31 Gymnasts

“At first they duck down around the mat, then they form a grid pattern – that’s when the real performance begins. They added in elements of surprise which only kept you guessing what they would do next. One moment they would be sitting low to the floor, and the next they would be soaring to the ceiling. It was so unpredictable. As eye-catching as they were by their costumes alone, their moves took their performance to a level that had those in the audience sitting at the edge of their seats waiting for all they would do next. With music by Cirque du Soleil and Mark Mancina playing, they gave everyone a whole experience to enjoy.”

31 Gymnasts Stand Around A Mat, Seconds Later The Audience Gasps

Holly Reyes  5/18/2017


This is truly the most amazing performance I’ve ever seen.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

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Amber Might be a Weather Girl!

Today we have had Amber for two weeks. This two-week period has changed all of our lives for the better – although it will be good when she settles in more.

She seems particularly hyper today. My husband remarked on it, too. He took her out for her early morning take-care-of-things outing and then fed her. Amazingly, she sat down when she saw my husband was filling her food bowl! After breakfast, I took her for a longer walk. We saw Smoke, the cat, and met a turtle for the first time. Amber looked at it, crept up to it slowly, then jumped backwards, barking.  (I told her I would protect her. :0) )


I just came in from walking her again. We brought her into the office with us, putting up a gate across the doorway. She found Molly, who was trying to take a nap. Molly wasn’t happy with the situation, but she bore it with reasonable grace. Amber tried to play with her again and again. We grabbed Amber’s harness so that the contact was mainly face to face, rather than Amber trying to jump all over Sweet Molly.


Amber played with her tug o’ war toy a few times, but seemed distracted. I have a large, heavy, solid glass paperweight shaped like an apple. I put it on the carpet and Amber loved it. There is no way she can hurt it, and on the carpet, it can’t hurt her.

She usually settles down for a short nap after we go out for the longer walk, or at least is content to play with her toys on the porch for a bit. She is definitely unsettled this morning.

Our weather forecast is for strong storms with rain, wind, hail, chance of tornadoes, and flying hair balls today. She doesn’t seem scared, and she has been through a couple of hard rains while on the porch in the past two weeks.  Maybe I’m wrongly conflating her hyperactivity (even for an active puppy) with the unsettled weather wrongly, but I think we may have adopted a weather girl!

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Tales of Amber

Amber at 11 weeks of age is a study in motion. Saying she is an ‘active puppy’ just doesn’t describe it adequately. If you take your eye off her for a second, she has found something else that is fascinating – and, like a baby – she puts it into her mouth to get the sense of it.

We’re bringing her into the house with us several times a day to teach her house manners. These photos are taken in our office. The dog gate my husband made years ago is up so that she can’t get out – yet. She can’t get under it, but I think she can get over it if she figures it out. So far, she doesn’t know, and that’s a lifesaver for us. :0)


Tomorrow she will have been with us for 2 weeks, and what a two weeks it has been! She is actually sitting for a split second while we put her food bowl down. We say, “Okay” very quickly and declare victory for now. She is much better on the leash and now goes up and down stairs pretty well. She is sleeping in her crate at night with no problems, chooses to sleep in it for naps, and usually manages not to chew her crate blanket TOO much.

She is learning the perimeter of the ‘civilized’ part of our yard. She associates the shop with my husband and dog biscuits, trying to drag me there on every walk. She is nipping less, reacting to “NO!” and the clapping of our hands. (Sometimes it seems that’s ALL we say. When we see this, we change the location or the activity or both.)

Our biggest problem at this point is Molly, our cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross. She misses Bambi and the quiet life she had BA (before Amber). She really doesn’t like the way Amber dives into her face, wanting to play. She is 12 and, though she was the playful one when we had Bambi, she has misplaced her “play” button for awhile. We concentrate on getting them together in a monitored situation and giving Molly lots of love, special perks, and attention.

I’m reading the new book I got yesterday, called, “Everything Labrador” or something similar, to find out what we’re supposed to be doing. I’m hoping they give us new insights into Amber, how we can train her well, and how to integrate her into the family as smoothly as possible.

Our day revolves around when Amber was out last, how long has it been since we had a play time, etc.

New puppies are a joy, AND definitely a character-building exercise.

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The Hummingbird Lady

I’ve had these pictures for quite awhile, and I neglected to get the name of the person who took them, so I cannot give credit as I would like to. I was fascinated by this lady and the hummingbirds’ attraction to her. I could sit with a little feeder in my hand until I melted into a puddle and hummingbirds wouldn’t flock around me like this. What a special lady she must be!







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What Is a Bookshelf?

