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 chopstick 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 better 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 go back to sleep. The day is waiting for us to step into it.
  2. Keep using what we have and get it right.
  3. Follow some instruction. If the first ones aren’t to our liking, find better instructions.
  4. There’s a waiting period after every step.
  5. Let the water get boiling hot, but don’t let it spew. Anything that gets that hot needs a minute to rest.
  6. Watch the time, and be attentive to the red zone.
  7. Pause and enjoy the bloom. Breathe it in.
  8. When we 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 Easy Road

Another one of my new favorite things is how our cat drinks water. He just started doing this and it’s looks so difficult, but he does live in this house and we don’t do things the easy way.

Our big dog, Denver, has two metal bowls in a stand so they’re off the ground. You probably know the feeding stands I’m referring to. There’s one for water and one for food, side by side, but less than 10 inches off the ground.

Our munchkin cat, Chombus, waits until Denver has emptied his food bowl which I believe is very considerate, and climbs into the empty food bowl. Then he reaches over to the water bowl next to it and drinks water.

So his rear end is sitting in the empty food bowl, while is head is in the water bowl. Why doesn’t he just stand in front of the water bowl and drink? I guess that’s too easy.

Our cat has a good life, so maybe this is his way of challenging himself. Any worthwhile goal doesn’t come easy, but the path that will challenge us the most is never crowded. Let’s hope they’re practicing social distancing on the easy road.

Embrace the Cold

My daughter and I went for a walk this morning. It was chilly outside, but not cold. In previous years, I’ve hibernated in winter and the cold was not my friend. It’s time to face the cold and make a space for change.

Embrace change by making a space, keeping an open mind and leaning into uncertainty with willingness to change. In Texas, cold weather is not a long season. I look at it as being temporary because it will change come March.

Even as magical as I believe my life is, there’s nothing I can do to halt the change, so I have a choice. I can either whine or complain about it, which I have done in previous years, or embrace it. I don’t whine or complain very well.

Warm and cozy feels good, but personal growth occurs outside of warm and cozy. I’ve been walking consistently and was gifted with a pair of running shoes for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Will they sit in the box till Spring?

Nope. Not this year.

Photo by Domen Mirtiu010d Dolenec on Pexels.com

The best way I have found to take away something’s power, is to stop giving it any attention.

Cold weather is not a valid reason to keep me from walking and learning to run. I know how to bundle up, and fashion doesn’t rate very high for me when it comes to warmth. There was no one on the street this morning, so who’s going to notice, but maybe someone will.

Maybe it’s what someone else needs to see because this has been the year of staying indoors. If so, I hope they are inspired to accept this change in season. This change will change, so for now I choose to embrace the cold.

Follow the Breadcrumbs

Once you connect with the dream in your heart, it won’t leave, but it’s easy to put everything else before it. Since posting The Beach Rug, I’ve been following the trail of breadcrumbs.

I’ve had this cutting board for as long as I can remember. Why I took it with me when I left my marriage, I’m not sure, but am grateful I did. I was standing in the kitchen slicing a lemon for a pitcher of lemon water. No matter what I’m cutting, or how much pressure is applied, it just sits there unmoved.

I have a secret to share. When life gets to be a little much, or my job is throwing darts at rapid fire, I make croutons. My daughter will concur, a French Baguette in the house means contentment. I walk into the kitchen, lay it on the cutting board, and pull out my bread knife. I slice it in half, then slice it again lengthwise and continue slicing into the shape of croutons.

Step One of the croutons.

I’ve been doing this since mid March, so it doesn’t require any thought. This is my time to think through some thoughts. With each slice a thought floats by that may or may not need attention. When the slices are complete, I dump them into my red bowl to add garlic, parmesan and olive oil.

Slow the pace to watch your thoughts and only keep the ones of value. By letting go of the ones taking up space, we make room to see what’s important. Focus on that.

Always the red bowl and spatula.

My friend Shawna over at Finding a Sober Miracle left this comment, “This is exactly how my life works! And it happens all the time. And this morning, your blog is another bread crumb in my quest to find out just where I should be focusing my attention.” I found her comment in Spam as I was writing this post. Oh yes, darling check your Spam! Breadcrumbs have a way of hiding.

She left the comment on Breathe It in, and has no idea I’m writing this post which was titled days ago. When I told my daughter about the comment, she asked, “How does it make you feel?” I said, “It’s like confirmation of the path.” Watch for clues that you’re on the right path and follow the breadcrumbs.

