Tag Archives: Love Conquers All

A Special Day to Remember

8 years ago today. . . 

Saddam Hussein was awaiting trial.

The opening ceremony to the Summer Olympics took place in Athens, Greece.

Google stock began trading at around $100 per share.

Kobe Bryant is sued for sexual harrassment and $75,000 in damages.

Only 249 people across the country had been affected by West Nile. 

Terry Nichols is spared the death penalty from the ’95 Oklahoma City Bombings. 

And most importantly. . .

I married my husband. 

At 22 & 23, we were only kids getting started on our journey through life. 

And what a journey it has been!

From scraping by on less than $25,000 a year to living our own personal dream, 
we’ve been side by side through it all. 

So, here we are 8 years later,
and at least 50 more to go!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband!

Hawai’i: Family Photos

While in Hawai’i we made it a goal to have family portraits done. We had the perfect setting in the front yard with a view of the ocean and beautiful, colorful plants and flowers for a background. So, to save a little money we decided to pack a tripod and attempt some semi-professional photos on our own. 

How’d we do?
Naynay and Grandpa with the Little Man. 

Uncle Brian and his twin nephew.

The Hurst Men.
2 pregnant sister-in-laws
(Exactly 4 weeks apart!)

When It Rains, It Pours

Around the time we found out Tim’s grandmother Vi wasn’t going to make it through the day, (the same day actually), my mom called with the news that her mom was given just a few days if weeks to live. 


Nanny has had struggled with Dementia for a few years and over the last 6 months or so, my mom’s family watched as her memory began to fad very quickly. What started as forgetting recent events ended with her not being able to recognize one daughter from another. I can only imagine how difficult it was for my mom to walk into a room and her own mother not recognize her. 


During the last month, her Dementia began to contribute to her health issues. She was struggling physically and then began to not eat or drink. When my mom called last week to let me know the prognosis, Nanny hadn’t eaten in over a week and had only sipped on juice here or there. Then 3 days ago, she slipped into a comatose state before passing away at 6:15 this morning. Although my mom said it wasn’t peaceful, it’s comforting to know she had 2 of her daughters in the room as she passed. 


With Nanny and my parents at our wedding in 2004.

Death isn’t something I’ve really ever had to deal with, and I feel like I’m being “tossed into the deep end.” I’m so blessed that God has protected me throughout my life from death and tragedy. 


But since life has seasons, I’m starting to realize I’m reaching the season of loss. It’s so easy to forget sometimes that as excited as I am to get older, more mature, and really starting my life as an adult, I have to remember that others are also getting older too and with that comes death. It’s just a part of life. 


My one hope is I can be a model to the Little Man when it comes to dealing with grief. As a Christian, I know this life is only a waiting room for our eternal one. So although it’s okay to be sad for the life we’ve lost, I rejoice for those who have passed and the life they’re now experiencing. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
 ~Psalm 23:1-6

My Better Half

Today is my husband’s 31st birthday. 


That’s right.
He’s gone over that 30 mark, and is racing me to 40.

But, of course, he’ll win. 
:) 

When we first met, he was about to turn 18 and graduate from high school. I introduced myself to him while he was working in the shoe department of JCPenney’s at Collin Creek Mall, and we’ve been best friends ever since. 
Six Flags Over Texas – 1999 
Wow! Who are these people?! How embarrassing for them!
Over the last 13 years, I’ve had the privilege of calling him a friend, drum major, frat boy (if you call it that at a Christian school), boyfriend, graduate, and programmer. 

But of all his titles, I’m most proud to call him my husband and the father to our Little Man. 


At 31, it seems like our life together is just getting started, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him as he becomes the man he’s meant to be. 

Happy Birthday Tim!

Learning from Grandma Vi

Last night, my husband lost his maternal grandmother Viola Dopps. Her death was expected; although came too soon. Once it was revealed to her last week that cancer was taking her life, she made the decision to let go and let God. 


As we get ready to celebrate her life, I couldn’t help but stand back and be a witness to her accomplishments. I’ve only known Vi for 9 years, but have grown to admire her greatly. 


