Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hanging by a Thread

That was a pretty dramatic storm last night. I saw pictures of the very road we were to be traveling on today to get to the ski mountain under water! After the torrential rain, a frigid cold front and snow moved through. My guess is route 321 is currently a glacier. Anyway about it, we won't be skiing. Instead, I will sit home and try to think of clever ways to use my new word: filipendulous.

There are many filipendulous circumstances in my life. Some times are less filipendulous than others. Last night, during the storm, the filipendulous lights flickered off...and then feebly back on. whew! My filipendulous ability to write my books, homeschool my daughter, manage my Destination Imagination team, be the wife, mother, friend I should be sometimes makes me lie in bed at night and cry out loud, "I can't do it." Even my filipendulous faith is at times only hanging by a very thin thread threatening to snap.

Fortunately, God's power is anything but filipendulous. He knows just how tenuous, how frayed, how dangerously filipendulous my grip on life's demands sometimes is. His strength is not filipendulous. His hold on me matters much more than my filipendulous hold on Him. He won't let go but sometimes He lets me dangle to remind me how desperately I need Him.

And after the floods, and the ice, will come a season of flowers and spiders swinging on their filipendulous web.

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14,18 (NIV)
Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? [14] When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. [18] It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

filipendulous: hanging by a thread

-save a dog-

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Creating Wonderful Moments

From Monuque Anstee's Naughty Doggie Facebook page:

"No matter how naughty your dog, and regardless of behaviours that you are
struggling with, you need to create a minimum of ten moments a day where you can truly praise your dog with pride.
It is up to you to create a minimum of ten wonderful moments - do not wait
for your dog to give them to you."

Amen! I saw this quote on a friend's facebook page yesterday and just loved it! And this applies to children as well. And to mothers. Children, take this seriously: no matter how irritating your mother is, take ten minutes every day where you can truly praise her with pride.

I chatted with a mother of a child with a sensory processing problem yesterday. I was an occupational therapist (OT) many years ago, and specialized in working with kids with processing disorders. When people call me for advice, which they do now and then, I try to help, though I no longer practice OT. This poor mom was at wit's end. She described meltdowns that the child seemed unable to control, and the disapproving looks of passersby as the poor mother tried to calm her child's sensory overload. She didn't want to punish the behavior because in her gut, she knew the child was at the mercy of a nervous system gone amok. She knew others thought this was just a bratty child, and their silent condemnation added pain to her already burdened soul.

The child has been diagnosed, and is in therapy, but I guess the therapist hasn't fully explained things, and the mother is still feeling lost and overwhelmed. She wanted guidance in how to prevent the meltdowns, and also, in how to understand her daughter. She didn't think the behavior was willful...but she didn't want to err on permitting behavior the child was in control of. I think more than anything what she wanted me to tell her was she was not crazy- her gut was correct. The child needed therapy, not punishment, and there was hope. With good therapy, it would get better. I described over the phone some techniques she could try and she was so happy, so grateful, and said several times, "Oh my daughter will LOVE that!"

When I hung up, I felt really good. I had a very good sense about this case. The mother had good instincts, the child was hopefully about to receive what she really needed, and I think soon, the mother will truly be able to "create ten minutes a day where she could truly praise her with pride." Best of all, the little girl would perhaps be better understood, and maybe would not grow to feel bad about herself over things she could not help. I told the mom that when the girl melted down, perhaps she could try the therapy techniques I suggested, while telling the girl, "I know you don't like it when you lose control, and I am going to help you learn ways to prevent that." The child would know that the mom was on her side.

I can relate to that little girl... and to that mom. I don't usually have meltdowns, but I behave in ways that I wish I didn't and sometimes don't know why I do. I do that as a child of God, and I do that as a sometimes clueless mother of children. But I have a Heavenly Father, who wraps His arms around me, and tells me that He understands, and He will help me to learn ways to prevent that. And then He engulfs me in His spirit, and holds me tightly until relief and hope flood through me again.
No matter how naughty I am, or how manifold the behaviors I am struggling with, He sees me as I will be, not as I am, and loves me.

Psalm 109:21-22,31 (NIV)
But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. [22] For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. [31] For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cease Fire

I had bought Arvo two passes to a shooting range for his birthday long ago. Finally, yesterday, 2 days before the passes expired, we decided to trek out the hour drive with Asherel in tow. I have never shot a gun, nor had any real desire to do so. I do believe in 2nd amendment rights, and do believe a disarmed population is at the mercy of the first despot that comes along. But it was with trepidation that I accompanied the birthday boy. Asherel came along because, "I'm sick of trig." She needed a break from school.

The first thing they did at the shooting range was show us a little video. It teaches about responsible gun use and procedure. I began to turn green and feel a little sick as it talked about all the safety rules and precautions. There were many examples of unsafe moments, at which point the range leader would shout, "Cease fire!" At that moment, anyone on the shooting range was to lay the gun down on the table in front of them, and step back. I myself would have the power to yell, "Cease fire!" if I saw anything worrisome, or potentially dangerous. Every person on the range had the responsibility to be alert, and if needed to protect others, yell, "Cease fire!"
Personally, I would not want to step onto a shooting range with a rank beginner like me nearby....

"I'm terrified," I told the range captain as we were issued our gun and target sheet.
"Do you want a ten minute lesson?" he asked.
"Yes please!"
He handed us our earpieces and safety glasses, and the three of us, one trembling, headed onto the target range. I stepped right up to the instructor though, so I could go first. When I am afraid, I have found waiting to go last only builds fear. It is best to just get it over with.

The instructor was kind and patient. He showed me everything and said not to worry if I didn't hit the target, but just to get a sense of aiming and correct stance, etc. My first shot hit just below the bullseye center circle. And then I was hooked. It was challenging to try to keep the shots exactly where I wanted them.

Asherel got 4 bullseyes in a row. As she stepped back to let Arvo have a turn, she told me, "I want one."
"Fine," I said, "I'll get you a marshmallow gun."
I don't think any of our shots were wild. Nearly all were right in the target area. It was a whole lot more fun than I had expected, though I could have done without all the noise.

That evening, I had many mixed feelings. I do not like guns, but I know history and I know there are inconceivably evil people. I know that corruption and the lust for power can drive people to enslave, murder, and torture. If someone were threatening my family, my children, I would do anything to protect them.

And yet, Jesus never tells us to go forth and do violence. In fact, he says that our life should be typified by gentleness that is evident to all. In our gentleness, God is glorified, and His peace descends. Even without a gun, I fall far short of being the picture of gentleness. I lay awake a long time trying to picture what Jesus would have me do if I had the power to hurt those who hurt me. All I could picture Him saying was, "Cease fire."

Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! [5] Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. [6] Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [7] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things. [9] Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me---put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

-save a dog-

Monday, January 28, 2013


Free will or predestination? If you think very long about this topic, your brain begins to wrap around itself, grab your throat with both hemispheres and strangle you. Every few months, I ponder this imponderable. I do that all on my own, but had a little help tumbling into this intellectual morass yesterday. In our little Bible study class, we all agreed that God extends grace- giving us what we don't deserve, the gift of eternal salvation when we place our faith in Jesus. And grace is sufficient. In fact, our teacher made the point that grace plus anything does NOT equal the gospel of salvation. No good work can earn us salvation- only grace alone; it is the gift of God "lest any man should boast." We do nothing to earn it, and can do nothing to gain it. We only need have the faith to accept it. But, then the teacher proposed, is faith a "work'? Is it something we DO, and therefore is it grace plus works...thereby nullifying grace?

This led to a spirited discussion which I won't attempt to recreate here. I believe in free will AND in God's grace that provides an irresistible pull towards Him. I believe faith is both a gift of the Holy Spirit AND an act of the will submitting to God. I suspect, bound by time and space, unlike God, we only have a murky understanding of either concept.

We came home from church, and the dogs went nuts, like they always do. Whether we give them any attention at all or not, they whine with delight, wag like maniacs, lick our hands and our feet, and tell us there is no greater joy than being in our presence again. Even if we kicked them away, (which we don't), they would return, longing only for us to acknowledge them. I decided that is a picture of grace.

Romans 11:5-6 (NIV)
So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. [6] And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

-save a dog-

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Very Tired

Yesterday morning, I made a crock pot full of chili, thinking that was a good idea since I'd have the DI team over the entire afternoon. That way, when they left, dinner would be all ready and we could have Mom K over to eat with us with no last minute scramble.

I tried to help the DI team get settled with all they needed, gave them mugs of hot chocolate, and was available through the afternoon when they had questions or needed supplies. I am not allowed to help them, but I can ask questions to generate creative solutions. When they seemed stuck, I tried to ask helpful questions. For the record, it is much harder to guide teens to figure things out on their own than to just tell them what to do.

The afternoon came to a close and the DI team shuffled out. Mom K wheeled in. Unfortunately, she didn't seem very interested in my chili...or really anything. She just seemed tired, and confused. I tried to ask helpful questions to spark interest.

"I am very tired," she kept saying. She nibbled a piece of lettuce, but really ate almost nothing, pushing away the chili. My hubby took his tired mother back to the nursing home and I wearily cleaned the kitchen.
"I am very tired, " I thought.

It is hard to please so many varying ages, and never quite really succeed. Asking questions to spark interest is harder than you might think. When the house was empty again, I did a bible search on 'do not grow weary'. Up popped one of my all time favorite verses from Isaiah. God is right there with me, and He never grows weary. His strength never fails. And He is always eager to share. Though I stumble and even fall, He is there to renew my strength.

This is good, I thought, because I am very tired.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. [29] He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. [30] Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; [31] but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

-save a dog-

Saturday, January 26, 2013


A layer of ice is over Charlotte. We returned just in time from the icy cold mountains to greet the icy cold piedmont. I saw photos of cars upside down on the interstate yesterday. It is much more fun to be upside down on a snow mountain, if one must be upside down at all. So my family all huddled in our home, safe from the icy streets and hunkered down with our memories of powdery snow and ski trails from the day before.

I had wanted to visit Mom K but did not dare go out on the streets to drive to the nursing home. It occurred to me that all the nursing home workers *did* go out on the streets, and if they had not, many residents would have been in very bad shape. Likewise, despite the ice and cold, my friends at Hollow Creek Farm still had to venture out to feed the horses, pigs, cows, goats, and turkeys they saved from death and now house along with scores of rescued dogs. My facebook friend, an abortion mill sidewalk counselor who begs abortion-minded mothers to choose life, still went out to the Cities4Life meeting in icy Charlotte last night, and will still be out today counseling and fighting for the unborn. Every one of them fought the icy roads and icy hearts to try to warm someone's life.

Honestly, I feel a little guilty sitting in my nice warm house with my memories of the wonderful day skiing. But I also feel gratitude for all the people who braved the ice to help others. The ice is supposed to melt away today from the streets. If only it could melt away from hearts so quickly!

Psalm 147:11,17-18 (NIV)
the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. [17] He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? [18] He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

-save a dog-

Friday, January 25, 2013

Proper Precaution

I discovered that 14 degrees is not too cold to ski if you are well bundled with proper gear. As my sister Wendy told me: there are no poor ski days, just poor skiers. And it is never too cold too ski, just poor gear. I took two brief breaks to warm up- something I usually don't do. However, the benefit of such frigid cold is that the ski resort had been making snow for several days and since it had never melted and refrozen, it was the best powder I have ever skied on. Powder is much easier to ski on than ice. I had worried for naught over the frigid cold. I am glad we went in the end.

