Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jesus Calling–His Perspective vs. Mine

Try to see things more and more from My perspective. Let the Light of My Presence so fully fill your mind that you view the world through Me. When little things don’t go as you had hoped, look to Me lightheartedly and say, “Oh, well.”  This simple discipline can protect you from being burdened with an accumulation of petty cares and frustrations. If you practice this diligently, you will make a life-changing discovery: You realize that most of the things that worry you are not important. If you shrug them off immediately and return your focus to Me, you will walk through your days with lighter steps and a joyful heart. When serious problems come your way, you will have more reserves for dealing with them. You will not have squandered your energy on petty problems. You may even reach the point where you can agree with the apostle Paul that all your troubles are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being achieved by them.

Proverbs 20:24; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

book_JesusCalling_MD

WET Paint–Michael Buble, Gwenyth Paltrow, Basil, and Me…

Sorry that it’s been so long!  A lot to juggle with school starting, working some again, and MOPs starting.  Here’s a WET Paint post (i.e. things I’m trying or applying to my life).  Since it’s been so long, I’ll have three things to apply on this post….

A friend sent me an e-card that introduced me to Michael Buble.  I know, I know, he’s big right now but I’ve never really listened to him and now I’m wondering why….

So, liking the song in the e-card, I got one of his CDs from the library and liked several songs but fell in love with his song “Everything” (I’ve included the link for the music video below–check it out).   I listened to it over and over in the car today as we ran errands and some of the words made me think of Ryan…

You’re a falling star, You’re the getaway car. You’re the line in the sand when I go too far.
You’re the swimming pool, on an August day.
And you’re the perfect thing to say.

And you play it coy, But it’s kinda cute.
Ah, When you smile at me you know exactly what you do.
Baby don’t pretend, that you don’t know it’s true.
Cause you can see it when I look at you.

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It’s you, it’s you, You make me sing.
You’re every line, you’re every word, you’re everything.

You’re a carousel, you’re a wishing well,
And you light me up, when you ring my bell.
You’re a mystery, you’re from outer space,
You’re every minute of my everyday.

And I can’t believe, uh that I’m your man,!
And I get to kiss you baby just because I can.
Whatever comes our way, ah we’ll see it through,
And you know that’s what our love can do.

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It’s you, it’s you, You make me sing
You’re every line, you’re every word, you’re everything.

The more I listened to this song (I can listen to songs I like over and over and over–it drives Ryan CRAZY), it made me think about not just Ryan, but also Evan and Makenna.  Because this is a crazy life and crazy times but they are my everything…and it made me smile!

So I decided to listen to this song while I wrote this blog entry and there was Evan looking all cute so we started to dance together.   He had so much fun dancing with his mom, he asked to do it again two more times!  And in the midst of the giggles and spins and smiles, he told me he was going to marry me because he loves me!  Now that was a first…he’s wanted to marry Makenna before but never me…precious!

So that’s my first WET PAINT item in here: listen to more Michael Buble and dance with my kids.  I need to get my husband to dance with me too.  As he’s not one for dancing, I may need to get him a little liquored up!

Number #2….Mango & Avocado Salad with Balsamic-Lime Vinaigrette (thanks GP!)

IMAG0034So I heard about Gwenyth Paltrow’s cookbook, It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great and was intrigued so I got it from the library.  The whole preface to the book explains what’s special about her recipes…after she went one a hard core elimination diet to address some health issues and felt way better.  Then she took her family members to a special doctor and found that they ALL needed to eliminate all these things from their diet too so Gwenyth became on a mission to cook more healthy but also wanted the dishes to be delicious.  I was skeptical…both that her whole family was allergic to all the main food allergens and that her recipes would be delicious.  On the first point I’ll say “to each their own” and on the second point, I decided to make some of her food and see.  All the recipes I’ve made have been DELICIOUS.  Some have been a little time intensive and I’ve done things I’ve never done before, like steam chicken in aromatic steam, but I’m open to experimenting….

Here’s one of my favorites and it’s simple.  Once you have made it once, you’ll have everything you need to make it again besides the mango and avocado.  Since I buy avocadoes religiously, I only needed to grab mango this time….I pair it with a simple salmon filet with minimal spicing.  I was unsure whether Ryan would like this because it is pretty light and seems a bit odd, but both times he’s RAVED over it…

Mango & Avocado Salad with Balsamic-Lime Vinaigrette
Serves 4 (courtesy of Gwenyth Paltrow)

2 ripe mango, peeled, pitted & thinly sliced (I confess, I went on my own blog for the link on how to peel mangoes, AGAIN)
2 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & thinly sliced
Coarse Sea Salt
Small handful of fresh basil leaves (this is my #3 WET Paint—I’ve been keeping a live basil plant around–IMAG0035it smells AMAZING, provides the basil I need, and I haven’t killed it yet!)
 
