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.

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.”

A Second Chance

Every moment allows space with endless possibilities. My goal is to not add so much to it that I ruin the moment.

Our cat has this new thing he’s been doing this week. I make my bed every morning, usually within 30 minutes of leaving it, but Friday I left it a mess. He casually strolls into my bedroom, hops up on the corner of the bed and curls up for a quick nap. He normally does this after I make it up, but today it’s unmade, so that doesn’t seem to matter to him. Maybe it’s the moment he’s after.

He looks guilty to me.

Now it’s 2:30 PM and the bed is still unmade.

I walked in to see what remnants were left behind from a Zoom earlier in the day, and spotted my favorite notebook, classic Kate Spade laying on the bed. I love this notebook, but earlier this week, I noticed it was almost out of pages. It was originally purchased to be used as a journal, but somehow transitioned over to notes from work. It has a hardcover, so it also doubles as a sturdy mouse pad.

They don’t make it anymore, but I asked my daughter to search and see if she can find it. She found one that is brand new, still in the package and for sale. She emailed me the link and it was purchased without hesitation.

I’m excited about getting the new one and it feels like having a second chance to use it more intentionally. Notes from work can be placed in any type notebook, as this notebook proves, not everything we love is easily replaced. Here I sit on a Friday, in a messy bed with the cat nearby, simply thrilled to have a second chance.

Make the Cut

This year my collection of gardening tools has grown. There is a tool for every task, and I’m learning what tool’s I need. I told the clerk at the hardware store, “I want to cut things”, and she said, “How big of a cut do you want to make Barb?” Here’s what I brought home.

Best insect repellent to wear while gardening, Mrs. Murphy’s.

I’m equipped to handle big jobs and small jobs, but not much in between. The Fiskars Micro-tip pruner are perfect for snipping overgrowth from the top of plants. The needle nose is precise, but the tiniest tools can cause bloodshed. It comes with a safety cover which is smart to use, or we opt to live a life of band aides.

We have a vine that returns every year. No matter the winter it endures, which this year was snow and ice, it comes back. My daughter loves this vine, so I can’t remove it completely, but I do keep it in check, or it’ll take over. I have these wicker lanterns hanging throughout the yard and the vine saw it as an opportunity to further it’s growth.

At first I thought, ‘That’s cool’, but after all the rain we had you could barely see the lantern. I took the Fiskars and trimmed it back, but left some resting on top. For now it adds to the beauty of the lantern, but time will tell if it adds beauty or too much weight.

Looking down at the path below, the vine was crawling away from the fence and creeping across the path. I try to be mindful of what sneaks in along the path, but I’ll let it grow for now. If it wants to cross the path, that’s fine, but we want to keep the path in sight.

What began as a pleasant addition to our lives, shouldn’t become added weight. Pay attention my darling and you’ll know when it’s time to make the cut.

Feel the Music

My post on dating apps has been pulled back into drafts. I may do a mini-series of my experience using the apps, but here’s what I’ve seen across the board. It’s all about putting yourself out there. Making yourself emotionally, mentally and physically available.

It’s easier being single. I get to do what I want, anytime I please, and thoroughly enjoy my life, but the part I miss is when the ‘I’ becomes ‘we’.

No relationship is perfect, but I believe it’s so important that we have them. I don’t believe we were created to roam this earth alone, but over time we get used to it and it begins to feel good. A new normal. We know what to expect, because it’s only us in the picture.

I love on people, and have even made it my job to do so. I get paid to make peoples lives easier and in some ways better. My life motto is, ‘Leave them better than I found them’, so I have love in my life, but I miss the being in love.

There’s no other feeling like it and love will find us when we make ourselves available to be found.

Feel the Music

I was driving to meet my friend for our monthly coffee/tea, and heard this song. It was released in 2004, so around 2006 I heard it playing all the time. My mind began flipping through images and they weren’t all pretty, but I could see how far our life has come.

