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faith

What My Dog Taught Me.

It’s truly miraculous how many people don’t want to be your  friend when you’re just a dog.  I mean seriously.  When I posted my bestest New Years Eva picture,  me in a gold dress with a lil cleavage,  I suddenly had many, many new friend requests; people I know without a doubt, didn’t know me from UP.  37 in one week to be exact.

When I changed my profile pick to my dog, Mopsy, the requests suddenly stopped.  HMMMMMM…

This is not the first time my dog Mopsy has taught me a valuable lesson….

Mopsy was nothing more than an abandoned mutt. My mother found her when I was about seven years old tied to the front door of the humane society. There was no note. No explanation. And nobody coming back to get her. At first glance this was nothing new.  It was a no kill shelter which made things very hectic and cramped. Dogs were constantly being dropped off anonymously. My mother volunteered on Saturdays and most times, I joined her. I played with puppies, nursed back sick kittens and held my nose profusely when I was forced to walk through the ‘dog room.’

Upon first meeting Mopsy, every one wondered aloud, “How could anybody give this adorable, silky long-haired puppy away?  She is absolutely precious!!” One black ear always laid flat to the side of her head, the other, which was white, always stood straight in the air. Her milky white fur was long and thick and her tail curled over her black fanny.

When my momma went to pick her up and bring her inside, she instantly figured out the reason why nobody in the world wanted Mopsy.

The. Dog. Was. Mean. As. Hell.

Nobody and I mean nobody could pet, pick up, or really, go near this dog.  And seriously, nobody wanted to.  This dog was totally hateful – even to the other animals at the shelter. My momma always had a special bond with broken dogs, she was a true blue dog whisperer.  Growing up, it was nothing for us to see an injured dog on the side of the road and either take it to the vet or nurse it back to health at home.  It didn’t really surprise me that she somehow made friends with this particular dog. One week after she was abandoned, Mopsy was brought home to live with us.

Most did not share any affection whatsoever for this dog.  Why? She bit.  She barked. Endlessly. She growled,  snarled and bared every single tooth in her head should one even attempt to approach her.  I believe the words ‘Fruits of the devil’ and ‘Satan’s spawn pup’ were recently used to describe this very dog. Consequently, Our yard man quit.  We were sued twice by the neighbor two doors down because she ‘attacked’ them. Mailmen began carrying very large sticks and mace.  She made my friends cry and plead with their mothers to pick them up early when they would visit.  My little brother, George, learned how to run very fast to avoid the wrath of Mopsy.

I, on the other hand, absolutely adored her.

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Nobody besides my mother and I were ever allowed to touch her.  Hold her.  Be within two feet of her.  Momma used to say that it was probably because she was beaten when she was little.  “Its a survival tactic.” My mother would tell me.  “She’s been hurt and she’s trying to protect herself.”

FYI: Mopsy never did cozy up to anyone else in the family.

I can’t remember why exactly, but for some reason Mopsy instantly liked loved me. Perhaps it was because I didn’t mind slipping her meatloaf remnants under the table when my mother wasn’t looking.  Maybe it was because I taught her to sit up and pray, her lil paws clasped tightly together.  Perhaps she appreciated the fact that I was the only one willing to wash her and blow her long mane dry and promptly plop her into my bed.  On the nights I couldn’t sleep, it was Mopsy who sat up with me, listening intently as I told all her all my deepest secrets. Sometimes we ate crackers in bed, probably sharing  the same water glass, Mopsy rolling around my bed, playing and pretend sneezing. Me scratching her pink freckled tummy and promising her: You are finally safe. Mopsy didn’t mind our long discussions of friends who had hurt my feelings the previous day at school.  I didn’t mind the tedious work of picking the fleas from her thick coat.  One by one, I’d smoosh those menaces  together, in hopes those terrible fleas would never return.

FYI: Mean friends and mean fleas always return. it’s just a burden we bear to be alive.

Perhaps my dog adored me and no one else because I didn’t fuss when she would leave unwanted presents on my mothers fine oriental rugs nor would I fuss when she would eat my friends underwear and snarl at them when they would enter my room.  “It’s ya own fault, I would holler at my friends.  You shouldn’t have left your bathing suit on the floor, you know my dog is quick!!”

