Tag Archives: dogs

Independence Day

I remember when I was first divorced. Even though I knew for several years that my marriage was over, it was still difficult to sort through the emotions, the finances, and all the stuff from my marriage. It wasn’t until I moved into an apartment almost two years after the divorce that I finally felt independent – totally separated from my marriage and the pain it represented.

I learned a great deal by truly being on my own and being financially, physically and mentally responsible for just me (and my pups, of course!). I enjoyed being on my own. It never got very lonely because I had Jack and Shirley. Cycle Dude would come for dinner once a week and I’d drive out to his place, too. I remember sitting in my napping chair with the canine children and either watching a movie, listening to the rain or taking a nice nap. Those things brought me great joy.

I moved in with Cycle Dude almost two years ago, but I have still retained my independence. However, this independence is a bit different. Cycle Dude and I are different people, yet we enjoy those differences and love each other. We give each other space, but encourage one another in our different pursuits. He bikes, I quilt. He reads, I binge-watch. I am there to cheer him on when he does bike marathons. He gives his approval to my quilt designs. We both love working with our hands – he builds stuff, I sew stuff.

My divorce represented my independence from a painful relationship. That is a day I will never forget. The day I moved in with Cycle Dude represented my independence in a loving relationship. That is a day I will never forget, either. Cycle Dude is kind, loving and respects me for who I am and I am grateful that he encourages my independence and doesn’t stifle it. I do the same for him.

When was your independence day? Celebrate the unique person you are and encourage that uniqueness in others. Stay tuned. . . .

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Lessons from a Dog

I have written before on this blog about my two canine children – Jack and Shirley. Jack is my 10-year old boxer/terrier mix. He is highly intelligent and very vocal – both traits from his boxer parent. Shirley is my 9-year old Dalmatian/hound mix. She is very energetic and a tad ditzy – both traits from her Dalmatian parent. However, her sense of smell is through the roof. She gets that from her hound parent.

Shirley loves to lay by the back door and watch things – she’s my watchdog. Jack is very protective and barks when the ice maker in the fridge makes noise because he thinks it’s someone at the front door – he’s my guard dog.

I’ve had both dogs since they were puppies, so we’re a pack now. When they sleep in the bed with me, we all have to snuggle up close and be touching. They know where I am 100% of the time I am home. They love to do things together – go on walks, chill on the couch, go ‘bye-bye’ in the car. I am a dog person and have had dogs most of my adult life. I’ve learned some valuable lessons from my canine children:

1. Love with all you have: My pups let me know I am their ‘hooman’. They wag their tails and bark with joy when they see me. They hold nothing back in showing me they love me. They bark with delight, make happy noises when I pet them, and freely snore when we hunker down for the night. We are delighted with one another’s company.

2. Don’t be afraid to show compassion and sympathy: Whenever I cry, Jack is right there to comfort me. He looks at me with a furrowed brow as if to say, “Are you okay? What can I do to make you feel better?” When I am sick, my pups snuggle up to me, keeping me warm and making me feel better.

3. Be boundless in your happiness: Jack does the full body wag and Shirley barks and wags her tail when they are happy. A head tilt and an excited, “Woof!” often accompany unbridled happiness. When my pups are happy, they show it to the extreme – from running like a crazy dog around the backyard to 100 mph tail wags!

4. Take pleasure in the small things: A warm blanket, a good snuggle, a tasty treat – all are small things that bring my pups great pleasure. One does not need a great deal of money to experience small pleasures. Some simple pleasures for me – beautiful clouds, a young buck in Cycle Dude’s yard, and Dove chocolate.

5. Forgive others and experience the joy of the moment: Sometimes my pups do things that are naughty. I tell them, “I am not happy with you!” They will still follow me around, not at all concerned that I am angry with them at that moment. One of them ends up doing something funny and I laugh, my anger melting away. I cannot be angry with my pups for long. Life is too short and they are too funny.

I know that divorce is painful. I would not have made it through that time if I did not have good friends and wonderful pups. In the middle of a bad night, when sleep would not come, I’d roll over to a cold nose and a warm pup. They helped to keep me on an even keel. God has blessed us with His creation – both for pleasure and for learning. I am grateful for my pups. Stay tuned . . .

All Dogs Go To Heaven

I have written before about my two canine children. The three of us recently moved in with Cycle Dude. Shirley, my Dalmatian/hound mix, adores Cycle Dude. He can get her to do things I can’t by just looking at her (like go upstairs to take a bath). If Shirley had her druthers, she’d sleep in Cycle Dude’s bed every night. Shirley acts like a starry-eyed schoolgirl around Cycle Dude (ok, I do, too!!). He just smiles and pats her head. That’s all she needs.

