Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Paws" a Moment

Here at the Carter Acre, we have gone to the dogs!!! Our three lovable, adorable, huggable pups keep us on our toes, for sure. But, I wouldn't trade a single one of them for the world. They are all special and have distinct personalities, melding into a pack that even Cesar Milan would be proud of!

Scout, the oldest at 9-/12, is the diva and leader of the pack. I got her in June, 2000, and she has been a constant and faithful companion. She has always been "Momma's baby" and is definitely spoiled and probably a bit neurotic. I didn't choose her, she chose me. When I went to visit the breeder and she put a litter of pups out with their mother for me to look at, all the puppies stayed huddled around their momma, except one. When I squatted down and called out "Scout", she came right to me and snuggled up in my arms. She was the bug-eyed one of the bunch, but I never put her down. She has endured so much through the years (a broken leg from an unfavorable jump off a bed, major surgery to correct a blockage in her stomach and two hernia repair surgeries, and herniated disks in her back), but she still has some get-up-and-go and is queen of the living room ottoman.

Jake is our 3-1/2 year old rescued Australian Shepherd. We got him when he was two and he just blew us away with his quiet, easy-going attitude and intelligence. He loves to go everywhere in the pickup with Ed and is his faithful "podnuh". I swear that dog knows every drive-up where they hand out doggie biscuits and he is a shameless flirt with the ladies. He stays outside when it's warm enough, but has beautiful house manners and loves sleeping in the house. When I say he is intelligent, well, I mean it. He has figured out how to open the center console in Ed's truck and raid the "treats" in there. He has also learned how to open doorknobs and we now have to keep the door from the mudroom to the garage locked because he has gotten in and spread trash from one end of the house to the other. But, generally, when he is in the house, he is curled up between the coffee table and sofa and you just forget he's there.

Pepper is our 11-month WalMart puppy. Yep, that's right. We bought her in the parking lot at WalMart last New Years weekend. Ah, this one...she is her own little self. A blend of both Scout and Jake, she is fearless, loving and full of energy, not mention somewhat goofy. She doesn't jump - she leaps. She can load into the backseat of the truck all by herself. She has no use for potty pads except as chew toys (thank goodness, she is finally housebroke), and she never meets a stranger. We are working through a bit of a chewing issue with her, but we're going to get through that becuase she is a quick learner. I can't imagine not having her as a part of our pack.

Now, we treat our dogs well. Mind you, we don't dress them up or carry them around in strollers or bags, but we do treat 'em special. Just about their favorite outing is going to Sonic for tater tots. They recognize where we are the moment we turn in and hang out the windows, charming everyone around us and watching for their tots. We love them tremendously and relish the joy they bring into our lives. Sometimes I think we don't even need tv...just turn the dogs loose and watch them play.

Our dogs bring great joy into our lives. I hope that in return we give them a good life and a little bit of doggy joy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Little "Night Music"

Well, I think I will change the pace up a bit here and talk about something that many of you (ladies) will understand! How about we talk SNORING??? Yep, snoring...that annoying habit so common among men.

The idea for this post came to me as I lay awake last night, listening to my significant other "create a symphony" through his nostrils. Now, all of you who know me and Ed know how much I love that man! But, he is definitely a first-class snorer. To be fair, he warned me up front that he snored. In fact, I believe his exact words were that he could "suck the acoustic tiles off the ceiling" when he really got going. Well, dang, if he wasn't exaggerating!

Ed has the enviable ability to drop off to sleep very quickly. Great for him...not so great for me. He is almost always asleep before I am, even if I hit the sheets before him. The snoring starts right away, usually within moments of him dozing off. The sounds he makes range from a mild "honking" to a full-blown snore reminiscent of old Saturday morning cartoons, complete with whistles and plenty of lip action.

Now, Ed admits he snores. He is fully aware of his snoring. When I videotaped him, he wasn't the least bit surprised by the sounds issuing forth from his mouth and nose. So, it's not as if he is in denial about it. Nor do I in any way mean to imply that he snores intentionally. It's just a fact of life for us.

So, how do we (or I) deal with it? Well, first I try just giving him a little nudge and a soft "ssshhhhh". Sometimes it is just a matter of getting him to change positions to get a little peace and quiet. More often, though, I have to escalate my approach and rouse him to a more awake state and "politely request" he stop snoring. If that doesn't do the trick, I admit I often resort to louder comments to the effect that "other people are trying to sleep here, you know!" As a last resort, I throw the covers back and grab my pillows and stomp down the hall to sleep in the other room. More often than not, my theatrical efforts as I exit are totally ignored because he is, of course, sleeping soundly at this point.

Now, I have not resorted to making him order those throat sprays or biteguards advertised on tv. First of all, they're overpriced and I sincerely doubt they work. I have tried earplugs and cotton balls in my ears. However, the earplugs hurt when I lay on my side and I have this awful fear that I won't hear my alarm clock the next morning. Cotton balls, well, they just muffle the sound and provide no relief.

