Monday, June 15, 2009

After the storm...

...comes the rainbow. The sign of God's promise that he does not leave us alone.

I took this photo about half an hour before Viper disappeared the other night. It was all but forgotten until I was dumping photos from last week's shoots off memory cards.

It's been an emotional past few days. All the little reminders that she's not here...her empty dishes on the kitchen floor, how she's not following my every move through the house, she doesn't jump up when I sit down to nurse Thomas, and we don't have her automatic alert system of insanely obnoxious barks whenever someone enters a 500 ft. radius of the front door.

Maggie is still searching for her. She doesn't get why the chickens won't play with her like Viper did. She keeps pouncing to play like she did with Viper, but the chickens scatter back into their Eglu.

Jonathan and I both attacked the Yelm-Tenino trail, each walking about 4 miles with Thomas from different ends of the trail. We each called her name for the duration of the walk, posting flyers and asking everyone we saw to keep their eyes out. We had hope when a runner said she saw a small beige dog run into the bushes...but she would have come if she'd heard us.

And Thomas even sounded his screaming alarm for about a mile of his walk with Jonathan...which she definitely would have recognized.

Last night, Jonathan headed outside when he saw a coyote just outside our front yard. It was still light out, and it was the closest he's ever seen a coyote get to the house in the daytime. We then remembered the coyote we saw a week ago early in the morning, in the trees.

We're about 99% sure that a coyote is responsible for Viper's disappearance.

And that gives my heart a little peace, as it would have been swift.

I have been blown away by the kindness of our neighbors and friends who have offered to search, to help, given support and prayers...we are so incredibly blessed. Thank you.

Going back through old photos, I came across one of my favorites - ever. I loved that Viper let me dress her up in clothes, especially this sweet little vest with a detachable hood. She loved being warm and clothes kept her that way. Oh, to have no body fat! :)

She brought so much joy to my life...and I love that Jonathan gave her a year and a half on the farm where she could run free. She was a fantastic little dog who loved everyone and everything...including a few stuffed animals. :)

I am so grateful for her and her tiny little loving spirit.

A few weeks ago, when the blog approached 1000 posts, I had planned on doing some sort of sweet little giveaway post. Life happened...and all of a sudden, I'm near 1030 posts.

So now is as good of time as any!

There are a few hundred people who visit this blog each day...and I'd love to hear what you're grateful for. Most people who visit don't comment (especially if they read the blog through a feed reader) I'm hoping you might de-lurk and share!

Negative news and disappointment seems to run rampant right now in the news...and I'd love to see the other side. Consider it a favor to me to help brighten our spirits here...celebrating all our joys!

So here's the question...what are you most grateful for right now?

Share it in the comments, and on Father's Day, I'll select a few (with the help of to give away a few little things that brighten my day:
  • a gift card for a Blizzard from Dairy Queen
  • a gift card from Starbucks
  • maybe even a Visa gift card to splurge on a little something for yourself that you wouldn't normally spend money on!
Even if you've never commented's your chance to share your joys and maybe celebrate with a prize! :)


foxmulder said...

our friendship, having a job, and the moments that we have with people that love us

Karen said...

I know you'll understand completely when I say I'm most grateful to work for a company that's allowed me three months of bonding time with my new baby!

KCina said...

Oh Shelley---It was so great seeing you & Mr. Thomas Friday night in Tacoma. Continued prayers & hugs to all of you!

Reading your blog daily is a treat an inspiration (even @4:25am)...I'm most greatful for my family & friends and knowing that you & I, along with a whole lot of other Relayers have been brought together because of the worst possible thing that can happen, and yet we always try to see the positive side of what we can do to make a difference!

We are teaching the next generation on what a positive influence they can have and that we WILL find a cure in their lifetime!

Take care my friend...Kathy

Elizabeth Ann said...

I am so grateful for my ever supporting friends and family who put up with me and love me~ through my successess and my failures!

Family of 4 said...

Still praying for you! Pets are so dear to our hearts.
I am thankful for ---
Marrying Joe in 30 day! and spending the rest of my life with him.
A boss that used to be .... not fun to work with - - after prayer, and lots of patience, is a blessing in my life.
FOr blessings in disguise. When bad things happen, all we have to do it wait it out, pray, trust, and good always comes! Thank God!

Sandra said...

I am grateful for all my friends and family who continue to pray for us daily for the child that God has planned for us, especially when times are really hard and Brent and I start to give up hope. However, the power of prayer will some day be answered.

Randy, Robin, Tyler and Tanner said...

i am thankful simply for TODAY!

Matt Luce said...

I'm one of those people who never leave a comment. :)

However, after your loss, and attending the funeral celebration of a 4 1/2 year old boy last night who lost his battle with leukemia, I am thankful for: the unwavering love of my wife; seeing the wonderment in the eyes of my two precious and amazing little boys as they discover life; and the companionship of my dog (however dumb she is). Peace to all.

