Friday, March 28, 2014

Top Five Regrets

Received this in an email from a friend. Words to live by......

Top Five Regrets 12-10-11
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. 

Choose happiness.
Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia. Her blog has a loyal and ever-increasing following and has been quoted in several respectable international publications.

Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full-length book, also titled 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying'. For more information about this or to read more of Bronnie's work, please visit her blog at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Wonderful Story

Don't know if this is true or not, but it is a great story.........
Someone in the Postal Service needs to be rewarded.

We don't know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter department who understands LOVE..........................

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.

The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.

She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her.

I told her that I thought that we could, so she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much.
I 'm happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls.

I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.

I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith, addressed it to God/Heaven.
We put our return address on it.

Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.

A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.

Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'

Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore.

Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog.

Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I'm sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me.
What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find.

I am wherever there is love.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The True Story About Dan Fogelberg's Classic "Same Old Lang Syne."

Luciano: 'It's a memory that I cherish'

By Phil Luciano  (Peoria Journal Star Newspaper)
Posted Dec. 22, 2007 @ 12:01 am
Updated Dec 22, 2007 at 9:16 PM

At Woodruff High School, Jill Anderson had a typical teen romance: on-again/off-again with the same boy over several years.
He'd write a lot of poetry and share his insights with Jill. But as they went to separate colleges, things cooled off. They tried to stay in touch, but he moved out West and she headed to Chicago.
And that might've been the sum of a sweet memory, if not for a chance reunion one Christmas Eve at a Peoria convenience story - one music fans know well.
Jill's old boyfriend was Dan Fogelberg, who memorialized their convenience-store encounter in "Same Old Lang Syne." Since the song's release in 1980, Peoria - as well as the rest of his fans worldwide - has wondered about the "old lover" referenced in the song. Fogelberg never would say, and only a handful of people knew the ex-girlfriend's identify.
Jill, now Jill Greulich of Missouri, feels she can finally share the story.
"It's a memory that I cherish," she says.
She says she had kept publicly mum because Fogelberg was such a private person.
"It wasn't about me. It was about Dan. It was Dan's song," Jill says.
Further, though she and Fogelberg only rarely had communicated over the past quarter-century, she feared that her talking about the song somehow might cause trouble in his marriage. But in the aftermath of his death - he passed away of prostate cancer Sunday at age 56 - she has been sharing her secret with old friends in Peoria.
"I don't want this to overshadow Dan," Jill says. "When I heard the news that he died, I was very sad."
She and Fogelberg were part of the Woodruff Class of '69. They would date for long stretches, break up, then get back together.
Often, they would head to Grandview Drive, take in the vistas and listen to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Fogelberg often would pen poetry, some of which he gave to Jill.
"I still have some of those in a drawer at home," she says.
After high school, Fogelberg went to the University of Illinois in Urbana to study theater, while Jill attended Western Illinois University to major in elementary education. They stayed in touch, even continuing to date for a while. But the romance ended for good when he left the U of I early to head to Colorado and pursue his music career.
After graduating college, Jill relocated to the Chicago area, where she worked as an elementary teacher and flight attendant. Not long after college, she married a man from that area, and her connection to Fogelberg faded to memories.
But on Christmas Eve 1975, Jill and her husband visited her parents, who still lived in the Woodruff district. Also at the home were some friends of the family.
  During the gathering, Jill's mother asked her to run out for egg nog. Jill drove off in search of an open store.
Meanwhile, a few blocks away, a similar scenario was playing out at the Fogelberg home, where Dan Fogelberg was visiting family for the holiday. They needed whipping cream to make Irish coffees, so Fogelberg volunteered to go search for some.
By happenstance and because almost every other business on the East Bluff was closed, Jill and Fogelberg both ended up at the Convenient store at the top of Abington Hill, at Frye Avenue and Prospect Road. She got there first, and Fogelberg noticed her shortly after arriving.
They bought a six pack, sipped beer in her car and gabbed away. "We had some laughs," Jill recalls.
As two hours flew by, Jill's family and friends grew worried.
"We were like, 'Where is she?'" says a laughing Eileen Couri of Peoria, one of the friends at the gathering that night.
When Jill returned, she simply explained that she had run into Fogelberg, and the two had caught up with each other. No big deal.
Five years later, Jill was driving to work in Chicago. She had on the radio, and a new song popped on. First, she thought, "That sounds like Dan."
Then she listened to the lyrics, about two former lovers who have a chance encounter at a store. "Oh my gosh!" she told herself. "That really happened!"
They would not discuss "Same Old Lang Syne" until years later, during a conversation backstage at a Fogelberg concert. Two parts of the song are inaccurate. Blame Fogelberg's poetic license.
Jill does not have blue eyes, but green. In fact, when they dated, Fogelberg called her "Sweet Jilleen Green Eyes" - a combination of her full first name and his twisting of a song title by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Fogelberg explained that he took the easy way out for "Same Old Lang Syne." As he told Jill, "Blue is easier to rhyme than green."
Also, her then-husband was not an architect but a physical-education teacher. Jill doubts Fogelberg knew what her husband did for a living. She thinks Fogelberg probably just thought "architect" sounded right for the song.
But those are minor details. The heart of the song hangs on its most chilling line: "She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn't like to lie."
Still, even decades later, she declines to discuss that line of the tune.
"I think that's probably too personal," she says.
But the song had no impact on her marriage. By the time of its release, she had divorced.
"Somebody said he waited until I was divorced to release the song, but I don't know if that's true," Jill says.
In 1980, the same year of the song's release, Jill married Chicago-area native Jim Greulich. Eventually, they would move to a St. Louis suburb, where she now teaches second grade.
A few of her school associates have known her secret about the song. So has Fogelberg's mother, who still lives in Peoria and exchanges Christmas cards with Jill.
This week, Jill sent e-mails to a few old pals in Peoria, lifting the lid off the "Same Old Lang Syne" mystery. One of the e-mail recipients was Wendy Blickenstaff, a Woodruff classmate of Jill's and Fogelberg's.
"I had a big suspicion" it was Jill, says Blickenstaff, now the head counselor at the school. "I'm happy for her. It's really cool. ... That's a memory that she treasures."
Jill agrees. Yet her memories of Dan Fogelberg stretch far beyond "Same Old Lang Syne."
"I'll always have a place in my heart for Dan," she says. " ... Dan would be a very special person to me, even without the song."
PHIL LUCIANO is a columnist with the Journal Star. He can be reached at, 686-3155 or (800) 225-5757, Ext. 3155.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Distemper Outbreak at a Shelter: A Dangerous Disease Which is a Threat to Dogs

