“The day you start giving yourself priority and catering to your own needs first, that day everything will fall in place. Most of us were taught (or believed) that taking care of your own needs first is being selfish. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Unless you look after yourself first, how can you look after others? It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that if you want to help others, you have to take care of your own needs first. No, you are not being selfish by doing that. Charity begins at home- in this case with your own self. You can feed others provided you have enough to eat. More often than not, you are misused if you are nice. You have to compromise many a time to suit needs of others. That way you are seconding yourself to someone else. Stop doing that. You have a right to your needs and a reasonable chance to fulfill them. Demarcate clear boundaries, draw very clear unambiguous lines and stick to them; your personal space should not be violated. If in your relationships you find that all your efforts are concentrated on pleasing others then it is high time you unshackled and freed yourself from their vice like grip or else you will sink into quicksand with no chance of survival. If people don’t like the new you and decide to walk out, don’t stop them, they were never meant to be in your circle. Good riddance. Believe me, you will feel relieved because a very heavy load would have been lifted from your chest. Surround yourself with like-minded people who care for you, respect your individuality, see your value and don’t cross the line. They are people you should stick to- because they are genuine.” 

Latika Teotia

In my midwest Catholic family, I was raised to put others first–that was the way it was–to do otherwise was selfish.

Taking care of myself–self-care–is a relatively new concept for me. I struggle with it most days–I think many of us do. It’s an entirely new thought process for me so I should not expect it to be comfortable immediately.

I’m learning to be patient with myself–I’m more aware and beginning to believe the simple fact is this–I am worthy–as are YOU.

“You need to wake up and realize that you deserve more, and there is more waiting for you out there. Stop settling; it only tarnishes and corrodes your soul.” 

Lebo Grand

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.


Uncharted Territory

“It’s funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope. This is a design of God that I appreciate and cherish.” 

Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Things are very unsettled in my little circle of friends today. Many of those I cherish are traveling through uncharted territory.

It’s scary and it is difficult.

I have no wisdom to share. There is no way I can smooth the rough spots I feel lie ahead. My only way of helping is to remind them often how much I care while making myself available.

A few weeks ago I saw the image I’m using for my story today on one of my Facebook feeds. Thank you, Terry Boyd Lucher, for allowing me to share your photo. Little did I know when I contacted you, a suicide survivor, I would have another level of connection with you besides the love of your photo. Suicide has entered the walls of my tribe and I am grateful to have you here. It was the strength of that tree that caught my eye–reminding me of an image my friend Sandi talked about years ago. I can still see her sitting in our circle all those years ago, sharing the fact that there were times when she felt like a tree hanging on at the edge of a cliff–roots laid bare for all to see. Sandi, too, is a survivor. She is one of my cherished ones traveling a very unfamiliar and uncharted pathway. May the love of those surrounding her illuminate her way today and all the days ahead.

Terry, I pray your image provides the vision needed for anyone in need of stability and overall toughness and perseverance . This breathtaking photo, for me, certainly demonstrates those two qualities and many more.

Our world is hard. It has no patience for anyone fighting to keep any type of foothold. May we all remember to stay aware and take a moment to simply be kind.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” 


I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.



A Little More of the Story

Re-sharing with love.

“Finished crap can be edited. Unfinished greatness languishes forever. The only bad writing is the thing you didn’t write!”
― Margarita Gakis

At times, I can be a slow learner. I shift into low gear, over-analyzing some lessons and life experiences, making them extremely difficult and complicated. Because I don’t fully understand what is being taught or tested, self-doubt creeps in when my guard is down. With fear at the reins, I start trivializing the whole experience.

I now understand I did this because in my mind I cannot fail–that is not an option. In order to maintain my family expectations, I pretended all is well. I’d work on this project and that project for a while, early on determining whatever I was working on was either too difficult or too simple. With that finely honed skill, I’d walk away from one task after another, allowing many to quietly slip away to sit alongside many others.

Over this past year, I’ve written about this behavior in hopes of discovering why I was such a star procrastinator. This dedication to self  helped me begin to understand some of the reasons. The more I wrote, the more I began to see the pattern of self-deception which grew into a lifetime of disruptive behavior.

