Archive for December, 2011

Just Two Short Years Ago
December 24, 2011

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom~ Psalms 90:12 

In an annual rite of cleaning out and reorganizing my digital files, I came across this photo of three very special people. Taken in December 2009, the three friends smiled broadly into the camera, never dreaming what the year 2010 would bring them.

The one at left (my precious sister) would lose her husband in the spring after a diagnosis of a brain tumor; despite a successful surgery, he ultimately passed away from a massive coronary just days afterwards. In hindsight, she is grateful that he didn’t have to suffer through the ravages of chemo/radiation with a poor prognosis, even after aggressive treatment. 

The one in the middle (my dear friend from high school days) had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer the summer before, but she was ever hopeful that there was a cure out there to buy her some time. It was not to be, and sadly, she passed away just days after my sister’s husband, leaving her husband and two beautiful daughters, one in college and one in high school. Losing these two beloved people so close together was a double whammy to my heart. 

Her dearest hope had been to live long enough to see them grown up, successful and independent. She didn’t quite make it, but I hope and pray that her girls will honor their mother’s memory and remember her influence. 

The one at right’s husband (also friends from high school days) would be diagnosed with ALS the very next month, and she would watch him progressively decline from that point on. He bravely fights this insidious disease to this very day. 

I cling to this photo to remember the happy times, the innocent times. It’s a reminder about how fleeting life is! Our days are numbered, but none of us know when it will be our turn. How precious life is, and like the character, Emily in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”, we must cherish each and every ordinary day. 

Especially during the holiday season, focus on what’s good and right, and always be thankful for your loved ones, your favorite traditions and your faith. Enjoy all the usual tasks that come with celebrating Christmas or Hanukah, and don’t let them bring you down. Do them intentionally with an attitude of blessing. Cherish each one as if it were the last time you would ever do them, because you just never know.

Merry Christmas, holiday happiness and a blessed 2012 to all! 

note: pewperson will return on Jan. 6.

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Poor Little Tucker!
December 16, 2011

How Much is That Doggie in the Window? (arf arf!) ~ Patti Page 

The saga of Tucker puppy continues with his being “fixed” once he reached his sixth month. While he was under anesthesia, the plan was for the vets to check his mouth thoroughly for any gaps in his palate that may not have healed up or had been overlooked the first time. 

We had high hopes for an easy procedure, but with Tucker, apparently NOTHING comes easily. Not only were his testicles totally un-descended, they were tucked way up in his abdomen, which required major surgery to extricate them. And they did sew up a few more places in his mouth, while they were at it. 

Then they handed my stitched up, dazed and confused puppy to me along with his meds and said, “see you next week!” 

Ack!  It wouldn’t have been so daunting had there been just one stitch location to deal with, but we had two. He had to be fed pureed food because of the mouth stitches, and he needed the dreaded blue cone to protect his abdominal ones. 

Having had both abdominal and oral surgery, I could relate to what he was feeling, and I treated him with kid gloves. Of course he was tired, but once he recovered from the anesthesia and injected pain meds, he was frantic because of his discomfort. The oral pain meds helped, but only to a certain extent. 

You can’t explain things like this to a pet. They are wondering why they hurt, and respond accordingly, while we keep telling them, “No, no!! Don’t chew on your stitches,” which, of course, they don’t understand. 

Needless to say, the days were long until he finally felt well enough to disregard both stitch locations. When I saw him rear up and do his happy dance for his friend, “W”, I knew we were getting close to normal. 

When I could feed him his normal diet (instead of pureed food), it was such a relief! Normalcy was never so welcome.

One might say we have a star crossed pup, and in terms of shelling out money to make him whole, well then, you may be right. But I’d do it again without a second thought, because this one is a happy one. How much is this doggie? I don’t care. He’s worth it.

We got a Christmas card today from the owner of Kismet Kennels, where Tucker was born. Guy said, “Thank you for giving Tucker a chance at a normal life. We hope he repays you with his love and companionship. We are very grateful.” 

And we are grateful to Guy for sending this special, happy pup to us. There is nothing we wouldn’t do for him. He is one lucky dog!

The Right Stuff
December 9, 2011

To be or not to be. That is the question: ~ William Shakespeare (from Hamlet, circa 1600) 

It would have been a very easy thing to do. I had shopped for Christmas decor at Cornelius Nursery and had a basket full of berries, garlands, poinsettias, tree lights and pillar candles. The cashier leaned over and zapped the bar codes on everything, and I trundled off to my car, happy to have crossed everything off my list. 

As I unloaded the layers of things, I realized that the candles, buried beneath the 12 foot evergreen garland, had been overlooked. I paused for a moment and thought, “no one would ever know if I walked off with these!” 

It’s one thing to do the right thing when people are watching. It’s quite another thing to do the right thing when no one is. For instance, if I had had Shannon with me, no matter what age she was, there would have been no question. I’d have gone back and had the cashier ring up the candles. 

Another thing that crossed my mind was just to imagine if a security officer had noticed my lapse and stopped me. How embarrassing that would have been! It is totally not worth tossing a good reputation away. 

It didn’t take long for me to make a decision. I could not have lived with myself if I had stolen them. I would have been a thief. How could I have looked at myself in the mirror, knowing that I was? 

Many people out there shoplift things every day and brag about getting away with it. They think that the companies deserve it, because they charge too much, etc. But they are actually hurting the rest of us, because we ALL pay higher prices as a result of routine pilfering. Thanks a lot! 

Greed is a powerful impulse, and one that brings grief to those who succumb and are caught. Think of recent corporate scandals; most, if not all of them happened because someone was greedy for more and more money.  

#8 of the 10 Commandments reads, “Thou shalt not steal.” I think it would transform the world if this one commandment were honored; certainly it was a powerful influence on me on this particular day. 

So I went back. The cashier was VERY appreciative, and slyly asked me, “Did you forget your discount coupon that was in the paper last weekend?” (I had not even been aware of it) Her thank you gift to me was to use the store coupon to give me a discount on those very expensive pillar candles that will grace the entry hall table during the Christmas season. 

I already feel a sense of relief because I made the right decision. A light heart has only added to my Christmas spirit! 

My heartfelt wish is that the rest of the people in the world would follow suit and be a good example for the next generation. Merry Christmas and a most Happy New Year!

Happy Anniversary!
December 2, 2011

Fine writing is next to fine doing the top thing in the world. ~ John Keats (1819) 

It’s been five years since I began blogging; I’ve posted 242 entries (average once a week) with subject matters ranging from gelatin salads (thank you, Shannon!) to dog antics, travelogues to amusing anecdotes, family stories to observations on a theme. 

It’s been a pleasure, a discipline and somewhat of a journal. I hope you have enjoyed reading my work!

Below is my very first post, which still rings true today. I can’t wait to see and hear the geese again as I walk with Tucker…

Nov. 25, 2006

The Wild Geese

Psalm 46:10Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”

As I walked Shadow and Bailey one recent fall morning, I heard the distant call of the wild geese as they migrated south. Bird migration is one of the most fascinating mysteries of nature to me, and I love it when I have an opportunity to witness it. I stopped, scanned the sky, and then spotted hundreds of them in several vees.  

We stood a long time, just watching and listening. Suddenly, a man approached from behind us. He was berating someone on his cell phone… something about needing a work order (mind you, this was at 7:15 or so in the morning). He shouted past us, not even seeing us, and continued on his way, never looking up. I came this close to shouting out, “Look!” but I decided he’d probably think I was nuts. Anyway he missed the whole thing.

Take the time to be still. You never know what wonderful things you may experience!