Breathe

“The road to happiness starts with a deep breath and an awareness of the many blessings tied to that single breath.” 

Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

Breathe in.

I took in many deep breaths today, fiddling here and there as I worried about this and that.

I eventually realized I had to stop the busyness in order to become aware of my thoughts. My gut told me I was not on a positive path. I needed to stand back and take a few deep breaths. As I held each breath, I gave myself the time to evaluate my concerns. As I exhaled, I acknowledged each worry, prayed for guidance, and released each and every nagging thought out to the Universe.

Worries are always going to sneak in. They come in all kinds of diguises. Today reminded me to breathe–follow this simple process instead of allowing my thoughts to grow into monsters.

As the sunlight fades outside my office, I appreciate re-learning this very valuable lesson. I understand and KNOW I have the power to make my life easy or difficult. It is up to me.

“You have peace,” the old woman said, “when you make it with yourself.” 

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless us all.

~Peace~

My thanks to my friend, Kathy Adams Brezinski, for allowing me to use her wonderful photo today. I am blessed and I am so thankful.

Humankind

“Wild animals are less wild and more human than many humans of this world” 

Munia Khan

A friend posted the word “humankind” today on Facebook followed by, “try being both.”

What has happened to our world?   

Yes, another mass shooting happened this last weekend. What scared me the most Saturday was the fact I was no longer shocked as I read the breaking news banner pasted on the front of my phone. A confirmed mass shooting at a Pittsburg synagogue. These tragedies have become as every day as the latest wild-fire or category 5 hurricane. We have become numb and almost anesthetized.

As I walked into my office, I looked out our front door and saw this beautiful buck relaxing in the shade.

Thank you, God, for sharing this magnificent animal with me at this moment. His calm gaze gave me great peace.  Thank you.

As I began reading quotes for today’s story, I kept reading passages attributed to L.R. Knost. I had no idea who this person was but I certainly agreed with what s/he had to say.

I discovered L.R. Knost is a young author and mom who lives in Florida with her husband and four of her six children. She is a well published author with several of her books cited in the short article: Two Thousand Kisses a Day, Whispers Through Time, The Gentle Parent, and Jesus, the Gentle Parent.

I could not decide on which quote to share so I decided to share several.

“Healing a hurting humanity starts with a sacred pause, to listen, to learn, to understand, to accept, to forgive, to respect. That sacred pause transcends the fear-driven brutality of the primitive human survival instinct and makes way for a thoughtful, intentional, peaceful, humane response. Peaceful coexistence on this lovely planet is not impossible. It is imperative. Our future, our humanity, our very survival depends on it.” 

L.R. Knost

“I know the concern over the events in our nation doesn’t end at our borders. Because there are no borders, really, if you think about it. Everything we do on this planet has repercussions that reverberate around the world. Because we’re connected. We belong to each other. And we need each other. We will get through this. Together. And we’ll learn and grow and overcome. Together. I believe the good things in this world outnumber the sad. And I believe the good people outnumber the bad. We are the lights sparkling in the darkness, and our hope and love are going to set the world on fire. I believe in us.” 

L.R. Knost

“Do not be hardened by the pain 

and cruelty of this world. 

Be strong enough to be gentle, 

to be soft and supple like running water, 

gracefully bending around sudden turns, 

lithely waving in strong winds, 

freely flowing over sharp rocks, 

all the while quietly sculpting 

this hard world into ever deeper beauty, 

gently eroding rigid rock into silken sand,

tenderly transforming human cruelty 

into human kindness. 

Remember, true strength is not found in the stone, 

but in the water that shapes the stone.” 

L.R. Knost

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you.~

 

 

 

 

 

I Voted

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

We voted today. I was so surprised. The whole process was super easy and very fast.

This was the first time I sat down taking the time to read about the people running for office. I wanted to see where each candidate stood on the issues important to me. For the first time in my adult life, I needed to be a truly informed voter.

