1999-2015: RIP Mr. Meow

Note: I needed to just write. Very little editing. Stream of consciousness. Just getting my memories out. Please excuse all the typos and grammatical errors I’m sure are rife within this piece.

Mr. Meow

Mr. Meow

Today I got to go “pick up” Mr. Meow’s remains. One week ago, on Wednesday January 21, 2015, we had to put our Mr. Meow to sleep.

Mr. Meow's Memorial

It’s been very difficult for me to write, talk, or otherwise think about. He was my sweet fur kid for over 15 years, the longest lived of any animal I’ve had.

Now you may take one glance at his picture and think what most people did upon meeting him: He looks mean!

He was all cat. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, as he pleased and didn’t give a damn what we thought about it.

He wasn’t as cranky as he looked, though. He was actually very loving. At least to me. He loved to torment Wayne, however.


Mr. Meow had a very long tail, which he liked to use to smack us with. One of his favorite things was to lay on the back of the couch, as he’s demonstrating in the above picture, and position himself strategically behind us and then flick his tail at our heads.

It was cruel. And he knew it.

He’d also snuggle up with me at night, near my head, but with his rear pointed to Wayne. He thought it was funny to “fan” Wayne in the face as he was trying to fall asleep.

But, like I said, to me he was sweet. He never was one to be loved on too much, as far as being petted and held and coddled. But he loved me in his own tender ways.


He liked to be close to me, especially at night, but usually curled up on the pillow above my head. In the early years he’d make biscuits on my scalp and neck, which felt divine!

If I was laying on my side and had my hands up under my cheek, he’d often reach down and “hold paws” with me. The feel of his tender little paw in my hand…it’s a memory I will forever treasure. His front paws were so soft. His previous owner had declawed him, and when he’d hold paws with me he’d ever so slightly grab on to my palm, just as if he was trying to hold hands with me.

Here he is holding paws with me while snuggling on the couch one day.

Holding paws

Holding paws


He was also my great nuzzler. He loved to “snuzzy snuzzle” my shoes when I’d come home, rubbing his snout all over the front of them.

He really was a love bug disguised as a crotchety old cat. (Even when he was young he seemed like a crochety old soul.)


I’d like to say we found him, but we didn’t. He adopted us. His people lived in the building next to us in our apartment complex in Florida. When Budly, our Cocker Spaniel, and I would take walks, Mr. Meow (who is what we called him; I don’t know what his first people called him) would play peek-a-boo with us on his screened porch. He seemed super playful and ornery every time we saw him.

But then one day his people were gone…but not him. They’d left him to go free, and there he was wandering around the complex. For the longest time I might see him out the window, but by the time I got outside he was gone.

I started carrying dry cat food in a baggie in case I ran into him. I was going to put it down for him.

A month went by and on one cold evening in November, as I was heading out to swim practice, here he came out of the bushes. Right up to me and Budly. He’d never met Budly face-to-face without a screen between them before. I was nervous how Budly would react, but Mr. Meow rubbed up on him and then rubbed all around my legs. I went to put Budly up and to get the food to give to the cat, but darned if Mr. Meow didn’t follow us up the stairs and march right into our apartment.

And that was how we came to be adopted by Mr. Meow.


He was a playful little squirt. We had this partition between the kitchen and dining room. He’d get up on the counter and play peek-a-boo with me just like he’d done on his screened porch with his other people.

The first Christmas we had him he semi-electrocuted himself and destroyed a string of lights when he chewed through the wires. I had this little white blanket I put up around a Christmas village to imitate snow. He decided it made a much better slip and slide toy for him. The Christmas village was quickly demolished by Hurricane Kitty.

I never really had a cat before him so I had fun buying toys and such for him. He had a tunnel that I called a hut that he loved! He loved to race through it and jump out and “attack” us in the funny way he did. (With paws raised and batting at us as he kept coming at us balanced on his back legs.)

Mr. Meow in his "hut" with his paw on his other favorite toy, his "birds can fly, so can I" mat.

Mr. Meow in his “hut” with his paw on his other favorite toy, his “birds can fly, so can I” mat.

When we first got Murphy he loved to scare Murph by laying in his hut like he was just chillaxing, but when Murph would walk by he’d dart out and bop Murph on the butt. It was very funny. Murph was a good sport about it. A lot of times he’d act like he didn’t see Mr. Meow and walk by on purpose and pretend to be so shocked by the assault. They were really cute together.


