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Ahhh, my friends, Fall is here. Well, this feels more like Winter, quite frankly. It has been snowing almost all week, and been quite beautiful at that. I have enjoyed every single flake that I have seen fall. There is so much going on, and I have been absent this last few days, but I found a moment to take a deep breath, and so, here I am. I had my eye on a place, and was feeling quite apprehensive about it, despite the fact that it was perfect for our needs. I had asked for them to work with me on a move in date, for Dec. 1, but she really wanted to rent it by Nov. 1. I knew we would not be ready by then, so I told her that if it was available on Dec. 1 we would take it, and if not, we would find something else. Today, I very apprehensively checked the rentals section, afraid that I would be devastated if it had been rented. Much to my surprise, when I looked and it was not there, I felt a huge sense of relief. Not only do I not have to worry about coming up with nearly 4000 dollars for December 1, but the Holidays are a terrible time to move, and ideally, January 1, would be a great move in date. I don’t believe in New years resolutions, but I do believe in new beginnings, and how fitting would it be to start the rescue ranch the first of the new year? Shocked and overwhelmed at the sense of relief that I have, waiting till January First, and oh, how pleased my husband will be to find that we dont have to move during the holidays. I have until January first to tie up some loose ends, and that is also a huge relief, plus, I just cannot packing this place up in a month, I just cannot fathom doing that, on top of everything else I am doing. We have a spay/neuter event on Nov. 10, that I am an on the planning committee for, and I have a potluck for my little friend with cancer tomorrow. I also have all this RMRR stuff I am trying to do, and a cancer awareness cookbook, and a few other fundraising type things. Good heavens. I feel like never in my life have I been attracted to technology, but never in my life, have I wanted a piece of equipment so badly. I feel a need to buy a tablet. Silly, I know. I have three different committees that I am on, a lot of meetings that I go to, and clients that I need to be able to bill on the go, and I am feeling like a tablet would go a long way in helping me organize it all, and keep it portable. I also have my Bible study to move forward on and well…its all a lot of details, really. Needless to say, I have been busy. Very, very busy. I definitely feel that it would be a business expense, but I am saving every penny, so I can get us into a ranch. I have made do with paper and pen this far in my life, never even really wanted anything but paper and pen, but dang, my binder has a lot of stinkin sections…its not very portable anymore, and well…you see where I am going with this. Anyway, I just might do it. Have to talk it over with the hubby, but I think it makes actual sense.

I have a lot on my mind with three non profits on my plate, and one just waiting in the wings for me to make time for them. I have business licenses and other connections to make. I have a whole lot of details going on. I am trying to do many, many things with my time, and my brain cannot see a list. It sees three lists, swirling around atop and below each other. A tornado of lists, if I may. I have tried to list them all, but the papers just stack up and I cant remember what I have written and what I still need. How do I get all of these details organized?

Once I get the three non-profits organized, I reach a place where I start thinking past them, to what comes after the event is established, and again find myself with a barage of details. Primarily with RMRR. I feel that as soon as I find a place, I need to start planning the respite and foster programs. I need to have everything in place for those to start right away, I need to plan the gardens and farmers market programs, quickly, cause planting is in march, at least for seed sets. I need to plan the RMRR store, and resource programs quickly also. Chickens won’t be far off, once spring rolls around it will be time to get them going. It feels like the next six months is going to be a blur, and yet, I have been waiting so long for this  that I am just as thrilled and patient as can be. Mostly, I am probably just too overwhelmed to be impatient. I can only assume God is using this opportunity to teach me how to juggle the many non-profit programs of my own that I intend to build. I finally found the courage today to make a phone call that I have been dreading. Nothing scary about it at all, I just couldn’t make myself call. Feels good to have faced that beast, and it turned out to be the kitten I thought it would be. Phew, check one more big one off the list.

I have this series of ideas I want to blog about. I learned a lot in therapy, and I think that a lot of people would be alot happier, if only they could grasp a few of these concepts. I also have some ideas about God and the Bible that I would like to share, some unique perspectives, I suppose. I feel as though I should do a “therapy” series. Maybe a “God” series. I certainly feel as though I should blog about some of the more important lessons I learned. A post specifically about being a “special needs mommy”. I always talk about my special needs child,a nd my special needs clients, but never do I talk about the ways in which I relate with these children, and I would like to explore the dynamic that happens when you learn just how easy it can be to “mentor” a special needs child when you understand treating people as individuals and letting go of expectations. I want to post about blame, and shame, and how we all like to think its “mom’s fault”. I would like to blog about shame, expectations, and codependency. I want to talk about the tools we have, and the “lizard brain”, or amygdala. I want to share a concept that was shared with me, and one that I heard someone repeat the concept to, in a very simple way, and how we all have different perceptions. I want to write a letter to all of the folks that I know who are fighting and fighting against simple, honest, real answers. To those who refuse to see whats in front of them, to the “can’t, won’t, but” folks out there. I want to make a plea for Jesus Christ, to those who have been shown, in such a misrepresentative way, what bits and pieces of the Bible say. I want to do so without condemning any organized religion. I want to talk about what it means to love Jesus,and quite frankly, a tiny bit of the anger of the denomination I was primarily raised in, well, that comes through, and I don’t wish to offend anyone. I want to talk to you about health, food, exercise, and a natural way of life, the way God intended.  So much I want to talk with you all about. Where does one start? What do you all want to read about? What are you curious about? Well, friends. Today, you can see, my mind is in a flurry. There is much that wants out, and the avenues for release are scarce at the moment. Until next time my friends…may your thoughts be organized and your days be blessed!

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Delightfully dreary days…

Oh, what a delightfully dreary day it is! Woke up to snow and rain this morning, and could NOT be happier about it! Our air has been acrid with smoke for months. Its fairly warm out, the tomatoes and pumpkins are doing fine in the snow. Such a strange dynamic mountain life has, but OH, so refreshing. I am hanging out in fuzzy pajamas this morning, drinking a wonderfully warm cup of coffee, and watching fall happen out my window. My chest feels light with relief, and my heart is fluttering with joy and uplifting hope. Something about Fall in the mountains that just takes your breath away. The last few days have been outstanding. I battled and battled with a strange depression since I came back from my vacation a few weeks back. It finally broke, and I have relief, a sense of hope and joy, and a renewed direction.

