Love

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Today’s the day–in a few hours, Matthew Rogers and Stacy Williams will become Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.

It’s been an honor to be here, watching the celebration come together.

I am proud of my sister, Sue, and her husband, Al, for the outstanding young man they’ve raised. He is handsome, kind, considerate, and clearly in love with his bride-to-be.

I’ve also had the opportunity to spend some time with my niece, Ashley, Matt’s sister. She is a beautiful young woman with a persona that radiates compassion, artistry, and a strong sense of independence. What a joy it has been to witness how the these two siblings support, love, and encourage each other.

Thank you for allowing me to share you.

I love you.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” 

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Showing Up

“Love does not cost anything. Kind words and deeds do not cost anything. The real beauty of the world is equal for everyone to see. It was given by God equally to all, without restrictions.   

Everyone, was given a beautiful vehicle in which to express love to others. Feelings are free to express and give to ourselves and each other through our willingness to give and care. 

What is complicated about this… Why have we made others feel they have to climb mountains and swim oceans in order to make a difference. 

All we need to understand my friends, is that human life was given equally to us all, not partially but in totality. 

The sun was given to all. It does not shine on the few. So, just has nature is indifferent to our station or situation, we need to know that we are all equal. We need to focus on the things that are constant and not place our values on things that can be blown away with the next, great, wind.

Value life in what ever house it dwells. For when it comes time that we are all stripped to bare bones before the divine and facing eternity, we will understand that the only law we were meant to follow, was to love ourselves and each other. Nothing more…nothing less.” 

Carla Jo Masterson

Today is the day of the week my friend, Mary, calls Thankful Thursday.

I thought about this today as I ran here and there.

One special set of experiences played around in my head all day.

I remembered people who showed up.

I remembered my Uncle Howard and Aunt Theresa showing up at my dad’s funeral. I can still see Aunt Theresa stretching across the people on the outside of the aisle so she could make eye contact with us as we walked out of the church. To see their familiar faces and looks of concern were salve to my broken heart. They did not call and ask if we wanted them to come–they showed up.

I remembered an old friend of Michael’s showing up at his mom’s funeral. I remember seeing Mike and Judy walking up to the casket to pay  their respects and giving words of comfort to Michael’s sister Neva as she stood at her mom’s side. They did not call and ask if we wanted them to come–they showed up.

I remember coming home after my sister’s funeral. My sister Sue, her husband Al, and my husband Michael had just finished a very long day. We were exhausted, hungry, and so very sad. As we walked up to the house, a group of my sister’s co-workers walked up beside us with bags full of food. They did not call to see what we needed–they showed up

On this thankful Thursday I was reminded how important it is to see where we are needed and simply show up.

“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

I am…

B…simply being.  

~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~

 

 

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~

 

Showing Up

“Love does not cost anything. Kind words and deeds do not cost anything. The real beauty of the world is equal for everyone to see. It was given by God equally to all, without restrictions.

Everyone, was given a beautiful vehicle in which to express love to others. Feelings are free to express and give to ourselves and each other through our willingness to give and care.

What is complicated about this… Why have we made others feel they have to climb mountains and swim oceans in order to make a difference.

All we need to understand my friends, is that human life was given equally to us all, not partially but in totality.

The sun was given to all. It does not shine on the few. So, just has nature is indifferent to our station or situation, we need to know that we are all equal. We need to focus on the things that are constant and not place our values on things that can be blown away with the next, great, wind.

Value life in what ever house it dwells. For when it comes time that we are all stripped to bare bones before the divine and facing eternity, we will understand that the only law we were meant to follow, was to love ourselves and each other. Nothing more…nothing less.”

Carla Jo Masterson

This morning my cousin posted an old picture of her mom sitting beside her at their kitchen table.

I smiled.

It was a wonderful picture–both looked happy and full of life.

Her photo reminded me of one of the last times I’d seen my aunt and uncle.

It was the day of my dad’s funeral.

I’m sure Howard and Theresa had not seen or spoken with my dad for many years. In spite of all the family baggage shared among us, they were there, waiting to wrap my sisters and I in their warm, loving arms.

I was so surprised to see them–the represented so much of my past life to me and made me feel as though my mom was part of their hugs. What a gift they gave us that day.

I’ve become very aware how unpredictable life can be and how quickly we can find ourselves in a world we no longer recognize. I’ve learned that’s when those of us who have been in that strange land need to step forward and stay close to the new arrivals.

Sometimes the most important thing we can do is simply show up.

“We can all make a difference in the lives of others in need, because it is the most simple of gestures that make the most significant of differences.”

