Comfort In Pain

Comfort in Pain

Let it Hurt.

Let it Bleed.

Let it Heal.

Let it Go. – Nikita Gill

I’ve always found comfort in my pain. When it hurts you know it’s been real and very rarely in life are things real. Think about that for a few minutes. Think about how many times you’ve felt betrayed by someone who turned out to be a fake friend, how many lovers have you sunk faith into that turned into cheaters? How many coworkers did you back up who turned into lazy users? It happens to everyone, none of us leave this life unscathed.

I love the quote above because it reminds you that pain is a process to healing. A lot of people get stuck in the comfort of their pain. I do. It’s easier to wallow in it. It feels almost good to mope around with it because of the attention you get with it.

I think it’s healthiest though to let it hurt, whatever it is, just let it in and let it consume you. Let it make you scream. Let it make you weep. Let it break your heart because if you just try to seal up the tiny cracks for a little while, just bottle it up for the now, you’ll seek release elsewhere in destructive behaviors.

Let it bleed and by this I mean let the rage out where it needs to be directed. If someone cheats on you, tell them all the ways they’ve hurt you, all the ways they’ve betrayed you. Tell them their word is no longer any good to you, that you’ll never be able to trust anything they say to you again. If someone hurts you, bleed it out on them, let them know, don’t let them walk away as if they had no part of it. I often write about accountability and I truly believe it’s the downfall of our society that we no longer hold anyone accountable for their actions. Every single person should know when they do something hurtful. Bleed it out.

Let yourself heal. They say time heals all wounds. I don’t believe that. I do believe that invigorating your mind, your heart, your body heals all wounds especially those of the soul. Don’t wallow in your self pity. Read a book, learn something new, take a class, date someone, fuck, just talk to someone new, get something crafty, be silly, dance, sing, heal. A side note to this, you don’t have to do it alone, but don’t do it with the person/people who fucked you over to begin with. When you walk away, walk away strong.

Let it go. I struggle with this. I’m sure you’ve read from my previous posts, I don’t believe people truly forgive others. It’s because we retain memory. Memory is a bitch. It forces us to acknowledge every bad thing that’s happened or been said and you just can’t take it back and you can say a million times you forgive, but you don’t, not truly, and it’s because you can’t truly forget. Think about any time you’ve said forgive and forget and then gotten into another spat with that person, you went back to what you said you forgave and forgot right? We all do. We all do.

I tell my son and daughter often, You Teach People How To Treat You. This is one of the best lessons in life to give everyone yet it takes so much time for people to actually heed the words, to learn what it means. If you allow someone to constantly use and manipulate you into doing or being what they want, you’ll never be happy. You are teaching them to treat you like a doormat, you’re telling them it’s okay to cheat on you, to call you names, to be shady, to withhold their love, etc. You are making it okay and why would they change when you complain? You’ve taught them that you’ll stay, you’ll keep coming back even if they don’t change. You give no real consequences to their bad behavior. You’ve taught them to treat you badly. The only thing you can do, is let them go. Be honest about your feelings, be honest about it never really going to be able to work because the history is too rife with discord and that’s the way to honestly let it go.

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Relationship Equality

I’ve been thinking a lot about equality in relationships and how it comes in many forms. Nothing is ever 50/50, nor should it be.

My respect/equality meter remains full and has for the entirety of my relationship.

My husband does not not cook, he doesn’t wash dishes, he does not wash-dry-fold-put away laundry, he doesn’t clean the house, he doesn’t take the dogs to the groomer, he doesn’t typically grocery shop. In general he doesn’t do a lot around the house that is considered typical “women’s work”. I know that sounds bad but please continue reading.

