Annie and Geordie

Annie and Geordie
Christmas Eve 2009

Snow days...Thinking days.

Posted by Annie on 3:33 PM in , , , , , , , ,
Today has been a day of off and on snow. In fact, this morning, the ground was covered, then the snow melted and the ground is waiting to be covered again by the fine, but plentiful snowflakes falling outside.
Days like today are gray, some would call them gloomy, cold and shadowy. I like them. In fact, I like them a lot. In a pioneering type spirit, days like this make me want to give up any resistance and "think." Lord knows there's plenty to think about! I could stay close to home with my thoughts, I could extend my thoughts to others in prayer, I could think about my country or even the world at large. Will I journal these thoughts? Probably not. I think I like the idea of my thoughts falling away like the snowflakes today. I don't have any agenda...just my usual cup of coffee and an amazingly warm robe. I looked a little Tibetan and had to laugh at myself going to the mailbox. I had on fur boots, a fur hat, purple gloves and an amazing hot pink plush robe that comes down to my calves. I think any Tibetan would like that! I felt strangely proud and wondered if my attachment to the Tibetan people and their plight is because I was once a Tibetan woman from Lhasa in another life. I pray for that culture every day.
Now see? I just let my mind do all sorts of fun things...all because of a trip to the mailbox. It's EASY to let your mind comfort you, surprise you, take you places afar, or just let thoughts ramble on and on and ponder. Some of our best ideas, most comforting reassurances and relaxing times are when we allow ourselves to just "be." No plans, no attachments to the clock, keeping things that press us at bay and enjoying the time that is "now."
Whether it is snowing or not where you live, take a snow day in your mind! Enjoy all the things your heart would love to share with you.
As for me, I have a warm coffee mug/hand warmer that beckons and wonderful thoughts to be thunk.
I wish for you amazing thoughts to be thunk as well!
Till next time!

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FEAR is Not Your Friend! My Thoughts on Propelling to a Happier Life

Posted by Annie on 2:41 AM in , , , , , , ,
I have been taking a LOT of time away from my blog, as a friend pointed out to me this evening. I decided that I would share with you that I have been on a deep, sometimes happy, sometimes very difficult journey with MYSELF.
There have been a lot of things in "life" that I just don't understand right now. The economy, too much political jabbering, negativity ALL around and it has held me captive.
Another person in my life, who has (my words) mentored me with kindness, understanding and most of all, had patience when I kept asking the same thing over and over and didn't realize it, summed it all up in an impromptu discussion on her radio show last night.
FEAR is driving so many of us in our decisions, dashing our hopes and dreams, leaving us emotionally exhausted, if not devastated and I'm not sure we even know that it's happening.
We feed ourselves trying to be "in the know" on news that is never good, we don't look closely enough at ourselves to really even know who we are. We all have God-given gifts and talents that FEAR prevents us from using. Sometimes fear takes the gifts that we ARE using and we convince ourselves of all sorts---not good enough, too overwhelmed with other issues, too this, too that--always an excuse.
My friend calls money "PAPER." She is right. We DO have to have "paper" to get by. We do have to have "paper" to even do things we enjoy when we can. But lack of paper for most of us allows fear to completely take over and we truly lose sight of ourselves and all the wonderful things we are on this earth to accomplish.
"Fear," as though it were an entity, will tell you that you can't afford this or that, you will never get out of debt, you will never find that dream job---AND YOU WON'T with that attitude! Negative, fear inducing self-talk is not your friend.
I'm thinking we should go back to basics here. Take the rubber band approach. When you find yourself thinking negatively, discipline yourself HARD, change the way you're thinking and MANIFEST GOOD, POSITIVE THOUGHTS! "Manifestation" is a big part of what I have learned from my friend in Arizona. She is patient, she has a knowing way about her that has allowed me to stumble, fall, and hit rock bottom in order that I might look UP and see that it's the thought process I have been using that will never manifest things in the way I once did. She has had FAITH in me, not "feared' for me. She has encouraged me to address "what is holding me back" and it boils down to a four letter word-FEAR. So, how much does it cost to VISUALIZE yourself in that dream job? A new home? Having the education you always wanted? Zilch! But the power in your thoughts MANIFESTS the positive,if allowed and catapults you to a place that you can see results by "thinking" your way there---SEEING yourself in better situations, believing that you ARE in the life situation that you want to be.
Banishing fear in this day and time just might be the ticket, certainly to an emotionally healthy "you" and we should all decide to banish fear and GO FOR WHAT WE WANT. As a people, I can't help believing that so many things would turn around. Do we REALLY need "government" to tell us what we are capable of? Lawyers to tell us if our dreams are legal? NO! We need healthy attitudes that will turn our lives around and we will be HAPPY! How's that for something you don't hear about so much anymore? "Happiness!" Novel! If we don't dwell on how to "fix" the negatives in our lives, accept that they are there, but do not let them dominate us, we all can be on a path with a MUCH brighter tomorrow. I believe that with all my heart...and hope you will too.
Till next time,

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New Year, New Look, New Outlook...

