Friday, July 1, 2011

Absent but not forgotten!

Like me for example! Yes I have been absent from the blogging world. My last blog was before my dad passed away and was the blog was about our sweet 4 pawed addition to our family, which is doing WONDERFUL by the way. My died did pass away on March 18. It was a very long and short journey all wrapped into one. I don't know why, but expressing my feelings since he has passed has not been easy for me at all. I have experienced a lot of heartache and a lot of loss over the past few years however losing a parent is indescribable. I mean they are the ones you go to for EVERYTHING from day one and even until now. I mean obviously I am a grown woman, however a girl always needs her daddy. Whether it be for day to day life, spiritual guidance, help with understanding, or just someone to cry to. I mean he is the man that picked out my name, he is the man that held me after I was born, he was the man that walked me down the aisle and gave me to my precious husband(after he told him if he ever hurt me he would..............)anyway back on track:) and in a very quick 6 months that was gone. That was all the time we had. I remember the day it all changed, I went to work. It was a nice Fall Thursday and I was gearing up for my annual fundraiser Mega Party that I am in charge of. I had recess duty that day and we had just walked outside. I had my phone, first aid kit, and a walkie(fyi I teach kindergarten we use ALOT of band aids!). I got the call in the middle of recess and the next weeks just flew by. I had no idea that day how much our lives had changed, but in some ways I am glad I didn't know. I had no idea that I only 6 months left with my dad. I had no idea that I would not have what I referred to as my "advisor". I guess I am glad I didn't know because there is no way I could have learned all I needed to from him in 6 months.

I say all this, once again knowing that we are learning our "new normal". Please do not get me wrong I know that people lose loved ones everyday and I honestly can cope without having him here and knowing he is in an amazing place. However I have two little guys at home that I would have loved for him to see grow up and see the men they will become. However that was not God's plan for our lives and we are slowly accepting that one day at a time. It's funny how when you lose someone, some days are easier and some days are harder. It's also interesting to me how God puts unexpected people in your life and you never really knew why, but now you do or maybe even takes people out of your life. I never questioned God's reasoning in my dad's illness or why him, I think the thing I did question though was How are we going to do this without him? I know we will, I know we will make it, some days easier some days harder, but we will do it because that is what he would expect me to do.

So my dad is absent, but truly not forgotten. Yes there are still nights I cry myself to sleep and there is not a moment in each day that I do not think about him or pass a picture in our home and think wow I miss you. My kids talk about him all the time because he is still so fresh in their minds. Carter has asked many times when Papaw comes back from Heaven we are going to do this................but on the flipside Ian has said someday when I go to Heaven I will see him.

I guess coming back to my blog I didn't really know where to begin, but felt it was important to pay honor to the amazing, strong, courageous, focused, inspiring, devoted man I called Dad.

Puppy Chow for now, but not for forever.........

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Angel Dog sent from God

Let me preface this story with it was not in our plans to get another dog right now:) However Jeremy and I have had many discussions about getting the boys a BIG dog. We knew they were both at the age where they could use a companion for the backyard and dog that they could get rough and rowdy with. I have done a lot of research on big dogs that were good with kids and did not shed(because of Carter's allergies and asthma). This led me to a boxer. I have read a lot of articles and talked with many people that have boxers and we knew that was going to someday be the perfect big dog for us. About 2 weeks ago we were over with my Dad and Jannie and I saw an adorable boxer behind their fence. Carter walked up to the fence and the poor little guy was barking, howling, and moaning like crazy. We tried to pet him, but he wouldn't let us. It was getting dark and we headed home. Everyday that cute boxer met us at the fence. The fence was his protection and that was as close as we could get to him. About 4 days went by and it was decided that we would keep dad at home and start Hospice, so I was led by God that it was also my time to take off work and be with him and Jannie in his last days to help take care of him and support them both. I made this precious face my project............................................

