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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Get Waggy

Today I told a friend I was going to a "certain box store" and asked if she needed anything.  She responded, "Well, I did happen to leave something there the last time I shopped.  Would you mind picking up Waggy for me?'

Waggy?

Meet Waggy:
It's not the sense of helpfulness that drove me to say yes but the instant realization that I could tell a store clerk, "Hi, I'm  here to pick up Waggy."

And I did.

And they gave me Waggy.

Sure, I could try to wind this around to some great spiritual truth about how helping a friend is good and maybe you'll actually enjoy it and blah, blah, blah, but really, I just wanted to show you Waggy.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Party Crasher

On one of our Fun Fridays, a certain neighbor cat showed up to see what we were up to.  He obviously made himself pretty comfy in the process of being curious.
However, we didn't kick him out (though he was told to keep his nose away from the strawberry cookies).  We welcomed his antics, despite his bullying of another neighbor cat.

Sometimes people show up in our lives at inopportune moments.  We didn't expect them and therefore feel a bit testy at their appearance.  Then, they may not behave the way we think they should.  We question their motives as well as their manners.

Today is International Refugee Day.  With world problems from Iraq to Ukraine to US/Mexico, we can feel overwhelmed, not knowing what to think.  But we know what to DO.  We can pray.  Regardless of policies, a person displaced and out of their natural element still needs kindness, if not our immediate help in practical ways.

If a stranger shows up, whether two legs or four, adjust your own agenda and think of them.  Offer patience and compassion.  Show them God's love, the way God has loved you.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hand Fed

It was his first long distance car trip.  It was his first time away from his family, which meant his first visit to the kennel.  It was no wonder he was reluctant to eat.
One thing I've learned when this happens is to take the dog outside, spend some time with him/her, and offer some food, one piece at a time.  And it worked.  He ate, one piece of kibble at a time.  When I tried to push the bowl to him, he refused, not ready to make such a big commitment to normal eating just yet.

Change is not easy.  It's not easy for us, and it's not easy for others.  It seems overwhelming and scary.  But, if we break down our fears one by one, and make simple adjustments one step at a time, acclimation and transformation is possible.

It's not always easy to accept how much God loves us, how willing he is to give us forgiveness, and most of all to wrap our mind around the grace that saves us.  By definition, Omnipotent, Omniscient God is overwhelming and intimidating.  But maybe today, you can look at one good gift in your life, or just out the window.  Recall the one time that an amazing provision was made, seemingly just for you, and allow that God was calling to you.  Take a step forward.  Don't be afraid.  The Lord wants to give you good things.  These gifts will feed your soul, sustain your life, and give you hope.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Law of Diminishing Returns

Tilly loves to play with her blue ball outside.  Every morning after working in the kennel (that would be ME doing the work, not her), she races to the ball, pounces on it with great exuberance and brings it to me to throw or kick. 

When she gets tired of retrieving it, she sits and rips it into tiny pieces.  There's no point in explaining to her that little by little, she is expending the life of her favorite toy.

Our Wednesday night Bible study is going through Ecclesiastes this summer.  Salomon had all the riches in the world, plenty of "toys" if you will.  But they didn't satisfy him.  The more he got, the more  he needed, exhausting them until there was nothing left.  Ultimately, his mass consumption of enjoyments led to their ineffectiveness.  He needed more, but he got less.  The law of diminishing returns.

When we put our priorities in order, we can enjoy the gifts in our lives without exhausting them.  The Lord's provisions to us are to be balanced, not the central focus of our pursuits.  Whether food, wine, partying, power, romance, or amassing possessions, these pursuits can lead us empty after we've worn them out. 

Don't tear your life to pieces.  Seek God first, then all these other things are cast in their appropriate light. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Surely Goodness will follow me...

A new kennel client brought their ten year old St. Bernard recently for a stay. 

(this is not THE St. Bernard, but one of my favorites (Sandy) who passed away several years ago.  I still miss this wonderful dog.)
The new client told me that she got the dog for her mother, who had cancer.  Her mother always wanted a St. Bernard, so her daughter got her one.

What an example of "goodness."  All of June, my focus is on this "fruit of the Spirit."  I've struggled with the definition of just what "goodness" is.  Kindness seems like an action, while goodness seems like a state of being, like it is what is inside a person and it can't help but flow out.

Buying your dying mother a giant dog is indeed a kind act, but it was an overflow from a good heart.

If I look at myself, I don't believe what overflows from my heart is goodness.  If it looks like it, it is only because I've done a lot of self-editing. 

Being "good" is hard.  God is "good", but what does that mean, exactly?  Whatever it is, I'd like more of it.  I pray for the Lord to grant me His goodness so that my heart will change from bitter to love, so that my actions overflow with the goodness within.

What do you think "goodness" means?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Necessary Pain

This is my cat, Dooley.
While you don't need to know just how many cats I've owned, suffice it to say it's been..um..."many."

Dooley hates going to the vet more than all of them combined.  HATES it.  He's traumatized for not just days, but weeks, after a visit.  When one vet said he needed dental work, the results were disastrous for all involved.  Upon my return to retrieve Dooley, not only did I learn that the dental work wasn't done, but the vet was overheard yelling to the tech, "get the net!" and Dooley managed to stick to the paneled wall.

Lesson learned.

Since Dooley is older and somewhat feral, I decided not to be the semi-irresponsible pet owner and not take him back.  However, last week, he began limping and by Monday, it could no longer be ignored.  A heart to heart with Dooley, explaining he would need to see the vet, resulted in nothing.  But it made me feel better as I stuffed him into the carrier after tricking him into it.  This was a new vet and the tech had the perfect touch with Dooley, and he was perfect.  Or, maybe he was paralyzed with fear.  Either way, the vet was able to remove the offending material from Dooley's paw, clean it up, and give him two shots without anyone losing blood.

That night, Dooley felt so much better that he wouldn't leave me alone, constantly meowing his approval.

No one wants pain or difficult circumstances.  We avoid it, not understanding that a terrible infection is at work the more we avoid the necessary pain.  Trials and troubles often result in the real presence of God when we seek His comfort.  Our losses may be significant and awful, but if we avail ourselves to the healing that Jesus gives, the result of experiencing God Himself drives out the hard edges of our willfulness, selfishness, and lack of love.

Perhaps we don't wish to be refined.  Maybe we even have had enough refining, thank you very much.  But, in the end, the resistance is not worth the relief.  Let the rejoicing begin.