Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rusty Boy

Dear Rusty,
It was in May of 2001 that we looked into your sweet eyes. There you were, sitting in your crate with your head down over your crossed paws. To us you looked like you were ready to get out of that room with all those yappy dogs.  Your dad spotted you first. We only went in to see the puppies not to buy one.  They led us to a room and sat you down on the floor. You looked at us and then jumped up in your dads lap and started kissing his face. He fell in love with you instantly. We played with you for a while and then with saddened hearts gave you back to the worker. She talked to us about price and you were just way out of our price range. In all honesty we could not afford any price. She mentioned payment plans. We said no and with that walked out. We sat down in the mall food court to have some dinner. Your dad (for the first time ever) said "what if we do the payments?". My jaw dropped. I swore I would never buy a dog from a pet store but you were different. We headed back in and put a down payment on you and you came home with us.

 You were so much fun that first day. Running around the yard. Climbing on us, eating the over grown dandelions, finding sticks way to big for you and trying to run with them. That first night you stayed with me as your daddy and I were not married yet. I tried to put you in a corner and block you in to sleep. You whined and barked and cried for a couple of hours. I gave in and let you sleep in bed with me. You woke me in the middle of the night by chewing on my nose and trying to get me to play. I wanted to kill you. On top of that I was taking you out to go potty every couple of hours to potty train you. I felt like I had an infant and that night I received no sleep.  The next day I drove you to your dads work and dropped you off. He tied you up to the truck and you spent most of your day laying under the truck.
You were so smart. You picked things up quickly! You would sleep on the floorboard of your dads red truck while he delivered pizzas at night. You were potty trained in a matter of days! You were and still are a master escape artist. As months passed you learned how to sit, stay, heel, and shake. It was easy teaching you commands. I remember the first time we took you to the lake. We wanted to see if you could swim. Your dad picked you up and threw you in. Your instincts kicked in and you started chasing ducks in the water. You became a pro at swimming, and running, and fetch, and frisbee.

 A few years after being married your dad and I were moving back to Maryland. We were staying with his parents and had no where for you to go. Your dads brother lived on a camp with lots of acreage. He was willing to take you for a while.  He ran every day with with, you spent many mornings in the lake, played soccer and roamed to your hearts content.

 For Christmas that year Tom and Christine gave us an album of pictures of you. I cried like you were my baby, you really are. A few short months later we picked you up and brought you to Maryland. 

As the years went on you were always there.  You made it through several moves, and made many friends along the way.  You brought us so much joy and happiness.  When things were tough you would always make your way to us and give us many kisses and snuggle us.  You helped us to cope with many losses and loved us even at our worst. 

Some of your most favorite things to do....beg for food, Swim, sunbathe, go bye byes, play fetch (for hours), roll in gross stuff, lay in puddles, be with us always and sleep. 

Yesterday, was one of the hardest days in my life.  When we realized that you weren't getting better, we knew we needed to take you to the vet again.  Your daddy and I were upstairs in our bed crying.  You and I both know daddy doesn't cry often but his heart was so broken.  I knew the choice that needed to be made and I didn't want him to make it.  I went into the guest room and as I sat on the bed I called the vet.  She didn't even ask questions.  She knew from the sadness in my voice what needed to be done.  She said I could bring you in as soon as I wanted.  I could hear your daddy sobbing from the other room.  I got myself ready and asked your dad if he wanted to stay behind.  He said "No I need to go".  Neither of us wanted to make this choice for you Rusty.  We wanted to be selfish and keep you around for as long as possible, but that would not have been fair to you.  When I made my way downstairs, there you were, in your Daddy's spot, all comfy with your head on his blanket.  We had fought for weeks to keep you off the new couch but I just smiled and as tears rolled down my face I went over and kissed you in the spot I always did, right below your eye on your nose.  You just looked at me with those sad eyes.  I believe you knew what was coming.  I think that is what broke my  heart the most.  Daddy came down and found you in his spot and he just loved on you.  

We got ready and as we headed out the door we asked you if you wanted to go potty.  You got off the couch and slowly came out.  You headed to your favorite spot, behind the shed.  You stood there for a minute gazing out and then slowly walked back toward us.  