There are a lot of things on my mind. I am having trouble sorting what I would like to talk about today. I have a had a lot of clarity the last few days, and I find hope in a new direction. Well, there is nothing new about it. It has been whispering in my ear, at times, even screaming, for my attention, and I keep blowing it off. I finally heard it this weekend, that path, calling me. It was profound and clear as a bell. I have been pursuing a dream, a mission really, called Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch, for many years now. It’s intention is to help underprivileged community members get the support network they need to not be underprivileged any more. It is designed to teach people how to advocate for themselves, to get and keep a decent job, to get people stable enough to take care of themselves, long term, and to help place unwanted animals into the proper homes for them. It is a Christian environment, built to glorify God, as it was His wish that I do this. It is my intention, to honor His destination for me. I am sure He gets frustrated with me. I get it wrong. A LOT. Still, it is humbling that He trusts me enough to lead me to the underprivileged.

I have searched and searched for what is next. I have kept my eyes and ears peeled for every sign of where I belong. In my depression, I had some huge realizations. I attacked my clutter head first, and man does that feel great. Its still a work in progress, but every single day, the progress makes a difference in my life. I am slowly getting my organization and sense of calm back. I had the epiphany that hoarders are rarely, if ever, successful. Its just too chaotic to get anything done efficiently. It feels nice to be taking back my space.

My son was involved in a community service event this weekend. I went along, and it was a fantastic time. A blast was had by all. He did box city. Box city is a nationwide event, in which participants raise money and then sleep in a box in the park to raise awareness about homelessness. It brought tears of sadness and joy to my eyes. So nice to be with so many people who all hurt for the same kinds of things I hurt for. So nice to be actively trying to make a difference in the things that cause so much hurt, on a basic humanitarian level. I really hate to see ANYONE suffer. There is a bond among the participants at an event like that. A general understanding about the spirit of your neighbor. A safety. Oh….its so amazing, it really is beyond words. I am lucky to live in a community that puts community first, and I watched that blessing unfold beautifully his weekend. I also heard, loud and clear, the voice that has been whispering to me. I knew that it was time to back off from spay/neuter a little. I didn’t resign, I just handed a piece of my responsibility. I did open a lot of space in my life with that one little responsibility though, and two days later, I heard the voice again, this time over a loudspeaker, at a non profit event for the homeless. Duh! One thing I wondered is where I would find the families for my transitional housing program, for my “internships’. I figured the answer would come when it was time to know, so I put it on a back burner, and waited for a simmer. Today, I have answers to both of those questions, and I know where my services are needed next. How I will work with this non profit group to enhance a very beautiful program that already exists, and how they will help my program to grow and thrive. I look forward to contacting them, but I feel a strong call to get my home in the order it belongs before I do anything new. Oh the hope and joy….the anticipation of what may come. What a delightful place it is to be on this oh so dreary Rocky Mountain Fall day! Keeps me focused. Keeps me on task. Keeps me daydreaming about the days to come.  I look forward to the journey.

I want to write a post on basic human rights. Many people don’t even know what they are, so I feel it is important. However, its taking me a minute to wrap my brain around that, so watch for it. Meanwhile, may blessings my friends. May you all feel the joy and renewal of the season. Until next time…..

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Co-dependency

Ahhh…..

What a relief yesterday ended up being. In my crabby post yesterday, I spent a good deal of time complaining about helpless people. I actually had a really great, and enlightening day yesterday. I talk every once in a while about things a therapist has said to me. It is no secret I spent many years in therapy. I am not ashamed. Should I be? I don’t think so. Yesterday was a codependency focused day for me, and I have a lot of insight to share today from it. Bear with me if this gets a little drawn out. I have battled codependency my whole adult life, and I assume most of childhood, although I didn’t recognize it. I tried therapy a few times, but they just gave me meds, some of which made it way worse. No one ever called it codependency, until much later. It was called bi-polar disorder. It started when I was 19. One day I woke up, realized that I had had a hard life, and that I had never once cried about it, and man did that open a floodgate. It took years to get that floodgate closed, but I finally did, with the help of two very special therapists, and Jesus. Oh, yeah, and getting off the tri-cyclic birth control. I would like to take a minute to say something VERY IMPORTANT HERE.  If you are on a tri-cyclic birth control pill, and have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, consider stopping them right away. Most likely that is what is causing your problems. It took me forever to figure it out. I started on a very popular birth control pill when I was 19. I have easy cycles, never a problem, and other than realizing I had bi-polar disorder, nothing significant happened. So, a few years back, I stopped taking birth control, and ALL of the symptoms of bi-polar disorder went away. I mentioned this to a friend, and she made the comment that she noticed she didnt need her bi-polar meds any more either, but hadn’t put it together with stopping birth control pills, but that after thinking about it they directly coincided. Here is my thought on the matter. Bi-polar disorder is when you cycle through abnormally strong emotions really fast. One week, manic happy and productive, one week maybe just blahs, and one week severe depression. A therapist explained to me that people have daily “weather”. Normal weather patterns change a little from day to day, but they never go from blizzard to monsoon. Bi-polar emotions go from blizzard to monsoon in moments flat. I think, and I am not a doc or a research scientist, but here is the logic for me. Tri-cyclic pills are three different hormone levels, then a hormone free week. Lets look at the pregnant lady for a classic example of what messing with hormones will do for a persons emotions. I am guessing, that as the hormone levels change each week, they affect our moods drastically, and mimic bi-polar disorder. If anyone out there is a research scientist, I would love to see this study done. So much bi-polar in the world would likely be solved if not for the hormonal birth control pills. Or, at least, if people were diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, they could try removing the hormones before just accepting that they are mentally unhealthy and spending a life in therapy trying to get control of something that could be avoided altogether, or spending years taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers to offset the effects of the birth control? So, how does this affect my post on co-dependency? Well, in a bi-polar cycle, you are not thinking healthy things, and that just made my co-dependent behaviors that much worse. Not only was I co-dependent, I was emotionally crippled.

