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~

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.  

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~