The Gifts of the Siesta

“…the devil’s hour, two o’clock on a summer afternoon–the siesta hour.” 

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation

I have learned many lessons since moving to Texas.

One of my most recent lessons–wait–let’s change that to a new awareness–is the power of the afternoon time called the siesta.

Even if I’ve spend the majority of my time inside, the intense summer heat drains my energy. Every day as the daytime heat intensifies, I feel the need for some afternoon down/re-charging time.

This former Iowa girl is creating and defining her own siesta space.

Not surprising to anyone who knows me, time management is an issue.

Unlike my dad who came home for lunch and a quick ten minute nap, my down time tend to be connected to an hourly meter.

With age and some selective wisdom, I’m accepting and adjusting my siesta standards and expectations. I have determined these adjustments are justified by the fact I am up earlier which gives me the opportunity to see many more sunrises and I am up later for some very excellent star gazing.

I like that.

“I count it as an absolute certainty that in paradise, everyone naps. A nap is a perfect pleasure and it’s useful, too. It splits the day into two halves, making each half more manageable and enjoyable. How much easier it is to work in the morning if we know we have a nap to look forward to after lunch; and how much more pleasant the late afternoon and evening become after a little sleep. If you know there is a nap to come later in the day, then you can banish forever that terrible sense of doom one feels at 9 A.M. with eight hours of straight toil ahead. Not only that, but a nap can offer a glimpse into a twilight nether world where gods play and dreams happen.” 

Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle

I am…

B…simply being. 

~God bless and peace, Y’all.~

 

 

 

Reading

“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.” 

Nora Ephron  

The picture featured in today’s story is one of my hometown library.

I loved this little library.

Seeing it brings back one of the few memories I have of going somewhere with my mom. As I type I can feel her holding my hand as we start up the stairs on the day I was finally old enough for my very own library card.

To a little kid those stairs seemed to go on forever. I had to take a deep breath and plant my feet firmly in order to pull open the heavy entry way door. I learned you had to move fast so the wind didn’t catch the door and slam it shut on the back of your legs. I also became aware there was a definite learning curve when it came to getting through this door successfully on very windy days. You had to build up your momentum by running up the stairs and continue moving as fast as you could, using your free arm to build up power while pulling and swinging your way into the dark and cool foyer.

Seated in front of the door was the librarian–the keeper of the books. She had the ultimate power to okay the books checked out. I remember several times when she did not approve of my book selections. Then, as now, my genre of choice was murder mysteries. Being an avid reader, it didn’t take me long to read through the Nancy Drew series. After that, some of my book choices did not meet the approval of Madam Librarian.

Thinking I’d come up with a grand plan, the next time I visited, I told the librarian the book I wanted to take home was for my mom. She hesitated in stamping the due date on the inside cover of the book and looked up. I see her unblinking eyes looking at me through her glasses. The silence stretched into forever. I shuffle my feet. Finally, looking down and closing the ink pad, she slowly shakes her head. Her voice was low but firm. She told me she was sorry but my library card only worked for me. If my mom wanted to check out a book, she’d have to use her own card.

My love for books, libraries, and bookstores continues today. I love my e-readers but there is something special about holding a hardbound book in your hands after spending quiet time walking along and between shelves and shelves of books.

What a great gift, having time to spend a hot summer day with a chilled glass of wine, a dog or two at my feet while I enjoy the companionship of a great storytellers.

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” 

Alan Bennett, The History Boys

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

 

Memorials

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I’ve written about rituals before because they intrigue me and I think we need to create them.

My friend, Glynis, reminded me of my questions about ritual when she sent me this picture of her morning cup of tea. This beautiful cup was one of the last gifts she’d received from her friend, Sherrie. Glynis had been saving this fragile little cup because it’d become so special after Sherrie’s death. Now, after re-discovering it, Glynis realized  life is to short to save special things for only special times.

Now, every morning, as Glynis savors her tea and alone time, Sherrie joins her–every single morning–so simple and so very special.

Even though my arthritis often grabs my attention, I do know aging is a privilege not given to all. It comes with a very difficult downside–the loss of family members and friends.

I’ve learned a way to lessen my sorrow by creating a visual memorial to each loss.

For me, it was an easy choice.

After my cousin, Donna, died I started my first flower garden. It was my Donna garden for years until it evolved into the Donna-Bethie garden. When we moved, I couldn’t take the garden with me but I could take some of the special rocks surrounding it.

