Category Archives: Love

Dear 2018

Standard

 

As 2018 draws to an end I find myself reminiscing the happenings of the year.  Holy moly, it was a MAJOR year for our family.  Not only did we have some huge changes, but we also had a multitude of tiny life events that added to the excitement (and stress) of 2018.

FB_IMG_1545421100999

About a week ago I saw this meme on Facebook and immediately the word that popped into my mind to describe 2018 was “CHANGE”.    We have had so much change.

2018 was our first full year without Leo.  We are still humbled on a regular occasion when strangers contact us thanking us for sharing Leo’s story.  We love knowing that Leo is still touching lives during their time of need, even in his afterlife.  Leo was truly the BEST BOY.  We were blessed to have him in our lives on a daily basis for over 14+ years, from bottle feeding him as a puppy, to having my hand on his chest as he took his final breath on 8/21/2017.  We wholeheartedly thank Leo for every moment we had with him and the lifetime of memories he provided us.

IMAG1220

 

The beginning of February saw Kuki having oral surgery that removed 8.5 teeth (yes, I do have them saved in a small baggie…they were only the tiny front teeth), and Doc having a double surgery at once.  Doc had his stenotic nares fixed (had no idea they would take so long to heal, but now he is able to breath like a champ), and a large lump between his shoulder blades removed.  I laugh because the vet did internal sutures with Doc’s lump surgery, which left two tiny lumps at the end of his scar line.  Kuki’s surgery went smooth, but her healing was a challenge as she developed a heck of a cough, that took a couple different medications to get under control (of course this crazy mama bear went into panic mode fearing we would lose our girl).

DSC_0068IMAG1667IMAG1682

 

We opened our hearts and home again, just a few days after Doc and Kuki’s surgeries.  When Leo passed I adamantly said “I can’t do this again” even though I knew that we would have to in the future with Doc and Kuki.  In February of 2018 I was contacted by a client, letting me know about a senior disabled Pug that needed a forever home and that she believed we would be the best home for the Pug.  On February 8th we did our meet and greet, driving hours over an Oregon mountain pass (thankfully snow free), and immediately feel in love.  Her name was Lulu.  This name didn’t stick with her long as we quickly realized that it was her “abuse” name and we wanted her to feel happy and safe.  After a few months the name Wu-Puggy stuck with her.  Wu-Puggy has Pug Myelopathy, causing her to have limited control over her hind legs, bladder, and bowel.  Wu is also prone to UTI’s because of her condition.  During the first couple weeks after adopting  her from the Willamette Humane Society, I honestly questioned if we were the best choice of family for her as she was so much work and her adjustment had been a challenge.  I now regret having those second thoughts as we couldn’t imagine our lives without our loving, curious, spunky little Wu-Puggy.  We did learn that having a senior disabled Pug can be quite expensive.  We did also learn how to express her bladder so that she is finally able to eliminate all of her urine and hopefully in the long-run lessen her amount of UTI’s.  Since learning to express Wu-Puggy she has no longer needs to wear her doggy diapers, which makes her a happy girl.  This also makes us happy as there are no urinary accidents any more, eliminating quite a bit of stress and manual labor (aka LAUNDRY and dog baths).  As of right now we are helping keep Wu-Puggy as healthy and happy as possible with a vast supply of supplements, doggy stretches, and all the love we can give.  To end this Wu-Puggy section we say “ADOPT DON’T SHOP” when it comes to adding a new family member.  Don’t forget the senior dogs.  Don’t overlook the disabled dogs.  They are so full of love and all they want is a family to live out the rest of their days with.

LuluPugfirstdayhome

2018 also brought a long-distance move for our family.  A move back home.  After spending 5.5 wonderful years in beautiful central Oregon we made the decision to move back home to Minnesota.  As you know, moving is stressful!  Now, make that move long-distance, with three dogs (two of which are senior disabled), on a limited budget, a husband that has an amazing amount of stuff,  and without the 100% security that the home we would be moving into would be available by the time we arrived…holy moly stressful.  When all was said and done, we arrived safe and sound.  The move all together from out west to getting stuff out of a storage unit here in Minnesota took just under four months, three separate moving trucks (one giant one for the main move, two for getting stuff from the storage unit), four dump trips, two tow trailers, fifteen different helpers (people helping load, unload, haul, professionally clean, carpet clean, etc.), and well over $4,000…ouch.

