Magnolia: The Rescue

We adopted the sweetest 8 month old puppy yesterday! Magnolia is believed to be a mix of Great Pyrenees and Australian Shepherd and she is smart, obedient, and fits right in here.

Many of you may remember the loss of our puppy Harmony in June. Harmony was a planned and purchased pet. She was specifically chosen for her breed’s characteristics, and we had a vision for her to become an assistive therapy dog for my counseling practice.

But parvo.

Following Harmony’s loss, we continued to take her sister, Willow, to training which they had started together. Since Jonah, my 10 year old, is Willow’s trainer. I spent my time waiting for them walking through Petsmart and it’s rescue shelter.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to fill Harmony’s spot. I was just curious, but quickly overwhelmed by all of the little faces in cages. Following a difficult puppy-free exit, I began googling and reading more about animal adoption and rescues.

Turns out, Harmony’s breed, Goldendoodle, has a rescue center filled with puppies to seniors, who need homes. The more I looked, I discovered rescues across North Texas and beyond whose sole reason for existing is to identify specific breeds in shelters, rehabilitate them, teach them love and good manners, and then conduct a strict process for rehoming these sweet abandoned pups.

I had no idea.

I will spare you the hundreds of horror stories I encountered, but if you are curious, simply google pet rescues or click on some of the links in this post. There is a rescue for most any breed of dog you can think of and they don’t stop there. Cats, bunnies, donkeys

You name it.

I was heavily convicted about our failure as human race to properly care for the animals with whom we share this planet. I won’t get preachy and have no right at all to judge, but I can tell you, I’m not the same regarding the way I see animal ownership any longer.

From this divinely designed experience, I realized Harmony never really belonged to us, but rather we had the privilege of caring for her and all of the joys, and yes sorrows, that came with that.

We had a hole in our family and in our hearts from the loss of Harmony. Although she can’t be replaced, the truth was we had room for one of these sweet abandoned animals. We have love, hope, and healing that could easily flow out to another little spirit.

Back to Magnolia.

When Magnolia was just a few months old she was found wandering a roadside with broken hip. Thankfully, SPIN rescue organization took her in, paid for the surgery she needed, and nursed her back to health.

Her full story is here.

We spotted Ziggy, now Magnolia, on the SPIN website and inquired. After a long application, home visit, reference and vet checks, we were approved to meet her. Ziggy/Magnolia’s foster mom/rescue/hero brought her to us to ensure our current dog and home was a good fit for her.

Ziggy/Magnolia ran right in the house and found the one toy Harmony had left behind. She won our hearts and said goodbye to her foster mom.

Magnolia is home and we are so grateful.

She was not planned, we have no experience with this breed, and the timing is not logical with school starting tomorrow. Still, I am confident she was meant for our family. She rescued us!

Side note:

Interestingly, today is Clear the Shelters day in North Texas. This means adoption fees are waived and many pets will be adopted. Knowing what I do now about the return and discard rate following these types of events, my prayer is that the right furever families show up for these animals today.

If you are looking for a pet, I would love to share what I’ve learned about adopting a rescue. Magnolia is house trained, slept through the night, is incredibly loving, and has been a perfect addition to our family. She has a bit of recovery left on her hip but we’ve already ordered YL Sulfurzyme and Animalscents Mendwell to help support that process!

Here are some other rescues we worked with to find our furever pup:

Allie’s Haven

Doodle Rock Rescue

Doodle Dandy Rescue

Running Lessons: Planning

The school year is upon us and our family schedules are changing.

During vacation months, I enjoy the time with my kids but simultaneously want more order and structure. So, the end of the summer is generally both sad and exciting for me. See, the fall quickly provides that structure in which I thrive, but it also creates an empty house.

As my family heads back to school, my daily company becomes Willow our black lab. I see clients on weekends and attend classes for my doctoral program in the evening, making my schedule opposite to that of my people.

Wellness will require some planning. Less sugar for healthy bodies, warm potted meals due to less produce and prep-time, and supporting immune systems and spirits with warm scents of Young Living Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Thieves. Even when I’m gone I can leave these investments for my family.

Running during this season is a perfect reminder for how to adapt.

The trees lead by example and remind me to change gracefully, conserve energy, and shed unnecessary attachments. The cooler temps remind me to add useful layers and purpose to connect with others to stay warm. Rising heat in the afternoons, remind me that the summer will be back sooner than I expect.

Time.

Next week, I will begin taking later morning runs and eating earlier dinners. Both will be alone, as I we all complete another semester.

I am preparing my heart for this gift. I know it’s exactly what we need. Still, I am grieving another summer, another year with my small but growing boy and the young lady who is no longer little. Meanwhile, celebrating and still missing the oldest whose away at college. I know time can’t stand still, but I wonder if has to go so fast?

Gratitude and praise.

Here’s to another school year. May it bring friendships, knowledge, health, opportunities for service and a gentle practice of training through change.

How are you preparing for fall?

Running Lessons- Guilt

My mother says, “Guilt is a useless emotion.”

I am not sure about the psychological truth to this statement- yet. I do know that guilt tends to surround my efforts in health and fitness. You know the shoulds and oughts that linger the minute you’ve eaten off plan or rested on a non-rest day?

Maybe it’s just me.

Yesterday, I had a three mile run scheduled, but I also had some unscheduled insomnia the night before. Sleeplessness shows up from time to time and does it’s best to wreck my plans for productivity. I’ve learned many tricks that help: yoga, essential oils, good nutrition, and supplements. Still, I have off days of little to no sleep.

Progress not perfection.

Instead of a run, I slept late. Then, I took my son to the aquarium, where we met our aunt, uncle, and cousins. We ate lunch at the cafe instead of at home as planned and ended with ice cream.

It’s been some time since we’ve seen this part of our family and it was fun to catch up while exploring. I absolutely loved this day and the time spent with my sweet boy and our family.

It was a treat.

Guilt lingered in the background to be sure it wasn’t left out, and pestered this morning as the sun came up.

And today, I’m back on schedule and headed out for a run. I intend to eat better too- again.

I wonder if guilt is what gets me back on track? I also wonder if grace could be a better more kind and edifying encourager?

Off to pound that out. Wishing you a day filled with guilt-free joy!

Running Lessons: A snake…

Remember the snake fear that came to mind at my 5:00 am alarm last week? Well, that became a reality during yesterday’s 5-mile long run. So in defense of the psychological immune system, it does know things. However, the moral of this story up front is, I survived.

Snakes are a real possibility when you run on a trail in North Texas. This one was of the rat snake variety (according to a biker who passed it when we did) and was long enough to stretch the width of our paved trail.

It was harmless.

Still, I think I stopped breathing for a minute or two following the sighting. Which, in my defense, could have been deadly.

But, it was not.

One of my big fears came to be yesterday and it wasn’t that bad. As I finished my run, with improved pace time, I couldn’t help but think about how this relates to most of the fears that have held me back in life. Maybe you too?

I literally have the word Courage tattooed on my arm and have spent the last several years perfecting the art of “doing it scared”.

I took my first yoga class, because I heard it could be helpful in practicing bravery. (It is!) I discovered essential oils to help support my emotions and overcome other fears. Hiking has become an effort in intentional adventure and running has helped tremendously too.

As a therapist and coach, I work with others to help them overcome the scary and live a life they love. As a student, I study resilience and the power of mind. I guess you could say I’ve learned to leverage this challenge of mine and use it to add value to my life and that of others.

What I continue to discover is that fear is indeed a liar or an exaggerator at best. Rotten things do happen but most of the time they don’t. Leaning into difficult experiences builds strength for that which lies ahead.

Running trails and life have unexpected challenges, but I wonder, if we don’t take those trails, how can we truly know our fullest potential? I still hesitate. I will probably always need to breathe through scary moments. It’s my wiring, but it is no longer my cage.

Today, my challenge was a friendly snake, and I’m happy to report I lived to write about it.

What would you do today if you knew you would succeed? I say go for it! I can’t wait to hear about your success.

Be well,

Franchesca

Running Lessons: Rest Days

Confession: Rest Days make me nervous.

I think the problem stems from the fact that I do not ever really rest. I generally only sleep 4-5 hours, and then, run full speed through my daily tasks. So, having a designated day, when I am suppose to be resting, feels a like a lot of pressure.

I am in no way glorifying my busy. I admire people who can relax, read books without stopping to research something that needs more explanation, or watch a television show without working on a blog, the Young Living Business, editing photos, or cleaning the house.

Still, that is not me- yet.

See that growth mindset thing I did there? As it turns out, I’ve actually improved in this area. Calming down takes practice when you have genetics like mine.

Don’t laugh.

In full honesty, I come from a long line of people who don’t sleep much, work too much, don’t retire, idle high, and never stop thinking.

Strengths call this Intellection & Achievement.

I long to be good at rest. I oil regularly and yoga often to get there. And no, the irony of my working to rest, does not escape me.

Strengths calls this Restorative.

Interestingly, my brain slows down when I am running. Thoughts get themselves in order. I’m able to become more steady minded and grounded. My breaths deepen and fill my core. Eventually, I can hear my heartbeat; on good days I hear His voice.

And I listen for my next steps.

Maybe for me, running days are actually my rest days?

Who else runs to rest?

Running Lessons- On the mat

Today was cross-training day. Heated yoga stretched me out and strengthened my body and mind.

This teacher was incredible.

I have been a yoga teacher for several years now. Still, my personal practice is always incredibly challenging. See, as a teacher, I lead. I’m in control. When I’m led in yoga, I am challenged to submit to another’s leading and grow every single time.

Fun Fact- The brain requires new content, discomfort, adaptation, challenges, good food habits, and healthy living for improved neuroplasticity.

Yoga.

You might be wondering what Running Lessons I learned on my mat today? Well, I learned more about my inability to live with temperance and consistency. Just like on my mat, as a runner, I start off too fast. I also, don’t practice regularly and then when I do act as if I have been.

Ouch.

With every movement in this practice, I encounter a need for balance, breath, effort, rest, submission, humility and water- Running Lessons.

Who else loves yoga and all it has to teach us about living well?

Running Lessons- Less is more?

Yesterday was a short run. Fun, not too difficult, and quick. I know it did it’s part for increasing my metabolism based on the intense hunger that followed too.

I did my best to stay on a healthy eating plan. Here’s the thing, I struggle when I don’t have a food plan. I know eliminating food groups is a bit extreme and generally is not maintainable based on my many failed attempts at becoming vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, a blood-type dieter, etc…

Still, when I am able to eat anything, no foods eliminated, I struggle with weight management. Less food options, means less to work through in my head when I’m hungry or hangry for that matter.

Oh and God love the 21 Day Fixes and Whole 30s, that provide results and then frustration. Remember my struggle with temperance and consistency ?

So, struggles in mind, I have been working on sustaining a Paleo meal plan with more plants than protein. I feel best when grain-free, and too much protein is not good on my system either. I’ve done pretty well for the last three days.

Then, about 9:30 pm last night Skinny Pop and dairy-free Halo Top beckoned my attention. Not paleo. I guess the good news is it wasn’t chips and Dairy Queen?

The struggle is real. I love to eat!

I think it might be time for some Aroma Freedom to retrain my brain. Stay tuned.

How do you stay fueled without fattening up when training?