Thinking about Memorial Day

Do you remember the paper mache’ poppies? You know the ones we used to see everywhere when we growing up. I was one of the kids passing them out at the local grocery store in exchange for whatever donation was given. I am sure I was not happy to spend my Saturday there!

I was young and really did not appreciate–if I even knew–what that poppy symbolized. Because my dad was a veteran of WWII, he was an active member of the local VFW. My mom, my sisters, and I were part of the American Legion. One of the things we did for Memorial Day was make sure everyone had a commemorative poppy.

Late Saturday, an older man came up to me and asked if I knew what the poppy represented. This type of interaction happened to me all the time. There could have been ten other kids standing around but I was the one who was asked the questions. I debated saying I did know, but thought he may quiz me about it. I was honest and said I really did not know the whole story.

He told me it was important to know and shared this with me:

First of all, he said, you are not wearing the poppy correctly. It is to be worn over your heart. As he looked me straight in the eyes, he stressed that I would understand why this was important after he finished his story.

My memory is not complete so I am borrowing from an American Legion post:

The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood; the yellow and black center, the mud and desolation of all battlefields.

The green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free.

The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors.

The assembled product, a flower, is a symbol of resurrection, which is sure to follow.

His words were much more simple, filled with the type of emphasis that only comes from being there, really experiencing the battles of war personally. He watched my face as he spoke, pausing now and then to make sure I was getting his point. When his story was complete, he stepped back in silence and somber reflection. He leaned toward me, asking me if I thought I understood why it is important to wear that poppy correctly? Now I was able to honestly answer that question. Which I did, with a soft and respectful, yes.

That was decades ago–probably over fifty years have passed since that grocery store lesson. I can picture myself standing beside this little round man, dressed in his bib overhauls, giving me the gift of a very powerful lesson about the real cost of the freedom.

Oh the challenges our nation has faced since that long past day in May. One thing has not changed. As Memorial Day approaches, it is vitally important for us all to remember those who have fought to defend our freedoms and those who protect us today.

We are in such turmoil and unease. As I asked last night, I ask for your prayers, remembering our great country and for those who defend and protect us. God bless them, God bless us all, and please, God, bless America.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace. I love you.

 

 

 

Back Home

Retirement.

An interesting and often confusing time in my life. Why confusing? I am discovering that I have some pre-conceived ideas about retirement. Now that I am not working, does a vacation still exist in my world? From some new awareness that came on board last week, I’d say I had a pretty strong belief that once retired, I was on a full-time vacation.

As we “vacationed” I was given another life lesson opportunity. Yes, my friends, I now am now a believer that vacations do exist post retirement. Not only are they real but they are just as important now as they were when we were working.

I must make a confession to you–not that it is a surprise. Some of the things I need to learn the most are often the most difficult things for me to recognize. I started this blog again–an important word–again–only a few weeks ago. Sharing my life experiences and lessons with those readers who find my posts is very important to me. But, finding balance in life is difficult. When a passion is a new, it may push aside some other things that are also important. Hell, what do I know? I do believe ambitions can blind us to other important things.

Sigh…

My very individualized writing plan did not take into account what was important to Michael, my husband, my best friend, and my mostly patient traveling companion. I was in need of a serious reality check.

As my stories unfold, we will all see that self-care is not my strong point. A few days ago, God gave me another gentle reminder, via Michael, that rest, relaxation, and renewal are just as important now as they were when we were employed. In order to grow and thrive, our souls needs rejuvenation.

Balance.

There is a lot to share. It will be important for me to remember to take it a little at a time. Being a Libra, the scales have been a part of the search whenever I searched for what made me, me. The balance of things have not often gone in my favor. Now, I have the time to take things slowly and weigh all the grains of my life stories out carefully. What a blessing, to have the time to be a story-teller.

With the grace of God, I will share the lessons as I go.

As always, I am

B…simply being…

God bless us all with love and peace. Join me in praying for those who struggle tonight We live in very hard times. I love you.

 

 

Choices

My guess is, we all have regrets when it comes to the choices we have made along this journey called life.  If we could go back and make changes, would we?

Here’s the deal, at least from my point of view from my little room in my little corner of the world. To borrow from one of Clint Eastwood’s movie titles, some of the choices I have made fall under good, some under bad, and more than I would like to admit to, the ugly.

The good choices are easy to see and share. No surprise there! These good things  happened because I listened to the kind, patient, and wise people who miraculously showed up in my life. That word, miraculous, is no exaggeration. By the grace of God, they became my guides, holding my hand while supporting me through the challenging times in my life.  Without them, I cannot imagine where I would be today.

Those choices that fall under the bad and the ugly, are not so easy to share. But. These are the things that I feel drawn to share. These “conversations” are my way of paying back and paying it forward. Being easy–not part of the deal.

I found a quote that hit home with me today. It’s from the book, Writing From Life, by Susan Witting Albert, the quote credited to Harriet Goldhor Lerner:

Telling a “true story” about personal experience is not just a matter of being oneself, or even of finding oneself. It is also a matter of choosing oneself.

With that, I am off to get some rest.

I am.

B…simply being…

I wish you love and peace. God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

Mondays…

I ‘m thinking that it really doesn’t matter whether you are working or not, Mondays are still Mondays. What does matter, though, is the fact that old behavior patterns die hard. They follow you around, retired or not. Procrastination is something that has haunted me my entire life. The things that led up to today were no exception.

My to do list was exceptionally long because this day was the final day in that old saying we all flippantly throw around, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” This Monday was that final tomorrow-day-come-calling, with bells on and all a-ringing. What should have been steps in a list of joyful preparations became a race to throw it all together and run full speed ahead to the finish line.

Maybe I have finally learned this lesson? If things become painful enough, you change, right? Today was not painful. It was certainly not as happy as it could/should have been. Looking back on the events of the day, the big positive I see is that this may be the tipping point of my lessons about procrastination.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day filled with events you will share with family and friends for years to come. For me, at this stage of my life, there are not many family members around anymore. Because of the distance that separates us, we connect by way of social media.  As I was searching for pictures to share, I found the picture attached to this post. The beautiful smiling faces you see are my Uncle Howard and my Aunt Theresa, my Mom’s brother and his wife. When this picture fell out of the stack, I was surprised because it was the first time I’d seen it. After downsizing at least four times in the past two years, how had this picture escaped me? I sent it to my cousin, Tracy, their daughter, and she had never seen it either. I sent it to my sister, Sue. It was a new one for her as well.

It was a little odd in an eerie kinda creepy sort of way–a hard copy, love filled message sent to us all from Heaven, I guess.

With that I am taking my weary bones to bed for some much-needed rest. I feel like I was  given an extra credit assignment for not passing this latest life lesson. It took a toll.

I send you all my love.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace.

 

A Time For Reflection

Mother’s Day.

A hard day for those of us who have lost our moms. It doesn’t matter how old we were when the loss happened–this is a life event we all carry with us from that day forward.

I send my love out to those of you who are facing your first “motherless” Mother’s Day. May your memories give you comfort. May you come to understand, as I have, that your mom will always be with you. Not just in the memories, but in little things you do, little things you say, little habits you may not have recognized until now. I was blessed with a mom who loved me. Unfortunately, my mom, my sisters, and I were not blessed with much time.

Time. It is such an illusive concept. We keep thinking we have more. Don’t be fooled. As we’ve all been told, life can change in just a matter of seconds. This Mother’s Day, put the electronics away. Open your mind and heart by spending some attentive quality time with your mom. As anyone who has lost their mom will tell you, we would give anything to spend one more day with them. We’d ask questions, really listen to what she told us, and share stories of our own. We would make sure she knew how important and special she was and is to us; how her life lessons are infused into our very being.

Use your time wisely, my dear friends, and cherish those you love. If your mom is here, please make sure she knows how important she is to you. Only you can do that.

Make your mom, and yourself, proud.

I am

B…simply being…

Peace and love to y’all.

 

Odds and Ends

I cannot find a focal point for my writing tonight. Since I have started writing again, I have become much more aware of what happens around me. I look for topics throughout the day I can share in my posts. It is an unexpected bonus but comes with what appears to be a pretty long learning curve.

I discovered a post on Facebook today about my niece, Ashley. She was interviewed about her eating disorder and how her trip to Europe helped her combat her demons.  That was brave of you, Ashley. I have no doubt that the answers you so honestly gave will help others. The author captured your personality very well–congratulations to you both. May your words comfort and encourage many.

We have, until a few days ago, had a mystery at our house. This mystery revolves around a visitor that shows up at our house at least two or three times a week. He or she arrives after dusk and before sunrise, positioning themselves under our bedroom windows.  Whatever creature makes this very loud and nearly constant noise is extremely illusive. A couple of days ago I thought the sound was similar to that of a whip-poor-will. After listening to the recorded sounds of that bird on-line, what we heard was not quite right. What we did discover was another little nocturnal bird that is common in our area. We listened to the recorded sound of this bird and–TA DA–our mystery is solved.  What we have been  hearing is a bird called Chuck Will’s Widow. The person who had the bird’s call on YouTube said that this bird never shuts up. Pretty much describes it. This huge mouthed bird goes on and on and on. If you want to hear what we hear, Google Chuck Will’s Widow. You will be thankful you can shut the recording off.

