Me And My Girls

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Today is a fragile gift for me and for my four legged friends.

I live with two Old English Sheepdogs, who are my joy and my strength. They give me purpose. They motivate me to keep going. One is 12 1/2 years old. Intellectually, I know she is living on borrowed time but I’ll never be ready to say good-bye.

My other pup who is only 15 months old, was diagnosed with a potentially life threatening heart condition and her life expectancy is unknown. Of course everyone’s life expectancy is unknown…it’s just with her…we know it’s unknown. Her condition is inoperable and all we can do is allow her to live the best life she can for as long as she can.

So when I look at my girls, it is with a bittersweet feeling of the deepest kind of love, coupled with a profound understanding that we don’t control time. When I look at them, I am reminded that we must cherish every gift. We must seize every moment. We must rejoice in today.

I try to focus on their love and how they have changed my life, instead of the uncertainties that await each of us. Life is full of uncertainties for everyone. My girls and I are not unique in that regard. I know this, still some days it is easier than others to remain focused on the joy instead of the unknown. But no matter what, I won’t let myself dwell where I shouldn’t.

If there is one thing I do know it is this, whenever I look at my girls, I know I will be flooded with love, I know I will experience overpowering gratitude and I understand what it means to be truly blessed.

These girls were meant to be mine and I theirs.

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Bravery

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To Know Fearlessness…

To Feel Courage….

To Have Audacity…

To Be Daring…

To Show Brut Strength…

To Be A Hero…

To Have A Backbone…

To Demonstrate A Leap Of Faith…

To Know Determination…

To Be Full Of Grit…

To Experience Hope…

To Have Nerves Of Steel…

To Be Plucky…

To Show Valor…

To Have Fortitude…

To Flaunt Some Moxie…

To Believe In Others…

To Trust In Happiness…

To Know True Joy…

To Let Go Of Anger…

To Live In Peace…

To Be Alive…

Walk A Mile In My Shoes…

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Walk a mile in my shoes before you think you know me.

Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me.

Walk a mile in my shoes to see what I see.

Walk a mile in my shoes if you really want to understand me.

Walk a mile in my shoes for a new point of view.

Walk a mile in my shoes to know my pain.

Walk a mile in my shoes to appreciate my joy.

Walk a mile in my shoes for a different perspective.

Walk a mile in my shoes before you underestimate me.

Walk a mile in my shoes if you care about me.

Walk a mile in my shoes to know my strength.

Walk a mile in my shoes to feel my sorrow.

Walk a mile in my shoes but don’t pity me.

Walk a mile in my shoes and I won’t have to explain my disease.

True Confessions Of An Overthinking Worrywart

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I have turned worrying into an art form. It comes as naturally to me as breathing. I am a world class champion of worrying. I can take a small problem and turn it into a big worry in three seconds flat! Few people can match my skill level.

This is not something to be proud of. It’s frustrating and it is a constant demonstration of a lack of faith. Worry for me, is so second nature that I didn’t even know how good at it I was…until recently.

We took our dogs for a walk in the forest this weekend and came home with a minor tick infestation. The dogs were due for their flea and tick medication for the month pretty soon anyway, so I gave it to them a bit early. We groomed them and I vacuumed all the rugs and washed all the dog beds. Within a few days, things were under control.

But during the infestation (if you can really call it that), if you listened to me, you might have thought the world was coming to an end. We were all most certainly going to die of Lyme Disease and I was in quite the state of heightened anxiety.

In the middle of this particular episode of anxiety, my husband lovingly pointed out that perhaps I had bigger things to think about….oh say….like my Sarcoidosis. He suggested that the tick issue would resolve and life would go on but Sarcoidosis is something that I have to live with every day and we don’t know what it will ultimately do to me.

I found this an interesting point of view to be sure! After all, how odd is it that I don’t worry about my disease yet, I can fret over my dogs having some ticks on them that their medication and our grooming efforts will most certainly take care?

This got me thinking about the way I think. I went to the worst case scenario with my dogs tick problem…that we are all going to die of Lyme Disease. Yet when I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, I remained calm and took it one step at at time. I’ve remained calm about it ever since.

So it begs the question, why do I sweat the small stuff if I can handle the big things with quiet determination? I have never over thought my disease. I have never questioned it. I don’t even expect the worst from it. I am able to live with it, one day at a time. But, throw me off my routine with ticks or some other ultimately manageable problem, and I become a killjoy.

Perhaps what is happening is misplaced anxiety. Maybe I am not facing my disease with as much grace as I had hoped. Maybe my real fears, fears about the big stuff, manifest themselves through my brooding over small things. Whatever the case, as I look at my life, this is most definitely a pattern. Give me a real crisis and I’m cool under pressure, throw me off my game with an inconvenience, and it’s game over because terrible things are sure to happen.

My pattern of worry, albeit useless, is an interesting defense against life’s uncertainties. Worry gives me the illusion of control. If I worry, then I can prepare myself for ensuing disaster. Right?

Of course not!

On an intellectual level I know worry is a waste of time. Sadly, since this weekend’s revelation, I also recognize that worry is my “go to” move. It’s the first place my mind takes me and I don’t just worry a little. I see the world coming to an end. And, I only do it when my life is mildly inconvenienced, not when I am diagnosed with a life altering disease. This seems pretty insane to me. The good news is now that I am aware of it, I can change it. I have no idea where to start but guess what…

I’m NOT going to worry about it!

No Promises

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There are no promises in life. No matter how hard we try to control it, despite our best effort, life does what it wants to do.

There are no promises in life. Every minute counts for we may not get another.

There are no promises in life. We should not take for granted what we have today because it could be taken away tomorrow.

There are no promises in life. We can plan all we want, but we should also expect the unexpected.

There are no promises in life. Live, love, laugh and enjoy it…now.

There are no promises in life. It’s best when we remove regrets as quickly as possible, before time runs out.

There are no promises in life. Don’t work too hard. It won’t be worth it in the end.

There are no promises in life. Find love and nurture it.

There are no promises in life. Be nice to each other.

There are no promises in life. We should all find happiness while we can.

There are no promises in life. Period. End of story.

Lessons From A Disease

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Patience – Tolerance – Perseverance

Hope – Faith – Grace

Empathy – Humility – Modesty

Balance – Steadiness – Poise

Stoicism – Strength – Determination

Grief – Heartache – Survival 

Awareness – Understanding – Sufferance 

Composure – Tenacity – Persistence

Meekness – Obedience – Gentleness

Priorities – Acceptance – Endurance

Appreciation – Happiness – Love