I decided that I was going to get this cute "little" fella to warm up to me. I started feeding him everyday and was making progress. Well Jannie found some leftover roast in the fridge and she decided we should heat it up(which cracked me up!) and feed it to him. So we did! After I was done and my hands were covered in grease I was truly BUSTED! I heard this man in uniform say, "excuse MA'AM" I went to the fence to talk to him and he informed me that he had been trying to catch that stray dog since before our big snowstorm which had been about 3 weeks ago and me feeding him was not helping his job be any easier. I then informed him that my dad was in that house dying and that dog was making my job easier and had given me something to focus on. He said well if you can catch him you can have him, but you won't catch him! That afternoon I sat in my dad's favorite chair on the back deck to watch the dog and saw that the animal control officer had a trap set up he had been trying to catch him in. So the dog stuck his head in kept his booty up in the air, ate all the food and the jumped out as quick as he could and popped his trap! Apparently this had gone on quite a few times because he was a pro! Officer had told me he was smart and if he didn't catch him in one more week he was going to shoot him. Well that my friends did not go over well with me! So the next morning it was pouring down rain and I thought this could be my chance, so I went out and opened the back gate and laid some dog food in the yard. I stood over to the side and waited for him to invite himself in and then I quietly danced over and shut the gate. He gave me that I am going to escape look, so I thought it would be best to go in and let him get comfortable before I forced myself on him. When I went in Jannie decided we should just leave the door open and let him decide when he was ready to invite himself in. So he got closer and closer to the door........then the cat Tac let him know he was not invited in! Had to pen Tac up in the bathroom, very strong willed cat! After a couple hours passed he walked straight into the house, came right to, and gave me a big lick on the face. My heart melted for this sweet dog at that moment!
Then I loaded him up and off to the vet he went. He was about 25 lbs underweight, but all in all looked good and healthy. We took him home loved him and gave him a wonderful home.............for 3 days and then we found a listing on Craig's List for a boxer that had been missing since the first of February. There were pictures posted and it was definitely the sweet baby I rescued. We discovered it at 11 at night, but I called the number anyway knowing that I needed to take him home that night because our poor boys are already going through so much heartache.
I got in contact with Cassie who I kind of felt like I had known all my life. Tucker and I loaded up in the middle of a tornado I might add and off we went to his home. He actually only lived about 2 miles from us, but he had gotten spooked one night took off and could never find his way back. Cassie and I sat and talked until almost midnight(keep in mind Cassie and both were concerned that the other one might be a serial killer!). That is when I learned Tucker's story. He was raised with a child that had a terminal illness and that explained to us why he was so comfortable with my dad and all his hospice equipment. It also explained why he was so quiet and gentle with everyone. From there Tucker had come to live with Cassie and her sweet family. She runs an in home day care, so he was used to kids and so good with them. Cassie and I laughed and cried and visited about sweet Tucker and what an amazing dog he was. I left Tucker and cried all the way home, not because I had found his sweet owner, but because he had brought so much peace to our life for the past few days. I kept saying he was my project from God, he kept my mind busy and once I caught him he captured my heart. I got home with a heavy heart and Jeremy's face dropped when I walked in the door without him, but we had lost our Yorkie Simon of 8 years when Carter was born and no one every returned him to us and we were so devastated, so our hearts felt good and we knew he was reunited with his family.
The next morning bright and early our phone rang and it was Cassie, Tucker's owner. She had been up all night and had prayed over our family and over Tucker. God brought her the peace of knowing that it was time to let Tucker go to our family. Cassie said she truly believed Tucker was a healing dog and as hard as it was when he ran away it was obvious now that God had another plan for Tucker and he was meant to be with us. Tucker is not with us by coincidence, but because God had a plan for him in our family. I can't tell you what an amazing person Cassie is. She discussed it with her husband and her mother and they were all in agreement that Tucker needed to come home to us. I could not get out of there fast enough! I had to take both boys to school and we had already decided to tell the boys that Tucker was with my dad, so that we wouldn't have to tell them he was gone until after school. I sped back to get my new boy Tucker! Well his official name is Tucker Ranger Jackson because the little boy that raised him from his hospital bed named him Ranger because his favorite show was Walker Texas Ranger:)
Again I can say this dog getting lost is no coincidence. He braved the rain, ice, snow, and many nights in the cold to get to our family. When I saw him behind their house I knew I was going to capture that dog's heart and I did and he has captured mine and everyone else in our family. So welcome to our family Tucker Ranger Jackson and thank you for coming to us at this difficult time in our lives and thank you to Cassie for having such an amazing heart and faith in God! Even though the days ahead are going to be difficult for all of us, we truly believe God sent us Tucker as blessing to put a band aid on our heart during this difficult time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Every night I sit here unable to sleep with tears streaming down my face asking why? I don't know why..........well I do know because life is not fair, it wasn't meant to be fair it was meant to be life. It's not always easy and it's not always the storybook picture we dream of, but it takes me back full circle to my question of WHY?
I am watching my dad die right before my eyes and all i can say is why? I want to savor every moment, every stroke of life, every breath I watch him take, every moment I see him with my boys because I know that in a undisclosed amount of time it is gone. I am not ready to lose it, I am not ready to say goodbye.
Last week our preacher did a sermon on God's will and how his will may not be our own. Well I know that after many sleepless crying nights God knows that I still pray for his will to be done, but I may not agree. This is a peace I have to find in myself and in my relationship with God. It doesn't by any means make me any less of a believer, it just means that God's plan was not my own plan. That's not always easy to cope with or accept.
I know that cancer can be beaten, I know that I watched my husband gracefully do it himself, but I am afraid that this time it will not be beaten. Glioblastoma has taken over our lives and it STINKS. We watch my dad slip from us a little everyday and it is so hard to watch. His voice, walking, feeding himself, memory............and it is so hard.
When we lost my brother not even a year ago our family came together even when I didn't think we could be closer we were. We dealt with a heartbreaking tragedy.........actually I should say we are dealing with a heartbreaking tragedy because I would be absolutely lying to you if I said we were healed we are not, we still grieve everyday. Now we know that in a matter of time we will lose someone else, not just someone else to me though it is my dad. The man that chose my name, the man that escorted me when I was Homecoming Queen in college, the man who gave me away to my amazing husband on our wedding day, the man that I asked to be with us when our first son was born, the man that my boys adoringly look at and say Papaw! I have always said there is God first and then my dad.
How do you let go of that? Better yet how do you watch it slip away? I can honestly say I do not know. I do not want to sit and wallow in self pity, but I can honestly tell you at the same time I do not want to lose him. I am not ready to say goodbye. Even though he is one of the most Godly people I know and he will grace the gates of Heaven with a smile on his face to meet my Mamaw and my brother I am not ready to let him go.
I guess it all comes full circle to it is God's will not my own. The selfish me wants him here, the selfish me wants my boys to be able to hold onto him and have all the memories you are supposed to have with your Papaw, but I truly know that is not God's will. It is very hard to prepare my children, when I am not even prepared myself. I know God will guide us and he will comfort us and our family will be embraced, but for anyone that has lost a love one or is watching a loved one slip away know that you are not alone. It hurts it is painful and at the end of the day even though you trust in the Lord with all your heart it is okay to still ask why. I do......
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted Matthew 5:4

