5 Things…

… that made me smile today…

A student at school who, after finishing his work with five minutes left in the period, asked me if there was anything he could help me with around the classroom.  I’m impressed by how polite, kind, and caring my students are this year.

The way Jackson greeted me when I pulled in the driveway.  I love watching him sprint to the front yard when my car drives up, wagging his tail so much that his whole bottom wiggles.  It’s nice to be welcomed home with such enthusiasm!

Sunshine and t-shirt weather even as leaves begin to swirl across the sidewalk and crunch under my feet.  I’ll take this kind of fall weather for as long as it will last.

The squirms and kicks our little girlie continues to give.  I’m thankful every time I feel her moving around and I’m thankful too for all the people who have been praying for her!

This new website.

A friend I met, through both blogging and the shared experience of losing a child, started this as a place of encouragement and support for moms who have lost a child.

I especially love the focus on grieving with hope.  As Christians we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess. 4:13) and I believe that is such an important reminder to hold onto when going through the loss of a child.  I’m thankful this site focuses on that truth!

I had the honor of sharing some of my thoughts there already, as well as telling a little of Faith’s story.  I’m praying that God uses this site to reach other moms who need His comfort and hope.

 

Who’s That Dog?

Jackson got a hair cut!  It was his first time ever going to the groomer and hopefully I don’t sound dumb when I admit that I was nervous about it.

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In the past we’ve tried to keep up general maintenance on our own, but then we had an issue with matted fur that we knew we couldn’t handle.  Jackson loves to swim, but one of the consequences was that he started to develop mats in his fur.  They were too close to the skin for us to take care of without worrying about hurting him, so we knew it was time to see a professional.

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We waited a while because we wanted to do it in late spring/early summer so his fur can grow back and not be too short when winter rolls around again (I know, bad thought, pretend you didn’t read that!).  Although he was skittish about it, the groomer said he did alright overall which was a relief to me.

He went in looking like this…

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And came out looking like this…

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I think he looks so cute!  It’s funny how much smaller he looks without the big fur.  He looks more puppy-ish to me too.  He almost looks like a different dog… or really, Jackson’s face on a different body, haha!

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But he’s soft and fresh and clean which is good.  And he doesn’t seem to mind.  In fact, when we got home he frolicked around the yard for a bit so it seems like he’s feeling pretty good!  I sure do love that little dog!

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Step Right Up

There’s a new look when you walk in our door.  We just had new carpet installed on the stairs, and I’m pretty excited about it!

We live in a raised ranch, so whether you come in through the front door or the garage, the first thing to greet you is a set of stairs.  And, up until now, those stairs were covered in gray carpet that was beyond well worn.  Not the best “first impression”.

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Back in May of 2011 we had hardwoods put in upstairs which, along with a fresh coat of paint, totally transformed the space.  We left the carpet on the stairs though, so it was definitely time for an upgrade.

Last night Steve ripped out the old stuff and we saw just how dirty the stairs really were!  These are the first two steps when you come in from the garage… yuck!!

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I guess that’s what happens when you trudge up and down with shoes on all the time.   Oh yeah, and a little dog who tends to get dirty probably didn’t help things much!

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But we swept and vacuumed and got it all cleaned up… all ready for today’s install.

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I’m very happy with the final result!

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The stairs not only look fresh and clean, but now the color actually fits with the rest of the upstairs.  Plus the new carpet has a nice texture to it and feels great on my toes for all those trips up and down.

Now to keep it clean as spring arrives and this fella finds every muddy spot in the yard, haha!

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Cold

It’s been cold here.  I know it’s winter and I’m pretty sure it has been cold in many other places too… but can I take one brief moment to whine and say I’m tired of it?!  The past few days have ranged in temperature from 5 to 14 degrees.  Tomorrow we’re predicted to actually get above 20… woohoo!

It’s times like this when I question our decision to live in upstate NY.  Maybe a hut on the beach somewhere near here would have been a better choice…

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Mmmmmm that makes me warm(er) just looking at it!