Precautions are good, but they can close off experiences one should have. One person gave his mom a hard time about wearing a helmet. He fell and hit his head. The helmet probably saved him from a concussion. He understood and I think was glad for the helmet after that. He may never fall again...but it only takes one fall.

It is often a battle discerning when proper restraint and precaution limits unnecessarily the wonder of life. I do not find the decisions I have to make always easy to discern. My gut was telling me it was going to be way too cold to enjoy the day skiing. I was wrong. My friend's gut told him it was overcautious to wear the helmet. He was wrong. So what is a mother to do?

Pray. I just believe there is no other way.

James 4:14-15 (NIV)
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. [15] Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

-save a dog-

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tempest Released

I have handwarmers, toe warmers, base layer, mid layer, outer layer, hats, scarves, gloves....The high is now forecast to be 14 degrees on the ski mountain to which we sally forth. I don't even want to think about the low. I am ready, though it will be difficult to bend any joint with all these layers. The good thing is if I fall, I should just bounce like a rubber ball. Unless all my cytoplasm has frozen, in which case I may break into a million little shards.

If I were in charge of the universe, I would not make a single day below 32 degrees. And none hotter than 90. But God, for whatever reason, feels it necessary to make the high 14 degrees on the very day I will be on the mountain. I suppose one thing He is teaching me is, "Whatever comes your way, be prepared." And don't complain. He who brings the ice, also brings the warmth.

Job 37:9-10 (NIV)
The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. [10] The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.

-save a dog-

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Health Care Controversy

I read an article in the newspaper yesterday that specifically said skiing was good for osteoporosis! People who stay active in bone jarring exercises have a much reduced chance of fracture. Recently diagnosed with brittle bones, I was happy to read this. I was especially happy to know that my ski trip Thursday could be considered health care. I wonder if Obama will cover the cost...? Go to

However, I was less happy to read that the high was expected to be 18 degrees, the low 12. My bones may benefit, but I may lose the tip of my nose to frostbite. Why is nothing ever clear cut? Ski or not? I polled the group going. They were split. Some felt to wimp out was what only limp livered lilliputians do. They didn't exactly say that, but I could tell they wanted to. Others felt that paying for life threatening hypothermia was insane.

Since I needed another warm base layer under my ski pants anyway, I headed to the ski shop to ask their opinion. The first salesgirl (not woman...girl...she was maybe 16) told me that she thought it was too cold to go outside Charlotte....It was 45 degrees. I thought that perhaps she should be working in the bathing suit department at Belks instead of a ski shop.

Next, I talked to the man in the back stringing tennis racquets.
"18 degrees? That's cold. I wouldn't want to ski in 18 degrees. Especially if there are little ones in your group. Oh, but talk to Laura- she is from that area. She will know if it is too cold to ski. Laura, this lady is taking a group of kids to Sugar Thursday and it is supposed to be 18 degrees. Is she nuts?"
"Perfect skiing weather!" said Laura, "If you dress right. Lots of layers, no cotton, insulated pants and jacket. You'll be fine."

So I tallied the consensus and weighed the experts' advice more heavily. I decided we would ski, and I would make the group I organize for this trip sign a disclaimer that any chipped off icy body parts were not my fault. This little incident made me understand fully why Jesus tells us when two people agree on earth, it will be done for them. Two people don't agree on earth. Ever. But clearly, Jesus wants us to agree. He probably doesn't really care much about whether we agree whether 18 degrees is too cold to ski, but I bet he cares a lot that we agree we need Him. I wonder if I can find one other person to say, "Amen!"

Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. [20] For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

-save a dog-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hidden Treasures

I ran into an old art student at the grocery store. She is in college now. But more interestingly, she is a top contender for the Olympics shooting event. She wins most of her competitions, and is clearly in the Olympic committee's crosshairs, so to speak. She was also one of the very best artists I ever taught. She promised me she would let me know if she made the Olympics, though she says the shooting event never airs, and is deadly dull to watch.
Who would have known, I thought, as I went on with my shopping. I might have had a future Olympian in my art class.... So many wondrous nuggets we miss nestled in the humdrum dailiness of life.....

Later, I went on a walk. I saw a discarded Christmas tree on the curb. Honeybun stopped, anxious to smell all the dog messages left on the tree, when I noticed an ornament the owners had missed. It was a little handmade ornament, looked like a little tree in a red base. I started to walk on. Then I wondered if perhaps it was special to them, and next Christmas, when they opened their ornament box, and started trimming the tree, would they be sad to see the little ornament had disappeared? Perhaps it was very special, a little nugget of delight that would be forever lost to them. I walked back, removed the ornament and put it in their mailbox.

Smiling, I moved on. I thought of my cousin, who is still continually doing hidden and generous things for the people of Sandy Hook, in her beloved little village of Newtown. So many hidden treasures that may be found, hidden talents, hidden acts of kindness, God's invisible hand made visible by the love of His people. That little ornament that was headed to the garbage dump rescued and saved....I don't know. It just filled me with hope.

Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

-save a dog-

Monday, January 21, 2013

Paris in the Snow

A Facebook friend posted a picture of where she was spending the past two weeks. She was apparently in the snow. I drew the picture of Paris in the snow with a deep sigh. I have always wanted to go to Paris. Perhaps not in the snow, but it certainly looked beautiful in the snow. At least as an artist, I can draw Paris in the snow, and it will probably have to do. That is why I have always loved art and always loved reading. Both take me on adventures that are otherwise too costly; both open worlds I could otherwise not enter.

Paris! How lucky my Facebook friend is! It is just a city, but a city so filled with art, and history, and mystique, and beauty. I long to see it, at the same time that I know my longing for things of this world will never satisfy. After Paris, I would long for Rome...

