To my Mom on Mother’s Day

I remember crawling into your bed at just five years old. The thunder was cracking, the lightning was flashing, and I was scared. But as soon as I crawled into your arms, and you held me tight, the fear suddenly diminished. I felt safe next to you. This was even before the tornado came.

About two years passed, and suddenly we found ourselves huddled in the corner of our basement, under covers, praying for our lives. But just like you had done two years ago, you held on to us kids so tight. You refused to let anything happen to us. You made us feel safe. And even though it was scary and traumatizing, we made it through that night. We lost every material thing, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter much. We still had each other, and that is all we needed.

The years after the tornado were tough on me. I had nightmares after nightmares. But when I had one of those nightmares, and I woke up in a panic, I knew where I could find my comfort. I would slide out of my bed, tip-toe across the house, and crawl in your bed next to you. You always knew why I was there. You would tell me it was okay, and you would hold me in your arms. And for the rest of the night, I would feel safe.

Then there were the times that I was sick. I am sure I would have recovered the same in my own bed, in my own room, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be with you. You would make me hot tea, Vicks me up, tuck me under your covers, and there we would lay, watching Lifetime movies, until we both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe and the sickness suddenly disappeared.

There were also the heartbreaks. I know you remember each one vividly. They broke your heart almost as much as they broke mine. And I didn’t even need to ask you – you already knew. You told me to come over to  your room, and there I would stay, crying with you, talking to you, watching Lifetime movies with you, until we finally both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and the heartbreak suddenly started to disappear.

But it wasn’t just the scary, sick, or sad times that I would spend with you. There were nights, that I just wanted to be with my mom, the woman who raised me, loved me, and inspired me. So I would come over to your room, we would lay in the bed, eating popcorn and drinking Pepsi, watching Lifetime movies, until we would fall asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and I felt unconditionally loved.

You have always been there to hold me when I needed you most. You first held me in your arms 25 years ago, as I took my first breath. In that moment, there was so much love, so much joy, and so much safety. I knew from that first minute on, that you would always be there to hold me, and you have never let me down.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – I love you.

 

To my Master’s Graduate 

You graduate tonight.

Oh, what an accomplishment that is.

You spent four years going for  your Bachelors in Education. You studied hard, stressed a lot, but succeeded of course. You tried finding joy in teaching. You tried finding happiness in that career for about a year, but you were unsatisfied. You knew you were made for greater things. Everyone around you knew you were made for greater things. God knew you were made for greater things.

After some thinking and a lot of praying, you decided to head back to school for yet another two years. You wanted your Masters in School Counseling. You wanted to help people.

God clearly showed you your path, and you took it, without hesitation.

I am so proud of you. Not only that, I look up to you. I may be a minute older, but you are so  much wiser. Not only that, you are beautiful from the inside out, which is something I always knew. Anyone who knew you or even just met you, could see that beauty shining through.

That beautiful soul is one reason you were made to help people. You listen to people, without judgment. You care about people, even when they try to make it impossible. You love all people, even if they aren’t like you.

Thinking about watching you walk across that stage tonight to get your second diploma, brings tears to my eyes. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of recognition. I couldn’t be more proud of my twin sister, my best friend, my soul mate. I love you more than I can even describe.

And it is just the beginning for you, because I know you are destined for great things. More importantly, God made you destined for great things.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

You have such a bright future, my beautiful sister. God gave you that hope, so that one day, you could give hope to others.

So as you walk across that stage tonight, hold your head high and smile the biggest smile you have ever smiled, because you have accomplished something great. When you hear all that applause, know that you deserve it. Everyone sitting around you tonight watching, can see that beauty shining so bright, just like the ones who love you the most have always seen.

Congratulations twin sister – I love you so much!

