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. 😂

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.

Before and After

There’s a chapter in my book about a pillow. The chapter is referencing how things fit into our life at just the right time, and this particular chapter reflects on yearly increments. A year is a long enough time span where changes are easily seen, but what about the month to month changes, or better yet, the daily ones?

I’ve heard, “The moment between before and after is called truth.” I took a photo of the pillow for the book and just came across it on my desktop. It revealed how much my life has changed in two months time. You know me, anything less than a year is considered brisk. Here’s a glimpse into my before and after.

Taken March 28, 2021.

Looking at this picture today, I find it interesting that I plopped the new pillow in this weathered and worn wooden chair for it’s photo shoot. My intention has always been to paint this chair, but haven’t been able to decide on a color. Even though this chair is well made, it’s not very comfortable to sit in for any length of time.

I envisioned the front porch having comfy chairs, that invite you to sit for as long as the moment requires. Like curling up in your favorite chair in the den, I wanted a similar feel for the front porch. Barb went on a mission to find two outdoor chairs at a reasonable price. Life offers a series of clues that assist in making quick decisions. When I found these chairs there were only two of them sitting on the showroom floor.

Taken May 15, 2021.

I used this photo a couple of posts ago in To Be Seen, but that pillow has taught me a lot since then. The pillow is made for outdoors, but doesn’t sit well in rain. It rained the entire month of May, and storms hit fast. I forgot the pillow was sitting outside, so it got rained on. When I stepped outside to retrieve it, the yarn that makes up the wheels on the vehicle had bled, and it looked like the wheels were crying.

I washed it and it looks better, but I can still see faint signs of it being left outside in the storm. Sometimes we have to sit through some rain, and our wheels may feel like crying, but afterwards we will see a difference in before and after.

All that Peace

It’s easy to give away pieces of ourselves to everyone around us, but we need to keep some of that peace for ourselves. We love our people, but I’ve heard we need to treat ourselves like someone we love.

This meme by SC Lourie is sitting on my desktop wanting to be shared. I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder and printed it out to view regularly.

SC Lourie/Butterflies and Pebbles

It’s a give and take, and I do better at giving than receiving. I love people and it brings me joy to give away my smiles, my laughter, and pretty soon some hugs, but it’s also a responsibility to give that all back to me. Otherwise, I won’t have anything to give and that would be a sad day Inbarbsworld.

To have all that peace, I do peaceful things, like going for walks. Just a stroll around the neighborhood, and taking some deep breaths does wonders. My coffee intake has gone from sipping the magical brew throughout the day to drinking a couple of cups. I light candles to enhance the atmosphere of the day. The one I have burning right now is a frosted pine scent and smells like Christmas.

To keep all that peace it’s best to not let anyone take it. People aren’t allowed to walk into my life and take my peace (family included). Be kind to yourself my darling, and take a moment for yourself to gather up all that peace.

To Be Seen

“It’s better to be seen than viewed”, said the cashier at the gas station. That phrase has stuck with me for almost a year. We were just making small talk, and then those words fell out of his mouth as I headed toward the door.

The people who walk through our lives are important, and we need to pay attention to who steps in and what they say because most have a message.

When we first moved here, there weren’t many people walking this neighborhood. There was the occasional runner, or someone would zoom by on a bicycle, but no one just strolling the streets. A year ago I began a simple habit of walking to the end of the street as a friendly presence in the neighborhood. I’ve met a good many neighbors and been doing this for long enough now, when they see me coming they stop and talk.

The time or day doesn’t matter so much as the doing.

This is not considered exercise. I literally step outside in whatever I’m wearing and stroll the nearby streets. My daughter got tickled at me one day when I walked out the door and forgot to leave my glasses at home. I was wrapped up in my favorite cardigan and my glasses were still sitting atop my head as we strolled, but it didn’t bother me because I want to be seen for who I am.

A writer.

To be a writer, you need to release your words. To be a good neighbor, you need to keep them.

An excerpt from the book.

I enjoyed all of your fun comments on my previous post Embracing the New. Here’s a couple of photos I shared in my Fearless community taken with my new phone. I wanted to capture the tiny detail of the yellow flower blooming, and it did that, but it also but picked up every vein in the leaves. I love how the pot sitting below is blurry like it’s not supposed to be the focus.

Focused on the details.
The bigger picture.

We do not see our size. We do not view ourselves with accuracy. We are far larger, far more marvelous, far more deeply and consistently creative than we recognize or know.

Pg. 48 of ‘A Right to Write’, by Julia Cameron.

Here’s to showing up in true form and allowing ourselves to be seen. Much love-Barb.

The Scattered Words

My Fearless community adds value to my life. On our Team call, I recommended the Morning Pages to a Team member, because I used to do them and saw value in them. Then I asked myself, “Why did you stop writing them Barb?”

My Fearless Team member ran with the idea, and has 3 weeks under his belt. He’s doing so well with it, he inspired me to start writing them again. The main reason I stopped was out of frustration. I couldn’t complete the 3 pages of longhand Julia recommends, but then I heard her voice say, ‘Grab three pieces of paper.’

I’d been using a notebook to write the morning pages, and it was uncomfortable to write in. It was bulky and larger than a regular piece of notebook paper. Eyeing the stack of notebook paper from my daughter’s school stash, I grabbed three pieces of paper and laid them on the table. As I began to write I felt my hand glide across the page and noticed it was resting flat on the table, not elevated by the thickness of the notebook. After completing page one, I went on to page two and then three!

Morning pages are to be written first thing in the morning, and it’s different than Blogging. These are thoughts not fully formed in the mind and feel scattered. Pen to paper helps pull them together and smooth them out. They are not to be shared with anyone, so you can say whatever you darn well please. I do this before anything else, even coffee, so there’s a commitment.

As soon as your eyes open you’ll need:

Three pieces of paper.

Your favorite writing utensil.

Staring out a window helps gather thoughts.

What better place to scatter words than onto an empty page? Be happy and well loved. ~Barb

Feel the Music

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted a Feel the Music. That surprised me, but even more so was looking through and realizing the first one was posted almost 4 years ago! I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I remember the day Feel the Music was born.

I was driving my truck down a back road, listening to the radio, and pondering my Blog. A song began to play, and it was Big Daddy Weave singing, ‘My Story’. Right then, I knew Feel the Music was supposed to become a series in my Blog. It contained those three words, like all my Blog titles did, but this was more than one post. It was going to be a regular thing.

I didn’t drive my truck very much last year, so some time has passed since posting one, but I still have a heart for music. It has helped pull me through some tough spots in my life. I’ve used it as an escape, and I’ve played it to chase after God. From cleaning a chicken coop knowing my marriage was at it’s end, to standing on a pier on 40 acres of land, surrounded by nothingness.

Music healed my heart many times.

Yesterday, I told my daughter something I needed to hear too. I said, “You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” The inspiration for this song didn’t come while driving my truck, so I need to make myself available to inspiration other than my truck.

Someone in my Fearless community posted a meme of this song because he is halfway to his monthly goal. Maybe we are all halfway there and don’t even realize it. The one thing I do know is, life wouldn’t be worth living without a prayer. Enjoy!

Life is Good

I woke up at 5:00 am. The house is really dark that time of morning. I reached over to turn on the lamp beside my bed and with one click the room was illumined. Glancing at the floor to my surprise there is a puppo curled up sound asleep. The click of the switch caused her to raise her head and give me a squinting look like, “Really?” Another click, click, and the lamp goes off resuming darkness.

Sitting in the dark, yet knowing it’s a new day.

I decided to go ahead and do my meditation, and then stumble my way toward the coffee bar to choose a coffee method. The French press sounded simple enough. I put the kettle on, but instead of turning on a light, I lit a nearby candle. During the day, I don’t think much about having a candle lit, (there is always one lit) but in the darkness is when it puts on a show!

