My Great Pyrenees Maycee At 10 Weeks

Jul 27, 2014 by

My Great Pyrenees Maycee At 10 Weeks

Life has certainly changed around here the past week with the addition of Maycee, our now 10-week and two-day old Great Pyrenees.

Wednesday we went to the vet for our nine-week’s shots. Our wonderful breeder had said she might have weighed about 8.5 lbs when we got her. No. She’s up to 16. Or was on Wednesday. She weighs more by now I’m sure.  She’s clearly bigger this week than she was last week and over the next nine weeks or so will double in size and weight, easily.


We’re settling into a morning routine. The crate training is progressing. When she gets out, we head straight to the “spot” and she does her business. Then we get a little play and exercise, a little food, and then it’s back in the crate. The more we can acclimate her to the crate, using the command “Kennel” the better off we’re going to be in the long run.

Each morning we’re going for walks.  The first portion of them tend to be “drags.” She resists walking on a leash, particularly if we’re going up hills. Once she’s been dragged to the top–I say that loosely, mind you, she does some walking, but she’s in large part resisting following–she walks fine going down hill. I need to be more insistent on her walking immediately to my left and heeling, but I’ve not been doing that so much.  I’m going to give it a few more days.

But good for me and for her, we’re increasing the length of our morning walk.  Before bed time we take another walk to tire her out in hopes of her sleeping through the night.  So far, this strategy is working supremely.  There’s not been any more mid-night whimpering nor crying nor barking.

Oh look, I'm so lucky, she captured the Mop.

Oh look, I’m so lucky, she captured the Mop.


I’ve read different tips about when and how much to feed a growing Great Pyrenees. So far we’re doing a cup of food per meal. She gets one after our morning walk, one around lunch time, and then one around dinner time.  I let her have something of a smaller meal/snack around bed time.

In her crate, I found a bowl and a water spout that attach to the cage and so she can get water while she’s in there, but it’s sips.

She has several toys we’ve been insisting she play with. In the picture to the right, you will see she’s taken that to an extreme by capturing the mop. She’s done really well with tennis balls, those fake bones you can get at Walmart, and I’ve even given her a couple beef rib bones to gnaw on.  This dog is SPOILED.


We’ve got the command SIT down.  We bought a clicker the first week and a bag of Milk Bones treats. We’re now working on SHAKE.

The other major thing we’re working on is crate training. She won’t go in it without being placed, gotta work on that. When she weighs 75 lbs it’s going to be a little more challenging. My last Great Pyr didn’t learn to use the crate until she got older and it never worked. It was too late. And she was so powerful by that point she even snapped off some of the vertical wiring she was so strong and so ticked about being put in there.  For Maycee, we’ve made it her’s from Day 3 of being here and I intend to stick with it.

She’s in there a good bit and if we leave her here, we do not make a big deal about coming in or going out in order to reduce the anxiety or fuss about our being here.

Another thing I’ve been doing is turning on Sounds For Life Ocean Waves from iTunes when we’re not here and at night and turning it up just enough to create white noise cover. Great Pyrs are known for barking at real or imagined things at night, so I’m hoping the practice of the ocean waves will give her a safety feeling like she’s still in a womb, and add cover for the comings and goings outside. So far, it’s working.


There apparently is an urban legend about the dangers of feeding dogs ice. I found a couple sites citing vets who say not giving your dog ice because it’s dangerous is nonsense.

I can go into the kitchen now, open the freezer, move a piece of ice out and tap the tray and then close the door. When I do, if she’s not in her crate, I have a white fuzz ball sitting, literally sitting, in front of me waiting for the cube. Here in Texas, where it’s been toying with 100 degrees in the daytime, Maycee already has come to appreciate ice.

Car Rides

My last Great Pyr, Molly, did not ever do well in cars. A couple of times she left me big presents in the cloth seats of my Armada.

Not so with Maycee. We’ve made sure that she goes for at least one car ride a day. Sometimes I put the windows down.

When we got gas this morning, the windows were down in the front seat. As I was pumping gas I heard a voice from the other side of the car, “Alright sir, what kind of dog is this sweet thing?”  And Maycee had made two more friends.


I’m trying to let Maycee meet as many new people as we can, see as many new places as possible, and hear as many different sounds as possible. The more of that she can do now, the less she will be afraid of it later on, and hopefully, she will have less of a desire to growl or bark at whatever.

Today’s walk included a trek around City Lake Park in Mesquite. We saw ducks, geese, fishermen, walkers, pigeons and more.

And while I had to drag her along for the first part of the walk, she pretty much got with it the further we advanced.

Life has certainly changed the past week for us. Maycee has been a good addition and a good fit. It’s added to the stress around here a little, but most importantly, we’re finding love in new ways. In addition, we’re all walking more and we needed a catalyst like this to make that come to be. I’m quite thankful for this new, sweet dog.

God is great. Good just doesn’t say enough about him.



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It’s A New Day – My Walk With God And Maycee

Jul 24, 2014 by

It’s A New Day – My Walk With God And Maycee

Yesterday at the vet Maycee, our new Great Pyrenees, weighed in at 16 lbs.  She’ll double that in about six weeks.

Last night before bed, we took her on an extended walk. She didn’t whimper for a potty break in her crate all night. This was her fourth night in it.

At our selected time this morning, she was up and ready for her a.m. potty break and our morning walk.

Life has changed so much for me in just seven days.

My Morning Walk With God

July 24, 2014 sunrise over Mesquite, TX.

July 24, 2014 sunrise over Mesquite, TX.

This morning’s sunrise over Mesquite, Texas as inspiring. Whispy bluish gray clouds were scribbled across a plain of gradient orange and pink and night blue. The moon was in a crescent and a planet, not sure which one, drifted close by.

On our morning walks, I’ve found myself reconnecting with God in a new way. I’m more relaxed about life and focused on what’s important and what isn’t.

And Maycee is growing on this family as we are on her.

It was quiet outside this morning. Lots of ways to open up with God and commune.

And I did just that.

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My Great Pyrenees Molly & Maycee – Letting Go And Letting In

Jul 20, 2014 by

My Great Pyrenees Molly & Maycee – Letting Go And Letting In

When my twin daughters were on their way, my mother-in-law at the time told me that loving the new daughters would be done in a special way–not replacing the daughter I had, but making way a new space in my heart for the new babies. This weekend has been something of the same exercise with the addition of a new Great Pyrenees puppy into our family.

But I’m struggling with letting go and letting in.

For much of the past four years plus now, life has been a series of painful events. I won’t go into the litany of transgressions that have been cast against me, but there admittedly have been times when I wished God would have just let me go home. But such thoughts immediately were countered with the reminder that I have three daughters who very much need me in their lives and will for years to come.

My Dog Molly was taken from me in March 2010 through the manipulations of some very dishonest and mean people. I never got the chance to say goodbye. She was just gone.  A dog like I’d never had before, one I’d longed for all my days, was up and out of my life.

There’s been a wound in my heart about this most every day since.

Thursday as Chandler and I found ourselves driving south on Interstate 35 to Caldwell, Texas to pick up our new 9-week-old Great Pyr, I was relieved in several ways that the drive was shaping out to be 3.5 hours in length. With each mile we moved southward came a little more ease in my mind that this was in God’s plan or it wouldn’t be happening. Too many things came to be on Thursday saying “Get down there and get this new dog! –God.”

I’ve talked before about when God has said “NO!” in my life and He meant it. The message in those minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, was a firm, NO! Countless times this has been the case. (My search for my dear friend Julie off and on throughout the years, just to find out whatever happened to her in large part, is an example.  God said no in middle and high school. He moved me clear to the other side of the country for most of my young adult years. Then to Texas. Through bad and hard times. When things got bad, I’d cast an eye back in her direction in California via the Internet and she was no where to be found. That is until 16 months ago today. But that’s another story.)

When Chandler and I arrived at the home of the people with the Great Pyrenees, a peace came upon me. And doing a good job to choke back tears, I said what you’ve read above. It was hard being there; but a hole in my heart was being fulfilled by this new dog.

The lady said, “And no matter how this dog turns out, there never will be another Molly.”

Meeting Maycee

Meeting Maycee

Meeting Maycee

My last three dogs have all had names beginning with the letter M. I don’t know why.  They just have.

