Firewood

During the Texas snow/ice storm, I saw a post on Facebook that made me smile. It was a photo of a front yard covered in tree branches, and said, “It’s raining firewood.”

I needed to see that because the most unnerving part of that week for me was the location of our home. The house is surrounded by ginormous oak trees and rests beneath their canopy. We’d hear the crack of a branch, then boom onto the roof, and the branch would slide and fall to the ground. I did a lot of meditating that week, and thanked God for metal roofs.

Once the snow had melted away, I stepped outside to look at the front yard, and was in agreement that it had rained firewood. The yard was covered with sticks, twigs and a few branches, but I looked at the sticks as, ‘kindling’, and the branches were easily broken into firewood. No healthy branch breaks. It was a good day for a fire, as I removed the cover from the firepit.

God knows my heart and knows I love to sit near a fire. I gathered up all the sticks and laid some in the pit. There were so many I had to start a pile of them nearby, along with the smaller broken branches. The larger branches were laid aside for future use. I sat by the fire for hours that day, and just pondered God’s goodness and grace. If it’s gonna rain, let it rain firewood.

Embrace the Unexpected

I cannot remember the last time I went Black Friday shopping, but I went this year. There was one store having a sale, and I wondered what it would be like to go shopping on Black Friday during a pandemic. It was nothing like I thought it would be.

I made a deal with God Thursday night before bed. I told Him, “If going to this store Friday morning would be a beautiful experience, then wake me up early.” I woke up at 3:00 am, smiled and said, “Not this early. Let’s shoot for 6.” The next time I woke up it was precisely 6:00 a.m.

By 7:00 a.m., I was out the door.

It was foggy, and there was no traffic. When I arrived at the store, there were hardly any cars in the parking lot. Slipping on my mask, I saw a huge sign sitting at the storefront that said, “No more than 35 people allowed inside.” So far, it was nothing like I expected.

I went to the sale for their candles being buy 3, get 3 free. At first I thought, what a deal, but not really. They used to have a sale every month where their candles were half price. I would normally just buy a couple, but the black Friday sale insured me walking out of the store with six!

When the sales clerk handed me the bag full of candles, I was a little bit embarrassed by it size. It was enormous!

What we expect and what God has in store are different sizes. I catch myself not thinking big enough because it’s comfortable walking through the store with a small bag. We need to get good at carrying the enormous bag.

That’s the size of His plans for us if we embrace the unexpected. Hope my neighbors like candles.

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

Living With Intention

I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing morning pages.

Oh, it was so tempting to sleep just one more minute, but I sat up and listened to a mediation instead. He was talking about living enthusiastically. I’m not sure I can be called enthusiastic, but I do live with intention and maybe that’s a form of enthusiasm.

After the mediation, I got out of bed and let the pups outside. Walking through the house, it was like every action was ceremonial in welcoming the new day.

Opening the mini-blinds and pulling the string so they rest in place halfway up the window. Window one, two, three and open the front door to let fresh air in. Walking into the kitchen I see our dishes from the night before. A counter full of dirty dishes, but my thought was, “We use pretty pieces, so it’s a pretty mess.”

Yes darling. I’m going to show you my dirty kitchen, or at least the view from where I’m sitting. There is a flow to this life, but I believe if we get caught up in the flow, we can lose direction. Pause the flow and live with intention.

An up close view from the kitchen table.

The main thing that got my attention is the bamboo drying rack. I used to have a plastic one for the wet dishes to drain, but it would get gross and moldy if not wiped dry after use. I’m not going to take time to do that, so eventually it’d need replacing and having done so many times is like throwing money out the window. This bamboo one has held up for years.

My daughter bought the lilies and they’ve been sitting here for almost two weeks. We laugh at how long they’ve lasted. They just won’t stop being pretty! She bought them for me after a rough day at the Dentist. Just like the ribbon vase, she found the right container to place them in to do them justice. The purple mason jar was waiting patiently under the sink.

You’d never know the purple stock pot is dirty, but it’s sitting there waiting to be washed. I have to wash what’s in the sink first, because it needs a lot of room and relies on all the strength of the bamboo drying rack to hold it. It’s a solid piece, just like the crystal pitcher sitting beside the drying rack.

