Bless me, Father…

Memories. Lately they have flooded my head. Last night I woke up thinking about my First Confession and First Communion.

I was thrilled to see a picture of my First Communion survived all the moves I’ve made over the years. I’m thinking that in itself qualifies as an honest to God miracle.

This picture was taken at our house on first street in Traer, Iowa. My two sisters are standing with me, Beth on my right and Susan on my left. I was so proud of my beautiful dress, vail, and shoes! I felt like a princess, ruling the day to the max because I was literally the center of attention.

Growing up Catholic is a source of stories for many of us. My first confession was such a serious thing for me. I was going to have to remember all my sins, tell them all to the priest, and then try to not do them again. I agonized over how many times I disobeyed my parents. This was my first confession so this covered a LOT of time. How do you even count that many times? How many times had I been unkind to my sisters? I’m not sure I could even count that high.

Our parish Priest, Father Lana, talked with us that day as we formed a line beside the confessional. Father told us to do our best–that the number of times we sinned was not as important as being truly sorry for them. And, he said, with the grace of God, we needed to work hard so we did not sin again.

Well. That took some of the pressure off. I could ease up on the number deal and concentrate on my future. Still, I was thinking, this is going to be hard.

Father Lana lead our pre-confession prayers. He gave us all a final review as he entered  his side of the confessional. In our little church, there were only two doors, one for the priest, and one for the person making their confession. This was a detail I did not appreciate until I was much older.

The line progressed, each of us making our confession. While we waited I could see that some kids were super fast, others not so fast. This began to bother me. If I said all I had planned, I’d be in there a pretty long time–a lot longer than most of the kids ahead of me. I’d have to talk fast or change my confession. My mind was spinning and it was almost my turn. I could come back, right? If I’d forgotten something, I could say it next time–when there were not all the other kids watching…waiting.

It was my turn. I walked in and knelt before the little screened window. I heard the window open and I was asked if I was ready to make my first confession. I began, as I had practiced, bless me Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession…

I told Father my sins and all the times I could remember committing them. When I’d been quiet for a few seconds, he asked me if I was done? Had I searched my soul and was this my best confession?  I hesitated. Had I forgotten something obvious? After some thinking, I replied, “Yes, Father.” He gave me my penance, three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers, and told me to say my Act of Contrition.

I completed my prayer. I’d done it! I’d made my first confession. My sins were forgiven. Three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers and that’s it. Much easier than I’d expected.

I thanked him and stood to leave. As I turned I heard Father Lana say, ” That was a very good first confession, Barbara. God bless you.”

Wait a minute.

My young mind was so surprised. How had he known who I was? I mean, confessions were top-secret. He was sworn to secrecy, right?

Oh, the sweetness of these innocent childhood memories.

I am…

B…simply being…

I wish you love and God’s blessings.

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories

Stories–we’ve all got ’em.

I find it interesting so many are writing about their lives–the list of memoirs grows daily. My guess is they’ve always been there–I’ve just never noticed–I wasn’t ready.

The spark igniting my “getting ready” came unexpectedly. I was watching the Today Show one morning–actually paying attention instead of attempting to do something I am not good at–multi-tasking. One of the segments this particular morning was about Prince Harry and his support of Lady Gaga. They’re teaming up to help battle mental illness–Lady Gaga had recently gone public with her mental health issues as Harry opened up about the challenges he’s faced due to the tragic death of his mother, Diana.

I was quickly pulled into his story. If someone like Harry had such difficulty with the depth of resources he had, I suddenly had a very big ally and mentor. If he could openly discuss his mistakes and challenges, I began to believe I could, also.

Everyone knows the story of Diana’s death. As I watched and listened, I began to think about my life. I questioned if even I knew my story. This was the moment I began to write my story. It has not easy nor will it won’t be fast. It’s a tale that’s been buried for very long time.

As if to spur me on, I heard this morning that Prince Harry and his brother, Prince Charles, have done a documentary about the life of the Mom. This is the first time they have both talked openly about her. Yes. My mentors continue to cheer me on.

Katey Sagal talked about loss and grieving in her book, Grace Notes. She lost a baby very late in pregnancy. A baby she’d named, Ruby. Katey eventually found solace by way of a Buddhist teaching about young loss. Her words soothed me, comforted me, and gave me so much insight into many of my own struggles. I’ll share:

“Her purpose had been fulfilled in the short time she was here. 

Which meant I’d have to believe she was here for a “Purpose”. 

That we all are. 

I believe that. 

I don’t know that we always know what that purpose is, but I do believe we all have a destiny to be fulfilled. 

…it was explained to me that powerful souls come in and out of this life quickly, because their work here is done. They have passed on the lesson they were meant to pass on. Nothing left for them to do. With that concept in mind, I asked different questions. I had a shift in perception. 

Ruby was fierce. She did so much in her short stay.

