Day Three of a Week of Gratitude

Let us be grateful to

    the people who

make us happy; they

    are the charming

gardens who make

    our souls blossom.

~Marcel Proust~

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, 2020. 

Sigh.

I understand there are probably many people spending this holiday alone because of Covid restrictions. I understand the frustrations. Honestly I’m not sure what’s worse, not being able to go or going and then feeling guilty for going. 

Regardless of the choice you make, may you be blessed, safe, and well. 

I’m enjoying sharing pictures with you. Today I am sharing many so be prepared.

They’re pictures of young dogs and senior dogs, new friends and old friends, places we’ve been and places and people we loved. Thrown into the mix is a single photo of a kitten who just refused to give up. 

May they make you smile. 

 

Schoitz Memorial Hospital Waterloo, IA

I am blessed and so very grateful.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Days of Gratitude #2

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

Today, one of the things I am most grateful for are those people who faithfully read what I have to say whenever I get around to saying it. They are always kind and encouraging. Thank you.

The thoughts I shared yesterday rang true for everyone who sent me a note. Because of that I thought I’d continue sharing quick thoughts along with pictures.  

Looking through my pictures it’s sad I don’t have more pictures of when I was young and just starting my career. I was so lucky to begin my work in  imaging when I did. Many of the people I worked with as a student and later as a staff are still my good friends today. For that fact I am so grateful. 

I have very few pictures of the people I grew up with in Traer. Thanks to social media I have been able to reconnect with them. What a gift that is! 

Today I’m sharing more random pictures–again in no special order.

See if these don’t bring back more memories for you, too. 

More tomorrow.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Glynis Morse, for sharing this photo of Sedona with me. It is a magical place.  Thank you. 

Weary

“Her eyes look tired, but it’s her soul that’s truly weary.” ~Liz Newman~

 

I’ve taken some time away from my desk so I could do some quiet reflection.

Like so many I’d become weary.

Weary of extremes I encountered everywhere throughout my day.

Weary of having to use caution in how I talked with valued friends because they may or may not share my political opinion.

Weary of hearing how many people died of Covid-19 in our country today or how many have died since this whole nightmare began.

Weary of not seeing my family who live far from me because I worry we make each other sick.

Weary of being isolated.

Weary of not being able to hug people without questioning if I’m doing the “safe” thing.

Weary of asking for things to be repeated because I cannot hear what’s being said behind the masks or no longer to read lips.

Weary of people who do not respect each other’s compromised health issues.

Weary of people not just putting on the damn mask.

Weary of not seeing smiles.

Weary of being afraid I, too, may get sick.

Weary of being weary.

So, I took some time to observe all the little miracles that happened all around me every single day.

I’ve seen the sun rise in the mornings as I became aware of its march across the sky as the seasons marched on.

I’ve seen the sun set in the evenings as we’ve sat outside waiting for the air to cool while the deer stroll by with their fawns and the bats come out to devour a few mosquitos.

I’ve seen birds migrate across the skies, moving north this past spring and coming back our direction now that Fall is approaching.

I’ve watched our youngest puppy, Eli, grow and become the new companion for our old dog, Bud, and a playmate for our other puppy, Abby.

I’ve become aware of how much I have grown spiritually as I’ve limited my outside influences and concentrated on investigating my own beliefs.

I’m learning how I think about things really does influence what I see.

I’m learning to open my mind to ways of thinking I never would have considered.

I’m learning to be still–I have a LOT of work to do on this lesson.

I’m learning to choose my words more carefully–do I really know this or that never happens or always happens?

I’m learning to think before I speak–words cannot be erased by an apology. A few moments spent in thought may save years of regret.

I’m learning that adage what people think of me is none of my business is true.

Let it go.

I’m learning to stop over thinking EVERYTHING.

Let it go.

I’m learning to forgive those who have hurt me.

Let it go.

I’m learning to forgive myself.

Dear one, let it go.

God sent me here for a reason. My job is to figure out what MY reason is. I cannot learn if I’m paying attention to things that are not part of MY lessons.

I’ve been so lucky because I’ve been given time to think about this and work on finding my path. It takes time and patience.

I am grateful.

I’ve been lucky to have people who have walked beside me on my journey. Some for a short time,, others for a life time.

I am grateful.

