Please help Brutus!

Please help! Please share! ย click here to donate!

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I never knew it was possible to love an animal so much, until I got Brutus. I watched him be born. We’ve basically been together since day one. He’ll be 10 on November 23, 2014.

We’ve moved across the country together. He’s my best friend. He’s like a child to me, especially after I found out a few years ago that I’ll probably never have children. Brutus has been there with me and for me through all of the ups and downs. When my sister passed away, the love of Brutus and my husbands support are the only things that got me through it.

You can imagine my terror when we were awoken in the wee hours of the morning to Brutus having a terrible seizure. He’s never had any health problems. This was terrifying. Then, a few nights ago it happened again. We don’t know if there have been other seizures before this, that we weren’t home for. Now I can’t even bring myself to leave him alone, for fear of another seizure.

If you’ve ever seen anyone, human or animal, have a seizure then you know how terrifying it is, and how helpless you feel.

We took him to the vet, of course. We’ve had every test they could do there. He had a complete physical. Urine and fecal analysis. Full panel blood test. Thyroid test. Checked his prostate, his anus, ears, eyes… everything they could do. Even a heartworm test. All the tests have come back clean and negative. So, while that is good. It also does not give us any answers as to why, at 9 years old, our otherwise very healthy senior dog started having seizures.

The only option we have left is to take him to have Xrays and an MRI. These are very costly tests. The MRI alone is over $3,ooo. Not to mention medication and/or treatment he may need.

I vow to give any remaining donations that exceed his vet bills to a local rescue or the ASPCA.

Please help us! Every dollar and every donation helps. We have to find out what’s wrong with Brutus. I am so scared for him, and I am NOT ready to lose my baby yet. So please, I hope you can find it in your heart to help us. Until we have enough money for these additional tests, we won’t know whats wrong with him. Or if it can kill him, or if he’ll have another seizure.

Please give any amount you can.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. โค

Please visit our GoFundMe.com page to donate.

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What a great read!

heart is a ball and chain
Are you an overly sensitive person, or love someone who is? You should take a moment to read this.

I did not write this article. However, when I read it, I felt like I was reading about myself. I just had to come here and share it with all of you.
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/01/how-to-love-an-empath/

Why get married?

You know, before I was married several people, including my parents, asked me Why get married if I don’t believe in God. I found this insulting. Because I am an Atheist, I’m not suppose to marry?!? Screw that! I got tired of trying to explain it, so I wrote a little “essay” about it.

I decided to come share it here with you guys. Hope you like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I was recently asked, “Carolyn, If you don’t believe in God or organized religion, why get married?”

First, ย I would like to say that marriage predates religion to a time long before we even have documented proof.

Nature is a good place to look, as creatures of many species mate for life. In ancient Greece and Rome marriage had nothing to do with religion or government. If two people agreed to be married, they held a ceremony with witnesses for legal purposes and that was that. The ceremony itself was secular.

It was only later that religions gained social control over the โ€œinstitution of marriageโ€. They donโ€™t have complete legal control of it however, as demonstrated by the marriages that still happen in government offices with two signatures and a witness. Religions did not invent marriage, and it has generally always been possible for couples to marry without involving religious institutions.

Religious involvement with marriage dates back to the middle ages, or even earlier. Since then, as dark-age superstition was replaced with reason, and marriage became a matter of love rather than inheritance, it has become more of a civil matter. Religion still maintains a grip on marriage, just as it continues to assume itself as the only truly moral arbiter, pontificate about education, and trying to influence the legal system. It is fine if people want to believe silly things; itโ€™s another matter entirely when they try to influence the rest of us.

There are still some things society gives married couples (in addition to higher taxes- which highly pisses me off and is a whole other topic in itself!) that they don’t give people who are married in every sense of the word except for having a signed license. On a day to day basis these aren’t important – but need your spouse’s medical insurance, need to be the one to make life and death decisions if there is an accident, need spousal social security benefits, don’t have a will – usually things you don’t need until a crisis – and that little useless piece of paper becomes priceless. No one likes to think about things like that, but it is a reality. If I were in the hospital on life support Ceelyn would not be able to make “the call” if we are not “legally married”. And I can honestly say, Ceelyn knows me (and my wishes) better than anyone on this earth; so of course I want him to be able to make those kind of decisions for me should the need ever arise.

