Monthly Archives: July 2015

Happy Fred

Six years ago, a smelly mess sat on my lap while I snipped away the yuck.  This frail, worn down, elderly dog gratefully looked up at me as I pulled his matted fur up for a snip.  Six weeks this sweet soul and I bonded during this routine at the animal shelter.

My heart broke when I watched this painful process.  He patiently laid there and allowed me to snip away the pain, abuse, and neglect he had suffered to get into this condition.  The day we could finally shave away the remaining fur we came to the realization that probably no one would adopt this old man.  In the real world, older dogs live out their days in the no kill shelters in a cage.  Don’t get me wrong….. the shelter staff love them and care for them as their own pets.  But a forever home rarely happens.

He had been through so much since his rescue from a hoarder home.  Flies were his only companion outside of me.  The smell was so sickening, but I couldn’t let him suffer.  So I suffered.  Happily.  Now the thought of him leaving one cage (hoarder) and living in another cage (shelter) for the rest of his life, made my heart hurt especially since the vet had stated that with a dog in his condition would probably only live for 2 months.

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I cried.

I went home and convinced Mark to allow this dog to learn what it was like to have a family.  I told Mark we would be his hospice care.  Love him until God takes him from this earth.  I mean two months was all he had.

Ahem….. six years ago.

We brought this dog home.  Since I had bonded with him, he and I had a special connection.  He thrived.  His whole demeanor changed.  He was happy.  You could read on his little face “I’m living the dream!”

And then, bless his heart he became “Grumpy Fred.”  He didn’t enjoy my hugs.  He snapped at me more than loved on me.  He wasn’t happy.  Then one day, I came home and his eye was literally coming out of the socket.  I freaked.  I called my vet friend in a panic.  I rushed him to the shelter and I heard the news……”It is either a tumor, an infection, or a blood clot.  All of which were serious.

My heart sank.  I just knew it was over for my “Happy Fred.”

Well, as it turned out, it was an infection.  Hours it took to clean away the infection from his eye sockets and all of his teeth were removed.  See in extreme cases like Fred’s, infections form inside the mouth.  Eventually, he lost both eyes , 15 teeth, and most of his jaw bone.

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It is heartbreaking.  His story.  But, Grumpy Fred became Happy Fred again.  We hug.  We snuggle.  We are tight….. I say often, “There is just something about this old dog that makes me love him to death!!”

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He really doesn’t have a care in the world.  Most often than not, he will literally smile with pure joy!  He loves life.  He is the definition of Philippians 4:8……

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.

Fred has been though more than most.  But, you could never tell it.  He does dwell on what is true–my momma loves me.  Whatever is honorable–my family is going to take care of me.  Whatever is pure–I am loved.  Whatever is lovely– I have a recliner, nope a couch and a recliner….. ummmm who am I kidding I have every soft surface in this house to claim as mine!!  Whatever is commendable–my family didn’t give up on me.  Excellence– ummmm have you seen how plump I am??  Praise—-  I have the nickname Happy Fred!!

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Tough Decisions

Have you ever sat down and thought about how many decisions you make in a day’s time?  I mean seriously.  Everything from what time you should get up to what to wear…… from what to eat to what to say…..  it is really exhausting if you think of it.

Most of the time we don’t think about it.  We just instantaneously decide.  It is simple.  Really it is.  No brainer.   But what about those tough decisions.  Like what career step to make…..  when to put a pet down….. which college to go to….. buying a home….. you get it.  You have probably faced a few in your lifetime….. as have I.

I have had to really make some decisions recently.  Tough ones.  Keep the bakery or close.  Hire a decorator or do it myself.  Teach or preach.  Bakery owner or secretary.  Really tough ones.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord.  I have trouble trusting anyone….. even myself.  I hate making decisions.  I worry about how it is going to affect or effect me, my family, my friends…… even strangers.  I mull over all the scenarios in my head…. good ones and bad ones.  I picture myself in every outcome.  I lose sleep.  I cry.  I plea for God’s wisdom.

In my heart, I know He will guide me to the right path.  But, I have trouble figuring out what exactly God wants me to do.  I get impatient.  I want a huge neon sign pointing it out.  I sometimes even go so far as to talk myself into something thinking it is what God wants.

Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.  Proverbs 11:14

Many times…..who am I kidding….. every time I have a huge decision to make, I take a poll.  I might as well as start passing out a flyer with questions and multiple choice answers.  Sometimes I wonder if that is what I am really supposed to do.  Many times I just get more frustrated.  But, I have a core group of people I trust with my life and well being.  I know I can get a straight up godly answer from them.  It may not be what I want to hear but I can definitely see things more objectively when I hear their opinions.  As long as my counsel is in line with my values, morals and beliefs, I feel confident that they truly want what’s best for me.

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.  James 1:15

So, today, I am sitting here with another choice to make.  It is about what to do after the bakery.  Two job offers.  Both having equal pros and cons.  I have tossed it turned it.  I see myself doing both.  Both have things I really like and things I don’t.  Which one is God wanting me to have?  I have envisioned every scenario, taken a poll, and I have asked for discernment.  What on earth am I to do?  Both have kinda fallen into my lap.  UGH!!  I just don’t know.

Do I roll the dice and pick one?  Do I flip a coin?  I’ve prayed for wisdom but I guess in my mind’s eye I was hoping for a clear cut decision.  That would be too easy.

And Jeremiah 29:11 keeps popping into my mind…..

