Monday, November 28, 2011

Nobody nose...

...the trouble I's seen... nobody nose at all...
     Mom has today off work and bcuz Trooper wrote a blog she said I could blog today.  Normally I'd be sleepin' lates with her, 'specially since its colds outside, but I wants to say somethin' imsportant.

     Peoples sometimes sees me and laughs at how I looks and that hurts my feelings.  You shouldn't laughs at someone.  Laughs with them, but not at them.  I nose my face looks like I run into a wall, and I don't got no neck, and sometimes if you gets too close to my face when I is excited I can sneeze chunks on you, but I can't help it.

     Everybodys different.  But that don't mean we should laugh at somebody who looks different than us.  It is those differences that makes us each special.  Unique.  One of a kind.  We are all works of art, just maybe not hanging up on someone's wall, but maybe in someone's hearts.  And whether or not you believe in God, we are all created for a special purpose.

     Pugs purpose is to make people smile.  To make them laugh with us.  To snuggle up to them on cold nights and keeps them warm.  To cheer them ups.  Sometimes even give them another reason to wash theys faces.  Pugs used to be palace guards dogs in China so we was once really important.  We still can guard, but we likes it better if you gets a big dog to do the really rough stuff.  But we can bark (and try nots to fart at the same time) when we see something strange.  And even if we does farts when we barks, it helps to scare off the strangers because they thinks it was them that smells so bad and they don't want no body to knows they is there by they smell.

     So next times you sees someone that you think looks funny... just remember this... you might look funny to someone too.  Does you want people to laughs at you?

Friday, November 25, 2011


     I get an email on week days from Mike Dooley and his Thoughts Become Things webpage.  They are his "Notes from the Universe."

     They are often so "spot on" with where I am in my life that day, it is eerie, and I've come to believe that God often uses those messages to remind me of things.  Specifically one that I received last Friday which included this sentence.... "There's nothing challenging that has ever happened in your life, that one day you won't look back on with deep gratitude."

      That one was so powerful to me, that it is worth repeating...


     Think about it...


Finally Black Friday...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And we call ourselves humane?

     Last year I read (my bad) some of the comments readers had left for my book "My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs" on  I was crushed by how mean some of them were and very nearly took all of my books off the market.  But then I realized that of the 22,000 people who took advantage when it was offered for free, less than 10 of them actually had anything hateful to say.  And those that did, really didn't matter because they just didn't "get it."

     The purpose of the book wasn't to reveal all the gory details of abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, and yes, sexual) I've endured from other people.  If I had spent much time on those people, and times in my life, it would have been giving them more of me than they deserved to have... and they had already had enough of my thoughts and time. 

     So for those who were disappointed because they didn't feel I had been abused enough... I only hope and pray that you never have to experience any of the things that I chose not to share.

     I wrote the book to talk about surviving.  To talk about forgiving.  To talk about healing.  I wrote to purge myself of the burden of carrying those memories around with me, and letting them continue to control and manipulate me even though the people themselves were no longer in my life.  I didn't write to entertain someone.  I didn't write to seek someone's approval.  I wrote because I knew that I was not the only person to ever endure those things, and if just one person found hope in my story, then baring my soul was worth it.

     There was also a comment from a veterinarian who felt that I hadn't done enough (or rather spent enough money) to save my pug, Tink.  That comment probably angered me more than anything and I hope that her patients and their people have sense to find a new vet who is compassionate enough to realize that sometimes it isn't about spending more money, it is about quality of life.

     Tink was in terrible pain her entire life, enduring two surgeries on her bladder to remove stones within a year.  After the second surgery and because it took so long for her to recover from it, I made the decision to find an alternative that was going to be more humane than just getting her cut open once or twice a year.  Because her bladder stones (some the size of my pinky nail) were being caused by her liver not functioning due to shunts, I researched (and spent money) on foods for her that had less 'fillers' and were naturally made.  The last six months of her life, I spent almost $3,000 trying to make her comfortable since there was no 'cure' for her condition.  I found a holistic vet who tried aqua pressure - similar to acupuncture but with B-12 shots - Chinese herbal medicines because her liver could not detoxify regular medicines, dehydrated natural foods, flower essences, and massage.

