Artwork by Riley Grace, 12 yrs old

“Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.”      (Alanon “Just for Today” Bookmark)

Recently I came across a sign in a sporting goods store that said:  “Just for today, I will do something that scares me.”  It caught my eye because I had lately been thinking a lot about fears – a fear of killer bees was pressing deep into my consciousness.  I was out golfing on a Sunday morning with hubby when the marshal pulled alongside to warn us that the day before a golf course gardener in our retirement community was attacked by a large swarm of killer bees. He was stung between 300-400 times and ended up in the ICU.*

This sad news set my fear radar into overdrive and all I could think about the next few days was killer bees.  I was signed up to go out with the ladies golf club two days later, and I tossed and turned at night worrying about bees.  Everyone was talking about it, and the starter made an announcement over the loud speaker asking players to please report any sighting of bee hives or unusual bee activity.  Africanized honey bees, to be exact.

The darker colored bee on the left in the photo below is an Africanized honey bee; the golden one on the right, is a regular honey bee. Africanized honey bees also pollinate plants, and their sting is no more potent than that of other honey bees. Yet, the former has a bad temperament (to say the least!) and is extremely aggressive when he swarms with his buddies, and will not hesitate to ambush a perceived threat, and will pursue that threat for up to a quarter of a mile. Experts say don’t bother jumping into water to escape; the killer bees will simply wait for you to surface. Whoah – this is the stuff nightmares are made out of!  They go for the head, and all you can do is cover your head, run and find shelter.


Africanized Honey Bee (left); European Honey Bee (right)

As the announcement was made to the lady golfers, I talked with others about my worries and nightmares vis-a-vis killer bees that resulted in uneasy and fitful sleep.  Internally, I reminded myself:  “Be careful not to give this matter too much thought; your obsessing may end up attracting the very thing you fear !”

I actually made it off the course in one piece and did not see one bee.  Victory. I pulled my golf cart into the garage and went into the bathroom to wash sweat off my face, when I felt a sharp pain underneath my left arm.  I looked to see what was going on, and saw a bee on my shirt.  It must have traveled home with me.  I tried to shake it off into the bathroom sink; it wouldn’t budge and I started to scream! (Yes, a little drama took place) I was alone and doing battle one-on-one with a bee that looked just like the darker bee in the photo.  All my fears were magnified and all of a sudden this little bee was a rampaging Godzilla in my mind.  Finally, I braced myself and touched the bee and swept him into the sink with my fingers, and ran the water to make sure he went down the drain.

Ouch,  red and swollen. Imagine over 300 of those covering someone’s head and upper torso.

A magnifying mirror and tweezers were at my fingertips, so I employed those to remove the stinger.  Little did I know that one shouldn’t use tweezers; instead, the edge of a credit card is best to scrape away the stinger. Pulling the stinger out with tweezers can release venom deeper into the skin.  It had been a long time since I had been stung but I knew to grab some baking soda and ice.

A memory of my first bee sting stands out like technicolor in my mind.  It was 1960 and I was 6 years old living in northern Arizona, and playing in the backyard with my sisters while my Mother read and sunbathed.   I noticed numerous bees hovering over clover in the lawn, and I swear, I said to my childhood self, “I wonder what it feels like to be stung by a bee” so off I went in my little bare feet across that patch of lawn inhabited by a bunch of bees.

I looked straight ahead, kept walking, and all of a sudden… Ouch, Pain, Cries.  I fell into my Mom’s lap and my eyes pleaded for relief.  Pain is a big teacher, of course; and that’s the last time I attempted such an experiment. Yet, I wasn’t completely cowed as I went on to search for scorpions under rocks in the Arizona desert while my Dad hit golf balls a few yards away.  I don’t think he knew what his little girl was up to. When we moved to California, my audacious searches switched to Black Widow spiders.  Needless to say, I’m no longer that kind of adventurer!

Removed stinger

So when my granddaughter Riley Grace came to visit and got stung by a bee in our pool, her Mom rattled off an order:  “Get into the house and get your Nana. She’ll know what to do.”  I immediately grabbed a credit card that was conveniently at arms length, scraped away the stinger (it came out easily) and made a paste of baking soda and water.  After baking soda and ice, we applied a little honey (I looked it up!).

A friend who is very allergic to bee stings (and has been hospitalized more than once as a result) offers this advice:  if you are out and about and get stung, grab some dirt and water and make a ball of mud and put it on the bee sting; it will squeeze out the venom. In fact, my friend says that she’s avoided hospitalization by applying that simple folk remedy!

Not too much pain; braver than her Nana!

Riley’s wrist shows no signs of a bee sting less than 48 hours later in the photo below; not like the site of my wound that was irritated, red, swollen and itchy for a number of days. Of course, it might be due to the fact that 12 year olds heal a lot faster than 65 year old Nana’s.

Barely a trace of a bee sting on Riley’s wrist

Fears, I realize, are scary dark holes that most of us prefer not to peer into. But when we are face to face with rational or irrational fears, we discover what stuff we are made of.

Even though I screamed in terror when that killer bee clung stubbornly to my shirt, I didn’t freeze and I sprang into action.  I peered into the dark hole of my fears, and I survived and learned something along the way; best of all I was able to *calmly* help my granddaughter.

I strive to be cognizant of not letting my fears grow like thorns across my mental landscape; JUST FOR TODAY, I will practice replacing a negative thought with a positive one.

I look back and shake my head realizing that a lot of my mental energy was spent in fear of killer bees and sure enough, one latched onto me.  What are the odds?

Some of the acronyms I’ve learned about F.E.A.R. in Alanon 12 Step meetings provide sumptuous food for thought:

Future Events Aren’t real

False Evidence Appearing Real

The mind is a funny thing – it can be our best friend or it can be our worst enemy.  One thing I know: I hold the reins to the wild horses that run roughshod in my mind.  It’s up to me to pull them back, stop for a moment, and remind myself:  “In this moment, you are safe” and I find that to be true 99.99999% of the time!

“To break the cycle of worry and fear, I’m learning to focus all my attention on this very moment….this day is all I have to work with, and it is all I need.  If I am tempted to worry about tomorrow’s concerns, I will gently bring my mind back to today.”  (Courage to Change, page 10)

Just for today, may your fears be small and manageable, and may you never have to wrestle with a killer bee!



*Postscript:  As of this writing, I am told the golf course employee who was attacked by killer bees is out of the ICU but still in the hospital. He’s been in the hospital for over two weeks.  Two colleagues tried to rescue him but could not swipe the bees off and  911 was called.  God bless that gardener – he’s in my prayers.









31 thoughts on “JUST FOR TODAY

  1. Hi, Susan – What a wise, reflective and positive post. I’ve come to expect no less of you. Great lesson about fears…and killer bees. I’m glad that you and Riley are well. Sending warm thoughts that the gardner continues to recover completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Donna,
      Great to hear from you. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comment! I know there are many in the world who face terrible adversities and I do not want to downplay that by being over concerned about one little bee. Yet, it was my story this go-round, and I found it so strange that a bee rode home with me!

      I also took to wearing lighter colored clothing because I read killer bees are attracted to darker clothing. When there is a killer bee attack in your own community, it gives one pause and it is good to know what to do. I know that this is an issue in the south west states. So it does become a legitimate concern to be aware of.

      I also was inspired to write about this fear when you shared in one of your blogs that you could be a bit of a scaredy-cat. I am inspired when others share honestly about their vulnerabilities!



  2. What a story you have here. I’m glad that you and your granddaughter are ok after your bee stings, but so sorry to read about the gardener. I’ll remember what you wrote here about what to do should I be stung, but hope it never happens to me or to you two again. If it’s not one thing it’s another, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ally,

      Thank you for reading and your great comment! I couldn’t Believe that I brought that bee home after all my worrying and angst about bees. Another thing I read is that killer bees like dark colors, so wearing lighter colors is better. I believe that our gardeners wear a dark blue.

      It really is scary to know that killer bees are in our area and can attack so viciously. Many people die as a result of being stung.

      Yes if it is not one thing, it is another, so I am grateful for every day and every blessing that comes my way.

      You always have great things to say, so thank you!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Susan, Just read your blog about bee stings! I’m assuming this was at Sun City golf course??? Glad you & the Gardner survived! When I see you in the fall I will share my one & only bee sting (I got last summer in Park City) story with you!! It became quite the ordeal! We will continue to enjoy the beauty of Nature even if there are interruptions!!!! Best Carel

    Sent from my iPhone Carel


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi

      Great to hear from you. Yes it was on the 18th hole at the Santa Rosa golf course. The gardener either was mowing or bending over doing something when he got attacked. The bees swarmed his head. So frightening. Everyone feels so bad here and we are all praying for the gardener.

      I look forward to hearing your story and I don’t feel so alone knowing you had an ordeal too. I would like to hear about it.

      By the way, the friend I mention who is deathly allergic to bee stings and made mud balls is our very own ukulele teacher, Lori!! The things we learn when we share and exchange stories!

      I’m so grateful that you read and I love your comment. Thank you!



  4. Hi Susan,
    Hope you and Riley are recovering from your bee stings.
    Thanks for the great message! Always glad to hear a lesson from the Red Book.
    Hope to see you in August or September. I was recently in TN. We have a lot of catching up to do!
    My prayers for the poor gardener. I am glad he is better, but it sounds awful. I guess there is a reason they are called “killer bees”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Myrna,

      So good to hear from you. Life tests us everyday and we never know what is going to happen.

      That poor gardener who showed up for work and was just doing his job, and unbeknownst to him and others there was a beehive of Africanized bees lurking nearby. That’s why it just seems so frightening to me, that out of the blue a large number of bees could attack so viciously.

      When I tried to do a news search re this attack, I didn’t find anything about him but I saw lots of other headlines about people dying from killer bee attacks 😫

      I so look forward to catching up with you. In the meantime I send lots of serenity and peace.



  5. Lovely written, Susan. I hadn’t heard about the employee from our community who was attacked by the bee swarm. I’m glad he is recovering.

    I was five when I received my first bee-sting, and I was terrified! My older brother quickly whisked me up into his arms and carried me to a standing mud puddle at the back of our property. He thrust my foot into the cold sludge, and all I could think of in my terror was, “why is my brother being so mean to me in a moment like this?” He knew that dirt and water was a remedy for bee stings. He was my Hero that day! Thanks for conjuring up that life event from the depths of my memory bank.

    Your friend,

    Virginia Brush

    PS. Love the selected photos you’ve chosen for your blogs! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Virginia

      I am so honored that you read this piece and thank you so much for your astute comment! How interesting that your brother dumped you in mud😄. Aren’t you glad that he knew about that folk remedy!

      The bee attack happened at the 18th hole on Santa Rosa golf. I suppose I could have chosen not to golf a couple of days later if I was so fearful, but I didn’t even think about not going. Now if it were a great white shark warning on a beach, I might not go into the water! No one said it was not safe to golf, so we all moved forward.

      So much to share and so much to catch up on. I can’t wait for you to come back to the desert!



    • PS, I got lucky with that photo selection. The photos usually come along in the very right moment and speak to my message! The lone thorny tree with a black gaping hole: that was taken recently by my daughter on a hike in New Mexico! I told her to take some good photos that I might be able to use and she came up with the jackpot!



    • Dear Maria,

      What you say is SO true. It is completely human to have fears; it is what we do with them that matters! What I love about you is that you seem to face your fears; you might be scared but you forge ahead anyway. You are a great example of a strong woman. I love knowing you!



  6. Thank you that was perfect for me as I was stung by a bee yesterday on a farmer market . I did not do anything about as I did not know if killer bees I see now that my ignorance was my blessings at the time I did not attacking a killer bee just a honey bee I guess😉
    Sending love and light from Rio de Janeiro Brazil 😘🌷💋

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi friend!

      One bee sting (from either a honeybee or killer bee) doesn’t really matter unless you are allergic. It’s when the Africanized bees attack in big numbers that is big time trouble!

      I’m glad you got through it better than me! Just remember that mud and water trick!

      We miss you in pacifica and hope that life is treating you splendidly.

      Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. It’s an interesting coincidence that you too were stung by a bee 🙀



  7. Wow great story and lessons Susie Q! It is fascinating how our mind works and good reminder to replace fear with positive words because we are powerful co creators! I remember growing up you got a bee sting on your finger and you were walking around with a mound of mud on it. Maybe we were with Louise and Jerry at the time and they recommended? So sweet and timely you could help Riley.
    Lots of juicy lessons in this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Marilyn Jo Rose,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting – it means SO much to me. Isn’t it funny that I don’t remember a bee sting
      on the finger, and walking around with a mound of mud on it; yet, I remember so vividly being 6 years old and walking across our lawn in our little home in Arizona! The mind and memory are funny things; that’s why we need sisters, ha ha. Good sisters, to be more accurate, like you!

      I love your comment!

      Love ya,


  8. Hi Susan, Your posts always give me goosebumps. Your initial quote is beautiful! Killer bees have not been in my radar. Yet, when you are advised a swarm of killer bees has recently attacked someone, bees are in our radar.

    Your post is educational and sharing information is important. We have a son in law allergic to bees. When we camp, every single member of the family carries along some Benadryl (anti-histamine). I have briefly heard about the credit card, although not tried it. You may know this, your reaction was possibly worse than Riley’s because you have had previous bee stings.

    Your granddaughter’s artwork is exquisite and appropriate to the story. A coincidence?

    I always enjoy and appreciate your engaging stories, Susan.

    Thank you for sharing a great post:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear E/E,

      So great to hear from you! I’m so glad that this post has been of help to others. One friend commented that her brother dropped her in some mud when she was young to treat a bee sting, and she thought he was playing a dirty trick. Yet, he was trying to help and protect her!

      I’m not sure if Riley has been stung before – but yes, my reaction was so much worst. And I wonder, too, if my anxiety played a part and exacerbated the situation, or perhaps more venom got into me. I was worried about Riley and kept an eye on her because when she was little, she was hospitalized for an asthma attack, so I did not know how she might react.

      Just a few days prior to the bee sting, I helped Riley with that art project – a red rose. I thought she did a lovely color application and I added the bee later with a little photo program. I realized that with all the talk about art lately (in your blog as well), I might showcase my granddaughter’s effort. It’s funny how these things all come together . I never know ahead of time how it’s all going to fit together. I guess that’s the beauty of inspiration and the creative process!

      Bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Susan, As you say, many variables involved with stings, with sometimes serious repercussions.

        That piece of art is beautiful, and infused with an extra beautiful meaning behind it. More special when it is a combined effort and time together with your granddaughter. I love that you showcased it! I initially wondered about putting my 3 year old’s art into the blog, yet it was a part of why I felt compelled to write the story. I can sense that with you, too. I am also very much with you when I often don’t know where my story is going or will end up until I begin writing. I shared something with the blogging group Meet Up this past weekend and I told them it came from you, Susan “…the creative process comes from a deep place with our being……the Divine spark…” It is difficult to put the creative process into words and I love how you said this.

        We don’t always know the impact we have on people and the ripple effect. You make this world a better place, Susan.💕


        Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s easy to understand your fears when Africanized bees have been verified in the area, but you moved forward (cautiously) and did not allow your life to be derailed. Even after being stung, you role modeled how you were able to take the lessons and be the go-to person in the bee sting emergency with your beautiful granddaughter. I love the acronyms for FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. I am tangling with a sick person right now, and the potential damage this person can do is intimidating, but I keep one foot in the front of the other. My mantra is “so far so good, proceed with caution, but keep moving forward!” Thanks for the “coincidental” blog posting. I relate and am reassured!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzette,
      Sorry for my delay in responding to your lovely and supportive comment. I hope your personal experience of dealing with a sick person has resolved itself. I’m trying personally to answer fear, turmoil, criticism, illness with a softer attitude. In short, I’m trying not to escalate things. Not always easy, but it helps me to sleep at night with a more calm heart and mind.

      Another attitude I’m trying to adopt is: I don’t have to go to every fight I’m invited to! 😉

      Love your comments and so grateful for your support.



  10. OMG!! How scary !! Killer bees. Your arm looked so sore. OUCH!!
    I have used the mud remedy before and it definitely soothes the sting! I used to keep Adolphs meat tenderizer in my camping medicine kit too. I made a paste using this with water. The Ingredient “bromelain” enzyme works to draw out the venom.
    I am so glad you and Riley are better. Please take care.! Miss you !
    Love Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,

      Oh thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by, reading and commenting. Yes, my arm was sore, so I can’t even imagine suffering hundreds and hundreds of stings like that. It must seem like hell come to life.

      I love your personal family account of using another folk remedy (Adolphs meat tenderizer). Who would have thought? It just amazes me how much we can learn from each other!

      Thanks Linda again for your support of this little blog.

      Much love,
      Susan Grace


  11. Great reading as always! Glad you and your granddaughter are ok. Scary thing!! And the gardener- wow!! Glad he is doing better. Thank you again for an awesome post!!

    Bonny S.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bonny,

      Thank you so much for reading! It means so much to me. I find the strangest topics to write about, don’t I? Who wants to write about killer bees, but one of my friends in the desert sent it around to all those she knew so they would be informed. Maybe I did a service to others – I hope so!


      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am catching up on blog posts today, and I read this last month. I could have sworn I commented, but must have done so in my mind. You did better than I would have, Susan Grace. I don’t know that I would have gone golfing in the area where the man was attacked. That is not false evidence appearing real. That is real evidence kicking someone’s butt! I hope the man is okay and so glad you were only stung once. I have a lot of bees hanging out on my patio visiting my blossoming plants – none are killer bees I hope! I am always careful to stay out of their business but now I’ll be prepared with a credit card in case I slip up and get a sting. The bigger message of your blog is timeless. Fear does hold me back at times and most of the time it does fit the definition of the wise acronym. Another thing I’ve heard is, ‘courage is fear that’s said its prayers.’ Hope you are having a blessed summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Molly,

      It’s always good to hear from you! I always love your take on things, and yes I agree that courage is fear that’s said its prayers. Maybe that is what happened to me that day I chose to go out golfing so soon after a killer bee attack. I think I must have said my share of prayers as I tossed and turned all night! Besides a credit card, don’t forget a glob of dirt and water molded into a mud pack just in case you aren’t near any baking soda! I love bees and all they do for us, but I still cringe, quiver and quake at the thought of killer bees! They just come on so fast and it seems there’s little to do but cover your head and seek cover, and even then you may not have time or the opportunity 😦

      Bless you, Molly.



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