Thursday, December 31, 2009

Meet Maggie

So this is the late Christmas present we got...




We had been approved by a couple of rescues and were waiting on them to find the right dog for us, but I ran across this girl on PetFinder. She was at a kill shelter and had been there a while, so I thought we should truly "rescue" her since the dogs from rescue organizations are actually in foster homes, not on death row. She's a sweetie. We went staight to the vet to get all the medicine she needed, and she's been sweet to every person she meets. Not so for Ty though. She's usually fine around him and was the whole drive home, but as soon as she got comfortable here, some things trigger her and she has started trying to be dominant over him. They got into a little fight that I broke up, and unfortunately she bit me by mistake. Neither she nor Ty have gotten hurt, and she really didn't break my skin much, just bruised me. So we're still working with her so that she knows that Ty is safe and that we're the dominant ones. But it'll get there with patience and consistency.

We took forever finding a name for her. Joey and I have never had female dogs, so it was really hard for us to think of one. He liked Harley, I thought that was too boyish. I liked Darcy or Ginger, he thought those were bad. So we finally settled on Maggie. She has a sweet face like a Maggie, plus that was the name of the female boxer in the movie Million Dollar Baby.

I feel like Rocky's smiling down on us because we saved a doggie's life, so it really makes the grief and sadness a little easier to bear.

Happy New Year to everybody!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas

We had a nice Christmas with family this year. Rocky was very missed, but being around our wonderful Caiden did help. He had a blast, since he's almost two, and has fun opening presents. He LOVED the My First Craftsman drill and toolbox we got him. Leave it to his Uncle Joey, right?!



and of course his F-150 from his parents...

and Anna got a motorized scooter!


The boys (Dad, Joey, and Mike) traditionally get some kind of "toy" from Mom. This year, mini cars.

Yes, my dad got a Snuggie.

What was my favorite present? Everybody chipped in and got me this...

Please excuse the clothes in the mirror, I had not had a chance to put them in yet. But how awesome is that piece of furniture?! We found it at a consignment shop in Arab, and then one of my friend's mom painted it and distressed it.

But we're not finished yet! Christmas with Joey's family is this weekend! We also got another late Christmas present, but I'll have to blog about her, I mean it, later :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping - Casting Crowns
a very powerful song, if you want to hear it...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jddK0JlhLjg

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Sad Goodbye

Rocky
November 9, 2001 - December 15, 2009


As most of you know, our wonderful dog Rocky had been battling cancer for the past 8 months. He'd been such a fighter, and really only had a few bad days throughout the whole thing. When the cancer came back this time, there was nothing more to do. We decided to say goodbye to him yesterday before it became really bad. At this point he was still very much enjoying food, just not wanting to be up and around much and having some breathing issues. He even got to enjoy a couple of days of vienna sausage treats and some canned wet food at the vet's office yesterday.

I have lost some friends in my lifetime, but I will have to say that this has been the hardest thing I've had to do in my life up to this point (I know some of you think this is silly). Rocky truly was MY first dog. I trained him, took care of him, and he slept with me from day 1. His unconditional love has taught me so much about God's love for me. No matter my frustration with him or ignoring of him, he was always happy to see me and be with me. Sounds familiar when it comes to us and God, huh?

I miss him so much that it physcially hurts sometimes, but I do have hope of being with him again someday. Some of you may disagree with my theology, but I'm with C.S. Lewis (who I greatly admire) in his belief that when things are "made right" by our Creator for eternity, it will include our animals (animals may have an immortality through their masters). *If you would like to read his beliefs, check out Lewis' Problem of Pain and the chapter on animal pain* Anyway, despite theology I am comforted knowing that God understands my hurt as "not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from His will" (Matt. 10:29).

I feel so blessed that God allowed us/chose us (whatever your theology) ;) to be Rocky's parents. He has given us so much joy, laughter, and comfort over the past 8 years. God did a lot of cool things to prepare us for this tough time. He led us to the wonderful vet who ended up loving Rocky as her own and crying with us yesterday as we said goodbye. He led Tammy and Bill, who love Boxers so much they resuce them, to buy my parents' old house where Rocky grew up. They are going to let us spread Rocky's ashes there (and really want us to eventually, when we get ready, adopt one of the Boxers they recently rescued). God also provided us with Ty to make this a little easier by not coming home to a completely empty house and still have a furry one to pour our love into. We are so thankful for all the people God put in our lives who understand the love for a pet and the devastation of our loss.

There will never be another boy like Rocky. His gentleness, sweet spirit, and slobbery kisses will be so missed. We love you puppy dog!




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Love the Details

I'm a pretty organized person when it comes to projects, meaning I like to have them completed in a certain amount of time. Joey, on the other hand, has A.D.D. so the challenging things are most important to him, and the details, not so much. (Let me say this though, by no means am I bashing Joey. He does a ton around here, and without him most of these projects wouldn't have the challenging parts completed at all). So I asked him very desperately if we could finish some of the projects that have needed final details for a while, and being the wonderful husband he is, he got it done!

The first on the list was the kitchen cabinets. If you remember, this is what it looked like when we moved in...

Then we got the top panel off the cabinets and painted...

Now we finally have the crown moulding on the top of the cabinets...



And Joey's shop (aka Man-shed) finally got painted thanks to the help of my brother-in-law who was repaying Joey for his help on Caiden and Anna's playground. This has actually been done for a while, but I'm just now getting a picture of it.
Before...

and after....


And the back porch got stained, railings repainted, and lattice put around the bottom.
Before...

and after...



Yay for details!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Birthday Hike





I got to pick whether I wanted to go shopping for the day or something else for my birthday, and I chose to go hiking with my hubby and doggies in a gorgeous area. We went to Fall Creek State Park. The 256 foot waterfall, Fall Creek Falls, is located there, and evidently it is one of the largest east of the Rockys. Our Rocky did so well, and that made my day. He didn't get too tired or weak at all! This is very good to know because since being on the prednisone, he's put on a lot of weight (at least for a dog), and he really needs exercise. So it's good to know that he can handle walking up and down the mountain to a huge waterfall.



Notice the sign in this picture...Ty didn't seem to care what it said.




Very nice birthday enjoying God's beautiful creation in my favorite time of year.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Love this Season!

Fall is so wonderful. Especially living in the TN mountains now, the leaves are absolutely amazing! The dogs are loving the weather too. Rocky even likes being frisky and playing out in the yard in the cool grass. It was pretty difficult to rake leaves when a puppy wants to play in them. But last weekend Caiden was the one wanting to play.
video

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rocky's Saving Grace

So most of you know that Rocky has been fighting cancer since April. He's been through many rounds of chemotherapy and was in remission up until about a week ago. The cancer is back. There's not much more that can be done. We really thought we were going to have to let him go this week because most of the cancer was growing on his spine and causing him to not be comfortable walking and getting up and down. But his vet upped his dosage of predisone (a steroid which slows cancer growth) after analyzing why he was doing better at certain points of the day. Anyway, now he's had two full good days in a row, jumping, playing, and eating a ton, so we are just taking it day by day until he gets uncomfortable again. His vet is absolutely wonderful. She spent the day crying when I called to tell her that he wasn't doing well and that we would probably be letting him go by the end of the week. She has attached to him, worries about him when he's not there with her, and has done all the research necessary to give him the best treatment and the longest amount of happy time with us. We will be eternally grateful to Dr. Liz.


He loves her so much, and loves going to see her!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By the Power Vested in Me...

I was so blessed to be able to perform the marriage ceremony for two of my best friends this past weekend. Yes, I know I used to be Baptist, and Baptists do not ordain women, but I guess I've gotten a little more liberal in my years (not crazy though, politically or theologically). These two friends of mine, Jeremy Cameron and Claire (Jones) Cameron, are fairly new Christians and did not really have a pastor they felt close to, so they asked me to do this for them since I had been a large part of their spiritual lives. So this will probably be a one-time special occasion thing.

Anyway, it was such a blessing to see these two (one of whom was a non-believer and one who was non-committed), who I had prayed for for years, become these two solid Christians who I look up to and admire. Therefore, it was even more of a blessing when the two of them got together and then allowed me to be a part of their becoming one.

It wasn't a traditional ceremony, but it was so sweet. I got to share their stories, my thoughts about them, and they wrote their own amazing vows. They got married at the bride's childhood home on the gorgeous front porch. She used sunflowers in memory of a childhood friend who had passed away and used the "program" for each of them to write sweet things about all the bridal party and people involved it the wedding. I was so happy to be a part of something when it was so right. Of course, I love that Cameron was marrying one of my best friends because it makes it easier and more appropriate to watch out for him, but mostly I know God blessed their union because they are so wonderful for each other, complimenting each other in all the ways you're supposed to, but most importantly putting God smack dab in the center of their relationship. What a beautiful thing!