Once I started thinking about all the miracles I’ve witnessed in my life, my weariness dissolved.

I am grateful.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Gracious God, in the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life.

My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.

I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning.

In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love.

Amen 

~Tam Worth~

Talking with God

I’ve been talking with God a lot these days.

It’s a good thing He is used to some of the language popping out of my head and mouth in moments of disbelief and frustration.

Here is a little bit of the conversation I had today:

Dear Lord, Please help me be still and listen–really listen–before I respond. Help me remember the power in silence.

Help me remember all my family members who sacrificed so much of their time to help my family. Help me to find a way to help others in that same spirit of true compassion.

Father, help me use the lessons I’ve been given and successfully learned to help others. There are many who are facing some of the same problems.

Please help me continue to learn and grow as I face what feels like overwhelming challenges daily. Help me stay strong and in connection with you.

In this crazy world, I believe in the power and forgiveness of you, my God. Please guide me to where I am needed and help me understand what I am here to do.

Thank you for listening, God. Thank you for never giving up on me and for always–always–loving me–unconditionally.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Debbie Long, for sharing your beautiful photo with me to use in today’s story. I treasure you and send you thanks and much love. xoxo

Unconditional Gratitude

“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” 

Dalai Lama XIV, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

I’ve added a new book to my daily reading. It’s titled, Gratitude–A Way of Life, by Louise Hay and Friends. This book is a collection of essays written by different authors about the importance of gratitude in their lives.

One of the first chapters I read talked about unconditional gratitude. This was a new phrase to me and I was very impressed with what the author, Lee Coit, had to say.

Here are some of the thoughts that caught my attention:

“…Long ago, I found that being grateful for what I had  helped me get over feeling sorry for myself. My appreciation of others always raised my own level of happiness. Whenever I thought I felt unappreciated, I’d count up all the wonderful things that had happened to me recently, and my joy would return. Being grateful for what I have is also and effective way of releasing a sense of loss. When I am aware of all the love I am receiving, I can quickly forget my problems. Gratitude is an excellent way of removing my concentration from negative situations and placing my attention on what is right…

The second thing I noticed about being grateful was that I could extend my present joy backwards by holding thoughts of gratitude about people and events from my past. It always makes me smile, and my heart fills with joy when I reminisce fondly about by beautiful friends and the special times we’ve had. I’ve noticed over the past years that the more gratitude I fell about the past, the happier I am in the present. Getting to a joyful state with gratitude is easy when I use pleasant memories from my gratitude. Being grateful for those who we think have hurt us is harder, but it is very effective for healing the past. I call this unconditional gratitude. Unconditional means that we give gratitude to everyone regardless of whether we think they deserve it or  not.

What works for me is to remember only the good things about each person and let the other thoughts go. I can always find something about each one for which I am truly grateful. I have even started with the idea that at least these people are out of my life my life now…

…Gratitude, like its sister, forgiveness, frees the giver first of all. Gratitude brings freedom to our self-imposed prison of hatred and revenge. Perceived past wrongs are our prison bars. Hatred not only locks us in a tiny cell of self-pity, it keeps out those who are seeking to bring love into our life. (Hatred includes everything from rage to seemly innocent desire to avoid someone.) Our past, released with gratitude, frees our present to be as it could be…

I begin to see that what I judged as harmful and unfair was really a misinterpretation, a faulty judgement based on my perception, which is very limited in its scope. 

Human perception seems very powerful. It proceeds from our limited self-concept…If we refuse to act on this perception but desire to see what is happening in our life spiritually, we get an entirely different view. We begin to see the interconnected and inter supporting relationships of reality. We begin to see the spiritual dance in which we are engaged…Unconditional gratitude, rather than seeking to control the situation, frees you from stress and pain. Unconditional gratitude replaces your frustration with peace, joy, and happiness that is naturally yours.”

These words have been buzzing around my mind now for days and given me a new way of thinking about things. Maybe they will have the same effect on you.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Julie Strain, for starting my day with this beautiful photo and allowing me the use it as part of my story today. I love you and I’m blessed to have you as my friend. 

Order

“Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.” ~Pearl Buck, Simple Abundance

After working to establish an early morning routine, I have one that works.

Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit optimistic.

