Monday, November 30, 2009

AWOL With A Psalm

I have been AWOL.

In fact, I did not look at my email for four days. FOUR DAYS! Some of you shudder at the thought. Let me tell you, ladies, I had my husband to myself for four days. It was awesome and well worth it.

I will have to remember that the world did just fine without my typing.

I am going to post some pictures of what we were up to…Christmas decorating for one. I noticed that I have a very small window this year for it since my in-laws are coming between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This plus all of the other normal Christmas craze meant it was time, and it was so fun!

I thought that I would share with you what my husband and I shared over Thanksgiving breakfast. Since we are meant to be thankful whenever we pray, and in all things, I thought that this was a wonderful reminder of what that means.

Psalm 65

Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty

1 Praise is due to you,

O God, in Zion;

and to you shall vows be performed,

2 O you who answer prayer!

To you all flesh shall come.

3 When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,

you forgive our transgressions.

4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near

to live in your courts.

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,

your holy temple.

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,

O God of our salvation;

you are the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas.

6 By your strength you established the mountains;

you are girded with might.

7 You silence the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples.

8 Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;

you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

9 You visit the earth and water it,

you greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

you provide the people with grain,

for so you have prepared it.

10 You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

11 You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with richness.

12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

Did your family start your Thanksgiving in any special ways?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God Is Not Like My Grocery List

I sit down today, recording my Thanksgiving grocery list with flourish. Methodically, I put each ingredient on the page, and sit in wonder at the similarities of my paper and the canvas of a masterpiece. This sheet of paper is the beginning of my Thanksgiving spread.

Thanksgiving has been the one holiday that my husband and I can truly call our own. It was not intended to be like that. Our first year of marriage, we were recovering from the wedding, so no traveling then. We certainly had enough food for everyone, though. We ate amongst our wedding gifts.

Our second year, we went to Meredith’s house for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful fun. We were with oodles of her family, and…I didn’t cook. Win, win, win.

The next year, we were back home. This time I thought that I would really outdo myself, so I did the turkey and everything else that I could associate with Thanksgiving…for two people. We ate Thanksgiving for two weeks. I just couldn’t stop my nesting self.

Even when there are only two of us, I want the full spread. My grocery list is where the magic begins. What lies at the end of this grocery list is all mine, manageable aside from human error, and a scrumptious reason for giving myself a gold star.

When I was praying this morning about this upcoming preparation…I should explain, considering that some of you have been preparing for weeks or even minutes. My in-laws are coming in next week; therefore, we will have Thanksgiving late. My husband and I will have too much food on the day of Thanksgiving, but it will be of a different variety than the traditional Thanksgiving fare. That will be fun, too.

So, this morning I was thinking about this song, What Do I Know of Holy, by Addison Road, that has completely touched my heart over the last few weeks.

In acknowledging what I don’t know about God, I can acknowledge it is my struggle. I like knowing where I stand. I like understanding the parameters. I like saying, with certainty, that the outcome will be two meats, seven sides, bread, and three desserts…and a relish tray.

In fact, sometimes I pretend to be too familiar with His infinite nature. I pretend that I can know Him, instead know of Him.

When He gets too new, too unpredictable, I distance myself. My quiet times look like a woman doing the Heisman, holding Him at arms length while I keep running with the Thanksgiving turkey under my arm. Any deeper and I will have to see the new frontier. So, I shield my eyes as long as possible.

I can honestly say that I am on a new frontier. This week and last week have brought their own share of worries, struggles, and frustrations. I am left to say that this life is not like my grocery list at all. I look at God calling to me and saying, “I could be so much more to you. You do not have to control this.” Not easy for the master list maker.

All things point to…God is not like my grocery list.

Do you love the preparation for Thanksgiving as much as I do?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Act Like A Duck

My husband and I have this saying, “Act like a duck”. This means that when the stuff of life gets slung in your direction, you let it roll off your back just like water on a duck. We say this a lot.

See, there are some things that I encounter which I deal with so well, but other times the least provocation and I am like a mama bear. It reminds me that the walls of this temple are still just the flesh.

I was reading Mark 7:14-23, NRSV,

14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

In these verses, Jesus tells me that what is outside of me has no power except the power that I give it. It cannot defile me. It cannot bring me to avarice, wickedness, envy, pride or folly. These things exist because I have absorbed them into my heart.

