Monday, December 31, 2012
My chocolate labs, they keep me sane, they keep me responsible.
If it weren't for them I may never vacuum with my friend Mr. Dyson. I may have never learned the importance of measuring kibble.
I may never find the cold wind hit me in the face when I open the sliding glass door every morning. I may never see eight chocolate paws running across the snow. I may never yell out my back door "Go Potty!" for all the neighbors to hear.
I may never be nudged by a chocolate head to be reminded "I am here to love".
My chocolate labs remind me, life goes on. They remind me that though problems are small or great, "I still need fed, I still need let out, I still need attention and love."
They remind me.......to live.
2012 was a year of many things. A year of change, a year of silence. A year of heartache, a year of joy. And every year we hope and wish for a year that is one of good things happening, like movie scenes flashing across the screen with happy music in the background.
And I have learned that living is for one day at a time. That sorrow will not skip me, but neither will joy. That trials will happen, but so will blessings. That this life is meant to live. To live in the fullest, to breathe in the moments, moments of happiness, and the moments that teach us through hard things.
And so I end 2012, telling myself....that no matter what happens in life....LIVE...for each day is new with mercies. Each day is fresh.....waiting for memories to be made...like my own movie.....where Jesus is the Creator, Producer, and Director. Where He guides and gives me a life.....that through His eyes my life is just what He has allowed it to be. To Live..to Enjoy.
Monday, December 17, 2012
When I saw this picture in it's original form I saw pieces of my life.
With the churches along the fire place mantle. The chocolate lab laying on the floor. The blanket draped over the couch. One of NayNay's bones. The couch that seems to fit me just right as well as leaving enough room for the big chocolate goofy one, Zeke, to curl up with me.
It has flattened with all my comfy sitting. That couch is one of my happy places. I find myself there watching tv while folding laundry.
And then there was the quote, that I barely noticed. Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much.
I never really paid much attention to this photo..... "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much."
Friday, December 14, 2012 we were all reminded of that. To live well, laugh often, love much.
If you saw the news as I saw it you were at one point relieved to see only one had died. Then one turned to twenty-eight deaths, and then twenty of them were children, and then a whole class was gone.
And then you thought of Christmas presents unopened. You thought of family Christmas cards just sent. You thought of empty rooms and empty beds. You thought of empty hearts.
I don't know what these families would say, what these children would say if they could speak.
I am reminded though that each day is a gift. That each loved one is a gift.
When we complain about work, traffic or rain. When we gripe about messy rooms, laundry piles, and dirty dishes. When we grumble over lost items or lack of time to finish a project. This is when we must remember to live well, laugh often, and love much.
I cannot offer wisdom or answers. I do not know your experience. I do not know your exact need.
But I know my God, and I pray to my God....and He knows you, and He knows your heart and hurts.
So I pray....for Sandy Hook. For families. And in thinking of those families I think of thousands of families sitting in hospital rooms this Christmas season....praying over their own loved ones.
May you find time to Live Well, Laugh Often and Love Much.
God's biggest gifts are often little and it's the details that help us see....help us to live well...make us laugh often.....and inspire us to love much.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Nay-Nay does not handle stress well. She flees from it. One night Zeke had a seizure that seemed worst than most and harder for him to fully recover from. After a seizure I have to keep him calm so that he doesn't rush to stand before his legs are ready. One night Zeke's seizure was scary enough that Nay-Nay left the room and crawled in her bed with her bone. The picture above is how I found her.
I was driving down the road listening to Christmas music, watching the girl in the car next to me shove a piece of pizza in her mouth. She looked like she was on a road trip, possibly to visit with family. The roads were wet and the the air was cold. It felt like Christmas.
I don't understand how things can "feel" like Christmas. Every other winter day that is just as cold in January and February we don't say...."It feels like Christmas".
Feeling like Christmas....when the music plays and it seems happy and everything seems happy and I think to myself how can this be duplicated? Will listening to Christmas music in March bring the same kind of blissful happy feeling.
I get Nay-Nay. Stressful situations do not feel like Christmas. I understand going upstairs to bed and curling up with my favorite "bone". I always call it my "happy place".
