The Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

― Fred Rogers

I woke up in the middle of the night and made the mistake of picking up my phone. While I waited for the dogs, I checked what was new. One of my friends had a post where she talked about her first job as a radiologic technologist and the things she saw in her early career.

This put my mind into overtime. The good part of that was I now knew what I would write about today. I would write about the caregivers but add my twist about something I always questioned when I was working. Who takes care of the caregivers?

As I began to write, my story began to change. That’s not unusual. These past few months of writing my blogs, the stories often take on a voice of their own. Today was no exception. What I’d planned moved aside to let another voice speak.

The message? What about those unintentional caregivers? You know–those people who were there to see and hear and be part of this three-day music festival.

If we, those of us who were and are healthcare workers and providers, have our own worst memories thrusting themselves into our minds, how do these people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the right time deal with all they are feeling?

We’ve all read each other’s stories of when this happened and when that happened when we were working. BUT, we were trained on how to deal with what came down that hallway. Our stories of those long days or nights are like what these everyday people experienced in the first two minutes of this attack.

These courageous people did not run away. In fact, from what I have heard and read, many actually helped one person and returned to help more. What many saw and experienced that night had only been seen and endured before by trained soldiers on battlefields.

Compared to the stories they could tell us, mine are like first-grade show-and-tell.

My point?

There were many times in my career when I went home questioning who would listen to me and help me understand the pain and suffering I’d witnessed that day. These brave souls did unbelievable things. Who will listen to them and help them understand what they saw and felt? Who will help them find the words to get all the images out of their heads?

If you know someone who was there, treat them with extra care. Give them the time they need to talk. Help them find help so they can begin to heal. The images they saw will be with them forever. If there was ever a need for a very large special care therapy center, it is now. Unfortunately, even if it could happen, it will never happen.

Let’s do what we can as individuals. Be aware that there are even more people among us who need our kindness and prayers. Please be gentle with these novice caregivers who answered the cries they heard in the panic that night.

I believe in angels. I believe angels flew close to the earth that night, helping the helpers help.

Please, God, bless them all.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

Key to Yourself

When I first met my husband, he had a little paperback book he read every day. The name of this book is Key to Yourself, by Dr. Venice Bloodworth. It is an old book, the copyright date, 1952.

He bought a copy for me which sits on my bookshelf and I added a digital copy for my Kindle. Dr. Bloodworth’s book is another one I grab when I need spiritual help or guidance.

For me, the chapters are short, making it easy to add them to my morning routine or use as a way to calm my mind in the evening. The wording may be dated but the ideas presented are not–I have to remind myself that she wrote this book in the 50’s.

Today, I searched for the chapter she’d written about fear. Let me share the ending paragraphs:

“Fear, anger, criticism and all such thoughts are the most expensive guests we can entertain. They bring a harvest of poverty, misery, and discord. There is no need to fear anything for we carry the indwelling power to overcome everything. Then why should we be angry with our brother? If he has injured you, he will surely reap with interest everything he has done to you, and if you are angry in return you harm yourself more than him; and remember that the same mighty power that dwells in you, sleeps also in your brother. We are all children of the Father and co-heirs with Christ; so lift yourself above the petty manifestations of mistakes and live in accord with the good within you.”

One ship drives east, another drives west, 

With self-same winds that blow.

“Tis the set of the sails and not the gales

Which tells us the way to go. 

Like the waves of the sea are the ways of fate, 

As we voyage along through life. 

“Tis the set of the soul which decided the goal, 

And not the calm or the Strife. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace

 

Looking for Answers

As I sit at my desk and look out into my little corner of the world, I find I am once again wrestling with all the crazy thoughts stomping through my mind. There are so many and they are so distracting.

Sometimes you just have to let it go and let it be. So, my post will be short, sharing from one my favorite books, A Guide for the Advanced Soul.  This little book is my go-to source for wisdom and this was my gift today:

Don’t try to force anything. Let life be a deep let-go. See God opening millions of flowers every day without forcing the buds. 

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

I am…

B…simply being…

Love to all.

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a Matter of Minutes…

What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
― David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law

Life waits for no one nor does death discriminate. In a matter of minutes, our lives can change forever.

