Sunday, June 23, 2024

June 23--Time to Breathe

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.  --Lao-Tzu

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Only in this way shall we live without the fatigue of bitterness and the drain of resentment.  --Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

    I am simply pondering both of these quotes in light of my unsettled state of many months. Here is a practice by Indigenous author and poet Pixie Lighthorse:

I allow oxygen to infuse my cells with life force,
breathing into the constricted places in my body
that have grown tight with fear.

    I expect there are several places in my body that have grown tight with fear. 
The "Stargazers" are blooming
in my garden!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2024

June 22--The Work Is Inside

The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and hands, and then work outward from there.  --Robert M. Pirsig

    Well, dang. Something tells me that it would be a lot easier to change YOU rather than ME. But dang again, it doesn't work that way. That's why the Serenity Prayer is a mantra for so many folks:

Note that when I say the prayer, instead of beseeching God for serenity, I say it affirmatively: "God grants me..." That way I am not waiting on God to deliver. I have serenity if I choose to recognize it.
    Folks who are at war with themselves cannot create peace in the world. 

Friday, June 21, 2024

June 21--Learning to Appreciate

I have learned not to worry about love, but to honor its coming with all my heart. 
--Alice Walker

    I have been watching an extraordinary documentary series called "Epic Yellowstone" on Paramount+. I often write about appreciating and caring for our magnificent Mother Earth. This series will give you an amazing insight into the world's first national park. I learned so much. The cinematography is phenomenal. Everyone needs to have an understanding of such a complex ecosystem, from the tiniest bug to the largest bison, from the river depths to the mountain peaks, every bit of it intertwined and essential to the health of the whole. That's true all over the Earth. 
    In my drive to Clearwater last night, I noticed another area along south Tyler Road where they have wiped out more trees and are building more houses. Do we really need more houses?!?!? Is that progress? What is "progress" really? More often than not, it involves more habitat destruction. They are expanding in all directions from Wichita. Who is moving into all those apartments going up? People are not flocking to Kansas, trust me. 
    We need to take much better care of our Mother before we all suffocate in our own garbage (i.e., STUFF). 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

June 20--One More Time

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. 
--Maya Angelou

    Here are words by psychotherapist James Finley in support of Ms. Angelou's wisdom:
It is in experiencing and accepting how difficult it can be to free ourselves from our hurtful attitudes and ways of treating ourselves and others that we begin to understand that the healing path is not a linear process in which we can force our way beyond our wounded and wounding ways. Rather, it is a path along which we learn to circle back again and again to cultivate within ourselves a more merciful understanding of ourselves as we learn to see, love, and respect the still-confused and wounded aspects of ourselves. Insofar as these wounded and wounding aspects of ourselves recognize that they are seen, loved, and respected in such a merciful way, they can feel safe enough to release the pain they carry into the more healed and whole aspects of ourselves.
    It is no small challenge to love the wounded parts of ourselves, "one more time and always one more time."
Butterfly in Legos at Botanica, Wichita

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

June 19--Some Say Love...

It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.  --Xiaolu Guo

    I recognized this quote as a song lyric, and here it is: "The Rose" sung by Bette Midler and written by Amanda McBroom...

… Some say love, it is a riverThat drowns the tender reedSome say love, it is a razorThat leaves your soul to bleed
… Some say love, it is a hungerAn endless aching needI say love, it is a flowerAnd you, its only seed
… It's the heart afraid of breakingThat never learns to danceIt's the dream afraid of wakingThat never takes the chance
… It's the one who won't be takenWho cannot seem to giveAnd the soul, afraid of dyingThat never learns to live
… When the night has been too lonelyAnd the road has been too longAnd you think that love is onlyFor the lucky and the strong
… Just remember in the winterFar beneath the bitter snowsLies the seed that with the sun's loveIn the spring becomes the rose

    If you click on the title/link above, you can listen. You may cry. I did.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

June 18--Your Trust Level?

Love meant jumping off a cliff and trusting that a certain person would be there to catch you at the bottom.  --Jodi Picoult

    This is a tough one to write about. I'm not sure I've ever had that level of trust in anyone. I'm fully aware that is on me, not on the other person(s). Being in a 12-Step program for decades has made me a much more trusting person, but I'm certainly not at the "jump off a cliff" level. I'm thinking that the sudden death of my Grammie (maternal grandmother) when I was four, my mother's subsequent inability to "catch me" when needed, and my older brother Ken's constant verbal abuse contributed quite a bit to my unwillingness to trust. 
    I am pondering that trust encompasses both physical and emotional safety. I have felt physically safe pretty much all my life. Feeling emotionally unsafe is another issue, and it goes way back and continues to this day. 
    Ahhh, yes, patterns do repeat themselves. Would my mother have jumped expecting my dad to catch her? Hell, no. But my dad would have been there, grudgingly, to try to catch her. Operating out of duty and out of trust are two different things. 
    I'm rambling, I'm done,
The world has plenty of cliffs to leap from...
this is in England.

