puppy heaven practical jokes

It’s been a little while, and I was unsure of what I wanted to write about next. I whipped up some drafts in the little downtime I had last week, while something big was happening in our household.

Our beloved pup (/matriarch/grandma/vacuum) Lil’ Ruby was experiencing a sharp downturn in overall health. Everything became slower, more challenging, more painful. I knew the day would come, but I was not prepared. Goodbyes are hard. I didn’t want to do it. In my mind, Ruby (who would be fifteen in two weeks) would be lounging around with my own kids while they played. Underfoot in the kitchen scrounging for scraps for years to come. She would be with me forever. I consider myself a realist, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t quite grasp the idea that Ruby would someday be gone.

Last week was hard, and keeping her around for any longer would be selfish on our part. She was no longer the crazy Ruby that she had been just weeks before. Through tears, I thought about just how much she had changed, aside from the obvious physical deterioration: I hadn’t heard her signature bark that I would repeat back to her on the regular (‘rowrf, rowrf’) for weeks now, and instances of Ruby going into my mom’s bedroom to seclude herself – situated under the dresser to the point I had to rescue her, for example – came rushing back to us. A couple bad days here and there were switched out for a few good hours once every day or two. She was getting old. She was dying.

I’m a Rainbow Bridge veteran. I did this last year, I can do it again (and I will do it again, unfortunately, with the last of the three fur siblings from my childhood sometime in the next couple of years).  I was giving myself the pep-talk of all pep-talks. Free from suffering! She lived a good life! She and Charlie will be reunited! Still hard, of course, like I knew it would be. We put her down Friday night and I essentially blacked out for the entire ordeal.

When we got home, we managed to order two very large pizzas and pull ourselves together. My boyfriend brought over the essentials (diet & cherry coke) and the four of us humans (plus one very large old white Labradoodle who now has to be carried down the stairs) decided a Netflix sesh was in order. In the process of getting settled, one of us accidentally sat on the remote, and the closed captioning turned on. Not once in my life have I seen this particular TV with closed captioning on. I didn’t even know it had the option. It stayed on for a second or two while we all fumbled to find the remote, and then it hit me. “RUBY!!!” Ruby had been deaf as a post for the past six months at least! I believe that was her way of saying, “HI! I’m here and I love you. Now pass the pizza!”* What a jokester. Ain’t no party like a pizza party and there was no way that Ruby was going to be excluded from one of those.  We all laughed and laughed. That moment made me feel content enough to get some much-needed rest. I put my pizza down mid-slice**, curled up on my side of the couch, and fell asleep just as the movie was starting.

*it was a quintessential ROOBY PLS moment.

**no, I did not put my pizza down mid-slice. for dramatic effect only. i promise to finish every slice i start. also, they were not slices, but squares. CHICAGO

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There is a Ruby-shaped hole in my heart that cannot be replaced. She was not ‘like’ a sister, she WAS my sister, and I will miss her dearly for the rest of forever. Thank you for being the best pup I could have asked for.  I love you, sissy!

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what is for you will not pass you

Life’s a bunch of little choices, the smallest of which have the ability to alter your entire life. This is one thing you can expect, but you can’t necessarily prepare for. I don’t know about you, but that truth has me SQUIRMIN’ IN MY SEAT. Naturally, I’m curious: where will I be (physically, mentally, spiritually) ten years from now? Five years from now? NEXT WEEK? I pray, hope, wonder, weigh the options. (Forgive me for this, but) Life is a highway and we’re all traveling at different speeds, making different stops along the way, putting a certain combo of values in the front seat. What is for you will not pass you. Sometimes, and perhaps more often if you’re navigating the congested, rush-hour-traffic-like life of a post-grad lost-puppy twenty-something, you will make plans and watch them fall apart right in front of your face. You will try things, and you will fail. You will try new things and fail again, but maybe a little more gracefully. What is for you will not pass you. You will make friends. You might date someone, or a few people. You will share your heart. You will say ‘I love you’ to a person who might eventually become a stranger. What is for you will not pass you. You might have to park your car for awhile after receiving news that knocks you right off your feet. Life will be put ‘on hold’, and you might experience anxiety about taking time for yourself. But what is for you will not pass you.

