Friday, September 22, 2023



How many times have heard and even used the expression myself that I am following my own path. That is not all together a negative thing. After reading what a motivational speaker, Nataly Kogan, had to say on the subject, I have revisited that expression. I know that when I am finding myself in trouble trying to decide what my next step should be I can get totally stuck. Or I feel regrets about choosing the wrong path and making the wrong decisions, then it becomes such an inner struggle for me.

It is when I flip it around inside my head and visually see a blank canvas which is representing my life.

When I think of my life as a painting, it frees me from worrying about decisions of going down the wrong path. I choose. I make the choices. Just as an artist makes the strokes on the canvas with the paint using his paintbrush. Each step is like a stroke that teaches me something, which in turn helps me make the next decision based on what is most meaningful to me. I get the right perspective because I am looking at the "decision" of what is the best way to move forward. 

By painting the canvas of my life I feel powerful and motivated to help me enrich and grow with each stroke that I make. I know that the strokes can always be changed or altered based on what my own needs are.

To give a personal specific example, I was using the term that I chose to go on a journey, down a path to become healthier. Because I am such a visual learner, it helped me imagine that all of the choices that I was making to help me get there were being painted on a canvas by ME. How I would accomplish my lifetime healthy goal will always remain in a picture that I have painted. Actually it is my own art gallery. 

At first, I did not know which way to go. Sometimes after the first stroke, the picture falls into place. Other times I never know how it is going to turn out and I must admit that is frustrating for me. It is easy to forget  that according to research, 99% of decisions in our lives aren't final or permanent. We always are able to adjust and choose a different stroke; just like painting a canvas.

The way that I look at this way of thinking is that it allows me to just let it go...everything that "should be" needs to be kicked out. This gives me the power to create and evolve in the way that I want my life to go. Not all things I am in control of. None of us are. What I am in control of would be the choices that I make with what is put in front of me. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023



No one ever said that becoming an adult was easy. Yet when we think about it, almost all of us could not wait to turn 21. Once we are out on our own and paying our own bills by working for the money all of a sudden things start to feel overwhelming. Life is challenging. Life is not always ok. We do have choices though. We have choices as to what to notice and pay attention to. 

Instead of wallowing in negativity, take a step over to the more positive side. Our brain focuses naturally on the more negative aspect, and we can decide to make a choice to wring our hands and say, "Oh, woe is me." OR we can take action and find some joy along the way. 

Believe it or not, we can feel both emotions together.

We should not let what we are going through define us. It does not and should not become YOU! Go back to that choice as to what there is to notice and pay attention. It is ok and not wrong to go through grief or sadness. It is natural and can be small or major. Even when it is a major event in our lives, there is a way to find some joy along the way. 

My experience of a major event that happened in my life is the loss of my soulmate. Steve was my everything, the love of my life. His passing was so sudden that I know my brain and body were in shock. I felt so blessed that I had family and friends to help me to get through my grief at that time. Am I still going through it? Of course I am. It does not just disappear. There are so many steps to take and there were ways even at that time to help me to start on my path. 

First of all, Steve and I both had discussed things that we wanted to happen when one of us passed. It helped me in knowing that I was following to the best of my ability to meet his requests. There were two major things for me to focus on for him, yet in the end, it was for me also. I had to make the decision that he signed not have him live the rest of his life hooked up to machines keeping him alive when there was no chance of him returning as himself. I had to honor his wishes when his organs were shutting down. I was so blessed to have family there with me.

The next step was that neither one of us wanted a 'funeral.' Not in the term that most people think of when someone passes. With the help of my daughter and one of my sons, plus my brother we were able to set up a "Celebration of Life" for Steve. lt was positively beautiful. There was sadness, of course - yet the majority of the day was celebrating all of the wonderful things that Steve did in his life. People that he worked with at FedEx, as well as those where I worked. He played a huge role in being the Adopt a School representative for many years and all spoke of how he always did so much for others. Some of the family and friends got up to say how Steve affected their lives. I did not need to know just how special of person that he was. I knew that and witnessed it daily. WOW! Did that bring joy to my soul to hear those words on that day? Yes, I had tears of sadness and joy, all at the same time. IT IS POSSIBLE.

Our brain likes to focus on the short-term rewards, which is why we can stay in a circle of negativity, even when positive things are happening all around us. I chose to focus on all of the inspiration that was all around me. Did I have break-downs here and there? Yes, I did. I am human! It is natural. Integrating my grief and sorrow with some inspirational joy just happened along the way. I am sure there are those who feel that it is wrong to feel joy when you should be grieving. It is a choice to experience BOTH!

There were two quotes that struck a chord in my heart. 

"A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever."

"When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them but to live with the love they left behind."

Feeling sorrow is an action. It is a verb. Just as feeling joy is. Choosing to step away from sorrow and have some joy is ok. It can be small. Such as taking a walk, reading, painting, writing. Do it for yourself and become a mirror for others. I can't change how others feel, however I can work on paying attention to my joyful senses even when I am feeling sorrow. We all deserve that. No matter how small the joy is.

A simple concept yet powerful to always find some joy by weaving sparks of happiness together with sadness because this is how healing begins.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023



There are some people who never, ever have to worry about taking a load off of their bodies. In other words, losing weight. How many of us do have the worry? LOTS! I am definitely not in the minority. Here is a picture of me with six bags of sugar - each bag weighs 10 pounds. At that stage I had been on my incredible journey for almost 5 months and lost 60 pounds. Being a very visual learner, all I had to do was look at all of those heavy bags and think to myself that I no longer am carrying that baggage along with me. No wonder I am walking better, have more energy, sleeping better. I am just all around healthier and it feels wonderful. 

Everyone must find their own path toward their goal. This is what worked for me. One thing that I know is that we must be careful in choosing the right plan that fits our own lifestyle. Plus, I know that I am in it for the long term weight management when I reach my goal. 

There are advertisements out there that tell the reader that their plan is powered by the psychology that will unlock the secret to weight loss! Or that you are able to eat whatever you want. Just forget the carb cutting and the point systems. Even saw one ad that stated, "Ditch the diets and still get results!" Let's get real.

There are millions of everyday people like me that have 'yo-yoed' through diet programs that just did not work. Then there are some famous people who have lost weight and so far are keeping it off. Think about Oprah Winfrey who was on her daily TV show and had to go through the ups and downs of losing and gaining weight on national television. She did not give up. Finally, she found what works for her.

Oprah joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and is now eating more healthy than ever before. As she has said, it really is not about the number on the scale. It is more about how you feel in yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. She does do advertisements for WW. Why not? She has some guidelines that she follows that work for her. She has shared her success and mental attitude with a fellow friend, James Corden.

James also joined in the WW mindset. Eating healthier and working through his former bad habits, he managed to lose 85 pounds. It is a matter of working on our brains to think more positive thoughts instead of negative. He says that he has never felt better. That is a good place to be.

Before I chose my journey I did some serious research. I came up with my own strategies for being successful in my journey.

  • Making sure that I was ready because it takes time and effort. Asking myself if I was really motivated enough to lose the weight and not be distracted with other pressures and stress going on around me. Most of all, I had to be sure that I was willing to change my eating habits and to spend a certain amount of time making these changes.

  • It is a matter of finding our own inner motivation. Everyone is different. It must be pleasing to you! Taking responsibility for our own behavior. Just because it is a major holiday or going on vacation is no reason to throw everything healthy out the window. It is a matter of using our own motivational factors during those moments of temptation. Always have people around you that support you in positive ways. You chose to be as private as you want about your own journey. That is unless you are a world renown person and in the spotlight. For me, I have a wonderful Coach that I can go to for questions and concerns and always for inspiration!

  • Be sure to set realistic goals. I actually believe that I did that and once I was getting close to my goal and saw that I could be happy and healthy on this journey, I reset my goal to a lower number on the scale. It still is achievable and I WILL get there. There are little tricks that I have learned to help me during weight plateaus. Everyone learns what works for their own body by observing, as well as listening to those who are on this journey.

  • Since the beginning, I have discovered that I truly enjoy healthier foods. My calories are lower, even though that is not what I am counting. It just comes up with my on-line eating journal. This is a plus in that I am able to have many choices of proteins and vegetables and there are times I want to try to stay at the lower end of my calorie count.

  • With the weight loss, I have more energy to be more active. I am able to ride my recumbent bike for my physical therapy and do my other exercises that help my knees. WIN-WIN!

  • This has become my way of life in a short 5 months. My whole perspective has changed. Changing my life style has not been an overnight 'thing.' It will take time and effort and keeping a positive attitude. The results are most definitely worth it.

 Eliminate the mindset of can’t — because you can do anything.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Learning From Our Furbabies


Sometimes, we as humans, just need to step back and be very observant of our furbabies. I totally believe that if people had hearts like dogs the world really would be a better place. 

Dogs do have super intuitive powers that most humans do not. Until it happened to us, I never even realized or thought about dogs grieving or going into a depression over losing another furbaby in their household. Possibly, because we never had more than one dog in our household. But, when Davis was only two, we decided to go back to the same breeder where we got Davis and see if one of the puppies in the litter she had bonded with Davis and if Davis bonded with one there. We already had observed just how special Davis was and thought that he would love having another playmate just to share his joy for life.

At first, we thought that it was not going to happen...finding the perfect mate for him was at the top of our list...then Kim brought out the last puppy of the litter that she had and BOOM! That one was the keeper. Both of their tails were wagging. Davis seemed to pick up on the fact that this little furball was his special playmate.

And that was that. We now were a two doodle family. Davis and Maggie Mae.

They were truly hard to separate. Not that we ever tried. Davis watched over her and was a gentle giant with her, even though he was always a lot larger than she ever grew to be. He even gave her pillows to take a nap on. Now that is devotion to a baby sister. Before Maggie, he would steal a pillow and run with it to try to get one of us to chase him down. He enjoyed that game. Now, he used the pillows in a different way.

Side by Side Always

Davis was the older one by two years but he had a little puppy in him always. He chased reflections along the backyard fencing when the glass door was opened and the sun caused a reflection. He loved going after a ball and bringing it back to whoever threw the ball, all the time with Maggie watching as if to say, "Why are you going after that ball? They threw it!" It was way beneath her to do such a thing. Way too prissy for that sort of game. 

However, one day months after Davis passed away and she was coming out of her grieving for him, she went after a fish and would come back in the room carrying this fish by the tip of the tail. Sort of saying to us that she could do something like Davis did but would do it her own special way.

She was even a big prissy about holding that fish. She used the fish to just put beside her and love on it...her lovey toy. Davis had a blankie that he would pick up and carry around like a human toddler would.

Now Maggie just loves to lay on that blankie. I only vacuum it and never wash to scent of her brother away. The crates are still here but the doors are always open and the blankies are always inside. It is her safe place...her go to place when she just seems to want to take a little quiet spell. We all need those moments.

Dogs are amazing creatures. I came across a story that I can't find now but I did save the picture. A family adopted a puppy from a breeder. He seemed happy and they definitely were. But they noticed he seemed to need a cuddle toy all of the time. The breeder had another puppy that a different family adopted. This first family reached out to the breeder to find out if the brother puppy could be reunited to see if this was the cause of their puppy needing a cuddle toy all of the time. The other owner agreed to the meeting.

Once the two puppies came together, it was love at first sight. They just did not leave each other's side. The first family paid the other family for the mate and agreed to be the family for both puppies. On the ride home in the car this was the picture that they took of their puppies.

Talk about love for one another. They made a heart without even knowing. True LOVE!
So, I rest my case of how I opened this blog:


Tuesday, August 22, 2023



Yes, it is true that we can't just ask them and get an answer, we must observe them and most all of the evidence seems to point to the answer of, 'Yes!" They do experience some form of grief in some way or another. It is very likely that they feel all of the emotions that go along with grief when they lose both human and/or canine companions during their lives.

There are many instances of dogs grieving over the loss of their owners, some of which have been made into movies. One example is the movie Hachi. It is a true story and is well worth your time to watch it if you missed it. 

Also, there are studies that show that dogs grieve for their close canine companions as well. I have included some tips for identifying their grief, just in case you may have missed it. Also, in my research, I found some ways that we can use to help our furbabies after the loss of their pal. This is from an article by Barbara J. King in Scientific American that revealed how dogs experience behavioral changes after the death of a fellow pup.

Dr. King is a professor emerita of anthropology at the College of William and Mary and explored the topic in her book How Animals Grieve. She states that we can only evaluate what we can see in the dogs' behavioral changes. Something may show up quickly, such as a social withdrawal. He could decide not to eat or drink normally and even continue to search for his companion or vocalize his stress.

Of course, they may not fully comprehend the concept of death and all of its metaphysical implications, they do know that another dog in their life is missing It is a situation where they have lost the companionship when the other dog is no longer around. Some other examples of grieving may be lethargic behavior or sleeping more than usual, possibly aggressive or destructive behavior, inappropriate elimination in their home, or calling out/howling in an unusual way for their companion. Possibly even continued searching for their friend or becoming extra clingy to their owner.

These are all normal behaviors and should not be harshly punished. Instead, our furbabies need reassurance with lots of love and praise and gentle discouragement from destructive behaviors, including redirecting them.

It has been noted that dogs can form emotional attachments to people and to other dogs. Just as with people, not all dogs react the same after the loss of another dog in the household. If there was a close bond, the dog may react with the behaviors that indicate depression. They may lose their 'spark' and seem less perky, attentive and active. Each dog, just like people, will grieve differently.

Dogs also pick up on our grief. They watch our facial expressions, moods, postures. Dogs are smarter than we give them credit for. They know when their human is feeling stressed. There is nothing wrong with giving your furbaby an extra treat, or an extra hug or walk or just to cuddle with you.

The length of time also varies from dog to dog, just as it does from person to person. Typically, it has been shown in studies that it lasts anywhere from two to six months.

Sometimes the answer is to eventually look for another dog companion. Just don't be too quick about it. Allow your dog to grieve and have some alone time. No one, not even a pet, can be replaced but if your furbaby needs a companion to play with and cuddle with while you are at work, another dog just may help. At least try to set up play dates with other dogs, even a doggie day care to play and start to enjoy life again.

The most important thing of all is to just be there for your pet and to give them all of the attention and love they may need to recover from the loss of their friend. That, in turn, will help you recover from the grief too.

I am speaking from experience. Our Davis was 2 years old when we brought Maggie into his life. We actually took him with us so that he could help pick out a playmate. They chose each other. Davis loved her and protected her from the very beginning. They were never apart from one another.

When Davis was 6 he became very ill very quickly. We went straight to the specialist vet and we had no choice to make except to make him at peace. When they carried him in to me he put one paw on my foot and rested his chin on it and looked into my eyes with his soulful look that told me he knew that it was time and that he loved me. I also knew that he would be crossing the rainbow to be with Steve. Steve loved both of our doodles but Davis was definitely just like Steve. Such a jokester! It was such a sad day and I believe with all of my heart that Davis missed Steve so very much when all of a sudden he was not around. He did have Maggie here but I did not notice some behavior issues. He was such a sweetheart and continued to play catch me if you can jokes on all of the family members. I feel like he was trying his best to somehow get Steve to show up again. Just my thoughts on how he was behaving.

When I came back from the vet clinic with no Davis --  I know Maggie picked up on my grief and sorrow. She went to Davis' crate where the doors were always opened and just plopped down on all of the blankets that had his scent on them. Davis carried his blankie around, sort of like a toddler does. Maggie never did but she went in to have some alone time and just get his scent. 

I noticed her perkiness was not there. She was always so prissy and sassy. The one very good thing that seemed to help her some was that my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters moved in to help me deal with Steve's passing. And then a few months later, we lost Davis. They had a little dog and he came along too. Ryder was simply the best thing in the world for Maggie. Even for me. 

