LOSING LEXI…..AGAIN

Tuesday, February 6, 2018….the day we ‘lost’ Lexi…again. Here is my tribute to the best.dog.ever.

We got Lexus (her real name) and her brother Lincoln (I really liked cars) in July of 2008. She was born on May 23, 2008.  She was 8 weeks old when her brother Lincoln fell into our pool and drowned. I think to this day that is why she hated the water. She freaked out every time we got in the pool and if a child was near the pool you could bet Lexi would be between them and the waters edge.

We felt bad about her losing her brother so we went out and got another doggy friend for her….Jaguar…Jag for short. Jag was a little challenged…we think he was not bred well and he was always a little goofy…but nonetheless he made a perfect friend for Lexi as he would follow her anywhere she went. I don’t even remember potty-training her as she was what we referred to as ‘the perfect dog’.  Friends became ‘lovers’ as they decided to make some puppies.  Unfortunately, Jag fell sick from some type of virus and he died in my arms one month before the puppies came….Lexi became a momma at the ripe old age of 1-1/2 years old.  She was the best momma ever to those two pups, Mercedes and Gxsr. (Brooke named hers Gsxr….she wanted a motorcycle, I wanted cars!)

So you guessed it….both pups stayed at our house and Lexi was one happy momma! They slept together throughout the day…and played….but always laid down ‘touching each other’….it was so beautiful to watch them grow together.

When the pups were six months old we had a get together and someone had left our gate opened and we did not know. The next morning Mercedes decided she would see what was beyond the gate….and momma Lexi followed after her. They traveled for a few days together as the search was intense….us, the neighbors, friends, Animal Shelter and even the Police Department searching for them. I just knew they would come back! Lexi would never stay away from home.

As the days went on they were seen separately about 8-10 miles from our home…but we could never get to them on time. The people who reported seeing them would verify…yep that was them in the picture, but they were long gone. Days, weeks and then months…60 days to be exact…went by and no doggies. I think I cried every day. Lexi hated storms and it had rained and stormed at least five or six times by now. I could just picture her in my mind trying to find shelter.

I went to the Animal Shelter every day the first month….and then every Monday and Thursday. Thursday was a very crucial day at the shelter because if the pit bulls were not claimed that was the day they were put down. Monday was a busy day for us so I pushed off going until Tuesday….and when I walked into the kennel on Tuesday morning I could not believe my eyes….and neither could she…LEXI WAS HOME!!!! She was found 60 miles from our home, 60 days after she had left. She was a mess. She had bites, fleas, sunburn and was bleeding on her paws and under her legs…..and had lost about 10-15 pounds. BUT SHE WAS HOME!  I took her to the veterinarian, he checked her out and off we went to get groomed and flea dipped and finally HOME! She did not leave our side….and NEVER left through that gate again for years….and never alone.

We never found Mercedes. Gsxr moved to another home with a new family when Brooke moved to an apartment…and again….Lexi was alone. But she was happy…and she was HOME!

In 2015 we made a cross country move to California. Lexi was not a happy car rider but she trucked across the countryside…Roy on his motorcycle and our friends driving our car with Lexi in tow. A little Benadryl along the way and again she was HOME in her new house at the beach in California. Little did we know the new role she would play in the upcoming year.

As many of you know, our son Tim lost his life to the effects of radiation cancer treatments in 2015. Lexi would truck up and down the stairs at the Pierpont house to check on Tim on the third level…down to the second level to check on Pops and finally settle in with Brooke or Noah on the first level for the night. She loved the third level where Tim was because the sunshine was always on the deck! Even after he passed she made the trek up there to settle in for her sunbathing….or lay in his closet. She was not big on the beach and the sand…but if the sun was out you could find Lexi in it somewhere.

Lexi became the keeper of Noah. She was his rock. She never left his side. On his lap. In his bed. Waiting at his door to come out. Waiting at the front door waiting for him to come home from school. Sitting next to the dining room table waiting for him to finish. She was going to be with him until her last days…..and she truly was.

When she became sick with a mammary gland tumor in September 2017 we decided to have it removed and pray that it would take care of everything. Brooke worked at an amazing veterinarian office in Channel Islands and they did an amazing job….and Lexi healed up as if nothing had happened! Her tests came back that the tumor was cancerous…and that she had Osteo Sarcoma/Bone Cancer. We did not want to believe it…but we made the decision to ride it out and take whatever time God let us have with her. In January of 2018 she started having signs of struggling to go up and down the stairs. Then her breathing became difficult. The x-rays showed a massive amount of fast growing tumors had grown inside of her (she had none in September of 2017) and they were pressing on her lungs causing breathing difficulty. Our time left with Lexi had started to countdown.

