Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

A Holiday Season for the Birds

“We missed you at the dinner,” my mother said.

“I missed being there,” I replied, sincerely.

We let the sadness sit in silence for a moment.

I’ve missed so many important occasions over the past decade.

Family reunions, weddings, birthdays, baby showers and this year, our Christmas gathering, have all happened without me.

Mother always tells me who showed up and gives me bits of updates on my loved ones.  Loved ones I’ve lost contact with, except through photos or indirect stories.

I’m trying not to let things get me down this holiday season, but so far, it is a huge challenge.

Not only am I in more pain from fibromyalgia and a few new ailments too, my son and I are not getting along.  It’s a double dose of holiday grief!

While talking with Mother about the Christmas gathering that I wasn’t able to attend, I immediately felt my heart-strings pull.  My efforts to be positive seemed to pay off because right away I decided to try and take joy in her account of the gathering.  I was surprised when soon I was smiling, as I imagined one of my great nieces bringing one of her cousins five wrapped presents.

“I don’t know if she got the other ones anything, but she sure had five,” Mother said, with that pure joy a Great-Grandmother has.  “She had every one of them wrapped too,” she added with a little laugh.

After a few minutes into the conversation, I walked to the window where I could see a flock of Robins in the yard. They love the grassy lawn where I live and they are spectacular to see!  They always seem to come when the light shows their silhouettes under the Sycamore tree.  Many of them move toward my door, and I get to see them up close and personal as they lean in towards the ground, turning their heads slightly, listening for earthworms.

Robin listening for worms

The Robin Listens

“Hey Mother!  The Robins are here!”

I’ve told her about the Robins before.

Amidst the flock were other birds about the same size as Robins, but with black with golden stripes.  One or two had iridescent blue heads, so perhaps they were young Common Grackles.

Sometimes, when I mention the birds in my yard over the phone to people, they’re silent for a moment afterward.  I always wonder if they think I’m making up these tales of many birds!

Mother was quiet for a moment, but then she remarked that I should, “send a photo to that wildlife magazine.”

I wish I could.  I wish I could, if for no other reason than to make her proud.  She would be happy to see one of my photos in a magazine.

I’m in pain and can’t sit long enough to complete even the most simplest of photo projects.

“Now,” I started telling my bird tales again, “there are Black-capped Chickadees, two or three bluejay, some Orioles, and the Hawk has landed on the ground!”

As if that wasn’t enough, a flock of Cardinals were perched on the bushes by the treeline!

“It’s a winged-oasis out there!” I told Mother.  “It’s so beautiful!”

I didn’t have the energy to go outside to take a photo.  At least, not yet.

I was happy to see the pretty winged visitors, as always, but when I’m feeling unusually blue, I am especially grateful because the beauty and life they bring lifts a part of my spirit every time.

I sensed my mother knew, or somehow, she could feel what I saw.

Mother and I have always had a connection on a level other than this physical one that we can see and understand.

Our talk ended when my son called.  “I hope he’ll stay and have the chocolate croissants with me,” I remarked to Mother.

He’s in the habit of taking food that I cooked to his apartment to eat.  He won’t visit me at home or talk to me much lately.

The hawk was still on the ground when my son arrived.  A neighbor walked by and we each watched the bird for a few minutes.

He was excited over the beautiful pastries and gave me a hug, thanking me for baking them, but he took his croissants and headed back home.  I was disappointed, but at least I knew he would enjoy them and that gave me comfort.

Practicing gratitude helps me get through hard times, even if the feeling only last for a little while.  I need to remember the better times and keep hope alive.

I’m glad for the ability to enjoy the natural world around me.  The wild ones keep coming back, so I have plenty of chances to take in nature’s beauty!

The hawk was still in the yard when my son left, but was perched on the electric wires.

I reached for my Canon!

The Red-shouldered hawk and that streak of beautiful Carolina sky!

Getting closer to the red-shouldered hawk

“How close are you going to get?”

