Thursday, December 19, 2013

They'll know we are Christians by our love...and apparently, our boycotts.

Here I am, jumping on the blogger bandwagon and posting about the Duck Dynasty/A&E skirmish.
I'm not sure I want to write this,though because I am pretty much disagreeing with about 95 % of people and family and friends whom I love.
But I'm just not a big fan of the knee-jerk reaction of boycotting A&E for suspending my favorite Duck Dynasty guy, Phil Robertson.

Do I think A&E had a right to fire Phil? Yep. Do I think they should have? Nope.
Do you even care what I think about this? Probably not. Feel free to move along.

I cringed when I saw that a boycott was building. I get that people are fed up with the direction the country is going, and I suppose that a boycott is a simple way to voice your disagreement and frustration.

But, I'm just thinking that gay people are going to take it personally. They will get angry, and hurt and feel attacked by Christians and all we have done is help to build a bigger and stronger wall between us.This bothers me.

Do I believe that the bible states that homosexuality is sinful behavior?  I do.
Do I believe that this makes them worse sinners than me? Absolutely not.
This excerpt from the Book of Romans explains it better than I could. Keep reading, even when it gets painful...
"But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?"

Pretty clear and straight forward words. Pretty hard words.
I'm just thinking that we don't always need to stand up for our "rights" faster than we stand up to love someone. Love can be the more difficult road. Jesus said,
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow."Matthew 5:38-42
I know lots of people who would have arguments with what I write. Hopefully, they won't read this. :-)
And,I'm really not saying a boycott is wrong.
I'm just wondering if it is really right.
I'm just asking if there are other ways to better show we are followers of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm just a wife, standing in front of her husband...

And asking him to properly hang the Christmas lights.

"I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, and asking him to love her."

In the icy wind and frigid temperature.

Nope. Not next week.

I also need him to hang my new canvas print I found on Etsy.

Oh, and also move the curtain rod in the guest room so I can properly hang the new ugly curtains I bought on Ebay.

Things have been more tense and anxious around here than a normal Christmas because we are also preparing for Rod's Mom's memorial service.

A grieving season amid the celebrating season can be confusing and emotionally charged.

Rod , along with all the kids, are speaking at the service. This has caused a bit of turmoil. Rod wants to honor his Mom's memory, but public speaking is especially abhorrent for him. You'd  think I'd go easier on him.
You might be wrong.

I can be very focused  and cold-hearted  and generally naggy when it comes to getting ready for a family function, Christmas holidays or what-have-you.

You might be shocked if you could read my mind.
Thank goodness you can't.
So, I'll just tell you, instead.

"Yeah, sure, I'll bake those Christmas cookies."

"Yep, I'll have them over for a dinner."

"Whelp, I'd better decorate that Christmas tree.

"Oh, no! I still have to buy three more gifts."

Well, Merry Christmas to you, too.I'm probably not all that bad, I'm exaggerating, and have been enjoying this season with a grateful spirit. But, like my brotha from anotha motha, The Grinch, my heart is feeling about two sizes too small.

Anxiety tends to make usually enjoyable tasks into burdensome chores.

So I need to stop. Now.
Just stop.

I need to remember.

 Remember and be awed and be humbled and be thankful.

 Reading the Christmas story in Luke this morning and putting everything back into perspective.
This is what matters.

I am just His child, standing in front of her God, as He asks me to "Be still and know".

I can do that.

He is just a husband, standing in front of his wife and asking her to make a pizza so he can have it while he watches the Seahawks game.
I can do that, too.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Recipe Monday

See how I titled this post "Recipe Monday?" I don't even know if that's a thing anymore. But it is today because I was looking up recipes for something warm to make and found this from waaaaaaay back in 2010. It'll be just as good today, promise.


I wish I could quit you.

But I can't. So I will make delicious bread, like this rustic loaf that will astonish you with it's perfect texture; chewy inside and a crispy crust.