On Lexi’s final day, she could not make it down the stairs. Noah had to carry her. Her breathing was difficult even with the pain meds and the steroids. Her day to cross the Rainbow Bridge had been scheduled for the next day, Wednesday, February 7th at noon. Her and Roxy shared a huge egg and bacon and peanut butter toast breakfast on Tuesday morning. Noah went off to school…but that afternoon her breathing was labored and her and I went outside to sit in the sun…and cross over that bridge doing what she loved best….sun bathing. She could not lay down….as each time she did the tumors would press on her lungs and she could not breathe.

Lexi stopped breathing that day….out in the sun. Noah was on his way home and I prayed to God please let him get home and be able to say goodbye to her. I talked to Lexi and told her to ‘hang on for Noah, he’s almost home”….and she would sit up and gasp for air waiting on him to come home one last time. He made it home and he carried her to the car and we made that long drive to the veterinarian’s office….it was time.

As the family all stood around her saying our goodbyes, she knew it was time too. They took her in the back to place the iv in her and just the pain from that was enough to take her last breath from her. They brought her back in for us to hold her and talk her the rest of the way to the Rainbow Bridge, where we know Tim was waiting for her.

She was an amazing dog who touched so many lives…we know the day she left us, the day we once again lost our Lexi, our eyes were filled with tears of sadness and broken hearts, but Tim’s were filled with tears of joy as he welcomed her HOME once again.

We will see you again LexiAnnieBananie……my peanut butter toast breakfasts just aren’t the same without you.

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EMBRACE THE DETOUR

EMBRACE THE DETOUR

DETOUR…The first thing that comes to my mind is orange barrels and Michigan. Not that they don’t have construction barrels in California…I think the difference is if you see a barrel in California you can bet you will see a construction crew working. In Michigan you almost wonder if they use the roads to store them…just my thoughts.

What is a DETOUR? The dictionary says it is an indirect path, a way around something.  I guess that means most of us have participated in a detour….making us a detourist! I think I would much rather be a tourist…especially when I have my whole trip planned out, I do not want to adjust for any detours to mess up my plans! But isn’t that what happens? At some point in our lives, when we least expect it, a DETOUR happens and everything just seems to fall apart.

I remember someone telling me when I was younger and a very impatient driver, that when there is a detour in the road and you have to take another route, or you are running late, it may just be God’s way of saving you from an accident or other catastrophe. And as you become older you start to look at things from that prospective…especially when you come upon an accident that happened just minutes before you…if you had not stopped for gas (that you should have gotten the night before) or lost your keys, you may have been involved in that accident too! Detours can possibly save our lives.

When was the first DETOUR you recall in your life? Let me take you through my journey of DETOURS…Detours of Planned Futures, Moves, Divorce, Faith, Grace, Mended Relationships, Sickness, Death, and Career.

I was 17 years old, graduating from high school and making plans for college. I really wanted to go to California and attend an interior design college. I didn’t have the courage to leave and go that far from home, so I decided to sign up for the local community college. Social work…that would be my major. But…wait…DETOUR! Surprise…I WAS PREGNANT! So instead, I graduated from high school (pregnant) in June, started a full-time accounting job the day after graduation, was married in August at age 17, turned 18 in November and delivered a bouncing baby boy, Timothy, in January! That was my first major DETOUR. But I will say I was glad that I traveled that road. That detour led me down a path where I gave birth to two more beautiful daughters and I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without my children.

My next DETOUR happened just three years later when my husband announced we were moving from Michigan to California. I had two weeks to pack. I was leaving my family behind. Needless to say, my mom was affected by that DETOUR the most. She had cared for Timothy (Timmy) from the time he was 6 weeks old and now he was three years old and I was just ‘taking’ him from her. It was a very emotional DETOUR for me and my mom. We settled in southern California in 1982. Four years later, and a lot of bumpy roads in between, we DETOURED back to Michigan in 1986. In 1994, our marriage took a wrong turn, and my life took another major DETOUR.

The DETOUR of divorce can be devastating. I used to think divorce was almost as bad, if not worse than death. When there are children involved there is no closure. Ever. With death, at least you have some type of closure. You always have the shared birthdays, holidays, vacations to deal with. And after they are adults it really doesn’t get much better. It’s harder to hide the pain of ‘sharing’ them on their birthdays, and not waking up on Christmas morning with them, when they are older. Eventually they realize they are hurting someone by not being with them…and the heart ache of divorce continues its attack. This is quite possibly your childs’ first DETOUR.

