Tag Archives: Cats

Dogs and Cats in Bunny Ears 1

Dogs and Cats in Bunny Ears

This year, I’m celebrating Easter with dogs and cats in bunny ears.

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These photos bring me joy, and I like to think that the time I spend creating them is one way I demonstrate my love and affection for the animals involved and their associated people.

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Now that it’s almost April, I only have a few more days with Basil and Irving. This month with them has gone by way too quickly. I’m no longer convinced they’re cats. After careful consideration, I believe they’re wizards and that they’ve cast a love spell on me.

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The level of ardor and devotion I have for these two is unprecedented because they’re, well, not dogs. I’m as surprised as anyone!

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I did put in an offer to be added to the list of people called if there’s ever a catastrophe and their humans need to find them a new home. I’ve been fantasizing about packing them up and taking them with me, so I’m pleased my offer was accepted. Maybe someday we’ll be together again; of course, I don’t actually hope for this outcome to happen. But it’s nice to know that I can now count wizards in my extended family.

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Happy Easter to all who celebrate! For those who don’t, Happy Sunday!

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Meet Irving and Basil! 8

Meet Irving and Basil!

One of the reasons I’m so fond of my little buddy Fergus is that he’s an excellent napping companion. When I’m napping, he’s napping. Because I enjoy naps so much, this relationship works out well.

Napping on the couch with Fergus.

Imagine my delight that the two cats I’ve been taking care of since the end of February are also champion nappers. Everyone meet Irving and Basil!

Meet Irving and Basil! 9

Irving and Basil are ragdoll cats. One of their more adorable behaviors is refusing to drink from anything except a watering can.

Meet Irving and Basil! 10

It’s been a joy to take care of and nap with them. Since I’m still recovering from last week’s daylight savings time change, I’m taking the easy way out with this blog post by filling it with more pictures of these adorable kitties.

Meet Irving and Basil! 11 Meet Irving and Basil! 12 Meet Irving and Basil! 13 Meet Irving and Basil! 14

The kitties live in North Boulder, which, to my amazement, is even more beautiful than South Boulder. These photos were taken on Saturday morning, after a two-foot snowfall on Thursday.

Meet Irving and Basil! 15 Meet Irving and Basil! 16

I hope my body and brain will have adjusted to daylight savings by the time I post again. In the meantime, here’s another Irving photo to make you smile.

Meet Irving and Basil! 17

 

 

Meet Bitsy! 18

Meet Bitsy!

When I applied for us to housesit in the Seattle area I knew what we were getting into: a cat, two goats, and a beautiful house with views of Mt. Rainier.

Meet Bitsy! 19

What I did not anticipate was a surprise guest who graces us with her presence on a regular basis:

Meet Bitsy!

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Bitsy was in fact the first one to greet us upon our arrival. We had turned down the wrong driveway and she met us on our way back up to the street. There she stood in all her floofy glory, alerting everyone in the area that we had arrived.

She held fast to her position to the point that I had to get out of the car and coax her out of the way.

We soon learned that Bitsy lives at one of the nearby houses, but that she comes to visit often. So much, that the couple whom we’re housesitting for have a box of biscuits from Costco and a dog brush in their garage.

During our first few days at the housesit, we would open the front door to find Bitsy lying in the sun. She acted hesitant at first, though her tail kept wagging the entire time. We would reach out to pet her, but she would dance away before contact.

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Except when offered a biscuit. Then we were suddenly her best friends.

After a few weeks, Bitsy learned to trust us. My interactions with Bitsy are how I know, 100%, unequivocally, that first and foremost, I am a dog person.

Not to say that I’m not loving my time with the other animals. Inky is such a delightful cat, Heath and I would like to clone her.

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JJ and Sumo are so silly and sweet that we’ve added goats to our future goals of when we finally have a home.

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But there is just something about Bitsy. Seeing her run down the driveway or the stone stairs and I know my day is about to get better.

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I reached a new milestone with her the other day when she let me brush her tail. The afternoon had turned to twilight and a cool breeze danced through the air. Bitsy and I spent some time chasing each other around the driveway until she plopped down and showed me her belly. I rubbed it for an appropriate amount of time before I started brushing her. I learned that if I kept one hand on her belly, I could tackle one or more tangles in her tail with a few brush strokes.

