Merry Christmas, My Boy…


Very soon—next week in fact, I’ll get to talk to my far away boy for Christmas. When people hear that he only has six months left they ALWAYS say, “Wow, the time has gone by so fast.”

Well, not to me…

He sent us these pictures and truthfully they remind me of so many things we have to be thankful for this holiday season.

C-mas tree 3

Here is the paper clip star on top of his tiny pretend Christmas tree.

elder newman

Here he is with Elder Newman at a place called the Hill of Crosses. The people in Lithuania have left millions of crosses here for over 600 years in defiance of foreign invasion. Dane sent post cards from this monument as well. It is an amazing place.

C-mas tree 2

Here is the Barbie sized Christmas tree that sits on their table.

Dane game

He sent this one especially for me. This is a game we used to play on hot summer days. He’d actually lay on the floor and let me “try” to pour water directly in his mouth without nearly drowning him. Why he loved it I’ll never know–but apparently he’s carrying on without me.

Silly dude…

C-mas tree

Since the string of lights is bigger than his whole tree–he put it here with a picture of the Savior. Very pretty–I’d say.


Here they are…The men in black–looking all brave and scary. But we know who they really are…


Elder Porter, Elder Cook and my Daney-boy–in their true forms–crazy people in a foreign land. Please note the matching ties. Yikes…

Merry Christmas, son.

Be safe and warm. We miss you.

Puppy Love


A friend of ours, “Utah Grammie” over at Main Street Memories, witnessed a pretty incredible event unfold in her family this last week. With her permission, we would like to share the story with you on Gracious Rain.

Before we begin, here’s a little preface:

On Wednesday Nov. 18, 2009 while her family was visiting relatives in Arivaca, Arizona, her sister’s beloved dog, Owen, went missing.


It happened while they were all outside ready to feed the animals.  One of the horses came up behind Owen and spooked him. He bolted out of the yard and down the dirt road. Gone. The family spent the day searching for the scared puppy but no luck. Volunteer groups from the area came but the area was huge-consisting of a lot of desert full of scrub brush and mesquite tree that stretched out for miles and miles. The poor dog could be anywhere.


By the next day the family was becoming more somber. Rightly so.  The desert is no place for a  little city pup, what with coyotes and snakes and all kinds of hidden dangers for a creature so small on their own. On Thursday Utah Grammie said, “No news. We’re still holding out hope. In the meantime, I just can’t be flippant. Sorry. Hopefully the new day will bring good news.”

They put up fliers offering a $500 reward all over the area, but still nothing additional to report on Friday either. Everyone was heartbroken. Owen wasn’t just a dog, he was a beloved member of the family.

Saturday is where the miracle actually begins…

I’ll let Utah Grammie take it from here:


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Miracle in the desert

There’s a lot more to this, and if you’ve doubts about prayer, courage, strength….about the stars and the heaven’s alignment….about the kindness of strangers….and man’s love of God’s creatures….then you need to read no further.

Because this is the story of hope, answered prayers, and…’thanks-giving’

Everyone was supportive. Told Kathy he’d be found..he’d be safe.. Because that’s what one says..even if one doesn’t believe…..has doubts.

After all, one small city a place far away from his home..unknown terrain….what with coyotes, bobcats and all other dangers of the desert at night. And it was now 3 nights..and 4 days..


No word..even the believers, the hopeful, were losing hope. “It’s really not very likely he’ll be found alive..after one night out there..” some said {but all were thinking by now..} But that’s not the way it was supposed to be..not the way the story ends..

The reward posters were placed in the small town of Arivaca, in the bar/restaurant in Amado..the mercantile, the library….given out at the elementary school where Larry substituted as a kindergarten teacher…the shelter in Green Valley..the border patrol one had seen him.

One small white large and dangerous desert..thousand of acres vs one flat-faced [pup], with bottom-less brown eyes.. all spit and vinegar…

On the day we had all but given up hope, Kathy’s cell phone rang. Bad reception..”wait, what?”

“I thi.. I ma..have fou.. your dog..” The line went dead..the caller ID said simply “unknown”..

