Sunroom Time


Sunroom 006

When he was younger, my son and I used to have “sunroom time” – a few minutes in the late afternoon during which we’d sit in the sunroom and talk about (pardon the pun) anything under the sun.

Sunroom 007

Often, if his friends were over, we’d include them, too.

Sunroom 005

It was warm and welcoming in the sunroom, and it seemed like the only time some of these kids had ever been asked, “So how was your day, son?”

Sunroom 011

The bamboo blinds let in just enough light and gave us a view of the trees in the yard, so it felt like a little nature preserve. It was a favorite spot for everybody, including my late, beloved black-lab-mix, Sheena. That’s her in the yard – by the back fence.

This dog toy feels kinda ruff.

Sheena Shadow Chicago Chicken Williams*

Sheen Simmons 009

Now that my son is about to turn sixteen, we no longer have “sunroom time;” in fact, it seems we hardly even have actual conversations. And this is the trajectory of life when our kids grow up. But I wanted to find a way to put my thoughts about life into a book, so I wrote this e-book using Amazon KDP, “Help Yourself, Jumbo Shrimp: A Teen’s Guide to Life, the Future and Everything.”

After I realized that there was no way to adjust the formatting (it uploaded out-of-whack and there is no such thing as Amazon e-book author support), I decided not to promote it, but I did want to leave it active so that when the spirit moves him and the time is right, my son will look at it and nod – maybe even smile a little – thinking back to our warm and fuzzy “sunroom times.”

Sunroom 010

*Course, there’s a story behind Sheena’s full name! More to come.



Being a person of faith is a tough gig in a world such as this one.

Church leaders turn a blind eye to abuses.
Shepherds fleece their flocks.
Bigotry and back-biting run rampant.

But there are still so many good people doing the right thing.

Some of them are atheists, some are Muslims, some are gay.
All trying to raise their kids, do their jobs, pay the bills.

My minister isn’t an old man with vestments and a scepter.
It’s that little boy who defended his albino brother from bullies.

It’s the painfully old lady carefully pulling her ancient sedan
into two parking spaces at the grocery store.
Waiting in the car in the sweltering summer heat
sits an even older lady with sunglasses covering her whole tiny face.

It’s me, carrying my dog out into the yard for one last try,
even though she’s on palliative care and her literal last legs.
It’s me again, alone at the vet’s office, signing papers
to take away my own best friend.

There for each other.
There when nobody’s watching.
There but for the grace of God.

Dearly Departed Dog


When we first brought home our dog, Sheena, in 1997, she was just a little bitty thing. We kept her in the kitchen overnight, using a baby fence to keep her in. Only fitting, as the family we’d adopted her from had called her “Baby.”

The following year, we brought home my son, Coleman, and what a culture shock it was for Sheena. First of all, she thought SHE was the baby. If her name had been “Baby” and she was a dog, then this new creature called a baby must be a dog, too! Was it taking her place?!?

Eventually, they became the best of buddies and she would often sleep next to my son’s bed. He used to kiss her head and pat her, and her tail would wag, up and down, side to side. His friends would come over and greet her like part of the gang. She was a shepherding dog at heart and happy to have a flock around her at all times.

As she got older, she got hit with one ailment after another; still, she kept going. But when she developed an aggressive cancer that made every breath a crash course in pain, we finally knew we had to put her to sleep, one month ago today.

I asked God all the usual “whys” but it kept coming back to “It was time.” She was a furry, cold-nosed blessing for fourteen years, and I’m eternally grateful that my son and I had her in our lives. As long as we live, she’ll always be in our hearts.

Sheena’s Struggling


Asking for prayers for my dog, Sheena – she’s not doing so well.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – may have gotten a virus from Flickr photos that I’ve been using and haven’t had a chance to get out and take my own pics.

Thanks in advance for sending up good wishes for my constant canine companion.  Peace & Blessings to all.

Weather Whine


Heard myself complaining that it was muggy today here in Jersey, then remembered that, not too long ago, we were snowed under.  This is my dog, Sheena, in our backyard this past February.  A little humidity?  No big deal.

Dog Days


More about my black lab/border collie Sheena – she was knocked out of commission with “vestibular syndrome” and could barely walk or eat.  The vet told us to prepare to make some hard choices.  We didn’t give up;  it took a long time, but she’s back on her feet.  She limps and has a head-tilt, but still walks in beauty, like the night.  Don’t you agree?



It just takes one person to believe in you for you to have a fighting chance.

Look at this picture of my dog, Sheena, with her ear strewn across her head like a Trump comb-over. She may have a permanent tilt, but she came back from a serious illness.

More in next post.