Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 30--Let Go Like a Mirror

It's never so bad that it couldn't be worse.  --Madeline Miller

    This was one of my mother's regular utterances. Any journey into self-pity or discouragement would be met with that phase and specific examples designed to make me let go of my issues because things could be so much worse. Really, even now, when I look around, it's easy to see those who truly do have it much worse. 
    Spiritual director Caroline Oakes refers to "Jesus’ formula for waking up... his practice for deepening the soul’s awareness of and attunement with our innermost essence, the Divine within, as one of pause and release and return." I find that this is what I have been doing lately when I head down the path of negativity. I stop, bring my focus back to my breath, let the negative stuff go, and return to gratitude (my recent breathing mantra of grateful (inhale), breath (exhale)).
    I really like this mirror analogy on letting go by angel Kyodo williams:
We can see the thoughts that come up in our minds the same way a mirror “sees” things. A mirror just notices. It registers whatever passes in front of it without holding on to it in any way. It just lets go. It doesn’t think about it or have a long conversation about it. Since the mirror doesn’t cling to the object that it is reflecting, when the object goes, so does the reflection. It’s the same way with your mind. We don’t hold on to the random thoughts that arise over and over again in our minds and that can take us away from the full experience of now. We want to be aware only of our breath and nothing else. The moment that we become aware that a thought has taken form, we just relax and allow it to pass. We just notice the thoughts and we return to our breath. If nothing grabs onto the thoughts as they arise, they will keep on moving on, leaving no trace that they were ever there. Let your mind be like the mirror. Clear mirror, clear mind.  

Saturday, April 29, 2023

April 29--Haircut and Pedicure Heaven

Always be nice to the person who is holding scissors next to your head. 

    I was blessed on Thursday to have my monthly haircut and pedicure by Cris at Salon Bella in Mulvane. It's a long drive for me, but it's worth every mile. I met Cris when she was in Xenon cosmetology school in the 2007-08 time frame. She was changing careers. I had a friend who taught at the school, and I agreed to go there and be a practice client for the students. I lost track of Cris briefly after she completed school, then reconnected when she opened her first salon in Mulvane. 
    It is enormous good fortune to have a wonderful hair and nail person to play with. Cris always puts glitter sparkles on my toenails. We occasionally add streaks of color to my gray hair--when I went to Jamaica last December, she added black, green and yellow, the colors of the Jamaican flag. She gives wonderful leg, foot and head massages. She's just a bit younger than me, we have much in common, and several of my friends go to her also. We can gab easily for hours. 
    Thanks, Cris, for taking such good care of me these many wonderful years together!

Cubs blue & red--my pedi for Opening Day 😍

Friday, April 28, 2023

April 28--Bored or Peaceful?

Dogs are our link to paradise. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring; it was peace.  --Milan Kundera

    While I love the dog reference of this quote, what struck me is the idea that those times which I consider boring could be much improved if I could see them simply as peaceful. I tend to think I'm bored far too often. 
    But the question arises... Am I peaceful? Oftentimes when I'm hanging out with myself in my own head, there's very little peace resting there. There tends to be a lot of "I should be _____" going on. Or I distract myself with my phone. Or I roam off into the future and worry. Something to practice... peace rather than boredom. 
    When I think about it, those times when I'm hanging with our dog Barney giving him bellyrubs--his peace and my peace are one. 
This is a photo of my Chromebook screen. 
This is a drone shot of Wrigley Field (CUBS, Chicago)
at sunset. So cool and so peaceful!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