When we moved into our new home on the hill, the garden was reconstructed and replanted. As the years have passed, I’ve created more gardens and named them in honor of others lost. Each special person memorialized in a personal and powerful way.

I’d always felt a ritual had to be something huge. I now understand a ritual can be as simple as a rock, a rose, or as grand as grand as a tree.

I’m pretty sure size does not matter to the soul.

“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Special thanks to my friend, Glynis Walker Morse, for sharing her ritual and her photo. Love you, my friend. 

 

Little Moments

“It probably wouldn’t last. It never does. But it would come back around again. That’s how life works. And that’s why it’s important to treasure the peaceful times-so you can persevere through the other kind.” 

Jean Ferris, Thrice Upon a Marigold

The past few months have been difficult.

Yesterday I found myself stuck in some tearful moments.

July 1, 2019, marked two months since I said good bye to my precious Ruby and three months since I said good bye to my little man, Duffy.

I was sad.

As the tears flowed,  I missed them both even more because that would have been the time when they’d worm their way close to me and find some goofy way to cheer me up. Just simply leaning against my leg or pulling at my shoe string would make me smile.

I miss them.

Every single day, I miss them.

Today, I sat and watched and laughed at the outlandish spirit of our Abby and thanked God for the strength of our twelve year old, Bud.

What I’m discovering is the empty place in my heart is pulling in all the little things I never would have noticed. I would have been too busy to sit and watch Abby race around the yard and Bud patiently waiting for her to “do her business.” Watching a puppy push their limits, learning how to climb and jump and trust you to always be there for them.

Retirement has given me the gift of time. My awareness of the magnitude of this blessing grows stronger daily.

Dear God, 

I thank you for the growth in the awareness of my many blessings.

I am grateful for the expanding gift of patience which allows me to take time to actually see the many layers my gifts often contain. 

God, thank you for the many loving souls surrounding me and the sweet memories of those who are with you now.  

I ask you to send your angels to comfort those who have also lost loved ones.  May they find solace in your love and continue to heal knowing they are never alone.  Amen.

Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Healing

Heavenly Father, our human ties with our friends of other species is wonderful and special gift from You. We now ask You to grant our special animal companions your Fatherly care and healing power to take away any suffering they have. Give us, their human friends, new understanding of our responsibilities to these creatures of Yours. They have trust in us as we have in You; our souls and theirs are on this earth together to give one another friendship, affection, and caring. Take our heartfelt prayers and fill Your ill or suffering animals with healing Light and strength to overcome whatever weakness of body they have.

Your goodness is turned upon every living thing and Your grace flows to all Your creatures. From our souls to theirs goodness flows, touching each of us with the reflection of Your love. Grant to our special animal companions long and healthy lives. Give them good relationships with us, and if You see fit to take them from us, help us to understand that they are not gone from us, but only drawing closer to You. Grant our prayer through the intercession of good St. Francis of Assisi, who honored You through all Your creatures. Give him the power to watch over our animal friends until they are safely with You in eternity, where we someday hope to join them in giving You honor forever. Amen.   Saint Francis of Assisi, for our Animal Friends

It’s been a very busy week and I am very glad it is nearly over.

Abby did very well with her surgery. She was able to come home Wednesday afternoon. As you can see, her eyes were open but I’m not sure what she was seeing.

Ms. Abby Rose continues to improve by the minute. This morning she was playing and dashing about almost like her usual self. I’d forgotten how quickly little puppies heal as well as how challenging it is to try to contain and slow them down.

The good part of it is, by noon she is ready to nap. Thankfully, I get to join her.

Many thanks to all for your good wishes, your thoughts, and most of all, your wonderful prayers.

Dear God, you have given us care over all living things; protect and bless the animals who give us companionship and delight, make us their true friends and worthy companions. Amen. 

~Author Unknown~

 I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Worry

“All worries are less with wine.” 

Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

Oh, the worries have begun and I have poured a glass of wine.

Tomorrow I take little Abby to be spayed. Simple procedure, I know. I know it’s done thousands of times a day. The reality is just thinking about driving to the vet these days gives me palpitations.

My experiences being the care recipient rather than the care giver has certainly opened my eyes.

I understand on a whole new level the concern many of the patients and their families had when they came to the hospital or clinic. It was so routine for me I rarely, if ever,  stopped to think about it. In spite of their fear they trusted me with their care or the care of their family member.

I did not fully appreciate that dynamic until very recently.

It is and continues to be a very humbling realization.

