Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tears in the Snow

Today we almost lost Snowy.

For good. Forever.

We got three inches of snow last night. When Steve got up at 5 am to let Snowy out onto the back deck, the leash that we usually hook him to was completely buried. So Steve left Snowy outside for just a second to “do his business” while he ran back inside to get a coat.

When Steve returned, Snowy had disappeared.

It was 30 degrees and still snowing as Steve went out and called for Snowy. And he called and called.

There was no answering response; no flash of white fluff headed back in his direction.

For an hour, Steve continued to call Snowy’s name, and drive the neighborhood.


He finally came up and woke me about 6 am and explained what had happened. He said he wanted me to go downstairs to be available in case Snowy returned while he started driving around surrounding neighborhoods.

Of course, both of us were thinking, “Small dog. Freezing temperature. Is he even still alive?”

As soon as Steve drove away, I threw on my coat over my pajamas and started walking up and down our street in the darkness, with snow and tears smearing my glasses.

“Snowy! Snowy! Come, Snowy!”

Walk. Call. Cry. Pray. Repeat. Tears in my eyes. Tears in the snow.

I walked for ten minutes and heard and saw nothing. He’d been gone an hour and a half by that point and I knew that he could have wandered far away or else he could be hung up in some of the underbrush in the woods surrounding our neighborhood. And although Steve was driving up and down the icy roads looking for him, I knew that it was very possible Snowy wouldn’t be in sight of any road.

I had just about given up any hope of finding him alive. I tried not to think about our little buddy, alone and cold, and freezing to death, wondering where his mom and dad and sister were; wondering why no one was coming to help him. And I tried not to think about him dying without loving hearts surrounding him.

And then I got to thinking about Sarah just starting a new school and struggling to adjust, and losing her best fluffy friend in the midst of it all. I couldn’t even imagine her grief and trauma.

More walking. More tears. More praying. More calling out his name.


I turned to walk back to the house, wondering if I should wake Sarah or let her sleep. I didn’t want to worry her needlessly but if things were to continue the way they were going, she needed to be told that her little buddy wasn’t coming back home.

I had been back in the house just a minute or two when Steve’s car pulled up and he walked into the house.

With Snowy under his jacket.

I absolutely could not believe my eyes. He was safe! And alive!

And just about frozen stiff.

There was ice hanging from the fur under his belly, he was soaking wet, glassy-eyed and lethargic. After I had kissed Snowy’s pitiful wet head, Steve took him upstairs to start drying him with a hair dryer while I threw a couple big towels in the dryer.

It was such a wonderful feeling to take that small shivering creature in my arms and wrap him in a big fluffy, warm towel. He lay very still on my lap, his breathing alarmingly slow, not whimpering, not moving.

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Steve worried about pneumonia; I wondered how low his core body temp had gotten. And Snowy just lay ever so still in the middle of it all.

As Snowy began to slowly warm up, I asked Steve where he had found him. Steve said that he had checked the neighborhoods to our north and then turned around to check in the other direction. And there, two neighborhoods over from ours, he finally found the prodigal, pitiful pup, limping slowly up the middle of the dark, silent street, soaked to the skin, covered in ice.

It was a miracle that Steve just happened to go down that particular street right as Snowy happened to be walking there. If he had gone to that neighborhood first, he might have missed Snowy altogether. And seeing a white dog against white snow in early morning darkness is not the easiest thing to do anyway.

So we just believe that God led Snowy to the right place at the right time so that he could be reunited with the family who loves him.

Snowy has a lot yet to accomplish in his life. He has to finish college. He has to ignore his instructor. He has to graduate “non cum laude.”

He has to continue to bring joy to the heart of his family who loves him so much.

Welcome home, little guy. Welcome home.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snowy Goes to College (Part 2)

Snowy has four more weeks of “college” left. I would love to say that he is going to graduate magma cum laude (or at least magma cum doggie) but I am afraid that is not the sort of lofty destiny our furry friend is headed for.

