A Day of Joy & Unexpected Surprises at RCS. Great Way to (almost) Close Out 2013.

2013-12-31 08.56.06 e“Frankie’s” made my clients at RCS

On and off for quite some time we’ve been trying to make it happen that I would visit RCS. They are a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower individuals with disabilities and special needs so that they may work, live and function with dignity and respect. Originally, we had a time set up for me to visit with Frankie in July 2012. But then Frankie passed away June 21, 2012.

As they put their holiday programming together earlier this year, and with the help of my friend, Mary who works there, we finally set a date for Dec. 30th. We agreed I would read one or two of my Frankie children’s book to the clients. I had also sent them leftover posters and magnet sets I had of Joie after she passed away. I felt they would inspire their clients. We decided with my visit for the holiday programming it would be extra special if we handed them out then.

As it would also turn out, as many of you know, I also adopted Gidget mid-November. I didn’t promise anything because I wanted to be sure Gidget would be up for the visit. But I said if I felt she was, I’d bring her along to meet the clients.

2013-12-30 11.01.26 eShe was such a good little dog. I held her in my Take-a-Long bag as I read Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dot to the clients. I also brought Frankie and Joie’s wheelchair along so everyone could see what a dog wheelchair looks like and how it works. I then shared with them Gidget’s story.

After we were done with that, Gidget “helped” me sign posters and magnet sets as each client came up and chose which they would like. They also got to take a moment to pat Gidget on the head.  The whole time she was calm and relaxed.

My heart and world is always in awe and opens even more when I experience the lives of those living more challenged lives than most of us. To see the staff in action nurturing and taking care of those with special needs is something I define as grace. It takes very special hearts to do this line of work. It truly is with deep gratitude that I am thankful for what they do.

My heart was full of joy as everyone made their way to the tables set up for lunch. It was also then that two unexpected surprises came my way.

Mary asked if I had a few moments because they had some gifts for me. As I sat with Gidget in my lap, Mary presented me with a large bag. Inside was a big fleece blanket with a dachshund pattern on it. Mary and another co-worker, Emily, made it for me. I just love it!  As you can see in the photo below, Gidget made herself right at home on it when we got home later that morning.  She could barely keep her little eyes open from all the excitement of the morning.

IMG_1943 eAfter opening the blanket, Laura, the art therapist, who also brings her therapy dog, Shayla to RCS, said she had a gift for me, too.

She reached inside the bag and slowly pulled out items that were bubble wrapped. One by one she presented me with sketches she drew of Gidget, Joie, and Frankie.

2013-12-30 11.38.17 eI was moved to tears as Mary said, “Now you have all three of your girls together.”  No words can truly describe what this gift means to me from one dog lover to another. Laura also knows the depth of working with our beloved dogs as therapy dogs, and the impact that has forever on our hearts.

Laura’s work is simply amazing. She really captured the spirit of each of my girls. A gift I will treasure always.

2013-12-31 09.25.31 eAs I drove home yesterday I was reminded of the magic when we live from the center of our hearts. About giving without expecting anything in return,and giving for the pure joy of wanting to. 

My time at RCS is also a reminder to me of all the good I have in what I define as my simple and meaningful life. I’m grateful for quiet moments reading or writing, time talking with John in front of our woodstove during the winter, or in front of our chiminea on the deck in summer. Walks with Kylie and Gidget, as well as plenty of snuggle time…. and the list of my simple pleasures goes on and on.

2013-12-30 11.38.49 eMary, me and Laura

But I leave you this last day of 2013 with the one thing I wish for everyone… and that is to sit in the silence of your heart and listen to what it is you really want. Then begin today to take steps, whether large or small, to live from that desire of your hearts whispers.

**I invite you to learn more about Laura Griffin’s art work on her website at Griffin Animals Graffics.**

Find Out What the Gidget Thermometer Predicts for Upcoming Wisconsin Weather

snuggly g eGidget’s position within her weenie pocket this morning indicates a big drop in temperature heading our way.

From what I’m understanding by her nestled in appearance we are expecting temps to drop rapidly today and winds to pick up this afternoon.  Windchill to drop to almost 40 below overnight. This cold snap is expected all week, so lots of cuddling will be needed.

This also calls for staying cozy and warm in front of the woodstove.

Later this afternoon we will also welcome friends, Karin, Ron and son, Cameron visiting from Illinois.

Long time fan’s of Frankie who they met quite a few years ago, then a fan of Joie’s who they met last year. And now it is Gidget’s turn to wiggle her way into their hearts.

Now are you ready for this?  They are from Illinois, so yes, they are Chicago Bear fan’s as well. So we’ve invited them over to watch the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the divisional championship at 3:00pm today (hey you know me– I try to think positive!). Believe it or not, they accepted our invitation!

All kidding aside, we are looking forward to the fun rivalry. But most of all we are looking forward to spending time with friends we would have never known if not for Frankie.


Angel of Love: What Mama Means to Me

IMG_1921 eSome of my most treasured moments are spending time with my mom. A week or two before Christmas we always get together for lunch. I love my one on one time with her.

No matter how old I get she will always be mama to me. When I call her mama, it is in these moments I feel incredibly grateful for her and find it hard to find the exact right words to express this to her.

This special Angel of Love holding a little pup is new to my branch tree this year. Gifted to me by my mama.  She understands the deep love I have for my dog’s. I never gave her grandchildren, but many grand-dogs. She has loved me through many things. Sometimes not understanding my choices, but always loving me.

When I take down my Christmas ornaments, the Angel of Love will not be put away in a box. She will fly out to my writing cottage and reside there for me to remind me of my mama’s never ending love.

My mama. My friend. My guide. My angel.