Author Archives: Busswoman

About Busswoman

I am a woman who has loved the written word all my life. I was an avid reader throughout my childhood and am still hooked on books in my adulthood. Writing has been a hobby for a very long time. Opening a new blog is a new adventure and one I hope will be a positive experience. My goal is to simply have a place to put my thoughts down in an easy format, and if in the process, my words give another person some enjoyment, then it is all the better. In the meantime, I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN! (All rights reserved...content found within may not be used without permission)

Easter

Here I sit, alone in a quiet house on Easter morning. My husband did not sleep well last night so he took my suggestion and went back to bed to get more sleep. For all intents and purposes time has stopped. It does not matter when we sleep or when we are up because there are no demands on our schedule. For the first time in my life, there is no where to go and no one I can meet with. As I sit here, I am imagining so many others who are experiencing this alone, living the national “stay at home” response to covid19, and I think it must feel so isolating and lonely to not have another life force to exchange thoughts and feelings with in this confinement. I sympathize greatly with all who are alone!

In some ways this time warp feels ominous, similar to the calm before the storm. We read about New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and how the reality of this virus has hit them head on. There is no time for reflection for people in these cities because they are in the middle of an all out war with this virus that many have lost. The rest of us, reading about it or watching it on t.v., cannot really grasp the enormity of what is happening because our communities are experiencing this onslaught to a much lesser degree. We realize that it is still on its way towards the rest of us and feel great anxiety.

As I write this, our daughter is into the end of her 3rd week of ongoing covid symptoms. For her they are shortness of breath, exhaustion, and fever. She was hit hard in the beginning, laying low for over a week to 10 days before she went to the ER where they gave her I.V. Fluids and tests to determine if it was flu, strep or pneumonia, with a negative on these. They also gave her the covid test and it came back negative, which we have since heard during that period of time, between 25% and 50% of the tests were reading as false negatives. Of course there is no proving this conclusively, but our daughter has said repeatedly that the symptoms she is experiencing are unlike anything she has experienced before, and as a result, she suffers anxiety which complicates the breathing issue.

We have been on the phone with her repeatedly, trying to offer support and comfort during the times she is weepy, but we cannot do for her what a person would do for her in other times of sickness, and that is physical contact. Everyone is told to stay away from people infected with covid. So technology allows for her to see us and hear our voices which is somewhat helpful, but it is a poor substitute to having someone there with her to physically take care of her. Her personality is not weak. She has been an intensive care nurse for years and has been at the bedside of many dying patients. She understands illness, yet this feeling of illness has really frightened her.

Today she sounds better and says she feels she is 50% on her way to wellness and instead of it being an uphill battle it is now dow the other side. So that is a great relief. A great-great relief!

I look at the covid interactive map and can see that most of the country because of the lockdown are having a much less severe reaction to the virus than what has happened in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana. So far, so good! What will be interesting to see is when they begin opening things up, which they have to do at some point to prevent the economy from collapsing, but what happens then? Only time will tell.

Out of curiosity, I checked to see how many deaths happen each regular year in the U.S. and found….

Deaths and Mortality

Data are for the U.S.

  • Number of deaths: 2,813,503
  • Death rate: 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Life expectancy: 78.6 years
  • Infant Mortality rate: 5.79 deaths per 1,000 live birthsfollowing:

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

Of course these numbers do not include the deaths that will be added by covid19, but I must admit, I was surprised by how big the number was for deaths in the U.S. in a single normal year.

Death is always with us. Every single day each one of us has the potential to be added to the statistical numbers. it’s just that we rarely think about it until we, ourselves, are made aware of a weakness or an illness in our body by our Dr who may tell us we are on limited time.

We live in modern times and unlike plague infestations in the past, we can take our “stay at home” initiative and make the best of it. We can tell our loved ones all the things we want them to hear from us before we die. We can prepare ourselves spiritually for what may lie ahead. We can take this time to go through our things and determine to whom we want to leave certain mementos, things that matter to us that they can remember us by.

On the other side of this, we can write, paint, read, garden, watch movies, meditate, read devotions and the Bible. We now have all the time we used to complain we did not have, right here right now! It sounds kind of like a glimpse at what heaven may be like doesn’t it?

Because I am a person of high risk, I have made a commitment to myself to stay at home until either a vaccine is created or a therapeutic therapy is developed to keep me from being pulled under! Lots of time to read, write, paint, garden and have conversations with our maker. Aren’t we fortunate to live in modern times?

Today is a new day! Easter was yesterday and it was a great reminder that we have another life to which we can look forward with hope and excitement of things to come. Today the sun is shining and the leaves are shooting off of branches all over the place. Spring has arrived and it is a sign of new life. I think I shall go out and enjoy it!

Jjb/April 12, 2020

Grace

Today marks 30 days since I have left our home with the exception of a couple of drives around the area for a look at the outside world. We stay in our car so there is no exposure to other people. The days of COVID19 are upon us. We have kept track of how things are going around the world and most especially in the United Stares. Just watching things unfold in New York tells us what is rolling across the United Staes. Looking at the covid update maps, one can see how quickly it is moving across the U.S. and as it expands so does the fear. This virus is vicious and it is leaving behind in its path, much death and economic disaster.

On our drives, we see a lot of new home construction which signals faith in a future, which feels nice. Our own thoughts vacillate about the future, mostly wondering if we will even have one. The voluntary lockdowns are having an effect on everyone. it seems to adversely affect those who live alone the most. Humans are social animals, needing interaction with others, so to be in a self induced solitary confinement is very difficult for most people. These times are difficult for the elderly as well, because we recognize we the preferred prey for this virus.

The last 30 days has gone by well enough for us because we are fortunate to be living at home with a caring partner in this modern day nightmare. Living with one other person is nice for conversation, companionship, comfort and support. I have my moments where I find myself looking at my husband and wondering if either or neither of us will be spared? No matter which way I look at the possibilities of what could happen, most scenarios bring about a lot of stress, so I do not allow my mind to dwell there for long. We have rechecked our wills and have them in one place where the children can find them if the need arises. While we are prepared to meet our maker, neither one of us is ready for our demise, meaning we feel we have a lot of life left in us. But, I am sure most people feel this way.

