Our Beloved Pal Scooter

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When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they made the decision to enable them to experience good from evil, joy from sorrow and many other things in opposition.  These last few days my heart has gone the gamut from complete and utter joy and bliss to complete and utter sorrow and despair.  I understand those extreme opposites well now.

scooter 1

How can you not love that face? What a sweet sweet dog

Our joy started last Friday when our son Nathan Copier married his UK sweetheart, Savannah Stevenson.  I will leave the details to that for another post.  Our sorrow happened yesterday when we lost our beloved pet and dearest furry friend, Scooter.

We have had several pets over the years and we have loved them all, but there was something so special about this little guy.  He really was the sweetest dog we have known.  He was loving, loyal, playful and eager to please.  He loved to snuggle, give kisses and take care of my ‘wounds’ and sing with you.  My heart is aching right now just knowing he’s not with us anymore.

Our whole family loved him dearly.  Many of them have taken time to write sweet things about him on social media, but the one that got to me the most is what my hubby wrote about him this morning.  Now, you need to understand that Scooter loved my husband more than anyone else in this world.  They truly had a special bond.  And as much as the rest of us loved and adored him, and he loved us in return…. it just wasn’t quite as strong as the bond between these two.  Here is what John said today:

scooter medal

Here he is wearing John’s Gold Medal from the Huntsman World Senior Games

“It’s only a dog
My head says it’s only a dog. My heart says otherwise.
Yesterday we lost our beloved, talented handsome Scooter.
Scooter gave us almost eleven years of companionship, love and entertainment. We really loved that wonderful dog.
He was a faithful trusted and trusting companion. He was always wanting to please. He was always happy to see me, to go anywhere with me.
He will be missed by many people, the folks at Home Depot and Lowes, teammates and spectators at the ball park, certainly family members and neighborhood kids.
I will miss the look on his face when, while walking he would stop, slant his body toward home as if to say “Daddy, I can’t go much farther please can we go back home?”  Then his willingness to try to go a little more. I will miss his head snuggling my neck when I carried him back home after he had given it his best.
I will miss his singing along with family members or with the with MoTabs, his singing “Happy Birthday” or “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.
I can almost hear him singing for Grandpa Don and Grandma Jen right now.
I suppose I will miss most everything about this wonderful friend. Rest in peace. Thanks for all the love you gave.”

My heart broke again as I read those words this morning.  I have learned over time that these precious additions to our family are just that…. family.  Each time we have lost a pet it has been hard.  Tears were shed all around, but this time…. I’ve wept so much harder and so much longer.  Perhaps because Scooter was a house dog, it allowed us to get really close to him.  Literally.  He often slept in bed with us and he liked to be on our laps.  When we lost our other pets, it was usually because of sickness and having them put to sleep, (though we did have one that a neighbor took a b-b gun to) so I wasn’t there to see their passing and their lifeless body.  It’s hard to loose them, no matter how….. but with Scooter, it happened suddenly and sadly without us right by his side, though we were here.

He’s been acting like he wasn’t feeling the best for the last little while.  He developed a wheezing that would set him back for a few minutes at times.  It was concerning to me, but I passed it on to old age.  He would have been 11 years old next month.  In hindsight, I’m kicking myself for not getting him into the vet to see if anything could be done for it.  He’d have spells where he seemed fine and then the wheezing would start again.  Several times over the years he had what I called ‘clingy’ moments.  No matter what you were doing, he’d stand right next to your leg and wouldn’t move unless you did.  He never really seemed sick during these times…. just clingy.  That has been going on off and on for years.  Another sign that should have concerned us was a slowing down in energy, particularly during walks.  Again, we just contributed it to old age.

Last summer, while out walking with my husband, he got a fox tail caught in his paw that became infected.  We had to take him to the vet to have it removed.  The vet expressed concern over some very loose teeth he had and wondered if we would allow him to remove them as long as he was under the knife for the paw surgery.  We also decided to finally have him neutered at that time as well.  Yes…. we should have done it many years earlier, but just didn’t do it for many reasons.  Since that surgery last summer, it seems his health has declined.  He seemed to gain weight, which we couldn’t understand since his diet hadn’t changed, but after doing some research, I found that that can be a side effect of neutering at an older age.  I also did some research on some of the other symptoms he’d been having, some of which I’ve mentioned.  Of course sadly…. much of my research wasn’t done till he was gone.

