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Stop! In the name of pug….well, more like poodle.. and Nix the Resolutions

Taking the back roads has its perks.  Things like few stop lights, if any… scenery prettier than buildings and concrete… and just all around less boring…. I also like to think that they are shortcuts but often times they take just as long if not longer because of the hills and curves.  Anyway, the other morning I had stopped to grab a cup of coffee and then began rushing myself to work through the not-so-shortcut back road shortcut.  I came zooming over the hill only to come to a screeching halt….. coffee was sloshing, but no problem for me… the lid stayed tight.

I looked ahead to find why traffic wasn’t moving and there, sitting in the middle of the road, was a little bitty poodle.  He was dirty and matted and had apparently decided that the line in the middle of the road was a comfy spot.  Amazingly, that little animal was backing up traffic about 7 cars deep on both sides of the road.  The school bus that was leading the line of cars opposite of me was honking the horn…. the dog just looked up… I wondered if possibly the dog was deaf but it seemed as if he heard the noise but just was too stubborn to move.  Finally, after sitting in traffic for a bit, a lady a few cars in front of me hopped out of her and started walking toward the dog.  Still the dog sat.  The lady began yelling at the dog and clapping her hands. In essence, pushing the dog without touching him.   The dog moved…. but only a small step… she now sat in front of the bus…. the lady continued clapping until the dog finally retreated to the middle of another road.

Traffic began moving along as normal once again.  I noticed as I passed by that there was another lady who had maneuvered her way out of traffic to the side of the road to see if she could rescue this poor little, confused, dirty, matted dog.  She very gently and slowly walked up to the dog and though I couldn’t hear what she was saying, it was apparent that she was talking sweetly in that “you’re a good puppy, aren’t you” voice.   You would think that this unattractive little dog would have been excited to hop in a warm car with a sweet person who obviously cared about its welfare, but instead it barked and growled and when the lady backed up a bit the poodle took off running into a tangled brush area just off of the road.

As I drove past I could see the look on the helpful lady’s face and I think it was one of disbelief or frustration or that of helplessness.  She had done all she could do.  The poodle made its own choice.

A part of me chuckled at the whole situation… a little dog holding up so much traffic.  He got warnings and he even got sympathy but even after he begrudgingly moved, he accepted nothing from anyone and continued on the same path that he was already on. All I could think of was what a sad, little stubborn (or maybe dumb) dog.  And it was then that I think I got a little kick in my rear …. you know, I tend to be just like that little dog.  I’ll sit in traffic (theoretically, not technically) … as dangerous as it might be… and a warning may push me to move a little bit, but even at times when I am completely moved, I may run back to the same old routine. Are ya with me?

I usually don’t make  New Year’s resolutions but the New Year  is a great time to begin a new routine.  I heard on the radio yesterday morning that the average person will have abandoned their resolutions by day 18.  But I have also heard that it takes 6 weeks to create a new habit… so pushing beyond day 18 for a little over another 18 days will create a changed person.  I can imagine that if that poodle had gotten into that car, he would have been cleaned up, nourished and ended up looking like a cute, lovable little guy.  That is a good ending to a bad situation.  So what makes us stop before day 18 rolls around? Could it be fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failing, fear of stepping out of what is comfortable?….

But you know something else… there were two women in that situation who were very important… the one who moved the dog and the one who tried to rescue the dog… Sometimes we don’t even realize we are in the middle of the road and we need a reminder, someone to move us.  I think that is where God jumps in and does the motivating that gets us to move and provides the rescuing of our lives… maybe it is a friend or family member who urges us to get help, maybe it is an invite to church, maybe it is a song or story that is heard or maybe we look up and step out of ourselves and see the lives we are affecting (just like the backed up traffic).  Then we find ourselves at a crossroad to an encouragement, a safe place, a hope…. a loving God…..or back to the same old tangled brush.

Maybe you are a like that little dog in the road…. possibly in a dangerous situation… maybe it is a habit that is killing you,  a lifestyle that consumes you,  a relationship that alienates you, an attitude that robs you,  an ailment that embarrasses you, or a spiritual neglect that is calling you… Whatever it is, you don’t have to sit in the road or run to the tangled brush… you can hop in the car and be changed.

