Friday, June 24, 2011

First Haircut

Someone got a first haircut today. Any guesses who that might be?

Yes, this curly head needed a trim pretty desperately so that he wouldn't start being mistaken for a little girl.

I must admit...I think it is COMPLETELY unfair that my boy is the one with the thick hair and curls...that must be cut off...and my girl has thin, very fine hair without curls...and she still hasn't had her hair grow have a haircut yet.

Since we were in San Angelo to pick Benjamin up, we took Jacob to Sports Clips. Kathy had occassionally taken Benjamin there and they do many 1st haircuts, so we decided to try it with Jacob. It turned out to be a good choice. The lady cutting his hair worked so well with him!

He had to sit on Grandma's lap because he started screaming as soon as I tried to put him in the chair. Even in her lap, he was still a little unsure about the whole thing, but he did stop fussing.

The first cut...and she even had an envelope ready for me to place that first lock of hair into.

The end of his "mohawk"...I wonder if Samantha will miss seeing it during bathtime.

She even managed to get Jacob to let her use the trimmer. She started by letting him feel it on his hand, then when he was used to the sound and the vibration, she moved to his hair...and it worked great!

Almost done now.

What a handsome little boy! There will be NO mistaking him for a girl now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weird Storm and Blech!

We had a crazy storm last night. Lots of thunder and lightning, and some rain. The kids both woke up crying, but fell back asleep when I stayed in their room for a while. It didn't sound like it was very windy, but then this morning, this is what we found.
The bird feeders were still right where they started, but a limb was blown out of the tree they hang from.

The gate was ripped off it's hinges, but the fence was not damaged at all.

The plastic swimming pool (which was empty, and therefor very light) was right where we left it, but the trampoline was upside down and across the field.

And unless it is safe to weld a trampoline back together, I am afraid that we no longer have a trampoline...blech!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting Started

Monday, June 6, 2011


A couple months ago, Brent and I were talking about blessings, or, more specifically, how we say that we are blessed when something good happens or when something goes our way.

I had been thinking...and mentioned to Brent, that if that is the case, if we say that God is faithful, that he has blessed us, when good things happen or when we barely miss being in a wreck or when someone we love is healed, what does that mean for someone that didn't have those same things happen?

Does that mean that God didn't bless my friend whose baby died? Did he choose not to bless my friend whose husband was unfaithful and left her, then took custody of their children and who then found out she had cancer? Did he decide not to bless the woman whose husband died of cancer and who was left to raise two young children on her own? And if he didn't, why didn't he?

And if I say that I have been blessed with the good things that happen or the bad things that are avoided, what does that say to the person who is enduring hardship or tragedy? What does it say to the person who didn't have that good thing happen in their life? Am I being sensitive to their needs and feelings? Am I, in essence, rubbing their face in their lack of blessing?

How is this seeming randomness of blessings possible with a just and loving God?

Yes, I know, we live in a world that is fallen, that is affected by sin, in which people choose to ignore God and choose to hurt others...but I still struggle with this whole idea of blessing. I cannot understand how God chooses, even, or maybe especially, among people who are faithful, who to bless and who not to bless on earth. I have been completely unable to wrap my mind around this concept. Something is just not right to my way of thinking. Am I missing something? Or do I just not understand God? (Of course the answer is that I don't understand God, no one does, but what I guess what I mean is really "Is what understanding that I do have of God actually that flawed?")

These are things that I have been wrestling with in my mind for a while.

Then about a month ago, I read this blog post, by a woman whose husband suddenly died while she was pregnant with their 3rd child, with a link to Laura Story's song called "Blessings" in it. Then I heard the song on the radio last week. Then last Sunday, in Bible class, our preacher referred to someone commenting that God is faithful after his wife was unharmed during a terrible storm in which many lost their lives. And he mentioned that he wonders what that says to all the people who lost their loved ones. And that made me think about the whole blessings disconnect again. Then I saw a link to the same song on another blog. And now I have been hearing the song nearly every time I get in the car. It's like this song is knocking at my heart to tell me something. Or maybe God is using it to try to teach me something.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,
It's not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

So I read the lyrics again. And after I listened to the song again, I listened to a couple of videos in which the singer/writer is talking about where the song comes from and what it means.

Talking about the song

Talking about the album

And I wrote down this statement that Laura made. "Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances that we don't understand, or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God?" Wow. That most definitely takes some thinking about.

Then I also saw a different blog post, with a link to a speaker, Francis Chan, speaking on a completely different topic, but also saying some of the same sort of things about our not understanding God...that we don't have all the answers. That maybe God knows something that we don't. It gave me even more to think about.

