Fostering – Year Two

I’ve been super busy this year, so I’m behind on blogging. I have a different job, trying to get books completed and published, and yes, I still foster dogs for the Humane Society, which will be this blog’s update.

Last summer, I ended my foster blog with my very first foster, Bree. She had been with me almost a year. Truthfully, I was ready to throw in the towel and just keep her. She fit in well with my canine family, and sadly no one was making inquiry’s about her.

But a little voice in my head, said give it one more shot. It told me “she’s ready”. So I took new photos, composed an updated bio, and sent it to the foster coordinator. Three weeks passed. Nothing.  “She’s ready,” the voice whispered again.

On July 5th, (after having Bree 13 months)  my best friend and I took our regular morning walk. After our jaunt, I got into my car and checked my messages. One was from the shelter. Someone wanted to meet Bree.

My heart  stopped. As I drove home, I had to talk myself into returning that call. I couldn’t be selfish. I didn’t get into fostering to adopt.

I phoned her potential mom. She explained she’d been wanting a dog, but gone through a rough period in her life, and wasn’t able to adopt until now.

“I’m ready,” she told me. She’s ready. At that moment I knew my time with Bree was over.

Happy but bittersweet tears filled my eyes as Bree and I took that final drive. Within an hour, Bree had left to start her new life. I’m fortunate, I get to visit Bree periodically, and she’s grown into a self-confident, beautiful dog. She’s in her forever home and well-loved, and that’s the goal.IMG_2285 (1)

Dodge had been with me before, but he was returned to the shelter due to unfortunate circumstances. Yet, my conscious bothered me, and I couldn’t bare leaving him there. I drove to the shelter to re-fostered him – fifteen minutes before his life was scheduled to end.

Dodge is supposed to be here.

Dodge is the quirkiest dog I’ve fostered. He had no clue how to be a dog. He would sit on the sofa and look at me, as if to say, I don’t trust you. Because he didn’t.

But time is a wonderful thing. He didn’t trust me, but he loved my other dogs. And spending time with them helped him flourish. He began to put his head under my hand for me to rub, then one evening as everyone crammed on the sofa to be next to me, I noticed for the first time, Dodge was leading the pack. He wanted to snuggle, which was huge.

I received a call about him three weeks after Bree was adopted. A lovely lady was searching for a service dog, and she thought Dodge may be a good fit. We met. He sat quietly next to her as she gently stroked the top of his head. It was a perfect match

Dodge, who once was near death, went to his forever home as a service dog. Now we know why Dodge needed to be here.

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Just a added note: I mentioned to his foster mom how much he enjoyed doggie companions, and she later adopted another dog, Piglet, from the shelter. 

I love them all, but Harris truly captured my heart. He was a little, black guy. Very quiet. The foster coordinator chose him for me because no one noticed him sitting in his kennel.

Harris was pretty much the perfect dog. (except he was a kitty box cleaner!)

He got along with everyone, he didn’t destroy stuff, he just like to be close to his person, and he would go to great lengths to be near me. It wasn’t long before I got an interested caller.

While we waited for his meeting, a pleasant woman and her twelve year old daughter approached and asked if they could pet him. I said yes, I thought it’d be okay. The lady and her little girl became instantly enamored. The feeling was mutual.

They left us and his potential came. They decided to take him. I had an odd feeling, but they seemed nice enough, and I didn’t have a reason to say no. A week later I received a text asking if I would take him back. His new owner didn’t think he was happy with them.

Harris came home. The shelter has a huge adoption event every year. I’d planned on taking two of my fosters. One had just been spayed, and it was too hot to take her, so I asked if I could bring Harris instead.

As we waited in the playpen, people came to visit the brightly, colored fosters. Little Harris, the black dog was virtually ignored, though he tried his best to gain attention.

Near the end of the day, I saw a hand rub his head, out of the corner of my eye. “What is this dog’s name?” ”

“Harris,” I answered.

“Harris!” a young girl shouted.

I looked up and the mother and daughter who we first met before he was adopted stood over him and were loving on him. They explained they’d came back that day, wanting to adopt him. They  were disappointed when they found out he was no longer available. I explained the adoption didn’t work out, and he was back on the market.

Needless to say, Harris happily went to his new home. IMG_3184.JPG  Didn’t I say he’d go to great lengths to cuddle? When the sofa was full, Harris  would lay on the back like a cat.