MoveMap

Adjusting to the changes from the move has been a challenge.  Personally, I have never done well with change, the older I get the harder it seems to be to adjust.  New state (well, not a new one as the majority of my life has been in Minnesota), new house, new neighbors, new noises (we hear sirens every day now),  new taxes (yes, MN has more and higher taxes than OR), new utilities, new vet, new job for the hubby, rebuilding my business client base…just a ton of new that was overall good, but extremely challenging at the same time.  My husband got his dream job which is fabulous, but the first four months we were here he had a total of one day off…yes, ONE DAY in four months.  I think that made settling in a little more challenging as I was busy working on rebuilding my pet sitting business, and doing household projects while he was busting his butt at work, meaning the tiny bit of awake time we spent together was essentially just a quick cup of coffee in the mornings and the “how was your day” conversations in the evenings before drifting away to sleep.  Thankfully, with the change in seasons, he does now get some time off and is working to make sure that he will have one day off per week once the busy season starts at his work.  Even though it has taken quite a bit of time, we are both settling in well to our new location.

TimRossbach1

This year also brought family, reconnections and new connections.  Moving back to Minnesota helped reunite family.  My husband got to spend his birthday with his son for the first time in many years.  The cool thing about this was his son came down (lives just a couple hour drive away), treated him to lunch, and spent the day at his work with him as he didn’t have the day off…this made my husband’s day.   I hadn’t seen my two sisters or brother in 20-22 years…yes, a lifetime.  Have gotten to spend some time with each of these siblings and their spouses doing a variety of activities from a zoo activity to concerts.  Needless to say, after so many years of not seeing each other or being in contact much, there is a ton of getting to know each other still to do, but now living back in Minnesota and being near family will make this easier.  One of my sisters thought it would be fun for us all to do 23 and Me genetic testing so see what percentage of DNA we shared (as they are full siblings and I am just a half, sharing the same mother).  Much to my surprise the day that 23 and Me contacted with my results I also found out that I have a half-brother from my dad’s side.  It was interesting getting to know him through messages and we look forward to meeting him sometime in 2019.

DNASNIP

This year brought more than reconnecting my husband with his son (they have always been in contact, but getting to live close and see each other has been a plus for both of them).  It brought more than reconnecting me with my two sisters and two brothers (it is interesting saying two there as for 38 years of my life it had only been one).  It brought a connection to quite a few members of my dad’s side of the family.  I was honored to be able to connect with and help a cousin of mine as she went through radiation and chemotherapy in her fight against a brain tumor…she is an amazing person who is showing that tumor who the boss lady is and I think we became part of each others lives at the perfect time.  One of the things I am loving about living back in Minnesota is that we are now close (distance wise) to family again, making it easier to visit, catch-up, etc.  During the summer I also got to meet my Aunt Kathy from my mom’s side of the family that came out from California.  Was also spoiled by a visit from my cousin Dani and her wife Vanessa.

AuntKathyandfamilydaniandi

 

Lessons I’ve Learned and Knowledge Gained from 2018

  • Change can be scary.  Change can be challenging.  Change can be amazing.  Change can be an excellent learning opportunity.
  • Goodbyes are hard, as are Hellos sometimes.
  • My anxiety sometimes makes me seem like an a$$hole, especially to those people who don’t know me well.
  • I struggle to bond, connect with, and trust others.  When thinking about this in depth I realize that there are few people who actually know me.  Yes, a lot of people know of me, or some things about me, or some things they’ve heard about me from someone else, but not many actually know me.  I am painfully guarded.
  • I am stronger than I believed.
  • I am an over-thinker (even though this isn’t new information).  Sometimes it takes me longer to process things than it does most people.
  • No matter what you do in life you will always be the bad guy in someone’s story.
  • No matter what you do in life you will always be the light in someone’s story.
  • You can’t control what people say about you behind your back, but you can control your reaction (or lack there of).
  • Speaking your truth will be/is one of the hardest things you will ever do in life.  The best you can hope for is understanding, compassion, and that the person/people who you confided in believe and support you.
  • Best friends are just that…the BEST.
  • Family is not only genetics, but the people we chose to have and keep close in our lives.
  • I love my privacy.
  • Some people in our lives will love and support us for exactly who we are.  Of course, on the other hand, there will always be other people in our lives that try to change us and make us not feel like who we are is enough…don’t let those people get to you.
  • Words are powerful.  Words can lift you up.  Words can crush you.  Someone can walk up and slap you in the face, you will immediately be shocked, angry, and in pain, but all of those will go away with virtually no lasting result.  Words on the other hand end up etching deep in your memory and can still cause pain years later.  Learning to not let those words have power over you is a challenge…something I am still working on.
  • Learning new skills is wonderful.
  • When you do something or complete something you are proud of, don’t be ashamed of being proud of it!  Own it!  Seriously, I built gates, stairs, etc. this year and was (am) extremely proud of how good of a job I did and how each of the little projects add up to make a nicer place.  I often struggle with finding good in myself or being proud of myself for anything, so being proud of the projects I completed over the year is a huge step.
  • Dogs are the best therapy.  I love being a professional pet sitter, even if other people don’t consider it a real job.  I get to provide care for, teach, play with, snuggle with, and love so many amazing animals, and for that I am honored.
  • Always take the time to look at a situation from not only your view point, but the other parties point of view.  Kind of like a walk a mile in their shoes.  Take your time to understand them and hope that they reciprocate.
  • I have gained new insight this year into things that trigger my anxiety.  This is priceless.  Every little bit of extra knowledge helps.
  • I realized that I have never felt like I belong.  I wasn’t raised around family.  Heck, didn’t meet the majority of family members from my dad’s side until I was 12 years old.  Unfortunately, this left me feeling like an outsider.  I’ve always felt like an outsider or a flattened tire with my siblings too, like I am just there clinging on, unwanted.
  • There are so many more things I learned, but my brain is now mush at this point and I am just ready for 2018 to be over.  2018 was a great and exhausting year.

 

crop635w_college-scholarships-2019-edition.jpg

Image Credits Creator:wujekjery Credit:Getty Images Copyright:This content is subject to copyright.

Knowing the word that best described 2018 was CHANGE, I found myself thinking about the word I would like to describe 2019.  I would like that word to be STABILITY.  This last year had so many changes that I would like this upcoming year (and hopefully the years following) to offer some stability.  Stability in our home/living situation.  Stability in our dogs’ health.  Stability in our finances.  Stability in our family.  Stability in our relationships…friendships, family bonds, etc.  I have had a lifetime of instability, so having just turned 39 years old I would love to put down the permanent roots and have the security and stability of knowing I belong.  Belong in a place, belong in a family.  Stability, yes, that is a good word for 2019.

 

 

Advertisements

The Never Goodbye

Standard

 

DSC09872

I’ve written this blog a hundred times at night as I lay trying to fall asleep, each time slightly different, each time with tears muffled in my pillow. Honestly, I don’t believe that I will ever be ready to write it. I force myself in this moment, with tears in my eyes, and an emptiness in my soul to type this out, as maybe in sharing our loss we will be able to take another small step forward in the healing process.

 

Today, March 11, 2018, would have been Leo’s 15th birthday. Leo didn’t make it to today. Leo lived to be 14 years, 5 months, and 10 days old. Our little old man passed away on August 21, 2017 (the eclipse), in the comfort of his home, surrounded by all the love we could give him. Leo took his final breath with mom’s hand on his little rib cage comforting him at 8:21 p.m. He passed naturally, with no chemical assistance (even though his vet did offer to come to our home and help him pass). Not sure how everyone else is with numbers, but we see Leo’s passing as significant as he took his final breath at 8:21 on 8/21, he wanted us to always remember just how amazing of a boy he was.
In the end Leo’s little body could no longer battle the Cushing’s disease and the cancer, but he sure tried. Leo outlived his vet’s life expectancy guess twice. In January of 2016 we were told we would be “lucky to have a few good months.” In June of 2016 we were told he probably had “a few weeks left.” The mum bear in me couldn’t handle the thought of only a few more weeks, so we made big changes to help keep Leo as healthy and happy as possible. Immediately we changed his diet to 100% homemade full of inflammation fighting and cancer fighting goodness to help him with his battle. We started him on a cannabinoid based supplement. Finally, I stayed home to care for him (though this put us behind, I wouldn’t have it any other way as being there to care for my old boy during the end of his life when he needed me the most was the best thing I could do for him as a pet parent). A diet change, natural supplement, and full-time care helped Leo outlive the vet estimate and gave us more time with him, which of course is never enough.

 
During Leo’s life he taught me many valuable lessons. Leo taught me what unconditional love was as his love the was pure (I am still working on transferring this knowledge to humans). Leo taught me how to put someone else’s needs before my own, as no matter what happened in life I would always put him first. Leo was the love of my life. He was my lifesaver, as I have had dark times where I questioned my need for living, but knew that he needed me and I couldn’t hurt him by ending myself. I loved Leo more than life itself, and told him every day. Leo was my best friend. Leo was my son. People say, “it’s just a dog”, no Leo wasn’t just a dog. I am honored to have called him son, friend, love, lifesaver. He was truly the best boy.

 
Since Leo’s passing we’ve realized how truly amazing it is that one little dog could touch so many lives, both during his life and since his passing. How one little dog could help so many strangers. We get messages on a regular basis thanking us for sharing Leo’s eye enucleation story and providing families with some comfort when it comes to their fur kids going through the same procedure. We love that Leo’s story has helped and is helping so many, it warms our hearts. We’ve also realized how important that connection with others is, that connection that helps others, that connection of family bonds…that human connection. It took an amazing little spunky Boston Terrier named Leo to make us truly think about and appreciate love, each other, others, and the connection that brings us all together.

 
Thank you, Leo, for all the laughs, the memories, the stories, the love. Though we had to say goodbye to your physical presence, we will never say goodbye to your spectacular soul.

 

 

LEOXavier

Emotional Chords and How We Play Them

Standard

We all have emotions.  Happy, sad, angry, miffed, excited…all emotions.  We feel emotions in different situations, around different people and in different ways.  Sometimes it purely depends on the situation as to how you will react emotion wise, other times it depends on the day.  Example:  That movie or commercial that always pulls at your heart-strings–sometimes when you watch it you feel that emotional connection and respond by really thinking about the theme and acknowledging it, other times you see it and end up bawling for 15 minutes (and no, not the cute cry…the ugly cry, snot and all).  How we chose to process those emotions is where things sometimes get a little tricky.

The following is an emotion wheel that I thought would be fun to use pictures of our dog Doc showing some of the different emotions.  Pets are always great at helping people regulate their own emotions and studies have shown that pets are also great therapy.

 

Doc emotions through pictures.

When something happens in your life that does strike an emotional chord, learning how to react can be a real challenge, we have to learn how to play those emotional chords.  Yesterday a friend of mines young son was at school and injured himself during gym by running into the corner of a wall.  Joe’s injury required that he get 5 stitches in his temple area.  Joe did not cry, nor did his mother, yet when she contacted me about his injury she explained how hard it was for her to stay strong and not to cry so that Joe would be able to stay brave.  It is hard seeing someone you love hurt or in pain and in some situations the best thing that you can do is play your own emotional chords very softly so that the other person’s emotions do not escalate.  My friend did a perfect job keeping her own emotions in-check because they helped her son stay calm.  Later in the evening when Joe’s father arrived at home Joe showed that he had a great sense of humor about the injury by jokingly telling his dad that “he took on the whole class” and that the cut was all he got out of it 🙂

Part of our way of dealing with our own emotions depends on how we chose to look at life.  If you look at life and think that the world is out to get you and that life in general sucks, you emotions will also portray that.  If you try to stay upbeat and positive, even when life hands you the occasional lemon, your emotions will portray that.

Our emotions and moods also rub off on those around us…or other people’s emotions can rub off on us, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.  I have one friend that stands out as always being happy (well, 98% of the time at least).  He has a great sense of humor and loves to make other people laugh and have fun.  If you are in a funk of a mood that day, within just a few minutes around him your entire day will brighten and your emotions will be uplifted.  A smile and a laugh really help in keeping emotions in-check.  On the other hand I have a friend who is always a “Debbie-Downer” she is either mad, angry, ticked-off or irritated all of the time…gosh, imagine how much stress that puts on your body to be feeling those emotions all of the time.!?  Even when something super positive happens in her life, rather than being happy and excited that it will happen, she choses to look at it and say “well, it wont last.”  Your life and emotions all come down to your own choices.  Chose to be happy, chose to be sad…it is all up to you.  Yes, sometimes people are actually not able to control their own emotions which can lead to depression and other health issues, but counseling & some medications (depending on each individual situation) can really help balance out the different emotions.

Years ago I had a friend that would call me in tears at least three times a week and tell me the horrible things her then boyfriend (now husband) would say to her when they were fighting or arguing.  After a few months of this I finally stopped her in the middle of one of her venting sessions and told her that the next time she called me she needed to tell me at least 3 positive things that he said or done for her before she started telling me about all of the negative things.  This made her stop and actually look at all of the positive things that he said and did, which helped her not focus on the negative things as much.  A few months later their arguing and fighting had lessened and their communication had opened.  After one of their arguments where he had said something horrible to her she finally asked him why he says such mean things to her when they fight and his answer was “you hurt my feelings so I just wanted to say the meanest thing I could think of so your feelings would hurt too.”  This made her realize that there were two sets of emotions in the relationship, and when she only focused on hers and he only focused on his their relationship sucked, but when they took the little time to focus on each others emotions their relationship became much stronger.

This leads me to think of a variety of questions, that hopefully also make you think:

Have you ever said something to just purposely hurt someone elses feelings?

How often do you stop to think about how your emotions affect the people around you?

Do you let other people’s emotions rub off on you?

How do you stay positive in a negative situation?

How do you stay strong when your emotions are tested?

How often do you just stop to think about other people’s emotions?

On days when you are sad have you found anything that helps make you feel emotionally better?  An emotional outlet that works for you?  Reading, baking, exercise, pet therapy?

How do you choose to play your emotions songs?

Do you find that little things often times “get” to you?  If so, how do you deal with them?

If you could choose three negative emotions to work on how you react to them, what would they be?

If you could choose three positive emotions to use more and make stronger in your daily life, what would they be?

Have you ever been so emotional that you have said or done something you later regret?

Have you ever transferred your emotions about a situation or about yourself onto someone else?  Example:  You are mad because you got in a car accident and you yell at the other driver, a few days later you realize that it was your own actions that caused the accident, so really the person you were mad at was yourself, yet you took it out on the other driver.

Have you ever let your own emotions hold you back in life?

Do you help others when they are on an emotional low?

Are their people in your life that you can look at and say “Susie is always happy” or “Jake is just a downer”?  How do you let their examples mold the emotions in your life?

As you have aged have you become better at controlling your own emotions?

Do you think that television is affecting the emotions of generations of young people?  Does seeing people get angry, scream, swear and turn a table over teach young people negative emotions or negative ways of dealing with their emotions?

Who are the three people in your life that you admire the most for their emotions and emotional support?

 

 

 

 

5 THINGS: The Appreciation Experiment.

Standard

5 Things: The Appreciation Experiment. Find at: https://www.facebook.com/Appreciate5#!/Appreciate5

In 2010 a friend of mine started posting 5 Things that she appreciated that day on her facebook page and the feedback she got from her friends was amazing.  This prompted her to start the 5 Things facebook page where anyone and everyone can post the 5 things that they appreciate, big, small and everything in-between, they are also able to read what other people are appreciating.  5 Things founder Sarah M:  “My days are often brighter when I take some time in the morning to reflect upon what makes me happy.  It is all too easy to get caught up in deadlines and “have-tos” and “just-gottas” and yes…even the sneaky “yeah-buts.”  Sarah realized that taking those few minutes a day to reflect can really help people slow down and take notice of what is truly important to them.

Far too often in todays rush-rush-technology-driven-work-harder-do-more-make-more society we overlook all of the little things in our lives that are so important.  We literally take the majority of our lives for granted.  How many of us take the time to be thankful for electricity when we are watching our favorite movie, writing a blog, hitting the snooze button in the morning?  Not many, because that is just one of the things that we have all gotten so accustom to having that we barely notice it is there anymore…but we sure do notice when it is gone.  Many of us are in overall good physical health, but how many of us acknowledge how thankful for that health we are?  We take advantage of being able to see, hear, smell, speak, taste, feel, touch, walk, dance…until something happens, something unexpected…an accident, an illness, a fall…whatever factor that takes a portion of your health away, and typically it is not until that factor happens that we finally start to realize how much we appreciate(d) that part of our health…and if we are lucky we will heal and regain that part of our health back and be able to hopefully appreciate its importance of it for the rest of our lives.

Thinking about appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness brings to mind a whirlwind of questions.  Each question will have a different answer for each person.  Each question may have one answer today and then a year from now a completely different answer.  Life changes, the things that we love and care for change, the things we find important change, yet we should always be able to come up with a list of things that we appreciate in life.  The following are just some of the questions that I came up with that I think everyone should stop, think about and take notice of:

How many of the daily things that you take for granted would you notice and miss if they were gone?

What in your life do you put the most value on?  Family?  Friends?  Pets?  Material items?  Money?  God?

What makes us happy?

If you only had 5 minutes to take the “important” things out of your house what would they be?

Can money every truly buy happiness?

Do you appreciate the things in your life that you waste?  Food?

What would you do if you lost everything?

What would you miss most if you lost everything?

Who would you thank if you knew today would be your last?

How many of the people in your life actually know how much you appreciate them?  How do you show them?

Does your spouse/significant other feel your love and appreciation for them?  Do you thank them?  Compliment them?  Remind them?

5 Things:  The Appreciation Experiment encourages you to stop and take just a few minutes out of your day and share the 5 things you appreciate.  They may be little things that you are appreciating at that moment like your morning cup of coffee or big things that you appreciate every day of your life like your spouse and children.  You may be looking out your window at the time and be glad to see the sun shining and hear bird chirping.  Whatever it is at that moment that you appreciate…SHARE.  Being able to read the things that others appreciate can also shed light on some of the things you’ve been accidentally overlooking.

TAKE TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY TO APPRECIATE!            https://www.facebook.com/Appreciate5#!/Appreciate5

 

 

 

 

Love of Ages?

Standard
Earlier today I received a friend request from a friend that I had not heard from, nor have I seen, for close to 16 years, I gladly accepted the request.  This person is someone who became my friend because of his being friends with one of my family members…and in a way he got to watch me grow-up.  We did a couple of little wall chat comments and a small amount of catching up and then to my surprise I received a chat message from him…which made catching up much easier. 
 
A lot happens in 16 years and the first basic questions came down to:  Are you happy where you are?  Are you happy in the place you are in your life?  Of course I am!  Yes, there are a few tiny things that we would all like to change about our lives, but overall, I have a great life.  There are the little everyday challenges, but I would like to believe that most of us would not change that for the world and that in the long run we are pleased with our lives and living situations.  Though I am not a particularly religious person I do have to say that I feel very blessed in my life. 
 
He then asked me a question that I was not expecting, but that I thought was a wonderful inquiry:
 
“Tell me is Love different with Age?”
 
I thought about this question for about a minute prior to answering and my response was:
 
“Is love different with age? Maturity is different with age which in part makes the way that you are able to love different.”
 
As we age we learn, grow, change, and adapt…which leads us to view the world around us differently.  We learn how to empathize with others and their experiences.  We learn not to make big deals out of small things.  We learn how to give and receive love.
 
Love has many different facets.  The love between a mother and a child.  The love between siblings.  The love between spouses.  The love between humans and their pets.  The love of friends and friendships.  Love for strangers and community.  Love is a wonderfully scary thing! 
 
Love is a hard thing to define, actually a close to impossible thing to define because it depends on each individual and their ideal of love.  I had a friend ask me what I thought love was a while back and my answer was:  “Love is finding that one person who can deal with your special kind of crazy and that you can deal with theirs.”
 
How do you describe love? 
How do you show and share your love? 
Has your love changed through the years? 
Has your ability to love changed as you have aged? 
Has the quality of your love changed with age?
 
Showing that you care shows that you also love.  How do you pay your love forward?

Red rose a symbol of love.