Growing up I had this vision that large families meant distance. My mom was raised in a family of 6, and to support their family both of her parents worked. They did the best they could, but being away from the home meant her brothers and sisters raised each other. Over time my mom’s family has slowly separated and become distant from one another. Everyone’s doing their own thing, and moved to their own separate corners of the world. Family reunions are a thing of the past. Most of my cousins have wives and children I’ve never met. This type of family seemed like the norm to me. I wasn’t sure how it was even possible to have large families and for parents to be able connect to each one of their children. There’s only so many hours in a day, and for this reason, I’d always had it in my head that having any more than 2 (or 3 children tops!) was the right thing to do. 


Until I met the Dopps. 


Vi restored my hope in large families. With her husband Bruce, she raised 10 children (7 sons and 3 daughters) in a small home in Wichita, Kansas. I often try to imagine what Vi’s life was like being born in the 1920’s and raising children in the 1940’s and 1950’s. With her husband working to support his large family, she did amazing things to keep her family close; from starting the neighborhood general store in their backyard so she wouldn’t have to work away from the home to instilling a love of Jesus in ALL of her children and creating that bond between them. 



I’ll never forget how I felt walking into a Dopps Family reunion for the first time while I was dating Tim. There were over 100 people in one room laughing, eating, and sharing stories. I was immediately welcomed in by his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Since being married, we’ve gone on ski trips, attended weddings, funerals, birthdays, and showers. To this day it always catches me off guard how far his family members are willing to travel to be together. Even if that means buying a party bus to load everyone into! After Bruce passed away, Vi continued to make countless trips to Dallas to visit her daughters and grandchildren. To the end, she made an enormous effort to be in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren’s lives, and in doing so, they all wanted her in their lives as well.

With as many posts about her that I saw on my Facebook Feed this morning, I switched over to Twitter to see if #GrandmaVi might be trending.. It wasn’t. But I bet it could be if the Dopps wanted it to be so! :) 

I’m sad that the Little Man won’t remember his great-grandma Vi, but he will have photos to remember her face. We can share our memories with him as we sit down to eat in our kitchen at what was once once her family’s table. Which is actually where I’m writing this post.  I also know that Vi’s heart, love, kindness, and sense of family lives on in her daughter. My Little Man will be able to experience a piece of Vi through his Grandma Naomi. And for that I’m forever grateful!

Do you have an in-law that’s made a difference in your life?

Born This Way?

Today is Stefani Germanotta’s birthday.

Anyone? 

She was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in the world, came in 4th on Billboard’s top moneymakers of 2011, and is listed as one of the top 5 100 Greatest Women in Music by VH1. 

No?

What if I said the words. . . Poker Face. 

Still nothing? 

Lady Gaga people! 

Duh! 😉 



Obviously, I’m kidding. When I pull out my birthday calendar, Lady Gaga‘s name doesn’t appear. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have even known today was her birthday if they hadn’t been discussing it on Kidd Kraddick in the Morning


Lady Gaga fan I am not. I’ll sing along when her songs play on the radio, but as far as her stage persona . . . I don’t get it. Is it an attention thing? Does she dress like that in real life? Is she or isn’t she gay? I can’t answer these questions, but what I do know is that she will have forever made a lasting impression on me. 


A few months ago, an Abilene Christian University professor named Richard Beck wrote a blog post about this artist and her similarities to Jesus. If you haven’t read this post yet, I highly suggest you do!

As I look at my son, I often wonder what kind of world he’ll grow up in. Who will his friends be? What kind of situations will he have to face? As we learned in MoPS this year, my one goal as a parent (besides keeping him alive!) is to raise my child as a strong Christian; not a safe Christian.

It would be so easy to keep him locked away in our home, attend only church events, and avoid all social clubs where he might experience kids that are unChristian. But how does that challenge or build his faith? I want my children to be strong; to be released into the world and have God shines through them. 

We all know the term What Would Jesus Do?, but how often do we actually step into Jesus’s shoes and become role models for our children by walking the walk? As my child gets older, I hope (as the post above suggests) to teach him to show love to all of his peers whether they’re a different gender, race, or religion. If he sees kids in his school who look different from him by God’s design or by choice, I hope to model for him that these kids aren’t to be mocked or ridiculed because they’re different, but instead shown kindness and compassion.

