Refueling

“Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.” 

Vincent van Gogh

Yesterday, I had a long conversation with one of my dearest friends.

Even though we’re a thousand miles apart, we talked just like we did when we lived across the street from each other. Our conversation took off like we’d just talked yesterday.

Our shared stories skipped back and forth between decades without the need for details. We’d seen each other through some of the highest and lowest parts of our personal and professional lives. We didn’t always agree with each other. This was a huge lesson for me because I wasn’t used to having someone disagree with me. I learned even though we did  not agree, we’re both good people and good friends.

That’s just one of the many lessons she taught me. I cannot imagine my life without her.

Thanks, MB, for spending happy hour–actually hours–with me. You refreshed my soul.

I love you.

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thanks, Deb Henderson, for letting me use your picture for today’s story. God bless you and your beautiful family. 

Blessings

“Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curst it and it will curse you…If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troublesome for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it.”  ~Emmet Fox, Sara Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

My morning readings have taught me a lot since I began this daily practice.

Today the prayers recited throughout the day by the Unity Minister, Stella Terril Mann, were shared:

Mornings: Blessed be the morn for me and mine.

Noon: Blessed be the day for me and mine. 

Evening: Blessed be the night for me and mine. 

Could prayers really be so simple?

The long and the short of it is–yes.

Help me be a friend today, Lord, and see the needs on the faces of those I know and love. ~Jon M. Sweeney, Daily Guideposts, 2019

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thank you, Jim and Ann Doner, for allowing me to use your picture in today’s story. I love you.

 

 

Simple Things

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” 

Bob Hope

A week from today is Christmas Eve.

I’ve been working on Christmas cards for some time now. It’s taking me a while because I’m doing them very differently this year.

The idea has been brewing over this past year as I browsed my way through many estate sales. Every sale had a collection of unclaimed family pictures. To see the different family celebrations recorded and stacked in boxes broke my heart over and over again.

After the first few sales, I realized I had my own stack of pictures sitting in albums in my office closet. I knew odds were high they’d stay in that very spot until Michael and I made our next move or–God forbid– have our own estate sale.

Going through pictures for my stories sparked the idea to make my own cards. Each individual card would be personalized to feature photos of the person the card will be sent to or spotlight an event they’d remember.

It has been a time consuming project. Most of the photos take me down a road filled with memories. The surprising thing about this project is I know these old pictures filed away in a dark closet will be on their way to bring a smiles to my loved ones. Even though we are miles apart, I know we will be walking down memory road together.

So simple…

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” 

Eric Severeid

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Timeless Gifts

“I was discovering that the most precious gift someone can give us is time, because what gives time its value is death.” 

Ingrid Betancourt, Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

My first Christmas present arrived yesterday.

I debated about one minute before opening it.

Inside I found three perfect gifts–a heart rock, a handmade Christmas ornament, and a candle.

What made them so special?

The time invested by my friend who sent them my way.

The ornament took Mary a lot of time to make. I knew she was probably thinking of some of our escapades while she stitched away. The heart rock was a gift of happenstance–found on a hike with her grandson, Sam. This special rock told me she’d thought of me throughout her day. The candle is a gift of a candle is always special because I love the warmth and light they represent to me.

The most precious gift of all? The gift of life-long friendships.

Thank you, Mary. I love you.

IMG_1943

Thank you, God, for the gift of friends.

To be known, and yet loved is a blessing.

Thank you for all those who see me, 

Who seek to understand, support and nurture me.

I am forever grateful to be able to come just as I am, in every season

To walk in intimacy and love with others.

This is the richest blessing, the greatest gift and the beautiful legacy of your walk and life amongst us.

Thank you so much for all my friends and loved ones. 

Amen.   ~Author Unknown~

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

It’s a Small World

“Friends can make you feel that the world is smaller and less sneaky than it really is, because you know people who have similar experiences.” 

Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

Today I began listening to a book I’ve been meaning to read for about ten years. I found it as a recorded book so I thought it was a great opportunity to finally hear this story. The book is, The Girls From Ames, by Jeffrey Zaslow.

I have to admit, the only reason I was originally drawn to it because I figured it had to be about girls from Ames.

For once, I was right. It is about girls from Ames but it’s about a lot more. At least it has been for me.

The book chronicles the lives of eleven women over the course of their forty year friendship. The stories shared are hauntingly familiar to those of my own younger days. I’ve had to go back and repeat parts of the book because my mind gets triggered by one story or another, putting my ears on hold as it pulls up one of my own long lost childhood memory. My emotions have been all over the place. One minute I’m laughing, the next minute I’m in tears.

