It’s a choice.

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.
~Roy T. Bennett

Isn’t that the truth? Do you ever find it odd that so many people claim they want complete control over their own lives and then blame-shift off onto others when it comes to not wanting to have a good attitude, or be happy and optimistic? All of a sudden, there’s a million excuses for not being kind or respectful with remarks, thoughts and actions.

Is it really someone else’s fault when we find ourselves with a crappy attitude, unhappy, pessimistic, unkind, selfish and disrespectful?

Trying to add to the positive aura over at McGuffy’s Reader, Sparks 7

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Cabo says, Hello Summer!

Hello Summer! Hey…….wait a minute…..I think I might resemble that remark. Can’t understand how Mom can say that. She always says I’m the smartest puppy she knows.

In case you missed my introduction, you can read it HERE. I’ve jumped up to 14.5 pounds in just three short weeks. Everyone keeps talking about the size of my paws…….but I think they’re pretty perfect just the way they are. All I know is it’s getting easier to clear the step from the backyard into the house, and I’m able to catch the little white dog that lives next door. Boy, I rolled her a couple of times last night real good while we were chasing each other!

So, it’s my first official day of summer, and there are sooooo many things to get into tear up discover. I’ve really only just begun. So far, no shoes, socks or clothing have been sacrificed to my razor-sharp teeth. Whenever I get into something really interesting, all of a sudden I find a substitute chewy bone in my mouth. What’s up with that?

But I did discover I luuuvvvvvv watermelon….and strawberries….and peaches…..and apples! I found out I even like green beans and broccoli. I hope Mom lets me come with her to the garden soon. I could be such a big help.

I am part Golden Retriever so, of course, they got me my own pool! The Poodle in me keeps trying to suppress those water instincts, but I’m sure I can overcome those negative vibes before summer ends. And it’s so much fun when the litter mates play in there too!

I have to admit, I do tend to get into some trouble from time to time. It seems to come when all I want to do is play….rough…with my mouth…..on their fingers. But I have all this pent up energy and am so happy to share it with anything that crosses my path! And, I am a little mouthy at times, especially when I’m hungry.

Because of this, Mom and Dad have decided it’s time for me to start learning something called “manners.” They say words like Come, Sit and Wait. And then there’s the one I don’t care for so much. No.

I’m hearing that one a lot lately.

It’s very hot outside now because it’s summer. Duh. What? You sit outside on a 90F day in a fur coat and tell me how YOU like it. My yard does have lots of shade, but……

This is my preferred napping location, but just to show I’m flexible, I’ll relocate to various AC vent around the house. 🙂

That’s all for today. Take care, stay cool, and may all your puppy dreams be sweet.

For better or for worse

For better or for worse…

It’s been five days since my post on Entrepreneur’s unexpected brain surgery. Definitely a low point in our 36 years of marriage.

For richer, for poorer…

Emergency Room visit, five-hour surgery, recovery, and in-house rehabilitation; not to mention more CT scans, MRIs and other tests too numerous to count; and we’re not even to the part that involves treatment for any remaining cancer cells…let’s just say I’m feeling the “poorer” part of the vow. We met our deductible in…oh, about the first minute.

In sickness and in health…

In less than a week’s time, my over-achieving, fiercely independent, take-no-prisoners husband…the man who has come back from countless athletic injuries, a hematoma under a shoulder blade, rotator cuff surgery, knee surgery and, most recently, a kidney removal from cancer…has been humbled beyond belief by the need for a walker and help with the most mundane daily living tasks.

Because the cancer mass in his right temple measured 4.7cm and went deep into the brain, this necessitated the neurosurgeon cut around inside his head. And when people cut around inside your head, there’s trauma, swelling, bleeding and other damage that results in diminished physical abilities, capabilities and strength, And that’s in addition to the psychological, emotional and spiritual trauma that occurs when your body and thought processes don’t want to play well with what your brain want them to do.

But I signed on for the long haul. And a long haul is exactly what we’re facing now. Unless someone has faced this type of humbling disability, I’m not sure it’s possible to convey the feeling of sheer terror and helplessness that accompanies stepping into these unchartered waters.

It’s hard to remember that today’s “reality” will not be the reality of a month from now…or two months from now….or six months from now…or a year from now. Success will not be measured by the calendar days but rather, by accomplishments…however long they take.

Our lives are forever changed by this event. I’m not sure I can even comprehend what our family will go through over the coming weeks, months and years. All I know is I will be beside him every step of the way. I will celebrate the small victories as well as the major milestones. I will cry. I will curse the fates. I will pray.

“I will hold you by your right hand—
I, the LORD your God.
And I say to you,
‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”
~Isaiah 41:13

But I know we are not facing this challenge unarmed. We are not climbing this mountain alone. The outpouring of prayers and support is literally spanning coast to coast…as well as a few across the pond (a shout-out to my international Facebook/Bloggy friends). We are connected to an amazing support system and unbelievable prayer warriors. Earthly angels sent to minister to our family. No, we are far from facing this alone.

Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”
~Isaiah 35:3-4

And I need to remember this when the days seem overwhelming, when the nights are filled with fear, when the odds look like they are not in our favor.

entrepreneur-surgery

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
~CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (1942)

But, I’m sure it’s going to feel more like this…

We’re not doubting that God will do the best for us; we’re wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. 
~Letters of C. S. Lewis (1966)

Quotography: Green

Quotography-green72
Green is the soul of Spring
Summer may be dappled with yellow
Autumn with orange and
Winter with white but
Spring is drenched with the colour of green
~Paul F. Kortepeter, Tea with Victoria Rose

Ha! I bet you thought I’d pick something related to St. Paddy’s Day for Quotography’s prompt of Green. Nope. Not this German. However, I will do the obligatory corned beef and cabbage on Thursday for dinner. 🙂

The earth is waking up here in middle Missouri. The rain has greened up the grass and most of my daffs are in bloom. Birds have found their voices again and the sound of new frogs in the creeks drift in and out of the open windows all day long. But I can’t help but remember Spring Break a few years ago that brought 10 inches of snow!

The beginning of Spring always holds such promise. We’re planning out the garden again and hoping this year will be better than last…couldn’t be much worse. New fencing will hopefully keep the bunnies and deer out, and if Mom Nature turns off the faucet in a reasonable amount of time, we just might enjoy some home-grown veggies. Peanut is an old hand at gardening, and it should be fun to watch Twix in the dirt this year.

Playing Quotography along with Kelley at The Road Goes Ever On

My Word for 2016 is……

Last year was the first year I’d chosen a Word for the Year instead of coming up with those restricting resolutions and goals. It seemed that choosing a word was much more fluid and opened itself up to many possibilities. My word for 2015 was Fearless (fear-less) and I tried to carry that word with me as circumstances and events tried to derail my sanity.

It was a good selection as we entered into a year of unknown results for Entrepreneur’s scans to determine whether the spots on his lungs were metastasized kidney cancer cells….or not. Fear gripped me at the end of 2014 with his diagnosis and subsequent surgery, and I needed to get a handle on my emotions and focus my energy in a more positive direction. Fear also prowled around other areas in my life last year. The funny thing about fear is that is begins as anxiety, grows into panic and then devours you with an overwhelming sense that the situation cannot be changed…which can shake the strongest foundations of faith.

But that didn’t happen. Learning how to fear less the situations over which I have little control resulted in more trust in the larger plan….a plan that may or may not be the one I would prefer to happen. It forced me to accept that sometimes the only thing I can control is my reaction to how events unfold. It also reminded me that even when things seem out of control, there is One who is always in control….and my trust needs to be in His sovereign reign in my life, regardless of the circumstances.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. ~Psalm 27:1-3

And now, it’s 2016 and I’m ready to choose another word on which to focus for the year. And that word is…..

Present.

No….not the gift-giving kind of present, but rather the kind that requires me to be present and involved. I chose this word because there are about, oh I’d say, a gazillion ways to not be present in today’s social-media-technology-addicted world. We can be physically present in any situation, but never completely, consciously engaged as long as our smartphones, tablets or computers are within arm’s reach. Just look at how far we’ve come in just a few short years:

cell phone addition stats

And, just so you don’t think I’m pointing fingers, I include myself in this observation. I’ve increasingly been “multi-tasking”…or that’s the excuse I use….when I should be giving the people I’m with or task at hand 100% of my attention.Whether it’s social media, texting, Words with Friends or online surfing/shopping, those little devices are becoming just “vices” instead of tools to make life more efficient.

cell phone additions 2

Our technology-savvy children are watching. Always watching. What sort of example are we setting when they hear the occasional “uh-huh” or “okay” to their questions as we never take our eyes off those hand-held screens? That is if it even registers that they are talking to us. We’re already seeing the results of being constantly plugged in with today’s teenagers and young adults. I wonder if any of them are capable of having a meaningful face-to-face conversation for more than about 5 seconds. Social media and technology connects us to an amazing number of people and places. Yet, it may be isolating us further because we are sacrificing being 100% present in moment.

