Daybook Blog https://daybook.blog/ The Curiosity of You. Tue, 29 Nov 2022 14:04:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://daybook.blog/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/cropped-daybook-site-icon-32x32.png Daybook Blog https://daybook.blog/ 32 32 Hope Never Leaves Us Alone https://daybook.blog/hope-never-leaves-us-alone/ https://daybook.blog/hope-never-leaves-us-alone/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2022 00:32:49 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=26742 I parked and walked in, but I was never lonely. The pew felt extra long and very empty. But I know… hope never leaves us alone.

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The pew felt extra long and very empty. I was at church by myself today. I parked and walked in. My mind decided I would just slide into the balcony and lay low. After all, I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. Some days I crave isolation. Today, I craved time with God but the irony of what he allowed me to notice held my attention for the day. Hope never leaves us alone.

By Herself

I have passed through this significant door many times. She was by herself as well. She reached first but struggled to open the impressive door. I offered help but her face told me she might’ve been struggling with more than I realize. There was no smile. Maybe she was visiting and felt unsure. I did not recognize her. She passed through the doorway and after a glance for a bulletin, she headed to the balcony empty-handed.

Moments of Silence

I made a split decision to sit downstairs. Maybe the comfort of my usual place was needed. There were more people in the sanctuary than in the past few weeks. The service was already beginning. Everyone was silent. My week longs for these few moments of silence. I chose the sunny side with stained glass reflections just a few pews up from where my sweet friends sit when the fear of sickness is not fresh.

Two stained glass windows in a church on the first day of advent hope

Alone

It is unnerving how you begin to think people are looking at you extra long when you are alone. I suppose they are doing what I find myself doing. Don’t we all makeup scenarios in our minds? Where is her husband? I wonder if he is sick. Maybe he is out of town. I hope he is okay. Regardless of reality, I feel like people are staring. The pew is a comfort as I settle in and become one of them.

I find Myself Wondering

As the service progressed, I couldn’t help but notice the many women who were there alone. Some, I know their story. Others, I find myself wondering and creating a narrative. I guess we all do it. Are we really ever alone?

There are many whose husbands have passed away. I notice them and cannot help but wonder if they feel lonely on Sunday mornings. Does the pew feel extra long and very empty for them too? My mind climbs upstairs to the balcony. Is the one I entered with still alone? I wonder about her missing smile.

Hope Never Leaves Us Alone

Like myself, others are alone for different reasons. Reasons I will never know. The reason does not matter. God just seemed to open my eyes to the number that sits alone. Maybe it was simply because I too was alone at church today. The pew felt extra long and very empty. But I know… hope never leaves us alone.

An open view of a meadow during late fall in Georgia.

We Cling To Hope

Today. The first Sunday of Advent. The day reserved for hope. We light the first of four candles. My heart focused on the many women who were alone. I began to pray for each one. I pray they have hope. There is a God so there is hope. Hope is real and we cling to it.

Hope Is Real

I parked and walked in, but I was never lonely.  Hope is real. It is available beyond the realms of Advent. It is for those sitting alone and those who have yet to experience an extra-long pew. Hope never leaves us alone.

Stay Curious,

Daybook The Curiosity of You

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How Lucky Are We https://daybook.blog/how-lucky-are-we/ https://daybook.blog/how-lucky-are-we/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2022 01:40:41 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=26545 On this night, it was the conversation of spreading ashes that ended with two people finding common ground in the sky. How lucky are we...

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He was getting out of his truck when we arrived at the end of the road. His eager energy was felt from the inside of our truck. We almost made the decision not to come tonight. In no time, we heard “how lucky are we” and knew we’d chosen well.

The End Of The Road

The end of the road is where locals meet travelers. We all come hoping to see the best sunset but often leave having seen a new friend. It is true, Bird Creek Boat Ramp in Yankeetown, Florida is one of the best places to enjoy the uniqueness of every sunset. When we are in town, we make every effort to drive this road as often as possible…usually every night. The weather is rarely a factor. Just when we think it is too cloudy or too late, we are gifted with a sunset that somehow outshines the last.

A large palm tree in front of a sunset over the ocean.

5:41 Sunset

On this night, we arrived at just about the same time as another. Like us, he was there with his cell phone hoping to capture a quick shot and move on down the road. The app told us sunset would be at 5:41 and we decided at 5:25 that we would hustle to see if we could catch the last few minutes of color. He must’ve had the same idea.  We never exchanged names, but that didn’t hinder a quick bond. He was one to just talk to whoever would listen, and me being the one that often listens.

He Talked I Listened

“We are sprinkling Bob’s ashes out here on Sunday evening.” That is all he said. He must’ve assumed we knew Bob. We didn’t but that seemed irrelevant. The discussion of family ashes and requests was brief. It ended with him proclaiming that he would one day be scattered in this beautiful place. Followed by a loud “a long, long, time from now”. As the sun disappeared behind the horizon, I heard him quietly say “how lucky are we”. The sky was painted pink as a shelf of clouds closed in tight. He kept talking, and I kept listening.

