Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saying "Farewell" to a Furry Family Member

Today our male cat, Ash attacked me... again.

The first time he attacked me, landing me in the hospital under-going emergency surgery and then follow-up surgery the next day; was on Labour Day Monday. Fast-forward three months and we're a day before Christmas Eve (as someone eloquently told me, "Today is Christmas Adam"), and he attacks me again.

Yesterday was our 7th wedding anniversary, and we ended up going to bed really late because we were watching "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (our anniversary gift to ourselves); so I had a bit of a lay-in this morning. I get up and am just making the bed when I slipped and fell, face forward into the bed.

I instantaneously got this searing pain in my lower back, and with my face buried in the mattress, yelled in pain. Wherever Ash was located in the house, he immediately came rushing into the bedroom, onto the bed and began attacking my head, ear, arm, and hand.

The adrenalin pumped through me and I got up fast and stood over him who was still really angry. Ben came running and started to yell, immediately I could sense the chaos that Ash was feeling and told Ben to "calm down". I spoke to Ash very calmly and started to soothe him down. When I felt he was calm enough to start moving, I started to call him and "walked" him to the bathroom and then closed the door.

He was very obviously upset and very distraught. What was going through his mind, I have no idea.

At this point, I guess the adrenalin was still flowing when I began to think how well I reacted to him and did not even panic. I had totally calmed myself down which is probably why he was able to stop attacking and calm down as fast as he did and not cause more damage.

I thought that sweat was suddenly pouring down my head, face, and neck; but thought it strange that it was localized to the left side only.

I made it to the middle of the living room and my husband telling me we had to get over to the Emergency Room (ER), when whatever adrenaline was coursing through me decided to just leave. Immediately I began shaking and crying and the only thought was to "get out of here". I walked right out into our courtyard; and really thank God for amazing neighbours, who are forever a part of our family.

They were there immediately and holding me up as I was on the verge of collapsing. They took me to one of their homes and began to clean all the blood which was streaming down my face and neck (what I had originally thought was sweat).

The decision to end Ash's life came swiftly for me today. Not because I was angry or upset with him, but because I knew that he was suffering in some way that he would react like that.

We have had Ash for three years (which would have been Dec 28th), and he really was a loving and adorable cat. He immediately cemented his way into our family when we found him that December evening at the Mesa Arizona Temple.

It is a tradition of ours to visit the Temple Lights every year on Dec 28th (not that we don't go prior to that date) as it is the anniversary of my baptism into Mormonism in 1991. On this particular year, my parents were visiting and my husband had dropped a crate on my toe (cracking the bone), and I had hobbled my way over to the Visitor's Center, and was sitting on some steps when this cat came running over and jumping into my arms. He came for a snuggle, and a few photos were snapped, and then he ran off. I observed him going into a trash can and then realised that he was a stray. I asked some missionaries if they had seen the cat and if it belonged to the temple; but they told me that he had "appeared" several days before and no one knew from where. We said that if we saw him again before we left, it was meant to be that we take him home.

Without "seeking" for him, as we were leaving, we spotted him again and with a little calling, he came running over to me and jumped into my arms. That was it, we were taking him home with us.

After he attacked me in September, we felt impressed to "give him another chance", and we did. He had a few times been provoked by our other cat to a state of being angry, but in time I was able to move past panic and get him calmed down enough to get him to the bathroom where he would calm down and we'd move on. But today, he was unprovoked and just snapped. There was nothing that could even be considered that he was provoked, he just attacked.

Maybe he has been trying to tell me that he wanted to go Home, but in my own selfishness, I did not want to let him go. I had a strong feeling that to put him down for his freaking out in September was letting him down, and I could not do that. But today, the decision was easy to make. My husband and I desire to have children, and there is no way I could trust him to not have a freak out and potentially harm a child, nor under-go the torment that these "freak-outs" would do to him.

Our dear neighbour undertook the difficult job of taking him down to the animal control shelter and she stayed with him the entire time. She told me that it was very calm and very peaceful, the doctor and assistants were all female and they were very loving and gentle with him. She said that he went very fast and just went to sleep.

While the whole ordeal has broken my heart, I also know that I was doing the best thing for him. He was a cat who loved me to such a deep extent; like a dog, I could call him and he would come running. He always wanted to sit on me and come for snuggies. He loved his Dad also and loved on him too, but he really was a "Mama's boy". So the pain and anguish that he must have felt at attacking me, not once, but twice... I can't even think.

Saying farewell to our furry family members is just as hard as saying farewell to a human family member. For those of us who love our pets as they are children, this is a horrendous thing to go through.

Going through Christmas without him is also hard, and then as we walk through the Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple on Dec 28th, well a part of me will be on the lookout for him.

Cognitively I know he is in a better place. I know that he is Home and free and enjoying all the beauty that our Father has created. I also know, and take comfort in this knowledge, that one day, we will be reunited and that we will be able to be together, without anguish or fear, for eternity.

This was a swift decision, and the pain from that decision is difficult; and while my tears are still flowing, I know that it was the right decision and that gives me peace and comfort.

So I say, one last time, the words which I would tell him each night when we went to bed:

"Good night dearest little boy.
We love you Ash, and know that you are safe...
See you in the morning."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hur Family Newsletter 2009

It seems that as we are getting older in life, the years are simply flying past in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write last year’s family newsletter. Can anyone explain this, and is there any possible way for us to slow time down a bit?

As we sit and reflect back on this year, we see that the theme of 2009 was definitely change; not so much challenge, although many around the world will probably view it as such.

In the Hur house-hold, we too have been affected by changes and at times deep sorrow this year.

As most of you know, Ben and I have not been blessed with children, and we view our animals as our babies. In March, our beloved Boxer Molly passed away at age 16.

This was a tremendously difficult experience for us and especially for me as I had never been around when any of our furry-family members passed away before. We sat with Molly through her darkest moments, and were with her as she took her last breath and went Home.

Three days after Molly passed away, we were given a three-week old boxer puppy whom we named Shanti Sue. She was still nursing and so we began the arduous task of bottle feeding her. What a little baby she was; and for the first time in my life, I experienced true exhaustion. I came close to understanding post-partum depression! But what a true little angel she was and she brought us many hours of laughter, and a fair few hours of frustration too. What do you do? You have a puppy and its all par for the course.

Sadly, the person who gave her to us had irresponsibly bred his dogs with no prior medical attention to the parents, and no vaccination for the parents. The weekend before my birthday, we had to put Shanti to sleep because she was diagnosed with distemper.

This was the darkest hours in our year. It took us quite a long time to move forward as the impact of both deaths compounded in intense grief.

Despite the pain, we must move on and move forward.

In April, we launched my online magazine, “Magnify You” to great reviews and fast growing international readership base.

In May, my co-host on my radio show, Manifesting the Positive, and I celebrated our first year on air.

Throughout the year, I have been interviewed for various magazines and radio shows, as well as being a co-author in two new books; “The Power of Persuasion” by Justin Sachs and another book still in production.

In September, I was nominated for the Women Business Owners 2009 Woman of Courage Award, and went on to win this award in October.

September came with another blow… Labour Day Monday, one of our cats mauled me after jumping on my lap and landing on our other cat who was sitting under a blanket on my lap; he freaked out and I became his target.

The attack landed me in the emergency room of our local hospital where I was admitted and underwent emergency surgery and follow-up surgery the next day.

While this was a shocking event, and surprising that it would land me admitted in the hospital, there is always a blessing in all situations; this came when I was diagnosed with having severe diabetes, extremely high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; otherwise known as Metabolic Syndrome. We say this is a blessing because I am not one to go running to the doctor at a whim and would not have discovered this had I not been admitted to hospital.

This has lead to my having to change my lifestyle around completely. As I work daily at getting my sugar levels down, which is difficult due to how erratic the sugars are; and I am now on four shots of two different kinds of insulin every day.

