Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Life is Fragile

My life changed on Friday morning.  My puppy got hit by a car.  She died instantly.  Worst day of my life.  Zoe was not just any dog.  She was special.  We got her when she was 7 weeks old.  She was about the size of a grapefruit when we brought her home.  She gave the best hugs.  I never knew that an animal could give hugs.  Zoe did.  When I would hug one of my kids or my husband, Zoe would bark until we picked her up and let her have a big group hug.

She had me from her first little kiss.  I never wanted a dog.  My oldest wanted a puppy.  She found the breeder, she picked her out, she bought her.  I remember saying on the way to get her that this was a mistake.  Well it wasn't.
My Four Children

Zoe had a hefty job to do here on this earth.  She was actually a bargaining chip with our oldest daughter.  She was in a toxic relationship where she was physically and mentally abused.  He was so controlling that she could not have friends outside of him.  She kept begging for a puppy and we finally agreed if she would stay away from the boyfriend, we would let her get the dog.  She held up to her end of the bargain and so did we even though I felt like she would go back to him as soon as we got the dog.  Our little Zoe was sent by God to save my daughter from the devil himself. 
Yes, she drank out of a baby bottle.  She was the baby :)

 Little 7 pound Zoe did her job well.  At first I saw her as a pawn, until she kissed me that very first time and fell head over heels for her.  She was special.  She saved my girl and grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go.  I had never loved another animal before her.  I thought I loved another animal, but after we got Zoe I realized that I had loved other animals for what they meant to the other family members, not what they meant to me.  Until Zoe, a dog meant shed hair all over the place and nails that had to be trimmed and a being that had to be let out.  

When Zoe came on the scene, suddenly it was adorable to have little turds on the carpet.  I can't explain this, but it was true.  She preferred carpet.  I can't say I could blame her.  She was precious.
Then the fashion came into play.  With each passing day, Zoe became more my dog and less my daughter's dog.  She went everywhere with me.  She sat with me, she slept with me, she was my love.  Her purpose to save my daughter from the devil was still successful and I fell more in love with her each minute.  Where I was, Zoe was.  She would let me groom her, dress her, comb her hair, wash her face everyday.  She knew I was making her beautiful.  

She had dresses of every kind.  She had winter coats, summer scarves, bows of every color, and a teeny weeny polka dotted bikini that she loved to swim in.  She was always the next one up on the doggie fashion runway sporting the latest in doggie wear.  She loved to be dressed up.  When I would give her a bath and take her bow out, she would always look mortified that her dignity had been taken away.  She even slept in her bows.  When I thought she was laying close to me she would get a little closer.  She would sleep with her head on my pillow and her chin on my arm.  Every.single.night.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Sweet Puppy!  One year old and had a HUGE job to do in this world.  She accomplished her goal and has now gone on to the Rainbow Bridge.  When she left, she took a piece of my heart.  I miss her every day.  Thank you, sweet puppy for capturing my heart and being sent by God to save my girl from the devil himself.  You did a great job!  

I felt bad for being so upset about the loss of our sweet puppy.  I think about all the folks I know that have lost their spouse, have lost their child, their parents.  Every tear I cried over Zoe I thought of the two tears that others cried over human loss.  May the record show that I have learned a deeper empathy for those who have suffered loss because I know in some small way how horrible and heartbreaking it is to suffer loss.  To grieve.  This is the lesson to learn from the loss of Zoe.  Lesson learned, Lord :)  Thank you for giving us Zoe to learn from.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Little Things

I never have been one to only look forward to the big vacation.  Oh don't get me wrong, I love to sail away on a Caribbean Cruise, go to Disney World, or lay on the beach for a week.  But I have discovered in my life that it is the little things that are most important.  After all, if we sit around waiting for the trip to Disney then we are going to spend an awful lot of time being miserable and only a few days being at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Pain is inevitable in this old life, but misery is optional.  I choose every day to be happy in the little things.

