Choose Your People

I used to think life could be shared with anyone, but now I know choosing the right people is pretty important.

Bob Goff in “Love Does”
One of my Mom’s many Precious Moments figurines. I think this little sweetie would be safe to catch a ride with. 😊

I am about halfway through the latest audio book by Bob Goff, “Love Does”.  While I have enjoyed the entire book so far, I found myself rewinding and listening to Chapter 18 again.  While in college, Goff would hitchhike across the country.  He says the cardinal rule is, “Don’t tell the person where you are going, instead ask where they are going.” This gives the hitchhiker time to size up the driver to determine if he or she seems safe and sane. 

While I won’t give away his story of a time that he didn’t follow the rule, suffice to say it was NOT a good experience. Turns out he had hitched a ride with Satan.  Yikes!

Goff tells us that even though he needed a ride to get somewhere, he still had a lot of power over who he would hitch a ride with.  He compares this to our lives.  We choose who we take this journey with.

Along the way, we become like the people we hang around. According to Goff, “We become connected together and influenced more than we think.”

This influence can be positive or negative. As in Goff’s experience, it is possible to choose the wrong companion.  To rectify this, he gives the following advice:

If there is a dude who isn’t great, and I mean purely evil, it’s important to get him out of your mind as fast as possible.  We have the power to choose who we do life with. If you make a bad pick, you need to do whatever it takes to get out of the car.

Bob Goff, “Love Does”

Sometimes it is our nature to give others too many chances.  While the bad ones DO need friends, according to Goff, it shouldn’t be you.

If we feel sad about this, Goff tells us that even Jesus did the same. Jesus didn’t give Satan any grace. He speaks the truth to him and tells him to go away.  “If Satan had come back saying he was sorry, that would be different, but of course he doesn’t and he won’t. ” says Goff.

Thankfully, most of us won’t be unlucky enough to hitch a ride with Satan, but Goff gives some final words of wisdom to help us to choose the people to do life with.

He says, “Some people learn to be altruistic and caring and some people don’t. You won’t always know right away in the makeup of the people you meet. What I’ve decided is a pretty good idea is to just ask people where they’re going before you get in with them. If they aren’t headed where you want to end up, just wait in the ice plant by the highway a little while longer.”

Great advice Mr. Goff!  It makes me think of the anonymous quote, “Stay close to people who make you feel like sunshine.” I wish you all more people like that in your lives!

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Patience Pays Off!

You cannot expect miracles to happen overnight. Be patient, be loving, and little by little the change you seek will come.

Leon Brown

I was absolutely delighted this morning when I went outside to find that my eyeliner lilies were finally blooming! I have been waiting for months, watching them grow tall and strong, seeing the buds develop and come oh so close to blooming. Every day I would check them to no avail. Finally today my patience paid off and I was able to enjoy the gorgeous blooms.

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Friendship

My little gnome in the apple tree has a friend now! This makes me smile!

A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.

Irish Proverb

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There is a time for everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8King James Version

3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I started thinking about this passage when reading an excellent blog post on Authentically 50 that referenced a song from the 80s classic “Footloose”.  I can still remember today how I felt way back in high school watching while Ren convinced Ariel’s dad, Reverend Moore, to allow the students to have their prom. By quoting Ecclesiastes, he softened the reverend’s heart and the kids were able to dance their socks off. I think most of the people in the theater were in love with Kevin Bacon after that speech!  😍

While ruminating on these words from scripture which Ren quoted so eloquently, I feel more confident in my own future. There is a season for everything.  Life is cyclical.  I may have gone through loss and heartbreak this past year, but to me that means there will be new beginnings and there will be a time for me to dance as well!

This afternoon I noticed that one of the clumps of daylilies that I recently transplanted had a shoot poking up with some buds on it. I was honestly thinking I might have to dispose of the plants because they were looking so sad and wilted.  It was a wonderful surprise to see the sign of new life and a reminder that there IS a time for everything ❤

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Love Letter to My Gardens (or Why Gardening is Better Than Dating)

After a very brief foray into the world of online dating, I have decided that I will stick to my flower and vegetable gardens.

I’m sure there are some lovely gentlemen out there in the land of match.com and zoosk, but apparently those gems are not interested in me. I have gotten a lot of “looks”, but I don’t really understand how that constitutes dating. I have also received some smiley faces and hearts, but once again, what do I do with these?