Molli was a stunning young girl. She’d been surrendered by her owner for biting someone, and many biting circumstances come with blanks to fill in, and that was her case. (i.e. dogs normally will give numerous warnings before they bite, unless they’re startled)

But Miss Molli was the perfect lady the short time she was here. She was extremely shy, but blossomed with patience. Because she was so pretty, she had quite a few inquiries, but none were a good fit.

She went to a boutique rescue, instead, one that only adopted to more affluent adopters.

The rescue had her a week before she found her true forever home. She’s doing wellIMG_0609

Jigsaw. Jigs was a big ‘ol sweetheart, but a bit misunderstood. We assume from a dent in his side, he’d been abused at some point in his life, which made him standoffish, and his aloofness made it hard to find his true forever home.

He had been adopted and returned before I fostered him. For the most part he was a great dog. He wasn’t a cuddlier, which was fine with me. I had a ton of those. The biggest issue was Jiggy  wouldn’t walk inside through the backdoor. He’d go outside to do his business, but refused to come in.

I had to leash him (sometimes that meant a chase) and lead him indoors. It’s speculated this is where the abuse stemmed, but we can never be sure. I also took him to the adoption event, and he found a home. This adopter also gave off a negative vibe, but again, I had no real reason to refuse. Sure enough, he was returned.

In November, a lady who’d just lost their 15 year old dog called. She wanted give a Jigsaw a loving home. I explained his strange habit, told her he was heartworm positive, but that didn’t faze her. She and her husband wanted Jiggy.

I took him for a meet and greet, and that was it. His parents are semi-retired, and Jigs has become a seasoned traveler. NQKI3685.JPEG                                                        Jigs relaxing in his home.

Lady Tremaine was the yappist dog at the shelter. Every time I’d walk past her kennel, she barked, and she always had a frown on her face. (yes, dogs can frown).

One day, I offered her a treat. At first, she seemed surprised by the attention. After a feeding her a few times, I opened her kennel, looped the lead around her surprised neck, and took her to the playpen.

This noisy girl turned into mush. She wallowed all over me and gave me a ton of kisses. At the time, I was foster full, but I always made a point to visit her .

It’s never great space-wise at the shelter. One afternoon, I received a call that she was scheduled to be put down because they were overflowing. Did I want to take her? I really didn’t have room either, but she was too good to die just because they needed a kennel.

Lady T, came home with me. I had her exactly three weeks when the call came. She had a potential adopter. We went to meet her new family. Unfortunately, Tremaine was less than thrilled. Her job, or so she believed, was to protect me from everyone.

While many people would’ve walked away, her adopter said she was impressed with Tremaine’s guarding skills. A volunteer trainer happened to be at the shelter that day, and he advised on how to proceed. Soon, she warmed up enough to go to her forever home.

Later they adopted another urgent, a playmate for her. Lady T, now Trina, is doing excellent in her home.

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Adorable is the best word to describe Chava. My friend who takes doggie photos for the shelter texted me and said if I was looking for an easy going foster, this girl would be the one.

And she was right. Chava has a precious personality, cute as a button, and just pleasant to be around. My mother fell in love with this girl. I think if she hadn’t had a brood of her own, she would’ve adopted her.

Chava got along great with everyone, she loved to play, and gave she the sweetest kisses. I waited for a couple of months before I posted her.

It didn’t take long for her forever dad to snatch her up! Her name was changed to Autumn, which fits, and she’s running the house, spoiled rotten, like she should be. I wish I had more to say about her, but it would just be me gushing on and on about how great she is.

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Ricardo was an invisible dog. Now he’s pretty good size, but he was so quiet in his kennel, that I always walked passed him. As did potential adopters.

I met him one afternoon, (and after I vowed, no more fosters for a while) and because he was so sweet and accommodating, I took him home. Plus, he’d made the “bad” list and I didn’t want to see such a wonderful guy go down. He deserved a chance.

Ricardo (Ricky) was a super gentle boy, mildly destructive, I discovered, but no one ever bothered to train him. I got him potty trained, turned him on to toys instead of my things, (worked most of the time). He really just needed to learn how to behave, which he did.

He hung around about two months before he met his new parents. They thought their apartment was too small for him, so they bought a house where he’d have room to play. Yeah, he’s the king.

Ricardo is now Ralphie. He jogs daily, has tons of toys, and lives in a lovely new home full of love. He’s doing great in his new life.IMG_2342.JPG                                          Ricardo:  Another one with a “fun” personality.

Bosco was one of the few dogs I’ve fostered that wasn’t urgent. I saw his intake picture, and I thought to myself, if no one adopts him, I’m going to foster him. I planned on waiting a while, but another dire situation came up, and so Bosco came home with me.

He was everything I thought he’d be; a wonderful, submissive doll. He refused to sleep on a bed, unless it was mine. He insisted on laying against me…then he snored all night.

I knew once Bosco was posted he’d find a home quick, and I was right. His new dad had gone through personal issues, and when they met, this man’s sad face immediately lit up.

He sat down in the middle of the play pen in his dress clothes, (with a tie) and allowed Bosco to wallow all over him and smothered him with kisses. His adopter’s mother came with him, and she patted me and said, “he needs Bosco.”

Bosco is doing what he does best, making his new dad happy.IMG_E3743.JPG

I always say fostering isn’t for the faint of heart, and while there are so many happy endings, occasionally some are not. I ended up losing two fosters this year, both still break my heart.

I want to mention them, not to bring everyone down, but because they mattered. They deserve an acknowledgement.

First, is Roxy. She was a beautiful, wild child, the smartest dog I’d ever met. I couldn’t trick her but once. She caught on to whatever I was trying to get her to do, and most often refused to do it again.

She was strong willed, strong minded, and those attributes along with super intelligent are great, but only if they can be controlled. Sadly for Roxy, they could not. She was too aggressive to be adopted out. She just couldn’t be socialized. She’ll always be special, and I believe she’s at peace now wherever she is.

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Romeo was my precious boy. He led a charmed life before he came to me. His former mom had to be put into assistant living and couldn’t take him. Someone had the bright idea to surrender him to the shelter. Well, he would have none of that, and he let everyone know he wasn’t happy to be there.

But the office personal brought him out often. With them, he showed off his pleasant personality. Still, the kennel staff thought him a danger, and he was slated to be put down, which is where I came in.

I was asked to foster.  I fell in love with this sweet, massive boy, and subsequently adopted him. Romeo became a part of my family. I only had him a few months. A stroke hit his spinal cord, and paralyzed, him. There was nothing left to do but let him go. I miss that big lug every day, but he so brightened my life while he was in it. While our time was short, he left me with wonderful memories.IMG_1167.JPG

The best way to mend a broken heart is to fill it with love.

Leticia had been my foster since June, and she had no takers. I finely got a call at the end of December. The adopter stood us up. I decided that day, regardless, she was going to her forever home. This little mess is a member of my pet family, and we’re happy she’s here.IMG_3315I still have three foster babies who need their forever homes. Once they are set, I plan to take a break. I have house redo’s and repairs. I can’t do them with a houseful of dogs.

I also have another project in the works, and it is associated with the shelter. Hopefully, that’ll pan out soon and be successful, and save many more lives.

Once I’m settled, I’ll foster one dog at a time. My list will be much shorter next year. Until then, consider joining me as a foster. It’s a rewarding experience. Yes, it can be hard on the heart, but it’s good for the soul.

2017-07-10 (2).png                             My initial meeting with my first foster, Bree, two years ago. 

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Have You Found Fulfillment?

Fulfillment the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted.

“winning the championship was the fulfillment of a childhood dream”

getty_485129078_94646I believe what we work and strive for in life is fulfillment. To go to sleep at night and be completely satisfied on what was accomplished, even if the goal wasn’t attained.

How do you get fulfillment? Family, career, or volunteering/giving of oneself, maybe through a religious sector? All the above?

Personally, I think fulfillment comes from within. To become fulfilled, we must challenge ourselves to grow. Connect to something larger than who we are.

Happiness, or fulfilment is a byproduct of action. Those actions are not always easy, in fact, in most cases they’re difficult.

For me, it’s my writing. Fostering dogs and helping the shelter. It’s working with my kids at school. I find fulfillment in spending time with my family close and extended. And hanging out with my friends. Love to you all.

To get that place, I had to let go. Of anger and resentment. Letting go of toxic people. Omit the negativity or those who wanted to use me for their personal gain. Manipulations come in all forms and there are many who will take advantage, if allowed.

If someone is constantly making you mad, on purpose or inadvertently, or you find yourself jumping through hoops to please and can’t, or you’re doing all the giving without any getting, you ARE being controlled. Been there, but not anymore.