Just by the sheer fact that my husband and I use the duck phrase shows that we believe we have a choice. I can take responsibility for myself. I can choose in any moment how I will react to the outside. I can shed it, or I can absorb it.

For every event, or outside stimulus, there are two roads. When my dogs walk on the floor that I am mopping, I can threaten to make them survive on the streets or I can call them to me, rationally. We see it everywhere. Go to Target and watch people with their children. In an instant I see parents belittle their kids, robbing them of dignity, and not teaching them anything in the process. We have choices.

The difference between the roads is the sin that we choose, and have chosen, to hold on to. There are some things that, when said, sound different than others. They raise our blood pressure and make us uncharacteristically unsettled. Instead of deflecting these comments, letting them roll right off our back, we catch them, hold them, stroke them, and watch them. Alone, they have no power, but tended they become part of our hearts.

Today, in My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes,

“The temper of mind is tremendous in its effects, it is the enemy that penetrates right into the soul sand distracts the mind from God. There are certain tempers of mind in which we never dare indulge; if we do, we find they have distracted us from faith in God, and until we get back to the quiet mood before God, our faith in Him is nil, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is the thing that rules.”

When we see the outside moving in our direction, we need to pause. We need to recognize that this one might distract us. It might unsettle us, instill confidence in the flesh and temporarily remove complete faith in Him. These are the things that should look like water to us. When they come our way we need to remember that the Holy Spirit has built us like a duck. We are perfectly capable of shedding these words and events. We are able to take responsibility for our reactions.

Good luck acting like a duck!

Is there some situation, however small, that always seems to make it to your heart?

Father, thank you for giving us all the tools that we need to take responsibility for what comes out of our hearts. Continue to show us areas that need to be shed. Teach us how to act like a duck going into the stress of the holidays.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Phrase Every Kid Should Know

You know when you read something and say, “Wait just a minute, back up”.

In that moment you have the choice of opening up some commentaries, googling your heart out, OR you can just skip it and hope that it was not essential to the story line. I had one of those, today. I love running across old hymns or proverbs in the bible, old colloquialisms are just plain fun.

Today it was a proverb, which is found in two places of the bible. I am not telling you what to do, but it might be fun to resurrect some of these old phrases and use them with your friends. They will have no idea what you are saying, but you might start a trend.

In those days they shall no longer say:

“The parents have eaten sour grapes,

and the children’s teeth are set on edge. - Jeremiah 31:29, NRSV

What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? – Ezekiel 18:2, NRSV

This was a phrase used by those in living in the days of Jeremiah concerning the looming judgment. They did not feel that it was right to have to pay for the sins of their ancestors. The sour grapes, that their parents had eaten, were the sins that angered God. The children perceived that they would pay for it.

Jeremiah assures them in 31:30 that this is not so, But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.” Our God is a fair God and each person will be responsible for themselves. See where I am going with this?

So, if this phrase is spun right, siblings everywhere can say, “My sister has eaten sour grapes and my teeth are set on edge”, instead of “She did it”. I only wish that I had something this profound to use when I was a kid. It is a whole new level of tattling.

I think that there are endless applications. Let me know of any I am missing. So, use it in health this weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You Are Out of Your Mind...Over at Exemplify

Offering testimony is not a task for the weak. The nature of God is unruly and dynamic. He does not give us polite courting tales, like, “I met God in church and we just decided to go out”. Instead, God does not leave one stone unturned as His Spirit claims what was His from creation, His beloved...

I am on the move, again, but you can come with me. To read the rest of this post, click here and head over to Exemplify’s Devotional Channel.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She Chased Hope

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” – Mark 5:34, NRSV

There was once a woman. She was very sick, hemorrhaging for twelve years. She has become an inspiration to me.

I was recently at the Women of Faith conference where Nicole C. Mullen said that she knows about this woman, too. She said, “There is a difference in running after Jesus to get something and coming before Him to get what He wants to give me”.

This woman in Mark 5 ran after Jesus knowing one thing, He could heal her. She was not wrong. This hemorrhaging woman pushed her way through a crowd that was, “pressing in” on Jesus. She had nothing to lose. The doctors had subjected her to everything imaginable. She kept getting worse whether it was just the nature of her disease or the treatments that she suffered through. Do you know anyone like this?

I do, in my own way.

