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…

 

Morning Greetings

 

It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.  Rumi

For the past month or so, I’ve added something to my morning ritual.

I like it.

“In our deeds we can structure our lives so that the simple things that we do everyday, from bathing to cooking, have resonance and ritual. –Ilsa Crawford” Louisa Thomsen Brits, The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well

For years I’ve written morning pages which have evolved into an expanded gratitude list. I’d become very comfortable with this early morning routine–my very own ritual–pouring my coffee, selecting my music, lighting my candle, and writing my thanks.

This past month several of my close friends faced life changing experiences. Because many were grieving or feeling helpless and alone, I knew I needed to find a way to connect with them on a more intimate level.

The problem–I’m far away.

So, I decided to send each a text every morning as I wrote and gave thanks for their friendship. With these short messages I was able to reach out and give my support.

After a few weeks, an interesting thing started to happen.

My morning greetings became the focal part of my evolving ritual. My thanks begin with the words I sent to my brave friends. Each person had  shown in their own way what resilience looks like in action.

I am grateful to be here for them in any way I can–I am proud of them all. In a perfect world I would be there in person. Our world is far from perfect–being able to send my message across the miles instantly is incredible to me. In a flash, my words and prayers go where I cannot–

Thank you, God.

“Prayer is a path where there is none.” Noah Benshea, Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom For a Complicated World

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

97…98…99…100! Ready or Not…

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Some days my stories come easily–other days they run and hide like we used to do when we played hide-n-seek as kids.

I never liked being the one who had to find everyone. I was not a fast runner so racing kids back “home” after I found them rarely worked out well for me. I was much better at hiding.  We had some amazing places to hide. I don’t remember who was the first one to jump down and hide in the deep window wells of the Congregational Church or duck down behind the walls of the little balcony-like places of the Methodist Church. Whoever that kid was definitely became the champion of the game. Once used, those shadowy spots were no longer secret–although we all rushed to use them on the nights when new kids joined in our game.

That memory was a treat today and a simple story to share.

I think it’s a safe bet I’m not the only one with memories of those hide-n-seek games. I’m  feeling pretty fortunate to have this little tale to share. I hope I’ve stirred up a memory or two for you as well.

The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.” Vera Nazarian, Dreams of the Compass Rose

I am…

B…simply being…

Get out and make some memories this weekend.

God bless…

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

Today’s Gift

I’ve been reading so much about worthiness lately I should not have been surprised when I found this prayer by Maria Shriver in the notes I made while reading her book, I’ve Been Thinking…:

Dear God, I trust that you will meet me right where I am. Help me to make choices that are good for me and those I love. Help me to become the person I’m meant to be. Help me to say and believe that today, I am enough and I am worthy. Help me to know that each day is a gift and I can begin anew.  

Amen.

On this beautiful July day, I felt this would be the perfect thing to share.

May these words help us to trust our journey and remind us that we are enough and worthy.

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

 

When Work is Play

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” 

Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

Michael and I stood back today and looked over all the work we have done these past few weeks. It is coming together and looking better than either one of us imagined.

I’m not saying we aren’t tired. In fact, my story is late today because my planned hour nap turned into a two-hour nap.

I’ve learned listening to my body pays off in the long run. Isn’t that part of being kind? Doesn’t kindness extend to being kind to oneself? Of course it does. This is one lesson that’s taken me a long time to recognize, understand, and learn.

I have to tell you, I’m enjoying each new awareness and I am grateful.

“You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift… YOU!” 

Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

I am…

B…simply being…

Be kind, my friends, remembering that includes being kind to YOU.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

The Good People

“The good people never die.” 

“What do you mean?” Sky glanced at Leon. He was staring straight ahead and he looked really sad. She wondered if he’d lost someone too.

“They live on in the things they said and did – they live on inside of us.” 

Siobhan Curham, Tell it to the Moon

Late yesterday I learned my friend, Margie, lost her husband, Paul, after a long battle with cancer. Margie, I send you my love and prayers. May your memories comfort you as your family and friends surround you with their love and care.

As my good friend Judi reminds me, the longer we live the more people we will say good-bye to.

I never have been so good with reality.

Treasure those you love, my dear friends.

It certainly has been a month filled with not so gentle reminders.

“I am always saddened by the death of a good person. It is from this sadness that a feeling of gratitude emerges. I feel honored to have known them and blessed that their passing serves as a reminder to me that my time on this beautiful earth is limited and that I should seize the opportunity I have to forgive, share, explore, and love. I can think of no greater way to honor the deceased than to live this way.” 

Steve Maraboli

I am…

B…simply being…

May Tom, John, and Paul all rest in peace. What a picture that thought creates in my mind!

Yes, God does have a marvelous sense of humor.

Take time to be kind and may God bless us all.

~Peace be with you~

Self Work

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss—an arm, a leg, money, a wife, etc.—is sure to be noticed. 

-Soren Kierkegaard

I’ve been doing what I call “self work” for most of my adult life. I’ve been fortunate to find the right teachers at the right time. Not only have I had excellent teachers, I had the added benefit of traveling with like-minded seekers who are now some of  my closest friends.

Looking back, some of these connections seem miraculous. From a last-minute decision to attend a non-credit class to reconnecting with old friends via Facebook to finding an obscure book standing upright on the shelf at the small local library, I am learning more about myself as the stream of teachers flow in.

That little obscure book has been sitting beside me for days now–I’ve delayed opening it–I’m not sure why. Maybe the title was a trigger: Unworthy, How to Stop Hating Yourself, by Anneli Rufus.

I began reading it today. That little uneasiness I felt was warranted. This author has much to share with me and I bet she has some insight for you as well.

Below are some of the notes I made today.  The words “self hate” may sound strong to you–as Ms. Rufus says, “Maybe I no longer hate myself–I just don’t like myself much.” Whatever terminology feels best to you, Anneli speaks honestly to those of us who feel or who have ever felt unworthy.

“We the afflicted, we who hate ourselves, need to know that thinking, actions, and feeling come easily to those with self-respect; that these seemingly simple processes–thinking, acting, and feeling, thus including hope and love–are monumentally different for us, requiring twice as much effort on our part as other as others have to expand. For us, even a simple task–dressing, ordering food in restaurants–means thinking, over thinking, unthinking, striding through thick waves of shame, dread and fear. That sound ludicrously like an act of courage.”

“For more than forty years I believed that I was not all there. For more than forty years I did not understand that I WAS there but someone else had made me believe I was not all there.” 

“Start here: You are astounding just for being human, merely for belonging to this species that is capable of language, laughter, creativity, and love. With just one hand you can soothe a child, play a tune, or stitch a wound. With just one eye, you could signal warning or friendship, read the entire contents of a library, or find your way out of the woods. And your brain is the Universe’s greatest creation.”

I hope these snippets stir up your curiosity about what I will share tomorrow and what we can learn together.

“The only way to make a spoilt machine work again is to break it down, work on its inner system and fix it again. Screw out the bolts of your life, examine and work on yourself, fix your life again and get going.” 

Israelmore Ayivor

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start at the Beginning

“I do love the beginning of the summer hols,’ said Julian. They always seem to stretch out ahead for ages and ages.’

‘They go so nice and slowly at first,’ said Anne, his little sister. ‘Then they start to gallop.” 

Enid Blyton, Five Go Off in a Caravan

What an odd week this has been!

To me, a retired person no longer in the traditional workplace, this has been a week filled with Mondays and Fridays. These days must have been a nightmare for all my friends out there still punching the clock every day.

With the early summer heat I’ve had the perfect opportunity to continue to read, write, and learn about myself and my past. I’m finding so much to share I am overwhelmed with where to begin.

I know–what’s so hard–begin and the beginning.

The catch is–I’m not sure where the beginning really is.

