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…

 

Simple Things

“The simple everyday experiences become the doorway to new thoughts and inspirations.” 

E.A. Bucchianeri

Yesterday we joined friends at Sweet Berry Farm just outside of Marble Falls, Texas.

I’m nearly 65 years old and I have to say, I’ve never ever been in a strawberry field.

It was incredible.

I saw rows of strawberry plants which stretched here, there and everywhere.

In my mind, I heard The Beetles song, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” playing over and over–forever.

Since this was our first time picking berries, Michael and I listened to basic instructions before we picked up our brilliantly white flat and headed out to harvest our very own strawberries.

Where did we even start–it was crazy to see mound after mound of berries–some plants still flowering, some had small unripened berries, and many were full of bright red strawberries.

It wasn’t only the berries that entertained us. Because Michael and I are people watchers, it did not take us long to realize we had just been planted (pun intended) in a new type of environment.

The parking lot alone made it obvious this was soon going to become a very busy place.  The groaning of engines we recognized as that distinct grind of a school bus–several of them–heralded the arrival of many many school children.

Our relative peace and quiet was replaced by chatter and giggles.

The school kids joined those of us already roaming.

There were little clusters of the elderly–walking slowly and carefully down the rows where they critically judged the plants before determining if what they saw was worth the physical effort of bending over. There were the seasoned visitors with two or more red stained flats stretching and quickly plucking plump berries from both sides of the rows. Then there were those first timers, like us, who were hesitated, peering carefully at each plant as we bent over and rustled our way into the ripening berries.

My favorite fellow harvesters, though, were the moms with children in tow.

Moms truly are examples of God’s best work and grace in action. What a treat to watch them navigate the challenges of the field–literally and figuratively. I could hear different moms patiently answer the barrage questions as they walked slowly behind the toddler or raced after the four-year-old. It was like listening to a chorus singing in an echo chamber–all around me I’d hear questions being asked of each mom at different stages–mom, is this one ready followed quickly by, how about this one? All those questions were answered in that soft, patient mom voice, advising them to leave that one for later or  praising them for the beautiful find.

Thanks, Dayne and Donna, for coming over and taking us out to Sweet Berry Farms. What a treat–walking rows of ripening strawberries, picking and eating our way along while being entertained by bundles of pure energy presented to us in the form of God’s children displayed in so many varied ages, shapes and sizes.

“Simple things relieve eyes; simple things ease mind, simple things create meditation, simple things are simply miraculous!” 

Mehmet Murat ildan

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you all. Have a safe and wonder filled weekend.

~Peace~

Barbara Thinking About Barbara

“At the temple there is a poem called “Loss” carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.”

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Former First Lady, Barbara Bush passed away a couple of days ago. The flags are flying at half mast here in Texas. I imagine they are everywhere. Seems most appropriate here, though.

My heart is heavy.

I really liked and respected Barbara Bush. It certainly helped me form a bond with her since we shared the same first name. Growing up, there were not many Barbaras around which made me pay extra special attention to this one.

Plus she always seemed to have it all together.

Mrs. Bush reminded me of my aunts. Often when I heard her speak, I felt I was back at Aunt Marie’s house. When you were at Marie’s, you never knew what she or my other aunts were going to say. Whatever was said, you had to be prepared because it almost always came with a little bit of a bite while carrying with it the punch of a life time of filled with wide ranging experiences and subtle wisdom.

Unlike our world today, Barbara Bush always seemed the same whenever you saw her. Her body language was strong and confident, her face lined which reflected came from living a life full of challenges, and a smile that came quickly and had a sense of sincerity to it. Whenever I heard her speak she held true to herself and shared consistent set of family values. She never wavered from that–she’ speak her mind while living her life in a way that reflected back to the words she spoke. She spoke her truth. I may not have agreed with her at that point in my life but I always respected her point of view.

She was rare and she was beautiful.

It has not surprised me there have been so many tears shed these past few days as we all watch the clips and listen to her words one more time. We, the American people, lost a person who was real–someone who became and stayed as a member of our family.

Hearing she’d chosen to stop further medical care did not surprise me. She was leaving this life in the same manner she’d lived it–on her own terms. She passed on with her husband holding her hand and her family surrounding her. May we all be so blessed.

During a time when we’ve all been needing someone to believe in and hold on to, we have suffered a hard loss.