Completed croutons in Caesar Salad.

We’ve been talking about living the dream. Here are the posts in order up to now. Thank you for your love and support. ~Barb

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.

Change From Within

This week has been a week of growth. What is that other word for growth? Oh yea…Change. Gearing up to host a Letting Go Workshop makes me reminiscent of the first time I went through one. Going through my lessons from a year ago, it’s encouraging and comforting to see continuous growth.

My life has changed into a life of beauty and wonder. The lessons in the Letting Go Project equipped me with tools to continue to use when needed. One of the many gifts it gave me was feeling the change start to happen from within. It’s an unsettling feeling at first, but if you sit with it long enough, revelation will appear. I’m grateful that I can feel change stirring from within, and let it flow out as a beacon of light upon the path God has in store.

heart

It’s always better when change happens from within to move outward into your life, versus life hitting you from outside and being forced to make changes within. That’s not a good feeling. It causes stress and uncertainty. Once I was at peace with myself, and began to like the person I was becoming, my life began changing accordingly. I didn’t need others to feel good about myself, or depend on them for goodness in my life. Change from within.

Beauty and Grace

Image

As I was standing on the pier this morning, I spotted the largest duck I’d ever seen on the far end of the pond. At first, I wondered if it was a black swan because of it’s size. It would dive under the water, swim a distance, and come up with a fish in its beak. I asked God to bring it close enough so I could get a good look at it, and a pic. That instant…it popped up right beside the pier so close to me, that I was able to snap the one above.  I just watched in awe of the duck, and how quickly and simply God can give us what we ask.
I watched it dive under water, and make its way toward the far end of the pond again. Then it raised up into the air and flew at a low-level. It’s wings were wet, so it was going to take some time to reach altitude. He flew right toward me, adjusted his speed and flew right over my head! He started circling the pond, drying his wings and with each lap gaining altitude. Each lap, I was able to stand with my face pointed toward the sky, opening my eyes at just the right moment to capture his beauty and grace.
I went to the pier, like a lot of mornings, to praise and worship God, and to talk with Him about what was on my mind. With my coaching business, I had thought that I was taking a huge step of faith out of the boat. To walk on the water, no matter how rough it got because He would be there. Today He showed me to dive under the water and go deeper. If I started to feel weighed down, shake the excess off until I could fly.
To be a good Coach, I must first be the student.

Time For A Haircut

God has a plan. He promises it to be a good plan. If my life doesn’t reflect God’s goodness, then I’ve probably been working my plan, not His.  My reflection in the mirror revealed it was also time for a haircut.

I had the same hairstylist for years. She knew exactly how to cut my hair, how short to go, and how close to the edge she could step. Now that I’m an hour away, and enjoy my country life, I have started trying hair stylists that are local. I always say the same thing to them, “Have fun! I like short and edgy, but just make sure I can go out in public with it.” They have my permission to be creative.Change is all around us. We can embrace it, or resist it, but it’s a constant in our daily life. Sometimes a change will occur, and it will affect our circumstances. By then, we feel the need to ‘fix’ our problem instead of facing what caused it. Learning to self evaluate, and make changes prior to seeing the circumstance, is a better way to live. You get to be proactive in your life.

Pick your life…don’t let it pick you.

So…the haircut. The stylist I met with obviously knows the secret of change. She cut my hair in a specific way, the smallest sections at a time, to lay exactly as she intended. I usually leave a salon, go home to wash my hair, and get it back to my normal style. What looks normal to me anyway. No matter how hard I try to style it now, it lays in the fashion to which she cut it. Straight down and to the side, with a small spike at the crown. This frustrated me at first, but then I realized, I gave her permission to make a change.

Once you give yourself permission to change, things will fall into place. As long as I continue to style it the way she intended, it will look great! It’s when I start messing with it, and try reverting back the style I’m used to, it looks like a beaver that’s been electrocuted. Our lives have unlimited possibilities, and our God has no limits. It’s time to Let It Go to make space new. Quality of life you will enjoy the rest of your life.

The Seeds of Success by Og Mandino

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 an another, discord, yet no one will blame the instrument. Life is the same, and if I play it correctly, it will give 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 with 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.

©The Seeds of Success from Mission: Success! by Og Mandino