Love

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Today’s the day–in a few hours, Matthew Rogers and Stacy Williams will become Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.

It’s been an honor to be here, watching the celebration come together.

I am proud of my sister, Sue, and her husband, Al, for the outstanding young man they’ve raised. He is handsome, kind, considerate, and clearly in love with his bride-to-be.

I’ve also had the opportunity to spend some time with my niece, Ashley, Matt’s sister. She is a beautiful young woman with a persona that radiates compassion, artistry, and a strong sense of independence. What a joy it has been to witness how the these two siblings support, love, and encourage each other.

Thank you for allowing me to share you.

I love you.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” 

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Traveling

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

I’ve been traveling this week so my story telling time has had to take a back seat–literally–my computer has its own little spot back there.

I’m back in Iowa for my nephew’s wedding. It’s been fun to be here and watch the activities gear up and start taking shape. The time has flown by me.

Thankfully I’ve been here to help where I can while adding a little bit of diversion along with an extra ear for venting.

An added bonus is I’ve seen a few friends and soaked up the energy only found here–the rich black soil of home.

I am grateful.

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can, 

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as you can. 

~John Wesley

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

Anticipation

 “And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.” 

Caroline Kepnes, You

I have been gathering things together for some time in preparation for my trip to Iowa for my nephew’s wedding.

The little odd jobs I’ve had to do these past few weeks have distracted me. I am grateful.

Now, it’s time to pull it all together.

I’ve been questioning many things–wondering if I’ve made the best decisions.

My guess is I am not alone in these thoughts. The questioning can be relentless.

May this prayer help you, my fellow debaters.

May we all enjoy a good night’s rest.

Now is the time to light the vesper candles

  of the soul

for their flame shall illuminate this sacred 

   place. 

Now is the time to rest in the indigo blue

   arms of the earth

for the earth shall support and embrace you. 

Now is the time to dry the tears of the day

for the Spirit shall comfort and console you. 

Now is the time to offer thanks for the 

   blessings of the day

for the Spirit shall receive and honor your

   graciousness. 

Now is the time to hear the lullaby of wind 

   over land

for you shall be rocked in the soothing

   of its rhythm. 

Now is the time to close your eyes and let

   sleep come

for the Spirit shall keep tender vigil through

   the night.  

~Susan J. Erikson, Bedside Prayers

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~ 

 

Strength

“The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don’t want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don’t have a soul.” 

Sir Thomas More

What a joy it is to get the gardens cleaned up and replanted.

I learned last year to give new plants room to grow–less really can mean more in certain situations–allow room for growth.

I’ve been surprised by the encouragement I’ve felt from the plants I’ve discovered hidden under the mulch while clearing out leaves and dried plants. Under it all I’ve found little sprigs of green that’d survived the winter as well as the late spring frosts.

What a wonderful gift–to see how these fragile little flowers withstood unexpected hardship, held strong, and continued to rise onward and upward.

I am grateful for the gifts Mother Nature showers upon me–each new leaf and tiny bud finds a way to soothe my heart.

“Faeries are known to be tenders of plants and energizing inhabitants of gardens. They are more elusive than Angels and often have lively, mercurial temperaments. They are active in preserving what little wilderness remains on the Earth.” 

Elizabeth Eiler, Swift and Brave: Sacred Souls of Animals

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Nudges

“You know, bicycling isn’t just a matter of balance,” I said. “it’s a matter of faith. You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not the ground. I’m going to call that the Bicyclist’s Philosophy of Life.” 

Susan Vreeland, Clara and Mr. Tiffany

I started riding a bicycle this week for the first time in twenty-five years–give or take a few years.

They say you never forget how to ride a bike. I gotta say–I disagree.

This week I grabbed my helmet and started peddling. I felt like I was eight years old again–my sense of balance was in the negative zone and my self-confidence was even lower. I had many starts and stops but I persisted.

My new bicycle is a power assist bike–a RADmini step through, to be exact. With the power assist I am able to make it up the steep hills that surround our little house on the HILL.

It’s taking a lot longer than I thought it would but I am finding my core. After all these years I know it’s in there somewhere. After each ride I feel stronger and more in control of the ride. The hardest thing for me is turning. I am positive as a young person I never thought once about making a turn. Now that one maneuver creates anxiety the moment I get on my bike.

I KNOW I’m over thinking all of this. I need to stop the drama, get on my beautiful new bike, and RIDE, RIDE, RIDE…

At this stage of my life I will be generous with myself and take all my challenges one pedal at a time. I survived a near wipe-out by staying centered and calm. THAT was a major victory for me–made even more momentous by the fact had I fallen I would have ended up in the middle of a very large fire ant mound.

Mother Nature is also giving me encouragement. On my first long morning ride–if you can actually call it long–I saw a coyote saunter across the road ahead of me and as I made my way home, a magnificent Bald Eagle flew across my path.

My form is far from pretty–I’m sure it’s a form uniquely my own. I shake my head and lumber on. I can feel my tenacious determination rearing its meek little head, giving me support while gently applying steady nudges forward.

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.” 

James E. Starrs, The Literary Cyclist: Great Bicycling Scenes in Literature

Before closing my computer for the weekend, I wanted to share a prayer I found earlier today. It is perfect for me and I think it may help others who read my stories. I am grateful for your powerful presence here in my storyteller’s corner. I treasure you.

   Dear Lord, there has been too much change in my life recently, and I feel overwhelmed. Because I try to be a responsible person, I sometimes forget that it is unwise for me to allow my sense of duty to override my common sense. 

   Lord, help me to allow myself more time to rest, relax, and pray. Guide me toward something spiritual to read every day and a quiet time afterwards to reflect on what I  have read and how it pertains to my life. I truly want to simplify my life and live more as Christ did. Help me remember that there is no loss or problem I must face alone. you are always near, with Your love and compassion to comfort me. 

   ~Amen

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Resilience

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” 

Elizabeth Edwards

I think it was Tim Shriver who said what has not been grieved will continue to show up in your life.

I was reminded of this quote these past few weeks as I attempted to processed the unknown illness of our Tibetan Terrier,  Ruby,  and the sudden death of our Lhasa Apso, Duffy.

The pain from these two incidents has pulled up some old stuff. Stuff I’ve had to shove down into some deep dark place many years ago in order to survive and maintain the status quo of my family,  my sisters, and myself.

Interesting, I chose to not edit the order of that list because I wanted it to serve as a reminder of where I still placed my priorities even now, at the age of 65 years. Without conscious thought, I’d automatically placed  myself at the end of those who needed care and/or protection.

It’s past time to reset those priority button so I can work on my core beliefs, acknowledge my own worth, and begin to work on the grief  I’ve carried around with me for the past fifty some years.

“The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside. There is pain in this world that you can’t be cheered out of. You don’t need solutions. You don’t need to move on from your grief. You need someone to see your grief, to acknowledge it. You need someone to hold your hands while you stand there in blinking horror, staring at the hole that was your life. Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” 

Megan Devine, It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

The New Normal

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” 

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein

Our pack is quietly moving into our new normal. We are all eating and sleeping better. We’ve all moved closer to each other–physically and emotionally.

We move on–side by side–day by day–baby step by baby step.

I found a prayer I’d like to share with you today.

   Lord, teach me to be patient–with life, with people and with myself. I sometimes try to hurry things along too much, and I push for answers before the time is right. Teach me to trust Your sense of timing rather than my own and to surrender my will to Your grater and wiser plan. 

   Help me let life unfold slowly, like the small rosebud whose petals unravel bit by bit, and remind me that in hurrying the bloom along, I destroy the bud and much of the beauty therein. Instead let me wait for all to unfold in its own time. Each moment and state of growth contains a liveliness. Teach me to slow down enough to appreciate life and all it holds.  Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Paw Prints

“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   

It’s been a long week filled with moments of sadness intermixed with hours of numbness.

I’ve definitely been taking my little world for granted. The unexpected loss of our Duffy caught me off guard.

The house remains unnaturally quiet. I had not recognized what an instigator Duffy was or how much his whole spirit filled up a room. The void he left is immeasurable.

I have been surrounded by those who love me. I’ve been showered with kind words and deeds. I am humbled and grateful.

