Monday, March 24, 2014

And Then God Made Hazel.....

This is Hazel....

Hazel belongs to the men in my life; however, Hazel believes that I belong to her.  Hazel was a good little puppy.....


This was a year ago.  Yes, our baby is one year old now.  Sigh.  Wasn't she precious? 

Fast forward a year. this is Hazel.


She is beautiful in her own way.  Or, so I am told....

What Hazel lacks in refined beauty, she makes up in personality.  She is also very gifted.  You see, Hazel is a hunting dog.  She loves, Loves, LOVES, to hunt.  Everything.  All day.  This is a dog on the move -- always stalking...always prowling.  Unfortunately, Hazel's gifts cannot be utilized on a daily basis.  She has to improvise. 

Multiple times a week, Hazel will bring me her kill.  She proudly displays her kills in the same place.  Prominently -- so I can admire them when I drive in the driveway.  I'll give you a little tour of her trophies and the changes she has made around the place.

#1  My Lobelia plant that I got for Mother's day 10 years ago.  Dead.

#2  A grainy picture of the garbage can lid.  Dead

#3  A Rubbermaid container that kept the kindling dry.  Dead

#4  A blue tarp.  The holes were a nice touch.  Very dead.

#5  The dryer vent cover.  Gone.  MIA.  She ate it, I think.

#6  The welcome mat at our entry.  You are still welcome, but.....

#7  The weed barrier that we use beneath the river rock.  Expertly shredded. Dead, dead dead.

#8  My spring flowers.  An exercise in futility.  Dead. We won't try that this year....

#9  The hose reel that was attached the house.  Also, dead...

#10  A cow femur.  Fortunately it didn't belong to our neighbor's cow.  It was part of Sophia's science show and tell.  Not anymore. Dead.

#11  Electric Fence Tape.  That one was fun.

#12  My mint plant.  Goodbye mojitos.  Goodbye minted salads.  Farewell. 

  A Styrofoam insulator brick.  Beyond destroyed.  Dead
#14  This is what is left of Luke's collar.  She ate it...tags and all. 
#15  Her one redeeming kill.  A mole.  Dead!  Unfortunately my yard looks like the landscape of the moon for all the effort she made in catching it. 

Most days I come home to a surprise.  Yes, I am very irritated.  I even mutter -- loud enough to hear -- really encouraging phrases.  Things like, "I hate that dog....I'm going to kill her....What on earth/!?."  Those types of phrases, mixed with groans and exasperated sighs, don't mask my annoyance very well.  But, I have to admit....I still like her.  AND, I think she's a genius!  Every single time she brings us a kill, she gets in BIG trouble.  She gets scolded.  I yell at her and give her my angry eyes.  She tucks her stubby tail and gives us the forlorn look.  It's not an act.  She feels terribly bad about her behavior. Despite the evidence above, she is a good dog.  She obeys.  Never once has she destroyed the same thing twice!

Sometimes you just need to tweak the perspective in order to love something...difficult.

Have a great spring break!

With love and gratitude....