In these times of “shelter in place” we are forced to reevaluate our lives and our purpose on this earth. We have lots of time for ‘one on one’ conversations with God, He, doing the listening while we pray for countless friends and people affected by Covid19. Being forced to stay home day after day gives ample time for reflection.

I do a lot of reading…mostly history of the U.S. and former epidemics and pandemics. Looking at past pandemics, I realize how brutal they have been to every population that have been afflicted with them. In most cases, they didn’t know what was causing the illness and death, so they lived in perpetual fear as they witnessed how lethal it was, having no idea how to protect themselves from it. Quarantine is nothing new. Societies have often turned to quarantine to stem the flow of disease.

We have been very blessed to have lived through so many years of good health due to modern medicine and the advent of vaccines. Here in America particularly, as a society, we have come to believe that most anything can be fixed, and if not fixed, at least medicine could buy us time. We took good health for granted because modern times gave us that false narrative.

As I sit here now, scanning updates of this monsters progress on a daily basis, I think of so many stories in history where people were forced to live in fear. Naturally all other pandemics and epidemics brought fear. The diary of Anne Frank tells us of the fear of being discovered in the tiny space that 8 people shared for around 2 years. Imagine that! Living in fear and silence for over two years just trying to stay alive! Then there were people who dealt with the presence of War in their lives. I was startled to read that the 1918 pandemic came along at the same time as World War 1. I felt such sadness for those poor people! It seems that populations have always been culled by war and disease throughout all time where only the fittest survive.

Our days have lost their structure, and we try to keep ourselves occupied with reading and projects, anything to keep our mind off of current events. Grocery stores are having a hard time keeping up with the demand for food and supplies. People are hoarding to fill their pantries causing certain products hard to find. If this is how it is now, I can’t imagine how bad it will be as time marches on.

We worry for our children and grandchildren in so many ways. We pray for their health and we pray that they will be able to survive the emotional and economic impact of what comes down the road later. The most difficult thing about this for us is that we cannot be together as a support system for each other. Technology helps with this, but it is not the same thing as being in the first person. Handshakes and hugs will become obsolete in the after math of this pandemic. We will never be able to go back to life as it was. A new life will rise from the ashes of this and no one can predict what that new life will look like. Those who are left will pick up the pieces and continue forward as every other culture has done after a disaster.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and for Christians this is a reminder that death no longer exists. We may die to this earthly life, but thanks be to God, our souls live forever.

The clock in our life here on earth is ticking, right along with our biological clock! I am deeply grateful to my Mother for bringing us up in the Christian faith. I cannot even begin to imagine the anguish and fear of the people who do not believe in salvation. While my earthly being wants to continue my journey on earth, my spiritual side, my soul, knows I have another home waiting for me in a place where earthly troubles do not exist!

Thy will be done Lord! Help me to know snd accept thy will! Comfort my fearful heart with your love and peace as we face what is ahead of us. Help me to conquer the fear that befalls me when I take my eyes off the cross. Thank you for your gift of grace! Amen!

Jjb/April 11, 2020

Rod and Staff

They live in a teeny tiny house on teeny tiny grounds.

They drive a teeny tiny car in their teeny tiny town!

They had teeny tiny savings in their teeny tiny bank.

The world shut down and tiny stocks began to tank!

They were a teeny tiny worried. They felt a teeny tiny fear.

They prayed a great big prayer and hoped God would hear!

God heard their prayer in their teeny tiny voice.

He smiled on their faith, because faith is a choice.

He sent angels to protect them with swords and spears.

God listens to our prayers and He ALWAYS hears!

The teeny tiny man and his teeny tiny wife,

Prayed God would show mercy and spare their life.

God decided to spare them that prayer filled day!

He saw how they lived to love and obey.

God our father is not a teeny tiny God.

He rules over All with his staff and his rod!

Amen!

Jjb/4/8/2020

The Boogeyman!

We used to spend a lot of time at my maternal grandmothers house. While my other Grandmother had 12 children and something like 43 grandchildren, this Grandma only had three children and my brother and sister and I were all she could claim at the time for grandchildren. It is my thought that because of her limited offspring, we defaulted into being very cherished by her and my grandfather as well. We felt so important to them.

We were never “entertained” by our Grandparents in those days like children are in this day and age. It was just how life was in that time and place for everyone we knew, so to us, it was normal. We were accepted and were simply folded into the fabric of their everyday life each time we went to visit. Grandpa would go to work each day while Grandma took care of the household chores and my Mother would take us to visit once a week while she did her laundry in their basement. Sometimes she would let us stay a couple of days for a sleepover. Oh how much we loved to do that! It was like slipping into someone else’s reality and it was an adventure!

My Mother had a brother who was 13 years younger than her which made him closer in age to all three of her children than he was to her! Hence, he was like our bonus brother, and he enjoyed spending time with us and sometimes had fun playing tricks on us. One tall tale he used to tell us was that the Boogey Man lived in the basement. When we pressed him for where the boogey man was, he pointed to a door at the far end of the potato bin. This bin was in a small alcove area that was probably 4 feet wide by 4 feet deep and 4 feet across the back again. It was partitioned off with a three foot high by 4 foot wide board that was placed in front of the bin to hold potatoes back in an area where it was cool and dark. We could clearly see the door in the back as we stood outside the potato gate. What we did not know was that the door led to nowhere. It was simply propped up against the back wall to keep the potatoes away from the damp basement wall.

One day, my sister and I were exploring the unfinished basement in the dim light of a single bulb hanging at the end of an electric cord in the middle of the room. This dim light created all sorts of creepy shadows, so we were always careful to go down there together, never alone. Grandma had a cellar room down there too where she would store all the canned foods she had harvested from her gardens and fruit trees and even meat was canned in jars for preservation. There they all sat, nestled together in straight rows of each item canned, her meat, her fruits, vegetables, and pickles, To two young sisters, in the dim light, these jars looked uninviting. We were not tempted to open even one!

