What the World Needs

I rarely clean windows anymore, plus these are the original windows from when this house was built in the 1960’s, so it’s hard to tell if they’re clean even after you clean them. While outside watering the flower baskets hanging above each window, they get rinsed by the watering and that works for me.

Months ago I bought a sign made of metal and love seeing what it says, so I’ve moved it around to various areas of the house trying to find a space I’d see it most often. It didn’t do very well hanging on the wall because the pale grey color of the wall wasn’t enough of a contrast to be able to read it immediately. The letters are laser cutouts through metal, so it’s heavy.

It was purchased from Magnolia and I’m pretty sure it’s the title of a children’s book, but no matter, it’s something each and every one of us needs to know and be reminded of daily, regardless of age. This is what the world needs…

The best location by far for this sign is hanging in front of a window and it doesn’t surprise me that all it needed to really shine was some light behind it. The light shines through even the dirtiest of windows. Find your light my darling and let it shine because the world needs who you were made to be.

The Water Bowl

It became easier to not add flowers to my yard once I stopped frequently visiting my happy place that you can read about here. My favorite garden center that feeds my very soul simply by parking my truck nearby. Sunday was the day I couldn’t hold myself back any longer.

If it’s possible it felt more magical than last year as I strolled along the dirt path looking at the plants and listening to the splash of the water fountains. I wasn’t looking for a plant, but of course I found one that needed a good home. My mission on that faithful day was to find a bowl to hold water for the birds. Even though I stopped feeding the birds last winter because the seed was attracting more than just birds, they still flutter through my yard looking for water.

I’ve tried using bowls from my cupboard that are rarely used, but that didn’t feed my heart. I sat a bowl outside that we used to use for mashed potatoes, and it was a beautiful bowl, but every time I saw it, I envisioned it filled with mashed potatoes. Looking all over the internet didn’t spark my heart either, so the lesson here my darling is…when looking for a water bowl, go where they sell bowls for water. Even there it took some time and I had to incorporate an employee’s assistance in my search because most of the bowls I’d seen had a hole in the bottom.

The employee guided me toward the Pro Shop where the front porch held stacks of bowls. I’ve never walked this far along the property to find this shop and the choice of outdoor bowls was overwhelming! So much so, the employee left as if she didn’t want any part of the decision-making process, but once I stood still amid the intricately stacked choices, my heart knew which one to purchase.

Since our part of the lake dried up, I haven’t been able to see water on a regular basis and that’s a need for me. My soul is refreshed with every gaze that lands on the water bowl.

Hear Myself Living

It’s okay to change your mind. I change mine over something almost every day and I think being adaptable smooths the rough edges of change.

Even though I didn’t plant any flowers in the ground this year, it didn’t stop me from having flowers. There’s something inside of me especially this time of year that just needs to see bloom. I went to a local garden center to see if my friend had anything in stock that sparked my heart. She knows my yard is shaded and helps me choose plants that will be happy here. She pointed to a flower basket that was pretty in it’s simplicity, but I wanted two that matched. She looked around and found one more and they were the only ones there, so I purchased both.

Working from home, I need a reason to step outside each day. There’s just enough to tend to in the yard where I spend a few minutes rather than hours like previous summers and that’s a refreshing change. Summer is a busy time of year for a lot of families, but I’m grateful to be in a season where I get to slow the pace. Yes, my darling…this is the summer I want to hear myself living.

The Golden Jubilee

My home is telling on me. The past few Friday’s have looked similar where all of the empty cups, mugs and coffee paraphernalia congregated to the kitchen island as if to say, “We served her well today.” The empty water bottle resting in the middle of the massive wood table didn’t make it to the ceremony.

A couple of weeks ago my neighbors wife invited me to have coffee with her and another neighbor down the street. I hadn’t formally met the other neighbor, but the two of them have been friends for many years. With a slight hesitation, I went and it felt like an hours worth of them asking all about me. I didn’t share at an intimate level, but politely answered all of their questions and if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I can be a bit much to put it mildly.

