A Day at a Time

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” 

Tom Hiddleston

Today two friends are facing some serious challenges. Now, these women are very strong and courageously independent. They will persevere because that is what they do.

So, instead of sitting idly by and worrying for and about them, I’ll do what I do best…

I’ll write and send them love and prayers.

In addition to that, I ask us all, myself included, to remember this:

“The key is this: Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today.” 

Max Lucado, Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear

Dear God, when my problems seem overwhelming, I trust you to take care of what I cannot. I trust youth take care of what I cannot. I choose to fix my gaze on you and trust in your mighty power. I know that nothing will happen that is outside of our knowledge or control. Teach me to find shelter in your presence, to follow you one day at a time, and to take the steps that will overcome the challenges I face.  Amen.                                                            Maria Shriver, I’ve Been Thinking…

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

 

Remember…

“My Dear Friend, 

Don’t ever allow yourself to forget how incredibly special you are, even for a single second. Without you, the world would not be as magnificent. Let yourself remember to love again, starting with you loving you.” 

Miya Yamanouchi, Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women

I rarely admit it but I DO realize when I’ve pushed myself too hard.

A never fail, serious red flag is the word “should.” Any time I use that word it always signals something is out of  balance.

The latest subtle example….

I was washing dishes yesterday. No big deal–it was a simple, easy, uncomplicated job. That was until a Pyrex baking dish slipped out of my hands. It fell maybe three inches, hitting the wall of the sink, exploding into a zillion pieces all over the kitchen and dining room. Words began to fly…all mine–all unkind…

Step into the picture, my husband.

God bless you, Michael.

He calmly took charge of the clean up while I used every phrase I could grab from my past in order to describe how inept I was–not narrowing it down to any specific event but gathering every little thing I could in order to make it an all-inclusive evaluation.

Yup.

It was not pretty.

I know many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I took a deep breath. After some under my breath protests, I stepped aside, wisely letting Michael help me get it all put together again.

By the grace of God, I made my way back to the place I’d been many times–the little slip of land where I wash up after pushing myself to the limit–where I finally relax and allow myself to rest.

I am thankful…

Dear God, please  help me to let go of trying to be perfect. Help me to realize that I am okay as I am. I was born sacred, and I will always be sacred. Help me to remember that when I stay focused on comparing myself to others–or to some illusion of perfection–I always come up short, and that’s not honoring the gift of life you’ve given me. Help me to remember I am one of your precious children, and I am enough.  Amen.  

Maria Shriver, I’ve Been Thinking

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you all.

~Peace~

What if….

Always ask yourself: “What will happen if I say nothing?” 

Kamand Kojouri

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week even though I’ve been re-posting old stories. Honestly, having time to think is my favorite part of retirement.

As I begin the weekend, I’ve been thinking how to continue being kind.

I consciously worked on being kind as I ran errands yesterday.

I was patient with those who wanted to merge into traffic–you know the ones–slowly sliding towards your lane without signaling their intent. I don’t understand why the simple act of merging has to be so difficult. I canNOT read your mind, people! Are you trying to read a text or do you want to change lanes? Make it easy for all of us–flip on that little turn signal and give us a clue. Staying true to my goal, I threw in extra prayers while giving each driver additional time for me to “Intuit” what might be their next move.

Since I’m being honest, I have to admit to having a little feeling that maybe this was not so noble–maybe it was my rather sneaky way of taking control.

I’m not sure.

What I do know for sure is by taking this very round about approach, my blood pressure decreased noticeably–SCORE FOR ME!

Yesterday’s list also included the grocery store. That is a big assignment.

To make this work I knew I had to shove an extra big dose of patience into my pocket.

I mighta, coulda,  shoulda taken a double dose.

Taking a deep breath, I smiled while allowing people to chat across the middle of the aisles, cut in front of me as if I were invisible, suddenly park their cart three inches from me, heading off to heaven knows where.

As I stood in line with my few items, a young man quietly came up behind me with one bottle of juice. I shook my head–he was probably on his break. When he looked up and made eye contact with me, I suggested he go in front of me. He looked surprised and asked if I was sure–I said yes. He thanked me while paying for his purchase–completely that act of kindness perfectly.

The best and most surprising part of this morning was how peaceful and happy I was when I got home. It cost me nothing to gain so much.

You guys gotta try a day of being kind.

It’s the best.

“ The Paradoxical Commandments 

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.” 

Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno, for letting me use your wonderful picture in my post today. This always makes me feel like you are sitting here with me as I write. Thank you. I love you.   

Being Invisible

“The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.” 

Brandon Mull, Fablehaven

Turning 65 has put me in a thinking mood.

I’m very grateful to be sitting here talking about getting older. Far too many people never had this opportunity. Today I’m sharing some observations of myself and my behavior.

I love to work in the yard and I love learning how to use my new John Deere tractor. What I’ve yet to fully realized is my body is not as strong as it once was nor is it very forgiving these days. A full day of yard work may make itself known for several days afterwards. My very stubborn mind refuses to recognize this fact. This internal conflict puts additional stress on my rather tenuous sense of humor. Being able to laugh at myself is something I’ve always had to work on. Even with all that awareness on board, I often fail and become that crabby old woman I complained about as a kid. Now–another lesson learned by this life experience–maybe many crabby older people are that way because they are in pain.

“Having buck teeth in junior high,” she rounded up unsteadily, “must

be ideal preparation for getting old. For pretty people, aging is a dumb

shock. It’s like, what’s going on? Why doesn’t anyone smile at me at

checkout anymore? But it won’t be a shock for me. It’ll be, oh that. That

again. Teeth.” 

Lionel Shriver, The Post-Birthday World 

As a kid I did not have buck teeth but I was not one of the pretty or cute girls everyone noticed immediately. The only way I eventually got noticed was to speak up–with shy persistence it worked. I’m not sure how long ago it was I noticed I’d become invisible–even with my usual vocalization. It didn’t matter where I was–a grocery store, a retail store, waiting in line at the airport–some kind of magic clock had fallen over me. This meant I had to put my introvert tendencies aside and increase my volume–I had to really speak up. This was a very tough assignment. I don’t know–maybe this is all part of some extra-credit course I’ve been given in that course on self-worth I’ve continued to see on my life studies schedule?

“[she felt] sorry for herself, for getting older, for being mortal, for all the music she still wanted to hear, the books she intended to read, the places she had meant to visit, the things she had promised herself she’d learn one day […] and probably never would because time was beginning to feel like a fast express train that no longer stopped at all the stations.” 

Francesca Marciano, The Other Language

What’s most impressive to me is the fact that time seems to go faster every single day. I think I’ve talked about this before–when you are 20 years old, time goes 20 miles per hour, when your 40, times goes 40 miles per hour, when you 65, time goes 65 miles per hour…this thing called time definitely has my attention and there is no way I’m aware of to slow it down.

“Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.” 

Brian Rathbone, Regent

One of the last things I’m sharing today is my tendency to judge other people and their behavior. I certainly have no room to pass any type of judgement. I’ve shared the prayer, An Anonymous Abbess, several times and want to include it today. It has become one of my favorite prayers.

More than ever, I pray for kindness. We are so quick to dislike people who disagree with us–whether it’s what we wear, what we say, what we eat, or where we live–we use our differences as grounds for hatred. I pray we remain open, learning from those we don’t understand, agreeing or respectfully disagreeing and move on in peace.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen” 

Margot Benary-Isbert

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno for letting me use your picture in today’s blog. It is beautiful as are you. I thank and love you.

 

 

 

 

Self Examination

My body told me it was time for a rest today so I am re-posting from earlier this year.

“I may not always be with you 

But when we’re far apart

Remember you will be with me

Right inside my heart” 

Marc Wambolt, Poems from the Heart

I spent today thinking about and being thankful for the people who have been and are so important to me. It was a very good day.

As I learn more about myself and my life, I find my self-examination has enabled me to be more aware of my many blessings. I realize I could not have seen any of these things until now because I’ve spent most of my life in survival mode. I was blind to my gifts because I was always on alert–unsure of anything and afraid everything I cared about could and would simply disappear. I am beginning to realize the reasons for my fears. It is a difficult task–some days more successful than others. All-in-all, I am encouraged. The beauty of this challenge is the more I understand, the more peaceful I feel.

I see the love of those who’ve stood by me in a new light, trusting and believing they will always be with me. This new-found understanding and belief system has blown my little world wide open.

I AM worthy and I am grateful.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

Shorthand

“They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.” 

Dee Henderson, Before I Wake

This summer has been special because I’ve had the chance to reconnect with old friends. It has been wonderful.

Friendships are interesting and sometimes complicated. My friend, Mary, had to talk with her grand-daughter, Charlotte, this past week because Charlotte’s friend next door was not being very nice. Those early childhood friendships can be hard for young minds and tender hearts to understand. Thank heavens Charlotte had Grandma Mary to help her understand how friends treat each other. Lucky me for being part of the friendship example Mary used in her story. Charlotte was so surprised to hear we had been friends for over 40 years and had text conversations every morning.

Looking back on my life, I have memories of many different friendships. Some were brief and superficial–like those summer time friends I met on vacation or at the pool. As summer ended that connection faded as the new school year began. Other friends I met along the way became part of my life for a year or two. We shared common interests and goals–as those interests changed so did my circle of friends. It wasn’t always easy but it was all part of growing up. I was lucky, though. There were friends I met along the way who became part of my life. Many became my family of choice–there beside me when I needed that level of support. I cannot imagine where I would be today if they had not been there for me. As we grew up and started our adult lives, it didn’t matter how much time passed or where we lived–we knew we would always be there for each other.

Thanks, Jodi, for letting me use your photo in my story today. I Wish I could have been there with you guys–next time. By the way, you all look marvelous. I love you.

“While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.” 

John Williams, Stoner

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

Learning and Growing

“Don’t Just

Don’t just learn, experience.
Don’t just read, absorb.
Don’t just change, transform.
Don’t just relate, advocate.
Don’t just promise, prove.
Don’t just criticize, encourage.
Don’t just think, ponder.
Don’t just take, give.
Don’t just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don’t just hear, listen.
Don’t just talk, act.
Don’t just tell, show.
Don’t just exist, live.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Since I’ve started writing my stories, I’ve become so much more aware.

After taking that first very uncomfortable step–publishing my first post–my fear of rejection has diminished. I’m not saying I’m fearless. I am a long way from making that statement. What I can say is, for the first time, I believe in myself. I’ve begun accepting the fact I am a novice. I do not need to pretend to know it all. Because of that, I can commit to putting in the time needed to strengthen and shore up my budding skills.

I know I am ready. I am willing. I know I am able.

Of course, I’ve made these giant strides because I’ve had the blessing of encouraging and unconditionally loving friends. Thank you, God, and thanks to all. I am grateful.

With every published story, I learn more about myself. I stretch my boundaries, growing and changing with each new discovery.

Often I am caught off guard as I write, uncovering some lost memory. It’s like putting together some giant jigsaw puzzle when the cover photo of the finished puzzle is missing.

I am becoming more comfortable with all of those glitches.

I have grown into my retirement. I know and accept that I am lucky to have the time to figure it all out. There is no need to rush. I can think and marvel at all unfolding in front of me. I can sort and select those puzzle pieces, realizing that some of the intermixed and varied pieces may not be part of my puzzle.

What a marvelous realization, realizing and really understanding I am the master of my puzzle board.

I am thankful.

“Without darkness, we may never know how bright the stars shine. Without battles, we could not know what victory feels like. Without adversity, we may never appreciate the abundance in our lives. Be thankful, not only for the easy times, but for every experience that has made you who you are.”
― Julie-Anne

I am…

B…simply being…

Blessings and love to you all.

Peace

Body Language

I speak two languages, Body and English. – Mae West

I’m not sure when I became aware there was a lot more being “said” when I interacted with people than just the spoken words. 

I’m sure we’ve all had those experiences when our parents knew immediately when we were not being completely truthful. My Mom was especially in tune with me. Was it her mother’s Intuition or was it something in the way I behaved that made her suspicious?

That question sparked a curiosity that stayed with me, making body language one of my favorite research topics to read about over the years.

Today, a post from Healthyways.com caught my attention: 7 Habits That Make People Seem Less Intelligent by Michael Taylor. 

As I read over the seven points discussed, I could picture certain situations in my past where I could see myself or someone I was with making these same mistakes. Let me share Michael’s insights.

-Dressing too casually for the situation. I will always remember a male friend–one I was trying to impress–making the comment about a woman who had walked into the restaurant. It was a Saturday morning and we were all at a business meeting. I saw no reason to dress up. I was in my jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. The woman walking towards us wore a nice pair of slacks, a well-pressed casual blouse, and dress shoes. It began to dawn on me that even though it was a Saturday, we were all at a professional meeting. I needed to stay aware of how I presented myself. Not only did I underdress but what I wore was not in the best condition. From that day on, I would dress for the occasion and the situation. 

