Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CARING FOR OLDER DOGS--AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE




Last spring, two of my dogs seemed to become old overnight, and a third lost his eyesight. Since my dogs usually live to be fifteen to seventeen years old and these dogs were only tennish, I was not emotionally prepared for this to happen. 

Yes, I was deep in DENIAL. I did not want to see any signs their physical bodies were aging. I did not want to face the fact my dogs would probably die before I did.

At this point, I know some people abandon their old dogs out in the country or dump them at an animal shelter. Not even considerations for me. 

Other people run to the vet and spend a lot of money pumping their dogs full of prescription drugs. Or pay thousands of dollars for surgeries that might buy a few more months, but could go awry and end the life of a furbaby on the operating table. 

I've been down this road a number of times. I've lost track of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars I spent on medications that may or may not have helped my aging canines. I also invested in surgeries for a couple older dogs. One surgery bought me two more years with my beloved fifteen-year-old Border Collie. Another surgery for The Adored One (a Lab/Rottweiler mix) when he was ten gave us five more years. 

Did I do this because I wanted other people to know I was doing everything I could to keep my dogs alive as long as possible? Or because it was truly what I thought was best for my canine companions? Considering the emotional place I was at the time, probably a mix of both.

Then I discovered energy healing, starting with Reiki, and wanted to use all natural remedies. My doggies and I experienced some miracles doing this. Until we once more reached the aging dog stage, and I could see their physical bodies were uncomfortable. 

At that point, I started blending energy work, natural remedies and, sparingly, medications from the vet in a crisis. 

Over my decades-long journey with dogs, I came to realize caring for older dogs is an honor and a privilege. Much of this realization has come directly from my beloved furbabies since I have gained the gift of communicating with animals.

When I was growing up, seeing our family dogs through their transition was part of my dad's role. When transition time came for the first dog of my adult life, I didn't think I had the strength to watch the euthanasia process that would end the continuous cycle of seizures that had claimed her. For a long, long time I carried shame, guilt and regret for abandoning her with strangers at the end of her life. From that time, I vowed I would always be with my beloved furbabies until their last breath.

My dogs have also given me the knowledge that each transition is as unique and personal as the relationship between dog and human.

Goliath insisted I needed to go through the process of dying with him. And so I did, warning him I wouldn't let him suffer. In his last few days, I cared for his physical body. I gently turned him from one side to another so he didn't develop sores from lying in one position for too long. I swiped fresh water into his mouth and cleaned the urine out of his fur. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving and knew his physical body had drawn its last breath. I cried and hugged that body, but I also knew his spirit wasn’t there. His spirit was still with me, but closer than ever, bringing me an overwhelming sense of peace that we had experienced wonderful things and learned together and loved. Yes, especially we had loved. 

On the other hand, my Sophie tried to make me promise to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge. Bred as a war dog, this Giant Schnauzer knew the survival instincts in her physical body would keep hanging on. In her last months, she developed a tumor at the base of her tail that wouldn't heal. Sophie started telling me her transition time was near, but we had already pulled off a miracle or two, and I wanted another one. Her physical body became sadly emaciated, no matter how much I tried to feed her and what goodies I tempted her with. Finally, she refused to leave the vet's office, insisting it was time to go Home. I reluctantly agreed, as she knew I would, and she was gone in an instant.

The transition of my other beloved furbabies has also been as unique and special as my relationship with each of them. 

The one thing in common is caring for an older dog truly is an honor and privilege. It tests your patience, your courage, and your ability to go without sleep, as well as disrupts any routine you ever thought of having. 

And lest you start developing an egotistical self-righteousness of what a wonderful, self-sacrificing person you are to help this doggie live a few more days or weeks or months, their physical body dies in spite of all you have done.

As you stumble around in grief with your heart shredded, you may also realize you have been through one of the most incredible spiritual experiences of your life. This cycle of life and death, which can seem fragile and far too short, is not only about our physical bodies and the time we share here on Earth. 

The real story is about a spiritual connection that cannot be broken by "something as simple as death," in the words of my beloved Stewart. He should know. Less than a year and a half after his sudden death in the midst of a seizure, he rejoined me and our canine herd in a different, healthy doggie body full of enthusiasm and playfulness.

Looking back over my decades of living with canine companions, I know it's not only an honor and privilege to care for an older dog, but a dog of any age!

Monday, December 14, 2015

GUILT TO GRATEFUL




A recent revelation totally shifted the way I look at and feel about wealth and abundance. In the past, I've not been wealthy. I was raised with the belief if I worked hard enough, I would have enough to get by. There were times my kids and I ate pancakes and fruit for a week until payday, but the bills had been paid and we didn't go hungry. 

Over the years, I grew stronger and stronger in the knowledge I could do most things myself. At times, I needed to borrow money from my parents or ask for more jars of fruit my mother had canned, but I always had at least one job and we got by okay. 

Over the decades when my kids grew up and left home, I earned more money through promotions and changing careers. I was quite proud of doing it myself. At times, I dragged myself out of bed when I felt horrible and went to work anyway. I paid my bills first. I made sure my kids were fed and clean--sometimes in spite of their protests of not needing a shower. I rarely went out and was quite frugal with my money.

A long time passed before I became aware of a dark side of this pride: resenting others who didn't meet my standards of hard work and independence. 

Even more insulting was the growing number of government and nonprofit agencies that catered to meeting every need of "those less fortunate." I have paid taxes throughout my entire life to support these programs, but was now approached by people on the streets as well as requests through email and snail mail for more and more money for these causes. 

My resentment built with each request but, ironically, so did my guilt for not giving to every cause. By this time, I'd studied enough spiritual laws and done enough energy work to know giving with anything less than pure love was not generating good juju for anyone. In addition, my desire to be a "good and compassionate" person who helped others clashed with the realization if I gave away all my money, I would be the one begging and not be able to help anyone. 

Fortunately, I evolved to the point where I asked my spirit guides to help with this dilemma. Their words of wisdom resulted in a major shift in my perception. "Those less fortunate are not here to cause you GUILT, but to help you feel GRATEFUL for all you already have."

As many times happens, these words gave me that third option I have come to look for. Not someone wins and someone loses, but everybody wins. 

My next step was to put this into action. Our culture seems to have devolved into throwing money at every issue. I don't think that's always the best solution. Giving a drug addict money doesn't necessarily help. However, shopping with a mom to help feed her kids satisfies their physical hunger as well as offers the opportunity to share kind words and encouragement. Sometimes I just smile or meet the eyes of someone panhandling for money on the street. Many times they seem surprised at that simple acknowledgement we are fellow human beings.

For me personally, I can also offer one of my most treasured gifts: Reiki. Reiki is an ancient process for channeling our life force energy to help heal on the physical, spiritual and emotional levels. I've seen and been part of many miracles using the pure loving energy of Reiki. If a person chooses to accept this gift, amazing things can come about. In addition, it benefits both the giver and the person receiving. Definitely a win-win situation!

By replacing the downward spiral of feeling guilty when others had so little with an option of how everyone can win, I also opened myself to receiving even more abundance. In turn, I can share that abundance with others, which will multiply and come back to me, so I can share even more with others over and over--part of a beautifully expanding cycle of positive energy. 

Thank you, spirit guides and Universe, for this empowering and uplifting lesson--something else to be grateful for!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WORTH YOUR WEIGHT IN GOLD? CHOCOLATE? LOVE?


"After I finish my morning chores, I'll get to work."

The irony of this thought struck me this morning. Aren't chores and work the same? Ah, you don't get paid for chores.

What if you did? How much would you pay someone else to do your chores?

Here's my list:
--Morning Reiki session with my dogs 1 hour = $60.00 
--Dog mini-grooming/health check for eight dogs $15.00 per dog = $120.00
(Pricing this was interesting. When I brush my dogs and check for fleas, I also do a quick health check--an abbreviated version of what a vet would do--check ears; do nails need a trim; any lumps, bumps, scrapes that need attention; check eyes; any changes in skin or coat or general health; etc. So the estimate is probably low but I know my dogs, so it goes quickly.)
--Personal chef (I cook for my dogs and the humans get the leftovers :)  $40.00
(Again, a guestimate as personal chefs in my area are limited and only serve people. This worked out to about $10 per serving and, because the size of my dogs varies, I estimated we would need about 4 servings per meal. However, this also includes the cost of the groceries and prep time, so I may look into this. LOL!)
--General housecleaning including laundry and dishes 1hr = $10.00
(Again, an affordable surprise that perhaps I should look into!)
--Petsitter to feed dogs and get them out to do their "bathroom business" 1/2 hour visit = $20.00

So that's a total of $250 I "earned" from my morning chores, plus a priceless shift in perspective on the worth of what I do. 

How much are you worth?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

RUDENESS SETS PRIORITIES

We come first, right, Mom?

Rudeness has shifted my perspective on priorities--but perhaps not in the way it may seem...

I am in the wonderful position of working from home, surrounded by the unconditional love of my doggies, and choosing projects with select clients who share a mutual respect for our timelines and other commitments. 

In closing out a project with one of these clients and transferring the work to someone else, a third party landed in my little world unannounced and expecting me to drop everything else and bow to their demands RIGHT NOW! 

Hmm…not the way to gain my cooperation, especially when I had recently taken on some other projects that offered great opportunities--but, of course, involved more preparation and work.

Well, my monkeymind wrapped around this unpleasant encounter, fussing and stewing. I may be on the road to serenity, but I still stumble in potholes and sometimes fall flat on my face. 

This time I stumbled, but caught myself before face-planting in the muck of self-righteousness and drama. 

Instead, I asked my spirit guides what lesson I could learn from this. Working at the issue from that angle, my perspective shifted to one of the same lessons my beautiful Ebony Rose has been demonstrating for several months. 

I have brought eight beautiful furbabies into my home with the goal of moving us to acreage where we can build a sanctuary. HOWEVER, I don't have to wait until we move to have a sanctuary. Our city house is our current sanctuary. I just have to shift my perspective to live that.

That means sanctuary business comes first. Feeding, cleaning, grooming, playing, and everything else my dogs need as well as keeping our city sanctuary in beautiful repair. THEN other projects can be scheduled. Fortunately, my furbabies are wonderful at napping and give me a block of time every day when I can indulge in these other projects.

