A Day When Words Fail

May God heal you, body and soul.
May your pain cease,
May your strength increase,
May your fears be released,
May blessings, love and joy surround you.
Amen.
-Rabbi Naomi Levy
Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle and Celebration

Today I learned the son of a woman I adore committed suicide.

I have no words.

As I write I’m sending love and prayers to Debbie, Russ, and the rest of their family. Please know you will be in my prayers today and in the days to come. May we all be comforted by the memories we have of this “outstanding” young man.

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~ 

 

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~

 

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~

A Treasured Memory

I give thanks for my friends

For connection and laughter,

For comfort and strength,

For encouragement and unity,

For forgiveness and grace,

For celebration and joy.

They are so many things to me,

Such a rich tapestry of blessings,

Woven through my life.

Thank you. ~Author Unknown

Yesterday was an amazing day.

We had part of our chosen family over for a spring BBQ. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze kept the temperature near 80 degrees, and the food and wine were excellent.

It was as if a magical spell had been cast upon our house–we sat within a little bubble of peace and serenity. The challenges we’d all faced in the year since we’d been together were acknowledged and celebrated.

I’ve discovered an unexpected benefit of getting older is how appreciative I’ve become for small gifts. I’d mistakenly believed that all those people and things that’d always been part of my life would always remain. This past year has finally taught me that life is very fragile. My year of awareness continues to grow as I appreciate the fact assumptions are no longer acceptable.

Yesterday, as I sat in my little chair observing the beautiful souls gathered together, I felt so deeply blessed. My tuned up awareness helped me appreciate just how special and rare this day had become. I thanked God as I opened my heart and absorbed every bit of the powerful energy we call love.

There’s a miracle called friendship

that dwells within the heart

And you don’t know when it happens

or when it gets a start…

But the happiness it brings you

always gives a special lift,

And you realize that friendship is

God’s most precious gift!

~Author Unknown

 I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks, Jo Heiple Thedens, for letting me use another one of your great pictures. Your talent is amazing. You and your photography nourish my Iowa roots and heart. Thank you.  

The First Day of Spring

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” 

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

I’ve been able to get outside and into my gardens these past few days. Honestly, there is so much to do I don’t know where to start. The rains we had this past fall and winter blessed us with a bumper crop of wild flowers along with an even larger array of weeds.

My understanding of  the cliché, “Growing like a weed,” has advanced to an entirely different level.

As I walked our yard doing weed assessment, it was appropriate to find St. Francis surrounded by a huge patch of blue bonnets.

For me, the patron saint of ecologists, provides a perfect antidote for the very difficult winter many people endured this year. Now, on this first day of spring, the aftermath of all that snow is causing epic flooding all through the Midwest.

Our weather continues to rage at a magnitude we’ve never experienced. As with all the unrest in our world, we find ourselves caught off guard and completely unprepared.

There are many questions in my mind on this first day of spring. I don’t have any answers but I do know prayer helps.

May the Prayer of St. Francis bring peace to all battling hardships today.

 Lord, make me an instrument
of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred,
let me sow charity;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Hugs

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 

Anne Lamott

What a beautiful time to be in Texas.

God was indeed generous when He created this state. Our heavy rainfall over the fall and winter months set the scene for some of the most amazing wildflowers.

Michael and I have been working very hard in our yard. I have to tell you, it is very hard for us to know what’s a weed and what’s a flower. I’m beginning to see that it really is a matter of taste. What I call a weed I discovered today Michael thought  was a great looking flower. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he probably wouldn’t be seeing many more of that particular type of flowers.

Another great thing about this time of year is it is the perfect temperature to have a fire in the evenings. Michael built a fire a couple of nights ago which gave us a chance to sit and watch for satellites while being hypnotized by the fire itself.

It was still light enough for a few pesky bugs when I noticed a small little butterfly skirt across the fire and land upon my lower chest. She rested there and extended her wings as if she were giving me a hug. Both of us saw her and commented on how we hoped she was okay and had not burned her wings in her flight over the open flame. She remained on my chest for a minute or two before she flew off and landed between the two of us. To us she looked like she was doing her own little self assessment. We watched her–and watched her–and watched a few minutes more. We were starting to wonder if she was okay when in one quick little bit of movement, she simply flew away.

