Ways to Help a Child Grieve the Loss of a Pet

29
Jan
2020


Oh, friends…it’s been a rough few days. Let me share…

We were getting ready for small group night (more on that soon!) when our ten-year-old came downstairs in a panicked, anxious state. His hamster “Bean” wasn’t moving and didn’t look good. Obviously not the best time with 20 people arriving at our house, but sure enough, Bean had died in the last hour.

I was shocked. This sweet hamster had only been in our family for about seven weeks. How on earth could this be? That was my thought, but nevertheless, we had to carry on. Lots of hugs from me and thank goodness my husband could take the tiniest member of the family to the garage till after small group.

I have never been so grateful to have a house full of young friends for our son, because they were so helpful in creating a distraction for a few hours. After everyone left later that evening, the real work began.

Emotions

Our family has lost a few pets over the years and it’s never easy. But this was the first loss for our son, Super J, so it was a big deal. If we’re lucky, everyone in the family gets a chance to say goodbye. The amount of emotions that can come to the surface with the death of a pet utterly astounds me. For example…

  • Guilt. Did I cause this? Could I have done more?
  • Sadness and loss. Was this a best friend? Just a pet? If I’m being real, maybe it was a blessing that they’re not with us?
  • Grief. Why does it hurt so much? Does it bring back memories from other loss, maybe a parent?

Include Your Child in All Stages

Sitting with our son as he was in tears later that night, he had lost his best friend; something I didn’t even realize but can completely understand. These furry, lovable friends work their way into our hearts. Their absence can create a giant sucking hole. I wanted to analyze why “Bean” had died, but I knew that wasn’t going to help right now. It was time to be a mom and love on my boy who was hurting intensely.

Teaching Moments

Even though this process stinks, God can create some awesome teaching moments for us to try and be prepared for.

Will we see our pets in heaven? I’m certainly not a bible scholar, but God created animals and talks about them being in his future kingdom. For me personally, I prefer to be honest and say I am not entirely sure.

Can we pray for our pets? Absolutely. We can pray to our Heavenly Father about anything, at any time. We can also pray for our broken heart, for that sadness we feel.

Will I ever stop feeling like this? Yes you will, honey. You are going to have ups and downs in life. I think covering grief by just blatantly saying you will “get over it” is not conducive to the experience. You need to just sit with them in the process, and they will naturally discover that with time, your heart heals.

What’s going to happen to my pet’s body? Always dread that question. In my opinion, just be honest. It’s just a body. Depending on your child’s age and questions, you may need to explain more.

Will that happen to you Mommy? Always the hardest question. Everyone is going to die, but again, another chance to talk God and Jesus and where are we going after our earthly bodies give out.

Ceremony

I believe it’s important to memorialize the major events in our life, a big exclamation point or a period, to help us move forward. If you know your pet is getting close to the end, NOW is the time to have a party for them. Remember the good times and treat that pet like a king or queen for a day. We did this for our dog Riley before he was rehomed. He didn’t die, but he was going to be gone from our lives, so we needed to grieve that as well.

Some of our pets have been cremated. Some buried. But we always have a ceremony to remember their lives and the good times we shared with them. Maybe a poem or special words are appropriate. Maybe a note or picture inside a box. Maybe a walk to spread their ashes. Whatever it is, try to have your child be as involved as they want to be as this won’t be their only loss. We’re modeling behavior for them.

Some families get some type of memorial figure to place where the pet is buried or where you can remember a cremated pet. Our spot will soon have a bench that we will fondly remember “Bean” as we sit and have a wonderful view of the ocean.

Some have an ornament made or mark dedicated to their pet, so each Christmas they can be reminded of that special pet. Whatever you decide, I do believe it’s important to choose something.

Be Open With Feelings

Providing space for our children to talk is important. I have found that out of nowhere conversations have drifted over to talk about “Bean” and how much he is missed. I discovered this handy book and wanted to share it with you as a resource when you need it.

