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Stepping Stones & Ocean Waves

Last week I was downloading some photos from the camera and found some that Brianna took when we went to visit Benji at the vet. I sat there and just cried. My mind just can't wrap around the fact that he is gone. Dogs are such amazing creatures. Maybe that goes for all animals...


For those of you that don't have pets or have never lost one picture a giant wave, but where you are standing it can't touch you. You can't get hurt but instead of standing there safe you take hold of your pet's paw and you step into that wave because you made a promise that no matter what you would be there for them because they were there for you. And everything in you screams that the wave is going to crush you. But slowly you creep forward with him, one step -one breath at a time. Until at some point, he no longer is beside you and you finally step out of the wave and a huge empty spot is left in your heart and life. Over the next weeks, anything and everything reminds you of him and more tears fall that you thought you had cried out.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Time is a slow healer, but eventually, as you take one stepping stone at a time the tears come less and less. So here is to our beloved pets that were and are there for us through it all, who when gone leave such a huge hole in our hearts. Who greet us at the door at night when we get home, or in the morning when our feet touch the floor. Who love us with all our faults and all our problems. Remind you of someone else? Maybe that's why He put them in our lives, to help us grow and to show us a little more of Him.

A Shower Of Redemption


Julia stood in the middle of the courtyard staring at the stars, tomorrow he would die. The man that had killed her Father would die. Crucified by the Romans. A bitter smile crossed her lips.  Yes she would be there; she would watch this murderer be brought to justice. Justice - the word made her sick was there such a thing? Maybe once when she had been a child she had thought it had existed but no, not anymore.

She clenched her hands into fists at her sides.

“I swear I’ll hate you until the day I die,” She swore anger boiling inside her.

^^^

Julia stood in the courtyard of the governor’s palace with hundreds of other people all-jostling for room.

"You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him,” Pilate said, “Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him."

"Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" the crowd shouted.

“No!” Julia shouted, “He killed my father!”

“Quiet woman!” someone shouted...

To read the rest of the story click here

Ranch Style Mashed Potatoes


Ingredients: 

10 Medium Potatoes
4 Pieces of Organic Bacon 
1/4 Cup Butter 
1/2 Cup Sour Cream 
2/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup Cheese 
Salt

Directions:

Quarter 10 medium potatoes put them on to boil. Fry 4 pieces of bacon. When the potatoes are fork tender drain them in a colander then pour them in an electric mixer. Add butter, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, mayo, Cheese and salt to taste. Whip together until smooth. Chop the bacon and add to mashed potatoes. And you are ready to serve your special cowgirls and cowboys some delicious mashed potatoes. If you tend to like spicy things you can add some chopped Jalapenos or Mrs. Dash Chipoltle seasoning. 

Organic Taco Salad

Ingredients:

1 Pound Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef 
9 -10 Organic Black Olives (Cut in fourths)
1 Organic Tomato (Chopped)
Organic Blue Corn Chips 
1 Container Organic Sour-Cream
1/2 A Block of Jalapeno Jack Cheese (Shredded) 
1/2 A Head Of Organic Lettuce (Chopped)

Seasonings:

Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning
Salt
Paprika 
Cayenne Pepper 
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder

Supplies: 

Pan 
8x13 Baking Dish
Ziplock bag

Directions:

Cook the ground beef until brown, (don't over cook) season with Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning, Salt, Cayenne pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder,paprika to taste. Let cool. Place a layer of chips at the bottom of you baking dish. Chop up salad and add on top of your chips. Strain your ground beef well, then add on top of your salad. Put Sour-Cream in a ziplock bag and cut off the end. Use it like and icing bag and pipe in white stripes across your salad. Then add tomatoes for red stripes. Put olives in a square (like the blue part on the flag). Pipe Sour-Cream in small drops in small circles. Add chips around the edges of the pan. Add cheese on top of the chips.

Good Bye For Now...

Today, we had to put our dog to sleep. 
How do you prepare for that?
How do say goodbye? 
Tonight when I got home I went to get eggs everything in me expected to see him bounding up from the dog house to meet me. 