Daddy opened the side door and sat in the back with you.  We cried all the way to the vet.  Not one word was said.  Just sad tears spilling from our eyes as you laid on your favorite blanket and slept.  Your daddy kept petting you and whispered his love to you. 
We arrived at the vet and as I pulled into the parking lot and parked I just sat in the van.  I was thinking how I just didn't have the courage to do this.  I didn't want to say goodbye.  A lady was coming out of the vet with her puppy and she saw us and knew.  Her face was so saddened for us. 
We walked in and we could barely speak.  They put us in a room immediately that had a blanket on the floor.  You laid on it and just put your exhausted head down.  As the Vet came in and spoke in a fun voice your dad and I couldn't control our emotions. 
Rusty, I have never seen or heard your daddy cry as hard as he did.  You were his baby, his loyal friend and it was so hard to say goodbye.  
They gave us a few minutes with you and then came in with the first shot.  It was anesthesia to put you to sleep so you wouldn't feel the second shot.  As the shot did its magic it was the last time you lifted your head.  I just kept petting you between your eyes and whispering my love for you. 10 minutes later they came in and gave you the second shot.  As I kissed your face I saw the tears in your eyes.  I know goodbye was just as hard for you. Your heart stopped and we knew you were no longer suffering.
They told us to take as much time as we wanted.  You looked so sweet and asleep.  I kissed you one last time and got up.  I walked out the door but your daddy stayed behind.  The sobs coming from the room broke my heart.  I looked in through the glass and there he was loving you and crying over you. Baby boy, thank you for 15 years of love, laughter and teaching us to live. Thank you for being our baby when we didn't have any babies of our own.  Thank you for loving us even when we didn't make it easy.  Thank you for always coming over and insisting on being petted, licking our hands or faces for kisses.  Thank you for always taking up the whole bed when you slept with us.  Thank you for throwing your toys at us to let us know you wanted to play.  Thank you for always crossing your paws like a gentleman.  Thank you for always carrying your food bowl around and gathering your leash in the most perfect pile.  Thank you for being loyal. 
Thank you Rusty boy.
  I pray that the Lord allows you to be waiting at our mansion steps with your bright red wubba to play catch when we arrive.  
You will be greatly missed.
Love always,
Momma and Daddy

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pick yourself up...and dust yourself off...

My life as a heavy person…
When I was a child, I was skinny.  When I became a preteen (well, before preteen honestly) my body went crazy and I developed early and began gaining weight.  By the time I was 13 I looked much older for my age…proof in the picture below.

Hey, those clothes were cool was the hair..and those shoes and socks...hmmm...
All through my middle school and high school years I was made fun of, called names and told just how fat I really was.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if I wasn’t heavy, they would have found some other quality about me to make sure I knew that I did not fit in.  There are only a couple of times in my life that I remember specific moments that someone reminded me of my weight issue that embarrassed me so much that to this day I haven’t forgotten the memory.  One of those times happened when I was living in Michigan.  My husband and I were out shopping for a breakfast we were putting on for the dorm students.  I was standing in the fridge aisle trying to figure out which cinnamon rolls I should buy for these never ending pits of students.  As I was standing there my husband was next to me and I turned to ask him a question and he had this look on his face.  I didn’t know what was going on but my stomach dropped and in the moment I had a feeling of fear.  I have no idea what the fear was but I just knew something wasn’t right.  The only way I can describe this look Tim had on his face was maybe a look a person would give to protect someone from harm.  I asked him what was wrong and at first he just shook his head and said “nothing”.  I looked in the direction he was looking and all I saw were people shopping.  So I looked back at him and he was staring down someone or something…so I proceeded to ask what he was upset about.  He then told me that a lady had been following us through the store and taking pictures of me.  He didn’t realize it at first but he watched her take a picture of me later on.  I immediately felt sick to my stomach and could not focus on the task at hand.  I wanted to confront her, ask her what her deal was, scream at her my entire life story but 1) we couldn’t find her again and 2) it wouldn’t have mattered.  When I looked at the cart I totally understand why she probably felt the way she did about me. 

