Sunday, June 30, 2013

Forgiveness and Consequences

Every few months, a wonderful friend invites us to her farm for Barbecue and shooting practice. We are new to the delight of blasting little tin cups to smithereens, but we all enjoy it. And we have discovered that the gun owners in this circle of friends are some of the most self-reliant, responsible, patriotic, and good people we have had the pleasure of congregating with. Many of them are in law enforcement. And all of them have decided that the bad guys won't win without a fight. So they practice shooting at tin cans, and orange target circles, but they talk about if an intruder enters their home, how they want something that they can fire without giving away their position. These folks know that a day may come when they will need to defend themselves, and they take that responsibility seriously. It was a great day, until my daughter succumbed to the vicious effects of lingering in the hot sun, and we had to whisk her into air conditioning to stave off heat stroke.

But before the heat prostration, while munching turkey barbecue, one of the fellow gun aficionados asked me if I knew of the NC law that allows convicted murderers to go home on weekend furloughs. I was sure he was kidding, or misinformed. He was not. As soon as I got home I researched his claim. It is true. I was so dismayed by this revelation that I immediately wrote an article about it.

I am a Christian. I believe in mercy and grace. But I also believe that here on earth, we bear the consequences of our actions, and I believe that if someone takes the life of another, he or she should pay heavily for that act. I think stiff penalties not only deter the likelihood of others choosing such a horrific path, but also protect future acts of violence from the offender. I am increasingly disturbed by the notion that when the law is broken, we should forgive the lawbreaker often to the detriment of the law abiding. I see it in the discussion of amnesty for illegal immigration, and I see it in a system that rewards convicted murderers with weekend furloughs for good behavior.

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba, God forgave David. But he did not remove the consequence of his action- the child of that illicit union died, and David's kingdom was bathed in violence. David would not be the man to build God's temple despite his desire to do so, because David was a man of blood, having engineered the death of Bathsheba's husband. Our actions on Earth have consequences. David would ultimately be in Heaven with God, but on earth, he would suffer consequences for the sins he had committed.

I praise God that my sins are forgiven, and that I will stand beside my Lord one day. But I tremble at the harm I have done here on earth when I have veered from righteousness. Forgiveness does not mean there are not consequences of the choices I wish I had not made. To remove consequences makes a mockery of righteousness, and trivializes sin.

As my daughter discovered, when you sit too long in the sun, you fry. That's how we learn not to sit too long in the sun.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. (Isaiah 58:1-4 NIV)

save a dog-

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Source of Our Problem

The vet we went to for a second opinion got the xrays from the first vet, and says my dogs' hips look fine! The first vet was convinced she had "loose hips" and treated her accordingly. But Honeybun was still having bouts of lameness. The second vet wants us in to get back xrays for Honeybun, as she strongly suspects a neurological reason for the lameness, e.g. slipped disc, pinched nerve, embolism in her back/spine - not bad hips! This fits much better with my observations of the sudden collapse, sudden onset of lameness, and I feel a little disgruntled by all the time, treatment, and expense for hips that were perhaps not the problem. However, I feel encouraged that this new vet seems to be on the right track.

It seems that veterinary science is a bit of a guessing game. An expensive guessing game. Oh well. Easy come, easy go. It's only money....Maybe there is a section in Obamacare that covers people's dogs. No one really knows what is in there, and the health of my dog directly affects my mental health. I think I could make a good a case for the rest of the country going into debt to pay for my dog so that I don't have to.

Anyway about it, the hidden source of her troubles needs to be ascertained. There may be an easy solution, but it is hard to solve a problem when you don't know what the problem is. You can spend a lot of time and money trying to heal the symptoms, but if the root cause remains, true return to health will never come. As we discovered, you may throw away a lot of money towards the wrong solution.

I think we as a country are experiencing a similar issue. We are crippled and we keep pouring money into symptoms, thinking that will heal us. But the root cause of our decay seems to be growing. We are sinking further into debt, violence, disregard for life on either end of the birth to death spectrum, lauding immorality, disrespect and disdain for our own foundations, crumbling families, skyrocketing divorce, impossible costs of college, increasing loss of freedom and self reliance, corruption and fear, increasing division and acrimony between political groups and their followers, irreverence for God's people, a moral compass based on convenience... The list goes on and on and on. So we spend more money, pass more laws limiting more behavior, and founder from one squishy stance to another in the name of tolerance, and still, we hobble on legs that we know cannot remain standing long.

All we are as people depends upon the presence of a Creator who endowed us with unalienable rights and the yearning not only for freedom, but for Him. Those desires at times clash - our free will challenged by the duality of selfish desire, and the desire to please God. When self wins over God, society suffers. I believe that our actions as a country are moving us further and further from the source that made our country great in the first place. We have stopped our ears to the call of God, and He will not pry our hands away against our will.

Monday we go for Honeybun's back xrays. We just can't figure out how to help her by looking at the external symptoms. We have to look deep inside her, instead, because I want her to be healed if at all possible, and the only way to do that is to find the source of her problem.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:22 NIV)

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. (Hosea 6:1 NIV)

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Isaiah 58:8-12 NIV)

-save a dog-

Friday, June 28, 2013

How Blessings Flow

God works in mysterious ways.

After months of Honeybun limping and uncertain diagnoses, and driving an hour each way to the vet, I decided it was time to get a second opinion and cut our drive by going to the vet 15 minutes away. I waited an hour to see her. This is both good and bad. This vet was clearly popular, and the people in the waiting room were polite and kept their dogs on short leashes. The bad, of course, was that I waited an hour. But while waiting, I chatted with the lady next to me. She had a little pug that had a swollen foot. The pug was not even her dog. He belonged to her neighbor who had to go to work. So the sweet lady took his dog, with the swollen foot, to the vet for him. While she was waiting and chatting with me, the neighbor texted her. He was not at work anymore. He was in the ER. The sweet lady might have the pug with the swollen foot for many hours.

