MY PATH TO GRACE
“Let’s name her SPIKE,”
J.T. said with a grin as he dangled a tiny black spiked collar in front of me.
“We are not naming this cute little puppy that will be all of 12 lbs full grown SPIKE!”
My son’s grin told me that was the point- the humor of a tiny fluffy Shih Tzu with a name that conjured visions of an attack dog.
She was named Yogee, and yet even after both my son and Yogee passed away, everyone remembers the joke that followed her through her 15 years.
The sadness of losing a pet after that long opens up a thought process of do we want another dog? Can we handle the puppyhood? Did we want the responsibility? When should we think about it- is it too soon? Can we handle saying goodbye in another 15 years?
Loss is hard, but with everything in life, as they say… the beat goes on.
The heartbeat of love and life goes on.
I researched Shih Tzu breeders and found three, in three different states. All of them had a detailed process of applications and background checks before they considered the forever homes for their puppies. The waiting lists were 9-12 months, so I filled out the applications and put it out of my mind.
The crazy chain of events that happened next was, I believe, Grace in action!
It began with a simple text message from my daughter that read:
Brady just said, “Yogee is in heaven and Grandma is going to get a new Yogee puppy –on TUESDAY!” Is he correct?
This made me chuckle coming from my 4 year old grandson. I responded with,
“Well, everything except Tuesday…
maybe late summer.”
A few nights later I had a dream that Yogee had puppies next to my bed. The dream was clear, in color and felt like it was REAL. I reached down and picked up a white and copper brown one – the color I hoped for in my next Shih Tzu. I knew there were other puppies in the dream, but I could only see this one. Yogee was walking away.
I called to her saying over and over again that she needed to come back and take care of the puppies. She just shook her head and kept walking away as if she knew I would do it.
The extraordinary clarity of the dream spurred a long conversation with my husband the next morning about what it meant and why Yogee brought a puppy to me – the exact color that I wanted.
A couple of days passed, but the comment from my grandson and the dream lodged in my mind. Watching TV one evening, I received an email to my phone from one of the breeders saying she had a female puppy available and wanted to know if I was interested. The picture attached was of a white and copper furball of cuteness. It was her eyes that drew me in.
As I stretched the screen on my phone I saw familiar eyes… they were Yogee’s eyes looking deep into my heart.
Tears welled and I heard the word, --
Not wanting my husband to see my tears, I forwarded the email to him. I waited for his reaction. I saw him enlarge his screen to see the very thing I saw. The eyes.
He looked at me and said,
“What are we going to do?”
I didn’t know. We had resigned ourselves to wait and allow the loss of Yogee to settle. To enjoy a bit of freedom without the responsibility of a dog. And yet, the messages were clearly being laid before me. My tears surged with every conversation about this puppy and with every photo the breeder sent.
The messages continued.
We were told this puppy was the runt of the litter. (Just like Yogee.) After sleepless nights of caring for the tiny pup and worried about her ability to survive, the breeder wanted to keep her. Deciding she shouldn’t, she scanned her waiting list reading the profiles of prospective families and kept coming back to us.
When we found out that the puppy’s mother was named Beah, I knew. I ran to the scrapbook I had created for Yogee and pointing to the registration papers I showed my husband… Yogee’s mother was named Bea!
We made arrangements to visit the puppy. A sweet woman invited us into her home. She picked up the smallest of four puppies and laid her in my lap. She called her, Emma – mysteriously close to the name of my granddaughter Emmie – the daughter of my passed son.
“There is something special about this
puppy. I tell everyone I believe she is
The day we adopted her our home filled with joy. We heard the patter of paws running on our floors. We enjoyed snuggles and cuddles and puppy kisses.
I was convinced she was brought to us through the mystical process of grace orchestrated by J.T. and Yogee … a process others may not understand or comprehend, but to me it was clear.
We named her Gracie Beah.
The next morning I took her to my daughter’s home so Gracie could meet her family. As I was leaving I told them all to say goodbye to Gracie. Hugs and kisses irrupted and the last in line was Brady, the one who predicted the arrival of a puppy.
He kissed her, looked in her eyes and said,
“Goodbye Spike, Spikie, Spike.”
Stunned, I asked him why he called her that. He had no way of knowing the Spike story. He simply shrugged and said,
“I just felt like it.”
My daughter and I smiled at each other.
The last message had been given, and yes, the beat goes on.
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Pennie’s Life Lesson:
“Pay attention to the magical messages of Grace. Follow the path they lead you to.”
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Gracie 2016 and Gracie now.
My intent in sharing this with you is to encourage you to watch for messages of Grace --and follow the path they lead you to.
Share your thoughts and experiences relating to this post in a comment below. And please feel free to email me at:
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This was written and produced by Pennie Hunt.
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I remember it well, following the small, quiet woman down the hallway that led to the candlelit room.
She talked softly as she told me her name and explained how long she had been a massage therapist.
As we reached the doorway, she paused and said,
“Before we go in you must leave your
She reached for a basket that was hanging next to the door.
How did she know I was overflowing with worries? Burdens?
I was holding more than would fit in her small basket.
Was it that obvious?
Were they clinging to the white cotton robe I wore like lint balls that you want to pick off before someone notices?
Smiling at my puzzled, fearful expression she explained,
“The Native American Culture believes in leaving your worries at the door before
you enter a place of peace. You must put your burdens in this basket, so our time
together is free of worry, concern or
despair. This will free your spirit and you
will relax into clear serenity.”
I looked at her dark, sincere eyes and began mentally going through the list I carried:
My father’s illness;
the list went on and on.
I cupped my hand as if I were pouring these worries, and so many more, into the basket and silently hearing them clunking as they piled in.
She smiled broadly as she saw the weight lift from me and become the duty of the basket.
For the next hour as I inhaled the smell of lavender and my muscles were relieved of their stress, I thought of the basket, the ritual, the splendor of it all.
My mind had also been relieved of tension in a very real way. I left feeling warmer, lighter, happier.
That evening I realized what I had forgotten. I had not stopped to gather my burdens from the basket as I left.
Was I supposed to?
Did I fail Burden Basket etiquette?
I couldn't forget the experience-
The reverence I felt as the basket was explained to me, the seriousness of the ritual and the calmness as a result of the process.
I needed one.
I needed a basket of my own.
So I began searching.
It wasn't until several years later in a small shop in New Mexico that I found one.
A Burden Basket!
With great excitement I purchased it.
Once I was home with my treasure, I hung it high at the entry of my meditation loft.
I took joy in the dumping of my burdens before I would enter my quiet space.
Now, it was more peaceful without the chatter -the irritating chatter of my worries.
And still, after years of this daily practice, I forget to gather my burdens as I leave the room.
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Pennie's Life Lesson:
"Do not allow burdens to hold your mind, your heart or your home as their resting place. Remove them from your space of serenity."
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Pennie Heart to Heart
There is a certain magic about where I live both physically and spiritually – on the crossroads of Spirit and Brave.
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