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Friday, May 25, 2012

A Small Pray-er

Several generations of Praying Mantis have been raised on my property. I saw one of the babies the other day:
Praying Mantis are weird creatures. The way they turn their heads to look directly at a person is just unnerving. They sort of look like aliens. Yet when they are little, they are vulnerable. Look how small it is on the pole of the hammock. Each of us is vulnerable, even if we like to think we are not. It's easy to feel insignificant in a loud and large world. Prayer, a connection to God, strengthens us. It builds a relationship with the Creator and Protector of the Universe. There is no better place to be than in the palm of His hand.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Go Ahead, Make My Day....

Have you met Cricket, the Border Collie? (hi Cricket!)
Cricket is a delight in that she is true to her breed. She herds. She protects. While she's not really all that crazy about other dogs, she tolerates them with proper dog etiquette. When Cricket is at the kennel, she greets me with a bark as soon as I open the door. Then, she immediately grabs her tennis ball and wants to play. She really asks so little...throw-the-ball-throw-the-ball-throw-the-ball-throw-the-ball! God wants a relationship with us. Daily, He asks only the simplest of things - Come, talk to me. That's not so hard, is it? Yet how quickly does our time of quiet and meditation get thrown out the window for "more pressing matters." I know I'm guilty of this myself. Yet, if I do take the time, it sets the proper tone and order for my day. Time set apart for God really does...um...make my day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Acting Big

Tug was here this weekend (Hi Tug!). Tug is now a mature two-year old Mastiff, yet he is still growing.
Notice how well he fits in the way back of his owners vehicle. Last weekend, Harley the Great Dane loaded in and out of a normal sized car without incident. It reminded me of the owner of a giant breed dog who came to visit my kennel many years ago. She showed up with the dog in a horse trailer. Completely unnecessary. She fussed and made a huge ado of the dog's needs due to its size. Since she was out visiting kennels for her little darling, I happily suggested another kennel I knew of where the person who owned it also personally owned a giant breed dog. It's important to find a kennel that suits the owner as well as the dog. Having watched many giant and large breeds over fourteen years of service, I know my kennel is suitable for such a dog. However, it clearly wouldn't be suitable for such an owner. I don't know where she went and it doesn't matter as long as it wasn't here. I'm happy to tend to the many and varied needs of the dogs in my care but I have little patience for the owners who believe their dog is more special than any other dog. Our culture stresses that we are important. We must be the center of the universe, have more "friends" and "likes" on Facebook, more followers on Twitter, and great comments on our You Tube videos. Have you ever thought about what would happen if each of us achieved this end? We would be our own universe, with no one to give us our demanded attention. Since when did being ordinary become a bad thing? Is "normal" the new "loser?" When we find our identity and great love in the Lord alone, the opinion of others becomes less important. If we have the care and attention of the King of Creation, do we really need to flaunt ourselves and our talents at others to feel we are important. If He cares about the sparrow, he cares about you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

There is Superstition

Riley's back (hi Riley....over here Riley). If I took a picture of Riley every time he was here, he'd always look like this.
Before I moved my furniture around, Riley slept under this same window so he could peek out for his owner's return. Once when we were walking, Riley's owner (and a friend of mine) drove from the other direction to meet us. Now when we walk that same stretch of road, Riley looks at every vehicle that drives by with much hopefulness. Unfortunately, Riley was unsuccessful at conjuring up his owner in this manner. Don't we do the same things, perhaps in less obvious ways? Do we think if we pray every day, go to church every Sunday, and keep the Golden Rule, we will get what we want? While all those things are good to do, they can not manipulate God. As much as we want, nothing we do can force God's hand to our will. "Your will be done" are easy words to say, but tough words to mean.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Running with the Big Dogs

