Friday, June 28, 2013

Go with Your Strengths

Guess who is possibly the worst guard dog in the world?
Yeah, she looks tough, but don't be fooled.  Lately she's welcomed strangers and gone nuts over the cats' antics in the middle of the night. 

Trying to focus on the positive, she's a GREAT hunter.  Too bad I don't need a hunter...

It's important to know your weaknesses as much as your strengths.  While the Lord created us all differently, people often try to conform us to THEIR view of how we should be.  It's good to work on certain weaknesses (like maybe our self-control, ahem), but if we are introverts, we shouldn't try to be extroverts and vice versa.

Today give someone a break.  In fact, give yourself a break too.  Appreciate who you are through God, greatly loved and intricately created.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

There's Always Hope

  1. This Hope (hi Hope)!  Isn't she adorable?  She's even cuter than her picture.
Hope had never been in a kennel and also never walks on a leash.  Needless to say, she was in for a rude awakening and spent the first couple of days in stunned silence.  However, every day she came out of her shell more and more. Soon, she was sashaying in and outside the kennel with the other dogs, finding the environment strangely interesting, and dare I say, possibly enjoyable.

While we often find ourselves in extreme difficulty, there is always hope.  Even the bleakest and darkest of times, when our souls feel like they will die, we can turn to the one source that never fatigues and never wears out.  Turn to the Lord for true solace, true companionship, and true Light.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Play Ball!

When it's Summer and you live in the Midwest, you have to do your very best to make the most of nice weather.  I found this baseball along the side of the road.  Cody found it here in the house and really had a great time carrying it around.
Saturday I went to a local baseball game and it was fabulously fun.

Summer is a fleeting time, one God gave to us.  "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."  Make the most of it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Comfort the Grieving

Recently, Jimmy lost his friend Gus.  It's left him a bit sad.
So sad that he hasn't been eating well, worrying the owner.  Among other adjustments (hooray for canned pumpkin), Jimmy came to the kennel for some playtime stimulation.

Enter Drake:

Jimmy and Drake have been playing and playing.  They both will be tired and happy dogs.

While simply wearing ourselves isn't the cure all for grief, there is something to be said for it.  The process of grieving is a very daily task.  Mostly, just get through one day.  Then, the next day, get through that one.  However, a friend makes a big difference, being there when it's tough, whether quietly by one's side or having fun.

The Lord is near those who are in pain.  Today, turn to that presence, soaking in the healing and comfort only He can fully provide.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Place to Rest

Isn't it interesting to see the peculiar places that our pets find to take a nap?
Frank, at twenty pounds, found this upside down end table perfect to nestle.

Sometimes we find ourselves in difficult times and uncomfortable places.  However, there is a solace, a hiding place, that comforts and fortifies.

It's easy to grow weary with different circumstances in our lives.  If today, this MONDAY that feels like a Monday in every negative way, run to the Lord.  Ask for that comfort that exists nowhere else - not in food, personal relationships, or any addiction.  Only God can lead us along still waters.  Find your rest there.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Know Your Father

The majority of owners of dogs and cats have no idea who the pets' father is.  Often it is a great mystery.  Not to cast aspersions on any dog or cat's parentage...

Father's Day is this weekend and it can be a time of great celebration for some, and great pain for others. 

Whether we admit it or not, we long for a father.  Abandonment by a father wounds us in ways we often don't realize until we find that love fulfilled.

Today I heard a dad say, "I can't be a perfect father, but my imperfections point to the Lord, who is perfect and fulfilling in every way I can not be."

Whether you are thanking God for your earthly father or feeling difficult emotions, the truth is that father points to God our Father, who is perfect, who is NEAR, and who loves YOU tremendously in the ways of truth and grace.  This is the Father to know, love, and adore.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Control Yourself

Most likely you are reading this on some electronic device.  Why?  Because that's really the only way to access this blog.  You may be alarmed to learn, as I was, that new studies show that persistent use/exposure of computer/phone/etc. screen time leads to a 20% decrease in the brain.  Specifically, the part of the brain that dictates impulse control.
I don't know about you, but I already have enough trouble with this issue.  I try, I fail, I become embarrased by my failure.

There are many areas of life that tempt us.  Can you think of one that is free of temptation?  Does this mean that we are failures?  Or worse, does it mean we must constantly strive for perfection?

There is only one rescue for our imperfections.  If we were to learn of a diet drug that would keep us from chocolate chip brownies, we'd consider it our savior from sugar addiction.  But our bigger problem is sin of every kind.  And only Jesus is the savior for our imperfections, indulgences, and every evil thought.

Today, if you fall off the diet wagon, or whatever  your vice may be, remember that there is a way out.  Head in that direction and failure will not sting.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Playing Favorites

Have you ever been the favorite of a parent, friend, or in the work environment?  How did others view you?  What about if you were NOT the favorite?  How did  you view those who obviously were?
Favoritism creates jealousy, a breach of trust, and contempt.

In other words, it ain't pretty. 

While it is not unusual to have a special affinity for a friend, co-worker, or child, favoritism is the demonstration of that preference.  Yesterday, our pastor talked about how showing favoritism is about US, not those we prefer.  Ouch.  Favoritism has everything to do with what we want, what makes us comfortable and happy, and not anything to do with the value of another person.

Conditional love.

Throughout the Bible, in fact, right there in Genesis, showing favoritism has destroyed families and even entire communities.

Yet the Lord asks us to show no favoritism, in fact - to see OTHERS better than US - to SERVE.

It's a challenge, and especially big one for a Monday.  But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  We simply must ask for our hearts to change to want to be that kind of person.  Today, try to take your focus off of yourself and see what others need.  Do it not because it is easy, but because it is good for someone other than yourself.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Be Anxious for Nothing

It's not often that a dog can't wait to ENTER the kennel.
But it's true for Dooley.  He has a small comfort zone.  He feels safer in the kennel, in his little bed.  At home, he prefers to watch the world from the comfort of the couch than actually getting out for a nice walk.
Can't really blame him, can you?  When you hear the headlines, don't you quiver and quake, wringing your hands and saying, "what's the world coming to?"
"Be anxious for nothing."  How the heck are we supposed to do that?  Can we not just turn off the radio and pretend everything is just fine?  Is there a way to respond to the hurt and worry of the world without losing our minds?
Casting our cares on the Lord sounds so simple.  For me, I can do that.  But then I accumulate brand new cares (read: worries) and I keep them for myself.  Eventually, I may cast them again, but apparently I don't think the Lord can really handle them. 
Like most things, it takes practice and remembering that He is ABLE to handle the world's problems.  While I may be alarmed by what I read and hear, God is not surprised.  His firm foundation is not shaken. 
Remember.  Pray.  Ask for peace.  Love undoes anxiety and there is not as much love in the world as there ought to be.  I'd like to think I bring more love to others than I do than cause anxiety, but I don't think it's always true.  Remember.  Pray.  It's constant.
It's harder to be quiet and ask, admitting our weakness, but it is the way of the Lord to calm our discontent.  Run to him today.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It's Shameless Self-Promotion Day!

That's right folks, my second book is available as of yesterday!

One thing that has been simply amazing about the kennel is that I've met really great people.  How could they not be, being dog and/or cat lovers?  And that's how I met my wonderful friend who helped me do all the "tech" stuff to get this book available.  Perhaps the word should be "e-vailable."

And in case you missed the first one - here it is:

If you need another book for your Summer reading, please check them out!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Nappus Interruptus

Sunday afternoons are good for naps.  That was my big plan yesterday.  As I readied my nest and got all cozy, two of my friend's dogs who were in the house decided to bug me.  After much whining and fending off their insistence that they sit on me while I napped, they settled down.  That lasted about twenty seconds when a cat entered the room and then it was GAME ON as the cat carefully navigated to lay on my stomach, tormenting the dogs in the mean time.  How I did not end up with severe injury on my belly is a miracle.
Needless to say, I did not get my nap.

"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."  What exactly does that mean?  I thought about this as I was busy not napping.  If man were made for the sabbath, that implies that all the "rules" of that day dictated man's behavior.  When God designed a day of rest it was to be a GIFT to man - a day to recuperate, a day unlike the rest of the week, a special day. 

But don't we make that our "catch-up" day?  Does it often feel just like any other day?  It's a gift we don't open, much to our detriment.

This week, plan your rest.  Plan your Sunday now to be one that is special and restful. If Sunday is a work day for you, what other day can you make your day of rest?

Do you have a special routine on Sundays?  What do you need to put in lower priority to make it a true sabbath?