A Few Words

I was looking for a quote to help me write this post, but I am guessing that I was just meant to write what was in my heart, so here we go.

I had a conversation with my acupuncturist, (long story) today about how this is my 21st wedding anniversary.  She was astounded to hear of two people being together that long.  She said it sounded like an eternity.  I know that it has passed in the blink of an eye.  I have been a wife for 21 years to a man that is the other half of me.  He is where my soul found a home.  If ever there were two people who were meant to be, it is Rod and I.  No one would have guessed that in the beginning, but here we are…years later…and stronger each day.

I think a marriage should be hard.  I think it should be work.  I think there should be ups and downs and sorrow and joy.  I have been lucky enough to have all of that.  I have been lucky enough to have fallen in love with a man that annoys me to no end, but one that I don’t ever want to live without.  I am lucky enough to be married to a man that I am so proud of and a man that makes me shake my head.  A man who is tough as nails, but has a soft side as well.  I am lucky enough to be able to walk through this life with someone by my side who will push me to reach past my limits and be there to hold me if I fall.

If, by some random chance of fate, I am suddenly gone, I hope he knows that I have looked forward to each day with him.  I have known that we would make it through anything because as long as we are together I had faith that we could conquer anything…I have faith in him.  I have had the best life, the most love and I would never trade one day that I have spent being his wife.  I hope he knows that the love I have for him is eternal…no matter where I am, I am always with him.  I hope he knows that I appreciate everything he has ever done for us…I am so glad that he chose to love me the way that I love him…unconditionally.  Our love is the storybook kind that I wanted when I was a little girl.  I am lucky enough to have gotten that wish.  Being his wife is the greatest adventure that I have ever been lucky enough to be on.  Thank goodness he saw more in me than I saw in myself when we met.

Each year I look back at where we have been and think how much stronger we are.  As long as we are together the world will always be a place full of adventures for us to have.  Oh, and Rod…I am going to think about dancing lessons soon…I am still wanting a dance on our 50th wedding anniversary.  Just warning you ahead of time.

I am going to leave you with a few shots of my husband on this, our 21st wedding anniversary.  I hope that each of you find someone that you choose to love unconditionally…I hope you find that person that completes you…I hope you find a place that your heart can call home.  Talk to you all soon.  Rod, I love you.

 

 

 

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Lianna

Today is the birthday of my daughter Lianna Phillips.  She is 27 years old.  Usually I do a video montage for the kids on their birthdays, but somehow I just didn’t think that seeing the same pictures was the same.  I wonder if she really understands how much she means to me?  I mean, I know that we are far apart geographically and she is busy being 27 so our lives don’t run along the same lines.  I can’t just “pop” over if I want to see her (which I do often) and neither can she.

I wonder if she knows how scared I was when I found out I was pregnant?  I had already lost 4 babies to miscarriages and a tubal pregnancy.  I had always just wanted to be a mom.  That was what I wanted to be when I grew up and I was becoming afraid that I would never have that chance.  When I had the tubal pregnancy my tube ruptured and I was taken to emergency surgery as my abdominal cavity filled with blood, so when I found out I was pregnant again I didn’t say anything for at least 3 months.  I didn’t even want to let myself hope until I passed that point.  Once I got past that, the reality of the situation started to set in.  How was I going to take care of this life growing inside of me?  Oh how I wanted to make sure that she knew I loved her.  Oh how I wanted to make sure that she knew that no matter what, she was perfect just the way she was.

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I remember her father, my first husband, falling asleep as he watched cartoons in the hospital.  I remember thinking that even if I had to do this alone I would take care of her.  I remember how tiny she was and how much dark hair she had and how much love I felt for her the minute they laid her in my arms.  I remember thinking that there was no way that I was ready to be a mom, and that I was born to do this.

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Life went on as it does and there are a thousands of memories that have flitted across my mind today.  I remember seeing her light up Christmas morning when I surprised her with the tree.  I remember singing to her as she rode in the car seat…usually she was crying, maybe it was my voice.  I remember taking her to the zoo.  I remember snuggling with her.  I remember how sweet she smelled.  I remember how happy she was.   I remember thinking how lucky I was to have such a light in my life.  I remember thinking how beautiful she was and still is today.  During her childhood, I do have to take a moment here to thank her grandparents.  I was lucky that she had such good grandparents.  They were there for her sometimes in ways that I just could not be as I tried to figure life out myself.

