The Wag of the Tail: the welcoming spirit of a dog

It’s strange  how when you lose someone you begin to look for perhaps something to replace that void.  Completely impossible.  It wasn’t a month after my dear FIL passed away and I responded to a friend of a friend’s request for possible care of their precious toddler part time.  After conversation with my husband and prayer, I knew that wasn’t what I was to do.  In fact, my husband’s response was, “Don’t you think you need a bit of a break?”  When my mother in love had passed away, it wasn’t long before we moved my FIL, “PawPaw,” in with us.  Our family worked as a team to help care for him and love on him.  Most interestingly, we never sat down and said “You do this, you do that”; we all seemed to operate in our strengths for the most part, each one of us bringing something different to the table.

So a few months later I began a search for a Schnauzer.  Tony and I had two Schnauzers before the kids came along:  Scruffy and Toot-Toot.  We loved those dogs.  Their passing would have been much harder on us had our kids not been very young, keeping us busy!  I searched and searched…and found my searching was becoming a bit obsessive.  Tony had finally acquiesced to a second dog.  Yep, that’s right.  We already have a dog.  But he’s an outside dog, and I was looking for an inside dog.

My obsessiveness was an alarm that went off inside me and I backed off.  I decide to “Love the dog your with.”  Each of us loves on our dear dog, but there are times when I’m sure he goes through periods of neglect.  And I’m sure with the caring of PawPaw, there had been some of that.  So every night I began taking time after dinner to go sit on the back porch in the rocker and brush him.  He was very receptive!  I began taking time to throw the ball for him, which he loves chasing after….if only he’d learn to “drop” the ball so I don’t have to fight him for it!  We’ve worked on that with some treats, which he gladly exchanges the ball for a treat…but then we run out and I forget to pick up more at the store.  Alas, I go back to fighting him for it sometimes.  Then I started taking him with me during our walking time.  Then it was winter and I started letting him stay in during the night.  Yes, read between the lines:  SPOILED.  He thinks he now belongs inside. He comes in, checks out a few spots where food might have been dropped, and then lays himself down on the cool floor.  It’s now near summer here, and he’s back outside for a while, but still thinking he belongs inside with us.

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What I came to enjoy about loving the dog I was with was this:  almost every time I interact with him, he wags his tail for me.  He looks up at me with those big brown eyes and wags his tail.  His wagging tail is a smile for me – and I smile back.  He’s happy.  And that makes me happier.

 

 

Dogless in East Texas

Dear Arlis

This is how it all started: (husband) “There are Australian Shepherd Puppies for sale.” (me) googling and researching Australian Shepherd. Musing and even asking him “Is Heavenly Father suggesting we get a dog?” (husband) “What’s He telling you??”

That was how the conversation/consideration began which quickly took a turn for the worse.  For in one day oldest took the antenea off Ole’ Blue (94 Ford) and decided to see what banging on the already-cracked windshield might yield. It yielded a $175 new windshield and a boy that gets to rake the front yard this season.  And that afternoon husband’s glasses fell apart. The $300 frames. Replaced by black frames for $60. He lookes very astute, I’d say.

So for several weeks the discussion ended. Until the pain of unexpected expenses could fade just a bit.

The discussion picked back up as I compared a Wii to a dog. I’m lo-tech. And I plan to stay that way. Our kids are 6 and nearly 4. They need to be outside, outside, outside. I need to be outside, for that matter! And I don’t want another thing I have to monitor or limit. Dog won. And was approved.

I diligently began seeking the Stone Family Dog. Researching the breeds I think we’d be interested in, which are Border Collie, Blue Heeler, Australian Shepherd and possibly, Lab or Golden Retriever.  Our past dogs were both Schnauzers and we loved them.  But we wanted our boys to have a big boy dog.

I went through a series of dogs:  Kady, a beautiful border collie; Pepper, a 15 lb. Fox terrier/Blue Heeler that stole our hearts on the web site. Next was Lucy, an Australian Shepherd at our local humane shelter and Fraydo, a black and white short haired Australian Shepherd mix.Then there was Danny, a border collie black lab mix.  Beautiful markings and trained perfectly for our family.  

Surprisingly my dog-lover heart was able to rebound from several disappointments.  What I found was that working with rescue organizations is a bit interesting.  And I think there are some interesting practices occuring within these organizations.  Perhaps I’ll leave that for another blog entry.  I was able to walk through our local humane society without wanting/believing I needed to rescue every dog there. 

So over a week ago we spent some time with what seems to be an obvious choice, although previously eliminated – our neighbor’s 2 year old Border Collie, Arlis.  Dear Arlis came to our neighbors as a stray over a year ago.  One day he followed them home from a walk down the street.  No one responded to their info posted of a found dog and so they chose to keep him. 

We’ve had the pleasure of helping care for Arlis when they have been away.  When he’s darted out their door, we’ve come to the rescue and lassoed him to safety.  But youngest was not convninced he was for us until we had Arlis over to see if he would not jump on him.  Several larger dogs, including Arlis,  have knocked him over and he doesn’t care for this, of course.

But as we sat down to have the dog discussion several weeks ago, Sawyer’s testimony to his dad was “He not jump on me!’  And so it became final:  when our dear neighbors, who have become dear friends, move into town next month, we will get the pleasure of homing dear Arlis. 

For now, we are housing him during the holidays while our neighbors are away.  Arlis has been the perfect gentlemen and he and I have enjoyed some quiet time together after every one has gone to bed.  He enjoys being inside – and is perfectly content to be outside, guarding, waiting, watching.  This morning he was joyfully playing with his new tennis balls – alone or with us! 

Making a decision guided by Father brings peace.  There’s poop that obviously needs to be scooped in the back yard, as there are now at least 3 pairs of shoes that need to be de-pooped.   Yesterday he got out the back gate once and had to be lassoed.  This did cause a bit of anxiety, but after marking his spot, he seemed to tune back in to his name!  Tony and I were doing prep work in the kitchen last night for todays meal – with a 45-50 lb dog lying in the middle of the floor.  “Oh, excuse me Arlis!”  After finishing placing the gifts under the tree I got a perfect pic of our “Christmas dog” laying at the foot of the tree.  He is part of our Christmas this year!  And tonight I’ve enjoyed the company of a sweet and gentle dog lying at my feet while I end this beautiful day.

A year ago I was very uninterested in having another dog.  What a difference a little time makes!

Merry Christmas, Arlis!

A Soft Landing

Soft landing. This is how I describe my dear Judy’s home. I’ve known here for over 15 years since she first help me get my sinuses under control after moving back to East Texas. She has no title..but for us, she’s our homeopathic “go-to” gal and we love her like a dear part of our family. My boys LOVE to go to Mrs. Judy’s house and she loves them. Their favorite snack there is apples with peanut butter and honey and today she served up some cooked turkey meat (which reminded me to add the turkey to my shopping list). The only thing that would make a trip to her house better in my boys humble opinion, is if they could pet the dogs! Bessie is a large boxer – beautiful, and they’ve recently acquired a new mixed bred named Sadie. We look forward to the day when they can go outside with the dogs, but until then there are visits across the gate when we drive up and checking them out through the kitchen door window.

Grateful for her. Thankful for when I can experience a bit of heaven on this side. And blessed that my boys experience this relationship between us and her.

Funny – I noticed a bottle of essential oil while in her kitchen; read the label “Peace and Calm” – took a whiff and pretended to douse myself with it! I got to leave with some and used it tonight with some lotion and then a bit on my wrist. Yummy.

Well, my next soft landing today (other than my home of course) was dinner with my Mother’s Leauge friends. Girls Night Out is priority on my list when the calendar comes out. We laughed. And laughed. Grateful for these precious women in my life at such a vital time. I couldn’t be a Godly mother without my Heavenly Father. I couldn’t be a sane mother without my husband’s love and support. And I think I’d be sorely missing out on something unexplained if I didn’t have my Mom friends who are in the trenches with me.

So my next soft landing is my BED! With my new flannel PJ’s! Goodnight 🙂

On with the letter “A” and a dead mouse

Why is it that we seem to continue to find dead things?  This morning I got us ready to wash our car in the front yard (a first for me and the boys) and what does Sammy find?  A dead little field mouse.  I’m guessing one of our neighborhood cats left it behind.  I have never seen two boys squat and study so seriously.  While I continue to tell them “Don’t touch!”  So Sammy goes and puts his winter glove on “Mom, don’t worry!  I won’t get hurt!”  “No, really!  That’s nasty!  Please don’t touch!”  So I went and got the shovel and we gently dumped him across the street into the field….

We are studying the letter “A” for however long.  So during our reading yesterday, I found a character trait study on “Attentiveness.”   Brilliant.  I read all 4 and Sammy even asked for me to read them again that afternoon.  He’s in great need of developing that…and I love the definition it gave – Listening with your eyes, ears and heart.  He has had several opportunities to repeat that back to me today. 

Our pastor is teaching on Psalm 23 these next however many weeks, so I’ve started Sammy and I on memorizing it.  We are on verse one this week.  “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall lack nothing.”  So since I seem to be having some sleep issues as of late, I’m going to thank Him that I shall not lack the proper rest I need. 

Sammy is off at his MeMe’s overnight.  Chad came in early from a rained-0ut game in Coppell.  Tony got home just as it began to storm.  Saw Wayne refused to sleep in his room without Sam so he went to bed with Dad.  Chad went to finish reading Angels and Demons.    I’ve been up watching He’s Just Not That In To You and hope to blog about what Father is saying to me about how He feels about me (and  His creation).  I’ve done my research on an item I need to shop for tomorrow.  So I think now I’ll brush my teeth and know I will fall to sleep immediately.  May I joyfully wake up in the morning without counting the hours of sleep I HAVEN”T had.