Since we had an hour to chat, she learned that my Honeybun was a rescue dog that had turned vicious, and the successful year of rehab that we undertook with her became the spark for my writing a book and jump starting a career as a writer.
"So when you do the right thing, even when it doesn't feel like it, it pays off in the end," I told her, sanctimoniously.

She too had rescued a dog. That dog was still vicious, and as far as she could see, no good thing had come of it. I asked her a series of questions, trying to ascertain what good blessing had flowed from her kindness.
"Well, there is one thing," she finally acceded, "When I leave my kids home alone, I know they are safe because that dog would KILL anyone who tried to come into the house."
So. There you have it.

I thought about that lady later, after receiving encouraging news from the new vet. She thought my Honeybun's lameness might be from an embolism that had resolved, and she might very well fully recover. She was not nearly as convinced as the last vet that Honeybun had degenerative hip issues. I wondered if the lady who had unselfishly helped her dog who was still vicious, and her neighbor who was still in the ER ever received her blessing. If I were God, I would have showered her with blessings.

But I am not God, and I have learned that it is best not to second guess Him.
Still, I have a deep need for life to be fair, for those who give unselfishly to be rewarded. But then, I suppose those who don't would have to be condemned. And I am quite certain that I would be in the latter category. So really, I am very grateful God is not fair, because if He were, I would be roasting in Hell.

Nonetheless, I am praying that He showers a special blessing on the Good Samaritan with the little pug with the swollen foot.

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 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— 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. (Romans 3:23-26 NIV)

-save a dog-

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Daily Diligence

The first day after returning from a week away is always full of catch up. Laundry, cleaning, unpacking, grocery know the routine. Not fun. It is particularly not fun in contrast to all the fun we had on vacation. So in between all the chores, I snuck out with my kayak.

I hadn't kayaked in two weeks and was shocked at how tired my arms were after just an hour of kayaking. It was beastly hot, and that may have contributed to it, but it was still a little discouraging. I can't take two weeks off or my arms will turn to jelly? What nonsense of muscular physiology is this?

But I realized this is a truth in every area of life. If you slack off, you lose the benefit. Slow and steady wins the race. Consistency and practice and regular use keep one's mind, muscles, and even spiritual growth on the right trajectory. Growing in any area requires daily diligence. Growing kind requires daily acts of kindness. Growing prayerful requires daily sessions of prayer. Growing faithful requires daily leaps of faith. Growing wise requires daily doses of wisdom. Growing friendships requires daily reaching out to others. Growing strong requires daily strengthening. One day of folding your arms leads to another, and pretty soon, that becomes all your arms can do.

I observed this and took it to heart; I saw it and learned a lesson. "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little lying down with folded arms"— and poverty will come on you like a prowler, deprivation like a man with a shield. (Proverbs 24:32-34 CEB)

Anyone who wants to be godly and loving finds life, success and honor. Some people will die while they are still hungry. That's because their hands refuse to work. All day long they hunger for more. But godly people give without holding back. (Proverbs 21:21, 25, 26 NIRV)

-save a dog-

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Always With Me

Two thousand miles, one week filled with family, and immeasurable moments of joy later, we are home again. I had cleaned my house before I left so when the despair of leaving all those beloved ones behind hit me, I would at least be walking back into normal life without having to clear the debris before me.

Our van served us well, carting our family and my son's family and all that luggage all those miles to my folks' 60th anniversary. Our little converter that connects to the car power outlet powered 3 computers, a GPS, and a phone. Matt was able to study for his Bar exam, while Asherel and Karissa watched a movie, and our GPS pointed us on the right path. For a week, the power outlet soldiered on, but in the last two hours of the drive home, after we dropped Matt and Karissa in Virginia, the converter blew a fuse and our radio and our electric outlet all were silenced. After all the chatter and laughter and excitement of the week of my folks' gala 60th anniversary, the silence was deafening.

So we watched the road, and the cows in the fields, and the sunset, which was beautiful. Occasionally, though he knew the fuse had blown, husband Arvo would poke at the radio button, hoping it would come back on. But of course, it didn't. The connection, for the moment, was severed.

I read a chapter from my mobile phone Bible, and thanked God (again) that He never disconnects from me. The fuse of His grace and mercy never melts and sparks to an end. His presence is always with me.

Night descended. Asherel slept stretched out on the back seat. Lights sparkled on Lake Norman as we approached home. I thought about my parents, the kazoos I had brought to add a spark of zany to the celebration, my quirky fun siblings, the somber memorial services and ashes laid to rest of Mom K and Raivo, the reconnecting with delightful friends and relatives we hadn't seen in many years, laughter, food, hugs, and then goodbyes.

Arvo jabbed at the radio again. It was silent but my head was brimming with echoes of happiness.

Your love is always with me. I have always lived by your truth. (Psalm 26:3 NIRV)

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking. (Isaiah 40:26 ASV)

-save a dog-

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Smiles and Tears

It was wonderfully joyful and zany at the 60th anniversary for my folks this week, complete with the 30 or so kazoos playing, " A Bicycle Built for Two." However, our last full day in NY yesterday was not nearly so exultant. We headed to Syracuse with my mother-in-law's, and brother-in-laws ashes to do two memorial services and scattering of the ashes. It was a long day, going from venue to venue, crowd to crowd from 2:00 till we arrived home around 11 pm. There were many somber moments, amid many happy reconnectings with long ago friends, and family. I had been careful not to wear any makeup...not hard since I don't wear makeup, but if I did, I would have been careful....since I knew much of the day would be spent crying.

