Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Becky had a great post this weekend on what some of her favorite things have been in her life lately. It was such a good post that I decided to copy her. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all!

So some of my favorite things lately have been. . .

My friend Wendy, who's husband happens to be in Peru with my husband, brought me a gift bag of sunshine to church on Sunday. She didn't even know she picked my favorite scent of all - Coconut Lime Verbena - YUM!

The days are getting longer which can mean only one thing: winter is almost over! I can't wait to eat dinner on the patio again!

This is my new favorite knitting blog. I absolutely love the exquisite knitting Alana does - she is amazing. I have downloaded some of her podcasts and have enjoyed them so much. It is so much fun to challenge myself with new projects.

My next knitting project involves this luciousness that came in the mail today:

Today was a good mail day. These came too:

I will be leading this Bible study on Wednesday nights for the next 6 weeks. There's nothing like a brand new Bible Study. I love to leaf through the pages and wonder what truths it will hold.

I also got this book this last weekend:

Don't you just love that title? Looking forward to the words in these pages too.

And today my most favorite thing was . . . .Skype! Because for the first time since last Thursday I got to speak to him:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone

Tomorrow morning at dark thirty o'clock, my husband is getting on a plane and flying to Peru for two weeks. He is going with a group of people from our church to build buildings and relationships with people. It is a good thing.

But I am staying home. Without him.

And that is always hard.

I won't be alone because how can you be alone with a daughter, son-in-law and an almost two year old in the house? Not to mention three dogs and some horses to care for.

I will just feel alone.

I never like the feeling that it is my responsibility to hold down the fort. My husband does that much better.

I don't like knowing that something is going to go wrong in the next two weeks. Because something always does when he is gone.

I don't like knowing he will be not only in a different country, but a different hemosphere as well. That feels much too far.

I don't like night time without him.

I will miss our coffee/prayer time in the morning. Although I will drink coffee and pray and he will do the same - it just won't be the same.

I will miss him at church. Although I never, ever, ever walk through the doors with him or sit with him or hardly even talk to him on a Sunday morning, the building will just not feel the same because he won't be in it. And my heart will feel that.

I will miss hearing him preach on Sunday. I love sitting in the second row watching him preach. I always think to myself "You are the best thing that ever happened to me".

I will miss eating popcorn together. Even though I can now add extra salt, it still won't taste as good.

I will miss talking with him on the cell phone as I drive home from work. I don't know why we do that because we get home about the same time and we talk then too. I guess we just always use that time to "de-brief" before we are together.

I will miss the little yellow low-dose aspirin he always, always puts on my sink for me every morning because I can never remember to take it on my own.

I will miss his snoring. Okay, I will miss his snoring just a little bit. I wonder if he will miss mine?

I will miss him when I have to let his dog out in the middle of the night. And I will miss him again when I have to get back up to let him in.

I will miss him when the alarm clock doesn't go off in the morning because I have never figured out how to set it - that's his job.

I will miss him every time Tyler calls "Poppa? Poppa?" I swear I have never heard such adoration uttered in one single word before in my life.

I will miss him at Sunday dinner when our family is all around the table. His chair will be empty.

I will miss the everydayness of life - because now it is all going to feel weird and strange and different.

Hurry home babe. I need you here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Away For the Weekend

So this weekend I will be here. With about 60 ladies from my church. Listening to God speak through her.

No alarm clock. No cooking. No cleaning. No laundry. No dishes.

Ahhhhhh.......... It's gonna be a good couple of days.

Monday, February 15, 2010

No More Puppies

You may or may not know that for the last 11 years I have bred Yorkshire Terrier Puppies. My decision to breed dogs was about as ignorant as it could be - I didn't know a single thing about it. It was born from the need to put our daughter through college and after trying a paper route for 6 months - in addition to our day jobs - we determined that raising puppies had to be easier.

Well, yes and no.

We did get much more sleep which made us much more pleasant to be around, but dog breeding certainly contained its own challenges. First of all, it requires that you own dogs. We have always had a family pet, usually a sweet non-purebred that fit into our family very well. But in December of 1998 we purchased two Yorkies and set up business. Back then I didn't understand that I should have been looking for as perfect of a specimen of the breed I could find. To be honest I didn't even know what the standards were. Dumb. Really dumb. But I learned as I went, sometimes the hard way, and eventually ended up with a breeding program I have been really proud of.