My happiness has gone up exponentially in the past week because my best friend has her son at a point where he is out of the woods.  So she and I have had some serious fun lately and I feel like life is somewhat back to normal after sitting at the feet of near tragedy for two months.  God is on the throne with her son, and with all of us.  He is going to do great things in God's kingdom and I am so grateful to have a front seat to view the show.  Little things like his being able to talk now when I go over there.  That he can tell me about the plot of the Hobbit.  He has to put his finger over his trach to talk but he is talking.  Little things make me happy.  The fact that he could join us while creek wading made me happy.  He didn't want to because he is not an outdoors kind of guy, but he COULD.  Little things.

When we pause to appreciate the little things in life, our life is filled with more zeal.  More authenticity.  Sometimes we have to remove some of the noise in life to appreciate.  I was blessed while at camp to be visited each and every day at the same time by the same bird who flew out of the same spot in the woods and did the same ritual.  It was a moment each day that brought great joy to me and made me feel like God himself had come to visit me and have lunch with me.

Every day I would drive the specialty counselors up the hill to the lodge at camp for lunch.  One day I was visited by a red bird.  He flew out of the woods, landed on my right side mirror and then landed on my windshield wiper and looked at me through the windshield.  I was fascinated by the visit.  The next day, he did the same thing.  It got to the point that I didn't go into the lodge to eat lunch anymore, I just stayed in the bus so I could visit with my little bird friend.  I was sad on the last day of camp for the summer because I would not see my little bird friend anymore until next summer.  Then I realized that God spoke to Moses through a bush.  If Moses had not paid attention to the bush, then God would not have been able to speak to him.  Little things like bushes and birds give us opportunity to listen and commune with God.  If we are so busy that we don't pay attention to little things like birds and bushes then we will never truly be able to commune with our Lord.  At least not on a raw, personal level.

Something else has been on my mind lately about little things.  My oldest daughter has hearing aids.  If you need update on that situation, please go to my archives at the right and read, "Witnessing a Modern Day Miracle".  She has not been putting her hearing aids in regularly lately and it occurred to me that I may have discovered the answer to that.  I have asked her about the lack of wearing them and most of the time get a defensive answer but not yesterday.  Yesterday I got a very candid answer that confirmed what I had thought was happening.  She has been in the deaf world for 18 years and it is comfortable to her.  When she wears her hearing aids, sounds scare her and the world is very loud to her.  For example she was frightened this 4th of July because she heard fireworks for the first time.  They scared her to death.  The sound of the ice maker scares her.  The sound of the air conditioner cutting on in the house scares her.  These are things she never heard before and now that she can, the hearing world is a scary place to her.  She enjoys the solitude of her deaf world.  She likes to read lips.  She likes to hear also, but it is so loud she likes to retreat to her solitude.  She feels like people are yelling at her even though they are just having a normal conversation.   We all need solitude in our lives.  Time to stop and smell the roses, experience quiet, hear nothing.  Little things.

Let's all stop and appreciate some little things.  Notice the bushes, birds, butterflies and solitude that is available to us each day.  It is then that we truly can commune with God.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Handy Hint for Drying Shoes

I am no Heloise, but today I have a handy hint!  Don't you just hate it when you need to dry your shoes and they beat your dryer and your nerves to death and ultimately knock your dryer door open but you don't realize it because you are involved in a million other things so two hours later you go to get your shoes out only to find that nothing is dry because the door opened by the beating shoes?? BIGGEST RUNON SENTENCE EVER!

Well, here is a solution that I love!  Hold the shoelaces over the dryer door and shut the door on the laces. Dry like usual and no banging!!
I am currently drying these shoes and the shoe strings would not stay outside the door because the aglets(the little plastic pieces on the ends of the laces) were gone. 
SO!  Guess what I did?!  I tied them in a bow and VIOLA!  
Dry shoes with no banging!!

I learned that the little plastic pieces on the ends of the shoelaces are called aglets from Spongebob. Amen. 

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Carpe Diem

I took three years of Latin. I could speak Latin 20 years ago. Now, all I know is Carpe Diem. It means seize the day. Every day we wake up and have a new day to seize. To live for The Lord. To be Jesus to someone. To look for the best in everything. Pain is inevitable, misery is optional. 

