The Life You Really Want Begins With The First Step

I woke up at 4am, and couldn’t decide whether or not to go back to sleep. It’s amazing how many tiny choices we make in a day, with each one altering the next.

I began thinking of my French Press and how I haven’t used it very much. It was one of those things Barb ‘had to have’, but I couldn’t get satisfied with the taste of the coffee. I have read articles from coffee experts, and the instructions that came with the press, but this early in the morning, I wanted some simple steps. Google led me to an article by the easy to follow woman behind Gimme Some Oven.

Her way of making it just made sense to me, so I hopped outta bed at 5:00 am, and strolled quietly into the kitchen with instructions in hand, ready to try again. There are several steps involved in making a French Press, but anything that’s worthwhile has steps.

First I had to see how much water the press would hold. It held 4 cups, so I poured the water into the gooseneck kettle and sat it on the stove to bring it to a boil. Then waited. After it begins to boil, the water needs to rest for a minute, so I took it off the burner to rest.

I opened the timer on my phone and set it for 4 minutes, and poured the freshly ground beans into the French Press, just going through the steps. The hot water was poured just over the bed of grinds, about 2 inches, and stirred with a wooden stick to wet every grind, and the timer began.

My favorite part is watching it bloom. Putting my face over the press, I inhaled the magical aroma. If it’s really good coffee it should bloom, or foam up. The more it foams, the higher the quality. After one minute had passed, the rest of the water was poured in and the lid was put into place. The screen rested on top of the water with the plunger standing up.

I watched the countdown of time ticking by with the numbers illuminated blue in color. It was interesting when the timer got down to the last 30 seconds, the numbers turned red.

The one thing that bothered me about using the French press in the past was the feel of the pressing. I know how it’s supposed to feel when you press the plunger down with the palm of your hand. It should have some resistance, and not be effortless. This time it had plenty of resistance, so in the past I hadn’t poured enough in.

Le Creuset Café Stoneware French Press

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t roll over and go back to sleep. The day is waiting for you to step into it.
  2. Use what you have and get it right.
  3. Follow some instruction. If the first ones aren’t for you, find better instructions.
  4. There’s a waiting period after every step.
  5. You want the water boiling hot, but don’t let it spew. Anything that gets that hot needs a minute to rest.
  6. Watch your time, and be attentive to the red zone.
  7. Pause and enjoy the bloom. Breathe it in.
  8. When you begin to press through and there’s resistance, it’s normal. Nothing worthwhile should feel like an easy plunge, just continue to gently press.

Was getting up early, and trying once again to make a French Press worth it? You better believe it! That was excellent coffee. Keep trying and be willing to go through some steps to get to where you really want to be.

It all begins with the first step.

The Beach Rug

This Google photo was the start of my vision of living near the beach. The first time I uploaded it to WordPress was June of 2017, so it’s been held in my heart and mind for years. I’m not willing to let it go until it comes to fruition.

The first time I saw it, I knew it was me. The woman in the photo is younger and I have short hair, but it’s the the way she’s seated all in white, gazing out at the ocean like she’s home.

Recently, I was sitting on my front porch and I can’t help but look down at the rug beneath my feet. It makes me smile every time I see it. The first time I saw it was February 2019 at a house Mr. Smith and I stayed in for Valentine’s Day weekend. So many things resonated with me about this house. The owner is a creative and had sacred spaces graciously placed.

A tranquil path with water feature between the main house and guest house.

This is where I saw the rug. There were several rugs scattered around the outdoor living area, but there was one I couldn’t forget. I took a quick picture of it as we were leaving.

Once back home, It didn’t take long to find it online. At the time it seemed like a silly purchase, a rug for outside, but it reminded me of the beach. It brings me pure joy every time I see it, so it was worth the hunt and it was on sale.

Looking at the rug, I remembered emailing myself the picture to shop for it online. I wondered if I still had that picture, because when I snapped it, there was more in it than just the rug.

