Sensational Sunday –Maybelline eyestudio eyeliner

Truth be told, I am not a makeup person. I only wore makeup for special occasions until I was probably 35-37 and decided maybe I should do it everyday. Even then, I feel like a makeup reject! I wasn’t a teenager that spent hours perfecting my makeup and I am not an adult who watches makeup tutorials on YouTube. That being said, I was out with some of my girlfriends one night and we stopped by Target, the holy grail of shopping stores! While we were there, one of my girlfriends suggested that I try Maybelline eyestudio eyeliner. It comes in a pot with a brush for application. It looks so much more complicated than the regular crayon type pencil I normally use, but I decided to give it a try.

It is so much easier than the other pencil/crayon applicator! I LOVE it!! With most of the pencil type applicators you have to press fairly hard and I never felt like the eyeliner actually came out well. With the brush, you control how much eyeliner is on the brush and it always go on smoothly! I highly recommend you try it.

I am ProLife

It has been a week since I posted. Between jury duty and sickness, I simply neglected my blog. That’s life! Then I had time to write, but needed time to think. Social media has been blowing up this week over the newly passed law in New York allowing abortion to term. I have seen angry posts, excited posts, grieved posts….and it has taken me a while to process and formulate my response. Here it is.

I am ProLife. I need to say that upfront. I am a huge adoption advocate. When I heard about the new law, I waited for the anger to come….but it never did. I have watched the videos and read others’ responses, I expected the anger to come, but it didn’t. When I watched the video of the jubilant signing, all I felt at first, honestly, was numbness. I just felt numb. I felt numb all week.

In this country alone, we have approximately 500,000 children in foster care. In the world, there are 153 million orphans!

The more I processed, the sadder I felt. I grieved for the babies that would never know love or a gentle embrace. The ones who would never find their purpose or experience life. I grieved for the moms, who will experience emotions and consequences that they probably aren’t prepared for. I grieved for the judgement they most likely will experience from family and community. I grieved for those who signed this law, because they don’t even realize what they are doing. Then I got angry.

I became angry. You see, I am ProLife, and I believe that as a Christian, Christians should be ProLife. ProLife means that I am Pro life in the womb, I am Pro adoption, I am Pro elderly, I am Pro mentally and physically disabled people, I am Pro taking care of the orphans, I am Pro helping the homeless. I am angry because I know so many Christians who will rage in anger at abortion. My question is: What are you doing about it? In this country alone, we have approximately 500,000 children in foster care. In the world, there are 153 million orphans! What are the self proclaimed ProLife doing about this?? Are we taking in the abandoned, are we adopting the orphans? Are we mentoring the fatherless? Showing love to the unlovable? That is what we are commanded to do! We, as the CHURCH, are commanded to stand in the gap for those who have no one just as Christ stands in the gap for us!

Love requires us to inconvenience ourselves, to make ourselves vulnerable to hurt and ridicule.

LOVE is a VERB!! It is a word that calls for action! It is a choice, not a feeling. Love requires us to inconvenience ourselves, to make ourselves vulnerable to hurt and ridicule. It requires us to reach out to those we don’t want to reach out to. It requires us to love those we would rather despise. Some of my ProLife friends have expressed anger and hope for judgement on those who passed this law, I don’t think that should be our response. We cannot expect those without wisdom and understanding to act with wisdom and understanding. Instead, we should feel grieved for them. I hope that their eyes are opened to the truth. We should be fostering, adopting, mentoring those children in hopeless situations. But we become too consumed and focused on having a comfortable life, on life being easy, on giving our birth children everything that we think they should have. This is NOT what we are commanded to do! We are not promised easy, comfortable, and prosperity. We are commanded to LOVE, to rescue, to offer hope, to lift up knowing that we will be rejected, ridiculed, abused…then we LOVE again!! My question is: Are we doing this? Are we doing all we can?

We WILL NOT end abortion through the government and the repealing of laws. This will never happen. Our hope isn’t in the government and laws. Our hope is in CHRIST!!! Only showing people, the people who our flesh wants to despise, LOVE and pointing them to CHRIST through LOVE not judgement, will we be able to end this great sorrow in our nation.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. –1 Peter 4:8

Tidying Up

There are a few goals that are almost always on most people’s New Year’s Resolutions: one is to lose weight or to get in shape and the other is to get organized. It seems that many of us try to accomplish these every year and see the start of a new year as a good time to start. Netflix seems to agree with us and so they introduced a new show, Tidying up with Marie Kondo.  It is all the rage! People can’t seem to get enough of it. My Facebook feed has been full of people who have been inspired to clean out, straighten, and organize their spaces to “spark joy” in their lives. What choice did I have, but to join the masses and watch the new show? Which is exactly what I did.

