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We put a wrought iron bench under the oaks overlooking the creek when a guest told us he planned to propose to his girlfriend the weekend they visited. After the successful proposal, we left the bench in place. It is an invitation to rest and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.

Last summer I enjoyed a picnic with a friend on this bench, sharing cheese, tomato, and avocado sandwiches. A few days ago Mark and I stopped by and sat for a while on our way to complete errands at the cottages we rent out. A simple bench in nature welcomes rest and reflection.

When you sit on a bench out in nature, it seems like there is nothing on your list of things to do. Maybe dinner will be late, oh well. It seems to not matter whether your hair is combed or your socks match. You can deal with those things if the fashion police arrive, but they don’t seem to come much to spots like this.

Two years ago in the spring after the bluebonnets bloomed I harvested some seed pods and tossed them around this bench. Only a few sprouted. I think there is not enough sun in this spot. You never know, though, there may be a carpet of bluebonnets surrounding the bench in the spring.

The holiday bustle is coming to a close. The new year will be upon us before you know it. The demands of your daily life will settle into a new normal routine as your patient settles into how she will function for the next little while.

Pause for a moment. Find a quiet bench with a view. Rest there for a bit and let your mind wander to the events of the last year. Pat yourself on the back for all the good things you got done. This has been a pretty tough year. It is not quite over.

You have been a champ. You have dealt with others with your customary kindness and integrity. You have gotten some support for your caregiving role. You have made headway in the practical areas of dealing with medical bills and disability and wills and powers of attorney. Well done. Take time today to give yourself credit for all you have done.

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