Connectedness

It’s a word often used and I’ve been thinking about it all year. I’m practicing ways to be more intentional with connectedness. Case in point, my friend Dawn over at Aging with Grace.

Around a month ago, she published a post about a book she came across on her bookshelf and was going to read again. The name of the book is Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. While reading Dawn’s blogpost, I spotted that same book on my shelf collecting dust, so I wiped it off and vowed to begin reading it as well.

It’s a daily read, so I leave it laying out in pain sight. When my world gets still, I sit down and read it, knowing she’s read the same page. I’m sure the time of day we read varies as I picture Dawn reading it first thing in the morning with a cup of tea. That would be the proper way and I learn from Dawn the proper way to do things.

But that’s in my mind’s eye, maybe she’s more like me in having to make an appointment with myself to sit down and read it.

This morning as I strolled through the house, I realized it’s a workday and the schedule for today began rolling through my mind. I pressed the pause button on it and made a cup of coffee. Once the cup was complete, I went to my corner, sat in the chair, and picked up the book. Turning to today’s page and reading it over while sipping my magical brew gave me a full sense of connectedness.

What we have on our plate can wait while we share a moment of connectedness.

Click here to enjoy Dawn’s original post entitled, “Abundance Isn’t Always Simple.” She’s a soul filled Writer. 💖

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.

Eat the Frog

I was perplexed by these three words displayed on my momentum plugin. It was early Sunday morning, and not enough coffee had been consumed, but I felt like I should know what this means.

Google and I had a conversation. Me: “Hey Google! What does eat the frog mean?” Google replies, “Eat that Frog technique delivers an important message that says if people wish to be successful in their lives, then they have to take immediate, and necessary actions without overthinking too much. According to Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog tactic should be implemented first thing in the morning.”

My momentum plugin needs to tell me that on Monday, not a Sunday. Up until this week, I was taking Monday’s off, but our Team has expanded. There’s a lot of activity in Basecamp on Monday’s and I tried to ignore it, but I can either be a part of it, or play catchup on Tuesday’s. I chose to be a Team player and be present on Monday’s. That way I can give immediate response to who needs what.

I’ll have a normal work week of Monday through Friday with Zen Habits! My other job will take a little bit of weekend time, but we’re going back to Self Care Sunday. Monday will be our designated day to eat the frog.

One Happy Day

Whenever I make a Chemex it makes me smile in more ways than one. I was thinking of an exchange I had with my daughter and it still brings a grin to my face during the first pour. I had told her, “I need a timer to count the first pour”, to which she cutely replied, “You can’t count to 30?” I know, she needs to treat me better. 😂

Standing by the window, that’s what comes to mind while making the Chemex, but then I noticed a miracle in the making outside the window. There’s a bowl of water sitting at the edge of the pebbled walkway, and mind you it’s been sitting there all summer. It was placed there for the birds, but I’ve only seen squirrels drink from it, until today.

Isn’t it pretty?

The birds finally found it, and it was a thrilling moment for all! I thought it was funny how it’s been sitting there for months, but this was brand new to them. It reminded me of how God has everything already lined up and waiting for us to realize it. I used to think I spent a lot of time waiting on God, but in reality He was more than likely waiting on me. Just because we haven’t seen it yet, doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting. (faith)

Like this bowl of water. It’s been sitting there waiting for them all summer long, but once they found it, that became one happy day.

Space to Grow

I’m reading The Artist’s Way for a second time. This year my Kindle died, but instead of replacing the device, I’m replacing digital books with real ones. Julia Cameron was first on the list for replacement, and I found a whole stack of her books at a second hand sale. 🥳

The Morning pages and I have a longtime love/hate relationship. I still can’t write all three pages every morning, but one solid page is better than none. Maybe it’s something you have to build up to, like each stroke across the page is strengthening the muscle needed to go onto page 2 and then 3. I had to smile at Julia’s description of her Morning Pages in The Artist’s Way.

“In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the Morning Pages,” says Julia. That’s one of the things I fancy most about these spaces I’ve shared with you this week. Only one has a valid reason, and that’s only temporary. The other two are pointless, and have no solid reason behind them, but when you have no particular reason you stand before the door of possibilities.

This morning my corner wasn’t comfortable to write the Morning Pages, so I moved to the kitchen table. The first sentence said, “I don’t have much to say today,” but before long I was filling in the last line of the page. What Julia describes as an apparently pointless process, is where the magic in this simple practice is revealed.