-Like our moms told us, stand up straight. A poor posture gives the impression we have little energy and/or confidence. I have to agree with Michael when he says women tend to make themselves smaller when they are in certain social situations. Men, on the other hand, tend to puff themselves up and expand into their environment. I am an introvert by nature. I learned early on I needed to take a minute before going into meetings or social events to visualize myself as strong and successful. As I captured that image, I’d stand up straighter and taller. My mantra was and still is when I find myself in certain stressful situations–fake it until you make it. 

-The next behavior noted in this article surprised me. The author says that excessive head tilts and nods make the person appear vulnerable or submissive. The picture that came to my mind was my dog, Bud. When you talk to him, he will tilt his head this way and that. I had to admit, he’s certainly cute, not particularly intelligent looking. Over nodding confused me because I felt nodding was a subconscious signal of listening. With overuse, nodding gives the appearance we are agreeing to everything or we have no opinion or ideas of our own. The author cautions some other head positions. Looking down can give the impression you are shy while looking up makes you appear aloof or arrogant. Best advice–keep your chin parallel to the ground.

-Miss using words or phrases. This point made me wince because I have been guilty of this so many times. In an attempt to appear much smarter than I was feeling, I grasp for words that I would not ordinarily use. In my haste to get those words or phrases out there and look great–I stumble on the tense or the correct pronunciation. I learned it is always best to present the real me. 

-Using language softeners. This was a new phrase for me as well but definitely describes something I do all the time. I, like many women, find it difficult to accept a compliment. When someone notes something I have done, I tend to minimalize it, crediting my team or co-workers instead of simply saying thank you. Such an easy thing to do but one I struggle with yet today. An interesting suggestion made in this article and a pertinent one for me as I continue to battle allergies. Be aware of mouth breathing. Not only does it make your face look a little odd but it can accentuate the sound of your breathing. Be aware–any loud breathing is definitely not going to give the impression you want. 

-Be cautious about being too judgmental. Criticizing someone you don’t like shines a negative light on you, not them. It makes those around you think you are trying to make yourself look better at someone else’s expense. When you speak about others negatively, it shows a lack of compassion–would you say those things if you’d ever been “in their shoes?” Gossiping is never good. It makes people question what you say about them when they are not around. It is a true trust buster. And–heaven forbid–what if the gossip you shared turned out to be untrue. That makes you look doubly bad. 

-Using profanity. Oh, the times when the “F” word has come flying out of my mouth! Even though there’s been a recent study saying that people who use profanity are more intelligent, I’m thinking it’s still bad judgment. When my speech becomes overpopulated with four-letter words I know I am tired and I am stressed. When my filters are in good working condition, I have the discipline to grab onto more socially acceptable words. Profanity, regardless of why it’s used, shows a definite lack of class. I have had to really watch myself since we’ve moved south–the tone and the verbiage here are much more gentle. 

I enjoyed reading a little about body language today–hope you did, too. It prompted some sweet memories of my Mom, making me smile at some of the stories I tried to sell her. I will continue to read and share. 

“Our first experience of life is primarily felt in the *body.* … We know ourselves in the security of those who hold us and gaze upon us. It’s not heard or seen or thought it’s felt. That’s the original knowing.”
― Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless. 

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

The Next Year Begins…

“I’ve enjoyed every age I’ve been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I’ve been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don’t want a “perfect” face and body; I want to wear the life I’ve lived.” 

Pat Benatar, Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir

The past few days have been busy catching up from my birthday celebrations. Actually, I’ve had months of celebrating. It has been wonderful.

Going to leave you with a prayer I’ve shared before. It is especially fitting as I begin another year. The petitions in this prayer reflect my own concerns as I observe my aging self. I don’t think it was a coincidence that it came up in my search today.

This year I’ve been given time to think about my life as I traveled to Iowa and Colorado. As I’ve reflected on the past, I am surprised at the unexpected turns my journey has taken and the precious souls I’ve met along the way. There are some marvelous stories there to share.

Thank you, God.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen” 

Margot Benary-Isbert

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You For Your Time

I wrote this a year ago. It sums up my feelings for today so I am re-blogging. Thank you all for making my day so memorable and special. Love you all.

B...simply being...

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…

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