Post Christmas Random Ramble


I am so thankful for all of you. Those who drop by Buddy Breathing and stay a while, those who offer something in response to my writing, those who are regulars. This place has become a touchstone for me, somewhere to share my ideas and rants, even the messy stuff off the top of my brain that needs to come out! And knowing you are ‘out there’ makes it all the more worthwhile. So, thanks for listening.

I wish each one of you a Merry Christmas, and for the New Year may you continue to find people in your life with whom you can ‘buddy breathe’… share oxygen… fresh air… with one another. Breath deep!

Sol deo gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Things to remember for next year;

1. Absolutely, positively, (if at all possible), join in the experience of a Christmas Eve Service… VOLUNTEER…sing, usher, act, organize… whatever… just get involved! There’s a feeling of ‘bigger’ that accompanies this… not so much about having my house in order, my gifts wrapped, my cookies baked… more about preparing for others to experience the message of Christmas… Emmanuel, God with us! And if you absolutely, positively, can’t help out, then please… attend a Christmas Eve Service somewhere! Stop, consider, breathe, pray, believe in the miracle of Christmas personally.

2. Get up early… the long day was wonderful. Sure Bob and I were a little tired at first, but nothing a coffee or two with a drop of Baileys can’t help. By afternoon we were able to rest, read, relax and listen to the sounds of our kids chilling. Even the dog was happy to nap on the couch beside us. Yes, as my Dad always said, “The morning is the best time of day.” Mind you, I’m talking 7:30 AM, which probably sounds like sleeping in to those of you with teeny tiny excited kids! There are definitely some advantages to having teens!

3. Buy less. Every year it’s the same feeling… I intentionally try to buy less. I think I’ve put a lid on the excess and then I see all the presents under the tree… worse still, all the wrapping around the living room after we have finished opening up the gifts and I feel… a little nauseous. For those who say set a budget… sure, that’s fine if the bottom line is ‘value’ of what has been purchased… but I’m talking pure amount of ‘stuff’ that now needs to be put away and absorbed into our already abundant life. I mean… come on!

4.Write more Christmas cards. I enjoy writing. I love getting mail. Perhaps others feel the same? Sure I hand delivered some cards this year, but next year I’d like to mail them out early in December, perhaps tuck in a photo or two, and bless others with something they can hold in their hands. Of course email is good, and Facebook is a great way to share a greeting… but, still, the handwritten paper in hand kind of greeting is much more personal… don’t you think?

5. NEVER, EVER, EVER, cancel the caroling party again. No matter the number of folk who can’t make it, no matter if no musical accompaniment is available, no matter how easy it is to just say, “Oh well, we’ll try again next year!” DO NOT DO THIS! Even though I delivered a basket of cookies to the seniors in place of our melodious voices, still I missed sharing a meaningful evening with them. I missed our home being full of friends afterward, playing party games, sharing stories and treats, I missed the stress of ‘managing’ the crowd as we walked around the neighbourhood to sing, and I even missed the angst over whether the coffee would be ready in time, or the food enough for everyone. All of it. Mostly I missed the feeling of contentment and pure joy as we gathered to sing carols like ‘Silent Night‘ and ‘Joy to the World‘, our voices softened by the cold night air, snow gently falling as we gathered at someone’s doorway and met the smiles on their welcoming faces.

6. Let the dog chew the wrapping paper. Emmy was so good. Sure she sniffed every package, and she certainly tried to steal various presents right under our noses, but mostly she was really good. Claire wrapped a bone in paper and let her rip it open. I think Emmy enjoyed the paper as much as the bone! Not that she ‘ate’ it, but the sound it made, and the process of tearing it off the bone… I could almost swear she was smiling! We only put her in her kennel for a short time, but that was simply because we should have taken her for a walk earlier… she was a bit stir crazy by mid afternoon… yikes, earlier than 7:30 AM? Which takes me back to item #2!

7. NEVER STOP reminding myself what this season is really all about. Never stop posting reminders on Facebook, or reading the Christmas Story in Luke, or the prophecies of our Saviour in Isaiah. Never stop reflecting on the miracles found in the story, how the angels came to earth as messengers, how the shepherds found everything ‘exactly’ as they had been told, how a virgin conceived and bore a child… the son of God, how God came… in the form of a teeny tiny baby, to earth, and that’s just the beginning of the story! And most of all, how God IS with us… in each experience of who he is, every tiny little way that he shows himself to us, in creation, in music, in people. How God is here, and in the most intimate way possible, desires to be part of each of our lives.

8.Never stop sharing my story. May my life be an open book to who God is, and what he has done and is doing in my life. May I be bold, honest, transparent, reverent. May my life be filled with opportunities for God’s story to shine through me.

9. In the words, and expressed in the life, of my Uncle Dr. David James Cook, who passed away this Spring at the age of 71,

“LATHER LOVE LAVISHLY”…

on your family, your friends, your neighbours, those you meet every day…

because you never know. Time passes by so quickly, kids grow up, friends move, parents pass away…

Make the most of EVERY moment.

I miss you Uncle Dave. I miss you Art. I miss you Buddy.

Peace.


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Heavenly creatures…


This week in particular, because of our circumstances, I’m been drawn to open my Bible many times, highlighter in hand, in an attempt to come to terms with what God has planned for his creatures, after their time on this earth is complete. I’ve been seeking comfort. I’ve been chasing after hope. Because, as convinced as I am that God has a plan for an eternal future with those of us who love him, I’m also convinced that he did not create the natural world, and all the incredible creatures in it, on a passing whim. There is always purpose in what God does.

I have been able to find verses that point to a God who cares about his creatures, who created them to bring him and us pleasure, who longs to bring them into his perfect kingdom, and who relies upon us to care for them until that time.

I share all this with you knowing that I am just merely touching the surface, yet I do so because that is enough for me. Over and over again I’ve experienced God blowing my socks off, in ways profoundly greater than I could ever hope for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) So, I’m certain that these thoughts of mine are a far cry from God’s divine answer and plan. Again, just enough for me to hope.

So, Bible scholar I’m not, but some of the scripture verses I came across speak about animals, from the beginnings in Genesis, to the visions of eternity in Revelation. And, like every other matter of faith, I choose to believe, based upon the indications of scripture, that my God loves each and every animal that he made, perhaps most especially the ones he chose to be in the most intimate of relationships with us, the crown of creation.

Companion animals are unique and show us a pure unconditional love that we experience nowhere else on earth. How like God, that he would give us these beautiful creatures to allow us to experience God love in a real way. Anyone who has ever had a cat or a dog knows what I mean by adoration, loyalty, love, understanding, generosity, selflessness, and utter devotion. Companions like this are not to be found in the human realm. As much as a mother loves her child,  even that version of unconditional love comes with flaws and issues that require a huge amount of grace.

So, here are some verses for your own consideration. I’d like to know what you think. I’m standing firm on what I know to be the character of God, who loves us and his creatures without words.

Heaven is my hope and gives me comfort and meaning at this time of loss. Maybe one day we will have another heavenly creature in our family, but Buddy remains in our hearts and in our hope to walk with him again on the streets of gold.

“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalms 145:9

“26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19

6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them… 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD,” Isaiah 11: 6, 9
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:16

“Then I heard every creature in Heaven and earth, in underworld and sea, join in, all voices in all places, singing:

To the One on the Throne! To the Lamb!
The blessing, the honor, the glory, the strength,
For age after age after age.”  Revelation 5:

“That the creation itself will be liberated from it’s bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Romans 8:21

“18-21That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22-25All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”  Romans 8:18-25

“They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21: 3,4

Peace, at last.


Rest in peace my beautiful boy. I will miss you and all you have done to enrich my life. Some day we will walk again on streets of gold.

I love you, Buddy.

‘Mom’

B U D D Y   E V A N S

Adopted home to live with us Thanksgiving 2005, at approximately 5 yrs of age.