At this stage of my life there is not a lot of reasoning behind the majority of what takes place. It’s not so much the actual space as it is allowing time within that space to grow.

Fire and Rain

I cleaned up the firepit area and ordered curved, metal benches for seating. They were lost during shipment and never arrived. I received a refund for the benches and chalked it up to, God has a better plan, once again!

I’m still looking at benches, but in the meantime, I planted a ground cover around half of the pit. When it rains it gets muddy, so the ground cover is taking root and starting to spread. A few days ago, I noticed something while watering with the rain head. If I start at the top, the water cascades around the half circle and they water one another.

I purchased the fire pit two years ago and you can read about it here. Watering the ground cover was a reminder of the vision I have for creating this space. To sit around this fiery pit with whoever needs watering. Whether it’s a neighbor walking by I’ve never met, or a friend I’ve known for years, we can gather here to refresh.

The meme used as the feature photo in this post was published in the Fearless Mastery FB page. The people in that group are called Firestarter’s who continually light their lives on fire. I help manage the page for Zen Habits, and these souls encourage one another in a manner which mimics fanning each other’s flame.

It’s exciting to surround ourselves with the Firestarter’s of life, but every so often even the fire is required to sit with the rain.

Wide Open Spaces

I dismantled my coffee bar.

Didn’t see that coming did ya? Neither did I, and it all fell apart so gracefully. It’s was about a month ago when I began to feel a tug at my heart every time I walked by it, so I knew this was coming. It’s like God always gives me a heads up before anything big is going to happen, and I was pretty quick to follow suit this time.

I was asked to take on a project by my guys over at Zen Habits, and it was an overwhelming thought at first. They want me to assemble, pack up and mail 24 gift boxes for their Fearless Mastery program participants before the end of September. Our house is less than 1,000 square feet, but I’m a big believer in, ‘you have everything you need.’

The space was there, it was just being used as a coffee bar. I took a day and moved coffee paraphernalia piece by piece to it’s new location near the kitchen. How did I know this was divine intervention? Because it all fell together seamlessly, and it’s better than before.

Chemex Coffeemaker

We’ll find our creativity in wide open spaces.

Feel the Music

Every time I listen to this song, I hear something different, but it holds the same message.

On the dating apps there’s a series of questions some want to go through. I answer them, but find myself not asking many in return. One man even asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” I replied, “Yes. Tell me who you are today.” That helps decide if they get a date.

It’s fun talking with my daughter about dating. She just turned 22, so the guys she’s talking with don’t have much of a past. They have so much life ahead of them to learn from. Some of the men around my age, or older are beat up by their past, and hesitant to try again.

I’m thinking about dating men younger than me, but not as young as my daughter. 🙂 By the age of 45 they’ve lived life, and have at least one divorce under their belt, but still have life in them. They haven’t let their past define them, instead they seem to know…

All the boats I’ve missed
All the hell I’ve caused
All the lips I’ve kissed
All the love I’ve lost
I got kicked around
I’ve been black and blue
On my way to you

If the video doesn’t show up, click here to view.

Missing the Wave

Scrupulous. Intentional. Breathing in moments.

That’s how I envisioned last week would be. Daily life landed me far from the mark, and I missed some moments. One moment in particular hurt my heart a little bit, but sometimes that’s what it takes to snag my attention.

I was working in the yard moving plants as my daughter walked out of the house toward her Jeep. I walk up alongside her, give her a hug, and as she backs out, I stroll over to the pathway of stepping stones in the middle of the yard and wait for her to drive by. Except that day, I had a shovel in my hand and was moving one more plant.

This is something new we began doing this year, and it’s become ritual.

Normally, I stand on the path, wait for her to drive by and give her this wave filled with exuberance, like Miss America after drinking way too much coffee. She waves too, but that day when she drove by, I was in the side yard, so I missed the wave. It’s difficult to know how important something is until it’s missed.

A few days later she was leaving the house and we stepped through our leaving ritual. I suggested when she reached the end of the driveway to turn in the opposite direction and drive by the house one lot over that had been beautifully repainted. She sat there a moment and said, “But if I go that way, I’ll miss the wave.”

I smiled and on que began walking toward the middle of the yard to the path. This time, there was no missing the wave.


There once was a guy who named his dog, ‘Stay.’ When he called him to come the poor dog heard, “Come here, Stay.”