Her life was a gift.


Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us sweet girl.


1/19/2006 – 6/29/2016

Loved every single second of her beautiful life.


It eventually gets to a point where the tears running down your face feel like acid sloughing off your skin…..and the pain in your chest becomes a desperately aching void…..and you realize that today changed your whole reality. I allowed myself to fall in love with a perfectly loving creature, whose only fault was a very short life….and I sit here mired in the pain of loss. But I don’t wonder if it was worth it. This exquisite hurt is but small homage to every single moment she loved me, with unparalleled and undeserved devotion.


Posted in Animal Rescue, community, Daily Life, Dogs, Family, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A huge community is helping my brother.

Earlier this week, my brother Bernie was seriously injured in a farming accident. The radiator on the tractor he had been cultivating with, exploded. He received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his face, arms, back and chest. By the grace of God there were no inhalation burns and his eyesight was spared. After a stay in ICU at Munson Medical in Traverse City, Bernie was released to go home, and is under the care and medical supervision of a plastic surgeon who specializes in post-burn treatment. I am thankful for all the first-responders, techs, nurses and doctors (along with their admit support teams) that helped my brother.

So back to Ware Farm in Bear Lake, Michigan does my brother go…..with strict orders not to work and stay indoors…..out of the sun and out of the dirt. Can you imagine how difficult that is for an organic farmer?


I’m in Illinois. I also am unable to travel at this time due to my own health issues. So via phone calls home, and social media, I listen and watch. Helpless to do anything, but marveling at what unfolds over the course of a week.

I hear the deep love and concern my 93 year old Dad has for his son. Dad still helps on the farm, a place he started so many decades ago. Hauls strawberries where they need to go, and a myriad of other things, fixing stuff, helping irrigate. A wealth of farming wisdom in that hatted grey head of his.

I see the love and dedication of Bernie’s beautiful, hard-working, keenly intelligent wife, Sandee. She is Bernie’s heart and soul, and she is the laughing eyed, smiling center of the farm.


I know that Sandee’s folks who live at the end of the same rural dirt road Ware Farm is on, are ever present, as they have always been, but it still needs mentioning….they are there, doing what they always do, helping and loving Bernie and Sandee.

I read the group texts we receive on my husband’s little flip-phone, updates sent by my brother Chris, to everyone who has a cell phone. Keeping us all current on news.

I see the GoFundMe fundraiser set up by a dear family friend of Bernie and Sandee’s. I see the donations, many names I know. Family. Friends. Folks I have come to know via social media. Even friends of mine that have no connection to Bernie at all, except me. Many anonymous givers, who gave with no names, quietly supporting Bernie & Sandee. Thank you Chloe G. for setting up this fundraiser. You’re a superstar!


I read the messages and comments left for Bernie and Sandee on their Facebook page. So much love, kindness, and care.

I’ve been told that a lot of folks are pitching in at the farm. I don’t need to remind anyone that on an organic farm (fruits – veggies – salad greens – herbs – flowers – shiitake mushrooms) you’re not signing up for an easy job either. This is down and dirty, sometimes back-breaking, tedious stuff…..and for the folks that are rolling up their sleeves and diving in with their work boots on….I salute you. I am grateful to you.


So where does all this love spring from? It started with Bernie and Sandee. By treating people kindly. By being honest. By being true. By sticking to what they believe in, even when others may disapprove. By having the capability of disagreeing with others, or policies……even strongly opposing…..but yet not personalizing the issues. By teaching others that all things are connected….that what we eat, what we drink, how we treat others, how we treat the Earth and all it’s creatures, all that is connected and all that matters. By reminding people that in the end, the only thing we leave behind, is love. That’s the only thing that is constant, that reaches beyond death, and is already present at birth. Love is our only true legacy.


Bernie has also had the great fortune to have an interesting life. Grew up on a working farm. College educated. Well-traveled. He was a teacher for a long time, and anyone who has had a good teacher make an impact in their young life, already knows how kids lives were impacted by him. He snorkeled with sharks and went hang-gliding in the Andes Mountains. He met indigenous peoples in South America, deep in the jungles. His path to becoming an organic farmer was long and winding….and every step he took brought him to where he is today.

The news at this point regarding Bernie’s burns is cautiously optimistic. He needs to follow the doctor’s orders regarding his care to a “T”…….his pain is well-managed (he says)….and when I spoke to him on the phone….his words and tone were hopeful.

I hope when Bernie and Sandee see a world of folks reaching out and reaching in, to help with the fundraiser for medical bills and loss of income/work, that they will feel loved. I already know, knowing them, that they will be profoundly grateful.

If you would like to help my brother Bernie and his wife  Sandee, here is the link to the GoFundMe fundraiser:

Bernie Ware is Healing the Burn



Most of all, I ask for love, healing thoughts and prayers. Thank you.



Posted in community, Daily Life, Family, Friends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost Cat in Urbana, Illinois (6/15/16) UPDATE! FOUND! (6/28/16)


Lost/Missing cat in Urbana, Illinois (Coler Avenue, near the Fairgrounds)
16 years
DSH neutered male
All black
If found or sighted, please call or text (708) 921-9346.






MIDNIGHT from Hospice Hearts has been “found” and he is safe. After 13 days missing (he accidentally escaped his foster home on 6/15/16) he was sitting on the porch of his foster home this morning. Urbana, Illinois. www.hospicehearts.org



Posted in Animal Rescue, Cats, community, Daily Life, Family, Friends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Cost Dog/Cat Vaccine Clinic – Decatur, IL. – 6/26/16

SUNDAY, JUNE 26th 11am – 3pm
All services require a brief vaccine exam by a licensed veterinarian to check heart/lungs/eyes/nose to ensure safe to vaccinate ($5)
Price List:
Rabies 1 year: $12 (county tag registration is extra)
Distemper/parvo combo (dogs or cats): $12
Canine bordetella: $12
Canine leptospirosis: $12
Canine flu H3N2 $20 (limited supply)
Heartworm test: $15
Round/hookworm deworming: $6
Flea treatment 30 day topical: $6-14 per dose, depending on weight
Microchipping $20 (includes registration)

There is a Facebook event page for this vaccine clinic here:






Posted in Animal Rescue, Cats, community, Daily Life, Dogs, Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Dog in Champaign, Illinois (6/22/16) UPDATE FOUND! (6/28/16)



Christopher is an eight year old lab/shepherd mix who was last seen on Wednesday evening on Prospect and Springfield in Champaign, Illinois. He is a medium sized dog with a graying face.

He is very friendly, but nervous and scared. Within the past week, his owner passed away, he’s been at animal control, he’s been boarded, and he was headed to a new home when he accidentally escaped the evening of Wednesday 6/22/16 (Prospect & Springfield). There has been a possible sighting  Thursday 6/23/16 near Daniel & Willis.

He is wearing a purple collar and micro-chipped. If found or sighted, immediately text (708) 921-9346 or please bring him to Good Friends Animal Hospital, 908 E. Main, Urbana.

Christopher had just been admitted into the Hospice Hearts foster program, and bolted from his foster home. Daily searches have been conducted. Appropriate authorities have been notified. Please help this sweet boy find his way to safety. He’s been through a lot. 




From Jessica Sempek, founder of Hospice Hearts, on Tuesday morning 6/28/16:

“I didn’t think I would type this…


After six days and nights on the run, Christopher was found tonight at 2 am. A huge thank you to everyone on the search team, but especially to Sarah Murdock Estrada for her tireless efforts in searching for him.

He was found running in Home Depot parking lot. His old neighbor was called to help. She sat down, and he approached her. He is now headed to doze for a few hours prior to heading to Good Friends Animal Hospital for an exam.

Thank you everyone for your prayers, shares, and time.”





Posted in Animal Rescue, community, Daily Life, Dogs, Family, Friends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I think about on Father’s Day

My dad.
Born in 1923.
Born in Bear Lake, still lives in Bear Lake.
Grew up in incredible poverty, on a farm, part of a big family.
Worked that farm swinging a plow behind a pair of Percherons (there’s not a lot of people alive who have actually done this anymore)
Got his nickname “Bud” because he used to ride the school bus behind the driver (who was my great-grandfather I think – this story was told to me a long time ago) and “Bud” was written on the seat to “reserve it”.
Used to take a horse-drawn wagon hauling milk to a “resort hotel” in Onekama with a relative every weekend in the summer.
Had to leave home and live with one of his older brothers to finish high school, he was determined to graduate. Back then a lot of young men were kept home to work the family farm.
Worked full-time as a live-in farm hand, on a turkey farm. Says he did not eat turkey for decades after this.
Used to torment the police between Frankfurt and Elberta on his motorcycle, driving fast and crossing city lines so they couldn’t stop him. (We have all done “crazy stuff” when young!)
A girlfriend dumped him when he dumped her on his motorcycle (tipped over with her on it, nobody hurt, except for feelings).
Was a combat engineer in the Army.
Met and married a pretty little German Fraulein in 1949 (Mom).
Raised 5 sons and 1 daughter, I was adopted in 1966.
Tragically lost a son in 1964 (car accident).
Worked at Martin Marietta for 23 years, starting off sweeping floors, ending up as plant manager.
Farmed full time, in addition to a full time job, while raising kids, and still had time to see most of our basketball games.
Took us on vacations, many that I did not appreciate until I was much older….Yellowstone, the U.P. every summer, historical sites all over Michigan.
Can sell anything to anyone, natural salesman, which helped a lot since we also grew up on a working produce farm.
Can fix just about anything…..electrical, plumbing, carpentry, automotive, tractors…..had to rely on himself to make things work because often cost of repairs was too much. He made the bench in the farmhouse kitchen. He made me a rocking chair when I was little.
His handshake is a contract, his word is gold, and that’s not my bias saying this. Ask anyone who knows him.
Well respected man in his community, again, not bias, truth.
Does not like it when people used vulgar language around women or kids.
Opens doors for women.
Spent Winters in Brownsville, Texas for about two decades with Mom, they were snowbirds!
Married to mom almost 59 years.
Became a widower in 2007, we all miss Mom.
At his 90th Birthday in 2013, had a nice party that he really enjoyed, promising everyone an even bigger one when he turns 100.
At 93 years old, he has the loveliest girlfriend, also named Maria, and I could not be happier for him. She made him smile again.
Now spends Winters in New Mexico with Maria. She is good for his soul, and the sun is good for the aches of a long life of hard work.

I don’t get to see my dad, or talk to him, often. I think about him every day, that’s for sure. I have tons of stories and many vivid memories, but I shared a little bit about my dad. I am also NOT sharing the things that drive me crazy…..every family has problems and stuff, no need to share that. MORE GOOD NEEDS TO BE SHARED! I have disappointed him a great deal over the years, but I do know he loves me, and he just wants all of us to be happy. Every good Dad wants that for his kids…..happiness.

Happy Father’s Day, to my Dad, and all dads out there!


Posted in community, Daily Life, Family, Short Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Low cost spay/neuter clinic in Danville, IL.

Humane Society of Danville, Illinois
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Thursday, June 9, 2016
For cats, and dogs under 60 pounds!
Come in with payment of $50.00 to schedule your pet.
1225 N Collett St. Danville, Illinois
Questions? Call 217-446-4110.
Thanks to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine SHELTER MEDICINE PROGRAM for making this possible!


Posted in Animal Rescue, Cats, community, Dogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment