Find Lucy

After the serious dry spell that we had now we have had rain every day. It doesn’t rain long but enough to help. I hope that it reached the farmers soon enough.

Today I had a call from one of my daughters telling me that my daughter in Texas has lost one of her dogs. She rescued two dachshunds a while back. Both had obviously been badly treated and were afraid of almost everyone. She and her family have been working hard to restore their trust and put their fears to rest. One of them would probably be considered to suffer from PTSD. The dog is on multiple meds for anxiety and panic attacks. While I was there visiting she eventually let me touch her but is still terrified of most things. Apparently last night little Lucy got out somehow. She is so fast. I’m not sure how it happened but my daughter is devastated.

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Lucy will not come to anyone if called. She is chipped and has a collar with her name and address but I don’t know if anyone will be able to catch her. Poor thing she is now lost and away from any kindness she has ever been shown. They also live near what is called “green belt” an untouched area designated to allow water retention and wildlife. I know they are worried that if she is there it will be difficult to find her.

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This makes me so sad. I would be lost if I couldn’t find either of my dogs and Lucy is at risk in so many ways. Dogs become part of our families and touch our hearts in so many ways. Lucy found a safe place and I hope she is found and returned there.

Danger, danger! -Disease outbreaks

This post looks at an issue that has been largely overlooked by the press and, as far as I know, anyone else.

The issue of immigration has been a hot topic mostly dealing with undocumented people flooding into the country. As a nurse I see a glaring problem that doesn’t seem to be a consideration.

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In recent months there have been outbreaks of disease connected with the influx of migrants who have been hurried through the system. There has been little time for proper medical checks to have been done resulting in some serious outbreaks.

The scary part is that the immigrants could be carrying things that haven’t been see in this country for generations. Today most people are not vaccinated for diseases like Typhoid Fever, Small Pox, Yellow Fever, Malaria (no vaccine) and others. I had injections against some of these but the vaccinations have been dropped since these diseases have not recently been a problem for us. Some of the diseases we have very seldom seen in this country such as Dengue Fever.

TB is on the rise with versions that are highly resistant. Since some people continue to refuse vaccinations there have been cases of Polio and Measles.

 

Our medical system is not ready for a major outbreak of diseases we have considered eradicated or not a danger.

We have no idea what diseases are coming into our country. It has not been talked about. Have officials even thought of this? There is no knowing. We could be facing an epidemic of epic proportions. Are we ready?

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Below are news clips that document outbreaks that have, more or less, flown under the radar.

Florida:

As state health officials investigate the source, Hepatitis A continues to spread in Florida with 119 new cases in the last week.

The new cases bring the state total to 883, with most reported incidents of the disease in Pasco and Pinellas counties. Miami-Dade (13), Broward (8) and Palm Beach (5) counties now have a combined 26 cases, up slightly from 19 a week ago. Statewide, case counts in 2019 already have surpassed those in 2018.

(Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function.

You’re most likely to get hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.

Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for people most at risk.) from the Mayo Clinic

Los Angeles:

Government officials in Los Angeles are considering ripping out all carpets in city buildings amid a typhus outbreak that has infected workers.

The disease is typically caused by infected fleas, which hitch rides on rats, and their feces. It can also be spread by cats and opossums, according to health officials. Downtown Los Angeles has been battling an outbreak since October that was linked to homeless street encampments, officials said.

(Murine typhus, also called endemic typhus or flea-borne typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Murine typhus is spread to people through contact with infected fleas. People get sick with murine typhus when infected flea feces are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin. In most areas of the world, rats are the main animal host for fleas infected with murine typhus. Murine typhus occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world where rats and their fleas live. Cat fleas found on domestic cats and opossums have been associated with cases of murine typhus in the United States. Most cases of murine typhus in the United States are reported in people from California, Hawaii, and Texas.) from the CDC

Texas: This one hit the news only because of a death. I haven’t heard if the type of flu has been identified. “Flu” covers a lot of illnesses from not dangerous to deadly.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped taking detainees at its main processing center in McAllen, Tex., after identifying “a large number” of migrants suffering from flulike symptoms, the agency announced late Tuesday. The move comes one day after a teenage migrantwho had been held at the facility died after being diagnosed with the flu.

