Tag Archives: love

Exclusive Book Cover Reveal!

Today, The Furever Home Friends is revealing the cover for their new book, Just Me, Wrigley! See the cover below!

Wrigley loves to dance. She can shake her tail all over the animal shelter. But for some people, Wrigley’s rhythm isn’t enough. Wrigley is a mutt; she doesn’t know what breed she is. While others come to the shelter looking for schnauzers, labs, and Dalmatians, Wrigley wonders when it will be her turn. Can Wrigley find the confidence to stay true to herself and dance her way into a forever home?

Like with all Furever Home Friends books, 10% of this book’s profits will benefit no-kill animal shelters!

Just Me, Wrigley is currently available for preorder on fureverhomefriends.com, and will officially release on Amazon on Saturday, August 11!

What do you think of the cover? Let me know in the comments below!

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Inhumane Humanity

My hands shook as I listened to a voice mail on my cell phone. I could not believe it. I had just received a call for an interview at my dream job!

If everything went well, I would be the newest member of the Missouri Humane Society as an Adoption Counselor. My husband and I visit their Macklindlocation at least once a month to give treats to the animals still searching for their forever homes. To think that I would get to be a part of such a wonderful group was mind blowing.

However, my joy soon diminished as I realized I had gotten an interview for their Chesterfield location. This would mean almost an hour drive every day. Plus, I would have to work on holidays as well as weekends. But my passion for animals is so great that I knew compromises would have to be made.

The doors opened and I stepped into the adoption center. Cute kitties pawed at me from behind their glass enclosures. Animal themed gifts filled the mini gift shop. It was official. I was in heaven!

I immediately hit it off with the manager. *Beth and I had the same passion for saving lives. I was then asked how I felt about euthanasia. “Well, I liken it to deer hunting,” I explained. “I do not participate or support it, but I understand why it is sometimes needed.” She said, “Great analogy! I don’t like hunting either.”

Before I knew it, I had received an offer for immediate employment. While overjoyed, there was still one issue that needed to be addressed: the pay. Accepting this job would mean a HUGE pay cut. My husband was less than thrilled, but wanted to support my dream. He knows that I am not meant for the cut throat office world. I have had my share of that abuse. And I truly do have a talent for working with animals. They seem to instantly trust me. I firmly believe that it is a gift from God.

I do not want to be selfish, but I am ready to do something meaningful with my life. Something that will utilize the skills and talents that God has given me. I no longer want to pretend to be something that I am not.

Taking a deep breath, I brought up the salary. Beth told me that she would see what she could do. Then she began to talk about another position that was still open. The Transport Coordinator would be responsible for going to area shelters and selecting the most adoptable animals to be brought back to the humane society. This person would also assist the Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force in rescuing abused and neglected animals. And Beth thought I would be just perfect for the job!

She raced out of the room in search of her phone. She hoped that she would be able to reach her supervisor so that I could get hired on the spot for that (higher paying) position. I thought that the stars of my life were finally aligning. God did have a plan for me and it was going to be amazing!

Unfortunately, Beth was unable to locate her boss. I left with the understanding that the Adoption Counselor position was mine if I wanted it and that Beth would be contacting me when she heard from her boss.

I left feeling so excited. Beth had given me more compliments than any of my bosses (past and present) ever have. Everything felt so right.

The next morning, I received a call requesting an interview that very day in the afternoon. I readily accepted and watched the clock slowly tick away the minutes until my departure. My phone rang about two hours before the interview. It was *Michelle, Beth’s boss, wanting to conduct a pre-interview. She began by explaining the hours and how they would vary. Some overnight travel may be required. I was nodding my head, as if she could see me. Michelle then asked how I felt about euthanasia. I decided to stick with my hunting analogy since it was such a hit and accurately describes how I feel about the subject.

“You would be performing this,” Michelle stated.

My heart immediately dropped into my stomach. I felt like I was going to throw up. “I would be performing euthanasia?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes, that is a requirement for this job.”