My husband never allows me to pay for anything when I’m in his presence. We could be just stopping at the pharmacy for my medication and he will not allow me to pay for it. It can be as simple as stopping to buy a soda and he will not allow me to pay. He also never asks me or even implies that I should go in when we stop for soda or the pharmacy or a quick gift card. He always lets me sit in the car listening to music and he goes to take care of whatever we’re out doing. He always opens my door for me. Be it the car or whatever building we’re entering or leaving. He does all the typical “men’s work” around the house: mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs, oil changes, etc. He brings me surprises every single week, really great surprises. He has always shown me his appreciation for all that I do in small and large ways and I’ve never once had to say to him “I’m feeling unappreciated”. He takes me to every single doctor’s appointment (it’s a lot), he always drives no matter where we go. The most important thing my husband has done to keep my love meter full is he has always encouraged me to work at jobs I truly love and am happy doing. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams with my writing. He has allowed me something very few people get in this lifetime, I have never had to stay in a job that made me unhappy because of his love and support and that has been invaluable.

I should say here also that I love the fact that we practice “traditional roles” in our relationship. It’s not for everyone, I agree. I’m old school though, all I ever wanted to be was a writer and wife, a great wife. I really do enjoy cooking and doing things to make him happy. I enjoy it even more because I know how deeply he appreciates it.

All of these are things between us keep us equal in our relationship. Too many times I hear others focusing on the things their partner doesn’t do instead of all the great things they do accomplish for them. I’m more than okay with the way my relationship is.

My husband works, a lot. He works usually 7 days a week. He hardly ever takes a day off and although I miss him, I understand the reasoning and I support him. I would say 4 days a week he can get up with his alarm with no help from me, on time, with no problems. There are a few days, roughly three days a week that he’ll maybe stay up a little late watching TV shows with me and get to bed a little late. On those days I’ll help him out a little, if I notice he hasn’t gotten up by a certain time, I’ll of course go in to our bedroom and gently let him know it’s time to get ready for work. This has never ever been a problem for me. I’m retired, it’s not as if I have other shit to do and it gives me a few extra minutes to hang out with him before he has to leave for the night.

I used to have a really hard time explaining this to an old friend. He thought my husband relied too much on me and was just spoiled and lazy. I don’t see it that way at all. Relationships are all about support and confidence. I love being that person who my husband counts on to help him out when he needs it most. I love the fact that he has confidence that he can count on me for that support and he never has to question it.

So why am I writing this? I think we all need to do a better job teaching our youth what a healthy relationship looks like. Is it any wonder our society has fallen into such disrepair when we look at divorce statistics over the last 40 years? What are we really teaching our children about relationships and what’s okay and not okay? What are we showing them is acceptable behavior when engaging with a mate?

Are we teaching them selfishness is okay? Cheating is okay? Open relationships work? On again off again is perfectly acceptable? Abusiveness is okay as long as you attach the word love to it? Walking away from responsibility is widely acceptable? Is this the society we want? It’s repetitive you know, we come from broken homes, we break our homes, and we teach our children that well, that’s the way it is, broken is acceptable. But we can change it. We can teach our youth a better way, a healthier way of dealing with love, respect, honesty, and realistic relationships.

These are just some of the thoughts I’ve been having lately as I have two young adults who are navigating life and love. I give them as much advice as I can but two of the most profound pieces of advice I impart to them on the regular are these: Love don’t pay the rent and Life isn’t fair but it doesn’t have to be a fucking circus either. Maybe I’ll elaborate on another blog later. Just some things to think about today.

Validation

How do you seek validation? Each of us must in little or big ways depending seek out validation for the lives we live be it online in social interactions or in our partners/kids.

Myself, I prefer to seek validation in close people in my life. I do this by simply being myself and striving every day to make myself a little better, a little more caring about the struggles of those close to me and I try often to make those I love lives a little better, even in small ways. I’m not always successful, and I’m flawed in many ways, but I try and I think that, at the end of each day, comes across and is all that really matters and that in itself validates me.

I believe wholeheartedly in taking accountability. I think it’s healthiest to stop looking at strangers online for your own personal self worth. I don’t as a rule typically air my grievances or complaints on social media outlets such as Twitter or Facebook. It does no one any good and it’s hardly worth the the five minute high you might get from “likes” or “comments”, it can become addictive and then all you’re left with is a void you constantly have to fill with drama and strife.

It’s almost impossible to stay positive in the world as it is today and still receive positive reinforcement, but if you follow some simple rules, you can eliminate some major stressors and begin to live the life you really want.