The main thing I’m feeling this afternoon is gratitude for the people in my life I call friends.

Heavenly Father,

I am thankful for the gift of friendship. You have positioned souls along my path who have added brilliance, depth, and texture to the tapestry of my life. You have blessed me in ways I am just beginning to understand. Each person, in their own individual way, has helped me believe and trust in your goodness. Each day my awareness grows. Please, God, help each person see how valuable they are to me. I ask you to keep them safe as you surround them with peace and love.   Amen. 

~Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon, November 7, 2019

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thank you, Judith Weitzel Wilmink, for this great picture I’m using as part of my story today. God bless you. I Love you. 

 

The Gift of Friendship

There’s a miracle called friendship

that dwells within the heart

And you don’t know when it happens

or when it gets a start…

But the happiness it brings you

always gives a special lift,

And you realize that friendship is

God’s most precious gift!

~Author Unknown

As usual, as my birthday nears, I spend extra time being thankful for the gifts I’ve been given.

My greatest gifts have been the people who have been a part of my life. Standing beside me wasn’t always the easiest thing to do. I am grateful to you and for you all.

My friend, Ann, sent a package today which included the book pictured in my blog today. When I unwrapped it I was so excited. I don’t think I realized until then I’d become quite the collector of little prayer books. Thank you, Ann, for my newest prize. I will have a lot to share.

As the editor, David Schiller, says in his introduction: “…in an age characterized by its astonishing lack of humility, prayer offers a rare chance to put our inflated selves aside, and in the suddenly unburdened state that follow, rediscover the things that really matter. Which is perhaps why, living in the age that we do, we are also beginning to rediscover the need for prayer. ”

Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who forms light and creates darkness, who makes peace and creates all things. 

Who mercifully sheds light upon the earth and upon all who dwell on it.

And who in His goodness, renews the works of creation every day continually. “How many are Thy works O Lord, in wisdom hast Thou made them all, the earth is filled with Thy creations!” 

Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who with His word brings on the evenings, 

With wisdom opens the gates,

With understanding alters the phases, varies the seasons, 

And arranges the stars in their heavenly orbit according to His will. 

He creates day and night. 

He rolls away the light from before the darkness and the darkness from before the light,

He makes the day to pass and the night to come, and divides between day and night;

Lord of hosts in His name. 

A living and everlasting God, who shall constantly reign over us forever and ever. 

Blessed art Thou, Lord, who brings on the evenings. 

              ~Jewish Evening Blessing, “Birkat Maariv”, The Little Book of Prayers

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

Footprints

“Many people walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” 

Windhy Puspitadewi, Confeito

For most of my life I thought I could only have one best friend. I mean, best is THE best, right? So–only one person can be the best.

I don’t think I stopped thinking this way until I’d had time to reflect on my life and the different people I’d met over the years. I realized each person helped me through different stages of my life and enabled me thrive and grow.

First, there are my childhood friends. They knew me as a kid, they knew my sisters, and they knew my family. There is no replacement for this knowledge base and the life experiences we shared.  I am grateful many are still in my life. Even with huge gaps in what we know about each other and our adult lives, we remain friends.

There are friends I met after moving to another town and becoming the new kid my freshman year of high school. This little group of girls became so special to me because they accepted me and treated me like I’d always been one of them. This group also knew my sisters, also knew my family, but this group also knew my stepmother. This updated version of me and my life gave them a whole different knowledge base and our friendships grew as we grew.

After graduating high school, we all went our separate ways. Some to college outside of our area, some married and started families, some to the military, and some to area technical schools and nearby universities. New friendships were born at this rapidly changing time in our lives. We learned what we needed to begin to live our “adult lives.” We built friendships with those we saw every day and our common experiences forged strong bonds. That first step into adulthood was a tough one for many of us. Friendships made during this time were and are important ones to many of us.

Now many of us have retired and moved away from all our groups of friends. For me, finding friends at this time in my life is more challenging than I expected. Finding a person who has common interests and is willing to invest the time to become a true friend is not easy. I’ve evolved into a person with many layers. Some of those layers are harder to peel away than others and uncovering them often reveals old history I’ve chosen to forget for a reason.

New friendships are revitalizing. My new friend Glynis just shared with me today her story of having lunch with her new friend. She describes this special lady as someone who is “wildly creative with purple hair and fun glasses.” She said as she sat beside her she felt “so beige.” I laughed as I thanked God for new friends!

I’m learning I will have many friends in my lifetime. I am grateful I’ve been able to keep friends from each stage of my life and we continue share our lives as we age. Now we are walking our own paths but these paths are parallel to each other. If there is one constant in my life, God has a way of keeping those I love just an arms length away.

