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. 

 

A Case of the Guilts

“I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.” 

D.D. Barant, Dying Bites

Yesterday was a day full of reality checks.

My first check point was at the vet’s office. Oh, this has not been a good place for me this year. Yesterday it was time for Bud to have his annual rabies vaccine plus I wanted him to have a basic check up. In a few months he will be fourteen years old. Holy Cow, in small dog years he’s eighty some years old.

With that thought firmly ingrained in my mind, I thought I was prepared to hear anything the vet told us. I was not really ready to hear he had a significant heart murmur. All my years in imaging and doing echocardiograms flew into action in an attempt to put up some huge wall in order to defend my dog and my own ultra sensitive dog loving heart. I had to let my past go in order to hear the cautions voiced by Dr. Lauren. As I listened, I filed all my worries away, a pseudo coping method I’d devised over the years so I could randomly pull each and every one out later. Until lately, I thought this was one of my best stress management skills. With all the negatives stashed away, I went on about my day.

The next check point was my dentist. I’d been dreading this trip for a very long time. As it turned out–surprise–my anxiety was wasted. Every part of my visit went well. The reality was paying out of pocket for dental care. Because dental care is so important to overall health maintenance, I don’t understand why there isn’t affordable care for all–a subject that warrants its own story time.

Early this morning all those concerns and worries I’d stashed away resurfaced and wanted my full attention. They had all jumped out of their little file folders and wanted immediate attention.

The neon sticker was flashing on the Bud folder.

My little 18 pound dog who’d been such an important part of my life for nearly fourteen years was aging faster than I’d appreciated. I’d taken his companionship for granted. The sand in the giant Wizard of Oz hourglass was running fast and running low.

My Bud teaches me every single day what matters most is simply showing up and being beside those you love. No matter where the day takes you, be there, in that moment, share your toys after an appropriate amount of time, be persistent in asking for what you want, especially those treats, and, most of all, at the end of the day,  cuddle up as close as you can.

Thanks, my Bud. I love you.

Yes, that awareness work I’ve been doing? I think God just did a test of my emergency alert system.

I believe He’s telling me I have some work to do.

“People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…truth is, you knew what you had, you just thought you’d never lose it.” 

Nitya Prakash

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~

 

Serenity

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

I had today all to myself. It was a wonderful self-care day.

A friend suggested I write about serenity. After thinking I remembered the Serenity Prayer. I’d not read this version before so thought I’d share.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next. Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno, for sharing your beautiful photo with me. I love you. 

Laughter

“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.” 

Sean O’Casey

So far, 2019 has certainly given me some challenges.

Many of these trials, if not all, have been a result of aging. Don’t get me wrong, I understand my life is a gift. I know these “golden years” are not given to everyone. It’s the clustering of events that’s caught me off guard.

It’s the memory of the sorrow and tears that make the attached picture so very special. I wish it came with sound effects because the laughter and the sounds of puppy kisses are beyond special.

This little bundle of energy is Abby, a pure blessing. The influence she has on all of us has been magical. It is impossible to be crabby when you start each day with Abby kisses. There are some days when we are all a little bit crabby here. Her magical powers are so impressive I have given her a new nickname–Abby-ca-dabra.

The dark days before her arrival opened my heart for a whole new level of joy. I find I am focused on the positive moments which seem to grow as she grows. Not only has she opened my eyes to a whole new appreciation of time, she has helped me see our oldest dog, Bud, differently as well. Because I take the time to notice, I see how she persistently pesters him, trying to get him to play with her. For the most part, I see how Bud is slowly accepting her, tolerating her in the same way I saw with our first Lhasa, Pearl, put up with Bud when we first brought him home over thirteen years ago. As I am learning, ready or not, I’m being given a glimpse into the future–the circle of life continues.

For this and for the life I’ve been given, I am thankful.

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” 

Kahlil Gibran

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.~

 

 

 

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~