When choosing pieces for your life, choose solid.

The stock pot takes a grease cutting dishwashing liquid, but that sits in the cabinet out of sight. Here’s the one sitting by the sink.

There’s a misconception that pretty has to be expensive, but that’s nonsense if you keep it simple. If I need dishwashing liquid, I’ll choose pretty as long as it’s performs as good as it looks. That’s how I can sit at this table, beside a kitchen full of dirty dishes and think it’s pretty, because every piece of it is.

It’s a life well lived and loved by living with intention.

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

Breathe It In

Collette left a comment on The Beach Rug, “Maybe I should start being more intentional about the little fantasy that has danced around the back of my mind most of my life.” Right on darling.

That is why I began the simple habit of walking to the end of the street everyday. To become more intentional. It’s so simple I was sure I could do it without fail. The only time I didn’t accomplish it was when I ran out of day. Other tasks were placed before it, but then I had a revelation. Take the time limit off it Barb!

I have all day to walk to the end of the street. It doesn’t have to be any certain time. It’s the same with dreams and goals. Take the time limit off yourself, but do one thing toward it consistently.

I intentionally make my bed every morning. This morning, I noticed a little black book sitting on the bedside table. I’ve had ideas toward my daydream, but realized I’ve written them down in various places. This notebook hasn’t been used much and still has plenty of blank pages inside, so I gathered up all my notes and wrote them in the little book. Keep your ideas together.

Keep your dream close to your heart and don’t tell everyone. I’ve told 4 people and 2 of them gave me an odd look, but the other two who know me well are supportive. Be careful who you confide in. Some will try and talk you out of your dream.

You need to trust your crazy ideas.

After making my bed and dusting off the notebook I remembered a candle I saw a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea why I thought of this candle, (like I need one more candle), but felt led to follow the path. I grabbed my keys and drove to where I saw it. The candle was all soy and smelled divine is all I remembered.

When I walked into the shoppe, I didn’t see the display. A sales lady asked if she could help, so I told her what I knew about the candle. She lead me over to the display, which had been moved since my last visit. There were half a dozen fragrances and one of each on display, so I picked one up to smell it.

Ella B. Candles

I had no idea this was their label, but it coincides with the notebook. God knows the dream in your heart and wants to encourage us to walk the path of uncertainty. He’ll lay things right in front of us like the notebook and a candle always gets my attention. I brought one home, lit it and breathed it in.

The dream never leaves the heart, it just gets covered up with life, but it’s trying to get your attention. It can evolve over time, but every part of your life has prepared you for your purpose.

Light it up darling and once it’s lit, breathe it in.

The Ribbon Vase

It’s easy to lose sight of a dream, but the more it rolls around the mind, the more refined it becomes. I believe God recently revealed a larger picture of where this dream is headed. Of course, I chuckled and shook my head like, “No way!”

The big picture feels overwhelming and out of reach. That’s why He only gives a glimpse at a time, but rest assured everything in life prepares us for the next moment, and the next until you’re standing right in the middle of your purpose.

Yesterday, I was arranging a vase of mixed greenery. I knew when I bought them which vase would be used. It’s called the ribbon vase, and I’ve had it for over 20 years. As I was working the greenery into the vase, it took me back to the days when we entertained large groups of business associates in our home.

This vase would be filled with fresh flowers and put on display on a massive formal dining room table the day before the event.

I’ve always loved making arrangements, but yesterday I saw real progress. I snapped a pic to share it with my friends on FB. It was still sitting in my kitchen with an old towel underneath to soak up the water I had spilled while adding water to the vase!

The arrangement before the clean up.

It’s exhilarating to see that vase full again, but I don’t own a table today large enough to display it. I’m humbled that my life doesn’t have to be on display anymore, even though you guys see a lot the pieces that make up this beautiful life.

When in doubt, use the coffee table Barb.

This morning, my daughter and I sat down at the coffee table to chat before her classes. The arrangement was so massive, we couldn’t see each other’s faces because of it. We had to laugh, but just for a moment I thought about adding flowers to it. I stopped that thought and enjoyed the simplicity of it.

That dream inside you has taken root, now let it grow. It’s nice to know I still have it in me to think big and use the ribbon vase.

It’s nice when you walk by, but don’t sit down.