In our sermon at church yesterday, the pastor quoted John Wesley. I don't remember the exact quote, but I remember the sentiment- a true, devoted, regular reading of the Bible will soon lead you to understand that nothing written is of greater comfort or value, and everything else pales in comparison.

Even Paris in the snow.

Hebrews 11:10 (NIV)
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

-save a dog-

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Babies Growing Up

A member of one of my old DI teams from years ago emailed and told me she was cleaning out her room. She had one of the puppets Asherel my daughter had made for DI a few years ago. Would I like it back? Of course! I walked over to her house immediately and retrieved the monkey puppet which we had named Chiquita. It had been one of my favorite creations of Asherel, and it had pained me to part with it, but Asherel had wanted her teammate to have it.

I put the monkey in my backpack. She didn't quite fit so her arms and head stuck out of the top. As I walked home, several cars honked at me. One driver rolled down his window and said, "Nice baby!"
"Thank you," I said.

It WAS my baby. All my DI teams are my 'babies'. I want the absolute best for them. I do DI because I love creativity and I love kids. I want them to do more than they think they can do, learn to work hard towards impossible goals, and grow into caring, considerate, responsible adults. DI can teach them that, if they are willing...and if I am willing, and if other DI coaches are willing.

I walked home with Chiquita bouncing in my back pack, and prayed for my current DI team. Two rooms in my home are completely covered with DI backdrops, tarps, paints, and supplies. Two days of my week are devoted to DI meetings, and have been for months. Will it all be worth it? Do the kids understand how much I long for their success?

I heard Chiquita chatter from the backpack, "One day they will. Hang in there. One day they will clean their room, and find a prop from DI, and they will think of you and wonder if perhaps you would like it as a memorabilia as they step onto the cusp of adulthood."

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters

-save a dog-

Saturday, January 19, 2013


You just never know what might work. First, we got Mom K a bed that dips in the middle so she has to really work to get out of it without calling for help, thus reducing the chance of her getting up and falling. It is actually made for the elderly who shouldn't get up without help, but do anyway. The sides are built up. It is like a soft sided pit. She CAN get out of the bed, but most of the time, it is just too much effort, so she calls for help. It has the added benefit of being a really comfy bed. Maybe she just doesn't WANT to get out of it...

And then Arvo found a soft helmet on-line. He brought it to her last night, expecting a fight. He figured if she did get up, and did fall, at least she wouldn't bash her skull in.
"I brought you something, Mom," he told her, "If you love me, you'll wear it at night." (Most of her falls are in the middle of the night.)
He pulled it out, fully expecting a fight.
"Oh that's nice," she said, as he put it on her.
Then she snuggled into bed, with her protective helmet, and fell asleep.

Never give up. Never lose the creative spirit. Never get so tangled in the thorns that you forget the vine has flowers too.

I read a NY Times editorial this morning blasting the "ignorance and magical thinking" of Christians. The two examples of this were the "Biblical belief in geocentricity of Earth" and the denial that prevents action against climate change. (?) I was taken aback by both. I did some research quickly since I had no idea why he would say there was a Biblical belief in earth being the center of the universe. I read some commentary that said this attack sometimes arises because the Bible says "the sun rises and sets" or other similar phrases. Some claim that supports the notion that Christians believe the sun revolves around the earth. And there was a time Christians believed that. But then...everyone did. (I don't know a single Christian who believes that now....) I suppose the more accurate phrase would be "the earth's revolution and rotation allows us to turn slowly towards the sun each morning, and as the day progresses and the earth continues to revolve around the sun, and rotate on its axis, we slowly turn away from the sun at night." Doesn't have quite the poetic impact of 'sunrise' and 'sunset'. My guess is every person on earth has used the perhaps inaccurate but pithy phrase in describing sunrise and sunset, so I guess we are all guilty of geocentricity.

The climate change dig as a 'Christian denial' escapes my ability to analyze, and not only because of the fact that increasingly, data is supporting the myth of manmade climate change. There was plenty of such data always out there, but it seems to have been often squelched. I do believe climate change became politicized...but a religious ignorance? I wasn't aware of any Christian dogma on this point.

But I thought about how every morning, the one thing that changes my attitude and makes me greet the day with hope is the thought that God is there and He loves me. I suppose the NY Times editorial writer would say this was magical and ignorant, but in my mind, he is getting tangled in the thorns and missing the flowers.

Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV)
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. [2] Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. [3] They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. [4] Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Hebrews 4:12-13,16 (NIV)
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. [13] Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. [16] Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

-save a dog-

Friday, January 18, 2013


We got a smattering of snow. Mostly it just rained, and rained, and rained. Our yard, never the envy of any homeowner, is now a mud lake. There is snow in the mountains I hear. We saw a brief snow shower, and then it mixed into rain again. I guess I'll put away the cross-country skis till the next snow scare.

It was kind of funny how everyone prepared for the snow that never came. All day, the newspeople forecast and discussed the snow, the grocery stores did a brisk business, kids put off doing homework...people everywhere were making plans based on snow.

And then, it didn't come.

All those plans for naught! Funny how sometimes we plan so carefully for things that might never come, but so often put off planning for the things we know will come to pass.

1 Corinthians 15:36-37,42-44,50-52 (NIV)
How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. [37] When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. [42] So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; [43] it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; [44] it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. [50] I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. [51] Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--- [52] in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

-save a dog-

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bear Fruit

It is raining torrentially. Tonight, it is supposed to turn to snow! Snow here in Charlotte! I am waxing my cross country skies in anticipation. I have laid out my warm Cross country ski clothes. It isn't supposed to stick, but if it does, I will be ready. There is little as magical as skiing on a golf course or through white neighborhood streets in the night while stars twinkle on. I hope my waxing and preparation will bear fruit!