Miya Yamanouchi

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace be with you~

 

 

 

The Reflection in the Mirror

“A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.” 

Shannon L. Alder

I have been home from Colorado for a few days now and I have some incredible memories.

I was welcomed into my friends’ homes where we talked for hours. The years evaporated as we all remembered old times while sharing our latest adventures and hopes for our futures.

One visit was especially special. It is the picture highlighting my story today.

Not only did I get to see my dear friend, Paula, she set time aside to cut my hair. Now–this probably seems like no big deal.

It was a very big deal–let me tell you why.

I met Paula in 1985–she was just out of cosmetology school and I’d just moved to Denver. We were both searching for people we could relate to–not an easy assignment for anyone back in the 80’s. We sat together through many stages of each others lives. I followed her around to various locations, sitting in her chair as she stood behind me–both literally and figuratively. We supported each other through the big hair days, perms, perm re-dos and more perm re-dos, highlights, blind dates, engagements, marriage plans, marriages, births, deaths, and dozens of other assorted stories we have both sworn to take with us to our graves.

She has been my professional confidant for decades. I had no idea just how much I’d missed her.

It’d been well over three years since I’d been in her chair. To have the opportunity to plop my rear into this spot once again was both powerful and healing. In a manner of minutes, I saw my old self emerge.

My haircut was the immediate visual part of our visit. It was during the quiet moments that followed as I made my way across town I realized my soul was once again rejoicing in another much needed Denver re-connection.

Thank you, Paula. I love and treasure you.

“While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.” 

John Williams, Stoner

I am…

B…simply being…

I am blessed and I am grateful.

~Peace be with you, my dear friends~

 

 

 

They Say It’s Your Birthday

“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

Happy Birthday to my very own miracle.

I love you.

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.” 

Bob Marley

I am…

B…simply being…

I am blessed and I am thankful.

~Peace~

Marie and Mom

 

I love September. It is the beginning of Fall and a month filled with family birthdays.

September 3 was my Aunt Marie’s birthday–at least that is the day we all believe to be her birthday.

Happy birthday, Marie. As usual, I am a few days late–which would be no surprise to Marie. This is the only picture I have of her. Marie is on the left. Her sister, Eve, on the right. My sister, Susan, and her two kids, Matt and Ashley are in the foreground. Of all the pictures I have saved through the different moves, this is one of my most treasured.

Marie was my Mom’s aunt and a nurse who took care of everyone in the McDonald family. At that time, the McDonald family was huge and scattered all over the country. Marie told me that her brothers and sisters never saw each other unless someone was sick or dying. Until Mom got sick, I never knew Marie or any of the extended McDonald family existed.

Mom’s illness started out innocently. Well, at least in my kid’s memory, that’s what I thought. It began about a month after the birth and death of my brother, Richard. I remember the details of those few days so well–I wonder if I subconsciously knew something was wrong.

Things were quiet as Mom recovered from the C-section she had with my brother. It was late summer and school was getting ready to start. I was looking forward to fifth grade, wondering who would be my teacher and what kids would be in my class. I heard Mom call me into the living room. She asked me to come look at the back of her neck. Could I see and feel a lump? Even my nine-year old self could see and feel that large lump. As I told her, the look in her eyes was my first experience of seeing fear. The question she asked next caught me off guard. She asked if I would go with her to the doctor’s office instead of going to the pool. I said sure. Not that I was giving up my favorite thing.  My motivation was I knew the waiting room had good things to read. I’d skip the pool if I could read adult-like stories and the jokes I knew were in Reader’s Digest!

Looking back, my adult eyes see things so differently. She must have been so afraid of what was coming next. She had just gone through a very difficult pregnancy and lost her son. She was still grieving this loss. What will happen to her three young daughters?

Looking back, I wonder why she asked me to go to the doctor with her and not my Dad? Looking back…I question many things.

We went to see the good doctor that afternoon. The little room was warm and stuffy as we waited with several other people, many sharing their stories about why they were there. HIPPA was far in the future and people shared more than even a kid really wanted to know. I was immersed in the Reader’s Digest joke section as my Mom waited. Silently. I sat close to her and she would hold my hand. Being there with her made me feel important. When she held my hand, I knew it was going to be okay.

She went back alone when Florence, the office nurse, called her name. As we left the office, the look I had seen earlier was back even as she forced a smile. She and Dr. Dalby had made plans and they were starting immediately.

