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Adjusting to a new era


Yesterday Adam retired Lenny (Leonard) his guide dog of eight years. I have to say this man inspires me as usual. He has this sort of Spock logic which can be astounding. I am the illogical one at times when it comes to all things emotional like giving up a pet but the whole thing is Lenny was not my pet.

Lenny was a very special kind of dog. His love of work never faded and he is still full of life but Adam wanted to do the right thing for Lenny and for Guide dogs so he decide he was ready to retire Lenny because frankly he wasn’t working him. He tried to give him back to Guide dogs about two years ago but someone told Adam Lenny was too old to retrain. Since neither one of us are working at the moment we can’t afford the medications that Lenny is on due to irritable bowel syndrome that he was diagnosed with not long after he turned 2 but Guide dogs helped with reimbursing us the cost of the medicines.

Another circumstance that affected Adam’s decision was the fact that Lenny was dog distracted. It didn’t matter if he was in or out of harness. If Lenny saw a dog, “George Bush” (He had to get them before they got him) came out in him. He had to show that he was the dominant one so that the other dog would be intimidated. Grady, the bane of Adam’s life, was also vying to be the dominant dog but Lenny always held his own. It was Mitch our eldest Labrador who acquiesced to other dogs.  He has gotten stitched in his ear from Grady but for the most part our pack was tight.

I didn’t want Lenny to go but I know in the long run it was the best decision for all of us. The house is certainly quieter. Adam got to sleep in to 6:30 this morning. Lenny would always want to be up at 5:30. The stress of walking the dogs and keeping an eye out for other dogs was pretty tolling on my nerves. I am pretty certain that I can let Mitch and Grady go at the beach and everything will be okay except when Mitch gets wanderlust in him.  Mitch is going to be 12 in July and getting arthritic but let him free run and you wouldn’t have any idea about his problems.

Lenny will be 10 in December but he still has lots of life in him. We want him to find a great home and are pretty certain he will get what we want for him. He is well loved in Glossodia (The Guide Dog Centre in NSW). I know everything will be ok for Lenny because he is very lovable and energetic. He is a great head thrust-er. He knows how to get attention but he could also be a tad clingy. He always had to be near you.

We had a good chat about Lenny with the instructor who picked him up in Coffs Harbour. She reassured us that everything would be fine and she would let the new owners know we would like to stay in contact. She also saw Lenny’s progression from puppy to trainee to full fledged guide dog. She has helped Adam and Lenny in their work together.

I feel very privileged to have seen for myself the potential of partnership between a guide dog user and guide dog. I have seen them grow and know what a wonderful team they became. It was sad letting go of Lenny for me but I can’t ever phantom how strong Adam has been about letting go. I guess its his Spock logic that comes through so strongly. I hope one day after I get my degree to go on to become an orientation and mobility specialist and perhaps even become a guide dog instructor.

Some people can’t let go of the past but Adam truly knows when to let go and when to hold on. His vision on what he wants in a partnership whether it be canine or human is breathtakingly extraordinary. Words can’t quite express the emotions coursing through me. I feel inadequate in translating this into words but I had to attempt to do it.

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Lapse


It seems like a very long time since I have actually sat down to write down some of my thoughts. Has it been a year already? At times it feels like it has been longer and other times it feels exactly right.

It seems that things don’t stand still with WordPress. It took me a little while to figure out the configuration to get to blogging but I found it. I will not be deterred. I feel like writing and sharing again. I am not even sure if anybody is interested. I am going to give it a go though and see what happens.

Things with me are going along at a steady pace. I am now studying through Charles Sturt University via the Distance Education route. I have completed 2 courses last term and in this term I am taking another 2 courses. It just started last week. Going back to school has been good for me. I had been busy getting papers written for both courses last term. I think this term it is only one big paper for Leisure, even if it isn’t I think I will do okay. I hope to maybe go up to 4 courses next term except I am nervous that I am going to muck it up. It’s kinda scary plunging back into study after so many years. The end result though will be a Bachelor Degree in Health  Science (Health and Leisure). I am then going to hopefully get into a graduate program to become an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I will also be able to work as a Diversional Therapist.

It’s winter now down under. Last year didn’t seem so cold. There was actually snow inland up near the border to Queensland. I am sure most people from the northern hemisphere would just laugh at the way some people are reacting to the temperatures we’ve been getting here. It’s not like we have to run around with huge parkas. It’s a shock to the system though when you are use to running around in shorts but it hasn’t stopped some people though. I have seen them running around in thongs (flip-flops), shorts, and maybe a sloppy joe (sweatshirt). Adam and I are in our sweats mostly. We’ve also been putting on the heater at night. I am sure last year we only put it on in the morning to get the chill off the air.

 

I didn’t mean for this lapse to happen for so long. I just got busy and self involved. I didn’t feel like sharing because I thought it was boring but hey, maybe somebody out there missed reading my thoughts. I will do my best not to be such a stranger. I can’t promise to write every day or every week. I will try to do better though. I do enjoy blogging and maybe some of you guys like reading.

Any questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section!

Better Laid Plans


Maybe you have been reading my thoughts for a while and maybe this is new to you. I always try to keep things light and breezy. I know I don’t like being the one who is dark and gloomy. Who likes being around somebody who is all doom and gloom? Realistically it’s not possible to be little miss sunshine either but I do try to stay positive.

My husband and I traveled to America for my brother’s Memorial and decided to turn the trip into a month-long vacation. We were hoping to come back on happier terms. You have to make the best of a situation however you come across it. I think that is a no brainer. We wanted to do this trip next year. We had wanted to see all my siblings individually. We are doing this now; it’s just been expedited. I had wanted to be reunited with my brother, Kevin, to hug him and get to know his lovely wife, Lisa, and his step-daughter Sandy. I did get to see Kevin when we face-timed. Nothing though can compare to actually being in the same room with the one you love. I do take solace that I had got to see him even if it was through a video link because I hadn’t seen his face for over 20 years.  We laughed and looked forward to seeing each other. Every thing though changed for us all as it is apt to do.

We are getting to go places that we had never been to before. Adam and I have never been to West Virginia. We have gotten some really great quality time with Lisa and Sandy. I know Sunday the 15th is going to be a very hard day for Lisa and myself. We have been pretty much inseparable since I have hugged her on the 21st of May. We felt as if we had known each other very well even though it had been long talks on the phone or typing on Facebook.  I am dreading the 15th pretty much. We are going to have to part sometime. I know we will stay in contact because Kevin got us together. I feel very strongly about this.

I asked Lisa to join me on a road trip to see my brother Chuck in Philadelphia and my sisters Judy and Margaret in Florida. I would love to take her to see my other sisters in Nevada and California but Lisa has things she has to take care of back in West Virginia. We fly back to Australia on June 24th. The 25th won’t happen for Adam and myself because we will be flying across the international date line. We are used to losing and gaining days when we fly back and forth to the USA. Lisa and I had a great time traveling together down the eastern seaboard of the USA. I had never driven that much in the United States. We even took a trip to NYC with Chuck. Chuck was born in Brooklyn and I had traveled to NYC in 1996 with my mom, my sister Judy, and niece Cassie. Sandy, Adam, and Lisa were the “virgins” in NYC.

We started off in West Virginia and drove to Philadelphia. After Philadelphia we drove to Georgia so Sandy could stay with her cousin Mary. We then continued down to the panhandle of Florida to the city of Crestview. It’s sort of funny but I lived in the Fort Walton Beach area 20 years ago. It was interesting seeing all the changes and growth in the area. I looked forward to showing Adam the places I used to work and play at. We played in the Gulf of Mexico for a little bit. Today we are going to get our hair cut.

On the 15th we fly out to Las Vegas and Lisa returns back to West Virginia. I can’t wait for her to get her passport so I can show her our little piece of paradise. I know we are going to have a blast like we have had here. She has things though that she needs to sort out first before her trip to see us. I do know we are going to see each other again which is making me look forward to the reunion we will have. I know another post will be happening when that happens. After Las Vegas, we are heading to Los Angeles and then it’s back across the Pacific Ocean to Australia for us.

Yes, I know I had better laid plans in my head for our trip in 2015. I meant to take more time to visit friends as well as family but sometimes life happens and you have to make do with that you can. I know things didn’t turn out the way I had expected or desired. It’s not a perfect world. I had to make the most of what I have even with the sad ugly bits. I can build on what I have to make things better even if it’s just a little change.

If I can make someone smile or lighten the load even a little bit than I know I have done something good.

Attitude For Gratitude


I wish I could claim this idea as my own but I know it isn’t. I love the implication of it all because we all need positiveness in our lives. It’s so easy to stay glum but turning those negatives into huge positives helps me both physically as well as mentally. Wellness is something that I am beginning to really value especially as I get older.

I had recently gotten hired for a job. It was agreed that I was to be trialed before they decided if I was to be given the job. I was pretty sure that it was a few weeks. I did 4 days and was called Monday when I knew I would be need on Wednesday. I was informed that I was not needed because they wanted someone with more experience. I was devastated. I had never been let go like that over the phone. I was really low for two days. Adam wasn’t impressed either with my employer but these things do happen. As I pondered on what I did or didn’t do right, I realized that maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I loved what I was doing but maybe I wasn’t really the right person to work for them. I decided that perhaps their loss would be someone else’s gain. I would be taken on some place where my personality would shine enhancing the workplace I would work for.

Yesterday I was just puttering away on Facebook catching up on the happenings of family and friends when  one of my game friend’s thanked me for being there for her 2 years ago. I was really touched by this. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I had a most wonderful conversation with her that cheered me up tremendously. It was exactly what I needed at the moment. I am still feeling all warm and tingly inside thinking about it. I really look forward to typing with her again. She said she looked at me like a mother figure which pulled on my heart strings because I am childless. I always wanted children. Things just worked out the way they have for me which I am not sad about most of the time. (I do get clucky but my dogs are a great fix for that motherly instinct I have.)

Today I am on the last day of a temping assignment that was for 2 days. I am enjoying temping because I get great variety. My skills base is growing too which is lovely. I get to meet new people. I get to drive on the Pacific Highway to Coffs Harbour checking out the lovely scenery as well as progression of the upgrade between Sapphire and Woolgoolga. It can be a challenge at times trying to get to places on time but they say there is a price to pay for everything. If getting better roads means I have to wait, I will deal with that.

I am going to remember to have an attitude for gratitude because I love being grateful for things as they happen. I try to embrace being in the moment. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. Will you join my challenge and show attitude for gratitude?

Solitary Island Way


View of the Solitary Islands from Muttonbird Island

View of the Solitary Islands from Muttonbird Island

I was driving Adam and I home from our training in Coffs Harbour when I took the turn off for Woolgoolga and noticed the name change to the road we take to get us home. It’s called Solitary Island Way. This gave me an aha moment which I wanted to share with you today.

Today we heard a lot of things at training however I am not really wanting to share all the pearls of wisdom that I heard there because I am still processing everything in my own sort of way. Please bare with me as I muddle through my thoughts to express exactly what my aha moment sprang from. I am always searching inside myself wanting to improve things not only for myself but for those who are in my life. I was just driving when I thought about how sometimes we all feel like we are alone but in actuality we are all connected.

The Solitary Islands are on the eastern coast of Australia.  The Coffs Coast which is part of the Mid North Coast of New South Wales is also part of the Solitary Marine Park. You can see these islands dotting up and down the coast of the area where I live. I was thinking to myself today how alone I could feel about my life if I let myself fall into that trap but I have to take a look at the bigger picture. Things are not so black and white. We are only as alone as we make ourselves. If we reach out to others our sense of loneliness diminishes. We just have to watch our attitude because that is a key to impacting on others. If we have a can do attitude we will be able to do whatever we put our mind to. If we get in a rut and are happy to wallow in mediocrity, mediocrity is what we will sow.

I always love going to Muttonbird Island because I always see things in a different perspective. I am very blessed to live so close to Solitary Marine Park. I live in a country for the most part that values its environment. Australia isn’t perfect but I find that I am very blessed to call it home. I can choose to live a solitary life or I can choose to share what abundance I have been given be it a kind word or positive thought to someone I come across.

