Wednesday, July 17, 2024

July 17--Family Fun

The pleasure of love is in loving. We are happier in the passion we feel than in that we inspire.  --Francois de la Rochefoucauld

    Route 70 in eastern Colorado is in terrible shape. The road is so rough, we feel battered after passing through that section. So we elected to take a detour on two lane roads through farmland and a few small towns. One of those we passed through had the no-doubt fine institution: Last Chance Community Church. LOL! Actually, I just learned that the tiny town's name IS Last Chance, which I guess makes it not so comical. 
    I had a great time playing with my grandson. I even got to read him a couple stories. Note that Dad and Mom don't want me to publish any photos of him, otherwise you could see how adorable he is! They are going to let us babysit him tonight while they go on a date. That's huge. Both have jobs and side hustles besides a 2-year-old and another arriving soon, so they need a break. We are so happy to support that!
    More fun today!
Hoping to score some Palisade peaches...

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

July 16--More Please

Love is a power which produces love.  --Erich Fromm

    WOOHOO!!! I get to see, hug, cuddle, and play with my grandson today!! He's going to be a big brother in a couple of months, so more love is being "produced" as I write. 
    I leave you with this from "Every Day Spirit" by Mary Davis:

Bless my eyes to see goodness.
Bless my words to speak kindness. 
Bless my heart to feel compassion. 
Bless my soul to radiate love. 

    Let us spread these blessings lavishly!
Bench decoration at Botanica, Wichita

Monday, July 15, 2024

July 15--We Are ALL Addicts

We live in the world when we love it.  --Rabindranath Tagore
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of July 14:

I am convinced that, on a practical level, the gospel message of Jesus and the Twelve Step message of Bill Wilson are largely the same message. The Twelve Step Program parallels, mirrors, and makes practical the same messages that Jesus gave us, but without as much danger of spiritualizing the message and pushing its effects into a future world.

Here are four assumptions that I am making about addiction:

We are all addicts. Human beings are addictive by nature. Addiction is a modern name and honest description for what the biblical tradition called “sin” and medieval Christians called “passions” or “attachments.” They both recognized that serious measures or practices were needed to break us out of these illusions and entrapments.

“Stinking thinking” is the universal addiction. Substance addictions like alcohol and drugs are merely the most visible forms of addiction, but actually we are all addicted to our own habitual ways of doing anything, our own defenses, and most especially, our patterned way of thinking and processing reality. These attachments are at first hidden to us; by definition, we can never see or handle what we are addicted to, but we cannot heal what we do not first acknowledge.

All societies are addicted to themselves and create deep codependency. There are shared and agreed-upon addictions in every culture and every institution. These are often the hardest to heal because they do not look like addictions. We have all agreed to be compulsive about the same things and unaware of the same problems. The gospel exposes those lies in every culture.

Some form of alternative consciousness is the only freedom from the addicted self and from cultural lies. If the universal addiction is to our own pattern of thinking, which is invariably dualistic, the primary spiritual path must be some form of contemplative practice or prayer to break down this unhelpful binary system of either-or thinking and superiority thinking. Prayer is a form of non-dual resting in “what is.” Eventually, this contemplative practice changes our whole operating system! 

Let me sum up, then. These are the foundational ways that I believe Jesus and the Twelve Steps of AA are saying the same thing but with different vocabulary:
  • We suffer to get well.
  • We surrender to win.
  • We die to live.
  • We give it away to keep it.
This counterintuitive wisdom will forever be resisted, denied, and avoided, until it’s forced upon us by some reality over which we are powerless—and, if we’re honest, we are all powerless in the presence of full Reality.

We are all spiritually powerless, not just those who are physically addicted to a substance. Alcoholics simply have their powerlessness visible for all to see. The rest of us disguise it in different ways, and overcompensate for our more hidden and subtle addictions and attachments.
I am continually in awe and gratitude for the wisdom of the founders of the Twelve Step program.

On The Ledge in Chicago...
isn't that where all of life is!?!!?

Sunday, July 14, 2024

July 14--How Big Is Your World?

