Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A real fine place to start...

Today I’m starting something new.  I kept thinking I’d wait until January 1st to make some major life changes.  But if I have to wait until it’s natural to have a “resolution” then it’s not ever going to be a natural change.  So December 21st is the day.  Actually December 20th was the day, but since I didn’t start yesterday this way, today is my first full day of the new and improved Cassie. 
Have you ever wanted something so much that you push so hard and in the process hurt yourself and others and in the end realized all you really did was push any chance of actually getting what you wanted away?  Welcome to my world.  This has been the story of my life for about two years.
But as of yesterday, after one of the worst mornings of my life, I realized something.  Something that I always knew and have advised others to do many times, but for some reason never applied to my own situation.  Stupid, I know.  I have realized, or more appropriately, decided to apply, the ideas that you get out of something what you put into it and you can only change your behavior not someone else’s.
Sometimes it’s easy when we feel we have been wronged to blame the other person and put all the responsibility for fixing it on them.  We know our behavior isn’t appropriate either, but we sit back and say, “I’m not changing until they fix what they did to me.”  If this is your line of thought, let me offer you an opportunity to skip out on some serious heartbreak.  Don’t do it.  You are responsible for your own actions regardless of what someone else does (or doesn’t do) to encourage ill behavior from you.
For a long time I have been really crappy to someone who means the absolute world to me.  Once upon a time, they wronged me.  I forgave them, sure, but I expected major changes along with that apology.  When those changes didn’t come as quickly as I wanted them to, I allowed my behavior to change.  I became a person that was difficult to get along with, always super sensitive and overly emotional.  I thought if they could see that I was hurting they would step up their efforts to make the changes they kept promising.  But in reality, all I did was hurt them back, cause them to have major doubts in who they are and allow for situations that created a lot of resentment in both of us.
It took a very heartbreaking event in our relationship for me to make this decision and I hate that it came to what it did, but I finally realize that whether or not they ever change, I am far more unhappy in who I have become trying to get them where I think they ought to be then I am with anything they actually do.  I have allowed this to change things about my personality that I used to love.  I have allowed this to make me a distrusting, nagging, mean person.  And I am not any of those things.  I am a happy-go-lucky, easy going, fun loving person who people used to really enjoy being around.  It’s time to get that girl back.
So today I’m starting there.  I’m going to be the nice, sweet, friendly, compassionate, fun Cassie that I was when this person and I became friends in the first place.  I’m going to do the little things I used to do that let people know I care about them.  I’m going to live my life a little lighter and quit letting every little thing have such a heavy emotional weight.  I’m going to stop getting my feelings hurt so easily.  I’m going to stop pushing for the things I need.  Instead I’m going to give the people I love the things I want them to remember about me instead of the things we all want to forget.    
I can only be responsible for my actions.  And not only can I, but I have to be.  I am responsible for everything I think, say and do.  So my December 20th resolution is to, from this point forward, in all my relationships with friends, family, coworkers, etc., live out one of my favorite Bible passages… Ephesians 4:29, 31-32. 
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only that which is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Every day is a new day to wake up and choose to be the person you want to be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Miss Lilly Belle...

