Mentors Make a Difference

This month, Tidewater Women’s cover story introduces us to some local “superwomen” involved in mentoring programs who love to make a difference in their mentees' lives. Learn about what drives their passion to help youth realize their potential in Mentors Make a Difference.

Plus, discover the stories behind some of your favorite local businesses in our special advertising section, Women in Business!

Find Tidewater Women’s latest issue in 800+ locations on the Southside and the Peninsula. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 757-204-4688 to find your nearest location.

Explore more useful information online at www.tidewaterwomen.com and take a moment to connect with TW on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Message, post, tweet, and gram with us this month. Tag your comments #tidewaterwomen and we will get back to you pronto!

And don’t forget, TW & TF are SWaM-certified! Purchasing advertising from us can help government agencies meet their quotas for purchasing from Small-, Women, and Minority-owned businesses (SWaM, get it?).

We are certified as Small Business, Woman-Owned Business, and Micro Business. Certification numbers available upon request.

For placing orders, our eVA number is VS0000157014, and we are listed under our corporate name: Windmill Promotions, Inc. Interested organizations can also simply do a search for the magazine name.

The Buzz about Bees

You’d have to be crazy to sacrifice any part of summer vacation for a hive full of buzzing insects, right? Surprise! Plenty of kids and their parents are involved in beekeeping here in Tidewater.  Let’s learn about some local organizations that get kids excited about honeybees and their important role in nature in Tidewater Family’s July cover story, The Buzz about Bees.

Ready for school? Our July issue features our Pre-K/Private School Guide, helping area parents choose the best schools for their children.

Also check out TF’s website for more tips + our Go-To Guides to help you be the best parent you can be: www.tidewaterfamily.com. We’d love to connect with you through social media so find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Tag your messages, posts, tweets, and grams #tidewaterfamily and let’s chat!

Enrich the Lives of Local Women

These days, women are seeking educational, enriching activities to add meaning and FUN to their lives, as well as build skills that can help them advance in the workplace or seek a new career. Women are taking classes in all kinds of endeavors—career-related, technology, music, art, cooking, crafts and more. Women today want to be creatively and purposefully engaged. 

We can help you reach local women who want to know about the enriching classes and programs you offer! Our August issue will feature our 2017 Career & Enrichment Guide, and it’s the perfect place to get the word out about your offerings to area women. We’ll feature organizations that offer educational programs and enriching classes in art, music, writing, and so much more. 

Reserve your space in this special issue today. Questions? Need more info? Call 757-204-4688, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Deadline is July 21, 2017.

Got a Fun After-School Activity?

Introducing children to a wide variety of after-school activities ensures they will increase creativity, develop thinking skills, and improve social interaction. The August issue of Tidewater Family will feature our 2017 After-School Guide. Whether you offer tutoring, martial arts, sports, music, dance, or another extracurricular activity, parents today recognize the immense value of introducing kids to experiences like those you offer. Our After-School Guide is the perfect place to get the word out about your after-school activity to area parents.

Align your business with the region’s only monthly print magazine for parents. Advertising in TF shows you care about area parents and the challenges of raising kids in the 21st century.

Deadline for this special issue is July 17, 2017. Call 757-204-4688 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to reserve space.

Welcome to Zagreb!

Last month, Peggy took us on a sensory-rich Croatian adventure. This months Tidewater Women takes us through Part 2 of her travels in Croatia as she discovers the capital city of Zagreb!

It’s the perfect weather for a bike ride. Virginia has plenty of beautiful scenic paths to ride with the whole family. Find out some of Johnny Molloy’s favorite spots in this months Tidewater Family as he gives tips to make your experience unforgettable in See Virginia by Bike

Most of us remember a special adult when we were growing up who made us feel good about ourselves. Maybe it was a teacher who made a positive comment on an essay we wrote, a coach who never let us give up, or a Girl Scout troop leader who encouraged us when we needed it most. We might not have thought of those adults as mentors, but they helped us in small ways that made a difference in our lives. 

Maya Angelou once said a mentor is “a rainbow in the clouds” who helps us interpret the world. Here in Tidewater, many women are choosing to make a difference in the lives of local girls by becoming mentors. Let’s meet three of them.

JUST BE THERE
Seton Youth Shelters is a local nonprofit, which served 15,000 young people and 80 mentees last year. The organization offers a haven for a diverse group of youth who face all sorts of challenges, varying from domestic abuse and running away to child trafficking and incarcerated parents. Carrie Weiler, 30, first became involved with Seton as a mentor in 2008 when she was still a student at ODU.

“My mentee was going through a lot with her parent being incarcerated,” she said. “We made it a point to do fun things.” Carrie says she learned from her mentee. “She definitely taught me a lot about myself,” she continued. “Kids just want you to be yourself, to just be present with them, and listen.”

Carrie eventually began working in the shelters, and today she directs the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program, which was established to provide one-on-one positive role models for children ages 4 to 18. Carrie and a colleague are responsible for making mentor-mentee matches. Mentoring relationships can be long-lasting, Carrie explains. In fact, Seton’s longest match has lasted more than nine years. Before Carrie worked at Seton, she worked in a restaurant and then in an office setting. She learned a lot about working with the public, but she missed working with youth.

Carrie lives in Suffolk with her husband and their two dogs. For fun she loves kayaking, trying new foods, spending time with family, and going on adventures with her husband.

Her great aunt, a legally blind college graduate and social worker, inspired Carrie to become a mentor. “She made anything—from grocery shopping to going to bed—fun,” Carrie said. “She was a big influence on my life as far as just understanding the power of hard work and perseverance.”

For women who are considering mentoring, Carrie says to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. “I was very shy and unsure of myself and always second guessing,” Carrie said about her initial feelings after matching with a 13-year-old. “I knew nothing about what she had been through. I just dove in and got to know her. Getting out of my shell was a really powerful experience. Now I feel very empowered and very comfortable in my own skin.” Carrie says that women do not have to be superwomen to be good mentors. They just have to be there.

COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT
Angela Reddix may seem like a superwoman. Her most recent initiative is a nonprofit organization called Envision Lead Grow, co-led by her 20-year-old daughter, Anyssa Reddix. Its mission is to increase the rate of entrepreneurship and break the cycle of poverty for 1,000 middle-school girls in underserved communities in the U.S. each year. “We are committed to helping them build their future through entrepreneurship by creating a community to support their success,” Angela said.

Envision Lead Grow is currently on a seven-city bus tour, visiting cities like Memphis and Baltimore, where Angela and her team conduct free entrepreneurship camps for groups of middle-school girls, teaching them strategies, skills, and inspirational tips on starting a successful business. At week’s end, the campers conduct a pitchfest, and one girl receives $500 seed money for her venture. Angela makes sure that the impact on the girls is lasting by assigning each one a local mentor. She also provides an ongoing webinar.

One of her first mentee teams in Memphis created a business idea called “New Youth, New Memphis,” which would provide victims of abuse with support. Angela was impressed that even though the girls had been through so much already, they chose to turn their difficult experiences into something positive in order to improve their communities.

“I think it’s so important that we understand that we’re a couple decisions away from being that person that we judge to say that they don’t have it all together,” Angela said. “We all fall, and we all fail.”

Angela’s grandmother was her mentor. While Angela’s single mom finished school, her grandmother raised her. “I can’t think of a better woman,” said Angela, noting that her grandmother was valedictorian of her senior class and had her first child immediately after school. “Her soul was resourceful, humble, and never judgmental. What she gave to her children and her grandchildren is an example of servant leadership.”

Angela thinks about her grandmother every morning and believes that she would be happy to know that Angela is helping others through mentoring young girls and women. Angela gives credit to a community of people who raised her and told her not that she could be someone, but that she would be. 

After graduating from Cox High School, Angela attended James Madison University. She worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, the project manager of international training programs, and the program manager for a healthcare implementation company in Washington D.C. After fifteen years working in D.C. she moved back to Tidewater and founded ARDX, a federal government contractor in healthcare management and technology, which has over 100 employees in Norfolk and Baltimore. Angela is currently working on her PhD at Oklahoma State University. She and her “very supportive” husband have three “wonderful, witty, smart” children.

“My advice to women is to be kind to yourself,” she said. “The [women] that I’ve had the great opportunity to work with, work for, be friends with—we have a tendency to have unreasonable expectations for ourselves and others. I work really hard to manage my own emotions, and that’s something I had to learn through the years.”

Angela values being involved in both healthcare and mentoring because her passion is helping and impacting others. She believes that her story as a successful entrepreneur can help young women consider their own passions, what “makes their hearts sing,” and use that as a platform for their own and other’s success.

STRENGTH THROUGH FAITH
Delores Perry, director of Girls With Goals Alliance, welcomes me to her Portsmouth office dressed in white slacks and a smart blue jacket. She has a sort of classic beauty seen in early film stars like Dorothy Dandridge or Nita Mae McKinney. She’s also graceful and professional. Immediately after I had requested an interview, she arranged for a mentor, a mentee, and a mentee alumna to also attend. The walls of her attractive office feature photographs and articles about the girls in her organization and their mentors, including local professionals like Ashley Smith, Gabby Douglas, and the playwright Joee Hoxter. With Delores at the helm, it’s obvious why Girls With Goals Alliance is so successful.

It all began in 2006 when Delores’ pastor asked if she and her husband could take a few girls under their wing to motivate them to do well in school. After two years of mentoring in her congregation, Delores decided to contact Virginia Mentoring Partnership for guidelines, policies, procedures, and benchmarks for effective one-to-one mentoring. In November 2009, Delores applied with the State Corporation Commission and was approved in December to launch her own mentoring organization. The first group of girls was matched with their mentors in October 2010. Each year since, GWGA has matched 10-15 mentees, and through participation in local community events, the organization has reached hundreds of youth.

An insurance broker with Perry Benefit Group by trade, Delores says that while GWGA was inspired by her work with the girls at her church, it’s not based on any one religious denomination. Rather, the organization recognizes that with a basis in faith, girls can thrive. Delores sees the mentoring program as her “ministry of serving others’ interests in doing well.” She devotes at least twenty hours per week to GWGA on top of her regular work week.

Delores created the GWGA curriculum, “Passport to Success,” which focuses on academics, leadership, and careers through the lens of STEM and art. Mentees receive help with homework and experience new activities with their mentors. Local female doctors and engineers speak to the girls about how to reach their goals. Once a year GWGA holds a “Literary Day on the Lake,” and the girls discuss plays and books they’ve read. Mentees also do volunteer work in the community and participate and lead curriculum-based group sessions at the GWGA office. 

With such a well-rounded agenda, it’s easy to see how GWGA has shaped mentees like 11-year-old Jahmeka and her older sister, Zahneka, a recent college graduate. Thanks to their GWGA mentors, the girls’ worlds are full of possibility if they work hard. Jahmeka says her heroes are her mother, her sister, her mentor Ms. Denise, Delores Perry, and her math teacher Ms. Wand. When Denise and Delores hear Jahmeka say their names, they smile, knowing what a difference their efforts have made.

Delores says a mentor is “one more cheerleader” in a girl’s corner and welcomes local women to get involved and make a difference.

For more information:
• Seton Youth Shelters seeks donated household items and committed mentors. Visit www.setonyouthshelters.org and click on the What We Do section for details.

• Envision Lead Grow seeks mentors who can commit to 30 minutes per week. They also seek entrepreneurs for the advisory group, volunteers, and board members. A Summer Camp Program will be offered in Norfolk July 31-August 4. Girls in Gr. 5-10 are welcome to apply. Visit www.envisionleadgrow.org for details.

• Girls With Goals Alliance seeks mentors, supporters, volunteers, and donations. Visit www.girlswithgoalsalliance.org.

Lisa Bowditch graduated from Old Dominion University with a Master’s in literature. Currently she teaches middle-school students with disabilities in Newport News. She likes hiking in isolated places and helping out at her family’s business, The Hornsby House Inn in Yorktown.

