Many Gifts

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 

R.J. Palacio, Wonder

I’ve been thinking about my quick trip back to Denver. It was wonderful to be back with my old group of friends–maybe it was so special because it was last-minute–meaning I had a limited amount of time to over think things–this time I packed and I went.

On this trip, I’d planned to write. I was in a place where I had great wi-fi. That first day I sat down to write a quick story from my iPad. It did not go as smoothly as I expected. I’d never used my new iPad for writing.

Lesson learned and note to self–do not start something new when you aren’t home and do not have a real back-up plan.

As I mentioned in my most recent stories, I was wined and dined by my wonderful group of friends. Ann and Jim opened their home to me first–Ann picking me up at the airport with food and wine–recharging me for a night of catching up and story telling.

That night, I climbed into a freshly made bed and slept while the cool evening air circulated in my room. What a great thing–sleeping for the first time in weeks with windows open. Allergies be damned–it was wonderful.

Wednesday I met Kelli–a former co-worker–for lunch. What a great gift to have someone take time on their day off to have lunch with me. Thank you, Kelli. An additional luncheon plus was running into a former practice manager, Julia. How grand was that?

From Ann and Jim’s I re-packed and headed to Doug and Lana’s. These two people are so talented–their home is beautiful. I was able to sit on their back patio and enjoy the deer early in the mornings while enjoying a fresh cup of coffee. Thank you both–it has been a long time since I’ve talked so much. Once again, the food and wine was grand. Thank you. I was also able to meet their niece, Elizabeth. Thanks for taking Friday off to hang with us. Enjoyed you and our thrift store adventure.

Saturday was the day we’d all come together for–the memorial for John, the husband of one of our dearest friends. Time is so sneaky–it appears to drag along some days as we struggle with our daily challenges but in reality it is flying at break neck speed by us all. I am so thankful I was there to be with Julie. It was a day I will remember always. I love you, Julie. Always have–always will.

After Saturday’s gatherings, I was able to unwind with my soul sister, Mary Beth. For twenty years she was my across the street neighbor. We would open wine and talk and talk and talk some more. This time was no different. She cooked as we talked and shared our past, present, and our concerns and plans for our futures. We are much older than we were the first time we sat around kitchen tables. I’d like to think we are somewhat wiser. I definitely know we are very grateful for the time we’ve shared together.

From Mary Beth’s I returned to Ann and Jim’s. Thank you for lending me your wheels while I was there and for taking me back to the airport. You made everything so easy and I thank you.

The day before I returned home, I had lunch with my friend, Sandi. What a treat and a relief to sit down and talk with her fact-to face. She, too, lost her husband recently. She’d been telling me she was doing okay–I needed to see her to confirm that was indeed the truth. Thank you, Sandi, for having lunch with me–loved it and love you. Next trip we need to reserve more time.

After my time with all these amazing people, I know I’ve been given a gift that not all of us receive–the gift of time. I also know I’ve had amazing people beside me all along my journey–and I’ve been able to meet with many of them this summer. I’m thinking there are few people as lucky as I am.

I am thankful and I pray we all have much more time together.

I love you guys.

Thank you, God.

“But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” 

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, A Life for a Life  

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace be with you~  

 

 

The Reflection in the Mirror

“A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.” 

Shannon L. Alder

I have been home from Colorado for a few days now and I have some incredible memories.

I was welcomed into my friends’ homes where we talked for hours. The years evaporated as we all remembered old times while sharing our latest adventures and hopes for our futures.

One visit was especially special. It is the picture highlighting my story today.

Not only did I get to see my dear friend, Paula, she set time aside to cut my hair. Now–this probably seems like no big deal.

It was a very big deal–let me tell you why.

I met Paula in 1985–she was just out of cosmetology school and I’d just moved to Denver. We were both searching for people we could relate to–not an easy assignment for anyone back in the 80’s. We sat together through many stages of each others lives. I followed her around to various locations, sitting in her chair as she stood behind me–both literally and figuratively. We supported each other through the big hair days, perms, perm re-dos and more perm re-dos, highlights, blind dates, engagements, marriage plans, marriages, births, deaths, and dozens of other assorted stories we have both sworn to take with us to our graves.

She has been my professional confidant for decades. I had no idea just how much I’d missed her.