As my health was deteriorating, I made the very difficult decision to take an extended hiatus (I don’t want to say “retire” just yet) to shift my focus and work on getting my health back in order.

I have had to reduce my work schedule almost completely, and “Magnify You” has been put on hold indefinitely and Manifesting the Positive is now being hosted each week by Stuart. As my energy permits, I am recording segments with Stuart to air. I have also scaled down my consulting considerably.

But anyone who knows me knows that I can hardly sit still for very long. As my focus has shifted, it seems to those on the outside that I am doing even more now that I was before; however, that is not the case. We are both doing a lot of service work with our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and in October, I completed several blankets which we presented to an old people’s home this past month when we went Christmas caroling. Ben and I enjoyed helping at the Bishop’s Storehouse the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving, and over 200 families were served with enough food for their holiday meals. It was a blessing to be able to serve in this capacity and give back our time and effort.

We have enjoyed working with the full-time missionaries in their great and marvelous work, and we have enjoyed various opportunities to entertain.

In October, I threw Ben a surprise birthday party, and was completely delighted that it actually worked and he was completely surprised. This was followed by a dinner party the next night at our favourite Asian seafood buffet restaurant with more friends.

Our neighbour threw a lovely Halloween party in our courtyard, which unfortunately Ben could not attend due to being under the weather, but I did and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

The beginning of November, we held a “See Ya Later” party for one of our full-time missionaries returning home at the end of his mission. We have remained close friends and he is now a permanent part of our family.

Thanksgiving brought us the opportunity to entertain again, and we enjoyed having the full-time missionaries, and some friends around our Thanksgiving table which was truly laden with delicious foods.

As the year was waning down, I decided that we needed to have a complete change, and this caused us to embark on getting a lovely new sofa, and then rearranging our whole home. It sure was a big job, and we found we had quite a lot of excess items to donate to Goodwill, and the results in our home are wonderful.

As change seemed to be the theme this year, Ben and I were talking late one night (I do seem to get rather philosophical around 2AM, just surprised that Ben actually listened to me this time! LOL), and this resulted in Ben deciding he needed to make a change, and went into the bathroom and shaved his beard off! This was the first time in over 10 years he saw his face, and the very first time I have, other than in photos.

I must say, the first few days were strange and he garnered quite a few looks from me as I simply could not stop looking. But now that the “strangeness” has worn off, he sure does look good and I am really loving the new look. I surprised many people when I announced the introduction of my “new boyfriend”. And many did not recognize him, in fact one asked him if he was my son! Yep, I think I may finally give in and get the old bottle of hair dye out and wash the gray out.

This last week before the holidays, I am caught up in baking goodies for a bake sale a friend is holding this weekend, and making cookie dough to refrigerate so that we’ll have goodies during the festive days ahead. I am also making latkes as we are in the Chanukkah celebrations. Christmas cards are being delivered, and generally last-minute running around. But through all the rush of the season, we are taking special care to stop and smell the proverbial roses, and lend appreciation and gratitude for all the glorious blessings which have been bestowed upon us.

So as this year comes to a close, and so many events occurring throughout, we see with hindsight that is 20/20, we see the opportunities to learn; to do better, to do less, but to always be open to creating change, and striving to make those changes positive.

We wish you, and your family, a VERY Merry Christmas and a beautifully blessed, happy, peace-filled, and loving New Year.


Ben and Leyla Hur

"Today Is a Good Day"... Baptism Talk

Several people have asked me for a copy of my talk that I gave on Saturday, November 7th 2009 at the baptism of Amber Huber, Winsome Mamode, Susie Gomes, and Johnathan Molina; so I thought I would post it here for easier access.

"Today is your day. We are all here to lend our support and welcome you into our family but know that today is your day.

It is a deeply personal day between you and your Father in Heaven. Today, you enter into His fold and are numbered amongst His people.

The gift... covenant of baptism is an awesome, and at times, can be an arduous journey; but here we are.

As you enter into the waters of baptism, you are taking the formal action of walking away from the life you lived. The person you were can cease to be.