Neither woman has spoken to me since.

The scenarios of the mind will begin to swirl and even for myself in past instances I’d begin questioning my behavior during coffee. My daughter would pick on me and say, “You didn’t hide your crazy well enough”, but something shifts in a woman after the age of 55. As we near the age of 60 and beyond, other people’s approval, or opinion of ourselves doesn’t matter. My gosh darling, we’ve been roaming this earth for half a century, so by His grace we must be doing something right!

Trying to find a word, or phrase for half a century, the best I could come up with became the title of this post. The 50th wedding anniversary is called the golden jubilee and sitting here today my life feels pretty damn near golden. Let me encourage you to not allow anyone to steal the golden from your jubilee.

Make Your Heart Soar

How easily forgotten are these meaningful aspects of life once they’re no longer in view. These random moments that fill your heart with pure joy and in that instance, you realize that life is meant to be lived.

A fellow blogger/friend of mine recently wrote a post about taking a 3-minute break in between zooms to step outside and stretch. Within those few minutes a stork flew over her head and it was an exhilarating experience in a brief amount of time. The stork, or Great Blue Heron has always been a part of my heart and journey, but I haven’t seen one since living here except down by the lake, but the lake isn’t within walking distance anymore.

I still recall the feeling she described and didn’t realize how much it was missed until reading her post here. A few days ago, I remembered a picture I have of stork and went in search of it. The artwork was tucked away in the “I don’t know what to do with” pile because it was given to me by someone who knew my heart, but no longer holds it. Pulling it from it’s hiding place, I changed the frame and hung it on the wall as a visual reminder of what makes my heart soar.

I hung it above my typewriter and instead of feeling poignant about the way it came into my life, I’m grateful for still having it and can see it for the piece of artwork it is. One of the promises in AA states, ““We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”, and that promise has come to pass many times, but it’s worth remembering today. Our past prepares us for our future.

Hold onto the pieces that make your heart soar.

Feature Photo by Jeremy Hynes on Unsplash

Survive the Storm

The storm lasted through the night, but today the thunder and lightning has passed leaving a gentle rain in it’s place. Before the storm arrived, I brought the wreath from the front door inside and I swear with the weather we’ve been having this year this wreath has hung indoors more than out, but thanks to my friend Dawn, I like it equally in either place.

During the storm, the Marvelous Mrs. M. Marco Polo’d me just to make sure everything was alright. She had seen a neighbor’s post on Instagram of the golf ball sized hail we received, but it’s been a long time since seeing hail come down as hard as rain and roll down the street.

I’m not a fan of storms and almost admire those who can sit outside to watch them pass through, but God has brought me a long way this year through storms both literally and figuratively. It began back in January with the simple and yet surrendering act of continually trusting Him through each and every one. The red banana tree planted outside my window took a beating from the hail of our most recent storm and I didn’t think quickly enough to even try to protect it.

There was no need for me to intervene because that’s a part of that ‘trusting Him’ in all things, even protecting a banana tree that’s too heavy to move indoors. Seeing it’s tattered leaves shredded by the hail it looks beaten, but it’s still standing tall and upright, so it survived. I think we all feel like this banana tree looks after a storm, but the storm does pass and it doesn’t last forever.

Our part is to make it through.

It’s outer leaves look rough, but let’s take a look inside.

There’s growth, shiny and new.

We may get the crap beat out of us like Mr. Banana, but there’s strength to be gained during each and every storm. The storm is growing us from the inside, but we won’t realize all the benefits of growth until after we survive the storm.

Go and Live Your Life

I was raised in an era where the rules were, you get a job, get married, buy a house plus cars, have kids and that would be your life. You stayed together no matter what, for the sake of the kids, but ten years ago, I realized that wasn’t true and didn’t want my daughter to think it was the definition of adulthood or marriage. It was time to re-write, or maybe even burn the rule book.

My daughter watched me have two long distance relationships after my divorce and she in turn ventured long distance through two of her own. Today, she’s in love with someone locally and I’m thrilled she broke that cycle of traveling to the ends of the earth just to be loved.

What a terrible burden for children to bear-to know they are the reason their Mother stopped living. What a terrible burden for our daughters to bear-to know that if they choose to become Mothers, this will be their fate too. Because if we show them that being a martyr is the highest form of love, that is what they’ll become. They will feel obligated to love as well as their Mothers loved, after all. They will believe they have permission to live only as fully as their Mothers allowed themselves to live.

Untamed-Glennon Doyle

Since my daughter is living her own life, a lot of my responsibilities have been relinquished. It feels as if I’m standing in the middle of a blank canvas, paint brush in hand, but not knowing what color to start with. It doesn’t really matter what color to dip the paint brush in because getting paint to the canvas is what’s important. When God decides to call this woman home, I want my children to be left with colorful, splattered, and messy, but somewhat masterful pieces of art that tell the story of how vibrantly their mother lived the second half of her life.

As my daughter moved out she said many noteworthy things and I know she wouldn’t want me to stay put as if pausing my life just in case she needed me in hers. No, she would say, “Go and live your life.”

Feature Photo by Bella Huang on Unsplash

It’s Yours for the Taking

There’s a quote on a chalkboard hanging in the hallway that says, “Take what you have and make it what you want.” The chalkboard has a few quotes listed, but that one is read each night before bed as I mentally recap my day.

I’ve been outside scrubbing mold and mildew off my front porch because I couldn’t look at it any longer. As many of you know, I rent this little house and didn’t plan on being here for 6 years, but here we are. The landlord sent his handyman out here in January of this year and the porch is one of several things I showed him that were unacceptable, but easily fixed. He said he’d come back later with a pressure washer and that would do the trick. I haven’t seen the handyman since.

At first, I began scrubbing the molded, wood slats of the porch in a loving and caring way in reference to the quote by taking what I have and making it what I want, but then became a little angry and mainly at myself. This wasn’t a soothing way to spend my Sunday and once the scrubbing and rinsing of the boards was complete, another project was revealed. The porch would need to be repainted, but I stopped there and put away all my supplies.

Barb isn’t painting the front porch of the rental house.

For decades I’ve lived by the saying, “If you want it done right, do it yourself”, but those words aren’t serving me here. Barb is tired of doing it herself and whatever we choose to do, the end result should bring happiness. My idea of happiness today is moments that resemble the feature photo of this post and to move toward the life we want means loosening the grip on the one we have.

The lesson here my beauties is…Before you take what you have to make it what you want, make sure it’s yours for the taking.

Relax and I’ll read this to you here:

P.S. I’m writing on Medium to encourage writers within my workplace and would love for you to join me there!

Feature Photo by Cody Black on Unsplash

Say Yes to Rest

The learning to rest thing is not easy, but it’s worth every effort given. I see ancient patterns resistant to change because they’ve been with me for a lifetime.

As a child I don’t recall taking time for rest. Mama kept us busy because she believed if we had too much time on our hands we’d find trouble. When my daughter and I moved into our first home together, I recall after the movers left, laying across the bed and falling sound asleep. I woke up some time later and thought, “That was the first nap I allowed myself to have in 30 years.” I never saw Mama take a nap, but Daddy took one everyday like clockwork.

I’ve been in relationships where they took daily naps. Sometimes, I’d take one too, but I always felt guilty for napping. There’s an old saying, “You can sleep when your dead,” but I’m learning to rest while alive in hopes of adding quality years to live.

I want to fall in love with this notion of rest and I’m not head over heels in love just yet, but I’m full of willingness. This photo was taken after a meditation in my sacred space. I was seated on my Zafu cushion, looking up at the corner of my bed and it made me feel more restful by simply seeing it. You see, I created a space within this space that calls for me to take a rest.

It contains my favorite blanket and pillow and I set the stage every morning after making the bed, just in case today is the day I’ll use it. This space waits for me all day to surrender and say yes to rest.

What comes up for you when you think about rest?