The Fight Continues

“When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone who loves them does, too.” Terri Clark

In my little circle of friends there are many who are fighting cancer.

Some have been on the battlefield for a long time and some are just beginning.

I’ve been on the sidelines for many battles–cheering on loved ones as I prayed the different therapies would work.

I have learned to pray hard and prepare my heart for God’s answer. I understand His plans may not always match my petitions.

Take a moment to join me in prayer.

Father God, we humbly pray for all those who are fighting cancer. Give them the hope and courage they need each day. Comfort them in their pain and bless them with healing. Strengthen their family, friends, and caregivers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thank you, Michael, for letting me use your picture of the ranch near Mason, Texas. It is beautiful. I love you. 

 

 

 

Ruby’s Lessons

“Over the years I’ve come to appreciate how animals enter our lives prepared to teach and far from being burdened by an inability to speak they have many different ways to communicate. It is up to us to listen more than hear, to look into more than past.” 

Nick Trout, Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles

I’ve learned over the past few months how much I didn’t know about dogs–it is yet another example of not knowing what I didn’t know.

I’ve also been blessed by meeting several people who’ve helped me through the illness of my Ruby. Their kindness, knowledge, guidance, and support as I waited for the genetic confirmation of her illness is something I will always remember.

As a tribute to my precious Tibetan Terrier, I want to spend time sharing Ruby’s story and the lessons she taught me. By doing this I hope I can help anyone who’s thinking about adding a dog to their household.

It didn’t take me long to figure out even after having dogs most of  my adult life, I’d shortened some preparatory steps or side stepped some entirely.

Ruby taught me that it is very important to do breed research.

We’d had Lhasa Apso dogs for many years and I anticipated Ruby to be just a big Lhasa. I quickly skimmed the breed description and saw that the Tibetan Terrier (TT) and the Lhasa do have similar characteristics. For me at that time, I felt that was all I needed to know. I was ready to forge ahead.

I did not investigate any health issues this breed may have or may be prone to develop. I did not know the hereditary diseases breeders are supposed to screen their dogs for before they breed them nor did not know the screening breeders are supposed to do on the puppies before selling them.

Ruby taught me to dig deep when doing breeder research.

Breeders have become very sophisticated in how they present themselves. I did not know breeders can make themselves look very reputable when they are not. The biggest mistake we made was becoming obsessed with finding a puppy. There were no puppies available in our area so we broadened our search area. Finding a puppy became the focus. We had no idea how critical a good breeder is to the whole process. We ignored many read flags because we wanted a puppy.

Ruby taught me to visit the kennel and see that environment before making any decision.

We found Ruby on the internet. The pictures of her and her litter mates showed beautiful, healthy looking puppies. The breeder’s website told us about her kennel and the history of her champion dogs.  She had published reviews praising her business, the beauty of her dogs, and how happy each owner was with their entire experience. We could not find a negative review.

Ruby taught me to listen to my gut.

For a very long time Ruby tried to tell me something was not right–my gut agreed but my heart told me to let it pass.

Ruby’s lessons:

  • Be patient. Learn before so you aren’t surprised later.
  • Don’t rush. Make that life long commitment slowly and seriously. I’ve had people tell me the dog will find you. In a very clumsy way, I do believe things happened exactly as they were supposed to–Ruby really did find us. I would not change having her in my life–my only wish would be for a much different outcome.
  • If you have not seen the puppy in person and seen where the puppy was raised, pass on the deal. I have heard breeders are showing their puppies in rented places so the buyer does not see their actual kennels. Be wary.
  • Go to The American Kennel Club, http://akc.org, for general breed information, general trading education, reputable breeders listed by state, and links to other websites for more specific information.
  • Go to The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, http://ofa.org, for breed specific health information. This foundation also has genetic registry that has history for each reported genetic disorder in individual dogs in an effort to stop breeders from using these affected dogs in their breeding stock.
  • Check out social media for owner’s groups. You will find out a lot of information shared by other dog owners. This type is unfiltered information is incredibly valuable. Thanks to this network of loving people, I have some great things to share in upcoming stories.
  • If your gut tells you something is wrong, believe it. The genetic disorder Ruby had, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis or NCL, is not very well known. I learned about it only after I reached out for help from other TT owners.