I’m back!
I’m not sure if you missed me or not, but I missed you.
I thought it best to take a leave of absence from my blog when one of my readers took it as an invitation to stalk me.  But I think that has been resolved now, so I decided to make a comeback.  There are so many things I’ve wanted to share over the past three months… I don’t even know where to start. 
I think I will start with the newest addition to my world.  My sweet little Lilly.
Miss Lilly Belle
Back in February, I had to put my precious Dotti (best dog ever) down due to a heart tumor.  It was really hard for me as she was really the only good thing I had to show for the previous six years of my life.  She literally was the best dog ever.  I couldn’t replace her if I wanted to and for the longest time, I didn’t want to even consider getting a new dog.  I knew none could compare to Dotti pants.  There were several opportunities of friends emailing me pictures of cute puppies looking for forever homes, even my sister dropping a monster dog off at my house, but none of them were a good fit and I just wasn’t ready.
My last picture with Dotti
I know those of you who have human children don’t understand us dog lovers’ connections to our babies and how much we mourn the loss of one so deeply.  But Dotti was my child.  The bright spot in my day.  The “person” I made the most sacrifices for and always considered her best interest.  When buying a house that was the #1 thing on the list to the realtor… must have a fenced in back yard for Dotti to play.  The #2 was must have a garage for Kit to sleep.  What can I say?  My kids are at the top of my list.  J  The determining factor on whether or not I could go somewhere for the weekend with friends was always if Dotti could come, and if not, if I could find a worthy babysitter for my sweet love.
So after several months of considering the possibilities of inviting a new four-legged friend into my home, and always deciding the time just wasn’t right, I had one really rough day where I was feeling super lonely and I sat in the backyard next to the tree we planted over Dotti’s gravesite.  That was the moment I knew I needed a puppy.  Not to replace Dotti, but just because I was reminded of how much joy it brings to have someone to come home to that is never mad at you, will always listen to you, never complains about what you feed them, always wags its tail and greets you with a kiss, always wants to be close to you, never tells you that you work too much or not enough, never says the house isn’t clean enough or the lawn needs to be mowed.  They would rather you sit and snuggle with them or throw the ball over and over and over then you do any of those chores.  The list can go on and on, but I’ll stop there.  When I was having a rough day and the only thing that made me feel better was sitting next to my dead dog’s dead tree, I knew that I not only needed to replant a better tree, but that I needed a new puppy in my life. 
Once I made the decision to get a new puppy, I started researching breeds.  I thought maybe I’d want something new.  My family is a dog family.  We’ve always had them… sometimes tons of them at the same time.  Throughout my life I’ve had cockapoos, cocker spaniels, Siberian huskies, German shepherds, labs, pit bulls, blue healers, Staffordshire terriers, hound dogs and my fair share of mutts, but with the exception of one or two, none of them compared to Dotti, who was an American bulldog.  I kept researching new breeds that I’ve never had, but ultimately “American bulldog” kept ending up back in the search bar.  After almost convincing myself to go with a golden retriever, I stumbled upon an American Bulldog breeder out of Muldrow, Oklahoma.
Enter Lilly. 
Lilly's first picture
Or as she was named on the Southern Charm American Bulldog website… PF4 (which stands for Putter (the name of her mother), female, order born in the litter).
I found her picture and I fell in love.  She is a registered American bulldog and they were good breeders as opposed to a puppy mill.  Her color and markings were so pretty.  I knew I wanted her so I started emailing the breeder.  We made plans for me to come get her when she was six weeks old.  I was so excited.  But as it got closer to go time, the breeder started getting a little flaky, stopped returning my emails, always had excuses on why she couldn’t email pics or meet me.  I was at the Reba concert on a Friday night when I told Brett that I had planned to drive over to Muldrow the next day and pick her up.  He said he was sad because he wanted to go with me but couldn’t because his mom was in town.  Then almost immediately I got an email from the breeder saying she’d sold PF4 to someone else.  My heart was broken.  I thought PF4 was gone.  But I told her I would come up Tuesday (so Brett could join me) and see what females she still had left. 
I tried to forget about PF4 and spent some time on the website Saturday looking at the other babies she had.  I had it narrowed down to two that I wanted to look at, but neither that I was in love with.  I never told Brett that PF4 was gone, just that I had decided to go Tuesday instead of Saturday. 
Sunday I went to church in Broken Arrow.  I had invited Brett and his mom to join me and JC for lunch after church, but he said they’d be too busy.  JC and I caught the first showing at Cinemark and decided to do Olive Garden after the movie.  The movie had just started when I got a text from Brett saying his mom wasn’t feeling well and went home and that he wanted to meet us for lunch.  I told him we were in a movie but planned to eat after.  Then an hour went by and he kept texting, wondering where I was.  I was starting to think something was wrong.  Then he asked if I would meet him in the movie theater parking lot before we headed to the restaurant.  I asked if everything was okay and his response was, “I’m just sad.” 

Geez, that was the longest movie ever.  I was so worried about him.  I thought maybe he’d had a fight with his mom, or something bad had happened.  I had no idea what to expect.  As soon as the credits started rolling I was out the door.  JC went to get us a table and I found Brett.  He was sitting against the trunk of his car with the saddest face I’d ever seen.  When I walked up to him and asked what was wrong, he started crying… yes… real tears.  He started telling me how they sold PF4 to someone else. 

Oh what a relief.  I thought it was something much more serious.  He started mumbling about how he wanted to get her for me for Christmas and now he couldn’t and how sad he was.  I tried to comfort him, though I was so caught off guard by why he was so sad about the puppy I wanted that I couldn’t really even think.  Then he said, “She has others that she sent pictures of… do you want to see?”  My mind said, “I’ve already seen them.”  But my heart said, “Anything to get him to stop crying.”  And my mouth said, “Yes, I would love to.”  So he walked around to the passenger side of his car where the window was down.  I was expecting him to pull out his phone to show me pictures and instead he pulled out PF4, wrapped in a cute little blanket with a cute little bandana around her neck.  It was love at first sight.  J
I pretty much love her.
He handed her to me and said, “Her name is Lilly.”  At first I didn’t know if I should punch Brett or hug him.  He had me worried sick.  But he also just gave me the sweetest surprise ever.  I have been accused of being a little detective, so surprising me is almost impossible.  But he pulled it off marvelously.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the real tears.  Now that I know he can cry on command, I may doubt the sincerity of his tears in the future.  J
Brett watched Lilly while I went ahead and ate with JC.  I ordered him a to-go order for being so sweet and played with and cuddled my new baby while he ate it.  Then we went to my soccer game.  Lilly was the cutest fan on the sidelines.  Brett was the second cutest.  And the little girl who would not stop making Brett get up to put Lilly in her lap was the third cutest.  Lilly was a big hit.  I don’t remember much about the game.  But I remember just about everything else about the day my sweet Miss Lilly Belle came into my world.
Lilly and I have had many “Marley and Me” moments since I first got her and I am looking forward to posting some of them in the future.  Until then, here are some pictures of my sweet baby who celebrated her 12-week birthday yesterday. 

On the way home from Houston
Trying to steal firewood

At church with mom

Lilly: 1, Toy: 0

Playing at NSU-BA

She's precious

Lilly's loft

First trip to Mom's office

Sleeping with a fat belly

Playing at Dad's house