Tag: over fifity

Ride the Elephant

I’m officially an empty nester. I’ve known since May my daughter was going to be living on her own, but it was daunting when she came to pick up some of her things to take to her new home. The next morning, I walked through the house and could see and feel the empty spaces.

One of my books for morning reading is Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Recently, she wrote about her family vacationing years ago at a beach resort and one afternoon there was a surprise activity for the children: a ride on an elephant around the hotel parking lot. Her little girl was delirious with excitement and that night as she tucked her daughter in bed she said, “Some mornings you wake up not knowing what will happen during the day and you get to ride an elephant!”

Delirious with excitement. We were designed to be that way, but life can bury the child in all of us over years of trying to make it through the day. I don’t wish to simply make it through the day, but instead see what the day has to offer. The weekend is here and I purposefully didn’t make any plans. I want to leave plenty of space for these two days to unfold on their own. If I was sitting on a beach near a hotel with activities for a child, you know me well enough to know…I’d have to ride the elephant.

Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

Find Your Words

I spoke with Hercules before lighting the firepit. He’s my neighbor and ‘good choice’ guru, but he’ll tell you it’s because he’s made a lifetime of not so good choices that he can offer better answers today. He said, “Barbara, if you want to light your pit, then you should do it. Just drop a hose nearby.” I mentioned writing about him in a Blog and our conversation went something like this…

Him: I didn’t think you were Blogging anymore.

Me: Yes, I renewed my website for another year.

Him: But, the last time we talked you were going to stop Blogging.

Me: I tell myself that all the time.

Him: Well, I stopped reading the Blog because you said you were going to stop. I’ll go find the Blog.

Me: Awesome. You are Hercules!

He laughed and said, “Barbara, it’s from thinking I was Hercules all those years that got me in the shape I’m in today!”

Hercules supports my crazy ideas and doesn’t mind that I write about him. When I first met him it didn’t take long to realize how much wisdom he holds and I told him, “You should write a book!” He laughed, and shook his head, but now he lives next-door to someone who will.

I ran across a Blogsite where a man stopped Blogging last year and wondered if he lost his voice, but blogging helped me find my voice and refines it. My disclaimer is, “If you’re in my life, you’re probably going to be in a story.” The blogger who lost his voice was in a season where family was involved in every storyline, and he didn’t feel it was solely his story to tell. As writer’s we get to tell our side of the story.

Finding your voice is a path paved by alphabetized keys, or pen to paper. This Blog began in 2014, and you’d never know by reading it that my divorce was one of the nastiest times of my life. As a writer, we get to choose the parts we want to tell and can uncover the good parts if we want to badly enough. I’d venture to speculate the blogger who lost his voice didn’t lose it, but instead someone voiced their opinion about his writing and silenced him.

We have a voice and writing is practice for finding it. You haven’t lost your voice my darling, but you may need to sit with yourself in front of the blank page until you find your words.

The Plant Wipes

My daughter stood in the doorway and said, “Your room has such a vibe since adding that plant.” I agreed, and a couple have been added to her room, but she’s been forewarned “If you come home one day and your room is my new studio, you stayed gone too long.” 😂


Hill Country Water Gardens began as an Artist date, but now it’s routine for immediate inspiration. I’ve written about it here, and it’s my happy place, but instead of looking for flowers for the yard, I discovered the magical, massive greenhouse filled to the brim with houseplants. That’s where the plant wipes were stacked as a display and just seemed like they would add value to my life and the plants.

You saw the smallish Fiddle-leaf Fig in the post, The Plant Stand, and that one is doing so well, I purchased a larger version for my bedroom. I don’t know if you noticed the tree in the feature photo of Queen of Everything, but that’s Jordan’s Fiddle-leaf Fig. They’ll get huge if you let them. The leaves are large, but I noticed over the weekend they love to collect dust. Well, that simply won’t do.

I brought the plants wipes home, opened the container which was reminiscent of baby wipes. Pulled one out, laid a leaf in my hand, and wiped the entire surface. I started at the top and worked my way down, one leaf at a time. The wipe began turning black, revealing evidence of dirt from each leaf. I’d discard it, grab a fresh one and keep wiping. It was a meditative experience.

I learned things about the plant being that close up, and they say working with your hands is food for the soul. Maybe that’s why I’m happiest in the yard with dirt covered hands. As you can see, there’s no dirt on this plant thanks to an odd little item we’ll remember as the plant wipes.

The Order Within

Two days dedicated to feeding my soul.

