Observations

“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” 

Leo Tolstoy, Essays, Letters and Miscellanies

I have been working in the yard these past few days. The heat of summer has moved in early. Even starting early in the day my energy level is zapped to zero by noon. The up side is I have had lots of time to think about what I want to write. The down side is I don’t have a lot of energy left for the writing and editing part of the deal.

Every day I am learning more about plants native to Texas. All those lessons are confirmed by my many scratches and puncture wounds. It seems most native plants have some form of protection–needles, thorns, spikes….the list of weaponry is incredible well as subtle. Just when you think something is safe to pull–zing–another lesson learned.

I’ve been observing my surroundings–remember my word for the year is ‘awareness.” There is a native plant here that wickedly painful to trim. As I tried to find a way to remove it without impaling myself, I noticed the wrens build their nests in this plant. It is so full of thorns it is a virtual fortress. After noticing them I decided it may be wise to work them into the yard by carefully trimming them. It was a win/win situation–I had something to fill space in my garden and the cute little wrens had a safe place to build their own homes.

One more lesson on taking the time to observe before taking any action.

My hope is the prayer I found to share today will speak to you as it did to me.

The Voice Within

I took a little walk today

To listen to God’s word,

And then I stopped to rest awhile

This is what I heard:

“Dear one, there’s someone waiting

To hear from you today,

Someone who needs your loving heart

To spread joy in its own way;

Never turn away my child

I bid you to press on.

Let your light forever shine

To reach this precious one. 

Who knows what happiness can come

From loving thoughts so true,

Go forth and spread your sunshine

Only good can come to you.” 

And as I left my quiet place

I felt such peace within,

Because I knew what I should do

To love and honor Him.

Jan Edwards, Bedside Prayers

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Hugs

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 

Anne Lamott

What a beautiful time to be in Texas.

God was indeed generous when He created this state. Our heavy rainfall over the fall and winter months set the scene for some of the most amazing wildflowers.

Michael and I have been working very hard in our yard. I have to tell you, it is very hard for us to know what’s a weed and what’s a flower. I’m beginning to see that it really is a matter of taste. What I call a weed I discovered today Michael thought  was a great looking flower. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he probably wouldn’t be seeing many more of that particular type of flowers.

Another great thing about this time of year is it is the perfect temperature to have a fire in the evenings. Michael built a fire a couple of nights ago which gave us a chance to sit and watch for satellites while being hypnotized by the fire itself.

It was still light enough for a few pesky bugs when I noticed a small little butterfly skirt across the fire and land upon my lower chest. She rested there and extended her wings as if she were giving me a hug. Both of us saw her and commented on how we hoped she was okay and had not burned her wings in her flight over the open flame. She remained on my chest for a minute or two before she flew off and landed between the two of us. To us she looked like she was doing her own little self assessment. We watched her–and watched her–and watched a few minutes more. We were starting to wonder if she was okay when in one quick little bit of movement, she simply flew away.

I’m not positive  who came to give me that hug. The memory of it is so powerful I start to cry every time I see those little wings spread widely over my chest. Whoever it was, my gut tells me it was someone very very special.

A Prayer for Living Up to the Best in Our Souls

You have blessed me with many gifts, God, but I know it is my task to realize them. May I never underestimate my potential; may I never lose hope. May I find the strength to strive for better, the courage to be different, the energy to give all that I have to offer. Help me, God, to live up to all the goodness that resides within me. Fill me with the humility to learn from others and with the confidence to trust my own instincts. Thank You, God, for the power to grow. Amen.

Levy, Naomi. Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

New Old Friends

“There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.” 

Jim Henson, Favorite Songs from Jim Henson’s Muppets

The little library in my new home town has some great free programs open to the community. The topics offered have bits of knowledge for everyone. I cannot imagine my life without the opportunities my library gives me.  It saddens me to know public libraries are struggling. Please, if you are fortunate to have one in your area, take the time to visit and support it.

Today’s featured lecturer introduced genealogy research. A long with a lot of free information she shared her experiences building her family tree. From her presentation and the questions asked from the audience, I learned so much in a short amount of time. I was reminded sharing real working knowledge accelerates the learning process–even this extreme book lover appreciates the fact there are some things you cannot learn from reading the book–you need an actual teacher.

The best part of the day was having lunch with my friend, Judi. We are close in age and share the fact we both grew up in the Midwest. I’ve forgiven her for being born in Nebraska and she has forgiven me for being an Iowan–college football season is always interesting.

Being Midwesterners transplanted to Texas comes with some challenges. Yes, it’s true, Texas really is its own country with its set of unspoken traditions often confusing to those from other parts of the country. Our conversation today was all over the place. At times, we did not have to put feelings into words. We had both found a person who had an open mind and an understanding heart.

Thanks, Judi, for my first Texas heart rock. It is not surprising to me it showed up at your house. The Universe knew exactly where it needed to go and how to get it there. Thank you for sharing your stories, for lingering over lunch, and for renewing my soul.

“So when you’re cold

From the inside out

And don’t know what to do,

Remember love and friendship, 

And warmth will come to you.” 

Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

A Very Sad Wet Day

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” 

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Since we moved into our house I’ve told everyone Lake LBJ would never flood.

Never say never.

Throughout the night we heard siren after siren signaling more flood gates were opened at Wirtz Dam. This morning the Lower Colorado River Authority could not keep up with the massive amount of water coming into Lake LBJ.

Our little communities on the shores of Lake LBJ washed away as flood waters rose.

I’ve sat in front of the TV hypnotized as docks, boats, homes, and collapsed bridges washed over Starke Dam.

Put Texas on your prayer list tonight. The rain has slowed but the Llano River upstream will crest for the second time later tonight at a level even higher than what was seen today.

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 weak 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, so ugly, and so full of hate. The lot You have bestowed upon me is a heavy one. I am angry. I want to know why: why the innocent must suffer, why life is so full of grief. There are times when I want to have nothing to 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 see 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 appreciate all that I have, and to realize all that I have to offer. Help me to find my way back to you so I may never be alone. Amen.   Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless. Please stay safe my dear friends.

~Peace~

My thanks to Texas Parks and Wildlife for the photo I’m using today.

Country Life

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
John Burroughs, Leaf and Tendril

It is finally feeling like Fall here in the hill country of Texas. The mornings are cool enough for a light sweater or jacket and the evenings are definitely chilly enough to pull out the Solo Stove Bonfire Pit and enjoy a fire on the back patio.

Our life is easy. Our life is simple. I am thankful every single day.

We tell time by the school bus and the Monday morning trash pickup. If the rest of the world was as punctual and dependable as these two parts of our lives, we would all be much less stressed. We have a colony of feral cats who are watched over by our neighbors, Lucy and Bill. For a person who is not a cat person, my attachment to these cats has surprised me. The white pelicans are migrating through on their way to the Gulf. The Cardinals have returned for the winter, serenading us at sunrise and sunset. Our herd of very healthy whitetail deer wanders through our yard throughout the day. The bucks are still in full velvet. Two handsome young bucks greeted me as I walked out the back door this morning. Evenings are quiet enough we can hear the bands playing at On The Rocks, a local bar and restaurant that overlooks Lake LBJ, while we watch the skies for meteors and satellites.

I continue to review the notes I made when I read Mariane Williamson’s book, Every Day Grace. I’d like to share another prayer of Mariane’s that was a powerful one for me. I hope it helps you as well.

Dear God, please show me the way. What thoughts do I need to think to be able to navigate my life at this point? What perceptions do I need? What insights will guide me? Who do I need to forgive? What parts of my personality do I need to look at? What changes do I need to make? Please come upon me and heal my life. Amen.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

Our Home Away From Home

Three weeks on the road was much easier because we had our home away from home. Otherwise known as a travel trailer. With this mode of travel, we can take all our stuff. We can load up our own food, our own adult beverages, our three dogs, and hit the happy trails.

Over the years we have been lucky enough to experience all types of RVing. From a pop-up to a motor home, we found that a travel trailer works the best for our traveling style. For three weeks, the CrossRoads Sunset Trail 26BB Grand Reserve, was our home. Getting from one place to another was easy, thanks to Michael’s pride and joy, his diesel GMC one-ton Denali HD.

What makes set-up work so well?

This trailer is small enough we can take it anywhere. Our goal was to be small enough we could go into national park campgrounds and other remote areas. This little camper can do that.  The center of the trailer opens up by way of two opposing slides. With the slides open, the main living area is large enough for the two of us and our three dogs to relax comfortably. The kitchen island, with double sinks, makes it possible for both of us to work in the kitchen at the same time. Storage is always high on my wish list and this trailer comes through with ample storage space throughout the entire trailer. There’s the usual under bed storage, under the dinette, and multiple large storage places in the kitchen and bathroom. An added bonus is the outside kitchen and shower. Coming in from the beach, that outside shower has been a huge plus. The outdoor kitchen has a small refrigerator, sink, and storage areas. All that cuts down on trips in and out of the trailer and makes grabbing that cold drink so very quick and easy.

