Tag Archives: walks

Why you should walk your dog!

I used to have a love/hate relationship with my two small dogs. There was a time when I would arrange my schedule around their bio breaks.  Every two hours I would send them outside into the yard and yet they would still have accidents in the house!   I was tired of using Nature’s Miracle on my carpets every day.  Nothing was working.  Quick comment about “Nature’s Miracle.”  This is simply the best carpet cleaning spray on the market.  It doesn’t matter if you have dogs because this stuff is amazing!  I once had to clean lipstick artwork (courtesy of my friend’s daughter) on my tan carpet and that miracle solution took it right out!

I caught the main culprit!  It was Mocha, my female Cavachon.  Mocha is full of life, a bit hyper and believes in all play all of the time.  She loves to be outside but not for the reason that I send her there.  To Mocha, being outdoors means squirrels and rabbits and catching skinks, digging in the dirt and running after her brother Cap.  It does NOT mean going to the bathroom.  I did some online research, truly baffled by this conundrum and was a bit miffed at what I discovered.   Cesar Milan was very firm with me.  The answer was simple.  My dogs weren’t truly trained and the way to solve this problem was to……

WALK MY DOG!  Apparently I could not just let my dogs out into the yard and hope for the best.  Perhaps for some dogs this works but not for my mutts!  I have learned some valuable lessons during these walks including the fact that my dogs will go and go and go over the course of our walk.  They can last for hours once we get a good morning walk finished.

Now I walk my dogs about two miles every day.  We have not had one accident for three months.  Even more exciting is that I’ve found that these morning walks are so incredibly enjoyable for me as well.  Here are some observations I have made these past three months and the benefits that I have surprisingly received!

  1.  I have a cleaner house!  No more accidents!
  2. They love me more.  I love them more.  These walks have been such a bonding time for all of us.  Each morning they start to hop up and down in anticipation.  Their joy is contagious!
  3. I get some serious time breathing fresh air, listening to the birds and feeling good about being outside.  I’ve started to benefit from the stress relief of a simple walk.
  4. I laugh more.  When you walk your dogs and he pounces on a dandelion as if it was a chocolate bar, it’s just so easy to find little moments of laughter.
  5. I have had the opportunity to meet new people.  Lots of people are walking their dogs outside!  The dogs are getting more social as well.
  6. They sleep more.  I sleep better.  Studies have shown that even light exercise can help you sleep more.  As I type this, both of my dogs are passed out by my feet.
  7. My lawn is clean.  I know this is ridiculous right?  Wrong.  It’s no fun to mow a lawn full of poop.  Whether your son or husband mows the lawn or you have a contractor, they will appreciate you more if they don’t have to avoid landmines.
  8. I’m doing something that has been peaceful and solitary (with the exception of my pups).    I do a lot of thinking on my walks.  It’s good to have the peace and quiet.
  9. It gets me out of the house.  I tend to spend my mornings holding my son’s stress very close to my heart.  These walks while he’s running round like a chicken without a head helps me avoid conflict with him.  I get home just in time to give him a hug and send him on his merry way.  It works really well for both of us!
  10. My boys are taking responsibility for the dogs by walking them when they get home from school.  It has become a bit of a stress relief for them as well.  

Walking is so good for the soul.  Whether you have dogs or not, try to get out there once a week and see how it makes you feel!  Get those steps in!









Conversations about love, acceptance and my dog.

His blue eyes lit up as he gazed at my dog.   The twinkle in them was the first thing I noticed, followed by his friendly smile as my dog approached his chair.  Memories seemed to flood back to his brain as we spoke about how he once had a dog and how he just loved him.  He gently pet Cap, laughing and commenting on the softness of his fur and the attractiveness of his eyes.  Cap is a pet visitation therapy dog.  He visits elder-care homes, schools and other organizations that can benefit from the amazing bond between humans and animals.  Quite frequently he visits those affected by some form of dementia. Continue reading

Celebrating Life and the Night I Spent with a Star

imageIt is 4:00 am in the morning. I am wide awake. My husband and I traveled to California to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday. We have an early flight back to our three children, two dogs and suburban house in Virginia in two hours. At this very moment, I am sitting on a small comfy couch in a cottage that used to be the home of a man named Charlie, the former caretaker of Mission Ranch. Walking into his cottage was surreal, as if I had stepped back in time, and I can’t help but think that he would smile at the excitement I felt at just being in his former home. It felt personal.   Being here made me feel like I am now woven into the fabric of the ranch’s history. These past two days have caused me to reflect on how experiences truly make life worth living.

My heart has been affected by my stay here.

The party was a surprise. Her husband picked us up from the airport and took us to the ranch. The land reminded me of Sweden in that it was untouched, frozen in time, and for me, a place where my soul could breathe. Sheep grazed in the valley, flowers and ivy brightened the various shutters and windows. A gentle fog covered the green hills. This was no ordinary place. I will never forget my brief stay.

