I’ve had happier things to write about. Still do. But not today. No, today I’m writing about the mound of dirt and tulips planted by the first tree on our driveway. I’m writing about tears and what-ifs. I’m writing about the constant cries of animal who longs for her companion, her buddy. It was a beautiful weekend in Oklahoma. One not to be missed.  Many were outside enjoying the out of the ordinary warmer temperatures for this time of year. Even our dogs took advantage of an opportunity to run past the barriers of our yard that protect them and head for adventure.

Brandon and I started our Sunday on the road at five in the morning excited to surprise the kids, getting home from that ten hour drive earlier than what they anticipated. A one o’clock phone call informed us of Saturday’s events. “The dogs got out about eleven. Libby came home about ten last night, but we can’t find Daisy,” Brooklyn said on the line.

We knew. We knew Daisy and Libby never split up. We knew Libby coming home alone was indicative of something bad. The visits to neighbors had been made. Phone calls placed. No sign of her. Gone.

This family began the process to accept what was evident. A process that is increasingly difficult when one doesn’t really know what happened.

Yesterday, I utilized social media resources, posting a picture of Daisy and Libby on Instagram, Twitter, and a few different groups on Facebook, including my own page. My words, “We’re fairly certain something bad happened to our sweet Daisy Mae while we were gone this weekend. She went missing Saturday. Libby came home that night. No sign of Daisy still. If anyone may know anything, please, please let us know. It’s the not knowing that is so hard.”



A lady on one of the Facebook groups commented, “Please message me.” I did. She responded with information we knew in our hearts, but details we needed, “Unfortunately I wanted to tell you I stopped by the road on 51B going east….” She proceeded to inform me that our sweet Daisy Mae was lying there.  That it looked like she was hit.

My husband, who has been busy at work, bringing it home with him several nights a week, spreading it out across our table and working hours after everyone goes to bed, left the office immediately to go get our precious pet. He went to the place nearly two and a half miles from our home and found her. There she was lying on the side of the highway like road-kill. He picked her up, placed her in the truck, brought her home and dug a perfect 3’x5’ rectangle, 4 feet deep grave for our beloved Daisy Mae.

This is where I write about thankfulness. Yes, the topic of the book I’m reading, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The author takes the reader on a journey of what it is to be truly thankful. To live a life to the fullest. To have eucharisteo. Vos Kamp explains, “Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy.’” She continues, “Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo- the table of thanksgiving.



Last night, I crawled into bed, eyes swollen, nose running, tears still falling, and my heart was full of thankfulness for the tool of social media. I hear so many gripe about the effects of social media. The negative results it renders on their lives. But why? Do we let it because of our lack of self-discipline? Nothing should rule over us. I think about the good things God has given us, and yet in our flesh, humanity and sin we distort the beautiful benefit it should bring to our lives. Like sex. God Himself designed the incredibly beautiful gift for us. An act of intimacy, love and security beyond what we share with anyone other than the one we’ve vowed our life to. But what has our culture done? Distorted the pricelessness of the gift.

Last night, I felt the gift of social media. I think on the scripture James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” And I believe the resources I had to utilize was a good gift, a perfect gift to bring our Daisy Mae home.

So today, while I put away her bowl and clean her bed, I’ll think about Vos Kamps’ list, about the sunlight hitting the suds, about the smell of clean sheets and the porcelain dove, that bears the word peace hanging in her kitchen window. In the sadness, I’ll have joy, the joy that comes from thankfulness, eucharisteo. Thankfulness to have had Daisy Mae; how she loved to chase skunks but always lost, how we had to feed her pricey dog food otherwise we’d suffer the aroma of consequences, how despite her very quiet nature, Libby had inspired her to just start using her voice.

For these things, I wake this morning, thankful.

We will miss you, Daisy Mae.

We loved you! Thank you, for loving us!


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Like a Good Neighbor

Mark 12:28-30 NLT

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Now isn’t that something to take in? Think about it. Loving your neighbor is as equally important as loving the Lord? Does this mean just the neighbors who live to the right and to the left and those neighbors who are directly across the street? Only those who keep their lawns manicured and there parties quiet? I certainly hope not, because that would mean number one, I’m excluded from this commandment, and number two, I wouldn’t receive the benefit of this commandment. Is it because The Meadows have been known to let our yard get out of hand a time or two, or because we typically have loud parties with the music blasting?