I have also come to realize I’m not the only stubborn person in the world. I cannot control others, in what they do or how they think.

Nor am I in control of what happens to me. My life didn’t go in the direction I planned. This doesn’t mean I can’t plan, determination is a great tool, but nowadays, I expect the unexpected. I’m aware deviations are going to occur.

Fulfillment is knowing you are where you’re supposed to be in that moment. Understanding the highway you’ve traveled had many twists, turns, and bumps, but you’ve arrived. For now. But your journey is not over, and you know more obstacles are ahead, yet, you follow the path anyway.

Finally, fulfillment is not about fighting the universe. I found fulfillment once I quit trying to make things happen. I allow myself to be led, and while the ride can be treacherous, I’m happier than I’ve ever been.2017-08-20 (5)

What about you? Are you fulfilled?

 

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Christmas Holidays – What I Miss

Christmas. You can feel it. See it. Hear it, and yes, you can even smell it. The holiday season is in full swing. The hustle, the bustle of shopping, parties and celebrations, or the clicks of a mouse ringing in the air to purchase those online gifts.

Personally, I enjoy the holidays and I always have.

It was my father, who loved to party, and my grandmother’s favorite time of year, so I inherited their exuberance for the upcoming festivities.

Even so, traditions over the years have changed. I mean, I get it. Times have changed. Lives are so much busier than they were thirty or forty years ago. Families are always on the go. Who has the time?

But still there are a few new customs that have popped up in recent years that have me scratching my head and makes me yearn for the old days.

Retail Adverting/Selling Christmas Presents, Décor, etc. after Thanksgiving

I’m aware, this practice bugs everyone I know. Christmas items displayed before Halloween, excuse me, I’ve seen a Christmas aisle in a hobby store as early as July. Drives me insane. It definitely takes away some of the holiday’s specialness, spirit, and excitement.13502041_10206732034647696_9110129857092058812_n

I have to wonder, do stores actually sell the products this time of year? I rarely see anything marked down to bargain prices, and the aisles have very few shoppers browsing, yet Christmas items seemed to be exhibited earlier to as each year passes.

I have to believe the merchandise sells or marketers would abandon the lunacy.

Outdoor Decorations

This is still done, but a lot is commercial. Seriously, what’s with all of the cartoon inflatables? They have nothing to do with the holiday. I’ll let a penguin or something wintery slide, but you cannot put a Santa hat on a minion and turn it into a Christmas character.IMG_1625

Where are the lights, Christmas Trees, (or at least decorated trees in the front yards), and the Nativity scenes? My family used to drive through local neighborhoods to view the Christmas lights. Many neighborhoods even had contests to see who had the best outdoor decorations.

This is a tradition that was even carried on when my kids were growing up. In fact, they still enjoy the excursion. But residents don’t “light up” their yards like they once did. Again, I’m sure it goes back to time and expense.

Nowadays, you have to drive through parks or other designated areas to get a view of twinkling lights. Other than having to pay a load of cash per carload, that’s fine. Most exhibits are well-done and enjoyable, but I do miss my neighbor’s raw creativity.

(Side note: I loved to decorate the exteriors of my home – it’s been stated that I used enough lights to land planes. Unfortunately, as I’ve “matured,” I’m less confident in ladder climbing and hanging  lights at the same time, so I’ve stopped the practice.)

Shopping in Stores

There was a time I made a huge list of gifts I intended to buy for family and friends. Then I made a day of going out a purchasing everything on my list. I didn’t mind the traffic or the long lines. Even with the crowds, people smiled more and seemed friendlier. Happy. Something about this time of year truly does bring out the brighter side of everyone’s personality.

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I realize this is still an available option, and as someone who is addicted to retail therapy, I do make it to the stores and shop. Still, a lot of my buying time is spent online, not only for convenience, (I can shop in my sweat pants) but there’s a vast more selection and availability. Online shopping is just more practical, only sometimes I wish the world would disregard practicality and enjoy.

Unwrapping

Here again is convenience, and I’m all for quick and easy when it comes to saving time, but I sure do miss the waiting with anticipation, shaking and guessing what’s inside a beautifully wrapped package under the tree, then ripping off the paper to discover the surprise.

I know,  wrapping is time consuming and once the present is opened, the paper is nothing more than trash. Clean up is a pain.IMG_1632.jpg

Gift bags are so much handier. They’re easier to transport. Once you’ve opened the present, you can put the gift back inside and carry it home, plus, they’re reusable. But still, can’t you just hear the wrapping paper tearing followed by shrieks of joy?