And guess what? It's so easy a monkey could do it. For example, I have made it numerous times and it ALWAYS turns out. No kidding.

The only downfall is you need to begin making it the day before you need it. And you need a Dutch oven or pot with fitted lid that can go into a 450 degree oven.

So if you NEED bread NOW, you will have better chances with your bread machine or a quick trip to Safeway.

Although I have read about this super-easy no-knead bread for a few years, I had never made it until now. Maybe because I was enjoying my easy bake oven bread machine so much.

I got the recipe from The Steamy Kitchen, although there are hundreds of websites out there with this recipe, or one kinda like it. If you click on the link, you will be able to see pictures of this bread being created, step by step.

So, go on now. Make your family proud, happy and full. Make your house smell like fresh baking bread and cover up the scent of decomposing squirrel in your closet. But maybe that's just me.

Rustic, No-Knead Bread

So, let’s start. 3 cups of bread flour in a big bowl.

secret: I sometimes use 1/2c whole wheat flour + 2 1/2c bread flour. This is amazing!

1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast:

3/4 Tablespoon Kosher salt.

Add 1-1/2 cups of lukewarm water.

Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed together. Not too much, though!

Wrap up the no knead bread dough with plastic wrap. I just cover it in the bowl I mixed it in and leave it on the counter.

Give it a kiss good night and let the no knead bread dough sleep for 12-20 hours on counter or in a nice, warm, cozy place.

Next day:
Dump out on floured surface
Wet your hands. This will prevent the very sticky dough from sticking to your hands. If you find dough sticking to your hands, wet again. With wet hands, grab the dough and fold over all ends towards the middle. Turn dough blob over so that you get a nice, smooth, tight surface. Try to tuck the dough ends under to get that taut surface.
Gently move dough onto a floured towel.

Cover. Let nap for 2 hours. It should puff up nicely and double in size.

secret: When I run out of time, I sometimes let it sit only for 1 hour! If you let it nap in a tall, narrow bowl the dough rises nice and tall, about 6″ high.

If you leave it out on the counter – that is fine too, the dough will rise up and also out….making a flatter No Knead Bread loaf, about 3″-4″ high.They will both taste the same, just looks a little different.

A half hour before the nap ends, slip covered pot into your oven. Crank up the heat to 450F. Let it pre-heat for 30 minutes or longer.

After pre-heating, remove the hot pot from oven. Now plop this wobbly dough into the hot pot. Doesn’t matter how it lands – actually, the messier it lands, the more “rustic” it looks. Shake pot a bit to even out the dough.

Cover and put back into the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Photo below is peeking through oven door after 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake further for 15-20 minutes. To check – you can either tap the bread (should sound low, hollow, like a drum) or take its temperature (should be 210F in middle).

That's it! You will be rewarded with a thin, crunchy brown crust, large, open holes. The bread is slightly chewy, flavorful and perfect texture.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Longest Good-bye

Tomorrow is her birthday, but I'm not sure she knows it. She has been in a live-in care facility for three and a half years, and full time home care for three and a half years before that. Her husband, Rod's Dad, took care of her needs before that.
She hasn't moved much for a long time. Rod and I were saying how strange that was because before his Mom got sick, she never stopped moving. Washing dishes, making jam, decorating cakes, holding grand-babies, hosting women's bible study at her home, she was always on the move.
 It is a rainy, blowy dark morning and I'm grieving for her because I miss her.
I can't even begin to list all the ways she has impacted our family, or myself personally. She was the impetus for most every family gathering and she planned every detail from the food to the decorations to the entertainment. We flounder without her.
 I've dreamed that we are in her kitchen getting ready for a Christmas dinner and she is wearing her apron and moving too fast for me to keep up and she is talking to me and I can see her quick smile and hear her delighted laugh. I  see her like it was yesterday, before her illness ravaged her so completely.
She loves her family and she loves God, pursuing both relentlessly.
I know that she is going home to Jesus, and I know that her long time of suffering is very nearly at it's end. I know that is reason for great celebration, both here and there. I know this.
But today I'm grieving. I miss her.
Grandma Charlene with Josiah.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Mama Bear goes to the Dentist

This was not a trip that anyone was looking forward to. My daughter has had nothing but Trouble (notice the capital "T") since her baby teeth erupted from her baby gums. Yes, she is still my baby.

