Friday, August 29, 2008

The end of an Era

I said goodbye to my job of 11 1/2 years today. Despite the fact that I've been looking forward to being a stay at home mom, it felt strange seeing my office empty and turning in the key. This office in particular has been my office since I came back from maternity leave 8 years ago. Previous to that I'd moved around a couple of times, but this was my second home. I'd personalized it with plants, a couple of paintings, all sorts of knick-knacks, etc. Now the shelves are bare, and the plant and a painting have been taken down. All my files are in boxes. To the surprise of many, I continued working even though it was my last day, making sure I left everything done. I wanted to be able to leave satisfied that I'd left no stone unturned, no paper unaccounted for.

In the morning, before going to my office, I went to our distribution warehouse and said goodbye to the workers there. I'd worked closely with several of the people, training them on our computer system. Others I'd worked with for years at our main location, before the second warehouse was opened because we'd outgrown the first location. Afterwards I said goodbye to the people I'd worked with side by side at our main location. I was afraid I'd fall apart and start bawling, but I'd prayed for strength and the Lord graciously allowed me to stay composed. I'm glad. I hate crying in public.

Because of prior lay-offs, I had the most seniority at our location, and was 3rd in line in the whole company. I guess this was another reason why leaving felt so weird. At this point I was practically a fixture in the company. My coworkers seemed to feel it too. It showed in their faces as they said goodbye. It was the end of an era.

I emailed my vendors yesterday to say farewell and express my heartfelt appreciation at having worked with them. I received so many kind responses and offers of recommendations, I was truly humbled at their generosity. Jesus was right in saying that we need to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. When we do so, the response is always positive.

So, a new chapter of my life begins today. When my son got home from school, he ran to greet me with a big hug and kiss. He's been counting down the days when he'd finally have a stay at home mom. Seeing his happiness at having me here for him reassured me that this isn't just my decision, this is God's decision, and it's the right one for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chore update & weeks happenings

Well, despite the fact that I'm working 9 hours a day doing finish up work and packing everything in file boxes which means I get home exhausted, I've actually managed to get a bunch of chores done. I've got about 1 -2 loads of laundry left to do. Living room and kitchen floors have been swept, and kitchen was cleaned this morning (let's see how long that lasts). Family room was tidied up last night, so at least it looks neat. Still have bathrooms and bedrooms to work on. Seeing the house messy stresses me out. To top it off we have yet another luncheon at work tomorrow, this one's a pot luck. Quite frankly, I'm too tired to prepare a meal. My schedule this week is so packed I can't squeeze anything else in. One of my small groups studies was the book A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George, and one of the chapters stands out. It's about being good stewards of all our resources, including time. When we take on more than we can handle, we do a disservice to ourselves and to those we are trying to please. I learned that I can't stretch myself too thin, because something (or someone) will suffer. I said I'd bring the salad fixings. Keep it simple.

On a happier note, I have a lunch date with a friend of mine whom I haven't seen in a while. She worked with me for years and had moved further up north but is living in the area again. It's always good to see a familiar face. Tomorrow night I have a small group leaders meeting. We always have small groups in the spring and fall, and in the past each small group leader has been able to pick their own curriculum. This fall, our pastor has decided the whole church will study the same curriculum which will tie into the Sunday message. We're going to be studying the New Testament. I'm really excited to see where God is taking us on this journey into His Word.

I've talked to my little girl everyday. She's got classes, but the first week is introductory so it's not too hectic. She seems to be enjoying college life so far. I'm sure it'll become routine in no time. I stepped into her bedroom last night for the first time since she left, to put away some laundry. It feels so empty and bare. I'm planning on giving it a facelift with paint. My daughter A picked out a color she liked and I'm gonna go for it! It's one of many projects I have in mind now that I'll be a SAHM. The Lord is showing me that just because I'm home doesn't mean I'll be bored. There's plenty to do, and I'm looking forward to serving my family as I serve the Lord.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Turning a dorm into a home

This weekend I helped my daughter A turn her cold, empty dorm room into a temporary home away from home. Once we were done it became a cozy, warm and inviting little place.

This is the bed when we first walked in the room. Not too comfy looking, that's for sure.

Much better!

The kitchen is certainly functional, but very boring!

Now here's a place I'd like to prepare a dinner!

