Blogging 101

“I believe that life is all about perception and timing. That good things come to those who act and that life’s about more than collecting a paycheck. I believe that the only person you’re destined to become is the one that you decide to be. That if you try hard enough you can convince yourself of anything. That having patience doesn’t make you a hero nor does it make you a doormat. I believe that not showing love proves you’re weak and belittling others doesn’t make you strong. That you are never as far away from people as the miles may suggest. That life’s too short to read awful books, listen to terrible music, or be around uninspiring people. I believe that where you start has little impact on where you finish. That sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. That you can never be overdressed or overeducated. I believe that the cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears, or the sea. That you should never let your memories be greater than your dreams. And that you should always choose adventure.” 

Todd Smidt

Today I began a course through WordPress on blogging. Yes, Blogging101.

My first assignment: write a blog about why I’m writing my blog.

I began my story telling several years ago, planning to write and learn WordPress as I went along. I have been telling my stories but somehow the learning part got lost along the way.

It’s not that I have not had the time.

Truth be told, I’m not very good at admitting I don’t know something. Lots of truth and history in that statement–which would make for an excellent story if I could get the details past my internal critics.

Which is why I started this whole process–to learn about my past and to share what I learn along the way. In the tales I’ve shared so far, I have discovered many readers have similar questions about themselves and their past.

Do I want to dwell in the past? No.

As a way to survive, I’ve buried parts of my past so deeply it’s going to take a lot of time and patience to pull them all out so I can finally let them go.

I can’t move ahead if I continue to trip over my past.

All my challenges brought me to this place and helped make me the strong person I am today. By sharing my journey I hope I can help others begin their own.

Along with the story telling it is time to dedicate myself to learning the tools I have in my toolbox.

Thanks for being part of my work–in my WordPress course work and as I begin to celebrate myself.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

A New Teacher

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I found a new teacher today–by way of a new book.

I’ve Been Thinking…, by Maria Shriver.

Maria was on The Today Show this morning talking about her latest book. She described it as a book for anyone going through a transition in their lives.

Well…that sounded like a pretty good description of me. Before the morning was over, I’d ordered a sample and headed to the office.

I have to tell you, Maria had me by the end of the introduction. As I read those first few pages, the discussion felt so personal because she talked about some of the same things I’ve been saying in my own daily pages and blogs. She shared how thinking and writing helped her get “above the noise of daily life.” As I read, her story seemed to mirror my own when she stated her writing comes from a place deep in her heart and helps her to clear her mind and find peace.

Each chapter begins with a favorite quote and ends it with a prayer–similar to how I write my blog. As I noticed this, I felt as though this was a subtle Godwink of encouragement and validation for my own work.

Even though I’ve read just a small part of this book, I think I’ve found a new teacher–I’m ready.

As all the chapters do, the introduction ends with a prayer as well–a version of St. Teresa’s Prayer. I hope Maria won’t mind my sharing.

Morning Prayer

May today there be peace within
May your trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith
May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God
Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your should the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love
It is there for each and every one of us.
~St. Teresa of Avila~

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Many thanks to my friend, Judith Weitzel Wilmer, for allowing me to use her wonderful photo today. It certainly is a new way to share a glass of wine! Thanks, Judi! Love you. 

 

Growing

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
― Martha Graham

Yesterday I began a review of all my posts.

Interesting.

I was so tempted to start editing them.

Then I thought about it…

I decided to leave them. They were perfect the way they were–a wonderful reflection of where my writing was nine months ago. Today, I’m more comfortable with my writing. Even though I’ve written forever, I’ve never put it out there for everyone to read. That step presents an entirely different level of learning.

I am grateful knowing I’m growing and learning with each story I put out to the world. I’ve learned to do my best and let it go. I am learning to accept myself as I make mistakes and plod along, persisting, giving thanks for all who walk beside me.

Thank you.

“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.”

(Letter to A.F. Oeser, Nov. 9, 1768)”

I am…

B…simply being…

May God shower you with blessings.

Peace and love, Y’all.

Thank you, my dear friend, Kimberlee Salimeno, for sharing your photo of a great looking Friday afternoon! Cheers. Love you. 