Case in point:

Here are some pictures of Snow “learning” to heel in obedience class. The idea is that the dog is supposed to stay close to the person walking him and ignore the little pile of treats on the floor.


That’s what Snowy said to himself. Just, “Ha.”




He especially didn’t enjoy it when he had to “do his thing” in front of his watching canine cronies. The pressure was just too much.


Hide me sister. Hide me!


But he recovered quickly and was back to his usual charming self. “Hello sir! May I interest you in a box of encyclopedias?

Yup, a born salesman.


A born obeyer? Not so much.

Here he is being “taught” to sit. (Once again, he’s thinking, “Ha.”)


No sitting in sight.



At least until his backside gets a little encouragement from the trainer. Snowy brags to his audience, “See guys? I’m doin’ it! I’m really doin’ it!”


What he really wanted to do was to stop being trained and just hang out with his new best buds.


He was obviously going for the “Plays Well With Others” award, since magna cum doggie was out of reach.


Look! I am a happy dog! Look, teacher, at how happy I am! I know I am not obedient! But I am happy! Is there any reward for happy?


Finally. It’s time to go home. Another long evening of college has passed.

New friends have been made. New rules have been broken.

It’s been a good day.


Thursday, January 28, 2010













Steve and I are hosting a potluck lunch for four couples in the area who are also pastors. One couple we’ve already met—the other three couples are still strangers. We’re looking forward to getting acquainted with new friends over soup (yum), salad (yum), bread (yum), and dessert. (Um. None for me, thanks. Sigh.)

Somewhere between the bites of good food and the joy of good company, I will have to briefly excuse myself to pick up a certain child of my heart. I’ve been praying for her all day; she woke up this morning and said her stomach was all nervous again and she could barely eat breakfast.

I’ve honestly been expecting the phone to ring all morning with the school calling to say pick her up. But it’s 11:26 am and there’s been nary a ring.

I’m thankful.

And now? What in the world am I doing writing an update when I’m hosting a meal for ten?

Off I go!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sky Vision

This is my sister, Ruth, and her daughter, Hannah.

And this is my sister Debbie, her son, Caleb, and our own Princess Groovy Chick.

I have five siblings altogether--three older brothers to go along with my two little sisters. (In other words, Mom and Dad had six kids in ten years! And remained sane! And happy!)

Both of my sisters are writers. Debbie (the youngest of the family) is breezy and funny and quirky. If she happens to send a birthday card to one of my children without one of her memorable notes in it, they will call her to let her know that they were cheated and they will not let her rest until they get their official Aunt Debbie Note!

However, she can also write "beyond breezy." She and her pastor husband Randy, have collaborated on several devotional pieces that have been published. And when she and I wrote our dad's obituary together back in August, I was newly amazed at her flair for language with all its nuances.

Our sister Ruth is a different sort of writer altogether, a woman who says unexpected things in unexpected ways. She flips a phrase around and makes you see things in ways you may have never seen them before.

And Ruth is also a writer who writes.She sits in her little country farm house in rural Wisconsin and pours her words out on paper, completely unconcerned as to whether or not anyone will ever read them.

But I believe her words need to be read.

And so every once in a while, I'm going to feature one of Ruth's writings. I mean, what good is it to have a blog if not to share thoughts and words with the world!

So here is the first piece written by Ruth. Comment on it. Enjoy it. And take the words to heart.


Twilight is near and the air is still and hushed. A few birds are winging by, intent on settling away for the long night ahead. They are seeking a place of protection and privacy. Simply, rest.

I stand and watch the birds and the sky, both of them competing for my eyes. Do the birds see it, too? The sky? The colors floating delicately there in the west? Do they notice or care about the great stage that is set above earth's darkening horizon? See it as I do? Really see and take pleasure in some hurried, even careless way?

I want to believe that they do.

As they ruffle about on some secluded branch, checking feather tips and curled claws and beaks, perhaps they pause to appreciate the melting mauve streaks, glowing trails of scarlet, and faint wisps of teal spreading far out before them, mixing seamlessly with that endless hue of ageless blue.