For Reading Addicts via Cathy Ruggiero

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Pretty in Pink

“My Offering” – Paul Militaru Photography



“Orchid” – Paul Militaru Photography



“Pink Bells” – Paul Militaru Photography



“Pink for Today” – Paul Militaru Photography



“With Gentleness and Admiration” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Paper Art – Take 3

25+ Best Ideas About 3-D Paper Art on Pinterest

Paper is so versatile. I love the way some people draw or paint on it; some make designs on it so you can use it in your home for an accent, wallpaper, etc.; and some see other possibilities: a forest scene, a 3-d sculpture medium, or …..


Beautiful Paper Art – Artist Unknown

I just love this. This artist has created so many different textures with the paper here, delicate wing-like, ethereal parts to the stamens and pistols on the flower. Amazing.


Fans by Cissy Cook

And the childhood paper fans we all made are taken to a whole different level, combining different sizes to create a work of art. Isn’t it wonderful that there are people on our planet who think and create like this?

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Vacuuming Olympics?


If there were a vacuuming Olympics, I should win at least a bronze medal yesterday and today for stamina.  Yesterday I tackled the tile on the first floor: utility room, dining area, kitchen, pantry, and two half-baths.  I filled up the cannister on my Dyson battery-powered vacuum and had to recharge before I could finish.

Today I vacuumed the carpet in the living room, foyer, and office, moving everything in the areas at least once and going beside the baseboards with a whisk broom to loosen all the pet hair that has accumulated since we got our new puppy. With two cats and two dogs (the fish doesn’t shed, thank goodness) they bring it in and leave it everywhere faster than I can vacuum it up.

Since I’m a slob, I let things go while I tended my husband after his surgeries and tended the animals, leaving everything else to fend for itself.

I feel a little bit better about the first floor, at least. The energy drink I tried yesterday tasted okay. It was sugar-free and only 5 calories. I couldn’t feel any difference in my energy level. Maybe I need to drink a gallon of it…


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Life Lessons by AwePost

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This is the way I’m feeling this morning. I slept fine, but our new regimen of getting up at 7:30 to take the new puppy out is taking some getting used to, since we stay up until about midnight. My husband is covered up with a throw, a towel over his eyes, snorking in his recliner, trying to rest now.

We’re making good progress with Amber, but she IS quite a handful. It’s basically non-stop all day until we put Amber in her crate for the night. My husband, who is now cleared for any and all activity from his cataract surgeries, is helping a LOT. We take her on walks 6 or 8 times per day, go out on the porch to play with her, go out to sit with her and hug her, feed her, clean up the porch….

We have had new puppies before, but it was quite a long time ago and the puppy wasn’t this large (I think about 20 lbs now) and not nearly this active. She has a gazillion things to chew on, but is a typical puppy with nothing holding her attention for long.

One thing that has REALLLLLLY helped us is the Carlson Pet Gate With People Door  from Chewy.com that our friend Cathy suggested. (I think of you, Cathy, with gratitude, 80 times a day when I can simply open the gate and go onto or off the porch, not having to scramble over the other gate we had, worrying about losing my balance and falling.)  Amber was already able to climb the gate and get over and would suddenly show up in the kitchen. If we put the gate up higher, she could slither under it, and it was all I could do to get over it. We were thinking of modifications to it, but now we don’t have to!

Amber is modifying her behavior for the better daily. She is a very active, exuberantly happy puppy who makes the Energizer Bunny look like a slug. Even with my husband and I trading off on ‘Amber Duty,’ we are pretty exhausted in this good cause.

We’re lucky that she wants to be with her people. It’s the least we can do to be there for her, teaching her how to act, what’s acceptable and what is not, making our interactions fun and interesting so that she will be able to spend the most time possible with us as she grows.

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Celebrating Yellow

“Fiery Yellow Flowers” – Paul Militaru Photography



“From a Different Viewpoint” – Paul Militaru Photography



“Soft Yellow Petals” – Paul Militaru Photography




“Yellow Roses for You” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Harvest May 24, 2017

I’m still mainly doing cleanup from our recent storms, but I got a nice batch of spinach today.


Our weather has turned really warm and humid (except for today) and the lettuce is starting to bolt. I’m hoping I can harvest a lot more before the plants are done until I plant more for the fall garden.  This is red leaf lettuce.


Romaine lettuce.

My husband wants me to plant iceberg lettuce. We don’t get the plants in this area for some reason. When we get our greenhouse finished, I’ll plan on trying to start some iceberg lettuce seeds for the fall garden.

Meanwhile, we have some delicious, fresh-from-the-garden goodies for a big salad tonight.