We should all be so fortunate as to have the unconditional love of someone like Shirley. Granted, she’s a dog, but where else will you find such pure, unconditional love? You find that with the God of the universe! I am convinced that in so many parts of our daily lives, our Heavenly Father shows us His incredible love for us. Did you wake up this morning? Did you see the sun rise? Are flowers blooming in your yard? Do you hear the birds singing? Do you have the gracious friendship of a good person?

I see the amazing love of God in the crazy full-body wag of my dog, Jack. I see His boundless love in the beauty of each sunrise. I see His unconditional acceptance in the way Cycle Dude loves me. Take the time today to stop and listen to voice of God. I am reminded of His voice whenever I hear thunder because the Bible says the voice of God sounds like thunder.

I am grateful for the sweet love of my pups – the way Jack looks at me and the way Shirley loves to give me kisses. I am thankful that God gave me such wonderful animals to take care of. They remind me all the time of what unconditional love truly is – accepting and gracious. Thank you, Father, for such a sweet reminder of who You are! Stay tuned . . .

Sundown

One of my favorite Christian artists is Wayne Watson. His songs not only speak to the human condition in general, but also to the Christian condition – the attitudes of our hearts and souls before God. Since I am moving soon, I have been sorting, packing and throwing stuff away. In one of my sorting soirees, I discovered several CDs of Wayne’s music. I was listening to one on the way to work this morning. One of the songs was entitled, “There Goes Sundown”. The theme of the song is that only God knows the number of our days and when this world will finally end. As we live out our days, we need to live each one for the gift that it is and not waste our time waiting for the end.

There was a time in my marriage when I dreaded each day because I knew it was another day I’d have with my ex. What was I going to discover today – more money taken out of our account for adult web sites, more evidence of his nasty habits and addictions? I have to confess that I didn’t even look forward to the day because it was a day I’d get to spend with my children – I was so concentrated on my ex.

These days, I look forward to sunup and sundown. I look forward to sunup because it is a brand new day – a new chance to experience this life God has given me. Some days are better than others, but when I close my eyes at night, I am grateful for another chance to experience God and His great love for me. I look forward to sundown because I can look back on my day and see where God showed up and how He used me in the lives of others.

Sunup also brings sloppy doggy kisses from my pups. What better way to start the day than to know you are so special to someone- whether it be a spouse, a child, a pet or a friend.

Dear one, if you are dreading this day, this week, take heart. Here in Mytown, spring has come early. Flowers are blooming and the robins are nesting. If nothing else, look out your window and marvel at our God’s amazing creation. As the sun sets on another day, breathe a prayer of thanks – for the beautiful sunset, for the life He has given you. Stay tuned. . .

Stress Less During the Holidays

The holidays are usually a crazy time of the year anyway, but being divorced seems to make them even more so. You are short on time and money, you may have to share the holidays with ex or members of his family, you need to juggle time with your children, and you or others may still have pretty high expectations for you. STOP!! Put on the brakes! Because of your divorce, this holiday will be different – that’s the nature of things. Don’t let the holidays add to the stress of your life at this point.

1. Plan ahead: You know the holidays are coming – it happens every year about this time. Keep a list on your fridge of things you need to do, gifts you need to buy, etc. I have a small white board on my fridge. It’s my best organizational buddy! If I know a party is coming up, I bake ahead of time instead of waiting until the night before. Do as much as you can ahead of time.

2. Don’t procrastinate: You know the saying, “Don’t put off ’till tomorrow what you can do today”? If you leave your holiday shopping, etc. to the last minute, you will surely be stressed and hopelessly overwhelmed. If planning ahead overwhelms you, make a list and cross one thing off every day or every other day. Do what works for you.

3. Lower your expectations: All those things you did with ex, all the traditions you thought you had to keep – toss them out the window! Now is the time to make new traditions. Make the holiday what YOU want it to be, not what others want it to be. I don’t put out all my Christmas decorations, nor do I drag out all the ornaments for my tree. I put out the decorations I really like. This year, I decorated Thanksgiving weekend. I normally don’t do that. But it’s my apartment and my decorations, so I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. As a result, I am not rushed to put up my tree and decorations.

4. Make a budget and stick to it: It’s so easy to go whacko crazy with your credit card around the holidays. Word of advice – DON’T! Budget out how much you can afford to spend and don’t go over that limit. You may need to drop some folks from your Christmas gift list, or from your Christmas card list. You may need to go cheaper this year – smaller denomination gift cards or homemade cookies or candy. You may not have a whole lot of money after your divorce. Don’t start out the new year, and your new life, by digging a financial hole you cannot get out of. Don’t live above your means. If your friends and family have a problem with cheaper gifts this year, just tell them, “I need to stick with my budget”. Mary Poppins said, “I never explain anything!” Don’t feel like you need to explain your decision.

5. Take some time for YOU: I love to sit in my napping chair (my amazing $50 estate sale find) with a glass of wine and my dogs snoozing on either side of me. I turn off the lights and turn on my Christmas tree. Sometimes, I will have soft Christmas music playing in the background. I enjoy the quiet, the beauty of my tree, the companionship of my dogs, and the relaxing peacefulness of my home. That time alone is my recharge time. At other times, I may read a book, or watch a movie and knit, but that time is just for me. I find the snoring of my dogs to be quite soothing!

Above all, remember – if it’s not done by Christmas Eve, it wasn’t meant to get done. This holiday is for YOU. Gone are all the crazy things you did or did not do with ex. Want to go somewhere for Christmas? Stay home? Go see a local Christmas play? Light display? Sing ‘Jingle Bells” at the top of your lungs? Do it!! Gone are the expectations for that “perfect” holiday. Take time this season to slow down, to sit down, to take stock of where you are. The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is less stress. Trust me, you will thank yourself for it! Stay tuned. . . .

 

Dreaming Dogs

Sometimes, I tend to get a bit heavy in my blog subjects. Time for a little lightness! I was woken up at 11pm last night by my dogs barking and someone banging on my front door. I finally got up to see that someone had opened the door and was telling me to take the chain off the door. Wait! What??!! Was it the police? A burglar?

No, it was one of the maintenance men from the apartment complex. He rushed into my apartment and turned off the hot water from my hot water heater. From the time I had gone to bed to the time I awoke to someone pounding on my door, my hot water heater had burst and was spewing water onto my neighbors downstairs! Luckily, only the carpet in front if the hot water heater closet was drenched, not the carpet in either of the bedrooms (which are adjacent to the hot water heater closet). So much drama!

Once the maintenance man got things settled and told me he would be back in the morning to replace the hot water heater, and I found some towels to put down on the carpet to sop up some of the water, I finally got to bed. As I was drifting off, I heard another noise. Shirley, my 8-year old Dalmatian/Hound, was dreaming. She was growling and barking in her sleep. I tried hard not to laugh. After all the water heater drama, I needed a little comic relief.

I am grateful for my dogs because as hard as life gets sometimes, I know I can count on them for comic relief. They are my buddies, my warmers on a cold night, my companions, my food tasters, my protectors, my alarm clocks and so much more. My life would be so dull without my dreaming dogs! Stay tuned . . . .

My Protector

Jack is my 8-year old boxer/terrier mix. Even though I never would have chosen a dog like him, he has become my best buddy. When I walk in the door from work, he greets me with a full body wag. When I cry, he looks at me with his furrowed brow as if to ask, “Are you okay?” He is quick to lick away my tears. When he lies on the bed next to me at night, he has to be right up against me. He is deathly afraid of fireworks and loves peanut butter.

When I got divorced, I told Jack, “You’re the man of the house now. You’re the protector.” He has taken that job quite seriously. He knows he is the alpha male and it is his duty to protect his “women” – me and his sister, Shirley (an earlier blog). When Cycle Dude comes over, Jack is glad to see him, but do not let Cycle Dude get near me! Jack barks until Cycle Dude is a couple of feet away!

I got Jack from a friend of a friend. He was originally with a family that had an autistic child. The family thought Jack would help the child to calm down. That did not work out and Jack was returned to his mom’s owner. I saw his photo and fell in love with him, so he became part of my family. I am glad he did.

Last night, Jack was whining at me. I thought he had to go out to do the doggie thing and I headed for the front door. He made a beeline to the kitchen where his food and water are. He stopped in front of his food bowl. This is how the conversation went:

Me: What’s wrong, Jack? Your bowl has food in it – it’s half full.

Jack: Half full is not whole full. Half full is empty.

Me: You’re fine!

Jack: (continues to stand in front of his bowl as I walk away) Ahem?

Me: What? (exasperated sigh)

Jack: Half full is empty!

Me: Fine!

Jack got his food bowl “whole full”. Yes, he has me well-trained! Give your dog a big hug! Stay tuned . . . ..