Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good-bye cuddles

It was last week that we received a note from the Humane Society that someone was interested in meeting our foster dog, Jax.

We set up a get-together so he could meet this couple's other dogs, and that evening, all went well. We discussed the possibility of signing the adoption papers on Saturday at the Humane Society and parted, awaiting word from the staff there on timing and how to proceed.

It turned out I did not have to work the next day, a Friday, because I had to pick up an extra shift on Saturday. Knowing that our time was getting short, I decided to spend most of Friday with Jax. We cuddled together on the living room chair and then he napped on my lap on the bed.

I knew that I had things to get done --- laundry, cleaning, baking --- but I just couldn't get up. I wanted to remember those sweet moments with him, and so I procrastinated and enjoyed the time with his head nestled on my legs.

It was about 10 minutes after he woke up and I was downstairs in the kitchen starting some banana bread that I got a call from my husband telling me that instead of tomorrow, we were going to give Jax to his new owners that afternoon.

We discussed the details of what we would supply the new family with to make Jax' transition easier and then hung up.

And then the tears came.

I pulled myself together as I got a few things done, and my husband came home to help me load his kennel into the car.

And then the tears came.

As I was stirring the banana bread, I kept looking at Jax sitting so pretty next to me, and I couldn't help but keep crying about how I was going to miss him.

That continued on pretty much the whole afternoon as I told him what a good boy he was and kissed him on the head. I held it together as we brought him in to his new owner and kissed him good-bye one more time.

And then the tears came as I got back into the car.

Even the next day, my heart ached as I thought about him. I wasn't sad that he found a wonderful home, in fact, I'm extremely satisfied with the people that adopted him. I just miss him.

It was Saturday when I was driving home from work and thinking about him when I realized how much God had been at work in this whole situation, especially those last moments. Not only did God provide a wonderful family for him, but he provided us a last day together.

I realized, it was random that I had to work that Saturday, meaning that I took Friday off. We were supposed to give Jax to his new family on Saturday, but had I had to work on Friday and then we ended up giving him up that afternoon, I would not have had any last moments with him. I would have had to work all day, come home, load him up and take him to his new owners. Instead, I had a whole day to love on him and cuddle with him and create some last memories before saying good-bye.

I realize it made no difference to him I'm sure, but those last moments were exactly what I needed to say good-bye, to conclude our time together. I needed those last cuddles and kisses, and God provided enough snow that we had to open our tubing hill, so I had to work on Saturday at the last minute so that I had to take Friday off so I could have those last minutes with him.

Thankfulness flooded through me.

"Wow, thank you Lord for working out all those minute details so I could have exactly what I needed to say good-bye."

Once I started focusing on the things to be thankful for, it made me thankful for the time we had together and thankful for what God provided so Jax could have a fur-ever home with the perfect family.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Quiet dreams

We went back to our hometown this weekend and spent time with family and one conversation made me ponder something about myself.

We were joking about the fact that we're aggravating my mother-in-law by not having children yet, and my mom said people often ask her if I'm pregnant or planning on having kids soon.

I said, "We have a plan. We're following the plan."

"But you haven't told anyone your plan," she said.

"That's true."

"I tell people that I don't know what Kiley will do. I won't know until she is pregnant and probably pregnant for quite a while."

"That's absolutely correct."

I kind of stopped there. That sounds terrible. It sounds like I don't share anything about my life with my family. It sounds selfish. Why wouldn't I tell anyone our plans or share when we would start trying to have a baby?

I thought about that for a while yesterday, and I realized it's because I keep my dreams really close to the vest. I take my dreams into my heart and I count on them. It takes a lot for me to even admit dreams to myself in case they don't come true. It takes even more for me to talk about them with my husband.

Beyond that, I don't really tell people about my dreams. It's too hard to talk about them, because dreams are plans to me. So if they don't come true I'm upset and disappointed. I don't want others to be disappointed or see failure in my life. So I just wait to see what happens. Then if things work out the way that I plan, I will share.

I know that God is really in control, so as much as I plan or wish something, it could change. I like room for change. I don't want someone to count on me doing something because I said that was a plan. I don't want to have to explain. I like to leave room for life to change and God to work.

I've seen that in my life a lot more than I realized. I didn't tell people we took in a dog because I wasn't sure we were going to keep it, so I just kept it quiet until plans were more finalized. I didn't tell people we were planning on buying land to build a future home, and a lot of people --- those I'm not close to --- still don't know. I don't talk about it on a daily basis.

Children are even more important, so I guess that's why I don't share. We have talked about it, and we have a plan, but so does God. So until I see what that turns out to be, I'll probably stay quiet. That's just who I am. That's just how my dreams work.

