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…

 

Rosh Hashana

Tomorrow at sundown, the first of the Jewish high holidays, Rosh Hashana, will begin. This holiday signals the beginning of the Jewish new year.

Years ago, one of the physicians I worked with would talk with me about Rosh Hashana. I listened because I knew it was important to him. I was young. I was not ready or engaged enough to listen fully and hear all he shared with me.

The relationship the two of us had was something I took for granted. We were friends. We were both able to leave our work roles at the door and be ourselves. We could lean on each other one minute and get upset with each other the next. It wasn’t until I left Iowa that I realized I had been gifted a very rare and unique friend.

The last Rosh Hashana I remember sitting with him and toasting the new year was the year the holiday fell on my birthday. It was significant, he said, it meant the year ahead would be a special one for me.

I thought of my friend many times these past few days while I read about Rosh Hashana. It seemed appropriate to me since the part of the holiday he stressed was the looking back on the year passed. It was important for him to look carefully at mistakes he’d made so those mistakes would not be carried on.

I have to tell you, reading about this holiday is overwhelming. It was difficult to know where and when to stop. One huge reward of the research was being reminded of how beautifully the Jewish faith uses symbolism. An example follows which illustrates the tradition of Tashlich, which translates to “casting off sins.”

In some communities, according to Lesli Kippelman Ross’ article found in myjewishlearning.com, before sunset the evening of Rosh Hashana, people walk to a running stream or river, throwing in pieces of bread. These breadcrumbs symbolize their sins of the past year, tossed away so they are not carried into the new year. As the crumbs travel downstream, the last verses of the prophet, Micah are read: “He will take us back in love; He will cover up our iniquities, you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Special Rosh Hashana services are held at the synagogue where a ram’s horn, the Shofar,  is blown. The sound of the Shofar is part of the high holidays and is used to remind people to go within for deep personal reflection.

Rabbi Yonah Hain of Columbia/Barnad Hillel, tells us that the Shofar is an alarm telling us to take stock. He was asked, is this holiday about celebrating the past year or is it about reflecting upon the lessons learned? Rabbi Hain feels it is up to the individual to determine what the year has been. What is more important is to put those lessons learned into action over the months to come. Go out and greet your family and friends, he says,  with a sincere and strong “Shana tova.” Shana tova translates to “may it be a great year.”

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Shana tova

Seeking

Growing up, I lived on a street that had churches on three of the four corners. There was the Methodist Church, the Ripley Congregational Church, and the Presbyterian Church. Our house we pretty much dead center between all three.

My Mom was a pretty strict Catholic. I’m not sure why, but going to other church services was never encouraged. I remember wondering if “the Church” was afraid if we went to another church we would want to stop being a Catholic? I mean, did we have a choice?

In my little section of the world(quite literally), I had a unique way to learn about other Christian religions. The ministers of two of the three churches had kids who were my age. Over the years, I  had the opportunity to meet three different families. The added bonus–all of them had girls. Spread across my early childhood years were my friends Angie, Ellen, and Joyce.

My lessons were learned from a real-life, everyday perspective. I saw each family interact with each other in real-time. A heads-up for all you adults out there. Adults don’t always see kids nor do they realize how observant kids are. Nor do adults appreciate how well kids hear, not only the words said, but the tone of voice used to express them.  These things create a problem. That problem lies in the fact that what kids lack in understanding they make up for in their ability to absorb emotions. In my own life and in sharing the family lives of my friends, preacher’s kid or not, I learned that God is an equal opportunity distributor of crap.

Where does all this lead me? It made me a seeker. It made me want to learn about other belief systems and learn what their teachers have to teach me. Not just religious beliefs but what does each teacher say about our souls–our spirituality.

I have been blessed with wonderful mentors and great teachers over the years. One of my favorite teachers struggled to teach me about his Jewish faith. At the time, I was just not ready. Now I am.

This week marks the beginning of Rosh Hashana. There is a lot to learn about this high holiday. I’ll share some of what I’ve found tomorrow.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and Peace, Y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handwritten Thank You Notes

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.

Ralph Marston

I have had a list of thank you notes to write for several weeks now. Today was the day to get them done and in the mail. I am pleased to say, mission accomplished.