So, emotionally crippled, and the young adult emerging from a broken nest, I started my journey. Oh dear. What comes next is twenty very ugly years of me fighting and fighting to regain a sense of the self I lost to that tattered young soul. I did my rebelling and experimenting, I may as well be real about it. I am not ashamed of what I have done in my life. Some of it, I might do differently, given the chance, but I am not ashamed of it. I stumbled through my teens and at a young twenty something, I decided I wanted to be a single mom. Deep in my heart, I knew it was wrong, and I had no idea what was driving this desire. I took it up with the two women I admired the most, and both got excited and said “if anyone can do it, you can”. I went home baffled. I remember thinking “what? No one thinks this is a bad idea? ” I swear I was dying for someone to tell me what a bad idea it was, but nobody did. I went home, got rid of the very great boyfriend I had, and went on a search for the biggest loser I could find, hoping to get a baby, and that the man would leave before it was born (ridiculous, I know, but I was young, dumb, and emotionally compromised). Just to be fair, I did tell the man I wanted a baby, we made the decision to try together, and I did try to make it work with him. As an adult, with a nearly grown child, I understand all of this better now, but it was not till years later when I made a comment to my very “mature” Christian mentor, that I didnt know why I chose to be a singe parent, and he looked at me in utter confusion and said “you don’t?” “I do”. He then proceeded to tell me to look at how the men in my life had treated me, and how, no wonder I would not want one in my child’s life. I have never been the type of person to say that because one or two men hurt me, they are all bad, but clearly my subconscious thought that somewhere, and how incredibly intuitive of my mentor? Understand quickly, that I have been sexually offended by several men in my life, as a child, before I ever even knew what sex was. Again, not my fault, and I am not ashamed of what others did to me that I could not control. People tend to get all sorry for me when I tell them what happened in my childhood. Please don’t. I don’t feel sorry for me. Every single thing that happened was a lesson to turn me into someone who can do wonderful work for God. Everything happens for a reason, and I would not be this girl that I respect and admire today if not for my hardships, and we ALL have hardships. I think yours were as hard as you think mine were. It was ultimately the therapy for my sons special needs that got me where I needed to be. And on that note, you can learn all the healthy behaviors you need to deal with any human being at all, if you just learn what a special needs child requires. Everything about raising a special needs child requires that you look at them as an individual, and treat the behaviors accordingly. If every person in this world was treated the way I was taught to treat special needs kids, holy cow, the world would be an unimaginably healthy and joyful, validated place. The skills transfer to every human beings basic rights. We dont honor the typical human beings rights, but with a special needs child, it is the ONLY way to make progress, and you learn about meeting basic rights. ALL of my relationships have improved since I learned how to validate, give choices, hand over some control of the situation, choose important battles, not ones that don’t matter. Raising an Aspergers kid is where it is at if you want to learn how to relate to people in a way that is healthy for all involved. The skills you learn taking care of special needs kids will last you a lifetime.

So, back to the topic at hand. Co-dependency. Do you know what it is? I thought I did, and there was no way that was me, I was so independent, I couldn’t be co-dependent.  HA! What a fool I was for thinking I knew something. Oh, I knew what co-dependency was alright, I was living a life full of it, but I had no idea that that was what co-dependency actually was. Co-dependency is a deep and intricate “disorder”. Most people don’t even recognize it till a therapist tells them to get the book “Codependent No More”, by Melody Beatty. I know many co-dependents whose lives have been changed by that book. I keep a copy on my shelf too. You open that book, thinking “what can this book possibly offer me?”, and then it changes your life.  http://www.amazon.com/Codependent-No-More-Controlling-Yourself/dp/0894864025

For simplicity sake, here is the Wikipedia definition of co-dependency. It is a good way to sum up the basics for those who are unfamiliar with the disease. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency

All this background is getting me somewhere, I promise.  So, I spent years behaving like a classic co-dependant. I could not for the life of me figure out why people wouldn’t treat me the way I treated them. I was offended when I was told I was controlling people, but the book put it in a perspective that made me understand what that meant. I leaned about “shoulding all over” myself and others because of co-dependency. I learned that taking care of others is NOT the best way to get ones OWN needs met, and I started trying to take care of myself instead of taking care of everyone else. I had to draw some serious lines in the sand, and it felt cold and callous, but also, so liberating to learn how to put myself first for once. What? I am allowed to meet MY OWN needs? That is weird. I spent years and years in therapy, learning healthy patterns and behaviors, crying about how wronged I have been, just feeling defeated, not good enough, a huge failure, but the answer was bi-polar, and meds, which never helped enough to make life feel good. Once I was given a the above book as an assignment for therapy, it all started to change. I put up limits on how much people could ask of me, I started finding little ways to meet my needs first, and I learned how to say NO to people, which was the hardest part and I still struggle with it from time to time, and in those instances, co-dependency rears its ugly head in just a small way, in my life. I am so aware of it now, that I take control and stop the behavior as soon as I recognize it, but I made it through all of yesterday, before I realized that there were a trickle or two of co-dependency in my behavior, leading me to feel those very same feelings I had so long ago when I did not recognize the behaviors.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s never full blown co-dependency ever any more, just little tiny things that build up when I forget to say no to them, and yes to my needs. Yesterday was all about that for me. If you read yesterdays blog, you know I spent a good chunk of my morning arguing with a very clearly unhealthy co-dependent in my life. I was so angry I was shaking, and told her so, but it just kept going, on and on and on, till I couldn’t take it any more. I spent hours trying to convince her that a therapist could help her with the codependency and she should get help, all the while, letting this girls terrible attitude have a profound effect on my cause she wouldn’t do what I kept telling her was right (if you are at all familiar with co-dependency, you are now rolling on the floor in laughter at the irony of that situation). Still didn’t recognize my co-dependent behaviors of the day, but it continues. My best friend in the world is consumed by her tragedies right now, and I get that. When I try to offer a solution, or advice, I get nothing but “i am not ready to start the healing process yet”. I think that is so unfair. She called me the other day, and I was bawling my eyes out. She didn’t even notice, and proceeded to talk about how emotional she was, yet, she is not ready to change anything, just wants me to carry the burden till she is ready, still, is completely unaware of me. These one sided relationships are VERY co-dependent, and I was feeling pretty angry and hurt. She wanted to stop and visit, but I said NO. Oh, here it is, the magic word that saves me from myself. No. such a simple word, but for some, so hard to learn. I have now said NO, to the co-dependent trying to control me,  and to the person I feel is taking a little advantage of me. I have one or two more big issues to face in my co-dependent battle day. I have been on a spay/neuter task force commitee for years. I love it. I love working with the surgered dogs. I am good with the sick, the needy, the scared, and a natural leader at heart, so it is a good position for me, however, I imagine due to a lot of this co-dependency, I tend to get quite insubordinate when my morals are challenged, and I know it is something I have to work on, meanwhile, its still true. Well, the last several events, I have been feeling quite insubordinate, and as though a lot of responsibility and blame that are not my weights to carry, are landing on my shoulders. It has been a huge stressor, because I really love doing it, but it was clearly taking a huge toll on me, by the way my demeanor went all bi-polar every time it came up. I am talking happy to hurricane in seconds flat. That is a great, big, red warning flag for me, when something causes my now under control emotions to do that. Yesterday, while I was taking back my sanity, I said NO to them too. Oh, that one felt so good! I have been bearing that pressure for far too long now, and what a relief it was to say, “I just cannot do what you are asking of me any more”. I spent my entire day lecturing a close relative about being co-dependent, and at the end of the day, I looked back and realize that I spent the entire day using tools out of my bag of healed co-dependency tricks. I may have fought that battle and won, but every once in a while, the behaviors pop up and get me when I am not watching  for them. I spent my day trying to get some peace and renewal, from taking care of everyone else the last two weeks, and at the end of it all, I look back and think, man, I “should have” recognized this all much sooner this time. Oh well, I recognized it and moved forward. I apologized for being so callous and cold, explained where I was coming from, said I still felt the same way but I could have said it much nicer. I didn’t take it back, just apologized for my method of delivery. I was angry and bitter at what felt like, and still does feel like, several very one sided relationships in my life. The difference today, is that I have a choice between letting those one sided relationships make me feel terrible, or balancing out how much time I spend doing for others compared to doing for me, and how much time I spend doing for others who never notice it. Its all about the choices I make. Not how they treat me, how I choose to be treated. All I have to do is simply choose to treat me better and put less priority on others well being, and I will be ok. I have been trying to put me first, for some time now, and if you follow in the posts, you know that, but always, someone “needs” something from me, and my needs get put off till tomorrow, and tomorrow, there is always something, and my needs just keep getting pushed back further and further, till I have a day like yesterday, where I lock myself in the house and refuse to talk to anyone. I have to be ok with telling someone that I cant listen to her cry today, or that I am happy to listen and understand, but I need a turn to cry too.  There are lots of therapists in this valley. They get paid to do what I do as a co-dependent, and quite frankly, its ok for me to turn folks away or offer a good therapists number if I cant carry their burden that day. Oh so hard to remember that I can say no to the people I love, and that they will still love me, and they will enjoy me more if I take the time to keep me healthy. Learning to say no when someone says they need me has been incredibly difficult, but I am getting it. Yesterady, I said no in a big way to the things that were sapping the energy from me and wearing me down. It was refreshing and uplifting, and I even found time to focus on my Bible study.

