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…

 

The People Away

“She always spoke about “the people away” and how important it was to remember them and to keep in contact. She knew from listening to some of them when they came on summer holidays that at Christmas their thoughts turned to home and they loved to be remembered at that time. For others the cards was even more important; it provided the only link they had because they never made it home. I visualized my mother’s Christmas cards as so many messengers winging their way to scattered family members all over the world from the nest from which they or their parents had all flown. She was the warm glow at the heart of our Christmas, but that warmth stretched much further than our house.” 

Alice Taylor, An Irish Country Christmas

Christmas cards.

So many memories come up when I think of Christmas cards.

Early in my “adult” life, I’d spend hours upon hours writing cards to all my family members. It was really the only time of year many of us heard from each other.Today, there are very few of our branch of the McDonald family around.

For me, writing Christmas cards was a major production. I started looking for cards as soon as the stores started putting up their displays. My cards had to represent something of myself.

One of my favorite memories revolves around the year I found Ziggy cards–remember that character? His life was always just a little bit sad and off kilter. To me, he mirrored my own life and this one year I’d found a whole box of Ziggy Christmas cards.

I was ecstatic.

I grabbed my box knowing these cards would be sent to a very select group of people. That was not unusual. Most years I’d have several boxes of cards subdivided into stacks for different groups that made up my life.

A great example of this would be my very prime and proper Aunt Eve. She  would not have appreciated a Ziggy card. She and the rest of the family would require a much more traditional type card.

The best part of this memory is the young guy who was at the checkout that day. He rang up my box of cards and other supplies while going through all those questions the sales staff are required to ask.

Smiling, he told me it was a perfect time to take advantage of their imprinting service. Was I interested in having my cards professionally imprinted?

We were both quiet for a couple of seconds and then I started to laugh.

He stopped, looked up at me with a questioning expression. What was so funny?

I shook my head as I apologized, explaining I did not think it just did not seem right to me to have a Ziggy Christmas card imprinted. He looked down at my box of cards, chuckled, and quietly agreed with me.

May your Christmas preparations also give you many reasons to smile.

“Mrs. Casey, do you love Christmas? 

Well you know, she answered reflectively, Christmas can be a sad time for people too. It’s a remembering time for us older ones. We remember the people who are gone.

Oh, I never thought of that, I told her in surprise.

Well that’s youth for you, she said; you don’t start to look back over your shoulder until there is something to look back at, and around Christmas I tend to think of the Christmases past and the people gone with them.” 

Alice Taylor, An Irish Country Christmas

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

More Treasures

“The greatest treasure in life is the possession of time.” 

Sunday Adelaja, How To Become Great Through Time Conversion: Are you wasting time, spending time or investing time?

I found another treasure in my little used bookstore.

It’s the small book pictured above and it is packed with things that make me sit back and think.

Finding books that were gifts to others always tugs at my heart and makes them very special to me.

I always wonder if the person gifted the book actually had the time to appreciate it?

These are the books that become immediate treasures for me because I now have the time to scour the pages and share what I find with others.

In some type of odd unspoken ceremony, I’ve become the surrogate recipient.

There is only one page ear-marked in this little book which makes my choice of what to share first very easy.

Heart Of My Heart

While striding on life’s pathway

fill up your days with cheer

just laugh at rainbows, small or great, 

to banish every fear.

Hold tight to what life offers

content with all you do

for all adventures help create

the treasure that is you.

~Kris Ediger

I am…

B…simply being

~Peace~

O’Christmas Tree

“A tree.” She spotted one. It was hidden behind a much larger tree, its limbs misshapen in its attempt to fight for even a little sunlight in the shadow. “Dana has this tradition of giving a sad-looking tree the honor of being a Christmas tree.” She walked over to the small, nearly hidden tree. “I like this one. “It’s…”

He laughed. “Ugly?”

“No, it’s beautiful because it’s had a hard life. It’s struggled to survive against all odds and would keep doing that without much hope. But it has a chance to be something special.” 

B.J. Daniels, Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene

My dear friend, Mary, sent me this picture of the Christmas tree she and her grands decorated. I absolutely love this little tree and asked if I could share it with one of my stories. Thankfully, she agreed.

It is so special made even more so by the fact she fought back the urge to re-arrange! Proud of you and love you.

The older I get the more special these types of photographs are to me.

As I looked at this picture, I smiled and thought of some of my own childhood Christmas stories.

Like many young families, money was always tight at our house. Even more so at Christmas time.

I remember one Christmas when my parents had a rather heated discussion about buying a Christmas Tree. Dad didn’t think we should spend the money. Mom felt having a tree was important for “the kids.”

As I stood just outside of the kitchen door, my usual eavesdropping spot, I silently rooted for mom.

This “discussion” ended in a stalemate. This was not good. I knew from previous experiences our little house had just been put into the quiet zone.

My sisters and I understood this place all to well. Until some type of truce was called, words would be scarce–replaced by quick, sharp looks and heavy sighs. In kid-time this often seemed to last forever.

Being the super responsible oldest child, I felt it was up to me to help smooth things out.

I had a plan.

For a few days I checked out the different places trees were being sold. I knew I could find the perfect tree at a do-able price.

Because the adults were not speaking, I had the perfect set-up. Each evening at the supper table, I shared what I had found. I’d describe the trees I saw–the type, the size and all the different prices.

As I talked, my sisters and I looked from mom to dad, and back again. Each of us watched carefully, looking for any indication an answer had been found and we would have a tree and peace would return to our little world.

After a couple of nights of silence and sighs, I stopped reporting.

There was not going to be a tree.

As Christmas inched closer, I had a new worry.

This was serious.

It was now Christmas Eve.

If we didn’t have a tree, where would Santa put our presents?

This was a real worry for this oldest child. This worry kept me awake. Because I couldn’t sleep I noticed there was something different about the light outside our bedroom door.

It was red, and green, and yellow and….

Wait a minute.

Was I dreaming?

I climbed out of bed and walked slowly in the direction of the living room.

Wait a minute.

I rubbed my eyes. I blinked and blinked again.

Was this possible? Was it real?

There, in the middle of our dark living room, sitting on a small table, covered in the most brilliant lights I’d ever seen, was a beautiful, perfectly shaped Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.  

~Andy Rooney

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

 

The Sorcery of a Name

“A name can’t begin to encompass the sum of all her parts. But that’s the magic of names, isn’t it? That the complex, contradictory individuals we are can be called up complete and whole in another mind through the simple sorcery of a name.” 

Charles de Lint, Dreams Underfoot

This is such a tricky time of the year.

So many emotions come bubbling up to the surface when we are least expecting them and least prepared.

What I once called the season of magic is now a little more haunting.

Memories steal into my mind when my guard is down–before I’ve had the chance to reinforced all my weakest check-points.

I know I am not alone.

I’m thinking one of the most beautiful gifts we could give each other right now is the gift of time. The gift of an evening filled with conversations about those we are missing this holiday season–whether this is the first or the sixtieth. A time filled with names that are rarely–if ever–heard these days. An evening where names and stories are shared without the guilt often associated with those things judged to be well past the appropriate time frame of grieving.

The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” 

Lois Lowry, The Giver

I am…

B…simple being…

~Peace~

“Names are a way to keep people in your mind” 

Maggie Stiefvater, Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception  

 

 

 

The Gift of Laughter

B...simply being...

Re-posting from December, 2017, because it is just such a great memory. Love you Doug and Lana Flemmer.

The church is near, but the road is icy. The bar is far, but we will walk carefully.  

Russian Proverb.

Oh, the holidays are so stressful. Honestly, I am feeling some stress this year because I have no stress–zip–nothing–nada.

Let me remind you all that it is okay–really okay–to say no. You do not have to accept every invitation or attend every gathering or buy every single person who ever entered your life a gift. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to say no without some excuse. You, my friend, need time to unwind and relax. You cannot give to others without taking some time to recharge your own batteries.

For all my recently retired friends, know that your retirement is not the time for you to run errands…

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A Change of Worlds

There is no death. 

Only a change of worlds. 

~Chief Seattle

Today, my friend, Judi, and her husband, Ernie, said good-bye to their beloved Nina.

I met Nina for the first time nearly two years ago.  Judi and I had compared dog notes for sometime before I actually met Nina and her younger sister, Ira. I knew Nina had been struggling and had certain expectations set in my mind. I was 100% wrong.

The gray-faced dog greeting me at the door both surprised and impressed me by her agility and determination. It was if she was telling me she may be old but she was still a lady and a competent, gracious hostess.

In one short run to the door, Nina won my heart and my admiration.

I am grateful for the bravery she taught me and how she showed me to just forge on. I will remember her every morning when I “chat” with Judi as remind myself I do not need to ask about Nina because I know she is at peace.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have dogs or had dogs in our lives know a dog gives you some of the best days of your life but also one of the hardest ones.

I think part of the dog’s magic is their ability to erase those pain filled last days with the more vivid memories of their crazy, mischievous ones. Come on, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about–those chewed up remote controls, shoes, brief cases, and dinners cooling on the table when you turned your back for just a second. Those things that made you crazy and endangered their very existence.

These and many more are the memories that will bring slow smiles to your face and a much needed lightness to your heart–

It’s true—

When I come to you in dreams,

I’m really there.

When you see me out of 

The corner of your eye, 

I’m really there.

When you ‘sense’ me

Around the place, 

I’m really there.

I haven’t left you, not really.

My spirit is everywhere,

But especially with you. 

~Author Unknown

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

 

Gifts

“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort and laughter—and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.” 

Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess

It’s hard for me to believe tomorrow is the first of December, 2018.

Which means Christmas will now be counted in “days away ” and shopping begins to inch toward “frenzy” mode.

If there is one thing I’ve learned this year is how quickly things change. Which, for me, means I need to make a few changes.

This year instead of buying I’m going to find ways to spend more quality time with those important to me. Honestly, I don’t know of anyone who need more “stuff.” I do believe there are many of us who need a few more minutes of quality time spent with loved ones.

So…I’m going to make that happen.

The cost to me = zero.

The return value = priceless.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” 

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

The Summer of Fudge

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” 

Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha

We rushed about this morning so we could go to a large estate sale. The wait to get inside to view all the treasures was long and the worthiness of this investment of time was certainly debated among all of us who waited.

For me, it was worth every minute. I was able to walk on elegant rugs as I meandered through all the custom furniture, bronze artwork, and then stand beside the restored 1880’s Steinway Parlor Piano. My inner child was thrilled.

My greatest find was a surprise. In the kitchen was a bookshelf hidden inside a built-in cabinet. As I walked over the red and white cover of this cookbook caught my eye. The cookbook was in great condition with a note attached telling me it was an intact Better Homes and Garden’s Cookbook, First Edition, Third Printing, Copyright 1953.

This was the same cookbook my mom had–the cookbook I used the summer I call, “the summer of fudge.” All those memories unfolded before me as I turned and looked at page 135. On the left hand column was Chocolate Fudge, the right column White Taffy. That entire summer I’d fine tuned my candy skills with that one fudge recipe–it met all my requirements–it was super easy and I knew we’d always have all the ingredients.

As I put this book on my own kitchen shelf, I remembered those summer afternoons. It was a very unstable and unpredictable time in my life. Actually seeing page 135 again reminded me how making candy was the one constant in my roller coaster life. Without a doubt, as I measured and stirred, I subconsciously understood I was in control of that little space in time. I knew as long as I followed directions and stayed patient, things would be all right.

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.” 

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

A Local Treasure Trove

“It was like walking into a treasure trove of books, hoarded by pirate librarians.” 

Pseudonymous Bosch, The Name of This Book Is Secret

I’ve been needing some kind of boost but, for the life of me, I have not been able to figure out what I needed.

Then I remembered my little local used bookstore.

Perfect.

Since it is only a block from the grocery store–my main mission of the day–I thought it was a perfect time to pay a return visit.

I knew I’d found my recharging spot the moment I walked into this little space. Every single room had walls covered with shelves that were completely filled with books–from the floor to the ceiling with stacks of books standing in front of each group of shelves. Subjects ranged from Texas history to religion to self-help to hobbies and cookbooks. I was completely frozen in place for a few seconds.

The first book I found was this little red book titled, Unconventional Prayers, by Dr. Allen A. Stockdale. Date of publication was 1955. The list of prayers made me smile. A few examples:

  • About My Conduct At A Baseball Game
  • By A Young Lady on a Small Salary
  • Anvils Wear Out Hammers
  • A Secretary Who Has A Selfish Boss
  • My Grumbling And Complaining Tongue

I knew immediately I had to get the book so I could share.

The first prayer I read was titled “Getting My Strength Renewed”–a message not lost on me.

Let me share that with you today.

True Guardian Angel, of the springs of living water, meet me when I am weary and even discouraged, and lead me to the eternal springs of living water. Help me to find quickly God’s way of renewed strength; may I never think that I have enough power of my own. As the servant of the living God, lead me to the divine sources of fresh and abundant strength. Keep me from wilting in the valley of duty when there are refreshing springs of life and vigor in the hills of God nearby. 

Thank you, Dr. Stockdale, for your very special book. I am so thankful I found it today. It was incredibly appropriate and an amazing gift.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

Advice from an Old Farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

When I read this earlier today, I knew it would be the center piece of my story today.

I found myself wishing I’d read some of this little quips much earlier in my life. In reality,  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ready to appreciate all of these until recently.

Why not give yourself a moment to read and think about these little tidbits of wisdom?

I think you’ll smile and be glad you did.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~