A Little Road Wisdom

Yesterday I talked about being at Prude Ranch and meeting Osa. As I wrote that story, I thought of a few other tips I could share with anyone thinking about RVing.

Michael and I began to travel by RV when he was traveling a lot for his job. The last thing he wanted to do when he got home from the airport was to get on another plane. Eating at restaurants was another thing not high on his time off to-do list. Throw into that equation the fact we had dogs at home, investing in an RV made a lot of sense to us. With our home away from home on wheels, we could spend time off together, fix and eat our own food, and splurge on some very nice bottles of wine.

When we started down the path of being full-time RVers, we learned some dos and don’ts of the road. These are a few of the most poignant ones.

Be aware of popular events going on in the area you will be visiting. Our full-time adventure began the last part of September. We’d planned on going to Sante Fe for a few days on our way to Carlsbad Caverns. Even though Michael is a balloon pilot, he forgot the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta begins the first weekend in October.  When we tried to get a spot in one of our favorite parks, they were full. Every park around that area was full except for one park. They had one spot left. As we parked, we understood why this spot was open. We were on a little peninsula between the propane filling tank, the dump station, and the trash. It was a long three days in Santa Fe. Two big lessons learned on this leg of the trip. Plan way ahead and question the area around your camping site.

From Santa Fe, we traveled to Carlsbad, New Mexico. We’d made reservations at a campground there well in advance. We’d read the reviews and looked at the posted pictures. There were not many reviews or pictures–something we learned to see as a huge red flag. It was a long and hot trip to this rather isolated part of  New Mexico. I went in to pay for our stay while he waited with the dogs. As we drove down to the campground, what we saw was not at all what we’d expected. We parked and set up our site but decided we’d stay only long enough to see the Caverns. When we went up to tell the desk that we would not be there for our full stay, we learned they did not do refunds. As you can see by the attached photo, it was not a place where you wanted to spend a lot of time. Our lesson from this experience was to investigate the park BEFORE you pay. We would have had to pay a cancellation fee, but that would have been much less expensive than what our full week ended up costing us.

Living and exploring our beautiful country by RV is a priceless experience. We’ve met some of the most wonderful people on our journies. When we began our adventures, I kept a journal, making notes about all the people we met and the experiences we had at each stop. My last bit of advice for you is to start your own journal. As I look at that little spiral notebook and read the entries we both made of those early days, I am so thankful we have that bit of recorded history of so many unexpected discoveries and joys.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

Osa

This is Osa.

We were told her name means “bear” in Spanish. The name fit her perfectly. She was the size of a bear, by far the largest dog I’d ever met.

We were full-time RVers when we met Osa. We were staying at the historic Prude Ranch, located just outside of Fort Davis, Texas. We arrived in mid-October and stayed through the first part of November. Osa was our campsite companion and protector.

If you are thinking about the RV lifestyle, there are so many things I could share with you. One of the most important things is, do NOT believe the pictures posted online by the facilities. If there are no recent reviews, think long and hard before you make reservations.

Prude Ranch is a guest ranch that has been in operation for decades.  At one time, it was the place to go for family vacations. When we were there, it was in dire need of repair. For the time we were there, we were the only RV in the upper RV park. It was quiet, peaceful, but a little scary. This brings up the other very important thing I want to share about RVing today. Please pay attention to the area you will be staying in. Determine how far you are from medical help? Will you have cell phone coverage? Internet was where we focused, not even questioning cell phone coverage. We were staying during the low season, once the few staff members left for the day,  we were alone. Yes, there was a pay phone at registration–which was at approximately a quarter of a mile from where we were camped. During the time we were there, I never once checked to see if the phone worked.

Osa took care of us. She’d come every day, mid-morning, staying through the night, leaving early for her job the next day. We have three dogs. They are not social. When I opened the door the first day Osa came, I was concerned. There was no containing this large dog. Our dogs would need to adjust. It was obvious, she was not going anywhere. We’d have to make it work. As I envisioned big battles that would have been very bad for our dogs, something magic happened. Each dog went through their own dog greeting, acting like they’d known each other forever.

