Monday, July 29, 2013


I would love to create a digital scrapbook of memories either in blog format or one of the new digital book/albums that one can made these days because of digital technology in a fairy tale style and format.  But for several reason I won't:  #1 reason is because I just don't have the time or energy nor know where to locate all the images that I am picturing in my mind.  However, I wonder if my mind actually fails me from time to time as well.  Because as I think of all the many photographs that Precious made her appearances, I realize Christmas cards one of her biggest cameos.  So as I am thinking, I think of a certain image two children dressed in denim: one wearing a long sleeve denim shirt with jeans, a cute little boy,  and then the blonde-haired little girl wearing a denim dress and then my thoughts sort of come to a screeching halt.  NOPE!  That wasn't Precious!  That was two children and our two Shelties (aka Shetland Sheepdogs--sort of like miniature collies).  See our memories will trick us in a heartbeat if we let it.

So I come back to my title:  Precious and Me
Who saw the movie, Marley and Me?  Or who was even braver and read the book?  Well, I didn't read the book, but listened to the audio CD when coming back from San Antonio on a trip with my husband.  Much like Marley, our almost-15-year-old poodle, was far from a perfect dog and I admit especially toward the last few years of her life, I wasn't the greatest owner neither.  But like Marley, Precious was so forgiving and always loved us no matter what! 

I don't have a blog post full of memories of Precious all though if I scan my memory long enough or talk to my children who many of their own, I can come up with some.  Of course, John Grogron, the owner and writer of Marley and Me was also a writer for a local paper...which of course, wasn't like our local paper.  It was after all Miami.  So I don't remember what kind of column it was or the name of the paper, I do recall that John shared many misadventures and heart touching stories over the years, thus he pretty much had been documenting his life all  along.  So he had a head start and putting his story together.

I shed many tears and laughs to listening to John narrate his experience with "loopy" dog as he described, but also shed many because I knew that the life of our family pet, who have often been pushed aside honestly because at time she was quite annoying like:
  • When she was right under my feet while cooking hoping I would drop a morsel or two for her.
  • When she insisted on being in the studio with me while I photographed a session (but she was paid back for that!--she often used as the subject to get babies to smile!)  So many of them loved her.)
  • Or when she woke me up in the middle of the night throwing up on my bed because someone left some Reese's on the end table.  She made a pig of herself.  Yes, we learned not to leave chocolate or any food out for that matter after that.
  • The list could go on...espeically toward the end when she was just getting old she could help herself.
But you know I have come to a conclusion that our beloved dogs love us unconditionally like God does.  We can be angry with them.  Yell at them for no reason and they'll bow their head and in few minutes be ready to love on you again.  They certainly didn't hold grudges and nor get angry at us.

Every dog has their idiosyncrasies just as their owners do.  So I won't go and on about her issues and I don't want to spend, tons of time or energy on this, but I do want to remember and document that her favorite thing to do was to just beside you...not in your lap but beside you.  So you see, she wasn't a lap dog, but a beside-you dog.

And I called this Precious and Me because she bonded with me.  She was Christmas gift for 6-year-old Cari in 1998.  Cari had asked for the Golden Retriever like in the Homeward Bound movies.  We already had two outside dogs, the Shelties, Christy and Pepper.  So we (or was it I) decided that she would possibly be pleased with a golden poodles instead.  She was born that November and she called an Apricot-colored Pooodle.  Her breed wasn't an official breed if I remember correctly from discussing with the owner over the phone.  She wasn't Toy Poodle and she wasn't a Tea Cup Poodle.  The owner called her a Miniature-Toy.  She was about 8 pounds when reached maturity and by the time she was one her peachy colored had begun getting more than apricot in color.  She was a year and a half when we moved here.  Still just a puppy!  She loved running around in the big yard and chasing a toy down the hallway, the hardwood slick floors not so much.

We knew her time was getting near.  She was struggle getting down the steps, her movements were much slower and she often had this distant look. Her hearing wasn't good at all, but at time it seemed okay.  Her vision was very poor especially in right eye, but she still had remarkable since of smell because she and the other dogs (Ellie and Pixie) never missed a chance to be under our feet when cooking in the kitchen.


She passed away on my birthday at the end of the day.  Of course, I was sad and I cried.  But it had been answer to a pray because I had prayed she would die in her sleep so that I would know it was really her time.

We were out of town and Cameron had to bury her for me.  So I decided to do a family memorial service for her the following Sunday because I knew Cari would be home to celebrate Natalie's Birthday, a birthday supper was planned for that evening.

I asked everyone to write down something to share, but even I didn't actually do it, only Natalie did:

"Precious I Love you with all heart.
I loved taking pictures with you
When I was two because were so fluffy
And looked so cute in a pink scarf.
You were a great dog.
I remember when you sat beside me and Mimi.
So I know you loved me,
So I loved you back 
Just like everyone else did."

(Natalie Ainsworth, 8 years old)

Randy shared how this was our first time to bury something as family.  Cameron shared how he remembered the first time he saw her.  Cameron and Randy went and picked her out.  Then Cari remembered her little broken or sprained paw that she had when she was puppy.  The vet made a splint out of a syringe by splitting it in half and then wrapped it with medical tape.  It didn't stop her little sweet self from running around and it was quite funny because she sounded like she had a little "peg-leg".  Brittany shared how she shared food with her when she first met her and started spending time here.  I thanked everyone for being here and Cameron and Brittany for arrangements they made while we were gone.

She was already buried while we were still out of town.  So we buried her favorite toy right beside her.  She only had one favorite toy!  She wasn't as "into" toys as Ellie and Pixie have been except for this one toy!  I should have photographed it before burying it and if I run across a photo of it, I will share it, but it was an off white lab with fluffy fur that reminded us of her.  We often thought she thought it was her "baby".  She would play fetch with it, but she also enjoyed sleeping beside it.  She had not played or slept with it lately because I had kept it put up because Ellie and Pixie would have destroyed it. Their mission is to demolish toys with stuffy whereas Precious was content to fetch it or sleep with it like a pillow.  I hate that she didn't get to use it in her last days, but I am grateful that we had something significant to bury as a family.

Yes, we all choked back tears, but those of who us really whaled were Natalie and I (the others may have too--but I didn't witness them) were trying to not get to that point again...maybe we all were.  On the way home last night from Natalie's birthday supper, Randy (who I thought probably thought this was all silly) told me that he thought it went well.  

We ended with a prayer thanking God for allowing such a loving pet into our family.  She truly loved us all and everyone who walked into our home/studio for whatever reason.

I end this post with a quote the writer of Marley and Me:

“. . . owning a dog always ended with this sadness because dogs just don't live as long as people do.” 

To view more quotes from Marlie and Me.

It is coming back to me!

Why I don't blog!

Some of it may be because of the slow internet issues that we are having out here and the rest is possibly computer issues...which I am hoping it is more of the 2nd.  I have started this post from my old computer.  You know--the one that has all my images, but I decided I would try to do this short one since I was planning to do it w/o images.  [If the 2nd, things will get better because hopefully sooner rather than later, I will move images to this computer too.]

I was wanting to do a journal type post of some memories of Precious and her some memories from her little family service that we held here yesterday to honor.  But then I thought I would post a quick one saying that I hope to still do so, but I remember one reason why I quit.  Because I am not very good at time managing or either I am just not that savvy with the computer, internet and the whole blog updating things...apparently I am not because if it takes others as long to blog as me, very few people would blog.

Hoping to still do a blog entry about this...not like the one I desired or intended to do because I can't seem to locate photos, but I want to do something while memory is fresh.

So if you're interested, stay tuned.  If not...not biggie, I am doing this for my memory and my family's because I do love to look back at posts and things that I have shared over the years.  If only I was a good at say someone like Nicki, but oh well, I am not, and I choose to be happy with the thoughts, memories and photos that I have documented rather than whine over what I don't have.

A little update from the last two years...

I know it has been a while.  I have so much I want to blog about and kinda mad/sad that I haven't before now.  I should have blogged and shared what God has done in my life since I have NOT been I posted in the last post the "test", I am NOT that great at consistency in blogging.  I wished I were, but I am just being REAL.

As I view the last blog real blog post from a trip to Hot Springs, I quickly think "Wow, I lot has happened in my families lives since then!"  I will do a quick update and then share what I was wanting to blog about today and as stated in my Test blog post, I would really like to randomly start doing this again.  It is after memories and it is amazing how quickly we forget when we don't journal or document them.


  •  Cari is no longer dating the guy in the photos at Hot Springs.  She dated another guy last summer from our area and is now currently dating a guy she met at college who is from New Orleans.  We'll just leave that at that until things are more serious or change or whatever.  She has changed her majors a few times and is currently majoring in business with no definite plans of where she wants that degree to take her.  But that's totally okay!  She is still young and I totally get that.  She is working two jobs this summer at two different restaurants:  Fieldhouse, a local sport bar & grill, and Sage, an organic restaurant.  She is also actively involved in her sorority, Kappa Delta, and is a Greek recruiter.  She will soon be starting her junior year of college.  Times flies by quickly!  Wasn't she just a senior a few days ago preparing her Valedictorian speech?
  • Cameron graduated LSU last spring, May 2012, with a degree in Business Finance.  He is currently working here in Frogmore managing Cotton Diversified, a company that Randy created that currently makes a feed (deer and cattle food) using by-products of cotton.  He and his wife, Brittany, and Natalie, their daughter, stayed much of the summer here and her parents home since May of last year--with him living here full time and the coming here and staying weekends and holidays and some with her parents too.  He has also been very active recently in running and biking.  
  • Brittany graduated LSU about 2.5 months ago in Early Childhood Eduction, the Pre-K--3 program being certified to teach those grades.  She student taught several grades over the last two years (4 different grades--one per semester).  Her favorite was pre-K, however, she will be teaching Kindergarten this upcoming school year at the new school, Delta Charter School, where Huntington School used to be.  My kids went there for awhile and so did how interesting will it be that Brittany will be teaching there and Natalie will be going to school there.
  • Natalie has had two birthdays and is now 8-years old...TODAY IS HER 8TH BIRTHDAY DAY!   She completed the 2nd grade at her school in Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Center for Visual & Performing Arts, the magnet school that she attended since Kindergarten.  She took gymnastics from LSU the last two school years and violin lessons at school last school year.  She loves to sing and is looking forward to singing in the children's musical at church this Sunday (the August 4th).
  • Randy along with his employers went in business together to develop and sell the feed product mentioned above.  He continues to run the gin and contribute to this business as well while giving much of the responsibility to Cameron.  Randy is also now serving as ministry leader at Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step, Christ-centered recovery program for life's hurts, habits and hang-up and celebrates 2.5 years of sobriety.  He is also in the process of leading a men's step study as a part of Celebrate Recovery as well.
  • Ellie joined our family as Cari's baby the fall of 2011.  She is a hyper little Yorkie.  That turns two next month.  She recently came to live with us because Cari felt like didn't have time for her working two jobs this summer--not that she ever really did being a college student and all.  After two-episodes of her "escaping" toward the horse pasture in front of the house, then once almost to the highway and once over and back, giving me--"dog-grandmother" a almost heart attack, I called Cari telling her if she did that again that she would have to take her back.  Not really thinking it would be necessary, but Cari took her back to Monroe last night. (Sniff, sniff...)
  • Pixie...well, she's about the same.  She still gets excited easily and loves to announce her presence barking uncontrollably when comes or goes or over most anything.  She has spend much more time here the last year since her parents have and I guess you say, we've bonded with her finally. (smile)
  • Buck is the newest member in legged-members of this family.  He is an apparently a chocolate-lab looking dog that just "showed-up" and adopted Cameron as his daddy.  He is chocolate lab that was very sick when he arrived.  He cried and whine a lot, but after two rounds of heart-worm treatments is a much happier and loves Cameron to pieces.  He is a has sweet disposition and not the typical hyper lab.
  •  Me....(Jami)...well, where do I begin?  How do I describe/update my life in a few words?  First of all I can say my life has been quite an emotional roller coaster.  Apparently I was and have been codependent much of my life.  I have had a very difficult time over the loss of the same type of relationship that I had with my daughter as I have had to let go and trust God to be with her as I can't be as we were when she was living at home.  I found healing, self-discovery, and drawn closer to God through Celebrate Recovery.  I am now in the process of leading a women's study study group as well and am finding even more healing (from other issues that I am facing) and growing through working the steps again and being blessed through others that I am leading.  My business has taken a back seat and I've struggled with my direction in this area, but I do think now that I will eventually proceed forward with probably some major changes ahead...not sure, but that's what how I think things are going with that.  I spent some time in Baton Rouge this fall and spring helping Brittany out with Natalie.  My most precious memories with her are the times that we have for the two of us!
  • Precious passed away last week on my birthday just a few months shy of 15 years old, which is what leads me to finally blog again.  I wanted to do a blog post, a memorial type blog post about her life and share a few memories...just a documentation or journal entry of her life.  I see this source as the best way for me to do this.