Cross country memories

A photo that pretty much sums up everything from the start; and the cover of book number one.

Around now each year I am flooded with memories from 2011.  This year has brought me fewer memories as I've been very busy with my new and wonderful Grandbabies.  :)  But when I opened up my FB newsfeed this morning, there it was.  A reminder of a not so great time in my life.  What had started out as an exciting and big adventure; very quickly turned into a challenging trip, both physically and emotionally.  

A pile of poodles.  Luke up front, then Elsa and in the back, Tilley.  

So when the temperatures drop, the memories come.  But like anything, time helps to heal wounds; and the further we get away from that time in 2011 the easier it gets.  It gets easier but I will never forget what my son and I went through on our travels across the country with our four dogs.  I am a big believer in the old saying "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."  Yep. 

At only 5 months of age, Elsa was amazing on our cross country trip.  

Many life lessons were dealt with on the trip across the country.  Even more once we landed and then headed back again.  Would I do it again?  Given the option of going through everything that we had to deal with? NO.  But like everything with life experience; it is what makes us who we are.  There are many things that we did back then in December 2011 that I would change and do differently.  But at the time I had yet to experience it all, so I didn't have the knowledge that I do now.  

Settled in and just weeks before Tilley passed.  

I look at life differently now and don't like to dwell too much on the past. That is, the past that brings with it bad memories.  One of my favorite sayings that I picked up in early 2012 was "don't look back, we're not going that way."  It's a good one and one that I try to follow.  

The whole ordeal that became two books (PBJ and me, And Back Again) was life altering.  Many of you followed us on our trip there, during and back again.   I tried to blog and share what I could, when I could.  It was a great support to have so many there to share it with.  

You can never be the same after going through something like it.  We lost our little Jack Russell, the matriarch of the canine pack mid trip.  Oklahoma will always have an impactful meaning to it for us.  It is there that we lost our little Jessie at nearly 16 years of age.  Then only weeks later after landing we lost our Lassie in poodle clothing, Tilley at 15.5 years of age.  

Life has a way of teaching us many lessons; some more desirable than others.  We cannot pick and choose, so we take our steps through it; hopefully learning as we go.  Life is a story for each and everyone us; we make our way through it with the decisions that we make daily.  With that comes memories that prepare us for the next part of our story, like it or not.   At this time of year, each year I stop to remember; but try not to dwell on the past. 

Life is a story.