An Unexpected Gift

“One of the most beneficial and valuable gifts we can give to ourselves in this life: is allowing ourselves to be surprised! It is okay if life surprises you. It’s a good thing!” 

C. JoyBell C.

At an estate sale a few days ago I walked into the laundry room and found this book sitting on the counter.

I was so surprised and even more surprised by the smile it brought to my face.

This book became a time machine transporting me back to my high school typing class.

Taking this class was one of the biggest battles I had in my high school years. I saw no point in taking a class meant for girls who were going to be secretaries. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but knew I did not want to be a secretary.

Little did I know…

Today I’m surrounded by keyboards which have very little resemblance to the manual and later electric typewriters we used in my high school typing class.

Who knew?

“Surprise is just a paradox. Sometimes it annoys us; sometimes it shakes the tears of joy within us; sometimes it makes us ponder; sometimes it ceases our words and leaves our jaws open, and sometimes, it shuts our lips; for a moment, surprises can put our minds into a state of confusion and halt the movement of the body. Watch out for surprises for surprises are there to surprise you!” 

Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

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.

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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~

A Mile Marker

“Just like a GPS, the universe sends you signs to show you the best course. If you follow the flow, you get where you want with ease and happiness. If you miss a turn, the road becomes longer and harder.” 

Charbel Tadros

On Saturday we went to an estate sale. I questioned whether or not we should go because it was the second day of the sale. Because it was the second day of a three day sale my expectations of finding anything were very low.

Sometimes God gives you encouragement when you least expect it.

As we walked up to the sale, I found the two baskets pictured above outside of the front door. The baskets caught my attention immediately. I shook my head and laughed to myself, thinking someone else had been a rock collector. It was mid chuckle that I realized that both baskets were filled with heart rocks–and one of my dad’s favorite things, a wooden nickel.

For me it was a subtle message from God telling me I was on course and doing just fine.

I went through each basket yesterday with a heart filled with thanks. Some of the rocks were dated along with initials. Some rocks took a lot of imagination to see the heart shape. As I turned both my head and the rocks, I wondered if these were the ones found by the grandkids. As I slowly examined each stone, I began to feel as though I’d been appointed their long awaited caretaker.

With this thought in mind, I searched for just the right place to share the blessings.

Most of them surround my little monk and St. Francis. The smaller ones found their way to places in our home where they will share continue to encourage me by way of their unique energy.

 

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“We need to be open to ways in which we are being spoken to and in which we are receiving some form of communication. Some people call them signs. Open your heart and allow yourself to be touched by them. They are often stunning expressions of your place in the universe.” 

Susan Barbara Apollon, Touched by the Extraordinary

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

The Gifts of the Siesta

“…the devil’s hour, two o’clock on a summer afternoon–the siesta hour.” 

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation

I have learned many lessons since moving to Texas.

One of my most recent lessons–wait–let’s change that to a new awareness–is the power of the afternoon time called the siesta.

Even if I’ve spend the majority of my time inside, the intense summer heat drains my energy. Every day as the daytime heat intensifies, I feel the need for some afternoon down/re-charging time.

This former Iowa girl is creating and defining her own siesta space.

Not surprising to anyone who knows me, time management is an issue.

Unlike my dad who came home for lunch and a quick ten minute nap, my down time tend to be connected to an hourly meter.

With age and some selective wisdom, I’m accepting and adjusting my siesta standards and expectations. I have determined these adjustments are justified by the fact I am up earlier which gives me the opportunity to see many more sunrises and I am up later for some very excellent star gazing.

I like that.

“I count it as an absolute certainty that in paradise, everyone naps. A nap is a perfect pleasure and it’s useful, too. It splits the day into two halves, making each half more manageable and enjoyable. How much easier it is to work in the morning if we know we have a nap to look forward to after lunch; and how much more pleasant the late afternoon and evening become after a little sleep. If you know there is a nap to come later in the day, then you can banish forever that terrible sense of doom one feels at 9 A.M. with eight hours of straight toil ahead. Not only that, but a nap can offer a glimpse into a twilight nether world where gods play and dreams happen.” 

Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle

I am…

B…simply being. 

~God bless and peace, Y’all.~

 

 

 

More Treasures

“The greatest treasure in life is the possession of time.” 

Sunday Adelaja, How To Become Great Through Time Conversion: Are you wasting time, spending time or investing time?

I found another treasure in my little used bookstore.

It’s the small book pictured above and it is packed with things that make me sit back and think.

Finding books that were gifts to others always tugs at my heart and makes them very special to me.

I always wonder if the person gifted the book actually had the time to appreciate it?

These are the books that become immediate treasures for me because I now have the time to scour the pages and share what I find with others.

In some type of odd unspoken ceremony, I’ve become the surrogate recipient.

There is only one page ear-marked in this little book which makes my choice of what to share first very easy.

Heart Of My Heart

While striding on life’s pathway

fill up your days with cheer

just laugh at rainbows, small or great, 

to banish every fear.

Hold tight to what life offers

content with all you do

for all adventures help create

the treasure that is you.

~Kris Ediger

I am…

B…simply being

~Peace~

My Caregivers

The very best thing about dogs is how they just know when you need them most, and they’ll drop everything that they’re doing to sit with you awhile.” 

Steven Rowley

I’ve had a week of recovery surrounded by the most wonderful caregivers.

