Farewell Frankie

Dearest Frankie,

Oh, today is a tough day.  We thought about this – warred in our minds – discussed with Dr. Mercak, and I reviewed Lap of Love website. Making this decision was so very difficult. However, it was very heart-wrenching watching you struggle over the last few weeks.

As daddy said to me, “he wants to stay, but he is hurting so badly.” Your arthritis has progressed despite the medication, and you look like you hurt walking and especially getting up and down.  You can’t get comfortable but you try.  Your cough and honking due to your heart murmur have become more frequent despite medication. You are disoriented and have a hard time finding the doors, and we hate seeing you run into walls, tables, and chairs. You try so hard to hit pee pads for preventing accidents, but we can tell it bothers you.

There is a beautiful Rainbow Bridge that leads to doggie heaven. It’s where beloved pets can be happy, pain-free and back to their old-selves. That’s where you are going today, and we are here with you for your final journey.

You will be the best-dressed little old man in doggie heaven. When you get to the other side, Mac, Bambi, Matthew, Yogi, Roxy, Aries, and Rhiannon will be waiting with open paws to welcome you to the family. Maybe you and Mac can play tug-of-war again!

You will be cured of arthritis and can wander wherever you want safely and without pain and lay in the sun you so-love. Your heart will be healed so you won’t cough and honk like you swallowed a horn, and you can play with toys again. And if God blesses, he will give you your sight back so you can see beautiful doggie heaven.

Frankie, we will miss you and miss you every day. Thankfully, mommy has photos and videos that can be viewed when we need to enjoy precious memories. Daddy’s chair will be lonely. We love you very much.  Thank you for blessing us with so much love, joy and laughter for 3 years. Go our little man and enjoy doggie heaven. . . farewell Frankie.

With Love,

Daddy and Mommy

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Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all

The song by Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton “Say Something” is one of my favorites because it “speaks” to me. I don’t really care to read about other’s opinions as to why JT wrote the song. I look at music, art, writing, as an expression by someone to positively impact another’s life. So, in my case, it has impact but for probably very different reasons as to why he wrote it.

We all go through difficult times in life. Mine came when John Boxx died. I lost him 3 weeks shy of our 20th wedding anniversary. But the 2 years leading up to his death were the most traumatic and life-changing. What he endured was horrific, but it was also equally horrific to me nd his family and friends. You have to experience grief to understand that not everyone grieves the same. However, I only wanted to be comforted with presence of another human being. Someone experiencing a devastating loss can’t think straight and can’t tell otherrswhat they need because they need everything!

JT’s song, “Say Something” brings me back to a very dark and lonely time. I experienced a period in my life where I only wanted companionship and the touch of a hand. I couldn’t say something because I didn’t know where to begin. However, it’s human nature to want to find the right words to say, text or message to comfort the griever. But if that doesn’t work, it’s more comfortable to sever ties. (my experience, not everyone’s). The griever only wants to know that he or she hasn’t been forgotten or become a burden, and the one who is no longer here is not forgotten either.

I had a wonderful lunch with a friend who was not only my chiropractor, but she and her husband were spiritual supporters – to remind us that faith gets us through unbelievable pain, suffering and brokenness. I reconnected with Tammy Albano, and she and I had lunch last Friday – Good Friday. She represents what I interpret from JT’s song. She was present, used the two ears that God blessed us with but didn’t use her mouth. She was there with me for approximately 90 minutes and listened. That’s all I’ve wanted for the past 3 years.

So, thank you Tammy and Dr. Tony and their extremely talented son, Nicholas. I know John tried to provide insights on what to expect with a teenage boy but . . .. He also was a master at listening, something that I try to practice but know I’m not a master like him. One of my favorite “1 liners” from him was that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. That’s why he was so successful and loved (by most, except the sales people who called on him!).  He was always present with two ears and only provided input if asked. What a talent!

So yes, at that time it was my first loss,  I was “maybe looking for something I can’t have” — comfort and companionship not words. But I’ve learned that “sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all.” Bea present . . . just listen . . . and just say nothing at all (Justin Timberlakd YouTube.com video Say Something). Thank you, Tammy.

The Dance

Two years ago I met a man who became my life. It was his tattoo “Ani Tsalagi” that gave us the opportunity to talk. It was 3 weeks into the log stacking, and Roger kept me mesmerized. He was tall, dark, handsome and could do everything on the log cabin from the ground up.
I researched Ani Tsalagi that evening. The next day as I was reviewing the construction plans, Roger walked over. I asked him if he was Cherokee. He told me he was half Cherokee and half French Canadian and then raised his eyebrows as if trying to get interested. Then he continued with “I’m 54 years old and on the cusp of Leo and Cancer.”
Well, my sarcastic self kicked into gear, and I asked “so are you Leo or Cancer most years?” He said he was Leo most years. I couldn’t resist, then I asked, “so what are you this year?” to which he replied, “I’m a Leo.” So I said, “well, I’m Aries and I’m Aries every year.”
So, ladies, is this the cheesiest pick-up line you’ve ever heard? And, the dance had begun . . .

While I don’t believe the moon and the stars rule our lives, it is interesting to read about the personality traits of the Zodiac signs. God is in control, but there is something about the Zodiac signs that make you go hmmmmm…..
I Googled Aries and Leo compatibility (only because Roger is predominantly a Leo and has some Cancer traits). We’ve read through these Google searches for humor but they are also eye-opening. Here is a summary of what we deal with and to be honest, it’s pretty spot-on!

Both Aries and Leo are Fire Signs – strong-willed, passionate, dynamic with a strong love of sportsmanship and competition. Both have a need to be in control. They have a strong admiration and respect for each other but they need to take turns in giving and taking orders. Both are proud and impatient. Leo likes to be adored (and doesn’t Roger fall into that category) and Aries gets easily bored and doesn’t want to provide admiration and compliments (ok, that describes me to a tee).

Aries is rules by the Planet Mars and Leo the Sun. The Sun is about the self while Mars is about aggressive energy. They are highly compatible and make a dynamite team. Aries may say things that are hurtful while Leo can be bossy and sulk. Oh, my . . . what a great way to describe the last 2 years.
The best part of the Aries/Leo relationship is the mutual admiration for each other. Aries is the initiator while Leo follows through. What a great way to describe building the log cabin and remodeling the house, Their mutual energy and passion makes for a dynamic relationship. (www.astrology.com)

I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my story. It’s just that sometimes it’s amusing to read about your personality traits between people who came together under formidable circumstances. Which is why I believe in Divine Intervention . . . God is in Control . . . or we would have never connected.

So after two years, the dance continues . . . turn up the music!

A Day Can Change Your Life

March 8, 2016 . . . a day that changed my life. After 7 long, lonely months, I had to make a change. I received a phone call that told me the crew that was supposed to build the log cabin would be there on March 8. I had spent over 5 months just to get to this point, and I was bound and determined to complete the construction.

It took days before I could gather up enough courage to go out and see the construction start and be fulfilled. I got to the property after lunch time and introduced myself to Glen, the crew chief. I stayed for a few hours while watching the process of stacking logs start.

I met the four-man crew, Glen, Raymond, Charlie and a very handsome, but quiet man Roger. There was something about Roger that intrigued me and he was also very good-looking.

The second day I showed up, Roger wasn’t there. Glen’s son-in-law was there instead. I introduced myself to him and asked, “so are you taking Roger’s place?” He said no and that Roger would show up the next day.

Long story, short version . . . Roger and I were immediately attracted to each other. After my loss, I didn’t think that I could ever feel attracted to another man. I didn’t take my sunglasses off for weeks. I didn’t want Roger to know I was watching him. Needless to say, he was watching me too.

But destiny and God had a different path for me and Roger… we collided into a wonderful and roller-coaster-ride relationship. I had to build the cabin, sell my old house, take care of a blind rescue pup, try to explain to family and friends that I couldn’t fathom the thought of going back to work. We were drawn to each other in a God-wink moment.

Little did I know God’s plan for me. John was taken away too quickly, but he left me self-sufficient and confident. He made sure that I could fulfill our dream of building the log cabin.

In the process, I met a man who melted my heart. I believe that John hand-picked the man who would be perfect for me. They have so many similarities, it’s scary… and yet there are so many differences. But, I know John knew I couldn’t exist alone… he didn’t want me to be alone and unloved.

Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to build the cabin.
Thank you, God, for bringing Roger into my life.
Thank you, God, for giving me another chance to love.
Thank you, Roger, for sticking by my side through thick and thin.
Thank you, Roger, for staying with me despite all of the obstacles.
I just give thanks…

The Ugly Duckling

When I first embarked upon the project of remodeling Annette Boxx’s house, I didn’t realize that I was reliving the Ugly Duckling story. I relate our progress of the remodel as transforming an Ugly Duckling into a Bea-utiful Swan not realizing how true to the original story the journey has been.

To refresh those who are not familiar with the original story, here is my interpretation, and only my interpretation as it relates to my situation.

The original story tells of a mother duck who hatches several eggs. One of the little birds hatched as a homely creature compared to his other siblings. He was ridiculed and taunted both verbally and physically – bullying at its best in the duck world! He wandered from barnyard to barnyard just trying to find a safe place to feel accepted. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find acceptance.

But the duckling is persistent and finds a flock of migrating swans for which he longs to join. He realizes because he is too young to fly, he cannot keep up with the Bea-utiful swans. He is taken in by a sympathetic farmer. But once again, he is not part of the clan of noisy children and others around him. He finds solitude his only recourse which is a lonely experience.

