Sunday, December 29, 2013

Maybe You're Small, but You're Not Insignificant

If you watch pop culture, you get the idea that to be "anybody" you need to be blogging, tweeting, and have scads of people you don't know following you on every social media site existing.

I don't know about you, but that is just exhausting.  As you can tell, my erratic blogging reflects how hard it is to do just one simple post (and expect less next week while I'm off on a wild adventure).

We make a terrible mistake if we believe that we live small lives.  That if we don't participate in glamorous activities and know the 'right' people we are nobodies.  Letting others dictate our place in the world is a huge mistake.  Society lies.
Check out Oliver and Mookie up there.  They are two tiny dogs.  In fact, they can fit between the gate and wall of the regular kennel runs (surprise!) and have to stay in their "loft apartments" instead.  They may be small, but to their owners, they are an absolute delight, a best friend, and a faithful companion.
Next time you are tempted to strive for that which is insatiable, consider the place God has given you in this World.  Maybe you think it should be grander, but you are important to God, no matter your status, job, or friends.  You are enough because that's why he sent Jesus.  For you.
Happy 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Old Softy

Soon, Kody will be heading to his new home in Texas.  Yet he loves the snow and has had ample opportunities to enjoy it, including this fabulous new stick he found.
Kody is a softy.  Everyone he meets him finds him to be a sweet and gentle guy.  His good friend Kobe is wonderful, but there is nothing soft about him.  Kody.....Kody is soft.
This morning I heard about a woman who is blogging throughout her serious prognosis.  She's said that when she feels hard, she must make herself soft so that she can feel God's love.  Of course she wrote lots of other profound words, but that concept stuck with me.
"Soft" is not a word that people would use to describe me.  I tend to sail through life, often unaware that I may be walking over someone else, but unintentionally.  I could do with some softness in my life.  Not only is adopting a softer demeanor a way to soften towards the Lord, it is also a way to convey God's love to other people.  Confidence is good, but when I let it turn into a steam roller, there is nothing attractive about that.  The danger of being hard is ever present.  Asking for God's gentle spirit to invade my soul would be a wonderful gift for me and others.
Are you soft?  Or are you the victim of those who are not soft? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Whose Got Your Back?

Here's Captain, the great tree climber.

This morning on the radio, the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was discussed.  One of the ways deaths were prevented was by a large net that was hung to catch any workers who may fall.  Not only did it catch the man falling, it also allowed the laborers to work more efficiently because they knew a net was below them for security.

There's a certain amount of confidence we each have when we know someone in the world has our back.  We fall, but we get up, and often the dusting off is done by a friend. 

The Lord, who walks with us through the good and anguishing parts of life, not only picks us up when we fall, but redeems the brokenness for something great in God's economy.

When this is fully embraced, we can work with confidence in every part of our lives.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Because I Get A Treat!"

Young children ask "why" to learn about the world.  But not every parent can adequately explain sophisticated reasoning to a simple minded child.

We ask why of God.  We don't get explanations, and the ones we may discern are at best a fraction of the truth.

Dogs don't ask why.  Never.  When we teach them obedience, they obey.  Why?  Because they get a treat.
Perhaps a dog hesitates, but they don't question.  We hesitate.  We question.  Often, we refuse to obey or even believe if we can't understand 100% of the reasoning or proof.

Dogs keep things simple.  They look around their world, see their food, water, box of toys, and warm home and know they are blessed.  If the Master wants something, they know there is a reward in unquestioned obedience.

Fortunately for us, God allows our questions, doubts, fears, and objections.  Yet still He desires our belief, trust, and obedience.  While we don't obey for blessings, we obey for who God is and what He's done by sending Jesus to us, allowing us to be forgiven and perfect in the eyes of the Lord when we believe.  The rewards, though, are amazing, wonderful and eternal.

I don't know about you, but that sounds better than a liver treat any day.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Tilly loves car rides.  When I begin my "leaving the house" routine, of which she knows well, she begins darting from door to door, anticipating where I will make my exit, and most importantly, if I will include her.

If she gets the nod, she joyously bolts out the door, grabs her blue ball and races around the car until I open the door for her.

From there on out, my rearview mirror looks like this:
The trip is fascinating to her.  The bank.  The grocery.  What she's really hoping for is a walk around the "Green Monster." 
For years, I prided myself on not being too busy.  I could enjoy simple things.  While I enjoy the things occupying my life now, I'd like to slow down a bit.  I want to enjoy every day instead of pushing for Friday.
"Are We There Yet" automatically discounts our steps along the way.  Jesus asks us to trust him for the next step, along with the whole journey.  It shouldn't be that hard.
Advent is about waiting.  It's about anticipating what excitement is to come.  Yet we need to enjoy the days when we wait for redemption with peace and joy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Comfort of a Friend

Yesterday, Franklin (the large black and white cat) jumped in a cardboard box I had upstairs and acted as if he was going to use it as a litter box.  I shooed him out of there and started making a fire in the wood burner.  Frank jumped in there, again acting like he was going to pee.  Dragging him out of there was pretty interesting as he was covered in soot.  Just when I worried he was blocked (past UTI issues), he went into the basement and had a successful litter box experience (phew!).

Later, I found him and Carbon like this:
Sometimes you just need someone to come alongside you and be there.  Words aren't necessary.

If we believe that Jesus is indeed the Good Shepherd, then we remember that He walks beside us in all the hard times, not sparing us the hard times, but present in them.  Today, keep the spirit of Thanksgiving and thank God for His comfort and companionship.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Getting the Stuffing Beat Out of Us

Here's what Thanksgiving stuffing looks like at our house:
Her favorite toy is no more.  When she got it (from a garage sale for $2 - bargain!) during Labor Day weekend, it looked like this:
On the Monday after a holiday weekend, which caterpillar can you relate to?  Full and complete, or ripped to shreds?

It's hard to regroup when we feel like our guts are hanging out.  Focus, energy, and a good attitude seem elusive when we are beat down.  Isn't it interesting how our resolve and determination to be positive dissolves in an instant?

What is the answer?  You can try all the self-talk and writing down quotes for motivation that you want.  If that works for you, well great.  For me, I try to remember to run to the Lord and admit defeat.  Generally my rather surly mood needs a better adjustment and focusing on who God is - unchanging, ever present, and eternally redemptive.

We are fortunate to live in a culture where nearly all our problems and disruptions are "first world problems."  Today look at the big picture.  If you seem awfully small in that world, it's because you are.  But God is the "one who sees me" no matter how small we are.  In His economy, we are far from insignificant.