I was completely horrified. I am known as the saver of animal lives, not the destroyer. No way in a million years could I ever kill an animal, no matter how much money was thrown at me.

“No, I could never do that,” I replied.

“Well, it is a requirement for this position,”Michelle commented. She then left a very pregnant pause as if I was going to change my mind.

“I’m sorry, but I could never do that,” I answered.

We thanked each other for our time and hung up. I was enraged. Beth had billed the Transport Coordinator position as one that would SAVE lives. She did not make a single mention of the fact that I would also be responsible for needlessly killing animals. I would have showed no interest in the job if I had known the full details.

This experience has greatly changed my opinion of the Missouri Humane Society and what they stand for. I found out that if they have a large influx of animals, those that have treatable illnesses, such as UTI’s, are euthanized to make space for their healthy, adoptable counterparts. While I understand that overcrowding is a real issue, what I cannot wrap my brain around is the fact that HSMO just received a multimillion dollar grant to build a new, larger facility. Doesn’t this mean that they will have more space for intakes? And they are blessed enough to have 3 locations, unlike most animal shelters and humane societies that are lucky to have just one.

With all of these spaces to house homeless animals, why are they insistent upon killing them? I own several fur babies that I know they would have deemed “unadoptable.”Hope, our double dapple Dachshund, was born without eyes and is completely deaf. She is the biggest inspiration in my life. Even with these“disabilities,” she lives her best life in which her tail is always wagging. Hope holds her head high as she prances from room to room. Had she fallen into the clutches of HSMO, she would have undoubtedly been killed simply because people cannot begin to fathom how any living creature could be happy living a life without sight or sound. Yet, she loves everyone that she meets. Hope will greet you with a wag of her tail and then cover you in the best weenie kisses ever.

Penny is our tripod Chiweenie wonder. She was born with a severe overbite and a deformed front paw. While Penny does hop around like a bunny, she does not allow anything to hold her back. She frequently scales our three foot pet gate and loves to race her furry siblings around in the backyard. Penny is a total love bug who enjoys meeting new people, dogs and cats. Her looks only enhance the awesomeness that is Penny.

Every day, animals just like Hope and Penny are“put to sleep” because they are deemed unworthy of being adopted. How can HSMOplay God? I cannot ever imagine being forced to choose which animals to save and which to kill. It is reminiscent of Sophie’s Choice on a much larger scale. Marc Barone is currently working on an epic project entitled “An Act of Dog” in which he is painting portraits of all of the dogs that have been euthanized across the country for no other reason than a lack of space.

I am then reminded of HSMO’s Second Chances telethon. This annual TV special presentation depicts HSMO as being the guardians of animals and their well-being, all while asking for monetary donations in order to continue providing “protection” for animals in need. What they do not tell viewers is that they are not a no-kill shelter. They are an all access shelter, which means that they will not discriminate against an animal due to age or health issues. I was told this during my interview. The same interview in which I was told that if there was an abundance of animals, those with treatable illnesses would be euthanized first. What a hypocritical organization!

If they truly want to be humane (as in their very name sake), they should try to HELP as many animals as they can. Just like humans, not all animals are born with the same chance at a wonderful life. I had believed that it was the mission of every humane society and rescue group to give these poor creatures a second chance at living the life they truly deserve.

While my dreams of combining my love of animals with a job are sufficiently dashed, I also find that I am feeling somewhat relieved. Knowing how duplicitous HSMO is, I would not want to be employed at their establishment only to watch countless numbers of animals senselessly lose their lives.

 

*names have been changed

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Suffocating Sympathy

Three and a half years ago, my Grandma was diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma. This is one of the rarest forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. There are only about 15,000 people in the United States afflicted with this disease.

I remember getting called out into the hospital hallway with my mother. The doctor was very blunt: she had 4-6 months left to live. Grandma then began to see an oncologist regularly and made the bold decision to have chemotherapy.