I use gift bags for Secret Santa’s and whatnot, but my family still gets wrapped gifts. (Gift bags are also too easy to peek inside!)

Colder Weather

Growing up, I seemed to recall cooler weather Thanksgiving through New Year. That may be a distorted memory.

Anyone who know me well, knows I’m not a fan of cold weather, and I understand we have no control over the weather, I do believe it ought to be a law that the air must be on the colder side during this time of year. (No blizzards or ice, please. Just jacket weather.)

I say this because I do have the distinct memory of wearing shorts on Christmas Eve one year. I live in Central Texas, therefore, one never knows what will happen weather-wise at Christmas. It may be thirty degrees or ninety.

I also remember waking up on Christmas day to the sound of the heater running. Smells lingered from the kitchen where my mom was already up cooking. I’d snuggle back under my covers and try to make myself go back to sleep, but couldn’t because I was too excited. IMG_1585.JPG

This year, I’m hoping for the fifty-sixty range so I can at least wear longer sleeves. The extra chill in the air seems to enhance the holiday. I mean it’s no fun drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace while running the A/C.

Big Family Get Together’s

Our family used to get together EVERY holiday, but the most memories I have are the one’s from Christmas. We’d all get dressed up. Everyone would come to our house on Christmas Eve. Mom would cook all day, Daddy would taste test and go buy the booze. I was in charge of cleaning house.

Around five thirty, everyone would start to arrive. We’d eat, drink, and then Dad would take us out to shoot fireworks. We’d come back inside and low and behold, Santa had made his visit and presents were piled high around the tree.

The present opening would begin.

After everyone left and my stash was safely in my room, mom and I would clean up the wrapping paper, and then I would go back and inspect my gifts.

The next day, Christmas, we’d go to my grandmothers or great-aunt’s for more family time. Once more, we’d eat together and socialize. Occasionally, other family members would travel from out of town, and we’d have additional packages to unwrap.

I do miss those days, but most of those good people are gone and the rest of us grew up. We all have our own traditions, which is great, too, even if they’re much quieter rituals.

Marry Christmas, everyone.  From the Jupe/Haney’s.

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Required Quiet

Quiet. Sometimes you get all caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget what quiet sounds like. But peacefulness is something that we need to treat ourselves to on a regular basis. Surrounding ourselves in stillness gives us time to reflect, not just upon our lives in general, but the paths we have traveled, and the direction we may be heading.

I had the pleasure of spending time in the country yesterday at our RWA annual writers retreat. The event lasts a full weekend. Unfortunately, other obligations only allowed me to devote a day, but those few hours were enough to fill my bill, and gave me energy to recharge, contemplate, and move forward.

Once I left the semi-metropolis of Waco, Texas and entered in the “open” zone, the pressures in my life and the stress depleted. Work duties, (I’m in a new position, and I’m playing catch up which is causing me to panic at times), faded away.  The fact my house always needs cleaning, I should watch what I eat, and everything else that bothers me, disappeared as I drove across the near-deserted, hilly highway.672

Only me, the open road, and the radio as I happily hummed along with the Thompson Twins. (I like 80’s music, sue me). While many perceive Texas as flat, this ranch is located in the midst of rolling hills, and I even enjoyed the tad bit of autumn, which was a pleasant surprise since we get so little of the season. By the time I reached the cabin, my creativity was in full bloom and I was ready to write.662

It was a pleasure catching up with my friends and fellow writers, overindulging in unhealthy snacks, and because of lesser distractions, I was able to get a good deal of edits completed on my upcoming release, Afraid to Breathe. The added bonus was the peace. Only sounds of nature invaded the tranquility. 667

But I couldn’t remain indoors the whole time. I took frequent walks to not only refresh and revitalize, but to marvel at the beauty and silence around me. The warm, fall breezes blowing against my skin felt amazing, and the scents of crunching leaves and cedar added a blissful reminder of the approaching holidays and generated that little kid excitement inside me.

It wasn’t long enough before it was time to head back to the real world, but I came home in a much better frame of mind. The sad thing is, I toyed with not going this year, but I’m glad I decided to make the trip. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make a huge difference, and for me, enjoying the peacefulness was just what I needed.