I was so mesmerized by the candle, I forgot about the press, and didn’t do a very good job. The water was too hot, and I used too many grinds, so all it took was one sip to realize, this is not magical. I took another sip, trying to make it work, but just couldn’t do it. It was awful!

The beginning of the year, I changed my tagline for this Blog, and it was time to heed those words. “Never settle. Don’t even think about it.” The second sentence is the most important part. I can think about something long enough and settle into the idea of it, and it doesn’t seem that bad. That’s where the settling mindset begins.

I don’t want a life of, “It’s not that bad.” No darling, I firmly believe, “Life is good.”

In Responsive Mode

I may be a perfectionist. Yes, I’ll admit to it, but I’ve tried watering that down with, ‘I’m picky, or particular’. None of those words sound very complementary, but they are a part of who I am.

I’ve stopped drinking coffee first thing in the morning. Make sure you read that entire sentence, because Barb has no plans of dismantling the coffee bar and giving away her gadgets. It’s taken years to acquire each and every one of them, and to learn how to not only use, but appreciate their performance.

This morning I chose the French press.

But let’s back up a little bit to the comment of not drinking coffee first thing anymore. I drink water instead. This morning I woke up very early and walked through the house drinking my water. I noticed the birdfeeder hanging outside the window, and how it still bothers me it doesn’t hang in the center of the window. (Yes, I bought another one, but that’s another story all on it’s own.)

When I brought the feeder home from the store, I just hung it on an existing hook. The hook was off center and it held the feeder, but it’s bothered me ever since. This morning, I stepped outside to retrieve the feeder, but couldn’t reach it from the front porch. I remembered using a small ladder to hang it there, so I haven’t had any coffee, but I’m going to climb a ladder before dawn. That’s when I heard myself grumble ‘perfectionist.’

The lengths I go to, to line everything up in my life.

Yesterday, I noticed the kitchen island off center of the lines in the tile floor. That was an easy fix because the wheels weren’t locked in place tightly enough, but that’s what I do, I notice when things are off center and then figure out how to fix it. The birdfeeder was an easy fix too. The scariest part was climbing a 3 foot ladder that early in the morning, but I got the feeder down, moved the hook to the center of the window, and now it’s centered.

Two hours later, I sat down at the kitchen table with a fresh cup of coffee and began to type. It’s nice to know I don’t have to drink coffee to start my day, or to successfully climb a ladder and move a feeder. I can look at coffee more like a treat to be savored after drinking my water. My morning devotional reminded me of what each day should look like. It’s okay to have perfectionist tendencies, but I’ll never be perfect and that’s okay too.

“I have prepared this day for you with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page you need to fill up, try living in responsive mode; being on the lookout for all that I’m doing. This sounds easy, but it requires a deep level of trust, based on the knowledge that My way is perfect.”-Jesus Calling by Sarah Young-March 10th.

Instead of using the word ‘perfectionist’, I’ll just tell myself, “I’m in responsive mode.” That sounds better! Have a beautiful day lovelies. This is Barb, signing off for today, in responsive mode.

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.

Footprints

We didn’t allow the snow and ice to hinder us from taking a walk. After the first fallen snow, it was light powder and easy to walk through, but then a fine layer of ice fell on top. That made it a little more challenging, but where there’s a will, there’s also a way.

Photography by Simply Semloh

You have to stomp your foot through the icy layer, to get down to the powdery snow. There your footing will hold, and not slip. Here we were, stomping our way through the neighborhood, and it was invigorating to say the least, at an outdoor temp of 18 degrees.

We made a trail of footprints. Some were on the road, but most were through the edge of the neighbors yards. The road had turned into a solid sheet of ice, so we had to make our own path off the road. The next day, I went for a walk alone, but found myself following the path we had taken the day before. Even though the snow was melting away, I could still see some of our footprints and it made me think.

What kind of footprint do I really want to leave for these neighbors? Not just a snowy one alongside their yard, but a footprint in their life. My thoughts expanded to what kind of footprint do I want to leave on this world? Thanks to the snow/ice storm that shut down Texas, I’m pondering footprints.