Kim Schmaltz said...

10 Years ago today my dad passed away from Lung Cancer. I am thankful for everyone that devotes their time, money and talents towards the cure of this terrible disease. Time does soften the edges a bit bringing the best of the memories to the forefront. Your beautiful picture of the rainbow and the message concerning Viper touched my heart on this memorable day! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Danielle Hawes said...

I am so grateful for my sweet husband who supports me no matter what, and learning and praying to be grateful for where the Lord has me today.

I have been praying by the way! I am so sorry to hear about Viper.

Karen Conley said...

We currently have two friends who are fathers of young children and both of these friends are fiercely battling cancer right now. As Father's Day approaches I always struggle with sadness over not having my dad here anymore...but right now I'm so very grateful because cancer did not come to him until I was an adult. I had so many great years with him which is an incredible blessing.

Unknown said...

I am greatful for the love of my amazing husband (who is also an incredible father); for my beautiful, happy and healthy son; for parents who have always loved me for exactly who I am; for my amazing friends - old and new, those I've been able to reconnect with over the years as well as those who have come and gone because each one of them has left an imprint on my heart; most of all I am more greatful than I could ever express for my life, this luck of so many wonderful people I am surrounded by, and the sheer happiness of seeing what life will bring me next.

Tai said...

I am grateful for the wonderful relationship I have with my family. I look at other families, who argue and disagree and don't appreciate what it is to have eachother, and I feel even more grateful. In good times and in bad, I think its important to have your family to lean on.

Marquelle said...

I am thankful that every morning I get to wake up to my two girls loving me unconditionally. The smell of their morning breath, their blankets in hand and for their big morning squeezes that last me all day long.

I love your blog.. You inspire me every day!!


Doreen said...

I'm most grateful for having a job even though it's the toughest one that I've ever had! I work in a Special Needs School and it's rewarding in and of it self. Oh, I love me some Starbucks!!purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

samantha said...

I'm still so sorry about Viper! I'm glad she got to meet Thomas.

I'm greatful for a healthy boy. He had a high fever this morning and I of course freaked out wondering what it was, and it's just a common virus. Still no fun, but at least it will go away.

Anonymous said...

Nor have I ever left a comment...
I'm grateful for guardian angels that keep my teenage daughters safe when driving. I'm especially thankful for the guardian angels that protect my Mom when she falls at least once a day (Parkinson's disease). Shelley--I'm grateful for your blog. It inspires me EVERY DAY. Also sorry about Viper.

Shannon said...

I'm thankful that God's answers to prayers are sometimes "No." We learn so much more and grow in faith.

I'm thankful that I've been given the gift and challenge of living abroad and have found the love of my life along the way.

Abby said...

Hey Shelley-
I’m a first time commenter on your blog; before now, I've been such a weenie to comment because you have no idea who i am as I stubmled upon your blog by pure chance.But I visit all the time because I simply adore your photographs (as an amateur photographer, you inspire me), the way you tell stories, and the crazy little guys of yours, (Maggie, Viper(*tear) and Thomas… ok and Jonathan too). I stumbled across your blog when researching Relay for Life. My Mom was recently diagnosed with Lung & Liver cancer and I am so inspired by your work with Relay. I am posting because I’m thankful for Relay… I’m thankful for My Mom, the time she still has because of things like radiation and chemotherapy. I’m thankful that there’s a support group for people like us who feel alone. I’m thankful for people like you who devote their lives to causes like relay.
I don’t want to win the prize but Thank you for offering it to all of us who are thankful for something; because of God we all have a lot to be thankful for! Wow, I used the word Thank a lot in this post. Either way – Have a wonderful afternoon – Abby Ronnebeck.

Lacey Meadows said...

I am so glad my daughters still like to bathe together. As Katie aproaches her tweens, I know this will no longer happen. Our office is across the hall from their bathroom, and I can hear them and check in on them while I get a little screen time to check my email, facebook, pay bills, and your blog. As I listen to them playing and splashing I am aware that Aubrey probally learns more from Katie than she does from us. I have one brother whom I love dearly, but at this moment believe that nothing can compare to sisters. They are and will be best friends for life for this I am greatful.

No prize, just a thank you to your blog and letting me be a part of it almost daily. Someday I may become a blogger, you never know...

Lemmon said...

I am most grateful for my boyfriend and the prayers we say together. We are on vacation in Florida visiting his mom and family. I'm sharing a bedroom with his little sisters and at night he tucks me in and prays with me before he goes to bed...even when he is really tired. :)

Sorry about Viper, Shelley.

MzPoodle2U said...

