A Good Pour

Posting The Perfect Cup hit home to some of my friends how serious I am about coffee. It got me thinking how other things pour into my day, and how we have the power to control the flow.

I love the way God inserts himself into my day, or I believe He’s always here, but sometimes He has to do something spectacular to snag my attention. This morning I started a cup of coffee with the dripper, and after pouring all of the water through the filter, I sat down at my desk.

I’ve been telling myself to send this one email all week, but just realized we are halfway through the week. I typed up the email, clicked send, and looked at the empty coaster on my desk. The cup of coffee that normally sits there was sitting in the kitchen, so I walked back in.

I lifted the dripper and was surprised to see the cup was full all the way to the rim. It couldn’t have held one more drop of water or it would have spilled onto the counter. I had to pour some coffee out to make room for cream, and that hurt my feelings a little, but this made me pause and think.

We need to be mindful of how full we get our cup, and to leave room for the good. By the end of the day my darlings we need to feel that deep satisfaction and say, that was a good pour.

Let Love Be Loud

I’ve been reading my morning devotional, and jotting down whatever jumps out, or resonates. Here’s this week’s favorite.

When things seem all wrong, trust me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way.

Jesus Calling-1/26/2021

I’ve had 5 days that feel like Monday with a client at work. I really want it to feel like midweek, so I’m just gonna settle in here with you for a moment. You know, I can take happy clients all day long, and that’s the fun part of the job, but the ones who are high strung and relentless are the ones who make me better.

The circumstances were all wrong, but I believe God handed me the right responses every time.

I was able to practice listening and could hear what was really fueling his anger. It wasn’t this situation at all.

This job has taught me I cannot make people happy. They need to be happy in their own skin first, and there’s a lot of people who are not happy. I like to call this the ‘rewarding challenge’ of the job. Without any challenging circumstance there is little reward.

Whatever comes your way today, I encourage you take a pause to see what is the right response. It helps to not take the situation personally, but rather to give the kind of response to make the situation better. We have the power to make someone’s day a light-hearted and memorable experience, and people need that now more than ever. Let love be the loudest thing about you.

In Real Time

All this talk about the draft folder is really just the tip of the iceberg. I left out the part about all the emails I’ve sent to myself with pictures attached. Looking through some of them lastnight I noticed there’s an additional folder entitled ‘Blog Ideas’, chocked full from 2019. Let’s not forget the journals and slips of paper I come across every now and then. I even text myself ideas when the inspiration hits. So really, the draft folder is the least of it.

There’s no lack for inspiration here.

This laptop has memes sitting on the desktop, just waiting for a story. Every so often, it begins to look cluttered, so I file them into a folder. My first Zoom conference this year with the man I work with was truly embarrassing. We were sharing our screens, going over email platforms, and our screens were extreme opposites. His was full of Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and word documents, but you know what he saw on Barb’s?

Pretty pictures and memes.

There was a long pause as he viewed my desktop, and I couldn’t leave the meeting fast enough. The meme I used as the featured photo in this post is one I ‘borrowed’ from Cristian Mahai, but here it is again.

Sitting at the kitchen table this morning, it doesn’t surprise me to see a container of glitter sitting here with me. I purchased the glitter for a small project, but you know I love glitter, and have been known to sprinkle it anywhere I darn well please. Now, I’m not going to throw it at my computer screen, but it’s safe to say, I have a glittery life. No longer embarrassed over my desktop either, because if I had to choose between mine, and the man I work with, it would easily be this one.

I’m starting to believe, instead of continuing to file away inspiration, it’s to be shared in real time.

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. 😂

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! 🙂

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 Happy

Sitting in the corner of the room at my desk, I raised my weary head and asked, “Is it time for chocolate cold brew yet?” She said, “Heck yeah!”, and disappeared into the kitchen. My attitude was instantly uplifted.

Stumptowm Chocolate Cold Brew

This new email platform for work is eating my breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you know what? I’m gonna win.