However, every time I popped open my purse, my little green kazoo winked at me, from its peaceful pocket. I would remember the celebration, the happy sounds that can never be heard without smiling, the love of family, the restorative nature of laughter, and the provision of God to find a way home for all those who travel too early, too early from our side.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he saith, Write: for these words are faithful and true. (Revelation 21:1-5 ASV)

-save a dog-

Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Music

For weeks, since my kazoo tour, I have been bursting with the surprise for my folks 60th wedding bash. When I discovered that the kazoo factory sold kazoos that said, "Happy Anniversary", I quickly bought enough for the whole party. I enlisted my creative and hilarious sister Amy to be the MC, and told her it was to be told to NO ONE. I wanted us to engage the entire gathering in a rousing kazoo chorus of a song my folks loved, and I wanted it to be a surprise.

The day before the party, we were at lunch with my parents and siblings, and my dad said, "When I heard about your kazoo factory tour, I went online to order those kazoos for the party. I thought that would be so much fun to have a kazoo band."

I stared at him, unable to respond, thinking of my 40 kazoos stamped with "Happy Anniversary" waiting eagerly in my car.

"But," continued Dad, "I couldn't find them on Amazon."
Still unable to speak, I hurried to my sister Amy and pulled her aside, "What if he orders them now!"I cried.
"He's not going to overnight them," said Amy, "Relax."

I called Amy several times over the weeks preceding the party, anxious to hear her plans for our anniversary kazoo band. She had none yet, though had ideas and told me (kindly) to bug off. I told her I wanted to do an introductory piece on my boat horn kazoo, then she could do her spiel, we would hand out the kazoos and play the folks' favorite song. Unfortunately, we didn't know their favorite song.

At the party, Amy finally decided to let me in on the kazoo plan. Sister Holly and dear daughter in law Karissa were in the kitchen with us. As we began divulging the plan, Holly, who is admittedly the only somewhat normal one of the siblings, mocked us.
"I'm not playing the kazoo," she said.
"Then leave," I ordered her, "If you mock, you don't get in on the secrets divulged here."
"No, I am going to stay here and make fun of you," she said.
"We need you to go find out the folks' favorite song."
"Haha, no," said Holly, "I will not be party to this kazoo plan."
"I will," said Karissa.
So Karissa marched off to find out in a clever way the folks' theme song while Holly laughed at us, and Amy and I laid out our vision.

With my bag of kazoos, we headed out to the party. Karissa was in deep discussion about music with my folks. She had finally worked around to what was their favorite music of the era when they were married.
"Classical music," they said.
Karissa and I exchanged brief glances. Great. How could we get this crowd, filled with people under 16 to play Rachmaninoff on kazoo?
I jumped in, "How about something you sang to Mom?" We looked at Dad hopefully.
"Oh a little of everything."
"Like what?"
"I just was always humming, and yodeling."
Amy whispered, "We'll just go with 'Bicycle Built for Two.'"

The kids were all playing in a back field. My job was to sneak off with my boat horn kazoo, and lead them from the field like the pied piper playing my kazoo. The children, bless their little playful hearts, agreed, and followed me, having no idea why or what was up. As we marched into the party, with me blasting
"Daisy, daisy, give me your answer true..." on my boat horn kazoo, one by one the people stopped chatting and looked up. When we reached the group, everyone sat down, and Amy began. She had prepared lists of questions that happened on every single person's birthday and year. Each person was asked to determine what had happened on their birthday. If they got it right, they got a prize - a kazoo! If they got it wrong, they got a consolation prize - a kazoo!

When all the kazoos were dispersed, I led them again with my boat horn on the first 60th Anniversary Kazoo band medley of "A Bicycle Built for Two."
I noticed that no one loved the kazoos more than Holly-the-mocker's children.

As the party wound down, Holly's 7 year old daughter, Caroline, came to me.
"Did you like the kazoo?" I asked.
"Oh yes!" she replied.
"Listen, do me a favor, tell your mom that the BEST part of the party was the kazoo song."
She looked at me, turned to comply and then turned back.
"No," she said quietly, "The best part of the party was that it was for Grandma and Grandpa."
And then she majestically walked away.
Trounced soundly by a seven year old....

Lest you think too poorly of me, honestly, the kazoo band WAS for Grandma and Grandpa, who I knew would love it. But 7 year old Caroline reminded me (again) that it is doing unto others in love, honor, and service that really matters and perhaps even makes music that resounds eternally.

Then an act of righteousness will bring about peace,calm, and safety forever. (Isaiah 32:17 GWT)

It is good to praise the and make music to your name, O Most High, You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’ (Psalm 92:1, 10-15 NIVUK)

-save a dog-

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Strange Creations

The deer I made for my mom last year fell apart, so handyman hubby Arvo built the main parts for a new one while we were still back in NC. He assembled it at our reunion for my folks' 60th anniversary. I added pinecones for ears and tail, and branches for antlers. The new deer with his unusual bamboo legs is now safely ensconced in my parent's front garden, cheering passersby. I am not certain he is what my mother envisioned, but I think she will grow to love him.

We have had several days of massive gatherings of all the siblings families and the feted parents at area restaurants. When the restaurants see us coming en masse, they quiver in their oven mitts and aprons. We are overwhelming - had to wait nearly one and a half hours for lunch yesterday as the small kitchen in that restaurant quadrupled their lunch hour quota with our group alone. We are loud, opinionated, and a little nutty. I am loving every minute of it, though I think we are exhausting my poor folks who are used to peace and quiet now after raising their quirky brood of five children.

We are a strange bunch, like my deer with his bamboo legs. But every time I glance out the window at that deer, the strangeness is growing on me. Similarly, the things that drove me most crazy about my family growing up are my fondest memories now and what I most love about them.

At one point, the patriarch began pontificating about the woes of our educational system to the newbie, Matt's delightful wife, Karissa.
At the other end of the table, we all heard what was revving up, which we all have heard just a *few* times before.
"Run away, Karissa!" warned my sister, but Karissa is too sweet and polite, and even...interested. She fit right in with our deer with bamboo legs, and the loud, and raucous, and maddening, and wonderful mass of humanity that is my family.

