Are you Pro-Choice….

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could. . . .”     Robert Frost

I hear the arguments.  I feel the passion, and know the venom.  It is visceral and it is getting more intense every day.  Or so it seems to me.  It is often so ugly.  Seemingly sane people quickly become just the opposite.

I don’t think I know a person that is without a side on the question… “Are YOU pro-choice?” And I expect in this approaching election year in the United States that I will hear this question asked multiple times.  Probably Every day.  EVERY FRICKEN DAY!!

Are you pro-choice?

Someone will  preach or teach or beseech or overreach.

Someone will hate or relate or debate or instate.

Some will hide, some will chide.

Certainly someone will get hurt.

Because all too often I only want to hear or do what I want to hear or do.

So in the shadow of this questioning.  I boldly make this statement.  I am pro-choice because God is pro-choice.

I don’t mind if you don’t believe in God… that is your choice.  I do believe in Him, that is my choice.  I don’t mind if you stop reading now… that is your choice.  I will continue to write… that is my choice.

I am pro-choice because God is PRO-CHOICE.    God has always been for choices.  It is in choices that freedom flourishes.  Believers can choose to believe.  Atheists are free to say no.  I hear all the time, people exclaim “this is a free country, I can choose what I want to choose.”  Well let me say, if ever there was an argument for this country being created in the image of the glory of God, for me it is resident in that very freedom to choose.  Freedom of choice,  pro-choice, is among the most Godly and holy of my life experiences.

What I find to be the forgotten factor.  There are consequences to both good and bad choices.  People who are not necessarily believers use politically correct labels…. like Karma. But call it whatever you would like to call it… Call it nothing at all… Call it the Truth… Call it a lie… What you call it is your choice.

I can’t pretend that what I choose is not without consequences.  I have spent decades chasing and honing and narrowing down what I believe.  I have spent decades making good and bad choices.  I have made both types of choices in the past day I am certain.

Consequences are the fruit of our decisions.  Plant an apple seed, I expect an apple tree.  Plant an apple seed, will I wonder where the oranges are.    Spend your day angry…. guess what fruit you will bear.

You can call it coincidence.  You can say it is a random occurrence.  If you wonder why things are as they have become…. well just continue to wonder.  I don’t necessarily have an answer that can address a one pointed question.  I can’t explain why some things are what they have become.  “It is what it is.”  This is the harvest of my generation..  But is it really?  Could it be that it is what it is as a RESULT of a Choice?   Could my obesity be the result of my bad food and exercise choices?  Or is it what it is because of a bad gene pool?  “Damn, where did all this fat come from?”

And so I return to look at the choices I have made.  Choices made freely, most often without care, frequently without advice of friends.  Some made habitually, some learned and repeated, some learned and ignored, all are choices.  God guaranteed my my ability and right to choose.  And so it is written…..

“The Choice of Life or Death  Deuteronomy 30:18-20”
…I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Yup… you got the Power in the Choice.  Choose Blessing or curse, receive life or death.  God is so Pro-choice.  Some things with God are indeed a mystery.  What I believe he sets before me is to make choices that will bring glory and a life abundant.

God is Pro-choice!

Choose Life! So choose life in order that you may live…

The God I know is Pro-Life.

It is what it is.

 

Somewhere under the rainbow…..

Somewhere under the rainbow…..Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet….

I see them everywhere.   Rainbow colors.   They are not thought of as the marker to a pot of gold.   They are rarely connected to unicorns anymore,  They are, it seems, the new representative of the unspoken acceptance of a now “legal” lifestyle.

So many folks have washed  their Facebook profile pictures with this rainbow flag symbol.

rainbowflag

We are it seems, awash in the rainbow spirit.  Are you “fer it or agin it?”  Whichever side is chosen, there will be arguments.  There will be stands taken.  There will be anger.  There will be joy.  There is the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.   There will be divisions.  It is the the world we live in.

But wait there’s more……….