So, I’m taking this journey the same way I do any other trip–pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. Lucky for me, I won’t be alone because I’ll be pulling you all along with me. Learning is always easier and better when you can share it, cementing all that knowledge in place.

Over these past few years of serious introspection, I’ve become aware of just how much  I’d adapted in order to survive. I feel this is one of the reasons I’ve had such a difficult early retirement–I no longer knew who I was–my work and my career were everything to me.

I was surprised to learn I really was much more introverted than extroverted. As time went by and all those different roles I played and the masks fell away, the real Barbara began to emerge. I started to understand why I’d had difficulty during some of the stressful times in my life.

One part of my reading has been about personality types and traits. I’m discovering I’ve spent most of my life forcing my more introverted self into situations where I had to be much more of an extrovert.

No wonder I was exhausted most of the time.

In case you’re wondering whether you are an introvert, check out this website for some excellent information and take this quick introvert quiz:

 https://introvertdear.com/are-you-an-introvert-quiz

One of the first things I read that sparked this line of questioning was the manifesto I am closing with today. See if it stimulates some thoughts for you as well.

“A Manifesto for Introverts

1. There’s a word for ‘people who are in their heads too much’: thinkers.

2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.

4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later.

5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.

6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.

7. It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.

8. ‘Quiet leadership’ is not an oxymoron.

9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.

10. ‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’ -Mahatma Gandhi” 

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you. Have a safe and spectacular weekend.

~Peace be with you~

 

My Denver Tribe

“It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.” 

Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Getting out of my comfort zone was my main goal this year. Things have lined up pretty well enabling me to meet that goal.

My first challenge was driving from Texas to Iowa. It had been a long time since I’d done any type of distance traveling. It was a marvelous adventure–even those times when I found myself lost and unsure of how to correct my error. If anyone had the ability to listen to my self talk during those times, you would have been laughing. There’s not a lot a very passive driver can do to make fast corrections on an interstate that is under massive construction. Needless to say, my gratitude list was very easy to compose on those days!

A few days ago I went on-line to purchase airline tickets to Denver. I cannot remember the last time I tackled that task. I was in for a surprise.

Once I’d done my best to compare all my options I thought back to the very first time I flew.

Oh, things were so very different.

I’m not sure how old I was–it was in the 70’s and my ex and I we were on our way to California. Flying then was a BIG DEAL. We were up early so we could get dressed in the new outfits we bought just for this segment of the trip. Since we both smoked then, we had seats in the smoking section–meaning we were in the back of the plane. Where we sat was not important to us–being able to smoke on that long flight was, though, was a very big deal. Could this adventure be any better?

My memories of this time are so clear. I can see my navy and red plaid pants, red top, and matching plaid jacket. We walked to the plane, greeted the “stewardess”  and headed down the narrow aisle. We had no idea what we were doing and I’m sure our body language alerted all those we passed. We eventually found our seats,  settled in, and listened to the pre-flight instructions. Our focus was on one thing–the “no smoking light.” Right or wrong, smoking while flying felt like such a big part of that whole series of the things we felt were rights of passage into being an adult. Without one doubt, we had officially made it.

Today flying has lost its glamour–at least for me. I’d much rather drive so I have control over my time and my stuff. There are times when that may not be the best choice. After much debate, it was pretty obvious flying was the better choice.

As we all age, there will be more of these types of trips made in order to support our friends–our tribe–those people we’ve chosen and made family. My brave friend has been strong for so long through so very much–it’s important for me to be back–to rejoin that very special tribe. Distance does not matter in these types of friendships. I’ve never really left–my heart has always been part of them and they have always been a part of me. I need to physically be there in order to complete that circle we forged all those years ago–that sisterhood we formed as way of loving and supporting each other. It was powerful then, it is more powerful now.

I am blessed and I am thankful.

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” 

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I am…

B…simply being…

Keep those you love close. God bless us all.

