What a Saturday Morning Feels Like

I did something this morning that I haven’t done in a very long time. I sat down in one of the overstuffed Parson chairs, grabbed my red throw to cover my legs and read a few pages from a book that’s laying on my table of books. I believe a writer should be surrounded by books. It’s inspiring to read what other writer’s wish to share and it’s encouraging to know deep in my bones that eventually there will be a book written by yours truly.

I was Marco Poloing with the magical Mrs. M this week and we were joking about the amount of books we live with. She went as far to purchase a rolling cart like you see being used at the public library! I just think that’s the coolest thing ever, but I don’t have a huge amount of books lying around, although you will find a stack in many of the rooms. If they are in a stack, they’re waiting to be read and on a shelf are some of my favorites that I don’t want to lose track of.

I think what I did this morning is considered normal, but I was amused that it felt planned. Yesterday, I published a newsletter for work entitled, ‘Slow Down December’ and thought it best to practice what was gently preached. I heated a chocolate chip scone and laid a slab of butter beside it once heated. Poured a cup of Christmas blend coffee in a retired Starbucks mug and sat them on the table of books. Anyone could find something at this table to suit their reading needs.

It was just getting light outside as I soaked up the stillness and thought…

This is what a Saturday morning feels like.

Trust the Process

I purchased a vintage typewriter. I’ve longed for one all year, but this grew to be more in September. It was a process because I didn’t realize the multitudes of choices. After thorough research I surmised this criteria used to take the majority of them out of the running. They needed to be in working order and the ink cartridge’s/ribbon not by any means in dramatic decline.

I found one locally and it’s electric, which I’d been casting a keen eye over manual, but I genuinely favored the color of this one. The local woman was delightful to work with and purchase from. She was elated to sell it to someone who was going to use it and it’s used every day. The main reason for the purchase was to have a way to write that didn’t include a computer screen.

I wasn’t prepared for how loud it is between the humming of the motor and each key pounding the page, but with time it grew into a welcome sound that soothes my psyche. I’ve moved it at least 20 times to various locations in my home, trying to find the space that feels right. To my surprise it persists in finding the corner of my bedroom unparalleled. Reminiscent of Stephen King in On Writing, my corner for writing found me and that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

To sit down in front of this typewriter, insert a blank page, turn it on and type each day for 30 minutes. To have no foreknowledge of the outcome, but survey the stack of pages acquiring height. This is all I can gather as we simply trust the process.

Finding Water

There’s a rooster learning to crow and it sounds nearby. My neighbor across the street showed me her baby chickens months ago, but that’s the thing about baby chicks. You don’t know what you have until they grow.

Another neighbor drove by at 8:15 on a Saturday morning. I remember those days when the kids were young and life revolved around their schedule. Sitting here at this well loved farmhouse table, with the window open listening to the windchimes, I’m happy with the season I’m in and seeing the season’s I’ve passed through makes me grateful they’re a part of my past.

I’m reading Julia Cameron, Finding Water and in this book she’s trying her best to write, but struggling with her inner critic. Julia is so aware of her inner critic, she gave it a name, Nigel, to make arguing more realistic. They have showdown fights, but considering Julia has published over 40 books, not including screenplays, I see her as the champion. I discovered I’m reading the third book in a trilogy, so I located the second one for purchase. Now to decide whether to stop where I am and wait for the second book, or continue reading.

In Finding Water, Julia is in fear of having another nervous breakdown. She’s an alcoholic who stopped drinking at 29 years of age, but she’s writing this book, trying not to drink, so she won’t have a breakdown. I find this encouraging, mainly because I’m holding this book in my hands, so I assume neither happened. Finding Water was originally published in 2006 and Julia is still alive and writing. Even while going through hell it seems that writing helped her find the way out.

I’m purchasing an old typewriter. It’ll give me a way to write without filling in another handwritten journal, or looking at a screen. Julia and I are very similar in we write by looking out a window, it’s all about the view, or by taking a walk for inspiration. A new view is on my list next year, and it’ll be somewhere near water.

I can finish writing a book looking at water and you never know when you’ll need to refill a bucket or two. It’s the perfect book title because reading it feels like finding water, until the time is right to go in search of your very own. Here’s to finding water.

Resources: https://juliacameronlive.com/

The Trilogy of books include: The Artists Way, Walking in this World, and Finding Water.

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.

The Sound of Comfort

I’m breaking one of my own rules. The rule was to not drink coffee after 2:00 pm, but here we are at 3:15 pm, savoring a fine cup of cold brew. It was intentional and feels rebellious, but some rules are made to be broken dependent of the day.

I woke up early because I’ve been going to bed earlier, but Saturday morning I stayed in bed to relish in some extra sleep. It was delightful, but there’s something off in the comfort of my sleep. I go to bed with the ceiling fan on, which is directly above the bed, but as morning arrives I’m cold. The house can be stuffy at night so the fan is welcomed, but with the change is season the house cools off at night and the cooler temperature wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Years ago I researched and purchased a pure down comforter. It was a substantial investment for a single Mom, but it was something I wanted and knew it would last. Today, I unzipped the suitcase style, protective covering the comforter is stored in and the sound of it being unzipped caught my attention. It just sounded soothing like something good was about to reveal itself. Placing it in the dryer to air fluff the cool air would release the compacted feathers restoring their fluff.

Once the fluffing was complete I dropped the comforter onto the bed and began unfolding it layer by layer. The sound was a soft, crinkling noise and right then I realized I was listening to the sound of comfort.

Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash

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.

The First Hour

The dogs know when they see me flip over the sand timer, I’m going to tap the keys for 30 minutes. That’s how long the sand will run, and about as long as I’m good sitting in one spot. I remember when I first started Blogging, I could sit here for hours, and the posts were long. That changed over time. Maybe time revealed how valuable it is. It the one thing we spend that will not return, so try to use it wisely.

I woke up early this morning and it was still dark outside. I didn’t dare turn on the bedside lamp, or the dogs would think it was time to get up. They don’t move until they see the new day streaming in through the windows. It’s cloudy, so the day was here without them knowing it. I sat in darkness and listened to the stillness of the house. I could hear warm air coming in through the vents and was grateful for heat. I knew if I pulled the chain of the lamp beside me, it would illuminate the room, so I was grateful for electricity. There were many things to be grateful for, even the bed I was sitting on, blanketed in warmth.

Leo Babauta says, “There’s a deliciousness to the early morning.” We get to choose to roll out of bed and dive into the day, or wake up early to greet it. The first hour is sacred, and sets the tone for the rest of day.

I walked through the house, lit a candle, and made a cup of coffee. There is one lamp burning brightly as I sit at my desk and type. A nearby clock is ticking more loudly than my typing, but the house remains still. The sand timer has emptied, but I’m not ready to move just yet, because once I do, the house will spring to life. Thank you for sitting here with me in this stillness of the first hour.

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.