My day began, like many, with “breaking news” from Las Vegas.  That is never ever a good thing sign to see when you turn on the morning news. I then saw thousands of people together, enjoying an open-air concert. I then realized too many of those innocent souls lost their lives. Once again, families and friends are left with the unimaginable job of trying to put the pieces of their lives together without those lost.

As I was struggling to find words to describe the emotions flaring in my heart, we received a phone call from a dear friend. She asked to speak to us both. As my heart raced, my first thought was she or her husband had a family member at that concert.

That was not what she called to share with us. What she told us was just as dire.

Another friend is seriously ill with a very poor prognosis. They are still in the middle of testing but the early diagnosis is scary.

I know I have a super powerful prayer group here in my circle of friends. Please add this family to your prayers. They are overwhelmed and feeling lost–a feeling shared by many right now.

May God bless us all.

I am…

B…simply being…

I thank you and love you all.

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby

This is our youngest furry family member, Ruby Jean.

Ruby is a Tibetan Terrier, a breed we saw for the first time six years ago when we watched the National Dog Show. We tuned in just in time to see a beautiful Tibetan Terrier presented as the best in show.

We fell head over heels in love.

We had lost our rescue dog, Gracie, a few months before and promised ourselves we would never ever have three dogs again. Then we saw and researched TTs–Tibetan Terriers.

The breed is a cousin to the Lhasa Apso. Like the Lhasa, they were bred and raised by the lamas in Tibet. They were called the “Holy Dogs of Tibet” prized for their loyalty and companionship as well as being the lamas good luck charms. Neither breed was ever sold by the lamas. They were gifted as a sign of respect or as a way to promote good fortune.

We searched and searched but could not find a TT breeder locally. Even though we knew the dangers, we began a long internet search. The red flags were waving but we thought we knew what we were doing. We had been so lucky with Duffy. Heck, we knew how to make a wise breeder choice.

We were wrong.

Long story short, Ruby arrived at DIA on December 4, 2011, somewhere around 6:00 p.m. As luck would have it, Denver was experiencing the first ice storm of the year and her flight was the first one to arrive at that terminal. The outside doors were frozen shut because of the very cold temperatures and the amount of freezing rain we had received. Finally, her carrier was brought into the room where we, like the expectant parents we were, paced and paced. As Michael signed the paperwork, I edged over to meet my new puppy.

This seven-month-old puppy left Florida on the 0600 flight. Taking into account the time it took to get her ready to travel, travel to the airport, and do the pre-flight paperwork, she had been in her carrier for over twelve hours. Slowly, I bent down to gaze into her face. In the dim light, I peered around the inside of her carrier. I strained to make it be more because all I could see was wet, crumpled newspapers and a slouched-over, wide-eyed puppy. She had no food. She had no water. She had no room to sit up or lay down.

I was very unhappy. We hurried to get her home.

Once home, we coaxed her out and discovered she was underweight. She had small bites over her chest, legs, and abdomen. Her ears had very little hair. At seven months of age, she had no idea how to go up and down stairs or how to go through a door.

Today, although still skittish and shy, she is happy and healthy. She loves to run in her backyard while watching all the new types of wildlife here in the Texas hill country. Her eyes are beautiful and expressive. Her facial expressions are more human than some people I know. She is my clown, my athlete, and my healer. Whenever I am sad or not feeling well, she will be at my side until I am feeling stronger and better.

On that icy December night, as I looked into her sad eyes, I felt I had another rescue dog on my hands. I certainly had that wrong. What I did not understand was she was about to rescue me.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

Prince, Otherwise Known As, Duffy

When you read about the Lhasa Apso breed, you find that some people say there is the spirit of a Dalai Lama in a Lhasa. When you meet Duffy, you will tend to believe that statement.

Michael found Duffy at a time when our oldest Lhasa, Pearl, was pretty sick. She was 14 years old and failing. Honestly, I feel Pearl hung with us and tolerated our intensive care because she did not want to leave Bud with Gracie. Gracie was our rescue dog. Like most rescue animals, she was also older and had her own health issues. As time slide by us, it became obvious Gracie was not going to be a long-term companion for Bud.

Michael found Duffy in an internet ad placed from Utah. What caught his attention was the fact that Duffy and his brother, Andy, were ready to come to us immediately. They were seven months old and had been staying with the breeder waiting for their original owner to recover from breast cancer. Unexpected complications of that surgery forced the owner to make the difficult decision to give them up, opening up the opportunity for us to have an older puppy.

Our main focus was making this change in a way that was easy for both older dogs. After extensive conversations with the breeder, we found a way to get Duffy to our home in Denver.

Duffy arrived at DIA by way of Delta Airlines in his own very roomy dog carrier. Inside the carrier was a new little dog bed, a book of instructions on how to care for him, food, water, and his toys.

Our house became his home immediately. Pearl gave him a sniff and a glance of acknowledgment. Gracie ignored him. Bud taught him how to use the dog door and let him know who was the boss.

Duffy arrived on Tuesday. That Friday, our Vet, Dr. Munger, called to tell me Pearl’s latest bloodwork showed she had severe diabetes.

It was time.

Pearl was ready. As I looked around me, I realized she had retreated into her own space, opening up her corner of this world. She was easing away from all of us while getting her world in order. She was moving on.

I lost another part of my heart that day. I cry as I remember and tell her story. I am grateful we had such great care from our vet and his staff. Pearl was a fighter. She died peacefully in the place where she had fought so many battles. She was finally free of the pain. She will always be one of my biggest and strongest heroes.

From the day he arrived, Duffy has been both the instigator and the peacemaker. He has grown and expanded his own spot in my heart. Oh, don’t be mistaken, he could never ever fill anyone else’s spot–that is impossible. What has happened is he’s smoothed those rough edges by his unconditional acceptance of me. His being has allowed me to be joyful again.

It is the inevitable truth about having a dog. We dog owners know this, but it is a fact we ignore. Yes, ignorance truly is bliss. After walking this road many times before, I now understand that I each day with these special souls is a blessing. I work hard to live each day with this knowledge close at hand.

In the heaven I envision, dogs are on the front line. Well…seriously…of course they are the first souls encountered by anyone coming that way. And yes, they really are at that rainbow bridge spot. In my mind, when a dog dies, there is another dog soul standing in the middle of the rainbow bridge. Each dog is waiting for the other because the dog-in-waiting will soon be on the way to wag his way into the life and heart of the human left behind. That puppy powered with puppy energy and puppy breath will smooch and soothe away the ragged edges of loss.

God understands that it is only another brave, adorable puppy soul who could even attempt to ease the type of pain that comes from the loss of another dog.

For me, Duffy is another champion. He wasn’t waiting for Pearl at the bridge. He knew he had to get a head start because he had some HUGE paws to fill.

I am…

B…simply…being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

 

Bud

When you have dogs, you witness their uncomplaining acceptance of suffering, their bright desire to make the most of life in spite of the limitations of age and disease, their calm awareness of the approaching end when their final hours come. They accept death with a grace that I hope I will one day be brave enough to muster.”
Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

I need to write something today that would boost my spirits. For the past few days, I have binge-watched, This Is Us. 

I’m emotionally drained and completely cried out.

Because I have been focused on my dogs today–the next few days are filled with dog grooming appointments–what better way to take my mind in a different direction than to write about my dogs?

Meet Bud.

Bud is our oldest Lhasa Apso, turning eleven years old last January. We call him our Nebraska farm dog because those are his roots. He is the healthiest dog to ever grace our home. No matter how much his back hurts or his hind legs catch, he is always ready for his walk. He never ever allows us to sit anywhere alone. He’s not a lap dog, but he is usually close enough to have his nose on foot or in your shoe. He is 18 pounds of absolute devotion.

Bud is named for my Dad, whose nickname was Bud. This fact shoots up a warning flag–kinda like those annoying advertisements that pop up on your favorite websites! When you name someone or something after another important person in your life, be ready for a whole new level of “concern” when things are not going as usual.

Bud joined us after our youngest Lhasa, Jessie, died very unexpectedly. Most of the dogs in my life had lived very long lives. To lose Jessie at eight years of age took me completely off guard. I was lost.

Michael was grasping at ways to help me. He called and asked me to check the paper for puppies. In his opinion, the only way to help me was to call in the serious dog healers–otherwise known as puppies.