I have talked about the last year couple of years in some earlier posts (One Year Ago, My Backiversary, ). I remember sitting in doctor’s offices initially reading the pain questionnaires. It was a 1 to 10, circle your guesstimate. One was “some pain” and ten was, “I have suicidal thoughts”. That puts into perspective, right? For the first several months I could not believe that ten’s description was even on the sheet.

Then time passed, and my pain became excruciating. Chronic pain and illness does something to your mind that nothing else can. Things that you never considered become tangible to you. I remember thinking, “If I did not have Jesus, there is no way this would be worth it”. There are so many people who go through this without Him. I saw them, hard and hopeless. That broke my heart.

So, I understand this determined woman. I understand pressing and shoving her way to His robe. This woman did what many can only dream. Single mindedly she chased Him down. As I read this story, I silently cheer her on. She is chasing hope.

Do you have a reason to chase hope? Emotional, physical, miscarriages or abuse? Chronic pain and suffering? Sadness and broken heartedness? Everyone has a reason for hope.

When she catches up to Jesus, she reaches out. This was what she was betting on. This was her moment and she believed, ahead of time, that this was her healing. Can you imagine? Can you see her face? The cloak was in her hand, and it happened. She knew in the same moment that the bleeding stopped.

I remember when I woke up from my surgery and they told me to walk off the table. I, confused, had no other recourse than to chase my hope. I got off the table and walked. I had not walked in a month. The last thing I remembered was meeting the doctors, barely; and, now, I was healed. After all of that time and pain, it was so hard to believe.

And, even though this sick woman believed, I know she was stunned. Her world was different from the twelve years preceding that moment. The crowd pressed around her as she took it in.

Jesus knew that “power has gone forth from Him”. He looks for her and she is hiding in the crowd. She has been bold, and He is gentle.


Your faith has made you well.

Then He blesses her. Jesus did not just let her sneak away or fall into the crowd. Would that have been a complete healing? Jesus is not like that, is He? He deals with us face-to-face. Daughter, I have something to say to you…

I think that the most interesting thing that Jesus says is this last bit, “and be healed of your disease”. He did not heal her in that moment, though. She was already healed by the power that He released to her. She had stopped bleeding when she held His robe. So, what is this all about? Could this be the difference in running after Him and coming before Him?

Dusting off some seminary Greek…be healed is an imperative statement. He is not healing her, but saying something to her. Be healed! Live healed! The Greek word for “healed” means “whole”. The wholeness of God is being offered to her. Take it!

Daughter. Your faith made you chase your hope. You found me. I want for you to be blessed and peaceful now. That part of your life is over and it is time for you to be whole. Live whole. Live healthy, soundly.

We are in the process of sanctification. We are living to look more like Him. I could write a book on the role of sickness in this. One of the most common misconceptions on this topic is our expectation of healing. Sometimes there are “reasons for hope" that do not go away altogether. We have the memories of it, and sometimes the evidences. I have permanent damage, which I am oddly grateful for because it could be so much worse. I, also, have a testimony that was crafted for me. It is His story of love for me, His daughter.

Is there an area of your life that you have chased down your hope and experienced healing? Are you in this process?

God, I was happy to meet with my heroine, today. I am so grateful that she is included as a moment of encouragement in a suffering world. I pray that you and I will come before Jesus to let Him give the healing and wholeness that He desires for us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Living Parables

parables, very short stories with a double meaning. In the biblical tradition, the terms translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek by the narrower term ‘parable’ should more accurately be translated by the wider term ‘metaphor.’ The basic distinction that the biblical tradition finds worthy of emphasis is that between literal and metaphorical language. – Harper’s Bible Dictionary

This morning I dropped my husband off at the mechanic’s shop. I sat on a street that, just a block or so down, was known for shootings, babies being shaken to death and massage parlors. I parked in the space closest to the sidewalk. I looked down at the sidewalk and saw a pentagram and the numbers 666 surrounding the name, Jason. How original.

I was reading Jeremiah.

Then I went to the vet to get Maggie checked out. She was seeping blood from a mass that had grown up almost overnight. I bathed her on Friday and I had not seen it. Then after my husband’s company party had been cleaned up, I saw blood on the bed. This morning, I did not beg God for courage but for patience as we waited 50 minutes for the doctor. Then the words…skin tumor.

The moment before those words and the moment after were the exact same for Maggie. I learn a lot from her. There is no reason to ask why.