I did not always make the best decisions, marrying her father was one of them.  He is a great guy, don’t get me wrong.  We were just not meant to be together forever.  The best thing that we ever did together was to create our beautiful daughter.  I also let my daughter find her own way, even when that way went away from me.  I don’t regret it.  I just hope that she knows that I have always loved her, even when we were apart.

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Being a mom was and is the thing that I am the best at, the thing that I was born to do.  Lia made me a mom first.  Lia filled my heart to overflowing first.  Lia never met a stranger and her smile would light up a room.  Lia made me want to be better than I was.  It was and is the best and most rewarding thing that I have ever been asked to do.  As parents, we are entrusted for a short time with children.  It is up to us to take care of them and try to teach them about the world, and most of all to love them with our entire being.

I hope that she learned a few things from me, like…tell the truth, especially to yourself…love with your whole heart, even though it will most likely get broken…never forget to say I love you to the ones around you, you never know when it might be the last time…Try your best to treat others how you want to be treated, it works out much better that way…believe that you can accomplish anything, you can if you try…and finally…love is all encompassing.  The love I have for you knows no boundaries, it will never be taken away and it will be with you even when I am gone.  I am always here for you.  I will always be in the spaces between everyday life.  My love for you is bigger than you know, it is the safety net that will be waiting to catch you if you should ever fall…I don’t think you will…but it is there just in case.

At the end of today my first baby will be another year older.  For me, I will be remembering her first cries as she made her way into this world.  I knew then what an amazing woman she would be, and I was right.

Happy Birthday Baby.  I love you always.

Love,

Mom

 

Oscar and the Squirrel

August has been quite the month so far.  Oscar and I have had our ups and downs and mostly we are finding a new rhythm by ourselves.  And so far we are doing pretty well.  I do have to say that Oscar keeps me on my toes.  He wants to dive into things head first and look later.  Case in point was August 1st.  I have had a lot of dogs over the years and I have lived in the country for a lot of those years.  Most of the time, those dogs did not go outside on a leash.  Oscar goes outside on a 10′ retractable leash because otherwise he would try to catch every chipmunk, (real or imagined) in the entire state.  He might stop running by the time he got to Timbuktu, but I’m not sure about that either.  If you asked him, Chipmunks are the enemy.

At any rate, this night we headed outside before it was full dark and I stopped to look at the field in front of me and Oscar headed to where the bird feeders are.  By the time I looked over that way, it was way too late.  I see Oscar laying on the ground in submission and a black and white tail in the air.  In all my life I never would have thought that my Yorkie would be the first dog that I have ever had to get sprayed by a skunk!!  Much shampooing ensued and he slept that night as close to me as he could get.  I would say that was a lesson learned but I think he wanted to talk to another skunk just the other night.

Like I said, he leaps into life with such joy and he wants to make friends with everyone and everything out there.  Tonight was another example of his zest for life.  There is a juvenile squirrel that hangs around by the bird feeders, and the back deck.  I am sure that all day long, Oscar sees it run back and forth and most likely barks at it when I am not here.  I know that he barks at it when I am here.  Well tonight, we got home from working and he wanted to go around to the back.  So, we went.  As we neared the bird feeders I saw the squirrel and thought that this was not a good situation for either the squirrel or Oscar.  He spotted the squirrel and made a beeline for him.  As the squirrel sat on top of the tree out there, with nowhere to go, Oscar stood looking up at him and didn’t bark at all.   When the squirrel fell to the ground and hid in the tall flowers, my little guy put his butt up in the air and his nose into the flowers with his little tail going to town.  He was trying to make a friend.  He was trying to get the little squirrel to come out.  Oscar could have easily gone into the flowers and bitten the squirrel, he was only inches from him, but he didn’t.  Instead he tried to make a friend.  I think we can all learn a lot from my little dog.

In life we have choices all the time.  We can choose to be negative, hurtful, unkind and uncaring.  We can choose to let life beat us down and let our sorrows consume us.  We can let heartbreak literally break us and we can choose to respond with anger to a person or situation that is new and unknown to us.  Or, like Oscar, we can live each moment as if there won’t ever be another like it.  We can greet each day with joy and each night with the serenity of knowing that we lived to the fullest that day.  We can choose to leap into life headfirst and navigate the ups and downs with no thought of turning back.  We can choose to get to know a person, or a situation…or in Oscar’s case a squirrel…before reacting.  We can choose to greet each person as a friend and each experience as an adventure.

