Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above

and comes down from the Father of light with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 NKJV

The Commercial Appeal, daily  Memphis newspaper, publishes an events calendar online.  After meeting the owner of a downtown bookseller and with a book signing date settled, I was nudged to drive a few blocks east to the newspaper’s headquarters.B_12_15FINAL_LongBlackHaircopyr

Decades ago, while working as the public relations director for a Memphis theater, I had regular contact with the person in charge of publicizing Memphis shows, art exhibits, musical performances and other events in the paper’s weekend pull-out. Despite many personnel changes at the paper, to my surprise this colleague was now also in charge of the online events calendar. He agreed to meet me impromptu and the next day he posted the information about my poetry reading and book signing, June 27, at the South Main Book Juggler. The announcement features three of my drawings and the book cover.

A link follows:

http://events.commercialappeal.com/memphis_tn/events/booksigning-and-poetry-reading-whippoorwillcalls-/E0-001-083824291-4

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while

if need be, you have been grieved by many trials  1 Peter 1:6 NKJV

In early April a friend came Monday, and again Tuesday to deliver injections of antibiotic to Buff, the Charolais-Angus bull, who had grown too weak to stand. The vet had made a house call at the beginning of the year, tubing Buff for bloat, administering cortisone, vitamin B12 and long-lasting penicillin. The gentle giant, who taught the rewards of grooming outside of one’s own species on the farm, rallied and began eating hay and drinking water.

Bebe hugs Buff

He looked like he was putting on weight. I thought he had turned a corner until he began eating less and less. Wednesday morning, April 8, Buff died at 14 years old. So glad I was for having rubbed his neck and back and kissed him the night before, and he responded by licking my arm and hand.

“No, no, no…this just could not be happening,” I told myself. “I cannot be losing another one of my big guys.”

Raised on a bottle, imprinting me as their mother-figure, I was thrilled to be Buff’s and Sonny’s adoptive parent. There was something surreal about loving and caring for a baby animal who grew to tower over me, yet sustained a relationship of kinship well into adulthood. They never forgot me or what I was to them.

It is impossible to describe the sense of loss, or even the meaning their lives brought to mine. Because of this experience I can better understand how a person’s faith in God can be challenged as when a parent loses a child.

I remind myself: “Trust, I am to trust You. Yet, while I trusted, where were You? If you love me, God, why didn’t you intervene and save him?”

My identity outwardly, and more importantly inwardly, has been torn from me. I can never go back and redo any of it, relive it, the experience of raising them, loving them, caring for them. I can only go forward, forward from here, but forward how?

The how I am learning. Taking baby steps I am rebuilding my faith, not at the base. Just the outer layers were stripped away. I need to replenish, call on Him even when I am too distraught to know how to ask for help. Just His name, Jesus. I trust He will hear my cry and know the answer before I know the question.

Though He causes grief

Yet He will show compassion, according to the multitude of His mercies. Lam. 3:32 NKJV

Sonny with snow

My world is not as bright as it once was since the loss of my dearly beloved friend, Sonny. After  photographing him pulled to life by a dairy farmer in June 1998, I proceeded to adopt this leggy, reddish-brown and white coated calf when he was 11 days old. Before bringing him home to live with me, on my lunch hour, every day I drove 20 minutes to the dairy to give him a bottle of his mother’s milk.

At six months Sonny’s color changed to black-and-white and all his playmates were rescued and abandoned dogs. The size of a fawn, at night he reclined outside my bedroom window adjacent to the front door so he could keep tabs on my comings and goings.

Once as a young bull, he escaped his confines and was found at the bottom of a ravine prancing about with a 10-12 foot long tree branch between his horns. Then he ran up and back down the bank, as if to say, “Look at me!”

Bottle-fed, at 16 years, he still would suckle my fingers and groom me with well placed licks. Sonny could be pushy at times, if he thought someone was going to remove his feed dish before he was ready to relinquish it. Yet, of all three of my bovines, he was the most closely attuned to human behavior. He understood some basic language commands, and was always curious about anything I was doing.

Sonny was totally loyal to those he loved, particularly Holly, the love-of-his-life. When she first joined the farm as a 45-day old heifer, he was smitten. His love for her never waned.

Unexpectedly, Sonny died Thursday morning, March 5, 2015. Some moments, the pain of not seeing and interacting with him is overwhelming, and other times wistful remembering his various actions. Time will heal. I know this from past experience. Yet, my grief is fresh and deep.

Bien qu’il cause de chagrin et pourtant, il va faire preuve de compassion, selon la multitude de ses compassions. Lam. 3:32 NKJV

Mon monde n’est pas aussi brillant qu’il l’était autrefois depuis la perte de mon cher ami bien-aimé, Sonny. Après avoir pris des photos lui tiré à la vie par un producteur laitier de juin 1998, j’ai procédé à adopter cette revue “teasing”, brun-rouge et blanc couché veau quand il était de 11 jours. Avant de l’amener chez lui de vivre avec moi, sur mon heure de dîner, tous les jours ma voiture 20 minutes à la laiterie à lui donner une bouteille de le lait de sa mère.

Au cours de six mois Sonny’s couleur a changé en noir et blanc et tous ses camarades ont été secourus et abandonné les chiens. La taille d’un fauve, la nuit, il se mit en dehors de ma fenêtre de chambre adjacente à la porte avant pour qu’il puisse garder un œil sur mes allées et venues.

Une fois qu’un jeune taureau, il a échappé à son cadre et a été trouvé au fond d’un ravin matamore avec un 10-12 pieds de long branche arborescente entre ses cornes. Ensuite, il a couru de haut en bas la banque, comme pour dire “Regardez-moi!”

Nourris au biberon, à 16 ans, il serait toujours téter mes doigts et le marié avec moi bien placé salifères. Sonny pourrait être agressif par moments, s’il avait pensé que quelqu’un allait déposer son alimentation antenne parabolique avant qu’il était prêt à renoncer. Pourtant, de tous les trois de mes bovins, il était le plus étroitement adapté au comportement de l’homme. Il comprenait certaines langues de base commandes et il était toujours curieux de savoir ce que je faisais.

Sonny a été totalement fidèles à ceux qu’il aimait, et en particulier le houx, l’amour de sa vie. Lorsqu’elle a pour la première fois rejoint la ferme comme un 45-jour vieux génisse, il a été frappé. Son amour pour son jamais faibli.

Inopinément, Sonny est décédé jeudi matin, 5 mars 2015. Quelques instants après, la douleur de ne pas voir et interagir avec lui est écrasante, et d’autres fois flamboie sans oublier ses différentes actions. Temps va guérir. Je le sais par expérience. Et pourtant, ma douleur est fraîche et profonde.

And we know that all things work together

for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Rom.8:26 NKJV

PuppiesIt takes two munchkins, not to replace, but to ease the grief. In 1994, I began rescuing dogs whose owners no longer wanted them and put them out in the country where they were left to fend for themselves. Some were brought to a vet clinic where I worked. Of these, one was a blind Cocker spaniel, Stevie, and another was a chocolate Labrador retriever, Sara, with heartworms and a mammary tumor. Sam, was a puppy with a mild seizure disorder, who was found wandering and brought to the clinic. I adopted all three, only later discovering Sam’s condition. Of the 30 dogs rescued through those two decades, Sam was the last one left. We were together for 16 years. He saw me through many trials and joys. Sam died this weekend. He was of another generation.CropPuppy

A new generation started with the adoption of Luke in October, and now two mixed great Pyrenees puppies. I miss you, Sam. Rest in peace, my friend.

Et nous savons que toutes choses travaillent ensemble pour le bien de ceux qui aiment Dieu, de ceux qui sont appelés selon son dessein. Rom.8:26 NKJV

Il prend deux elfes, non pas à remplacer, mais à faciliter la douleur. En 1994, j’ai commencé au sauvetage les chiens dont les propriétaires ne voulaient plus et de les mettre dans le pays où ils étaient laissés à eux-mêmes. Certaines ont été portées à un vétérinaire clinique où j’ai travaillé. L’un d’entre eux était un aveugle Cocker Épagneul Breton, Stevie Wonder, et un autre était un chocolat Labrador retriever, Sara, avec heartworms et une tumeur mammaire. Sam, était un chiot avec une légère convulsion, qui a été trouvée errant et portés à la clinique. J’ai adopté tous les trois, seulement plus tard découvrir Sam’s condition. Sur les 30 chiens sauvés grâce à ces deux dernières décennies, Sam était le dernier gauche. Nous avons été ensemble pendant 16 ans. Il m’a vu à travers de nombreuses épreuves et joies. Sam est décédé ce week-end. Il était d’une autre génération. Une nouvelle génération a commencé avec l’adoption de Luke en octobre, et maintenant deux mixtes grand Pyrénées chiots. Tu me manques, Sam. Repose en paix, mon ami.