Six years after my divorce, I finally sought counseling through a DivorceCare program through our church and my life took a DETOUR that led me down a narrow road into the arms of God. I had never really searched for God too much. I sought after many other men trying to fill the void left in my heart after a failed marriage and no self-esteem, but that was a bunch of DETOURS and wrong turns that I chose on my own….they didn’t work out too well! I am glad God was there to show me the narrow path. Occasionally the narrow path would tempt me with twists and turns, but I chose to stay close to God.

Then God took me on a DETOUR that I was sure He messed up on. He crossed my path with my husband, Roy. We really had nothing in common, except we both played chess. There were parts of Roy’s life I would never understand. Things I was exposed to that I had only heard about in other people’s lives. What kind of a DETOUR was this? I had to ask myself what did I do wrong? I was leading a Single Women’s Bible Study, helping organize the Singles Friday night volleyball group, Church twice a week and spending all my free time with my kids and my grandson…why would God lead me down this road? Well, He was right. He hadn’t messed up. I had some lessons to learn and Roy allowed God to use him to help teach me. Do you ever stop and think of the people who God has used in your life to help you ‘learn’ a lesson? How many DETOURS has God led you down and you still haven’t figured it out yet? I am still learning lessons with my husband. They are tests that I feel I fail miserably at times, but I have a very forgiving God (and husband) that knows my heart. The lesson of grace and mercy are still challenging for me…but I think I just about got them down.

And then, the biggest DETOUR ever to come into anyone’s lives hit me like a ton of bricks….

The DETOUR was Cancer. It wasn’t mine. It wasn’t a parent or a sibling or a friend…it was my child. My first born. I knew this time God had to have assigned the wrong person. I was 2400 miles away. But you know when God throws a DETOUR out there we have two choices….we can run and take the other road that everyone else travels that leads to nowhere but destruction in the end, or we can take that path God laid out in front of us and TRUST HIM to bring us through this construction of our soul. I had to EMBRACE THIS DETOUR….and put all of my faith in God.

March of 2015, I received the call that any parent dreads…my 36 year old son has cancer. Two days later I found my husband putting me on a plane to California for an indefinite amount of time. He would stay back and take care of our home, his elderly father and our business. I knew in my head I would not be home until my son was back on his feet again, however long that took! Stage 2 Squamous Cell Carcinoma, base of tongue tumor. The only treatment is chemo and radiation. It was a long road ahead….DETOUR signs everywhere along the way. One DETOUR led my ex-husband to the house with all of us…my ex, my husband, my kids and me…..all together after almost 25 years of barely speaking, and certainly not speaking nicely when words were spoken. But that was one of God’s DETOURS along this journey. After all those years, we had no choice but to join forces and travel down the path that would lead our son back to good health. We had to be on this path together for our son and our daughters and our grandson. God used the DETOUR to heal a broken relationship of over 20 years. Again, it was a DETOUR that I am glad God led me down. The circumstances of the detour were horrendous…but so are broken relationships that have torn a family apart for over 20 years. Praise God that it is now mended. If you have a broken relationship, take the time to travel down the path to mending. Take your own DETOUR and ask God to help you mend your family back together.

I wish I could say that was the end of the cancer DETOUR…but sadly it was not. The DETOUR came to the point where there was nowhere left to turn. There was no fork in the road, no bridge to cross, no mountain to climb over. The road we had taken was gone, washed out. The effects of the two-a-day radiation treatments (Over sixty total!) had damaged Tim’s carotid arteries and although he beat the nasty cancer inside of him, the effects of the treatment showed its ugly face while he was fighting to gain his strength back at physical therapy. Our son coughed, his carotid artery ruptured and he was gone in three minutes. There were no more DETOURS for him to battle in his life. The only road he had left to travel led him into the arms of God.

And that leads us up to our last two DETOURS thus far in our journey here on earth. Although my husband and I, and my daughter and her husband, had planned on moving to California within a couple of years of my son, grandson and youngest daughters move…we moved up that date. This DETOUR led us into settling in a sunny beach town in southern California and the privilege to continue raising our grandson (with his mom who was residing in Arizona) now that my son was gone. With family surrounding us every day it seems that the DETOUR leading up to this detour could be looked upon as the worse detour anyone could ever face, the reality of it is this…DETOURS are our journey that God chooses for us. We have to ask ourselves is it truly a DETOUR or was it just our path to begin with? Just because it doesn’t go exactly as it was planned in our agenda, does not mean that it wasn’t the path that God had for us all along.