We came in on a Tuesday and we are leaving on a Thursday. In this short time we have been to Pebble Beach, drove the coast of Carmel, had a luxurious dinner at Casanova, hiked amongst Redwoods and spent the night with a star. That star was not the owner of Mission Ranch although I and others were affected by his attendance, that star was our dear friend Lena. Continue reading

Love is patient and love is tough.

lovepatientWhen I was young my mom bought a book entitled Tough Love.  She was looking for guidance on how to love and help a family  member that was struggling.  The premise of the book, from what I remember, was that love is not always easy but may require some very tough stances and positions in order to help and support a loved one.  What my mom didn’t realize at the time was that she and my father were already employing many of these methods with their own children on a daily basis.  I can tell you firsthand that my parents were experts at setting boundaries and following through with them.

It was a beautiful sunny day when a dog darted out in front of the car.  I was in college, on the way to class at the University of Maryland.  The man in the brand new Lincoln town car slammed on his brakes to avoid plowing into the dog and I, in turn, slammed into him.  We both pulled over to the side of the road and he proceeded to walk house-to-house  to find a phone.  To my surprise he called the ambulance and the fire department.  He asked if my parents paid my insurance and proceeded to complain about neck pain.  The police officer that came to the scene asked me to write down what had happened and also noted that the gentleman was quite limber until the ambulances arrived.  I got a ticket and the officer told me to challenge the ticket in court.  It was clear that he did not plan to show up to my court appearance. Continue reading

There is strength in forgiveness.

strengthinapologyTrue inner strength and courage lies in one’s ability to apologize and to forgive.  This truth is a scary one because it may require an open, beautiful, and exposed heart.  A conflict with another human being, regardless of who it is, is truly never one-sided.  Understanding the complexity of our interactions and emotions can be difficult but can also be enlightening and rewarding.

I knew I would make many mistakes when I became a mother.  That’s why I decided that I would apologize to my own children when I messed up.  When I speak to my children, especially after making some stupid mistake, I remind them that in many ways I am still this little ten-year old girl who somehow became a mom and is trying to figure it all out.  Isn’t that really the truth though?  Sure we acquire more wisdom as we age, but I for one still have the heart of a child.  I don’t think I will ever truly stop learning how to do this motherhood thing, how to do this life thing, how to do this living thing.

I screw up.  I apologize.  Even to my own children.

It is such a powerful act of love.  Honesty is a key ingredient.  Honesty with yourself and honesty with others. Continue reading

Mirror Mirror on the Wall!

mirrorThis is my second post related to the theme of improving my body, mind and soul.  Last week I wrote about an appreciation for my body here.  Today I’m writing about my intellectual and emotional health and sometimes my lack thereof.  Everyone has a little bit of crazy in them and I am no exception!

I was raised in a Roman Catholic household. “Judge not less you be judged,” was something I was taught as a child.  In my youth I couldn’t understand how this could apply to me.  I wasn’t a Pharisee!  I wasn’t judgmental!   I felt the same way about the comparison of faith and a mustard seed.    Luke 17:6 “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be though plucked up by the root, and be though planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”  I kid you not…I could never understand why the trees did not obey me and why I couldn’t move mountains.  I was a very imaginative child.  Decades later and my feelings have changed drastically about these lessons.  Judging is something we all do every single day.  My faith?  Probably not half the size of a mustard seed.  Yeah no moving mountains here!  Move along folks! Continue reading

Are you running away or walking away?

Walking away sometimes means staying sane.

Walking away sometimes means staying sane.

A long time ago I learned that there was a big difference between running away and walking away from a difficult person or situation.   Running away means you don’t have the courage or resolve to address something.  Walking away means you have the foresight to understand that you will not be able to change someone’s opinions, beliefs or behaviors.  Perhaps you’ve been down a certain road before and finally realize that the road led nowhere.  Instead of walking down that road again, repeating your journey to a dead-end, you decide to go in a different direction.   Walking away sometimes means preserving your sanity. Continue reading

The New Year’s resolution to keep.

bekindToday is New Year’s Eve and I am so grateful to have had a healthy and happy Christmas.   My family and I have enjoyed many lazy pajama days this past week!  Although I’m not a big New Year’s eve kind of girl, I do have one resolution this year.  This one resolution is so powerful that is has the potential to bring happiness and beauty to your life.  This resolution can also have positive effects on your health, your mind and your body.

Be kinder to yourself. Continue reading

Trust takes forever to repair, but it’s not impossible.

trustMy father used to say that “trust is not given, it is earned.”  This used to drive me and my siblings crazy.  On paper it sounded great, but as a kid, who would from time to time get caught in a lie or some indiscretion, it was pure torture. When we did something wrong he would also say  “you’ve lost my trust and now you have to earn it back.”  I can remember just groaning inside at the thought of the monumental task ahead of me. Continue reading

The Friendship Box.

shutterstock_189141029My boy came home from school the other day and couldn’t focus on his homework.  I could tell that something was bothering him.  Mom’s intuition helped me hear the nuances in his tone,  see the twist in his facial expression and feel the quiver in his voice.  It was clear  that something was on his mind.  As I turned towards him to give him a hug,  he melted into my arms.  “I’ve had the worst day, mom,” he said.

In a nutshell, my son felt conflicted and confused about someone he calls a friend.  What was previously a positive interaction has started to become increasingly negative.  My son feels talked down to, labeled, criticized and dismissed.  He’s doesn’t understand why a friend would treat him this way. Continue reading