Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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Lindsey the Amazing Rescued Dog

September 14, 2013

Today we buried our sweet Lindsey girl.

This has been a rough, leaky week, as our furry family member declined rapidly. She took her last breaths Friday morning and we are comforted to know she’s no longer in pain.

Her life was hard. Who knows what abuse she endured before she was rescued? We know she ran away from her previous owners and was found with a rope tied around her neck. Her hocks were worn and bloody (indicative of being tied up on a short leash, likely on concrete) and she exhibited signs of being beat about the head. Her teeth were worn or broken, likely from trying to chew wood or chain. When we got her from Furry Friends Rescue at what they thought was about seven years old, she’d been with wonderful foster parents for about six months. They told us what a sweetheart she was, and they were right. This is her picture from Furry Friends’ Web site that captured my heart the moment I saw her:

Lindsey immediately after being rescued

Lindsey, a short time after being rescued.

We brought her home on a bright sunny, summer day, with her Aunt Diane in the back seat comforting her during the transition. Once home we discovered she didn’t know “normal dog things.” She didn’t know how to climb stairs, wouldn’t walk on hard indoor surfaces, and didn’t know how to play. It took a few days, but she learned the stairs with some coaxing.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Giving it a try.

Giving it a try.

Her first success without coaxing.

Her first success without coaxing.

Ours is likely the first back yard she’d ever been free to roam. In little time she discovered squirrels that she chased and barked at, tunneling under the deck after other critters, and climbing in my garden.

Running free and safe.

Running free and safe.

She loved the squirrels.

She loved the squirrels.

AND my garden. :-)

AND my garden. 🙂

We buried our sweet girl today deep under the same spot in my garden she used to love to dig. The alstromeria, from my father-in-love’s garden, will remind me of her daily.

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“Rest in Peace.”

Lindsey turned out to be THE BEST little road trip dog. She loved long road trips up to my mom’s in Washington, a 10-12 hour drive. Then when we got to mom’s she settled in like it was her second home. She loved the back yard with all its space and new critter smells.

Chillin' on I-5.

Chillin’ on I-5.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

And I'm going to sit here until I discover what it is!

And I’m going to sit here until I discover what it is!

She was also an amazing companion. When I had major surgery a couple of years ago I slept downstairs and walked slowly and with pain for the first several days. Lindsey-girl slept right at my feet and if I got up, she would slowly walk right beside me. She never left my side. You just knew she knew I hurt. Until she got too weak to climb stairs she was my constant shadow. Then this week, when she was the invalid, I slept downstairs and helped her get up and walk, or just caressed her when she was beyond rising.

Always watching out for me.

Always watching out for me.

And I watched out for her.

And I watched out for her.

Good friends of Lindsey visited often this past week, taking time to share their love with her one last time and say goodbye. My besties brought flowers that continue to brighten my day and remind me that good friends share the sad times as well as the good times. Dozens of friends have left the kindest messages on Facebook. The commonness of loving and losing canine companions is evident in the heartfelt sincerity of their words.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

More flowers today, from Lindsey's second mom.

More flowers today from Lindsey’s second mom.

Now the house is quiet and neat. My strong husband quietly gathered her beds, bowls, collars, and blankets while we waited for the mobile vet to arrive. The presence of these things would surely add to my grief, yet their absence is still new and strange.

Lindsey's favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Lindsey’s favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Dr. Marianna Juergens could not have been more compassionate when she arrived with her colleague. They sat with us and fading Lindsey, until we were ready. They were gentle, patient and kind. They were liberal with hugs afterward. After their departure, and my husband and I had a good cry, we prepared to carry on with the rest of the day. The doorbell rang and my sweet next-door neighbor was on the step to give more hugs. She’d seen the mobile vet leave and, a rescued dog lover herself, could empathize and wanted to share in the sorrow. Her kindness lifted some grief and I was comforted yet again.

We thought we’d have our four-legged friend for more than three years. We learned from our wonderful vet recently that she was likely at least 12 now, rather than 10. Still too young to die, but we are so grateful for the time we had. She was the sweetest, gentlest dog, literally changing “non-dog people” into those who wanted to find one just like her!  She leaves us and so many others with the best memories. I grieve for the pain she experienced for the first several years of her life, and the last few days of her life, but am SO glad we were able to redeem some of the “lost years” and make her final years on earth happy and filled with joyful experiences.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

She loved to give kisses.

She loved to give kisses.

She especially loved her "dad."

She especially loved her “dad.”

But he didn't much care for cats on her special blanket.

But she didn’t much care for cats on her special blanket.

Road trips were her favorite.

Road trips were her favorite.

She eventually learned to share with others.

She eventually learned to share with others.

I like to think that I’ll see her again. Regardless, it’ll be a very long time before these wonderful memories fade.

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, Lindsey!

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, sweet Lindsey girl!

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Families of the Fallen

December 9, 2011

I am sitting at the DFW airport (gate A33) watching a huge welcoming committee made of USO volunteers and others, clapping and cheering those coming off the flight at gate 34. There is someone dressed up as Rudolph and those welcoming the travelers are all wearing festive red and white shirts and hats.

I asked the gate agents here if they were greeting our military folks returning from overseas, and they said no, they were welcoming the families of fallen soldiers. They are shuttling them to a banquet celebration. I thought that was awfully cool. I wondered if that was the first time some of those little children had smiled and laughed in awhile. And it caused me to pray again for those families who are grieving for a lost spouse, parent, son or daughter, and those who still serve.

Just thought I’d share.

P.S. Moments after posting this, they announced more families coming into our gate so I joined in with the welcoming committee. While waiting I learned from an American Airlines employee next to me that American partners with other companies to provide more than just a banquet — this time they are going to Six Flags, Gilley’s and a couple of other places over the next few days. American pays for the airfare for 1700 people and coordinates the events!

I cheered with the rest as the Captain of the flight lead the procession of families off the jetway. Their expressions were priceless. Kudos to American Airlines! I hope all goes well with your restructure!

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What Men Wish I Wouldn’t Talk About…

August 28, 2011

..But I can’t help it.  It’s too good not to share:

My husband does the laundry.

Yes. He does. And he does it well. (OK, one exception: he doesn’t go near the hand-washing, but that’s OK, it’s mostly mine anyway.) From day one of our marriage and faithfully every week, two to three loads. Washes, dries, folds. (Well, he folds his. He neatly lays mine on my side of the bed.)

Twelve years of marital bliss today. We’ve never had a fight, we are still best friends, the lovin’ is great, and I can’t imagine anyone on this earth I’d rather spend time with. All great things. (Yes, ladies, read this and weep:)

AND he does the laundry. 😀

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Husbands, Daughters, HysterSisters & God

April 26, 2011

I am nearing the end of four weeks since my hysterectomy and feeling pretty good. I think there are two reasons for this: Prayer and Practical Support.

So many of my friends prayed for me during my surgery, stay in the hospital and the first few days home. I really couldn’t believe it wasn’t as bad as I expected or was told it would be. The pain was minimal and I never did need prescription pain-killers once I was off the IV. I think I took maybe one or two Motrin after coming home. I started walking the afternoon of my surgery and everything else just followed like clockwork after that (well mostly). I am still healing inside and have a few weeks before I can call this journey complete, but I am thanking God for His hand in my speedy healing process.

And the very real and practical support has amazed me. My daughter came to the rescue my second day in the hospital and was at home to greet me that evening when my husband brought me home. She stayed with me three days, cooking and fetching, helping me dress—her only three days off from a very stressful job. My husband took over by the weekend and made coffee and eggs which he’d never done before (!) as well as a myriad of things I just couldn’t do myself. It was amazing how dependent you are after major surgery!

Another awesome support has been the HysterSisters Web site. I wish I would have known of it before my surgery—which is why I am promoting it here. It is an invaluable resource of information about ANYTHING you need to know about hysterectomy procedures, pre-op, post-op and more. I have learned SO much and much of it from women going through the same things as me at the same time! I subscribe to a forum of women who all had our surgeries within a two-week timeframe. It’s comforting to know what I am experiencing isn’t unusual and freeing to discuss the topics you just can’t bring up with anyone. There is a forum where Believers pray for each other and topical forums on just about every topic related to this procedure.

If you, or anyone you know, will have a hysterectomy, I strongly recommend this site! It is truly something I am nearly as evangelical about as my faith in God.

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Busyness: Bah Humbug!

April 6, 2011

Who knew recovering from major surgery could be so enjoyable? I TOTALLY get “staycations” now!  This past week, even though a little painful and frustrating, has been a week of realization; Realization that the incredible busyness of my life as a professional working woman has really taken its toll. I am shocked and saddened at the insidious infestation of busyness that has choked out important things in my life over the last few short years. I am both grieving the loss but cheered by the reawakening.

My Top Ten Re-realizations of Things That Are Wonderful:

  1. Other people. It’s not all about me and I am really unimportant.
  2. The basic pleasure of simple observation, like watching the dog “make” her bed, catching the first blooms of my favorite garden flowers, really enjoying that first cup of coffee instead of inhaling it to kick-start my day, finding the incredible humor in people watching.
  3. Listening. When SO much is going on, my mind is constantly racing, thinking of a hundred things to do or remember. I only half-listen, which causes me to half-forget (or more…). Really listening to someone else is a blessing and a joy.
  4. Recognizing my husband’s and my daughter’s amazing and varied talents and wit and their incredible skill in so many areas. This is something I know full well, of course, but somewhere along the line stopped appreciating fully on a daily basis.
  5. eCards are fun and cool and easy to send if you don’t have a ton of time, don’t have what you need on hand or don’t want to go out and spend $10 on a Hallmark card. There is no excuse for not remembering someone when eCards are so accessible.
  6. Snail mail. Writing a short note, addressing and stamping and envelope, and walking to the mailbox really isn’t that time-consuming.
  7. There are a LOT of really great blogs out there!
  8. There are a LOT of really great unread books on my shelves and in my Kindle.
  9. Playing Words with Friends with my daughter on our iPhones is a kick.
  10. Real quiet time. Popcorn prayer and scripture scanning is really rude to God. He deserves a LOT more attention than that. (It doesn’t really do me that much good either.)

And those are just from my couch! There’s more, but you get the drift. I go back to work part-time next week. I hope I can learn to keep a better balance between doing a great job at work and not being a jerk of a friend, wife, mom, neighbor at home. I pray that toxic busyness does not once again blot out my rekindled re-realizations. I think that I will be a better person at home and at work if I keep first things first.

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An Incredible Response

February 13, 2011

 

What would you do if you were assaulted? Or if you were robbed? What if someone smashed the window of your vehicle while you and your husband were at the gym and stole your camera and your purse, racked up over $600 on your cards within an hour or two, and left you with little to do but spend the next days dealing with banks, and the DMV, and the insurance company, and car window repair quotes?

Would you be angry? Sure. Frustrated? Hurt? Violated? Sad? Of course. All of those and probably more. How soon would it take you, the victim, to think about the criminal(s) and what kind of state their soul and mind must be in to do such a thing? I think I would hate them for at least a week. Maybe more. Then with each retelling of my story the anger would well up again.

But my sister isn’t like me. She is a much wiser woman. The day after her car window was smashed and personal belongings stolen she posted on FaceBook, I’m sad for the person that stooped to such a low level of humanity… I’ve been wondering what makes a person so desperate they feel it necessary to do something like that. It’s really sad to me–our stuff can be replaced and money can be re-saved with time, but the person that did it has deep needs that won’t be met by the stuff they steal–and will only bring guilt and shame. We’re praying that he (she) reads the journal that was in my purse so they will hear about Jesus.”

Wow. Her heart heard God’s and responded like Him instead of how she probably felt. I love this about my sister.

Mean people suck. And Jesus loves them just as much as non-sucky people. Isn’t that incredibly amazing? What a hope to cling to.

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Sticks and Stones

December 27, 2010

 

“Sticks and stones will break by bones, but words will never hurt me.”

A nice childhood rhyme; An injurious falsehood.

Words never hurt? I think most of us would agree that just isn’t true. Sometimes, they hurt worse. Bones heal. Hurtful words, especially those spoken by those closest to us, those most cherished, take much longer to heal. For some, those wounds never heal.

Experientially I can speak of this. I can recite many instances where words hurt far worse than physical infliction and took far longer to heal. I have close friends who can say the same. Some have not yet healed.

But don’t take my word for it, hear what the Authority has to say on this subject:

  • “The words of the reckless pierce like swords.”
  • “A perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
  • “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
  • “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
  • “A crowd of unfaithful people…make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies.”
  • “Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.”
  • “Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.”
  • “I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.”
  • “They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.”
  • “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

That: A small sampling regarding the power of the tongue; the power of “mere” words from one human being spoken to another. A WEAPON.

I have heard, very recently, a good friend tell of a “joke” about him that, when told in a crowd of intimates, is merrily received. It is oft repeated. And my friend laughs, hollowly. Yet this “joke” is hurtful, far more than any of the tellers could know. Yet it goes on. And the wound grows.

Because of this, I see why God instructs His creation (us humans) against “coarse joking” and perverse speech:

  • “From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.”
  • “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
  • “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”

Perhaps some of the world’s ills, certainly some of the ills in our local communities and social circles, could be cured by the simple discipline of keeping our mouths shut.

Maybe it’s not easy because we are SO proud. AND selfish. And it’s “all about me.”  I am as guilty as the next: “Go along to get along.” But when it happens, I feel a stab—that stab of a knife thrown but ricocheted. Perhaps I am becoming more sensitive. Praise God.

But what would be the harm if we ALL tried not saying anything disparaging against another? What could change? In families, in politics, in church, in schools, in national and international conflict? I am just asking. It’s a question that shouldn’t be ignored.

A “Snark Free Week.” I’ll lobby for that.