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Emmy The Therapy Dog

Having a dog will bless you with many of the happiest days of your life, and one of the worst.  Betsy Farrell

By the time you read this, my husband’s hip replacement surgery will be successfully completed and he will be on the road to recovery. When we found out he needed surgery in January, we debated foregoing our month’s stay in Arizona with our friends, Robert and Joyce, and scheduling surgery instead. But my husband desperately wanted to get away from the Wisconsin winter for a while, so we went as planned. Even if he couldn’t hike the mountain trails like in the past, Michael figured he could at least lounge by the pool and walk outside in sunnier weather. He didn’t know he was going to have an adorable, enthusiastic companion on his strolls. Her official name is Emerald Heart. She’s a Cavachon mixed breed, a combination of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Friese.  Emmy provided better emotional therapy for us both than anyone encountered in the Sports Medicine/Orthopedic Clinic.

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My New Year’s Nonresolution

Hope if the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

Emily Dickinson

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A Message from Mom

I was a late in life baby. My mom was forty-three when I was born and my dad was fifty. When her monthlies stopped, she thought she was entering her change of life. Surprise! She was pregnant with me.

My mom and dad already had two children; my sister, Judy, was nine and my brother, Jerry, was six. They were both working hard to keep our small family farm going, and now a new baby came along to complicate things. But Mom rolled with the flow.

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No Escape from Covid

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

My newsletter this month was going to be about our return to travel after two long years of Covid. In 2020, we signed up for an ocean cruise to Norway and Iceland, figuring by 2021, a vaccine would be developed and Covid would be under control. We figured wrong, so we postponed the trip for another year, until August 2022, along with our travel buddies, Robert and Joyce. Nothing was going to stop us now. We got our second booster shot. As an extra precaution, I wore my mask in public places and stopped going to Zumba class at the Y because all the huffing and puffing spread droplets like crazy. I packed my suitcase weeks in advance and followed our destination cities on the weather channel every day. I bought new waterproof hiking shoes. I packed gloves, a wool hat, and my zip-in fleece lining for my rain resistant jacket. I was ready for anything!

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The True Confessions of a Bibliophile

“If you want to be a writer, your first stop should be the library.”
Angela Shelf Madearis

I confess: I’m never without a book (or two or three) nearby. I love sniffing new books. The sound of a turning page calms my jangled nerves. The feel of a book in my hands is a comfort and a joy. I’m a true bibliophile. This past month I’ve probably touched almost a thousand books. No, they weren’t books sold at my book launch in May. If I sold that many copies of my titles, I’d pop open the champagne and indulge in a triple caramel cashew sundae! I’ve been organizing books for my mission of getting kids to read over the summer called Books to Grow On.

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Move over Thelma and Louise II

My favorite Mother’s Day memory involves a red Solera, a cell phone, and the Interstate highways. In 2013, our daughter, Megan, newly returned to the states from eight years in the Middle East, was graduating from a radio documentary program at the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine. Our delayed celebration coincided with her institute showcase and required a flight to Maine. My husband, Michael, returned to Wisconsin alone, because on the Monday after graduation, Megan and I began our epic Mother/Daughter Road Trip. She had accepted an internship in Marfa, Texas, 2,377 miles away, and needed me to drive with her. It’s great when your adult child professes a need for your company. Since I was newly retired from teaching, I enjoyed ample free time, so I jumped at the chance to travel with my daughter.

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My Fall from Grace

In my last newsletter, I wrote about how nurturing gratitude in challenging times can lead to an inner condition of grace.  As we experience the ups and downs of everyday life, we have two tools at our disposal to transform our practice of gratitude into a state of grace. First we have knowledge which provides the vision and understanding of how grace reveals its presence in our life. We also have direct experience that offers us validation that grace is manifest in daily living.  Knowledge and experience guide us on the path of transformation.

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Gratitude in the Time of Covid

As we enter into the third year of Covid, I’ve been working on my mental outlook. When the vaccines came out last year, I thought we’d turned a corner. Soon we could hug relatives, travel, eat in restaurants, attend plays and concerts, and rid ourselves of the ‘Have I got Covid?” panic every time we got a runny nose. The return to ‘normal’ was short lived. Even if we are so done with Covid, the virus isn’t done with us. So instead of dancing until dawn, I’m listening on Spotify to 21 Days of Gratitude, a meditation series with Deepak Chopra and Oprah.

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Putting the Pro in Procrastination

Research shows it can have emotional and physical costs, like insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders. Waiting until the last minute can produce lower quality work which can impact personal and professional relationships. Unresolved stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

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Inside The Mind of a Murderer

I wrote the following piece from the point of view of the murderer in my forthcoming book. I wanted to explore the motivation of the killer to make it believable to my reader. This was solely to inform myself of the antagonist’s mindset, which I found helpful when I was moving up the story arc toward the climax.


I’m putting it in my newsletter, but not in the book.  Hopefully, it gives my followers some clues the general reader won’t have when reading the book, but not enough specific clues to pinpoint the murderer before the climax.