BUT...I guess as a first-time reverend, my blessing are a little inexperienced (just kidding). But really, the groom had been feeling under the weather for several days before the wedding. It finally caught up to him the day of the wedding because he was definitely dehydrated. God allowed him to somehow make it through the ceremony and reception, but the next day he was in the hospital, severely dehydrated. As of today he is still there, and after several tests, they are still unsure as to what is causing his problems. So please pray for this new family. As I said, they are amazing Christians, so Claire has even been encouraging me through this by saying that she is seeing the silver lining as they are getting to spend a lot of time together (they wouldn't have been able to otherwise because they were putting off their honeymoon til later since she is in nursing school and still has classes). Anyway, like I said, amazing people, so please pray that their new marriage will only be strengthened by this and that they will be able to use it to God's glory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

God's Provision

Well, it has been a rough couple of days, but I thought that as I am coming out on the other side of it, I should share and blog about it. Most of you know that we have been battling cancer with our sweet dog, Rocky. It was kind of a roller coaster as he came out of remission and we had to change treatments, but he has been doing very well on this new protocol for a lot longer than expected. Well, Tuesday evening, Joey got home from work, and Rocky did his normal very excited greeting. But it turned very ugly. He began to look back and forth like he was dizzy and started losing his balance. Joey laid him down, and I was certain he was having a seizure. He got up what seemed like forever later and immediately got sick. We rushed him to the ER (since it was after vet hours), and found out several hours later after an EKG and echo that he has conjestive heart failure. His only symptom had been a cough here and there that we got checked out the day before which evidently was the fluid build-up in his lungs. Unfortunately, he had to stay overnight which was extremely hard not knowing if leaving him would be the last time we'd see him. They medicated him with Lasix and some other things to get rid of the fluid, keep the heart contracting, and dilate his vessels so that his heart wouldn't have to work as hard.

I picked him up the next morning and took him to our vet. Evidently, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) is very common in Boxers (50/50 chance) and so it was most likely genetic and not a side effect of first chemo protocol. He had chest X-rays only a couple of months ago which showed no signs of an enlarged heart (which is what the heart does when it's trying to make up for damage), and he had the drug that can cause heart damage back in April. So this happened pretty quickly, again pointing to genetics. Our vet encouraged us that this condition is treatable with medications and that he can continue his chemo without any interference. Most dogs do not survive their first collapse from heart failure, so we feel like he's definitely here for a reason.

Rock is home now and doing well, you wouldn't even know anything was wrong. We're so thankful for every moment we have with him because he's so special to us. God has immensely provided for my emotional needs through this. I was so distraught, wanting this precious and truly wonderful dog to just catch a break. But this only helps me understand loss and better help my hurting clients. I have also been able to see how God can take care of me in ways that I was not expecting - especially through people I wasn't expecting. Pray for Rocky, but mostly pray that we honor God even through something (that most may see as) small like facing the death of a pet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mini-cation

Thanks to Joey's dad and the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, we got to tag along on a several day vacation to Destin, FL. Long drive, but nice to have that beach scenery, some authentic seafood, and time in the sand and ocean looking for seashells. It's funny how many people you'll see that you know at the Poultry and Egg Convention.




I'm not a big fan of the ocean (at least when it's deeper than my waist) just because of sharks, jellyfish, etc. But I let Joey convince me to get out there and search for some seashells. This did not help my anxiety...



Nevertheless, I tried to put that aside. I still love that scenery, salt water smell, and sound of the ocean though. Doesn't get much more relaxing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wiggin' Out

So the first one of my good friends is getting married (up to now, I haven't been a part of any weddings because they've mostly been Joey's friends or people I'm not as close to). Therefore, I got to experience one of my first bachelorette parties. I didn't have one of these (I guess I didn't realize it could be something fun but still not too crazy). Anyway, Erin's little sister threw a fun party for her. She called it "wiggin' out, Erin's getting married."



We all went out to eat and then on to dancing and karaoke all dressed up....



I'm not a huge fan of dancing (because I can't do the kind of dancing people do now), but this was actually fun. I sound like such an old person. Oh well. I did have a good time and loved seeing these great girls!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Neil is 60!!!

Sorry it's been a while again. I have several things to share, but I'll just post in order. We (my sister, bro-in-law, and mom) decided to surprise my dad for his 60th birthday with a party. We waited until the weekend after his actual birthday so that he wouldn't expect anything. Sure enough, he walked into the house, and even after Caiden handed him a piece of paper that said "surprise" he still had no clue until he walked around the corner and 30 of his friends yelled "SURPRISE!!"


Playing the part really well...

He got some pretty interesting things....

But this was his favorite...

Can't believe the poor man has gone 60 years without his own recliner! We're so blessed to have you Dad! You are an amazing man of God and we're sure He's as proud of you as we are!