Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I've avoided talking about Chief for a long time.  And for good reason, really.  I get all emotional and start crying like a baby.  Well, this is Chief.

Chief was a pound puppy that graced our lives with loyalty and love for several years until we unfortunately had to have him put down.  Put down is a nice way of saying that we had him killed.  Well at least I think of it that way when I am really feeling down and mad at myself for the way everything happened. 
Chief was an amazing dog.  He was obedient, loyal and great with my kids.  He was irreplaceable and I always knew that he would be one of those dogs that I would look back on with fondness and love.  Chief made me feel safe at night when my husband would be gone and I knew he would never let anything happen to my kids.  Chief slept at the foot of the bed every night, carefully watching, but always ready for a pet if you asked him.
One day, completely out of the blue and totally unprovoked, Chief bit my then 6 year old son in the face.  This wasn't just a "nip", it was a gash that ended with us at the Doctor's office.  You see, several months prior, Chief had his first and only VERY bad seizure.  He woke us up in the middle of the night having a terrible seizure that almost made me take him in to the vet.  Ever since the day he had that seizure, Chief wasn't the same dog.  A couple days afterward, he nipped at one of the kids.  This wasn't our Chief.  In the next few months, Chief just wasn't the patient, careful, and loyal guardian I had known him to be.  Something changed.
When Chief bit my son, I knew something was terribly wrong, this just wasn't the dog I knew.  I talked to the vet extensively about it over the next few days.  The problem was....I was emotional and irrational.  The vet finally told me that this dog could very possibly and most likely have neurological problems that are causing his change in behavior and that I could not ever trust Chief around my kids anymore.  My options were to do VERY expensive tests on him, but that ultimately it wouldn't change the fact that Chief could bite someone else.  I couldn't accept that and I certainly couldn't breath.
To make a very long, traumatically painful story short, my husband had to make the hard decision to take Chief in to the vet and have him euthanized.  When my husband came for the dog that day, I literally clung to Chief and sobbed like a complete crazy person.  I can't even imagine how hard it was for him to take Chief from me that day and do what we both knew needed to be done, but that I didn't have the strength to do.
There is a point to all of this.  When this happened, I struggled for a long time to understand why Chief had to die.  I was mad at God.  I was really, really sad for a long time.  I'm still sad.  I want Chief back, but I know that there is always a reason why we go through the trials.  I hate that saying "everything happens for a reason" when I'm going through it, but when He makes it clear as to why I went through it, I GET IT! 
Shortly after Chief's death, I discovered a shelter for dogs called Hopes Haven.  I learned that there are places for dogs that don't have a chance anywhere else.  Perhaps they would have been able to help us with Chief.  Maybe not.  I try not to think about it too much or else the waterworks start up again.  Bottom line, I know God led me straight to Hopes Haven.
I've since been fostering through Hopes Haven and have been diligently loving every second of it.  If it weren't for my Chief's death, I would not have reached out to foster.  It was BECAUSE of his death that I did.  I was not emotionally ready to adopt, but God put Hopes Haven in front of me and I decided that I was ready to foster.
Then God sent me her.
This is Tank.  My first foster through Hopes Haven.  My fostering was a complete failure because I ended up adopting her!  Tank was EXACTLY everything that I needed to heal my heart.  We were both depressed, broken hearted and had some serious issues.  Tank brought me out of it.
I look forward to volunteering for Hopes Haven.  The series of unfortunate events that brought me here won't ever be forgotten.  We must not ever forget that the road that takes us to our destination might be rocky, but totally worth it. 
Chief!  Sit.  Stay.  I love you buddy.  I look forward to the day I get to see you again.  No doubt baby!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (and possibly a little boredom)

"And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh."
Matthew 2:11

Gold, Frankincense and worthy of the King, the Lord of all the universe.  As we approach Christmas, I got to thinking about these three gifts.  We all know the value in gold, but what about this Frankincense and Myrrh stuff?  What about it would lead someone to believe it to be valued along with gold and worthy of JESUS!?  Could you imagine picking out that birthday gift!?  For many of us, we would give Jesus our most valued possessions. 
Myrrh is a shrub-like bush that has been used medicinally since...well...forever really.  Did you know that the Egyptians used to use it during the mummification process?  And that myrrh and frankincense were oils used in anointing and burials?  Although that is interesting, here are just a few things that myrrh can do:
Health Benefits: Checks microbial growth, tightens gums and muscles and stops hemorrhage, helps cure cough and cold, stops fungal growth, stimulates discharges and systems, removes gases, good for stomach, gives relief from phlegm, promotes sweating, helps wounds heal quickly and protects them from infection, boosts protection against diseases, improves circulation and protects from rheumatism & arthritis, boosts health and immunity, sedates inflammation, clears spasm.
I personally keep a bottle of myrrh essential oil at my house.  It's uses are many and it is a power packed essential oil. 
Now let's look at Frankincense, which is also a shrub-like brush.  Both myrrh and frankincense are harvested by taking the sap from the bark of the plant.  Frankincense has a very pleasant aroma and was the base of many perfumes until most turned to synthetics(boohoo).  Here is what Frankincense can do:
Health Benefits: Protects wounds against septic, fights infections, induces contractions in gums, muscles and blood vessels, removes gases, heals scars, keeps cells healthy and promotes their generation, promotes digestion, increases urination, promotes menstruation, cures cough and cold, sedates anxiety and inflammations, tones up body, ensures good health of uterus, promotes healing of wounds.

