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Sunday, February 22, 2015

We're Going To Make It After All

Any time I can quote the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore show, I'll do it.  Now, if only I had a nice beret to toss in the air with winsome enthusiasm.
But seriously, this is about dogs and boredom, cats and boredom, and people and boredom.

The theme may be boredom.  Or cabin fever.  If 42 brave souls show up for a Zumba glow party when it's below zero wind chill, you KNOW they are bored.  When three cats who normally can not tolerate each other decide maybe they can play together, they are bored.  And when Tilly lays in a weird heap staring at me, I know she wants me to entertain her.  And when I do, then I know I'm bored.

But right now Tilly's friend Ireland is here.  They are both of the same idiotically joyous disposition so a lot of winsome enthusiasm is going on.  Whenever I start layering up, it's like we're going to a birthday party/mardi gras/new year's eve gala wrapped into one.  But really, we're just going out for my firewood.  They don't seem to notice the thirty mile an hour wind and apparently their snot doesn't freeze.  They gallop about with dopey smiles.

Somehow, we're going to endure this winter.  The best way to do it is not with a bottle of wine and binge watching television (even if it's Downton Abbey).  The best way to do it is to make someone go out to DO something, preferably that doesn't involve more sitting.  Play a game.  Build a snowman. 

God created us to be with others, no matter how difficult that can be, and no matter how easy it is to go it alone. Sure, it's more comfortable and safer to stay in your comfort zone. But where's the glory in that?

So get out there and do something ridiculously joyous, and bring a friend along for the fun.

What is my contribution toward stupid fun?  These snow mounds are getting glow necklaces and bracelets to light up some faces.  Heh.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Empty

In just ten days, the kennel reopens.
It's been nice to have a break.  It's especially nice not to worry about having a driveway cleared of ice out of concern for kennel clients.  At the same time, it's been strange to have it empty and quiet.

Have you ever felt empty?  It's not an uncommon feeling.  Demanding jobs/spouse/children/(pets) can drain a person by the end of the day.  The important question is how do you fill yourself back up and what do you use?

When we are emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained, our weak, human selves gravitate toward what is easy and convenient - like food.  Or maybe it is mindless television/computer games/(Facebook).  None of those things are bad, but often the more we "consume" them, the more empty we may feel when our true need is something more substantial and real.  That something that can fill us and satisfy our thirst for righteousness and hunger for companionship and love is Jesus. 

Maybe you are the type who has high expectations for yourself.  Again, nothing wrong with that, in fact, it is good to have direction and standards.  But personal ambition alone can become hollow when we fail.  And so often we do.  The same goes of expectations of others.  People fail us. 

The good news is that Jesus never fails us.  When we are His Own, taking our pain and our joys to Him brings greater meaning.  Jesus tells us we are enough - that only His standards matter.  And when we fail with Him, we are forgiven.  And when we are forgiven, we are free.

When we are free, we are not empty.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Enriching Your Environment

Three Bored Cats.  Three Bored Cats.  See how they stare. See how they stare.
Despite the number of toys and interesting boxes around for the cats to explore, long and cold winter days take a toll on the cats.  They are so bored that the ones who don't get along occasionally make an attempt to play together.  When the temperature "soared" to forty degrees this weekend, they were sort of like the people - thinking it was a party and they had to stay out all night.  That's fine as the mice likely were doing the same thing.

Winter can get a person down too.  We get tired and lack energy.  Looking out the window often results in a less than hopeful picture with no or dull colors.

But there's more to life than looking out the window and inside of ourselves.  There's a whole world out there and it's not hard to find others who share an interest or two of ours.  Maybe we have the opportunity to do something brand new - like paint a picture.  When we isolate ourselves, our emotions lie to us.  We tell ourselves we are the only ones in this boat of discouragement and despair.  The quickest way out is to get out of the boat and splash around in the sea of humanity.  We may even find some people we normally wouldn't get along with who turn out to be decent humans after all.

God has given us challenges, but He mixes in a way to deal with them through His power and His gifts.  Life can be managed and even enjoyed when we put it squarely in His hands.  Today enrich your environment through the One who gives us riches that matter more now and for eternity.