This can be the year to not make a resolution to change but to actually change.  That’s my prayer.

Philippians 4:13

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

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Posted by on January 7, 2010 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Tell me about it, Moses P. Diddy Hall…

flipperI don’t know why I have such high expectations for the animals that I choose to own.  Maybe those expectations were formed because of reruns of great shows such as Flipper (though I never owned a dolphin), Lassie or Fury…. or maybe it was Lady, my cousin’s collie who was incredible well behaved… or Babe, my uncle’s dog that was showbiz intelligent…..or Benji. How could I forget Benji? Whatever the reason, with a little training, I knew it couldn’t possibly be that difficult for my very own dog to become something of legend… nothing short of a human on four paws.

So let’s see, first there was Gustavia.  Gussy was a little white poodle who chased cars, chased cattle and rolled in manure… smart dog.  Then later came Rascal.  An adorable little dachshund that turned out to be an incredible bully in the amateur dog show circuit.  Then there was Sam.  Another poodle who, for all practical purposes, was a pretty good dog, but he did bark at himself in the mirror. (Wouldn’t it be funny if people acted surprised to see themselves in the mirror each time?) There were more pets down the line… Buddy 1, Buddy 2, Bandit… and some cats, hamsters, and even a skunk (Yes, you read that correctly) but none have met the superstar expectations that I have believed in for so long… that is, until recently… .

Now, our ever-lovable shih-tzu, Moses P. Diddy Hall (a.k.a. Moe) is a dog that when told to sit, he sits…. well,  he might lie down…. or  possibly he will continue to go about what he was doing.  He is also a dog that wears a diaper… well, technically it is a “belly belt” but you get the idea.   Moe also knows to get in his bed when told, he knows to “hit the rock”(our family’s ultra hip term for shaking paws), he knows to go to the car when the van door opens.   He even hates hanging out at the dog park… he waits by the exit gate until we are ready to take him home.  See, it is hard for me to decide if either Moe is very intellegent and just pretending to be a dog to get out the whole “work dog” group, or if he is just like all of my other dogs in the past…. just a regular ol’ dog.   I have been leaning toward the regular ol’ dog thing for quite some time, that is, until one night not too long ago. Moe at Dog Park Gate

Moses P. Diddy Hall is not allowed to be on the couch.  He has his bed. He has his spot near our feet.  He is totally fine not to be on the couch, but on occasion there are those special times where we give in and give him some supervised couch time.  Such as it was on that evening when I was certian that Moses P. Diddy Hall would be paying for my children’s college education.  I was sitting on the couch and Moe was comfortably resting on my daughter who was on the couch next to me.  Allison’s position was perfect as she laid on her back because if I turned my head slightly then Moe and I were face to face.

As Moe and I looked at each other, just as usual, I said something to him.  I can’t even remember what it was but when I said it, something amazing happened.  Moe began to talk back!…. and I’m not talking barking kind of talk… it was conversation kind of talk.  Now, I might not have thought anything about it if I hadn’t seen the youtube clip of funny talking dogs but I knew Moe was trying to tell me something.  I kept asking him, “What is it, Moe?” And he kept voicing something that was clearly a concoction of vocal movements that were trying to form words.  To get him to continue his talking ability I started looking at him and saying things like, “Mama” (I never think of my dogs as kids so this was very awkward for me) and ” I love you.”  Moe would look at me and try to repeat it.

I was so excited I could hardly believe it.  I had a plan. He and I were going to work on this daily until he could speak in conversation.  I started counting the dollars in my head.  I called my husband, who was out of town (explanation of the couch time that Moe was getting), and told him the whole story.  He didn’t share my enthusiasm.

The following day, Moses P. Diddy Hall and I went to work.  I got down in his face and began talking to him.  “Mama,” I said.  Moe looked at me.   “Mama,” I continued.  Still Moe looked at me.  I changed my pitch.  I changed my tempo.  Moe looked at me then cocked his head and looked away.  It was time to change my game plan.  I began the whole, ” I love you” verbiage.  Moses P. Diddy Hall looked at me and walked away.  I didn’t get it.

