Monday, December 31, 2012

Walking with patience...

     There is a "walk" that I began to practice with Trooper when he was young, and still do now when he is being stubborn about coming back to me after being off leash for a while.  It is a walk of patience for me ... and a walk of "submission" for him. 

     I've learned that when he still wants to run and play off leash, the worst thing I can do is chase after him to try to re-leash him.  Instead, I will turn and walk the other direction, away from him.  He will run to get ahead of me, and as soon as he does, I will turn and walk in the opposite direction.  Again, he runs to get ahead of me, and again, I turn and walk in the other direction.  I will do it as many times as it takes for him to reach a point where he stops just a few feet in front of me and waits for me to approach him and clip the leash to his collar.

     When I was trying to rescue Annie from the woods, it became a talk of patience.  Sitting on the ground, where she could see and hear me, and eventually realize that I wasn't going to hurt her.  She came to me in open trust, submitting to the gentle words I sometimes whispered, and eventually, submitting to the gentle touch of my hands upon her head, neck and back.

     Beau has been far more traumatized than Annie, and often yelps in fear while he is approaching me, or when I approach him.  He wants so much to trust, but is so afraid.  Yesterday I began a patience walk with him that has already rewarded both of us.

     After letting him socialize and play with Annie and Trooper for a while, I put them [Annie and Trooper] back into the house and went back out to where Beau was waiting [and yelping] at the edge of the field, across the street.  As I approached, he walked away, and so I began talking to him and kept walking.

     He followed, sometimes so close his nose would bump the back of my legs, other times farther away or to my side.  Every time he got ahead of me, I would turn and walk the opposite direction, still talking to him, telling him what a brave dog he was, handsome and smart.  Occasionally I would stop and sit on the ground [tho more frequently on a sewer cover which is off the ground and easier on my back and bones].  Beau would circle, listening to me talk, then sit down in the weeds near me where he could see and hear me.  As soon as he became comfortable enough to lay down, I would get up and walk again.  He would get up and follow.

     We did this "dance" of sorts this morning for about an hour when suddenly, he walked directly to me and stood still.  I reached down and stroked his back and sides, talking to him softly.  He let me touch him for about two minutes before he went back into the field to consider the experience.  I went back to walking and talking, he continued to follow at a distance until he decided enough for now and went into the woods.

     I am getting closer to getting him out of the woods and into the house.  I've moved the food and water to my driveway since he has come to the door to sniff Annie through the screen.  He knows where she is ... where I am ... and he is wanting.

     Sometimes, when we approach our fears with patience ... we are rewarded with trust.

New me resolutions...

     I confess to sort of getting an early start to my 2013 New Year Resolutions.  I started in October 2012.  I can be a procrastinator of sorts and so decided that if I started three months early, I might actually accomplish something by the new year.

     One of my early starts was to be a better aunt... so I have been consciously reaching out to my nieces and nephews to have a phone chat every other week or so.  They are all at the age of awareness now [and then some in the case of my oldest niece], and so chatting with them has much more of an impact now than my presence might have five years ago.  For both of us.

     I've also resolved to be wiser when it comes to finances.  So much so that when I've been given gift cards in the last several months by angels, family and friends, I used them to buy dog food, toilet paper, bath soap, and deodorant.  Life's necessities, rather than what I might have spent them on five years ago... which most likely would have been another unnecessary dust collector sitting on a shelf.

     But I made an exception this past month with gift cards given to me by a sweet angel named Vanessa.  First at Thanksgiving, she sent me a two card combo for "dinner and a movie," which I used to take myself and a friend [who has also been a blessing to me] to lunch and a matinee.  I still have enough left on the movie card to treat myself to another matinee AND popcorn if I want.  When she sent another gift card to Target for Christmas, I was in a quandary... how to spend it wisely.

     I realized that sometimes it is okay to ... indulge ... and so used it to purchase a beginner's yoga set [mat & 3 DVDs].  I've done yoga before and found it very beneficial, but had to sell all my DVDs to buy food when I was in Texas.  One of my "new me" resolutions for 2013 has been to improve my stress-free living ... while improving my health.

     New Year Resolutions so often get forgotten, and pushed aside when we wake up to real life each morning.  But this year... I have a feeling my New Me Resolutions are more likely to be checked off ... accomplished!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five...

1.  An unexpected Christmas Day phone call from cousins Sue, Mark, and Pam
2.  An oinkin' good meal Christmas Day with my friend, Shirley, and her sons
3.  Christmas cards filled with love and laughter
4.  Portable heaters (of the four-legged variety)
5.  The promise of a new year with new opportunities
 And these are the five things I've been most grateful for this year ...
1.  Health and healing
2.  Clarity
3.  Optimism
4.  Friends and family around the world
5.  Faith and hope ... because all things are possible with God
 ~*~*~
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
~ Romans 12:11-13 ~

Take a peek...

     Karen, at This Old House 2, has done another Project 24 for Christmas Day.  My photo was the first of the day ... my patio lights at 1a.m. when we were in the middle of a fierce rainstorm and under a tornado watch.   I really loved seeing how everyone spent their Christmas Day around the world ~ even as far away as Finland.

