Wednesday, February 21, 2024

February 21--Lighten Up!

Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words.  --Jeffrey Eugenides

    Just for fun, here's a replay of yesterday's "Notes from the Universe" by Mike Dooley:

The top 10 things dead people want to tell living people are:

1. They're not dead.
2. They're sorry for any pain they caused.
3. There's no such thing as a devil or hell.
4. They were ready to go when they went.
5. You're not ready.
6. They finally understand what they were missing.
7. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the moment you arrive.
8. Don't try to understand this now, but life is exceedingly fair.
9. Your pets are as crazy, brilliant, and loving here as they were there.
10. Life really is all about love, but not just loving those who love you…

    Let us not take life so seriously!! 
    Despite highs only in the 60s, I was in the pool in yesterday's Florida morning sunshine. I might mention that the pool water is 96 degrees. I motored around for a half-hour workout, then we just lazed and shared stories and loads of laughter. My body and soul needed this time of complete relaxation.
    Our 4th girlfriend arrives today, woohoo!
    Party on!!!
Where soon I will be...

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

February 20--Pooh Bear Flies

When we're connected to others, we become better people.  --Randy Pausch

    Three of the four girlfriends are together after our safe, easy trip to Florida. The other one arrives tomorrow. We are definitely better together!
    I noticed that the man next to me on our second flight yesterday had a Pooh Bear. I commented that it looked well-loved. It turns out he is an American Airlines pilot on vacation, he takes the Pooh Bear on every flight, and it has flown over 1000! That's the pilot I want flying my plane!
    We are settling in at our friend's "resort." The Rummikub battle has begun! I am eternally grateful for the love, laughter, hugs and support this gang offers each other. Truly "another day in paradise!" 

Monday, February 19, 2024

February 19--Up, Up and Away!

Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted. 
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I had a productive Sunday to help pull me out of my funk. I journaled and cried. I appreciate YouTube so much, as I was able to use it to teach myself a new crochet pattern. This means that the baby blanket for my new/September grandbaby is underway. I did laundry and finished packing for my trip. I walked Barney, usually an OK chore for me, but he kept stopping and refusing to walk for no apparent reason. I was given a couple tiny succulent plants at a weekend event, and I moved those into a more permanent pot. And of course, I enjoyed my favorite hobby of napping. 
    Mainly my funk is leaving because I am headed to Florida today for a week of fun with three dear girlfriends. 
    Party ON!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

February 18--Occasionally Empty

Love is to people what water is to plants.  --Marianne Williamson

    My dad thought that I had a tendency to cry a lot, and he used this phrase, "Her water always was close to her eyes." 
    So it is a frustrated, soul-rinsing kind of morning, and I don't feel like writing a blog post. Some personal journaling seems to be the better route.
    I'll be back tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

February 17--Self-Acceptance

It's quite simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.  --Antoine De Saint-Exupery

To accept that each of us is just ourself is probably the most courageous thing we will ever do.  --Richard Rohr

    I have become aware over the past couple of years that I am an angry person. Maybe I've known it long-term and have finally 'fessed up to it. I know from my 12-Step work that more often than not, anger is a layer on top of a firm foundation of fear. That foundation was laid for me at age four when my Grammie died suddenly of a heart attack. If that could happen to my mother's mother, what was to prevent it from happening to my mother?!?!?! 
    I would say that I am now in a period of exploring my anger and fear. A lot of anger vents when I am driving. I yell at other drivers, then tell myself that was not a nice thing to do, and I should stop it! So far, this method has been unsuccessful. Miscellaneous comments by my spouse infuriate me way out of proportion to the words spoken. Because I know my reaction is over the top, I keep these irritations to myself. This is enlightening me to how I hold grudges and resentments. I think the underlying fear here is that someone or something damages or wrecks my sense of security, even though I know that security in this world is certainly not guaranteed. 
    Continually working on acceptance,
Being a numbers nerd,
the odometer always entertains me!