We were all expecting the worst. From what we had heard from the media, chemotherapy was a horrible, almost unbearable treatment that would transform my Grandma into a frail, bald woman. We stayed with her during her very first treatment. She received the chemotherapy through an i.v.

Where was the radiation chamber that was always shown on the cancer treatment center commercials? Where was the doctor and team of nurses that should be huddled around her? Grandma’s chemotherapy was nothing like what we had expected. She handled her first treatment like a champ. Her only complaint was that she felt cold, which is very common for the type of treatment she received.

Much to our surprise, Grandma still looked like Grandma. All of her beautiful gray hair remained firmly on her head. And her strong spirit was very much evident. A fighter through and through.

At 91 years old, Grandma was still living at home by herself. She had a visiting nurse that would come to her house three times a week. The woman would cook, clean, go shopping, whatever Grandma needed. But in July of this year, Grandma fell in her bathroom a week after receiving her sixth chemo treatment. Luckily, she hadn’t hit her head or broken any bones.

She was taken to the hospital where it was discovered that she had renal failure. Her heart condition was also flaring up AND she developed tumor lysis syndrome. The oncologist stated that attempting to do any more treatments would be dangerous given her multiple health issues.

Without the chemo, Grandma quickly came out of remission. The cancer was back and more aggressive than ever. My mother called me on October 8th to tell me that Grandma was being placed in Hospice care at the nursing home she had been staying at.

On our way to meet with the Hospice nurse, my mom received another call. All of Grandma’s doctors decided that she would remain at the hospital for in-patient Hospice. We had no idea what that meant at the time, but we knew it couldn’t be good. That is when we learned that instead of having 4-6 months left, she only had 3-5 days.

Grandma continued to fight and made it up to day five. I personally think that she hung on just to spite the one particularly nasty Hospice nurse who said she would not be around by day 3. Grandma never was one to be told what to do.

On October 13th, Grandma went to be with Grandpa in heaven. I know that God has deemed her His spunkiest angel.

My family and I received a huge outpouring of sympathy and support. Facebook exploded after I posted that Grandma had passed. Our neighbor even baked us cinnamon rolls and a loaf of bread!

But, I have learned that there are certain “expectations” that come along with the grieving process. Specifically the “meltdown.” Everyone continues to ask me and my mother how we are. Mom’s response has been “fine” and mine is “okay.” While I certainly understand the intent of the question, it tends to get a bit ridiculous after a while.

What I would really like to say is: “I am horrible. I still cannot believe that my Grandma is no longer going to be a part of my life. Some days, it even hurts to breath. I really would like to just stay at home with my fur babies and ignore the world entirely.”

What I cannot understand is why a majority of people are still watching me and my mom to see if we are going to “blow.” And how they are acting like it is totally strange that we haven’t yet. My mom and I are very similar in how we grieve. We are not going to be giving anyone a public “show.”

There will be no crying jags or shouting outbursts. Nor will we become quiet and withdrawn. We both know that we have jobs that we need to do. Responsibilities to uphold. Grandma would want us to carry on because she knows that no one will ever forget her. We just take it one day at a time.

This does not mean that we are not constantly hurting. Or that we do not care. Our silence is not an indication that we are gold diggers nor secret serial killers. No amount of waterworks or screaming will bring Grandma back to us. Hating the world and everyone in it will not change the fact that she is gone.

One of the attributes that Grandma always loved about me is my positive attitude. To become a hermit or a hater would only disappoint her. Instead, I choose to honor her memory by remaining a ray of light in a darkened room.

When we lose someone we love, we should not stop loving. Everyone, animals included, needs love. It is the most powerful force in this world.

While love can help to heal a broken heart, one cannot tell a heart when it has been mended. Grieving is a natural process that is different for each individual. We should respect each other’s process and cast off our preconceived notions about what is “normal.”