Bright orange sunset over the ocean in Florida

Different Souls

Our worlds could not have been more different. He was from upstate New York close to Canada while I have southern roots that run deep and have never been far from home.  He is twenty-five years my senior and has seen far more of this world than I. Tattoos adorned all the places I could see, and he shared a lifestyle to which I could not relate. Apart from the obvious, we are just different souls. Our differences had no relevance in the four minutes it took for the sun to sink. Just two unique walks of life watching the sunset while finding common ground.

Oh, How Lucky Are We

People and cars move from this meeting place as quickly as the sun sets. What they never see is that the best parts come once the main event settles. The credits begin to roll, and this is our time to just sit and reflect. The film continues, and the sky begins to unfold some of its most impressive clips. He and I laugh as we keep taking just one more picture. He asked me to take a picture of him with the beauty of this night behind him. I tell him the light will keep his face hidden. He quickly says, “take it any way they will know it is me”. He strikes his signature pose and I snap only one picture. He is ecstatic and so grateful. I did nothing unusual. He gave his usual. The results were far from expected, they were amazing. It captured God’s gift of color, both in the sky and in this stranger. He turned to see the color moving across the sky as he looked at me and said, “thank you, how lucky are we”.

The Real Surprise

The sunset is our common reason for coming to the end of the road. We arrive with ideas of what we will see but often leave with what was shared. A beautiful picture is almost guaranteed but connecting with a new soul that is quite different than our own is what makes this place extraordinary. What you leave with is the real surprise. On this night, it was the conversation of spreading ashes that ended with two people finding common ground in the sky. How lucky are we…

Stay Curious,

two palm trees clipart

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Finicky Fiddle Leaf Fig https://daybook.blog/finicky-fiddle-leaf-fig/ https://daybook.blog/finicky-fiddle-leaf-fig/#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2022 20:48:22 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=26440 The fiddle leaf fig tree is part of my rising obsession with house plants. According to the masses, the finicky fiddle leaf fig tree is sure to keep me challenged.

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It has been a craze for so long. In my typical fashion, I come in a little later than most. The fiddle leaf fig tree is now part of my rising obsession with house plants. According to the masses, the finicky fiddle leaf fig tree will keep me challenged.

I Joined The Hype

The plunge has been taken. I am now a proud owner of the Instagram-famous fiddle leaf fig tree. Let’s just go ahead and thank my daughter-in-law for the joy or the heartbreak…whichever comes first.

A fiddle leaf fig tree in a sunny kitchen window with a small dog resting in front.

It's On Sale

On a recent visit to their home, my daughter-in-law was excited to show off the gorgeous snake plants she had just purchased. They were some of the tallest I have seen; she has a natural green thumb. The best part, she shared that Home Depot had them twenty-five percent off and fiddle leaf figs were part of the sale. Guess where I headed the very next morning!

I Got This

She was right. There were snake plants and fiddle leaf figs pushed into a corner with a big orange 25% off sign on a metal pole. As I gazed at them, my mind said “just get another snake plant. You already know how to grow them….it will be the safe choice.” The indecisive side of me picked up every plant on the shelf, sized it up, and looked for perfection. I’m certain I provided the cashier with a few minutes of entertainment! At last, I stuck with my plan and chose the best fiddle leaf on the shelf. I coached myself into the purchase with the reminder that many influencers have grown them without having any plant “ed” so, I got this.

A Fiddle Leaf Cram Course

I quickly took a cram course on finicky fiddle leaf fig trees. Google was my school of choice so, there is a fifty-fifty shot at getting this right. My main takeaways were:

Find The Perfect Spot

Stay tuned…I just may be one of those online finicky fiddle leaf fig pruners. Building a tense moment for us all to cringe, admire, and even question. Either way, she has already brought me happiness and I’ll do what I can to carry on her beautiful, unique, tropical lifestyle even if the ceilings are only eight feet high in our home.

Just Needs A Little Love...and a name

On the day of purchase, she was repotted and placed in the sunniest spot on the porch. She might be finicky, but so am I. We should get along just fine.  

A finicky fiddle leaf fig tree on a screened porch in the sunshine.

And by the way, I feel she is finicky enough to need a name. I’d love to read your creative ideas in the comments. I’d never turn down a little advice and encouragement either.

Stay Curious,

planting tools clipart

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Same Boat, Different Views https://daybook.blog/same-boat-different-views/ https://daybook.blog/same-boat-different-views/#respond Tue, 01 Nov 2022 20:00:13 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=26266 If we can get past ourselves. we see that we're all in the same boat with different views and it's all valuable.