Why was it important for me to hand write thank you notes? It’s simple. The time and the effort put into what was given to me was too important to acknowledge with an easy email.

A handwritten note takes planning and a greater investment of time. For me, it means I have to concentrate long enough to actually spell correctly and keep my writing legible. Those two things alone are not small tasks these days. There is a plus side of a handwritten note. As I go through all those now antiquated steps of actually mailing a letter, the feelings I have will be felt just as strongly by the person taking my note out of their mailbox. What was once the primary way we communicated with each other is now a rare occurrence.

If there is someone in your life you need or want to thank, sit down and write them a REAL thank you note. The joy you feel and the rebounding joy you receive just may surprise you.

Have a good weekend.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace

Happy Birthday, Sue

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe

Today, my youngest sister, Sue, celebrates her 60th birthday.

How is that possible?

After failing to craft some witty and original tribute or share some type of sisterly wisdom, I found these words of Marilyn Monroe. What could I add? Marilyn covered it all in one simple paragraph.

Happy Birthday, dear Sue. May you always find something to smile about and so much more.

I love you.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace

 

 

 

Peace of Mind

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength–carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. 

Corrie den Boom

I am a champion worrier. I pretend I’m not but I know I do not fool anyone–especially myself.

I’ve been “concerned” about some dental issues for the past few days. I’ve been hyper aware of how each tooth felt, how my bite felt, how my sinuses felt, how I felt. These little nagging thoughts followed me everywhere–all day long and into the night. It was exhausting.

Today, I saw my wonderful dentist who spent as much time with me as I needed. After a thorough check and a few bitewings later, all was pretty much okay. I’ll be back for some follow-up work, but there was nothing even close to scary. Thank you, Dr. Lisa Martin, Diedre, and Belinda, for your indulgent, warm-hearted care.

Speaking of care, let me share another good customer care experience I had today.

When my husband and I retired, we were full-time RVers. Our three dogs are on prescription dog food, which is not always available in remote locations. I discovered I could order food and other care products through Chewy.com. Wherever we were, I could order what I needed and it was delivered to our current location.

In my last order, there was T-R-E-A-T-S (I had to spell it out in case the dogs heard me). When the treats arrived, one bag looked like the batch was over cooked. I “chatted” with Justine that day and she sent out a replacement. Did they want the original order back? No, they asked I donate it to a shelter. I wasn’t sure where the nearest shelter was so I took it to our vet. As luck would have it, one of their staff was going to Houston to help with Hurricane Harvey animal rescue. Perfect timing.

The re-order came within a day. Unfortunately, these treats looked the same. I “chatted” customer service again and sent them a picture. Isabelle was also excellent, asking me what I wanted to do this time? Because these American made treats had been part of our routine for many years. I said I would give them one more try. She put that order in while sending a note to their warehouse staff, asking them to examine the window on the bag before they reshipped.

Personal and efficient customer service is rare in our world today. For me, this is the type of service I get from this company every single time I order. When it comes time to restock your pet pantry, give Chewy.com a try.

I am…

B…simply being…

Keep the prayers going out for those in need. Stay patient. Stay kind.

I love Y’all.

Peace.

The Gift of Music

Music can touch and heal that secret wound of the soul which nothing else can reach.

Debasish Mridha

After stumbling upon this picture today, I finally figured out what my heart was missing.

Music.

Not just any ol’ music. I needed that fix that soothes me right to my core–communicates with my soul. I needed to find some Dakota Blonde.

Who?

I would have asked the same question until my husband and I went with our friends Doug and Lana, to the High Peaks Music Festival. This festival is held annually in Westcliffe, Colorado, a small community nestled in a mountain valley surrounded by the Wet and the Sangre de Christo mountains.

That September afternoon when Mary Huckins, Don Pinnella, and Tony Raddell stepped on stage, I was thrilled. Lana talked about them and shared their music with us forever. Now I was finally going to hear them for myself.  What took me completely off guard was my reaction when Mary began to sing. I began to cry. Not a dainty little cute cry–I went into a big old sob fest–and it was all good. Best therapy ever–which is also good since all three are music therapists. Who knew? Best therapy I ever had!