Unless you're like me, you are bored to tears right now.  It's okay, I get it.  I did warn you.
Buuuuut, aren't you glad you know why you too should consider using these two amazing, God worthy plants???  Go get yourself some!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas 2012 Bags for the Homeless!

It wasn't that long ago that my view of the homeless was negative, harsh, biased and unfair to say the least.  I mean, they're homeless.  Not everyone asks for it, but some put themselves there, right?  Whether it be drug abuse, trauma or simply a serious lack of motivation.  Most of us can't relate to them and cannot possibly comprehend how they got into the position they are in.  Or there are those people who feel bad for them and unwittingly hand them $5 thinking that they are going to buy food with it, when instead they may use it to buy beer.  Or perhaps you, yourself used to be homeless.
Then I FINALLY realized something(I'm a slow learner).  It's not up to us to decide whom to show love. 
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it–we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” - 1 John 3:1 Message
Whether your a believer in Jesus or not, I believe we were all chosen.  Not one of us is more special than another.  It took me a looong time to realize that.  Just recently, I was given a BIG idea and was hoping that some of you would help me make it a reality this Christmas season.  I can't do this without YOU.  With your help, I would be honored to coordinate an effort to help our homeless this Christmas in the Dallas and Salem area.  This is a simple way to show a little Christmas love to the population of homeless that are the hardest to reach and could use a little recognition, especially this time of year.  There are many agencies that work hard at showing our homeless love.  This is another way that each family could do one big thing.
When I say homeless, I mean the HOMELESS.  Such as those that are living in tents in the Wallace Park and those who frequent under the W Salem Bridge.  My goal is for you to join me in reaching the definition of what homeless is in our area.  I am currently working on coordinating the effort with local Law Enforcement as they are able to provide valuable information and services.  I also think that their presence would make this effort even that much more special and safe for those delivering the bags.  The week of Christmas myself and perhaps a few of you will deliver the personalized bags to the recipients.  There are many details that still need to be worked out.
Here is the concept:
You fill a reusable shopping bag(s) and fill it with items that the homeless typically need.  Not only that, but include a personal note from the individual or family who packed it for them.  Make it personal for the recipient.
Can't pack a bag?  There are sooo many ways that you could help. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in helping with and if so/if not, perhaps you could spread the word to someone else who may want to.  You can donate one bag, one tube of toothpaste, or one encouraging letter letting someone you don't even know that they were thought about this Christmas season.
If you would like to be part of this and pack your own bag for a homeless person this year, here is the information:
Please keep the bags unisex and only put into the bags what will fit into a standard size reusable grocery bag. So when buying socks, hats, gloves, etc. buy for a standard size man and choose unisex colors for all items if possible(I understand if you can't!). Please, please include a letter from you or your family to the person receiving the bag, maybe even pictures made by your kids! The following is a list that I came up with. Feel free to add or delete your own items as you wish and only put in what you feel like or can financially give. 

rain poncho
stocking cap
band aides
ziplock bags of all sizes
sewing kits
ready to eat snacks/food
activity books
deck of cards
travel size shampoo
wet wipes
chap stick

Have fun! You have no idea what your bag is going to do!

I would like to have the bags by Dec 15th so there is ample time to get things organized and the bags distributed.  If you have items that you would like to donate, please get ahold of me!  Thank you so much for any help that you are able to give.  I'm so excited to see what can be done through one small act of kindness.

You can find me on Facebook or email me at!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm the next Miss America.

Me.  Competing for the title of Miss America.   I can see myself now.  Strolling out there on that stage in all my glory.  How would I answer the BIG question at the end?  Oh wow, I'm sure my answer would be absolutely riveting.  Well, until the director yells "cut, go to commercial!!".  When I refuse to wear a dress or shave my legs for the swimming suit competition, things might get a little hairy.  I wonder how many times they have to practice that wave.


Bottom line is, we are NOT all Miss America potential.  By the world's standards there are many of us that cannot compete.  We fall short of the standard.  We know it's true.  There's no use denying it.  It IS the reality of the world that we live in.  Sure, we can choose how we react to that and whether or not we choose to be affected by it.  However, majority rules and inferiority in the beauty department stings.

So what can we do about it?  Well, accept it.  I've finally settled in a place in my life where I am fine with who I am.  I have accepted the fact that I am not the runner up for Miss America and I never will be.  I understand that there are things that I cannot change about this world, no matter how frustrated I get.  That doesn't mean that I won't see some woman on TV that will make me question my own sexual desirability or worth...for at least a moment.  Then I will remember that my husband thinks I'm hot.  Then I will think about this...

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14
You see, we were each made unique, with different gifts, talents and beauties.  But here is the in the eye of our creator has no comparison to that of worldly standards.  Personally, I have been given so much more than the physical beauty, poise and glamour that comes with being Miss America.  I'm sure being Miss America is great and all.  But I must say, I would much rather have that God, this husband and those kids that love me for the shabby, imperfect woman I am.

There is no amount of makeup, clothing, plastic surgery or diet pills that are going to make you become what you feel as if you need to be.  Miss America will probably always be on TV and there will always be that girl that makes you feel inferior.  If you allow it,  this insatiable appetite for better and prettier will consume you, and it will never be fulfilled. 
Leave Miss America to Miss America.  For the rest of us, just be the best to those that appreciate you for the one that you are, without the shaved legs, swimsuit body, perfect speech and classic wave.