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Double Zeus!

October 9th, 2012 by stephanie

It was a sunny morning. And as I peeked out the window, a movement caught my eye. In the driveway was a dog. Not just any pup, but the one that supposedly lived across the street in one side of the duplex. People rarely if ever saw this creature, so the fact that he was lounging on my property told me immediately, this dog has been abandoned. Sure enough, the owner had disappeared into the night without a trace The sweet dog lay in his yard, and in mine, for the next two days mourning the loss, waiting for his master to return home. He never did. But let me tell you, this was the best thing that could have ever happened to this critter.

Late the second day, I was able to coax the little guy up to my porch. I laid out the dog bed left behind by my sweet Judge and the cutie took to it in time. The neighbors had pulled together keeping him fed and watered, and after a bit, I got him in my back yard and onto the deck so he’d be safe and sound.

But there was a problem. Zeus, as a lady who lived near the duplex informed me of his name, looked like a pitbull. And I truly thought he was. In time, Animal Control was called, but the crafty canine alluded them. It was at that point, I knew I had to act. It had been made clear that if this group catches a dog looking anything like a “Pit”, the dog is put down within about 72 hours. If that!

So move fast I did. I got online and spent hours that night trying to track down places to take the dog that now had a death sentence hanging over his head. It was so unfair. No one knew this little guy…but he was doomed to die none the less. No chance. No voice. It really struck me.

Long story short, about 10 phone calls and 32 emails later, one lone sweet voice answered my plea. It was Tennessee Death Row Dogs. Their determination and networking skills connected me with Animal Attraction, in Columbia. The next day I  packed up the pooch and headed down the road.

He was a great little traveling companion, and it was hard to hand him over, but I needed to get him somewhere fast. I had a plane to catch a few hours from the drop off, and my fence was not dog friendly. He had no where else to go.

At this fabulous location, the people were welcoming and made the transition doable. I promplty gave them a donation. I was so relieved and pleased. Zeus was sent to the vet to get neutered and for a chip, and then a foster home was quickly found.

What transpired next broke my heart. The dog at the foster home (ironically also named Zeus!) and little Zeus got into it. A torn achilles was the result. Expensive surgery followed, and a cast, and now Zeus, once again, needs a nice quiet home. If you have been thinking about a dog, a foster situation is a great way to go. A place to start. No promises. No commitment. Just your loving heart to make a place for a doggie in need until a forever home is found. I’d love for you to be a part of this story. If you can join us in this great adventure, this second chance at life for Zeus, please contact me ( We will connect you with some of the BEST people you have ever met. Really!


PS: It was later determined Zeus is NOT a “Pit”. He is a BULLY/BOXER mix. 🙂


It’s people like you and me that help care for these sweet abandoned babies (Vet bills, boarding, etc). They need us. 🙂 Please make a donation on behalf of ZEUS… WE PROMISE 100% will go to this situation and those animal response teams that assisted. If you donate directly to Tn Death Row Dogs, you will receive a tax deduction. Now, doesn’t that make it worth it! Helping the innocents and a tax write off to boot!

Easing My Way…after Sweet Baby J.

April 26th, 2012 by stephanie

As the text and Facebook messages rolled in, I was not only touched, I was blown away by the compassion and concern and the prayers. I found myself responding to their “How are you doing?” inquiries with, “I’m just easing my way into my new normal.” They seemed to understand. And it meant a lot to me that they did.

I mean, after all, to some folks, (I can only imagine) they were probably thinking, “Gosh, it’s just a dog!” But to me, my Judgers, The Judge, Sweet Baby J, had been in my home for a third of my life! I had never been in this current house without him. And I had only slept there two or three nights total without him by my side. Nights when I couldn’t get to the kennel in time after a late flight home.

The days I had with my furry friend meant more than I could ever express in words. I pondered. I would never see his face at the french doors waiting for me again, the curtains swishing back and forth due to the movement of his happy body upon seeing me drive in. I would never hear that sweet bark that announced to the neighborhood, “She’s home!!!!!” Now, when I reach to turn out the light, he is no longer stretched out along the floor by my bed or curled up on his big pillow. When I awake, he’s not there to yawn and greet me (before we both stumbled down the hall and into the kitchen). The hardest part has been not having him by my side during my morning coffee and prayer time. Each morning when I hit that particular line in my prayer book, I’d reach over, grab his tail and pray out loud, “and health, healing and long life to The J.” I guess my prayers were answered…he did after all make it to 13 years and 9 months. Not bad for a 100 pound dog. But never long enough to a pet owner.

