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?