Thinking about Memorial Day

Do you remember the paper mache’ poppies? You know the ones we used to see everywhere when we growing up. I was one of the kids passing them out at the local grocery store in exchange for whatever donation was given. I am sure I was not happy to spend my Saturday there!

I was young and really did not appreciate–if I even knew–what that poppy symbolized. Because my dad was a veteran of WWII, he was an active member of the local VFW. My mom, my sisters, and I were part of the American Legion. One of the things we did for Memorial Day was make sure everyone had a commemorative poppy.

Late Saturday, an older man came up to me and asked if I knew what the poppy represented. This type of interaction happened to me all the time. There could have been ten other kids standing around but I was the one who was asked the questions. I debated saying I did know, but thought he may quiz me about it. I was honest and said I really did not know the whole story.

He told me it was important to know and shared this with me:

First of all, he said, you are not wearing the poppy correctly. It is to be worn over your heart. As he looked me straight in the eyes, he stressed that I would understand why this was important after he finished his story.

My memory is not complete so I am borrowing from an American Legion post:

The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood; the yellow and black center, the mud and desolation of all battlefields.

The green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free.

The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors.

The assembled product, a flower, is a symbol of resurrection, which is sure to follow.

His words were much more simple, filled with the type of emphasis that only comes from being there, really experiencing the battles of war personally. He watched my face as he spoke, pausing now and then to make sure I was getting his point. When his story was complete, he stepped back in silence and somber reflection. He leaned toward me, asking me if I thought I understood why it is important to wear that poppy correctly? Now I was able to honestly answer that question. Which I did, with a soft and respectful, yes.

That was decades ago–probably over fifty years have passed since that grocery store lesson. I can picture myself standing beside this little round man, dressed in his bib overhauls, giving me the gift of a very powerful lesson about the real cost of the freedom.

Oh the challenges our nation has faced since that long past day in May. One thing has not changed. As Memorial Day approaches, it is vitally important for us all to remember those who have fought to defend our freedoms and those who protect us today.

We are in such turmoil and unease. As I asked last night, I ask for your prayers, remembering our great country and for those who defend and protect us. God bless them, God bless us all, and please, God, bless America.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace. I love you.

 

 

 

A Time For Reflection

Mother’s Day.

A hard day for those of us who have lost our moms. It doesn’t matter how old we were when the loss happened–this is a life event we all carry with us from that day forward.

I send my love out to those of you who are facing your first “motherless” Mother’s Day. May your memories give you comfort. May you come to understand, as I have, that your mom will always be with you. Not just in the memories, but in little things you do, little things you say, little habits you may not have recognized until now. I was blessed with a mom who loved me. Unfortunately, my mom, my sisters, and I were not blessed with much time.

Time. It is such an illusive concept. We keep thinking we have more. Don’t be fooled. As we’ve all been told, life can change in just a matter of seconds. This Mother’s Day, put the electronics away. Open your mind and heart by spending some attentive quality time with your mom. As anyone who has lost their mom will tell you, we would give anything to spend one more day with them. We’d ask questions, really listen to what she told us, and share stories of our own. We would make sure she knew how important and special she was and is to us; how her life lessons are infused into our very being.

Use your time wisely, my dear friends, and cherish those you love. If your mom is here, please make sure she knows how important she is to you. Only you can do that.

Make your mom, and yourself, proud.

I am

B…simply being…

Peace and love to y’all.

 

Another Trip to the Library

I have a great library. Now that I am retired, not only do I have more time to read but I can choose HOW I read. I can read a new book or I can re-read a book that has become a traveling companion. These select few are special and I feel as though they are “old friends.” Some have traveled with me for many years. Not only do they share their printed words, but they magically pull up memories of what was happening in my life the first time I read them. I can see where I was, who I was with, see my notes and highlighting, and physically feel what was going on in my world at the time. Oh the power of books! I am blessed to have some very big hitters.

Simple Abundance, by Sarah Breathnach, is one of my favorites. My first copy was a gift, making it very special. This book has been around for a long time, very popular in the early 90’s. It was one of the books read by a group of women I met with once a week for years. I’ll always remember the night one of the leaders of the group talked about the book, explaining what she liked about it and shared different readings with us. She had passed her copy around and we all wanted to know where we could find our own copy. She said she had a surprise for us–and handed out a copy for each of us.