Another way situations and questions help me ponder who I really am and why I work the way I work. Always thinking, always contemplating, always discovering who God created me to be.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Our careless words really say something

I've been trying to keep up with my church's year-long commitment to read five chapters of the New Testament a week. It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult, but twice already I've ended up reading all five chapters on the weekend instead of doing one per day during the week like I'm supposed to.

Oh well. At least I'm caught up!

Today, in Matthew 12, it said "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks," and "...men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken."

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a naturally quiet person, but when I get to know someone I tend to get chattier. And when I get chattier, I tend to regret about half of what comes out of my mouth. OK, maybe not quite half, but it's terrifying how much I regret.

I've come to realize that my natural tendency to stay quiet is probably the best thing for me. I've never once regretted not saying something but only have I regretted things that I shouldn't have said. And for all those words, I will have to give account.

So often we say, "It just slipped out. I didn't really mean it."

But Jesus said that even those "careless" words we will be accountable for, and that's because those words might reveal the most about us. When we take the time to calculate what we say, we can make sure it sounds good. What just "slips out," that is the true overflow of our hearts.

So watch what you say, but also take a deeper look into what just comes out. That might reveal more to you about where your heart is really at than you realize.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Eat Rocky Road cookies like a Gilmore

I was excited to receive the "Eat Like a Gilmore" cookbook for Christmas.

A gimlet. Macaroni and cheese in a jalapeno-chipotle cream sauce. Chilaquiles.

The pages and meals brought back so many memories!

Yesterday, I looked through the recipes I had marked to see if there was any dessert to try, and I wanted to sample the Rocky Road cookies. Remember when Rory took some Rocky Road cookies from Sookie's kitchen. That was the moment we all knew Rory liked Dean, because she didn't like Rocky Road cookies but they were Dean's favorite.

Seriously, how could anyone not like Rocky Road cookies? I had never had them before, but holy cow, yum.

If you like chocolate, these are for you.

Rocky Road Cookies
From "Eat Like a Gilmore" by Kristi Carlson, tweaked to my preferences and with directions shortened because I've been in a kitchen before and know "cookies are done once they turn a bit darker brown (not too brown!)"...

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cups chopped pecan
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars. Add cocoa, eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add flour and baking soda. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, place rounded scoops onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes. Place mini marshmallows in soft/warm cookies and let sit approximately five minutes to set. Place on cooling rack and cool fully before storing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coffee and pasta

I don't really even want to write this post, because I don't want my husband to read what a terrible wife I am in my brain even if I don't show it on the outside, but it's probably good to confess.

This morning, Nate was going fishing, and I went downstairs to remote start my car. I saw that he was making French press coffee.

My first reaction was disappointment. Although French press coffee is good, it doesn't make more than 3-4 cups, so I figured he had made enough for himself to take fishing and I would have to make coffee at work.

I thought it was kind of selfish that he didn't make coffee for me too.

About five minutes later, I was upstairs brushing my teeth and he poked his head around the corner, "Here honey."

He handed me a travel mug of coffee.

Instead of taking all the French press coffee for himself, he selflessly took less fishing with him and gave half to me.

OK, I felt like a butt for thinking anything bad about him.

On the way out the door, I grabbed the leftover pasta from last night's dinner. There wasn't really anything else for lunch except Ramen noodles, so I just grabbed the Rubbermaid with about a half-pound of pasta left in it.

At lunch time, I got a text message, "You must be eating a lot of pasta for lunch."

Hmmm...well, I probably should have thought about our lack of groceries and left some pasta for Nate to eat. Otherwise, he was left with cereal or Ramen noodles.

I ran home for lunch so I could share the pasta with him, and he smiled as I came in.

"Did I guilt you into coming home?"


When I was driving back to work after lunch, I thought about how complacent I've become in some areas of our relationship. I expect Nate to be thoughtful and share his coffee and am annoyed when I think he isn't going to, which he did anyway, and then I don't think at all about sharing lunch with him. I have been pretty selfish lately, knowing that Nate won't mind if I am not perfect. However, I should be striving to be the best wife I can be, no matter his expectations.

So, honey, if you're reading this. I'm sorry for thinking badly about you this morning. You blew my expectations out of the water, and I'm sorry for not thinking about you for lunch. I'll do my best to be more thoughtful and considerate!

And I appreciated the coffee. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jacob's Blessings

We are working on finishing up a study of the book of Genesis, and have two weeks left. I guess the perfect topic for the end of a series is "How to Leave a Good Legacy."

In Genesis 49, Jacob was 147 years old in Egypt, having lived there for 17 years with his family. He had blessed his grandsons, and then he called in his other sons to bless them --- or rather to give his last remarks. Some are good comments; some are guesses at what will happen because he knows his children so well; some comments are prophetic.