The Solitary Island Way may seem alone but it is part of a wonderful environment which impacts on every living thing it touches. Even a rock or grain of sand can make a difference to the world that it is in. Take a part of it away and it could impact something or someone else in a negative way.

May you find the blessing of another day and never feel alone. There is someone out there who needs to hear from you. You can be the difference to brighten someone’s day!

Be the rainbow and light the way to a better day!

Be the rainbow and light the way to a better day!

Photo Credit for lighthouse Michael Scott taken at Woolgoolga Lookout

Thanksgiving Yaussie Style


The majority of my life, I have lived it in the northern Hemisphere in the great state of Louisiana on the central west side. Thanksgiving Day always holds a very special place in my heart because it normally fell close to my mom’s birthday. I love my mom to bits. She was an amazing cook! Thanksgiving is a special time to be with family and friends. Any North American can identify with this wonderful holiday. It doesn’t matter if you are from Canada or the USA, you know what Thanksgiving is all about. The only difference is if you are Canadian you celebrate in October and if you are a native of America (USA), you celebrate it the 4th Thursday in November. Another special thing about Thanksgiving is that the two sisters I grew up with both married fellas whose birthdays also fall around this special day. Glenn was on the 25th of November and Eric is on the 28th which means this year is the actual day he shares it with the holiday.

When I first moved to Australia, I would still celebrate this holiday inviting friends over who didn’t quite get the special day. They didn’t really like the way I did the sweet potatoes with marshmallows but they ate politely. This year, I didn’t do a big Thanksgiving meal. I didn’t invite anyone over but I often think of my family across the world. As I type this blog, they are getting ready to get together and celebrate. They will watch the parades, eat turkey and football (not soccer or rugby but gridiron as the Aussie’s term American football). I will be with them in spirit and try to call.

It’s sort of strange trying to explain something that I grew up with to friends here. Adam gets it but we always seem to get each other. I always say I was made for him and vice versa. It is like trying to explain mate-ship or Anzac Day to Americans who would just have to experience it for themselves. Some people still might not get it which is what I found when I try explaining Thanksgivings Day to Australians. They get it but not quite.

Also, when I first started celebrating Thanksgiving in Australia, I would do it on Thanksgiving day Australia time but then I thought maybe I should do it on the actual day that Americans do because I would have the dinner on the same day as my family. I know this might seem strange to some that I was so wish-washy about it. It was also easy for people that I invited over to come over on the Friday instead of the Thursday.  It just made sense to me.

I am not feeling the best which is another excuse but I don’t see a point in doing a huge meal when it’s just me and Adam. We took our dogs to the beach and enjoyed our companionship.  I feel like I had an epiphany yesterday, which was my mom’s birthday (27th). I had been struggling with something for the longest time inside of me. I thought I had given it up long ago but I had a dream.

In this dream, I came to realize that I don’t need anyone’s approval to proclaim the Good News. I had felt the Lord had draw me towards Evanglisation when I was living in St. Marys. I went to classes to learn more and wanted to contribute more. I was well on my way to do this because I had finished a course on St Paul and it was as if the scales on my own eyes on my feeling of unworthiness fell away and I could see the greatest potential God wanted for me.  I just got side tracked is all. Someone asked me a question about something and I was honest with my answer.  This person was the one who I looked up to and felt mentored by. It was after my honest answer, that I was instructed that I could not teach for the School of Evangelisation because I needed to do something which I felt was unnecessary. She let me do more menial things. I could lead songs and write a piece for the newsletter but actually talk in front of people…. it just wasn’t allowed.  I wasn’t worthy enough in her eyes. My dream though had a mixture of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in it and my own mother and they told me that if I felt the need to speak the truth about Him there was nothing to stop me.  I didn’t need a sanction from the church to do God’s work. I just had to be lead by the Holy Spirit.

God has a way if you are open to Him. It may not be the way you may have ever imagined but if He wants you to do something, you will do it with His guidance on His time table not yours.

I am thankful for the opportunities the Lord has put my way. I know I am not perfect but I strive to love like He does, with acceptance and compassion. Lots of forgiveness and openhearted, with anticipation of what He has in store for me. He has given me a unique family and some very wonderful friends (Shauny G and Bishop Eddie Tatro, and Rachie from WordPress a huge hug too from me). I will try and give thanks not just because it’s Thanksgivings Day but because He has given me another day to simply BE!

