For Hollie


Around 11 years ago, a little boy with a smile that lit up his whole face decided to take $60 of his Christmas money to buy a puppy. The Monday before Christmas came, the little boy and his two sisters were overjoyed to receive the fluffiest, sweetest girl puppy alive. They named her Hollie.And then, this past Friday, October 25, 2013, the boy and his sisters, now quite grown up, lost their Christmas puppy.

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Our sweet, sweet baby, Hollie. Our little guard dog and our special friend. She’s been with us a long time. And she’s always been quite patient with us. . .

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. .even when we dolled her up.

The news came, for me, around 10 in the morning as I walked the rushing halls of logic and seriousness. Coming out of French class, I saw I had a missed call from my mom. As I was already practically in the library (and Lord have mercy on your soul if you take a call in there), I promised myself I would call back later. I called her on my way to the snack shop and as she answered the phone, she wept, “Amanda. . .Hollie died.” Having watched her the night before, I knew she was in a bad way. I replied, surprised but calm, “Oh no. . .is Abby and Anthony okay?” “No,” she replied, “Abby saw it.”As the day progressed, I learned that Hollie had fallen over in the yard and Abby had called for Anthony. Rushing out of the shower, Anthony raced outside and held her, hearing her last breath escape. I listened to my brother’s sobs on the phone and later, when my siblings came to see me, I watched as my brother and sister retold the tale with tears in their eyes.They waited for me to see her one last time. I walked calmly to the backyard and watched with sympathy in my eyes as my brother sat by her and cried.

But even as my family broke down around me, I didn’t shed a tear. Because in my mind, I guess we were losing the old, smelly dog with a tattered tail and ever-present eye booger that would hardly do anything but lie around. Was I sad? Yes. Did I cry? No.It wasn’t until later, as I felt the emptiness of our house, that I went back, in my mind’s eye, to days long gone.

And it was only after going back that I realized:

She is gone. Our Christmas puppy is gone.

There is no one to lie at my feet, sleeping sound, while I work on “homework” all hours of the night.

There will be no one to poke open the door, upon hearing my sobs.

There will be no one to trip over in the hallway. She was always such a bum.

Never again will I see her ears flapping in the wind as Anthony sleds down the rare snowy hill, with her in tow.

Never again will I watch my dad ask her if she’s “said her prayers” and hear her resounding bark.

Never again will I watch Anthony lift her up onto her hind legs and dance with her.

Never again will I watch her chase Anthony around the house, bringing about chaotic shouts and barks.

Never again will we wander the apple orchard, in search of adventure.

Never again will I get to squeal, “Hello, Hollie-Miss-Molly!”, holding her face and kissing her sweet nose.

Never again will I pull her back from her attempt to kiss our guests to death. Silly puppy.

Never again will I look down to see her grinning up at me, tail wagging with anticipation.

Never again will I see her roll onto her back, wriggling back and forth, begging for me to scratch her belly.

She is gone–nothing but ashes and memories. She was our angel and childhood companion. Now that she’s gone, it’s like one last piece of childhood left us. To us, she was more than just a dog. She was family, that’s for sure.

And upon this going back, I finally cried. It went against everything the rushing halls filled with logic and seriousness have taught me. But I don’t regret it.

Bye-bye, sweet girl.

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The Tower


patheticccI have no conclusion. This is the first thing you should know. I’ve got nothing.

But I do have thoughts. And I have emotions. Sure, most writers prefer to have conclusions as well. . .but why not move outside the box every once in a while, huh?

I am sitting here, sipping coffee and staring at a French literature textbook that literally means nothing to me. In fact, my neighbors should not be surprised if they see a flaming book fly by their window. It’s probably going to happen any day now.

As I’m sitting here, I’m thinking about life. It’s really a funny thing–what you think might happen or want to happen so badly it hurts is rarely the thing that happens at all. … I know. It’s a complicated sentence. Read it through a few more times. You’ll be OK.

Through my musings, I’ve discovered something: I’ve been living out a fairy-tale. Not in a good way either.

…actually, you know what? There are hardly any good ways to live out a fairy-tale. Usually they’re pretty pathetic. Damsels in distress? Um…no. Man up, girl!

But that’s where I’ve been living. I’m the princess trapped in the tower of God’s will, hoping that a knight in shining armor will waltz in and make everything better. Just you wait, God. I’m not staying here for long–he’s coming. Whatever.

Most recently, it was the brown-eyed boy that I knew would miraculously, as Taylor Swift would put it, “Wake up and find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole  time.” Oh, Swift, how you deceive.

And now, when the brown-eyed boy is quite forgotten, I find myself empty and unhappy. Because my heart’s not in being here; my heart’s not in the busy schedules and heavy work load that is college. I love my major, but oh, I dread what waits for me after I finish. I dread where I might go or what God might have me do.

Because I never asked for this. Any of it. And, at times, I feel the weight of dreams unfulfilled rather than the blessing of dreams discovered. But I know that God is good. And I see His hand leading me. And although it’s hard not to see the trail of unfulfilled dreams, it’s easy to see the blessings:

I have a sea shell stuffed in the pocket of my backpack, representative of a beach trip with a best friend.

On the back of the door hangs a burnt-orange bridesmaid dress from a night where God allowed me to feel beautiful and get to see my cousin married off.

I have a momma who is always there with a hug.

I have a daddy who always makes time for coffee runs.

Anytime of the day or night, I can listen to the laughter of my brother and sister.

I have a bestie who I can laugh through Artist Series with.

I have a sister whose sass and banter can always bring a smile to my face.

I have a brother who will always stick up for me.

I have pictures of beautiful family and friends who thought enough of me to surprise me for my 21st.

And I have a God who constantly showers love on me. Especially when I don’t deserve it.

So. While life has seemed bleak today and while I don’t know what’s coming, I know that there is a purpose in all of this.

GRACE LIKE RAIN.

That’s all the conclusion I’ve got. 😉