The prodigal son tended swine. The workers who worked for one hour received the same pay as the rest. The widow gave a mite, and she was the most generous.

These juxtapositions are a part of who He is. He is the unexpected.

Our lives tell parables. They are the stories of those with the hope of salvation. If we are doing it right, then we don’t make sense in this world. We are the unusual, the unlikely, the double meaning.

I bet that you have them, too, the life that does not make sense against the backdrop, or the need to serve this dead carpenter because He set you free. These are the stories that we show to the lost world. Every day, I am made aware of how much the world needs Him. They need our life stories.

My thought from all of this: letting Jesus resolve the stories of our lives makes us a living parable.

Are you in the middle of a parable today?

Father, thank you for all the circumstances that make us more like you. Create in us the will to offer up the stories of our lives and let you finish them. Let our stories be a voice to the lost.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Tale of Tess

For the last three Fridays, I have told you about our pets. Last week was Mindy. Thank you for all of your notes about that post. It was really sad to write. This is the last one...Tess.

After we got married, I guess that I was feeling uber-maternal and coerced my husband into adopting another friend. Actually, I had very little to do with it. While we were roaming Petsmart one day, she made eye contact with Dwight and it was done. I was fighting the urge to hold her at the time, so I was already under her spell.

We never baby-talked until Tess. We believe that if cloning ever becomes affordable, we could be in a danger zone. In fact, members of my family might join that club. Tess is just loveable. What more can I say?

Tess is a Skye Terrier perfectly mixed with something else, not a Newfoundland, like the rescue agency told us. We laugh at that now, considering that she is only 35 pounds, or so. I call her a stretch limo because she is not very tall, but she is very long. She is three years old, born October 18, 2006 (maybe), and since I am telling it, she is a mama’s girl.

Two of the funniest things about Tess:

Tess has a few phobias. She is really afraid of clothes, specifically laundry. If I sort or fold laundry, she is out of there. It used to be that whenever Dwight took off his socks, she would run out of the room or sit on top of me cowering. Now she just avoids the laundry. She is getting to be so brave.

We rooted for that one ear of hers to stand up, but it never did. She looks like she is tuning in a lost signal whenever she gets excited. I just love it.

Luckily, Tess is a talker and I mean that. She can talk and talk. So, what to say about Tess? I will let her speak for herself. I am enlisting the help of some personality test questions to introduce you to my friends. I have used the same questions for each, for comparison sake.

1. What three words best describe your personality?

I love playing, I love mama and daddy, and I love my sisters. Love, love, love.

2. What three words would others probably use to describe you?

I have heard my mama say words like, “Swee baby Bearwa (Sweet Baby Bear)”, “Booteepeel (Beautiful)”, and “Bave Gweel (Brave Girl)”.

3. Where do you live now, and with whom? Describe the place and the person/people.

Mama and Daddy, and Samdog and Maggiedog, also sheepdog, froggie, rodent, butler, and bah-bah (these are her stuffed friends that are all over the house). All of us are together and I love them very much.

Mimi (my mom) gave us a couch that I can sit on and nap, or watch the neighbors. I think that I like guarding but I like playing more. The best place in the whole world is outside. I love to go outside and chase bees, or birds. I am very fast and I like to feel the wind through my ear and tail.

4. Do you have any ailments or physical weaknesses?

I don’t think so because I don’t get morning treats like Maggiedog and Samdog. I give lots of kisses when they don’t feel like they want to play. Sometimes, they tell me to stop, but I don’t think they mean it.

I get a little scared sometimes, but mama and daddy tell me I am just fine.

5. If you were any other creature what would you be?

Mama says that I am, “da most booteepeel gweel in da whole wide weewoorld (most beautiful girl in the whole wide world)”, so it might make her sad if I changed.

6. What are your pet peeves?

I don’t know, but Sam says that I am her’s. I love Sam.

7. What is your greatest fear?

Laundry…very scary. Also, mama’s spiral notebook closing.

8. Do you care what others think of you?

I do care that everyone loves me. I tell them over and over, “I love you”. I usually get my way.

9. What is your favorite food?

Red bell peppers. Mama will give me bites when she cuts them for dinner.

10. How do you deal with stress?

I hide in the laundry room (ironic, right?).

God, thank you for Tess. She is the sprinkles all over our sundae. She is the evidence of your abundance and joy that you offer your people. She has made our old dogs young; and, she has shown me that there is room for everyone’s quirks, not as short-comings but as perfectly created entities. I have room for more of your goodness because of her.