Canine distemper is a deadly disease and is a real threat for your canine companions. I cannot emphasize enough the need to have your pets immunized against distemper and the other diseases we can protect them against.

  • DISTEMPER: Staff at Shelter forced to euthanize 30 dogs

  • Officials with the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter were forced to close the shelter last Thursday due to a canine distemper outbreak. Since then, the staff has had to euthanize 30 dogs and clean every surface — inside and outside — at the shelter with a bleach solution.
  • By Russel Langley/The Oak Ridger
    Posted Mar. 11, 2014 @ 11:19 am

    Officials with the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter were forced to close the shelter last Thursday due to a canine distemper outbreak. Since then, the staff has had to euthanize 30 dogs and clean every surface — inside and outside — at the shelter with a bleach solution.
    On Monday, The Oak Ridger sat down with Police Chief James Akagi and Capt. Robin Smith of the Oak Ridge Police Department to discuss the situation. The Police Department oversees the shelter for the city.
    The shelter will not re-open today as previously planned, they said, but instead it will be at least Thursday before it will be re-opened.
    “Tuesday and Wednesday will be the first chance the staff has had to concentrate on sanitation without dogs in the shelter,” Akagi said.
    The officers pointed out the symptoms of distemper: sneezing, coughing, depression, lack of appetite, and mucus from the nose and eyes. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be present.
    Akagi said there is no cure for distemper, but a dog can survive it.
    “(But) if he does survive there is a very high probability that he will have severe neurological damage,” the police chief said.
    According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website, canine distemper is a virus that attacks a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. It also attacks the conjunctival membranes in the dog’s eyes.
    The virus is passed from dog to dog through bodily fluids and is an airborne pathogen. Sneezing, coughing, and sharing food and water bowls can all lead to spread of the virus, according to the website.
    The best way to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the ASPCA website, along with the officers, is through vaccination. Puppies should get their first vaccinations at 6- to 8-weeks-old. They should be kept away from possibly infectious dogs and areas where the spread of a virus could be uncontrolled.
    If a dog is showing symptoms of distemper it is likely too late to vaccinate the dog. The vaccine requires 10 days to build up anti-bodies, Akagi said. He and Smith also said that the virus can incubate inside an animal for up to five weeks before symptoms show up.
    For that reason, Akagi had to make the decision to euthanize all 30 dogs in the shelter. Akagi said he hated giving that order and telling his staff at the shelter, who view the animals as their pets.
    Smith said that the shelter staff refused outside help with the euthanasia. He said they wanted to do it themselves and ensure the animals knew they were loved and cared for.
    “I have never been prouder of that staff doing a horrible job that needed to be done,” Akagi said.
    The catalyst for discovering the outbreak was a puppy that was adopted out of the shelter about three weeks ago. This puppy was diagnosed with distemper and died. As soon as the Police Department received word of the death, they closed the shelter last Thursday and began checking other animals. Smith said they immediately found two more dogs who had the virus.
    Before the decision was made to euthanize all the dogs, 10 dogs were showing symptoms of the disease.
    It is still unknown where the disease originated at the shelter. They suspect it came from an unvaccinated dog that was brought into the shelter, but where that dog came from — there is no way of knowing.
    “This is not like an investigation into a human outbreak where you can ask people where they went and what they did,” Akagi said.
    Coyotes, foxes, and raccoons can carry distemper and East Tennessee has all three. It is important that people keep food away from the exterior of their homes to not attract animals. Raccoons are a particular danger because, according to Smith, they can carry both canine and feline distemper.
    The best thing people can do about wild animals is to not put out food and water. It is not legal to discharge any type of weapon inside the city limits, Akagi said.
    “That includes firearms, pellet guns, BB guns, and bows,” Akagi said. If people are having trouble with wild animals, the chief advised they contact Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) as the Police Department has little to do with wildlife. The TWRA East Tennessee office can be contacted at 1-800-332-0900, according to its website.
    No cats in the shelter have been infected and there has been no reason to evacuate the cats, Akagi said.
    Despite the large number of dogs that had to be put down, it was only a small representation of the many animals that go through the shelter on an annual basis. Akagi estimated that about 2,000 cats and dogs go in and out of the shelter each year.
    Despite some people’s posts on social media such as Facebook, the officers said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has not been called to Oak Ridge.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

How is success measured? What is a life well lived?

How do we measure success? What is a life well lived?

This little story about a Mexican fisherman illustrates success in a simple life well lived (it is also up on the wall at the Jimmy John's I go to on occasion)..

A Little Story

The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor."

The businessman scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?" To which the businessman replied, "15-20 years." "But what then, señor?" The businessman laughed and said, "That's the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions." "Millions, señor? Then what?" The businessman said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "Isn't that what I'm doing right now?"

-Author Unknown