September 2022 Hope Is a Cold Nose and Other Inspiring Stories

Treasure Map symbolizing Hope Quest

N42.36087° W85.87946°

Hope Is

In the way sunflowers grow tall and strong.  Ever reaching and joyously turning their ‘faces’ toward the radiance of the sun.  

No matter the threats to their flourishing. 

Such as free-roaming chickens who scratch and forage near their base as they just begin to sprout and reach.

Hope Is in the way that Nature can Intune so graciously to the circles of life, circles that hold compassion in the same space as indifference.  That hold resilience in the same space as adversity.  That hold woven in the thread of their 360 degree hoops the gifted messages meant for us to choose how we will respond to what they are bringing us. 

These free-roaming chickens become messengers when they exit a break in the fence that holds them in pens of adversity and indifference.   They choose resilience when they cross a field to find my mom’s garden and flower beds.   They message to my mom that she can dance in grace between choosing compassion and choosing frustration when they may forage a flower bed a little too much.  They Intune to both of her responses.   They continue to exit their pen of adversity for her choice of compassion.  They let the sunflowers grow to their best versions of who they are meant to be because my mom chooses in her frustration to buy decorative landscaping options that meets these feathered messengers with harmony. 

What is Hope to you?   I would love to share your thoughts.   I welcome your handwritten messages or drawn pictures to the address below.  Or feel free to email me.     


P.O. Box 327

Gobles, MI 49055

ATTN:  Hope Is

39.443256° N, -98.95734° E



Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. 

It may or may not have been a day in September for Tom…

Zoey and I enrolled in the appropriate service-dog certification training. And then, Fire, you are relentless, never quite ceasing! Okay, fine, I know you have been waiting for these words you want me to say. I’m done, I’m out of here, today is the day! You wanted my life, so you win. I do not need any more of this! I will take Zoey for a hike along with my other best friend that aims good and straight. Here, my back against this tree, this looks like a good final place.

Dad, Dad, wait, what are you preparing to do? No, put that down, I need you! Dad, you can’t save my life and then leave me alone. I have at long last found my home. Dad, I get it, how those flames are brutally hot to the point they take your faith away. There were moments in that shelter when I had no more strength. I know, Dad, what it is to reach a point where you give in and accept fate has a bigger plan. I was ready to accept that euthanasia was my outstretched hand. But then you called for me, and you saved my life. You gave me a purpose that I had been trying to find. Dad, I believe in you, and I believe in us as a team. Please give me a chance to give back to you the way you’ve given to me. Together we can fight this fiery enemy.

My face showered in kisses as Zoey willed me to put my .45 down. In that moment, additional flames were permanently doused. With Zoey and me certified, my calming force by my side, I took the next step of saying goodbye. Thirteen different medications were then tossed aside. Saying no more to the numbness in my body, no more to reliance on what I am certain was Fire’s cousin trying to entice.  After horrific withdrawals, once again I was more present in my life.

-From Hope Has a Cold Nose

Based on this information I found on the CDC web page, I would argue that our awareness should be every day.

Suicide Statistics

This is only in the United States.

The World Health Organization site indicates that over 700,000 lives world-wide end in suicide per year.   A 2019 statistic.  

Given that I just read both Japan and the UK governments have appointed “Ministers of Loneliness” to “combat the growing scourge of social isolation individuals face”, or as I recently heard to address the “epidemic of loneliness”, my heart believes that 700,000 is significantly understated as we near the end of 2022. 

This may be the point where you will choose to fast forward to the “A Cold Nose” section of this monthly Hope message.  I respect your feelings and I understand.  It isn’t easy to look this topic in the eye. 

I know because I was once a very angry person at someone who reached the end of hope and decided to leave Earth through carbon monoxide poisoning.   I became witness to the heartbreak of someone who is one of the most important people in my life, a close survivor of this person’s choice.  Instead of choosing compassion or to seek understanding, I embraced deep-seeded judgment, and my mind framed a narrative I repeated often the most selfish thing he could have done!

Looking pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, and grief in the eye is hard enough for us as a collective humanity.   I perceive it feels like we are being taken to the darkest of places when we add the “nature of” that grief, the reason for why we might now find ourselves needing to choose to look into the glasses staring back at us of the tragedy of despair and hopelessness, of isolation and anxiety, of self-condemnation and unworthiness. 

We can’t always get our hearts around the tragedy of an unexpected car accident or a life-taking cancer diagnosis, but our minds can rationalize it and choose empathy and the gentleness of sorrow without judgment to the person whose life is now revered in what took place between the dash.

We can’t fathom in mind or of heart someone’s choice that not living life feels easier than living life.

Yet, in that dance of grace between opposites that I’m always messaging.   And in that way that I’m routinely sharing we make it matter that which we wish hadn’t or wouldn’t take place in the positive change we make because of it. 

What if we are being given the greatest act of love, we could receive from these souls who have left Earth feeling that the only hope they could find was by leaving this life with suicide the way they chose? 

What if we they are our messengers to bring more hope, compassion, and unconditional listening into the world that is cracking open for new beginnings.  

Yes, for that is what I also believe.  What feels like a falling apart is actually a breaking open for the new. 

Recently I took part in a virtual race for suicide awareness.   Part way through my half marathon run, I paused for a cold drink of water that I was keeping in our garage refrigerator.  As I went to open the door to start running again, on the doorknob was this dragonfly.   Now, as you have also come to know about me, I listen for Nature’s messages.   Among Dragonfly’s symbolism and my experiences when Dragonfly has crossed my path, this little one whispers hope, transformation, new beginnings, and can also be an angel message from someone who has left Earth. 

This little one decided not just to grace my path as my hand reached for the doorknob.  This little one decided to join me for some of my run.   For a few laps this little one stayed on my shirt and together we ran for awareness.

And for new beginnings. 

And for the souls who have left Earth who I believe are whispering to me make our stories matter.

I’ve been asked if book three is in the works and if so, what is it about?  And if one is not yet in the works, what is stirring as book three? 

A title that has been simmering contains these words “Between the Dash”.  

Approximately 22 military veteran lives per day.   Approximately 126 lives per day in the United States of souls who lost hope.  Approximately 1,1918 per day world-wide.   

This doesn’t count the number of survivors who now grieve so deeply, who ride a roller coaster of emotions including judgment and guilt and the longing to remember their loved ones when hope and vibrancy was still theirs.   Who long for their loved ones to be remembered as an extraordinary soul with a purpose, not a soul who “gave up”.  

I think I am starting to see and see again.   When my path crossed with the first veteran and his service dog, my heart was immediately captured when I felt the gravity of souls who reached such states of hopelessness.  I believe so deeply in hope and thriving with life, I desired to help inspire others “not to give up”.   That is still a very significant calling for me.   

Yet, there is more.   Compassion and dignity are whispering.   There is much extraordinariness that is lived between the dash when we are humans here on Earth.   No matter what life may bring and the subsequent choices that can be perceived as someone “losing their way”, it isn’t for us to judge based on what we would choose differently or wish that someone had chosen differently. 

For me, it is about finding a way I can give voice to those who didn’t believe their voices worthy anymore.

I believe they are collectively calling to us as be the change agents for our world to create new beginnings of hope, compassion, unconditional listening, and thriving with life. 

We paved the way. 

33.04192° N, -116.86877° E

A Cold Nose

A cold nose, and so many other noses in need. 

Saving Animals and Healing Hearts. 

A nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of abused and neglected animals. We want to spread our message of hope and compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and that collective action can greatly impact the world.

SAHH | Home (

On Wednesday, September 21, I had the privilege of taking part in a fund-raising event facilitated by The Animal Communication Collective, another exceptional community of professional animal communicators who have one very simply stated mission: Partner with animal welfare organizations to help them raise money!

To learn more, please visit one or both links.  You won’t be disappointed if you do!

42.38337° N, -85.95741° E 

Hope’s Spiral Staircase

Your inspiration for this month.

N ° S ° E ° W °

Hope Whispers, Nature Speaks

In August I had the extraordinary – and life-shifting – opportunity to hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail through the Cascade Mountains.   Seventy-five miles across five days, up and down “hills” with 6,000 plus foot altitude gains, with eleven incredible individuals, a backpack, and the stillness of Nature whose “noisiest” sounds were waterfalls and birds.   I would turn a corner and drink in a view such as these I share and the only thing that I could think in the full presence of such majesty was there can be nothing sideways in the world when you look at something like this”.   Such a state of pure presence with no foot in the past nor in the future.  Simply.


Your homework is to reflect on this quote from a professor I had the privilege of learning from when earning my MA.  Dr. Shann Ray Ferch in his preface of the book “Conversations on Servant-Leadership”

In a world often brimming with disdain, what is hope?  And where does hope reside?  I grew up in Montana, a state that boasts miles of open land spit by the rugged and sometimes brutal heights of one hundred mountain ranges.  For me, hope is found in nature, in wilderness, and in the wilderness that exists inside people.  Servant-leadership is a way of being that is characterized by wisdom, freedom, health, and autonomy; it is a source of hope in all the complexity and chaos of the present day.  Contrary to the hyperspeed of the contemporary age, I’ve found there are those who walk toward the dawn, and having traversed the night’s darkness they emerge unafraid. When we return from walking the roads we are never the same again.

What is hope to you?  Where does it reside? 

Are you able to embrace the wilderness within you?  

Are you barely surviving the wilderness of life? 

If yes, what do you need to be able to shift from surviving, to thriving? 

How could you reframe your story to do just that? 

I’d love to hear your reflections if you would like to share.  Feel free to email me at

Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  Maya Angelou




If you have enjoyed this month’s message, please pay it forward to others.  They can also subscribe to future emails by visiting   If you know of someone who has a Hope Is message to share, please encourage them to share via the post office address (or via email).  I welcome sharing their input on the Hope Is website or in future blog messages!   


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