Cancer took him from us far too soon, April 15, 2010

Good days


The writer and her muse

A favourite place to walk and talk


Graeme, Malcolm and their ‘Bud’


Claire’s best friend


Easter Buddy


We have been searching for ways to remember better days, laugh, cry, and lean on each other and God as we make the most of our remaining time together with Buddy.

This is our last day. Tomorrow Buddy and I will take our last drive in the car, and together we will embrace the inevitable. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My heart is broken. I’ve tried to manage things as best I can, helping the kids to walk through this time and make lasting memories. I’ve tried to care for Buddy and make him as comfortable as possible. And I’ve tried to honour my own needs to be alone and close to my dog, express my love to him in word and in action, and to process everything as I try to begin to let go. At the same time I’m planning my trip to Cancun with CANDI INTERNATIONAL, to do an animal mission there with a friend and team of vets and animal lovers. It’s obviously God’s timing in all of this. I’m trusting it to be so.

These photos are timely reminders of how our pets can steal our hearts and become family to us. Perhaps pets are the only example of unconditional love on this earth? They teach us heavenly lessons. Buddy has taught me so much, even as he goes through this illness with dignity and stoic courage. What an amazing dog he is.

Trying to be strong, yet not succeeding,

Lesley-Anne

My Buddy



This is my attempt at writing through what is currently a very sad and difficult time for our family. I’ve written about Buddy, our German Shorthaired Pointer, many times before, including here, here, here, here and here. He is the inspiration of much writing over the past five years, as he has been my constant companion and noble friend.  Now we are in our last days with him at home. He has cancer in his beautiful birdy nose, and it’s aggressive, and affecting his ability to breathe. Ironically, I recognize it is about my Buddy, breathing.

Buddy needs us to let him go.

The letter below is words that our Buddy might say to us, his family. Words expressing some of the many moments that bond us, and granting us permission for his peaceful release.

It’s not the first time for us, we’ve lost three dogs over the years we’ve been married, yet it doesn’t get any easier to deal with. So many emotions. Such a feeling of powerlessness and loss. Yet there’s a foundation of trust that God will be enough for us as a family, and will comfort and heal our hurting hearts as we walk with him beside us.

And through it all, I’m believing in a God that has a future planned for his creatures without words. My hope in all of our pain, is that one day my family will be with Buddy again.

With a deep sadness,

Lesley-Anne


Dear family,

When I first met Mom at the SPCA, I laid down on her feet, doing my best to keep my excitement under check because she seemed to show more than just a passing interest in me. She took me into the visiting room and stayed for a while. Then she went away, came back and brought others with her. You all petted me, looked into my eyes and you smiled. I could tell you were kind. I knew I could trust you. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, because I’d been in and out of the pound and SPCA for what seemed like forever, and then you came.

You took me. We went home. I stayed. My sleepover never ended. I remember being nervous at first when you left me for any length of time. I just wanted to be with you every minute. So I howled when you left, got a little frantic and paced around the house, pressed my nose against the window glass waiting for you, hoping you would come back. You always did.

Now I had a family. Claire was afraid of me at first, but I just waited. I was so big compared to her little. So I laid down and rolled over and grinned and tried to show her that I was gentle and loving and not to be afraid of.

I know I was fat, and my body didn’t fit my age or energy level. But you had a plan for that too. Soon we started to walk every day along a beautiful creek with smells of wild things and birds that would set my heart beating faster and faster. I felt safe walking there with you. You talked to me. Sometimes you sang. And then we would come home again where I would rest and watch you do all the interesting things you do. I began to feel a rhythm to my life with you.

One of my favourite times of the day were when I woke up each morning. Mom would come down the stairs and say in a bright voice, “Are you hungry boy?” “Oh yes, Oh yes,” I would pant, and bounce and turn in circles and show you just how happy I was at that idea. In the afternoon after we had picked up the kids at school, I knew that it was time to eat again, and I would dance for you, barking sometimes with excitement. “Speak!” you said, so I spoke in my loud voice and smiled at you. I love food! Even now I get excited when I hear you say, “Time for your pills, Buddy,” because I know there will be food.