I could go on and on to prove my point here; but the bottom line is, we are each one half of a whole. Ceelyn and I are in love. I want the world to know that he is mine and I am his. Until death do us part! I want to be Mrs. Patterson and religion has nothing to do with it!
To marry is to announce to society that you are a team. I think that the marital vows are even more moving to an atheist than to a theist – after all, an atheist knows that ’til death do us part’ is all the time that we have. To give yourself to one person for your one and only life is a powerful commitment.

I love to see an elderly married couple – a couple who’ve been married for many years and who are still together. Such a couple speak volumes about commitment, sacrifice and the solidity of love in a changing world. Such a marriage is an ideal – not everyone can achieve it – but the fact that I do not believe in a god does not prevent me from wanting or seeking that ideal.

~Carolyn

It makes me cry every time…

I was just sitting here watching the video slideshow from my wedding (made by The Sweet Spot Photography) and of course I started crying… I cry every time I watch it! ย Then I think to myself, “Carolyn, why are you crying? ย This is a happy day, you’re in love, you’re incredibly happy, you look beautiful, and you are looking at the gorgeous pictures that make this day live on forever… so why so sad?”

Well, let’s see… I have never really danced before, but that night I danced with the love of my life, my favorite uncle, and my father. I got to spend a couple weeks with my mom and grandmother. I got to spend real quality time with people I really care about and every one of those moments meant the world to me. ย …Knowing how much Ceelyn wanted that day to be perfect for me and exactly how I pictured it… it was. It was like a dream come true. ย During our wedding day, I tried so hard to hold back all the emotions… I didn’t want to cry and mess up my make up!!

Now when I watch that video it’s like I am just overwhelmed with the emotions I was feeling that day.

There is one part, a close up shot of my bouquet with a photo of my sister hanging from it, that really chokes me up. Between the love and beauty I’m seeing in all these photos played with a gorgeous and fitting song that starts tugging at your heart strings from the beginning, and also missing loved ones, there’s so much that starts going through my mind. ย There was so much love in the air, my wedding was romantic. But looking back, I really just wish my sister could have been there to experience it with me, and be in those photos. Then I get angry at all the people that could have been in those photos that aren’t, like my little brother, who wasn’t ‘able’ to take off of work… even though he had a year’s notice. This was a one time, once in a lifetime, fairy tale love story kinda day… it’s something you want to remember forever! I guess the things that are important to one person, just aren’t so important to others. But, the problem is regret. My sister is dead, and I have less than a handful of pictures of us together in the last 20 years. That’s sad. And it just hurts me to think that some people mean more to me than I do to them. People that promised they’d be there with me, but didn’t even seem to TRY to make an effort… with a YEAR’S notice! Grrrr!

And then I watch that video and I’m just so happy. I see how much Ceelyn loves me. You can see how much I love him. You can see how happy we are. And the people that wanted to be there with us, were there. It’s like a big pot of mixed emotions boiling around in my head and my heart when I watch that video.

…maybe I’m just sad that the day had to end?! It’s like, everyone went home, the party is over… but I don’t want it to stop. I don’t want everyone to go home. I don’t want the party to end. I want that love and happiness every single day!

The bottom line is, I had an awesome wedding day, and I get to relive it every time I watch this video. I’m gonna go watch it again and this time I WILL NOT cry …only smiles!

And you know what else, this video serves as a great reminder… I am very lucky! I have a wonderful husband that loves me more than anything in this world. I am so lucky that the one person I need will always be there for me. โค

My Start in Bowling

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My dad is a Senior PBA bowler. My brother bowled on several leagues. Heck my grandma even bowled for years. My husband was a PBA bowler more than a decade ago, but stopped bowling due to injury. …it’s really odd to me, now that I think about it, that I didn’t start bowling sooner!

For quite some time, my husband Ceelyn talked about how much he missed bowling and that he would love to get back into it. And since I was determined to get a new hobby, preferably something we could do together, bowling would be perfect.