As Professor Beck says, “Who will protect the little monsters? Who will speak out for them? Who will welcome them? Who will weep for them? I know Lady Gaga will. What about the church?”
I hope he’ll be able to reach out to these “little monsters” the same way Lady Gaga has and lead them into the Church; a church who welcomes them with open arms. 

Luke 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth.“Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Now, after saying all of this, as a parent, there’s a line between accepting behaviors and accepting people. Obviously, I’d never condone my child going to a quiet parking lot with a drug addict after school assuming he’s going to be preaching the gospel. I’d never want him to be at risk of developing his own bad behaviors or putting himself into dangerous situations. But, again, I’m letting him out into the world, and it’s at that point I have to trust that I’ve done my job as a parent. 

a Surprise Homecoming (Shh!)

Pack ‘n Play . . .check!

new Umbrella stroller . . .check!

Brother coming home from Afghanistan. . . check!

And we’re off!

When I became a stay-at-home mom, one of the perks I was looked forward to enjoying was being spontaneous; to be able to dash off with my husband on a business trip or take a family trip and leave on a weekday. Unfortunately, the only place my husband has traveled to is Lexington,Kentucky, and the idea of taking off with the Little Man seems to be more work than it’s worth. A simple night away requires a car load full of necessities and entertainment. 


Well, with a little push from my hubby, I’m excited to finally be able to take advantage of this freedom, and it couldn’t be for a better reason! 


On Monday, my brother will be returning to the US after serving in Afghanistan for (a week shy of) 12 months. It was a complete surprise to us all since he wasn’t expected to arrive until next weekend or later. My parents hadn’t planned on being there until next Saturday, and his fiancee had made arrangements to be there the week after he landed. So when we found out he was going to be a week early and that he’d be celebrating his homecoming alone. . .
well, that’s just unacceptable! 


With a little fast, last minute planning, the Little Man and I are headed to North Carolina to surprise my brother with the homecoming he deserves!


But we won’t be alone . . .


My husband showed his true character this week when he donated American Airlines miles to my future sister-in-law so she could also be be there when he arrived. After spending Valentine’s Day thousands of miles a part last year, they’ll be reunited this year on February 13th! 


So, wish me luck as I venture off solo with the Little Guy’s first airplane ride, 
and I’ll keep you updated on this soldier’s arrival!

A Puppy Update

And this is where we are. 
We don’t know what the next week will bring. 

He might stay the way he is, which isn’t okay for us. 
We don’t want his quality of life to suffer, 
and his constant care isn’t fair to the Little Man or Bailey. 

He also might get worse, and have more episodes that will lead him back to the beginning.

But. . .We’re hoping over the next few weeks he’ll continue to improve. We want him to begin to walk on his own, so he can once again move about the house freely, be able to eat and drink on his own, and of course, be able to go outside on his own.

As his future is unknown, we’re saying lots of prayers for him and for us. 
The roller coaster of emotions we’ve felt over the last few weeks has left a huge impact on our lives. Special moments like the Little Man’s first Christmas was dominated by feelings of sadness as we were watching our dog lay lifeless on the couch. Mavericks games and dinners out seem trivial when our sweet puppy is at home alone. We lay awake most nights wondering what the next day will bring, and if we’ll ever have our Cooper back again. 

We’re praying for a miracle, and each morning hope we’ll walk in to see our puppy once again looking up at us, wagging his tail, ready to bounce out of his kennel. 
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

This was my post from January 13, 2012. It’s been 10 days and I wanted to give you an update.

Just after writing this post, we took our Boston Terrier, Bailey, into the vet to have a lump checked out on her hind leg. After discovering some live cells in the cyst, a sample was sent to a pathology lab, and they quickly diagnosed her with a mast cell tumor (a form of cancer). 