It makes a huge difference to walk into a place that feels familiar instead of empty. One of the plaques over the stove says, "If at first you don't succeed, do it the way your mother told you to!" I didn't get it for them, but I thought that was a good reminder none the less. I just pray my daughter will be comfortable here.


Monday, August 25, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook - August 25, 2008

This is a great meme to record your week’s happenings. Try it!

Outside my Window...sunny and warm this morning, though I’ve noticed the sun is rising later. Not as humid yet either.

I am thinking...about all the chores that need to get done this morning. I got in late last night so I’ve got a long list of stuff that needs to get done.

I am thankful for...a safe trip back home. Very light rain for a while, then clear the rest of the way. Thank you Jesus for the company You provided so I wouldn’t drive home alone.

From the kitchen...need to get to the grocery store so I'll pick up something quick to make. Frozen pizza or something of the such so I can get some badly need chores done.

I am wearing...a peach cami under an orange button down blouse, blue jeans and brown leather sandals. We have filing to do this week so it’ll be casual dress everyday.

I am reading...nothing except my morning devotionals. Just started the book of Acts. I need to get some good reading material.

I am daughter has a good first day of school. College is very different from high school, she’ll soon learn.

I am creating…this week’s menu plan. Hopefully I have most of the staples and will only have to pick up a few things at the grocery store.

I am hearing…I’ve Got the Joy by Sierra

Around the house...I have a multitude of chores to get done. Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping. Glad this is the last week of work. I need to get caught up with housework.

One of my favorite coming home after being away a few days. Dorothy was right; there’s no place like home.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...last week of work. Get as much filing done as possible. Plenty to do at home.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

My baby girl, A, this summer at Disney World. I miss her already.

God bless.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Getting settled

We arrived safely in Central Florida yesterday. Praise God we didn't get any bad weather driving up. Tropical Storm Fay is lingering north of us but all we got was light rain most of the day. Of course this doesn't make for good moving conditions. We managed to get everything in her dorm, and the room is coming together nicely. My daughter is on campus but in an apartment where she has her own bedroom and which she shares with 3 other young women. One of the ladies is her best friend, who we know from one of our local churches. It's such a blessing to have A stay with someone we know and trust, who loves the Lord and will be a positive influence in A's life. She's here with her parents, who we followed driving up, and that's been a blessing in itself. They're a great family to be around. I met another one of the girls on my last visit here. She is very polite and just an all around sweet young lady. J, my daughter's friend, was her roommate last semester and knows her well. There's one more young lady who won't be here till tomorrow. My daughter has chatted with her via the internet a few times and it looks like they're all going to get along. I sure hope so; this is A's first experience outside of home, and I want it to be a good one. I'm not totally sure what today's plans are, other than finishing up her room and an activity here at the school. Everyone is sleeping in; we got back from running errands late, and by the time all was put away it was 1:30 in the morning. I'd been awake since 5:30 the previous morning so I was exhausted and went to bed. I think everyone else went down shortly after. Problem is, I'm an early bird. Doesn't matter what time I go to sleep, I'm usually the first one up. Today was no exception: I was up at 6:30. It's past 9:00 now and I'm the only one awake. Guess I'll wait till the group is hungry enough for breakfast.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Letting go

There are moments in our lives we never forget. The first day of school. Graduation day. The day we first set eyes on the person we'll spend the rest of our lives with. And the day the doctor puts that precious little person in our arms.

I didn't know I was having a little girl. I'd had a sonogram done early in my pregnancy, but the doctor couldn't tell the sex of the baby. Everyone who saw me told me I'd have another boy. Even strangers on the street would ask me, "Are you having a boy?" I had almost come to accept that my son would have a baby brother. Almost. Somehow I wasn't convinced.

My first delivery ended up being a cesarean section. I desperately wanted to give birth to my second child naturally, but it didn't work out that way. I was rushed into the OR and given general anesthesia, so I was asleep when my baby was born. When I awoke, the nurse told me, "You have a beautiful baby girl." I couldn't believe it. "Really?" I said. "It's a girl?" The nurse laughed at me. "Do you think I'd lie to you? Yes, it's a girl." And she was beautiful. Absolutely perfect. Perfectly round face, perfect little hands, perfect little body, perfect fingers & toes. She was gorgeous. And what a good baby! The first night she came home, she slept 5 hours straight. I got up to check on her because I couldn't believe she was already sleeping through the night. When she awoke, I fed her and she went right back to sleep. Just perfect.