This was the early 60’s and there was not a lot of hope when the word cancer was used. Mom went to the hospital and the biopsy came back as cancer. At the request of Aunt Marie and the McDonald family, Dad took her to Mayo for a second opinion. Mayo doctors confirmed and their prognosis was poor. All doctors suggested radiation so she had her series of treatments. In one of my life’s many twists and turns, I would find myself years later in that same room. I  would be a student in a radiologic technology program, doing a radiation therapy rotation at the same place she had her treatments. I don’t remember a lot about that rotation except the sound of the lock on the door when the Cobalt 60 treatment started. That heavy clunk sound still haunts me. That must have made her feel very alone.

Around Christmas, she began having severe headaches. I, too, started having migraine headaches at the same time. Mine would eventually pass. Mom’s headaches got worse. The first part of January, she and Dad went to Mayo for a follow-up visit. The news from Mayo was not good. Her cancer had spread to her brain. Because this was so serious, Mom asked Marie to come be with her. Marie arrived as soon as she could get there so Dad could come home to the three of us. Her stay seemed like forever. Because Marie would be coming home with Mom, they discharged her early. On February 14th, the anniversary date of her marriage to Dad, she came home. In my romantic young girl mind, that was perfect.

Looking back, I think it was just more irony for my parents to bear.

Mom began radiation treatments to her brain. Radiation is brutal. Her previous treatments and her recent surgery and hospital stay had taken a huge toll on her. After a few sessions, the radiologists determined that it was too much for not enough benefit. The same group of radiologists I would later work for sent a letter stating that–a letter Dad shared with me one late winter afternoon. We had gone to the post office box to get the mail. He handed it to me after he read it. I am not sure why I reacted with the intensity I did. I don’t think I really believed that the doctors couldn’t/wouldn’t fix her. I could not believe that God would take my Mom. I screamed. I cried. I swung my fists out at him. This had to be a mistake. Slowly, I started asking questions and settling down. Only then, after I was calm, did he tell me I could not tell Mom I knew. He had shared this with me against the advice of everyone in the family. I had to act normal.

It was a secret. It was a very heavy one and one I am sure I did not pull off well.

Mom recovered some after stopping radiation. Marie had gone back to Omaha and Dad and I were trying to take care of things.  I was feeling very adult and trying hard but it was obvious we were in an impossible situation. We needed help. Once again, Marie came to the rescue. She arrived just before Mom’s birthday, April 22. Mom passed away August 30. Marie and Mom waged a very hard-fought battle.

Marie cared for mom and stayed on to help our family for nearly two years. I cannot begin to imagine what would have happened to my sisters and me if she had not stayed. Not that I made her life easy–I made it an absolute hell on earth. She was there through all my pre-teen rants and rages. Marie was the only one who understood a young girl grieves the loss of her mother in some strange ways. It must have been the love she had for my Mom that gave her the patience to always try to find some way to break through the shell I had constructed around myself. I was still trying to act and be normal. Through it all, she never gave up on me.

I never thanked her enough. Oh, I went through the motions and said the appropriate words. In my usual very immature adult fashion, I was so busy being busy, I could not and did not take the time to appreciate her. On my list of regrets, this is one of the biggest ones. Now, as an older and hopefully more mature adult, I do realize and understand all the sacrifices she made for all of us.

Thank you, Marie, for giving me the guidance and care that allowed me to be the person I am today. It took decades for me to grow enough to fully appreciate all you gave me. In all the time Marie spent with me, I never told her I loved her. I signed my hastily written cards and notes to her with love–but never said those words to her.

I now know that time stops for no one or for any reason. You can be angry and sad and hurt. Put yourself away long enough to tell those you love that you love them. Just do it.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

Insight

Years ago a friend of mine showed me a book she said she consulted daily. The name of the book was, A guide for the Advanced Soul, by Susan Hayward. She handed it to me and told me to open it to any page. What was written on that page, she said, was  my guidance for the day.

The book impressed me so much I bought it the next day.  I have not found the words I remember reading that night so long ago. The feeling I had while reading them has never left me. I knew that night, down to my very soul, that my life was about to change in a very big way.

What happened, you ask, that made me think something was happening in my life? Something very simple–I went out for lunch–a lunch that had been in the works for months. I finally met that friend of a friend–yes–a blind date. Love at first sight, you say? I have to say, yes. There really is a thing! I was the biggest skeptic in the world until that day. In less than an hour I had become a believer. Twenty five years later, I still believe.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “stuff” that bombards us all day long we forget to look for the magic. You know, all those unexpected blessing that simply shower down on us at times when we least expect them and often when we need them the most. It’s some powerful stuff, love. Remember that. Do not take it for granted.

Tonight, I have consulted my guide for the advanced soul. Let me share the wisdom found:

Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you. 

                                                                                         Shakti Gawain

I wish you all peace, love, and a restful night.

I am.

B…simply being…