Somewhere under the rainbow another battle begins on an emotional, historical, and very real issue to so many.  It’s an exorcism in the making.  I sit in awe and wonder.   I am saddened.  I am not surprised.  A reason to rise and fight is often robed in many symbols.  I do not have the energy to judge it… I just observe the battle raging.  It will get uglier.

Confederate_Rebel_Flag.svg

We are it seems, awash in the rebel spirit.  Are you “fer it or agin it?”  Whichever side is chosen, there will be arguments.  There will be stands taken.  There will be anger.  There will be joy.  There is the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.   There will be divisions.  It is the the world we live in.

And why do we fight…

Well here is my deal.. I am created in the image of God.  Therefore His character and His characteristics reside in me.  When I recognize that, and live that, and honor that… my life is more often filled with joy, with peace, with a desire to live in unity.

Here then are my 2 takeaways from all of this flag waving.

1.   John 13:35  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  the counterpoint… live in the spirit of division and people won’t know anything about God and His purpose for those who love Him……or those He desires to be with.

2.  Symbols have power.    Symbols do represent what people believe… because God set up symbols before me… it is what God does… it is part of His character… I am in that image, so are you.. I believe..  Why else would folks fight over a flag or a color scheme? Genesis 9:13.  I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.

rainbowreal

 

May you find peace under the rainbow.  May you know the covenant Maker.

Oh, yeah…. what the heck in indigo anyway?

Numbered

My days are numbered.

Your days are numbered.

A man’s days are numbered. You, God,  know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set. So now look away from him that he may rest, until he has lived the time set for him like a man paid to work.  Job 14:5-6

When my wife died, it was a surprise.  I left our house one morning in November, 2009. Michelle was a vibrant 44 year old woman.  By the time I got home after work, she was gone. Drowned in the bathtub of our house. . . passed out in the tub, drifted below the water, and slept.  There was no countdown, no expectation of  departure.  I had not ever considered a number.

Two years ago, Mom was a completely different story.  After 90 plus years the clock just ran down.  No rewinding.  No surprise.  The departure was quiet and graceful, much like she lived her life.  She did not know the exact number, nor did I, but it came and went without incident.

But you Joanna (only you know who your are by this name), you are an anomaly.  I don’t know your number.  I do know it is smaller than I wish it were.   I know is it a very real and tangible number.  I know if I don’t see you soon, my next glimpse of you will be on the other side of the curtain.  And so I must honor the number and I will tell you what I would share with the world if ever asked to write your Eulogy.  Since you have not passed… I hope you find this an encouragement.  In the weird and wonderful way you understand the things I say.  God knows I appreciate that quality in you.

If there were a service, this is what I would rise to say… and since you would be ashes, you would not be able to stop me.  I confess my biggest challenge is deciding which tense to pen this someday Eulogy in…. but to the one I love… you will know what I mean.

I am here to honor my friend Joanna B.    meandjb

I love this woman.  She was never easy to get to know.  In fact she was downright secretive and initially reclusive.  And frankly, a pain in my rather over sized ass.  But I knew from our first Facebook moment, this was a very special woman, one with whom I had a rare and explainable connection.

Our first 3 meetings, were never shows… a rooftop brunch, a day at the dog park, and brunch again.  Our relationship spanned nearly 2 years of “friending” and and “unfriending” on Facebook.  Yet through all of these non-times, there was humor, and insight, and laughter and tears.  Joanna you are a remarkable woman.

Eventually we would have our face to face times together.  I so enjoyed being with you.  You are a smile maker.  Thank you.

Joanna you loved stuff that I loved.  You didn’t love stuff that I loved.  You are specific, and directed, and focused, and I am really not any of those things.  Yet you enjoyed our time together, as did I.  And you are caring.  Oh my, you are so caring.  I knew it when we first met.  And I knew very early that you cared about me.

