Little Man

I think I’ll call this past week “The Week of Duffy.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Duffy is very capable of positioning himself in the center of things, anytime, any place. I think he got a little more than he bargained for this time.

Today we went for his one-week checkup. Dr. Laura looked him over, felt he was doing well except his incision showed signs he’d been licking more than I realized. Obviously, he is very proficient at getting those licks in when he knows I am distracted.

Well, little man, you’re busted. Dr. Laura’s evaluation forced the placement of that little blue bandana when we got home.

I don’t know what you guys think but my best guess is he is not at all excited about how this afternoon played out.

Anyone who knows me well understands the very simple fact–HA–just like Duffy–it does not take much to distract me. Meaning–my creativity and writing have been challenged. The positive side of that is I begin to clean, sort, and file. Yes, my dear friends, I’ve re-discovered things I’ve stashed away. Now is the perfect way to share them.

Today, thanks to Pinterest, is the prayer I’ll share today:

Healing Prayer at Bedtime. 

Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep. Every hurt that has been done to me, heal that hurt. All the relationships that have been damaged in my whole life that I am unaware of, heal those relationships. But, Lord, if there is anything that I need to do, if I need to go to a person because he or she is still suffering from my hand, bring to my awareness that person. I choose to forgive and I ask to be forgiven. Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with your love.   Amen

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace and love, Y’all.

 

 

 

 

A Workday Prayer

Oh, the little treasures continue to unveil themselves.

My latest find? A prayer I found stashed in the cover of my old journal. I thought it’d be a great thing to share at the beginning of the work week.

Lord Jesus, as I enter this workplace, I bring Your presence with me. I speak Your peace, Your grace, and Your perfect order into the atmosphere of this office. I acknowledge Your Lordship over all that will be spoken, thought, decided, and accomplished within these walls. Lord Jesus, I thank You for the gifts You have deposited in me. I do not take them lightly but commit to using them responsibly and well. Give me a fresh supply of truth and beauty on which to draw as I do my job. Anoint my creativity, my ideas, my energy so that even my smallest task may bring You honor. Lord, when I am confused, guide me. When I am weary, energize me. Lord, when I am burned out, infuse me with the light of Your Holy Spirit. May the work that I do and the way I do it bring hope, life, and courage to all that I come in contact with today. Oh Lord, even in this day’s most stressful moment, may I rest in You. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray.  Amen.   ~Unknown

I am…

B…simply being…

I send you love.

Peace

 

Fate

“You can go through life and make new friends every year – every month practically – but there was never any substitute for those friendships of childhood that survive into adult years. Those are the ones in which we are bound to one another with hoops of steel.”
― Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Like so many others, through the magic of Facebook, I’ve reconnected with many of my early childhood friends. What a treasure. With the opening of that treasure chest, other jewels continue to reveal themselves. I chuckle as I discover little stacks of mementos that have survived years of neglect and the even higher odds of multiple cross-country moves.

Writing today’s story is such an enjoyable way to begin the weekend!

I wish I could put names on all these faces, but fifty plus years and a few adult beverages later, I feel it wise to let the smiling faces speak for themselves. These pictures were taken at the celebration of our last day of our last year in junior high. This day was all about us–a special day capping off a very special time.

These two years are filled with a wide array of memories. Some funny, some sad, and one, to be shared later,  I find quite unbelievable. Our days began early because we traveled from Traer to Dinsdale for our seventh and eighth-grade years. These daily trips of about twelve miles or so fulfilled one of my childhood wishes. Being a town kid, I’d always wanted to ride the bus. Our reorganized school district utilized unused buildings for the junior high years. I’m not sure our parents agreed, but their decision felt like a personal gift to me.

Through wind, hail, rain, sleet, and snow, we made our way over hill and across dale to Dinsdale. If we were on the bus where the bus driver allowed us to make noise, a woman driver, we’d sing a whole jukebox full of the most popular songs of the time, practice songs from different school programs, or scream out school cheers. The other bus was the quiet bus. It was driven by a male driver. I can still see his steel-blue eyes reflected in the wide rearview mirror as he surveyed the bus, making sure we were behaving ourselves. From day one he told us there would be no yelling, no “roughhousing,” and no funny business. Loud or quiet bus, it was during these slow and steady rides I learned to play Pepper, failed to learn poker, and realized that this thing called love was difficult and pretty complicated in a small Iowa town in the early 60’s.