The rug on my front porch, is the one the cat is standing on.

Have you seen our cat? He looks just like this cat, but ours is a Munchkin and came into our lives just a few months ago. My daughter thinks this photo is pretty creepy. That I just happen to snap a picture as a reminder of the rug, as a cat was standing on it and we now have both. The vision is rolling right along.

Believe in your dreams and keep reminders in front of you. Thank you for being here and I hope you enjoyed the beach rug. ~Barb.

A Level Life

You can smell the coffee. Not that it’s being made, but that so much has been ground and brewed, it lingers. The coffee bar is in the middle of the house, so you could say, it’s at our core.

This morning as I was writing down my completed actions of the self trust cultivator, everything I did took place in the core of the house. Fed and watered the animals in the hallway. Brushed my teeth in the hall bath, and began a load of laundry in the hallway. Started the Chemex at the coffee bar.

What took place in the core, fed everyone’s core.

chemex

There’s a flow in life, and it starts at the core.

Our cat let me know his water bowl was empty by hopping in the kitchen sink trying to find water. He knows what a water spout looks like, and was hoping to find some in the sink. It took me a minute to figure out what he was doing, but when I put him on the floor, he went to the bathtub, another water source.

Then I saw his empty water bowl.

When the balance and flow of life coincide, it feels like everything is lined up and level. After I took this picture, it was reassuring to see how everything lined up. The level is sitting on the corner of my desk, and that wouldn’t be good to have a desk off center. It would effect the balance of every task at the desk.

alevellife

My first full-time job was working in a custom frame shoppe. I learned so many life skills with that job. Every cut of the frame, glass and mat was based on precision, and performed by hand. We relied on math for it to fit together perfectly.

When cutting the mat to go around the picture, we’d leave 1/2 an inch more mat at the bottom. Once in the frame, the mat looked equal on every side, but adding that 1/2 an inch at the bottom is what made it look even to the naked eye.

Thanks to that job, I have a keen sense of awareness in being centered. I lay that little level in the picture above on everything. After hanging a picture, it gets the level laid on it.

If you feel off centered, or unbalanced, start at the core and then take in your surroundings. The core craves balance, but our surroundings can have a negative effect on that. It could be something like a picture hanging crooked, or a piece of furniture that’s been knocked off center.

Our wood floor has a flow of the grain, so all the rectangular tables in our home are pointing in that direction. They are flowing with the grain in the wood floor, along with the center of the house which is like a long rectangular core.

Find a small level and lay it on all the areas of your life.

My hope for you is to live a level life.

That is Enough

I was thinking about her comment while making the morning Chemex. It was in response to this meme I posted for SC Lourie.

She was having a hard time being a single Mom, but what stuck with me the most was, “I feel like I fail my children everyday.”

I want her to know, that’s so far from the truth my darling.

tuesday

I wasn’t paying attention to the pour of the Chemex. The boiling water hit the grounds too fast, and they slid down the filter in spots. It wasn’t pretty, but that’s what distraction does.

It was no big deal. I resolved to drink it, and if it bothered me too much, I’d make another one, because that’s what I do. Start over as many times necessary until satisfied with the end result.

chemex2
The Re-do

The only failure is not trying again.

Just show up, and keep trying your best. Start over as many times needed, and you won’t feel beaten. Kids watch what we do, but they don’t grade our performance. They don’t expect perfection from us, but I think we do. You woke up to a new day, and sometimes my darling, even that is enough.

Lay In It

It doesn’t take much to inspire me.

Sitting at the coffee table this morning, I was watching one of our dogs. I had opened the front door for him, first thing this morning. It’s nice and cool outside, and I thought he would enjoy laying in front of the screen door.

But no, what does he do?

He walks to the back of the house, and sticks his face in the sunlight streaming in from my bedroom windows. There’s a small patch of light from my room, laying on the hallway floor. He knows better than to go into my room.

This big dog, lays down in this skinny patch of light.

denvo

Denver boy knows what to do.

