Little Brown-eyed Doe

“I love mockingbirds, but I cannot rehab them because they imprint, or bond, or whatever you choose to call it. Young ravens and crows are worse. In their quest for attention and affection, they are akin to domestic dogs. And when you placate young wild animals with a tender human touch, it changes them forever. So rehabbers have to reject the overtures of creatures who attempt to bond, to ensure they retain their wild nature. Some people are good at this. I am not. I have too much of what John Keats called negative capability as well as a close corollary, empathy. When birds arrive at my door lost, broken, and terrified, the distinctions between us fall away, and they are no longer wild animals separate from my humanity. Instead, I am right there with them, sharing their troubles, fear, and pain. I see myself in them and want to protect, love, and reassure them.” 

Terry Masear, Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood

I’m a city girl living in the country for the first time in my life. Sooner or later I was going to see the not so kind side of Mother Nature.

About two weeks ago, we were watching a small herd of deer meander across the empty lot behind our house. As they spread out and went their different ways, we noticed one little doe bringing up the rear. I pointed her out to Michael because her gait was so unusual–like someone had released a rocking horse out into the wild.

As she made her way around the cacti, we realized why she was moving in such an unnatural way. She was not bearing any weight on her left front leg. We were shocked at how badly her leg was injured and heartbroken to see her struggle in order to keep up with her herd. Sadly, we gave her our blessing and watched as she bobbled away. Neither one of thought we’d see her again.

To our amazement our amazing brown-eyed doe has proven us wrong. I’m still unsure if that is a good or a bad thing. Today as I walked to the office to write, she was in the back moseying around with the rest our deer friends. She’s become a teacher as well as an example of pure determination as she makes her way over the very uneven, rocky terrain. I am learning there’s not much I can do for her other than include her in my conversations with God.

Which, when I stop to think about it, is all I can do about just about anything.

Heavenly Father, our human ties with our friends of other species is wonderful and special gift from You. We now ask You to grant our special animal companions your Fatherly care and healing power to take away any suffering they have. Give us, their human friends, new understanding of our responsibilities to these creatures of Yours. They have trust in us as we have in You; our souls and theirs are on this earth together to give one another friendship, affection, and caring. Take our heartfelt prayers and fill Your ill or suffering animals with healing Light and strength to overcome whatever weakness of body they have.

Your goodness is turned upon every living thing and Your grace flows to all Your creatures. From our souls to theirs goodness flows, touching each of us with the reflection of Your love. Grant to our special animal companions long and healthy lives. Give them good relationships with us, and if You see fit to take them from us, help us to understand that they are not gone from us, but only drawing closer to You. Grant our prayer through the intercession of good St. Francis of Assisi, who honored You through all Your creatures. Give him the power to watch over our animal friends until they are safely with You in eternity, where we someday hope to join them in giving You honor forever. Amen.                          Saint Francis of Assisi, for our Animal Friends

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

A Local Treasure Trove

“It was like walking into a treasure trove of books, hoarded by pirate librarians.” 

Pseudonymous Bosch, The Name of This Book Is Secret

I’ve been needing some kind of boost but, for the life of me, I have not been able to figure out what I needed.

Then I remembered my little local used bookstore.

Perfect.

Since it is only a block from the grocery store–my main mission of the day–I thought it was a perfect time to pay a return visit.

I knew I’d found my recharging spot the moment I walked into this little space. Every single room had walls covered with shelves that were completely filled with books–from the floor to the ceiling with stacks of books standing in front of each group of shelves. Subjects ranged from Texas history to religion to self-help to hobbies and cookbooks. I was completely frozen in place for a few seconds.

The first book I found was this little red book titled, Unconventional Prayers, by Dr. Allen A. Stockdale. Date of publication was 1955. The list of prayers made me smile. A few examples:

  • About My Conduct At A Baseball Game
  • By A Young Lady on a Small Salary
  • Anvils Wear Out Hammers
  • A Secretary Who Has A Selfish Boss
  • My Grumbling And Complaining Tongue

I knew immediately I had to get the book so I could share.

The first prayer I read was titled “Getting My Strength Renewed”–a message not lost on me.

Let me share that with you today.