Yep, Mama Bear has been here quite a bit lately.
I agreed when she asked me to come be a second set of ears while her dentist outlined "The Plan" for Amy's latest tooth dilemma, which has included words such as dental abscess, extraction, root canal, and many more words that I couldn't hear because of the frantic "Lalalalalalalalalala..." going on inside my head.

So much help, am I.

However I did fight my way back to the procedure room against the preferences of the dentist, wrestling my way to my seat, knocking my purse into the metal blinds causing the doctor to level an unblinking death glare at me,was told to be quiet as I was causing the patient's blood pressure to raise, and finally removed myself before I could be banned.
All in all, a successful dental visit.
Long story short, Amy is doing better and hopefully is on the road to recovery. But all the dental talk reminded me of this blog post from a few years ago that I thought I'd repost. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving it. NOT.!!
Dear Dentist...
Dear Dr. #####,
Thank you for seeing me yesterday and taking such good care of me and my teeth. I appreciated your obvious concern when you noticed how nervous I was because of how the instruments on your tray were rattling because of my quaking. I guess the Valium didn't really take.
I do feel the need to apologize for a couple things.

I'm sorry I couldn't remember which hand you told me to raise (left, LEFT!) when I wanted you to stop for any reason and I just kept flailing both arms about like I was trying to hail a cab. I seriously did NOT mean to hit you and jar your arm. I understand that you needed a break at that time, which was perfectly fine with me. Your apology to me was kind but unnecessary.

I hope you know everything would have gone much more smoothly had I not been so scared. But the dentist terrifies me. Not you in particular. Just dentists. And hygienists. I'll throw the assistants and the receptionists in there,too.

I got up extra early so I would have time to shower before I came. I'm sure you appreciate that. I also carefully applied my makeup as I hoped that would show you that I wasn't scared; that this was just a normal day.
I'm guessing you didn't notice my carefully applied smoky eyes behind the sunglasses you gave me to protect my eyes from that blazing headlamp thingy you wear.
FYI, that was Bobbi Brown's shimmery lip gloss you got all over your gloves. It is a nice neutral color. I thought it would make me brave.

I also straightened my hair, in case you didn't notice, what with all the jerking back and forth of my head as you "extracted" my broken, infected wisdom tooth. Oh, and thanks again for offering to show it to me when you were finished. I didn't mean to go all "Rosemarie's Baby" on you when I said no. Sorry if I scared you.

But nothing probably scared you so much as when I reclined on the chair, sunglasses and paper bib in place, I opened my mouth for the first time and you and I realized together that I forgot to brush my teeth that morning.

Yeah, I know.


I do, apparently.

I sincerely apologize and hope my artfully applied make-up and freshly straightened hair made up for the bits of oatmeal, almonds and raisins you saw lodged between my teeth and for having to smell my Starbuck's French Roast coffee breath. I understand that it sounds better than it smells.
(yes, I know you told me NOT to have coffee, that it interferes with the medication blah blah blah. But I was nervous. I didn't have the strength in me to give up the coffee.)

Speaking of food, I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that I have been following your post op instructions to the "T".
The "soft food" part left me searching and puzzled as to what I could eat. But I scavenged through my cupboards and fridge until I found things that would fit the bill.
I had Lipton Cup-a-Soup (not too hot!) and then a good size piece of triple layer chocolate cake. Who knew that, if desperate enough, one could poke small bites of chocolatey cake into the undamaged side of the mouth until it slid down the throat. I think the frosting really helps it glide down.
And it does wonders for calming one down after a trauma. Not that this was a trauma. I'm just saying itwould undoubtedly calm one down after a trauma.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your gentle kindness during this procedure and let you know I will come back and see you again. if for nothing else, then to listen to you hum again as you work: "No I'm never gonna dance again...guilty feet have got no rhythm." I didn't mean to startle you when I joined in. Maybe the swelling, the cotton roll in my gum and the rubber dam made me sound a little off key and demented.