My Dad made it very clear that I was expected to do my best. My kid brain interpreted that to mean I had to be perfect. I was far from perfect but I became very good at pretending. Pretending can be very tough for a kid. Before long, my act began to develop weak spots. Over time, I learned how to patch those tears and quiet my internal critic.

All I had to do was make sure I was always, always, always busy.

When new assignments came along, I’d work on them whenever I could make the time. Because I was so busy, there was never enough time. I’d fill what extra moments I had with something I wanted to do, pushing that not so favorite job further into the land of tomorrow. By delaying, I’d found a way to put myself in hyper mode, ensuring I’d get it done–but not until the very last moment. This methodology always provided the perfect excuse in case what I’d been working on was not done as well as it could or should have been done. Or, if the whole project failed, it wasn’t my fault. I just did not have enough time.

Over this past year, I began to see how my fear of not being good enough–not being perfect–evolved into procrastination. I saw, often in spite of myself, I’d always ended up doing pretty well. I may not have gotten that A, but I’d never failed. My procrastination was a symptom of my self-doubt. I understood I no longer needed games or excuses. I was good enough simply by being me–by being who I am.

You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being — not because anybody says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money — but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason.”
Wayne W. Dyer

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

Thank you, my dear friend, Mary, for letting me borrow your birthday bouquet today.  I Love you.

Trying to Understand

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” 

David Foster Wallace

When I was in high school, two of my friends attempted suicide. I visited them at the hospital where the doctors and nurses did whatever they did for young people back then. It was eye-opening and difficult to visit them. The Psych ward was a pretty scary place back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. There was only one psych ward in our community which meant there were all different types of illnesses sharing this part of the hospital. For me, this place was mysterious and a little scary–every time I visited the lights were dim, the TV always playing in the large common patient area, and a constant line of patients shuffled here and there as the nursing staff tracked them down in order to administer medication.

My most lasting memory of my visits was hearing the door unlock and lock when the staff let me into the unit. That loss of personal freedom created a moment of panic for me as I wondered what would happen if they would not let me out again?

I was much luckier than my two friends. I certainly had my fair share of challenges but I had people who miraculously showed up in my life whenever I needed them. I was not good at asking for help–I’m still not good at that–but these special people didn’t wait for me to ask–they just stormed in and made sure I stayed okay.

I’ve been reading today trying to find something that would help me understand suicide. I found two quotes–one opening my story today and one will close it. I’m sharing both because each quote helped me see things in a different way. I hope they will for you as well.

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.” 

Sally Brampton, Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you.


I am so fortunate I have an amazing photographer in my circle of Facebook friends. Thank you, Mr. Chuck Hackenmiller, for allowing me to use your wonderful photos as part of my blog. You can see many of Mr. Hackenmiller beautiful pictures on the Facebook page, I grew up in Iowa. Please note, no re-use of this photo without permission from Chuck Hackenmiller, Boone, Iowa.  



My Best Buddy

“Dogs can tell you stuff without saying anything.” 

Victoria Carless, The Dream Walker

It has been a pretty quiet time in Hibdonville.

A couple of nights ago we had a storm roll through. None of our dogs like the lightning and thunder. This storm was especially loud, lasting so long even our twelve-year-old Lhasa, Bud, managed to jump up on our bed for comfort. I was certainly surprised. He had not done that for some time.

What I did not think about was how hard it might be on his arthritic back to jump down from the bed. I don’t think that move went well for him.

Yesterday, he isolated himself, refusing to move. Of course, I watched his every move–or lack of it–conjuring up all kinds of scenarios about what had happened to his little body as a result of his latest aerobatics. This is our dog who would run so fast as a puppy the only way he could stop himself was by running full speed into the couch. This is the same dog who played ball for hours and hours–stopping only when the “ball tosser” was completely exhausted. Not now. He was in pain and I was worried.

Yesterday was the second time in his long life when he did not go everywhere with me. Dogs are much wiser than we are–he was resting and letting his body heal. My mind could not–would not–fully accept that simple explanation.

