Friday, December 19, 2014

Teddy Turns One...

This past weekend, we rang in Teddy Bear’s 1st birthday!
His FIRST birthday...  Wait.  What?!
What’s that old saying?!...
 “Time flies when you’re having fun!”
Yep, that’s it!
And it has definitely proven to be true this past year!
December 12th, a year ago, I instantly fell in love with his tiny face.
As I drove to pick him up that night I was excited and nervous at the same time.
Excited.  Nervous. Anxious. Ecstatic.
I was an emotional mess!
My thoughts were running in circles…
“Are we making the right decision?”
“I can’t believe he’s really mine!”
“What if he doesn’t like me?”
“I can’t wait to hug him and squeeze him tight!”

I got out of my car, buttoned my coat, and took a deep breath.
 My heart was pounding and my hands were clammy.
I knocked on the door.
A few seconds later, it opened – and I laid eyes on him for the first time!

He was snuggled in the arms of his first human momma. 
The momma whose calling and mission in life is to help any and all of God’s creatures.
The momma who had listened to my pleads and then her heart. 
The momma who was trusting me to give him a happy forever home.

She sat him down on the ground and all I remember feeling was shock. 
He was a fluff ball.  He didn’t even look like a puppy.
He looked more like a living, breathing teddy bear.
(Hence his name!)
And, he was so tiny…
So tiny, that I was scared I’d hurt him by squeezing him tight like I so desperately wanted to.
He followed her every step. 
He paid me no attention at all.
And, he whined - a lot.
That thought, “Are we making the right decision?” popped back into my head.

I sat him in the passenger seat and started the car.
He began to whine and cry again.
“This is going to be a disaster...”, I said to myself.
I picked him up and placed him in my lap.
And, then…it happened.

He climbed his way up my chest and nuzzled himself against my neck.
He rested his head on my shoulder.
And, he slept the entire drive to his new home.
All my fears melted away.
It was going to be okay.

When I think back on that day, I had no idea the impact that Teddy would have on my life.
He is just the best little thing…  The cutest little thing…
And, I could just eat him up!
Heaven sent is what he is…

And, to me, that was reason enough and worth a big celebration!
So celebrate, we did – by hosting a Christmas Paw-ty!
Get it?!  I got the idea from Pinterest!
We had cake, punch, and Santa's HoHoHo Juice!
Christmas music played in the background!
Teddy dressed for the occasion by wearing a red bow tie around his neck!
However, he put his foot down about wearing the birthday hat!
Party pooper!!!
And, much to his surprise, guests arrived with presents and treats!
I know to some it probably seems silly…
And before the eye rolls and giggles start…allow me to try and explain.

I just want Teddy’s little life to be the best thing ever.
I know he won’t be here with us forever.
It’s something I shed tears over on a fairly regular basis.
It really is the cruelest joke of all that man’s best friend doesn’t live nearly as long as man…

But, as long as he is here – which I hope and pray is many, many more years...
I am going to love and spoil the you know what out of him!
And, what kind of momma would I be if I didn’t acknowledge her child’s first birthday?!
Yes, I know he isn’t a real child…
But, he’s our child and that’s exactly how we treat him!
I mean, you try and resist that face!!!

And, if I love my human babies one day half as much as I love Teddy, well...everyone will be really, really loved! 

You only turn one once!
Happy HAPPY 1st Birthday, Teddy Bear!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beautifully Broken...

Girard leaves for work before the roosters even start crowing.
After he gets up, Teddy curls up or sprawls out (sometimes with his head on the pillow) in Girard's spot.
This has become our routine, Monday through Friday.
Teddy and I doze back off to sleep until my alarm rings.
Some mornings I wake up and Teddy is snuggled up right beside me.
Other mornings, he seems a mile away on our king sized bed.
I prefer the snuggly mornings!

This morning was one of those days. 
As the alarm rang in the background, I was immediately aware of Teddy breathing heavily on the back on my neck. 
I smiled, hit the snooze button, and rolled over to hug him tight...and then I began to cry. 
He continued to lay there as my tears soaked into his fur. 
He has seen me cry a lot lately. 
And every time, he looks at me with his big brown eyes as if he understands, and lets me hug, kiss, and cry all over him until I feel better.

Life has thrown a big punch my way recently.
To some, it might seem like a little slap in the face.
To me, it has felt like a knockout.

Writing has proven to be therapeutic for me in many ways. 
However, right now, I'm trying to choose my words very carefully. 
My thoughts and feelings are still very raw. 
I so badly want to just spill my guts out. 
But, at the same time, I don't want to spill the details just yet. 
Which is a whole nother battle brewing from within.

Vulnerability is one of the most beautiful things. 
It takes courage to share our pain, hurt, and weaknesses with the world. 
Being vulnerable is often viewed as a bad thing - but more times than not, your soul can benefit from it. 
People connect with honesty and brokenness.
And, in that moment, let you know that you aren't alone in your struggles.

I'm still searching for the courage...

There have been more moments than I'd like to admit where I feel like I'm swimming in a sea of self pity and vanity. 
I've been doing my best to keep my head above the water, so to speak. 
Constantly telling myself to just keep swimming - you will reach the shore eventually.
There are moments when tearful pleads and prayers come easier than thankfulness.
Moments where I obsess over circumstances out of my control.
Moments that I look at others and sometimes see them living the life I imagined.
Moments that I resent life not going the way I imagined...
Moments where I feel like I'm living in a fog.
Moments where I question God.  Why, God, WHY?
And that is just the ugly truth... 
Those are hard moments.

But, there is a beautiful truth too...
There have been moments where I've cried out to God for help and understanding, only to realize He is right there, and has been the entire time - in the midst of the storm.
There have been moments of peace and acceptance.
Moments when I feel the fog lift.
Moments where I feel nothing but gratitude for simply being alive.
Moments that I look at Teddy and all my sorrows fade away.
Moments that I am fully aware of all my God-sized blessings.
Moments that I recognize that my weaknesses, stumbles, and trials are making me a better person.
A person more connected, more open-minded, and more compassionate.
Moments that I embrace my brokenness.
Those are good moments.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

It Could Always Be Worse...

"It could always be worse.  You could have diabetes or cancer."

Words said to me today...

Yes, it is true.
Yes, I agree.
Do I need to be reminded of it? - No.
Does it make me feel better in this moment? - No.

I know people mean well.
I know they are just trying to be encouraging...

But, if I'm being downright honest, statements like that just make my head want to spin around backwards.

I don't need to be reminded that things could be worse.
I don't need to be reminded that someone else has it worse.
I was just sitting in a waiting room today surrounded by people who are battling cancer...
I KNOW it could be worse.

I read a quote once that said something along the lines of:

Telling someone that they can't be sad because someone else has it just like telling someone that they can't be happy because someone else has it better...

My family has been through a lot in the past three weeks.
A lot of scary moments.  A lot of happy moments.
A lot of moments to process...

As far as my health is concerned, I've been pretty upbeat through this whole ordeal.
Today...I didn't get bad news.
But, I didn't really get good news either.
I will take blood thinners indefinitely.
Babies may or may not be in the cards for me and G.
There is still a lot of unknown...
Again, it is just a lot to process. 

I left the doctor's office upset, discouraged, and scared about the future...
This is my reality right now. 
This is how I feel right now.
And I think that is okay...

Right now I need time to wallow in a little bit of self pity and to love on my puppy...because that always makes me feel better!
Tomorrow is a new day and I will be fine.

Day by day...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Can Only Imagine...

Girard is relaxing on one end of the couch while I'm curled up on the other.
Teddy is resting on the floor right by my side.
As the much needed rain pitter-patters outside I've been thinking, reflecting, and looking back through
some of the pictures I've taken...when this thought occurred to me:

If God makes beauty like this in my backyard, can you imagine what Heaven will look like?!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Who Rescued Who...

Five years ago not much could make me happy. 
Most days I was doing good just to put one foot in front of the other. 
In the midst of the sadness, anger, and tears
I remember one thing that could always put a smile on my face…
Our family pet, my "baby brother", Duke.
I mean, who can't muster up a grin when in the presence of an adorable puppy?!
He was tiny, clumsy, and had ears soft as velvet.
As he grew - so did my love for him.  I needed him.