At eight months she could already walk. By her second birthday she spoke in complete sentences. She never went to pre-school, yet she learned to read in a week and developed a love of books. She never got less than a B on her report card. And I never got complaints about her behavior. She was an excellent student and model child. Just perfect.

At age 13 we asked her what she wanted for Christmas. To our surprise, she asked for a guitar. She'd never shown any interest in musical instuments. We asked why, of all things, did she want a guitar? "I want to learn how to play," was her simple answer. Daddy & I weren't convinced. But her father has never been able to say no to his little girl. So he found a used guitar, complete with its case, and gave it to her for Christmas. We felt this was a good idea. If she really wanted to learn to play, she could do so on this small, second hand guitar. If not, it wasn't a huge loss.

She was so happy to have her guitar. Immediately she began looking up information on the internet so she could teach herself to play. When she started high school, she took a guitar class as one of her electives. Before we knew it, she was playing, and playing well. She practiced 3 hours daily, of her own accord. When she asked Daddy for a better guitar (the second hand one was hard to tune), he gladly bought her a brand new acoustic. Was that enough for her? No. She took her second hand guitar to the music store, and traded it in for an electric guitar. A Fender, no less. Reluctantly I bought her the amp, afraid of the noise level that would be coming from her room. But she played so well, that when she decided she also wanted to learn to play bass guitar, Daddy got her one. She's played in different bands and in different churches. Just perfect.

Ah, church. I'd raised my children in the catholic faith because that was the church my husband had been raised in, but I never felt fulfilled there. When she was 13 I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. I began taking my children to a Christian church, not knowing if they'd like it or respond favorably to the very different setting and teachings. The first day my children looked at me as though I'd lost my mind. After all, this wasn't in a church building, this was in a movie theater. But once the music began playing, and the pastor gave the message, I could see my kids reacting more positively. My daughter especially seemed to enjoy coming to this church. Of course, I wanted this to be more than entertainment for her. And I could see how the messages at church were working her life. I cried when I heard her give her testimony at her youth group. I was elated the day she got baptized. Now, she speaks of using music in ministry, and impacting other youth with the message of the Gospel. Just perfect.

As the time to look at colleges and universities approached, I assumed she would stay close to home. There are excellent schools in South Florida, and she had the grades to get into any one she chose. Instead, she chose a school in Central Florida. Four hours away from home. Daddy became distraught. He begged her to look at the local schools. He promised a car if she stayed home. He told her he'd pay any amount of money just so she wouldn't go far. But she had her heart set.

Of course she got her letter of acceptance almost immediately. Her GPA was over 4.0 and she'd already been taking advance placement courses in high school. She received 2 scholarships, one from the university itself. This was what she wanted. Just perfect.

Tomorrow I'm taking her to get set up in her dorm. Aug 25 is her first day of school, and she needs to get moved in. With sadness in my heart, I will drop off my little girl and come home alone. The house will seem empty without her. My arms will be empty without her. But as I look back, I'll remember one thing that stands out. She's just perfect.

Always look for a silver lining

The company gave us a farewell luncheon today. Nothing like we'd done in the past. There's only about 20 people left now, and at the end of the month there'll be 7. It was small, intimate. It could have been depressing. Instead, we laughed and had a good time. Not about times past, or even about what's to come. Just enjoying the company of our coworkers. I'm so glad it was a happy time and not a somber one. One of the things I'll miss most about working here is the people I had the privilege of working with. I hear so many people complain about their coworkers or the conditions at their workplace. For the most part, we all got along great. We went out to eat on each others birthdays, gave each other baby showers, and enjoyed the holidays together. I feel blessed to have worked with such a wonderful group of people. Despite the sad ending, I wouldn't trade the time I had here for anything.

Bye ladies. It was fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First day of school

After 2 days of anticipation (thanks to TS Fay), my son E started 3rd grade. He'd been excited for school to start, but this morning he admitted he was nervous. Remember that feeling? Even when it's the same school, it's a bit nerve-racking to walk into a new classroom with a new teacher and a new curriculum. Third grade in Florida is especially rough, since that's when the FCAT exams are first given. All year that will be the focus: getting ready for FCAT.

I met his teacher, Ms. P. She seemed very nice. As I watched her I realized, this is a tough week for her too. At least by now, many of the kids know each other, and once they find their friends they can relax a little. But the teacher doesn't know anyone; she has to start learning not only their names, but their strengths, their weaknesses, behavior patterns, etc. It's like bringing home a newborn baby. You have to learn their cries to know when they're hungry, tired, wet, or just need cuddling. I felt a great compassion for Ms. P. As I walked past, I wished her a good first day of school. Teachers need to know we appreciate the stuggles they go through, especially that first day. If your kids are in school, remember to say a prayer for their teachers. They're looking after our children's education.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We're Okay!

To all my friends and family outside of South Florida wondering how we weathered the storm, I'm happy to announce that, thank the Lord, Fay pretty much did nothing in our neck of the woods. We got lots of rain, which is great. We had a very dry spring, and last years rainfall was below normal, so we've had water restrictions for months. Hopefully with all the rain that Fay brought we can get back to normal water levels. Kids go back to school tomorrow, after getting a slightly longer break. I'm glad. Kids need their routine, even though they may say they don't want to go back. Life returns to normal. Ahhh...

A Simple Woman's Daybook - 08/18/08

Found this meme and thought it was cute. You can do it too!
Outside my Window...dark & gloomy; the storm's a-comin'!
I am thinking...about Tropical Storm Fay, the deaths in Haiti & the Dominican Republic, the havoc it's reining on Cuba and we're next.
I am thankful for...a God who is stronger than the storm, and the home He has provided us to weather it in.
From the kitchen...roast beef with potatoes, carrots and white rice – in the crock pot of course!
I am wearing...a lime green blouse, white skirt with lime green and brown geometric design, and lime green sandals (I know how to take a color to the max!).
I am reading...not a whole lot right now L. Need to finish Malachi. I am doing my morning devotions, though. Reading the gospel of John.
I am hoping...for a smooth week, and an easy, uneventful drive up to Orlando this weekend to drop my daughter off at college. That's going to be tough.
I am hearing...rain and thunder in the background. We've been advised that there'll be flooding and possibly tornados. Above that I'm listening to bigloo radio. Love this station!
I am creating...this blog post, and not much else.
Around the a mess because we had to bring in all the outdoor furniture. Most of it is in the garage but the patio table is in the living room. Can't wait for this to be over and I can get rid of the clutter.
One of my favorite my youngest son's hugs and kisses. He likes to sneak up behind me, put his arms around me and tell me how much he loves me. Ahh, life's greater moments.
A Few Plans for the Rest of the, school starting for E, then take my daughter to her dorm and get her set up. School starts for her on Aug 25.
Here is a prayer request I am sharing with you…please pray the storm doesn't cause any damage, and pray that I get my daughter safely to school and get back home in one piece.

Thanks!! Blessings.

The Last Month in Review

So, there you have it. We said goodbye to our beloved pet just over a month ago. I'll be saying goodbye to my daughter A this Sunday when I drop her off at school 4 hours away. And next week I'll be saying goodbye to my coworkers and the job I've had for the past 11 years. After over 20 years of working, for the first time in my life, I'm going to be a stay at home mom. That's a lot of change in one month. Even for the person who loves change, I think this is more than a handful. But instead of fear, I feel relief. Not a normal feeling for me, I can assure you. Yet I feel relief, because instead of trying to carry this enormous weight on my own shoulders, I've given it to God. I've laid down my burdens at the feet of Jesus. And right now, I'm feeling as light as a feather.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
- Matthew 11:28-29

So I guess it's Official...(originally posted 08-12-08)

We got the memo today. Last day of work is August 29 for most employees. A "small team" will stay to help with the transfer of ownership. It hasn't been announced who the team consists of, but I can confidently say I'm not on it. They'll need people in accounting and maybe some warehouse staff. I'm the purchasing manager. We're not making any more product after the 22nd, so my services won't be needed. Hmm, another unexpected change, since originally we were told our last day would be Aug 22. But I'm okay. I mean hey, it's an extra week's salary, right? But it's not just that. I'm learning to accept what happens because God is in control. It's a weight that's been lifted off my shoulders and put onto His. I'm confident everything will be alright.

"Be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things!"
- Joel 2:21

Accepting Change (originally posted 07-31-08)

There's a saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same. My response to that would be, why bother? If changing things only keeps them the same, why change them in the first place? Can't we just leave well enough alone?

I don't like change. Change takes me out of my comfort zone. I'm not a big proponent of spontaneity. Don't give me big surprises. I don't appreciate surprises. I like knowing what to expect at any given time, with little or no change to my normal routine. It's a part of toddlerhood I must have never outgrown.