Music In a Melancholy Mood


Today my optimistic self has fled from my soul at the moment. I am wondering and pondering big questions in my head trying to decide the best course of action for my melancholy mood.

I know lots of people have it worse than I. I have a good family even if I don’t speak to them as often as I should but I know they love me too even though the distance between us is humongous. Recently though, I am wondering what I could do or say to help my brother whom I haven’t seen in 30 years. I am trying to take a leaf out of Sting’s Lyrics praying that perhaps by setting him free he may come back to me. I know I can be a very possessive little sister but I love him to bits. I love him so much it’s disgustingly good. I know when he is ready he will let me or the rest of the family back in but I really wonder if it’s going to be another 30 years before it happens. I certainly hope not because I am planning a trip back to the states in 2015 to visit family and friends.

I want to make new memories with him and his own family. I do think in time it will happen but in this moment I am feeling melancholy. I don’t want to interfere with him but I want to be part of his life. Maybe I am asking too much but maybe it is what he needs too because I can’t imagine my world without him. We don’t have to speak all the time but just knowing he’s out their in the universe makes my world brighter.

My First Memories of God


If you don’t believe in God, that’s ok. He still believes in you. I know how silly it may seem to an unbeliever. I am not writing this to chastise the unbeliever but to maybe give them a clue about why I so fervently believe in God. I can thank Kozo Hattori for this blog because his post on 15 September started me on this train of thought. He posed a question about first memories of God and wanted comments but what I have to say will eventuate into a blog all on it’s own.

I was raised Roman Catholic. My very first memories were of going to church with my family. I am closest to my sisters Judy and Margaret because we were raised together. Michele, Aggie, Roberta, and Chuck were out of the house by the time we moved to Louisiana. Kevin left us when I was about 5 years old. He got married I think when I was 11. I know the month was June of 1978. I feel closest to him brother wise even though it’s been almost 30 years since I have seen him face to face. I feel as if I am digressing but I also feel this is sort of pertinent to understanding me.

We three girls were more than sisters. We still are close friends and confidants. We feel quite comfortable having discussions about God and spirituality. We could also thank our mom for this too because God was always the center of her world, followed by us and dad.

One of my first memories of God I was outside on Vernon Lake Road in our front yard playing with Judy. I am not sure about my age. I could have been three or five. We were just talking about all sorts of things. I know it was before I ever went to kindergarten. We were looking at a caterpillar. Judy was saying that it was going to turn into a butterfly one day. I looked up at the sun closing my eyes feeling the warmth of it. Seeing the images of Judy’s face and the caterpillar in all the different colours I had an aha moment. I thought about the creator, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit because that is what I was taught. It’s hard to put these sensations into words because it is hard to remember exactly but the residual is He is real. He created everything.

As the years go by and I get older, sometimes doubt creeps in. It’s at these moments when the doubt seems to stifle the feelings of wonder of God, I get little reminders of how special this world is and everything that is in it. We take things for granted.  I hold on to the inner child I have and try to let her out a lot. I love those aha moments when they come. I share them a lot on WordPress.

Throughout my spiritual journey, I have often gone to courses where I have had these aha moments. I know I am being called to being a really big work that I have already shared on my blog about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. One day, I hope to have started one or help start one. I am struggling with self-doubt but I know one day I will make it happen. I do believe that we are lucky to start out as little children full of wonder and awe because compared to God we are just little children. He is always there with us even when we think we are all alone. He sends special people to us in our most dire times to help us on our journey of life. We might think things will turn out one way. The reality of the situation may be even beyond what we ever expected.

Little children are wise. They are believers in magic. We all have magic inside ourselves. Children seem to see more than us so called adults. We can learn lots of things by being with little children. They can make us see more aha moments than we ever thought we could see for ourselves.

Thank you Kozo, and Jett for sharing your thoughts on God. It was a true pleasure listening to your wisdom! To listen to the pearls of wisdom given by the Hattori family please use this link: http://everydaygurus.com/2013/09/15/god-is-in-your-poop-and-pee/

Chance Encounter?