The Slobbery War of 2017

I’ve went to war the past couple of days. I’ve strapped on my uniform of thick black and white fur, my boots of white hair, and my weapons of razor sharp teeth and a bark that can deafen the enemy from two miles away. No, my bark is not worse than my bite – they are in fact equal, so I would not cross me. I’ve went to war to protect my rights of walking and I’ve went to war to defend my mother’s honor and to ensure her safety. I know, I am so heroic, but you can save the applause till the end of my ‘tail.’

The war was bad. The war was ugly. The war was slobbery and even bloody. I am drained physically, mentally, and emotionally, but that is nothing that a piece of cheese, a gulp of water, and a nice back rub won’t fix. I went to war because I had to.

Who was this war against, you ask. Well this war was against the pets that live on  Devan Avenue – The stray cats that sneak in to other peoples’ yards, without them knowing, and the dogs that run wild, never being tied back with a leash or blocked in with a fence. This is one war that your kids will read about in History class, about a decade from now, and they will learn that I was truly heroic.

So, let’s take it back to two days ago, when this war began. Marlee and me were taking our nightly walk – same route, same scenery. I had always noticed this stray cat. It was always crouched down, eyeing us up in the wrong way. It had a smell of garbage, a glare of hostility, and a tail of terror. This cat’s tail looked as if it had been struck by lightening. Maybe it was that way because this cat had been to war before. I figured that had to be it, and that this feline should not be and could not be trusted.

I had let the cat do its thing for about two weeks, but this day, I had had enough. He was not going to look at me or my mom in anger any longer. This world needed less hatred, and I was going to do anything I needed to, to make this world a safer and more loving place. I know what you’re thinking – that is honorable.

The cat was in someone’s yard – a yard that it did not belong to. So when my mom got distracted with a lady walking past her saying “hello,” I took the plunge. I went full force after the cat. The fangs were out, the slobber was flying, and the claws were raging. I got a few swats and maybe even a few nips in, but the cat was an equal competitor. He took his paw of knives, and drug it across my face. I was left with scratches, cuts, and blood. The cat was still alive, but trust me, this story would have ended differently, if my mom didn’t rip me away from the enemy.

You might think I lost that battle, but I can ensure you, that I didn’t . The next day, I walked right past that cat with my head held high in the air, and the cat, well he cowered down in fear and went the opposite direction. He would not bother me or my mom anymore, and he would think twice before judging others with his glare of hostility. I taught that cat a lesson. Yes, I got a few bumps and bruises out of it, but what true war hero doesn’t.

So that takes us to the next day, when two enemies of the canine variety attacked. Marlee and me were walking on the road, trying to avoid confrontation. I guess you could say, I was trying to wave the white flag of surrender. However, these dogs wouldn’t allow it.

Without being tied down or fenced in, and without being watched by the owner, the first dog ran on to the road at us. At first it started harmlessly sniffing me, but it soon turned to rage. It lunged at me with his teeth snarling. He swatted at me with his paw. I had no choice but to defend myself. We both ended up on our hind legs, in a fist fight. He pushed me over on to my back, but I jumped right back up. I would have gotten a flip in myself, if the owner of the other dog didn’t finally control his canine and drag him away from Marlee and me, apologizing to us in the process.

It wasn’t even five steps later, that another dog, a German Shepherd, came running at Marlee full force, with his fangs out and growling uncontrollably. Marlee was terrified. She thought she was about to be attacked. She stood completely still on the road, paralyzed by fear. She pulled me close and told me to sit down. I obeyed, but I knew if that dog came any closer to Marlee, that I would have to defend her. It was my job to keep her safe. All I could do in that moment was growl back and show the dog my teeth. I wanted him to know that I would do anything to protect myself and my mom.

Marlee started screaming. She yelled, “Please someone get this dog. It’s going to attack me!” The dog’s owner finally came out of the house and grabbed the dog, once again apologizing. However, it was too late. Marlee was not physically harmed, but she was scared, and that was not okay with me.

We walked back to the house, and she started crying. Not only was she shaken up because of what had almost happened, but she felt like everything that had happened the past two days were her fault.

I licked her face, to ensure her, it was not her. She was the best owner a dog could want.