I have to often remind my children when they shake their head in dismay over who they have been saddled with (as mother) that it is no accident they were placed in this family. God knows just what He is doing, and never makes mistakes. There must be something of eternal value that this family can teach and part of our mission is learning to love and revel in what is uniquely and wonderfully present behind all those quirks and habits that make us shudder when we are young, and smile when we are old.

God has not left himself without a witness in doing good – giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy. Acts 14:17

-save a dog-

Friday, June 21, 2013

Precious Sparkle

My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary yesterday, though the real party is Saturday. Family is almost all here now. My oldest son arrives tonight. I am in ecstasy. I love having all my family around me, Mom, Dad, siblings, children and spouse. It is as close to feeling whole I as I think one can feel on earth. Too busy soaking up the feeling of joy to write much, and may not write again till we are back home. I feel like a creature that had been slowly ripped apart, limb by limb, who has miraculously been melted together again. Love each other while you may. It is a precious sparkle of a wave cresting for its moment in the ocean.
Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. (Romans 12:9, 10 GWT)

-save a dog-

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pay Attention!

I discovered two important things yesterday:

1. If you are checking email while walking, you might almost step on a 7 foot black snake.

2. If you are thinking of climbing a tree to escape a 7 foot black snake, don't bother. 7 foot black snakes can climb trees.

There goes that potential refuge for me. Oh well, fortunately I know where the only refuge really lies.

PS- I am off to my folks 60th anniversary for a week in NY. Most likely no blogging then, so see you all safely on the other side, God willing.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. (Psalms 9:9 HCSB)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Satisfied with the Simple

After installing a new app on my iPad, I noticed an old art app that I hadn't used in a year. I started playing with it, and the picture on this post emerged. I was lost for an hour in the joy of creating. I loved the watercolor-like feel of the art program. How had I forgotten I had such a wonderful app?

This same syndrome occurs with my closet. Sometimes I will "rediscover" an old dress, or pair of shoes I had forgotten I had, and fall in love with it all over again. I then vow (again) to reduce, reuse, recycle...and promise myself I will live more simply, more contentedly with what I have. But then, it seems I soon forget and the clutter grows.

After my recent visit to Turtle Island Preserve (, I am determined (again) to be more satisfied with the simple bounty God provides each day in every beautiful forest, every glorious sunset, to simplify my life and clean out the closets. I have so much, and yet there seems to always be a desire for more. I hate this tendency and have to fight against it continually.

Like in so many of my failings, I find I cannot do it on my own power. Being content, truly content, is something I lean heavily upon God for. I am content for periods, but not for eternity. Not yet. Free me, Lord, from this constant wanting! Let me appreciate more fully the overwhelming abundance of what I have, not the least of which is your incomprehensible Love.

If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36 ASV)

-save a dog-

Monday, June 17, 2013

An Awesome Presence

I was riding my bike on the Greenway a couple of days ago. It is a well used path. Lots of folks were out on that beautiful day. I saw a small family stopped on the path in front of me, and recognized them- old friends. All stood stock still. And then I saw they were all looking at a deer, standing not three feet from them. She was only about 5 feet from me when I stopped my bike. She didn't come any closer, but she didn't run either. She looked at us with her beautiful eyes and slowly moved away.

We all wondered why she didn't run. Was she hurt? She didn't seem to be. Why wasn't she afraid of us? She should have been, I thought sadly. Not all people would treat her with awe and respect. But for whatever reason, this wild animal that should have bounded away when we drew near, held her ground, and graced us with her beauty and presence.

How like God, I thought. How truly incomprehensible it is that God came to Earth, in fragile, vulnerable human form as Jesus, and didn't run, even when those that would hurt him apprehended Him. He let us draw near to gaze upon His wonder and presence, and inexplicably, didn't run from us, even to the point of dying for us. To think God Himself was close enough to touch fills me with inexpressible awe. What a gift of merciful grace.

The deer slowly moved down the Greenway, and like waves, people stopped and stood still, holding hands and watching her.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ASV)

-save a dog-

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Got to Get you Into My Life

I was half way around the block last night with the dog, when I remembered that this was the night we had bought tickets 2 months ago for! And the starting time for the Beatles Tribute was 7 pm...and it was now...8:00pm! Oh no! How could I have forgotten? How could all three of us have forgotten!?

I called Arvo and told him to get Asherel up and moving, and then trotted with my old dog the half mile home. We dashed downtown and arrived one song before intermission. It was General Admission, no assigned seats, and the place was packed. But we found 3 seats together in the far top left row. Fortunately, there was still nearly 2 hours of music left and it was still a wonderful evening. We came very close to missing it all. It was even written on my calendar. But I had never checked my calendar that day. I just assumed we had nothing on it to worry about.

I learned an important lesson. One can anticipate, prepare, and even record what one hopes to do. But if one doesn't faithfully, daily, check in with the authority (in this case the calendar), one may very well miss the important message of that day.
Similarly, I may know God's word is contained in the Bible, and I may buy a Bible and keep it near for those daily bits of wisdom, but the day I don't check in with the Authority (in this case, God) might be the day I miss the vital message that was so very important to hear.

So they, when they were dismissed, came down to Antioch; and having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle. And when they had read it, they rejoiced for the consolation. (Acts 15:30, 31 ASV)

Got to get you into my life...! ( Beatles, 1976)

-save a dog-

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Moment in Paradise

I don't know how I will manage to write a true picture of my visit to Turtle Island Preserve yesterday to interview "the mountain man" Eustace Conway. It was beautiful and peaceful and like another planet from mine. No one glued to televisions, chatting on phones, playing video games, dashing between cars. No hums of dishwashers, air conditioners, electric devices, loud music. Silence, save for birds chirping all around. Green, and lush, and primal.

It is not easy to reach, down many winding roads, and then a very steep and rather treacherous gravel pathway. Deeper and deeper into a "hollar" nestled in the midst of thick forests and mountains rising like green fortresses on all sides. Signs prohibiting entrance to all but the invited line the entrances. There were no angels with flashing swords like those guarding Eden, otherwise I might have thought I had indeed found The Garden.