“We who choose to surround ourselves

with lives even more temporary than our

own, live within a fragile circle;

easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps,

we would still live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only

certain immortality, never fully

understanding the necessary plan.” 

Irving Townsend

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

A Day When Words Fail

May God heal you, body and soul.
May your pain cease,
May your strength increase,
May your fears be released,
May blessings, love and joy surround you.
Amen.
-Rabbi Naomi Levy
Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle and Celebration

Today I learned the son of a woman I adore committed suicide.

I have no words.

As I write I’m sending love and prayers to Debbie, Russ, and the rest of their family. Please know you will be in my prayers today and in the days to come. May we all be comforted by the memories we have of this “outstanding” young man.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Kindness

“A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life.” 

Roy Bennett

Yesterday was a tough day for me.

We were finishing up a few days of dog sitting and I knew our two “guests” would be leaving soon.

Having two extra dogs kept me busy. What that really means is my mind had been completely occupied. As I packed things up for our visitors to head home, I was hit with memories of Duffy and Ruby.

Once again, I was caught off guard.

Even little Abby tried to console me. As I was getting dress she kept coming up and grabbing at my shoe strings–just like Duffy used to do. Her completely perfect and innocent actions created a whole new flood of tears.

God bless her little intuitive soul.

All this meant I had to find something to do.

Of course, my job of choice was and always will be–working in the yard.

After I finished weeding and watering our newest plants, Michael asked me to take a break. As I sat down he handed me his tall insulated glass full of ice water along with a beautiful little bouquet of violas.

In my typical form, I said thank you as I took a few small sips of water, jumped up, and continued on with my work.

Also holding true to my usual form, I pushed this perfect gift to the back of my mind.

Luckily he took this picture.

I found it earlier today in my morning messages.

Ummm, yes, awareness is my word for the year for a very good reason.

I fought the tears and ran outside

From human eye I’d try to hide

But there are Eyes that always see

He ever watches over me

And so He sent a gentle breeze

to kiss my cheek and comfort me.

And look who came to write with me today.

IMG_1476

 

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

 

Patience

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” 

David G. Allen

Life lessons come whether you’re ready or not–I’ve been reminded of that important fact this past month.

I’d become very comfortable with the status quo. I’d had this illusion of what my future held and I’d assumed things would follow that path.

I was pretty much 100% wrong.

I’ve been reminded life can change in a fraction of a second and in ways I’d never imagined. I’ve been reminded loss takes many forms, making it so important to love all those in your life without reserve. I’ve been reminded how one loss can change so many other things I’d never realized were intertwined. I’ve been reminded to pay attention to my word for the year–awareness–prompting me to stay mindful, slow down, and appreciate all aspects of my life. I’ve been reminded to stay in the present because those planned tomorrows are never promised. I’ve been reminded of the importance of my tight little cluster of friends as I’ve experienced the amazing kindness of strangers. Once again, I’ve been reminded of the depth and darkness of grief along with the renewed knowledge my faith is resilient and strong.

Most of all, I’ve been reminded to trust in myself, in my family and friends, and most of all–in God.

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” 

Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly LorenzanaIMG_1457

 

Choices

“Whether you choose to move on from your struggles and enjoy life or waddle in your misery, life will continue.” 

Germany Kent

This past Saturday we buckled Bud into his Fido Rido and headed off to Sequin, Texas. As we drove through the magnificent wildflowers we knew we were starting a brand new chapter in the book entitled, Life In Hibdonville.

Everyone has an opinion about just about everything. Getting a new dog after the death of another dog is certainly one. No matter who you ask, there’s always very focal “yay and nay” sayers. Now, I’m not sure how many of those opinion holders have had the experience of losing two dogs in one month. This level of loss has been hard on us all–including our oldest Lhasa, Bud. After all the anguish and tears, we felt it was time to bring in the highest level of healing-the healing energy only another dog spirit can bring.

By the grace of God, on Saturday, May 4th, we picked up our newest family member–Abby Rose.

As you can see demonstrated in the attached picture, she has already started weaving her magic.

“But that’s the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.” 

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Resting

“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” 

Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

It’s been especially quiet in Hibdonville today–the three of us are hanging close and resting.

Parts of yesterday are a blur but this orchid remains a powerful reminder of an important part of the day.

