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.~

 

 

 

Little Moments

“It probably wouldn’t last. It never does. But it would come back around again. That’s how life works. And that’s why it’s important to treasure the peaceful times-so you can persevere through the other kind.” 

Jean Ferris, Thrice Upon a Marigold

The past few months have been difficult.

Yesterday I found myself stuck in some tearful moments.

July 1, 2019, marked two months since I said good bye to my precious Ruby and three months since I said good bye to my little man, Duffy.

I was sad.

As the tears flowed,  I missed them both even more because that would have been the time when they’d worm their way close to me and find some goofy way to cheer me up. Just simply leaning against my leg or pulling at my shoe string would make me smile.

I miss them.

Every single day, I miss them.

Today, I sat and watched and laughed at the outlandish spirit of our Abby and thanked God for the strength of our twelve year old, Bud.

What I’m discovering is the empty place in my heart is pulling in all the little things I never would have noticed. I would have been too busy to sit and watch Abby race around the yard and Bud patiently waiting for her to “do her business.” Watching a puppy push their limits, learning how to climb and jump and trust you to always be there for them.

Retirement has given me the gift of time. My awareness of the magnitude of this blessing grows stronger daily.

Dear God, 

I thank you for the growth in the awareness of my many blessings.

I am grateful for the expanding gift of patience which allows me to take time to actually see the many layers my gifts often contain. 

God, thank you for the many loving souls surrounding me and the sweet memories of those who are with you now.  

I ask you to send your angels to comfort those who have also lost loved ones.  May they find solace in your love and continue to heal knowing they are never alone.  Amen.

Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Naps

“Here’s to the moments when you realize the simple things are wonderful and enough.” 

Jill Badonsky, The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder

One of the blessings of getting older is the ability to slow down and appreciate the small things.

Summer returned today which made working in the yard short lived.

As you can see, Abby had no problem showing me how to take a break this afternoon. Bud, Abby, and I headed inside to take a nap.

This little girl is sets a great example and is an excellent teacher.

Yes, my friends, I think she’s a keeper.

The Test

Oh, yes, I’ve reached those golden days

You so much about;

I don’t feel any older yet,

But will one day, no doubt.

The sky is still a lovely blue,

The rose is just as sweet.

Each day is like another chance

To make my life complete.

Sure, there’s hardship, sorrow and pain,

Who thougth there wouldn’t be? 

But now I know it’s just a test

To find the worth in me.

Betty Irean Loeb

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Unanswered Prayers

“Help” is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray–with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, “Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.” 

Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

I’ve been thinking a lot these past few days.

Working in our yard is a wonderful time to let unfiltered thoughts flow through my mind. I’ve discovered I don’t overthink when I’m moving rock and rebuilding walls.

Songs tend to get stuck in my head when I’m outside. Yesterday the song playing over and over in my mind was Garth Brooks’ song, Unanswered Prayers.

This song always makes me remember the things I’ve prayed the hardest for and felt fell on deaf ears. Where was God and how could my prayer go answered?

Now, I smile and shake my head, thanking God for all those answered prayers. As I see the different scenarios play back, the “what ifs” congregate in my head, creating feelings of sadness, regret, insight, and, above all, gratitude.

I’m learning the best prayers may not be those I’ve memorized. Not that long ago I realized the words I said by rote were not the real words of the prayer. I had to chuckle. I knew I did that with some songs–singing words that were not even close to what the real lyrics. I never imagined I’d done the same with prayers.

I still start my day with the prayers my mom taught me 60 plus years ago. These days I say each word slowly, appreciating the meaning of the prayer as I remember her patience with me as I learned each word.

Lately I’ve been searching for new prayers, gathering them to share as well as using them as guides in hopes they can help me begin to write my own prayers to share.

Lucky for me, God seems to be encouraging me because I’ve found some of the best prayers are short and simple.

“Lord, make me a blessing to someone today.” 

Jan Karon, At Home in Mitford

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

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~