     I also sent a photo for her Project 24 for Halloween.  I had planned on sneaking downstairs to take a picture of my cat, Oreo, asleep on the back of the sofa when I heard a noise behind me in the dark.  I just flashed the camera up the stairs and caught Trooper in the act of trying to scare me.

Frosty night comforts...

Full Frost Moon rising...
It is the Full Frost Moon
and Jamie Ridler Studios prompts us with the question
"What comforts do you dream of?"
for our Full Moon Dreamboards.
 
My life the last two years has been less than comfortable at times.
But I know I've been more comfortable than many others.
I have much to be grateful for ... and I am truly grateful for that.
 
What comforts do I dream of?
That those who are without comfort,
will be comforted.
That those who are cold,
will be warmed.
That those who are hungry,
will be fed.
That those who feel lost and lonely,
will be found and loved.
That all of my comforts will be multiplied,
and shared with those less fortunate.

I'm also dreaming of...
flannel sheets
crackling fireplaces
snuggly cats
spearmint tea
fuzzy slippers
and
hot bubble baths

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What do you wish for?

On Christmas Eve, I made a promise to myself 
~ a gift ~
that I would purge the unhappiness that has weighed me down this year.
... physically purging my house of things so that I don't have to look at them in the new year ...
... emotionally purging myself of the grief that comes with a difficult relationship ...
... mentally purging myself resentment for the things I gave up,
and towards myself for making a bad choice ...
... spiritually purging myself of the negativity in my life ...
I wish it was as simple as just writing words down
or thinking the thought.
But that isn't what I wish for today.
Today I wish for healing.
His
and mine.
Today I wish for forgiveness.
His
and mine.
Today I wish for peace.
His
and mine.

Traditions...

     I'm humming Tradition from "Fiddler on the Roof" as I'm writing this...  I love that movie.  I was thinking about it the other night as I drove around town looking at Christmas lights... thinking of the memories I have in this place.  Holidays past and of the traditions I've held close to my heart as being part of who I am.

     All told, I have roughly twenty plus years of memories in Panama City.  High school graduation... first and last loves... birthdays... first dog... Thanksgivings... Christmases.  Even when I wasn't living here, I would sometimes come back to see my Dad while he was alive.

     I drove past my Dad's old house tonight.  I could see the new owner's Christmas tree through the front window but they didn't have any lights up outside.  No one on the street did.  What a change that was from when I lived there as a child.  I remember almost every house on the street being lit up.

     As I turned off the street and headed for town, a thought occurred to me...

Sometimes in order to move forward,
we have to take a step back
to remember who we are.
     I'm back to square one in my life.  I came "home" to Panama City after a devastating time to ... I don't know.  Get my feet back on the ground again?  I took a step backwards so that I could move forward.
     Because I have to let go.  I have to let go of my past... of what has happened... so that I can turn my focus to tomorrow.  To be able to enjoy today and move forward.   I can still hang onto my traditions... my rituals... because they give me a foundation.  They are my beliefs.  My faith.  But some of the memories have to be rewritten.  The pain erased.
     So that there is room for the memories tomorrow will bring...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Someone worth finding...

     I heard something this morning on my favorite radio station, WAY-FM, and if I can find a podcast for it I will add it here later.  But it was one of those moments that you want to stop everything and remember it.  I was driving at the time, and so pulled over to scramble for some note paper so I could write it down.

     It was that powerful.

     They had been discussing a listener's question about what to get an estranged family member for Christmas.  Katie Rose, the co~host/producer of The Wally Show, shared a story that she had heard and it was just so touching...

     She told of a family divided... two kids whose parents divorced... and how their father wanted a relationship with his daughter and son, but it was difficult because their mother kept returning all of the cards, letters, and gifts that he sent to them.  The father spoke to his pastor about the situation and asked him, "What can I do?"  The pastor told him this:

     Be someone worth finding.

     So the father kept all of the returned gifts, letters and cards, and put them in his children's rooms.  Every significant event in their lives, he would acknowledge.  Ten years passed and one day his daughter came to see him.  She was hurt and angry because she felt her father had never been there for her.  He took her to the room he had for her in his house and showed her that he had always been there.  She just hadn't looked for him.  She went and got her brother, and now they all have a strong relationship.

     Because he was someone worth finding.  He lived his life in such a way that he knew one day they would seek him, and he wanted them to know that he had always been there.  Waiting.

     The power in that statement and how it applies to my life just rocked me this morning.  My marriage is on very rocky ground and I have no idea what the future holds.  I can't imagine being without this man ... and at the same time ... can't imagine staying with him right now.  However, I know that one day all this pain will be past and I will want to share my life again.  But with someone who shares my values, who will walk beside me.  So I need to live my life being someone worth finding.