“I Miss My Pet: A workbook for children about pet loss” by Katie Nurmi. This workbook lets children work through the loss of a pet by teaching the child that their feelings are important and respected. They will also learn that respect for all living creatures is an important aspect of growing up.

An Acrobat Reader is needed to view and print this book. Your browser probably already is set up to accommodate this PDF file, but if not, you can download it by clicking here.

Will we get another hamster?

I suspect so. Maybe a different rodent this time. For now though, we’ll allow some time to feel and some time to heal. No reason to be in a rush. Sometimes that is the problem, we are in too much of a hurry to allow our grief to go full circle. Not this time. No, not this time.

My Books of 2019

9
Jan
2020

Ahhhh, a new year. I really love this time of year…I love the fresh start, planning, goal setting, the possibilities. I dream a little bigger, work a little smarter, and focus a little sharper. It’s a time of renewal for me in so many aspects of my life.

I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from books.

What can be better than a few moments of quiet time curled up with a book, taking in some positivity and encouragement to fuel your soul?

If you are looking for some worthwhile books to boost your motivation and inspire you, here are some titles that spoke deeply to me in 2019.

Personal Growth

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

I read this book each year as a refresher to be in tune with life around me.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

As an avid Podcast listener, this book helped to reconnect all the pieces of who I am, and how God wants me to be.

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst

Such a powerful read.  When life is unfolding in different ways than you planned, this is the book to read!

Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman

Slowing down, appreciating the moments and giving practical ways to do so.  I loved this book and may be circling around again to read it.

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman

As a recovering perfectionist, I am in a season of re-learning a lot of habits that had me trying and trying and trying to earn friendship, belonging and acceptance.  It’s done.  Such a refreshing read.

Wait and See by Wendy Pope

Waiting… being in the middle of a season and not knowing when it will end.  This book gave me new perspective and shifted my altered thinking.  It drew me closer to God.

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Again, her podcast friends…..  just go listen if you have not.  Getting stuck is no place to be.  I love her approach to helping each of us grab hold of the Next Right Thing.  Pure perfection.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

I had procrastinated reading this book because honestly, I had heard all the hype.  I enjoyed parts of the book, but there were some portions that just did not resonate with my heart and that is okay.  At least I read it for myself, rather than assuming from what others had shared.

The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff

As an Empath, this was really eye-opening and gave me some food for thought on how I am wired.  Totally recommend it.

Love Does by Bob Goff

GAME CHANGER!!  So good for truly learning to live your life as Christ would desire.  This life is not about us… just not about us.

Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

Again, this second book of Bob Goff’s was just a joy to read.  He is the example of someone living it all out for God. I want to be like that and have a new drive to do so.

Healthy Living

Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle by Gin Stephens

The fasting lifestyle became part of my routine back in July and am so happy I did.  It’s been so freeing, helped me feel the best I have felt in a long time and been empowering.

Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don’t Deny Lifestyle by Gin Stephens

An other extended book on the topic of fasting — so worth your time.  If you are struggling with weight, health issues or exhaustion, do yourself a favor for sure!!!

Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods by Anthony William

Fascinating – simply fascinating and how you can use certain foods to help certain conditions.   I am grabbing a hard copy to keep in my library to quickly look things up.  It’s a must have book.

Medical Medium Thyroid Healing by Anthony William

Another one that was so interesting.  Do you struggle with thyroid issues, Auto-immune issues, brain fog, weight gain or unexplained symptoms.  Get this book and read it.  You can then determine for yourself how you want to proceed.

Community Building

The Seed by Jon Gordon

I just love Jon Gordon’s story telling ability – bringing a real “teaching” book into a format that is engaging and empowering.  Finding happiness in both your business, community and personal life can be done.

The No Complaining Rule by Jon Gordon

Everyone needs to read this.  The power of our words and how we, especially as moms can initiate complaining in our home (or not initiate it) is so eye-opening.  I know I know this stuff. but to be reminded is so needed.