In response, I have said “Hi! Hope your day is going well.” and receive….wait for it…..crickets….. Maybe they have too many irons in the fire, maybe they’re just not into me or maybe they aren’t paying members so can’t respond. I completely understand not wanting to pay for the site. I am a “paying member” until December because I found a 50% off code. (There is almost always a code if there is a space for one!😄)

The ones that are VERY eager to meet me have names that I imagine are not their given names. Love4U, Likes2Snuggle and BetterNMost are some of my choices. Apparently I am too picky because the apps continue to disregard my age and distance perimeters. Tonight a match popped up that was cute, “liked* me, and even had a real name, so I “liked” him only to discover that he is from Las Vegas. Hmmm, even with Allegiant Airlines, that is a bit more of a commute than I want 😄

While watering my gardens tonight, I found this sweet little strawberry in the shape of a heart. It was almost as if it was saying to me, “It’s okay, Beth, WE still love you.”

My dear little strawberry, cucumbers, tomatoes and flowers, I love you too! ❤ With you I know exactly where I stand. As long as I give you some attention and water you each day, you reward me with beautiful blooms or yummy treats. If I see you wilting a bit, I know you need my attention. We don’t need emojis to communicate and you are all right here in my yard so no long distance travel is required. I will be here for you until the season ends and we part for a while and are reunited when once again spring returns.

Yours truly, Beth ❤

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Blessed Night

My latest watercolor creation, A Galaxy Sky

If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless.

James E. Faust
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Love Them Anyway

People are unrealistic, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.

Mother Teresa
Just like this little poppy, I am slow to grow and bloom. If I allow myself patience and tolerance and offer the same to those around me, I will hopefully bloom as lovely as this one day ❤

I recently finished listening to the audiobook Everybody, Always by Bob Goff. I sincerely enjoyed it and can’t wait to hear his latest, Love Does when it is available to borrow from my library.

While I enjoyed the entire audiobook, Chapter 17 really resonated with me. It is titled, “My Bucket” and in this chapter, Goff asks the question, “How is your life working for the people around you?” For a time, he carried around an actual bucket to remind him of the areas in his life that need work. He said his bucket needs to be filled with patience and recalls a time when he chose the wrong line at the car rental return and needed to dip into his bucket of patience to avoid giving the pokey employee a dressing down. Using his bucket allowed him to respond kindly to the attendant. He was even able to throw in a compliment for good measure about how happy he was with his visit as well as his rental car experience. This was no small feat considering he had missed his flight due to the delay!

As he was walking away from the rental car return, he heard a summons from the attendant who was moving toward him with a much speedier gait. Upon catching up to Goff, the young man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your sermon this morning.” The chances of this same young man being at the service earlier that day and working the exact lane Goff chose is astronomical. By acting as Jesus would have, though, Goff solidifed the message of love that he had conveyed that morning as a guest speaker. He queried that had he not dipped into his bucket of patience, the message this young man would have taken away might have been much different than the positive one that he received that morning and then had corroborated by Goff’s actions.

People will figure out what we really believe by what we actually do.

Bob Goff in Everybody, Always

Goff states that we need to find ways to engage differently with the people around us and this means all the people around us, not just those that we like or relate to. How we treat the rental car return guy, the grocery bagger, even the person who gets on our last nerve lets people know how we really are with Jesus. Goff says, “Jesus never had a problem with people who knew their shortcomings. He didn’t tolerate people who faked it.”

Goff’s daughter is an elementary teacher and her grading system is not the standard one. For report card grades, she uses the following system:

  • M = Mastered
  • G = Grade Level
  • N = Not Yet

Goff believes that if we use this sytem in our lives, we may have more forgiveness for ourselves and more tolerance for others. We haven’t achieved mastery, but having the intention that we are aiming for that and just aren’t there quite yet can help us to keep striving. Jesus is the only one who has mastered life, but he has infinite patience with the rest of us who keep plodding on, trying to improve ourselves and the world around us.

One statement that I really liked is the following, “Stop laying sod where he [Jesus] planted seed. He is more interested in making us grow than in having us look finished.” I think that statement speaks to me because I can be too much of a perfectionist and like to have everything all tied up in a neat little bow. I need to remember that I am a work in process and that it is fine to admit that I don’t have life all figured out.

I will end with another wonderful quote from Mother Teresa. She was a master of unconditional love for the very least among us. I will strive to be like her and like Jesus and am quite sure I will not succeed, but I will keep trying!

Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.

Mother Teresa

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Thank God for the Givers!

There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers.

The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.

Marlo Thomas

The world is made up of givers and takers. At some time we have all given and at others, we have been the recipient of generous gifts. The gifts given by those in the “giver” column are not always physical, tangible gifts. The gift of a moment of time, a listening ear, a reassuring hug, a kind smile or words of wisdom might be worth more than any physical gift.

One more thing in my garden to bring me joy! ❤

While some days it might seem like there are more takers, more of those who wish to point out our failings or to extinguish our inner spark, I truly believe there are more givers than takers in the world. I know many of these givers personally and I count myself quite fortunate that I do.