     Not only did that statement speak to me of what kind of person I want to be, but more importantly, it speaks to how God patiently waits for us to seek him.  He gives us so many gifts... and sometimes we just turn our backs on him.  A book ~ a Bible ~ of letters written for us so that we could get to know Him ... and sometimes we don't even open the cover.  But he waits.  Patiently.  Because He knows that one day we will seek Him.

     What a wonderful gift that is in itself.    

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter wishes....

     When my father died, I wished for a holiday to erase my grief and to remember ... to find my childhood memories and the magic of Christmas again.  Uniworld helped me to fill that wish in 2007 when I was able to revisit Germany on a Rhine River Holiday Markets cruise.
 
Rhine River Cruise with Uniworld [love them!]

     The following year, I took their Danube Holiday Markets cruise and found the relaxation and creativity my soul had been craving.

     I am prompted today with a question... "What is your winter wish?" 

     My wish today is that in 2013, I can find what I lost in 2011 and 2012.  

     That I can find me again... my smile, my laughter, my joy.  That I can find health again... restful relaxation, peaceful sleep... and dream again.  That I can find my inspiration, creativity, and warmth again.

     The material things can't be replaced, and they are just things... things that don't really matter when it comes down to what is truly important.

     But the emptiness in my heart and soul for the me I have lost in the last two years ... that matters.  That is what I wish to find between now and next winter... an everlasting spring in my soul.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

W is for whimsy...

[I'm preparing for a new meme that I will join in January... today's prompt is W... and this is whimsical, wacky, and wild... which is what a W should be.]

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house
All the creatures were stirring, oh look, there’s a mouse;
Odd socks were hung by the dryer with care,
In hopes that their matches soon would be there;

The dogs were all nestled so snug in my bed,
While visions of muscle aches danced in my head;
My cat on his pillow, also known as my lap,
Had just settled down for a long writer's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the deck I flew like a flash,
Ran into the door and my head got a bash.
The moon on the neighboring trailer, white as snow
Gave the glow of mid-day to the objects below,
When, what to my wonky one eye did appear,
But a miniature truck, and eight tiny deer,
With a little old guy, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Nit Pick.
More rapid than beagles those deer they came,
As he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Bubba! now, Jim~Bob! John~Boy and Bocephus!
On, Cleavon! on Elrod! on, Buster and Demetrius!
To the top of the deck! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
Like Moon Pie wrappers that in the hurricanes fly,
Those deer didn't pause but went straight to the sky,
So up to the house-top the deer they flew,
With a truck full of socks, and a crazy guy too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I rubbed my sore head, and was turning around,
Down the rain pipe he slid then took a leap and a bound.
He was dressed in his beachwear, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all dirty with sand and beach soot;
A bundle of socks he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a surfer just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his pupils how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His crooked little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as beach snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it just circled like a crazy weed wreath;
He had a broad face and a huge beer belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowl of grape jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a funny stoned elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He matched all my stocks; then turned with a jerk,
And sticking his finger up inside his nose,
He gave me a nod, and up the rain pipe he rose;
He sprang to his truck, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"Match them yourself next time, and match them just right."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Negative space...

     I've been trying to understand why it is that we sometimes are so attracted to something that is so opposite of what we really need ... or want.  There are women I've been talking with who have been in this situation ... loving someone who turns out to be not the person we thought they were.  We all share the same feeling of still loving that person ... but recognizing that we cannot live with them.  Ending the relationship doesn't end the love.  It would be so nice to just close that door, turn around, and not feel that emptiness inside.   But it doesn't happen that way.  For all the bad times ... there were some good times ... and it is those good memories that we cling to that sometimes force us to give him another chance.  We want that feeling again.  The joy.  The laughter.  So we leave that door cracked ... or unlocked ... again and again.

     Someone looking at us ... from outside the door, outside our house ... can't comprehend why we keep leaving the door open.  We sometimes can't even comprehend it.  It is that definition of insanity ~ doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results each time.  We drive ourselves crazy not understanding why things aren't different "this time."  Because we've believed all the promises [lies] that things have changed.  Things will be different "this time."

     We think they are our soul mate ... the Yin to our Yang.  That having them in our lives balances us.  Opposites attract, right?  That somehow, we are "meant" to be together ... they are strong where we are weak ... and we are strong where they are weak ... that they make us "whole" ... they "complete" us.

     But the reality is that we are whole without them.  We don't need them to complete us.  We can still love them ... from a distance ... but that door needs to be closed.  Not just locked, but locks changed.  When someone brings so much negative space into our lives that we lose touch with our positive space ... no matter how much you love them, things will never be "right enough" to keep that door open.  They need to reverse their own polarity ... they need to change their negativity.  Without you.  Because no matter what they say ... no matter what your heart tells you ... no matter how much you love them, or miss them...

     We are not meant to be with someone whose negativity destroys us.

All that glitters is not...

     ... gold.

     The symbolism of gold is almost as valuable as the metal itself.  When we are "gold" we are the best we can be... we are successful, valued, priceless.  Gold wedding rings were made to symbolize a long lasting union... and eternal love.

