Ugh

Ya’ll.  It’s been six months since I’ve updated this blog.  Six.  Months.

I don’t even know how to justify that.  Seriously.

It seems like finding the time to create things, take decent photos, edit the photos, write a post, and publish it is impossible.  It’s ridiculous.  I never even introduced ya’ll to Bauer!

I saw this tiny guy on the shelter’s website and I knew he had to come and live with me.  Seriously, who could resist? He’s even on a quilt!

Bauer3

They told me he was ten months old over the phone, which was the perfect age.  When I got to the shelter to pick him up, they brought him out to me and he was TEN WEEKS old.  How do you make that mistake!?  Between working full time, going to grad school, and running the shop I didn’t have time for a ten week old puppy who has to go out every hour!  Of course, I was madly in love with him, so I said “Come on, little dog.  Let’s go home.”

Bauer1

You see that smart mouth?  This little guy is always talking back.  I love it.

We had a little bit of an adjustment at first, especially when it came to my quilting WIP.

Batter

Bauer, those are Momma’s fat quarters!

But oh my word do I love this “little” guy.  The shelter told me he was a Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix).  There is definitely a whole lotta Dachshund in my sweet boy, but the rest is surely not Chihuahua.  For one thing, he weighs nearly 30 lbs.  I tell people that he’s “Dachshund and whatever was wandering through the neighborhood” but I am guessing the other part is Redbone Coonhound.

Bauerboy

I can’t be sure, but I think he’s pretty happy being my baby.

 

Doing Good for Kona – February Progress

I was really feeling like February was not a great month for my 2013 resolution to Do Good.  It’s comforting to look back over my photos from the month and see that I did more than I remembered.

I destashed some of my vintage linens to raise some money to donate toward Cooper & Lego’s veterinary bills.  You can read the story of these two sweet pups if you like.  I even had one sweet friend donate even though she didn’t buy anything from the destash!

Again this month, I made lots of promotional “fliers” for adoption meet & greets for the Humane Society.

I had the honor of making two extra January blocks for Do. Good Stitches for Amber (Ambernoel!) was finally blessed with the baby she’s been waiting to adopt for three years.

I felt called to make a donation to FITCO Cares, the charity started by Chris Kyle, the Navy Seal who was killed attempting to help a fellow veteran with PTSD.  As a Navy and Air Force granddaughter, and a Marine Corps sister, charities serving our veterans are very close to my heart.

I ordered a bulk back of leashes and collars to be sent to the local animal shelter for use in their Dog Walk/Adopt-a-thon event

I traveled to Norfolk, VA to visit my younger brother.  While he and I were eating at a Panera, I handed my debit card to the cashier and asked her to use my card to pay for the lunch of all the sailors that came in to eat.  It was easily the most fun I had all month – seriously, if you ever get the chance, do this!  It feels amazing.

I wrote countless handwritten notes to local businesses asking them to sponsor the Humane Society’s golf tournament.  I think I’m up to about 40 notes right now.

I drove my first transport leg, carrying Lennox (who you see there riding shotgun) and two other dogs (crated in the backseat) on one stretch of their journey north to rescue organizations who were waiting for them.  The dogs were so sweet and it felt great carrying them a little closer to their new homes.

I finished another shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.  That particular one is for a 2-4 year old boy.

Volunteered at the animal shelter’s Adopt-A-Thon.  I largely did laundry – washing all those dogs before an event uses up a lot of towels!  20 dogs and 2 cats were adopted that day alone, which is HUGE for this area.  One couple even drove 200 miles to adopt one of the cats they saw on the website1

I’ve sewed one February block for Do. Good Stitches this month, and then I came down with a serious headcold, so the other two (one for me and one for Amber) will be in next month’s tally.

I’m really enjoying keeping track through pictures like this.  I think it even spurs me on to do more.

 

 

Doing Good for Kona – January Progress

I posted back at New Year’s that my Word for 2013 was Do Good, in honor of my sweet dog who did so much good for me.

I wanted to kind of wrap up the month of January with my progress, not in a prideful way but because I find it comforting to look back and know that I am honoring my sweet boy.  The photo collage above are pictures that I snapped with my phone to record them for my own sake.  Among them are:

Ordered a handmade sock bear from Etsy to be sent to a child victim of Hurricane Sandy through Craft Hope.  I wanted to contribute, but didn’t have time to make a stuffed toy myself, so I “outsourced” the crafting.