At the end of this chilly week, I wanted to share something that warmed my heart… the story of a blind sled dog who, with the help of his brother, still finds his joy and purpose in pulling a sled.

Dogs are the best.  After I post this I think some cuddle time with Jackson is in order.  Bonus, he is always warm!  Maybe that is why he actually likes the snow!

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Oh yeah, and I can’t help sharing this one too… just cause it’s hilarious.  If you think I’m being whiny about the cold, don’t go to California!

Happy Friday and stay warm!

Day 21

I had a few different ideas of what to post today, but as I sat here at my computer the noon fire department siren went off and suddenly I knew what it had to be.

I’m thankful for Jackson.

I know you’re wondering, what in the world does the siren have to do with the dog?  Yeah, I imagine it seems like a strange connection.

Well… Jackson has this hilarious and, in my opinion, adorable habit of howling at the siren!  A full head back in the air wolf-like howl.  And he only does it then.  I’m not even sure if he does it every day since I’m not usually home at that time, but today he did and I laughed and thought about how much our little dog makes me smile.

Jacks and I just got back from a nice long walk.  It’s a beautiful day outside and since I’m home from school (Thanksgiving break) we could truly enjoy it.  After lunch I’ll work on cleaning up our bedroom, and I can bet that Jackson will be right there with me, curled up in his bed in the corner or even squeezing himself under our bed for a secluded nap.

He’s a great little companion and I’m thankful to have him as the canine member of our family!

Happy 4th Birthday…

…to our dog Jackson!

To celebrate, Steve brought home several special doggie treats.

Jackson only got to eat the bat today (after Steve was a tease and tried to make it fly away!)

How better to celebrate than with a nice hike in the woods?

Of course Jackson found the gross bog, yikes!

So we finished off our outing with a swim to fetch some sticks and clean up.

I’m so thankful for little Jacks.  Sure, he has his moments, like the I’m-gonna-chew-up-every-tissue-in-the-trash-can moments, but he is a loveable and special part of our family.  He kept me company, lying on the floor next to the couch, when I got home from the hospital.  I think he knew something wasn’t right.  He puts a smile on my face every time he runs to greet me, with his whole bottom wagging, when I get home from school.  He warms my heart when he snuggles his head against my shoulder.

Happy 4th birthday little guy!

Waiting to Bloom

I got up late today so when I finally took the dog out for a walk it was pretty hot.  We walked our usual route and by the end Jackson was panting like crazy.  I was pretty tired myself, but as we rounded the corner with our house coming into view, I smiled because this is what I saw…

My grandparents gave us this rose bush a couple weeks after Faith passed away.  A few days ago I spotted multiple little buds like this…

… and now they are in full bloom.  So beautiful!  The sight of these pretty flowers will always make me think of our little girl.

I often try to use my walks with the dog as a time to pray.  Note: these prayers are silent ones in my head for those that are curious.  I don’t really want the neighbors staring me down or reporting the crazy lady who talks to herself while walking the dog!  Anyway, I started to pray today, but it came out pretty choppy.  “God, what do I do now?” was pretty much all I managed.  That’s been a common theme lately.

I don’t have an exact answer.  It would be great if, at the end of my walk, I checked the mail and found a note from God: Dear Megan, this is my plan for you now…

But, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve yet to find such a letter.

However, I do have these words: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

No, its not a step-by-step plan or a checklist or a road map.  But it is a promise.  And a challenge.

Truth be told, I want to plan everything and have it work out as planned.  I want to have more control over things that happen.  I want an answer to why my baby is gone.  I want know what my future holds.

Still… I trust God.  I believe His Word, I feel His love, and I know my life and my eternity are in His hands.  So I will keep holding onto that trust instead of relying on my own understanding.  Its not always easy, and sometimes I need to take things one day, one hour, at a time.  But I will keep striving to acknowledge Him in all I do, and I will hang onto the promise that He will make my paths straight.

Maybe, like our roses, there are some little buds in my life right now… just waiting to bloom.