Today, he is better–moving very slowly but up and moving. He is eating so I can sneak in some pain medication. His eyes and the tilt of his ears tell me he is feeling better. Of course Michael being home from the lease makes Bud’s world so much fuller and better.

Retirement has given me time to be with our dogs. This experience has reminded me time races on. Like so many things, I cannot take these little souls for granted. I need to treasure each and every day.

“When you have dogs, you witness their uncomplaining acceptance of suffering, their bright desire to make the most of life in spite of the limitations of age and disease, their calm awareness of the approaching end when their final hours come. They accept death with a grace that I hope I will one day be brave enough to muster.” 

Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

I am…

B…simply being…

Praying for my Bud and asking God to bless us all.



Self Examination

My body told me it was time for a rest today so I am re-posting from earlier this year.

“I may not always be with you 

But when we’re far apart

Remember you will be with me

Right inside my heart” 

Marc Wambolt, Poems from the Heart

I spent today thinking about and being thankful for the people who have been and are so important to me. It was a very good day.

As I learn more about myself and my life, I find my self-examination has enabled me to be more aware of my many blessings. I realize I could not have seen any of these things until now because I’ve spent most of my life in survival mode. I was blind to my gifts because I was always on alert–unsure of anything and afraid everything I cared about could and would simply disappear. I am beginning to realize the reasons for my fears. It is a difficult task–some days more successful than others. All-in-all, I am encouraged. The beauty of this challenge is the more I understand, the more peaceful I feel.

I see the love of those who’ve stood by me in a new light, trusting and believing they will always be with me. This new-found understanding and belief system has blown my little world wide open.

I AM worthy and I am grateful.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.




“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front, to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.

And their eyes were my eyes.

As I felt, so they had felt, and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning, and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line stretched from Time That Was, to Time That Is, and is not yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, had in the Image, fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the eternal Father.

I was one of them, they were of me, and in me, and I in all of them.” 

Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley

The watercolor, “The Duncombe Homestead,” is now in Texas.

This picture was commissioned by one of “the aunts” back in the 80’s. I’m not sure where it was before it was given to my sister, Sue. If I was totally honest, I’d have to say I really don’t remember seeing it before she brought it to me in Colorado. It must have been in Omaha at Aunt Marie’s. After Marie died the “Homestead” began its journey. First to Sue’s in Waterloo, then to our house in Colorado, back to Iowa after we sold our house, and now with me again, this time, in Texas.

It fills my heart having this little bit of history back in my home–providing a connection to my family and my past.

It is the simple things and I am thankful.

“Roots are, I’m learning, as important as wings.” 

Michele Huey

I am…

B…simply being…

Sending you all love.





“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” 

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

When my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer in January of 2007, my life went into a tailspin. I was a thousand miles away and my workplace was busy. This was going to be difficult.

I  remember telling my office manager I was leaving and heading to Iowa. As I sobbed, I told her I didn’t know when I’d be back but I’d call when I had more information.

For four months (much longer, really) my work family protected me–giving me the space I needed to do whatever it was I needed to do.  No one questioned me. No one grew impatient with me as I took phone calls from family and chased down physicians as my sister’s condition deteriorated. At home my husband made sure we had whatever we needed in order to travel at a moment’s notice–not an easy feat when you are traveling to Iowa in February and March and the wind chill is somewhere around -20. Our friends did what they could to make all things easier–one rapid trip home was made possible because I was given a buddy pass for a direct flight to Des Moines. Our family and friends in Iowa were always close by supporting and visiting Beth when we could not be there while helping us all as we struggled along, attempting to understand.

Cancer is a brutal and aggressive in its battles. We understood the cards were stacked against us. Beth fought hard. Mid-May she told me she was ready to be done–she was tired–we headed to Iowa to be with her.

I am grateful for all who helped us all during that time. I never could have done what I did without so much support from every single person who stood beside me and my family. As I look back over those days I don’t think I’ve ever taken an inventory of all those amazing gifts of love and time. I am thankful. I love you all.

“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…

God bless you.




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