In a way, I guess it’s a small connection to what it must have been like for the disciples when Jesus finally left them. Once and for all. It was never how they expected it to end. They were all too young! How could this have happened?! While in shock, they found themselves having to navigate, or better yet, ease their way into their “new normal”. When you’ve been through a tragedy, or experience pain or loss, it just takes some time.

Interestingly, Jesus didn’t give The 12 that much time to make the transition. They were actually up and running pretty fast. We’ll hear more about that in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, just know that I personally am easing my way…after Sweet Baby J.

Potato Salad and Ground Hogs. Is it Spring yet?

February 2nd, 2010 by stephanie

I remember one of the first first times I saw mustard and pickle relish in my potato salad. “Certainly,” I thought, “someone got this wrong”. In our family, the recipe that’s been handed down from my Pennsylvania Dutch
Great-Grandmother, is considered the one and only way to eat potatoes as a salad side dish. Let’s see: potatoes, white vinegar, boiled eggs, mayonaise, salt and pepper. Yep. That’s it. And I have to admit, I still think it is the best I’ve ever eaten. “Sprinkle white vinegar on the potatoes first,” my grandmother or mother reminds me. “It removes the bitterness.” And so it does.

But winter isn’t usually a time when people ponder a summer or spring dish like Potato Salad. Although, I have to admit, folks in the northern regions about now are longing for that first sight of Spring. Maybe that’s why Ground Hog Day managed to find its way to “holiday” status. When you crave something so desperately, it suddenly becomes very important.

But where, exactly, the day got it’s start, I truly didn’t know. A little time at the laptop uncovered Ground Hog Day as a Pennyslvania German custom dating back to the 1700s. Our European ancestors it seems brought the tradition with them to the new world. Apparently, in the “old country”, a badger or “sacred bear” was the original prognosticator of the weather.

Interestingly, February 2nd coincides with what the religious sect celebrates as Candlemas, and, it once also marked a Celtic holiday by the name of Imbolc. But back to our burrowing critter…

Punxsutawney Phil, as he is endearingly referred to these days, has been elevated to superstar status. His appearance from his hole now involves social events, food, speeches and entertainment. Crowds of up to 40,000 in attendance have been known to gather in his home of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, since 1886.

The earliest American reference to the celebration has been found in the diary of storekeeper James Morris (Berks County, Pennsylvania) :
February 5, 1841
“Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”

We, here in the South, are currently surrounded by a lovely layer of temporary winter white. But I can only imagine that our friends above the Mason Dixon (who dwell in snow for months at a time) are hoping that our little hog avoids his nap and, rather, foreshadows a sweet sight of Spring. And that, none too soon.

Just my thoughts,


Boston, Paul Revere, and a Horse Named… “Brown”?

January 24th, 2010 by stephanie

Most Americans are aware that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts.

And who doesn’t remember learning about that famous revolutionary rebellion in Massachusetts–the Boston Tea Party.

Some might even recall the story about Col. Knox transporting the guns (canons) from Ticonderoga over ice and snow on sleds and how the Patriots took Dorchester Heights in the middle of the night shocking the British the next morning (who’d been sleeping at Boston’s harbor below). That is a story made for movies.

And who doesn’t enjoy the historic tale of Paul Revere and his amazing Boston ride. In our minds we see him swinging the lantern and calling out as he dashes through the countryside, through the creeks and down the village streets. “The Red Coats are coming!” Or,maybe we remember it as, “The British are coming!” Whatever the case, the ride was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem titled Paul Revere’s Ride. The poem has become one of the best known in American history and was memorized by generations of schoolchildren.

There is no actual record of Mr. Revere’s words or message as he rode, but apparently, there is tell of the horse upon which he rode that went by the name of Brown Beauty.

Last week, another “Brown” rode through the streets of the Bay State. But this time, it wasn’t a horse. It was a man, with a dream, and a truck, in a race that would lead to a U.S. Senate seat. Just like the small, unruly band of farmers, fishermen and store owners that were determined to take on the Super Power of the world, Scott Brown accomplished nothing short of a miraculous ride himself that ended not in Lexington, but the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

In truth, the state of Massachusetts continues to play a dramatic role in America’s history and her politics. With voters numbering one Republican for every three Democrats, what happened on January 20th came as quite a shock. To not only our nation, but to the world.

I hope that these stories will help you take a fresh look at whatever great power or unthinkable odds you might be facing today. If folks who took the challenge 200 years ago (let alone last week) could beat the odds, so can you. The journey will not be easy. It usually isn’t lined with gold or convenient refreshment stands to greet you every mile, but if you just hold on, and fight to the end, the victory can be yours.

Just my thoughts.
clips that received over 500,000 views the week of this particular election
It’s the People’s Seat
other clips…
New York Times clip
Chris Matthews clip

Nothing like a lab…

October 9th, 2009 by stephanie

There  truly is nothing like a Labrador Retriever. Well, to us lab owners anyway. But it may be your precious pup, or kitty, or bird, or bunny. Whatever the creature,  at some point we all find ourselves asking, “Just who owns who around here anyway? And who runs this house? Wait, don’t answer that!” We wail as we stare them down with a smirk.

As many of you know. I am a proud owner of a very lab mix. Judge has provided numerous stories for my new book, and that book and those stories prompts others to write to me and share their’s.


So today,  I couldn’t resist sharing this story that was sent to me about “Molly.” It’s  a great way to say “Happy Friday.

I slept in after working a very late night and came around the corner to find my most precious Lab sprawled out on MY couch!  Our eyes locking–we both froze.  At this point not knowing what the other would do or what could happen next, Molly slowly moved towards the direction of the FLOOR. While I slowly walked behind her asking….”What Were You Thinking?”

After NO answer to that question, the only response I did receive was the gaze of those most adorable brown eyes. At which point the matter was completely dropped.  No need to go on….Her Actions upon retreat back to HER BED in the bedroom said it all.

 I still couldn’t help but laugh after it was all over.  I don’t think I saw those pretty brown eyes until about 1pm again that afternoon!  Every little moment writes a new  memory!  The Joys of owning a Labrador!  


No matter what your precious pet. We can all relate. They simply are gifts to us for sure while we have them. Enjoy yours this weekend.



Our Furry Friends.

September 14th, 2009 by stephanie

Pets for some folks are like family. And, for many of us singles who don’t have kids, we have dogs. Or cats. Or bunnies. Or birds….If you have not personally as yet found that quintessential quadruped of choice, you really should think about it.

I was shocked when a friend of mine called at the end of August. She’d been gone for a few weeks. When she came home, though she’d hired someone to care for her sweet cat, she arrived to find that her precious critter of 15 years was dying. The night she returned home, she found herself in the emergency pet hospital making the decision to put the beloved friend to its final rest.

When I picked up the phone today to retrieve my voicemail, I would never have dreamed that another gal, a mutual friend of myself and the girl who lost her cat, was calling to say she, now, was on her way to put down her chocolate Laborador Retriever, “Happy.”

Needless to say, I was speechless. These gals, like me, have not-yet-married. And those furry friends can become quite a part of your life. They bring incredible joy. They comfort you when you’re blue and they make you laugh. They are there when we come home to a cold dark house at the end of a long trip, or day. And they are there to greet us when we awake in the morning.

Those who have never experienced that special, amazing bond with a pet may not be able to relate to today’s thoughts. But for those of you that have, your heart I am sure goes out to my two friends.

If you have a pet, may I suggest you pat on them them a tad more tonight, walk them a bit longer and buy that bag of treats you’ve been thinking about next time you are at the store. They are worth the vet bills and the food bags and the flea and tick repellant that they cost.

So here’s to our Furry Friends. The ones God created just for us. I, for one, am so glad that He did.

Just my thoughts.

Be Careful What You Ask for.

July 18th, 2009 by stephanie

It was a gorgeous day and I knew my dog needed to be outside. I did too, but circumstances kept preventing.  At one point, I saw a squirrel on the ground by the side yard, so I hurriedly let the pup out in hopes he’d get a little exercise.

When nothing came of the chase, he wandered back in, as lethargic as before and returned to his afternoon nap.

Some time later I noticed something move by the fence again. So out the dog went as I chided, “Get it, Judge. Get it.” I was half way joking, but, this time, before I knew it, my adorable lab had a huge furry creature clenched in his jaws and was not letting loose. Screaming like a banshee, I ran toward them and hoped to part the two. I felt terrible for the trapped ground hog and was hoping to prevent the dog from the retaliation of razor sharp claws or rabies both.

Unfortunately, the ground hog did not survive the ordeal, and my dog earned a new name: killer.

As my neighbor, who graciously came to my rescue rounded up the ruined rodent, he asked how big the dog was. I opened the screen door and out walked Judge. Staring down my hound, the man quietly spoke, “Good dog.” Then, picking up the trash bag he swaggered off and back down the drive.

If only I’d have looked twice, I said to myself. If I wouldn’t have provoked the dog until I did some closer research. I probably would have gone out back, realized a huge critter was stuck and opened the gate to let the him out. But alas, I spoke too soon. My dog, to my amazement, rose to the challenge and obeyed my command without question.

It made me wonder, how many times do we inadvertently provoke someone to respond or react to a situation a certain way. Or, we instruct them to do something that results in serious consequences. Before we truly get the facts.