     Ultimately though, I made a humane decision to end her suffering because I could see the pain in her face and knew that trying to keep her alive was selfish and cruel.  It wasn't about not having enough money to 'fix' her.  It was about realizing that sometimes we just need to be grateful for the time that we've had, to cherish the memories, and to let them go.

     Sometimes, it is the quality of life that is most important... not the quantity.  Tink had six years more than she might have otherwise had, and they were good years.  I have no regrets for my choices except that perhaps it would have been easier ON HER if I had done it sooner.  But I don't regret the money or time I spent trying to ease her pain. 

     So for those 'animal lovers' who think that my decisions to have animal companions that I adored put down when their pain became too great was selfish and based on finances... I only hope and pray that one day if you are suffering and in pain because of health issues, that you might also have the choice to choose quality over quantity.

And this is what we think of your negative comments...

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Birds....

     Texas has a large population of Great-tailed Grackles.  When I say that it is a "large" population, I really mean LARGE.  Like something from Alfred Hitchcock's movie, The Birds.
     Leaving the grocery store the other night, there must have been millions of them lining all three lines on the light and phone poles for at least three blocks.  They were on the tops of houses, filling the trees, and covering the grass between streets and sidewalks.

     In one sense it was just incredible to see them.  Landing on the power lines and each shuffling down so that they were all the exact same distance from each other.  Listening to their chatter and calls, we could hear them even with the windows rolled up, and over the horrible noise the car is currently making because it needs new bearings in the power steering pulley.

    But then I think of Hitchcock... and his birds... and realize how Creepy it really is, and we hurry home, looking over our shoulders to be sure we aren't being followed.

     I wonder if Hitchcock had been in Texas when he wrote the script...

Shelter in a storm...

Image source
"20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, 21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds— 22 Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth."
~Daniel 4:20-22 NIV~

      Somewhere on my Florida townhouse was the hobo symbol for "kind hearted woman lives here." Only those with four legs seemed to see it, so it must have been low on a wall or door. I don't have any other way to explain the animals that wandered up to my door while I lived there.
     I'd been watching reports about the approaching Hurricane Ivan a few years ago, my dogs sitting on the sofa with me. The rising wind was making all of us nervous.  I got up to go the front door to see the wind on an old palm tree that leaned over my driveway, I was worried it might fall.
     Outside my door stood a full grown silver wolf.  He was gaunt - I could see his ribs from where I stood, panting in a semi-panic and covered with large pieces of cactus. I'd never seen him before.
     I slowly opened the door and stepped out. He took a few steps towards me and it was obvious he was in pain. I spoke to him in a low voice and told him I would bring him some food and water. When I went back into the house, he moved closer to the door, under the overhang and out of the wind. I set the bowls down, he quickly drank some of the water, and picked at the food. I could tell he was hungry, but could also see cactus spines around his mouth.
     I got a pair of heavy work gloves, a bucket, and a pair of needle nosed pliers. Gently I put my hand on him and started taking the cacti off, and putting them in the bucket. He stood patiently while I worked, listening to me talk and letting me work around his ears and face, running my gloved hand carefully over his thin frame to see if I had missed any. As I pulled the first spine from between his toes I saw him flinch and he pulled his paw back. Silently I said a prayer, and hoped that when I raised my eyes I wouldn't be looking at an angry set of teeth.
     Instead, he stepped back and walked around the corner of the house. He finally came back and put his paw on my knee.  I was amazed. He let me work on all four paws, but whenever I pulled one that seemed to hurt, he would again walk around the corner for a few minutes and then come back. 
     He spent the night in the garage, waiting out the storm with the rest of us. When the weather cleared the next day and life and business resumed, I took him to my vet to get him checked out and the few remaining spines removed from his mouth.
     Someone had spent a great deal of time with him, he was very well trained, but where they were now, or where he had come from I would never know. The vet checked for a micro-chip, but he didn't have any.  A blood draw came back positive for heartworms.
     I called a co-worker who had lost a husky two months prior.  He took one look at him and said he would take him. I explained to him about the heartworms, but he didn't care. The wolf would need to put on 20 pounds before he could be treated, but the vet was optimistic about his recovery.  "Eli" now had a home and a new name.
     That was many years ago. Eli survived the heartworm treatment - despite being an escape artist and not staying "quiet" as recommended.
     I found a wooden plaque not too long ago in a catalog of the cat sign that hobos used to designate a "kind hearted woman." It now hangs just inside my front door, too high for animals to see it, but I don't think that matters.
     They know.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Image source
"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."
~ James Matthew Barrie ~

     A video taken in Ireland by two young women has become a viral sensation on the Internet.  The flock of what must be millions of starlings that seem to dance a synchronized and choreographed ballet is mesmerizing to watch.  To have seen it live must have just been breath-taking.

     I've seen smaller flocks in Florida, that danced at sunset before settling into trees to roost for the night.  At each pass of the trees, the flock would become smaller and smaller as birds broke out of the dance to rest.

     Scientists say that the reasons the starlings fly this way is a matter of survival.  There is strength in numbers.  Birds of prey, such as hawks and peregrines hunt starlings, and by flying together "as one" they are harder to hunt.

     In this photo, one of a series taken by photographer, Richard Barnes, the flock looks almost like the hand of God reaching from the sky.

     Perhaps it is to His music that their ballet is danced...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Out of the mouth of... dogs?

     When Mom said she was thinking about writing a blog about "essential dog travel supplies" I knew I was going to have to write it myself. Yeah, she's got a really great road trip checklist for me and Henry, but I knew that it would be better if you heard it from me.

     First let me tell you about this great pet travel bag she's got - it carries everything! She's got copies of our latest shot records, and pictures of us as well as our microchip numbers in case we get lost while we're checking out new sights and smells. Not that she lets us off the leash much when we travel, but you never know when someone might accidentally open a door.

     She always carries a squeaky toy for Henry - that keeps him busy when he gets bored, but the squeaker also grabs his attention if he wanders off.  She packs some of our favorite treats to reward us... and just 'cause she loves us! She brings enough of our regular food to get us through the whole trip so that our stomachs don't have to deal with something unfamiliar. If we start running low on food because we've just been having so much fun and stay longer, it gives her time to find some of our regular stuff at a store.

     We've also got these great pop-up pet travel kennels. It's just like having our own tents! Me, I'm kinda a big guy, ya know? So while those hard sided pet travel kennels might be good for some small dogs like Henry, a real manly man dog like me just won't fit in one of those. The pop-up one that she got me fits perfect in the back of her SUV, or slides into an outside pocket of her suitcase so it can go anywhere we go. Throw my favorite blanket in it, maybe steal one of the extra pillows off the hotel bed, and I'm sleepin' like a baby!

     Even when we're riding in the car she has our comfort and safety in mind. Normally I love calling shotgun when we hit the road for some short trips to the park or vet. But for serious road trips, she sets us up in the back seat with our own harnesses that buckle into the seat belt. We've still got room to move around and lay down to nap, but we're safely secured so we won't go flying if some bozo who is texting and driving hits us. We've got a car blanket, favorite old toys to remind us of home, and a no-spill water dish for ice cubes that we can lick if we get thirsty.  Henry just loves to sing along with the radio ... "Who let the dogs out? Woof! Woof! Woof!"

     Yeah, cats just don't know what they're missing when they turn down a chance to travel, but hey, I'm not going to tell them. I'll just let them think that travelin' is for the dogs!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Travels... to the beach...

Panama City Beach, Florida

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”
~ Henry Beston ~

Silently the waves push through
Eternity.  Churning up memories
And dreams long forgotten.
~ Cindi ~ 1979

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding happiness...

     Happiness, comes with being satisfied with what we have and not coveting things we do not have. Whether this is in our households; our businesses or places of work; or with our family and friends, if we yearn for things we do not or cannot have then it will be difficult for us to find happiness.

    Whenever I have been happy with my life, my job, or family and friends, things have always just seemed to get better. Bigger. More. In considering why this would be so, I realized that when I stopped being dissatisfied with what I had and stopped yearning for something else, it was as if the wall of negativity I was creating in my thoughts of dissatisfaction suddenly crumbled.

     Practice this experiment one day. When you wake up in the morning decide that you are going to have a bad day. No matter what good things you might encounter, decide upon awakening that you aren't going to be happy. You refuse to smile or laugh, and will wear a frown or angry scowl all day. You will carry a cloud over you all day long and will refuse to say anything nice or positive to anyone you encounter. If someone says "Good Morning!" to you, your response will be "Oh yeah? What's so good about it?"

     Keep track that day of everything that goes wrong that isn't directly caused by you. Late trains, late flights, flat tires, broken elevators. A rainy day that gets you splashed all day by cars passing in puddles. A torn jacket, broken heel, or hole in your shoe. Late reports, lost papers, an impossible deadline. Sour cream at the coffee maker. Moldy cheese in your sandwich. The list could go on and on.

     Now consider that all these things, all this negativity, has been attracted to you because of your attitude alone. As if it were a magnet.

I just LOVE this face!

     The next day reverse the experiment. When you wake up in the morning decide that you are going to have an incredibly awesome day, the best day ever no matter what bad things you might encounter. You will smile and laugh at everything, carry a bright sun over you, and make rainbows out of anyone's rain cloud. When that negative person responds to your "Good Morning!" greeting with an ugly "Oh yeah?" tell them that it is a GREAT morning any time you wake up on this side of the dirt!

     Now keep track of all the good things that happen, and all the good things that happen because of an attempted negativity. A late arrival might have kept you from being in the accident that happened right when you would have been there if you had been on time. Climbing the stairs because of a broken elevator just gave you ten less minutes on the treadmill tonight. Torn jacket, broken heel, hole in your shoe? A great excuse to stop and buy that jacket or pair of shoes you saw on sale! Late report or lost papers? Time to review them and catch the mistake that would have embarrassed you or the company. Impossible deadline? An opportunity to prove to your boss that you are up to the challenge and score points for dependability that will help on your next promotion.

     At the end of the day when you are still wearing that smile on your face, look back and consider which was the better day and how many good things were attracted to you because you refused to let the negativity win. You repelled it instead of attracting it.

     You can take this lesson, this experiment, and use it anywhere in your life. Once you see how happiness attracts happiness, you will be astounded at all the good things that begin to flow towards you.

     Be happy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mark 13:13

"13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

     Peer pressure can be daunting at times.  From our first day in school, we want so much to be "liked" by everyone... and to be "like" everyone.  No one wants to stand out or be different.  As a result, we often cave in to peer pressure... going along with what the majority says... or wants... afraid to speak up or speak out.  We look the other way or tell ourselves that "everyone else is doing it, why shouldn't we?"  We pretend we don't care... or that we do...

     Groupthink... another way of saying peer pressure in the work environment... has lead to disasters like the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion.  It has lead to changes in ethics, corporate social responsibility, and management techniques.  Whistleblower laws have been created to protect those who "stand firm to the end" in their convictions for truth and honesty at any cost.

Found on We Heart It

     When we have the courage to speak the truth... to not be swayed by what others think or believe... when we can stand firm to the end... we will be saved.  In the end, we will have only One who will judge us for the choices we made.

     Will you tell Him that you were afraid to speak up?  That you wanted to believe but you wanted to be liked more?  That "everyone else" was a non-believer and you didn't want to be different?

"46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."
~ John 12:46 ~
     Be the light that does not go out.  Stand firm in your convictions and beliefs.  Fight for the truth.

We Heart It

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Saturday's child...

... works hard for a living.

     I was born a little after 1 a.m. on a Saturday.  At least in Illinois I was.  Had I been born farther west, I could have been born on a Friday.

Friday's child is loving and giving.

     My birth verse for a Saturday birthday is "Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:5 NIV ~

     But if I had been a Friday's child, it would have been "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."  ~ 1 Peter 5:4 NIV ~

     Regardless of which day I was born on, which time zone... I love the thought of a promise ~ a "deposit" ~  that guarantees what is to come... and a glory that will never fade away.  While working hard for a living is a fact of life for all of us these days... I know without a doubt that my reward in Heaven will be worth the labors of my body here on Earth, and that the house that is being built for me will be magnificent.

     Come and join me... the door is always open, and there is room for all...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Long weekends...

Thursday Travels... blog readers...

      Where in the world are you?

     I found a new statistic (yes, I can spell it, just can't say it fast ten times) on Blogger recently.  They track my "audience" by country.

     I was amazed.

     I didn't realize people outside of the United States even knew about my blog, but the stats say otherwise.

     This blog has been read in Russia, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Latvia, New Zealand, Argentina, United Kingdom, India, Austria, Netherlands, and the Philippines.

     So here is my question for today... Where in the world are you?  Please comment and tell me where you are and how you found me.  I'd love to hear about your "world."  I don't travel as much as I'd like to anymore, but I can still "imagine" the world through your words!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Who do you wish to have tea with?

Join me for a cup of tea?
     Who would I wish to have tea with?  The list is long... and so are the teas.  Not long ago I found a wonderful website ~ Cerra ~ and tried one of their tea infusions.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was delicious!

     Each of their products are tied with an intention, as are their tea infusions.

     I wish to have a cup of Grounded tea with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She was grounded in her faith in God and faced her challenges without fear, knowing that He would take care of her and His son.

     I wish to have a cup of Creative Energy tea with M. M. Kaye.  It was her book, The Far Pavilions, that turned my love of reading around into a love of writing.

     I wish to have a cup of Gratitude tea with my mom.  I am so grateful for our friendship, for her love, support and encouragement.

     I wish to have a cup of Loving Kindness tea with Mother Teresa.  She changed the world for so many with her love and kindness.

     I wish to have a cup of Courage tea with my friend, Lori, who continues to amaze me with her strength and courage in the face of tornadoes and raising her four grandchildren.

     I wish to have a cup of Wisdom tea with my father, who was always sharing his knowledge and wisdom with me, especially when it came to carpentry and home repairs.  Not that I need any advice on either anymore, but just to be able to sit and enjoy his company would overflow my heart.

     Finally, I wish to have a cup of Inspiration tea ... with you ... who inspire me to keep growing, to keep learning, to keep sharing and encouraging others in their daily walks.

     Who do you wish to have tea with?  Join us on Wishcasting Wednesdays with Jaime Ridler Studios.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I heart this...
     Music has changed our lives.  At times it has brought tears, but they have been tears of joy... of gratitude... of healing.

     In November we have Thanksgiving... a day... a weekend... for expressing our gratitude for all that we have in our lives.

     I'm grateful every day... for every day I've had... and every day I will have...

    For all that I had... for all that I have... and for all that I will have...

     For all the family and friends I've known... all whom I know now... and all whom I will know...

     For the Light in my life that has chased the darkness away...

     For the music...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Field trips...

Phantom of the 1st Cav
     Every new [fiscal] year at work, we take a field trip to one of our contracts.  Last year it was to the ammo dump to see the recycling process for spent shells... a process which has actually paid for itself since it generates an income for Ft. Hood.

     This year it was to the 1st Calvary Horse Detachment where we contract for the hay and feed for the horses.

     After watching the show which displayed the training of the horses and the awesome horsemanship of the riders, we had a tour of the farrier's barn and then the stables.

     Which is where I met this handsome guy.  It was love at first sight.

     I spent about 20 minutes talking with him and rubbing his side, working my TTouch on him, which he apparently appreciated.  I got all kinds of nuzzles, nudges, and "oh yeah, that's the spot, don't stop now, uh-huh, oh that feels soo good" vibes from him.

     I think I finally know what I want to do when I grow up...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday travels... Salzburg, Austria

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."
~ Saint Augustine ~
(354-430 AD)
Salzburg, Austria
"It is a great consolation for me to remember that the Lord, to whom I had drawn near in humble and child-like faith, has suffered and died for me, and that He will look on me in love and compassion."
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ~
(born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756)

     When I was a child we lived in Germany for four years.  We immersed ourselves in the culture... learning ein wenig Deutsch zu sprechen (to speak a little German)... going on Volksmarchs and other Volkssporting events around the country... travelling to other countries like Austria, The Netherlands, and France.

     They were magical years for me and all of the best of my childhood memories were made there.

     I went back to Salzburg for Christmas 2008... taking a Danube River Cruise.

     The magic was still there...