Welcome to Tidewater Women’s July Calendar of Events

Saturday          1
Bird and Plant Walk - 7:30 a.m. Spon. by Lynnhaven River Now. RR Pleasure House Point 962-5398 (VB)
Old Beach Farmers Market - 8 a.m.-noon. Every Sat. Local produce, meat, baked goods & more. 19th & Cypress 428-5444 (VB)
Farmer’s Market - 8 a.m.-noon. Every Sat. thru summer. McDonald Garden Center, 1144 Independence Blvd. 464-5564 (VB)
Farmers’ Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Olde Towne Portsmouth 397-6395 (P)
Farmers’ Fare Market - 9 a.m.-noon. Every Sat. Fresh veggies + more. 4730 Hammock La. www.farmersfaremarket.com (N)
Suffolk Farmers’ Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Suffolk Visitor Center Pavilion 514-4130 (S)
Train Like an America’s Cup Sailor - 10 a.m. Learn how the athletes stay in shape. ($) Mariners’ Museum 596-2222 (NN)
Fort Huger Civil War Walking Tour - 10-11 a.m. RR Fort Huger, 15080 Talcott Terrace 373-0115 (Smithfield)
VBIANDS Presentation - 10 a.m.-noon. Hear about experiences that expand our perspectives and awareness. A.R.E. 428-3588 (VB)
Turtle Census - 10 a.m.-noon. Also 7/22. Identify turtles and help clean shells! ($) Va. Living Museum 595-1900 (NN)
Old Towne Antiques to Flea Market - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 1st Sat. Middle St. Garage 339-1876 (P)
Create Your Own Milk Chocolate Bar - 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 1st Sat. Choose fun toppings and decorate the box. ($) The Royal Chocolate 557-6925 (VB)
Combat/Sword Dance Crash Course - 1 p.m. RR ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio, 47 E. Queens Way 362-4973 (H)
Summer Concert Series - 2-4 p.m. Select Saturdays thru 8/26. Hear the smooth sounds of jazz. MacArthur Ctr. 627-6000 (VB)
The Muse Write-In - 2:30-4 p.m. Every 2nd Sat. Join other writers for inspiration and practice. Slover Library 431-7462 (N)
Tidewater Arts Outreach: Urban Hill in Concert - 5-10 p.m. ($) Point Elizabeth 754-4486 (C)
DT Hampton Street Performance - 6-8 p.m. Every Sat. thru 8/26. Live performances and free raffle. Seven Cities Dance Studio, 47 E. Queens Way 362-4973 (H)
Downtown Hampton Block Party - 6-10:30 p.m. Sat. thru 8/26. Rock to local and national acts. Downtown Hampton 727-8311 (H)
Movies in the Park: The Jungle Book - 7 p.m. Portsmouth Park 393-8481 (P)
Gary Owen Live - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy side-spitting comedy. ($) Attucks Theatre 622-4763 (N)
Generic Theater: The Wedding Singer - 8 p.m. Times vary thru 7/16. Travel to 1985 for the story of Robbie Hart, New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer! ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)

Sunday                        2
Sunday Dog Days - 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Every Sun. thru Aug. Enjoy music, food, gardens, and a cold one with your furry friends. ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Prayers for World Peace - 10:30 a.m.-noon. Every Sun. Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
FIL Service & Meditation - 10:30 a.m. Fellowship of the Inner Light, 620 14th St. 428-5782 (VB)
Drag Yourself to Brunch - 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Every Sun. Age 18+ High-energy entertainment from female impersonators. RR ($) Croc’s 19th Street Bistro 428-5444 (VB)
Group Life Coaching & Hypnosis - 1-3 p.m. Every Sun. Manifest your dreams. RR ($) 101 N. Lynnhaven Rd. #205 729-2716 (VB)
Big Bands on the Bay - 7-9 p.m. Every Sun. thru 9/3. Ocean View Beach Park 441-2345 (N)

Monday                      3
Celebrate Independence Day - Call for times thru Tues. Pyrotechnic displays in a kaleidoscope of colors. ($) Busch Gardens 229-4386 (W)
Zoo Tracks - 10-11 a.m. Meet a YMCA instructor for a trek around the zoo. ($) Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Monday Yoga Flow - 10-11:30 a.m. Every Mon. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Atlantic Shores Senior Summer Camp - 12-2:15 p.m. Every Mon. thru 8/28. Ages 55+.  Learn ballroom, Latin, yoga, and more in two six-week sessions. RR ($) Sandler Center 328-3151 (VB)
Lunchtime Meditation - 12:15-12:45 p.m. Most Mon. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
Saints Alive Senior Chorus - 12:30 p.m. Every Mon. St. Paul’s UMC, 437 Providence Rd. 543-5721 (C)
Yoga for Special Needs - 4:30-5:45 p.m. Every Mon. A class for those w/physical challenges. RR ($) Wells Therapeutics 313-4962 (VB)
Celebrate Freedom - 5 p.m. Concert, fireworks, children’s activities & family entertainment. City Park 382-6411 (C)
Yoga/Functional Fitness - 5:30-6:50 p.m. Ages 50-80. Open level classes on alt. Mon. ($) Old Donation Episcopal Church 464-0250 (VB)
Sophisticated Steppers - 5:45-7:15 p.m. Every Mon. Seniors dance. ($) Cuffee Community Ctr., 2019 Windy Rd., 382-6411 (C)
VB Bee Club - 6:30 p.m. Every 1st Mon. Learn about backyard beehives. Croc’s 19th St. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (VB)
Functional Forum - 6:30 p.m. Every 1st Mon. Get the latest health news. Holistic Family Practice 685-4325 (VB)
Peace Circle Group w/ Rev. Laura - 7-8:30 p.m. Every 1st Mon. Unity Church of Tidewater, 5580 Shell Rd. 804-818-6084 (VB)
Drum Circle - 7-10 p.m. Every Mon. Donations accepted. Mystic Moon, 3365 N. Military Hwy. 855-3280 (N)

