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.

Protect Your Sobriety

Every morning I open my eyes, my first thought and words spoken are, “Thank you God for waking me up sober.”

I’ve been thinking about sobriety, which is normal for me this time of year. On November 10th, I’ll be 22 years sober. There’s a twinge of embarrassment when I say that to someone newly sober. They usually ask, “How’d you do it Barb?” I respond with, “With God one day at a time.”

When I was newly sober, my then husband flew me to Canada with him for business. We were to meet his clients at a French restaurant for dinner. I recall walking into our private dining room and seeing the table set with what seemed like a million wine glasses. I was 2 weeks sober.

Photo by Fabio Sangregorio on Unsplash

It broke my heart to take a seat at that table.

My then husband didn’t understand the alcoholic. He thought maybe I’d have a glass of wine and be a part of the evening’s festivities, but when the waiter came to my glass with the bottle, I laid my hand over the top so he wouldn’t pour. He felt my trepidation and took the glass away.

Then I just got angry. Being the lady I am, I sat quietly at the table holding my composure, but wanted to scream. That was the last time I sat at a table like that.

Back then, I looked at drinking as something I couldn’t have and it felt like I was missing out. What I didn’t realize it was actually the beginning of a whole new life.

Almost 22 years later, I’m still thinking about sobriety. It’s not that I can’t drink. I could and the life I have today would quickly dissipate. I’m not willing to let that go. When it comes to one more day sober, here’s your permission slip to choose your table wisely, and protect your sobriety.

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.