I must admit, I am a lazy voter. I think many of us are. I remember growing up listening to my parents talk about voting. Honestly, I did not know you could NOT vote a straight party ticket. I’ll never forget the first time I voted, closing the curtain and realizing I could actually choose individual candidates. No wonder there were so many people campaigning for these different offices. A classic example of not knowing what you don’t know.

I obviously missed something in my American Government class.

I’m thinking there may be other people out there who still vote a straight ticket because they are concentrating on one certain office.

Oh, my friends, I hope we have learned how destructive this practice can be and why it is important to vote wisely.

Like many, I keep wondering how I can make this all better.

I know–vote. My question to us all is can we turn this train around fast enough to save our country?

I certainly hope so and we have to start NOW.

Change starts with one very simple thing–the thing so many brave men and women have died defending.

VOTE.

Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” 

Abraham Lincoln

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Dear Friend

“My Dear Friend, 

Don’t ever allow yourself to forget how incredibly special you are, even for a single second. Without you, the world would not be as magnificent. Let yourself remember to love again, starting with you loving you.” 

Miya Yamanouchi, Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women

Oh, there are many people in my little circle of friends going through some difficult times.

I understand this is part of getting older. That does not mean I have to like it.

Take a minute, my friends, to reach out to those important to you–you will both feel better for it.

“I have noticed that most times, the least that you give out is the best that someone really needs. So, don’t always wait till you have something big to give before you do so! Someone’s “big” is your “little”!” 

Israelmore Ayivor, Daily Drive 365

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Acknowledgement

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” 

Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Today I watched short video today on Facebook Watch by Megan Devin. In this short animated video Megan talked about how to help a friend going through difficult times.

I’ve watched this video several times today because it helped me understand a lot about my own story. My stories have cleverly evaded me all my life. By sharing them I hope to understand myself better. Some experiences are difficult to share but I share to help others who may have had similar experiences. Unless I sort through all the baggage I’ve been carrying around with me all these years, I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace. As I unpack I pray others will find a way to lessen their own load.

Here are some of the things Megan mentioned that helped me understand my own feelings about loss and grief.

We’ve all been in situations where someone we love is hurting. It’s a hard thing to watch because we feel helpless. We’ve been taught we need to find a way to make things all better–we need to fix it.

Megan discovered it’s actually better to stop trying to cheer them up. Contrary to what we believe, it is better to allow that loved one to feel their pain.

Megan quotes Palmer Parker:

“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. 

It simply wants to be witnessed exactly as it is.” 

We cannot make someone feel better by trying to lessen the pain they are experiencing. What does help is letting them know we understand, we know their pain is real, and the pain they feel is just as bad as we think it is.

For me, the grief I’ve suppressed over the years has become a monster. After my mom died no one ever talked about her again. She’d completely disappeared. Even as a kid I could tell people didn’t know what to say–so they said NOTHING.

I wonder if my childhood would have been any different if someone had been brave enough to ask me if I was really okay? How was I doing without my mom?  Did I want to talk about her?

If someone close to you has lost a loved one, reach out to them. Be patient and allow them to be in their pain with you. Listen to them with the knowledge you cannot fix anything but you are there and you can help them heal.

” I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later, when somebody says your name for the last time.”  ~Banksy

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Large Paw Print

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly Lorenzana

Every year when Halloween approaches, I think of my dog, Fanny.

I’ve written about Fanny before–I think it was Halloween last year when I shared the story about how she disappeared from our backyard.

Fanny was my first dog and the soul who comforted me after my Mom died. When my stepmother joined our family, Fanny was one of the first things to go.

Sadly, I never knew why she disappeared–I went in search of her for days and days–especially on Halloween when I knew people could be mean to animals. It was weeks later when the phone rang. I raced to answer the phone–being a teenager I was certain it had to be one of my friends. As I listened, I heard a very nice woman tell me she had just adopted our dog–my dog–from the Waterloo Humane Society. She needed to know if she was current with her shots?

My heart broke into so many pieces.

