“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.”
― Stanley Coren

I saved my neighbor’s dog this morning. Well, that may be a little overstated. Whatever you want to call it, I feel like I did a good thing today.

Our neighborhood is very quiet. We know the few people close to us, but we don’t know everyone. There is a young couple who lives a block from us. They have a toddler and a young herding-type dog. I’ve noticed the last few days on our walks that the dog was not in the backyard. All the family cars were gone so I assumed they were gone for a few days and had taken the dog.

This morning on our walk, I mentioned not seeing the dog to Michael. No sooner had I finished that statement, he saw this little dog ahead of us on the road. As we continued our walk, we watched for him. On the final leg of our walk, turning towards our driveway, I spotted the dog sitting in his front yard. Great! Maybe I can get him back into the fenced backyard.

He was not happy to see me walk his way. The closer I walked to him, the faster he raced away from me. I had some treats stashed in my pocket but even using the “treat” word made no difference in our game of tag.

I checked out the gates to see if he had gotten the latch undone. Both gates were closed and latched shut. I walked around the backyard to see if he had food and water. Both bowls were full of clean food and fresh water. At a loss for what else to do, I decided to leave the gates ajar in hopes he would go inside to rest, eat and drink.

I walked home to write a note to leave on their door, telling the young couple I’d seen their dog running in the neighborhood and had left both gates open so he could get back in the yard. Because of their toddler and not knowing when they’d be home, I didn’t want them to come home in the dark to an unsecured backyard. With my note taped to my hand, I strolled back to the neighbors. Walking up to the porch, I saw their little dog looking out at me from behind the fence. Success!

I closed and latched both gates, hung a postscript to my original note, and headed home.

I am so thankful we saw him and were able to get him safely back in his yard. I feel like I’ve accomplished something today–it cost me nothing but a little time and perseverance.

This little adventure made me think of people traveling with or without their pets this holiday season. If you have not updated your pet’s ID tag lately, do a quick review of the following:

  • Are the pet’s name and your contact information legible?
  • Is your contact information current? You might want to have your cell phone number on the tags in case you are traveling with the dog. For back-up, have two contact phone numbers instead of a home address.
  • Check to make sure your pet’s collar is in good condition and all tags are attached securely. One of our dogs likes to play by grabbing onto our other dog’s collars. Over time, this type of play resulted in separating one of the rings attached to the chip ID information. By the time I realized this was happening, the chip ID had fallen off and the other tags barely hanging on.
  • If you are leaving your pet at home, consider letting your neighbors know in case your pet gets out as your pet sitter comes into the house or yard. If your pet is not used to being left alone, he or she may get anxious in your absence and find a way to escape and set out to find you.

“I like dogs
Big dogs
Little dogs
Fat dogs
Doggy dogs
Old dogs
Puppy dogs
I like dogs
A dog that is barking over the hill
A dog that is dreaming very still
A dog that is running wherever he will
I like dogs.”
― Margaret Wise Brown, The Friendly Book

I am…

B…simply being…

Love to all my two and four-legged friends.



The Gift of Laughter

Re-posting from December, 2017, because it is just such a great memory. Love you Doug and Lana Flemmer.

The church is near, but the road is icy. The bar is far, but we will walk carefully.  

Russian Proverb.

Oh, the holidays are so stressful. Honestly, I am feeling some stress this year because I have no stress–zip–nothing–nada.

Let me remind you all that it is okay–really okay–to say no. You do not have to accept every invitation or attend every gathering or buy every single person who ever entered your life a gift. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to say no without some excuse. You, my friend, need time to unwind and relax. You cannot give to others without taking some time to recharge your own batteries.

For all my recently retired friends, know that your retirement is not the time for you to run errands or take care of all your still working family and friends. No guilt trips allowed. No excuses necessary. Now it is finally time to take care of YOU.

“I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy;
but not in a way most people understand.

I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.

Sometimes, this is my busy –
and I will not apologize for it.”
Brittin Oakman

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

Love and peace, Y’all.


My Touchstones

“We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past, like ancient stars that have burned out, are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about every day, too many new things we have to learn. New styles, new information, new technology, new terminology … But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Writing has certainly uncovered some long-lost memories these past few months. Today I found one of the best so far.

Okay, this song sheet looks a little worse for wear and definitely met up with some coffee somewhere over the years. None of that takes anything away from the memories this packet of Christmas carols contains.

How I wish we would have taken pictures! We started our night of caroling as soon as we felt everyone had time to have dinner. For us, our night of caroling had a little flare of trick or treating mixed into the evening events. At each stop, we sang our planned carol followed by sharing a hot toddy or two. The later was a definite plus on a cold Iowa December evening.

Oh, what a night and what a wonderful gift–then and now.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and Peace Y’all.


Wish Book

Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.  Dr. Seuss

Over the weekend I was thumbing through the AARP Bulletin. There on the top of page four, above the headline of Medicare 2018, on the In the News page, was this little note:

“Looking to connect with boomer nostalgia, Sears is publishing its holiday “Wish Book” for the first time since 2011. Launched in 1933, the catalog let generations of children dream of their perfect Christmas morning. In 1991, the “Wish Book” totaled 806 pages; this year it will be 120 pages.”