Right away I was terribly disappointed. You see, I like to watch TV as an escape. I am usually multitasking while watching. I could be working on my blog, like I am right now, or checking Facebook, or playing a game, the point is that I like to multitask. Well, Marie Kondo is Asian and English is not her first language, so when she speaks it is usually subcaptioned. Of course, this meant that I had to do nothing else, but watch the show. I had to really pay attention, which was a little frustrating.

Now I am going commando and letting the girls fly free for the rest of my life all because my undergarments don’t “spark joy” for me.

I will say that Marie Kondo seems like a lovely person and she does have some truly good advice on organizing. However, when she asked the people she was helping to take a moment and talk to the house, thanking it for being such a good protector, well, she lost me a bit. It seemed a little like she was praying to the house; eyes closed, kneeling, silently thanking the house. Sorry I don’t mean to be critical, but that sounds and looks like praying to an inanimate object, which just does NOT coincide with my own personal belief system. It was just a brief moment though, so I decided to overlook it.

This is when we come to the moment where Marie decides to help the woman go through her clothing. She tells the lady to pile everything she owns on the bed. Then she is to take each and every piece of clothing and hold it and ask herself, “Does this spark joy?” For those of you wondering, “spark joy” means, does it give you the same feeling as seeing a puppy. Just going to be honest here, but at this point all of my underwear and bras are now in the give away pile, because they have never made me feel like I am looking at a puppy. Now I am going commando and letting the girls fly free for the rest of my life all because my undergarments don’t “spark joy” for me. You know what else doesn’t “spark joy” for me? Anything that doesn’t make me feel like I am wearing my pajamas! Let’s talk about the other things in my home that don’t “spark joy” for me: dirty clothes, trashcans, bills, sometimes my kids and husband! I guess I am getting rid of everything!! Well, maybe not my bed or my actual puppy…..and, of course, I will keep my kids and husband. The point is that everything in your life can’t “spark joy”.

You might be asking, “What happens to the items that don’t ‘spark joy’?” Well, you donate them, of course! But not before thanking the item. So thank you bra for always holding up the girls, but you do not make me feel like I do when I see a puppy, so off to Good Will you go! Frankly, I am not partial to thanking inanimate objects. I guess it is fine, if that’s your thing, as long as they don’t start talking back to you!

As my grandmother used to say, “I watched that show twice, my first and last time!” I really wasn’t impressed or inspired to follow any of her organizing methods. The only one I have agreed to try, is her folding method. If this will help keep my children’s dresser drawers straight, then I will adopt it. If not, I won’t be wasting the extra time it takes to fold things the MarieKon way!

Exactness and neatness in moderation is a virtue, but carried to extremes narrows the mind. –Fancois Fenelon

The Angel of Vomit

Two nights ago, it happened. We have avoided it all winter. I have diffused thieve’s essential oil (which has natural germ killing power), washed hands, avoided places that were boasting of it, forced hand sanitizer on everyone, but it happened anyway! Two nights ago, my middle child came running into our room shouting those four words that every parent hears in their darkest nightmares: I’M GONNA THROW UP!!! I know. Just the mere mention of these words makes me break out in a cold sweat! The funny thing is that these words haven’t always struck fear into my heart.

I can remember when I only had one child or even just two. The idea of a stomach bug didn’t instill the same terror that it does now. Now we are a family of 7! That means that if everyone gets sick and the vomiting takes place every other day, we could be sick for 14 days!!! If, as it does sometimes, it happens every three days, we could be sick for 21 days….which is basically a MONTH!!! THAT. IS. A. NIGHTMARE.

Luckily, my children are past the throw up in their own bed or our bed and puke on the floor stage. At least I thought they were! My middle child who is 7, ran into our room shouting he was going to throw up. His daddy yelled, “Go to the toilet!’ Now I am going to assume that he wasn’t really awake, but with him you never really know. He, indeed, went to the toilet, sat down, and proceeded to puke in his lap. My husband helped him change and get new clothes, only for him to puke in his lap AGAIN!!! My husband is a saint and my hero because he allowed me to sleep through this whole mess. I love him dearly and married up….have I mentioned that?

