Tag Archives: dogs



Birthday Banner

I’ve run 4 marathons, but I’ve never run a 10k–until Sunday. The weather was sunny enough to make you happy, cool enough to keep you from wilting.

I’ve been worried that I haven’t been running enough miles, but the 10k gave me more confidence. I was actually passing people UNDER the age of 80 during the race and finished with a smile (and in 56 minutes).

It was a great way to begin my birthday week.

My Crossfit coach gave me a birthday present in the form of 50 burpees, 100 pushups and 150 walking lunges interspersed between sprints of varying lengths.

The good news is that now at age 40, I am healthier than I’ve ever been. And that is exactly how I wanted to begin this next phase of life.

But life is still life. My week has been filled with (mostly) a good kind of chaos, but chaos nonetheless. My actual birthday morning began by scrubbing the dog’s behind at 6:00 am. Then I spent half the morning finding his special food, which he wouldn’t eat anyway. Now we have an emergency vet appointment to find out why he’s not eating or drinking. Poor little thing.

But being at an emergency vet appointment isn’t how I envisioned spending my 40th birthday. Obviously, I love my fluffy little dog, and who cares about a birthday when he is miserable? It’s just not what I ‘planned.’

I’ve had to do all kinds of uncomfortable things this week–specifically, making several appointments in German, which is nearly as taxing to me mentally as burpees are physically.

All I want to do is stay home one day this week, but it doesn’t look like that will happen until Saturday, and even then I’ll have to leave for a few hours for my long run.  I look back on my ‘sick day’ last week with a warped kind of fondness because I got to lay on the couch and eat jello.

As a wife & mom & servant of God, I don’t write my own schedule. I have to interact with other human beings and figure out how I can best help them. I have to talk to God and actually obey Him when He tells me what path to take–and usually, that path isn’t the easy one.

So while my milestone birthday did not include a luxury vacation, it did include a date with my husband; a card from Libby that was so incredibly sweet it made me cry (and scared her a little); gorgeous earrings in my favorite color, and a ‘Mom’ necklace, bought with hard earned teenage money; lots of hugs & an old hat of mine (which I had loaned out); and a custom-made comic strip, with humor that always makes me laugh.

Libby's card made me cry!

Libby’s card made me cry!

Katie went over the top with my beautiful, elegant cake, and all the kids helped decorate to make my birthday morning (once I was done scrubbing the dog) special.

As much as I dreamed of escaping to a beach somewhere, this birthday has been the best one ever because of the pure and simple love that pours out from my family, even though I don’t deserve it.

40 birthdays behind me.

I look forward to 80 more.


Stopping for Directions


Charlie 13 weeks ruler

“I think you got the pick of the litter,” the veterinary technician told me (for the second time).

“Thanks,” I said, shoving my fingers in Charlie’s mouth to remove a wad of extraneous cat fur he had found in the corner.

“His energy really suits your family.”

I bent down to grab Charlie, as he had darted under my chair, and was eagerly mining for treasure along the baseboards.

I didn’t know what to say.

The puppy is a typical puppy: hyper at times, hungry all the time, occasionally bitey, and he nearly chokes himself to death coming home from walks.

But still…I think she meant it as a compliment.

I uttered something about how we approached this puppy venture: we didn’t rush into anything; we found a good breeder; and made certain the pup’s temperament was suitable; but each of those things sounded hollow, so I found myself ending my rambling proclamation with the fuzzy phrase, “It was meant to be.”

She smiled and nodded her head, “Yes,” she agreed, “It was meant to be.”

What I didn’t describe was all the prayer that went into this. I mean, how exactly do you tell someone you bother God with requests for puppies? It just sounds weird. Isn’t God too important to worry about whether I find a docile dog?

But I did pray.

I prayed that if God wanted us to have a dog, He would illuminate our path and allow us to find a pup that would be a blessing to our family and also a joy to others.

I had very little to do with the entire process except follow the trail and eventually dish up a few euro.

There is no way I could have orchestrated all this:

  • The breeder was reputable and wasn’t too far away 
  • They currently had a litter of chocolate labs
  • They had a submissive (or “feminine”) boy
  • He would be ready to come home ON the very day of my wedding anniversary
  • His personality is perfect

This is not to say that if you pray for a Maserati or a mansion you’ll get one. God is not ebay.

But if you know God, and He knows you, then you can approach Him with any little thing in your life.

He’s not bothered by it, in fact, He welcomes it. I have a relationship with God, which means we chat. And when I need advice, I go to Him. And when I think a puppy is a good idea, I ask Him to show me if it is or not.

In this case, Charlie was meant to be part of this crazy journey of ours.

So the next time someone praises the puppy, I’m just going to tell them–it wasn’t about finding the right breeder or doing research or being selective (though those things are important)–it was about stopping to ask directions, and perhaps most importantly, following them.

Because God doesn’t merely plan the route, He created the map.

Wild Rumpus



You would think without marathon training, I would have oodles of leisure time on my hands, but my life has taken a new turn with the addition of The Puppy.

The first few months are crucial for dog training, and I want to do it right for a change, which means we are one busy family at the moment.

My days are filled with feeding, exercising, teaching, cleaning-up after and correcting the pack, which also includes the kids.

When we first brought The Puppy home, our Havanese wouldn’t go near him, preferring to snarl from under the table, rather than play. But now that ‘Charlie’ has been with us for two weeks, Pepin has relaxed to the point where he will now sniff at Charlie when the pup is asleep, no doubt checking for vital signs. This is progress.

Charlie plays hard and sleeps hard. When he plays, he is a whirlwind, when he sleeps, we can hold him upside down and he doesn’t even twitch an eyelid. He sleeps so soundly that one of the kids worriedly asked, “Is he okay?”

Charlie also loves the snow. He will roll in it and shove his snout through it and lay down in it and eat it.

Charlie and Bailey

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

Charlie has a lot to learn, but I can see the wheels turning in his mind as he works at something new.

At ten weeks, not only will Charlie sit and lay down on command without me having to say a word, but he will also go from laying down back up to sitting (9 times out of 10) when I use only hand signals. We are working on ‘stay’ and ‘leave it,’ with excellent results. He is by far the smartest dog I’ve ever owned (no offense to Pepin–our ‘grumpy old man’).

I have to admit, I am having fun training the dogs. It’s a challenge for me, and if you know me at all, you know I love challenges.

Bailey (the Awesome Chocolate Lab who started it all) is currently staying with us, and thus, our week has been filled with wild rumpus moments where you know EXACTLY where the Wild Things are (in your room, eating your socks) and scenes so tender they could have been scripted by Hallmark.

Always something new to learn

Sweet moments

It has also felt a little like doggy boot camp here in the German countryside as I try to emulate the Dog Whisperer, but I love looking down and seeing those lovely faces staring patiently at me–waiting for their post-walkies carrots.

Will work for carrots!

Will work for carrots!

But something about the way Charlie follows me around the house, sitting nicely and staring at me with his gorgeous eyes makes me wonder:

Am I training him, or is he training me?