Posted by Annie on 4:58 AM in , , , , ,
It's now January 7, 2010...wow. Already a week into the new year and I'm still not caught up from losing an hour last spring for daylight saving time!
Christmas has come and gone, all the ornaments and Christmas items are tucked back into the attic, waiting for another year.
All the tv commercials at bombarding us with weight loss solutions, giving up smoking, new ways to pile up our clothes...errrr..I mean exercise equipment and any number of things they can hit us with regarding resolutions. I always resolve not to make resolutions. I simply just proceed forward into the new year with a feeling of hope, chance, opportunity and what life has to throw at me. I don't feel this year that I went kicking and screaming to leave 2009. I was ready to put the that baby to bed. Now that it's truly in the rear view mirror, I couldn't be happier!
I typically use this fresh start as a time of reflection on things I do want to accomplish, and certain goals I'd really like to achieve and imagine what might be ahead. However to RESOLVE to do anything is another matter entirely. I can bet ten dollars to a doughnut that if I do, they'll never happen! Murphy's law makes sure of that.
I kind of like the element of surprise as well. For example, I had not planned on searching out a new look for my blog, but I found one that suited me, so I've spent the past couple of hours toying around with gadgets, widgets and all sorts. It has been fun to refresh the page.
If I take a look at it symbolically, refreshing the page is a good thing! There is a new perspective, a new approach and something fresh. Those things are exciting.
I can also count blessings as I am making these seemingly insignificant changes to a little bitty blog. I write because it makes me feel good. I write because I can. The past year didn't afford me the time to devote as I had the year before, so I decided that I'll be focusing on more posts this year. I'm sure I'll ponder a variety of topics and of course, there will always be humor peppered somewhere in anything I write! I have to have that.
We can look at the new year, (in fact, a whole new decade, if you can believe it) as a time for new approaches...even to old, leftover issues from the previous year. Knocking a layer of dust off of the mundane might allow a little sunshine to hit the dark places so that new thoughts and ideas can emerge. I'm preaching to myself here! I love it!
So, I've spiffed up my blog page a little, added myself some music that I hope you too will enjoy and will be looking for fun things you can do while you visit! (I had a pinball machine that ROCKED posted earlier, but it kept playing a crazy Febreez (or however you spell it) commercial that irritated me, so I deleted it. I'll find something else to play with. I like bubble pop games a lot-but I was a little bummed that the pinball had to go.
There's the way I'll look at my new year and new decade. Some things will remain the same, some will be freshened up a bit and some things will simply have to go. It's all about change, accepting what must be changed and continuing to find the things that "work." I think I'll take my own words under advisement! Now to get to my closet that I've GOT to get cleaned out! (See? There's just no time for me to be making resolutions!)
Here's wishing you ALL the very best that 2010 has to offer and I'm glad you stopped by. Come by often, bring up topics, throw caution to the wind and choose a "reduce pressure" year! I'll talk about what's on my mind...and you can too! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Make it a great one!
Till next time,

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And They Knelt Down At Midnight in Honor of the Birth of the Christ Child...

Posted by Annie on 5:33 AM

Here is a Christmas story of my own life that I have carried with me since I was a little girl.
I had always wanted to be a veterinarian. I LOVED animals of every kind...that part hasn't changed.
Each Christmas, I wanted SO much to go to our stables and see if our horses REALLY did kneel at midnight. I envisioned the reverence, the respect and the glory...even as a child...and while there were visions of mangers, Santa Claus and all the excitement of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day awaiting, I imagined such a sight with clarity and how I truly believed our horses would quietly kneel for a time in their stalls and honor Him...the Christ Child.
I never got to see that happen. It was always "too late to go up on the mountain where our stables were" and as an adult, I realize parents keep late hours on Christmas Eve getting for the "arrival of Santa." Sleep generally eluded me (seems those things haven't changed either) on Christmas Eve, as it does all children (and even some adult children!) but I found a story this early Christmas Eve morning that has allowed me to live "vicariously" through a story that none other than a veterinarian had posted on his blog.
I thought I'd share it with you too.
FAITH...BELIEF...HOPE...are the words that lead us to continue to believe on the things we cannot see...but know in our hearts surely can be...and are true.
Here's wishing you the very MERRIEST Christmas ever...and NEVER EVER give up the kind faith that a only a child can hold so steadfastly.
Here is the link to "Ask Dr. Dan" and the story he tells:

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Sharing, Caring, Giving and Receiving...Christmas Thoughts

