Thursday, December 22, 2016

Evidence of Cat Dancing

For years when Dooley was young and the pond was frozen, I'd catch him chasing leaves (or imaginary fragments of fascination) over the ice.  He seemed to take great joy in sliding, pouncing, and creeping up on his prey on this unusual surface.  But like so many cats, if he suspected anyone witnessing him frolicking with such abandon, he stopped and acted like he would never participate in such undignified behavior.  Sort of like Fonzie.

But Dooley is older now and he doesn't go outside much.  Yet Tuesday I noticed these:

A definite pattern led up these random paw prints on the ice.

Perhaps Dooley is out there dancing when no one is looking.

It's easy to feel jaded about Christmas.  Maybe we think if we believe such an unlikely story of a virgin giving birth to the Messiah of the world, we'll be seen as undignified, incapable of doing something so very ordinary and silly.

But who would make up such an outlandish tail?

Doesn't our heart yearn to have wonder and mystery?  To think maybe there is in fact a God so very powerful that He does miracles?  A God so loving that he would sacrifice his own son for a bunch of ungrateful people?

Love can make us dance, just as wonder tickles our toes with chilling sensations.

So go ahead.  Dance.  No one is watching.

And wonders of His Love..

And wonders of His Love...

And wonders, wonders, of His Love.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Racing Out on Uneven Ground

Before I could stop her, Tilly raced out to chase the birds resting in the field.
Recently, the farmers tilled up the soil, and it was extremely lumpy.  However, Tilly, being a dog who doesn't exactly evaluate conditions, assumed the ground was as even as it's always been and set out at high speeds to pursue the birds.

While Tilly is generally terrible at listening to me, the one command she obeys well is the "Come" command.  I yelled and she stopped and returned, but not before knocking her doggie elbows and came back with a limp.  Fortunately, there was no lasting damage.  I knew this immediately because Tilly is a wimp and very vocal about any pain she has.  And since she wasn't wimpering and being dramatic, I knew she'd live to annoy me another day.

How many times do we pursue something at a dead run, not considering the terrain and consequences?  I don't know about you, but occasionally I toss my normal level headed thinking in order to pursue some "flights of fancy" (as a friend put it).  Inevitably, this results in a figurative twisted ankle and pain.  And yet I don't seem to recall this the next time opportunity arises.  I set out on uneven ground.

Unlike me, an almighty Savior knows about our temptations and trials.  He knows what it is like to be weak.  While Jesus withstood the most unfair situations and the most alluring temptations, He remembered what His Father was about, kept His mission in mind, and thought of Others (that's us, y'all) before Himself.

We may be weak, but we are understood by our Creator.  He evens out the tough trials, even when we've raced out in front of Him.

There is Thanksgiving.  There is Christmas, the Joy of New Life. 

May it be yours, as much as it is mine.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

She Drives Me Crazy

(Cue the Fine Young Cannibals Tune)

Of course, this refers to the "I'm-eight-years-old-but-still-act-like-I'm-six-months-old" Matilda.
Happily, I do not know which boy-band character that toy is supposed to resemble.  And of course Tilly doesn't care whose face she chews.  This applies to humans as well as stuffed animals.

Despite a basic obedience class and eight years of consistent rule reinforcement, Tilly knows when she can ignore very specific instructions.  She's smart enough to know the expectation, and savvy enough to know that if I'm not hovering over her and following her around, she can get away with devouring that which is not food.  So what if it may result in parasites, not to mention toxic fumes, she wants what she wants.

I no longer need coffee because every day begins with my calm tone quickly turning to shrill and barely contained shrieks and hisses at Tilly provide enough adrenalin to wake me up.  It's exhausting and it doesn't exactly do much for creating and maintaining a warm bond.

"Why do you insist on doing what you know you should not do?" I ask, only to hear the same question echo back to me.  Hasn't God asked me the same thing?  Why DO I choose to follow my own way, specifically ignoring that which may harm me, because it's not what I want? 

Unlike me, God, having that whole long-suffering thing, doesn't lose his temper, yell shrill comments and come unglued (ahem).  He knows we are weak.  Hopefully, we realize he is forgiving.  Hopefully, we realize that real change only comes from relying on Him to create the internal work we can't really do ourselves.

While I, at times (many), can't understand why Tilly willfully disobeys me, it doesn't take much for me to realize I am guilty of the same tendencies.  It's not one of the things I'd like to have in common with my dog.  I'd rather it be charm and enthusiasm, though she has very little of the first and too much of the second.

The good news is there is hope for Tilly, like a shorter leash and supervision.  There's hope for me too, like keeping myself more closely tethered to God.  There's hope for you too.