Of course, God doesn't work that way. Just when everything seems to be going fine, life is taking a customary and normal course, God throws us a curve ball and everything is out of whack. I'm not talking about subtle changes. I can deal with a rainy day when I planned to barbeque outdoors but have to cook indoors instead. I'm not afraid of going to Costco on Sunday instead of Saturday because we have a birthday party to go to. Those are small inconveniences that happen on a daily basis and aren't all that surprising. No, I'm referring to the big stuff, the stuff that rocks your world and causes that which is comfortable to disappear and in its place is something totally foreign to your normal everyday life. You know what I mean. It's the stuff you never saw coming, or maybe you saw it coming but figured, "If I duck I can avoid it." Only it came at you anyway, sort of like a heat seeking missile. That's where I'm at right now.

The company I work for, the company I've worked for since 1997, filed for bankruptcy last May. Now, I'd seen for some time that there were problems. You don't need to be a financial whiz to read the writing on the wall. So, I did what anyone does under the circumstances. I updated my resume and began looking for a new job. I didn't like the idea of changing jobs, but it was obvious to me it was going to have to happen. I prayed daily that the Lord would lead me to a job that would be enjoyable, and would help support my family without taking me far from home or taking time away from them. I felt confident God would put me in the best possible place.

Application after application, interview after interview, proved futile. I was either too qualified, the pay was too low, or they just didn't call. I couldn't understand it. In 20 years I've worked in 2 places. Doesn't that say something? Wouldn't that make me a desirable candidate? Besides, I was praying. Every single day. Why wasn't God answering?

After one particularly frustrating day, I realized my prayers were more "God get me this job" rather than "God, show me Your will for my life". I was trying to tell God what to do, instead of listening to Him. My methods obviously weren't working. I turned to the Lord and said, "I want what You want. Please show me what You want, Lord. I'll do whatever You tell me to do." That day my husband told me to stop looking for work. I was shocked, but felt that this was my answer from God. Surely this meant the company was going to recover miraculously from their financial woes, right? Everything would be fine, and nothing would have to change.

But there was no miraculous recovery. Things went from bad to worse for the company. I began my job search once again. Yet it seemed as though I was looking for a Coca Cola in the desert. As the months went by, I saw God working in my life towards a goal that I kept denying was possible. I could see how financially, thanks to His hand, we actually could survive on one income. But, I thought, I've always worked, throughout all my marriage! My family has always depended on my salary. Why would God put us through this dramatic change? And especially now, that I also had to deal with my daughter going away to college? This was more change than I could handle. It scared me.

Then one day, shortly after the bankruptcy announcement, I received an email from a dear friend who knew the struggles I was going through. It was a Bible verse the Lord had placed on her heart to share with me. The verse is Joshua 1:9 – "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." It brought me so much comfort. Change happens; we can try to avoid it, but sometimes it's out of our hands. When God allows change, it's because it's what's best for us. And He wants us to trust Him. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." To do this, we need to let go control and let God take over. It's a matter of faith, believing that God will take care of every situation and allowing Him to do what needs to be done in our lives.

Last week, the company was sold. The new owners are 3 ½ hours away, so chances are they won't be hiring me. My last day with the company is August 22. The very next day I drop my daughter off at school. I won't lie and say everything is peachy. I still don't like change. But I understand that God is in control. Romans 8:28 tells us, "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." He has my best interests at heart. And because of that, I can accept the changes He's making in my life. So, for a season, I'll be a stay at home mom, to the joy of my 8 year old. And who knows what else God has in store for this time? Well, of course, He does. And that's all that matters.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

- Proverbs 31:10, 25

Goodbye Tobey (originally posted 07-15-08)

Today I said goodbye to Tobey.

I didn't want a dog. I'd made that clear over and over. Dogs make messes. They chew things up. They dig holes. They shed. They need as much attention as a small child, and I just didn't have the time. But my little girl wanted a dog.

My daughter was never a doll person. She only played with stuffed animals. Even the cartoons she liked most were Sylvester the cat and Tweety bird. I so wanted a little girl to play Barbie with, but she loved animals. And from a very tender age she began asking for a dog. Of course I had a truckload of excuses for why that just wasn't possible. Our apartment was too small, dogs wouldn't be allowed. There was no yard in our condo. It would be cruel to have a dog locked up all day. It worked, for a while. Until we bought our house. Now there was a yard. She begged for a dog. Oh, but that wouldn't be possible. The yard wasn't fenced in. Besides, a dog would destroy our brand new back yard. No, no, absolutely not.