Posted by Annie on 12:22 AM

It has been quite a while since I have posted. Life has been busy and I have neglected to take the time to organize thoughts and keep my blog as updated as I have previously. I appreciate those of you who have contacted me to say, "Where the heck are your blog posts?" I'm SO SORRY about that! With apologies out of the way, I am stunned to realize it's Christmas time again!
Seems like I was just posting about Christmas and another year has snapped by in a flash.
In ways many things have changed and in others, thankfully, things have remained the same. I've made through another year, my family is healthy and happy and life is good.
I have the best doggoned friends imaginable---just ask me!
The subject of this post came easy for me. The four words I used are ones that came to mind immediately as I sat down to type this. In using those four words on a daily basis, we are truly able to keep "the Christmas spirit" alive throughout the year. This year feels different to me in a lot of ways. Economically, I am doing things completely differently. I haven't decorated in the ways that I normally would and have even dubbed it "Christmas Lite." But, the "lite" part has NOTHING to do with having a lesser focus on Christmas. On the contrary, it has been a discovery of keeping CHRISTMAS IN FOCUS and on target and not allowing the trappings to remove the humility and love of this beautiful season. I adore the lights, the MUSIC, watching how others show their own individuality when it comes to celebrating Christmas.
So, I look back on this year and ask myself these questions: Have I shared? "Not as much as I would have liked to have been able to" comes to mind first. However, if I look closely, I've shared in different ways this year, than I have previously in my life. This year has been a year of complete change in everything I have known to be "true." I have learned that sharing of myself is important, just as much as monetarily.
My family, my friends, my animals all give me purpose...and that purpose is something I have to share. Albeit a different way of sharing, I have shared and want to share more in those areas. The second word I used was caring. Have I cared as much as I could have this year? Absolutely! I care deeply, so deeply about my life, my family and many, many blessings that I have been gifted with this year. I care so deeply about everyone in my life, situations and circumstances that I am aware of and can become involved in...be it prayer for the friend of a friend, or giving a hug to someone who clearly needs one. I have learned that "caring" is a verb. Taking actions that truly show "you care." Looking into the eyes and soul of someone when they say, "Everything is fine" when things are just not fine at all is always an opportunity to take action and CARE. The third word that came to mind is giving. This won't be too dissimilar to what I had to say about "sharing." Giving of time, love, a listening ear, learning that money isn't the only way to 'give' to another has been very important to me this year. Giving TIME is probably the most valuable gift we can give to one another. Never be "too busy" if at all possible to take the time to GIVE TIME to another. The last word I chose is "receiving." That has always been difficult for me. I'd RATHER give. This year, I have had to learn to "receive" and be able to do it without feeling "guilt." My personality has previously not allowed for receiving much. I don't know how to accept compliments graciously, I don't know how to "receive" in general! Receiving has been a word that has been elusive to me...until this year. It has been one of the most difficult, yet beautiful "gifts" I have ever been given. I'd rather be graciously handing out the OTHER three words I just discussed. That said, I am so very grateful for all the events that have occurred in the past year. It is Christmas time. I am thankfully reminded that God so loved the world that He gave his ONLY begotten son...and whosever believeth on Him shall NOT perish, but have everlasting life." That is the most true gift that any single one of us could ever "receive." To open our hearts and receive the one gift that Christmas truly is based upon should never be lost in all the beauty the season offers.
I wish you all the very MERRIEST of Christmases and more love and beauty of the season than your heart can hold. May God's richest blessings abound in your lives, may the words SHARING, CARING, GIVING AND RECEIVING never been too far from your mind and your heart in the coming year. I wish you all the peace and all the love you can ever dream of!
Till next time (and it won't be so long till next time!)

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Monday, August 17, 2009- "Heather's To-Do" List-(AKA FARM SITTING FOR A DAY, BY HEATHER MAYS.)