And our last DETOUR. One that has been very heart wrenching for my husband and myself. We had been in business with a leadership group for over seven years when the DETOUR that took our son hit us. Through all the twists and turns and the 2400 mile move our business was failing. Was it not a good fit in southern California? Did the business make changes that just weren’t working? Were our hearts just not in it anymore? It doesn’t matter why it didn’t work…the point is it was not working. We stepped aside mentally to decide what our options were. It was time to move on and I am so glad we followed God’s lead. If we had stayed where we were I don’t think I would be here. My health was at rock bottom. The stress of losing my son and losing our business had taken its toll on me. I had no hope.

We were then introduced to an opportunity to join a new company. One that we thought would thrive in the southern California environment. One that we thought we could build together with our established business. Although things did not work out as planned with our previous business…DETOUR…we are hopeful for our future. Our new health and wellness business has taken a very special place in our heart after losing our son. All the money in the world means nothing if you do not have your health.

Our new detour has introduced us to the world of VASAYO MicroLife products. A new business. A new mentor. New friends. New business partners. A new product. A new life.

My life was devastated when my son passed away. I was not me anymore. Part of my heart went missing. My whole family was suffering the loss of their son, brother and dad…and their wife, mom and grandma. I was dead inside. The products that I have used from Vasayo have brought me back to life again. They have given me hope. They have given me a reason to get out of bed. To smile. To work for a cause. To be the wife, mom and grandma that God has created me to be. And I feel healthy again.

We lived through a DETOUR that could have devastated us or developed us. We chose to let it develop us. Trust me there have been many bumpy roads, road closures, U turns, mountains and valleys…but when GOD says DETOUR…follow Him…it really isn’t a detour….it was your journey to begin with.

 

If you are feeling low, tired, worn out, stressed, anxious, heartbroken, lost, hopeless…please contact me. I want to help you. It may be that you just need someone to listen. Someone who has experienced what you are going through. I can also share with you the supplements that helped get me back on track again. Feel free to email me and together we will get hope back in our lives. Giving hope frees you up to receive hope! There is a Detour out there for you that will lead you back to a life of hope!

Contact me at brendah0106@gmail.com

You can also check out the supplements that changed my life at
http://www.aohealthhub.com

WHAT THE OCEAN TAUGHT ME ABOUT JACKIE LEWIS…

familyLast month my life literally revolved around the ocean. I had the opportunity to spend time in Southern California with my family and I have to admit that I became addicted to the ocean! The fact that they live five houses down the lane from the sand certainly helped with the addiction!

The smells, the sounds, the waves, the sand, the shells, the rocks, the birds, the sunrises, the sunsets, the clouds, the dogs, the people…but mostly the overall creation that God Himself has made for us to enjoy…a true gift from God. Everywhere I looked there was another one of God’s creations. How many of you have actually enjoyed this gift of the ocean from God? How many gifts from God do we just shrug off on a daily basis because we are so busy ‘living life’? How many living, breathing, walking gifts from God have we just ‘set aside’ because we don’t have time to spend with them right now? Have you lost a gift from God and can never replace it? Do you long to get that gift back? My gift of Jacqueline Lewis, my friend and mentor, was revived again as I challenged myself on a jetty one morning…to face the pain of taking her friendship and mentorship for granted. Jackie was a gift from God that seems lost forever…but something happened one day…God returned that ‘gift’ back to me.

I spent at least 2-3 hours at the beach almost every day.

OCEAN

Walking: Some days I walked up to two hours along the shoreline, up and down the lanes, through the parks that connected along the oceanside…and almost everyday I would catch a glimpse of someone who resembled Jackie.

 

seal

Talking: I made many new friends, not just human…this seal was ‘talking’ to us in a harsh way as we ‘interrupted’ her rest on the jetty, soaking up the sun, until she had the strength to get back out there and challenge the harsh surf that she had rode in on earlier that day. And the dogs…they were everywhere, making it hard for me as I dealt with the separation from our dog Lexi. I had never been away from her for that long and I wondered what she was thinking…had I died, had I abandoned her forever? Because of the dogs…I would constantly recall Jackies ‘love’ for dogs…and pigs. (Inside joke)

Reading: I read. Although it was so hard most days because the sound of the waves would pull you into the ocean as they crashed hard…sounding like thunder. However, many books did get read in those four weeks! And I recalled that Jackie always asked me what books I was reading and in the time we did mentor she never suggested any books…she said I was ‘on point’ with my reading and it showed. (That always made me smile)

jackie

Catching some sun: I definitely changed my skintone a couple shades of tan while visiting with the sun daily. My Vitamin D level should be good for another month now! And yes mom, I used sunscreen protection! And yes…the sun filled me with the same warmth that Jackie’s smile did! She would smile, say ‘hey girl’ and give me a hug…it was that kind of warmth…the kind that warms your heart from the inside out.