Thanks for looking at my friends with me. I have enjoyed sharing them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Best Day Ever, Three Years Ago

Wanna' know what I was doing three years ago, today?

Here is a hint...

I just love this man! Happy Anniversary, babe.

See you tomorrow...I have things to celebrate, today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rules, For My Sake

Tuesday is the night that I meet with the senior high girls. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell them just how different we are called to be. Different is not easy, especially in high school.

Mark 2:27 brings up a topic that most people redefine in this culture. It is not easy. It is different. It is the Sabbath.

Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27 & 28, NRSV

Thinking back, I can remember the immediacy of my teenage years. I can remember attending church and wondering how all of the “should nots” would actually look if they were thrown into a bag, whipped around a few times, and expelled into something resembling a life. It is impossible to dream up even now, really.

After thinking a little on this, I propose the trick is to demonstrate that the rules did not come first.

We were not crafted for a life of fitting the mold.

Church is not manicuring us for the law of similarity.

Humans did not come to be against the backdrop of the great book of rules.

And, the Sabbath is not an infringement on our week to make us less potent.

The Sabbath is no traditional rule. Instead, this verse told me that the Sabbath was made for me, entrusted to me. I was not created for the Sabbath, which perhaps exposes my difficulty of compliance with this day. Simply, there are rules that are created with us in mind. God gave this day to us, for our sake. This is the nature of God’s rules.

Coming back to the senior high, they might say, “Well, then I would rather not, if it is for my sake; but, thank you.” Lots of adults model this every week. I don’t see why they should think differently.

Then I remember a verse concerning what God does for His sake,

I, I am He

who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,

and I will not remember your sins. – Isaiah 43:25, NRSV

I have looked at this verse a hundred ways, and still the best reading is its face value. For some reason, my sins are forgiven for His sake, not for mine. They are forgiven to accomplish His purpose in the world, in humanity. I am free, for His sake, and with this freedom I can have relationship with the Father. I can enjoy Him. All of this, for His sake.

So, for His sake He gives me the hope of salvation and the gift of eternal life, and, for our sake He makes a Sabbath. For our sake, He makes rules for us; not rules with the end of governing but rules with the end of freedom. Today I will explain this, in different words to my girls. I will tell them that different is not easy, but it ends in freedom and peace.

Do you have a great way to explain being “different”? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about it.

Father, thank you for acting in ways that allow us to see who you are. Thank you for making rules for us that act on our behalf. Most of all, thank you for freeing us for your sake. Although this seems an impossibility, we rest in freedom and peace that you offer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Giving Faith Legs

I have been thinking about faith. Is faith when we resign ourselves to the possibility of the object that we dwell on? Is it when this object becomes as real to us as the pencil in our hand, or the stove in our kitchen? What does faith look like?

Oswald Chambers gives some useful thoughts regarding faith. He asserts that the first physical step in a faith relationship must be ours. We have to move toward God.

God offers the object of faith, but we have to get out of the plush recliner to walk to the throne and pick it up. Faith is in the righting of the body, the folding up of our comfy foot holder, and the rocking forward to propel ourselves to standing. It is all of this and the natural gifting of bipeds that allows us to stand before the throne, walk to the bottom step and throw ourselves at the foot of grace.

As we remain in our recliners, the invisible is just that. It is an idea, a theory. It does not hold power, only possibility. Faith has to have legs. It needs a body to solicit its power and observe its indwelling. I guess it would be worth asking if we have gotten out of our recliner this morning. Sometimes, it takes a while.

I was reading Mark 1:29-31(NRSV), this morning,

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was sick, fever sick. When I am sick like that, just leave me alone. I want my wool blanket that I save for sick times, and quiet. Fevers are heat and chills, they are weakness and exhaustion. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was really sick, and we do not have evidence that she knew Jesus. For all we know Peter just got home after becoming a disciple.

They tell Jesus about her, immediately.

Jesus goes to her bedside.

He takes her hand.

She, hot and cold, weak and tired, allows this stranger to lift her out of bed.

What were these moments for her? Could she make eye contact? Was it like one of those feverish dreams that make everything odd and extraordinary? She agreed and got up.

It was only in trusting the hand of this magnificent stranger, while at her worst, that she found relief. In fact, the fever left her after she was upright.