There’s no other option for me personally.

I don’t even think about defeat, or worry that it’s too much to absorb and learn. Every hour or so, I leave my corner and walk around the house to clear my mind and refocus. Sometimes I read something positive to reinforce my outlook. It’s important what you take in because that is what you’re going to hand out to people around you.

I posted this meme on Facebook this week and it had mixed views. Some have been taking in sadness for so long, it’s rubbed off on them and become a part of who they are.

You have to be careful with sad if you want to remain happy. I’ve followed some pretty sad Bloggers in the past, and I had to unfollow them. I can make a note of their Blogsite to check on them down the road, but I cannot read sad throughout the day and remain true to who I am. Barb is happy and wants to stay that way.

There was a saying used years ago that stuck with me. “Fake it till you make it.” No matter how I was feeling, if someone asked, “How are you?”, I’d respond, “I’m doing great!” It took years of saying ‘great’, to actually believe life is great, but every time I said it out loud, it became more ingrained until it became my first choice.

I respond in the same manner today, but I usually receive a skeptical look, or that ‘you must be crazy’ look. It’s like it’s unusual to be in a good place. If they continue to prod deeper about my upbeat attitude, I confuse them even more when I say, “Because, I’m happy.”

A friend once told me, “It’s okay to grieve and you’ll feel sad, but don’t unpack your bag and set up camp.”

Once you find your happy be willing to fiercely protect it from outside influences. Sad can overtake happy, quickly and easily. Protect your happy.

To Step Away

I had to step away from my work.

We moved to a new online customer service platform last week, the second one since June, and there’s a lot to learn. I’ve also learned how and when to step away.

I read Stephen King’s Memoir, ‘On Writing.” He talks about how he always had a nook to write in. Underneath the stairway was one, but he does his best writing tucked away in a corner. He discourages writing out in the open and suggests going into a room, shutting the door and forbidding anyone to open it.

Well Stephen, I’m sorry, but that’s not me.

Photo by Andrea Davis on Pexels.com

I need an open, yet peaceful space for writing. I can see myself sitting outside once the weather cooperates.

Going off Stephen’s suggestion, I slid my desk into the corner of the room to do some serious writing, but here’s what evolved. It’s where I do my best work, but for my job. When I walk over to the desk I know it’s time to get serious about work, but writing is not work for me.

I don’t have a distracting environment. It’s peaceful for the most part, so I unplugged my laptop, took it off my desk and walked over to the kitchen table to write. Here I sit writing this post because this was a hard lesson to learn. I have to step away from work and take time for this Blog. It’s almost a need to take time for writing.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

No one is going to do it for me, but if I’m not careful, I’ll get wrapped up in work and it will take away my writing.

I’m no Stephen King, but I fancy myself a writer. Life is a beautiful thing to be enjoyed, but writing can easily get knocked down the list. If it’s important it will take time and the path is long. Anything worthwhile doesn’t happen overnight, otherwise it’d be easy to succeed.

Thank you for meeting me here today. I’ll go back to work realizing writing may not feel like work, but it’s just as important as work. There are times my work can wait, but writing cannot, and it’s okay to step away.

Self Care Sunday

I texted my daughter, “When you walk out of Whole Foods with a French baguette, hearts of Romaine, and Stumptown Chocolate cold brew?” She replied, “Sounds like self-care to me!”

Sunday feels like an appropriate day for self care as it was planned to be. My work doesn’t offer much time off on Sunday, so I’ve been watching for windows of time on Monday or Wednesday. Have to admit though, Self Care Monday doesn’t sound the same! 

Writing is a form of self care because if I see an hour of sacred space opening up, I’m gonna write. I wait for it and start typing. For me, it’s not about finding the time to write, it’s about finding the sacred space. We will make time for what’s important, and writing is like breathing to me. It hasn’t always been that way, but it became that way after clicking publish 100’s of times.