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We stayed that way for a long, long time. I haven’t felt quite like myself ever since our car was broken into in California in July and a lot of our stuff was stolen. In those moments with Bitsy, I felt content. I felt peaceful. I even felt joy at how such a simple act of brushing could soothe my weary soul.

When I asked Heath if we could plan to put Bitsy in our car on our way out of town, with the idea that no one would notice she’s missing because everyone would assume she’s visiting someone else, he replied that we certainly could. Then he added that once she realized she was no longer the Cul-De-Sac Queen, she may not be too happy about it. Of course, Heath is right.

And I (probably) wouldn’t steal someone’s dog, anyway.

Here’s to you, Bitsy, Queen of the Cul-De-Sac!

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Cats!

This week kicks off the anniversary of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my dad’s death. Friday is the one-year anniversary of Smudge’s death.

My dad’s decline started slowly a few years ago and then sped up quickly. He went into the hospital in June 2020 and died a little over a month later.

Smudge’s death happened with no warning whatsoever. I wasn’t even there to see him one last time as I was still in Pennsylvania with my family. One of the greatest regrets of my life is that I didn’t stop by to visit Smudge before I left Norfolk in July so I could be in Harrisburg with my dad. I’ve written about this regret before, and I don’t want to write about it again other than to say that almost a year has gone by and the sadness still cuts into my heart with as much pain as it did on July 23, 2021.

Deep breath … moving on. Only because I have to.

When it comes to the whole dog versus cat debate, I’m solidly Team Dog. I have nothing against cats.  I like them, in general. I love some cats, specifically.

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And, I think many cat internet videos are hilarious. So you can imagine my surprise that my heart has been taken over in the last few days by a cat.

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Her name is Bertha and I’ve never even met her!

On Friday I whiled away some time scrolling through Instagram. One of the local groups I follow is Little Guild, an animal rescue organization located in Cornwell, CT. I saw Bertha’s little face with the caption that she is now the Guild’s longest resident at around 150 days. My heart broke into 150 pieces when I read that information.

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Unfortunately, at that moment, I accidentally sent the Little Guild a laughing emoji in an attempt to “swipe up” so I could learn more information. Mortified, I then immediately sent them an apology direct message explaining that I wanted to read more about Bertha and I didn’t mean to laugh at their post.

As I’m in no position to adopt a cat, I thought I would share her here in case someone else is. She’s a senior cat at 10 years old. What I love most about her is how she looks like two cats in one. If you’re on Instagram, you can watch videos of her flopping around and meowing. Warning – she’ll steal your heart.

Here’s the description of her on their website:

BERTHA

Domestic Short Hair / Mixed (short coat)

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Female (spayed), 10 yrs

Bertha is an affectionate and laid-back lady. She loves being pet and once she starts purring she doesn’t stop! She will roll from side to side to show you how happy and grateful she is to be getting your attention. Bertha is a quirky little girl who has been a total sweetheart from the minute we met her. She always seems to make us laugh, especially when she eats her dinner while still laying on her side! This pretty and sweet girl can’t wait to be somebody’s new best friend.

  • Approximate Weight:  11 lbs
  • Estimated DOB:  2/1/2011
  • Good with Cats: No

I have no idea if positing about Bertha on my blog will make a difference. I can only hope it does. I’d like to think my dad would be rooting for Bertha, too. Pretty sure Smudge wouldn’t, though. I’m okay with that.

For more information about how to adopt Bertha or how to support the Little Guild, please visit their website: https://www.littleguild.org/

 

 

#TongueOutTuesday

Dog standing on a rock

Last week, I attended a New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators writer’s retreat at Whispering Pines in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. In addition to making new friends, chatting with and learning from industry professionals, and eating New Orleans French Toast for the first time in my life (YUM!), I found out about something VERY IMPORTANT:

#TongueOutTuesday

How did I NOT know that every Tuesday social media encourages us to post pictures of animals with their tongues sticking out?

Special shout-out to my new friend, Kathy Halsey, a children’s book writer, school librarian, and dog mom to one Wiley Corgi, who first told me about #TongueOutTuesday.

Since I’ve been missing out for who knows how long, I am pleased to present you The Kelly Kandra Hughes #TongueOutTuesday Catch-Up Compilation. This is not an exhaustive list. If it were, we’d be here all night.

Enjoy!