A little while back, I started a womens Bible study group on facebook. The first study we chose was on faith. Funny, cause I have strong, very strong, faith. This last couple months though, my faith has been weak. I know He is here with me, but I feel disspaointed in the lack of assitance He is offering me. I had my little tantrum, but then, as I was taking back my peace, I realized in one very brightly lit moment, that I knew I wold be attacked when I started the Bible study, I knew my faith was struggling, but that it would be ok, but it never, ever occurred to me till yesterday, when I finally could see clearly again, that my faith was being attacked because I started a womens Bible study on FAITH of all things. That one made me laugh pretty hard too. I apologized to my good Father, for being such a spoiled little brat, and asked Him to protect my faith while I lead these women through the study. At the end of the day, I looked back, realized I had broken the co-dependent patterns I hadn’t even realized that I was allowing again, figured out why I was having issues with God, and went to bed peaceful, uplifted, hopeful, and spiritually healthy again. Oh what a day it was. Today, I am armed with a new perspective, and I am looking forward to what the day might bring. I am looking forward to continued healing and growth. I wish you all many blessings on your journey. Until next time my friends…

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Spay/Neuter satisfaction

WooHoo! With two vets today, we managed to spay and neuter a hundred and one animals. We worked hard, it was hot, and everyone was fighting the crabbiness that sets in when heat swelters around you for so many days on end, but we kept a generally positive attitude, through all of the challenges that come with organizing an event like this. Lets face it, you cannot fix that many animals in one day without a few challenges, and today was particularly challenging, but oh man, it is oh so rewarding to go home and think of all the animals that we helped today. Their people are so gracious, most of the time. I could go on and on about my feelings about the different types of pet owners, but maybe not today. What I will say today though, is that I am particularly thankful for pet owners who are patient and compassionate. I am thankful for the ones who are happy to help in any way they can, but I am especially thankful for the ones who are happy to sit there as long as their pet needs to sit. Some people are pulling and tugging their doped up dogs across the floor trying to force their legs to work despite the Ketamine. Some people insist that there is just no way their dog can ride in the front of the car on the way home, some insist all kinds of weird stuff. but most are happy to learn, have questions, want to know what their dogs are going through, and are patient and kind. Those are my very favorite people! Most are thankful. Most are grateful. Most go away with a smile and a gracious thank you. Some do not, but it makes the rest so much easier to appreciate. I love when it feels good to thank them for coming. I love knowing how much difference we made today. I have my hang ups, but this is neither the time nor the place. I do look forward to being in charge of my own stuff in the future more often. The cancer benefit I did for my girl, well, after some time pondering on it, I became blatantly aware of of how generous this community is, and how much I am capable of, and I look forward to being able to pull off events that are as organized at that one was.   One thing I am very pleased about is my wonderful set of volunteers. I have managed to establish a very dependable set of volunteers, who know what they are supposed to be doing and where they belong.  It took years to do, but I am proud of them. I realized that it was a product of being able to weed out the names that are on every volunteer list and call them first for every event. I invited one of them to join the committee tonight. I need help, and that is all there is to it.  Any way you look at it, todays event was fabulous, and I walked away with a great sense of satisfaction, and a strong desire to come home and work on my own non profit programs. Tomorrow.

Today, I am beat. I am tired. I have nothing very sensible to say. I am hot and sticky and I am replaying the event over and over in my head. I have a bunch of details I am hung up on and I really should be writing in my journal so I can put them behind me. Some of the negatives of the event are weighing heavy on me and I need to find a productive way to process them and decide what to do with them. Do I file them away, and continue, or do I remember them, move on in my life, and give this project to someone else? I am pretty sure I am not ready to move on yet. I really love this job. Even on a volunteer basis, I cannot imagine not getting to be in there, recovering all those dogs. It is all worth it for the ten hours I spend recovering and caring for incapacitated dogs. I would pay someone to let me do that…so, I can’t imagine walking away from this opportunity, so I need to figure out how to deal.