I began telling my story to anyone who would listen.  My husband, my other daughters, but it was while I was telling a friend about my incredibly talented, Hollywood bound dog that would surely be whisked away to star in his own movie, when my hopes and dreams for him came to an abrupt halt.  Allison felt it was time that she stepped in and prevented me from the inevitable… making a fool of myself.  She quietly pulled me to the side and said, “Mom, I was blowing in his face.” It seems that the only reason Moe was “talking” was because he apparently doesn’t like to have someone blowing in his face.  I was stunned. Moe is just a plain ol’ dog …. he is no different than any other dog that I have ever had.  After the initial shock of the whole confession, I found it all quite funny.  Fortunately, I was halted from looking like a fool and fortunately, I listened to what she had to say.

I wish faith was that simple.  You know, something like….we may be a bit out of line, acting foolishly, forgetting to include God in our everyday life and then we are told we are being a bit foolish and we fall back into line…. that would be simple.  I guess sometimes it might be that way, but there are those other times when we get so busy doing the right things in life that we may not realize we are doing them on our own…..depending on our human ability rather than trusting in God’s ability.   In Galatians, Paul comes down pretty hard on the people.  He even states that they are being deceived and they don’t even realize it because they are so caught up in living by the religious law that they have forgotten about what Christ did for them/us all.   Still today, we may not be in Galatia, but we still tend to lean on our human ability, thoughts and decisions rather than allowing God to guide our way. I wonder what would happen if we all began to lean on the gift God gave us rather than wearing ourselves down and eventually looking foolish……

If Moses P. Diddy Hall really had the gift of gab, I’m sure he’d have the answer.

Galatians 3

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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Well done, American Idol….

Don’t you hate when you have to choose between two good things?

You know, things like:

  • American Idol or Biggest Loser
  • Vacation at the beach or Disney (all paid for, naturally)
  • Peanut butter or chocolate fudge
  • mountain fresh scent or lavender vanilla scent (obviously, buying laundry detergent has its perks)
  • Convertible VW bug or Convertible Mini Cooper (neither are a reality in my world but they are so cute)
  • Cute puppy or sweet, humane society, house-broken, four year old dog
  • Kris or Adam

Out of all of those listed above, there is only one that affected me tonight… I wish I could say it was the convertible or vacation issue but it was the American Idol two, Kris and Adam.  If you’ve followed along with me then you know I am a confessed AI fan.  I can’t help it.  I would miss it if I have to (I’m not addicted) but I sure don’t like to miss it.

So, tonight was the finale and after a season of greatly talented and quite entertaining (Thanks to Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentile) performers, it was time for the winner to be announced.  I truly would have been happy with either contestant winning but was pleased with the result, Kris Allen.  When Kris was asked what he had to say about his win he said something to the tune of, “Adam deserves this.”  All along Kris has been very humble about his ability and his talent while Adam has gotten quite a bit of  attention and praise from the judges and has a quiet confidence in his performances.  Regardless, Kris won,  Adam seemed genuinely happy for Kris and all is well.  Both will go on to be recording artists… no doubt.kris

Kris’s humbleness is hard for some to understand.  Simon even said that he didn’t really like it.  Personally, I see it as a sign of confidence…. Kris doesn’t need the limelight to feel good inside about his ability.  He seems to believe it is a gift that he didn’t deserve and knows it can be taken away at any time so enjoy it but don’t treasure it and have enough character to honor the other person.

I’m still reading about David in Chronicles and once more, David, a man after God’s own heart, is again shown why he is called just that.  The story in a nutshell is about David and the men he leads.  David is very thirsty and says outloud, “I wish someone would get me a drink from that well by the gate.” Three men heard this and they crossed over the enemy line, risking their lives, to go to the well and get David some water.  When they returned David poured it out refusing to drink it, not because he was playing a cruel joke but because these guys risked their lives just for David.  It was an action, maybe even a well planned action, to show that these guys had earned David’s respect and he was thankful for what they had done. The men became famous for their action.

