I screamed from pure panic

Image taken from author’s photo album.

It was 2 a.m. when Dagney scratched on the mirror to go out. A noise that wakes me and not my husband, go figure. I rolled out of bed and we headed outside. The second the door opened, Dagney charged out, but instead of heading towards the shop with the motion light like she usually does, she veered to the right. Thinking it strange, I grabbed the flashlight from the windowsill and shinned the spotlight around the yard.

Dagney was easily found but when she let out a low growl from the bowels of hell, I knew trouble was near…


Speak up, ask for help, and listen: lessons 3–5

Image from author’s photo album. Poster created with Canva.

Just as promised Dagney is sharing life lessons everyday this month. The first stressed the benefits of relaxation and ignoring the negative. Today her behaviors shine a spotlight on communication. She reminds us that words are not always necessary to send a message.

Day 3 — Speak Up

Dogs have a way of getting our attention. Dagney scratched on something, anything nearby. At night when she needs to be let out, she scratches on the bedroom mirror. That noise, similar to nails on a chalkboard, gets me out of bed. During the day, a scratch on the door alerts us that a potty break is…

But I will settle for hugs and kisses from cards instead

Image from author’s photo album.

Life has always since they were born, revolved around my daughters. They are my world. At the ages of 35 and 33, they don’t need me as much but I still need them. When something funny happens, I call them. Yesterday, I shared a story of our Yorkshire Terrier chasing a deer. They are my go-to people to discuss concerns because they understand words don’t solve problems but standing together provides support. Daily our phones ping with texts of memes, pics of grandchildren, and questions of what to do now. They are my best friends.

However, COVID placed a wall…

I am too busy to be appreciated

Photo by Howie R on Unsplash

My daughter sent me a text.

“Public education is the superintendent asking teachers to design and cut thank you cards for Teacher Appreciation Week. Nothing says I appreciate you like ‘take away your prep and make your own shit.’”

This required a phone call because though I got the idea of the message, clarity was needed. So, I called. She is a public-school teacher; thus, I was ready for anything: tears, laughter, frustration, or illogical information. Working on the front lines often feels like an emotional rollercoaster forcing teachers to hang on for the next turn but never sure which…

The changes are better but . . . naw, you’ll have to read to be informed

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Both offer similar features but they are different

After publishing on Medium and Vocal Media, I found the first to be more rewarding both financially and emotionally based on reader engagement.

After a detailed comparison between the two, I chose to discontinue my Vocal Media Membership and wrote exclusively on Medium. However, as any good marketing company should do, Vocal reached out to me with a new plan and reduced membership rates to win me back.

Hey there,

We haven’t seen you in a while but reaching out to share some updates on Vocal+ Subscription. We recently released Vocal Bonuses, a more direct way for the Vocal team…

Beauty and power begin with the hairstyle

Me (middle) with daughters, Kat (left) Kari (right). Image from author’s photo album.

Most little girls want to be Disney princess when they are little. I was no exception. Born in the 60s, my indoctrination taught me to believe that beauty came in the form of women with long hair. Young female royalty always got the handsome prince and lived happily ever after. So, of course, I wanted to be just like them, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

I remember one Christmas I received a long, flowing nightgown that touched the ground and swept around my legs when I walked. I wore that every night the following year. …

Life is messy — Get muddy

Photo by Carlos Magno on Unsplash

A messy mortal is my friend. Come walk with me in the mud.Hugh Prather

At the age of 22 in a hospital room, I placed a check mark next to two life goals. On the same day, I delivered a baby and the mailman delivered a teaching contract. A welcome sign ushered me into the future with flashing lights. I planned to become the best wife, mother and teacher that ever existed. Unfortunately, I neglected to take into consideration two other road signs: Slow and Caution.

Be real

I placed massive amounts of pressure on yourself by believing I could…

My husband painted the door and replaced the screens

Photo by James Kovin on Unsplash

When I have a vision for something creative, I explain it to my husband who then points out everything wrong with my idea. When I explain he simply needs to refine the specifics, he rolls his eyes and makes a grimace. This reaction has occurred so many times, I now expect it.

This scenario played out when I wanted to build the deck around the tree, turn a piece of wood into a lamp, create a water fixture in our back yard that we affectionately called Multnomah Falls, and so many other projects that came to life over the years.


One lesson a day from a dog in May: lessons 1–2

Image from author’s photo album. Edited using Canva.

Observing a dog is educational. Dagney teaches me something new every day when I take time to watch and interpret her behavior. Of course, my interpretations could be all wrong it’s not like a dog has the ability to correct my assumptions, but that doesn’t make the lessons less valuable.

Let’s be honest. Since retiring, I don’t do anything daily except the essential bodily functions and feed Dagney. So, to promise to write each day of the month sharing what I learn from Dags would become an unfulfilled promise. However, it’s a great idea because Dagney is a smart, talented…

We gambled our inheritance

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

When Dad passed away, my brother and I procrastinated, but eventually, time demanded we rummage through the contents of the storage shed. Undaunted by cobwebs and mouse dropping, we tackled each box as an exploration until the label “junk drawer” appeared in the black, back corner.

The junk drawer housed all the items our family couldn’t live without but nothing useful until they didn’t exist.

In my youth, that drawer produced constant consternation because the task of searching through the clutter consumed more valuable time than any item’s actual worth. The drawer held the handheld pencil sharpener, the one binder…

Brenda Mahler

Real life person sharing real life stories to inspire and help learn to love ourselves and others. Let me introduce myself

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