I didn't want to leave. My soul longs for the peace and comfort of the simple pleasure of living in such a land. But I know I would be dead in a week. Like most people, I have become dependent on all those appliances and gadgets and modern conveniences. Eustace is a fascinating person, with a message he longs to tell the world, but hates the technology that might reach them. Still, one of his staff members is teaching him about Facebook, and he understands that my first article about him generated enormous interest and support for Turtle Island. His hope is to meld the best of both worlds, his and ours. My fear is that melding has a way of removing the unique flavor of one by other overpowering influences. Corruption can creep in and spread insidiously.

God knows that, of course. It is why we are told to flee from sin, to take every thought captive to holiness and righteousness. The Garden of Eden was hard to keep inviolable, and our nature is not of purity, much as we all may long for that.

As I thanked Eustace for showing me his beautiful world, he shook my hand and then Asherel's and said, "Please come again. Spend the day helping us here, and then we could go for a ride." He looked at Asherel, "Would you like to go riding with us here?"
She nodded and smiled.
"I would love that!" I told him, knowing he would not have invited us unless he meant it. And then reluctantly, Asherel and I started back up the shady path meandering through the thick forest back to the car.

"....leap like a stag on delectable mountains."
Song of Solomon 2:17

Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. (Psalm 96:6 ASV)

-save a dog-

Friday, June 14, 2013

To the Wilderness

If you haven't heard of NC's mountain man, Eustace Conway, and his primitive farm/camp in the mountains near Boone, you should learn about him. He is an inspiration and reminds us that when we lose our connection to the land, and forget how to survive without modern conveniences, we lose a part of ourselves. We become separate from the rest of God's magnificent creation, dependent on systems and gadgets we don't understand but cannot do without, and little by little become insulated from the source of our food, shelter, and beginnings. The disconnect from nature and the bounty of God's natural provision is to our detriment.

I wrote an article about Eustace Conway for a conservative blog, His primitive, historical property, Turtle Island Preserve, was under threat of closure due to not meeting modern building code standards. That article garnered so much interest and such positive support for Eustace Conway, that he granted me a rare interview today! So Asherel, as my assistant, and I are on our way this morning to meet the wild mountain man who chose to prove to the world we could live off the grid. I don't know if he is a particularly religious man, but I know that I feel closest to God when I am surrounded by nature. So as I visit the mountain man in his wilderness today, I expect to feel God nearby. Stay tuned for the article!

Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, (Mark 1:10-12 BOOKS)

-save a dog-

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Little Offerings of Love

I was stuck in the mall for a couple of hours when my car had unexpected delays in the oil change, due to an unfortunate stripped oil pan screw. While wandering through the food court (less expensive than wandering through the shoe department), I saw an elderly couple sitting at a table near the main doors. The gentleman was reading a paper and sipping coffee, and the woman was crocheting little crosses. Dozens of finished little bookmark crocheted crosses were in front of her with a sign that said, "Free. Take one!"

I was enthralled. I stopped at their table, and they both looked up with sweet, smiling faces.
"You crochet crosses to give away!" I exclaimed.
"Well, it is so hot outside," she said, as though that explained it.
"What a wonderful ministry!" I said.
"Oh no, we are from Connecticut, and are visiting our daughter. It is so hot out, we thought we would come sit in the nice cool mall, have lunch, and this is just a way to pass the time."
She had dangling crosses in her ears, and a cross necklace. She smiled at me with the face of an angel.
"It is very pleasant here," added her husband.
"Well God bless you!" I said, "I would love one of these. May I have one? I want to remember you both and this wonderful thing you do."
"Of course! Pick any color. I don't have many pink left. All the little girls want pink."
"I want green. That's my favorite color. Thank you so much and God bless you for what you are doing!"
"Have a blessed day," she said smiling as I took my little cross and headed out into the heat to walk back to the car repair shop.

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:40 NASB)

-save a dog-

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Emergency Alert System for the Whimsical

Yesterday I took Asherel and her friend Josh kayaking on the Catawba for the whole afternoon, and most exciting, I got to try out my new Kazoobie Official OSHA regulation boat kazoo. I had not actually known how badly I needed a boat kazoo until our recent kazoo factory tour while vacationing in Hilton Head. My one fear on my kayak is that drunk motor boaters, or inattentive motor boaters will plow into me on my defenseless kayak. But now, with my Kazoobie Official OSHA regulation boat kazoo, I can make enough noise to alert them.

Asherel did not seem thrilled by my practicing my emergency kazoo alert system. Even Josh, who is among the quirkier teens I know, did not seem thrilled. Not only did I practice Emergency Alerts, but I discovered that the Kazoobie Official OSHA regulation boat kazoo is an excellent instrument to play God Bless America on. You would not believe how far sound travels down an empty river!

The same voice that would call for help when destruction threatened was now lifted in praise and delight for my nation and my Lord. That is fitting, I decided. He answers our calls of distress, and then exalts in our songs of praise. And we should never be ashamed or timid to do either.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. (Psalms 145:18, 19 NASB)

Teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Colossians 3:16

-save a dog-

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Prepared for Many, Praising the Few

Yay. Last laser treatment for a month. Honeybun and I are both thrilled. We had our celebratory chicken nuggets as we drove the hour home, and then I unloaded my dog and loaded my teen. Asherel had her monthly art teaching ministry at the nearby nursing home. The activity director was gone that day, but had assured us the staff would gather our class to be ready for us at 3:00.

We walked into the activity room and only two residents were there.
"I am highly disappointed in the others," said Joe, "Here you provide a wonderful and interesting activity and no one shows up."
"I know the Activity Director is out today," I said, "Normally she gathers everyone."
"Still," said Joe, "Paul and I were just discussing what a shame it is."
Paul nodded.
"Well then you two lucky gentlemen get a private class!" I said.