When I think of a description of me I have two different ones.  There is the one that talks about how I love to have fun, go on adventures, be crafty, laugh, smile and so on.  Though, those are true….the reality is…if you asked me how I really would describe myself…it would go something like…

A woman who has wished most of her life that she didn’t have to think about where she was going to sit, how she would fit, if she would fit, what people would think of her at any place where food was, she didn’t have to feel insecure about every bite, she would pray that people never knew the real size of clothes she had, or how much she weighed.  She daydreams of running, hiking, going horseback riding, riding on a plane, going on the fastest rollercoaster, being able to put her seatbelt on, wearing single digit clothing, having her husband carry her on his back, be able to climb out of a pool, go running after a toddler, have a baby and be absolutely carefree and not think my size would get in the way.

I am known for saying “You can’t help someone who doesn’t want help!”.  It’s. so. true. When I’m on a roll (no pun intended) and I’m working out, counting my calories, losing the pounds…I’m 100% dedicated.  And then it happens…one comment…one downfall…one health problem…and I’m down and out! Recovery is just long, and hard and no matter the “why” I have to work through a whole process to get myself back.

Just recently I was told how someone in our church understood how I was struggling with my health due to hormones but after seeing all the times I go out to eat with friends on facebook I shouldn’t wonder why I am so heavy.  At first I was like “you have no idea what I eat!” and then I was like “ask my husband I don’t eat a lot!” and then I just went into a spiral of emotions. Angry, mad, frustrated, sad, hurt and defeated.  My husband and I were talking about it (more like I was crying and he was trying to encourage) and in my sobs I said “I just don’t understand why people don’t like me.” He then looked me dead in the eyes and said “Ann, the truth is a lot of people may not like you because of your weight.” I was just shocked…completely and utterly shocked.  My heart felt as if it was stabbed by a knife (guess that’s where the verse about the tongue Psalms 52:2  Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp rasor, working deceitfully.) and my breath was taken away.  He named a couple of people in our lives right now who treat me that way and I could totally see what he was saying.  I was appalled because they aren’t so skinny either but reality had hit me like a brick wall and I just lost it….

Here is my confession.  I do not always choose the right foods.  Eating healthy is so expensive and when your friends do not eat the same as you its easy to avoid eating healthy.  We go out or have friends over often and because of that…we do not eat the healthiest.  I can honestly say, I do not eat a lot…but sometimes…depending on the time of the month…I may be a never ending pit.  I love sweets and salty.  They are probably the hardest for me to give up.  My brain is programed to have chips with a sandwich. The will to change my health is great…but the negative, downfall of me tends to be greater….

What am I going to do about it today….well its 8:40pm so I’m going to put my thoughts on paper and start my mission tomorrow….
I want to be healthy…I just want to feel good…
I have a whole list of health problems that will get in my way…
I have a whole list of people who will judge me no matter how the end results play out…
I have people who think they will be a help to me by saying “are you supposed to be eating that?” …
I have myself that will try and derail my true intentions…
I have got to do this for myself and for no other reason! I just can’t go on any longer like this…I really can’t.
I beat myself up because I want to have children and yet, I cannot keep one commitment to myself such as “get healthy already Ann Marie!”

Some people have had the blessing of medical help.  Some can afford to eat all organic and have someone help them make right choices…
I do not have that luxury so I’m going to start small and pray that I can work up to those things…

