The Inseparables

Dogs have a way of lifting you up when you feel down.

It was at my husband’s lowest when we adopted Bella. It was at Pepper’s lowest when we adopted her.

Bella was not our first choice. Yes, she had short hair and was about the right size, but she wasn’t Rascal, our beloved Australian Shepherd mix of eight years. He loved us both, but he was definitely my husband’s dog. Sadly, we had to lay him to rest.

I didn’t want another dog. I was over it. Period. My heart can’t take kissing another pet goodbye. It hurts. It really, really hurts.

However, Buck didn’t share my feelings. Not at all. He cried and moped around making our house feel like a morgue. Day, after day. Night, after night till I couldn’t take it anymore.

Okay! Okay! We’ll get another dog!

But it wasn’t as easy as it was with Rascal that suddenly showed up at our neighbor’s house one day. Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that. Their little girl found a whole litter of abandoned pups and brought the most handsome one home with her. Soon, the novelty of owning a puppy wore off, and the little guy kept wandering over to our house.

With a little help, from us, that is, and four-year-old Jacob, our youngest grandchild. We all fell in love with Rascal, and to my surprise, he began sleeping on the front porch.

I felt sorry for him sleeping in the cold, so we bought him a bed and blanket. We didn’t want him to starve to death, so we bought him a food and water bowl, too. And of course, we didn’t want him to get bored, so we bought him some doggie toys.

Long story short, we asked the neighbors if we could keep him. We didn’t even have to beg and plead.

He’s family now and family members don’t live outside. We’re people. All of us. Two-legged, four-legged, fur or no fur; we all live together like one big happy family in the house.

For eight, short years, we loved him, and he loved us. Then, one heart-breaking day, he said goodbye.

Now, several weeks later, we’re looking in a cold, dingy cage, at a strange-looking dog, with long, skinny legs, shivering on top of a flimsy, raggedy blanket.

Nope! Not that one!

We keep on looking.

The noise and the smell of all those animals were overwhelming. But, we took our time looking in one cage after another, till we came right back to the first cage. The one with the strange little dog with long, skinny legs.

Hound mix, the sign said.

I don’t want a hound.

So, we made another trip around the dog pound. And another. We were about to leave but decided to take one more look at that strange-looking dog.

Taking a closer look at her slender body and long legs, it dawned on me. She’s a Greyhound mix!

We signed the adoption papers, had her spayed, and within a few days, she was living in our house.

Pepper was dying of starvation. She had been abandoned with fifteen other dogs. I didn’t want two dogs. Never had two dogs at one time and never wanted two dogs at one time.

But, when she put her tiny paws on my leg and jumped on my lap. Well, The rest is history.

Using Paint ShopPro ultimate 2019, I took the following pictures and turned them into art. Our dogs hate having their pictures taken, so we have to sneak up on them. Funny, funny girls.

This Too Shall Pass

When life gets tough, the tough get tougher, and tougher, and tougher . . .

My mother had this saying; she had lots of sayings. But this one always stuck: You can get used to hanging if you hang long enough.

Maybe it’s true, I never tried it.

What does it mean anyway? Because there are just certain things in life I can’t get used to, no matter how long I hang. No matter how long I beat and bang against it. If it hurts, I want it gone. NOW!

My husband is battling PTSD. He still cries for his shipmates that died in the fire aboard the USS Forestall fifty-five years ago. He still hears the screams and sees the charred bodies that he put in body bags. And he still feels guilty because he survived while so many others died. Survival’s guilt they call it. But they never tell you how to erase it from your mind.

The fresh-out-of-college psychologist Buck saw week after week thought she had it all figured out. Her theory was that if he kept going back through the flames and reliving that God-awful day over and over again that he would eventually get used to it. That, poof, the nightmares and anger, rage, and depression would all disappear. But, her hanging theory didn’t work. The noose only tightened tighter around his neck.

Today, five years later, his PTSD has gotten progressively worse. Some days, I don’t even recognize my husband of fifty-seven years. He’s a stranger. Mean and argumentative. And I don’t like him; that monster he suddenly turns into.

War breaks out in our house often. A vicious war that neither of us can win. Between my emotional madness and his angry episodes, we attack each other as if fighting a ferocious enemy. It’s like the real us stands outside our bodies, watching and wondering who the heck those two crazy people are!

Maybe this is the part where if we hang long enough we’ll get used to it.

Never! This is the part where we pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and work on fixing it. We’re tired of fighting. We’re tired of hurting each other and crying and begging for each other’s forgiveness. We’re tired of broken promises, of trying so hard and failing over and over again.

Buck’s seeing a psychiatrist, now, and I’m in cognitive therapy to get a grip and a better understanding of this ugly thing inside me called Borderline Personality Disorder.

We will get through this because we love each other. And we talk things out. We bare our souls; those raw, shameful parts of ourselves that we only share with each other.

Yes, it hurts, and we’ve been going through this for too long. And what makes it worse for Buck is that for years he blocked out the pain in his work and family and church and fishing and playing ball. He was young and strong and healthy. And now, he’s not. Now, he’s retired with mental and health issues that require lots of weekly visits to the VA.

Our world as we knew it has been turned upside down. Maybe this is all part of getting old. Maybe my expectations were set too high, and I was foolish for even thinking there is such a thing as the golden years. I don’t know. I just know that we’re going through a rough season right now, and we will have to ride it out. Because, as my mother used to say: This too shall pass.

Continue reading “This Too Shall Pass”

Pepper, Our Little Manipulator

She wants what she wants and knows how to get it!