So Asherel taught the two elderly men how to draw a monkey.
"What do you think?" I asked when the class ended.
"It isn't as perfect as I would like," said Joe, "But you can tell it is a monkey."
"Is it better than you would have done on your own?" I asked.
"Oh yes!" laughed Paul and Joe together.
"Then we reached our goal," I said, smiling at Asherel.

Asherel didn't appear to be disappointed. She taught as expertly for the two as she does when the class is overflowing. The numbers one reaches may not always be the goal. Sometimes our sphere of influence is very small, and I think that we are called to minister to whomever God sends our way, whether they fill half the world, half the room, or half the card table. Remember, God assured Abraham that even if ten righteous people could be found in the teeming population of Gomorrah, He would not destroy the city. And Jesus later tells us that God desires not a single one of His children to perish. Every human being matters in God's eyes.

As we packed up our art supplies to leave, the men thanked us heartily.
"We really appreciate you coming out here! You should be paid $10 for everyone who didn't show up!" said Joe.
I laughed, but thought how glad I was for the two who had.

"What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:12-14 NASB)

-save a dog-

Monday, June 10, 2013


It started off as a perfectly normal wash cycle. Nothing about that particular load of clothes in the washing machine ever portended the ensuing disaster. And then, when the buzzer sounded to alert us that our clothes were ready to put in the dryer, everything changed.

My micropellet pillow, which is "safely washable", had exploded in the machine. Millions of teeny tiny micropellets were strewn into every stitch of every wardrobe piece. The washing machine was covered in minuscule white pellets, staticky, impossible to clean off, tiny white pellets in every damp and inaccessible rubber o-ring, nook and cranny.

No paper towel or sponge would clean them up. They stuck like glue to the machine, and the clothes. There were literally millions of them, and it appeared they would have to be tweezered off one by one. Option #2: throw out the machine and the entire load of clothes...though to do that we would have to break down a wall since the pantry had been built up since the machine went in, and it was doubtful it was ever coming out. I scrubbed for half an hour to no avail. The pellets were impossibly a part of the machine now. I could not, in my own power, remove them.

What an irony. The dirty clothes that we had put in to be washed came out in worse condition than they had gone in, covered with micropellets. I began shaking each piece of clothing vigorously to dislodge the contaminants, and thought this whole attempt at restoration was impossible. It reminded me of a verse our Sunday school class had discussed, about how were were "dead in our trangressions" but made alive through Christ's redemptive work. The class noted that there is a very simple but powerful truth about being dead. You cannot make yourself alive. It is impossible in your own power to do so. In Christ alone could our transgressions be removed, and we would no longer be separated from a completely holy and righteous God. It was a gift of God and accomplished only through Him once we believed He would and could do it. A higher power was necessary.

"I believe a VACUUM CLEANER could accomplish this task!" I thought. It took first me, and then my husband to negotiate the vacuum cleaner in the tight laundry room space such that the hose could reach the appropriate nooks and crannies, but in the end, it worked. And after drying the clothes, the micropellets lost their grip and tumbled away. Our clothes were clean at last.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9 NASB)

-save a dog-

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Looking Homeward

Goodbye Hilton Head. Hello real world! We hit a massive traffic jam on the way back home on I 95. We were told it had been backed up like that for hours. We were crawling for about 40 minutes before we found an exit and decided to take the scenic route home. It truly was scenic. We ambled through small southern towns, edged by vast fields with tiny crops just poking tender shoots into the growing season. Most of the towns boasted tiny historic sections, with markers that heralded their claim to fame. One town had an historic plantation that had been lived in by the same family for 9 generations! Now that's roots!

I thought about my own family, scattered all over the USA. I think that is more the norm nowadays. Few kids seem to stay in their parents' town. I don't think many families have deep seated roots to the land the way that plantation family did. Perhaps that is why America is tottering. Maybe the connection to land and family is more critical to our essence than our mobile society understands.

I love to travel. I can't wait to see what is beyond the next bend. But after going around a few "next bends", I always yearn for home. But my home is splintered- I have beloved parents in one home, two sons each in another home, sisters and brother each all in other homes....Where is HOME?

Maybe that is part of the allure of Heaven. All who believe will be reunited, permanently in one Home again. It will be a place where roots run infinitely deep and generations remain eternally. I think at that point, I will no longer have an insatiable urge to travel, because the seeking will no longer be necessary. I will have found all I really ever wanted.

"The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms... (Deuteronomy 33:27 NASB)

-save a dog-

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Peaceful Sea

Yesterday, my hubby Arvo went to rent a kayak for him and our daughter, while I kayaked from the public dock to the rental place just about 1/8th mile away. As I valiantly paddled against the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea, I saw why no one else was on the water. Who knew how hard it was to kayak in 50 mph wind gusts?

I was headed to the rental dock to tell Arvo to can the idea of kayaking, when he appeared on the dock giving the universal "can the idea" sign. The rental place wouldn't rent since there was a "weather advisory". I am not sure, but I think the rental worker rolled his eyes at me when I said, "It IS a little hard to kayak against the wind." (a.k.a. hurricane.) I had been hopeful for one last look at the dolphin up close and personal before we headed back to real life, but even I had to admit, it was crazy being on the water.

We did venture to the ocean at low tide to swim, though the lifeguards still had "caution" flags raised. The waves were not exciting enough for Asherel or Arvo, and I never go IN the ocean. I like to just look at the ocean. So we were all sitting in the low tide watching the little clam babies burrow, when the lifeguards came running to the water and peered at it, then whistled everyone out. They had spotted a shark!

That, by the way, is why I only *look* at the ocean, and rarely venture *in* the ocean.