~Peace be with you~

A Visit from a Vixen

When I… moved to the country, I felt as if I could finally exhale that little bit of breath I’d been unconsciously holding in my lungs. Time is not so relentless when it is possible to watch the sun make an uninhibited arc across the day, when the stars take up more of the night’s space than the darkness, when a footprint lives for days in its moist soil bed, when the only motor to be heard is the occasional tractor several miles away. ~Cecily Schmidt, “Common Threads,” in Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counterculture edited by Chelsea Cain, 1999

Since we moved to Texas I’ve been saying we live in the country.

I’m not sure that’s entirely true–if you use a broad definition of living in the country–we qualify.

Our days are quiet–not as quiet as they used to be because our little community has been discovered. Now we hear the sounds of development.

It was bound to happen. After all, we found our way here.

We enjoy our early morning sunrises, the visits from our deer friends who now feel safe enough to bring along their new fawns. We’ve named some–limping deer who raised twins last year but only has a singleton this year. There’s Jorge who visited us all last summer. He was a loner, wandering through daily on his way to Bill’s watering station and searching for any vegetable scraps Lucy or I toss out for him. This year he’s returned but is not always alone. Yesterday he showed up with two young does–maybe he is building his own little herd? That would be heartwarming for me.

Now, it’s not always calm around our little house on the hill. A couple of nights ago we were sitting outside, star-gazing, and looking for satellites. Yes, we are a wild and crazy bunch! The moon was waning so it was very dark and stars impressive. As we talked, marveling  at the amazing Universe around us, a blood curtailing scream came out of the field behind us.

What in the world was that sound?

It happened again and it was closer.

That unexplained sound was enough to send me in for the night.

As luck would have it, our dogs had me out a few hours later. Whatever was making that sound had not left and the screaming continued with other chattering sounds in between screams. Once again, I rushed our dogs inside.

I was on a mission to find out what was terrorizing my peaceful evenings. I listened to the sounds of every creature I could think could be living around our house. After some wrong guesses, I found our vocalizer.

It was a fox–most likely a pair of foxes who were out for the evening with their kits or pups. The screams I’d been hearing actually have a name–a vixen scream because it was originally thought it was a sound made only by the female–the vixen. This has been proven false and it can be a sound used to by the pair as a way to alert each other of possible dangers to themselves or to their young.

 

Okay.

Now that I know what was making that sound I was more at ease–not comfortable by any means. The unknown now had a name–taking my imagination out of the equation. Believe me, the images I’d conjured up were much scarier than any fox.

Please stay safe, my friends,  and enjoy your Forth of July holiday.

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless us all and God Bless America.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

Memorial Gardens

It’s just fine to feel a little heavy, and it’s just fine to sit here and catch  my breath, and it’s just fine to be a mess at times, and it’s just fine to be relatively normal sometimes. It’s just fine to let it all hit me, surrendering and succumbing and it’s just fine to remember that grief has no rules, and that really, it will in many ways last as long as love does. Forever. 

Scribbles and Crumbs

It was over ten years ago that I built and planted my first memorial garden. I had learned my cousin, Donna, had died. She died in Iowa and I was still working in Denver, Colorado.

That did not set well with me.

I had to find some way to honor the person who had been such an important part of my life.

I decided to plant a garden in her memory. This garden expanded to honor the memory of my sister–we re-named it the Donna-Bethie garden. It was a place where the butterflies gathered and the hummingbirds stopped over the course of the summer. Leaving this little garden behind was one of the hardest parts of leaving Colorado.

When we bought our house in Texas, we planted a new Donna-Bethie garden. The little garden faced some challenges but it has thrived this past year. The tiny little plants are now nearly bush size and the incredible varieties of Texas butterflies visit this garden all day long.

This year has been a tough one. I’ve lost friends and felt I needed to expand my gardens.

My timing certainly could have been better. After several days of seriously hard work, I have the foundation down for two new rock gardens. I am toasting them with a glass of cold water while giving thanks for the ability to have such a lovely way to keep those amazing souls close.

“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said, all those years ago. And he was right. They don’t die. Not completely. They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.” 

Matt Haig, How to Stop Time