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God’s Perfect Timing, and my heartbreak

My Aunt died Tuesday. She was 53 years young and so full of life….until she wasn’t. Through all this I know God has perfect timing. I’m trusting his hand in this and just holding strong for those around me that are shredded by grief and pain and loss.

I put on a smile and hug those that need it most. I retell stories from happy times gone by. Like when my Aunt bought me and my brother and my cousin super soakers (waterguns) for Christmas one year and we played outside in the snow and cold for hours with her climbing trees and ducking around corners to surprise each other with a face full of water. Her smile was radiant. She took me to minister and feed the homeless on numerous occasions. No neighborhood too scary or tough for the 115 lb God fearing ball of love that was my Aunt. She was armed with bibles and Gods light, because that’s all she needed in this life. And numerous other stories I’ll clutch in my heart and retell again and again.

This morning is the eve of goodbye and my heart is breaking for those around me. I’m having a stiff drink and scheduling time with my bible.

Please pray. Pray for peace and comfort and wisdom in this journey.

7

So I Fell in Love With A Death Row Inmate

I did. Fall in love. With the biggest brown eyes and toothy smile I have ever seen in my life. He is the typical tough guy, full of devilish good looks and rippling muscle. And a dash of mystery. His name is Tyson aka Jelly B Yellow, he is a two year old pitt bull mix. I agreed to foster him for a local (ish) rescue called Unleashed Rescue. He was on death row in Greater Kansas City Animal Control. I just couldn’t say no. 

I picked him up today, not knowing what I would find. All three of my girls in tow and a collar and leash to be filled. Let me tell you,  what I found was heart breaking. The smell about knocked me flat when we went inside the building. There were huge smokestacks to the crematorium outside. It was dark and I could hear dozens of cries from the back. This was definitely death row. 

I gave the bored worker my info, as well as the collar and leash. An attendant brought out Tyson. He smelled terrible… scratches and wounds adorned his body. Possibly cuts from trying to escape? From being handled roughly? I prepared myself to see a broken soul. Instead a smiling, tail Wagging, exuberant soul met me and the girls. He looked carefree and happy despite his condition. 

The forgiveness dogs offer has always amazed me. Here he was in deplorable conditions and he still wore a happy grin and fostered a bounce in his step. He was happy to see me. A perfect stranger to him. 

We got him in the car quickly. He sat quietly observing me. Blessing me with his contagious grin. And his horrible smell. I’m still wondering if I’ll ever get that smell out of my new Yukon. Oh well if I don’t. It will remind me how easily some people throw life away. How easily some souls are deamed inferior and dismissed so easily because someone got tired of them. Cast aside like filth and sent to death because someone suddenly decided they had no value. I took this photo minutes after rescuing him from death row. Those stacks in the back ground are from the crematorium. So close to death, and yet he smiles. Ironic hey?

The ride home was uneventful. He was quiet and  stared at me. Trying to make sense of his situation. Wondering if I’d be his saviour or his warden. I guess at some point he decided I was a good person. 

Got home, gave him a much needed bath and a meal. Poor chap is so thankful. He tried to eat Eli (our housecat) once, and tried to jump the two little girls. So I sit here with him on a leash for the while day. Yikes! This rescue business is work. In exhausted and this is only day one! How do people do this every day. Day in day out? It’s exhausting. Or did I already say that? But that smile is so worth it. 

After bath and meal we had a two mile walk and played with toys. He pulls on the lead. Not to be mean. No one has ever taught him anything. He’s a seventy pound puppy.

So that’s my story of how I Fell in Love With A Death Row inmate. He won’t stay on the HK Bar forevor. If circumstances were different he would be my forevor dog. But reality is not as such. The HK Bar will be a stepping stone, a place to rest and be loved. A short stop on his journey to his forevor life. I know as long as I live I’ll never forget Tyson. He has changed me. Forevor. 

5

When Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Steals Your Best Friend

Over the past few months my family and I have noticed marked changes in one of our canine kids, Tucker. Tucker is my 10.5 year old Australian cattle dog. He has been my right hand man for over a decade. He has always been reliable, happy, social, and outgoing. Over the past few months he has become a much different dog.

As most heelers, he has always stuck very close to home…..until recently. He has wandered off to the neighbors house twice……I caught him a mile from home just walking down the center of the road aimlessly…. And he will stand in the middle of the road, or sit, like he has no idea where he is. And I don’t think he does know where he is anymore.

We have also noted that he is sleeping much more than usual. He also requests to go outside multiple times, when he has just been let out. Then he just stands there and then wants back in. He has always been very social with both people and animals. He nipped at a barn cat buddy of his that rubbed up against him…. And this morning he snapped and growled at Flash.

After having him examined by our veterinarian, she suggested he may have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Or in layman’s terms, Doggy Alzheimers. Many of the symptoms associated with this are, sleep disturbances, wandering off, staring into space, incontinence, not answering or following commands, trouble negotiating stairs, or new situations, among others…….

So now he only goes outside if I am with him. I can’t leave him to wander off and get lost to starve….or stand in the road and cause a car accident, or get hit ….. Not that he has much interest in doing much these days.

So now comes the struggle…. Am I making the right choice by keeping him on this earth…. Is his quality of life good enough? Is my own selfishness keeping him here in a world that is now cloudy and confusing for him?

At this time I just really don’t know. I am struggling with what decision, if any, to make. All I know is, my best friend has changed. But just because he has changed doesn’t mean I don’t love him like I always have. He has always been here for me…. Now I just have to be here for him, and make the right decisions for him.

Please pray for guidance, for emotional strength, and the courage it will take for this journey in our lives.

From the HK Bar to the world, hug your pets, enjoy them, love them as they are.

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2

Losses

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Today started just like any other. The alarm went off at 0500 and I started my day bathing the girls, getting them dressed, cooking breakfast, finding boots and Boos school bag. All the normal things I usually do.

Until I went to the back door to call our cat in. Her name is Nermle or Jingle Bell, it depends on who you ask. Unlike all the other mornings that she comes bounding in the door entertaining us with her antics and yowling conversation., she didn’t show. No Nermle. No Jingle Bell. No bounding. No yowling. Just a deathly silence.

I grew up knowing that on a farm there will be loss of life. I was taught that cows, pigs, sometimes even chickens would end up as supper, and that in that loss we gained. I was taught there would also be other losses of life, even among our dearest pets; dogs, horses, cats.

And today my children, the children of the next farming generation, the children of the HK Bar will be taught these lessons of loss.

My husband Kevin found Nermle. Lifeless.

Of course Boo and Owl at One and Two are too young to realize that Nermle is no longer with us. Out of sight out of mind. Boo is at school right now so I’m spending my hours today thinking of the family discussion we will have when she gets home from school, and the funeral we will have, and how we will all cry and hurt together over the loss of our wonderful kitty.

In all this I thank God for these lessons that he is teaching my girls. I thank Him that they too, like I did and the generations of farm families before me learned; there will always be loss; but in every loss there will be gain. Even if the gain is learning how to say goodbye, even if the lesson smashes your heart into a million pieces.

Today we will celebrate a life.
Today we will cry.
Today we will say goodbye.
Today we will learn what loss is.

And in that we will be reminded how beautiful life truly is.

From the HK Bar to the world, in life, there will always be losses.

11

Sad Day on the HK

Its almost four a.m. now and I have been lying in bed for nearly an hour trying to go back to sleep, without success. As many of you know we have one miniature horse named Black Magic that was due to foal in just a matter of weeks. We have been checking her round the clock every few hours as her time was getting closer. My husband found her passed away just a few short hours ago. She showed no signs of illness or labor, so we aren’t sure what happened.

Its quite a shock to see death when you are expecting life. My heart is breaking knowing ill have to tell Boo, Owl, and Bunny that Magic is gone. Instances like this just remind me to live the best life I can right now, in THIS moment and the immediate next, because we never know when its going to be our time. Its as simple as here one moment, and gone the next. No one is ever promised tomorrow, or even the next minute.

