Sunday, September 3, 2023

Signs & Symbols - When Nature Speaks to You

This year has been a difficult one. We have three dogs - Shadow, Baxter and Cody - and two of them have had issues since last year. We actually thought that things should come to an end last December for Shadow and Cody. But both dogs still had that shine in their eyes, so we decided to see how things would progress in 2023. 

In late spring, both dogs seemed to be having issues. I took them to the vet several times, but nothing was telling us the end was near. Summer came and in the first few weeks of August, Jim and I saw the dogs declining. The shine in their eyes was gone and there were other signs that things were not ok with both Shadow and Cody. Jim and I began talking and we were coming to the decision that it was time to euthanize both dogs before things got too bad. 

It was at this time that I also started seeing a cardinal every time I was driving on this one road near our home. My mom died several years ago and I started seeing cardinals whenever I find myself questioning things. We all know the sayings and poems about cardinals after death, but I honestly don't see cardinals otherwise. It sounds weird, I know, but this is what is true for me. 

Then, mid-August, in the span of about five days, I found 16 four-leaf clovers in our yard. I even found a five-leaf clover! I have always associated four-leaf clovers with Gidget, a dog we adopted and only had 18 months before we had to put her to sleep in 2020. She got sick and, for six weeks, we tried everything to help her. The vet finally said that OUR quality of life was important and he would be ok if we decided to euthanize her. Jim and I talked and made the difficult decision to do so. I set up an appointment at the vet office and the day before we were to go there, I found a four-leaf clover while outside with Gidget. I wasn't look for one ... it was just THERE and I took it as a sign that our decision was the right one. So, to me, finding 16 four-leaf clovers was Gidget's spirit telling me that it was ok for us to let Shadow and Cody go. 

I made the arrangements for both dogs. Lap of Love was called to euthanize Shadow at our home. The day before Lap of Love was to come out, I saw butterflies everywhere. Then, the next morning, there was a butterfly on the screened porch. So, I will always think of Shadow when I see a butterfly! (When the Lap of Love vet looked Shadow over, she told us his gums were very pale (recent symptoms had pointed to cancer and she thought it a definite possibility) and he had a grade 5 heart murmur.) Shadow fell asleep in about a minute after given sedation. This was another sign, the vet said, that we chose the right time to let him go.

Because Cody didn't like strangers and would try to bit them, we made arrangements to take Cody to his vet. I have not seen ONE SINGLE dragonfly all summer. But two days before going to the vet, I saw a dragonfly two different times while out in the yard with Cody. Then, the next evening, Jim and I took Cody out to run in the backyard and chase toys. Jim saw a dragonfly! We took this as a sign and we'll always think of Cody whenever we see dragonflies. His last week with us was not a good one and his medical issues seemed to have worsened, so we felt ok with our decision to let Cody go. 

Now, I know that many people don't believe in signs, but I do and I'll always believe that the universe was helping us make a very difficult decision. It's hard to lose one dog, but to lose two dogs in three days is even harder. We will miss Shadow and Cody so much, but I'll be on the lookout for butterflies and dragonflies to visit us and let us know they are doing ok and feeling whole again. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Review of Marley Spoon Meal Delivery Service

There are so many wonderful food delivery plans out there and we have tried about six of them, I think. However, the only one that we keep going back to is Marley Spoon. This is Martha Stewart's Meal Delivery plan and the meals are delicious!! You can view current menus here before you decide if this is something that you want to try. 

Each week, there are dozens and dozens of meals to choose from. We can cook up most of them in 30 minutes or less from start to finish. You can see the nutritional info and recipe card on the website before you choose which meals to add to your weekly choices. The ingredients are so fresh and we always feel like we are eating restaurant-quality meals each week. 


  • The ingredients are really fresh and they include almost everything that you need for each meal. If they don't include it, then the website lists what you will need to have on hand to complete the recipe.
  • The meals are delicious. I think there are only two meals that we said we'd never eat again. There are often choices for breakfast as well. I really like their Overnight Oats!
  • The variety of recipes is amazing! Marley Spoon may rotate their offerings, but not often. In six weeks of orders, I don't think I saw them same meal twice!
  • Portion sizes are good. Each recipe gives us the required two servings and we often get three servings as I think we eat less than some people. This gives my husband a "leftover" lunch or two each week!
  • I like knowing the nutritional information ahead of time.
  • Each recipe includes a nice-sized serving or two of vegetables and I am glad for that!
  • Cost for three meals weekly is $82 shipped, which makes it $13.67/serving. That is pretty comparable for a meal of this quality at a lot of our local restaurants, but I have knowledge of the nutrition and control over changing an ingredient if I want to. I consider that a win-win!
  • You can pause your subscription and restart it again at any time. I often pause it when we want a break from meal prep and cooking. It is also handy when going on vacation. I recommend you set up the pause about two-three weeks before you need it because I've gone to pause it and missed the deadline which means a meal would arrive while we were gone. 
  • When you are done cooking a meal, save the recipe card and use it to cook the same meal again by visiting your local grocery store. 


I only have two negatives to share. 

  • First, sometimes the delivery of the box is a day or two late. Usually, it's just a day, but really bad winter weather can delay it up to two days. With the current situation of shipping delays in our country, this isn't a huge deal for me as I have come to expect it from just about every company. The food is packed on recyclable ice packs and comes in metal foil envelopes. I've never had a problem with my food "going bad" or whatever, even in the summer, due to a delayed delivery.
  • The other negative is that there aren't enough low-carb choices each week to suit me. We buy three meals weekly and I can usually only find one meal with the carb count that I want. 
I am not an affiliate with Marley Spoon, but I can offer a special deal if you wish to try them. Marley Spoon lets a current member invite up to 4 people to try their program. Your first box is free and you get 25% off of your next 3 orders. That is a great deal and a month is enough time to figure out if this meal delivery service will work for you! If you are interested in trying them out, reach out to me by email and I'll be happy to help you out!

All in all, I would give Marley Spoon a 9/10 rating. If they'd add more low-carb meals, I think I'd give them a perfect 10!