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Puppy Wisdom


Puppy burps are cute…

Puppy farts are not.

Through the Cold and the Fire…Look Up


Challenges take place in everyone’s lives.  Some take the form of small events, while others wreak havoc leaving ashes and sorrow in their wake.

Here is the story of what happened to my friends Al and Margo this week.

There was a birthday celebration for Margo last Sunday night with family gathered in Al and Margo’s living room…there was love, laughter and fun shared by everyone.  One of their sons and his family were there, along with their daughter and her family.  Six adults and 6 little girls all celebrating Grandma’s big day.

Little did they know there was a chimney/attic fire starting above their heads.

The fire wasn’t discovered until the party broke up and the families were headed home.  A telltale light in the attic alerted them to the fire…you see, there is no electricity in the attic.  911 was called, and thankfully, the family was able to get some of their photos and valuables out.

It became more tumultuous from there.

It took 40,000 gallons of water from local fire departments to finally put the fire out.  The main floor was still in place, with what was left of the ceiling edges sagging down.  The structure and it’s contents were waterlogged and frozen.  You see, here in Ely, Minnesota, the daytime temps were below zero with a windchill sometimes hitting -26.

On Monday, family and friends salvaged Al and Margo’s washer and dryer, bed frames, some clothing from the front closet (that the fire hadn’t touched), and some more family photos.

On Monday night, the fire roared again…leaving just a pile of ashes in it’s wake.

On Tuesday, their daughter Mistaya commented “God gave us a window of time so we could salvage more items.”

On the night of the fire, the shock and stress brought on a health crisis for Margo.  After many tests and 2 days in the hospital, the doctor told her she could go ‘home’.  On her Facebook page, she wrote:

“Fire has taken my (our) house, we lost so much but some treasures were rescued by an army who came alongside my children, as I experienced broken heart syndrome and was admitted to the ICU in St. Marys while the fire burned down my (our) home. A couple days later, it gave a new meaning to “You can go home today, Margo.” Upon being discharged from the hospital it became the ultimate test of the truth that I know ~ my true home, my forever home is my Fortress & my Habitation: my God.”

As you can see by the testimony Margo gave and by the words of their daughter, this couple’s (and all of their children’s) faith shines brightly.  Al and Margo are the very meaning of the words: loving, faith-filled, humble.  This is not a couple that believes in excess…they’re priority is not in earthly goods.  They also don’t want to ask for more than they need as witnessed by the low amount of money the family is asking for on the ‘Youcare’ site (shown below).  This will not build a new house, this will not even cover their second mortgage, nor will it replace their household goods, but they didn’t want to ask for too much.  Many locals have offered goods and services, but Al and Margo want to wait to see what they really need.  (Building cannot begin until Spring because of our frozen winter.)  Local businesses have been very gracious, thoughtful and generous by giving gift cards to help.

More in Margo’s words:

“I (we) do need help…especially if we are to rebuild and continue our hobby or if I may, our ministry, with Boundary Waters Labradors (AKC certified) as our insurance was extremely minimal, covering one mortgage loan only…and this is why I have turned it over. I have to Let Go and Let God. Romans 8: 28 is what I am holding onto. He will meet that need, as He sees fit. It’s time for new beginnings, even though; my husband and I are 40 years strong, plus I am in the 60 and over club now, both by His grace.

I am (we are) grateful and amazed at how much God loves me (us) and manifests His love for me (us) through his creations – you.   What an awesome feeling to be shown so much care and kindness by so many people! May He bless each and every one of you three hundred fold for your prayers, and gifts. I am (we are) humbled beyond expression.”

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And here is where I ask for your help…

Click on the link below and feel the blessing of helping others.  Give if you can.  Any amount helps…$5, $50, $500.  Even if you can’t donate money, I ask that you keep them in your prayers this holiday season.

Fundraiser for Al and Margo Penke

Thank you for your help…and as you walk through the cold and the fire…look up.  It is by His grace and presence that we move beyond them.

Patty O

Photo Credit:  Cheri Debeltz

Dear God…Sometimes Life Just Kinda Stinks


Today was one of those days, and no, this is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke.

We’ve been dealing with anger issues with Motzy lately.  He would do really well…and then suddenly snarl at one of us.

We tried everything…reprimanding him, putting him in his kennel for a timeout, and anything else you can imagine.   We even had our own private Veterinary advisor Jen – the daycare baby’s Mom.  She talked us through many ideas for training and disciplining him.

But today we had to say goodbye.

He went after Gabi last Thursday night when she was doing nothing more than snuggling with him – like they had every night for the past 7 months.  He left 8 indents on her hands along with a couple scrapes.  He didn’t break skin, but she froze in fear.  Motzy was immediately put in his kennel where we didn’t hear a peep from him until morning.

Today he went after me twice.  This morning leaving a few teeth indents on my hand and this afternoon I was saved by his cone.  He has snarled at us before and had attempted to bite but hadn’t connected.  We had him neutered on Friday with the hope that it might help things.  Unfortunately it didn’t, he actually was worse.

We had to make the decision today, and even though we knew we absolutely couldn’t have a dog that snapped at any of us or the two little daycare babies, it was still hard to say goodbye.  He was the sweetest dog 95% of the time.  But we couldn’t take a chance on the other 5%, especially with his episodes escalating.

I told Gabi before we left that maybe this was just all part of God’s plan.  Maybe Motzy has a wonderful new home to go to where he’ll be able to do all the things English Setters are supposed to do – go bird hunting and get lots of exercise each day.   Maybe that owner wouldn’t have been able to take him when he was a pup.  Maybe we were supposed to give him lots of love for 7 months so that he could eventually meet up with his permanent owner.

For now Jen was able to find a foster home.  She’s hoping to find him a permanent home soon.  I imagine a farm where maybe he could live in a barn and run free.

But for today, we kissed him goodbye and told him how much we loved him.  He’s spending the night at the Vet Clinic awaiting his ride.

Whatever God’s plan may be for Motzy, or for us…

Sometimes life just kinda stinks.

Patty O

My Dog Ate My Glasses


I now know that this is not a unique event.  Many people I have complained to have shared stories of their own wonder dogs eating their glasses.  I even had one person come back with “Well at least he didn’t eat your dentures!”  Suffice it to say, if I had dentures I would be REALLY unhappy.

As it was, when I came out of the shower to find Motzy laying on the rug chomping away, I wasn’t happy.  Of course I couldn’t see what he was crunching on since I wasn’t wearing my glasses, thus I bent down, nose almost to the floor, to find out what he had.  I’m sure the shrill in my voice and the look on my face, instantly notified Motzy he’d done something wrong.

I think my first comment was “How could you do this Motzy?”, voice rising with each word.  Like he was really going to look at me and say ‘Well, remember that time you took the dirty diaper from me?  Yeah, this is payback baby.’  (You can find that story here:  A Dirty Diaper, 4 Pens and 2 Christmas Ornaments)  Don’t doubt my language abilities, there were definitely more than a few expletives spoken that day…sigh…sorry Lord, I think I may have even taken your name in vain a time or two.

Thankfully I’d saved my last couple pairs of glasses (you never know when you’re dog might eat them).  But think now, do you remember why you got new glasses?  Was it (A) because you didn’t like the look anymore?  Or (B) because you needed an upgrade (or downgrade) to bifocals?  Or (C) could it be both?  Yes, just go ahead and circle letter C.   I’ve been waiting ever-so-NOT-patiently for the new ones to arrive…as I raise my old glasses to the top of my head so I can read something close…and slip them back down when I want to see anything even remotely far away.  Up…down…up…down…

{sigh}

And just why did I tease my Mom so many years ago when we were at church and she couldn’t see her hymnal?  I even held my hymnal really…far…away, in an attempt to help her see…I thought I was just so funny.  Yup, she’s having herself a REALLY good laugh up in Heaven right about now!

Here’s to a bright, beautiful weekend…I hope you can see it better than I can!

Patty O

A Touch of Spring!


I’ve decided that I’m not waiting for Mother Nature to change the seasons.  I swear the old broad is on vacation and left Jack Frost in charge.  Although, I admit, we are finally in somewhat of a warm up.  We actually hit 50 degrees ABOVE zero the other day (instead of 50 BELOW)!  Most of our days are above zero now…20’s and 30’s.  This has been the coldest winter here since 1917!

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I needed at least one bright sunshiny spot in my house that would brighten up our moods…so, coupon in hand, I visited TJ Maxx.  I found a fantastic set of towels in what I would call Spring Green, and of course, I had to buy one for each of us (5), plus two hand towels, and two wash cloths.  I’m a bit of towel snob, I have to admit it.  I LOVE big plush towels!  Now here’s the deal…TJ’s is the best place to get a deal on them!  The total for everything was approx. $47.  But hold on…I also had $20 of TJ cash (which they send you when you use their credit card to pay)…So I only paid $27!  Whoohoo!  Now don’t forget if you get a TJ card – pay it off the same month so you’re not paying any extra fees!  Win-win!

I only took a couple of pictures of my Spring bathroom as the other side of the room isn’t nearly as exciting.  Here’s one with the towels:

IMG_1620

The big bright floral picture was another TJ find from a couple of years ago – $9.99.  It’s traveled all around the house, now landing here.

The sign is one I usually put by the entry in the garage in a cute little vignette, but this is one of the Spring highlights.  Do you remember playing this game with your friend when you were little?  We’d sing and do a clapping game:  ‘See see oh playmate, come out and play with me, and bring your dollies three, climb up my apple tree, slide down my rain barrel, climb up my cellar door, and we’ll be jolly friends, forevermore, more, more, more, more, more!’  This is one of my sweetest childhood memories!

On to the colorful candles in the candle holders, these have been up for many years, I just keep changing out the candles in different colors (watch for sales).  I bought some chain from the local hardware store and spray painted it so it would blend in with the wall – giving the ‘floating candle effect’.  Then I added a little bucket of faux daisies to the windowsill (we received this as a wedding present 14 years ago) and Waalaa!  I love it!

Sunshine, flowers and bright colors – even when there’s still dirty snow outside!  🙂

Treat yourself to something bright – even if it’s a single bright-colored flower in a vase!  It’s amazing what a mood boost it can be!

Patty O

ps…I know you all noticed the garbage can in the bathtub…that’s the only place we can put it so Motzy won’t it eat.  AND, yes there’s dirty laundry in the basket too.  I’m really trying to make sure you feel at home (hahaha).  Yes, thankfully imperfect.

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