I am very thrilled that this event has passed. Some basic clean up stuff tomorrow, return coffee pots, the van, meds, etc. I am ready to wrap it up and call it done, and move forward with this very short, hot summer. I look forward to going to see my mom, but now that the event has passed, its a mere week and a half away, and wow! That is quick. I have a lot to do before I go. Especially if I want to come back and find a ranch asap. All of a sudden my brain is flooded with a whole new series of thoughts. I cannot wait to see my mom. I am looking forward to the fact that we have nothing planned. I love the idea of sitting next to her pond and putting my feet up while the dogs romp and play, and of course, my son will love it in grammas big ole backyard, with trees he can climb and a pond he can play in. Oh it will be so relaxing. No running around, no tourism, just chillin at moms! yay! I love that my mother and I have reached that wonderful place. It takes some mom/daughter teams a lifetime. Some never master it, but my mom…hands down my best friend! It was not so long ago that that was not true. I remember very clearly when my therapist looked at me and said “Oh, it’s always mom’s fault”. She was very condescending. I doubt she meant to be, but wether she was going through something of her own, or just calling it like it is, it stung. She was partially right, and partially wrong. Some stuff simply was moms fault. The big difference between then and now, is that I have learned that mom worked with the tools she had, just like every other person on the planet, and well, what else can I say? Can’t really not forgive a person for anything when you realize that. She did the best she could. She did all she knew how, and even through her failures, she still only wanted what was best for us, even if she didn’t know how to get it or even what it was. I realize now that she never loved anyone like she loved her children, just like every mother. I realize she had a shame platform, much like my own, and as I healed mine, I saw hers unfold in front of me and every “mistake” I ever thought she made, made some sort of sense. I realized that I took stuff personal that she was not even aware she was doing, and now, I realize its not personal, and ask her if it is a behavior she is aware of. It is lovely! We are honest and candid with each other, on a deep and trusting level, for the first time ever, and in the last five years. It makes me feel joyous inside! I look forward to going home, to say the least, but really only want to see my mom. I suppose I have friends who will be angry, or have hurt feelings, if I don’t call them. I will try my best to be a good friend, but I am really going to see mom. She is sick, and feels like crap. Aside from the fact that my brother lives in Wisconsin, neither my brother or sister is really a “nurturer” type. There are things that would help her, that she just doesn’t have the energy to do for herself, and I can run some errands for her, pick up some health food supplements, you know simple stuff. Help with laundry, dinner, and some vacuuming. Whatever I can help with will make me happy, even if it seems like menial tasks, because I know how exhausting the menial can be when you are broken.

Ok, I think my brain is drained. I need to go wash off this sticky. My boys almost asleep, mutts are fed and pottied, and I think it is safe to hop in the shower and forget about it for a minute. Many blessings, my friends.

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Chatty Kathy

Hello and good morning my friends. Miss chatty Kathy at your service, and, once again, I have nothing in particular to write about, but a strong desire to do so anyway. You poor unsuspecting souls are in for one “chatty Kathy” post. I spent some time in my journal, and with my lists last night. It felt good to get my brain unclogged, but still, I tossed and turned all night. It has been quite some time since I have struggled with insomnia, but this week has been killer. It is really a good thing we don’t have anything going on in the mornings, or I might be pretty miserable right now. Always thankful for small blessings, I am feeling pretty grateful for my lack of early appointments this week. Mom’s lyme is kicking her butt, but she is making an appointment with a specialist. I am also thankful for that blessing, and it doesn’t seem like a small blessing at all, rather a large, in your face blessing. Just a few days ago I was under the impression that she would go to a specialist as a last case resort, but she feels so crappy she is going. THANK YOU LORD!

I am going home to see her in August. I have not been home in almost twelve years, and it will be interesting, to say the least. Ugh! August in South Dakota! Its hot enough for me here, much less going back to SD during their hottest month. I do hope to see a killer thunderstorm while I am there. Don’t get me wrong, the storms here are precious in their own rite, but nothing compares to a good old midwestern thunderstorm, where the lightning cracks down hard in your backyard, lights up the whole sky, and causes you to take pause for just a moment at the awesomeness of its power.

I think smoothies are on the itinerary for today. It is hot out. A scorcher. This is the first year ever that I have read the Farmers Almanac, and actually paid attention to see if it was accurate. So far, right on the mark. Today is going to be a fabulous day, and tomorrow will be even better. Before I know it, the weekend will have come and gone, in an oh so rewarding and productive way, and I think, that just maybe, next week might slow down a teeny for me. I anticipate next week being gloriously slow. I hope that it is so slow, that I am able to garden, clean, pack, and craft every single day. THAT would be a fabulous week for me. I think TaeKwonDo is the only thing we have going next week, and well, I love that!

