Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Outside Cover

A lab is recognizable by it's look.  It is amazing though how underneath that fur and that bark are always a different dog with a different personality.

I read a book recently, it scared the living daylights out of me!  I kept waiting for that happy ending and it never came.  It only got worse.  If you've read it, I'm sure you know the feeling, it's written by a contemporary author....and is about a school shooting and two childhood friends who grow up to be in different social circles in highschool.  I have to admit I skipped about 200 pages to the end to finish it early.  I'm glad I did because I would've really hated it more if I didn't.  I didn't sleep well that night.

It was really about being different, being accepted, being who you are and not being judged by the outside cover.  I admit I keep my blogs vague.  I read somewhere that you should keep it straight and personal but I don't like blabbing my whole life in a blog.  Too many nosy aquaintenances who think they are my friend. 

So what's on my cover?  I laugh thinking about it!  I imagine some picture a cover with my life as it happened 6 months ago.  Oh, six months ago was a different life and a wonderful turning point for us.  Some people imagine a cover from 7 years ago...if you knew me then it was completely different. 

If I could cover my book it would have a collage of pictures.  Pictures that represent my past, my present, and what might be my future.  You would see the faces of those who have loved me unconditionally; and you might see pictures of those who have taught me what or who I do not want to be. You might se my life as always been recongizable by the places I've lived. 

There would be things you could not see: my beliefs, my faith, my questions.  You would not see the God that had brought me through those pictures...the thread that pull these all together to form a patchwork of art...good pieces, bad pieces...all in one piece. 

What's interesting is the outside cover rarely shows the depth of the inside.....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Picket Fences

I have friends who HATE facebook, they say it's depressing.  You know, scrolling through every one's lives.....their cute houses, their perfect children, their ideal marriage...their white picket fences.  I know some of my friends really have cute houses, great children and a great husband.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not underselling them, I know it's out there and you have to be grateful....but it seems there are some who seriously exaggerate.  I think some people make up these white picket fences...or they purposely leave out the parts of the fences that are broken.

What I always find interesting are those updates where everyone complains and spills their guts.  I always find it amusing and I know everyone is saying, "I can't believe she's putting this stuff all over facebook!".  You know the ones who yell about their ex-boyfriend, or complain about their job.  The weird thing is, those are the people who are REAL.  Truthfully, I am quite private myself.  I don't need for my daily goings on to pop up as gossip in the church circles or to attend a class/family reunion and have people ask me about how things are going with "your last status update."  Anyways, I think "I'm going on vacation" equals "come rob my house".

It is just necessary that we all have some type of fence to guard what is behind it.  What is your fence?  Is it really you I am reading about?  Not many will say..."I got in the biggest fight with my best friend yesterday and I've defriended her!".  (insert chuckle). 

Still thinking on my fence but I hope that you see what is real.....well, what I allow you to see anyways ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Whatcha Hidin' Under There?

Naomi likes to hoard the raw hides (we call them chewies).  I remember one day I was at my parents with Zeke and their labs Peyton and Daffy and each lab got to have a chewey.  They are so hyper when they are together but Nay often sneaks to a corner.  That day Nay noticed each lab was forgetful of their own and slowly she would go to each chewey and take them over to the living room to her own corner.  Next thing you know she had 4 full chewies.  This picture shows you all the cheweys she was probably hiding from Zeke, under the bed. 

So if you had a stash you could hide what would it be?  I think we all have things we "hide".  I have a few friends that I consider "unconditional".  I feel like I can tell them anything about myself, my faith, my feelings and they would love me no matter what.  That they would not judge me and that they would accept me wherever I may be.  These friends are the ones that I can call on no matter what is going on in my life.  These are the friends that I don't have to hide from.
I am glad that our God is unconditional.  Even if we want to hide something from Him, we cannot.  The most wonderful thing about God is that He is the One that truly does understand us.  Our actions and reactions, whether right or wrong.  He is ever compassionate towards us and cares for us as His children.  I am glad that God is unconditional and loving, that He wants to cradle me in the palm of His hand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

After the Rain


It rained today. I couldn’t help but think how glad I am that it is raining. My flowers that I planted last week need this rain to survive. Every flower I have ever bought for the summer, has died within weeks and I am determined that this year it will last. This is the first year that I actually planted some in the ground so I think it might work (if I water it like I should).

I read today in “Streams in the Desert” by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman that instead of looking at the rain you need to look at the daffodils that will bloom in result of the rain. Instead of seeing the storm, see the blessings that have yet to come.

I am one of those that have a difficult time seeing the blooms yet to come. I believe our human hearts like to wallow in our pain. Have you ever seen a dog wallow? The first dog I ever saw a dog wallow was a weimeraner named Cole. Our neighbors in Tennessee had him. He loved to get out in the mud and just roll in it. I could hear his master, in her sweet southern accent yelling at him…”COLE, COLE, stop it!”

Our human hearts like to wallow in our own pain, to not look for the daffodils yet to come. I think it is just hard to see past tomorrow. To know what is yet to come. I often do not understand the ways of God and His doings, and it is then that I have to focus purely on Him, that He does have control. “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” This verse is just as applicable to the Christian who lives their life like there is no God. To be in despair as if God is not in control. So often when things go wrong we wonder why God is doing this to us but we don’t wonder what God has yet to do for us. We are quick to blame but not quick to praise. Keep praying for the daffodils that are yet to come. Maybe your daffodil is just around the corner.

Words that Matter

(06/14/2010) Expressing yourself. I am not sure that words are always adequate but yet we use words to describe how we feel. My husband and I have an ongoing joke. Instead of saying “You look great” we’ll say things like “You look like a champion” we might say something like “you look like a gold medalist” or “you look like a Stanley Cup Winner”. A play on words I guess you would say.

Sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes we express ourselves through emotional outbursts….laughter, tears, screaming. Sometimes our emotions are so overwhelming that all we can do is be silent.

I often wonder what it is to get in the mind of my chocolate labs. The curiosity of Zeke and the maturity of Naomi would give such interesting life views. I know I would realize the importance of walking them, playing with them, feeding them, loving them. Though I cannot get in their minds, though they cannot express this to me with words, I still know what they need.

Words are used to communicate effectively to others what needs to be communicated. Some people are gifted with saying just the right thing at the right time, they write Hallmark Cards. Some people are able to couple the gift of speaking with the gift of compassion, offering to someone hurting, just the right thing to sooth the hurting heart. Then there are those whose “gift of gab” lays out a place of danger to themselves and to others. Not thinking before they speak, gossiping about others, repeating things that should not be repeated.

It is amazing how words can be used to sooth or to burn, to comfort or to hurt, to help or to cause grief. I remember in high school my English teacher always talked about “filler” words. Words used in a report just to fill the blank space. In Bible College, I remember pondering on “vain” words. Words that was empty and meaningless.

I have learned in my short life how important it is to watch your words, to choose carefully your conversation. With today’s technology of blogs and facebook updates, it is even more important as our lives are openly advertised to the world.

As I write this I remember words I regret, I also recall the words that have been repeated about me or my family; the hurt and the pains that have been caused by the unruly tongue. I also remember the words of comfort and encouragement that have been so often given to me in days that seemed dark. I am thankful for those who have chosen their words so carefully.

I hope that I can make my words matter…..James 3

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can You?

I am a "Survivor" fan.  I've recently been watching the "Heroes vs. Villians" series and am amazed at how comparable it is to real life. 

I remember the episode where a "Hero", Candice, turned "Villian".  She wanted immunity and so she traded sides.  She "back-stabbed" or "deceived" her Hero tribe to gain the possibility of "safety" by joining the Villians.

I remember when her hero teammate voted her off, Colby said "I can honestly say, I am proud of the way that I have played this game, can you?". 

So I think about life itself.  I have recently worked in an atmosphere that would be best described as "toxic".  I have learned that this atmosphere turns people to do things that is completely out of their character.  To change their principals, in order to "survive"....for each person "survival" means something different, but "survival" is important.

Today, I was rescued.  God rescued me from having to make decisions that are against the nature that He has born inside me.  I can honestly say, that I am PROUD of the way that I played the game.  I thank God that He found a way....He found an out for me.  He found a place for me to RISE ABOVE.  To no longer be contaminated by the ways of those that chose the path of the "villian".

