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.

2D96CE56-3457-4242-9C05-0062F3AA693F_1_201_a

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~

 

 

 

 

 

Learning

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” 

Albert Einstein

My course from WordPress is going well.

The reason I am so positive is what I’ve read so far corresponds with what I’ve been able to figure out on my own. And I’m understanding.

How encouraging is that?

In addition to creating my first blog in the course, I’ve learned about naming my blog and creating a tagline–two tasks I’d done years ago. Today my lesson was to visit other blogs and begin following other writers.

Over time I’ve saved many sites that I read often. Each writer has taught me something and given me encouragement to keep going when I felt I was failing miserably.

The intent of my storytelling was not to have followers but I must confess I really appreciate the fact someone I don’t know is reading what I have to say.

I am grateful for everyone who takes time to read my stories.

There’s a lot to learn about this writing tool. I’m thinking today is probably my last really easy lesson. Will take it a lesson at a time and see what tomorrow has in store for me.

Don’t just learn, experience.

Don’t just read, absorb.

Don’t just change, transform.

Don’t just relate, advocate.

Don’t just promise, prove.

Don’t just criticize, encourage.

Don’t just think, ponder.

Don’t just take, give.

Don’t just see, feel.

Don’t just dream, do. 

Don’t just hear, listen.

Don’t just talk, act.

Don’t just tell, show.

Don’t just exist, live.” 

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

Blogging 101

“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

Today I began a course through WordPress on blogging. Yes, Blogging101.

My first assignment: write a blog about why I’m writing my blog.

I began my story telling several years ago, planning to write and learn WordPress as I went along. I have been telling my stories but somehow the learning part got lost along the way.

It’s not that I have not had the time.

Truth be told, I’m not very good at admitting I don’t know something. Lots of truth and history in that statement–which would make for an excellent story if I could get the details past my internal critics.

Which is why I started this whole process–to learn about my past and to share what I learn along the way. In the tales I’ve shared so far, I have discovered many readers have similar questions about themselves and their past.

Do I want to dwell in the past? No.

As a way to survive, I’ve buried parts of my past so deeply it’s going to take a lot of time and patience to pull them all out so I can finally let them go.

I can’t move ahead if I continue to trip over my past.

All my challenges brought me to this place and helped make me the strong person I am today. By sharing my journey I hope I can help others begin their own.

Along with the story telling it is time to dedicate myself to learning the tools I have in my toolbox.

Thanks for being part of my work–in my WordPress course work and as I begin to celebrate myself.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

It’s a Hard World

“It’s a hard world for little things.” 

Davis Grubb

Our world has become very hard indeed.

Nothing makes much sense–even when things do make sense, I question my judgment.

How do we hit “pause” so things can settle?

I feel a giant hand, stirring and stirring current events, causing confusion to grow as fear evolves into anger.

The mechanism of this machine has become so loud we can’t hear ourselves think or understand what we’re trying to tell each other.

I have no answers and many more questions.

I do know I can only do the best I can to make things better.

It’s all any of us can do as noted in the quote below written by of George Carlin.

I loved George.

His routines never failed to make me laugh–but with the laughter there was always that moment when you realized there was a lot more to his message.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace, my friends.~

Thanks, Michael Hibdon, for the great picture you took on one of our sunset cruises through our ‘hood. I love you.