She didn't give up, of course. She turned to Daddy. Daddy is mush in her hands. She wanted a dog so badly. Couldn't she please have a dog for her birthday? It was all she wanted. And Daddy didn't know how to say no.

I tried all the excuses again. I made it clear that I would NOT be responsible for the care of this dog. He and his daughter would have to see to it that the dog was fed, bathed, walked, and anything else it needed. I figured, "that'll change their minds." It didn't. Both daughter and father were determined to have a dog. I realized I was fighting a losing battle. But one thing was for sure, if I had to have a dog in my house, I was going to be the one to choose. At least that way I'd have some control over the matter.

I didn't want a fancy purebred dog. Those cost an arm and a leg, and there are so many dogs in the pound that desperately need a home. Their plight touched my heart. I started scouring the Internet for dogs in animal control that could be adopted. I finally narrowed it down to 2. One was a black cocker spaniel named Princess, and the other was a blond terrier named Tobey. I asked if either of these dogs would be good with children. It turned out that Princess didn't like little kids. With a 2 year old at home I knew that wouldn't work. No one knew if Tobey liked children or not. I sent my husband to check out the dog. My husband called from the pound, and excitedly told me the dog was very active and happy, running around and playing with him. Hubby was hooked. I had only seen Tobey in pictures, but he seemed like a regal dog, sitting up straight as though he were posing for his photograph. We decided Tobey was the one, and my husband brought him home. My daughter was ecstatic. He was the cutest thing, and although they told us he was about 2 years old he acted like a puppy. Despite my reservations I was glad to see my little girl so happy. Maybe this was a good idea after all.

The very next day the dog "marked his territory" in the dining and family rooms. As can be suspected, I was not happy. I decided this would be a good lesson for my daughter about what she'd gotten herself into, and had her help clean up. She did, without complaining. Tobey was house broken, so this incident didn't repeat itself often, thankfully. Within a month Tobey had chewed up the heel of a brand new shoe (mine, of course). He was also digging holes in the yard. I griped about it every chance I got. It didn't seem to faze anyone. Everyone was enjoying Tobey, me included, though I wasn't quick to admit it. He was a cutey, for sure. Playful, loving, and very protective of every member of our family. But I didn't fall in love with him right away. It wasn't until the infamous mouse day that my feelings for Tobey grew deeper that I'd ever anticipated.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows I hate mice. Not just hate, I am mortified of them. Suffice it to say that I have a childhood trauma and seeing a mouse on television sends me into frenzy. To have one enter my home is unthinkable. Yet it did happen. I woke up early one morning for work, and saw something run into my closet. Since I wasn't wearing my glasses I didn't know what it was, all I'd seen was a shadow. I woke my husband and had him look for anything suspicious, but he found nothing. He joked about it with the kids: "Mommy thinks she saw Mickey Mouse in the closet." Ha ha, funny guy. However, that night as we got ready for bed, he saw the mouse run from behind our dresser to the closet. It was real, it was in my stuff, and I was ready to put up the For Sale sign in the front yard. I started shaking, hyperventilating, and the only thing I could think to say was, "Get Tobey". See, terriers are hunting dogs. Tobey had hunted down every lizard he could find in our yard, and was always looking for prey. It was funny to watch him squat like a lion and pounce on his unsuspecting victim. Now, I needed his hunting skills, or else I wouldn't be able to sleep in my house. Tobey had been sleeping himself, and wasn't too eager to get up despite the ruckus going on. My husband and older son had managed to chase the vermin out of my closet and into the living room where it was desperately trying to save its life. Between the two of them and the broom they weren't making headway. Then Tobey saw the mouse. He immediately jumped into action, ran after the nasty little critter, and killed it. The mouse was gone, and Tobey had won his place in our home and in my heart.