Friday, February 16, 2024

February 16--Improvement Is Always Possible

There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.  --Charles Dickens

    I am headed to Florida next week to spend a week with three dear girlfriends. Laughter and good humor will be virtually infinite. 
    To add to the good humor of my birthing experience (see yesterday's post), I spoke with one of the SPs who was sitting outside the practice rooms checking in the students as they arrived for their Encounters. She said that we birthing-mother-voices were making so much noise that the people on the floor below us came up to see what was happening! 
    I must comment on the Super Bowl (SB). It was a very tense watch for this Chiefs fan. I love watching the team just because they are so unpredictable. Also memorable for me was the Reese's commercial. I love Reese's peanut butter cups/eggs/trees, etc, and I love their commercials. The SB one started with "We are changing Reese's peanut butter cups." The entire country (world?), including me, yelled, "NO!!!" The next scene was them pouring a big glop of caramel onto a peanut butter cup. The entire country (world?), including me, yelled, "YES!!!" 
    I have already tried the Caramel Big Cup, and my comment to my husband was, "What took them so long?!?!?!" 
    Life is yummy!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

February 15--Five Babies in One Day!

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over. 
--Ray Bradbury

    I have several budding friendships with folks I have met over the past year playing pickleball. This excites me to no end. 
    I birthed five babies on Monday! (See the Feb 6 post for background.) At the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (KSCOM), I was in the control room behind a one-way mirror being the voice of the birthing manikin. There were six rooms with 5 Encounters each lasting 18 minutes. It was a monumental teaching effort. Each Encounter had three student doctors who did various evaluations and birthed the baby via a normal (no complications) delivery. For 10 minutes in each Encounter, I was huffing and puffing and having contractions, answering questions and encouraging the students to "get that baby out!!!" Breathing was quite the issue for me. I learned in the first encounter that hyperventilating was way too possible. My huge afternoon of breathing led to total brain-dead exhaustion.
    I stayed afterward for a feedback session. There was another person in the role that I had (they have only two full-person birthing manikins), and the staff raved about how realistic we made it. The doctor instructors loved the Encounters, and they said the students loved them, too. 
    The actress in me is getting to play!!!
Not a great shot, but you 
kinda get the picture.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

February 14--I LOVE my Neighbors!

Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children.  --Cheryl Strayed

    Last Saturday evening, a chilly one, I bundled up to take Barney out to pee. We went out the front door, and the storm door slammed shut as is its habit when it is quite cold outside. Barney did his business and we went back to the porch only to find the storm door locked. It slammed so hard that it flipped the lock switch. GRRRRR! OK, we'll go in through the garage. Nope, I couldn't get the keypad to open the door. I had no phone on me. Just me and Barney locked out of the house. My husband was away at a music jam. 
    Our next door neighbors, P&M, pulled up just as I was trying to figure out what to do. They took Barney and me in, and let me use a phone to call my husband. Because it was a number he didn't recognize, he ignored the calls. M called another set of neighbors across the court, C&C, and they came out, too. Multiple tries by everyone on the garage door keypad were unsuccessful. Long story short, C finally replaced the batteries in the keypad and was able to get the garage door open. Hallelujah!! 
    My husband didn't get home until a couple hours later. I was helpless--Barney and I would have frozen without the neighbors' help. 
    Barney was a confused trooper through the whole thing. 
    Thank you, my wonderful, sweet, kind neighbors!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

February 13--A Value-full Life

That best portion of a good man's life; 
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of 
Of kindness and of love.
--William Wordsworth

    Acts of kindness and love require that we are firmly rooted in the good values of life. Randy Woodley offers these thoughts and list of values that have been essential to Indigenous wisdom:

Why would human beings promote systems, structures, ideologies, and lifestyles that work against their own survival?

Good air quality is also a medicine. So is clean water. And healthy soil. Even a stress-free life is known to prolong people’s lives. It seems to me that people in the Western world are working against their own self-interest—against their own healing—and against their own grandchildren’s well-being. What will it take to change?