I share all kinds of things in this space. Today’s share came unexpectedly and is one of my favorites. The music created by these three people is powerfully simple. It is a little folk. It is a little acoustic rock. For me, I hear an underlying current of Celtic mysticism. When I listen to their music, I don’t just hear it, I experience it.

Take a listen for yourself. Visit their home page: dakotablonde.com. 

If you find yourself in the Westcliffe area the first weekend after Labor Day, check out the High Peaks Music Festival. It is a refreshing experience on many levels. The small town atmosphere, the eclectic people in the crowd, the majestic scenery, and the multi-talented musicians lined up to fill your day with joyful sounds.

I found this quote today–I just have to share.

Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio. 

Hunter S. Thompson

I am…

B…simply being…

I ask that you keep those struggling due to the fires and storms in your prayers. They all have a very long road ahead of them.

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Where Were You?

Do you remember where you were on this date back in 2001?

For my generation, yes I am a baby boomer, we can give you that answer in a nanosecond. After we share our stories from that day, someone will begin the cascade of questions and stories about other major events that happened in their life time. My guess is many of us talked about some of those events today. Granted, some events are more memorable than others, but still worth a mention.

I wasn’t old enough to remember this personally, but my cousin Donna certainly did! She would talk about the time Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show often. As she talked, she would get all dreamy-eyed and start that swaying back and forth movement.  The year was 1956. The same year Dick Clark appeared on American Bandstand for the first time. As I think about this, I gotta say I’d give them both a 98 because they had a great beat and were easy to dance to!

The Barbie doll debuted in 1959. The doll world was changed forever. Personally, this was my first lesson about knock offs. I’ll never forget the first time I played dolls with my neighbor, Ellen. My “Barbie” was the size of an Amazon woman next to her little petite real deal doll. Oh…the panic I felt when I tried to put Ellen’s Barbie’s shoes on my doll–that little plastic slip on heel fell apart in my hands.

Now, 1960, was a very important year for my future even if I was oblivious to it at the time. For the first time, the “Pill” was available to the general public. What would this decade be without this type of birth control?

In the winter of 1961, I remember sitting around our kitchen table watching a chimpanzee blast into space. In the spring of that year, Alan Shepard was the first American in space while all the newscasters talked about being in the space race with Russia. This flight would be followed by John Glenn in 1962. He who would be the first American to orbit the earth.

All these events pale in comparison to the memories I have for November 22, 1963. I was sitting in Mrs. Emerson’s fifth-grade classroom.  We had just come back from lunch. There was a knock on the door. The person at the door told our teacher that President Kennedy had been shot. This was followed by the knock a few minutes later when we would learn he had died. On that Friday, our school was quietly dismissed. We all went home where we and our families mourned while as a nation, we mourned together. It was a surreal time. There was a new feeling just under the surface. Looking back it reminds me of a scene out of those early sci-fi movies where the nice and familiar character subtly but steadily morphs into its new scary self.

The Beatles appeared for the first time on Ed Sullivan in 1964. This was the year our country began to work on equality with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, in my opinion, The Beatles made a bigger impact on the future of our world than that historical and promising piece of legislation.

In the spring of 1968, I was shopping at J.C. Penney’s in downtown Waterloo. While walking up the stairs to the second floor, I heard shouts from below me saying that Martin Luther King had been assassinated. I was so shocked and sad. He had given my young heart hope. But, Waterloo was known for its racial conflicts and this spelled trouble to me. I had a long walk home and it was getting late. Being downtown was probably not the best place for me. Later that same year, I was reading in my upstairs room when I heard Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated in California. Our world was changing faster than ever. To me, it did not feel like we were heading in a positive direction.

The summer of 1969 saw the moon landing and Woodstock. I was questioning everything and wondering what my future would hold. I was beginning to think nothing was ever going to happen for me. An Iowa version of Woodstock would happen that next summer, July 1970, and something had finally started to happen for me. I was starting my first real job. I would spend the afternoons of my senior year as a receptionist at Drs. Carl Hanson and Richard Mitchell’s office.

