Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gratitude Journal #253

Today, I am grateful for our golden retriever, who spends a great deal of time lying around.

"Mommy is working. She won't play. I has a sad."

"See my sad?"

"Gloom, despair, and agony on me."

George isn't really this red.
Nor is Daisy nearly as unhappy as she looks. She's
just tired, and momma's making her pose
for a bad iPhone picture.

Today, I am grateful for blue and gold autumn days, for hikes in state parks, and for George's mad photography skillz.

Nick stands tall.

But the trees are much taller.

Such gorgeous layers of color!

Even the ground is pretty.

Blue sky, yellow leaves. I almost tripped from looking up while I walked.


More yep.

I love this picture, but all I can see is how long Daisy's tongue is. Wow.

Leaf. Moss. Log.

Walking with Jack.

What a smile!

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Road Kill and Rescue

I am pleased to report that no animals were killed during my drive home from a meeting Tuesday night. This is an enormous relief. Have you ever heard the adage that bad things happen in threes? Well, apparently, I accidentally kill animals with my vehicle in threes, and hitting that raccoon on the Sunday night of our plumbing debacle in September starts a new round in the match-up between my car and Mother Nature's adorable furry things.

Back in the late 90s, I hit Bambi on I-85 near Atlanta. Bambi and his mom decided that dusk was the perfect time to cross four lanes of west-bound interstate. Bambi fell to the front bumper of my sporty red Acura Integra, was pulled into the wheel well, and did not suffer.

I pulled off the interstate at the next exit and called George from a payphone. Remember those? Anyway, he couldn't grasp why I was upset about KILLING BAMBI!!! when clearly the car needed work and oh the expense. I hung up on him and called my mother, who completely understood why I was falling apart at a service station parking lot pay phone. She talked me down from the ledge so I could continue my drive home to Columbus, Georgia.

My husband lovingly and comfortingly called me B.K. (Bambi Killer) for the following year or so.


Within two months, I'd also hit a sparrow in broad daylight with multiple witnesses in the car, and shortly thereafter I ran over a cat late one night.

I can still hear the sound. It was horrible.

Until the recent raccoon incident, I hadn't killed anything but bugs with my car since that cat. I'd successfully avoided hitting several deer when we lived in Rapid City, but otherwise, wildlife and household pets had stayed away from me and my vehicle.

Now that I've sent a poor raccoon to heaven, what's next? I'm paranoid about it. Will it be a skunk?An opossum? A ground hog? A squirrel? A turtle?

Turtles aren't furry but they can be kind of cute. I'd feel bad hitting one.

Recently, NPR reported that State Farm predicts Ohioans have a 1-in-127 chance of hitting a deer in the next year. Last year, it was a 1-in-135 chance. I'm not liking my odds. At least I don't live in West Virginia, where the chances of hitting a deer are 1 in 39. Oy vey!

The truly sad thing about this subject is its ubiquity. As you've read my stories of vehicular animal slaughter, you've probably remembered your own guilt in hitting adorable furry things. They will insist on darting across roads right in front of us.

Sometimes, good can come out of these encounters, though. Such was the case when George rescued a barred owl that had been hit and lay dazed and confused on the side of the road. You can read about the rescue HERE and about Caesar's release back to the wild HERE.

We've also saved a dove, because, you know, they are endangered and everything. And Nick and I saved a snapping turtle that we urged across the road but didn't touch as, you know, they snap.

And, it turns out, they hiss menacingly, too.

These more positive encounters with nature surely give us some good karma to balance the bad. Just how responsible are we when animals dash in front of our cars or fly into our grills?

I'm reminded of a story from my teaching days at Wichita State University. One of my fellow graduate teaching assistants walked in to his freshman composition class on the first day of the semester. In the front row, he saw a visually-impaired student with a guide dog next to a student wearing a turban. During the class, a cockroach scurried in front of the class, and a student yelled for the teacher to kill it. The turbaned student argued, "Don't kill it! It's a living thing!" While the teacher hesitated, wondering what the politically correct thing to do might be in such a bizarre situation, the guide dog snapped up the roach and ate it.

The moral of the story: dogs are gross.

And maybe sometimes things just happen.

But please, Lord, let them not happen in threes.

Gratitude Journal #252

Today, I am grateful for my Stephen Minister friends, who are an amazing group of people.

Today, I am grateful for sleep. After a lifetime of insomnia, I'm sleeping better than ever. It's a revelation!

Today, I am grateful for my pastor Suzanne.

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach a class on prayer. There's no better way to learn more about a topic than to teach it to others.

Today, I am grateful for hope.

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gratitude Journal #251

Today, I am grateful for all the company we've had in the past month...Jen Fullmer, Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Herb, my in-laws Barb and Roger. I've spent so much time enjoying their company that blogging and stamping have fallen temporarily to the bottom of my list of priorities, but in the next week or so, I will be getting back to them.

Today, I am grateful for your patience.

What are you grateful for today?