It is funny how most parents dread their child driving. I am looking forward to it, but, I mostly trust my child. Rules matter to him, and he makes good decisions when it comes down to the stuff that really matters. I cannot wait until he is old enough to drive. We are so close to that, and I will start teaching him as soon as we find our ranch. I just think it does so much for their independence, It will be fabulous when he can drive himself to his classes, run to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, do some of the little tasks that distract me all day long, but also, I look forward to him being able to go pick up his best friend, and go to the movies, or go fishing. My child loves Jesus so much, he always wants to make Him happy. He is vehemently opposed to alcohol and drugs, to a point of fault when it comes to judging others, but I would rather have him judge others harshly, than accept them and join in their escapades, so we will work on judgement slowly. Right now I see it as a protective mechanism. As long as he thinks “druggies” are people he doesn’t want to hang out with, then I will let him feel that way. I will, some day, have to get through to him that people are just doing what they have the tools for, and that Jesus is the only one who has a right to judge. He gets that most of the time. In a conversation about some kids bullying him, I explain a little about the parents, and tell him that maybe some day we can teach them about healthy life skills at the Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch, and he says to me, “But mom, we have to treat them like everyone else, we can’t be mean just because they bullied me”. He gets it. I love that child so much. So much wisdom in such an innocent little boy. My son has a heart to teach children. He loves to teach in the childrens church on Sundays, and I have a feeling he will find himself teaching kids martial arts also. It warms my heart to see the way he enjoys leading children. He says he wants to be a pastor or a scientist. I can see him being a youth pastor or a science teacher. Even as a white belt with a love for his art, I see him gently correcting kids younger than him with higher ranks. He smiles so softly and gently corrects them. It is beautiful to watch. When he turns sixteen, he can do a leadership class in TaeKwonDo, and I believe he will be as excited about it as he is with every other teaching opportunity. Now that I think about it, his therapist has told me many times that she sends us kids that she thinks my son can socialize. That sounds horribly mechanical, rude, and a little like a dog handling technique. It just is what it is. One aspergers kid teaching another how to hang out socially. They do it very differently than the average children do. Its a lot more sitting next to each other doing their own thing and sharing their progress with their friend, than enjoying the same activity together. Often, one has a book and the other a computer, or both are sitting all cuddled up on the couch with their laptops playing different games, and trading with the other when they need help. Its pretty adorable. The most precious thing is seeing these kids learn to touch and be close. That is a skill that every one of them lacks. My son is good at it for some reason, and when the other kids learn to trust him, they want him to be touching or nearly touching them, quite often. I can only assume that this is because of their sensory differences and the lack of touch most of them have allowed in their lives. Finding someone you feel safe enough with to have that touch trust is huge when you have never had it before. I read that traumatized babies have trouble making a certain bond. I tried the experiment at home with kids I knew that were both PTSD children, and non traumatized kids. What I found was that the PTSD kids, when I gently rubbed their chins, opened their mouths and leaned into that gentle chin caress like they were starving for it. Typical, non traumatized children barely noticed the act of chin caressing, and it was like a normal behavior for them. Not one of them leaned into it, or even really showed a reaction at all. Touch is a HUGE part of our safety net. It is something we all need from infancy to death. For some of these kids, it feels very different to them than to the average person. It is a hard need for some of them to get met, and it is amazing to see my son work around it.

Well, beads are sorted and calling to me…so off I go! I hope you all have a lovely day!

 

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Distractions

Always a new distraction. So much on my mind. I used to make lists. Every single night before bed I made at least one, sometimes several, lists for the following day. I had a routine, got up early, long before anyone else, and got started on my list. My lists included everything, including the basic, mundane, daily tasks. I just find I am so much more clear headed and focused, and so much more productive, when I have it all on a list and don’t have to file it in my brain. I don’t swirl over the same thoughts over and over again. I just get one with the list. My lists are unattainable, more than one person could accomplish in a day, but whatever doesn’t get crossed off that day goes on that nights list for the following day. Well, when I hurt my back, this habit abruptly left me, as I was spending twenty hours a day in bed, and unable to complete the simplest of tasks on my own. Now, I have been back to life for a couple weeks, my pain is minimal, and I am fully functional. The problem with that is that my sleep schedule is inside out and upside down, there is NO sense of routine whatsoever, and even when I can get myself to make a list, I never force myself to get up early and follow through. I wish that summer was a more relaxing time. I am finding that heat really takes a toll on me like never before, and i hope I outgrow that in some “seven year cycle”. I have a pounding headache. I even resorted to headache meds, which I rarely do unless I just can’t hack it, but this is a full blown migraine. I am struggling with a very strange dynamic, of being highly impatient to find my ranch and move forward, but it seems like every day something forces me to puch it back a minute, and I am for some odd reason, completely content with that. Its as if I know it is here so I am willing to accept that and take my time, start looking when it feels right. I know we are so incredibly close to that point, so I am just ok waiting for it, and all of my plans now, include a move. Like planting grape vines in fifty gallon containers so they can be moved. Summer is so full of distractions. Today, I daydreamed about how great it would be to bundle up in winter clothes and play in the snow, but I think it was that part of me that appreciates the lack of distractions in the winter. I can’t focus! I started a Bible study, and got distracted. I have spay/neuter coming up, hubby surprises me with an unexpected trip home that always throws a tiny monkey wrench in things. I just feel like around every corner is a distraction. Something gets us out and about every day. The problem here is that I don’t want to be out and about every day. I want to spend a little time with my reclusive nature, get myself back on track. I want to spend some time in my journal, and in my crafts and that wonderful bounty of material I have in there. I have a plethora of beads that I just spent days sorting, and I want to bead like a crazy lady. My house is messy, oh so messy. I started packing some stuff we most certainly should not need before we move, even if it is three months from now, and it may be. I have small piles of stuff laying around everywhere, and every room seems so messy. It won’t take long to clean any of it, but focus…everything is so disrupted. i harvested my first batch of raspberries for the season tonight. Very pleasing. I watch every single days for cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and squash. I am ready for harvest and preserve time. I am so looking forward to veggies I grew. They are always so much better.

I am so distractable these days. I don’t know how to make summer slow down for a minute. I can’t seem to get my sleep patterns into an efficient schedule, and that keeps me from doing anything efficiently. I am longing for a few days of Fall. I would love a slight chill in the air, and a good reason to say no to all of the endless summer activity, and yes to home. I love it when I can smell the dew rolling in off the mountains late at night, a slight breeze in the air, and thick with the scent of pine forest. As much as I know that any rancher reading this will shake their head at me, I love the sound of the coyotes talking to each other in the distance at night. I could spend days inside my head, talking about all the little thoughts, the things I am thankful for, the responsibilities I need to face, the lists I need to make and follow through on. I have a ton of hopes, dreams, wishes, and hangups just looming in the front of my brain like a jumble of chaos trying to find some sense of reason.

I have a sense of contentment, like one of these days will be free to regroup, darling, meanwhile, just keep doing what you gotta do and all will be well. I just keep moving forward but I feel as though the sense of longing has been fulfilled. I feel as though it is here, I just gotta take it easy and wait for it, because when it really gets here it will be a whirlwind.

DO you see how distractable I am? Like a child with full blown ADHD, every thought is as prevalent as the last and the next. I just long for focus, and a period of routine. I need to put all of these distractions aside and focus on the real goals here. I need to get back in site of my path, and keep moving forward….Oh, my friends…wish my luck finding my routine again! Until next time, God Bless!