Of course, a puker in the house changes EVERYTHING. For example, we were going to have chili last night for dinner, but I changed it to hamburgers because no one wants to clean chili barf off of the carpet. Now some people try to isolate the puker, but my kids share rooms and wrestle, so I figure that they’ve all been properly exposed. The biggest effect that it has is the cloud of dread hanging over our home. Go ahead make those plans…someone will puke. Go ahead let the kid drink milk because it is over….he’ll barf again. Go ahead let your guard down in anyway because you think the plague has passed…someone new will begin tossing their cookies.

I frequently feel like the captive Israelites in Egypt as the Angel of vomit begins to bear down upon us. I paint the door frames in the blood of thieve’s and pray that it passes over our home. Unfortunately, this time it didn’t. Sigh. Here’s hoping tonight is vomit free!!

Having children is like living in a frat house–nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. –Ray Romano

Sensational Sunday–Exclusive Offer

The KiwiCo found out about my blog post on their fantastic Tinker Crates!!! They are such a GREAT company that they gave me a special offer: my followers can get their first months subscription for free!!! Thanks KiwiCo!!! Check out the link for a free month when you subscribe! Let me know in the comments if you take advantage of this offer and how you like your crates! If you haven’t already, follow my blog so that you can take advantage of this great offer!!!

https://www.kiwico.com/layingdownthela

Is the Cup Half Full?

*Disclaimer* If you are a male reader, proceed with caution. Highly female topic ahead!

Sitting around with some of my female friends, we started talking about men. One of my friends was telling us that she had a friend whose teenage son would do some of the grocery shopping and would even pick up feminine hygiene products for her and his sisters. This is super mature of her son, especially considering that many of the husbands wouldn’t buy them. My friend in fact was saying that in the more than two decades she has been married, her husband still won’t buy them for her. It was at this point that one of my girlfriends said, “That’s why you should just use the cup. Then you don’t have to buy tampons at all.” She, of course, means the menstrual cup.

At this point, we aren’t talking about a slight, embarrassing leak, but instead a front row seat to a MURDER SCENE!!!

Now this isn’t the first time I have heard about the cup, but frankly, the idea of using one is so far out of what I can possibly imagine that I just can’t entertain the idea. Yes, I know that there are many health benefits, but hear me out.

  • First, the level of comfort that you have to have with your own body is a level of comfort that I do NOT have. I understand that there is nothing dirty or wrong with my body so hold your comments, but still. I. Don’t. Have. It.
  • Second, there has to be a learning curve. Just like with all the other feminine products, there has to be a time period where you just don’t do it correctly. We all have that, “When I first used a tampon” story where we did it entirely wrong. Whether it was you didn’t get it in far enough or you left the plastic applicator in, we all have that story. I do not have the time to stay home and learn to use a menstrual cup. Life is just too busy.
  • Third, getting down to the true nightmare, we have all had those times when whatever we are using leaks. Although embarrassing, it is usually only slight. Everyone has that nightmare story of when you were in jr. high, high school, on a date and you stood up in your khaki shorts only to have everyone or your special someone see that there was a little blood on your pants. Now, imagine that it is a cup; a cup that somehow manages to spill…inside of you. At this point, we aren’t talking about a slight, embarrassing leak, but instead a front row seat to a MURDER SCENE!!! Can you imagine the horribleness of that amount of blood and liquid suddenly being unleashed in your nether regions?!?!?! My two friends, who evidently use these cups, assure me that there is no way that this cup can suddenly spill. Do I really want to take their word for it?? No! What if you have a violent sneezing attack or ride a roller coaster that goes upside down or feel the need to break out in cart wheels and the splits??? Instant murder scene. Can you promise me that this thing will NEVER, EVER spill?? Not buying it!
  • Fourth, imagine having to deal with this thing in a public restroom! You walk into the stall to take care of things and emerge looking like you just finished a surgery! Perhaps as long as you are alone, this wouldn’t be an issue. What if you have children that have to accompany you? Or if the bathroom is simply crowded. I can only imagine the looks you’d receive. GROSS!!! GROSS!! GROSS!! This is so far out of my comfort level, we aren’t even in the same hemisphere.
  • Fifth and finally, this was one that my friend brought up and I had not thought of myself, how do you know when the thing is full? Granted, I know that this fits into a learning curve, but truly, do you have to shake your hips back and forth and listen for the sloshing??? I. JUST. CAN’T.