Today as I un-wrap Tuesday I am reminded to unwrap every day like it is Christmas. Since I unwrapped last Tuesday....a friend loses their beloved pet, a brother dies too young, an uncle is suddenly gone.....grief and loss. Pain. Life.
These are all reminders that we should unwrap every day like it is Christmas. We may not have the music, the lights, the baked goods...but we can still live it. We can still have the joy of Christmas.
My happy place doesn't have to be "curled up in bed with my bone" but my happy place can be every day. In the seat of my car, in the chair at my desk, in the pew at church and cuddled on the couch with my chocolate ones.
Hard times have passed, hard times will come....but the feeling of Christmas cannot be beat by the JOY of CHRIST during difficult days.
Whatever you are going through, may YOU find the JOY of CHRIST.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Utter Rebellion. These chocolate ones are totally rebelling against getting their photo snapped. It would've made such a great picture too. But nope!
So you say, "Why isn't she just calling their names?" That's because they are trained. When a name is called that means "come here". If they are outside running around (or in Nay's case digging holes) and I call their names they come to me. When they are in the house and I call their name they gallop to me, you can hear them rumbling as they come, two chocolate labs tripping over each other, in a hurry. Usually because there is something in it for them. A treat (actually meds wrapped in cheese) or even just some attention.
Sometimes, when I yell for "ZEKE", my hubby hears "Steve" and he answers. :)
When I am in absolute and utter rebellion in this life HE calls my name. We so often forget how God knows our hearts and our feelings. We get angry and upset about whatever has come our way and we don't want to talk to Him about it. I have been reminded lately though that He already knows how I feel. Whether it be that "this seems unfair" or "I've got it under control"....God already knows that's where we are...and He's calling our name. He is saying "talk to me".
We think our hearts must be perfect when we come before God. Though we have approached him for salvation, we try to be the "perfect Christian" as we approach his throne.
He doesn't need perfect from us as He is the one who perfects us.
So we should go to Him with our rebellious hearts and ask Him and share with Him the feelings. Hebrews 4:15 says "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points temped like as we are, yet without sin."
Have you ever said, "I wish you understood how I really feel." "I wish you knew exactly how much I love you." "I wish you understood."
Well HE DOES. He knows, He loves, He understands.
He is calling your name.
I want to be like my labs, rumbling in a hurry to see God's Hand, to see what He has, to get the LOVE that only He is possible to give.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Today I am taking on the challenge of unwrapping Tuesdays. Finding the gifts in today. Sometimes I'm like NayNay and I get a bit OCD and don't enjoy the little things in life. Sometimes I'm like Zeke and I'm all in a hurry trying to soak everything up that I miss the little things.
Knowing I would unwrap Tuesday's gifts my mind has been like Zeke, running all over the place trying to find some awesome gift I could blog about. Hmm, air-conditioner frozen up (we like it cold even in winter), woke up with a headache, should've changed lanes earlier because now I'm making people mad trying to squeeze-in so I can turn right. Mornings are never smooth for this night owl.
In the end of all my messy thinking I just decide I am so grateful for THIS Christmas. I have had some hard winters. For some the Christmas season is when people push away all the hard things and forget about them, but some hard things you have to live every day. You worry that one bad day will lead to a worse day. Your worries consume you. Our home is affected by seasonal depression and Christmas does not allow us to push away this hard thing, we can't just forget about it for the sake of Christmas.
And then I think of families I know, those with cancer, those who have been fighting it for years, those who are just now fighting it. Those who are tired of fighting it.
Life is hard. And just when you think you are the "good girl" and deserving because you did "good things" you realize you are not deserving of anything. That God serves you life and as His child your response says what kind of child you are. This is not the life I planned but this is the life God has given me. He knew I could find the gifts in it, He knew I could have the joy. For some reason, this Christmas I am seeing His gifts more than I usually do. It is not something I can point at or even list, but it is a joy that quietly rests within.
So today, when I un-wrap Tuesday, I don't see anything I can hold in my hand, but I am reminded of Who can hold me in His hand, and I find JOY in tuesday and everyday.
(You can also unwrap tuesdays with me, visit Chatting At the Sky with Emily Freeman)