She taught me I could hold more than I’d ever imagined I could. Her loss had let me revisit all that I had lost before her. My mom, my dad, my young self…They all showed up, unfinished, undone. 

I grieved. 

All of them.

All the sudden passings that I’d stuffed away.

She let me feel my strength. 

She confirmed my faith in something greater than myself. That God of mine got redefined, and my partnership renewed.”

Oh the teachers show up in the damnedest places sometimes!

I am…

B…simply being…

Love y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Happy Friday

I feel I’ve been very serious this week so it’s time to change it up a little bit. Here’s what I found to help start off the weekend.

I’ve shared a few of my favorite books and here is another: The Lonely Hearts Hotel, by Heather O’Neill. This is a wonderfully written book. The subject matter is not my usual choice and there were times when I thought I could not/would not finish it. I am very glad I did. I must warn you, note the emphasis used here, there are parts of the book that may be upsetting and plain out-and-out offensive to some readers. My advice, give it time. Let it set in your head for a while. I did. I found I needed to let the story evolve and I needed to evolve along with it. It’s a detailed and involved story, taking place in Canada during the depression. Ms. O’Neill introduces her list of characters to us as they age, expanding and developing each characters individual and unique story. These people–characters in the truest sense of the word, are all interwoven together in ways that reminded me of an O’Henry short story. Her word choice and phrasing are so refreshingly original I found myself caught off guard at times. Some sentences I had to re-read and roll the words around in my head for a few minutes so I could fully appreciate the imagery and the simple power of them all.

You know by now that I usually have examples, so here are a few lines:

“…what happens when an unwanted child has an unwanted child?”

“Every day the average person will witness six miracles. But it isn’t that we don’t believe in miracles–we just don’t believe that miracles are miracles. There are so many miracles all around us.”

“He didn’t want to read the newspaper or listen to the radio anymore. He didn’t want to be a grown up. There are some people who are just no good at it.”

Have a great weekend. Take some time for yourself while staying safe and cool.

I am.

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

 

 

Reading

I have been reading a LOT lately.

I’d like to think that I read to learn something. I know better than that. I read so I can delay doing my own writing. Lately, the words do not come easily and I fumble with what and where I begin this and every story.

I finished Katey Sagal’s memoir, Grace Notes, this morning. I did not know who Katey Sagal was when I began this book. Now, I feel like I found an ally–a kind and warm confidant who knows and understands so many things–one of those people I mentioned yesterday–people you don’t have to say much because they just understand–they get it.

I loved her book. I took my time reading it. She joined me for morning coffee and in the evenings, she came by to talk as I had a glass or two of wine. I read her words very carefully. So many things were shared so openly and honestly. The two of us had many one on one therapy sessions. The book may be closed but those stories seem to have a life of their own.

Ms Sagal, I wish I could sit on my front porch with you. Tell you, face to face, how much you taught me while validating so many parts of my own story.

Thank you for writing your book. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. There are many powerful things I noted so I could think about them later. A few of the earlier notes/quotes:

“Growing up, I had found a way to survive the empty spaces in my family and in myself, to not look too closely at my external or internal circumstances.” 

“Act as if…God forbid somebody thinks I don’t know it all–constantly acting as if…”

“…I became a chameleon-like, morphing into what or who was in my world. Taking on the traits of others in hopes of bumping into me. As a result, for years, I thought I was you…”

“The cost of having a mother die too young and a father work too much. There is no one to mirror, and so you don’t know how to be who you are.” 

Yes, my friends, she pretty much nailed it.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Thinking

Today has been a day to think. One that I think I’ll grab a tall glass of chilled white wine as I write about it.

Michael and I watched the first Cars movie a few days ago. I love that movie. Today we were on the way to an appointment and saw an old truck that looked just like Mater. Because Michael had just seen the movie, he pointed it right away. That just made me smile. It is just one of the best things about being with another person for a long time–you can share a lot of things without saying a lot of words. These days, I appreciate that more than I can even begin to share here.

Seeing the Mater look-alike made me think about my favorite quotes from that movie. Mater is talking to Lightening as he circles around him. McQueen is so impressed because Mater is going so fast and in REVERSE. The tone of admiration is lost on Mater. He replies: “Shoot, I don’t need to know where I’m going, I just need to know where I’ve been.”

Exactly.

I need to know where I’ve been. The more I remember, the more important remembering becomes to me.

I am enjoying looking back–most of the time.

The dynamic is very interesting–to say the very least. My working platform is based on memories from my very young and innocent self. This fact alone is a set up for some inner conflict because the so-called adult mind that is now working to de-code all of this is no longer young nor innocent.

Onward we go.

Day by day.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all.

 

 

 

The Fourth of July, 2017

I know.

I said I was taking the day as my own Independence Day. That was true until I found the two quotes I am sharing with you today. Both gave me pause so I felt the need to share.

By the way, both read just as well tomorrow as today…just in case you did a better job of staying true to you own Independence Day!

The first quote is very simple and spoke to me immediately:

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. ~Robert J. McCracken

The second, took a while to read and even longer to fully appreciate:

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence…? If you have, you will know that it is not a Fourth of July oration. The Declaration of Independence was a document preliminary to war. It was a vital piece of practical business, not a piece of rhetoric; and if you will pass beyond those preliminary passages which we are accustomed to quote about the rights of men and read into the heart of the document you will see that it is very express and detailed, that it consists of a series of definite specifications concerning actual public business of the day. Not the business of our day, for the matter with which it deals is past, but the business of that first revolution by which the Nation was set up, the business of 1776. Its general statements, its general declarations can not mean anything to us unless we append to it a similar specific body of particulars as to what we consider the essential business of our own day.
      Liberty does not consist, my fellow citizens, in mere general declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action. Therefore… reading its business-like sentences, we ought to ask ourselves what there is in it for us. There is nothing in it for us unless we can translate it into the terms of our own conditions and of our own lives….
      The task to which we have constantly to readdress ourselves is the task of proving that we are worthy of the men who drew this great declaration and know what they would have done in our circumstances. Patriotism consists in some very practical things—practical in that they belong to the life of every day, that they wear no extraordinary distinction about them, that they are connected with commonplace duty. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

My wishes for a very safe and jubilant 4th of July.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace and love to y’all.

 

Independence

Happy Fourth of July Eve!

I’m thinking that this week is probably either very easy or very difficult in the working world.  My hope is you all were able to take some type of extended break these past few days.

Our home network is working off and on–never on when I want or need it to be. After another few calls to Verizon, I’ve learned that they have a very high number of service calls at this time. Surprise! Once they determine the cause of our problems–maybe several days more–they will determine what type of credit to apply to our account. Well…what can you do? Every person I talked with was extremely nice as they delivered the news I did not want to hear. Did not help me or my cause to show my frustration–will see what the next few days bring our way. Until then we will work with the network we have when we have it. Crabby making, for sure.

After all of these network issues, I question so many things about our world and all the technical things we have at our finger tips. I am beginning to realize just how much subtle power I freely give this thing called the internet. I see this as a red flag for me to review this point the next couple of days. Right now, I am typing as quickly as I can, reviewing as I go, so I can get this written before I lose my connection.

I’m thinking tomorrow I’ll declare my personal Independence Day–a day free from technology.  Wouldn’t that be a great way to celebrate the holiday set aside to celebrate our freedoms? Make this a day spent in the moment, awake and aware of the beauty surrounding us while fully engaged with each other.

Why not declare your own Independence Day?

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you and please, God bless America.

Love y’all.

Peace

Erma

It certainly  has been a challenge working on my computer these past few days. For whatever reason, I have spent hours upon hours with Verizon trying to find the reason or reasons, we have very limited access to the internet. We seem to have connections to certain things for a very short amount of time. WordPress time seems to be especially short.

Our oldest dog, Bud, had a dental procedure done yesterday. As usual, my neurotic self was out in full-blown worry gear, anticipating any possible complication while creating a few thousand other scenarios. Oh the energy wasted! As predicted by everyone, he did well. By mid afternoon he was home–where he continues to recover peacefully–in spite of my hovering.

In case I continue to have problems,  I wanted to wish you all a very happy and safe Fourth of July. A few words of caution. Please be mindful of those who are sensitive to the sound of fireworks. This is a very hard time for them. Be kind. For you dog owners, check ID tags to make sure all the contact information is current. That old, disconnected land line number with an old address will not be helpful. We updated all our tags to just cell phone numbers. One other quick thought. Those tags won’t help you or your dog if the collar is lose and your dog pulls out of it when he or she is panicking. Make sure those collars are snug. This happened to us earlier this summer so it is fresh in my mind. That, and I had to re-tighten everyone’s collar after visiting the groomer. It always surprises me how much I have to alter the collars.

I’m leaving you with words from one of my favorite columnists. I read her column when I was a young woman–when I thought I knew so much about the world and my place in it. Little did I know how little I really knew about that or anything else.

I miss Erma. She had a way of pointing out that many things were pretty messed up but she found a way to make us feel okay–that we’d be just fine–because, after all, we were all in it together.

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck

I am…

B…simply being…

I love y’all.

Peace

 

 

Care

I rarely talk about anything political or even close to political. Mainly because I have no interest in any of it nor do I really understand most of it.

I have ranted about health care before and I am going to again.

I admit Michael and I were spoiled by the physician who cared for us for many years when we lived in Colorado. Note I used the word care. Care is what we received from him and his entire staff. During this time we were both in the medical field. We spent a lot of time researching physicians in our area. We wanted a person–another important, deliberate word choice–we could talk with openly and ask questions when there were things we did not understand. We wanted to be part of our own care and depended on him and his staff to give us the guidance we needed to make good and wise choices. We saw this as a long-term relationship–someone who would be in our lives as we aged. Continuance of care was very important to us.

You can see where this is headed. The combination of Obama Care and retirement certainly changed the entire medical world for us and many others.  We have been retired for two years and will be seeing our third physician next week. So much for continuance of care.

I have learned that you MUST keep your own records and do so in great detail. Now that medical information is kept digitally things do not always transfer well. When we sold our house, I shredded a lot of my own records because I knew I could always go on-line and get that information whenever I needed it–all my labs, imaging studies, and office visits were at my finger tips. Well…assuming takes it one more time: Assuming: 276+, Barb: 0.

I did not think we would ever need to change physicians. Even with moving, we both thought we would continue to see him as our primary provider. As time went on it was obvious that this was not practical. And our doctor made a change of his own by becoming VIP provider–a type of boutique practice. Change…often unexpected and usually difficult.

I’ll see next week if our records get transferred to our new provider. I am not sure my records ever made it to the last physician I saw–who billed me for two office visits and never had any of my history in order to really evaluate me or my latest labs. I was very unhappy about that and other things.

The light bulb went on yesterday and I called to get my own copy of my records. The best part of that whole task was that I could call our old office where I knew they would follow through with what I was asking of them. I could trust them to do what I needed to have done. In addition to that I learned something from her. She told me that they transfer all records by CD and many times the CDs get misplaced or discarded because offices expect printed records to arrive via fax or mail. That explains a lot.

 

I know I have been ignoring myself. I know that healthcare is important. I know better than to compromise. I’d felt like I had not been getting good care for a long time–it was past time to do something. I need to take my power back and find the way to get good care in spite of the insane obstacles.

As I type I am wondering how different this would all be if we, the citizens of this great United States of America, had the same health coverage that our representatives had and will have for life?

How is it that they have better coverage than those who fight for us, keeping us safe and our freedoms intact?

I am so baffled. Not only because I don’t understand how it has happened but because I cannot figure out how to fix it?

How is it that we have this amazing country filled with so many smart people but we allow this and so many other insane inequalities to continue on, day in, day out, year after year after year?

Isn’t this a working example of insanity?

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you all. Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Afternoon Review

One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is thanking them for being a part of your life.

This has been an interesting and busy week in Hibdonville.

I’ve been able to spent a lot of time thinking about my early childhood days and the adventures or probably better said, the misadventures, of those years. Because my post is also on Facebook, I had several friends share their own stories. That has been so fun and it gives me so much encouragement and validation. Thank you.

I learned that first impressions may not be at all what they seem. This lesson became the incentive to check on my neighbors more often. We discovered that we all needed to make sure we knew how to get ahold of each other. Which turned out to be very timely because our plan was put to an early test.

Another neighbor had a health scare which sent him to the ICU for a few days. Michael and I kept a close eye on his wife while he was gone and made sure to call them once he was home. He is doing well–thank heavens. The nicest thing is he called us last night to tell us how much he appreciated our calls. How wonderful was that? Made me smile and also reinforced my determination to check on them–often.

Facebook was part of another gift of the week. I heard from one of the physicians I worked with many years ago when I was working at a community hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. How wonderful to have a way to tell him how important he was to me. Of all the docs I have worked with over the years–and there have been quite a few–he will always be my favorite.  When I look back on how young and clueless I was–heavens. What patience he had with me as I tried to figure it all out. There is one story I think about and re-tell often. It was a very busy day with many portable x-rays on the desk to be done. I ran into the reading room with my latest film–a chest x-ray on a sick newborn in the NICU. He looked at the film, studied it for a short time, and asked me what I thought about it? Did I think that the baby was flat or was the tiny little body rotated? Dang. Not a good sign for me. I sighed. Man. I did NOT want to have to go back and repeat that film. He turned in his chair, looked right into my eyes and said,” It will build character.” Years later I told him that I bet he did not know what a character he was building!

I finished my second MOOC–which stands for Massive Open Online Course–through Coursera. Now–why is this so important? For me, this is a very big deal because I have traditionally been a very good starter of many things. The bad thing–I rarely finished them. It was a huge thing for me to get these two courses COMPLETED. A strong suggestion if you need something to do as the temperatures soar, check them out. The options for learning are truly massive and free–unless you want a certificate of completion. Coursera.org.

Lastly, we finished a week of water aerobics. I had forgotten how good this form of exercising is–especially for this aging body! With the Texas summer ramping up, I’m thinking we will really be appreciating our trips to the pool.

It is hard for me to believe that this the last weekend before the 4th of July holiday. I hope y’all stay safe and have a weekend to remember.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all.