Little did I know, like the country song I’ve been hearing a lot lately, there is a “last time for everything.” Shortly after these pictures were taken, my family moved and I would lose my little circle of friends.

These pictures and a few others I clung to from this time, would become very special to me over the months and years to come. I’d look at these faces frozen in time, the tall, backlit windows,  and that snippet of crap paper stretched across the walls. I even noticed the arrangement of the tables, who was sitting where,  and the scattering of the chairs in the lunchroom. I’d sadly remember the innocent excitement of the day. I’d close my eyes, remembering the songs played, especially those few slow songs requested in hopes of being asked to dance by that one special person. I heard the pounding sounds of bare feet as we ran across the gym floor, the quick and high giggles of the girls intermixed with the embarrassed snickers of the boys, the sweet smells of nervous adolescence.

We were young, full of ourselves and our hopes of future.  We could and would change the world. We were unstoppable. The future was at our fingertips and it was all ours.

Oh…that fickle finger of fate…

“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”
Lemony Snicket

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you, my friends.

God bless each and every one of you.

Peace

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts on​ Gratitude

I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling weary this week.

I can’t pinpoint the event that pushed me from tired to full, blown-out weary. At some point, I’d crossed over.

Challenges, like little knights atop armored steeds charging the castle, were aligning themselves across the horizon of Hibdonville.

I knew there was only one way to stop the charge. I had to gather up my blessings.

This is what I found. A picture of our friend, Dayne’s retirement.

A picture of our friend, Dayne’s, at his retirement celebration.

Sometimes God gives me what I call a “pay attention to this because I am only going to do this once,” type of gift. This is how this “God Wink” played out.

I was up earlier than usual so I could finish up yard work before it got too hot. As my pre-work motivation, I’d given myself a few minutes of computer time. The first thing I saw that morning was a post written by Dayne’s daughter. Today was her Dad’s last day of work.

Our plans changed, thanks to Facebook. We flew into high gear and made it to the party with time to spare. This last-minute change fueled the details for one of my best memories. The priceless look of surprise on Dayne’s face, the laughter shared among old friends, and the pure joy of being there.

It was a day filled with gifts we all gave to each other and a gift appreciated again today.

I am…

B…simply being.

Love and peace Y’all.

 

 

Giving Thanks

“Rest and be thankful.”
William Wordsworth

The past few days have been long on worry, short on rest.

Things took a giant turn for the better today. Duffy’s surgery went well and he was able to come home late this afternoon.

All is well in Hibdonville.

I am thankful for that and for all of you who took such great care of me.

Thank you.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace

 

 

 

The Prince of Royal Court

“Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.”
― Jerry Seinfeld

There is never a question about who is in charge at our house.

It’s Duffy.

He’s our Lhasa Apso we call the Prince of Royal Court because he is completely carefree. He has absolutely no worries.

He arrived via Delta Airlines from Utah in March 2009. I know that because I just read through all his records while I prepared to take him for his first vet visit in Texas.

We’ve been treating him for a urinary tract infection. It responded well to treatment except for the fact he still had a lot of crystals in that post medication sample. Because of that, we were strongly advised to bring him in for an evaluation and an x-ray.

We went today and he does have many radiopaque bladder stones. There are so many of these ragged looking stones our vet has concerns they may cause a bladder obstruction. Whether I wanted to hear it or not, the fact was, he needed surgery. Their first open date was weeks away. Too long to wait. Her advice was to leave him. That way they would work him into the surgery schedule today or first thing tomorrow.

I rapidly played through every single scenario I could come up with where I could delay the inevitable. Even to me, all the excuses sounded pathetic.

They are a busy clinic with decades of experience. The vets there have the type of real-life experience that comes from honest to God, in the trenches work. I’ve observed them carefully over the past few months. From the front desk staff to the vet techs, I’ve been impressed with their efficiency and knowledge. Even with all those positive vibes, I’d never had to leave MY DOG with them–until today.

The day has gotten progressively cooler and the skies darker as the latest cold front makes it way across Texas. It is a direct reflection of my mood.

I know. I really do understand that all of this is out of my control. I need to let go and trust those I trusted to care for our little Prince of Royal Court take care of him. Our Duffy will be home soon and will quickly re-establish balance to our world.

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you and wish you peace.