But I believe, it was with the birth of your first grandchild that you once again became the woman you were meant to be.  You are love and kindness manifested.  You became the woman that God intended for you to become.  You and Boo.  That little man was the right man for your life.  I am so grateful that I caught a glimpse of you as that beautiful woman, before your number was called.  Though I must brag and say I knew that quality and that woman by day two of our facebook lives.  Long before you were ready to own it.

JB, you are a delight.  I will miss you much.  We shared together the sudden and ugly loss of our spouses through terrible and unforeseen accidents.  You are a loving mother and grandmother and friend.  And you have left a mark on my heart.  I am thankful, and honestly I am really upset that I will have to miss you.  But I will learn to deal with it.  I will see you again.  You will have my number.

A step away from my cowardice

mlk-love-vs-hate

I saw a quote last week that I must paraphrase.  “How important must a person be to elevate their murder to being an assassination”  You get the drift.

“As Charleston gradually lays to rest nine shooting victims from last week’s church massacre” The report on the AP wire read.  And I say, Truly this is/was a planned act of randomly targeted hate and cowardice.

I was at one of those hotels this morning.  You know the ones that have rooms and also include a free breakfast in the little dining area.  This morning I was at one of those places. So I grab a biscuit, a glass of juice, and a cup of coffee..  and I sit to watch the morning news.  Most folks watch some sort of TV in the morning, The Today Show, Fox and friends, CBS whatever…….   I am not one of those watchers except in unique circumstances.  I sold my TV over 2 years ago.  This morning was a unique circumstance for me.

This morning’s television topic.  The Charleston massacre and the recent burning of 3 Black churches in the South.  And I began to cry.  This all makes me so sad.  This is a continuation and it is just the beginning of the atrocities I believe.  People hating people for no good reason.  I do not expect it to get better.  Cowards are everywhere.  If they were brave, like soldiers, they would put their names on their actions… and face the consequences.  Cowards take lighter fluid to ant hills.

When I was growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, I use to burn ant hills.  As a prepubescent, I would go to our garage, find the charcoal lighter fluid, find an ant hill, spray it with fluid, drop a lit match…. the ants never knew what hit them.  They would writhe in pain and die.  It was fun to do this.. until is was fun no longer.  I couldn’t stand the action.  What was I doing?  Why did I do it?  It made no sense to me.  It was planned act of randomly targeted hate and cowardice.  I walked away from my foolishness, my ignorance, my cowardice.

So I am enjoying my biscuit and juice and coffee.  I am not enjoying the news of the morning.  People killed by a coward.  Assassinated.  I am getting sadder.  I am in public.  My eyes are tearing up.  I am disgusted.  I am appalled.  I am filled with rage.  And suddenly I remember, I am not alone.  I look over to see the couple at the next table.  My God, it is THEM.  THEY are right fricken next to me, and they have seen my tears and sadness.

Should I run.  Should I hide.  Should I pretend I just had something in my eye.  Get up and leave?  What the f@#K should I do.  They are BLACK people, a Black couple, right next to me.

So I look them directly in the eyes… I put my name on it.  I look at them, and I know that they know that I know that they are Black people.  I say, “I am so sorry.”

And they say. “thank you.”

And in this moment, I walked away from my fear.  I am NOT a coward in the moment.  I am Bob Fulton, Man of God, lover of people, griever for those who suffer.

And we talk.  And we never ask each other’s names… we are hotel lobby friends.  Passers by and passers through.  But we talk from the heart.

He is a barber at a “black barber shop”  — his words

Since the church shooting he mentioned that a white guy had come to the shop last week and needed to use the restroom.  Very odd for a white guy to be in this neighborhood.  They said yes.  However they could not help but wonder if this stranger might be assembling a gun while in the restroom and come out shooting.  Copycat, copycat.  Nothing happened.  But he could not help but wonder.

He could not help but wonder if he would be in the room when the next coward came to visit a group of Black folks.  I was saddened that though he and his wife were absolutely at peace in the skin they lived…. there are people who hated them for skin pigmentation.

