Administrative, Community

Finding Purpose: “A Dog’s Purpose” Giveaway

What’s your purpose? What are you here for?   

To teach? To learn? To give, to heal? To seek, to find?

To serve?

To save?

To live?

There are those certain books that you just know you have to read…Those books that you spot as you’re idly wandering past a bookstore, the ones that you pick up and skim through on a whim. There are those books that you keep returning to time and again, reading the jacket over and again, knowing that, even in the smallest of ways, even for just an hour, a minute, a moment, it will change your life.  Or, at least, make you wonder.

A Dog’s Purpose was waiting there on the library shelf, the face on the front cover begging to be picked up and, as anything pertaining to dogs is certain bait for me, I did. The novel by W. Bruce Cameron is one for humans, it reads on the cover, and indeed those who will find the beauty in this book are those who have known what it means to love a dog…

“What if your dog never dies? What if dogs live multiple lifetimes, and remember all of them?
What if every animal has a purpose, and your pet’s purpose is intimately bound to yours?
A Dog’s Purpose tells the story of a dog who finds himself reincarnated and decides there must be a reason, a purpose he must fulfill, and until he does so, he’ll continue to be reborn.
The story is narrated by Bailey, a wise and funny dog who is very much…a dog.”
– A Dog’s Purpose (.com)


The book is phenomenal — not just for its clever storytelling and unusual narrator, but because it forces the reader to question their own purpose and place in the world (and, perhaps also, to consider just what loving an animal really means and how much it can change you).

I picked up the book on Thursday; I read through it on Friday.

I smiled.

I cried.

Then I raced upstairs to find Riley and squeeze the ever-love out of him as I sobbed rather unattractively into his fur.

I’ve been lucky enough to have loved those animals that have blessed my life. The names of Lea, Lucy, Sampson, Hercules, and Cody — not to mention Riley — are forever etched on my heart. I’m convinced that loving these dogs has shown me how to love — unabashedly, devotedly, wholeheartedly. And being loved by them — these beautiful creatures who show such loyalty, delight, and unquestioning, unwavering adoration — has proven that this kind of pure love can exist in the world.

Maybe it shows that we can be capable of such love as well.

As I reached the end of the book and ran to find Riley, who kindly didn’t have a choice but to let me hold him while I sobbed yet again, I immediately decided that I wanted you to share in the torture pleasure of this book.

So… It’s giveaway time!


(Y A Y!)

To enter the drawing, leave a comment below with your name and email address between now and Sunday, January 16 (11:59pm EST) telling me about the dogs you’ve loved, what they mean/have meant to you, or what purpose you believe your own life holds.

One reader will be randomly selected to receive a brand-new copy of W.  Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose (tissues may or may not be included).

Funny dog stories are also acceptable, smiles welcomed.

Happy Puppy Lovin'!

Disclaimer: I get nothing out of this except the joy of spreading the love around a bit, and I heretofore take no responsibility whatsoever for any tears shed. Unless they’re happy ones.

Administrative, Community

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

Two years ago, I doubt I could have imagined what my life would look like now.

Six months ago, I never could have envisioned the happiness that has been filling my soul with every sunrise, every smile.

Life has changed dramatically in just a short amount of time, and as fond of reflection as I am, I am all the more aware of just how much I’ve changed along with it.  During the winter months, I faced some of the darkest, most emotional moments I’d ever experienced. But, upon looking back, I’ve learned that light casts away the dark, good replaces the bad, and life is constantly moving forward (I’m pretty sure this is one of the laws of the Universe, right?).

Once upon a time, I mentioned that I wanted this year to be an awakening for me. I’d spent two years healing from five consecutive, permanent losses, while also coping with a loss of self-worth and questioning my place in the world. It had been an incredible journey — one, I’ve realized, is still only beginning.

A huge personal change is happening in my life right now —  a positive change — and I’ve never felt more excitement or anticipation. One of my many dreams is coming true, step by step, day by day. I’m not quite ready to divulge it to the masses quite yet, as it’s still a bit up in the air, but we’re moving forward, and when the time comes, I promise I will be excited to share it with all of you.

In the meantime, this real-life situation has been occupying my mind and leaving little room for any contemplative writing. Oh, I still have a thousand what ifs racing through there and some more character flaws to dissect and a dozen more questions to ask of the Universe…But for now, just a simple “Thanks, Universe…Looks like all those tootsie rolls are paying off” will have to do.

The blog may have been a bit more silent than usual, but I hope that you’ll hang in there with me. In the meantime, I want to hear from you! Summer plans, life changes, stories about your dog…I want to hear all about the important happenings in your life.

Today, I hope you’ll tell me your story.

Administrative, Personal Development

Tonight We Drink To Youth

Tonight we drink to youth
And holding fast to truth…

Incubus, Love Hurts

This site has come a long way since its inception back in May. It’s changed and I’ve changed, and I’ve never been more grateful for it all…and most certainly for all of you. To those who have stuck by and supported me, read my rantings and ravings (and ramblings), and offered new perspectives, profound insights, and invaluable advice, tonight I drink to you. (Metaphorically, of course, but I promise the meaning is there!)