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Pitiful Parenting

One Friday night, my husband attempted to take me out to a peaceful dinner.  We had both been having a terrible week and I was looking forward to relaxing together.  My stomach growled as we pulled into the Arby’s parking lot.

 

We found a cozy both near the center of the restaurant.  As we waited for our food, we began to have a discussion about our jobs.  Suddenly, a little boy screamed, “DADDY!”  I turned around to look.  Sure enough, there were two young boys ( I would say ages 6 and 8) sitting with their father.  He was apparently oblivious to his son’s shouting.  Matt smiled at me and resumed the conversation.

 

Once again, the boy began to yell for his “daddy” and then whine when his other brother received the attention he was so desperately seeking.  I kept turning around and giving the older boy “the look.”  I had hoped that he would nudge his brother and get him to quiet down since his dad didn’t seem to care that his child was disturbing other patrons.  Of course, the boy couldn’t care less.  They continued to hoot and holler.

 

What happened next absolutely enraged me.  The screamer (as I have dubbed him), yelled “Daddy, what are they going to do with that thing they’re taking out of my neck?”  Seriously?  I suppose the dad was trying to ignore his son’s inappropriate question, however, this made the boy shout it two more times.  He then followed up his performance with, “When are they taking it out?  Will I be able to see it?  How are they going to take it out?”

 

I almost jumped out of my seat and reprimanded the boy myself.  Who teaches their child to behave this way?  Why would you ever just sit in silence while your child screams and proceeds to discuss medical procedures in a restaurant?  If I would have acted like that when I was little, my mom would have immediately whisked me out of the restaurant, given me a spanking in the parking lot and taken me straight home where I would receive another spanking and be sent to my room.  The dad and his sons FINALLY left, laughing and smiling.

 

Unless a child has a mental or behavioral disorder, how he/she acts is a direct reflection of his/her parents.  And when parents allow unacceptable behavior to go unpunished, they are simply creating a monster that everyone will have to deal with.

 

Not long after they left, a woman came in with her daughter (she looked to be about 5 years old).  The mother placed their order and then sat down in the booth next to ours.  She quietly instructed her daughter to remain seated while she went up to get their drinks, napkins, etc.  The little girl sat quietly in her seat while peeking over the divider at us.

 

When the mom returned with the food, she began talking with her daughter about their summer plans.  The girl conversed with her in an “inside” voice and never shouted.  In fact, I could barely even hear her.  She was a perfect little angel and ate her food without any fuss (even though she thought the Arby’s sauce looked suspicious).

 

When Matt and I finished eating, I saw the mom at the condiment counter.  I complimented her daughter’s wonderful behavior and the mother’s fantastic parenting skills.  While I felt awkward for doing so, the mother seemed quite flattered.  She didn’t realize how much her daughter’s peaceful demeanor had changed the tone of our tense evening.

 

The parenting skills between this mother and the a fore mentioned father are like night and day.  The boys kept fighting for their father’s attention by screaming and he did nothing about it.  But, this little girl followed her mother’s instructions to the letter and still exhibited a delightful personality.  Please understand that I do not want any child to behave like a robot.  I am simply saying that parents need to take their role seriously and expect their children to behave and follow their rules.

 

I have also come to find that children are also the product of their environment (i.e. how they are raised).  I will be honest, not everyone is cut out to be a parent.  Such as the people in this next scenario.

 

On Saturday morning, one of my friends posted a harrowing story on Facebook.  She had gone to the local Shop n’ Save to complete her weekend grocery shopping.  When she got out of her car, she noticed a baby locked all alone in the vehicle next to hers.  Aside from being this being a bad idea in general, it was also very hot outside, in the upper 80’s.

 

Outraged, she marched straight up to the customer service desk and began to explain the situation.  Little did she know that the baby’s parents were behind her.  They began to scream at her to “mind her own f-ing business.”  Which they followed up with “We were only going to be gone a minute.”  And guess what was so important that they both had to leave their baby for?  Alcohol.  Yep, they were buying beer.