Part of me was happy because I knew Fanny would never leave me. But…I also learned, in a flash, people and things are not always as they seem.

On that Saturday afternoon, I lost my trust in most adults.

For some reason Fanny has been on my mind. Maybe it’s because our oldest dog, Bud has been following me closely the past few days. His intense gaze reminds me of Fanny–maybe she is visiting?

That thought, my friends, is very comforting.

Thanks, Fanny. I love you always.

“The very best thing about dogs is how they just know when you need them most, and they’ll drop everything that they’re doing to sit with you awhile.” 

Steven Rowley

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Expectations

“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” 

Margaret Mitchell

For many, this week has been a nightmare. The stories that continue to emerge are heartbreaking.

As I sat down at my desk this afternoon, it was raining–hard. Each drop dulls my mind and weighs down my heart.

There is something different about this rain now. It makes things feel unfamiliar and uncertain–no longer stable or safe.

We’ve watched our community and our neighbors lose so much in a matter of hours. We gather in groups at the store to talk about what we saw and how the entire landscape around us has changed. Our tears flow–as does the rain.

Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” 

José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love

Many tears have been shed all across our country for years. For me, the things I’ve witnessed this week have added a much deeper understanding of natural disasters. It reminded of when I lived in Colorado and saw wildfires explode, taking all that was in its path. All in Colorado cried as we helplessly watched walls of fire destroy the homes of neighbors and friends.

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. 

” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.” 

Alexandre Dumas

Our world seems to be filled with much misery. I don’t know–do you think maybe we are given these experiences as some last-ditch effort to help us find some common ground in order to understand each other better?

A prayer for the weekend with my thanks to St. John Fisher Catholic Church:

God of compassion,

You created a world for us

To know your love and peace

Yet amidst the beauty of creation

We encounter pain and hurt

And forces beyond our control.

At times like this our hearts are shaken and ache with sorrow.

At the destruction of our lives, homes and livelihoods.

Hear our prayers for those affected by the floods

And for all those working

To bring relief and fresh hope.

Amen  

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Please Start Stopping

“The storm starts, when the drops start dropping

When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.” 

Dr. Seuss

I hope the storms start stopping soon.

The forecast is not encouraging.

It’s time to put an official call out to all my prayer warriors out there.

Please join me in prayer for all struggling to recover from the natural disasters that have besieged our world.

The following prayer was composed by the Diocese of Austin for those affected by the recent storms in Central Texas. 

 God of majesty and compassion, 

You set the earth on its foundation 

and all elements of nature obey your command. 

You created us and know the fragility of human life. 

Help us [or our sisters and brothers] 

in our time of trouble; 

hold back the damaging winds 

and contain the waters that threaten our community 

so our fears may turn into praise of your goodness. 

  

Have mercy on those who have died in the flood waters. 

Welcome them into your Kingdom of peace and joy. 

Bring consolation 

to those who have lost loved ones and friends. 

  

In your compassion look upon us 

and give us tears to mourn their loss 

and strength to assist in the needed rebuilding. 

Protects us and help us to live for you. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

A Very Sad Wet Day

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” 

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Since we moved into our house I’ve told everyone Lake LBJ would never flood.

Never say never.

Throughout the night we heard siren after siren signaling more flood gates were opened at Wirtz Dam. This morning the Lower Colorado River Authority could not keep up with the massive amount of water coming into Lake LBJ.

Our little communities on the shores of Lake LBJ washed away as flood waters rose.

I’ve sat in front of the TV hypnotized as docks, boats, homes, and collapsed bridges washed over Starke Dam.

Put Texas on your prayer list tonight. The rain has slowed but the Llano River upstream will crest for the second time later tonight at a level even higher than what was seen today.

