Memory Rocks

If you find a rock—

a rock that’s not

a skipping rock, 

or a chalk rock,

or a resting rock, 

or a wishing rock-

that’s not

a splashing rock,

or a shifting rock,

or a worry rock,

or a hiding rock-

that’s not even 

a climbing rock,

or a crossing rock,

or a fossil rock,

or a walking rock

but you like it anyway,

because it reminds you

of a place,

or a feeling,

or something important-

a memory rock,

and sometimes

those are the best 

rocks of all. 

~Peggy Christian, “If You Find a Rock”  

All my life I’ve been a rock collector.

I remember sitting with the other neighborhood kids in the church parking lot going through rocks searching for precious stones. The quartz and mica were our diamonds and Fool’s Gold the supreme find. Hours would fly by as we pulled our paper grocery sacks across the gravel. More than once the bottom of my over-filled bag gave up its load as I trudged home. Even now I can feel my breath catch, my shoulders sag, and feel the disappointment as all my treasures hit the ground and rolled down hill.

In my so-called adult years my love for rocks continues. My treasured rocks are my heart-shaped ones–but I have discovered one arrow-head and a very unique stone that looks like it some type of man-made tool.

As I make my mental inventory, I smile and shake my head. Many of my most cherished things are gifts from the land–items I have uncovered with my own eyes.

I thank God for this gentle reminder to take time to pause, to reconnect with Mother Earth, and to be aware of the many blessings she has bestowed upon me.

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” 

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

Sharing and Caring

“Thank you, God for the times You have said, “no.” They have helped me depend on You so much more.

Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even when my opinion differs from Yours.

Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.

Thank You, God, for the doors You have closed. They have prevented me from going where You would rather not have me go.

Thank you, Lord, for the physical pain You’ve allowed in my life. It has helped me more closely relate to Your sufferings on my behalf.

Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in my life. Those times have forced me to lean in closer to You.

Thank you, God, for the uncertainties I’ve experienced. They have deepened my trust in You.

Thank You, Lord, for the times You came through for me when I didn’t even know I needed a rescue.

Thank You, Lord, for the losses I have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are my greatest gain.

Thank You, God, for the tears I have shed. They have kept my heart soft and mold-able.

Thank You, God, for the times I haven’t been able to control my circumstances. They have reminded me that You are sovereign and on the throne.

Thank You, God, for those people in my life whom You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth keeps my heart longing for heaven.

Thank You, God, that I have an inheritance in the heavenly places…something that this world can never steal from me and I could never selfishly squander.

Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give me: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on my behalf.

Thank You, God, for the righteousness You credited toward me, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness I could never earn or attain on my own.

Thank You, Father, that You know me, You hear me, and You see my tears. Remind me through difficult times that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.

And thank You, Lord, not only for my eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford every day of my life as You save me from myself, my foolishness, my own limited insights, and my frailties in light of Your power and strength.”

– Cindy McMenamin, Author

As I read for my story today, I came across this prayer. I’m not sure–I may have used it last year. I did not find it and finally decided repetition is a good thing. Besides, Cindy’s words are too wonderful not share on this day, the day before Thanksgiving.

As I read Caroline Myss’ newsletter, I felt part of it was also something I needed to share today. It certainly tugged at my Catholic background–which made me smile and a little sad all at the same time–all the emotions seemed very appropriate and fitting for the season.

Except for the Grace of God Go I

I remember hearing that spiritual prayer of acknowledged gratitude over and over again while I was growing up. And I certainly heard the nuns say it. As a child, I loved the sound of that phrase because it was a phrase that seemed to hide a great jewel of wisdom. It was a type of treasure chest made of simple words that when strung together communicated a powerful truth. “Except for the grace of God go I.” It was apparent that those words conveyed some sort of profound meaning because I noticed how the nuns would nod their heads in a type of collective agreement after one of them uttered that phrase. Eventually I let go of my mission to crack through the deeper meaning of this phrase and got on with the business of growing up. I was about eight-years-old when I made that decision.