     We reach our "golden" years... or our "golden" anniversary... live in a "golden" age... or by the "golden" rule.  Gold can symbolize power, strength, wealth, happiness, love, hope, or perfection.  We can use it to describe a summer, harvest or the sun.

     We can hold gold in our hands... wear it on our fingers... reach for it in our marriages.

     But when we have lost it... we feel as if we have lost something even greater than the gold itself.

     I've been a hopeless romantic too many times.  I realize now that what glitters in someone's eyes is not always "gold."  I've fallen in love too many times only to realize that I've fallen into something that love isn't even a part of.  Gold that I've once treasured and worn... sold for someone's addictions.

     When we talk about gold in concrete terms... what we really long for is the abstract concept of what gold is for us.  What is priceless... eternal... valued.  Things that are not tangible except to our hearts...

Friendship
Respect
Loyalty
Trust
Honesty
Family
Love
Laughter


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Making sense of the senseless...

     I've read and watched only snippets of the tragedy that occurred in Sandy Hook this week.  It is hard to escape it because it is everywhere and in every conversation.  People want to be able to point a finger and say that it was because of this... or that.  Not enough gun control.  God being taken out of our schools.  Not enough security in schools.  Mental illness.  Too much violence in the media.

     Unfortunately, there really isn't any one thing that was at fault for this.  This evil exists everywhere in our society... in every society.  Creating and signing petitions for more control, more God, less violence is only a small part of the solution.  But the real answer lies within us.  We must be the change that we want to see in the world.  We must overcome evil with goodness.

     I'm challenging everyone to do a Random Act of Kindness in honor and memory of a victim of random violence.  I'm challenging everyone to also write a Random Letter of Love and leave it in a library or bookstore book, on a store shelf, tucked in a menu, or under a salt shaker.  Write a letter of encouragement, love and kindness.

     If we can do twice the number of kind acts as there are of violence in this world... if we can write twice the number of kind words as there are of hatred ... maybe one day we will have a world of peace.

     Wouldn't that be lovely?

     Here are some links that offer ideas for a Random Letter of Love:

Sunday morning...

A foggy morning.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2 Timothy 1:13

13 Hold fast and follow the pattern of wholesome and sound teaching which you have heard from me, in [all] the faith and love which are [for us] in Christ Jesus.


     One of the things that I have learned, and loved, from my reading the Bible is that even if you are not a believer [yet], the guidelines for living that are taught in the scriptures are ones that can be universally applied.  The lessons are about love, forgiveness, and sharing.  They are about not doing harm to another, about living "right" ~ in a way which does not dishonor us or our parents.

     When we look at many of the laws man has written which govern us, we can see that many can be found in the Bible... that they are based on God's laws.

Follow and respect authority.
Don't put yourself above the worth of others or authority.
Speak respectfully of others and yourself.
Rest and take care of yourself at least one day a week.
Honor and care for your parents, siblings and family.
Don't kill, break your marriage vows, steal, or lie.
Don't lust after things that are not yours because that will lead you to dishonor.
Love others, but especially love yourself.
Do not carry the burden of being unforgiving in your heart.

     Sound teaching for wholesome living...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12... on 12~12~12

It will be 100 years before this date comes again.  
I will be long gone by then.
But I wonder if my words will remain.
Floating in the electronic strain.
Jamie Ridler gives this task:
"What 12 wishes we'd dare to ask?"
These are my wishes for the coming twelve,
Wishes for me, and for yourselves...

Financial abundance to begin life anew,
Health and healing for me, and my friends too.
Laughter and joy without any bounds,
Music and dancing to the happiest sounds.
Travel and memories to add to my books,
Wrinkles from smiling to add to my looks.
A job and a home to add to the mix,
Maybe someone who loves without any tricks.
A car would be nice to drive into town,
Sweet snores of a pug puppy when I look down.
Trooper's Run a new movie, just for the small screen,
Success as an author, somewhere in-between.

Those are my wishes for the coming twelve,
Wishes for me, and for yourselves.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cinnamon memories...

     I'm joining a new meme this morning.  I've stumbled upon several in the past few weeks that excite the writer in me... that make me wake in the middle of the night and reach for the paper and pen by the bedside to write down an idea.  This morning it is writing with concrete words to speak of the abstract.  This morning, it is cinnamon.
Christmas Market in Strasbourg, France
     Cinnamon makes me think of Christmases in Germany, both as a child and as an adult.  It is a spice that has been highly valued for over four thousand years ... a gift for royalty.  Perhaps because of the memories it also evoked for them.

     When I close my eyes and smell cinnamon, I think of times my mom and I spent baking my grandmother's Lebkuchen cookies... and sipping Gluhwein in holiday markets when I traveled as an adult.  I think of family... warmth... laughter... love.  Hot chocolate with cinnamon sprinkled on the top... warm cinnamon toast... hot, sticky buns.  Pine cones infused with the oil placed near the fireplace... or a straw broom in the corner... a pot on the stove simmering cranberries, oranges, cloves and cinnamon.

     I think that when man finally perfects a time machine... it will be powered by memory scents...