We’d noticed our screen door would pop open if it was hit just right. Checking this door was the last thing checked before taking our dogs for a walk. One sunny afternoon, we were heading back to the RV when Michael tossed me his leashed dog, talking quickly while racing back to the trailer. What was being said was lost because he was moving too quickly. Grasping all the leashes, my gaze followed his path. In the distance, I could see the screen door was open, dog toys flying out into the yard.

Osa had figured out how to open the door. By the time I got home, Michael had retrieved the toys that’d survived her wild adventure, the inside dog bowls had been licked clean, every drop of water gone. Osa, in true Osa fashion, had made herself at home. As I surveyed the damage, I thanked God our dinner was sitting in the refrigerator.

On our last day, as we packed up to leave, Osa was there. I can visualize her now, meandering up the hill to our site, stopping close to each of us, leaning into our legs, finagling a pet and a treat.

There was a huge empty spot in our hearts as we made our way to the coast. We all missed having her outside the front door as we started our days. We missed having her big bear sized head under our hands. She’d somehow tamed our three dogs as she made her way into our lives and deep into our hearts. She was our gentle giant, our very own west Texas guardian angel.

God bless you, Osa. I love you.

I am…

B…simply being…

I wish you all love the size of Osa.

Peace

Fortunately, Friday

“Clearly, one of the major obstacles to our experience of gratitude is the habit we have of sleepwalking through life. The truth is that we are never lacking for blessings in our lives, but we are often lacking in awareness and recognition of them.” ~ Rev. Diane Berke, Ph.D

As hard as it is for me to believe, it is Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, 2017.

Our Thanksgiving was a small, easy family gathering. It was lovely. Michael’s sister, Neva, and her husband, Irving, arrived carrying flowers and a pineapple upside down cake–it was a great start to a very relaxing day.

I took the day off from writing. I wanted to focus on being present, aware, and thankful. As I sat the place settings around our table, I found myself thinking about the empty chairs around many Thanksgiving tables this year due to unimaginable events that’d happened since last Thanksgiving. The imagery of that was powerful.

I saw the faces sitting around our table a little differently yesterday. Whether it was God-given grace or that glass of wine, I’m not totally sure. What I can say is I appreciated each person on a much higher level–the little things that’d irritated me in years past were easily ignored while the gifts and time shared meant so much more.

“Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given.” ~ Marelisa Fábrega

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace

 

A Little Wednesday Wisdom

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” ~ Ralph Marston

It’s already Wednesday, the week of Thanksgiving, 2017.

Because I am an award-winning procrastinator, I’ve been moving faster than usual today. I’ve finally accepted this as the way I operate. Being that charter member, regardless of where I was in the grocery store today, I was rushing, avoiding, or waiting.

It was mostly a waiting game.

I was one of the very few walking up and down the aisles with a smile on my face. The more frowns I met, the more I smiled–and my smile grew wider and wider with each cluster of people I encountered. Granted,  I was probably one of the few there by choice. One of my fellow HEB warriors was a mom of three. She patiently directed her oldest son up and down the different rows as she searched up and down for the things she needed. She excused herself for the pace her little pack held, telling me she was not from here. Again–a huge smile crossed my face because I and every other local person in the store had determined that a long time before she confirmed it.

To me, she was a hero.

I had not one single minute of doubt she’d have been done shopping, checked out, loaded the car, and on the way home if she had not offered it all up by giving the keys to the cart to her son. I’m not sure how often he had been the cart pilot, but there were some close calls as he made his way around stocking cards, past full end caps, skirted other kids, and bypassed the very large representation of this community’s more elderly shoppers. Cheers to you, mom. May God bless you with a full glass of wine with a full bottle standing by when you get home.

My favorite entertainer of the day was the young dad trying to keep up with his daughter as she zigged here and zagged there, always searching for that very elusive place where she could let her wild horses ride. He managed to stay close to her, adjusting his speed and chatter as they both sped on ahead.

I had a majestically joy-filled experience.