We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong.  --Brene Brown

    The word "belong" is sticking out for me in this quote. One of the things that concerns me as I get older is the idea of my world becoming smaller. What does that mean? I've seen older folks become less active, less involved, having less social interaction, and becoming more and more isolated. This may be due to physical or health issues, retirement, or even by choice. I'm an introvert by nature, so I often have to nudge (shove!) myself to participate in society. Our families are all far away--how long will we be able to travel to see them? I'm becoming less interested in playing golf--that's a whole set of folks that I could drift away from. I'm enjoying simulated patient work and pickleball, and I've met and reconnected with many folks via those efforts. Traveling is still "number 1" on my agenda, but for how long? 
    Writing this makes me realize that the fine balance of belonging vs. isolation is my choice, at least for now. I am blessed in that the only limit I have at the moment is my tendency to be a hermit. If I make the effort, my world continues to be just the right size. 
    Still showing up,
My favorite Chicago photo--
Wrigley Field from my airplane
circling to land

Saturday, July 13, 2024

July 13--Choice Words

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

    As a die-hard Cubs fan, I'm pleased to report that the Cubs swept a 3-game series against Baltimore in Baltimore. This is huge, as the Orioles are one of MLB's best teams and the Cubs have been sucking badly. In Thursday night's game, the Cubs 3rd baseman made a great play to get a close out at first. Jim Deshaies, Cubs TV announcer, said, "Just pick it and flick it." This made me laugh out loud because when my younger son was about five years old, he announced to me, very profoundly, "Mom, I've decided to stop eating my boogers. I just like pickin' 'em and flickin' 'em."
    Let us not take life or ourselves too seriously!
Nicholas Krushenick, "Elephant Spoons"
Art Institute of Chicago

Friday, July 12, 2024

July 12--How Much Is Too Much?

Who would live and not love?  --Rachel Russell

    I am a person who is extremely wary of the medical profession. In my opinion, they are way too ready to do tests, procedures, etc. that are often unnecessary or even harmful. As of this week, this sentiment now includes the veterinary realm. Barney had a small wound on top of his paw for a couple weeks. He was taking care of it, and it did not affect his ability to walk. He would lick it occasionally, but it was healing. For some reason, my husband panicked and took him to the vet. Given the time of year and past history, a grass awn was suspected. There was NO infection. The vet gave him a local numbing to look at his paw, and when she could find nothing, she put him under general anesthesia and cut his paw open searching and found nothing. This left him virtually comatose for over 24 hours. Our usually vibrant pup just laid around looking sad. It was about 30 hours before he would eat and drink. This cost us $364 and his paw looks worse than when he went in, and it also has a staple in it that must be removed at the vet office. I am not a happy camper. Barney is not either. Barney looks at us like we have betrayed him, and I feel like that is the case. And by the way, the staple fell out somewhere already. 
    Thank goodness, Barney is one tough boy.
Poor Barney, I'm sorry!

Thursday, July 11, 2024

July 11--Only Love Works

Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.  --Euripides

    One does not have to step very far back to see what fools we humans are. We don't even need to go out into space to see that war, violence and environmental destruction are not helpful in any way. STOP IT!
    While exploring Chicago this past weekend, we had loads of time for people-watching. Truly we saw every version of humanity--skin color, culture, ethnicity, personal hygiene, extreme wealth, wretched poverty. At one point I wondered to my niece how many different languages we heard being spoken during our time there. Alas, here is a headline from a Chicago news station: "19 killed, 84 wounded in shootings across Chicago during holiday weekend." 
    What did that violence accomplish but sorrow? 
    I saw a meme that wisely suggested: "What if we don't have a President and we all just agree to be cool?"
    Love is our best option to reunite the Divided States of America with ourselves and the world. 
Georgia O'Keefe, "Red Hills with Flowers,"
Art Institute of Chicago

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

July 10--Love Is It

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.  --George Sand

    The photo below is a humorous take on one's love of coffee. Couldn't resist!
    Mr. Sand is right--love is the best. The niece with whom I explored Chicago is the daughter of my dear brother Arlie who passed in April. We spent a good amount of time remembering him, his personality and quirks, and our last times with him. The final words each of us had exchanged with him were "I love you."
    Today, once again, or twice, or three times, release more love into the world.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

July 9--Re-Centering

Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away.  --Elbert Hubbard

    It is taking a lot of breathing, centering, and patience to get through the frustration of the challenging trip home and re-entry into "regular" life. Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of July 3 offers soothing relief:

Mystic and theologian Howard Thurman (1899–1981) writes of the contemplative practice of making time to “center down”:

How good it is to center down!

To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!

The streets of our minds seethe with endless traffic;

Our spirits resound with clashings, with noisy silences,

While something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still

moment and the resting lull.…

The questions persist: what are we doing with our lives?—

what are the motives that order our days?

What is the end of our doings? Where are we trying to go?…

Over and over the questions beat in upon the waiting moment.

As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes

of our turbulence, there is a sound of another kind—

A deeper note which only the stillness of the heart

makes clear.

It moves directly to the core of our being. Our questions are


Our spirits refreshed, and we move back into the traffic of

our daily round

With the peace of the Eternal in our step.

How good it is to center down!

    Peace be with us all.

Monarch on hibiscus, The Butterfly House, Chicago

Monday, July 8, 2024

July 8--The Perfect Storm--for American Airlines

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.  --Kurt Vonnegut

    My niece and I slept in on Sunday, our last day in Chicago. We packed our stuff and left it for the front desk to lock away while we played on our final day. We took the bus downtown and went first to the huge Apple store on the Riverwalk to attempt to get a fix on my niece's phone. No luck there. Then we went to Millennium Park to photograph ourselves by the "Bean." We walked south to the Art Institute and spent a glorious couple of hours there; photos will eventually appear on the blog. Then we moseyed further south on Michigan Avenue, until I looked to my right and exclaimed "Kilwins!!!!" These are stores with outstanding ice cream, candies and fudge, and I have been to them in Fort Collins and Panama City Beach. Therefore, ice cream landed on the agenda immediately. We sat on a low ledge to eat, and had several people say, "Where did you get that!?!?!" 
    We decided to find a tavern and have a final parting beer, so we walked west on Van Buren to Franklin Tap. After about an hour sitting outside, the rain started, so we moved in. It rained, but it was a small shower. It did slightly delay the start of the Nascar race downtown, which we were watching on the bar TV. We reminisced about our totally fabulous time in the Windy City.
    Next we walked the few blocks to our hotel on Franklin, picked up our luggage, and took the bus to the Blue Line "L" station, and off we went to O'hare Airport. While we were riding there, we passed through a strong rain. 
    I want to offer praise for my cell phone and GPS and Google Maps. Without it, we would have been two very lost tourists. It gave me all the bus and "L" routes and stops, and we never took a wrong bus (though there was much bus rerouting due to the Nascar races downtown). 
    We hiked on over to our terminal, got through security, and checked the monitors. Note that when I flew into Chicago, it was extremely overcast, and there was a LOT of turbulence. Obviously we landed safely. Now we in Kansas KNOW storms. American Airlines are big pussies, because they canceled my flight. Of course they blamed it on "weather" so they did not have to compensate for their actions. I kid you not, the sun was shining in Chicago, and my husband in Kansas confirmed that it was dry all day. GRRRRR! 
    Long story short--my husband (my hero) drove to Tulsa (3 hrs) to pick me up, and we got home at 1:45am this morning. My niece's flight to Cleveland was delayed, finally canceled, she spent the night in the airport, and called me just a bit ago to say she was finally home. 
    We are hanging onto the thread that at least we got home safely. I guess the "charmed life" quota had run out for this trip!
    Planning on a nap today,

Sunday, July 7, 2024

July 7--Our Huge Saturday

If it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.  --Leo Tolstoy

    Well, the Cubs lost 7-0 yesterday (Saturday), so it was "charmed life" that we went to Friday's game! 
    Holy Cow! What a day we had yesterday. We took the bus to Navy Pier and had time before the Architecture Tour to tour the very new (2 weeks open) Butterfly House. Photos from there will be on future posts. We had a gloriously sunny day and a great guide for the Arch Tour. I learned that they are no longer blaming Mrs. O'Leary and her cow for the Great Chicago Fire. 
    Off the ship, we began the long walk to the end of Navy Pier. We stopped to ride the Navy Pier Wheel, the giant ferris wheel. These positively terrify me, so I'm not sure why I keep riding them. It took me about five minutes of deep breathing to be able to keep my eyes open. I kept them open for at least one revolution. We had an Italian beef sandwich for lunch, a Chicago specialty. The end of Navy Pier gave us a show by two guys doing tricks on jet skis. Heading back toward downtown, we stopped at the Beer Garden and had beers while listening to a blues band. 
    We took the bus back to our hotel for a late afternoon snooze. Our evening adventure was the Skydeck at Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, just a few blocks from our hotel, so we walked there. We found a Mexican restaurant and had supper and margaritas, then hung out till our ticketed time. The elevator zooms you up to the 103rd floor. It was a clear evening for city viewing. And yes, we did step out on the Ledge, photo below. And I did let go of the wall!
    Next we took a bus downtown. Due to bus re-routings for the Nascar races, we ended up with a long walk back to Navy Pier. We had a drink at an outside bar waiting for fireworks. Folks just sat down everywhere near the water's edge, and we were treated to a lovely "oooo, ahhh!" show. The biggest adventure of the day was the bus ride back to our hotel. Just getting on the #124 with all those people--it was a mad mob rush to get on. It was packed, standing room only. I had two folks offer me their seat, so kind, but I declined. At one point, the bus driver yelled, "Hang on, I'm making a right turn!" and she turned left. WHOA! Most other folks got off before our stop, so it calmed down considerably. 
    A LONG, glorious, fun-filled, love-overflowing, charmed-life day!!!