 

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Believe in Yourself and Follow Your Heart

When I was young, I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t expect to do much with my life. As I entered adulthood, my goals were to get married, have kids, and maybe hold a supplement type of job.2017-09-26 (5)

Nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed being a mom, still do. While my marriage had its ups and downs, I was okay in mine for a while. But just okay. A big part of me felt incomplete. I thought maybe I should do more.

Except what?

I drifted, uncertain if I could do anything well. Then my world fell apart. Doubts within myself skyrocketed. The final years of my marriage, I lived in a state of dark, emotional limbo until I hit my version of rock bottom.

It took another five years to pick myself up. I knew I didn’t have a choice, I had to figure it out. My greatest desire was to continue my education. I always felt like I missed out not going to college.

One day while having lunch with my son, who was a sophomore at Texas A&M, I voiced my dissatisfaction over my lack of not having a college degree. He looked at me like I’d turned purple and said matter-of-factly, you can go, Mom. Lots of women your age are going online.

I went home that day and signed up. In 2011, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Business.

My next goal was to become a published author. It was something of a disappointment to find out most romance writers do not make a living doing what they love, but I didn’t stop. I couldn’t. I’d been bitten by the bug, and I had to power through. I was ecstatic when I was finally published, and I’ve since published (or to be published) five books. While I’m still not a New York Time’s bestselling author, I’m happy where I am in my writing career and will continue to move forward.

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Still, I needed to make a decent living. That’s been an uphill struggle, even with my education. I’ll admit, I made some missteps—or mistakes, along the way, but I’ve learned to listened to my gut, my heart, (and my mother). In doing so, I’ve discovered the direction I am supposed to go.

Three years ago, I found myself working in a local elementary school as a paraprofessional, assisting children who required additional help in their studies. Days were chaotic. There were times I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. Yet, amid the chaos, I knew I’d found a home.

But I also knew I wasn’t finished. I had to take one more step. I had to become a bonified teacher. It’s been an uphill climb, and there were many times I wanted to throw in the proverbial towel, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Today, at the age of 59, I accepted the position of the Special Education Resource/Inclusion teacher. My first teaching position. There are still trials and tribulations ahead, but there’s joy, too.2017-09-26 (3)

I realize there many layers to peel away, and I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed. I know there’s more to come. I truly believe in me.

 

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A Tribute to Houston and its Heroes

As we’re all aware, the city of Houston, Texas suffered categoric flood damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  I know everyone joins me in sending heartfelt prayers, thoughts, and good vibes to the great citizens of this fair city. An extra thank you goes out to who have made the sacrifices to perform daring rescues or the responders on the sidelines, feeding, clothing, and housing those in need.

You are all heroes.

Though the suffrage from this disaster is heartbreaking, I’ve read countless accounts of how the people in this great city have come together. This doesn’t surprise me. I lived in Houston or near the Houston area for thirteen years.

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My son was born in Houston and he and his wife moved back after he graduated college. (They’re fine, by the way.) I’m not a big city person, but if the opportunity arose, I’d have no problem living nearby or in the city itself.

Why would I even consider the moving there after what just occurred? Good question. My first few weeks in Houston weren’t the best. I’d go as far as to say, Houston hated me, and wanted me to leave. I’ll elaborate.

My initial experience in rush hour traffic resulted in totaling my car on the 610 loop. It was one of those things…everyone braked except me. I slammed into the car in front of me. This was before seat-belt laws, so I took a pretty hard jolt. I was okay physically, but emotionally, I was more wrecked than my car.

I stood on the side of the highway bawling while a policeman tried to interview me. The poor guy I hit couldn’t have been nicer. He just kept saying it was okay I totaled his vehicle. Once the cars were towed, and the police were finished, my then husband had to take me to happy hour. I can’t recall how many margaritas it took to calm me, but I drank quite a few.

The next week I had a craving for a Hershey bar with Almonds. At midnight. I lived in the big city, so no problem, right? Something was still open. I hurried down the stairs of my fourplex and missed the bottom step. I tumbled onto the concrete, and I sprang my ankle. My husband had to carry me back upstairs,, ice my ankle down, and listen to me whine. Teach me to go out for chocolate late at night, but just a side note; He felt sorry for me. I did get my candy.

And week three? Hurricane Alicia blew through. She wasn’t quite as damaging as Harvey, but she was a force to deal with. Her appearance was unexpected, she turned at the last minute, and I didn’t get a chance to leave. I sat alone with my cats on the top floor of my apartment complex, listening to the winds howl. No electricity, no water. We had a covered porch, so for fun, I stepped outside. (i.e. I was very young) The rain was blowing sideways, not hitting my door and the porch was dry. Then it became eerily quiet, and rays of sunshine were peeking through the thick clouds. The eye was passing overhead. The winds picked back up. I looked outside again and the rain blew in the opposite direction, right at me soaking my porch. Later, after the worst had passed, we drove out of the city through the rising waters. Everything in our area was back up and running within the next few days.

I may’ve forgotten a lot of things in my life, but that day is imprinted in my memory bank. I’ll never forget it.

So after those experiences (and there were others), why would I return? The people. You’ve seen it on the news, the internet, and read about it in the paper. The cities wonderful citizens come from all over the world. I can probably count on one hand how many native Houstonian’s I encountered, but the majority of residents are friendly, warm, and amazing people, like those the media are showing day in and day out.

I think their spirit is somehow infectious and why so many are rushing from different areas to help rebuild. Those wonderful souls who call Houston, Texas their home is the reason the city will survive, rebuild and become even a greater metropolis.

God Bless Texas. God Bless Houston.

 

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Change

I have a confession to make. I’m a huge procrastinator. Some say I’m a professional. Especially when it comes to make big changes. I’m probably like a lot of people. Once I get comfortable in my routine, I prefer not to rearrange it, even if I need to.

But as they say change is inevitable, yet the word “change” often makes people uneasy.

Our outer world is constantly evolving. There are types of changes that are uncontrollable and not within our grasp. Nature comes to mind. A flower can be a bud in the morning and an opened bloom in the evening. Think about a clear beautiful, spring day that develops into a terrifying afternoon storm. Or just day into night and visa-versa.

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Trends, such as Formica counter tops were once favored and now granite is all the rage. Television’s Trading Spaces was once a fav, and now Chip and Joanna are the “it” show. And don’t get me started on the confusing movement of social media. Anyone remember My Space? Gone. Hello Facebook!

What about fashion? Men, long hair in the 60’s and 70’s, then to short, and back to long, etc. Facial hair or clean shaven? Who knows? Ladies, who wore shoulder pads and had big hair in the 80’s? And skinny jeans or flares, who can keep up?

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Of course, most of those changes are a choice, and they’re easy to make.

Personal changes are the most difficult and we often find ourselves resisting that type of change. Ever wonder why? Perhaps it’s the risk or fear of the unknown or maybe we just don’t believe in ourselves. People will remain in bad marriages, or continue unhealthy habits, or stay in overly stressed jobs because of the perception to change.

It’s an interesting predicament we place ourselves in. Why do we have such a hard time initiating and following through with our desire to change? Behaviorist state, that behavioral change is rarely a discrete or single event; behavioral change occurs gradually, over time, however, we tend to view it in such a way, that it’s frightening.

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Unbelievably, a linear progression through the stages is not the norm. Individuals tend to move back and forth through the phases, re-cycling until the change becomes fully established.

There are many reasons why people postpone personal changes.

Sometimes it’s a gut feeling. You know the change is good, however, emotions get in the way and distort, forcing you avoid the changes your life will benefit.

Anxieties over uncertainties can prompt a cycle where you repeat painful or unproductive patterns, which is familiar but emotionally unhealthy.

If you assume complex personal change is effortless and a complete metamorphosis, you’re going to fail.

Humans naturally approach what’s effortless and pleasurable and we avoid the tough, tense, or painful. Yet, sometime the tendency to do what comes intuitively can be self-sabotaging.

Change is challenging.

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So, is it possible to get past the change barriers, especially when the cost is breaching that particular roadblock to move forward in a better life?

We’re all a work in progress, so I’m going to say YES!

As you may suspect, I’m writing this because I’m facing a huge change in my life. It’s a good change, I’ll benefit personally and professionally. The change itself does not scare me, but the hurdles I must leap to get there terrifies me. I fear I won’t jump high enough, but I have to.

Therefore, I’m challenging myself by exposing my anxiety. I will not leave you hanging. More will come…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get off my procrastinating rear and get to work on changing.

 

Debra Jupe is a romance/suspense author and she likes to read genres similar to what she writes, such as Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, and Linda Howard. She can be found at http://www.amazon.com and https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/.signing-a-book (3)

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