Made my first two blocks for the Trust Circle of the  do.Good Stitches charity quilt bee.

Filled three shoeboxes full of gifts for children in third world countries to be distributed through Operation Christmas Child.

Became the page manager for the Franklin County Humane Society Facebook Page (if you’re an NC local, I’d be honored if you’d visit and “like” the page).

Began creating fliers for adoption events being held by the Franklin County Humane Society.

Attended an adoption event and took photos of the dogs currently up for adoption.

Gave the toys that were meant to be Kona’s Christmas gifts to the foster dogs (that was an extremely emotional experience).

Destashed my mini charm packs from Quilt Market to raise money to help pay medical bills for two dogs that the Humane Society took on with extensive injuries.

In many ways, although I know the work that went into all this, I feel like I didn’t do enough.  I just keep reminding myself of this quote, which i love.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  Desmond Tutu

And I’ll keep on

2013 {My Word}

 

I’m heartbroken to share with you that on December 23, I lost my beloved baby Kona.  He was attacked by a German Shepherd belonging to my middle brother and his wife.  He died before we were able to get him to the emergency department at the Cornell University Vet School.  They did everything they could to save him, but it was too late.

I’m still haunted by the scream he let out as the dog attacked him, and by the way he looked on the way to the veterinary hospital.  I’ve been going through photos of him from our two years together, trying to forget, but some things just can’t be unseen.

Many of those who are closest to me, myself included, thought that I wouldn’t make it through this.  Kona carried me through some of the darkest days of my life – days when there was no way I could make it on my own.  In many ways, he saved my life.  He was the reason I got out of bed in the morning and the reason I couldn’t wait to get home from work in the evening.  He was a faithful companion and a source of hope.

After I lost him, if I could have just laid down and died I’m pretty sure that I would have.

My parents and my youngest brother were by my side the whole way.  At one point on Christmas Eve, I managed to drink three glasses of homebrewed hard cider on an empty stomach and ended up screaming at my mother.  I’m sure the family members who were there to witness it thought it was the alcohol talking, but it wasn’t.  It was me, completely incapable of dealing with the bleeding chest wound where my heart had been ripped out.  I cracked.

I’m sorry, Mom.  I love you.

My friends back home and scattered across the country rushed to my aid from every direction.  One offered to get a ride up to NY and drive my car back to NC so I wouldn’t have to.  Another friend, a girl who hates entertaining, scheduled a breakfast for dinner at her house.  She wanted me to have a place to go where I didn’t have to change out of my pajamas.  I was so touched, but the kindness only made me cry harder.

One particular friend sent me a text message saying “This is probably one of the hardest things you will go through in your life.  But you can’t lose your will to live, Kona wouldn’t want that.”  It was a message I’d recieved dozens of times from my friends and family.  I’m not sure why that particular time it registered, but I think it had to do with the source.  If anyone knew about grief and sudden loss and the Godawful unfairness of life it was Danielle.  And I carried that text with me for the next several days.

On Christmas Day, I knew I had to go to the Sheriff’s department to file a report on the attack.  My brother and his wife weren’t willing to do the right thing and put the dog down or give it up to be rehabbed, and because the dog had shown a pattern of agression, this needed to be on record for the next time it attacks (God willing, next time it won’t be a child).

I didn’t want to shower or even change out of the pajamas I’d been wearing for two straight days.  I forced myself to clean up though, knowing that looking like a basket case wouldn’t help me be taken seriously by the police.  I dragged myself into the shower and was surprised to discover that I was able to shower.  I guess I expected I’d melt like sugar and disappear down the drain.  I promised myself (or rather, promised Kona) that I’d do that one thing, every day.

That afternoon, we opened Christmas presents.  It wasn’t a particularly joyful time, it just seemed like a way to keep our hands busy and maybe have some new things to play with and keep our minds off things.  I got a Kindle and immediately started to chase away the ghosts by reading.  I’m not sure how exactly I ended up downloading My Mother was Nuts by Penny Marshall (of Laverne & Shirley fame).  I’ve never even seen the show and didn’t know who Penny was.