Monday, June 17, 2024

June 17--Starts Out Scary

What wonderful thing didn't start out scary?  --Isaac Marion

    Let's go right back to the beginning--birth. If that isn't scary, what is!?!?!? It's a wonderful thing, but the little one goes from a dark, cozy, warm immersion in Mom to a world of bright light, giants and a bazillion new sensations. 
    I have gone skydiving. S-C-A-R-Y doesn't even come close. I'd say it was pure and utter terror until we actually stepped into the free fall, then it was wonderful. It became even more wonderful when my tandem partner and I landed safely. 
    Travel--scary to leave home, wonderful trip follows. 
    New job--can I do this? will I fit in? turns into a dream job.
    New hobby--will I look foolish? can I learn this? turns into hours of wonderful fun.
    Weather--scary thunderstorms bring wonderful rain. 
    Fear and wonder coexist,
This is me. Golfing has become
more scary than wonderful!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

June 16--HUGE Love in a TINY Package

We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.  --Rainer Maria Rilke

    Dean Koontz is an extraordinary writer of mystery and suspense novels. However, the first book I read by him was "A Big Little Life" about his first dog, a Golden Retriever. 
    This is a "big little life" story. 
    I have been seeing the same massage therapist for, I'm guessing, probably two decades now. I have followed her through several moves. I see her once a month consistently. For much of the time, she has been accompanied by the adorable pup pictured below, Lily. Early on, Lily was at the office with her, and she would be in her crate making adorable squeaking noises. It was always a treat to snuggle all 1-2 pounds of her. To look at Lily, humans would say she was handicapped. She had a leg issue that made her gait awkward, but it was no handicap to Lily. She went wherever she wanted to. For a while, Lily's mom, Susan, left her at home. Then a couple years back she started bringing her to the office again. I would go a little early so that I could hold and snuggle Lily. For a tiny thing, she had quite a bark and a feisty personality! 
    Last Friday when I went for my massage, Lily wasn't there. Something told me to wait till we were finished to ask. That was a good intuition following. A few weeks prior to my visit, Susan was visiting her sister, and her sister's dog killed Lily. What a horrid, heart-breaking happening!!!! Tears flowed. 
    I am always in awe at the effect pets have on us. It is ineffable. It doesn't matter if they weigh 100 pounds or 1 pound. 
    Lily, I know you are romping in doggie heaven, but we miss you! Big hugs and love to Lily's mom as she grieves. 
    Love up your pets--they are mystical magical bundles of love!

Saturday, June 15, 2024

June 15--What Really Counts

The only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.  
--Ted Hughes

BOLD            HEART           LOVE





Oh, to be as enthusiastic
as a dog going for a car ride!!

Friday, June 14, 2024

June 14--Life is a GAME

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.  --Neil Gaiman

It's all shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits.  --On a t-shirt seen in Savannah

    Gaiman's quote is so true! Everyone I love deeply has messed me up multiple times, and I keep coming back for more. 
    I include the t-shirt quote because I have a "shits and giggles" attitude toward pickleball (PB). It's a GAME. I do not make my living playing PB. I'm 68 and I'm not that quick. I have to allow my enthusiasm to make up for my lack of skill. No ball is worth falling down for, so I avoid wiping out. Since PB is primarily a doubles sport, I hold these same expectations, virtually none, for those with whom I am playing. No one else needs to perform in a particular way to satisfy me. HAVE FUN! (Reread the t-shirt quote above.) 
    I wish I could take my PB attitude into all of life... practice, practice, practice!
Here it is...

Thursday, June 13, 2024

June 13--SQUIRREL!

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  --C. S. Lewis

    When my sons were much younger, probably in the 7 & 5 age ranges, we were out on errands, and I hit and killed a squirrel. It was an accident, but the boys freaked and for at least a while, I became the most horrid human on the planet. Obviously, I did not forget that incident from three decades ago. 
    Fast forward to the present day. I despise squirrels. They have damaged a multitude of plantings and destroyed decorative garden flags. Our next-door neighbor, much to our distress, feeds them peanuts which they bring into our yard and garden and bury. They are digging holes all over our yard. I have said many times that the only good squirrel is a dead one. 
    Yesterday I was out on errands. Please note that I have braked for many a squirrel. I don't care to kill one, because a) that is not my nature, and b) I have PTSD from squashing the squirrel with my sons in the vehicle. So the squirrel that crossed my path yesterday... I slowed down, it couldn't make up its mind which way to go, and yep, I heard the thud. So now I am waffling between feeling bad and feeling OK with one less squirrel out there destroying things. 
    Sorry, not sorry,
Imagine photo of a dead squirrel here;
I couldn't bear to use one from Google Images.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

June 12--In Spite Of...

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves--say rather, loved in spite of ourselves.  --Victor Hugo

    One of my favorite activities when visiting my brother was to take him to AA meetings. I'm not an alcoholic, but I am a firm believer in the 12-Step programs and I love hearing stories of recovery. Recovering addicts, especially alcoholics, have some dreadful background stories. Yet they are loved, every single one, for who they are, in spite of whatever nastiness they have wreaked on themselves and others. That love of the 12-Step groups is a mighty force for hope, giving millions an opportunity to live a clean, whole and happy life.
    It is a relief to let go of earning love and simply accept it joyfully.
Peacock sculpture at Botanica, Wichita

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

June 11--Over and Over Again

Happiness comes more from loving than being loved. To love, and to be hurt often, and to love again--this is the brave and happy life.  --J. E. Buckrose

    Chances are good that if you have children, at least once a frustrated little one screamed "I hate you!!!" The quote above pretty much nails raising children. We are likely to get hurt often as they make their way in life, some more bumbling than others, yet still we love them. 
    I can say with great certainty that I hurt my parents, especially my mother, more often than I would ever want to know. And they kept on loving me till their dying days. I'm not sure how happy they were, but they were definitely brave. 
    Let us keep on loving,
Stop and smell the roses!

