A Full Tank

Being a single Mom and financially stable, may not coexist at first, but it was the most rewarding season of my life. It’s been a long road, but rest assured the road will lead to greener pastures.

The journey of the single Mom offers a continual concern over money. We lived in the country and drove 30 minutes to the nearest grocery store. I’d become dependent on my truck’s gas gauge to be accurate and indicate when gas was needed, until that one time we ran out of gas. It’s unnerving to break down on a country road with your daughter, but we called for help and it came. That was the last time I depended on a gauge in my truck and from that day forward I kept at least half a tank of gas in him.

Time rolls by and you figure out how much you can spend each week. You ask for a raise at work and take side jobs for extra spending like Christmas and birthdays. You’ll pile pillows on the floor and lay down side by side only to stare at the ceiling fan. A conversation begins as light-hearted giggling, but becomes deeper until you realize your voices are now a whisper and tissues are needed. You’ll take turns cooking so they can be creative in the kitchen, knowing full well you’re going to clean up afterwards. Those are the most memorable meals.

Over time you make more money, or want fewer things, but somehow time and money line up. My truck has gone from having half a tank to a full tank, but he’s not the only one. My daughter grew into a young adult and moved into her own home this year, but thinking about everything we went through to get to this point has me writing this with a full tank.

Feature Photo by Reed Geiger on Unsplash

Practice the Toot

I went for my morning walk. If I can get out the door by 7:00 am, the air is cool, crisp and a delight to the senses. That didn’t happen this morning, it was more like 8:30 am, but I went anyway.

Stepping into my front yard, I hear a car coming down the road, but didn’t think much of it until I heard the horn. It was my neighbor from the end of the street and he always toots his horn when driving by. When I was a kid and on up into my 20’s, that was considered a greeting when someone tooted their car horn. It was to get your attention so you’d look their way to see them smiling and waving at you.

Maybe you didn’t realize the car horn was once used as a kind gesture. Similar to making your bed first thing in the morning, and putting the grocery cart into the cart return. These tasks aren’t new, it’s how we were raised.

My truck is over 10 years old and I cannot recall the last time I tooted my horn, if ever. To do this, you press on the horn with two, quick presses so it goes toot, toot. It’s something that will need practice, so the next time I leave home, I’ll have to drive by my neighbors house to practice the toot.

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.

Beauty and Goodness

You’ve heard the saying, “Buy experiences, not things.” I don’t buy a lot of things, but what I do buy offers an experience.

I drove across town for a candle.

That’s the way I live my life. I’ve written about this candle a few times over at Letitgocoach, and know from past experience how magical they are. It doesn’t take much thought before hopping in my truck, and driving toward the display. There’s only one shop nearby that sells them, but it’s worth the drive.

Voluspa has created an experience in the shape of a candle. The box itself is stunning, and the container it’s poured in is a treasure. The store didn’t have this particular candle out of the box on display, and I soon found out why. Upon opening the box to take a peak, it was sealed and I couldn’t see the candle.

Voluspa

It’s difficult to buy things sight unseen, but I was willing to take a chance. This candle is designed to emanate beauty and goodness, and I cannot recall a time I’ve been disappointed after buying one. The heart knows what it wants without any evidence, and it always believes in beauty and goodness.

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.

Reclaim the Fire

I snapped at a coworker. That’s not like me because I don’t typically relinquish my calm and lash out. An uncharacteristic move deserves a deeper look.

Discontentment has been hanging around for a bit. There’s weariness in staring at a screen. It was manageable with the one job I’ve had for years, but when I took on a second job this year, it’s became a lot. Both jobs require being online, but one more than the other. I’ve learned the skill of reigniting my flame when it grows dim, but sitting here today it feels I’m repeatedly using matches, and the box is almost empty.

When my daughter or I lose our spark where we are, we make a pro/con list. We list the reasons for staying (pro), and the reasons for leaving (con). This recently popped up in my Facebook memories.

“How do you know when you’ve outgrown that job, ministry and/or partnership? Here are 7 indicators that it may be time to move on. 1. You feel like your creativity is being stifled 2. You lack motivation for the thing that once motivated you and ignited your passions 3. You feel like it’s getting in the way of your true calling and purpose 4. You feel like you’re emotionally suffocating in that environment 5. What you offer isn’t utilized, valued or appreciated 6. You feel like you’ve maxed out on the growth, opportunities and/or resources that are available to you 7. You’ve prayed about it, and you feel a release to move forward These are not definite indicators, but they are certainly clues worth investigating.” David Burrus.

Of the seven things listed, six of them resonate. December is the month to examine and let go of what extinguishes our flame. Reclaim the fire.

Photo by Moodywalk on Unsplash

All Is Calm

I walked into my local bakery to take a break. When working from home you need to take breaks outside of the home. It does wonders for your sanity and the people around you will be thankful.

While waiting for my drink, I perused the shelves of merchandise. My eyes fell onto this coffee mug and it was love at first sight. My mantra from this year is written on it in gold lettering which read, “All is Calm.” The barista who has become my friend said, “Oh yeeeesssss. That’s our holiday collection.” I sat it on the counter, paid for it along with my drink and became the happy owner of yet another coffee mug!

I made a cup of coffee for it and sat it on my desk. My daughter was sitting across the room at the kitchen table, and commented on the cup. She knew it was Christmas, which I thought was odd, but didn’t question it. Sitting at my desk the cup read, ‘All is Calm’, but I failed to look at the other side, and that was the side facing my daughter. Turning the cup around the other side read, “All is Bright.”

I thought it was funny how I originally noticed the one side and became focused on it, but from across the room where my daughter was seated, she saw the other side and realized it’s true meaning. In our daily lives and with coffee mugs, it pays to look at both sides.

Make Your Bed

Recently, my daughter has been saying, “I learned it from you!” She’s 21 years old, so the things she has learned make me smile.

That’s how it should be.

We teach our children by example, not lectures. When they grow into adults, my hope is she has learned what’s needed to help her along her journey.

Photo by Jake Ryan on Pexels.com

She has always seen my bed made.

I think when she was little, she thought there was some magical fairy that came through and did it because she rarely saw me making it. I’d make it first thing, so by the time she made her way to my room, everything was in order.

Just like the day before.

The mystery was solved when we began living on our own together. She saw me make my bed, and would ask for my help in making hers. I have to admit, over the years the age old excuse crept in, “Why are you making your bed Barb? You’re just gonna get back in it.” That’s not the point.

Photo by Alexander Kaunas on Unsplash

Our bedrooms are designated havens.

I believe you have to have one room in your house that’s completely yours. The bedroom has always been mine and I’ve shared it over the years, but never hesitated to run somebody out if needed. Here’s the best part lovely.

Today, she usually makes her bed before I make mine. If I jump out of bed and dive straight into work, she sees I haven’t gotten around to making my bed, and will step in there and make it for me. I eventually notice and am so grateful she has learned this skill.

Show your children how to have at least a little bit of your life in order. Go on now and make your bed.