The book is set up to read an entry a day. I’ll share the beginning of what Sarah wrote for January 5:

Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing in outlives and–fruitlessly–search “out there” for answers. What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.   Emily Hancock

I think many of us are searching for our authentic selves. As I give my thanks for my blessings today, one of the things I am grateful for is being able to share my search with you.

God bless you with love and peace.

I am…

B…simply being…

 

 

 

A Slow Day

Everybody needs a slow day–I took one today. I am learning to listen to my body and some days you just don’t push it.

In light of that I’m sharing simple things today.

First thing to share is that our friends brought home their new puppy today. She is adorable. I’ve attached a picture of her so you can fall in love with her, too. She is described as very affectionate and ALL puppy. Cannot wait to meet her and hold her squiggly little body and smell that puppy breath.

Secondly,  I’m sharing something I discovered about a month ago. I’ve wanted to go back to school but honestly, could not commit to the time. Not sure how I stumbled upon on-line courses called MOOCs. I had to Google the acronym to see what it was and found it stood for: Massive Open Online Course. The courses are offered through several different sources for pretty low prices or free. The source I am most pleased with at this time is Coursera–you can check them out at: Coursera.org. They offer a wide variety of courses for free or a fee if you want a certificate of completion.

Lastly, but most importantly, I am thankful my husband was home today to take care of me. Thanks, Mickey. Your attention alone made a world of difference. I had three other care givers–all three dogs were beside me while I rested. Of course, part of that fact is they are allowed on the bed during the day–that might have been a huge incentive. Regardless, it was a joyously lazy day.

I took advice from Anne Lamott today:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you. 

I am rested, renewed, mostly recharged. I am…

B…simply being…

Peace and love to all.

 

My Guidance

I was clearing some space on my desk when I saw my Guide for the Advanced Soul sitting beside my computer. I am always curious about what that little book will tell me. This is the guidance the Universe sent my way:

The people we are in relationship with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors reflecting their beliefs. So relationship is one of the most powerful tools for growth…if we look honestly at our relationships we can see so much about how we have created them.    Shakti Gawain

I wish you all love and peace.

I am

B…simply being…

 

Musings

I’ve had some extra time this week to think about things. What that usually means is I take long walks into my past. This week was no exception. There are some things back there that have always puzzled me. I found some unusual help this time though, from “The Royals.”

I have been running from myself for most of my life. When Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, began talking about their mother, Diana, a switch turned on for me. I found, and continue to find, great comfort in their words when they talk about the struggles they have had in their lives after her death. Whenever Prince Harry speaks,  his words give me chills. It appears we had and have some of the same challenges. By speaking out he gave me a very valuable gift–he opened the door for me to speak of my own challenges. I am grateful for that.

I grew up in a little town in northeast Iowa. My family was not from there originally, a fact that I think was hard for my mom. Looking back on life’s events as an older adult gives me such a different perspective of things. My mom had been a single working woman, living at home with her parents, until she was 27 years old. She thought she was an old maid. She often told me how she met my dad at a dance. She said she knew when she met him he was special but did not think he was ever going to ask her to marry him. Looking back, that is the only story she ever shared with me about her days as a single woman. Of course, I was so young I would not have understood much more than that. She never had a chance to share more–she was dead by the time I was ten, my younger sister eight, and my youngest sister, six. That, my friends, is the tip of the iceberg.

I only have a kid’s memory of so many things. Our small community had its share of tragedies during this time. The most significant one I remember is that a classmate of mine’s mother died after being in a car accident. I think we were in second grade so we were probably seven years old. I had to be at school early that morning–I was in trouble for having a messy desk and was supposed to come in and clean it out. When I got to my room, my teacher was not there so I went looking for her. I found everyone in the room next door all standing in the front of the class room. They were talking softly about a car accident. One teacher said that the doctors did not think that my friend’s mom was hurt very badly. They were wrong, she said.  My classmates mom had died earlier that morning from a head injury that had not been detected. Lots more whispers.

I stood there thinking, how can that be? Moms don’t die.