There’s a part in the book where she talks about “giving somebody a life.” Those of us not in the TV industry might call it giving them their big break.  It was a chance to offer someone who was struggling a job that would forever change their life.

Later, she talks about her volunteer work in post-9/11 New York…

My brother had opened my eyes years earlier when he told me that I could give someone a life.  It was true – and it didn’t require much effort.  If you can’t always provide a new life, why not do little things that help simply improve someone’s life?

The passage hit me hard.  Kona had given me a life.  And before that, when he was a six week old puppy, I had given him one.  I got him from a place where he’d have been fed, but kept outside with twenty other puppies in a wire kennel.  He wouldn’t have gotten medical care.  If he hadn’t died from exposure to the cold that winter, he would have died of heartworm or something similar when the ground thawed.  I took him home and loved him and gave him a full but short life.

In his two years, he went to the mountains and the ocean, to the lake and the farm.  He walked the streets of historic Charleston and romped off leash in beautiful Upstate NY.  He had treats and toys and clothes and love.  He slept curled up beside me and got belly rubs every morning before we got out of bed.  He rode around in Target in a little tote bag.  He played at the dog park and at doggy daycare.  I did the best I could for him, to give him a life.

I kept going back and reading that passage.  Over and over, until I understood:  My resolution was right there in front of me.  In order to honor Kona, and in celebration of the lives we gave each other, I want to spend this year doing good.  Giving people a life, or touching lives in some small way, like my sweet buddy did for me.  I’d like to say I’ll do something every single day, but I don’t want to commit to that.  I’m afraid that on those days where I just don’t have the chance to do something, getting on the web and making a donation will feel like cheating, like letting Kona down.  So I’ll just say that I’m going to do the best I can this year.

I’d already signed up, months ago, to be involved with Do. Good Stitches, a charity quilting bee.  Earlier this month, I was notified that there was a space open for me in the TRUST circle.  I’ll be starting in January, 2013.  Something tells me this is not an accident, that God knew I would need to be part of it this year.  A reminder, I guess, that there is a plan.

I wanted to thank all of you who have sent messages of sympathy or lifted my family up in your prayers.  This has been a very difficult time for me as well as for my family.  Your continued prayers would be so very appreciated as I grieve my beloved best friend and try to adjust to the new “normal.”   This has been so very hard.

Jessica

Survive

On New Year’s Day, I posted about my word for 2012.

I’ll be honest with you, as I was trying to find my word, the one that popped into my head over and over again was “survive”. That sounds pretty stinkin’ bleak.  The truth is that I was thinking of a resolution that I might make.  Work out more?  Keep the house company-ready?  Read more books?  The scout’s-honor truth is that in 2012, I probably won’t have time to make a commitment like that.  On Monday, the spring semester starts and I’ll resume work on my graduate degree (I had to put it on hold for a while for a number of reasons).  So, as of tomorrow, I’ll be a full-time engineer, a part time student, and a long-distance commuter.  I’ll also be a homeowner/maintenance guy/groundskeeper, dog-mom, fabric shop-keeper, and blogger. I’ve done all of these things before, but this will be the first time I’ve done them *all at the same time* and all by myself. I’m going to try to make it all work, but obviously, at times something’s going to have to give.  I think it goes without saying that the first thing I’ll set aside will be the blog.  I’ll keep posting here, but it probably won’t be as frequently.  There may be little blog breaks squeezed in as well. So yes, my word for 2012 is Listen, and my resolution is to get through it.  I don’t say that in a hopeless way, I just mean that this will be a nose to the grindstone, push through the exhaustion kind of year.  2012 should be my last full year of graduate school (Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters).  I’ll have just another semester or so to finish up in 2013; possibly a single course next summer.  After that, things should get back to normal.  I hope you’ll bear with me as I sort out how to juggle it all!