Shelley ever since John gave me the link to your blog, I've followed along religiously struggling through your trials and silently cheering your triumphs! Thanks for providing a little insight into your world for the rest of us. What am I most thankful for... well, after almost 5 long years of struggling with infertility, I am FINALLY pregnant with our first child and am due in November. It's helped to go through some of your experiences and relate, knowing that I'm not the first to go through it and will by no means be the last. :) I'm thankful for my supportive husband, John, who is currently struggling with his insecurities of becoming a first-time father and facing the fears of the unknown. I'm glad that we're supportive of each other as we embark on this new phase of our lives.

I'm so sorry about Viper! I loved hearing the stories that Kathie would relate to us after hearing about them at work. With 5 dogs of our own at home (who ARE like children to us) I cannot imagine facing one day without one of them in our lives. My heart goes out to you all and continued prayers of healing and peace.

Doreen said...

I just wanted to say that I'm soooo sorry to hear about the loss of Viper. My heart really aches to hear of this news. I have a little dog of my own and I can't imagine if something horrible ever happened to her. I'd be at a loss. She is like my child.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of Viper--I know she was an important part of your family. I'm glad that she had a loyal human in you, too.

I'm grateful for being given the gift of helping to raise my stepchildren, thankful for my husband and my own doggie family members. I'm thankful and humbled that I've been blessed with the family I didn't think I would ever have, and the opportunities to work in the field that I do.

Shelly, you're a terrific writer. Thanks for your pictures and blogs. :-)

Theresa said...

I'm thankful for my family that the Lord has blessed me with! I have an amazing, one of a kind, husband and two beautiful healthy children! What more could I really ask for??

Shelley~ I'm praying for peace and joy for you all!

Unknown said...

You're right, Shelley: Sometimes we don't take enough time to say what we're thankful for. Life's too busy, and it's easy to complain or just notice the hard stuff. (I've been doing that a lot lately, particularly when it comes to finances and car troubles and house troubles.)

So here are some things for which I am grateful:

* My husband who loves me unconditionally and makes me laugh and knows when it's time to say, "Let's go get ice cream tonight!"
* My son who lights up each and every day for me. I realize just how real and present God is when I am with him. I am grateful for Daniel and for his health and his gorgeous smile.
* My brothers and sisters. They listen, advise, laugh and love. I can't ask for more than that.
* Sprint. Noreen and I both use Sprint for our wireless. So we can talk without using our minutes. For hours. She's in NYC and I'm in Tacoma? No big deal.
* My parents who taught me well and sacrificed so much for their 6 kids. They gave me a strong foundation for life and were unmatchable role models. If I can be a quarter of the parents they were/are, I'll feel successful.
* DVR. I can record TV shows! And pause live TV shows! While my gratefulness for DVR pales in comparison to my gratefulness for John and Daniel, I still am crazy for my DVR.
* My friends who love me for who I am, who are simply friends with no strings attached. God has blessed me with a good circle of love, support and laughter.

Becky Callon said...

I am so grateful for my fabulous daughter-in-law Keana, she is a wonderful wife (to my son Josh) & wonderful mother to my wonderfully fabulous grandson Joey. We have a special mother-daughter bond even though I am not her bio mother. She is the daughter I never had. I will treasure her forever.
I am also grateful for my husband of 31 years, my other 3 sons,and my newest daughter-in-law. I adore them all. My family is the best, they are my heart & soul and we are all Blessed by the Lord each & everyday.

Sunny Days said...

Hi Shelly -

I'm afraid it's about time I come out of the closet ... as a former roommate of Anna Doherty, I'm one of the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend "lurkers" who has absolutely fallen in love with your blog - or perhaps more accurately - with the way in which you tell a life story to which so very many of us can relate.

With far too many cancer survivors - and victims - within my own family, I'm embarrassed to say I have only half your energy and ambition ... and that's without a babe on my arm to boot!

In short, I am thankful for a wonderful, supportive family and partner and the laughter and joy we have all shared through thick and through thin.

Keep up the good work, my dear, you are an inspiration to us all!

Alanna R.

Anonymous said...

Another lurker, posting late, but I didn't need a prize. You don't know me, but I'm a St. Charles person who discovered your blog through a friend. You are a wonderful writer and have great comments on life, family, Christianity, and many things that I care about. So sorry to read about Viper. It's very sad.

There are so many things I'm grateful for: health, my husband and daughter, the Holy Spirit, and many other blessings. But also, I'm grateful to read about others' blessings...I *really* needed to read this and to reflect on this tonight. Thanks a million

God bless you,

Nancy E said...

I am grateful for you - people like you that really appreciate those around you and love your pets, your family, and your friends. I am grateful for my amazing husband, my son, my family and my friends and all that life has blessed me with -- I thank God everyday and celebrate life! :)

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