Like You Own It

I printed out and filled in the page needed to receive my birth certificate mentioned in the previous post. Afterwards, I ran a few errands and to congratulate myself for completing the paperwork and stopped to get a fall flavored coffee on the way back home.

Some of the most memorable conversations my daughter and I shared, occurred while we rode in the car together. Sometimes it was just miles of silence, while listening to her playlist, but that was special too. I’ve noticed, as we age things that used to come naturally take more of an effort. Being single, I have to devise a plan to move the heavy planter from one side of the yard to the other, or bringing it inside takes even more ingenuity if someone isn’t available to assist. At this stage of life, I’d rather ask for help than pull my back out.

My daughter rarely rides anywhere with me now, but before she left she had noticed I was having trouble parking in public parking spaces. I’d drive around and around the parking lot, looking for just the right space that would easily fit my truck. You know the drill…parking spaces aren’t very large anymore, so they can fit more spaces onto the lot. Some don’t care how they park and go over the line, making it impossible to park between two cars, while others really don’t bother and pull in sideways. Before my daughter moved out she gave me some solid gold advice on parking spaces and I used it every time I parked.

I practiced her advice so often, parking returned naturally to me now, but anytime I feel less than confident I recall her voice saying…”Mama. You have to pull into that parking space like you own it.”

Nailed it.

The Door of Possibilities

I slept in this morning and the large clock hanging on the bedroom wall said, 8:00, but daylight saving time kicked in and it was actually 7:00 am. That’s the only downside to having a real clock in every room. I’ll be turning them all back an hour.

Friends have been asking, “What are your plans now that you’re an empty nester?” In October I’d planned to get my passport, so if I decided to visit friends outside the US, I’d be free to do so. You are asked to turn in your birth certificate along with the passport application and I have no idea where that might be. Yesterday, a friend told me the easiest way to find it. He encountered the same obstacle while applying for his passport, so I was grateful to have seen him on my walk.

I came home and looked up the website he’d referred me to and it looked pretty straightforward. After filling in all the information, I had a choice to make. I could pay $49 plus another $10 fee to download the document and mail it in, or for those who don’t have a printer they charge $89 plus additional fees to mail me everything needed to be filled in and mail it back. From what I gather this company would be creating a birth certificate for me, but that’s not what I was looking for. I wanted the original.

Another online search took me to the Register of Deeds in the county where I was born. This website had a vintage search engine to look up vital records. Typing in my mother’s name and the date of my birth, nothing was found, so I replaced her name with my father’s and a record of my birth came up. It was funny that my father’s name was listed first, but back then it was the proper way. I printed out the document and will fill it in to mail to the Register of Deeds with a $10 check per copy wanted of the certificate.

I had laid the whole passport thing aside because of the hiccup with the birth certificate, but I believe in my heart God wants me to have one. Where He wants me to travel to, I don’t know yet, but a passport certainly does kick open the door of possibilities.

Feature Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Welcome to the Next Chapter

The first time I saw it was on a walk to the postal store to purchase stamps. Peering through the storefront window at the concrete floor smeared with dust, I assumed the space was being renovated. There was a massive, wood work table encompassing the middle of the room and then, over to the side, there it sat…a Potter’s wheel, so part of the dust was from clay…

A female Potter who was slinging clay in her garage during Covid, took a leap of faith and rented this space. My heart is full to have this studio within walking distance of my home. She began offering private classes, but with her being new in town, they filled up quickly. Once the dust settled in my own life, an email arrived revealing classes with openings, and I signed up instantly.

This week will be class 4 of 6 and it’s been a challenge. By the world’s standards I wouldn’t look very successful considering it took 3 classes to complete 2 tiny pieces, but I see all the small successes it took to get two pieces complete. The things I’ve learned about myself and the process each piece is called to endure has been worth it. The Potter’s wheel is a truthteller. The type of energy brought to the wheel reveals itself through the clay and the outcome is literally in your hands.