So, how to fix this problem??? I love sleeping with my husband, snuggling up and feeling his reassuring presence next to me. I don't want to have to retreat to a different room. I know this is a "problem" many other couples experience. And I have no doubt that there are ladies out there who snore, too, causing their husbands to toss and turn in sleeplessness.

I don't know if there is any one clear-cut solution or quick fix. Perhaps, this is just God's way of teaching me a little patience. All I know is that we're working on it and through it...

If you have a similar situation, I would love to hear how you deal with it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Gift of Life

There's a new show on CBS on Sunday nights that has really captured my attention. "Three Rivers" is about the organ transplant program at a hospital in Pittsburg. I know there are probably alot of medical inaccuracies in the show, but the concept is noteworthy because it brings a very important topic to the forefront - organ donation.

Many people in this country and around the world are waiting for a second chance at life. That chance will only come through the priceless gift of a donated organ. Of course, for someone else that means the loss of a loved one. For each family that experiences the joy of receiving the gift of life another family experiences the tremendous grief of loss.

From what I understand, just one organ donor can bless many other lives. Aside from the obvious organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys, many other organs can harvested for transplant. These include the liver, corneas, ligaments and tendons, even skin tissue. According to the U. S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, up to 50 people can by helped by a single organ donor! Can you imagine that?

The tremendous decision of donating organs lies with each of us. To avoid putting our loved ones in the position of having to make that difficult decision while in the emotional throes of loss, each of us should make that decision in advance - now. It is as simple as signing up for the organ donor program when you renew your driver's license. You are then enrolled in the donation program and you will receive a special notation to attach to your driver's license. This alerts medical personnel to the fact that you wish to be an organ donor. You should also advise your family of your decision so they can honor your wish to extend the gift of life to others.

While it is difficult to comtemplate our own mortality, this is one area that can be addressed in advance. Just think of the joy your decision could bring to others - a second chance at life. What a blessing and comfort for your loved ones to know that you are giving such a precious gift to another family. Perhaps that knowledge would help them in their time of loss, help them to see a silver lining in the clouds of their grief.

I have personally made the decision to be an organ donor and I encourage each of you to do the same. Somehow I think that even though our own lives end here on this earth, we will have the joy of seeing how our life lives on in others from the other side of eternity.

Oh, and by the way...check out "Three Rivers" on CBS at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday nights. There are some really touching storylines....and a couple of pretty hot doctors!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moments to Remember

There is a song on the new George Strait album, "Twang", that simply strikes a chord deep within me. The lyrics go like this:

"It's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out, that gets you through the day, ain't what it's all about. You might just miss the point trying to win the race. It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away."

My life has been full of moments that took my breath away - both good and bad. As is the case for most people, many of those moments passed without my noticing them until they were behind me. But, looking back, some of them stand out in bold contrast and can truly be described as pivotal moments in my life. For example:

* The first time I held each of my newborn children in my arms, my heart expanding with a mother's love and the undeniable awareness that I was responsible for the care and nurturing of this new little person.

* The moment I realized my first marriage was at its end. A long and formative chapter in my life was over, but a whole new chapter was waiting to unfold.

* The first time Ed took me in his arms and led me around the dance floor in a two-step - I found my "dancin' feet" and realized that having fun was a good thing.

* Sitting in front of a roaring fire in the backroom at Perini's when Ed pulled out a ring box and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Although we had talked about getting married and even gone so far as to look at rings, his formal proposal will always stand out in my mind as one of the most romantic moments ever.

* Driving away from Lubbock on August 1, 2009, after moving Ben there to attend Tech. Both he and Sam stood in the front yard, waving goodbye as I pulled away, and the realization struck me that my babies were grown. The tears started to fall and didn't stop until nearly Plainview.

* Walking away from the office for the final time from a job that literally made me physically sick for five years. What a feeling of relief and euphoria to have that part of my life behind me. It was like a sack of bricks had been lifted from my shoulders and the opportunities ahead were limitless.

All of us have moments that change our lives. Sometimes they are not "big" moments, but quiet moments that steal up on us and ultimately define who we are. I know that I am thankful for each of these moments and where they have brought me. Who I am is the result of those moments that have "taken my breath away."

What moments have changed your life?

Friday, October 23, 2009

A New Adventure!

Well, here goes! I am embarking on a new adventure - writing my own blog! A little scary, yes, but very exciting.

I've decided to call my blog "Janie's Porch" for a special reason: I want family and friends to feel like we are sitting together on the front porch, having a glass of iced tea (or maybe a beer) and having a real visit when they drop by to view my blog.

I'm sure I will cover a variety of topics here. Who knows what I may come up with when pondering what I want to share on any given day. Maybe I will be inspired by fabulous weather or a special blessing from Nature. Something on the news might catch my attention and start my thoughts a-stirring. My children and grandchildren, the puppies here at home, the job....any and all things are game.

So, I hope you will come and sit with me often - and leave me some feedback. Who knows? Your comment may be the topic for our next conversation.

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