“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the [Central Processing Center],” CBP said in a statement. “Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved.”

Medical staff at the center identified migrants in custody with high fevers and exhibiting “signs of a flu-related illness,” and they are now receiving medical treatment, CBP said.

 

 

 

The light of home

richmond-home-with-christmas-lightsIn the past my friend and I walked the neighborhood each winter. We loved seeing the houses lit for the holidays. All the sparkling lights were so festive. When you walk in the dark you can also see lit rooms in the houses we passed. People living their lives.

This morning our pastor talked about the dark and how the light of home beckons us. It made me think of the John Denver song “Back Home Again.”

“Back Home Again”

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away
The whining of his wheels just makes it colder He’s an hour away from riding on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There’s a fire softly burning, supper’s on the stove
But it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warmHey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, and hey, it’s good to be back home again

The winter can be a difficult time for those of us who crave the light. However, it is a wonderful feeling to turn into the drive and see the lights of home welcoming us. We are pulled into that feeling of belonging and peace. The light from home does draw us in. It is the place we feel secure….the place where we can rest our souls. It is a warm place in the coldest dark. Even in the darkest time that light can brighten our feelings.

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Through this winter darkness remember there is light and peace not only at home but also coming with the spring. The darkness fades and the light returns.

If you would like to hear this song:

So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.

I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know

so many questionsThere are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.

I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.

So many questions…so few answers.

A safe place

The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, and when you know your dignity, you just keep growing! That’s what we do for one another as loving people—offer safe relationships in which we can change. This kind of love is far from sentimental; it has real power. In general, we need a judicious combination of safety and necessary conflict to keep moving forward in life.  Richard Rohr

wind tree

This is an amazing statement. It is important that we feel safe. That safety has nothing to do with being safe from accidents, guns etc. It has to do with having a safe ground beneath our feet. A tree is able to grow to great heights if its roots are deeply set in the ground. The same is true of us. We can endure the winds of life buffeting our branches if we have that grounding. We can survive and be strengthened by the challenges in our lives. We can grow tall and strong.

This follows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Safety and security are the base of his pyramid. For him it has to do with  food, safe home, basic needs fulfilled. Rohr recognizes that there is more.  We all need someone in our lives to acknowledge our existence and to show us that we matter.

safe placeChange is inevitable. We need to know where our roots are held fast and then we can move with the change. We may find that grounding in God, in a person, or in a community. Where is not important. Find your ground.

 

Life is a team sport

find people

Life is a team sport. The idea of a sports “team” is that they all work together toward a goal. No one player is foremost. Without the others the game would be lost. I know that sometimes there are players who seem better than the others but that person could not go out on the field alone. Each one is important to the outcome.

Some games are not for team players….I’m thinking of tennis (mostly alone) and golf (also mostly alone). This is the place where the individual shines. They do shine at the game but I suspect that it took a team to get them there. They didn’t do it alone.

For most of us life requires a team. We need other people in our lives. Without it life is barren. I once saw a documentary about a chaplain to those on death row. The interviewer asked if he believed in the death penalty. He said no. He was then asked what he would suggest instead. He answered that he would sentence them to life in solitary confinement. For most of us this would be worse than death. Total insanity would likely be the result. We really need human contact.

For some people human contact is difficult. Social anxiety can make being with others difficult. For some, being so needy that wanting acceptance from everyone can make life unmanageable. ( a different kind of social anxiety) However, contact of some kind is crucial to our well being. For those people social media is a blessing especially if it offers a safe place to interact with others. Hopefully this contact will help move them toward enabling a face to face interaction.

When I thought about this I realized that there were people in the past who recognized like minded others through books, letters, and limited contact and who used the written word to communicate with each other. Many formed a bond and later connected in a more intimate setting. So even in the past communication in a non threatening way was possible. Now it is faster and easier.

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Never stop seeking out those who can enhance your life and offer a safe environment for exchanging thoughts and feelings. Life is a team sport. We can’t do it alone.

Hands + mind + eyes = calm

Is there something in your life that makes you feel good? Something that you like doing and it puts you in a calm place. There are several things that I do that calm my mind and my mind is peaceful. I do Mandalas. I started these after seeing the book by Judith Cornell  on Mandalas for healing.