When It Is Not a Job

“I often think about dogs when I think about work and retirement. There are many breeds of dog that just need to be working, and useful, or have a job of some kind, in order to be happy. Otherwise, they are neurotically barking, scratching, or tearing up the sofa. A working dog needs to work. And I am a working dog.”
― Martha Sherrill

A few weeks ago a friend commented that I was working hard on my blog.

Funny. Until he said that, I never thought of my storytelling as work. The writing was something I always wanted to do. The only work I had to do was find ways to deal with the fear of failure.

Until I started writing, I was pretty lost in this world called retirement. Even on days like to today, when I discard more than I write, I am happy to be sitting in at my desk. My afternoons are filled with searching memories with haphazard methods resembling scavenger hunts. After enough successful finds, I scramble to find words I hope enable me to tell my stories in some sort of coherent manner.

I understand that there will be days when the ideas are short ones. I’m okay with that.

It’s days like today when I thank God for people like Rabbi Naomi Levy who write such beautiful prayers I can share. And photographers like Linda Larson Hoopes, who allow me to share their photos she’s posted on the IOWA Abandoned Images Facebook page. Thank you, Linda.

I’ve turned to Rabbi Levy often these past few months as I’ve questioned what was next for me. This is a short prayer from her book, Talking to God.

May you receive an answer that will bring you joy and peace. May God be with you, may health and strength sustain you, may nothing harm you, may wisdom and kindness enrich you, may blessings surround you now and always.  Amen.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace Y’all.

The Puzzle

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”
― Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty

This short little quote describes how I feel about my afternoon writing sessions.

I’ve discovered, because of my persistent dedication of time these past months, providing unquestioning and gentle patience while coaxing out memories, experiences, and life lessons, a figure has slowly emerged from the shadows of my mind. I’d always known she was there. I’d never asked who she was–I don’t think that piece of the puzzle was meant to be as easy as asking that simple question. To get that answer, I had to earn it. By establishing a consistently secure place, that mystery person I’d always thought to be my imaginary, silent, but always encouraging friend, was, in fact, me.

Writing has helped me pull myself together–literally and figuratively. Where it will take me is still unknown and is nearly always surprising. These afternoon writing sessions remind me of one of my most favorite people who would set up a place to do super-sized puzzles over the cold winter months. Like Clarice, I’m working on the outside edges of my life’s puzzle. That middle part is going to be quite a bit more tricky.

“Ever since I was young I enjoyed solving puzzles and having the pleasure to see the bigger picture afterwards. But even after all that, I found that life could be the most challenging puzzle we have to face. It’s one of those things that even if you have all the pieces and could see the whole picture, it still takes time and patience to solve it. At times, we feel more at ease not knowing the whole picture, not knowing the whole level of difficulty or number of pieces that we’re missing, but just building up one piece at a time. The problem with this approach is that the only clues that we have for matching two pieces are the shape and a small glimpse of the image. We so often find comfort in building up the corners and the borders but very rarely do we adventure in the middle of the puzzle. We’d rather work little by little holding on to our safe border and only move towards the center when the pieces are still in touch with our borders or roots. On the other hand, you could be one of those people that just jumps in the middle and builds up on every piece you have in order to get small portions of the truth of the bigger picture every now and then. Not having your borders or corners in place might mean that you don’t need to know your limits in order to realize that the puzzle will one day come to an end. Nevertheless, every piece is equally important and it gets handed to you at a time where you have at least some matching piece. That doesn’t mean you should only focus on one point or piece and limit your possible connections. Spread out and you will find even more connections. The truth of the puzzle information comes in different shapes and colors but in the end it’s all connected. Information might be divided, spread out in different areas, different people, different experiences. What’s important to remember is that every piece is meant for you. You might throw it on the side now and use it later, but it will forever remain a part of your bigger picture. Work on your puzzle, with patience and care in moving forward and with a hopeful spirit that it will all work out in the end for your highest good!”
― Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache

I am…

B…simply being…

I send you all love and wish us all peace.

 

 

 

 

Fear

Writing this week has been tough. Honestly, doing anything seemed a little surreal. How do you absorb the sights, sounds, and emotions that played out these past few days?

You can not.

We all have to move on–but how? The only way, at least for me, is to stop watching. It is time for me to refill my own emotional well–it is dangerously low. I have nothing left to give. I now need to keep my mind focused on myself and direct my attention back to my own soul.

To get me started, I turned to my usual sources, my own collection of quotes and the internet. I needed something that would put fear into perspective. I read and read. Finally, I found the one. I agreed with it. It was so simply true–and it made me slowly smile.

“Is it useful to feel fear, because it prepares you for nasty events, or is it useless, because nasty events will occur whether you are frightened or not?”
Lemony Snicket

I wish you all a safe and peace-filled weekend. May we continue to help each other heal, both physically and mentally. Please stay patient and kind. Pray. Hug freely, fully, and often.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

Journaling

I’ve kept journals for most of the past 35 years. In fact, it was my writing that enabled me to keep my job when it had become obvious to me, and everyone else, that one of the physicians I worked with had one goal in mind when she joined our department. Her goal was to get rid of me in any way she could find. Her methods were…let’s say…brutally effective.

I refused to allow that to happen. I loved my job and I was good at what I did. I did not fully understand when our battle began how correct she was with some of her objections about my work. Somehow I was able to look beyond my fear and see the valuable lessons hidden in her threats. With a lot of introspection through writing, I began to see my way through each day and successfully navigate the constantly changing mine fields.

I was up every work day writing in my black spiral notebook for at least 45 minutes. I would let my pencil flow freely across the pages. No censoring. No editing. No fixing poor penmanship. Every written word freed more of my mind. My worries and insecurities were literally spelled out and dismissed each day before I even began my drive downtown. The last three sentences at the end of each day’s pages were the same:

I am.

I am.

I am.

My first day’s entry in that series of journals was this conversation with myself:

I will learn quickly and completely growing into one of the best rounded sonographers in our lab. I will stay strong and kind. I will hear this physician ask me to stay when I give my final notice.

I won.

Time passed. I forgot about the power of words.

Then I began this blog.

Every day as I write, I re-discover the power of words–my words. With each memory nurtured and tended, my stories become clearer and grow.

My soul, patiently waiting, celebrates.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

Sharing

I have been sitting at my desk for sometime trying to corral my whirling thoughts. There is so much running through my mind it is hard to pull it all together into something I can share today.

A couple of things keep repeating themselves. I am discovering that writing is a very positive, healing experience for me. What I need to stress is that I am not writing to elicit sympathy. I am writing to share my experiences with those who may be dealing with some of the same issues–either in their lives now or in their past. I believe we are here to share the lessons we’ve learned. By sharing, two things will happen: I will be able to move on and readers will learn from me, hopefully saving them some time and heartache.

While researching quotes about grief, I came across a paragraph written by Miriam Toews. Finding this was like having that chance encounter at the grocery store when you run into an old friend–that friend who knows exactly what you need to hear as she greets and hugs you warmly.

Writing helps me create order out of chaos and make sense of things. It helps me to understand what I’ve experienced, what I’ve felt and seen, so it becomes easier to handle. On the other hand, I don’t want it to be just a cathartic experience, an outpouring of grief or whatever it is. 

My mind had turned to grief because of the newest terror attacks in Great Britain. Even the words of that sentence strike me as wrong. How could I be talking about an attack that killed many people with the descriptive word, ‘newest?’  We live in a world where tragedy seems to be a daily breaking news event. This morning I realized that terror attacks are becoming so common I am no longer shocked. For me, that thought stirred up a whole new level of grief. The memorial concert for the victims of the Manchester bombings had not yet happened when this new series–yes series–of attacks took place.

How can we find a way to understand any of this when these attacks, involving our brothers and sisters simply out living their lives, happen so quickly?

This quote attributed to Cheryl Strayed, gave me some comfort as it reinforced my belief that we are all in this together.

The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she has experienced that thing too cannot be over estimated.

If there was ever a time for us to take that extra second for patience and kindness, it is now.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace