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.


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


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.





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…




In a Matter of Minutes…

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

Life waits for no one nor does death discriminate. In a matter of minutes, our lives can change forever.

My day began, like many, with “breaking news” from Las Vegas.  That is never ever a good thing sign to see when you turn on the morning news. I then saw thousands of people together, enjoying an open-air concert. I then realized too many of those innocent souls lost their lives. Once again, families and friends are left with the unimaginable job of trying to put the pieces of their lives together without those lost.

As I was struggling to find words to describe the emotions flaring in my heart, we received a phone call from a dear friend. She asked to speak to us both. As my heart raced, my first thought was she or her husband had a family member at that concert.

That was not what she called to share with us. What she told us was just as dire.

Another friend is seriously ill with a very poor prognosis. They are still in the middle of testing but the early diagnosis is scary.

I know I have a super powerful prayer group here in my circle of friends. Please add this family to your prayers. They are overwhelmed and feeling lost–a feeling shared by many right now.

May God bless us all.

I am…

B…simply being…

I thank you and love you all.








Thinking About It

Friday is always a good thing. I think I’ll sit beside the fire and share some thoughts–even if it’s just a picture of a fire from our vacation.

Tonight, more than ever, there are so many people in our country living in fear. From hurricanes, fires, floods, and the most troubling to me, young people unsure whether they will be able to stay in the country they call home. I don’t know how to help any of them other than to keep them in my prayers. I hope you will do the same.

While we made our journey to view the total eclipse, I was able to visit along the way with old friends. Thinking back on those visits, I was so impressed that they took time out of their busy days in order to spend time with me. Not only did they give me their time but they did so without carrying their phones. That was special. Thank you all.

This week I have made the proclamation daily that today would be dog beauty shop day. Today it actually became reality. As I type, I am surrounded by three rather annoyed but wonderfully clean smelling dogs.

I am…

B…simply being… 

I send you all my love and wish us all peace.





You Are Important

It’s Friday.

Even being part of the retired work force, it is still good to be looking into the beginning of the weekend.

Friday has become book review day. I have two books to talk about today–one very old, one new.

The first, the old one, is a little paperback that has been in my stack of very important things since I was young. You are Important, by Roy L. Smith, copyright, 1952. This book sat on my Mom’s bedside table while she battled her cancer–I suspect it had been part of her reading material for some time before that.

This is one of the few things I have of my Mom’s. The fact that I still have it is another miracle to me. It survived a lot of things over the years–long distance moves being the least of them.

Every now and then, I’d wonder why she had this book?

Did she not feel important?

I’ve tried to read it many times. It is not an easy assignment. The phrasing is wordy and cumbersome. The prayers are filled with words like thee, thou, didst,  and hadst.

Now, because I search for answers to questions I have about my life, what the author says is secondary to me. What has become important–what makes each dive into this book so intriguing and almost mysterious–are the passages highlighted by Mom.

One of the first highlighted passages is this one from Lessons on You, Lesson 6, titled, You are Not Peculiar:

The grief of a young mother is always very touching. Any grief is, for that matter. And we always do all in our power to soften the blows. But there are some disasters in this life which cannot be avoided, and there are some blows which cannot be softened. They come sooner or later to each of us. 

I have no way of knowing when she read and noted these words. My heart tells me she was searching for comfort after losing her newborn son and was grieving.

Each chapter ends with a short prayer. I’ve read the prayer at the end of this chapter several times over the years. I have yet to find much comfort in the words.

I wasn’t going to share it because it really bothered me. Then, I thought, if I was reading this I would want to see what I’d judged so critically. Here is that prayer:

Here is that prayer:

Lord Jesus, I am ashamed of the way I have rebelled against thee in the hour of my distress, thinking that thou hadst singled me out for unjust treatment. As I catch a glimpse of thee upon thy cross, which thou didst not deserve, I confess that many of the blows which have fallen upon me have been no more than my just deserts. Forgive me this day for whining.

The next book is one I just started and it seems to be almost the counterbalance for the very old book I just discussed.

Option B, written by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. This book is the work Sheryl and Adam did together after the sudden death of Sheryl’s husband, Dave.

What is makes this book stand out for me is the fact it addresses death and grieving by someone who just went through the experience. It addresses something we will all go through over the course of our lives–we will all lose someone we love. Regardless of who we are or what we do, there is no avoiding that.

It was comforting to me to know others struggle with grief as much as I.  It was helpful to read that Sheryl also struggled with the everyday stuff after her loss. To read how people avoided her because they did not know what to say to her or if they did say something, how unhelpful their words were to her. It’s another book that is taking me a long time to read. I am learning so much from all experiences and stories she shares.

I am..

B…simply being…

My wishes to you all for a very happy and safe weekend.

Stay aware and kind.

Love and peace, Y’all.


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