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~

Prayer

“For the happy man prayer is only a jumble of words, until the day when sorrow comes to explain to him the sublime language by means of which he speaks to God.” 

― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to relight my votive candle. Until now the wax would have melted without lighting the wick. I’d forgotten how the glow of light illuminating Mary’s face helps calm my restless and sometimes anxious soul.

Right now there seems to be so much heartache around me–both on a personal level and as I observe the unrest in this country I love.

I can’t help but think of that sociology or psychology experiment where an infant monkey was denied physical contact and how that tiny little one failed to thrive both physically and emotionally. Are we on an entire world scale collectively failing to thrive because of our isolation from each other? Is our fearful withdrawal creating another type of illness just as dangerous as “the Covid?”

I’m not sure of the answer. After so many months of uncertainty, I don’t know who or what to believe. I find myself watching hours, days, and months march by with only more uncertainty ahead. I wonder what our future holds as colder weather moves in with all the usual viruses meeting up CV-19 and its mutated cousins. 

I do know the power of prayer so my votive candle has returned to my favorite spot on our back patio. It is here I visit daily to pray. It is the only thing I know for sure I can do to help. 

Join me.

God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people.

Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Weary

“Her eyes look tired, but it’s her soul that’s truly weary.” ~Liz Newman~

 

I’ve taken some time away from my desk so I could do some quiet reflection.

Like so many I’d become weary.

Weary of extremes I encountered everywhere throughout my day.

Weary of having to use caution in how I talked with valued friends because they may or may not share my political opinion.

Weary of hearing how many people died of Covid-19 in our country today or how many have died since this whole nightmare began.

Weary of not seeing my family who live far from me because I worry we make each other sick.

Weary of being isolated.

Weary of not being able to hug people without questioning if I’m doing the “safe” thing.

Weary of asking for things to be repeated because I cannot hear what’s being said behind the masks or no longer to read lips.

Weary of people who do not respect each other’s compromised health issues.

Weary of people not just putting on the damn mask.

Weary of not seeing smiles.

Weary of being afraid I, too, may get sick.

Weary of being weary.

So, I took some time to observe all the little miracles that happened all around me every single day.

I’ve seen the sun rise in the mornings as I became aware of its march across the sky as the seasons marched on.

I’ve seen the sun set in the evenings as we’ve sat outside waiting for the air to cool while the deer stroll by with their fawns and the bats come out to devour a few mosquitos.

I’ve seen birds migrate across the skies, moving north this past spring and coming back our direction now that Fall is approaching.

I’ve watched our youngest puppy, Eli, grow and become the new companion for our old dog, Bud, and a playmate for our other puppy, Abby.

I’ve become aware of how much I have grown spiritually as I’ve limited my outside influences and concentrated on investigating my own beliefs.

I’m learning how I think about things really does influence what I see.

I’m learning to open my mind to ways of thinking I never would have considered.

I’m learning to be still–I have a LOT of work to do on this lesson.

I’m learning to choose my words more carefully–do I really know this or that never happens or always happens?

I’m learning to think before I speak–words cannot be erased by an apology. A few moments spent in thought may save years of regret.

I’m learning that adage what people think of me is none of my business is true.

Let it go.

I’m learning to stop over thinking EVERYTHING.

Let it go.

I’m learning to forgive those who have hurt me.

Let it go.

I’m learning to forgive myself.

Dear one, let it go.

God sent me here for a reason. My job is to figure out what MY reason is. I cannot learn if I’m paying attention to things that are not part of MY lessons.

I’ve been so lucky because I’ve been given time to think about this and work on finding my path. It takes time and patience.

I am grateful.

I’ve been lucky to have people who have walked beside me on my journey. Some for a short time,, others for a life time.

I am grateful.

Once I started thinking about all the miracles I’ve witnessed in my life, my weariness dissolved.

I am grateful.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Gracious God, in the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life.

My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.

I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning.

In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love.

Amen 

~Tam Worth~

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.