When winter finally thaws into spring, he sees a flock of swans descend upon the lake. While he hasn’t found acceptance among other ducklings, he longs to be like the Bea-utiful swans he sees on the lake. He decides that it is better to take his chances with these Bea-utiful birds than to continue to live a life of ugliness and solitude. Shocked, he finds himself taken in and accepted by these Bea-utiful birds and can feel accepted into the flock. As he gazes into the lake, he now sees himself transformed and feels the confidence, acceptance and freedom to fly with the rest of his new-found family. He, too, is now Bea-utiful and magnificent Swan.

How does this relate to our situation and project? Our Ugly Duckling house was also miserable and neglected. He couldn’t find anyone to help him and felt ostracized from the houses surrounding him. All around him, the other owners took pride in their homes and kept them neat and clean. This Ugly Duckling house was miserable, dirty and so different from the rest of the neighborhood.

He watched as new homes started building around him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have anyone to help him keep up with the “Joneses”, so he continued to deteriorate and stay ugly. “Why should I care if everyone else is improving and Bea-utifying if I can’t get help”, he cried.

Until one day, he met a couple who were willing and able to transform the situation. Reluctantly, he conceded and believed these people would change the scenery. This allowed him to fly into another phase of his life. The couple had vision and wanted to transform this Ugly Duckling house into a Bea-utiful swan.

That’s basically where my husband and I are in our Ugly Duckling Project. We acquired the house in June 2016 and are making Bea-utiful changes. While we still have several stages left to complete, it is already “molting” its ugly feathers. It has been both a personal and emotional challenge, but we can see the progress and future. This Ugly Duckling house is transforming into a Bea-utiful swan – but like the bird, it takes time and nurturing.

Thank you for those following our own Ugly Duckling story. It has been time-consuming and physically demanding (for “old” baby boomers) but also rewarding and personally fulfilling. Bea positive that this little house – although started out as an Ugly Duckling – is becoming a Bea-utiful swan. Stay tuned . . .

The Roosevelt Boys

Hi, we’re Teddy and Franky. When mom and dad need our attention, we are Theodore and Franklin, hence, she calls us the Roosevelt boys! Here is our story as told by mom.

Franklin came to his forever home in September 2015. Frankie was found as a stray and no one knows how long he wandered until Nate’s Honor Rescue took him in. What was amazing is that he is blind in both eyes and ended up with only 1 tooth left. Mac, my yorkie mix, was still around, and I took him to meet Frankie to make sure they would get along. There was no issue, and the two of them were having a good time being “boys”. It was fun to watch them play tug-of-war with all of the squeaky toys. Mac helped Frankie around the yard and the pool.

Unfortunately, less than 2 weeks after I adopted Frankie, Mac became ill. He was diagnosed with diabetes. But within 3 days his condition worsened. I was devastated the day he crossed Rainbow Bridge, and Dr. Mercak confirmed that he had a mass in his chest that caused his illness — diabetes was just one of the symptons. Thank goodness I had Frankie at home and not an empty house. We commiserated together but were very sad.

Fast forward to 2016 . . . I found love again. I was smitten with Roger immediately, but I had to make sure Frankie would be smitten with him, too. Well, there was absolutely no issue, and they are still inseparable. “Dad” loves spoiling Frankie, over-feeding and giving him treats throughout the day.

In May 2016, I called the vet because Frankie started honking and coughing.
The vet confirmed a heart murmur, enlarged heart and arthritis in his back and hip. I was devastated and called Roger immediately. I made sure Frankie had his medicines and supplements. Dr. Mercak and I discussed that Frankie is probably 14 or 15. Roger and I want to make sure Frankie lives the rest of his life comfortably and happier than he’s ever been.

In July 2017, I received a desperate call from Ann with Lost Angels. She had taken in Teddy, another stray found in the area. Teddy is also a yorkie, about 3 pounds lighter than Frankie. He is blind in his left eye and lost most of his teeth.

It took some heavy selling to Roger to take in Teddy, but he agreed. I took Frankie to meet Teddy, and we all drove home happy. Teddy took to his new home and us quickly. He is a “mama’s boy, loves his toys and enjoys nose bumping Frankie!

The Roosevelt boys bring so much joy to our home. Teddy follows Frankie around the yard and loves taking toys away from him. Old man Frankie puts Teddy in his place when he gets too close to dad or takes over his bed!

There is no better feeling than rescuing “fur-babies” and seeing them happy, secure and well-fed — thanks to Roger. Bea positive that you, too, can provide a “fur-ever” home to a dog who is looking for love, and don’t be surprised how much you will love back.

Bea-utifully Broken

“Beautifully broken” coined from a friend I had for a season.

Suffering a loss I never expected, she was there for me.

Beautifully broken, I managed to make it to the other side.

I completed a dream that I never thought I could achieve.

Beautifully broken, I met a man who gave me hope, made me feel like a woman again, made me feel loved again.

Beautifully broken — but unlike Humpty Dumpty — all my pieces have been put together again. My husband loves me despite my broken-ness and weaknesses, and he makes me feel alive again. God is Good and sometimes healing takes longer than you want and definitely longer than others want. Bea positive and you can achieve your dreams and desires.

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