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From "What If" to "What Now?"

My last "monthly" blog was in June. It's September, and so much has happened since then, both good and bad, that I'm struggling to find the words to share now.

On Sunday, September 5th, our sweet, four-year-old pup, Watson, passed away. The loss was sudden and incomprehensible. According to the veterinarians, it's likely that Watson had a heart defect that caused his rapid decline. Our minds are still swirling with all the "what ifs."

After speaking with an on-call therapist, our family is trying to take her advice and focus our thoughts on "what now?"

I compiled a movie made of pictures and videos of him, and we watched it together as a family and smiled and cried. (I'll share it at the end of this post if you'd like to see the sweetest puppy's joy-filled life.) For now, here's a little gallery of just a few precious moments.

So, what now?

Now, we have to grieve. We have to move forward. We have to force smiles and laughter until they feel real again. We're remembering Watson's amazing hugs. His kisses. How he always loved sleeping under the kids' bunk bed. His eyes. The way he'd roll in the grass or lay in the sun. How he would jump up to look out over our back patio or sit on our picnic table for a better view. How he'd stand at the top of the stairs and drop his tennis ball, then run to the bottom and essentially play catch with himself. How he'd pick up his chew toy in the shape of a bone and show it to us with pride like, "Look what I got!" as if he hadn't shown it to us a thousand times before. How patient he was with Evelyn and Liam. So. Many. Wonderful. Memories.

Now, we are actively seeking joy, for God continues to bless our family with it. Our kids are healthy. They are growing mentally and emotionally through their grief. This experience is preparing them for the truth that life is hard, but God is still good. We are answering Evelyn's thirst for theological answers. We're hugging our senior dog, Jade, and cherishing her kisses. We are seeking a family therapist. We are leaning on our friends and are so grateful to those who have called, texted, prayed for us, brought us meals, shared their time with us, and given us grace.


Liam had his first flag football game on Friday night, and he had a blast. He's making more friends. He's active. He's learning sportsmanship. He's finding joy. And loving the pizza that comes with it.


I attended the virtual American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference over the weekend and learned so much. I had the opportunity to spend fifteen minutes chatting with an agent, and I garnered more experience and tangible advice that will help me progress in my writing career. And lastly, my manuscript won the novella category in the ACFW Genesis contest! The announcement brought a ray of hope when I needed it most. There were almost three hundred entries in the contest and six hundred judges! I'm so grateful for the judges that donated their time and knowledge to help me become a better writer. I'm going to savor their words of encouragement and come back to them time and time again.

This accomplishment means a lot for obvious reasons: I've worked very hard over the last two years to study the craft of writing and to practice, practice, practice. I couldn't go back to school and get a degree in literature or creative writing. So winning this award justifies every late night, early morning, and spare second I could scrounge throughout each day to learn and write. If you'd like to have a giggle, you can listen to my visceral reaction as I watched the Virtual Gala and heard my name announced. I was merely trying to capture the screen recording to send it to my husband, but it captured my audio, and I tell you, folks... it's pretty funny.


Last July, we took a road trip to my home state of Colorado that doubled as a research trip for my next book. It was a wonderful trip, and both our dogs went with us, making the memories bittersweet now. I meant to share about our adventures in an August blog post, but my writing got delayed because of the start of homeschooling. Sorry! I'm navigating a new normal homeschooling Evelyn, especially as I get her situated with new therapies.

Anyhow, instead of sharing about that trip in this post, I'm going to hold off and share about it another time. I'll also share more about homeschooling. And, drum roll... I'm in the process of creating a private section of this website with exclusive content for readers interested in getting sneak peeks at my fiction work. Sound like fun? I hope so.

As always, and more than ever, thank you for reading. Thank you for connecting with me. Thank you so much for being my friend. I'm blessed by you.

Stephanie Rose

As promised, here's the video of our Watson...

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