Not-Jim: my moment with a random dog.

I had a moment with a dog yesterday.  I know that sounds weird but it’s true.


I was driving my kids to school when I saw a black dog with his head out the window of a car.  Because I’m an animal lover, it is my nature to look and -sometimes- even wave at animals in people’s cars.


I realize that is not the most normal of behaviors, but that’s just me.


When I looked at this particular dog my heart stopped.  Right there, sitting in the car next to me at a red light, with his head out the window was my old dog Jim.


And I don’t mean the dog resembled or “looked just like” my old dog.  I mean this dog and I locked eyes and I could have SWORN in that moment that Jim (or Jimmy as I called him) was staring right at me.


I’m not a dramatic person nor do I seek out emotional experiences like this just for the effect, but if I ever believed Jimmy was reincarnated, it was in that moment.


I’m telling you….it was the exact. same. dog. Same gray hair around the eyes, same tan markings on the same long, square black head.  Licked his lips, perked his ears and tipped his head to the side EXACTLY like my Jim.


The dog looked at me with the same recognition. He knew it was me.


The only thing is, I Jim died 2 and half years ago.


Jim was a huge part of my life.


I picked him out of a litter of mutt-puppies in a small town Iowa backyard while I was still in college.  I lied to my parents and said that he belonged to a friend…that I was just taking care of him for a bit (they knew me better than to believe me!).


He lived with me in Wyoming while I went to college and traveled to every single polo game with me in my 20s.  He was my faithful companion over tens of thousands of miles of road, through several boyfriends and was in my wedding when I married the love of my life.


He was my truck stop dog, drinking from dixie cups at pit stops and eating his own cheeseburgers from fast food drive-thrus.


People referred to us as “Jenny and Jimmy” as if our names were one.

He was getting older by the time the kids came along.  He went from my “only child” to “the dog” and for that I will always feel guilty.  But he was a good dog…a GREAT dog…and loved the kids just the same.


Then one day – years into his role as “family dog”- he started limping.

What I thought was an injury turned out to be an aggressive tumor in his foot.  

2 weeks later, my husband and I knew it was time to put him down.  We drove him around the back country roads one last time, stopped and got him a breakfast sandwich from the gas station (a staple for us both in our younger days) and then sat with him as the vet came and helped ease him to sleep.

It was awful and it wrecked me.  Nobody would ever know me like Jim knew me.  Nobody.


But as I sat at that stoplight yesterday, staring into not-Jim’s eyes, I got a warm feeling.  A feeling like being home.  A feeling that my past is still here and I’m still the person I was all those years ago when it was just me and Jim.

And when the light turned green and both our cars rolled on, I couldn’t help but feel happy (though I had tears coming down my face). It looked like not-Jim had himself the same, happy, single-dog life that original-Jim had.  The way it should be.

If you have ever lost a pet, you probably know all the emotions and feelings I’m talking about.

And I hope you get the chance to see your loved pet again…even if it’s just for a glimpse…like I did today.  In a moment when my mind was filled with to-do lists, frustration at running late and chattering kids in the back seat, leave it to my good old dog to come back to me for a split second and remind me where I came from. 

Miss you Jim.


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Wordless Wednesday: Morning Drink


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…but are you thankful for YOU?

We all have so much to be thankful for.  From our families and loved ones to our lifestyles, pets, jobs and even the stuff we surround ourselves with.  I bet you all could easily list 100 things that fill you with gratitude.


But I challenge you…or DARE you to come up with some things you are thankful for about YOU on this day of giving thanks.  Could you do it? Could you name 5 things you see in yourself or that you do for your family that you are grateful for (and I’m not talking the obvious like cooking, cleaning, yada-yada-yada…something unique to you)?

I could go into all the benefits (both physical and mental) that happen to you when you love, appreciate and acknowledge yourself like this…but I’ll just let you experience it for yourself.

Give it a shot! Tell me what you are thankful for about YOU today?  Don’t sell yourself short!

After all, your life wouldn’t be your life without YOU, now would it? 


So I’ll start, but I want you to follow…because it’s good for you (trust me, it’s awkward for me too!).  Here are 5 things I’m grateful for about ME this holiday season:

  1. I am really good at having fun with my kids.  I try and make every day special for them.
  2. I’m a good cook and am not to shabby when it comes to baking.  The kitchen is my JAM!
  3. There is nothing I cannot do if I put my mind to it (no matter how much I beat myself down about it in the process!)
  4. I am an empathetic ambivert (<–that’s a real word.  Google it!).
  5. I don’t fit a mold.  Some days I’m wearing old wranglers, a ratty tee-shirt and a ball cap and other days I’m in heels with full make-up and quaffed hair.

