Tuesday Lessons

The day is only half over and I am at my max level of frustration.

Being a retired person in today’s world is not easy. I spent the morning searching for a primary care provider who accepts our insurance. Hours later, after bouncing back and forth between the insurance website and various physician websites, I thought I had found someone. They have what appears to be good credentials,  great patient reviews, accepts our insurance, AND accepts new patients. I call. Many prompts later I am connected to a real live person. She tells me: only a few of their physicians accept new patients, my husband and I don’t choose a physician, the available care providers review our completed paperwork and decide which provider would best suit our needs. She directed me to their website–I had spent considerable time there already–where I could find the many paged new patient documents and return them via email, regular mail, or bring the forms into them.

Okay, thank you, bye.

I am learning that I need to take a break when things seem to be a little more insane than usual. This was one of those times. I am stepping back to share some of the things that have made me smile over the past few days. My internal scale of balance is reaching a critical tipping point.

Attached to my blog today is a picture of a little tiny cross given to me by an elderly woman who was in line with me at our local Walmart. She turned around, smiled, and asked me if she could give me something. Well…I was in Texas…I was at Walmart…BUT she was a tiny little lady so I said, yes. She reached into her pocket and pulled out that very small cross. She pressed it into my hand with a “God Bless You.”

I had to smile.

I put the little beige cross in my pocket. When I got home I put it on my desk where it reminds me every day that I AM blessed.

My husband, Michael, and I live outside a tiny little town in the hill country of Texas. Not really in the country but not in the main stream of the city, either. We have a fair amount of wild life around us. We have a young buck who visits us several times a day. He is very curious, healthy looking, and handsome. We’ve named him Gorge.  There are several feral cats in the hood, meaning sooner or later, we will have new kittens. We have a very busy and cute litter of kittens romping around the neighbor’s backyard, with a second litter in the wings.  The first litter has three adorable kits, named by Michael: Moe, Larry, and Curly.  The crowning event happened yesterday afternoon. We were visited by a young doe and her new-born fawn. Mama was moving slowly with the little fawn following as close as he or she could on very wobbly legs. Exciting and wonderful things happening in our little corner of the world.

Mother Nature has helped restore some balance to what can sometimes be a world so out of control. For these and many other things, I am grateful.

I am…

B…simply being…

May you find things to make you smile today as well. I send my love and wishes for peace.

 

 

Memories of Memorial Day

Memorial Day has never been one of my favorite holidays. The reasons go back to my childhood. I grew up in Iowa in the 50’s and 60’s–a time when the excitement over the Indianapolis 500 was surpassed only by the almost assured fact that there would be at least one serious injury to the drivers involved, if not a fatality. This race was the only race I remember my Dad listening to. I was an anxious kid about most things. Putting this race on the radio for what seemed like HOURS was a guarantee I would not have one finger nail left by the time the checkered flag flew.

When I was about seven or eight years old, Memorial Day activities changed. Our family suffered a loss that was very hard for my parents and, I believe, on their marriage. My mom had a very difficult pregnancy, one that sent her to specialists who were not successful in helping her preclude pre-term labor. Her prayers for a baby boy were answered; our prayers for his survival were not. We had one more Memorial Day together as a family, traveling to Waterloo, Iowa, to a cemetery not far from the hospital where Richard Dean Burton lived his short life and died. We did not linger there, I’m not sure my mom even got out of the car. One of us put a small bouquet of flowers on his yet unmarked grave. The short 50 mile journey did not take long. What made it seem long was the static on the radio as it played the sounds of the crowd and the racing engines of the Indy 500.

Shortly after that Memorial Day, my mom was diagnosed with a type of lymphoma. She fought hard but was not able to defeat the disease. Our family and our observation of Memorial Day changed forever. The family going to the cemetery was now smaller, sadder, seriously silent, lost in our own thoughts as the radio played the chatter of yet another Indianapolis 500.

Visiting the cemetery, even though it became one of the most constant traditions of our family, is not one I continue today. I moved from Iowa which gave me an honest excuse. It did not take away the guilt I felt for not going. To give myself some peace, I created a garden as a remembrance of my family members who have died. My garden is named the Donna Bethie Garden in honor of my cousin, Donna, and my sister, Beth. This past week, as pictured in this blog, I was able to get a great start on my garden here at our new home in Texas. I am thankful for the rain that has given it a boost and even more grateful that none of the rain storms came with hail.

And NO Indianapolis 500 coverage at all.

I wish you all a safe and memorable holiday spent in ways that give you joy.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace.

 

 

 

Be Kind

Memorial Day .