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String of Pearls. This is a small mandala I did after having my mother’s pearls stolen. I was grieving her loss.

 

I am not artist but just creating something while in a meditative state gives me peace. I also use the book Praying in Color as a way to pray for others using drawing. Again, I am not an artist but the action is calming.

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Writing is also calming for me (most of the time). Writing poetry allow me to vent my feelings in a constructive way. I also like to play the piano.

The point of all of this is that if you can find something that is calming for you and that you like doing, use it. If you, like me, tend to binge on TV to reduce stress and keep your mind from freaking out, try something like this instead. There is something about engaging your hands, eyes and mind all at once that soothes us.

Both of these books are available at Amazon

 

 

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Sad reality?

I have been fighting the dregs of this cold for so long. I feel as if my head is twice its normal size. In addition I am cloudy….that is my brain is not working at 100%.

Sometimes I feel as if I am in a dream-scape. Everything seems altered. My thoughts are vague and it is difficult to write about anything comprehensive. If this and the last few blogs seem peculiar that is why.

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You would think that being in a dream like state would be pleasant but for me it is not. I feel drugged…without any meds. When I was young I never tried taking the few drugs that were around at that time. I never wanted to feel out of control. LSD was popular and was being touted by Timothy O’Leary. This was the late 50’s. Most people didn’t realize that LSD could be so damaging. There were friends whose trips never really ended. I never understood it and I am grateful that I felt that way. For some reason being out of control was terrifying for me.

I still don’t understand the desire to be out of control. I think I worry more about staying in control which may be why anxiety can wipe me out. That is definitely being out of control.

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It worries my so much that young people feel the need to escape reality. It is sad that real life is so disturbing that some other reality is preferred. What is happening in our world today? Why are so many children depressed, anxious and finding drugs to change their world? I wish there were something that could be done. Some way to give them the (mostly) carefree, safe childhood that most of my peers experienced.

Times have changed and I am not sure if for the better.

Can we love?

Today I have thinking about my dogs. The two of them are such a joy. They have me get up laughing and go to bed laughing. They are so loving and caring. No one else greets me at the door so excited to see that I am home. They sense when I am happy and when I am sad.

If only we could be as kind and loving as my dogs. Most of us realize how much of an example dogs are for us. It seems they are the best of us. They have been exposed to humans for so long that now we are seeing them with the same illnesses that we have. My daughter recently adopted two bonded dachshunds…Lucy and Cash. Both dogs must have had a terrible life. They are both so stressed that they are on multiple meds for anxiety. Lucy is afraid of everything…especially men. Someone was very cruel to them.

cashlucy

It almost seems that we humans created such horror for those dogs that they have PTSD, were abused and hurt beyond imagining.  We humans suffer too when life has hurt us so badly. We also suffer when, for no reason that we can see, anxiety, depression and other forms of anguish cause us to struggle to cope.

My daughter and her family are working hard to have those two dogs understand that they are safe and loved. Life would be better for everyone if we could all feel loved and safe.

What is your blankie

Today has been a good day. Physical therapy for my husband went well and he is just tired. I continue to be tired but seem to be recovering.

FH6KWHIt is so easy when you don’t feel well to get down in the dumps and let everything bother you. It’s also easy to know that’s the problem and still not be able to get past it. One thing I have learned in my life is that a messy house means a messed up me. for some reason neatness matters. I am not OCD about it and you can’t eat off my floors but I do feel better when things are in place.

I never could be a hoarder. I do have too much stuff and need to pare down but I can’t imagine living like that. Unfortunately it is another mental disorder that most people don’t understand. Those things somehow connect the person with fulfillment and safety. Do you ever wonder if there are things that do the same thing for you?

We traveled for 20 years in the Army and I learned that I can be at home anywhere and pretty quickly. I can’t think of any specific object that means home to me but it is somehow connected with things being put away. It is like a child’s “blankie.” If you could see my house now you would wonder how that could be. Maybe that is part of my current stress. My office is a wreck and that’s where I spend a lot of time.

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I think that each of us has something that helps us to feel comfortable and peaceful. Do you know what does it for you?

Today’s blessing: beautiful weather