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…

 

A Visit With Effie

“It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.” 

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I came across another recipe in my search for something different. This one was super special.

Not only is it special, it came at a very auspicious time–today my ex mother-in-law would have celebrated her 100th birthday.

Even though my marriage failed, my connection to Effie remains special. She was by far the kindest, smartest, and strongest woman I’ve ever known. She will always have a special place in my heart.

As I leafed through pages and pages of recipes, many of them hand written, I gave thanks for having the insight to save them. I did have to stop and look at the condition of most–it was not only obvious which ones I used but it was clear I was not a very neat cook.

Stains and all, these scraps of paper form a powerful emotional connection to my past. This link would not be possible without them or if I had put them into some type of digital form. Now I can hold the pages, smooth out the wrinkles, and travel back in time. As I read the ingredients, the wording of the instructions, and squint at the fading handwriting, I can feel myself sitting at that little kitchen table in Effie’s warm and cozy kitchen. The tears came but my overall feeling was one of peace. I felt as though the two of us had just had the best talk.

Oh my–what a blessing this little piece of paper held for me on so many levels.

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” 

Frederick Buechner

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Sherrie’s Cherry Bars–Resurrected

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” 

Laurie Colwin

Baking was not something I had time to do when I was working. It was just to time consuming.

After I retired I started baking chocolate chip cookies. For two reasons–I knew how and I love cookies–especially chocolate chip cookies.

Today I wanted something different.

Somewhere, deep in my memory, I remembered some cherry bars one of our students made when I was working at St. Francis in the radiology department. I knew I had the recipe somewhere. In my mind’s eye, I could see the handwritten recipe–

It took some time–mainly because I had to read and remember every other recipe I came across  in my slow search. What should have been a ten minute deal ended about an hour and half later. It looked exactly like I remembered it.

This little piece of paper is special for several reasons:

  • It is written by the original baker, Sherrie–a young woman who was a radiology student decades ago.
  • The little added note on the top of the page telling me it’s from Sherrie was written by another co-worker–Jackie–who later became a student and then a fellow radiologic technologist.
  • These cherry bars are just as good today as they were all those years ago. The only change I made today was using two cans of dark cherries in syrup instead of cherry pie filling.
  • Memories come in many different forms. Today I walked down a little side road off of my memory lane. My sense of smell and taste were quick to appreciate this treat from a day many decades in the past. It was and is such an unexpected treat.

If you have the time to do a little baking–give ’em a try.

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” 

Craig Claiborne

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Checks and Balances

“Talk between women friends is always therapy…” 

Jayne Anne Phillips

I have been lucky this past week to have had the opportunity to have lunch with two new friends.

We shared old stories from our past, compared daily challenges we face because we’re now home not building careers, and talk openly about what we plan and dream for our futures.

The power of these luncheons has surprised me. Our maturity and past experiences seem to accelerate our friendships. I feel as though I’ve discovered a strong and ever-expanding circle of new old friends.

All of this could not have happened at a better time to help balance out the stress of filling out tax paperwork. It amazes me at the amount of data requested and how it all fits into some rather foggy and mystical equation. I’m not sure this is at all what the founding fathers had in mind.

This afternoon, I raise my glass to my friends, to my Michael for working so hard on the taxes, and I give thanks for my many blessings.

“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher”(when asked about completing his income tax form)” 

Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Little Messengers

An Irish Blessing:

“Count your blessings instead of your crosses;

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes;

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears;

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full years instead of your lean;

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth;

Love your neighbor as much as yourself.”

Sometimes the littlest things bring me the most joy.

I picked up a small bag of bird seed this weekend to use in a feeder I’d found at one of our sales. I wasn’t ready to invest any more money until I saw feasting birds.

It didn’t take long.

Within a few hours there was a frenzy of busy birds–obviously my birds are rather shy and decided to recruit one little bird friend for the attached photo.

Winter is hard on the psyche even in the milder climates. I needed some help in seeing and appreciating the marvels of nature surrounding me every single day.

I believe my perfect messengers have arrived.

“Clearly, one of the major obstacles to our experience of gratitude is the habit we have of sleepwalking through life. The truth is that we are never lacking for blessings in our lives, but we are often lacking in awareness and recognition of them.” ~ Rev. Diane Berke, Ph.D

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

New Old Friends

“There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.” 

Jim Henson, Favorite Songs from Jim Henson’s Muppets

The little library in my new home town has some great free programs open to the community. The topics offered have bits of knowledge for everyone. I cannot imagine my life without the opportunities my library gives me.  It saddens me to know public libraries are struggling. Please, if you are fortunate to have one in your area, take the time to visit and support it.

Today’s featured lecturer introduced genealogy research. A long with a lot of free information she shared her experiences building her family tree. From her presentation and the questions asked from the audience, I learned so much in a short amount of time. I was reminded sharing real working knowledge accelerates the learning process–even this extreme book lover appreciates the fact there are some things you cannot learn from reading the book–you need an actual teacher.

The best part of the day was having lunch with my friend, Judi. We are close in age and share the fact we both grew up in the Midwest. I’ve forgiven her for being born in Nebraska and she has forgiven me for being an Iowan–college football season is always interesting.

Being Midwesterners transplanted to Texas comes with some challenges. Yes, it’s true, Texas really is its own country with its set of unspoken traditions often confusing to those from other parts of the country. Our conversation today was all over the place. At times, we did not have to put feelings into words. We had both found a person who had an open mind and an understanding heart.

Thanks, Judi, for my first Texas heart rock. It is not surprising to me it showed up at your house. The Universe knew exactly where it needed to go and how to get it there. Thank you for sharing your stories, for lingering over lunch, and for renewing my soul.

“So when you’re cold

From the inside out

And don’t know what to do,

Remember love and friendship, 

And warmth will come to you.” 

Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

Valentine’s Day

This is my post from last Valentine’s Day. Hope you enjoy the re-run. Love you!

 

“Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone how much you love, how much you care.”
Aulic Ice

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

At one time I’m sure I knew the history of Valentine’s Day. This line of questioning is just one more example of wondering about things I once knew…

To refresh my memory I searched History.com to see what I could find.

I learned February has been celebrated as the month of romance for a long time; no one really knows the true origin of how February 14th became known as St. Valentine’s Day.

The Catholic Church recognizes three St. Valentines. All three were martyred.

Father Valentine was a priest who served The Church in the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men after declaring single men made better soldiers than married men with families. Valentine saw this edict as unjust and continued to marry young lovers. When this practice was discovered, Father Valentine was executed.

Another story talks about one other Valentine who may have been killed because he was helping Christians escape the brutality of the Roman prisons. This man was also put to death for his actions.

One more legend has it that another Valentine was in prison and sent the first “Valentine” greeting after falling in love with a young woman. This young lady visited him often in prison and may have been the daughter of his jailor. Before Valentine’s death, he sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.” Interesting, isn’t it, that this phrase is still used today.

There are many stories and myths about the origins of Valentine’s Day. Some people believe it commemorates the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial. Others feel St. Valentine’s Day is in the middle of February in an effort by The Catholic Church to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, celebrated February 15th.

Lupercalia is a pagan fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture and the Roman founders, twins Romulus and Remus.

At the beginning of the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gather at a sacred cave where Romulus and Remus were cared for by the she-wolf, Lupa. In this cave, the priests would sacrifice a goat, a symbol of fertility, and a dog, a symbol of purification. The hides of both were cut into strips, dipped into the sacrificial blood, and taken out into the streets.  These strips were used in a slapping motion on both women and crop fields, believing this practice would increase fertility.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day was first celebrated by all classes in the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small gifts or handwritten notes. By 1900, printed cards began to replace handwritten letters thanks to the improvements to printing technology.

Valentine’s Day cards in the United States probably began in the early 1700s. In 1840, Esther Howland, known as “Mother of the Valentine” began selling the first mass-produced cards. Ms. Howland made her creations out of real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures called “scrap.”

In 1913 Hallmark Cards of Kansas City began producing Valentine’s Day cards. Today the American Greeting Card Association reports we send 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards, second only to Christmas cards, a holiday where we send 2.6 billion cards. 85% of those Valentine’s Day cards are purchased by women.

Such an interesting little bit of history to share. Thanks for learning with me today.

I hope your day was filled with love and happiness.

“Love is an afternoon of fishing when I’d sooner be at the ballet.
Love is eating burnt toast and lumpy graving with a big smile.
Love is hearing the words ‘You’re beautiful’ as I fail to squeeze into my fat jeans.
Love is refusing to bring up the past, even if doing so would be a slam dunk to prove your point.
Love is your hand wiping away my tears, trying to erase streaks of mascara.
Love is the warm hug that extinguishes an argument.
Love is a humbly uttered apology, even if not at fault.
Love is easy to recognize but so hard to define; however, I think it boils down to this…
Love is caring so much about the feelings of someone else, you sacrifice whatever it takes to help him or her feel better.
In other words, love is my heart being sensitive to yours.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wish

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless us all.

~Peace~

 

 

 

Self Love

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.” 

Madonna  

I’ve discovered a new podcast, Maria Shriver’s, Meaningful Conversations.

Don Miguel Ruiz was her guest on the episode I heard this morning. I recognized his name from the book, The Four Agreements.

By the end of this podcast I’d know Don Miguel had more to share with me.

Today’s conversation revolved around the true meaning of love. The discussion was based on another book written by Don Miguel, The Mastery of Love.

