Saturday, May 28, 2011


Tonight is a night of thanks.   I think tonight of those that have been affected by disaster this year.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes...and so far I have only named natural disasters.  We are nearing the halfway point in 2011 and the constant flow of natural disaster will not stop.  I think of the many feet of snow and ice that hit this winter.  I think of the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand that seems ages ago but was just 3 months ago.  (February 22, 2011).  How, in a world of so much pain can we give thanks?

I have been  motivated by Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts to give thanks every day.  I call it "My Eucharisteo, My Journey of Thanks."  I make myself stop and thank God for something.   Sometimes I have to make myself look for it.  A ray of light in the window, a flower blooming in an unexpected place, dust...yes dust.  Sometimes though I find myself searching to see God in something when I am reminded that sometimes, God wants me to see him in nothing.  Sometimes, when all is stripped away it is so we can see Him.

I do not know why God allows disaster and I do not believe it is always made to "teach a lesson", but the truth is God always wants us learning.  God always wants us looking for Him.

I thank God for my day.  As I planted flowers in my small flower bed and spread mulch, I told myself no music, no ipod...just me, mulch, and God.  I felt if I could block out the congested sounds of this world I might be able to enjoy God in what was around me.  People talking, lawn mowers running, dogs barking, wind blowing, cars going by....and so I thank God for today.  For the simple things in life.  Smell of mulch that reminded me of my childhood in Japan, long summer lights that remind me of camping in the backyard as a child, the fact that I can get on my knees and crawl under a Japanese maple to spread mulch, watermelon on the back porch, warm fuzzy blanket, water, sunshine (even if it is peeking), love, family, memories.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Zeke needs walking.  It is not just his extra 10 pounds but his behavior.  Tearing things up in the house, getting territorial, needy for attention.  With spring here I felt it was time to leash him up and take him out.  Monday night was the perfect night.  A storm had just passed and the evening was just cool enough to enjoy without a jacket. The wind was perfect. 

Since Zeke is leash training we do a lot of zig-zag.  (No special dance or anything.)  Walking from one side of the road to the other, circling the culd-e-sac so he can't figure out where I'm headed.  There was a moment in the evening when Zeke discovered puddles.  As we crossed from one sidewalk to the other....I moved directions quickly...leading him, he'd step in a puddle. After one puddle it suddenly became a game.  He'd get so excited that within just two bounds his ears would flop up in the air.  He was so excited with the splash.  Puddles created happiness.

I have never looked at a puddle as happiness.  I wasn't the kind of child splashing around in the rain so a puddle to me was...a puddle.  Rain pooled into one spot until the sun came out and dried it all up. 

After a storm passes we have puddles.  Residual storm so to speak.  Left overs.  A storm in life doesn't just pass over and "poof"'s done and life can move on.  It leave behind reminders of grace. It leaves behind scars.  It leaves behind reminders of what God has done.  Your puddle may be sparkling in the sun or sitting by the drain with black gravel throughout.  But truthfully, your puddle is happiness. 

Like Zeke is willing to pass through a puddle eagerly and enjoy what the storm has left behind, enjoy your puddle and be reminded of what God has done.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Zeke begs in multiple ways. One way is by staring.  Wanting to go outside he might just sit at the door and stare.  Wanting to be pet or loved he might set his paw on my knee.  He has "pawed" since the first day we met him.  Watching us eat, well he will have lines of drool from his jowls to the floor.  The drool is NO exaggeration.  He has been lovingly nicknamed "Slobber Bobber" when he does that.

Recently when reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I was reminded of the Bible account of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32.  Sometimes when it has been a while that you've read a passage that is familiar to you, it is easy to forget the details.  God touches the hollow of Jacob's thigh.  He is breaking the strongest muscle and when God says "Let me go." Jacob says "I will not let thee go except thou bless me."  Even though Jacob had been broken, he didn't let go, he held on tight and he begged for blessing.

Sometimes in life I look to remain content.  To be satisfied no matter where my life stands...with or without difficulties, good and bad times.  God wants us to be content, but that doesn't mean we cannot beg for blessing.  To wrestle for it.  To not just "ASK" for it but to hold on tight and fight for it.  Have you asked?  Have you gone beyond asking and begged?  Have you gone beyond begging and wrestled for it?   I like that Jacob did. That even though God "touched the hollow of his thigh" he didn't let go, he begged for God's blessings and afterwards...he saw God's face, because when you see blessings, you see God.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Huggy Thing

Well, if you don't think I'm a bit crazy over my dogs by now...then this will make you sure of it.  Nay is afraid of thunderstorms so I bought her a thundershirt.  The idea behind it is that it applies pressure to relieve anxiety.  Now, if you've ever been around a dog that has severe storm phobia words like blood pressure, trembling, saliva, and heart attack enter your mind at some point or another.  I mean, Nay has literally ended up on top of my head when a storm passes through (and she is very unlike Zeke...Zeke hangs out like he is my siamese twin, Nay...not so much).   So with spring being here I broke down and got her this thundershirt.  See the above picture?  You can tighten it on her to apply pressure.  Steve doesn't think it works but I think it relieves it a "little".  She even gets kind of happy about it.  She calms down much quicker form a storm and I see little improvements here and there.  I think that it will not cure it, but it will help it.

My dad, who I carpool to work with, stops in the house each morning.  He loves my dogs like his own and really comes inside just to see them.  He calls Nay's thundershirt "the Huggy thing".  He says, I think the huggy thing is helping her because she's normally more nervous than this. 

I just love that description.  The huggy thing.  Doesn't it seem to have so much truth in it.  How true that a hug can relieve anxiety and fear.  How it can bring comfort when the storms of life are brewing.  (You can't tell me you didn't see that analogy coming!)

I know that there was a period in my life when I was in college that I was going through a hard time  When I would close my eyes and go to sleep I would imagine that I was curled up in the palm of God.  How safe I felt.  Though God cannot physically "hug" us right now, he does offer hugs to us in so many ways.  He's given me friends and family that hug me when I need it. He's given me promises in the Bible that hug my heart when I feel down.  I imagine, sometimes God has to tighten my huggy thing just like I tighten Nay's.  It's kind of like, you gotta be a bit uncomfortable to truly sense the comfort of God.  So what is God using as your "huggy thing"?  Is it a promise you've claimed before but allowed yourself to forget?  Is it a blessing from today that you did not recognize because it was clouded by storms and turmoil? Was it the presence of a loved one?   I am so glad for "huggy things".  I know, that every day I have to remind myself of the gifts he gives me, I have to notice the gifts because these are just small ways God hugs me.