Tonight, I am going to head to bed early in hope I can get an early start on some sleep. With a little luck, I can get in a few hours before “the Chuck” shows up.

I am

B…simply being…

Love and peace to all.

Gratitude

My post yesterday focused on the book, Simple Abundance.  As I mentioned last night, the main purpose of this book is gratitude and how being thankful for your blessings is important and by being thankful can actually draw more blessings into your life.

I believe that this was a set up for today.

Today was very interesting for many reasons. My to-do list went quickly–score one–all my chores were completed fairly successfully. I stayed focused–score two–no small feat these days–I was able to make actual human, verbal contact with everyone I contacted–score three.

Attached is a picture of the first of the gifts that came my way today. This first surprise came by way of our great mail carrier, Debbie, who handed me a package from my sister, Sue, and her husband Al. They had visited us last month and they sent a thank you PACKAGE. Not just an email or a text or even a posted thank you card. This was a box filled with treats. They sent us Kona coffee, a bag of the same shortbread cookies they had with them when they visited–both Michael and I LOVED them, a red velvet cake mix with everything you need to make it, and a new apron to add to my very limited apron supply–something I was consistently whining about when they were here.  As precious as these gifts were, a bigger bonus was the handmade thank you card. Not just a card but one that included a handwritten letter to both Michael and I. A letter thanking us in detail about different parts of their visit all while singing praises for our new little house in the hill country of Texas–score four.

Later this afternoon Michael came home from visiting one of his oldest friends. In his hand when he walked in the door was a bag filled with more gifts.  Dayne, and Dayne’s wife, Donna,  shared fresh squash from their garden, a great smelling candle, and a handmade quilted hot pad. Special. Thank you–score five.

All of the above things are precious to me beyond measure. I am grateful.

Thank you, God.

I am thankful for the fact that I have a wonderful family–the family I was born into and an extended family who has me accepted me without reservation–score six.

I am blessed.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love y’all. Peace.

Another Trip to the Library

I have a great library. Now that I am retired, not only do I have more time to read but I can choose HOW I read. I can read a new book or I can re-read a book that has become a traveling companion. These select few are special and I feel as though they are “old friends.” Some have traveled with me for many years. Not only do they share their printed words, but they magically pull up memories of what was happening in my life the first time I read them. I can see where I was, who I was with, see my notes and highlighting, and physically feel what was going on in my world at the time. Oh the power of books! I am blessed to have some very big hitters.

Simple Abundance, by Sarah Breathnach, is one of my favorites. My first copy was a gift, making it very special. This book has been around for a long time, very popular in the early 90’s. It was one of the books read by a group of women I met with once a week for years. I’ll always remember the night one of the leaders of the group talked about the book, explaining what she liked about it and shared different readings with us. She had passed her copy around and we all wanted to know where we could find our own copy. She said she had a surprise for us–and handed out a copy for each of us.

The book is set up to read an entry a day. I’ll share the beginning of what Sarah wrote for January 5:

Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing in outlives and–fruitlessly–search “out there” for answers. What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.   Emily Hancock

I think many of us are searching for our authentic selves. As I give my thanks for my blessings today, one of the things I am grateful for is being able to share my search with you.

God bless you with love and peace.

I am…

B…simply being…

 

 

 

A Slow Day

Everybody needs a slow day–I took one today. I am learning to listen to my body and some days you just don’t push it.

In light of that I’m sharing simple things today.

First thing to share is that our friends brought home their new puppy today. She is adorable. I’ve attached a picture of her so you can fall in love with her, too. She is described as very affectionate and ALL puppy. Cannot wait to meet her and hold her squiggly little body and smell that puppy breath.

Secondly,  I’m sharing something I discovered about a month ago. I’ve wanted to go back to school but honestly, could not commit to the time. Not sure how I stumbled upon on-line courses called MOOCs. I had to Google the acronym to see what it was and found it stood for: Massive Open Online Course. The courses are offered through several different sources for pretty low prices or free. The source I am most pleased with at this time is Coursera–you can check them out at: Coursera.org. They offer a wide variety of courses for free or a fee if you want a certificate of completion.

Lastly, but most importantly, I am thankful my husband was home today to take care of me. Thanks, Mickey. Your attention alone made a world of difference. I had three other care givers–all three dogs were beside me while I rested. Of course, part of that fact is they are allowed on the bed during the day–that might have been a huge incentive. Regardless, it was a joyously lazy day.

I took advice from Anne Lamott today:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you. 

I am rested, renewed, mostly recharged. I am…

B…simply being…

Peace and love to all.