It's difficult for all the stars to align properly, for the world to turn on her axis in such a precise manner that I can leave the farm for a while, much less for an entire day.
Even when there is "nothing in particular going on," with farm animals all that can change in one second flat. I swear I think there's a ring leader in each herd that says to the other leader of the herds and equine, "PSSSSSS! Kinda quiet around here, 10 bucks says she's resting!" And then the games begin...
In fact, it is not at all uncommon for me to think I'd love to have a rest, lay myself quietly on something comfortable, write, read a book, listen to mediations, or any of the things I love to do quietly and just "be." It's good for me...I hear. But, typically the case is I think I'll seize an opportunity to do some of those things and take a scan around to make sure every animal is where it should be and generally, out I go to put up a goat, see a sea of cows standing at water troughs that I SWEAR I just filled an hour ago, turned over water buckets for the dogs...just STUFF. So I take care of "whatever" and put my rest time on hold. In the mean time, people show up, the phone rings and before you know it, it's time to start the next regimen of chores. So, the rest time becomes a distant memory.
One example was this past Sunday afternoon. I had received two boxed CD sets of mediations and meditational music from someone very close to me! A SURPRISE FROM THE FED EX MAN! YIPPPEEE!! I had made a pass-through listen, but hadn't had time to REALLY start work on these CD sets. Sunday was the day. I pulled the blinds, found my nice soft blanket and piled across my bed. I hit play and off to mediation land I was going...ahhhh....so relaxed....so quiet...and then out of the blue as if Chicken Little had run in to tell me this time the sky was REALLY falling, out of my reverie came a thunderous, "GET UP! GET OUT HERE! ALL THE GOATS ARE LOOSE AND THEY'RE IN THE GARDEN!" Shaken, not stirred (hee hee-I like that little James Bond pun---and I digress, but...) I jumped up, ran past the lovely man's voice who was speaking to me about breathing deeply from my belly, threw on some shoes (generally crocs because I can get into them fast!) and out the door I went. So much for (ahem) "meditating." I was then meditating on where those escape artists were lining up to walk out, and exactly how I was going to hurt them when I caught them. (JOKE! Don't send PETA after me! I don't need that racket showing up here.) Anyway...finally the goats were corralled, they uniformly walked back into the cattle gate, looking at each other as if to say, "WHAT? WHO? HUH?"
Back inside I came....and back to my meditations I went. I was determined to get that accomplished! And I did!
So fast forward, I had to be out of town on Monday. WHAT TO DO???? OH NO!! This is going to be tough to work out. You see there is a fainting billy goat in my spare bathroom tub. He has a Foley Catheter because he had surgery a couple of weeks ago for, let's just call it for conversation's sake "kidney stones." It's too involved at this hour of the morning to go into the details. So, Beau the fainting goat and grand sire of all my fainting females,is currently "living' in one of the spare bathtubs, dining on watermelon, garden veggies, hay and basically whatever he wants that does not contain "silica." (OK?) He has also learned to open the shower door, turn on both hot and cold water which is interesting because goats hate to get wet and he's learned that if he makes enough racket, and there is nothing wrong, I'll come anyway.
Back to needing to be out of town...
My friend Heather Mays is either crazy or brave or a lovely combination of both. SHE VOLUNTEERED to stay at the farm while I took care of some important business. I kept asking, "Are you sure?" She could work from here (in theory), she had cleared it with her boss and "besides," she said,"I can get some things done for work that need to be done in quiet anyway." OK then, I agreed.
On the morning I was to leave, I got up at 4:30 and started my list. I had to get a LOT of things done before I could go so that Heather could work and get her own things accomplished for the day. She was going to keep Geordie, make sure he was in good stead, as he had just had chemotherapy 5 days prior to my leaving. I NEVER leave him during this period of time. But Heather had a good handle on how "things go" around here. She'd done all the chores either with or FOR me before, so it was all good. I felt mostly fine about it all. Heather was all smiles and ready for the day when she arrived.