I had to laugh since I’d just written about catalog dreaming and shopping. I’d forgotten it was called the “Wish Book.” When I read how small the “Wish Book” will be this year, I could feel my smile slipping away. My first thought was, guess Sears made the first list edit for me. Then I thought how just the sheer size of that catalog was part of the thrill and the excitement of the whole thing. Really. It was gigantic. I had to use both hands to carry it around. When I was very young, the Christmas catalog was one of the biggest books I’d ever seen–for sure the biggest book I’d ever held in my hands.

Maybe finding that little note was not such a great find? Maybe we all would have been better off not knowing the revival of a beloved tradition was done on such a small, sad scale.

Maybe it’s better for us all to remember:

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.  Mary Ellen Chase. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Sending you all love.




A Self-Care Friday


Today was a self-care day.

I’d been putting off my routine mammograms for a long time. Not good, you’re saying. You’re right, I say agreeing. In our current healthcare arena, there’ve been many factors playing into the delay.

The first challenge was my first Texas primary care physician and his office staff.  They were not fast at returning calls or efficient faxing orders to correct places. Once those boxes were checked off, I discovered successfully talking with a scheduling person was going to be my next obstacle. After many missed connections, I learned the imaging center I’d been referred to did not take my insurance. If I wanted to use this facility, the exam would be at my cost.

Start over.

Because so much time had elapsed, I now had different insurance. Compliments of the Healthcare Market Place changes, I now needed to find a new primary care physician. This inconvenience ended up being a plus. After hours researching physicians all across my area, I found a doctor who listens to me, answers my questions, and responds to me quickly. I can “talk” to him by email, meaning I have a direct line to him, sidestepping office staff.  The catch–you knew there had to be one–the radiologists covering the hospital and the imaging centers I’ve been referred to are out-of-network. Thankfully, the facilities established workarounds, a “fix” taking more money directly out of my pocket.

Getting good health care should not be so complicated and costly. In a country filled with so many really smart people, why does healthcare remain such a mess? In my cynical, older person mind, I think it’s complicated so we get frustrated trying to figure it out. We pay the premiums, make calls after calls questioning the cryptic bills, eventually giving up the fight so we can be done with it all and move on with our lives. If we could hang in there long enough to get to the bottom of all the terminology, codes, and qualifiers, we’d discover we’re paying a lot of money to a lot of different people for suboptimal care.

I know I am not alone in this battle. My bills are nothing compared to many others. The saddest part of it all is I don’t see things getting better or easier anytime soon.

After all of this, I needed a laugh. To get that done, thought I’d share a Christmas quote from George Carlin:

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”

I wish you all a great weekend. Be careful and stay aware as you head out to do your holiday shopping. Listen to your gut. If a place or situation doesn’t feel right, leave. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Love, peace, and pray for those in need.

The Old Days

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
― Dave Barry

Today I was thinking back to what these days before Christmas were like when I was a kid. It was so much different in so many ways.

I grew up in a small town and much of our shopping was done through Sears or J.C. Penny catalogs. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, we impatiently waited for those catalogs to show up in the mail so we could shop and create our Christmas lists.

I was going to say I wished I’d saved one of those catalogs. In all honesty, by the time Christmas arrived, the pages that had become everyone’s favorites were in pretty rough shape. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the rustle of the pages as we each took our turn to shop.

Whish…whish..sigh…whish…move in closer…whish…smooth out each and every page so we could see every little part of that toy, doll, or extra special, beautiful dress…whish…

We’d all earmark pages where we’d each found items that became part of our list. Between the catalogs and the ever-increasing TV commercials, we had copious lists–which had to be shared with Mom after each entry to make sure she understood EXACTLY what it was we wanted. Once we had our lists completed, we were instructed to pick out our favorite three things. What an impossible request! With heavy sighs and loud protests, we did as instructed so we could get our letters to Santa written.

Oh, what bittersweet memories fill my mind and heart. I can see myself bent over my letter, a pencil held tightly and pressed firmly into the page, the tip of my tongue angled threw pursed lips, quickly composing my letter. With innocent sincerity, all my wishes and hopes were folded into the creases of that letter as I slowly placed it into a little white envelope addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole.

Under the tree on Christmas morning, we all had presents that resembled the things we had on our lists. In reality, the gifts are not as memorable as the whole process–the waiting, shopping our way through the catalogs, making the final selections, and truly believing.

I’m thinking I could use some of that simplicity today.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love, peace, and pray for those in need today.


A Cheer of Kindness

“Do not wait until Christmas to spread a little cheer,
people appreciate kindness, all through of the year.”
― Charmaine J. Forde

The bells in the clock tower at the church not far from our house are playing Christmas music at the top of the hour. It was a comforting sound, ringing out across the valley as I began this cold and rainy day here in Texas. There is even talk of snow flurries later today. I am very thankful I can stay home–the roads will not be a pretty sight if they begin to freeze.

