Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cold of Winter

Don't be surprised.  I did not disappear. What am I doing?  Where have I been?  I have been in a battle.  A battle that has left me annoyed and frustrated.  It is a battle with my laptop! 

I did sit down a few times to blog but I decided the computer is the winner but I finally found a loophole....log in as another user.  I don't think that is in the troubleshooting booklet but, well you know, it works. 

First thing I have to tell you is that I found the BEST EVER BROWNIES!  You have to try the recipe.  It is easy and they really are the best brownies I've ever had.  I mean really, you gotta have your chocolate.  You say-- I am a box brownie kind of girl? Well then here you go-- brownies with a twist.

Next thing I have to share is that Nay still has all her teeth (so far) and Zeke lost 8.5 pounds.  (Did you even know that Nay is missing a tooth?  I'll have to take a photo sometime.)  That's the news on them.  Maybe at some point I'll pedal backwards and blog the adventures we've had since I've been missing.

Our most recent adventure was the 9 inches of snow.  These chocolate labs LOVE snow. As I went through the snapshots it revealed many things (besides the fact that we seriously need to clean our siding on the house.)   The photos even look cold but when I began to look even closer I saw something different.  I saw that even in the cold of winter there is warmth.  There is nothing more cozy then when the cuddler, Zeke, gets up close.  There was a day when I would've made comments about the dog hair or the dog drool but now there is warmth and comfort. 

Sometimes life is just like that, sometimes you are in the cold of winter.  It is bitter cold and layers, gloves and hats don't seem to be enough.  The winds of distress blow like cold winds biting at your skin.  The kind of cold that hurts.  But if you look, and kind of squint, and really concentrate the warmth might come over you.  It might come over you in the form of a promise remembered, a song that uplifts the heart, a hug of a friend, a call from a loved one.  God can surround you with the warmth you need.  Sometimes all you can do is be still because you think if you move, you might break.  What you can do though is let those warm gifts that God brings your way-- in the form of song, promises, hugs, phone calls-- or even the love of a dog-- wrap around you and fill you and bring you comfort.


Unwrap Tuesdays with me and Emily P. Freeman at www.chattingatthesky.com

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Light

The family likes to congregate at my parents house.  We like hanging out downstairs with lawn chairs while the labs (all five when we are together) can run around the yard.  Usually they just park themselves at our feet.  The warmer it would get, the more the bugs would find us so my parents decided to add a patio.  The patio is perfect.  We sit. We drink coffee and tea.  We laugh and play games. 

To add to this spot they hung a string of lanterns.  They are just right.  Just enough light.  Daffy's favorite spot is to lay in the yard underneath the lights. 

We often forget the importance of the Light.  We have heard the Biblical illustrations but we often go about our days just trying to get the chores done and the work day behind us.  We pray, we live, we worship.  We pray that God helps us through this rough patch or for better things ahead.  We pray for health and safety.

And then that day comes when you get that phone call, that someone you care about is very ill, that it is possible they may not see another day.  And you know they don't believe.  Then.....you remember the importance of the Light.  The Light shows us the way in darkness.   We take for granted the very reason we call ourselves believers, we call ourselves Christians.  It is the Gospel Message. That Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to earth, lived a sinless life, died and rose again for US.    That God IS REAL, and knowing that there is a real God-- His message is real and He desires you. 

We are all lost in sin.  We are all short of God.  But He has made a way and it is the Light....it is His Son Jesus Christ.  Suddenly this message was even more critical to me.  More critical for me to share.

I prayed the whole way to the hospital.  I don't want to shove the door open on my own.  When I arrived he was alone.  We chatted, this and that and then I stood beside his bed and I ask him....Have you been thinking about God?  I know you haven't really believed in God. And he tells me, well no it isn't that but I can't wrap my head around it.  So I said you have always been a man of common sense, and well it just isn't common sense.  That is why it is called faith.  I tear up and I tell him, I wouldn't be a real friend if I didn't share it with you.  I call him by name and tell him, you need God, you need Jesus Christ.  So he thinks about it some more, and I pray on it some more.

God has given us the liberty to make our own decision about Him.   To believe or not believe.  It is your choice.

"In whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."  II Corinthians 4:4

It is no surprise God refers to His message as the LIGHT.  When you know Him.....you understand it.  How it can over take the night, what power a little bit of light can have in darkness.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mole Holes

Winter was long and cold.  It seeped into spring and is leaking into summer.  This time last year it was already 90's and this year we are barely 80 degrees Fahrenheit.   Yet it is time to plant the flowers and mulch the flower beds.  To mow the lawn and spray the weeds. 

Then there are those pesky mole holes in our yards.  The dogs love them and NayNay-- my "Hole Digger" likes to go after them.  I remember when she was at my parents house a few years back mom said she looked out the back window and saw Nay's tail and rear end up in the air but her head and rest of her body seemed to be buried in the mole hole as she was digging after the colony. 