Love came in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

From healing massages and dashes to the store to appease whatever whim came to my mind to homemade chicken noodle soup to beautiful plants, brilliant flowers, colored pencils with an amazing picture book to the many gentle words sent via calls and texts. I was spoiled beyond measure.

This morning, Bud came to be beside me as I gathered things together in order to begin writing again.

I am grateful and I am ready.

Thank You, God, for the body You have given me. Most of the time I take my health for granted. I forget how fortunate I am to live without pain or disability, how blessed I am to be able to see and hear and walk and eat. I forget that this body of mine, with all its imperfections, is a gift from You. When I am critical of my appearance, remind me, God, that I am created in Your holy image. If I become jealous of someone else’s appearance, teach me to treasure my unique form. Help me, God, to care for my body. Teach me to refrain from any action that will bring harm to me. If I fall prey to a self-destructive habit, fill me with the strength to conquer my cravings. Lead me to use my body wisely, God. Guide my every limb, God, to perform acts of compassion and kindness. I thank You, God, for creating me as I am. Amen.

Levy, Naomi. Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration (p. 24). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

 

A Tiny Treasure

“Let me tell you something big: Give importance to little things!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

I found this little handmade gift tag in a box of old pictures. I’d been sorting through what felt like a hundred boxes Michael had pulled out of our basement storage space. We were downsizing after our Colorado home sold, preparing to start our retirement as full-time RVers–there was a LOT of stuff that had to go.

This tiny little scrap of paper took me completely off guard.

How can I describe the pure joy of finding something so precious and so unexpected? How had this fragile piece of wrapping paper survived the moves across town, across the country, followed by even more cross-city moves? Not only was it a mystery to me–it felt like a miracle.

This tag came from my old childhood neighbors, Tom and Karen Sink. When I first met them, Kevin was their only child. They were next door for quite a few years and  I  had been fortunate to be with them for the arrival of their other two precious babies.  It was a babysitter’s dream and they lived right next door.

Not only did they call me to babysit on a regular basis, they gave my sisters and I shelter from the maddening storm that had become our home life. They’d moved in shortly after my family had moved to Waterloo from Traer. This was a rough time for me–moving right after my eighth-grade year. I had to leave the kids I’d gone to school with since we were all in kindergarten just when we were all ready to begin our high school years.

I was miserable.

Answering a prayer I did not know I’d put out to the Universe, God sent Karen and Tom who filled my life with love, hope, and kindness.

Our houses were very close together–meaning all our family arguments were easily overheard by Tom and Karen. I’m pretty sure they had many unplanned nights out in order to give the Burton girls a place to hang out and a way to escape the chaos.

They were our angels.

It should not have surprised me, finding this powerful little piece of paper when I did. I now had my newest but oldest talisman to take with me into my future.

“Whenever you’re feeling lonely, remember that there are people in this world who bless every one of us before they go to sleep at night. They may have never met you, but their hearts go out to you. They are true angels.”
L.J. Kane

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace to all.

 

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Sixty-four years ago today, I began this grand adventure called life.

I have been fortunate and very blessed–not to mention just plain ol’ lucky.

By the grace of God, people have been placed in my life at times when I needed them the most. Now, the question may arise as to whether some helped me or if they actually lead me off course for a while. Either way, whichever column you place people in, they all played a part in allowing me to grow and become the person I am today. Because of these wonderful and eclectic folks, I am alive. I am well. I am.

Sounds to me like it’s time for a walk down memory lane so I can share a story.

The summer after I completed eighth grade, my family moved from the small town of Traer, Iowa, to the city of Waterloo, Iowa. I don’t remember when I realized this huge change was happening. My family was not big on family meetings or sharing information. What I’d expected to be the start of my freshman year of high school, with kids I had been with since kindergarten, morphed into years of unforeseen changes and challenges. All that was comfortable and familiar in my life was packed away and dismissed that summer. Like it or not, I was off to a new life in a new town in a new house in a new school with new kids.

This was one of the most difficult times in my life. By luck or by an act of God, I landed in a place where I found wonderful and generous friends. Kids who welcomed me into their circle of friends. Wonderful people who are still in my life today.

That year my birthday fell on a day when we did not have school because it was opening day for the National Cattle Congress. What? Could anything sound more Iowan? Cattle Congress is an annual event that’s been part of the Waterloo culture for decades. It was and remains a mixture of a stock show, a fair, and a carnival. It was the perfect place for a group of young kids to go and hang together while checking out all the out-of-town boys. I was so excited. My new group of friends asked me to go with them AND my Dad and stepmother said I could go.

I did not realize my friends knew it was my birthday. Not only was it my birthday, but it was also my new friend, Margie’s birthday. At the end of the day, after talking and learning about the new people in my life, both Margie and I had birthday presents to open. The gifts were supposed gag gifts–meant to be funny. To me, that present was my new lifeline. As I type, I can still see that little-ribbed glass jar which held green, medicinal smelling stick deodorant.  A joke? Okay, but to me, it was a precious gift. Something that gave me hope for my future.

This is such a nice memory to have and carry with me as I continue on my life journey. It is also a reminder that a gift does not have to be big to be special. Kinda like that surprise phone call I just had with my friend, Dave. That was so thoughtful. Thank you, Dave.

There is so much joy in an act of simple kindness.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Gratitude

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

I believe that this was a set up for today.

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

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

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

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

Thank you, God.

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

I am blessed.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love y’all. Peace.