Reuben's rights of the firstborn were taken away for sleeping with his stepmom. The second- and third-born, Simeon and Levi, were violent men that didn't put up with sin and murdered a whole town of men. The Levites stayed that way, turning later into a tribe of priests that were strong proponents of purity. Zebulun's family became rich. Isaachar's family didn't live up to all its potential and were OK with being servants. Dan's descendants were small but powerful; Samson was a Danite. Gadites were strong and brave --- see David's mighty men. Asher's family cooked well. Naphtali had a big, good-looking family. Benjamites were vicious warriors; even using the off-hand they could throw a stone at a hair and not miss.

Joseph received a large blessing, and his father called him "set apart from his brothers." He didn't want to be set apart from his brothers originally. His brothers sold him into slavery, but God used him and brought him to a great place of power and distinction. He looked to God continually and was rewarded for that. Where we look in times of trouble will determine where we end up. Rely on God, and he will lift us up.

Judah, the fourth-born, was addressed last. Why?

He was messed up, like his older brothers. He ended up sleeping with his daughter-in-law, who he thought was a prostitute. Yet, he didn't receive a "blessing" like his older brothers, because the story didn't end there. He repented of all he did; he turned his life around. That led him into a life following God, and that led his descendants into a lineage that included the Son of God, Jesus, the Lion of Judah.

Why could Jacob tell all of this ahead of time? People's choices influence their children for generations to come, whether it be good or bad. You can see that in families, often the way the parents act is reflected in the children, and in their children, and in their children. Your life does not end with you. You leave a legacy, whether good or bad.

But God can redeem our sins and use it for beauty and his glory. He can turn a bad family legacy into good. He can change your legacy.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Finding Jax a home

Nate came into the kitchen the other day and said, "You only wrote 44 blog posts in 2016."

"I got busy."

I wasn't super inspired to blog last year. I think it is just the dedication of taking time out of the day to write something, and when you're not writing at work, it is really a bigger commitment than I realized.

But I probably should blog more this year. It makes me stop and think through things and appreciate the little stuff more than I realize. It really does wake up those "Everyday Moments," and log them away so I can look back at the little things with a smile.

One of the biggest things that has been taking my time is our foster dog, Jax. He was an impound dog that no one claimed, and the veterinarian's office was going to put him down.

Nate didn't want that to happen, so we introduced him to Noveske, hoping that adding another dog to our lives wouldn't be a big deal.

Suffice it to say, she was not a fan.

When they first met, he was not fixed, and all he wanted to do was mount her, and she was having none of it. When he invaded our home, she was not a fan of having to share her cuddles, her toys, her mama and daddy. He would come up to her, and she would growl. He would try to sit on the couch with us, and she would growl. He would try to "make things happen," and she would bite him.

It wasn't a great start.

We decided that it probably wasn't going to be a lasting plan, and we're now working with the local humane society to find him a home while we foster him in ours.

He really is a sweet boy, and this has been an interesting learning experience. First, he is a pit bull terrier. I kind of hate telling people that now, because the first thought is always, "Oh...yikes." But now having had one in the house, I can say this breed is completely misunderstood. They are sweet dogs. Yes, he has growled at me a couple of times, but the more I get to know him, the more I realize that is not at all a result of his breed but is a result of mistreatment he must have had in his previously life. Even now, when I try to shake my finger at him or gently move him when he's doing something wrong, he flinches. Obviously, his previous owners were not kind people.

Second, training takes patience. We knew this when we purchased a puppy, but at 2-3 years old, I guess I expected that Jax would know the rules.

He doesn't.

He had to re-learn to poop outside after having lived on the streets, he had forgotten some of his housetraining. He has to learn that he can't put his paws on the counters, even if he is just curious at what we're doing. He has to learn that he will get fed daily and he doesn't have to scrounge for every scrap of food in the house.

Every day, we can see that he is getting to used to being loved, getting used to having rules and getting used to the fact that even if he messes up we're not going to beat him.

This sweet dog deserves a wonderful home that treasures him. Novie sure hasn't warmed up to him, so that home is not going to be ours, but I hope that someone will find in him a companion that he or she always wanted.

It is hard to fall in love with a puppy in your house and know that they will be leaving you, but I heard this story on Dave Ramsey that a couple took in a baby that was abandoned at the hospital and just kept it long enough until an adopted couple could find it a home. Foster parents do it all the time. I don't know how they do it though; a dog is one thing, a child something completely different.

So my prayers at the beginning of this year are "Thy will be done, Lord. Thy will be done in finding Jax the perfect home. Thy will be done in how long we are supposed to keep him. I trust you in bringing the right people to us so I don't have to worry about him after he leaves us. I know that you are completely in charge of not only the sparrows, the lilies and us, but in loving charge of puppies like Jax too."