But I just wanted to let you know that you made the whole experience, if not enjoyable, certainly bearable. That is high praise coming from someone with my level of the crazy.
Diane Meyer

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Before my feet hit the floor.

"Lord, please help us see this woman as you do, a hurting person worthy of love and respect. Help us treat her with dignity and with humbleness and as the servants we are."
 Honestly. That was what I prayed with Rod early in the morning before we got out of bed to face the day.
We knew it would be kind of difficult because Rod and Josiah were going back to a job where the customer was not happy with the job we did for them.
That saintly attitude lasted about 120 minutes,until she called again, loudly and bitterly complaining again, about a minute detail that a person should not complain about. Ever.
I'm just saying.
Have you been there before?
And although my words to her were calm and pitched normally, the ones racing through my head like they were on  fire, were not. Also, the words to my son and my husband later about this same woman, were not kindly either.

Picture a genteel Quaker woman.
On Sunday.
In church.
I did not sound like her.

Because this customer, hurting or not, chose to be critical and belittling to my husband and my son.  If my words were weapons, she, and everyone around her, would have been impaled by my wrath.

Because I was on the warpath! Pick on me if you have to, but not Rod and Josiah. They are kind, hard-working,  respectful and humble and do not deserve to be treated so disrespectfully.

In a weird twist, when she was finished yelling at them, she offered them a beverage. They declined. We got quite a bit of mileage out of that tidbit, though. Would she spit in their coffee? Poison it? Mostly we just thought how weird and deranged it was that someone could turn on a dime and be so kind when they had, just a moment before, been yelling and angry. She is obviously unstable.
I would never be like that. I'm much more balanced and stable and...and...
hadn't I just  prayed for this woman?
Hadn't I prayed for our attitudes towards her?
Oh...shoot pie.
The minute, the very second it got difficult and she verbally attacked my loved ones I was all over her like a mama bear that had never prayed in bed that morning at all. I roared and growled and slobbered and attacked. (Don't even say it doesn't count because I didn't say it out loud to her, says Matt.5:21-22)
This is me on the inside. Sometimes on the outside.

I forgot that I had prayed for her that morning.
I forgot that we had figured she must really be a hurting woman for her to be so mean to people who are working for her.
I forgot that God wants us to be an example to her. A good one, not a bad one.
I forgot that God knows how I feel (times a kajillion) because people attacked his Son with more than words.
I forgot to lay my pride down because he had laid His pride down first. Then He laid down his life.
And it all comes back to the cross, doesn't it?

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross

Love so amazing
Love so amazing

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

His body the bread
His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn

Love so amazing
Love so amazing, yeah

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

All our hope is in You
All our hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good news and Bad news.

It wasn't pouring rain when I took the dogs for their walk this morning. That was certainly good news.
The giant puddle that Cooper likes to lay down in as he waits for Lucy to come down the trail was empty. Just really muddy.
He laid in it anyway.
(This isn't the puddle, but a creek and was taken a couple weeks ago. Just wanted to show you how he loves to lay in cold water. Or mud, apparently.)
Not such great news.

I drove home the other night from Gresham with my brights on the entire way because I had a headlight out and didn't want to get pulled over by the po-po and try to come up with my licence, registration and proof of insurance.
Not that I didn't have them.
I just didn't want to scramble around for them.

Good news: I didn't get pulled over. Yay!