Along with this sharpened perspective is making myself a priority. Yes, I need to be fit and strong, eat well, take time to dream, and do things that boost my energy and fuel my creativity.

Seems simple in theory, doesn't it? I'm still working on practicing this every day--trying to dodge those potholes on the road to serenity. 

So this encounter with rudeness presented an opportunity for me set priorities--not to what someone else wanted but to what I want--with the permission of my doggies, of course!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY!

Ebony Rose (in back) lounging on our almost wall-to-wall
sleeping area with Batman (white dog) and Grimlin.


As the physical body of my beautiful Ebony Rose shows signs of slowing down, she continues to offer life lessons. This morning she made her way up the stairs--her choice; we basically live on the main floor and none of the dogs have to climb stairs if they don't want to. Coming down was a bit more hesitant and I walked with her in case she slipped. 

Later, she asked me if I loved her any less because she looked and acted older. Through my tears, I said I loved her even more because I know our time together on this physical plane is growing shorter. 

I also saw her aging body as a gift and a reminder to me to slow down and enjoy. Not just to smell the roses--though I did that in my back yard today also! But time with my dogs, time with my kids and grandkids, time to walk through my flowers and vegetables as they offer up the fruits of the growing season to enjoy, time to create wonderful book covers, and just time to do what I love!

As a recovering workaholic, I need reminders to slow down and enjoy. I go through phases of being mindful to take care of myself and play with my doggies. Sometimes I even clean my house! But I still have tendencies to forget those good intentions and overbook my time. Reminders from my Ebony Rose and other doggies help me back on track.

Hope you have taken the time today to slow down and enjoy!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

THE FLOWER ON THE FENCE


I found a flower on my fence this morning. 

Not attached to any plants in my yard. Not attached to any plant at all. A large pinkish lily tucked neatly by the gate post.

Who left it? My writer's mind considered a number of possibilities:
--A sharing of beauty from the woman across the street with whom I talk about flowers and syncronicities.
--A peace offering from the wife of the Peeping Tom who has harassed me for years.
--A place to stash the hot goods by kids who stole it from another neighbor's yard. 
--A thank you from a stranger who stopped for a moment under the shade of the beautiful silver maple tree that shades my front yard and the sidewalk. 
--A flirtatious gift from an admirer of my son.
--Poison disguised in beauty by someone seeking revenge. One sniff and you're unconscious.
--A random gesture from one of the church members who leave cookies at Christmas that I always throw away because I won't touch homemade food from someone I don't know. 
--A cheerful gift from someone who figured the grumpy old lady (me!) who lived in this house needed something to sweeten her disposition.
--A friend passing by who didn't have time to visit but wanted to brighten my day.

As I considered the possibilities, I noticed many of them were rather cynical. Oy! Is this what I have come to? Since I'm at a stage of reinventing me and deciding what I want to be for the rest of my life, this was a beautifully gentle reminder to look at the inner me. Have I fallen into the habit of seeing other people with suspicion? I'd rather look for the best in others, even if I have to look very deeply. LOL! Some habits take more work to change than others. 

In the meantime, I'm leaving the flower on the fence. Perhaps it will start a new tradition in the neighborhood. Perhaps I will help spread that tradition and change my cynical habits by leaving flowers for others.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

CLODS IN MY DIRT THERAPY


As I was wrapping up my DIRT therapy session this morning, I realized I wasn't feeling the deep joy and satisfaction of previous days. 

Because my mind had been chasing Other People's Drama (OPD). 

Yes, I had allowed myself to get sucked into OPD the previous evening. Once they got things stirred up and disrupted several people's lives, they decided everything was going to be OK. They made no changes. Don't know if they even learned anything or realized they were reliving the same-old, same-old cycle.

I was disgusted with them, but mostly with myself for jumping into OPD. 

Obviously, I stewed about it overnight (in spite of sleeping fine) and still had OPD remnants this morning that lasted throughout my DIRT therapy. 

So I sat down on the ground and immediately felt the tension flowing out of me. Interestingly, this felt pretty much the same as when I'm offering Reiki to a person or a furbaby and they are pulling the Reiki very quickly. This gave me some insights into how Reiki works, but I won't go into that here. I really felt the desire to lay down, but didn't want to get mud in my hair. So I simply sat with my hands braced on the earth and let healing flow through me--and discovered a new facet of DIRT therapy. 

Guess what I thought at first were clods in my DIRT therapy actually turned out to be nuggets of wisdom. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

DIRT THERAPY

This is a corner of my back yard where I have been
doing DIRT therapy. A mix of vegetable plants and
berries on the left; a volunteer squash plant in the
center that is quickly taking over a 12-foot roundish
bed. More squash plants behind it as well as flowers
and shrubs in various stages of blooming.

I started daily DIRT therapy a little over a week ago. DIRT therapy is Digging In Residential Territory, aka weeding and trimming my yard and garden. 

Events in my life have led me to the realization I need to take better care of myself. To slow down and change my workaholic habits, which have continued even though I "retired" over a decade ago. And I want to spend more focused time with my furbabies and the people who are precious to me. 