Always search for the light, and even if it’s just a sliver, lay in it.

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.

Get to Growing

This meme resonated with me and has been sitting on my desktop all year.

raining

For months, it feels like there’s been more rain than sunshine in Texas. I’ve written about blooming, but today I’m wondering if that’s the easy part. Like an exhalation.

The part of the bloom worth remembering is everything leading up to it. Wind, rain and cooler temperatures anyone?

We grow through what we go through.

This has helped me see the rainy days in a whole new light. Maybe blooming is the easy part. Growth happens with the rain.

Let it rain and get to growing.

Pause and Breathe

Chocolate makes everything better.

As I’m standing in line with a bag of chocolate eggs, I saw this magazine. Just seeing it poured a bucket of calm over me, so it was added to my purchase.

magcover

Trusting where you are today matters for who you’ll be tomorrow.

I believe those words. I’ve watched them come to fruition in my life continually and there are people who remind me.

Speaking with a friend yesterday, he reminded me that I’ve been here before, and to look at where I am now. I’m starting a new job. Well, actually it’s an extension of one of my existing jobs, but I’ll be working for one company instead of two.

It’s unsettling with all the technology I’ll be learning, and the added responsibility, but he tells me I say that every time!

As I was eating brunch yesterday, I read this article of things I know, but needed to see.

pageofmag

I hope this displays large enough to be readable and it covers you in comfort. Our days feel uncertain, but we’ve been here before.

Turning the page, I came upon this.

pauseandbreathe
The purpose of this page is to give you permission to pause and to breathe and to be.

Hey there Darling…Pause and breathe.

That Wooden Spoon

Around the same time I bought the explosion of happiness wreath, I spotted a tool caddy for our kitchen. It’s meant to be used as a small planter, but not here.

toolcaddy

When I take pictures, I email them to myself with notes: That wooden Spoon. I didn’t move it to take this picture. Maybe this is how people began staging their photos? To display how they want it to be, or should be. This picture is not perfect to some, but it’s real.

I sent this picture to my daughter and she loved the caddy. I rearranged the cooking utensils to take another one for this post, but changed my mind. Mainly to get that wooden spoon out of front and center.

It’s not very pretty. It’s been used.

My daughter bought a colorful silicone spatula with a metal handle. It looks good, but can’t scrape the bottom of the pan like this guy does. There hasn’t been a messy pan yet that it couldn’t assist in fixing.

The photo may not be aesthetic, but I snapped it for my daughter, so it’s personal. This caddy holds our ‘ go to’ kitchen utensils, but all I see are moments. We cook our meals together and have incomparable conversation while cooking.

Today, the one that’s earned some time front and center is that wooden spoon.

The Right Time

To change as gracefully as the seasons.

I had to smile at myself as I was trying to make the bedroom blinds hang level. Gently releasing the left cord and then the right, back and forth until it fell into a level edge. I thought, “Wow Barb. If only you could do that in real life.”

Just by pulling the right cord.

My circumstances are changing, but it’s not happening fast enough for me. The first glimpse was last Christmas and it was like God whispered, “Get ready. It’s coming.”

I know I’m being ridiculous. We don’t end a day in Winter and wake up to an immediate Spring. (We sorta do in Texas, but you catch my drift) It happens gradually my darling. Each day and night becomes a little bit warmer, until we arrive in a new season.

I made this comment to my daughter. “By the end of March my life will look totally different.” It just fell out of my mouth and I don’t know whether to be excited, or scared.

circumstances

 

It’s not my job to hurry change or slow it down, but today I want to. Just like the blinds, I wanted to hold one cord in each hand to feel that sense of control with this change. I wanted to see the sun streaming in instead of looking at the clouds.

I want, I want, I want, is not how it works, thankfully. I’m not in charge and today I can be grateful for that. Have Faith in what you know. The sun is still shining above the clouds. I don’t have to see it to know.

The dominoes are lining up, and a gentle breeze will begin their fall, at the right time.