Meanwhile, the rain today will force me to stay inside. I hope Asherel will get lots of school work done, and I will do a good strong editing session on my latest book. It is nearing completion, after 8 years! It has been a long process, with many set backs and frustrations and has taxed me to the limit in many ways. I hope all this labor will bear fruit.

My DI team is also working towards a long term goal. For teenagers, working for 9 months on anything is very hard. They have about 1 1/2 months left till the State contest. It is sometimes when the end is in sight that so many, wearied by the long haul, give up. How I hope and pray their work will bear fruit.

Thinking about Mom K, and how so many older folk sometimes feel useless, we gave her a prayer notebook. We wrote our prayer requests, things she could lift up to God on our behalf when she is lying in bed. I know the prayers of a righteous woman always bear fruit.

God has a lot to say about bearing fruit. He tells us over and over again that if we don't grow weary, if we don't give up, if we keep the goal in sight, and if we ask Him to guide and help us, we will bear fruit. Every step forward is in the right direction. And while our culture might try to tell us otherwise, we are never too young, or too old to bear fruit.

Psalm 92:14 (NIV)
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,

-save a dog-

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This I know

Asherel did a really fun speech in Gavel Club on "The Science of Cute." She didn't have to say one word after the title to sell me. I loved the title. One hallmark of cute things is having big eyes. We universally think big eyes are cute. Think panda bears, kittens, babies, alpacas, bunnies. Furry and soft add to the cute factor as well. Adult humans with their beady eyes and hairless bodies are really not very cute. But puppies are, and even grown dogs are. There is a lot to be said for cute. However, I remember people looking at my art work while I shadowed them at college art shows, and they would sometimes say my artwork was "cute". I found that highly insulting. Art is not, or should not, be "cute". I would prefer they say, "Magnificent."

But most of the time, I guess I have to admit, my art work is just "cute." I long for magnificence, but perhaps cute is good enough. I had a wonderful discussion with a new friend yesterday. We were watching our kids from Gavel Club bowl for two hours. We had nothing else to do but chat with each other. I am very glad I had the opportunity. We talked about how the older we get, the less certain we are of really anything. We know God loves us, and we love Him, but most everything beyond that, we both admitted we feel less certain of, rather than more. Age does not bring wisdom, as much as perplexity.

When I got home, I read a review of one of my books by a self avowed "agnostic". He said he bristles at Christian overtones in a book, but he gave my book a chance and kept reading. And in the end, he realized that we are more alike than different. We all long to understand, and we all look upon suffering with dismay. We all hope to cope, and we all seek to believe the world could be better. I felt a surge of joy when he said my book made him feel a little less alone in a hard world.

I am not certain of much, but this I know: big eyes are cute, and God is love. Perhaps that is enough to be certain of for now.

Psalm 20:4-7 (NIV)
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. [5] May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. [6] Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. [7] Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Where The Light Can be Seen

My talented artist daughter, Asherel, did a brave thing yesterday. She used the gifts God gave her to teach residents of a nursing home to draw a dog. I asked them all when they finished very nice dog drawings if they had ever drawn a dog before.
"No!" they all said.
"Wow! First dog in 80 years!" I exclaimed.
"Try 87," said one woman.
"Can we draw a bird next month?" asked Joe, another resident.
"That would be fun!" said my daughter.

When they started drawing the dog, one resident kept trying to hand me the pencil, "You do it for me," she asked.
"No," I said, "You can do it. Just listen to what Asherel is saying. Drawing with basic shapes is easy."
Soon, she stopped asking for help, and drew the dog face with intense concentration.
"I had 25 Foxhounds growing up," offered one resident.
"We had birddogs," said another.
"Those foxhounds used to love running over the mountain after the fox," said the woman, a wistful look of remembrance on her face.

Asherel had chosen a golden retriever photo to draw from, one with a huge smile on its face.
The ladies at my end of the table drew the happy dog, and then laughed, "He looks so happy! How funny!"
Later Asherel told me she chose that happy dog picture on purpose, "I thought it would make them smile."

I think my daughter learned something very valuable yesterday, even more valuable than the residents who now can draw a dog. She learned that when we use the gifts God gave us in service to others, we feel a sense of purpose and joy. There may be no more important lesson.

Luke 8:16 (NIV)
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

-save a dog-

Monday, January 14, 2013

He is Able

The good news for the day Sunday was my two dog books, the first one and the last one, were #3 and #4 in the dog training category on (#1 and #2 were both by Cesar Milan, the famous dog whisperer.) The bad news was Mom K ended up in the ER again, but this time not for falling but for a very nasty bladder infection. She was put on intravenous antibiotics, and after a good portion of the day in ER, returned to the nursing home. Ups and downs. Sunrise, sunset.

Great message at church though. Through a developing migraine, I didn't remember all of it, but part of what I remembered is that we learn and retain the most when circumstances are difficult. Don't be dismayed by how hard life is sometimes. God may be teaching you something that is of great value, and that you will never forget. He doesn't mean for our life to be easy. It is sometimes in the hardest things of life that we learn to rely most completely on Him, and when we do, we learn He is able.

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. [27] And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

-save a dog-

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wonderfully Made

It was over 70 degrees yesterday. This is winter? I love NC! I spent most of the day supervising my DI team, so missed out on much fun with the gorgeous day. But there was a very wonderful drama swirling on Facebook that I watched all day. Every few minutes, a Facebook friend posted pictures of a newborn baby, all dressed in her pink adorable finery, with a little pink headband on her full head of dark hair. What made it particularly compelling was this was a baby that was scheduled to be aborted in May. My Facebook friend, a sidewalk pro-life counselor, talked the mother into choosing life. And one of the most touching photos was of the new mama, gazing rapturously into the eyes of her beautiful new daughter. I could not get enough of looking at that picture, the joy and love in the eyes of the mother, the adoring gaze of the newborn as she looked deeply into her mother's eyes. The choices we make matter so much, so much more than we sometimes understand.