Last week at the end of class I stood gazing at all the beauty on display wondering if I could ever make something similar. It was my third class, but I wanted my two little pieces to look like these pieces in front of me which took the Potter years to achieve. For now, my success is showing up each week to learn.

Standing on a shelf in front of me was a notebook that captured my gaze. The cover reminded me of something M, my neighbor who moved would draw. It felt like the book was whispering, “I want to hold your next chapter.” As I stood there trying to discern the best way to reach it through the maze of breakables, my feet started moving like they knew the best route. I reached the notebook, took it to the counter to pay and left the studio to begin my walk home.

This notebook standing among the pottery was God assuring me, “You know beauty and you can write.” Welcome to the next chapter. In gratitude, Barb.

Slow is Free

I was walking the neighborhood, and saw some friends outside, so stopped to say hello. One had a question about tea filters, and the best method for loose-leaf teas. When describing the type bag I use, her husband began nodding his head, like he could envision what I’d described. He said, “I’ll just order some off Amazon and they’ll be here tomorrow, or maybe even tonight!” Everyone chuckled.

In January of this year, I stopped ordering from Amazon. Delivery is fast, but I was hugely disappointed in the quality of product. What I’d ordered looked as if it had been opened and for all I know, could have been used.

This made me look at other areas of my life in which I was paying for fast, and PayPal was another. To move money from PayPal into another account was immediate, for a price. They take a percentage of the money moved, which bothered me to no end, considering PayPal did nothing to earn the money. I was paying for convenience. You can move it for free, but they warn it may take 1-3 business days, but the money shows up in 24 hours.

Free takes more time. It helps is to pay attention and take note when you’re running out of something. To order it ahead of time and not pay an extra fee for fast, because in more ways than one, slow is free.

A Blanket of Calm

It’s cold in Texas. My laptop says it’s 27 degrees outdoors, and to some states, that isn’t cold, but for Texas it’s cold.

The title of this post came to mind earlier this week, but I don’t know what to write. I live my life wrapped in a blanket of calm, and have written about calmness, but to sit down and share how to achieve it, the words are few. My life is so calm that my daughter gave me this magnet for Christmas as a joke, but it’s really not that life is calm. I’ve just learned to remain calm in this life.

To harness calm depends quite a bit on our environment. What and who we share our space with. To have calm, we need to practice having it, and display it in our daily life. My life hasn’t always been calm, but it was one of the most important elements I craved after my divorce. The quote by Winston Churchill comes to mind, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Disruptions are temporary, and there’s calm on the other side.

Blankets are prevalent in our home. They’re stored in a cubby in the den and laying at the foot of each bed. Earlier this week I just needed to envelope myself in warmth, so I grabbed a blanket, wrapped it around my shoulders, and immediately felt the warmth of calm. Give it a try.

I pray for your world to be covered by a blanket of calm.

A Practice in Patience

I gave myself a practice in patience. You may be familiar with Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles, and that is what I chose to practice with.

It was given to me this month and has a Christmas scent. The other day it was lit, but all three wicks were not much of a flame. They looked as if they could snuff out at any given moment. It’s a relatively new candle and this was the second time it’d been lit, so I blew it out and pondered my options. Bath and Body Works stand behind their products, so I knew I could take it to the store and they’d replace it with a new one. That was an option, or I could be patient and work with it to see how far we could go.

I lit all three wicks and they were struggling to remain lit. I placed it in a draft free zone away from activity. Two of the wicks began burning brightly, but there was one that wouldn’t stay lit. It kept going out and I’d relight it each time. I forgot about the candle for a while, but the next time I walked by and took a look, all three wicks were lit! Two of them had been burning long enough to melt down the wax, so the third one could breathe. The two stronger wicks helped the one that was struggling. We need that too.

It took hours of working with this candle, but my patience didn’t wane. We don’t know for sure how strong we really are until an area is tested. We’re capable of more than we give ourselves credit for and we don’t have to be surprised by every test. We can test ourselves to continually redefine our level of patience.