We spoke for about 15 minutes.

And I shook both their hands.  It was NOT a particularly brave moment for me.  But in that moment I was a coward no more.

Three people brave enough to be who we were suppose to be.

Today I lived…. A step away from my cowardice.

Crappie… crappy….crappie

Crappie!!

That my friend is how we met.  On Facebook.  We were both fans of George Takei.  Oh My! And one day around 3 years ago he posted some toilet humor cartoon with a fish.  I don’t recall the joke.

But I remember what I typed in the reply line.  And I replied “Crappie”  (for the non-initiated, a Midwest freshwater pan fish similar to a perch, and actually pronounced Croppy) But it looks like it should be pronounced Crappy.  And it really was a perfectly funny response to the “fish turd” joke.  And apparently  you were in a laughing kind of mood…. and you “liked” my comment.  You and several other absolute strangers.  And I felt good and that was that.

BlacknoseCrappieNorrisNegus

But that was not that.  You mustered up the energy to message me and asked to be my friend.  Now I must say… I was attracted immediately to your picture.  And I hoped you were not some Nigerian scam artist, targeting my massive American wealth.  Fortunately it was my humor that you were after.  And we became friends.  You moved outside of your comfort circle… and friend-ed a stranger.  Someone you would never have to meet.  And we would joke and we laughed and just enjoyed each other…. and then came the second day.  And someone you thought would be a random, never meet, make me smile kind of guy from some distant land…. well…. if I may put words in your mouth… “Holy Sh*!, the guy lives in Tulsa, less than 30 miles from my Owasso home.”  Spoiler!!

The first months were delightful.  We were funny together.  We never met.  We planned on it, we never followed through.  There were discoveries and journeys via phone, text and facebook.   We we members of similar “clubs”  The multiple dog owner club.  The I lost my spouse to a horrible accident club.  The quick wit/funny club.  The on a spiritual journey club.  The enjoy a good wine club.  And the being in a relationship is exhausting and leave me alone clubs.

Crappy!!!!

So during “our” first two years, I think there were 3 befriending and 3 unfriending events on Facebook.  We were together.   We were silent and apart.   We lived alone.  After a period, there would be a tap on the door, an open moment, with smiles, laughter, and even one meet for brunch event.  Two hours at the cafe in Utica Square.  Delightful, refreshing, for both of us I believe.  And I will add…. glorious for me.  You were just a joy to be with and talk with.  You are so attractive… what a wonderful breath of fresh air.   And then you would “disappear.”  For those moments, closeness was not to be a part of your life.  I was asked to lose your number.  I had not “done” anything, it just was NOT time.

But there were big changes coming.  You became a Grandma.  And frankly, you changed I think.  “Boo” changed you.  That little boy was a big life changer.  I will not attempt to put words in your mouth, nor outline the changes.  Nor even suppose to understand, having never been neither a parent nor obviously then a grandparent.  But I will say, your world exploded and expanded.  And around a year ago, I became a part of your new expansion process.  I will be forever grateful.  Though our together times are infrequent, they are a part of us…. and for me they are wonderful.

We have indeed become friends over the last year.

We have done business together.  You have entrusted me to sell things for you an Ebay.  I have been blessed financially because of “us.”

But more importantly, you have given me some firsts and lasts.  The kind of things that will linger in my brain for the remainder of my life as I think of you.

Our date at the Tulsa state fair.  You where there… for my first ever scorpion and meal worm pizza.  I will think of you every time I am stung by a scorpion.  It will be our dance.

And you are the last woman to let me in her bed.  You were not in it, you were on the couch. Because after and evening in your home, with conversation, dogs, a beautifully cooked meal, jinga and yahtzee, and too much wine… you took my car keys and safely tucked me in.  Among the many reasons, I love you for that concern and level of sharing.

And the truth is, I don’t remember any dates in our together time.  Couples often remember dates and times.  I will for the moment say that I now will remember one.  June 2, 2015.  I was suppose to visit you at your home, I had to postpone.  However, during the evening we did speak on the phone.

It was so nice to hear your voice.  You just cause me to smile every time we speak.  You are just a light.  I am not always good at listening, though I try.  And I am not always good at remembering unless I write it down.

This is my June 2, 2015 memory.  This is what I heard.  “liver disease” and “auto-immune” and “terminal” and “six months.”

I promised you I would not feel sorry for you.  I don’t.  But I do adore you.  I do love you.  I will be here or there for you.

Maybe while there is still time… we can escape Tulsa together.

Maybe a trip to Grand Lake.

Maybe

Crappie.

 

 

 

The final goodbye…. tears, smiles….. next

This was never planned.  I certainly believe it was set in stone long before I knew it could happen. Long before I met my avatar Nancy in 1977, or my wife Michelle who started this process before she died.  This “thing,” which now tends to consume me… this mission to get rid of street cats and stray dogs.  I was born for this.

Eighteen in the last 2 1/2 years.   Dogs that the world need not be troubled with any longer. (I will not for the moment, speak of the cats)  I look to the streets regularly to rid our city of this growing problem.  Capture, corral, eliminate.  My city, my neighborhood, hell the world does not need these kind of dogs or cats.. but dogs.  Dogs are my mission.  I will get them off the street and rid my world of them one critter at a time.

Bosco, Oscar, Perry, Steve, Mocha, Alpha, Delta, Ike, Jack, Red, Hark, Herald, Angel, Nell, Annie, Morey, Jay, and Heygirl.   Yes I name them before I get them “gone”.  They come into my world and I will do all I can to get them out of my world.  If I don’t get you gone… you are destined for a life at Casa Canine!

bros

Oh, don’t get the wrong idea.  I DON’T eliminate dogs the seek out and destroy way.  I rescue dogs, “fix them”, train when I can, foster and find them forever homes.  I really did not plan on this as an avocation… it is NOT a hobby, I am not a hoarder.  I am just amazed that there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of dogs that are euthanized because people are cruel, selfish, lazy.. or “other”.

There are many stories.  And some day I may tell each individually.  But most of the time the story is the same… A stray or abandoned dog comes into my life because it walks my way, or walks into the lives of close friends who call me.

alpha1

There have been litter mates– the offspring of Mocha.  Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omega.  Who were found by the road by my dear friend Emily, and brought to me.  That was the “biggest” project.

nell and me

Or driveway, free puppy garage sale Nell.

Bosco

And of course Bosco, an owner surrender.

perry

And one of my favorites, Perry.  He was very sick and dumped on my street with a bag of food and a collar and leash.  And was scratching on my neighbor’s door.

And they all come to Casa Canine.  But I can’t do this by myself.  I have loving friends and inedible encouragement from my Facebook family.  And the unbelievable assistance from a great group at R&R…  http://www.rescuednready.com/.  And assistance and special encouragement from Amy, Nancy, Beth, Jay, Ann, my brother and his wife, and so many more.

And now I have two, Morey and Annie.  Two pups who recently lived in the home of a dog hoarder along with 48 other dogs.

morey and annie

And they come and then they go… one in as few as 6 days, Mocha after 5 months.   Along with my regular cadre of three, Tank, Fred, and Shelly.  And my Feral, now “family of cats” Survivor, Thor and Jimbo.  This is Casa Canine

bed

But when they go, there are always tears, the smiles come shortly after, and then another foundling appears at the gate.

And occasionally, after my fosters graduate from Casa Canine, and move to their forever homes, they send a letter to their foster home.  It does not happen often and I understand that I was just a visitor in their life’s journey.  But occasionally they do let me know how they are.  There are always tears of joy… whether they contact me or not.  But when they do, I am grateful beyond measure.

brotersbobby

So this is my happy time

Annie is going to meet a new family in a few hours… don’t know if I will ever hear from her again… But I am so blessed…   If you are reading this… you should consider being blessed also.  You should hook into a rescue group and increase your joy and foster a pooch.  At the very least, follow the advice of Bob Barker… spay or neuter.