We wondered about his breed. Just from looking at his face we knew he was some sort of terrier, but which one(s)? My daughter bought books and looked up pictures on the Internet. We looked at different types of terriers, trying to see Tobey's face & body in them. Some were close but not exact. He had some attributes of different breeds, but it wasn't until she saw some pictures of one particular breed that we realized we had a very special dog. Tobey was identical to some of the pictures of the soft coated wheaten terrier. He had the same beautiful wheat colored coat, the same face, size and shape. The only difference was his tail. Wheatens normally have their tails cropped. Tobey's tail was full grown. Upon searching we found the answer: wheaten terriers whose tails aren't cropped have a tail similar to that of a golden retriever. Yep, that convinced us. We had a soft coated wheaten terrier, that would have cost hundreds of dollars had we purchased him from a breeder, but instead cost us $80 from the pound. I just love a bargain.

Tobey was an active and healthy dog. Other than his shots, Tobey had only seen the vet once or twice. He spent a lot of time outdoors where he had plenty of exercise, and slept indoors, keeping us safe. That's why I found it strange when, a few weeks ago, he started acting different. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but he just wasn't the same Tobey. Normally when I came home, Tobey would run to greet me and jump up, putting his legs around me like a hug. I'd then proceed to give him some treats for performing a few tricks. He would sit, give us his paw, play dead, and stand on his hind legs. Anything for a biscuit, kind of like Scooby-Doo. Lately, though, he wouldn't jump up or stand. I mentioned this to my daughter, but she figured that at 8-9 years old Tobey was getting too old for those antics. I shrugged it off. Maybe she was right. But one Friday we came home to find Tobey lying in my bedroom, unwilling to get up. When we tried to move him, he yelled as if in pain. My suspicion was right – something was wrong with our dog. We took him to his vet, who ran all kinds of tests and took x-rays but found nothing wrong. It was decided that maybe he had a digestive problem, had eaten something that was obstructing and he just needed to go to the bathroom. He was given pain killers, an enema, and sent home. Tobey got worse. He stopped eating or drinking water and had to be put on an IV. Again the vet ran tests, took x-rays, but found nothing. We took Tobey to the emergency room at the animal hospital. They did a sonogram. Everything was normal. The specialist could not understand what was wrong with our dog. All he could offer was to run more tests and do an MRI to try to figure out what was wrong with Tobey, to the tune of $3,000 - $4,000. There was a high chance he'd require surgery. Our heads were spinning. Back we went to the vet, requesting some kind of treatment. Pain killers, muscle relaxers, antibiotics were administered. His hind legs got steadily worse. His spine was curving; he could hardly walk, and was in constant pain. How could this have happened? Just a month before he was fine, and now we watched as our dog deteriorated. The last possible diagnosis from the vet was that a) he had spinal disc damage, or b) he had cancer. Either option meant surgery, long treatment, and no guarantee that he'd make it since the problem was in his spine. We had to make the most painful decision of ending his misery. Everyone in the family reluctantly agreed that Tobey would need to be put to sleep.

But I couldn't do it.

My husband asked me to make the appointment with the vet, and I couldn't. A huge lump came into my throat and my stomach. All I could muster was, "this is why I never wanted a dog." The pain of seeing him suffer is unbearable, but the pain of losing him is no less tolerable.

I'm so proud of my daughter. This has been especially hard on her, because Tobey was "her dog". She made the appointment and took him in. I know she's hurting, and there's nothing that anyone can do for her. She did what was best for Tobey, even though it broke her heart.

I don't know if dogs go to heaven. I've searched the Bible trying to find something, but Scripture is silent on this matter. If they do go to heaven, I'm sure I'll meet Tobey there. If not, then I thank the Lord for the six years we had him. He taught us to love and laugh and have fun.

Bye bye my puppy. I'll miss you.

Wow, me blogging!

I'm a technological dinosaur. I only started using a cell phone about 5 years ago, and have upgraded once. I don't IM, or send text messages. I use a computer because I need it for work. It's a miracle I even have an email address.

Yet, here I am, blogging. Well, actually, I have been blogging for a while, on my myspace page. It was available, so I figured, why not give it a try? Just for fun. But in the course of blogging for fun, my life started taking some interesting turns. And I felt compelled to write about them.

Writing has served as a bit of therapy for me. I've been able to put into written words some of the things going on in my head and my heart. In doing so, I've also realized that the changes going on in my life are no coincidence. Of course, reading just this one post wouldn't explain that. Which is why I'll be adding the posts from myspace from the past month or so. It'll give a clearer picture as to why this blog is called Accepting Change. Hopefully it will help others see that change is not a bad thing, when we let God take over and change things His way. So, read, comment if you like, and join me in my journey of change.