Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sunshine (Sunny) Byrne-Hammond, September 2001 - November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve I lost my last and most loved dog.

She was named Sunshine after the song 'You Are My Sunshine' because she lighted up my life.

Sunny was my first little dog. She was about five weeks old and weighed two pounds when I found her on Petfinder and sent in an application to adopt her.

Her mother and two siblings had been found abandoned in a ditch. Breed was a total mystery, even in the mother's generation.

A few weeks later we took a trip to Big Rapids and brought her home.

When she was three months old Sunny and I started doggy school together. She loved obedience from the very beginning and learned quickly. We won the award for best in the class and continued obedience for the next six years until her arthritis got so bad I couldn't let her jump hurdles.

This is our graduation picture from puppy class.

Whatever her genes, she had a strong kill instinct for her favorite toy, a green rubber turtle. She fetched them and shook them until they were dead. I bought all I could find and kept extras in a drawer for when replacements were needed.

She loved to sit and bask in the sun.

Sunny had a strong herding instinct and didn't play well with other dogs. She tried to herd them.

People would ask what breed she was and sometimes I would tell them 'at least a third generation designer dog.' (That means unrecognizable mutt.) This went over most people's heads, so when I didn't want to explain I would answer 'I don't know but definitely something that herds.'

Her curly, unruly coat collected ice balls in the snow so she wore a jacket for winter walks.

Sunny had many orthopedic problems and got through the muscle spasms and pain taking strong steroids which eventually resulted in serious biochemical problems. She rarely whined and she didn't let her problems get in the way of what she wanted to do.

About five years ago her long time veterinarian told me, 'She can't walk, but she's a dog and doesn't know she can't walk.'

Even though she was mostly blind, she moved into our new house, learned her way around, and settled in like she owned it.

Rest in peace Sunny. I'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge and you can herd me in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapshot Of My Life On November 18

Weather in SW Michigan ...
It's winter weather - snow, wind, ice, cold. Schools are closed including the university.

Really? ...
My first snowstorm in Westport Village, a condo community.

The first snow plowing truck arrived at 5:30 am today. I woke up long enough to be impressed, even though I didn't plan to go anywhere.

The second snow plowing truck arrived a little before 8:00 am. Yes, there was that much new snow.

Something from the kitchen ...
Wow, the kitchen. I love our new kitchen. Haven't had time or energy to cook much in it yet, but plenty of opportunity to use the refrigerator and dishwasher and sink. Jay put a lot of time and research into picking the appliances and sink that suits our lifestyle, and he did a great job.

We still don't have everything organized and put away. I thought we worked through the duplicates, but we still have way too many of them.

Combining households is not as easy and simple as one might think.

I am creating...
We are creating a new home for our life together.

I am procrastinating ...
Getting window coverings, and we need them.

Keep thinking we should be more settled and organized before making that decision. That's just an excuse to cover the fact that I am burned out from months and months of making decisions. My brain wants to be indecisive for a few days weeks.

Yesterday Kelli, the amazing lady who helps us know what we want, gave us a place to call that other village residents have used for blinds. I will be calling them soon.

Sunny is adjusting ...
She spent the first night in her new house pacing the floor. No one slept very well that night, although we were all exhausted.

She spent the first week in her new house being nervous and waiting for me to take her back to the house where she had spent her entire thirteen years minus the first seven weeks of her life. It was stressful for all of us.

Now, after four weeks here, she knows she lives here and is relaxed and doing well. She is not healthy in many ways and I'm sure we have some challenges ahead. For now, all is under control and she is happy.

Something new for me ...
What isn't?

A few plans for the next few days
Jay has been sick so we haven't done much the past few days except the basics. Hope to get back to organizing, sorting out, and putting away soon.

Most of this stuff in the picture below is headed for basement storage. It probably will languish there until someday when our kids have to clean it out, but we have intentions of going through it occasionally and getting rid of the things we're not using. Doesn't everybody?

Every time I look at this pile I think it looks like something large vomited a pile of junk and boxes.

Giving thanks for ...
Two years ago Jay and I were both alone and hadn't seen each other in over ten years.

One year ago I was just starting to think I might say yes if he asked me to marry him. By the time he got around to it in January, there was no doubt in my mind. His timing was perfect.

Everyday I give thanks to God for these senior years blessings that I never requested and never expected.

And ...
Two weeks ago the landscapers seeded our grass and covered it with straw. It's waiting for spring under the snow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Most of these pictures got posted on Facebook, but some of my dear friends (hi Marsh and Barb) aren't on Facebook. So, here is a brief summary of the past weeks when I've been too tired and busy to post on the blog.

Memo to myself: You are too old to move again. You may have been too old to move this time.

October 15 was the day I officially sold my house in Paw Paw. It would have been nice to have time to celebrate this happy day, but Jay and I were both frantically sorting and packing and arranging for movers to come a week later.

Daughter Heather and Jason came to help me pack. I never would have made it without them. I thought I was organized and ready, but as we packed things kept materializing out of nowhere.

8:30 Wednesday morning, October 22, our eight month wedding anniversary, three movers arrived at Jay's townhouse and two movers arrived at my house in Paw Paw. We combined household belongings at Oak Haven and officially started living together.

Our new Sleep Number bed was delivered the day before we moved in.

Sunny's Sleep Number is 35.

Thursday, the day after we moved in, Jay boggled my mind by picking up his vegetable allotment from the Kalamazoo Nature Center. He washed them and spread them out to dry on the island in the new kitchen.

At this point in our moving, we still had not located the silverware and were operating with two spoons. It's amazing what can be done with two spoons. Why do we need forks and knives?

Last week the landscapers arrived with potted plants. It appears we may even get grass planted yet this fall.

Yesterday they returned with a large rock for the garden (not shown), and a Red Sunset Maple for the front yard.

I don't have a good closing for this post. We are still heavy in the process of getting settled, meaning we are far from done. To be continued.