These few words have been giving me so much comfort lately, so I thought I’d share them with you. Appreciate all that you have going for you right here and now. Keep trying, stay true to yourself, and make decisions that align with your values.  Don’t make it your life’s purpose to hang onto people, places, things, and ideas that were not meant for you. You may not know exactly what direction your life is headed, but everything that is meant to fit into your life story will not pass you by.

foundations

This blog is built upon the foundation of my happiness. It is the branch off a daily journal I started this past April over on Instagram. It’s a “365 project” of sorts, originally a challenge to take and post one picture every day for one year. Three days in, I realized that was hardly a challenge. I’m pretty snap-happy (is this news?). I decided to continue, shifting my focus to identifying joy in the everyday and working to develop a better attitude of gratitude. Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness is so important. In a way, my entries – laced with run-ons and enough tumblr-girl jargon to almost annoy even me – have become a funny, interesting and necessary part of my prayer life (I wouldn’t consider myself stoic. Go with it). It has been a wonderful practice in gratitude, joyfulness, and authenticity. It was those who read it and most likely those reading this post right now that gave me the push to take my talents to a real live blog. They love my “zest for life”, how I “bring joy to every situation”, and how I make them “SO [expletive] HAPPY!!”. AND THAT IS SO WONDERFUL. The fact that lil old me can inspire others in such a way is truly a blessing.

Known for my positivity, you could imagine how hard it has been for me in the past few weeks or so to admit even to my closest friends that I’ve been in a funk and felt “off”. I’m the resident Happy Girl. Not going to be a neurophysiologist, can’t run very fast, completely tone deaf and can’t hold a tune, but you bet your butt I can bring cheer as well as comfort to many a situation. Usually. But lately, it’s been hard. Although I can still lift others up, and point them in the direction that really does the heavy lifting, I feel as if it’s harder to lift myself, and the Authenticity Police inside of me was CALLIN ME OUT. I needed to open up and own the words, “I’m sad and I need help. Here’s why.” The second I got vulnerable, a shower of love washed over me: texts, calls, verses, song suggestions, hugs from those near and far. I was receiving encouragement and love from some friends that I have never gotten hashtag vulnerable with, admittedly because I never bothered to ask for them to pray for me or even send good vibes. I’ve grown accustomed to my life being soaked in joy from the inside out, but it’s OKAY to admit you’re dryin’ up a little and need watering from others. It’s also OKAY to be sad! In moderation, of course. Makes the joy in your life all the more sweet.

Stay joyful friends. And if you’re not, you can try again tomorrow. The beauty of grace is FOR REAL that it makes life not fair (I walked right into that one).

with LOVE LOVE LOVE,

Claire

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me in a field in bourbonnais, il – 10/5/14. creds: my favorite lens and my beautiful cousin’s eye. also hands. well, her whole body. thanks, katie! xo

eight thousand one hundred ninety six

the number of days I have been on this journey, and the number of days I have lived without a blog (middle school xanga doesn’t count) (however sacred, ’twas not a blog). I hesitated for so long because I was told and told myself that in order to have a blog, you need to have a focus. well, here I am, unfocused as ever, on this 8196th day of my life, just wanting to do all of the things and document them as I go.

as for what you can ‘expect to see’ on my ‘blawg’, I don’t know how to address that. let’s find out together? in an attempt to half-answer the question, I’ll share what I’m inspired by:

  • photography. there’s nothing like a crisp, clear photo flooded with beautiful, natural light. I’m forever taking pictures. my phone takes care of that most of the time, currently training myself to reach for my DSLR more like I did back in ye olde pre-smartphone days. hoping this blog helps with that!
  • short stories and vignettes. my attention span thanks me.
  • desserts. enough said. actually, I want to say more. do you know how much I love donuts?
  • faith and spirituality and an attitude of gratitude, which brings me to
  • JOY, which I believe grows in abundance when shared with others!

I’m not a writer, not a pastry chef, certainly not a theologian or a photographer (and definitely not a blogger!). despite all of this, I’m ready and willing to share little pieces of my life. I hope that by doing so, I inspire someone somewhere to find strength in their imperfections and do the same.

with LOVE LOVE LOVE,

claire

(thank you to gaby, sammy, shelby, kate, kayla, jocelyn, kait, maddy, nicole, & brynna for inspiring me, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you girls are the real thing)

(happy first post to me and happy gilmore day and happy feast day of st. therese of lisieux and happy birthday to katie and happy october! WHAT A DAY WHAT A LIFE)