 

I was so proud of my friend for standing up to the so-called “parents.”  She yelled right back that one of them needed to stay in the vehicle with the baby.  She also informed them that it is too hot for the child to be locked up like that.

 

I shudder to think that things like this actually happen.  What would possess you to leave anything alive locked up in a hot vehicle?  Don’t even get me started on people that do this to pets!  And aren’t people worried about their child being abducted by some creep?  I never let my dogs out of my sight even when they are in our fenced in yard.  How could you just think that leaving your baby alone is a good idea? 

 

My fears are further confirmed by another story that appeared on a local news channel.  A woman was getting married and she wanted to include her baby in the big day.  So, she tied the baby to the train of her gown and the baby was drug behind her all the way down the aisle. 

 

I seriously wish that DCFS would swoop in and take these children away from these careless human beings.  And if women find themselves “unexpectedly” pregnant and feel that the baby will “cramp their style,” I pray that they will make the wise decision and place the baby up for adoption.  A friend of the family adopted her second son from such a situation.  That little boy is getting more love than he knows what to do with.  He is leading a much better life that he ever would have with his teen “parents.”

 

I realize that raising a human child is hard, however, it can be done.  My parents both worked full time jobs and still managed to teach me right from wrong and shower me with love and affection.  Matt’s mother even took on the role of teacher by homeschooling both him and his sister.

 

As a society, we need to stand together and speak up when we see parents neglecting or creating harmful situations for their children.  Remaining silent only perpetuates the endangerment that plagues too many of America’s children.

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Wonderfully Weird

Something happened today that I was not expecting.  A person at my place of employment (who shall remain nameless) stated:  “You’re a little weird, Lauren T.”

 

In retrospect, I have been called far worse.  But, this surprising revelation really stung.  Somehow I found the strength to say, “How?”

 

This person appeared to be at a loss for words.  I suppose he/she thought that I would just laugh it off or walk away with my tail between my legs (figuratively, of course).  All I wanted was an answer.

 

“Well,” he/she stammered.  “You post pictures of dogs with no eyes.”

 

I have no problems being judged as the “crazy dog lady.”  To me, each dog is special, much like a human child.  I have no regrets about adopting any of my fur babies.  In fact, most of them would have been euthanized if their respective rescue groups hadn’t given them a second chance.

 

The particular pooch that this person is speaking of is Hope.  She is a double Dapple Dachshund that was born without eyes and is deaf.  However, she does not let these “disabilities” prevent her from living her best life.  She loves to meet new people and dogs.  We are still working on getting her to like the cat.

 

My husband and I find Hope to be one of the most inspiring dogs that we have ever met.  In just two days, Hope was navigating our house as if she has lived here all of her life.  She even climbs onto chairs by using her front paws to pull her body through the opening between the back and seat cushions.  And even when she runs head first into things, she simply shakes it off and keeps going with her head held high and a smile on her face.

 

The same is true of our three-legged dog, Penny.  She uses her “stump” to hold onto toys and to “pin down” her brother, Cole, when they play together.  And don’t forget that she is able to scale our four foot pet gate.  Penny also loves everything and everybody. 

 

Just because some of my dogs are not what many people would call “normal” does not mean that they are not worthy of being loved.  Can you imagine the parent of a human child with a disability not loving him or her?  Of course not!  Why should it be any different with fur parents?

 

While we are on the subject, my husband and I have CHOSEN to be pet parents.  We do not desire to have any human children.  And, quite honestly, we do not owe anyone an explanation as to why.  In addition, I believe that Matt and I take better care of our fur babies than many parents do of their own children.  Our “kids” are the most spoiled on the planet!

 

The person then managed to squeak out another reason for my “weirdness.”  My rubber bracelets.  Everyday, without fail, I ALWAYS wear 5 rubber bracelets on my left arm.  I call this my “cause arm.”