Tuesday                      4
Historic Cradock’s 99th Patriotic Salute - 8:30 a.m.-noon. Join the Cradock Civic League to kick off your celebration. Kids’ bike parade + more. Afton Square This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (P)
Yoga in the Galleries - 8:45-9:45 a.m. Every Tues. RR ($) Chrysler Museum 664-6200 (N)
Liberty Celebration - 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Enjoy music, interpretive programs, military drills and demos, and more. ($) American Revolution Museum (Yorktown)
Parade & Picnic in the Park - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Parade featuring a Color Guard, military band, and colorful characters. Lakeside Park 382-6411 (C)
Keep Me in Stitches - 2-5 p.m. Every Tues. Knit & crochet for cancer patients. Grace Comm. Church, 1725 Salem Rd. 404-6593 (VB)
Cooperative Co-Parenting – 4-8 p.m. Every 1st Tues. Prevent problems related to divorce. RR ($) 135 Hall Ave., 624-6666 (S)
July 4th Celebration - 4-10 p.m. Live music, food & fireworks. Mt. Trashmore 385-2990 (VB)
Great American Picnic & Fireworks - 5-10 p.m. Enjoy live entertainment, traditional American fare, and fireworks. Town Point Park 441-2345 (N)
Stars & Stripes Spectacular - 5:30-9:30 p.m. Entertainment, children’s activities, vendors & food. Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina 514-7267 (S)
Peppy Steppers - 5:45-7:15 p.m. Every Tues. Seniors dance. ($) Western Branch Community Center 382-6411 (C)
Brainstormer Trivia - 7 p.m. Every Tues. in June. Win prizes! Murphy’s Grand Irish Restaurant, 2912 Pacific Ave. 417-7701 (VB)
Magic of Harmony Show Chorus Rehearsals - 7-9 p.m. Every Tues. Visitors welcome. Tabb High School Chorus Rm., 4431 Big Bethel Rd. 566-8600 (Y)
“Spontaneous Theater” Troupe Training - 7-9 p.m. Every Tues. in July. Learn how to artfully highlight the meaningfulness of every moment with theatrics, sound, and movement. ($) Fellowship Center 472-0662 (VB)
In-Depth Study Program - 7-9:30 p.m. Every Tues. Meditation, chanted prayers & more. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Ctr. 504-4425 (VB)

Wednesday     5
Skippers Farm Market - 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Every Wed. thru Nov. 1. 748 Battlefield Blvd. N. 368-0355 (C)
Harmony and Fitness Yoga - 9:30 a.m. Every Wed. ($) The Elizabethan Gardens 473-3234 (Manteo)
Breastfeeding Support Group - 10-11:30 a.m. RR Lifestyle Center 312-3000 (C)
Chesapeake Social & Newcomers Club - 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Every 1st Wed. RR ($) Traditions Grill, Chesapeake Golf Club 966-9000 (C)
Food Truck Hump Days - 4 p.m.-dusk. Every 1st & 3rd Wed. thru 9/20. Gourmet fare + live entertainment. Battlefield Park 408-2245 (C)
YNot Wednesdays Summer Concert Series - 5-9 p.m. Every Wed. thru 8/30. Enjoy food, kid’s craft corner, activities + more. Sandler Center 385-2787 (VB)
Halo/Salt Yoga - 5:30 p.m. Every 1st & 3rd Wed. ($) Rejuvenations Salt Spa 227-6117 (C)
OBC Trivia Night – 6-8 p.m. Every 1st Wed. Beer, trivia, and prizes. ($) O’Connor Brewing Co. 623-2337 (N)
Crocheting - 10 a.m.-noon. Seniors. Every Wed. Bring supplies. South Norfolk Community Center 543-5721 (C)
Summer Concert Series - 6-9 p.m. Every Wed. thru 8/30. Enjoy a variety of music. Port Warwick 223-0284 (NN)
Weekly Drop-In Meditation Class - 6:30-8 p.m. Most Wed. ($) Fred Heutte Center, 1000 Botetourt Gardens 504-4425 (N)
Stars in the Sky - 7-10 p.m. Rides, strolling entertainment, food & more. Victory Landing Park 926-1400 (NN)
Wonderful Wednesday Summer Music Series - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the Frailache Klezmer Band ($) Jewish Museum and Cultural Center 391-9266 (P)

Thursday        6
Paint 4 Fun - 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Thurs. Seniors. Self-guided painting. River Crest Community Center 436-3100 (C)
City Center Farmers’ Market - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Thurs. City Center at Oyster Point 873-2020 (NN)
Farmer’s Market - 3-6 p.m. Every Thurs. thru summer. McDonald Garden Center, 1144 Independence Blvd. 464-5564 (VB)
Bike Nights - 4-7 p.m. Nightly thru 10/15. ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Ask the Artist - 5:30 p.m. Every Thurs. Engage with works of art through artist talks. d’ART Center 625-4211 (N)
Summer Concert Series - 5:30-8 p.m. Every Thurs. thru 8/31. Get in the groove with the area’s best music. Towne Place at Greenbrier, 725 Eden Way N. 627-8611 (C)
Art After Dark - 6-8 p.m. Every 2nd Thurs. Enjoy food and drinks, music, and more. Peninsula Fine Arts Center 596-8175 (NN)
Sunsets on the River - 6-9 p.m. Also 7/20. Music, food trucks and fun. Bring blankets and chairs. ($) Hermitage Museum and Gardens 423-2052 (N)
Weekly Drop-In Meditation Class - 7-8:30 p.m. Most Thurs. Guided meditation & discussion. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
John Toomey Trio in Concert - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the music of Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, and Johnny Mercer. ($) Sandler Center 385-2787 (VB)
Sunset Thursdays - 7:30-9:30 p.m. Every Thurs. in July. Great music and food overlooking the Elizabeth River. Portside 393-5111 (P)

Friday             7
Friendly Friday Yoga Flow - 10-11:30 a.m. Every Fri. All levels. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Starting Your Own Home Apothecary - 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn how to identify, store, utilize, and label plants for home health and first aid. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Resume 101 - 10:30 a.m. Every 1st Fri. RR Little Creek Library 441-1751 (N)
Southern Fare: Style & Shoot - 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn about food styling and photography. RR ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
Senior Writing Class - 12 p.m. Every 1st and 3rd Fri. Larchmont Library 441-5335 (N)
Seasoned and Sassy - 2 p.m. Every Fri. Get active & socialize! Black Library 441-5806 (N)
Volunteer Service Day - 2-4 p.m. All ages. Also 7/15. Become a river hero. RR Paradise Creek Nature Park 399-7487 (P)
Concert in the Courtyard - 5-8 p.m. Every 1st Fri. Portsmouth Art & Cultural Ctr. 393-8543 (P)
Meditation: Unwind the Mind - 5:30-6:15 p.m. Most Fri. A perfect way to end the week. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
“Extravagance of Color” Opening Celebration - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Celebrate this vibrant and exciting artwork, on view thru 7/30. The Artists Gallery, 608 Norfolk Ave. 425-6671 (VB)
First Friday Healing Sanctuary - 7:25 p.m. Most first Fri. thru Nov. Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 5181 Singleton Way 932-5263 (VB)
Paint Night - 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Every 1st Fri. ($) Downing Gross Cultural Art Ctr. 247-8950 (NN)
Bring It! Live - 8 p.m. Also Sat. Come see Miss D and her Dancing Dolls! ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)

Saturday          8
Divorce Seminar - 8:30-10 a.m. Every 2nd Sat. Legal, financial, & emotional aspects of divorce. ($) 2 locations: Hilton Garden Inn, 180 Regal Way (NN) & VB Friends Mtg. House, 1537 Laskin Rd. (VB) RR 456-1574
River Cleanup - 9 a.m.-noon. Every 2nd Sat. Locations vary. Spon. by LRN. 962-5398 (VB)
Patriot’s Day - 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate 1940s style with target kite-flying, swing dancing, and more! Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum 393-8591 (P)
Holistic & Spiritual Art Expo - 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Aromatherapy, astrology, aura reading, feng shui, readings, gems & stones, and more. ($) Batten Center @ Virginia Wesleyan College 228-4756 (N)
Halo/Salt Yoga - 10:15 a.m. Every 2nd Sat. ($) Rejuvenations Salt Spa 227-6117 (C)
Chesapeake Romance Writers Meeting - 10:30 a.m. Every 2nd Sat. Russell Memorial Library 410-7020 (C)
National Council of Negro Women - 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Every 2nd Sat. Stanhope House, 2715 Stanhope Ave. 409-3342 (N)
Civil War Lecture Series - 2:30 p.m. Learn about Harriet Tubman’s life as a nurse, scout, and spy for the Union Army. ($) Mariners’ Museum 596-2222 (NN)
Movies in the Park - 7 p.m. Every Sat. Call for titles. City Park 393-8481 (P)
Night Nation Run - 7-10:30 p.m. Music, lights, lasers, and more are on tap for the world’s 1st running music festival. RR ($) Harbor Park www.nightnationrun.com 622-2222 (N)

Sunday                        9
Second Sundays Williamsburg - 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy living history, artisans & more. Merchant’s Square 879-3029 (W)
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic - 7:30-11 p.m. ($) The NorVA, 317 Monticello Ave. 627-4547 (N)
David Blaine Live - 8 p.m. See the magician, illusionist, and stunt artist on his first-ever North American tour! ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)
Art Garfunkel in Concert - 8 p.m. Come see this Grammy-winning, chart-topping artist. ($) Sandler Center 385-2787 (VB)

Monday                      10
Women’s Voices Book Club - 7:30 p.m. Every 2nd Mon. New members welcome. Barnes & Noble, 4485 Va. Beach Blvd. 671-7929 (VB)

Tuesday                      11
Coffee Connection
- 7:30-9 a.m. Spon. by Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. RR 1 Franklin St., Suite 100 262-2000 (H)
Business Education Seminar - 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn about leadership and team engagement. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 262-2000 (H)
Vans Warped Tour ’17 - 11 a.m.-9 p.m. See website for full entertainment lineup. ($) Veterans United Home Loans Aphitheater, vanswarpedtour.com 368-3000 (VB)
DIY Body Scrubs - 1 p.m. Did you know that exfoliating helps your skin look smoother and more youthful? RR ($) PrimePlus Senior Center, 7300 Newport Ave. 625-5857 (N)
Pollinators in the Garden - 1-3 p.m. Learn how to attract and sustain native pollinators. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Cooperative Co-Parenting – 5-9 p.m. Every 2nd Tues. Prevent potential problems. RR ($) 424 W. 21st St., 624-6666 (N)
Weight Loss Surgery Information Seminar - 6 p.m. RR Lifestyle Center 312-3000 (C)
25 Mics: Spoken Word and Open Mic Night - 7-8:30 p.m. Every 2nd Tues. Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center 247-8950 (NN)

Wednesday     12
2017 Career Fair - 9-11 a.m. Military Only. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Open to the public. Spon. by VPCC and Military Family Support Center Employment Programs. Newport News Marriott, 740 Town Center Dr. (NN)
Teen Babysitting Classes - 12:30-4:30 p.m. Also Thurs. RR ($) Lifestyle Center 312-6132 (C)
Croc’s Cooking Class - 6 p.m. Every 2nd Wed. Incl. tastings and wine. RR ($) Croc’s 19th Street Bistro 428-5444 (VB)

Thursday        13
Pink Bag Lunch - 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn about communication skills in the workplace. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 262-2000 (H)
Lunch-and-Learn - 12-1:30 p.m. Celebrate Embrace Your Geekness Day with tech tips for ladies. Lunch specials available. Spon. by Managing Communcations. RR ($) Robin’s Nest Café, 448 Viking Dr. 513-8633 (VB)
Collage 101 - 5:30 p.m. Create an image filled with paper, found objects, and more. RR ($) PrimePlus Senior Center, 7300 Newport Ave. 625-5857 (N)
T.G.I.F. Summer Concert Series: Soul Intent - 6-10 p.m. Live music & children’s area. Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina 514-7267 (S)
Weekday Wine Down - 6-8:30 p.m. Sample wine & paint your own keepsake glass! RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Carnivorous Plants - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Learn how to care for them & take home your own! RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Music by the Bay - 7 p.m. Every Thurs. thru Aug. Enjoy diverse headliners throughout summer! Continental Park 251-2752 (Ft. Monroe)
Living True to Your Nature - 7-8 p.m. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Burning Man Nights - 7-10 p.m. Also 7/27 + most Thurs. in Aug. See The Art of Burning Man exhibition come to life at night! ($) Hermitage Museum & Garden 423-2052 (N)

Friday             14
Floral Design Workshop: Vive La France - 10-11:30 a.m. Create this French-inspired arrangement. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Ranger Walk with Free Native Seeds - 2-3 p.m. Spy on winter wildlife and learn insider facts. RR Paradise Creek Nature Park 399-7487 (P)
Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival - 5-11 p.m. thru Sat. Chill to legendary sounds of jazz and R&B music with crafts, retail items, and more. Town Point Park 441-2345 (N)
Norfolk Notable Cemetery Tour - 6:30-8 p.m. Tour the graveyard to learn about Elmwood’s most notable residents. Donations accepted. Elmwood Cemetery 621-3710 (N)
Muse Jam - 7-10 p.m. Every 2nd Fri. Read your work, play music, or just listen. Muse Writers Center 818-9880 (N)

Saturday          15
Old Beach Farmers’ Market: We’re a 10 & Let’s Sauce it Up! - 8 a.m.-noon. Sample different sauces and participate in a “plein air” watercolor painting circle. Plus earth-friendly art & products. 19th & Cypress 428-5444 (VB)
HR Writers: The Reality and Reward of Creative Work - 9:30 a.m.-noon. RR ($) TCC Blackwater Bldg. 639-6146 (VB)
Beginning Soapmaking Workshop - 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Learn to craft your own natural soaps. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Walking Tour of Isle of Wight Court House - 10 a.m. Learn about its historic structures, the Confederate monument and the bell tower. ($) Boykin’s Tavern, 17145 Monument Circle 356-1223 (Smithfield)
Calligraphy I: Italic Workshop - 10 a.m. thru Sun. Meet the broad-edged pen as you study the italic alphabet. RR ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
Tribal Fusion Bellydance Crash Course - 1 p.m. RR ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio, 47 E. Queens Way 362-4973 (H)
Nike-Ajaz Missile Site N-75 Walking Tour - 2 p.m. Tour original barracks, mess hall, administration and recreation building, family housing, and more. ($) Nike Park Senior Center, 13036 Nike Park Rd. 356-1223 (Smithfield)
Bastille Day - 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Pot luck, face painting, music & dancing, cash bar, and more. ($) Perry Family Theater, 485 St. Paul’s Blvd. 671-9142 (N)
Genealogical Society Meeting - 6-9 p.m. 3rd Sat. Sept.-Jun. Central Lib. 385-0120 (VB)
SkyWatch - 8 p.m. Northwest River Park 382-6411 (C)

Sunday                        16
Norfolk Tides - 4 p.m. vs. the Durham Bulls. ($) Harbor Park 622-2222 (N)

Monday                      17
Writer’s Block - 7 p.m. Every 3rd Mon. New members welcome. Barnes & Noble, 4485 Va. Beach Blvd. 671-7929 (VB)
Night Hike! - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a guided hike with a park naturalist. RR ($) Northwest River Park 382-6411 (C)

Tuesday                      18
Teen Babysitting Classes - 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Also Wed. RR ($) Lifestyle Center 312-6132 (C)
Business Education Seminar - 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn about talent acquisition and retention. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 262-2000 (H)
C’Mon Get Happy Luncheon - 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Every 3rd Tues. RR Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill, 5900 VB Blvd. 635-5379 (VB)
Movie Night - 4:30 p.m. Every 3rd Tues. Enjoy movie snacks! Black Library 441-5806 (N)
MOCA Nights - 5-9 p.m. Every 3rd Tues. Open-mic performances, tours, art-making, and cash bar. ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
Family and Friends Support Group - 6 p.m. Every 3rd Tues. Learn how to support a loved one in an abusive relationship. Perry Safe Harbor Ctr., 2620 Southern Blvd. 631-0710 (VB) 
Bourbon, Burgers & Bingo - 6-9 p.m. Every 3rd Tues. RR ($) Croc’s 19th St. Bistro 428-5444 (VB)
Oneness Blessing - 7-8 p.m. Every 3rd Tues. Move into a higher state of consciousness. Donation. Wells Therapeutics 225-1496 (VB)

Wednesday     19
Senior Advocate Round Table - 12-1 p.m. Every 3rd Wed. RR Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 262-2000 (H)
Senior Advocate Round Table - 4-6 p.m. Every 3rd Wed. Learn about services for seniors. HR Chamber 645-6364 (N)
The Writer’s Shelf - 7 p.m. Every 3rd Wed. New members welcome. RR Barnes & Noble, 4485 Va. Beach Blvd. 671-7929 (VB)

Thursday        20
Sunset Kayaking - 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a relaxing paddle on Lake Whitehurst. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)

Friday             21
Caregiver Support Group - 12-1 p.m. Every 3rd Fri. For caregivers of the elderly. Nimmo UMC 422-1292 (VB)

Saturday          22
Cooperative Co-Parenting – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 4th Sat. Recognize effects of divorce and prevent potential problems. RR ($) 424 W. 21st St., 624-6666 (N)
July Jazz - 6:30 p.m. Enjoy diverse sounds of Jazz. ($) Portsmouth Pavilion 800-745-3000 (P)
TBMA Monthly Bluegrass Concert - 7 p.m. Enjoy some local and regional bluegrass talent. Donations ($) Hickory Ruritan Club, 2752 Battlefield Blvd. 421-0297 (C)
Comedy’s Most Wanted - 7:30 p.m. Armed and dangerously hilarious! ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)

Sunday                        23
Sunday RUNday - 7:30 a.m. VBPRF 5K, Kids Fun Run, and Family Fitness Run/Walk. RR ($) Mt. Trashmore 385-2990 (VB)
Sunset Boat Cruise - 7-8:30 p.m. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on Lake Whitehurst. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Australian Pink Floyd - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a fabulous light show, special filmed footage, and original animation with inflatables and more. ($) Portsmouth Pavilion 800-745-3000 (P)

Monday                      24
Caregiver Support Group - 5:30 p.m. Every 4th Mon. RR Prime Plus, 7300 Newport Ave. 800-272-3900 (N)

Tuesday                      25
Weight Loss Surgery Information Seminar - 6 p.m. RR Lifestyle Center 312-3000 (C)

Wednesday     26
Wonderful Wednesday Summer Music Series  - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy songs by Jewish Composers ($) Jewish Museum and Cultural Center 391-9266 (P)

Thursday        27
Bridge (Young Professionals) Luncheon - 12-1 p.m. Learn about work-life balance. RR ($) Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 262-2000 (H)
Business Connection After Hours - 5-7 p.m. Spon. by Va. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. RR The Historic Post Office, 132 E. Queen St. 262-2000 (H)
HR Writers: Show and Grow your Prose w/ Prof. Critiques - 5:30 p.m. Dinner. 7-9 p.m. Readings and critiques. RR Gus & George’s Spaghetti and Steak House, 4312 Va. Beach Blvd. 639-6146 (VB)
Downtown Norfolk Wine Walk - 5:30-9 p.m. Wine tasting at some of Norfolk’s finest restaurants to benefit ForKids. RR ($) Downtown Norfolk Restaurants 623-1757 (N)
Acrylic Painting Workshop - 6-8:30 p.m. Learn the basics. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)

Friday             28
Craft Hope - 10:30 a.m. Every 4th Fri. Knit and crochet for charity. RR Little Creek Library 441-1751 (N)
T.G.I.F. Summer Concert Series: The Deloreans - 6-10 p.m. Live music & children’s area. Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina 514-7267 (S)
Strange Happenings - 6:30-8 p.m. Victorian mourning and burial practices. Donations accepted. Elmwood Cemetery 621-3710 (N)
Hurrah Players: Grease - 7 p.m. Times vary thru Sun. Complete with duck-tailed, hot-rodding “Burger Palace Boys” and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking “Pink Ladies.” ($) Hurrah Players 627-5437 (N)
Tidewater Stage: The Christians - 7:30 p.m. Times vary thru 8/6. A pastor asks some big questions about faith in this epic and intimate play. ($) Regent University 352-4245 (VB)

Saturday          29
Old Beach Farmers’ Market: We’re a 10 & Tomatoes are Our Inspiration Ingredient - 8 a.m.-noon. Celebrate fresh and seasonal tomatoes. 19th & Cypress 428-5444 (VB)
Midsummer Fantasy Festival - 7-10 p.m. Entertainment, kids’ activities, craft brews, gourmet foods. Town Point Park 441-2345 (N)

Sunday                        30
Blue Crab Festival - 2-5 p.m. All you can eat steamed crabs, pork BBQ, refreshments & entertainment. ($) Khedive Temple Greenbrier 645 Woodlake Dr. 420-4510 (C)
The Doobie Brothers w/ Chicago - 7:30 p.m. ($) Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater 368-3000 (VB)

Monday                      31
The Pivot: Handling Change with Grace - 11:15 a.m. Spon. by The Women’s Forum of Coastal VA. Learn how to pivot and come out ahead in life. RR ($) Cox Communications, 1341 Crossways Blvd. thewomensforumjuly2017.eventbrite.com; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (C)
Movie Night - 5 p.m. Every last Mon. Call for titles. Larchmont Library 441-5335 (N) 

Please call to confirm. ($) Fee; RR - Reservations Req’d (C) Chesapeake (H) Hampton  (N) Norfolk (NN) Newport News  (P) Portsmouth (S) Suffolk (VB) Va. Beach (W) W’burg

Please send calendar items by the 15th of the month prior to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Consider purchasing an affordable display ad to increase awareness of your event! Call 757-204-4688 for advertising information. 

The YWCA of South Hampton Roads addresses one of the darkest secrets of American society: domestic violence. No one wants to talk about it, but it is a frightening reality for women, and even men. If you think it doesn’t happen to anyone that you know, think again. According to the National Center Against Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. That is more than 10 million individuals who suffer from abuse each year!

Furthermore, one in three women and one in four men experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The sobering statistics above depict domestic violence in the United States as the epidemic that it truly is. You may be wondering what you can do to end domestic violence. The answer is simple. Redefine what you think you know about domestic violence. Start here. Start now.

WHAT DOES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
When you think of domestic violence, do images of bruises and bloody noses instantly come to mind? Though physical violence is a frequent form of domestic abuse, other forms of domestic violence exist that do not leave physical scars. Sexual violence, economic control, and emotional/psychological abuse are all forms of domestic violence which are dangerous and affect countless individuals every day.

Now, think back to your initial image of domestic violence. Was the abuser you pictured a man? Was the person being abused a woman? Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that occurs when one partner attempts to gain and maintain power and control over another within a relationship. These partners may be married, separated, or dating. Both men and women can suffer at the hands of an abuser, and both men and women can abuse. Domestic violence is indiscriminate, affecting all races, sexual orientations, and socio-economic classes.

Why do people stay in abusive relationships? The truth is, there are countless reasons why the abused stay, and each situation is as unique as the people involved. Often fear, guilt, denial, isolation, intimidation, and financial dependence are factors which prohibit individuals from escaping domestic violence.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Speak up. Speak out. Listen. You can help by directing your sister, your daughter, your best friend to the support at the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. If you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, please call the 24-hour Coordinated Crisis Response (CCR) Hotline at 757-251-0144. The YWCA of South Hampton operates the CCR Hotline which acts as a referral site for the comprehensive, wrap-around services offered through the YWCA including emergency shelter, crisis counseling, hospital accompaniment, legal advocacy, and housing programs. The YWCA of South Hampton Roads services Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

For more information on how to stand up and speak out for victims of domestic violence, visit www.ywca-shr.org.

Mary Kate Andris, Ed.D., has been leading the YWCA of South Hampton Roads as President and CEO for a little over a year. She is focused on building brand awareness and increasing philanthropic revenue so that the wraparound services provided by the organization will continue to assist more than 7,000 victims each year.

Been to the beach yet? I’m embarrassed to say that so far this summer I haven’t put my barefoot in the sand once. The closest I came was a bike ride on the boardwalk—and then I got a flat tire, and we ended up walking back to Peter’s truck and forgetting all about our plan to go swimming. Summer seems to go by faster than ever nowadays. Before we know it, it’ll be Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. And poof, there goes another year.

How in the world can we fit in everything we want to do? When I’m working on TW’s monthly calendar, I make mental notes of all the cool events I want to attend, especially now that summer’s here and every day, it seems, there’s an outdoor concert or festival or special event beckoning. Happily, most summertime events are free. The problem is choosing which to attend and then fitting it in our busy schedules.

But I have a plan. I’m going to pick five fun events from this month’s calendar, write them down, and then post my July Fun Five list on the fridge where I’ll see it every day. I’ll also add these events to my computer calendar, so I’ll get an alert telling me it’s time to go have fun! I think my first outing will be this Sunday to Big Bands on the Bay at Ocean View Park. It’s one of my favorite things to do: listening to Big Band music, enjoying a picnic, and watching the sun go down. Ahh, that’s what I’m talking about.

We all need downtime, but how many of us get enough of it? It seems there’s always something more important to do than enjoy much-needed R & R. But in fact, recreational activities are what feed our souls and keep us healthy and happy. I like to think that just-for-fun activities help us re-create ourselves. Our bodies get run down if we don’t take care of them. Likewise, our mental health needs a tune-up now and then.

And what better way to re-create than to treat yourself to a favorite activity? For some it might be relaxing under a beach umbrella with a good book. For others it could be navigating a river or bay on on a kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or sailboat. Peter and I love riding our bikes on the boardwalk in early evening followed by dinner and wine at one of our favorite restaurants.

It’s whatever floats your boat. The key is to schedule “me” time. Don’t keep saying, “Not now. Maybe later” Guess what? Later never comes. Make a date with yourself to enjoy yourself. Hire a sitter for the kids. Just do it! You’ll feel refreshed and renewed afterwards. And summer is the perfect time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the moment.

See you at the beach!             

Love, Peggy

Three years ago this month, my spiritual advisor left this world, his head on my lap as I rubbed his ears. His fur was soft, and his job was done. I had become a better person.

If you have been reading this column for a while, you will remember Ernie, the 20-pound sage who taught me how to live in the moment with a heart full of love. And self-interest. No purist, my guru had shown me how to love others unreservedly, yet honor my honest appetites as highly as my ideals. For how moral can people be if they lie about what they truly enjoy?

I met my divine counselor when he was 9-weeks old, a five-pound poodle puppy. We shared a good little joke at the beginning, where he appeared helpless and silly, and I appeared strong and mature. This reversed itself in time, as the true nature of our relationship was revealed to me. But in the beginning, I actually believed we had bought our son a dog. And I thought I was his master.

I can easily forgive my mistake, as it was hard to imagine in his early years what he really was. His very first trauma was when he fell asleep on top of the air conditioning vent a couple of days after arriving in our home. The tag on his collar slipped into the vent slot and rotated, so that when he went to lift his head, he could only conclude that something in the floor had seized his neck and had him pinned to the floor.

The ensuing screams of terror and frantic struggle presaged a later incident in which he romped too near a soccer goal net which whipped out and quickly wrapped him in a python’s embrace. Both times, I interpreted it wrongly, thinking, “You silly dog, you’re fine. Nothing has you. Just relax, and I’ll get you free.”

Much later I realized that he was demonstrating the proper reaction whenever you feel anyone—or anything—is taking away your freedom. How right he was to go into full panic. How many times have we all swallowed our alarm in coercive situations and acted cool, when we really should’ve initiated a desperate struggle at the first tug of restraint?

By going nuts the instant it felt dangerous to him, Ernie secured help and freedom from a situation he couldn’t have gotten free of himself. He was saying, “Here’s what you do if you ever feel trapped. Don’t be shy, don’t be cool, and get help immediately.”

At the beginning, I thought house-training was a moral issue. In my mixed-up morality, he was a good dog when he did his business outside and a bad dog when he did it inside. I shudder to remember I actually told him that. He was a paragon of unconditional love and bursting life, and I was attempting to shame him out of his very sense of self-worth in order to keep my floors clean. There were so many other ways I could’ve made my point. But as you’ll recall, Ernie was here to help me evolve. He knew he was good wherever he relieved himself.

As far as I can tell, Ernie did not allow me to affect his self-esteem or sunny disposition just because I had a hang-up with bathroom habits. He was clear that his accidents were my problem and not anything about him. I took a page from him on that and learned to stop incorporating other people’s ideas about what I had to do to be a good person in their eyes.

My spiritual advisor also showed me that you must fight for your attachments. If you are meant to be together, you must keep trying. He showed me this when we were on a family reunion trip, staying in a rented house with relatives trying to sleep one night. I thought Ernie should sleep in his crate in the den. Ernie knew this was against the natural order of our relationship. His banshee howls kept everyone awake until I finally set him up on a blanket by the side of the bed next to me. He covered my hands in kisses and rewarded me with squirms of delight, so happy just to be next to me. “You’re right, Master,” I thought. “I value independence so highly. I have gone insane. We belong together through the dark night.”

When Ernie was nearing his end, after sixteen years of working on my compulsive fortitude, cleanliness, and abnormal self-sufficiency, he began having fits and losing bladder control. He was so weak he couldn’t jump up to put his paws on my legs without collapsing into a seizure from the exertion. He was kind in this: he let me down gently, preparing me for the upcoming inevitability, on this earth plane at least. Plus I think the bladder control issue was his little joke on me, like the spiritual master who makes us realize that regardless of what comes out of us, we are still each other’s beloved.

On his last morning, I discovered he had pulled himself half out of his bed, as far as he could get, and lay there sopping wet and cheerful to see me. We gave him a soapy bath in the backyard, with the warm July sun dappling the grass beneath Ernie’s wobbly legs. Back inside, I fed my Master his favorite chicken baby food and then sat beside him on the kitchen floor, my back against the sink cabinet. I fed him all the Pupperoni snacks he wanted while we waited for the vet. I can attest he was happy. Even at the end, he was telling me, “Honor your appetites.”

When the vet arrived, she remarked on how feeble he looked. Don’t believe a word of it, I thought. This dog has singlehandedly saved my soul. She gave him a little sedative—just a little, not enough to frighten him by a sudden drop in consciousness. Soon he was snoozing. Sooner still, he was gone.

I laid him in his bed and carried him out to her car. Out of old habit, I told him to be a good boy. And that was his final teaching. He always had been a good boy. And I was a good girl. And we had found each other.

Lindsay Gibson, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist. For information, visit www.drlindsaygibson.com.

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