The More I Learn, the Less I Know.

I’ve read more books this year, than three years combined.

I’m reading Melodie Beattie’s, Finding Your Way Home, for the second time. It made me desire for more people to have this level of self-awareness, and self-love. When I began this Blog, it was to show people that a beautiful life is attainable. That was my goal, so now that it’s achieved, what’s next?

I really don’t know, but I’m willing to be patient, and find out.

This year, I detached from Social Media. It was very difficult to do, but it’s done. Three times last week, I left the house without my phone. I didn’t turn the truck around to go get it, and had a beautiful time in town connecting with people.

I’ve become a part of the AA community again. Online is not the same as in person. You get to laugh, and hear others laugh, and that hug at the end of a meeting is irreplaceable.

Technology is helpful in the world, but it can’t replace the human touch.

I found it to be easier to post an encouraging Meme everyday, than to spend time sitting with an actual person.

Memes are not moments.

Every new beginning, starts with an ending. Are people willing to draw a line in the sand, and end the life they have to begin again? I don’t know. It takes grit and grace to do so.

The list is long of what I don’t know, but time reveals all. If you asked me, “How long does it take to attain a beautiful life?”, my initial answer would be, “Five years.” Thinking about it more in-depth, it took my whole life up to this point.

The Battle Begins

She told me, “I’ve been struggling with depression all year.”

My immediate thought was, “Not my daughter.”

She came clean on Instagram, and wrote a post about it, thanking people for their prayers and support. I downloaded the post, and saved it to my phone, but when she deleted it from her account, it disappeared. There are glad days and sad days, and today is a sad one. Everyday is different.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her. We had just moved into this house, and you can see the sparkle in her eyes.

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Sparkle.

She doesn’t follow my Blog, or read it unless I ask her to.

I feel this needs to be written, so she can read it one day.

We have fought many battles, and won with God by our side. She will overcome, but let’s mark today as, the battle begins.

This One Life

This morning I woke up and walked right by my phone. It’s laying on the table in another room. There are times during the day I lose track of it completely. It’s quiet, and so am I.

I saw a quote that said, “Technology was created to save us time.” I don’t know about you, but it was taking up most of my time. Now, the occasional glance at Social Media from my laptop is all the time it receives. I’m not isolating from the world, but I did step away from anything that wasn’t healthy for my heart. My heart is becoming more tender, and it’s growing in this environment, just like the plants. To have a tender heart, you have to hang around the tenderhearted.

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I was holding the final straw in many areas of my life. When it snapped, so did I. Knowing who I am, I drank my own medicine, and let go of everything and everybody.

My life is completely different today than a month ago. By stepping away from everything I was doing, allows God to show me what He wants done. I told myself I was encouraging people on social media for Him. There are plenty of people doing a great job at that, so God has more in store. Social Media is not going anywhere, so I left.

Choose how you spend your life, and who gets to join you.

God has given my daughter and me a simply beautiful life.

I’m present, and participating fully in the one around me.

It’s a Choice

Since deciding to take a Social Media fast, some friends have called me out. Facebook detects a connection, and is telling on me. To stay connected to my daughter while she is at her Father’s this weekend, we’ve used Messenger. Facebook Messenger is an app that is  made by Facebook, but is separate. So, nope. I have not posted one Meme.

For me, it’s not about disconnecting from people. I love people, so why would I do that? Maintaining social media sites take a lot of time, and energy. So much so, someone created automation to do it for you. Again, what fun is that?

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It all started with my phone. Sometimes the bill is due before the weekend, and before payday. I get paid on Monday’s, so I get to choose. Do I want an active phone, or money for the weekend? I choose having money to spend, over my phone.

I’ve used Cricket phone service for 5 years, and it works. There are no contracts, and you just pay month to month. No re-connection, or late fees, just pay when you need it.

The phone turns into a blingy paperweight, and I’m out the door. An iced latte would hit the spot, so I hop in my truck, and drive 10 minutes down the road to Chapparal Coffee.

This young couple moved from Austin, TX, to open this coffee bar, and his name is Austin! He has the best vibe, and it’s pure joy just walking in the door. Coffee and I have a serious relationship, and I have learned a lot at Chapparal. I go there several times a week for the coffee, and the people.

