A Sad, Unexpected Goodbye

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If you spend any time with us, you will soon find out how much we love dogs.  Our family just doesn’t feel right when we don’t have a dog!  So, seven months after we moved to China, we bought a dog.  Her name was MeiLi, which is chinese for pretty.

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She was a tiny, white Bichon, and the BEST dog we ever had.

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She let the girls do whatever they wanted to with her.  She never bit or snapped.  She rarely barked.  She was such a good sport in this houseful of girls!

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She loved to be with us.  She would curl up next to us, or on us, whenever there was opportunity.  Sometimes even when it wasn’t going to be comfortable for her.  She just wanted to touch us.

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She lived life with us.  She went on walks daily with us and rode the scooter like a champ.  She let us carry her everywhere.  She greeted us at the door with jumps and kisses, making coming home exciting and fun.

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She had an allergy to anesthesia which meant she couldn’t be spayed (We tried.  She almost died).  So, every six months, she had her “female time”.  Diapers and ruffled panties ruled the house!  We even found joy in this part of her!

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She sat like a human with her straight out legs, and we never failed to giggle.  She thought my bed was her own and would lay there whenever we were in the room.  She even traveled on the airplane with us to Sanya!

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Sometimes, there were treats for her in the packages we received, and she always seemed to be nearby when we were opening them.  She helped walk the girls to school every morning when we lived in Chengdu, and she also came when it was time to pick them up.  Her excitement as her sisters got off the bus was contagious!

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She met all our friends and even convinced the most stout dog haters that she was different.  She knew who didn’t like her and immediately went to them to cover them with her kisses.  Ha!

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On March 19th, in the wee hours of the morning, she began to have seizures.  After half an hour, her heart couldn’t keep up and stopped.  We woke up the girls and with sobbing disbelief, everyone said a final goodbye to the smallest member of our family. Grief doesn’t know boundaries between human and canine when you love as hard and deep as we did MeiLi.

In that moment, our hearts broke, and our home became a less happy place to be.  We miss her every moment, but are so thankful that the Lord blessed us with two years of MeiLi joy.  She was a glimpse of His goodness during a time in our lives when we needed it the most, and she is, and will continue to be, greatly missed.

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Triumphs

Over here, the little things mean a lot.  In fact, they quickly become BIG things.

I have had numerous little/big things worth celebrating.  You see, Cam is the definite leader and provider in our family.  He takes care of travel, logistics, getting around town.  He is our map, our go-to person when we need help or need something done.  When Cam is busy and can’t be that guy, I have to step waaaaaay out of my little box and try to get things accomplished to keep our home running.

For instance:  Our fridge was empty and I had creatively used all the food in the freezer while waiting for Cam to have a “light” day in which he had time to take me to the grocery store.

It isn’t that I can’t go to the store by myself.

Really.

It is just that it is so much more trouble for me to go with the girls using public transportation than it is for him to scooter over and pick up the things we need.  It also saves money because he is strictly a list shopper.  If it isn’t on the list, he isn’t buying it.  Well, we have had a team in for the past week and I couldn’t put the grocery shopping off any longer.  Cam was going to pick up some chicken for us at the market before he headed out of town for two days, so he called the “chicken lady”, as we affectionately call her, but she wouldn’t have it until noon.

He was leaving at 10:30.

Greeeeeeat.

This meant that I was going to have to ride my scooter.  Alone.  Without him guiding me on his scooter, making sure I didn’t pull out in front of the crazies on the streets.  That may sound easy, but I assure you, it isn’t.  It is terrifying, death-defying stunt-work.  I took a deep breath, powered up my pink scooter and took off.  I made it to and from the market across the busy intersection with no safe-walking green light to guide me.  I didn’t run into anyone or let anyone run into me.  I didn’t set off anyone else’s scooter alarms or drop my scooter.  It was success, people!  Great success!

Then, because I was on cloud 589, I decided to take the girls on an adventure to the public library.  We had no idea what to expect, but all of our hearts were hoping for books in English.  The building is gorgeous and there are rumors of a museum on the fourth floor, so arming myself with the newly learned word for library, we set out to find a taxi.  The sweet driver lady understood me the first time I told her where we wanted to go (yes!), and off we went!  All of us were smiling as she dropped us off, but those smiles quickly faded when we looked around and saw no one.

Hmmm.

We walked up the small hill of stairs and tried to enter when we heard someone saying, “Closed.  You can’t enter”

Perhaps I misunderstood.  She was, after all, speaking Chinese.

“Pardon?”

“Rest on Mondays.  Open Tuesday through Sunday”

Man!  What an almost adventure!  Tomorrow we will try again to check that off our list, but we didn’t let it deter us from the rest of the days plans.

We headed to Starbucks/McDonalds/tea store.  I got a latte to reward myself for not dying on my scooter.  Ellie bought herself a frappuccino with her allowance, which she decided was not a good way to spend all of her money.  A lesson well worth learning!  Gracie got sweet tea with extra sugar from the tea place and Faith got a fried apple pie from McDonalds.  Phew.  If that doesn’t wear you out…

…the three block walk to the grocery store in full sunshine will.  The conversation and hand holding was lovely, however.  Ellie asked me who her favorite child was if I couldn’t choose Chloe, Gracie, Faith, Meili (our dog), or my baby niece.  Basically she left me with the choice being herself.  All of us laughed at that one!

Finally arriving at the grocery store, we loaded up on all that we could carry (no car, remember), then headed back to the street in hopes that a cab would come by soon.  Father delivered and we were grateful.  Back home, groceries put up, we all decided cereal was the best option for dinner because we were too worn out to cook the groceries we just purchased.

Such is life.  A productive, successful day full of little things that my heart translated as huge mountains climbed!

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Finally Home.

The girls and I returned home late Saturday night (almost a week ago!).

Flying home from Thailand was the first time I have done a solo international flight (or any flight with the girls all the girls).  There were lots of nerves before the big day and an overwhelming amount of gratitude that I have husband who takes cares of all the logistical details of our travel!  Despite the anxiety and long hours, our travel was completely glitch free.  We were put in business class for both legs of our travel, and we all agreed that that is definitely the preferable way to travel!  Those hot, steaming rags, newspapers printed in English, and wider spaces make hours in a plane so much more comfortable.  18 hours of traveling is never fun, but eight pretzels from Auntie Annes (this was what we ate for every meal because China doesn’t have pretzels) and Starbucks made it feel a bit dreamy.

Jumping back into homeschooling and enforcing some new electronic restrictions on our home has made for a very long week. Couple that with a work meeting and decisions on our hearts, and bedtime is the thing I look forward to the most!  Oh the bliss of sleeping.

Looking into our weekend and beyond, we see some dinner engagements with both foreigners (new neighbors) and locals, and the arrival of a small team from America early next week.  We are super excited to host this couple that is coming to support our work on the island by bathing it in prayer.  They will do a lot of walking, even more praying, and even train some local friends in the importance of pr-walking while going out together with them.

There is always something on the horizon…something to look forward to.  So thankful for His thoughtfulness in planning our days!

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