But he didn't... and he won't ever again.


I will always remember today... How beautiful the morning was. Running morning errands with Mr. Cottage, leaning against the car when the vet called. 


By his voice, I knew something was wrong. I ran into the house to find Mr. Cottage. Sitting on the porch with my ear against the cell trying to hear as they talked. 

"His numbers have come back up,".


The silence in the car as we drove to the vet. 

How sick I felt. 

Wishing I could run, drag my feet anything to postpone this. 

How happy he was to see us. 

The tears as I clung to his neck and whispered how sorry I was and that I loved him and then saying goodbye as he slipped away. 

Taking off his collar and hearing it click back together for the last time. 

Wanting to scream "No" over and over, but I can't. 

How I can't breathe. 

The tears that rain down my cheeks uncontrollably. The ride home his paw in my hand his collar in my lap.

Benji  (right) and his litter mates. 
 Family and friends checked in to make sure we are ok and to tell us how sorry they are. Slowly the tears dry and then something sets them off again. 

One of my best friends call and we talk for awhile, dad buys pizza because no one feels like cooking tonight. 

I am exhausted. 

In the end, Ben's blood test numbers were 4 to 100 times higher than they should be. 

Somehow the end seems so harsh. Goodbye, seems too unfeeling. 

So I guess it is Goodbye for now...


A Lesson Through Tears


Today we noticed our dog Benjamin (Benji) was acting funny.

He wasn't walking right (like he didn't know where his back feet were) when he would get up but for the most part he would just lay there and his breath was funny, as if it took all his strength to breathe. I had a feeling I knew what was wrong when I smelled his breath. I have smelled it before when his sweet momma Christmas suffered and died from it.

 Oh Lord, please don't let me be right.

He lay between Mrs. Cottage and I and barely moved.

Grandma cottage hovered near and sat by him and pet him.  She just sat there stroking his fur and he looked so sad. When Mr. Cottage got home we took him to the vet and my suspicions were confirmed. He was in Acute Kidney Failure, and his chances of making it are very slim...

Tonight my heart is breaking... it breaks as one of my best friend texts me to make sure I'm OK and to let me know she is praying. 

The vet asked if their was any possible way for him to have gotten to something poisons in his area or if our neighbor could have "Accidentally" fed him something that would do this. I told him there was nothing dangerous in his area normally but how much trouble the neighbors have given us with the animals over the last few years, and that it would not surprise me if they had done it on purpose.  He was standing in the doorway and just dropped his head and shook it from side to side. My heart dropped to my stomach and slid to my trembling feet.  No. Not my dog.

Somehow it was fitting to be at the same vet, the same room and the same people were all present this time as the last time when we walked this road. Two years ago with Christmas.  As I rubbed his head I couldn't help but think it was happening all over again.

It is so easy to let your heart grow cold.  To let bitterness dig in and take hold and to just get angry.

Tonight my heart is breaking... it breaks as one of my best friend texts me to make sure I'm OK and to let me know she is praying. It breaks as I eat my favorite chocolate bar my mom bought for me, the tears come and go as the clock ticks on. By noon tomorrow we are supposed to call the vet to find out if he will make it. So tonight we pray, and cry and we wait.

I remember that moment in that vets office 2 yrs ago, that same room and that sweet dog Christmas slipping away from me.  I remember her eyes as she looked at me the last time and walking away from her for the last time. Seeing her on the examination table from the car, us driving away and leaving her behind. I couldn't even tell Benji goodbye tonight. I pet him, and I kissed his sweet head but I could not say goodbye. I willed myself not to cry because I knew if I did they would never end.  The flood gates would open and all the hurt would spill out without end.  Just wait till you get to the car I said to myself...

I remember her eyes as she looked at me the last time and walking away from her for the last time.

Funny as a family we have been through a lot... I've seen families crumble when hard times come, but I've also seen ones grow stronger through the pain. Its so easy to lash out in all of the pain and confusion. Especially at your family. The last time I was in this spot I couldn't write for months, it just hurt too much...

