Feeling Grateful for Each of You…and So Much More!

2013-11-28 18.42.24 eI hope your Thanksgiving was warm, cozy and full of laughter, love and all good things. May all those good feelings continue through the end of the year and into next.

If you are like me, you may be busy decorating the house for the holidays, curled up reading a good book or perhaps spending time with family and friends. Or maybe you are out shopping.  You won’t find me shopping though. No malls for this girl! But hey, if that’s your thing, happy shopping!  Did you notice that rhymed?  🙂  I am actually out the door soon as I’ll be helping with the set up of my friend Cassy’s new studio and shop like I did on Wednesday.  It is coming together nicely!

I just want to take a moment to say how grateful I am for each of you and being a part of my Joyful Paws community. When I left on my sabbatical in September, I was fearful I would lose some of you. But I came back to find you were still here, waiting patiently,  supporting me in your hearts. I am so incredibly thankful for all your support and kindness when I left, and now with my return.

I believe being grateful is a choice. I am reminded of that during this season of joy. We can certainly find many things wrong in the world just by turning on the news. But I choose to look for the good and find much to be grateful for. It is usually in the smallest of things or moments that I find my greatest joy. I encourage you to make a list of the things that bring you joy, which automatically leads you to feeling grateful.  Here are just a few of mine:

  • Smooching the girls (and John too!)
  • Snuggle time with the girls (and John too!)
  • Laughing with John
  • Curling up to the wood stove with a good book
  • Watching snow fall outside my writing cottage window
  • Listening to holiday music
  • Lighting candles

I really could go on and on, but I’ll keep it short. What brings you joy that you are grateful for?  Just leave a comment below- I’d love to know!

PS:  This year I want to say an extra special thank you to someone I am so grateful for.  That person is Stephanie from On My Way Home Dachshund Rescue who loved little Gidget with all her heart…. enough to let her go, even though it was one of the hardest things she ever had to do. She gave me such an incredible gift in Gidget. I’ll always be thankful for what she did for me.

Helping an Artist Bloom. Our Hearts Swell with Pride.

cass and g 1200Gidget hanging out with Cassy at her soon-to-be new studio and custom-frame shop

It all began a little over three years ago. Little did I know then that this young lady would become embedded not only in my heart, but in the heart of John as well.

I’ve written about Cassy before on my blog. A dear friend, a talented artist, and a beautiful young lady with passion that is contagious. Ever since she came into this world thirty years ago she has known she wanted to be an artist. She has pursued that dream with a vigor  like no other person I’ve ever known.

Cassy has sacrificed many things to make this happen. Some of it quite painful and many times having her question if she should move forward. But with determination and a deep knowing, she keeps following her heart.

You may recall that Cassy came to live with John and I this past summer as she went through a divorce. We all grew in ways we could have never imagined. We took Cassy under our wings and did our very best to nurture and support her.  Though yes, trying at times as we will all admit, we would do it all over again.

I’ve always believed the Universe will support you if you show it you are serious about what it is that you want. Cassy is a great example of that.

As we moved through the summer, she began to bloom. The day came when she announced she was moving out into a little apartment. She had to prove to herself she could make it on her own. Though there were many tears shed, it would turn out to be another example of moving forward so more could bloom in her life.

A little over a week later she was approached by the soon-to-be owners of a new wine bar that is opening in our area. The other half of the building was up for rent and they thought Cassy and her art would be the perfect match.

While I mentored Cassy as she went through following her heart and pursuing her art dream, it soon became evident that John would play a beautiful role in Cassy’s dream of a new studio and shop.

To say I am proud of John is not big enough of a word. But indeed, I am so proud of all he has done, and continues to do to help Cassy. He has volunteered his labor building out her new store front, while also voluntarily mentoring her with business decisions.

Not only have I watched Cassy bloom before my eyes, but  to also watch as John’s heart has expanded has been one of my greatest joys.

Cassy often thanks us for helping save her life and her dream. But honestly, this could not have been done if she didn’t want this with all her heart.

One moment that sticks in my mind and now makes so much sense to me is when I first brought Joie home in October 2012.  Cassy knew my love of special needs dachshunds having known Frankie as well.

One evening as she was struggling to make changes in her life she sent me a text that said, “I want to find my Joie.” At the time I wasn’t sure what she meant.

Now I completely understand. Her art is her dream. It’s her heart. It’s her joy. As was my Frankie and Joie, and now Gidget. We get each other. We know what it means to follow our hearts even when big obstacles are in the way, as well as when it becomes scary and painful.

So this week we celebrate!  Today John and our JT Construction crew are moving Cassy into her new studio and shop. Tomorrow and Friday I’ll be helping at the new space getting things in order. December 6th is the Grand Opening from 6-8pm. You can bet John and I will be there, our hearts full of love, and beaming with pride for Cassy.

To help someone else bloom has an amazing affect… not only has it been a joy to watch Cassy bloom, but to feel the blooming that has taken place in our own hearts is quite magical and special.

1474492_10102665338567027_1978644316_nThe A-Team from left to right:  Tim Tully (Cassy’s Dad), Pat Tully (Cassy’s Mom), Cassy, Barbara and John

If you wish to learn more about Cassy and her exquisite art, here is where you can find her:

Cassy Tully – Fine Art website

Cassy Tully – Fine Art on Facebook

Messages Like This Bring Tears to My Eyes.

gidget and barb eLate yesterday afternoon I received this message from Kelly who reads my blog, “I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have found Gidget and are back to blogging. I think special needs animals do wonders for the human psyche!”

This brought tears to my eyes because when Joie died I shut down inside. I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to write again. I felt I had nothing more to say. Nothing really made sense to me.

Taking a sabbatical was a tough thing for me to do. I was afraid all the work I had done blogging, writing my books, finding my loyal readers like all of you, and educating others about disc disease and special needs animals would simply vanish. I wondered, could I really walk away for two months?

I questioned if all I had worked so hard to build would not be here when I returned. But I knew I had to step away for awhile. I pride myself in being someone who enjoys sharing, encouraging and inspiring.  We have enough bad news in the world if we want to hear it. I want to be the happy place people can come to.

I debated and finally decided to reach out to a mentor of mine, Dan Blank. He helps authors and writers. I’ve taken many classes from him and admire him greatly. I had a feeling he could help me with my decision. His words of wisdom were just what I needed to trust that this was the right thing for me to do at this time in my life.

I’ll continue to write more about what I learned on my sabbatical in future posts.  Though right now I can say I felt restless and lost many times throughout those sixty days. But now that I am back, I’m so happy to be here again. I also know that was the right thing for me to do.

Of course, having Gidget in my life now has certainly added to my heart feeling so fulfilled again! But to finally feel like me again, back to writing on my blog and giving thought to new projects, seeing that message from Kelly brought me to tears. To me, it is a message from the Universe, sent through Kelly to affirm for me that I am on the right path.

PS:  Kelly, you are 100% right… special needs animals are so good for the human psyche!  And might I add, all animals are special in one way or another and bring us so much joy.