2012 {My Word}

I’ve never really been much of a New Year’s resolution person.  All those shoulds… what resolution should I make?  I should drink more water, I should work out more often, I should keep the house cleaner, finish more quilts, eat healthier, read more, should, should, should…
Honestly, I’m getting a little panicky just thinking about it.
I like the idea of having a “word” for 2012, and I’ve been mulling it over for the past several days.  I thought I’d know when I stumbled across my word, because it would feel right, and I’d somehow be at peace with it.  My gut was telling me that my word would have something to do with one of my favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11

Free Printable:Jen @ The Logan Family

 

For the past couple of years, I have clung – literally clung – to this verse during times of confusion, fear, and sadness.  The idea that no matter what happens, or how little sense it makes, God has a plan for my life is so comforting.  People may let me down, dreams may fall apart, and awful things may happen that don’t go with my plan.  But they are part of His plan.

I was thinking about this verse tonight, in the shower, still with no word that really seemed right.  And I started thinking – how do I know if the things I am doing go along with the master plan?  Or am I just doing my own thing, doing what I want,  and fighting his plan every step of the way?

And that’s when it hit me.  And I’m going to be honest here.  It terrifies me.  It doesn’t feel comfortable, it doesn’t feel right.  It feels like a risk.

Listen

I keep thinking to myself, what if I don’t hear?  I believe that God speaks to us, but I have never really heard.  I’ve been just kind of doing my best here, waiting for some kind of sign, or announcement, or I-don’t-know-what, but I’ve never in my life felt like I had a clear direction from God.  And I’m thinking, it’s probably because I’ve never learned to listen. 

So here I am, putting it out there that my word for 2012 is Listen.  Somehow, I know that this is where I need to go.

But ohmygosh is it scary.

 

I’m linking up at:

The Lettered Cottage

 

 

 

Between Naps on the Couch

In between naps, Kona and I have been enjoying our holiday break.  I took an unintentional blog break, which I think was much needed.  Not to worry, we’ll be back soon with lots of fun stuff!

Gratitude Friday – 12/2/2011

“You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

G.K. Chesterton, from an early notebook (mid-1890s)

I saw this quote in November’s Real Simple magazine, and while it sounded a little bit conceited, at the same time it reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for – I should be saying grace before I cut into a new piece of fabric, before I start a blog post, or before I open a book.  Reading the quote inspired me to be more diligent about my Gratitude Friday posting.

That being said, this week, I’m grateful for:

Kona.  I know ya’ll see a lot of the little guy, because I adore him.  Frankly, I think the sun shines out of his butt.  I love having him around, and he goes almost everywhere with me. He’s not really a pet so much as a sidekick.  There have been some rough days in the past year, and I really, truly don’t know what I’d have done without him.

Family.  Just like everyone else, I think my family is the best.  They love me, they support me, they make me laugh until I puke.  My family is always willing to look silly in order to make people laugh.  Just this past weekend, we taught my parents how to Move it Like Bernie (if you haven’t seen this dance, you’ve got to check it out).   They also tried to learn to Dougie.  I’m so sorry I didn’t get any pictures, but I was laughing (and dancing) too hard.  I am so, so grateful for a family who will bust out in a random dance party for no reason at all.

My Day Job.  A few years ago, I left a great job with a great company to try something new.  I knew I was taking the old job for granted,
but I’d been there since I graduated college and just wanted a change.  Recently, I had an opportunity to return to that job, and I took it.  Every day I’m so grateful to work for this company who appreciates their employees and does their best by them.  My coworkers are
like family there, and we look after each other.  That’s so rare in this day, and I’m thankful to have the opportunities they’ve offered me, not once but twice.

Introducing…

My new quilting buddy.

This little guy’s name is Kona – he’s been taking a lot of my time lately.  He loves trying to play tug of war with fabric hanging off my ironing board, hiding completed quilt blocks under my couch, and (honestly) making poo underneath my sewing table (we’re working on that). 

The best part?  He lets me dress him in sweaters!

Aren’t pets the best?

Happy New Year!

For the first time in my life, New Year’s actually has some significance for me.  2009 was, in many ways, a very painful and difficult year.  The reality is that little has changed to improve that, but as December 31 approached, I decided that I was going to draw a line in the sand.  I have never been one for resolutions, but this year feels a little different.  So much went wrong in 2009, it just feels easier to wrap it all up into a bad year, and move on.  So this year, I have decided to seek joy.  I don’t entirely know what this means, or how I will go about it.  I just know that the stress and the sadness and the frustration need to stop.

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