In my mind, I see exactly where I was standing that day–how the soft morning sunlight came through the windows, illuminating the desktops, reflecting off chalk dust that was always flying through the air. The huddle of teachers remained close together in the front of the room. I remained invisible. Yes, they said, she had been hit from behind. You know, they said, it’s that bad spot out on the highway where so many other accidents had happened. Well, it’s been icy, they said, so she had a cement block in the back of her car for traction. When she was hit, they said, it flew and hit her head…

No one noticed as I turned and quietly walked out of the room. Oh, so many questions I carried out with me that day.

I wonder if my friend, my classmate from so many years ago, has any of the same questions I do? Does Prince Harry comfort her as he speaks of his demons? Do my other friends who also lost their moms when they were young feel the way I do–like you’ve always been a little lost? Always searching for something…

The month of May has always has been a time when I question so many things. I’ve sidestepped them for many, many years. Now it is time calm my demons by writing about them. If Prince Harry helped me, maybe I can help someone else?

This part of my life made me, me.

I am

B…simply being…

Wishing you all love and peace.

 

 

 

Resources

I had forgotten how comforting it was to have a resource to turn to when I needed some type of encouragement. We all have to do our own soul-searching. What is good to know is we have other resources out there to help us along the way. Advisors we can keep close to us–just an arm’s length–like my little book, A Guide for the Advanced Soul.

I have several “advisors” sitting close by me. I’ll call them in for consultation often and share their words of wisdom. It’s all part of why I believe we are here–to help each other in our journey. Heaven knows, we need that type of help right now. We are all questioning so many basic things.

Venice Bloodworth was introduced to me by my husband, Michael. She was someone totally new to me until he shared her book. Now her book is another one in the front row of my go to authors/advisors whenever I need someone to make sense of things. Someone to renew my hope in–well–something.

Venice wrote her book, The Key to Yourself, in the 50’s. The copyright of the book we have on our shelf is 1952–a year before I was born. I’m not sure why I even noticed that but it made a really big impression on me. She wrote then what many of us read a few years ago thinking it was the first time someone had written it. Her wording is a little cumbersome today, but that makes it even more special to me. An example from a quote she credits to “Selected” which begins Chapter 3:

The Conscious Mind

If you think you are beaten, you are; If you think you dar not, you don’t; If you’d like to wind, but you think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t’ If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, For out in the world you’ll find success begins with a fellow’s will; It’s all in the state of the mind. 

Later in that chapter she says: It is strange that we so long failed to understand the wonderful power of thought, for it is taught by every religion and philosophy in the history of the world. Paul, when in captivity and chained to a Roman solder, gave to the world this message:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are  just, whatsoever things ar pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.. 

I, like many, am troubled by what is unfolding around us. I am unsure what to do other than try to find a way to help each other through it all until we can figure out what to do next. Our minds are powerful. As Venice says, if we think we’ll lose, we have lost. We–all of us–have to rediscover our own power. Look for our advisors–whether it is by talking with each other or rediscovering words like these shared by those who have passed this way before us.

I am.

B…simply being…

God bless you all with love and peace.

 

 

 

 

Insight

Years ago a friend of mine showed me a book she said she consulted daily. The name of the book was, A guide for the Advanced Soul, by Susan Hayward. She handed it to me and told me to open it to any page. What was written on that page, she said, was  my guidance for the day.

The book impressed me so much I bought it the next day.  I have not found the words I remember reading that night so long ago. The feeling I had while reading them has never left me. I knew that night, down to my very soul, that my life was about to change in a very big way.

What happened, you ask, that made me think something was happening in my life? Something very simple–I went out for lunch–a lunch that had been in the works for months. I finally met that friend of a friend–yes–a blind date. Love at first sight, you say? I have to say, yes. There really is a thing! I was the biggest skeptic in the world until that day. In less than an hour I had become a believer. Twenty five years later, I still believe.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “stuff” that bombards us all day long we forget to look for the magic. You know, all those unexpected blessing that simply shower down on us at times when we least expect them and often when we need them the most. It’s some powerful stuff, love. Remember that. Do not take it for granted.

Tonight, I have consulted my guide for the advanced soul. Let me share the wisdom found:

Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you. 

                                                                                         Shakti Gawain

I wish you all peace, love, and a restful night.

I am.

B…simply being…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Human

Taking a step away from my own story tonight and sharing my thoughts about something that has been in the news for the last 24 hours or so.

The talk today revolved around Jimmy Kimmel’s son, Billy. For those who may not know, he was born with a congenital heart defect, resulting in a successful open heart surgery when he was only a few days of age.  He did well with this surgery but will have more in his future.