So I drove 45 minutes with my brights on, blinding anyone coming my way. And a few from behind in their rear-view mirrors. If someone should be so rude as to flash their brights on me, I would flick off my brights to show them my burned out head-light, then, quick as a wink,(and maybe I smirked a little self-righteously) flick my brights back on.
When I arrived home, Rod told me he had replaced my head light a few days previously.
My sincere apologies if you are one of the dozens of people who had their sight impaired by my blunder.
Have a happy Monday all. :-)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Juicing with Jackie!

The exclamation point in the title should help make you excited about this post. It works for me.
My sister Jackie and I spoke on the phone yesterday and she casually mentioned Dr. Oz's three day detox juicing plan.
I was all over this idea like stink on Lucy. (yes, she is stinky. She found another dead unknown dead carcass and rolled around on it.
Jackie and I  have juiced together before, and she is a fun and reliable partner, keeping me motivated and on track.
 Oh, wait. That was wine. Never mind.
 I don't know that I completely believe the entire detox theory, but I do love me some delicious juices and smoothies. Especially if they are made up of my favorite breakfast foods; Pop-Tarts, bacon and Cap'n Crunch (with Crunch Berries!) spinach, flax seed and almond butter. Mmmm-mmm.
Juicing for a few days does make me feel more energized all day. It makes me think I am doing something good for myself.
Running does the same thing, cheering me up and making me better, i.e. kinder, more patient, more positive, prettier, smarter and all around better than YOU. to be around. At least that is what I tell myself. (over and over.)
Oh, wait. Maybe that was wine, too.

Here's a thought: Maybe I should blend in a few Ricola cough drops and a couple Dayquil. I don't think it could hurt and perhaps the medicinal qualities of Dr. Oz's breakfast juice will be vastly improved and this cold that Rod gave me on purpose will die a quick death.
The verdict on the breakfast smoothie is that it is quite tasty and very refreshing. There are a few spare flax seeds finding homes between my teeth and gums, but that issue will work its way out, I'm sure.
Care to join us on our juicing adventure? I'd love to hear your ideas.
Well, I'm off to clean out the horse stalls and take the dogs for a hike. (all my extra energy, don't ya know.)

Monday, October 28, 2013


I love fall weekends. Especially when I get to have my grandson, Max over to spend the night. 

First, Max and Papa Rod carved the pumpkin. It IS Halloween week, after all.

As I'm looking at these pictures,besides thinking how serious they both look, I'm wishing someone would scrape out the inside of my head, too.I wouldn't even mind of I had the carving knife sticking out of my nose like that pumpkin has. It would be a blessed relief, I tell ya. That is how bad this freaking cold is. And it lasts and lasts and lasts. It has worn out it's welcome. (The cold, not the pumpkin. Not that the cold was ever even welcome.)
After the jack-o-latern carving, we did all the usual Nana-Max things. We fed the horses, made cookies, played with his Hot Wheels (and Papa rescued one from the bathtub drain!) read books, rescued Max from his fall in the pond, played in the sand box, walked home in the pitch dark because the quad broke down in the woods, ate snacks, watched cartoons and made waffles and sausage for breakfast.
You might have noticed a couple things that seemed a little out of the ordinary.
Yes, Max fell in the pond while he was showing us how he could balance. Oops.
He only cried for a few minutes and then he was rather proud of his survival.
It was awesome. :-)
Later that same night, I pretended I was Daring Nana and asked Max if he would like to take a night time ride on the quad. I wrapped him in my jacket, hugging him tight and carried him to the quad. He didn't need his shoes, right? 
While riding, I became Rule-Breaker Nana and decided we would ride up the trail and into the woods. The neighbors generally frown on people riding quads in their woods, but I figured they would forgive me for one quick night time ride with Max. Besides, they were in Idaho, so I wouldn't even be disturbing them. (Aren't you happy I am not YOUR neighbor? Seriously.)
The October air was brisk and the woods were dark and tantalizingly scary. It was fantastic and we felt free and unencumbered by gravity as we flew down the trails. (by "flew down the trails" I actually mean 10mph. Just so you know)
 Until the quad completely quit on us. The headlight went out. The engine died. We were alone. 
Oh, except Cooper, our Goldendoodle was with us.  
Cooper loves everyone and everything. He would probably think an ax-murderer was his new BFF  and greet him with much wagging and licking. Such a help.