In 2008, I created an email address called abetterlife08. It was a Yahoo account and I named it that to keep those words in front of me while I worked. I can barely remember what happened two days ago, but I still remember sitting in the corner of that home office opening a Yahoo account and naming it abetterlife08. I was 10 years sober and life was better, but I didn’t recognize the man I was married to. When I think about that part of my life long enough, I can feel the tension that home office held.

In 2013 I exited that life.

Standing here in this little lake house 8 years later, I’m overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace. Did it take 8 years Barb? No, I began seeing a better life the very first year, but it all began with believing there was one. Using that email address kept abetterlife at the forefront of my mind until the time was right to step into a better life.

These Two Chairs

We have thought about buying a couch for as long as we’ve lived here.

I spent time cleaning over the weekend, and then did some rearranging of the den. As I was moving furniture around, I remembered the couch sitting here the first time we saw this house. It sat right underneath the window sill, and ran the length of the wall. Three years later, we still haven’t bought a couch. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Sitting at the coffee table this morning, I looked across the table at her chair. It was empty. She is out, living her life, which I want her to do. She called and was excited about new tires for her Jeep. Her father took her tire shopping, and I sat and listened as she described every detail. That’s my girl excited about tires!

The main reason we haven’t bought a couch is these two chairs. They were designed and made around 15 years ago, for a formal living room which you can read about here. They are extra wide and the cushions are stuffed with down, so you can curl up and never leave. If we get a couch, they will have to go into storage, because neither of us can part with them.

These two chairs have held us up during every ‘love of my life’ breakup. They are wide enough to hold a box of tissues and a blanket. The fabric is formal, so I looked into having them recovered, and because they are so well made, the estimate started at $800 per chair. New fabric is not in their future.

Nowadays, her chair is empty more often than not, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Through the years, the one place we always go to be seen and supported is these two chairs.

Download the App

I completed a ’30 Days to Better Sleep’ mediation, and it worked really well. I didn’t hear the end of several of the meditations, because I fell asleep. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I enjoyed the voice and positive attitude of the man who narrated the meditation, so I looked him up. He was easy to find on social media. He was hosting a week-long meditation on mindfulness, and I thought about signing up, but there was a catch. The only way to participate was to download the app. I enjoy listening to him on Simple Habits, so didn’t see a need to download the app.

I’ve been thinking about apps, and have come to the conclusion, they are good if they help save time, otherwise, they eat up time. Case in point, I downloaded a banking app. Being home most of the time, it’s become routine to check everything via my laptop, including banking. I’ve been helping down at the pizza place when needed, so my paychecks have a tendency to pile up. I don’t want the owner of the pizza place to think his money isn’t appreciated, so once a week I drive to the bank.

No more. Barb downloaded a banking app and does mobile banking. My phone automatically takes a picture of the check, and it’s deposited into my account. Life just got sweeter, and for that, I will happily download the app.

A Quiet Life

Side note: If you’re reading this, it’s been in the draft folder since October. We’re down to four! ๐Ÿ™‚

Working and Writing

I’ve heard you don’t have to be ‘in the mood’ to write. You can just sit down at any time and write, but I believe the mood will reflect in your writing.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not about finding time, because we all have the same amount of time. It’s sitting down everyday and writing until the words run out. Running out of words doesn’t come easy for me, but we are keenly aware of running out of time. It’s precious.

Saturday was cold and rainy, but I decided to accept it for what it was. I lit a candle, and turned on our heater that resembles a woodstove. My work got done, but with it being the Saturday after Thanksgiving it didn’t have the sense of urgency it has during the week.

Photo by Kam Pratt on Pexels.com

I do this quite often. Work a little while and then come over to WordPress and write. If I’m having a challenging day with work, WordPress tends to be my happy spot. Responding to your comments, or fixing a cup of tea and taking time out to read your Blogs are important to me.

I love to write, and when I spend time on the page, other areas of my life become better. When I don’t write, it feels like a part of me is missing.

I was overly focused on work, so my writing and Blog suffered. I knew there had to be a balance, so one day while working, I pulled up my Blog and started to write. I left two tabs open. One for work and one for writing and I’d go back and forth between the two. Writing brings joy that spills over into my work.

That’s how I found balance between working from home and writing. They became equally important.