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Oil Paintings I Love – Take 10

Original Abstract Oil Painting – Artist Unknown



“The Dance Can Wait” – Corinne Hartley



Zolan – Webneal

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“A Bit of Magic”

J. B. Priestly via The Master Shift via Cathy Ruggiero

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I’m Going to Start “Yog-ing Again”

Ground Zero Web

With the new puppy I’ve been moving a LOT more, lifting, walking, cleaning up after, playing, loving, etc.  However, with all the movement, my back has started to bother me again, so I’m going to start trying to make time for at least one yoga session per day.

Now that my husband is able to take turns on taking care of Amber, I have a bit more time to try to get chores done and I SHOULD be able to get back on the mat.

Today is the first day in ages since I’ve made time for something truly good for me, so I’m excited.

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“Earring Flower”

“Earring Flower” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Amber and the Tug O’ War Game

We’re trying to bring Amber into the house at least a couple of times each day. We have a gate across the doorway to our office to contain her, at least a bit. The first thing she did was find Molly, who was trying to sleep in her bed at my feet at my computer area. Molly wasn’t too pleased, as Amber kept coming back and trying to lick her and get her to play, but she only growled a bit and didn’t freak out.

Amber then found a tug of war toy beside the bed Bambi and Molly shared. She immediately picked it up and allowed my husband to take the other end. A rousing game of tug o’ war ensued, with Amber pulling, whipping her head, getting more and more into it. My husband would let her have it for a bit from time to time, but she would bring it back to him.


I think dogs instinctively know to use their weight as leverage. She already pulls hard!



Here she is, celebrating victory.

We’re definitely making progress on several fronts.

  • She likes her crate. She doesn’t protest when we put her to bed at night, closing and securing the door. She gets into the crate voluntarily when she wants to take a nap during the day.  She doesn’t want to mess up her crate, so she is learning to control things until we take her out in the morning. She hasn’t had an accident on the porch in a couple of days now.
  • She definitely reacts when we say her name. She is starting to “come” a bit. She is still on the leash, of course, but the leash is one that has the really long self-winding strong cord, so she can get about 15 feet away at times.
  • She is biting and nipping less. We’re making a point of going out to simply sit with her and cuddle several times a day, stroking her all over, touching her paws, her ears, under her chin, etc.
  • She is barking less. She has quite a piercing bark, so if she doesn’t stop within a minute, we close the door. We’re able to leave the door open more and more now.
  • She loves to chase a ball and bring it back.
  • She’s learning to ‘sit’ while we put her food bowl down.
  • She’s learning the words “off!” and ‘no!”
  • She knows that when we say “Good Girl!” she usually gets a treat.
  • She’s walking on the leash better now. We’re walking the perimeter of the ‘civilized’ part of our yard several times a day. She is eager to take a walk and takes an interest in lots she sees. She isn’t fighting the leash so much, and is tolerating the harness a bit better, though you would still think she has fleas when she stops to kick at it.

We think this is good progress from the 13th of May, when we adopted her. It’s a good thing she has a pretty good attitude and seems to want to please us, because she is supposed to be 80 lbs or so when fully grown. We want her to have good manners with us and with strangers and other animals long before then. We plan to take her with us places, meet other animals, etc., so we won’t have to worry that she won’t behave when it’s important.

I’m still waiting on the book “everything labrador” or something similar so I can find out what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing!




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Worth Its Weight in Gold

My good friend Cathy wrote, telling me that she was worried about my trying to climb over the gate between the living room and the porch where our new puppy Amber is. She told me about a new style of gate that has a ‘people door!’ I had never heard of that, and after she helped me appreciate what I was seeing, I showed it to my husband, the installer of all things.

He was a bit worried because our door frames are steel, but he said we should go ahead and order it. It arrived today and we installed it within 10 minutes or less. My husband said, “You should tell this company they’re making a well thought out, well designed product.”

The product is from Chewy.com, a wonderful place that ships the product almost immediately. It’s astonishing how quickly things arrive. This is our third order from them, and I couldn’t recommend them more highly.


Carlson Pet Products Extra Wide Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door

Carlson Extra Wide Gate with People Door and Pet Door

We didn’t need to use the two extensions that come with this gate. It installed quickly and easily with no tools required. It’s very sturdy. There is no place for Amber to hook her feet to climb over it. She can’t get under it. If she gets so she can climb over this 30″ tall gate, we can relocate it up a bit higher.

