animal messengers

Love and Grief are a Package Deal


Love and grief are a package deal. ~Elaine Mansfield

Yesterday John and I spent a few hours at his sister Donna’s house who lost her husband of twenty years a little over five months ago. Donna and I are the same age having graduated together. Words can’t express how my heart hurts for her as she now must move forward in a new way without the love of her life.

It’s certainly a time when one re-examines their own life when something like this happens. While you can understand to a certain degree what she is going through, one can never fully know until we each are faced with it. And grief…so very personal.

But Donna was in good spirits and is making steps forward which was a relief to both John and my hearts. She is such a beautiful, bright spirit in this world – and I’ve always said is the female version of John. They both know how to make other’s laugh and something I’ve adored about them both since I’ve known them.

John and I were both lost in our own thoughts, driving the hour home, when I saw this quote, love and grief are a package deal on my friend, Monica’s Instagram page. While I know this to be true, it really sank deeper in my being reading it at that particular moment.

The thought still on my mind as Donna is, while I puttsed around the house this morning, feeding the hummingbirds, changing the water in the bird bath, I look up to see a chipmunk sunning himself in the sun on the rock in the garden.

Whooosssh went my emotions…a heaviness in my heart for Donna while a moment of love for the sweetness of this dear little chippie looking so adorable on that rock. Oh, how he made my heart smile! So appropriate his timing, I thought. How chipmunks are so playful, skittering here and there, building new paths wherever they go.

And what I wish for Donna as she learns to navigate her world in a new way…that her heart will smile again someday too. One of the hardest things to endure….grief….but that to have loved with one’s whole heart is so worth it. So very worth it.

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Mr. Squirrel Had a Message for Me

Mr. Squirrel Had a Message for Me

Sitting at my desk in my writing cottage late yesterday afternoon I watched out the window as Mr. Squirrel climbed from the window box planter, up the birch branch I have as decoration, and scored some peanut butter I have smothered on a pine cone hanging from a nub of the branch.  Which, ah-hem, Mr. Squirrel, is supposed to be for the birds.

The next time I looked up, there he was looking in the window at me.  I glanced at the pine cone. It was empty. It didn’t take much to realize he had an important message for me:

Hey Lady!  I need more peanut butter!  Hurry!

This morning when I pulled up the blinds in my bedroom with a perfect view of my writing cottage there on the deck railing sat the empty pine cone.

Thanks Mr. Squirrel for going the extra mile to take the pine cone down for me to re-fill it.

I hear you loud and clear!  But alas, you shall have to wait. I’m fresh out of peanut butter.


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The Traveling Weenie and a Giveaway

traveling gThis past weekend we took a little road trip to Sister Bay, WI – in the heart of Door County – our friend, Cassy, John, Lil’ G and I hit the road as the the autumn colors whirled by us traveling north.

I didn’t know how Gidget would do traveling and I tried hard not to worry too much. One thing I’ve learned having had Frankie is to go with the flow and enjoy being in the moment. I’ve also learned that dogs sense our nervousness or apprehension. If I had a great time, Gidget would likely, too.

She did so well traveling with us.  To turn around every now and then to see her sweet face as we traveled down the highway, did my heart good. One of my greatest pleasures is that she is happy and content.

When we arrived late Friday night, Gidget checked out every inch of the condo we stayed at with her snout in full smell mode and then she settled in nicely. She even tolerated quite nicely staying in her kennel when we couldn’t take her with us.

One of her favorite things to do each morning was to settle into the sun spot in the room that we called the all season room. I told John we now need to build her her very own sun room. Ha!

gidget in DC

It’s truly the simple things that make life so grand. The colors of fall, time with two people I love dearly, laughter, great conversation, fun…and a traveling weenie.

And now for the giveaway!  My friend, Lisa, gave me a book she had finished reading called What the Animals Taught Me: Stories of Love and Healing from a Farm Animal Sanctuary by Stephanie Marohn. Lisa told me to pass the book onto someone when I was done and I thought it perfect to give away right her on my blog since many of you are such big animal lovers.


I loved every inch of this book and the cover makes me smile every time I look at it! In some ways it reminds me of my favorite author, Jon Katz and his blog, Bedlam Farm.

But this book left me appreciating all animals on an even deeper level than before…. and wishing even more that I could have a hobby farm. I also really believe this statement on Stephanie’s website:

“A shaman revealed that animals will be arriving more and more in the lives of humans—in dreams, as guides, in the news, everywhere—because they realize humans are in trouble and need the message they are here to tell.”

They are indeed our wake-up messengers and we must listen to what they are trying to tell us. I find myself in such a state of gratitude more and more for being open to what animals teach us – my life profoundly changed because of what I’ve learned through them.

Leave a comment of a lesson an animal has taught you that has changed how you look at life by midnight cst today. Tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 2) I will use to pick the person to receive this book.