Eight years ago, while we were mourning the loss of our sweet Charly, a litter of puppies was born in east Texas. Whether the mom was a pure-bred who had a wild fling with a stray, or she was a mixed breed stray herself, we'll never know.
We do know that a few weeks later a little black and brown bundle of cuteness wandered up to a home near Tyler, Texas. Unfortunately, the home belonged to a single mom living on a teacher's salary who could barely afford the horses and handful of stray dogs and cats she already owned.
Fortunately, she was determined to find a home for the cute puppy. Otherwise she would have to send it to a shelter... and there were no 'no-kill' shelters in Tyler, Texas.
Her son posted its photo on a Facebook page for University of Texas students. Our daughter spotted it and sent it to me. It wasn't the first photo she had sent me, but by then, our resolve against getting another dog had been cracked by our German Shepherd/Great Dane Max's obvious despondency over Charly's absence.
He was so lonely! He just dragged his feet on our morning walks, ignoring Frankie the guinea fowl, and spent most of his time sleeping.
Seeing him like that just broke my heart!
We gave in, deciding Max needed a puppy, and after several phone calls with the puppy's foster mother, Tom and I arranged to meet her at a Dairy Queen in a little town outside of Waco.
She called the puppy 'Thibodeaux'.
Um, no. To me, that just wasn't a fit. So as we drove down the highway, I ran name after name through my mind, trying to find just the right one.
At the Bell County line, it came to me - "Belle". My Belle of Long Hollow.
Max gave his full approval, to the name and the puppy.
We'll be celebrating Belle's birthday on Sunday, probably with an extra walk and maybe some popcorn. She loves popcorn.
Somehow eight years have passed, as well as Max and Frankie. Once again, we've decided we won't get another dog.
I think Belle's okay with that; she's an inside dog now and very content. Besides, I don't think our allergies or our iRobot could handle a second dog in the house!
But "never say never", right? I know each one of our critters has been a gift from God, delivered just when we needed it. Who knows who we'll meet up the road?
"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull
And now for a few more sweet!s I've collected since Christmas...
A motivating all-day leadership mastermind in Houston for all of the Keller Williams Realty Agent Leadership Councils in our region
Spotting a "sun-heart" in my sunlight photo taken on the trip home from Houston afterward (this is cropped quite a bit so you can see it)
(Yes, I know it also looks a bit like a lima bean)
All of the "Friend-versary" videos popping up on Facebook
Allergy medicines that keep my cedar fever under control
Belle snuggling in her puppy beds all over the house
Walks with Belle on gorgeous, frosty, golden mornings, and the view of mist rising from Lake Travis
Getting a contract on one of my listings in 9 days
Seeing the latest Star Wars movie, "The Last Jedi", with my son... flashing back to seeing the very first one 40+ years ago ... feeling I had come full circle.
Spending a day helping a friend celebrate her birthday in one of her favorite places... Magnolia Market in Waco ... and seeing another longtime friend for the first time in years.
A friend's new home almost complete on the lot I helped her buy a year ago
Audible, so I can "read" books in my car when I have no time at home
My oldest decorating his Christmas tree with his childhood ornaments that used to hang on mine
My photo book of my Italy trip delivered to my doorstep
Friends recommending me, bringing me new buyer and seller clients
Warm temperatures returning after three days below freezing
A warm bowl of Hoppin' John on a cold New Year's Day
Spotting a huge owl on my morning walk and hearing it whistle
A successful surgery for someone I love (but please keep them in your prayers as they recover)
And of course, plenty of heart rocks...
(Can you think of any sweet!s in your own life? Share them in the comments!)
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.