Friday, September 16, 2011

The Gift of the Seasons

I love the gift of the seasons, because, to me they are a beautiful reminder of so many things. Like for instance, they remind me that no season lasts forever. This past summer, suffering through the hottest summer in the past 25 years, setting day after day of record high temperatures, it felt like it would never end.  Hot. Miserable. Locked inside in order to survive the inferno days.  In fact, two days ago, Sept 13th, we once again set a record high of 99. Then today came, and while the calendar officially says it is not autumn until next week, this morning I awoke to autumn.  On my morning run, I found myself ‘drinking the wind’, a term my once two year old daughter used to describe the feeling of inhaling that cold air deep into your lungs.  The walnut trees were letting loose of their yellow leaves, as the stiff wind blew them swirling down all around me. Nature’s confetti welcoming autumn.  

In a similar fashion, the seasons also remind me that change is a part of life. I can’t make summer last longer, or be shorter. I can’t make autumn come sooner, or push it back longer. The season comes when it is ready to come, whether I am ready for it or not. And so it is with life’s journey, one season may seem to never end, or perhaps we want it to never end, and yet, the reality is, the season we are in will eventually give way to a new season.

Lastly, the seasons remind me that there is something beautiful to be enjoyed in each and every season. This morning, I enjoyed homemade snickerdoodle muffins, sipping chocolately hot cocoa, snuggling in a fuzzy blanket, and that lovely smell of turning the furnace on for the first time in a long time.  This morning marked the beginning of autumn days ahead…yes, shorter days, cooler temps, world changing colors, children’s brains being expanded with learning, children’s laughter jumping in leaf piles. Of apple cider  and apple pies. Of bundling in blankets around campfire’s warmth and fireplaces casting glows on ceilings.  Of bike rides and long walks, all the while the crunching of leaves filling our ears.  And I’m reminded to count the gifts that each new season brings, for indeed they are all around me. Here. In this moment. For me to enjoy. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Thunder Dog

I receive this book, for free, from, in exchange for an honest and fair review.  

9/11 is one of those dates, where if you were alive, you probably know exactly where you were at the moment you discovered our great country was under attack.  And while 10 years have passed since that tragic day, you probably still remember vividly watching with terror the towers tumbling on your television screen.

Then there are the thousands who actually survived this horrific event.  Some have grown bitter, some still live in pain, and others, while this single day changed them and they have found a way to survive and heal and make the world a better place. And honestly, if I lived it, I'm not sure which of those responses would be mine, so I'm not judging. But I am inspired by the story of Michael Hingson, as told in Thunder Dog.

This book, Thunder Dog, is the story of Michael, and through it's pages, Michael gives us the opportunity to know what it was like for those who had to escape from the towers. Michael finds his strength down all 1,463 stairs from the 78th floor, with the help of his guide dog, Roselle. It's a story of how he chooses to fully live his life in the here and now. And one of the great things about this book is that even if 9/11 never happened, and he was never apart of it, his life story is inspirational and uplifting.  He's never let his blindness define him - he rode a bike, flew a plane, owned companies, married, traveled the world. It's a story for all of us to consider how we look at those with disabilities - do we define them by their disabilities or by their humanness? By their limitations or by their character? It's the story of the connection between humans with their dogs. I can only imagine how much greater that connection is with service dogs; but, Michael gives us the chance to witness first hand this beautiful relationship through the turning of each page. My only regret is that the story was over before I wanted to stop reading.