The only way I see such a destructive lifestyle changing is if people begin adopting different values and then living out these values. Our Indigenous ancestors figured this out—by trial and error and through necessity—so many years ago. These are the ancient values … that help us reconnect to sacred Earth.
    • Respect: Respect everyone. Everyone and everything is sacred.
    • Harmony: Seek harmony and cooperation with people and nature.
    • Friendship: Increase the number and depth of your close friends and family.
    • Humor: Laugh at yourself; we are merely human.
    • Equality: Everyone expresses their voice in decisions.
    • Authenticity: Speak from your heart.
    • History: Learn from the past. Live presently by looking back.
    • Balance work and rest: Work hard, but rest well.
    • Generosity: Share what you have with others.
    • Accountability: We are all interconnected. We are all related.
If we nurture these values in our lives, we will become more rooted in the community of creation.

    Practice, practice, practice. 
Our Mother is magnificent!

Monday, February 12, 2024

February 12--Soon, But Not Soon Enough!

You'll find, my friend, that what you love will take you places you never dreamed you'd go.  --Tony Kushner

    It is almost time for spring training to start. Opening Day of baseball season, this year March 28, is my favorite day of the year. Baseball, one of the biggest "loves" of my life, has taken me all over this great country. Who'd of thunk it--that I would go to games on three consecutive nights in Atlanta, Tampa and Miami, driving city to city. Or take a morning train from Philadelphia to Washington DC, go to a Nationals game in the afternoon, and take the evening train back to Philadelphia. Or go solo on two organized baseball tours. One of the most fun quests of my life has been going to all 30 MLB cities and stadiums. 
    Let LOVE lead the way!

Sunday, February 11, 2024

February 11--Communities of Love

To love or have loved, that is enough.  --Victor Hugo

    And let us continue to love, for our survival depends upon it! Here are hopeful words about our future from author and activist Valarie Kaur: 

I’m seeing people waking up, being in relationship, grieving together, raging together, marching together, re-imagining their own area of public life, their own sphere of influence in ways that I never imagined possible before. In those acts, in those moments and those gatherings around fierce love, I feel like I see glimpses of the nation, the world, that is wanting to be born.…

If we can create and nurture and inspire more and more of those containers, every school, every home, every workplace, every church, every house of worship, every neighborhood can become a pocket of that kind of beloved community, because this love stuff is not saintly. It’s practical. It’s pragmatic….

In the moments when I feel alone or afraid or that this love is absent, I just have to open my eyes, feel the earth beneath my feet, remember my grandfather’s love, know that separateness is an illusion. If I just sink into the present moment here and now, I can access the love that has been poured into me, the love that I am capable of, the love that surrounds me on all sides. And that can give me enough energy to take the next breath and then push.

Let us push on for a brighter, love-filled future.

Dusk in Wichita

Saturday, February 10, 2024

February 10--For Serenity

Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.  --Fred Rogers

    In my mind I am roaming around assorted family members both close and more distant, and thinking how much there are things in them that I don't like, but still I love them. There are addictions, disagreeable religious and political beliefs, lack of communication, poor self-care, and financial instability, to name a few. I am well aware that I have no power to change any of this, other than via acceptance and continually sending love their way. 
    Free will is a powerful human force. No one likes anyone messing with their freedom to choose. If we want serenity, we accept and continue to love. 

Friday, February 9, 2024

February 9--To Infinity and Beyond!

Nobody has ever measured, even the poets, how much a heart can hold. 
--Zelda Fitzgerald

    Since February is all about affection, I tend to go to the heart holding an unlimited amount of love. Certainly that is true because our heart connects us to the infinite All That Is. 
    Our hearts hold more than love. They hold pain, sorrow, grief, and regret. One doesn't have to be on the planet for very long to encounter these. Some lives have more than others. I believe our hearts hold these emotions tenderly because of our infinite capacity to love. 
    Some hearts are overwhelmed with fear, anger and hatred. Alas, our news media shows us these hearts way too much, so we might think this is the norm for humans. It is not. 
    Let us each contribute to the world a heart full of love,

Astronomy Picture of the Day, Feb 8
Globular Star Cluster with 
hundreds of thousands of stars