I can hear the first comments out of many people’s mouths today, “Well, didn’t they have an ultrasound? How could they have missed a hole in the heart?” The blaming begins…

I am a retired pediatric echocardiographer. Translated, that means I performed  ultrasound on baby’s hearts. My patient population ranged from the fetus to the adult with congenital heart disease.  I was very fortunate. Before I retired I was able to do fetal echoes on women I imaged when they were neonates. What a joy that was for me. Heavens–I miss my patients and their families.

One of the things I wished my patients understood, and I feel most sonographers would agree, is the fact that we carry their stories and images home with us every single day. As a sonographer, we sit right next to our patients–definitely in their personal spaces–often putting all our body weight into their bodies in an attempt to confine that fetus. We are  not there to get “pretty pictures.” We are there to get diagnostic ones. We are accessing that little fetus to make sure all parts are normal in position, size, shape and function. All of this goes on while we hear all about your life–people who are nervous share a lot of personal information. As we work and listen, we attempt to keep our body language normal, our faces neutral, often fighting back tears. We understand just how drastic this woman and her family’s lives are going to change in just a matter of moments.

There is an obstitrician along with his/her ultrasound staff in the LA area who are very unhappy with the results of their studies done for Jimmy’s wife and unborn son. Unfortunately, ultrasound is not an exact science. Many things contribute to a successful diagnostic study: the age of the fetus, how cooperative that little person is at the time of the study, the experience of the sonographer, the experience of the physician reading that study, the level of suspicion regarding possible defects, and the amount of time that practice allows for each exam. If it is a first pregnancy, a young mom, no family history, all other images and prenatal studies normal with an active fetus, imaging compromises may be accepted. Factor into that entire equation the fact that this was a study done on a celebrity’s wife–sigh…

We are all only human–but that is not comforting to those involved with this case. Not for any of us.

My prayers go out for Billy’s continued successful recovery along with prayers for those professionals who are beating themselves up over missing this prenatal diagnosis. God bless you all.

Wishing you all a restful night filled with love and peace.

I am

B…simply being…

 

Tossing and Turning

“Insomnia

I cannot get to sleep tonight.

I toss and turn and flop.

I try to count some fluffy sheep

while o’er a fence they hop.

I try to think of pleasant dreams

of places really cool.

I don’t know why I cannot sleep –

I slept just fine at school.” 

Kathy Kenney-Marshall

I’ve said several times the past few weeks I rarely have trouble sleeping.

I jinxed myself–big time.

For the past week I’ve tossed, I’ve turned, and tossed some more.  Like an illusionist, sleep slipped into the swirling fog created by my thoughts, returning without any remorse near dawn’s early light.

As I somewhat smuggly boasted, maybe I planted a subliminal seed which sprouted this round of insomnia. Whatever the reason, I have another lesson in being more mindful–more aware–of what and how I say things.

I’m have known for some time prayer helps slow the whirling of my mind. Just my usual conversations with God work but there is something special about the following prayer. May it help ease all of us into peaceful sleep.

Prayer Before Sleep

Dear God, as I lay me down to sleep, relax the tension of my body; 

calm the restlessness of my mind; 

still the thoughts which worry and perplex me.

Help me to rest myself and all my problems in your strong and loving arms.

Let your Spirit speak to my mind and heart

while I am asleep, so that, when I wake up in the morning, 

I may find that I have received in the night-time,

     light for my way;

     strength for my tasks;

     peace for my worries;

     forgiveness for my sins.

Grant me sleep tonight, and tomorrow power to live. Amen

~God’s Spoken Word Ministries

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

I am thrilled to include the photography of one of my special Iowa friends in today’s story. Thank you, Jo Heiple Thedens. The balance and composition of your art is wonderful. You and your photography nourish my Iowa roots and heart. Thank you. 

Caring For Yourself

CARING FOR YOURSELF 

Be Yourself– Truthfully 

Accept Yourself– Gracefully 

Value Yourself– Joyfully 

Forgive Yourself– Completely 

Treat Yourself– Generously 

Bless Yourself– Abundantly 

Trust Yourself– Confidently 

Love Yourself– Wholeheartedly 

Empower Yourself– Prayerfully 

Give Yourself– Enthusiastically 

Express Yourself– Radiantly 

TAKE CARE OF YOU!!