All this and the fact that it was Thanksgiving Eve, reminded me of a late day run to the post office made shortly after I’d moved to the Denver area. It was the beginning of my first holiday season away from home. I’d had a hard week, I was on call, I was already tired, I was lonely, and I was angry. A subscription I’d canceled had sent the product anyway. That meant, I now had to return it.

All these negatives played over and over in my head as I walked to the post office. A young man and his dad were coming out of the building, the boy stopped to hold the door for me. In my pre-occupied state, I brushed quickly by them, making my way inside.

A rather firm voice broke my litany of poor me, poor pitiful me self-statements. I heard the boy say, “You’re welcome.” His dad was quick to hush; the young man, making his point very adamantly, “She could at least say thank you, dad!”

Wow. For a second, his comment made me angry. Then…I realized how rude I’d been.

The kid was absolutely right.

As I turned to acknowledge, they were gone. The dad had whisked him out to the car.

What a huge lesson I learned that evening from this young man. You never know when or who your teachers will show up or who they will be–he was the first person to help me on my path to being more aware. Since that night, I see how many others neglect expressing appreciation for simple acts of respect and kindness.

This memory was sparked by finding the quote I’ve attached to today’s story by Ralph Marston. Saying thank you takes seconds and costs nothing. Stay aware of all the kindness and care to come your way–be grateful.

For years, Michael and I subscribed to Mr. Marston’s, The Daily Motivator. If you’ve never seen these daily messages, take a minute to check it out. It will give you one other thing to be grateful for and open another gift opportunity for you.

I am…

B…simply being…

My love sent your way.

God bless.

Peace

 

 

 

 

A Thoughtful Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, the week of Thanksgiving, a day filled with thoughts to share.

Two months ago I re-started my morning journaling. This simple act has become my daily hymn to self–a road I’m building, brick by brick, one morning at a time. This early morning time has given me the opportunity to experience sunrise unfolding outside my office windows. This commitment has formed the foundation for the bridge that connects my hand, my brain, and my memories.

There are mornings when I’m surprised with the emotion literally pressed onto the pages as the words fly across the pages. It feels a little like magic, this small, consistent, practice that has opened and freed my mind of many crazy thoughts that’d begun to control my day-to-day life. I’m very aware there are still outliers, those deep-seated thoughts and beliefs who’ve become scary strong from years of cunning evasion. Because I have had good teachers in my past, I know this work takes patience and persistence. I will continue to tell my stories. I believe being a brave storyteller has created open spaces in my memories. Each tale shared helps push another part of that old belief system out of its secret hiding place.

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circu

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and blessings to all.

Peace

 

 

 

A Memory-filled Monday

It’s Monday, the week of Thanksgiving.

There are so many thoughts spinning through my mind today.

One of the first thoughts flying through my mind this morning was sparked by the guys working so hard picking up our trash. God bless them, especially today, bulk trash day. On this day, whatever homeowners drag out to the curb, they pick up. The amazing part–the guys picking up bulk stuff walk/run behind the truck–like the old days.

So, what makes this memorable?

To explain that involves storytelling and a disciplined search through old newspaper clippings. As I watched these guys work, I remembered being part of a newspaper article written many years ago when I was working at St. Francis Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. I’d just finished my two-year radiologic technology program. I was newly married and needed a job. My classmate, Mary, was lucky. She’d found her niche in nuclear medicine and had been offered a job covering that part of the department. Me? That was turning out to be more difficult. Our growing department had very busy times which were almost consistent enough to warrant another full-time person. With some creativity on someone’s part during a time when budgets were more flexible, I was offered a job as a “jack of all trades.” My job description had no black and white details–it was purposefully fuzzy gray. I was okay with that. I knew I was the newest of the new–a neophyte. I needed to be and was open to anything.

This was in the early to mid 70’s. The hospital was in the early stages of starting a cardiac rehab program. Part of the rehab protocol involved having a treadmill stress test as part of the initial cardiac evaluation. In addition to the rehab program, treadmill testing would be available for diagnostic testing. The team needed a non-nurse medical person watching for EKG changes. Those creative thinkers had found a niche I could call mine.

Because I’ve spent a lot of time lately going through all my older pictures, I found this one pretty quickly. Looking over all the different details represented in this photo, I smiled as I realized it represented the very beginning of my career. A career that would expand in many different directions, into other areas, and play out in other areas of the country for the next forty years.

Today, as I watched out the office window, in my mind I saw one of my favorite treadmill patients. His test lasted so long we had an audience of people observing him run and run and run. We’d progressed through all the stages quickly because we were unable to move his heart rate much above his resting rate. He was rock steady. No arrhythmias, no segment changes, no chest pain.

Finally, we asked him what he did for a living.

He smiled, chuckled, and replied, “I work for the city. I’m a garbage man. I run like this every single day.”

Laughter filled the room. Looking at each other, we shrugged our shoulders while wondering what to do next.

I can still see him looking around at us, smiling as he continued to run.

Finally, we admitted defeat. We stopped the test. His recovery time was unmeasurable–ours–not so much.

My Monday gratitude list focuses on my career. What a gift it was and continues to be as I remember those who were part of my life in such monumental ways. For my entire career, I was in a front row seat as the imaging field exploded in so many different directions.

I am thankful I have the time to remember, reflect, and share my memories of what became my life’s calling. Oh, at the time I certainly did not have such a positive take on it all. Then it was just the day-to-day “stuff.”

Now, I realize how fortunate I was to be where I was, when I was, with all the people I was with–sharing a journey that took us on a very unpredictable ride.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

A Life Line

I’m not sure how Thanksgiving could possibly be next week. I’m pretty sure I say these exact words every year. I am realizing that time really does speed up after retirement–kinda like those vacation days I waited and waited for–in a blink of an eye, they were over!

Now, all my days are like those vacation days. With that awareness in mind, I must remember to make lists or that thief of time will take advantage of me.

After procrastinating all week, today was deemed the day to go into the city and run errands. Oh…I commuted into the city almost every day for over thirty years. I’ve been spoiled and become very comfortable with my quiet country life. The pace and the rudeness of the city wear on me quickly.  I found myself rushing in order to get back to the peacefulness of home.

Following a pattern that developed this week, I found a prayer I thought would be a great one to share as we head into this stress-filled season. I was not familiar with Rabbi Naomi Levy until I read this prayer. I think she will be a wonderful teacher to have as I journey forward. This beautiful prayer is called, A Parent’s Prayer for Patience. As I read it, I felt you could substitute the word “child” with “parent” or “friend” or a specific name. However you fill in the blank, I know I could have used these words many times in my life. I am very thankful to have them for my prayer journal now.

As the craziness of the season begins, may this prayer be a lifeline for you as well.

When my child tests me, teach me, God, how to respond with wisdom. When I grow irritable, send me patience. When my fury rages, teach me the power of restraint. When I become fixed in my ways, teach me to be flexible. When I take myself too seriously, bless me with a sense of humor. When I am exhausted, fill me with strength. When I am frightened, fill me with courage. When I am stubborn, teach me how to bend. When I act hypocritically, help me to align my deeds and my values. When mundane pressures threaten to overwhelm me, help me remember how truly blessed I am. When I lose my way, God, please guide me on the road back to joy, back to love, back to peace, back to you.  Amen

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

 

 

 

Best Laid Plans

Today was the day I’d planned to cross so many things off my to-do list.

Oh, the best-laid plans…

Bud and Ruby did get their baths. In hindsight, that would have looked much more impressive if I’d thought to give each dog their own individual line on my to-do list.

What created the snag in my day boiled down to one little flash of time when I clicked on the “resume episode” button for Season Two, This is Us.

In a nano-second, my to-do list fluttered out the window.

In an attempt to accomplish something, I streamed episodes as I cleaned dog ears and listened to the next episodes while I sprayed, lathered, rinsed, and dried both Bud and Ruby.

The problem is, here I sit…trying to pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Search as I may, that rabbit is MIA.

Luckily, I do have a  prayer to share.

It feels very appropriate for today since this prayer asks God for help learning patience. Specifically, this prayer asks for patience with self.