Halloween week  took on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, I was Nervous Nana.
It was a long walk back home, carrying Max in my jacket because he had no shoes on.
Did I mention it was dark? And cold?
It all ended okay, though. We warmed up and Josiah and Rod went to get the quad the next day. It had just blown a fuse. as far away from the house as possible. But I am finished with trying to be Fun and Daring Nana. For a while, anyway. 
All's well that ends well.
What does that even mean?
I don't really know and my head to too stuffed up to think anymore.
(That is my disclaimer for this quick post when I haven't blogged since August.)
Have a Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Fable of the White Horse

Sometimes, whole days come along and horrible things happen that make us wonder if we are being cursed.
Sometimes, whole days come along that are filled with joy and that makes us feel like we are being blessed.

Sometimes it hard to tell the difference, at least until the very end of the story.

This is for my family today.

Max Lucado heard this story down in South America and here is how tells it:

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.
People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.
One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”
The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”
The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”
The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”
The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.
After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.”
The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?
“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”
“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.
The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.
“You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.”
The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”
It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.
“You were right, old man,” they wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Yours son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”
The old man spoke again. “It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”
The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life’s mishaps and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life’s storms until we know the whole story.
I don’t know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best:
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”3
He should know. He is the author of our story. And he has already written the final chapter.
1 Ecclesiastes 7:8 "Finishing is better than starting.
    Patience is better than pride."

2 Romans 12:12 "Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying."
3 Matthew 6:34 
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

FFHHT- ffhht-ffhht...

Nope, Max is not visiting Nana today and that "Ffhht" is not the letters he picked out on the keyboard, even though it looks like it.
No,  "ffhht-ffhht-ffhht"  was the sound that I heard this morning as a flock of grouse (Pheasant?Quail?) took off as the dogs and I walked by this morning. Normally I don't hear anything but Shane and Shane or Third Day pounding in my ear as I pound the pavement er, pine needles. After all, I run on the trails in the woods, not the running paths through the city.
 With a small amount of trepidation, I decided to walk, rather than run this morning and left my ipod at home.
I thought it might be more difficult keeping my mind and heart focused on God without worship music.
I was wrong.
All the sounds of the woods praised God and encouraged me to do the same. I don't have any idea what kind of large birds those were taking off out of their roost, but it was delightful to watch and hear. Cooper and Lucy thought so, too, as I could tell from their barking and demented running in circles.
There were sounds of birds singing as I passed, and I heard the owl that lives behind our house saying, "WHO-who, WHO-who". There is also the occasional bird calling out , "Ka-KAW, ka-KAW, ka-KAW,!" that makes me feel I live in a jungle in South Amercia rather than in the Cascade foothills in Oregon. Not that I know what birds sound like in South America. Heck, apparently I don't even know the kind of large birds that fly up right in front of me in my own back yard.
On a side note, I'm real happy that I didn't hear other sounds such as a growling Mama-bear. That would not be fun. And my walk would have turned into a run real quick. (Wait, am I supposed to play dead when confronted by a black bear, or is that just a Grizzly? I can just imagine throwing myself down in front of the mama-bear in a last ditch effort to save my life and the bear looking at me quizzically before shrugging and digging into her 2nd breakfast that I so thoughtfully supplied. Nice.Clearly, I should do some serious Googling on this.)

 I do know that I was enjoying the peaceful and sweet sounds of the breeze in the tree tops and of the birds that live in those tree tops and praising their Creator this morning.
 It was just a praising kind of morning which fills me with JOY. You know those times. Sometimes it is praise day, but sometimes it is a "prays"  day when I am on my walks/runs. Sometimes no words but my soul deep groaning that apparently only the Holy Spirit can interpret.
But today it was all grateful praising, all the time.
1st Chronicles 16: 31-35 (Notice the 5th line? That is kinda great.)

"Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
    Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
    Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise,
    for the Lord is coming to judge the earth.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Horribly Fascinating

Are you a fan of the raccoon?
Do you think they are cute and adorable. or do you see them as the rabid, cannibalizing, pet-terrorizing  varmints they are?
Would you have one as pet?
If you did, would you dance with it?
Sorry for all the questions, but this video just raises so many that I can't really stop, and I didn't even start on the hillbilly questions.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Good-bye Earl.

I can't help but think of the Dixie Chick's song with that title.
But, not only did we say good-bye to Earl, but we also bid a fond farewell to Buster.
The rest of the pups go to their homes on Friday or Saturday, right after this heatwave that makes me want to kill myself  finally goes away.
The heat and I are not BFF's.
I will blame the heat for the way I wasn't paying attention when some new puppy owners left with their puppy. Lucy saw them and laid down on the driveway waiting for them to come back. She slowly turned her head and stared reproachfully at me when I called her to come in. It took a fist sized chunk of Tillamook Reserve Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese to coax her back in the house.

This morning, Lucy has been looking in all the puppy areas for her missing pups. She searched under the deck, in the bushes, in the barn, in the nighttime puppy room and crawled into the puppy play pen. I keep trying to distract her with her pups that are still here, but she sniffs them and then continues the search, whining quietly every now and then.
Maybe it is the treacherous  heat that has sapped all my brain power, or maybe I'm just not that bright, but I can't think of anything to distract her.
Maybe bacon.
Yeah, bacon helps everything.
Now we all know why I turn to food to comfort myself.
 It works.)

Here are some pictures to distract you from the horrific heat wave that is coming to kill us all. ( this is according to the news program I watched this morning entitled," Heatwave 2013" and the font was all flamey. And their big tip was "Remember to stay out of the heat and drink plenty of water." Oh, what ever would I do without the news to instruct me? Probably die, in the MASSIVE MONSTER HEATWAVE;2013!!)
Staying cool.
Working on getting her girlish figure back.

Bruce on the trail.
Patrice with her new love, Buster.

Pam taking Earl back home to George.
Heartbreaker Winston in the sandbox. Love his face!

Winston and Bruce telling secrets. Or face-biting. Whatever.

Alice looking like the beautiful bullmastiff that she is.

It seemed right to end the blog with this. See the heart on Alice's tail? It is easier to see in person. How cute is that??

Monday, June 24, 2013

Little Baby Elephants

I only titled this "Little Baby Elephants" because I'm a little tired of trying to come up with puppy titles. And your puppies sound like little baby elephants when they stampede across the floor for a meal. Plus, they are the approximate size of little baby elephants.
And so are their poop piles.
(I'll try to keep the poop comments to a minimum this post. But it is difficult as the smell of it seems to be permanently burned onto the inside of my nostrils.)
Anyway, if you haven't let us know when you are coming to pick up your puppy, please do so now. (Yes. Right this second. Drop what you are doing and call or email NOW.) Just kidding. But do let me know. It should be somewhere between July 1 and July 6. I'll have your paper work and puppy ready for you. :-)
Now for pictures of your little guys and girl. These are just random shots taken in the last few days.
Here is one of the little fellas coming out of the back yard. (JUST KIDDING!)( But they are huge!)
Uncle Cooper teaching Bruce to dig. You're welcome.

Uncle Cooper teaching everyone else to dig. Again, you're welcome.

Having fun in the sandbox.

Will you still love me even if I dig like a mole?


You have a mosquito right...there. Got it!

What shall we do now?

I know!

Well, hello there, handsome.
Alice having some girl time with Mama.

Henry having some rough housing time with Uncle Coop and Mama.

Rod carrying Bruce and Earl out to their barn playroom. What big babies they are!