*the secret’s in the gratitude*

Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up in everything around us. Caught up and swept away. Before we know it, a little disappointment and dissatisfaction creeps in. Suddenly the grass is greener on the other side. Greener on any side but our own.

It’s hard to see the forest because of the trees.

But I’ve learned a little secret.

The secret is truly in the gratitude.

The secret is in choosing to see what is right before me and then acknowledging the moment with gratitude.

The world is truly so big and it’s so very easy for us to get lost in it. And so we have to find a way to carve our space into it. And we do that through intentional choices. Through noticing the little things.

Through finding something right where we are to be grateful for.

It’s about learning to look and really see. To touch and really feel. To hear but really listen. Because it’s all there. Hidden in a million ways. Embedded in our lives, moment to moment.

Sometimes it’s harder to see it than other times. (Think Corrie ten Boom and the flea infestation in the Nazi prison and the way her sister was able to show her how to find gratitude even in the midst of desolation and trial.)

It can be hard to choose to see what’s right in front of us and then choose to be grateful for it, no matter what it may be.

We’re a pretty forward thinking people (and sometimes a backward looking people, too). We’re a bit like the Roman god Janus with two faces, one looking forward to the future while the other looks back to the past. But what about what’s right in front of us? What’s right beneath our feet at this exact moment?

I choose to look down. And up. And beside me. To see what’s right here. In this moment.

It isn’t always easy. And it takes effort.

But isn’t it worth it?

Summer Daybook

Outside my window…it’s rainy. Oh so rainy. As in, rain every day for the last week. Downpours and sprinkles and gusts of wind. We haven’t floated away {yet} but we have managed to get muddy, lose our electricity for almost 12 hours and make remarkable use out of our rainboots and raincoats (that typically collect dust here in the summer months).

I am remembering…the last time I wrote a Daybook. December of 2019. I was sure I wrote a recent one, but the most recent one I could find was simply a draft of one I began in March of 2020 called Pandemic Daybook. I just up and quit in the middle of it, as if a sweeping plague was more important than the little moments that make up my life. Hindsight is a glorious thing. Of course leaving a year and a half unwritten is telling in and of itself. But I’ll save those thoughts for a different post.

I am thankful for…would it be too hypocritical of me to wax gratitude about the glorious rain even though a moment ago I almost seemed ungrateful? Because the truth is, I enjoy the rain. I relish the view from the window. I love the excuse to snuggle up with a book {completely guilt free} and I am incredibly grateful for the vibrant green I see peeking out of every outdoor corner right now. This is the first summer in South Texas that I have ever NOT had to water my garden yet it still overflows with beautiful green, healthy plants. Water is an amazing thing.

*Lest you think I’m kidding about how well my garden grows, here’s proof…we returned from Colorado and I’m pretty sure I heard a voice in the yard saying “Feed me, Seymour.” It’s now all been cut back and it looks respectable to the neighbors, but it was a wild jungle there for a brief moment.

I am watching…children grow.  And grow. And grow. Mostly my own, but those we’ve known for years, too. And like the wise old crone of fairy tales, I’m finally beginning to understand how quickly time passes. There is wisdom (but no comfort) in knowing that “the present moment is all you ever have” (Eckhart Tolle).

I am wondering…how I have never heard of this novel until now. Glad it came across my radar and that Joseph and I are able to enjoy it together.

I am hoping…you won’t mind if I share a bit of my herbal journey with you. Pop over to my herbal school’s website to read my herbal bio and celebrate my Student of the Month accomplishment with me! {I still remember being student of the month in 2nd grade and filling out the poster that would hang near our classroom door for one long glorious month…this blog post, while not as messy as my poster circa 1988 with all the glitter, glue and crayons I used, was still just as rewarding to write!}

I am pondering…the beauty of my new planner. You know when the box it arrives in speaks such wisdom, it’s going to be a fruit filled year.

I am laughing…about this sleeping dog…maybe he has been watching me sleep with my mouth open?

I am planting…well there’s not much room left to plant anything so we are just reaping what we’ve sown. And it’s all delicious. (Pickles are just about ready, too!)

I am reflecting…on this kid and admiring his ability to march to the beat of his own drum.

Around the house…it’s pretty routine over here these days. Our summer vacation officially ended on June 27th and we started our new school year on the 28th (Katie in 3rd grade; Andrew in 5th grade; William in 7th grade; Joseph in (!!) 9th grade). We’ve spent the last two weeks just carving out routine again. And it’s quite lovely, if you ask my opinion. I love routine.

I am wearing…black capris and a Green Ember t-shirt (yep, that’s right…)

We are preparing for…nothing. And it’s just glorious. Birthday season has come and gone. Maybe I’ll think about stocking up on some water since we’re knee deep in hurricane season, but other than that, there’s nothing big on the horizon (unless I try to pinpoint what the next annoying 2020/21 thing could be…but I wasn’t able to predict the pandemic or the freeze of February 2021 or the crazy rain back in May that caused our city’s dam to break or the wild rain we’ve had this past week so I’m guessing all my predicting would be wasted effort…I’d prefer to just plug along day by day over here).

Someday I am going to miss…snuggling with this guy.

I am reading…Metaphor-phosis by (one of my amazing teachers at East West!) Lesley Tierra and Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher (SERIOUSLY, SO good).

One of my favorite things…mountains. And me in them. {This trip deserves a post all of its own so I’ll add that to my “to blog about” list and share it with you soon}.

A peek into my day

Please visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook for more daybook entries.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Sometimes we get so focused on the destination that we forget to look down and see where we are RIGHT NOW (and what’s beneath our fast moving feet).  Slow down today.  Be mindful of everything around you, not just what’s ahead of you.  That’s intentional living.

glimpse-intentional-life-with-every-intention

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Life with intention is often found in the details.  Slow down today and notice every little detail.

glimpse-intentional-life

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

“In return for our discriminating and loving observation, Nature gives us the joy of a beautiful and delightful intimacy, a thrill of pleasure in the greeting of every old friend in field or hedgerow or starry sky, of delightful excitement in making a new acquaintance.”  Charlotte Mason in Volume 4: Ourselves

When was the last time you stopped and observed Nature?  Take a few moments today to soak up that “joy of a beautiful and delightful intimacy.”  You deserve this intentional moment.

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

At first glance, this looks like I snapped a photo at the wrong time.  The truth is, I didn’t notice the Daddy Longlegs at first either.  Sometimes it takes seeing the world through our children’s eyes for us to notice the details.  And life is all about the details.

with-every-intention-glimpse-intentional life

Being intentional is easier said than done. It’s easier imagined than executed. So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words. Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional.

Be inspired. Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention. And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us? Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}.

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Delighting in observation.  Taking a moment to just sit and watch.  Finding joy in the awe of a moment.  This is living with every intention.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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Driftwood Coffee: Drinking Coffee with Intention

Coffee.  It’s a morning ritual for so many people.  It’s dark and deep and mysteriously bitter yet surprisingly delicious.  Maybe the ritual is about the smell.  Or maybe it’s about the taste.  Or maybe it’s about the routine.  Or honestly, maybe it’s just about the glorious caffeine.

But what if you could make it about more than any of those things?

What if your morning coffee experience could be an intentional moment?  A moment to stop and savor.  A moment to prepare for what lies ahead.  So many of us grab a cup o’ joe and hit the ground running.  There’s no sipping, no savoring.  It’s all a rush.

But that coffee that you’re sipping?  It has a history, an origin.  It doesn’t just appear in your cup.  There’s a process to it and as with all art, it deserves more than a cursory glance (or in this case, sip).  But it’s hard to adjust our minds to be intentional about something that we’ve taken for granted for so many long years.  So maybe it’s time to re-examine the coffee that fills your cup, your belly and your energy level every morning.

Start local.  Find a company that consciously chooses their coffee bean, based on things like ethical farming and country of origin. {Remember: Allow your spending to be intentional!} Then let that local company roast that bean to pure perfection.  Buy it fresh.  Then use delicious pure, filtered water and pour your cup immediately.

Now sit and savor.

Here in Corpus Christi, we have a local company that does just that.  Driftwood Coffee Company, a locally owned and operated coffee roasting company began as a hobby but it quickly grew into a dream of bringing ethically harvested coffee to the local community.  Over the years, Driftwood Coffee Company has grown and expanded but it has never lost its original intent.

Randi and Steven first began roasting their own coffee beans in 2009 when a friend shared his hobby with them.  A popcorn popper, some online green beans and Steven found himself falling in love with the science and the art of coffee bean roasting.  Randi fell in love with the idea that she could choose where to get her coffee beans from and by doing so, she developed an appreciation for its origins.  She researched farm after farm looking for real folks ethically raising beans and supporting causes that she believes in (such as Women’s Coffee Alliance).  And she found them.

After a few years of roasting beans for themselves, Steven and Randi spent a year away from home doing missionary work and while they were gone, they found themselves missing the familiar routine of roasting beans and then savoring a cup of freshly made coffee every morning (they served in central Asia where fresh coffee was hard to access and a rare treat).  When they returned home in 2013, Steven quickly picked back up his hobby.  Soon Steven and Randi began to see a vision for something beyond a hobby.  They wanted to share delicious, ethically raised, perfectly roasted beans with local folks so with a leap of faith, they bought a real roaster, converted some personal space into a roasting area and began marketing to local coffee shops and coffee drinkers.