It’s worked for over a week–including the weekends. For me, that’s a monumental event because nothing has ever invaded the sacred time of the weekend.

I treasure my early morning time–fresh hot coffee, my teachers, and me. I am surprised at how often the authors compliment each other.

I’ve become acutely aware of how I feel after the mornings I’ve started calling my sacred moments.

I am less scattered and more focused.

I am less anxious and more tolerant.

I am less critical and more patient.

I am less afraid and more confident.

“Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing our lives and–fruitlessly–search ‘out there’ for the answers. What’s often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self.” ~Emily Hancock, Simple Abundance

God has also mixed in a little bit of synchronicity.

Out of nowhere my cousin sent a message telling me she had also started reading Simple Abundance.

Quotes, like those included in my story today, speak so strongly to me, often addressing things/tasks I’ve just completed.

Today’s reading began with the quote I used in my introduction coming after I’d spent the past few days cleaning and organizing my work spaces.

Coincidence?

No.

These are signs I’m on course and I’m not alone in my latest quest.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie, Simple Abundance

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks to my sister, Susan M. Rogers, for allowing me to use her sunset picture for today’s story. I love you.

Awareness Meets Self

“What if you spent some alone time every morning? Call it prayer. Call it planning. Call it centering. I call it a powerful way to begin the day.” 

Steve Goodier

I’ve become aware I’ve missed my early morning hours.

It was those predawn moments when I’d write my gratitudes, read, and reach out to loved ones.

My soul needs me to find that time.

I’ve prepared by bringing out my journal and making my first reading selections for 2020. My year of awareness taught me unless I have everything in place, I will lose precious time making minute decisions.

Tomorrow will be the beginning of putting self care first.

I like it.

“Self-love is not the process of ignoring things, paying attention to fewer flaws or forcing yourself to look away from the parts of you that you perceive as ugly or unwanted. Self-love is the process of expanding your awareness, of seeing those flaws and imperfections alongside the incredible potential of the universe flowing within you, alongside the eternal truth of life flowing within your veins in each second, alongside the flickers of creativity and opportunity present within each moment of your existence. Like this, the imperfections persist, but only as lovable quirks, like a bad doorknob on the front door of a cottage in paradise, like a few thorns on a beautiful rose, like a cloud in a sunset. Like this, what was once unwanted becomes essential, memorable, humbling.” 

Vironika Tugaleva

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~

Thanksgiving Eve

God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart.” ~ Izaak Walton

It’s been a busy few weeks here in Hibdonville. Doctor appointments and procedures all need to be scheduled before the end of the year. I’m thinking it’s a good thing I’m retired so I have time to do all I need in order to stay healthy.

As a result, time has certainly gotten away from me. I’m finding it impossible it is the day before Thanksgiving–Thanksgiving Eve.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.

As a kid it was the start of the Christmas countdown–excitement grew daily. As an adult working healthcare worker it meant a day off work–unless it was your holiday. Today, as a woman closer now to seventy than sixty, it means I find myself looking back a little more often than looking forward.

Retirement’s given me time to see those unanswered prayers over the years were actually blessings shrouded in what appeared to be denial and disappointment. All my life experiences have given me the gift of empathy enabling me to better understand the challenges facing family and friends.

All this was going through my mind today as I drove home from shopping. I found myself feeling such gratitude for my life and all the people who have been such important parts of it.  It took me a few seconds to realize the song playing on the radio was Tim McGraw’s song, Humble and Kind. I’m not sure I’ve ever really listened to the words before today.

I’m sharing just in case you haven’t either.

“Humble And Kind”

You know there’s a light that glows by the front door

Don’t forget the key’s under the mat

When childhood stars shine

Always stay humble and kind

Go to church ’cause your mamma says to

Visit grandpa every chance that you can

It won’t be wasted time

Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you”

Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie

I know you got mountains to climb

But always stay humble and kind

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride

But always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one

Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why

Bitterness keeps you from flyin’

Always stay humble and kind

Know the difference between sleeping with someone

And sleeping with someone you love

“I love you” ain’t no pick-up line

So always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you”

Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie

I know you got mountains to climb

But always stay humble and kind

When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride

But always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle

Shut off the AC and roll the windows down

Let that summer sun shine

Always stay humble and kind

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around

And help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind ~ Lori McKenna

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.