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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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...


     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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Selections...

     Joining with River in Australia this morning with a photo meme originally started by Kim at FrogPondsRock, but now continued by River and The Elephant's Child.  Join us... if you dare... I have no theme, just some random photos that I took this week.
Oreo contemplating whether or not to take the neighbor's boat out fishing.

Blue heron waiting to catch blue crabs before the trap does.
One day I would like a house surrounded by a rainbow of Gerber Daisies.  They just make me smile.

The local nut house.  I have a room reserved...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The human connection...

     There is an electric cooperative office on my walk.  Their sign says that they are "The Human Connection."  I was thinking about that on Tuesday as I walked.  The human connection... how people connect with people is sometimes the thing that keeps our individual "power" on.  Our energy.  Our strength to continue.

     A touch can express compassion without speaking a word.  A hand up out of the darkness of despair can bring us into the light of hope.  A human connection to living with joy again.

     Sometimes there isn't even a touch needed to make that connection.  It can be made by a card, a letter or a package in the mail... in an email... or by a phone call.

     This morning I was making calls to area churches that offer financial assistance trying to find a way to keep the water from being shut off next Tuesday.  No one has any funds, not even the United Way or Salvation Army.  I didn't know what else to do except pray... and mentally plan what I would need to wash or do before Tuesday to ensure that I had clean clothes, clean dishes, and a clean body.  I mentally inventoried my kitchen cabinets to see what would hold water, even though I know my neighbor would allow  me to use her outside hose... I wanted to be sure that I wasn't going to inconvenience her too much.

     In the midst of my thoughts and prayers, the phone rang.  It was Nikki at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Share Ministry.  I had called her on Tuesday to give her my new [temporary] home number before I walked up there [only to find their doors closed].  She had been looking for my number because a financial gift had come in for me.  Just enough to keep the water on.

     Tomorrow morning I will make that walk again to accept the gift... of a human connection.

These are my Grandfather's hands holding my Aunt Linda ~
keeping her safe.
I remember his hands from my childhood ~ how they always felt safe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I dare you...

     I'm linking with Jamie Ridler Studios this morning and she prompts us with this question... What do you dare to wish or wish to dare?

     Yesterday, I walked up to one of the nearby churches that has helped me in the past.  It was a 1.78 mile walk one way, and the weather was cooler than it had been this summer when I had walked it.  The purpose of the trip itself was wasted since the Share Ministry was closed for the day due to illness and won't open again for two weeks.  But while I was walking I filled out two applications, got a website address to send a resume, and enjoyed the sounds and smells that brought back memories [tho the car exhaust of commuters going home at the end of the day was not so pleasant].

     A large work truck drove past me that made me think of the spaceship George Jetson drove, then a logger truck went past that almost pushed me into the bushes next to the side walk.  It was carrying a full load of freshly cut pine trees and made me think of Christmas.

     This morning I'm daring to wish for a job... for financial abundance... for the ability to repay my debts and pay forward the gifts many have given to me.  I'm daring to wish for success as an author... to have my own mini J.K. Rowling success story.  I'm daring to wish for work that will take me farther than I ever dreamed.

     I'm also wishing to dare... to double dog dare... that in this month of giving thanks and next month's time of giving blessings... that we all reach out to bless one another in ways that will change lives.  Big or small, spoken or unspoken, known or unknown... practice acts of kindness.
2009 Christmas in Alaska


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Whispers...


I'm not a fan of Cesar Millan or his methods.  But I do like this quote:

“Spiritual fulfillment doesn't have to mean belief in a religion or disbelief in science.
... Whether one believes in an unseen, all-knowing force,
or the wonder of science and the universe,
or simply the beauty of the human spirit,
nearly every one of feels an inner longing
to feel part of something bigger than ourselves.”
~ Cesar Millan - The Dog Whisperer ~

I feel part of something bigger just by being part of my dog and cat's lives.

I feel part of something bigger every time I watch the sun rise,
a flower bloom,
and a hummingbird fly.

I feel part of something bigger just by touching the waves as they wash against the shore,
the exquisite lightness of a butterfly's wing,
and the tender softness of a new life. 

I feel part of something bigger just by the taste of a snowflake on my tongue,
the salt in tears of joy,
and hot chocolate on a cold day.

I feel part of something bigger just by the smell of flowers in the spring,
snow in the winter,
and warm bread in the oven.

I feel part of something bigger just by listening to a baby's laugh,
the rain fall,
and the whisper of the wind in the trees.

Limited offer...

     For a limited time, I am offering autographed copies of my first book, My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs, for sale... $10US plus the cost of shipping via PayPal.  I have just 29 copies on hand, so they will go fast.  If you are interested, email me directly.

1 Timothy 4:13

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

     I loved teaching.  I loved seeing the look on someone's face when they suddenly made a connection between what they were reading or hearing and what they had been thinking.  When someone would come to me and say "Wow.  I understand things now."

     I taught classes in business management and human resources at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a little over three years.  Not rocket science by any means, but still classes with an impact because what I really wanted to do was to teach my students how to interact with people they worked with... either as managers in the future, or their co-workers.

     "Students."  A generic term.  I taught adults of all ages and from all backgrounds who had a desire to learn.  Some were new Airmen, on their first assignment, already hating the military but wanting to take advantage of the opportunity to learn.  Others about to retire and enter the "real world" work force.  There were some who wanted to advance their current careers and needed a degree for promotion.

     Each new class I would ask them to simply be open-minded enough to consider things from a different perspective.  We would discuss the mandatory university dictated learning requirements from the syllabus, and then I opened the floor to discussion and debate of related news or work topics.  I tried to show a documentary or movie that pertained to the subject each night.

     I loved when someone would return the following week and tell me how they had taken one of our discussions or debates to work and shared it with co-workers.  Or how they had come to realize something important and changed their way of thinking because they had listened with an open-mind to a new perspective.

     When I share God's word... when I share Scripture... in my blog posts I am doing so in faith that one day I will reach someone who has opened their mind... and heart... to a new perspective.   Someone who is open to the acceptance of the promises that were given to us thousands of years before we were ever considered.

     Open your heart to receive the gift of forgiveness.  Imagine, if you will, the incredible lightness of being that comes with knowing that you are loved just as you are... that you have always been loved even when you doubted... and that you always will be loved even if you still doubt.

You are loved.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Selections...

     I was awake at 2:30 this morning.  I had turned trying to find some comfortable way of sleeping without a pillow [more on that later] and saw flashes of light in my left eye [the good one]... while it was closed... which can only mean one thing which I shall not speak of because I refuse to claim it, but a call to my eye doctor is in order to see if they have a program for indigents.  [What an awful word that is.  How did I get to this point of identifying myself as one?]

     After quite a bit of tears, I got up and made coffee, ate some oatmeal, and read my daily devotions and scriptures.  Prayed.  A lot.  Then I bundled up and decided to watch the sun rise.

     I loved the early morning Moon dance with Mars as the sun is just beginning to paint the sky.  The wind was blowing about 10 miles an hour and was quite chilly coming across the water.  I walked down to the park, near a pine tree, and when I closed my eyes I could imagine myself in the mountains above Lone Pine, CA where I once camped and fished in a glacier fed stream that sounded just like the wind blowing in the tree.


     I had thought about doing a 30-day photo project of sunrises, but have decided that it will need to wait until spring.  When the weather is warmer.  It was 45F this morning at 5:30a when I walked out to the beach and I'm sure with the wind chill, even colder than that.  Or at least it felt like it was through my jeans.  [What can I say?  I'm a weather wimp.]

     And now you can see why I had no pillow last night...
Yes... he is quite spoiled.  But he is happy and he loves me.

     I am linking up this morning with River as she drifts through life and photographs her adventures... join us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sails or anchors?

     I heard a sermon early this morning on television that made me think quite a bit.

     It was a message about blessings, planting seeds and reaping a harvest.  It was also a message about the people in our lives ... and the people we can be in the lives of others.

     The message given was completely different from the message that I received.  Like that old "telephone" game that we played as children, what left the pastor's mouth was not exactly what I received.  Mostly because of things going on in my own life... those filters that we screen everything with... but I also think it was because I needed to hear something different.

     His message was about reaping what we sow... how everything we do plants a seed, whether it is a good seed or a bad seed, and it all creates a harvest.  Good or bad.  What I took from that message was about people.

     There are people who are like the sail on a boat... lifting us up, pushing us forward, filling us with the wind of favor.  People who plant good seeds ... and reap a good harvest.  People who help us to grow.

"They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed."
~ Acts 28:10 ~

     At the opposite end of that are people who can be anchors in our lives.  Holding us back, dragging us down... sometimes even sinking us.  People who plant bad seeds that don't reap any kind of a harvest.  People who cause us to wither and die.

"Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
from the deep waters."
~ Psalm 69:14 ~

     I want to be a sail in my own life and in the lives of others...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Doing the right things...

     There was a FedEx package on my door this morning when I got back from taking Trooper to the beach to watch dolphins swim and egrets fly.  It is a morning ritual for us...

     The envelope was from the "company" that "hired" me this week.  It had a check in it... for an amount that some would consider a "get out of jail free" amount.  It would allow me to pay the utility bills for this month, and next, and the month after that.  It would allow me to maybe even buy a used car... or make a down payment on one.  It would help me immensely.

     I wish it was real.  I wish I could deposit it, or cash it.  But I know... that gut feeling kind of knowing... that it isn't real.  It would put me that much more in the hole.  No legitimate company would send that kind of money to a person without even getting any information to make me an employee.  No I-9.  No W-2.  Nothing that says I'm an employee... and not just some desperate person who needs money.

     I'm turning it all over to the authorities.  I know that they most likely won't catch the people doing this... but at least they won't have taken advantage of someone else.  Maybe it will put a stop to them... maybe it will just slow them.  But they will have one less falling for their scam.

     We live in a changing world, where doing the right thing is often a difficult choice.  Where it might be easy to "overlook" the rules when we are trying to survive, and make the choice to bend or break a few.  But the reality is that breaking, bending, or overlooking the right way of doing things will only lead to more problems down the line.  Two wrongs don't make a right.

     Yes, the money that check represents could do so much to help me in my situation right now... but there is nothing in life that is free.  Everything comes with a price.  The question is whether or not you are willing to accept the cost for your choices.  Right now, the cost of being a part of something dishonest isn't worth it for me.  Even if I'm sitting in the dark with no running water by Thanksgiving... I would rather do the right things in my life because I will be held accountable for all that I do... now or later.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Un.Believe.Able.

     That wonderful opportunity I was so excited for yesterday?  It was too good to be true.  It was nothing more than a scam to try to get money.  This morning their "HR Manager" had a totally different personality.  I know that you can't tell much by "chatting" but little things popped and caught my attention.

     Suddenly she goes from spelling "cheque" to spelling it "check."  From being professional and polite, to starting responses with "listen."  Grammar went right out the window for a "woman" who said she got a BA in Accounting from Louisiana State University who lives in New Jersey.  I know that there can be minor mistakes in spelling and grammar when typing quickly, but how often do people change their way of speaking and writing overnight?

     What about an accountant who is interviewing and hiring me, but is not even able to tell me the name of the accounting software that I'm expected to purchase on their behalf to work with?  Really?  Do I look like I just fell off a turnip truck yesterday?

hrmgrshirelle (12:23:52 PM): Alright i want you to know that your check has been sent out and it will be getting to your home by tomorrow or next ok

cindic1980 (12:24:08 PM): the check is for...?

hrmgrshirelle (12:25:34 PM): for the purchase of your softwares and training equipments 

cindic1980 (12:26:01 PM): They cannot be purchased by the company online and shipped to me? 
Asking because it seems it would save time because I would need to wait for the check to clear before making any purchases

hrmgrshirelle (12:27:27 PM): No the company do not specialize on accounting softwares thats why you will be geting it from the local vendor

cindic1980 (12:27:48 PM): What is the software name?

hrmgrshirelle (12:28:42 PM): listen once you have the check and the funds 
you will be provided with all list of softwares and equipments ok  And you will be refered to the local vendor whom the company has been working with for years where all employees do get their softwares and equipments from  that is where you will be getting your from also

cindic1980 (12:30:40 PM): You have a local vendor even tho the Panama City office has not yet been established?  
Is it a Florida local or national local?

hrmgrshirelle (12:31:37 PM): listen you will be notified once you have the check ok

cindic1980 (12:32:28 PM): I am listening, and what I am hearing concerns me about the legitimacy of your business.

hrmgrshirelle (12:33:51 PM): like i told you this is a legit company 
so you dont have to be worried about any thing because you are at the right company at the right time ok

cindic1980 (12:34:47 PM): I'm not getting that feeling today, so will be sending your check back to you when it arrives.

hrmgrshirelle (12:35:46 PM): alright i have to call the company accountant to hold your check ok  So no problem

     No, it won't be a problem for me, but I imagine that if I had tried to cash or deposit that check it would have been a very big problem for me.

     I'm back to square one, but the rock I stand on will keep me grounded.

A faithful person will be richly blessed,
but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
~ Proverbs 28:20 ~
NIV

The Lord detests people with crooked hearts,
but he delights in those with integrity.
~ Proverbs 11:20 ~
NLT

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Remember MS-DOS?

     I remember typing ~ on a typewriter ~ business letters with a sheet of carbon paper behind them so that I could make a copy of what I was typing for the file.  I remember researching real estate owners for my boss on microfiche so that I could hand type letters to them asking if they were interested in selling their home.  I remember getting a computer at work that just used DOS and learning how to mail merge after adjusting the margins to fit letterhead stationary so when it printed it didn't look all dorked up.

     That's how old I am.

     Today I interviewed for a job by IM.  Instant Messenger.  I "chatted" my interview.

     Last month I had a phone interview ~ not so much a big deal since I had interviewed by phone in the past.  A month before I had interviewed for a position by web page ~ where I answered questions in an automated process.  Everything took two days to process before I would get an automated email telling me what site to go to for the next step.

     I suppose I shouldn't feel like such a dinosaur.  I've watched technology advance rapidly over the last 20+ years since that job in 1988.  It was just ... different.  In a way I miss the days of face-to-face interviews  where I actually got a chance to see where I would be working... and who I would be working with.  But that limited opportunities to what was available just within your local area.

     My interview today was with a woman located in New Jersey... for a company based in India that is expanding to the United States.  Years ago when I was teaching, I showed a documentary by Thomas L. Friedman about the effects outsourcing was having on the Indian culture.  Now it seems that the roles are reversing.

     What a unique and incredible opportunity this job will be....  I love how technology is not just expanding our world, but making us all one.  We truly are becoming "one world" without borders.

What change do you wish for?

     Jamie Ridler Studios challenges us this morning with that question.  She is in Canada and like most of the world has watched from arm's length the battle of politics here in the United States.  We didn't get the change that many had hoped for this morning, and so I'm sure many are hoping that there will be a change in how the existing political administration does business.

     I won't comment here on how I voted or how I feel about this country's politics because I believe that if we want a change... we must be the change.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

     If we want a change in how this country does business... we must change how we do business on an individual scale first.  Buy local.  Expect  better.  Don't accept less.  If we stop accepting substandard work, people will stop doing substandard work or go out of business.  If we want a leader who leads and make changes, then we need to make our voices heard now... not four years from now.  If we are to be held accountable for the work we do today, then we need to hold our leaders accountable for the promises they made yesterday.  Not just at a national level, but state, county, and city.  Be an active voice in the politics you agree or disagree with, don't just shake your head at the television and change the channel.  Speak up, speak out, get involved.

     In order for the world to change, we must change.  We must change how we think, how we act, how we live.  We must change how we see ourselves if we want to change how we see others.

     If we want a more compassionate world... we must be more compassionate.  Love more.  Give more.  Share more.  Teach more.  Feed more.  Clothe more.  Shelter more.  Adopt more.  Heal more.

     If we want peace in the world... we must start with peace in our homes.  Speak with kindness.  Hug.  Encourage.  Lift up.  Believe.

     The change that I wish for is that we would all be the change that brings peace, love and compassion to our world.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Early morning fisherman...



Grateful for comfort...

     I love this portrait by Andrew Wyeth.  I've always wanted to get one to hang over my bed because it says so much to me.

     Love.

     Loyalty.

     Comfort.

     Best friend.

     Security.

     Today I have this picture in my heart because it says so much to me.

     Love.

     Loyalty.

     Comfort.

     Best friend.

     Security.

     ... and the fact that I need a bigger bed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Memories...

     Have you ever noticed how reading someone's blog can be like following the bread crumb trail left through the woods?  You start [here], but then get drawn to [here], which brings you to [here].  Suddenly you read something that can completely change your life.  Instead of climbing into the wicked witch's stove, you find yourself climbing out of it.

     I am back in a house that I walked away from two years ago.  A house that when I left it was filled with almost nine years of memories.  I moved into it the weekend of my 39th birthday in 2001 [yes, Mom, thank you, I was technically starting my 40th year].  When I moved to Texas in September 2010 I didn't think I would ever be back.  The first six months in Texas, I missed my house in Florida quite a bit.  The second six months I had finally settled in, unpacked the memories I had brought with me, and began making new ones.

     The last six months I was in Texas were like being on one of those old wooden roller coasters that rock and creak even when they aren't moving.  The kind that you wonder how they even remain standing, and wish once it starts moving that you could change your mind and get off.  You close your eyes, grab the bar holding you in so tightly your hands cramp, and pray that the end will come quickly.  Most of the memories of that ride have been pushed to the back of my mind, shoved in a closet of other skeletons, in a cabinet marked "Open at your own risk."

     The morning in May that I turned 50 this year [hush, Mom], I pulled into the driveway of that Florida house again.  Defeated.  Depressed.  Discouraged.  Every room still had memories, only now there was a feeling that I'd been violated as well.  Someone had taken ceiling fans and shower heads... things I had spent time and money to buy specifically for the decor in those rooms.  Items that cannot be easily [or at all] replaced.

     I've spent the last six months mentally and emotionally beating myself up for things I remember about this house.  I can pin point the exact month and year in this house [August 2004] when I made a left turn instead of a right turn and changed the direction of my life.  For the past six months, I've been wishing and praying that I could go back in time and change directions.

     This morning when I was reading blogs I stumbled onto a sentence that was my aHa! moment...

"If it’s over let it go and when you wake up it will seem so yesterday…"

     I'm not in a position financially where I can just up and leave.  I haven't been able to find a job yet, I don't have a car, I'm surviving on food stamps and the generosity of angels that walk among us.  But I can emotionally and mentally let this house go again.  I can emotionally and mentally make that right turn and change the direction of my life.
I can... and I am.