These are the thoughts that go through my head when I have considered, ever so briefly, using the menstrual cup. My girlfriend, who says this thing will totally change your life, claims that I can’t write a post about this if I am not going to try it. I say, “My blog, my rules!!” But who knows, perhaps I will get a wild hare and try it. It would make for excellent blogging material I am sure, although I wouldn’t look for that post anytime soon.

A woman’s period is like once a month her body accidentally hits caps lock on her emotions. –Aparna Nancherla

Sensational Sundays Tinker Crates

I have wonderful in-laws who, for the past two years, have gifted my children with a 3 month subscription to Tinker Crates for Christmas. These are some of my kids’ favorite gifts, and I love that they last for 3 months! This year each child received a different subscription. In the above picture from left to right: Tinker Crate, Kiwi Crate, Doodle Crate, Koala Crate, and Eureka Crate. The crates are divided by age of the child and interest level and come with a STEM project.

The Koala Crate is for 3-4 year olds. It comes with 3 projects and focuses on 1 theme. This month’s theme was bugs. In this crate, you make a lady bug bag to hold a bug’s eye viewer, a bug matching game, and felt bug wings and antenna. It also comes with a booklet that tells all about bugs in a story format.

The Kiwi Crate also comes with 3 STEM projects. This month’s theme was mirrors and kaleidoscope puzzles. In this box, the child will make three different types of kaleidoscopes. The age for this crate is 5-8. My five year old required a little help, but not much. The instructions for each project tell the level of parent help that is required. It also comes with a story magazine that explains the science behind the projects.

For my artistic child, we ordered the Doodle Crate. It has one art themed project every month. This time it came with the materials to sew your own portfolio or satchel. It comes with excellent step by step instructions and the many pieces are divided nicely. Doodle Crate is for ages 9-16+, but we purchased it for our 7 year old. He LOVED it! He did require a little help, but not much. The kit also came with a sketch pad that he carries in the portfolio along with his colored pens. It goes with him everywhere. It seems to be quite durable and I think that it will last a long time.

The Tinker Crate is for ages 9-16+ and it comes with one STEM based project. This month’s theme was space and it came with everything needed to build a planetarium. The child had to punch holes where the stars are and then assemble the dome. It came with a base and light bulb to project the stars onto the ceiling. I love that these kits come with blue print type instructions and tons of information on the science behind the project. My son is nine and only required a little assistance assembling the dome.

The Eureka Crate is for ages 14-104. It is by far the most complex of the crates and focuses on engineering. This month’s crate came with a build your own electric pencil sharpener. It comes with specific, step by step instructions that walk the child through the assembly. It also comes with plenty of scientific explanations and facts. We bought this crate for my 12 year old, figuring that we might have to help him some. That didn’t prove to be the case. He had no trouble following the instructions and building his own sharpener that now sits on his desk. He has even gone back to using real pencils instead of the mechanical ones that I purchased this year.

These crates are priced from $20 to $30 per month. The longer the subscription, the more you save and many times you can find a coupon code if you search for it. Over Christmas, they ran a special which was 3 months for $40. We took advantage of that sale! As a home educator and the wife of a science educator, I LOVE these crates! I love that they are centered around education, but are so fun that kids can’t wait to complete them. I LOVE that each kit comes with everything that is needed for the projects. The only thing you may need to provide is a pair of scissors. My boys count down the days until the next crate box arrives and they are always sad when the subscription is over! The company is also great to work with. Last year, one of the kits had a piece that stopped working after a week. They sent out a duplicate crate, not just the damaged piece, but a whole crate free of charge. I have also been impressed that the crate contents are durable. My kids are all still playing with crate creations from last year.

I LOVE this product!! If you would like to check out this SENSATIONAL SUNDAY product, check out the link below!

http://www.kiwico.com

***Update****

KiwiCo found out about this blog post and wanted to offer my followers a special offer. You can get your first month free when you subscribe to any tinker crate line!!!! So if you haven’t already, follow my blog by clicking the follow button and entering your email. Then click on the link for the special offer!! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of your first tinker crate!!

https://www.kiwico.com/layingdownthela

The Birds, the Bees, and the la la la la la!

For a brief second, I was at a loss as to what I was going to write, but then we went to our homeschool co-op today and life provided humor! As I have stated before, I have five kids and I homeschool all of them. Whatever your thoughts on homeschooling, I LOVE it! It allows me to be with my kids and teach them what we value and feel is important. A side benefit of homeschooling is that I have been able to preserve the innocence of my kids for longer than if they were in public school. When I was in public school, I learned about sex from friends in the third grade. Not that most of what I learned was correct, but I knew more than my kids do. My oldest is 12 and he still has no idea about the birds and the bees. I know, I know, we are going to talk to him about it soon, so calm down.

We moms were sitting around after lunch sharing stories, and the topic of talking to our kids about sex came up in conversation. I have all boys, I have a friend who has all girls, and I have several who have a mixture. From the time my kids were little, they have known that they have penises. I felt very strongly that they should know the anatomically correct word for body parts. Since I didn’t have any girls, I didn’t have to deal with the “other” word, because they were never questions about that. They simply knew that mommy didn’t have a penis. It never came up, I didn’t think it was necessary, and the idea of the word vagina coming out of my boys’ mouths kind of made me cringe! Anyway, we were sharing stories about how much our kids knew and one of my friends told us about a book that she was reading on this very topic. The book supported using the correct terms for body parts. Then she told us the story about when she first told her daughter:

She talked to her about God’s purpose for sex, how our bodies are made to work together, and the actual process of intercourse. She told her that a man puts his penis inside a woman’s vagina in order to have sex. This is where an understanding of the relationship between the parent and child of a homeschooling family has to be understood. Because our kids are with us 24/7, there is a comfortableness that our kids have with us. I am not saying that they see themselves as equals, but they definitely don’t hesitate to talk about any topic that comes up. I am also not saying that other families don’t have this same closeness, it is just pretty common with homeschoolers because of the amount of time we spend together. However, sex is a difficult topic to discuss no matter what. My friend was super proud of herself for having “the” discussion and was excited that she had successfully tackled the topic without making it embarrassing or extremely awkward. I told her that I was excited that it had gone well and that her story had really inspired me to go ahead and talk to my son.

THIS IS WHAT NIGHTMARES ARE MADE OF!!!

She then looked at me with an expression that can only be described as terrified amusement and said, “Oh no, wait. There’s more!” She told that later that night she went to put her daughter in bed, like usual; they read, they prayed, she told her she loved her, then it happened. She was just about to shut off the light when her daughter looked at her and asked, “Hey, Mom? Is Daddy going to put his penis in your vagina now?” THIS!!! THIS IS WHAT NIGHTMARES ARE MADE OF!!!! I can’t even IMAGINE!! What on earth do you say to that???? Seriously, think for a moment, can ANY of YOU imagine saying THOSE words to your OWN parents???? Just the idea makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little. I mean, yes we all know that our parents do that….or at least they did as many times as they have kids, but THOSE words. NO! NO! NO! I am honestly not sure if at that moment I would have laughed hysterically (like you do when your having a mental breakdown) or if I would have maturely shoved my fingers in my ears and yelled, “LA LA LA LA LA” at the top of my lungs! My friend handled it much better! She must have had a moment when the heavens opened and God poured wisdom onto her like a ray of sunshine out of a pure cloudy sky, or maybe it was like the dove of wisdom landed on her shoulder because however much she wanted to run, scream, or laugh, she simply said, “Probably not right now,” and left. Later, she explained that that isn’t really a question that is okay to ask adults.

Ugh!!! Why is this topic so difficult to talk about with our kids??? My husband asked me the other day, “Do you think our kids will ever figure out why we lock the door to our room sometimes?” My response was yes and now I am almost sure that when they do they will knock and then in their sing-songy little voices say, “What are you doing? Are you having sex??” And, of course at that point, we’ll be like, “Nope! Absolutely not! You just ruined it!” Then I don’t know if I should be happy that our kids will be okay with knowing that their parents have sex (how progressive) or seriously creeped out that my kids are OKAY knowing their parents have sex. I am pretty sure that it’s all a crap shoot!!

