Little Messengers

An Irish Blessing:

“Count your blessings instead of your crosses;

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes;

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears;

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full years instead of your lean;

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth;

Love your neighbor as much as yourself.”

Sometimes the littlest things bring me the most joy.

I picked up a small bag of bird seed this weekend to use in a feeder I’d found at one of our sales. I wasn’t ready to invest any more money until I saw feasting birds.

It didn’t take long.

Within a few hours there was a frenzy of busy birds–obviously my birds are rather shy and decided to recruit one little bird friend for the attached photo.

Winter is hard on the psyche even in the milder climates. I needed some help in seeing and appreciating the marvels of nature surrounding me every single day.

I believe my perfect messengers have arrived.

“Clearly, one of the major obstacles to our experience of gratitude is the habit we have of sleepwalking through life. The truth is that we are never lacking for blessings in our lives, but we are often lacking in awareness and recognition of them.” ~ Rev. Diane Berke, Ph.D

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~

 

 

 

My Biggest Treasure

“When you find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stand in front of you when other’s cast stones, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who will hold your hand when your sick, who thinks your pretty without makeup, the one who turns to his friends and say, ‘that’s her’, the one that would bear your rejection because losing you means losing his will to live, who kisses you when you screw up, watches the stars and names one for you and will hold and rock that baby for hours so you can sleep…..you marry him all over again.” 

Shannon Alder

By far, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Even though the materialism of Christmas sneaks in more each year, for the most part, this holiday remains one of family, simplicity, and gratitude.

As I age I understand what my older relatives warned me about–getting older is not easy. Not only is it difficult, it often catches us off guard by the wicked bit of O’Henry irony sprinkled over it all.

This year, more than ever, I appreciate the people in my life who have always been there for me. I am blessed beyond measure and I am grateful for you all.

One person stands out from the rest.

He is the person who deals with my frustration and anger when illusive words evade me and memories drag up unexpected pain. He quietly steps away, allowing me time to read, write, and research more as I attempt to corner each and every thought while hoping I can find the best words to describe it all. Through this process–one that has gone on for decades–he loves me. Even when my need for space becomes somewhat insane, when I am much less than kind, he encourages me to work on–to learn and to grow.

Thank you, Michael Hibdon, for standing beside me, applauding each and every little success while loving me and giving me a safe place for recovery whenever the results are less than stellar.

You are my hero.

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~

 

 

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~

 

Good News Day

“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.” 

Roy Bennett

Yesterday I learned two very important people in my life received good news from recent medical tests. As I sighed with relief, my heart filled with joy.

Something once taken for granted is now seen for its true worth–a priceless, precious, gift for us all.

Dear God, I thank you. I am so grateful that you encourage me to celebrate my life with the wonderful people you have put in my life. Thank you for the many times you have blessed my life by answering my prayers. May I never forget your amazing goodness. Amen.

Maria Shriver, I’ve Been Thinking 

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless you.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inconveniences

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” 

Robert Fulghum  

In all our years traveling by RV, we have never had so many “inconveniences” as we had on our latest trip to Colorado.

A blown tire, a new star on the windshield of the truck, and the top of the dinette table coming off sometime during the tire repair.

Through it all, we remained pretty calm. The dogs watched the two of us like it was all part of the deal. That fact alone is incredible to me and I am so grateful.

Our time in Howard at Pleasant Valley RV Park was wonderful as always. It is my home away from home place and re-energized my soul.

On the way home, we stayed in Santa Fe for a few days. The weather was wonderful and our lunch at LaFonda was delightful.

When we get home we were handed our biggest challenge.

We pulled up to our drive and Michael tried to open the garage door. His “clicker” would not open the door. No big deal–he does not use it often. We both expected it was due to a bad battery. I grabbed the dogs and headed up to the garage. I used the key pad and the door did not open.

Hmmm.

We knew there had some bad storms while we were gone. My initial prayer was that the garage door opener had not been damaged.

Little did I know how the tune of my prayers would change over the next few hours.

While we were gone, the GFI had been triggered in the garage. Unfortunately for us, that GFI controlled all the power for the garage. In our garage was a chest freezer and a frig/freezer. Both units were full and had been without power for probably a week or more.

All my radiology friends–remember those trips to the morgue during those hot summer days?

In a matter of minutes, I was transported right back to that spot at St. Francis. I could see myself pacing that long, dark hallway by the storeroom. Now I realized there was no one I could call for help.

Once again, the two of us got ‘er done. It was far, far, far from pretty.

Thank God for that heavy-duty mask I’d stashed away from hospital days.

I’m still not sure the little ‘frig will recover. The chest freezer was so full nothing had spoiled yet. This little Montgomery Ward freezer powered right back up and is working–just like it has for the past 40 plus years. It is the last thing I have from my Iowa days. Gotta tell you–tears filled my eyes as we talked about how it was not working very efficiently anymore and re-filling it was probably too big a risk to take.

Oh…isn’t it incredible the things that can stir up old and powerful memories? Those memories provided a very blessed silver lining to an otherwise very tough day.

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” 

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~ 

 

 

 

 

Mis-Adventure

“Our God is sovereign. That means there’s no such thing as luck. Anything that happens to you, good or bad, must pass through His fingers first. There are no accidents with God. I like the story of the cowboy who applied for health insurance. The agent routinely asked him, ‘Have you ever had any accidents?’ The cowboy replied, ‘Well no, I’ve not had any accidents. I was bitten by a rattlesnake once, and a horse did kick me in the ribs. That laid me up for a while, but I haven’t had any accidents.’ The agent said, ‘Wait a minute. I’m confused. A rattlesnake bit you, and a horse kicked you, Weren’t those accidents?’ ‘No, they did that on purpose.” 

Tony Evans, Our God is Awesome: Encountering the Greatness of Our God

Oh, the stories I have to share, my friends.

Nearly two weeks ago, Michael and I headed out with the dogs to visit friends in Colorado. The RV was packed to the brim–we were all ready for a few days away from the heat of Texas.

Just outside of Lubbock we blew a tire on the RV. Shreds of our tire joined the many other shards already littering the side of the road.

I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to blow a tire–now I know–lesson learned.

All-in-all, things went well. The blown tire was on the curb side of the RV, meaning Michael was not right next to the highway as he struggled to assess damage and change the tire. Our three dogs handled it well, moving as asked to the front seat of the truck when Michael needed to get under the seat they were secured to in order to access the heavy-duty jack. The spare tire was in excellent shape, the jack worked, and every vehicle passing us never seriously compromised our safety.

As with any scary situation, it feels better if you walk away feeling you learned something from that experience.

Here’s what I learned from this segment of our trip.

  • Before hitting the road, make sure everyone knows where your emergency equipment is located. If it’s not easily accessible, move it so it is.
  • Review how to put things like jacks together before hand so repairs go faster.
  • Pack water and snacks for all–be sure to include something your dogs can use as a water bowl.
  • Have alternate RV spots to spend the night in case you are delayed.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, never ever text and drive. As I stood watching for anyone not paying attention in the steady line of traffic coming our way at speeds around 75-80 mph, I prayed each and every driver was paying attention. Stay alert, giving those working on the side of the road all the space you can as you pass.

Thank God for cell phones and internet. By doing a quick search, we were able to get to Discount Tire in Lubbock before they closed. Even though they were busy, in a matter of hours, they had four new tires in place and we were back on the road.

As I sat and waited in Lubbock, I thanked God no one was injured. I thanked God our GMC truck kept the trailer in control and the damage to the trailer minimal. We’re fortunate Michael and I have been traveling together by RV for many years. We’ve learned each others strong points and work well together getting whatever needs to be done. I’m not saying it’s always pretty–but we get ‘er done!

What surprised me the most was how our dogs settled in and acted as if this was just another day. They sat quietly beside me, watching people and cars come and go as I tried to pre-determine what person went with what car. I learned I am not good at that game but it certainly entertained me! Even Mother Nature stepped up her game–the dark rain clouds building all around us held off until we were well down the road.

“Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given.” ~ Marelisa Fábrega

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~  

 

 

 

 

 

Anticipation…

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 

A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

When I was working planning a trip was stressful. There rarely seemed to be enough time to get it all together.

Now…I’m still a 5-star procrastinator. I’m sure there will be last-minute running around doing all those things I should have done much earlier.

The difference is I now have time to think about all the things I’m looking forward to seeing and doing.

In no particular order, I’m sharing my very short and simple list for our upcoming trip:

  • Sleeping with the windows open.
  • Wearing long-sleeve shirts and being chilly.
  • Waking up to the sound of the river right outside my door.
  • Fly fishermen.
  • Seeing mountains and pine trees.
  • The sound of wind through aspen trees.
  • Canyons with switch back roads.
  • Walking the dogs down the country road with little or no traffic.
  • Cows.
  • Horses.
  • Big Horn Sheep.
  • Afternoon beers around the picnic table.
  • Conversations with old friends.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~