Mother’s Day 2017 Thoughts

Mother’s Day. It’s a special day honoring the women whose love and influence has shaped us into who we are today. This is my mother, the strongest woman I know. She is a business owner (shameless plug here), lover of the outdoors, and has taught me the importance of loving animals. She has always been the perfect balance of friend and mother, and if I can someday be half the mother she is, I’ll consider myself a good parent. I’m so grateful to have had her support over the years, including my MSW graduation THREE years ago today.

fullsizeoutput_3217

Bottom line: Treasure the time you have with your mother, because only when you move away will you realize how much having her close by was so wonderful.

Mother’s Day can also be a very rough time for those who have either lost their mothers or desire to be one and it hasn’t happened yet. It is easy to feel alone when you’re scrolling Facebook and see everyone’s Mother’s Day posts. You know what?

You’re not alone.

There is someone else out struggling just like you are.

More often than not, someone has endured a hardship and kept silent about it.

Lastly, stop scrolling.

On this particular Mother’s Day, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my husband; my church family; lunch with neighbors who took us under their wing and act as surrogate parents; and my fur babies, all five of them.

IMG_6771

This dog has the good life.

fullsizeoutput_367c

So content in her special spot.

fullsizeoutput_367f

So many personalities in these felines.

IMG_6819

Until the time comes for me to be a mother, I will savor every moment of my fur baby motherhood and always cherish those who have made a difference in my life: My own mother, my grandmothers I lost too soon, and my mother-in-law. Thank you for all that you are to me. I love you.

Shelter Spotlight

5.14.17-ADOPTED!

Meet Elsa!! My husband and I met this pretty little lady while walking dogs at our local humane society today. I love walking dogs and interacting with them just as much as my husband does, but I love being behind the camera and trying to capture their personalities too. This darling Boxer was a gem to walk and clearly not afraid of a few photos 😉 I mean, seriously. Who could resist that grin?!

fullsizeoutput_3675

If you are interested in learning more about Elsa or any of her available sheltermates, please contact the Greenbrier Humane Society at 304-645-4775. We are located in Lewisburg, WV.

The Starlight Foundation

I look forward to my Fab Fit Fun box every season, and this winter box was no different; details here if you want more information on what I’m talking about. However, this box included a piece of jewelry supporting a charitable organization that I was actually interested in looking into for more information: The Starlight Foundation.

img_6413

The Starlight Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1982, seeks to improve hospital stays for young children and teenagers. Over 30 million children each year in the United States experience a long-term hospital stay due to a chronic, critical, or terminal illness. When you think about how scary the hospital can be for a short-term stay, the thought of a young child being there long term is devastating. I had an emergency appendectomy at age four, and I assure you Barney helped me get through the week I had to be without my mom and dad.

The Starlight Foundation is a top-rated nonprofit with Charity Navigator, GreatNonprofits, CharityWatch, and GuideStar. Out of every dollar received, 85 cents goes back into programs to benefit the children and teenagers in need. That figure is awesome compared to some other popular organizations that are more popular and well-known and only give a fraction of what they receive back into research and education. More than 800 hospitals are involved with the foundation and provide education, technology, and entertainment to help turn children’s fear into joy. Although they cannot make the pain go away (unfortunately), there are simple ways to make a child smile. An upcoming project in the works will be converting ugly hospital gowns (let’s be real…does anyone really look good in those things?) into colorful and fun robes for kids to wear. How awesome, right? If you would like more information, the link is below.

I had not even heard about this foundation until three hours ago, and I now I am so glad I did. Although my die-hard passion in life is animal rescue and advocacy, we all have to live for something. Some of these children are literally living in hospitals with an uncertainty of when they’re coming home. It is wonderful that programs like The Starlight Foundation exist!

https://www.starlight.org

*FabFitFun link is a referral code. I am not affiliated with them in any way.

A Day of Thanks

No matter your thoughts on Thanksgiving, it’s still a day where most people are off work and can relax with family and friends. For me, I am simply happy eating yummy food, spending time with my husband, and possibly get a head start on my online Black Friday shopping 🙂 This year, I’m extremely thankful my dog, Leia, is going to be okay. She ate half the handle off an umbrella (note to pet parents: don’t let an umbrella fall next to the toy bin) and got plastic in her abdomen and intestines. She’s been at the vet for the past 36 hours severely dehydrated and monitored closely. If she didn’t end up passing the plastic pieces, she would surgery first thing in the morning. Well, the vet called earlier today and said she had started eating and drinking, along with taking medication. If she is like this tomorrow, chances are she’ll be home by lunchtime. I’m so grateful we know our dog enough that if she’s acting out of character, we can pick up on it. We know her daily patterns and when that changed, our pet parent cues kicked in and got in touch with the vet. If we hadn’t caught it in time, she could have faced an entire bowel obstruction or bowel perforation, neither of which are good. I had a wonderful day with my other fur babies and Matt, but I am especially thankful Leia can come home and will be herself again.

For those at the medical school who aren’t able to be with friends and/or family on Thanksgiving, the President and his wife host Thanksgiving meal in the new student center. Matt and I took advantage of this free meal and shared some time with friends we don’t see too often. Overall, it was a wonderful meal, and I’m especially thankful for the WVSOM community that surrounds us.

No matter how you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope it was a day of rest and relaxation. Happy Thanksgiving from The Smiths!!

img_6349

A Bit of Photo Shoot Magic

I can’t resist sharing more pictures of our time on the Greenbrier River Trail. This time I brought my trusty Nikon 3100 and attempted to capture some fall beauty. Believe me, I am not a photographer, but there’s something about being behind the lens and seeing what I’ve captured that is incredible. Wish I would have went when all the leaves were still on the trees, but it’s nearly impossible to be on that trail and not see beauty somewhere. Plus, it’s always the best when I practice on my favorite subjects. Enjoy!

dsc_1873

The Greenbrier River

dsc_1881

The bond between these two is unbreakable.

dsc_1886

This pup….<3

dsc_1888

Look at this stunner.

dsc_1892

dsc_1896

Fall in the Greenbrier Valley…

dsc_1900

PC: Matt Smith

dsc_1905

I definitely should have worn makeup today. PC: Matt Smith

dsc_1910

PC: Matt Smith

dsc_1912

PC: Matt Smith

dsc_1914

Country roads, take me home.

 

Trail Time

There is something about living near the Greenbrier River Trail that makes me feel so at peace with my life. If I’m having a good day, I take the pups to the trail and get in an even better mood. If I’m having a bad day, I still take the pups to the trail and instantly my mood gets better. With fall coming to an end here in WV (although much later than in previous years), I am bound and determined to soak up as much time on the trail as I can. It’s amazing how the fresh air opens your mind and instantly is a mood booster. I left work early today and spent some much needed outside time with my favorites. This spot is one of my favorites on the section of the trail near us, and it is honestly the perfect place to relax and meditate. I was lucky enough to have Matt home today and he came with us. Wouldn’t trade these moments for the world. What are some of your favorite moments, and if you live in WV, some of your outdoor recommendations to take the pups?

img_6309

What a beautiful day.

img_6312

My happy place.

img_6315

So at peace with the world.

img_6314

My pretty girl.

img_6313

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. -Anatole France

img_6318

Fall is beautiful. Need I say more?

 

Jonagold, Rambo, Macoun, Empire, and Northern Spy

Who doesn’t love apple picking? There’s just something about picking your own off the tree knowing you’re not only getting pesticide-free apples, but you’re supporting a local business as well. Not to mention it is SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying them at the grocery store. On Sunday, some friends invited us to join them at Morgan Orchard for an afternoon of apple picking; the link to their website is below. We picked up five of our favorite types: Jonagold, Rambo, Macoun, Empire, and Northern Spy, with the hope to enjoy most as snacks and then a make a pie with the rest, hopefully this weekend. I’ve never made an apple pie before, so I’m relying on good ole’ Betty Crocker to guide me. Any advice on how to make a good pie?

http://www.morganorchardwv.com

dsc_1755

So many options 🙂

dsc_1756

dsc_1757

Macoun

dsc_1760

Yum!

dsc_1761

Love adventuring with him.

dsc_1763dsc_1765