Monday, June 10, 2024

June 10--Letting Go Requires Bravery

If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability.  --Brene Brown

    Well, I was brave on Saturday and "fell" miserably. I played in a golf tournament at Sim Golf Course with the ladies' league for which I am the treasurer. Let's say I'm much better at "treasurer" than I am at "golfer." I haven't been playing much golf, and Sim is an easy course, plus we started at 8am so that I thought heat would not be a problem. Long story short--I shot the second worst round of my life and was exhausted from the heat/humidity/no-breeze combo. 
    I had a discussion with a friend recently around this fact of life: "Everything has a lifespan." I suspect my golfing days are numbered, since I'm not enjoying it so much anymore. This is extremely distressing to me as a lifelong golfer, but I see no point in forcing myself to get out there and "have fun." At least I am going to take a break during the heat of summer, and I will continue to play golf with my sons. 
    Change... life's only constant,
At Botanica, Lego fox in the background

Sunday, June 9, 2024

June 9--Good Baggage

When you love someone, you have to have trust and confidence. Love without trust is not yet love.  --Thich Nhat Hanh

Vacation Packing List: 
For yourself, patience. 
For everyone you meet, kindness. 
For joy, a sense of humor. 
For the soul, relaxation. 
For plans, flexibility. 
For the journey, gratitude. 
For all of the above, grace.
--Mary Davis in "Every Day Spirit"

    It's summertime. Vacations are coming up. My husband will be going on a bicycle tour in Minnesota. I am flying to Chicago for a long weekend of fun with my niece. Later in July she and I will be headed to Ocean City, Maryland, to hang together at the beach for a week. Maybe we will get to motor west to Colorado to see our offspring and families. 
    As I look at the Packing List above, I see that all those things are good to tote along on any day, vacation or not. 
Dragonfly in Legos at Botanica

Saturday, June 8, 2024

June 8--Let Us Be Light-Hearted

You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.   --J. K. Rowling

    I have written in the past about how much I love the Cubs baseball announcers, Boog Sciambi and Jim Deshaies. They are good for multiple laughs each broadcast, regardless of how the Cubs are playing. In Wednesday night's game, they were discussing how some players have much different performance in road games vs. home games. Deshaies shared a retired player's perspective:
When Andy Van Slyke was asked about the difference between playing on the road vs. at home, he said, "At home I can go down to the kitchen in my underwear and eat breakfast, but they don't let me do that on the road."
    May your day be filled with good humor!

RABBITS in Legos of many colors at Botanica, Wichita

Friday, June 7, 2024

June 7--Clinging to an Achy Breaky Heart

The purpose of an intimate relationship is not that it be a place where we can hide from our weaknesses, but rather where we can safely let them go. 
--Marianne Williamson

    I offer my apologies to Billy Ray Cyrus who wrote the lyrics to "Achy Breaky Heart."
    Let's discuss this post's title. During a recent 12-step phone meeting, one participant used the word "clinging" to describe hanging onto a character defect. "Clinging" may as well be up in billboard-size letters, because it nails me perfectly. I've been clinging to the hope of some things happening which are clearly NOT going to happen, and I've been clinging to self-pity associated with that. 
    Now for the "achy breaky heart" part... I played pickleball a few days ago with a new-to-me person whom I shall falsely name Leroy. He and I ended up on the same bench later during a break, and he asked me how I got into pickleball. I told him I needed something to do with my time, I was curious, I gave it a try and I love it. Leroy said he has been playing about four months. He said, "I was sitting at home with an achy breaky heart, and someone told me to try pickleball, so I did." I sat there quietly for a moment and then said, "Me, too, I got into it because I had an achy breaky heart." Out of the mouths of strangers...
    Ready to release that achy breaky heart,
Tuesday evening's rainbow

Thursday, June 6, 2024

June 6--Our Brave Youth

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don't, they never were.  --Kahlil Gibran

    I found this article in the spring 2023 ACLU magazine. This is what gives me hope for our young people and our future. 

The Banned Book Club By Ella Scott

During my freshman year, the Leander Independent School District began removing books from the English curriculum at my school, Vandegrift High School (VHS), in Austin, Texas. With the majority of students being virtual in 2020, many were unaware this was happening. My friend Alyssa and I heard the news through a teacher and, after finding the list of removed books, we recognized titles we had read and loved, like one of my favorites, The Handmaid's Tale. Alyssa and I immediately knew we had to do something to show that students not only wanted but needed these books in the classroom. We reached out to our friends to help us form the VHS Banned Book Club.

In our first year, we read seven books that had been removed from our school district's English reading lists. For each book, we created a statement that we sent to the reconsideration committees–groups of teachers, parents, and librarians that review books and decide whether they remain in our classrooms. Our statements are an overview of the conversations we have in our meetings, sharing what we were able to learn through our reading and discussion, and how this aided in our understanding of the world.