Balsamic-lime vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Brown Rice Syrup (I just used maple)
1 Tbsp lime juice
¼ c. plus 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

To make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, syrup, and lime juice together in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Buble + Paltrow = One Amazing Friday Night!

Life is crazy but good!

Back to School Prayer (Prayer #20)

Okay, so I promised to post “Ways to Pray for Your Husband” but didn’t.  Don’t worry, I will next week.  This post seemed more appropriate for this week.

100_3391School has started again.  I was really emotional the first two times Evan went to preschool, but wasn’t this time around.  I am super thankful that his preschool class size is significantly smaller than last year.  Not as excited that the classroom is also smaller, but hey, focus on the positive, right?

As the school year resumes, here are two posts from bloggers I follow that I love.  The first one is a prayer for children as they return to school.  The second one is a talk to have with your children about having the right perspective about their peers and teachers.  About having compassion.  Compassion is one of the biggest things I hope Evan learns.  If he is the valedictorian but is unkind, ruthless, and heartless, I will have failed as a mom.  Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I have:

We Are That Family–A Prayer As My Children Return to School

“The Talk” by Glennon Melton–Instilling Compassion in Our Children

Ways to Pray for Yourself (Prayer #19)

contagious

So I’ve committed to writing once a week about praying for my children, but occasionally, I’ve diverted.  Today is going to be one of the diversions.  It’s a good one.  This is the second of a three part prayer resource given to me by my mother.  Last week’s was “Ways to Pray for Your Children” written up in a week format.  This week will be “Ways to Pray for Yourself,” again in a week format.  And next week’s?  It’ll be “Ways to Pray for Your Husband.”  Again, let me give a caveat—this handout my mom gave me did not credit whoever came up with it.  If you’ve stumbled across the same content elsewhere and know who put it together, let me know and I’ll add their information to these posts.

As we pray that God change our hearts, our thoughts, our motives and desires, we will become the parents He has us to be for His children.  Praying for ourselves isn’t selfish.  It isn’t self-absorbed.  It is THE WAY God works in our lives and, through us, in our children’s lives.  The only way I can be a grace-filled, patient, loving, and insightful mom is by Christ in me.  I can’t will it.  I can’t think it into being.  It can only come from Him and God works through prayer.  I want my children to be influenced more by my attitudes and behaviors than my lectures and intentional “teaching moments.”  I want my faith, my joy, and my integrity to be contagious.  Lord, change me!

imitators

Sunday

1.) That my attitudes towards people and circumstances in my life would glorify God (Heb. 4:12).

2.) That my thought life would be honoring to God (Phil. 4:8).

Monday

3.) That I would fight selfishness in my life and work at serving the Lord in everything I do (I Sam. 12:20, 24; Eph. 6:7).

4.) That when I’m called to serve God in an area I feel weak in, I will step forward in faith because His power is perfected in my weaknesses (II Corin. 12:9-10).

Tuesday

5.) That I would learn true humility as modeled by Jesus (I Pet. 5:6; James 4:10; Eph. 4:2).

6.) That I would learn to hold my tongue more today and listen more to God and those around me (James 1:26).

Wednesday

7.) That I would truly and sincerely be contented with all that I have (Phil. 4:11, Heb. 13:5).

8.) That I would be more disciplined in my spending habits and be committed to not worrying about finances (Matt. 6:24, I Pet. 5:7).

Thursday

9.) That I might be generous in my giving to others: time, money, gifts, abilities, and talents (Phil. 4:15, I Pet. 5:7).

10.) That my motives in all that I do might be pure, righteous, and holy (James 4:3, I Thess. 2:3, I Corin. 4:5, Prov. 16:2).

Friday

11.) That I will be honest and sincere with others, not hypocritical or fake (Mark 7:6-7).

12.) That I would work at building Christ-like qualities in my life, working hard not to boast, brag, or do anything to selfishly build myself up (Matt. 23:12, Luke 14:11, James 4:16).

Saturday

13.) That my private life and daily decisions would reflect an obedience to Christ (I Pet. 1:14, II Corin. 2:9;10:5).

14.) That my emphasis would be on inner beauty and character instead of outward beauty (Prov. 31:30, I Pet. 3:4).

___________________________________________________________________________________

As you read through this week’s verses, what stuck out to you?  Two spoke to me right away.  That I would fight selfishness in my life and that I would hold my tongue and listen to God and others…

What would you add if you created your own list?

 

I Never Thought I…

One writes not to be read but to breathe…one writes to think, to pray, to analyze. One writes to clear one’s mind, to dissipate one’s fears, to face one’s doubts, to look at one’s mistakes–in order to retrieve them. One writes to capture and crystallize one’s joy, but also to disperse one’s gloom. Like prayer–you go to it in sorrow more than joy, for help, a road back to ‘grace’. 

 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I never thought I would be a writer.

 
And I never thought I would enjoy writing as much as I have.

 
If you had told me a decade ago that I’d be writing a blog and enjoying it, I would have laughed!  You see, although many don’t know it, I’ve been insecure about my writing for years.  I never received a solid English/writing education on how to be a great writer in junior high and high school and while I went to a college I loved, it wasn’t one that was academically rigorous.  When I got to graduate school and had to write papers in APA style, it was brutal!  So despite LOVING to read, I struggled with its counterpart, writing. 

 
There is one moment growing up when I toyed with writing.  When I was younger, I had to write a short story for school.  I wrote about a family on the Titanic and my younger sisters read it and loved it.  I remember thinking how awesome it was to create something that others enjoyed, but that was it. 

 

So I was surprised when my career path involved writing assessment reports for a few years.  I was even more shocked that I enjoyed it as much as I did, but even after leaving that job, still didn’t feel like I had solid writing skills.  So why do I have a blog?

 
Tangent-time….I don’t keep a journal in the traditional sense.  I have two “journals” I keep.  A prayer journal when I am consistent and write in it, mostly pages of bullet points of things I’m praying about, and a quotes journal.  I am a voracious reader and love keeping quotes from the different things I’ve read that have challenged me, caused me to think, or caused me to explore my feelings at another level. 

 
The closest thing I came to ever keeping a “traditional” journal was writing letters to a dear friend.  We lived really far from each other so we used to write pages and pages to each other about our lives, our faith, the ups and the downs.  As I wrote to her, I processed my thoughts, my feelings, my struggles, and it was so cathartic.  And hearing from her sharing at that same level was priceless.  So many of our struggles, our questions, our thoughts and feelings, were similar…even if on the surface they appeared different.  It led to a deep, close friendship and God used her words to greatly impact my faith and my life. 

 
 

I think that’s where I first started to love writing.  The process of exploring my thoughts and feelings on paper, the give and take, and a sense of coming together to process common experiences.  It was dynamic, it was challenging, and in a sense, it created something.  I learned a lot about myself.  It helped me truly see her.  It helped me be seen.  And isn’t that what doing life together is all about?  Connecting over common experiences and validating them?
 

 
Writing expresses our journey.  Reading and resonating with someone’s writing reminds one that they are not alone in the experiences they’ve had.  The specifics may differ, but many of the thoughts and feelings, the questions asked in angst, are similar. 

 
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me then when I turned to writing to work through our difficult family experiences in the past five years.  I had originally started a blog to keep long-distance family and friends up to date on our family.  I started by posting pictures on it, but pretty soon found myself writing too.  As I look back, I’ve seen clearly that God gave me two special gifts through our journey that have helped me process these difficult experiences: friends who have sojourned down similar paths and writing.  Both have validated our thoughts and feelings and have helped us make sense of everything.  I treasure both gifts as blessings from above. 
 
I don’t claim to be an authority on feeding and growth issues, vomiting, tethered cords, or parenting, but I enjoy writing about our journey.  And I’ve been surprised at times at the number of people who have checked out postings on my blog.  One evening, I was going back through my list of blog posts to find links for my current posting and almost fell off the couch when I saw that one of my postings had been visited over 500 times.  And then my jaw dropped when I saw a second one had been visited over 1,000.  My blog isn’t that popular, most postings get just a few hits, probably from the family members and friends that I pay.  Kidding.  But there have been a few that have had a lot of visitors, and it’s humbling.