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Austin at Chapparal Coffee, Lockhart, TX.

His wife brings in wildflowers, so there are always flowers. Walking in today, Austin had just finished installing a couple of beer taps, but not for beer. Oh no lovely. This is magical!

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I could not believe what I was seeing. Ginger Beer!!!!

Austin handed me a glass to try, and it was unbelievable! Like an ice-cold mouthful of fresh ginger with fizz! The Kombucha is green tea with fruit, so I fell in love with that too! I grabbed half a pound of coffee beans, (which lasts us a week), a Kombucha, and Ginger beer for later. Money spent was $14.00. Not to mention the fellowship, love and laughter.

Some friends scoff at me for spending money on high quality coffee. “Being a single Mom with a part-time income, how do you do that?” I’m going to drink coffee, so it might as well be a life experience. The coffee costs a little more than the grocery store brands, but it’s well worth the extra dollars.

Experimenting in the kitchen on the weekends is a newfound love. The last time I went to the local grocery store, they had some huge basil plants on display. My daughter and I chuckled at how big they were! I’ve been wanting to try this Basil Hummus recipe, so instead of paying $3.98 per packet for a few fresh Basil leaves, I opted to buy this guy for $9.00.

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It should bring plenty of Basil Hummus and fresh Pesto!

Since trying my hand at the Boston Ferns, (which shout out to the lady who left a comment with tips), this spoke to me today. I have a planter full of dirt sitting on my porch from last years plant demise, but we’re gonna give this Basil a go.

When I went in the store to pay for the Basil, I took a walk through the flower department. Fresh flowers are a love of mine and my daughters, but not just any flower. We have a few that are special to us, and this time of year is for Peonies.

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This little bundle cost $6.00. They will be fully opened by the time my daughter gets home, which will double the joy.

These choices bring more meaning and beauty to my life than my phone. I’m able to choose today, and the end result is showing others, “I love you more than my phone.”

Timing and Expectations

My daughter has left to go visit her Father, so let the weekend begin! Let’s see how long it takes her to realize, she left her favorite CD’s in the CD player at home. Thank you Darling!

As she drove away, I turned on the stereo to listen to this song I’ve been bingeing on for a month. You can hear it on Feel the Music. This song soothes me even though it makes the house vibrate. Gotta love a good stereo, and sub woofer.

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This weekend I am taking a social media fast. Social Media and I have had a long loved, and unloved relationship. It has been good for me, and not so good. Spending the weekends, doing whatever I wanna, the timing feels right to take this break. Will let you know next week what it taught me.

Life has a lot to do with timing, and expectations. They are our teachers. I have high expectations for myself, but realize everyone’s expectations vary. We can be our own worst enemy, so my weekends are spent being extra kind to myself.

Something social media has given me are Memes. Friends tease me about my life being one, big Meme. I love them, and will eventually make a Meme compiled with all my favorite quotes, but I almost allowed a complete stranger turn me against them altogether. This happened a year ago.

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Searching for Memes to post on Letitgocoach Facebook page, I was becoming burned out over seeing the same ones. There had to be better, and more, is what I felt in my heart. I found an online software that was free, and user-friendly, and began making my own, like the one above.

My heart was right, but I had no clue what I was doing. All I knew was, they should be pretty, and say something that you don’t see everyday. Looking for Memes to share, there were times the saying was almost what I wanted, but not quite. Or, I would find the perfect one, and it would have a typo in it.

This online software was not the best, or the most popular to use, but it was simple. It had limited choices for font, and pics. It didn’t stop me though. Between my daughter’s photography, and Google, I could find pics. The software provided freedom to share whatever I felt led to share, but they didn’t look like ordinary Memes. Here’s one of the first.

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One of my first Memes.

One of my favorite meditative readings is a book by Melodie Beattie entitled, “Journey to the Heart: Daily meditations on the Path to Freedom.” Googling quotes from the book, pulled up very few Memes, but that is what I wanted to share. It wasn’t going to change the world, but it could make a difference. Then, in walked the stranger with my lesson.

My Facebook page was growing, and this guy that owns a couple of pages decided he would help me out. He sent a message, and here it is copied and pasted in it’s original format. His personal info has been omitted for anonymity. “If I may suggest, your messages are great, just need to work little on your images. Use picmonkey for editing images Pixabay for images and pintrest for free fonts and quotes.”

I thanked him for his advice, and did more research. Was his comment discouraging, or encouraging? I saw it as both.

Having done research beforehand, I knew of his suggestions, and they were not what I wanted. The one I was using was simple, and had everything right there, it just needed to offer more. Recently, I went back to his pages to see if his style had changed, and it had. The Memes were all black and white.

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From SC Lourie’s journal, “How the Light Gets Out.”

One year later, and full circle. Looking through SC Lourie’s journal, and wanting to share. I pulled up the Meme software to see if they had made any changes, or if it still existed. There it was with many new enhancements. It just took time. They know they have a good thing going, but they also know it can always be better. The one above is for my new Blog.

It’s not about being perfect, or pleasing other people. It’s about what makes YOU happy. Learning to take constructive criticism is a work in progress, but it makes me want to do better, and be the best I can be. Making memes is fun, and it’s one of the best, and free ways to advertise who you are.

Just for grins, I Googled Letitgocoach, clicked on images, and there they are! A lot of what has been posted here, or used on Letitgocoach Facebook is displayed on Google. Even some of the early ones! (slight cringe) Well, here ya go Google. Latch onto one of my faves! Much love lovelies!

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The ‘Love’ Button

Do you use Facebook to love on people? They don’t make it easy anymore, because they control how many people your post will reach. Maybe they should hand me that button!

This made me think of the Wizard of Oz. You remember the man behind the curtain? He was controlling what Dorothy and gang were seeing as this all-powerful Wizard. He was running a machine that projected an image of the wizard. So, somebody behind the Facebook machine has set the algorithms to reach only a certain amount of people.

For example, Letigocoach Facebook page has drastically dropped in reach. Thank God that page was created, and grew before Facebook put a cap on it. Today, when I post it be like, “Letitgocoach continues posting encouragement! Almost 2 Billion people would could be reached, but we’re only going to allow 5,000.” Well, high-five Facebook!

Your new ‘love’ button in the comments section will work!

The love button! Not only can you ‘love’ what people post, but now you can express ‘love’ in the comment section as well. Way to go Facebook! Let’s spread some love!!!!

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Aren’t we here to spread love? God can use Social Media!

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WordPress needs a ‘love’ button. When reading a Blog on WordPress, often times it’s more than just a ‘like’, which is the only option available. In the comment section below, I’ve began writing, “LOVE button needed”, just to let the writer know, it’s more than a ‘like’. Maybe if we all started doing this, WordPress would see it, and add the ‘love’ button.

God has protected me on Facebook. The Letitgocoach page has been there for years, and not one person has left a hateful comment. That’s probably God protecting them. “Don’t do it Mama! Don’t do it!”, as my daughter would say.

We all need love. Even in the form of a button. Love flows through the fingertips, so it makes sense to press a button. People press every kind of button on Facebook! Hah! (Good one) The most lovable people have been placed in my life thanks to God working through Social Media. Often times we post to one another’s page as an expression of love.

Mah people know Facebook is uninstalled from my phone. (Boundaries) The only way these loving gestures are seen is by logging onto a laptop. Early this morning I logged on, and the pic below was on my timeline. God sent this woman through Facebook. She is a Coach, and a beloved friend, but she lives in Nevada, so we met thanks to Facebook.

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Because this is stunning, just like you! ~Sarah Reno Baker~

The photo, and her words took my breath away! PRETTY!

It’s difficult to accept compliments, so after seeing this on my timeline, I clicked the ‘love’ button underneath, and sent her a private message. The picture was breathtaking enough, but the words Sarah wrote in the caption below the pic, rendered me speechless. My finger reached up and pressed the heart. Let’s give God some Glory for the love button!

What a Savage!

My daughter has been at her Dad’s since Friday. Yesterday, we decided to meet up at one of our favorite coffee houses. Stepping outta my truck, she was walking across the parking lot towards me. I was in awe of her grace, and beauty.

Her hair was woven in this messy bun atop her head She was wearing a white, knit top, loose-fitting jeans, and comfortable looking heels. Wanting a picture of her, I handed her my phone, and asked her to snap one. Next time, I’ll be more specific, because this is what she did.

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She will be screaming that I shared this, but she knows her Mama. This is her ‘egg’ look she often sends to her best friend. Her bestie is Japanese, and has darker skin, so she is referred to as ‘brown egg’, and my daughter is ‘white egg’.

Their most obvious differences, yet they are besties. They speak to one another like savages, but they love one another. Her friend knows her true beauty. Her heart.

People see my daughter, and may think she knows she’s beautiful. The sad part is, my daughter doesn’t know it. No matter how often she hears it, she just laughs it off. Do you know what causes her to question herself?

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She compares herself to what she sees on Social Media.

So, she knows this. 2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)

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My daughter doesn’t need my preachin’. She knows my heart, so I pray for her instead. So one day she can do this.

“I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14) Her soul needs to know.

We live together, so she hears some preachin’, and sometimes too much! Her new thing to say is, “It’s okay Mama. I still love you, just a little less!” Hah! What a savage!

I’m Not Made of Butter, but Spread Away

You know those survival shows where you can only take one thing with you? Mine would be a really good candle, coffee, or butter. I know…Don’t pick me as your partner.

We talked yesterday about Satan, and how he loves to mess with us. Hey Satan! Dat You?

So, maybe this week we will whack Satan around, because I can see he has been all up in my business. Like, enjoying watching me spread myself too thin.

A week ago, I snapped. My limit had been reached of spreading myself around.

I live an extremely sweet, simple life, but what had I done? Tried to juggle 10 or so social media sites thinking more is better when trying to reach people for encouragement.

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I missed that memo! Being an Encourager, we are placed on this earth to spread love. Spreading myself too thin over too many social media sites had caused me to become weary at doing that one thing really well. To love on people.

Last month I published 26 pieces on this Blog. This month? Up until yesterday, I had published 5. Can you say tired?

Last Tuesday night, I sat down on the edge on my bed, and deleted my social media accounts from my phone. Except Instagram. It has pretty pictures. I’ve had a LinkedIn account sitting there stagnant for 10 years! Bye bye. How did I feel the next morning? Lighter, and almost giddy.

I enjoy Instagram but my gift is not photography. My daughter has shown me how to snap a pic to write about it. She is the photographer, and I’m hoping God will combine our gifts at some point. Wouldn’t that piss Satan off? To combine our gifts as an outreach of encouragement!

Look at the areas of your life that God is blessing, and focus on those. God has given each of us at least one gift. His hope is we will use it for His Glory, not ours.

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Anti Social Media

I have met three people this week that live in the same town I live in. This came to my attention just by talking, and asking questions to people I’ve run into throughout the week.

This small town, with one 4-way stop, has some darling people living in it. Recently, I have realized how much I miss talking face to face with people. Now, I see people everyday, but to take time to ask questions, and listen to their story is what I miss. To encourage them along their path, and give them a hug if needed. Real life actually has real people in it.

Two years ago, I posted my first Meme on my Letitgocoach Facebook page. I thought it would be a way to reach the masses, and encourage them. It took a year to reach 1,000 likes. Another year has passed, and the page has almost 10,000 likes. There has been almost 1,000 Memes posted to the page. It looks like I am reaching people, but that is not the case.

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Social Media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter control how many people you reach.  With almost 10,000 likes to the page, you would think I have a lot of interaction with people. I can count on one hand how many people are in my daily life because of this page.

One of the most difficult things in life for me is, deciding how long to stay somewhere. God knows this about me, and I’m sure He gets a chuckle out of how long I will hold on to someone, or something, and try everyway imagineable to make it work. This is when I have to remember the name God gave this Blog, and Letitgocoach. It is time for me to let it go.

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This year has been an amazing journey through self. As I sit here at my desk typing this, I’m looking out the window, and around at my surroundings. Everything I see is pretty, and has some type of story behind it. The mug that holds my coffee is Vintage Starbucks, with their Mermaid wrapped around the mug, painted in gold. Every item has meaning and love.

