Kindness

“A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.” 

Roy Bennett

Yesterday was a tough day for me.

We were finishing up a few days of dog sitting and I knew our two “guests” would be leaving soon.

Having two extra dogs kept me busy. What that really means is my mind had been completely occupied. As I packed things up for our visitors to head home, I was hit with memories of Duffy and Ruby.

Once again, I was caught off guard.

Even little Abby tried to console me. As I was getting dress she kept coming up and grabbing at my shoe strings–just like Duffy used to do. Her completely perfect and innocent actions created a whole new flood of tears.

God bless her little intuitive soul.

All this meant I had to find something to do.

Of course, my job of choice was and always will be–working in the yard.

After I finished weeding and watering our newest plants, Michael asked me to take a break. As I sat down he handed me his tall insulated glass full of ice water along with a beautiful little bouquet of violas.

In my typical form, I said thank you as I took a few small sips of water, jumped up, and continued on with my work.

Also holding true to my usual form, I pushed this perfect gift to the back of my mind.

Luckily he took this picture.

I found it earlier today in my morning messages.

Ummm, yes, awareness is my word for the year for a very good reason.

I fought the tears and ran outside

From human eye I’d try to hide

But there are Eyes that always see

He ever watches over me

And so He sent a gentle breeze

to kiss my cheek and comfort me.

And look who came to write with me today.

IMG_1476

 

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

 

Foundations

“Your inner strength is your outer foundation” 

Allan Rufus

Haven’t we all looked back on something in our past and wondered why in the world we did what we did? Just what was my motivation?

I’ve been doing a lot of questioning lately which made me think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

It’d been a long time since I’d really thought about any of that and honestly, I’d never ever looked at it while examining certain parts of my past.

Remembering the first level of the pyramid was pretty easy because it’s so basic. At the physiological level we all work to meet our basic needs. Until our needs for good air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, and enough sleep are met, we cannot move onto satisfying our other needs. Once those needs are successfully met, we are ready to move onward and upward.

Safety is the next level and the second of the two levels designated as the basic needs.  After we have food and water, we can begin working on finding a home, a job, and ensuring good health.

Level three in the hierarchy is love or our social needs level. After establishing a safe haven we’re ready for friends and finding a place where we belong. It is at this stage when we feel the need to be part of a group, are open to accepting others, and accept being part of that group.

Esteem is word for level four or the level of respect. At this level we acquire a sense of self and the awareness of self achievement. At this stage we are gain the ability to respect others and ourselves.

Level five is the level of full potential. The words Maslow used to describe this level were self actualization–words that sound so strong to me. It is at this level where we reach peace. We are relaxed and accept ourselves for what we are and no longer care what others think of us. We feel safe and secure enough to be truly creative.

After reviewing the five levels, I had a better understanding of what my motivations were during certain times in my past. It was easier for me to appreciate why my world became so unstable when my mom died, after my divorce, or during those first months after I relocated to Colorado and why it took so long to recover.

My reading served as a constructive review as well as a gentle reminder knowledge mixed with a little time is a very powerful thing.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

~Maya Angelou

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace and knowledge to all~

 

 

Winding Down

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 

Leo F. Buscaglia

Things feel like they’re winding down in Hibdonville. Thank you for listening to my latest RV stories. Your encouragement and kind words were and are appreciated.

As I’ve looked back on the past two weeks, I see over and over again just how lucky we were in every story worthy situation. In addition to that insight, I see other important components. At the end of the day, we are all together–man, woman, three dogs, no one is injured, and we are optimistic enough we are preparing for the next adventure.

For me it’s important to note Michael and I stuck it out together. I’ve mentioned this in all my stories but I gotta tell you, my hat’s off to my husband. He was traveling in unfamiliar territory beside a wife with no sense of direction who randomly confuses right and left with three dogs panting in the backseat. His was not the easiest task in the world. Because we are all human and tend to take things we shouldn’t’ for granted, this is the type “stuff” that is under appreciated–if it’s acknowledged at all.

I thank you, Michael.

I love you.

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

Many Gifts

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 

R.J. Palacio, Wonder

I’ve been thinking about my quick trip back to Denver. It was wonderful to be back with my old group of friends–maybe it was so special because it was last-minute–meaning I had a limited amount of time to over think things–this time I packed and I went.

On this trip, I’d planned to write. I was in a place where I had great wi-fi. That first day I sat down to write a quick story from my iPad. It did not go as smoothly as I expected. I’d never used my new iPad for writing.

Lesson learned and note to self–do not start something new when you aren’t home and do not have a real back-up plan.

As I mentioned in my most recent stories, I was wined and dined by my wonderful group of friends. Ann and Jim opened their home to me first–Ann picking me up at the airport with food and wine–recharging me for a night of catching up and story telling.

That night, I climbed into a freshly made bed and slept while the cool evening air circulated in my room. What a great thing–sleeping for the first time in weeks with windows open. Allergies be damned–it was wonderful.