Until then…..

Morey is waiting…. and he says Thanks….

morey

At a loss for words…

People Die

Dogs Die

Living things Die

I saw my Father for the last time in October, 1990, I believe.  I shared some of my growing up pains and sufferings.  I spoke to him in a small way about his.  It was the first conversation of that kind I can recall.. I was 40, He was 70.  Three months later he fell, hit his head, and died within 48 hours, thousands of miles away.  At his memorial service I saw members of his family, including his mother–my grandmother, who I did not even know was still alive.  Along with his siblings who I had not seen in decades.  Uncle John.  Aunt Betty.

And when they die, I will no longer stare at the dead person and say anything to them, and get a response.  Whatever it is you want to say or do or express… do it before they die.  I had no idea that when I walked out of the house in 2009, I would return to find my wife dead, drowned in the bathtub.  I never spoke to Michelle again.  But I did speak with her family and friend.

I knew my Mother was about to die when I saw her last in 2013.  I said what I said.  I was clumsy and loving.   And when she passed I joined with family members in a celebration of her unbelievable life.

I love my life.  I am a believer that I am involved in an eternal process.  It is my hope that you might also understand your eternal options.  But for now this is about me and my life in the flesh, and what I do on “this side of eternity” as my Mom might say.  “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  But now, for this time, it is a moment for the living.  And I believe that there are important things to do… maybe not for you.  But I want to do something that I deem to be important.

But I am going to die… don’t know when.  Pretty sure I will finish writing this…..but I do have a couple of projects and errands to run first.

I write often about grief.  For years I had NO idea what that meant.  I did not grieve when someone died… I mean I might get sad.  But grief.  I had no idea.  And I guess I thought it was a sign of weakness, or unnecessary, or—hell I don’t know.  I just know I thought it was probably a more serious sad.  And I would get sad about stuff, but rarely did I get my “third degree black belt” in emotionally challenged and prolonged sadness.  Not when my Dad died, or wife, or Mom.  And certainly not when a friend or someone else’s family member passed.

Death would come…I would at some point have to say something to some family member and I would comment “sorry for your loss.”  I do not judge that statement by the way.  But for me it was a band-aid.  A covering for my absence of feeling,  I could move on.  Sorry…for your loss.

I don’t know when this happened exactly.  I am good at remembering details.  I rarely am able to connect them to a timeline.  It happened sometime in the last couple of years… it happened after I moved to Tulsa and Casa Canine.

As many of you know, I am a believer.  I read the Bible.  I am not much of a preacher.  But I hope I a much of an exampler… (spell check does not like that word–sorry for your loss spell check, I am using it).

I believe I am created in the image of God… I believe we all are.  I believe if you want a picture of God I should get about 10,000 of us in a room and use a long selfie-stick to snap a picture.

So one day I see that God was grieved… What??   “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland! 41Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.”  God was not saddened… He was grieved.  And I am in His image.  And so I began a journey.  A journey in search of my lost grief.  If grief is good enough for God… well you get the drift..

I continue to search.  Grief is a life force.  I have written of this before.  It is Holy Ground.  I am just beginning to understand.  I am so grateful for this element.  And I will share more through the days.  And omg, I have experienced grief in my life now.

And sharing in grief is so important.  For me, and for those grieving.  So during my time of reflection and meditation, I asked for wisdom and words.  Words that mean something to the delivered as well at to that person I deliver to.  “Sorry for you loss” would cut it no more. But I did NOT want to be at a loss for words……

I wanted to do something important.  I want to say something I believe.  So many of my friends will see this phrase I share after I hear of a loss.

“I sorrow in your sorrow, I grieve with your grief, and when appropriate, I will smile with your remembrance.”

I am thankful I am a man of constant sorrow… I rejoice in this life.  May your grief ultimately bring you richness and peace.

