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


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.
and mine.
Today I wish for forgiveness.
and mine.
Today I wish for peace.
and mine.


     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


... 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


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.
     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.