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Cody, Naperville, IL

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Phyllos and Rafiki, Joliet, IL

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Lilu and Rafiki, Joliet, IL

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Lukas, Jackson Hole, WY

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Stella, St. Albert, Alberta

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Sam, Murfreesboro, TN

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Horse at the PA Farm Show

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Annie and Dodger, Norfolk, CT

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Chance Long Nose, Norfolk, CT

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Moon, Norfolk, CT

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Tobey, Norfolk, CT

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Smudge, Norfolk, CT

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Faith, Norfolk, CT

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Bruno, picture courtesy of my husband Heath, Kalispell, MT

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Dodger

PS – Are there any other animal-related social media hashtags I should know about? Let me know in the comments or you can email me at genesispotentia(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)gmail.com.

O, Canada!

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Photo by Jonathan Denney on Unsplash

My husband and I noticed a trend when we were in Kalispell, MT. A lot of people asked us where we were going next. We would respond, Glacier National Park. They would respond, You really need to go to Banff.

So we added Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada) to our travel plans.

While in Glacier, we got the same question: Where are you going next? We responded, Banff. They would respond, Oh, you really need to go to Jasper.

So now we’re going to Jasper National Park (also Alberta), too.

We hit the road on July 3rd, leaving Kalispell behind. Soon, we crossed the Canadian border.

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About 1km after that, we met this brown bear grazing by the road side.

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I took it as a good sign that I’m going to love Canada!

We didn’t go Banff/Jasper directly. I felt like I needed a little stability in our 3.5 month road trip.

Thanks to the Internet, I found us a nice, short-term housesitting job in St. Albert, Alberta. St. Albert is a little north of Edmonton.

On the way to St. Albert, we stopped in Pincher Creek to stay at an Air BnB. This place has been my favorite Air BnB place thus far in all my Air BnB stays ever. Here’s a picture of the view from their couch:

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This place has gorgeous views, spectacular natural light, and not a speck of dirt to be seen in our suite. Showering there was also a rather spiritual experience filled with abundant gratitude and joy. Being at Glacier, I had not bathed in five full days.

We also met two super sweet dogs, and a giant rooster with the most feathery pantaloons. My husband nicknamed him Bear Chicken, but his real name is Pretty Princess Bracelet (named by two little girls).

O, Canada! 53

O, Canada! 54

O, Canada! 55

We then made our way to St. Albert, after a stop in Calgary. We didn’t have much time there, but we did have enough time to visit #REGRUB and share this milkshake.

O, Canada! 56

What I’m enjoying most about the housesit in St. Albert is Stella the cat. Everything about her is adorable. She also does what I call The Flop when you scratch her butt. (video)

This housesit is the first time we’ve only been responsible for a cat and house. Add cleaners that came to the house on Tuesday, and you’ve got a rather easy experience. It was exactly what I needed.

True confession, though: I thought it was closer to Jasper so we could take day trips. It’s not.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time just to see what really happened because I know I looked at St. Albert and Jasper on a Google Maps.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters. My husband and I have spent our time catching up on activities we haven’t been able to do a lot of while camping. Writing for me and organizing/editing photographs for him.

Catching up means we haven’t taken full advantage of St. Albert or the area. I’m okay with that. We’ve been on the road since May 15th.

I’m considering this our summer staycation.

The few places we have gone are downtown St. Albert (Jack’s Burger Shack is 5 stars in my opinion), strolled along the walking/bike trails in the surrounding parks (we saw a beaver and a muskrat!), visited the West Edmonton Mall (largest mall in North America), and, my personal favorite, went to the St. Albert Farmer’s Market (the largest Farmer’s Market in Western Canada).

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O, Canada! 58

West Edmonton Mall Skating Rink

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We’ve been here since July 5th. I think the truest testament to how much we haven’t been doing is that I haven’t befriended a single dog while I’ve been here.

I have patted a few here and there. But never long enough where I felt like I established enough rapport with the dog parents to ask details about the dog and if I could take a picture.

Thank goodness for Stella. She’s so adorable, I’ve had no choice but to take 304 photos of her so far. Seriously, I just counted. God bless the invention of digital photos and cloud storage.

O, Canada! 60 O, Canada! 61 O, Canada! 62
I’m going to miss Stella and the consistency of being in one place. But I’m also ready for another adventure. I’m especially eager to sleep again in a tent.