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow day anyone?

Well we have the great blizzard of 2011 here in Arkansas! Last week we got a pretty good round of ice and snow and then we had a big surprise while we were sleeping last night of about 2 feet!!!! Now keep in mind here that the weather forecast had predicted 4-6 inches, so when you are expecting 4-6 and you wake up to almost 2 foot of snow that is a SHOCKER!!!! It is beautiful and we have loved watching it snow all day! I haven't seen a snow like this.........well maybe ever! We knew we had to get out in it, if nothing else to just pictures of the boys in it! So that we did! With that being said here are a few things my family has enjoyed on our MANY snow days we have had this winter.....................................................

Lounge in front of the t.v. watching Little Rascals, Cars, and anything that is super entertaining to a 3 year old and 8 year old!

Make homemade snow ice cream and eat it for lunch!!! YUMMY!!!!

Bury our dog in the snow!
Give momma some lovins!!!

Relax with daddy!

Make Valentines for those we love:)

Bake homemade muffins!!!! and of course make the house smell super yummy!

Snuggle with those you love!

Muffins weren't enough so bake some pies!

Lounge and growl at your momma while she takes your picture. Notice laptop, Uno cards, and tv is going on all at the same time!

Try out new soup recipes! This one is chicken and potato gnocchi....copycat of a soup at Olive Garden! Also made Zuppa Toscano and they were both delicious!!!

Games! Of course!!!

and puzzles!!!

and more games!

Not to be forgotten Daddy pulling us on the sled behind the 4wheeler!
It has been a fun winter to say the least! Yes we will have to make up quite a few days of school and yes it has gotten us off our schedule of sports and extra curricular activities, but it has been worth it!! To me it is God's way of saying SLOW DOWN enjoy life spend time together without having to go anywhere. Spend time at home and enjoy your family. So we listened and we have enjoyed every minute of it!!! Thank you God for this beautiful amazing gift you have given us, some of your finest work!!!! Seize the day!!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Talk-Letters to God