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It was the same weekend we planned to go to Florida. So, I will have to respond with “sorry, I will be unable to attend. I will be out of town”. Minutes and days after, the invitation stayed on my mind. Being where we’re called has a way of fulfilling us if we can get past ourselves. After all, we are in the same boat, just experiencing different views.

An up close picture of an antique door knob on a Florida house

I Responded

John’s text read “the flooring will be delivered this week, and we must be there to accept and unload the delivery.” We will leave after work on Wednesday and be there for a full day of work on Thursday. Without considering the details, I responded to the invitation to a baby shower. “Sadly, I cannot be there. We will be out of town.”

A view of an open room in a vacant house

Plans Change

Within a day of sending my regrets, I learned there would be no running water in the house in Florida. The old floors have been removed. So, the toilet was not an option for the weekend. One or two days of this could be considered, but not four. I passed the job over to John and told him he’d be a lone ranger this time. I never threw the invitation away. I glance over and see it as I grab the milk for my coffee.

A Quick Rewind

This is where I am supposed to be on Saturday. A long-time friend (very long time), her son, his wife, and their baby. There isn’t a whole lot that is more important than life itself. It is to be celebrated. And that is what we do.  

I haven’t wrapped a gift since our move to this new home, some digging and hunting were involved. I’ve always enjoyed wrapping gifts. The process is soothing, orderly, and often reminiscent of sweet celebrations. My storage box is full of partly used rolls of gift wrap and snippets of ribbon that I stashed for various reasons. The overflowing plastic box sent my mind through a quick rewind of moments with family and friends. I remind myself to keep moving; don’t get distracted.

a row of gifts on a fireplace hearth during a baby shower

Conversations

The house was amazing, and the food was beautiful, but the conversations were my takeaway. I walked in with my guard up, as I imagine many of us do. The feeling of mismatch often controls my thinking. You know, the thoughts of not connecting, being the only one in pants, having nothing in common, or simply being too old or too young. However, all that washes away as conversations begin swirling across the room.

Two beautifully decorated cakes at a baby shower

In The Same Boat

During our casual chat about randomness, we discover we both have trouble finding anything decent to watch on TV, so we often just turn it off. She offers to get us both a cup of coffee and delivers the large mug half-full. I laugh and say thank you. You read my mind. I love coffee with cake, but I sure do not need much of it at noon. We share our odd choices in coffee “add-ins” and laugh together as we look forward to taking our coffee a little differently tomorrow. We’re in the same boat, with different views.

Glad I Am Here

Across the room, I see her beautiful white hair. I cannot help but stare at how the sunlight gave it permission to glisten. I’ve chosen not to fight mother nature about the gray she is combing into my brunette hair. For a while, I was constantly aware of the noticeable changes and thought everyone noticed. Now, I hardly think of what is changing. My attention now turns to admire others. Her hair inspires me. Again, I am so glad I am here.

The Good Is Poured Out

As the gifts are opened, she and I strike up a conversation. We’ve known one another for many years and from a distance, we’ve watched each other’s children grow. She quietly asks, how are your kids? Thankfully, I quickly felt seen. I know how to talk about my children and I’m comfortable that her intentions are genuine. I give her the run down of my two and toss the question back to her. So much commonality in their lives. When the good is all poured out and shared between us, she’s quiet for a second. After a breath, she leans over… “There are tough parts mingled into all of this as well, but we’ll choose to let that work itself out”. We both take a deep breath. It isn’t that we hide the troubles, we just choose to give them different energy. The difficult pieces are just part of it…the same boat.

It Is All Valuable

The oldest was most likely in her mid-eighties while the youngest was probably five. A few of us were longtime friends, but most were casual acquaintances or even strangers. While I may never know what each was thinking as we trickled into the same place, I have to think that we each arrive with our uneasiness, maybe even self-doubt. Along with that, we bring excitement and joy that takes a minute to express. We each indeed have our unique contribution and it is all valuable, even necessary. Oh, how I wish I could convince the younger ones to not concern themselves with this inner debate. But I am afraid it is something only time teaches, and I am still its apprentice.

Same Boat Different Views

I’m glad I listened to God’s guidance. I came to the place I was called to be today. Life needs to be celebrated. Life of newborn babies and life of those of us (all of us) who struggle with doubt, confidence, knowing what to say, and accepting the truth of being necessary. The house in Florida needs much attention, but for today it must wait. A new soul is about to join us on this boat we call life. She is being created as a unique individual by a God who loves us all so dearly.  Certainly, she will have her own view of the world, her own doubts, and her own passions. And that is what makes it all such joy. Same boat, different views….and it is all valuable.

Stay Curious,

Daybook The Curiosity of You

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A Long Time To Surrender https://daybook.blog/a-long-time-to-surrender/ https://daybook.blog/a-long-time-to-surrender/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2022 13:33:41 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=26065 The urge to slow down, to sit and be still is normal. It has taken me a long time to surrender to this. Too long.

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The sound of the rain, the quiet of the house. The urge to slow down, to sit and be still is normal. “It is a biological need. It is not laziness or a lack of ambition”… or drive. I read this a while back and have found myself repeating it, writing it and trying to live it. It has taken me a long time to surrender to this. Too long.

He Rarely Drops By

My dad had just dropped by to share some of our favorite sweet potatoes. Mississippi Red sweet potatoes are better than any variety. I’m certain of this. His friend brought him a crate full, so he wanted to share some with me. I was vacuuming when I saw his red Toyota drive up the hill of my driveway. My first reaction was “what is my daddy doing here?” and then my heart became warm. He rarely drops by unannounced, so this was good!

Too Long To Surrender

Why is it that I instantly fall into Martha mode? Even though I was already vacuuming, my mind took over and before I knew it, my brain had scanned the entire house. Was it clean? Had I made the bed? Shoot, I don’t even have tea made. We can sit in the kitchen; it is fairly clean. All of this in a matter of seconds. And this is one reason I say it has taken too long to surrender to slowing down. My daddy was here. There could be no better time to stop and be still. Our time is precious.

A bundle of dried flowers in a brown vase sitting on a white shelf

Time Slows

Time slows and we sit at the kitchen table talking. Nothing profound was discussed. No big plans were made. Just a simple conversation between two people who have been connected for a lifetime. There should be no guilt, no expectations, and no stress. For years I dreamed of having family and friends drop by midday. As a teacher, I never had time to expect this. Slowing down was not on my radar. Lately, it has become a natural occurrence. I believe this is what life is supposed to look like.

A driveway view during a light rain.

Only Then

As he worked his way to the door, our conversation continued. Leaving and goodbyes typically last as long as the actual visit with our family. Is this a southern thing? Maybe it is just us. Either way, “I better get going” doesn’t mean right now. We still have stories to tell and questions to ponder. As we gravitate towards the door, the neighbors, our gardens and the weather must be discussed. Only then can anyone say goodbye. Today the central vac that came with our “new” old house stopped us short of goodbye. Turns out we have the same one as my parents and neither work very well. Novelty is the only thing keeping them on the wall. He uses his for peanuts and we never use ours at all.

It Is Quiet Again

The rain began to pepper down as I turned and waved one more time and headed back inside. The house is quiet again. I love the quiet. My world was so noisy for so long that now silence grabs me. It gets my attention daily and I savor it. I soak it up. I sit in it often. I’m embracing the idea that every minute of my day does not have to be filled with motion (this has not been an easy lesson). That life had its turn with me, and I do not wish to invite it back. It has taken me a long time to surrender to this. Too long.

It Has Taken Too Long

The sound of the rain and the quiet of the house lends themselves to fresh coffee. I make myself a small cup because, why not? The homemade pumpkin bread that my mom sent me home with on Sunday came to mind, I toast a slice and add sweet butter. I open the back door and listen to the steady rhythm of the rain. Unlike the weather which can cause fear, this rain is soothing. It calls me to slow down and be still. I am not lazy. I do not lack ambition. I have been blessed with quiet. With rain. With joy. It has taken me a long time to surrender to this. Too long.

Stay Curious,

clipart of a teacup

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Timing Is Everything https://daybook.blog/timing-is-everything/ https://daybook.blog/timing-is-everything/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2022 13:18:37 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=25997 A screw in my tire and the sound of Reveille teach me to do what my heart tells me to do because timing is everything.

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Timing is everything. This phrase sure is thrown around by many. I often consider it to be a suggestion of what I can control. If I do this, then that will happen. But, what if I have it all wrong? Maybe the timing is not about me but about what is needed. The happenings of Thursday have shifted the way I think about timing.

Check The Tires

The yellow blinking low tire light has been tolerated and talked about for way too long at our house. The tire sensor lights have been coming and going on my dash. At some point, we unknowingly decided we do not know if the air is low, or the sensors are worn out. We check the pressure. We add air. We move on.

Thursday was different. John was heading out of town, so I asked him to double-check my tires the night before. It is uncanny how “mishaps” come about when I am holding down the fort alone. Since I knew I’d be driving to estate sales over the weekend, I tried to deflect trouble. Just as the smell of dinner began to fill the kitchen, he came in and said “There’s good news and bad news. Your tire pressure is fine, but you have a screw in the front left tire. It hasn’t been there long, but you’ll need to take care of it tomorrow.” I thought… of course, perfect timing but isn’t timing everything? I’ll admit I was irritated.