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ever Onward

You look so happy. I am so glad to see such a big smile. I so wish that I could share the same. My world is still just....... I don't even know. "She" still has my husband, and I sit and wait for him to return. I now see that he is not going to return to me, so somehow I will manage soon to pick myself up and move on. How do you though? when you have loved someone so long, dedicated your life to him, our family and he just leaves for someone else? I struggle daily with knowing his life no longer includes me, or mine includes him. I am an empty shell, going through the daily routine on auto pilot. I don't know how to be, I have lost all I thought I was, what I thought "we" were. 
Dear Anonymous,
There you are again.  I haven't stopped thinking about you, praying for you, and wondering how you are.  Thank you for your note! 
After thinking about it a long time today I decided I have no help to give that is specific to your struggle.  I don't like trying to share advice when I don't have much experience.  I can only sympathize with your situation, but I cannot identify.  I shared your comments with Kami today and we noodled my dilemma a bit.  I came to the conclusion that having your husband leave by choice is far more difficult than losing a husband to cancer.  There is no betrayal in Marc's absence.  His illness caused tremendous grief, but it was only grief.  You have grief compounded with anger and hurt.  I am so sorry.
I can encourage you a bit, though.  Particular comments in your note made me really think.  For that, I thank you.  You directed my thoughts back to Jesus.  Never a bad place to start when we have questions, hurts, or confusion!  I'll share the simple conclusions that I came to.  Hopefully you will find encouragement there.
First, you said I look happy and you were glad to see me smiling. Thank you.  I am happy -- more than I could have ever imagined.  When you look at that picture I hope you see a redeemed life.  God did that.  He took me from lying on the bathroom floor, unable to quit crying, five years ago.  The week of Marc's diagnosis devastated me.  I was undone, unsure of my faith in God, and without a hope in the world. Marc's cancer shook the very foundations of my faith.  I had to learn what I really believed about God.   I cried out to Him at that time, hoping he could save me from all the "bad" that was happening.  I wanted Him to fix it.  He didn't fix the situation, but He fixed me.  He gave me peace; He comforted me; He gave me hope.  I slowly regained my footing and placed all my hope in Christ.  He pulled me up, brushed me off, and I started to learn to live again.  I found peace in that storm and survived.   Now, here I stand five years later.  I am happy.  God has blessed me abundantly with a wonderful husband, three amazing stepchildren, and many new friends.  While I will always carry scars from losing Marc, I am no longer bleeding from the wounds.   I can see so clearly God using all of the sorrow for good.  I am so grateful for all the blessings that have come out of our pain.
I asked Brian how he coped with his divorce.  He said he buried himself in work. that healthy?  Maybe.  Something reminded me of my grief in your statement of "daily routine."  I think sometimes our routines (or work) do save us.  I was grateful that I was a fairly structured person before Marc's illness.  I remember being a zombie for the first few weeks.  While I was processing reality, I was grateful to have my chore list to fall back on.  My to-do list was like a road map back to normal living.  Grocery shopping, cleaning toilets, helping kids with homework -- these all became reasons to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.  Was it fun?  No.  Was I really feeling anything other than numb?  No.  But, as life settled and reality sank in, it got easier.  Don't downplay the daily routine.  It may save you.  And, I don't think this is supposed to be easy.  The fact that you feel like you are on auto pilot or a shell of a person....I would think that's normal.  You're grieving, and given the situation...that seems appropriate. 
The biggest question you asked is how do you pick yourself and move forward.  That's a hard one.  This is where I can't connect our trials.  They are different.  For me it was daily trust in God that it was going to be okay.  He had me in His grip and I felt that in a tangible way.  Every day his promises were proven to me to be true and I gained confidence and more faith.  As I had faith I gained hope.  Today I am joyful.  It has been a journey, but it all rested on being confident in God's love for me.  You need that, too; however, you have an extra burden.  You have the forgiveness factor.  The big "F."  In order for you to move on and move forward you have to trust God AND you must forgive your husband and "her."  That's hard stuff to swallow.  It doesn't mean what he has done is okay.  It just means you have let it go -- that you don't harbor bitterness or anger towards him.  That isn't going to be easy.  Fortunately, God knows how hard it is.  He paid a huge price to forgive us.  His sacrifice trumps anything that we go through in forgiving others.  Betrayal is heartbreaking.  I don't know how I would endure it.  Yours is the worst kind.  Watching a marriage fall apart to me is like watching the death of a person. I understand how you don't know how you should be or who you are at all.  When a person gets married they become one person.  When you lose half of yourself, it takes a lot of work to learn how to breathe again...much less thrive. 
Anonymous, you sound brave.  I would encourage you to seek some wise counsel.  Perhaps you have some good friends that can mentor you through this process.  I'm not talking about girlfriends that are going to start a male bashing frenzy or that want to castrate your husband.  I'm talking about the sensible, listening kind...the friends that can help you navigate this without bitterness and anger. These would be the people that can speak truth into your life that know you inside and out.  Those friends are hard to find.  If you don't have any of that caliber, find a good counselor or therapist.  While I am happy to share your burden and pray for you, I think you need more personal support. 
At the end of the day, God will work this for good.  Of that I am sure.  You may not see it now, but His mercies truly are new every morning...
With love and gratitude.....