Tag Archives: self help

Nature, Films, and Devotion

18 Mar

Nature (part 1):  Finding my way through the great out of doors.

I am not a photographer.  In fact I abhor the task of photographing anything.  Yet with the cell phone camera, now at my disposal, I have found myself more eager to capture something I want to remember.  For instance, while out on a walk or hike should I come across something in nature that causes me pause, I think to myself, “I would like to capture this inspiring moment and share it with someone else.”  But more important than this nonsense of my use or non-use of a camera is the idea in the aforementioned sentence of nature giving one, a cause to pause.  For as you know, from reading my last few posts, I am slowly crawling out of the pit of extreme stress.  And while in the pit, I don’t care what kind of natural phenomenon might occur before my eyes, my soul was too bogged down to appreciate.  Oh my mind was keen to understand the beauty before me if an instance such as a hummingbird allowing me the rare opportunity of a private viewing, should present itself.  But my soul would have no response.  It was just plain ‘ol, flat.

So it is, when I am out and about in my suburbian nature and my soul is touched by something, not just my mind, I can delight in the knowledge that I am “coming back”.  For when in darkness, it is difficult to even recognize oneself.  I am a nature lover, thus when nature I cannot love, there is an obvious disconnect.

The following photos are ones taken with my little Samsung cell phone, while out walking with Piper the dog.  Their occurrence before me caused me pause.  And in that quiet state, I thanked my Lord for utilizing nature (once again) to call me back.  The beauty of the Cherry Blossom seemed to say, “I lay dormant along with you, but it is again time to bloom.”  The trickling of the San Juan Creek reminds me that while the hand of man is just a few steps away, the hand of the Lord is always present (as the running water, in an otherwise dry creek-bed, testifies).  And the colorful turning of the leaves of one solitary tree, amidst the evergreen backdrop, silently demands recognition…you decide what it says!  For me, its silence enacts a balm-like remedy to my spirit…the golden quiet.

Last, but not least, is the juxtaposition of the man made stop sign alongside the pink blossoming tree.  Actually, the sign is appropriate to the context of this post.  “Stop,” it says.  Stop and redirect.  Somehow, someway, get a new perspective.  See again.  Breathe again.  Take pause.  Utilizing the grand, or not so grand, natural occurrences around us can call us back.  Back to a place of understanding who we are.  Even in a city environment one can experience the powerful call of nature as a weed makes its way through a crack in the concrete, shouting loud and clear, “I am Here, I made it!”  And the inadvertent message to us should be, “so can we.”

Next up, Films, part 2.

Nature in Suburbia

Nature in Suburbia

Fluffy2012

The accomplice

SJCcherryblossom

Engulfed in Pink

SJCcherryblossom2

Harmonious living

San Juan Creek

The running creek

Interior Design

23 Feb

Today is the 3rd morning after I wrote my previous post .  In that particular writing I had avowed to start my day off with prayer, before even getting out of bed.  Well I am here to tell you that today is the third day I have awoke, jumped out of bed, flew to the kitchen for a drink of water, mozied over to the coffee pot to start my brew, only to remember:  I FORGOT TO START MY DAY WITH PRAYER!  Back to my bed I run…  Run, written in the present tense because it is a present condition until a new habit is formed.

(I am tempted to interject the song, Three Days, by K.D. Lang, but I will spare you the musical interlude–just know that I am a walking jukebox and pretty much have a tune for every word, thought, and occasion)

How quickly I have adjusted to my habit of self focus, how difficult to redirect the interior of my design.  I am thankful for this blog.  It has, even in the slightest, kept me on a track I wish to follow.  By simply being a reminder to my soul of the desire of my heart.  Apparently, I need the help.  I can tell you that going back to bed and forcing myself to converse with The Almighty G-d has truly been an effective method in strengthening, me.  Now if you have been reading my musings for a bit of time, you will know that I tend to not divulge the intimate details of what transpires here at home.  Those details belong to not just myself, but my husband, son, and daughter.  Only after I feel the circumstance is “safe” will I allow myself the freedom to share beyond the ambiguous notion of the end result.  But to help illuminate, for you the reader, the ‘why and how’ of the impact of starting the day off with prayer, I must let you have a closer look into how thin my psyche has been worn.

Example: If one prays for a miracle, and then receives a yes answer to said prayer, one would think that the requester of the miracle would recognize its presence.  At least I would consider that to be true.  Except just the opposite has happened to me.

My birthday came and went like the breeze, this past January.  And on that particular day we received a call (actually my son did), from his doctor telling him that there was an area of abnormality which showed up on the routine MRI’s he had, had the previous day.  I quickly accessed the report myself and sent it off, via email, to his neurosurgeon.  Unfortunately after having spent the last two years inundated in this new world of brain tumors and 4th ventricular ependymoma, I am now educated enough in MRI reports to understand the circumstance of the abnormal reading…but only enough to be slightly dangerous to myself.  At any rate, all fingers (so to speak) pointed to disease recurrence.  And his next set of xrays, which were going to take a closer look at the area in question, were not for another week.  So we Bents, along with the neurosurgeon at the VA, our private neurosurgeon who performed the original surgery, and Cole’s many other doctors were 99% positive the cancer had returned.  Yet for some crazy reason (actually not crazy at all, but indicative of lives living by faith), we were holding onto the 1% chance…hoping for a miracle.

I am happy to report that the follow up tests showed there was no cancer, only an “artifact left over from the original surgery.”  AN ARTIFACT!!!  I can’t tell you how relieved we all are.  The neurosurgeon’s email response to me was priceless, “Whew. OMG!”  But you know what?  I had been so exhausted from the accumulation of stress upon my soul that I didn’t even consider the miracle of the news.  It was actually my brother, who was finally able to get a hold of me a few days later, who said, “well I think we’ve witnessed a miracle.”  My response? …oh yeah, wow, I guess we have.

Now that, my friend’s, is sad.  A girl living by faith, yet so bogged down that she can’t even see her Father in action!  That was my wake-up call.  My trumpet sound, my slap in the face.  A change needed to come, and I am the only person who could(can) enact it.  And that is why, three days ago I wrote the post, “Better Homes and Garbage” about beginning anew.  Redecorating my inner walls.  And why, for three mornings I have run back to my bed to honor the recognition of the doomed state from which I desire to leave.

Now can I get a witness?? 🙂

It’s Only 8:30!

26 Sep

The Scene:

Last night my husband, Brian, helped me put the clean sheets onto our behemoth of a bed.  After one month of not being properly made, he helped me configure my TWO down comforters and ONE cotton blanket into their rightful position (as opposed to the mountain style they were resembling this last month of summer), and we arranged our six pillows according to our liking.  My face was then washed and my teeth were brushed.  My son was taken care of and my daughter was still occupied in her nighttime French class.  My jammies were on and my blanket arranged on the couch, ready for my descent into its strawberry print lushness (a leftover from my teenage years–the coziest of blankies, especially with the warmth of the, still lingering, summer air).  After all had been arranged and accounted for, I sat back on the bedecked couch and let out a big sigh.

SIGH….

I had made it through another day.  It was dark outside.  Not on the brink of evening, but completely dark.  The night had come and I had made it through a full day of parenting, secretarial-ing, taxi-ing, cleaning, dog walking, spider killing, cooking, counseling, and dealing with the effects of a stiff neck.  I felt I had deserved the long sigh and the right to exhaustion, especially as it was late at night and I had been fighting the yearning for a nap since 2 in the afternoon.  Whew.  I then opened my laptop computer, and as the screen came into view so did the clock.  It read loud and clear, “8:30p.m.”

“It’s only 8:30 PM!,”  I exclaimed.  How is that even possible?  It must be wrong.  It has to be closer to midnight!!  And then it hit me…I am exhausted as if it were midnight, yet it hadn’t even hit the elementary-aged bed time hour.  Sad, sad, sad.  And so I quickly opened my “Bentrivka” portal to document my title, “It’s Only 8:30!” and then logged out because just the effort it took to even conceive that my exclamation would provide a reasonably good title for a post was the last ounce of energy within my tired mind and body.  And with that, at 8:35p.m., I sat back and allowed the mind numbing effects of television (as provided through Netflix.com) to release me from my connections to reality.  Thank you “Hot in Cleveland”, thank you!

Moving On:

In my last post titled “Living With No”, I hinted at having more to my bicycling adventure.  This is true.  But first I will introduce you to my bike.  She is a British Raleigh circa 1970’s.  Actually, early 1970’s, and she is a folding bike.  I have seen similar photos, online, but they indicate that my lady is a Raleigh Twenty, yet my girl doesn’t bear the “Twenty” verbiage that the others seem to possess.  So who knows what she really is!  What I do know is we enjoy a few jaunts about town periodically.  This is a pastime I typically enjoy.  However, with exhaustion (emotional or physical), it is difficult to pursue even that which brings forth joy and happiness.  But I am gaining ground in this area.  As mentioned by me previously, one mili-step at a time!  Or in this case mili-pedal.

I actually have a dream of living in an area where I would not require a vehicle at all.  All of my destinations could be reached by walking or riding my bike.  I do not currently inhabit my dream town, but I do utilize this fantasy to my benefit when the time frame allows.  Such as the other day.  I had errands to run (the bank, the other bank, and the new to our town used furniture store).  If time permits, I take the back roads and travel under the freeway where the atmosphere is serene and the route runs through a historical neighborhood.  I then have to pass by the Mission.  Yes, one of father Junipero Serra’s Spanish feats and the central beacon of our city.  Several years back the Mission became a Basilica and adopted the “open door” policy (this is actually the new Mission church, not the adjacent historical-must pay to enter-attraction).  With the new policy in place, the doors are unlocked and the grand, yet very peaceful, church provides sanctuary from the bustling of the outside world.  Though I am not Catholic, I have spent many hours within the non-protestant walls.  I have appreciated the simplicity of the hand paintings and the majesty of the arched, vaulted ceilings.  More recently, for reasons I cannot fathom, a golden alter was installed.  I suppose its gaudy position and magnitude against the simple wall paintings is a reflection of the truth from its past.  Echos of the ruling empire dominating the natives with the two coexisting as one.

I do not like the alter as it is difficult to ignore.  And when I take the time to visit the Mission church I like to pretend it is a peaceful place, built with peaceful intentions, and present because it welcomes all kinds of people.  I like to ignore the truth history provides regarding the slavery of the indigenous people, and I battle the teachings I have had through my own education and from that of my children, as I approach the open door to the quiet structure.  The golden altar, in a sense, screams “Remember the truth!”  And though I do manage to find my inner quite, it now takes a bit longer for me to get there.

So my Raleigh is my accomplice in quiet adventure.  She takes me places with speed and she doesn’t say a word.  While on her seat I imagine I am riding through the streets of London, and the country sides of Europe.  I pretend I am free.  And while I am free, I am being replenished.  Which is why it is ironic that when exhaustion hits, I fight her call.

Well it is currently 5:00p.m. in the evening.  Brian is home, Esther is on her way to another nighttime class, and Cole is holed up “saving a world” in some extra-terrestrial video game.  I do believe I have a window of opportunity for a ride.  Cheerio…

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