I’m not positive  who came to give me that hug. The memory of it is so powerful I start to cry every time I see those little wings spread widely over my chest. Whoever it was, my gut tells me it was someone very very special.

A Prayer for Living Up to the Best in Our Souls

You have blessed me with many gifts, God, but I know it is my task to realize them. May I never underestimate my potential; may I never lose hope. May I find the strength to strive for better, the courage to be different, the energy to give all that I have to offer. Help me, God, to live up to all the goodness that resides within me. Fill me with the humility to learn from others and with the confidence to trust my own instincts. Thank You, God, for the power to grow. Amen.

Levy, Naomi. Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Winters

“Wisdom comes with winters” 

Oscar Wilde

Aging is an interesting thing. I’m beginning to see this getting older stuff provides me with challenges and opportunities which may or may not help me gain some wisdom along the way. Some of my lessons are definitely easier to accept than others.

One of the most fascinating things I’ve observed over the past few years is how I’ve become invisible. I’m not sure exactly when that happened. I began to notice it took much longer for people to notice me–whether I’m at the store waiting for someone to ring up my items or walking down the street–the steady stream of people around me seemed to simply glide right by me.  A less pleasant awareness occurred last week when my femininity took a reality check square on the nose. As I sat in a lecture I began to notice the person presenting the talk scanned the room very nicely and had great audience connection EXCEPT he never once made eye contact with me. I have to tell you this took some time to accept and I had to mentally brush off my pride. As I thought about the last few lectures I’d attended, I realized this was not the first time I’d been “looked over” both literally and figuratively. I was not at all impressed with this latest bit of aging insights.

I may be less visible but my new awareness has helped me see others who are in need. At the store this past weekend I noticed a little man with a cane trying to push his grocery cart, a woman with a walking cast struggling to open a heavy door, and a man in an electric cart struggling to make it around all the aisle displays. These proud souls are the true invisible ones.

It only took a minute of my time to help them. It’s something we can all do and it certainly made me feel better afterwards. After all, believe it or not, in the not so distant future, that may be one of us in need of a helping hand. What a nice way to continue to observe Lent–helping our fellow invisible people.

Oh, yes, I’ve reached those golden days

You hear so much about;

I don’t feel any older yet, 

But will one day, no doubt.

The sky is still a lovely blue, 

The rose is just as sweet. 

Each day is like another chance

To make my life complete.

Sure, there is hardship, sorrow, and pain,

Who thought there wouldn’t be? 

But now I know it’s just a test

To find the worth in me. 

~Betty Irean Loeb

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Wings

Oh, to catch the winds of flight

And soar where eagles go, 

To leave the woes of troubled souls

Behind me far below.

I’d listen tot he song of birds

And sail in endless flight,

Then chase the sun through cloudy paths

And play with stars at night.

The boundless heavens for my home,

The breeze to lift me high, 

To rise a one my mortal bonds

And never have to die.

Knowing I have found the way

To trails where angels trod,

And when my wings could fly no more—

I’d take the hand of GOD!

~C. David Hay

I had a very simple day.

I took my computer, my iPad, and my phone to the kitchen table and spent the day reading, writing, and watching birds swarm our bird feeders.

From my inside perch, I quietly observed as the neighborhood feral cats slyly prowled the fence line while different flocks of birds staged themselves in nearby bushes. Each little cluster of birds flitted from branch to branch as they awaited their turn to storm the stations. Close at hand was my quick, fold-out bird guide of Texas along with a pair of binoculars. I was prepared for a little work and a day of bird watching. I was not disappointed.

It was the best therapy.

Soul searching is hard work and I’ve roughed up some old wounds. This hearty dose of Mother Nature was just what I needed.

“Be kind to your body, gentle with your mind and patient with your heart. Stay true to your spirit, cherish your soul and never doubt yourself. You are still becoming, my love, and there is no one more deserving of the nurturing grace of your love.” 

Becca Lee

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~