My immediate thought was, okay, this is a Valentine’s Day show. I continued to listen and was pleased when the conversation worked its way to the concept of self-love.

I realized Don Miguel had a different way of describing how and why we develop our love for self. The basic concept was the same ol’ same ol’. The attention grabbers were his word choices and metaphors. This combination unlocked another door. My gut told me to pay attention. I became aware what I’d simply accepted as truth in the past was starting to come into a much sharper focus.

The foundation I need to secure my journey to “self” continues to expand, one little brick at a time. As I learn and grow, new pathways open and my next teacher arrives. With their support I know I can journey on.

“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!” 

Charlie Chaplin

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

Time Travel

“Childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul.” 

Ivan Doig, The Whistling Season

Memories.

I’m so surprised at how unexpected things can stir up such powerful ones.

My latest trip down memory lane was sparked by three little bowls I found at an estate sale. As I held them I was immediately transported back in time to Aunt Marie’s house in Omaha.

In my mind I saw myself standing in the little kitchen in front of the large farm-style sink, drying dishes. The person who dried the dishes had to put things away. It became my job because I was the tallest. Little did I know then just how much I should have enjoyed that title! Putting dishes away was not an easy task nor was it something you could do quickly.  This was especially difficult due to the fact all the other kids in the neighborhood ate earlier. This meant we could hear them all running and we were being left out. The pressure was on me because no one could go out until we were all done.

To begin the process I had to duck in order to open the wide white cabinet door. Once open I was always amazed at the stacks and stacks of mis-matched china. My twelve-year old know it all mind could not grasp why anyone would choose to have all those different types, colors, and shapes of cups, saucers, and plates.

Today I realize and appreciate the fact that this massive cupboard held not only the original family china but pieces of sets from every family member who had died or moved away from Omaha.

As we got older, my sisters and I visited Marie when we could all get away for a long weekend. Looking back, it’s disappointing to me my young adult self did not have the insight to ask more questions about family and get details about that treasure trove of dishes. Now the dishes are gone as well as those incredible story tellers.

But, by the grace of God, I have physical reminders of Marie. Several times during the day I get to hold each one and thank God for her and for all she did for my family.

I pray she can hear me because I cannot imagine where any of us would have ended up without her.

“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 Daily Gift

A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.” 

Shannon L. Alder

I’ve been thinking about my friends these past few days.

Getting older is not easy. I think in order to balance that out, God gave us the gift of friendship. If you’re lucky, you’ve been blessed with lifelong friends.

For the past nine months I’ve started my day with morning chats. These texts began early last summer as a way to stay in close contact with a friend going through some tough times. It didn’t take long to realize I could reach out to others. These texts continue to grow becoming a very important part of my daily routine.

I have been blessed with a wonderful group of friends. I get to “talk” with many of them every morning, reaching out whenever I have time. There’s no interruption to anyone’s busy day and they can respond whenever it works for them. It’s a daily gift for all of us.

Try yourself this weekend. Set aside a few minutes to reach out to those you love. It will warm your heart and may be what everyone needs to brighten these gloomy wintry days.

A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.” 

Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

Recharging

“Each wave that rolls onto the shore must release back to the ocean. You are the same. Each wave of action you take must release back to the peace within you. Stress is what happens when you resist this natural process. Everyone needs breaks. Denying this necessity does not remove it. Let yourself go. Realize that, sometimes, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing.” 

Vironika Tugaleva

Today became a day to linger over coffee, watch wildlife, and take it easy.

I had some great visitors.

The little brown-eyed doe I wrote about a few weeks ago is still visiting us. Her front leg has stabilized and she is putting some weight on it as she makes her way across the fields. She keeps up with the rest of her herd and runs like nothing ever happened to her. She is an amazing example of determination.

The traditional bird house had two different birds putting a bid in for it today. A little wren and a titmouse had a rather serious discussion about who had first rights on the new little abode. The last time I checked it appeared the very vocal little wren had won.

Two yellow finches, a male and female, found the thistle seed. Made me wonder if they would find the little Hobbit bird house.

It was a restful, peace-filled day with Mother Nature entertaining me and recharging my spirit. I am blessed and grateful.

“Authenticity is not the search for uniqueness. An oak tree does not try to become an oak tree. A cactus does not try to become a cactus. All living things simply reach for nourishment – they reach for sun, reach for water, reach their roots deeper into the ground. By being open to receiving what they need, they become unique effortlessly. So let yourself fall open. Forget about crafting yourself a unique personality. Just allow. Allow in love. Allow pain. Allow desire. Allow learning. Allow healing. Allow frustration. Allow uncertainty. Allow yourself to experience what you must experience and learn what you need to learn, so that your uniqueness can emerge organically.” 

Vironika Tugaleva

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~