Once we finished our investigation of the cellar room, we decided to go check out the potato bin again with the dreaded door at the back of it. Did the boogey man really live there? What did he look like anyway? Just being near that door felt menacing to two little girls. My sister kept squealing about the Boogeyman and that he needed to go away. So, with me being the older of the two, I got up the courage to say, “O.k. Alright! I will go see if he is there.” So, I hopped over the 3 foot barrier, walked across the potatoes and when I reached the back of the pile, I attempted to yank the door open. Instead of opening, it began to fall forward but no harm was done because by the time the door hit the potatoes, we were already at the top of the stairwell screaming the entire way up. Grandma hastily met us at the top door to see what on earth had happened to us. She was not too happy to hear the story of the boogey man, told to us by her young son!

So, now here I sit…well over a half a century later and I am afraid of the Boogeyman once again. When I think of him, my mouth feels like it is full of cotton, it is so dry. I can’t see the boogeyman this time either. He is as invisible now as he was back then when he hid behind an old door. These days he is hidden in plain sight. It is hard to summon courage to go after the boogeyman, because I know how badly he can hurt me and those I love. This boogeyman is very, very bad in so many ways. He is making people sick, and even killing some. He is wrecking our prosperous economy. He is everywhere and anywhere and we just cannot see him. He is all over the world creating destruction and sorrow everywhere he goes.

We need a superhero!! Where oh where is a superhero who can save us?

We actually do have a Super Hero and we can’t see Him either, but we have read about Him in a book that is centuries old. We have been taught and told about His power, His strength, His courage and His intention to never let us die. His book was written over the course of many hundreds of years, leaving us messages of love and hope and encouragement! At one point in our history, God even journeyed all the way here to earth from his great Kingdom! He took on human form and walked among us to better understand us in the first person, to feel first hand, the joys and sorrows of living this life. He knows how it is for us now as we face our demons in life, and he wants to help us through it. We only have to ask. We have to ask for help with a faith that believes that His will is far better for us than anything we could ever even imagine for ourselves. I believe Lord, please help me in my unbelief!

Wherever this virus (boogeyman) takes us, whatever it is able to destroy in its path, one absolute truth to hold onto is that we will never be defeated while having God as our protector and our redeemer. Through His Grace we will never die. Through Grace we have eternal life, and for that I will be eternally grateful!

Prayers are the bullets in this warfare that began in Wuhan China. Prayers will see us through. We may not always understand the answers that come to us from our prayers, but we can trust that the answers are perfect for us in His Will in His mighty Kingdom.

Dear God…I am so afraid of the Boogeyman…the virus. I am afraid of the harm it can do to me or my many loved ones. Help me to find courage, Lord. Help me find peace and please give me the strength and wisdom to help others find peace too. We have not faced anything like this before and we are overwhelmed with thoughts of what may lie ahead. Please calm our hearts, Lord, and please give us once again the blessed assurance that we are saved. Easter is only 6 days away, Lord, as you well know! Easter is a day for us to remember a time long ago, on a hill far away, you conquered death on the cross once and for all and the gift from that sacrifice was eternal life for all of us!

Thank you Lord, thank you for the gift of grace!

Amen

Jjb/4/6/2020

Checking on each other!

I have decided to share our response to our son as a tribute to ALL adult children who reach out to their older parents. It serves as a reminder that looking beyond your own immediate circumstances to others who are facing this pandemic alone has unexpected rewards. We are all in this together and we all need each other to get us through these terrible isolating times)

Dear Son, 

I want you to know how much it meant to me and Dad to get such a nice long email letter from you! (The unexpected blessings of a quarantine where you finally have time on your hands)

I am glad you enjoyed the pictures from our countryside drive. It was nice of you to take the time to tell us so!  It took a bit of time to put it together, so it’s nice to know you liked it! 

We appreciate knowing how you are doing and being able to picture your days…(as in organizing the house and you working on cleaning up the yard and garage!) It allows us to feel like we are a part of your life and we love it.  A really nice thing about the written word is that the recipient can go back to it any number of times to reread the words when feeling lonesome or out of sorts!  So thank you for this too! 

We pray and pray and pray! We pray for our children and their loved ones to stay well and be taken care of in all ways.  

I am eternally grateful you found the love of your life who has also become a treasured friend and family member to us as well. She is the perfect example of loving kindness! 

Stay well, I pray that God guides you to the right path in all your decisions!

Thank you for checking in on us to see if we are o.k. The love we feel from you means a lot! God bless you for this! 

We love you very much! 
Mom and Dad

.

A drive in the hill country…

We were feeling a bit cooped up, having been in the house for over 2 weeks under the new “shelter in place” encouraged by the local government in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic going on.

So, because of this, Al suggested we go for a ride in the country for a change of scenery, where we would be safe in our car and away from people. I was feeling out of sorts so I agreed. I made a very simple picnic lunch of one sandwich each and two apples along with two bottles of water.

We began driving on out of town, and it wasn’t long before we started seeing countryside. The bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush were just beginning to make a showing and we were enjoying the color. We turned off the highway and began our drive along an old country road. The Texas countryside is lovely to see with its wide open spaces dotted with big oak trees and a sporadic spotting of cactus. I had been thinking of heaven a lot lately because of the uneasy feeling of being under threat of sickness and death due to the pandemic. I also had done a lot of reading about where and how this pandemic began over in China with the wet markets that exist there. As I read about it and saw the conditions on t.v., I felt so sad for the animals that were brought there from all over the world and put into cages in those cramped places. This is where the virus jumped from animal to man.

I was thinking of this as I was watching the country side speed by and soon we came to one of our favorite places which is a long fence with an upside down cowboy boot over each fence post.

We stopped and took some pictures and enjoyed the warm sun on our backs….we continued down the road and took a number of pictures of sites that pleased us.