Ann…Listen to yourself…this is self speaking to you….
In two years you have managed to keep off 65 pounds.  That’s tremendous! You should be proud of that…but you have a lot of work ahead of you…listen to me…you have to do this….you have too…
You need to keep track of your calorie intake.  Every single thing that goes in your mouth needs to be written down.  You have several notebooks and an Iphone…do it already!
You can’t afford to buy organic…that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it at all! Get your veggies…I know I know…you don’t like them as much…I don’t need them! Try recipes…if you don’t like it…don’t make it again…you need to build up a list of recipes you like that are veggies…just do it…you need this to live.
You have to cut the sugar.  This will be the toughest challenge for you.  I’m begging you.  Give yourself a week of no sweets…and see the difference.  Not even fruit.  You are the most stubborn person I know…be stubborn about this…
For the next week…ONLY DRINK WATER! No non dairy drinks…no soda….just water!
Your foods need to be simple! Stop complicating them…simple ann…simple…
Start walking Ann…just do it…I know…you hate it…you can’t walk slow…who cares…at least you are out there doing it.  Walk Ann…start slow…start short but just walk…walk until you know you can’t walk anymore…but keep walking…remind yourself of what it was like to jog…how it helped clear you head…it helped you feel free and when you finished you loved every minute.  You need to start with walking…and then you can one day jog…but please Ann...walk…
Ann, I’m only telling you this one time (ok fine you know I will remind you!) stop worrying about what people think about you.  If they don’t like you for you, then you don’t need them.  You know the truth, you know who you really are, you know what the depth of your health struggles really are….don’t let anyone ever tell you different…
Ann…one more thing….believe that your husband loves you. He really does.  With all his heart.  He has been there through some of your toughest times.  He has carried you farther than anyone.  He has been one of your biggest cheerleaders…believe him when he tells you he thinks you are beautiful, and that he loves you.  Yes, he wants you to be healthy, yes, he wants you to be happy, but he loves you no matter what. 
I’m leaning on God.  He has been working and doing some amazing things in my heart…this is just one more thing to add to the list. 
Philippians 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I’m leaning on the one who knows me more than I know myself at times…my husband.  I know he will help remind me of what the goal really is…
I’m leaning on my true friends…the ones who are honest and true…and not just there when it is convenient to them.
I know deep down inside I can do this…I just have to remind myself daily….it will happen Ann…be strong….

soo...who is with me...anyone??? anyone?!?!?! lol 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes It Just Needs To Be Said....

For the last few years I have worked hard (with the Lords help of course) on my attitude.  I have been trying to be more positive and believe that life is not as "bad" as I grew up thinking it was.  There was a combination of things in my younger years that made it difficult but at the age of 14 I was given a new outlook on life.  I may not have "jumped" right in and been the happy girl I should have but after years of encouragement from my husband my heart has seen that positivity is better.  If you looked at my actions from would know that I still struggle with being a positive person.  I fell a little...ok fine....A LOT!

I blame most of it on hormones and some on feelings.  Neither are good excuses.  If you saw my status earlier in the day you would know that I was really struggling.  My heart was broken a few days ago and I just didn't have time to "deal" with it because of our trip.  I knew I was exhausted and though my "inside" thinks I can rule the world my outside hinders me from that (and I know it is probably a good thing for the rest of ya'll).  Once the status hit...I immediately started receiving comments of encouragement, text messages and even phone calls.  Even my poor husband tried to come and comfort me.  I was ready or willing to accept it just yet.  I knew what I needed.  I needed to be alone and with the Lord....

I went on a trip to learn about my country and how we were founded on Christian Principals but my heart was not focused on it.  I enjoyed the trip but heart just wasn't in it.  I am ashamed to admit it but it is the truth.  When Tuesday came around I was excited most of the day and by the time we reached the hotel my heart was broken (I'll keep the "why" to myself as its personal and really it's kinda selfish) and I really just wanted to be my bed...and away from everyone.

Sometimes I doubt myself, where the Lord has brought me, how He has provided and where He is taking me.  In the end I always come back to Him but I can make it so difficult.  Thursday night, Brother Tim Schmig preached a message on humility.  I needed that message.  I was reminded that I do not look at lost souls the way the Lord does.  I went to the alter and begged the Lord to touch my heart, help me to see the lost.  The last thing I want is someone going to hell because I didn't share the gospel.

My grandfather is laying in a hospital bed.  We are told he doesn't have much longer.  I'm not sure how long that really is, but I know that the end is coming.  My eyes are full of tears.  When my family first got saved, we would send Christmas gifts, Birthday Gifts, Fathers Day gifts and so on full of tracts and the gospel.  We would talk to Pop about getting saved.  He's a devout Catholic.  My heart breaks knowing I have not made it down to him.  Deep down inside I'm kind of scared to go.  I remember him as the man who always had something witty to say.  When he saw me he would smile and say "Hows my Ann Marie doing".  He'd give me great words of wisdom such as "Always have ice cream after dinner".  He would take me fishing, or out clothes shopping.  He'd always talk about his financial "woes".  He knew the best places to eat and always talked about how much he loves his wife.  I don't want to see him so vulnerable, weak and fragile.  Thats not who he is to me.  Pop and Nannie are like second parents to me.  They protected me, loved me, spoiled me, made time for me, encouraged me, helped me, and gave unconditionally that I would have a great life.  They have accepted my husband as their own.  I can't imagine either of them gone.  I don't want them to suffer but I dont' want them gone.  If I knew he was saved, I think it may be a little easier on me knowing that I WILL one day see him again...for eternity.

