Monday, June 15, 2009

Goodbye Nalla

What a hard weekend we have had. Let's see, I will start at the beginning. I truly believe that God puts me where I need to be, and all things happen for a reason. We were supposed to be going to Atlanta Friday after I got off from work, but when I got home our A/C was out, so since Matt and Billie were still at Dolly Wood, I told him to just stay and have fun and I would get the A/C fixed (by calling a repair man! Not fixing it myself! HEHE) The repair man got there very late, but it didn't matter since we had already decided to leave early the next morning to go to Atlanta. Matt and Billie had a wonderful time; enjoyed his last day off since he started work today! They got in very late and we all went straight to bed. I had dropped Nalla off at Bill and Wanda's to stay for the weekend since we would be gone. I really feel like Nalla went there so everyone there would have one last visit with her, and our A/C broke so I could still be in Knoxville that night. Wanda called me about 1:30 in the morning to tell me Nalla was sick and they were taking her to the Pet ER. She had to call three times and text me because I was in such a deep sleep! I am sure she wondered if I would ever wake up! I rushed down there and the Vet said Nalla's stomach had turned over, which basically cut off oxygen to the rest of her intestines and those parts were dying. She was in a lot of pain but by the time I got there they had already given her a lot of meds to get her comfortable. The doctor did offer surgery, but her survival rate was 25% or less. She was almost 12 years old, so we made the painful decision to put her to sleep. My biggest concern was for Billie, bless her heart. She has had so much loss and it just keeps going. Of course, we knew it was coming eventually. Nalla's vet thought she probably had colon cancer two years ago, and she has done very well considering. Needless to say, we are all heart broken. I know in my heart I will never love another dog the way I loved her. She really was special, and not just because she was mine. She was just so sweet. Everyone that spent time with her fell in love with her. You couldn't help it. She only cared if we were happy; she had no concern for her own happiness at all. She complained of nothing, and required nothing. She loved Billie and I so much. She loved a lot of people, but we were definitely very special to her. There are no words to help you understand how great she was, you will just have to trust me that the world has lost a precious dog. Bill, Wanda and I stayed with her to the end. We were able to tell her how much we loved her and hold her paw and kiss her goodbye. I told her to give her Daddy and big kiss on the face and to let Joshua and Caleb ride on her back. I am sure she did just that. Nalla was never quite the same after Michael died. She had really been his dog. You know how dogs usually pick a person? Well, Michael was her person. Billie and I took his place mostly, but she always looked for him. Danny, my step-dad, used to come by every few weeks and drive Michael's truck and wash it for me. Every time he pulled back in the drive way, Nalla would get so excited! And when Danny would come in, she would be happy to see him but then she would sit in front of the window the rest of the night. I always felt she was waiting for her Daddy to come home. I finally told Danny to take the truck and keep it at their house because I couldn't stand putting Nalla through that any more. It broke my heart. She was so special. I know she was so happy to be with her Daddy again. Billie thinks they are fishing together, and they probably are.

We buried her Sunday at Bill and Wanda's house, right next to Suzie. (Suzie the dog, as Billie has always called her.) I am so thankful that they loved Nalla as much as I did. And so thankful to have a place to put her. I can't believe she is gone, and I know it will take me a while to get over this loss. It feels like she is just spending the night with her grandparents and she will be back tomorrow. Billie took the news very good, of course. I was so worried about her, but even though she was upset, she was able to calm down and move on. She is very strong and amazing. She cried last night and asked God in her prayer to please give Nalla a kiss for her. I know some people do not believe that dogs go to heaven, but heaven with out dogs would not be heaven to me so they must be there!

P.S. Please pray for the Delgado's- Jason has the Swine Flu and Vanessa is pregnant and we do not want her or Kenya to get it. And we want Jason to get way better real fast, too!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Synchronous Fireflies!

We had the most wonderful weekend camping with family at Elkmont. If you haven't heard of the synchronous fireflies, they are amazing and wonderful and a wonderful spectacle of God's miracles. The way the park ranger told the story, the fireflies live under ground and they have a life span of two years. They come out to mate for three weeks every June and then they die. The females light up on the ground and the males light up in the air. Somewhere in the middle, they meet. The thing about these fireflies at Elkmont that make them so special is that they light up together. A synchronous song that is absolutely beautiful and amazing. They blink, we counted 7 times but the park ranger said 6 times, and then they are "silent." It feels like they are making music, and then they stop and everything is dark, almost pitch black. A few seconds later, and they blink again 7 times. It reminded me of a concert. Darkness as the band leaves the stage, and the crowd anticipates an encore. The flashes of thousands of cameras then light up and sparkle everywhere you look. All over the ground, in the air, in the trees, to your left, to your right and above you. You are basically surrounded by twinkling lights. And then it is dark; silent again. It just shows you how intricate God's creations are. The park ranger told us if you take the fireflies down from Elkmont, they will not be synchronous anymore. There is only one other place in the world where they are synchronous; somewhere in Asia, although I admit I am not sure where at. Matt and I went on our second date to see the fireflies. They were spectacular then, too. We went back there one year later and Matt proposed that night. We had our wedding ceremony there, too. And this year we took Billie and showed her how amazing Elkmont and the synchronous fireflies are! She loved them. She loves Elkmont, we have taken here there several times. She loves "our Rock"; the rock we sat on while on our second date; the same rock Matt proposed to me on. We also took Brian and Cathie, Matt's parents, David and Janet, Matt's brother and his girlfriend, Kevin, Amy and Susan, Matt's cousins, with us this year. They all teased us about "our rock" but we decided they were just jealous! Elkmont is very special to us and we always find something new there that makes us love it more. The fireflies seemed to be even more spectacular this year than they have been in the past. They were last night, anyway. We found a little dark road that no one was on and we were over a gully and able to just sit down and wait patiently. They were all over the ground, just a sea of fireflies twinkling. They were in the air all around us, too. It truly is spectacular. I wonder why God created those fireflies. To make them so special and so unique, different than any other fireflies in the world. They have a purpose, just like we all do. We just have to be open to God's will and let him be in control of our lives and lead us to the great things he has in store for us.