While some may agree that it should be, it’s actually because we don’t live in a neighborhood. This country girl doesn’t have a next-door neighbor, but I have neighbors. Those of us in rural areas consider anyone within a few miles to be a neighbor. And after the experience we just had, I’m seeing a great illustration of what Jesus meant when He commanded us to love our neighbor.

Yesterday morning was like every other. The dogs woke up and needed to go outside. Brandon let them out, but kept checking to see if they were back at the door since this wintry storm was moving in and the temperatures would be falling. We expected them to do their business and come in for breakfast, but they weren’t around. Not ones to worry, we figured maybe they had gone down to my Mom’s or to visit our neighbors, Eric, Shirley and Jordan. They’re quite social, so we weren’t alarmed, just a little surprised since we had recently had them groomed, meaning they didn’t have as much insulation against the weather.

Although we figured they were out chasing rabbits or running the fields, our concern began to grow with each passing hour. Even if they’re out all day, they’re always home by dark. But not last night. And that was not a good sign.

Brandon, Brooklyn and Jaron loaded up and began driving around, shining flashlights, hollering their names. I made phone calls asking those down our road if they had seen them. Our neighbors who were out taking pictures in the afternoon never saw them. Some of the neighbor boys who had been out hunting hadn’t seen them either. No one spotted them. All day.

We needed divine intervention to find our puppies. And we believe God loves us so much that He cares for every detail in our lives. As a parent, I’ve searched for missing toys because I know how much it means to my child, not because of my own connection to it, but the joy I have to see the joy of my child. I know the Lord feels the same toward us. And I know, whichever way this went, He cared for us; He loves us; we’re His children.

A Facebook post asking for just that, for prayer, rendered so much love; so many expressions of concern and compassion. And then a neighbor, a couple miles away, went out in the night to look for our pets. And about 10:30pm as I was going to turn the porch light on, hoping it would help them make their way back, I noticed another vehicle scooting along with a spot light shining on the pasture. It brought me to tears seeing how much people care. I even received a text today from Misty, one of my dear nursing school friends offering to come help me look for them while her son was at school. People, this is loving your neighbor as yourself. Every person who searched, every person who shared their photo on Facebook, every person who offered to help, every person who prayed were all doing exactly what Jesus commanded, loving others as they love themselves. So many were helping us, not because of the emotional connection they have to our pets, but because of the emotional connection they have to theirs. They understand how hard it is to lose a pet and they were doing for us what they would do if they had lost their own. Loving their neighbor as themselves.

This morning I made nine phone calls to area shelters and veterinary clinics. One of those calls was placed at 8:54 a.m. And it’s one I almost didn’t make because it’s so far from our home. But I wanted to do everything possible. Eight minutes later, the clinic called me back and said, “We think this lady who called may have your dogs.” I was shaking and holding back tears while writing her name and number down. I called her and it went to voicemail. I left her a message and immediately texted her a photo of them. She texted back and said, “Yep. That’s them.” Well, after another phone call and a quick twenty-one mile trip, we got our puppies back!!!!

The Lord works on our behalf so often. Sometimes I think we minimize it or maybe we just overlook it. Sometimes we miss the details to be astounded by His hand at work in our life.

Our dogs are two black labs who love to run the fields. Our dogs don’t wear collars because we’re afraid they’d get caught on a pasture fence. Our dogs’ coats are shaved and yesterday was bitterly cold; we had snow. Our dogs wandered off our family’s160 acres to an adjacent piece of land. Our dogs were taken in by a man who was out caring for his cattle. Our dogs were fed. Our dogs were given a soft bed made from a cushion and covered with a sheet. Our dogs were loved on and cared for all day yesterday and all last night. Our dogs even had an egg prepared for their breakfast this morning.

It’s almost unbelievable. I see how the Lord cares for every detail of our life. No sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it gets cold. Sometimes we get hungry. Sometimes we are lost. But there’s nothing like being found. There’s nothing like coming home. And sometimes we need a neighbor to help us get there.

I’m thankful to The Schneiders who are my neighbors. Yes, they live over twenty miles from my home, but they loved this family as Jesus told us to love.

Be blessed, neighbors!



Wonderful to have had resources available-- willing people wanting to reunite pets with their families. Thank you to all the animal shelters and veterinary clinics who took my name and number today!

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