Thoughts Over Time

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” 

William Penn

Up until February or so of this year, I had a whole list of things I said I’d do when I got the time.

I’ve certainly had the time but my list has not really changed very much.

The concept of time has become almost mystical.  Days blend into each other making it hard for me to remember if I’d done a certain task this morning or was that yesterday morning. Weekends merge into the rest of the days and I find myself saying things like it’s Monday again or is it really Friday already? Fridays did not come this fast when I was working!

For the first time in my life I’ve been home consistently enough to witness the sun change its arc across the sky. I’ve watched the fawns lose their spots and baby birds grow up at our bird feeders. I’ve seen most of the sunrises and sunsets which became visual reminders of the power and steadfastness of God.

I’ve continued my search for self and made strong commitments to self-care. This was not and is not always easy but I’m making steady if slow progress.

I’ve made time to talk with God daily and continue to find prayers that fit my life and ones to share. I’ve learned short informal prayers are great because sometimes less really is more. Fewer words mean I can add some of my own and make my conversation with God more personal. I like that–a lot.

Sometimes the most important things we need to do aren’t on any list.

Lord help me

to remember

that nothing

is going to happen

to me today

that You and I

together can’t handle.

Amen.  

~Unknown~

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Prayer

“For the happy man prayer is only a jumble of words, until the day when sorrow comes to explain to him the sublime language by means of which he speaks to God.” 

― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to relight my votive candle. Until now the wax would have melted without lighting the wick. I’d forgotten how the glow of light illuminating Mary’s face helps calm my restless and sometimes anxious soul.

Right now there seems to be so much heartache around me–both on a personal level and as I observe the unrest in this country I love.

I can’t help but think of that sociology or psychology experiment where an infant monkey was denied physical contact and how that tiny little one failed to thrive both physically and emotionally. Are we on an entire world scale collectively failing to thrive because of our isolation from each other? Is our fearful withdrawal creating another type of illness just as dangerous as “the Covid?”

I’m not sure of the answer. After so many months of uncertainty, I don’t know who or what to believe. I find myself watching hours, days, and months march by with only more uncertainty ahead. I wonder what our future holds as colder weather moves in with all the usual viruses meeting up CV-19 and its mutated cousins. 

I do know the power of prayer so my votive candle has returned to my favorite spot on our back patio. It is here I visit daily to pray. It is the only thing I know for sure I can do to help. 

Join me.

God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people.

Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Weary

“Her eyes look tired, but it’s her soul that’s truly weary.” ~Liz Newman~

 

I’ve taken some time away from my desk so I could do some quiet reflection.

Like so many I’d become weary.

Weary of extremes I encountered everywhere throughout my day.

Weary of having to use caution in how I talked with valued friends because they may or may not share my political opinion.

Weary of hearing how many people died of Covid-19 in our country today or how many have died since this whole nightmare began.

Weary of not seeing my family who live far from me because I worry we make each other sick.

Weary of being isolated.

Weary of not being able to hug people without questioning if I’m doing the “safe” thing.

Weary of asking for things to be repeated because I cannot hear what’s being said behind the masks or no longer to read lips.

Weary of people who do not respect each other’s compromised health issues.

Weary of people not just putting on the damn mask.

Weary of not seeing smiles.

Weary of being afraid I, too, may get sick.

Weary of being weary.

So, I took some time to observe all the little miracles that happened all around me every single day.

I’ve seen the sun rise in the mornings as I became aware of its march across the sky as the seasons marched on.

I’ve seen the sun set in the evenings as we’ve sat outside waiting for the air to cool while the deer stroll by with their fawns and the bats come out to devour a few mosquitos.

I’ve seen birds migrate across the skies, moving north this past spring and coming back our direction now that Fall is approaching.

I’ve watched our youngest puppy, Eli, grow and become the new companion for our old dog, Bud, and a playmate for our other puppy, Abby.

I’ve become aware of how much I have grown spiritually as I’ve limited my outside influences and concentrated on investigating my own beliefs.

I’m learning how I think about things really does influence what I see.

I’m learning to open my mind to ways of thinking I never would have considered.

I’m learning to be still–I have a LOT of work to do on this lesson.

I’m learning to choose my words more carefully–do I really know this or that never happens or always happens?