Not only is my name at stake, but when my name is at stake, the Lord's name is at stake.  I have a long journey ahead...but I believe that God takes care of me.  That He will continue to bless the road I am journeying on.  So today, I praise Him. 

It is true....God let me see beyond the trees.  I don't just see him in the good, I see him in the difficult trying times.  You can never know true forgiveness, until you have sinned.  You can never know true grace, until you know trials.  You can never know you've been rescued.....until you find yourself drowning.  His ways are above our ways.

Comfort of a Lab

The comfort of a lab.  Anyone who has a lab, and lives with a lab, knows the comfort of a lab.  After a long day I crawl into bed to have my lab curl up next to me.  I know that Nay and Zeke are often comforted by our presence, but I wonder if they know how comforted I am by theirs?

As I am on my way home from work each day I think of the comforts at home.  I think of my husband and my labs waiting for me.  Greeting me with love and affection.  Unconditional love is priceless.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wreaking Havoc

Zeke is my mail sorter.  At least he was when he first started living "outside" his crate.  Now he picks and chooses his "chew toys".  Chewed up my favorite "Clark" sandles the other day.  All I can do is sigh....what else do I expect?

I sit here as Naomi is walking circles around the hall ways.  We have two hallways that run parallel to each other.  One connects the dining room to the kitchen/living room/greatroom.  The other connects the living room/great room/kitchen to the front door.  She is circling...because the air pressure is changing.  Sometimes she switches directions and goes the other way.  She is "pacing".  (Zeke is chewing a bone in the corner..should take it away since he's on a diet)

Don't most of us pace when we're nervous?  I'm not sure why we do it.  I think sometimes we wreak havoc in our own lives with our pacing and worrying.  To "wreak", or "to inflict or execute".  Do we cause ourself our own worries sometimes? 

Naomi is quiet, she leaves very little "mess" in our home, but we are often spending time with her, comforting her, as she wreaks havoc upon herself over these storms.  Zeke, he demands attention for a different reason and that's because he wreaks havoc in our home.  I have to clean up the mess he leaves behind because he certainly can't.  (well, I don't want to leave it there for him to eat, and then poop it out later).

So I need the self-discipline to not wreak havoc upon myself.  To inflict myself with unecessary worry or fear.  To execute pain and hurt.  I know the Lord said to hold my peace and He will fight for me.  I wish I could see the battle raging and therefore the victory would be easier to see.  I know He has a plan, and he can see what happens in the end.  I wish He would show it to me. 

But patiently I wait....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

God in the Trees

I wish I had some profound story to tell of the simple life of labs but today it seems that I cannot. I sat on my front porch today, remembering to 'be still'...and to 'know God'. I sat in silence, in the white rocker where I often sit and listen to music as I consume the latest book or novel I may be reading. I sat there....without music....without books....looking for God in the trees.

You see, I have always found great peace in the power of God when looking at nature. There is a beautiful tree in our neighbor's yard that has flowered and now transforming into leaves. I should see God's power, I should see His presence, but today, I could not see God in the trees.

I saw the wind blow...and I thought, God, are you showing me yourself in the wind? We all know the old example of God being like the wind. Today, the wind was not enough. So, I closed my eyes in the black silence and asked God to reveal Himself. I am seeking the peace that only He can give.

Steve has encouraged me in ways that he can, my parents have sent words of encouragement in time of need, but I realize that though my family is a gift that often only God is enough, that only God can quench the thirsting soul. I remember Psalm 77....I remembered two words "cannot speak". David tells of a period in his life where he is so overwhelmed his soul refused to be comforted. Lately I am living this battle ground. I am asking God to give me grace, to give me peace, to remember HE is in charge.

I often wonder why the wicked do prosper? What of the concept sowing and reaping?

I know God is telling me to rest. I think God wants me to look beyond the trees. To see God not in something, but to see God when there is nothing.

