15 Minutes

It’s become customary around 2:00 PM to be outside watering plants. My Dad used to say, “It’s the hottest part of the day”, but I’m beginning to embrace the heat. It’s not humid at that time, but it is hot.

As I was out there today, hose in hand with the spray nozzle attached, I noticed the sky getting dark, and clouds rolling in. I had worked my way around the yard and was spraying the last flower bed when I heard the thunder. Dropping the hose, because the nozzle is stainless steel, I rallied the dogs and we went inside.

It was funny but I couldn’t help thinking, if I’d waited 15 minutes before doing the watering myself, I would’ve seen there was a better plan.

Standing at the window, watching a steady rain drench everything I had just watered, the 50 foot watering hose lying in the rain seemed small. I whispered, “I’m sorry I ran out in front of you again.” That has happened on numerous occasions, and it’s a continual education discerning the difference between God’s timing and mine.

Then I felt Him smile and say, “Hey Barb. It was only 15 minutes. You’re doing better.”

In Responsive Mode

I may be a perfectionist. Yes, I’ll admit to it, but I’ve tried watering that down with, ‘I’m picky, or particular’. None of those words sound very complementary, but they are a part of who I am.

I’ve stopped drinking coffee first thing in the morning. Make sure you read that entire sentence, because Barb has no plans of dismantling the coffee bar and giving away her gadgets. It’s taken years to acquire each and every one of them, and to learn how to not only use, but appreciate their performance.

This morning I chose the French press.

But let’s back up a little bit to the comment of not drinking coffee first thing anymore. I drink water instead. This morning I woke up very early and walked through the house drinking my water. I noticed the birdfeeder hanging outside the window, and how it still bothers me it doesn’t hang in the center of the window. (Yes, I bought another one, but that’s another story all on it’s own.)

When I brought the feeder home from the store, I just hung it on an existing hook. The hook was off center and it held the feeder, but it’s bothered me ever since. This morning, I stepped outside to retrieve the feeder, but couldn’t reach it from the front porch. I remembered using a small ladder to hang it there, so I haven’t had any coffee, but I’m going to climb a ladder before dawn. That’s when I heard myself grumble ‘perfectionist.’

The lengths I go to, to line everything up in my life.

Yesterday, I noticed the kitchen island off center of the lines in the tile floor. That was an easy fix because the wheels weren’t locked in place tightly enough, but that’s what I do, I notice when things are off center and then figure out how to fix it. The birdfeeder was an easy fix too. The scariest part was climbing a 3 foot ladder that early in the morning, but I got the feeder down, moved the hook to the center of the window, and now it’s centered.

Two hours later, I sat down at the kitchen table with a fresh cup of coffee and began to type. It’s nice to know I don’t have to drink coffee to start my day, or to successfully climb a ladder and move a feeder. I can look at coffee more like a treat to be savored after drinking my water. My morning devotional reminded me of what each day should look like. It’s okay to have perfectionist tendencies, but I’ll never be perfect and that’s okay too.

“I have prepared this day for you with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page you need to fill up, try living in responsive mode; being on the lookout for all that I’m doing. This sounds easy, but it requires a deep level of trust, based on the knowledge that My way is perfect.”-Jesus Calling by Sarah Young-March 10th.

Instead of using the word ‘perfectionist’, I’ll just tell myself, “I’m in responsive mode.” That sounds better! Have a beautiful day lovelies. This is Barb, signing off for today, in responsive mode.

A Better Listener

Last year I had a side goal of emptying my draft folder. I got it down to two drafts, but just couldn’t bring myself to publish them. The timing felt off, and now I’ve begun to add to the draft folder again. I can have a goal, but it’s important to be in God’s timing to execute.

My main goal for this year is…

To be a better listener.

My environment is quiet, so I can hear every sound. I know where our cat is laying by hearing him breathe. Progress was made last year when I could tell the water in the kettle was ready, by listening to it heat up. I’d remove it from the heat just as puffs of steam were exiting the holes in the lid. There were times I was out of sync, and my daughter would say, “Your water is spewing!”

That’s where I want to improve.

To not allow my words to get to the spewing point. I was a witness to this over the weekend, and I’m not pleased by it, but there’s a solution at hand.

There’s been a lot happening with work, and it’s moving very fast. I’ve felt out of touch with the man I work with, and let him know I’d like to talk.

We tried to pinpoint a time, but life got busy. I know we’re running an empire, but communication is key to a smooth ride. On a whim, I dialed his number with the intention of leaving a rehearsed voicemail. It was over the weekend and late afternoon, so I didn’t expect him to answer, but he did! It was shocking to hear his welcoming voice.

I wasn’t prepared for our talk, and it had been so long since we had spoken to one another, we began talking at the same time. It felt like we were talking over one another, as I tried my best to pause and listen. This went on for an hour, and we covered everything, but I felt like it was a wreck on my end, and vowed to do better. This call revealed, there is more practice needed in listening.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t call on a whim. Schedule a time.
  2. Keep a notepad nearby of things to discuss.
  3. Ask more questions and pause to listen. I felt like he asked the questions and I spent a lot of time explaining.
  4. He tried several times to compliment my work, and said, “Keep delivering excellence”, but I brushed that off.
  5. Accept the compliment and give one in return.

After the call was over I knew to schedule time once a month to speak with him. My eyes and ears are all over his business and there are things we need to discuss. I’ll take notes throughout the month and be prepared for the next call. God offers endless opportunity to improve, and I’m not just practicing with people. God is in there too.

Success occurs when our preparedness collides with God’s timing. This is Barb, striving to be a better listener.

Keep Showing Up

The Done List is so much more than getting things done. It’s saying yes to your heart more. It’s when you hear that still small voice give a reminder of what’s good for you.

I have access to a morning meditation via zoom, every morning at 9:00 am. I’ve attended before, and it was nice, but there’s one issue. I’m in the wrong zone in more ways than one.

It’s at 9:00 am to accommodate various time zones. The man I work with lives in CA, so by 9:00 am, I’m already planning what to do for him, before his day begins. (He’s pacific time, and I’m central.)

girl in green jacket holding potted plant
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’m sitting quietly at the coffee table with coffee.

Looking up at the clock, it’s says 8:50 am, and I sense, “You should really sit in on that meditation.” All life really asks of us is to just show up. Otherwise, I’ll sit here and think of all the excuses not to, or put it off until tomorrow, so I joined in.

My Zen community is so peaceful, and serene, but I only lasted about 10 minutes. It’s just the wrong time of day for me to be fully present, but maybe I’ll get there. Disrupting patterns to make room for what the heart wants.

The heart knows even when we don’t.

I wrote it down on my done list, because I did the immediate thought. I listened to the heart, and followed through with no expected outcome. I was disappointed for a moment for not completing the mediation, but it’s progress, not perfection.

I was happy with myself for just showing up.

It’s uncertain if I’ll begin to thoroughly enjoy this 9:00 am community meditation, but I’m learning to live with the uncertainty. For what the heart wants, just keep showing up.