For all you literacy extraordinaires you can appreciate a "book talk". We encourage our students to share their love of books with their peers. Even in kindergarten we want the kids to share books that they enjoyed and tell us why they liked it. So tonight as I finished a book I felt like I had to share it with the world(or okay maybe the handful of people that read my blog :). About a week ago my stepmom aka Tata gave a me book and told me that I would really enjoy it and wow she was right. It was such a touching story and I related to so many aspects of the story.This book is amazing. We have had so many things go awry in our life that I just sit and wonder the whys and hows of life. This book is a fiction story written by an author that lost his own son to a battle. This book is a masterpiece of hope and a faithful spirit. Even when life is tragic and you just don't know how you can muddle through another day, this book shows you how to have hope. The story begins with the tragic death of a young woman's husband. While trying to heal from this tragedy her 7 year old son is diagnosed with brain cancer. Even though this situation is not the same as ours, it is similar life experiences. It feels like my life of just when we have come up for air we are knocked down yet again. It makes you see that you can survive and that you have to continue to have hope and trust in God. Whether you do that in prayer, letters, quiet time, bible study. You have to do what your own spirit and soul need. This book shows how important it is to stop and think about our faith and where it is or maybe even how you show it. I am not an in your face church goer, never have been never will be. But do I have a strong faith, do I have a relationship with God? Absolutely! Do I spend my quiet time everyday with him whether it be in devotion or prayer? Yes! I just am not an in your face person. Do I talk to my friends about my faith, scripture, and prayer, uh yes you can just ask one of my very best friends Melissa! We have this discussion many nights about what comforts us or helps us. Many nights we have said WHY or HOW COME or WHAT NEXT and our conversation always ends as this.....I will continue to pray for you and she will continue to pray for me.
The book ends with this scripture:
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.
2 Corinthians 3:2
Just as the child showed me in this book we are Gods word, walking, living, breathing. Not everyone may read the bible however we are his bible walking through each day that everyone will see and read.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dear Strep Throat,

You have truly inconvenienced me this week. I have tried to be very nice over the past week however my patience are now wearing very thin. I have not been able to see my best friend since her husbands funeral on Monday, I did not get to cook a Thanksgiving meal for my family, I missed every deal on Black Friday(however I was leaning towards not going if I am going to be honest :), I have not been able to feed my family or even touch the laundry, I did not get a head start on my Christmas shopping, and most importantly I did not get to paint my kids room before they come to put in new carpet next week. As a matter of fact the biggest inconvenience was that there are NO doctors open during the holiday week! I mean none and I refuse to go to the ER for a sore throat, body aches, and fever. Carter and I toughed it out until Friday morning then we hit the Mediserve clinic that immediately(okay not immediately after MUCH miserable waiting because none of their doctors were open either) told us we had strep throat. They were barely able to swab Carter's throat and it came up as strep throat before the swab even touched the test. So off we miserably drove to the pharmacy........can you guess what happens next???? They weren't open! Next stop Walgreens where they can't fill them right now, but come back later today and they will fill them. *Please note that I am glad all these places are closed because that lets me know that people are getting to be home with their families which is so important during the holidays.*
Not to think I am negative Nancy, but I will tell you a few positive things that happened. One is that Nana was able to come and cook, clean, sanitize, laundry, and be at Carter and I's beck and call. Another thing is that Tata took in Ian as soon as we got sick(nothing new because ever since dad got sick he has decided that he moves in with them on the weekends), so not only did he enjoy his time there, but he was also spoiled rotten!
So let me complain a few more moments about this strep throat journey and then I will hush it up and finish healing. My youngest son now truly thinks that a Thanksgiving feast consists of pigs in a blanket, chicken nuggets, and fries because he totally missed Thanksgiving. Tonight when we gave him his dinner he said I am so happy I have my own Thanksgiving feast! I couldn't burst his bubble and tell him everything he missed out on..........he can see it next year! This could have been very bad news for a little Tank like Carter who loves to eat.
So strep throat we are fighting you off! We are taking our medicine like clock work and we are sleeping on the couch together every night. Please please please it is time for you to go and not come back again for a really long time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Time is a magical thing......

I have replayed my blogging comeback many times over the past few weeks. I have no words that can express how or what I feel appropriately. However the thing that continues to weigh heavy on my heart is time. How do you measure it? How do you make sure that you embrace every moment? How do you know if you have enough? How do you know when time is up?
So many questions have whirled through my head on time. In a matter of 2 years my life has drastically changed. My husband has proven to be a survivor and beaten cancer which we pray everyday will not come back. I lost my brother and his wife in a tragic accident. Just as time began to heal our hearts our family has faced yet another life changing experience. My dad has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Our lives have changed our time has changed. I hold on to every moment not knowing if it is my last. I realize after all these life altering experiences that tomorrow may not be like today. It all comes back to time for me. I want to spend as much time with my dad and I want my kids and husband to do the same. When you face a terminal illness such as what we are facing you don't know how much time you have. The doctors can guess and you can look at a loved one and know if they are feeling good or bad, but you don't know how much time you have. As we walked into this journey I vowed to myself that I would savor every single moment with my dad and with my family. No regrets, no looking back and saying we should have. I want my boys to have every memory they can have. I want to feel my dads hand on the back of my neck as many more time as I can. I want to feel him squeeze my hand and kiss my check as many more times as God will allow. I want to see my boys crawl in his lap and smile a little while longer. My dad has said as a family we will accept Gods will because that is what the bible tells us to do and we will. I know it will not be easy and I know some days are harder than others, but what I do know is that we have TIME and we will enjoy every single moment of it that God allows us to have together.