~Brad Boyd  

I have met some of the most amazing people through Facebook.

One such amazing person is Terri Boyd Lucher. She is a suicide survivor and someone I now have the pleasure of chatting with on a fairly regular basis.

Our “friendship” began when I sent a message asking to use the picture I’m reusing in today’s story. She graciously gave her permission and shared more about her story.

All I can say is her guardian angels were definitely beside her for some time during her recovery. I am thankful to have the opportunity to call her my friend and thankful she continues to not just live but thrive in all she does. God bless you, Terri, and many thanks to your brother as well.

Between the two of you, my work today is beautifully and easily completed.

Just goes to show you how gifts find their way to you when you least expect them.

“I find that the more willing I am to be grateful for the small things in life, the bigger stuff just seems to show up from unexpected sources, and I am constantly looking forward to each day with all the surprises that keep coming my way!” ~ Louise L. Hay

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

Memory Rocks

If you find a rock—

a rock that’s not

a skipping rock, 

or a chalk rock,

or a resting rock, 

or a wishing rock-

that’s not

a splashing rock,

or a shifting rock,

or a worry rock,

or a hiding rock-

that’s not even 

a climbing rock,

or a crossing rock,

or a fossil rock,

or a walking rock

but you like it anyway,

because it reminds you

of a place,

or a feeling,

or something important-

a memory rock,

and sometimes

those are the best 

rocks of all. 

~Peggy Christian, “If You Find a Rock”  

All my life I’ve been a rock collector.

I remember sitting with the other neighborhood kids in the church parking lot going through rocks searching for precious stones. The quartz and mica were our diamonds and Fool’s Gold the supreme find. Hours would fly by as we pulled our paper grocery sacks across the gravel. More than once the bottom of my over-filled bag gave up its load as I trudged home. Even now I can feel my breath catch, my shoulders sag, and feel the disappointment as all my treasures hit the ground and rolled down hill.

In my so-called adult years my love for rocks continues. My treasured rocks are my heart-shaped ones–but I have discovered one arrow-head and a very unique stone that looks like it some type of man-made tool.

As I make my mental inventory, I smile and shake my head. Many of my most cherished things are gifts from the land–items I have uncovered with my own eyes.

I thank God for this gentle reminder to take time to pause, to reconnect with Mother Earth, and to be aware of the many blessings she has bestowed upon me.

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” 

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Little Brown-eyed Doe

“I love mockingbirds, but I cannot rehab them because they imprint, or bond, or whatever you choose to call it. Young ravens and crows are worse. In their quest for attention and affection, they are akin to domestic dogs. And when you placate young wild animals with a tender human touch, it changes them forever. So rehabbers have to reject the overtures of creatures who attempt to bond, to ensure they retain their wild nature. Some people are good at this. I am not. I have too much of what John Keats called negative capability as well as a close corollary, empathy. When birds arrive at my door lost, broken, and terrified, the distinctions between us fall away, and they are no longer wild animals separate from my humanity. Instead, I am right there with them, sharing their troubles, fear, and pain. I see myself in them and want to protect, love, and reassure them.” 

Terry Masear, Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood

I’m a city girl living in the country for the first time in my life. Sooner or later I was going to see the not so kind side of Mother Nature.

About two weeks ago, we were watching a small herd of deer meander across the empty lot behind our house. As they spread out and went their different ways, we noticed one little doe bringing up the rear. I pointed her out to Michael because her gait was so unusual–like someone had released a rocking horse out into the wild.

As she made her way around the cacti, we realized why she was moving in such an unnatural way. She was not bearing any weight on her left front leg. We were shocked at how badly her leg was injured and heartbroken to see her struggle in order to keep up with her herd. Sadly, we gave her our blessing and watched as she bobbled away. Neither one of thought we’d see her again.

To our amazement our amazing brown-eyed doe has proven us wrong. I’m still unsure if that is a good or a bad thing. Today as I walked to the office to write, she was in the back moseying around with the rest our deer friends. She’s become a teacher as well as an example of pure determination as she makes her way over the very uneven, rocky terrain. I am learning there’s not much I can do for her other than include her in my conversations with God.

Which, when I stop to think about it, is all I can do about just about anything.

Heavenly Father, our human ties with our friends of other species is wonderful and special gift from You. We now ask You to grant our special animal companions your Fatherly care and healing power to take away any suffering they have. Give us, their human friends, new understanding of our responsibilities to these creatures of Yours. They have trust in us as we have in You; our souls and theirs are on this earth together to give one another friendship, affection, and caring. Take our heartfelt prayers and fill Your ill or suffering animals with healing Light and strength to overcome whatever weakness of body they have.

Your goodness is turned upon every living thing and Your grace flows to all Your creatures. From our souls to theirs goodness flows, touching each of us with the reflection of Your love. Grant to our special animal companions long and healthy lives. Give them good relationships with us, and if You see fit to take them from us, help us to understand that they are not gone from us, but only drawing closer to You. Grant our prayer through the intercession of good St. Francis of Assisi, who honored You through all Your creatures. Give him the power to watch over our animal friends until they are safely with You in eternity, where we someday hope to join them in giving You honor forever. Amen.                          Saint Francis of Assisi, for our Animal Friends

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

A Few Words About Words

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” 

Rudyard Kipling  

My word for 2019 is awareness.

It took some time for me to narrow down my word choices.

Initially I thought aware was my word. It’s a great word but it’s an adjective. I can’t explain why but for some reason I did not want my guiding word to be an adjective. To me, an adjective is not a thing–it’s a word that describes a person, place, or thing. For this year I need a thing–a noun–as my guiding word.

Already my awareness has helped me to slow down and gather a lot of information that will enable me to learn and grow. I am looking forward to sharing.

 “While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.” 

John Williams, Stoner

Surprises can be such fun.

Yesterday an old childhood friend sent me a text to call her. By the time I was able to call her our time was limited. I needed to postpone our conversation until today and she agreed.

What a treat to talk with her today and hear about her family and some of the old friends we both grown up with back in Traer, Iowa. We talked about our lives as young adults and our lives now. I smiled as she talked because I heard her use words and phrases I’d not heard in a very long time. It was a wonderful gift.

Thank you, Carole Dalby, for taking me back in time and bringing me up to date with you and your family. You are one brave and incredibly strong woman. I look forward to talking with you again soon.

“Talk between women friends is always therapy…” 

Jayne Anne Phillips

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Thank you, Judith Weitzel Wilmink, for allowing me to use your picture of our hill country sunrise this morning. 

The Excavation Site

“Finding yourself” is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. “Finding yourself” is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you. ~Emily McDowell

I read this a few days ago and it spoke volumes to me. Thank you, Emily McDowell!

It also triggered a reminder–that dusty memory where I said finding myself was the reason I’d started writing again–specifically–writing this blog.

Now, I think a better way to say all this is I write to uncover the real me and share that process with others.

Since I was just a kid, I’ve conveniently side-stepped this work because I just wasn’t ready. Now is the time–this is the year–I am ready.

If there is anything I know for sure it is until the past is acknowledged, there is no true freedom nor is there room for exploring the future. I’ve avoided my past at all cost. As my excavation has gotten closer to my personal ground zero, I’ve realized what I’ve been running from is not so horrible. What has made it horrible is my struggle to keep it buried.

I say it’s past time to get the exploration party started.

“Life isn’t always about finding yourself. More often than not, it’s about discovering who God created you to be.” 

David A.R. White, Between Heaven and Hollywood: Chasing Your God-Given Dream

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

Taking the Stairs

In the New Year, never forget to thank your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!” 

Mehmet Murat ildan

The past year was certainly one that posed many questions for me. As Zora Neal Hurston said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” I have the feeling that this new year may be another year of questions. The days are slipping by way too quickly and I continue to search for ways that will keep my mind focused on what I want to accomplish this year. At this point a set of goals feels too restrictive.

I’m intrigued with the thought of choosing a word to guide your year. I read several different articles and blogs today about this topic and was I was surprised to learn this is not a new practice. Which worked out really well for me because I was able to find many lists of awesome and inspiring words along with several different methods I could use in order to select my word of the year. As I worked through the different methodologies and read the long alphabetical lists, four words grabbed my attention–aware, fear, learn, and self. Now, this short list creates another question. Is my word for 2019 one of these four words or is my guiding word the one word that encompasses all these words?

