Category : Life

Hope, Inspiration, Life, light
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I love seeing the sun shining brightly on the trees this spring.

The sun seems to shine more brightly this spring after our dreary winter. It’s really nice to wear sunglasses again! The rainy weather of winter dampened my spirit of hope in much the same way as the mighty waters flooded the banks of the James River.  The sunny skies with bright hues of azure lifted the heaviness of the blues that were weighing me down.  The greening of the trees has quickly filled in the emptiness of the barren branches of the trees and ushered in the transformation of nature and my heart. It’s amazing how good it feels to embrace life this spring.

 

Every evening as the sun starts to set, I go outside to marvel at the brightness of the sunlight striking the tops of the trees on the embankment above my deck. The darker forest green leaves at the top of the willow oaks are illuminated by the rays of sunshine and they appear chartreuse for those final moments before sunset.  The warmth of their greenish yellow appearance causes me to pause in awe of the wonders of creation. I know that there is always light in the midst of darkness, but it is often hard to find that light in the shadows. I cherish the brightness of each spring day’s final bursts of sunlight that remind me that there is always light in every day. My perspective shifts, and I see hope in all circumstances.

 

 

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Inspiration, Life
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Practicing the Art of Being Kind

I’m trying to break out of the negativity that the world news ignites in me.

I’ve decided to embrace two words that keep turning up on random corners in my neighborhood.  Yesterday I noticed a hand-painted sign in a nearby gallery in plain letters saying, “Be Kind.” When I saw the same words on a white washed board with red hearts in my neighbor’s yard, I decided to find out if this was some kind of local movement.  Maybe you have spotted some of these Be Kind signs too. My curiosity sent me to the web where all answers live these days.

I learned that this message is more than just a local movement. It was created here in Richmond by Gini Bonnell.  After struggling with the myriad of bad news that enters into our daily lives, she responded by painting a white board with Be Kind and placed it in her yard.  Her neighbors liked it so much that they wanted one of their own. Then the requests for more Be Kind signs snowballed with calls from not only our community but schools, businesses, groups, and individuals from as far away as Australia.  An article appearing in Boomer magazine in July stated that Gini had now made more than 550 signs.  She is really excited about how many people have joined her in carrying this message into the world including our Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Seeing those Be Kind signs helped me realize that to be kind one must take action. Seeing and doing are not the same. I can practice the art of being kind in my small corner of the world. Even though I’d like to be kind, I’m skeptical sometimes.  The homeless man who sits on a bucket even on rainy days near the expressway with his crumpled cardboard sign of “anything helps” haunts me as I turn the corner wondering if he is really homeless or just looking for a handout.  My judgment and good intentions often limit my actions, but I’ve decided to take action on being kind for the next 30 days. Kindness to my neighbors or the strangers.  Be Kind! I’m telling you so that I can be held accountable, and to invite you to join me in practicing the art of being kind. I’d love to hear your stories.  Please contact me through my blogsite at www.heart-heels.com.

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Grief, Inspiration, Life, Moving forward one step at a time
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I’m all about the color blue!

While my husband David and I were in our wooing stages of getting to know each other, he sent me a card that had a crayon box on the outside. Inside the card a blue crayon drawing said, “Color me blue when I’m without you.” Whenever I see a crayon box, I remember those words. Time spent together was never long enough and times apart seemed like forever.

That card pops into my head whenever I’m having a rough day since he died. Rainy, cloudy, and cold days can really stir up the color blue……. color me blue when I’m without you…it will soon be 15 years and that’s an ocean full of blue! A whole blue sky with no puffy white clouds kind of blue. Blue-footed Booby bird kind of blue for keeping one foot in front of the other after his death.

But, life goes on and we learn to color other shades of blue. Turquoise blue to give you hope on winter days. Steel blue for standing tall at funerals. Tiffany blue for falling in love with someone else. Superman blue for seeing your sons become strong men.

Color me blue when I’m without you! What if I had known how much blue there would be in my life? I’m all about the color blue!

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Grief, Inspiration, Life
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Seeing hearts instills hope!

Standing at a lake with my friend Vonnie on the day of her Dad’s funeral, we heard birds flying overhead. We were surprised to see two swans making a soft landing towards the far shoreline and swimming towards each other. As they drew closer to one another with their heads tucked down, they nuzzled neck-to-neck which formed a perfect heart in their embrace. The beauty of this moment gave us the courage to acknowledge our pain, but more importantly to remember the abiding love that remains forever etched in our hearts! Seeing hearts instills hope!

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Blogging, Inspiration, Life
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What makes me feel strong?

18 years ago, I learned I had colon cancer. I felt stronger knowing that others were thinking of me and praying for my complete recovery and wholeness from this disease. Even when I was too sick to meditate or pray, I could feel the warmth of their loving thoughts wash over me. I was introduced to an Episcopal priest named Rufus Womble who changed the way I prayed for my own recovery and reshaped my spiritual practices for life! I am so grateful for the time I spent with him, and the lessons he shared with me.

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Susan Butterworth. HeartHeels. Taking up my Mat feature image
Life
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Taking up my mat and walking again!

I want to dedicate this post to my sons Ben and Andy who have shown great courage in living with hope in spite of losing their father thirteen years ago to a massive heart attack during a basketball game at their school during a scrimmage with other boys. Watching them rise up and walk again has inspired me to share pieces of this incredible journey with others. While the road has been rocky, it has also given us new ways to keep on going!

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Dog In Park
Blogging, Creative, Life
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Signs of Spring Signal Season of Remembrance

Lately my heart has been heavy with the weight of the anniversary of my husband’s death less than a month away. Even though it’s been 13 years since he so suddenly left us with a fatal heart attack while playing basketball with our son Andy, the budding blossoms of trees, shrubs, and flowers usher in my melancholy and deep yearning for the life we shared as a couple. That fated morning started like any other warm spring day with white pedals bursting forth on the dogwood trees surrounding our home, birds singing, mowers humming in the neighborhood, coffee brewing, newspaper spreading out on the kitchen counter, kids rushing to get showers and dress for school, bees buzzing, dogs barking in the distance, flag flapping in the breeze over the front door, white puffy clouds darting across the blue sky…. but ended in the deafening sounds of emergency vehicles summoned to the gym where David collapsed to the brown rubbery floor with young sweaty boys including Andy watching hopelessly for signs of movement in his lifeless body. It’s a day forever etched in our memories filled with echoes of sirens signaling in a shift in our view of this season of spring!

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Life
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Birthdays and Joy

Birthdays have always been important to me. I look forward to each one with anticipation and excitement. My fortieth birthday happened to fall on the day that my uncle’s funeral was to take place.  Even though attending his service was hard, I knew that his life would be celebrated which is part of what we do on our own birthdays.  He lived a good life of eighty years in spite of being both physically and mentally handicapped. His speech was often difficult to comprehend, but I was always able to understand him when he said, “I love you.”  His love for a full church and me spoke to his kindness. Being with family and friends who loved my uncle’s sweetness in no way dampened my spirits on this special day of my own birth.

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