Dear God,

I come to you today to ask you to guide those taking care of Abby tomorrow. She is oour young pup full energy, adventure, and the zest for life. She has brought such joy to our home. I am so honored and grateful she is part of our lives.

God, I ask you to bless all caregivers. May they find strength in seeing the good they do and understand how important they are in lives of all who are under their care. 

For myself and the other care recipients, I ask you send our angels and guides in close. May they help us understand what it is we need to do in order to care for our loved ones, each other, and ourselves. I ask You, Lord, to be with us as we each face our challenges of the day.  Amen.

~Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon, June 25, 2019~

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Chats

“You cannot fully understand a person’s need until you have endured the same need. As hard as you may try to predict and comprehend their situation and suffering, I guarantee you’ll fall short until you’ve been there.” 

Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

A little over a year ago I began what I call my morning chats.

These chats started because a dear friend of mine lost her husband. I was far way and knew a trip up to see her was not possible. Calling her didn’t feel right. What do I do?

I sent her a text.

That text started a morning routine that continues today.

Over time, I’ve added others to my morning chats. Some are daily chatters, some once a week, and others I know only have time for quick chats every now and then.

It’s all worked out very very well.

What’s interesting is these how these chats have evolved into so much more–for all of us. Because of this little forum, we have an outlet to share our daily lives–either in a nutshell or we can type away and unload all our recent frustrations.

I never know what I’ll learn–every morning it is surprise just waiting to happen.

My friend Mary’s grand daughter was so surprised her grandma texted daily. Charlotte was even more impressed to learn her grandma had been friends with that person for almost fifty years.

Okay–truth be told–I’m pretty impressed with that fact, too.

The moral of the story–if there is one–is simple.

There is usually a way to reach out to someone. Whether I like it or not, I am beginning to understand being there in person may not always be possible. Even though it often drives me insane, our modern technology allows me to stay in touch with people who are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away form me.

One of the few benefits of getting older is gaining life experiences. Sooner or later we will all need the help of friends. God knows I’ve leaned on many shoulders over the years. It’s all part of the deal–we’re handed a challenge, we learn, and we survive in order to reach out and help one another.

Heavenly Father,

Today I pray for my family and friends. May these special people find comfort in the knowledge they are unconditionally loved. May they see and understand their own strengths and unique inner power. As their awareness grows help them find the peace they seek.

I thank you for the gift of all who have been a part of my journey. May my awareness grow so I can continue to learn and share my life lessons with old and new friends.  

Father, I am humbled by your many blessings.

I am grateful.

Amen.

~Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon, June 24, 2019~

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Thank you, Glynis Walker Morse, for sharing your wonderful picture today. I thank you and I love you. 

A Gift

This month two of my friends will mark the first anniversary of the death of their husbands.

Anniversaries are hard for many reasons. It’s been my experience very few people remember these types of uncomfortable dates, especially after the first year has passed–even fewer remember as time moves slowly on.

In fear of doing something wrong and/or dragging up more pain, most will opt to do nothing.

If, like me, know someone who has had a difficult loss, I believe the best gift you can give them is time.

With all the modern technologies literally at our fingertips, it’s so easy to pick up the cell phone and leave a voice message or send a text. This type of non-intrusive message gives the person the space and luxury of answering immediately or waiting until he or she is ready. Plus, in a matter of minutes, your grieving friend knows someone remembers and is thinking of them.

Reach out, my friends, because it’s a road we will all walk down in one way or another.

Help me, God, to listen with my entire being. When I am in pain, give me the courage to trust others enough to bare my heart to them. And when there is no one to listen, hear me, God. Hear me and heal me. Amen

Rabbi Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being.   

~Peace be with you.~

 

Summers

“I look around the room and can’t help but think about how it is the little things we look back on in life. I wonder how often people think that they should pay more attention to them.” 

Erika Lance, Behind the Veil

Writing about the meter man yesterday set my mind in motion.

I’ve been thinking about other memories from my childhood, especially summertime ones.

