30 Days of Thanks: Days 23 & 24

I first started taking part of 30 Days of Thanks in 2009. During the last 8 years, I have published these days of thanks on my personal social media account. This year, however, began with me teetering on the brink of financial and emotional ruin. Over the course of the year, GOD showed up and showed off time and time again. Out of the humility and gratitude of this year, I decided to share here my 30 days of Thanks here on my blog. I do hope that one, that in reading them it turns your own heart toward gratitude and that it inspires you to express that gratitude in your own way. 

Day 23: Steven, my fiancee’

You didn’t misread.

Steve of courageouschristianfather.com and I officially are looking to get married in 2018.

I never would have expected Steve. He is kind, gentle, and encouraging. He sees the beauty in my quirky nerdiness, finds my dimples and graying hair cute, and is patient with me slowing healing.

Steve is a broken person like me, and has by the fabulous Grace of GOD slowly began to rebuild a life- this time striving to keep it Christ centered.

I know he would be the first to confess that he isn’t perfect. And I know that- after all, he is a fan of my favorite team’s rival. Steve and I have had many conversations about our pasts and the weird things that GOD has used to grow us and to teach us things about ourselves and about Christ.

I didn’t know I would be able to love someone so deeply again. I certainly didn’t know that I would looking at getting married next year. I certainly have to say that this love that I have found in Steve & this future that we are looking at sharing together is nothing short of a GOD thing.

I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness for GOD placing Steve into my life.

Day 24: Joel The Brave

It is furbabyfriday, after all.

Joel also was a gift from GOD. I was struggling with unmanageable levels of anxiety. My job performance was suffering, my care of my home was slacking and care of my own well-being was nearly non-existent. I was sifting through Facebook, in some sort of means to distract myself from the disaster my life was in, and there was a post:

3 baby cats, needing a home.

And without a hesitation, I found myself responding: I want the black one. On June 23rd of this year, I welcomed into my home a tiny black boy cat that I named Joel The Brave.

GOD placed into Joel’s wheelhouse of knowledge a sweet demeanor and the ability to calm me down. Within 2 weeks of having him, my closest friends began to comment on how much better I seemed to be handling my anxiety. Within a month of having Joel, my anxiety was in half.

It’s certainly a GOD thing. Joel seems to know exactly when my anxiety is getting high and he will pounce into my lap and cuddle and purr. He will even take tiny paw and pet my face, as if in his own feline way saying “hooman..calm down”.

GOD certainly knew best when HE placed this lively, silly, firetruck loving fur baby in my life.

Happy Furbaby Friday, Y’all.



Furbaby Friday: A Different Sort of Furbaby

Confession. I love stuffed animals.

Shew. Now that I have that embarrassing factoid out in the open, we can proceed with this week’s furbaby Friday. ( I will be sharing two more editions that will feature stuffed animal friends in the near future).


Ted, first of all, is an awareness Bear. He is to help raise awareness about Charot-Marie Tooth disease.

He is sent to stay for an entire week (or longer) to live with a person who suffers with this condition (to learn more about the disorder, please visit: HERE)

I am blessed to be a close friend (and former student of) a local individual who got to “host” TED.

2013-06-24 ted

(Above, Ted taking a Nap. June 2013).

I was honored with the task of getting to take Ted to several local places, including 2 state parks. He also was able through others to get to see quite a bit before traveling on to The United Kingdom.


Furbaby Friday: 5 facts about Joel The Brave

  1. Joel was born to a litter of 3 (Two boys, one girl. He was the only solid color of the 3)
  2. Joel isn’t solid black (he has a white patch of fur…on his underside)
  3. Joel knows two tricks (he will “fetch” his mouse toy, & he will get on his hind legs to beg for a crunchy treat)
  4. Joel loves to watch kids (We live near a school, so during the week he will sit in the window to watch them go to school)
  5. Joel LOVES fire trucks. (Yes, a cat who loves fire trucks. We live a few blocks from the fire station, and he gets incredibly excited when he sees them go by. He even imitates the siren sound.

Furbaby Friday: How Texas changed my way of Thinking

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It was May 2010 when this dog, Named Texas, would change my way of thinking.

Growing up a Dog Lover

I grew up being a dog lover. I had my first dog, Snoopy, at the age of 5.

But it wasn’t my first thought to ask “is he/she fixed”.