She's always been a hole digger.  Our house has a fireplace and that part of the house sticks out.  One summer she was making a habit to dig under it.  I went out one day to find her laying in the hole.  Dust was circling her and Zeke was too big to fit under there with her so he was happily circling around her thinking it was a game.

I put rocks in the hole.  That didn't help.  She still ended up digging.  Sometimes she comes running in the house with dirt on her nose.  I am sure of one thing.  NayNay is having herself a good time outside!  She always looks happy and satisfied when she comes back inside.

There is simplicity in the life of a dog.  How many times have we said-- I wish I had the life of a dog!  Eating, sleeping, playing! 

Nay could be totally annoyed by all the holes in the yard and the critter invading her territory, but instead she digs.  She digs, and while she digs her tail wags left and right telling of her happiness.  

It seems like sometimes life brings us mole holes and they seem to complicate our day and our lives.  We complain and worry.  We often complicate life.  We lie awake at night worrying over problems we cannot control and we engage in mindless activities that take us away from real life events.  We let the mole holes take over our life like they've taken over our yard.

Even when life is difficult there are moments to enjoy the simplicity in life.  Sit on the porch and drink tea.   Walk the dog.  Stop and listen to my husband sing.  Listen to my family laugh.  Try to spot the first lightening bug of the summer.   Deep breaths of honeysuckle air.  Counting gifts.  Watching Nay dig holes instead of trying to stop her, I mean really...if she could get one of those critters maybe there would be less holes? 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter and Candy Baskets

It is Friday before Easter.  I've read the blogs of lent and holy week. I've seen the updates proclaiming today is Good Friday.  I'd like to say Easter crept up on me, but I saw it coming.  I had all the reminders hitting my inbox and my Facebook page.  I saw the chocolate Easter bunny commercials.

The song "Glorious Day" runs through my mind as the thought of Easter flickers again through my mind.  I think of what I will wear, what I will cook.  I wonder of the songs and the message for Sunday.  I realize I'm shallow about all of this.  I should be deeper and more spiritual about the upcoming Easter.  I usually am.  But this Easter I am grateful my life isn't a whirlwind of stress, anxiety, and drama....as many springtime pasts have been.  I'd like to enjoy Easter as if I were a child-- candy baskets, egg hunts, and pretty dresses; Bible lessons on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. 

Don't take me wrong.  I realize the world we live in is not "candy baskets, egg hunts, and pretty dresses".  This world is dressed up in words like financial crisis, war, and hunger. It is plagued with broken homes, lost children, and crumbling marriages.  It is wrapped in anger, depression, anxiety and hopelessness.  It can be dark and sad.  Life is hard.

But yet, we should take the time to enjoy March Madness and planting flowers.  To glimpse at the budding trees and the grass turning new shades of green.  To laugh at the puppies as they run circles in the house and dig for moles outside (while trying not to cringe at muddy paws).

It is Easter, a time to remember the greatest sacrifice of all, the sacrifice of a Savior.  I will relish the Sunday morning service, I will worship the Savior, I will feel a humbling and gratefulness wash over me during the hour as I am reminded of God's love for me.  And when I leave the building, to go to my parents' home, to feast with friends and family--to talk about the service and yes the pretty dresses too....I remember that even these vain little things, that seem so shallow?  God's sacrifice allows me joy in not just Salvation, or the BIG things, but in all the million little things that He gave me....that every detail of my life-- from the Gospel message of the Cross to the candy baskets-- are gifts of joy for me.

Wherever you are today-- whether you are feeling brokenness or healing--may you find Easter a time where you celebrate what God has done, is doing, and will do.  Though our path isn't always clear or understandable--may you find your own "candy basket" where you are reminded of the million little things He is giving you each day.

Happy Easter!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

I read an article yesterday about pets being your valentine.  How yes, there are crazy people who shell out money for their pets on Valentine’s Day. It is the old fashioned kind of love that you can’t text or send an e-mail to.  You can’t call them up (though many of us do) and leave messages of love on your phone.  It’s the kind of love that you actually have to give to them in person.  Kneeling on the floor, rubbing behind their ears, scratching the top of their head.  NayNay will actually let me hug her.  Zeke won’t sit still enough.
I declared to my best friend of 22 years--Kelli—“I am beginning to believe Valentine’s Day is for dating couples and newlyweds.”  
Valentine’s Day was only important to me in the absence of a boyfriend or when love was new. When you are single, somehow Valentine’s Day seems even more important than it really is.  When you are just dating—it’s just exciting to finally have someone to celebrate love with.  Now that I have been married nine-and-a-half years, when I think Valentine’s Day I think over-crowded restaurants and over-priced flowers.   I ask my friends and co-workers what they are doing and the ones that have been married for years often begin the conversation with some word that is more like a noise.."Hmm..nah...".  They may say they went to dinner a couple nights ago or will over the weekend, but to all you starry-eyed single people out there-- us married people were probably already going to go out anyways, we are just calling it Valentine's dinner and to celebrate may even allow ourselves an appetizer. 
So Kelli tells me that Valentine’s Day isn’t important either but she wants to get something for the kids.  Later she texts me and tells me of the flowers and chocolate-dipped strawberries her husband of almost 20 years surprised her with.  She’s weepy and Kelli’s never weepy.   She even takes pictures of it and sends them to me, minus one chocolate covered strawberry she has already eaten.
I have decided to bake Steve a cake and I know he has plans to go out and buy me something small....other than a spice rack ;).  We don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day and truthfully neither I nor Kelli would be disappointed with nothing.  The truth is, we agree that it isn't Valentine's Day that is so special, it's when someone just takes the time to think of us and to do something special.
So for either of us—Valentine’s Day isn’t about the chocolate-dipped strawberries or the chocolate cake (though of course you could never have too much chocolate- strawberries, cakes or labs)!   It’s about the thought, and truth be told it’s really just a day that reminds us to stop and love the one we are with.  So for this Valentine's Day post-- I wish my husband, partner and  valentine...Steve..Happy Valentine's Day.   You and I both know that love isn't about a day but about what we have that gets us through every day, every joy, every trial, and every path in life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