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The time has come…

The time has come for so many things…

I struggle to write this week. I am a positive person. I don’t dwell on the negatives, and I see the best in the darkest of situations. That is why I struggle to write. The times we live in have brought me to a harsh realization that the end of life as we know it is here. I don’t jump on Y2K or 2012 bandwagons. I have never had a doomsayer attitude, but I feel a sense of heaviness as we move into this period. It is a bittersweet feeling, as I also feel a sense of relief that Jesus will do a great job with the Earth, however, I had a scare today that shook me a little. I have been in this place where I am desperately aware of how bad our food source has become, I am aware of the distinct changes in the weather patterns and the amount of disease around me is at an all time high. I have never known so many people with so many mysterious illnesses. I am blatantly aware of the police state we are currently living in (although most Americans have no idea that we are in this place), and I am growing more conscious daily of the “revelations” around me. I want to discuss all of this, yet how do I, for fear of being labeled a doomsayer.

The time has come for Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch. It is here and we are so close to being ready to get started on that adventure. The savings account is almost to a place that allows us to step outside of our small, restrictive, but owned home, and into a rental that is going to cost us a WHOLE LOT more than our current home does. An overwhelming, intimidating, amount. I pray for the perfect rental, that has what we need to do the work that God has in mind for us. I pray that I can stay focused on His will and not get to caught up in my own excitement. Oh, how I pray, that He sees horses in my life! I am so excited about the prospect of having a huge garden and some chickens next spring! I am watching my little container garden grow thinking of what I can do with a real chuck of garden. Oh the daydreams I have for a garden when we buy a ranch. Meanwhile, I will be happy to care for someone elses ground as it exists for a while.

The time has come for me to get my self esteem up off the floor and start selling some of my homemade goods. People like them and my self esteem is the only thing holding me back.

The time has come for me to do the work that was intended of me. I see my self from a very different perspective now. I see some of my special qualities coming out, when it is happening. I see the skills He has given me, and the gifts and blessings, on a daily basis. I realize that He takes my dear little friends cancer, and uses it for good in so many lives, and in my life, He used it to show me how much I am capable of…it was quite shocking, still is, and I can see clearly several lessons in it. He used it to show me some of the more important things. Things that I know, but took for granted, like finding time to visit a friend. Realizing that money doesn’t mean ANYTHING in the grand scheme of things, and learning that God blesses the poor. Grasping that concept in a new way. I felt led to start a Womens Bible study, and while nothing profound has happened, I feel like there are several women who are pretty active in the group, which indicates to me that there was a need. I think the gift that surprises me the most is the profound ability to work with kids. Traumatized ones especially. I love kids, always have, but went through a brief period where I was convinced I didnt really care for them. I find it ironic that I now feel compelled to step into almost any situation to soothe a hurting child, parents present or not. I have no problem walking right up, and looking some kid in the face and saying,  “Wow, you seem really frustrated, is there anything I can do to help, or can you see what you are doing to your mom? Try to use your good kid manners for ten more minutes while she gets through the store K?”  Kids just need to be talked to a certain way. We don’t give them enough credit for their ability to make decisions and choices, and we give them way to much credit as far as being resilient. They really do harbor a lot of hurts that we don’t acknowledge from childhood, we just don’t see the results till adulthood, at which time it can be very hard to fix. I find myself consoling upset children in the strangest of places, and when it works, parents look at me like who are you?

It is an odd feeling, but if I made one moment of that child’s life make sense, if only for that moment, I am happy. I never, ever envisioned myself to grow up to be a person whose entire life would be to work with traumatized people and animals and help them heal themselves. Crazy wild blessing. So flattering and humbling all at once. What a gift! I have also learned that parents are only working with the tools that they have, and when I see a parent misbehaving, I have learned to remember that little mantra, and realize they are probably doing a better job than their own parents did with them. We all work with the tools we have. I find that working with traumatized children is very much like working with traumatized animals. We need to move slow, be un-intimidating, but firm and strong. We need to ask their permission and wait for it to be granted to move forward. This can really take a long time sometimes, and other times it comes so fast. The biggest thing the two have in common is that when you “train dogs” to be successful, you don’t really train the dog, you train the handler what kind of body language to use, what kind of control to exhibit and when to let the dog have control. The same holds true for parenting training. You aren’t fixing the kid, you are giving the parents the tools the kids need to thrive, to learn to process and express emotion rather than act out for lack of better way s to express their “pain”. Both animals and children will act out when they do not have a calm alpha. Children need control. Just like adults, they need to know they have some control over their world. They need consequences that fit the “crime”, not punishment. They need to be validated, and told that their feelings are valid and matter, with no ‘but’ attached. Children need to know that they are respected to learn what respect is. They need to make mistakes to learn how to make good choices, that is the reason they are given parents for 18 years of guidance, after all. Screaming at your child and sending him to his room wont fix it, but having a good, sit down one on one discussion about how a particular behavior makes you feel, and finding consequences that fit naturally will stick with them for a lifetime.

How on earth did I get on that tangent? I was thinking about a girl whom I helped the other day. I was at a therapists office. She is the person whom I am licensed under, and I was in her waiting room, when a little girl came in a kicking and screaming and saying NO NO I DON’T WANNA TELL. Her dad kept saying, you wont be in trouble…she just kept screaming louder and louder. After a few minutes, I cautiously stepped out and said something to the effect of I know I am crossing a line here but can I try something. Her dad looked at me like “be my guest”. I opened the conversation with the little girl by asking her if I could ask her a question. She said yes but kept crying. I asked her if she was feeling scared to tell the therapist something. She told me she was and I asked her why. I listened to her answer, she had quit crying before I asked my second question. I got her answers, and reassured her that I could totally understand why she would care so much about what therapist would think. We used names of course, but for privacy, that seems inappropriate here. I also told her, hey, you know what? I have known therapist for almost thirteen years, since my boy was smaller than her, and he was actually bigger than me now and he still loved to come here, and I know a secret about her. She doesn’t get mad at kids. not ever. she helps them understand why they are feeling the way they feel, but she doesn’t even know how to get mad at a kid. By this time the girl was up, playing, smiling, climbing and ready to be there. I told her if she had an more concerns she could come find me, and I went and sat in peace and thought about what had just happened. Her dad seemed so incredibly grateful. I am certain that I made a difference in their day. I have no choice but to thank God for a gift that one day not so long ago I would have sworn I would never have. I recall sitting in Church thinking, Oh please don’t call me to the daycare. I really don’t have much tolerance for kids. Oh how wrong I was. Oh how funny God is!

Hmmm, I started todays post, with an overflowing heart. I have been longing to write for so long, but fear that the end times concerns within me would reflect as negative thinking has held me back. I open up this blog every day planning to write, and cannot  make myself do it. Today, it all comes gushing out. had no intention of talking about kids, at any point in the day did I plan to write about children, or gifts, and yet, here I sit, spilling it all over the keyboard.