It is so easy to let your heart grow cold.  To let bitterness dig in and take hold and to just get angry.  I can't understand it... I can't even fathom how someone could hurt an animal like that.  Children and animals are unable to protect themselves... they are helpless in a way and I just don't get it.  It makes me so mad, so sad, so .... Benji is alone tonight in the vet office.  No one is there to tell him that they love him or to pet his soft fur just because ... why? For what reason? Can someone explain it?

Do you know what we were studying on today?  


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32



So here I am...my heart having slid to my feet, tears staining my cheeks, my head pounding from all of those tears, wanting just to run and run but I know that I can't run... knowing no matter how hard I run and how far I go the truth is still the same.  I am so hurt, so angry and yet I know that I just have to turn this over to Him.  The only one that can handle it, the only one that can take all this pain and anger and make it into something beautiful. I tell my mother, I am not sure I can forgive them.She tells me I must ask God for the strength and ability and then turn them over to him.  With me out of the way, he can deal with their hearts.  I ponder that as we drive.  


As we pull onto our street she pulls the car to a stop to look at the beautiful sunset.  She whispered a prayer of thanks to God for the beauty of it just as she has done for as long as I can remember.  Then she says, "Lord, thank you for this beautiful sunset.  Help us to be this beautiful in the midst of the darkness and storms that surround us.  Help us be a reflection of your beauty.

 Father...I am so angry with my neighbors... but I turn all this anger over to you and I ask you to give me, give us the strength to forgive them and I turn them over to you.  Help to heal our hearts Father and please, if it be your will... heal my dog.  In the name of your son Jesus, Amen.

DIY Throw Pillow Slipcovers


What you need:


Old Throw Pillows (The ones I was covering were 19"x19")
Tape measure 
Fabric Scissors
Fabric (in the shade, color, pattern etc. you are wanting to cover your throw pillows with)
All Purpose Thread (Matching your Fabric)
Pins
Chalk
Sewing Machine or Needle & Thread
A ruler or something straight


 We laid the pillows on the fabric and then measured them to just above the seams. Then used the chalk and ruler to draw a straight line on the fabric so we knew where to cut. Measure and cut (for my pillow) a 19x19" piece of fabric. Set this aside.  Then we cut out one 19" x 16-1/2 piece of fabric and a 19" x 8 pieces of fabric. This will be for the back of the pillow. Take your 19x 16 1/2" fabric and on the 16 1/2 " side fold over your fabric at 1/2 inch one time and press with a hot iron. Then fold over one more time and pin down and press.  Sew that seam on your machine or hand stitch with a running stitch across the fabric.  When finished knot and move on to the 19x8" fabric.  On the 8" side repeat the step and make another seam.  If you use a striped fabric like I did MAKE SURE YOUR STRIPES LINE UP!  Very important!


Pinned seam ready for stitching.

Sewing the pillow side seam.
After you are finished with the hemming of the back you are ready to grab your 19x19" front piece.  Set it in front of you on your table.  Make sure the part you want on the outside of the pillow is facing up to look at you.  Then grab your two smaller pieces.  Line up your corners and sides and begin pinning them.  Make sure the back pieces are facing down (meaning that you are now looking at the wrong side of the fabric.  The hemmed sides of the fabric will overlap (see below).  One side of the hemming will be tucked under, this makes an envelope for your pillow to slip in and out.  Pin all around the edges.  

When finished pinning take your machine and do a simple stitch 5/8" all the way around the pillow, removing pins as you go.  Make sure to make a knot at the end of your work to reinforce the stitches or go back and forth slightly at the end and it will do the same thing. 


Back of your pillow slip showing the "envelope" opening for your pillow to go in and

the wrong side of the fabric.  Note it is a more light color on the wrong side.


Here is the back view of the pillow pinned and ready to sew.


And that it! An old pillow with a new look! If you try this we would love to see pictures you can post them on our Facebook page here.