The best piece of advice I ever received was from a fine lady in a fabric store 12 years ago. We were discussing sewing and I was an avid seamstress. I sewed clothing for my children, smocking, French hand sewing and embroidery. I mentioned to the lady that one day I want to make a quilt. But that I was not going to do it now but wait until my children were grown. And then she uttered a sentence that has gone down in my personal history as the best piece of advice I ever received. She said, "If you want to make a quilt you should not wait until your kids are grown. I said the same thing. Now look at my hands. (They were crippled with arthritis). I can't make a quilt now because my hands won't allow it. I wish I had made a quilt when I wanted to because now that I have time I can't."  I went home that day and started my quilt. I finished it a short time later. I could not be more proud of my quilt. 

I applied this advice across the board. It applies to everything. If you want to do something, do it!  We will never have "time" to do things we want to do. If you want to travel, then travel. When you retire, your health may not allow it. If you want to run a race then run one. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. If you need some inspiration then go wade in a creek. Go slide down a slide, go sit at the park and watch the children play. God tells us to make ourselves like little children. They are uninhibited. 
Go observe them and learn from them. Be in the moment. Make a quilt, fly a kite, watch the birds. We are not guaranteed another moment so live without regret. 

Seize the Day. It is yours to seize. 

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Less is More

I have been slowly transitioning into more of a minimalist lifestyle. I guess this kind of all started with a book I read called Born to Run. It talked about how God designed our bodies to run and how we spend high dollars on equipment to run in when our feet were already designed magnificently for the task. The book told of a reservation of folks near the Grand Canyon and their experiences then spoke of the conclusions gleaned from months spent with these folks for us. I was intrigued but not changed by this book but I kept the info filed away in my head for future use.

A year ago I read a book called Crazy Love. That book kicked me to the core. I was literally upset for a few weeks after finishing it because I didn't know what God wanted me to do with the information. It was extreme. Like sell all your possessions and move to Nigeria and serve extreme. Then adopt all the children who were orphans. I was totally moved by it but couldn't wrap my head around that. I just didn't feel like that was what God wanted me to do. So I filed that info into my head for use at an appropriate time. 

Fast forward to today, I just finished a book called Seven by Jen Hatmaker. I had moved more to a minimalist lifestyle by this point. For example, I refuse to buy new books. I waited a year to get my hands on this book. I stopped by at least once a week at the used book store to see if they had a copy. Finally, a lifelong friend posted she had read the book and let me borrow it. I loved it. It was real, it was raw, it was authentic. 

The idea presented in the book is simple. 7 months, 7 areas of excess = life changing results. Each month she took a part of her life that she felt she was excessive in. Like Media, possessions, clothing, food, etc. For the food month, she only ate 7 foods, clothing month, wore 7 articles of clothing. She did this to free up time, energy and effort for The Holy Spirit to come in and have room to move around. She went back to "normal" living after her experiment but will be forever changed from it. Get the book, read it. Then wait. Wait to see what God wants you to do with that info. Be still and know that He is God. 

It's hard to do but so rewarding. I completely quit watching tv a year ago. I have not missed it one bit. It allows me time to hear myself think, to hear God, to live fully and authentically not clouded with media opinion. My mind is more simple now. I don't forget things as much because I am not in a whirlwind. I hear God all the time. I have given Him room to move around by removing the haze of tv from my life. 

One of the things I learned from Seven is that one of the things I don't like about myself is actually a gift. I am an all in or none at all kind of girl. If I decide to do something I go to the extreme. I am all in. I have spent a lot of time trying to experience balance. Jen Hatmaker says she is the same way. She called herself an "extremist". Then she said something that was straight from God for me. She said she didn't learn lessons easily unless she was hit in the side of the head and all in. That's me. God made me an extremist too. I am embracing my extremist self as Godsent from this day forward. I am learning to balance many things and I am proud of that but I am also embracing extremes. I like how God and I are in a state of constant conversation throughout a day. It's extreme. It's how He made me. Fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Just like Jen Hatmaker, I am waiting to see what God is doing with me and this information. I'm excited, I am watching. I am ready to be more like Jesus and less like Jennifer. 

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