Living as they do, constantly racing in the sky, diving and twisting, experts at maneuvering any tricky type of air wave, maybe they are the only ones who really know the true colors up there. They are the only ones who live in air and atmosphere; rain and sleet; dew and snow; mist and cloud.

Seeing every dust particle, like a cat in the dark, the detailed depths of relative space belongs to them, familiar as the back of their own tail feathers. They sense the tiniest change in every wind current and welcome the moist evening vapors clinging gently to their delicate bodies.

So I keep wondering....

Can a superb sunset enter their perception and bestow a kind of peace and blessing on the remains of their day, just as it does on mine? Does it ever enter the mind of a common sparrow to appreciate incredible form and beauty, thrown abroad for all to view? For all to be enthralled with... if only for a moment?

Yes, I believe it's possible. I believe that any eye can behold this rich splendor of vivid color. Here and now, even forever.

Open your eyes, along with the bird.

See the sky.

Sing for joy.

Ruth C. Rehberg © 2010
April 19, 2005

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sarah's Second Day

I just posted here about how Sarah's first week of school is going.

Long and Lean(ish)

Losing weight is a tough but very rewarding thing to do, especially when it entirely changes the shape of your face!

Case in point: Picture from driver's license issued March of 2007


Picture from driver's license issued January 2010.


Although nothing else on my body got terribly long and lean(ish), at least my face did! I guess I should be thankful for (relatively) small blessings.

And on the subject of weight loss, this is my third week of taking a break from desserts. I made a pan of brownies for the family last weekend and they sat on the counter and called my name. Commandingly. Loudly. Insistently. Convincingly.

I resisted. But let me just say that I did not want to resist. What I wanted to do was pull up a chair and cut a slab of brownie, slap it on a plate, warm it in the microwave, and then top it with half a quart of marshmallow, Oreo, Heath bar, cookie dough, chocolate chunk ice cream.

But I didn’t.

Because I like having one part of my body that is long and lean(ish). Even though it is just my face.



From the Comments Section:

“A Mom’s Serious Blunder” asked, “Any news on your other house?”

Well, even as as we speak, Steve is over at the house in Smithfield working on painting one last room and doing some final fix-its. We also just changed real estate agents and are hoping (and praying) that we will see results very soon.

The big time crunch right now is that we have a 6-month rent-to-own contract signed on the house we’re in. The contract ends on April 31st so if we haven’t closed on our Smithfield house by then, well, let’s just say we’ll be in a challenging situation.


Jonna asked who sang the sang in this "house video" I posted back in November.

The song is “Always Home” by a group called “Sound of Harris. I love that song, too!

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Day of School

Today was Sarah's first day of public school.

You can go
here to read about it.

Manteo. What’s Not To Love?

Living in this part of the country has certainly been a joy—the area is replete with beauty and history and interesting discoveries around every corner.  And although this has been the wettest winter in recent memory (it’s raining even as I type), even extra precipitation can’t hide the inherent charm of living by the sea.

For example, here is what Sarah and I saw when we took our road trip last Friday. (Which just happened to be yet another rainy day.)

A red light on a bridge?  Must be a good reason for it.


And red and white barriers (reminding my sugar-deprived brain of candy canes) coming down in front of the car?  Something’s going on!


A glance to the right revealed a couple boats that were just a wee bit tall to pass underneath the not-so-tall bridge.


And so the bridge was moved out of the way so that they could pass.  No big deal right?  Just Move. A. Bridge. 

Hmm.  Sounds like sort of a big deal to me!

It was fascinating to watch the roadway come apart and fold itself back, and then rejoin the unjoined pieces again.  And then we got to see the two boats that has passed through busily disappearing into the mist on the left side of the bridge. I must say, I’ve never before had a road trip begin with that sort of fascinating stuff! 


And then just to prove that the sun actually has shown a bit this winter, here are a few pictures I took when Sarah, Victoria and I went to the downtown, harbor front area  of Manteo for lunch last week. 

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Manteo.  What’s not to love?