Toasting by AndreaPi (flickr)

There’s something to be said for voicing the things you want out loud, writing out your goals, envisioning your dreams…Maybe it’s the whole “thoughts become things” mentality, or maybe it’s simply a useful reminder — a guidepost — for where you want to go, what you want to do, and who you want to be.

Writing has always served as this form of an outlet for me, enabling me to put into words my thoughts and emotions as I attempt to answer those questions. Blogging, it seems, has become a natural extension of that, as I’m able to share a small part of myself and connect with others while I continue to figure it all out. Just where am I going? What is it I really want to be doing?

And then there’s the age-old question of “Who Am I?”

I promise not to go there.

If I can help it.

The fact is, I don’t have all of the answers. But then again, maybe that’s exactly why I have a blog.

I’ve screwed-up, faced rejection, and second-guessed decisions; this blog has taught me to learn from these mistakes, to keep trying, and to not look back in regret. It has allowed me to cement my opinions or change them according to new experiences, perspectives, or reader-insights, as I myself change and grow and learn. It has showcased my strengths and my weaknesses and allowed me to indulge in honest emotion as situations warranted so that I could acknowledge its impact, pick myself up, and move on.

It has reignited a passion and renewed motivation, connected me with an intelligent, warm, and open community, and led to an acceptance of situations, realized dreams, worthwhile adventures, and, most importantly, some difficult lessons learned.

I don’t have all of the answers, and I’m not even close to finding them, but that’s finally okay with me.

Because something else this blog has done is helped me to learn that it’s what you discover about yourself and who you meet along the way that makes this whole journey worthwhile.

Administrative, Personal Development

Universal Reminder

As I continue to work on getting the new website up and running (and recovering from whatever virus I seem to have caught), I’ll update with a great message from Notes from the Universe. These notes are daily reminders infused with bits of humor and a whole lot of wisdom. Somehow, they always call to exactly how I’m feeling, and today’s is no exception:

Here’s the thing. Admission into time and space requires a belief in limits: a belief that both time and space are real; that you can therefore have and have-not; that love can be lost or found; and that you are what your physical senses show you and no more.

These illusions immediately lead you to believe that you are incomplete. Yet, far from indicating you are flawed, they reveal your brilliance by filling you with desire, igniting your emotions, fueling your passions, and catapulting you out into the world where journeys are begun, connections are made, and dreams come true… only to be replaced by new dreams as your divine sense of incompleteness persists.

This is by design. Feeling incomplete does not make you so. It’s how legends are born, giants are made, and history is written. It’s why you’re here. To ever so briefly escape your true identity as you live with an unquenchable thirst that will lead into adventures of grandeur, discovery, and a realization that love is all there is.

Your trusty accomplice,
The Universe

PS: The truth is, you are complete, you are where you should be, nothing has been missed, and I’ll see you at the ball.

For me, it seems to call back to these past few blog posts and recent journey of rediscovery.

How does it fit your life?


Notes from the Universe

I’m safe, sound, and smiling back in PA after an adventurous two days of travel home from France. My journey there was wrought with nerves and anxiety and many, many tears. My journey back home, although filled with obstacles to overcome and taking a day longer than expected due to train delays and missed flights, was filled with an “I can do this” attitude and a self-acknowledgement of my own strength, my own independence.

I really do believe now that I can do anything.

But, Universe, if you can let me get over this jetlag before you throw me the Next Great Test, I would appreciate it.

Speaking of the Universe, a fellow writer at the retreat introduced me to Notes from the Universe, daily inspirational (and often funny) reminders tailored specifically to goals you set for yourself. Yesterday’s reminder couldn’t have spoken more clearly:

You do realize, Susan, don’t you, that there have been others – in lifetimes, millenniums, and civilizations past – who have been to some of the same “places” you’ve been to? Yet, they got so scared they lost control, turned away, or flat out quit.
Yep, and they surround you now in the unseen. Your greatest admirers.
The Universe

Indeed, I’m so proud of myself for all that I have done, for not backing out, for not turning away when things got rough, as I so desperately wanted to do. This trip has been a mix of tears and homesickness, of laughter and inspiration, and I feel like a better, stronger person because of it all. The friends I’ve made, the moments we’ve shared, the lessons I’ve learned will always be a part of me, memories to draw upon when I feel I need the strength. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

Still, though, with my dog hogging the bed beside me, it feels pretty good to be home.

Wishing everyone in the states a very Happy Thanksgiving.

What are you grateful for this year?



Coming Soon:
I’m Going Home: Parts 1 and 2
Inspiration & La Muse
Flash Fiction Contest: Win An Autographed Copy of The White Road, by Tania Hershman
Life’s Recipe: A Dash of Journey Juju