Lord, teach me to be patient with life, with people, and with myself. I sometimes try to hurry 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 greater and wiser plan.   Amen

Isaiah 40:31 (NHEB) But those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Puzzle

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”
― Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty

This short little quote describes how I feel about my afternoon writing sessions.

I’ve discovered, because of my persistent dedication of time these past months, providing unquestioning and gentle patience while coaxing out memories, experiences, and life lessons, a figure has slowly emerged from the shadows of my mind. I’d always known she was there. I’d never asked who she was–I don’t think that piece of the puzzle was meant to be as easy as asking that simple question. To get that answer, I had to earn it. By establishing a consistently secure place, that mystery person I’d always thought to be my imaginary, silent, but always encouraging friend, was, in fact, me.

Writing has helped me pull myself together–literally and figuratively. Where it will take me is still unknown and is nearly always surprising. These afternoon writing sessions remind me of one of my most favorite people who would set up a place to do super-sized puzzles over the cold winter months. Like Clarice, I’m working on the outside edges of my life’s puzzle. That middle part is going to be quite a bit more tricky.

“Ever since I was young I enjoyed solving puzzles and having the pleasure to see the bigger picture afterwards. But even after all that, I found that life could be the most challenging puzzle we have to face. It’s one of those things that even if you have all the pieces and could see the whole picture, it still takes time and patience to solve it. At times, we feel more at ease not knowing the whole picture, not knowing the whole level of difficulty or number of pieces that we’re missing, but just building up one piece at a time. The problem with this approach is that the only clues that we have for matching two pieces are the shape and a small glimpse of the image. We so often find comfort in building up the corners and the borders but very rarely do we adventure in the middle of the puzzle. We’d rather work little by little holding on to our safe border and only move towards the center when the pieces are still in touch with our borders or roots. On the other hand, you could be one of those people that just jumps in the middle and builds up on every piece you have in order to get small portions of the truth of the bigger picture every now and then. Not having your borders or corners in place might mean that you don’t need to know your limits in order to realize that the puzzle will one day come to an end. Nevertheless, every piece is equally important and it gets handed to you at a time where you have at least some matching piece. That doesn’t mean you should only focus on one point or piece and limit your possible connections. Spread out and you will find even more connections. The truth of the puzzle information comes in different shapes and colors but in the end it’s all connected. Information might be divided, spread out in different areas, different people, different experiences. What’s important to remember is that every piece is meant for you. You might throw it on the side now and use it later, but it will forever remain a part of your bigger picture. Work on your puzzle, with patience and care in moving forward and with a hopeful spirit that it will all work out in the end for your highest good!”
― Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache

I am…

B…simply being…

I send you all love and wish us all peace.

 

 

 

 

Little Man

I think I’ll call this past week “The Week of Duffy.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Duffy is very capable of positioning himself in the center of things, anytime, any place. I think he got a little more than he bargained for this time.

Today we went for his one-week checkup. Dr. Laura looked him over, felt he was doing well except his incision showed signs he’d been licking more than I realized. Obviously, he is very proficient at getting those licks in when he knows I am distracted.

Well, little man, you’re busted. Dr. Laura’s evaluation forced the placement of that little blue bandana when we got home.

I don’t know what you guys think but my best guess is he is not at all excited about how this afternoon played out.

Anyone who knows me well understands the very simple fact–HA–just like Duffy–it does not take much to distract me. Meaning–my creativity and writing have been challenged. The positive side of that is I begin to clean, sort, and file. Yes, my dear friends, I’ve re-discovered things I’ve stashed away. Now is the perfect way to share them.

Today, thanks to Pinterest, is the prayer I’ll share today:

Healing Prayer at Bedtime. 

Lord Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep. Every hurt that has been done to me, heal that hurt. All the relationships that have been damaged in my whole life that I am unaware of, heal those relationships. But, Lord, if there is anything that I need to do, if I need to go to a person because he or she is still suffering from my hand, bring to my awareness that person. I choose to forgive and I ask to be forgiven. Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with your love.   Amen

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace and love, Y’all.