A toe in the pool, a paw on the grass, and tears of a clown

It is so fricken hard for me to write.  When I write I have to share my feelings.  I can’t write fiction.  I can’t tell made up stories easily.  So when I write it is going to come from the heart, it will not be planned.  It will be “worn on my sleeve worthy.”  Writing will be cathartic, and painful, and glorious, and revealing, and confusing, and sometimes just flat out a pain in the ass… because it so often comes from a pain in the heart.  I hate to write….. no I love to write.

Have you ever been surprised by what you have become..  I certainly am surprised by both my changes AND my stay the sames over the past few years…

My biggest “change”.  It’s raining Dogs and Cats.  Came to Tulsa 2 1/2 years ago with Tank.  Tank was going to be it… the “remnant” from the passing of my wife.  One day I would be dogless, or so I thought.

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But now there are three, Fred and Shelly have stories to tell, and someday I will give them voice.. oh yeah and the 16 foster dogs… 14 are gone now, all to new forever homes, but 2 new ones came here about a week ago… Morey and Annie.   You are no longer at the mercy of a Dog Hoarder and just 2 of 50.   Welcome to Casa Canine.

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Oh and the 3 feral cats, Survivor, Thor, and Jimbo.  All waiting for daily meals.  All captured and neutered.  And really not Feral any longer.  Yet another topic for later days

Hey, I just thought of something.  It’s almost summer.  I use to love to go to the swimming pool as I was growing up in Kansas City.  Ward Parkway Country Club.  It was really just a big pool,  very big, with diving boards, and platforms, and Olympic sized swim lanes, and high school girls in bikinis, and lifeguards, and snack shop and high school girls in bikinis.  I grew of in the time of “she wore and itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini”  It was a time when NO one had a heated pool, so the water would warm to the sun during the day. But in the morning, when the pool first opened for the day, it was toe in the water time.   Brrrrr.  And then you would back away from the edge… and 3-4 quick steps (don’t run at the pool) forward and splash, woosh, submerged and surround for the chilly moment, eyes open under water, looking to the sky, breaking above the water line, gasping for some air… and relax.  The water was great.  The day had begun.  It would last for hours.  Toe in the water, regardless of the temperature, there was always a splash entry.  Oh, and the girls in bikinis.

Did I mention that it rained all day and into the night in Tulsa last evening.  Well it did.  And I learned something.  Don’t feed your dogs on a rainy day.  I might have been able to avoid the houseful of presents left my by overfed dogs had I not had two in the house breaking stages, but Morey and Annie do NOT like to get their paws wet.   So last night I did “push” my dogs to the sheltered back porch, walked them out to the back yard where they walked like they were fire walking on a bed of hot coals. Then I left them unattended and spent some time on the computer.   When I opened the porch door they were all quite ready to come in. I really did not notice that none of their backs was very wet.   And apparently there was a “who’s poo is bigger contest” last night when I wasn’t looking.  4 piles, 2 new dogs, 2 smirking dogs, and one who was apparently constipated or did not know the contest rules.  So this morning when I let them out… out I went too.  I was going to get my paws wet along with them until they made a commitment to the wet lawn.  Mission accomplished, splashdown.

So why all this prelude to what I wanted truly right about.  Well I needed to slip the pen slowly into the inkwell.  Today is a day of grief.  No I have known all week that this in the two year anniversary of my mother’s passing.  Thought I would make it through without much consequence.  I have now one in Tulsa to share my heart with… I have great friends, but just a simple post on facebook would trigger the appropriate greetings and salutations.  I would move on.  No splash needed.  I took a picture of a rose in my backyard and “moved on”

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And then it happened.  It always happens when it does.  My beloved friend Jennine called from New Mexico.  Happens 2-3 times a year.  Just a loving hello.  I thought she probably saw the flower post and she was calling to be supportive.  She indeed saw the post, but that was not the purpose of her call.  She called to let me know she was taking her beloved 14 year old Giselle, a Dalmation/Pit mix, to the Rainbow Bridge.  I love Jennine.  I love the beautiful and sweet Giselle.  And after a moment of strength and encouragement we hung up.  And I posted this picture of her dog with mine… I mentioned Tank earlier.   Well this was taken on my last visit to New Mexico… little Maggie watching Tank and Giselle wrestling.  I did not know this would be my farewell.