Psalm 22:30-31 (NIV)
Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. [31] They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

Psalm 139:14-16 (NIV)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. [15] My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. [16] Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

-save a dog-

Saturday, January 12, 2013

All the Families of the Nations

At a friend's request, I had helped edit several essays of a young Chinese student here applying to American colleges. He has only been here two years so his command of English, while much better than my Chinese, is not perfect. I was happy to help. He had good ideas but didn't express them fluently in English. The family was so appreciative that they invited my entire family to a fancy dinner last night. My friend and her family were invited as well. Of the eight people there, only my friend spoke both languages well, and the young man spoke English well enough to be understood. The three from my family spoke no Chinese, though I practiced saying "Thank you" in Chinese the day prior to our dinner. The three other Chinese people there spoke no English.

It was a lovely dinner, delicious food, and a lot of nodding and smiling at each other. I said, "Thank you" in Chinese many times to fill in the conversation. My bilingual friend did an admirable job of translating, but it is definitely not an easy way to try to communicate with others. My friend, noticing me pause when the food was served asked me if we should pray.
"Please," I said, "You pray in Chinese for us, because more of us at the table will understand."
She took my hand, and I took the hand of my daughter, who took the hand of my husband, who took the hand of my friend's husband and so forth until all of us were holding hands. I am not sure the others quite knew why we were suddenly holding hands. Then my friend prayed and while I understood not a word, I knew what she was saying in my heart. When she finished, her Chinese husband who doesn't speak English, joined us Americans saying, "Amen."

Psalm 22:27 (NIV)
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,

-save a dog-

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Old Made New

Since it was a glorious warm day yesterday, I walked to Mom K's nursing home to visit her. The administrator had come up with all kinds of clever ideas to make it difficult for her to get up without help, hoping to prevent her falls. He called in some health care advisors who tilted the wheelchair seat back a little, and added a higher edge to her bed. We hope that extra bit of incline she would have to overcome will make her decide it is just easier to call for help. After all the adjustments were done, the nice helper left, and I also got up to say goodbye.
"Now remember," I told Mom K for the millionth time, "When you want to get up, call for help."
"Ok," she said.
I started to walk out the door and turned to see her trying to stand up.
"Where are you going!?" I cried, rushing back in.
She settled back down, saying, "I don't know."

I finished a charcoal drawing I had done of a friend's dog, and was very happy with it. The dog is old and not doing well. Old creatures not doing well seem to be surrounding me these days....

But I could almost forget that, walking home in the sunshine. It is good that in the midst of winter, God sometimes gives us warm sunny days. It reminds us that winter will end, the buds will open and flowers will blossom, the birds will return singing, and the old will be made new again. It is good to keep that in mind when surrounded by old creatures not doing well.

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, January 10, 2013

God Provides the Increase

Picture this: 6 teens, twenty open jars of paint, saws, boiling water on stove to make papier-mache, wire cutters, and matt knives. I was in the other room, trying not to scream while drawing a dog portrait for a friend. I intervened as infrequently as possible- like when I saw a balloon volleyball game initiated in the room with the twenty open jars of paints. And when they started a mock saber fight with a PVC pipe.

They could not pay me enough for this job...
oh yeah....I'm not getting paid at all.

I wonder why there is such a dearth of Destination Imagination managers in NC....?

"How do we make a mask with papier-mache if we can't form it over someone's face?" one kid asked me.
"I am not allowed to tell you that," I told him, "But I can teach you general skills about papier-mache if you like."
"Are you sure we can't form it over Ben's face?" he asked.
"Yes," I assured him, "I am sure."

Etc., Etc.

But don't let me dissuade you from managing a DI team.
I am told that years from now, after the kids get over hating me, they will thank me.
They will understand when they are adults how I gave up my home and my sanity for them. They will see that I provided a safe place for them to learn how to solve problems without adults telling them how. They will one day appreciate why I didn't want them to use the large piece of windshield glass as a shield while they practiced karate chops, or wrap the chain around their friend's neck and pull....

Some people go to distant lands to spread the love of God and I am grateful that they do so. I try in my limited way to do it here, with teens and paint and saws and rules they find restricting. I know it is a little thing in a small corner of the world, but I am hoping and praying that my home will be remembered one day as a place where young minds blossomed and learned. I pray that one day those teens will forgive me for the rules that they felt limited their fun, and will understand how much I longed for their futures to be brightened and shaped by my surrendering my living room and sunroom to their sometimes careless hands. It is a small offering. Still, I pray God will find a way to provide the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:6-11 (NIV)
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. [7] So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. [8] The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. [9] For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. [10] By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. [11] For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

-save a dog-

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Enslaved by Pride

The day we spent on the mountain skiing was magical...all the way till the last hour when we got a call that Mom K had fallen...again...and was headed to the ER...again. We raced the two and a half hour drive home, and Arvo went to the ER to retrieve her. She was ok, just a head bump. She was repentant for trying to get up without help...again. I have full confidence she will remain repentant till the next time she gets up without help...again...and we spend another day in the ER.

While all of you are of full mind and body, please make a pact with your children right now. You will not be stubborn, independent, or in denial. Accept that you have given your all to your kids, and now just relax, let them care for you, and ask for help. It is more of a burden on your beloveds when you don't.

I am an intermediate skier. I was able to receive a free lesson with my ticket should I desire one. I decided to take it, though really, I thought I was good enough that I really didn't need the help. Left to my own devices, I was certain I would progress at a fine and appropriate pace. Nonetheless, I decided to take the lesson. It was amazing. The teacher told me one simple trick- when turning, lift the big toe of the uphill ski just slightly. My edges dug into the hill, my skis became parallel instead of snowplowed, and suddenly, I was actually parallel skiing. And I had thought I didn't need any help....

