Thursday, May 29, 2008

And then there were three....

Cramer Finds a Home

So the first of our little ones has gone to live with one of the pastors from Timberview! Cramer (the red merle male) won the hearts of Barb and Palmer and spent the night with them last night. I thought I was ready for them to start leaving the nest, but it's harder than I thought! They actually took Buzz, too, for the night to figure out which puppy personality matched with their family, but he was delivered back this morning. I was happy to have him back at least for a few days. Next to Ali (our #2 granddog), Buzz is my favorite. He has personality bubbling out of him and has totally won me over even though he is FULL of energy and VERY mischievous. He is extremely smart and will be a fabulous dog if whoever his owner is can survive the first couple years of puppyhood. He is always the first to jump up in my lap for a face-licking and is just SOOO happy to be with people.

Cramer will get a new name now and a new family to have tons of fun with. The best part is that I will still get to watch him grow up! Be happy, Cramer!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Thoughts on Life and Death.....

So I'm feeling a bit philansophical (did I spell that right?) today after spending some time last night with my friend Karen who lost her son two years ago, and after hearing that Stephen Curtis Chapman's 5 year old daughter died after being run over by her brother. I started thinking about what it meant to me to lose a child and what God taught me in the process. There are many, many things I have learned, but I will list three big lessons here:

1. Having faith does not mean that if you pray hard enough or believe hard enough, God will heal or spare you loss. It does mean that you trust completely that He is able to do anything we can ask or imagine, but He doesn't always. Having faith means that even when He doesn't, you still know without a doubt that He loves you.

2. Well intentioned people will say and do stupid things that add to your pain and you must learn to extend grace for their ignorance. They didn't mean to hurt you, they are merely stupid. They will never understand how stupid they are until they go through great loss. In the meantime, it doesn't help anyone, including you, to get angry or resentful or unforgiving.

3. Loss is loss. You can't compare it, or quantify it, or measure it. Someone may be completely devastated to lose a 90 year old parent or to suffer a miscarriage or to have their house burn down or to lose their favorite pet. It may not seem to you to be as difficult as what you have gone through, but it doesn't matter. Life is often painful and we can relate to each other's suffering just as Christ did in the garden. We're all in this broken world together and we need to not compare losses great or small, but embrace the commonality.

I am grateful for these lessons, though I don't think I will ever be able to say I am grateful for the experience of losing a child. Karen and I both agree that it still hurts and as long as we are where we are and our kids are where they are, it will always hurt. But someday...... and I can be overwhelmingly grateful for that!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Keeping up with the Cones

Playing outside is really fun.....

and a lot of hard work!

Another busy weekend. Why do the weekends go so fast?! We're having amazing weather the past few days and it feels like my favorite season of the year. It's great to be able to take the puppies outside to romp in the yard. Can't resist taking pictures of all their cuteness....

Last night Keith, Whit, Travis and I went to Prince Caspian with several of the Timberview staff. We met first for dinner, then recapped the movie over dessert. Good times, good movie.

Today Gail, her daughter Kayla and I walked to the church (just under 5 miles) and then I stayed and helped paint the church nursery while they walked home. It was starting to get pretty warm by the time we got to the church, so I was just as glad to be inside even though I was working. Tonight we are going to BBQ with our friends John and Karen after Keith gets home from umpiring three games of state championship baseball. He will probably end up falling asleep on their couch - it's what happens when you're an old guy trying to keep up with the young kids - ha, ha!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great News!

For all you Seth fans out there, you'll be cheering over the fact that Seth gets to go home tomorrow! This is a huge day for him and his family and I am soooo happy for them. He will be coming home with an i.v. line and he will be fed directly through his tummy, but this is a HUGE step and we are celebrating!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Almost Four Weeks

Cramer the Calm

Woody the Worrier

Ali the Adventurer

Buzz the Boisterous

Here are recent photo attempts of the gang. Holding still for pictures is not what they are about these days, so each picture was a challenge. Ali is the explorer - she has to check out EVERYTHING and demands to be out of the box more than any of the boys. Woody is the worrier; he does everything with caution. Buzz is just happy as long as someone's paying attention to him and Cramer reminds me of Eeyore, always a forlorn, needy look about him. They are a lot of fun now, but it is a challenge to keep them all rounded up on our outside excursions. Hard to believe that in 3 weeks they will be ready to go to their new homes. Since two of them are going to people we know, it will be fun to watch them grow up!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Walking, walking, walking.....

So today Gail and I felt challenged (well mostly Gail felt challenged and I just forced myself) to walk 10 miles to prove that we could do it ahead of the big race day. We were joined for the first half of the "course" by our friend Lana who could basically kick both of our butts in the walking department. But she was nice enough to slow her pace so that we could visit along the way. We did take a brief refresher at Starbucks at the halfway point, and accounting for that, we did the just under ten miles in 2.5 hours. By the last hill pretty much everything on my body was complaining, but we did it! I think we will be in good shape to finish the 10-miler and maybe even beat our last year's time. Yes, it's painful, but there are rewards in the suffering! (I'll let you know what they are as soon as my body stops hurting!)

Our puppies are growing up! They are eating solids now and tormenting each other (yes, they do have teeth). They are super cute and getting distinct personalities. Cramer is the big lovable thug, Ali is the quick learner and pretty much rules the roost, Woody has become somewhat needy and a bit of a whiner, and Buzz is the friendly boy who wants to be with people all of the time. I'll get some new pics posted as soon as I can wrangle them into holding still long enough.

Happy Mom's Day to my wonderful Mom and other the other awesome moms out there. I know I have the best one in the whole world, but I'm sure there are some other great ones! Roch and Keith are whipping up a fabulous brunch for our families tomorrow. Travis's mom, Karen, is in town and will join us at church and the brunch. She's just visiting though and will head back to Vancouver on Monday. She plans to head to China in June to visit Dan and then will probably move up after that. As for me, I love being a mom and think my kids are extra fabulous! Happy Mom's Day to me, too!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Alex!

I know this is a day late, but I was busy working and celebrating with Alexander Jordan Cone who turned 19 yesterday. Our celebration amounted to dinner at Tomato Street (one of his favorites) and then out to the house to open gifts and share strawberry shortcake (his favorite dessert) and some puppy holding.

It's still hard for me to think of him as all grown up now and hopefully he still "needs" me from time to time even though he is almost completely independent. I think back over the years with all the laughter as well as the few gray hairs he induced and how much joy he has brought to our family. I see so many good qualities in him: an adventurous spirit, a sensitivity toward other people, kindness, humor, ambition..... I'd like to take credit for some of those great characteristics, but since he isn't genetically linked and since I can't say that I alone instilled all of those in him, I have to give God credit for making him all the wonderful things he is.

Alex, I love the person you are and am so delighted to call you my son. I love spending time and talking with you and I especially love your big bear hugs. I know God has big plans for you, so leave yourself open to Him and always remember to put Him first and keep pointing other people in the right direction (cuz that's one of your gifts!) I can't wait to see where you will go in life and the great husband and father you may one day be. Love ya son!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bloomsday Reflections

So due to our big Bloomsday promotion at church (70 people walking together including Pastor Glenn and Karen) we had a Saturday night spaghetti feed and service. It was fun and I enjoyed being able to get up early this morning and embark on a nice five mile jaunt to Starbucks for a refreshing venti green tea lemonade with two Splendas. It's a gorgeous, sunny day and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk (except Midway Hill!) and had Gail for great company and conversation.

Last night at the service the topic was relationships and how to do them right. I was quite reflective as my kids were busy with other things and Keith was umpiring, so I was with the Biever family. I started thinking about how fortunate I am in regards to relationships. My kids continue to bring a lot of joy into my life. Whitney, Travis and Alex are all delightful individuals that I love spending time with. Whit calls me to share ups and downs in life and she and Trav don't seem to mind hanging out with the old folks. I love having them around - they are good, Godly people. Alex is becoming an awesome adult who loves all kinds of people and is an advocate for the down and out. He impresses me with his ability to make people feel valued even if there isn't seemingly a lot to value. He has a way of getting people to try to make their lives better. He still says, "I love you, Mom" EVERY time we talk on the phone. Ask me about my kids and I just might get drippy - I am so proud of them.

Keith and I are perfect companions and I know if all goes well with our health, etc., we will happily grow old together. I'd like to credit my good taste in picking a husband, but really he picked me and I feel very fortunate. We've been through a lot and come out the other side stronger. We ENJOY spending time together.

But I also am so thankful for the fact that though my extended family is far away and I have good relationships with all of them, I have friends who have become my family here. I do feel I have missed out on things with my mom and dad and sisters and their families and my friend/sister Mishell and her family just because of distance. I would love to see them WAY more often - I have a GREAT family. But I am so thankful for Gail and Roch and other friends who are my family here. We share everything, good and bad, and I feel loved and supported in a way that I would be if I were closer to my extended family. Pastor Glenn said that we need to be able to be honest and tap into the resource of our friends and family. Really we make lousy islands. We need each other to get through a life that is sometimes downright ugly.

So for all of you, and you know who you are - thank you for making my relationships so amazing and valuable. I am blessed beyond what words can describe.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Seth Update

For those of you who have inquired about little Seth, here's the latest. I spoke to Kathryn this morning and Seth is breathing totally on his own and had his chest tubes removed, so now he only has the feeding tube. He has to get good at eating one way or another before they will let him come home, so that is the next matter of prayer. He's improving every day and his family is feeling much relief and very optomistic that his homecoming will be SOON! Keep those prayers going up!

The Gang

All the eyes are open now, but you'd never know it as they are always either sleeping or eating.... Whitney and Travis decided they should at least have temporary names instead of calling them "brown puppy, gray puppy, black and white puppy, and black, brown and white puppy". So for now the brown one is "Cramer", the gray one "Ali", the black and white one "Buzz" and the black, brown and white one is "Woody". Whit and Trav show up about every other day to help with the "people bonding" and I get my snuggles in daily, so these pups will be well acquainted with people by the time they get their new homes. We think three are spoken for already. Anyone want a really cute male named "Buzz?" He is the charming first-born with beautiful markings (and I see a bit of brown coming through - he will likely look like Taz), though I have to admit at this point he's a bit needy (whines more than the others).

They are all less than cooperative with the picture taking thing, but here's a couple recent pics.