A close family member has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, another very close friend, like a nephew, got Kawasaki disease last week. Two girlfriends have gut health issues far worse than mine, and one close friend is allergic to everything, including her own sweat. Not literally, but when she gets hot, her whole body gets covered in purple hives…big, itchy ones. The food source is tainted, and we are all getting sick because of it. I cannot wait until my garden veggies come to fruition. I hate buying veggies in the tore any more, and I rarely crave meat. I am not a vegetarian by any means, i just don’t require a lot of meat for my own tastes. I prefer veggies, and boiled eggs and cheese for protein. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good steak, but they are so heavy and hard for my body to process, that my cravings for them are few and far between. I have found that my body readily accepts soups, any time of day. I assume that is because they are so broken down that I don’t have to work hard to digest it.

I found a great source for beads on the internet and have been on a crafting kick. I am so incredibly thankful to be released from that rest, and creativity is flowing through my veins like the woman I once knew. Now if this darned heat would just break! Gardening is also at the top of my priority list, as well as making sure we have a good “nest egg” ready before we jump into this ranching business.

I could not be more thrilled at the notion of having a foster child. Of giving stability, safety, and comfort, to a child who does not know those things. Oh how I long for that day we get our first foster child. I will cry myself to sleep with tears of gratitude that first night. I have a spay/neuter event that I have not focused enough on, and I am going to be hustling this week to get my volunteers and food put together…

Well, my friends, I suppose I have stolen enough of your time today. Have a blessed day…

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Ahhh…sweet relief!

Relief…where do I begin? I woke up this morning, in a strange town, in a strange bed, with pillows taking the place of my husband. Thankfully, I felt well enough to go on my adventure, but today was the first day I had no pain and swelling was minimal. I am blatantly aware of little blessings today, and the relief that they bring. It was a HUGE relief to wake up this morning with no pain and minimal swelling in my face! Yay for eating what I wanted to today! It was nice to not be constantly bothered by the throbbing in my face!

Our drive was uneventful and nice. We made it to our destination in great time, and had a lovely time. My roomie was a great person to “bunk” with, and it was all around pleasurable. Our day was a smashing success, despite little challenges all day long, and we managed to spay and neuter over a hundred and twenty animals. I would say that most certainly falls into the relief category! The clients were awesome today, no impatient pet parents trying to tug their still anesthetized dogs off the floor in an effort to unsuccessfully convince me that they are ready to go home. I LOVE patient pet people!

As concerned as I am about the lack of precipitation this winter, it snowed today. Quite a bit. We got so many phone calls and text messages telling us that is was nasty out, and the roads were twenty five mile an hour road conditions all the way home. They were a little disturbing. Go figure, it waits till I am out of town to snow a bunch, and now I have to drive back in a seventy something van that really needs to be replaced, and being a non-profit, we just don’t have the money, so we drive it till it dies…hopefully not in a snowstorm! One of these days, maybe we will be blessed with a donor…for now, we just keep praying we make it to the next event, and home! So, we drearily heave our exhausted bodies into this van, unenthusiastic about the dreaded drive home through the treacherous storm. It’s gonna be a long night! We have what should be a three and half hour drive ahead of us, but through weather predictions, and in this ragged old beast of a van, we are looking at a six or seven hour night, minimum! Oh my! Imagine our relief when we found the roads to be dry and clear all the way home! Twenty three miles out, we had to get off the interstate, and drive local roads…at which point the concern became apparent. There must have been an inch of ice under that snow! Still, we are tired, cold, hungry, and still have to drop off the van at the storage unit, pick up coordinators car, drive to her house, start my car, scrape my windows, wait for it to warm up, and drive another fifteen miles on those icy roads to get to the comfort of my home.

Ahhh…familiar roads. I could drive them blindfolded…such a relief! The light pollution reflecting off the newly fallen snow, was just enough to highlight the range that reminds me I am home, and at this point all I can think about is greeting my husband in a few short minutes, and kissing my boy goodnight. I spend the next half hour winding my way through the frozen streets, slipping and sliding through every take off from stop. These roads are awful! Thank God I have my family, and wonderful pets to daydream about, while my eyes are riveted on every little obstacle on the road between them and I. The only thing that matters is that I get to them, and it is relieving to know that they are only moments away!

Now you must know that the sweet relief of pulling into my driveway was so overwhelming that I had my door open, and was stepping out of the car, before I realized that I needed to gather my belongings, and shut off the car. I pulled my foot back in, gathered my things all up in one big armed trip, and trudged my way through the snow to my freshly shoveled sidewalk. I entered my home to find a pack of mutts so excited to see me that I could not find a place to set my bags. My husband could not get near me. That statement is not fair, unless you know that I have well mannered dogs, who know that I am going to take my jacket off and put my keys, purse, mail, and whatever else I may be carrying, down before they get attention. While they may follow me around the house until they get my attention, the rarely get in my space before I have room for them. You must also realize, that while they most certainly recognize my husband as the dominant male in the house, I am the dog handler, and the one whom they are with all day every day. It was me who trained them, and it is primarily me who potties, feeds, and exercises them. I am their pack alpha, and I left them for almost a full 36 hours. I swear they thought I was never coming back! Even my two cats are willing to sleep snuggled up in the same vicinity as the mutts in an effort to grab a miniscule piece of my attention. All I want to do is kiss my husband and get out of those snowy wet clothes. Hours later, I am still chilled to the bone, and I am about to revisit that hot cocoa craze I have been in. The guys did not destroy my house (they didn’t do dishes either, but who cares, I am just happy to have them), I got my kiss, got out of those snowy, wet and cold jeans, and into something much more cozy and comfortable, got another kiss from my hubby, and went to find my boy for a goodnight kiss too… Until tonight, I am not sure I realized how much I appreciate a kiss from the ones whom I truly deeply love.

Pets sufficiently appeased…for the most part, hubby off to work now, which is ok. The cold is outside, and I am in. All is well. I am going to snuggle down into my cozy warm bed, thank God for the wonderful outpouring of relief on my day, and sink into the sweetest relief of all…pure, delightful, in my own bed, with my own pillows, best kind of restful, oblivious sleep.  Sweet dreams, my friends, and may you all enjoy the kind of deep slumber that I anticipate for myself on this ever so blessed evening.