Good Friday Thoughts

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I stopped swimming a few months ago. I was exhausted. 

It took a long time to pull myself away from the stuff I’d been skillfully avoiding most of my life.  

As Easter and Passover approach, many of us will be gathering with family and friends. Some of us, for the first or the fiftieth time, will experience silent phones and empty chairs. 

A few months ago, I realized no one ever talked about my mom after she died. No one spoke her name–ever. At the time I don’t think my young friends knew what to say and the adults around us didn’t want to make us sad. 

That way of handling loss and grief became the model of how I dealt with loss the rest of my life–get over it–move on. 

It wasn’t until Thanksgiving a couple of years ago I realized lighting a votive candle for those who were not with us made me feel as though they were there. After thinking about that practice, I began to understand those I’d lost over the years really were near. Their energy–their spirit–had always been with me. 

My take away lesson from my thoughts today is this: talk about those who have passed on. It is healing to hear people mention your loved ones–it helps everyone realize they are not forgotten as well as open an avenue for sharing stories and memories.

A small little thing happened this week as Michael and I were in the garage. There’s been a moving box sitting against the wall since we moved in six years ago. This box is labeled “Viv’s bowl.” Vivian was my mom. I’m not sure what’s in that box but I am sure it will be in that corner for as long as we live here.

Get creative and find ways to commemorate your loved ones and share your stories this holiday weekend.

I am…

B…simply being. 

Peace be with you, my friends. 

I’ve Been Thinking…again

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I wrote my last post many months ago. I thought I was ready to write and share more of my stories. 

I was wrong. 

It didn’t take long before I knew I had much more work to do.

This time, I called in professional help. Our conversations eventually wound their way back to the summer my mom died. That long summer from nearly fifty years ago began to unfold before me. So many images pulled in so many emotions. My voice was hesitant at first but began to fall into the phrasing I’d used many times. This time, for the first time, I heard the details were being shared by my ten-year-old self. 

At that moment I realized I’d left her back there all those years ago. 

With this new awareness, I had a clear vision of my mom through the eyes of that confused and fear filled ten year old as well as the wide opened eyes of a loving adult.  

It was as if someone reached over my shoulder, snapping in that long lost puzzle piece. This  piece will be the strong foundation I need to keep growing, learning, and sharing. 

My long sought lesson to share today is never give up on yourself. Keep working and you’ll find your answers. 

I am…

B…simply being. 

Peace be with you. 

Treasures

God doesn’t give you the people you want, he gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you the person you are meant to be. Author Unknown

I’ve learned over the years life events cycle–ready or not.

There are the happy times, joyful times, hard times, and devastating times. Just when I start celebrating my blessings, things make an abrupt change.

It’s funny–not ha-ha funny–how I’m still taken off-guard. It reminds me of all those Survivor episodes I’ve watched where people are sitting around tribal council telling Jeff Probst they are sure they will not be the one voted off.

That’s become a pretty big indicator they will be the one going to that season’s form of Exile Island.

I’m adding my voice to those telling us to live each day to the fullest. With age it is clear change is one of the few constants. Those every day eyeopening discoveries we had in our youth are now replaced by daily shocking reminders of our mortality.

Nothing is promised. Treasure those who are near and dear and hold on tight.

Baxter Black tells us this about friends:

Friend is a word that I don’t throw around

Though it is used and abused. I still like the sound.

I save it for people I can count on if ever need be.

Some of my friends drive big limousines

Own ranches and banks and visit with queens.

And some of my friends are up to their neck

In overdue notes and can’t write a check.

They’re singers or ropers or writers of prose

And others. God bless ’em, can’t blow their own nose!

I guess bein’ friends don’t have nothin’ to do

With talent or money or known’ who’s who.

It’s a comf’terbul feelin’ when you don’t have a care

‘Bout choosin’ your words or bein’ quite fair

‘Cause friends’ll just listen and let go on by

Those words you don’t mean and not bat an eye.

It makes a friend happy to see your success.