Okay, lets put this is modern day terms…..I say to my kids, I sure would love a cold Diet Ale8 (local ginger flavored soft drink).  So my daughter gets on her sandals and makes a mile long walk to the store.  When she returns she is thirsty and tired but has brought me the drink.  I am impressed by her thoughtfulness,  but feel like, because she went to the trouble that she did , I should reconsider drinking it in front of her.. or drinking it at all.  I should instead dump it.  So I do… So did David.

Kris somewhat did that same thing tonight. He was humbled by a winning vote and I think would rather have shared the American Idol title than to see his friend and competitor, Adam,  leave with nothing.  Kris didn’t actually dump his title but he was willing to give Adam recognition for his talent and abilities.  As it usually works in the history of this show, the runner-up ususally does well too.  Adam will be on the radio in no time, I’m sure.  To me, tonight, Kris showed the gift of respect and humility toward another.

The show was great but that made it worth saving on my DVR.  Thanks, Kris! Well done.

1 Chronicles 11

15 Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 16 At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 17 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD. 19 “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.
Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories, Videos

 

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Moses P. Diddy Hall… I appreciate you… sometimes

shih_tzu_puppy2I’m not sure that there is anything much cuter than a baby animal… well, not a baby narwhal but that is another story.  So, my friend sent me an email saying that she had found a puppy on the internet that she wanted.  A cute little girl whose photo was attached to the email.  I know when Moses P. Diddy Hall was a little ball of fur he was SO cute so I was excited to see this little fluff that she was so smitten with.  I popped open the picture with excitement to see a cute little fluffy, sweet puppy only to find a picture of a hairless little puppy with a comb over on her head…..okay, comb over is a bit dramatic but more like a frustrated genius scientist look… I will say that she wasn’t ugly andhairless puppy seeing her little round, puppy belly even made her a cuter than I would have guessed, but it sure wasn’t the picture that I thought I was going to see.  It was a photo of a Chinese Crested Puppy… .the hairless dog.  Now, some people may think that Moe wasn’t such a cute puppy because of his pug nose and big eyes and in comparison to this puppy I would say they might balance the scale.  So, my reply to my friend’s email was a quick,  “Cute but…..

Sam

Sam

They grow up” and I sent her back a picture of  Sam, the Champion Ugliest Dog… (a Chinese Crested adult dog who happened to win the ugliest dog contest several years in a row….And Moe… he tops that one… Well, it isn’t even a competition) I guess appreciation for some things is a matter of how you look at it.  I suppose Sam’s owners must have appreciated his uniqueness. So, when Moe is now doing something that I think is annoying or bothersome I can remember the photo of the ugliest dog and be thankful that at times, even when he smells, Moe is kinda cute… I can appreciate his cuteness.

It seems that I’m finding myself appreciating other things a bit more too.  The other night I was able to spend some time at the home where I spent the majority of my childhood.  My parents don’t live there anymore but fortunately it is still in the family.  I only spent a few hours there the other night but I could have stayed there forever.  It was an appreciation of that place that I had somewhat forgotten. The house is approximately 100 years old and has been renovated with the comforts of air conditioning and central heat while being able to sit in the glassed in room and enjoy the beauty of a vegetable, fruit or flower garden.   I can sit on the deck and smell fresh cut grass, hear the birds sing or crickets chirp while looking at acres and acres of rolling hills just as a family member may have done on the porch 70 years ago. I can remember sticking my feet in creeks, catching crawdads (or at least trying),ubwnk running in a yard so big that it would take up the whole cul-de-sac I live on now. It is beautiful.. and though I’ve always loved it there, I can’t say that I have appreciated it like I did the other night.  There was just something different.  Not sure exactly what it was that made me feel so blessed to walk through the grass or look at the trees I used to climb except maybe the fact that my daughters haven’t had that full experience.  They have played outdoors but not in the same manner.  Their outdoor life has been at a park or a small yard or a blacktop area where they have to watch for cars.  So, eventhough I never wanted to move from there when my family did in my young teen years, maybe my deep appreciation comes from having moved away and then coming back.