Now four years later their specialty beans can be found in seven local shops and stores (including places like Coffee Barrel, a non-profit cafe where all profits go to providing restoration for victims of human trafficking) and their website hosts an online shopping experience where you can have their beans shipped directly to your door or you can read their blog and learn all kinds of fascinating facts you’ll be glad you now know (and your coffee drinking experience will surely be enriched by this newfound knowledge).

Randi and Steven are a beautiful testimony to allowing intentionality to seep into life.  Despite the chaos of being parents, working full-time jobs and volunteering with their church, they still manage to find time to sit down first thing in the morning with a cup of freshly made coffee, made from beans they have lovingly roasted to perfection and intentionally savor the moment.

Couldn’t we all benefit from a little more sipping and savoring?

 *Start sipping coffee intentionally today.  Allow Driftwood Coffee Co to introduce you to some amazing beans…you won’t be able to help being intentional when you taste that goodness in your cup!  If you’re local, head over to one of the shops that features Driftwood Coffee’s amazing coffee or you can order on their website and have it shipped directly to your door.

**Photos are courtesy of Taren Martin Photography**

 

Fed by Bread: Intentionally Making a Difference {One Baked Good at a Time}

There are the people that talk and the people that do.

You know what I’m referring to, right?  I’m sure you’ve met folks of both kinds.  There are the people that dream big and talk big and make big plans and have a vision but somewhere along the way, they get lost in all the details of pulling it off.

And then there are the people that dream big and they just do it.  They jump in with intention and nothing stops them.  They’re persistent and passionate and unstoppable.

Those are the people that inspire me….the people that DO.

Take for instance, Hollie.  Her delicious line of bread and baked goods does more than put food on the table for the folks that purchase it.   “A South Texas bakery nourishing African youth,” is the opening line on her website.  And while that is exactly what she does, it’s about more than just food for Hollie.  It’s about relationships.

Born and bred on an Oklahoma wheat farm, making bread is just genetically programmed into Hollie’s hands.  So after traveling internationally throughout high school and college and witnessing poverty and its effects on women and children, Hollie knew that she wanted to do something that would give the people she had met through her travels a chance to break the cycle of poverty.  When the time came and she felt a calling to reach out and help with the world food crisis, it seemed only natural that she would do what she knew how to do: bake.

In his book Start Something that Matters, a book that inspired Hollie, Blake Mycoskie says, “Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world—all at the same time.”  And that is EXACTLY what Hollie began doing in 2009.

Fed by Bread began in Hollie’s own kitchen in 2009 (when she was 7 months pregnant!).  Folks began to spread the word about this bakery with a mission and a grassroots movement was born.  After a few years of using the proceeds from her baked goods to sponsor children with companies like Compassion and World Vision, she knew it was time to form a relationship on a deeper level with a company that shared her vision.

Enter Africa New Life, a ministry that “exists to transform lives and communities through Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Acts of Compassion.”  Africa New Life focuses their ministry on Rwanda, a country forever changed in 1994 by the Rwandan ethnic genocide that killed more than 800,000 people.  Hollie crossed paths with Africa New Life in 2014 and immediately felt that this was what she had been looking for.  She began to send the bulk of her Fed by Bread proceeds to them (with a small amount reserved for the children she sponsors through Compassion and World Vision).

That same year, Hollie was able to visit the village of Kageyo in Rwanda and actually meet the people behind Africa New Life along with the children that were benefiting from her baked goods.  She was met with an overwhelming display of gratitude and her heart was full.

She knew at that moment, without a doubt, that what she set out to do was truly being accomplished.  Her intention to feed the hungry and break the cycle of poverty was being accomplished, one baked good at a time.

Today Hollie enters the commercial kitchen at Annapolis Christian Academy where she does her baking and sets about her tasks with intention.  While her hands are immersed in dough, her heart is immersed in thoughts of the children this dough will provide for.  She has started something that matters.

It’s not just a bakery, it’s Intentional nourishment with a purpose.

*You can support Hollie in her mission by ordering online and either picking up goods locally or having them shipped to your door.  While most items are intended for local pickup, she has a selection of baked goods that can be shipped.  Regardless of whether you pick-up or have it shipped, I promise her baked goods will make your breakfast table a happier place.  Plus knowing you’ve spent your money to make a difference is an intentional thought all of its own.*

**All photos are courtesy of Kristine Endsley**

 

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

The world is so full of tiny little wonders.  Look around and notice some today.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

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