God, please give me a miracle. Please show me the hope that only you can give.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


There's a way we say "TIRED" in our house when we are really tired. We say it will two syllables instead of one. It is said with the slight east Tennessee accent that my husband has, it is "Tie-urd".
Tonight we just got back from dinner at mom and dad's. We took Zeke and Naomi to play with Daffy and Peyton. That is always an adventure. As I type this Zeke is laying across my lap, absolutely exhausted. Nay is somewhere in the house, a corner I assume, more than likely sleeping. I would say they are dog-tired.
They spend most of their time running in the yard, wrestling, playing, barking, and then of course, begging. Generally they don't beg for food but they know good food when they smell it.
Sometimes in life we spent so much time in life running around that we forget to stop and take a break and rest. Rest is often what we need to get through the week, the situation, the day. My father tells this illustration of when he was in the Marines, serving in the First Gulf War known as Desert Storm. As he explains Psalm 23, he talks about how throughout the war he cannot remember a night where the Lord did not give him a peaceful rest. Though the place was dangerous, the times difficult, away from family, and literally a place of war...God gave him rest.
I can think of no better illustration than that. As Zeke has now found himself curled up at the end of the couch, I believe he is getting real rest. I know that I have heard that God grants grace in time of need and it is so true, but people often forget to add that along with GRACE is REST. A rest that you can wake up from refreshed and at peace. Along with REST is JOY. Along with JOY is LAUGHTER. Along with LAUGHTER is LOVE. Along with LOVE is PEACE and many, many more blessings God has in store.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Crack in the Door

This picture is so old! It was the first year we had Naomi, at our home in Lenoir City, Tennessee. She was a "runner" as I like to call it. She'd see a crack in a door and she'd go jetting down the driveway with her ears flapping in the wind. I remember one time she turned around and looked at me on her way down, as if she were laughing at me. We had to keep her leashed up in the yard back then. Today it is different, she is older and wiser, and well.....wearing a shock collar for the electric fence. Truthfully, she is just more obedient.
One morning she got away without me noticing. She was leashed up but somehow, her collar broke and she started wandering the neighborhood. I was crazy enough to chase after her in my pajamas, barefoot, in the mud (as the subdivision was still fairly new). She's a stubborn one that's for sure.
And yet, I love the stubborn girl. I remember not being a "dog person". I couldn't pet a dog without washing my hands. Now I let them lay on me, lick me, and live in my house! I never understood the loss of a pet. Now the thought of losing Nay or Zeke brings tears to my eyes. Such love a little companion can bring.
I am glad, that even though I am the stubborn girl, running through the crack in the door, turning around laughing.....that my Master still loves me, inspite of me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dancing in the Rain

I remember when we first got Zeke. Seeing the world through his eyes was always exciting. I've never had a puppy so I'm not sure if all puppies react the same way.
The first time it rained the little guy danced around in the rain. It was the kind of rain that dropped in large drops, but in a slow uneven pattern. It would hit him in the behind and he'd twist around. it would hit him in the head and he'd twist the other way. He bounced around as I stood there laughing. Rain doesn't bother him anymore. He just goes out in it as if it is expected.
Naomi is different. Any kind of storm just absolutely frightens her. She knows it by the pressure in the air.
I'd like to view a storm the way Zeke does. Dancing in the rain, curious about what's happening. Not frightened a bit. When we remember whose in charge of the rain we can rest, but sometimes we fret as we run for shelter or search for an umbrella. Life's storms are not always easy but God can give us reason to dance in the rain. To still enjoy the journey he gives. God has given me a good life, a life that reminds me of His goodness and love for me. The blessings he has granted me through Godly friends and family has shown me the "BLESSINGS" he bestows. When God allows a dark rain cloud to enter my life, I know that He still gives me reason to dance in the rain.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Who's Walking Whom?

With spring here, Naomi and I have been walking. (Zeke is still in leash-training). I love walking with her. Sometimes she challenges me and makes me walk faster. Sometimes she makes me stop so she can smell every other dogs pee on the way. It's been good because walking is "our time". Zeke is so young he consumes so much of us at home.

They say sometimes the dog walks us. Naomi is much like that. She pulls me every which way and I am often trying to get her back on course. I have a course I want to take, a speed I want to go, a direction I am headed....but Naomi often has other plans. After our first walk my arms hurt from all the pulling. I often have to remind her who is boss!