I remember thinking to myself “How beautiful this all is…Nature as God intended it!” Unspoiled and thriving in its natural habitat. As we drove along, Al suddenly stepped on the brakes because there, right in front of us, were a couple of donkeys. Having grown up on a farm, Al got out of the car and walked right up to one of the donkeys to pet him as I held back a little bit. There were a couple of little girls in the company of their Mother and Grandmother who petting one of the donkeys that was standing right in the middle of the road. This, then, gave me courage to get a little closer. I started scratching the donkeys head with a one finger a little bit behind the donkeys ear, just to make sure it was o.k. with him. It definitely seemed to be ok with him, because he leaned into my hand as I scratched, so I continued to pet his head, but this time with my whole hand. I started talking to him and at one point said, “Your owners must be awfully good to you because you are showing no fear whatsoever!” I was happy for this little donkey.

A neighbor came scurrying down the road holding a cell phone saying, “Oh no! I wonder how they got out? I am leaving a message for the owner who lives in Austin.” By now, the donkeys were on their way down the road together and she was walking at a fast clip right behind them. So, we got into our car and once again began to travel along our route. As we rode along, I said to Al, “This is so nourishing for my spirit today. Everything seems so right with the world at this moment in time! It almost feels like a road taking us on our way to the entrance to heaven”..The anxiety I had been feeling for the last couple of days began to fade. Life felt good again. The sun was shining, music was playing on the radio and the countryside was lovely.

As we continued our drive we were enjoying the scenery and we were humming along to some good old fashioned country music. Suddenly, Al hit the brakes again! What? Is it even possible that we are seeing two Ostrich along a fence in the hill country? Al immediately got out of the car and went right over to them! They were beautiful and just like the donkeys had been, were completely comfortable in a humans presence!

So, by now I was really ramping up feeling in a joyfully good mood! I mean, really? We go for a wild flower drive and we end up with two Donkeys and two Ostrich’s as bonus sightings? Oh, yes, God is good! This was just what I needed! Back in the car, we continued on our way through the Texas hill country, my hand drumming on the dash to the beat of an old country song on the radio!

Al soon pulled over and said, “O.K! Time for our lunch”. He began pulling some things out of the trunk, this being two collapsible chairs and our little cooler. We were parked on the side of the road in a little valley where a low water crossing creek ran through from one side of the road to another. As we sat there in our chairs, we watched the cattle graze the grass and wade in the creek water, and we munched on our homemade sandwiches. I told Al that I was feeling almost as if I could hear God whisper, “You see? This was how my creation was intended to be. Man coexisting along with the animals in peace” (At the same time I was also having a flashback of pictures I had seen of the wet markets in Wuhan China as an example of how we should NOT treat animals!!!)

We relaxed there in our chairs, enjoying a light warm breeze with the sun on our skin and the only sounds we heard were birds singing overhead and an occasional motor sound as a random car drove by. It was glorious, and we both felt grateful for this time to sit in the midst of the beauty of this earth! I could have sat there for hours, but it was soon time to pack up our chairs, pick up our coolers, and be on our way. What a gift this day was turning out to be! More animals along the way!

Low water crossings along the way!

We drove through the low water crossings, of which there are many in Texas! Also a beautiful curvy hilly road. A winery along the road! One of many that are springing up in the Texas hill country!

Many more bluebonnet sightings!

Flowers, flowers everywhere, and also our favorite live oak trees!

And what to our wondering eyes did appear? An Armadillo drinking a corona beer! The name of the beer sending a slight shiver down my spine,

A couple of old antiques along the way! Now on our way home!

We hope you enjoyed the tour! This drive is almost in our back yard. We have been here 23 years now and counting since first moving to Texas and we love it more and more every year! We are praying that the Pandemic doesn’t do us harm, but we also know we have been blessed beyond measure in this life, with today being just one example of the many blessings. We love to stop and smell the….bluebonnets along the way! They are on the side of the road that absolutely feels like it is going straight to heaven!

Jjb/4/3/2020

Hot Dogs

The longer we are home, the more I read! I have loved reading my whole life and along the way, I seemed to have less and less time for it, because our life was so filled with things to do and people to see. Now, with “shelter in place” (and actually even before that was a mandate), I have not left our house or our property with the exception of a couple of rides in the country. I have been in place since March 11th! (My age and underlying respiratory issues making me more vulnerable to this virus than others) Now, suddenly, I have all the time in the world to read…albeit slowly with my uncorrected vision due to an aborted elective eye surgery.

At first, I read everything I could get my hands on pertaining to the Corona Virus…where it was in the world, how it was being handled, contagion rate, death rate, and so on. At first, my purpose was accessing information that kept me informed, so I could be prepared..mentally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually!

It wasn’t kong before I was oversaturated with dire statistics and stories upon stories of individuals who were hit by this horrible disease. It was akin to watching a steam roller coming down the street as I lay there, paralyzed, helplessly and hopelessly waiting my fate. This was how I had come to feel as I took in the news of the world.

Over this time, I have dealt with a lot of anxiety and fear of the unknown, mostly on behalf of our adult children. Each day, I found more and more articles to read and in the midst of all the horrible statistics were stories of hope and faith and and ways to contribute to the better good! There were also those offering humor as medicine to allow us to laugh again!

My point is that we have a choice. We can choose to saturate ourselves with the news of the day from all over the world or we can choose to keep one eye on the news for safety’s sake while using the other eye to read spiritually uplifting devotions, meditations, and feel good stories of people who conquered fear with courage.

The following is a great story about perception of the world around you. Sometimes it is best to live in your own reality of what is, rather than in another persons perception of reality. Its an old story, but I have always loved it! I hope you enjoy it!

THE MAN WHO SOLD HOT DOGS

There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.

He was hard of hearing so he had no radio.

He had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers.

But he sold good hot dogs.

He put up signs on the highway telling how good they were.

He stood on the side of the road and cried; “buy a hot dog, mister?

