Thursday, September 26, 2013


I recently received these extraordinary words from a wounded warrior.  I need to share them with you for multiple reasons that I hope will become clear as you read, perhaps reread, and digest!
"What non-service members need to understand is that we as service members are willing to protect your family, as we protect our own.  It is not something that we want credit or commendations for, so much as acknowledgement that we did our job and now we may need a little help.  Pity is THE most useless of emotions.  Inside we are who we are regardless of how war has left our outside appearance, or our ability to deal with certain situations.  At our core we would still fight for what we believe.  Please continue to give us something to believe in."
"Please continue to give us something to believe in!"  These are nine of the most powerful words I believe I have ever heard.  It is a burden to some of us and then to others it is so very easy.

A friend of mine speaks of 'loving someone into existence.' And upon reflection so very many of our warriors returning from war are not really existing.  They survived yes, but many are  just on the edge of existence.  As of last report, twenty two or more of our warriors end their own lives daily!  Those are just the ones reported.  They fought for what they believed in and then could no longer live with the person they had become for having 'done the right thing.'  Perhaps they no longer had anything to believe in.
We all have those times and spaces where we need help.  Where we just can't do it anymore.  And it is in this place that we need to believe that we will get through it, we will make it, and there is light at the end of the dark, frightening tunnel.  Our warriors are no different.  As the warrior above said, " we may need a little help."
We as a nation, as a country, as American's, must provide the help these warrior's are crying out for.  We can't let them be forgotten, nor can we or should ever deny them something to believe in.  It is our duty, our job, just as fighting for this country was a job, a mission they assumed to protect their families, as well as ours.
A quoted story from Mama Edie Armstrong says it clearly.  "I am reminded of how, as a child, I knelt down one day and curiously watched a group of ants as they were marching along their way to the ant hill.  My focus became fixed, though, on one particular ant who had picked up a bread crumb that was far too large to carry.  He'd pick it up, move forward a little bit and then fall down.  He'd pick it up move forward a little bit, and again fall down. This continued several times, but each time, getting him a little closer to his destination.  I picked up a large leaf, placed I there in front of the ant.  With his prize bread crumb, he crawled upon that leaf, and I lifted them all and placed it beside the anthill.  As the ant was leaving the leaf, it was almost as though I could hear him saying, "Thanks for the lift!:  And then he continued on his journey."
As much as we struggle to do small things, great and grand things by ourselves, we come to that place in the road where we suddenly or finally realize we can't do it without help. Our returning warriors are most assuredly no different.
I try to live by the following words by William Bradfield.  "There are those whose lives affect all others around them.  Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another.  Reaching out to the ends further than we would ever know."
Today I ask you to give a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who needs it the most.  In the words of Dale Carnegie, "Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime."
Please join me in doing everything you can to support our returning military.  Far too many of them gave everything for us.  It is the least we can do. As our warrior above states,....'and now we may need a little help.' 
We must always provide them with something to believe in and love them back into existence!!

Monday, September 16, 2013


So what is the answer?  When bad things happen to good people doing good, it is debilitating, time consuming, and forces us to refocus on the negative in life and on disruptive people, rather than allowing us to do good things for those that need it the most.
I have pondered this over and over again.  Then I realized that sometimes the answers aren't everything. Do we really need to know why?  We want to...sure!  But does it help the situation or circumstance to really know why bad things happen to good people doing good.  I figure it is a waste of time. A huge waste of time!
I have most definitely had my unfair share of garbage heaped on me on numerous occasions, too numerous to count, when all I was trying to do was good.  I lost those I thought were friends for life.  I lost focus. I was close to exhaustion from battling,  But never once did I lose self confidence that I indeed was always doing the right thing for the right reasons. 
No, I didn't deserve the treatment, betrayal, and hatred aimed at me...but it was.  And so be it. It was, as they say, what it was! It wasn't as easy as these words might indicate.  I was as I like to say, 'bended, folded, stapled and mutilated' by multiple people.  And recovery and remembering how to stand up straight and tall and strong took a great while. But I always remembered, because what I was doing, and am doing, makes a huge difference.
It doesn't matter if everyone or even anyone agrees with me.  It simply matters that the person/people I am trying to help know.  And they do.  Sometimes they tell me, sometimes they write me heartfelt letters that leave me in tears.  Sometimes I receive in the mail a small handmade gift from their hearts to say thank you.  They understand, they care, their lives perhaps are made a bit better, their tears flow a little less, and days are not quite so horrible to live through.  I do this because I too know what it is like to be battered and abused and crawling on my knees, not asking for help, because I was too proud, too exhausted, or too embarrassed.
Then there are sometimes when you have no choice but to ask for help.  These times are most often come when you are humbled and times are rough and you just don't think you can do it anymore. 
For the entire time I have been writing this I have heard my four dogs pacing and pattering on the wooden floors in my house, moving from one room to another.  The noise was comforting because I knew they were there, close by, but it was also a bit tedious hearing them constantly in motion.  Then I realized they were trying to tell me something.  Something important.  So I got up and thought a break in the yard would help them.  As soon as we all came back inside it started to pour down rain, the skies darkened, and the smell in the air was fresh, comforting and quieting.  I stood standing at the back door watching the all too infrequent blessing of rain on a Texas summer day that my dogs were trying to tell me about. I inhaled and exhaled and with each breath remembered that with the bad there is also good.  And with the good there is also that which is bad.  Perhaps it is a matter of perception.  Perhaps our shoulders have to be wider and stronger and bolder, as we learn to let go of those people and things that inundate our lives and waste our time. 
Sometimes we become ill and need time off to rest and recover. A phone call came this afternoon from a young warrior asking how he could assist the warriors who repeatedly are being kicked out of facilities across the country with their certified service dogs.  This young man is not alone in his wanting to help.  What makes this story unique is that he had surgery this morning on his spine.  Yet he didn't let it stop him...just hours later he places a call to help his battle buddies....a call to do good! 
Maybe, just maybe, it is  in the picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and continuing moving forward with our mission that leaves others in our wake.  Perhaps it is our way of ignoring the bad and misplaced and uncomfortable in this world and continuing to do what is right and what is good and what we were placed here to do.  So if people don't agree, or appreciate or understand why you do what you do....they need to stop being an irritant and a stop light for those of us who choose to battle on, move forward, and help those people that need it the most.  One day they just might be one of those people and will understand.  In the meantime I choose to dust off the bad things that happen to me and keep on doing good.
The answers aren't everything!  What we do for others is!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


"I will keep you safe."
 Isn't that what all of us want to a great degree?  To be kept safe.  To know that we matter.  To know that we mean something to someone. To feel alive because someone cares.
We all need someone to care about us enough to keep us safe, during those times of pain, anxiety, stress, growth, undoing, loneliness, fear, anger, and illness. Without these people we would feel alone.  With them we feel alive. We need a smile on a face that walks into our house ~ our lives. A shoulder to cry on. A person with whom we can share our deepest secrets and pain. A person who does not judge, criticize or abandon. A person with whom we can dance.
So many people now have lives that are so full, mostly of themselves, that there is little room for anything or anybody else. Henri Novwen states it perfectly, "What makes us human is not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think, but our ability to love."  I will take that one step further by saying our ability to care and to have compassion and reach out and touch.
There is such amazing value in touch.  It is both necessary and valuable. Think how good it makes you feel when someone just holds you, hugs you, and says nothing. No relationship is possible without touch for compassion requires intimacy.  Compassion brings people together. Compassion is a mutual process. Erik Hoffer found, "It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise." When people receive compassion there is an effect on their health."
Looking inside at our hopes and dreams and longings, we find a place where we are most fully ourselves.  This is home.  This is our safety net.  This is our shelter from the world.  This is where we find light!
I have found that most people turn their light inward! Which to some degree is where it just might be needed the most.  But is it?  I find my greatest reward in using my light to illuminate the dark places in others.
"When I can help somebody, even one person, it makes me feel most alive." M. Paul Farmer
Seems to me we are losing that unconditional kind of love.  That kind of love that is overwhelming and intense and endless.  That kind of love that is a gift that keeps us safe and in many instances, keeps us sane.
A friend tells that he is afraid to love because he is not deserving.  I would offer to him that his enemy is his greatest teacher.  His enemy of not allowing love in.  For he indeed is worthy of the greatest kind of love.  Being numb to love puts a crack in our lives that can't be patched or repaired. 
"We can only really love the things we can lose. ~ Jim Wilson ~ Essayist in Nova Scotia
Helen Keller said it best, "Life is either a great adventure or nothing."  Don't risk wasting life, avoiding love.  Go forward with your dream.  There is more to be gained than lost when we take this risk.  It starts in the mind as a step of faith and then we find we have moved into something much larger that we didn't even know existed.
All of our most primal and powerful memories are sensual, touch, smell, and feeling safe. All of us when faced with the noise of life need to find those places of silence and safety.  For it just could be that this is where we will find our passion and gain compassion. A place where we will find we are all deserving, and where we are all safe. With risk there is a great deal more to be gained than lost.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

WHAT EXACTLY IS ADEQUATE? A blog just for fun!

What exactly does adequate mean?  When someone says something is adequate does it mean it is less than it should be or not quite right or it could be better?  I love the word.  It is my word.  It is a word that doesn't get me in trouble.  It is a questionable word to many.  If you say something is 'adequate' do they scratch their chin and wonder what is wrong with it or do they assume you are not happy with it, or do they see it as a positive? Do they see it as something that is okay but needs improvement. It can be a bad word or a good word, it all depends on perception!

Examples of ADEQUATE

  1. The garden hasn't been getting adequate water.
  2. The food was more than adequate for the six of us.
  3. The school lunch should be adequate to meet the nutritional needs of growing children.
  4. The machine does an adequate job.
  5. The tent should provide adequate protection from the elements.
  6. The quality of his work was perfectly adequate.
  7. Your grades are adequate but I think you can do better.
  8. The quality of his work was only adequate.
  9. Then, during the spring and summer, allow adequate recovery by taking one or two days off the bike each week and scaling back the intensity of your rides one week out of every month. —Selene Yeager, Bicycling, January/February 2008
acceptable, all right, decent, fairish, fine, good, OK (or okay), passable, respectable, satisfactory, serviceable, tolerable, up to snuff
deficient, inadequate, insufficient, lacking, unacceptable, unsatisfactory, wanting


At the beach, the green plastic patio table is speckled with sand.  It holds hours of work, bits of broken shells, barnacles, a feather, and moments of time passages.

I sit watching kites flying, waves rushing in and out again and a fisherman in the surf casting his line to capture his own treasure.  There is a beautifully cool breeze.  This is peace.  It is what I escape to find. 

We all need to find 'our' place.  A place of quiet where we can turn off the noise and lower the volume of our lives.  Removing those alarms that go off in our heads allows us to listen to the silence.  In that silence we will be able to hear what is in our heart.  Powerful messages will be heard and the answers will come. It is an ultimate act of love for yourself.

Grace will enter unencumbered.

It is here that you become totally and completely in love with life.  How many people can say that from the depths of their souls?


Sometimes when you least expect it, something quite unexpected just hits you.  Wisdom comes and quite suddenly you begin to 'get it'.
One day, taking my precious little blind therapy dog, Gracie, to visit patients at a rehab hospital, I noticed one beautiful lady, a patient battling cancer, was watching every move Gracie was making from the far side of the gym.  I am always keenly aware of people watching, smiling, and patiently waiting 'their turn' to have an 'audience' with Gracie.  These meetings for Gracie are glorious and without judgment. And for the patients, well, to some it is a diversion. For most it is a single moment in time to be cherished.
We made our journey across the large room to visit with Sharon.  She quietly and gently stroked Gracie. It was apparent that this was enough.  No conversation was necessary, no small talk.  Just being in that moment was enough.
Then suddenly out of no where Sharon said, "Love surrounds Gracie from all sides.  I can feel it.  I can just feel it."
I recalled author, pastor, lecturer Henri Nouwen writing, "When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate no knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness....that is a friend who cares."
It is no different with our warriors. Perhaps they too need a friend who can be silent in their moments of despair and grief.