I grabbed the ad section of The Denver Post–this was eleven years ago–and searched. I found an ad that read: Three Lhasa Apso puppies for sale, two males, one female. The phone number was given with the note to ask for Vivian.

My heart stopped.

Vivian is NOT a common name. My Mom’s name was Vivian. Holding my breath, I called the number. Vivian told me she could send a picture of the only puppy she had left. If I was interested, I needed to let her know because she was bringing the other puppies to the Denver area that weekend.

I opened the email and fell in love with that handsome boy. His name had been decided the minute I began to talk with Vivian. He was Bud.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

 

 

 

 

Thank You For Your Time

It’s the day after my birthday. It was a wonderful day filled with unexpected wishes and love-filled gifts.

Thank you.

I wonder if I am the only one who has just a little sadness sneak in the day after that day of celebrating your special day? I am not sure exactly why. Maybe it’s because it is the only day I know where you have blanket permission to be and do whatever you want. Come on, it’s your birthday.

I am very good at taking advice–usually. I did exactly what I wanted to do all day long. I read all my cards. I opened all my gifts. I ate what I wanted for dinner. I opened and enjoyed a wonderful bottle of wine.

I relished every single minute.

As my day played out, I became aware that each gift came with a bonus. Each card, note, email, or phone call came with a generous investment of time. Minutes each person withdrew from time banks that were already taxed and overdrawn. Everyone made a conscious decision to spend time on me.

Thank you.

I am very blessed.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace Y’all.

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Sixty-four years ago today, I began this grand adventure called life.

I have been fortunate and very blessed–not to mention just plain ol’ lucky.

By the grace of God, people have been placed in my life at times when I needed them the most. Now, the question may arise as to whether some helped me or if they actually lead me off course for a while. Either way, whichever column you place people in, they all played a part in allowing me to grow and become the person I am today. Because of these wonderful and eclectic folks, I am alive. I am well. I am.

Sounds to me like it’s time for a walk down memory lane so I can share a story.

The summer after I completed eighth grade, my family moved from the small town of Traer, Iowa, to the city of Waterloo, Iowa. I don’t remember when I realized this huge change was happening. My family was not big on family meetings or sharing information. What I’d expected to be the start of my freshman year of high school, with kids I had been with since kindergarten, morphed into years of unforeseen changes and challenges. All that was comfortable and familiar in my life was packed away and dismissed that summer. Like it or not, I was off to a new life in a new town in a new house in a new school with new kids.

This was one of the most difficult times in my life. By luck or by an act of God, I landed in a place where I found wonderful and generous friends. Kids who welcomed me into their circle of friends. Wonderful people who are still in my life today.

That year my birthday fell on a day when we did not have school because it was opening day for the National Cattle Congress. What? Could anything sound more Iowan? Cattle Congress is an annual event that’s been part of the Waterloo culture for decades. It was and remains a mixture of a stock show, a fair, and a carnival. It was the perfect place for a group of young kids to go and hang together while checking out all the out-of-town boys. I was so excited. My new group of friends asked me to go with them AND my Dad and stepmother said I could go.

I did not realize my friends knew it was my birthday. Not only was it my birthday, but it was also my new friend, Margie’s birthday. At the end of the day, after talking and learning about the new people in my life, both Margie and I had birthday presents to open. The gifts were supposed gag gifts–meant to be funny. To me, that present was my new lifeline. As I type, I can still see that little-ribbed glass jar which held green, medicinal smelling stick deodorant.  A joke? Okay, but to me, it was a precious gift. Something that gave me hope for my future.

This is such a nice memory to have and carry with me as I continue on my life journey. It is also a reminder that a gift does not have to be big to be special. Kinda like that surprise phone call I just had with my friend, Dave. That was so thoughtful. Thank you, Dave.

There is so much joy in an act of simple kindness.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Ahhh, Friday!

“It’s 4:58 on Friday afternoon. Do you know where your margarita is?”
― Amy Neftzger

It has been a long and busy Friday here in Hibdonville. I’ve finally found my adult beverage. It is past time to put my feet up and my busy mind to rest.

As the weekend begins, please stay patient with each other. Remember many walking among us are bravely facing huge challenges every minute of every day.

Be especially kind.

Pray.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace.