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.

Embracing the New

I got a new phone. This may not seem earthshattering to you, but for me it’s a bold move. The phone I had was perfectly alright, and it’s served me well for years. My favorite part of that phone was the camera because it took pretty pictures, or so I thought.

The day I bought this new phone I wasn’t looking for a phone. I was online paying my internet bill, and saw an advertisement that might be helpful in my workplace. I called to ask a few questions about their phone service and the customer service rep told me about it. Before I realized it, she was asking about my phone, and offering up better options. Honestly, she had my attention with two words. Samsung Galaxy. Her name is Tamika, and she said, “Ms. Holmes. I’m not leaving until we find you a phone you’ll love.” She was true to her word, and spent 45 minutes going over every Galaxy option. She wanted to know what’s most important to me in a phone, and I told her, “The camera to capture moments.”

Two days later, the phone arrived.

It looked huge compared to the phone I was using, but it also looked thin and sleek. It didn’t seem to have many apps, but I didn’t know at first to swipe the screen up instead of to the left. It has five cameras instead on one, but I just wanted to point and shoot, so at first I thought maybe I made a mistake getting something so new and technologically savvy. I guess they are called a ‘smart phone’ for a reason, but I didn’t want it to be smarter than me. That’s when I pulled up YouTube and watched a few tutorials on how to use the phone before making a decision.

As the years flow by, it’s best to stay in that flow. Of course we long for the simple life of our youth, but when technology is involved, it’s not all that simple, but there’s good news! We can learn. To keep an open mind and heart in this day and age, and never stop learning. Don’t be afraid of new my darling. Find a YouTuber to show you how to use it.

Here’s a photo taken with my old phone.
Here’s one minute later taken with the new phone.

It was a cloudy day, so there was no sunlight, but look at the difference! You can count every stitch of the bedspread in the second photo. Utilizing the limited amount of natural light, I found it interesting that it picked up every shadow. The old phone sorta whitewashed everything. Which photo speaks to you?

Embracing the new involves letting go of something old. I know people who miss the flip phone, but those phone were made for phone calls, which was how we stay connected back in the day. Technology is here to make life easier, but it looks hard to use. It’s really not when we’re willing to learn. My daughter says it looks like an iPhone, how dare she. 🙂

Thanks to Tamika educating me, it’s a keeper because I do love my new phone.

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.

The Draft Folder

I’m being drawn toward the draft folder, so I’ve dedicated the month of December to cleaning out drafts. If you see a random post that doesn’t quite go with the flow, you’ll know Barb finished a draft. 🙂

A full draft folder used to feel overwhelming. There are no stacks of paper piled up on my desk because it feels like clutter, but the draft folder felt like stacks of paper, so once it piled up, it was sorted through.

Some were trashed, but most were published. There were posts sitting in there for years, but that’s when the old rule that works in all areas of my life came into play. “If it hasn’t been used in a year, it’s probably not gonna be used.” December is a good month to declutter.

Think of drafts as stories waiting for their Writer to return. There are six drafts in my draft folder, but if you’re reading this, it went down to five.

What’s waiting for you in your draft folder?

The Seeds of Success by Og Mandino

letting-seed-grow

God, I thank you for this day.

I know I have not accomplished as yet all you expect of me, and if that is your reason for bathing me in the fresh dew of another dawn, I am most grateful.

I am prepared at last, to make you proud of me.

I will forget yesterday, with all it’s trial and tribulations, aggravations and setbacks, angers and frustrations. The past is already a dream from which I can neither retrieve a single word nor erase any foolish deeds.

I will resolve, however, that if I have injured anyone yesterday through my thoughtlessness, I will not let this day’s sun set before I make amends, and nothing I do today will be of greater importance.

I will not fret the future. My success and happiness does not depend on straining to see what lurks dimly on the horizon, but to do, this day, what lies clearly at hand.

I will treasure this day, for it is all I have. I know that’s it’s rushing hours cannot be accumulated or stored, like precious grain, for future use.

I will live as all good actors do when they are on stage-only in the moment. I cannot perform at my best today by regretting my previous act’s mistakes or worrying about the scene to come.

I will embrace today’s difficult tasks, take off my coat, and make dust in the world. I will remember that the busier I am, the less harm I am apt to suffer, the tastier will be my food, the sweeter my sleep, and the better satisfied I will be with my place in the world.

I will free myself today from slavery to the clock and calendar. Although I will plan this day in order to conserve my steps and energy, I will begin to measure my life in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not seasons; in feelings, not figures on a dial.

I will remain aware of how little it takes to make this a happy day. Never will I pursue happiness, because it is not a goal, just a by-product, and there is no happiness in having or in getting, only in giving.

I will run from no danger I might encounter today, because I am certain that nothing will happen to me that I am not equipped to handle with your help. Just as any gem is polished by friction, I am certain to become more valuable through this day’s adversities, and if you close one door, you always open another for me.

I will live this day as if it were Christmas. I will be a giver of gifts and deliver to my enemies the gift of forgiveness; my opponents, tolerance; my friends, a smile; my children, a good example, and every gift will be wrapped with unconditional love.

I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day.

I will treat today as a priceless violin. One may draw harmony from it and another, discord, yet no one will blame the instrument. Life is the same, and if I play it correctly, it will forth beauty, but if I play it ignorantly, it will produce ugliness.

I will condition myself to look on every problem I encounter today as no more than a pebble in my shoe. I remember the pain, so harsh I could hardly walk, and recall my surprise when I removed my shoe and found only a grain of sand.

I will work convinced that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. To do anything today that is truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in the gusto and scramble through as well as I can.

I will face the world with goals set for this day, but they will be attainable ones, not the vague, impossible variety declared by those who make a career of failure. I realize that you always try me a little first, to see what I would do with a lot.

I will never hide my talents. If I am silent, I am forgotten, if I do not advance, I will fall back. If I walk away from any challenge today, my self-esteem will be forever scarred, and if I cease to grow, even a little, I will become smaller. I reject the stationary position because it is always the beginning of the end.

I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today. I know that the world is a looking-glass and gives back to me the reflection of my own soul. Now I understand the secret of correcting the attitude of others and that is to correct my own.

I will turn away from any temptation today that might cause me to break my word or lose my self-respect. I am positive that the only thing I possess more valuable than my life is my honor.

I will work this day with all my strength, content in the knowledge that life does not consist of wallowing in the past or peering anxiously at the future. It is appalling to contemplate the great number of painful steps by which one arrives at a truth so old, so obvious, and so frequently expressed. Whatever it offers, little or much, my life is now.

I will pause whenever I am feeling sorry for myself today, and remember that this is the only day I have and must play it to the fullest. What my part may signify in the great whole. I may not recognize, but I am here to play it and now is the time.

I will count this day a separate life.

I will remember that those who have fewest regrets are those who take each moment as it comes for all that it’s worth.

This is my day!

These are my seeds.

Thank you, God, for this precious garden of time.

Let Me In

This week, I have been reflecting on growth and the progress made. My daughter suggested I look at that and she is always right. This brings us to matters of the heart, which mine had grown hard over the years. God has a blowtorch.

Loving and being loved are two different things. It’s a simple act of kindness to love others, but to let others love you? There are many levels and the higher we go, the more difficult it gets. I can let someone in, but only so far.

What I found is the level I let them in, is the level the relationship stays. The more I give, the more they give and receive. I remember standing on the pier, asking God, “When are you going to send that special someone to love?” God promptly replied, “When are you going to let me?”

God will send someone to nudge their way into your heart, mind and soul. You don’t have to be ready, but you need to be willing. They won’t settle for just a little bit of you, or a part time love. No, they want all of you and in a big way. God won’t send a sissy. No, it will be someone strong enough to handle every piece of what you have to offer.

Let go of your heart and allow someone in to love you. It’s not as hard as you think, and the letting in is worth it.

Break the Cycle

There is a reason and season for everything. Keeping our eyes and ears open will allow us to see, even if we don’t feel ready. When we least expect it God will reveal something that will make us pause and study our path. We are ready.

door

There are normally signs along the way. It’s easy to miss the small details, but if we take notice, we can watch them accumulate. Choosing to ignore the signs prolongs the inevitable. There is less pain in letting go of something, or someone that is already long gone.

Listen to your heart, but take your brain with you.

The way we were raised has a lot to do with our beliefs, especially about ourselves. I have friends that are in miserable marriages because they were raised to fight for the marriage. My parents stayed married until all the kids were out of the house and then they got a divorce. I chose to break that cycle and let go of what was gone.

moments

Life is an ever changing cycle so what I learned as a child isn’t always what’s best for me today. I recall early in my letting go process going through a list of things my mother said and digging for truth. Would I get sick if I went outside with my hair wet? Was sex my duty as a wife? I was able to debunk most of the list.

I don’t have to utilize everything I was taught growing up. I’m grateful to have choices. Part of the Letting Go process is laying everything out on a table, picking and choosing what I want to keep to move forward in life. If it’s good and adds value I kept it and build upon that. My parents instilled a solid foundation to build a life that is beautiful.

Better Is Coming

better

Almost two years ago, I looked at my life and asked myself, “Is this God’s best?” It was pretty clear it wasn’t the best because it was a life of barely getting by. God doesn’t barely get by. He is abundant in every area of our lives.

I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion of what I should do. Praying and letting God know what steps I saw to take, was all I needed. He could have stopped me at anytime. Did my friends think I was crazy for leaving a 25 year marriage? Yes, they did. Did people think I was crazy for leaving the security of my town to move out in the middle of nowhere? Yes.

I grabbed my daughter, and left everything I knew as familiar, and stepped into the unknown. God had it all waiting for me. The house, land, pier to praise and worship on, nobody knew my name, and they still don’t. This house and the time here has been a place of healing for me. To Let Go of the past so I could enjoy the moment.

Today, God is giving me another new beginning. After going through the Letting Go process and being secure in who I am, it is time to move on. My daughter and I sat down last December and talked about our goals and dreams for 2015. We spoke about a nicer house, and named off some things that were missing with this one that we wanted. We still wanted land, but to have a laundry room with a washer and dryer would be cool.

This house didn’t have a washer/dryer. We’ve been driving into town and using a laundromat every week, while living here.

When we came across this house we are moving into, the owner took us in through the back door. We stepped into a large mudroom lined with custom cabinetry. There was an old dryer sitting there by itself, so I was a little puzzled.

After walking through the house, we were in love with all the woodwork and character it held. As we were wrapping up our tour, the owner said, “Don’t worry about that old dryer sitting there. I am having a brand new washer and dryer installed in a couple of weeks.” Welcome home.

You Are Here

You gotta love the directory at a large shopping mall. You walk over to look up the store location of your choice, but first it helps to find the spot that says, “You Are Here.” I want one of those for my life.

accept

This quote is the mantra for my coaching career. I love the simplicity and have to remind myself of it frequently. It’s very simple to read and say, but much more difficult to do. We like being in control but, I can tell you from experience, it’s more productive to Let It Go.

Our body and mind love pleasure. It will gravitate toward pleasure faster than pain. Some think their life should have a certain amount of pain. That they are not supposed to walk in complete happiness. The saying, “No pain, no gain”, should be debunked. That is one of the many things my program does. It looks at those old beliefs and sayings we grew up hearing, and determines if we want to utilize them in our lives today.

To give up control means stepping into the unknown. That can sound like a scary place to be, but it’s not. I have done this so many times in the past two years alone, today I pretty much run toward the unknown. If you have read any of my blogs, you know I have a ginormous God. Learning to walk by faith, that He has a plan for me and my life, makes stepping into the unknown easier. You could do it with a positive mental state as well. To know that everything is going to turn out for good will get you moving.

bottom

I had allowed my life to become so miserable, anything would have been an improvement. This is called hitting bottom. God will allow us to do that. How miserable will we become before we are willing to make a change? This is a horrible place to be. Everything looks dismal and grey.

Let me encourage you today that life is meant to be beautiful! By going through the letting go process one day at a time, one lesson at a time, we chip away at the ugly and let the light shine through. For me, it felt like shedding layers of old skin, until I got down to the real me. The people that came into my life were people that added good, not chaos.

Stepping into the unknown is an invigorating place to be. If you are at your bottom there’s great news! The only way to go is up! Take my hand and let’s go.

Choose Happiness

Happiness is something you have to hold onto. Life happens fast, and circumstances can steal your joy. People will come into your life to steal your joy because they have none. We can share our joy with others, but don’t give it all away or allow it be taken. Life is 10% of what happens and the 90% is how we react. Hold on tight.

sign

Last week, I received a text from a friend I haven’t spoken with in a while. She was at one of our favorites stores and saw this sign. She sent me this pic and said, “Saw this today and it reminded me of you.” How sweet is that? I’m honored and delighted that she thought of me when she saw, “Choose Happiness.”

I was talking to another friend recently and listening to the problems she was facing in her life. They all stemmed from certain people she was allowing to be a part of her life. She probably saw a perplexed look on my face because I don’t have problems like that anymore. Why? Because I don’t allow people like that into my life anymore.

Set your standards high.

If you don’t like the way you are treated by some people then tell them. The setting of your standards and what you allow will attract those type people. Raise your standards and God will place people in your life to meet them. Continue to raise them and you’ll continually meet those people.

Don’t settle for the life you have now if you want one that is better. God promises that He has plans for us and they are more than we can even imagine or hope for. So, even the best life we can possibly imagine, God has more in store for us.

Going through the Letting Go process cleaned out a lot of stinking thinking and people. I expect from others what I expect from myself and my standards are high. This narrows the playing field, but I have a quality of life that is more than I could ever imagine or hope for. Choose happiness and surround yourself with everything it brings.