Studying the alphabet with roadkill – on to the letter A

On one of our recent morning walks to the pond, I spotted an Armadillo carcass over the fence.  So the boys and I went to study it from afar.  Sammy wanted to check them out on the computer, so we found some great info and photos. 

So it’s time for us to move to the next letter in his name; after about 4 weeks on the letter S.  Am I really going to be able to pull off homeschooling???

Apples – we eat a lot of apples around here.  Our favorite are the small organic apples we get in our produce pick-up from Lindale.  My other favorite are braeburn and fuji.  This morning I had one of my fav quick breakfasts – 2 scoops of cottage cheese with a bit of Stevia mixed in, 1/2 apple cut up, sprinkled with cinnamon.  It was made perfect with a piece of buttered Spelt bread my friend Judy shared with me.

Alamo – I recently picked up a Texas Monthly Magazine and read about a romantic weekend getaway in San Antonio.  I’ve always enjoyed this town and am praying to find a way to get at least Tony and I there for a few days alone.  Oh, another A – word.

Alone – where I found myself most of Thursday.  I had coffee and computer time at my fav Books and Coffee in Kilgore,

 

Back patio of Books and Coffee
Back patio of Books and Coffee

then to the movie to see Angels (another A word!) and Demons, then to McAlister’s for some soup and tea.  Delightful.

My view from McAlister's Patio
My view from McAlister's Patio

Anne of Green Gables – this is truely one of my most favorite movies.  Last night I was surfing for a recipe and ran across the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook.  Just thinking about Anne give me a mental visual of the fields of green that surrounded her and helps me breathe. 

After – After the baseball game last night, we were treated to Friday night fireworks – my favorite! 

Fireworks at Driller Baseball Park after 2009 opening game
Fireworks at Driller Baseball Park after 2009 opening game

 

Attack – that’s what me and the kids are about to do to our vehicle.  It is atrocious inside and out!  So we’ll make it a fun clean-up project this morning by throwing some water and bubbles onto the scene.

Always – My prayer for my boys is that they will always love each other and be the best of friends.

Two great kids that happen to be brothers
Two great kids that happen to be brothers

Join us as we travel through the letter A!  Hopefully more to follow.

Friday blessings

What our scenic route blessed us with - a lovely foal

What our scenic route blessed us with – a lovely foal

This morning we took off for the Huber backyard to do some shared gardening.  Dana is sharing her garden with Mother’s League members.  We took the scenic route since I missed a turn – and this was what we were blessed with. 

Sammy and Sawyer learning to garden
Sammy and Sawyer learning to garden
Saw Wayne enjoying the slide off the deck
Saw Wayne enjoying the slide off the deck
Protecting the surviving watermelon plant
Protecting the surviving watermelon plant
I know basically nothing about gardening.  But I want to learn and enjoy this with the boys.  Today we planted squash, peppers (from our neighbors), carrots (per Sammy’s request), and dill.  We’ll be potting some basil, lavender, mint and more dill.  I look forward to the fragrance!
All the kids did well with just a few incidents.  And we started early enough that we endured only about 1/2 hour of sticky-humid-heat.  Father definately blessed us with a morning breeze. 
What I have ALWAYS enjoyed about belonging to our Longview Mother’s Leaugue is the blessing of learning from this beautiful women.  We are all different – having varied interests, talents, personalities, etc.  But I love being with these ladies.  Kathleen taught me something today – now I have to remember what it was! HA!
Thanks, Dana, for sharing your garden space!

All things that begin with “S”

Sammy and I are working on the letter “S” – it’s sound, words that begin with it, end with it, and writing it.  So it seems appropriate that I would blog about such things in my small world.

  1. Survived – we did.  Tony was gone 3 weeks for training in Dallas and home on the weekends.  Our Heavenly Father did provide for us in many ways, but we are GLAD it is over!
  2. Snakes – we took a stroll the other evening (endorphins are soooo great!) and found 2 dead snakes.  We took a good look at them so we could check them out on the internet.  Definately 1 copperhead and we think the other was a rat snake.
  3. Squirrel – I think they are my most favorite animal.   We were freecycled a big bag of small pecans.  I thought the kids and I would enjoy cracking the, but they were a bit of a chore since they were small.  So we threw them in an empty flower pot on the porch and  have enjoyed watching the squirrels come by, eat and burry.  We also saw a dead squirrel on our walk – I passed on checking him out.  Sammy was quite enthralled. 

Today on our trip to Lindale for organic produce co-op we discovered some more words that begin with “S.”  It is fun learning with Sammy – and then to hear Saw Wayne start enjoying phonics without knowing what they are!

Ah.  Good to blog.  Missed being here.  Haven’t even read much blogs recently.  I did enjoy reading Angels and Demons and am looking forward to a date night this weekend to go see it! 

That’s all from my corner of the world!