This is the adorable puppy face we fell in love with

This is the adorable puppy face we fell in love with

Yesterday after we got back from church, we wanted to take a nap since we were still suffering from a little jet lag from our trip to London.  All of the dogs (yes all…. we are tending our sons 2 dogs and our daughters dog lives here now too….) were on the bed with us.  Scooter started panting really heavy and couldn’t seem to get comfortable.  He would try to lay down and then stand or sit back up.  I started to realize that he might be in a little pain.  I was going to see if there were any essential oils that might help relieve some pain, but I stopped to make some dinner first.  I told my hubby and daughter that I didn’t think he was feeling well at all.  They both tended to him for a while.  He sat on John’s lap for a while then disappeared.  A while later (I don’t think it was more than 15 min) I realized he wasn’t in the house panting anymore.  We all went to look for him and I headed outside calling his name.  When I walked to the end of the deck to see if I could see him in the yard, I saw him laying at the bottom of the stairs on the grass.  I screamed and ran to him as quickly as I could.  Unfortunately, he was already gone.  My husband tried a little CPR on him to see if he could get him breathing again, but to no avail.  Then the mourning process began.

Since both of my boys are in London right now, one because he now lives there, the other because he extended his stay after the wedding, it was only my husband and daughter and I that were there.  After a few minutes of sitting and crying and holding him, we sent a text to our boys to let them know he had passed.  More tears and sorrow came from them when they replied by phone to the news.

It’s been a hard day (and night).  My eyes are puffy from crying and my heart is sore.  It truly hurts as much as losing my parents did.  He wasn’t only a dog.  He was our baby.  He was our loyal friend and companion.  He took a big chunk of my heart with him. He will be missed by all.

I know time will heal and it will become a little less painful, but for now, my heart needs to grieve.  We did decide to bury him here at home so I will be able to build a little memorial to him to always remember him by.

I am so grateful for the years we had with that special dog.  What joy he brought into our lives. I’m grateful to know that he is in doggy heaven, running and playing with as much energy as he had as a puppy, and that he is with my Mom and Dad.

He loved the snow and would come in the house with his little beard full of snow

He loved the snow and would come in the house with his little beard full of snow

My only regret is not trying to see if there was something that could be done a while back.  If you have a beloved pet…. please follow your heart and take them to the Vet when you feel like you need to.  I don’t want to live with the guilt that perhaps we could have done better.  Perhaps it was just his time…. but I will never know.  He really was dearly loved.

I shall miss my little fury friend greeting us at the door when we returned home.  His little happy dance to see us and not stopping till he got his proper ‘Hello’.  I will miss his snuggles, he’s cute Ewok face and his friendly and loving personality.  I will miss seeing him perched on the back of the couch watching the world go by outside.  So content he was just to be with us, and how sad he was to be left alone.

Thanks for all the years of love and snuggles, Scooter!  RIP Scooter Bug!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

What A Year It’s Been!

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With 2014 coming to a close, I feel like I need to take the time to express my gratitude for such an amazing year.  It’s been a year of MANY firsts for me and my family.  Not all of them necessarily pleasant, but the majority of them were wonderful.

Our first first of the year was finding out we were going to finally be grandparents!  Such exciting and thrilling news.  We have waited for so long to be able to claim that title…. we were thrilled!  In fact, I was so excited, I had to blog about it.

The next exciting first came when we moved into our brand new home in February.  There were plenty of hoops we had to jump through to make it happen, but thanks to generous in-laws and their help, we were able to make that move before we closed on our condo.  Though moving is stressful…. it was a thrill to move into a brand new home.  As I said…. a first for us.  Though we had moved several times prior to that, it was always into an existing home.  It was so fun to be able to pick and design the interior of our home.  Though stressful in many ways…. it was worth the struggle.  I’m so grateful to be here and to be in such a great area with great neighbors.

I also celebrated a few 1 year anniversaries.  Some good and some sad.  In January, I was 1 year clean from cancer (I’m approaching that second anniversary very soon!), which was an exciting one to celebrate.   2014 was also the one year anniversary of losing my Mom.  That year of firsts after losing a loved one is hard.  Still miss her.

gram and gramp with benOn July 29, we were blessed with the best first we could ever ask for!  Our little grandson Benedict was born!  I can’t even describe the joy this little boy has brought into my life.  I cried tears of joy when I first met him.  It’s a feeling I can’t even explain.  I know I felt the same kind of joy when my own children were born…. but having posterity born is a joy that is unexplainable.  He is so adorable.  He’s five months old now and I could just eat him up!  What a darling sweet personality.  He certainly has his Grandma wrapped around his little finger.  I’m as SO grateful for this gift and grateful my son and his wife brought him into our lives.  Joy beyond measure.jon and ben

In August, I finally gave in and had knee replacement surgery.  Another first, and I’m hoping my last.  My recovery for that has been a little harder than I’d hoped for…. but my physical therapist insures me that it will get better!  Though I’m still struggling with rehab on the knee…. I’m still grateful I had the surgery.

At the end of September, we were thrilled when our youngest son Nate popped the question to his British sweetheart Savannah.  We are so excited to add her to our family.  She is a very talented young lady and her talent is what will have Nate moving to London when they get married in the Spring since she has a contract to continue as Glinda in “Wicked” on the West End.  I will miss him terribly, but I’m so excited for this part of his life to finally start.

Nathan and SavannahIn October, we went on an impromptu cruise to the Bahamas.  It was a lot of fun, and though I was only 2 months out from knee surgery, I survived fine!  We had a great time with friends and got to hear some great music from our past.  I wouldn’t mind cruising at least once a year.  :)  Though it wasn’t our first cruise, it felt like it since we hadn’t cruised in years.

And finally….. we get to announce that we are going to be Grandparents once again!  This time with my daughter as Momma and now we know she is having a girl!  We are so excited to add a sweet little princess to our family!  Since we will become full time baby sitters for this one, our daughter will be moving in with us as soon as we can get our basement finished.  It will be fun to have a little one here all the time.  We’ve had the opportunity of tending our cute little Benny a couple of days a week…. so tending everyday will definitely be a new experience.

It’s interesting to look back and see where this year has led us.  The fact that we felt a need to sell our condo and get into a home again, as crazy as that seemed to many people….. to go from having no yard work, etc., to having 1/3 an acre to now care for is kind of nutty at our age…. but the condo just wasn’t a good fit for us in many ways.  Now that our daughter needs to move in with us, it’s a good thing we did move, because she wouldn’t have been able to live with us in our condo due to ‘rules’ about having grandchildren living with you.  It obvious to me now that we were being guided to where we needed to be for many reasons.

So, as this year ends, I look back with an immense amount of gratitude for where we are and what we have and what we get to look forward to.  Here’s to 2015 being an even better year!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ain’t No ‘Body’ Like the One I’ve Got

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Day 30~

Here we are….. the end of my 30 day challenge to be grateful for my body!  There were days I didn’t think it would come.  Days when the thoughts of posting about certain parts of my body seemed a little too much….. so I chose not to.  But others…. well, I gave in.

But here we are.  And did we cover everything?  Oh…. Heavens no!  But I think I covered the obvious ones and stretched on a few other things, but honestly?  Aren’t our bodies amazing?pg-photo-funhouse-human-body-01-full

Today I’m grateful for the whole package….. my entire body, because everything is connected and they don’t function well on their own.  One system depends on the other system working properly to be healthy.  The whole package wrapped up together.

I’m grateful my body parts are functioning on what appears to be a fairly healthy level right now.  Am I perfect?  No!  But I am on a journey to try and do what I can to make my body function even better.  I learn so much every day about how important my awareness is in all that.  The choices I make about what to eat, or whether or not to exercise or not (even a little) make a big impact on how my body functions.

I’m grateful for the technology that is available to help me learn and understand what I personally can do to be as healthy as I can be….. but mostly today….. I’m grateful for this amazing ‘house’ my spirit lives in.  There’s so much about it that I don’t know and understand, but I do understand what a miracle it all is!

Thank you, Heavenly Father for blessing me with a healthy body and for giving me the desire to want to take better care of it!

How about you?  Be grateful for your body and the amazing things it can do!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

It’s All In The Heart

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Day 29~

The heart.  Isn’t that where it all starts?  Isn’t that really who we are?

Besides being a vital part of how our bodies function, it really is the center of our emotions.  When someone experiences heart break, there really is a physical sensation that goes with that.  I remember going through that when I was in college and it was truly painful…. but my heart mended and my life lead me to things so much better for me. heart-quotes-131

According to MIND PUBLICATIONS:

Nobody views the heart merely as a blood pumping station, anymore. We know that the heart is an emotional organ and has a relationship with the “emotional brain.” Beside the emotions, could the heart also be an organ of intelligence that works in unison with the brain?