I don’t want my grandbabykins to think my status on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest or any other flavor-of-the-day social media platform is more important than they are to me at any given point in time. And I certainly don’t want them to feel like I’m resentful of their presence….like they’re interrupting something vitally important. I don’t want the friend I’m having lunch with to think they are being slighted by my inability to put away my phone for an hour or so and actually enjoy their company. I don’t want people to think scrolling Facebook, trolling Pinterest or checking texts/email is in some way preferable to spending time with them in actual conversation…with [horrors] eye contact and everything.

idiots-tech-zombie

I believe Albert had it correct when it comes to technology and human interaction.

So, Present my word for 2016. I want to experience wonderful moments being attentive and engaged. My grandbabykins won’t stay little for long and I don’t want to miss precious memories that tend to appear and disappear just as quickly. There is much more to life than 140 character status updates.

Linking up with Lisa Kerner over at Simply Living Photography and LTTL.

The Autumn Hang-er On-ers

The Autumnal Show is almost finished…just a few “hang-er on-ers” here and there that don’t realize it’s time to bed down for winter. So, here’s the last of the Autumn photos for 2015. I snapped them with my phone during one of my morning walks. It’s hard to believe next week is the beginning of December!

Enjoy.

 

wet leaves

November’s sky is chill and drear, November’s leaf is red and sear.
~Sir Walter Scott

sedum

The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.
~Northern Advocate

tree in woods

There is music in the meadows,
in the air —
 Autumn is here;
Skies are gray, but hearts are mellow,
Leaves are crimson, brown, and yellow;
Pines are soughing, birches stir,
And the Gipsy trail is fresh beneath the fir.

There is rhythm in the woods,
and in the fields,
 Nature yields:
And the harvest voices crying,
Blend with Autumn zephyrs sighing;
Tone and color, frost and fire,
Wings the nocturne Nature plays upon her lyre.
~William Stanley Braithwaite

burning bush leaf

…I see
the turning of a leaf
dancing in an autumn sun,
and brilliant shades of crimson
glowing when a day is done…
~Hazelmarie “Mattie” Elliott, “A Breath of Heaven”

Yellow leaves

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.
~Elizabeth Lawrence

 

 

Quotography: Quiet

Quotography-Quiet 72

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only is a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.
~Hans Margolius

This past week has been quite the roller coaster. Just when you feel like you can catch a breath, another jerk, twist or drop occurs. This week, the mind has been assaulted by tragic events both home and abroad.

If you didn’t hear, Missouri’s flagship university in Columbia made national news when a group of students demanded the resignation of the president of the school and provided a list of “demands” to, in their mind, offset the racial imbalances they’ve experienced over the years at the hands of those of “white privilege.” One black student’s hunger strike brought mixed reaction when it was discovered his family was worth more than 20 million in net assets. Numerous stories of inexcusable racial discriminatory treatment came out from both students and faculty alike. The First Amendment was tossed around like a tennis ball on both sides of the issue. The football team threatened to boycott the upcoming football game. At the risk of it all turning into another Ferguson debacle, the university president and chancellor resigned, but the tension in the city is still high.

The University of Missouri’s head coach announced he is stepping down at the end of the season for health reasons. He has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

On the heels of this, a suicide bomber killed 43 people in Beruit. The next day, France experienced its own tragedy with terrorist bombs killing 123 people and injuring many more. France’s response was quick with the launching of airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. More will probably follow.

Which brings us to the Syrian refugee crisis and fears that among the relocated refugees will also be terrorists masquerading as those fleeing the violence. Governors of more than half of nation’s states are refusing to take this risk by accepting them.

So much juicy fodder for social media, traditional media, talk show hosts and water cooler gossip.

So much tongue wagging. So many reactions without pausing to engage the brain.

So much noise.

I’m just as guilty. Many times this past week, my thoughts and words were fueled by the hysteria and hoopla I read online and watched on TV. Were they justified? I’m not sure.

What I do know is I engaged my mouth (and fingers) before my brain in some instances. I let in the noise and allowed it to set my course.

Regardless of how we feel about certain issues, we all should pause before striking and evaluate all sides of a situation. If, after quiet reflection, we feel strongly about an issue, we should respectfully make our case for or against without compromising core values. But it’s only in quiet reflection will we see things undistorted and can intelligently respond.

Best advice I heard this week. Two ears…one mouth. Use them proportionately. 

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
~James 1:19

Participating in Quotography and Life Through the Lens.