Birthing puppies was overall a fun experience. A dog's pregnancy lasts only 9 weeks. It seems like puppies are almost always born in the middle of the night. They don't mind keeping you up all night even though you have to be to work in the morning. They also don't mind keeping you home from work because there is one last stubborn puppy that hasn't been born yet. Out of all my years of breeding we only had to go to the emergency vet twice - once for a c-section and once for a shot of pitocin. My vet and I developed such a good relationship over the years that he often gave me syringes and medications to keep on hand which really cut back on office calls. My vet became one of my best referral systems - she loved the puppies we produced. I also learned how to dock tails and cut dew claws by myself which was easier on the puppies not having to be transported to the vet at just a few hours old.

Losing a puppy or two is inevitable and is such a hard part of the job. Usually they would be the tiniest of the litter and at only a couple of ounces in weight - there just wasn't much that could be done much of the time. I would sometimes have to tube feed and it was the most rewarding thing in the world to save a puppy that didn't have the strength to drink milk on its own. It totally made the getting up every two hours at night worth it. Several times I have held a tiny little sweet thing in the palm of my hand as it took its last breath. Those times were never easy. Letting the mama lick a final goodbye always brought tears to my eyes. This tiny one in my hand was one that didn't make it - we discovered it had a severe cleft palate.

I would only use a female for breeding for five years and then I would have to replace her. It soon became apparent that I could not keep every dog I had. A breeder has to look at owning dogs differently than a pet owner. After a few years of good and faithful service I would find a new owner for my females. Usually it would be an older woman who I knew would treat my little friend very, very well. Even though it is hard to give away a dog that has worked so hard for you, I have never regretted any of the homes they have gone to and they are all living lives of luxury now. I see them occasionally and even dog sit for them, and trust me, they hardly even remember me!

The daily care of puppies is a tremendous amount of work. We kept them in a portion of our laundry room and the cleaning and feeding and washing seemed never ending. We kept them for 10 weeks. I had as many as 6 in a litter and as few as 1 with 4 being the average sized litter.

People always think that the hardest part would be when you actually give the puppies away. Surprisingly, for me it never was hard. I think it was a combination of being so relieved to finally be done with all the work involved and seeing the excitement and happiness of the new owners. It was always a happy day.

New owners are a time consuming ordeal. They come to the house to choose a puppy which turns into an hours long process. They play with them all. They watch them. They hold them. They all have their own system of choosing a puppy. No system was ever the same. We would set up visitation hours - so they could come over and spend bonding time with their new little family member. They would bring toys and items of clothing that would hold their scent. Finally the day would come that they would go to their forever home. Like I said, it was always a happy day.

In my last breeding experience I had two litters at once. I had eleven puppies in my laundry room! It nearly did me in. One of the puppies - the smallest and the cutest of the two litters - became very sick. I truly thought she was going to die. She was lethargic, wouldn't eat and spent hours standing with her head pressed against the wall. I had never seen anything like it. The vet pumped her full of medicine and fluids and did several tests on her but never could determine what was wrong. She finally told me that she thought perhaps she had some neurological issues. Of course I couldn't sell her so I resolved to take care of her and love her until she died. Within a couple of weeks she perked right up. By then my heart was already attached and even after I knew she was going to be completely fine, there was no way I could sell her. So I broke my first rule of business - I kept one of my puppies as a pet.

I named her Willow and she is my shadow. If I sit in a chair she is sitting with me. In fact she is sleeping beside me right now. She follows me from room to room. She weighs all of 4 pounds and she is as fiesty as can be. She will never be bred - she is not big enough. She was born into her forever home.

The time has come to end my little dog breeding business. It is time to slow down some and enjoy life more. My heart and extra time is for my grandbabies. I have retired my female dogs and they have gone to their new homes and are very happy. I just got an email this morning from a dear lady that has one of my girls:

Hi Robin. I just wanted you to know that Sunday when I said Maggie was high maintenance I meant it in a good way. She is so alive and human-like. You mention "bye bye" and she's there. When Len puts on his shoes her ears perk up and waits for those words. He takes her every where. She stares at me when it's bedtime and is so cute when she jumps into her own bed. She talks to me now in a very sweet high voice but she talks. She hates baths but she doesn't mind grooming. I just really enjoy her company. She also exhibits many emotions, sadness, happiness, humiliation, anger and bossiness (which is really cute). Anyway, best give I have ever received.

It was a good decision don't you think?

So now I am just a regular pet owner with a sweet little dog who thinks I hung the moon. And I must admit I am rather partial to her as well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Valentine's

Today we met with my family to celebrate all the February birthdays. We had seven this month. With families as big as ours you have to resort to monthly celebrations or we would be celebrating all month long!