They’re proud of yer good side and forgive all the rest

And that ain’t so easy, all of the time,

Sometimes I get crazy and seem to go blind!

Yer friend just might have to take you on home

Or remind you sometime that you’re not alone.

Or ever so gently pull you back to the ground

When you think you can fly with no one around.

A hug or a shake, whichever seems right

Is the high point of given’, I’ll tellya tonight.

All worldly riches and tributes of men

Can’t hold a candle to the worth of friend.

 I am…

B…simply being. 

Peace be with you, my friends.

I Am Back

“I believe that life is all about perception and timing. That good things come to those who act and that life’s about more than collecting a paycheck. I believe that the only person you’re destined to become is the one that you decide to be. That if you try hard enough you can convince yourself of anything. That having patience doesn’t make you a hero nor does it make you a doormat. I believe that not showing love proves you’re weak and belittling others doesn’t make you strong. That you are never as far away from people as the miles may suggest. That life’s too short to read awful books, listen to terrible music, or be around uninspiring people. I believe that where you start has little impact on where you finish. That sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. That you can never be overdressed or overeducated. I believe that the cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears, or the sea. That you should never let your memories be greater than your dreams. And that you should always choose adventure.” 

Todd Smidt

I’ve been away from my desk for a long time. 

My last post was written just after I said good-by to my dog, Bud. It was the final heartbreak of a year filled with unexpected events and losses. I needed some open-ended time to refill my well. 

I am better. I am ready to write. 

I’ve talked about the book by Susan Hayward, The Guide for the Advanced Soul. I discovered she has a sequel to this book, Begin It Now, which was waiting for me when I returned from the coast. Even the title sent me a message. As I opened the book, this was what I read:

How much longer will you go on letting your energy sleep? How much longer are you going to stay oblivious of the immensity of yourself? Don’t lose time in conflict; lose no time in doubt–Time can never be recovered and if you miss an opportunity it may take many lives before another comes your way again.    Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

God bless you. 

I am…

B…simply being. 

Peace be with you. 

 

Mr. Bud

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” – Charles M Schulz (cartoonist, “Peanuts”)

For nearly 15 years Bud’s been beside me.

Actually, he was the ultimate diplomate. He shared his time between both Michael and me.

You never had to look far because he was beside one of us–always.

Until today.

I pretty much hate today.

Even though I know it was time to say good bye, I was grabbing at excuses.

Ask anyone, I am very very bad at good-byes.

I’d specifically asked Bud to give me a sign when he was ready. I knew he’d hang with us as long as we needed him to be here. I was holding on with all of my might, pulling out anything I could to extend his stay. Looking back, I think he’d been giving me subtle messages for some time. I had been very successful at finding a way to excuse each one.

Last night he declared himself LOUD and CLEAR. As I was getting his dinner ready he began to show signs of having a stroke.

Yup. I finally hear you, Mr. Bud.

Some important information to share with all my other dog guardians out there–if you think your dog is having some type of a vascular event, give them a baby aspirin. Maybe because I gave it to him on an empty stomach, he reacted very positively within a few minutes.

Ah–my unconvinced mind said–is this the fix? Can I hold on to him a little longer?

His eyes said very simply, no.

So…the puppy who raced around so fast in the house the only way for him to stop was to ram into the couch was telling me it was time. The puppy who could chew up dozens of pine cones and several remote controls was telling me it was time. The puppy who did not have time to take the stairs any other way but to jump from the highest point was telling me to listen. The dog who had been beside me since 2006 was ready.

He’d been tolerant of Pearl and her elderly synchronicities, befriended Gracie, trained Duffy, controlled Ruby, house trained both Abby and Eli was telling me his job was complete.

I was fortunate to be with him. Both my vet and his staff are so empathetic. I was looking into his eyes as he left this world heading up to play ball with all his friends in heaven. You all better be ready because the champion ball player has arrived.