Continuing with routines with Maggie and loving her with all of my heart, as well as her new live-in family and dog companion, Ryder, helped her finally come out of her depression. I can say that she now is very close to the Maggie she has always been. She really is connected to this new routine, a new furbaby companion and the life as we now know it.


Sunday, August 13, 2023



Positive impacts that we have on others will in turn have reverberating effects on ourselves. We all need to share our unique gifts and contributions with people in our lives in a way that will positively impact them in some way. It is the "big why" of why we are on this earth. In a big way, it is what helps us to feel that our lives have meaning and purpose and that our sense of purpose is the essential ingredient in feeling fulfilled and therefore - happier. In previous blogs I have written about 'the bigger why.' Little steps lead up to the bigger why of why we choose to do what we do; for ourselves and others. This quote by Barry Manilow is so very true:

It would be grand if we all evaluated our days not by how much we accomplished or how productive we were, but whether we positively impacted one other person. 

There are many ways to accomplish this. Listening to others by giving them your full attention. Eye contact shows that you are interested in what they have to say.

Helping to cheer others up is a major way to impact others in a positive way. It can be through a smile, a compliment, lending a helping hand or a simple hug or hand pat.

Another way to make tremendous impacts on those around us is by sharing a simple ritual. One that has already been established and that perhaps you are helping to carry on or else starting a new ritual totally. It can bring happiness to others when they are included in rituals. It is part of a together gift. Rituals can turn the simplest thing into something special and beautiful. We all know too well that in our busy and rushed world that we live in, we can all use more rituals to help us find meaning. Some examples may be from the holidays related back to times with our grandparents or great-grandparents or maybe a new one that your own little family came together and made.

In order to give yourself one of the greatest gifts of all time and to feel that tingle of gratitude that happens when you somehow make a positive impact in someone else's life...think about how you can make it happen even with simple acts of kindness such as giving a smile to someone who needs one.

Sunday, August 6, 2023



Most definitely there is one thing that the world could use more of is 'KINDNESS.' It doesn't matter if it is from our friends, family or complete strangers that cross our paths in everyday life at work or out shopping or driving on the roads. There is something to be said for showing warmth and caring in our everyday lives by our actions. Really, it does not take scientific studies to prove this statement. It is not rocket science. Some of the ways that it helps all of us to be more kind are:

  • First of all, it is free. It does not cost one penny to smile and/or to have a pleasant conversation with someone in line with you at a store or sitting in the doctor's office. Even giving someone a compliment or going the extra mile to help out a colleague at work is free. And it can make both the person receiving the act of kindness, as well as yourself - just feel better.
  • Being kind just feels good. It is an immediate pick-me-up and can make all involved feel happier. It is an emotional lift. Our mood elevator will go up to a higher level.
  • The saying of what goes around comes around is very true. If you are kind to someone, the chances are that they will return the act at some point or another. That is not the real reason to be kind, however, when we put good things into the world, often it encourages more of the same.

  • Kindness seems to be contagious. Notice that when we are kind to others it makes them happy. When they are happier, they in turn tend to be kinder to others and so on and so on. It is a beautiful cycle to be a part of. The ripple effect is more than we can even imagine.
  • Lives are changed with kindness. Maybe what we do in kindness to others seems trivial, yet sometimes even the smallest gesture makes gigantic impacts on others. Even to the point of possibly saving a life, which is all the more reason to just be KIND.
  • Amazing fact: being kind can help make friends. It earns long lasting friendships and that is something we all could use more of.
  • Kindness opens up our minds and hearts to others. We see their lives, their problems, their worries, their joys and therefore we start to see the whole person. This in turn, makes us a better person. It can lift our spirits and make us happier and enrich our own lives.

  • The emptiness of feeling like we may not matter goes away with being kind. It helps the world, even if it is our own small version on the world that we make day to day contact with seem more meaningful

  • Being kind to people around us includes animals. 

Be kind to every kind, not just mankind. The fact that animals do not communicate like we do, does not mean they do not feel pain and suffering. Be kind!

Kindness can become a wonderful habit to have.