The very best part is the people door. We’ve fixed it so it opens OUT into the porch, so that Amber can’t open it by accident. When we go out there, she has to back up, and she isn’t quick enough to go between us and the door closing again. I’m really delighted. I don’t have to concentrate on standing on one foot, lifting the other foot over the gate (which Amber immediately latches onto), trying not to step on her as I put my foot down, then grabbing the door with one hand and bracing my other hand on the brick to the side of the door as I bring the 2nd leg up and over. It’s REALLY been fun when I had something in my hand…

THANK YOU, Cathy, for

  • worrying about me and figuring out a good solution
  • letting me know about it
  • writing back to point out the people door I didn’t see and appreciate the first time
  • your patience and caring

I can’t tell you how happy we are with you and the new gate. NOW – if we could get Amber to quit barking and whining….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Changes, Family

Rushing Around

Cartoon Characters

The forecast is for rain today, so, of course we have a gazillion errands to run, plus an appointment with the eye doc. Not only is rain predicted, but possible flooding.  It’s a very good thing that neither of us is water-soluble, because we may drown.

I hope that you have a good day. We’ll compare notes when we get back. :0)

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Mother Nature

Poor Molly

Molly was 12 in February. She was the follower in lots of ways with Bambi, letting him take the lead, backing off when he wanted what was in the bowl, etc. As Bambi got older, though, she took the lead in some things.

We have a policy of letting one dog out at a time. This encourages our dogs to stay close, even though there is no fence and we are out in the sticks. When Molly and Bambi got out together, though, they formed a pack and were gone, sometimes for several hours, before coming back, tired and filthy, requiring baths.

Molly was the instigator in running off the last 6 months of Bambi’s life. I don’t think he would have gone off if she hadn’t enticed him. He would keep up with her, but then require a couple of days of good sleeping on his bed before he wanted to ‘escape’ with her again.

When we put him to sleep, Molly was totally disenfranchised. She wandered all over the house, looking for him, going from dog bed to dog bed, mournfully. She didn’t eat well and didn’t want to go out. It really hurt that we couldn’t explain what had happened to her cohort.


Now she is besieged by a HUGE rollicking puffball of energy, teeth, and enthusiasm whose greatest wish is to play with her – right in her face. You can see her say, “Oh, ____!” when we take her on the porch each day to socialize with Amber. She used to get under our chairs, obviously wanting us to protect her. Each day they go through a boisterous several minutes, and then settle down in different parts of the porch. Molly is learning to accept the new regime, grudgingly at best.

I think, once the baby calms down a bit, they might actually enjoy playing with one another. Molly is a happy girl, bringing joy to our family. She brightened up Bambi, who was much too serious about everything, and taught him to enjoy life. I’m hoping that Amber will now do the same for Molly.

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Adding My Husband to “Amber Duty”

Things happened quickly for us lately, with having to put our Sweet Pit Bull, Bambi to sleep, at almost 14 years of age, my husband having cataract surgery, and getting our rambunctious new yellow labrador retriever puppy, Amber. Due to my husband’s surgery, he wasn’t supposed to lift anything over 10 lbs or bend over for several days. Today he started doing light duty on taking care of Amber.

I have to admit I laughed out loud when he tried to feed her this morning. He filled her bowl, then started to put it down on the floor. Amber jumped up, right into his hand and there was an explosion of puppy food all over the porch. He yelled some bad words, and I, still laughing – because it had happened to me a week ago – got him to come in, telling him Amber’s second job was as a vacuum cleaner and she would clean up every bit of it.


He just spent quite a bit of time with her on the porch. He put her on the dog run while he put new weed whacker cords on the push whacker for me, then put her on the leash and walked around the house with her. She jumped into the kiddie pool when they went around the back. He came into the office, then suddenly said, “She just got over the gate.” I jumped up and, sure enough, she was in the living room, looking around. I hurried to grab her and put her – still dripping from the pool – back onto the porch and close the door.

Having a new puppy is good for your reflexes. We are all modifying our behavior to accommodate our new lifestyle. We now look at things as BA (before Amber) and AA. (after Amber).

We had gotten quite spoiled, for example, being able to get food for the dogs in the pantry, put their bowls down with both dogs sitting and waiting. At the “OK,” they would start eating. Are THOSE days gone! Molly still waits for an “OK,” but I now am filling Amber’s bowl, putting it on the table within reach, grabbing Amber’s harness and getting her to SIT for a split second while I put the bowl on the floor and quickly say, “OK!”  This has worked reasonably well a couple of times.

I had a really nice time with her this afternoon. I opened the door to check on her and found her asleep in her crate. I started to close the door, but she came out of the crate and wanted to talk. I picked her up and brought her to my chair in the living room. She was still sleepy, so I had a big, sweet, cuddly puppy for awhile. We both really enjoyed it.

I’m not sure how much progress we’re making, but Amber is definitely reacting to her name now. She can go up or down steps now. She walks well on the leash about half of the time. She is sleeping in her crate and not making a mess there. Most of the time she doesn’t make a mess on the porch now.

We’re getting lots of exercise with our walks around the yard. She still hates her harness, and a new baby gate with a people door is on the way…

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Quick Walk Around the Yard

Red impatiens. We also have some really nice fuchsia ones.


Cluster of Rio Samba roses.


There are two clumps of these yellow lilies, one on either end of the planter with the tulip tree in the center.

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New Green Tomatoes!


I’m hoping we’ll be like this cute little boy soon, picking fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vines to slice for a meal!


It’s kind of like treasure hunting now. You don’t see the tomatoes until you get up close, and sometimes you have to search a bit.






I worked out in the square foot garden for about an hour yesterday, trying to undo the neglect due to too much rain, then my husband’s cataract surgeries, and then the new puppy. I’m basically down to tomatoes, onions, two kinds of lettuce, some spinach, some celery, and one spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed in the kitchen. I’ll try to get pics of the garden tomorrow. I’ve been using a push weed-whacker, trying to go around the outside of the garden today. It’s hard work for an old lady. I ran into a tough something-or-other, snapping off the whacking cords. My good husband put some new ones on, so when the sun is a bit lower, I’ll do another hitch out there.

I hope your day is good.



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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds


Life Lessons by AwePost

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“Artifacts from the Old Yard”

“Artifacts from the Old Yard” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Oil Paintings I Love – Take 9




“Modern Cow” – Janefargo



“Remember” – Pino Daeni

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Nuts and Bolts Art – Take 6

Radiologist – ShoppingZonePlus



Baseball – ShoppingZonePlus





Welded Nuts and Bolts Dogs Sculptures – Pinterest

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You’re Never Too Old

Growing Bolder via Cathy Ruggiero

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Who’s Teaching Whom?

We’re spending a LOT of time with Amber every day, and we’re working on a lot of things, but I begin to wonder who is teaching whom? We’ve modified our own behavior, trying to give her enough love and attention, training sessions, walks, food, water, and just plain sitting on the floor and hugging her.


Amber is complying with a lot of our commands, but I have the hands to show that we’re only successful part of the time so far. She seems happy, but I think we’re learning as much or more than she is. Our lives are revolving on HER schedule.


So far today, we’ve had three walks, food, water, play time with the ball, sitting out on the porch, meeting and getting swiped by, Smoke, the cat, and some quiet time (Ahhhhhhh!)  I have a new bruise on TOP of the old one, and have added one more bandaid…

So, is Amber the teacher and we’re learning to meet her needs – albeit slowly – to HER point of view?


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Top Notch Care

“Happy Heart” – Pinterest

My husband and I have been super lucky to live in a place and time when we can get such good health care. We live in Greenwood, Arkansas. We are older than dirt and are covered by Humana.

If you’re in the area, an absolutely wonderful family physician is Charles Jackson, M.D. at Bailey Clinic in Greenwood, a member of the Cooper Clinic/Mercy Hospital network.  We don’t like doctors as a rule, but we both feel we won the lottery when we found him. He takes good care of us.

When I developed cataracts in 2009, Dr. Jackson recommended I go to Dr. Christopher Greer, D.O. at the Cooper Center for Better Vision in Fort Smith, AR.  He removed my cataracts and I was very happy. I was pretty shocked when Dr. Greer personally called me the night of my first surgery, asking how I was and telling he would see me the next morning. He did this with the 2nd eye, as well.

My husband needed cataract surgery recently. We of course wanted Dr. Greer. My husband’s 2nd surgery was on the 16th, and he reports his vision is improving daily. Again, Dr. Greer called the night of the surgeries to be sure my husband was doing well. We cannot recommend Dr. Greer, and his partner, Dr. Renner, highly enough.

Our surgeries were performed at the Outpatient Clinic at Mercy Hospital. The whole surgical staff provides an orderly, competent, and compassionate experience. We were amazed to receive a Thank You card from the surgical staff, signed by all the people involved with us! We’re sending one back to THEM tomorrow, saying, “It is WE who should be thanking YOU. Thank you so much for your competent, compassionate care.”

We’re lucky that there has been so much progress in medicine since we were born. The things we have had are now treated routinely with so much less recovery time than ever before.

We are very grateful, indeed.

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, kindness, opportunities, taking care of yourself


“Hey, Maybe We Should Drink” – Paul Militaru Photography



“Lady in Night” – Paul Militaru Photography

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