Thursday, February 8, 2024

February 8--No Matter What

Love is not a because, it's a no matter what.  --Jodi Picoult

    How clever this quote is! (She is an outstanding author, by the way.) My "no matter what" leads to my brother. I listen patiently to his Fox-News-inspired political rants. We are on WAY opposite sides of the spectrum, and I keep reminding myself that I love him "no matter what" his views are. 
    Let's be real here. Love can be challenging. Sometimes we have to use a "because" to get to the "no matter what." This is especially true for the inevitable ups and downs of a long-term marriage. "Because" I said "for better or worse," I love you "no matter what." 
    I believe we create earthly and spiritual families so that we can continually practice "no matter what." Pets are a good source of practice, too.

Barney loves us, no matter what. 
However, he does give us
an occasional "talking to."

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

February 7--Another Completion

Life must be rich and full of loving--it's no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.  --Jack Kerouac

    Art makes life "rich and full of loving." I have completed another straight-line painting. It has taken some time for me to like my own artwork (super-self-critical), and I love this latest accomplishment. The title is "That's Odd." There are five colors: peach, turquoise, ivory, black and tan. There is an odd number of occurrences of each color. Every occurrence of every color has an odd number of sides. I started with the 7-sided turquoise splotch in the center and worked outward from there. It grew however I was moved on any given day. I started this the day after Christmas 2023 and worked on it every day since then. I believe this qualifies for complex art--at least in my brain, it does! The triple-coated acrylic paint is on a 2' square of weather-resistant sealed plywood that can be hung indoors or out. 
    Now I'm a little freaked... what is my next creative project!?!?!!

"That's Odd" by Leta Renee Miller,
February 2024

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

February 6--More, More, More

Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish. 
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    I'm so grateful for this. When I was pregnant with our second child, I remember wondering if I could possibly love him as much as the first. Sure enough, I certainly have. The arrival of each child simply makes love grow. 
    Yesterday was the "dry run" for the simulated patient (SP) gig involving a birth. I get to be the voice of the pregnant manikin from the control room. We spent most of our time learning how to load the baby into the manikin so that it pushes it out properly. It is amazing technology. The birthing manikin even blinks, which freaked me out when I first noticed it. Next Monday we do the actual delivery Encounters, five each in six practice rooms. You'll get to hear all about it...
    Love makes everything work better.
This gives you the idea, but 
there is LOTS of lube involved!

Monday, February 5, 2024

February 5--Note the Vibes

People are felt rather than seen after the first few moments.  --John Steinbeck

    I think this is a good thing, and I am a strong advocate for using that intuitive sense wisely. 
    I can think of a few people in my life with whom I would rather not be sharing the planet. They give me "the creeps" because they have displayed sleazy or deceitful behavior or said inappropriate things. I'm glad there have been only a few such folks. 
    On the other hand, I have encountered many folks in my life with whom I felt great comfort and joy very early on. This has been especially true as I have met so many people playing pickleball. It has been pretty easy to "feel" those who are "win at any cost" vs. "let's have fun." 
    Being an introvert, it can be a challenge for me to get past "the first few moments" of conversation, but I am nearly always rewarded with good feelings as I learn about another interesting earthly life. 

It's February--Spring Training starts soon! 😂

Sunday, February 4, 2024

February 4--Share My Joy

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.  --Mark Twain

    You, my sweet readers, get some of this "full value of joy:" 

I am going to be Grammie again in mid-September!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nothing else I could write today can top that!

Saturday, February 3, 2024

February 3--Me Loving Me, You Loving You==>GOOD!

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.  --Buddha

    I remember many years ago at a gathering of my husband's family that his father gave a prayer in which he hoped he had lived a life of sufficient goodness to get into heaven. It was a stunning thought to me. He had made a wonderful life for himself and his family, and the idea that he was worried about getting into heaven was so sad. The possibility that there is no hell could not enter his long-held belief system. It seems we are trained, almost from Day One, that we are faulty, and what faulty human deserves love and affection? We are ALL faulty, and all deserving! Isn't it our faults that make us human?!?! 
    How boring would it be for Spirit, taking on human form as us, to reside in perfect humans!?!?! Let us love ourselves, simply for taking on the adventure of earthly life!