  • I remember hurrying through lunch so I could get in the pool as soon as it opened at 1 p.m. After all–I knew I could NOT go into the water for 45 minutes after eating which meant I HAD to be done with lunch by 12:15.
  • This brings up another food related issue–remember fasting for 3–or was it 4–hours before going to communion? I think I could not drink anything for an hour before receiving communion. As I got older I started factoring in how long the first part of Mass would be so I could eat for a longer period of time. Going to a hot church on an empty stomach never worked out well for me.
  • I remember walking all over town from one friend’s house to anothers. The only requirement was telling mom where I was headed. My sisters and I were lucky because there were so many kids our age in our neighborhood. Unless there was something special going on, we never had to go far to be with friends.
  • In our little town in Iowa there were summer carnivals every year. I remember how excited we all were when we saw the trucks come through town and start setting things up on Main Street.
  • Having the windows open so I could hear the trains come through town while I fought sleep in order to make plans for the next day.
  • Swimming lessons and learning the skills needed so I could swim my two laps and go into the 10 foot part of the pool.
  • Lightning bugs.
  • Kool-aid.
  • Rushing through breakfast so I’d be ready to run outside to play as soon as the first neighbor kid knocked on the front door.
  • Fresh sweet corn on the 4th of July followed by ripe watermelon.
  • Sparklers.
  • None questioned whether or not we were safe. Our parents had those soft rules of being home in time for supper and come in when the street lights went on.
  • Growing up in a small town at the time my friends and I grew up was one of the many blessings I didn’t appreciate until not that many years ago. We didn’t need much more than a swim suit and a summer pass to the pool. Shoes were often optional.
  • Talking my dad into buying my first pair of flip flops–they were called thongs then–he absolutely hated them.
  • Home made ice cream.
  • Taking pictures with the Kodak camera and realizing we’d used the last side of the flash cube. Unfortunately there was still one unexposed picture on the roll. That meant it maybe months before that roll is used up and another few months before it’s taken in to be developed.
  • Singing and swinging on the swingset in the backyard.
  • Fresh tomatoes from the garden.
  • Going uptown for my mom to buy a loaf of bread and a package of cigarettes–she’d sent along a handwritten note which worked just fine, no questions asked. There would always be some drama when I got home because I never wanted to give them to her so she’d have to quit.
  • Waiting for my Gram to come visit.
  • Trying to drink a Fizzie–I think that’s how it was spelled. I never was able to drink one–reminded me of my dad’s Alka-seltzer.
  • Collecting pop bottles and turning them in for cash at John’s Little Store on the hill. Hopefully everyone would make it to the store before their paper sack broke. John was always patient with us and had the absolute best penny candy–it was worth the walk.
  • Going to the movies so we could all get out of the heat. If I was very lucky, I’d get to have my very own bag of candy and popcorn.
  • Nightly neighborhood hide and seek which evolved into kick the can.
  • Saying my prayers with my mom never once thinking she wouldn’t always be there.

During these hot summer days, grab a snack, pour a glass of wine, and take a few minutes to think back. If you’re a baby boomer like me, I think you might be surprised at how awesome those childhood memories really are.

“I wonder if we would ever switch back to old photo albums we got printed from photography shops. A Kodak KB10 camera with 36 photos worth of film roll, waiting for it to complete before sending the photos for developing.

Nothing was instant, it would sometimes take months to compete a film and weeks to get the prints.

The joy of seeing the photos, the disappointment to find a ruined image due to shaky hands.

Even after having lots of camera and GBs of memory cards will never bring the same feeling.”

Crestless Wave

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you.~

Meter Man!

“It is a mind-wandering time

Remember the old times

when illusions were distinct

Remember the old times

when a friendly chat

was all we needed

to brighten up our hearts” 

Rixa White

I’d spent the morning working in the yard.

I was tired, thirsty, and hungry. I’d started early in hopes of completing what I wanted to get done before the heat took command of the day.

I almost made it–my goal was in sight but the sun had burned its way through the clouds, raising both the temperature and the humidity.

I waved the white flag.

As I ate my peanut butter toast and drank my third glass of chilled water, I read through my Facebook feeds. What I found became the theme of today’s story–meter readers.

I grew up in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls part of Iowa. As a kid, and even as a young adult, our meters were read manually by a man who came to every house every month.

The interesting part of this was the meters were located INSIDE the houses. Not a problem because commmon practice was to leave doors unlocked.

As I rehydrated, other posts of meter man experiences sparked my own memories.

I remember being home, all of us going about daily routine, when a sharp knock would be heard on the back door, the door opening as a strong male voice sang out, “Meter Man!”

If, by chance no one was home and the door locked, the meter man would leave a card in the door frame. This card had pictures of the meter dials so the homeowner could read his own meter and mail it into the power company.

The degree of trust, goodness, and honestly for members of our community does not seem real or remotely possible to me today.

It was such a great memory I had to share in case you had similiar experiences and wanted to take your own walk back in time.

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.” 

Saul Bellow

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~