Maybe Mopsy  loved me because I made her feel a like lil movie star as I propped her on my pink butterfly bike for a long afternoon ride. Somehow she propped her paws on the cross-bar and together, we soared through my neighborhood – Mopsy balancing herself, never once falling off.

We must have looked like the biggest buffoons.  I totally get that.

But at the time, we thought nothing of it –  We were having delightful fun! We furiously waved as people would slow their cars and roll down their windows saying things like “Is like…that dog tied to your bike?  How is she staying there?” I’m sure when they rolled up their windows nd drove off, they looked at the person sitting next to them and said “What.  A.  Freak!!”

It was all fun and good times until Mopsy would get her long furry tail caught in the spokes of my bike. This proved to be a most unpleasant predicament. Without a cell phone and usually several streets from home, it proved quite the challenge to flag down fellow passersby and say “Yo! could you please call my momma, my dog’s tail is stuck in the spokes again!”

Horrified, the driver usually knew us or knew of us and my mother was summed at once and would arrive with her black pair of sewing scissors. Five minutes later, Mopsy was cut free and we were back on the asphalt streets, making our rounds.

Mopsy has been long gone but she has never, ever left my heart. If you know me at all, you would know that I beat to my own tune: I wear my hair big with four different kinds of hair sprays. My ear rings are even bigger.  Every room in my house is painted a different and mostly – a bright color. I absolutely adore wallpaper and if you stand next to me for any length of time, beware: I may try to wallpaper you as well.  I wear red lipstick.  Or hot pink. Frosted if the spirit moves me. Those close to me call me their friend who never left the 80’s.  I could give two rips.  It’s just who I am. Now with this being said, years later, my perspectives may have changed a bit:

  • I’m not sure I would be tolerant of my puppy piddling on oriental rug.
  • The thought of picking and popping fleas makes me instantly nauseated.  I cannot believe I did that…
  • And sharing my water glass and bed with my dog….not so much.
BUT:
  • Sharing my bike with my puppy dog, no matter how utterly ridiculous I may look? Absolutely!

Mopsy taught me early on in life that just because something is beautiful on the outside does not mean that they are not an absolute mess on the inside. Maybe the reason she chose to love me is because she knew that I needed her just as much as she needed me. Sometimes we are hurt.  Broken.  And afraid.  We all need to be loved unconditionally. Fleas and snarling teeth included.

I pray I always have the courage to be who I want to be, to hop on that pink butterfly bike with my nearest and dearest and venture out. Shouldn’t we all? If not, when did we suddenly become afraid to be who we really were?  Afraid of what people would say or mock us?  Where did that COURAGE as a child come from? Or maybe, it was nativity?  Which ever word we choose to use, I want more of it.

Never ever quit the journey of you.  Even if it involves making a buffoon outta yourself.

Life is short.  Live it.

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How NOT To Find Time To Pray

So I joined this new life coaching class called Pilgrim Souls which I really look forward to each Tuesday.  When our leader, Tara, gave us homework, I was thrilled!

FYI: I’m a freak like that.

Anyhoo, we are supposed to say a Meta Prayer every day at 2:00 (which is cool thinking we would all be praying at the same time) and if we miss the 2:00 time slot, it was OK.  It was even OK to miss a day.

****But, NOT two days… Tara looked at ME eyeball to eyeball and smiled with her big blue eyes twinkling as she repeated the words “it’s OK to miss one day but NOT two days…”

Tara smiled. I gulped. Immediately, my mind went racing. “Did somebody rat me out already and tell Tara how forgetful and downright blond I truly am? YIKES! Don’t let the group down, Sissie! PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! Immediately, I am determined not to miss my 2:00 time slot, so I program it in my phone for every single day. (And might I add this was done without the help of my children?! Miracles do happen after all.)

Here is a Meta Prayer she gave us:

~ May I be filled with love and kindness

~ May I be well

~ May I be peaceful and at ease

~ May I be happy

The rules are of such:

  • Pray for yourself (Yay!)
  • Pray for someone who is easy to love (More Yay! My children, friends and family!)
  • Pray for someone who is neutral (The single mother struggling to save money for her root canal or even the old lady who sits in front of me at church with her tags sticking out; the same one who always forgets to use a mirror to check the back of her hair before she leaves the house – bless her heart!)
  • Pray for someone who is HARD to love (GASP, choke back vomit in my throat)
  • Pray for everybody (As in a group.  Like Pilgrim Souls or Make a Wish foundation, Ronald McDonald house etc.)
So basically folks, in the hairspray brain filled, mascara loving, T J Maxx joy fueled world of Sissie Dale, this is how NOT to pray…..
  • Schedule it.
  • Consider it.
  • Really, really mean to get around to it…

Believe me, my friend, this is how NOT to pray!

At least for moi.

I tried to be disciplined. Then I must get forceful with myself when I discover that I have missed my 2:00 meta prayer …the very first day!

“You idiot, quit trying to be all Zen and wait for the perfect quiet time?!?! Sheesh! How about just DO IT? If not, then you will become one of the ‘well meaners, really, really intended to do it ‘ers’ whose Phone beeps at them in the Target line signaling it’s 2:00, PRAY! And even though I truly considered praying the quick prayer, I stop myself because I’m like… “No, the lady behind me is hacking and she may spray germs on me if I pause to pray – I haven’t gotten sick in years – whoop whoop!

Or maybe “No I can’t pray right now because the check out dude is not properly handling my new beige colored lamp shades and if I pause to pray, he may bend one and / or drop it.  Whoopsie – there it goes tumbling across the floor and into the mini Pizza Hut line?!” No way!  No Pizza Hut grease on these new babies!

I decide to pray as I am walking to my car. Once in the parking lot, I am once again delayed. Not my fault.  Of course.

FYI: I do not suggest walking and praying as you may possibly find that there is absolutely no time to even catch your breath because of the venomous hisses you must expel at the 87 year old granny who nearly takes you out in her navy Buick, thus making you hurl your brand new beige lampshade through the air in hopes it catches her attention and not your left leg. It was just too much of a risk, you tell yourself. You can say a quickie prayer in the Chic-Fil-A line instead.

Wrapped around the Chic-Fil-A building, You find yourself thinking: Wow is this line long?!?! Excruciating? Yes. BUT Plenty of time to pray! YAY! Once I order, I find it hard not to imagine how much money these people are racking in?!?! Look at all these hungry mini vans! It’s amazing! And why shouldn’t they be racking up? It is so clean – why cleaner than my very own kitchen, it is! Everybody’s so darn nice in that Chic-Fil-A too!! And you know what? If you’re inside, they actually will bring the food to you AND free drink refills too! Why in the world can’t every fast fast food chain be so darn efficient?!?! Go Chic-Fil-A!

Whoop whoop!!

16 minutes in line for a diet lemonade and as I drive off I think to myself “oh poop! I was so busy trying to figure out exactly how many nuggets they peddle per day and dad-snappit!  I forgot to pray!”

I instantly consul myself. When I get home, it’s going to be all nice and quiet to pray.

When I finally do get home, I’d like to tell you that I prayed long and hard but I didn’t because I forgot.

And I’m gonna blame that one on the dog.

In the back door from a day away and there he is: Snuggle Bunny. AKA: The lil idiot.  Obviously, Bunny has missed me terribly while I was gone so I lean down, scoop him up and begin telling how beautiful he truly is.  Of course this is the only humane thing to do – take five minutes out and love on his furry lil head.  Right?  To ignore him to pray would be animal abuse.  Yes? Suddenly, I am detecting the foul odor of rotting toe nails.  I toss the pup to the floor and sniff the air.  Where is that stink coming from?  I take out the trash.  I return. The kitchen air is still odoriferous. I sniff myself.  I did indeed go to the gym but I rarely try hard enough to break a sweat, much less stink – it’s just not ladylike. Then I sniff the dog. AHA! IZZY FRIENDS, PUPPY 063The pup is the real culprit here! Poor Snuggle Bunny. He needs to go to the groomers so I tell myself that I’d better call the groomer right that second or else I’d forget. And since he did smell like a rotting toenail, he kept my attention; especially since he was so darn hyper over there by his dog bowl.  I realize that Snuggle Bunny is trying to tell me he was very hungry and I needed to head to Publix – that it was time to stop feeding him stale sandwich bread or else he would relocate to a home with a more stable Mother who always had wet dog food that tastes so yummy.  FYI: Snuggle Bunny never gets wet dog food.