When we first brought Murph home, we tried to keep him in our kitchen overnight, where it was easy-to-clean tile flooring in case he had an accident. Also, we didn’t know how he’d get along with the cat, and we didn’t want anything happening to Mr. Meow.

Well, Mr. Meow decided Murphy looked like a fine play companion. We had pocket doors he knew how to open, so for three nights we tried to shut Murph in the kitchen, and for three nights Mr. Meow broke him out. They were friends ever after.

Hanging by the door together

Hanging by the door together

Couch buddies

Couch buddies


Tabby created a lot of havoc when she came along. She was fine for the first three weeks. Then she started terrorizing Mr. Meow. Would corner him behind furniture, attack him (and I mean viciously) when he tried to use the litter box. It was Cat Fight City –all because we learned Tab was pregnant.

It took about eight months for her to stop being nasty to him. Slowly they learned to tolerate each other’s company. Eventually they could even be in the same space. And, occasionally, they’d even play together. (Sharing Mr. Meow’s hut even!)

Play buddies

Play buddies


Mr. Meow was pretty groovy when it came to other animal visitors really. He loved meeting people. Whenever company came, he’d rouse himself from where ever he was to come greet them. After all, he assumed they were there to see him.


Kitty. One of his many nicknames. He’d answer to that in addition to Mr. Meow. Kitty Katoo was another incarnation.

But the one I think he got the biggest kick out of was Gato Bato. He always seemed to get an extra spring in his step when I said it in the funny voice I used specially for that name.


And boy did he love water. It started when we first got him. He liked to jump up on the bathroom sink and drink from the faucet in there or from the tub faucet after I took a shower.

Ever since I’ve had a hand-held shower head that he’d demand to be given water from either before or after my shower. Usually after, but in these last couple of years he liked to be IN the shower with me before and afterfor shower buddy time.


I also had a song for him that I sung during shower buddy time:

Kitty Katoo, Kitty Katto

He’s the cutest little kitty from Kalamazoo.

He’s cute and he’s fuzzy and he’s my little cat.

He’s my/the* cutest little Kitty from Kalamazootie!

Sometimes I’d sing “my” in that last line, sometimes “the”…just depended on what came out at the moment.


At our house in Jax, one of his favorite things to do was serenade me with little ditties as he harped on the air return vent.

Strumming the vent with his paws

Strumming the vent with his paws

Maestro Meow

Maestro Meow

He didn’t do it much when we moved to our house here in Nashville, even though we had an air return vent. It just didn’t make the same sound. But every once in a while he’d tried. Just to let me know he’d like to play me some sweet music if only he had a better instrument.


I think it was even as early as 2010 when Mr. Meow started having health issues. He wouldn’t eat. Then he wouldn’t poop even when he did eat. He had at least three ultrasounds, four feeding tubes, and I lost count of how many enemas.

In 2013-2104, he also went through a very unfortunate phase of spraying all over the house. Vet trip after vet trip found no evidence of a urinary tract infection or any other ailment. He just was being a booger.

It got particularly bad right when Murphy got the worst. (His legs were going out, and then he started having seizures.) I’m not sure if he was reacting to Murph’s declining health or what, but the spraying stuff ended when Murph died.

It’s also when his appetite returned and his bowels worked regularly on their own again. (I think Murph’s sickness was somehow affecting Mr. Meow. It didn’t do anything to Tab, thank goodness. Mr. Meow and Murph kept me on my toes enough as it was.)

In his last year, he developed high blood pressure. It was so high one of his retinas detached and he went temporarily blind in May 2014.

Meds helped and his sight came back for several months. In December 2014 he went blind again. This time for good.


When Mr. Meow first wandered into our house, his tail looked weird. Almost broken. Because I knew he’d been outside, and because I didn’t want fleas (we’d been through a flea infestation with Budly when we lived in Tucson), I decided to give Mr. Meow a bath. Also, I figured if I could clean up his tail I’d have a better chance of seeing what we were dealing with.

It’s how I learned he didn’t have claws. Having never had a cat before, it wasn’t something I thought of as I stripped naked and got in the bath with him –not until I went to put him in the water and he turned to grab onto my chest. That’s when it dawned on me cats + water = don’t mix.

I braced myself for the claws, but there were none. Just his soft little paws reaching for purchase on my flesh.

It turned out to just be a leaf stuck in his tail. And he had no fleas.