Other than a couple games throughout my childhood, I had never really bowled before. So… I did what any rational person would do ๐Ÿ˜‰
I joined a league, I went and bought a starter set (ball, bag, and shoes), got a lane for an hour and practiced a bit (even though I had no idea what I was doing!), and went and bowled in a league for the first time the next night.
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I finished my first night in league with an 86 average.

Luckily on my team I had my husband and another seasoned bowler (Wayne) to help me out.
Ceelyn has been my “coach” and he’s a great coach! ๐Ÿ™‚

For the first couple weeks Ceelyn just let me bowl and get comfortable, while watching what I did naturally. ย The first two things he learned is that I (a) have great form and a smooth release at the line, (b) could put the ball on any board he told me to (meaning I would be able to “hit my mark”), and (c) threw a “back-up ball”.

The first thing I had to do was practice walking a straight line. For some reason I wanted to drift left, but I quickly corrected myself. The next thing was to decide whether I wanted to throw a back-up ball or learn to throw a hook. We got a small nerf football so that I could practice the motion at home, then we took it to the lanes. I did well. I throw a nice smooth hook, and would be considered a “stroker” bowler. However, bowling like this seemed so uncomfortable and unnatural to me, I quickly decided I was going to stick ย with the back up ball. From there we got me some real shoes and a real ball!
B927-1-434x260__63982.1288724913.1280.1280 Rising StarA Roto Grip Rising Star and black and gold Dexter SSt8’s. I also got a cool shirt to wear! Now I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing. hahaha

Throughout the season I learned quickly. (all while people told me I’d never be a good bowler throwing a back-up ball. …people also seemed amazed by the way I threw too, and how much rev and hook I put on the ball.) My average jumped from 86 to 132 by the end of the season, with a high game of 169! I also won several awards along the way, including Bowler of the Month in December 2011.

That summer Ceelyn and I did a doubles league with 4 game sets. I had a great time! During the 9 week summer league my average had kinda plateaued (132 average), but I did have several good games along the way. ย During the summer I also got invited to the Bowler of the Year Tournament (since I had gotten bowler of the month back in December) and I won 1st place!

We recently finished our second winter season on Wednesday Night mix. (the same league I joined when I started bowling.) It’s a 33 week league, from August to June.
During this league I shot my first (and a couple since then as well) 200+ game! 178122_10151235383359905_2138569965_oย (my first 200!)
And finished the season with several good games under my belt and a 152 average.

Last month (June, 2013) I went to my first USBC National Bowling Tournament in Reno, NV. (This being the weekend after our wedding it doubled as a honeymoon!) I actually bowled below average, but I had a wonderful time, and it was a great learning experience. Hubby and I also had a blast enjoying Reno for 5 days too! ๐Ÿ™‚
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I know I have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I love bowling and I plan to continue bowling for a long time! Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see me on ESPN!! hahaha ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our Secular Wedding Ceremony

After searching online for an example of a ceremony to give to our Officiant (Kim Bashor from Hitching Hearts) of how we wanted our secular wedding to be, and basically coming up with nothing that we ย liked. Nothing seemed to say what I wanted to say andย since Ceelyn and ย are both Atheists I decided to write our ceremony myself.

Feel free to use it if you are having a hard time with your own ceremony. ย ๐Ÿ™‚
Note- our ceremony lasted about 15 minutes.

Opening:

(Kim)
Welcome everyoneโ€ฆ
We are here today to celebrate the marriage of Ceelyn and Carolyn. We come together, not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This ceremony is a public affirmation of that bond.

Ceelyn and Carolyn, marriage is a precious gift; a lifelong dedication to love and a daily challenge to love one another more fully and more freely.

May the sun bring you new energy by day.
May the moon softly restore you by night.
May the rain wash away your worries.
And may your lives be long and full of happiness.

Let your love be stronger than your anger.
Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend than to break.
Look for the best in your beloved, rather than the worst.
Confide in each other and ask for help when you need it.
Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship.
And say โ€œI love youโ€ every day.