About 40 minutes or so into the trip, I called to check in. "Things are FINE" she said. "Don't worry about a thing." Hmmm....ok. So far, so good. The next time we spoke, she said, "You jinxed me calling to see how things were going...the goats got out, but I got them all put back up." YIKES! Maybe it was a one off. We didn't talk again until I finished my business and was on the way back home. She said nothing of anything going on, just that things were fine.
Upon returning home to wags, hugs, licks, lots of jumping and then Heather moved out of the way and let Geordie, Dexter and Maybelline have their turns (I had to make myself laugh at that visual!), I see a white sheet of notebook paper on the bar.
It read, "HEATHER'S TO DO LIST-MONDAY AUGUST 17, 2009" She's so organized she makes me sick. She had little BOXES, each with a check in the box for the tasks she had accomplished and wow, it looked like a lot, especially when I saw a little arrow and the word MORE, directing me to turn the page over.
I will not take away EVEN ONE WORD from HEATHER'S TO-DO LIST, but will close in saying FARM LIVIN' IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART...DON'T EVEN MAKE THE SAD MISTAKE OF THINKING IT'S A CAKE WALK. It sounds all lovely and simple, but MURPHY'S LAW ABIDES HERE! (There's a thought for a sign coming down the driveway!!)
And here it is folks....HEATHER'S TO-DO LIST for farm sitting for me today. Thank God I had administered all medications before I left and did the repeat of said medications when I got home. PLEASE NOTE: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED DURING THE COURSE OF THIS DAY! I'm sure it was CONSIDERED, and there were a lot of swear words, but no physical harm (that I know of! HA!) came to any animal! THANK YOU HEATHER!! WE LOVE YOU!)
*KUBOTA DRIVING (this was done to help herd goats and I had never shown her how to drive it. Gave a quick lesson over the phone in the 2nd call.)
*Geordie-chauffering- you do NOT start the Kubota without Geordie. He MUST be in the passenger seat at all times.
* Car sing-along with Geordie. He seemed to have an affinity for a Taylor Swift song today among others.
*Make-shift FENCE REPAIR- Uh-oh. This didn't sound good. Heather dragged 2 or 3 HEAVY fence panels UP the hill to block where she thought the goats were sneaking under the fence.
*Laugh at Geordie eating whipped cream- Aww....ok this isn't so bad.
*Snuggle with Maizey- the kitten...GOOD! I LIKE THAT!! SOME REST! GOOD!
*Goat herding- AGAIN- I rolled my eyes and kind of gritted my teeth and thought, "Oh no" and especially after dragging all those heavy panels up the hill by herself...and they got out AGAIN??
*Used the phrase,"THIS HEIDI SHIT IS GETTING OLD!"- Ruh roh! I knew goat herding would not be a chosen profession at this point.
*Feed Beau-
*Corral Beau-
*Feed Beau-
*Corral Beau- current bath tub dweller that he is, Beau enjoys escape attempts. Clearly, he was trying Heather on for size. He knows her, but ALONE she was FAIR GAME!
*Remove contraband from Maizey's grasp- Maizey had an assortment of vet supplies, syringes, an empty Rx bottle that Heather wasn't sure about and other items of interest. She does this often. We found one of her rat holes in the lining of the sofa that contained a photograph of W, a hackeysack ball and things I can't remember. I wonder if my winning lotto ticket is in there?
*Clean self up. (I do this several times each day. Ya just gotta!)
*Remove W's shoes from Dexter's mouth- So, even little Dexter, Heather's puppy got in on the action! GO DEX!
(Now here is a cute little arrow and the word MORE, directing me to turn the page.)
*Crushed ice- Geordie demands this
*Crushed ice- Geordie clearly demanded more.
*Feed cats-
*Put Maizey back at her dish.
*Put Maizey back at her dish.
*Put Maizey back at her dish. (One could summize that Maizey didn't want to eat from her dish, I supposed...and by now tears are streaming because I'm totally cracking up.)
*Remove toy stuffing from Maybelline's mouth. (Are the natives getting restless?)
*Clean "goat pellets from the bathroom floor."- (I guess Beau got the shower door open again.)
*Check to see if EVIL GOATS HAVE OUTWITTED ME AGAIN!- Yep, that's what I always do! Heather was being a farm hand like a pro!! You ALWAYS check to see if goats are outwitting you because generally, they ARE!
*Understands FULLY why Anne drinks so much coffee.
Well, everything turned out fine...just fine. I have laughed at this note since I got home, as I have been typing this post and will laugh at it for years to come.
In closing, another pearl of wisdom...Just TRY and make some plans when you live on a farm..."THEY" will change 'em for ya!"
Love your lives, find the humor and be happy you weren't Heather today!
THANK YOU HEATHER!! There's an extra star in your crown for this one. I owe you!
Till next time,

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Who Doesn't Like Presents? (And Other Wisdom I Have Gained from a Dog Named Geordie).

A lot of times I write about the complications that we face and endure in our "every day lives." We deal with so many things that we must deal with, we take on so many things that we are better served to "JUST SAY NO" to. We want very much to be right there for all of our family and all of our friends.
I must say I am blessed with such an amazing abundance of both.
Perspective comes from the craziest places.
As you may know, my best buddy and canine companion aka FURRY SON of 12 years, Geordie has been battling cancer for a while now. It hit my life like a freight train when the illness started to make itself known.
I was scared...well more like terrified and freaked out completely. I felt things I've never felt nor have since been able to find words for. I was also selfish. I did NOT want to DEAL with his surgery, his illness or anything related. Don't get me wrong! It was this simple: I didn't want our "LIFE" infected with this insidious disease! It was WRONG! NOT GEORDIE! Not "MY GEORDIE!" Once I realized crying was helping no one, especially Geordie, who is a FIXER, I realized I had to learn a few lessons...FAST.
The first lesson, and perhaps most difficult lesson I have learned is that it IS not a sin to ask for help. I learned to let my friend Heather HELP me when it was evident that I needed it. Sometimes, I was just clearly exhausted. I might have been doing something like sitting up in the night, just rubbing Geordie and talking to him when he was first diagnosed. I didn't want him to hurt, be scared or any of those things, yet it was completely out of my control. I don't do well with "out of control." *Note: if there is SOMEONE ELSE in need, I AM YOUR GIRL! That's the hypocrite in me! I'll do anything for anyone, but it's SO hard for me to ASK someone for help.
I am notorious for WITHDRAWING from things when I am at a loss. I tend to "go into my cave" and try to work things out in my head. So, the next lesson learned was that I had to MAKE myself TALK to others. Yes, he's just a dog, but he's MY DOG! He was given a grim diagnosis and I had no where to place it. I had to learn to at least attempt to let my family and friends be there with me and for me. A few weeks back, Marah had had enough of her mother being a cave dweller. She and Kevin drove home and (wow, she's an adult now!) she said,"Mom, I just had to come and see for myself that you're alright." That's MY daughter. She is amazing. She knew I wouldn't ask her to come and just "be with me."
I learned to pick up the phone and call my friend Flavel and talk about everything and nothing and eventually get around to "I'm scared Flav." You see, Flavel had been through cancer with a grim diagnosis with her beloved cat "M." She was always SO strong, but now I realize that maybe, just maybe, she was being a lot like me. Keeping the poker face on and feeling scared out of her wits. "M" has done AMAZINGLY well, underwent a very invasive surgery and continues to thrive and is a happy boy. I had that to look toward and focus on as well as Flavel reminding me that it was OK to feel everything I was feeling.
Another lesson? Keeping positive, even when hit with hard "medical facts" is absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done.
It's strange, when you find your life and something you love very much faced with the word "CANCER," everything changes. Seconds of the day become more precious. I found myself getting into bed, then getting right back up for one more hug and one more "I love you Geordie."
You find yourself peering into the eyes of a dog and telling him EVERY single thing that you love about him...and receiving that incredible look that only a dog can give that says, "I know."
I have learned that the future is NOW. Right now. Even as I type this at 4:53 am, I have to force myself to live very much like my Geordie, in the present.
I see clearly how dogs can be so forgiving. They don't live in yesterday. They make NO plans for tomorrow. They live in the "now." And they are HAPPY! They carry no guilt, no shame, no what-if's, no regrets. Those are human actions and emotions that we in fact, carry around with great pride sometimes. (Much to our own detriment.)
I have learned that I never KNEW I had so many friends! Of course, I "knew" I had a lot of friends that I have been so blessed with. They are the ones who have "served time" with Annie learning how I think I can do EVERYTHING myself and I would rather have a root canal than to say the words "I need help." Fortunately, I have very bright and observant friends who know me well enough to just say, "Get out of the way of yourself! I'm helping you." Those measures of "help" have come in SO many ways. Emails, phone calls, cards in the mail, gifts for Geordie, and the "HEY! Just checking on you" contacts that remind me not to go inward and to ALLOW my friends to love me. Then there is the ever popular "SHOWING UP" as our amazing neighbor Kim does... knowing full well if he called and asked he'd be met with, "Oh no! Don't go to any trouble! I'm FIIIIIINE!" Yeah right. I must be a pain a pill won't reach at times!
You see, Geordie DEPENDS on me, as do all of my other animals. He never has to wonder if I am going to feed him, if I am going to be able to determine "which bark" means he wants crushed ice or that he needs to go outside. He depends on me to observe
his behavior and help him when he needs it. It's funny. He NEVER minds asking me for help when he needs it.
How does that correlate here? How many times have my friends OBSERVED me and knew there was a need and as a HUMAN, I smiled and said, "I'm fine" knowing full well I wasn't fine and there was nothing FINE even remotely close to how I might have been feeling.
I am sorry for that, but again, I'm learning these things.
It has taken the serious illness of my beloved Geordie to teach me how to be a better person and friend. I've often said it "takes a friend to be a friend." I have friends like Martha Myers who are BUILT WITH TENACITY! She knows my ways and she's one who will shake me up when needed from time to time REMINDING ME that I'm not alone in this. Her gentle reminders are sometimes more like HORNS BLASTING to say, "HEY! I'm right here. Don't forget that! LET ME HELP YOU!" And I begrudgingly take my proverbial medicine from her and we laugh.
Today, when Heather and I returned from the North Carolina State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, I was a zombie. Heather was completely wiped out as well. It had been a LONG and uncertain day. She had said she thought she'd need a cup of coffee to boost her home. I set about making our coffee. When I finished, I looked out the back door and there was our Heather...purple feed bucket in hand, feeding the goats, donkeys, dogs, etc. She was filling water troughs, and you know, she had the biggest smile on her face. She was doing MY CHORES and smiling about it.
Being "ANNIE,"I opened the door and yelled,"HEY! What are you doing? I CAN GET THAT!" (Because I can do everything in the world and then some in 30 minutes flat!) She ignored me and kept smiling and feeding. I think her only comment was "I've got it."
These are called "Blessings." They comfort. They give you a moment's reprieve when you LEAST expect it...and perhaps most importantly, it gives another human being the opportunity to be there for someone they love and care about.
I think of the times I was busy and Geordie walked up and nudged my hand and was met with "Just a minute boy, I'm busy." Geordie is persistent. He ALWAYS nudges again and again until I stop (sometimes with frustration) and ALLOW HIM TO LOVE ME. You see, those nudges are not intrusions at all! My Geordie came to say in his way "Thanks, I love you, I'm thinking of you, I appreciate you" or whatever else made HIM stop what he was doing to come find me and give me that familiar nudge.
Do I stop what I'm doing now for him? You bet I do. As I said earlier, hearing the word CANCER changes your life forever. I relish and welcome those blessed nudges now and EVERYTHING stops while Geordie says what he needs to to me with his eyes, his snuggles and his heart and his nose.
Seconds in this life are precious. Many times we do not get the second chance to do things correctly. We have to slow down and think like a dog...live in the moment. Make our choices and decisions as though we will never have that opportunity again, as we truly may not get the opportunity to set things straight.
Geordie has taught me to say what I feel, to let others know how I feel about them, to live in THIS moment and not put off the love that I can easily share RIGHT NOW.
I have concluded that to accept the love and help of others is NOT a sign of weakness! It is TRULY a sign of strength and courage beyond measure. It is a sign of TRUST to be able to put yourself right out there and allow yourself to "be loved"...just like a dog.
I have learned that "THE PRESENT" IS A PRESENT, A GIFT! Not something to get to tomorrow, to "save until it's the right time" or any other means of procrastinating.
This moment as I type this is the present. It's my present. I thank God for the opportunity to be here, right now, with everything that is going on my life---knowing I am so completely surrounded by LOVE of friends, of family, of even perfect strangers who have reached out and said, "I CARE."
I thank each and every one of you for being with Geordie and me through this trial. Your strength and love have helped more than you could ever know.
Today is a gift. Unwrap it with reckless abandon and LIVE IT!
BE A DOG FOR A DAY! Just LIVE IT! You just might find there's a lesson or two in there for you as well.
Thanks to all of you who love me and who love Geordie.
Till next time,
Annie...and her greatest teacher, Geordie...who also taught me that mistakes are OK too!
Since it's now 5:52am, I'm not even going to proof read this post! Talk about living on the edge! WOW! (You see, I was DOING other things while writing this...feeding the cats, making coffee and checking on my number one buddy!) You can't proof read life, ahhh...if it were only that simple!

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Finding the Divine in Difficult Places. Lessons about growing, learning and receiving as well as giving.

(photo credit Heather Mays, Triple Dog Dare Photography)
Life appears so stressful, so complicated, so scary, uncertain...and all the things the 25 HOUR A DAY (yes, it seems that way!) news channels throw at us.
Guilty as charged. I'm a fan, I like to be informed, I like to know what is going on around me, most of which of late, I do not enjoy. I'm not liking what they're throwing at me.
That said, I have to disengage and decompress and make a solid assessment of what I DO have in life that is "GOOD!"
I am alive. That is a great start.
I have wonderful friends, ones that I see often, others that I do not see often, but are so dear to my heart regardless of the miles.
I have an AMAZING family. I couldn't be more proud of the love, support and cheering on that they continually supply me with.
You don't get the HAPPY FAMILY stories on the 25 hour a day news networks. I think part of the business plan is to keep people in such a dither that it's addictive and keeps you coming back for more...and after they "have you," you get a daily dose of depression. Since when is that good?
The most recent story I want to share is one that shows "what friendship means." We don't know how or why paths cross with people. Some click, some are acquaintances and others touch your heart in such profound ways that just WOW you.
I was having "one of those days" on Saturday. It actually started on Friday, but I'll get to that in a bit. A lot was going on personally for me. In addition to my beloved Geordie being diagnosed with cancer, there were other things just mounting up that felt completely out of control. Now, I'm one of those who will smile and it would appear that all is right in Annie's little world. I show VERY little when anything is wrong unless I WANT you to know. I don't know if that's a good thing or a character flaw, but it's "me." I think a lot of that was ingrained in me from being a performer. "The show must go on." I could have been having THE worst day ever and when I step on a stage, the lights go up and it's all smiles, sunshine, jokes and "the stage Annie" goes to work. I've learned to deftly go in and out of those positions with ease. It's part of the job.
Back to Saturday...bad day. A really sucky day. My friend Heather who has become such a deep part of my heart has figured me out. (Doggone her!) She knew I'd just go into myself and work things out on my own. So do any of you readers ever do that? *the truth inserted here* A REALLY good friend drops what she may have planned and shows up, armed with love, support, plenty of things to talk about and determined I wouldn't be alone with my thoughts. She loved me enough to show up, say, "HEY. I'm here" and whatever you need, I'm with you. WOW. Not used to a lot of that. Also, the day before, she had gone ahead and planned, because she knew I would not ask, to take the day off work and accompany me to Geordie's second chemo treatment. Extra pairs of ears are essential in understanding his progress and what is happening in his treatment. In typical fashion, Heather had that day planned too. Armed with a cooler full of drinks and CHOCOLATE and other snacks,she arrived sometime after 6am and our day together began. She kept all the waiting hours busy doing "something" to pass the time, keeping my mind off worry and the next thing you know, it's time to return to North Carolina State University Veterinary Hospital to pick up Geordie from his treatment. WE HAD A BALL! I have no words to express the gratitude that I felt for someone being SO observant, looking past my quirks and saying, "Hey friend, I love you and this is how it's going to be." I followed her lead like my goats follow me with a feed bucket!
In "times like these," when we are fed the most incredible negative energy that I think this earth has ever experienced, it is beyond refreshing to have someone who comes into your heart and says, "I'm here for you" with actions, not just words.
America needs to reach back to those places of close families, close friends, sticking out the hard times, ALLOWING people to help you when you are in need, and demanding a simple life again.
I do think this can be accomplished, but it takes WORK. My friend WORKED out of sheer love to make two difficult days actually become HAPPY DAYS for me. That is remarkable.
People are busy, their problems are "more important," they have too much on their plates and there is so much fear. Americans have become, like myself, too "inward" as well.
As friends, as neighbors, as AMERICANS, do we allow LOVE to guide us? Or do we allow fear to paralyze us into zombies that just plod along through our gift of life?
I'm a "giver." I'd give anyone anything I have. Giving to others gives ME pleasure. I am also a hypocrite. I do not "receive" very well at all. (Remember? I told you, I'm conditioned to be Little Miss Susie Sunshine and never let 'em see me sweat.)
I'm re-thinking a lot of this. I was BLESSED for two days by someone who gave of herself and her time to help ME. Had I tried to hold a stiff upper lip, I would have DENIED my friend the very pleasure of helping someone in need. The very thing that I so much enjoy doing for others. Yin and Yang. It has to go both ways.
This has been a true eye-opening lesson for me.
We must be able to allow ourselves to give AND to receive. It cannot be out of balance of course, because that just defeats the entire purpose of living from a place of "love."
At 47, I continue to grow, to learn to accept the generosity of others and I am so grateful for these life lessons that continue to come to me.
In closing, what could have been two very bad days, were WONDERFUL days as a result of one observant friend who took the time to observe me, know me and love me enough to "save me from myself."
Challenge: Look around your world, your family, your friends...reach out of the comfort zones and DO something for someone. I promise, they will appreciate it and you both with be the benefactors of something beautiful.
Thank you Heather. Thank you to ALL of my friends...and if you need me, please just holler. I'll try to be observant too. Switch off the scary stuff, or at least keep up with events in increments...but do yourself and all those around you a favor and do some good deeds for others.
There's a quote I refer to often, "Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know what battles they are fighting." Take that literally because the eyes and the smiles we "see" on others many times do not reveal the truth what is going on INSIDE a human heart.
It takes a friend to be a friend.
Till next time,

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For the Love of a Dog. A story about Geordie the Border Collie.

I use this picture again and again of myself and my best friend Geordie. I figure he pretties the picture up considerably.
I have always been around dogs...lots of dogs. In fact, my first pet was on the scene before I was born. He was a Border Collie called Champ. Champ lived to the ripe old age of 17. My brother and I grew up with him.
Twelve years ago, Marah and I were on the search for a dog. She wanted a basset hound and the one we chose was not available when we went to get it. My eyes kept going back to an ad for "border collie puppies" and after the basset hound fell through, I called to inquire.
The lady said she had one pup left and they were going to keep him because he was the only red pup in the litter. Disappointed, I kept searching. The phone rang back in a short while and it was the lady with the border collie pup. She and her husband ran a sheep farm. She said the pup had a great disposition, but "didn't appear to want to work with the sheep" and they couldn't keep him. "He's full blooded," she said, "and you sounded like you really wanted him. Would $50 be too much?" I couldn't believe it! I accepted her kind offer and we had to wait 3 days to meet her near Franklin, TN. She was willing to deliver the puppy. At first sight, Marah said, "Mom! He's got eyes like Jordi in Star Trek!" And it stuck. I chose the spelling of Geordie because I liked it. Border Collies originated in an area on the border of Scotland and England. The folks who live there are called "Geordies." So, clearly, the name fit.
We have had 12 beautiful years with our faithful friend. He has experienced everything with us. As a puppy, when I had band rehearsals, he would lay in the floor of this great big room filled with musicians...and SLEEP! He romped and played with Marah, he rolled and tumbled with Wayne, and snuggled with us all when we needed extra love.
Geordie made his place in our family as "one of us."
Reality came crashing down recently as we had noticed that he was slowing down some. But then the next thing you know, he'd be running like a maniac, chasing goats, playing games with them and swimming in the pond. I just figured like any of us, as we age, we have great days and not so great days.
This past Saturday, Geordie had been with me to feed part of the livestock. It was hot, so I thought we'd do it in 2 feedings. I had been aware that the heat seemed to bother him more than usual. We came in and I started laundry. When that was done, I said, "Come on buddy! Let's go finish feeding." He didn't move. He just looked at me. I slapped my leg and said, "COME ON!" Nothing at all. No attempt to move. I realized something was wrong and it was bad. He seemed paralyzed. I called our vet and told her I was on my way with him. He could not stand or walk. I lifted him and carried him to my truck and we got to the vet. He was checked over and given IV fluids. There were a lot of nondescript symptoms. She gave me medicine for his heart because there appeared to be fluid and sent us home until Monday.
On Monday, we returned and xrays were taken. Geordie's heart was very enlarged, but the most shocking thing I have ever seen was that his abdomen was nearly full of a tumor! Things looked grim. The vet took the bloodwork and said she would call asap on Tuesday. With the catheter still in his leg, we came home. Wayne and I were terrified. What if this was Geordie's last night with us EVER? We didn't sleep a wink.
The vet called Tuesday morning, May 12, and said the bloodwork was surprisingly good. She added, "I've also had two surgery cancellations and I see this as a sign that we need to operate." She added, "It has to be soon." We knew what we had to do.
Trying to be strong, I rode in the back seat of Wayne's truck with Geordie. I held his head, stroked his back and told him over and over how much he means to us all and how we loved him. He was very still and very quiet. He barely moved. It was like he knew something was up and it was big.
Once we were at the vet, we were given plenty of time to be with Geordie while the surgical area was prepped. When the doctor came out, we all went into pre-op together and I asked if we could pray. Geordie was on the table and I knelt beside him. We were all in tears and we left our Geordie in the best hands possible.
The ride home was quiet. Wayne and I were numb. When we got home, I did EVERYTHING to keep busy. I even set about housework, trying to block negative thoughts as they tried to creep in. I HAVE TO STAY POSITIVE! I HAVE TO VISUALIZE HIM GETTING THROUGH THIS! Self-chastising helped pass my time as well.
When the call came, I said, "Wayne, I don't want to answer it. It's too soon! They can't be finished."
I finally answered the phone and one of the vet techs told me he was alive, he had come through the surgery and that the tumor was extremely large. The words "BOWLING BALL" and "LARGE CANTELOPE" had been used and she attested that indeed it was a frightening sight. The doctor later explained that the tumor was "angry" and that Geordie had precious little time before it actually 'blew.' She could not be sure that he would have made it to wait for surgery even one more day. He would have died a horrible death. I am so thankful that our vet followed her instincts and sent for us when she did, or this post might have been written from another sad perspective. I am certain that those two cancellations were indeed "THE SIGN" the vet spoke of and any loose cog in the wheel would have sent this story off on another track. In God's way and in God's time...we must be vigilant and listen in order to get the answers we seek in our prayers.
We were shocked to learn that if he improved as they felt he would, we could pick him up at 5:30 Tuesday evening! The doctor felt that Geordie would improve more quickly and respond better at home.
I figured I could vacuum and nearly have a clean house by then! Nerves are an excellent catalyst to getting your house clean! So, I worked like a maniac trying to pass the time.
When we arrived, the same vet tech who had called me earlier, came out and smiled. They had a surprise! Geordie WALKED OUT TO GREET US IN THE LOBBY! Tears flowed, he was groggy, but he WALKED to us! There were still a few things to be done, but we were welcomed to watch. They were busy removing the IV catheter, checking him over good and he was weighed.
Geordie had been weighing around 70 to 75 pounds in the past few months. By Monday, after the fluid removal, he was down to 60.5 pounds.
Today, after the tumor removal, he weighed a sleek 55.5 pounds. Our Geordie had been carrying a 5 pound tumor in his abdomen and as the doctor put it, kept it well hidden for a long time. He had several check ups prior to this episode and it simply didn't show up.
The point of this post? It's for me. I love that dog beyond words. He is my best friend. I'm sure anyone who reads this and has a pet can relate. Dogs have a way of marking a place in your heart that no one or nothing else can ever touch. It's theirs...and solely theirs.
My family swears I love Geordie more than them. And if I'm being a pain in the rear, I have been known to agree on that.
Geordie and I have shared EVERYTHING. He's the best secret keeper in the world. When we laugh, he's right there to romp all over us. When we celebrate, he's right in the middle of the celebration. When we cry, he's right there, sitting quietly, assuring us that things will be ok. He is our unwaivering, constant companion.
He is at home, surgery is over and now we wait for the pathology report. But he is alive and HOME. That is what is most important as I type this post.
Another interesting bit of Geordie info is that when we got Geordie as a pup, I had no idea until I looked at his papers that we share the same birth date. May 16 is OUR DAY.
God willing, we will share this birthday coming up in just a few days.
Having Geordie with me after this ordeal is the best gift I could ever dream of. Having Geordie in general is the best gift I could ever dream of.
Our pets are truly our friends. God gave us a means to have a loyal companion without all the messes that we humans make. Dogs keep things simple. They don't demand a thing and give more love that we can ever give back. They teach us how to TRULY forgive... and just forget! They don't hold grudges and even those poor souls that have been mistreated find a way to love again. We should all be like dogs in that way.
So, this is a post for me to pour my heart out, to rejoice and to celebrate my love for one very special dog, Geordie.
I love you boy and I'm so thankful you are back home with me tonight.
(I wonder how comfortable I'm going to be sleeping on his bed beside him tonight? I wouldn't have it any other way.)
Love your pets...and always remember just how much they love you.
Till next time,

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