Puppies just came and went. Sure, I knew where they came from.. and how expensive they were to raise. It simply wasn’t a question that I asked, though.

Even after getting my first dog as an adult, I didn’t think about the idea of having him fixed. He was a boy dog. I didn’t have to worry about him having puppies.

Then Came Texas

May of 2010, a call came to me at work. They were asking to place an advertisement for free Chocolate lab puppies. My sons were at that time looking for a new fur companion, so I called the number and found myself some days later driving up way deep into the depths of an unpaved road in the mountains.. what we call “a hollar”.

I looked at a small fenced in area filled with not 2 or 3 babies, but 5 babies and their mom. The mom looked weary and malnourished.

I left that day with three chocolate labs bounding around in the back of my jeep. And a heart so heavy from what I saw, I choked down tears even in the midst of puppy kisses.

At home that night, I began to research about the health benefits of spaying and neutering, as well as the over abundance of dogs and cats in our shelters due to the lack of smart pet management. Of the estimated 6 to 8 MILLION pets that enter American animal shelters each year, 1/2 are euthanized (source: dogid ) .

Don’t get me wrong. I love puppies and kittens. I could look at pictures of them all the day long. But one litter is probably enough, if you really want to take on that responsibility.

Love your furry babies, and get them spayed/neutered. 


Furbaby Friday: Sampson


Sampson is a very interesting dog. My dad adopted Sampson from a shelter, and right away noticed that Sampson was eager to be taught. So, being a minister, my dad first taught Sampson to bless his food. When my dad feeds Sampson, Dad will say “Sampson, bless”. Sampson will fold one paw over the other and bow his head as if in prayer.

Now, yes, we all know that Sampson is not likely thanking the Lord for his food.

Do your furbabies know any unusual tricks?


Furbaby Friday: 13th Edition

Friday the 13th

Why does this day terrify people so? In fact, why do we still believe in superstitions.. even in a world filled with Siri and Google?

Joel The Brave is a black cat. Yes, I know what people say about that.

But this little black cat…has been a tremendous blessing to me. I often kid that I should certify him as a therapy animal…but I’m only partly kidding when I say it. Joel the Brave us a therapy animal to me, often trying to calm me when I have major anxiety episodes or even loving on me after a night terror.

Big love to all the black cat furbabies out there today. May we love them all. 

Furbaby Friday: update on wee Joel

I’ve shared much recently on other Furbabies in my life that I haven’t shared much about my furry best friend.

Joel The Brave is now.. approximately 14 weeks old. He is eating well, growing, and still the most affectionate male cat I’ve ever known.

He still doesn’t know that cats are *suppose* to be nocturnal.  He goes to bed beside me, or often playing with my hair.

He has mastered entirely having me wrapped around his paw. And I am teaching him to “beg” for extra crunchy treats. Yes, I know he isn’t a dog. But cats can be taught tricks, with patience. 

Furbaby Friday: The Other Black Cats

It’s hard to believe it has been over 2 months since little Joel The Brave came into my life. He is such a tremendous blessing.

But, did you know he is not the 1st black cat I have loved? That honor belongs to two others. A Cat couple, in fact: Miss Salem and Emperor Boots.

Miss Salem


Miss Salem (and Emperor Boots) both belonged to a friend of mine. Salem was a spoiled, American shorthair, indoor princess. She had her own room of the house, would get an occasional treat of vanilla bean ice cream, and didn’t necessarily like everyone.


Salem may have been highly spoiled, but she was also smart beyond words. She loved to play hide & seek and would quite often stump me.

Emperor Boots

I can’t even say or think of his name without a smile creeping across my lips. I must truly say that I loved Emperor Boots.

Emperor Boots was a tuxedo cat, meaning that he was not solid black like Salem (though neither is Joel The Brave, who has one odd patch of white fur.)

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Boots lived primarily outside, though he had an outbuilding that he would get put into at nights and winters. His building, by the way, was equipped with heat and air conditioning. He had it made.

Boots did not seem to understand that he was a cat. He patrolled the gardens and homes in the area, and often meowed in a barking manner. He even killed a snake once to defend me. He wasn’t much for being petted, but loved to have his ears scratched by those he trusted. I considered it a high honor that I was one of those that got to scratch his fuzzy head and even hear him purr.

Over the years, Boots kind of became a friend to me and when I heard that he past away I felt like I had lost a family member. He truly was royalty among cats.