NayNay has always been grey around the muzzle.  Since the day we picked her up from the shelter.   We were told she was two that fall day in 2004.  We seriously doubted it with all that grey but the way she acts at "maybe eleven" makes us believe she would've very well been two.  She still bounces off the walls when she gets to playing.

Now she's grey around the eyes....the grey on her muzzle has grown out a bit.  The grey doesn't bother me since she's pretty much always been grey-- it's the stiffness that bothers me.  How she gets up and stretches after a long lay-- and yet she walks with stiff hind legs across the room. She doesn't seem bothered by it but I notice.  I think we're blessed.  Usually labs show it earlier in life with all their hips and joint issues.

Nay is so little compared to Zeke.  Almost half his size.  When she lays in the bed she looks like a little bear cuddled up in the blankets.  Sometimes when I walk through the room only her eye balls follow me. 

Sometimes I want to lay in my bed forever.  The other night I came home from work and walked straight upstairs and got in bed.  My mind had been playing tricks on me and it was affecting me mentally and physically.  Like I was going to shut down and not move.  Whether it be called an anxiety attack or just a pity party-- one thing was certain-- getting out of bed, stretching, and moving on was going to take initiative on my part.

And so I did-- get out of bed, stretched and moved on.  Steve was sick and sleeping so it was dinner by myself.  I made myself a healthy meal, a hot cup of tea...and watched two hours of Downton Abbey.  Did it help?  Well how could a cup of tea and Downton Abbey not help? 

I think it was one of those things where I had made it difficult on myself.  Though I am still a "young thirty-seven" year old...it seems as I age the battleground of the mind becomes more frequent.  Not panicky over huge things-- but panicky over little.  Why won't my computer work?  How will I ever retire?  I shouldn't be eating these chocolate chips!!!  (BTW....I grabbed a few chocolate chips as I just typed that)

And so the "day to day grind" is now inflicted with the battlefield of my mind.  What do I need?  I need a supplement!  I pop NayNay a supplement to help her each day....stretch those stiff legs.  But it takes her having it every day to get her through.  I need a supplement.

When I was young I thought a Bible verse would always fix things....a prayer would sway my mind in a new direction.  It isn't always that simple.  It's not like aspirin-- take it when you have a headache only...it's more like a vitamin.  You add it every day.  Taking it once may not help immediately--- but a daily supplement will help.  Sometimes it is just saying "My heart is fixed on Thee..." Psalm 57:7  A daily supplement of meditating on God's promises, God's love...and God ALONE.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Am Certain

Zeke.  Chocolate lab.  Loving.  Snow-lover. Snack-lover.  Cuddler. 

I know these things about Zeke.  I am certain of it.  He waits on the porch for me.  To let him, for lets say five minute before he asks me once again to let him out. 

Some people say they are certain of many thing.  I say I am certain of few. 

What I do know is that every day begins and every day ends.  What I do with the hours in between the beginning and the end is my choice.  Life is a journey of many choice.

I began blogging when I found myself in the midst of trials.  Wanting to share my heart but not knowing how.  I shared my blog with no one.  I shared my passion for my labs and slowly began to journal my feelings about God.  They blended along the way and I've noticed how my labs....who cannot speak words...speak to me.

And I know it isn't just my dogs who speak to me.  It is people in my life.  It is circumstances.  It is hard days.  It is messy feelings.  So I stop and I realize God is speaking to me.

A God that no longer speaks verbally, yet so powerfully uses everything else in my life to speak to me.

And what is speaking to you?  Are you letting it speak?  Have you stopped?  Have you listened?

Was it the sunrise?  Was it the wind?  Was it the trees empty of leaves?

Was it the clerk at the store?  Was it the phone call from a loved one?  Was it the pet who cuddled close?

God's speaking to me.  Of that I am certain.  And I notice it only when I listen for the message. 

There is a difference you know?  Listening to the message and listening  for the message.  You have to listen for the message to be able to listen to it.  To know what God wants you to hear.