For now, I’m comfortable letting things ruminate. I’ll let my subconscious mind guide me to the best word for me and the year ahead.

In the meantime, it feels like a great time to share the following prayer.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument
of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred,
let me sow charity;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

The Journey Continues

“A new year always comes with a new hope for a new beginning, but new beginning is not only starting something new, it is more about improving upon things not going right or went wrong last year. After all, it is a just a new date, the journey continues!” 

Shahenshah Hafeez Khan  

The first week of the new year is almost over and I’m still wondering what I want to accomplish in 2019.

As I began to read and write today, another blog caught my eye. That’s not unusual–I read Nicole Luttrell’s blog, Paper Beats World, often. Today’s article seemed to be directed right at me. In “Raise a glass, then make some plans,” Nicole shares her personal experiences with goal making while offering simple steps and suggestions for creating plans of our own.

One thing really stood out for me. Nicole makes the observations that many of us jump right into making plans for the new year without stopping to think about the successes we had the previous year.

As conscious as I am about being grateful, I never once thought of taking the time to think and then celebrate my accomplishments of 2018. With that missing step, I was using what didn’t go well as the basis for what I wanted to do in the new year. I had to shake my head. Was it any surprise I couldn’t form a firm plan when I my thought process was based on those negative events?

Thanks, Nicole, for giving me that ah-ha moment.

“With the new year having just begun, many of us have tried to change our habits, all of them, all at once. The best way to change your habits is to change them one at a time, to start small and gradually work your way up. Choose a habit, whether it be to stop doing something or start doing something, and focus all your time and intention on that habit. If you start trying to split your attention between multiple activities, you will soon find that you lose your motivation, focus, and energy. Small regular actions are far more beneficial than large irregular actions.” 

Avina Celeste

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

A Little Bit of Inventory

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.” 

Ellen Goodman

Happy New Year!

It was a very quiet New Year’s Day in Hibdonville and I am grateful.

As I watched the parades, I mentally began the tradition of making my new year’s resolution list. After a few minutes of thought, I realized my “new” goals were basically the same goals I’d had for years. The only difference was I’d gotten older, meaning my ideas had simply evolved and hidden themselves inside cleverly crafted terminology.

I realized many of the things I planned to work on or change were problems due to my chronic self-care neglect.

With that insight my plans for 2019 became very clear and easy.

In order to make the coming year better I needed to committ to taking care of myself. When I take time to maintain balance in my world, I see things clearly. When my reserve gets low, I scamper to that little corner of my world where I begin to see my surroundings as scary and uncertain.

One way to keep my well full is to stay grateful. With gratitude I stay balanced and open. Over this past year, I’d slowly replaced my very personal and often times repetitive gratitude list with morning texts to friends. As I texted, I thanked God these people were in my life. I asked God to surround them with His love, help them with whatever was happening or challenging in their lives, keep them safe, healthy, and happy.

My list has changed and grown over time. I add people when I get a feeling it’s time to reach out. I ask God to guide me with my list and trust him to help me determine that need–whether it is my own or theirs.

Sometimes goals tip-toe in all on their own. I am humbled by how this little idea has become so powerful and wonderful to me and others. Wonder where it will go from here?

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” 

Neil Gaiman

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Anticipation

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 

A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I wonder how many people find themselves a little depressed after the Christmas hustle and bustle?

Sometimes the anticipation fueled by our expectations sets us up for disappointment.

Which reminds me of the year my sisters and I figured out how to open and preview all of our Christmas presents.

I’m not sure who figured out a single edge razor blade would cleanly cut the tape of the wrapping paper. A few careful slices here and there and we had it all within our grasp.

Our  super sleuthing evolved as we took on each and every package under the tree. Proudly we declared no wrapped package could or would defeat us.

Because we did not understand the consequences of our prank, our ego and pride combined in such a way that the basic components of the Christmas season were lost before we even realized something was missing. We’d reached the point of no return, losing that element of surprise which immediately took away the one thing that there has no substitute–anticipation.

“Sometimes what we lack is the thrill of anticipation or the delay of gratification. We enjoy things far more when we’ve really desired them but had to wait for them. The real value is found in our self-control and patience, which allows us to delay gratification and build anticipation. Letting desire build is an abstract way to achieve balance and moderation in your life… Moderation just may be the answer to boredom – go figure!”                            Cristin Frank

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~