We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God by Kendall Vanderslice

Breathtaking…. such a treasured view of the local church redefining itself in the homes and space all over the country.  As one who is looking to do more hospitable worship in this next season, I loved everything about this book.

Fun Fiction

All great books to take to the beach, read while cozied up by the fire and take a mind break for a bit!

Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey

The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle

Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle

Curious, did you read any books in 2019 that will stick with you for awhile?  I’d sure love to hear.

An Evening for Freedom

18
Jun
2019

Freedom Dinners

Last Friday evening I attended an event that was simply, magical.

A group of about twenty five food lovers, purchased tickets for $75 to have dinner in the middle of an orchard with strangers.  As an introvert, and one who often struggles with small talk conversations, this was truly stepping outside my comfort zone.

I had begun following CiderPress Lane on Instagram, shortly after attending a women’s conference outside Seattle in May.  The organization, Rescue Freedom International was highlighted during that conference and I learned about how Kelly Welk, of CiderPress Lane, began hosting #freedomdinners in order to raise money for Rescue Freedom International.

I had it on my wishlist to attend one of these dinners, to see what it was all about and that wish came true last Friday!  A few last minute tickets were released and I grabbed one!

freedom dinners
One Dinner at a Time

As I sat next to Kelly that evening, she shared the story of how she was deeply touched to learn about the human trafficking industry over five years ago.  She had a desire to do something, and she had this ‘crazy‘ idea to host guests at her home ‘potluck style’, where those in her community would donate their services and food items, charge a ticket price for those dining and donate 100% of the proceeds to Rescue Freedom International.

Since that first dinner 5 years ago she has hosted over 500 people and donated over $35,000.

That my friends, is the power of making one small change and stepping out to do what you can.

My mind was blown away by her heart, her desire, her vision and how she has overcome obstacles to see lives changed.  This is the power of people giving what they can, and using their God given gifts for good.

It’s About Community

Here is the key piece to her vision that I want to make sure you pick up here. These dinners are not about one person doing it all, they are about everyone doing what they do best.   Everyone using their gifts and talents in a way to collaborate to create the most beautiful piece of art.

“When we invite people to help in a way that they love creating, we give them a place to connect their heart to purpose.”  Kelly Welk

The evening was simply relaxing, invigorating, full of wonderful conversation and inspiring.   I have been given a vision of how I could start these #freedom dinners in my own area – to use what I have to make a difference!

Kelly has step-by-step instructions on how you can host your own dinner.  And she has a beautiful cookbook, Dinner Changes Everything with wonderful set menus, recipes and instructions as well, I picked up my own copy and had it signed by Kelly!!

I am currently making a list of friends to invite over so I can practice making some of the recipes in Kelly’s book, as well as sharing this vision.  How incredible to create community alongside an urgent need to make a difference in the lives of others?

So how can you make a difference?  If it’s not dinner, perhaps it’s another fun gathering where you can invite people together.  A dessert buffet?  An appetizer evening?  A Saturday brunch?

The possibilities are endless my friend, just say yes!

All-Natural Cleaning Recipes

28
May
2019

A few years back I truly discovered the danger of chemicals in all our household cleaners. As someone who is in remission from an autoimmune disease, I need to be very aware of what I am coming into contact with in my home.

I’ve spent years educating myself about what we expose our bodies to on a daily basis…from what we ingest, to what we apply topically on our bodies, to what we inhale, and also what we come in contact with in our surroundings.

Because of my wellness journey, I’ve made chemical-filled cleaners a part of my past, and I am forever grateful!

When I discovered Thieves Household Cleaner, I was simply amazed. Did you know you can replace ALL the cleaners in your home with this PLANT-based cleaner—safe for everyone in your house, including little ones and furry friends. It’s a 100% plant- and mineral-based ingredient cleaner and will clean any surface in your home.

Not only is it safe to use, but it is cost-effective too. This concentrated cleaner can be diluted for an all-purpose cleaner at just $0.67 a bottle. I have several spray bottles mixed up in different ratios for different cleaning jobs. It’s so simple!

