12 Things I See Happy People Do (that unhappy people do not)

Wise words in a world of stress and misery. Let’s be happy

Rev. Shane L. Bishop

I have been thinking a lot about happiness of late, partially because so many people seem unhappy.  I think that was my first epiphany upon entering the world of Social Media; people are unhappy and there are a lot of them.  Now don’t get me wrong, we all know some people who wouldn’t be happy, were they not unhappy but I am not talking about them.  We will just let them be.  I am also not thinking theologically here (i.e. juxtaposing happiness and joy), today I am going to err on the practical and pragmatic side of things.  With that being said, let’s get going.

I think most people want to be happy; they are just not quite sure how to get there from their present location.  Many people honestly believe that happiness is a lucky bounce; a sunny disposition or favorable circumstances but I disagree.  Happiness is a choice…

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My Contract With My Dogs #MFRWAuthor

I’m a writer. You’d think my blog would be about…well…writing. It is, sometimes, but life has a way of interfering when we least expect it. This blog tends to be about gardens and cooking and…dogs. Not that I’m not writing, or editing, or reading (research ya know) but sometimes these take a back seat. And sometimes life has a way of reminding me about what really matters

Earlier this week I helped a friend whose back was hurting get her older dog to the veterinarian for that last, sad trip. Because this is what we who love our dogs do, no matter the breed or origin of the dog. As we chatted about our years in dogs I realized once again what hold our dogs have on our hearts and souls.

These forty plus (eeep almost forty-five) years Salukis have shared my life have helped me develop promises to my dogs:

  • Whether you are born into my hands, placed in my arms by your breeder, or picked up in a gutter, this is your forever home. The only way this will change is if one day you look up to find your special person.
  • If you do not excel at the purpose I’d hoped you could accomplish, we will find something else for you to do to keep your mind and body in good health. If that 016means sleeping on cushions and chasing butterflies, so be it. You will never be discarded because you did not measure up.
  • My ego will never supersede your health and safety, or your happiness. On occasion I might push you, push us all, to be more and better…only as long as we can both be happy.
  • My job is to protect you from any danger, be it a rough trainer, bad dog food, or a human who does not think you have value (this had a strong influence on dating!) Your job is to be happy and healthy.
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    The Amazing Two Headed Saluki

    Competition: Points, Ribbons, Titles…these are all ephemeral, and occupy such a small part of our lives. Time spent together matters far more. Although, yeah, it’s fun to win, it’s more fun to kick back and enjoy each other and our friends.

  • At the end, when your body has betrayed you, I will let you go with tears and love. It will be my last and most precious gift to you.





My friends who have devoted their lives to dogs will understand this. Those who do not see the purpose in this sort of agreement with an animal…I’m so sorry for you.





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National Purebred Dog Day #MFRWAuthor

Yeah I know, this was earlier in the month. May 1 to be exact. But for some of us every day is purebred dog day. Every. Single. Day. We wake up thinking about what we’re going to do with our dogs and fall into bed hours later snuggled up to those dogs. Which isn’t much different from the way most people feel about their dogs. So what makes purebred dogs so special.

Other than — when you choose to own a dog of a specific breed, you’ll know in advance how they will look and act, at least within a reasonable range. If you’re looking at, say, Collies, you won’t be expecting a drop ear or a close coat such as you’d find with a Spaniel.

But there’s more.

This weekend hundreds of dogs descend upon Albuquerque with their people. Dogs in all shapes and sizes and levels of energy. If you ask any of the people ‘why’…why THIS dog why THIS breed, they will all tell you ‘because.’ Because this breed is obviously the most perfect breed ever developed. Because it’s the perfect size, the perfect shape, and fits perfectly under their chin when hugged.