Friday, February 2, 2024

February 2--It Is Way Past Time to Change

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving. 
--Paulo Coelho

    I live in Wichita, Kansas. We made national news recently with the theft and destruction of a beloved Jackie Robinson statue from League 42, a nonprofit "dedicated to bringing the love of baseball to the youth of our city." Some pigs chopped off the statue at the ankles, hauled it off in a pickup, chopped it up and burned it. Fortunately donations are flowing in to rebuild and replace it. 

Episcopal priest Stephanie Spellers describes the story of domination emerging from our collective self-centeredness:

When you see cultures based on White supremacy, misogyny, environmental exploitation, consumerism, oppression, and domination, you are actually seeing the fallout from self-centrism. Entire systems, institutions, and societies are fully capable of this sin, as when a group places itself at the center and expects the rest of humanity and creation to support its singular prosperity.

There is no possibility for right relationship if one powerful group protects and sustains itself over and against all others. From there, it’s just too easy to construct binaries and hierarchies of human existence. Our group is good; all of you are bad. Our group belongs on top; we have to keep you low. Our group owns these resources and knows the best way to use them; you will only receive what we give you. Other members of the human family become objects and tools to be acquired, controlled, used, and discarded.

    The destruction of the statue is hateful self-centered White supremacy at its grossest. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

February 1--Affection and Reconciliation

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives.  --C. S. Lewis 

    The February theme in "Daily Kindness" is affection. Who couldn't use more of that?!!?
    Stories... we all have them, individually and collectively, that we have made up about life. Facts may or may not be involved. I am pleased to share this from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of January 29:

In their e-book The Seventh Story, Brian McLaren and Gareth Higgins create a tale of the origin of seven stories of how humans—The People—interact and live with one another:

One day, a long time ago, one of The People saw another one of The People holding something shiny. “I want it,” said one of The People, so he took it. When he got back home that night, the rest of The People were amazed. “Because I have a shiny object,” he proclaimed, “You have to listen to me.” He told them a story about what he had learned about how to be happy, how to have peace and security, how to keep the shiny thing that he had found. The first story [the domination story] said that the way to be happy is to rule over others.

But every time that story was attempted, people were unhappy because the rulers oppressed them. So a second story was invented: Let’s overthrow the rulers. This [revolution] story didn’t work either because it just turned the tables, putting new people under oppression.

Another story began in which the old revolutionaries withdrew into their own isolated spaces and judged the world. Nothing changed. These island communities used the same old stories to run themselves, competing to be in charge … and dominating each other.

Meanwhile, the domination story and the isolation story had a business merger, which resulted in an experiment: if they could get rid of the people they didn’t like, who looked or sounded different, or whose customs weren’t like their own, surely that would fix things? Of course, that [purification] story just led to more suffering.…

The People still weren’t happy, and they knew it…. The People tried to convince themselves that things were okay by accumulating things; toys or nations, it was all the same to them.… The People kept hurting, and hurting each other. A sixth story [the victimization story] was created…. The People would make sure that no one would ever forget that they were the victims, that their suffering was their very identity, and that no one had suffered as much as them.…

Then, something new; a poet came to town, a storyteller who knew that the domination story, the revolution story, the isolation story, the purification story, the accumulation story, and the victimization story were all destined to fail.

They were destined to fail because they invited every human being, who is already interdependent with every other human being, and even with the earth itself, to pretend instead that we are in a competition.… The poet had a radical idea, the seed of a Seventh Story that will heal the world.… In the Seventh Story, the story of reconciliation, we still get to win, just not at anybody else’s expense. In the Seventh Story, human beings are not the protagonists of the world. Love is.

    Let's amp up our efforts toward the reconciliation story...

Creativity is an essential element
of our reconciliation story. 
(One of my barn quilt paintings)