We took away three lessons from these events. 1) Always make sure your dog is leashed, fenced in, or controlled. If they are not, they could run out and attack an innocent dog or human just trying to harmlessly take a walk. Leash laws in Pennsylvania are there for a reason. 2) If a dog runs out at you, try and stay calm. I know it is difficult, but it will help to calm the situation down. 3) We obviously need to find another walking route. It’s unfortunate, but has to be done. I don’t want myself or my mom getting hurt by another animal, and when I feel threatened and want to protect Marlee, I am too big and too strong for her to pull back easily.

So yea, it has been an eventful two days.

I went to war. I got bloody. I got hurt, but I also protected my mom. After all, that is my job, and I would go to war with any animal to ensure her safety.

Now, you may cue the applause.

 

 

He Didn’t Need His Eyes to Love Me. 

My owner could not see me, but he could feel me. 

He could feel me pull him forward when the pedestrian walk light turned on to cross the street. He could feel me pull him left, to head over to his favorite coffee shop for his morning bagel and latte. He could feel me pull him right, when it was time to go back home. 

I was my master’s eyes. He relied on me to keep him safe. To direct his way. To make sure he got from place to place on time and unharmed. It was a tough job, but I was glad to do it.

However, I wasn’t only there for guidance, I was there to comfort. I was there to show him love and dedication also. 

So once again I say : my owner could not see me, but he could feel me. 

He could feel my soft fur run under his palms and fingertips as he stroked me from the bed, as he prepared to end his day. He could feel my tender licks, as I kissed his cheek or hand to let him know I was around if he needed me. He could feel my wagging tail to ensure him that I was content being with him and happy to help him. 

After all, I wasn’t just there for guidance, although that was my main job. I was there to be his companion – to be his friend. I was there for him to rely on. I was there to show him love. 

To me, there was nothing different about my master. No, he could not see me with his eyes, but he could touch me with his hands. He could kiss me with his lips. He could sooth me with his voice. He could see me with his soul. He didn’t need his eyes to love me. 

I wasn’t just there to guide him. I was there to show him unconditional love, and in return, I got unconditional love back. 

Today is National Guide Dog Day. Isn’t it amazing that a canine is someone that can guide a blind person through every turn of their life. They are truly spectacular creatures. 

Happy National Guide Dog Day! Your jobs are tough, but you are appreciated and loved. 

Two Years.

Today is my adopt-a-versary. My gotcha day. However, I’m sure you all knew that already. I’m sure you had it marked in your calendars since last year. I mean, it isn’t as big as Martin Luther King Day or Christmas, but come on people, it’s pretty high up there. At least top five. Oh and by the way, I am still waiting on the gifts and cake to start rolling in.
So of course there had to be a blog post about this monumental holiday. But, instead of being all sappy, and making everyone cry hysterically with how sweet and corny I can be, I decided to make everyone slightly chuckle instead. Yes, I do enjoy a good laugh.

A lot has changed in two years. I’ve gotten better looking (if that is even possible), more witty (of course), a little more tender (don’t tell anyone I said that; I don’t want to ruin my bad-ass image), and more comfortable and content with life. Let’s face it, my life is way better than yours. My mom and dad are way cooler than yours. In general, everything about my life is pretty amazing. Well most things are amazing – we still have that whole bath situation to sort out.

Anyway, I figured I would compile a list of 15, because that seems to be a good number. A list of the 15 things I have learned in my two years of being adopted. So continue on…