From the start my heart was drawn to the long legged grace of the Sighthound, in particular the Saluki. In 1972 a black and tan boy joined my life and the breed has been a part of me ever since. Seven generations later, in 2009, these nine precious babies occurred.IMG_7578

They quickly grew into these wiggly squiggly beasties:


And a few years later, we had:


six of the nine plus mom and dad. Photo Warren Cook

And you’ve already met some of them throughout the years. Heck most of them. Salukis have helped grow my chosen family and have supported me throughout my life. Which is in no way over yet!!!

2015-05-02 agility 0448

Heading into our future…photo Shiri Hoshen


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Sharing the Rest of the Story

Some of you know I started Agility with my Salukis a few years ago. So much needed to

2015-05-02 agility 0431

Ideally we would both be headed the same direction

be learned, improved, changed before we could come close to success. I needed to work on my own fitness so I could run with them as well as learning skills I never thought I’d need. Fire Dragon was my ‘test dog’, my ‘first pancake,’ showing signs of brilliance but also frustration when I failed to guide him correctly.

I continued working with his siblings, with varied success. All of them enjoyed the Mom


Biddy and Tom

and Me time. Not all of them showed his brilliance, nor his joie de vivre (in place of, perhaps, doing what I asked?) Biddy, sweet little Biddy, with her unrelenting attachment to my late husband as well as her desire to please, came last to the training, thereby not suffering as much from my efforts. Her very first trial she stood in front of the first jump, frozen in shock. I quietly led her out of the ring, and worked with her more. Last month she surprised us all (including the judge) by managing to make most of the jumps, and resist the impulse to race around in a near panic. Last week, we tried another set of Agility trials. After every trial we are sent the results, which come like this:

Valencia Valley Kennel Club
Los Lunas, New Mexico

Printed below you will find your classes, scores, standard course times, and course times.
REGISTERED NAME CH Sacre Tyana Faerie Queene
Date Class Division JH Yards SCT Score Time Qual Place YPS
4/7/2017 JWW NOV P 20 96 39.00 0 0 Not Qualified 0
4/8/2017 JWW NOV P 20 94 39.00 0 0 Not Qualified 0
4/9/2017 JWW NOV P 20 95 39.00 0 53.28 Not Qualified 1.783

To translate: Date, Class Entered (Jumpers with Weaves),  Division for that class (Novice Preferred) Jump Height (20″ – she measures 23.5″) Yards in the Course, then the standard course time, our course time, our score, and if we qualified. Plus the yards she ran per second. Obviously we did not qualify. In fact we didn’t really finish the course until the very last day.

Looking at this readout one would think we were failures. Except each day she ran with more confidence. Her temperament keeps her attention on me, so it’s up to me to make the directions as clear as possible. Thanks to multiple hours of instruction with different trainers in different locations, I’m getting better at that.

The rest of the story? Doranna Durgin (you know, writer extraordinaire as well as dog trainer to envy?!) saved us a spot where she set up with her Beagle boys, so Biddy could rest among friends. Said friends also shared wisdom when asked. On that third day, Doranna called to remind me classes were different and I need to be there NOW.

Fortunately this trial location is not too far from my home. I arrived with hair unbrushed, shoes untied, to see the last dog run. Too late. Sigh. I went over to apologize to the secretary for being late. She looked up at me, down at my dog, smiled then called out

“Judge, the SALUKI is here.”

Said judge whirled around, then turned back to the ring crew, busy taking down the jumps. “Set them back up, twenty inches.” He turned back to me “Do you want to walk the course?”

Not wanting to hold things up any longer than I already had I shook my head then rushed to the set up where I’d left her Agility leash. Neither of us had time to be nervous, in fact I only stopped to tie my shoes before we went in, where that little girl ran with me from beginning to end, to the cheers of everyone who’d been watching us fumble all weekend.

Not Qualified. But winning all the same.


Another ending to another day in New Mexico


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With a LOT of Help From My Friends #MFRWAuthor

Related image

Yeah that about sums it up.

Remember when I was whining about NOT. Not being able to write 50,000 words or walk 10,000 steps? That was the January 7 blog The message I was trying to convey was I can’t do that in one gulp. But I can do it in small sips. With help.

Since January 19, I have only missed minimum 10,000 steps one time. A lot of those steps were around and around and around the house. I try very hard to hit minimum 8,000 before it’s too dark to use the yard or the road but that just does not always happen. If possible I add in steps to any shopping trip.


Oops getting dark. Gotta get one more circuit of the yard.

Even so, some days it’s sundown, or it’s raining and I’m only at 5,000. Well, I tell myself, missing step count one day is not the end of the world. Self reminds me of slippery slopes. So I set out on the journey of twenty five steps around the room. Because I have Fitbit friends, and if I let myself get away with fewer steps they will get ahead of me.

Can’t have that, right?

Obviously walking in circles is freaking BORING. Music helps. Music always helps. I might not be able to walk half an hour solid but I can walk for one song, right? Three to four minutes gets me minimum 500 steps. Then 500 more. I tell myself I can take a break after the current song, or maybe the one right after. And I keep walking.

I’ve exposed myself to a plethora of singing competitions, and reintroduced singers I’ve always admired. Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have strong voices that support my steps. Karen Carpenter’s clear sweet voice soothes as I huff and puff along but ABBA’s styling slows me down. Go figure.  Sometimes I’ll do a song marathon…do you know how many people have taken on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah?

Step. Step. Step. Once I’m to 7,000 the rest isn’t quite as difficult, and after I’ve hit 8,000…well not finishing seems like such a waste.

No, it doesn’t make sense but shhhhh I’m getting in those steps!

And the writing, you ask? Or what about the Agility? I’ll take what I can get, with the absolute


Biddy, watching for the next jump

knowledge that I CAN do it, I CAN apply my current self to get things done.

Heck if I can get those steps done I can do pretty much anything.

Step by Step. Page by Page. Jump by Jump in Agility

What do YOU do to fool yourself into getting things done?


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Let’s WELCOME Kathleen Kaska #BlackOpalBooks

Our guest today is Kathleen Kaska, another Black Opal Books author, with a bit of a mystery from the potential dark side of dog racing…what can happen when people allow greed to overcome their responsibility for the animals under their protection.

Take it away, Kathleen

EXCERPT : Run Dog Run

She’d been foolish and gone off alone, now she might have to pay the ultimate price…front cover5

The rocks along the bottom of the creek bed seemed to disappear. Kate felt the ropy, gnarl of tree roots instead.

The cedar break. She was approaching the road and soon the water would pass through the culvert. She knew that she would not make it through the narrow tunnel alive. Her lungs screamed for air. With one final attempt, she grabbed hold of a long cedar root growing along the side of the creek bank and hung on. Miraculously, it held. She wedged her foot under the tangled growth and anchored herself against the current. Inching her way upward, she thrust her head above water and gulped for air. But debris in the current slapped her in the face, and leaves and twigs filled her mouth, choking her. Dizziness overcame her ability to think—exhaustion prevented her from pulling herself higher.

She must not give in. Fighting unconsciousness, Kate inched her way up a little farther, and at last was able to take a clear breath. Her right arm hung loosely by her side, the back of the shaft had broken off in the tumble through the current, but the arrow was lodged in her arm. Numb from cold water and exhaustion, she lay on the bank as the water swept over her, and then, as quickly as it had arrived, the flow subsided and the current slowed. If she could hang on a few moments longer, survival looked promising. As thoughts of hope entered her mind, Kate feared that her pursuer might not have given up the chase. Perfect, Kate Caraway, just perfect. You screwed up again, she chided herself as the lights went out.

Short Synopsis:

After five years in Africa, researching the decline of elephant populations, Kate Caraway’s project comes to a screeching halt when she shoots a poacher and is forced to leave the country. Animal rights activist Kate Caraway travels to a friend’s ranch in Texas for a much-needed rest. But before she has a chance to unpack, her friend’s daughter pleads for Kate’s assistance. The young woman has become entangled in the ugly world of greyhound abuse and believes Kate is the only one with the experience and tenacity to expose the crime and find out who is responsible. On the case for only a few hours, Kate discovers a body, complicating the investigation by adding murder to the puzzle. Now, she’s in a race against time to fine the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Animal rights activist Kate Caraway travels to Texas for a much-needed rest. But before she has a chance to unpack, her friend’s daughter pleads for Kate’s assistance. She has become entangled in the ugly world of greyhound abuse. On the case for only a few hours, Kate discovers a body, complicating the investigation by adding murder to the puzzle. Now, she’s in a race against time to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Bio:161118_003Kathleen Kaska is a writer of mysteries, nonfiction, travel articles, and stage plays. When she is not writing, she spends much of her time with her husband traveling the back roads and byways around the country, looking for new venues for her mysteries and bird watching along the Texas coast and beyond. It was her passion for birds that led to the publication The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story (University Press of Florida). Kathleen Kaska is the author of the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book. Kathleen also writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s. Her first two mysteries, Murder at the Arlington and Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the largest book group in the country. Her latest Sydney Lockhart mystery, set in Austin, Texas, is Murder at the Driskill.

Run Dog Run Kathleen’s her first mystery in the new Kate Caraway animal rights series.

Books are available through Black Opal Books, Kathleen’s website, and Amazon.






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Just in Spring #MondayBlogs #MFRWAuthor

Way back when I was so much younger and believed in all sorts of odd ideas (most of which did not include white picket fences and 2.3 children…who would want only 1/3 of a child?) I came across ee cummings poem “In Just Spring” At that time I didn’t worry much about poetry analysis, I just enjoyed the sound of the words, the feel of them in my mouth.

“in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-

Later he refers to “Puddle-wonderful” and we are taken to a time and place when children jumped into puddles and stomped through mud. Sometimes going back for another round, maybe using the puddle to clean off the mud.

Problem is I really don’t much like mud. I know we need moisture from the sky into the ground to help things grow, and to keep our aquifers up to safe levels. If only there weren’t so much MUD. I’d hunt up one of my OMG rain pictures since our rain can fall furiously. But I’m trying to remain positive. Fortunately here the wind comes along to help dry up that mud but in the meantime the dogs bring in clumps and slime on their furry feet.


However, when the rain does fall, the high desert bursts into glorious color, feeding my heart and soul with wildflower beauty. The rain also fills my holding tanks and makes it possible for me to have a garden, even after the aquifer under my well decided it just wasn’t feeling the love, and diverted to another area.

Yeah, BUMMER. So I haul water, and in the process story ideas have come a’knocking. Including a novella/short story which will be the link between My Killer My Love and the next Atrahasis book. Inspiration can come flying in from anywhere, can’t it?

In the meantime I’m also delving back into the third Stormhaven book. This time it’s Lana, Sydney’s sister, and Adam Roberts, who walked on stage in A Question of Faith

“Before he could go to the door, it opened and Devin stepped through, closely followed by another man, not as tall, and with a more wiry build. He copied Devin’s boot scraping on the inside rug then dropped his outer clothing on the entry bench. When they came closer, Ty heard a faint “click” and realized one of the man’s legs didn’t strike the floor with the same impact as his other. The man was underweight and pale, as if he spent more time inside than was healthy. When he sat, he shifted as if finding the least uncomfortable position. Devin stepped to one side long enough to pick up a stool to slide under the table”

In spite of his prosthetic leg, Roberts carried Rosalind out of the hell hole where she’d been kidnapped. He darned near stole the whole book, and poor Ty would have been on a longer story arc for his Happily Ever After. In A Question of Trust Roberts will be rescuing his own damsel, which will be super interesting since it is Sydney’s sister, who so far has been ‘that bitch who stole the horse.’

Ah, but why did she steal the horse? Isn’t answering that question what writing is all about?

For now, check out front cover final and

plus my other stories: Mona’s Amazon Page

Kristen Weiss encouraged me to get back to blogging, to celebrate SPRING along with these other great authors…drop in when you have a moment or two.

Allyson Charles – Romance: https://www.allysoncharles.com/blog

Conniue di Marco – Mystery: http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog/

Gillian Baker – Mystery: http://gilianbaker.com/blog/

K.B. Owen – Historical Mystery:  http://kbowenmysteries.com/blog

Layla Reyne – Romance:  https://laylareyne.tumblr.com

Mona Karel – Romance:  https://mona-karel.com/blog/

Misterio Press – Mystery: https://misteriopress.com

Shannon Esposito – Cozy Mystery: http://murderinparadise.com/blog-2/

Victoria De La O – Romance: http://www.victoriadelao.com/


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It’s All About Relationships, a Sneaky Fan Girl Message

I was blabbing with one of the MOST talented authors I’ve ever met (more about her in a


Just a pretty picture, nothing to do with the blog!

second) mainly sharing thoughts about writing, publishing, and frustration with both. Plus, of course, dogs. I first met her through dogs, which isn’t that much of a shock since books and dogs have kind of become my life.

I mentioned something about the bad rap Romance continues to receive, and she commented other than the war machine military sort of books, don’t we all write about Romance?

Hmmm. I mulled that over on the way home and for the next few days and realized I think about Relationships rather than “Romance” since relationships are the web of our lives. Whatever sort of relationship: positive, negative, adversarial, loving. Between people and people, people and animals, people and the world around them. It’s all about how we relate to each other. This brings those militaristic books into the fold, big time.

A good story, or a bad story, has to do with how the characters relate to each other, and to

the situations we put them in. How do they succeed? What is success in the context of the world we create for them?

Our own lives consist of intertwining relationships, with other people, with jobs, our environment, our loves. And not so loving, of course. These disparate threads intertwine to form the net that becomes our lives. Sometimes the net is kind of sparse, especially up close though we might have a wealth of friends far away. But it’s there, waiting for us to recognize its existence, and maybe more lines to weave in. Kind of makes me feel less lonely.

That writer? The one I met through dogs? Such a talented wordsmith, I feel so fortunate to know her and share her knowledge as one of the threads in my net. Oh, her name? Doranna Durgin. If you’ve not read her before you have such a treat in story for you, whether you prefer High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy (she has a unique take on shape shifters), or strong women who protect themselves Romantic Suspense. I’m hearing a rumor of the third book in a compelling paranormal about for-real ghostbusters and a man from…you really need to read these, the first one is The Reckoners. The third one will be out very soon, you’ll probably have just enough time to read One and Two. Enjoy!

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In the Land of Plenty #MFRWAuthor

A quick sharing today since the sun is shining and we’re up to a whopping 28F!! Plus I’m polishing that Atrahasis novella. It’s time to get back to writing about protecting our world and the people in it. It took me a while to find this song…I think it has gone way out of style, but the message persists.


This weekend I’m planning another Squealy Fan Girl post. I’m very excited about this one. Enjoy your weekend


ooooh…footsteps in the shadows


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Be The Change…#MFRWAuthor


It snowed last night and this morning. Not big, beautiful, picture perfect flakes, just tiny dots of frozen ice, covering the ground, the fences, the trees, the bushes. One tiny bit after another, piling up to turn my land into a frozen wonderland. Well, as long as the insulation and propane combine to keep the ‘lukis and I cozy. Which they do.


I’ve admitted several times I am a child of the sixties, being born in 1950 (which makes the math so easy to do…yeah I’ll be 67 this year, whudda thunk it? I pretty much grew up on Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, and a host of other musical poets. This song has echoed in my head lately, do you remember One Man’s Hands? Here’s a version new to me but it seems most appropriate.

People often quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” and attribute those important words to Mahatma Ghandi. His actual words were far more profound:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“We need not wait to see what others do.”

Check out Joseph Ranseth for even more inspiration. And let’s all do what we can to be that change.



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