Red-shouldered hawk perched on wire in backyard

“That’s Close Enough.”

Thank you for visiting my blog, dogkisses.

Peace and Happy Holidays!

Your blogger, Michelle.

Volunteer Work

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.” (Booker T. Washington)

Spirits thrive in the dirt

Volunteers starting the Bok Choy garden together.

Beautiful Rainbow Chard is thriving.  We harvested the large outer leaves this week.  Our bed of lettuce and carrots are coming along well and the Bok Choy is gorgeous!  I’ve never grown or seen Bok Choy growing before, so it’s exciting. 

I have a special affinity for the Bok Choy.  Transplanting the tender babies into larger pots was the first vegetable we planted when my son and I started volunteering in the horticulture therapy program.

Participating in the group is fun and therapeutic.  I like being around and working with the other volunteers and enjoy the little things I become aware of, either during our activities or after I get home and have time for reflection.

Watering the gardens throughout the week, which I recently enthusiastically agreed to do, with help from my son, is rewarding in several ways.

The plants, especially the ones in containers and young crops need water.  I need something to do outside my personal life.  The responsibility makes me feel proud, gets me away from the challenges and hardships I’m experiencing and, the work brings immediate visible positive results.

“Sometimes you can feel the plants take a fresh breath of air after you give them some space and water,” the horticulture therapist remarked after we recently transplanted several leggy tomato plants.

I hadn’t wanted to work with those plants on that day.  It was cloudy, damp and a little chilly outside.  I was sleepy and tired.  I’d wanted to stay inside the big open educational room and make something out of dried herbs or take cuttings from the scented Geranium. 

I’m not sure of the moment when my lack of enthusiasm changed, but I soon became engaged with the plants and other volunteers in the group.  I enjoyed helping a young man continue the project after a plant broke when he had taken it out of the pot.  Helping him felt good, but I think it was after we were finished and I looked at the plants that I realized how my frame of mind and mood had greatly improved. 

I was moved, literally, to walk closer to the tomato plants.  They looked so happy!  I wanted to touch them.  It was a good feeling.

My son tells me he loves the group and it’s clear to me that he benefits from it, as well as from the time when we go on our own to water.  

“This makes me happy,” he told me the other day, while watering the lettuce and carrot bed.  Our day together had been terribly challenging.  We were not happy campers.  We almost didn’t make it that day, but we both knew that going would help us.  Plus, we knew the dirt was dry and the plants needed people to water them.  We got there just in time before the gates closed.

Seeing my son smile and hearing him say he’s happy is a sign of wellness, even if it’s brief in our notion of time.  This piece of time gives me hope.

The natural positive effects of working with plants is healing to our mind and body.  Having a sense of belonging and an awareness that we have something meaningful to offer a community is big medicine.  I strongly suspect that having more days filled with meaningful and rewarding work could reduce symptoms of ‘mental illness’ and heal wounded spirits. 

It’s hard to know whose on the receiving end of our time volunteering.  I know I’ve said this before in my earlier posts about our Green Healing days, but I am truly grateful for this opportunity.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!  Please feel free to leave a comment.


Eight legs walkin’

we love mom

Eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round my home.

All just so,

I don’t walk alone.

Eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round my home.

Oh, don’t you know?

I love you so!

My sweet little Ruthie,

You hold your head high,

Your spirit made strong,

Furry tail up,

wagging all the time!

Now that you know,

I love you so!

My sweet little Ruthie,

I remember you then.

Your head was down,

Furry tail drawn in.

Sweet little Ruthie,

I remember you then.

Jumping in my car,

Never looking back.

How did you know?

We would love each other so?

I know you were kissed,

From the angel I missed.

She waited ’til she knew,

I found you.

Every moment since,

You’ve celebrated your life.



Your head is in the air,

high and mighty strong!

You are a big girl now!

So you be certain,

I am very proud!


He puts his large head,

so soft…

gently on my leg.

He knows where it hurts.

His big deep brown eyes,

gazing into mine.

Mine with fears,

loneliness and tears.

Oh, how I love YOU!

This is what Tiny tells.

He always knows when to tell,

Oh yes, he knows!

I’m amazed every time,

He lays his head next to mine.

He hears my heart call,

his little legs start walkin’

lovin’ is a dog’s law.

Tiny knows…

He knows when it’s time to tell.

Right when I was thinking,

It was too late for me,

Tiny comes closer.

Oh, can’t you see?

Oh, don’t you know?

We do love you so?

Yes, I say,

I can see!

I can surely see!


My sweet little Ruthie,

My dear boy Tiny,

I have not forgotten.

I hope you know,

I do love you so!

I don’t understand,

why took the two-legged left.

Oh no,

I don’t understand.

I cry and wonder why.

Why does it have to be this way?

Every silent day,

Every silent moment,

I wonder why.

I always end the silence,

Saying Yes,

I remember!

I remember that you’re here.


I remember!

Eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round my home

All just so,

I don’t have to walk alone.

I don’t know how to make it,

I don’t know what to do.

I only know,

I sure do love you.

I thank Lord Jesus.

I thank Great Spirit.

Praise Jah!

For the Dogs!

Thank You for the Dogs!!!

These dogs You have given me.

Love renews my spirit,

moving through my body,

healing my wounds.

These dogs,

they keep saying,

We are eight legs ‘a walkin’

Walkin’ round this home,

All just so,

You never walk alone.




These are my blessings,

These eight legs ‘a walkin’

I always know,

I don’t have to walk this road alone.

big hound dog eyes says I sure do love you

Dogs give...

In Memory of my sweet Free…

Perched on the wood,

Crow spoke.

You can’t walk this road alone.

Not anymore…

You can’t walk this road alone.

From Free,

Crow spoke.

Thank You Free!

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.

Honoring our Earth Mother (from Dreamwalker’s blog)

With Sincere Gratitude to Sue Dreamwalker for her generosity in allowing me to share this post from her blog.

From Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary:  

A Special Goodnight for all Mothers.


By sending your thoughts out into the ethers, you send out your intent, and you draw to you that which you need, and that which will sustain you.

I send you all a special Goodnight, and wish all of you Mother’s Out their a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday 3rd April here in the U.K.

I will let my daughters words speak for themselves..

Our Great Mother

Mother’s Day

On Sunday 3rd of April it is Mothering Sunday in the UK. On this day we will show our love, gratitude, appreciation and healing to our Mothers. It is also a day when we should show the same qualities and expression to our true Mother. Mother Earth. If we don’t share the same feelings for both then we have a problem.

For Mother Earth gives to us total unconditional love, to us her children, just like your own birth mother should do.

Let’s think about this for a moment. How often is our blessed Mother Earth overlooked and taken so much for granted, and yet she provides us with so so much.

Air to breathe, the food we eat, water to drink. Everything we need to sustain our life on this planet. Mother Earth needs your healing now; she is sick and has been overlooked for too long.

We have made her sick and it’s time we took responsibility for this, can you imagine making your own Mother ill by poisoning her, beating her. It sounds very harsh but this is the reality of the situation.

Mother Earth is moving into a more beautiful state of being just like we are and she will rid herself of everything that stops her from achieving this,just like what we are doing in our own lives.

Send her healing today and everyday, let everyday be Mother’s Day!! Send healing to our beautiful Mother’s!

Take a moment each day to be in gratitude for what Mother Earth provides us with, Feel it in your heart. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants and vegetables we grow and eat to sustain our life. The elements Earth, Air, Water and Fire for without these we couldn’t survive! The animals that teach us so many lessons and give us so much joy! The trees that offer us shelter, protection, healing and wisdom. The Great Sun for her warmth and light, and the Moon for its rhythms and cycles. The beautiful mountains and also our dear brothers and sisters sharing this special time here on Mother Earth…the list goes on and on!

Then send your love and healing to Mother Earth in which ever way suits you best. Reiki, Seichem, Spiritual Healing, Prayer, visualisation, meditation, drumming, chanting and singing again the list goes on and on! We are the co-creators of this planet so let’s get to it and help our Mother!

Please feel free to share this message

With lots of love and Blessings Julia XxX

If you are not familiar with Little Grandmother  check out her videos on youtube and visit her website

Thank you again Dreamwalker for offering this as a gift.

Warrior Women with Blogs Award

Dear Rosemary,

I am absolutely delighted that you chose me as one of your recipients for this ‘lovely’ award!
Your ability to give support, encouragement and friendship, even as you are struggling is a special gift.
Your thoughtful and funny comments have brightened my day many times.   In your words I  feel your compassion and empathy.

Thank you,

Rosemary’s health blog: Seeking Equilibrium.

I am passing on this, ‘Lovely Blog Award’  to blogs written by Warrior Women.  Women who are carrying on in spite of illness and disease.  Also, to the warrior women who are dedicating their time to a blog that offers education, support and healing  for victims of domestic abuse and violence.

You can visit The ‘lovely’ blogs’ who are receiving this award by clicking the provided links in the list below.

My Foggy Brain –  I’m passing this on to you.
This is a blog by a creative woman living life with fibromyalgia, and like most of us, other illnesses as well. She shares how she manages to find joy in crafts and the love of her family, including her 4leggeds.

I’m a little biased because myfoggybrain is one of the first people I connected with and she continues to leave me very nice comments.   Aside from my personal regard, I find her blog inspiring and if you like crafts, such as scrap-booking, papercraft or making cards, then take a little trip over and visit her blog.

Thank you MyFoggyBrain

Victoria at Walking on Eggshells, I present this award to you.

This is a blog written by a mother who is brave and strong.  She tells us honestly and candidly of her experience raising a son  challenged with a mental illness.

Victoria carries on and walks forward in the face of circumstances that present her with a life of living moment by moment.  Revealed in her blog is her appreciation for the precious peaceful moments in time.

Thank you Victoria.

CZ at The Narcissistic Continuum, I present you with this award.

This is a blog that takes me into a peaceful place of healing and learning.  CZ is a gifted writer, experienced and educated in her subject.  Her blog offers creative and fascinating metaphors, along with well-researched facts to educate people about Narcissism, along with offering support for victims of narcissists.

I have personally found her articles life changing.

Thank you CZ.

Leslie Sigal Javorek, at IconDoIt, I present this award to you.

Leslie is a talented artist, which you will see if you visit her blog.  She creates awesome free icons and they aren’t you’re average icons.  They have interesting stories and tales and imagination behind them.

Leslie also lives with a terminal illness — and LIVES she does!  I am personally deeply inspired by her positive attitude towards living.

I am among those, both cursed and blessed, stubborn as hell and determined to survive.”  Leslie Sigal Javorek.

Thank you Leslie!

jeneli, at Almost Normal, I present this award to you.

This is a blog written by a young woman who lives with several serious ‘invisible’ illnesses, one of which is fibromyalgia.  One of the things I always remember about her is that she must take a long bus ride to see her doctors.  That one thing would wear me out!

Because I don’t look sick, and don’t always need mobility aids, people tend to assume I’m in perfect health–that I’m perfectly ‘normal.’ ”  jeneli

Thank you jeneli!

lostintranslation, “An Impetuous Buffet of Loving Indulgence” — I present this award to you.

This is a blog written by a woman who loves to write, which I very much appreciate.  Some of us just have to write. She has a  refreshing youthful spirit and questioning mind, the latter of which seems to get many of us a bit, ‘lost in translation.’

I am just a girl who loves to write… circles…in squares….in the margins…on fresh sheets of notebook paper…on hotel stationery…in different colors…in cursive or print or Word…on napkins….on your soul…from my heart.”  lostintranslation

Thank you lostintranslation!

“Mo,” at Mo is blogging…I think, I present this award to you.

This is a blog written by a woman living with multiple chronic illnesses.  Mo writes frankly about the pain and fatigue living with these illnesses.   Her blog also reveals her gratitude for family.  She has found the love of her life, (who I wish had a single twin!).  Surely, it’s a blog worth visiting!

Thank you Mo!

To the recipients:

You can decorate your blog with your award, or you can simply stash it into your box of goodies, where you may go when you are worn down and need little treasures — things reminding you that you are not alone. Or, simply, just to let you know that one person appreciates your work.  I believe our blogs are very much a part of our work in this world.

This award is a way to say thank you to another blogger, or your favorite blogs.   You may present this award to a blog(s) of your choice by posting it on your blog and giving a link to the blog(s) you awarded, along with a little about why you chose the recipient(s).

To see more clearly than my foggy brain can tell you about accepting this award, please go see Rosemary here.

A note as to creating this list. At first it felt a bit daunting.  I was too tired.  Brain fog had the best of me.  I can write a post without too much thinking involved.  I hope that doesn’t sound like I don’t care about what I ‘post’ because I certainly do — but in general, writing a post is a relatively easy task.

I wondered if my giving an award would cause you to feel obligated to post it on your blog, which is why I mildly modified the, “criteria,” and again, I’m trusting is okay by Rosemary.

As I worked a little on this post, now and then, it gradually became an insightful and enjoyable experience.   I’ve learned a little more about each person through the process of describing her blog.  I’ve been reminded of my gladness over stumbling upon and having the honor to communicate with these women.

Thank you Rosemary, for the gift, and the ensuing inspiration of this post.

Mom says thanks!

Tiny here! I know, I'm cute.


Love walks on four leggs.

My thanks to a fellow blogger, Debbie, for sharing this moving and creative video with me and for showing me how to share it with you.

Gratitude is Healing

Dogs Know Best

Bye Bye and Hello!

“I like reading blogs about fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” I told my good friend.

He laughed.  He thought I was joking. 

Realizing I was serious, my friend and I started a conversation, which was as healthy as the awesome brunch he had prepared for us. 

My friend is a wonderful cook.  He likes to show off his talents in the kitchen.  I’m always happy when I’m on the receiving end of his pancakes made from scratch or the egg dish he makes when I’m feeling particularly down.

Having a real friend is one blessing in my life that helped me rise above the darkness I found myself in after falling prey to a narcissist’s deviant intentions, lies and games.

My friend has never read a blog, but he sure bought me this little computer I’m writing in mine with.

There weren’t any hidden agendas in the gift.  No power-tripping.  Nothing other than wanting to do something for a friend out of love.  Unconditional love is a wonderful gift.

The relationship I had, with a man who by all means behaved like a text-book narcissist, was toxic to my mind, body and spirit.  He had also given me gifts.  Alas.  Each one came with a price.  I would later learn that everything the man had done or offered, in the name of love and kindness, was all a part of his dark and destructive intentions.

Ending a relationship with a man who suddenly changed, and so drastically that he became unrecognizable, was a shocking and painful experience.  I did end it though, and from that day forward, I am healing.

I’m making new memories.   My spirit is renewed in new acquaintances, but even more by remembering the good friends I have.   Authentic interactions with people is healing my heart and helping me to sort through the confusion that was left.

I can feel a return to myself.

I started writing again.  I’m enjoying simple things like sitting by a fire.  My mental and emotional health is better, but it took a pretty long time for the pain to settle down.  Healing after abuse takes time.

Practicing gratitude has helped me heal.  Every little thing helps when you’re assembling pieces of your self.  Being grateful is said to be a state of mind, and I believe it.

A healthy life after a toxic relationship is possible. 

Aside from practicing gratitude, saying No was crucial for me to get out and stay out.  I had to say NO many times, at first to the man with harmful intentions and finally, to myself each time I doubted the truth.

Say no to a narcissist!

“No” icon via IconDoIt

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!