I know it’s not like me to do two blogs in one day but something has happened to me and I wanted to share it because it feels special. I would even venture to say extraordinary. I have noticed that things don’t just happen by chance. I am really realizing this today because there are things that I am feeling very bombarded with but not in a bad way.

I read two blogs earlier or maybe even 3 which really affected me. All 3 were written by fellow bloggers whom I really respect and they have a very loving spirit. The first one was by Anne Birkelo http://ambirkelo.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/tuff-enuf/ It was something that I really needed to read at the moment and still struggle with a lot but I am trying to rely more on the wonderful Spirit that our Lord has given us because I am trying to be the person that He wants me to be if I only learn to trust in Him more, to surrender all.

The other blog that I read was by Meg at Firsttimefreedom http://firsttimefreedom.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/brother-and-sister/. This reminded me that we all have family that we love and long to know better but the one that really smacked me upside my head was by Kozo http://everydaygurus.com/2013/05/15/daily-dose-of-vitamin-s/. He posed a really wonderful picture of needing our daily dose of vitamin S. I was trying to think of a really cool response to him but couldn’t think of one when a good friend of mine contacted me on Facebook to let me know that his dad arrived to his home and how happy he was. My friend has a really debilitating autoimmune disorder. His wife is trying to help him with their small children but I think the fact that his father, who traveled all the way to Canada from Australia just to be with them in his most troubled time of need just gave me a wow moment. I am not talking World of Warcraft sort of wow moment but a really goose flesh sort of in awe kind of moment when I knew for certain that there was a higher power out there. I look back on my life and where I thought I was and where I am heading with this hope that I will be able to help others on their journey in this life.

We all need encouragement and the best source I found for encouragement is a good dose of Vitamin S that Kozo blogged about. I found that Vitamin S (the Spirit) while talking with my friend who is in Canada. I try to see the Spirit in every person I encounter and I pray that they will see that same Spirit shining back when they encounter me. I am just a child compared to God and I want to make Him happy because He has blessed me with this wonderful life at this wonderful time. I know I had been very cynical inside but that boost from my friend has buoyed me up as well as these beautiful blogs that I have posted here. I will leave you with a photo I saw on Facebook today.

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For those who can not read the image it reads: Dear Lord,

Open my eyes to opportunities to bless others

for Your glory!

 

 

 

 

 

Transparency And Compartmentalization: Coexistence?


Transparency and Compartmentalization can they coexist? I often wonder if that is a contradiction or a mere fact. The reason why I say this is because I like to think I can be very transparent but I can also compartmentalize a lot of things in my life. There are certain things that I want to share with my husband and do but he just doesn’t get what I am trying to share. I end up filing it away into the just for me compartment.

I also find that there are certain things I don’t share with certain people outside my marriage. I know I act certain ways in front of them because I don’t think  it’s appropriate to be my true self. If I am in a church crowd, I won’t be throwing the f bomb around at all. I won’t let the dirty Dianna come out to play. The grot  in me stays tightly locked away from being exposed even if I feel like letting a f word escape.  Shit has passed my lips in a lapse of judgement but that is not very often.

Some things are best left to be in compartments but then you wonder what others are thinking so you end up exposing yourself a bit more. I know I do at least. If I think that what I have exposed has in any way compromised myself, I just put it back in the box so to speak. If I know the person doesn’t like what I have tried to share, I will file it away in the do not disturb ever again compartment.

There are some things you share only with family. There are some things you don’t want to share with family. There are things that you share with certain friends but you would never share with one in particular because it’s such a tricky slippery slope you will go on if you do. Surely I am not the only person to have these thoughts or asked these questions. I just choose to express them in a blog which is helping me to come to a certain conclusion.

For me transparency and compartmentalization can co-exist. I suppose it’s a lot like that line from Salt N Peppa’s rap song None Of Your Business which says: “Opinions are like assholes and everybody’s got one”. In each compartment that I have created in my life there is transparency which I strive for because no one really likes a liar.  It makes life less complicated because the truth is much simpler to remember than a lie!