Friday, January 19, 2018



Too frequently, we all have that time between what was and what is coming.  This is where I am today. And in all honesty have been for some time.

It is a quiet day.  A steel gray sky is framed by the drapes in my office window.  Movement seems to have ceased in the world outside. There are no cars driving by, nor sirens from the nearby fire station.  It is a place between a frigid two days and the return of sun. Here is South Texas, waiting is not often accompanied by great patience. But I find this a peaceful quiet time that others might consider lonely, gloomy and nonproductive. 

Today is mine.  I do that which brings me peace.  Lord knows there hasn't been much of that lately.  With my dogs at my feet, I find solitude productive in a strange way, allowing me time to relax and attempt to let things happen as they should, or as they will. The future will all too soon plunge to the past.

This is not easy for me.  In fact it can be quite impossible.  Harold Pinter said, "In other words, apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?"  But you see I am a doer and a fixer with a built in time clock that must be strictly adhered to. I wonder is this my enemy or my friend?

There is a fear and an elation inside of me, and I do not know which one will win.  For over thirteen years I have been writing the journey of my little blind dog, Gracie.  Her book has been somewhere in New York being read, waiting to be read, or lost in a pile of papers for 2 months, 8 weeks.  A time that has seemed like an eternity.

I find myself in quite a quandry, not knowing whether it is 'no news is good news', or they simply are not interested.  I know unequivocably that it is an amazing book,  about an amazing dog.  I say a prayer each night that her book is accepted. I was informed that it might take a month to get to it as there were other manuscripts to read before Gracie's book.  I am trying to get past  fear and an habitual  lack of patience.

For me, waiting has never come with instructions. I have cleaned closets long neglected.  My desk is immaculate.  An estate sale of past lifelong treasures will be held this weekend. I am ready for the future.  I am trying to hold my head up and let go of the past, some of which was phenomenal and often breathtaking. And other times  that carried lessons into who I wasn't.  

For me, today, this day, solitude helps me find myself, as I try to remember how to breathe through the negative thoughts and pursue that which feeds my soul.  Dressing a chain saw carved wooden  bear, I have named Pooh, occupies my long ago passion for 'styling', food, television sets, homes, and myself.  Today, I find just as much joy in this bear rescued from a dirty shelf in an antique shop in Blanco, Texas. Miguel De Unamuno said, "Only in solitude do we find ourselves.'   I think I am becoming a pro! Today I consider entering into a quiet place of peace. One step closer to the answer!

Monday, June 13, 2016



When invited to speak to 75+ prostate cancer survivors of all ages, I was lost as to what to say to them that would make any sort of a difference at all.  I was concerned that whatever words I uttered would be frivolous and void of meaning.  Then I remembered Gracie and all the lessons that I have learned from her. It was then I felt that what I would tell them might indeed just have great meaning. I for one have found my own life the past 12 ½ years predicated on watching after her and watching her.  In so doing, I personally have learned multiple life lessons.

All any of us have to do is to acknowledge that we are hurting.  

Watching Gracie throughout her life, struggle with multiple physical issues. She just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes she would hit a wall, or a plant, or trip over the garden hose, or get confused where she was and was lost as to how to get to ‘home base’ again. But there was no complaining or agonizing or wondering ‘why me’ from this little one. I was aware of the sacredness of these particular moments following spinal surgery, as I watched for days and days never knowing if she would walk again.  She would struggle to get up and then plop down.  This became routine and sadly I was losing hope.  Then one day she took a step without assistance.   She took two steps and then another and then another.

I learned early on the symptoms that are unhealthy ~  Don’t trust, don’t talk and don’t feel! We must trust and move forward one step at a time.

We as humans often set it up so that we lose no matter what.  We do this to reinforce the fact that we are flawed and if that is the case then there is much to fear. We linger much too long in self-imposed prisons yet with a little 22 pound dog many, many have found the courage to confront their fears and move forward. 

By Gracie’s side I allow her to create the miracle.  She is consistent in her behavior, pure of heart and always in the moment.  She doesn’t dwell in the past or agonize about the future and what ifs! She is happy all the time. If she bumps into a stumbling block, she doesn’t let it stop her.  She will find a different way around it to achieve her goal.  She will throw her head back and with an aroooo I know she is happy and full of joy.  She faces reality as it is, not as it was or she how she wishes it were. 

Paul Hawken said, “Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.”  As Gracie has struggled losing her vision, two vertebrae in her neck, and loss of her eyes, and more she just keeps on keepin’ on! She is always joyful.  She is a hard act to follow. She demonstrates the art of living in the moment, the art of serenity, the art of adventure and wonder and delight. When the toaster oven ringer goes off, she is elated and ready for a corner of crispy warm toast. She delights in rolling on her back in the sunshine and taking a short nap. It is the little things~ crawling upon my lap and rolling over and knowing she will get belly rubs.  To nestle into a pile of warm laundry just out of the dryer, she wiggles and wiggles. It is the little things.

“There are no impossible obstacles; there are just stronger and weaker wills.” Jules Verne

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Different paths.  Different directions.  Different times. Different struggles. Different doors.

What brings us to intersections when we aren't quite certain which way to go. Your heart tells you one way and your intellect tells you another.  Which one wins?  

So what do you do?  I sit down and open the computer, and as I place my fingers on the keys I realize I am not certain what to type. So I pray for answers.  It is then I type as if the answers will come and all will be figured out by this simple movement.

But it doesn't work that way.  It just isn't that easy. I contemplate going into the bedroom and going back to sleep, but that's a cop out, an excuse.  I have laundry to fold and a book to complete and people who I love who are struggling themselves with various issues who need my support.  I have a dog having a liver biopsy this morning and trying to brace myself for whatever the answer might be, yet trying to remain optimistic.

Sometimes life is too much.  Too much drama.  Too much trauma. Too many people stealing my peace. Too much to handle all at once.  Which road to take. So I write.  I write about doors. 

I have had doors that I am afraid to open. We all have. What if no one answers, what if someone does, what if it is the wrong door, what if it isn't.  

From I HOPE YOU DANCE, Mark Sanders: "Doors. Holes in walls that offer us a way out or a way in.  Just putting your hand on the knob and seeing if it turns can make you weak at the knees."

Opening a door might be a mistake.  But could also be worth taking. From the same author and book I quote wisdom...."it's risky breathing, let alone needing, trusting, reaching out.  Life is the leap of faith, the bold declaration of HOPE."

So as I wait, I put my fingers back on the keyboard. I want wisdom to come, words of comfort, words of release.  For me really.  I have received so  much support from so many friends, as I face struggles that are of no concern to write about here.  Suffice it to say they are consuming and exhausting and sometimes debilitating. But then we all have them don't we?  The stuff we don't know how to handle and whether to open the door, and if we do we wonder has the door been closed too long. Or do we hide behind a closed door for fear of what is on the other side. I have no answers as of yet.  But I believe the answers will come.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Christmas was difficult for me this year for numerous reasons none of which are of interest to anyone but me.

Difficult Christmas's have been my annual December 25th tradition.

I made the decision to stay home in my safety net with my five furry creatures.  I stayed in my jammies the entire day and moved from the bed to the sofa, not moping or feeling sorry for myself, but simply because that was my choice.  Five dogs followed me from room to room and never left my sight or side. I grabbed ahold of this blessing and kept taking one breath after another.  Never did they nag, nudge, bark or demand anything.  They just knew that something about this day was different and they would adapt to it.

I sat on the sofa for what seemed like hours with Rainie's head in my lap.  It felt warm and safe and a love I longed for and needed desperately. I traced her forehead with my finger, lingering on her closed eye lids.  Then I would lift her ears and caress them.  She would lay her sweet head in my hand, then look up at me to see if I was alright ~ a supreme comfort.  You see she was trained to be a service dog.  Not for me but for one then another warrior, both of whom rejected her in the most horrible ways.  She ultimately lost a leg.  Her skills have not been wasted however and her love of assisting when I need her is most exceptional and exquisite. Perhaps in some way she knows in a way people never can.

Last Christmas Day I spent in the ER with a severe Panic Attack that required an EKG, etc.  It had become a tradition.  The Christmas before that and the one before that held the same.  But this time it was different.  I felt confident that I could pull this one off without any adjustments to my ambulance, no calling friends and no interrupting family celebrations, no fear.  I just knew that if I had an attack I could get through it.  And at one point I did feel panic welling up inside of me and called a dear friend and she talked me through it.

I watched movies and sent text messages to many.  I survived the day.  I ate traditional Mexican tamales and sipped a cocktail.  I was alone.  I survived.  I did it.  I was proud of myself.  But the knowledge was still inside that there is nothing sadder or more lonely than being alone on Christmas Day.

The only people I saw all day was a young family. Mom and dad were walking down the street with their children as they watched then try out a new bike and skateboard. They were smiling and laughing and taking pictures.  I did that once.  I remembered.  In an instant, I caught that ever present lump in my throat begin to surface and redirected my thoughts to my furry guardians.

The next morning I wrote on facebook to my friends that I had survived the holiday with intermittent, unrepentant napping and a family of five dogs, all specialists in their own areas.

Almost immediately a gentleman responded back,
"The Warrior in you took a nap and now has woken."  These words, almost literally, knocked the breath out of me.  Yes, he was right.  He was very right.  Alone I smiled a huge smile,  I, the warrior for others, found myself a warrior for myself.  And I had indeed awoken.

And today I write.  And tomorrow I write and the next day.  A burden has been lifted and I will waste no more time worrying about things over which I have no control.  I will breathe and rejoice that I am alive and blessed with a few close friends who are there for me no matter what and love me for who I am and some friends I have never even met.

Thank you Mark for helping to wake me up with your words.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have been a part of Rainie's life and her healing. Her head in my hand brings a peace I have seldom felt. Each breath she has taken has been a gift. Watching her surviving and thriving from what could have taken her life to where she is today has been a true gift to me.
It is with deep joy and sadness that tonight she will meet her new family and tomorrow leave for Dallas. This has been an agonizing decision and one definitely not taken lightly. But it is a decision that is in HER best interest. She will be in an amazing home and become a therapy dog for the husband and wife (retired) who recently lost their golden retriever therapy dog, Faith. She will potentially work with homeless children in a READ program and the parishioners in her church are all waiting to snuggle her. Their home is empty and since Faith passed, Rainie (soon to be called by her original name ~ Gracie) will provide a love and strength to mend their broken hearts.
A friend in Dallas had told me about this couple months ago and their need for the love and devotion of a special dog with special needs. After much thought, communication, and many tears, as well as guarantees and promises of many photos and updates, the Rainie Service Dog Trust and the Trustee (me) will turn over little one tomorrow to her caretakers. According to the Trust I remain owner for the remainder of her life! If at any time they are unable to keep her or other circumstances might occur, she would and will be returned to me.
So Bon Voyage precious girl. You will forever and always have a huge place in my heart! I love you. God bless you, as you have blessed me. I am a better person for having had you in my life!
And to all of you who have emotionally and financially supported her, please accept my deepest gratitude and appreciation. For she is thriving and has been and will continue to be under the best possible medical care! And yes, I have spoken to her veterinarian and multiple other amazing references.
Words to my Rainie/Gracie, from APPRECIATE LIFE'S SIMPLE PLEASURES ! "It's about the legs you DO have. Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." ~ Lao-tzu
You have taught me everything!

Monday, October 12, 2015


Some wounds just don't heal.  That is until Gracie walked into a hospital room! It was then that I learned that you don't need sight to see who loves you or who needs love. To see Gracie is to fall hopelessly in love.  She has a healing power that more often than not is inexplicable. Her love and the love from others for her is absolute.  This affirms my belief that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose.  It is up to us to discover what that purpose might be. Sometimes we will never know. It is then we discover that it is sufficient that it occurred. 

With Gracie little by little, visit after visit, patients have learned to walk, speak, and face the battles that lay ahead of them. Many have been flattened by life and in her presence they begin to inflate again. In the beginning many patients wanted to remain in that isolated place where no one could hurt them, but they soon realized that if they did so, no one could love them either.

A Gracie fan wrote me that meeting Gracie is on her bucket list.  How dear is that? It reminded me that you cannot live someone else's dream. You have to find your own.

I believe the most genuine and loving gift I have received from Gracie is  that worrying about something is almost always worse than the outcome.  These years, minutes, and moments I have shared with Gracie are treasures cherished beyond words.  For they are real and filled with love.  No pretenses, nothing false, only a feeling that there is nowhere and no one I would rather be with at that moment. Her patients and warriors have felt the same way. 

As I write, I sit with her and stroke her soft fur.  I inhale her fragrance, her bravery, and her love.  I want to always remember these moments for what they truly are ~ moments of clarity about what really matters  and what doesn't.

The little things really are the big things.  I have carried around pain and anger and disappointments forever it seems.  One moment doesn't change everything. But for me, with Gracie as my teacher, I see that there really is no other choice but to be brave.  Because of Gracie, I have learned everything necessary. She has seen me through some of the darkest days of my soul. 

As another Gracie fan wrote, "Oh Patsy!  What a true miracle she is. You and she are an unbeatable  balance and formula.  God knew what he was doing in joining the two of you."  

Gracie allows necessary tears to flow, not only mine, but literally hundreds of others, with all that she gives. How blessed are those who have had the opportunity to hold her close and learn these lessons. Blind love can most assuredly heal. Gracie has relieved my fears time and time again simply being by my side.  She has been a testament to perseverance and prayer.  Many at the end of their rope, found Gracie to be the knot to hang on to. And then there have been those that can't yet feel life.  But remembering Gracie perhaps one day will.

She has taught that we should all take a leaf out of her book, her story, and take each day, each moment, as it comes.  We are all far too busy rushing around consumed with busyness and technological devices, that we miss the beauty and messages right in front of us.  Gracie has taught many to take one day, one second at a time and to pay attention to the messages in their lives.

Gracie is my daily smile, reminding me that love needs no eyes to shine, teaching that you really don't need sight to see who loves you or who needs love.

This little 28 pound angel has brought me out of depression time and time again and has given my life great meaning.  Another far reaching accolade. "Sweet Gracie, I wish I could get my hands on that sweet face and give you a big kiss.  You are such a trooper. Even from far away you are giving two veterans, my husband and myself, such happiness."

My heart has found its home. I know without hesitation that everything that we do and everyone that we meet are put here for a purpose. There are no accidents. We're all teachers, if we are willing  to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts, and not be afraid to take a risk or to wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.

Each of us on this earth has the opportunity to find and to give his or her unique gift.  Whether this gift is quiet or small or large and furry in the eyes of the world it simply does not matter.  It is in the finding and giving that brings a light into times of darkness that make it such a special offering.  I have offered Gracie to hundreds struggling to hold on one more moment.

We are all survivors of one sort or another.  And perhaps the reason we're on this earth is to help ease the pain of others.  And in so doing we are ultimately helping ourselves.  Holding Gracie's leash and watching her over and over again become the catalyst for a patient's or a warrior's healing has consistently made it clear that this is indeed why I am on this earth.

"All , everything that I understand, I understand only because I love." ~ Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


The blessings I have received from caring for and loving rescue dogs, as well as people, have been presented to me as an offering and a gift.  I am a  better person filled with love, patience, and purpose. A person who understands that being driven to help other beings originated from the wounded and broken heart of a little girl who never felt or knew love.

From my dogs I now know a comfort and love that I had never felt from anything or anyone else in my life. I feel quite certain that this is odd to some of you.  And this I understand and respect. But it is so in my case.  

While I write, I am surrounded by Rainie, Kelsie and Remy. The peace and love they exude is palpable. I find that I can breathe easier. I feel the tension leave my shoulders.  I find my jaws relax, as I watch them inhale and exhale so quietly.  They sometimes change position, reminding me to do the same.  I am consistently amazed as they offer this unique kind of meditation.

A friend wrote and told me dogs remain faithful and that their gazes have a steady loving accepting effect on me.  She said that I am the companion of Kelsie, the human whose hand steadies Rainie, and whose heart sustains Gracie, Remy and Hope. Upon  deeper reflection, I ask could it be the other way around?

Five innocent angels all needing my love, attention, calm and receptive presence.  I must focus and stand firm!

In the midst of a life filled with chaos, tension and struggle, I have learned to ask myself where calm and peace lie for me.  The answer is easy.  All I have to do is look down beside me. 

I don't have to dream of what love is further.  I see it. It surrounds me.  I feel it, just as I can see colors and light and shapes in clouds and in the tide coming in and out and never ceasing, with a calming and receptive presence.
In this place I can focus and stand firm and rejoice in the purpose of my life.