It’d been well over three years since I’d been in her chair. To have the opportunity to plop my rear into this spot once again was both powerful and healing. In a manner of minutes, I saw my old self emerge.

My haircut was the immediate visual part of our visit. It was during the quiet moments that followed as I made my way across town I realized my soul was once again rejoicing in another much needed Denver re-connection.

Thank you, Paula. I love and treasure you.

“While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.” 

John Williams, Stoner

I am…

B…simply being…

I am blessed and I am grateful.

~Peace be with you, my dear friends~

 

 

 

The Gift of Friendship

In your entire life, you can probably count your true friends on one hand. Maybe even on one finger. Those are the friends you need to cherish, and I wouldn’t trade one of them for a hundred of the other kind. I’d rather be completely alone than with a bunch of people who aren’t real. People who are just passing time.” 

Sarah Ockler, Fixing Delilah

My trip back to Colorado last week began with this wonderful woman picking me up at the airport.

As we made our way out of DIA, she handed me a little bag filled with sandwiches and a glass of chilled Chardonnay.

It was the beginning of a week I’ll remember and cherish for a very long time.

Thank you, Ann, for being there for me and making all things so much easier.

I love you.

“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

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

The Love Of Friends

When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different–you feel safe and comfortable. -Jess C. Scott, The Intern

Sometimes you need to sit back and count your blessings.

This is one of those times.

I am surrounded by old friends who have opened their homes and their hearts for me so I can be here for a few days while we all gather to support one of our own.

For this and much more, I am grateful.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Morning Greetings

 

It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.  Rumi

For the past month or so, I’ve added something to my morning ritual.

I like it.

“In our deeds we can structure our lives so that the simple things that we do everyday, from bathing to cooking, have resonance and ritual. –Ilsa Crawford” Louisa Thomsen Brits, The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well

For years I’ve written morning pages which have evolved into an expanded gratitude list. I’d become very comfortable with this early morning routine–my very own ritual–pouring my coffee, selecting my music, lighting my candle, and writing my thanks.

This past month several of my close friends faced life changing experiences. Because many were grieving or feeling helpless and alone, I knew I needed to find a way to connect with them on a more intimate level.

The problem–I’m far away.

So, I decided to send each a text every morning as I wrote and gave thanks for their friendship. With these short messages I was able to reach out and give my support.

After a few weeks, an interesting thing started to happen.

My morning greetings became the focal part of my evolving ritual. My thanks begin with the words I sent to my brave friends. Each person had  shown in their own way what resilience looks like in action.

I am grateful to be here for them in any way I can–I am proud of them all. In a perfect world I would be there in person. Our world is far from perfect–being able to send my message across the miles instantly is incredible to me. In a flash, my words and prayers go where I cannot–

Thank you, God.

“Prayer is a path where there is none.” Noah Benshea, Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom For a Complicated World

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

97…98…99…100! Ready or Not…

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Some days my stories come easily–other days they run and hide like we used to do when we played hide-n-seek as kids.

I never liked being the one who had to find everyone. I was not a fast runner so racing kids back “home” after I found them rarely worked out well for me. I was much better at hiding.  We had some amazing places to hide. I don’t remember who was the first one to jump down and hide in the deep window wells of the Congregational Church or duck down behind the walls of the little balcony-like places of the Methodist Church. Whoever that kid was definitely became the champion of the game. Once used, those shadowy spots were no longer secret–although we all rushed to use them on the nights when new kids joined in our game.

That memory was a treat today and a simple story to share.

I think it’s a safe bet I’m not the only one with memories of those hide-n-seek games. I’m  feeling pretty fortunate to have this little tale to share. I hope I’ve stirred up a memory or two for you as well.

The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.” Vera Nazarian, Dreams of the Compass Rose

I am…

B…simply being…

Get out and make some memories this weekend.

God bless…

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

Today’s Gift

I’ve been reading so much about worthiness lately I should not have been surprised when I found this prayer by Maria Shriver in the notes I made while reading her book, I’ve Been Thinking…:

Dear God, I trust that you will meet me right where I am. Help me to make choices that are good for me and those I love. Help me to become the person I’m meant to be. Help me to say and believe that today, I am enough and I am worthy. Help me to know that each day is a gift and I can begin anew.  

Amen.

On this beautiful July day, I felt this would be the perfect thing to share.

May these words help us to trust our journey and remind us that we are enough and worthy.

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

 

When Work is Play

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” 

Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

Michael and I stood back today and looked over all the work we have done these past few weeks. It is coming together and looking better than either one of us imagined.

I’m not saying we aren’t tired. In fact, my story is late today because my planned hour nap turned into a two-hour nap.

I’ve learned listening to my body pays off in the long run. Isn’t that part of being kind? Doesn’t kindness extend to being kind to oneself? Of course it does. This is one lesson that’s taken me a long time to recognize, understand, and learn.

I have to tell you, I’m enjoying each new awareness and I am grateful.

“You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift… YOU!” 

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

I am…

B…simply being…

Be kind, my friends, remembering that includes being kind to YOU.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

The Good People

“The good people never die.” 

“What do you mean?” Sky glanced at Leon. He was staring straight ahead and he looked really sad. She wondered if he’d lost someone too.

“They live on in the things they said and did – they live on inside of us.” 

Siobhan Curham, Tell it to the Moon

Late yesterday I learned my friend, Margie, lost her husband, Paul, after a long battle with cancer. Margie, I send you my love and prayers. May your memories comfort you as your family and friends surround you with their love and care.

As my good friend Judi reminds me, the longer we live the more people we will say good-bye to.

I never have been so good with reality.

Treasure those you love, my dear friends.

It certainly has been a month filled with not so gentle reminders.

“I am always saddened by the death of a good person. It is from this sadness that a feeling of gratitude emerges. I feel honored to have known them and blessed that their passing serves as a reminder to me that my time on this beautiful earth is limited and that I should seize the opportunity I have to forgive, share, explore, and love. I can think of no greater way to honor the deceased than to live this way.” 

Steve Maraboli

I am…

B…simply being…

May Tom, John, and Paul all rest in peace. What a picture that thought creates in my mind!

Yes, God does have a marvelous sense of humor.

Take time to be kind and may God bless us all.

~Peace be with you~

Self Work

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss—an arm, a leg, money, a wife, etc.—is sure to be noticed. 

-Soren Kierkegaard

I’ve been doing what I call “self work” for most of my adult life. I’ve been fortunate to find the right teachers at the right time. Not only have I had excellent teachers, I had the added benefit of traveling with like-minded seekers who are now some of  my closest friends.

Looking back, some of these connections seem miraculous. From a last-minute decision to attend a non-credit class to reconnecting with old friends via Facebook to finding an obscure book standing upright on the shelf at the small local library, I am learning more about myself as the stream of teachers flow in.

That little obscure book has been sitting beside me for days now–I’ve delayed opening it–I’m not sure why. Maybe the title was a trigger: Unworthy, How to Stop Hating Yourself, by Anneli Rufus.

I began reading it today. That little uneasiness I felt was warranted. This author has much to share with me and I bet she has some insight for you as well.

Below are some of the notes I made today.  The words “self hate” may sound strong to you–as Ms. Rufus says, “Maybe I no longer hate myself–I just don’t like myself much.” Whatever terminology feels best to you, Anneli speaks honestly to those of us who feel or who have ever felt unworthy.

“We the afflicted, we who hate ourselves, need to know that thinking, actions, and feeling come easily to those with self-respect; that these seemingly simple processes–thinking, acting, and feeling, thus including hope and love–are monumentally different for us, requiring twice as much effort on our part as other as others have to expand. For us, even a simple task–dressing, ordering food in restaurants–means thinking, over thinking, unthinking, striding through thick waves of shame, dread and fear. That sound ludicrously like an act of courage.”

“For more than forty years I believed that I was not all there. For more than forty years I did not understand that I WAS there but someone else had made me believe I was not all there.” 

“Start here: You are astounding just for being human, merely for belonging to this species that is capable of language, laughter, creativity, and love. With just one hand you can soothe a child, play a tune, or stitch a wound. With just one eye, you could signal warning or friendship, read the entire contents of a library, or find your way out of the woods. And your brain is the Universe’s greatest creation.”

I hope these snippets stir up your curiosity about what I will share tomorrow and what we can learn together.

“The only way to make a spoilt machine work again is to break it down, work on its inner system and fix it again. Screw out the bolts of your life, examine and work on yourself, fix your life again and get going.” 

Israelmore Ayivor

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~