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And so it is with waves of grief…  The special moments with something so visceral.  I know a wrenching and retching of my body, my heart and mind.  I know I am alive.  And I stand, and I sit, and I rock, and I weep.  I cry out to God.  I look to the corners of my room to see if anyone has entered to put their hand on my shoulder, to touch the tears.  And then it is over.

And I have a story to tell.  And I write.  It has been too long.

Splashdown.

Did I mention girls in bikinis?

Grief and the empty spot

I arise early and walk to the beach

I am at peace
For this moment
So much peace.

and I look East to the Sun
to the West to the point the Horizon disappears
Up to the cloudy Blue and forever
and down to the sand.

I am at peace

And there, half exposed, a shell
Beautiful, spiral, smooth inside
narrow tip at one end
a conical spiral to an opening at the other
The exterior pitted with scars
This shell was the ship of a traveler
and I pause
Consider the journey
It is an empty home

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And I am filled with grief
Grief fills the empty spot
that was once filled with life.
If I hold the shell to my ear
I can hear the ocean
But I can’t hear the stories that were a part
of those travels.
Your shell is here, but you are gone

What caused your disappearance?
And grief fills the empty spot
I did not even know you
I just found your house empty.

Rising up within me,
Like a wave crashing
Like the wave that brought your shell to me
Grief pounds ashore
And fills the empty spot

I brought you to my home.

I arose early this morning

There is no one in your room.

And grief fills the empty spot.

Why it has NEVER been magic!!!

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Magic–the art of creating illusions

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.…  Galatians 5:22-23

At the core of the Human Spirit, is the Holy Spirit.  An Image of God, His Image in which we were created, our Image.  It is NOT magic, it is our essence.  Believe or not… I believe this is the essence of the human spirit.  It is NOT supernatural, it is all that is good and natural.  It is just unusual, so it often requires an event to find it’s power.  To be given an identity.

Nothing it seems is as resilient as the human spirit.  Nothing it seems is as committed to recovery after a disaster than is the human spirit.  Living in Oklahoma, the land of tornado alley, I am always amazed by the throngs of people that run to the scene of tragic tornado touchdown event.  So many travel to lend aid and support, both physical and emotional.  It is not magic.  It is not an illusion.

I watch in awe as the video of a young girl with autism goes viral because her performance of the National Anthem before a televised sporting event brings the crowd to its feet.  The performance leaves me speechless.  It is a triumph of the human spirit.  It is not magic.  It is not an illusion.

We at BedFarms are a group blessed.  We are surrounded daily by the movement of the human spirit.  It is not illusion or magic.  Poems, pictures, paintings, photos, prose, presented by people of passion.  We live together with Nancy and her dogs at Tails you Win, or alongside Heavy D, we become space people.   We are Dingled and Poppered.  We know the King.  The Human Spirit finds its wings and takes flight.   It is not magic.  It is not illusion.

But it is the result of vision.  And if there is a supernatural characteristic to Life on the Farm.. it is the vision.  And the vision is NOW an EVENT.  And so it is that we come to celebrate the founders of the vision feast.  Jon and Maria.  People I have never met.  I am grateful to be a participant.  A sojourner.  A celebrant.  Because of the vision, I have become more like the person I was meant to be.

It is NOT magic.  It is NOT illusion.  IT is the human spirit finding its proper residence.  I do so love the farm.  I “heart” the human spirit… rising like the Phoenix.

Oh, by the way… Disney World is a magical place…  Jon and Maria, give that mouse a hug for us all.