So now, I sit on the back deck to see the first blue sky of our week here, our departure morning. I am grateful, so grateful that even in the rain and storm, I was able to be in this beautiful place. I am sad, as always to leave Hilton Head. It is so beautiful, and peaceful by the sea. Hurricanes and sharks aside, oh, and flash flood warnings that were in effect till this afternoon... the sea is otherwise a peaceful place. Oh, AND except for the Portuguese Man o' War jellyfish, which can kill you. They littered the shoreline after the storm. So, except for those few deadly exceptions, the sea is a peaceful place and I am sorry to leave it. But home is safe, in general, so I am not completely sorry.

I am for peace, but when I speak, They are for war. (Psalms 120:7 NASB)

Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. (Psalms 65:7, 8 NASB)

Deuteronomy 8:10 NIV
[10] When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

-save a dog-

Friday, June 7, 2013

What To Do When Stuck Indoors by a Hurricane

Despite my fear we would be trapped indoors all day Thursday by Andrea, the tropical storm, I dashed out with my kayak in the morning, seeing that radar showed a window of time when no thunder or tornadoes were expected. There was a light rain the whole time I was kayaking, but it was otherwise still and peaceful. One would never know that a fearsome storm was due in a few hours. Very few people were out on the water, probably all holing up in fear of Andrea. I drifted peacefully along a narrow estuary, lined with marsh grass and oyster beds...and billion dollar homes. Those mansions were impressive, though not as impressive as dolphin, which I didn't see that morning.

The rain descended upon us in the afternoon, and so I googled "what to do in Hilton Head when stuck indoors by hurricane." The very first hit was: "take a tour of the Kazoobie Kazoo factory and make your own Kazoo!"

"We have to do this," I told Asherel.

She might not have agreed if she could have done anything else, but Tropical Storm Andrea had trapped us into desperation.
So, we hopped into the car for the hour drive to Beaufort, SC, where the ONLY plastic kazoo factory in the entire USA is located.

Kazoobie Kazoos not only produces a very high quality plastic kazoo that will last a lifetime and is completely safe for all age children and adults, BUT ALSO, gives an informative lecture and tour of kazoo history and their factory. When the tour is over, each member gets to make their own kazoo! And this smorgasbord of delight costs only $4!

We slapped our money down and joined the mobs of other kazoo fans- two parents and a rather shy 6 year old. First, we got to see the mold for the plastic kazoo.

I love the title of the mold machine: kazoo injection mold. That makes the kazoo sound almost threatening. So, much to my teen's chagrin, I was giggling within seconds of the kazoo tour. Next, we got to see the kazoo museum. You would not believe how many kazoo types there are in the world! We saw cow kazoos, gold plated kazoos, and my personal favorite, for the rock band type, an electric kazoo.

For about $50-$80, very nice retro look amps come with the electric kazoo. The tour guide played a variety of kazoos for us, and the electric kazoo definitely wins the prize for loudest kazoo. One really must pause to wonder who would spend $100 or more for all the supplies for an electric kazoo. Apparently, some people do. (Truth be told, I was tempted....) And lest anyone not take the kazoo seriously, we saw samples of professional kazoos, appropriately labeled: "professional kazoo."

We were assured that kazoos are a serious instrument, and many famous bands, including the BEATLES, have used kazoos in their repertoire. After our self guided tour through the kazoo museum, we all sat down to watch the kazoo movie. This was to educate us about kazoos. I would have been more educated if I could have stopped laughing and concentrated, but that's just me. The people in the row behind me weren't even chuckling, which I don't get AT ALL. Anyway, the movie taught us the history of kazoos with little animated kazoo characters. Asherel glared at me when I was disrupting the whole class with gales of laughter at the kazoos who were WWII soldiers. Now I am sorry, but NO ONE thinks of kazoos in the same sentence as WWII soldiers.

Anyway, when the movie ended, get this....we had a quiz! The tour guide asked us all kinds of questions to see if we had been paying attention. The only one who knew any of the answers was Asherel, who I might add, had been pretending to treat this whole kazoo tour with a touch of disdain.

I think the tour guide was heartily disappointed in all of us, but she stoically led us all to the "factory" where the only plastic kazoos in the entire USA are manufactured. The factory was as big as my living room and was thronging with two employees. One employee was our tour guide, who also fills many other shoes when not leading tours. The other was busily pulling apart the little plastic "resonators". Cheap kazoos use plastic bags or wax paper for the all important resonator, but Kazoobie Kazoos use real special plastic that does not degrade, mold, or rip...and will last even longer than we will on earth. Therefore, when you plunk down your $3.49 for a Kazoobie Kazoo, you are setting up a lasting legacy and inheritance. ( I quickly made a note in my smartphone to add my kazoo to our will.) The tour guide repeated several times how durable their kazoos are. The Kazoobie Kazoo will last longer than you!

Once the little resonator was separated from all the other staticky resonators, it gets plopped in the kazoo and a special cap is placed on top. Then, the cap end of the kazoo is slipped into a machine that goes "THWACK!" and the cap is permanently sealed to the body of the kazoo. Small children are completely unable to rip it off and swallow and choke on it.

After that, we moved on to the next machine in the factory. This machine could print any custom label on the kazoo instantly. Many businesses are apparently quite fond of kazoos and print customized labels and then hand them out to their employees. I have never worked for any business like that, but I really want to.

The next machine we saw is the one that cuts out the all important "resonators". This machine cuts perfect little circular plastic shapes out of the special plastic material. I instantly saw the flaw in this machine. The operator, who incidentally is one of the TWO employees of the nation's only plastic kazoo factory, has to stand at the machine, feed the plastic manually, and depress the plastic cutting device manually with at least 3 or 4 button presses. I watched the tedious task and was certain these two employees will have arthritic button pressing thumbs within a year. Surely, someone could make a machine that would do that task automatically.

Incidentally, I asked the tour guide how she got involved in the kazoo industry. Did she always know, even as a little girl, that she wanted to grow up and work with kazoos? Any special education needed? No! Surprisingly, she needed a job and just happened to know the owner who needed an employee! Some people have all the luck.