I feel as if my world is crashing down around me.  I know the Lord is there, protecting me, but the thought of my family not having time.  The thought of my grandfather going out into eternity.  The thought that I do not feel well most days.  Well...its overwhelming....and I can only get through this by leaning on Him...and trusting that He will Carry Me....

I know this is just a moment...and tomorrow may or may not be better...but eventually it will be behind me.  I am thankful for my friends and family.  I'm thankful for my Church.  I am thankful for my husband who has truly lived his vows...."I,Tim, take you, Ann, to be my wife; to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part." 

I really am thankful....I just had a moment....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You do not fail when you fall....only if you don't get back up.....

Here I am...getting back up :)

The last 5 weeks have been fun, overwhelming and exhausting!

We went on family vacation for a week, came home to prepare for a huge "Celebrate America" Sunday and Monday.  We had friends and family come into town for a week.  I have been working non stop on a wedding which is this Saturday.  Next week is Neighborhood Bible Time (aka Vacation Bible School) and then there is the Washington D.C. Trip.  Needless to say, I haven't been to the gym :( boooooooo

I have yearned for the gym! I mean seriously! I can't wait to get back in there and get the 5 pounds I've gained off and then some! I fell off the wagon...thankfully I have been busy enough that I haven't gained much back and have kept pretty active but I can tell a HUGE difference in how I feel!

I have been soaking up and enjoying farm fresh veggies and fruits all summer! I'm excited to say blueberries fresh picked are my favorite! Tim and I will have to go back in a week and get some more only because I would leave them in a dish and we'd walk by and grab a huge handful and eat them....every. time. we. walked. by. lol

I have noticed some major changes in my body.  My hair is fuller and husband said "I think you are finally winning against this PCOS".  That made me smile real big :) I love when he notices stuff!

Because I haven't been eating super healthy like gut is bloated! I'm telling you...eating clean is so much better...but with a super busy schedule I just haven't been able to keep up! I hate to say this but I'm excited for when summer is over so that I can get back to a schedule that isn't so hectic!

So my goal starting Monday....working out at least 3 times a week but I'm hoping to make all 5 days!
Eating cleaner and eliminating sugar, dairy and gluten (gotta weed it out and find fun foods to replace it....hence my addiction to pinterest)
commit to logging everything on

How many are you in with me on this?!?!?! We got this!!! Ready.....Set...See you in the gym on Monday!!!

Ann Marie
The girl who refuses to let weight hinder her!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Prayer Request....

Nannie and Pop are like second parents to me.  They are my grandparents but I feel as if they were my other set of parents from when I was growing up.  They always made our summers full of fun.  Christmas and birthdays were always special and even now that I am older and married they still have a way of making me feel as if I am super special.  For the last few years they have been headed down the road I dread.  I have never really wanted to think about these moments. The letters or cards I receive from my grandparents have talked about how old age is kicking in full force and how its getting harder and harder for them.  Of course Nannie always puts a grin or smile after those kind of statements.  As I type this my heart is breaking.  My grandfather is doing the worst….he’s in the hospital with possible broken ribs, dehydration and a possible blood infection.  The way I remember my grandfather is the many fishing trips he would take me on as a little girl.  We’d go out on a pier right before the sun would set and he’d put a shrimp on my hook for me and help me cast it into the water.  I’d patiently….more like impatiently….wait for a fish of some sort to latch on and then with girlish excitement I’d scream and giggle and try to reel in the fish.  It was always exciting to see what kind of fish it would be.  Sometimes just a little fish… most of the time a stingray…other times a baby shark….I once caught a blowfish and it blew way up and then went small and kept doing it over and over...Pop would come and get it and take the hook out of the poor fishes mouth and let me look at it and then he’d throw it back in the water.  I love when pop would tell us stories of his childhood or talk about how beautiful Nannie was when he met her.  He is extremely witty and always making us laugh.  He’d get in his recliner and I’d sit on the foot rest and he’d play games with me.  I think he always let me win most of the time.  As I grew older and it went from always playing in the pool, or going to Walt Disney, or universal studios to going to the movies, or shopping or going out for lunch…I always enjoy time with Pop. 
Today I received word he is in the hospital and my heart just breaks.  I want so badly to go see him.  We have witnessed to him since I became a Christian.  We would stuff tracts in his Christmas gifts and invite him to church when he’d come visit.  A year ago this past May my husband also tried to witness to him concerning salvation.  My mom has complete peace that he is saved.  I have begged the Lord to give me the same peace.  He is Catholic. I believe Catholics can be saved…but how can they know the truth with all the lies that are fed to them?  I hope and pray he really is. 
I ask that you pray for my grandparents.  Pray for their salvation.  Pray for their health…and most of all pray for peace and comfort for all the family. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who am I?

