It’s a Hard World

“It’s a hard world for little things.” 

Davis Grubb

Our world has become very hard indeed.

Nothing makes much sense–even when things do make sense, I question my judgment.

How do we hit “pause” so things can settle?

I feel a giant hand, stirring and stirring current events, causing confusion to grow as fear evolves into anger.

The mechanism of this machine has become so loud we can’t hear ourselves think or understand what we’re trying to tell each other.

I have no answers and many more questions.

I do know I can only do the best I can to make things better.

It’s all any of us can do as noted in the quote below written by of George Carlin.

I loved George.

His routines never failed to make me laugh–but with the laughter there was always that moment when you realized there was a lot more to his message.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace, my friends.~

Thanks, Michael Hibdon, for the great picture you took on one of our sunset cruises through our ‘hood. I love you. 

Like Mom said, Pray to St. Jude

“Don’t be afraid of being scared. To be afraid is a sign of common sense. Only complete idiots are not afraid of anything.” 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Angel’s Game

The second candle began burning out my prayers yesterday morning. I didn’t know when I bought several of these votive candles how appropriate this particular candle would be.

The numbers quoted are beginning to pick away at my anxiety.

I am afraid.

As I tried to go to sleep I heard my mom remind me to pray to St. Jude–the saint of lost causes.

So this morning I found the prayer I wrote down years ago to share with you.

Thought you might need it as much as I do.

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude Thaddeus, friend of Jesus. I place myself in your care at this difficult time. Help me know that I need not face my troubles alone. Please join me in my need, asking God to send me: consolation in my sorrow, courage in my fear, and healing the midst of my suffering. Ask our loving Lord to fix me with grace to accept whatever may lie ahead for me and my loved ones, and to strengthen my faith in God’s healing powers. Thank, St. Jude Thaddeus, for the promise of hope you hold out to all who believe and inspire me to give this gift of hope to others as it has been given to me. St. Jude, Apostle of Hope, Pray for us.

I am…

B…simply being. 

Peace be with you.

Warnings

“Fear is a part of life. It’s a warning mechanism. That’s all. It tells you when there’s danger around. Its job is to help you survive. Not cripple you into being unable to do it.” 

Jim Butcher, Dead Beat

These days our world changes by the hour.

I’m torn between limiting my exposure to world events and wanting/needing to know all the latest developments. Do I get my news first thing in the morning and dampen my entire day or do I wait until the evening and risk a restless night?

I’ve chosen the evening which means I can listen with a glass of wine.

I’m not relying on that alone, though. I’ve added a second coping mechanisim–prayer.

It’s my usual practice to fall back on my Catholic background. This experience is no exception.

I am thankful I have Pope Francis to lean on right now.

Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary during the coronavirus pandemic 

O Mary,

you always shine on our path

as a sign of salvation and of hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.

You, Salvation of the Roman People,

know what we need,

and we are sure you will provide

so that, as in Cana of Galilee,

we may return to joy and to feasting

after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform to the will of the Father

and to do as we are told by Jesus,

who has taken upon himself our sufferings

and carried our sorrows

to lead us, through the cross,

to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Order

“Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.” ~Pearl Buck, Simple Abundance

After working to establish an early morning routine, I have one that works.

Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit optimistic.

It’s worked for over a week–including the weekends. For me, that’s a monumental event because nothing has ever invaded the sacred time of the weekend.

I treasure my early morning time–fresh hot coffee, my teachers, and me. I am surprised at how often the authors compliment each other.

I’ve become acutely aware of how I feel after the mornings I’ve started calling my sacred moments.

I am less scattered and more focused.

I am less anxious and more tolerant.

I am less critical and more patient.

I am less afraid and more confident.

“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 our lives and–fruitlessly–search ‘out there’ for the answers. What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.” ~Emily Hancock, Simple Abundance

God has also mixed in a little bit of synchronicity.

Out of nowhere my cousin sent a message telling me she had also started reading Simple Abundance.

Quotes, like those included in my story today, speak so strongly to me, often addressing things/tasks I’ve just completed.

Today’s reading began with the quote I used in my introduction coming after I’d spent the past few days cleaning and organizing my work spaces.

Coincidence?

No.