To some, this may not sound difficult. But I have been indoctrinated since birth to always be busy. For me, changing decades of habit is best accomplished in baby steps, and perhaps fooling the part of my mind that pushes me to work hard. 

DIRT therapy is one of the steps of that change. Each morning before I get caught up in the demands of the day or the priorities of other people, I put on my yard clothes and a pair of gloves, grab a shovel or clippers, and head out into my yard.

Digging in the dirt feeds my soul. I also love blooming flowers and fresh vegetables from my own garden. Daily DIRT therapy keeps my yard neat and welcoming rather than adding stress about the usual mid-summer takeover of weeds. As a side benefit, I'm getting in shape again without that being one more task on a never-ending list of things to do. Also, digging and trimming can be hard work, so the slave-driver part of my mind is satisfied. 

Then comes another baby step in taking better care of myself and those I love. I allow myself time to sit in the shade with an icy glass of water and absorb the beauty and bounty of my DIRT therapy.

Squash plants that spread their leafy tentacles almost a foot a day give me great delight. An accidental combination of crocosmia and daylilies in a beautiful, airy bouquet gives me joy every time I see them in my kitchen window. Harvesting lettuce from seeds I've planted makes salads taste so much better.

I'm quite pleased with my venture into DIRT therapy, and plan to continue this until it becomes a habit. Then I'll add another baby step in taking better care of myself and those I love.

How about you? Do you have a favorite habit that helps feed your soul? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

GOOD GIRL UNBOXED


I was one of those teenagers other kids loved to hate. I got good grades, did my homework without anyone reminding me, played sports, was involved in school and community organizations, stayed out of trouble, worked part time…

Ironically, doing all the things I thought I "should" do was mostly driven by a belief that I wasn't good enough.

This continued as an adult. I moved to the city to take a steady job with good benefits, got married, had a couple kids to go with my dog, bought a house…

Again, I stayed in the box of what I thought I should do.

Oh, there were some notable times I broke out of the box, but I quickly scurried back into its safety of shoulds and taped up the holes. 

However, after several decades, the box of shoulds had become rather tattered. Then it collapsed altogether when everyone who should have had my best interests at heart betrayed me. 

For a few years after that, I tried to pick up the shreds of the should box and tape them back together. But another life storm would crash through and scatter the pieces again. 

I flailed without the security of shoulds, often hounding my spirit guides for an instruction manual for life. Sometimes angry; sometimes crying; sometimes ready to give up. In their patient way, they smiled or perhaps laughed out loud at my dramatics. When I was quiet and ready to listen, they shared their wisdom and answered my questions--not always what I wanted to hear, but I knew deep inside what they said was true.

Right now, I'm in a space of some sort of serenity. Still uneasy and perhaps a bit disbelieving when I look out at all the possibilities. 

I realize this time of my life is truly a gift. I can choose. I can help the little girl who  sometimes still hides inside me to climb out of her box and create a life the way we want it to be. I get to be both the parent and the child. Both the student and the teacher. We can color outside the lines or eat dessert first or splash in puddles and laugh. 

And we can take some time each day to just sit and breathe deeply, watching the wonders of the Universe that weren't visible from inside the should box. I think I'm going to like being a good girl unboxed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LOSSES MARK NOT ONLY ENDINGS, BUT BEGINNINGS



For no matter how much we wish it wasn't so, 
losing someone or something dear to us means changes. 
Things are different whether we want them to be or not. 
And, perhaps, when the grieving softens, 
we can be open to new perspectives. 
New ways of seeing the world. 
Emotions we hadn't allowed before. 
New experiences and, yes, new beginnings.

Friday, June 5, 2015

FURBABY FRIDAY: COLLIES ARE SPECIAL

Can you tell this doggie has been
around writers all his life?

Fur against my face and the soft smell of a dog curled protectively around me existed before my first memories of this life.

My mom used to tell stories of me as a toddler, sleeping with my head pillowed on our Collie’s belly...Tippy took his duties seriously, and executed them well. For ten years, he was a companion, a pillow, and a protector.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, Tippy began my life-long love of dogs, and set the standard for all dogs who would follow in my life.

As Tippy told me, "Collies will carry a special message for you, as I do. You will feel drawn to them, and they will appear at critical times to guide and support you."

And that has certainly been the case. First Tippy, then Duke, followed by Duncan, and now Tucker (shown reading with one of my grandchildren).

This boy is so happy and sweet. He makes me smile just to look at him!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

TRANS-WHO?


A guest post from Grumpy Granny

My sister, Gertie, loves those tabloids that gossip about famous people. Got herself  so many subscriptions I swear a new magazine comes in the mail every day. She said the latest hot news is a famous athlete got himself changed into a woman. All the magazines are calling it trans-something-or-other. 

I don't know what all the fuss is about. Why, back when I was a kid--before even havin' a black and white TV was big news--our family had Aunt George. Always wore bib overalls with a plaid shirt and leather work boots. She even had a mustache, though I don't think she was born with it. 

But she had to be a boy from the day she was born. According to family legend, her daddy was a hard-drinking, mean sumbitch--pardon my French. When my great-granny got first got pregnant, he bragged he was going to have him the biggest, toughest son in the county. Then he'd come home raging drunk and tell my great-granny she'd better have a boy or he'd beat her so bad she couldn't fix a decent meal. 

So when Aunt George was born, Great-granny made sure the midwife knew her child would be announced as a boy--no matter what sex the baby actually was. Well, her ornery husband was usually drunk before ten o'clock in the morning and pretty worthless as far as taking care of any household chores let alone taking care of a baby. 

Fooling him into thinking the baby was a boy didn't take much imagination. Babies are bald and scrunchy faced anyway, so who can really tell the gender unless the kid is dressed in pink or blue? Great-granny just named her George and dressed the child like a boy. Her toys were chunks of scrap wood that served as blocks or an occasional hand-carved wooden car. 

Great-granny worked too hard to have much time for socializing, and all the family was sworn to secrecy about George's real gender. So Aunt George learned to crawl and walk and talk being treated as a boy. 

When Great-granny got pregnant again and her second child was born, a neighbor came in to help take care of George. Being new to the county, the woman let slip that George was really a girl. Great-grandpa exploded in a rage, threatening to beat both my great-granny and the child. Fortunately, he was too drunk to carry out the threat immediately.

Soon afterward, that mean sumbitch died mysteriously.

By then Aunt George truly did believe she was the toughest boy in the county, and she continued to grow up proving that was the case. She could out-run, out-wrestle, out-shoot and out-work any boy her age. 

Aunt George also had the biggest heart in the county. If someone needed help, Aunt George was the first one there. If a critter was hurt, Aunt George nursed it back to health. She didn't look for praise or special treatment or make apologies for the way she was. She just lived her life doing what she believed to be right. 

That's the way I look at the brouhaha over this trans-something-or-other. It's nobody else's business if this person wants to be a man or a woman. Just get back to work and live your own life. That's what I plan to do. My new-fangled dryer machine has the loudest buzzer I ever heard. Goes off every couple minutes until I get the clothes out of its innards. There it goes again! Ah, go eat a sock or something!

If you want Grumpy Granny's opinion on other current events, please leave a comment. No guarantees that she will care, but some days she is open to suggestions.

Monday, June 1, 2015

PREPARING FOR THE BEST


I talked to my mom earlier, who mentioned a severe storm warning for the area south of them. The wind had picked up and they were bringing in lawn furniture so it didn't blow around. 

Though I was over 200 miles north of where the storm was supposed to hit, I fell easily into thinking how I should prepare for high winds and hail. 

I wanted to walk my dogs before any adverse weather might reach us, so I tried to hurry them past their usual sniffing spots. As I did so, my mind was occupied with thoughts of preparing for the worst. I had already taken down my hanging pots on the front porch. The garbage cans were tucked behind the fence. What else did I need to secure? And, oh yes, close the upstairs windows. 

Then a different thought occurred to me: Instead of preparing for the worst, how about preparing for the best?

I laughed at myself as my mind went blank for a few moments. It was an easy habit to prepare for a bad situation, but what about the best? 

Soon my mind was busy thinking in a much more positive direction. In my personal perfect world, what was the best that could happen?

I encourage anyone to try this. It was great fun for me and made me smile a lot!

P.S. As I'm writing this, we did get some thunder and lighting, as well as some very welcome rain. Nothing out of the ordinary for this part of Oregon. So I'm going to cuddle in bed with my doggies and hope continue that best situation in my dreams!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

THE HONOR OF BEING A WOMAN

The roles of males and females have come up in my life several times recently. I think this is because I'm currently open to different perspectives of these roles and how to respect the journeys of all within these roles. I'm also at a point of shedding outmoded beliefs of how males and females "should" behave and am looking for how to grow into the best human I can be.

Respect for others is a large part of that. I've read about actions of others that show absolutely no respect for others.

At the other end of the spectrum, I read a blog today titled, Wisdom of the Woman's Heart, about the deep honor of being born a woman and the respect many indigenous cultures show the women among them. Very touching and some perspectives I hadn't considered before. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

RETIREMENT AFTER THE APOCALYPSE


First of all, there will be NO retirement after an apocalypse. Everyone will be scrambling to survive and CYA--that's Cover Your Assets.

So what triggered this topic for a follow-the-rules kinda gal who worked for the bureaucracy for over thirty years? An announcement for a "modern" retirement planning class at the local community college. 

I've already retired from one career and have indulged my love of learning while working part-time at a number of different businesses. I thought this class might be a bargain that would also provide some tips on how to feel more financially secure. 

However, when I read through the flyer about the class, it sounded like most of the same old stuff--estate planning, long-term care, investments, retirement accounts, etc. 

That's fine in the world we've slogged through for many decades. However, I don't think that world exists any more. 

We may not be facing an apocalypse from weapons of mass destruction that will wipe out most of humanity, but our systems are imploding. They no longer serve the purposes or people they were set up to help, and they are not changing to meet  the challenges of today. A handful of people are desperately trying to retain their control and it is slipping from their grasp. 

I see this as a good thing. An apocalypse that's a golden opportunity to co-create an Eden where everyone who wants to can live abundantly, joyfully, and enjoy things we never imagined. 

So I will continue to hack my own path out of the city. More than ever, my focus is to move my dogs to some acreage and grow my own food. I'm going to unplug from the power company and create a sparkling oasis of ponds and streams. We will still cuddle together at night on soft beds covered with comfy quilts, then sleep late in the mornings. We'll still eat yummy food and I'll spend too much time on the Internet, learning new things and connecting with people I've never met in person.

And I'll continue to share my journey, though I may sometimes feel lost and stuck in the same old maze. However, there are more and more days when I can feel the reality of my dream--that golden dream that is Retirement after the Apocalypse.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY: BEAUTY FROM ABUSE?


Abuse permeates all you do. Colors your decisions. Affects where you go and who you allow into your life. 

If those who should have protected you do not believe what has happened, the wound is deeper than the physical pain you have already endured.

But perhaps on your journey you will come to recognize the gift in betrayal. For when all you believed is destroyed, the real truth can be revealed. 

Strength and courage flow through your soul as you stand up for other innocents who have experienced abuse. You recognize the pain in others. You listen and respect without judgment. You love without expectations. Your tears help others release and heal. In doing so, your own wounds are healed and the true beauty of your spirit is revealed.

As your heart is broken open, you realize the angels are rejoicing and you are surrounded by their pure love. You have never been alone. You have always been supported by a power far beyond this Earthly realm. 

What if that power and love also shine within you? What miracles can we create? What beauty can grow from the ashes of abuse?


Monday, April 27, 2015

GOOD MORNING, MONDAY! (…and Tuesday and everyday)


Generally, my doggies and I sleep in, then wake up slowly. One or two at a time, my furbabies come to me for individual attention. Tummy rubs. Back scratches. Some extra cuddles.

We exchange loving energy, then yawn and stretch, and begin the day.

I currently have eight dogs and want to be sure they all feel special and loved. So throughout the day, I make it a point to call each of my dogs by name and give them attention, even if it's just a pat or scratch on my way from the kitchen to my computer.

In the evening, each of my furbabies once again receives individual attention--not  that they necessarily appreciate this--as I clean them before bed. However, this is many times rushed as I generally have one more thing to finish--or two or three. So they cuddle into soft quilts and, later, I join them. Then we resettle and snuggle in for the rest of the night.

In the morning, we come awake slowly…good morning, Monday!

Friday, April 24, 2015

EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT WHEN I AM A CHILD AGAIN


I was listening to classic oldies tonight while I was working on a project. Those songs put me in a reflective mood. What did I believe when I was a teenager?

Most of all, I believed everything would be alright when I was an adult. I thought I would fall in love with a man who loved me, we'd get married and have kids, and have a happy life.

I didn't imagine any bad things happening. I didn't know my choices would be so wrong or that I would raise my sons by myself and feel such guilt that I didn't give them what I thought they needed. I didn't know the betrayals would be so deep or the pain would hurt so bad. I didn't foresee the direction my life would turn or have any idea the truth I discovered would be so different than what the people in my early years thought. 

I didn't realize the love I found would be pure and unconditional and come in the form of a small herd of doggies who needed a place to belong just like me. That a dream would be born of a sanctuary where every being would feel safe and loved and accepted. Where sunshiny days would stretch long and on rainy nights we would cuddle by a warm fire, secure in a knowing that angels are real and we are one with the Spirit who whispers through the trees and urges the flowers into bloom. 

Yes, everything will be alright, when I become the little child who still lives within me. Who still has dreams and believes. Who always believes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY


Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...

What if your pet was a person? What would s/he look like? Long hair or short? What color eyes? What quirky behaviors--would they be the same ones your pet in his furry body currently has?

Friday, April 10, 2015

FURBABY FRIDAY: THE LITTLE DOG SHUFFLE

Sweet Pea at the Shelter



"Pick up your feet when you walk," my son admonishes my grandchildren. 

The comment makes me feel sheepishness. Not only do I shuffle my feet when I walk, I'm usually looking down. 

You see, I have a ten-pound Chihuahua mix and my feet are almost bigger than her. I resisted having a small dog for a long time because I didn't want to step on one and perhaps hurt them badly. 

However, when the shelter called me to foster my little girl, I couldn't resist. She had been having seizures and looked so tiny in that kennel. As with many of my foster dogs, she never went back to the shelter. I get so attached so quickly. 

My Sweet Pea is now very much a part of my doggie herd. She moves quickly and, to minimize the chance of stepping on her, I have perfected the Little Dog Shuffle--don't lift my feet and watch the floor carefully!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY

Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...


A message from the squirrels:

Because humans were given dominion over the Earth plane, the voices of other beings were muted. 
We can only access our power by transitioning or make our wishes known by accessing those humans who understand.



Can you understand what our furry friends are trying to say?



Sunday, April 5, 2015

WHAT IS LOVE?


WHAT IS LOVE?
A gentle hand
Acceptance
Listening
A hug to ease the pain
Being  someone’s cheerleader
Believing in someone’s dream
If you don’t agree on something, disagree respectfully
Taking joy in being together, even if you’re just sitting quietly
Understanding the tough decisions & mistakes

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY



Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...

One of my favorite "what ifs": If time, money and support/the help you desired were unlimited, what would you do?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY



Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...

Many flowers only bloom once a year, perhaps for a short time, then are silent. If you were given one week each year to really shine, what would you choose to do in that week?

Monday, March 23, 2015

TEACH CHILDREN TO RESPECT DOGS, NOT TO FEAR THEM


Oy! Read an article today titled, "Tip of the Day: Dogs Don't Like Hugs and Kisses (What?!)." While this article might have started out with the good intention to prevent children from being bitten by dogs, there are some flat out wrong statements. Here are three:

(1) "One of the most important things you can teach your children is that dogs don't like hugs and kisses." WRONG!

(2) "To a child, the family dog is just an animated stuffed animal." NO! I taught my children and grandchildren from the start that an animal is a very precious being--not a toy--and they know this.

(3) "There is no dog that loves hugs from kids anytime, anywhere, anyhow." AGAIN, JUST WRONG!

All my dogs have different personalities. However, they are very loving to family members. More importantly, my kids and grandkids have been taught from the time they were babies that our pets are very precious beings--not toys--and are to be treated with respect. Wait for the dog to make the first move, which is usually as soon as they hear a family member's car pull up. They are excited. They are kissing the family members. They are sitting on laps and demanding their share of attention. 

In return, my kids and grandkids know appropriate affection, with both dogs and people, such as it's not appropriate to put a choke-hold on anyone. They also know the warning signs when a dog has had enough. Like me, they also communicate with dogs. So we're not listening to "experts" or just watching canine body language, we are actually communicating with the dogs themselves and what they want. 

Please, please, please don't teach children to fear dogs. Instead, teach them to respect pets. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY



Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...

What if you understood the whispers of the trees? What stories would they tell of their centuries on Earth?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

GIANT DOG POO




He started out like any normal puppy. Soft and cuddly, with a black velvet muzzle and ears. The size of his feet promised a good sized dog, but we had no idea what that really meant.

He quickly learned to sit and usually took treats without demonstrating the sharpness of his puppy teeth against fingers. House training progressed nicely. He learned to go out in the backyard to do his bathroom business of "poo-ing" and "pee-ing." 

That's also where he encountered the Nosy Neighbor Who Hated Dogs. 

Little Poo didn't understand why this strange person was peering through a knothole while he did his business. After all, even dogs like a little privacy. Poo growled a warning and moved behind the shed to finish his business. 

By that time, I had chased off the Nosy Neighbor--again--and covered up the knothole. So Poo turned his attention to one of his other loves: harvesting vegetables. 

This little guy wiggled his way into our backyard garden to nibble on beans and tomatoes and cucumbers. But his favorite was eggplant. The ones in containers on the patio were especially easy for him to pick. After he made a selection, he retreated to a sunny spot on the patio to devour his prize. 

As Poo grew larger, so did his appetite for eggplant and his dislike for the Nosy Neighbor. He now patrolled the back fence, barking fiercely when the Nosy Neighbor stared through any crack he could find or create. When I chased off the offender, Poo retreated to the patio to eat his eggplant. 

One day, Poo didn't come in as normal when I called him for dinner, so I started searching. He lay in his usual sunny spot on the backyard patio, surrounded by the remains of several eggplants.

He groaned as I patted his bloated tummy, which was turning as purple as the eggplants he had eaten. Then he started growing. Bigger and bigger. The shock in his eyes mirrored mine as I urged him off the patio before his head bumped against the wooden lattice across the top that provided criss-crossed shade.

He continued to grow--bigger and bigger. Now as tall as the second story window of our house. I had no idea what to do.

Poo stood up on shaky legs; his back feet nudging the fence behind our house.

Then it happened. He crouched down and a fart ripped loose--loud as a sonic boom. 

The blast knocked down the wooden fence and the Nosy Neighbor who had once again been looking through a peak-hole. 

Then came the poo. Mushy and purple. A huge, stinky mountain that grew larger and larger. As the mountain of purple poo grew larger, our dog shrank and shrank until at last he was once again his normal size. 

With a deep sigh, Poo sank into the grass and laid his head on his paws. 

Muffled retching and sputtering emitted from the other side of the collapsed fence as the Nosy Neighbor struggled to free himself from the purple mountain of poo. I didn't even try to control my laughter. 

After the purple mountain was cleaned up and the fence replaced, I noticed two major changes: we had no more problems with the Nosy Neighbor, and our dog Poo didn't eat any more eggplant.

Once again, I learned there is something positive in every big, stinky situation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY


Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...

What if you understood what your dog (or cat or other pet) was trying to tell you? What would they say?


Thursday, March 5, 2015

THE MESSAGE IN THE CAKE


We celebrated my older son's birthday last night. He lives in another city and stopped to pick up a cake from a local store. Not just any cake. This store has the most delicious cakes I have ever tasted. That's saying something from a dessert-a-holic who was raised with from-scratch desserts and became the family's main baker in my early teens. 

After everyone had left my house, I wished I had kept an extra piece of that cake as I was wanting more of it. But my son had his own plans for the delicious dessert and had slipped the cake box into a bag to take home with him. 

Without the comfort of additional sugar, I was alone with my dogs and my thoughts once again. Thoughts about a really unpleasant experience with a neighbor earlier in the day. I had dealt with his harassment off and on for many years, but this time he had taunted my dogs to the point one of them tore up part of my fence to get to him. 

I spent hours and hours in conversation with my spirit guides of how to deal with this situation. They were not buying into any of my human solutions to turn the tables on this individual, and I didn't want to listen to their take-the-higher-road advice. 

Shortly after 4:00 a.m., I finally surrendered this situation to the Universe and went to bed. My beautiful doggies are very tolerant of allowing me to sleep in. I finally surfaced about noon when their quiet fussing and nose nudges pulled me fully awake. 

I dressed and took my doggies outside, patched up the fence and came back inside to start breakfast. Then my son called. "Mom, is the cake at your house?"

I thought it an odd question as I had seen him put it in a bag to take with him the night before. That's what I told him, but automatically took a glance around the dining room to be sure. 

"In the brown bag," he added. 

Well, I didn't see the brown bag either--until I took a better look. Not where I had seen the bag when he first put the cake box into it, but on top of one of my cabinets. 

The message from the Universe hit me like a 4x4 and I started laughing. "What you want is right in front of you but you're not seeing it."

Of course I had to explain the message and laughter to my son, as well as to assure him the cake might be missing another piece or two when he returned for a visit next week. 

And I am looking at my surroundings and inside myself more closely. Comparing what I want with what is already in my life. I have a new tool help me gauge if I'm on track with what I want to do in this life. The simple question, "What do I want that is right in front of me but I'm not seeing?"

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WHAT IF WEDNESDAY


Quotes, thoughts and miscellany to make you think and imagine...

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~ Steve Jobs

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

COOL VIDEO CALLED ENERGY HEALING 101


I watched a lovely half hour video this afternoon called Energy Healing 101 featuring a young woman named Teal Swan. She offered a really good explanation of how energy works to help the body heal, as well as gives a demonstration. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsudVU9zeKw>

All I would add is to correct her comment it's harder to help specific ailments on dogs because you can't have a dialogue with them. This isn't true if you're an animal communicator. In fact, I've found animals more open to this healing than most humans. :)

Energy healing is very powerful on its own and also complements other treatments for pain or disease. CAUTION: Side effects can include feeling better than ever!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

MORE THAN A DOG


What if your pet was more than a dog? 

What if this furry companion was an angel? A savior? A spark of the very Source of life itself?

Would you yell at this being? Would you kick at them when you were angry or yank their leash impatiently when they stopped to smell at a bush?

Would you dump them at the shelter when they grew old? Or you thought you couldn't afford to feed them? Or when you were tired of muddy pawprints or hair on the furniture--where they weren't supposed to be anyway? 

Or would you treat them with utmost respect and love? Provide nourishing food. Groom them with love. Snuggle them next to you on your pillow at night where they could stretch out on your softest blanket.

Would you care for them gently when they were sick, and play with them when they nudged your arm? 

Would you take joy in every moment you shared, treasuring it because you knew dogs didn't stay on this Earth as long as humans, and too soon you would mourn when they crossed the Rainbow Bridge?

Because your pet is more than a dog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

PRODUCTIVELY RETIRED


Why would a "retired" person need to be productive? Well, like most of the people I know who have retired, I'm busier than ever--doing things I love!

However, I'm still carrying some of the habits from working for someone else 40+ hours a week in an office. Overcommitted and running on empty, I am determined to slow down, take more time for me, and still do all the things I love. This is going to be even more important when my doggies and me are moved to some acreage and becoming as self-sufficient as possible.

I'M LEARNING FROM WEBINARS
Interestingly, I found some great suggestions for doing this in a series of three webinars on productivity. 

On a side note, I am hovering on the edge of addiction when it comes to webinars. I love learning new things, especially natural, alternative ways to have a happier and healthier life. Most of these webinars are selling something. However, I've been a do-it-yourselfer and bargain hunter most of my life, so I usually watch the free webinar stuff, jot down the nuggets of wisdom, incorporate those into my life and routine, and go on to the next free info. 

MORE RELAXATION BUT MORE PRODUCTIVE
I've learned amazing things, and Eben Pagan's webinars on productivity provided some great information relevant to my desire to be productive AND have more time for me and my doggies. 

Here's what he suggests:

There are two things you can do to increase
your productivity, starting immediately:

1) Instead of checking your messages and
email early in the day, take the first 60-90
minutes and create a routine or ritual to
make yourself strong and healthy.

2) When you start your work day, invest
at least the first couple of hours working on
ONLY those things that are the “high value”
activities… those things that pay you back
big returns now and in the future.

He goes into more detail in the videos, and I'm passing on those links here. Not sure how long these links will work. (Nope, not a pressure sales gimmick. I'm not an affiliate and don't receive anything for passing these along. The webinars are to promote his class that starts next week.) I don't plan to attend his 90-day program, but found the information in the webinars useful. 

Here is the link to the three videos: <http://getaltitude.com/wup-video3>.

This link summarizes the information and gives the big push to buy his program: <https://wakeup.getaltitude.com/introducing-wakeup-productive/>

GOING IT ON MY OWN
Most difficult for me is taking those 30 minute breaks to completely change gears and do something that will benefit only me. Yep, changing decades of workaholic behavior may take some time. It will be interesting to see how I do with developing these new habits on my own!