Wednesday I met Kelli–a former co-worker–for lunch. What a great gift to have someone take time on their day off to have lunch with me. Thank you, Kelli. An additional luncheon plus was running into a former practice manager, Julia. How grand was that?

From Ann and Jim’s I re-packed and headed to Doug and Lana’s. These two people are so talented–their home is beautiful. I was able to sit on their back patio and enjoy the deer early in the mornings while enjoying a fresh cup of coffee. Thank you both–it has been a long time since I’ve talked so much. Once again, the food and wine was grand. Thank you. I was also able to meet their niece, Elizabeth. Thanks for taking Friday off to hang with us. Enjoyed you and our thrift store adventure.

Saturday was the day we’d all come together for–the memorial for John, the husband of one of our dearest friends. Time is so sneaky–it appears to drag along some days as we struggle with our daily challenges but in reality it is flying at break neck speed by us all. I am so thankful I was there to be with Julie. It was a day I will remember always. I love you, Julie. Always have–always will.

After Saturday’s gatherings, I was able to unwind with my soul sister, Mary Beth. For twenty years she was my across the street neighbor. We would open wine and talk and talk and talk some more. This time was no different. She cooked as we talked and shared our past, present, and our concerns and plans for our futures. We are much older than we were the first time we sat around kitchen tables. I’d like to think we are somewhat wiser. I definitely know we are very grateful for the time we’ve shared together.

From Mary Beth’s I returned to Ann and Jim’s. Thank you for lending me your wheels while I was there and for taking me back to the airport. You made everything so easy and I thank you.

The day before I returned home, I had lunch with my friend, Sandi. What a treat and a relief to sit down and talk with her fact-to face. She, too, lost her husband recently. She’d been telling me she was doing okay–I needed to see her to confirm that was indeed the truth. Thank you, Sandi, for having lunch with me–loved it and love you. Next trip we need to reserve more time.

After my time with all these amazing people, I know I’ve been given a gift that not all of us receive–the gift of time. I also know I’ve had amazing people beside me all along my journey–and I’ve been able to meet with many of them this summer. I’m thinking there are few people as lucky as I am.

I am thankful and I pray we all have much more time together.

I love you guys.

Thank you, God.

“But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” 

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, A Life for a Life  

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace be with you~  

 

 

Uncharted Territory

“It’s funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope. This is a design of God that I appreciate and cherish.” 

Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Things are very unsettled in my little circle of friends today. Many of those I cherish are traveling through uncharted territory.

It’s scary and it is difficult.

I have no wisdom to share. There is no way I can smooth the rough spots I feel lie ahead. My only way of helping is to remind them often how much I care while making myself available.

A few weeks ago I saw the image I’m using for my story today on one of my Facebook feeds. Thank you, Terry Boyd Lucher, for allowing me to share your photo. Little did I know when I contacted you, a suicide survivor, I would have another level of connection with you besides the love of your photo. Suicide has entered the walls of my tribe and I am grateful to have you here. It was the strength of that tree that caught my eye–reminding me of an image my friend Sandi talked about years ago. I can still see her sitting in our circle all those years ago, sharing the fact that there were times when she felt like a tree hanging on at the edge of a cliff–roots laid bare for all to see. Sandi, too, is a survivor. She is one of my cherished ones traveling a very unfamiliar and uncharted pathway. May the love of those surrounding her illuminate her way today and all the days ahead.

Terry, I pray your image provides the vision needed for anyone in need of stability and overall toughness and perseverance . This breathtaking photo, for me, certainly demonstrates those two qualities and many more.

Our world is hard. It has no patience for anyone fighting to keep any type of foothold. May we all remember to stay aware and take a moment to simply be kind.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” 

Aesop

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

Terrorism

“Terrorism isn’t a crime against people or property. It’s a crime against our minds, using the death of innocents and destruction of property to make us fearful. Terrorists use the media to magnify their actions and further spread fear. And when we react out of fear, when we change our policy to make our country less open, the terrorists succeed — even if their attacks fail. But when we refuse to be terrorized, when we’re indomitable in the face of terror, the terrorists fail — even if their attacks succeed.”
― Bruce Schneier

 

It has been quite a month here in central Texas.

I’ve perched myself on top of my little hill, observing with uneasiness, as someone terrorized the city of Austin.

I”d been feeling rather smug, thinking I was beyond this mad man’s craziness.

That was all well and good until a package exploded at a FedEx facility outside of San Antonio.

It’s a feeling we’ve all come to accept as part of our lives–unfortunately, we see evidence of terrorism every single day.

Terrorism oozes into your head, unbidden, and hangs out there. Even though it was happening far from me, I watched my fellow Texans suffer, grieve, and attempt to live their lives in their now normal state of extreme caution and trepidation.