People! Swallow your pride. Stop acting like no one can tell you anything, or offer you any help. Be humble and accept you are not even close to what you should be. It is ok not to be perfect, not to know everything, to have someone else tell you something you didn't notice or think of yourself. Not only might it save your soul, it might save you a trip to the ER.

Titus 3:3-8 (NIV)
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. [4] But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, [5] he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, [6] whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, [7] so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. [8] This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Where Treasure Waits

Our paper reported that Sandy Hook School, in the wake of that terrible murderous rampage, has received so many stuffed bears that the warehouse is overflowing. The paper reports that the Sandy Hook community has asked people to please now help their own communities, but apparently the outpouring of comfort continues. It is good to know that the hand of God reaching down is sometimes covered by the flesh and blood of our friends, our neighbors, our countrymen and women. For that one horrible evil act, hundreds and thousands of acts of kindness followed. It is good to dwell on that.

Luke 12:32-34 (NIV)
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. [33] Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. [34] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

-save a dog-

Monday, January 7, 2013


My new book is free as an e-book on today. Meanwhile, we are all going skiing at my favorite mountain, the best way to greet a Monday. Asherel did school work all weekend so she could go. I hope when I come home from the mountain, hundreds of thousands of people will have downloaded The Well-Trained Human ( If not, I will still have had a wonderful day skiing.

Often on those free promotional days, I sit at my computer and watch the real time "sales" tally. It is a nail biting day, as if I can't even GIVE my books away, it does not bode well for my future as an author. Fortunately, thus far, the free promo days have been very successful. But sometimes, it is best not to obsess and worry too much over one thing.

For example, yesterday, Asherel noticed that Lucky had completely worried away a 5 inch swatch of his tail fur. We could find no obvious cause- he just got to licking and scratching and soon he had a blazing red hot spot. He had been so focused and obsessed with licking his tail that he created a problem! We put the inflatable collar on him, and by the evening, the tail looked almost as good as new.

Which further supports the truth of the Bible. None of us can add a moment to our life by worrying. Obsessing over results never does any good, and often harms the one obsessing. There is great wisdom in doing one's best, proclaiming God's message, and then leaving the results with God.

(But do feel free to send the link to my book to everyone you know!)

Genesis 22:8
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Luke 12:25-26 (NIV)
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life ? [26] Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

-save a dog-

Sunday, January 6, 2013

While it is Today

My afternoon was spent trying to encourage, as unobtrusively as possible, my team of Destination Imagination kids to use their time to full advantage. The clock is ticking on the deadline to register for the State Contest and we need to scramble to be ready. I am hopeful they will pull it all together in time. It was a good afternoon, with only one minor little problem of an altercation between skin and super glue.

I worked on my book in the adjacent room, keeping an ear and eye open for dangerous activities. I only needed to remind them of Rule #6 (do nothing stupid with sharp objects) twice. The fun part was watching their huge backdrop slowly transform. It went from indistinguishable blobs of paint to a truly glorious work of creative art. Hooray team!

One of the problems of a long term project like this is when you have 9 months from start to finish, you feel like you have all the time in the world. It is easy to put things off, not be worried about time constraints, and feel like it will be easy to get it all done in time. Now, as we have only 2 months left and the bulk of constructing yet to do, we realize, oops, time slipped by without us noticing.

This is a good lesson for life. Time does slip by without us noticing. If we are not careful, a whole life slips by. We wonder where all our opportunities to make a difference, draw closer to each other and God, and hold tiny hands have vanished to. It is so easy to lose sight of goals- academic, work, spiritual- thinking there is always tomorrow. But when tomorrow arrives, if we were complacently putting off the work of today, we will reach an empty tomorrow.

I noticed one team member snapping a photo of the finished backdrop. I think perhaps she was proud of the accomplishment. That is the joy of meeting 'today' with exuberant engagement. When the sun sets, there is less regret.

Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. [12] It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, [13] while we wait for the blessed hope---the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, [14] who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

-save a dog-

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bunny slopes and Mountains

"This is the top of the mountain?" asked Asherel.
While any day skiing is a good day and beats doing Trig, I shared her concern. This was not a big mountain. When we first learned to ski, it seemed big. It no longer did. We had not returned to this mountain since that first time, when we learned to ski. From the top, taking the longest run, it took us less than 5 minutes to ski down. Yet the lift took closer to ten minutes to bring us back up, as it moved slowly, and stopped often. It was bitter cold and windy, so all that time sitting as opposed to working our muscles was taking a toll as well.

After the first run down, Asherel turned to me with a face coated in ice.
"Can you get me a face mask?" she asked.
This had been a last minute end of holiday hoorah, and a special deal, so it was still worth it. We ski again with our regular group at our favorite mountain Monday. It is supposed to be warmer, as well.

As we looked at the bunny slope where we had both learned to ski, I remembered how enormous I had thought that hill was. I remember feeling certain I would never be able to do this sport, and there was no way I would ever get on a chair lift, and definitely no way I would ever go to the top of the mountain.

Now, three years later, it has become my favorite winter sport, I go to the mountain tops regularly, and I can't believe I ever found the bunny slope daunting. Why can't I remember this every time I face a seemingly impossible task? Why am I still filled with self-doubt, worry, despair that I will never be up to the challenge? Why do I forget that in learning to ski, no one is expected to start on the top of the mountain? And why do I forget that even tottering with shaky legs down the bunny slope was once challenging...and fun?

Psalm 32:8 (NIV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

-save a dog-

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hiding in Snow

The Home where Mom K lives called yesterday...they caught her climbing on a chair to turn off the alarm that warns the staff when she (unwisely) gets up without help. The alarm is triggered when she gets out of bed. The monitor is high in a cabinet, since she tried to turn it off repeatedly when it was in reach. We bought the alarm so that a pager the staff carries will alert them when she tries to get up without assistance. She continues to ignore everyone's pleas to call for help every time she needs to get up, falls, goes to the ER, gets stitched and casted and sent home...and then she gets up on her own again and the cycle continues. They are going to try hiding the alarm in the closet. We are all at wit's end. Except of course, Mom K. She is not close to wit's end, apparently.

So, our solution in the face of this daunting problem? We are all going skiing today. A last hurrah before facing the toils and troubles of life, again. I really do think sometimes it is good to bury one's head in a snowdrift rather than face the day. Just once in a while.

Psalm 32:7 (NIV)
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

-save a dog-

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How To Deal With Aliens

We noticed with some consternation that the house at the entrance of our neighborhood put up an electric fence for their new husky. I don't love electric fences, though we have one, but it is the double safe guard to our physical fence in trying to retain our escape artist dog. Huskies are known for their escape artist tendencies and I worried about the husky crashing the fence. I worried not only for his safety but for the safety of Asherel as she walks Honeybun. Honeybun does not love dogs racing up to her and while very nice if other dogs are polite, she will defend herself if she feels threatened. The husky was young, exuberant, and I felt certain would bound over to Honeybun if he escaped.

Anyway, a few days ago, I was near that husky house when another dog walker stopped me and warned me the husky had broken out of his fence and was loose. The owner caught him before I had to make a 3 mile detour in the other direction to get home. The next time I passed the husky, he looked at us but didn't go near the fence. I suspect he had gotten a strong shock when he escaped, and he seemed to not want to repeat that.

I thought about deterrents. I had just had my group of teens over for our DI practice. I love the group, but have found they need many reminders to stay on track. Is it better to do many little nagging reminders, that don't hurt much but seem more humane, or is one swift, mighty zap a better solution to correcting behavior? I thought about how God works. He uses both methods, I think, depending on the hardness of the misbehaving heart. But one of my favorite lines from Isaiah is when God says, "Come now, let us reason together."

He seems to want to approach us as reasonable equals, though clearly we are not. He seems to prefer the gentle guidance approach as opposed to the electrifying zap. Perhaps that is why it takes a lifetime to transform in His image. And in His infinite wisdom, He sent dogs to teach us how to slowly, but without letup, learn how to reason with alien life forms. And teenagers.

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV)
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. [22] But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--- [23] if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

-save a dog-

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


We could not talk Mom K into coming over for New Year's dinner. She was worn out from all the Christmas festivities I guess. Honestly, so was I. It was nice to have the unexpected quietness and rest. So Asherel, Arvo, and I had a feast all to ourselves. And my New Year's joyful surprise was discovering I can get e-books from the library! I can sit in the comfort of my home, peruse the library collection while wearing fuzzy slippers and a smelly bathrobe, and in seconds, download a book of my choice. And when I finish the book, no traipsing out in the cold or wondering if it is overdue and I owe a fine. The book will just automatically disappear from my iPad when my time is up. Effortless! I am now convinced. This is the best time to be alive.

I downloaded my book, and curled up in a cozy corner. I spent the next two hours reading. This is a rare and wondrous luxury. Both dogs curled up next to me, and the clock ticked. The rain tap danced on the roof while I disappeared into a gentle and wonderful world.

Today, mayhem begins anew. We start back to school, and then end the day with a 3 hour Destination Imagination practice. It is never easy to jump back into the fray. And the schedule is always full with squeezing in visits to Mom K, particularly since she seems increasingly less inclined to leave the Home. I popped in a couple of days ago, in between holiday family arrivals and departures. She was happy to see me, but didn't remember that her oldest son from Florida had been there just two days ago. I need to visit often, I thought, so her traitorous memory doesn't leave her thinking no one cares. Some things, unlike downloading books from the library, still require effort, but I think some things are clearly worth it.

1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

-save a dog-

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

A new year! So much hope and expectation rides on this moment. Maybe this year I won't blow it. Maybe this will be the year I do everything right, with all the proper motivation. Maybe this year...will be different.

I did wake up to see my first book listed on Amazon as the #1 dog training book, #2 dog book, and in the top thousand of all authors on Amazon (out of over a million...) I was thrilled with the surge of the first book, but hopeful for the new little dog book (The Untrained Human) just out because I think it has a nice little message.

But besides that lovely New Year surprise, I also awoke from a dream that I was slowly climbing a mountain, and on the way up was robbed. My purse was stolen and I was left climbing the mountain with no money, no identification, and no idea what to do next. I guess my subconscious is telling me I am fighting an uphill battle, and it is not going to get easier.

Matt and Karissa, my dear son and daughter-in-law, have the right idea. Start the new year with a bunny. And not just any bunny. A long haired mop of a bunny so hidden under her soft fuzzy fur that it really seems no harm could ever reach her, or those who hold her near.

After that awful dream, I awoke and could not sleep. I did not have a long haired mop of a bunny to reach for, so I grabbed my Bible. Actually, I grabbed my iPhone because I have several versions of many Bibles on it. I opened the first Bible app.

This is what I read:
"But I am poor and needy; 'Yet' The Lord thinketh upon me: Thou are my help and my deliverer; Make no tarrying, O my God." Psalm 40:17.

I closed my eyes and repeated those words, hoping to hold them in my memory. How incredible that The Lord of Heaven and Earth "thinketh upon me." What more do I need to climb the mountain of a New Year?

Happy New Year, friends! Remember, The Lord thinketh upon you, is your help and deliverer. Make no tarrying, O my God, but if you do, tarry alongside me as I climb.

Psalm 40:16-17 (NIV)
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” [17] But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.

New Book available at:


or Amazon:

-save a dog-