 

Each bracelet represents a specific cause that is important to me.  Allow me to explain.  The green bracelet is for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I wear it to support my 91 year old Grandmother who was diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma two years ago.  The red bracelet is for the American Diabetes Association.  I wear it to support my Dad who was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes almost two years ago.  The purple bracelet is for the Pancreatic Cancer Network.  I wear this bracelet in honor of a friend of the family who passed away a year ago due to this horrible disease.

 

The yellow bracelet is for canine cancer.  I lost my very first dog, a Border Collie named Spots, to cancer.  The final bracelet represents my support of “special” dogs.  The “Everything Rosie” bracelet was created to celebrate the very short life of Rosie, a special Chihuahua that was the product of backyard breeding.  The message on the bracelet is “Always Adopt.”  I agree wholeheartedly with this campaign.  (Check out www.everythingrosie.com to order your own bracelet and support the cause.)

 

I choose to wear these bracelets everyday because they are a part of who I am and what I stand for.  The people and animals that these causes represent mean the world to me.  I am proud to show my love and support.

 

I have known for quite some time that I am “not like everyone else.”  I have never had a drop of alcohol in my entire life (except for communion).   I haven’t ever tried drugs, smoked a cigarette or committed a crime of any kind, not even a speeding ticket.  I also do not believe in using profanity. It just diminishes the speaker’s intelligence.

 

I am proud of the fact that I am “different.”  I love knowing that there is only one person in the world like me.  And I am not afraid to own it.  In a world filled with copycats, I am an original. 

 

 

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Brazen Bridezillas

February is rapidly approaching.  And you know what that means.  Love will be in the air!

In fact, many people that I know are getting married this year. But, I fear that some of the brides-to-be are dangerously close to being labeled a “bridezilla.”

What is a bridezilla, you may ask?  A bridezilla is bride that goes to extremes to make sure that her wedding day is absolutely, 100% perfect.  She may also place unreasonable expectations upon members of the wedding party as well as the guests themselves.  Ultimately, the bride is consumed with thoughts of herself…and no one else.

This troubles me greatly.  It seems that every bride is trying to achieve the “perfect” wedding.  As cheesy as it sounds, my wedding was perfect because of who I married.  Not because of the guests, the weather, the food, the gifts.  I was elated to finally marry the man that I had been engaged to for 3 years.

Thankfully, I never went into bridezilla territory.  And I would have had every reason to.  Two out of my three bridesmaids (they were sisters) e-mailed me at work to say that they decided they no longer wanted to be in my wedding…two weeks before the big day.  After they had already purchased their dresses and their names were on all of the programs.  

Speaking of the programs, they looked absolutely horrible.  The names of the bridal party were all stacked on top of one another.  Not the elegant look I was hoping for.  And to top it all off, my soon-to-be mother-in-law showed up wearing the exact same dress as my mother.

The only thing that I demanded was that the church be kept at a quite frosty temperature.  I was terrified that I was going to faint from being so nervous.  But, I thought that was a very reasonable request.

 Unlike some of the demands from bridezillas.  Some instruct their bridesmaids that they are not allowed to cut their hair before the wedding.  Others even go so far as to tell their “friends” that they need to go on a diet in order to look good for the photographs.  Ouch!

Still, others obsess about the decorations.  One of my co-workers has a daughter who is getting married in the next few months.  She apparently wants a photo booth, popcorn bar and candy bar at the reception.  Is this going to be a wedding or a county fair?

I have never understood the need for an extravagant wedding.  Two prime examples:  Kim Kardashian/Chris Humphries and Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey.  Both of these starlets decided to televise their nuptials.  Lavish decorations surrounded their guests as these women floated down the aisle in wedding gowns that cost more than my mortgage.

But, does anyone remember any of the details of these two weddings?  Dresses aside, I highly doubt that you will hear someone say, “Boy, I remember the chair covers at Jessica’s wedding.  They were stunning!”  What everyone (at least those that pay attention to pop culture) knows is who married who.

And that is the whole point of a wedding.  It isn’t to show someone else up or impress a snobby family member.  It is not meant to be akin to a concert, where you need bouncers at the door.  A wedding is supposed to be a celebration of eternal love between two individuals.

Plus, what does having such a ridiculously large wedding prove?  In the case of Kim and Jessica, their marriages lasted only for a few years.  All that time and money spent trying to make the wedding “perfect” was wasted.

I would strongly encourage all future brides to remember the reason why you are getting married in the first place:  love.  This day is not only about you and how you look.  It is about your partner and the fact that you are about to embark on the most amazing journey ever…together.

 

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Liberating Life

A few days ago, I was sitting on the couch and I realized something.  I am truly blessed.  And I love my life.

While years past have been rocky, 2014 is off to a great start.  I recently received a promotion at work.  I will finally be a full time employee again!  And as excited as I am about the job itself, I am ecstatic that I will now be able to help better support my family.

 But, I have also noticed how other people seem to want to invalidate my life.  When happily speaking with a former co-worker of mine about how this new job will greatly help my family, she sort of laughed.  I believe it is because my husband and I have six dogs and a cat. 

For some reason, many people do not see this as a “family.”  Unfortunately, stereotypical ideals seem to be firmly in place.  To qualify as a “real” family to most of the world you need to have human children.  And if you don’t, but have an abundance of fur kids, people assume that you are unable to have children and are “filling the void.” 

Nothing could be further from the truth.  My husband and I are perfectly capable of having children.  We are choosing not to.  I could go into the long list of reasons why kids just aren’t for us, however, that’s the beautiful thing.  I don’t have to.  Our decision doesn’t need to be validated by anyone.  This is our marriage, our life and our family.

Unlike many of my friends, I am also quite content with what I have.  I love my 2009 Chevy Cobalt (that was just paid off last year!).  And I have no intention of selling it to “upgrade” to a Lexis or any other ridiculously priced car.  A vehicle does not (and should not) define who you are.  It is merely a tool to get you from point A to point B comfortably and safely.

Too many people are caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones'” syndrome.  My friend *Betty is one such person.  She is never happy with what she has (and she has a lot).  If someone remodels their house, she begins making plans to redo her own.  If someone has new jewelry on, she makes a trip to the mall that weekend.

It is quite a sad thing to watch.  She is surrounded by so much love and support and security.  Yet, that seems to not be enough for her.  And she has no qualms about telling others how to “upgrade” either.  Whenever she comes over to our house, she always makes at least one comment about something she would change.

But you know what?  I wouldn’t change a single thing.  Matt and I are so very fortunate that we are even able to afford a house.  Many of my friends are still living in apartments and some (gulp!) are still at home with their parents.  And while I understand that the house needs a few adjustments (new windows and a new sink), I have no desire to move to a different one.  We have made this house our home and that’s all that matters.

And then there are those who are constantly trying to climb the social ladder. You know, the people that seem to have 10 million Facebook friends, 2 million twitter followers, etc.  To be quite honest, my husband and I have one person that we truly consider our friend. 

That’s right, just one.  Yes, I have tons of “friends” on Facebook, twitter and numerous connections on LinkedIn.  But, none of these people really even know me.  Sure, we may have gone to high school together, but, do they know my hopes, dreams, fears and passions? 

This one person has been the bestest friend that we could have ever asked for.  He came racing over to the house one day on his way to work (making him late) so that he could help me unclog our toilet while my husband was at work.  He has seen me without my make-up on.  And I trust him implicitly.

My point is, it truly is not the quantity, but the quality of your friendships that matter.  I can count on one hand the number of Facebook “friends” that would have helped me with my toilet that day.  I’ll give you a hint:  it’s less than one.

In conclusion, your life has a purpose and meaning.  And you do not need to seek anyone’s approval for living the way that best suits you.  Be proud of who you are and take ownership of your life.

*Name changed

 

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