We also found an old cemetery up there. Billie and I had a wonderful time reading the tombstones. You could almost tell the entire history of the people buried there by reading the tombstones. One couple had lost several infant children, and the wife was very young when she passed as well; 28 years old. She passed away just a few years after two of her infant children. Her babies only lived a few days, one of them passed the same day she was born. What we found so interesting is that the husband passed away 62 years after the wife did. They were buried there right next to each other, after all those years. And there were fresh flowers placed on the grave. I wonder if they didn't have one or more children that did survive that kept flowers there for them. There is no point to all this rambling other than just to share with you how interesting we found the story, and how our minds ran wild with it and tried to fill in the gaps. While my heart broke for them, I felt a sort of bond with them, too. The loss of a spouse way before their time. Their precious babies ripped from their arms. I know too well the heartache that leaves. I thought to myself that losing two babies is enough to kill you. We couldn't help but want to hear the whole story. I will think of them for a long time.

So on to the latest with us, I know I promised to fill you in on the iPhone. No real luck there, after a week in the rice it still wouldn't power on. We took it to Apple to see what they suggested, and they told us to sell it on EBay. We were very honest about it-big bold letters saying "WATER DAMAGED iPhone" and it sold! Unbelievable! We were so lucky, and so happy! Matt was able to replace it with the money he got from the sale of the river sunk phone!

As far as the theft of all the camping equipment, our insurance company covered it all, minus our deductible. We were very fortunate, and thank goodness for insurance! You think when you are having to pay for it, what is the point? But they were wonderful and quick and very fair. We were able to replace most of what was stolen, and will eventually replace the rest as we need it, if we need it.

Matt did get a job! He will start on June 15. We are so thankful and happy. This will be very different for him, going out to a job every day instead of working from the house. We are so excited about it though. It will be a big change for him, so I am prayerful that he will love it and adjust well. We will miss him around the house, though. Billie especially, because they have been able to spend so much time together. We will just have to be like most families and be thankful for the time we have when we are not at work and school.

We do have some sad news to share with you. I thought about not sharing this, but you have been so faithful and prayerful for us, I decided you deserved to know. We were expecting another baby, but I lost it to miscarriage at 5 1/2 weeks. It would have been due January 28, 2010. Just a few days after I was due with Billie! I feel like it was a girl, just a gut feeling, of course. I am doing OK now, but I had a hard week. I know God has wonderful plans for us and I just have to be patient and know that it is His will and His timing that is good and right, and not my own. I loved that baby, and we were so excited. I mourned that baby and continue to do so, but I know that God has a plan for me and my family. The doctors are not sure what happened. They did do some testing and I may get some more information next week, and they may not get any more information that will help us. 1 in 4 babies are miscarried, it is just very common and most of the time the reason is not known. Brian told Matt a beautiful truth that really helped me. He was his mother's fourth child. She had lost two between his sister and him, and if she had not lost them, he would not have been born. They would have stopped at two. How beautiful is that? Not only would we not have had Brian, but we would not have had Matt and David, Chandler, Joshua and Caleb, either. That gave me the hope I needed to get through those first few days, when the darkness was almost more than I could stand and I didn't want to live. I am ashamed to admit how low I let it get me, how sad and distraught I was. But I am better today, and seeing God in Elkmont, in His fireflies. that helped me get to this point. I am blessed by a wonderful husband, a super fantastic daughter, and an amazingly awesome support group in my family and friends. I have to keep my chin up and keep going for all of them. I am excited to see what God has in store for me in the next year. Joshua and Caleb's birthday is right around the corner and we plan on celebrating it and celebrating what they did for us and what they did for so many others. God blessed us with beautiful miracle twin boys, and I am going to be thankful for that no matter what curves are thrown at me. God loves me and God is good.

Thank you so much for your support and faithful prayers. I know I always tell you I will write again soon, and I guess I will just tell you I mean well. I promise I will always eventually update you and share with you. And I will try to do better about getting updates to you! Love to you all!