Our home is heaven to me. Lying in the sun on the front porch without a worry in the world, watching quail cross the road, listening to the sounds of morning while you fold clothes in the laundry room, greeting the mailman and neighbours as they walk by. “What a good dog,” the neighbour lady says… and I think, I’m not being good, I just know there’s nowhere better to go than right here. I used to run away all the time, but I think I was running trying to find someone who’d love me like you do. And the backyard, full of birds and creatures that I can smell and point at and hunt for hours, the backyard was an adventure every time you let me go outside. And you didn’t leave me there like my last people did. You brought me back inside, kept me warm and dry and honoured to be your companion.

I know I didn’t come to you perfect, and I’m sorry for the times when my good nose led me to butter dishes, loaves of bread, oven warm muffins and cinnamon buns, and the Belgian chocolates that Malcolm brought home from school. I was so sick that night after the chocolates, and I know it was hard for Mom to lie on the floor with me all night, but it helped me feel better. With you, I’ve had the best second half of my life. The first half is gone from my mind now. I never could imagine having a family like you all. When Dad let me start sleeping in the couch I felt spoiled and undeserving of that, but I also felt loved. So I laid on the couch a lot after that, knowing I must be special to deserve that place.

Malcolm’s bed was another place I didn’t expect to sleep, but laying there beside him I felt safe. I never had to worry about being alone anymore. Graeme walked with me, and I know he told me things he never told anyone else. When he trained me to be a visiting Pet’s and People dog… I really felt like I had a really important job to do and it made me proud. Claire called me ‘baby’, and the happy stories she told me as she played beside me on the floor were always fun. I walked over her toys, and I didn’t mean to knock them down, but I did. I just wanted to be close up to all of you, touch you with my paws, let you know I was still here. Like when I would climb right up on Dad as he sat on the couch, I just wanted to just be closer than I could be, maybe sit in his lap to show him I loved him. I would follow Mom around the house most days, looking up at her to say,  “Hello,” and, “I’m still here, and I still love you,” and, “Do you want to do something together soon? Walk?”

I know you are all worried about me now, because I feel it and I see it in your eyes. I know I’m sick. I’ve tried to fight it, but it’s too much for me. I’m so tired. I want to stay with you, because it hasn’t been long enough for us. Five years has gone by so very fast. You look at me and cry, and I want to comfort you, so I look back into your eyes for a long time to let you know it’s OK. I trust you. I always have trusted you with my life. And now I trust you with the ending too. Thank you for giving me a second chance at a happy life. Thank you that I was good enough to keep.

God will make me well again soon, and I will wait for you.

I love you with all my heart,

Buddy

xoxoxoxo

The immediate challenge


My dog Buddy is dying living. Although a diagnosis has not yet been made, every sign points to the fact that Buddy has cancer is healthy, and it is just a matter of time before the Vet tells me so. And so I wait for word, and pray that God’s will be done in this. That is not easy, but it is what I do. In the meantime I celebrate, inside my head and in the words of this poem, all that Buddy means to me. I do what I can to fan the flicker of hope inside me into a flame.

I didn’t know you then, so

Blackcurrant breath, speckled coat like velvet

Odd mistakes and chewed fluffy slippers

Were not part of my experience.

I chose you, 30 pounds overweight

Gambled on big, ugly, runaway reputation

And it paid off. You stuck like glue.

Slept at my feet when you came home to stay.

We walked, dropped pounds creekside

Bonded in poplar leaves and one way conversations.

The second half of your life is better than the first. I’m certain that

Couch crashing, nights in Malcolm’s bed, two meals a day

And constant companionship means you are finishing well.

A beautiful dog, they say, stoic, so smart, and now a

Pet’s and People graduate, you visit seniors and share

Yourself in their time of need. We still need you. We

Have more porch time, more walks, more talks in the plans.

We have high hopes for you.

Lesley-Anne Evans, Jan. 29, 2010