 

bird footprintsWatching the birds: Many of the birds were so small, yet the power of the waves as it hit the shoreline seemed so hard and you would think it would just knock them over…but they just scurried along and played tag with the water and the foam as it rushed them inland. Their ‘footprints in the sand’ reminded me that God also gives them the strength to win the game against the ocean. It reminded me of Jackie and her small stature….but mighty from stage because God gave her the strength to speak on the challenging topics that were sometimes hard to talk about…he gave her the transparency to connect with thousands…and that she did!

starfish

Picking up shells/rocks: Each rock had its own story of how the sea whirled it from shore to shore and landed it at my feet as if it had just been freshly polished. Each shell was covered in sand and boasted stripes and colors only the sea and God could create. It reminded me of one of Jackie’s favorite stories about the starfish and how she made the difference to the ONE starfish she just threw back to the sea…Jackie made a difference to this ‘starfish’ too.

play oceanWatching my family: I spent many days watching my grandson and my grown children, challenge the strength of the ocean as the waves pounded them into the water and sand while they tried to get that perfect ride into shore. They would go back for more! It made me long for the days to stop right there. For them to never lose the sense of how it felt to play in the water, to challenge the waves, to let the waves crash them into the water as if they were a rag, and to have that sense of trust that God will not let them get lost in the power of the ocean. (We only had one ‘casualty’…Kevin’s phone, easily replaced) I know Jackie knew how it felt to watch her family play hard and cuddle even harder, as she spent many days just cuddling with them and loving on them and teaching them to love hard and play hard…for we never know when those days will be gone. But the same protection that kept my family safe in the ocean is keeping Jackie’s children safe and protected from the waves of life as they face them without their mom.

feet

Feeling the water and the sand between my toes: Wow! All I can say is it was exhilarating and soft and warm and cold…and it summoned you back daily to take off your shoes and feel Gods creation with your soul. I know Jackie loved the sun and the water and the ocean and the sand…because she always sent pictures just like this to prove it! (Baaahaaaahaaaa)

 

sunrise cross

Watching the sunrise: I only woke once to watch the sunrises…my husband is a better ‘morning person’ than me. He rose everyday and spent that special time with God. The Sabbath morning I awoke with my husband and we watched the sunrise amongst the marina…and the masts of the ships formed a cross in the rising Son/sun…I knew God was with us. It was a special time for both of us. And the cross represented the sacrifice that God made for us…and for Jackie…so that we could spend eternity with Him.

 

sunset

Watching the sunset: The sunset to me was breathtaking! It appeared so similar in the many, many sunset pictures I posted continuously throughout our trip…but the naked eye verses the camera was no comparison. None! The gathering of each lane of residents as they walked slowly to the shore, every night to chat and watch the sunset yet again…another day gone to rest. Thinking that my dear friend could see Gods greatness right along with me warmed my soul.

 

jettyBut the most impact came from the time I just sat on this jetty and meditated on God’s greatness and gifts. I have never felt as close to God as I did during those times. Most times it was just silent in my heart as the waves around me crashed, the birds sang, the dogs barked and played in the water, the people laughed, and the children giggled and splashed in the cold winter waves.

And then one day I decided I would listen to the song that played during the tribute to Jackie and her video of memories…Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole. It was then that God brought back that gift of Jackie. As the tears rolled down my face and I looked deep into the ocean I heard her voice… “Girl…Please live out my dream”. I know that Jackie loved California and I know she would have loved to live there at some point in her life…Our dream is to live in California and we will live there someday soon. The ocean waved goodbye to me that day…and so did all the hurt and pain I had felt from losing Jackie. I will see the ocean again one day very soon. And one day I will see Jackie too.

Until that day I will cherish the gifts that God has given me…my salvation, my husband, my family, the ocean, the sun, the smells, the sounds, the waves, the sand, the shells, the rocks, the birds, the sunrises, the sunsets, the clouds, the dogs, the people, LIFE LEADERSHIP and the wonderful leadership of some amazing people…and the precious gift of my friend and mentor, Jacqueline Lewis…may you rest in peace until we meet again…somewhere over the rainbow!

This ones for you Jackie…….. b n jackie