Friday, August 31, 2012

Like a Puzzle

I had promised the Assisted Living Center where Mom K resides a month ago that I would teach the residents how to draw in a one hour art class. Frankly, in the morning yesterday, it was not what I felt I needed to be doing. Asherel had been sick all week, and while slowly improving, I felt worn out by running back and forth all week between her needs and Mom K's needs. So I didn't enter the Home with the best of attitudes, feeling harried and a little ill myself.

I was sitting by the activities room waiting for a meeting to clear in there so that I could set up my easel and supplies. Perusing my smart phone email messages, the facilities manager walked by, and asked how I was. I told him I was ok, just preoccupied, struggling with some unsolved questions for a WWII book I was working on.
"Oh you ought to talk to Joe and Bob. They were both in the Air-force during WWII."
The problem I was struggling with could be answered by a WWII pilot and I have been searching for one from the area for almost a year now. Why had I never thought to search in Nursing Homes!
And guess who was in my little art class? Joe and Bob.

I did teach the residents to draw. But first, I introduced myself to both Joe and Bob and asked if I could interview them that afternoon. Their stories turned out to be nothing short of miraculous, and could not have been more perfect for my book.

The residents that gathered for the drawing class all laughed when I told them I was going to teach them to draw a horse.
"Sure you will," chuckled one, "I can't draw a straight line."
"Can you draw a circle?"I asked.
"Yes, of sorts."
"How about a rectangle?"
"Yes," they nodded.
"And a triangle?"
"Well then you can draw a horse."

Every one of them made a picture of a horse. All were a little surprised as before their very eyes, basic shapes coalesced and a recognizable horse appeared. All the pieces that never seemed like they could come together in the end created a beautiful picture.

I thought about my book and those lovely final pieces that Joe and Bob provided later that day, how it tied my book together. I could not have made up a nicer ending. Meanwhile, the book I wrote about the blind/deaf dog Tommy had been free for the past couple of days. While not rocketing off the shelves, it wasn't doing badly. All of a sudden, after the art class, I noticed the ebooks were being downloaded in droves. By the end of the evening, the ebook was number one on amazon's bestseller kids' animal books. I wish they had been sold, rather than free, because then I would have more money to send to the farm that rescued Tommy. Hollow Creek Farm had had a massive financial setback. The van that they send every few weeks up North filled with dogs they snatched from euthanasia lists to send them to a new chance at life had broken down on its way home. It needed a new transmission, and several days of hotel stays for the driver. They were reeling from this huge unexpected expense.

I have become not only *aware* of the miracles and blessings in my life, but have come to *expect* them. I am praying that maybe through the Tommy book, maybe through my blog, maybe through a completely unanticipated puzzle piece dropping into place, Hollow Creek Farm ( will receive an enormous outpouring of aid.

I never know exactly what God will do. He is forever surprising me. He is constantly tossing the puzzle box in the air, and I look at all the pieces of life scattered about and wonder how on earth this will all come together. That is not the right question, however. The first thing one needs to do is pick up a piece and try to find one place where it fits, and then move on to the next.

Psalm 9:9-10 (NIV)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. [10] Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

-save a dog-

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not Quite Trusting

The dogs have been strange. They are both acting hungry all the time. Meanwhile they are getting a little chubby. They follow me around and try to herd me to the snack cabinet. When I sit down, they both sit in front of me with wide eyes, wagging their tails, an expectant look on their faces. If I stand up, they dash to the food cabinet. They seem to feel they need to eat continually. And they seem to feel I have forgotten this basic and essential fact. I think they are afraid it is going to be a long hard winter with a dwindling food supply.

After-all, animals sense things we don't know are out there. They know when storms are on the way. They know when my husband's car has entered the neighborhood five or sometimes ten minutes before he walks in the door. They know when the FeEx man has left his truck and is about to approach. And they can count. They know when they have not gotten the required number of walks. If they are storing fat for the winter, they must expect it to be a long haul of starvation.And they are very concerned that I don't seem to know this.

What they don't know is that I will feed them every day. No matter how long and hard the winter, they will still get to eat. As long as our country still exists and still sells dog food (and sometimes, as this election draws near, I think that is a big IF), my dogs will eat. Their master will make sure they don't starve.

Funny how after all these years of being faithfully fed, they still are not quite sure they can trust the next meal will be served with a smile, and on time.

In this way, I am like the dogs. My heavenly Father had cared for me and watched over me, guided me, and provided for me for all these years, and yet, I often doubt. I sometimes feel the need to nag Him about all the things He has left undone in my life, the things I am afraid He is not paying enough attention to. I worry that the things I so desperately need, and am even quite certain He wants for me and my loved ones as well, will not be set before me.

Funny how after all these years of being faithfully led, I am still not quite sure I can trust the next step will be guided with a blessing, and at the perfect time.

Deuteronomy 1:31-33 (NIV)
There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” [32] In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, [33] who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

-save a dog-

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Angel at the Table

There is an angel that sits at my mother in law's table at the assisted living center. She is in relative good health, and has a sharp mind. She told me she came to the home because when her husband died, she felt she could be helpful to other old folk who needed assisted living. So she came to the Senior Home to live, and spread joy.

When I wheeled Mom K to the table yesterday, I was already giddy with joy. I had another brainstorm to prevent Mom K from any more falls. Since both had happened in the bathroom, despite hand rails on the walls, I thought it would be really good to find a raised toilet seat and preferably one with hand rails on both sides. I found one at Walgreens. It was of course the most expensive raised seat, but it said it could be installed with no tools and it had all I envisioned the perfect toilet seat should have.
I found Mom K in the Home parlor, plopped the seat on her lap and told her, "Look what I found! Let's go try it right away!"

I wheeled her with her gift back to her room and she watched while I set about reading the instructions and installing the seat. When I finished, Mom K clapped. We tested it, and found that none of the agonizing difficulty maneuvering with a low seat was present any longer. We were both ecstatic.

"Now you still need to use the call button for help every time you get up, but this will make it so much easier to be safe!" I said.
Then we wheeled on to lunch. The nurse popped by and whispered what a great idea that was, having been in Mom K's room after we had left. Jo, the angel, was already at the table. Mom K lifted the table cloth and began looking under the table.
"What are you doing?" I asked, "Is something wrong?"
Jo said, "Oh she always checks under the table. So do I. We just need to know what's what under there, don't we, Gert?"
Mom K smiled.

Next to Jo was a relatively young man. I can tell he must have had a stroke, or perhaps beginning Alzheimers. He could not have been more than 50. He was wearing a tight blue sweater.
"That's my sweater," whispered Jo to me, "He got cold. I keep him under wing. He reminds me of the grandson I never had."
The man suddenly spoke up, "Did you see the dogs....." and then he lost the word of what the dogs had been doing. He looked confused and then held both hands up moved them as though he was playing piano.
"Dancing?" I asked.
"Yes!" he cried delighted.
Now I have not been watching America's Got Talent this year, but I did know dancing dogs had made the semifinals. That's how I was able to pull that out of my hat.
"I heard they were really good," Jo said.
"They were," said the man.

Another table mate came,the one who sits where the man was at the moment, and a nurse led the man to his table across the room. As he was led away, he turned to Jo, and called out, "Thankyou."
"He has my sweater, just so you know," Jo told the nurse.
"I thought so," laughed the nurse.
The new lady sat down.
"You always look so nice!" I told her, "Always with some wonderful jewelry or hair piece!" She wore a sparkling butterfly in her hair at the moment.
"Sometimes looks like a tart, just between you and me," whispered Jo."You do look nice today," she added in a louder voice to the new arrival.
Across from us, Florence now sat down.
I said, "Hi Florence, how are you?"
Florence looked straight ahead. She did not respond.
Jo waved at Florence and pointed to her ears, "Is your hearing aid on?"
Florence adjusted a knob and I said Hi again. This time she smiled and waved.
"See," said Jo, "We always wave at Florence first, me and Gert both...right Gert?"
Mom K laughed and waved at Florence. Florence waved back. All four ladies including me now waved at Florence, who smiled broadly.

Spreading joy. Such simple things the angel at Mom K's table does, and yet I left there almost wishing I could have sat there all day soaking in the delight in little things.

James 3:17-18 (NIV)
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. [18] Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Man on the Elevator

I was in Concord to get my criminal record expunged. I was showing the court that I had dealt with the expired registration. I was not happy to have to drive an hour to do so, but it was otherwise painless and I left without paying a penny. Yay for justice.
Anyway, on the way down the elevator, a nice old man started chatting at me about the weather. One thing led to another, and by the time the elevator hit the bottom floor, I had my pen and paper out and was interviewing him. He had unwittingly solved one of the big mysteries in one of the books I am working on. I cannot tell you what the mystery will have to buy the book, but I have spent months trying to prove what he told me was unequivocally true.