So, the other day I was sitting on the porch petting Bella. And as usual, Pepper kept trying to squeeze between us. When that didn’t work, she clamped down on Bella’s leg and tried pulling her away. That didn’t work, either. So, she got Bella’s favorite bone and dropped it in front of her. That worked like a charm. When Bella left her spot, Pepper scooted right in for me to love on her.

Dogs are more human sometimes than humans are!

It’s a Baby’s Life

You have made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

Because of many complications and surgeries after my tiny, premature baby boy was born, I could never get pregnant again. But, that’s okay. My son provided me with four grandkids, and two of those four have provided me with eight great-grandkids. AWESOME!

Leighton James is great grandbaby #8

Stand by Your Man

Ephesians 5:22
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

The first time I heard Tammy Wynette sing, “Stand by Your Man,” I wanted to smash the radio.

My marriage had just ended. He was mean and abusive. I was a strong-willed wildcat. He stayed out all night drinking with his buddies. I paced the floors while our three-month-old slept. He told me I was no good. I believed him and cried. A lot. He threatened to leave again and again. I didn’t care anymore. While he was at work, I packed his bags, set them outside the door, and changed the locks. When he came home, his key didn’t work, so he busted through the door. The wildcat in me hissed and growled for him to leave. He kissed his son and left. End of story.

So, the lyrics of Tammy’s number one country hit raised my hackles sky-high. What woman in her right mind is going to stand by her man when he treats her worse than the neighbor’s dog? What woman is going to spit-shine her man’s shoes, wash and iron his lipstick-stained shirts, singing “Oh Happy Day” after he stayed out all night just being a man? And what woman is going to forgive and forget over and over and over again till death do us part?

Not this woman!

If my man wants me to love and trust and respect him plus fulfill his every desire, then he better give me plenty of good reasons. Love and commitment is a two-way street. At least that’s what I thought I heard when we exchanged our wedding vows.

I tell people that it took a real man to love me. And that man is the man I’ve been married to for the past forty-nine years. With his stubborn love, he tore down the barbed wire fence tangled around my bleeding, unbelieving heart. With his patience, he broke through the fortress of fear and distrust. With his integrity, he pried my eyes open and helped me to see that his love for me is as real as the sky above. He adopted my son and raised him as his own. He taught him how to become a real man. And finally, because of his unconditional love for me, I surrender my heart and soul to him. Even through the ups and downs, he keeps loving me with a Christ-like love. He doesn’t always like the strong-willed wildcat in me, but he’s the only man on God’s green earth who could ever make it purr.

He’s a real man.

A real man protects his woman, fights for his woman, loves and encourages and respects his woman. A real man never ever beats his woman into submission or forces his will on her because he’s bigger and stronger. Only weak, insecure little boys in a man’s body does that to a woman.

It angers me when I hear of preachers expecting women to stay with their man no matter what. That she should be the stronger Christian because after all, her man is just a man. Baloney! Preachers that preach that lie need to go back and read the rest of the scripture where the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”

It also angers me when a woman allows a man to beat her. And The more she allows it the harder it becomes to take back the power she fearfully gave away. And the beatings go on and on and on till someone ends up dead.

Yes, I’m a fighter for people’s rights, and especially for women’s rights. We’ve been through hell and high water to be recognized as human beings with brains as well as arms and legs and other stuff to allow any man to kick us around. So yes, I take offense when my kindred sisters are being abused and if I’m anywhere near, I will unleash the wildcat in me and it won’t be pretty!

Man-Time

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

My son wrote this article for a newsletter and gave me permission to post it:

“I can’t wait for Thursday nights. Like a child on Christmas Eve, I’m excited, I’m antsy. All-day long, I’m watching the clock hands move at a snail’s pace, inching their way ever so slowly towards 7:30 PM.

Finally, 7:30 arrives, and my home is invaded by warriors. Like a dynamic entry, flashbangs of noise and commotion fill my entire home. No, it’s not my tactical team; warriors of another kind, Another breed. Another tribe has flooded my home.

These warriors are my three sons, my son-in-love, my dad, my dad-in-love, and soon-to-be part of this tribe, my seven grandsons. And the occasion? What’s all the excitement about?

Man-time!

Every Thursday we gather around the fire pit, light up a cigar, and unfold our thoughts into conversations that drift deep into and out of our souls. Organic conversations, free from judgment, condemnation, and shame. We laugh, we cry, we share, we confess.

Our conversations are laid upon the anvil of transparency, intentionally making ourselves vulnerable to one another. Rather than feeling the hammer of judgment, we feel the power of acceptance, love, and the value of belonging to a tribe of real manly men. Warriors who grow stronger through the willingness to share sins, flaws, struggles, temptations, weaknesses, victories, and successes. We feel safe amongst our tribe. We belong to a brotherhood of real, authentic, manly men. This is my tribe.

How different would our world be and look like if men were living out of who they were meant to be through Christ, rather than the flesh? I believe, as a Christian man, it is my role and duty to follow Godly men and to lead other men. How many men long to be free from destructive behaviors, but don’t feel they can share their struggles without being condemned? So many men who belong to a church family feel alone. They have some dark things they struggle with, but there’s no safe fire pit for them to gather around, pull up a chair, and unfold the depths of their souls with other men.

They are tribeless.

Man-Time. That sacred time together has the power to rescue and restore a man. And when men are rescued and restored, women and children will be protected.

Man-time can save lives!”

https://www.google.com/search?q=joy%20international#:~:text=JOY%20International-,www.joy.org,-JOY%20International%20is

Digital Photo Painting

Using Paint Shop Pro 2019, I turn ordinary photos into works of art. I also create picture tubes, bookmarks, Facebook Covers, cards, tags, and more. I don't sell my art, therefore, all my creations are free for your own personal use.

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