Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year....2014!

I had forgotten just how much I LOVE to blog! No really....I had! Life has been in fast and furious mode since before Thanksgiving. So much so that I haven't had time to blog or even think about blogging. However....the minute life slowed down and I actually had a moment to contemplate life....the thoughts began to flow and my need to express those thoughts became quite strong.

As anyone who knows me personally or through facebook knows....my youngest son is having surgery again. In fact, today was the day. We hope and pray that today's surgery is the catalyst to get him moving towards the ultimate goal of independence. You can read my updates here as we get him through surgery, home and then onto a full recovery. By the way....all good thoughts and prayers are welcome. But I digress...... Something else special about this day is that it is the final day of 2013! Usually by the last day of the year, I have had more than enough time to contemplate the old year as well as what is to come in the new one. This year that has not been the case though.....until today.

Without a maudlin, tear filled journey down memory lane....I can honestly say that 2013 hasn't been all that bad. There have been peaks and valleys as in any year but I found some happiness this year that I didn't know was still in me. I of course had a bit of a health scare and I have also dealt with some rather difficult financial times....but the good, the happy and the content seem to have outweighed the sad, scary and difficult. The rougher times also seemed to help me come to terms with a lot of things I don't like to think about....and made me realize just what was mine to own, what belonged to others and what I simply needed to hand over to God and give the control to Him. So I guess all in all....2013 hasn't really sucked!

On that note....looking towards tomorrow and the 364 days that will follow....I can't say that I have any real goals or plans like in years past. Instead I think I am going to simply take each day as it comes with hope but no expectations. I know that doing this, some days will breeze by with welcome ease and others will be an uphill battle from the moment my feet hit the ground but either way....I am relinquishing control of things I have no control over and giving myself a pass to be human...something only a control freak like myself understands!

Tonight while some welcome the new year in with parties, toasts and fireworks....I will welcome it in...in a hospital room in St. Louis. If I manage to be awake I will take the opportunity to take in the beautiful view from Davids hospital room (really it is quite beautiful) and thank God for all the lessons 2013 has taught me, all the gifts it has given me and with an open heart and mind...I will look towards 2014 and all the amazing things this new year might possibly hold.

So to my family, friends and all who read my blog.....may I join you in sending 2013 out with a fond farewell and bringing in 2014 with a glorious bang!

Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Grateful, Thankful and Blessed

It is amazing what a little good news can do for a person both physically and mentally. Yes...I had my three month CT and the news was good. My lung spots have done nothing so they are stable and they will follow up with another CT in 6 months just to make sure they stay that way. In other words....these spots could be a lot of different things but not likely cancer. The relief I felt on hearing those words was almost immeasurable.The gratefulness for my health was completely off the charts. No amount of money could have given me what that simple CT report did!

Being grateful and knowing that you are blessed in what you have no matter how much or how little that maybe is something very special....especially in the world we live in today. I have come to learn that it is all about perspective. So many people have more than I do and at times it is nice to dream and imagine what life would be like with certain things, but I am not resentful or angry that others have those things and I don't. On the other hand...I have so much more than many do. There are those out there who would be so grateful just to have the basics such as heat in the winter and air in the summer, a comfortable bed, food and very simply.....a place to call home. I have all those things and I know that I am blessed.

I am learning that being satisfied in the here and now and feeling grateful for what you have is an amazing blessings in a persons life. It is emotionally exhausting to constantly want more, desire more and to be jealous of and over things. There is nothing wrong with working hard and working towards goals even if some of those goals are better things.....but in the big scheme of life, there are times when you have to stop wanting and just be grateful for what you have.

Part of the problem with the world today is the fact that many never stop wanting and feel that somehow they deserve anything they want whether they work for it or not. I think many reality tv shows perpetuate this type of thinking especially where our kids are concerned. And quite frankly....the government doesn't help with its giveaways, freebies and handouts to those who could work but don't. But I digress as this is not a political rant.....today anyway!

There are many who have true needs and there are many whose needs are met, but then their wants mentally become needs and then......both entitlement and anger take over causing them to be dissatisfied with everything. Ironically....it is usually those with the least, with the greatest real needs who are satisfied and grateful for what they have. Funny how that works. Again....perspective.

Today and everyday I am grateful. I am grateful for the basics.......and the extra's from time to time. Most of all though, I am grateful for the things that no amount of money can buy: family, friends, health, peace and those of you who follow along and read my blogs. I guess you can say that I am grateful, thankful and very blessed!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Day the World Stood Still

I was barely one, when President John F. Kennedy was shot. He was my first president and he was gone before I knew him.

Mom said the moment the shooting was on the news....the world stood still. Not just for her but literally for the world. Work stopped, school stopped and people were glued to their tv's and radios waiting and listening. Catholics around the world hit their knees as this was their president. The first of his kind and although his presidency was still in its infancy and he had already been pushed.....there were great hopes that he was the president that they needed to guide them through the 1960's. No one could believe that in just a few short seconds.....Camelot might have crumbled right before everyones eyes.

As Mom awaited the news of whether this young president, the one that she had jumped parties to vote for would be alright, she paced the floor saying one rosary after another. She looked at me through tear filled eyes and wondered who could do such a thing as to shoot a president? And if there was someone out there that could do this.....what did this mean for her country? What did this mean for my future?

When the announcement was finally made that President John F. Kennedy had in fact died from his wounds....Mom grabbed me and held me with all her might as she shed the tears of the brokenhearted. She was not alone. School children wept and teachers wept. People in offices, factories and even cars all along the highway had all frozen in time waiting to hear the news and when they did, they all cried at the passing of this man. On this day, as on other days in our history.....it didn't matter whether you were Republican or Democrat.....all that mattered was that you were an American and as Americans everyone was suffering from the terrible blow that had been dealt. The president had been assassinated and Camelot was gone. 

I heard this story over and over growing up. It was a dark moment in Moms life and the lives of all Americans in 1963. It was a reminder then as now.....all these 50 years later.......that even the greatest nation in the world through evil men.......can be brought to its knees in seconds.

John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am a Weather Whiner

Today I heard.....that our fall which had turned to Indian Summer or at least Indian Spring was about to fizzle away and by weeks end we could be ankle deep in the white stuff! To that I say: "Noooooooooooooooooooo!"

I am what you might call a weather whiner! Seldom am I happy with weather conditions unless it is early fall or mid spring....minus the wind. This happens to be a real problem since I live in Kansas and in Kansas we get just about every kind of weather there is....... except for hurricanes and most of it is accompanied by gale force winds. Sometimes we can even get snow and tornadoes in the same week! Lucky us.

One year we were blessed enough to be in Florida at the first of December. It was beautiful with daytime highs in the 70's and 80's and at night it got down into the 50's. I knew then and there I lived in the wrong state. Moderate temps pretty much year round....whats not to love? Yeah I know....they have their own weather issues but they seldom get snow (if ever) and they don't have a lot of cold weather. Now THATS what I'm talking about!

Snow. I really hate snow! It's only redeeming quality is the fact that "snow days" usually accompany it around here. Other than that.....it just makes me crazy. People seem to become total lunatics when we get snow. First they hear the word snow and everyone rushes to the grocery store. They stock up on water, canned goods and toilet paper as if they were preparing for the Apocalypse. Seldom have we had a snow that debilitating.....but they clean the stores out anyway. Then everyone in the state seems to forget how to drive. The first flake hits the ground and people slow down to 20. Then....when the roads are good and slick....they decide to speed up and slide through stop signs, intersections and into other people. I find it much safer to stay at home and avoid the roads which have become nothing but one big demolition derby. Then because there are so many accidents that the police are overwhelmed they implement the Accident Reporting crap, where if you have an accident you exchange insurance information and then report it later. You think that hasn't caused a few fights? It is sheer madness!

So yes, they claim the white stuff is on its way along with an arctic blasts that will keep temps in the 30's and 40's during the day and drop us into the teens and 20's at night. Sounds like a hoot! Yes, I know that winter was bound to happen, I was just hoping that it would wait until February and be over by March. You can't blame a girl for wishing!

Truth be told, I do actually enjoy the first snow of the winter....especially if it is one of those with the big huge soft flakes that gently fall and cover the ground in white. But then,  I am done...finished and over it! I hate the high winds, the sub arctic temps and the solid sheets of ice caused by sleet that regularly come with our snow.

In a perfect world such as Lisaland.....it would stay in the 60's and 70's until about the week before Christmas, snow Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and jump right into spring for New Years. But alas....not all worlds are as perfect as Lisaland....and apparently we will be seeing snow by weeks end. Bah Humbug!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

AARP, Cher and 50 is the New 30

Today I heard.....that by some standards, I am considered a senior citizen. Dang that was hard to type and even harder to get my mind around! I really don't know why this surprises me as AARP has been courting me since I was 49. Still though....to me it was a WOW moment to realize that once I hit the 50 (and this year it was 50+1) mark, that suddenly I was ushered into a new world of senior discounts and retirement preparation. The media keeps telling us that 40 is the new 30, but who knew that 50 was the new 70?

I am fully aware that age is mostly in your head and that with a good plastic surgeon and a personal trainer, one might be in their 70's and still look like they are in their 30's or 40's. Case in point....Cher! Granted she is only 67 but darned if she isn't a well preserved 67! I watched her on Dancing with the Stars recently and was literally amazed. Now I am sure the woman probably has no original parts left but she still moves like a woman decades younger.....and in heels mind you......and her voice is still just as amazing as ever. I was in awe and jealous, both at the same time. Heck I look closer to 67 than she does! That's just not right!

So what do you do when you seem to be hanging somewhere between adult and senior citizen? At one store I am still viewed as a vital youngish woman.....therefore I pay full price. Thank you for the compliment.....I think! However.....I can go to certain restaurants at 4 p.m. and get a senior discount for my early bird dinner and possibly an escort to my table so I don't fall and break a hip on the way. Did I mention that this is just not right?

Admittedly there are days when both my mind and my body feel as if I should be sitting in a rocker with my trusty cane next to me. However, most days I still feel about 30ish and on a good day.....I might even dip down into my 20's. It is only when I look closely in the mirror and see those fine lines around my eyes and the random gray hairs that have started to come in not in strands but in clumps that I realize that time moves on and is taking my youth with it. Crap!

I guess the key to this new newfangled aging process is to rock how I feel and not worry about what the calendar, the media or AARP try to tell me. It's my life, my rules and I say.... 50 is the new 30 and you just stick around and watch me prove it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You

Today is the day that we honor those who have served and fought for this country since it began. I find it sad that only one day a year is put aside to honor these brave men and women, because of all jobs that one can have in this country....this is the most important. In my opinion serving in the military trumps all other careers including actors (thank you very much Mr. Cruise) and even the presidency. In fact I will even go out on a limb and say that serving ones country is what has definitely made some presidents......greater than others.

To serve your country you  must be willing to say good-bye to all those you love and care about...not knowing if this will truly be your last good-bye. You must be willing to be brought down and trounced on both physically and emotionally so that you can be built up to be soldier strong. You must be prepared to: sleep on a cot, a mat or in the dirt and mud; to eat rations, bugs and sometimes nothing; to be so hot that it feels as if your skin is melting off and so cold that you are verging on frost bite. You have to be willing to be tired, hungry and dirty and still be be alert enough to do your job....and that job can mean the difference between life and death for you and others.  You have to be willing to save your fellow soldier and put your life on the line at a moments notice knowing that you are doing it not just for yourself, your family and your friends......but for complete strangers so that they may continue to live in the land of the free. Oh and did I mention that they must be willing to do all of this on a service man's pay (which looks nothing like an actors or a presidents)?

Our veterans have done this and more and not always come home to a hero's welcome. Often they have been viewed as second class citizens and at times even had their healthcare and benefits threatened by the very government they put their lives on the line for. To be a soldier and fight for this country requires a special kind of person who loves this country and what it stands for and who is willing to stand up not only to defend their rights but the rights of all Americans. So why do we only honor them one day a year? Without them.....we would have nothing!

So today and every day this year I give anyone who reads this a challenge. When you are in the presence of a veteran......shake their hand, look them in the eye and thank them. Visit a military cemetery and remember that each stone marks the grave of a man or woman who willingly gave their life so that you could live yours in freedom. Teach your kids to both honor and respect these individuals and never let them forget that freedom is not free and without the bravery of these soldiers our country would be a very different place.

To my husband, mother, father, aunts, uncles, nephew, cousins and many friends who have served their country, bled for their country and even died for their country......I say thank you from the bottom of my heart......and that doesn't even begin to cover just how grateful I am.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let's Just Use Amazing and Call it Good!

I am an angry American which is causing me to be an angry human being or maybe vice versa. At least this is what I have been told by several people of late. Yes, there are days when I feel as if my joy has been sucked away by things I cannot control and I am fighting very hard to control what is left. Trust me....trying to control all in your hemisphere does not make you happy. It is exhausting! So I decided to take an inventory of my anger issues and lucky you.....you get to go along for the ride! So lets start at the top!

I am very angry about what is going on in our country today. I am angry that we have a president who tells bold face lies and who is taking us swiftly down a path to a country that our forefathers fought to keep us free from. (You had to know that would be in there somewhere!) I am angry that we have  congressman and senators who couldn't or wouldn't agree that it was raining even if they were standing in it, getting wet! I am angry that many of my fellow Americans are okay with all of this and still support our leader of lies and I am even more angry at those who either don't listen to or don't care what is going on in this country. Their lack of regard will have a resounding affect on this country for generations to come.

In all fairness though.....the state of our country is not the extent of my anger issues. I am angry that prices are rising and my income isn't. I am angry that bullying still goes on in schools while teachers and staff look away either too afraid themselves or too disassociated to do anything. I am angry that people twist and manipulate God's words to justify their own agenda. I am angry that sometimes family members are the ones that wield the biggest knives when stabbing you in the back, and I am angry that people choose to rewrite history making themselves blameless of any wrong doing and the victim as well. You can imagine how well I come out looking in these history revisions!

I am angry that cancer has not been eradicated and that children are a target of this disease. I am angry that street drugs are cheaper and easier to obtain than an Rx for heart medication and I am angry that we are told to medicate our emotions rather than to feel them. Perhaps the method in that madness is to avoid having to read blogs like this where someone feels.....ALOT!

I am angry that life isn't always good, fair and easy. I am angry that money is tight and expenses grow. I am angry that my kid had to choose between a class ring and food on the table. I am angry that after one surgery my son has to have another and that he is still not walking. I am angry that I am alone. Most of all though....I am angry at ME! I am angry that I allowed myself to fall prey to the joy snatchers of the world and that I allowed myself to become so angry. 

The truth is....we all have a little a lot of anger inside us. Most of us hide it pretty well and often what we are angry about one minute doesn't necessarily mean we will still be angry about it in an hour. Our anger changes with our life condition and our environment. Negative people can bring out our inner anger just as happy people can bring out our inner joy. We choose our anger battles because if we didn't.....we would explode. Sometimes we do anyway if we shove our feelings down too far with the expectation that they will stay down. Eventually they will be triggered and when they are, look out! That is never a pretty explosion. Sometimes though, a good inventory of what makes us angry and why..... is necessary to get perspective on our anger issues. Honestly, some things we simply can't change and if that is the case then we have the choice to remain angry indefinitely or change how we deal with it. Our government makes me angry. I can't change them but I can give myself a time-out away from news and even fb from time to time. Also....in inventory....sometimes when we see our anger issues in black and white, we find that in reality the issue is not nearly as great as we originally perceived it be.

Anger doesn't rule me. I don't have time for it to and all those things I inventoried....they vary. However, I like many do use fb to spout off and I am sure that I do sound like a raging angry woman a lot of times. The fact is that most of my friends on fb know me and know that I am just spouting off (most of the time anyway), but those friends who know me only through fb may be getting a whole different perception of who I am.

The origins of this blog today came from a post I saw on fb yesterday. It was a condescending (in my opinion) little meme about people who complain and are angry all year around and yet the 1st of November they start being grateful daily on fb. In my hodge podge of a brain it got me to thinking that daily life year round can be messy, painful and difficult to get through. Each of us holds anger, negativity and pain inside us and you give us a public forum and yes.....we will spew at times. However those emotions are not just who we are. They are not just who I am. Therefore I ask, why bash those of us who do take these days in November to stop and think that mixed in with the messiness, we have some amazing people, places and things to be grateful for. For some....this month of gratefulness kind of balances the scale with the anger for the other 11 months....and that is a good thing....right?

Anger....it is part of our human make up. Some handle it better than others and some refuse to acknowledge or handle it until it explodes. It only defines us if we allow it to and when we take inventory of it and then add in the good, the wonderful and the amazing....for the most part it all evens out. Yes, I can be angry...but I can also be happy, funny, on occasions smart, ditzy, crazy and your worst nightmare if you mess with my kids. So to those who called me angry.....if you are looking for a word to define me, lets just use amazing and call it good!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Pass Along

Today I heard....that another child and her family became a part of the Frequent Hospital Flyer group. It made me realize that new parents to this life might be interested in a little info. That is why today I am asking my readers to head over to my blog Life With the Incredible Mr. David and read Frequent Hospital Flyers! Please pass it along if you know some Frequent Hospital Flyers!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I am Ambivalent!

Well today I am sort of caught in the middle. This is a love/hate topic for me. Daylight Savings Time! There is both good and bad in my mind about the whole thing. The truth is though....it is just a government mandated ploy to make us feel that for at least 6 months of the year we are somehow getting more out of  24 hours than we are the rest of the year. It is a  head game and nothing more. That being said.....I do sort of like the idea that in the fall I am getting an extra hour to sleep. I am really not, but I am good with the mental perception that I am. Of course this only lasts about a week into the time change and then once my body has adjusted, I am back to feeling somehow cheated of sleep when my alarm goes off. So there you have it....that is what I like about the fall time change.

What I hate about the fall time change is the way we are plunged into darkness at 5 p.m. for the next 5-6 months. It is already getting cold and dreary, must we have extra hours of darkness too? It feels as if our days are cut short and for those who have extra long work hours, they often find themselves both coming and going in darkness. It sucks.

In the spring somehow the time change is a bit more palatable. Yes we are mentally tortured into believing that we are losing a precious hour of sleep, but again, like in the fall....after our bodies adjust it is hardly any different than our usual lack of sleep. The hour loss of sleep though is evened out with daylight until almost 10 p.m. and there is warmth and sunshine included. The trade is usually met with a better response because the trade off of less sleep for more daylight is welcomed.

Okay....I do love fall.....to a point. I love having to pull on the light jacket or sweater, the turning leaves, the rainy days and that one week of perceived extra sleep. However, once the wind starts howling from the north, the trees are bare and we are plunged into darkness for at least 12 hours a day.....I am no longer a fan. So there you have it folks. As far as Daylight Savings Time goes......I am ambivalent!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Rainy Fall Day

Today I heard....a light soft rain falling against my window. It is not particularly cold for being the end of October, but the leaves are changing and when the sky is clear, it is the amazing blue that tells me that summer is gone and the world is changing from green to the many colors of fall.

Yes I am aware that I write about fall several times a year. It is because the beauty and the feel of the season are hard to compete with. Just about anywhere you travel this time of year, you will see fall putting on one heck of a fashion show. All that was green and lush starts changing with the cooling of the temperature. We see the vibrant greens transform into gorgeous reds, yellows and oranges for the last hurrah of the season.

As I listen to the rain it takes me back to being a little girl and loving days like this with my whole heart. I couldn't wait to have to put on rain boots (which I actually hated because they were a pain to put on and off) and open my umbrella in order to walk the half mile to school. Mornings like this I was invariably late because I would find myself even back then, lost in the headiness of fall. I could smell the fireplaces burning and hear the rain pattering against the umbrella. If there was a puddle along the way....then of course I just had to jump in it. The days were cool enough to need a jacket but not yet cold enough to require any speed in getting to my destination.  It is one of the perfect moments in my childhood and on days like this, I appreciate those moments more now then I likely even did back then.

As an adult, I am almost as bad about fall as I was as a child. I do confess that rainy fall days don't give me much in the way of ambition. They make me want to curl up in my chair and write all day or read all day.....but definitely not work all day. Unfortunately I hear my laundry, the dishes and various other domestic chores calling my name. LOUDLY! So I compromise. A few more minutes cuddled in my chair enjoying this fall morning........and then I work!

Happy Fall!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Blogs

No...I didn't fall off the face of the earth. Just been dealing with life's little speed bumps. All is well now and onward we go.

So I choose to like today. I am moving in some new yet old directions with my life and over the last week I have had a lot of time to mull some things over. One thing I am devoting myself more to is my blogS! Yes, that is blog with a Capital S on the end meaning more than one blog. I know that I have mentioned before that I have more than one but I have few that follow all three. So today I like all three of my blogs and am going to give you a synopsis and a link to the other two.

My blog From Beginning to End and Back Again....is very much about my writing and also about my kids, family, friends, politics and pretty much whatever pops into my head. It is a little about everything. It was my first blog and for me will always be close to my heart. I thank all my readers who have followed along all this time and for all of you who comment, critique and even criticize at times what I have to say. Thanks to all of you....I have grown as both a person and a writer and as my readers you mean the world to me.

My second blog is Life With the Incredible Mr. David. This blog is all about my son David who was born with cerebral palsy. It is his journey from seizures to surgeries. When David has one of his speed bumps...both family and friends look to this blog to keep them up to date and informed on his health. When out of speed bump mode, this blog is about life with a special needs child both the joys and the frustrations and my current struggle as insurance is beginning to change with Obamacare. I try to be both educational and informative with a few smiles thrown in here and there for good measure.

Finally I have my blog Do I Look Like a Celery Kind of Girl? This blog was started shortly after the David blog and this blog is ALL about me. Well sort of. It is about the wagon I have jumped on and fallen off and jumped back on again and again over health, weight loss and exercise. It is about a middle aged woman looking to find herself, her body and her health in the uphill struggle of life. I have started a 365 day journal that will encompass the ups and downs of this journey. Hopefully there will be some humor thrown in with the cold hard facts of complete change....and in the end.....a butterfly will emerge from what is currently this pudgy cocoon. At the very least....it should be an interesting ride!

So there you have it. These blogs are my likes for this week. Actually, they are my loves. They hold my heart, my soul and most days....the best of who I am. I invite you all to follow me on my blogs if you don't already and if you are on facebook, I invite you to "like" my blogs facebook page The Lisa Blogs. Here you can follow new blog postings and keep up with what is going on in Lisaland via my blogs.

And as always.......thank you for reading, following and commenting!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Come Follow Us

Not everyone is familiar with my other blogs, but today I blogged at the Life With the Incredible Mr. David blog. It is dedicated to my journey with my son David who was born with cerebral palsy. I invite you to read today's blog The Next Leg of the Journey..... and to also follow Davids adventures.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

They Say its Your Birthday.....

Today I heard......someone was turning another year older! In my head as I opened my eyes this morning I could almost hear the Beatles singing...."They say its your birthday....." Tis true. It is. I am another year older and hopefully a little wiser.

This year I really gave little thought to my birthaversery. While last year I dreaded it for nearly a year prior, this year too much else was going on to really give it much attention. This year too, I am just grateful to achieve another birthday. Funny how much life can change in a year.

Am I really wiser this year? Possibly in some ways but in others I am probably still just as naive as ever. I do think some of my priorities have changed a bit and aspects of both my home and my life have been blown up, torn apart and now the pieces are falling back into place.

After reading the obituary of my late uncle yesterday, I realized that I have a great deal to put in the next 50 years to even come close to living up to family legacy. Yes I said the next 50 years because any less and it just ain't gonna happen!

I still struggle with being comfortable in my own skin from time to time....but with only a small twerk here and there (no.....not the Miley kind) I am good with who I am. I also still occasionally wonder What I am going to be when I grow up, which I am afraid speaks volumes about both my maturity and my lack of self placement in this world. However, being a mom has been an amazing albeit poorly paying with no retirement career for many years....still the benefits have far exceeded the income flaws. I have had time with my kids watching them grow and that has been more fulfilling than any six figure income could have ever been.

So as I sit here on this cool fall morning contemplating, my day, my week and my life.....I am pretty okay. Grateful in fact....to be a mom, to be here and to be blogging about the fact that I am a mom, here and blogging. Yes folks.....today is my birthday. Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's Here!!!!

It's finally here and I couldn't be happier. Yes folks.....it is fall! This morning I woke up to cool temps and a gloriously cloudy, drizzly day. While I try to find something I like about every season with winter being my least favorite and the hardest to find anything good about.....fall is by far my favorite with spring being second in line.

Today smells like fireplace smoke coming out of chimneys, rain and the mustiness of leaves as they crunch under foot in a final concerto of the season. It feels like jackets, brisk air and a pot of chili simmering on the stove.

It is the winding down of the year which will soon turn into a mad dash towards the holidays. Now though, there is the excitement and expectation of Halloween complete with pumpkin patches, hay rides and haunted houses. All which the stores have been pushing since the 4th of July. 

In essence.....fall is the last hurrah for a year. If the year was good then it is a bittersweet goodbye and if the year was less than stellar.....then it is a good riddance of out with the bad and onto the good.

So I am saying good bye to shorts, flip flops and lawn mowers and welcoming jeans, boots and my leaf rake. I am saying good bye to back yard bbq's, swimming and 105 degree days and saying hello to crock pots full of soups and stews, long walks under a perfect autumn sky and open windows during the day and snugly blankets at night.

Truly there is no more perfect time of year in my book and I guess I have to say that as seasons go.....I love fall!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dr. Ray

When I was growing up my aunts and uncles on my mothers side were very special to me. The funny thing was that with the exception of one aunt, I barely knew them. They were special to me because they were larger than life characters that I grew up hearing my mother tell amazing stories about. Mom was the youngest of 11 kids and there was 20 years difference between her and her oldest sibling. There was literally a generational difference there and due to this, Mom really wasn't that close to nor did she know well the older kids, as they were all leaving home or had left by the time she was born. Still she was obviously enamored with her older siblings and the memories that she did have of them growing up.....because my brother and I heard stories about them over and over again.

The Dougherty kids stories, were each amazing in their own right as they came from poor farmers growing up during the Depression, two world wars and the Dust Bowl days of Oklahoma. Each of the 11 kids went on to become educated and prominent in their respective paths in life. Quite a feat coming from such humble beginnings. Perhaps this is part of what captured me and held me in awe each time Mom told and retold her stories of the past.

As I grew up.....Hinton, OK and the family farm was the place where we all called home whether we grew up there or not..... and this was the place that once or twice a year I got to be in the midst of these aunts and uncles who the rest of the year only lived in my imagination.  Each of my mom's siblings obviously knew who I was and would always greet me with a hug and kiss but each also had their own broods to contend with and it was expected that the kids would play outside while the adults visited. These visits were not about us kids, but about them and their time with each other. Us kids just reaped the benefits as those of us from towns and cities got to experience farm life with some of our more farm savvy cousins while our parents attention was otherwise occupied.

One of my mom's siblings was my Uncle Ray. He was the oldest of the Dougherty boys....being about 16 years older than my mother and the one my mother and all rest seemed to hold in the highest regard. Uncle Ray was named after my grandfather and after graduating from Hinton High School he went on to serve in the military and then go to medical school. Somewhere along the line he met a beauty named Eileen and the two married and began raising a family. After spending some years living in North Carolina, eventually they moved back to Oklahoma and resided in the city. Uncle Ray was one of the top Pulmonoligists in the country. While us kids called him Uncle Ray....his siblings always referred to him as Dr. Ray.

Growing up, his MD didn't really carry a lot of weight with us kids. To us he was just one of 10 other Doughterys who we called aunt or uncle. However Uncle Rays family held some special mental ties for me. For one thing....growing up I was always told I looked nothing like my family. It gave me sort of a complex as I could see resemblances to family in all my cousins but not in my self. It was not until I met two of Uncle Rays kids...Margaret and Michael that I finally felt a part of things. If I was told once that first reunion that we were all together, I was told a hundred times that I could easily pass for their little sister I looked so much like them. Happy sigh.....I finally looked like someone in my family. 

My next real memory of  Uncle Ray was when my grandfather was ill and staying at St. Anthony's Hospital in OKC. It was pretty touch and go at the time and Mom dropped everything, pulled us out of school and we went and stayed in the city so that Mom could go to the hospital everyday.  It was at this time that I got to visit Uncle Ray and Aunt Eileen at their home and found out what an amazing artist Aunt Eileen was. I was mesmerized by her in-home art studio and all the pieces of art she was working on. This was also the first time that I saw how much Ray loved Eileen. Even as a kid I could see it in his eyes every time they were in the same room together. Although I might not have known what I was seeing then.....I did know I was seeing something very special. I was also privileged  to see this love between them later in life at a much more poignant time. I will never forget that love! It was this time in the city that I got better acquainted with my Oklahoma aunts and uncles and that they ceased being just family acquaintances and started being real family members to me. I was starting to see the real strength of the sibling bond that was there for my mom and all of them. It was a defining moment in my life learning about these people I called family.

As time went on and I grew up.....I developed adult relationships with some of my aunts and uncles but some still stayed elusive to me (time and distance will do that to you). Also....some of moms siblings were beginning to leave this earth. Funny that out of eleven kids.....five died way too young....all in their 60's I believe, but the others lived well into their 80's and beyond. Four are still alive today. It was at this point in my life (my adult years) that I began to learn more about my Uncle Ray.

As I said earlier, his siblings always called him Dr. Ray and as they grew older and would be faced with health issues, there were times they would call him to get his opinion on whatever was plaguing them. During the time he had his own practice he would always say to them, "That is a question you might ask your own doctor." It was not that he was putting anyone off or that he didn't want to help them, it was simply that he was not their doctor and he was not treating them and therefore he didn't want them going to their own doctor saying "Well my brother the doctor said....." He felt interjecting his opinion might ultimately affect their care. Instead he would encourage them to see their doctor if the issue was severe or if they didn't have a doctor or specialist.....he would encourage them to get one. I always thought this was such a classy way to handle what you know must have been very hard for him. Especially when he had to watch five of his brothers and sisters die before him.

It was this classiness that started to give me an adult perspective of this man. Both my perspective and respect grew as he took care of his beloved wife Eileen until the very end of her life, while still running his medical practice. After Eileens death.....Uncle Ray eventually retired and after a time moved back to NC where some of his kids were. I am told he loved both his new home and his retirement and with his new found free time he began to write. It was at this time I truly was given a chance to know this revered uncle as the man he was.

Uncle Rays stories were always amazing. He was a phenomenal writer who told stories of growing up in a devout Catholic family with hardworking parents, lean times and a houseful of brothers and sisters. His stories were his own as they showed the world his point of view as the eldest boy of the Doughtery clan. He also wrote of his great love for Eileen and his fear of her almost dying in childbirth and his gratefulness to God when she survived. Every word of these stories stripped back this man and his life of accomplishments and laid bare a heart that still after all these years beat only for his one true love....Eileen. It was these stories that showed me who this man really was and more than once left me in tears.

My Uncle Pat....the youngest of the Dougherty brothers was always the recipient of Uncle Ray's stories and he then would pass them along to the rest of the family. The stories were amazing and in fact I read one about the young boy Ray (not divulging the writer of course) to one of the creative writing classes I taught. The story.... one of both humor and sadness left the entire class in tears. Yes....he was just that good.

Yesterday I got the call that Uncle Ray had died. He was 90 years old and although he had been in relatively good health and had stayed very active all these years..... a bought of pneumonia (at least they think that is what it was) took him. There was no long drawn out dying, just a few days in the hospital.......and then he was gone. True to the man that he was.....when the doctors told him yesterday morning that they could do nothing else for him.....he thanked them and let them know he was ready to go. He was ready to meet up with his beloved Eileen. By early afternoon they were once again together.

Dr. Raymond Joseph Dougherty Jr. if you asked him of his life I am sure would not particularly call it remarkable, but for those who knew him and those of us who were lucky enough to be related to him.....he was amazing. He grew up a poor farm boy who became both the protagonist and the hero of many of his baby sisters stories. He served his country proudly and he went to medical school and became an outstanding lung specialist. Along the way though he willing served the poorest areas regardless of who they were, where they came from or if they could pay. He took both his Hippocratic Oath and his Catholic faith to heart. He loved a woman with a love that we all should be so lucky to have and he raised amazing kids....each wildly successful in their own right. He suffered great loss in his life and he found great peace at the end of his life with his writing. He was an amazing son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and yes.....uncle, so I think that it was only fitting that his death the final chapter of his life, was as poignant and beautiful as any story he ever wrote.

So Uncle Ray, please give Mom a kiss for me and hug Aunt Eileen. You like the rest, will be sorely missed.

Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord and may Your perpetual light shine upon him. 
RIP Uncle Ray.

Monday, October 7, 2013

From Ambiguously Shallow to Down This Road

Most writers will tell you that before they ever started writing, they read. I had a love of books from a very young age thanks to my mother and to this day.....reading is one of my favorite pass times. In my lifetime I have read literally thousands of books, from the classics to trashy romance novels. It is from these books that my love of writing came. Putting words into sentences so that I can transfer what is in my head into someone elses emotions is amazing. Anyone who says that words don't have power has obviously never read a book.

When I found blogs it was the best of both worlds for me. I could read other peoples thoughts, ideas, emotions and stories and also tell my own. Blogs connect you to people in so many ways and give you an audience far beyond what you could ever believe. In the blogosphere...there is absolutely every kind of blog out there from "how to" blogs on cooking, crafting, photography to blogs like mine where it just tells the story of "me." I love a variety of blogs but I have to admit that my favorites are reading about real peoples real lives.

In the beginning when I first started out on Blogger....there was only me in my blogger world. I didn't really know any other bloggers and so I was kind of at a loss on how to proceed. Then I found that there was a nifty little button that you could press that would take you randomly to other peoples blogs. I literally spent days reading blogs from all over the world and from every walk of life. It was almost blog overload. From that experience though I found a few favorites that I still read today. Since then....I also have some favorites of people that I know personally....who like me, found blogging and were hooked.

One blog that I found in my search several years ago was one called Ambiguously Shallow. The name got my attention immediately and at the time the blogger Kelli, had just moved into her dream home with her new husband. On the norm....you might think such a blog would be pretty boring stuff, but after jumping into the middle of her life and reading the first blog post that I happened on, I knew I had to read more. This girl was irreverent bordering on hysterical and her post was laced with well placed expletives which while not my usual reading taste, made me laugh until I had tears running down my face. Her blog has since become my go to on a bad day!

Kelli likes to come off as the shallow mean girl at times with an insatiable taste for fashion and shoes. She is often the butt of her own jokes and fully aware of both her shoe addiction and the mental Olympics she goes through to justify her spending habits. Under it all though you see the real Kelli who is thoughtful, generous, loves her husband, is maybe a little insecure....and who pulls it altogether with a tremendous dry wit that can literally leave her readers both laughing until it hurts and wanting more. It is this talent that she possess that bloggers like myself would kill for.

A while back (maybe a year or two ago), Kelli let her blog readers in on a little secret. She was writing a book. The minute I heard this I knew it would be amazing. It seems that others had read her blog and like me, saw what an amazing talent for the written word that she had. I was excited for her because I knew what a once in a lifetime chance she had been presented with and I also was excited for me getting to read more of someone who was fast becoming my favorite modern day writer.

The day that her book Down This Road came out I was so proud of her and I immediately downloaded it. Of course having the book and having time to read it were two different things. Then with all my doctors appointments of late and lots of waiting room time, I decided there was no better time to start reading it than the present. I was not disappointed.

I really had no idea what kind of book this would be. Would it be her humorous off the cuff style or something completely different? It was something completely different with hints of her humor tossed in here and there. Down This Road is both a coming of age story and a love story. Its characters (although not the story) are based on people in Kelli's real life and are very three dimensional and relatable. Much like her blog, her book caught my attention from the beginning and held it until the end. Her story covers three states, a variety of characters from different walks of life and a woman in search of both her own identity and love. In the hands of another writer this might have been overkill and a bit hard to follow, but Kelli made it all mesh seamlessly all the while telling a beautiful story. I was very impressed as Kelli did what all great writers do.....when I was done.....she left me wanting more. I am sure you can imagine my happiness when Kelli blogged that there are two more books in the works.

It has been a wonderful journey to see a young writer go from blogger to published author right before my very eyes. Watching the process has been amazing as I have seen her grow personally and professionally through her blog and I see a very bright and prolific future ahead for this young woman.

So today I like author Kelli Dawn and I encourage you to go to her blog Ambiguously Shallow and just start reading. You won't be disappointed and also if you are a reader like me, be sure and pick up Kelli's book Down This Road. You can purchase either the book or ebook on Amazon. I wish Kelli nothing but amazing success. Oh and.....Happy Reading everyone!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In Search of Roses

There is a lot going on in the world currently and for most of us, there is little that we can do about it. Some of us have to resort to turning off our tv's and putting our attention on the things we can control....and of course there is always the whole praying thing. That gives us a whole lot more control than we even know. However, if we all spent a little less time worrying about the big picture and a little more time paying attention to our own little piece of the world.....this might start a domino effect for the better.

Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Therese of Lisieux. In Catholic terms a feast day for a saint either honors the day of their death or it is the day of remembrance assigned to that particular saint by the church. The reason I bring her up is because a friend of mine shared a picture of her on facebook yesterday. He was comparing a picture of his late daughter (one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known) to St. Therese's picture. I had always thought the two looked very similar and the picture was proof.

St. Therese was known for her "little ways" as she found a way to honor our Lord in the smallest of acts. She felt a smile, a kind word or some small selfless act were all simple ways to serve God and make Him happy and she spent her life on earth loving God and living to bring others to Him. She promised on her death to continue doing good for others in heaven as she had done one earth (i.e. praying). An interesting side note is that St. Therese is often pictured with roses. The reason for this is that many miracles have been attributed to her intercession and often after someone has prayed for her intercession and their request has been answered......the smell of the most fragrant roses will fill the air or out of the blue they will receive roses or inexplicably come in contact with roses. There are hundreds of documented cases of this and both my mother and my aunt have been blessed with St. Therese's roses in their lifetime.

Thinking of St. Therese though and all the unsettling and for me....uncontrollable things going on in the world, I decided to try for the rest of this week to emulate the little saint. I will smile at all I come in contact with. Maybe just one of the smiles will be a needed smile and turn someones day around. I will do my best to only let kind words pass my lips and if my thoughts head down an unkind path.......I will send up a quick and silent prayer that my thoughts are as generous as I am trying to make my words. I will do my best to listen instead of talk and to give God more thank you's instead of requests. I am going to look for the beauty in my day and search through the thorns for......the roses. I will try to give without taking and go through my day without complaint and if I change one persons day, help one person out or offer just one act solely to God...then I have been responsible for a change that could possibly ripple through other lives for the better.

I may not have the power to change the world, but I do have the ability to change myself and how I view the world and my place in it. Perhaps if each of us took the time to do the little things, the small acts of kindness or even just smile more we might be well on our way to a very different world. So for the rest of the week....I am in search of roses!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Am Angry

Today I heard...... that the government was shutting down. I have to say that I am so sick of Obama, Reid, Boehner and all the rest that I could scream. This is all over Obamacare, plain and simple and all of you who voted for these idiots that voted for this bill PLEASE remember my words here.....Obamacare if fully implemented will break Americans and those it doesn't break....it will likely end up killing. It is going to also kill both small and big business in this country. The writing is on the wall and denial will not change the end result.

Now quite truthfully I am just as disgusted with those who call themselves Republicans as I am with those who are Democrats. I think both sides have hit an all time low in representing this country. I also think the American people have hit an all time low in who they voted for and how they voted. I am hearing so many people now admitting to the fact they didn't vote for Obama originally based on track record but instead the majority voted for him based on his "charisma" (which he lost long ago trying to take down the Constitution) and the number one reason that many Americans voted for Obama was the color of his skin! Now if you had voted against him based on skin color it would have been called racism but voting for him because of skin color is called.....stupid! I don't care what color your skin is or your ethnicity....if you are to be president of the United States I think you need to have a little more going for you than the color of your skin and a little charm.

So what happens when you vote for someone based on their skin color instead of their credentials? You get the highest degree of racism this country has seen since the 1960's because if you speak ill of the president....you are deemed racist. You get a divided congress and a divided country. You get the highest federal spending EVER and you get a lowered US credit rating. You get to be the laughing stock of the world and you get continued federal government infighting with no hope for a compromise. And finally......you get a healthcare bill which was sold as a bill of goods to the American people as FREE healthcare for those who could not afford healthcare. You get a healthcare bill that was voted for without those voting even knowing what the bill said and you get a healthcare bill which as it is being unveiled is starting to sky rocket premiums for those with health insurance. You get a change to what insurance is currently covering and in some cases not cover at all the poorest of our nation. In essence....no one gets FREE anything, you are paying more for less, much is no longer covered and if you are a business you either cover your full time employees at astronomical fees or you get rid of your full time employees. If you are an employee.....be prepared to have your hours cut and pay for your own insurance. And the hits just keep on coming. Perhaps in the next election we might decide to vote for a president based on skills and track record instead of the color of his/her skin. Just a thought.

I am tired of president who throws tantrums and points fingers at former presidents, the tea party and the Constitution when he doesn't get to bulldoze his way through whatever he wants. I have been alive for a president or too and I have never seen a president act like this. I am tired of a president who divides instead of unites. Every president up until now has had the ability to pull together congress and the people at least part of the time. Part of a presidents skill set should be the ability to compromise, not stomp his feet and say my way or the highway. Obama does not have the ability or the skills apparently to do this. I am tired of a president who deliberately causes race issues (Trayvon Martin) and name calls Americans who don't agree with him. And finally.....I am tired and disgusted by a president who feels that he has the right to supersede the Constitution and bypass congress if he really wants something. Last I knew we voted for a president not a dictator.

Up to now I have always tried to look at both sides of the issue and tried to see how those who voted for him might view his actions. After six years I can no longer do this. This presidents actions are starting to affect my children's life and ultimately their health and safety. His actions are affecting my town and my friends who are starting to lose hours on their jobs, more layoffs and are going to be stuck between  a rock and hard place with either paying the high cost of insurance or a fine for not having insurance. Slowly we are being put into a financial jail that we can't get out of and there are still those who say "Oh you are just believing the hype," or "You don't understand." To that I call a great big bunch of BS. I take the fact that you voted for this man and are watching him kill this country and still stand by him as a personal threat to my family and myself and to me that is pretty unforgivable. In the end we all are going to end up reaping what you sowed and by then it will be too late!

I am angry that the government shut down. I am angry at both sides but all of you who sit back and say "Bad Republicans," need to remember that it takes two sides to fight and two sides to compromise. When one side says this is the way it is going to be and there is no compromise then the fault lies with both sides....not just the one. People need to remember that. You also need to remember that Republicans were not elected to agree with everything the Dems throw at them and want. If they were....then there wouldn't be two distinctively different sides now would there? The two are suppose to even each other out and make compromises that are fair to both sides, not act like a playground full of bratty children (I am sorry bratty children everywhere for comparing them to you.) What is wrong with the Republicans asking for all those who envisioned the healthcare bill, wrote the bill and voted for the bill to also be subject to the bill....meaning they too take their insurance from Obamacare? If it is good enough for the people should it not also be good enough for those who wanted it so terribly bad? Why would this be an uncompromisable issue? You really need to ask yourself what they know about this bill that we don't.

In case you can't tell, I am angry right now. I am angry that we are no longer a free, proud and strong country. I am angry that we are ruled by someone who is trying to stomp on the Constitution and who seems to delight in causing conflict, race issues and division among the people every chance he gets.  I am especially angry at those who continue to stand by this man and make excuses for his bad behavior. Your bad choices and mislaid loyalty are not just affecting you.....they are affecting us all and most of all they are affecting the future of my children. Those of you whom I have stood by because I felt that you were intelligent and would eventually see through this sham of a president I am now realizing......I sorely misjudged.

So yes, I am angry. I am very angry and  to the point that I can no longer respect those who see this man as anything but an egotistical little maniac hell bent on seeing this country broke, weak and unable to comeback from his 8 year reign. If this offends you....then consider yourself offended without apology.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coaching On and Off The Field

Okay....so I was going to blog today about Obamacare, but I quickly realized that doing so could cause my blood pressure to take an unhealthy jump....and if my blood pressure took an unhealthy jump it might result in a heart attack or stroke.....and if I had a heart attack or stroke it would most assuredly land me in the hospital.....and if  I landed in the hospital then it could actually be a lengthy stay.......and if it was a lengthy stay then I would surely be in past Oct. 1 and Oct. 1 is when all the changes in insurance are suppose to start taking place (they aren't sure of what all the changes are yet but they know there are many changes)......and if I stayed in past Oct. 1 I might not have insurance or no longer be able to pay for my insurance.....and if I was no longer able to pay for my insurance or was not insured......with the new proposed "death panels" I am hearing rumors about with Obamacare.....they might think that my being a  woman of a certain age with heart and/or stroke issues and no insurance might not be worth saving.....and simply let me die.....and I don't want to die, so therefore, today I will not blog about Obamacare but instead I will blog about something totally unrelated. Sorry folks. I guess today you won't know how I really feel about Obamacare. ;)

Did you hear about the Utah high school football coach who suspended his entire varsity team? The story is that coach Matt Labrum of Union High School was getting reports of his players cyber bullying a kid or kids and also that the boys on the team seemed to be feeling a little too entitled showing up late for classes and disrespecting teachers. After hearing the complaints about his team, Labrum decided to nip all of this behavior in the bud, so he had ALL the varsity players turn in their uniforms and suspended each and every one of them. In replace of practice he made them do community service and take a character building class along with focusing on studies and grades.

Apparently not all team parents were behind the coach feeling that ALL were being punished for the few, however even one of the team members interviewed felt that all in all the suspension was both deserved and a good thing. Hmmmm.....suspending an entire team for the acts of a few. Is this fair? Is this right? What about those boys playing for scholarships? What will this do to Unions football season? What will this do to Labrums job? As you can well imagine, the lady with a million opinions definitely has one on this.

While I love my football from pee wee league on up to professional, I have never been a huge fan of the mentality behind high school football. Lets face it in most places the football team rules the school and if the team is a winning one....parents, teachers, administrators and often times the entire town look the other way when the golden boys act up, act out or even break the law. There is this "boys will be boys" attitude and it is a free pass for them to behave anyway they want. In school the other kids are well aware of the food chain and football players are usually at the top of it. They can bully, misbehave, be disrespectful and not turn in a stitch of homework and still they are indestructible. This is why I have always had issues with huge chunks of school money going into sports instead of academics...but that is another blog for another time. So when I heard what this coach did, it gave me hope for the future of high school football.

Football and all team sports are great if they are coached well. Kids should be learning how to work both on the field and off the field as a team and learning as individuals to be their best at all times. They should also be taught good sportsmanship both on and off the field. They should also learn that the old adage of "It is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game," spills directly into life because once football is behind these kids, life is the game they will be playing. As Labrum said, it is an honor to put on your school team jersey and hit the field. An honor kids.....NOT a right! So when I heard that some parents were upset that their kids were being lumped in with the bad apples, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Yes, maybe scholarships are on the line and maybe both kids and parents lose a little prestige by not taking the field, but there is a much bigger lesson being taught here and I would think these parents would be standing strong behind this coach. Lesson #1 in a team....if one of you screws up it can directly effect everyone else. You are a team. One goes down and you all can go down. Lesson #2 good sportsmanship should not just be happening on the field but also in the halls of your school. You maybe popular but that doesn't make you above the rules. You are not entitled just because you wear your school colors. If anything....that should hold you to a higher standard of behavior. Disrespect, bullying and showing up for class when you see fit is not conduct befitting someone who represents their school.

Labrum in my opinion did it right and obviously as fast as this has blown up in social media....I am not the only one who feels this way. Holding these varsity players accountable for their actions and following through with consequences will likely be a lesson these young men will never forget. This also is setting an example for future players at Union, for coaches across the country and for high school football players everywhere. These boys obviously have a coach that not only cares about their skills on the field, he also cares about what life skills they are learning while on his team. In my opinion, high school sports could certainly use a whole lot more Labrums straight across the board. Good job Coach Labrum!

Well it is Friday and this ends another week. Hope you have a safe and wonderful weekend. See you again on Monday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Was Wrong!

Today's blog, unlike most Thursday blog is an easy one. One thing that some don't know about me is....if I am proved wrong about something, I have no issue admitting it. Yes, today I am having a serving of crow as an entree because I truly believe I was wrong. It makes me really sad too.

Many of you who read my blogs will remember that about a year ago, my family went to the Humane Society and brought home a three month old Pit Bull. Very much against my will might I add. After having him in our family though, I began changing my mind about PB's and began thinking that it was truly not the breed but how they are raised that was the issue. I have put up many pictures of the Pitty who was named Vic and I have expressed my changed views over PBs many times as I watched him grow and become a very loving part of our family. Let me say here that Vic had three other furry siblings and despite his size and build, he always appeared submissive to our corgi Spud who is the oldest of all the dogs and played well with the others.

From the time we got Vic he was raised around other dogs and also my kids. He had a gentle nature and was never treated badly. He had a yard to play in, a bed to sleep in (mine) and tons and tons of love. He was our big old 75 lb. baby. My only concerns about Vic were his size and the fact that he wanted to be treated like a small dog (lap sitting and playing like the small dogs) but his size would not allow for it. I was afraid he might also hurt someone in play because he was a solid powerful dog. Other than that though....he acted like the rest of the dogs and we all got along just fine.

Vic's relationship with people has always been friendly but I was never stupid enough to leave him alone with children, especially not David. I trusted Vic but I knew that provoked any dog could take it as a challenge and hurt someone. Without realizing it, a child could accidentally provoke a dog and be hurt without ever understanding what they did. Vic's relationship with the other dogs was always good too. They would run and play and they always got along fine. This summer though there was one incident with Vic and Shane our Rottweiler Boxer mix. Vic and Shane were playing and they started to fight over a toy. Suddenly it went from play to a full on fight with both dogs sustaining some mouth and facial cuts. Since Shane had actually started the fight I assumed that it was because he had not been fixed yet and it was a testosterone filled "guy thing." We kept them apart for awhile and gradually allowed them to play together again. They usually kept a pretty wide circle between themselves though after that.

This past Sunday.....all my illusions about Vic and PB's were shattered. The dogs were in the back yard and thankfully both Z and I were out there too. Z was in the process of taking Shane into the garage when suddenly without provocation Vic attacked Spud. It happened in a split second right before my eyes. I screamed and tried to pry Vic's mouth off Spud's neck. Both Z and Shane heard me scream and both came running back out the door. Shane then proceeded to go after Vic. Z and I both were fighting to get the dogs apart and save Spud. Finally after hitting the ground, rolling and twisting with the dogs and Z being bit twice, we were able to pull a bloodied and battered Spud from Vic's mouth. Vic and Shane however, were still in a battle that was going to end in death for one of them. I finally was able to reach the hose and I sprayed them apart before they were able to kill each other. Luckily both only sustained minor cuts and bites but Spud did not fare as well. Spud ended up with deep canine teeth wounds on his neck where Vic had locked his jaw tightly and refused to let go. He also ended up with lacerations inside his ear. He was covered in blood and probably due to the ear damage he was walking at a tilt.

Vic was originally my older sons dog but when he moved to a place where "dangerous" breed dogs were not allowed, Vic ended up staying here. After the attack incident though I called my son and told him that he had to pick up Vic immediately and find him a new home. He did.

What I learned from all of this is, there really is something to the fact that PBs can attack without provocation. Vic was never mistreated, unfed or unloved. He also was not in protection mode nor had he been provoked by anyone or anything. He was running and playing and Spud was doing nothing more than walking up to the house. Within a split second Spud was attacked and had I not been there....Spud would have been killed. During the whole thing I was full of adrenaline and felt no fear but afterwards I was terrified. I realized that had I not been there and had Z and Shane not come running out, the outcome for Spud could have been much different. I also realized how lucky Z and I were that Vic had not decided to turn on one of us. Most importantly though I realized that Vic could just as easily have attacked David without provocation or any animal or child for that matter. It was a hard realization but it was a lesson learned very well.

Lucky for us we have a friend that cancelled her Sunday plans and came over and shaved Spud and helped us doctor his wounds. Monday I took him to the vet to learn that his wounds were deep but thankfully not lethal. He was given large amounts of anti-biotics and we were told he would likely be sore for awhile. Blessedly he seems to be healing, me on the other hand.....I still am in shock. Z's arm though sore is healing nicely but will likely scar. A permanent memory of what a PB can do.

I still love Vic with all my heart and huge part of me misses my snuggle buddy. Truthfully.... 99% of the time he was a loving and gentle dog, but the fact is....that 1% is all it took for me to realize that something in him was a ticking time bomb. Never again would I have felt safe with him because I myself saw him attack without provocation. He was not protecting himself or anyone else. He was not teased or mistreated....he simply snapped in that moment and if it happened once, no one could convince me that it wouldn't happen again. And....as a mother I cannot in good conscience keep a dog that could do that around my family, especially not David.

I am sure there are PBs out there that have never once hurt anyone, but that is not to say that something might not snap in them and even for a few moments change them into a vicious animal. Trust me, when this happens it is not easy to pull them back and in the time it takes to get them under control....tragedy could happen.

I will always love Vic and I do miss him terribly. We all do, but after this experience....armed with this new found knowledge, I would never again own or even really trust another PB. Yes folks....I was wrong!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Impossible Situation

If you have been reading my blogs all along, then you might remember that back during Lent, I wrote some Sunday blogs on the Catholic church and some widely believed misconceptions. One of those misconceptions was how Catholics view Mary the Mother of Our Lord and how we use her and the saints in prayer. The belief that we worship her rather than honor her as the Mother of Jesus was discussed in detail. There seems to be the same misconception from those outside the Catholic faith that we "worship" the saints. There is a vast difference when you ask a saint to pray with you and for you as opposed to worshiping and viewing that saint as a supreme being or deity. Just to make it perfectly clear......Catholics like all other Christian faiths worship one God....the only God. End of discussion.

In a world where God is fast becoming a bad word and man is taking credit for all the good in the world while God only gets blasted for the bad, you have to wonder why He didn't just do us all in long ago and end it all or at the very least....start fresh with a new species that might in fact appreciate all His gifts. However, He did not and still has not. On the contrary.....He still sends us messages of hope and miraculous gifts so that people may still someday come to know Him. Lets face it....if you have lived past 20 then you have been witness to at least one miracle.....whether you choose to admit it or not. 

Like the Mary the Mother of Our Lord, throughout the ages....God has worked some of His most amazing works through man. He has chosen those that He knows have a special soul and who hold Him and His word in the highest regard and He has worked miracles through them. These special ones are called saints by the Catholic church and have to go through a rigorous testing by both man and the church before they are officially called saints. In death as in life.....they are tested.

While living, saints often have had a great devotion to God from their earliest years, but often their lives are anything but easy.  Many live in poverty or started with money only to ultimately chose poverty to better serve God. Often they are afflicted with illness or strife but never lose sight of God or their ultimate goal.....heaven. Saints are people who stand out to those around them as pious, usually very humble, kind and generous souls. They take any suffering they have and offer it up as a way to show God that Jesus suffering on the cross was not in vain.

Some saints have had miracles attributed to them in life. They themselves realize that the miracle does not come from them. It comes through them by God as an example that when we pray....He hears our prayers. God answers prayers every second of every day and many times they go unnoticed or the credit does not go to God but elsewhere, so sometimes He needs something big to get our attention and that is where these saints come in. They are His faithful who only wish to live their lives for Him. This world matters nothing to them only the next and they are put upon this earth to bring His name in prayer to the lips of all they can. Thus by working through them many have been brought to God.

After death is when these holy people start to be accredited for miracles. Sometimes it is at the time of their death and often it is before they are even buried. There have simply been too many miracles attributed to these people to be denied. The miracles are thoroughly checked out through not only the church but also through science. Sometimes it takes years before a person becomes a saint, but in our modern world even with all the skepticism and cynicism where miracles and all things God are concerned, there are things that happen that there is simply no explanation for....not scientifically or otherwise. It is these very acts that have caused conversions and complete faith in many people. And yes.....with saints and miracles.....it comes down to my favorite saying: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation is possible."

As you can imagine in my home saints were called upon for intervening prayer my whole life. I have no doubt that David was a miracle. St. Pio, St. Theresa and St. Jude were called upon daily for prayers for my child who was beyond critical and expected to die at any moment. At times he had less than a 10% chance of making it through the day and each time he survived. His final critical diagnosis: The chances were in the 90% range that he would live the rest of his life on life support with no cognitive interaction with the world. In essence....a vegetable. As I walked from the NICU for the last time holding my baby who was going home on no meds, not tubes and no oxygen.....the head of the NICU told me....."You know he is a bona fide miracle? Right?" Of course I did and I thanked God and all the saints who joined in prayer with me.

The biggest issue those outside Catholicism have is the question of why we need the saints to pray for us? Why isn't it good enough that we ask God ourselves? The same reason that when we have an issue in our lives and we ask our friends and loved ones to pray for us. The more prayers the better and the closer the people who are praying are to God.....well even better. And why not ask those who God has obviously worked through in the past? It kind of just makes sense.

Of late St. Jude and I have been having some pretty in depth conversations. In life, St. Jude was one of Jesus Apostles (not to be confused with Judas who denied Him). St. Jude has long been called the go-to saint of the impossible. The late Danny Thomas the singer, actor and comedian who was a life long Catholic even built a hospital in honor of the great saint. The story goes that in his early years with a child on the way and no income coming in, Thomas put his last few dollars in the collection plate at church. Realizing after the fact that this was all the money he had, he asked St. Jude to pray for him and help him to find his way. Almost immediately Thomas's life turned around and he was well on his way to the successful career that we all knew. Thomas realized that without St. Judes intercession his life might have been very different, so he got friends and associates together and in honor of the saint who listened and prayed for him he began the building of what we now know today as St. Judes Children's Hospital. In that childhood cancer and research hospital because of Thomas's great devotion to his faith and the ultimate realization that God had once again used this saint to make the possible out of the impossible....tens of thousands of children have been treated and cured of childhood cancers that before they would have died of. Amazing!

As I said, of late the good saint and I have been in deep conversation. I have been praying, he has been listening and he too has been praying. Is my request in God's plan? I pray it is and I pray that with St. Judes help....what feels impossible to me will soon be another miracle in my life. There is a  novena (prayer) that you say daily for nine days, when asking St. Jude to intervene on your behalf. Once your prayer has been answered the request is that you publish the St. Jude novena in a public place. Often I have seen them in the newspaper classified section or on public bulletin boards. Every time I see one, I know that St. Jude has been busy praying. Today I am publishing his prayer here. No...my prayer has not as yet been answered, but I have every faith it will and when it is......I will publish it again. Catholic or non-Catholic.....if you are in an impossible situation I urge you to say this simple pray each day for nine days. If your prayer is answered just repost the prayer. You don't have to say why or even attach your name to it. Just pay the prayer forward for someone else.

Just so we are clear, I am not here to convince you. That is not within my power. What I am doing is telling you what I know in my life has worked and I am opening a door for anyone in an impossible situation.

St. Jude Prayer for Impossible Times and Situations
Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases--of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need(state your need), that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen

Say this day every day for nine days. When your prayer is answered, please publish or post!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From the Archives: The Cheating Game

Today I heard......someone on tv talking about marriage and cheating and when and where it might be acceptable. Really? It reminded me of a blog I wrote a while back in response to an email I received. They were asking my opinion and I gave it. Since this is one of those days where time is limited, I thought I would take you for a walk down memory lane and pull this one from the archives. Let me take you back to May 8, 2012 to my blog.....The Cheating Game.


The other day when I put a call out for blog ideas I received ideas not only from facebook and the blog comments but I also got a few fb messages and an email or two. Some were silly, some were off the cuff and some where a little more serious. So far...I have decided to do all that have been offered. I am really wanting to stretch my ability to write on a multitude of subjects and today's is quite the subject. I am going to write about one of the more serious topics offered me. I received an email on this topic and I found the email to be every bit as interesting as the topic. I chose this topic as it is one that I myself have had experience with, both growing up and in my adult life and I found the content of the email intriguing. Before I begin...here is an excerpt from said email:

"Please use 'cheating' as one of your topics......... I don't know why people cheat. I have seen it happen to many of my friends but I was really shocked when it happened to us. My relationship is not perfect but then whose is? It has lasted many years tho and I do not now or have I ever regretted my choice in choosing who I am spending my life with. Things are really good for us except for the fact that there is cheating going on. It has been going on for many years and it is now a cycle that seems to be uncapable of breaking. I think we both know what is going on and I think we both know that the other knows. It is unspoken so far but I feel that one day it will all come out and our lives will crumble. We have kids and I know our kids think we are one of the few in tact families still around. I will tell you that I know the cheating has not occurred with only one person. It is not a "love affair" situation. That is why I am confused. There have been numerous affairs over the years and there has been no time table for when they happen or when they end. There have even been overlapping affairs and funny enough we have been able to maintain love and respect for each other through it all. This is assuming that we both know what I think we both know and that what I think we both know is happening. Okay any way, could you please tell me what you think about all of this? Could you please tell me how you feel about cheating? I am not looking for you to fix this only to put it into perspective. Maybe we will both read this together and it will open up a conversation. Please though tell me how you feel about cheating and at the same time you can use it as one of your topics."

Wow! Intriguing....right? First let me say that I do not know the person that emailed me this. I don't even think they live in my part of the country and if I did know them....I would not be using it as a topic. Second let me say that I am not a therapist, an expert or anything close to either of those things. I am simply a woman with an opinion and that emailer and anyone else who reads this is how I am writing this. That...and it is interesting subject matter and I would like to hear other opinions too. So please feel free to comment.

Let me just say right up front......I have no idea why people cheat. I assume that there are as many reasons for cheating as there are people doing it. My first thought would be that somewhere deep inside there is unhappiness. Perhaps they married or got into a relationship too early, maybe one or both of the people in the couple changes over time or maybe they just fall out of love. To me I always thought that cheating was the beginning of the end for a relationship...in today's world though and possibly even in times gone by...if the cheater is good with spreading themselves around and the one being cheated on is okay with living in denial....then the status quo seems to continue on with neither party ever rocking the boat. I guess that is okay for some, but I could not and would not do it.

The emailer made the statement "There have even been overlapping affairs and funny enough we have been able to maintain love and respect for each other through it all." As I read this I had to question that statement. They have been able to maintain love and respect for each other through it all? How is that possible? How do you love and respect someone and then cheat on them? And it doesn't sound as if it was once, but many times over.  How do you take from the person you are bound to and give someone else that intimacy and parts of yourself that only your spouse/significant other should have and still claim respect for them? In my opinion (and that is what you are asking for) that shows no respect. In fact...it shows such a lack of respect for your spouse, your relationship, your family, the person you are cheating with and most of all....yourself.

As I said...there are probably a zillion reason why someone chooses to cheat. I am also sure that there are bad marriages, open unhappiness and family issues that cause cheating, but does that justify the situation? I know too that in the new modern world....cheating happens often. I know that people even have marriages/relationships where cheating is built in, but knowing a little about human nature...I don't know how it ever works. Humans are jealous and territorial by nature and cheating always leads to destruction. Men and women may like to play the field but in most cases if the cheater found out that his/her spouse was also cheating....that simply wouldn't fly. It would be a blow to pride, self esteem and the relationship as a whole. Few cheaters feel that what is good for goose is also good for the gander. 

My suspicion is that there is more going on in this relationship and in most cheating relationships than anyone wants to admit. I totally believe that some who cheat do not see their intimacy with someone outside their relationship as loving or lasting....but merely an act in the moment. It is more a bodily function than a deeply intimate tie. Unfortunately for most of these individuals neither their partner in the relationship nor the one they are cheating with sees their intimacy in the same way. Because of this it is double whammy to the cheater if they get caught because ultimately they have hurt not one but two individuals with this act that can be called nothing less than selfish.

I also question where a cheaters head is at when they have children and cheat. If you are married and cheat and get caught, what does that do to the kids? Even if the marriage makes it through the cheating...what kind of an example is being set? Do we really want to teach our kids that cheating is okay or that being cheated on is acceptable treatment in a relationship? Do we really want them to think that breaking a trust in such a huge way should be easily forgiven and that the one cheated on somehow deserves the disrespect? These are the things that mold young people and set the path for how they will treat others in the future. The cheater is also risking their relationship with their kids when this happens as often kids remain loyal to the parent who was cheated on and seldom the cheater.

In case you haven't figure it out and are wondering...I am not a fan of cheating. I have been cheated on and trust me...coming from that place...cheating sucks! Feeling as if your best was not good enough for someone and knowing that they loved and respected you so little that they could treat your relationship like that is a difficult blow to overcome. And no...I did not stick around to be hurt again.

All this being said...I don't live inside this couples relationship or anyone elses for that matter. I don't know what goes on and as I said before...I don't know why people cheat. All I do know is that cheating is never good for anyone involved and cheaters almost always get caught. In the end someone always gets hurt and you have to ask if the fallout is really worth the game?! So emailer...here is my blog and thank you for the topic.