A good gauge for selfcare is my neighbor. The more often I can walk over and spend time with him, the better. If I don’t see him all week, it’s time to look at my week. Sitting with him on his front porch, he took one look at his dog and said, “I’m taking an hour this week just for me.” He gives a lotta love to dogs and they are spoiled, but he knows he needs some time without them.

I was happy to hear him say that.

He knows taking time for himself, even for an hour, will make him a better person to be around. Maybe we can’t take a full day and call it Selfcare Sunday, but we can carve out some time for ourselves when it’s important, and I believe it’s vital.

There are seven days in the week to choose from, so pick one. Name it and claim it as your very own self care Sunday.

A Good Night’s Sleep

That has been a mission of mine all year. What would it feel like to just drift off to sleep? It hasn’t happened since childhood.

Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

I’ve been working from home for almost 10 years, but this year there are more people than ever working from home. For me, it was by choice, so I could home-school my daughter, and generate income. It’s been a huge blessing for us, but maybe you’re wondering if it’s a blessing, or a curse.

One of the most important things you can do for you and your family is get a good night’s sleep. Trust me on this.

I dedicated the entire month of August to finding a good night’s sleep. It began by looking at what I was doing presently because obviously that was not working! Each person is unique and maybe you think you’ve tried everything to fall asleep. Stop trying.

The body knows how to drift off to asleep.

SIMPLE HABIT/MINDFUL SLEEP, BY OREN JAY SOFER

Little by little I began taking things away that came naturally to me. Working late at night was an interesting find. That was first to go and the hardest to resist. Just last-night a notification came in on my phone from a coworker with a question. I could feel her frantic vibe and my reflex pattern was to help.

​My first mistake was reading the email at 10:30 pm, because I could feel my mind click over to work mode. I paused and reminded myself of past experiences. There is nothing work related happening at night that cannot wait till the next day and given a bit of time, it’ll probably sort itself out.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Turning the phone to silent, I laid it face down on the table and walked away. Working from home doesn’t mean work takes up residence in the home. Set a time to stop working, and refuse to look if any comes in, so the brain has time to relax. Our bodies know when it’s time for sleep, but do we?

Thank you for spending time here today. There’s more to unfold of my journey to a good night’s sleep.

Here’s the rest of the mini-series.

Part 2: Know Your Flow

Part 3: Mama Knew Best

Part 4: One More Minute

Part 5: Set the Stage

Worth the View

A Blogger friend commented on the photo in A New View.

When my daughter and I walked out of the newly built house mentioned in that post, she glanced my way, as if trying to read my thoughts. The house was nice enough, but the view was no better than where I am now. My next house is all about the view.

I don’t want more, but I do want better.

In response to my friend’s comment, I let her know these photos are a part of my vision board. My vision board began a year ago, and these photos are popping up in my FB memories. They are reminding me why I’m in a season of work.

view
Time Out Chair

Hold the vision. Trust the process.

I’ve been working from home for years, but last year was my season for learning to work with discipline and consistency. It’s paying off, but my work is seven days a week. It becomes difficult to discern a weekday from the weekend. Relatable?

Another Blogger friend had left a comment on the post, Enjoy the Good. He admires my coffee gadgets, and reminded me of one I haven’t used in a while. The French press. I took it down from the shelf, and rinsed it off. It has been so long since I used it, I pulled up the Blue Bottle Coffee site to refresh my memory.

frenchpress
Bodum Chambord 17oz French Press

While on the Blue Bottle site, I saw their debut coffee Spring Blend, and ordered a bag. You see, I had responded to my fellow Blogger with, “Why do you think I work so much? To be able to buy really good coffee.” That was the goal when I began this journey, and I’ve been buying really good coffee all year.

Don’t lose sight of why you work.

I’m grateful at this stage of life to have fulfilling work, and to be continually learning, but it’s not easy. My experience has been, no path worth taking is ever easy, so it’s vital to hold the vision.

Some paths are easier than others. Some journey’s take longer than others, but I’m convinced, it will be worth the view.