I’m learning to think before I speak–words cannot be erased by an apology. A few moments spent in thought may save years of regret.

I’m learning that adage what people think of me is none of my business is true.

Let it go.

I’m learning to stop over thinking EVERYTHING.

Let it go.

I’m learning to forgive those who have hurt me.

Let it go.

I’m learning to forgive myself.

Dear one, let it go.

God sent me here for a reason. My job is to figure out what MY reason is. I cannot learn if I’m paying attention to things that are not part of MY lessons.

I’ve been so lucky because I’ve been given time to think about this and work on finding my path. It takes time and patience.

I am grateful.

I’ve been lucky to have people who have walked beside me on my journey. Some for a short time,, others for a life time.

I am grateful.

Once I started thinking about all the miracles I’ve witnessed in my life, my weariness dissolved.

I am grateful.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Gracious God, in the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life.

My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.

I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning.

In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love.

Amen 

~Tam Worth~

Talking with God

I’ve been talking with God a lot these days.

It’s a good thing He is used to some of the language popping out of my head and mouth in moments of disbelief and frustration.

Here is a little bit of the conversation I had today:

Dear Lord, Please help me be still and listen–really listen–before I respond. Help me remember the power in silence.

Help me remember all my family members who sacrificed so much of their time to help my family. Help me to find a way to help others in that same spirit of true compassion.

Father, help me use the lessons I’ve been given and successfully learned to help others. There are many who are facing some of the same problems.

Please help me continue to learn and grow as I face what feels like overwhelming challenges daily. Help me stay strong and in connection with you.

In this crazy world, I believe in the power and forgiveness of you, my God. Please guide me to where I am needed and help me understand what I am here to do.

Thank you for listening, God. Thank you for never giving up on me and for always–always–loving me–unconditionally.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Debbie Long, for sharing your beautiful photo with me to use in today’s story. I treasure you and send you thanks and much love. xoxo

Magic

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.” 

Charles de Lint

I doubt I am the only person feeling alone lately. A feeling made more intense because our world seems less and less familiar as unprecedented events unfold before us on daily basis.

I’m learning the importance of slowing down so I can appreciate the small things around me.

While watering a week or so ago, doing my usual slow shuffle around the yard, I looked down and saw the rock included in today’s story. As you can see, the outline of the heart is irregular and the overall condition of the heart could be described as rough–all symbolism that seemed so appropriate for these days.

Again, I don’t think I’m the only one feeling a little beat up and worn down these days. My intuition tells me this rock was literally on my path to show me I was not alone. I smiled as I  picked up my newest treasure, brushed it off, and put it in my pocket. After some more cleaning my latest heart rock resides beside my computer where it reminds me of my own inner beauty and strength–chips and all.

“We need to be open to ways in which we are being spoken to and in which we are receiving some form of communication. Some people call them signs. Open your heart and allow yourself to be touched by them. They are often stunning expressions of your place in the universe.” 

Susan Barbara Apollon, Touched by the Extraordinary

 Not long after this Michael was talking with our insurance company updating information. As he chatted with the agent, he asked the young woman where she was located. I saw his eyes get big as he listened to her reply. The next thing I heard him say was that I was from Iowa, too, and asked what part of Iowa she was from. Her reply was, Tama County, Iowa.

What?

Nicole was talking to us from the little county I grew up in and her sister had once been the Tama County Pork Queen.

How cool is all this? It was like a shot of adrenaline!

What are the odds he’d call and get to talk with someone from my hometown area?

This was another reminder the world is pretty messed up right now but there are still good things and good people in it. I just need to take a breath, stop, look around, and appreciate all the gifts scattered along the way.

“To experience more synchronicity and ‘coincidences’ we need to listen and be aware of the world around us and also our intuition.

That’s how the universe speaks to itself, it’s an ongoing flow of information that comes from both the outside and from within.

Pay attention to how the universe speaks to you today and participate in the flow by being attentive and by listening to your inner voice.” 

Maria Erving

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

An Unexpected Gift

“One of the most beneficial and valuable gifts we can give to ourselves in this life: is allowing ourselves to be surprised! It is okay if life surprises you. It’s a good thing!” 

C. JoyBell C.

At an estate sale a few days ago I walked into the laundry room and found this book sitting on the counter.