April 27--Without Butter, Life Would Be Impossible

I don't trust anyone who doesn't eat butter.  --Leta Miller 😉😉

    I was visiting my in-laws a couple years ago, and my dear mother-in-law served waffles for breakfast. She saw me looking around and said, "You don't want butter for your waffle, do you?" I think my head probably snapped back. That's what the divots in the waffles are for, for heaven's sake!!! I just said politely, "Yes, please." 
    My family of origin worshiped butter. Mom bought it in the one-pound slabs--none of that fancy 4-stick packaging for her. She believed margarine to be evil, possibly to the level of a Communist plot. Homemade bread slathered in butter with fresh strawberry jam--it doesn't get any better than that. 
    My husband has adapted nicely to my love of butter. He uses it appropriately in cooking, but if there is an opportunity where I would like more, for instance, a little butter pool in a mound of mashed potatoes, he sets the butter dish right in front of me. What a sweetie!
    Butter--mmm, mmm, good!
Making me hungry!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

April 26--Ode to Barney

If you don't own a dog, at least one, there may not necessarily be anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.  --Roger Caras

    I guess there was something wrong with my life for decades until we adopted Barney nearly four years ago. Picking out a name was fun. I am especially fond of the name "Zeus" for a dog, but we recognized early on that Barney was not a Zeus. He's a Barney of the "Barney Fife" type (Andy Griffith Show, yes, I'm dating myself). 
    Barney was scared of our stairs at first. My husband carried him up and down a few times before he figured it out. Now he races up and down nearly at the speed of light. For the first week we wondered if he could bark. He has turned into quite the talker. 
    We don't know what breed he is. We suspect a lot of border collie based on dog-knowing friends' proclamations and his intense desire to keep us safely herded under his watchful eye. When he sees another dog approaching, he lies down and waits, even in the middle of the street. He may hop up and greet the other dog, or not. 
    We have a very smart dog on our hands. My husband has trained him to run downstairs and yelp/squeak/bark at me when lunch or supper is ready. Barney takes this job quite seriously, because it means he will be fed also.
    Barney barks at everyone. EVERYONE. Even the neighbors and friends he has seen dozens of times. He does not like to have his head petted, and don't even think about touching his front paws. Then this happened. Barney and I were headed out for a walk, and our neighbor was sitting in her driveway chatting with a friend I had never seen before. Barney walked right up to the friend, no barking, let her pet his head, and just went ga-ga on her, tail wagging wildly. What?!!? My neighbor and I were stunned. 
    Dogs are a glorious mystery of love and devotion. 

Did someone say W-A-L-K?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

April 25--B-R-E-A-T-H-E

Every time we catch ourselves getting reactive, every time we catch ourselves acting as if the outcome of the situation has the authority to name who we are, we are to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that it’s not true.  --James Finley

    I was given this gem in my morning spiritual practice readings yesterday. It fits perfectly in my current state. My thoughts have been roaming way too much lately into negativity. To counteract that, I have been practicing this mantra: inhale to the word "grateful" and exhale to the word "breath." Simple but effective, it reminds me that breathing is the most important thing I do. 
    Breathing is the most important thing you do, too. Let us not take it for granted!

Another fun kitchen towel I found 
during a Fort Collins shopping adventure.

Monday, April 24, 2023

April 24--Getting Real

All great spirituality is about letting go.  --Richard Rohr

    These are the writings of Anne Lamott relative to prayer, when one is so desperate that surrender is the only option:

Prayer … begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being physically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly.

Prayer is talking to something or anything with which we seek union, even if we are bitter or insane or broken. (In fact, these are probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.) Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up. The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape….

My belief is that when you’re telling the truth, you’re close to God. If you say to God, “I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don’t like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You,” that might be the most honest thing you’ve ever said. If you told me you had said to God, “It is all hopeless, and I don’t have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand,” it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real—really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.

So prayer is our sometimes real selves trying to communicate with the Real, with Truth, with the Light.
I've been there many times, and I can state that the other side of surrender is a good place to land.

Letting go is nature's way.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

April 23--Love Our Mother

Yes, I'm a day late on Earth Day.
This is a song, "Weep for the World," by Brian McLaren. You can listen to him perform it here

Let us weep for the world
being broken apart
by humans,
foolish humans.
Let us grieve the desecration
of forest and stream,
of glacier and ocean and humans,
like us.