Getting back home with Maycee proved to be quite an ordeal. About 20 miles from where we got her, the car died. Right in the middle of Rosebud, Texas. We got it towed to Waco by the most curious of characters. He was one of the most kind, at ease and understanding men I’ve ever met. (Three hours later when we got home, he even called to ensure we’d arrived safely.) We got the car dropped off and he took us over to a restaurant where he knew the manager and they had an outside eating area. Before long we were sitting at their tables and our waitress was loving on the dog. My friend and mentor, Ron Rose, drove down from north of Fort Worth to get us and drive us home since the car was dead.

Throughout it all, Maycee was calm, peaceful and slept.

Upon our return home, we’ve come to spend several hours this weekend between work, sleep and eating tending to our new baby.

There are times I call on her and hope to see the spirit of Molly. I have to let that go. But admittedly, it’s been hard.

The exterior of the two is near identical. The temperament and heart is different. Like for all of us in some respects.

On this Sunday eve, I can honestly say I’ve still not been able to let go of Molly, but I have been letting in, Maycee.

Yesterday, Chandler left the apartment for the first time and Maycee was running free. When Chan went out the front door, Maycee ran into her room to look out the window. I heard the blinds moving. Now how does a dog that’s been here less than 48 hours know to do that when it’s just nine-weeks old?!

I’ve slept better the past two nights as well. The past several months have been spent tossing and turning at night. When I’ve gotten up and worked, my focus has been sharper. Internally, I feel much more at peace than I did Wednesday, or much of the way south Thursday. Come to that, much of the way north without my car.

I don’t know what the meaning of all this is. God is clearly at work and I have come to learn that he’s driving the bus of life, not me. A good weeping session may still in the offering over Molly; tears that no doubt will be absorbed by Maycee as she licks my face like I’ve got cap nip on it and she’s a long tail cat.

Life has brought so many loving and good people and pets in and out of it. Why can’t it eliminate the liars, manipulators, abusers and addicts and free up some space for good? Too many have been hurt because of them these past four or five years.  And there’s no doubt more to come….

But I have a hole in my heart that’s healing in a new way. She’s called Maycee. I’m thinking A. Maycee Grace … because that’s truly what God has brought into my world as chaos rains down all around still. Onward….









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The Road Taken Along The SMU Writer’s Path

Jul 13, 2014 by

The Road Taken Along The SMU Writer’s Path 

The exciting thing about life is we really don’t know where we’re going to wind up next. Honestly, we can plan, we can arrange, we can have goals, and we can strive to get somewhere, but there are no guarantees and life and the Lord have this wonderful way of showing us we needed to veer off the course a little here and there to actually get to where we were going.

That’s where I am with the SMU Writer’s Path. Classes began last Monday evening under the tutelage  of Carmen Goldthwaite who in a matter of minutes nudged me to thinking about concepts I’ve been weighing the past few months about the construction of my first novel, but in a more fundamental way.

As noted previously, my walk prior to last Monday included the works of Robert McKee and his tome STORY. Then there are dozens of other works that have peppered the thoughts of my mind from a handful of authors whose names I do not recall. Clearly, I’ve been significantly moved and influenced by the works of Jeff Gerke in his two books–The First 50 Pages and Plot Versus Character–because I have done so much study now with Myers-Briggs temperaments and how they affect my characters and more importantly, ME.

But with Ms. Goldthwaite, we set sail in a different boat last Monday evening in the class Creative Writing Foundation. Now for someone who has been writing actively for nearly 40-plus years, one might think taking a class that starts again at the foundations to be, well, insulting. But I honestly have never gone there in my mind. Being a life-long learner, I’ve come to know and understand I don’t know everything and the past few years, I’ve come to find my mind as something of a sponge when it comes to the knowledge spilled about me. I soak it up, contemplate it, and if it’s “logical” (I’m an INTJ according to Myers-Briggs and David Keirsey), I adopt it wholeheartedly.

Books suggested and required for the SMU Writer's Path Foundations class.

Books suggested and required for the SMU Writer’s Path Foundations class.

New Books To Read

Ms. Goldthwaite’s reading materials for her class include Gary Provost’s Make Your Words Work.  The assignment for the first week has been to read chapters 2, 3 and 6, which included style, grammar and description, respectively. Many good suggestions and tips have come from reading this book the past few days. This book isn’t like McKee’s STORY, where you’re into the fundamentals of the structure of a story. This is about the building blocks that make up the foundation of telling a story–largely picking the right and fewest words possible to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. The book is full of good stuff, including sections at the end of each chapter called “Coffee Break.”

The Elements Of Style

Ms. Goldthwaite also recommended William Strunk, Jr and EB White’s Fourth Edition of The Elements Of Style.  (Amazon has been good to me this week.)  Now having spent so much time in the AP Style book over the years, it’s hard to look at some of the things in The Elements Of Style and to me, worse, The Chicago Manual of Style 16, because to me, in particular about capitalization of headlines, I go with Up Style, meaning every word in a headline/title gets a capitalized first letter.  (Chicago says to capitalize the first and last word, and all other “major words” but not to cap conjunctions, and prepositions when they are used adverbially or adjectively, and don’t cap articles like a, an and the.) Provost’s book talks in the Coffee Break about description of being aware of “what a word or an arrangement of words will bring to the reader besides meaning.” I wish the fokes in Chicago would do that again.

Back To Class

Three hours with Ms. Goldthwaite disappeared quicker than the sands of time in the hourglass before Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz. My fellow students were equally engaged in the conversation, eager to learn and it was refreshing to be in a room of so many like-minded foke.  The assignment for tomorrow night is to bring a 500 to 1,000-word character description that introduces a reader into a place or time but has no dialogue and doesn’t contain a scene. We are to show the character’s movement, thru clothing, hair, when they are, and let our readers see how emotions cross their lives and their values.

On Sunday mid-day, that’s still something of a challenge. So much of the past two months has been spent around formulating the world of my novel’s characters, figuring out who they are inside, even having bought some clay to begin molding one of them into a physical shape to better see who they really might be. Now comes the time to do the inevitable–ascribe them to paper and laser ink.

And so I must conclude this writing to begin another. And there’s client work that must be done today as well.

Ready to do some serious thinking and writing of your own? SMU soon will be opening up this class for August. It’s highly recommended.





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My Daughters Are Growing Up

Jul 10, 2014 by

My daughters are growing up. It’s a daily event, but there seem to be certain waypoints along the way.

These days, my eldest is soon to begin her senior year in high school, while the twins are beginning their sophomore year.

Two of the three now have entered the workforce. Dabbled in it.

One is taking two courses at the local junior college for credit.

The twins turned 15 just Monday. The eldest is ready to turn 18 in December.

Oftentimes, as their Dad, I wonder where the time went. Maybe that’s something of my Myers-Briggs’ INTJ temperament coming thru, but in many ways it isn’t.

As parents we often get so caught up in the daily grind, we don’t notice how the kids are changing, maturing into young ladies and men on their way to being adults. Some parents coddle. INTJs like me want to give them the freedom to figure out what this world is all about, largely on their own, without hovering or “helicoptering.”

My parents raised me similarly. Not sure what Myers-Briggs Mom or Dad are. And while there are additional life lessons I wish they’d not shielded me from, I have to say I got a lot out of my youth in large part thanks to the USAF, which moved us around like ping pong balls on a pool table with no pockets. But I have to say, it worked out the way it should have. God’s way, clearly.

So as the eldest ponders colleges–she wants to get out of the South and go north–like to Indiana University, I keep reminding her that she’s free to go to any college she wants so long as it’s Auburn. I understand the desire to get as far away from home as she can. There should be enough written between the lines on this site to explain.

Typical view of the UP in September of each year.

Typical view of the UP in September of each year.

Many are the days when I wish I could pick up and get out of the South myself. Dreams fill my head at night of returning to the woods of Northern Michigan, where we were stationed three or four times when I was a child. I often drift to sleep with memories of the sounds of the wind racing through the evergreen pines and Birch trees that make up the deep woods of the North. I hear sounds of my footsteps echoing through the wood as I trounce on fallen leaves, step on and snap dead branches, inadvertantly kick rocks, and even the sounds of boots that slip or trudge into the dirt upon each step.

Hidden across our family land are natural springs that bubble up from the forest floor, trickling with an icy cold flow of crystal clear mana one could put a water bottle or soda can in and chill to perfection; no additional ice required.

And during the winter months, wow, do I ever miss snow. Visually, there is so much ugly in this world that I truly think the Lord created snow just to give Northern foke a break from much of it for months at a time each year. Johnny Mathis records have made immortal the sounds of him singing about that “mantle of white shining down from the night” as he’s walking in that Winter Wonderland. Few sights in life beat the shroud of freshly fallen snow, pine boughs weighed down with large clumps of white, and miles of it for as far as one’s eyes can see.

For me, many of those memories remain alive in my heart, much as this child once longed for a Tyco train set at Christmas.

Here in Texas, my daughters only vaguely know of snow and it’s allure. They’ve journeyed into my wooded playgrounds of Michigan once but need to return again. This time for longer. Someday.

September is but around the corner and in it’s third week, the leaves will be changing in the UP of Michigan. Maybe then the four of us, and guests, can once again walk into the woods ablaze with the colors of fire.

For now, I must leave you with these thoughts. My girls grow closer to becoming women each day; each with their powerful names to encourage them to prosper and seek out the best of what this life is all about. I’m proud of each of them, my darlings, Chandler, Reagan and Haley.

As the autumn of my life draws closer each day, late spring blossoms for my children and life races onward with us all ensnared its infinite circle…..


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The Myers Briggs Temperament For Character Development

Jun 29, 2014 by

The Myers Briggs Temperament For Character Development

Sometime in 2013, I began reading and rereading Robert McKee‘s tome, STORY, to better understand what I was doing in helping authors get published, but now, I’m all into writing my own work.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon two books that have gone beyond, well beyond, what I learned from McKee and they’re both books by author Jeff Gerke. The first book was entitled The First 50 Pages. The second was Plot Versus Character.

Reading these two books was like getting hit by lightning.  Flashes of ideas exploded in my head. Why?

The Myers Briggs Temperament

I’d heard of Myers Briggs before, but I’d never taken one of the tests. As I noted last week, I’ve taken several of them now and hadn’t been able to land on anything consistent. Then with several talks with Dr. Harold Duncan of Preston Place Counseling in Dallas, and a review of my MB score sheet, it became apparent that I was having alternating scores because on all but the I (introvert or extravert) I’m pretty much mid-line for each of the three remaining categories. (I’m an INTJ).

But what Gerke says in Plot V. Character is that an author should start with deciding what the MB temperament of his/her characters are going to be and then adding layers onto them. What Love Language do they use? What tragic events happened in their lives that affected who they became as an adult? Those all are important to Gerke in his character development.

So for about three weeks now, I’ve been engrossed in my “spare” time learning about Myers Briggs, figuring out who I am in it, but also, figuring out what my protagonists needed to be. And if one was an ENTP and the other and INTJ, then my bad guy antagonist needs to be an ISFJ. Two other prominent characters that help get the story going are an INFJ and an INTP.  And then there are opposing characters for them to play off of. IMG_7360

It is taking a lot of time to figure all this out, but that’s okay. When I began to tell people I was doing this in late March or early April, mentor and friend, Ron Rose cautioned me, “This is a LONG process,” he said.

In 2010, I drove from Dallas to Houston to pick up fellow dad blogger Ron Mattocks and we drove to Atlanta for a conference.  Along the way we talked about the importance of the first book. He said then that the first book defines you.

I continue to keep that in mind. I want this to be a solid and positive experience as I go thru it. It has become mentally exhausting at times, but the more of this I do, the more I can see how my characters are shaping into “real” people. They’re going to do “real-ish” type things in the work. When they react to situations the way they do, they will be doing it true to the temperament of an ENTP, and INTJ, and ISFJ and more.

Gerke pointed me to the book by David Keirsey called Please Understand Me II.  I’ve gone forward and backward in this book and continue to do so by the hour as I work.

Yesterday I printed out a notebook I’ve constructed through this process and included the Myers-Briggs Temperament characteristics for each of the characters in it. I started with a 1-inch binder. Today I increased it to a 1.5-inch binder, there’s that much information.

Myers Briggs classifications for my main characters, plus helpful info on who gets along with whom, and not so much.

Myers Briggs classifications for my main characters, plus helpful info on who gets along with whom, and not so much.

Last night I used the binder to make a spreadsheet that includes each character, their MB type, and who they’re likely to get along with and who their not. This has made starting the next step, doing a 15-page character interview, easier to begin because I can flip thru the pages of my notebook, find a particular point about a character and then jump back into the questionnaire.

I’ll let you know in a few days how that’s going, but this has been a big organizational step for me and I wanted to share.



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