As I sat in my car getting myself together for the drive home, the sun broke through the clouds and a strong beam of light came across my face for just a few seconds. It warmed my soul.

As always, The Bud was taking care of me and letting me know he had arrived.

I figured my sister, Beth, was there waiting for him because she had sent a sign as well when she got to heaven by way of a wonderful rainbow. Yes, Bethie told him that would definitely get my attention because she knew I was a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

Abby and Eli are very quiet. I showed them his collar and they smelled it and started looking everywhere for him. I think they now know he’s moved on but will be monitoring their fights just like always.

I am heartbroken but so thankful he is no longer suffering.

I love you and will miss you every single day.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Day Three of a Week of Gratitude

Let us be grateful to

    the people who

make us happy; they

    are the charming

gardens who make

    our souls blossom.

~Marcel Proust~

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, 2020. 

Sigh.

I understand there are probably many people spending this holiday alone because of Covid restrictions. I understand the frustrations. Honestly I’m not sure what’s worse, not being able to go or going and then feeling guilty for going. 

Regardless of the choice you make, may you be blessed, safe, and well. 

I’m enjoying sharing pictures with you. Today I am sharing many so be prepared.

They’re pictures of young dogs and senior dogs, new friends and old friends, places we’ve been and places and people we loved. Thrown into the mix is a single photo of a kitten who just refused to give up. 

May they make you smile. 

 

Schoitz Memorial Hospital Waterloo, IA

I am blessed and so very grateful.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Days of Gratitude #2

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

Today, one of the things I am most grateful for are those people who faithfully read what I have to say whenever I get around to saying it. They are always kind and encouraging. Thank you.

The thoughts I shared yesterday rang true for everyone who sent me a note. Because of that I thought I’d continue sharing quick thoughts along with pictures.  

Looking through my pictures it’s sad I don’t have more pictures of when I was young and just starting my career. I was so lucky to begin my work in  imaging when I did. Many of the people I worked with as a student and later as a staff are still my good friends today. For that fact I am so grateful. 

I have very few pictures of the people I grew up with in Traer. Thanks to social media I have been able to reconnect with them. What a gift that is! 

Today I’m sharing more random pictures–again in no special order.

See if these don’t bring back more memories for you, too. 

More tomorrow.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Glynis Morse, for sharing this photo of Sedona with me. It is a magical place.  Thank you. 

Days of Gratitude

As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.” 

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues

I’m learning when I take long breaks from writing, my mind will start to nudge me back to my computer. If I continue to ignore the prodding, the ideas begin to weave their way into my dreams. I’ve come to the conclusion if I want a peaceful night’s sleep, I need to release some of the thoughts wandering around aimlessly in my mind.

One of the most persistent questions is what is the lesson I need to learn from this Covid experience?

I’ve thought about this a lot these past few months. My answer is always the same thought.

I think this is another lesson for me on the importance of gratitude.

Not just gratitude but being thankful for those small, every day things I used to take for granted.

I bet I’m not the only one missing the simple things–the hugs and handshakes, the spontaneous get togethers with family and friends, face-to-face conversations, mouthed messages across a crowded room–come to think of it–when was the last time I was in a crowded room–

Instead of telling you all the things I am thankful for, I thought I’d share a few pictures.

More to come.

I am..

B…simply being.

~Peace~

More thoughts on t

Shared Wisdom

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

What you have to do, you do with play.

The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

The warrior’s approach is to say “yes” to life: “yea” to it all.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree.

The world is perfect. It’s a mess.

It has always been a mess.

We are not going to change it.

Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the live that is waiting for us.

The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

It we fix on the old, we get stuck.

When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction.

Hell is life drying up.

The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed

If we are hanging onto the form now, we’re not ring to have the form next.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

Destruction before creation.

from A Joseph Campbell Companion

There are days when I really need an old friend and kinds words.

Thank you, God, for Joseph Campbell.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Many thanks to Diane M. Tolzman for allowing me to use her breathtaking picture taken at Clear Lake Resort.  

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~

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