God, I need to know that You are with me; that You hear my cry, I long to feel Your presence not just this day but every day. When I am weak and in pain, I need to know You are beside me. That in itself is often comfort enough. I do not pretend to know Your ways, to know why this world You have created can be so beautiful, so magnificent, and yet so harsh, so ugly, and so full of hate. The lot You have bestowed upon me is a heavy one. I am angry. I want to know why: why the innocent must suffer, why life is so full of grief. There are times when I want to have nothing to nothing to do with You. When to think of You brings nothing but confusion and ambivalence. And there are times, like this time, when I see to return to You, when I feel the emptiness that comes when I am far from You. Watch over me and my loved ones. Forgive me for all that I have not been. Help me appreciate all that I have, and to realize all that I have to offer. Help me to find my way back to you so I may never be alone. Amen.   Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless. Please stay safe my dear friends.

~Peace~

My thanks to Texas Parks and Wildlife for the photo I’m using today.

Hell-o, Doctor?

“Your warmth has more healing power upon the patient than all the medical tools in the world.” 

Abhijit Naskar, Time to Save Medicine

I had my “Welcome to Medicare” physical today.

This was my second physical with “my personal care provider.”

I have no doubts he is a good doctor. I am having doubts whether he is the right fit for me.

I think I’ve figured out why finding “the one” is so difficult for me. It is not unlike dating–in the dating world and in the seeking a physician world, both parties have expectations of what they expect from each other.

To clarify, I come from a long healthcare career. For most of my so-called adult life, my physicians were people I knew from working with them. They knew me not only as a fellow healthcare worker but as a person. Many knew my family–which was not always a plus. When I had an appointment with them, they listened to my concerns and knew I had some knowledge to contribute on how things progressed from there. We talked. We had eye contact. We questioned back and forth as we planned together.

Retirement changed that. We moved to a new state and entered the world of the self-insured. It has been a rough road with not many good advisers out there.  I’ve learned what it’s like to be on the other side of healthcare. It is not a comfortable place to be nor is the forecast for the immediate future favorable.

Today I sat beside my physician, telling him about my latest symptoms while reviewing my list of questions, yearning for the eye contact confirming he actually heard my concerns. As I spoke, I watched, leaving little breaks in my dissertation, hoping that’d encourage some type of acknowledgement. Not the case. My silence seemed to give him the opportunity to progress through his forms more quickly. I wondered if he’d noticed I’d stopped talking. I don’t think so. My pauses did give me time to realized most of what I’d shared with him only brushed the surface of my real concerns. Sadly, this made me aware he was completely unaware of how uneasy I was entering this phase of my life. I’d filled out all the forms and answered all the questions honestly… I had not been depressed. My energy level was good. I did exercise. My home was safe. Okay–yes, I still had my daily glass or two of wine…As he checked off his boxes in his history taking form, I realized I was not going to get the level of empathetic care I’d hoped.

This was and is so sad to me.

At a time when we “seniors” most need a healthcare provider to care for us physically, mentally, and emotionally, most of those needs do not have a corresponding box on any of those review of systems pages.

Did I get good care today?

It’s all still pretty new to me. I think I received the level of care that is standard practice today. Does that make it good care? I guess that depends on how you define that good care.

I don’t think all the government and insurance companies rules and regulations have made anything better or safer. I guess that probably wasn’t the real reason anyway. What it did do was create a badly engineered money-making machine that continues to wobble on in spite of itself. No one knows how to fix it so we all, physician and patient, do our best to adapt in order to survive.

“THE MAXIMS OF MEDICINE 

Before you examine the body of a patient,

Be patient to learn his story.

For once you learn his story,

You will also come to know

His body.

Before you diagnose any sickness,

Make sure there is no sickness in the mind or heart.

For the emotions in a man’s moon or sun,

Can point to the sickness in

Any one of his other parts.

Before you treat a man with a condition,

Know that not all cures can heal all people.

For the chemistry that works on one patient,

May not work for the next,

Because even medicine has its own

Conditions.

Before asserting a prognosis on any patient,

Always be objective and never subjective.

For telling a man that he will win the treasure of life,

But then later discovering that he will lose,

Will harm him more than by telling him

That he may lose,

But then he wins.

THE MAXIMS OF MEDICINE by Suzy Kassem” 

Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~