 
The other night I received an email from a father in France.  He wrote to me about his son’s recent diagnosis of tethered cord.  He needed to hear from someone who has walked that particular experience.  He needed his thoughts and feelings validated.  I don’t know everything there is to know about tethered cord and won’t be giving him medical advice, but validating his experience–his thoughts, his feelings–is something small I can do.  I know that it helped me and passing on that small, but valuable, gift feels good. 

 
I never thought I’d enjoy writing, but I do. 
 
I’ll end this post with some wise  and encouraging words from Glennon Doyle Melton, the author of Carry On, Warrior and the Momastery blog:

Dancing sober is what I do when I write.  I just try to be myself–messy, clumsy, crutchless.  Dancing sober is just honest, passionate living.  If, anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write.  Write as a gift to yourself and others.  Everyone has a story to tell.  Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the “right” words.  It’s just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice.  When you write your truth, it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone.  And if you’re a really, really bad writer, then it might be most important for you to write because your writing might free other really, really bad writers to have a go at it anyway…If you feel something calling you to dance or write or paint or sing, please refuse to worry about whether you’re good enough.  Just do it.  Be generous. Offer a gift to the world that no one else can offer: yourself. 

This posting is part of a Writing Prompt from Ellen Stumbo’s blog.  Check it out here: I Never Thought I…

Feeding Therapy Update

We’ve been working with Nissa since October 2011.  When we first started working with her, Evan was about 19 pounds, ate yogurt and a few other purees (with oil or DuoCal mixed in to add calories), was not interested in food, never exhibited hunger or verbalized it, and vomited often.  Speed up to April 2013, Evan now weighs 30 pounds, is eating lots of different high-calorie purees (no more oil or DuoCal) and is making progress eating solid food, is super interested in all sorts of food, can recognize and verbalize when he’s hungry, and rarely vomits.  Whohoo!


A few weeks ago, I got a postcard in the mail, the type of which I had never received before, well at least for Evan.  It was a postcard telling me that he was past-due on a doctor’s appointment…his four year wellness check.  It was pretty cool because in the past, we were at doctors’ office so often, there wasn’t a chance for us to miss scheduling the next appointment.  But this year, we haven’t had to have a lot of doctor’s appointments and hence, I totally spaced on getting him in for his four year check.  So I got it on the calendar and this past week we showed up at our pediatrician’s office. 

I have mixed emotions when it comes to Evan being weighed at a doctor’s office.  Part of me wants to see what he weighs on their scale (per medical professionals recommendation, we also have been weighing him at home on a baby/child scale) but the other part of me doesn’t.  Many times what he’s weighed for us at home, hasn’t matched up with their scale, or we’ll think he’s doing well, but when it’s charted on the percentile charts, he’s still not gaining enough to get up into the 5thpercentile or higher (where the lines are).  So, I get guarded.  I get quiet, I know, that’s rare, right?  Well, the physician’s assistant who saw us this week was so excited.  She came in with a huge smile on her face and gave me the sheet that listed Evan’s height, weight, and body mass index. 
 
Here’s what I saw:

 

 

Then she handed me the percentile charts.  For the first time EVER, Evan is now in the 5TH PERCENTILE for WEIGHT (he reached that in height awhile ago) and BODY MASS INDEX!  And he’s all the way up to 10-25TH PERCENTILE for HEIGHT!!!!  It took awhile for it to sink in. 


At the end of the appointment, she said that we and our feeding therapist had worked so hard, would we like a copy of the percentile charts?  Um, YES.  This is great progress to memorialize! Check them out below–I know, I’m a nerd to post the actual charts, but for us, these are BEAUTIFUL!



TOP DOTS SHOW EVAN’S PROGRESS RE: HEIGHT,
BOTTOM DOTS THE PROGRESS RE: WEIGHT



EVAN’S BODY MASS INDEX–FINALLY IN THE 5TH PERCENTILE!

What are our goals in feeding therapy now?   Evan still struggles eating solid food without gagging.  He also can’t do it efficiently (he can take 10 minutes or more to eat 5 bites) so we’re continuing to work on him eating solids (probably 10% of his daily intake, the rest are still purees).  We’re using incentives (including him getting to make videos of himself or us and watch them, earning $1 toys, or getting to do something fun w/ an adult) and timers, including the one pictured below to keep him motivated Stoplight Timer Found on Amazon. 

Stoplight Timer, Evan LOVES it!  Can
be used for other behavioral things (time outs,
going potty, when to get up, etc.)