Let us be mindful of the children,
being born today,
in a world torn apart
by humans.
Let us show our children
a more excellent way
to walk on the earth and be human,
truly human.

Let us love this world
we’ve been breaking apart
and let our love bring wholeness.
And let us love one another
with a compassionate heart
for it is love that makes us human, human.

Let us weep for the world
We are breaking apart,
so we can love it back
to wholeness.
Let our hearts be stretched
by great sorrow and love,
so they will never contract
to being less than human.

Our magnificent Mother delighting us...
Astronomy Picture of the Day, April 19, 2023
by Juan Carlos Casado

Saturday, April 22, 2023

April 22--Simple, But Not Easy

Don't take anything personally.  --Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, #2

    The Universe is hammering me on this one. I've been moving in and out of a depressed state. I spent the second half of yesterday mostly curled up in a ball with much needed soul-rinsing. I have several relatively minor but quite annoying physical issues going on, mostly from last week's wipe-out in the golf course rough. I just finished a lackluster tax season, finally fizzling out of that "career." I'm not spending nearly as much time as I had hoped with my new grandson. My codependency issues are making daily life frustrating for me. There is a ton of stuff that is completely out of my control. This is not an unusual life situation, I am well aware. My practice is to not take this stuff personally, or as I stated in the April 19 post: It doesn't matter. Surely all this crying is releasing something big. 
    The Universe delivered its message loud and clear yesterday through the tears: If this was your last day alive, would you want it to be one with a shitty attitude?
    There's a wake-up call for me!

Words to live well by...

Friday, April 21, 2023

April 21--Escaping Hell, Continued

Here's the back of the "GET OUT OF HELL FREE" card. (See the April 20 post for the front view.) The text of "the fine print" is below for your ease of reading.

"Would it be nice if avoiding Hell were as simple as having a card like this? Many religions teach that if you do enough good, say enough prayers or follow enough rules that you will escape Hell when you die and go to Heaven. The Bible teaches that God hates these types of religions (Amos 5:21, Hebrews 10:11-14) and that no one is good (Romans 3:23, John 3:19, John 7:7). It is appointed once to die and then the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Let's take a quick test based on God's standard, The Ten Commandments (John 8:47, John 9:41). Ever lied? Stolen? Hated, which Jesus calls murder? Lusted, which Jesus called adultery? Would you be innocent or guilty? Would God send you to Heaven or Hell? Can you get out to Hell for free? God is perfectly just. He must punish sin. The good news is that Jesus chose to receive on Himself the punishment that justly belonged to you. Jesus being fully God and fully man became the only acceptable sacrifice for sin. He lived a perfect life, then died on the cross and rose from the dead. Repent of your sins and trust in Jesus for salvation (Mark 1:15). Only Jesus can save you from Hell! (John 3:17)
    I must admit that the website name "AfterLifeCatalog" scares me more than "Hell." I'll stay clear of that one!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

April 20--Someone's Lucky Day?

    This is what was handed to my husband from a booth at the recent Open Streets ICT event:

    The fine print at the bottom says, "This card may be kept until needed or sold. (For complete details, see the reverse side of this card.) *Offer will expire when you do."
    Let's go first with believing in hell. All I need is this card to avoid it?!?! Given that this card can be sold, that makes me believe I can simply buy my way out of hell. In this day and age, isn't that a typical attitude!?!? By the way, I'm taking bids. The card goes to the highest bidder. I'm not sure I trust this card to actually do the job, as it says it expires when I do. But I want it working after I expire so that I can be sure I have avoided hell for all eternity. 
    Tomorrow I will offer the text on the back of this interesting specimen. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

