A Tiny White Feather

featherI found a tiny white feather today.  It sparkled on the black pavement in front of me and compelled me to pick it up.  It makes me very sad.

Let me explain.  In late 2010, I was driving to work when, all of a sudden, I heard a thud and saw a white explosion of feathers on the front of my car.  Shaking, I came to a stop and leaped out to look at the front of my car.  No bird, no blood, but a lot of feathers that confirmed my suspicion.  “I am soooo sorry little bird”, I whispered between tears.  I took one of the feathers and said a silent prayer for the poor bird before continuing to the office.  Once at work, I positioned the feather on my desk, determined to honor the soul of the bird whose death I had caused.  The feather moved around, probably in the chaos that is my daily work life. Ultimately, it was always found and repositioned in places of honor.

Good bye my sweet Spirit Continue reading

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How One Homeless Dog Becomes Eleven

Champagnes 10 PuppiesChampagne wasn’t much more than a puppy herself when she was dumped by an anonymous person at our local shelter. She ducked low as a leash was looped over her head and, sadly, seemed used to being led into a cement kennel with limited amenities. She moved uncomfortably and, before they even had time to do a basic medical evaluation, she gave birth to 10 squiggling little puppies. What was previously only one life that needed saving, quickly became 11 lives that needed saving. While puppies are always cute, the shelter staff’s hearts sank at the sight.

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Gourds and Human Imperfections

This morning I was working on making gourd birdhouses. My gourds were grown last year and have been sitting in the garden waiting for me to do something with them for all this time.  They have been moved from place to place, had things piled on them, been out in the rain and in the blazing summer sun. The rains had yielded black and white molds and the sun had baked these fungal imperfections into place. Continue reading

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Cariann, me, Catherine and Michael at an ornament party at my house in 2004

If I had to come up with one word to describe my relationship with Cariann, it would be “conversations”. When I was thinking about this, I was torn between the word “questions” and the word “conversations”. Cariann has always really loved to ask questions and has been very fervent about making sure she gets the answers. However, as I think about it, it hasn’t been so much the questions that were important to me as the conversations that ensued as a result.

When she was younger (I am 11 years her senior), the conversations I remember were about relationships (with boys), being an adult, politics. As we got older, the conversations were about relationships (with friends), health, food, religion, and crafts. In the past year the conversations were about relationships (with God), friendship, love, heaven, food, health, journeys, life, afterlife, sushi, family, religion, pets, books, our souls and death.

This year, we’ve really made time for the conversations and I have really valued this time. Death is a scary topic, and even scarier if you’re not sure if you’re allowed to talk about it. With Cariann, there has been no doubt that, not only were we going to talk about it, but that the conversation was going to dive deep into every crevice and bring it out of the scary darkness and into light. And, in the light, nothing is quite as scary. Continue reading

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Relax into it

I just started riding my motorcycle again after a very long time off.  On last week’s ride I was working on remembering all the things I needed to do.  I found myself working very hard to turn the bike and then recalled a very important lesson I had learned just before I stopped riding.  “Relax into the turn”.  When I’m trying too hard, one hand is fighting the other and the bike doesn’t know where to go.  Without going too much into the mechanics of steering a motorcycle, when you’re turning, one hand is doing the work while the other hand could just as soon be off the handle.  You simply relax into the turn – lefthand turn, left hand pushes on the handlebar and you relax to the left.  As I remembered this, I felt exhilarated as I glided into the next turn. Continue reading

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How I Became “The Pit Bull Gal”

I am an all breed sort of person. Growing up, we never knew a time where one breed was deemed better than another in my family. I do remember that the folks down the street had a Doberman on a chain in the garage and we weren’t supposed to approach him, but more because he was on a chain than that he was a specific breed. Other than that, dogs were dogs. We had a poodle and an all American mutt. We think she was German Shepherd, Beagle, Huskie, Collie, but who really knows for sure? You got them from the shelter and you tried to figure out what they were because it was fun but it didn’t really matter in the end.

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15 Reasons that Search Dogs Rock!

This past week I was invited to attend a special demonstration by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. I have to say, these dogs are incredible. There are so many things I didn’t know about how these dogs are acquired, trained and maintain their focus. The demonstration showed how solid the dogs are in their basic training, how they teach them to find a hidden person, how they work with them to teach them how to master more difficult terrain and the absolute joy these dogs seem to have when they’re “working”.

I hope you enjoy some of the many photos I took and the 15 things that I learned: Continue reading

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