Reflections on a Friend

We lost a good friend yesterday. In many ways, Abbey was the perfect dog for us. She gave us so much more than we gave to her. I write this mostly for myself and others who loved our pup.

Abbey 2

She was born on a farm in Booneville, MO. She joined our family when she was six weeks old.

Abbey 5

We got her because we had always wanted a dog. But in the end, we really got a family member.

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The early days were filled with lots of smiles and nips.

Abbey 18

She made more than her fair share of messes.

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And water was always her happy place.

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She was well read.

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The greatest of adventurers.

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She wasn’t allowed on the furniture… But she did have her own futon.

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And a way of getting what she wanted/stretching the rules.

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When hotels charged hefty pet fees, she got her money’s worth out of the second bed.

Abbey 1

She always impressed with her ladder climbing skills.

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She destroyed her fair share of things but rarely anything that was valuable. Mostly cheap toys.

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She had some of the best of friends

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A playful spirit.

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And would swim anywhere at any time.

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She was the first of many Taylor “dogchilds”.

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She never minded being packed into a car that had no room for her, just so long as she got to go.

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Uncle Pete was near and dear to her.

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She delighted in her annual birthday Ice-cream cone.

Abbey 43

She knew all our secrets and kept them well.

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Aunt Bec’s “chimpmunk call” always provided good entertainment.

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Explored so much of Colorado with us.

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And slept far better than we ever did on our expeditions.

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She was our constant companion when we were told we’d never have children.

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In 2010 life changed.

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Abbey took it in stride, claiming Mason as her own.

Abbey 57

Mason was drawn to her like a moth to flame.

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They spent countless hours together, she, showing him his new big world.

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They delighted in each other.

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A lot.

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More than words can show.

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As he grew up; she grew old, but always together.

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She endured countless abuses without ever showing malice.

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She was the solution to most of life’s problems.

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Best of friends.

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Companions.

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In all things.

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At all times.

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Day after day.

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In 2013 and 2015 life changed again.

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As is often the case, with having kids, she took a back seat to the needs of our new children.

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She never got bitter or callous, still offering love whenever the opportunity arose.

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She was my constant office companion through late nights and early mornings.

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Every single website and video I’ve ever made she helped with.

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But, in the end, Amy was always Abbey’s human that she held in the highest regard.

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Even when they were at odds, they always struck me as being carbon copies of each other.

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They shared joy, sorrow, frustration and every emotion that can be shared with a four legged friend.

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Amy taught her everything she knew.

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And then yesterday was the end.

There’s many more pictures I wish we had. I wish we had a picture of her with her friend Iris. They shared a special bond built over years of treats passed through the back fence. I wish I had a picture of how she would sit majestically in the yard watching over her domain.

After looking through these pictures it would be easy to assume that our lives are filled with nothing but joy, laughter and love.  Rarely do we, any of us, capture moments when life is hard, when the tears are falling or when our anger is the only thing that’s real.  Abbey experienced all of our highest highs and our lowest lows.  I remember times when both Amy and I have sobbed over hardships with Abbey’s fur drying our tears.  Abbey filled voids for us that we didn’t know we needed filled.  During the season we struggled with infertility her presence was needed more than we could have ever known.  She was God’s comfort to us while He wrote a bigger story for our lives.  As that story unfolded children found their way into our hearts via adoption and pregnancy. As the demands of raising our children grew,  Abbey graciously took a back seat but still was available whenever time allowed.

She was stubornly committed to being a constant in our lives.

All in all, that same stubbornness is found in the other five of us, which made her a perfect fit for our family.

Abbey 81

Abbey 20

Farewell Friend.

By |June 16th, 2016|Family|7 Comments

Say Yes as Much as Possible

I am a firm believer in the word “no” — I affirm that right out of the gate. I have a strict, “No I will not but you that,” policy when I take the kids to the store (unless we have a prearranged agreement).

No you cannot play in the street.

No you cannot play with that sharp knife.

No you cannot stick those keys in the electrical outlet.

When kids are very young, “no” keeps them safe. It helps them live longer. I am a firm believer in no.

Our oldest, M, is four now. I still tell him no, A LOT. I’m starting to realize the “no’s” have changed though.

No I don’t want to play _________ right now.

No we can’t go to the park.

No we can’t have your buddies over.

No is safe. It’s a comfortable word. It protects my boundaries. It’s a word that I use to avoid engaging with my children.

Don’t get me wrong I think healthy boundaries are important.

But…

With my kids, I am realizing more and more that my boundaries are selfish. I like to spend my time in the way that I want to spend it. I don’t want to spend it pretending I am a fire breathing pirate that has to save the princess from a mutant penguin… Or something like that.

I can’t remember a single time one of the “no’s” I have given to my children ended up leading to great memories.

But the word “yes” that’s a dangerous word…

Saying yes has led me to memories I treasure. M and I have imagined most everything there is to imagine. We’ve saved countless lives. Explored endless places. We’ve had fun.

I fear, someday, the tables will turn and our kids will be the ones saying no to us. I have this hunch, if we say yes as much as possible when our kids are young they will be more apt to say yes to us once they are grown.

No is easy. Yes is hard. It’s worth it.

IMG 2183N-… Yes, I’d love to build a train track with you.

A lot of my thoughts about “yes” come from a conversation I remember having with our Pastor of Equipping Brian well before I had kids of my own. Talking about parenting with the next generation is a worthwhile endeavor. Grateful Brian shared his heart with me.

By |January 29th, 2015|Parenting|4 Comments

The Best Parenting Verse

As a Kid’s Pastor and parent of 2.9 kids, I’m often searching the Bible for the “smoking gun” parenting verse(s).

Where does the Bible tell me how to:

-Get them tucked into bed by 7:30.

-Have them sleep till 8:00.

-Make them eat all their meals.

-Prevent them from harming each other every 5 minutes.

-etc. etc. etc.

I still haven’t found it.

I have found one that I am starting to believe may be one of the best.

…let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no… James 5:12c

Conviction. Lots of it.

When I am with my kids I can get frazzled. “M, if you don’t do this… Then… !!!” And so it goes.

When I’m frazzled I fail to follow through. When I fail to follow through I become inconsistent. In those moments I can see their little brains soaking that in, “Is dad REALLY going to ________ this time?”

Nope. He’s probably not.

Funny thing though. When I am on a good streak of following through with my kids they seem to be happier and they behave better (not perfect but better). I’m more predictable. Kids like that.

Let’s be honest. I will fail at this again. Today. Maybe, though, I’ll get it right a little more often. If I do… I’m pretty sure I’ll be a better parent.

M and his BibleM, and his beloved Jesus Storybook Bible.

Next Post Up: Say “Yes” as Much As Possible

By |January 18th, 2015|Parenting, Scripture|0 Comments

Let It Go

There are a handful of experiences in my life that stand out.  I grab onto those moments and hold them tightly.

One such memory happened close to Christmas 2012. Amy, M and I were in Kansas City and decided to head to Krispy Kreme for some donuts.

Getting a donut is fairly routine for us. This time was different. We purchased an entire dozen and everyone had permission to eat as many as they wanted (I believe the final tally was 4-3-3, we revoked M’s permission, he was still going strong). It was awesome. I decided then and there Christmas donuts were a new family tradition.

Donuts

Fast forward to 2013, we had every intention of getting our Christmas donuts. We made concrete plans to go get them… Four different times. We even got out of the house once. We were in route, visions of donuts dancing in my head… Then, it happened. M fell asleep.

You don’t simply wake that boy up, it’s not wise. As I drove, I had a debate with myself. Wake him up? Let it go? I wanted those donuts. To my dismay, the only end result I could imagine wasn’t pretty.  Our new family tradition had failed before a single recurrence.

We opted to go to the mall instead (sounds logical, right?). Amy bravely entered to pick out our family Christmas ornament.  I drove the kids around the parking lot to keep them asleep. She texted me pictures of ornaments. I procured a hot chocolate chip cookie from a nearby drive thru. The excursion provided several laughable moments.

Ornament

I now have another memory in my handful. It wasn’t bad to try and recreate the first donut trip, that is what traditions are made of. On that day, the wise choice was to simply let it go. When parenting young kids letting go of “our plans” can lead away from disasters and towards new unexpected and equally great memories.

Would love to hear your stories of letting go or failing to do so.  Share them in the comments below!

If you read this expecting something related to the movie Frozen… You took the bait.  That said, here are my three favorite renditions of Let it Go. (Awesome) (I would do this) (Cute)