On the Ledge
From the Wheel, proof that I did it!

Saturday, July 6, 2024

July 6--YES! Sing the Song!

Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.  --Fred Rogers

    After the Cubs win a home game, they play "Go, Cubs, Go" and the entire stadium sings it. Of course, I know all the words. My goal was to get to sing it, meaning the Cubs won. Yes, they did, 5-1. We sang. I was in heaven. 
    Before the game we roamed around Wrigleyville sight-seeing and people-watching. We had a beer at the Cubbie Bear bar, a must on game day. 
    My niece and I love to play Rummikub, but we both neglected to bring a game with us. So after taking the subway from the game back near our hotel, we scoped out a Target. We bought the game and assorted snacks and decided on a relaxing evening of Rummikub. 
    Today we do the Architecture Tour on the river and Skydeck Chicago.  
    I LOVE this priceless time with my niece!

Friday, July 5, 2024

July 5--Breathe and Love

We need love in order to live happily, as much as we need oxygen in order to live at all.  --Marianne Williamson  

    I often remind my students that breathing is the most important thing we humans do. Maybe not. Maybe loving is the most important. 
    My niece and I had a great first day in Chicago. Our flights arrived on time, and we somehow found each other at the baggage claim. We took the subway downtown, my niece's first ever subway ride, and dropped our luggage at the hotel. We went to a nearby Giordano's for deep dish pizza, then took the bus to the Shedd Aquarium.
    We are "two peas in a pod"--we came back to the hotel and napped, then walked to a brew pub for supper. We walked almost 7 miles total.
    Today--Wrigleyville and the Cubs game, my baseball heaven!
One of the amazing creatures at the Shedd Aquarium

Thursday, July 4, 2024

July 4--Here We Go Again!

We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.  --John F. Kennedy

    Let freedom ring!!! Let us appreciate what freedom we still have!
    "I'm leaving on a jet plane." 🎵🎵 Today my niece and I meet up for a fun long weekend in Chicago. On the agenda today is to meet up at O'Hare Airport, take the subway downtown, drop off our luggage at our hotel, find some lunch and spend the afternoon at the Shedd Aquarium. 
    I'm hoping for a much-needed break from the Wichita heat in Chicago. Temps are predicted in the low 80s. I can't be in Chicago without going to a Cubs game at Wrigley. That happens Friday. Let us all pray for a miracle that the Cubs win that game--they are in last place and sinking fast. Nevertheless, I remain a die-hard fan 😏
    Stay tuned for travel adventures, because "I lead a charmed life, especially when traveling." (You are free to borrow this mantra for yourself!)
We shall soon see the Sea Otters!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

July 3--A Very BIG Question

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.  --Buddha

    The insight below is from spiritual director Ruth Haley Barton:

Many of us try to shove spiritual transformation into the nooks and crannies of a life that is already unmanageable, rather than being willing to arrange our life for what our heart most wants. We think that somehow we will fall into transformation by accident.

Christian tradition has a name for the structure that enables us to say yes to the process of spiritual transformation day in and day out. It is called a rule of life. A rule of life seeks to respond to two questions: Who do I want to be? How do I want to live? … [or] the interplay between these two questions: How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be?

I would offer that if one can answer the highlighted question and implement the answer in one's life--that is the ultimate in self-affection. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

July 2--A Good Day

What is done in love is done well.  --Vincent Van Gogh

    This comes from "Every Day Spirit" by Mary Davis:

Be present.
Let the day flow with grace.
Expect joy. Be positive.
Serve with compassion.
Speak only kindness.
Impart only love.
Never forget you're not alone.
Give thanks for everything.
See goodness in others.

    May our days be full of these blessings!
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Monday, July 1, 2024

July 1--Affection

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  --Mother Teresa

    The theme for July in "Daily Love" is affection. My son told me recently that my 22-month-old grandson was trying to kiss other little kids at the playground. Our very nature is loving and affectionate from day one. We need that to survive. Alas, that natural exuberant love has to be reined in to an appropriate level--also necessary for our survival. 
    In a world that seems to be getting nastier, meaner and ruder all the time, let us be kind. Smile. Say "please." Say "thank you." Call people by name. Life flows much more smoothly this way. 
    Give someone a hug today,

"Playmates" at Botanica, Wichita