Mere hours before we said our final goodbye, I found myself again naked trying to clean up my cat. This time because his back legs had gone out with him while I’d been out earlier that morning. I came home to find him spinning himself around and around (his front legs still worked fine) in the sun room in a pool of his own urine.

It was an awful sight (and a smelly one) and was my big red flag that probably this time it was really it. After umpteen close calls, my heart knew the vet wouldn’t be able to help him this time.

So I cleaned him up, we made an appointment to bring him in to see what they could do, but there was nothing. His back paws were cold, indicating he either had a clot somewhere, like his spine, or something was going wrong in his brain.

They could’ve run tests, but they advised us it truly appeared to only be a matter of time for real this time. He was entering the Death stage and at the rate he was going it wasn’t going to be easy. The most humane thing to do was to put him to sleep.

So we did. With very heavy hearts. After all, Murph has only been gone a smidge over a year.

Yet, we thought Mr. Meow was going to follow him only 3 weeks after he died, so to have had a whole extra year with him? We’re just very grateful. For that time and for the 15 plus years total he graced us with.


There are just so, so, so many memories I have of this amazing little cat who walked into our lives a decade and a half ago and has left permanent paw prints on my heart.

Him seeing something the night before Budly died. (Still don’t know what that was, but it was one of the most surreal, supernatural experiences of my life.)

Driving to Denver our first Christmas in Nashville with him and Murph in the mini-van.

Him being Wayne’s arch nemesis.

Sweet, tender kitty kisses at bedtime and sometimes even nap times.

Just his silly, unique, quirky, funny ways in general.


Cheers! (One of my favorite pics from back in his “party” days…when he’d poop himself out playing and such and then conk out like this.)

Mr. Meow, my heart is broken having to finally say goodbye to you, but I loved you, heart and soul, forever and ever.

You’re with your brother Murphy now I know though. You guys come back for me when it’s my time, don’t forget. I’ll look forward to seeing you. Until then, rest in peace my sweet boy. Thanks so much for filling our lives with laughter, sometimes chaos, and our hearts with love like you did. I love you.

Mr. Meow and Murphy Memorials


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Announcing the Release of “The Shadow Stalker”

I’m excited to announce the release of my first work as an independent author, The Shadow Stalker.

It’s a horror short story I decided to publish on Kindle.

Honestly, I’ve been curious about publishing on Kindle for a while now. It seemed easy enough. I know plenty of people who have done it and they all kept encouraging me to give it a go.


Well, I’m always loaded with those.

One thing that really stopped me was the covers. I didn’t know a thing about creating them.

I can concoct basic graphics for my blog but book covers are different. They’re the face of your work and should express it’s soul.

However, once I discovered the world of cover artists, my hesitation melted and my excitement took over. There was the answer to that problem. Now all I had to do was proof and edit my work, get it formatted and voila! I could upload it.

So I decided to take a story I’m fond of and that once upon a time placed 3rd in a contest and use it as my guinea pig.

And here I am, writing about my first Kindle release.

Well, the first book I’ve released on Kindle. Other books, such as compilations like  A Woman’s Touch: 11 Stories of Murder and Misdemeanors and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home: 101 Stories about Hearth, Happiness, and Hard Work, that my stories are included in are on Kindle.

Beneath The Morvan Moon is also on there. That’s my first novel.

But I didn’t publish those. Someone else took care of that for me.

I did this one. I’m planning on writing later about why I decided to try this route. Depending on what happens, more posts could follow. (Either why I love being an independent author or why it didn’t work for me. Time will tell…)


A shadow stalker terrorized Lizzie when she was fifteen years old. No one believed her then. Not her parents. Not her therapist, who theorized what she was experiencing was sleep paralysis, where victims are semi-awake but still dreaming, often of a menacing figure.

But Lizzie knew better. She wasn’t always asleep when the shadow man came.

It’s been over a decade since that horrific time in her life. She’s married with her first child on the way.

Which is why the shadow stalker has returned. It wants her baby.

Lizzie needs to make her husband, Jacob, realize that…before it’s too late.


If you’d like to read a copy on me, try entering the Trick or Treat Contest I’m hosting on Haunt Jaunts. It starts today. Entries are due by Sunday October 26, 2014. Drawing to be held on Monday October 27, 2014.


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Oct 31 Appearance on the Kim Power Stilson Talk Radio Show

I’ve known about this for a while but have been lazy writing about it, but I’m very excited to announce I will be on the Kim Power Stilson Talk Radio Show on October 31, 2014 at 3 p.m. EST.

Hear the Kim Power Stilson Show on BYU Radio, Sirius XM Channel 143 andwww.byuradio.org/.  Also on BYU Radio app, iPhone, Android, and iTunes. 

She was looking for seasonal guests that week. Meaning ones who could talk about Halloween. A friend saw Kim’s post on FB asking for suggestions and mentioned me. Is that too cool or what?

So I will be discussing the best places to enjoy Halloween. Hoping to have my ebook out by then, which deals with that exact topic.

HJ Guide to Halloween Hot SpotsAnyway, if you get a chance, I hope you’ll tune in.

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An Official Chicken Soup for the Soul Contributor

Wow. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home: 101 Stories about Hearth, Happiness, and Hard Work is officially out. It was released last week. Unfortunately, health concerns prevented me from celebrating the release accordingly.

However, today I have my mind wrapped around all that and am excited to shout that it’s out. I was tickled to find my story, “The Bubble Bath,” truly was in it when I received my copies about a month ago. (It was one of those things where I had to see it to believe it and pinch myself a couple of times to realize it was true.)

Even cooler was the little badge they created and sent out to Chicken Soup contributors. I’m very proud to display that on my site. I tried and tried for years to become one. Never guessed it’d be this humble little story that would do it.

Contributor Badge

But it did, and I’m so happy. A very exciting bright spot in what’s shaping up to be an eventful 2014.

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Fun with Watermelon

For NALTA (Nashville Area Ladies Tennis Association) matches it is the home team’s responsibility to provide snacks and refreshments. Since eating is probably my most favorite past time ever, I look very forward to Thursdays during NALTA season.

The women on my team are so creative and wonderful food preparers. (Actually, I’ve been on my current team 2 seasons now. But even the ladies on my old team were talented in the kitchen.) So my taste buds have delighted in many scrumptious new-to-me flavors and treats. Everything from baked breads, muffins and cookies to creative cheese dips.

They’re also conscious of their presentation. (Whereas I just toss things on a plate and go.)

However, there is something about the visual presentation enhancing the taste enjoyment somehow. They haven’t meant to, but the tennis ladies, whether on my team or not, have made me come to appreciate this.

So for a recent tennis gathering (it was actually a USTA brunch, not a NALTA shin dig), I decided to try to be a little more creative. I’d seen something either on Facebook or Pinterest for goat cheese and mint topped watermelon. I thought that sounded like something the tennis ladies would like, so I decided to give it a shot.

It was easy! And turned out yummy and nice looking!



  • Watermelon – I bought slices
  • Goat Cheese
  • Mint
  • Cheese and Fruit Shaped cutter – I used a flower-shaped one.
  • Something to cut or shape the goat cheese into little balls – I tried to use a melon baller, but it was too big. Then I ended up using something else I found in my drawers that I don’t even know what it’s really for or what it’s called, but it worked. I sliced the goat cheese then punched out little slabs to put on the watermelon.
  • Toothpicks – optional


  • Cut the watermelon into shapes.
  • Top with mint sprigs
  • Top that with goat cheese (I did mine backwards, as you’ll see in the pics. It would’ve looked even prettier with the mint on the bottom.)
  • Hold it together with a toothpick, if desired.  (I took the picture pre-the toothpicks, which I opted to use because I was transporting my creation and thought it would help it hold together better. It did. Also, it made it easier for the girls to eat.)
Goat Cheese and Mint-Topped Watermelon

Goat Cheese and Mint-Topped Watermelon


I think a blueberry with the mint and goat cheese would be amazing. One of my tennis teammates suggested basil in place of the mint might also be nice.

A few more things to experiment with…


I had some extra watermelon that I decided to pair with cucumber and feta to create a salad. This was just a concoction I decided to experiment with.

It wasn’t bad, but would need some tweaking. Here’s what I used…


  • Watermelon chunks
  • Cucumber chopped into quarters
  • Feta cheese – crumbled
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro paste


I just combined everything and chilled for a bit before serving.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

It was just okay. I think maybe a drizzle of olive oil and fresh cilantro with the lime juice might’ve given it a better flavor.

It’s one I’m definitely going to be experimenting with and trying again.

Do you have any fun watermelon recipes? I’d love to hear them!

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No Orcs, Just Daffies, Please

Last week at this time the local weather people said we had a chance of flurries for the next day. I had a tennis match at 9:30 a.m. last Tuesday. Sure enough, woke up to light flurries.

After our match, my tennis partner, Susan, and I decided to go out to lunch. It was sunny when we left the rec center. While we were sitting in First Watch the light outside started to change. It grew darker as the clouds thickened.

Susan exclaimed, “Oh wow! Look at that snow coming down!”

I looked out the window to see what the weathermen and women would later that night refer to as a “snow squall.” Here’s the scene at the shopping center we were at. My windshield got covered in less than 10 minutes.

Petco Snow SquallSnowy windshieldThe crazy thing about the weather last Tuesday was we’d get these “snow squalls” for anywhere between five and thirty minutes, then it’d clear up, get sunny, the snow that had just accumulated would melt, and then it’d repeat. Wild!

I thought about that on my walk today, which I took in one of my favorite places: Lenox Village.

I don’t know why I like it over there so much, but I do. Part of it is because I do a nice, flat loop. (The neighborhood I live in doesn’t always inspire me to walk due to all the hills. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a wee bit lazy when it comes to climbing hills.)

I also like the architecture and the vibe in general. There’s even a mystery bookstore I pass on my strolls.

But perhaps the streets have something to do with it? I mean, they have cool names. The main one I walk on is Sunnywood. How can you not feel good walking on street with such a happy sounding name?

But there’s also Bienville, Sugar Plum Road, and, my personal favorites, Tolkien and Hobbit Lanes.

Today I switched up my loop and turned left on Sugar Plum Road rather than following Sunnywood all the way down and wrapping around to come back up Sugar Plum. That’s when I saw this lovely creek I always pass from a different perspective.

I’m glad I did. It’s pretty from the way I normally see it too, but today I noticed the daffies (daffodils) in a new light. It was such a beautiful day I decided to have some fun snapping pics to capture a place that always gets my Muse’s juices flowing.

Sunnywood DriveLenox Village townhomesLenox Village HouseHobbit LaneBienville DriveTolkien LaneShoppes on Sunnywood SignMysteries & MoreSugar Plum RoadDaffies by a CreekExpanded view of creekside daffies


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It’s official!

Today I got an email from the editor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home book that my story, “The Bubble Bath”, was officially selected to appear in it!

Congratulations! Your story The Bubble Bath   has been selected to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home. The book is now on its way to the printer! Thank you for helping us share happiness, inspiration, and wellness in this book by allowing us to publish your story.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home is scheduled to be available in bookstores May 27, 2014.

I’m over the moon!

I’ve been trying to get something accepted there for years. Finally did it.

Even better, I originally wrote that story for the Washington Centerville Erma Bombeck contest. It didn’t win, place or show, but I thought it was a pretty funny story. And a good one. I wasn’t going to give up on it. I just needed to find it the right home.


Just another example that you really do have to have a “never give up, never surrender” attitude in this writing business, a.k.a. persistent tenacity.

And that, my friends, is one thing I excel at. I’m definitely a stubborn little monkey! (Mostly that’s not a good thing, but there are times, like now, when I’m thankful for my stubborn streak.)


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What a Turkey!

In February, Wayne and I took a vacation. On our way home from the airport we stopped at a light. I looked to my right and was taken aback to see a turkey on the side of the road.

I quickly whipped out my phone and snapped a pic. It’s not unusual for us to see turkeys by our house. We don’t live in the country exactly, but it’s more rural than urban for sure.

However, we were on Harding, a fairly busy road not far from the airport. Not a usual place to see a turkey. And not one looking so alert just hanging out on the side of the road.

Dead End Turkey

Dead End Turkey

It wasn’t until I posted the photo on Facebook that I realized there was a Dead End sign in the background. Oh the jokes that could be made about this.

I keep trying to concoct one that involves the turkey not knowing why the chicken crossed the road, but the turkey did it to avoid the Dead End.

Lame. I know. I can’t seem to come up with the perfect punchline.

Oh well, that’s not what’s funniest. What is is that a couple of days later I was watching the news and guess what they had as one of the stories? This doggone turkey!

Which was good. Of course as we drove away I was worried the turkey was going to get hit. You might be able to tell from the picture that dusk was falling. Plus it was rush hour. I was afraid someone rushing home from work might not see the turkey and cream him.

It was a relief to see him on the news. Apparently he’s been hanging out on that corner for a while.

I had to take Wayne to the airport the other day. I looked for the turkey but didn’t see him.

Maybe he got his 15 minutes of fame and moved along?


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Late Winter Ice Storm Ghost Trees

In the pre-dawn hours this past Monday, Middle Tennessee experienced a late winter snow and ice storm.