The answer to that question is different today than it was 25 years ago.

Today I am a preachers wife.
25 years ago I was 7

In 32 years I've experienced a bit of life.  I went to public and Christian school.  I went to a Baptist college.  I married a preacher.  I have one dog.  I have 5 babies in heaven.  I may never be able to have children to hold and watch grow.  I am a Pastors wife.  I still love to laugh and smile.  My best friend is my husband and he seriously knows me better than myself at times.  I still struggle with fitting in.  Some things people said to me when I was younger still hurt me today.  July of 2011 is the first time I experienced true betrayal in the ministry and the Lord was the only one who could heal my broke heart from it.  I have come to terms that I am sensitive.

Today I struggle with a broken heart.  Wish I could say what it is that was really bothering me.  Afraid to put it into words because I don't want to hurt others.  Thankful that I don't have to.  I know the Lord knows my heart and He will give me comfort.

Today, I wish for more money.  Not to be rich.  Not even to put food on the table. I just want wish I could go see my grandparents.  My family keeps telling me it may not be much longer.  My heart breaks just typing that.  I love all of my family but my grandparents are the second closes thing to my parents.  They hold such a special place in my heart.  They gave me wonderful summers, the opportunity to go to a Christian Highschool, paid for a lot of my college.  They gave wonderful advice and to see them now, having such a hard time...I just wish I was there to help them...give my dad a break from being down there so much...and I just need more time with them.
Today, I wish I was stronger, more loving, full of grace and mercy.

Today, I wish my heart would stop hurting, calm down and be more faithful....

Thats who I am could change tomorrow....and I'm not the same as yesterday.....I'm just going to focus on today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So Many Meanings,,,

Sunday we honor our mothers.  This day tends to be extremely hard for me.  I put on a smile and wish those around me a Happy Mothers day and I smile at their children.  I will hold some of the babies and squeeze them a little more.  I will think of all my mom has done for me.  How much she protected, provided and loved me.  I will think about her many sacrifices and how she has cheered me on over the years.  I will think of my Nanny (grandmother) and how thankful I am that she raised my mom and how she has been such a wonderful support over the years. I will think of my dad's mom and how much she sacrificed to raise my dad.  I will think of my Husbands mother and how grateful I am that she raised a good godly son who adores me.  

I will then think of those little babies the Lord has for me in heaven.  I will think about how I KNOW why it was for the best but how I yearn to just see their precious faces, see their smile, and hug them day...when the trumpet sounds...I will :)

I will be reminded that if I "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Ps 37:4

I know one day the Lord will bless us with an addition to our family.  As I grow older each year, I feel I become more desperate for that moment.  My husband, a gentle, patient and loving man, reminds me that God's time will be perfect.  I know this....I really do....and when the moment comes...I will adore my children so much more, I will appreciate the precious life and I will do everything I can to raise them to Love the Lord.  

I know one day it will happen....I still can be kinda hard....ya know...

So mothers, love your babies today, be thankful for them, and even when it is difficult and at times you are overwhelmed, remember, they are precious gifts from the Lord. :)

Happy Mothers Day! 


Ann Marie