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and filling an emptiness
they didn’t even know they had.”

Fast forward to December 12th, 2013 - and Teddy Bear did just that.
Again, he was tiny, clumsy, and had fur the same color as the hair on my head!
The moment I first saw him, I just knew in my heart that he was supposed to be mine.
Sweet, sweet Teddy.  He was a bundle of indescribable happiness!
I had never had a dog that was all mine before.
And, I'm not going to lie...the responsibility scared me at first.
But, I have found that I love having something to care for.
Here you have this living, breathing creature that depends on you for literally everything.
Feeding them, bathing them, cleaning up after them...
Opening the doors and throwing tennis balls for them...
(And for retrieving said tennis balls when they get stuck under the coffee table!)
Teaching them that the roads are bad and ice cream is good...
Taking them on adventures...
Caring for them.  Protecting them.  
And most importantly - loving them.

When you think about it, there isn't a whole lot your dog could do without you...

But the return.  Oh, the return...
A stillness in your soul.
Unconditional love in your heart.
A smile on your face.
And, sunshine on a cloudy day!

I don't think there is any question as to who rescued who...
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, 
the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.  
He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. 
He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world.  
When all other friends desert, he remains.” 
– George Vest

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Signs You Are A Puppy Parent...

Every room in your home is scattered with “babies” (stuffed animals), squeaky toys, and tennis balls.

Without writing it on the calendar, you know that the 11th of every month is always the day you pull every trick of the trade to get your 4-legged friend to eat their heart worm pill.

You now vacuum the floor 4-5 times a week instead of 4-5 times a month.
(Puppy paws are magnets for everything they touch!)

You empty the bathroom trashcans daily.
(If not, tissues will be shredded all over the floor like confetti!)
((Note:  See comment about vacuuming the floor!))

You constantly check, double check, and triple check to make sure all closet doors are shut.
(If not, one of your high heels may unfortunately turn into a flat!)

The number one item on your grocery list is dog food.
Every trip to Wal-Mart, Target, and Marshall’s includes a trip to the “doggy aisle.”

Dog hair is your newest accessory – and you don’t care.

Every time you get your camera out to take a picture you end up have a doggy photo shoot!

Nose art can and will always be found on your car windows and every glass door in your home.

You will discover that ice cubes and blowing bubbles are the cheapest form of puppy entertainment.

Your husband’s “no dogs on the bed or couch” rule went out the door about three months ago! 
There is no such thing as sleeping in – ever!

Date nights are cut short thanks to the guilt that comes with leaving your fur child in their crate.

Conversations with your best friend go from,
“You won’t believe the shoes I just bought!” to, “You won’t believe what my dog just did!”

Morning routines now include belly rubs, a million kisses on your fur babies head, and playing a few games of tug of war before going to work.

Evening routines now involve encouraging your puppy to “go potty” before you can go to bed.

You will smile and laugh more than you ever thought you could!
It’s amazing how these little rascals change our lives – so quickly…but all for the better, of course!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm Jealous Of My Dog...

 I’m having a hard time putting words to my thoughts…
The voice inside my head must still think it's the weekend.
When I initially say that I’m envious of Teddy – I think to myself that it sounds certifiably insane. 
Maybe it is...  Maybe it isn't...
That's what I'm trying to figure out...

Today is a bittersweet day. 
It would have been my Papa Jack's 83rd earthly birthday. 
He loved his birthday, mainly because he loved opening presents! 
And, strawberry shortcake!
Gosh, how I miss that man...
Teddy's mother was shot and killed right in front of him...
Did he understand what happened? 
Did he miss her?  Does he still miss her now?
Does he remember that day?

I don't think he does...

Am I the only one who would like to forget painful experiences?
Sure, the trials in life have taught me many beneficial lessons...
I also feel that I'm a stronger, deeper, more passionate person from hitting rock bottom...
For that I am grateful. 
But, the initial pain, the hurt, the grief - I'd like to forget.

Teddy will never know how cruel this world can be.
How mean people can be...
He doesn't understand betrayal and judgment. 
He's clueless to work and bills...

And when one of my parents dogs tells him to "back off "
(I'm assuming that's what a growl means), he brushes it off and goes on about his business!  
((There's a lesson to be learned there!))
He doesn't hold on to grudges or resentment...

He really has no worries!
For that, I am also grateful - because that is how his little life should be!
I mean, it is probably safe to say that the worse thing in his mind is the vacuum cleaner and lawn mower!
Sometimes, I really wish I could show him one of those Sarah McLachlan know, the ones that make us all turn the channel/cry hysterically so that he could realize just how good he has it!
Life is beautiful, painful, and awfully complicated sometimes...  
And we experience it in so many of the same ways, even if we express it differently.  
Like being jealous of your dog...

Monday, April 28, 2014


This face…simply melts me!
December 12th I logged onto Facebook and saw a photo of the cutest little hamster-looking face.  My heart immediately began to race.  This baby needed a home...and I instantly knew that I wanted to be his momma.  Still to this day, I don't really know how to describe it.  His face - it just spoke to me!  Long story short, Girard was on board and fate was on our side!      
He was a precious tiny 3 pound clumsy ball of fluff fur and had puppy breath!
I was hooked the second I buried my face in his silky-soft puppy fuzz.
We named him Teddy; because, well, he looked like a teddy bear when he was itty bitty!
He was the best early Christmas present from God that I ever could have asked for!
He's Also Known As:  Teddy Bear, Baby Boy, and Buddy …then there’s:  Teddy Monster, Teddy the Terror, and Dennis (as in Dennis the Menace!)

Things That Are Tail-Wagging Good:  ice cubes, tennis balls, belly rubs, cheese, getting to go (on car rides), more cheese, fetching sticks, going on walks, playing keep away from mom and dad, and most recently, playing hide and seek - mom/dad hides, Teddy seeks!
Not A Fan Of:  school buses, the vacuum cleaner, blender, hair dryer, or bath time!

Guilty Pleasures:  licking the bottom of momma's yogurt cup, enjoying a spoonful of peanut butter, and sleeping in the bed with mom and dad!

Biggest Uh-oh's:  pottying in the floor, chewing on momma's high heel shoes, chewing a hole in mom and dad's new sheets, and chasing a squirrel into the road.
Four and a half months ago this sweet and handsome puppy we have roaming around our house and rummaging through our laundry hamper, trashcans, and whatever else he can get his nose into came to live with us and I honestly can't imagine our lives without him!  He may be a Curious George, a sock thief, paper shredder, bird chaser, and slipper stealer... but, he's also the best early morning cuddlier, sad heart healer, and the reason I smile everyday!  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined loving him as much as I do.  It's certainly safe to say that he has me wrapped around his little puppy paw!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Naked Trees...

Winter is my least favorite season.
Everything is brown.  The trees are bare.
The wind feels as though it is ripping through my skin with knives.
And of course - it's cold.
I, for one, do not like being cold.  I don't know many people who actually do.
It can suck the life right out of you with its arctic blasts and bone-chilling temperatures.
(Not to mention:  dry, cracked hands and static electricity.)

The weather has been extra gloomy the past few days.
And it's a fact that my soul greatly depends on sunshine.
Old Man Winter was just about to get the best of me when I had a small revelation.
It was like a stirring deep down, forcing me to look beyond what I physically see and feel.
A stirring to find the beauty, to find the silver lining...

And then it hit me.

Bare trees - their branches are stripped of their leaves.
They stand through the bitter winds and snowfalls, never forcing their blooms to open.
They wait, patiently, for the cold of winter to gradually fade away.
When the dawn of Spring emerges, it is then that they begin to soak in the sunlight.
And beautiful blooms begin to appear from their once bare branches.

Winter (and naked trees) are like the hard times in life. 
It's hard to see beyond right now, but God is there in the midst of the constant, bitter cold and dark skies.  And before long, the sights and sounds and feelings Winter brings will fade away into Spring blooms and warm breezes and gorgeous colors!
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