  1. All dogs literally hate the mailman. This is not just true in movies. It is very accurate in real life. I think they are some sort of terrorist, or maybe they just smell like bacon. I haven’t decided yet. Either way, I would bite my mailman’s arm off if I was loose when they arrived.
  2. Pretending you’re scared of getting your nails trimmed at Pet Smart is the best way to get attention, from both your parents and strangers. All you have to do is start whining slightly and add in a little tremble for extra effect, and a second groomer will just come over to you, just to hug you until it is over. Come on people, I am not that big of a baby. I just want the extra love. Plus, your mom and dad will feel so guilty afterwards, that you will either get a bone or a vanilla ice cream dish. It’s a win-win.
  3. Human food is way better than dog food, and if you give the dopey-eyed look long enough, you will definitely get some of your human’s dinner. And you know what I think – I think that chocolate isn’t actually toxic to us dogs. I think humans just tell you that so they don’t have to share.
  4. No matter how hard you beg, or how many times you put it on your Santa list, you will never get out of getting a bath. I will forever hate this time of the month, but shaking all of my wet, dog fur onto my dad afterwards, makes it semi tolerable. 
  5. Lounging on the couch is only acceptable when I am at my grandparents’ house or dad is not home. But as soon as Marlee gets the call that Zach is heading home from work, I jump off the couch and the lint roller comes out. Shhh, don’t tell Zach our secret. 
  6. Squeaky toys are the best. I used to never be into toys, but after getting the BarkBox every month, I have grown to love all toys. I will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and start squeaking and tossing my toy up in the air. It’s mostly for my personal enjoyment, but I also get a kick out of watching mom and dad wake up wondering what the heck is going on.
  7. You feel like a new man every time you take a poop. I guess it is like a load taken off of you – pun intended. But seriously, every time I relieve myself, I bolt into the house full force and start throwing my toys all over the living room. Maybe it’s my way of telling Marlee there is a fresh pile for her to clean up.
  8. When you are named after your dad’s favorite college basketball team, you will be forced to wear a t-shirt every game for good luck. I just learn to accept it. And warning, there will be family photos involved.
  9. I know I am not supposed to lay on the mattress when the bedding is being washed, but that never stops me. Marlee loves it when my black fur gets all the over the white mattress pad.
  10. Cuddling with Marlee and Zach at night is the best part of my day. Zach makes a great pillow, full of fluff, and Marlee makes the best snuggler.
  11. Running away, even as just a game, isn’t worth it. When I first was adopted, I used to get loose and have Zach and Marlee chase me for hours. Now, if I get loose, I just lay down on the grass in defeat and wait for them to come grab me. Mostly because life anywhere else wouldn’t be as great as the life I have with them, and partially because Zach spanks hard.
  12. I will forever be between the ages of 4-6. Marlee and Zach do not know my exact age, so anytime they are asked, they always say 4-6 years old. They have been saying that for two years now. I guess I am like Edward Cullens and won’t ever age.
  13. Barking at any stranger or dog that walks past me is my favorite thing. I get a kick out of watching them jump a little.
  14. Sometimes all you need to make the day better is a little bit of porch sitting with the family. Plus when you’re out there at the front of the house, you feel like the King of the neighborhood. 
  15. Being with a family, who loves you as much as Marlee and Zach love me, is pretty awesome.

So yea, life for the past two years has been nothing short of fantastic. I am one lucky dog. I am loved. Everything is okay in my world, well except for the bath situation, but like I said before, I don’t think that is changing anytime soon.

Now, I am going to enjoy the Burger King cheeseburger meal that I got for dinner, while wearing my crown, because I am the King.
 

The Love he was Sent to the World to Give

He was caged up from sun up to sun down, never graced with human touch, compassion, or love. Every day, he waited for food that would never come and a friendly smile that he would never see. He was starved, beaten, and ignored, but yet every time his owner approached, even with the cruelest of intentions, he would still wag his tail. He had hope that maybe his owner had changed, that maybe he would pet his fur, hold him tight, and tell him that he was a good boy, while rewarding him with a healthy bowl of kibble. That never happened. His world was dark. 

But why? What had he ever done to deserve such abuse? He had a heart full of unconditional love – A soul full of loyalty.  And yet, he was rejected. That chipper outlook on life slowly started fading away. His happiness was caged up and his joy began to wither from being starved. Would he ever receive the love he was sent to this world to give?

Then one day, the sun started peaking through the clouds. 