If you’re the praying kind, please say an extra prayer for me and my girls. Some would say she was just a horse, but to us they are like family. 😦

6

The Christmas Bob died for us (like Jesus)

When my oldest daughter Boo was three years old she cried after we took our Christmas tree down. She had named our tree Bob. We explained to her that Bob would be replanted by Daddy and we could use him again next year. So we fibbed to temporarily salvage her heart.

Last Christmas when Boo was four she excitedly welcomed Bob back into our home for the Christmas season. When Christmas was over, we took down the tree, and a cascade of tears followed with Bobs parting. But again we explained that Bob would be taken back out, replanted by daddy, and we could use him again next year.

This Christmas our Boo is five. Today we went out to cut our tree and Boo looked at me, laughed, and said

” Mom, I know this tree isn’t Bob. I know Bob died after Christmas last year, he died because we cut him down. He was a good tree for us, but he died so we could enjoy him for Gods birthday. Kind of like when Jesus died on that cross for us. They both gave us a gift, their lives.”

Wow! My little Boo has grown so wise. This is the year I will always remember Bob died for us, just like Jesus died for us on the cross.

From the HK Bar to the world, be merry, be blessed.

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Boo and Bob this year

0

In an Instant; A story of survival and a life changed.

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August 2013 I received a call that changed my family’s life forever. I’ll never forget what I was doing. Boo my oldest daughter was sitting on my lap reading a book, Owl my middle daughter was rocking in her baby swing nearby, and I was heavily pregnant with my youngest daughter bunny. My cell rang with a sharp noise and I answered it immediately when the caller I.d. displayed that it was my husband calling.

“Hello?”

I heard raspy breathing and sharp intakes of breath, my blood went cold,

“Honey, I love you. I’ve lost a boot and I can’t find it. It all happened so fast. The truck oh god the truck. I hit my head. I rolled the semi. There’s pieces all over the road. There is blood everywhere. I’m so sorry honey I love you and the girls. I was just trying to get home. The window was down. It was so hot. My head hurts so bad. I’m alive, someone is stopping to help me now. Its okay now, ill be home soon.”

My husband had been in our semi hauling round bales of hay when he hit loose gravel and rolled the entire truck. If his drivers side window would not have been rolled down he surely would have been killed.

A neighbor, and good friend of ours came upon the accident only moments after it happened. He later told me,

I just knew I was going to find Staley dead in that truck.”

Instead he found my husband disoriented and walking down the side of the road picking up pieces of his truck. He was only wearing one boot and had a huge head injury. He was covered in blood, speaking rapidly, and obviously in shock.

Soon after that another friend and neighbor arrived on the scene with a tractor and towed the semi home to the HK Bar. Kevin received medical attention and I spent the remainder of that night waking him up and changing ice packs on his head.

My husband repeatedly told me,

“I remember it all happened in slow motion, I asked God to let me live. I told him I had four girls that needed me home.”

The next morning I walked out our back door and saw the semi. I couldn’t believe my husband had survived , but then remembering my husbands plea to God to let him live, I knew it was Gods will that he was still taking air into his lungs.

This accident changed my husband forevor. He had danced on the precipice of death and had been pulled back by and almighty hand. He now takes time to kiss his four girls every time he goes to leave, he takes no un needed chances, and he appreciates every last breath he takes.

This accident also changed my life. It taught me to hold my husband close and never miss an opportunity to tell him how much I love him.

That night if my husband’s window had not been rolled down he surely would have been killed the way the impact and damage happened to the truck. He said he had rolled the window down because the a/c couldn’t keep the cab cool because it was so hot.

I thank God for that hot day, I thank god for a rolled down window, and I thank god for letting my husband come home to his girls that night, and every night since then…..

Hold those dear to you close, and never, never miss an opportunity to tell them how much you love them.

Our lives could have been so different………
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