God bless you, Barbara Bush. Rest in peace.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

Shannon L. Alder

“At the temple there is a poem called “Loss” carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.” 

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

I am…

B…simply being…

Love to you all.

~Peace~

Offering it Up

When my sister was sick, a priest from the Parish my cousin attended agreed to come visit with her. Over her hospital stay, he visited with her whenever he called on his parishioners.

I’ll never know what their conversations were about or what he shared with her. I do know she was at peace after his visits–with her illness, herself, and her future.

Oh, we Catholics absorb and soak up guilt–it’s in our DNA. Whether we are practicing Catholics or not, the guilt remains–and it is strong.

Lucky for us all, my sister, Sue, my husband, and I, also met this wonderful priest. Not only did he help Beth–he brought the grace of God to us all.

Even now, nearly eleven years later, we still talk about Father Kiernan–how he always knew the right things to say while reminding us all there would be those times in our lives when we just had to find a way to let it go, move on, and “offer it up” to God.

Today I stumbled upon the following quote which reminded me of the priest who came into our lives when we needed him the most–talking with us, listening to us, and sharing his own stories and life lessons. He reminded us about the gift of patience, the grace of God, and the power of love.

Thank you, Father. I will remember you always.

“Sometimes you welcome people only for them to show you how unwelcoming you are. Sometimes you generously help people only for them to show you how extravagant and evil you are. Sometimes you teach people only for them to show you how ignorant you are. Sometimes you open your doors to people only for them to show you how dirty your room is. Sometimes you make way for people only for them to block your ways. Sometimes you draw people closer to you only for them to teach you the real meaning of betrayal and loneliness. Sometimes you smile to people only for them to show you the color of your teeth. Sometimes you play with people only for them to show you how uncouth you are. In life, sometimes, your very best intentions shall be seen as woefully bad. Sometimes in life, your very good deeds and acts would see another meaning, but no matter how people perceive, accept and treat you or your good intentions, acts and deeds, know yourself, and dare not to be changed by circumstances so easily! Regardless of how hurtful circumstances might be, dare to guard your heart and your tongue, so you may not speak what you should never say that can make you miss your reward from the Sovereign Lord. Keep doing what you have to do, as you have to do, as a living sacrifice to your Father who is in Heaven, knowing that your reward is from Him alone, and wait patiently with a calm and an understanding heart for your reward from Him, regardless of the arduous nature of the hurt and trials!” 

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~ 

 

 

The Gifts of Old Friends

“A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.” 

Lois Wyse

It has been a busy time here in Hibdonville.

I’ve been studying the Texas laws and regulations for boaters. The little bit of time I’ve spent on boats was time spent enjoying the ride. I’ve never been responsible for the safe operation of the boat. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn. Lucky for me, I the encouragement of old friends who tell me I’ll love every minute. They are wise and kind with many hours on the water. I will listen carefully to every tidbit shared and use it to accelerate my learning curve. Thanks, Captain Jodi. I’m open to all and any tips you can share with me.

On a more personal side, Mother’s Day is in a month. Every year, because my mom passed away when I was young, these are hard days.

In the past, I’d brush the uneasiness away, feeling I really should be well beyond all this unexplainable sadness.

As I age and become more comfortable with myself, I now freely admit it has never gotten easier. In fact, I believe each year provides me with new experiences which allow me to question things–I see things with a more open mind and heart. This gift of time has allowed me to step back and look at things as a mature woman instead of a very confused ten-year-old child.

This is a struggle I share with another dear friend. Over the years she reaches out to me during this time. Losing our moms is one of the life experiences we share.

We don’t have to say much to each other–words are useless anyway.

We understand each other at a gut level.

Knowing I have Jane to lean on has given me such comfort over the years. Thank you, my friend,  for sharing yourself, your experiences, and your friendship.

“No friendship is an accident. ” 

O. Henry, Heart of the West

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Thank you, Mary Lou Williams, for sharing your wonderful photo with me so I can use it for my blog today. You are a treasure. I love and thank you, for this, and for loving me.   

 

Disillusionment

Disillusionment with yourself must precede Enlightenment.

Vernon Howard

 

I am learning, with a little kicking and screaming along the way, there comes a time when I must step back and let it all go. 

I’m still working on the timing part of that lesson.

Yesterday, I was mentally and physically exhausted. We’ve had a lot going on and it’s taken its toll. 

It has all been very positive, which makes it very difficult for me to concede I need some extra rest. 

Why do I think I don’t have the right to be tired after good things happen? 

In place of writing yesterday, which is a treat for me, I rested. 

That hour or two of rest refilled my well—which was a good thing. 

This morning began with a beautiful sunrise, clear skies, and warm breezes. Hiding in the wings were a few health insurance issues which quickly created a series of problems. 

Thanks to having some extra reserve on board, I kept the frustration meter, for the most part, in check.

I am NOT saying I handled it as well as I could have–I AM saying I handled it much better than usual. 

Isn’t that what it’s all about—doing it better than before–making it possible to move on, building on that new experience and knowledge?

“You’re not going to always hit a home run in life. You’re going to strike out! You’re going to walk to the dugout of life, frustrated, while spectators chirp your name in judgment. They’re afraid to even get on the field, and you know it. The fact that you get back up there, unafraid, going after that next home run, makes you the person you are.” 

Ron Baratono, The Writings of Ron Baratono

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless us all. 

~Peace~

Port Hibdonville

“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where’s your boat?”
“I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident. It all depends.”
“Depends on what?”
“On whether I’m on the top of it or underneath it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Michael and I moved to The Hill Country of Texas two years ago.

For Michael, it was a move that brought him back home.

For me, the move brought me to one of the places I’d said I’d never ever live.

In my 65th year, I am learning to be cautious with what I say I will never ever do.

Yesterday, another thing happened that I said we’d never ever do.

We bought a boat.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Texas, The Hill Country is also known for a series of dams that createThe Highland Lakes. These dams were built by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in the 30’s and the 40’s as a way to generate hydroelectric power and to provide flood control to an area that had and continues to have an impressive flood history. The five Highland Lakes are Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, and Lake Travis.

The Highland Lakes are part of a series of six dams creating seven lakes on the lower Colorado River. This river–not the same river as the Colorado River we knew when we lived in Denver–has its origin in West Texas and meanders its way to the Matagordo Bay and The Gulf of Mexico.

The first, and largest dam, Buchanan Dam, forms Lake Buchanan, one of the two dams built specifically as a reservoir while providing flood control and power generation. The second dam, Inks Dam, creates the first of the two constant level lakes, Inks Lake. Dam number three is the dam visible from our front porch, Wirtz Dam. This structure creates the second constant level lake, Lake LBJ. Max Starke Dam creates Lake Marble Falls, the lake that receives the water released from Wirtz dam. Mansfield Dam creates the lake I heard the most about before moving to Texas, Lake Travis. Mansfield Dam creates Lake Travis and is the other dam built to function as a reservoir as well as being the only dam built to hold back floodwaters. I could not talk about Lake Travis without mentioning its other assignment, providing the background for The Oasis, the bar known for sunset views and a very popular Garth Brooks song. The last dam in the series is Tom Miller Dam, creating Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake.

The work of the LRCA presents us with thousands of miles of waterways to explore.

The call of the outboard motor has been loud and persistent.

We waved the white flag, surrendering yesterday.

It’s not the beach but this investment should be mostly hurricane free. Our boat will open up new vantage points where I will see so many things for the first time. This is the beginning of many new adventures–journeys that will provide the ingredients needed for our trips into the unknown–something that always adds alittle bit of extra spice to the experiences as well as to the stories.

“There’s nothing––absolutely nothing––half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind In The Willows  

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you all. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be seeing you on the water soon.

~Peace~

 

Aging

“I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know you.”
― Marilyn Monroe  

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve found so many posts on social media about age followed by many negative comments.

One woman said she hated getting older–she hated her white hair, her wrinkles, and how no one paid any attention to her anymore. She hated her body and her life.

Her words surprised me and made me think about my own feelings about getting older.

To quiet my mind, I took my usual course of action–I began to read and write.

I found several things–quotes attributed to people that surprised me. The quote by Marilyn Monroe was not only surprising but so sadly ironic and made me wonder, not for the first time, if she really did commit suicide.

There have been too many people in my life who have not had the blessing of time and old age.

Why them and not me?

For some reason, I have been given the gift of time. I’ve been given the blessing of getting to know myself–to grow into the person I know I am without the fear of failure or the disapproval of others. I am now free to be me.

