The 50’s Through the Eyes of Frank Miller

 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” 

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

When I saw the book below at an estate sale a few months ago, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Frank Miller was a household name in Iowa as I was growing up–and for good reasons.

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For those who don’t know, Frank Miller was a Pulitzer Prize winning “cartoonist” for The Des Moines Register for three decades. In 1983 The Register published a book presenting selected works from his years at the paper.

To introduce those who don’t know him and those of us who want to know more about him, let me share what James Flansburg said about him in the introduction:

“Frank Miller captured the essence of Iowa. He was a cartoonist and proud of it. But also from 1953 to 1983 his pen and brushes produced hundreds of sketches and paintings that caught the beauty of the state and the anomaly of man’s trying to harness nature…

…Frank Miller didn’t really draw for the readers of The Register and the 30 other papers in which he was syndicated. He drew for an audience of one: Frank Miller…He was one of those rare beings who got paid for doing what he otherwise who’d have been doing for nothing…

…In that sense–unassuming, but not humble, aware of his talent but not crowing about it, convinced of his rightness but recognizing other views–Frank Miller appears to be a study in huge indifference. He lost interest in a work the instant it was finished…

…people didn’t like the cartoons he liked and liked the ones he didn’t very much care for. My guess, for example, is that he didn’t much like his Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon.So the way a Frank Miller would handle that would be to say as little as possible. “I think I’ve drawn better cartoons,” he said…

…We sat side by side int The Register newsroom for a long while–he illustrated  my political column for many years–and I never knew he had an alcohol problem until the day he told me he’d be gone for a while because he was going to put himself into the hospital for the cure. (It was the beginning of what he regarded as his most important work in the last several years of his life, helping alcoholics try to repair their shattered lives). Nor did many people know about it when his right elbow gave out–cartoonists are subject to something like tennis elbow because of the fine detail work of drawing–and he started to teach himself to draw with his left hand…

…Miller’s first dealing with The Register demonstrated his qualities as an affable, rational person who knew how to play whatever cards fate dealt. After army service in World War II Europe and study at the University of Kansas and Kansas City Art Institute, Miller had followed his father as a staff artist at the Kansas City Star. IN November of 1951, Register editor Kenneth MacDonald wrote Miller to ask if Miller was interested in a Register job for which he’d been recommended by his old teacher Karl Mattern, the noted artist. “Last May I was called to active duty with he Army Reserves,” said Miler’s reply, “and as I write I am in San Francisco ready to ship to Korea.” On his letter was an ink sketch of a sergeant in full combat gear. “Damn. An I always did like Des Moines,” said the caption. Miller laughed at the situation that would have had almost anyone else raving…

…Eighteen months later Miller was on The Register payroll and on his way to becoming as important a figure in Iowa’s day-to-day life as The Register’s first front page cartoonist, Jay N. (Ding) Darling…

…Miller never sided with a political figure–issues yes–individuals no–and Miller was not particularly interested in knowing or even meeting the great and near-great…His letter file would have been a valuable find for an autograph hunter or maybe even a scholar. But Miller wasn’t interested. He threw them away after reading them…

…When I cleaned out his desk and boxed his belongings after his death, I found, among other things, two letters and one photograph…

…The photograph and one of the letters were from Gene McCarthy and were carefully preserved. The other letter was from President Lyndon Johnson and it was in relatively good condition except for the dozens of brown ring stains from the coffee cups that Miller had set on it over the years.

Some of the cartoons for the 1950’s:

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The more things change, the more they remain the same. ~Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

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…

 

Learning About Prayer

“Lord, make me a blessing to someone today.” 

Jan Karon, At Home in Mitford

A big part of my morning reading includes prayers and affirmations–some traditional and some less formal and more modern. Regardless of the format, I was beginning to understand there are many different ways to pray.

I’m not sure why I thought a prayer had to be this long, formal written collection of words. I think it’s a hold over from those prayers my sisters and I had to memorize when we were growing up Catholic.