Thanks, Canada! So far, you’ve been nothing but wonderful.

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Finding Wonder in a Crowd

TItle

The first time I visited New York City, my mom got us tickets to see Cats for my 11th birthday. Everything about the trip and the city appeared glamorous to me – the show’s costumes and makeup, the skyscrapers and people, the miles and miles of fancy stores with huge windows that displayed sophistication and wealth.

We returned to the city several times during the next two decades or so, usually to see a Broadway show, sometimes during the Christmas season. Every time, I felt a sense of wonder and awe and for a few years of my life I fantasized about what it would be like if I lived in the New York.

My husband, who was born and raised in the Nashville, visited New York City for the first time in October 2016. As a photographer, he found tons of inspiration in the people and architecture, and he’s been wanting to return ever since. So when an opportunity presented itself for us to housesit in an apartment in the financial district of NYC this last week, we said YES!

Nearly everyone we spoke to were so excited for us to spend Christmas in New York. We received many recommendations and we made our to-do lists. We both wanted to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and the ice skating rink, so that’s where we headed on Christmas Day.

I felt almost giddy with nostalgia of the times my family and I had walked down 5th Avenue. Then we actually got to 5th Avenue and, Dear God, what had I been thinking?

Once when I lived in the Chicago area, I headed downtown on Christmas Eve to spend the evening with a friend and her mother. The city felt peaceful and quiet, with a cold solitude enveloping the night.  Hardly anyone else was out and about and I delighted in how easy it was for me to find my way around and secure a parking space without parallel parking.

Naively, I held the same expectations for Christmas in New York. I could not have been more wrong.

THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE! People crammed onto every street corner, jostling for position to view the tree and ice skaters. SO. MANY. PEOPLE.

I still couldn’t resist having this picture taken:

Tree

Seriously, how cute is my husband?

Then we headed to Saks 5th Avenue. STILL. MORE. PEOPLE.

All the People 2 All the People 3

 

It was like Disney World. Literally. And I really do mean literally because this year Saks opted to have their windows display scenes from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

As a writer, I felt a huge sense of disappointment and dismay. Not to minimize the work and production that went into creating these windows, but where was the imagination in this process? Every single scene was a snapshot from the movie and I’m pretty sure most are featured on the Disney World ride.

Equally disappointing was that every window featured sponsorship by Mastercard. Although, I suppose nothing says Merry Christmas in our 21s century consumeristic society like a credit card.

SNow White 1 Snow White 3

Just when I was on the brink of feeling totally Scrooge like at everything going on around me, two small miracles occurred. First, I got to experience this child’s wonder at seeing the windows:

Little GIrl with windows

Then, I just happened to be there when the Saks’ storefront came alive in lights and music:

For a moment, I could let go of ALL. THE. PEOPLE. and I could feel the wonder around me.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last too long. I don’t know if it’s the energy in NYC or something else, but with where I am right now in my life, NYC and I are just not that into each other.

The real highlights of my trip were the animals I got to take care of and love. Meet Clyde, a mini-Schnauzer:

Clyde

Schroeder, a Bichon Frise:

Schroeder

Sheena, a very vocal white cat:

And Heisenberg, a handsome ball of fluff and fur:

Heisenberg

The single best part of the trip is the fact that Sheena rides around in a backpack.

Sheena in Backpack

Walk

We took her for a walk the first day and I’m so glad we did because it’s been so freakin’ cold every day thereafter, and even though Sheena has a sweater, it’s just too cold outside for her little body.

Sheena in sweater

FUN FACT: The sweater Sheena has is the same sweater I bought for Cody the Boxer when I lived in Naperville, IL.

Cody in Sweater

A gang of dogs and cats wearing matching skull-and-cross-bones sweaters? Sounds like a children’s book in the making!

There are so many benefits to the housesitting lifestyle, but at the top of my list are the sources of inspiration I encounter with each new house and animal I meet.

After this recent stay in New York, I can say with certainty that any fantasy I had about living in the city in now kaput. I wouldn’t trade the week for anything, though, because now I find myself dreaming of the stories I could write about my new furry friends.

At this very moment there could be an editor thinking to themselves, what I really want in a picture book is a story about a cat who goes everywhere in a backpack or a little dog who takes on the winter world when he’s wearing his flannel cape.

