. After completing page one, I went on to page two and then three!

Morning pages are to be written first thing in the morning, and it’s different than Blogging. These are thoughts not fully formed in the mind and feel scattered. Pen to paper helps pull them together and smooth them out. They are not to be shared with anyone, so you can say whatever you darn well please. I do this before anything else, even coffee, so there’s a commitment.

As soon as your eyes open you’ll need:

Three pieces of paper.

Your favorite writing utensil.

Staring out a window helps gather thoughts.

What better place to scatter words than onto an empty page? Be happy and well loved. ~Barb

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!

From Good to Great

My daughter’s mini lecture before leaving the house for the day. “I want you to eat something of sustenance, and that doesn’t mean chocolate and gummi vitamins.” All those years of mothering are paying off where she is now mothering me! I’m diggin’ it.

I did pretty well with scrambled farm fresh eggs, by adding some shredded gouda and thyme. Along with slices of everything bread toasted and cut into toast points to hold some fig jam. It was delicious and I took this photo as proof that I ate something good.

I like a little bit of egg with my thyme.

This only added to an already great day.

Because everyday we wake up to a new day is pretty great, right? I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s drives my friends crazy how happy I am. When they ask, “How are you?”, the answer is always, “I’m doing great!” Even if I’m not feeling especially perky, or there’s trouble brewing ahead, it’s always the same response…”Great!” My daughter knows I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder’s when she asks, “How are you?”, and I say. “Okay…”

I don’t know about you but ‘okay’ is unacceptable in my mind, and I’ve been blessed with a very good life, but what about better than good? I’ve been saying ‘great’ for so long now, and to a lot of people the life I live is great, but what does great really look like? This year I want to step outside the knowing of what’s ‘good’, and go for the ‘great.’

We can be mindful of our day, and take note of how to make adjustments for a better tomorrow. Each day a little bit better than the last sounds like a solid path for this life to emerge over time from good to great.

Let Love Be Loud

I’ve been reading my morning devotional, and jotting down whatever jumps out, or resonates. Here’s this week’s favorite.

When things seem all wrong, trust me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way.

Jesus Calling-1/26/2021

I’ve had 5 days that feel like Monday with a client at work. I really want it to feel like midweek, so I’m just gonna settle in here with you for a moment. You know, I can take happy clients all day long, and that’s the fun part of the job, but the ones who are high strung and relentless are the ones who make me better.

The circumstances were all wrong, but I believe God handed me the right responses every time.

I was able to practice listening and could hear what was really fueling his anger. It wasn’t this situation at all.

This job has taught me I cannot make people happy. They need to be happy in their own skin first, and there’s a lot of people who are not happy. I like to call this the ‘rewarding challenge’ of the job. Without any challenging circumstance there is little reward.

Whatever comes your way today, I encourage you take a pause to see what is the right response. It helps to not take the situation personally, but rather to give the kind of response to make the situation better. We have the power to make someone’s day a light-hearted and memorable experience, and people need that now more than ever. Let love be the loudest thing about you.

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.