My soul craves order. It’s when things aren’t in order around me I feel the order within slipping away. Every thing has it’s place, but I’ve relaxed this philosophy since my daughter isn’t here as often anymore. I used the hammer and level to hang an item on the wall, and instead of returning them to the tool caddy, I left them laying. Do this enough times and the house becomes out of order.

A month ago, I hung a hanging basket of Bougainvillea on each side of the front door. One morning I stepped outside onto the front porch and noticed dirt all over the left side of the porch. I didn’t think much about it and swept it away with the broom, but then it was there again the next morning. Same thing, different day. I looked at the hanging basket and it was missing half it’s dirt. There was a birds nest in place.

I moved the hanging basket out to the arbor, not to be tempted to disturb the making of the nest, but we still have the other one hanging by the front door. Earlier this week, I walked outside with my morning glass of water to dirt all over the other side of the front porch. Yes, there’s a birds nest being built inside the other hanging basket as well. It’s painful to recall how many garden centers I visited, and the weeks it took to find this color Bougainvillea in bloom to compliment the house.

Obviously there’s a couple of birds appreciative of my effort. From what I’ve seen so far is, if we’re living this life it’s going to get messy, but each day offers new opportunity to cultivate the order within.

Rejoice in what I’m doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding.

Jesus Calling ~ May 22

The Second Half

Last week I posted a series of memes on FB about aging. I want people over 50 to be excited about the second half of life. One of my walking routes through the neighborhood takes me by a couple of old Ford trucks that have been cared for. They’re gorgeous, and I think about my truck being considered a classic one day.

My neighbor is older than me, and he’s my life mentor. When I’m perplexed about the best way to fix, or do something, he’s my Guru. He shares what he would do, and then has several suggestions on what not to do. I tell him all the time, “You know everything!” He chuckles and says, “No Barbara…I’ve just been here longer.” In the book I’m writing, he’s called Hercules, and there’s a chapter entitled, “A Hammer, Screwdriver and some duct tape”, filled with his wisdom.

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

Andy Rooney

I love a clean truck, and growing up, we hand washed our cars. I’ll still hand wash my truck, but it’s too hot outside to be enjoyable, so I’ll run him through a carwash. Hercules has a Ford F150 older than Steve, (my trucks name) and he takes it through the Glide carwash. When I ask, “What are you doing today Hercules?”, he’ll say, “Today we ride the Glide Barbara.” He loves that carwash, so one day I took Steve.

This carwash felt like walking through a hurricane. It’s powerful, and I told Hercules I couldn’t ride the Glide after it almost ripped one of Steve’s sideview mirrors off. He said, “Don’t you fold them in?” I said, “Yes, but the force of the wash popped it out and bent it backwards!” This is when he realized a girl drives this truck. Hercules, would have shrugged it off while reattaching the mirror with duct tape.

I found a more gentle car wash for Steve and drive him through regularly. He’s 14 years old, and at the stage where things give out, and parts are replaced, but fortunately he hasn’t let go of anything major.

I’ll be 58 this October, and to some that sounds old, but I’m excited. Everything we learned in the first half, can be applied to the second half, and by refining our experiences we get to do it right in the second half.

The Flower Cart

Lastnight, my daughter opened the backdoor and gasped. There was a Tarantula perched on the doorframe outside. I’ve seen them in stores, and know people have them as pets, but to see one that closeup was exciting to say the least. Then my daughter said, “They’ve always been out there. We’ve just never seen one until now.”


This morning, while it was cool and overcast, I spent some time cleaning up the yard. Just straightening things up, kind of like we do inside the house, but this was outdoors. I had sat the empty flower cart up against the fence for Winter, but it was time to pull it out. Even sitting empty it emanates character. It’s one of those vintage pieces you wish could talk and tell you where all it’s been.

I wanted to move it out into the yard, but didn’t know where. Then it was like God showed up beside me and pointed out a good place for it. I rolled it across the yard and positioned it in a barren spot covered in yesterday’s birdseed. Walking away I thought, “That’s a good place. The birds can use it as a perch while taking turns to eat the seed below,” and went on with my day.

I finished washing the dishes and stood by the kitchen window gazing at the flower cart. That’s when I noticed a Blue Jay sitting on the handle checking it out. He hopped down to the bed of the cart, and then onto the ground to eat some seed. It was exactly as I’d envisioned, but if I wouldn’t have taken that pause at the window, I would have missed seeing what God had planned all along.

Have faith there’s a plan, and God will use anything to show us. Today, He used the flower cart.


The feature photo is a notecard created by artist David Arms and you can view his work here.