I was so surprised and even more surprised by the smile it brought to my face.

This book became a time machine transporting me back to my high school typing class.

Taking this class was one of the biggest battles I had in my high school years. I saw no point in taking a class meant for girls who were going to be secretaries. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but knew I did not want to be a secretary.

Little did I know…

Today I’m surrounded by keyboards which have very little resemblance to the manual and later electric typewriters we used in my high school typing class.

Who knew?

“Surprise is just a paradox. Sometimes it annoys us; sometimes it shakes the tears of joy within us; sometimes it makes us ponder; sometimes it ceases our words and leaves our jaws open, and sometimes, it shuts our lips; for a moment, surprises can put our minds into a state of confusion and halt the movement of the body. Watch out for surprises for surprises are there to surprise you!” 

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

Unconditional Gratitude

“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” 

Dalai Lama XIV, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

I’ve added a new book to my daily reading. It’s titled, Gratitude–A Way of Life, by Louise Hay and Friends. This book is a collection of essays written by different authors about the importance of gratitude in their lives.

One of the first chapters I read talked about unconditional gratitude. This was a new phrase to me and I was very impressed with what the author, Lee Coit, had to say.

Here are some of the thoughts that caught my attention:

“…Long ago, I found that being grateful for what I had  helped me get over feeling sorry for myself. My appreciation of others always raised my own level of happiness. Whenever I thought I felt unappreciated, I’d count up all the wonderful things that had happened to me recently, and my joy would return. Being grateful for what I have is also and effective way of releasing a sense of loss. When I am aware of all the love I am receiving, I can quickly forget my problems. Gratitude is an excellent way of removing my concentration from negative situations and placing my attention on what is right…

The second thing I noticed about being grateful was that I could extend my present joy backwards by holding thoughts of gratitude about people and events from my past. It always makes me smile, and my heart fills with joy when I reminisce fondly about by beautiful friends and the special times we’ve had. I’ve noticed over the past years that the more gratitude I fell about the past, the happier I am in the present. Getting to a joyful state with gratitude is easy when I use pleasant memories from my gratitude. Being grateful for those who we think have hurt us is harder, but it is very effective for healing the past. I call this unconditional gratitude. Unconditional means that we give gratitude to everyone regardless of whether we think they deserve it or  not.

What works for me is to remember only the good things about each person and let the other thoughts go. I can always find something about each one for which I am truly grateful. I have even started with the idea that at least these people are out of my life my life now…

…Gratitude, like its sister, forgiveness, frees the giver first of all. Gratitude brings freedom to our self-imposed prison of hatred and revenge. Perceived past wrongs are our prison bars. Hatred not only locks us in a tiny cell of self-pity, it keeps out those who are seeking to bring love into our life. (Hatred includes everything from rage to seemly innocent desire to avoid someone.) Our past, released with gratitude, frees our present to be as it could be…

I begin to see that what I judged as harmful and unfair was really a misinterpretation, a faulty judgement based on my perception, which is very limited in its scope. 

Human perception seems very powerful. It proceeds from our limited self-concept…If we refuse to act on this perception but desire to see what is happening in our life spiritually, we get an entirely different view. We begin to see the interconnected and inter supporting relationships of reality. We begin to see the spiritual dance in which we are engaged…Unconditional gratitude, rather than seeking to control the situation, frees you from stress and pain. Unconditional gratitude replaces your frustration with peace, joy, and happiness that is naturally yours.”

These words have been buzzing around my mind now for days and given me a new way of thinking about things. Maybe they will have the same effect on you.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Julie Strain, for starting my day with this beautiful photo and allowing me the use it as part of my story today. I love you and I’m blessed to have you as my friend. 

Good Old Days

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” 

Andy Bernard

Thirty-five years ago this past week, my sisters and I started the road trip to my future. We left Waterloo, Iowa, stopped in Omaha to visit family, and continued on to Denver, Colorado. In less than a month I’d be starting my new job.

I was the poster child for not knowing what you don’t know–I’m pretty sure my picture has not been replaced.

This feels like such a big anniversary I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write. I’ve decided it needs to be broken up into more than one story so that’s what I’m going to do.

As I searched for quotes, I came across the one I’ve posted below and felt it said many of the things I’ve been thinking for some time. See if you agree.