As I took Oscar to the house, before the squirrel had a heart attack, I thought about what had just happened.  It was not what I had expected.  didn’t really expect him to attack the squirrel, but I never expected him to stop and try to befriend it either.  So, if you find yourself next to a squirrel, give it a chance to be your friend…you just be surprised.   Life is about the experience…I hope each and every one of you get out there and find that out for yourselves.  I’ll leave you tonight with a quote much wiser than my words and a few shots that I don’t think you have seen.  I will talk to you soon.

“The soul should always

stand ajar, ready to

welcome the ecstatic

experience.”

– Emily Dickinson –

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Trap Falls August 5, 2018

Another week has gone by.  It actually went pretty quickly.  Oscar took his first ride on a bicycle, and didn’t jump out.  So, I was excited about that.  When it came time to think about an adventure this week, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to, but he gave me that Oscar look so I began to plan.   I thought that a shorter hike would be better since it was only his second one so I began to pour over the map.  There was a waterfall that I had missed when I went to Union Spring and I thought that it would be perfect, and there was a shorter route to it as well.  OK!  We were going to head to Trap Falls.

Now, I had never actually made it to this waterfall so it was a new adventure for me as well.  The map said it was about 2 miles one way so I thought it would be long, but doable.  I made sure that we had all the right gear…I need to really invest in proper hiking gear…and made us snacks…checked the weather…wrote a note…in general did everything that you do when you are going on a hike.  Then we loaded up in the RZR and went to get the truck.

I have been trying to teach him different words and phrases just for hiking, like “hike” and “stay on the bridge” and “hup” and “whoa” and it seems to be working so far.  Well, he gets excited at the word “Hike” anyway.

We set off in the truck toward the Procupine Mountains.  According to AllTrails.com it is a 4 mile trail that is rated as a moderate out and back trail.  Well, that should be right up our alley.  We parked at the Government Peak parking area and after checking our gear and getting situated we started off.  It was a good trail.  The beinning was a bit of a climb but after that we entered a gorgeous section of the park with lots of mature trees.  There was a feeling of being totally isolated, which I have mentioned before, only this time, there was Oscar.  Speaking of Oscar…that little guy was on Doggie Cloud 9.  There were smells galore!  He ran, he climbed and he explored.  Always in front of me, and always making sure that I was coming along.  He was leashed of course, but he didn’t pull like he does at the house.  It was just he and I enjoying time together in the woods.

We walked on and it was a fairly easy hike for the most part.  I carried him over the really wet and muddy areas, there were only really 2 stretches and we finally came to a river with waterfalls.  It was not the waterfall we set out to see, but I could see he was just starting to get tired and we probably had another 1/2 mile to go, so another mile total.  He really wanted to go on, but I made the decision to stop for snacks and call it a day.  We stopped at one of the two camping areas and had our snack down by the river.  We spent some time near the waterfalls taking pictures and then we headed back the way we came.  For me, it is never the destination, it is always the journey along the way.  I wanted him to continue to enjoy hiking with me and not be totally beat or injured on our second hike, so we will get to Trap Falls another day.

On the way out, I knew that there were the two muddy and wet sections so Oscar got to ride in the backpack for about 1/4 of a mile (if that) .  He was not really a happy guy about that, but I assured him that no one would know.  And then, wouldn’t you know it, we met some people.    The first woman was giving me an odd look and I thought it was because of the backpack.  I said that he had gotten tired after about 2.5 miles.  Her terse reply was, “Well, he is really little.”  The next people I met also gave me an odd look and didn’t want anything to do with Oscar at all, meanwhile he is trying to get them to pet him.  I have decided that maybe people think that Oscar shouldn’t be out on the trail because he is a small dog.  Well, he may be small but he has a big heart.  He loves hiking with me and it is a shame that they can’t see that he is simply doing the same thing that they are doing.  He is on a leash, he is following the rules, he is just little.  Well, I don’t see the need to stop hiking with him any time soon.  Maybe I will get him a doggie biker jacket so he looks tougher…Nah.

At any rate, we made it home, had a successful hike, and really didn’t get rained on all that much.  He took a nap and I think we may venture to the beach, (in the RZR…he is done walking for the day) for sunset.  One thing I have learned is that with Oscar, I have to watch how I take pictures.  I will get the shot ready and then he will move.  There goes my focus.  Ah Well, I guess that picture was meant just for me.  So, I will slow down and take more time with my shots, maybe I will become a better photographer because of it.  Anyway, I hope that all of you had an amazing day and I wanted to leave you with a couple of shots from our adventure today.  Talk to you soon.