He woke up surrounded by unfamiliar, but yet welcoming, faces. They were calling to him from just outside the fence. 

He looked around. If he approached these people, would he be disciplined by his owner? Was this all a set up? 

He was scared, but yet his curiousity drew him to their outstretched arms. There was no sign of his master, so he began a slow march to the strangers. Maybe they had food or water for him. 

He hesitantly approached them. When he finally reached their hands, he was trembling in fear. 

The one man lifted his hand. 

The dog dropped to the ground, and covered his eyes. He was anticipating a smack across the head. Why had he decided to trust these strangers? 

But after a few seconds past, the dog did not feel any pain. Instead, the stranger, gently placed his warm and tender palms on his fur and began stroking him. “Good boy,” the stranger kept repeating. Then he took a biscuit out of his pocket, and waited for the dog to take it. 

After minutes of this affection, the strangers lifted the dog out from the cage. This was the first time in his entire life, that he had been outside of those four fences. 

They put him in a van and drove him to a place. A place full of other dogs like him. 

But instead of being starved, beaten and ignored, they were all given a big bowl of food and water, they were all touched by the soft and kind hands of the workers, and they were all smothered with attention. 

It didn’t take the dog long to feel safe with these people. He trusted them. He had never felt this kind of compassion. 

Years past, and you could no longer see this dog’s ribs. He no longer trembled with fear when a human would reach out his/her hands to touch him. He finally had a family that gave him the love that he was sent to earth to give. His world was no longer dark. 

He ran around a big house from sun up to sun down, chasing after a ball that his human brother kept throwing across the floor. Every day he was fed and every morning he was greeted with a “Good morning” and big kisses from his human family. He was loved, played with, and cared for, and every time his owners approached him, he would wag his tail. He had hope, and that hope never disappeared, not for the rest of his life. 

Help give hope back to an animal. April is a month dedicated to stopping the abuse to innocent animals. Let’s start with this month, and continue showing compassion and love to animals every month. Show them the love that they were sent to this earth to give. 

Honey, Garlic Slow Cooker Ribs

I am no five star chef, but I could have fooled some people with my meal yesterday.

After eating my usual meal of Velveeta Mac N’ Cheese on Monday, due to the fact that Zach was at an event that night, and I was on my own for dinner, I thought I should redeem myself with a mouth-watering crockpot meal. Plus, Zach kept throwing subtle hints on Facebook that he wanted ribs, so I delivered – And let me tell you, he was very satisfied.

So ladies, put down the Velveeta, even though I know how amazing it is – at least for tonight. Cook your boyfriend, husband, or family a delicious meal, so they can get off your back. Trust me, you will happy too.

Slow Cooker Ribs

[Ingredients]

2-3 lbs of pork ribs, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of Paprika, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 10 cloves or 10 teaspoons of minced garlic.

[Preparation]

Season the ribs on both side with the mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

Add the honey, soy sauce, and minced garlic to the slow cooker.

Transfer seasoned ribs to the slow cooker and cover on both sides with the sauce.

Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.

Parsley Potatoes


[Ingredients]

1 bag of baby red potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, and parsley leave crumbles.

[Preparation]

Boil the potatoes in hot water in the morning when you are preparing the ribs in the slow cooker. Make sure they are soft inside, before transferring them to a bowl to hold in the fridge.

about 40 minutes before you are eating, take the potatoes from the fridge, and cut them in halves on a baking sheet.

Cover each half with a dab of butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and some parsley.

Put in the oven at 350 degrees for a half hour.

Parmesan Covered Asparagus  

[Ingredients] 

1 bag of full asparagus, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 1/2 parmesan cheese.

[Preparation]

Cut the stems off of the asparagus.

Place them in a mixing bowl, and drizzle the olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese on top. Mix everything together in the bowl.

Place them on a baking sheet, and cook them in the oven with the potatoes at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

All I’m going to say to close this post, is your welcome. Please enjoy.