School’s out.

It signifies the beginning of summer.

It is the first long holiday weekend of the summer.

The pool’s open!

What more could you possibly ask for?

This holiday also represents a time for us to remember all of those we have lost–not only those lost in service to our country.

Which means this could be a very hard time for some of us.

Some of our losses are new.

Some of those losses are still raw. We are exhausted, from  working  hard “get over it”  so we can begin to move–like so many impatiently expect us to do.

Some losses are renewed because of international losses experienced over and over, via social media

Or, one last scenario, maybe we have never given oursleves the time or the permission to grieve.

For these reasons and for many others, please,

Be aware.

Be patient.

Be kind.

I am…

B…simply being…

I wish for you thoughts of love and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Poppies

My memories of past Memorial Days sparked my curiosity about how the poppy had become such a strong symbol for our veterans. Who had started this tradition? How long has it been a part of our American lives?

I returned to The American Legion website and discovered that the soldiers returning from WWI had vivid memories of the battle fields covered with wild poppies. Poppies that were as “red as the blood that had soaked the soil.” These survivors felt that this little flower was Mother Nature’s message to them that their fallen comrades lived on–that they had not died in vain. Their feelings are expressed so poignantly in the poem,  In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place…

and in the sky The larks,

still bravely singing,

fly Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved,

and now we lie in Flanders Fields.

Take up or quarrel with the foe.

To you from failing hands we throw The torch;

be yours to hold it high

If we break faith with us who die

We shall ot sleep

though poppies grow in Flanders Fields.

Col. John McCrea

It was this poem that influenced Miss Moina Michael to write her response:

…the blood of heroes never dies

But lends a luster to the red

Of the flower that blooms above the dead

in Flanders Fields.

She was very moved by Col McCrea’s poem. On a November day in 1918, Miss Michael bought all the red poppies the New York City Department Store, Wanamaker’s, had in stock. She returned to the New York City YMCA where she worked, and gave them to a group of visiting business men. She asked that they wear them as a tribute to those who had given their lives in WWI. She told them that the war may be over but America’s sons would rest forever in Flanders Fields. Miss Michael went on to campaign for the poppy to become a national symbol of the sacrifice.

I believe that more knowledge is powerful. The symbolism embodies in this little red flower is strong. May it empower us and help us remember the sacrifices made for our freedom.

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless. Peace.

Thinking about Memorial Day

Do you remember the paper mache’ poppies? You know the ones we used to see everywhere when we growing up. I was one of the kids passing them out at the local grocery store in exchange for whatever donation was given. I am sure I was not happy to spend my Saturday there!

I was young and really did not appreciate–if I even knew–what that poppy symbolized. Because my dad was a veteran of WWII, he was an active member of the local VFW. My mom, my sisters, and I were part of the American Legion. One of the things we did for Memorial Day was make sure everyone had a commemorative poppy.

Late Saturday, an older man came up to me and asked if I knew what the poppy represented. This type of interaction happened to me all the time. There could have been ten other kids standing around but I was the one who was asked the questions. I debated saying I did know, but thought he may quiz me about it. I was honest and said I really did not know the whole story.

He told me it was important to know and shared this with me:

First of all, he said, you are not wearing the poppy correctly. It is to be worn over your heart. As he looked me straight in the eyes, he stressed that I would understand why this was important after he finished his story.

My memory is not complete so I am borrowing from an American Legion post:

The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood; the yellow and black center, the mud and desolation of all battlefields.

The green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free.

The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors.

The assembled product, a flower, is a symbol of resurrection, which is sure to follow.

His words were much more simple, filled with the type of emphasis that only comes from being there, really experiencing the battles of war personally. He watched my face as he spoke, pausing now and then to make sure I was getting his point. When his story was complete, he stepped back in silence and somber reflection. He leaned toward me, asking me if I thought I understood why it is important to wear that poppy correctly? Now I was able to honestly answer that question. Which I did, with a soft and respectful, yes.

That was decades ago–probably over fifty years have passed since that grocery store lesson. I can picture myself standing beside this little round man, dressed in his bib overhauls, giving me the gift of a very powerful lesson about the real cost of the freedom.

Oh the challenges our nation has faced since that long past day in May. One thing has not changed. As Memorial Day approaches, it is vitally important for us all to remember those who have fought to defend our freedoms and those who protect us today.

We are in such turmoil and unease. As I asked last night, I ask for your prayers, remembering our great country and for those who defend and protect us. God bless them, God bless us all, and please, God, bless America.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace. I love you.

 

 

 

Back Home

Retirement.

