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~

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

Re-calculating

“Some things cannot be taught; they must be experienced. You never learn the most valuable lessons in life until you go through your own journey.” 

Roy T. Bennett

Writing these past few  months has been nearly impossible.

From what I’ve read I don’t think I’m not alone.

Part of my problem is I’m a born helper.

Because I’m retired, I couldn’t be there to help during this pandemic. Watching CV-19 make its way around the world and across our country has been very difficult. All my life I’ve been a caregiver. Watching from afar did not/does not set well with me.

I felt old and useless. That, my friends, was and is a very hard pill to swallow.

Little did I know this was just the beginning. More “stuff” was on the way, held back by one little line of rocks precariously balanced along the rim of a very deep canyon fed by a river that grew more turbulent by the day.

As I sat on the sidelines, naively debating whether or not it was best practice to wear a mask in public, one senseless act of power courtesy of an OFFICER OF THE LAW in Minneapolis, pushed those proverbial stones away, releasing decades of damed up frustrations and emotions.

I’m not feeling very well prepared to write about this but my heart says get something out there.

As usual, my recourse is to turn to prayer.

My prayer of choice today is this beautiful prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas,
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate Mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

Perspective

“The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.” 

Alain de Botton

I don’t think I’m the only one questioning where the past few months have gone. 

I confess–I grabbed onto my tried and true coping mechanism–get very very busy. 

I’ve redesigned the rock gardens, washed windows, and cleaned just about every corner of our house.

My mind is tired of the game. It’s past time to end my personal chaos.  

It’s time to reopen my office and get busy writing. 

My soul is very happy.

“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” 

Muhammad Ali

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Eli

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz (Author, False Memory

It has been a busy few weeks here in Hibdonville.

All those rock walls and gardens I built last summer have needed some intense attention as winter sped into spring. The weeds have definitely out paced my gardening ability.

We also added to our family.

Meet our newest member, Mr. Eli.

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner 

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Just Like Gram Said

During difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

Do what you have to do, but little by bit.

Don’t think about the future, not even what might happen tomorrow. Wash the dishes.

Take off the dust.

Write a letter.

Make some soup.

Do you see?

You are moving forward step by step.

Take a step and stop.

Get some rest.

Compliment yourself.

Take another step.

Then another one.

You won’t notice, but your steps will grow bigger and bigger.

And time will come when you can think about the future without crying. Good morning

(Elena Mikhalkova, “The Room of Ancient Keys”)

These words reminded me of my Grandma.

She was so special to me–my Gram.

As I read I pictured myself sitting beside her.

Oh, I miss her.

Like so many, I’ve had time to think about many things these past few weeks. I’ve been one of the lucky ones–my only job has been to stay home.

It’s been hard to watch my friends suit up in whatever protective gear they had and go to work knowing I could not be there to help.

I have helped in the only way I could–I have prayed.

My prayers continue.

Most merciful and Triune God,
We come to you in our weakness.
We come to you in our fear.
We come to you with trust.
For you alone are our hope.

We place before you the disease present in our world.
We turn to you in our time of need.

Bring wisdom to doctors.
Give understanding to scientists.
Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.
Bring healing to those who are ill.
Protect those who are most at risk.
Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.
Welcome those who have died into your eternal home.

Stabilize our communities.
Unite us in our compassion.
Remove all fear from our hearts.
Fill us with confidence in your care.

Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Amen.   Author Unknown

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

Missing My Duffy

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” 

Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Last Monday marked the one year anniversary of the day I said good-bye to my Duffy.

I miss him.

I miss the way he shared time spent on each of our laps, his twisting and turning when he was excited and happy, his well-disguised Alpha persona, his way of barking at something as a diversion tactic in order to get his preferred resting spot, his lazy pace on our walks, and most of all, his Lhasa smell.

My dear Duffy, I know beyond a shadow of doubt you made sure we’d find our Abby Rose. It’s what you always did–took good care of us.

I was and am one very lucky human. Thank you, little man, I love you.

 “It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.” 

Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my dear friends.~

 

Like Mom said, Pray to St. Jude

“Don’t be afraid of being scared. To be afraid is a sign of common sense. Only complete idiots are not afraid of anything.” 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Angel’s Game

The second candle began burning out my prayers yesterday morning. I didn’t know when I bought several of these votive candles how appropriate this particular candle would be.

The numbers quoted are beginning to pick away at my anxiety.

I am afraid.

As I tried to go to sleep I heard my mom remind me to pray to St. Jude–the saint of lost causes.

So this morning I found the prayer I wrote down years ago to share with you.

Thought you might need it as much as I do.

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude Thaddeus, friend of Jesus. I place myself in your care at this difficult time. Help me know that I need not face my troubles alone. Please join me in my need, asking God to send me: consolation in my sorrow, courage in my fear, and healing the midst of my suffering. Ask our loving Lord to fix me with grace to accept whatever may lie ahead for me and my loved ones, and to strengthen my faith in God’s healing powers. Thank, St. Jude Thaddeus, for the promise of hope you hold out to all who believe and inspire me to give this gift of hope to others as it has been given to me. St. Jude, Apostle of Hope, Pray for us.

I am…

B…simply being. 

Peace be with you.