True Guardian Angel, of the springs of living water, meet me when I am weary and even discouraged, and lead me to the eternal springs of living water. Help me to find quickly God’s way of renewed strength; may I never think that I have enough power of my own. As the servant of the living God, lead me to the divine sources of fresh and abundant strength. Keep me from wilting in the valley of duty when there are refreshing springs of life and vigor in the hills of God nearby. 

Thank you, Dr. Stockdale, for your very special book. I am so thankful I found it today. It was incredibly appropriate and an amazing gift.

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

Expectations

“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” 

Margaret Mitchell

For many, this week has been a nightmare. The stories that continue to emerge are heartbreaking.

As I sat down at my desk this afternoon, it was raining–hard. Each drop dulls my mind and weighs down my heart.

There is something different about this rain now. It makes things feel unfamiliar and uncertain–no longer stable or safe.

We’ve watched our community and our neighbors lose so much in a matter of hours. We gather in groups at the store to talk about what we saw and how the entire landscape around us has changed. Our tears flow–as does the rain.

Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” 

José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love

Many tears have been shed all across our country for years. For me, the things I’ve witnessed this week have added a much deeper understanding of natural disasters. It reminded of when I lived in Colorado and saw wildfires explode, taking all that was in its path. All in Colorado cried as we helplessly watched walls of fire destroy the homes of neighbors and friends.

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. 

” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.” 

Alexandre Dumas

Our world seems to be filled with much misery. I don’t know–do you think maybe we are given these experiences as some last-ditch effort to help us find some common ground in order to understand each other better?

A prayer for the weekend with my thanks to St. John Fisher Catholic Church:

God of compassion,

You created a world for us

To know your love and peace

Yet amidst the beauty of creation

We encounter pain and hurt

And forces beyond our control.

At times like this our hearts are shaken and ache with sorrow.

At the destruction of our lives, homes and livelihoods.

Hear our prayers for those affected by the floods

And for all those working

To bring relief and fresh hope.

Amen  

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Please Start Stopping

“The storm starts, when the drops start dropping

When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.” 

Dr. Seuss

I hope the storms start stopping soon.

The forecast is not encouraging.

It’s time to put an official call out to all my prayer warriors out there.

Please join me in prayer for all struggling to recover from the natural disasters that have besieged our world.

The following prayer was composed by the Diocese of Austin for those affected by the recent storms in Central Texas. 

 God of majesty and compassion, 

You set the earth on its foundation 

and all elements of nature obey your command. 

You created us and know the fragility of human life. 

Help us [or our sisters and brothers] 

in our time of trouble; 

hold back the damaging winds 

and contain the waters that threaten our community 

so our fears may turn into praise of your goodness. 

  

Have mercy on those who have died in the flood waters. 

Welcome them into your Kingdom of peace and joy. 

Bring consolation 

to those who have lost loved ones and friends. 

  

In your compassion look upon us 

and give us tears to mourn their loss 

and strength to assist in the needed rebuilding. 

Protects us and help us to live for you. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

The Unexpected

“The expected always happens” 

Benjamin Disraeli

It was the coolest morning we’d had in weeks. A great day to take the dogs for a walk.

All of us were excited–it’s been hard on us–we all LOVE our daily walks.

The five of us are quite a sight, meandering back and forth across the narrow streets of our subdivision. This morning in particular we were all looking around at the changes that’d happened since we’d walked last–all those new smells had three canine noses pinned to the ground.

We’d gone about half a block when I noticed our Tibetan Terrier, Ruby, was on the trail of something especially interesting. Her nose was quickly scanning the area but came to an abrupt stop. She cocked her head to the side and shook it back and forth rapidly–then trotted off giving out a sharp cry. Her trot was awkward because she was favoring her right front paw. Something was wrong–

The reason became clear as Michael lifted her paw. As he brought up it up off the ground, a large black bumble bee fell to the ground.

Oh boy–she’d been stung and she was in pain.

Luckily, Michael was there to carry her home. Once we checked her out, we soaked her paw, iced it, and gave her Benadryl and pain meds. She’s definitely more comfortable but not quite okay–yet.

So, we’ve been on Ruby watch today. Not a bad assignment and one that could have resulted in some extra reading time. Honestly, all I’ve done is watch her and attempt to write a word or two.

I did find a prayer to share, though, and I think it is lovely.

Master of the Universe,

grant me the ability o be alone;

may it be my custom to go outdoors each day

among the trees and grass, among all growing things, 

and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer, 

to talk with the One that I belong to. 

May I express there everything in my heart,

and may all the foliage of the field, 

all grasses, trees, and plants,

may they all awake at my coming,

to send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer

so that my prayer and speech are made whole

through the life and spirit of all growing things,

which are made as one by their transcendent Source.

(Translated by Rabbi Shamai Kanter)

Rabbi Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Information Overload

“Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life – it has given me me . It has provided time and experience and failures and triumphs and time-tested friends who have helped me step into the shape that was waiting for me. I fit into me now. I have an organic life, finally, not necessarily the one people imagined for me, or tried to get me to have. I have the life I longed for. I have become the woman I hardly dared imagine I would be.”

Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

I talked with my insurance broker today about Medicare and supplimental insurance.

My-oh-my!

She was excellent, sharing stories while giving me so much information filled with sound advice. To say my mind is on overload is an understatement.

One this cloudy Friday afternoon, I want to share a prayer by Rabbi Levy. I love reading her words. Whatever is going on in my life, she finds a way to speak to my soul. I hope you find solace as well.

God, I need to know that You are with me; that You hear my cry. I long to feel Your presence not just this day but every day. When I am week and in pain, I need to know You are beside me. That in itself is often comfort enough. I do not pretend to know Your ways, to know why this world You have created can be so beautiful, so magnificent, and yet so harsh, ugly, and so full of hate. The lot you have bestowed on my is a heavy one. I am angry. I want to know why; why the innocent must suffer, why life is do full of grief. There are times when I want to have nothing to do with You. When to think of You brings nothing but confusion and ambivalence. And there are times, like this time, when I seek to return to You, when I feel the emptiness that comes when I am far from You. Watch over me and my loved ones. Forgive me for all that I have not been. Help me to appreciate all that I have, and to realize all that I have to offer. Help me to find a way back to You, so that I may never be alone.   Amen 

Rabbi Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Unexpected Treasures

“Sometimes the best books are hidden gems that you didn’t even know were out there!”
― Carmela Dutra

Saturday, after working on my gardens for the past two days, I decided I needed a reward.

Deciding what it would be was easy.

I was going to check out the used book store I’d been driving by for the past few months.

“It was like walking into a treasure trove of books, hoarded by pirate librarians.” 

Pseudonymous Bosch, The Name of This Book Is Secret

I was really psyched to explore this place.

From the outside, it seemed very small. In fact, as I parked my car–one of two in the parking lot–I began to wonder if it was worth my time.

As I walked through the door, I felt I’d entered another dimension. I was completely engulfed by books. All around me were rooms and rooms filled with books. Each space labeled with handwritten signs–Westerns, Romance, Horror, Mysteries, Self-Help, New Age, Religion, Cooking, Reference…shelves covered every wall from floor to ceiling with over flow books standing in stacks on the floor.

I had found the mother lode of books.

In this amazing place I found two little books sitting in spots where they seemed to call out to me–like they’d been waiting for me a very long time.

The first book is pictured above.

The cover is worn and heavily creased, the original price clearly visible, $1.65. The date of publication noted as November 20, 1975.

The pages are brittle and yellowed without any inside wear or markings. The most surprising part of this little book was it was filled with its own treasures.

Pressed between pages were several prayer cards, a Christmas card from Rome signed by Father John wishing the recipient a Happy New Year and telling them they’d been remembered in his Christmas Midnight Mass, a book mark from the March of Dimes, a tiny drawing of a curly-haired girl dressed in brown button dress, wearing a straw hat, holding a bouquet of yellow and blue flowers, and two beautiful prayers written by Helen Steiner Rice.

I’d like to share one of those prayers with you today:

Often we pause and wonder

    When we kneel down to pray—

Can God really hear

    The prayers that we have to say…

But if we keep praying

    And talking to HIM, 

He’ll brighten the soul

    That was clouded and dim, 

And as we continue

    Our burden seems lighter, 

Our sorrow is softened

    And our outlook is brighter

For though we feel helpless

    And alone when we start, 

Our prayer is the key

    That opens the heart, 

And as our heart opens

    The dear Lord comes in

 And the prayer that we felt

    We could never begin

Is so easy to say

    For the Lord understands 

And gives us the new strength

    By the touch of His hands.

