Getting Out of Ruts – A Painful Process

Justus concerned? about new dog in room next door.
Justus concerned about new dog in room next door.

I’m on vacation this week. I actually left town with Justus, my American dog who looks like a Doberman until you put him next to a Doberman; then he looks like a really funny Greyhound/Coonhound mix. I meant to go to Eureka Springs, AR but was delightfully delayed by two situations, so I ended up stopping in Branson, MO. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been in what I consider a tourist trap town – and I got trapped. On my way in, I ended up signing up to listen to a timeshare presentation for “only 2 hours.”

Being a people pleasing person, I listened, toured, applied to see about credit, was made a very good final offer but left in tears after over 3 hours. My dog was at my motel. I only had TWO nights away from home; the plan was to not cause any more stress, and yet I did – and so did they.  I find Branson itself stressful – full of tourist signs and neon. Seems this city girl became a country girl in the last 20 years or so.

However, after leaving and being in such distress that several people asked me if I was all right on my way out, I thought to myself, WHY was I so distressed? The last offer, a 2 year trial at a reasonable rate (for them), would have gotten me to Alaska, my Bucket LIst vacation destination. The young closer pissed me off when I tried to discuss how important pet friendly accommodations are to me: “No Alaskan cruise will allow pets….” I know he was just doing his job and I knew later I should have walked away from the beginning. Then the second closer came in and made the best offer. I refused it because I was so stressed by that time (I thought) but really, thinking later, I wonder….am I afraid of committing myself to a vacation, a real vacation, each year? I don’t even have to use a whole week at a time – 2-3 days OR a week. I’m also upset for people pleasing again and upsetting myself as well as the presenters and workers. I’m not sorry I walked away. I’m thinking, though, of checking this place out again next year…waiting for that last offer….and committing to a vacation.

When I stopped at the Branson Information Station, I had no clue it was a front for a timeshare or vacation ownership situation. Naive. Long not traveled. Hopefully, by next summer, I’ll be down more dogs (I’ve stopped rescuing but will cont. fostering) which will give me more leeway. I’m working hard at paying off my credit cards by snowballing them which is another reason I turned down the final offer today. My financial officer and I have a plan and I want to finish working that plan. So what did I do? Took my dog with me for some retail therapy. He did GREAT in the stores :).

Who knows? Perhaps in two years, I’ll have been to Alaska.

Addendum Sept. 27, 2014 – After more consideration, I’ve decided to SAVE the maintenance fees plus most likely others not disclosed for a very good vacation with Justus next year.

WORDDeut. 8:1…

WORD

Deut. 8:1-3

1 This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase, and go in and occupy the land that the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. 3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

John 1:1-3
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.…

The Word of G-d, Jesus Christ, the Bread of the World

Snow and Cold Days

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The winter temperatures and wind chills, not seen in “20 years” are upon us. The dogs and I are bundled up in the house with access to the yard for those who don’t get out; the escapees are let out carefully except for Sophie Tucker, who is crazy enough to hunt rabbits till she is frostbite and hypothermic. She will only go on leash with me twice a day (she is VERY house-trained and becomes distressed when she’s unable to relieve herself outside).

In this part of MO, people are not accustomed to cold or snow. Ice they deal with, but real winter weather is a different ballgame. Most drivers don’t know how to execute proper left hand turns in good weather, much less this nasty, very bad weather changing outside my window by the hour.

My garages are full (and I used to keep two vehicles in them) so every so many hours, I go out, start my car, move it back and forth in the drive to be ready to go to work tonight at 11:00 PM. I’ll leave about 10:00 PM to be safe and give myself time. 

Snowballing

OneWord2013_EngageI’m close to retirement and very in debt.  Thankfully, I have an Edward Jones advisor alarmed at what I’m paying each month and my total debt.  He immediately set out to adjust my financial status. By the grace of God, had I not needed several large withdrawals from my Roth IRA, I would be doing very, very well – even so, it is doing very, very well. We hope to keep it that way.

We took out enough funds to pay off my car. That monthly payment will now go toward paying off, in 8 months or less, a credit card. Said credit card is a Chase card with Blueprint. Blueprint helps you pay off your cards and/or use them more judiciously than I have in the past. Not only did we, Conrad and I, set up a payoff plan; I also set it up under Blueprint. I’ll receive monthly reminders of my progress from them, too.

What this reminds me is ACTION. When confronted with a concern or worry, I tend to stew over it way too long. Instead, I need to take action and engage, whether it is paying off debt, studying for a certification, or getting regular exercise. Setting up a PLAN is immensely helpful no matter for what the plan addresses.

I’ve known for a long time about the concept of snowballing: paying off one debt, in this case my car, then adding that payment to another to pay off a second debt quicker. It had been a long time since I sat down and did it.

I’m excited about this New Year. Not only do I have a job which pays well, is flexible and yet full-time, I see progress for my financial future.

Next up – prayer, study, and exercise!

Juggling Dogs

I looked up the definition of sequestration. I’ve been separating dogs for a week and wanted to be sure my context was correct. I was wrong – it’s all about debt or withholding of funds, etc. It sounded so good.

Part One – Intact Male named Crimson:

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Crimson, now also known as the Red Baron, is a very nice, male dog with Beagle, Lab, and various other breeds in his background. He came to us with a hunting collar on, in good flesh, and won’t leave. Oh, he leaves, but over the porch and then quickly back. He is in the final week of heart worm treatment. He is intact, He can make puppies, which,  until last week, was not a problem….

Part Two – Peanut, Intact Female in heat:

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Peanut is a senior Weim/Lab mix. She is the short hair dog with golden Weimaraner fur of the previous poem. Peanut is heart worm negative; however, she has multiple mammary tumors from being frequently bred. I don’t want puppies…..

Part Three – Lucy, Intact Female Beagle in heat:

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Lucy is very heart worm positive with a massive, pendulous mammary tumor. She came with Ricky Beagle, and I had Ethel, a Beagle puppy who since is adopted. Ricky was also heavily heat worm positive. He was neutered; he did not tolerate the surgery, the anesthesia, or the heart worm med given; he declined and went to Heaven in my arms. I elected to not spay Lucy even though she could be pregnant. She was not – and she, too, is again in a heat along with Peanut…..

Part Four – Sophie Tucker, Spayed Female Beagle:

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Sophie arrived two weeks ago. She is charming…she is an escape artist. Her first few days here were fine since, when I was home, she stayed home. Then she followed? found her way? up and over the chain link fence, and down the highway. She is now kept up when I’m not home in a crate or, preferably, the Front Room.

Jugglers have nothing, NOTHING, over a Beagle Sanctuary with intact dogs, two of whom are in heat, one of whom could effectively make puppies, and one who doesn’t quite get the concept of “home.” The girls are in a hallway most of the day; Crimson is outside or in a crate; Sophie is in the Front Room or on a leash with me.

I’m trying to attend to all 20 dogs and juggle those who need separation (see, “sequestration” sounds so much better and is in the news) without losing one.

I’ll let you know in another week if I’m successful. Crimson already hooked up with Peanut once. I’m praying hard for no pregnancy…and furiously juggling.

Other Worlds, Other Peoples

Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura.
Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her most recent program, “On Exoplanets and Love,” of On Being, Krista Tippett makes, to me, a startling observation – that, should we find life on other planets, the find would negate our view and reverence for God.

I may need to edit my assertion, but I heard something similar and was astounded.

I grew up a Sci Fi fan (not SyFy!) and a devotee of the original Star Trek series, of which there was a program that, indeed, on an M class planet, evidence of Son worship was noted, but not the Sun, as clarified by Lt. Uhura, but the Son of God. Of course, God would offer salvation to any and all who are in need, or, perhaps, we are the only sinners. How can finding or even the possibility of sentient life on other planets or galaxies threaten our belief in God?

I plan to listen to this program again tonight. Sometimes, I offend people by insisting God is asexual/without gender. A good friend asserted to me “God is a man.” He is also a woman depicted by the creation of Eve and the evidence of the feminine Wisdom in the wisdom literature and the Holy Spirit.

God tells us “my thoughts are not your thoughts nor my ways your ways.” We have NO CLUE of the true majesty of God. I believe – and certainly others, who may look and be very different from us, surely also believe. Jesus had “other sheep.” To me, they were those on other planets. God bringing salvation not only to our world but to the whole of Creation fills me with awe and humility.

Inspired by WP

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

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I didn’t go to college out of high school. Despite a double scholarship offer (German and English) plus state paid (disability) tuition, I was/am so introverted I couldn’t imagine how I would pay for room and board away from home. Instead, I went to a business school, majored in medical assistant, and took a job as a surgery technician (now operating room tech). My new boss was so impressed by my resume, she asked if there was anyone else in my class interested in moving out with me and three others came along.

After working  in Gordon, NE for a year, I found a position in my new home town still as a surgery tech, a job I loved. After a few years, when I was very unofficially the “head” tech, an anesthetist told me I should do more. Looking back, I wish I would have said, “Yes, but am not yet sure what…” and kept working while I explored.

I went to nursing school and again short-changed myself because of my perceived need for hands on education, went to a diploma school and not a baccalaureate program.

I’ve been employed ever since – worked up to a nurse manager, helped design and furnish a new unit, moved back to staff nurse after cancer (again) and am retiring in about 5-7 years. I’m beginning a float position, which means I’ll move throughout the hospital where I’m needed on night shifts, 8 hrs instead of 12 hrs, and full-time at top of the scale.

In retrospect, despite wishing things different, I realize God was in charge, putting me in a field for which, in high school, I had no desire and showing me how to share my gifts in a difficult and stressful environment.

Engage #5 – Books AND Dogs

Way late in getting this post in, though, come to think of it, I totally missed last week’s!

I was able to engage in an activity in which I haven’t been involved for a long time due to my speech impediment from cancer surgeries. I had a blast, though, and good things are coming of it.

I addressed and hopefully, engaged, a series of high school classes at our high school regarding our community’s United We Read book for this year, A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. It is a book close to my heart. Doing dog rescue as well as growing up a bibliophile, I was delighted when one of my recent adopters who teaches high school English, asked me to present/speak.

The basic story is from the perspective of a dog who, after he dies, is reincarnated as another dog who remembers his previous life and what he learned living it. As I spoke to students, few to none of whom read the book, I tried to encourage them to take the best from each phase of their lives as a help for the next phase, and so on….similar to how the dog enlarges his purpose with each reincarnation, building on what he learned before.

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Trifold done for Silverwalk Hounds by my scrapbooking volunteer, Abigail, who also adopted Herman and invited me to speak

 

Engage #4

I’ve been super busy with work and dogs, not with engaging in the world/community outside my milieu, the goal this year to which I aspire. Sigh – new habits are hard to begin and sustain.

Work is just insane – the people are so sick, it’s not just the flu, and we all work extra shifts. If you’re “on call,” you may as well come in because we need you anyway. This is good for my pocketbook, but I wonder about the causes.

The dogs changed hands last week with one finalized today. Sydney Beagle won over the heart of older Beagle Katy with his Beagle bay. Unlike Katy’s meeting with Gidget, the dog Katy’s mom was originally interested in, Syd and Katy met nose to nose, dropping them in a pas de Deux of tracking (what, we had no clue) joined at the hip. Our jaws dropped and Sydney went to a wonderful new home.

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Lemon Drop’s potential adopter picked her up on Friday for a weekend trial; she passed with flying colors and is now fully adopted with a name change to Shadow because she follows her mom around all day. Sweet.

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Simply meeting these people pulled me out to meet people I normally would not except both are interested in Beagles. The very sad note is my Border Terrier mix, Margie, died in the change of weather while I was gone. She had developed a habit of digging out no matter what I did; I finally found her after dark at the back door I rarely use, This is the first place I’ve talked about her loss.

Back to work tonight and frankly, one of these nights very soon, I’ll take myself off to a motel or my friend’s extra room for some deep, uninterrupted sleep, or start exercising as I planned – something to get my body back in gear.

OK – that was totally off topic. I have another post in the wings awaiting an editing; sad to say, it will need to wait longer. I promise it will be a better read than this :).

OneWord2013_Engage

Engage #3 – Another Dog

DenaliFace

Oh, dear, I had the chance to

  1. go to the opera (which I like); I fell asleep (at home, NOT at the opera!) and missed the opening yet didn’t push myself to go at intermission
  2. go to church – a friend reminded me and I simply slept in.

And this is why I slept and slept: I went back to work this past week – 3 12+ hour night shifts – after having been off a month for surgery and recovery. It took energy and concentration not only at work but rearranging my daily habits at home. I’m counting work this one time as engaging because it was such an adjustment; I would rather read, play with the dogs, and be financially independent  :).

And yes, I took in another dog which made me meet a friend whom I hadn’t seen in some time, who is volatile re: animal rescue, animal care, and politics and whom I forgot, truly forgot, to let know when I was in hospital; he lives in the St. Louis area and would have been a wonderful visitor.

My planned “Engage” activities did not happen but the others filled the void, though they aren’t out of my milieu, which is one of my criteria. C’est le vie.

The new dog I took in is “Denali.” She is a Spaniel type, small/medium size dog ready for adoption. My vet said “This isn’t your normal type” when she saw her (true – I normally take in Beagles); I then told her she was 14 years old and no rescue, not even the senior ones, in St. Louis, had room or inclination to take her in. I told the rescue friend who posted her “Send her to me,” sight unseen.

I won the Lottery with Denali. Not a bad week at all….even survived getting back into the groove at work though the dogs were in tailspins.  And Denali is 11 years old with excellent teeth and perfect house manners – HA.

OneWord2013_Engage