It is amazing what can happen when we stand up, when we force ourselves to stand before Jesus. He offers the object of faith, in the form of a hand, and then we stand to grasp it. There is a moment between these acts that turns us into faithful creatures. It is an unexpected spark that drives us to motion. That is when faith gets legs.

Then she served. That is the only thing that can happen when we get out of our plush recliners. The idea of Jesus becomes as real to us as the pencil in our hand, the stove in our kitchen. We take Him in and then we need to serve Him.

Faith, I think that is what it might look like…

Do you need to be reminded to get out of the recliner every once and a while? I sure do. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Father, thank you for giving us everything we need each day to be faithful to you. Teach us how to give legs to our faith. Tell us where to stand and how to serve you, today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Tale of Mindy

Today, we have a surprise visitor on my quest to introduce the four-legged friends to you. She is really the reason why I am writing about my canine pals at all. I mean, pets are wonderful but not everybody wants to hear about my dogs. This has a purpose, though. I believe our pets are evidence of God’s abundance.

When I was riding away from our vet’s office last December, I looked at my husband and said, “I am just so grateful”. God does not just give us pets for kids to pick on, or for us to remember to clean out litter boxes. He gives them to us for companionship. So as we rode away, leaving Mindy’s body at the vet, it struck me how grateful I was for all of my dogs with whom I share this earthly journey.

God does not just want us to get through this life. He does not want for us to get by each day with the basics checked off. Our pets show us that He is generous and kind. He gives us someone who dotes on us and makes us laugh. This brand of stewardship is really of His goodness to us.

Mindy was one of our four little evidences of God’s abundance. We don’t know when she was born, but Dwight adopted her when she was two and when we were married we added her to Maggie and Sam. We were a blended family.

She was diagnosed with cancer in November of last year. She was coughing, and we made a quick appointment for her. They gave us all the best and worst case scenarios, but we could see it in her face through the next few weeks. We were losing her.

I know that this is sad, but sometimes sadness is good. We mark lives with sadness, which is really just gratitude in an extreme form. We were touched by someone. They made a dent on our heart that is shaped just like them.

I have to do this, so pull out the tissues when you read it. Click here to see my husband’s post on the day that she passed. I just think that it is so sweet and tender.

But to live in this house, you have to be a bit quirky, so let’s get to it…

Two of the funniest things about Mindy:

When Mindy got excited, her whole body got excited. She panted and howled, and then she did this thing we called, “pop a wheelie”. She would pop up on her hind feet over and over. It was kind of her signature move.

Mindy’s favorite place was under the bed. You could find her in one of two places, under the bed (on Dwight’s side) or at Dwight’s feet while he was working. She was easy to find! She came out more after we got Tess (next week’s star), but when Tess got too strong for her, Mindy started avoiding her tackles.

I think of her every time I vacuum under that side of the bed.

What to say about Mindy? I am enlisting the help of some personality test questions to introduce you to my friends. I will use the same questions of each of dog, for comparison sake.

1. What three words best describe your personality?

happy…happy…where’s daddy?...happy

2. What three words would others probably use to describe you?

I have heard my mom say words like quirky, “you never let me cry alone”, and sweet.

3. Where did you live, and with whom? Describe the place and the person/people.

Mom and Dad, Sam, Maggie and Tess.

It had a bed to get under, a desk to get under, and a bowl just for me.

4. Do you have any ailments or physical weaknesses?

Not any more.

5. If you were any other creature what would you be?

I would be anything but Sam. That girl drives me crazy.

6. What are your pet peeves?

The separation of dog food and people food, can’t we all just get along?

7. What is your greatest fear?

Thunder…let’s not even talk about it.

8. Do you care what others think of you?

Doesn’t everybody like hugs?

9. What is your favorite food?

Canned, or Taco Bell (Dwight introduced her to tacos long before we were married)

10. How do you deal with stress?

There is a bed…I just crawl under it and wait for mom and dad.

Can you think of a gift that has made you grateful in the midst of tears?

God, thank you for Mindy. Thank you for introducing me to a friend with the heart of a warrior who would still take the time to lick every tear away. I am most grateful that she was the woman in Dwight’s life until I got there. Through her, you showed us what gratitude was in the midst of tears.

P.S. My friend Christy over at Critty Joy used this personality test on Bella and Sami. It is well worth the trip to see those two little ones!
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