April 19--Maybe, Maybe Not

It doesn't matter.  --Leta Miller

    One of my goals for this year's golf is to stop swearing, especially using the f-bomb. The last two rounds I have played were dreadful, with huge scores and even a painful fall. I think I escaped both rounds with only two uses of the f-bomb. That is enormous improvement for me. What I did was keep reminding myself that wherever this shot goes, "it doesn't matter." No golf shot, no matter how bad, is worth going ballistic over. Slow progress is being made. 
    Then I began to think, does anything matter? Yes! There are a huge number of things that don't really matter, but there are some very big ones that do matter. I tried to tell myself that a feeling of frustration didn't matter, but yes, it did. My feelings do matter. My connections to other people matter. Kindness matters. Care for our magnificent Mother Earth matters. 
    I am having some fun considering what really matters.

Sand dollar in Jamaica--
nature matters a LOT!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

April 18--Make Your Heart Happy--Use It!

A hand towel seen on a recent
Fort Collins shopping adventure...
    Amen! I read an article recently discussing facts vs. bullshit, and how we are inundated by so much bullshit these days that we are losing our ability to distinguish between the two. Sane life is calling us to more inner awareness, following the heart, while at the same time the outer world is attempting to drag us further and further from our inner wisdom. "Do this." "Don't do that." Look a certain way; weigh a particular weight. "Wear this." "Eat this; don't eat that." It's endless!
    It's time we do more measuring with our own wise hearts!

Monday, April 17, 2023

April 17--Spring Happiness

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.  --Abraham Lincoln

    This is my first Monday in many weeks not going to work at the tax office. Woohoo!!! I am quite happy about that. After a chilly, windy weekend, warmer temps are predicted for this week which means I can start on multiple garden projects. It's time to buy veggie, herb and flower plants, one of my favorite spring rituals. I will get lots more golf practice this week. There will be Barney walks and happy hour beers on the deck. 
    May I remember that I have every reason to be happy, and none to be unhappy. 

The solo tulip blooming in
my garden

Sunday, April 16, 2023

April 16--I Encourage Questioning

When medicine became a business, we lost our moral compass. 
--Steven Nissan, MD

    This quote comes from the book "At Peace: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life" by Samuel Harrington, MD. It discusses at length the over-treatment, over-testing and over-medicating that is rampant with folks over 65. It is a very empowering book about making conscious decisions about how one lives out the later years. 
    In October 2019, I was scheduled for a much-needed hip replacement. I asked one too many questions via email of the surgeon, whereupon he decided that I was a bad patient and refused to do the procedure. I questioned the need for a very high-dollar drug used after surgery to avoid blood clots. Fearing that I would damage his income by refusing the expensive drug, he cancelled on me, stating it was because "I wouldn't follow his directions." Long story short--I found a surgeon who used baby aspirin for the anti-clotting precaution, and one year later, I had an extremely successful surgery and quick recovery. I was a model patient 😉 And I had experienced Dr. Nissan's quote above first-hand. 
    I don't have any brilliant suggestions to fix our broken U.S. medical system. It is completely motivated by insurance, legalities and greed, and the patient's needs are quite far "down the list." It's a sad state given the amount of money spent on "health care." 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

April 15--All I Wanted Was a Nice Evening on the Course

When we have exhausted our store of endurance, 
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done, 
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, 
Our Father’s full giving is only begun. 
--Howard Thurman

