Tag Archives: lifelong values

Life Without Fear

LifeDistress or anxiety that “…hijacks a life taking it in a direction we don’t want to go,” writes Mira Kirshenbaum, is not a life worth living. Some fears are “perfectly reasonable” but some are “terribly damaging” to the point of freezing us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And so she explains (reason #3 of 10) that things happen in order to show us that we can let go of fear and live life wholeheartedly.

There was something in Kirshenbaum’s third reason that caught my attention. With all directness, she exposed the relationship between life and fear. Her writing suggested that we don’t always live and walk in the fullness of the life given to us; and it is fear that causes us to miss out.

Her writing brought back memories from many years ago, my community college days and my budding interest in photography. I had become hooked with black and white imaging and scrapped together the $25.00 for a new Pentax K-1000 camera body. Over a stretch of two years, I won almost every student photographic award and had my images published. Those were the days! However, as my work life and advanced studies demanded more of my time, the sound of my Pentax’s shutter release button slowed and then quietly faded away–until just last year.

I was invited to join a local photography club which met once-a-month. Oddly enough, I found myself making up excuses for why I shouldn’t go—too far away, night driving, cost of gas, and so on. But was it really the distance? Or time of day? I even found myself wrinkling my nose at the thought of getting out the new digital camera that had supplanted my old Pentax.

As the meeting time came–and with some emotional feet dragging, I set out to travel the 30 miles. The meeting went better, however, than what I had expected. The small group of members greeted me with genuine warmth. And, perhaps just as important, I found a group of individuals who held a similar fascination with the power of images to speak.

It wasn’t until later, as I thought about the meeting and club members,  that I realized how my  anxious feelings had taken  hold of me. I discovered that my reasons for not doing something that I had so enjoyed during my college years were actually holding me hostage. And, I found that my excuses were rather the voice of fear—a fear that was attempting to hijack my life–leading me in a direction that I didn’t want to go!

I’m glad for Kirshenbaum’s third explanation and insight for why things happen, that is, to show us that we can let go of fear. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m glad for the freedom that I can now push the button of my digital Minolta, letting me pick up where my trusty Pentax had left me.

Living life’s way in 2014



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True Meanings

SeekLifeIn my last post, I mentioned Mira Kirshenbaum’s belief that everything in our lives, everything that happens to us, happens–for a reason. And, in her book, she further explains among the ten reasons, her readers might find one or more that will quench our natural desire to answer the question: Why me?

I’d like to share her list in addition to noting that her answers are 10 among many others. They are an excellent starting point as we begin to make sense of life, understanding, and love. We are individuals, however, that don’t fit into a rigid life perspective. So I invite you to read her list and then add to them as your experience and wisdom gives you understanding.

The Ten Meanings of the Events in Our Lives (Kirshenbaum, 2004, p. 20)

1. To help you feel at home in the world.

2. To help you totally accept yourself.

3. To show you that you can let go of fear.

4. To bring you to a place where you can feel forgiveness.

5. To help you uncover your true hidden nature.

6. To give you what you need to find true love.

7. To help you become stronger.

8. To help you discover the play in life.

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission.

10. To help you become a truly good person.

Helen Keller once said that life’s purpose was to experience the invisible and to gain wisdom and understanding:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touch. They must be felt with the heart.”

Living life in 2014,

M Buck

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Filed under book reviews, Change and Transformatiom, stories and values

Breakin’ Bread

Some argue that the making of bread marks the beginning of man’s civilization. Others say that it reveals the height of social exclusivity using the example of the bread riots of the French Revolution. Without a doubt, today, bread has become a staple of the American household—in all its varieties. My experience with making bread pudding using six slices of day old bread, however, has convinced me that bread can and does lift the spirit of the eaters!

Moving from CA and establishing my new living space here in Abingdon, VA this past 6 months, I’m discovering a lot about myself. One discovery is in the area of self-preservation where I am learning to take a larger needful stride in the area of nutrition. My attempt at making bread pudding was a very large step for me in more ways than I expected!

Over the last 4 years, I’ve learned that muscular dystrophy (FSH) affects every aspect of life– especially when preparing meals. FSH weakens muscle groups of the upper torso. As a result, cooking, in particular, remains a challenge in many ways: physically, emotionally, and temperamentally! Did I say temper? Yes, I’ve come to understand that cooking with FSH can sometimes evoke emotions normally best kept sealed under a tight lid. Despite visions of spilled milk or emotional setbacks, I was determined, however, to learn work around methods in my new kitchen space.

Positive prior kitchen experiences steadied me as I worked through the challenge. Like other baked items, bread pudding took preparation. First, I reviewed the recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com for bread pudding. Second, I selected a traditional recipe, as this was my very first time in baking bread in this manner. Also, I wanted to experience history and savor its richness. Third, I laid out all ingredients and collected the necessary cookware. Fourth, I followed the directions as stated in the recipe except for (a) leaving the pudding in the oven for a total of 65 minutes instead of their suggested ¾ hour and (b) using an egg substitute.

Despite being my first attempt, I have to admit that I was impressed with the aroma and site of my bread pudding. I called my next door neighbors Mandy and Miss Thelma to find out if they had any interest as taste-testers. Mandy was elated. Miss Thelma said “Of course, I’ve been searching for something sweet all day!” She put down her recently opened chocolate bar and said she’d wait until I got there. However, before rushing the pudding out of the oven and over to their kitchens, I inserted a knife to check for doneness. The knife came out respectfully clean but the amount of excessive moisture migrating toward the middle of the pan gave me a feeling of nervous disaster. I doubled checked several recipes and they all called for a “moist” appearance.

After  four test samplings, I decided to chance it all! It felt good transferring the hot bread pudding into small bowls. The cinnamon and vanilla smells filled my senses. But something else came out of the oven in addition to the pudding–something for which I hadn’t planned. After delivering the hot bowls of bread pudding to the smiling faces of Mandy and Miss Thelma, I found that a life larger than I had imagined for myself in Abingdon, VA had begun to unfold itself. As I opened the door to my apartment, I felt the largeness had been waiting for me all this time–waiting for me to embrace it. I did and it felt very warm indeed! Conclusion? Bread pudding is best enjoyed with family and friends, and now, I add–cherished neighbors!

Living life in 2011,

AllRecipes Bread Pudding II
6 slices day-old bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

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