I have been reminded how important it is to be kind. I see there is no right or wrong when it comes to being kind and expressing sympathy. I know the most important thing is to just show up–in whatever way you can find to do so.

Our little house on the hill has lost its Prince. Across the land, smiles and tails are at half mast.

We are a hardy lot.

The remaining little pack is tight and exceptionally tolerant of each other right now. I think we feel the need to stay close–so we are doing just that.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I am…

B…simply being.

~May God bless us all with peace.~

My Teacher

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

My mind has been filled with thoughts of my Duffy for the past few days. Most of them are happy thoughts. The ones that are unhappy revolve around feeling I did not spend enough time with him.

I always thought I had more time.

My precious Duff may be the one who finally helps me understand time is never promised. It’s up to us to grab onto every single minute and be in that moment. Let go of the yesterdays and give all the worries about tomorrow to the Universe. Be aware of the present and wallow in it.

He taught me so many other things.

He taught me it’s okay to ask for help when you’re scared. He was our early storm warning system. When a storm was on the way he wanted to be close to us. Once he had that connection, he relaxed and let the storm pass.

He showed me examples of trust every single day. He simply knew those who loved him would always catch him if he missed a jump, grab him before he slipped off the couch, or make decisions in his best interest.

Even when he was not feeling well–he could not have been feeling well for some time–he always made his s-ing type maneuvers and instigated all kinds of disruptions with the other dogs. There was not many quiet moments here with the Duff around. It is extremely quiet today.

He loved everyone he met but he lived to sit on Michael’s lap. Those lap visits were full of huge hugs while nudging Michael’s hand for more and more pets. There were never enough hands on this little man.

As each day goes by, I see more and more things he taught me.

As of now, some of the most valuable lessons are:

There is nothing more important than spending time with those you love. Nothing. Do whatever you have to do to get their attention–do figure eights and wind yourself around their legs if you have to in order to get their attention.

Be vocal and tell those you love you are excited to see them. I miss his little howls of joy whenever we all climbed out of bed in the morning or met each other at the door later in the day. He was happy to see us and he let us know it.

Remember the work–whatever that work may be–will be there tomorrow or the next day. Sit down, stretch out, and share your space with those you love. Regardless of whatever else may be going on in your space, ignore it so you can give extra big hugs to those all around.

If someone is unhappy with you, go to your favorite spot and stay there until they forget about it. When you come back in, come back as though nothing has happened. A little joyful howl upon entrance is a sure bet all will be forgiven.

Above all else, hold your head up high and know you are worthy of all good things. You are a prince/princess. Turn your back to the negatives and let them pass. God’s got this and He has it all in control.

I know I was fortunate to have had him in my life.

Monday he took a giant piece of my heart with him but left me with even more love and hundreds of memories. I know, as time goes on, I’ll be comforted by them. These little gifts, all gifts that reflect the cleverness of Duffy, will allow me to heel…pun intended.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

The Prince of Royal Court

We had to say good-bye to our Duffy today.

He was the purest example of unconditional love I’ve ever known.

I knew something was wrong with this little guy and I had a pretty good idea what the outcome would be–should be–for him.

We could have given him insulin injections and kept him captive here so I didn’t have to say good-bye so soon. We were caught a little bit off guard and not really ready. It was way, way, way too soon to be making this decision.

In reality it isn’t about our feelings. It was our responsibility to do what was best for this beautiful dog who had put all his trust in us to do the best for him.

That left little room for debate–in my opinion.

Today at about 1215 we let him go. It was beyond hard in so many ways.

Duffy was the most loving, funny, and generous soul I’ve ever known. He never doubted you’d be there to catch him when he missed a jump or misjudged the edge of the couch. He just set his course, settled in, and trusted you to take care of him.

We always said we needed to be a little bit more like Duffy.

I am so grateful for the time we had with him. I’m not sure what we did to deserve him but I am so very thankful for almost every minute.

He’d come in to sit with me every day as I wrote my stories. Writing today is only happening because I needed to get some of the pain out of my head. Not sure if I’ll be ready to tell any stories tomorrow.

Run free, little man.

You left your mark on many hearts here and left with huge pieces of Micheal’s and mine. I love you and will miss you every single day. You were a powerful soul. This space echoes in your absence.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~