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Life Lessons from the Dog…by Jennifer Probst

May 10, 2019


I’ve been a bit MIA for a while.

But it’s all been good stuff. The past two months have been a whirlwind, and when I realized it’s been a while since I wrote a decent blog post, I figured I’d take some time from the day to chat and update everyone.

First, I went to RARE Paris. I learned that the French are not rude, or mad that you can’t speak the language. They are actually quite kind and charming and I fell madly in love with the city of love. I now know why they call it that. I was lucky enough to stand in the gorgeousness of Notre Dame five days before the fire. I bought a golden set of rosary beads from the gift shop, and I treasure them so much—a reminder of the beauty before the fire ripped through, and I hope they will restore it to the original glory.

I also drank champagne every day, all day. This has led me to the firm belief I need to drink it regularly and not save it for a special occasion. It’s just too good.

The readers came out in droves and showered me with gifts and love and I am so humbled that my work has been translated into French. How did I get this amazing and blessed life? I try to remind myself of this during the difficult writing times.

My son received confirmation and when I saw him dressed in his suit, taller than me, I was struck by the issue of time and all its complexity. It goes so slow when we’re young, and increases with each year to Superman like speed. I want to slow it down, but I can’t, so I just remind myself to take time to watch my son’s baseball games and track races and help with homework, and take weekends off to just be with them.

Then I went to Texas for Inkers Con and was amazed at the productivity of this conference. The workshops and speakers and authors were so damn talented and I learned a ton. I met new friends and created business relationships and networked. Another lesson learned: get out of your office. It’s critical to meet other writers and to experience a conference where ideas are flying and being shared and you are with YOUR PEOPLE. Writers are legitimately insane. NUTS. We need our tribe to know we are not alone.

Finally, all of this leads up to one of the best decisions made in my household. Everyone knows how hard I grieved the loss of my furbaby Bella. She’s been gone for 11 weeks now -but we decided to adopt a new rescue and she’s changed my life. Her name is Willow, she’s eight pounds, and full of love and mischief.

There’s just one thing. I forgot that I’m old. I’m not used to babies or puppies. I’m not used to getting up at the crack of dawn to walk her, or being interrupted every 2 hours for playtime or potty breaks. I’m not used to following them around the house to discipline if there’s an accident, and seeing a hundred chew toys scattered in every room. She makes me tired. But oh, the lessons I’ve been reminded of!

Here are a few:

1. The world is really a beautiful place.

Dear Lord, this puppy is straight from a Disney movie. She is full of joy and wonder when she steps outside. She tries to eat everything, and when the blossoms from the trees fly in the wind, she pounces like a cat and tries to catch them. She sticks her nose in every bush and flower bed and sniffs. She chases bees and butterflies and birds. She follows scents and listens to every sound. She makes friends with chipmunks. She runs with wild abandon with no fear of what’s ahead, dying to see what’s around the next corner. She has reminded me of what it’s like to see the world with new eyes, and I’m treasuring every moment, even as I admit I’m tired!

2. Damn, we’re going to make a ton of mistakes.

When she ate the nasty mud splattered thing before I could stop her, she spit it out and seemed to wonder what the hell had she been thinking. When she attempts to chew wires and she gets disciplined, she’s sad. When she thought she could be dominant with a bigger dog and got nipped, she realized she can’t bully everyone. It’s a constant learning experience daily, reminding me it’s okay to mess up. We’re all going to do it, and why are we so damn hard on ourselves when we do? We deserve kindness, especially from ourselves.

3. We all need play and rest time.

This pup knows how to have fun. Whether it’s catch the ball, tag, or tug of war, she puts her heart and soul into it. And when she sleeps, she goes into a state I’m so jealous of, I wonder if I’m able to get there anymore. I realize when I’m forced to walk or play every 2 hours, instead of moaning about all the work that’s being interrupted I get to take a walk. Or eat lunch. Or steal a nap. The beauty of such simple tasks in life sometimes gets overrun in our motivation to reach our goals. To work harder and longer and faster. God knows, I’ve done it, and succeeded by that philosophy, but I’m also learning there’s a time for other things. Once you stop working as hard, you realize your life won’t really fall apart. It’s all going to be there waiting for you, and maybe, you’ll do even better with a break – whatever that break means for you.

4. There is healing after loss.

Great loss steals a piece of your heart forever. I don’t know if we ever get it back, but I’m learning it’s possible to open up to receive new gifts. They are never the same as the ones that come before. But they are just as important to keep us company and teach us about love again in a new way.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful Mother’s Day. I hope your weekend is beautiful and full of all the things and people you love.

OH, and you know what would be an amazing present?

To pick up one of my books and surprise your Mom, your sister, your cousin, your bestie, with the gift of a great read and some escape.

Don’t forget All Roads Lead To You is up for pre-order and releases in less than eight weeks!

Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MMMWCSC

Peace out, my loves!

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  1. Margaret says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you, Jennifer! On this Mother’s Day I wish you energy – enough to enjoy your puppy, your family, and still have enough left over to give joyfully to your writing.

  2. eawells says:

    I hope the puppy is helping with healing that huge hole in your heart. It’s amazing how quickly you forget how much work those lovable pups can be as well as how fast our children grow up.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks so much – and yes, this puppy has healed me and though I will always miss Bella, I know Bella sent Willow to me to help. Thanks again for checking in!

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