    I am one tough broad. Here's my story, along with assorted roaming through my brain. Thursday afternoon I headed to Auburn Hills for my ladies golf league play. It was breezy, but otherwise a lovely night for golf. I invited the "golf gods" to have some fun with me. Play started on the front nine, which I find especially challenging, so much so that it is not only a physical challenge, but a mental one, too. I quickly learned that the "golf gods" idea of fun did not match mine. On the second hole, a fairly easy par four, I was in both sand traps and plenty of rough, taking a 10 on that hole. The next hole, a par 3, found my second shot in some nasty rough. I hit my ball out, and took a step to walk toward the green. I didn't see the tiny "stumps" (3" tall, 1" diameter) that were sticking up all around me. I stepped on one and down I went. Twisted ankles, bloody shin, assorted scrapes. I regrouped, got myself up, and finished a dreadful 9-hole round. Nothing was broken, and the fall could have been much worse. 
    However, the most troubling thing, since I was not horribly hurt, is that I attribute this to getting old. Anyone at any age could have wiped out in the area I was in. Age was not relevant, but that's where my mind goes. I do not want to be an old person who falls down. I don't want to fall down, period. This frustration did bring on a good soul-rinsing cry. And I gave the "golf gods" a good talking-to!
    I'm mostly recovered and grateful for my rock solid bones, 
I should get one of these!!

Friday, April 14, 2023

April 14--"I Did It My Way" 🎵🎵🎵

Dare to do life your way.  --Louise Tallen

    I'm free! My last day of tax work on Wednesday included some happenings that make me never want to see another person's return as long as I live. I can sum it up in "What do you mean, I can't deduct my Mercedes payments?!?!?!" 
    Now I get back to life my way. That includes golfing, gardening, traveling, Barney walking, possibly some pickleball, and absolutely, positively, daily naps. There will be the occasional trip to see our grandson. No more getting up at 4:00 am to swim before work. Before agreeing to work part-time this tax season, I was feeling concerned about how to use my time during those three mostly-wintery months. This year's experience has made me confident that I can and will figure that out in a satisfying way. Traveling to a warm place in February is a great start. 
    What would make today your "best day yet?"

Sunset in Jamaica

Thursday, April 13, 2023

April 13--STOP the Madness!

This shouldn’t be normal. Let’s break this cycle and stop normalizing mass shootings. Let’s remind ourselves and our friends and neighbors that this is a fixable problem, and the vast majority of Americans want it fixed. --Amy McGrath

     I grew up in a hunting culture. Some of my relatives depended on hunting for food. My brother was a devoted hunter who took good care of his guns and kept them away from his four children. (I think he went hunting to get away from them.) My dad was not a hunter, and we did not have any guns in our house. This is true today in my current home. I am certainly aware that the vast majority of gun ownership is not a problem.
    There is NO reason on God's green earth for anyone outside the military to have an assault rifle. I'm getting to the point where I hate to open Google News because the first thing that comes up is another shooting. This isn't normal. I'm so frustrated that the NRA and gun-toters, a minority, have more say in this than the vast majority of Americans who want this craziness stopped. I can use our Republican Kansas legislature for example: they are way more concerned about who uses which bathroom than they are about things that truly matter. 
    If you feel your voice matters with your representatives (that term is bullshit--they certainly do NOT represent me), please express yourself. It feels pointless in Kansas, because they know that folks in Kansas would vote for Hitler if you put an "R" after his name. Those times when I have contacted a KS rep, all I got back was a meaningless canned response. I hope you have better results!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

April 12--Stick a Fork in Me

When we take a little time to remember to look, to marvel, we find that there are sources of joy, of esthetic delight, of quiet happiness on every hand….  
--Beatrice Bruteau

    Frequent looks at my favorite photos of my grandson remind me of this sentiment. He is certainly finding lots of joy and delight, because everything is new to him. Watching him grow, explore and learn is truly a marvelous experience, even from a distance. 
    Today is my 37th wedding anniversary. With any luck at all, it will also be my last day of tax work, FOREVER. I've written before on this blog about the idea that "everything has a lifespan." The lifespan of my tax work has reached its end. The ideal in baseball is to retire after a spectacular season, to "go out with a bang." The reality is that most players fizzle out then quit. Such is my tax-prep career. Last year was a great finale, this year has been a slow torturous fizzle. I'm grateful for the opportunity and the income, and I was useful, but I'm ready for this chapter to reach the end of its lifespan. 
    Tonight we celebrate #37 and no more tax work, woohoo!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

April 11--Grow!