Now came the fun part! We had seen the factory operations and it was time to assemble our own kazoo. We had watched the masters do it, and now we were qualified to make our own. Asherel closed her eyes and grabbed any color she latched upon for her kazoo. I knew that my kazoo would be green, my favorite color. The body of the kazoo was already formed. We had to do two delicate operations after selecting our kazoo. First we had to take one valuable durable plastic resonator and drop it carefully in the cap area. This is not easy if you are prone to static fingers, as I am. But, even I managed, and then you place the cap over the resonator. Lastly, you stick the cap end of the kazoo in the machine that goes "THWACK!", which seals the cap permanently so young children can not get it off and choke on it.

We all successfully assembled our kazoo, and each of us then tried our newly minted instrument. I was appalled that there were several members of our tour that did not know how to play a kazoo. What is this world coming to? Asherel only played a brief note, but it was clear she at least knew how. I played a whole song, despite the rolling eyes, and dismay on the face of my daughter. I started with "You are my sunshine" and then segued into "America the Beautiful". By then Asherel was turning purple, but a few of the others who were catching on to the intricacies of kazoo musicianship joined in for a brief phrase.

As we headed home, I pulled out my kazoo to accompany the Rolling Stones song that Asherel was blasting on the radio. She made me promise that she would take one picture of me with my kazoo if I stopped playing it for the rest of the car ride home.

Honestly, I had no idea tropical storms could be so much fun. I almost hope it rains today so I can see what is second on the list of "what to do in Hilton Head when stuck indoors by a hurricane."

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. (Psalms 92:4 NASB)

-save a dog-

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Storms in Life

Great. Just Great. The first named tropical storm of the season, Andrea, is churning through Hilton Head tomorrow. Residents are advised to secure all outdoor objects that might become airborne, and those who live on boats are advised to GET OFF. Once a year we go to the beach for one week. For two of those years, we have been at the beach for a hurricane. Its not like there aren't enough weeks in the year when we are NOT at the beach that God could send a hurricane...I would shout "not fair", but I think that would be immature. So I won't, but you and I know it is still NOT FAIR.

At least, yesterday morning, I kayaked in between the tropical storm thunderstorms, and actually got some video of a dolphin who was close enough to touch. I am not sure how we will spend our last two days, holed up in the condo by rain and tropical force wind, but at least I have my memories of the wonderful kayaking mornings with the dolphins.

I had spasms of back pain last night, probably from so many hours of kayaking this week. It made me realize the tropical storm might be a good thing- keep me from injury with enforced inside time. It also filled my heart with prayers for a friend who recently discovered her own back pain was a reoccurrence of cancer. She has had far more than a tropical storm to deal with the past few years, and yet, when I read her updates, I am the one who feels encouraged! She hangs on to God so tightly that I can almost see them clasping hands when I read her posts about the enormous trials she is enduring. I prayed for miraculous and complete healing for her as my back spasmed.

Jesus can still the storm, but He doesn't always choose to. It is hard to trust that that is best when you are in the midst of the rip tides, tornadoes, and punishing hailstones of life. Sometimes the rains are so ferocious that you can no longer see His hand so clearly anymore, reaching for you. You know He is there...but it is hard to find Him sometimes.

I thought of the dolphin I have been pursuing in my kayak all week. I scan the surface of the sea, knowing they are beneath me, and all around me. Still, the surface remains empty of those I so earnestly seek! I pray and send psychic messages, knowing these intelligent creatures might even be telepathic. But they never seem to appear when I expect them. And then, out of nowhere, they slice a fin through the grey ocean, and every time they do, it takes my breath away for the wonder of them.

I fell asleep picturing dolphins breaking to the surface right beside me, as the pain in my back disappeared.

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise. (Jeremiah 17:14 NASB)

-save a dog-

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Glimpses of Eden

I know it is possible to hear God and find Him anywhere, but I seem to hear and see Him more clearly when surrounded by nature, especially knock your socks off gorgeous nature. I am in Hilton Head for a week with my family, and it may be the most beautiful place on earth. Every morning, I go out all alone on my kayak to the Broad Creek ocean inlet. I commune with many dolphins, who never pose long enough for a single photograph. The scads of heron are much more amenable to photo opps. The are so unafraid that I approach within a foot of them and they just continue fishing. The oyster encrusted shoals seem to be a favorite place for the sea creatures. I float in the shallow water and thank God for the wonder of His creation, and ask forgiveness for the many times of ingratitude when I am not awestruck by the palette He has placed in my hands.

Nearly each day, thunderstorms have cropped up and I can never stay out as long as I would like, but perhaps that is a good thing. Otherwise, I might never leave the kayak. Yesterday, I saw something I have never seen before. I saw a pod of dolphin use their tails to thrash schools of fish into shallow water, and then they gobbled them up. I tried to get a video of it, but alas, the grey dolphins blended with the grey water and it just looked like waves. I had just read the day before that dolphins do this quite commonly at low tide. However, in the fifteen years that we have come to Hilton Head, I had never seen this spectacle before.

How blessed I am! I don't know exactly what my parents did right, but they raised all of their children to love nature. I am never quite so happy as when I am alone in the midst of beautiful nature. I feel like I could be perfect, exactly as God would have me be, as long as I am all alone in my kayak, trailing the fin of a dolphin.

Of course, within moments of returning to people and real life, I know I could never be perfect, not even close. But I am grateful to God for those moments when I can almost see the Garden of Eden and feel life is what it was meant to be before it went so far awry.

Deuteronomy 8:7-10 NIV
[7] For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land---a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; [8] a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; [9] a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. [10] When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

-save a dog-

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Heed the Call

The ocean is calling us! We leave for our annual beach family vacation today. I may find time in the midst of all that lying in the sun to blog, but I may not. I will pray that in my absence, each of you will hear the voice of God, and heed His call. Shalom.
He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap. Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire. He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. (Psalms 78:13-15 NASB)

-save a dog-