The phone rang again..”What? Where are you? What’s you’re number..give me YOUR number!?”

He gave the first 3 digits..then the line went dead…again.


It rang a third time..he quickly gave the LAST 4..Kathy ran into the house to use the land-line. The voice on the other end said “I think we have him..” 4 1/2 miles. houses..then a small house..a man holding Owen..

Kathy screaming, crying, Gerri jumping. Owen was found. He’s alive!

The man, now himself close to tears, is hugged by Kathy. He hugs back..then tells his story.

Seems he has a small, modest home. 4 dogs himself. Lots of barking – teenage daughter, pretty wife. But for some reason, the barking at 2:30 Saturday morning was..well..different. The man thought he’s just step outside and check..


A coyote was trying to get something under his car..what was it? His Great Dane was furious..barking..the coyote was growling..menacing.. He let the Great Dane out..he ran off the coyote.. the man looked under the car.. Now what is this? A small, white city dog? Out here? Wha??

The man took him inside. The little dog was wearing a collar with tags..and a phone number..a long distance phone number. He couldn’t call at that hour. He started to work on all the burrs, stickers and desert this little city dog had gotten himself into.

He continued to try to make Owen {he found his name was on his tag} comfortable..feed him and give him water..he gently groomed him, talked to him, for over 4 hours..He called at 8am.


When Kathy & Gerri arrived, when the hugs and the tears and the laughter subsided..the man told the story.. no, he and his wife and daughter had not seen the fliers on a lost little white dog..they didn’t know…

Kathy hugged him.. told him there was a reward..

“No, no..not necessary..I couldn’t..”

Kathy gave him the reward. $500, just like the flier had said. The flier he had not seen.

The man appeared to be in shock..he couldn’t believe it..he said “thank you – thank you…I don’t…” Like us all, he had been having a rough time ..Thanksgiving and Christmas were a worry..he has a daughter..and a wife..and little extra beyond the basics. But not having extra money didn’t stop him from opening his home, his heart….{.and 3 long distance phone calls!} They hugged, cried and said good-bye.


Later, when Kathy’s husband, Bruce was leaving to drive back to Lake Havasu..he stopped to thank the man and his family himself. Bruce told the man he was Kathy’s hero..thanked him again. The man looked at Bruce and said..

“ are our hero..we didn’t know if we were going to have a real Thanksgiving or Christmas this, thanks to Owen, we will..”


One small dog, one huge desert, one group of friends and strangers, one gracious God.

One happy ending…

Thank you for praying, thank “Ron ” for calling..thank the people of Arivaca, thank God. And thanks to the Great Dane..that coyote may still be runnin’….. 🙂

Utah Grammie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bibs 052

For each new morning with its light,

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For rest and shelter of the night,

wet blue bird

For song of bird and hum of bee,

Dane's Mission (11)

Father in Heaven, we thank Thee.

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For health and food,

Mom 50th Birthday (22)

For love and friends,

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For everything Thy goodness sends…

ThanksgivingFather in Heaven…we thank Thee.

~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our wish for you this Thanksgiving is that you will be able to gather those you cherish closer to you, and that you may feel Heavenly Father’s love this day—and always.

We are grateful for you. Thanks for reading–

Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Greatest Hits From Gracious Rain


Last week, as you know–we celebrated our 1 year Blogiversary.  Thank you all so much for sharing with us what you loved over the past year and what you’d like to see to make this site even better. In the meantime, I’ll share with you the list of posts that you said were your very favorites–with a link–in case you’d like to dive into the archives with us.

Here goes:

Soft Pretzels

Magelby’s Breadsticks

Lily’s Lamby

December 12, 2008 012

Felt Christmas Ornaments 

Bottled Cupcakes

Woodland Creatures


Personal History Prompt Jar

Million List 

Baby Pants

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Funeral Potatoes

Spooky Skirts

Quilting Shop Hop

Mummy Dog

Crochet Hats

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New York


True Confession

Sherbet Melon

Fried Chicken

Brazilian Limeade

Thanks to everyone who voted–please know that your requests for the future are being formulated as we speak. Oh, and your surprises will be on their way soon!

heh, heh, heh…