According to folk wisdom, the heart is the seat of intuition, love, creativity, wisdom, gratitude, faith and the like. The finest values and qualities are associated with the heart rather than the mind. How do we know this? We know it in our heart. But, is there a scientific basis for this intuitive knowledge?

The heart physically communicates with the brain and the rest of the body. The communication pathways, which originate in the heart, travel through the emotional memory section of the brain and go all the way to the top of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning. The heart has a complex nervous system, with the capability to learn and remember.

So science shows that our hearts really are more than a pumping vehicle for our blood!  We really do feel with our hearts.

There are so many quotes regarding our heart being an emotional organ.  Like ‘open your heart’, ‘my heart goes out to you’, she wears her heart on her sleeve’, ‘follow your heart’, ‘love you with all my heart’ and SO many more.  I’m sure you could add to the list.

I’m so grateful for my heart.  Grateful for it’s capacity to let me love, and feel and even think.  For the life blood it gives me to live and breath!  Our heart is truly who we are!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

If You Chance to Meet a Frown…… SMILE!

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Day 29~

When I was a little girl, I learned a song about smiling when you’re feeling bad.  The words go like this:

If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay!  
Quickly turn it upside down and smile that frown away.
No one likes a frowny face, change it for a smile!  
Make the world a better place by smiling all the while

Isn’t that a great little lyric?  Good advice for anyone!  

Sometimes when we feel bad, we need to try and do things to cheer ourselves up.  It may not always work, but trying to think about happier things can help.  Learning to have a positive attitude about everything can make all the difference.  The lyrics to the Nat King Cole song, SMILE explains that pretty well.

Smile

Smile though your heart is achingif-you-dont-have-a-smile-ill-give-you-one-of-mine
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

And being happy can rub off on other people!  My husband has a great smile and he smiles a lot.  People are always telling me that they notice that he smiles a lot and seems to always be happy.  He is a pretty happy go lucky guy… and it rubs off.  Smiling at others can cheer them up too.

I’m grateful for smiles.  For others who smile at me and for my own smile.  I do try to share it and help lift others up!   How about you?  Who have you smiled at today?

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

And of course…… when you smile, you’re Happy!  And minions always make me Smile!

 

Something to Talk About…..or Sing About

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Day 26 & 27~

Crazy few busy days has got me behind again.  Thanksgiving prep and Thanksgiving take a lot of time and bring on some exhaustion!  But it was a great day with loved ones and friends near and full of many blessings!

I want to combine a couple of things again today.  In a way, I guess you could consider them the same thing, but I want to break them apart a little.  Since I am a singer and I like to talk a lot….. today I’m grateful for my voice and my vocal chords!

My voice I will consider partly as having a voice.  A voice in what I think, or what I want.  Being able to voice my opinion.  Isn’t freedom of speech a great thing?  I don’t consider myself one to be outspoken on many issues…..(at least not publicly) but I’m grateful that I can be if I so choose.

This is a photo of me singing to my husband at our wedding reception in 1979.

This is a photo of me singing to my husband at our wedding reception in 1979.

But having a voice…. one that makes sound, requires the use of vocal chords.  Apparently I was blessed with ones that can be very loud!  :)  I was told many times when I was young that I was loud…. especially by my siblings.

Thankfully, I must have been blessed with a little of my Mom’s genes when it comes to my vocal chords because I’ve always been able to sing.  It’s just something that’s come naturally to me and has afforded me many opportunities to perform which I LOVE to do!  In fact, as I get older, I get fewer and fewer of those opportunities and I miss it terribly!  Especially this time of year!  I love singing Christmas music!  About 13 years ago, I made a quick little Christmas album just for fun for my parents.  Since that time I have shared it with several friends and they seem to like it.  Which brings me a lot of joy.

My voice and vocal chords are a part of my body that I use everyday, as I’m sure most of you do!  I’m grateful to have and use them.

