Calm Amid the Chaos

In Fire and Rain I was on a mission to find the perfect bench for the firepit area. The bench purchase was a little outside my comfort zone, but I wanted to enhance the sanctuary vibe encompassed by the yard. Well…Tada!

Once the bench was in place, I wanted a little table, or outdoor pouf to sit between the chair and bench. This is the worst time of year to find outdoor furniture, but I drove to all my favorite stores to see my options. Instead of furniture I saw stacks of unopened boxes of Christmas trees. 😮

The table in the photo was at Target, in the Magnolia section with no price tag. (There’s 3 things right there that scare my wallet.) I found an employee to scan it for me, and when she told me the price, I laughed out loud, and exited the store. The next morning the table was still on my mind, but I continued to Google ‘outdoor side table’. I saw one at Urban Outfitters that looked similar, but with shipping it would cost more than the one at Target, so I followed my heart back to Target and gave the table a home.

This entire process brought up the thought of ‘what a year can do’. There’s a noticeable difference in what the yard looks like now compared to last year, but it took an entire year to get it here. We want immediate change, but lasting change occurs gradually over time. I wouldn’t have made these furniture choices a year ago, but I’ve been pondering the possibilities for months. It’s a foundational start, but more time will pass before it’s complete.


I don’t invite people to my home very often, but this year I want them to feel invited in. This space was created to connect and soak up some calm amid the chaos.


Here’s all of the posts about creating spaces:

Wide Open Spaces, Fire and Rain, In My Corner, and Spaces to Grow.


Do Great Things

The commitment I made to my writing is to complete two writing practices a day, whether I want to or not. Most days it flows through the fingers, but today it didn’t. One practice is equal to 30 minutes which is comparatively a Pomodoro. If you’re not familiar with the Pomodoro technique, you can learn more about it here.

If you’re familiar with this plug-in already, my hope is you’re sharing it with everyone you know who sits in front of a computer the majority of the day. It wasn’t always a happy moment to pull up my browser window for work, but now I look forward to it. I see a breathtaking photo, and receive a poke of encouragement from my browser.

Google Chrome Momentum Plug-in

I posted this on our Fearless Slack channel as a mighty revelation! A man chimed in on the post saying he uses this on all his browsers. I wish he had shared this with us. Sometimes we assume everyone knows what we know, and we’re hesitant to share. I’ve received countless comments from the simplest of shares.

After the motivational phrase it says, ‘Good morning, afternoon or evening Barbara’, dependent upon the time of day it is. It asks what you want to focus on today, and if there’s a project that needs completion, I type that in as a reminder, but most days it’s on a more personal level like writing! A tiny box is over to the left, so at the end of the day I get to check it off and watch it receive a strikethrough.

Pay attention to the small things and let God handle the big ones. Out of all the tasks I do each day, keeping this commitment to my writing feels like a really great thing.

In My Corner

We’ve been talking about creating spaces. Whether it’s wide open for an upcoming project, which may mean dismantling something you love, or an outdoor space to soak up nature and be available to whomever passes by. This corner was one of the first spaces created and the inspiration came from a Team member of Fearless Warrior.

In this spot you feel at ease, and there’s very little thinking required as the space stirs up creativity itching to be released. Some mornings I walk by it several times telling myself I don’t have time to enjoy it, but I’ve learned if I don’t sit there, my day suffers from not taking the time.

Nothing fancy. It’s literally a corner of the room.

But, it’s mine.

The chair is one of my favorite pieces, and it’s comfy to sit in, but not relaxing. That’s important because I don’t want to dwell there for long. I pour a cup of coffee or tea, place it on the window ledge and then sit in the chair to reflect on possibilities of the day ahead.

It takes about 30 minutes, and it varies each day. Sometimes I need to read, or simply jot down a few ideas, and at other times it’s a full on page of journaling to empty the mind. The ottoman is used to spread out inspiration bubbling up from my artistic side.

Do you have a corner? If not, let me encourage you to create one. The quality of the day begins in my corner.

Fire and Rain

I cleaned up the firepit area and ordered curved, metal benches for seating. They were lost during shipment and never arrived. I received a refund for the benches and chalked it up to, God has a better plan, once again!

I’m still looking at benches, but in the meantime, I planted a ground cover around half of the pit. When it rains it gets muddy, so the ground cover is taking root and starting to spread. A few days ago, I noticed something while watering with the rain head. If I start at the top, the water cascades around the half circle and they water one another.

I purchased the fire pit two years ago and you can read about it here. Watering the ground cover was a reminder of the vision I have for creating this space. To sit around this fiery pit with whoever needs watering. Whether it’s a neighbor walking by I’ve never met, or a friend I’ve known for years, we can gather here to refresh.

The meme used as the feature photo in this post was published in the Fearless Mastery FB page. The people in that group are called Firestarter’s who continually light their lives on fire. I help manage the page for Zen Habits, and these souls encourage one another in a manner which mimics fanning each other’s flame.

It’s exciting to surround ourselves with the Firestarter’s of life, but every so often even the fire is required to sit with the rain.

Let Them Be

My mantra for the past couple of weeks has been, “Let life come to me.” Probably because I had a lot of life come to me in August, but obviously none of it was detrimental to my well-being because I’m still happy with life.

This week, I noticed these little imposters popping up everywhere in two of my flower beds. I didn’t plant them and actually found them hidden underneath what I had planted in May. They must have been planted before we moved here, and sorta recall seeing them last year. They’re thriving under the care of the flowers looming over them and multiplied wherever they fancied.

I saw these bunched up by the fence and tried to help them. Using a spade, I dug a few of them up and moved them over to the right of the bed in an open area, thinking they’d be happier with more space. It’s been several days now of watering them and they don’t look all that happy.

My friend Kat wrote about being tired of continual efforting. You can read her post here and I see you Kat. Let life come to me and know when to let them be.

Missing the Wave

Scrupulous. Intentional. Breathing in moments.

That’s how I envisioned last week would be. Daily life landed me far from the mark, and I missed some moments. One moment in particular hurt my heart a little bit, but sometimes that’s what it takes to snag my attention.

I was working in the yard moving plants as my daughter walked out of the house toward her Jeep. I walk up alongside her, give her a hug, and as she backs out, I stroll over to the pathway of stepping stones in the middle of the yard and wait for her to drive by. Except that day, I had a shovel in my hand and was moving one more plant.

This is something new we began doing this year, and it’s become ritual.

Normally, I stand on the path, wait for her to drive by and give her this wave filled with exuberance, like Miss America after drinking way too much coffee. She waves too, but that day when she drove by, I was in the side yard, so I missed the wave. It’s difficult to know how important something is until it’s missed.

A few days later she was leaving the house and we stepped through our leaving ritual. I suggested when she reached the end of the driveway to turn in the opposite direction and drive by the house one lot over that had been beautifully repainted. She sat there a moment and said, “But if I go that way, I’ll miss the wave.”

I smiled and on que began walking toward the middle of the yard to the path. This time, there was no missing the wave.


There once was a guy who named his dog, ‘Stay.’ When he called him to come the poor dog heard, “Come here, Stay.”

To Be Found

In November 2020, I wrote down 3 things to keep in mind for 2021. One has come to pass, and I’m working on the second one, but that third one is a daily ‘wait and see’.

I’m not the easiest person to love. I douse my front porch with glitter, and was recently granted permission to do the same to my neighbors driveway, so Barb is glittering up the neighborhood. I noticed the other day, I was showering with soap in the shape and smell of birthday cake.

You may think I’m kidding, but nope.

Buff City Soap-Life of the Party

What was the third thing I wrote down? To fall in love.

Dating apps have become entertainment for me, and I poke fun at myself on FaceBook. Last week, a girlfriend of mine was cheering me on for still being in the dating arena. We chatted and she shared that she stopped looking about a year ago. I cannot leave the dating arena yet because I made this tiny little deal with God. For me to fall in love, I had to be willing to put myself out there to be found.

God realizes I live a fairytale lifestyle, but this is one time He told me ‘no’. I fully expected a man to walk up to my front door holding my favorite cup of coffee, but that hasn’t happened. I know in my heart there is a man for me, but the odds are he’s not going to knock on the door. However, I do catch myself checking out every delivery man just in case God changes His mind. That doesn’t happen either.

That was the first step, and it was a scary one, but I’m determined to be fearless in putting myself out there to be found.

Feel the Music

I get excited over buying dirt.

Before planting anything in the yard this year, I needed to spread a layer of dirt. I talked to people who work at garden centers about what dirt for where, and what was being planted. The better the dirt, the happier everything grows and blooms, except a weed. They’ll grow but won’t bloom in good dirt.

I remember buying high dollar dirt for 25 cents because the bag had busted during delivery. It didn’t matter to me the bags were a wreck, I was going to dump it out anyways. A neighbor gave me some sprigs of her moon flower vine to plant along my front fence. It engulfed the fence but didn’t bloom.

My daughter found out later it won’t bloom in good dirt because it’s used to poor dirt. That vine is no longer on the fence. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I heard this song and looked up the video. Being a woman whose heart lives in the country I know it holds true. Anything you want to build or grow begins with a layer of dirt. You might not be able to buy happiness, but you can buy dirt.

To view video, click here.

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.

Prop Yourself Up

My feet were resting on the step as I placed the piping hot cup of Joe beside me on the wooden planks. I was watching the day begin sitting on the front porch, and not even in a chair, but on the porch itself. My gaze shifted to the Hibiscus that showed me something yesterday that I needed to keep in my memory bank. This beauty was still propped up.

The tomato plant was done producing for this season, but I wanted to reuse that planter it was in. I saw a slender piece of bamboo in the middle of the plant, and for some unknown reason decided to keep it. Laying it on the porch, I dug the retired tomato plant up and placed a new plant in the planter, leaving the piece of bamboo resting on the porch.

Afternoon thunderstorms were coming in, as the wind began blowing through the yard. That’s when I noticed the Hibiscus hanging over the edge of it’s planter. Two branches that were connected had broken free from one another but could still flourish on their own. One just needed some support to help it stand up straight again.

I remembered the little stick of bamboo from that morning and grabbed a twist tie. I stuck the bamboo into the dirt beside the weighted branch, stood it up and attached it to the stick with the tie.

It was like a gift to take in the morning in such a simple way. Not knowing at the time why I kept the little piece of bamboo, it’s purpose was revealed hours later. The Hibiscus was saying, “Hey Barb, You know how to prop yourself up.” This is true, but I’m at a point in my life where I would welcome a stick of bamboo.