Our club was small in the beginning; at our first meeting, only four people showed up, two of which were Alyssa and me. Despite our small number, we kept meeting to raise student awareness, and now we have a total of 28 members. As we read more and more books, I noticed just how much our club had grown–not just in size, but in confidence. What started as a few friends meeting to read banned books has turned into a community of confident and articulate students who preach their love for these books with passion.

When adults ban books, they attempt to silence ideas that seem unfamiliar to them, concepts that they're afraid to confront. But these books break a barrier and allow students to start conversations about underrepresented ideas and themes–and light that fire. Reading these stories allows us to learn about our society and the world we will one day be responsible for navigating. These books are so much more than what you read in English class; they're an opportunity to start conversations with other students and learn from other perspectives, and countless students and I are prepared to fight for our right to learn.


    There's some bravery for you, and I love it!

At Botanica in Wichita

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

June 5--Nappy Happy

Every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear. 
--Oprah Winfrey

They say, "If you snooze, you lose." I say, "If I take a nappy, it makes me happy."  --Random meme seen in my news feed

The only way out is in.  --Reported by Shawn Ginwright in "The Four Pivots"

    I LOVE to nap. It is my second favorite hobby behind watching Cubs baseball. I must confess that watching Cubs baseball often leads to a nappy state 😉😉
    I am digging "The Four Pivots" book, though I've only just completed the first pivot section, which requires us to look inward. I have been doing this for years. It is the foremost requirement for recovery in the 12-Step programs. I firmly believe it is the only way humanity can survive. Without a firm understanding of why we do what we do, we cannot advance past our current mess. We just keep repeating the mess until we understand that we are more than we appear to be and have the power to change. 
    Looking within can be scary, but you will only find yourSelf and LOVE,
Magnificent lilies at Botanica...
what would life be without flowers!!?!?!?!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

June 4--Artistic Bravery

The ultimate act of bravery does not take place on a battlefield. It takes place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations and yes, your soul.  --Anna Quindlen

For that is what the world needs: not persons who say prayers from time to time, but persons who are prayer all the time.  --Kallistos Ware

    Bravely living from an open heart places one in prayer all the time. While we may not always be feeling the connection to Spirit, the connection is always on, full power. Being prayer means that we recognize and live that power. It does not require sitting on a meditation cushion for hours at a time or sequestering oneself in a monastery. It is living with kindness toward everyone and everything, and understanding the interconnection of all. 
    A friend asked me to do a small painting project for her. Do something colorful on a 6" tile that sits in a metal frame in her garden. So I had an idea, and I attempted to execute it. This for me is bravery, because mostly in the past I did not like the end result of my ideas. Below is the finished product, and I'm good with it. I was not expecting a Mona Lisa on this small "canvas." I gave it to my friend and she loves it!
    Green Frog Tape is my friend,

Monday, June 3, 2024

June 3--Embracing One's Superpower

I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life--and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.  --Georgia O'Keeffe 

    I could say that this is true for me, too. There is always something to be afraid of, and if we let that stop us, we would never accomplish anything. Is not human life simply one big experiment?!?!?
    I have decided, at age 68+, to finally name my superpower. My superpower is sweating. (Did you laugh?) I walked Barney twice the other day. It was overcast, the temperature was in the 70s, and there was a nice breeze. A "normal" person would not get that sweaty. I was dripping sweat, my hair was soaked, and I even had "boob sweat"--my t-shirt wet at the breast line because my bra was soaked with sweat. There's the old joke that men sweat and women glisten. I'm here to tell you that I do NOT glisten. I believe that heredity-wise, I was born with my dad's sweat glands, because he was quite the sweater also 😉😉 (gives you a new perspective on the word "sweater," doesn't it!?!?) I don't wear sweaters because I am too talented a sweater!
    Since I can't change it, I may as well embrace sweating as a superpower. 
    So excited for summer heat--NOT!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

June 2--Creative Bravery with LEGOS

The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know... We know truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.  --Blaise Pascal

Imagine how different the world would be if we just obeyed that one commandment—to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It would be the most mighty political, social upheaval imaginable. The world would be radically different if human beings really treated other people as they would like to be treated.
--Richard Rohr

    Living from the heart is as brave as it gets. Loving ourselves has been disparaged as selfish, which is complete bullsh(*&t. It is only with a firm foundation of self-love and care that we can know how to love others. 
    We in Wichita are blessed with a world-class attraction, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens. I visited a couple days ago because my son had alerted me to a new Lego exhibit there. I am NUTS about Legos. I've seen a LOT of Lego creations; I've even been to LegoLand in California. There were a couple of interesting twists to this exhibition. First, there were quite a few Lego "paintings." Second, things were not done quite as expected relative to colors and patterns. I took many photos which you will be seeing on the blog over the next few days. Since we have had good rains and moderate temperatures, the gardens were fully in bloom and quite spectacular. 
    Creativity rocks!
A spider in Legos

Blue Lego Snow Leopard 

Saturday, June 1, 2024

June 1--Bravery

The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.  --Paulo Coelho

    June's theme is BRAVERY. How fitting that is for a blog titled "The Brave Broad." The writing shared here is from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of May 28. It is, for me, the ultimate description of bravery, desperately needed in our wacky world today.
Rabbi Sharon Brous draws on her Jewish tradition to name the dignity of every human being.