An interesting and often confusing time in my life. Why confusing? I am discovering that I have some pre-conceived ideas about retirement. Now that I am not working, does a vacation still exist in my world? From some new awareness that came on board last week, I’d say I had a pretty strong belief that once retired, I was on a full-time vacation.

As we “vacationed” I was given another life lesson opportunity. Yes, my friends, I now am now a believer that vacations do exist post retirement. Not only are they real but they are just as important now as they were when we were working.

I must make a confession to you–not that it is a surprise. Some of the things I need to learn the most are often the most difficult things for me to recognize. I started this blog again–an important word–again–only a few weeks ago. Sharing my life experiences and lessons with those readers who find my posts is very important to me. But, finding balance in life is difficult. When a passion is a new, it may push aside some other things that are also important. Hell, what do I know? I do believe ambitions can blind us to other important things.

Sigh…

My very individualized writing plan did not take into account what was important to Michael, my husband, my best friend, and my mostly patient traveling companion. I was in need of a serious reality check.

As my stories unfold, we will all see that self-care is not my strong point. A few days ago, God gave me another gentle reminder, via Michael, that rest, relaxation, and renewal are just as important now as they were when we were employed. In order to grow and thrive, our souls needs rejuvenation.

Balance.

There is a lot to share. It will be important for me to remember to take it a little at a time. Being a Libra, the scales have been a part of the search whenever I searched for what made me, me. The balance of things have not often gone in my favor. Now, I have the time to take things slowly and weigh all the grains of my life stories out carefully. What a blessing, to have the time to be a story-teller.

With the grace of God, I will share the lessons as I go.

As always, I am

B…simply being…

God bless us all with love and peace. Join me in praying for those who struggle tonight We live in very hard times. I love you.

 

 

Choices

My guess is, we all have regrets when it comes to the choices we have made along this journey called life.  If we could go back and make changes, would we?

Here’s the deal, at least from my point of view from my little room in my little corner of the world. To borrow from one of Clint Eastwood’s movie titles, some of the choices I have made fall under good, some under bad, and more than I would like to admit to, the ugly.

The good choices are easy to see and share. No surprise there! These good things  happened because I listened to the kind, patient, and wise people who miraculously showed up in my life. That word, miraculous, is no exaggeration. By the grace of God, they became my guides, holding my hand while supporting me through the challenging times in my life.  Without them, I cannot imagine where I would be today.

Those choices that fall under the bad and the ugly, are not so easy to share. But. These are the things that I feel drawn to share. These “conversations” are my way of paying back and paying it forward. Being easy–not part of the deal.

I found a quote that hit home with me today. It’s from the book, Writing From Life, by Susan Witting Albert, the quote credited to Harriet Goldhor Lerner:

Telling a “true story” about personal experience is not just a matter of being oneself, or even of finding oneself. It is also a matter of choosing oneself.

With that, I am off to get some rest.

I am.

B…simply being…

I wish you love and peace. God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

Mondays…

I ‘m thinking that it really doesn’t matter whether you are working or not, Mondays are still Mondays. What does matter, though, is the fact that old behavior patterns die hard. They follow you around, retired or not. Procrastination is something that has haunted me my entire life. The things that led up to today were no exception.

My to do list was exceptionally long because this day was the final day in that old saying we all flippantly throw around, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” This Monday was that final tomorrow-day-come-calling, with bells on and all a-ringing. What should have been steps in a list of joyful preparations became a race to throw it all together and run full speed ahead to the finish line.

Maybe I have finally learned this lesson? If things become painful enough, you change, right? Today was not painful. It was certainly not as happy as it could/should have been. Looking back on the events of the day, the big positive I see is that this may be the tipping point of my lessons about procrastination.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day filled with events you will share with family and friends for years to come. For me, at this stage of my life, there are not many family members around anymore. Because of the distance that separates us, we connect by way of social media.  As I was searching for pictures to share, I found the picture attached to this post. The beautiful smiling faces you see are my Uncle Howard and my Aunt Theresa, my Mom’s brother and his wife. When this picture fell out of the stack, I was surprised because it was the first time I’d seen it. After downsizing at least four times in the past two years, how had this picture escaped me? I sent it to my cousin, Tracy, their daughter, and she had never seen it either. I sent it to my sister, Sue. It was a new one for her as well.

It was a little odd in an eerie kinda creepy sort of way–a hard copy, love filled message sent to us all from Heaven, I guess.

With that I am taking my weary bones to bed for some much-needed rest. I feel like I was  given an extra credit assignment for not passing this latest life lesson. It took a toll.

I send you all my love.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace.

 

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.