Zany copy editor and writer with more than 25 years’ experience in everything from advertising to petting zoos! Am I meticulous? Heck, I get on my own nerves sometimes, that’s how much attention I pay to details. "I am not making this up" – Dave Barry

Please Help Braxton

Pete and I had a beautiful boy, Daniel, in 1987. Like Braxton, Daniel was born with a chromosome imbalance. Unlike Braxton, Daniel did not live. My heart aches for this family because I know what it’s like to hear those words. At this time of year, I always think of Daniel – yes, even 27 years later. If you can, make a donation to help this family make their boy’s life better. If you do, please consider donating in memory of Daniel Marek Mallory. If you’re not able to make a cash donation, please pray for Braxton and his family. I know about Braxton through a good friend from “home” (New Smyrna Beach). Peace to all. Jeannine

Last night, in my first volunteer assignment for our lovely Hospice, I helped at the group’s annual Renewal event. It was a time for people to remember those they’ve lost. We opened with a prayer and introduction, and then the hospice grief counselor sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  Next, attendees had an opportunity to say a few words about their loved ones, if they felt like talking (some didn’t). Then they lit a small candle and placed an ornament on the tree in memory of their loved one/s.

Then Brian lit four special candles.

1. For grief, which we all experience, even if we’ve been fortunate and have not yet lost                       someone dear.

2. For courage, which we need to keep going after a loss.

3. For memory, which will never leave us; those we love will always be with us.

4. For love, which does not fail. “Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the             greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

We sang again, then stood, and held hands to form a never-ending circle, while Brian said another prayer.  Hug all around after that, followed by some refreshments.

I was there as a volunteer, so no one knew I was also there because I lost a loved one this year, and I miss her more than ever during this, my first Christmas in High Springs. I think about her all the time, especially on days like today – the air is crisp, the temperature is in the 40’s, and there are all sorts of places to explore and “sniff.” She loved the cold weather.

This morning, I’d planned to do my Christmas cards. I went to the drawer where I’d stored them for the move. They are sweet little cards, but I cannot send them because the image makes me cry. It’s a painting Christmas 2005 2 (2)of all types of dogs and puppies, dancing around a snowman. The littlest things just bring me to my knees with missing her.

I guess what I want to say is that if you know someone who has lost a human or “animal” loved one, please don’t be afraid to talk about it. Don’t think, “Well, maybe she’s not thinking about that right now,” or “I don’t want to bring it up; it will just upset her.” Trust me; we’re all thinking about it right now, and maybe we’d like to know that you care. Maybe we’d like a hug or just a few words so we know you recognize what we’re going through.

I lost my son 27 years ago, and my dad passed in 1994. I still think about them. And I still think about my sweet, precious Barbara, whose joyous spirit and unconditional love embodied what we need to remember at this time of year.

Remembering Daniel

In the fall of 1987, Pete and I had a son, Daniel. He was with us for five days. Christmas that year was tough, and I wanted to remember him – but not be maudlin about it Well, that year, Hallmark introduced a new ornament, “Mary’s Christmas Angels.” Now that I think about it, I realize Pete and I each had a grandmother named Mary. Hmmm. So every year now, for 27 years, I’ve purchased the next angel in the series. I love these sweet ornaments. They remind me that there are always angels among us. I have a special angel, and he’s on my mind today. Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

2014 Angel

photo from Hallmark.com

Boy, do I feel like crap. I guess 20 years in the mean, rude Tampa Bay area made me mean and rude, too. I’ve learned a big lesson about myself today. BIG LESSON. I need to be quieter and more in the moment.

I moved here to find peace,quiet, harmony, and friendly people. Apparently, I did not bring that energy into my new environment. I’m trying to learn about life and society up here. It’s such a change from the bad Big City. And my words/action are perceived differently here. It’s amazing…the difference. Today, I hurt a young lady’s feelings when I thought I was being kind.

You never know how others will interpret your words or deeds.

peace

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

In September, I moved from the big-city evils of St. Petersburg, FL to the most glorious town in the stateWacahoota Road Micanopy 2014 – High Springs. I’d been coming up to visit a dear friend here on her horse farm. I always said, “I’m gonna live up here one day.”

She said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Well, when my beloved Golden Retriever, Barbara, passed away, I could no longer live in the house where we’d shared so many happy and horrendous memories. I saw her everywhere I looked. I hated to venture out of the house when she was in my life, and with her gone, I became a recluse. Cried and missed my best friend. She had such great times here. I brought her up here when I knew then end was near, and we had the time of our lives. Road trips, running without a leash in green fields, chasing horses, barking at the big TV.

I knew I had to be here. My house sold four days after I signed with the Realtor. I moved here and feel myself unwinding, letting go of the anxiety and sorrow.

Clear rivers and streams for kayaking. Winding country roads that might lead to an endless field of cotton or big rolls of hay to infinity.

I keep waiting for something bad to happen. God, I miss my dog, but I know she’s with me. She would have wanted me to follow my dream. Something about doing that has released the weight in my soul and psyche. I can sleep! I don’t have to keep the TV on as a way to drown out the sirens and traffic.

Are you living your dream? Do you even have one? It doesn’t have to be something as big as moving away. Dreams come in all sizes. Find yours, and pursue it. Then you’ll know the feeling of and joy and empowerment that comes with knowing YOU (and God, and maybe a special four-legged “child”) dreamed it…then achieved it!

Country Living

Today is my one-month anniversary here in the country. It has been 98 percent wonderful, better than expected – but two percent unpleasant.

Boxes still fill my garage. In all my prior moves, I’ve had another person with me. Unpacking can be almost fun when you’re working with someone else. When you’re alone, it’s easy to procrastinate. My new place has two fewer rooms than did my old place, so there’s the problem of finding a home for all my stuff. I’m glad I got rid of things before I left.

I’ve driven miles on country roads, just enjoying the vast expanses of green. And intricately plowed hayfields. Planted pines stand like soldiers in formation. Dirt roads lead to surprises such as a zebra farm, abandoned mansions, and squatters’ camps. I’ve met the friendliest people in the world. I’ve become a hospice volunteer.

It’s been an adventure to poke around antique and thrift stores to find furniture and accessories for my new place since I left my “beachy” furniture with my old house. I’ve even planted some fall flowers to give some color to my front porch and yardette.

I’ve made new friends. I’ve learned new things about old friends. I’m seeing the world through the eyes of a fifth grader who calls me Aunt. I wear the title proudly. We have adventures in the woods, and his eyes light up when he makes a discovery or makes me laugh.

I don’t worry as much. I sleep better.

Still miserable without my dog. And daily, I wonder why I decided to move into a place that has a “no pets” policy. She did more for my mental health than any pill or blue sky. Wondering how I will be as the months turn cold and I have no one to cuddle with, no one to talk to.

I know this is the right place for me. But I also know that Heaven does not exist on earth.

One step closer

I signed the closing docs on my house today. Yay! 

Everything’s on for me to leave Tampa Bay behind on Monday. Can’t wait to see how this “Live your dream” thing works out.

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