I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was ‘The man goes on top and the woman goes underneath.’ For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds. –Joan Rivers

A Life Measured in Dogs

This is our dog, well one of our dogs. Her name is Josie, actually Lady Josephine of Barkingham Palace and she is currently helping me write my blog post. The great T. S. Eliot wrote the line, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons,” in his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I LOVE Eliot, but I, personally, measure my life in dogs! If you are a dog person, then you probably understand what I am talking about.

The great T. S. Eliot wrote the line, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons,” in his poem The Love Song of  J. Alfred Prufrock. I LOVE Eliot, but I, personally, measure my life in dogs!

When I look back and think about my childhood, I remember by beloved beagle/basset hound mix named Nipper (don’t judge! I was 2 when I named him and my parents let me name him on my own.) Nipper was my faithful companion for 16 years. That’s right! That blessed mutt lived for 16 years! When we finally had to put him down, I was an adult. Nipper had been the pet that had been with me when I played on my swing set, when I got a new baby brother, when friends were mean, when I went through dreaded puberty, when I started dating, and even when I met and started dating my husband! As I watched my sweet puppy Nipper take his last haggard breath, it wasn’t just my childhood playmate that died, but also my childhood. Nipper was the pet that marked that chapter of my life. He is ingrained in most of my childhood memories!

After my husband and I married and moved into the first home we rented, it was only a few years until we adopted a sweet little beagle/rat terrier mix. My husband, who had never had his own dog, named her Posey. Posey was our first “child”. Posey was adorable! She slept in our bed and went everywhere we did! We took her to our parents’ houses, to hotels, on day trips. Posey was with us when we moved into the first house that we owned! She snuggled with me when I was pregnant with our first son. When our oldest was born, she LOVED him. He would feed her from his high chair and they were the best of friends…that is until he became mobile. She didn’t love him very much after that. In fact, Posey in her senior years didn’t love any of our kids. She preferred to hang out in the basement until they went to bed, then she would come up and hang out with us. We lost Posey this fall. My husband and I both wept like babies. It was sincerely a hard loss. She had been through so much of life with us. And another chapter closed.

Nessie the big brown dog that we had when I lived at home and Posey our adorable little puppy.

Before Posey died, about three years ago, we adopted a perfect dog named Jack-Jack. We adopted Jack for our boys. I thought that they needed a dog that was young enough to romp and play with them. Jack-Jack is a big dog! He is part Shepherd and part lab, a perfect mix if you ask me! Jack is as close to perfect a dog as I have ever met! We adopted him at 6 months old and he came potty trained. He LOVED our boys right away! He will fetch a ball as many times as you will throw it! Jack is often found curled up with someone in the recliner or couch. He thinks he is a giant lap dog.

Jack loves to take walks and is gentle enough that my youngest has been able to hold his leash since he was three. Jack never pulled him down! Jack is a great watch dog and lets us know right away if anything sounds out of place in the house or if someone happens to drive into the driveway. He is a smart dog and has learned commands without much training at all. Jack is the dog of my sons’ childhoods. He is the dog that my children will mark their childhoods by. He is the dog that I will mark their childhoods by.

Our youngest walking Jack-Jack when he was just three.

Josie is our newest dog. We added her in July when Tim and I decided that our boys needed to experience a puppy. Josie is the only pure bred dog we have ever had. She is a blue heeler, except that she is almost completely white. Josie is the bratty little sister of the pack! She is spunky and feisty and has been difficult to potty train, but she is another dog that will mark the childhood chapter of my children. When they look back at their childhood, Jack and Josie will be in most of their memories!

It isn’t just the dog that we are grieving, but also the chapter of our lives that the beloved pet marks.

If you have ever had to say good-bye to a beloved puppy companion, you know that the pain and sorrow are serious. The grief can be crippling and deep. It can mirror the grief we feel when we lose a friend or family member. Non-dog people will not understand the depth of that grief. It isn’t just the dog that we are grieving, but also the chapter of our lives that the beloved pet marks.

I have had many pups: Nipper, Rory, Nessie, Posey, Tilly, Dixie, Penny, Jack-Jack, Bailey and Lady Josephine. Each one of these pups holds a special place in my memory. They each mark a special part of my life. Seven of those chapters have closed. The beauty is that as a chapter closes, we begin to write another. With each new precious pup that comes into our lives, a new chapter is opened. I believe firmly that dogs are a gift to us from God. He designed them to be our wonderful companions and to help teach us about unconditional love! Truly, no one has experienced unconditional love until they have been greeted by the body wagging, tongue lolling, excited barking of a pup when you come home! What a gift! There’s no way that greeting can’t make any day you’ve had better!

My fashion philosophy is, if you’re not covered in dog hair, your life is empty. –Elayne Boosler

Sometimes Life is a Table

This past summer, my husband, Tim, finally made the table that I have been planning for two years.  We have recently become a family of seven and I wanted a BIG, HEAVY table that would not be moved by bumping. I had spent months researching and pinning all types of designs and now we were going to see the design come to fruition.  I HAD A PLAN!

There is a big barn on our property. Several years ago, we had removed some floor joists and I had my heart set on the table top being made out of those heavy, oak boards. Tim borrowed a friend’s planer and went down to the barn to haul up the boards.  Upon closer inspection, we noticed that the boards were one thickness at one end and a totally different thickness at the other end.

I LOVED the idea that my table would be made of wood salvaged from our barn!

This wouldn’t normally present a problem because we could just plane them down, but they were full of old nails. They were completely unusable.  To say that I had a high-speed come apart would probably be an understatement. This is the vision that I had for this table!! I LOVED the idea that my table would be made from wood salvaged from our barn! There were tears….lots of them. There was screaming and maybe even a swear word or two. See….this project had already had several snafus.  My loving husband ( I totally admit that I married a better man than I am a woman), had asked me what color I wanted to paint the legs and support frame of the table. I really thought that I wanted a glossy black, but then I changed my mind. Before I could tell him that I had decided to go with a different color, he built and painted the whole thing.   I hated it. I really, really hated it. I tried to keep that to myself, but when I found out that I couldn’t use the boards, well that information came spewing out of my mouth like a geyser. Of course, my husband, who had tried to make me happy was now completely caught off guard because I am telling him that I don’t like anything that he has done.  I was so frustrated that I did what any mature mother would do; I went to my room, closed my door, and cried hysterically on my bed. I felt horrible. My table dream was falling apart.

While I had been wallowing in my disappointment, he had been trying to salvage my table dream.

My loving husband braved my hysterics and came in and said, “ Hey, come out here. I have something I want you to see.”  While I had been wallowing in my disappointment, he had been trying to salvage my table dream. He had found some raw cut poplar that had been forgotten in the barn.  Tim had cut a few pieces and planed them down. The wood was pretty, but I couldn’t decide. I had been so sure, so set on having the table built from the salvaged barn wood. Tim, ever wanting to make me happy, simply told me that he would build the table and if I wasn’t happy with it, we would sell it and start over.  

My husband glued, clamped, sanded, hand planed, sanded, stained, polyurethaned, sanded, sanded, and sanded the table top until it was beautiful!!  I LOVED it!!! But I hated the legs. That shiny black paint just made the table horrible. Again, Tim said, “Let me see what I can do, if you don’t like it, I will rebuild it.”  He took the sander and sanded the legs and frame, stained the exposed wood gray, and polyurethaned them. They were beautiful!!! He fastened the table to the frame…..and it was perfect!!!  It wasn’t anything like I had planned, but IT WAS PERFECT!!!

That’s when God gently smacked me with a two by four of truth:  This table is my life. We all have plans for our lives.  I remember wanting to be a writer, marry the love of my life, have two kids, adopt kids from foster care when our youngest was eight, live a comfortable life, never have loss or struggles.  Instead, I became a teacher, I DID marry the love of my life, we lost our first pregnancy, had FOUR kids, are in the process of adopting PRIVATELY when our youngest is FIVE, we have a great life, but it can be hard.  

Suffering, hurting, struggling was NEVER in my plan, but in God’s plan, none of it has been wasted.

Yet, when I stand back and look at the project that we created, that table, all of the UNPLANNED aspects are what make it perfect. I think that when God looks at our life, he sees that what He has created is perfect for us.  Even though he has had to hand plane and sand away some of my rough edges. That has definitely NOT been in my plan. Suffering, hurting, struggling was NEVER in my plan, but in God’s plan, none of it has been wasted. It has all been used later on to provide comfort or guidance in our own lives or to help others.  

My perfect table that didn’t go to plan at all….reminded me of my perfect life that hasn’t gone to MY plan either.  I am grateful that God’s plan is ALWAYS better than mine!!

Life is all about how you handle Plan B! –Unknown