The weather certainly encouraged a day of rest and reflection. Okay. Honestly, it was no different from any other day for me–it just gave me a very handy excuse.

As I watched the rainfall, two things came to mind.

My first thought streamed in after I picked up what little mail we get these days. The wonderful thing about this time of year is we actually get real mail from real people. It is the best gift. If you have not sent a card or a letter lately, now is a very opportune time to brighten someone’s day.

As I read our cards, I thought back to the years I’d complained about all the cards I had to send out to relatives. Today I’d be thrilled to have the chance to send holiday cheer to them. The pages in my address book of relatives have disappeared, leaving me sighing, shaking my head, and regretting I’d spent so little time and effort staying in touch with them. Learn from my neglect. Reach out and spread some win/win joy, to those receiving your Christmas greetings and to yourself as you send out your love.

My second memory came more subtly. Many years ago, I took a self-confidence class. One of the exercises given was to compliment three people a day for a week. If you’ve never done that, try it. The results, both to the person you compliment and to yourself for those few words of praise, are incredible. If you take that a step further, give the gift of kindness this Christmas. It costs nothing but may mean everything to the person you bestow your words upon. A simple card with a statement about what you admire about them. If that’s a hard assignment to tackle, take a different route by thanking them for something they did to help you this past year. It may be something they did so automatically they were unaware of how important it was for you. If you want to add another dimension to the exercise, sent out your cards anonymously. Grow this Christmas season. With a full and grateful heart, care and share.

“To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.

Presidential message, December 25, 1927”
― Calvin Coolidge

As I type tonight I’m hearing the news about the fires in California. My prayers are being said as I finish my story. I ask for you to join me.

I am…

B…simply being…

Care, share, and pray.






“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

This has been a year of unexpected loss for so many people. From terror attacks to natural disasters, we’ve all witnessed tragedy.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen loss from a closer vantage point. I understand it’s part of getting older. Several of my friends have lost loved ones. Some after months of battling cancer to others suffering losses after tragic accidents. Prepared or not, death finds unexpected ways to surprise you. Whether it’s guilt for not being there enough to receiving a card mailed to you before the accident occurred, the pain is intense. An ache that smolders, erupting into a full blaze when least expected.

I firmly believe we are here to help each other. It is by living through our own losses that give us the knowledge and insight allowing us to help on a level only those who have walked that path can. It is the ultimate initiation process. By reaching out to help, opening our hearts and sharing of ourselves, some of our own agonies ease and fade. It’s what it’s all about–caring for one another.

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”
― Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless us all with patience, kindness, and understanding.




A Monday Prayer

There are times when I miss looking out my back window and seeing the mountains. Today is one of those days. This picture is a great and easy fix for that. I am grateful.

Michael and I spent this afternoon talking with someone about healthcare coverage. At the end of our conversation, I truly believed she’s a saint. We were just one of her calls today–and she is scheduled every hour for the rest of the day. God bless all you insurance helpers out there. You have a very tough assignment.

The whole exercise was a test of our patience. In light of that, I think it’s a great time to pull a prayer out of my files to share.

Prayer for Patience

My dear Lord, teach me to be patient when all day long my heart is troubled by little troublesome crosses. Teach me, Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all events of my life, in disappointments, in thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those in whom I relied. Let me forget myself so that I may enjoy the happiness of others. Let me always hide my little pains and heartaches so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me use it that it may mellow me, not harden nor embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable; that it may make me broad in my forgiveness not narrow or proud, or overbearing. May no one be less good for having come within my influences; no one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble, for having been a fellow traveler with me on our journey towards eternal life. As I meet with one cross after another, let me whisper a word of love to You. May my life be lived in supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose and sanctity.  Amen

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless us all.




A Treasury

“I look around the room and can’t help but think about how it is the little things we look back on in life. I wonder how often people think that they should pay more attention to them.”
― Erika Lance, Behind the Veil

Sometimes the smallest thing creates the biggest buzz.

The picture I posted yesterday caught a lot of people’s eyes. What a joy today has been. Thanks to all who took time to make a comment and fill in some names and historical notes.

This being Friday, if we all could go back in time, we’d be making plans to go out for our usual Friday Happy Hour–or as we so reverently called it back then, P.O.E.T.S. Club. For those of you who don’t know the term, it stands for Piss On Everything Tomorrow’s Saturday. Trust me, after a week in a busy radiology department, you needed to let off some steam. With this group, there was never a shortage of hot air or alcohol at our Friday gatherings.

Faces, names, and stories have been streaming through my mind all day. At the time of yesterday’s picture, the workplace was very different–at least for this small group. The people I worked with were my extended family and just as dysfunctional as my real life family. We may not have always liked each other but we cared about one another. We worked hard together and we played harder. We were young, adventuresome, clueless, and, thank God, lucky.

These years taught me to never underestimate the value of luck or take for granted the kindness of friends. What a wonderful treasury of memories I’ve rediscovered.

  “A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”
― Lois Wyse

Have a great weekend, my friends. Take some time to reach out to some old friends.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all.

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