“Friends can make you feel that the world is smaller and less sneaky than it really is, because you know people who have similar experiences.” 

Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Spaghetti, Grace, and Friendship

“There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That’s a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.” 

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Since I’ve been sharing old recipes this week, I thought it’d be perfect ending it with one of my favorites.

This spaghetti recipe can be made ahead, it’s very easy, and it’s perfect comfort food for any cold winter evening.

I think you can still make out the directions even with my over zealous trimming–just in case let me fill in some of the blanks. If you break the spaghetti noodles up before you cook them, they will be much easier to eat–never knew that until I read this recipe. Use shredded cheese–that wasn’t available back when this recipe was written. Sauté the onion and beef in oil. Add sauce, wine and spices. Simmer covered, stirring for one hour. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and drain. Add the meat sauce with the cheese and bake in a 3 qt. casserole.

Not only can I share a recipe, I get to talk about my friend, Mary.

I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in places long enough to establish strong friendships. Mary and I started our x-ray training together in the fall of 1971. It was a two-year program and we both thought it’d be a piece of cake–pardon the cliché but it seems perfect since food has been on my mind.

It was NOT easy.

I am sure I would not have made it without Mary. My heavens we were so young, so unaware, and so unprepared for how cruel the world could be–not just professionally but personally. If you want to see the best and the worst of humanity, spend a few days in a busy radiology department. It’s hard to leave those faces and images behind at the end of the day. We’d call each other and talk it through–the tumors, the car accidents, the abused kids, and the unidentified bodies in the morgue.

It did not stop there, though.  Not only did we work together for several years after we graduated, we were there for each other as we married, as we divorced, as explored the singles scene, as she remarried, and when she gave birth to her son, Mason.

As life would have it, I was about to learn change is a constant thing and life itself sometimes takes unexpected turns. My world certainly changed the day Mary told me she and her family were moving. Oh—I cried but knew she’d been unhappy. It was time for something new. I was happy for her job at a bigger hospital and the opportunities that would make available to her.

I was pretty lost for a while. Even though she was not beside me every day she continued to influence me. She was enjoying her new job which opened my eyes to the idea there were other places to work. I knew if I stayed where I was I’d never really grow in the way I wanted to grow. I took that leap of faith and moved on, too.

It was a lot harder than I imagined. Now Mary and I were a thousand miles apart. Long distance phone calls were not part of either of one of our budgets. There were times I’d pull out one of Mary’s recipes and cook just to ease my mind and comfort my soul.

I’m not sure I want to calculate how many years she has been a huge part of my life. I think it’s close to fifty. How is that even possible? In spite of the fact years went by when we rarely talked or saw each other we remained connected in some magical mysterious way. I am so thankful–her friendship truly was and is a gift from God.

“A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.” 

Shannon L. Alder

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Checks and Balances

“Talk between women friends is always therapy…” 

Jayne Anne Phillips

I have been lucky this past week to have had the opportunity to have lunch with two new friends.

We shared old stories from our past, compared daily challenges we face because we’re now home not building careers, and talk openly about what we plan and dream for our futures.

The power of these luncheons has surprised me. Our maturity and past experiences seem to accelerate our friendships. I feel as though I’ve discovered a strong and ever-expanding circle of new old friends.

All of this could not have happened at a better time to help balance out the stress of filling out tax paperwork. It amazes me at the amount of data requested and how it all fits into some rather foggy and mystical equation. I’m not sure this is at all what the founding fathers had in mind.

This afternoon, I raise my glass to my friends, to my Michael for working so hard on the taxes, and I give thanks for my many blessings.

“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher”(when asked about completing his income tax form)” 

Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

A Daily Gift

A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.” 

Shannon L. Alder

I’ve been thinking about my friends these past few days.

Getting older is not easy. I think in order to balance that out, God gave us the gift of friendship. If you’re lucky, you’ve been blessed with lifelong friends.

For the past nine months I’ve started my day with morning chats. These texts began early last summer as a way to stay in close contact with a friend going through some tough times. It didn’t take long to realize I could reach out to others. These texts continue to grow becoming a very important part of my daily routine.

I have been blessed with a wonderful group of friends. I get to “talk” with many of them every morning, reaching out whenever I have time. There’s no interruption to anyone’s busy day and they can respond whenever it works for them. It’s a daily gift for all of us.

Try yourself this weekend. Set aside a few minutes to reach out to those you love. It will warm your heart and may be what everyone needs to brighten these gloomy wintry days.

A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.” 

Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~