When we experience the generosity and kindness that these givers bestow on us, I think it is only fair that we let them know what a difference they make and how grateful we are for their presence in our lives.

I was fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the kindness of some of these givers today. My sister and her husband allowed me to tag along on their hike this morning. It was a glorious day for it and so much nicer than my usual walk around the block After they dropped me off, my wonderful Aunt and Uncle created an adorable little staircase for my gnome in the apple tree. It is the most wonderful creation and I am delighted with it!

I already know that when these givers read this post, they will possibly think that their actions weren’t that special. This is because as givers, they think nothing of doing for others. It is just a part of their character and comes as naturally as breathing.

For me, however, being able to get out and enjoy nature today and to have a new feature in my yard meant the world to me. It brightened my day and inspired me to try to bring that brightness to others as well.

Not a single one of us is promised tomorrow. When we have these givers in our lives, we need to celebrate them and to let them know how much they mean to us. So, this is me saying a huge, heartfelt thank you to my four givers today as well as ALL the givers who have made my world a more special place.

Love, Beth

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Spreading My Wings

My latest creation. I plan to keep this one as a reminder that my world has not ended. Instead, my possibilities are endless!

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.

Richard Bach

Today was a milestone day for me. It marks my last day of therapy. When I first started last February, I was a much more broken person than I am today. Today I feel so much stronger and worthy of taking on and tackling whatever may come!

I thanked my therapist for helping me to get back to the confident, secure person I was years ago. While I certainly would not have chosen my circumstances, I have found that because of them and because of the work I have done in sitting with the emotions and letting myself feel them, grieve what might have been and accept the future that is far from what I pictured, I have gained strength.

Like the caterpillar, at first I thought my life was essentially over. How would I get through life without “my person”? All versions of my future included him. How could I make him want me again? Why wouldn’t he talk to me? How could I “fix” this? With the help of my brilliant, patient counselor, I learned that it wasn’t fixable and I had to let go of that hope. I needed to find my soul, the core part of me that is me and has been from the time I was formed and will be me beyond my death. She soon gleaned from me that I am a “fixer” and a “helper” and I like to make people happy. All these are wonderful things, but she said I have to extend the same kindness to myself.

I have learned that if I don’t take care of myself, including emotionally, I can’t be there for others. In the last few months, I have increased confidence and appreciation for myself. I have many people in my life that accept me even with my limitations and failings and for that I am truly grateful.

I am like the little caterpillar that thought her world was over and soon discovered she was a butterfly. God has a plan for me and I am working my way out of the chrysalis stage and getting ready to spread my wings and fly into the next phase of my life.

Posted in anticipating good, feelings, Love Yourself, persevere, watercolor practice | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

My Dad is the BEST!❤

My sister and brothers and I hit the jackpot when it came to our Dad. He is the absolute best Dad we could ever ask for. He is a shining example of what a husband and father should be.

He gave us all a scare seven years ago and then again a few weeks ago. Two heart attacks and two successful surgeries to insert stents to keep the blood flowing freely into his generous heart. I am grateful for the talented surgeons that performed the operations and I am grateful for my Dad’s determination to take care of himself and faithfully attend cardiac rehab. We do a weekly Fitbit challenge and I’m sure he will be back to walking miles around me before too long! 😀

When my Mom was in the hospital last year, Dad fought all the powers that be in order to be by her side. In the height of Covid, that was some feat! He even arranged for all four of us to be able to go up and see her during her last days. He is a gentle man, but when it comes to his family, my Dad will fight like a Grizzly Bear.

He was Mom’s caretaker even at the expense of his own health. When he said “for better, for worse”, he meant it! My Mom was so fortunate to have him. Men like my Dad are few and far between. ❤

So much of what I am today is because of my Dad. He loves nurturing plants and watching them grow, especially vegetables. He has a bevy of bird feeders that he keeps filled for all the birds (and the squirrels and chipmunks😄🐿😄). He has the corniest sense of humor! In response to the question, “How much longer?!?” when we were on one of our road trips, we would often hear, “Like the monkey said when the train ran over his tail, “It won’t be long now.” ” We would all roll our eyes, but secretly we loved it! 🤣

Another popular zinger was, “I see said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.” And yet another that never failed to get a groan from my Mom when we had peas as part of a meal, “Eat every potato and pea on your plate.” Definitely a bit juvenile, but you can bet that as kids we thought that was hilarious. 🤣

Dad with all four of us ❤

This Father’s Day, I would like to wish my Dad the very best day possible!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you and I hope to be blessed with many many more years of listening to those corny jokes! ❤😄❤

Love, Beth ❤

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Almost There

After a lot of thought, I decided I was ready to dip my toe into the river of online dating. After being told I may have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince (not literally 😄), I decided I might as well put myself out there. This time around I’m going to be very choosy, so after eliminating anyone more than 50 miles away, anyone younger than 46 or older than 58, anyone who smokes and anyone not Christian, I was down to 7 people 😄.

I wasn’t willing to spend the money to subscribe since I figured the chances of having my limited pool of princes choose me as well was not great. What if none of them thought I looked like I might spark their interest? Spending a significant chunk of change to feel like I did at the high school dances when I sat on the bleachers watching other couples on the floor wasn’t too appealing.

I did set up the free profile, but found that without a subscription, others can see me and message me, but I can’t respond until I put my money where my mouth is. At least I got a message, even though I can’t respond, so there is hope for me yet.😄 I think I am almost there. I’m still wishing that someone I know might know someone who knows someone, etc. I have a little prayer box where I put messages to God. I have a request in, but I know that God’s timing is not my timing, so I am trying to be patient.

What makes me happiest about being “almost there” is the fact that a few months ago I couldn’t even entertain the thought of there being someone else for me. Now I know that there could be. I also know that I will be okay whether there is or not. I am enjoying my life as it is and looking forward to what is to come.

This morning I mowed my yard, cleaned up some of the dead branches on the trees and shrubs, and planted two bags of daylilies I thinned out earlier in the week. It gave me great satisfaction seeing how nice the yard looks.

When, or if, I do eventually meet a special someone, I will, in addition to my many other qualities, have a beautiful yard to share with him. ❤

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Miss You Mom

Tomorrow, June 16th, will be one year since my Mom died. It still feels surreal and there are times when I think, “I need to ask Mom about…” and pause to remember I can’t. Well, I can ask, but I won’t get an answer. I do believe that life goes on after death and I do believe that she can still check in on her family and friends. I had a dream shortly after she passed that she was young and full of energy and bopping around the hereafter like she no doubt did in her younger days.

Born August 19, 1948, Mom was 19 when she married my Dad and just 20 years old when she had me. We often celebrated our birthdays together since mine is just a few days after on the 24th. Last night, the thought crossed my mind that there aren’t 20 years between us since my birthday last year. Mom was 71 when she died, so from last year on, the years between us will decrease.

Celebrating our milestone birthdays, “50” and “30”

We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we did have a lot in common. Some of the things Mom loved were:

  • My Dad
  • Her children and grandchildren
  • Her sister and brother
  • Her flowers
  • The cabin that she and my Dad owned in the beautiful Black Hills
  • Silly, cute yard decorations
  • Smiley Faces

Mom also loved holidays and she loved giving gifts. Every time she and my dad went on a trip, they would come back with some kind of gift for all the kids and grandkids. She was very observant and would notice if one of us liked something. Pretty soon, we would be innundated with that object, whether unicorns or owls, or in the case of my brother-in-law, Broncos “stuff”. With Mom, sometimes “too much” was “just enough” 😉

Mom loved to travel and see new places and things. I definitely got that gene! She was also a planner and on our family trips, she would have a plethora of places that had to be seen. Sometimes it was a bit much and I recall stopping at many “historical” sights where perhaps a wagon train had once traveled through but currently it was an empty field. I’m sure I did my fair share of complaining, but every now and then I actually found something to appreciate, although it may have been a squirrel or chipmunk and not the detailed plaque describing said historic event 😉

Mom’s health declined significantly in her later years. Despite pleading from her family, Mom was stubborn and never one to be told what she should do. She smoked even after her first heart attack at the young age of 49. She finally did quit, but was never a fan of exercise, so eventually was dependent upon my Dad and a scooter to get most places. She did experience a lot in the years she had. She always dreamed of seeing Hawaii and she and my Dad did make it there for their 25th Anniversary and they saw many more places as well.

I get my love of all things cute from Mom. She never saw a smiley face she didn’t love. One year we all received round Smiley Face cutting boards. I use mine almost every day and I often think of Mom when I do 🙂 She enjoyed decorating the great outdoors with gnomes as well as statues, fountains, solar lights, windchimes. I follow her lead, so I’m sure when she checks in on me, she is happy to see that her old yard still contains little gnomes, animal statuary, metal flowers and solar lights.

The last week has been very emotional for me, thinking of all the things Mom won’t be here to celebrate with us. I believe that she can still celebrate milestones with us and cheer us on, but it would be so nice to be able to have one more day to talk with her. She did get to see her great granddaughter on FaceTime shortly before she died and I KNOW she was with all of us celebrating the first birthday of this little sweetie last month ❤

I miss you Mom and look forward to the day you can show me around your heavenly home. I’ll bet it will have a lot of smiley faces! 🙂

❤ Love, Beth

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