 

The Yellow Slicker

My husband has a yellow jacket that always makes me smile. Every time I see him slip it on, I think of being on the safety patrol when I was in sixth grade.

My School Safety Patrol card is another one of those things that surprised me by surviving fifty plus years stuck in little corners of big boxes. I have misplaced dozens of things over the years but this little card somehow held on to its space.

As sixth graders, we were the class that “manned” the safety patrol. That meant at noon and at the end of the day, kids from our class were sent to guard crosswalks around the school. I volunteered because I would have time away from the classroom. That was just too much to resist.

What I did not think about as I enthusiastically threw my hand up in the air that first week of school, was the weather. This was Iowa. Sure, at the beginning of the school year the weather was perfect. Before long, the warm Indian Summer and windy Fall days turned into the blustery, cold days of Winter. Like mail delivery, safety patrol guards could not be deterred by the weather. Rain, sleet, or snow, we headed out to our posts. To protect us from those elements, the school had a number of bright yellow slickers. These rubber slickers felt and smelled ancient. Heaven only knows how old they were but we HAD to wear them when we went out in the rain.

As lunchtime got closer and closer on my day for patrol, I watched the sky get darker and darker. The rain started falling harder and the temperature fell.  As my fellow patrol person and I left to go to our posts, we were told to wear those yellow slickers.

“Be careful,” Mrs.Kvidera told us, “with it getting colder, it could be getting icy.”

I walked to the locker, grabbed the crunchy yellow jacket, pulled the hood up, and walked toward the front door. Mr. Lenth, the school superintendent, and a teacher were standing at the entryway, observing and discussing the quickly changing weather. I nodded my head, the stiff and scratchy hood falling across my eyes as my legs pushed against the heavy rubberized coat. I was concentrating on walking against that added weight while constantly adjusting the stubborn hood.

I pushed the heavy door open and headed outside. As my foot hit the wet pavement, I felt it slip. I was moving too fast to stop. My other foot never made contact. Before I knew it, I was on my back. That yellow slicker was exactly that–slick! In a mass of crackling yellow, I was propelled across the sidewalk, down a little asphalt hill that was the side parking lot, and under a bus.

I looked up to see the teacher and Mr. Lenth looking down on me, saying in unison, “Looks like we need to end school early today.”

They helped me up, brushed me off, and sent me back to class. Shortly after, an overhead announcement declared due to weather, school was dismissed.

So, the little card survived to remind me of a time when I fell–literally–and was helped up by the kindness of others. There are times when we all need that type of gentle reminder.

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down. 

Mary Pickford

I am…

B…simply being…

Remember, ask for help if you need it.

I love you.

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

Losses

“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”
― Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, The 13th Sign

It’s been a difficult week for many.  There was the terror attack in Manhattan where a  man used a rental truck as his weapon of choice, mowing down people as they were going about their daily routines. A Dad, after making a last-minute run to the neighborhood store, was hit and killed by an unknown driver just a few feet from his home. Three people shot and killed in a Denver area Wal-Mart–motive unknown. I could go on with more, but how would I know when to stop?

On a personal note, we learned today one of our friends lost his long and hard battle with cancer. It should not have surprised either of us. We both knew he was sick before anyone put a medical label on the process. Our sympathy goes out to his family. May they all have some peace now that Paul’s fight is over. God bless.

Over and over we are given examples of how precious life is. I wish there was a way to help everyone put the damn cell phones down and be present. Look, listen, and appreciate those amazing souls surrounding you, giving meaning to your life. Allow your mind to be in that moment–not remembering yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. Make the memories–do not just record them. Our powerful brains are very capable of keeping those memories for us–use it.

As we begin our weekend, I found a prayer I wanted to share with you. I was tempted to just post the prayer without any of my thoughts for the day–I hope I was not too wordy! I think this prayer is wonderful. Hopefully, you will, too, and join me in adding it to your own prayer practices.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen”
Margot Benary-Isbert

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

The Medicine of Laughter

Laughter is a holy thing. It is sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred. Laughter is like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other. Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are free.    Ted Loder

I saw this picture posted by my friend, Michelle, early this morning. I knew exactly what had happened before I read her story.

Getting dressed in the dim early morning light and in a rush, she had grabbed her shoes, laced them up, and headed out the door. It wasn’t until later when she was getting out of the car, she realized the shoes she’d put on earlier did not match.

Being the quick comedian she is, she commented, “And I have another pair just like them at home.”

I recognized her sleepy error as did several others who commented, each telling their own stories, extending a welcome to the “Mismatched Shoe Club.”

Years ago, I had the same experience. I was working at Children’s Hospital in Denver. It was summer and we were very busy. We had lost one sonographer and my remaining co-worker, who had called in sick earlier, had just quit. No notice. She was done and would not be returning.

That news meant I was the only staff sonographer. That news meant I would be covering the hospital, the clinic, and covering call by myself. That meant my summer was toast.

My only hope rested on one person. Ole. I did not know him well but knew he was an amazing sonographer. He was hired to do research–a position that was constantly changing and busy. Factor into that, our boss was often unrealistic and always protective of Ole’s time. I could not imagine how he could help me.

Michael had the wine was waiting for me when I walked through my front door. Thank heavens he was home to give me support and suggestions. This was not an unusual dilemma for us–he was used to helping me cope with work problems. I’d done it before–I’d put my bravest face on and make it work.

My night was a restless one, filled with more worry than sleep. I woke early, dressed in the dark so I would not wake up Michael, and headed downtown. As I walked from the car to the hospital, my feet felt so odd. Why did it feel like I was limping?

All kinds of scary things flashed through my mind before I thought to actually look at my feet.

To my surprise and embarrassment, I saw one square-toed, low heeled navy flat and one round-toed navy lower heeled flat. I burst out laughing. As stood waiting to cross the street, I laughed until I cried.

I was obviously not as calm, cool, and collected as I thought I was.

When I walked into the office, I saw Ole was already there, motioning for me to come talk with him. Oh man. I was so self-conscious about my shoes. I had to find a way to tell him about my mistake before he noticed.

As I walked towards him, he looked down at my feet. In that nanosecond, I could see he was trying to figure out why I was walking so funny.  As his gaze took in my strange choice of footwear, our eyes met and we connected on a level we never would have without those mismatched shoes. He knew and I knew he knew how not okay I really was. Suddenly, we were both bent over with laughter, tears streaming down our faces. A hug naturally followed as he began to tell me how he could and would help.

Laugher was not only the best medicine but it formed a solid platform for a friendship that remains very special. My subconscious mistake provided that connection as well as being a message for me to lighten up. By opening up, sharing my fears, and laughing at myself, others found ways to help.

I don’t know the cause of Michelle’s shoe mishap. Whatever it is, I hope it gave her a way to share the medicine of laughter today. I love you, Michelle. God bless you.

“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.”
― Seán O’Casey

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

A Tiny Treasure

“Let me tell you something big: Give importance to little things!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

I found this little handmade gift tag in a box of old pictures. I’d been sorting through what felt like a hundred boxes Michael had pulled out of our basement storage space. We were downsizing after our Colorado home sold, preparing to start our retirement as full-time RVers–there was a LOT of stuff that had to go.

This tiny little scrap of paper took me completely off guard.

How can I describe the pure joy of finding something so precious and so unexpected? How had this fragile piece of wrapping paper survived the moves across town, across the country, followed by even more cross-city moves? Not only was it a mystery to me–it felt like a miracle.

This tag came from my old childhood neighbors, Tom and Karen Sink. When I first met them, Kevin was their only child. They were next door for quite a few years and  I  had been fortunate to be with them for the arrival of their other two precious babies.  It was a babysitter’s dream and they lived right next door.

Not only did they call me to babysit on a regular basis, they gave my sisters and I shelter from the maddening storm that had become our home life. They’d moved in shortly after my family had moved to Waterloo from Traer. This was a rough time for me–moving right after my eighth-grade year. I had to leave the kids I’d gone to school with since we were all in kindergarten just when we were all ready to begin our high school years.

I was miserable.

Answering a prayer I did not know I’d put out to the Universe, God sent Karen and Tom who filled my life with love, hope, and kindness.

Our houses were very close together–meaning all our family arguments were easily overheard by Tom and Karen. I’m pretty sure they had many unplanned nights out in order to give the Burton girls a place to hang out and a way to escape the chaos.

They were our angels.

It should not have surprised me, finding this powerful little piece of paper when I did. I now had my newest but oldest talisman to take with me into my future.

“Whenever you’re feeling lonely, remember that there are people in this world who bless every one of us before they go to sleep at night. They may have never met you, but their hearts go out to you. They are true angels.”
L.J. Kane

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace to all.