For I know the plans I have for you–this is the Lord’s declaration–plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

The cynical side of me wants to say, “Can you clue me in, God?”  The servant side of me says, “Open the door and I will go through it.”  The doubtful side of me asks, “Which is Your plan?”

And the answer is…… follow the peace.  Which plan brings you peace?  God is not a god of unrest but peace.  If there is peace, God is there.

 

Mother Hen

Our sweet chicken, Alfredo, has such a personality.  She is the last of my Poultry Divas.  Needless to say, I really don’t think she knows she is a chicken.

She is a hoot to watch.  She hangs out with the family.  Loves the front porch.  She runs to greet us when we pull up in the drive….. just like our cat and dog.  She seems to enjoy our company even though she doesn’t like to be held.  I’ve tried hugging her.  Um…. not. smart. She even followed me in the house one day while I was carrying in the groceries.

Her favorite thing in the world is fresh watermelon.  We scoop out the watermelon and leave her the rind.  She will spend hours standing there eating the rind until there is just a thin skin left.

She is a joy.  Plain and simple.

Back when we had six divas, Alfredo was the egg hoarder.  She would sit in the coop until all the other ladies had laid their eggs.  She would then gather them up one by one.  I have watched her many times move one egg from one nesting box to hers.  She worked hard gathering all those eggs and she wasn’t too happy with me when I would take them from her.

You could almost read her mind…… “Hmph.  Silly hens.  They are so irresponsible.  They just lay and leave.  What kind of hens are they??  Awful.  Just awful!!”

She would sit for hours on those eggs.  Protecting them.  Taking care of them.  Makes me wonder how she would be as a mom if those unfertilized eggs ever hatched.  I imagine she would keep them under her wing.  She would most definitely be the overprotective hen.  She would probably chase her babies down and keep them protected by shuttling them back to the nest.  She would probably drive herself nuts trying to keep them under her wing.  She can be a little obsessive.

Well, aren’t most moms??

How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings……  Matthew 23:37

Endurance

“I’ve heard you have had a really tough time recently.”

A simple text from a dear friend.  She has been praying for me.  I wanted to blow her text messaging up with all the “tough times” I have experienced since November.

Would it really do any good?  Would I feel better by laying it all out there?  Probably not.

It would keep me under the tough times instead of getting over them.

Yesterday, I had therapy.  The kind of therapy I can afford right now…… cleaning.  Isn’t is something how cleaning a closet can clear your head, clean your mind and help heal your soul??  Hmmmmm…… well, maybe I am a little touched in the head.

I found my daughter’s copy of The Little Train That Could

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I remember reading it to both my kids as tots.  I expressed the importance of perseverance and endurance.  No matter how hard things seem, if you have the attitude of the little train, you can do anything!!

I think I can.  I think I can. I think I can.

I think my little train has jumped the track.  (sigh) Or completely derailed!

Who am I??  I hate this negative whiny me!!

Well, anyway, I crawled into bed last night.  Mark and I made a decision based on the future of the bakery.  Strange how a decision can weigh so heavily and yet feel so freeing. I laid there thinking of the days events and how everything is going to be so different in a few weeks.  My heart pounded as I thought through all the “tough times.”  My hand aches.  My heart breaks.  My mind piecing it all together.  I put my earbuds in and started listening to the Book of James.  Love how God’s words sooth…..

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.  James 1:2-4

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

Gone too Far

Yesterday as I was blogging, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  At first, I thought it was because of the steroid shot I received in my left hand.  Painful experience is to say the least.

So anyways, I couldn’t shake the feeling even afterwards.  Lunch time crept upon me and I sat down at my computer to watch Netflix.  Since I have been confined….. restricted….. in most activities especially since the surgery, Netflix has become my thing.  (That could be argued by the family…. I do watch an awful lot of Netflix.)

I started watching and the sickening feeling returned stronger.  Then, words I haven’t heard in a very long time, jumped right up in my mind.

Garbage in. Garbage out.

The gut wrenching feeling twisted my innards.  The language from the television series started to stick out.  Amazing how we can become so immune to  the world of words around us.  The more I watched; the sicker I felt.

Definitely.  Garbage in.

Not that I curse like a sailor or anything.  But, the whole ideology of the show began to sicken me.  I wasn’t just killing time.  I was allowing something to eat away at my morals.

I turned it off.

Last night, I was focusing on the garbage I had allowed to enter my mind.  I realized that outside of a whiny prayer.  I haven’t really talked to God.  I haven’t read my Bible in months.  I haven’t studied his word.   I haven’t down anything for God.  In. A. Long. Time.

This bothered me.  I needed God’s Word in.

So, I decided to meditate on His Word.  I climbed in bed, found an audio version of the Psalms on YouTube, and placed my ear buds in my ears.  I closed my eyes and listened to the gentleman’s voice spill out God’s Words.

Beauty in.

I fell asleep.  Listening.  I woke up with Psalm 63 on my heart.

When I think of You as I lie on my bed, I meditate on You during the night watches because You are my helper, I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings.  I follow close to You; Your right hand holds on to me.  Psalm 63: 6-8

I have missed the peaceful feeling of following close to God.  I have become restless, angry, dissatisfied, disgruntled, and just plain old unhappy.  That content feeling I treasured has become lost.  I have let life get in the way.  I have gone too far……  Away from God…….  Out from under His wings.  I have taken control and haven’t really allowed Him to help.

So, today, I stretch my left hand out.  I want God’s right hand holding me.