These are signs I’m on course and I’m not alone in my latest quest.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie, Simple Abundance

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks to my sister, Susan M. Rogers, for allowing me to use her sunset picture for today’s story. I 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~

 

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

A Little More of the Story

Re-sharing with love.

“Finished crap can be edited. Unfinished greatness languishes forever. The only bad writing is the thing you didn’t write!”
― Margarita Gakis

At times, I can be a slow learner. I shift into low gear, over-analyzing some lessons and life experiences, making them extremely difficult and complicated. Because I don’t fully understand what is being taught or tested, self-doubt creeps in when my guard is down. With fear at the reins, I start trivializing the whole experience.

I now understand I did this because in my mind I cannot fail–that is not an option. In order to maintain my family expectations, I pretended all is well. I’d work on this project and that project for a while, early on determining whatever I was working on was either too difficult or too simple. With that finely honed skill, I’d walk away from one task after another, allowing many to quietly slip away to sit alongside many others.

Over this past year, I’ve written about this behavior in hopes of discovering why I was such a star procrastinator. This dedication to self  helped me begin to understand some of the reasons. The more I wrote, the more I began to see the pattern of self-deception which grew into a lifetime of disruptive behavior.

My Dad made it very clear that I was expected to do my best. My kid brain interpreted that to mean I had to be perfect. I was far from perfect but I became very good at pretending. Pretending can be very tough for a kid. Before long, my act began to develop weak spots. Over time, I learned how to patch those tears and quiet my internal critic.

All I had to do was make sure I was always, always, always busy.

When new assignments came along, I’d work on them whenever I could make the time. Because I was so busy, there was never enough time. I’d fill what extra moments I had with something I wanted to do, pushing that not so favorite job further into the land of tomorrow. By delaying, I’d found a way to put myself in hyper mode, ensuring I’d get it done–but not until the very last moment. This methodology always provided the perfect excuse in case what I’d been working on was not done as well as it could or should have been done. Or, if the whole project failed, it wasn’t my fault. I just did not have enough time.

Over this past year, I began to see how my fear of not being good enough–not being perfect–evolved into procrastination. I saw, often in spite of myself, I’d always ended up doing pretty well. I may not have gotten that A, but I’d never failed. My procrastination was a symptom of my self-doubt. I understood I no longer needed games or excuses. I was good enough simply by being me–by being who I am.

You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being — not because anybody says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money — but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason.”
Wayne W. Dyer

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

Thank you, my dear friend, Mary, for letting me borrow your birthday bouquet today.  I 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~

 

Terrorism

“Terrorism isn’t a crime against people or property. It’s a crime against our minds, using the death of innocents and destruction of property to make us fearful. Terrorists use the media to magnify their actions and further spread fear. And when we react out of fear, when we change our policy to make our country less open, the terrorists succeed — even if their attacks fail. But when we refuse to be terrorized, when we’re indomitable in the face of terror, the terrorists fail — even if their attacks succeed.”
― Bruce Schneier

 

It has been quite a month here in central Texas.

I’ve perched myself on top of my little hill, observing with uneasiness, as someone terrorized the city of Austin.

I”d been feeling rather smug, thinking I was beyond this mad man’s craziness.

That was all well and good until a package exploded at a FedEx facility outside of San Antonio.

It’s a feeling we’ve all come to accept as part of our lives–unfortunately, we see evidence of terrorism every single day.

Terrorism oozes into your head, unbidden, and hangs out there. Even though it was happening far from me, I watched my fellow Texans suffer, grieve, and attempt to live their lives in their now normal state of extreme caution and trepidation.

Before long, I realized fear had begun its cautionary whispers which bounced around in my head throughout the day and into your uneasy sleep at night. It wears away on you because you don’t rest—you are concerned for yourself and for those people who are part of your daily life. Suddenly, getting that package delivered is now overshadowed by fear—not just for yourself—but for that driver you see and talk with every day.

The reign of terror ended early yesterday morning when the man who orchestrated these past weeks of angst killed himself and injured a SWAT team member by setting off his last bomb inside his getaway car.

It is over but it has taken a large toll. There are new walking wounded.