This is Harley (hi Harley!). From the picture, you can't truly appreciate her beauty or size, not to mention sweet personality.
Harley has been here a few times now, the last visit for a week. Harely was a model citizen. When her owner came to pick her up, Harley frolicked! Yes, a Great Dane frolicking is quite a sight. Watching her run was the picture of grace. Isn't it a wonderful surprise when something you expect to be clumsy and awkward turns out to be lovely and graceful? Sometimes I think this is true of my own life. It can be often awkward and difficult. Yet in the hands of God's transforming love and incomprehensible grace, it turns into a pleasant and amazing surprise. Like Harley, some beings seem born for beauty. If you feel like your life could use a little help, pursue God. Experience a wondrous and ultimately good transformation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

You Turn Me Right Round

Here's Tilly doing her best cute pose.
Has your life ever been turned on its head? Has everything fallen apart - maybe in a small way or in a cataclysmic disaster? Mine has. More than once. It's awful. A sea of despair threatened to drown me. It's safe to say that NONE of the emotions I had were remotely positive. No power of positive thinking was going to right that ship. I was powerless. Finally, I ran to the Lord. That was the only One who could hold me up through the circumstances. No, the situation didn't change - it got worse. However, I was not alone and my despair turned to hope, even if it was a distant one. Today when you need to right the wrongs of your life, seek God. Admit you can't do it yourself. Your pride only prolongs the pain. Run to the Lord.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Perseverance versus Defeat

Looks like Jimmy's toy is just out of his reach. Poor Jimmy.
Have you ever been in a similar situation in which you can see what it is you want, maybe even need, but you just can't quite attain it? How do you know when to hang in there and when to give up? In Jimmy's case, it looks like his paws will never grow long enough to reach what he wants. Since he doesn't have thumbs (and probably deductive reasoning), he can't get something to pull it closer or move the appliance. So he should probably give up. Or should he? Maybe there's another possibility. Maybe some kind soul (like his owners) will come along and help him. Perhaps the solution to your problem you have today means you need to ask for help. I know, I know. I don't like to ask for help either. Recently, I hired someone to mow my yard. It's a little thing but what a difference it makes to my peace of mind. My worry and tiredness over this one little task is so diminshed. Most problems aren't this simple. If you need some help today, and you realize no person can help, then run to the Lord. Not only is He always there, He doesnt' charge you anything.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are You "Good Enough?"

It's easy to listen to our doubts about our abilities. It's easier to come up with an excuse as to why you can't do something difficult. Often, the message we hear is "you're not good enough."
I was thinking about that lie we are too eager to believe this morning. It's what I often hear people say as to why they don't/won't come to Zumba class. While I know it's not for everyone (what?), as an instructor, I want to say "of course you're not good enough - I'm not good enough!" The point is to keep moving, and maybe, time after time, you improve. No matter what, I remind everyone (incluing myself), have fun! My dogs aren't good enough. In fact, they drive me crazy when they are doing "something wrong." I know when they eat something disgusting, it's bad for them so I yell at them to stop. Still, I love them, despite their flaws (and weirdness). Doesn't the Lord tell us the same? "Of course you're not good enough. That doesn't matter. My Son was good enough and when you run to Him, I see you through Him." Sometimes I think God just wants us to move a little everyday, and if we can, improve as we grow closer to Him in his transforming love. Either way, we should enjoy the dance.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Life Without Compromise

Most cats dig catnip. They see it, they imbibe. They do not practice moderation, self-control or if it compromises their principles.
Go for it, Captain. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do the same? See Oreos, eat bag. No problem. Then there are those situations that demand our judgement in the grey areas. For instance, right now I'm trying to decide if a song is okay for the exercise class I'm doing. It's sort of on the fence. I want to use it, but since I don't feel 100% confident that it's "okay," then the answer is probably no. Isn't it? Sometimes I talk myself into something being acceptable when deep down I know it isn't. Yes, plenty of people would say it was fine or "not that bad" but if it goes against my grain, then I probably should skip it. If I compromise in the little things, failing to stick to what I know is true, then it's easier to keep doing that. It will also be easier when the stakes are higher. I need help! Do I look to the Hills? No! I look to the Lord. I need guidance, insight, wisdom. Then I need the strength to stick to my convictions. These are things I can't do on my own. What about you? Is there something niggling away at your conscience? What will you do about it?