The Luckiest Customer

I knew I needed to be there when the doors opened at 7:30. This locally-owned tire shop’s schedule stays booked. They do excellent work and take care of their customers; going elsewhere was not an option. I was second in line and passed my keys over the counter and took a seat where others had before. Within 10 minutes, six others joined me in watching HGTV and thumbing through a dusty stack of Marietta High School yearbooks. I only lasted 5 minutes in the fluorescent lighting before I headed to the bench outside. It was chilly but the sun was rising so I considered myself the luckiest customer.

Reveille

I’ve lived in the area for years and to my surprise, I never knew there was a bugle call every morning at 8 AM. Today I was grateful to hear this sound. I was second in line, my tire would be patched, the bench faced the sunrise, and I took in the sound of Reveille. I had my day under control. But I’d soon be reminded that timing is everything.

Not So Under Control

Lance came out looking for me. He and I had not met but he is one of those who you quickly knew you could trust. Again, I heard “there’s good news and bad news.” He could have my tire patched and I’d be on my way in no time. But he didn’t recommend I drive another mile with my car in the “condition” it was in. My tires were wearing down in an odd way resulting in paper-thin treads. The alignment was off, and my back brakes were metal on metal. The recommended repairs were many, and I knew he was shooting straight with me. After all, they had more work than they could finish in a day so why add another?

So, it turns out I didn’t have my day under control. John was out of town and would not be picking me up. As most daughters do, I thought of my daddy. I knew he would be awake and if for some odd reason he wasn’t, he would pretend to be when he saw my number on his phone. I gave him the summary of the morning, but I knew he was already halfway down the hall…headed to grab a shirt, his wallet, and keys. No questions asked (yet) and he was on his way. In no time, it was just me and my daddy. We both wanted coffee and a buttery biscuit sure would be nice too.

More Than Coffee

Red-Eyed Mule was close and already packed with early-morning diners. There was only one booth open but… there was a booth open. We ordered, sat in the open booth, and waited for our biscuits. Dad saw various people he knew and went to say hello. This was good for the soul (his and mine). The server placed a fresh pot of coffee on the counter, gave us a wink (she was already 3 steps ahead), and I filled our cups, twice. We caught up on silly stuff that should’ve been shared weeks ago. We shared silence, coffee, and time. When I thought we were full, we even shared the rest of my biscuit. Dad reached over and took the bottom half and added a little strawberry jam.

Biscuits and coffee on a table in a diner

Timing is Everything

This morning Reveille played at sunrise. It means to “wake up”. Thursday reminded me that I needed to wake up. Timing is everything, but time is not the problem. I thought Reveille was simply music to my ears, but now I know it was a wake-up call; a time to pause and reflect on what is important. The screw in my tire was more than an inconvenience. It was a chance to be available for what truly matters. I had the unexpected gift of time with my daddy. A time that I regularly think about grabbing, but rarely do. A screw in my tire and the sound of Reveille were my wake-up calls to what my heart knew I needed. Timing is everything… let us listen for the Reveille.

Stay Curious,

Daybook The Curiosity of You

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Two Perfect Worlds Apart https://daybook.blog/two-perfect-worlds-apart/ https://daybook.blog/two-perfect-worlds-apart/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2022 01:31:13 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=25766 I often think my world is a perfect place to live, but visiting an Amish community gives perspective. It is possible to appreciate two perfect worlds apart from one another.

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I went to what seemed to be the perfect world this weekend. Beautiful blue skies with picture-perfect clouds. Even the rainy days are beautiful to my eye. There are no skyscrapers, no traffic, not much retail, and the air gives off a feeling of peace and calm. I found my mind in two perfect worlds apart.

White Amish houses with one red barn and a string of gourds stretched across the sky.
A metal farm gate opened to a field of corn

Two Visits

We travel less than 200 miles to visit the Amish community in Ethridge, Tennessee. We visited this area last year, but it was late spring, and the air was different. The attention was on brightness and new growth. We enjoyed garden-fresh produce, fresh bread, wildflowers, and children running free most of the day.

A Different Season

This recent visit found the land dry and tired. Cornstalks were bundled and dogs were so tired there was no urgency to get up when visitors arrived. This is not a negative viewpoint. It is an observation, something that grabbed my attention after a day of visiting this community. Children were spending more hours in the white, one-room schoolhouses that stood alone in a golden field. Mothers were more visible. They ran the shop while keeping up the daily routines of the family. The fields were dotted with blue. Fathers and young boys who had reached the transitional age (maybe 10 or 12… not sure) saw the sun rise daily. School acquires less time as they begin to learn the family trades.

Find Purpose

Their energy is focused on their calling. The trade they’ve developed is their cornerstone…their purpose. A leather smith is not concerned with building cedar chairs. The family growing pumpkins has no worries about milking cows or weaving baskets. These people are focused. They have a community and they depend on one another without fear. Find your calling, do that each day, and let life take care of itself. My soul yearns for this. Strangely enough, it took seeing two perfect worlds apart to recognize this epiphany.  My mind tells me my world is perfect. Their minds say the same. I now agree with both.

The World I Am In

The world I live in thrives on movement. It craves individuality and desires to be in the “right” place. Color abounds and time moves fast. Everyone is looking to stand out but also blend in. I find it overwhelming and invigorating, often in the same breath. My soul knows I am created for a given purpose, but my mind often wants to chase what is not made for me. This world can be noisy. It is alive, beautiful, inspiring, and full of possibilities, but oh so very confusing. I have found two perfect worlds apart from one another with wonderful distance. Both have the same number of hours in a day. Both are continuing at their own unique pace. Neither one is wrong. But neither one is truly flawless. These are simply two perfect worlds apart.

Curiosity Has Us

Isn’t it interesting how we can re-center ourselves through others? I remain content in the place where I have been set but not without curiosity. I seek my purpose and grasp the world I am in. All the while, I am learning and discovering life from a world that seems so far away, so different. Is it better? Probably not. I am certain the Amish are just as curious. They see our world driving through their community. They stare, we stare. How can they not wonder what it may be like to step into a different “perfect” world?

Three piles of fresh picked green peanuts under a large shade tree

Two Perfect Worlds Apart

Perfect is subjective. Looking from the outside is an easy way to see perfection. It is inspiring but need not be our real perception. My visits to the Amish community ground me. I’m reminded that I am here for a purpose…we all are. I cannot do everything that seems charming for I am not created to do what you are doing. Seeing two perfect worlds apart is a perfect example. It is all beautiful and perfectly created, but everything is not for all of us. My calling is mine and yours belongs to you. This is what causes two perfect worlds apart to continually harmonize and inspire.

Stay Curious,

camper clipart

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Okra Is Ready https://daybook.blog/okra-is-ready/ https://daybook.blog/okra-is-ready/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2022 15:16:48 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=25587 Okra is ready! This is no time to turn your back on your garden. If you are growing okra, you know how quickly it grows once it blooms. A quick check on my garden and I see that my okra is ready.

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Okra is ready! This is no time to turn your back on your garden. If you are growing okra, you know how quickly it grows once it blooms. A quick check on my garden and I see that my okra is ready.

Planting Okra

I planted my okra a bit later than what is typical for my region. I simply did not have the garden space so I had to wait until a few of my bean plants were finished producing. I planted okra seed in mid-July this summer. Like most of my crops, I planted the okra in wide rows. This simply means I sow my seeds in wide areas and do not worry too much about precise spacing. Once the seeds sprout, you can thin them if you see they are too crowded.

Such a Show Stopper

About 2 months after planting, you will have tall, beautiful plants. The leaves are such a cool shape, and the flowers are some of the most beautiful blooms you will see in a vegetable garden. They are in the hibiscus family and offer many benefits.  While the vegetable is delicious, I enjoy the flowers as much as any part of the plant.

A large okra leaf ready for summer
A single okra bloom in a garden
Kristy standing under a large okra leaf.

A Fun Crop

Last year I was fortunate to receive several baskets of fresh okra from my gardening friend. I cooked a lot of it and froze several quart bags. This year I decided to grow some of my own. It was a good decision! I have had more fun watching my okra progress than any other plant I have grown. In fact, they have grown taller than me and the okra, well let me just show you!

A tall okra patch ready to bloom and produce okra pods

Save It For Later

Okra is quite versatile. It can be added to soups, stews, and gumbos. We especially like it fried or baked with a little parmesan. Okra also freezes well. I typically slice mine, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and let them freeze overnight. This allows them to freeze individually so that you can shake out the amount you need and return the rest to the freezer.

Sliced okra pods ready to be cooked

Okra Is Ready

If you plant okra, be ready with a knife and a basket. It is fascinating how the pods go from bloom to full size so quickly. As you see in my video, it can sneak up on you and become huge while you sleep! When okra is ready, okra is ready…it waits for no one!

Stay Curious,

planting seeds

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Others… https://daybook.blog/others/ https://daybook.blog/others/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2022 01:23:35 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=25357 It struck me as I exited the women’s room at the rest area while heading south. Strange, I know. She held the door and insisted I come on out. An odd place to recognize what should be obvious. Others… we learn from them and they from us. We become rich as we intermingle with others…even strangers. […]

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It struck me as I exited the women’s room at the rest area while heading south. Strange, I know. She held the door and insisted I come on out. An odd place to recognize what should be obvious. Others… we learn from them and they from us. We become rich as we intermingle with others…even strangers.

Awareness

At first, I found it unusual that someone would be so adamant about me coming out first. But then I realized how observant and considerate this stranger had been. I was coming out with freshly washed hands that I was forced to air dry, and she immediately realized what I was doing. Instead of jumping into the open doorway, she insisted I come on out. An awareness of others should be commonplace but I’m afraid it is a lost art. Her awareness of me caught me off guard but at the same time humbled me and threw me into my thoughts. I was stirred by this stranger.

