Friday, March 27, 2015


If you're in the Heartland, you know it's Spring by the calendar, but not by the weather.
The beginning of the month, there was the most snow we've had, followed a few days later by a major thaw.  Then it got cold.  Then it warmed up nicely.  Then it got cold and it has stayed that way.  Most of us are freaking out, feeling robbed of nicer weather.  This is the time when winter may just break us.

We are  hearty Midwesterners.  We can handle this.

The grass WILL green.  The sun WILL shine.  Once the flowers pop open and we run for our antihistamines, a sense of well-being will follow.  And hope.  There's just something so wonderful about green shoots coming from the brown, lifeless earth.  What was dead becomes alive again.  Just like Jesus.  It never fails to amaze me.

A change of weather and a change of attitude create an immense sense of thanksgiving, as well as relief.

After a great deal of prayer, I've made a decision for my own changes.  For seventeen years, I've operated a boarding kennel that has allowed me to meet some great dogs and even better owners.  But it's time for a break.  After Memorial Day, I'm closing the kennel for the summer.  I am unsure whether I will reopen in the Fall.  We're just going step by step here, People.

Like Spring, I feel hopeful and excited about what is to come, as well as a sense of relief and well-being.

There's not many times I can point to and say I asked God to bless something, but the kennel was one of them.  When Darren and I began it in 1998, it was with the intention and peace that God led the way.  When the schedule looked like it wasn't very full, God took care of things.  I never worried.  And as faithful as God is, He was gracious enough to show me that it's Break Time.  So I will trust this next step too.

And you should too.

"Thank you" doesn't even begin to cover my feelings of gratitude for the wonderful supporters I've had.  Come to think of it, neither do "merci" or "gracias" so I'll try something else.  May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May His Face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  May He look upon you with favor and give you peace.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Friend to the Friendless

This is Olive.  Like me, she enjoys a good book, especially if there are illustrations.
Olive was dumped off on our property about 17 years ago as a thin, vocal young cat with one hazy eye.  She was in a tree and wouldn't come down until I got a ladder and plucked her off the bark and onto my lined flannel coat.

Since then, Olive treasures staying in the house and napping.  It's all she's ever done.  Unlike the other cats, she never has been attracted to outside living, which doesn't stop her from expressing her opinion about it as well as other subjects in her rather annoying meow.

When people say they don't like cats, it's usually because they've only encountered cats like Olive.  There have been a lot of cats come and go in the seventeen years Olive has lived here on the Gold Coast (you don't want to know how many) and most of them didn't/don't like Olive either.

Except Dooley.
Dooley.  My perfect cat.  He is nice to Olive.  He would be nice to the other cats too, but they want to beat him up.  I suspect it is because he is nice to Olive.  Or maybe because I think Dooley can do no wrong.

We talk a lot about bullying these days.  Bullying is more easily identified among the tween to college set.  With social media, kids shame each other for any random and involuntary trait/comment/outfit/thought/friend/etc.  But adults have their own way of pressuring conformity and group think.  While some people do "hate", often the ones who call out "haters" are their own kind of hater and bully. 

Tough times.  It's hard to look at truth and then stand by it and be its friend.  It likely will be called lots of names that are ugly and within a growing consensus of agreement.  It doesn't make truth less truth-y. 

Truth is also love.  And Jesus told us to love - to be friends to the friendless.  Giving up love for truth is wrong just as giving up truth for a different definition of love is also wrong.  The best way to know the difference is to cling to God. Pick up Jesus' words and look at them.  Study them, practice them.

Then, step out and live what Jesus lived.  Go find the Olive in your office, in your family, or even just in the back pew of the church, and be their friend, even if they squawk and have unusual habits.  That doesn't make them less valuable, particularly to our Father.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dooley's Big Adventure

This is Dooley (hi Dooley!)
Dooley is a former boarder who is now on the road with his people.  In a motorhome, that is!  With a penchant for routine and familiarity, it is an understatement to say that he is outside his comfort zone.  His owners tell me his ears flatten and his body shakes with certain pings the RV makes.  Every now and then, he chews out of anxiety.

It's not easy to do new things.  It IS easy to do the same thing over and over - go nowhere new, do nothing challenging.  When a dog comes to the kennel the first time, it may not be their favorite thing to do, but generally by their second time, they have a sense of confidence because they were able to successfully endure being away from home.  It is the same for us.

At this beginning of March, think of some new things you can do that will challenge you socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Maybe they are four different things.  Maybe they are all one thing at the same time. 

Our human weakness is to always seek comfort the easy way.  There's something to be said for routine, but sometimes a person needs a kick in the pants.  Examine what that may be for you, and go do it.

God has allowed us enormous privilege to live in a country that allows us to do a variety of activities.  He does want us to enjoy and challenge ourselves.  It is His gift.  And He will be with us in all things.