December 31, 2020 – Hope Has a Cold Nose Update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose readers,

We often wait for a miracle or an extraordinary event, not realizing that we are being given more than the ordinary in the simplicity of each day. A person facing loss starts to see beauty where their eyes and their heart were clouded by a to-do list or by a sense tomorrow is always guaranteed. When their perspective shifts, what begins to matter most is what someone else still takes for granted. To watch a sunset—to really watch a sunset—is nothing short of beautiful and extraordinary…If we choose to see. – Christine Hassing, To the Moon and Back to Me:  What I Learned from Four Running Feet

Though a Hope Has a Cold Nose update was already shared for December, I kept hearing that inner whisper, write an update as we stand in the last day of this year.    Not one to ignore that inner whisper for I have come to learn it carries wisdom, I write with this intention.  As you stand at the doorway of 2020 and prepare to take a step down the hall to the door marked 2021, may you find inspiration, peace, or hope – or a combination of all three – in the words you are about to read. 

On Christmas Eve my mom sent a text to my sister and I recommending that we listen to a new song released recently by Dolly Parton, I Still Believe.   The lyrics include these words:

I believe there’s a day and it’s coming soon

We will unmask this face of doom

Walk hand in hand in perfect harmony

And I believe there are good deeds to be sowed

Nurtured with love to make them grow

I believe that faith can heal our bodies’ minds and souls

Yes, that’s what I believe – Dolly Parton, “I Still Believe” lyrics, 2020

Among my reactions to this song, I was struck with the viewpoint that Dolly Parton was sharing her perspective, but she was not pushing her beliefs.   She was planting a seed for those who might benefit from the words she felt called to sing.  

Perhaps I was reacting to this song this way because of a seed that had been planted within me just days prior.  Actually, maybe it wasn’t so much a seed that had been planted within me as it was a gentle mirror held up as a reminder to walk the talk of my words meet people where they are at, not where we are at.  

I had been in conversation with someone very dear in my life and we were talking about a conversation universal to many this year.  What the holidays would be and not be compared to history and past traditions.   At a certain point, this individual spoke a wisdom, I guess it comes down to each person needs to make and find peace with what is, each in their own way.   We can offer suggestions, but we cannot make someone else feel differently than they do.    

Another dance of grace between opposites.  One the one side of the pendulum swing, as I believe, is how each of us are students and teachers for one another.  When we fully show up as ourselves, we fulfill the reason our paths intersect with others we meet on our life journeys.  Fully showing up does not mean that the interaction is conflict free.  It means that we are honoring the reason our paths are meant to cross, and we are giving each other the freedom of choice in responding, and the gift of choice in what we each decide to learn.  On the other side of the pendulum swing is knowing when to listen to listen and when to listen to speak.  When should we listen without speaking because the other individual only needs us to listen?  And when should we listen to speak because we may have the “exact” words someone else needs in that moment. 

Yes, indeed, the dance of grace between opposites.  

My heart empathizes with many who cannot leave the doorway of 2020 soon enough.  I know there has been significant loss felt by many.  Because I am also one who believes in giving purpose to loss, I have made the choice this year to look for the gifts…to look for each 86,400 moments in a day that have offered what I like to call a golden nugget.  

I think of Christmas morning and the walk I took first with Kutana and then secondly with Ginger.  Usually, I take both together for our runs and walks, but on days that my husband does not have to work, Ginger likes to curl up with him and Kutana likes to greet Nature early. 

Kutana and I greeted a fresh blanket of snow before daylight, using the snow as our beacon of light to see our trail.   Kutana, myself, the sound of wind, and the even more peaceful sound of Nature’s quietude.   After our walk we stopped at the window of my parents, each offering the other virtual hugs, kisses, and Merry Christmas exclamations.   Kutana sat beside me, her joyous energy, and her desire to be a “good girl” her dance of grace between opposites.   Her compromise was to sit with her tail making its own version of a snow angel as her eyes and her body eagerly communicated hello, I am so happy to see you, and I love you.  

A couple of hours later after breakfast, Ginger and I took our walk.   Daylight was now the beacon on our path, accompanied still by the wind and Nature’s peace.  Again, we paused at the window of my parents.   This time I placed treats on the windowsill, and “Grammy” (my mom) prepared to hand one to Ginger as Ginger sang her song that she does which communicated her version of hello, I am so happy to see you, and I love you.  

We often wait for a miracle or an extraordinary event, not realizing that we are being given more than the ordinary in the simplicity of each day…To watch a sunset—to really watch a sunset—is nothing short of beautiful and extraordinary…If we choose to see.    Fully present with the moments that life brings, choosing to see a day entrenched in traditions with new eyes, and through the eyes of unconditional love that sees this day as special as every day.   Gratitude for health and well-being of family and touched by the beauty of love that transcends distance and space.  

Among the many gifts I’ve been given in 2020, I have found a deeper appreciation for what is in front of me.  A warmer winter day and the opportunity to sit outside on my mom’s porch drinking hot chocolate has become more meaningful than the tradition we implemented a few years ago to share breakfast or lunch together one day every other week.  Please do not misunderstand that I think less of those times.  On the contrary, this year has added value to those experiences and memories.  Yet, I found myself more present with sitting on the porch, drinking in the shared time as a sacred gift to hold gently, not thinking about the next to-do’s, not thinking about what I would make in two weeks when it was my turn to cook breakfast or lunch.   The time was now, and now was all I needed to fill my soul with joy, gratitude, and love.  

Note to self.  Dear Ginger and Kutana, I think I’m starting to learn a tiny fraction of what you teach me every day.

I was handed additional gifts this week in very kind and gracious words shared with me about the tears that have been shed reading stories in Hope Has a Cold Nose.   In these kind words has also been the gift of hearing about the readers’ increased aware nesses.   Both readers are civilians, and now they have an increased understanding, and an increased empathy.  I am grateful for how these extraordinary stories have yet again positively touched hearts and lives.

Next year promises 31,536,000 moments to the calendar.    How these moments get filled up is a choice each of us will make for ourselves.   My intention includes that I will continue to be more fully present with what is, seeing the moments I am given as extraordinary where perhaps I once took for granted what was being offered to me.   May I not go back to sleep. 

My wish is that each of you will find through these twenty-three extraordinary authors in Hope Has a Cold Nose the hope, resilience, and inspiration you need to flourish in joy, peace, and love on the other side of the door marked 2021.   Blessings to each of you and those you hold most dear.

Don’t Go Back to Sleep

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth

Across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.




My gratitude to We Are the Mighty for their support of the power of hope!

My gratitude to Southern Living for their support of the power of hope!

For an engaging webinar facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and me, please click on the link below:  

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:


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Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.  I welcome exchanging in dialogue with you.  I can be reached by visiting, or you can email me at

P.S.  For additional impactful and powerful information regarding the healing impact of service dogs, please visit     

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