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Posts from the ‘Samoyed’ Category

Halcyon Days

Lately, I’ve been listening to the songs of one of my favorite artists, Mary Chapin Carpenter. The lyrics and notes are like a warm blanket, comforting and familiar. One of my favorite lines from The Jubilee – “When we look back and say those were halcyon days we’re talking ’bout jubilee.” Halcyon is defined as a period of peace and happiness; an idyllic time.

We so often look back longing for what was because we miss the beautiful fabric of each day while we are busily on our way to the next thing. May we all realize and deeply appreciate our hacyon days and moments while we are right in the middle of them. So we can be doubly blessed now and when we look back in fondness for what was and a renewed hope for what is to come. Simple moments make up our halcyon days. Simple moments.

“If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it.” – Greg Boyle

“If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it.” – Greg Boyle

A Good Grass Stain

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.” – Thomas Jefferson

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.” – Rupert Brooke

You know you’re having fun when you have a grass stain on your head and a smile ear to ear. When is the last time you had a good grass stain and a hearty smile? Too long for me I must say.

Lighten up and take it all with a bit less seriousness. Too much worry, too much work and no play makes our days drudgery.  Our regrets will center on not being in the moment when it was happening and realizing the joy that was ours for the taking. “Someday” is an excuse to put off your life.

Schedule time each day to search out a good grass stain and a smile that sprouts from within.

Clean Slate

“We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning, we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night, we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more.” – John O’Donohue

The pure joy of being around dogs, often more than humans, is their innate ability to enter each day with a clean slate. No grudges, regrets, needless worries or consternation. Just letting go into the sheer delight of seeking and finding adventure in the ordinary. May we all be blessed with daily gratitude, a deep sense of play and heartfelt silliness so we can awaken to the blessings abound and share them generously with others.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Dive into each day with a simple, naïve and irrational openness and awe. The other way of living really doesn’t add up to much so there is no real choice. It’s pretty obvious. Don’t overcomplicate it and enjoy today.

Get your eraser out. Wipe the slate clean.

Take the Leash

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia

It’s been a wonderful week witnessing Abby and Sasha bond and become best of friends. There’s a glean in their eyes and bounce in their step. I’ve taken their lead as well.

When walking Abby and Sasha a few days ago, Abby started taking Sasha’s leash a block from home to guide her in. Today, Sasha started to do the same for Abby as well.  It was very sweet.

“Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.” – Herodotus

“Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.” – Herodotus

We are on this journey together and have the opportunity, perhaps even the obligation, to walk by each other’s side and guide each other home.

Be a good friend to those you know and kind to those who cross your path who may need a friend. Take the leash.

Simple Deep Bliss

“Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.” – Swami Sivananda

We so often think struggles linger forever and bliss is but a rare passing moment. Even in our struggles, we can find bliss. They co-exist. Yet, we can choose which one we will amplify, what tune we will dance to.

Things are settling down for me for the first time in a long while and new things are entering. But not completely, there are still moments of struggle. But I am not going to forebode bliss to anticipate and plan for struggle. Accept the bliss and keep it close to guide you through the struggle. It lives and breathes beside and within us.

When I lose the path to my bliss, I need not look far to be reminded of the joy found in daily life. A dog’s smile, a baby’s laugh, a heartfelt conversation with a trusted friend. These are the places of true, deep bliss amidst the simple moments in life. March in.

“Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Fast and Slow

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Havelock Ellis

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“Let us be grateful to people (dogs) who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

Sasha joined our family today. Abby is thrilled.

A year ago, I lost my Samoyed Molly and then in October, I lost my Golden Retriever Lily. I have been looking for a Samoyed for almost a year and when it fell through a couple of times, I got a Golden Retriever in December.

Abby will be nine months soon and Sasha is four months. When the opportunity came up a few weeks ago with a breeder, I couldn’t pass it up. It just felt right. The “rules” would say you shouldn’t get two puppies. Wait, it’s too soon.

The one thing that I’ve learned in the past year after losing my Dad and two dogs within 5 months of each other is that life is short and the rules we make up really don’t matter.

God works slow and fast, in His own time, which usually doesn’t align with our own. There have been days that have dragged and months and months of waiting. Seemingly for no reason at all, stuck in the waiting. And then suddenly, something new comes together rapid fire. The waiting comes to an end and we’re tossed into the next chapter of our life in a moment’s notice.

All that has come before brings us to this day, whether we can figure it out or not. So when we let go of our rules, stop trying to “outsmart” God and trust Him, we can enter fully into what is and be in grateful awe of this very moment.

Ordinary Every Day IS the Gift

“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” – Sharon Draper

As I scrolled through years of photos on my phone, I landed on a photo from April 25, 2016. An ordinary day, a Monday, a most ordinary day.  A moment captured of Molly enjoying one of her favorite toys in the backyard.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'” – William Arthur Ward

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” – William Arthur Ward

At the time, as with most of ordinary days, I had no idea how important this ordinary day was or so many that came before or those to follow. So often, we pass through days like these, unaware of all of the gifts found in simple moments as we pursue and wait for the next interesting thing.

Three days later, Dad passed away and that not-so-ordinary day of April 28th was the start of a series of not-so-ordinary days of loss. Unexpectedly again, Molly passed away on June 27 and Lily on October 4.

Ordinary days become extraordinary when we look back in deep appreciation, after they occur. But we are summoned to gratitude and awe right now in this moment, in the ordinary every day moments. That’s the gift that we need not pursue or search for. It is right in front of us, right now.

Pause and look around each day with rapt attention to what is in the present. Take a picture with your phone, but more importantly in your heart. These days will not come again and we don’t know when those not-so-ordinary days will enter to change our lives forever.

Capture and experience with delight the silly, subtle and sweet moments of every day. That is the gift.

Friendship, No Kinship

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” –  Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I was going to title this post friendship to talk about the bonds of friendship that we form through life, if we are wise and lucky enough. But some friends become family, they know what we are thinking and feeling, often times before we know. They understand that it’s more than enough to be present  through all that life sends our way, no words needed.

So after three very long and intense weeks at work, I looked forward to meeting Chris and Lynn for a beer at my favorite place (Urban Growler) today. They had “something” for me. A painting that they had commissioned an artist to paint of Molly and Lily from a picture on this blog. I lost both Molly and Lily a few months after my Dad in 2016. A gift beyond words, from friendship to kinship.

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

My Dad, Molly and Lily were my best friends. This painting, this gift, honors those special relationships that go well beyond words, well beyond death. If you are blessed enough to have friends who are kin, who are generous like Chris and Lynn, be grateful.

Mark This Day

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

I need to mark this day. A day of loss and one of deep gratitude as well – often what life is made of – a mix of both.  So many of the good lessons I’ve learned over the years have come from Lily. My funny, goofy best friend who always knew how to brighten a room with her levity and capacity for sheer delight.

After over a month struggling with an auto-immune disease, I needed to make a choice for her today, not me. Even after two blood transfusions, multiple tests and over eight medications, she wasn’t bouncing to her natural state of joy. As soon as she generated blood red cells, they were destroyed. After her second transfusion on Sunday, her red blood count dropped to half where it should be at a minimum. She wasn’t who she was and she was suffering.

It’s never easy to make the decision to say goodbye to a loyal and loving friend, but when you see the relief in her eyes as the pain releases from her body, you know it’s the right decision. She was only six years old and was still heartbroken over losing Molly in June and Dad in April. We were making our way, marking our days together, mending each other’s heart.

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Mark your days – each and every one – the good ones and the oh so difficult ones. And know underneath someone else’s distant or distracted nature, something very difficult may be going on in their life and most likely is. It happens to all of us to be sure. Be kind and compassionate especially if you don’t feel like it. And remember that we don’t have forever, so start enjoying your life today.

Lily showed me unconditional love, how to lighten up and how to greet others – with wide open eyes, boundless energy and an unending smile. And, if necessary, gently holding your arm in her mouth.

Safe travels to heaven Lily and give Molly and Dad a big hug from me. You’ll be sure to make your mark there like you did on my life here. Thank you love.

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Sweet Molly

“The most important lesson that I have learned is to trust God in every circumstance. Lots of times we go through different trials and following God’s plan seems like it doesn’t make any sense at all. God is always in control and he will never leave us.” – Allyson Felix

“That perfect bliss and sole felicity, the sweet fruition of an earthly crown.” – Christopher Marlowe

“That perfect bliss and sole felicity, the sweet fruition of an earthly crown.” – Christopher Marlowe

As written in this blog through the years, Molly and Lily have been an integral part of my life, primarily the joy of it. They cast light so naturally and have taught me how to cast light. This post saddens me to my very core, like some others over the past few months.

Molly had surgery last week on a torn ACL – last year at this time, it was her right leg. I brought her back on Saturday for a high temperature. This morning I got a call that she was in critical condition. After hours of stressed breathing, they were able to get an x-ray indicating severe problems with her lungs. The option was to hang on for desperate measures to keep her alive for a few hours or to let her go and release her from the pain.

Unconditional love knows when to hang on and when to let go. I do find comfort in Dad embracing her in heaven and lovingly walking off the leash of this world to a peace that passes all understanding.

Farewell Sweet Molly.

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