Sarah and Sam Approve!

I have been seeing ads on TV for hanging screens at the door, used for letting pets in and out. My Sarah and Sam were raised with a pet door, and it was an adjustment for them when we moved. I decided to do a little research and found one of the screens for $22 at Amazon. Steve Holt installed it for me. The screen attaches to Velcro with the addition of a few tacks, and the magnets keep it closed. I’m sure it won’t do much to discourage mosquitoes, but I do think it would keep a bird from flying in. I was afraid the standard pet door wouldn’t work for Sarah as we have a step onto the patio. This hanging screen would also help with training a pup. It makes me lazy. When I watch TV or read I leave the door open, and Sarah and Sam enjoy their freedom..

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Sharing on this Monday Morning

Some of the best advice I ever received was from an older friend when I was a young bride. She told me to embrace both older and younger friends as their viewpoints become more important as we age.

This happened almost as a coincidence in my life, and it has been great, although my older friends are very few at this stage. It is wonderful to be able to share with long time friends my age as we have so much in common. But now I find my special friend is about 10 years younger and always ready to have a good laugh or cry. I enjoy any age and am reminded of an AA speaker who said, “you may wonder what this old gray headed woman will have to say that will help you, but I want you to know that I have the same emotions as you. They don’t change with age.”  I have found her words to be true.

I love my friends, both old and new. I have found that someone I consider unfriendly just needs a kind word and can be a good friend – perhaps they are shy or wounded in some way. Take time to listen!

My ENT asked if the tinnitus bothered me a lot, and my reply was only when I am quiet. And since I am seldom quiet, it’s not a huge problem. I am working on hearing that still quiet voice and achieving that goal is a priority.

Enjoy your Monday, beginning with a grateful heart. Thank you God for good friends.

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BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande

BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande is a book which is significant to anyone perplexed by making decisions about aging loved ones or those dealing with a terminal illness. It traces the history of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and shows how life can be improved though limited. The book thoughtfully explains hospice care and palliative care. Dr. Gawande is an amazing writer. He tackles “the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.” Though it could read as a textbook, it does not. His writing immediately catches the attention of the reader and the book flows smoothly. Though the subject is sad, it left me wanting to read and learn more. I am grateful that there are compassionate physicians willing to address this subject.

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Seeking Faith

When Mary Kathryn was in her twenties, she lived on Wilkins St. with her two Bernese Mountain Dogs. One morning, just as she let them into the backyard, someone in the neighborhood set off a firecracker. Faith was so terrified that she was able to bolt through the privacy fence and evidently ran until she was completely lost. We put ads in the newspaper, on the radio, in the veterinary clinics, frantic for her safety. Someone stopped my car as I was hunting her and told me it was interesting to him that “all of Jonesboro was seeking Faith.”  Mary Kathryn had several calls, one from someone who had her but had left her to go to her car to get a leash and Faith ran away! Another called from the Jonesboro Sun saying she was on the loading dock but they didn’t detain her. The next call was telling us she had been seen at Trinity Church, but when I got there and called her she ran again. Out of ideas, I called Betty Hinson who reminded me that everyone was using Faith’s name to call her, and she was becoming more and more afraid. She suggested the next time we heard she was seen that we take a food that smelled strongly of something she loved at home. Mary Kathryn made her special peanut butter fudge.

On Sunday morning, I was so worried about Mary Kathryn that I left for awhile and went to church – communion was being served in the chapel. When I returned to Mary Kathryn’s, we heard a horn frantically honking in her driveway. In the car were Bess Lykins and Betty M. Sloan, the most unlikely persons to recognize a lost dog.  They were on the way to church and spotted her going into the wooded area off Wofford St. Mary Kathryn and I hopped in her car, taking Prince, the male companion, with us and a big square of peanut butter fudge. I walked into the woods with Prince and just talked calmly to him, breaking off pieces of the fudge. Faith came hesitantly to us and with my hand on her collar and Prince on his leash, we walked out of the woods. Mary Kathryn had been driving around the block trying to spot Faith, and when she saw us she told me later she thought the sight was a mirage. There were hugs and tears and when we pulled into the driveway, John was outside to greet us. We had someone at the house during those days to answer the phone, always hoping the next call would be good news, and that had been his shift. We had put her blanket and toys on the front porch so she would recognize them if she found her way home, another hint from Betty Hinson.

Our dogs are such precious companions and show the very meaning of unconditional love. Her presence in our family is a memory we all cherish.

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As I Age

I realize that I enjoy a great sense of peace, and that I am passionate about several things in my life. The first is my beloved family including the ever growing extended family. Cornerstone United Methodist Church is both my spiritual home and a favorite volunteer opportunity.  It is a loving congregation, and I feel unconditional love and acceptance from its staff and members.  Another volunteer opportunity is the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House.  I see every week the giving and deep caring of the Chaplain and nurses and marvel at how they can handle seeing so much grief. In their faces,  I witness the carrying out of the love for our neighbor taught by our Lord. It fills me on a deep level impossible to explain. To volunteer is a ministry of presence, sometimes just a smile or an “I’m sorry for your loss.”  I also know the need to have fun and playing duplicate bridge is my outlet. The hours spent around the tables, learning to bid and play at a higher level, is challenging, and I have found I have a competitive side. I enjoy my new friends. I would like your comments about how you view your life and what contributes to your peace of mind.

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Today, the First Day

After making a really disastrous start to setting up a blog, John Jr. and his husband, Arif, rescued me. I am sure they are curious about how I will share my thoughts – I am already feeling challenged because I will be honest about the way life has played out for me, looking back through these many years. Some of the things I may tell will surprise you, some might horrify you but, hey, this is my life. I hope by following along you will see the ultimate freedom in letting go of the past and acknowledging the joy of today. And, about today, it is a gorgeous Sunday with all the beauty promised by spring in Arkansas. See you later!

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