The Police Chief shared at the press conference yesterday the bomber left a video confession. Maybe this will shed some light on why he did what he did. The Mayor of Austin spoke at this press conference as well, leaving us all with some advice I hope we all think about and follow. He advised us all to walk across the street and get to know your neighbors. Get to know—really know each other and take care of each other.

Today, I am thankful I can sit on my hill with less fear–venturing out to the store or worry about the safety of my UPS driver. I am thankful for my little community and my neighbors.

My prayers continue for those who suffered as a direct result of these bombings—both physically and mentally. The victims are many. The wounds deep and mostly invisible.

Our world has become an even scarier place.

We need to seek out the good—not just look for the helpers but we must become one of them.

The only way to survive is by helping each other through all of these insane twists and turns.

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
― David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless us all.

~Peace~

 I am so fortunate I have an amazing photographer in my circle of Facebook friends. Thank you, Mr. Chuck Hackenmiller, for allowing me to use your wonderful photos as part of my blog. You can see many of Mr. Hackenmiller beautiful pictures on the Facebook page, I grew up in Iowa. Please note, no re-use of this photo without permission from Chuck Hackenmiller, Boone, Iowa.

Saddle Up

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
― Jim Morrison

The things that scared me have often surprised me as much as they’ve nearly paralyzed me.

Learning to scuba dive was one of those times.

I loved to swim. I felt I was a good swimmer. My form was probably questionable but I never doubted my overall strength.

Learning how to scuba dive taught me a lot about myself. All was well until we put all our gear on and went under water for the first time.

When the time came to put my head underwater and take that first breath through our regulator–I panicked.

I could not get it through my head I really could breathe underwater. I had to get a handle on my fear and get it under control. Michael and I had made plans to go to Maui. Diving was a big part of it. In fact, we scheduled everything around me doing my final check out dive in there.

I was struggling and my fear was escalating. Honestly, I have no idea how I was able to pass all my pool testing and advance to the point where I qualified for the final open water exam. As we traveled to Maui, I prayed I’d be able to complete this final test. For me, it was a test in every possible way.

When we arrived in Maui we went to the dive shop and signed up for a couple of dives. My checkout dive would be done during our first dive. I met the dive master, John, who would be doing my open water exam. I was honest, telling him I was pretty nervous about making my first dive in the ocean. John listened to my concerns, shared some of his personal stories which helped put me at ease. By the time we left I was feeling much more ready and a little more self-confident.

That first dive was early the next morning. We were both ready to get this dive under our belts so we arrived bright and early.  As I gathered all my gear and began to set up for my dive, I looked around for John. Michael was watching me carefully knowing I was nervous. When he noticed John was not around, he went to get an update. The captain of the boat told us John had a family emergency so he would not be there. My heart sank. My nerves kicked into high gear. The new dive master would be over soon to meet us, the captain said. We just needed to hold tight.

As I watched the crew load the boat, I heard someone call my name. I turned to find a woman about my height holding out her hand. I am sure my mouth had fallen open as she introduced herself to me. There, standing in front of me, was a person who looked EXACTLY like my ninth grade swimming instructor, Miss Katzer.

Miss Katzer was quite a character–to say the very least. She was a drill sergeant–a wiry woman with a head full of wild dishwater blonde hair who rarely talked in a normal tone of voice. Everything was screamed out. She expected you to listen–no talking–NO GUM CHEWING. If she saw you chewing gum, she’d pull out the coffee can she always seemed to have at her fingertips and yell for you to spit it out into the can.

Miss Katzer was also known for an injury she had which resulted in her losing toes on one of her feet–a feature she pointed out often as she warned us about the dangers of water skiing.

Why is any of this important?

This dive master who would be doing my check out dive looked so much like Miss Katzer I immediately looked down at her feet to see if she was missing toes. Even though her feet were intact, I was immediately at ease. I knew I would be able to complete my dive–and I did. We completed that day of diving and did several other dives while we were there.

When we returned home and went back to work, I discovered my outlook on many of the problems I’d had at work had changed. My level of anxiety was markedly decreased. What made me nervous just a couple of weeks ago no longer had any power over me. Conquering this mega fear created a landslide of changes in the rest of my life. I knew without a doubt I no longer had anything to fear.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
John Wayne

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless us all as we head out to our weekend.

“You have peace,” the old woman said, “when you make it with yourself.”
― Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven