Rosie the Wonder Dog

Wonder Dog

When I was a child, I loved watching Super Friends every Saturday morning. It was my favorite of all the Saturday morning cartoons, and I have fond memories of lying on our basement floor, wrapped in a blanket, while following the adventures of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Superman, and the rest of the superheroes. Two of the characters had a dog names Wonder Dog who often helped the crew foil their enemies. Wonder Dog could not speak, but he did have a knack for alerting his humans, Marvin and and Wendy, when danger lurked or when clues were nearby. He communicated through barks, gestures, and even his own form of charades. He always seemed to be one step ahead of his humans.

Those who have been following me lately know that we recently rescued a puppy. Luna is quite active, and to be honest, pretty bad! She truly thinks she’s a circus dog, bouncing and bounding across the floors, furniture, and even walls like they are all part of a giant trampoline park. She chews everything in sight from Rosie’s toys and bones to my throw pillows and even the baseboards along the walls! She’s too smart for her own good and often ends up getting herself and my poor Rosie in trouble. They’ve become the best of friends, and Luna is really lucky to have Rosie for a big sister. In fact, we’ve discovered that we’re all extremely lucky to have Rosie around…

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Reassess Your Gift-Giving

I read this morning that Amazon, Target, and other retailers are having “Black Friday-worthy” sales all this month to encourage everyone to do their Christmas shopping while supplies last. According to the financial newsletter The Morning Brew (which I read faithfully every morning even though I know nothing about finance), “Factories in Asia have been closed due to Covid lockdowns, shipping containers are harder to find than a heat lamp, and companies are struggling to hire workers to staff ports and drive trucks.”

I read this and thought, would it be so terrible if people weren’t able to spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on Christmas presents?

Would it be so terrible if all those toys and other items coming from China and Taiwan weren’t available in American stores this year?

Would it be so terrible if kids were *gasp* limited in the amount of presents they receive on Jesus’s (not their own) birthday?

I shake my head and think…

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Be Cured of Your Affliction

For the past few weeks, at the urging of my nursing student daughter, I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for the persistent pain in my lower back. After a three-hour consultation but before treatments began, the doctor sent me for a series of x-rays. I think I had more x-rays done that morning than all of the other trips to the radiologist over 51 years combined. I commented on this, and the tech laughed and said, “Yes, Dr. Roberts like to be very thorough.” So thorough, in fact, that on my return visit, Dr. Roberts went over every single inch of every x-ray, pointing out the arthritis here, the degenerative discs there, the minor scoliosis at the top and bottom of my spine, and many other irregularities that resulted from a lifetime of untreated injuries.

Many of the things that were pointed out to me came of no surprise. I’ve had lower back spasms and pain (sometimes excruciating) for about thirty years, and I’ve suffered from upper back pain for about five years. What did surprise me was all of the trauma he identified at the base of my skull and in my neck. I have pain and stiffness there that I didn’t even know I had…

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Acts of Kindness

This past weekend, I attended the Abbey Faith and Music Fest in Malvern, Pennsylvania, with my daughter, Katie, as a vendor. I’m pretty sure Katie would like to have been somewhere else, but we’d been planning on going for a while, and I knew I’d need help with sales, so she went with me without complaint. It was long day, beginning with a two-and-a-half hour drive from home that put us at the event shortly before 9am. It was a fun ride with Katie playing music and talking non-stop about which songs on Taylor’s latest album are her favorites. It was much better than the unplanned ride home after a dreadful hotel experience, but that’s a different story!

After we arrived at the abbey and got set up, Katie recognized her former RA from her sophomore year of college sitting in a tent across from us. They hugged and reminisced and talked about how much they loved sharing the same floor that semester. It was a great surprise for Katie, and I’m so happy the two reconnected. Just as nice as that meeting was the chance to meet and talk to young author, Sara Francis, with whom Katie hit it off immediately and promptly bought all three of her dystopian novels!

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That Ragged Old Flag

Warning – many people won’t like what I have to say…

I hope everyone had a good weekend and that every person in America spent time thinking about and praying for the victims of 9/11. I’ll never forget that day. I was at work when the planes hit, and nobody was sure what was happening. When the Pentagon was hit, I knew things were bad, very bad. I went to my boss, whose husband worked at the Treasury Department, and as calmly as possible told her that she might want to call her husband and tell him to leave DC. She looked at me like I was crazy, but as I explained what was happening, her face paled, and her expression turned to horror. She told me to tell everyone to go home as she reached for the phone.

NYC Skyline with American Flag

The patriotism that arose from those ashes was astonishing. I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it since 1776. The radio was flooded with new songs like Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning by Alan Jackson and Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Key. Churches were packed, and songs such as Let There Be Peace on Earth and Amazing Grace spilled out into the streets. American flags and banners with the Stars and Stripes flew in every yard or from every house. Memorials cropped up in businesses, schools, and stores. New York, New York, Arlington, Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania were in everyone’s prayers. Every person was touched, in some way, by what happened. We were all one nation, under God, indivisible, standing for liberty and justice for all.

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A Healthier Me

I saw a new doctor today, and I really liked him. For years, I’ve had various issues, but over this past year, everything seems to be escalating with new problems showing up on a monthly basis. Over the past year, I’ve seen my GP, a cardiologist, an allergist, an ENT, an endocrinologist, and a gastroenterologist. Each one treated me for whatever specific issue I was experiencing within that field. This morning, the new doctor, who I went to see for arthritis, told me that he thinks everything is related. Seriously – everything. From my headaches to my gut issues to my arthritis. He feels confident that I have Chronic Inflammatory Disease and have for most, if not all, of my life; and the thing that trigged all of these major flareups is… you guessed it. My bout with that dreaded virus that just won’t leave us alone.

How I long for the days when I had energy and could eat without worry!

But hopefully those days aren’t far away. You see, here’s the best part about what he told me. He’s planning on treating me for everything. Every ailment, every ache and pain, every headache and stomach upset and endocrine problem because my problem isn’t one thing or one isolated thing. It’s everything as a whole. And you know what, it all makes so much sense to me.

For instance…

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Sweet and Sour – Necessary Ingredients in Life

Morgan in her white coat

There’s just something about this time of year that makes me think of sweet things as well as sour things. Summer is winding down, and fall is quickly approaching. Schools are heading into session, and our youngest daughter has been back in Pittsburgh for just over a week now for her junior year of college, the hardest year for nursing students.

This is the time of year when the lazy days of summer are waning, and the busy fall season begins, the time of year when we start thinking about the holidays. Before we know it, January 1 will be upon us! Hot, sunny days will give way to cooler, blustery ones, and then winter will arrive just before ushering us into spring. Hot and cold, sunny and bleak, sweet and sour.

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Family Togetherness, A Gift From Heaven

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.” –Pope John XXIII

Have truer words ever been spoken? Where would I be without my family? Though I put God first and foremost in my life, I would be nothing, have nothing, achieve nothing, and live for nothing if not for my family. Not seeing most of my extended family for over a year was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life. Thankfully, that long, dry period ended this past weekend.

On Saturday, we hosted a graduation party for our middle child, Katie Ann. She graduated in May from Mount St. Mary’s University, but we wanted to give our family a little more time to be comfortable in a large gathering, so we asked them all to save the date for August 21. It made my day to get responses like, “I told the rest of the family they could do whatever they wanted, but I will be there come hell or high water,” and “I’m done with not seeing everyone.” We were all determined to be together, and not even a potential tropical storm was going to keep us apart.

Opera great, Robert Breault, is attributed with saying, “What greater blessing to give thanks for at a family gathering than the family and the gathering.” And he was so right.

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Imitate the Wise

Every afternoon or evening, when it’s not ninety degrees outside, I take my dogs on a walk. The puppy is tethered to a leash, of course, and may be for some time as we’re just beginning more intensive training with her. However, our ten-year-old lab (who is expertly trained and comes to me in and instant, standing by my side until I tell her she can go) has the pleasure of running free, and she relishes in chasing rabbits and plunging head-first into water-filled ditches (no rabbits have been caught or harmed). In fact, Rosie is a head-first kind of dog. We used to worry that she would hurt herself each time she went barreling down the hall toward our bedroom only to find the door closed after she rammed it with her head. Luckily it didn’t take long for her to learn to test the door first to see if the air conditioning fan had slammed it shut again. I keep waiting, though, for her to ram a culvert or a tree as she plunges ahead at break-neck speed.

It’s not unlike watching people or even governments running at break-neck speed, heads jutting forward, throwing caution to wind. So often, we go through life without ever looking up or ahead. I’m not talking about those who never look up from their cell phones as they cross a busy intersection, but really, isn’t the result the same? To push ahead, forge recklessly into the unknown, and never stop to see what’s coming up.

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Learning to Rest

It’s that time of year again. I’m beginning to see pictures of kids and young adults heading back to school. How does the summer go by so quickly? Morgan heads back to Pittsburgh in just over a week, and it feels like she just got home! Oh, how these girls are going to miss her (Mom and Dad, too)!

Isn’t it amazing how fast our kids grow, how quickly the seasons change, and how each year of our lives seems to be shorter and shorter?

Sometimes, I feel as though I must have slept through a week because I just can’t believe it’s gone already.

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