And people bought.

He increased his meat and bun orders.

He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.

He finally got his son home from college to help him out.

But then something happened.

His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio?

Haven’t you been reading the newspapers?

There’s a big depression.

The European situation is terrible.

The domestic situation is worse.”

Where upon the father thought, “well, my son’s been to college, he reads the papers and he listens to the radio, and he ought to know.”

So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs, and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.

And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.

“You’re right, son” the father said to the boy.

“We certainly are in the middle of a great depression.”

Jjb/4/3/2020

Fear

The picture of two girls is our daughter Andrea on right and her best friend Katie from when we all lived in Sioux Falls South Dakota.

As I write this, I feel so helpless. Andrea is sick for a second stretch, meaning she was well for two days after her first sick stretch of over 10 days and now is experiencing the symptoms again, but this time they are worse! Temp is higher, she has chills and drenching sweat! There is nothing that anyone can do for her as there is no anti viral therapy! During the short time she felt well, she rejoiced at being able to breath again. When she was sick, her voice was tiny because of shortness of breath, and it was tiny because she was scared!

This feels like the wild west, a time before the advent of modern medicine. In those days, if a person got sick, all you could really do was offer comfort and wait it out, praying that the body would eventually fight its way back to wellness again. What is also terrible in this, though, is that we cannot go to her and help her. We want to take care of her, sit by her side, and offer soothing words of comfort! I am so ready to throw caution to the wind and just drive up there. But, I don’t want to add to her concerns!

Since this whole thing has started, I have had images in my mind of times past when we drove down the highway and looked up to see a billboard with the writing “Don’t make me come down there!” (as a supposed message from God). That message would always make me smile because I remember saying that exact same thing to our children when they were growing up!

When the government enacted the lock down, I thought to myself that this also seemed “parental” in giving all of us a “time out”.

As in all time outs, there is much time for reflection of self, family and life! I have done non-stop praying about so many things. Naturally, our child is our number one concern, and I have spent much time in prayer on her behalf! I have prayed for our whole family on many scores, health, job losses, the economy, our retirement funds, and also for us to find strength to face whatever is ahead! I am also praying for the 4 adult children in our family who are now jobless, as they are waiting for this to pass. Not everyone can work remotely from home.

This is a very difficult time and as a country, we have not seen the worst of it yet! I know this is bigger than any of us! if ever there was a message about who is in control over us and our earth, this is it! Only our Creator can help us now.

I do not know how this will all shake out! What I DO know is that as much as I would like to crawl under the covers and hide from all of this, it is not an option! We have no choice but to remember that the whole of this life is really just a blink of an eye in time as compared to eternity.

I pray now for Gods will to be done even as I am praying in earnest for our daughters health. This is one of the hardest times we have EVER faced, and we have faced some hard times, butp a threat upon ones child is the gravest of all concerns. Yet, even as I write this, I know that there are countless others who can say, “I have dealt with much, much worse.” So, I humble myself in face of that and then add to my prayers by asking God to turn my weaknesses into strength….and for Him to please stay by our sides.

The illusion of control comes when times are easy, when life is comfy, and we are happy. Times like this make us realize our life has just been an illusion of control.

I am seeing my daughter now in my minds eye as a baby, a child, an adolescent and an adult. She has brought us SO much joy! She and I are very close and whatever she is feeling, I am feeling. Oh how I wish I could be with her. I am grateful though, that this time around, her husband is there with her. She is not without human comfort and I am relieved about this. God is with her too, and I know that!

Jjb/3/27/2020

 

Uncertain times

This statement, “Here is a test to find out if your mission here is finished. If you are still alive, it isn’t. (Richard Bach) is about how it is!

Really! If we do everything in our power to protect ourselves and it ends up not being enough to save us, our mission is completed and God wanted us back! It is as simple as that!

We have been home for 12 days and I have done endless reading on the subject of the corona virus situation but also on other plagues that the U.S. has suffered in the last 100 years. Al and I also spent time outdoors and went on a road trip where I took some fantastic pictures along the way. I will share them in another post to help you feel less confined in our individual quarantine status.

I slept extremely well last night…thank God for sleep! After a week of phone calls with our daughter who has been home alone and sick with no where to turn, she finally was checked out in an E.R.. We are waiting on the results.Just the fact that she was seen and attended to eased my stress load. I am smart enough to know that even medical people are limited in what they can do for us with this virus, but the part that had me going over the edge, so to speak, was that no one was responding to her cry for help. Once that was attended to, I could relax a little bit.

This virus has created a very isolating situation for all of us. Generally speaking, when someone becomes seriously ill, the first thing loved ones do is come to your aid and tend to you. You may not be able to do much about the crisis your loved one is in, medically speaking, but never underestimate the power of loving care. Statistics show that when a person is ill, they often will rally somewhat under the care of someone who loves them. They rest better, sleep better, eat better, drink better, …the list goes on. Our souls and spirits react to being loved. It is a powerful force.

In this case, with our daughter, she had no one but her little french bulldog who she loved having by her side. One night she called in distress and said, “I am worried about Nugget…What if I die during the night? What will happen to Nugget?” I assured her she wasn’t going to die, (faith and prayers here) but she was becoming very fearful because she could not find a way to be reassured by anyone in the first person. To ease her loneliness, she was on the phone with many people..her husband, her parents, her siblings, her aunt, and friends. She was doing everything in her power to stay connected because as the days passed and her symptoms would go from bad to better to bad again, her greatest enemy was fear which resulted from her being alone.

On this end, our stress level accelerated daily in concern for her. Here we were in isolation ourselves, and we could not go up to help her. I told my husband that I was ready to throw caution to the wind and just make that 3 1/2 hour drive to tend to her, but that I knew if I caught the virus and died, she would feel responsible and I did not want that for her either.

I am high risk because of my age group and because of my allergies coupled with my family history of asthma. I asked my doctor if I am someone considered to be compromised with underlying conditions. She said “yes”. My history is such that often if I get the flu it always wants to settle in my chest. Obviously, with this virus’s main target being the lungs, I am most likely not to make it if I get it.

Hence for the last almost 2 weeks I have had much time to read and think about this. I know I am o.k. with the idea of God taking me home. I have no fear of death. It is more that I just want a little bit more time with my family. I want to feel their embrace once again. I want to be able to sit close enough to them to study their faces as we talk and laugh once again. But, I know that may not be the case, and therefore as my heart sinks when thinking of these things, I also throw up thanks snd gratitude for what I DO still have which is my husband being right here, right now! This crazy invader has me making amends with my maker for anything I have said or done that He would not approve of. I am bargaining with Him to please spare my children and allow them to come through this unscathed. I am praying for society, our economy, and the homeless who have NO protection.

Our life has been so blessed in so many ways. We have always had a relationship with God, but have to say, even when we thought we were on good terms with Him, I see now how much we came to take for granted. Our health, our home, our family, our freedom to go out wherever and whenever we wanted. We came to be complacent in expecting, yes “expecting”, modern medicine to fix most everything and if it could not be fixed, then buy us time. The truth is, we have always lived under threat if death. We just haven’t been aware of it. We only have this moment in time. Maybe more!

Time is different now. I asked my husband what day it was and he said “What does it matter?” I laughed when he said that because he is so right. We are living a life suspended in time. It is an interesting concept to live this way for there are no demands on our time right now as retired folks who have no place to go.

Well, I will now sign off. I feel so much better now that our daughter has had her test and we await the results. I talked with her husband last night and I felt such an enormous surge of love for him for calling me and saying “I am on my way home and don’t worry, I will take care of her.” He plans to stay in a hotel until her test comes back. I am deeply grateful to him!

What is going to happen? It is anyones guess. All we can do is sit tight snd pray. When times are fun and light and beautiful we tend to take everything for granted…even God. But these days, when it comes to believers, I think HE has our full attention and is making note of the attendance to his class.

March 23, 2020/jjb

What is important

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how everything can change in the time it takes to blink an eye? How, in just one blink, so much of what you thought was important, suddenly is not!

What is important is not a lifetime of accumulation, nor the trophy’s that sit on our mantles, nor the pieces of paper on which our names and our accomplishments are printed and displayed proudly through framed glass for all to see.

Life’s meaning is not found in the size of our home, the brand of our car, nor the destinations of our holidays.

What is valuable is our connection with those we love who love us back.

Our souls come to this world in a tiny, fleshy human form. We enter crying as we are blinded by the light of this new world, and we gasp when we take in our first breath of life.

Our Mother gets a glimpse of our eternal souls as she peers into the depths of our tear filled baby eyes. In our newly born helpless state, she cradles us, and talks to us in soft loving tones and we feel comforted. We cease to cry as we look back into her eyes and see nothing but love because it is then we know we are going to be o.k. We are two souls who became one by the reciprocal love of our first earthly union.

In the beginning, all we need is love and nourishment and a sense of belonging. Our souls grow and expand as we experience this love. We grow up in a family that is uniquely ours. Through this family we learn about the world in which we live. Before long we are leaving home and forging a new life which we can now modify to suit our emotional and intellectual needs. Our path is our own and our life begins to take on a new shape because we are in control of our destiny. (Rather, we think we are in control). Much of how our life is built is based on endless decisions and responses to those decisions we make along the way. As we watch our life take shape, we begin to believe in the power of our individual control. We begin to believe that if we continue ahead, forging our own chosen path along life’s journey, we will be fine.

But, life isn’t that simple. We are faced with many challenges that are beyond our immediate control. Some of us do not even make it to adulthood due to an accident or an unexpected illness. These are the times that serve as reminders to us that our control is very limited and we cannot fix everything by ourselves.

Right now, our world is facing a terrible Pandemic that few of us have ever experienced before. In the U.S., in recent times, it has probably never even been considered a possibility by an individual ordinary citizen. Few of us will escape this invader. Most of us will survive this invader and some of us will die.

We are asked to stay home and so we do. From our sofas and chairs we watch the news and listen as they tell us that our entire society must come to a halt. Major industries are closing down, churches are closing, people are losing their jobs, businesses are desperately trying to do anything they can to stay solvent and our savings are in peril.. Our enemy is foreign, invisible and highly contagious.

I find myself thinking of people throughout history who faced their own mortality. These people, who in the process of settling this country, faced insurmountable hardships in the form of inadequate housing, sickness, starvation…and death. Death was always present in those early days of very few medicines and even fewer Doctors.

Death takes many forms in many different circumstances.

I read about the Civil war where more soldiers were killed than in any other war in history. I think of the many wars that young men have fought in and died, never getting the chance to know what life could have brought them afterwards.

I think of the many people who sit across from their Doctor and receive bad news about the amount of time they may or may not have left.

I think about the famous ship, the Titanic, where countless people on that ship suddenly became aware of the fact that they were going down under the icy waters of the Atlantic and were forced to wait for death as the “unsinkable ship” slowly sank into the darkness bringing them along with it. One story goes that there were musicians who continued to play music knowing the ship was slowly sinking and that they were facing certain death.

There have been plagues before. The 1600’s brought smallpox, the 1700’s brought yellow fever, the 1800’s brought Cholera and Scarlet Fever, the 1900’s brought Typhoid, Spanish flu, Diphtheria, Polio, Measles and HIV. Our ancestors faced similarly frightening scenarios.

This new virus that is killing people all over the world is taking its toll on human lives. Sickness and death is just one big part of it, but the economic impact following will be another major consequence and we can only pray that it won’t drive us into another depression to equal the Great Depression.

Human lives have always been fragile and people in third world countries have faced the fragility of life from a very young and tender age. A lot of people in developed countries in modern times have not had to face fear head on because in the recent past, lets say the last 75-100 years, many of us have lived lives of comfort due to modern medical advances which have led us to believe that most everything can be “fixed”. Healthcare became so advanced, we didn’t worry about our children dying young like our ancestors children often did…instead, we assumed that we and our children would live to ripe old ages. Often we were correct in this assumption.

These are very uncertain times and deeply disturbing. We are facing an enemy when we have limited resources with which to fight something of this magnitude. What is also very difficult for most of us is that usually when we feel threatened or insecure, we find comfort in the arms of our loved ones. In these times, we are forced to isolate ourselves from everyone we know. Some of us are in our homes alone and we feel fear of the unknown.

This is history in the making…it will be printed in the history books and future generations will read about it and look at pictures of the event unfolding, just as I was reading yesterday about the 1918 flu pandemic. As I looked at black and white photos of sick people in rows upon rows of medical beds, I imagined each one of them as someones father, mother, daughter, son and the list goes on. In old pictures these individual identities are lost in the mass composite, but each person there mattered to someone.

Daily, it is a struggle to find courage. We pray, we read scripture, and we force ourselves to live in the moment, because we understand that our previous concerns about our future are no longer applicable. By comparison, those concerns now pale. New worries and concerns have stepped in to take their place.

I find myself thinking of my Mother again, imagining what she would have thought of all this. In the deepest recess of my psyche, I sometimes wish I was once again the baby she held so long ago, me watching her look deeply into my eyes as I listen to her soft voice reassuring me that I will be fine.

The reassuring voice has come back and this time it is my father reassuring me. My heavenly father who created me is whispering reassurance into my heart that it will all be fine. One way or another, this will all pass, and we will all be fine. Things may not work out exactly as we are hoping but HE reassures me it will still be fine. As I pray and listen with my heart, I know HE is right. I know that throughout history, people have faced fear and have chosen to ramp up their courage, their acceptance, and their faith that all things work out for the better good.

I reflect on my Mother and I thank her now for bringing me up to know that there is a God who is Lord over all. We are all part of a much bigger picture, each of us just one tiny thread among millions of other threads of many different colors, woven together to create a tapestry of Gods design. The most beautiful tapestries tend to have a lot of darkness woven in to bring out the beauty of the colored threads. Dark times are represented by dark threads. Some threads have been knotted to sit securely in place and some have been snipped. I don’t know if my future is going to be knotted in place or if I will be snipped free, but I am choosing to trust that this is all part of Gods design.

As I continue to read about other perilous times, I find my heart touched by their displays of courage. As history shows us their many act of courage, I know that I will face my own fears and choose to pick courage to live along side my fears as well. Its the only wise choice!

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Jjb/5/21/2010

Arthur

Arthur has come for a visit

and he isn’t very nice!

He attacked my hand with such a force,

I am now applying ice!

My knuckles are swollen and aching.

They cannot make a fist.

Each time I try to form a grip

My fingers choose to resist.

Arthur was born to our family

But nobody likes him much.

Arthur likes to make life miserable.

He has a painful touch.

I wish we could tell him off!!

I wish we could send him away!!

Unfortunately, I know in my heart of hearts,

Arthur is here to stay.

He’s the black sheep of our family.

He is a pain whose ways are crude.

His full name is Arthur”itis”.

And to us he’s a dreadful dude!

Jjb/3/8/2020

Creation!

It is a gorgeous March day in Austin Texas! Yesterday was lovely too, and as a consequence of those blue skies, warm air, and eager gardening heart, I way overdid it in the garden over the course of 6 hours. Goodness! Those bags of mulch and garden soil are getting heavier every year!

I just cannot seem to help myself! I dig and lift and drag and trim until I stumble back into the house, parched and exhausted at the end of my project and despite all that, I still find myself saying “What a glorious day it has been!” To say that I am not your average woman would be an understatement!

As a result of yesterdays enthusiasm in the gardening department, I now have a couple of arthritic knuckles paying me an angry visit! I am also walking around the house like the stiff tin man in the movie The Wizard of Oz!” Ouch! However, I am accepting of the aches and pains because they mean I am still able to do these things and I am alive and well and still walking this earth!

Lately, I have taken to reading many different stories about near death experiences. At first I was intrigued. Then I was obsessed to find as many as I could to read or video testimonies to watch. It has been like a graduate course on the next life in heaven.

People who experience NDE say that heaven is ablaze with a beauty unlike any we have seen or experienced on this earth. They say that experiencing heaven makes earth seem pale and imperfect in comparison. So much of what I have read made me want to suit up and buckle up for the ride of a lifetime to the next life, the “real” life with God, and the sooner the better.

That is, until I went outside yesterday and stood surrounded by Gods creation. If heaven makes this life pale by comparison, I just cannot imagine what that kind of beauty must be like to experience because this earthly beauty is absolutely breathtaking!

I watched birds flitting about making their nests for their impending future families. I looked closely at the tiniest little buds emerging forth from the tips of my Rose of Sharon tree and I felt my heart stir! Berries were ripe on the Yaupon Holly tree as a juicy banquet for the birds who were working up an appetite getting their nests ready.

As I dug into the earth, creating a hole to place a new plant, I saw earthworms wriggling their way through the new territory where they found themselves. I felt the warm sun on my back and as I looked up, I watched a few white clouds lazily making their way across the deep blue sky. All this beauty in motion and I got to be a part of it! I AM a part of it all, and I thanked God that He chose ME to be a part of His wonderful creation! Most of the time I don’t see myself as anything particularly special, but I must have a lot of value for God to have chosen ME!

I walked onto our courtyard porch area and saw wrens busily stuffing all kinds of leaves and twigs into our decorative bird cage in preparation of the babies soon to arrive. There in front of the cage entrance is a fake cardinal. The little wrens had to get up close enough to this imposter see for themselves it isn’t real. . So now they navigate past this red wooden bird and make their nest. I imagine them convincing themselves that the imposter will help keep predators away!

As I sat in our courtyard quenching my thirst with icy water, I looked up towards our very big and old oak tree on the front corner of our house. I noticed a heart shaped pair of branches right in the middle. Who says trees don’t have hearts? This tree was estimated to be 400 years old by one arborist and 250 years old by another. We don’t really care, we are just grateful it continues to live and give shade in the very hot Texas summers.

Do I want to go to heaven? YES! Yes, of course I do, however I am more than willing to wait for that experience. I am ready and look forward to it, but just not yet! I find enough beauty on our earth to satisfy and amaze me daily. Besides, if God wants me here, I trust that He has a purpose for me being in my life right here and right now and I trust that my purpose will someday be shown to me!

I don’t think our purpose on earth is necessarily a big event type thing. It may be as seemingly small as making another human being feel as if they matter in this world and to feel as if they are loved. I think daily gratitude for this life and for this world we live in is extremely important. Love definitely rules!

The sun is shining again and creation is beckoning for me to come outside once again. Nature! It is Gods playground created for all of us with the most perfect playmates to spend time with!

Have an awesome day!

Jjb/3/6/2020

My One and Only One!

I whistle as I walk today under a sky that is sunny and blue.

I can feel my heart skip a beat each time I think of you.

I remember when we first met, (my heart skipped a beat then too).

I remember seeing on your face a smile so honest and true.

You were so beautiful in many ways,  your face, your soul, your heart. 

My heart was yours to have and hold right from the very start.

Our love was so passionate it burned like white hot fire.

Here and now, in our elder years, our hearts still hold a deep desire.

Our hair has grown thinner, and wrinkles line our face. 

I love laying by your side at night. It is my favorite place.

Your face is just as beautiful with life sketched upon its planes.

I am grateful to share life’s journey with you, I would do it all over again. 

I see I’m at the end of my walk. I am back home where I first begun.

My heart quickens as I think of you waiting for me, my one and only one. 

 

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jjb/2/25/2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to me!

It has been quite some time since I have sat down to write much of anything. I love to write down my thoughts and feelings, but have been so occupied, I haven’t found the time to do so. I decided a while back to step away from most forms of online media, especially social media. We also cut the cord to television and have abandoned most news stations. It was a very good decision. My angst about world affairs and politics quickly diminished when we eliminated the angry, hate filled rhetoric from our life. Facebook had to go too, because to me it had become a giant, out of control, opinion machine which presented itself to me every time I went on line. I finally snapped.

My personality has never been the type to be engaged with people 24-7, yet there I was, deep in the middle of all of it. I now look back and laughingly refer to my fb years as my own personal “Stockhom syndrome”, which is where a person develops a bond with his or her captor.

Be back in a while………

While I may appear to be a very gregarious human being, I am actually happiest in my own nest in my own company with an added person or two with whom to communicate with. Marriage is the perfect union for me. It is warm, loving, comfortable, rewarding, and non competitive. No real pressure here to be anyone other than my real self. We are aging together and as we age, we find comfort in seeing our loved one age as well. If anything, aging endears us to each other, because we are in this together.

I have been busy reevaluating how I spend my time. It is so easy to get caught up in the cyber world and before one realizes it, cyber reality overtakes “living in the moment” reality. The operative word being living. Too often we mistake our internet friends as real friends and we engage with them on line from the comfort of our chair and laptop keyboard. It requires less work on our part to continue a relationship that is only a click away.

Relationship in the first person requires time and effort, but the rewards of eye to eye contact along with body language during a conversation is infinitely more pleasurable. It is enjoyable nurturing a long time friendship where we witness the passage of time as we view the increasing wrinkles on their faces and see their hair slowly going to gray or even white. There is no way to hide behind a photo-shopped picture when you are sitting across the table from each other having a conversation at a meal. There we are in our total unvarnished reality as we sit a couple of feet away from each other in close visual range. Happily, we begin to relax as we see we are not alone in our aging.

There is nothing wrong with staying in touch with friends and relatives on fb if one can control the time spent. I was one of those who became addicted to the whole cyber social scene and looking back I still have some very good feelings about the times spent catching up with long ago acquired friends and childhood cousins. It was great for me while it lasted, however, I reached a point of needing to step back into “the moment” of my every day existence and I am so glad to be back!

On Sunday, Al and I decided to go to the park after church and we enjoyed watching other people picnic, play ball, fly kites, walk and run the paved paths. It was a picture perfect day. The sun was shining and the light blue skies were graced with white wispy clouds. Birds were riding the air currents, swooping and diving alongside of other birds with joyful reckless abandon. Dogs were running to retrieve balls from their owners. Children were laughing and calling out to each other as they enjoyed the day with their friends. It reminded me of my childhood long before the invention of the internet and cell phones, at a time where we had to use our own imaginations to create our own fun. Today, I was impressed to see parents actively involved with their children. All seemed so happy to be there.

Yesterday we went to golf a few holes in the late afternoon. I drove the cart while Al golfed, because I am a very poor golfer. He wanted me to ride along anyway. The golf course was a feast for the eyes because as the day progressed, the shadows got longer and longer as the sun made its way across the sky. The pictures the shadows created were worthy of being in a painting., Taking time to be in the midst of Gods creation frees the soul like nothing else does. To be one with nature is an exhilarating experience. Al and I enjoyed our time, one on one, seeing all the beauty around us together. It is still a such a rush to look at ones partner knowing that our love is as strong as ever embraced by joy and peace just by being in each others company.

NOTE TO SELF!!!!

Listen to Gods beckoning! Can you hear Him when He says “Return to me”?

He wants us to return to real life more often, escape to the great outdoors, which so many of us recognize as Gods creation. Returning to living and loving in real time frees our souls to swoop and glide as giddily as the birds do when they fly and ride the currents of the air. God is everywhere, all knowing, all seeing, and all around us in real life. Life is meant to be a verb where we should be actively participating in all of it. We really do “need” to spend more time in Gods majestic creation, plugging into His infinite power and feeling our souls being recharged. This can positively take our breath away as our eyes and inner being take it all in!

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! We only have THIS moment in time that is guaranteed! All else is unknown!

 

Jjb/2/18/2020