  1. Instead of seeking advice from social media contacts, do some research on Google from reliable sources. This is so helpful you won’t believe the results.
  2. Start ignoring posts promoting drama and negativity. Seriously, read it and skip it. Don’t like it, don’t comment on it, don ‘t repost it, skip it. You’ll feel better and you won’t dwell on it.
  3. Try to clean up your friends lists. Some people I’ve seen have 1k and 2k friends on their lists, do you really know and keep up with that many people? No, none of us do and it just leaves you open to more doorways of negativity. Get rid of anyone you don’t have a personal good relationship with.
  4. Don’t be afraid to block people. Even if it’s someone in your family. If they are a negative influence or a person who constantly starts drama do not feel beholden to continue to allow them to view your page and make comments to others, it always gets back to you!
  5. Do small things every day for those you truly love to fulfill your own validation meter. It can be as simple as folding your husband’s laundry, or getting your child a cup of juice. Just make small time, it will make you feel better because they feel better.
  6. Stop expecting “thank you”, just assume it’s implied! I can’t stress this enough. Expectation is the root of all evil, it burrows in the mind and destroys love. It’s not a stretch to assume someone, everyone is grateful for the things you do for them. Be conceited, yes! You did that and they are thankful, ha.

I hope some of this helps you learn how to find solace and happiness when you feel a little low. I know most of us wander around in life feeling like no one sees us and no one appreciates us but it’s simply not true. Someone has seen you, someone is grateful for you, for the small and big things you’ve done for them. Someone loves you, someone would be lost without you and you don’t need Social Media to know this every single day.

Frienemies

I gave you money when you needed it. We took each other to doctors appointments. We vacationed together. We spent holidays and shared gifts with each other. I helped you in every way you ever asked. You ate at my table literally every day for almost 17 years.

And her, I kept her every secret for 30 years. I supported her and covered for her every time she needed me. I was her shoulder to cry on and I was her champion when she was felt low. I went to court with her, I listened to her, I went out of my way to make sure she was okay, I introduced you two because I thought you might be good for each other.

For the last year you’ve both acted like I was the problem. You both want to act like the last 17 and 30 years collectively have meant absolutely nothing because you’re so afraid that what you’ve built is a lie. You’ve pretended like the times you’ve shared with my family and the times I’ve shared with your families haven’t mattered. You have both hurt me, my children, our other mutual friends and I’m done allowing you both to pretend like it’s okay to stalk my blog and social media, make comments to my other acquaintances, send me bullshit texts, and in general be a couple of ass clowns. She doesn’t like that I know all her deepest, darkest secrets but let’s face it, neither do you. More to the point for both of you, they are pretty horrible secrets.

The ink is barely dry on her divorce decree, less than a month and you’re running down the aisle to lock it in, do you think it will make a difference when she cheats on you like she has all the others? I get it, I do, I’ve known you both way too long for either of you to keep me in your lives, eventually one of you would ask me a question about the other and then it would all come crumbling down, all of your deluded fantasies about each other. I’m not blameless. No one in these situations ever is. I’ve apologized and moved on and it’s time for you two to do the same.

Here’s a fantastic way to get you started: since you have a problem with what I write and you so desperately want to believe every single thing I write is about you, stop reading it. Stop stalking my shit, it’s only going to get worse for you, it’s over, truly, it’ll never go back to any reasonable way it used to be, I mean it really is true, with friends like you, who needs enemies?

It reminds me a bit of the Ides of March, fitting since it just passed. “Beware the Ides of March” or “Et Tu, Brute?”, both historically significant and relevant even today. It’s all about being betrayed by a great friend. It’s all about wishing you had been warned before it had happened.

Roman Dictator Julius Cesar was warned by a soothsayer early in the year 44 BC of his imminent death that he would die by the 15th of March. While walking to meet his friend Brutus he passed the soothsayer on the street and made reference happily to it being the Ides of March and yet he still lived. The soothsayer warned again cryptically that the day was not over. By days end Julius was dead by the hand of his Senators and best mate and Rome was changed forever. As he lay dying he cried out “Et Tu, Brute?” (You too, Brutus?)