It’s something to ponder.

Just my thoughts and may the ground hog rest in peace. Poor thing.



April 29th, 2009 by stephanie

For those of you in need of a bit of levity today.


Here’s Oh No…it’s my mother-in-law

1 minute 20 seconds.


And for those of you into Pirates. (The Johnn Depp, Carribean-kind, not the Somali breed.)

1 min. 34 seconds






January 31st, 2009 by stephanie

So some of you have been wondering how my wilderness skills are holding out during my back to basics experiment. If Ma and Pa Kettle could do it, my motto this week had become “So Can I!” As you may know, I have attempted to try out my “worst case” scenario motif, to a certain degree of late. It was inspired by my friends and their current ice storm dilemma. (That darn global warming. At it again!)



All I can say is, boy am I glad there was a guy at the propane tank when I pulled in to fill up my little blue container before I headed home to pour it into my portable heater. (Those of you who know about these things already see where this is going.) Anyway, I had decided to dig out my kerosene heater and was ready for action.  So you can imagine my surprise when the attendant at the KOA put his hands in his pocket and just shook his head. “Ma’am.” He said calmly. “Propane won’t fit in that kerosene container.” Gulp. I was so into my new challenge I had completely forgotten that “blue” meant kerosene! Since my friends from the north (that had taken refuge in my home) were on the hunt for propane, in my mind I said, “And me too!” And off I went with my little blue container. 


Thank the Lord for propane men and people who speak “Container. (By the way, the red ones are for gasoline. I have no idea what propane is. Maybe it’s Green? But I digress…)


With a flushed face and a heart full of gratitude I scampered off to find a gas station that sold my much needed kerosene. Ironically, it was the Asian 20 something behind the counter, whose owner/father explained to me how to get the heater back into working condition.  I had placed it in my storage area and had completely forgotten how to even make it work. A few English translations by the son and wild arm swingings from the father later I got the message.  Clean it out first.


At home, I googled the model number and did some research just to be sure.  Why was I surprised they didn’t even make this little gem anymore? Hmmm. Just my luck.  The guy up near the Catskills convinced me in his review that I would blow my house up within the first 5 minutes of my attempts, while Mr. Maine assured me that I was the smartest girl alive below the Mason Dixon line.


So, funnel in hand, I poured the greasy fluid into the well and waited for the magic to begin. Within minutes the kitchen warmed up and there was a happy, fiery glow. My dog of course decided to head out to the back 40. (Never can be too safe when ole Steph is up to a new project is his M.O.). Having done a bit more research, I’d learned from Wise in Wisconsin that if you put a whistling tea kettle on top of the heater, you’d always have hot water ready to brew. Who knew!


It was then I wondered how we, the people, ever decided modern technology was the only way to go.  Now all I need is a pot bellied stove and a cold frame out back and I should be able to weather out the winter just fine. Anybody out there got any extra mason jars?


Toasty in Nashville.



Let’s Hear it for The Boy.

January 14th, 2009 by stephanie

There was actually one particular time that I can look back on as a rather defining moment. And it is that experience that finally led me to stand up and holler at the top of my lungs, “All ye single and heavy laden, paddle in my direction!”

It was as if I was in search of like minds in the sea of singleness to whom I could say, “Please. I need to know that I am not a mutation or accident that somewhere went awry in the evolutional relationship chain.” I simply needed to know that others like me, out there somewhere, had woken up one morning and found that they too had grown up, and gotten single. Ugh. There. I said it.

If you are reading this, chances are pretty good, that you, too, have finally hit that point. And if not, you probably will. Think about it. Whether you have not-yet-married, have recently divorced, or have found your self an unsuspecting widow/er, unless you beat the odds, it will happen. You will one day realize that you, too, have grown up and gotten single.

So, for now. There are no children or posterity in my life. I have a dog to fill that void.
You know how it is. We singles and our dogs. Or cats. Or birds. Or Geckos. Our parents have even succomed to calling them Granddogs, etc.. My mother has, at least. She is such a trooper. My grandmother has taken to calling him “old faithful”. He is the closest thing to a grandchild my mother and grandmother have ever had from me. This dog is my pride and joy and brings hours of smiles and laughter. He is my gift from above, and I am praying he lives to be 50.

I refer to my dog as, “The Boy”. So does my mother. If I disappear at some point, and fall off the face of the earth for a few weeks, chances are good that Judge has gone on to his eternal reward and that I am in deep seclusion somewhere undergoing “healing” or have checked myself into the nearest monastic retreat for seclusion. Sad, but true.


If you are a single, with a beloved pet, you totally get it. But enough for now. We’ll revisit this topic again– later. Stay tuned.


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