These words capture my feelings so well:

I am not old… she said
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.
You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me
anything.
Samantha Reynolds

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you all.

~Peace~

Jesus Christ Superstar

Mercy, peace, and love. May the grace and Lord surround and be with you on Good Friday.

 

Good Friday has always been a special day for me. I love the ritual of The Mass celebrated today. Everything about it–the smell of the incense, the number of celebrants, the length and the drama of the readings–it left me with a feeling of anticipation.

The Church tested me as a young woman growing up in the 60’s–it is an ongoing challenge.

Then Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

It captured my soul then as it does today.

As so often happens, music transcends time and space.

Whenever I hear any part of any song from this work, I am transported back to the early 70’s. I am sitting in front of a console stereo system in the dining room of my friend, Pam.

I can hear the first album of the two album set drop onto the play table. I see the collection of friends gathered to hear and share the new album slide closer together, huddling around the lyric sheet, reading, and singing.

Remember those album sleeves with song lyrics?

This is a powerful memory, burned into my mind because of its magical simplicity and clarity.

I will be listening to the live televised presentation of “Jesus Christ Superstar” this Easter Sunday.

I’ll probably cry.

Pam was another friend I lost this past year.

But I’ll be smiling, too.

I’m thinking Pam will be singing along with all of us who are now scattered across the country. I’m wondering how many of those who used to gather at her house and select the different stacks of albums we’d pile onto her stereo system will be seeing and experiencing this same memory?

I’m betting I won’t be the only one with a tear in my eye.

I wish you all a blessed Easter and remind you to treasure those you love and keep them close.

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

My thanks to Jeff Durst for allowing me to use his photo of the Catholic Church in Mason, Texas, published in the Backroads of Texas Facebook page. Please do not re-publish this photo without written permission for Mr. Durst. I am blessed to have so many wonderful and generous photographers in my Facebook community. Thank you, Jeff. 

And so it is.

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.”
― David Richo

It’s been close to thirty years ago when I met my friend, Sandi.

We’d both found our way to a non-credit course at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. I don’t remember the name of the course. We were both looking for ways to find and fix ourselves. The ever-evolving list of self-help books was no longer meeting our needs. I think most us very devoted readers found themselves more confused than ever.

My friendship with Sandi is a perfect example of God placing people in our lives when we need them.

We were both from the Midwest. Our stories were and remain complex and convoluted, to say the least. We had been in several of those self-help classes offered at ACC. By way of these classes, we had a very strong bond–a bond formed between two survivors.

After we’d both completed a course taught by Rochelle, we were both made aware of the opportunity to have personal therapy sessions with our instructor. Unknown to each other, we both accepted and became one of her clients. After some personal sessions, some of us we asked to join an after-hours group session.

It was the mix of one-on-one sessions with Rochelle and working with that special group of people who’d been selected to work together due to our similar life experiences that changed my life forever.

I talked with Sandi for a few minutes last week. We touch base when we both have a minute or two and those infrequent conversations are moments of soul recharging.

This last conversation was a rushed one—I was in the car and she had family visiting. The one important thing she shared with me was this:

“Did you know that Rochelle died?”

It was news to me.

There was no time to elaborate.

Our shared counselor retired from seeing clients rather suddenly. In my mind, I always felt that our select group was, perhaps, too perfect in our combined needs.

Once dismantled, we did not meet as that group again.

I always thought I’d see Rochelle again.

I always thought I’d have a chance to tell her, face-to-face, what a difference she’s made in my life.

Over the past few days, I’ve realized my blog is an extension of many of the insights Rochelle gave me.

She knows I am grateful–and so it is.

God’s work, at times, is not always so mysterious.

It is, however, always miraculous.

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic, and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
― Graham Greene, Ways of Escape

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless us all.

~Peace~

My thanks, once again, to my dear friend, Kimberlee Salimeno, for allowing me to share her beautiful picture. When I saw it this morning it reminded me of the setting we had for our group sessions. It was another sign to talk of Rochelle and express my gratitude to her and all those I met through her. Thank you, my dear Kimberlee.  I love you.

Friends = Family

“we must take care of our families wherever we find them.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Every now and then we meet people who become family.

Saturday afternoon I was able to spend time with some of my Colorado family.

I am thrilled and I am so grateful.

“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~