A Rabbinic text … from the ninth century declares that every person is accompanied, at all times, by a procession of angels crying out, “Make way, for an image of the Holy One is approaching!” Every person, like royalty. And yet, again and again, the image of the Holy One is controlled and contained, humiliated and degraded, incarcerated and incapacitated, shot and killed before our very eyes. How do we keep missing all those angels, with their trumpets and proclamations, desperate to rouse us to the dignity of every human being?

The call to awaken to the image of God, to the dignity of every person, has been the driving force of my religious life, the very heart of my faith…. What would it mean to build a society in which every person is treated as an image of the Divine? How would this affect our relationships with our neighbors, our coworkers, the stranger lying beneath the stained blankets and trash outside Starbucks? Wouldn’t it compel us to recast the cultures of our schools, organizations, and faith communities? How would it impact health care, education, public policy?… How would it transform law enforcement and criminal justice systems—where today judgment is too often rendered based on whether a person is Black or white, rich or poor, rather than guilty or innocent?

Brous shares a story illustrating how nearness and neighborliness lead to loving action:

My friend goes to a church of Caribbean immigrants in downtown Los Angeles. One day his pastor preached: Say you’re walking in downtown LA, or Chicago, or New York. A naked man runs in front of you on the sidewalk, screaming and cursing. What do you do? Most of us, of course, briskly cross the street. That guy’s unwell, we think.

But say you live in a tiny town of maybe fifty households. You’re walking around one day when a naked man runs in front of you on the sidewalk, screaming and cursing. And because you live in a tiny town, you know this man … it’s Henry. Last week, you just happen to know, there was a terrible tragedy, and fire burned Henry’s house to the ground, leaving him with nothing. What do you do?

“Henry,” you say, “come with me, friend. You need a warm meal and a safe place to stay.”

What does it take to shift our collective consciousness from stranger who is unwell to Henry, my neighbor, created in God’s own image?...

The challenge is to imagine a fundamentally different reality: a world in which we recognize and fight for each other’s dignity. A world in which we … train our hearts to see even the people others might render invisible. A world in which we recognize that we—images of the Divine—are all bound up in the bond of life with one another. And our hardest and holiest work is not to look away.
Can I be that brave? Can you?

Friday, May 31, 2024

May 31--Wonder and Respect

Be a little kinder than you have to.  --E. Lockhart

    Today we are talking about wonder. I drive once a week to Clearwater, a small town southwest of Wichita. I did tax work there for many years, and I still teach MELT Method there weekly, so I know many residents. The drive takes me past hundreds of acres of farmland. 
    Consider a kernal of corn. That's a seed about the size of your little fingernail. In the example photo below, thousands of those have been inserted into the bare soil. Something "magical" happens. Earth energy, sun energy, moisture--these combine and turn into plants that grow several feet tall and produce more seeds, i.e. ears of corn. This is a wonderful and amazing thing which we may not think about when we are slathering butter on a juicy fresh cob. Our magnificent Mother is willing to feed and delight us in infinite ways. Let us appreciate and respect her and take good care of her. 

A typical Kansas cornfield

Thursday, May 30, 2024

May 30--It's a Process

Of all things we mortals are called upon to do, the most difficult is forgiveness; in order to truly do it, you will probably have to behave as if you already have forgiven for quite a while before you have actually done so. 
--Marion Zimmer Bradley

    "Act as if..." This is a fundamental practice within the 12-Step program. Not sure about a Higher Power? Act as if one exists and does exactly what you want. Not sure if you can forgive? Act as if you have "kicked those resentments to the curb" and be free. 
    Another technique to get the forgiveness ball rolling is to pray for the perpetrator, that he/she has all the good you desire in life. Note that all these options are to change you, not the offender. My experience with this effort has been that a) you don't have to mean a word of this prayer, and b) after doing it for a few days, you get tired of it and the resentment and let it all go. Mission accomplished. 
    Our best bet... don't take anything personally!

Be like a sunflower--follow the light!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

May 29--Still!

Remember, no matter how foolish your deeds, those who love you will love you still.  --Sophocles

    A few years ago my husband was chatting with his parents on the phone. At the close of the conversation, my father-in-law said to him, "We still love you." We got a bit of an eyebrow-raising chuckle out of that one. What does that mean!?!?!!
    If you are a parent, you have lived this quote. I do realize that throughout human history, there have been deeds too foolish to tolerate, but for the most part, humans continue to forgive and love. 
    Maybe our biggest foolishness is that we each have to learn from our own mistakes--preventative advice rarely works!
    Still foolish and still lovable,
Beauty from our son's 
Colorado garden

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

May 28--A Brief Trip

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.  --Pablo Neruda

    I had a spiritual mentor long ago who advocated this ideal: if nothing ever upsets me, there would never be anything to forgive. Notice that I wrote ideal, not idea. I have a long history of self-righteous irritations and upsets that has been a challenge to overcome. 
    I have survived the life-without-a-dryer opportunity by hanging two loads of laundry outside. This yields stiff but good-smelling clothes. The new dryer arrives this afternoon. 
    When I was still living at home in Pennsylvania, my dad bought my mom an electric washer and dryer to make her life easier. She would have none of it; the pair sat unused in the basement. She continued to use her wringer washer because "that electric one doesn't get the clothes clean." There was NEVER any dingy in my mother's laundry. She hung the laundry outside on three 50' long clothes lines. 
    This trip down memory lane has a nasty ending, because I got stuck with all the ironing!