~Helen Steiner Rice

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you and may you find treasures of your own.

~Peace~

So, what is a Novena, anyway?

Even though I was raised Catholic, there are many things I don’t know about the Catholic faith and practices.

For example, what really is a Novena?

I’m not sure where I was when this was taught. My guess is this was another one of those Saturday morning catechism classes where I sat in the back row, twisted in such a way I would appear to be listening to Sister Mary Ann. In reality, I’d be angling my head toward and leaning into my friend, trying to look like I understood and already knew all that she was talking about as she pointed and scribbled little pictures onto the corner of her notebook. She’d jab her elbow into my side, emphasizing the important “parts,” making sure I understood all she was trying to teach me about “the birds and the bees.”

Oh, the lessons learned in the back row those Saturday mornings.

For those of you who, like me, are unclear about what a Novena is, let me share what I’ve learned today.

According to Paul and Annie Deddens website, praymorenovenas.com, it is nine days of prayer and meditation used to ask certain saints to pray for us.

The word, Novena, comes from the Latin word, “Novem,” meaning nine. It is a tradition that goes back to the days of the first Apostles when Jesus told them to pray together after he ascended into heaven. The Apostles did as Jesus requested, going to an upper room where they prayed together for nine days. At the end of these nine days, the Holy Spirit came to them and appeared as “tongues of fire” above each Apostle.

Since those early days of the church, Novenas have been prayed as a way to re-enacting Jesus’ request to go and pray together.  For nine days, prayers are said for the requested special intentions.

That’s it. Nothing more complicated than that–saying prayers–which Paul and Annie Deddens will send right to your inbox if you’d like to join their community of prayer.

The only requirement for praying a Novena is you pray with a sincere heart.

Novenas do not need to be done at a certain time or at the same time every day. You do not need to fast or say the rosary along with the other prayers you say as part of your Novena. If there is something else that needs to be done for a certain Novena, the email sent as part of being in the prayer community will have information on that practice.

Novenas are not magic nor do they guarantee better results in getting your prayer request answered. Paul cautions members to remember we need to be ready to accept the wisdom of God. Our prayers may not be answered in the way we wish. I think we all have looked back on our lives and praised God for those unanswered prayers.

Facebook has become a platform for many of us to ask for prayers when we need them for ourselves or for our friends and family. There are not many things I am sure of these days. The power of prayer is one of those rare things I know and believe without a drop of doubt.

One of the other things I know for sure is, we all need the power of prayer, now more than ever before.

If you are curious, like I am, check out Paul and Annie’s website and explore a different method of prayer and meditation.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

Every Day Grace

Oh…Mondays…

Just like retirement does little to change the excitement of a Friday afternoon, Monday mornings still have a certain “feel.” The feel of this Monday took on its own little bit of flair when I found myself sitting in my new favorite dentist’s chair. I really like and respect my dentist. Unfortunately, my neck and jaw do not feel the same.

Meaning it’s time to go to the prayer file and find something to share.

Thank you, Marianne Williamson, for this prayer shared from your book, Every Day Grace.

Dear God, I give you this morning. Please take away my despair of yesterday. Help me forgive the things that caused me pain and would keep me bound. Help me to begin again. Please bless my path and illuminate my mind. I surrender to you the day ahead. Please bless every person and situation I encounter. Make me who you would have me be. That I might do as You would have me do. Please enter my heart and remove all anger, fear, and pain. Renewal my soul and free my spirit. Thank you, God, for this day. Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

A Prayer Shared

There are some days that test you. Today was definitely one I’d call a “testy” one.

My mind is tired.

Which makes it a great time to share a prayer I found a few days ago. I’d been looking through an old book when a worn little scrap of paper fell away from the back few pages. I recognized my handwriting but did not see where I’d noted an author or where I’d found the prayer. I hope the author won’t mind my sharing.

My prayer for you today, my friend, is for God to bless you with a heart full of patience and understanding. May your eyes be open to the beauty and opportunity given to you every day. May your mind be full of wonder and awe. 

May God bless us all.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace