Monday, April 30, 2018

National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day!

If you're thinking about adding a pet to your household, seriously consider going to your local Humane Society before spending hundreds of dollars on an animal complete with lineage papers. Mind you, I have nothing against purebreds, but with so many dogs and cats sitting behind cages without little chance of being freed, you could be a savior to one of them.

Over the years we've had four dogs, two purebreds, two adopted from shelters. Sassy was a female Schnauzer and Tibbit, a male standard poodle. Sassy was  somewhat difficult to train, and after months of trying we ran out of patience and gave her to a friend who had more success than we did. Tibbit was two years old when we got him, already trained, and fit right in with our family from the get-go. Unfortunately one evening after letting him out for the night, somebody abducted Tibbit from our backyard and sadly we never saw him again.

Our first adoptee was a terrier-beagle mix female with a peppy personality, hence the name, 'Pepper!' She loved to run around the yard chasing anything in front of her, and if need be, going after her own tail when nothing else caught her eye. This little character was my son's 10th birthday gift, but after a week or so of feeding, walking, and playing with her, he receded into the background, thus affording me the opportunity to be chief caregiver. When it was time to have Pepper spayed, we dropped her off at the shelter and expected to pick her up the next day, but instead we got a phone call telling us there was a problem during surgery. Pepper's brain was denied oxygen for a significant amount of time, her lips turned blue, and they weren't sure she'd survive. Our sweet munchkin came home a few days later, but was never the same happy-go-lucky girl from that moment on.

Years later, we adopted Shadow, a female black Lab/beagle mix and for 16 glorious years she has been a joy! We got her at nine weeks, and can honestly say she's been a delight from day one. Training her was a breeze, actually I truly think she trained herself 'in spite of us' instead of 'because of us!' After introducing her to our outside area, within a few days she completely respected the boundaries, never leaving the yard unless leashed and going on a walk. Shadow will not take food from anyone other than myself or my hubby. She allows all seven of our grandchildren to pet, play, and roughhouse with her without grumble or growl (she still holds a grudge against my son for teasing her as a puppy though). However, Shadow is our protector, and when someone approaches the house, she barks incessantly until we give her the Ok!

At her age, our sweet girl sleeps a lot now, but when awakened, she instantly returns to her happy self...most of the time (again she holds a grudge against Lori for approaching her when sleeping). Her appetite is great, and her mobility is hardly compromised. At night she loves to cuddle up next to me and snore away. My hubby likes to do that as well. I guess the old saying that 'men are dogs' has some truth to it after all!

I know the day is coming when Shadow will leave us. I look into her eyes occasionally and tell her that she is the best friend I've ever had and will be sad without her. I know she understands what I'm saying, and I'm certain she reciprocates the same feelings towards me.

Perhaps you think that Shadow was lucky to be adopted by our family, but believe me when I say that we are indeed the lucky ones! She is the best shelter dog we could have ever hoped for, and if you are thinking of getting a pet on the National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, you'd be wise to visit your local Humane Society. Who knows, there could be another 'Shadow' waiting just for you!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Norwin High School Student Council...A+!

Yesterday we had the privilege of attending the 32nd Annual Senior Citizens Dinner presented by the Norwin High School Student Council. Since this was the first time we'd ever taken advantage of this yearly event, we had no idea what to expect.

We were warmly greeted by smiling faces and respectful welcomes. One of the students led us to available seating and asked if it was to our liking. Although we didn't know the folks around us, we soon became 'friends'. The afternoon began with an opening prayer. We were then served a scrumptious turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings and a fabulous dessert, apple pie with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The teens were there to satisfy our every need, refilling our coffee and removing finished dishes in the blink of an eye. They treated us like royalty!

Once dinner was over, the students directed all 500 of us to the school auditorium for performances by the Norwin Show Choir, and the Norwin's Select Orchestra, both of which were an awesome delight! Each group received standing ovations from a very grateful audience!

Just when we thought things couldn't possibly get any better, the Student Council president began distributing prizes donated by community contributors. Literally well over 50 lucky folks won gorgeous baskets filled with everything from movie night essentials to car wash needs. To honor the veterans in the auditorium, a special raffle was held whereby recipients received a military hat and a gift card from a variety of area businesses. My hubby was the fortunate winner of a $25. gift card to Denny's, one of a favorite breakfast stops.

Another of the council members conducted a audience participation activity. He asked each of us to stand, and then began asking those of us who were younger than 70 to sit. He continued until one person remained standing, she was 98 years young! Wow! Her name was Mary and she was a prize winner as well.

Lastly we were thanked for our attendance and the wish that we'd come back again next year. Of course we intend to be there, who wouldn't accept an invite to such a glorious afternoon!

