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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cries of Delight

This is Molly.  She's a wonderful little dog and very smart.  In fact, she may be smarter than me. 

Actually, I was going to write about another little dog that was in the kennel recently, but I thought I had a picture of her and I don't.  But let's just say that dog is on the vocal side.  She is part beagle and that breed really "express" themselves with loud and intense whines.

If it was time to go out, she whined.  When it was time to come back in, she whined.  When it was time for a treat, she whined.  When other dogs went home, she whined louder.

You get the pictures.

But the excitement level changed when it was time for her to see her owner.  Suddenly, she used a whole new caliber and intensity.

Isn't it great to be happy to see someone?  But isn't it great when you see someone different and it brings out a whole new level of delight within you?

It seems likely to me that Jesus delights in us at that whole new intense and happy level with each of us.  He knows us so well that he's absolutely thrilled when we show up to meet him in prayer.    The better part is we walk away even better and more fortified. 

It's enough to make your tail wag - the kind of might-knock-things-off-the-coffee-table wag.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Stench of Sin

This past week I was supposed to go away for a couple days and nights of relaxation.

That didn't happen.

Why?  Guess who tangled with a skunk.
Instead of putting my feet up for some much needed rest, I spent the next several days doing many loads of laundry, throwing out throw rugs and dog beds, washing the dogs and opening every window in the house to air it out.

At least the weather was nice.

It is truly amazing how a little skunk can not only change a human's plans but also cause enough odor to create a lot of work as the odor seeped into every level of my home.  Additionally, when I met up with friends of mine for dinner five days later, they let me know l'eau de skunk still wafted on me.

Sin is the same way.  It may seem small and unobtrusive.  It may even look cute and innocent.  However, once you tangle with it, you can't get the smell off of you.  You can walk back in your home, thinking you are unaffected, but then notice that every room has been penetrated by the stench of sin.  It's not only you, but everyone with whom you come into contact.  It may even change the plans others had, based on your actions and consequences.  It's ridiculously hard to get rid of it's odor and taint.

When in need of a remedy for the skunk odor on the dogs, I looked it up on the internet (yes, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and baking soda is definitely the way to go).

What is the remedy for sin and its consequences?  C'mon. You know - you just don't want to admit you need help.  Run to Jesus.  Seek his cleansing power of sin, now and forever.  While you will never be perfect in this life, you can have access to power to resist more than before.  More importantly, you no longer carry the offensive odor of sin about you if you are made right with Jesus. 

Get cleansed today!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Creepy Crawly

It's that time of year when spiders and mice find warmer homes for winter.  

NO, that is NOT a spider.  It's a praying mantis.  I much prefer them to spiders, though when I had the view above, I found it unsettling.

Just this week, I was cleaning the kennel.  As I ran a bucket of sudsy water, I put on my rubber gloves.  One of the fingers seemed to have a block, like maybe a band-aid was in there, which would have been really gross.  However, what was in there was even more gross.  GIANT WOLF SPIDER!!!!

Ack!

I loathe spiders!  Even though I've lived in the country long enough to make peace with them, having my finger encounter one unexpectedly was extremely distressing.

This is why I don't clean.

Well, it's my excuse for that day anyway.

Sometimes it's easy to put off what needs to be done because it's extremely unpleasant.

Next week, I have a small break in dog activity at the kennel.  I need to rest, even though I hate to say "no" to anyone.  But I must do so in order to recover.  So, you may not see posts next week.  If not, be glad because it means I'm not on my computer and am busy doing other things.

"Come to me all of you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest."  Jesus knows our human tendency to over do things.  He knew that we often burden ourselves even mentally with wondering if we are "good enough."  He takes that burden away.  With faith in Him, we can live freely.  And rest.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Accidental Thief

Lately, I've been stealing things.  It hasn't been on purpose.  Last weekend, I noticed that there were about 4-5 leashes there that weren't mine.  That means some dog owners don't have their leashes.  And dog bowls.  I like it when people bring their own bowls because then I don't have to wash them.  When they are staineless steel bowls, identical to the ones I use in the kennel, sometimes I forget to return them.
It's embarrassing to have an abundance of things that belong to other people/dogs in the kennel.  When I see them, I hope they understand it was not my intention to keep them.  More than that, I wish they'd contact me to let me know they are missing them.  Because, um, I don't know who they belong to!

Isn't it awful to be misunderstood?  We try so hard to understand each other, but often mistakes are made, conclusions are reached that are incorrect, and hard feelings may ensue.

It's better to believe the best of people, that their intentions were not bad.  After all, people in general are so busy that they aren't thinking of much besides themselves and what they have to do next.

Today, take some time to be patient with others.  Listen to their words and hear their hearts.  It's easier to believe the worst, so do the extra work of thinking a matter through and trusting the best.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Slave to Potato Chips

Dooley loves people food.  Oatmeal, pasta, bread are favorites but he really loves bbq potato chips.
Believe it or not, potato chips are not my favorite junk food indulgence.  But every now and then, I like the crunch and pungent flavor from bbq chips.  And if they are on sale for bargain prices at the local scratch and dent grocery store, I'm highly likely to bring home a bag.

For cats, bbq potato chips are not a naturally occuring food option.  (It may be debated that it is not for people either)  Dooley depends on me for his chip addiction.

Moderation isn't exactly my strength.  Yet, moderation - living a balanced life in all things - is exactly what we are called to do.  It is so easy to get "out of whack" in just about every area of our lives.

Why just this morning, I was reading how Paul wrote the people in Corinth about such matters.  Some new believers thought that the body was beyond the impact of the spirit, so they could do anything with their bodies - everything was permissable.  Then there were those who believed their spirit must conquer every urge of the physical body and were, well, probably not very fun to hang out with.

Paul called for moderation.  Discipline is not easy.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  But...we need to ask. 

One small bag of potato chips now and then is okay.  But if Dooley had his way, he'd have me bring them to him all the time.  In his life, I dole them out carefully and moderately.  I can only ask the Lord to do the same thing for me!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Moving Up from the Dumpster Life

There was a large grey cat hanging outside the pizza place in town.  I came home with a pizza and a cat.
This was over ten years ago and let's just say my husband wasn't too pleased with the "extra topping."  However, Baker was an awesome cat.  He was enormous, having dined on dumpster food, but his coat was lackluster due to poor nutrition.  Once established on regular balanced cat food diet, Baker transformed into a healthy cat with a beautiful coat.

Sometimes our lives get off track and we start living a "dumpster" lifestyle.  Well, maybe YOU haven't, but it's not hard to look far to see messy lives.  Many don't even realize that there's a better way to live.  If they do, they may despair that there's no way out.

But there is.  There's hope and strength in faith in Jesus.  He rescues us, even when we fail.  He redeems our pain and takes on our burdens.

It's what I need.  Jesus transformed pain in my life to hope.  It's possible to leave the spiritual dumpster to be renewed with forgiveness and grace for a diet of hope that makes us glow inside and out.  It begins with reaching out for the hand of the Lord, that is always extended to us.

If you're interested in reading an allegory about this very idea, be sure to check out "Miranda's Bottom."
http://www.amazon.com/Mirandas-Bottom-ebook/dp/B0092FW8UE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349871180&sr=1-1&keywords=Miranda%27s+Bottom

Monday, October 8, 2012

TGIM

It's Monday.

Personally, I think Monday has a bad rap.  It's the beginning of a new week and it has a kind of "new car" feel to it - like a blank slate waiting words to describe it.  We won't know how much we'll enjoy Friday until we begin on Monday.

Every day is one created by God.  This is the time of year that in the mid-west has amazing colors on the trees and fields.  The farmers are just beginning to harvest and soon those auburn soy beans and yellow corn will be in silos and the fields will be bare.

But still, some of us dread the drudgery and relentlessness of a Monday.  Instead of focusing on the stress that inevitably comes, we can adjust our perspective and think of the opportunities we'll have to find beauty and thanking God for redemption for all the pain we do experience.

So TGIM.  Then TGIT, TGIW, TGITH....etc.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Directional Destruction

When visitors come to my home, Matilda does something witih her toys that she doesn't do when it's just the "usual" suspects at home.
She rips her toys to shreds. Actually, Foster does the same thing.

What triggers the "I'm-so-excited-to-see-you-I-must-destroy-something" response is unknown to me.  However, I'm very thankful that she does anything that doesn't involve her licking and jumping on the guests, so if it involves sacrificing a cheap toy, it's okay with me.

Fortunately, most of the dogs I've owned have directed their chewing on those toys and bones that they were allowed to have.  Many dogs don't discern and take their chewing anxiety out on the furniture, doors, and just about anything they can find, much to their owners' chagrin.

It made me think about what I do when I have either a happy, sad, or frustrating event.  Rarely do I run to God first.  I mean, I may get there eventually, but usually I pick up the phone and vent.  Depending on what the matter is and who I'm talking to, this can be a very bad idea. 

It's very hard to discern when we keep matters between God and ourselves and when we are to look for good counsel from the friends who are gifts in our lives.  Either way, racing to God and expressing whatever emotions to Him first is never a mistake. 

Hmm...I think I just called God a divine chew toy.  Heehee...well, what I'd like to say is that God is our best direction for every joy and sadness.  From there, we can share (or not) with others.  After all, we're in this life together!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dogs in a Car

It's not quite "Snakes on a Plane" but it might be just as scary.  I mean, look at them.  that's about 200 pounds of dog.
You probably can't tell, but there's four of them in the "way-back" of my car.  OH, and the aerator motor was back there too.

Yesterday I heard something that caught my interest.  It was a Bible teacher reminding us that "God loves you all the time no matter what."  He went on to explain that God loves the "whole world" but doesn't love a planet.  He loves people, not a country.  He loves YOU, as if you are the ONLY one in His life.  And yet He loves each one of us that way.

Not unlike a car full of dogs.  I don't love a car full of dogs, but I love each of the dogs in my car (no, really).

It is up to us to respond to God's love.  God is rooting for us, hoping we will race back to Him, worrying over his lost son or daughter (or dog, or sheep).  Following God is far from burdensome - it is liberating and joyful.

God takes us to good places with our lives.  They are not always easy, but they are good.

Sort of like a car full of dogs.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Where Do You Find Rest?

If you have dogs, they usually are sleeping at your feet.

If you have cats, they usually are sleeping just about anywhere.
When I found Dooley napping in this plantar, he was unhappy to be woken for a picture.  If the flowers had still been alive, they would have been even more unhappy.

When we go through our days, we find plenty of things that unsettle our peace.  It could be while you are at home and a news item on the radio upsets you.  Maybe a co-worker eats your lunch or argues you down at a meeting.

Disruptions happy anywhere. Fortunately, we can seek refuge in God no matter where we are.  Just a few years ago, I was visiting a cave and as we were descending hundreds of feet under the earth, I started to panic.  I closed my eyes, took deep, deep breaths, and prayed.  Really hard.  Soon, I remembered that even in the deep places of the earth, God is there.  And He gave me peace.  I was able to finish the tour and even enjoy it.

Yet that was a revealing experience for me.  It brought to life the words "How deep, how wide, how strong is the love of Jesus."  He is Omnipresent.  And I am glad!

Today, no matter where you are or what you are experiencing, there is peace and comfort with the mighty King.  Seek Him first.