Since it was also Valentine's Day my mother gave us all boxes of chocolates - such a sweet thing that she has done for years.

But I think I was touched the most by two of my little neices. Kaitlyn and Miah have been working for two weeks making valentine's for all of us. Every single one of us. They passed them out to us as we were standing in line to get our dinner. Each valentine was carefully drawn and colored and reflected our individual personalities.

This is the one my husband received:

Be on my side - gallop with me!
Perfect for her Uncle Chuck who takes her to 4-H and is teaching her how to show a horse.

This was mine:

I'll give you yarn - before I give it to you I will knit you a sweater.
I'm the skinny one - sitting in my chair knitting with a yarn basket at my side. That's exactly what I look like -wink wink. And I hope I really do get a handknit sweater from those two - I will love it!

I hope your Valentine's Day was as sweet as mine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Random Dozen - 2/11/10

I'm joining in this week on Linda's Random Dozen. I've been reading them for weeks and I finally decided to jump in on the fun. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the sweet apron give-away if you join. Really.

1. Are you pleasant when you're ill, or are you a grumpy, fussy patient?

Um, I don't know that I'm pleasant, but I prefer to be a loner in my room, in my bed, with the tv on and did I mention I prefer to be alone?

2. When you find out that school is canceled (due to inclement weather) what is your gut reaction?

Yay! It's a holiday! Let's stay in our pj's all day and play Monopoly!!!

3. What is one domestic skill you wish you could improve?

I wish I was a more organized housekeeper. My house is usually picked up and "looks" clean, but the deep cleaning doesn't happen. I think if I were more organized then maybe the deep cleaning would happen on a more frequent basis.

4. Do you decorate your home for Valentine's Day?

I do try to put little things up to celebrate the day. I love Valentine's Day - it's so simple and sweet - not overwhelming like Christmas is. But I like to scatter vintage valentines around, and by vintage I mean valentine's I received when I was a little girl.

5. What song is on your mind today?

This morning on my way to work I was thinking of the words to the old hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus".

6. Do you prefer contemporary movies or classic?

It depends on what mood I'm in but probably contemporary would win out over classic.

7. How well do you "compartmentalize" your feelings? For example, how well can you put aside a really trying moment to deal with the immediate situation which is not related to the trying moment, e.g., putting aside a tiff with your spouse in order to finish wallpapering a room.

I like to think I'm like most women - I don't compartmentalize at all. How's the saying go: Men are like waffles - women are like spaghetti.

8. What is the first thing that attracted you to your spouse? (Or if you're single, to your best friend.)
His personality - he just seemed to nice to be true.

9. When was the last time your heart raced?
Yesterday when I had to park in the south forty at Costco. It was a long way to walk. :)

10. What are your memories of Valentine's Day at school?

I remember how we always had to make a Valentine's box for classmates to put valentine's in. I loved making my box every year - it was when I first knew I loved making things.

11. If you were going to receive candy for Valentine's Day, which would you prefer?
I think I love Gheredelli's chocolate the very most. But the older I get the less I like chocolate. Weird, I know.

12. Red or pink?

Pink. I am more a pink personality - not a red personality. But I like red - on other people.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Be Still My Heart

I was over at Amazon today looking for a book - when this popped up:

I nearly died.

This is the first book Francine Rivers has written since 2003. TWO THOUSAND AND THREE!!!

That's a long time without a Francine Rivers book to read.

She is my all-time favorite author in the whole wide world and you can imagine my joy when I read that this book will have a sequel.

So not one, but TWO new Francine River's books to look forward too. The first one will be released March 16.

Here is what is being said about them:

From Publishers Weekly
Romance Hall of Famer Rivers (Redeeming Love) returns with her first full-length novel since 2003 with this two-generation saga of a mother and daughter, the first of two parts. Ambitious, strong-willed Marta Schneider leaves her home in rural Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century. She's determined to flee her abusive father, loving but weak mother, and the constraints placed on women. Meeting interesting characters all along her journey, she works her way to Canada. There she buys a boardinghouse and meets her match in Niclas Waltert, a German engineer with a farmer's heart. Through Marta's sharp elbows and the sweat of Niclas's brow, the family eventually arrives at an increasingly comfortable life in California's Central Valley. The second half of the story, told from the point of view of constitutionally timid daughter Hildemara Rose, is less deeply imagined. So many events happen as history rapidly unrolls in the background that the narrative feels too much like an outline for a Lifetime TV offering about a couple buffeted by the winds of WWII. Writers like Rivers are why people buy Christian fiction: it's dramatic, engaging, and acknowledges the bedroom without going inside. This well-told tale will have readers eagerly awaiting the story's resolution. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Product Description
The first in an epic two-book saga by beloved author Francine Rivers, this sweeping story explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over several generations. Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive. Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother. Amid the drama of WWII, Hildie marries and begins a family of her own. She wants her daughter never to doubt her love—but the challenges of life conspire against her vow. Each woman is forced to confront her faulty but well-meaning desire to help her daughter find her God-given place in the world.