Join us...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Signs...

... of things to come, perhaps?

A lady bug.  In November.  On my bed.
A rainbow... almost ending on my house [the one with the end window on the right].
Linking with River ... just Drifting Through Life....hoping for some good luck...


What's on your refrigerator?

I screamed a lot today... and cursed.
     I'm following Elephant Child's lead today and trying to remind myself that there are good things out there for me ... just weren't any today.
Pictures of me on vacation in Germany and Alaska, cousin Sue, nephews, mom, Trooper...





Friday, December 7, 2012

Five on Friday...


things I’m grateful for this week


2.     Mammograms that are less painful than they used to be

3.    Christmas music flash mobs


4.    Vanilla moisturizing bubble bath beads

5.  Moms

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Truce...

It's all about respecting boundaries.
Annie is now rockin' her own pink reflective collar...
and snoring.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just a beautiful day...

video

     I was walking Trooper this afternoon and his new best girl, Sweet Annie.  Suddenly I had to duck because a large hawk was diving towards my head.  A type of hawk I've not seen here before.  We have all sorts of water fowl, small common birds, ospreys, and bald eagles, too.  But this was a new one.
My attacker retreating there just to the right of center in the sky.
     It perched on a water pipe sticking out of the ground and watched defiantly as we approached.  I managed to snap just one picture before it flew off into the woods at the far end of the field, and rushed home to look for it in my bird book.

      Yes, I'm that sort of a geek.
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
     Trooper and Annie on the other hand, couldn't care less.
"Boring!"
     Annie is actually looking better in spite of the sign of her ribs showing.  She's been getting regular food now for about two weeks.  As soon as I can I hope to get her to a vet, or possibly find her a good home with a fenced yard for her where she will be safe.  I'm getting her a pink reflective collar because she has started to stand at the edge of the road at night and whine for me to come out, but she is still too timid to stay in my garage unless I drag her across the street and force her to stay.  Something that would even traumatize me.
She has such a beautiful face. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Just say no...

     I've been at the mercy of friends and neighbors for the past few months since I had to junk the car.  As a result, I've been especially sensitive to everyone's time and have tried hard to not inconvenience anyone with my requests for rides to and from places that are farther away than what I can reasonably walk.  And I can walk a good distance if I have the time.

      I'm not arrogant enough to "expect" my friends and neighbors to go out of their way for me.  Or even to feel the need to help me at all.  I understand that we all have our own lives, and that their lives don't necessarily include me.  I get it.  I am exceedingly grateful for any assistance I get ~ no matter how big or small.  With my neighbors, I'm not asking for a special trip... but just if they happen to be going out... to the grocery store, Wal-Mart... could they please give me a ride if they are going there anyway?

     But what I don't get is this... if you tell me "yes, no problem" ... if you tell me "sure, of course" ... then have the decency to follow through.  I'm not expecting you to say "yes" to my request every time or at all.  I can handle a "no."  I would much rather be told "no," "sorry, I can't," or "I have other plans this afternoon" than to sit and wait for you to show up.  I'm doing my best to not be an inconvenience to someone, so if they say they will be back, or ready to go, at a certain, or even approximate, time ... I'm ready an hour early.  I've changed my plans for the day so that I am not going to hold someone up because I'm grateful for what they are doing for me.  Because I respect someone who offers to help me.

     Please respect me enough to follow through ... or please just have the courage say no.  It won't make me think less of you. But leaving me hanging ... will.

Just
Say
NO!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trash-talkers

     I don't think I will ever understand the cruelty of people.  Which is probably a good thing because in order to understand something like that, you have to be able to "dish it out" like they do.

     I would never want to lower myself to that level.

     Earlier this afternoon I had a long conversation with my next door neighbor, Kathy.  She's a single mom who is struggling to put herself through college to become a teacher.  She is so close she can taste the lint on her graduation cap... she is doing her last student teaching now.  I've known her since 2009 when she moved in next door and we found out that her newly ex-husband was a guy who was hitting on me at work.

     Yeah.  Awkward.

     We became good friends, commiserating together over bad choices in men, lost loves, and the agonies of starting over.  Since I moved back to Florida, she has been a blessing to me, helping with groceries occasionally.

Source
     This afternoon she came to me with a heavy heart because of some things that the family down the street told her I had said about her recently.  The same family that tried to cause me harm by intercepting my food stamp card and sending it back marked "No such person."

     I hadn't spoken to them since mid-August, and certainly never would have said the things to them about Kathy that they told her I said.  They said those things to hurt her.  They said those things to hurt me.  To try to create problems for both of us.  I don't know why since I don't associate with them at all now.  They must just be the type of people who are so miserable with their own lives that they have to make everyone else's lives around them miserable.

     How sad for them.

What's in your wallet?

Pictures that make me smile...
The back kitchen door of my Grandfather's house in Michigan.
Wonderful memories there.
The last time I was there was probably in 1972 or 1973.
Grandpa died in 1979.
I miss that house.