I think the Lord is that way with me. He wants to lead me and instead I have my own agenda. I pull along the way and insist we stop where I want to stop. Naomi is independent, and I often act the same way. I want to go a different path and the Lord knows exactly where we are headed, but I fight it at times. How easy a walk through life would be if we would do so submissively. Letting God lead us down the road, stopping where He sees fit. Sometimes as humans we want to take things in our own hands and go the path WE choose. If we allow him to lead us, though at times through puddles, up hills, down hills, crossing heavily trafficked roads....we would see the blessings He has in store.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Stitches

A few weeks ago my Zekester had an "episode". We are still not sure what his "episodes" really are. The vet says that Zeke is possibly borderline epileptic and when he bumps his head he has a seizure. Well, we've had two instances where this has happened. The first was in the middle of the night. I was at my parents and Steve was out of town. Zeke jumped up in the middle of the night, ran straight into the heater tower and then a chair and then started seizing. A few weeks ago he did it again, except I was sleeping I just heard him running around and then Steve yelled for me, he was laying at the bottom of the stairs bleeding. It scared us! Four-hundred dollars later he is well. I have no idea what happened. Of course, the 6.5 years of experienced marriage allowed Steve and I to disagree :). With all of our Internet medical training Steve and I have differing opinions in what happened. Steve thinks that he hit his head and then seized, I think that he knows when he's about to seize and he flips out and starts running until it happens. (In which he fell down the stairs). Needless to say, Zeke doesn't seem to care. He goes on living life without a care in the world. Gotta love the life of a dog.
So Zeke is "in stitches". Don't you love cliches? "In stitches" means several things. It can mean "to fasten or join as if with stitches" or it can mean "laughing uncontrollably". Which do you think is Zeke? I really believe if he could "LAUGH OUT LOUD" the dog would. If he could "skip" he'd do it all the time. He practically bounces when he walks. Even when carrying that package of Ritz crackers I left on the table.
Lately my friend Lori has been sending me scriptures to encourage me through my day. It has me "in stitches". It is true that God's Word can really sooth the soul. It can take my wounds and ever so carefully stitch them up to help them heal. It is like medicine that heals. God's Word is truly powerful and everlasting. It is good that His promises cannot fail us and though sometimes one verse speaks to us more than another, if we search long and hard enough God will give His answer. I'm so glad for the stitches of the Word of God to help heal my hurting heart. I am also thankful for the friend who helps administer the stitches. :)
I am grateful to God for the laughing and the love that life can bring. Thankful for the labs that keep me laughing uncontrollably and for the friends that help heal the wounded, hurting heart when needed. Thankful for all the "stitches".

Monday, March 29, 2010

Silence Speaks Louder

My Zeke is now 80+ lbs. Boy do I have stories and pictures to post. Naomi is still my demanding diva, but I love her. She's cuddly at one minute and wants alone time the next. Zeke is the "follower". Whatever room I am in, he is in. Wherever I sit, he will sit. He is "my dog".

In spite of their different personalities there is one trait they both posess that I can never seem to measure. LOYALTY. I wish that every human being could posess the same quality of undeniable loyalty that comes in a dog.

Forget to feed them: forgiving me. Neglect to play with them: loving me. Failure to walk them: wanting me. There is nothing like the love of a dog. And so I wonder if my own human traits, one of wife, daughter, sister, friend....can i even begin to posess such LOYALTY?

My life has recently been posessed of unthinkable circumstances. We never imagine things happening to "us", and yet they do. I have found that it has brought me to view life differently, to view people differently.

Silence does speak louder than words. Sometimes, silence is defeaning. Sometimes, I have found it to be the most painful than the word mis-spoken. Simple words..."I'm praying for you"...."Just saying Hi"...are often filled with so many meanings. It can be 'JUST ENOUGH'. And filled with so much. Silence does speak louder than words. Sometimes just enough "words" to leave a hurting heart.

Thankfully, my dogs silence speak loudly of loyalty. I believe if they could speak to me they would say just the words I needed to hear for the day.

I hope that I can remember to pray when needed, speak when called for, and love like I should. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." I pray God help me have those words "fitly spoken" when someone in my "family" needs it most.