“You’re innocent until proven guilty,” Mandy exclaimed, unable to hide her gleeful smile. She missed the way people used to have normal conversations, used to be more caring for each other than themselves, back in the Seventies and Eighties. These days, she realized, neighbors kept to themselves, their kids kept to themselves, nobody talked to each other anymore. They went to work, went shopping and shut themselves up at home in front of glowing computer screens and cellphones… but maybe the nostalgic, better times in her life would stay buried, maybe the world would never be what it was. In the 21st century music was bad, movies were bad, society was failing and there were very few intelligent people left who missed the way things used to be… maybe though, Mandy could change things. 

Thinking back to the old home movies in her basement, she recalled what Alecto had told her. “We wanted more than anything else in the world to be normal, but we failed.” The 1960’s and 1970’s were very strange times, but Mandy missed it all, she missed the days when Super-8 was the popular film type, when music had lyrics that made you think, when movies had powerful meanings instead of bad comedy and when people would just walk to a friend’s house for the afternoon instead of texting in bed all day. She missed soda fountains and department stores and non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags, she wished cellphones, bad pop music and LED lights didn’t exist… she hated how everything had a diagnosis or pill now, how people who didn’t fit in with modern, lazy society were just prescribed medications without a second thought… she hated how old, reliable cars were replaced with cheap hybrid vehicles… she hated how everything could be done online, so that people could just ignore each other… the world was becoming much more convenient, but at the same time, less human, and her teenage life was considered nostalgic history now.

Hanging her head low, avoiding the slightly confused stare of the cab driver through the rear view mirror, she started crying uncontrollably, her tears soaking the collar of her coat as the sun blared through the windows in a warm light.” 

Rebecca McNutt, Smog City

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

I’m Going to Miss You

“The sorrow we feel when we lose a loved one is the price we pay to have had them in our lives.” 

Rob Liano

P.J. I didn’t get to spend much time with you nor did I have the opportunity to know you well–but I know my soul knew your soul.

I guess I always thought there’d be more time.

As God keeps pointing out to me, His time frame is not always the same as mine. And as my dear Michael reminds me, what God wants God gets.

Damn I wasn’t ready.

I will miss you, Paul James Robbins, with all my heart.

I will miss watching you sit quietly and listen. There wasn’t much that got by you in our little Pleasant Valley Community.

I knew I always had a spot around your table and you would always listen–not just listen but really hear what I was saying and often what I didn’t say. You were the older brother I always asked for. Oh how I wish I’d found you sooner.

I will miss our early morning emails where we’d share morning coffee together because I knew you’d be up and probably already on your second or third cup.

I will miss those big ol’ hugs and the simple fact you always told me you loved me.

It’s Friday afternoon so I’m betting the boys are meeting up at Larry’s where they will be missing you as well. I picture you looking down with Rascal by your side as you watch over us all. IMG_1229

Mickey and I will be raising a glass to you here in Texas. I am honored to have had the chance to call you friend. I love you.

“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said, all those years ago. And he was right. They don’t die. Not completely. They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.” 

Matt Haig, How to Stop Time

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

Bird by Bird

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” 

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

My next assignment from my WordPress Course is to write about my ideal reader, including a new media element

Okay. I looked at the additional information for today’s assignment and see the very extensive list of media element options. As I clicked on each option I realized this was going to take some time.

My initial reaction was to run.

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I was and am way out of my comfort zone.

But…not a news flash. I knew I needed to slow down, taking things “bird by bird.”

With my very stern internal voice, I reminded myself this would be an investment of time. Time I’d need to set aside to learn all the tools I have at my fingertips. Each topic has the potential to add another dimension to my stories so I can fully engage my “ideal reader.”

Who is my audience, my ideal reader?

As I think about who would read my writing, I think most people would fall under the category of “seekers.”

My reader is someone searching for information to enlighten his or her life. He or she is a lifetime learner as well as a teacher. They work to learn from their experiences and mistakes and want to share and learn from the experiences of others. They question who they are and what they are here to do. They are observers of life.

They want to do and be better.

They are beginning to understand they are spiritual beings having a human experience.

“Life isn’t always about finding yourself. More often than not, it’s about discovering who God created you to be.” 

David A.R. White, Between Heaven and Hollywood: Chasing Your God-Given Dream

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~