A concrete statue of a head with plants growing on top.

Observe

I hustled back to the outdoor table where we had stopped for a quick roadside lunch. As I approached the concrete table, I took note of the basket full of assorted foods that would come together as lunch. Our travel blanket was on the table, and we enjoyed a meal without the stress of drive-thru.

Years ago, you could have forgotten about this! It has taken time and specific human connections to develop what John calls my talent to pack a basket and make a meal from randomness. I do not take credit. I’ve been blessed with a friend who is a natural at this. I often observe and admire how naturally she takes the ordinary and makes it exceptional. Without her knowing (maybe even without me knowing), I have learned from her and become better.

Fresh picked sprig of basil with white blooms

Others...

We repacked our basket and continued down the highway headed to our vacation bed and breakfast. This is why I always pack my journal. My thoughts were racing, and faces were coming to mind. Faces of those from whom I have learned. Others… both young and old. I began writing quickly as the gifts I’ve acquired came to mind-generational gifts. They are given to us so that we can pass them along to others.

Take It With Stride

A quick wit comes naturally to him. He often lightens a mood and redirects potential negative energy. To notice tension among others is insightful. To be able to offer healing humor is a gift. While I may not acquire his dry humor, I have learned that most of what happens in the day-to-day minutiae doesn’t need to be so serious. Taking what comes in stride keeps us from excess worry and helps us hold on to joy. He’s half my age and continues to show me how to ease the tension.

A camel at night in Texas

Don't Miss A Chance

Distraction is often a stumbling block for me. It can derail my good intentions and even keep me from my intended purpose. A quick load of laundry, watering that drooping plant, folding last night’s blanket on the sofa… me trying to get out the door. If I’m not careful, little detours accumulate during the day and leave me wondering where the time went. God wired my daughter differently. She finds quick happiness in a day. Spend even a small amount of time with her and my focus shifts. Throw your hair up, slide on your jeans and let’s go. Little things can wait when there is an opening to be with someone you love. The laundry has never disappeared, and the blanket will be waiting on me when I am tired tonight. She is right. Move on to the joy; dirty dishes never hurt anyone for a day.

Gratitude

Half of a lime, one serving of spaghetti, and ten cooked shrimp. I started seeing these strange little items in my freezer. She was staying with us until their wedding day arrived. It was such a gift of time. We could get to know her, and she experiences life under our roof. All of these unusual findings were hers and quickly became sweet reminders of how a grateful heart beats. There is nothing too small to deem unimportant. Gifts come in all forms…especially food. I’ve embraced some of her practices and how sweet it is when you think you are short one ingredient only to remember that you stashed a little back last go around.

Pass It On

I’ve learned not to deny the way I’m naturally wired. I am a teacher to someone…in passing or out of necessity. Years can pass before we realize we are inspired or enlightened. Just as the sun shines to give life, our actions will accomplish their purpose. Others… we learn from them, and they from us. Generational gifts are curious. I want to breathe them in, enjoy their aroma, and pass them along whenever possible.

Stay Curious,

Daybook The Curiosity of You

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Time To Travel Differently https://daybook.blog/time-to-travel-differently/ https://daybook.blog/time-to-travel-differently/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2022 18:13:40 +0000 https://daybook.blog/?p=25051 It was time to travel differently! See the best VRBO cottage, gather some tips, and share our return visit to Sarasota, Florida.

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Ever since my first visit, I have dreamed of going back. Sarasota, Florida has become one of my favorite places. We visited two years ago, and the memories have tapped me on the shoulder many times. This summer we decided it was time to return but also time to travel differently.

Tall wheat grass along the path heading to the coastline
A pottery plant holder and a straw hat hanging on a white wall inside a Florida cottage.

Family Vacation Spot

I’m not certain if it is a southern tradition or not, but many people I know have a much-loved vacation spot that they visit every year. It is a comfort knowing your family will be close and you know what you will find when you arrive. We were no different. As our kids were growing up, we always visited the same southern beach. Our family owned a condominium there that we rented during the year but always reserved the first two weeks of summer for our family beach trip. These trips cannot be topped in my opinion.

Sea grass lining the edge of the sandy beach with small sailboats in the distance

It Is Time

To no one’s surprise, family dynamics change and so our approach to vacation needed to shift. The nostalgic side of me dreams of family travel, traditions, and the return of little feet to the beach. That unknown day has a unique bookmark somewhere in my future. In this chapter, it is time to travel differently.  

A Love for The Coast

For now, we seek variety and spontaneity. Two years ago, we camped at Turtle Beach in Sarasota/Siesta Key, Florida, and discovered a love for this part of the coast. Finding our way back was a must. This time we chose to leave the camper at home and find a VRBO. We have rented vacation homes for long weekends and our experience has been inspiring so we were confident in the process. The Blue Heron Cottage was the winning choice. I couldn’t wait to share this quaint cottage with you. Along the way, I share some of our considerations and findings. I hope that you will find it easy to get out there and discover your own Sarasota.