Plant a garden of any size. Our sweet Mother will reward your efforts beautifully. 
--Leta Miller

    I spent some time this past weekend in my garden, doing some much-needed weeding and tidying. I was looking for signs of perennials coming up, and I'm pleased to find many hostas returning from last year's planting. We have had two large trees removed in the past year, so that my shady yard now has sunny spots where I can once again grow tomatoes and peppers. I will also need to move some shade-loving plants that won't appreciate that hot Kansas sun. It's nearly time to freshen the potting soil in my flower pots and get the annuals planted. Having replaced our deck last summer, my husband is excited to get things looking great for backyard jams with his musical friends. I bought some garden ornaments on my Florida trip to go along with several flags for extra color around the yard. 
    I love spring!

These guys are ready to go, too! No swimming!

Monday, April 10, 2023

April 10--PPP

I don't have pet peeves like some people. I have whole kennels of irritation. 
--Whoopi Goldberg

    I must write about a personal pet peeve (ppp). While I like music just fine, I do not want to listen to yours. It has become increasingly popular, given the expansion of portable technology, to play music loudly from one's golf cart, either the electric or push variety. I consider this to be extraordinarily rude. I play golf to be out in nature, and hear nature sounds like birds, breeze, quiet, etc., NOT your music. You can't leave it alone for 2-4 hours?!?! Speaking up about this in my leagues will likely get me labeled as "the bitchy golfer who doesn't like music." Here's the deal--you can listen to music without making me listen to it, too. The technology exists--wear earbuds! 
    I'm also greatly annoyed by folks who run red lights, but that's another post.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

April 9--Enjoy Your Sunday

Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run. --Barbara Kingsolver

    I've often said about our sons, "We raised them to be independent, and dammit, they are." I refer to my sons as "sonshine," because they are the light of my life. When I have called my new grandson "sonshine," my son always responds--that's HIS name. I guess I will have to use "grandsonshine." 
    Even when the boys were teenagers, after Easter baskets were no longer the thing, we did an Easter egg hunt in our yard. They loved it as a fun brotherly competition. My husband and I had a lot of laughs watching them zoom around the yard with the occasional bout of wrestling. As we became empty-nesters, and lacking any desire for church attendance, Easter has become pretty much a no-thing at our house. I had celebrated it for years, but seeing the behavior of so-called "Christians" in our politics today, I have no desire to participate. One does not need to make a show of Easter in order to be a kind, loving, compassionate person, which I believe is what Jesus was aiming at all along. 
    Enjoy your Sunday!
My favorite part of Easter!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

April 8--Baseball JOY

There is no crying in baseball. 
--Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) in "A League of Their Own"

    Thursday was our first league play night at Auburn Hills Golf Course. It was a lovely cool evening with calm wind, quite unusual for the beginning of league season. I was treated to riding with a new member, a young woman who plays a lot, and it is quite a joy to watch her swing the golf club. We had the usual "get to know you" chatter. I was wearing my Cubs visor, and she asked if I had been to a game at Wrigley Field. It turns out that she is just as crazed about baseball as I am, only her team is the Boston Red Sox. She said she took off work on March 30 because of Opening Day. She said, "It's like Christmas to me." I feel the same way! We were off and running on "America's pastime." What a treat to meet someone so enthusiastic about golf AND baseball! 
    There IS crying in baseball--I can guarantee it all over Cubs nation after they won the World Series on November 2, 2016. 
    Hope springs eternal every April! Go, Cubs!
My next baseball adventure, 
Houston in May

Friday, April 7, 2023

April 7--Keep On Asking

I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.  --Richard Feynman

    Anyone who has even the occasional spiritual thought is going to come up with a question that can't be answered. Who am I? How does that spider spin such a perfect web? How does that tiny sperm and egg combination create a perfect human body? 
    Questioning, curiosity--these are inherent in our human nature. The look of wonder in a baby's eyes is the innate desire to explore and learn and experience this great wide world. It has been the job of most of the world's religions, unfortunately, to lay down answers that can't be questioned. Note that this goes against our deepest essence as humans. Therefore, it is not sustainable, as we are seeing so many fleeing the rigidity of established religion. 
    I've learned in life that many questions beginning with "why" cannot be answered. Maybe someday when we are no longer in human form????