I’ve had those knives tear into the flesh of my every emotion but I was luckier than Cesar, I survived the both of you. I am stronger for going through it. I was warned so many times about the two of you and I railed against it. I found out in the end though, Frienemies is real shit.

Rescind

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A verb meaning to declare null and void, or to take back. Words. I think Eminem said it best in his song “Sing For The Moment”, the line goes: “I guess words are a motherfucker, they can be great or they can degrade, or even worse, they can teach hate.”
When I was a kid I used to just spout off whatever came to my head when I was angry with someone close to me, not caring how they would feel, not even caring if what I said was truly something I felt or even a true statement. I just wanted them to hurt and I always accomplished my task. It was worse for anyone who crossed me who didn’t really know me, people who I could give two fucks about at the end of each day. If I took one lesson from living with my mother as a child, it was how to abuse and degrade someone to the point of breaking with mere words.
As an adult I’m a little skittish with people in general. I don’t put myself “out there” so to speak because I don’t believe people as a whole or even individually are inherently good. We all have a propensity for both good and evil. It’s all about if you wake up and decide to stay in the light that particular day and it can change day by day. I’ve suffered from unimaginable evil and the darkness that lingers there has changed the way I would have looked at the world. I see the shadows in the rainbows and I live in them comfortably.
I don’t bow to anyone. I don’t break. Even in my quiet as you throw your tantrum I’m thinking in my mind all the horrible things I want to say to you and I’m laughing. It’s not something I can help, I’ve tried, but then I embraced it. I don’t have to enjoy this aspect of my personality but I’m good at it and it protects me, so I continue to deploy it when I need it.
I revel in it when I’m pushed because as I sit there right on the edge of telling you everything you think you so desperately need to hear from me, I know, I know deep down how horrified you’ll be when my mouth opens and out bleeds this depraved thing and it’s searching. It’s searching for you and it wants to eat you whole, it wants to pick the flesh from your bones, it wishes your brain could live through it so you’d know, so you’d feel the pain of it. It’s hungry. You have no idea the things it wants to say to you to make you understand just how much you’ve angered it. The words would stick to you like a long slimy tongue licking you up the side of your face from the mangled monsters mouth. You’d never be able to wipe it off. You’d be marked from it forever. You’d know how serious it was by its soft low tone. You’d run. You’d stammer and apologize making yourself small and doing what you could to just to get away. These are things I know because this dark trespasser lives within me.
So I grew up a little. I matured a lot. I decided letting this monster alone with you just isn’t beneficial to me anymore. It took some practice and I had to fight my trespasser for control.
II know that words matter. I know inflection matters. I know it’s important to be clear in limits and goals for every relationship. I know if I say something painful to you that it may stay with you. Just like I know if you say hurtful things to me it sticks in my head. I may say I forgive but I don’t, not really. I don’t think humans truly do forgive anyway. It’s because we have memories and are able to recall those memories at will and well let’s be honest, sometimes not so willfully. We are unable to forget and therefore we can’t truly forgive. If you say you don’t care about me, or you think I’m ugly, I’ll always think of those two things first when you talk to me and it will influence my openness with you.
The saying is true, there are things you can say that you just can’t take back. People may say they forgive but they definitely never forget.

The Story of Obstinate

Sit down children and let me draw you a story with my words. There once was a beautiful Princess lost in the woods….

Just kidding, this isn’t that kind of story. This is the Story of Obstinate and how I came to be.

Many years ago I had a friend, a best friend I thought at the time. I did everything with this friend. We went to doctor’s appointments together, we raised our children together, we spent every holiday together, we played video games together, we even vacationed together, and every single night for 17 years this friend ate dinner at my table.

My husband and I decided to take a vacation in the fall this particular year, in the mountains. We asked our friend if he’d like to join us. He said of course! I booked our cabins and we packed up our ATV’s and we headed out for a long weekend.

We were probably only about 2 hours into our road trip portion of the super fun vacation when my friend did something he’d always done in the years I’d known him. He attempted to make me feel inferior to him. Usually I could take it in good fun and blow it off but in this particular moment I’d had a bit of a headache and decided it was time for him to finally admit that I was smarter than he was. I’d always been obtuse. I had never shied away from being mouthy, but now it was time for me to back up my bravado.

We argued over something pretty silly and I could tell my husband was getting a bit uncomfortable because he knew I was shamelessly leading my friend into a corner he couldn’t get out of. My husband has always known the scope of my education and intelligence, especially in times when I’m on fire. So I argued for the sake of winning and finally this friend told me that he didn’t think I was intelligent, he said he thought I was a Dumb Cunt. I corrected him and told him I wasn’t a cunt, I was being Obstinate.

He laughed and exclaimed loudly, “oh shit, see you have to make up fucking words to try and win an argument with me!” I told him in perfect calm that Obstinate was a word in the English Dictionary and he’d be wise to try and use it more often. He vehemently disagreed with much name calling and in general just trying to put me down. Even my husband tried to intervene and let him know it was in fact a real word. This friend just wouldn’t have it, he couldn’t face his truth in that moment that not only had I won the argument but I had proven to him once and for all my superiority in this friendship.

Some hours later during a horrendous thunderstorm somewhere in West Virginia my husband was grilling steaks in a small covered lodge next to our cabin. This good friend came out and sat down at a picnic table with his cell phone and after browsing Merriam-Webster Dictionary for a short while he looked at me. I knew it galled him. I could see it on his face. I knew he was angry at me and he should have been angry with himself for constantly over the years underestimating me and trying to keep me as some idea he had created in his head.

He turned away from me and said “so I guess now I”ll just call you an Obstinate Dumb Cunt.” I let him laugh it off that night but I knew something integral had changed in our friendship and would never be the same. You see, I’m attracted intrinsically to perspicacity in others. I lose interest quickly and tend to wilt visibly with the thought of mundane interactions. This is probably why my husband has been able to hold my interest for so long, he has a very high IQ and tends to keep himself educated on all issues be it music, books, politics, entertainment, etc. He seems to be the only person I actually seek out on a regular basis for a real conversation and he never disappoints me. The best thing about my husband is that when we have a discussion about anything at all, even if he thinks what I say might not be fact, he’ll look it up before he leaps. He doesn’t think I’m Obstinate at all but he laughs at the reference because he knows all the other words that can be used in it’s place, the same as I do, real ones, words.

I know words, I have always made it my business to know words and their meanings. I use words the right way every day and not just plain words, big words and I know it pisses people off and I don’t care, so maybe I am Obstinate, Adamant, Pertinacious, Unmovable, Refractory, Unflinching, Pigheaded, ha!

I feel like when people consistently use simple words to describe things and feelings they contribute to the “dumbing down” of society and that makes me incredibly sad. We have a plethora of beautiful, educational tools to boost our intelligence at the tips of our fingers, yet most of you are perfectly gratified using text abbreviations and emojis. You are contributing to making our children deficient.

That is the story of Obstinate, we did not all live happily ever after together. I now surround myself with people who appreciate intelligence and who help me see that I don’t have to pretend to be half-witted to have real lasting friendships. If you’d like to know more about me, check out the About Me page.

Obstinate xoxo

Off the Reservation

Anyone with Depression or Anxiety or Depression and Anxiety knows that when you take medication and it really works for you there are going to be times throughout treatment when something happens to fuck it all up. Be it, a doctor who thinks it’s time to change things up, you forget a few doses, or something as silly as you suddenly believe you’re cured and get rid of those pesky medications that keep you from having a break down of epic proportions.

I’m not sure how many people are actually cognizant of their mental illnesses or how much thought they put into their own mental healthcare. Myself, I do a lot of proactive work to stay stable. I know when things aren’t quite savvy with myself. I can feel this stranger inside me. I don’t have Schizophrenia. I don’t hear voices. I have Major Depression with Social Anxiety – severe type. I take a couple of medications on a daily basis to help normalize my behavior and stay a functioning adult in society. My anxiety is such that I break out into hives in public situations where I feel attention is being forced onto me. It can be as simple as someone asking me “How in the hell can you even tolerate the taste of Guacamole?” I try extremely hard to never forget a dose of medication, I try extremely hard to never put myself in situations that are too uncomfortable for me to deal with in a mature, sane manner. Mostly, I do this because I don’t like making others feel badly about my condition.

Recently, a specialist I see decided he would like to change things up for me to “see” how I do on a new medication. It’s not working out. Let me preface this by saying I was on a medication for about 8 years that worked for me, it really worked for me. I felt normal. I felt like I could handle my emotions. I felt like I could face anything calmly. I felt peaceful. Within two weeks of changing my medication I became irritable to the point of rage over simple things that I knew should not be setting me off. I’m cognizant of what’s happening and it’s as if I can’t stop it. I feel myself becoming irritated, depressed, edgy, anxious, and annoyed. I have a fast trigger and that’s just not who I am as a person. I have utterly felt Off The Reservation.

What do you do when this happens to you? Do you cut yourself off socially? Do you still go out and just apologize, expecting your friends and family know and tolerate it? Do you have a dark trespasser?

I myself stay home and read or write. I watch a lot of television. I play with my dogs. I try not to interact with my husband or friends a lot because I know me lashing out at them or getting hyper focused on issues is not their fault. I don’t make excuses for who I am without medication but I do make it clear that I do KNOW who I am without medication and I don’t feel like that person is really me, not the best me I can be. That person isn’t the one who likes to sing while she creates in the kitchen. That person doesn’t stick to any sort of schedule. She doesn’t try to make anyone happy, not even herself. This person cries at nothing and gets enraged at everything. She stays up late and then only sleeps a few hours at a time. She doesn’t engage proactively. She is a stranger to me and I don’t want to get to know her because like I said, she isn’t the best version of me.

I did go see the physician who made the switch and he didn’t seem bothered at all by my complaints. He told me to give it more time. At this point it had been a month of just feeling off. I scheduled an appointment to see my family physician. I had a good visit with him and he did this test, it’s a DNA test that tests your DNA against every medication available. It basically tells your doctor which medications are going to be genetically more compatible for you personally. It tells them which ones you will tolerate better metabolically and otherwise. I am awaiting those results and expect I’ll be as good as new soon. Fingers crossed. Until then I continue to write and basically stay away from anyone I love and care about because I’m a ticking bomb.

Pieces

Do you know?

Do you know he carries torn pieces of me with him?

Do you know he tore those pieces from me to carry with him always?

Do you know that he gives those torn pieces of me to you when he thinks of me while he’s with you?

Every hello, a piece. Every laugh, a pieces. Every song, a piece. Every book, a piece, Every movie, a piece. Every star, a piece. Every tear, a piece. Every smile, a piece. Every dinner, a piece. Every walk, a piece. Every nap, a piece. Every beer, a piece. Every haircut, a piece. Every ball thrown for the dog, a piece. Every kiss, a piece, Every goodbye, a piece. All of these pieces he tore from me to keep with him in hopes of always have a connection, a way back, absolution, mercy, grace.

He’ll never be able to tell you how much he loved me. He’ll never tell you about the songs he sang to me. He’ll never tell you about the dinners he made me. He’ll never tell you about the jewelry he bought me. He’ll never tell you about the secrets he told me. He’ll never tell you that the look in his eyes is because my favorite restaurant is also your favorite restaurant. He’ll never tell you about the children he raised with me. He’ll never tell you he misses me. He’ll never tell you he stole those pieces from me.

He breaks a little every time one of those tiny pieces slip out of his pocket and flickers in the soft breeze. He is fractured because he realizes now that he doesn’t have enough to make you into his vision of me anymore. He’s seared through too many of those pieces.

He could have taken all of me had I allowed it and you would still be just a poor man’s version of me because he never deserved me but oh, he deserves you, every single piece.

One Last Treat – Joel Rockey, CNN Hero 2017

Please accept my submission of Joel Rockey at One Last Treat for the CNN Hero Awards 2017.

Joel is originally from Michigan and he enlisted in the United States Navy in 2007. While in the Navy, he was a Hospital Corpsman attached to the Marine Corps’ 2/9 Sniper Platoon in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As a medic in the military, Joel found a great deal of satisfaction and passion in his job. He was awarded the “Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal with Valor” for bravery in combat while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. He built relationships that will last his lifetime and saved many lives.

After leaving the military, Joel struggled to find that same passion he’d found as a Corpsman. He knew he loved animals, especially dogs and he loved his country. He knew he wanted to continue to help people and he knew he wanted to do that by helping animals too. He came up with a plan and enlisted the help of two friends and fellow Marine Combat Veterans Andrae Bandoo and James Plummer in becoming board members for his newly founded rescue. He called this rescue One Last Treat.

Joel has the compassion and foresight to see that senior dogs and cats everywhere, even “soon to be passing” animals need an advocate and a voice. What better voices than the Veterans in our nation?

He continuously fuels his spirit of giving by providing friendship, medical care, homes, voices, and yes, even love to those who are lost and forgotten (and I’m not just talking about the shelter animals he saves here). 

By doing this daily, he is making an impact for the betterment in the quality of life for the old souls he rescues and rehomes. This also impacts positively the quality of life for the United States Military Veterans and their families. With his programs like “Holiday With A Senior Shelter Pet”, “22 in 22” (utilizing Veterans to save a dog every day for 22 days to raise awareness of the number of Veterans who take their own lives everyday), “Treat Team Trivia”, “Veterans Appreciation Day”. These are just some of the events he runs throughout the year to get his fans energized. He also makes sure to go on Facebook Live every day, sometimes several times a day to involve his donors and fans in the lives of the animals he saves and the Veterans who take part in the program.

The One Last Treat Program allows rescued senior animals to live out their remaining time with dignity and love with any applicants who can be matched with a senior animal. All applicants are considered. 

One Last Treat Vet Friend Til’ The End matches honored veterans and senior shelter animals.  All medical expenses for the animal are covered for the rest of their lives by One Last Treat, this enables the Veteran to live with one less (huge) worry until the end with their new senior friend. At the same time this provides needed companionship, comfort, and joy to the retired veteran (I witness it every day in the live feeds).

Joel’s goal for One Last Treat is to highlight the importance of providing proper treatment of animals in their final days to all people and to all communities and to provide needed companionship for our valued veterans from Las Vegas to Missouri, California to Michigan, and all across the U.S.A. 

Joel never hesitates to pack up for a few days just to connect old friends (adoptees and animals) and other rescues like Marley’s Mutts (California), Free to Live (Oklahoma), and The Devoted Barn (Michigan) would tell you that Joel is the greatest wingman and best friend in rescue you could ever ask for. He is always ready to fly out and help pick up dogs in New York flown in from Thailand, drive across the country to “Drool For America”, or even just battle rain and ice to take a goat or mule to MSU in the dead of night so you don’t have to go alone. 

It’s difficult not to get excited when Joel opens a live feed to give an update on one of his special senior animals, or when he goes live to let us know he’s going to be driving two to three states away to help another rescue pick up puppies (he is always on the move and willing to help other rescues with their work), or even when he buys cat trees to give away free at the local shelter to highlight a cat who’s been there too long. Joel’s zest for these activities, for saving life is infectious. I have to say, Joel always has at least 2 to 3 of the animals living with him at any given time. He is blessed beyond measure and he brings those blessings to us in overwhelming ways.

He is constantly and consistently finding innovative ways to engage solutions to benefit the mission of One Last Treat. He is a hero of the America people, his fellow veterans, and to animals everywhere.

*this is my formal submission to CNN Hero Awards 2017 submitted today. Please follow this rescue on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/onelasttreat/   and hey, if you’re looking to throw some money at a good cause (it’s great for your taxes too), this one is VERY deserving. If you are a veteran or know a veteran who would love to become a Vet Friend to One Last Treat, please visit http://www.onelasttreat.com and complete an application!

She Burns

She’s built herself from flames.

There’s a raging forge inside her.

She’s always been able to get lost in it. 

She’s never been afraid to fight through it.

Ignite her. Enflame her. Scortch her. 

Leave her to smolder, she’ll find a way to burn on.

-for Chloe