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Adventures with Oscar

Well, Oscar completed his first hike.  I know, a Yorkie doesn’t usually hike, but Oscar thinks he is a much bigger dog.  Shhhh…I know he is small, but he has a big heart for sure.  So back to hiking.  Since he had never gone on a hike, and not that many long walks, Atlas never walked very far, I was not sure how this was going to go.  So I planned a nice short(er) hike.

I decided that we would travel to a couple of waterfalls that I had not seen before, Overlooked Falls and Greenstone Falls.  I chose wisely, the trail to get to Overlooked Falls was nice and easy.  Mostly a road really.  Oscar was having the time of his life, but when I wanted to get closer to the water, he was not so sure.  So, I picked him up and down we went.

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On this hike, there are two waterfalls that are relatively close to one another so, we traveled on.  On the way to Greenstone Falls there are several drops so the scenery is beautiful.  This part of the trail was actually in the woods so Oscar was having a ball.  We stopped to take a photo at one of the smaller drops and Oscar, who had been jumping from place to place, obviously thought that a certain part of the river was not as deep as it was and promptly fell in up to his neck.

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Note to self:  bring towels for Oscar.

After we dried off, (he acted really embarrassed during this), we continued onward.  The falls we were here to see were just up ahead.   We finally got there and they were definitely worth the hike, which was not long at all.  I think all told today we hiked about 3 miles.  I have heard that Yorkies are very popular small dogs to hike with so I think this will be something that he will enjoy very much.  And, today was all about getting us out of the house.  Oscar misses Atlas just as much as I do.  If he smells him his little tail goes crazy, if he hears his collar jingle he looks at the door waiting for his big brother to walk in…we both needed a bit of a break today.  We both needed to do something that was just for us.  Something that we will do again, and again in a place that is filled with beauty and all kinds of smells to smell.

At the end of the day, we had a great hike, even ending up in the river was not so bad.  And, now that I know that he can do it and actually likes it we can do it again.  I don’t know how fast little doggie hearts heal, but I do know that today helped us both.  Sometimes you just need to let go of it all, just for a bit.  All the pain and sadness that you are going through will still be there when you get back.

I hope that each of you did something enjoyable today.  While Oscar and I were not exactly happy, we did laugh a bit.  We smiled once or twice and we enjoyed a hike together.  It’s just he and I now, so today was the first step forward in that new reality for us.  Today was the beginning of Oscar’s Adventures.  I have the feeling that there will be a lot of them.  I am leaving you tonight with a couple of shots from Oscar’s first adventure.  I hope that you enjoy them and I will talk to you all very soon.

7-29-18 (38)_Fotor7-29-18 (46) Atlas is in the sunspot_Fotorimg_2576End of the first hike.  He is beat!!

 

Tenacity

I had made a chiropractic appointment for today before the events of yesterday and I had forgotten to call.  It was a new chiropractor and this was the last one that I was trying.  I seem to have bad luck with chiropractors.  If you ask Rod, he will tell you that whatever is wrong with me is beyond helping, but I hold out hope.  Anyway, even though I didn’t really feel like going, I got myself up and got dressed and went.

She explained the approach that she uses and we talked for a bit and then she began to work on me.  Over the course of an hour, and I must say it was nice to be pain free when I left there, we chatted about all manner of things.  One topic we talked about has been rolling around in my head since I left there.  I am guessing that means that it wants me to take it out and examine it.  That is what usually happens with thoughts like that.  The topic we were discussing was tenacity.

Now, as I am sure that you probably figured out, I stayed away from the subject of Atlas, even though he came up.  Conversation rambled and ebbed and flowed and then we started talking about the fact that people don’t seem to have it in them to keep trying.  Then she said that she had had a client come in and tell her that was called tenacity and very few people actually have it anymore.  We rolled through that part of the conversation and I headed home.  However, it was just something that I couldn’t help but mull over.  If you look up tenacity in the dictionary this is what you will see:

1

npersistent determination

Synonyms:
doggednessperseverancepersistencepersistencypertinacitytenaciousness
Type of:
determinationpurpose

the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose

That’s it?  Just being determined on more than one occasion?  Trying to make sure that you get something done?  That’s all?  Everyone should be able to muster up the want to to be determined about something.  Be tenacious in your life!  It is the only one that you get.  Be tenacious in love.  Be tenacious about anything.  Unfortunately, I too see far to many people that just give up.  When things get hard, they give in.  They never make it to the crest of the hill.  They never feel the feeling of accomplishment that comes with succeeding in what you set out to do.

It saddens me that the people of the generations behind me don’t have the inner strength that we were given by our ancestors.  It saddens me even more that most of them don’t even want to find it.  Well, those are my thoughts for the night.  I will leave you with a really good quote and some shots that I know you have not seen before, Oscar and I got them on the beach tonight as we walked.  I have to make sure Oscar gets to bed early tonight.  Tomorrow he and I are going to go on a hike.  I know that he is only a Yorkie, but he is definitely a tenacious one!
Oh, and by the way, thank you to everyone and their kind words about Atlas, they meant the world to all of us.  Talk to you all soon.
“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Atlas

I always knew that this day would come. Just like I knew that I would write this post.  Writing always seems to help, for me.   I had just hoped that it would come later.  But, that was not meant to be.  I guess the beginning would be a good place to start so that you can understand what I am talking about.

About 12 years ago we had to put our Alaskan Malamute to sleep.  Of course our hearts were broken so we decided to get another dog, of course.  I researched breeds and looked and looked and we came across a breeder of Yellow Labs in Picayune, Mississippi, so Rod and I drove down there to look.  They were adorable.  I had poured over names and there were 2 that I was considering, Thor or Atlas.  Well, one puppy seemed to be bigger than the rest, bigger head, bigger chest…I told Rod that if we chose him he would be Thor, and honestly that is the way we were leaning.  That is until the another puppy climbed up into my lap and looked up at me with his head cocked to one side as if to say, “Well, let’s go.”  Atlas had chosen me.  When I went back a few weeks later, Atlas was now the largest of the bunch.  That would be a preview of just how much he loved to eat.

Time went by and Atlas grew.  He was easy to train and fell right into our lives without a hitch.  Everyone that met him loved him and he went nearly everywhere with us.  If there were doggie passports for travel in the US, his would be very full.  He was always by my side, or waiting for me to get home.  He saw other dogs come and go but he always remained.  He knew that his place in the family was forever.  Well, as it often happens, I woke up one day and 12 years had gone by.  Could the tiny puppy that I carried up a mountain in Tennessee be the same elder statesman who’s joints gave him trouble?  Could the dog that once ate an entire frozen pizza in the time it took for me to make another trip out to the truck really be refusing to eat?  Could the dog who was always there for me be getting ready to leave me.  Sadly, the answer to these questions was yes.

When I decided to spend the summer in Michigan, it was a blessing for my old guy.  Mississippi heat would have been too much for him to handle this year.  And, deep in my heart, I knew that our days were numbered.  So, we spent time sitting in the yard with the wind ruffling his hair.  We ate bacon in the mornings and most of all, I spent a lot of time making sure that he knew how much I loved him as he steadily declined.  We had good days, days we sat in the sun together as Oscar ran around nearby.  This morning, we took a final ride in the truck and the nice lady vet made the pain go away.  He got one good nap with no pain, maybe time for a quick dream, and then he was gone.  I held him as I told him how much I loved him, what a good boy he was and that it was time for him to take a trip by himself.  I told him to wait for me when he got there and I would see him soon.  My heart is breaking, broken and aches so badly.  I have cried an ocean of tears and know that more are on the way.

I knew that when I held him as a tiny puppy that this day would come.  I knew how much it would hurt, but I let him into my whole heart anyway.  If there are rooms in a heart, he has occupied them all.  I would gladly go through all this pain again and again just to have Atlas choose me.  I hope that I was the kind of person that deserved my dog, because he was the best.  I will miss him for the rest of my life, even though I know that this pain will fade over time.  I almost wish it wouldn’t.

Oscar and I headed to the shores of Lake Superior after I came back home.  The skies were grey and the waves seemed to beat along with my pain filled heart.  I know that true love carries this risk.  I know that I will always choose to love, even if my heart breaks a million times.  Just as I know that my baby boy doesn’t hurt any more.  I know that he is waiting for me, I know that when it is my turn to go, he will be there, waiting for me like he has waited for me his whole life.

 

I know that this isn’t my usual kind of post, but this is life.  Filled with Joy and Pain and Laughter and Tears.  Not everything is roses and there are times when it hurts to go on.  Just for today the world is a little darker, but the stars are a little brighter.  God got an awfully good dog today and God I really miss my dog right now.  And that is the way it goes.   I will talk to you all soon.