Thursday, April 6, 2023

April 6--Get a Blankie

Everyone should have a blankie. It would make people a lot nicer.  --Leta Miller

    When I was little, I had a blankie. It was light green, silky and a huge comfort to me. I slept with it on my pillow. I, like Linus, was very attached to my blankie. I loved it so much that it eventually became worn and had a lot of holes. This did not matter one bit to me as a child. It did, however, bother my mother tremendously that I loved "that old thing." She threw it away a couple times, and I militantly dug it out of the trash. When she could tolerate my blankie no longer, she burned it, to get rid of it once and for all. My sister-in-law, recognizing the trauma of this, gave me my beloved Ted Bear as a replacement. Ted Bear still sits at my bedside today. 
    Fast forward about 50 years. When I was going through a period of intense counseling, I awoke to the idea that I would once again like to have a blankie. I found a soft fuzzy green one, not the same fabric, but the same color as the original. It is right next to me as I write this. It brings me comfort. I don't suck my thumb, however! My blankie is a place for me to feel snuggled, loved and peaceful. 
    Wouldn't the world be a wonderful place if everyone felt snuggled, loved and peaceful? 
    Get yourself a blankie--I'll never tell!

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

April 5--Uncertainty

GRIEF ==> Getting Really Into Every Feeling

    I think this is why grief is so difficult for us. There can be a very wide range of feelings, and so many of us are not all that well equipped to handle them. Grief's emotions tend toward the end of the feeling spectrum that we typically consider "negative"--sadness, fear, anger, frustration, loneliness, emptiness. 
    We mostly consider grief as an aspect of losing a loved one, but there are so many life experiences that can bring on grief. Personally, I would offer up aging as an instigator of grief. I'm reading the book: "The Inner Work of Age, Shifting from Role to Soul" by Connie Zweig, Ph.D. It's putting aging and ageism right in my face, and that's uncomfortable. I think of my young grandson and wonder how much of his life I'll get to see. There are so many questions and great uncertainty. As they say, getting old isn't for sissies. I do, however, prefer it to the alternative!
    One day at a time,

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

April 4--Home and Taxes

Never make snow angels in a dog park.  --on a local sign

    I'm home from my Colorado trip--gratefully so, as the weather folks are predicting a spring snow out there. And I'm back at my part-time gig of tax work. It's April, the deadline looms, folks are stressed. Please be kind to your tax preparer! 
    This is my favorite time of year. Baseball season is just underway, and it's almost time for the NBA playoffs. Golfing and gardening are about to ramp up. We can spend happy hour outside on the deck most evenings. I don't have to bundle up to walk Barney. The Saturday Farmers' Market is once again open. 
    We don't know how many springtimes we'll get, so let's enjoy this one!

Monday, April 3, 2023

April 3--So Much Fun Art

I want to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding. 
--John O'Donohue

    Saturday turned out to be a lovely day in Fort Collins. It warmed up quite a bit and the fierce wind calmed down quite a bit. I met my son's family at a bakery where we sat outside and enjoyed pastries and warm drinks. Then we roamed Old Town to shop and soak up the spring weather. 
    There are several shops downtown that I enjoy because of the uniqueness of the art work I see there. Color and light excite me, and these shops are a mecca for those. Most of the stuff I could not do myself, but I like to look for ideas. I found one I believe I can do. See the photo below--it's taking an old wheel and decorating it. There were probably ten of various sizes and themes. I believe I can do that, it got my creative wheels turning (pun intended), and I've already asked my husband if he has any old bicycle wheels hanging around. I've been looking for an art project and I found one!
    Stay tuned to see what develops,