"Look... no work!" 
Please tell me women were not
that stupid back then!!!

Monday, May 27, 2024

May 27--Pruning Happens

You don't love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.  --William Faulkner

    Well, the weather forecasters' storm hysteria was correct on Saturday evening. We received .6" much-needed rain, but alas, plenty of wind damage. Walking Barney around the neighborhood, I see loads of debris and limbs small and large that have been violently pruned. About half the debris in our yard came from a neighbor's tree--three huge branches wherein all I could do was drag them to the side to get them off the grass. I pulled the rest of the branches onto the driveway where I could sit and chop them up as best I could. While in that process, our neighbor at the end of our court saw me and the mess, backed his pickup (hauling their debris) down the court, loaded up all of it and hauled it away. What an extraordinarily helpful blessing!   
    Enjoy your Memorial Day, remembering those we have loved and lost, and telling those still with us how much we love them!
Probably about 80 lb of tree debris
from the backyard neighbor's tree

Sunday, May 26, 2024

May 26--Thoughts on Abandonment

Remember that forgiveness too is a power.  --Margaret Atwood

    Well, heck, yeah! It takes a lot of strength to forgive, especially the worst stuff! 
    Well, heck, again! I did some journaling yesterday regarding abandonment, and there's definitely more forgiveness work ahead for me. I see that various forms of abandonment have been a pattern in my life, and I feel like I have "Please abandon me" tattooed on my forehead. 
    I noted that there is a big variety of abandonment. The biggie is death, and that's what happened with my Grammie dying suddenly of a heart attack when I was four years old. That started the "abandonment snowball" off the top of the mountain. Then there is emotional abandonment, which is what happened with my mother, as she was devastated by her mother's death, and my parents' relationship went completely "off the rails" after that. Then there is the abandonment wherein I don't feel safe sharing my whole self with those closest to me. There have also been times, like now, when I feel my body is abandoning me. The bone spur on my foot is hampering my determination to keep moving, and I'm very unhappy about it. Lastly, I share my oft-repeated phrase regarding our sons, "We raised them to be independent, and damn it, they are." Though it is the organic, natural, desirable path in life, the kids "leaving the nest" is a form of abandonment, at least in my psyche. 
    Awareness... forgiveness... trust the process... onward...

Saturday, May 25, 2024

May 25--Unlimited Grace

Love is by definition an unmerited gift; being loved without meriting it is the very proof of real love.  --Milan Kundera

    "Being loved without meriting it" is the full grace of Spirit moving in, through and as us. I think so many folks grew up with the natural desire to please parents/elders. When that effort seemingly failed, we fell into the "I'm not worthy" trap. The idea of being completely loved, "warts and all," is very difficult to grasp, and even more challenging to integrate into one's being and live it.
    I have been praying for Spirit's guidance, understanding, nudges, any sort of help relative to my intentions of "staying healthy and active" and "encouraging and allowing myself to be a happy human." Two things came up to me yesterday. The word "abandonment" flashed billboard-size in my brain. There's much to consider there. Also, I ran across an article about high-functioning depression that hit way too close to home. I shall be journaling, and you may see more on these topics in future writings. 
    Learning every day,
Snoozing right next to me, sweet Barney, real love!

Friday, May 24, 2024

May 24--Will We Survive?

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    I'm amused. Down below is my original post for this quote, written a day in advance. When I saw the title "Will We Survive?", I giggled because our clothes dryer went belly-up yesterday. While some may consider a dryer a luxury (yes, I know it is), I consider it a necessity. My husband put up a clothes-line outside, and we have a hanging rack inside that I can use, so I won't get too stinky. Onward...


    The Dalai Lama is a wise human. 
    Our survival depends on every single one of us. 
    What will you do today to bring more love and compassion into our world? 

My lilies are blooming--heavenly!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

May 23--Lowering the Voltage

Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.  --Barbara Kingsolver

    We don't forget those things that have traumatized us. The way I tell if I have forgiven something is that I can look at the person or situation and have no emotional charge caused by remembering. Low-voltage aggravations are much easier to forgive than the super-charged ones. Likewise, one time events are easier to forgive than ongoing, repetitive actions. I've made great progress, but I can't say that I feel no charge relative to my brother's constant verbal abuse growing up. I remind myself of all the personal growth that abuse has inspired, and I let it go yet another time. 
    Forgiveness does not require forgetting--that's impossible. 

A plot of pretty pansies!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

May 22--Enjoying Imperfection

Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another! 
--Emma, 1996 Screenplay

    Let us be comfortable with our imperfections! Speaking from vast experience, it is very unpleasant living with someone who is non-stop striving to be perfect. Perfectionism is a quite common defect of addicts. It is an insidious undercurrent in our society, causing us to hide behind masks and live in fear of "not good enough." 
    Instead, let's cherish our unique human personalities, "warts and all." As I mentally roam around family members and friends, I can easily see "imperfections," but for the most part, that is what I love about them. 
    Let's get really good at being imperfect!