And I have begun to wonder...maybe the blessings are not the things we have, the circumstances that surround us, the requests that are granted, but maybe the blessing is simply being God's child and having him love and comfort us. Maybe it is his faithfulness in never leaving us, and always remaining where we can return to him no matter how often we walk away and no matter how long we are gone from him. Or maybe it is a little of everything. I have a feeling that I will be continuing to ponder this for some time to come.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I've known for a while that Cori's time on earth would be coming to an end before too terribly much longer, and I tried to be mentally prepared for that to happen. But I don't think there is any way that you can really be ready for the loss.

Two weeks ago, she was doing great for a 16 year old dog. You would never guess how old she really was. But then, about a week ago, she stopped eating much at all. She got very skinny and started moving much more slowly. Late Friday afternoon, I started wondering if I should have taken her to the vet earlier that day. Then she seemed to do a bit better...until this morning, that is.

This morning, she had a very hard time getting up, she had a very hard time walking, and while she was trying to stand to drink her water, her back legs could not support her and she fell. I brought her into the house and tried to give her water in a bowl. She could not support herself enough to drink it, but she was thirsty. I gave her water from my hand and she lapped it up over and over, then drank what I had accidentally spilled on the floor as she laid beside it. She did manage to stand up and walk around again for a little bit, but her legs were quickly giving out again. I called the vet and they told me to bring her in at 3.

I was hoping for the vet to be able to give me a miracle, but I was fully expecting that Cori would not be coming home. So I started preparing Samantha for that likelihood. She understands, at least as much as a 3 year old can...and we just had the same type of conversation a few days ago about Grammy. So when I told her that Cori is very old and very sick and she might die very soon, Samantha told me that she will go to heaven and be happy, but that we will be sad. I told her that is right.

I kept Cori in the house and she finally got over being nervous and laid on one of the towels I put down for her. Samantha had been wanting to pet her, but I had Samantha stay away since Cori was already nervous and the kids quick movements tend to make her a little nervous anyway. When she finally settled down, I let Samantha come over to pet her, though. Cori enjoyed the extra attention and laid her head down in Samantha's lap. Samantha sat still with Cori, just gently petting her, for quite a long time for a three year old.

Pat came over to watch the kids for me, because I knew that there was no way that I could take them with me to the vet's office if Cori wasn't going to be coming home. And even if she were coming home, it would be very hard to manage getting her and the kids into the office when she is having so much trouble getting up and walking. Pat also said that they can help me bury her if need be. I am so grateful for good neighbors and friends!

At the vet's office, the vet said that we could do some testing and see if Cori was well enough to try some anti-inflammatory medicine and that might help her (he said that if she is strong enough to take them, it was a 50-50 chance of them helping her), and we might have another 3-6 months with her then. But he also said that with her eating problems and the huge amount of weight that she had lost, that it was very likely that there was something else going on. He talked about people wanting to do everything possible to help their pets, but that you also have to weigh the possibility that you would just be making things worse by prolonging the misery.

When I made the decision to let Cori go, he told me that he thought that I was doing the right thing, that he would make the same decision at this point if she were his dog. It was so hard. It was so hard to say goodbye, it was so hard to be alone there in the office. I sobbed as I told him my decision. I had silent tears rolling down my face while I held her and loved on her as they prepared the shot. I cried as I held her and petted her while he gave her the shot. And I sobbed very loudly when the vet told me her heart had stopped. Later, I felt like I should be apologizing to all the people who had to listen to me, but then, I just didn't care. I did not want to lose Cori. It turns out I wasn't nearly as ready to say goodbye as I thought I was.

I got home just a few minutes before Brent did, so when he got home, we got the kids ready to go and then went on to Glenn and Pat's house. Pat suggested burying her near their front gate and I chose a shady spot between two trees. Glen dug a hole with the front loader and while he was doing that I had to answer Samantha's questions about what we were doing. I explained that even though Cori died, her body is still here and needs to be buried. Samantha said that Cori is in heaven and she is happy. I told her that is right. She said that we are sad, though. I told her that is right. And she asked again what we are doing. This time I told her that even though Cori is in heaven, it looks like she is still here because her body is here and we need to bury her body. She didn't say anything else. I fully expect the same questions again in the days to come. Because, really, how on earth can a three year old understand these things.

After that, I was doing better for a while. Until we came home and there was no Cori to greet us. Samantha asked what was wrong when I started crying again. Brent and I told her that I am sad because I miss Cori. Samantha said that she is sad and misses Cori, too. This really stinks. This is so hard. I miss Cori. Samantha misses Cori. And somehow, I have to be together enough to not worry my kids or magnify Samantha's feelings.

She was such a good dog. She was patient with the kids and loved them. She was never jealous, even though she was nearly 13 when Samantha was born. She was so happy here in the country. I am glad that we moved here before she died, and that she had nearly a year of enjoying living here. She loved to walk with us and gave the kids lots of kisses. For that matter, she tried to give everyone lots of kisses. Samantha always told people "Cori is a wicky (how she says licky) dog." She chased squirrels and sometimes barked at the birds, but left all the other animals alone. She always met us at the door when we went outside. I miss my Cori.