Learn more about dilution ratios and everyday household applications here. (link to other blog article)

No more having 152 bottles of cleaners under my kitchen and bathroom sink. Safe, simple, and perfect for a minimalist lifestyle.

Find out how to get wholesale pricing HERE.

Thieves Household Cleaner Recipes

Here are some of my favorite DIY Thieves Household Cleaner recipes I like to use in my home.

Scrubbing Soft Scrub Cleaner 

You can use your Thieves cleaner to make a heavy-duty Thieves scrub to get off hard stains.

Natural Soft Scrub cleaner

DIY All Natural Whitening Bleach

When life gives you lemons, you make an all-natural whitener. Skip the harsh chemicals and make this safe and effective whitener. Use it in your laundry, the bathtub, and any other surface that needs a little brightening.

All Natural Whitening Bleach

Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Many of us have hardwood floors and need to keep all the outside stuff we track in cleaned off. I love to walk around barefoot, but not if I have to be worried about my feet absorbing toxins from the cleaner I am using. I love this simple way to clean all my floors!

hardwood floor cleaner with thieves

Glass and Mirror Cleaner

No more streaks!! HOORAY!!! I love using easy-to-use toxin-free mixture.

All Natural Glass and Mirror Cleaner

Laundry Stain Prespot

Ever have nasty laundry stains and not sure what to do? This is a fool-proof stain remover!!

 

Which recipe are you excited to try?

Do you need to get your own Thieves Household Cleaner?

Find out how to get wholesale pricing HERE

You can get started with Young Living right now, and get this valuable cleaner for a 24% discount!

Let today be your day to step into a new wellness journey!!!

 

Learn the basics about how to use Essential Oils in a short 3 day text series, delivered right to your phone. I would love to answer any questions you have.

Text INFO to  360-712-7206

40 Days of Strategic Prayer

12
Mar
2019

praying for your husband

Is your marriage where you want it to be?

Perhaps your marriage is good, but what would it look like if it was better?  What if it was FABULOUS?!!

I just returned from a weekend with some sweet friends, where we chatted about our marriages.  We shared some very personal information, were extremely vulnerable, shed some tears and decided it was time to be powerful in our prayer life for our marriage and for our husbands.

Hope

If you’re anything like me, I have went through stages of being a wife who prayers consistently for her husband, to one who rarely prays.  It embarrasses me, but honestly, that is where the devil would like me to stay, embarrassed, helpless and powerless.  He wins then and can wreak havoc in our homes.

During the time I was together with my girlfriends, another friend of ours posted that she was feel very convicted to start a prayer series and a group to allow a sacred space for women to pray for their husbands.  When we first saw this announcement, we sat with mouths wide open – in shock!  We had said we wanted to start a 30 Days of Praying for our Husband’s, using a book we all had read years ago, The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian.

Be Intentional

My friend Erin Rodgers shared a heartfelt post on Facebook, the one that we read Sunday afternoon that had us in shock!  And, I knew I needed to share this resource and community with all of you. I asked her if that was okay and she replied back with a big YES!!!  There is a need for this space, this community and for a place for women to gather and pray.  So, this is an invitation for you to join The Excellent Wife Facebook group, a place you will find to share encouragement and prayer needs with one another.

A Wife’s 40-day Fasting & Prayer Journal” by Kaylene Yoder, the resource we will use, is NOT 40 straight days of fasting, but rather a thought provoking daily journal & prayer with one fasting “item” each day.

Are you with me?  Are you ready to fight for your marriage and lift your husband up to be the man the Lord desires him to be?  This is your time friend… this is your time!  You will find a community of women who will encourage you and accept you.

Here’s what you need to do

I am so excited to see how this group unfolds, the miracles that will happen and the marriages that will be restored and be used for His glory.  It will be amazing, and you need to be part of it!

I’ll see you there – don’t miss out!!