My Dad walking me down the aisle of my 1st wedding.
1986.
I was wearing the dress my aunt and mom both wore.
Dad passed in 2007.
Miss him too.

My first cat Bandit.
I bought her for $2 in 1977 not long before my parents divorced.
She went to Rainbow Bridge in 1988.

Dad & me 1980

My first dog, Brandy.
She "followed" me home from school in 1976.
She's went first to Rainbow Bridge in 1985.
Broke my heart.

Grandpa's house again in winter.
I was probably at that house less than a handful of times,
but they left a lasting impression on my heart.

My 3rd cat, Jazzmin ~ just a little tired after playing elf.
She had a habit of flipping my 2nd husband "a bird" with her tail
when he tried to make friends with her.
He forced me to give her up in 1990 after we'd been married a year.
I should have listened to her and left him at the pound instead.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five on Friday...

     For a while last year I was trying to blog every Friday about one thing a day that I had been grateful for that week.  To be totally honest, there were some weeks when I didn't want to write on Friday because I was so depressed it was a struggle to think of just one thing, let alone five.

     Looking back now... when I have so much less than what I did a year ago... I'm embarrassed at how hard it was for me to feel grateful for what I had, and how much I took for granted.  This week has been another of those emotional roller coaster rides and suddenly it is Friday again and I know that I must be grateful.  I must not take for granted what I have.

     Today I lost a piece of my heart and what is left is broken.  I am not grateful for that right now, but do know that there are other things to be thankful for ... and for that ... I am grateful.

1.  The trust in an abandoned beagle's eyes.
2.  A friend like Shirley, who will drive me to a doctor's appointment even tho she lives across town and I have no money to give her for gas.
3.  Spaghetti with love.
4.  Friends and angels in the blogosphere.
5.  A kind notary who corrected a date and faxed it back, then had a copy dropped off for me so I wouldn't have to walk six miles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sweet Ann...

Sweet Ann may have a home for the holidays.
I met a woman this evening who works with a Coon Dog rescue group.
Shellie [another of those angels in disguise I've met lately] said that if I can get her into my garage,
she could get her vetted and re-homed.
She already had a family with three young girls who have said they would love to have her.
So that's my goal for this weekend.
Getting Sweet Ann a home for the holidays.

Dreams of Clarity...

     I dreamed the other night that I purchased the house I had lived in while I was in Texas.  I really did love that house and the humongous back yard that Trooper loved to run big circles around.

     In my dream I was remodeling the inside... pulling up the old, stained carpet and linoleum;  putting down wood flooring; painting rooms and putting up crown molding; stained glass inserts in the half-round windows; and all of the other "dream" projects I had wanted to do if I had stayed.

     When I was looking for a house to rent shortly after moving to Killeen, I looked at houses that had "forever potential" ~ whether it was a house I might want to buy one day and make my home. The house I finally rented had the top four things I wanted in my forever home.

#1 ~ A big, fenced in back yard with room for veggie and flower gardens [with the surprise bonus of a pergola perfect for wisteria, morning glories, moonflowers, and climbing roses].
#2 ~ A fireplace with a beautiful mantle that made the living room feel like a room I could live in.
#3 ~ A large kitchen for entertaining [and dancing].
#4 ~ A huge master bathroom with a garden tub [perfect for relaxing bubble baths while sipping wine and listening to relaxing music].

     Mostly tho... it had potential.
That dream house with a fresh dusting of snow.
     What I have come to realize with my dream the other night is that sometimes, what we really want is right under our nose and we just don't realize it.  The clarity I received from that dream is that right now I am "remodeling" my life.  I am "rebuilding" and "redecorating" it room by room.  I'm purging, creating, changing....  The potential is me... and in making my dreams come true.  I left that dream house in Texas, but there is still the potential to find it again somewhere else... or to build it wherever I am.  Because no matter where I go... there I am.

Warmed inside and out...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finding what I lost...

I found this when I was looking for another picture.
I had forgotten about it, but remembered the moment instantly when I saw it.
Christmas Day 2007 in Rudesheim, Germany.
I was looking for my childhood and walked along the river,
hoping for a picture of the Mäuseturm.

Today when I was looking for another picture,
I was looking for my past.
I wanted a picture of the house we had in Texas.
Because it was my dream house.

But when I saw this picture,
and remembered that moment,
the person I was...
the person I wanted to be...
the person I was looking for...

I realized that my dreams can still come true.

Yeahbutts...

      I got called out today when I went for my woman's exam at the county health department.  I was in a bit of a funk ... I get that way when I have to sit and list all of my health concerns and then top it off with "and I have no job, no income, and no health insurance."  My fears begin to surface and so do my self-doubts. Apparently when I was whining to the case worker, I must have said "Yeah, but..." and she immediately snapped to attention like she was a drill instructor.

     Excuse me, what did you just say?
          [Me... with a confused look on my face...]  Um... I was just telling you about this cancer and ...
     And you said "yeah, but."
          [Me] I did?
     Yes, and you need to erase those words from your vocabulary because they just breed like rabbits and before you know it you will have a room full of yeahbutts and self-doubts.  You need to claim healing, and think of yourself as being well and healthy.  You need to realize that you are worthy.  Now say it.
          [Me] Say... yeah but?  [in my defense, I confess I only had one cup of coffee this morning before I got to the clinic and my brain was not quite awake.]
     No!  Say you are worthy of being healed and that you are worthy of being well and that you are worthy.
          [Me] Worthy of...?
     Worthy of everything good in life.  You are worthy.
          [Me] I am worthy.
     Say it again, but say it with feeling.  Believe it when you say it.  Close your eyes and visualize it washing over yourself.
          [Me] I.  Am.  Worthy.   I am worthy.  I am.
     Okay then.  Now, where were we?

     I went in for an exam and not only got that, but I got an attitude adjustment in the process.  Because I am.  Worthy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Talking in circles...

     My Mom just turned 71 [actually just started her 72nd year... just sayin' Mom...].  I love her to pieces and cherish our daily telephone chats.  She's in North Carolina, I'm in Florida.  I haven't been able to get to visit face-to-face with her since 2007, so I miss her a lot.

     Sometimes, tho, our phone conversations are sort of like talking in circles.  Almost like a Who's on first?  routine.  Like the conversation we had last night...

     Mom:  So what did you do today?  Was it a quiet day?
     Me:  Yes, sort of.  I spent most of the day trying to earn the trust of the beagles that were dumped in the woods.  I spent a good bit of time sitting on the cold ground talking to myself, but I was finally able to pet the little girl.
     Mom:  Whose little girl was it?
     Me:  What little girl?
     Mom:  The little girl you were petting.  Whose little girl is it?  One of the neighbors?
     Me:  Why would I be petting a little girl?  I was talking about the girl dog.  A four-legged girl, not a two-legged girl.
     Mom:  I was just wondering.  You were talking about the dogs and then started talking about a two-legged girl, so I was just curious about who she was.
     Me:  I wasn't talking about any two-legged girls.  I was just talking about the dogs.  I think I'd get arrested if I was petting someone's daughter like it was a dog.
     Mom:  I'm so confused.  



Saturday, November 24, 2012

What patience can bring...

Lil' Ann
Sitting in the dirt.
Talking to the trees.
And a shared love for beef stix.
She came close enough to sniff my hand,
and take a tiny bite.
But not close enough to let me scratch behind her ears.
Tomorrow.
Maybe.

~*~*~

This afternoon and tonight.
Sitting on the cold ground.
Talking to the shadows in the trees.
Thick slices of chicken bologna to tempt her.
She finally came close and let me scratch behind her ears,
run my hands along her sides and back,
and tell her that not all people are mean and scary.
The other two came closer to watch and listen.
I was relieved to see the third one that I hadn't seen him most of the week.
This sweet girl followed me part of the way home, as if to come inside.
I left the garage door cracked in case they wanted to sleep inside tonight.

Patience.

Winning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Small steps...

     This morning the two beagles were laying out by the water bucket and an empty plastic bowl... waiting patiently for me to feed them.  I wasn't able to get food to them yesterday, but since they had eaten an entire bag on Wednesday after two or more days of nothing at all, I didn't want to overwhelm their systems and wanted to give them a chance to purge anything unhealthy.

     I've decided to name the female "Little Ann" after one of the two coon dogs in the book Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

     Yesterday I took a sleep t-shirt I had worn for several days and set it beside the water bucket so they could become familiar with my scent and also that of my dog, Trooper's.  Today when I brought them food, the female let me get within ten feet of her and was whining and low wagging her tail.  The male is still very skittish, but even from the safety of the woods he stayed closer than he has in the past few days.

     I talked to them as I approached, and while I was opening the bag of dog food for them.  The female stayed just behind the large tree, but close enough to hear me until after I walked away then she came and began eating.  When I got out to the street, the male felt safe enough to approach the food.

     I hope that by Monday when the rescue organizations I've contacted are back to work that I will have gained their confidence enough to get them the help they need.  Neither of them have collars, but if they have microchips, perhaps the people that dumped them can be punished.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanks Giving...

     I realize that Thanksgiving is an American holiday and tradition, but giving thanks is something that is universal.

     This year I am so grateful for angels, friends, family, my dog and cat.  

     I am thankful to have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and clothes to wear.  

     I am grateful for food in my pantry, electricity to keep the refrigerator and stove working, heat to make me comfortable, and fresh, running water.  

     I am thankful for my health, to be able to see, hear, taste, touch, speak and to walk.

     I am grateful for my faith which sustains me on my darkest days and nights.

     I have so much to be thankful for... because no matter how little I might have... I have enough.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Abandoned...

     Some *jerk* [which is being very polite and mild considering what I'd like to call them] dumped three beagles in the woods across the street from my house this weekend.  They woke me up Sunday morning with their baying ~ I have to wonder if they weren't crying and calling as they chased the *jerk* who dumped them before realizing they'd been abandoned.

     They are emaciated and very skittish.  I'm sure their mistreatment began before they were dumped.  I've been trying to gain their confidence by talking to them, and they are slowly allowing me to move closer.  I can't see any collars on them, but they appear to be between one and four years old, two males and a female that are probably all related.

     I don't have much food for myself right now, or for Mr. T.  But I had to spare some chicken to put in the woods for them this morning after I saw where one of them had thrown up dead leaves and twigs.

     It angers me that someone would just dump them in the woods ~ rather than contacting a shelter or rescue organization.  I can sense their fear and confusion... as well as their feeling of betrayal and abandonment.  The female started to wag her tail to me today, so I know that someone has shown them love and kindness in the past.  I want so much to rescue them, gain their trust, and give them hope again.  I want so much to at least feed them, but have nothing more that I can spare.

     I put a call in today to a beagle rescue in St. Augustine ~ the closest to me, but still almost a six hour drive away ~ and I've emailed and called friends.  I don't know what else to do for them right now except pray that they will survive.

     Being abandoned... it is a feeling that I'm quite familiar with lately and while I know that I will survive... I want so much for these three dogs to survive as well.

Burrowing...

     Days like today ... when the sun has set by 4:30p and it is completely dark outside by 5:30p ... I want to burrow into bed early.

     I'm awake and out of bed early in the morning, but can't seem to stay focused on the things I need to do.  Time seems to fly by.  I wake early to make phone calls and to organize boxes of things scattered in one of the spare rooms.  Suddenly I realize that half the day has gone by and I haven't done any of the things I had intended.

     There are changes coming in the next two months.  Some I know are "sure things."  Others still hopes and dreams.  I have things to do to prepare, but find it hard to be motivated right now.  The changes that have happened already are overwhelming my thought processes and I feel like I'm spinning in the room with no idea of where to start.

     I have no plans for Thanksgiving, and am trying to decide if I want to even unpack my Christmas decorations.  The holiday bug just hasn't bitten me yet.  I need to find some way to get into the spirit and to stay motivated for the future without being overwhelmed.  I think I will just start with one thing ... tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let's get real...

Dear Oprah,

First I'd like to say how much I admire the successful career you've had, and the inspiration you are to women, and especially women of color. I admire how much you give back, and have given to your viewers, readers, and fans. Last night I watched your Favorite Things show on your network, and was pleased to see the gifts you gave to the military spouses ~ one of them even looked like a woman I used to work with, Angel B.

Especially touching was one woman who gave up her career to take care of her husband after he was injured ~ almost everything you gave to her, she was already thinking of how much it would help her husband, or that it was a gift she could give to one of her children just so that they would be able to have a Christmas this year.
As much as I admire and respect you and your generosity, though, I have to wonder if you realize that the rest of us live in a real world, and not the exclusive, gated society that you've climbed that ladder to achieve. The gift list that you've shared with your readers and fans of your 60 favorite things ~ things you would like to give or receive for Christmas ~ is ... unrealistic for most of the people who read your magazine or watch your OWN network. Especially in this economy, there might be 1% of the world's population that could seriously consider buying some of the things you put on your list.

Soap for $17 a bar? I'm going to have to stick to that six bar pack for $3.50, I think. "Why not give the gift of good health?" with the exercise equipment you'd give ~ because the $3,099 that it would cost me, it would be better spent going to see the doctor to find out if my cancer has returned, or maybe to the eye doctor to see if my retina is getting ready to tear in my one good eye. I don't have health insurance anymore, and being out of work for six months makes it a little hard to pay cash for the office visit.

Sweaters for $198 each? I'm glad you can afford to buy them in every color, but for $198 I could go shopping at a thrift store and fill my closet. Those winter coats for $458 each would probably keep a lot more than just one person warm if it was spent to buy coats for ten homeless veterans.

I can't even dream of spending $395 for a purse made by a person I've never heard of (or even one I had heard of). Even if I could dream of it, it would become a nightmare to use it because I'd be worried about a purse-snatcher. The purse would be worth more than anything else I have in my wallet... unless it was the wallet you picked for your list at $138. A candle for $45... I'd never be able to light and enjoy it. Lipsticks for $192 ~ I couldn't afford to kiss under the mistletoe this year! $195 for a pair of sneakers ~ I'd probably step in dog poo the first day I wore them.

If I had the money I could buy a dozen boxes of cake mix, blue food coloring, and cream cheese frosting and take them down to the local children's home and have a party for kids who won't get to spend the holidays with their parents for the $42 you would have me spend on one Blue Velvet Cake. And the truffles? What's up with those? My food stamps are gone until next month and my freezer is almost empty. For what you spent on some expensive and fancy fungi, I could eat for a month. Three different alcoholic gifts that ranged in price from $52-275? Maybe we can just forget about the economy and drink our troubles away. I've heard that good liquor doesn't give you a hangover, so I'd be ready to look for a job in the morning at least.

Next year, Oprah, I'd really love to see a list of favorite things that I could actually shop from. Just sayin'

Respectfully,

Cindi