The Vows (Kim) You may now exchange your vows.
[Ceelyn]โ€ฆ There are more stars in the cosmos than all the grains of sand on Earth, every footstep taken by every human who has ever existed, and every word ever muttered, COMBINED. โ€ฆand I was lucky enough to find you in all of that!

Carolyn, I love you. Itโ€™s not just one thing, itโ€™s everything. Itโ€™s the little things. Youโ€™re the most loving, compassionate person Iโ€™ve ever met. You take care of thingsโ€ฆ you take care of me, and I appreciate it.

Today you become my wife. And from this day forward I promise to be the best version of me that I can be. I will always be the one you can count on. I promise to love you faithfully and unconditionally, until the last breath I take.
[Carolyn]โ€ฆ I never knew it was possible to be so in love with someone, until you came into my life. I really do feel like the luckiest girl in the whole universe! You are the half that makes me whole, and without you I couldnโ€™t function.

Ceelyn, I love you. I love everything about you! You are the smartest, most talented person I know. I love how passionate and focused you are. You are my best friend, and the one I want to grow old with. Iโ€™m so proud that I get to be your wife!

From this day forward, I promise to be the best version of me that I can be. I will always be the one you can count on. I promise to love you faithfully and unconditionally, until the last breath I take.
The Ring Exchange:
(Kim)
May I have the rings please? These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love that the two of you share. Freely given; love has no beginning and no end. May these rings always remind you of the love you share and the vows you have promised to each other.

[Ceelyn] This ring symbolizes my desire that you be my wife from this day forward. Will you accept it? (Carolyn) I will.
[Carolyn] This ring symbolizes my desire that you be my husband from this day forward. Will you accept it? (Ceelyn) I will.
Closing and Announcement:
(Kim)
Nothing is easier than saying words, and nothing is harder than living them day by day. What you promise today must be renewed and re-decided each and every day. Real love is something beyond the warmth and glow, and beyond the excitement and romance of being in love. It is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your partner as you do about your own. It is looking outward in the same direction, together. Love makes burdens lighter, because you divide them. It makes joys greater, because you share them. Love makes you stronger, so you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.

Your love is as the sea, constant and ever-changing. Your love is as the wind, rapturous and all encompassing. Your love is as the earth, solid and firm. Your love is as a flame, illuminating your lives and warming your hearts.
Yet your love extends beyond the sea, wind, earth and flame. It is greater than who you are and meaningless without you. It is more powerful than your past, yet the foundation for your future. It has brought you here today to become one in the eyes of your family and friends, for all the days to come. Your love is the essence of your lives.

Ceelyn & Carolyn, I would like to share with you, a quote by Dante Alighieriโ€ฆ

In that book
Which is my memory
On the first page
That is the chapter when I first met you
Appear the words
Here begins a new life.
Carolyn and Ceelyn, It brings me great joy to say,
By the power vested in me by the State of New Mexico, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
Congratulations Ceelyn, you may now kiss your bride!

Ladies and gentlemenโ€ฆit gives me pleasure to introduce for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Ceelyn Patterson.

Before the ceremony we had beautiful orchestra music playing. It was from the different Final Fantasy soundtracks, performed by Tour de Japon. For about 30 minutes before we started the ceremony, as people were arriving, we played Dear Friends, Fisherman’s Horizon, Theme of Love, Love Grows, Zanarkand, and Aerith’s Theme. ย Then I edited a clip from The Main Theme of FF VII to walk down the aisle to.
(all these songs are available for purchase on Amazon.)
If you need to edit music, there is a great program you can download for free called Audacity.

Brutus, our fur-child.

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This is Brutus. He’s my (nearly 9 year old) American Bulldog. ย He is my only child and I love him dearly. ย I dread the day that he is no longer with us… until then, I enjoy every moment and take lots of pictures.

I’ve had Brutus since the day he was born. He’s probably my best friend. He’s a great listener and the best cuddle-er ever! He’s also extremely smart and knows every trick in the book. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve owned a few pitties in the past and they were all great pets, but Brutus is by far the best dog I have ever had.

Here is a short clip of him doing just a few of his tricks. ย It’s not a great video as he is being hyper so we didn’t have him do many tricks, but you can see how cute he is! ๐Ÿ™‚