Schroeder in coat

These will likely be the next stories I write. Because they’re based on my house-sitting adventures and animals I now know and love, the writing process is going to be one of joy and enthusiasm.

Nothing may ever come of these stories, although I hope that’s not the case. But in the meantime, I’m going to give myself some good laughs, stretch my creativity and imagination, and work on the art and craft of picture book writing.

Wishing everyone one a Happy New Year! May 2018 be filled with abundant joy, prosperity, love, light, and laughter.

End Note: I wrote this post before I found out yesterday that a dog I love dearly had to be put to sleep. He was surrounded by his family at the time, and although I am so sad the world has lost such a funny, loyal, brave, and true companion, I am grateful for the love and laughter he brought into our lives. If everyone who has a pet could give them a special hug and kiss from me today, I would appreciate it. The world is always a better place when there’s more love in it.

Memoir Monday, August 1st (which is really a Tuesday)

HB to my blog

Happy Birthday to my blog! One year ago today I posted for the first time and I am now up to 97 posts.  A little bit short of my (overly) ambitious 156 (3 posts a week), but I’ll take it.

Originally, I started this blog as a way to document my new career choice as a writer.  I planned on writing about writing (there’s a novel idea [haha, pun totally intended]), as well as featuring some of my fiction writing (Fiction Friday posts), with a dash of other writing as well (poems, one-liners, life lessons from a dog, etc., for Whatever Wednesday posts).

Now a year in, I have more realistic expectations.  It turns out there is only so much I can write about writing in any given week.  A lot of my Memoir Monday pieces morphed into metacognitive pieces of how I am my own worst enemy in achieving my goals of being a healthy and peaceful person and a productive and prolific writer.

I actually quite like the evaluation process, having conducted program evaluation research for well over a decade, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I ended up spending a lot of time reflecting on my goals, objectives, and whether or not I am making progress.  As I continue writing my blog, I expect the process of what I am trying to accomplish over several different areas of my life, not just writing, will continue to fall to the forefront.

My Whatever Wednesday posts and Fiction Friday posts certainly stretched my creativity and writing muscles.  But I often found myself feeling forced to come up with content.  Although I am a big believer in having a consistent writing practice, I like to have freedom in the process.  Telling myself I had to come up with a thought provoking one-sentence caption for a photograph or another flash fiction story created undue stress for myself and a lot of times I felt a bit resentful because the time and effort it took away from the writing projects that are closer to my heart (my children’s picture books and middle grade novels).

Therefore, year 2 of my blog will not include these outlets for my writing.  Over the next few weeks, I will be updating the blog site to reflect these changes.  However, at some point I would like to finish my Fox Through the Forest story.  For those of you who have read, I feel it is unfair to leave Malcolm the fox and his friends stuck in narrative limbo.  I know he has his journey to finish and I want to see him to the end.

It’s exciting to think about where year 2 will take me.  A year ago, we were housesitting in Johnsonville, NY, and taking care of a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Border Collie, and a Bordernese mix, as well as two rag doll cats and a barn cat, in addition to goats and chickens.

Johnsonville three dogs

Frank with Heath Rosie Jack Cat

Now we’re on the road in Joliet, IL, caring for an old timer Golden Retriever, a rescued Great Dane, a German Shepherd/Border Collie mix that came from the pound, one cat, and 37 (I think) chickens.

Phyllos Lilu Rafiki Triferros

A year ago, I had no completed manuscripts over 1,000 words.  Today, I have one complete 41,000 middle grade novel, and a 51,000 word middle grade novel sorely in need of revision.  I wrote an additional seven picture book manuscripts.  One of them won the top fiction prize in Kidlit College’s picture book contest.  As a result, this manuscript is now being considered by five publishers.  Plus, I now have an agent who makes me laugh a lot and is supportive of my story ideas.

I am so blessed and grateful to be on this journey.  I thank God every day that I had the courage to change the life I was living for the one I wanted to live. I am grateful to my husband who has shown me unconditional love, laughter, and support as we realize our shared visions for life.  My parents have also been incredibly supportive and I know they hope and pray for our continued prosperity and success, as do my extended family and in-laws.  We have met so many wonderful people along the way and every day we make new connections.

We have no idea where this next year is going to take us, but there is not a doubt in my mind it will be filled with abundant gratitude, joy, love, light, and laughter.  I look forward to telling you all about it.