When I started this Blog, my dream was to write a book. This has been placed on the back burner more times than I can count. For some reason, my journey through Breast Cancer, and Chemo, has given me remarkable clarity is all areas of my life. I am now ready to write that book, and give people something to hold in their hands, and not have Wi-Fi involved.

If you are reading this from one of my social media pages, thank you for being here. It may not make sense for me to be stepping away from social media in this day and age, but I’m excited. Why do people feel so alone today, and live with high anxiety if social media is social? Call me old fashioned but I don’t believe anything can replace a human touch.

 

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Barbara is a Jesus Freak, a Writer, and Mom to her 17-year-old daughter. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. Part of her mission is to show people they can start over at 50. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

 

Flying the Nest

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Stepping out on my front porch this morning, I looked up at the bird’s nest that has housed four baby birds, and saw only two. They have grown up so fast! Just a few weeks ago, I saw four bald heads up there. They had a few, small random hairs on their heads. I could relate!

I have raised my daughter to the best of my ability, and trusted God to do the rest. I have not said ‘No’ to her very much because I trust her judgement. I would rather her learn everything she can, while she’s still in the nest, so when she flies, she will know what to expect. I want her to have strong wings, like the eagle, but watching her learn to fly sucks.

She is going to a concert tonight without me. I have always told her, “I trust you. It’s just the people around you I have a problem with.” The band is Twenty-one Pilots. She was introduced to this band by a boy that came into her life a year ago via social media. This boy was in a world of pain, and she was there to listen. It was hard to watch, and she got hurt, but she learned a lot from that boy. God’s grace was upon her, and He healed her ruptured heart.

I prayed for God to send the right person to accompany her to this concert. I wanted her to go with someone I felt would protect her from the crowd. One of her very best friends is a guy she doesn’t get to see very often. One time they were hanging out together, and she asked to ride his skateboard. He handed it to her, and she hopped on. When he saw she was going to crash, he dove toward her and landed between her and the pavement. He is going.

Yesterday, I did something completely illegal. She received a letter from her boyfriend, that lives in Missouri, and she wrote him right back. He had gone on a mission trip, and didn’t have his phone for 10 days, so her wrote her a letter. The good ol’ days right? She wanted to mail her letter to him immediately, so I sat still and told her, “Go ahead. You know how to drive.”

She has been driving since January with a permit, and will have her license in a couple of weeks. She is an excellent driver. Better than most adults I know. She drives me to Chemo once a week, and I usually sleep on the ride home. That is how confident I am in her ability to drive. I believe she has been uneasy about driving alone, so she has lingered getting her license.

I saw this letter as a good opportunity to let her fly. She hopped in her car, and drove off to the Post Office. We live in a very small town, so the Post office is less than a mile away. The only thing you have to worry about here, is a cow, or tractor, stepping out in front of you. When I first learned of my Breast Cancer, she drove me in and out of downtown Austin, so this was cake.

After she had left, I stepped out on the porch, and leaned against one of the large posts. I was filled with peace, and knowing that God had this. Now with this concert, I have to believe, God will protect my daughter from the world around her. There is a prayer I have been praying over her since she was tiny. It has saved my sanity as a parent, and gives me strength.

Prayer of Protection for Your Family by Kellie Copeland Kutz

Allowing her to be a part of this world, but not of this world is rough. She knows more about what’s going on in the world, than I do. We talk about everything, and she shares with me all the crazy stuff she sees on social media. It’s a scary world out there, and I’m not excited about letting her go into it without me. Mama’s…Do your best, and let God do the rest.

In honor of @twentyonepilots tomorrow and my impeccable driving

A post shared by Bailey Holmes (@christiannbay) on

A footnote: Right after I finished writing this, I stepped out onto the porch to get some air. The bird’s nest is now empty, and they are flying around the front yard. Exactly as planned.

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Barbara is a Writer, Certified Letting Go Coach, and Mom to her 16-year-old daughter. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of this year that she has Breast Cancer. Going through Chemo, and believing God for a miracle is where she stands. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com