We’d been watching this flower start its blooming process for weeks. For days, this flower looked like it would explode. Early yesterday morning it did exactly that!

While I was marveling at the vibrant colors, my heart skipped a little beat. I knew at that moment Duffy, in typical Prince of Royal Court fashion, sent that burst of energy to us.

Duffy was telling Michael and I he was waiting for Ruby. It was time for us to get ready for a very different walk.

Duffy and Ruby had always waited for each other during our walks.  As we leashed everyone up, Duffy would be nipping at Ruby’s legs, trying to speed her up and Ruby would be waiting for Duffy at each and every corner because Duffy had only one walking speed–slow.

It was such warm and comforting memory on this dark and gloomy day. Sometimes God works in very subtle ways.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 

Anne Lamott

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Goodbye

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 

A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh

We said goodbye to our Ruby this morning.

This past month has played out in super slow motion. And, like the saying goes, when it rains, it pours.

From the moment we saw this little girl, we knew something was not quite right. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to determine she had not had the best care. She was always fearful and easily panicked, seemed to stumble often, and was known to test even my patience when she would get lost looking over every single blade of grass for the perfect spot to do her business.

Over time, all these behaviors and a few more intensified. Every loud noise would send her into a literal tail spin and getting groomed became impossible. As her fear increased her aggression increased. I knew I needed help and reached out to other Tibetan Terrier owners.

Thanks to several people sharing their own experiences and knowledge, we had a pretty good idea what was happening to our dog.  It required sending a DNA sample to the University of Missouri.

We sent for the kit and set a DNA sample to the Orthopedic Foundations for Animals. From that sample our fears were confirmed–she had a genetic disorder called neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL).

Looking back on her life I believe she had signs of this disorder for years. Because she came from a questionable breeder we excused a lot of her behavior to not having a good environment when she was a puppy–every odd thing she did was a reflection of her very stressful puppyhood.

I will be writing more about Ruby and our experiences with NCL over the next few weeks. It will my way of honoring my Ruby girl. It will provide a resource to help educate future dog owners on how to begin a successful search for that special dog and provide a forever home.

I will miss this clown of a dog. She always made me laugh and somehow knew when I needed her to just come sit by me. I will miss her bumping the back of my leg and zooming all over the yard narrowly missing rocks, chairs, and low lying tables.

She was a streak of pure red glory and joy.

Ruby Girl, I love you. I will miss you and that big ol’ black nose of yours. I will especially miss that silly upside down grin.

Driving home from the vet this morning, I felt the warmth of a very strong beam of sunlight burst through the heavy cloud cover. For a few seconds I felt the warmth spread across my shoulders and neck–it was like she was once again right beside me–leaning on me and acting all goofy. In those few seconds I knew she was telling me all was well–she was free at last.

I love you, Ruby Jean. Thank you for sharing your life with us, being part of our lives, and loving us all.

It was a magnificent honor.

It’s true—

When I come to you in dreams,

I’m really there.

When you see me out of 

The corner of your eye, 

I’m really there.

When you ‘sense” me

Around the place, 

I’m really there.

I haven’t left you, not really.

My spirit is everywhere,

But especially with you. 

~Author Unknown

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~ 

 

 

 

Love

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Today’s the day–in a few hours, Matthew Rogers and Stacy Williams will become Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.

It’s been an honor to be here, watching the celebration come together.

I am proud of my sister, Sue, and her husband, Al, for the outstanding young man they’ve raised. He is handsome, kind, considerate, and clearly in love with his bride-to-be.

I’ve also had the opportunity to spend some time with my niece, Ashley, Matt’s sister. She is a beautiful young woman with a persona that radiates compassion, artistry, and a strong sense of independence. What a joy it has been to witness how the these two siblings support, love, and encourage each other.

Thank you for allowing me to share you.

I love you.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” 

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Traveling

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

I’ve been traveling this week so my story telling time has had to take a back seat–literally–my computer has its own little spot back there.

I’m back in Iowa for my nephew’s wedding. It’s been fun to be here and watch the activities gear up and start taking shape. The time has flown by me.

Thankfully I’ve been here to help where I can while adding a little bit of diversion along with an extra ear for venting.

An added bonus is I’ve seen a few friends and soaked up the energy only found here–the rich black soil of home.

I am grateful.

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can, 

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as you can. 

~John Wesley

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~