So I head to Publix, making my mental grocery list but the Meta Prayer …

Now that needs to wait. Now before you go tsk tsking me, I guess you need to know one thing about my driving.  My own daughter couldn’t wait to get her driver’s license just so she wouldn’t have to ride with me anymore.

“Do as mommy says and never as mommy does….” is favorite saying, after all….

I  try to cut myself some slack as I schedule my Meta Prayer for the night-time.  Tara told us to be quiet and give ourselves the gift of being centered.  So I centered myself…. Right smack dab in the center of my bed.  And promptly, I fell asleep…..

*Tara said it’s OK to miss one day, but NOT two days………

 

 

My Life As A lil Purple Dragon

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It is truly disconcerting when one sees himself living the life of a lil purple dragon…In my case, his name is Spyro and he’s the character in a video game my son has owned for years. Spyro’s main goal in life is to chase talisman and orbs all while dodging green frogs, flying square shaped objects as well as some kind of winged pig looking thingy. His main goal is to conquer RIPTO – an orange fat blob with a strange looking horn on his head.  Spyro has to either shoot it, charge it or dodge it. I’m either charging when I should be shooting and dodging when I should be charging.  When one is 44, somehow it is not very fun to watch yourself dressed as a lil purple dragon running slap dab into ginormous boulders and sailing right off a very high cliff; thus missing your target completely and having to start all over again. Finally, right when you think you’re steady on your feet, you’re actually  tumbling over the edge of the cliff; where your lil dragon nose heads straight into the bright blue sea.

To me, It’s exhausting.

To my children, it’s pure, unadulterated delight. They think it is knee slapping, gut wrenching delishisness to watch mommy blow fire from her purple nostrils, (when there’s nobody within a good ten feet to even be singeing) pummeling full force towards my desired enemy (usually something very big and very blue) only to zip right past him and alienating the wizard who is trying his best to give me his advice and dole out a few tricks to help me.

Truly. Mind numbing. And yet, the story of my life.

Need an example?

I was settling in with our new home, in our new life with a new set of rules.  I’ve picked back up Bella Blue and I’m moving and grooving with my writing. Bella Blue makes me happy when I sink into her world and I gave myself  the deadline of finishing book numero 3 September 1, 2015.

Then I charged right into a big blue thingamagiggy: She Speaks Writers Conference.

I was so excited to be going; it’s been awhile since I’ve been to a conference.  “It will be life changing!” I told myself, “Do it, Sissie, head in that direction!” I gleefully exclaimed. “You might even be able to ‘book it up a notch and throw some fiery fabulousness on one of their agents and or publishers!”  Me and my purple wings flapped mightily as we checked out the box that read ‘make publisher/agent appointment’

And then it came: the big ole bolder: the detailed list of all the agents and publishers that would be present and what they were looking for. Not one of them wanted anything to do with a children’s book…..

Sigh

BUT … what the agents and publishers were looking for was something I did have: a self help or memoir.  I’ve already written about 80 % of the thing.  I even wrote a 22 page book proposal.  So what did I do? I hurled Bella Blue slap over the edge of a cliff and in true Spyro fashion, I began dodging Bella Blue isms and charging after my self help memoir.  In the last 6 weeks, I’ve probably spent about 300 hours perfecting my self help memoir, she was SO close to being ready.

But then, I finally slowed my lil purple dragon pace to a stop and really began to think about what exactly I was charging straight for.  The book may be ready but AM I READY?! Did I really want to do this? An I actually ready to share my story?

Me thinks not right now…..

Instead of being discouraged and frustrated with myself for getting so completely off course, I’m going to take the rest of the time off until after my She Speaks Conference.  It is the summer and my children miss me.  I have been in total Spyro mode for the last 6 weeks and it’s time to quit flapping my dragon wings and just…well just..be…

Izzy wants to go kayaking.  Jake is coming home for the rest of the summer.  Our family beach trip is the next week.  Sometimes, a lil purple dragon has rest her fiery nostrils and reassess her priorities.

And then…. come back and kick Ripto’s booty!