You know, we only seem to hear about our troubled youth in the media these days. The reporters should have been at Norwin yesterday, they would have had plenty of positives to write about regarding the young people who prepared and presented the 32nd Annual Senior Citizen's Dinner at Norwin High School. The mannerly behaved, well-spoken, talented teens we encountered are a proud tribute to both their families and the administration, teachers, and staff at Norwin who have been instrumental in raising such fine human beings who are the hope of our future!
Once again, our sincere thanks to all who treated us to such a beautiful event! Hope to have the opportunity to experience it again next year!

Blessings and Peace to all!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Back In The Saddle!

Well, you might say I'm back in the saddle since I started writing again after being idle for 18 months, give or take a few. I'm a firm believer though, if inspiration is missing it's like banging your head against a brick wall, nothing of any value is going to shake out no matter how hard you try! And in the end you'll have wasted tons of time to no avail.

Speaking of back in the saddle, here's a little story from my misguided youth. While attending a picnic in North Park when I was a sophomore in high school, our resident chaplain came riding into the grove on his stately chestnut mare whose name I can't recall at the moment. I wanted to mount her so badly and ride off into the sunset, but there was a problem, this beautiful creature wasn't saddled! (technically this story is not about being 'back in the saddle' for obvious reasons)

"Father Ryan, can I ride her," I asked pleadingly?

"Only if you've ridden bareback before," was his reply.

"Tons of times," I lied! And with that said, the goodly priest handed me the reins.

I guided the horse over to a picnic table upon which I quickly climbed, threw my right leg over her back, and sat up as straight as I could before signalling her to move.  At first she trotted slowly around the grove effortlessly. I was becoming a little antsy, so I gave her my shoe, ever so slightly of course. Stupid me! Father Ryan's horse immediately went into high gear, galloping towards the hedges that separated the picnic area from the parking lot. No matter what I did, she seemed to pick up more and more speed, and in an instant, she was flying over the hedges like Pegasus of Greek mythology with me aboard!

What happened next, I totally deserved. After her leap, the horse lowered her head and I somersaulted over her mane like an untrained Olympic gymnast.  I was splattered on the hard, hot pavement like the cracked egg, Humpty Dumpty!
Father Ryan rushed over and stooped down to see if I was alright. With only a bump on the head, and two scraped elbows, I wasn't any worse for wear. Relieved, our dear chaplain commented, " I don't think you've ever ridden horseback before, my dear, and I'll see you in confession next week!" And with that he mounted his mare and rode towards the stables, shouting over his shoulder, I forgot to tell you, she's a jumper!"

But I digress... Oh, yes, I've  finally started a new children's book that I've tentatively entitled, 'One Color, Many Shades!' It usually takes around 4 months to complete; story, illustrations, and finally publication. I'll keep you posted, so until then, riding bareback, forget about it, I'm back in the saddle...

Hasta la Vista, Baby! Giddy up, girl!

Monday, April 9, 2018


When someone says they're going to 'church', do you envision a majestic building with ornate paintings on the walls, huge statues of various figures towering over you, rows and rows of pews, and in the center, an altar accented by candle lights and white linen cloth?

Or do you define 'church' as a group of people, embracing moral and spiritual beliefs,who live and work together for the good of themselves and others?

My hubby and I are one of the couples who are elated to be listed as founders of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, PA. In 1978, because of the huge influx of members to St. Agnes Church on Clay Pike, the bishop decided it was necessary to build another structure to accommodate an overflowing membership. At first folks grumbled about being 'thrown out' of a church they'd attended for years and contributed to its prosperity, but it took only a very short time before we came together and embraced the challenge before us. We started from scratch in a fire hall and built the cozy church on the hill that for the last forty years we proudly call our own!

From its inception, not only were the bricks mortared together, the paintings hung, the statues erected, the pews installed, and the altar placed as the focal point of worship, but the wonderful people who became St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's first parishioners, also blended together into one big happy family!

Anybody who visits our church either to attend Mass or one of our many functions is always struck by the family-like spirit that welcomes them with a friendly smile and a warm handshake. Nobody is viewed as a stranger at St. Elizabeth, but rather a potential son or daughter!

Except for those who have joined our church most recently, I believe I know just about everybody who is an active member. I call them by their first names, I ask about how the kids are doing, and I would do anything to help any one of them in their times of need. And, without a doubt, I certainly believe that they would do the same for me and mine. If this isn't family, I don't have a clue as to what 'family' should be!

I oftentimes look around and see that many of the folks who took part in the building of our church are no longer with us. I think back to the great times we had doing everything from polishing pews, putting lights on the Christmas trees, teaching CCD, working at bingo, setting up tables for the parish picnic, and even playing poker in the church hall as part of an annual fundraiser. My soul  remembers each and everyone of them with fondness, and I can honestly say they were as much a part of my family as the family I raised under my own roof.

I guess by now you've figured out the definition I use in reference to 'church'.
Yes, it is a building, but more importantly, church is family, and I've been so blessed to have been a member of my church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, for forty glorious years!  Amen! Blessings and Peace!