Ah, the winter of 2014. Will it ever end?

We’ve had our fair share of the Polar Vortex-induced frigid weather here in Nashville this year, too. However, we haven’t had the kind of snow or ice people in northern states have endured. (Or Atlanta or Birmingham’s bad traffic-stopping icy conditions from a month ago. Boy did we dodge a bullet then!)

I can deal with the cold. I have many warm and comfy sweaters, plenty of snuggly throws on the couches, and a cupboard stocked with a variety of teas.

I actually like a little snow. I do not like what it does to the roads and prefer when it falls overnight, treats us to slow-starting mornings, then the sun comes out, warms things up, and melts ice from pavements so driving isn’t treacherous.

However, I like how snow days slow the world down.

Such days also seems to fuel my creativity. I write better and have more enthusiasm for it. Maybe because I know I can’t do much else outside and I have no excuse not to sit behind the computer and bang away at my keyboard.

Plus, few things bring my heart the kind of peace that looking out the window and seeing snow do.

Since we really haven’t had any measurable accumulation where I live in Tennessee this year, I’d also forgotten the beautiful transformation snow bequeaths upon the landscape.

Well, Mother Nature treated us to a very pretty sight this week. No one really went much of anywhere Monday. The governor declared a State of Emergency and urged motorists to stay off the road. I happily obliged.

But Tuesday road conditions had improved dramatically. I ventured out for a tennis game at the Y and found myself driving along breathtakingly beautiful streets.

The trees were all frosted in ice. The hillsides looked surreal. Ghostly. Haunting. It was magnificent!

I  tried to capture the essence, but, try as I might, I’m a terrible photographer. (Didn’t help that I was trying to take pictures as I was driving. I wasn’t joking about #39 on my 100 Things About Me post. Thankfully avoided any accidents though.)

Still, I tried to enhance some of the better ones I took using the Camera+ app on my iPhone.

Here’s the result.

Frosty Trees

This is a scenic road anyway I often find myself on, but when it’s lined by frosty trees? Whoa! (This pic does not do it justice. Should’ve stopped to try and get a better one.)

Rural Winter's Kiss

Rural Winter’s Kiss

Frosted Trees and an Old House

Frosted Trees and an Old House

Ice-laden dancing evergreens

Ice-laden dancing evergreens (They’re bent under the weight of the ice, but doesn’t it look like they’re bowing about to do a waltz or something?)

Rural Rear View

Rural Rear View (This was snapped as I zoomed by and hoped I got something. I didn’t quite capture the winter scene I’d wanted, but I liked how the road looked in the rear view and thought it made for a neat pic.)

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Anecdote Published in Woman’s World

I’m very excited to share that a submission I sent in to the “Circle of Kindness” section of Woman’s World was published in the March 10, 2014 issue, which went on sale yesterday.

WW Mar 10, 2014Circle of KindnessI’ll never forget the day that kind stranger bought my hot chocolate. There’s a little more to the story, though.

I kept seeing him eyeing me in his rear view mirror. I was touching Murph’s collar, which now hangs from my rear view mirror. I figured he must be wondering why I kept doing that. Murph had only died just 2 days before. My heart was super heavy with grief. It needed some comfort and warmth, and a Starbucks tall hot chocolate seemed to be the TLC I was craving.

When the man kept watching, I got a little self-conscious and stopped touching Murph’s collar. The line was long that day and moving slow. Then I noticed the woman in the car behind me was quite attractive. I decided the man in front of me must be looking at her, not me.

But then I pulled up to pay and the cashier said the man in front had paid for my order and told her to tell me to have a happy day and I burst out crying.

I wish I would’ve thought then to pay for the car behind me’s order, but I was too overcome. I’ve paid for stranger’s drinks before. Heck, I even paid for a veteran and his wife’s dinner one night. I’ve never been the recipient of a random act of kindness like this though.

I really felt Murph’s presence and “paws” in it. Oh, and the “Ho hey” song by the Lumineers had come on as I’d headed to Starbucks. The first time I ever heard it Murph was in the car with me. I don’t know what we were doing. Maybe just going for a walk. But the lyrics made me think of how I felt about Murph and ever since I’ve always thought of him when I hear that song.

I really think that day he was trying to tell me, “Hey, mom, I miss you too, but even though I’m up in Heaven I still got your back, okay?”

Thanks, Murph. You keep proving to me what an amazing pup you were really were.

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