Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Mayor of Sunset Beach

There are a lot of people in Sunset Beach who want Jean to win the lottery. Why, you ask? Is it because she'll share the cash? Well, sort of. Jean states that if she wins the lottery, she's going to have Shiloh cloned.

See Shiloh, cooling off in the water? (It's Florida, dogs need to keep cool).

Shiloh knows no strangers and everyone knows Shiloh. When he sees a new person, he must make their acquaintance. He wins people over quickly. He also likes to meet the news dogs as well, with whom he is most gracious.

My theory is that Shiloh wants to share his fabulosity with others, but he also wants to see the fabulosity OF others. We all have our fabulosity, we just don't always share it with others.

Today, seek the fabulosity of someone else, and feel free to let yours shine as well. Just like Shiloh.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Excitement of the Road Trip

Since I can't seem to come up with anything too creative, please enjoy another Florida video taken by my friend Jean. The dogs and I meet her and her gorgeous Collie, Shiloh, whenever we can for a walk around Sunset Beach.

Foster loves going places in the car. Please excuse the rather peculiar muu-muu type shirt I'm wearing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Multiplies When It's Shared

This morning I went to the grocery store and an older man ahead of me was shucking out some cash for a dozen red roses. He did not look happy about it. It looked like it was an obligation he was fulfilling, not unlike completing the tax forms.

Valentine's Day inspires a variety of emotions, some enthusiastic and others hostile. My favorite memories of the day were in grade school with the little paper cut outs we made and then walked all around the room giving one to everyone. It was a big deal but a political nightmare.

Not everyone has a romantic love interest today. Maybe it inspires memories that are bittersweet or even horrible. For those of you who will enjoy the day with your honey, I say good for you.

Love among friends is also a very warm, fuzzy emotion. See Sandy and Brandy? They have been good friends for over seven years. While they are not littermates and Sandy was around for a few years before Brandy came along, they enjoy each others company.

Too often the love of friends is looked at as a consolation prize for those who don't have a romantic love interest. However, this is hardly the case. Good friends are in our lives by choice.

Love of spouse or friend is only a shadow of a greater love - that which God has for us. It's hard to wrap our minds around that. Our spouses disappoint us and friends let us down. God never leaves us, even when we mess up, forget all about him, get angry with him and look for a cheap substitute. He is faithful like no other lover could hope to be. His love runs deeper than that of a lifelong friend. Just because we can't feel it or imagine it, God's love is real. And love endures forever.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting the Stuffing Knocked Out of You

That, my friends, is what happens to stuffed frogs when Tilly gets ahold of them. It's also a lot like what happens to real frogs when my cats catch them.

This morning when I woke up, I felt really worn out and beat someone beat the stuffing out of me. This is bad news, because friends are coming to visit for a couple days and I want to be energetic.

It's frustrating when you can't get what you want and you have no way to control circumstances. While I don't think God allows us to be whipped around willy-nilly the way Tilly (hey, it rhymes!) abuses her stuffed toys, I do think He knows what we are going through, cares, but also sees the bigger picture and the necessity of some of our difficulties.

When our stuffing gets knocked out, we want to use our flight or fight senses. From past experience, it would seem neither moves God's hand effectively. Instead, we need to get about our business, trusting the exhaustion and frustration to a greater plan beyond comprehension.

It was tempting to lay in bed this morning. Instead, I got up and did what I needed to do. I felt better.

But I did throw the frog parts away, along with all of its stuffing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snug as a Bug in a...Bed

Here's Luuuuuuuuucyyy!!!! (hi Lucy! wake up!!)

Pretty much everywhere in the country is c-cold right now. Where does one go to find warmth? Where is warmth? How can you find relief?

Lucy climbed into her master's bed, still warm from when she left it, to warm Lucy's old bones. And she sure looks comfortable, doesn't she?

Sometimes it's hard to find relief from situations that either leave us feeling cold or leave us out in the cold. Our world and our individual lives can feel very isolated and cold sometimes. Just like winter, we go through a season. We hope, like winter, it doesn't last too long. Sometimes it feels like it will go on forever (like winter). It's easy to lose hope and despair.

There is no warmth that penetrates the core of our being like love. At home, I use a wood burner to provide a rich heat. However, it can't last like an everlasting love. Here on earth, we search for relief, for love. Our friends provide it. Family provides it. And of course our pets do too! Yet there is no everlasting love quite like the warmth of our Master. All we need to do is climb into His arms to experience it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are You are a More Discerning Eater Than Your Dog?

Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you eat them.

Walking Tilly in Florida is a challenge. Her head swings from side to side, looking for something interesting to ingest. Despite her regular, generous portions of dog food, she snacks on whatever is before her.

She particularly likes these:

Tilly is strong willed and she wears a prong collar. I constantly need to watch the ground with her and correct her before she eats more items that will cause her distress later.

As I measured my growing irritation with her, it struck me that I am no better. Am I driving God crazy by wanting so much spiritual junk food? Being human and vulnerable, wanting to grab what is right in front of me out of convenience and short term pleasure always pulls at me.

When my diet is full of vegetables, lean protein, etc., my body feels better. Yet, I'm always one french fry away from eating what tastes good at the moment. Relationally, I'm tempted to do the same, seeking or being content with relationships and habits that are hollow instead of focusing on what builds me up and makes me a better, healthier person.

What's your struggle? How do you keep yourself healthy? And just what kind of weird nut is that which Tilly eats?