As usual, I’ve made the simple very complicated.

Today when I pray my prayers are more like having a conversation with an old friend–a friend who knows all about me and loves me anyway.

One of my favorite prayer suggestions comes from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s, Simple Abundance, the reading dated January 24:

“Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you…If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troubles for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it. ~Emmet Fox

A powerful set of blessings that I learned from the teachings of Stella Terrill Mann, a Unity minister who wrote during the 1940s, encourages us to greet the morning with the affirmation ‘Blessed be the morn for me and mine.’ At noon declare, ‘Blessed be the day for me and mine,’ and in the evening, invoke this prayer: ‘Blessed be the night for me and mine.’ As you about your work at home or int eh office, affirm, ‘My work is a prayer for good for me and mine.’ These affirmations of good will bring many blessings into your daily life, as they have in mine.

Then start to count your blessings.”

I don’t think God cares about formality, word choice, or the length of our prayers. Like anyone who loves us, He is pleased we’ve taken the time to reach out and talk with Him.

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” 

Meister Eckhart

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks, Sue and Al Rogers, for letting me use your picture as part of my story today. I love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.” 

Bob Marley

Oh, the places we’ve gone, the people we’ve met, and the life we’ve shared.

I cannot imagine my life without you.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Michael, I love you.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 

Lao Tzu

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

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Creative Reading

“There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My morning reading ritual is evolving very well and becoming a vital part of my day.

Exposing myself to several different authors at one setting seems to help me stay focused and adds another level of appreciation for the ideas presented by each writer.  Sometimes what I read seemed to be on the page especially for me.

Here are two examples:

From Suzanne Giesemann’s book, In The Silence:

“A strong prayer issued on one’s behalf remains in effect, for you have set it in motion. It gathers energy when joined by the prayers of others. You may add fuel to this creation as you wish, but there is no need to do so constantly. We say again, once created, so it is.”

From Deng Ming-Dao’s, 365 Tao Daily Meditations

“Worry is an addiction

That interferes with compassion

Worry is a problem that seems to be rampant. Perhaps it is due to the nature of our overly advanced civilization; perhaps it is a measure of our own spiritual degeneracy. Whatever the source, it is clear that worry is not useful. It is a cancer of the emotions–concern gone compulsive. It eats away at body and mind.

It does no good to say, ‘Don’t think about it.’ You’ll only worry more. It is far better to keep waling your path, changing what you can. The rest must be dissolved in compassions. In this world of infants with immune deficiencies, racial injustice, economic imbalance, personal violence, and international conflict, it is impossible to address everyone’s concerns. Taking care of yourself and doing something good for those whom you meet is enough. That is compassion, and we must exercise it even int he face of the overwhelming odds.

Whenever you meet a problem, help if it is in your power to do so. After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. Then there is no worry, because there has been action.”

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno. Once again you’ve allowed me to use your beautiful photo for my story. I love you. 

Refueling

“Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.” 

Vincent van Gogh

Yesterday, I had a long conversation with one of my dearest friends.

Even though we’re a thousand miles apart, we talked just like we did when we lived across the street from each other. Our conversation took off like we’d just talked yesterday.

Our shared stories skipped back and forth between decades without the need for details. We’d seen each other through some of the highest and lowest parts of our personal and professional lives. We didn’t always agree with each other. This was a huge lesson for me because I wasn’t used to having someone disagree with me. I learned even though we did  not agree, we’re both good people and good friends.

That’s just one of the many lessons she taught me. I cannot imagine my life without her.

Thanks, MB, for spending happy hour–actually hours–with me. You refreshed my soul.

I love you.

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thanks, Deb Henderson, for letting me use your picture for today’s story. God bless you and your beautiful family. 

My 60 Minutes

“Prioritise self-care and incorporate a MINIMUM of 60 minutes ‘ME TIME’ into your daily routine. 

YES THERE ARE enough hours in the day. 

NO EXCUSES.” 

Miya Yamanouchi

I’m beginning to understand the value of making time for myself.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been up early enough to have at least an hour to myself.

Today I started doing my morning pages. For whatever reason I thought I didn’t need to do them anymore.

I was wrong.

Initially I struggled finding something to say. I finally stopped trying so hard and began to write whatever came to my mind. It didn’t matter if it made a lot of sense or not. With each line the words came easier. I remembered how important these pages were to me and saw myself sitting at my desk in the wee hours of the morning, writing to bolster my courage to face hard days at work. As I remembered those days I realized I’d missed this type of writing. I felt as though I was sitting down with a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

My morning ritual feels in order. My morning pages are back where they belong, I have my gratitude journal, and my stack of daily reading. Each element has found its own space and place.

Some of my hardcopy books have special bookmarks. My favorite is a card with butterflies covered with glitter–the perfect reminder of the person who sent me that note. She is such a positive light force in my life. Each time I move the card to a new page I see little pieces of glitter left behind–mirroring the impact Mary Lou has had on my life. Thank you, Mary.

A calendar of 2020 marks the pages of another book. Each day I read I mark off the date. I initially did this as a way of validating my commitment. What I hadn’t anticipated was the impact that little swiped line had on me. With one little swish I could see how quickly the days are flying.

“No one’s approval is enough to make up for a lack of self-love, which is really a lack of self-awareness.

When we feel a desire to be loved, it isn’t other people’s love we need. It’s our own relationship with love that we’re longing for, our own awareness of being interconnected with others, our own sense of the magic of our own interwoven existence. 

To seek the fulfillment of this desire in others’ approval is a losing battle. It will never be enough. No one can compliment you enough to supplement for the acceptance that you need from your own self, in each moment. Acceptance for your struggles and your talents. Acceptance for your humanity. Celebration of that humanity.

Love is an inside job.” 

Vironika Tugaleva

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Blessings

“Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curst it and it will curse you…If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troublesome for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it.”  ~Emmet Fox, Sara Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

My morning readings have taught me a lot since I began this daily practice.

Today the prayers recited throughout the day by the Unity Minister, Stella Terril Mann, were shared:

Mornings: Blessed be the morn for me and mine.

Noon: Blessed be the day for me and mine. 

Evening: Blessed be the night for me and mine. 

Could prayers really be so simple?

The long and the short of it is–yes.

Help me be a friend today, Lord, and see the needs on the faces of those I know and love. ~Jon M. Sweeney, Daily Guideposts, 2019

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thank you, Jim and Ann Doner, for allowing me to use your picture in today’s story. I love you.

 

 

Little Lines

“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.” 

Angela Carter

I found this quote this afternoon and it explained something to me.

As I’ve continued my morning readings, there are a couple of books I’m re-reading. Some of these books it’s the third or fourth time I’ve read them. I must confess–some mornings it’s still like I’ve never read them–ever.

Why?

Angela Carter and Sara Ban Breathnach helped me understand.

“Today I want you to become aware that you already possess all he inner wisdom, strength, and creativity needed to make your dreams come true. This is hard for most of us to realize because the source of this unlimited personal power if buried so deeply beneath the bills, the car pool, the deadlines, the business trip, and the dirty laundry that we have difficulty accessing it in our daily lives. ”  ~Sara Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

Today I do have the time and I’ve acquired more life experiences which help add depth and understanding to my reading.

Some of my favorite readings come from: 365 Tao Daily Meditations, by Deng Ming-Dao.

This little book has been a wonderful addition to my library. Dang Ming-Dao puts Taoism into words I can understand and apply to my daily life.

Something unexpected and quite magical has happened with this book.

Yesterday I began to notice faint lines under all the sentences. If the light fell across the page just right, I could see how someone used a pencil as a way to focus on every word.

This has become a very tangible message to me–I am not alone.

Someone else–another seeker–has been on this path.

Such simple things–these delicate wavering lines that encourage, comfort, and soothe my soul.

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” 

Mortimer J. Adler

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Order

“Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.” ~Pearl Buck, Simple Abundance

After working to establish an early morning routine, I have one that works.

Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit optimistic.

It’s worked for over a week–including the weekends. For me, that’s a monumental event because nothing has ever invaded the sacred time of the weekend.

I treasure my early morning time–fresh hot coffee, my teachers, and me. I am surprised at how often the authors compliment each other.

I’ve become acutely aware of how I feel after the mornings I’ve started calling my sacred moments.

I am less scattered and more focused.

I am less anxious and more tolerant.

I am less critical and more patient.

I am less afraid and more confident.

“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 our lives and–fruitlessly–search ‘out there’ for the answers. What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.” ~Emily Hancock, Simple Abundance

God has also mixed in a little bit of synchronicity.

Out of nowhere my cousin sent a message telling me she had also started reading Simple Abundance.

Quotes, like those included in my story today, speak so strongly to me, often addressing things/tasks I’ve just completed.

Today’s reading began with the quote I used in my introduction coming after I’d spent the past few days cleaning and organizing my work spaces.

Coincidence?

No.

These are signs I’m on course and I’m not alone in my latest quest.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie, Simple Abundance

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks to my sister, Susan M. Rogers, for allowing me to use her sunset picture for today’s story. I love you.

Epiphanies

“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” 

Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

It’s been an interesting week, working to establish a daily self care routine.

The days have been full of those little tasks we all do as we begin the new year. As I updated my calendar I noticed names and dates on last year’s calendar.

My eyes filled with tears and my chest tightened.

Thumbing through the weeks of 2019, I realized I’d made different appointments for our dogs, Duffy and Ruby, not knowing these would be their last. Such a small task was so eye and heart opening for me.

It was a swift reality check and a harsh reminder of how precious life is.

This morning, if you’ve joined me in reading, Simple Abundance, you read about the play Our Town. When I was much younger, I had to read this play for one of my English courses. At the time I thought it was such a waste of my time. After reading the quotes Sarah Ban Breathnach chose, I think I may need to revisit this play.

For me, these two paragraphs were very powerful and caught me completely off guard.

“In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town a deeply poignant scene takes place in a grave yard. Ghosts comfort the young heroine, who has recently died in childbirth. Emily, still longing for the life she has just left, wishes to revisit one ordinary, “unimportant” day in her life. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much the living take for granted. 

Eventually her visit is too much for her to bear. “I didn’t realize,” she confesses mournfully, “all that was going on and we never noticed…Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners…Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking…and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths…and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize  you.” 

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

“It always comes down to just two choices. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons

 

 

Awareness Meets Self

“What if you spent some alone time every morning? Call it prayer. Call it planning. Call it centering. I call it a powerful way to begin the day.” 

Steve Goodier

I’ve become aware I’ve missed my early morning hours.

It was those predawn moments when I’d write my gratitudes, read, and reach out to loved ones.

My soul needs me to find that time.

I’ve prepared by bringing out my journal and making my first reading selections for 2020. My year of awareness taught me unless I have everything in place, I will lose precious time making minute decisions.

Tomorrow will be the beginning of putting self care first.

I like it.

“Self-love is not the process of ignoring things, paying attention to fewer flaws or forcing yourself to look away from the parts of you that you perceive as ugly or unwanted. Self-love is the process of expanding your awareness, of seeing those flaws and imperfections alongside the incredible potential of the universe flowing within you, alongside the eternal truth of life flowing within your veins in each second, alongside the flickers of creativity and opportunity present within each moment of your existence. Like this, the imperfections persist, but only as lovable quirks, like a bad doorknob on the front door of a cottage in paradise, like a few thorns on a beautiful rose, like a cloud in a sunset. Like this, what was once unwanted becomes essential, memorable, humbling.” 

Vironika Tugaleva

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~