Through Every Season

Tag: Pets

Sally’s Last Day

Today is our beloved keeshound, Sally’s last day here on earth.  She’s 14 years old and has been unable to hold any food or water down since Monday.  We were told shortly after losing Joel that her kidney’s were beginning to fail.  To avoid finding myself in a crisis over the weekend, I found a vet that can put her to sleep in our home today after James returns home from work.  God has been gracious and given me a lot of peace about it and the kids are all in agreement.  It’s still going to be really hard… especially for Mike because her last turn for the worse happened while he’s in DC.  He’ll be back tonight sometime after 6 pm and she’ll be gone.

On Wednesday, I was thinking about Halloween essentially being a celebration of evil and death and how odd it was that Sally might die on Halloween.  I thought about how many people don’t even realize that it’s called “All Hallow’s Eve” because it’s the eve before “All Saint’s Day,” a day to remember the “hallowed” saints who’ve gone before us.  It’s as if our eyes have been veiled from glorious victory that the great cloud of witnesses now enjoys over death and instead of celebrating their lives and sacrifices for us, we have been tricked into celebrating evil and death itself.  It’s a terrible trick, and comes with the threats of missing out on the treats of playing dress up and way too much fun and candy.  It’s as if evil gives itself premature a victory party each year when SOON death itself will die.

What have done as a family for Halloween has evolved over the years.  When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my Dad learned about the origins of Halloween and started taking me “no-tricks-just-treating” and we passed out tracts instead of threats to the neighbors we visited.  So, most of my life I’ve known Halloween as more of a battle than a game.

When our kids were still babies and toddlers, the stores were just starting their crazy early jump the holiday bandwagon and I had no idea how to protect their eyes from the grotesque Halloween decorations that were invading not only the party shops but our local grocery stores.  The Lord used them for good though.  The Halloween before Josh turned 3, he asked Jesus in his heart because he was afraid of going to hell where all those scary creatures lived.  His questions revealed that he had been putting off giving his life to Christ because he was afraid that the moment he did God would take him away from me directly to Heaven.  He didn’t want to leave his mama. Josh has always been precocious that way.  🙂

Those first few years on All Hallow’s Eve, we were reluctant to open our front door and expose our small children to all those scary creatures that came trick-or-treating, so we hid in our house with the porch light turned off and enjoyed family Veggie Tale movie nights.  As the kids grew older and caught on to the fun that they were missing, turning out the porch light didn’t prove to be much protection.  Dressing up has always been a favorite for our kids.  They had a large tub of dress up clothes and played often.  I prayed for wisdom that year as our kids watched longingly out the window.

The following year our church had a harvest party.  I made Josh and James biblical costumes, dressed Joel in a baby out fit with a blue puppy on it and we ventured out on Halloween for the first time.  Josh now almost 6 years old dressed up as the prophet Balaam and James 3, as his talking donkey.  As our kids grew the harvest parties grew more extravagant and crowded, and a little impersonal.  It felt safe and fun, but I still felt like I was on the defensive instead of the offensive with Halloween.

About the time we adopted our dog, Sally, we started attending a Vineyard church in San Antonio, Texas which was a very small group/outreach oriented church.  There we discovered a whole new, personal approach to Halloween. Their small groups reached out to their neighborhoods through front yard harvest parties.  We lived in a great location for such a party and volunteered to host our small group’s party in our front yard.  For the first time ever, we found ourselves taking something the devil meant for evil and using it for good. We all loved it. The neighbors responded first with curiosity, and then with gratefulness.  We brought church and opportunities for relationships into the neighborhood.  They no longer had to go out and look for it.  We were each personally invested in the outreach.  It was something we did together as a family.  For me, it was like Halloween had been redeemed; instead of a day to tolerate or hide, it became a day to love our neighbors to Christ. We were able to take the idea with us to Florida, and enjoyed several years of front yard harvest outreaches.

In thinking about our past front yard harvest parties, I remembered that All Hallow’s Eve is Sally’s favorite holiday.  Sally loves it because she loves visitors.  Each trick-or-treater is greeted with an, “I am so glad you came to see me.  I am such an adorable puppy, aren’t I?  I love to be petted.” Then she drinks in the attention.  She has always lived and loved everyone with the joy and wonder of a puppy.

I am really going to miss her.  I am not sure about what happens when our pets die.  I know that horses, and lions, and lambs live in Heaven.  I know that we will be more than satisfied with the treasures God has laid up for us there.  I know that

“He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Revelation 21:4.

I was telling my poor, sad Sally about how wonderful it’s going to be yesterday.  I tell myself often.  Then early this morning after checking on Sally, I tried to get a moment’s more sleep and had a dream/vision/flash and saw Sally seeing in color for the first time (earthly dogs are color blind).  It felt like God was saying that she’ll go to sleep here, then wake up to a world of living color.  I am so glad God lives outside of my box and I won’t be surprised if when we meet Joel in Heaven we find Sally by his side. 🙂

 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”  Psalm 116:15

Wishing you a safe and happy All Hallow’s Eve!



