Tag Archives: Blessings

Pull Up a Chair

©IBKimage 2017

 

 

In the busy outside interactions of summer in the city, it’s often difficult to find a place of retreat, where one can stand back and observe what moments ago one was in the midst of. On a recent evening photo shoot, in front of Union Station,Denver’s newly repurposed and renovated train station plaza, just such a place made itself known. A breakfast restaurant with outdoor seating, was closed, but oh the delightful configurations of myriad plastic chairs at rest before the next performance.

In the midst of the surrounding hustle and bustle, I observed our two chairs leaning in for a chat and thought about many past joyous moments of sitting with someone in deep conversation, totally oblivious to what was happening all around. We’ve lost something when we so often engage in transaction with our devices while at the same time trying to experience deeper interaction with the human soul across from us. Many times not just wanting to experience deeper, but hungering for it.
IBK

Posted in Authenticity, Insight Also tagged , , , , , |

What’s Right In Front Us Often Reveals Next Steps

©IBKimage 2011

Six years ago can seem like yesterday or twelve long years depending on what has occurred in the interim. The lessons or reminders of that time are certainly a part of who we are today and yet in seeing something from the past today we are often tempted to add judgments about what we did or didn’t or could have done differently. What we have in front of us is all that we can respond to … in ways unique to who we are, our current situation, and what gives us joy even in the midst of challenging transitions.

Todays image was taken six years ago, a few months after my mother died. The sea as always is a place of blessing for me and its gifts nourish in myriad ways. And you?
IBK

Posted in Stopping, Waiting Also tagged , , |

We All Come From Somewhere We Consider Home

©IBKimage 2012

The place we currently live may or not be where our heart considers home.  I was born in Northwest Germany within a mile or so of the North Sea.  When I was almost 6 my family emigrated to the U.S. and we settled in South Central Nebraska … flat like Northern Germany but wide open spaces where patchwork quilts of prairie and farmland replaced the sea that one is always in relationship with when living near it.

Many years later I live in landlocked Colorado surrounded in Denver by beautiful mountain vistas, and yet as my mother before me longed for the sights and smells and sounds of home near the sea, (even though she adapted beautifully to her new land, and learned it’s ways and language, ) I too find solace in remembering where I came from and am nourished by the sights and sounds and smells of the water.

You all have places where you’ve come from and where your heart remembers  being home … sometimes it’s not the place itself, but the peace you felt when at a loved one’s home who resided there.  Anyway, I encourage you in this busy, noisy, chaotic world, to take yourself home for a bit and “sit with that for a spell”.

Today’s image is along the Eider River in Northern Germany at sunset where I got to be for a while. A river that cuts through flat farmland.

IBK

 

Posted in Aging Also tagged , , , |

Hope

 

©2009IBKimage

Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve missed offering insight and encouragement in your life transitions, but today I’m ready to begin again. I’ve been in a season of rootedness vs. roaming and there have learned to wait for answers I couldn’t find, and in some sense, didn’t need.  It’s a season of asking new questions because this has been an year of new challenges.  The best part of my year has been that I have experienced a few things that I had no control over and instead of acting  to get them  resolved, I learned to be grateful for what I had lost.  I’ve learned to wait and be given what I need; I’ve accepted help when it’s offered; and relearned the difference between sentiment – feelings – and love, which takes into account how my actions  affect all involved.  I wonder what it would be like this coming year if I could “be” more love than to “do” loving things. Both of course are important.

So as this year ends, I wish for you comfort for your losses; the courage to end well and care for yourself in addition to others; to write new chapters; or begin new books; the time to reflect on how you’ve been loved through your “ickies”as my friend S. says and continue to hope as you notice the seedlings sprouting up amidst the rocks.

Love and Joy Come to You and Yours in these days of reflection and hope.

IBK

 

 

Posted in Blessings, Courage, New Beginning, Seasons Also tagged , |

Just because you can …

©IBKimage2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the last few months I have been engaged in a long distance remodeling project. Now that the project is almost complete I have reflected on how important it is to assemble a first rate team for such an undertaking.   Like an orchestra with a variety of players and  instruments contributing their own distinct tone to the whole, just so the role of the skilled craftsmen/woman provided their unique skills for an amazing transformation of a home with amazing “bones” but in need of some much needed renewal for a different time.

During this time I intermittently did some of the physical work of  deconstruction, which has it’s own rewards, but also it’s downside … in my case resulting in a shoulder that has needed some care from a wonderful team of physical therapists, and acupuncturists. It’s been a while, but finally I seem to be making progress.  Last week my physical therapist gave me a phrase that related to not overdoing it with the home exercises … “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”  What she meant in this particular case was that even though I might not have as much pain, I could still be overworking my muscles, and actually be impeding progress by overdoing it … you know, if a little is good, more is better …

Well, I can’t let go of that thought.  I changed it slightly as I started sharing it this week.  “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to…”  and by repeating it in various contexts, it (the phrase) has changed me.  I challenge you to apply this phrase to your own life and see what happens.

Today’s image is a humorous example of our phrase for the day.  The setting is Belfast, Maine, and just because they could decorate this old theater this way, doesn’t mean they should, or have to.  🙂

Best, IBK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aging, Insight, Pruning, Seeing In New Ways, Uncategorized, Waiting Also tagged , , |

Something Old is New Again

©IBKimage 2012

 

It’s very interesting how things that we’re struggling with “all of a sudden” resolve.  One day, without notice, something that has been taking away so much of our physical and mental effort, finds it proper proportion in our life, or even disappears.  It was one of those weeks for me.  I was grateful for a negative result on a diabetes test and all that would have implied.  The gratitude turned into action as I examined the layers of denial that I had piled on during the last few months.

All of the things that I can do, (and know how to)  to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally and spiritually, I decided to take a sabbatical from.  Who knows if it was rebellion, passive-agressive behavior, or perhaps  just a realization that in our very human transitions, we sometimes just need  a long “soak” in a dry tub. Having no idea of what’s next, but trusting my creator,redeemer,sustainer to provide what I don’t even know I need.  Until then, we can take small next actions, engaging again in habits that satisfy and then gradually … the old is new again.

Today’s image comes from the Queen City Salvage Yard here in Denver; a delightful garden of oldness tucked underneath a busy I 70 East viaduct.  Here so close and yet so far away from the cacophony of daily activity, are yesterdays front doors, and old car bodies; tools and gadgets from another time, once on grandfather’s tool bench; and rusted hand pumps used to bring cool water to the farm and town kitchens before pvc pipe carried the running water to the faucet.

The paint is peeling on the door in our image but look at the beautiful grain and pattern underneath.  Someone will find this new old door and in just the right season – wherever it goes, it will be just the right thing .

IBK

Posted in Aging, Blessings, Courage, Letting Go, New Beginning, Seasons Also tagged , , , , , |

Endings

©2011MarkMatoon

 

With major transitions, come new challenges and responses.  This sound so obvious, but ask the survivors of a bombing in Boston if their lives will not be forever changed as they navigate their way through through emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges? How about our neighbors in Texas whose town blew up ?  What about the newly diagnosed cancer patient whose journey into the unknown is beginning?  And yet in all of these cases we’ve seen people step forward and surround those hurting, with “gifts of themselves” offered in love and compassion.

 

Most of our transitions are not this abrupt but the years spent in habit whether fruitful or barren, do seem to provide a well to draw on (or not) when our world and our relationships seem to be (or are) crumbling all around us.   Major transitions and pain also seem  to, after a time, help us see new ways that we might choose to adapt to our new “normals.”  Fire most certainly destroys, but it also refines and provides the fuel for our basic survival needs.

 

None of what I’m saying is new, but perhaps I’m reminded again that when our lives  change, whether in sickness or in health (or in death and destruction of recent days) we can boldly enter the wilderness of transition and perhaps marvel at how love finds us us when we are lost and broken. No matter what your transition, find a place of sabbath where you can “lay it all down” and slowly discover what your heart tells you to “pick up again” … leaving behind the demands and expectations of others; and the self created  burdens of perfection, “more” and “faster.”

Today’s image was taken by a photographer,  with whom I studied,on Nantucket Island in June of 2011, a few months after my mother died. The ocean always draws me to itself, and provides the water for my thirst.

IBK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Courage, Letting Go, New Beginning, Seasons, Seeing In New Ways Also tagged , , , , , |

©IBKimage 2012

 

When my oldest son was little I gave him a book that was in my toy consultant  sample packet.  The title:  “Little While Friends.”  He received it just before we went on a family road trip one summer where we explored three towns named Keystone in three states … among other things.  Stopping to climb rocks or while visiting a snake attraction, he would often find little while friends to interact with.  They didn’t have the same stature as friends from home or the familiarity and commitment of family, but it taught him early on that there are interesting people and sights all around that satisfy. Perhaps, like a beautiful mixed bouquet of flowers in a vase from the floral shop; they are precious because they are a fragile, time-limited treasures.

Now these little while friends don’t always have to be people … the beauty of nature in it distinct seasons, the gift of artists helping us enter into a place we hadn’t considered before; musicians stirring our souls; delight with new learning and new technologies that improve our daily living and help to restore in some manner what has been lost … but generally, it’s people we continually seem to say goodbye to; at airports and graduations, weddings and job changes, first day of school and retirement, and then a final ending whose tension we all live with confronted with so many “little while” choices, actions and engagements.

Our layered wall hanging in today’s image, by a fiber artist in Omaha, NE provided a little while delight on a restaurant wall, as a long time friend and I cherished precious time together over a meal,but more importantly it also reminds me that no matter how dark it might be, the light is thankfully always present. The story of death and resurrection, mourned and celebrated is thankfully” little while” and eternal.

IBK

 

 

Posted in Aging, Authenticity, Courage, Seasons, Seeing In New Ways Also tagged , , , , , , , |

Waiting

IBKimage©2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m up late tonight or early,eagerly waiting for the outside temperature to drop by at least 40 degrees from its high of 94 earlier this afternoon.  The windows are open … ahhh here comes the north wind blowing in the cooler air. It’s been a long summer of waiting for the temperatures to drop below 90 during the day  and  then it does.

We spend a lot of time waiting for:  answers, test results, hearing back  so that we can proceed , in line,on hold,apologies,a call,an offer, a loan,an acceptance,a letter,family coming for a visit, traffic, stop lights to change,proposals, news from the front,rides ,resolutions and so on. Some of us wait well, others not so well  and perhaps what waiting generally  implies is that we cannot control the outcome of what we’re waiting for. And then the waiting stops and there are answers, resolutions,  tears, joys, disappointments, anger,babies born,forgiveness given, jobs offered, jobs lost, votes tallied,lives significantly changed and so on.

I was blessed this week by an abundance of “waitings” that offered up hope for the future: a new son born to dear friends, a generous offer to take over a care ministry that I was covering until we found someone; wonderful news from a young man who is healing after months of debilitating cancer treatments and complications; neighbors’ 2  1/2 year old son surgically relieved of his liver tumor; news of progress and healing of a friend’s broken heart, my  own positive results from some medical tests and some rest and renewal  in the mountains courtesy of a generous friend’s invitation over the holiday weekend.

Thankfully, we rarely have to wait alone.

Today’s image is of my host’s dog Tink, who waited patiently in a tree along the trail while we , like paparazzi photographed him from every angle.

IBK

 

Posted in Seasons, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , |

Take Me Back

©IBKimage2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Dear Readers:

After a two week hiatus or possibly three I’m back at it and delighted to be.  I’ve had visits from friends; our almost 9 year old grand nephew flew in for a visit; and tomorrow our younger son returns to D.C. after a delightful  time with us and other family members.  As grand as it’s been we all are ready to get back to our normal normals.   Watching the olympics and hearing the backstories before the ascent to the medal podium, reminds us again that the steps we take every day are the ones that will come to fruition in some way or other in the next week,month or four years. The time we invest with others, or to learn a new skill or overcome a prejudice or accept a health challenge, etc. does start with just one step.

I remember the exact moment I was finally relieved of the burden of believing that when everything is right and I had  the right tools, and I’d learned enough and I had enough money and …. then I would do x.  Now I know that as I begin somewhere the joy comes from the result of the discipline of using the tools, learning from doing the thing, budgeting money for my choices and by “doing x” I’m actually  able to look back with satisfaction that where I had been was not where I was now.  One of my late mother’s gifts was the phrase: “Every age is interesting and has its own blessings.

As this very active summer begins to wind down and my body is needing to be back in touch with a new normal, I’m reminded of a commercial from my childhood for a bath salt product called © Calgon.  A tired beautiful woman in the city would get into the back of a limousine equipped with a bathtub.  After a long soak (60 second commercial) she would step out of the vehicle dressed in evening clothes and ready for a night on the town with a waiting beau.

The tagline for the commercial: ” Calgon, take me away.”  It was my fantasy for a long time to take a bath in a moving car.  Fortunately, I took up photography a few years ago and can be “taken away” by todays image in Acadia National Park in Maine.  When I need a rest from the busy the sea serves me well.

Thanks for letting me meander and offer two blogs in one.

Joy,

IBK

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aging, Blessings, Insight, Seasons Also tagged , , , , |