If you are in the market for an RV,  please check out Kansas RV Center, Chanute, Kansas. Michael has helped us so much as we’ve transitioned from full-time RVing to RVing for fun. Mike has always been just an email or a phone call away.  We value his sound business advice, his fairness, and his excellent customer service. Thank you, Mike. The RV world is a small one. We ran into one of his other customers when we were in DuBois. Jeff and Michelle have a MobleSuites that reminded us of the fifth wheel bought from Mike when we first retired. It was great to hear their experience and together, we had a four member Mike admiration society.

RVing is always an adventure–from the places you see to the people you meet along the way. I have a journal that I kept for years when we began this type of travel. I am sorry I stopped writing because those trips are wonderful to re-live by the stories both Michael and I wrote. I’ll have to share them as well.

Thank you for keeping Texas and Texans in your prayers.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love and cherish Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Home

3,300 miles later, we are home.

As Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.

Over the next few days, I’ll share tales about our journey along with things that made the trip so much easier.

A valuable part of any road trip for us is our dog car seats, Fido Ridos. Whenever we travel with our dogs, Bud, Duffy and Ruby, these seats are the first things that go into our back seat. As you can see, they boost the dogs up so they can see out the windows, secure them so they are safe from any sudden stops, and keeps each dog in their own space. Bud, our oldest Lhasa Apso, struggled with car sickness until we discovered these car seats. Now, no more rapid stops due to a sick dog or worrying about quick stops when we travel during busy traffic times. You can check these dog seats out at fidorido.com.

I leave you tonight with a request to keep Texas in your prayers. There are thousands of people struggling due to Hurricane Harvey. From what I hear, this storm is not done with the Gulf yet. Every meteorologist says they have never seen anything like this!. I did not know this much rain was possible. Please God, protect those amazing volunteers who have responded to help.

You make me proud to be a Texan.

I am…

B…simply being… 

I am very happy to be back at my desk.

As you go bed tonight, join me in prayer for those in need due to this storm.

Love and Peace.

 

 

Friday Afternoon Review

One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is thanking them for being a part of your life.

This has been an interesting and busy week in Hibdonville.

I’ve been able to spent a lot of time thinking about my early childhood days and the adventures or probably better said, the misadventures, of those years. Because my post is also on Facebook, I had several friends share their own stories. That has been so fun and it gives me so much encouragement and validation. Thank you.

I learned that first impressions may not be at all what they seem. This lesson became the incentive to check on my neighbors more often. We discovered that we all needed to make sure we knew how to get ahold of each other. Which turned out to be very timely because our plan was put to an early test.

Another neighbor had a health scare which sent him to the ICU for a few days. Michael and I kept a close eye on his wife while he was gone and made sure to call them once he was home. He is doing well–thank heavens. The nicest thing is he called us last night to tell us how much he appreciated our calls. How wonderful was that? Made me smile and also reinforced my determination to check on them–often.

Facebook was part of another gift of the week. I heard from one of the physicians I worked with many years ago when I was working at a community hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. How wonderful to have a way to tell him how important he was to me. Of all the docs I have worked with over the years–and there have been quite a few–he will always be my favorite.  When I look back on how young and clueless I was–heavens. What patience he had with me as I tried to figure it all out. There is one story I think about and re-tell often. It was a very busy day with many portable x-rays on the desk to be done. I ran into the reading room with my latest film–a chest x-ray on a sick newborn in the NICU. He looked at the film, studied it for a short time, and asked me what I thought about it? Did I think that the baby was flat or was the tiny little body rotated? Dang. Not a good sign for me. I sighed. Man. I did NOT want to have to go back and repeat that film. He turned in his chair, looked right into my eyes and said,” It will build character.” Years later I told him that I bet he did not know what a character he was building!

I finished my second MOOC–which stands for Massive Open Online Course–through Coursera. Now–why is this so important? For me, this is a very big deal because I have traditionally been a very good starter of many things. The bad thing–I rarely finished them. It was a huge thing for me to get these two courses COMPLETED. A strong suggestion if you need something to do as the temperatures soar, check them out. The options for learning are truly massive and free–unless you want a certificate of completion. Coursera.org.

Lastly, we finished a week of water aerobics. I had forgotten how good this form of exercising is–especially for this aging body! With the Texas summer ramping up, I’m thinking we will really be appreciating our trips to the pool.

It is hard for me to believe that this the last weekend before the 4th of July holiday. I hope y’all stay safe and have a weekend to remember.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all.