Tim and I felt completely defeated by life. With one dog down and the other possibly facing chemotherapy and radiation therapy (both of which we couldn’t afford), we’d just about given up. After taking the weekend to think it over, we decided to at least spend the money to have the tumor removed and have it analyzed. If it came back as having not spread, then the tumor would be gone, and no worries! If it did spread, at least the tumor was out, and perhaps it would buy her some more time. 

So, that’s what we did.
Last Wednesday, she had the tumor removed along with a portion of her skin and muscle. 

After a long wait over the weekend, we finally got a call from our vet with the results of the tumor. 
I’m happy to report that Bailey is CANCER FREE
After she has her stitches removed next week, there’s nothing else that needs to be done! 

We’ll always need to be aware that these types of tumors could pop up on her, but if caught early can be easily removed and treated. 

And what about Cooper? 
Over the last 10 days, he’s made drastic improvements. 
The best part is he’s walking again!
He’s basically now able to take care of himself; from walking outside to use the bathroom to eating and drinking on his own. His personality is almost back to normal. He follows us around when we’re in the kitchen waiting for food to drop. He snuggles with us on the couch while we’re watching t.v. 

We practically cried the first time he went and picked up a toy and brought it over to us to play! 

He still has some physical limitations. For example, chewing hard food like dog treats isn’t possible. He’s unable to jump up or down from the couch or chair. He stumbles a lot while he’s walking and still uses objects to regain his balance. When he gets excited, his eyes will begin darting back and forth, so we try to limit his activity. 

But overall, we feel like our prayers have been answered! 


A BIG thank you to all of you who were praying along with us. If you’ve ever had an animal as a companion, you know that even though life gets in the way sometimes, they always hold a place in your heart. 

With one dog in complete recovery, and another on the mend, we hope the rest of 2012 will be smooth sailing! 

No You Didn’t!

Ladies. . . 
My husband just said to me “I’ll do the dishes; since you’re being lazy.” 
(Feel free to Tweet him at @thurst0509.)

Now in all fairness, he was just kidding! 
No need to attack him!
But it did lead me to wonder what men think we (Stay at Home Moms) do all day. 

My husband had a glimpse last Saturday when we spent the whole day at home.
It was probably the most routine Saturday we’d had in awhile, so the Little Man kept to his typical weekday schedule. 2 naps, 3 meals, and LOTS of playtime. 

I distinctly remember him saying at the end how exhausting it was, and that he couldn’t believe I did this everyday. I have to admit, those words make me feel pretty powerful. 

That’s right. It’s exhausting, but I do it 5 days a week; often 24 hours a day. 
I’m a (super) mom. 

But it still didn’t answer my question.
What do men think we actually do all day?

So, I asked. . .

How many times a day/week do you think I get out of the house?
During the week, I’d say 6 times to run errands or to MoPS or to just get out to get out somewhere. I’d say on average once a day. 

How many hours do I get of personal time (for housework or relaxation)?
Well, you have 2-3 hours of his nap time, but a lot of that is spent catching up on things you couldn’t do while he was awake. I’d say 1 hour total of real personal time; to do what you want to do. 

What do you think the hardest part of my day is? 
Not having anyone to talk to. 

How many hours a day do I watch t.v.?
1 hour, but it’s probably actually more like 30 minutes.

If you had one day with the Little Man alone, what activities would you do?
I guess go to the park. (All day?) Well, between nap times which is basically like the whole day. I mean, he’s only awake with you for like 4 hours out of the day, right?

Do you think I’m doing a good job as a mom?
No. 
You’re doing a GREAT job!

I’d say with the exception of a few, he’s pretty right on. 
I guess I’ll forgive him for his “lazy” comment! 

Have you asked your husband lately “What do you think I do all day”?
I’d love to know what they say!

Cooper’s Story, The Tide Turns?

Wednesday, December 28

We’re on our way to the specialist clinic to discuss what happens next. We were convinced we would have to put Cooper down, when it occurs to me to call my cousin who happens to be a veterinarian in Richardson, Dr. Becky Bourque

As we’re driving along George Bush, I reach her on her cell phone and explain what’s going on. I quickly describe in what we’ve been experiencing with Cooper and the symptoms he’s been having. I tell her we’re pretty sure we’re going to have to put Cooper down because we can’t afford the MRI this other office is pushing us to get. 

In that 10 minute phone conversation, she lays out a treatment plan that doesn’t spending thousands of dollars and doesn’t involve putting him down. We pull a U-turn at the next exit, and begin driving towards her clinic. When we arrive, she evaluates his situation and confirms everything the specialists have been telling us, but explains to us our more practical options.

If it’s an inner ear infection or bacterial meningitis, antibiotics and steroids will cure it 
and he’ll quickly begin to get better. 

If it’s a tumor or stroke, the antibiotics won’t do any harm, 
but the steroids will help with the swelling in the brain and could also relieve his symptoms. 

Either way, we’ll start ruling out the possibilities without the cost of an MRI.

Once again, we left feeling elated. Our worst fear was having to put our dog down knowing we weren’t able to do everything we could to the best of our ability. Being unable to afford the MRI felt like we were giving up, and we’d never have known if we could have done more. Now, at least we had a plan, and if he still didn’t recover, we would have felt confident we did all we could! She reassured us he wasn’t in any pain, just dizzy; so we could take it one week at a time and see what happens. 
. . . 
This Thursday will have mark a month of caring for Cooper. 

Since visiting with Becky, we’ve finished his dose of antibiotics and steroids. 
The first week, he laid in the dark for most days to help with the motion sickness and the spinning. It appeared that the episodes had stopped. Now all we were living with was the after effects. Although he still had an appetite, we were having to water down and hand feed his food to him. His water was being drunk through a large syringe. He didn’t move unless we moved him. His bedding was being changed several times a day. 

Right before his one week check up, we started to notice small improvements. He began to whine and bark softly when he was hungry, thirsty, or needed to use the bathroom. We noticed his eyes would stop moving for small amounts of time. His personality was slowly coming back; a tail wag or perky ears. I was starting a little bit of therapy by forcing him to eat out of his bowl. Although he could eat most of it with his head at a tilt, he’d need help with the last few bites. He could even slightly stand as long as he was leaning against a wall and didn’t try to move. 

At his check-up, Becky wasn’t as confident as she was the week before. If he was going to make a dramatic recovery with the antibiotics, it would have happened by now. Although he’d improved some, she wasn’t as optimistic. But we were willing to take it one week at a time, and as long as he was showing improvements, we would continue to try and nurse him back to health. 

January 13, 2012 
To date, Cooper’s now able to sit on the couch with us and sleep for most of the day. He’s eating food and water from his bowl with a little help from us holding it for him. He barks at the tv, people coming to the door, and when he’s hungry. He even let’s us know when he’s ready to go to the bathroom, and we’ll take him outside. He’ll gently walk along the fence as a support before using the bathroom on his own. We’re trying our own form of physical therapy by forcing him to walk on his own, and using a towel to help support his weight. His eyes have basically stopped darting back and forth; although, it starts up again if he gets too excited. I try to keep him in various rooms with me so he doesn’t feel lonely. 

And this is where we are. 
We don’t know what the next week will bring. 

He might stay the way he is, which isn’t okay for us. 
We don’t want his quality of life to suffer, 
and his constant care isn’t fair to the Little Man or Bailey. 

He also might get worse, and have more episodes that will lead him back to the beginning.

But. . .We’re hoping over the next few weeks he’ll continue to improve. We want him to begin to walk on his own, so he can once again move about the house freely, be able to eat and drink on his own, and of course, be able to go outside on his own.

As his future is unknown, we’re saying lots of prayers for him and for us. 
The roller coaster of emotions we’ve felt over the last few weeks has left a huge impact on our lives. Special moments like the Little Man’s first Christmas was dominated by feelings of sadness as we were watching our dog lay lifeless on the couch. Mavericks games and dinners out seem trivial when our sweet puppy is at home alone. We lay awake most nights wondering what the next day will bring, and if we’ll ever have our Cooper back again. 
We’re praying for a miracle, and each morning hope we’ll walk in to see our puppy once again looking up at us, wagging his tail, ready to bounce out of his kennel.