Imperfect yet still functional!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

May 21--Many Versions of Love

Where the myth fails, human love begins. Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws.  --Anais Nin

    You have to be of a certain age, but there was a skit on Saturday Night Live long ago whose central feature was the Love Toilet shown in the photo below. The idea was that the couple could not bear to be separated, even for the time it takes to go to the bathroom. This idea came up because I recently encountered one of those couples who never do anything separate from each other--they appear to be joined at the hip. Granted, that is my assumption looking in from the outside. 
    My husband and I have many interests that do not overlap. He is into music, bicycling and projects around the house. I am into traveling, pickleball, golf, and gardening. We talked about how much each of us would have missed if we had declined our hobbies and adventures because the spouse was not interested. Also, because we have such different interests, we generally have a lot to talk about. What would you talk about if you are together all the time? 
    All relationships are different. It is a blessing to have one that works, however it looks!

The Love Toilet SNL

Monday, May 20, 2024

May 20--It's DIVINE!

To err is human; to forgive, divine.  --Alexander Pope

    I knew this quote had to show up eventually in a month of forgiveness quotes. Forgive "seven times seventy" is the strongly suggested effort. I believe 490 times of forgiveness in a long lifetime is not too many. Maybe Jesus was exaggerating a bit? Probably not.
    Actually, as I consider living with another person(s), I see forgiveness as a daily organic aspect of life. That other person is going to do things that are, at the very least, annoying. We simply have to overlook, i.e., forgive, a lot of stuff if we want to keep a loving relationship going. The practice of raising children is a direct lesson in forgiveness, because we all know how frustrating they can be as they humanly err their way into learning life. 
    It is our innate connection to Source and infinite love that enables us to forgive and be free.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

May 19--Not a Victim

Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.  --Aldous Huxley

    Isn't it interesting how two people can go through the same event and each one has a completely different experience? It all depends upon our beliefs, thoughts, triggers and choices. I think of my recently-passed brother who was not keen on the idea of moving into assisted living. He did, though, and he made the best of his "prison" experience despite his health issues and annoyances. He was friendly and helpful, told lots of stories, prided himself on making the staff members laugh. 
    Huxley's quote exactly describes addiction. A practicing addict thinks he/she has no choice, that the addictive substance or activity is happening to him. Getting into recovery empowers the addict with healthier choices about what to do with what happens to him. 
    This is a constant challenge for me, recognizing my choices rather than feeling like a choice-less victim. 
From my recent
estate sale roamings

Saturday, May 18, 2024

May 18--A New Dream Is Required

Don't ruin the present with the ruined past.  --Ellen Gilchrist

    As Einstein said, you can't solve a problem with the consciousness that created the problem. 
    One of my favorite writers and spiritual teachers is Brian McLaren of the Center for Action and Contemplation. Even though we have created enormous ruination of our glorious Mother Earth, McLaren shares his dream of the consciousness needed to save ourselves and our Mother:
This is my dream, and perhaps it is your dream, and our dream, together: that in this time of turbulence when worlds are falling apart, all of us with willing hearts can come together … together with one another, poor and rich, whatever our race or gender, wherever we live, whatever our religion or education. I dream that some of us, maybe even enough of us, will come together not only in a circle of shared humanity, but in a sphere as big as the whole Earth, to rediscover ourselves as Earth’s multi-colored multi-cultured children, members of Team Earth.

I dream that the wisdom of Indigenous people, the wisdom of St. Francis and St. Clare and the Buddha and Jesus, the wisdom of climate scientists and ecologists and spiritual visionaries from all faiths could be welcomed into every heart. Then, we would look across this planet and see not economic resources, but our sacred relations … brother dolphin and sister humpback whale, swimming in our majestic indigo oceans, with sister gull and brother frigate bird soaring above them beneath the blue sky. We would see all land as holy land, and walk reverently in the presence of sister meadow and brother forest, feeling our kinship with brother bald eagle and sister box turtle, sister song sparrow and brother swallowtail butterfly, all our relations.

In my dream, the reverence we feel when we enter the most beautiful cathedral we would feel equally among mountains in autumn, beside marshes in spring, surrounded by snow-covered prairies in winter, and along meandering streams in summer. In my dream, even in our cities, we would look up in wonder at the sky, and a marriage between science and spirit would allow us to marvel at the sacredness of sunlight, the wonder of wind, the refreshment of rain, the rhythm of seasons. At each meal, we would feel deep connection to the fields and orchards and rivers and farms where our food was grown, and we would feel deep connection to the farmers and farmworkers whose hands tended soil so we could eat this day with gratitude and joy.

In my dream, our life-giving connection to each other and to the living Earth would be fundamental, central, and sacred … and everything else, from economies to governments to schools to religions … would be renegotiated to flow from that fundamental connection. In my dream, we would know God not as separate from creation, but as the living light and holy energy we encounter in and through creation: embodied, incarnated, in the current and flow of past, present, and future, known most intimately in the energy of love.
    Let us dream this dream into reality!
One of the many gorgeous spots on our Mother--
south central Pennsylvania

Friday, May 17, 2024

May 17--Let Go, Let Life

Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.  --Eckhart Tolle

    My brother was the first one to share with me this phrase regarding unwillingness to forgive: "you are letting that person live in your head rent-free." Such a state is one of weakness. Clearing the mental squatters is an act of self-empowerment.
    Recently I've been considering the practice of self-pity. That is defending or hanging on, and it is a weakened state. Letting go of the "oh, poor me" stuff, dwelling in the past, gives us the opportunity to see potentials for a more creative future. 
    Unforgiveness keeps us trapped in the past. Forgiveness clears the wreckage--a "clean slate" is a powerful place to start.
My latest sewing creation, 
a CUBS garden flag

Thursday, May 16, 2024

May 16--Thank You?