Sounds good. I can't wait.

One month and one week to go.

Let the countdown begin.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Chit Chat

It's 4:30 in the afternoon on Superbowl Sunday and I don't know how I scored it but I am home alone, just me and the dogs and a napping Ava Claire that is. The game is playing quietly in the background, my dog is snuggled up next to me, my next knitting project is laying in front of me and I am reading a few blogs. Life is good!

We had a good Sunday morning at church and then my son-in-law brought over some boneless pork ribs that we served with baked potatoes. It was delicious. After the dishes we actually took the babies outside to play in the back yard. The sun is shining today, a rare sight these days due to our winter inversion, and it is probably in the low 50's. It is just gorgeous outside. And the babies loved it. They walked all over the yard investigating all kinds of interesting things. Things like water in the dog bowl, dead leaves clustered up on the fence line, and little pebbles held untold fascination to them.

I have been knitting up a storm and just finished my favorite hat of all time. It is Itty Bitty Hats Bunny Tail hat. I just love it. I used the RY Cashsoft baby yarn and it is the softest and sweetest yarn ever. Here is a picture of my little grandgirl modeling it.

It has the sweetest little ears with pink bows. And my favorite thing is the little bunny tale on the back.

I am going to start one for Tyler that will be brown with no bows of course.

Yesterday I stumbled on the best idea. I have been trying to think of some organized way to store my knitting needles for quite some time now. I have been keeping them all together in a plastic bag and I am constantly trying to find the right size and a matching pair. Inspiration struck. I have had a Pam*pered Ch*ef Tool Turn-about on my kitchen counter for years and one day I finally got tired of seeing all my wooden spoons, spatulas and whisks on the counter all the time and I put them all in a drawer. I was going to take the Tool Turn-about to goodwill but yesterday I realized what a good knitting needle organizer it would be.

Perfect! I love it when I come up with a good idea. I just wish it happened more often.

Oh, and I think I figured out a remedy for this problem. As much as I love my grandbabies I will never, ever pay so much money to make a toy that may or may not be played with and loved. But I found a yarn a Michael's craft store that will work just fine and I can use my 40% off coupons every week until I have 11 skeins. It was the largest bear that was going to cost the most and I figure I can now make him for about $30. Much more reasonable. It's not the quality of yarn as what the pattern calls for, but it's a toy. It's just a toy.

Oh and happy day. We recently had a Hobby Lobby open in our area and I went shopping in it Friday night. I can't believe how HUGE it is.

I'll leave you with a few more pictures of my little grandbabies.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Review - Angels by Dr.David Jeremiah

Like most people, I have always been fascinated by angels. I have never run into one that I'm aware of, but I have always wondered if I have "seen one unaware". So when Waterbrook Multnomah Press asked me to review "Angels" by Dr. David Jeremiah, I jumped at the opportunity.

It's a great read. What I appreciated about it the most is that it sticks ONLY with what the Bible has to say about angels. Dr. Jeremiah talks about who angels are and who they are not. I feel that I learned a lot from this little book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject of angels.

Here is the bio:

What are angels? What is their role in God’s plan? Are they present? Do they appear? Do they give us personal insight about our work, our worship?

Many contemporary beliefs about angels are based on misconception and myth. Dr. David Jeremiah uses scripture to unveil the remarkable truth about these agents of heaven, and their role and work in our world—and lives.

More than 60,000 units of this powerful book have sold in two past editions. This repackage of the original 1996 paperback will surely capture the attention of readers of all ages who seek a broad and thorough survey of scripture that clearly separates fact from fiction as it relates to angels. The book will appeal to the thousands who follow Dr. Jeremiah’s books, and radio and TV broadcasts.

Relevant, little known biblical facts help readers sharpen their knowledge and sensitivities toward the spiritual reality of angels. Dr. Jeremiah’s enlightening findings are supported with illustrations and insights from Billy Graham, Corrie ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, and more.

You can buy this book right here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.