The Destination

Once we decide what type of trip we will take, we start focusing on our destination. Our last trip to this area was mostly about having our camper parked right on the beach. We did just that and it was glorious! We ventured out and found one of the best botanical gardens, kayaking, tons of thrifting and antiquing, and loved downtown Sarasota. However, the beach was so beautiful and remained the focus for that week and we longed to see more of this town.

A man and a woman sitting on the beach at sunset.

The Blue Heron Cottage

This time around, we chose a house that is in a Sarasota neighborhood. I wanted to experience the local vibe. We had become most comfortable in our camper but felt it was time to travel differently. We knew we would be kayaking and antiquing on most days so choosing to stay a few blocks away from the beach was no problem. It made our beach time more distinctive. We chose to visit several different beaches (Siesta Key, Cortez, Lido) and each one offered new curiosity.

This cottage was not only beautiful, but it was spacious and quiet and we knew we were getting more for our money. I’ve learned not to listen to all the available advice. While some can be helpful, often it can be controlling. Vacation for us is about the local experience, learning the culture, and diving into the people. Travel should always be a new exploration and not just a time of seeing what is expected. The Blue Heron Cottage gave us this good fortune while providing a warm welcome home each day.

Judith, Our Host

One of the benefits of staying in someone’s home is just that… you are in their home. They know the ins and outs, the community, and all that makes their place special. I could never discover all of that during my short travel time. Judith (Jude) was our host and her excitement for sharing her home was evident when we spoke on Sunday. We knew she was a quick call away if we needed anything. A host that wants the best for you is like a having family eagerly awaiting your arrival. You just will not find that level of human connection at a hotel.

People Loving People

Judith knew we were arriving in the evening so she made sure to stop by the house and turn on lamps throughout the house. The air conditioning was cooling perfectly, and peaceful music was set in the background. You know, you set an expectation for just about everything, and when it is exceeded it is often overwhelming. I was speechless when I walked into The Blue Heron Cottage. I really couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to stay here for an entire week. Every detail had been thought through… just for us! We had not officially met, but the desire to love and care for one another was evident. She wanted the best for us and in return, we wanted that for her. We cared for her place like it was our home and being true to his nature, John even did a few repairs for her before we left. People loving people… that is what true vacation is all about.

The master bedroom with a queen bed and two pictures inside a cottage.

Pictures First

One of the natural processes is to look at all the online pictures of a possible VRBO choice. I do this for many reasons. First, I am just curious. I so enjoy how others choose to decorate and prepare a home. Once I find a home that appeals to our style, I flip through the pictures again and again. This sets a realistic expectation. I’m looking for the obvious- the number of bedrooms, kitchen space, and living details.

Hidden Surprises

However, once we arrive, it seldom fails that we discover something we had not even noticed while scrolling through the photographs. On this trip, it was the daybed. I likely saw it in the pictures but what a pleasant surprise. It was placed in a sunny, quiet corner of the house and offered such a retreat. We found ourselves there for morning coffee, afternoon reading (and naps), and there again as we relaxed before bed. It created our tagline during the vacation. “I need to get back to the daybed.” Now that I am home, I find myself looking for a corner that might just need to become that kind of respite for our everyday.

The side view of a daybed with a white coverlet and white throw pillows.
A lady sitting on a white daybed in the morning sunlight.

House Rules

With every VRBO comes the house rules. While some may find this less than appealing, I often gravitate there first. These house rules are different. This is where the VRBO host offers you helpful tips and tricks. They tell you where to find the extra towels and offer some of the best local restaurant suggestions. Reading through the house rules is unlike other rule books. They are your ticket to the inside. It is where you glean a little about your host and get the fast pass into knowing your vacation home. Since The Blue Heron Cottage was in a neighborhood, our host made sure we knew about trash pick-up, recycling, restaurants (and the best time to go), and even notes about the décor and landscaping. This is your vacation guide written by the ultimate local expert. Judith took it a step further by also leaving us a fresh pineapple and a pretty bottle of Prosecco. The pineapple became the snack we had no idea we needed after being out in the Florida heat. Vacation rules are like no other… they are the sweet spot for any VRBO.

A pineapple and a bottle of wine on a kitchen table as a welcome gift.

Find Your Sarasota

Travel is truly the ultimate in curiosity. While I’ll always appreciate familiarity and tradition, taking time to travel differently will ignite your sense of adventure. Beaches and hotels do look similar wherever you go but adding in human connections turns travel into life-breathing adventures. Choose your path and seek out whatever it is that inspires you, take time to travel differently, and find your Sarasota.

Stay Curious,

two palm trees clipart

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