True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience." 
--Oprah Winfrey

    "Ouch!" That's a lofty goal, in my opinion. My greatest challenging experience in life was the near-constant verbal abuse by my brother Ken. It's kinda tough to say "thank you" for that, BUT my life would be completely different had he not been around. Given that I pretty-much like where I'm at these days, I guess I could squeak out a little "thank you." 
    I was not happy with my mother dying when I was a young person of 23. It took a while for me to forgive her for that. This is an instance where I can truly say, "Thank you for that experience." Her early passing forced me to develop a level of independence that would have been most unlikely had she lived many more years. 
    I bless those times where it is simply too much bother to hang onto grudges and resentments. 

One of many adorable logos
at Hopping Gnome Brewery,
Wichita, Kansas

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

May 15--Handling Mistakes, Or Not

Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts. 
--Nikki Giovanni

    The photo with this quote is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The lean is caused by an unstable foundation. And my googling tells me that the builders knew it was leaning after constructing three stories, yet they still completed the eight-story structure. I'm not sure that is a good "response to the error." On the bright side, it has yielded considerable tourist traffic over the centuries. 
    This is, however, an excellent metaphor for life. We screw up, but we keep going. Sometimes we clean up our mistakes with amends and forgiveness. This strengthens our spiritual foundation. Other times we drag the baggage around out of pride or embarrassment, weakening ourselves and our relationships.  
    A good thing to ponder: how can I lighten my mistake baggage?

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

May 14--Bad and Good in All

People are very bad and very good. A little love goes a long way.  --Amy Poehler

    Often the question floats through my brain: why do folks have to do nasty, mean, ugly things? Greed is a huge part of it. Much of the quality of life in the Wichita area is due to the "generosity" of the billionaire Koch family, yet they are as greedy and power-hungry as they come. They are a fine example of "very bad and very good." 
    Bringing it very close to home... both our neighbors to the east and to the south now have a collection of ducks. These ducks are quite vocal, and they encourage the neighborhood dogs to get in on the conversations. At least some of these ducks do not fly. What's that about?!?!?! Isn't it cruel of nature to give a creature wings but it can't fly??!!?! I told my husband that I want to get a sign made to hang on our deck (visible to both sets of duck owners):


    Have a lovely day!

Monday, May 13, 2024

May 13--Mother Earth is Weeping

We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.  --Ellen Goodman

    Mothers are mothers 24/7/365, not just one day. And our Mother Earth nurtures us 24/7/365. Here are words from Brian McLaren in his book, "Life After Doom: Wisdom and Courage for a World Falling Apart":
You woke up again this morning with that familiar un-peaceful, uneasy, unwanted feeling. You wonder what to do about it. You suspect that if you pay attention to it, it will unleash some inner turmoil….

It’s anxiety that we feel, yes, and a tender, sweet, piercing sadness, not just for ourselves, but also for everyone and everything everywhere, all at once.…

We feel this doom because we are awake, at least partially awake.…

The open secret of doom finds us everywhere. Trees tremble as they tell us about it, weeping. Water whispers it to us. Birds and insects testify about it through the heartbreaking silence that speaks of their absence. Forgotten forests, bulldozed into shiny new housing developments, haunt us like ghosts. Even though politicians try to distract us with their daily gush of hot air, the scorching winds of a destabilized climate breathe the chilling truth down our necks.…

Here’s one thing I’ve learned already: when you dance with doom, doom changes you.

Yes, it can change you for the worse…. But the dance can also change you for the better, leaving you more humble and honest, more thoughtful and creative, more compassionate and courageous … wiser, kinder, deeper, stronger … more connected, more resilient, more free, more human, more alive.
    Loving our Mother Earth is everyone's job!
The "mascot" at Bear Creek Golf Club,
Wentzville, MO

Sunday, May 12, 2024

May 12--Loving Moms

Moments of kindness and reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later.  --Alice Munro

    It is never too late to forgive. Even if the person is deceased, you can write a letter of forgiveness and have a ritual of release, such as burning or shredding the letter. It works!
    I often quote Richard Rohr from the Center for Action and Contemplation. His Daily Meditations this week have been about "homecoming"--the eventual return to Source that we all experience. While I am happy that my beloved brother is no longer suffering, I do miss him terribly. This quote from Mr. Rohr is quite comforting: 
In the metaphor of life as a journey, I think it’s finally about coming back home to where we started. As I approach death, I think the best way to describe what’s coming next is not “I’m dying,” but “I’m finally going home."
    Thinking of my brother as being "home" works for me. I believe that is how he was viewing it. Eventually being "home" myself also works for me.  
    Let us not pass up any opportunity to express love and appreciation here and now,