Start at the Beginning

“I do love the beginning of the summer hols,’ said Julian. They always seem to stretch out ahead for ages and ages.’

‘They go so nice and slowly at first,’ said Anne, his little sister. ‘Then they start to gallop.” 

Enid Blyton, Five Go Off in a Caravan

What an odd week this has been!

To me, a retired person no longer in the traditional workplace, this has been a week filled with Mondays and Fridays. These days must have been a nightmare for all my friends out there still punching the clock every day.

With the early summer heat I’ve had the perfect opportunity to continue to read, write, and learn about myself and my past. I’m finding so much to share I am overwhelmed with where to begin.

I know–what’s so hard–begin and the beginning.

The catch is–I’m not sure where the beginning really is.

So, I’m taking this journey the same way I do any other trip–pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. Lucky for me, I won’t be alone because I’ll be pulling you all along with me. Learning is always easier and better when you can share it, cementing all that knowledge in place.

Over these past few years of serious introspection, I’ve become aware of just how much  I’d adapted in order to survive. I feel this is one of the reasons I’ve had such a difficult early retirement–I no longer knew who I was–my work and my career were everything to me.

I was surprised to learn I really was much more introverted than extroverted. As time went by and all those different roles I played and the masks fell away, the real Barbara began to emerge. I started to understand why I’d had difficulty during some of the stressful times in my life.

One part of my reading has been about personality types and traits. I’m discovering I’ve spent most of my life forcing my more introverted self into situations where I had to be much more of an extrovert.

No wonder I was exhausted most of the time.

In case you’re wondering whether you are an introvert, check out this website for some excellent information and take this quick introvert quiz:

 https://introvertdear.com/are-you-an-introvert-quiz

One of the first things I read that sparked this line of questioning was the manifesto I am closing with today. See if it stimulates some thoughts for you as well.

“A Manifesto for Introverts

1. There’s a word for ‘people who are in their heads too much’: thinkers.

2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.

4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later.

5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.

6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.

7. It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.

8. ‘Quiet leadership’ is not an oxymoron.

9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.

10. ‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’ -Mahatma Gandhi” 

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you. Have a safe and spectacular weekend.

~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~

 

Taking Time

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 

Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

Ahhhh….there’s no place like home.

Michael and I returned yesterday after being away for a little over a week. It was wonderful to get away but prompts the question–do you still call it a vacation when you’re retired?

Whatever you call it, I strongly believe you DO need to escape the everyday even though you are no longer on someone’s official time clock. I’m thinking–maybe you need that escape even more.

We stocked and packed the RV, loaded up the dogs, and hit the road for Port Aransas, Texas. For many years, this little town has been one of our favorite places. This year, I think we were both rather apprehensive about what we would find.

Hurricane Harvey had been relentless. We’d seen the pictures and heard the stories from our friends who visited ahead of us. We were about to see for ourselves.

Once we arrived, the reconstruction we saw was impressive while the sounds of continued work could be heard from early morning until well past dusk. The flags proclaiming this community was “Port A Strong” were flying high. I was humbled daily by the strength and resilience I saw in the people I met. Food is always a focal point of any vacation. This trip was no exception. Getting to have my usual great lunch at Irie’s capped off my week.

Getting to the beach is always our number one priority. What a sight we must be! It’s hard to tell who’s the most excited–the three dogs–all racing full speed towards the sand or the two of us, jostling beach gear, flip flops, and tangled leashes. It made me smile.

This year there was a new addition to the horizon as I looked across the dunes. Standing at the peak of one of the highest dunes was a single cross.

What an impressive symbol of gratitude as well as a reminder it was not only physical structures taking a beating from Harvey–the spirits of the Gulf did as well–and those spirits stood strong.

Just like this cross.

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless and protect you, Port Aransas, and the entire Gulf as another hurricane season begins in just a few weeks.

~Peace~

 

Mother Nature

Yesterday started out quickly and dramatically in Hibdonville.

My husband, Michael, was out watering the plants. I was sleepily wandering into the kitchen when I heard some unusual sounds coming from the backyard. I was a little slow realizing that what I was hearing was serious–a pretty big error on my part.

To understand this tale better, I need to tell you that we live between two small communities in the hill country of Texas. We are not in town but we are not really in the country. We have undeveloped lots around us, which gives us the chance to observe some wild life: raccoons, foxes, occasional coyotes, many birds, including our favorite, the road runner and our least favorite, a very LOUD nocturnal bird called, Chuck Will’s Widow, many feral cats, and quite a few deer. The weather this Spring has been exceptional with new babies arriving daily. The fawns visit at least once a day,  jumping and running through the lots, making us laugh at their antics and marvel at their speed and dexterity. The two new litters of feral kittens provide hours of pure entertainment. We are not cat people so it’s taken awhile for the cats to work their way into our hearts. They have been very successful. So much so Michael named the newest members. The oldest litter of three: Moe, Larry, and Curly. The newest litter of two: Thelma and Louise.

Yesterday, tiny Larry enlarged his circle of exploration a little to far. The sounds I heard earlier came from behind a very large and dense persimmon bush. Larry either crawled under or through our fence. On our side of the fence stood our very gentle Lhasa Apso, Duffy. He had been watching patiently, anxiously awaiting the arrival of what I think he saw as the best new toy ever. A toy he grabbed excitedly, carrying the tiny white bundle further behind the shrubbery.

As fellow dog owners know, trying to take a toy away from your dog often does not go well or quickly. This was the case yesterday. It did not end well for Larry. We were devastated.

This left me wondering if there was anything I could do to prevent this from happening again? I cleaned around the perimeter of the fence, putting rocks in places where I thought something could crawl under. I walked away at the end of the day feeling I had probably discouraged something from crawling under the fence, but any small animal could still crawl through. I had done what I could. I needed to acknowledge that and let it go.

Sigh.

I did not see any kittens today. My guess is both mama cats moved their little ones further away from the newly perceived “danger zone.” Even though I miss seeing them, I hope they are away until they get a little bigger and a lot more street smart.

Mother Nature can be hard to understand sometimes. I’m just a “town kid” trying to figure it all out. I do realize I cannot fix it all and know I have a lot more to learn.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace