Our Dog, Noble: Three Month Update

dog-quote-caroline-knapp

My husband and I have officially had our dog, Noble (the pup in the above photograph), for a little over three months now. It is amazing how much our lives have changed since getting him. I can confidently say I think he is very much at home here.

Each day, he does little things that show us we are his family, which immensely warms my heart. When we first got him, I was so worried he wouldn’t like us or that he wouldn’t consider us his family. But, in time, he definitely has.

In the last three months, he has changed and grown so much, all the while showing us his personality bit by bit.

We’ve discovered Noble LOVES people. Absolutely loves them. I think there are only two people he’s ever backed away from or growled at. Otherwise, if he could, he would say hi to every single human.

It’s been an interesting experience adjusting to that because my husband and I are both introverts. We are completely content if we don’t see any humans or their dogs on walks. But, Noble gets upset.

After he interacts with a human on a walk, his demeanor completely changes. He has so much energy and practically runs around with excitement.

He is such a playful, happy dog with tons of energy. He’s one of those dogs who need a walk to let off some steam. Otherwise, he could go for hours. He is generally always in a good mood. He LOVES to smile! It is so adorable when he does. We’ve gotten some great pictures of him smiling, like the above photograph.

We’ve discovered the only time Noble is not happy is when it is raining or if he doesn’t feel well (so a typical dog, right?). In fact, he’s one of the many dogs who hate the rain. Truthfully, he doesn’t just hate the rain…he loathes it!

Noble would rather not pee or poop than go outside when it is raining, which brings me to another thing we’ve learned about him. He is extremely stubborn. For instance, if I take him on a walk and don’t let him pee by his favorite bush, he will plant his feet on the ground and not budge until I let him go.

He’s gotten better about not doing that. But, man, he sure is a stinker sometimes. I can’t get too upset about it because I am fairly stubborn, too.

Also, he has such vivid facial expressions. Any time he plays fetch with us, he’ll drop his slobbery toy on our laps, then look down at the toy with his eyes blinking.

Then, he’ll look up at us and back at the toy, as if to say, “Hello! Mom, Dad? I brought you something! Can’t you see it’s time to play?” If we still haven’t responded after a few minutes, he’ll nudge the toy with his nose closer to us just ever so slightly.

In fact, he’s generally extremely good about telling us when and what he needs.

Speaking of his toy, if we are in the bathroom and he wants to play, we’ll find his toy neatly placed by the doorframe and he’ll be sitting on the couch just waiting for us to come. I laugh every time he does it because he is just so direct like that!

Or, if he needs more food, he’ll pick up his food bowl and bring it to us. Of course, half the time, he just wants food in the bowl, but won’t actually eat it. I think he just doesn’t like having an empty food bowl,  more than anything else.

I’ll leave you with one more thing, otherwise, I’ll keep going much longer than I should.

My favorite part about Noble is he is the most compassionate, loving dog I could have ever asked for. Yes, he may be stubborn. But, he is extremely empathetic and understanding, too. He knows when we are having a rough day and is there for us. He likes to bring us a toy to see if that’ll cheer us up.

Seriously, such a loving dog. For example, in the first couple of weeks of adopting him, there was one night I was having a terrible time with my health. We were going to go on a family walk, but I had to turn around and head home. I felt bad enough that I cried.

My husband tried to continue on the walk but Noble refused to go until he went home and made sure I was okay. It was in that moment I knew Noble loved us.

If you guys couldn’t tell, I love my dog a great deal. I firmly believe God’s timing was perfect. Noble could not have come at a better time, even in the midst of all our busyness, stress, and health issues.

He has become such an integral part of our family in the three short months we’ve had him. We honestly couldn’t imagine our lives without him.

I get emotional just thinking about all the adventures we’ll take with him and the ways he’ll continue to change. One’s thing for certain, we will never stop loving him and he will always make us laugh with his ornery, silly personality.

If any of you are waiting to get the perfect dog, I tell you this, he or she will be worth the wait. You will know when you’ve found the right dog. In fact, so will the dog!

When my husband looks back at our first time meeting Noble, he can see that Noble picked us just as much as we picked him. Noble likes to stretch his paws on someone if he really likes them. My husband recalls him doing that when we met him! It melts my heart.

For those of you who have or have had a dog, does he or she have any quirky habits or behaviors? Can you relate to any of Noble’s tendencies? What’s their personality? What’s your favorite part of owning a pet? I’d love to know!

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

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The Creative Process: Honesty

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The movie “A Star Is Born” came out a few weeks ago. From what I’ve read about the film, it is the fourth remake. I have yet to see the movie, but I want to.

Nevertheless, I’ve watched some interviews with Grammy-winning artist Lady Gaga, who stars in the film with Bradley Cooper.

One particular part of an interview stuck out to me. Stephen Colbert asked Lady Gaga if she ever felt like she wasn’t being honest in her music, if she ever wished she could redo something because she did not approach it as honestly as she should have.

Lady Gaga responded:

I try not to do that because with my records and my music, you know, it is always exactly where I am at and that’s as honest as I can be. If I wished I could have tweaked something in the mix here or there or, you know, maybe sang a little part a little differently, I try not to be hard on myself about those things because the most honest thing I can be is exactly what it was, you know. And if that is what I wanted to say in that moment, that’s what I am saying. That’s it.

As someone who uses words to process life events via this blog, I tremendously appreciate her response. Hearing that was another example of one of those moments in life when someone finally put to words exactly how I’ve felt about that exact question.

To be honest, I’ve looked back at a few letters I’ve written to people and wondered why I said what I said. I’ve even looked back at some of my old posts and wondered why I said certain things. It is important for me to say I have not edited my posts, nor will I.

Like Lady Gaga, I firmly believe my writing is as honest as it can be when I publish it.

My opinion may change as time goes on, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t honest back then. For, like her, “If that’s what I wanted to say in that moment, that’s what I am saying.” I must also add much of what I’ve said or shared, I’ve felt called to share through the Holy Spirit working in my heart.

And above all things, I am confident that God will use my words—no matter their form or publish date—for His good and glory. Therefore, if He leads someone to be inspired by something I wrote three years ago, all I can say to that is, “Glory Halleluiah! Praise Jesus!”

Yet, I am extremely thankful she made it a point to say she tries to not be hard on herself about those things. As artists and creative people, it can be challenging not to beat ourselves up over what we’ve said when. But, if one approaches their work honestly, he or she should not be upset.

I think that is why many artists view their albums as chapters in their lives, as a reflection of a current season. But, it is this very belief that baffles me when people criticize artists for changing themselves as their career evolves.

I can assure you I am not the person I was when I started this blog three and a half years ago, nor will I be the same person five years or even a year from now. Therefore, as I change, so will my writing. Likewise, just as artists change, so will their craft.

All that being said, Lady Gaga’s response holds much significance to me because it gives me peace about writing an autobiography one day. I am sure years after I publish the book, I will start to doubt why I said certain things.

But, I know in my heart of hearts, what I write will be a true representation of how I feel about and view certain life experiences. Therefore, I can’t be upset about being honest. Instead, I can be grateful I shared my story in the first place.

My call to you is this: As cliché as it sounds, be honest. Honesty truly is the best policy. If you are honest in life, you don’t have to try to be someone you aren’t, especially in a creative sense.

Honesty comes naturally in creativity. It is why people like Lady Gaga can write a song in five minutes or why I can write a blog post in 15 minutes. When you’re honest, the story you want to tell will bleed through.

Perhaps that’s why Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

Food: My Never-Ending List of Eateries

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About a year ago, I told you I tried sushi for the first time and loved it. I have had sushi many times since then, too, which has been a pleasant surprise.

There was only one time I had sushi in the last year or so that it wasn’t too good. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t worth getting again at that specific location.

Also, I discovered a friend of mine enjoyed sushi just as much as I did. So, she’s my go-to sushi companion now.

Nevertheless, in that same post, I also mentioned some foods I wanted to try in their most authentic form. Those included Pad Thai, ramen, and vegan food.

Today, I wanted to expand just a little bit on that idea of foods I want to try.

First, I must say, I have yet to try Pad Thai or vegan food.

I have had plenty of vegetarian food, but I don’t think I have had vegan. If I did, I didn’t know it, so it doesn’t count—at least that’s what I am telling myself.

Some of the vegetarian food was extremely delectable, while other meals have not been worth their price or rave reviews.

Nevertheless, I have had ramen and it did not disappoint at all! Of the two restaurants I’ve had it at, one is definitely better than the other, but they were both delicious! I plan on going back to both places any chance I can.

Even though I have yet to have Pad Thai, I think the chances of me doing so have increased now that there is a new Thai restaurant nearby. According to some who’ve been there, it is as close as one can get to authentic where I live.

If it is anything like the experience I had last night at a new restaurant in town, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. The food I had there was incredible! In fact, so incredible that I’ve already figured out how I can go there again and who I can bring along!

This is important to me because it shows me it is worth having a never-ending list of eateries to try.

Sometimes, the food will be incredible, like last night. Other times, it won’t be worth eating again, like some of the sushi and vegetarian food I have had.

Most of the items on my eateries to try are general types of food and not actual restaurants. But, there are some specific places.

For instance, as I’ve previously mentioned before, there is a restaurant named Renata in Portland, so I want to go there since that is my name after all.

I also recently discovered there is a Renata’s Kitchen in Philadelphia. My husband and I want to vacation in Pennsylvania in the fall one year, so we’ll definitely make a point to visit.

Then, there is an establishment in San Diego, CA called Pushkin Russian Restaurant that I absolutely must try. Out of all the places on my list, that is the one I am most excited and motivated to one day experience.

I’ve always wanted to try Russian food and be able to remember it. I don’t remember my time in Russia, so I don’t have an informed opinion about the food.

I am all about going where locals highly recommend, not just where tourists go. That’s why I love finding hole-in-the-wall establishments that can be a pleasant surprise—like the one I thoroughly enjoyed last night.

I used to not always understand foodies and their incessant need to try all the new eateries in town. But, as I grow older and the area I live in continues to expand, I’ve begun to understand and appreciate the pursuit that is local cuisine.

Where have you gone in your local area that you think I must absolutely try?

Food is a wonderful reason to travel! In fact, I once drove nearly three hours for pasta my husband loved so much that he just had to take me there.

My call to you is this: Pick a random local eatery in your hometown whether you live in a big city or tiny town. Eat at the said eatery. You might be pleasantly surprised. And if you aren’t, that’s okay.

But, if you don’t try, you’ll never truly know if you do not like something. Most importantly, you won’t be able to articulate why.

Travel. Eat. Enjoy.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

My Adoption: Feeling Unwanted

abandonment-quote-mario-balotelli

Earlier this week, I watched a YouTube video where people had to try not to cry while watching a handful of videos. One of the videos in the challenge stuck with me tremendously.

One of the videos was a scene from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In this scene, Will’s father leaves. Although I have never seen the show, it is evident that Will’s father left him as a child.

But, in this particular scene that is part of the challenge, Will is in his teens and his father walks out on him again. This time, he is bailing on a trip the two had planned.

When Will discovers this, he ends up going on an angry rant that essentially said if he had made it this far in life without his dad, he could continue to do so for the rest of his life. He could continue to accomplish other great feats without his father.

Poignantly, at the end of his rant, Will asks his uncle, “How come he don’t want me, man?”

For most of the people participating in the challenge, the video itself did not make them too emotional. However, it made me extremely emotional. In fact, I broke down as I watched the scene.

My tears just would not stop flowing.

Because even though I have never had a parent walk out on in me in the way that Will’s character did on the show, I am extremely familiar with the feeling of being unwanted. For, I was adopted at the age of five.

My biological mother gave me up for adoption at my birth.

And to this day, I still ask what Will’s character asked, “How come she didn’t want me?”

That scene and those words specifically were another one of those moments that clearly depicts exactly how it feels to be adopted. And it assured me I am not alone in my thoughts.

I would love to tell you I no longer live in fear of rejection. I would love to tell you I do not heavily struggle with abandonment issues. I would love to tell you that I no longer have the idea in the back of mind that those close to me will give up on me and walk out on me.

I would love to tell you I do not constantly wonder what I did wrong to make my mom not want me.

I would love to tell you I do not constantly wonder what mistake I’ll make that is the last straw for someone. For, I have had a physical therapist tell my mom he simply could not see me anymore, that he could not deal with me, that I was too much for him.

I would love to tell you I have healed.

But, I have not.

Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever fully heal. I think with time and counseling, I can reach a point in my life where I can manage the feelings. But, I don’t know if I will ever fully heal.

For, if my experiences of adoption have taught me anything, it is that once someone is an orphan, a small part of them will always believe they are an orphan—no matter how many people in their lives try to suggest otherwise.

Fears of rejection and abandonment are real and fierce. They can be crippling and debilitating. They are a lifelong battle with adoption.

It is extremely difficult to let go of the fact that someone gave you up.

Truthfully, it is only within the past few months that I have begun to open myself up to the possibility that my biological mother gave me up for good reasons—that she did it out of immense love for me, that she did so because she could not care for me—not because I was unlovable or unwanted.

I am nearly a quarter century old. And I am only just now beginning to invite that possibility.

For, I will probably never really know why she gave me up. And I am going to have to be okay with that one of these days.

But, until then, I tell you once more on this platform, adoption is not easy. It is not easy on those who adopt and especially not on those who are adopted. Take it from someone who knows all too well.

My call to you is this: If you know someone who is adopted, please be mindful of what I have shared today. Please be mindful of their potential thoughts and feelings.

And if you feel led, watch the scene I am referencing here to get a better sense of just how difficult it can be. I will say, there is a curse word in this scene, which I do not personally condone. But, it does poignantly visualize just how difficult it can be on a person.

It describes a far too common experience in today’s society—i.e. parental abandonment of their children.

It is my hope and prayer that this post will give you all even an inkling of just how difficult that can be for a person, regardless of how old he or she was when their parent(s) abandoned him or her.

And if you are someone who has been adopted, please feel free to reach out to me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com. I am here if you need someone to listen or simply confide in. You are not alone, dear brothers and sisters.

You are not alone.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).