The 70’s brought more unease. Watergate and the attempted coverup beginning in 1972. Nixon resigning in 1974 as we watched the pain and shame reflected on him and unfairly onto his innocent family. Three Mile Island would begin a melt down in 1979, casting doubt on the future of nuclear power.

In 1981 I watched and celebrated Charles and Diana’s wedding, a fairy tale comes true in my young romantic mind. Later that same year, I was in the CCU at St. Francis Hospital, struggling to complete EKGs where I saw the news bulletin announcing President Reagan had been shot. I struggled because it was the day after a night of bowling with co-workers, a night that was filled with much more drinking than bowling. My hung over self became much more melancholy as I watched the scenes and the list of dead and wounded unfold before me.

In 1986 I was working at Children’s Hospital in Denver, covering the inpatient studies. I was walking into one of the rooms on the fourth floor when I noticed everyone in the room was glued to the television. This was the first time I became aware of being aware of people’s attention being so focused on news coverage. I learned in those few minutes that this is never ever a good sign. The screen showed a clear blue sky–the Challenger had just lifted off–and exploded. Gasps followed by silence followed by more silence. We were silent for a very long time.

1995 was the year of the O.J. Simpson trial. We all followed the drama whether we admitted it or not. When the jury came back, we all went to a central area at the hospital to hear the outcome. As I looked around at the people I had worked with for many years, I realized we had arranged ourselves in the very large room in a very distinct manner. I found I was encircled with my Caucasian co-workers while my co-workers of color were facing me across the room. The room was tense as the verdict was read. As not guilty was announced, we became even more divided–rejoicing on one side–bewilderment on the other. That bewilderment stayed with me for some time. I must admit, it remains today.

We just passed the anniversary of Diana’s death in 1997. We were on our way home from the Tetons then–a journey we repeated nearly to the day this year.

In 1999 we were in Big Bend National Park. Big Bend is beautiful. Big Bend is in the middle of nowhere. Communication is nil. On a day when the temperature was 110 degrees, a woman came up to me as we sat outside our RV. We were outside because the AC in our trailer was not working well. She said she noticed our Colorado plates and wondered if we had heard the news. We said no. We had not heard any news for a week. She then told us what she knew of the events unfolding at Columbine High School–a school where many of our friend’s kids attended. We had no way to contact anyone. All we could do was pray and cry for all involved.

Did any of my memories bring back any for you?

Anniversary days like today are painful. I am thankful that these dates are common for many of us and we can use them as times to reflect back while helping each other renew our hope for the future.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking About It

Friday is always a good thing. I think I’ll sit beside the fire and share some thoughts–even if it’s just a picture of a fire from our vacation.

Tonight, more than ever, there are so many people in our country living in fear. From hurricanes, fires, floods, and the most troubling to me, young people unsure whether they will be able to stay in the country they call home. I don’t know how to help any of them other than to keep them in my prayers. I hope you will do the same.

While we made our journey to view the total eclipse, I was able to visit along the way with old friends. Thinking back on those visits, I was so impressed that they took time out of their busy days in order to spend time with me. Not only did they give me their time but they did so without carrying their phones. That was special. Thank you all.

This week I have made the proclamation daily that today would be dog beauty shop day. Today it actually became reality. As I type, I am surrounded by three rather annoyed but wonderfully clean smelling dogs.

I am…

B…simply being… 

I send you all my love and wish us all peace.

 

 

 

 

September 7, 1971

On September 7, 1971, I was one of three young women sitting in a small radiology room at what was then called, St. Francis Hospital. None of us had any idea what that day, much less the next two years, would have in store for us.

The three of us, Michele, Mary, and I, were the new class of radiology students. Michele and I had graduated from the same high school, but we did not know each other well. Mary had completed one year of college at the University of Northern Iowa after graduating the year before from Columbus. She did not know either one of us. After that bit of small talk, we shared our expectations for the day ahead–we all thought we’d be taking x-rays by the end of the day.

I mean, how hard could it be?

Our primary instructor and head of the department, Chuck, came in to take us on the official tour of the x-ray department. The department may have been small but what it lacked in size it made up for in personality.

Pat, a fiery red-head, was the most senior technologist and the person we all tried hard not to make angry for any reason. Bev, small but just as energized, was Chuck’s main go-to person and our positioning instructor. When she was introduced as that, the three of us had NO idea what that meant, but we accepted it, as we did most things, without any questions. Sue, the newest technical person in the department, was hired to work primarily in the newest area of the department, nuclear medicine. Because of that, we would not be working with her much. Chuck was quick to point out to us what nuclear medicine was, “unclear medicine” and left it at that.

Maxine was the department transcriptionist and office secretary. Looking back, I think it was Chuck’s goal to find some politically sensitive joke to tell to one of the docs as Maxine sat taking direct dictation from the radiologist. Social media did not exist so jokes and all types of other off-color stories were shared openly for all ears to hear. Being sensitive and of Polish descent, Maxine must have put in some tough days while working with all of us.

The class ahead of us was now instantly promoted to the senior position. Carolyn and Lynn would be our cheerleaders and our toughest critics–sharing their horror stories while pointing out to us how their first year was so much harder than what we were experiencing.

Tradition is a huge deal in medicine and it was for our radiology department. Incoming and outgoing radiology classes were great examples of a good ol’ boy’s club mixed with some sort of bazaar fraternity hazing ceremony. If you survived certain insane experiences you were in for the long haul. The toughest? Easy answer–call. An experience we had the opportunity to share after we had completed six months of training.

It was one long, brutal ride.

Taking call either made you or broke you. Mary and I survived, but that may have been all due to timing. Michele drew the first nightmare weekend. Working alone she had orders for in patients, ER patients, and a body in the morgue. While processing her morgue films, she walked out of the darkroom with the film bin open–meaning all the film in the bin was exposed. It was, for the most part, unusable. Once she realized this and took into account all the other things happening around her, her decision was clear. This was not the career for her. Mary and I learned about her decision the next day–we lost a classmate.

With Michele gone, we had to cover more–which meant we learned more and were exposed to more. We completed our program and were both asked to stay. Staying on where you trained has its good and bad points–we learned to work around them and we both succeeded. Mary was asked to stay to take over nuclear medicine–you know–“unclear medicine.” I stayed to pick up whatever needed to be done. I needed a job so I was ready to whatever I needed to do. Little did I know that a few years down the road the hospital would recruit a new pediatrician. That pediatrician wanted someone who could do echoes. Little did I know the magnitude of this request–I was volunteered to go to Iowa City where I learned pediatric echocardiography.

Time flew by as we both continued to learn, change, and grow. Mary moved to Cedar Rapids, retiring as the head of Nuclear Medicine just a short time ago. I moved to Denver where I was fortunate enough to do pediatric echo for 30 years.

Neither time or distance has separated us. Mary and I have been close since that first day in room 3. I love you, Mary. Our career and all the twists and turns it took us on has been the wildest of the wildest rides ever imagined. I am grateful and humbled by it all.

In one other stroke of luck, Facebook reunited the two of us with our classmate, Michele. Having Michele back in my little corner of the world gives me such a feeling of coming full circle. Love you, Michele.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

Balance

Balance is the key to everything. What we do, think, say, eat, feel, they all require awareness, and through this awareness, we can grow. 

Koi Fresco

I thought once I retired, it would be easy to find a way to balance my life. My very fast paced, busy career ended and there was nothing in my life to fill that vacuum. My life’s scales that had been tipped to the work side for so long began to tip off center and rapidly topple off-balance. I had no idea how to correct that swing and bring my new life into any sort of balance.

I found a quote attributed to Jana Kingsford that gave me a hint of insight. Jana said, “Balance is not something you find. It is something you create.”

I realized it was up to me to become aware of what I needed in my life to create balance. On the journey to Wyoming for the eclipse, I gave myself the gift of time. Time to rest. Time to really see and become aware of the beauty surrounding me. Those discoveries continue to unfold, giving me the energy needed to keep myself and my life in balance.

I am not saying I have it mastered.

I imagine, for me, the balancing act will an ongoing process and always somewhat tenuous.

I’m okay with that.

I am…

B…simply being…

Be kind and pray for each other. There are many in our country tonight who need our prayers.

I love and thank you.

Peace