That phrase exploded out of the dust of my mental archives in my early thirties, right on time you might say. It was just one of those days, really, that starts out gorgeous but ends up being a game changer. That day was made for walking. So that’s what I did. After a few hours, I got an iced-tea and sat on a bench to check messages and all that sort of thing. I didn’t pay any notice at all to the guy who sat on the bench a few minutes later. Why would I? But, as I was about to find out, certainly noticed me.

He asked me if I would get him an iced tea. One glance told me he was homeless or en route to that crisis. I asked him if he wanted a sandwich, so long as I was getting him a cold drink. He did. I turned to leave as soon as I gave him his meal but then he said he hated to eat alone and would I mind just sitting with him. I was uncomfortable as all get out – I mean down to the pit of my stomach. But I was in a familiar park and it was day light and I knew I could run faster than him…so I figured, ugh….okay. UGH

He took one bite out of his sandwich, one gulp of his drink and said, “I know you want to get the hell away from me. I know you are uncomfortable as hell right now. You don’t know me or anything about me. I’m a veteran. The war in my head won’t stop. I just try to find quiet places now. That’s all.”

My heart hurt. I could feel the pain in my chest explode. My eyes filled with tears and all I could hear in my head was, “Except for the grace of God go I.” I could have been sent to harm others or to face some type of horror. Or I could have witnessed nightmares early on, but I did not. I sat next to him and felt the whole of my life reshape itself into a simple but deeply meaningful prayer of gratitude and one of grace for the other. It is these moments, these tiny encounters that just show up out of nowhere, that are the purest expression of God in the small and present details of your life. This man changed my life. I have looked for him many times in the park near my home and have never seen him again – not to imply that he was “not of the Earth”. We have yet to cross paths again, but I hope it does happen.

Through him, I entered into yet a deeper mystery about life but with so much gratitude about each day of my life. This is one of my own prayers:

I never know where I will find You or how You will speak to me. Some days it is through new person and other days it is through a new experience. Each day I become more aware of something I did not understand or realize before. I knew I should be grateful for all that I have but now I realize I should also be grateful for all that I do not have. For I do not have traumatic war memories and I do not have scars from being a refugee and I do not have the fear of a homeless person. I am grateful for all I have and for all I do not have. If I am grateful for having been spared a suffering, give me the grace to help those who are suffering. Amen”

Thank you, Cindy McMenamim and Caroline Myss, for joining me in story telling today.

I am…

B…simply being…

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends, may God bless us all.

~Peace~

 

 

 

Breathe

“The road to happiness starts with a deep breath and an awareness of the many blessings tied to that single breath.” 

Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

Breathe in.

I took in many deep breaths today, fiddling here and there as I worried about this and that.

I eventually realized I had to stop the busyness in order to become aware of my thoughts. My gut told me I was not on a positive path. I needed to stand back and take a few deep breaths. As I held each breath, I gave myself the time to evaluate my concerns. As I exhaled, I acknowledged each worry, prayed for guidance, and released each and every nagging thought out to the Universe.

Worries are always going to sneak in. They come in all kinds of diguises. Today reminded me to breathe–follow this simple process instead of allowing my thoughts to grow into monsters.

As the sunlight fades outside my office, I appreciate re-learning this very valuable lesson. I understand and KNOW I have the power to make my life easy or difficult. It is up to me.

“You have peace,” the old woman said, “when you make it with yourself.” 

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless us all.

~Peace~

My thanks to my friend, Kathy Adams Brezinski, for allowing me to use her wonderful photo today. I am blessed and I am so thankful.

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~

 

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~

 

Aging

“I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know you.”
― Marilyn Monroe  

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve found so many posts on social media about age followed by many negative comments.

One woman said she hated getting older–she hated her white hair, her wrinkles, and how no one paid any attention to her anymore. She hated her body and her life.

Her words surprised me and made me think about my own feelings about getting older.

To quiet my mind, I took my usual course of action–I began to read and write.

I found several things–quotes attributed to people that surprised me. The quote by Marilyn Monroe was not only surprising but so sadly ironic and made me wonder, not for the first time, if she really did commit suicide.

There have been too many people in my life who have not had the blessing of time and old age.

Why them and not me?

For some reason, I have been given the gift of time. I’ve been given the blessing of getting to know myself–to grow into the person I know I am without the fear of failure or the disapproval of others. I am now free to be me.

These words capture my feelings so well:

I am not old… she said
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.
You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me
anything.
Samantha Reynolds

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you all.

~Peace~

Short Notes

Sometimes my days in Texas seem like I have stepped back in time. Honestly, it is very  refreshing and comforting. Exactly what I need today.

The local radio station, KBEY 103.9, is a country western station–surprise! They have local staff talking about local news and events. They announce the time every hour. At noon, they play the National Anthem. Fridays are swap shop days, with people calling in to describe what they have for sale.  Local high school games are broadcast along with Sunday morning church services. The station is sponsored by the weekly newspaper, The Picayune, the best newspaper money can’t buy–still free after all these years, and local businesses. The downtown stores have store fronts and weekend market days. Our neighbors know us because they actually walked over to introduce themselves when we  moved in. The kids play outside and speak to us as we are out walking the dogs. Questions are answered with a yes, sir, and no, ma’am. People make eye contact when they speak to you and do not have a cell phone in their hands 24/7.

It’s the everyday things–the simple things–that makes life worthwhile. I am blessed. I am thankful.

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless y’all. Peace.

 

 

Tuesday Lessons

The day is only half over and I am at my max level of frustration.

Being a retired person in today’s world is not easy. I spent the morning searching for a primary care provider who accepts our insurance. Hours later, after bouncing back and forth between the insurance website and various physician websites, I thought I had found someone. They have what appears to be good credentials,  great patient reviews, accepts our insurance, AND accepts new patients. I call. Many prompts later I am connected to a real live person. She tells me: only a few of their physicians accept new patients, my husband and I don’t choose a physician, the available care providers review our completed paperwork and decide which provider would best suit our needs. She directed me to their website–I had spent considerable time there already–where I could find the many-paged new patient documents and return them via email, regular mail, or bring the forms into them.

Okay, thank you, bye.

I am learning that I need to take a break when things seem to be a little more insane than usual. This was one of those times. I am stepping back to share some of the things that have made me smile over the past few days. My internal scale of balance is reaching a critical tipping point.

Attached to my blog today is a picture of a little tiny cross given to me by an elderly woman who was in line with me at our local Walmart. She turned around, smiled, and asked me if she could give me something. Well…I was in Texas…I was at Walmart…BUT she was a tiny little lady so I said, yes. She reached into her pocket and pulled out that very small cross. She pressed it into my hand with a “God Bless You.”

I had to smile.

I put the little beige cross in my pocket. When I got home I put it on my desk where it reminds me every day that I AM blessed.

My husband, Michael, and I live outside a tiny little town in the hill country of Texas. Not really in the country but not in the mainstream of the city, either. We have a fair amount of wildlife around us. We have a young buck who visits us several times a day. He is very curious, healthy looking, and handsome. We’ve named him Gorge.  There are several feral cats in the hood, meaning sooner or later, we will have new kittens. We have a very busy and cute litter of kittens romping around the neighbor’s backyard, with a second litter in the wings.  The first litter has three adorable kits, named by Michael: Moe, Larry, and Curly.  The crowning event happened yesterday afternoon. We were visited by a young doe and her newborn fawn. Mama was moving slowly with the little fawn following as close as he or she could on very wobbly legs. Exciting and wonderful things happening in our little corner of the world.

Mother Nature has helped restore some balance to what can sometimes be a world so out of control. For these and many other things, I am grateful.

I am…

B…simply being…

May you find things to make you smile today as well. I send my love and wishes for 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…