Nativities and Garlands

George loves to knock things down from my counters and such 
and bat them around for a while..
Zoe loves to eat the things she knocks down.
I am renaming them the George/Zoe demolition team.
They spent last Christmas knocking down and eating pieces of my nativity. 🙁
I have a lot of pieces.. they fill up all these boxes.
I wasn’t looking forward to losing pieces this year.. 
Mike suggested that I use both mantles (George doesn’t bother them)
instead of keeping the whole nativity in one room.  Brilliant!
I actually like this arrangement better than last year..
Using the different rooms allowed me to separate them into sets.
I put my soft nativity on my dresser.  It’s not as enticing as the smaller pieces.
  It needs a manger.. or mat or something.. project for next year?
On the right side of the piano, 
I have Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem.
Since George can actually get to this one,
I sprinkled it with cyan pepper (great cat repellant).
So far so good.

I put my main manger scene on the mantle in that room .
Then our original set and collection of angels 
and advent candles on the mantle by the tree.
The garlands are new… 
I’d seen several garlands in blog land and was inspired to make my own.
I made some paper snowflakes out of leftover paper 
from my names of Jesus ornaments.  I thought the colors would
stand out better than white snowflakes against a white mantle.
Then added my “Love, Joy, Hope and Peace” ornaments to them.
And cut out two doves.
Then I found a star png on google (love google) and photoshopped 
some old pictures of the kids on top, and had them printed at Walmart. 
The cut out stars were kinda lost in the garland by themselves,
so I googled how to fold a 5 pointed snowflake to help show them off.
My other garland is made of some other random ornaments that 
I didn’t know what to do with.. I was really surprised 
when saw that I had a woodsy theme once I they were up.
I had these birds and bells which I liked,
but didn’t go with my new themed tree.
This Smoky Mountain souvenir was too
Christmasy to wait for my January wreath.
 and these two lonely eggs..which 
Mike’s grandmother made for us years ago
are so small that they didn’t show up in the big tree.
There were twelve painted eggs originally..
before all the years of kids decorating and knocking over trees… 
I added some pinecones which were my original inspiration
 And.. ta da a woodsy garland..

Christmas Ornaments in July

For the last 12 years I’ve been buying the kids 
each an ornament at the after Christmas sales.  
For a while they enjoyed receiving them and hanging 
their individual ornaments on the tree, but the last couple of years 
they’ve decided that that decorating trees was a waste of time
and can’t understand why I would even buy them any. :-/
So last December, I decided that it was time to put away their ornaments 
and collect some ornaments for myself and have a more grown up tree.
I got 20 of these ornaments at Trees and Trends 80% off on New Years weekend.
I like the colors because it goes with the soft colors in my home.
I knew I wanted to make some ornaments that were centered around Jesus;
 nativities and/or had the names of Jesus on them, so I started looking ideas on how to 
make them and started studying my collection of lists of His names.
I decided to make quilted ones because I love to hand sew 
and thought they would last a long time (maybe survive the pets). 
At first, I thought I would embroider His names on them,
but quickly decided that it would be faster/easier 
to print them on the computer.
I designed 5 different styles of ornaments using Photo Shop on my computer.  
I am making 5 of each ornament shape with different names 
so that I will have 25 in all and around 150 of Jesus’ names.
The kid’s first reaction was, “They are so big.”  They are about the size of my hand.
I wanted the print to be easy to read standing a few feet from the tree.  
And I’d found so many names that I loved, so they had to be big enough to hold them all.
I’ve completed the first 5. I pieced the first 10 together before
our trip to Alaska so I could work on them on the planes.
It’s taking a lot of fiddling to decide on how to embellish them.
I am not sure I am in love with how they turned out.  It will be strange 
to see them on the tree this coming December (I hope I get them all done).
I am working on embellishing the second set of 5 now.
They are more centered around Jesus as the Lamb of God and have a little lamb 
at the bottom instead of a cross that I am trying to decide how to embellish.
 Maybe they won’t survive the pets.  🙂
 Maybe I should be looking into getting some cat/dog repellant.

Back at Home and to Birmingham

We packed up camp fast as we could Sunday morning.  A storm was blowing in and we didn’t want to take home wet tents.  Arrived home safe and took a nap.

After lunch, we took Holden home and went shopping again.  Lucked out and found an ice truck at Publix shortly after it pulled up.  Ice, propane, batteries and generators were still going fast.

3% of Huntsville now had power.  We saw a couple of lights 3-5 miles from our house that gave us some hope, and Publix now had generators for running their freezers. 

Mike and I went to bed shortly after dark.  Joel fell asleep on the couch in the living room with the dogs and they were all three awakened around midnight by a looter on our back porch.  The dogs earned their keep by barking up a storm and Joel by screaming.. the looter ran away and jumped in his get-away car.  So glad we were there that night and I am hoping that we can find a solar motion sensor light for our back porch today. 

I woke up two hours later being bit by a big tick.  Boy, can they bite.  I ran to Judi’s room because she had a candle lit.  She couldn’t sleep after the looter incident.  She tried pull off the tick with tweezers.. he was stuck on tight.. then to burn the tick with her candle lighter – I suggested we find some matches and get Mike to help.  He burned it with a lit match (not much better) and was finally able to get him off.  I should really look up symptoms for lyme disease.

Next morning I was about to enter an ice cold shower when I had an idea.. we could spend the night in Birmingham that night, take a hot shower, and not wake up as early for my appointments the next morning.  Didn’t take much to convince Mike; he’d already been thinking about it.  We went to a near by store and used their internet to find and book a hotel, bought the kids a few groceries then ran off to civilization.  Almost felt like a date instead of a doctor’s visit.

We had two hot showers, ate at Jim and Nick’s (one of our favorite bbq places) and slept in maybe the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed at.  Appointments went well.  I didn’t have an allergic reaction to the CAT scan die (yay!) but did have a reaction to the rubbing alcohol the lab prepped me with.   It was probably a good thing.. it was my first time to have an immediate reaction.. and now I can just tell them I had a reaction and request they use something else in the future. 

It’s nice to be home again and now that the power is back on, I can get some laundry done.  We have a lot to do before Judi goes to TX on Saturday, and even more to do before Mike and I leave for Alaska.



Climbing Walls

With a new addition to the family, comes a lot of new stuff.  First thing we got was 
a Litter Kwitter.  I told the Judi if she’d toilet train the cat I’d pay her $50.  
It’ll save us probably $1000 in cat litter and I know I’d be the one cleaning it 
for years to come if I weren’t paying her.. 
so I am actually feeling guilty about the steal I am making.  
The cat in the add photo is a Russian Blue like George.  I am even more hopeful.  
Then we got her some flushable litter, food, food bowls and a collar.  
We looked around at food bowls.  The ugly ones designed for pets cost around $5 each.
I decided to look at bowls designed for humans in Target.  They are so much cheeper!  
I knew I had this fir at home, and had planned on making her a bed.  
I remember when Mamalene used it to make Ruthie a cat costume one year.
I made it so that it opens at the ends and can be used as a tunnel, too.
She loves it; knew it was hers right away.

I knew I needed to do something about a scratching post.  
I don’t want my furniture torn to shreds and I’d prefer not to have to declaw her.  
Have I shown you the lamp I got a few months ago?  We needed some light 
on this side of the living room.  George thinks it’s great.  She even climbed up from 
the inside of it one night when it was turned on and made a cool shadow.  
Sorry no picture. 
She’s also been climbing the curtains next too it.
See the threads she’s puled?  I trimmed her nails.. it’s helped a little.  
I knew I didn’t want one of those monster climbing trees.
They are ugly, take too much space, cost a fortune and 
I am sure that the moment George climbed up it 
Sally would chase her and it’d come tumbling down.   
So I discovered these cat walk climbing shelves and thought to myself,
“I could make those.”  I tried to make it a Father’s Day surprise for Mike,
but he noticed right away all the money I was spending at Lowes. 
I think I spent around $60 total for all the supplies.  It would have cost less
had I not been low on sand paper and left 
my wood stain and mineral spirits at our old house.
I found a rug for $12 at TJ Max for the scratching/climbing boards.  
I used velcro to keep the mats on the shelves so she won’t slide right off.   
George loves it!  She was climbing it before I had it finished. 
The first day she climbed up and took a nap on this shelf.
I made her a ball with some left over fur and she like’s it, too.
Here she goes.
I purposely put the shelf at a height where 
she can bat at the kids heads as they walk by.
So if you’re tall, Beware! 

See Joel in the picture below? He’s working on Trig/Calculus.  
Anytime he asks for help, I just laugh.

I took the opportunity to use Georgia’s play place as graphic/prayer art. 
It’s centrally located where if we catch her clawing 
one of our couches (or lamp or curtains) or jumping up on a counter 
we can easily take her over to her scratching post.
I told the kids that it’s her time out spot. 

James put her other ball on the top shelf.
Georgie not quite big enough to climb up there by herself, 
but she’s already twice as big as when we got her so it won’t be long,
and she can jump from shelf to shelf to get down.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.



Angel our Bunny

I took our bunny to be put to sleep today.  She’s had breast cancer for sometime now and the last couple of days she all but quit eating.  With the trips we have planned, I didn’t want to leave her home and be worrying about her or keep dreading the upcoming duty.

Judi volunteered to come with me.  We didn’t attempt to stay with her during the procedure… I sobbed when I had to take our cat, Whiskers, in several years ago.  
Back in the car, the minute I was about to start crying, Judi brought up a cheerful subject.  She is really good at guiding difficult conversations… if someone is about to get in an heated argument or something, she knows how to smooth things over and redirect the conversation.
The two of us had a mini wake by going to DQ and buying our favorite treat; Moolattes.  I felt really peaceful about it all.. like we were dong the right thing and the right time.. and as Joel said.. God gave me grace.  
The empty space where her cage belongs is a little sad, but I am glad for the 10 years we had with her.

I spent the rest of the day crafting .. such a mood lifter.. next blog entry..


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