So, lay it on me…what 5 things (or even 3?) make you YOU?  Comment below!  (And it’s totally okay to follow with the hashtag #yourewelcomeworld!) 😉

Today to be grateful for all in your life, but don’t forget to take time to thank yourself for you, too.




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Wordless Wednesday: Fringe Benefits


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Forgotten Photos and Editing Obsession

IMG_1153Sometimes I️ take pictures. And sometimes life takes over and I️ set my camera down for a few weeks or even months…completely forgetting about what memories are hiding on the card.

This just happened to me recently…I️ was delighted to find a whole weekend of polo photos I️ had forgotten existed. It was a timely discovery as we are heading into the holiday season and summer already seems so long ago.


I️ spent a couple hours on Sunday hopelessly devoted to editing and enjoying them. Editing photos that inspire and draw me in (like these!) is like an addiction…my hand cannot move fast enough around the mouse pad to make little changes here and there.

Bringing the photos to life is so special: when one, seemingly-average moment in time suddenly becomes a piece of artwork, turning into so much more than just the instant in time it would have been if it had not been captured by camera…

Am I️ alone in that obsession?


See all the pictures from my forgotten weekend at my photography website, JCB Photography. 

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Saturday: Wake Up and Smell the Yeast!

I might be addicted to early mornings.

Or maybe my kids are addicted to early mornings and I’m just trying to beat them at their own game.

Either way, it’s my jam! Coffee in quiet peace and a chance to sit down and focus on the day ahead before chaos ensues. Sometimes I work out. Sometimes I sit in my office and enjoy working without the sound of Bubble Guppies in the background.

However this morning, it is for ROLLS (we start our Thanksgiving celebrations today)!

Current situation: watching (and smelling) as this little ball of goodness performs magic and starts to rise. #yum

I make these rolls for any and all possible occasions. They are super easy and -for some reason- everyone thinks I slave over them for hours.

Probably because they are amazing….and anything that makes my grandma think I’m gifted and talented is for SURE going to show up at family feasts.

I love it. Coffee and baking madness in peaceful bliss!

Just me, my chaotic kitchen, caffeine, some active dry yeast, my pjs….and these pies lurking nearby that are -thankfully- too pretty to cut into or I’d be in trouble on my diet already today!

Have a happy (and fulfilling!) Saturday, everyone!

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Taking Action, Emotion Aside

TakeAction Here’s how I see it:

In order to keep moving forward in any area of life (from business to fitness to parenting or even creating holiday magic) we have to intentionally choose to take ACTION.  You simply cannot accomplish goals or even carry out simple responsibilities without taking ACTION.

For example, there are some actions we HAVE to take: you cannot get to work without first taking the action to get dressed and make the commute.  You cannot feed your children without taking the action to buy them groceries (even hitting the drive-thru takes action…one action, at which, I am well practiced!).


But what about those actions that *seem* like an option?  

The ones that we know would further us in life, but that pose no immediate sense of urgency – like speaking up in a meeting with a good idea, asking for a raise, starting a business or putting the wheels in motion towards a huge dream?

What about when you’re tired, upset about something that happened or someone said or -the most common- you just don’t feel like it? Or many people’s favorite…”I’m to busy”?  That is where we need to learn to say to ourselves “I have to do this anyway” and proceed INDEPENDENTLY of that emotion or though telling us we can’t or we shouldn’t.

Take action.  Even if it is small.  Every day.  Rebel against the negative or lazy voice in your head.  And watch what happens.
Of course it’s hard!  To identify what what you’re called to do and then “just do it” (to quote Nike) requires commitment and discipline.
It requires calling yourself on your own bullsh*t. 
Now – I’m not telling you to ignore your feelings or just to snap-out-of it. But what I am telling you is to make waves anyway. Sitting around, waiting for the right mood or ambition to overcome you is a sure way to never get things done (and then you’re at risk of telling yourself your life is harder than others and playing victim to your own decision making…that is no place to be!).

And don’t wait for permission from anyone.  That is the kiss of death for your dreams…you’ll never get the approval you seek.

So do something today. Take one ACTION you’ve been putting off or have been too nervous or lazy to do in the past. It could be as simple as telling someone you love them, forgiving someone to free yourself or taking 5 minutes to show someone you care. Or maybe you know you should be baking cupcakes for a living instead of working in a cubical…how will you get there?

Whatever it is, remember that you are capable.  You were meant to do this and the universe will thank you for it. 

So get out of your head and act free from what you’re so tempted to tell yourself is a good excuse.

It’s worth it.

And you still don’t believe you can achieve your dreams…well….here’s your reminder:

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