Monday, December 22, 2014

Dog Jewelry

Every year around Christmas, Matilda gets a new piece of jewelry.  It's sort of like a Pandora bracelet but not really at all similar in terms of beauty or cost.
Besides that, it's sort of required by law.  The 2015 license for Hardin county is a delightful purple.

Even though Tilly hears me say "Get lost" a little too often, I don't really want her to get lost.  If she did, I would want her to be found.  Since she can't communicate her name and address, the license fills the gap.  Licensing fees also pay for the care of those dogs who do get lost. 

Since Matilda was a stray herself at one time, a license marks her as my own.  In other words, she has a new identity (and name) when I adopted her.

All through the Bible, there are examples of God choosing the least likely of people to do join Him in His plans.  These people were often from humble families and they seemed to make an awful lot of mistakes either before or after their really important God Jobs.  I mean, when you and I picked the people for our kick ball teams, we pretty much went for the fleet of foot.  Not so with God.  He has his reasons, and they baffle us.

Until we think about how God sends His own Son to be born of a really innocent young girl, thus potentially messing up her entire future as a Normal Married Woman.  And her fiancĂ©e?  Also baffled, yet honorable.  God sent an angel to both of them to try to explain.  And apparently it worked because they both got with the program.  And through our Savior, Jesus, Immanuel, God was with US.  US, the imperfect people who get lost like sheep and fall for hucksters, manipulate others, and don't really do all we can where we can.

Somehow, He picks us out, adopts us into his own through Jesus, and gives us a new identity.  Some people wear jewelry to reflect their identity.  But it's not required.  In God's mysterious way, He knows His own, and loves us. 

This Christmas, listen for your heart to be wooed by the All-Loving, Almighty.  Jesus, humble Savior, still calls out for His People.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What To Do With Beauty

Feast your eyes on these gorgeous kittens:
I had the pleasure of taking care of these lovelies recently and they were a joy. Not only were they a dream to look at, but they frolicked and played the same way every young and healthy kitten does.

To be honest, I like to think of myself as a mutt-girl.  Normally, I like to think I'm not one to fawn over the beauty of certain purebred dogs and cats.  But to be honest, there's something about beauty.  Maybe we can't define it, but we know a pleasing look when we see it.  And when I held these little fur balls, I sure knew it.

Our culture puts a high value on beauty.  Double that for youth.  If you have neither, some industries cruelly cull their workers of the old and homely.  "Old" and "homely" being highly subjective and mean phrases.

But being born beautiful isn't always the gift we may think desire.  Being treated differently for the sole reason that you were born with physical traits some find pleasing does not mean that the person inside is superior.  Yet, those monsters are made every day.  You know it.  You've seen it on social media.

As I get older, I find myself becoming MORE vain, not more at peace, particularly if I look at the ads in magazine.  My goodness am I inferior, they assure me.  A wonderful friend told me that she determined that while she could no longer control her outer beauty, she could control her inner beauty. 

That inspired me.  Because it is truth.  And it is the only thing that matters.

"Man looks upon the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart." 

I'm grateful God sees only what is important in our hearts.  And cultivating the beauty within, shaped by God's love itself, endures forever.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Together

Here are two really good dog friends, Bugs and Ginger (hi Bugs!  hi Ginger!).  Bugs is the yellow lab and Ginger is the German Shorthair Pointer.  This picture was taken at their home where they happily enjoying the great outdoors.  Both are happy hunters.
Bugs recently underwent some serious surgery that resulted in him having to be isolated from his friend Ginger.  Here at the kennel, they saw each other from their separate kennel runs, but they had to go outside separately. 

They HATED it.

Months later, they can finally be together and oh what a difference it makes.  They are both much happier with this set-up.

Our society allows people to isolate from others in ways never before possible.  It's easy.  It's safe.  Being with people and their problems is a challenge.  We don't understand them and they don't understand us.  But staying safe with our emotions and choosing the easy way through life is hardly courageous.  When we do something brave like show up some place where we aren't comfortable, we've taken an important step in building our confidence, even if the outcome isn't perfect.

God created people to live in community with each other, despite our mess and imperfections.  Yes, overcoming our irritations by enduring them is a much better way to go than avoiding them all together.

Maybe by enduring each others difficulties, as they endure ours, we may come to a place of understanding and patience.  In time, perhaps that will turn to understanding and compassion.  Eventually, there may even be enjoyment in each others' company.  Sure, not always, but sometimes.

And isn't sometimes worth it?