As you go down into the water; symbolically, the person you were dies and is buried under the water.

Your past life, past deeds, anything you may have done or been, is considered dead and buried; and as you emerge up out of the water, you are completely reborn.

When you come up out of the water, you are brand new; a fresh slate upon which to write your new life.

Your old life is no longer seen or remembered by your Father in Heaven, and His focus is turned to the new you, the you who is now numbered among His fold.

"And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus they were called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light;

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life -
" Mosiah 18:8-9

What a great and awesome day today is. And understand, while you are filled with excitement and anticipation, so too are we who are gathered here; and even more so, your Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the angels on High, and all those in the Heaven's are rejoicing.

What a great and awesome day. I am so filled with love for you and am proud to call you my "family".

You have made a good choice. THIS is a good day.

I love you, and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ; Amen."

Happy Holiday's 2009!

Happy Holidays!

At this time of the year, Ben and I are very busy as our holidays begin with the start of Chanukkah, carry on through Christmas and culminate with New Year's Eve.

We light the chanukiah for eight nights each year in remembrance of the miracle of light when the Maccabees defeated the Romans. In the temple, there was only enough oil to burn for one day, and it took 8 days for more oil to be consecrated for burning. Miraculously the one day's worth of oil burned for eight days, and the temple was once again dedicated. So each year, when we light the chanukiah, we remember the miracle of light. We remember that the Light of God is within each of us, and we remember that miracles DO occur and that the possibilities for miracles are endless.

Each year, I make various sorts of latkes, some we eat with sour cream and others go well with apple sauce. As the focus is on oil, the traditional foods we eat are those cooked in oil.

Being LDS also, our celebrations move from the eight days of Chanukkah to that of Christmas and the miracle which it brings.

People who walk into our home at this time of year can be quite confused as we combine our decorations. In fact, this year, our chanukiah is right in front of our nativity. LOL

One of the traditions which we have started has been to go to the Mesa Arizona Temple and see the lights. We've been once this year, but we did not have a chance to see many of the lights as we were with friends and we got caught up in the Visitor's Center at the nativity display, and I got talking with a Sister missionary from Australia. We're planning to go again on Monday the 21st, and traditionally we go each year on December 28th which is the anniversary of my baptism in 1991.

I'm looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner this year as we're having the missionaries over, and its going to really feel like a family get-together.

This past Saturday, Ben and I enjoyed attending our ward Christmas party. It was really very elegant and the program presented was lovely. We had helped set-up the day before and I made a couple of the centerpieces. The food was amazing, and the company, as always, was just superb.

This really is a busy month for us, not only do we have parties to attend, and church commitments, but I've also committed to bake some goodies for a friend's bake sale this weekend, as well as the numerous service projects we are involved in. I am rehearsing for my part as the narrator in "The Messiah" this Sunday at our ward Christmas program.

Especially at this busy time, we both want to express to you that our faith is strong and our testimony of the Lord's truth, as we remember Him during this miraculous time. Remember that this holiday - holy day, and holy-time is steeped in miracles. We encourage you to look for the miracles in your life. We are at the end of a year, and we are positive that if you look back over the year, you will be able to pin-point the miracles that have occurred in your life. They may have been subtle, or they may have been huge; but no matter how the package was delivered, you received a gift. This is what this season is all about; it is in the giving, and the giving of the heart and not getting caught up in the commercialism that has tended to rule the holidays.

This year, many are affected by financial burdens; what a perfect time to not get caught up in the worries of "woulda, coulda, shoulda", but rather see the world around you in gratitude. Give of yourself in service; when we step outside of our own issues and live in an attitude of spreading pure Christ-like love, the issues which seem to weigh us down dissipate and solutions are found.

As we look to celebrating this year, look outside of the four walls surrounding you, and step outside of your usual boundaries; find others whom you can serve and experience the true meaning of this season.

From our hearts and home to yours, we wish you blessings, joy, and love for the season; and pray that you will experience a miracle that may just change your life.

God bless.