We’re also focused on him self-feeding.  He can hand feed himself, but he lacks smooth motor skills when using utensils.  Because he struggles to remain focused and motivated while self-feeding, when we do it, we’re using an old technique, watching videos, to keep him invested.  If he uses his spoon and feeds himself, the video remains on, if he stops or starts to dawdle (stirring his food for five minutes, “painting” with his food, or just sitting there), its stopped until he starts again.  I feel like we’ve been climbing a mountain and the peak is in sight.  We still have exhausting and frustrating days at times, but they are few and far between, especially compared to the beginning of this venture. 

Our grant money expires in June and our current insurance authorization expires a few months after that.  I’m hoping and praying that Evan won’t need feeding therapy after the grant expires.  That he will have made such progress in May that we won’t need a specialist anymore (even though we’ve loved working with Nissa).  Will you pray with us? 

What’s up, Makenna?

I’ve written more about Evan lately, so let’s catch up with Makenna.   I can’t believe she’ll be two already this summer.  She is such a doll and has such a cute little personality! She’s not as expressive as Evan, but she definitely lets you know what she needs or wants.   And she has the best smile and her giggles melt my heart.   I’d say that she’s more serious child of the two, but still has a lightheartedness to her. And she adores Evan, but also doesn’t let him get away with taking her toys or pushing her around.  One of the women in nursery at church said, “Boy, she doesn’t let the boys in here push her around!” Guess it helps having a brother!

Right now she enjoys putting things in her toy purse and then taking them back out, playing at the toy kitchen, pulling things out of the pantry, feeding Zoe food when we’re not looking, doodling with crayons or on one of those sketch doodle boards, and wearing fun fluffy little skirts (both given by grandmas).  My mom told me that when I was pretty little, I decided I didn’t like what she chose for me to wear and insisted on dressing myself.  I could see Makenna doing that soon.  She likes to gesture and point to clothes in her closet like she’s not satisfied with what I’ve chosen…especially if a fun skirt isn’t involved! 

Well, it was about that time.  Makenna needed her first haircut.  I tried to learn from my own past experiences when it came to getting her one.  When people started to encourage me to get Evan’s haircut, I was like a mama bear, I was not going to let anyone cut his hair! He had hardly any hair for so long, I didn’t want the hairs he did have to get any shorter!  But as I looked back at some of the pictures of Evan pre-first-haircut, I’m appalled at how uneven his hair looked.  Most of his hair (on the sides and in the back) was still pretty minimal, but the top middle portion was long and out of control!  It looked like he could have a comb-over hairstyle despite being a toddler!  I felt bad that my over-attachment to his hair meant that I let him walk around with a moppy head instead of a cute, short haircut. 

That being said, I was not going to make the same mistake on child #2.  So we took Makenna to get her haircut last week.  She wasn’t all about it like Evan had been.  She didn’t know what to think, despite having watched Evan getting it done several times in the past.  And it was hard to even get a good photo of her because she was so squirmy!  Luckily we have an AWESOME hair stylist (email me if you’re in the Denver area and looking for one) who handled Makenna’s constant movements with ease.  Here are a few of the photos, sorry most of them have a blurry quality to them!  These last two were takens within seconds of each other…that little head just wouldn’t sit still!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
She still is all about her feet and I finally got a photo to show what I’m talking about. She loves tucking her toes up into the edge of her highchair tray.  And she is obsessed with taking her shoes off….every….single…time we’re in the car.  I remember going through a phase of this with Evan, but I honestly think that she gets more of a kick out of it than he did.  And she’ll kick off her shoes in stores too.  I’m very lucky that we haven’t lost a shoe yet.  We have come close. 
 
She is so interested in figuring out how to put her own socks and shoes on, but isn’t able to yet.  And I wonder if she’ll be into shoes like most women as I, her mom, am not!
 
Both Makenna and Evan LOVE this homemade learning tower that their dad made.  I saw this on a blog DIY Learning Tower Info and loved the idea of my kids being able to be right by me when I was working in the kitchen at the counter.  When Evan was younger, I’d bring over a chair for him to stand on but always felt paranoid that he could easily fall off.  The learning tower eases those concerns by having sides and its easy for them to climb into and out of it.  It’s big enough for both of them, but many times they want to have time by themselves on it.  I saw smaller versions of this at the Milwaukee airport in a play area which might work better for apartments or smaller homes, but this larger one works for our needs.
 

Evan and I have a lot of fun baking together.  The learning tower allows him to be at the right level to help me add ingredients into the mixer or stir things.  Makenna likes to color when she’s on the learning tower or play with cheerios, bowls, and spoons.  Right now our learning tower is grey, not because that was the intended color, but because we got too excited to start using it, so it was only primed and not painted when it showed up in our kitchen.  So much for delaying gratification!  Someday I hope to paint it a barn red.  We’ll see if it can be taken out of commission long enough to get painted!

Quirky Little Oliver, We’ll Miss You!

OLIVER

Born 2/7/02

Adopted: 4/26/02

Died: 1/2/13


We’re dog-lovers, Ryan and I.  Just wanted to explain why there is a long post about Oliver.  It’s because I loved him.  He was part of our family….and now he’s gone…

About a year ago, Oliver started to have problems.  Big problems.  He couldn’t walk anymore with his back legs.   We were told that many weiner dogs eventually have problems with their back and that we had two options: 1.) pay a lot of money for an MRI to diagnose the situation (hundreds of dollars) and then have neurosurgery on Oliver’s spine (thousands of dollars) but there would be no guarantee that it would take care of the problem or 2.) have him take steroid pills to relieve the swelling and see if it helps.  The vet painted the picture of gradual loss of his back functioning including the ability to walk, control his bladder, and control his bowel movements.  At this time, Makenna was only a few months old and the thought of managing both a young baby and Oliver’s deteriorating health was overwhelming!  What were we in for?  

I know some people would have chosen surgery, spending thousands of dollars on surgery for their dog, but we didn’t have the money to do so.  We loved Oliver, but it just wasn’t an option for us.  So we hoped and prayed that the second option could work.  And it did!  With the steroids, Oliver was able to walk again and maintained control over everything.  We gained a whole year with him and he had a good quality of life.  Eventually he was off all medicine and seemed to feel good again. 

I feel like we were gifted an extra year with him.  And I’m glad we had this last year with Oliver.  He was a sweet dog, a bit anxious, but still so sweet.  I loved watching both Makenna and Evan with him.  Despite him being the more fearful of our two dogs, he was so gentle with our kids.  I don’t remember him ever growling at them and he never bit either of them (and he has bitten people in the past). 

And I’m sooooo thankful that he was able to pass away here at home with me instead of at a vet clinic.  I feared that he would take a turn for the worse and he’d have to be taken to the vet to either get something for the pain or worse, to be put to sleep because there was nothing they could do for him.  Oliver hated going to the vet…it would have made him super nervous and I was sure I’d break down crying because I’d feel bad for him being so fearful of the trip to the vet and then having to put him to sleep…feeling like deep down he had known that there was indeed something to fear.  I know, I’m probably over-feeling for my dog, but I loved him, even though he wasn’t always the easiest dog to care for. 

And God’s timing in all of this was perfect for our family too.  Oliver had been sick earlier in the month when we were out of town and I would have hated myself for not being with him if he had passed away when we were gone.  And this week, if Oliver had passed away on a different day, I wouldn’t have had Ryan’s in-person support for this loss as he had a business trip.  I know these are small things, but they are my blessings…things I am thankful for in the midst of this loss… 

Today, the day after he passed away, we’ve started to adjust to him not being here.  I’ve missed him many times today and the moments I don’t focus on the loss, Zoe (our other dog) or Evan remind me he’s gone.  Zoe hasn’t been herself at all.  She’s usually feisty and active.  Today she’s been clingy, quiet, and has slept a lot.  Evan vacillates back and forth between “I miss Oliver…I’m sad…” to “Let’s get another dog…We’ll get another dog tomorrow…”  Then tonight when I asked him what he wanted to pray about, he said, “That Oliver would get better and come back soon.”  It made me tear up a bit all over again.  And it’s made me wonder how a dog and how a three year old are experiencing all of this.  Maybe I’m over-analyzing!!!!  Those who know me know this is likely the case.  I will say that it has been interesting trying to explain death to a young child.  And because I believe in heaven and believe ALL dogs go to heaven, we’ve been talking a lot more about heaven too. 

Now here’s the part where I’m going to share a few memories of Oliver.  If you knew him and have one, feel free to add them in the comments section.  I’d love to hear your memories of him!

·       Oliver lived with my folks for a few years.  They loved watching him race back and forth in the kitchen playing fetch and sometimes he’d get going so fast, he’d slide right into the kitchen cupboards!

·       While at their house, he also loved dragging his blanket or towel over their floor vent in the kitchen and climbing into it, hogging all the heat for himself!  He did this at our house just the other day.  It brought a smile to my face! 

·       Oliver loved laying on people’s feet.  It cracked me up but I think it was his way of feeling connected to people being so close to the ground!
 
·      When Oliver was still young and limber enough to go on walks, he was very picky.  If he wasn’t used to the walker or just didn’t want to walk, he’d just sit down mid-walk and refuse to move!  Stubborn little guy.

·      When Ryan and I were dating, Ryan took care of Oliver when I worked on Sundays.  Oliver liked to “patrol” Ryan’s back yard each Sunday.  Back and forth, back and forth, like he was in the military!  And one afternoon Ryan watched as Oliver decided to take a nap in the sun.  He just plopped over on his side (he’s so short, he doesn’t have far to “fall”) and a few minutes later, Oliver started flinching.  Eventually, he was so annoyed, he got up.  Ryan walked over to see what was bugging Oliver and found that Oliver’s nap location was an ant hill!

·      Oliver had an aggressive side to him.  When he was afraid, when he had a pig ear, etc.  He didn’t tend to be aggressive towards me but there’s one night I remember vividly.  I was driving from my house to Ryan’s and Oliver was in the front passenger seat.  He was oddly interested in my bag.  So I reached over and he growled at me and tried to bite me.  I pulled over—this was unacceptable behavior.  What was Oliver so possessive about?  Chocolate covered espresso beans that I had in my bag!  He wanted ALL of them.  Not happening.  And, boy, was he hyper that evening at Ryan’s house! 

·       Oliver was very quirky.  He had to walk through our house in very particular ways and went through periods of time when he wouldn’t enter certain rooms…as if there was an actual line he couldn’t cross!  He loved to flop his ears and would use his nose to move his bowl around if he wanted food or water and we hadn’t gotten to him yet. 

·     As Oliver aged, he slept A LOT.  His energy level also waned.  But Ryan always said that Oliver was one dog when I wasn’t around and a whole other one when I got home.  He’d come to life.  I loved how much I was loved by him.  How excited he got to be with me.  I loved seeing him too.  I just don’t think I showed it the same way. 

·    Oliver loved Christmas.  The past few years he had taken to laying on the Christmas tree “skirt” under the tree.  I had gotten used to piling our presents in such a way to make sure he had his place under there.  I never got a good picture of him doing this, but thinking about it, warms my heart.  And I’m sure next year when I put up the Christmas tree and smooth out the skirt, I’ll smile, thinking of him, enjoying the Christmas tree in his own way.
 

Oliver, Oliver, Oliver.  You taught me so much about unconditional love.  You weren’t always the easiest dog (anxiety issues, past peeing issues with men, stubborn, aggressive at times) and yet you snuggled your way deep into my heart.  

May you have many moments of dashing back and forth, running in circles, eating peanut butter or pig ears, and ear flopping in heaven!  Glad you’re feeling better ole’ boy. 

Cute Lil’ Makenna

Makenna has been quite the ham lately and is reveling in her increased mobility.  Not only is she a speed demon crawling, but she also loves walking all over the place, and absolutely adores climbing!  Here’s the cutest picture of her yet (some of you have probably already seen it on Facebook).  She is also starting to talk a lot more.  Her favorite words: Daddy, Uh-ho, Look, Doggie, and Zoe.  She’ll say “mama” when prompted but it’s not one of her favorites! 

And finally the video of her playing that just wouldn’t load.  It’s shorter and lower quality than we’d like but the regular video clip wouldn’t upload.   Not exactly sure what she’s “making” so we just took a guess…

 

Need You Now

So I’ve been trying to post a Makenna video and have had no luck so I decided to head in another direction. 

I’ve heard this song on the radio lately and love it.  Not only do I love the artist’s voice, but the words are beautiful.  Beautiful because they are so transparent and honest.  I don’t know about you but my heart has definitely cried out these words during hard times, especially in the past few years. 

The journey isn’t always easy, but we continue on, sometimes with just the next breath or next step.  Life can be hard.  God is faithful, even if He doesn’t always answer our prayers how we’d like.  And His heart is good.


Need You Now by Plumb (video/pictures put together by fionalovesshrek on youtube)

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
Oh I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

Chorus:
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you,
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

Chorus
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Oh I walk, Oh I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

Chorus
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you,
God, I need you now.

I need you now
I need you now