Before long, I realized fear had begun its cautionary whispers which bounced around in my head throughout the day and into your uneasy sleep at night. It wears away on you because you don’t rest—you are concerned for yourself and for those people who are part of your daily life. Suddenly, getting that package delivered is now overshadowed by fear—not just for yourself—but for that driver you see and talk with every day.

The reign of terror ended early yesterday morning when the man who orchestrated these past weeks of angst killed himself and injured a SWAT team member by setting off his last bomb inside his getaway car.

It is over but it has taken a large toll. There are new walking wounded.

The Police Chief shared at the press conference yesterday the bomber left a video confession. Maybe this will shed some light on why he did what he did. The Mayor of Austin spoke at this press conference as well, leaving us all with some advice I hope we all think about and follow. He advised us all to walk across the street and get to know your neighbors. Get to know—really know each other and take care of each other.

Today, I am thankful I can sit on my hill with less fear–venturing out to the store or worry about the safety of my UPS driver. I am thankful for my little community and my neighbors.

My prayers continue for those who suffered as a direct result of these bombings—both physically and mentally. The victims are many. The wounds deep and mostly invisible.

Our world has become an even scarier place.

We need to seek out the good—not just look for the helpers but we must become one of them.

The only way to survive is by helping each other through all of these insane twists and turns.

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
― David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless us all.

~Peace~

 I am so fortunate I have an amazing photographer in my circle of Facebook friends. Thank you, Mr. Chuck Hackenmiller, for allowing me to use your wonderful photos as part of my blog. You can see many of Mr. Hackenmiller beautiful pictures on the Facebook page, I grew up in Iowa. Please note, no re-use of this photo without permission from Chuck Hackenmiller, Boone, Iowa.

Seeing the Good

“You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift… YOU!”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

My frustrations of this week helped me to do a hard reset on how I live and experience my day.  Maybe I needed to get that negativity out in order to make room for some positive things. Whatever the reason, I now feel more in control, back to my so-called “normal,” and ready to move on.

As we begin our weekend, join me in focusing on the good around us. If you find yourself feeling like I was earlier this week, failing to find anything even close to “good,” take this opportunity to become the good you were searching for.

I now have a deeper understanding of the fact I must see and believe the good in myself before I can see it in others. I was reminded of the importance and encouraged to continue reading, writing, and learning about myself so I can share my life experiences with others. I realized as I share, I am helping others searching for answers to questions that have shadowed us all most of my lives.

As this week comes to a close, I acknowledge and affirm my intention to seek and see the good.

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

We leave you a tradition with a future.
The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete.
People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Your “good old days” are still ahead of you, may you have many of them.”
― Sam Levenson, In One Era & Out the Other

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you and wish you a blessed weekend.

Peace

Many thanks, Cyndi Mead, for allowing me to share your beautiful photo posted to Iowa Abandoned Images Facebook page. 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Today would have been his 99th birthday.

The older I get, the more I miss him.

Merle H. Burton was the only constant in my life for most of my life. When I was younger, I was too busy doing what I thought was so important–creating that person I thought was me. Well…that self-improvement project turned out to be very costly and really not very successful.

I think he saw that–probably because he had walked the same path in his younger years. He tried to warn me. I was and am such a stubborn first-born.  I think he understood I had to learn my own lessons and pay my own piper. I am grateful for those times shortly before he died when we both laid down our shields and began to really talk WITH each other.

I love you, Dad. Thank you for never giving up on me.

Texas is still struggling and will be for a very long time. As someone said yesterday, this recovery will not be complete in a few weeks or a few months. This will take years. Thank you for your prayers. Now, because of the refineries in the Houston area being shut down, there is a gas panic in the rest of the state. The debate rages. Is it a real shortage or something politically motivated? Regardless of where you point your finger, many gas stations near us are out of gas. In the big picture—all very minor.

I wish you all a very safe Labor Day holiday. There are many struggling in our great country–flooding continues here and major wildfires in Montana, Wyoming, and the northwest.

As you relax and enjoy these last days of summer, take a moment to pray for each other. We are all fighting battles–some do so very quietly. Be extra patiently kind.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Triumph

One of the things I like best about living in Texas is the people. Maybe it’s because I have more time to observe them. That’s probably part of it. I think a bigger part of it is that people here practice their faith–they don’t just go to church on Sundays. They support and show their love for each other in their daily lives. They take the time to talk with you when they meet you–something I am still getting used to–they are simply kind.

Yesterday, Michael went to one of the local big box stores to get some supplies for our garden. He was wearing one of his old motorcycle t-shirts. When he went up to pay for his purchase, the woman at the register looked at his shirt and said, “I just LOVE your shirt! I bet you really can triumph over ANYTHING!”

Michael chuckled as he me told the story. He shook his head and said, “She’s obviously not a motorcycle person.”

No, she’s probably not a motorcycle person–but she’s certainly a very sweet and kind one.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all