Here is the best part. The night before I couldn't sleep. I was tossing and turning wondering if the new book I was working on was a mistake. I didn't seem to be able to dot the i's or cross the t's, and it might end up being a boring book. I have been working on this book for a year, and actually started it seven years ago. And it just wasn't going the way I had hoped. I prayed that by some miracle, God would bring me the witness I needed to fit the final piece of the puzzle in place. I had spent several months contacting all kinds of agencies, museums, the Smithsonian, historical societies, and experts, as well as poring over the internet to no avail. I just could not find the corroboration I knew in my heart was out there. And with the man on the elevator...God had brought him to me.

This demonstrates a spiritual truth that I think is very easy to forget. God is always working. Jesus tells us time and time again that He carries our burdens, and that His yoke is light. Come to Him, all ye who are heavy laden, and He will find you rest for your souls.

Now I am not saying God will write our books, or solve all our problems. Most of the time, we are sent to do things, and we should make every effort to go forth and do them. I don't think this is a call to laziness or inactivity. But I do think it reminds least it reminded me.... that God speaks to us continually, and if we take the time to ask Him what He wants us to hear and are always on the alert, He sometimes says exactly what we were hoping He would say. And sometimes He does so in the most unlikely ways through the most unlikely messenger. A little baby born in a manger would attest to that.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14,20 (NIV)
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. [12] It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” [13] Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” [14] No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. [20] and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years

-save a dog-

Monday, August 27, 2012

a Beautiful Inheritance

I raced to the river after church. This time, with the longer kayak paddles, I paddled easily upstream. I was lost in reverie while gazing out at the river shore and almost bumped right into a duck sleeping on a log. The duck woke up and quacked and then flopped into the water and splashed away. The backdrop to this little vignette was shade trees overhanging the river, deep interplays of hues of green, leaves rustling in the breeze, while the river lapped against a sandy outcropping.

As I kayaked I thought about how desperately I seek out and long for beauty. I suppose that is no surprise, me being an artist. It is probably why I was drawn to art. And what I most love to draw are the landscapes, the rivers, the forests created by God.

It is food for my spirit, the touch of sun on whispering leaves, water changing from gold to green to blue, animals lifting curious heads from hidden places. It always rejuvenates, gives me hope, reminds me God is near.

Jeremiah 3:19 (NIV)
“I myself said, “ ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.

-save a dog-

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What a Beautiful World

Yesterday, I discovered that a shorter kayak paddle is harder to use. When I was in REI getting my bike fixed, I had asked the kayak man if the paddle really mattered. He insisted it did. He told me the ideal paddle length is the height of my outstretched arm to toe. I have been using a paddle about 1/3 too big by his measure. So yesterday, I grabbed a paddle from my collection in the car that only reached the tip of my outstretched arm to my toe. Within just a few minutes, my shoulders ached, my wrists ached, and I was half dead. After just an hour or paddling, I was done. I could not go any further. My old friends the turtles were racing me and winning. Either I am getting old, or the longer paddle is better for me. But as in most disappointing things, there was a silver lining.

Too tired to climb into the car to drive home right away, I sat on a white rocking chair on the marina building porch. I looked out over the Catawba river. A cool breeze came off the river and blew across my weary face. No one else was around. The sun sparkled and danced on the wind driven waves while osprey swooped. I wished I could talk my folks into a visit. Sitting on this porch would singlehandedly make the 11 hour drive worth it. I rocked quietly and watched this beloved river. God has surely made a beautiful world.

Psalm 21:6 (NIV)
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

-save a dog-

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bounty of the Age Old Hills

The nights are getting cool, the air has a hint of autumn. It might be almost time to put away the kayak. With school in full swing for our little home university center, there is no time to kayak anymore except on weekends. It's ok. I love bicycling too and fall is perfect bicycling weather.

I bicycled to see Mom K yesterday, when Asherel had finished her school work. The hospital bed had arrived but alas, it was not able to be lowered low enough that she would be disinclined to get out of it herself! We don't want her getting out on her own, as she loses her balance and falls without someone there to catch her. Thus the higher hospital bed defeated the whole purpose. But then the manager popped in as Mom K and I looked at the bed.

"We could take off the wheels," he suggested. He used all his strength to lift an end of the heavy metal bed while I pulled at the wheels.
"Maybe someone can take off the wheels," I said, "But not me."
So, he called in the fix it man, who is a strapping young man accustomed to moving double dressers down two flights of stairs with one hand behind his back.
He got under the bed and lifted the whole thing up while the manager whacked off the wheels.

Mom K and I watched him incredulously.
"Oh to be young and strong," I said to her wistfully.
"Yes," she said.

But the bed was a different size than her old bed. It needed sheets that fit. Since I was on my bicycle, I would have to bike to the nearest store. I hurried off, waving at all the old people lined up on the porch of the Nursing home.
"Drive safely!" they called.
I found a store only ten minutes away, and I found a bed in a bag with everything I needed, even a bed skirt and comforter, marked down to $20! It had been $50 originally. I strapped the behemoth bag to my bike and pedaled back to the home. All the residents that had been on the porch were now at dinner. So without Mom K even knowing, I went back to her room, and put the lovely ensemble on her new bed. I rearranged the furniture so that the whole center of the room was now open and spacious and she could now watch TV from her chair and from her bed. Now if only it would keep her from getting up by herself...I guess that remains to be seen.

Before I had biked away, one of the ladies that sat by Mom K at dinner was on a porch chair next to her.
"Please Mom," I warned my stubborn mother-in-law,"Do not stand up without pushing this button to call for help."
"I'll make sure she doesn't," said Florence, the sweet lady beside her.
I touched Florence's cane, "And if she does try, I give you permission to bop her with this."
Florence laughed and patted Mom K's hand.
"Sure you will," laughed Mom K.
They are little miracles, little blessings, but nonetheless reminded me of my heavenly Father's kindness. A gentle quiet friend for Mom K, a strong young man willing to move beds and mountains to keep her safe, and a sale on just the size sheets I needed. As thought that were not enough, as I rode home, there was a tail wind with a hint of fall in the breeze at my back.

Genesis 49:25-26 (NIV)
because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. [26] Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills..

-save a dog-

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Only Logical Conclusion

First, the cashier at Harris Teeter asked, "Will this be with your senior discount?"
Something in my look must have tipped her off because then she said, ", of course're not a senior....are you? I'm so sorry!"
"How old is a senior?" I asked.
"Nope, not yet," I said.
I cannot tell a lie. That DID NOT make my day. I was hoping maybe seniors started at 29 in Harris Teeter.

Then, my new Tommy book soared to Amazon Kindle's #2 top paid children's nonfiction animal ebook...but now is dropping like a stone. It is only #12 currently. My first book is still doing well, still #2, right behind Cesar Milan. But I had high hopes for Tommy. The creative arts are not for thin skinned wimps.

The final straw that threatened to break my sunny disposition was the doorbell rang and the dogs (as usual) went ballistic. But this time, Honeybun snarled at Lucky, something she hasn't done in 3 years. I deserve to be trailing Cesar Milan's dog training book by WAY more than just one place.

It just wasn't a great day. Well, I did run into my old friend Carol while I was at the mall shopping for a warm sweater for Mom K. We looked at each other for about 5 minutes before we realized, "Hey, i know you! And i have really missed you!" That was a joy and delight. But in keeping with the day's rather dismal record, the NC stores are several months, if not ice ages away from stocking warm wool sweaters. After a fruitless few hours, I gave up. I did find a warm sweater for Mom K online. I believe it is from Iceland.
I hope it comes soon. She finds the NC summers freezing.

Some days are like that. Sometimes we are Eyeore, with grey clouds raining only over us. But it is all part of God's providence, even the one star days. I was working with Asherel on our Bible study, and I asked her, if one truly believes that God loves us and is concerned with us personally, then what MUST be true even when bad things happen? They MUST ultimately be for our good. We may not understand it. We may not like it. But if God is sovereign, and God loves us, it is the only conclusion we can come to.

Matthew 14:29-31 (NIV)
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” [31] Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

-save a dog-

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Having collected Mom K from the Home and bundled her in the front seat of the van, I then picked up Asherel to take them to lunch at the mall. Mom K was delighted to be out shopping, feeling normal.
Asherel hopped in the car and as she snapped her seat belt announced, "I want a wallaby."
"Asherel," I laughed, "You can't have a wallaby. They are not even legal probably to own."
"Yes they are," she said, "I looked it up. Wallabies are legal in NC."
"And how much is a wallaby?"
"$2,000...but I think I can find it cheaper. Maybe there is a wallaby rescue."
I was pretty sure there were not a whole lot of homeless wallabies in NC waiting to be rescued, but Asherel did a search on my phone.
"Yep," she announced, "There are wallaby rescues in Texas...and in Washington. Would Aunt Amy pick up our wallaby so we don't have to pay shipping?"
If only she would put so much effort into her literary analysis class.

I spoke to my friend Kelly the vet that night.
"Kelly, would you be able to do the vet work on a wallaby?"
"A what?" she asked.
I'm thinking that's a no.
"Tell Asherel," Kelly said, "Wild things should be wild."
I agree.

"But," Asherel told me, "They can be housetrained, they are cuddly and lovable and smart. All you need is a 4-5 foot fence enclosure. They eat wallaby food, or fruits and vegetables. And I found one for just $500."

Asherel was proceeding quite logically from a faulty premise. Her premise was that a wallaby should be owned in the first place. Wrong. Kelly was right. A wild animal should be wild. Always check premises, especially when you have a wily, conniving, brilliant teenager in the house.

But we all make faulty assumptions and then proceed from there, quite often to our detriment. I think one of the most common faulty premises is that God is limited, or not caring, or not there at all. What a world of logical woe proceeds from that erroneous premise.

"Who will take care of the wallaby when you go to college?" I asked.
"I'll bring him with me," she said.
"Grandmom," i asked Mom K, "Do you think Asherel should get a wallaby?"
"She is a good girl," answered Grandma, "She should get what she wants."
The conniver smirked in the back seat.

Psalm 24:1-6 (NIV)
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; [2] for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. [3] Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? [4] The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. [5] They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. [6] Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

-save a dog-

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Failing Brakes

The brakes on my bike were so loose that I had to squeeze with all my might on the hand levers to come to a stop. I had been riding my bike like that all summer. I knew it was dangerous and I needed to fix it, but with this bike, it is hard to pull the brake wires taut. And it has been many years since I was knowledgable enough to just replace the brake wires myself. So finally, despite an overfull day, I rode my bike to REI and asked if they could fix it while I waited. Of course they could. They will do anything for a fee. I rode out of there with brakes that stopped my bike with just a gentle, small squeeze. What a joy to trust and know that when I wanted to stop, I would indeed stop.

I thought it was a fitting metaphor for my life. Sometimes, we let things slide and little by little, it gets harder and harder to stop the slide. We let clutter build up one little thing at a time, we don't do the sit-ups every day, we don't worry about the few extra pieces of bread, we don't do our Bible reading that morning, we say 'yes' to one more commitment because it is a kindness... and pretty soon we are on a bike with no brakes racing down a hill that ends up going off a cliff.

There is a point where one just has to make the decision to fix the brakes. Learn when to say no, when to pull back, when to stop the slide. I wish our country would learn this. Sometimes it has to start with me.

I paid my money to the nice bike repairman, and started to roll it out of the store.
"Check the brakes first," he said, "Don't you want to be sure you like how I have adjusted them before you leave?"
"Oh...yes...I do. Thank you. They are perfect."
I rode happily and safely home, stopping exactly where and when I should.

Psalm 94:18 (NIV)
When I said, “My foot is slipping, ” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Color my speech red

We have started school. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin. We have a few kinks to work out but I am hopeful that we will emerge alive at the end of the year. I think I will keep my goals simpler this year. Our major course of study may of necessity be "elderly care."

A friend suggested I lower Mom K's bed so that if she does fall, at least she doesn't have far to drop. Initially, I felt this would not help. Both her falls have been in the bathroom thus far, but the bed idea stuck in my mind. Mom K is so weak that if the bed is low, she won't be able to get out of it. She will HAVE to call for help which is what we have been begging her to do. I talked to the Home administrator about that and he felt that was a great idea and said he would take care of lowering her bed that afternoon.

Now to go warn Mom K what was going to happen....She is getting stronger, the Physical Therapist said, and that is the problem. She can walk further, and do more, but she is not steady enough to do it safely. With her returning strength is her feistiness. When i told her we would lower the bed to make it safer, she caught right on.

"But then I won't be able to get out of it myself!" she said.
Ohoh. Subterfuge wasn't going to work. I was going to have to come clean.
"Actually, that's the point. You are not supposed to get out of it yourself. Not till you can do so without falling. You need to push the blue button and the nurses will come help you."
Well she didn't like that idea at all. She says she is up and down all night. She can't be bothering the nurses.
"Mom," I wailed, "Look at your arm!" It was black and blue and swollen from her fall two days ago.,"We are so afraid that the next time you fall will be horrible. You are paying those nurses a lot of money to help you. That's why you are here!"
"But I won't be able to get out of the bed if it is lower!" she said.
"Yes you will, every single time, by pushing the blue button which is what you are supposed to do."
She glared at me.
"Look Mom, when you go to a restaurant and order a hamburger, you pay them a lot of money for that hamburger, right?"
"Yes, too much money!"
"And you don't go in the restaurant, slap down all that money, and then walk out without getting your hamburger, do you?"
"No, no, of course not!"
"Well this is the same thing. You are paying a lot of money so that the nurses will help you when you need to get up and so you won't fall. That is why you are here. That is what you are paying them to do."
She shook her head and growled a little.
"Well ok," she said, "But I am not happy. I won't be able to put the bed back up so I can get out of it."
I moaned, "But Mom, we don't WANT you getting out of the bed alone! That's why you have the call button to call the nurse!"
I am not a good teacher.

Later I ran into the head nurse. She suggested we talk it over together with Mom K.
"Gert," she said, "How about if I order a hospital bed? Then it is just one button to push to bring it up higher for the day so you can get in and out more easily when help is here, but bring it lower at night so you are safer and will call for help. Would that be ok?"
"OK," she said, "But how much will that cost?"
"I think medicare will pay it," the nurse answered, "But I will check that out first and tell you."
"OK," said my surprisingly sharp and feisty mother in law, "If it is paid for, I will get it."

I rode my bike home, glad that one battle was averted. Meanwhile, back at the homefront, Nathaniel Hawthorne was threatening to overwhelm us on our first day of school. I love the classics, but sometimes good writing is almost impossible to understand. We were supposed to get to Chapter 4, but the introduction had us both stymied for most of the remaining afternoon. I am not a good teacher. Helping my daughter with that was almost harder than talking Grandma into a lowered bed. I don't know if I have a year's worth of stamina if every day is like this.

I thought about the greatest teacher I know. I read His words every day, and I find great strength and comfort in His admonitions and teachings. What does He do that guides so well? Maybe if I could just be more like Him, my efforts to guide those in my care would be more effective. I know exactly what I need to do.

I need to speak in red letters!

I always sit up and pay attention when the Bible changes to red. I know it is Jesus speaking then, and I know it is critical that I figure out what He is saying. Somehow I need to color my speech red. After all, we are commanded to be like God, to imitate Him and walk in His Word and Power. I looked to the Bible for guidance. How do I color my speech red?

1 Corinthians 13:1,8,13 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. [8] Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. [13] And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

-save a dog-

Monday, August 20, 2012

Filled with Joy

Mom K had not seen her handsome six foot tall grandson for at least eight years. Matt had been away to school, and Grandmom had been in Florida. She refused to travel to us, or let us bring her to us, and Matt never had a stretch of time long enough to travel to Florida. I regret that we didn't find a way to get him to her, but we are miserable oafs, and we will let it go at that.

Anyway, Matt and wife Karissa were here just for the morning, en route back to law school. They followed Arvo and me into Mom K's room in the Home. Her arm was bandaged from her fall that morning and her trek to the ER. She was sitting a little forlornly in her recliner when we walked in. I had warned Matt that she goes in and out of lucidity.
"She may not know you," I told him, "She thinks Dad is her husband and she sometimes doesn't know who I am." Truth be told, I think she thinks I am the hussy that stole her husband from her.

As we walked in, Mom K looked up. Her sunken cheeks and hollow eyes suddenly filled with delight. She burst into the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face, and she held out her arms, trying to stand.
"It is my grandson!" she cried out, "My grandson! I cannot believe grandson! You have brought me my grandson!" She beamed at me and looked back and forth between Matt and Karissa.
"And this is his new wife, Karissa," I said, "Isn't she beautiful?"
Mom K held out her crooked arms to the young couple and her eyes sparkled. She could not stop smiling as she held their hands. I wanted to weep for the beauty of it all, and the joy that was before this old woman who yearned for so little in life anymore.

The message from God on this one could not be any clearer. If you have not seen a loved one in a long time, you are missing out on one of God's greatest blessings. Go see them. Hold their hand. Smile at them and tell them how much you love them. You may not think they care. You may not think your presence could possibly make a difference. I promise you, you will not go away without the riches of the universe in your soul. And you will have left something even greater in theirs.

2 Timothy 1:3-4 (NIV)
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. [4] Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.

-save a dog-

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Fish Out of Water

I discovered two straight hours of kayaking is a little much, maybe even more than a little. I was wiped out the rest of the day. But that was ok. We visited with Mom K a while and I edited my next book. Neither required much movement. I'd already cleaned the house in preparation for my son Matt and his wife Karissa blasting through for one late night stay and then a meal with us before dashing back to law school. I could just lollygag about and think about the strange sight I had seen while kayaking too long and too far.

I had seen all the usual wonderful things- herons, osprey dive bombing for fish, turtles poking their heads out of the water to watch me. But as I skimmed along the shore line, I saw a fish in a tree. Now that is not something you see every day. He was dangling from a fishing line high above my head. Well, it might have been a 'she'. It is not easy to tell with fish. But for sure, he or she should not have been in a tree.

I knew I would not last till the wee morning hours when Matt and Karissa were due to arrive on their one day blast out of Dallas. I had gone to bed. They arrived around 2 a.m. Arvo waited up for them, as he is a night owl anyway. At 6 am, we got a call from the Nursing Home. Mom K had fallen again, and with every fall they are required to take her to the ER. So with maybe 4 hours of sleep, Arvo hurried off to meet her at the hospital. This is her second fall and ER visit in as many weeks. This one was not serious, no stitches like the last fall. This time, she was unhurt. The next time, she might not be. Old age makes all of us feel like a fish out of water.

What do we do? They don't have enough staff to answer immediately even if she had a sensor buzzer that alerted them when she tried to get up. Such a device would be useless unless they knew they could get there right away. Neither she nor we can afford 24 hour 'sitters' to watch her every move. She cannot legally be restrained in a bed or chair, with good reason. That would open a whole world of potential abuse in less worthy senior Homes. What to do? Right now, I feel as helpless as that fish dangling in the tree.

So I did the only thing right now that I know to do. I prayed. And I wondered about how that fish ended up in a tree.

Nahum 1:7 (NIV)
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

-save a dog-

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Joy Will be Yours

We were at dinner with my dear cousin Jerry, who was visiting while here on business. As every conversation with Asherel eventually ends up, we were discussing her love of the Beatles. The waiter walked by as Asherel was telling Jerry about Liverpool University in England where one can major in Beatles History.

The waiter stopped. We were at a Mexican restaurant, and he spoke with a Mexican accent. He had noticed Asherel's Beatle shirt, and told us he too was loony over the Beatles. He raised his uniform shirt to reveal a Beatles' T-shirt beneath.
"This place you were talking about," he said, "You can go and get a Beatles degree?"
He had a hopeful look on his face. His expression revealed a smoldering dream inside him that was obviously of deep importance.

Asherel told him about Liverpool university where yes indeed, you could actually get a degree in Beatles History.
"What would you do with such a degree?" he asked.
"Wait on tables and bring us more chips," Jerry said, under his breath.
"Well...that is the problem," I admitted.
"Maybe you could start a Beatles look alike band," suggested Jerry, "You do look a little like Paul McCartney."
"Can you play guitar?" I asked.
"Yes! I can! I was thinking of just this thing!"
"Can you sing?" I asked.
"No," he said sorrowfully, "Sometimes I try with my friends and they tell me that I cannot sing."
"Oh...well then that might not be the thing for you," said Jerry.
"Singing lessons?" I suggested.
"With a Beatles Degree," he pondered, "Maybe one could write a book." there aren't enough Beatle Books out there....
"Or work at Disneyland," I added.

He gathered our menus, and with a very serious look on his face went on to put our order in the kitchen. I felt a little sorry for him. This was a dream that I could not see ever being realized. My dogs get that same look on their face as they sit on the back deck at the top of the stairs. They look into the distance with deep, pondering, serious silence. They seem to be considering all the possibilities of the things they would one day like to do. I wonder if they too are dreaming of starting a rock band that would rival the greatest band that ever lived. And then they see a squirrel, erupt in ear stabbing barks, and are off to do what they have some semblance of hope of accomplishing- chase a squirrel up a tree.

Dreams and hopes. When we are young the whole world is open to us. We will become whatever we choose. Quite often, those dreams change and mature. But sometimes they don't...sometimes they just go unrealized. They were perhaps never attainable, yet in our youth, we don't know that. We think magic exists.

I sometimes guide my daughter into making wise, character building choices by urging her to live in such a way that what she hopes will be written as her epitaph will indeed come true.
"That's morbid and depressing," she told me.
I suppose it is. I do have a melancholy nature at times. But that is a hope and dream that I honestly might have a chance of bringing to fruition. If I want to be remembered as kind, I can actually be kind now! If I want to be remembered as being generous, I can be generous now. If I want to be remembered as someone who loved and spoke of God at every opportunity, I can love and speak of God at every opportunity now. This is a future I really can impact.

The waiter returned with a second batch of chips. He was a good waiter. He seemed like a nice young man, but so serious. I never saw him smile, even when he had been talking about all the Beatles albums he owned, and his walls plastered with Beatles posters. I hoped God would be gentle in molding his dreams to a place where he would find true and lasting and realistic joy.

Isaiah 61:7-11 (NIV)
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. [8] “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. [9] Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” [10] I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. [11] For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

-save a dog-

Friday, August 17, 2012

Close enough to touch

We took a new friend of Asherel's kayaking yesterday. I know I am going to love Ann Marie- when she glanced back at me kayaking behind her, she saw my umbrella hat. I had slipped it on after the girls had started off on their kayaks. Teens can be funny about being seen with old ladies wearing umbrellas on their head. I didn't want to scare this sweet friend off too quickly.

But Ann Marie cried out, "Oh what a gorgeous hat! I want one!"
My kind of girl.

It was just the respite from life's struggles I needed. The girls loved the river, the kayaking, the swimming, the eating lunch while bobbing on their boats. And I went tooling along the shore line, keeping them in sight but hunting for interesting flora and fauna in my cute little kayak. That is how I spotted the Copperhead snake floating just off shore in a tangle of twigs. At first, I responded as I always respond when I see a snake. I recoiled and gasped. He was close enough to touch, had I been foolish enough to do so. But then I decided I was completely safe in my kayak and I floated nearby and just watched him. I took some pictures to show the girls.

"Guess what I just saw along the shore?" I asked them.
"I'm scared," said Ann Marie, even before I showed her the photo. I guess it was obvious from my tone that it was not a cute and fuzzy creature. When the girls saw the photo, Ann Marie said, "Let's go see it! Want to, Asherel?"
They were frolicking on the overturned flat kayak, so both of them sat on the back of the overturned kayak and paddled behind me to the snake. However, when the snake saw them coming, it quickly slithered back to shore and was gone. That is why I don't worry too much about the snakes. I know they are out there, but they are more afraid of me (impossibly) than I am of them.

I stopped in on Mom K after kayaking. She was having a good day. She had just seen Elvis, who had visited the Home, and she told me that, "The older women really enjoyed dancing with him."
The older women? I guess at age 88, she still thinks of herself as a spring chicken.
"It was really quite fun," she told me.
I don't think I have heard her use the word 'fun' in ten years. Then I showed her the video of my sister Amy's grandbaby laughing while Amy said, "Blablabla," to him. Both Mom K and I were laughing till tears flowed watching the funny, happy baby. I had wondered if I would ever see her laugh again.

I guess surprise, and delight, and fun, and laughter is always within our grasp. Sometimes it feels like it is gone forever. But days like yesterday remind me, Heaven is within everyone's reach. Not always, but sometimes it feels close enough to touch, and unlike the Copperhead, this is something I'd want to touch.

Deuteronomy 30:11-16 (NIV)
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. [12] It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” [13] Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” [14] No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. [15] See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. [16] For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

-save a dog-

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Traveling Slowly a Difficult Path

I rode my bike to go visit Mom K at the Home but she was fast asleep. Later Arvo came home from work, after visiting her, and told me she had noticed I hadn't come that day. I had told one of her friends to tell her I had been there, but it added a new struggle to the week as we start home school again. I have to try to get there every day...and do so when she is awake. Oy Vay.

I called Comer, my old friend from a different nursing home. I haven't seen him in a few weeks, though I call regularly. He rallied after doing so poorly, and is energetic again, but his feet are swollen and nothing they do can bring that down. He thinks in a week he and his wife Evelyn might be able to go for a ride with me like we used to and look at the beautiful mansions of Charlotte. He has missed that. I glanced at my calendar with penciled in events flowing into the margin and over the pretty picture of people on summer vacation. Of course we would....but when...?

My sister asked me if I was the Patron Saint of Old people. It does kind of feel that way right now. But it is important that my daughter gets a piece of my time too. We planned a kayak outing with her new church friend that we have been trying to arrange a fun day with for the whole summer. Finally today we will get to go. But I don't know how I will fit in visiting Mom K too. Somehow, I need to find a way.

Arvo came home wearily last night and told me, "I don't know how people who don't believe in Jesus do it. If I didn't have the hope of a new world beyond this one, I would just want to give up too." His mom is not getting better. I expect at age 88, it is unlikely she will. She is probably going to continue to lose awareness, strength, and the feeble hold she has on life. He visits faithfully each night after work, often to be scolded because she thinks he is her long dead husband and she wonders if he has been out carousing. When I told her recently that he was not there till after her dinner because he was working, she said with a suspicious look, "Let's HOPE so!"

Sometimes life is really hard- filled with work, obligations, and depressing circumstances. If we think it is all about *us*, then it can be overwhelming. In the end, if life is all about us, it will end up disappointing. It is not fun, but this experience with Arvo's mom is giving all of us an opportunity to give back to a mother who gave selflessly for so many years, and showing us all that we are able to do some very hard things we would never have imagined ourselves in a million years being able to do. And to do it for reasons that have nothing to do with our own joy, delight, or satisfaction. It is shaping us and fitting us into a form that would have been inconceivable a few months ago. Sometimes what God asks of us is not easy and totally not fun, but it is always best, and if we do it properly, it guides us to a new perspective about what makes life worth living.

I read a verse in Genesis that popped out with a new meaning to me. When Jacob met his brother Esau in the desert and made peace with him after years of running from him, Esau asked Jacob to travel on with him. Jacob says no, he has flocks he must care for and he must go at their pace. I always read that passage as meaning Jacob was still not trusting Esau for past wrongs, and wanted to distance himself. That may indeed be true, but I saw something else as I read that verse today. Sometimes, we as caretakers cannot travel on swiftly and delightedly to the next exciting path as we might want to if we were unencumbered. Sometimes we must slowly plod only as fast as those that we are entrusted with, the weak and the young and the old. If we go any faster than they are able, we will not be the gentle leader or companion God would have us be.

And that is the picture of God as well. He remains with us- the weak, the young, the old, the broken-hearted. He travels only so fast as we are able. And when we are too weary to walk, He carries us Home. It is not about Me; it is about Him and His refining Purpose for my part in a vast Plan I only dimly see. In the end, I will travel this journey at exactly the pace He intends for me. He is not only the friend that travels with me, but the One I travel towards.

Genesis 33:13-14 (NIV)
But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. [14] So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir. ”

-save a dog-

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Pure Heart

There is a good reason why everyone should never leave home without a kayak in the car. I drove over to visit Mom K at the Home, but found her in her room fast asleep. She was really OUT, so I decided as long as the kayak was in the car, I would take a quick trip to the river. I could come visit her after kayaking. I knew Asherel was busy and wouldn't want to go anyway so I darted off to the Catawba.

It was, as it always is, magical and peaceful and delightful. This time, on the shoreline, I spotted a bird I had not seen there before. It was the size and shape of a Great Blue Heron but it was pure white. I see white herons in Hilton Head, but I had not ever seen one on the Catawba, and even the ones in Hilton Head are much smaller. Could it have been an albino Great Blue? As soon as I got close enough to snap a picture, the heron flew away. All that was caught on my camera was a beautiful, but empty shore.

Maybe it wasn't real. Maybe it was just an angel heron reminding me that there is another world that is even more magical and peaceful and delightful than this one! It would be very easy to google this large distinctive bird and find out if it was an albino Great Blue or an angel. But I think I won't. I like to imagine that God sent me a message of purity, of being clean and white as snow, unblemished in His eyes.

Psalm 51:7-12 (NIV)
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. [8] Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. [9] Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. [10] Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. [11] Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. [12] Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Blessing and a Curse

I am definitely out of practice with young children. My dear friend went into labor yesterday and so I had her kids over for the day. They are GREAT kids- well behaved, respectful, gentle, and sweet. But 3 year olds and 8 year olds have way more energy than older-than-dirt-year-olds, I discovered. Besides that, it was my mother-in-law's birthday too. So I raced over to the Nursing home first, visited with her a while, and then raced over to my friend's house to get the young'uns. I was already running out of steam.

I wanted the day to be memorable on many levels. So I planned an activity, thinking that would get us through the delivery of the new brother. We made beautiful duct tape roses. Each child made one to present to his/her mother to commemorate the new little brother. Asherel taught us how and even the 3 year old with a little help made a lovely rose. That left us with only 4 hours to create joyful memories.

Hmmmm. What next?
"Want me to read my new book to you?" I asked
My new book, Tommy- A Story of Ability, is 50 pages long. After about 20 pages, the 8 year old said, "How long is this book?"
The three year old didn't want me to stop reading, however. Go figure. I revised my age estimate of who this book is designed for....3 year olds and adults. (Actually, I think 5th grade through middle school might be a good age for it.)

Book over. Hmmmmm. Now what?
"Shall we make cards for your Mom with sand art?" I suggested.
They liked that idea and so we sat outside and made works of art.

Now only 3 1/2 hours left to create joyful memories.
I rummaged in my closet and noticed paper plates and plastic cups. Instantly, I saw pigs.
"How about making a pig mask?"
They loved that idea. I pulled out pink tissue paper and they went right to work covering the plate and cup with tissue paper, cutting out and attaching ears, poking eye holes, hunting for a stick to attach to the mask to hold it to their face, glueing the cup "nose" to the plate, winding pink duct tape around the stick.
And then the 15 year old brother's phone rang.
Baby brother had arrived! And college brother would be there any minute to retrieve the lovely family.

I pulled the roast chicken out of the oven and wrapped it up, and also wrapped the huge pan of lasagna I'd made. They would have many dinners. I sent them off with their big brother, laden with crafts, and gifts, and many dinners.

It was in the middle of the night that I remembered those kids were allergic to milk. And I had made a big pan of lasagna...dripping with cheese...a milk product. I just cannot get it right!

My Bible reading was in Malachi. So far, God is not at all pleased with the Israelites and Malachi's job is to convince them that they have wandered far from God and they need to return to Him. Warning after warning of horrible consequences are issued. I remember a pastor telling us once that Malachi ends the Old Testament with a Curse. But the New Testament ends with a Blessing. That really struck me. God is Good, but He is also Just. And He is not pleased when we call evil good, or rationalize and ignore His commands for faithful behavior. He will not turn a blind eye on Evil, on sin, on disobedience, on disregard of who He is. But we never get it right, and haven't since time began. On our own power, we end up just where Malachi warns us we will end...That is the problem with the Old Testament Covenant and laws. None of us can manage to keep them. All of us will make lasagna one day for milk intolerant friends and call it a kindness....

But there is hope. There is a Messiah, a savior, a Redeemer and with Him, all things are possible. A New Covenant is established. We do not need to struggle on our own. God does not help those who help themselves...He helps those who cannot help themselves, and that is the beauty of the Gospel.

Malachi 4:1-6 (NIV)
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, ” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. [2] But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. [3] Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty. [4] “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. [5] “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. [6] He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV)
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. [21] The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

-save a dog-

Monday, August 13, 2012

An easy Return

With no advertising thus far except on Facebook, my new book, Tommy- A Story of Ability, zipped up to #17 nonfiction children animal books. I hope once I advertise I might actually make some money for both me and the wonderful rescue farm where Tommy lives. ( It was a nice little bonus to my birthday.

The other bonus was that I was given free rein by my family to do whatever I wanted. I took my little kayak and headed to the river. With blue sky beckoning and a whole open afternoon before me, I headed upriver. It was a hot day, so I donned my umbrella hat. I am of an age now that everyone expects me to be loony. I don't think I disappoint in that expectation.

A few motor boats passed, stopped their motors and chugged over to ask me where I got my hat. Almost no one passed me without a smile and a comment. I felt deliriously happy all alone in my little boat, safe from the sun, limited in my travels only by my endurance.

Unfortunately, my wrists will never be the same and my endurance is not what it once was. My weak wrists can only handle about 90 minutes of kayaking comfortably. Besides that, I was traveling against the current. I made it to an old railroad bridge spanning the river and turned around. I had inadvertently timed it such that I turned just as they opened the dam upriver. The added current carried me swiftly back to my dock. Even the wind was at my back. It was almost effortless on the return.

And I thought, this is like my prayer for all my loved ones. Though the struggles and troubles and trials through life sometimes seem like an impossible against-the-current battle, remember the day will come when you will turn back Home. A mighty current and compelling wind will whisk you to the shore of the One who awaits you with open arms. Your struggles will be over, and you will dock safely, effortlessly exactly where you were always meant to be.

Jonah 2:3-4 (NIV)
You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. [4] I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’

-save a dog-

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Book's Birthday

Honeybun is snoring....loudly. She is wiped out from the agility trial. I am too. Asherel and I are thinking that in the future, maybe one day of agility competition is enough. We must be wimps because there are diehard agility people who attend all 4 days of a trial. I don't know how they do it. For one thing, the concession stand is obviously not heart-friendly. Why aren't all the agility people dropping like flies from clogged arteries?

As we were driving home from the agility trial, we hit the outskirts of Concord and saw a cop pull over an old man. We saw the cop get out of the car. It was the same one that had pulled me over for an expired inspection two days ago. Good grief. Now he is picking on old men. Some people just don't know how to use the power entrusted to them.

I like policemen in general. I like the military too. I admire the folk who are willing to risk their lives to defend mine and my freedom. But there is something disturbing about seeing this policeman pulling people over every few minutes. That old man was not speeding. My guess is the cop noticed his inspection was overdue too.

Maybe I am just old and crotchety. Today is my birthday. I think I am a hundred and six. At least that's how old I feel. I lost track after 37. My broken little toe is healed, but I went on a celebration run after six weeks of no running and got such severe shin splints, that I may never walk again. My mother in law turns 88 tomorrow, so we are going out for a joint birthday celebration tonight. I think we plan on chugging a six pack of Ensure. I am not certain I can handle more than two, but at least I am not driving.

Because, oh yeah, I have an expired inspection and registration....and can be thrown in jail for it unless I appear in court in a month and prove I have rectified the situation. I will be waiting in line with the murderers and robbers to beg for lenience.

I think perhaps I am being refined. God promises that He will test his people by putting them through a refining process. And when He is done, we will call on Him and we will know finally that He is Lord.

And on this momentous day, at age 106 or something like that, I gave birth to my third book. The children's book Tommy is now out in ebook ( and will be out in print soon. I think it is probably best for elementary age kids, but I can't remember what level kids read now since I haven't been a kid for a hundred years. My favorite animal rescue, Hollow Creek Farm will soon be selling the print book. One hundred percent of the profits for the print book sold by HCF will go towards helping the animals they save.

As a birthday present, please leave a kind review asap on the page . An old lady who is being refined into gold one day thanks you.

Zechariah 13:9 (NIV)
This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God. ’ ”

-save a dog-

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pleading for Mercy

Well, going out for lunch in the middle of the dog agility trial turned out to be a very expensive ordeal. I was driving along, obeying the speed limit like I always do, when I noticed police lights flashing in my rearview mirror.
"I'm not speeding , am I?" I asked Asherel, as I pulled over. The policeman came to my window and told me that I was being pulled over because of an expired inspection.

I did not say what I wanted to say, which would've been, "With all the murderers, speeders, reckless drivers out there, and you pull me over for an expired inspection? You have got to be kidding."

He wasn't kidding. He told me I have to appear in court in October or pay a $250 fine. He says if I appear in court with my renewed inspection, the fine will be waived. Since the dog trial is taking place an hour from my house, and is where I got the ticket, I will have to drive two hours to appear in court, an hour there and an hour back.

Or, I could just not appear and write it off as a very expensive lunch, $262 worth of lunch. Before the ticket, lunch had only been $12. The inspection was two weeks overdue. And since they no longer put inspection tags on the windshield , I never know when the inspection is due. However, with the new young driver sitting next to me, I was polite and pleasant to the young policeman. Not two minutes after we pulled away from him, we saw his light on again and he was pulling someone else over. Probably another mother in a minivan recklessly endangering lives by having inspection two weeks overdue.

I guess the city of Concord is hard up for money, and this is one way to get it.

Meanwhile, back at the agility dog show, Honeybun had a very nice first run, although she didn't qualify or win any ribbons. She got her weaves on the second try and they were quite beautiful. Best of all she looked happy and fast and both she and Asherel seemed to be having fun. I sure hope it was $262 worth of fun. And then, her second run of the day, while I fumed about the ticket, was magical. She was fast and she was perfect. She got her weaves the first time, she hit every jump, she beat the course time, and she got a perfect score. She has never had a perfect score. She not only Q'ed, but got second place! Asherel was wonderful, calm and confident and did a great job, the best I've seen her.

Life is always full of mixed blessings. There is always good, and there is always bad. Finding the message in all circumstances is one of my greatest joys in life. I wonder what God was trying to tell me with these episodes. The policeman was doing his job, but I really think he'd erred on the side of strict adherence to the letter of the law without mercy in the spirit of the law. I started thinking about how as a parent sometimes I tend to err in that direction as well.

As I watched my beautiful daughter who has so much talent and joy and delight in animals and in so many things, I thought about how frequently I am Just , but not Merciful. All in all, she is such a wonderful gift of God but sometimes I am so consumed with showing the righteous path, that I forget to enjoy the path she and I struggle along together, and to let the little things slide. The policeman was Just, but he was not Merciful. I did not much like the policeman.
"Lord may you guide me in trying to always be both," I prayed to myself.

As we drove home, I said, "You know Asherel, I was surprised at how well Honeybun did without too much practice this summer...and no classes. Would you want to consider continuing to do the Agility trials, and just take a break from classes? Maybe just try to practice a couple times a week? I know you have a lot on your plate."
"I would like that," she said.
And I smiled happily because I think I understood a little of what God was showing me.

Job 9:15 (NIV)
Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.

save a dog-

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Old Made New

My baby girl, the one born just yesterday, got her driver permit. Afterwards, we hurried to a parking lot to practice driving. After she emerged unscathed from that, I directed her to a cemetery. If she misjudged car position or speed there, we were in no danger of killing anyone. At least no one who didn't already know what it was like to be dead.

New drivers are the single greatest cause of heart attacks. Forget high fat diets or sedentary lifestyle. I know this for a fact. I have taught three kids to drive. Actually, Asherel did quite well. In about ten years, I think I will be ready to let her drive on a real street. For now, driving among the dead is a perfect challenge.

It is a week of firsts and of lasts. Asherel thinks she needs a break from agility contests. After three years of competition with sweet Honeybun, she thinks it might be nice to let Honeybun just be a pet, a beloved pet. One that doesn't have to jump, or weave, or tunnel. She may go back to it, and will keep training now and then. So today and tomorrow might be our last Agility Trial. It is bittersweet. Without agility, Honeybun would not have been healed. But now she is. And maybe it is time to rest on our laurels for a bit. I won't miss the getting up at the crack of dawn. I will miss the joy of watching a dog who once jumped to go after another dog's jugular now jumping to obey the mistress she has come to love. We have run out of room on our ribbon strand stretched across the ceiling of Asherel's room. Many of them are first place ribbons. But the string is heavy with accolades now. Perhaps it really is time to move on....

Here is where the trip to the cemetery helped me. The only ones who don't experience change and growth are the dead. Nothing that lives remains the same. We move on to new hopes, new dreams, new challenges. No one should mourn the past slipping away to a different future. It is God's greatest promise that the old will be made new, and death will be reversed.

And at that point, the cemetery denizens might rise up and protest the new driver practicing on their road....

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

-save a dog-

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Talking me Through it

I spent the morning with my mother in law, and the afternoon getting my new children's book formatted and set to go to print. It should be available in a week or so. I am really excited about this book because it is a true story about an amazing dog, born deaf and blind and any sales made through result in 100% profits to my favorite animal rescue. (They are getting set up so you can preorder books once the details are in.) Win-win situation- they get riches, I get fame, Tommy the dog gets creamsicles (his favorite treat.) I hope the reader gets something too. It is meant to be a tale about loving others for who they are, not for their perfection, but with all their imperfections. I needed the message maybe more than my readers.

I have a rising tenth grader and I am already mourning the day she will leave our home. For one thing, besides the fact that she brings me great joy, she is astonishingly good at computer graphics and design. She spent the afternoon helping me with the book formatting. Every time she walked out of the room, I ruined things. Every time she walked in the room, they were magically restored. What am I going to do without her?

"You will learn to do it yourself," she told me sternly.
"I will never learn all this!" I wailed.
"You can find instructions just by googling key words," she urged.
"It takes so long!"
"And you just fiddle around with it and try different things. That's how you learn," she told me.

Of course, I am sure this role of teaching a recalcitrant student is quite satisfying to her. I have forced her to learn to cook this summer, so she may view this as payback time. She has made many of our dinners with me standing there instructing each step of the way. I have done some instruction over the years, but not as much as I should have. So this summer she has learned most of the basics. Even made a really fabulous chocolate cheesecake. It is astonishing how much there is to cooking if you really have done very little of it. Even how to properly boil water is not a slam dunk. You have to know how long it takes, and stay near or soon you have hot water all over your stove. So much that just seems like common sense is actually learned behavior.
"How much is a pinch of salt?" she asked once.
"You know, just a bit."
"How much of a bit? I don't know since I never did this!" she wails.

And formatting books for publication is NOT common sense.

I think I know how God feels, standing near, trying to teach us and all we do is curl up in a whiney ball and cry out, "I will never learn all this! I will never be the holy image of God I am supposed to be!"
"Read the instruction manual," He encourages.
"It's so long! It takes so much time!"
"Then after that, try living it. That's how you'll learn."
"It is so hard! It is too hard! It doesn't make sense and I will never learn to do it myself."
"Well that's where book formatting, and cooking are different from walking with me," He says, "You will never have to do it yourself. I am right here, always have been, and always will be."

Psalm 73:23-26 (NIV)
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. [24] You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. [25] Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. [26] My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

-save a dog-

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Remembering Beauty

"Yes sir," said the woman in line in front of me. She turned and glanced at me in answer to my question.
I guess I may have to grow my hair out a little.
Sir? Sir! How many "sirs" are 5'3, 105 pounds wearing flowered shirts and toting a purse?! SIR? Do I REALLY look like a "sir"?
"She called you sir," Asherel reminded me, as we left the store, as though I needed another sledgehammer smashed into my ego.
And maybe I do. Crushing any semblance of vanity must be a good thing...right?

Although my mother-in-law is losing the memory of many things, including the fact that the Assisted Living Home is NOT Florida where she used to live, and she CANNOT go to her old hairdresser, no matter how much loyalty she feels....even Mom K remembers to take the time to brush her hair after I help her in the bathroom. I always push the wheelchair to the sink so she can wash her hands, and she always glances up from her stooped posture, touches her hair, and then takes a brush and carefully preens. When the nurse walked in with a cup of pills that Mom K had refused earlier, and handed them to me, she also glanced at herself in the mirror and touched her hair. She smoothed an errant wisp before asking me to see if I could get Mom K to take her meds. And then I glanced in the mirror, and ran a hand across my own short mop. The three of us stood in front of the mirror making sure we were as beautiful as we remembered we once were.

Vanity seems to be programmed into least most of us. My carefully conducted research of watching my mother-in-law and what memories survive the longest reveals inconclusively that brushing one's hair is the last to go. She doesn't remember that Arvo is her son rather than her husband, but she does remember her hairdresser.

So, for her birthday this coming Monday, I had arranged with the onsite hairdresser to cut and style Mom K's hair. It was the one thing she still seemed to take some pride in.
"Tomorrow you have a hairdresser appointment," I told her as she smoothed the longish waves she likes to keep shortish.
"Oh no," she said, "I have a hairdresser I have always been using. I will use her."
"She's in Florida," I told Mom K, "Are you sure you want to drive ten hours each way to have your hair done?"
Mom K paused in her hair brushing to consider this.
"This hairdresser is right upstairs...and then you will look so nice for your birthday," I told her.
Mom K looked peeved but didn't argue anymore. I am certain she was worried about what her old hairdresser might think of her for such an act of disloyalty. But she was pleased I think to know that her hair would be lovely again soon.

Sometimes those little superficial perks are what we need to make it through the day. My own Mom has a bathroom sunlight that sends down an ethereal balm upon the surface of the skin. It magically removes wrinkles and sags, and years. When she stands under that beam of light, she sparkles in youth and beauty. I have stood in that beam and it is magical. Dad wanted to install a motion light in there that would flash on as soon as someone walked in.
"Don't ever do that," I warned him, "Then you will destroy the magic light."

As I thought about all this, I realized that part of what I love so much about God is that He knows me for who I am deep inside. He is unconcerned about how long my hair is, how many wrinkles, how much I remember or forget...He always casts a "magic beam" that overlooks my flaws and shines light on the essence of what it means to be a child of God. We are all children of God, known and still beloved. All that is required is to find the Light and remain standing in its beautifying and sanctifying Grace.

I told my husband what the haircut would cost and expected to see him erupt like a volcano. Men don't always know what women pay to look like women. But instead he said, "Sure." He probably has noticed his mother in front of the mirror touching her hair and remembering.

Psalm 45:11 (NIV)
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cursed Anger

Have you ever been so angry at a service provider that you refuse the service to spite them and end up spiting yourself? Asherel and I met Arvo for lunch at a fun food court near his work. He and Asherel got quick and easy Chinese food. I sadly wanted the greek salad at the little Greek place in the food court. After waiting ten minutes in line and then twenty minutes for my food, I noticed Arvo and Asherel in the distance chatting and chowing down. They had at first waited for me, but their food was getting cold. Finally, I went to the counter and asked how long my salad would be. They hadn't even started making it. I told them, with barely restrained fury to void the charge. Steaming, I sat down with Arvo and Asherel. I was hungry but I was not going to wait in another line. So I had denied the Greek place my $5, but I also felt like I was sinking into a coma from hunger. Who smote who on that one?

That is the way it goes quite often. We get angry and take action, and end up hurting ourselves more than the intended target. Even when the intended target deserves our ire, anger never seems to serve a noble purpose. It always seems to degenerate into harm to the angry one.

Jesus did get angry. He was often furious with the hypocritical Pharisees. He was angry at the thick headedness of the disciples. He was angry at the money changers who tried to profit at the expense of the temple devotees. Anger in and of itself is not unGodly. But somehow, it doesn't seem to work well outside of the hands of God. I get angry too easily and too often, and I clearly don't have the skill of God in controlling it or channeling it to bring about a Godly purpose. What is the antidote to anger?

What if, instead of furiously storming out of the Greek restaurant with my void slip in hand, I had said, "I see that you only have one cook. I am sure you must be terribly overwhelmed trying to feed this lunch crowd. Why don't you just save my salad for last and help those folks behind me? When you get a chance, I would love my salad, because I know how much you must desire to promote the good name of this fine establishment." That might actually cause something new to occur, in their hearts, and in mine. Maybe they would actually ask me the source of such gentleness, such compassion, such understanding. But of course, because of how I reacted, which was perfectly understandable, I was never given the opening to give the glory to God. Anger almost never seems to serve that purpose in the hands of mere humans.
More than once yesterday the admonition filled my heart, "Seek first to understand."

Genesis 49:5-7 (NIV)
“Simeon and Levi are brothers---their swords are weapons of violence. [6] Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. [7] Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel!

Isaiah 56:11 (NIV)
They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.

Psalm 37:8-9 (NIV)
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret---it leads only to evil. [9] For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

-save a dog-

Monday, August 6, 2012

AS I Lay Dying...

It was either a gas bubble or a heart attack. I decided given my age, general health and fitness, it was probably a gas bubble, so didn't call the ambulance. I had first felt it during the church service. I want to a little bench outside the church door to decide whether this was worth a thousand dollars or so to get checked out. A half hour later, having skipped the church Bible Study class, the pain disappeared and I felt fine. Good. I was glad I had not spent the day in the ER for a gas bubble. I sat in the church garden watching the trees against the blue sky and was happy I was not yet dead.

However, it did make me think about how my poor daughter might have grown up without a mother. The boys are out of the house, and probably would be largely unaffected by my passing, but Asherel might still care. The dogs would surely notice. But given the nature of dogs, they would just move on and find someone else in the family to feed them.

How would I be remembered? Not as well as I would like, of that I am sure. Every night I go to bed and audibly cry out in lament over some stupid thing I have done or said. Am I all alone in this? I do not struggle at all like some people do about why I need a Savior. It is painfully obvious to me.

In the end, I just wish I were better than I am. Still, I was glad it was just a gas bubble. I still have time.

Romans 3:23-28 (NIV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [25] God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood---to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--- [26] he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. [27] Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. [28] For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

-save a dog-

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Wonder of Clouds

When I pulled up to the Nursing Home, intending to bring Mom K to our house for the day, she and another resident were sitting on the front porch together. They both waved to me. While it was a hot day, the covered front porch with high ceilings is always cool, with a cross-breeze always skimming through it.
"I came to see if you'd like to come to our house for the afternoon," I asked.
"Oh, I don't know," she said, "Shirley and I were just sitting here watching the clouds. They are very interesting."
I glanced at the sky. The clouds were indeed very interesting- big billowing cumulus that morphed into elephants, and angels, and winged chariots.
"Oh, go," said Shirley, "Nice to get a change of scenery."
"There is a nice change of scenery right here," said Mom K.
I would say she is adjusting well to her new home. Still, I talked her into coming for just a little while.
"A little while turns into a long while," she worried.
"How about for just two hours?"
"See," she laughed, "Two hours turns to four!"
"No...I mean FOR just two hours."
"Oh, well for a little while."
I passed one of the aids as I walked in to get Mom K's walker and she told me, "You should have seen your mother-in-law in exercise class today! I wish I had a video."
I think perhaps I can stop worrying quite so much about Mom K. She has new friends, new activities, and the wonder of watching clouds from a porch that is always cool and inviting.
Thank you Lord.

Zechariah 8:12-13 (NIV)
“The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. [13] Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong. ”

-save a dog-

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I played hooky from the nursing home in the morning and went kayaking. All alone. I was careful not to get wet so I could go directly to the Nursing Home afterwards. I watched an osprey couple in a nest feed their young. The male then tried to lure me away when he saw me approaching. I obeyed him and steered wide of the nest. The last thing I needed were osprey talons in my hair. When he was certain I was no threat, he veered off to go fish.
That's a good husband, I thought, watching him hunt for his family's lunch. Protection and provision. What more does an osprey family need?

I stopped home later to get Asherel, knowing Mom K would love to see her. When we arrived at the Nursing Home, Mom K was watching the Olympics. I checked the Activity Calendar and saw that "Shut the Box" games were going on in the Activity Center there.
"Let's go play Shut the Box," I said, "Go meet some people."
"OK," she said shrugging.
"Would you like to walk? Asherel can follow with the wheelchair in case you get tired., and I can help you with the walker."
"Yes," she agreed.
So we made our way to the Activity Center which was all the way down two hallways, and up the elevator. It was the longest walk she had done since arriving. She did well and made it the whole way. Mom K was directed to a table with two men. They were very kind, showing her how to play Shut the Box. This game is mostly luck with some simple addition skills required. As Asherel described it, "mindless." But it was a good challenge for old people who are struggling with remembering things and a nice way to meet people.
"It's an old Irish pub game," said the man across from Mom K.
"Then where's the beer!?" I asked. Maybe this game wasn't so bad after all.
"No beer," he said sadly.
I chatted with the man next to me- Dr.P.
"What are you a doctor of?" I asked.
"Zoology," he said, "PhD doctor."
The activity leader told me he had been the chancellor of a large university. This startled me. It was an incongruous place and activity for a man who had probed the depths of knowledge to be playing this silly little game of chance.

LIfe is sometimes filled with incongruities. We all end up in the same place, no matter how magnificently we soared. (Well, at least on earth, we will do. After that, there is a big difference in where we all end up for eternity.) In this gentle facility where Mom K now lived, she, like the Osprey I had seen, also had protection and provision. Of course that is not enough for any of us humans. I was trying hard to shower her with love, since that is critical as well. But the final essential ingredient necessary for human happiness, purpose and meaning, God alone would have to show her. I thought about how sometimes, when our abilities are reduced to such a level that we can barely lift our head, it is not always so easy to remember that we do have purpose, we still have meaning. Our Creator would not have offered eternal life to beings who were not created for a reason. That would have been cruel, like playing Shut the Box for endless hours knowing once we ruled the world.

As I was leaving, Mom K said, "But I have nothing to give you!"
I held her hand and told her, "You have already given me for years and years. Now it is my turn to give to you."

Jeremiah 15:11 (NIV)
The Lord said, “Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose..."

Romans 9:22-26 (NIV)
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath---prepared for destruction? [23] What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--- [24] even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? [25] As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” [26] and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ”

-save a dog-

Friday, August 3, 2012

Little Things

Two crowns? I need two crowns? On my teeth, I mean. My little head could barely hold one if we are talking gold and ruby studded royalty type crowns. But ugh. Two crowns. That joy will be mine next month. Yesterday's appt. was just a cleaning. The dental hygienist was as gentle as she could be, but in the end, I only went through the roof about ten times. They decided the level of sensitivity probably made it necessary to just numb me for the next cleaning. Two hours later I staggered out of the dentist office, and there was a message waiting on my answering machine. It was from the nursing home. It started off, "Hi Vicky, your mother in law is fine, but she is sitting here asking me to call you. Could you or Arvo maybe give a call back?"

It was a day filled with challenges. I sat with my mother-in-law through her Physical Therapy session in the morning, and she had done well. She had walked all the way to the dining room and back, and the PT said she felt this was the strongest she had been since arriving. I left her, telling her I had a dentist appt. in the afternoon so probably wouldn't be back.

When I got the phone message that she was being insistent she needed to talk with us, I called immediately. The nurse quickly handed the phone to Mom K.
"I have been waiting all day and no one came," she said.
I reminded her that I was there all morning, and had my dentist appt. in the afternoon and that Arvo couldn't come till that evening.
"Well a husband should at least visit once in a while," she said, clearly miffed at the husband who had died two and a half decades ago. He better hide when she gets to heaven....
"Remember Mom," I said, "Your SON Arvo can't visit till after work. He works all day, but he visits you every day on his way home from work."
"Well that's terrible," she said.
"But he has to work," I told her, "Or Asherel and I starve."
"Well he should call me and ask how things are going," she said.
"He can't call you," I reminded her, "You don't have a phone yet. But it is supposed to come tomorrow. Then I will tell him to try to call you at lunch time."
"And the nurses took my shoes while I was in the bathroom," she added.
"Did you find them when you came out?" I asked, rubbing my aching jaw.
"No! They took them. I can't find them anywhere. I am here in the restaurant and they took my shoes."
"Mom, hand the phone please to the nurse."
She did so, and I told the nurse I would hop on my bike and be over there in ten minutes.

When I arrived, Mom K was sitting at dinner. I glanced at her feet. Her nice shoes were on her feet, just where they belonged. She was filling out her menu choices for the next day, and not eating.
"Hi ladies!" I said to the table of kind women.
I helped Mom K fill out the menu choices so she could eat her dinner.
"I'm getting tired of filling these out every day," she said grumpily. She certainly was feisty today, I thought. I presume that indicates returning strength.
"They could choose for you, if you prefer," I said, "But they want you to have what you want to eat."
She shook her head at the unimaginable gall of it all, but told me her choices as I checked them off.

I have been reading Zechariah in the Bible. It has one of my favorite verses in it, "Who dares despise the day of small things?" This reminds me that the little things we say and do matter. Little things may start small, but they often don't remain that way. Cracks in teeth can become massive chasms and lead to very bad things. The small cracks need to be noticed and taken care of, and sometimes that means expensive crowns...sometimes two. Little things can also build in one's mind till they become gigantic misunderstandings and soon kind nurses are stealing shoes, and dutiful sons seem like uncaring husbands. Little things have such a way of snowballing.
And little things like daily reading a little scripture, saying a little prayer, relying a little more on what you know to be the truth of God's faithful provision...they also become greater. Little acts of kindness, little words of love and affirmation...all those have a way of growing till a world will maybe one day be bathed in sweetness.

Well," I said, standing after a half hour of chatting and assuring Mom K that her SON Arvo (not her husband) would be there in just an hour,"I just came to say Hi. I need to get home now and make dinner."
"You came...just to see me?" she asked surprised.
"Well yes...why else would I come?" All the ladies at the table looked at me, "Except of course to see all these sweet women here with you." The ladies smiled.
She patted my hand and I waved and was off again on my bicycle. The torrential rain didn't start till I stepped in my home, though it felt a little like a storm had swirled inside me all day.

Zechariah 4:10 (NIV)
“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?”

Zechariah 3:1-10 (NIV)
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. [8] “ ‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. [9] See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. [10] “ ‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree, ’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

-save a dog-