Sunday, April 2, 2023

April 2--Shop Till You Drop

Isn't "vegan butter" an oxymoron?  --Leta Miller

    I went with my son and grandson to Costco on Friday morning. My son was pushing Luca's stroller and I was woman-handling the large cart. I don't have a Costco membership, so going there with my son is an adventure. I am amazed at the bigness and all the stuff--consumerism at its finest. 
    As we were cruising around, I noticed a product called "vegan butter." Chasing my son and the stroller, I didn't have time to investigate it. Huh! I was raised in a family that worships real butter. My mother believed margarine was a Communist plot. The idea of some fake version shocked me. I'm sure it is a perfectly legitimate product, but it gave me a good quote for the blog 😉😉 
    I noted that even though the place was packed with shoppers, folks were polite and considerate in their movements. Check-out lines were long. No one seemed cranky--I received a lot of return smiles. Why can't we all get along that way outside Costco!?!?!
    Even though the place was packed, when we went to the vitamin section, it was nearly empty. The "junk food" sections seem much more appealing. I saw so many things I would love to eat, but recognized that the more appealing an item was, the less I needed it, for example, chocolate-covered mango slices. I know if I purchased a Costco membership for our home, that my husband and I would get a few good deals, yes, but we'd buy way too much stuff we don't need. 
    Less IS more.
Lots of stuff at Costco

Saturday, April 1, 2023

April 1--No More Foolin'

Let's try something new.  --Leta Miller

    We have finished the entire "Daily Gratitude" book, as I started with its quotes last April Fools Day. 
    Rather than pulling quotes from a book, I've decided to round them up here and there as I adventure through life. Some will be words of wisdom and profound insights from me. (That was supposed to make you laugh.) It heightens my listening and observing skills to seek out quotes and photo-ops for the blog. 
    I love this writing by James Finley about the first two of the Twelve Steps and the power of admitting:

We begin with the First Step: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” The First Step, then, is admitting. I would like to reflect on the transformative power of admitting. This is a thing about the recovering community in all different modes. See, if you admit, you’re admitted. If you don’t admit, you’re not admitted. And, if you admit, you live; and if you don’t admit, you might die. So, what is it that makes admitting so extremely painful, and the very thing that’s so painful is the very thing that saves our lives? It would seem that the act of admitting is a great koan or a great riddle in our heart worth meditating on. It is this transformative point-of-entry that leads us ever deeper into the sobriety that we’re exploring.

What precedes admitting and makes admitting possible is hitting bottom. It’s very painful to admit that our lives have become unmanageable because we all need a sense of self-efficacy. We all need a sense of, “Look, I can handle this.”… So, what we’re really trying to do here is we’re coming to a painful place of admitting. The admitting then brings us to a place in which, if this is up to me, it is not looking good. As a matter of fact, if this is up to me, I think it’s despair. But the very fact that I’ve risked despair opens up a whole new possibility because maybe it’s not up to me. Maybe there’s another way.

The Second Step of the Twelve Steps is: “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” As long as we were still holding on to this ideology of our brokenness as having the final say in who we are, we were not capable of seeing this, because we actually had faith in our own brokenness as the power to name who we are. John of the Cross says, “A person who can see a little bit will resist guidance; a person who cannot see at all will stretch forth their hands and be led to unknown places where they don’t know how to go.” This is really what admitting can do for us. Admitting is poverty of spirit; it is experiential humility. The act of admitting, then, opens up this paradoxical faith.

This is why I think the person on this healing journey in relationship to their Higher Power … comes to say to God: “You know, I don’t know who you are, but I do know who you are: you’re the one who saved my life. And I don’t know who I am, either, but I do: I’m the one you saved.”
(from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, March 29)

    Surrender--challenging but mighty powerful!

The spiritual principles of each step