I guess that is the way it is with life in general. We can’t always appreciate until we recognize the obstacle, hardship or the opposite.  I think, had I stayed on the farm my whole life, I might be aching to get away.

I talked to the kids yesterday at church about Jesus feeding the 5000 with 2 fish and 5 little loaves of bread.  Something that I found interesting is that Jesus asked Phillip how they were going to buy bread for everyone.  I never really thought much about that question because the Bible says that Jesus was testing Phillip.  Maybe he wanted Phillip to say, “Jesus, do your thing…you have healed the sick and even done the whole food thing.  Remember?  You made water turn into wine..what are you waiting for?” .. But after studying it a bit I’m thinking that Jesus wanted Phillip to recognize the obstacle and the difficulty in meeting the need so that when he did do his thing it wouldn’t be taken for granted and it would be remembered as great.  Lots of people, little food… look what Jesus did.

My dog- sometimes annoying- take a look at the hairless dog and remember…. Yes, Moses P. Diddy Hall you are  appreciated

The farm-moved away- look at what my kids haven’t had- and remember the beauty of God’s creation and where I grew up- appreciated

So what else can I appreciate?   A spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child or a friend?  Maybe a house, a car, a yard or a bed?  Take time today to recognize the obstacle or the opposite of things in your life and appreciate today.

And by the way, my friend appreciated that little puppy enough to take her home…. Tasha is a new member of their family.

farmfarm2farm3

John 6

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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American Idol …. Stay Away From Me..,,,Well, You Don’t Really Have To….

Don’t you hate it when you tell yourself, “I will never…. ”  and then you do it? Like for instance-

“I will never gain that weight back”- 20 pounds later while sipping on a milkshake you wonder why your pants feel tight

or …

townandcountry“I will never buy a red car much less a minivan”- “Ma’am this van has everything you want and at this price it won’t last long…”  SOLD!

or….

“I will never keep the puppy if I constantly have to tell you girls to take care of him”- He is four years old.. you know where I’m going here

or….

“I will never be like  ‘cough,cough’ and be hooked on some reality show”- I get sucked into the American Idol tunnel two nights a week and can hardly wait for the next week’s show…

In my defense I like American Idol for several reasons-

  • Our whole family can watch it and worry very little about being surprised with foul mouths or sex talk
  • You can actually see some great singers as well as unbelievably eager but not so great singers
  • You can pick a favorite and watch how far they go(I actually picked one winner from his very first audition and I think I have again this year)
  • My favorite reason- the stories behind the people

I love watching the stories of the people who are participating.  Sometimes it is of hardships they have overcome or sometimes it is a little something about their life that helps them stand out. Like a few years ago there was a contestant whose father was in prison and she was raised by a loving grandfather, or like this year a contestant is young but is a widower… or even another one this year, Scott, who actually went home tonight, is the first contestant to ever be on the show that has been visually impaired.  As he left tonight he was praised for his encouragement for others.  Scott’s story, shown on the big screen week after week, showed that Scott isn’t that much different from anybody else…. He lived the life that was given and was grateful for the good and worked around the inconvenient. scott_macintyre_210x202

I think that is the great thing about faith… it has a way of turning the bad into the inconvenient.  Inconvenient is something that kind of messes up things or is that road that you really didn’t want to have to travel but it still gets you where you need to go.  Without faith, it is hard to see beyond the bad. It is in those bad times though that we are able to decipher if our faith is real… it is easy to have faith in the good times… that is the genie in the lamp kind of faith.. or then again, maybe that is not faith… our faith shows up in the dark times….faith is believing what you can’t see… yep, dark times… it is the hope in the midst of the faith that turns that bad into inconvenient.

We all have a story.  We all have traveled the road of inconvenience or darkness… some maybe even are traveling it now.  As we say goodbye to Scott this week on American Idol we can hold on to the “never” that God has promised us….

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God’s “nevers” are true…. Have faith and be blessed

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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