As a way to start off your Holiday season…. I’d like to share a little video my husband put together with a song from my Christmas album.  It’s one of my favorites…. Amy Grant’s arrangement of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas…. but sung by me!!  I hope you enjoy it!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

 

I’m A Woman….. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

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Day 25~

I can’t think of a time in my life when I wasn’t happy that I was a woman.  Not once.  Which I’m grateful for.  Well…. OK… when it comes to all the time it takes to get ready for the day…… I do get a little jealous that my husband can be showered and ready to go in like 15 minutes….. but I still wouldn’t trade it!

So, because I’m grateful to be a woman…. today I’m grateful for my female body parts.  Though going through 16 hours of labor like I did with my firstborn wasn’t an easy thing to do….. I wouldn’t change the experience for anything.  I was lucky enough to be able to do it 2 more times.  And each time it got a little easier.

quote-i-m-very-definitely-a-woman-and-i-enjoy-it-marilyn-monroe-129273There’s nothing quite as amazing as the miracle of life growing within your womb.  It’s truly amazing.  When I had my kids…. the internet was a thing of the future, so I didn’t have all the information at my fingertips like we have now.  With technology being the way it is today, you can actually see the stages of the baby growing in the womb through ultra sounds and even artist renderings which I find very fascinating!

Then, through another miracle of our creator, woman was made to be able to feed and nurture that child.  Another amazing thing to me!  A very intimate and sweet experience with your own baby.  It creates a bonding like no other.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to have a child 3 times, and to now watch as my children are starting their own families.  What a joy it is to be a Grandma!  I’m a woman…. what a miracle my body is!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

This video is fascinating to me.  What a miracle.

 

Pain Is Your Friend

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Day 24~

Really?  Pain is my friend?  Are you crazy Wanda?  Yep…. I’m a little crazy for sure, but I have learned over the years that pain IS my friend!

As many of you know that have followed me for a few years, I had a battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2012.  It was pain that got me to the emergency room that led to my diagnosis.  And it took several weeks of pain before I finally gave in.  I kept thinking (and hoping) the pain would go away.  By the time I got to a doctor and was completely diagnosed, it was at Stage 4 and in some of the vertebra in my back.   I don’t know if maybe it wouldn’t have gotten that far had I paid attention to the pain weeks earlier…. but it does make one wonder.  Luckily, it was very treatable and I am now in complete remission.  If you’re interested in reading about my journey with Hodgkins Lymphoma, go here.

o-BACK-PAIN-facebookPain is usually an indicator that there is something wrong that needs attention, perhaps even medical attention.  While some issues cause chronic pain and there isn’t always an easy solution to them, other pain is our body’s way of communicating to us that it’s time to admit, “Houston, we have a problem!”.  Like take for instance the pain signals the body sends out when it’s thinking about having a heart attack or a stroke.  Pay attention!

I’m by no means an expert on what physical pain is trying to tell you….. I just know that in most instances for me, my pain has indicated I needed some kind of help.  Even if slowing down and taking it easy was the answer for instance for a strained muscle.  It’s still not something to ignore.

Now, I’ve been talking about physical pain here….. but with time, most emotional pain can be a friend and a blessing too, if you allow it to be.  It’s usually a great learning lesson, though we may not see it at the time.  Very often, emotional pain needs help and attention from others too.

Today, I’m grateful my body gives me signals of physical pain.  It makes me know that I need to pay attention and try to figure out the problem.  What an amazing thing this body is!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

Open Arms

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Day 23~

There’s nothing like being in the arms of a loved one….. or being the arms that are loving another!

I’m so grateful for my arms.  I’m grateful I can hold my loved ones with them. I use them to carry so many things and do so many things.  I already posted about my hands, but really, without my arms it would be hard to do all I do with my hands!hugs and arms

Let’s see…. let’s think of some of the things we do everyday using our arms (and hands, since they are attached).  Push ourselves up out of a chair, help ourselves with bathroom needs, get ready for the day, cook, clean, play piano, drive, exercise, play sports, crafting, creating, gardening, typing, working, serving…… I could obviously go on!  We all use our arms and hands for different things, so the list could be extensive.  Point being…… that we use them pretty much every hour of every day!

But for me, probably one of the most rewarding and satisfying ways to use my arms is to love someone.  Hugging my husband, holding my grandbaby…. those are some of the things that mean the most in life!

This is the time of year when most of us are blessed to spend time with family and friends.  A time to be thankful for them and a time to use our arms to hug them!

Let’s show some gratitude for our arms and see how many hugs we can give this Thanksgiving week!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?