Thursday, December 31, 2009

We All Need a Safe Place to Rest, Eh?

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ho Ho Ho. No No No

Savvy's been sick. She's on her second antibiotic for a urinary tract infection. The first bill was $140, including antibiotic, pain med, office visit, "pill pockets" and urinalysis. I had to go back for the second antibiotic and pay out another $70. She's still shows no improvment and my heart breaks when I see her squat and try to pee. Yesterday on her walk, she must have squatted 3o times. When we're in the yard, I need to wave a cookie under her nose to get her to come back in. She's trying to rid herself of the waste, poor thing.

Speaking of waste...

I just read that the last Democrat hold-out on the Health Care Reform bill has caved and will vote yes. Senator Nelson is self-proclaimed pro-life and now has cover to pretend that this bill will allow states to refuse abortion funding. Right...and I've got an ocean liner to sell Sen. Nelson of Nebraska.

When I paid all that money for Savvy's care this week, I couldn't help but think of people without health insurance. I remember the old days when doctor's visits and medications weren't covered. Things were cheaper back then because we KNEW what the cost of most visits and procedures were.

I have to get a molar crowned shortly. The cost is $1300. I know I paid $800 just a few years ago. Phew.

So I do worry about people without health insurance, especially with so much unemployment. We have a massive entitlement culture in this country, both for people on government dole and those of us who have sailed through the last ten years. I worry especially about people caught in the middle, the working people whose jobs are disappearing rapidly. The first worry is usually 'how to I pay my mortgage?' The second is 'what do I do about health care?' Dear ones who travel through this blog have faced this worry.

But I hate that I don't trust our government. I hate that I have no voice. (I live in Massachusetts, after all.)

I hate that I think they're all idiots. And I hate that I can't trust any media outlets to help me see what the real truth is.

And what I really hate is that I fear we've brought this on ourselves.

I've been guilty of spend-spend-spend in my own life. To see it on the national stage is frightening. And I worry that, with a massive bill created in darkness, no one will be served but the ruling class of this nation.

Bah humbug.

God is good. I know this. Fix your eyes...come on, Kathy. Fix your eyes on...

Hard to do when I'm fixing my eyes on Savvy's back end, to see if the poor thing is getting out any urine. Hard to do when I'm fixing my eyes on Washington and shrieking, "when was the last time you guys climbed under your car in December to change the oil; or picked through the discount bin at the supermarket; or struggled to keep a business going so you don't have to lay off your one employee; or bought your own groceries or pumped your own gas or drove to work in a snowstorm so you wouldn't lose a days pay or...lived like us?"

Big things and small. God is good. Fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith.

Oh man, still so much work for Him to do!

Merry Christmas, Christ is born, Christ will come again.

Ho ho ho. Proverbs 31: 25

Monday, December 14, 2009


I fell in love with my husband the day I heard him speaking baby-talk to my two cats.

That was 36 years ago.

Clearly, I have chosen well.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Sweet Smell of Snow

It's snowing again. The forecast say this should turn to rain but I don't see it on the weather map. Just a blob of blue. And it's beautiful snow, hard flakes that make powder and oh--how they cleanse the air!

I'm in my upstairs office, Savvy sleeping under Ryan's bed as I work. This is our schedule, and we're both a trifle disoriented if we don't keep to it. In another hour, we'll be out in the snow, wearing orange so the hunters don't mistake us for a buck. Breathing in the sweet smell of this snow.

And wondering...why? Why does calamity seem to come in clumps?

In the past month or so, three people in our church had health crises. These are the stalwarts, my brother and sisters I have known for almost 20 years, the wise and faithful among us whom we take for granted. Nancy and Diane were struck with breast cancer and, given it was Diane's second, she chose a dramatic surgery. Dana--who not only helps gird our church but the whole community--suffered heart problems that led to a bypass.

I forget we're all going older. I hate--oh, how I hate--to see loved ones suffer. Especially when it's all sudden and in a clump and the rock we think we've built our church home on takes a hit. But praise God, they know THE ROCK, and God is bringing them through healing. Still--I'd wish their illnesses on serial killers or rapists. Not our dear ones who are so giving. They shame me because I'm not as generous with my time and surely don't have their wisdom and faithfulness.

And then...Dave, one of my oldest writing pals, is diagnosed with a terrible cancer. He's in good hands and has had some observedly miraculous progress (thank you, Jesus!) but it will be a long and perilous road back to health. My writer's group are all touched and worried.

And now...Stephanie, the wife of another writing brother. has cancer. Her brother-in-law is the pastor of a large and wonderful church, so she will have a lot of prayer support.

But still. All these beloved have to walk hard paths. I sit here in a comfortable office, my puppy stretched out under the bed, heaven's snow falling. And think. And pray. Because I know what it's like to think about life going on around you when you are suffering. You sometimes want to scream, "Hey! Stop shopping or watching movies or whatever and look at MY life, stalled here in pain." I remember thinking that at my father's funeral, listening to the minister and watching the cars go by outside and how, in the midst of sorrow, life goes on.

I worry about my sisters, Mary and Janice. I love them very much and I always worry about them getting sick. If Nancy, the picture of health and beauty, can get sick, anyone can. Funny--I don't worry about Steve because we've been through two drastic illnesses in our marriage.

I don't like this clump of illnesses. It scares me.

Lord, I pray this day that you raise to health: Nancy. Diane. Dana. Dave. Stephanie. Amd I pray that they see Your blessing, and give You glory. I ask that I be faithful.

That I be faithful...and not fear life's clumps.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Whiter than Snow?

So much for training Savvy to pee on demand with an offer of a "cookie." Steve informed me that this weekend's snow has provided a revealing insight.

Savvy fakes it.

She is known for multiple stops...squatting, allegedly peeing, then grabbing her morsel, then repeating the process. As responsible dog owners, we do want that bladder empty before she comes back in the house.

Saturday Steve caught her cheating. Squat, pee, cookie. Squat, pee, cookie. Squat...wait a minute, that snow is still white and unbroken!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Savvy Does Her Job

Every dog owner knows he or she needs to "name" the dog's necessary but indelicate functions. There's going wee-wee or doing your business. My mother called going poop doing your load. I loved my mother but I always hated that term, though if you've got a large dog, that's exactly what it is. Steve has been taking pride lately in the size of Savvy's poops. In his mind, a big poop means big dog.

Our term for performing the necessary functions is do your job. It's a multi-functional term that, combined with a dog biscuit, pretty much now can instruct Savvy to pee on demand. We have done the whole training thing--choose a term, apply it with a bunch of praise and a snippet of treat when the pee or poop happens, and teach the dog to then go on demand. Or invitation.

Like all Labs, Savvy is a fruitcake when it comes to treats. She so lusts for that taste of biscuit that when she's told to do her job, she'll go...get the biscuit...then scurry off six feet and go again, expecting more biscuit. She has, after all, done her job.

There's an unfortunate consequence to this multi-stage performance. She has been so eager to be rewarded for doing her job that she'll turn and look for the treat before she's quite finished. That has left us back where we started pre-housebreaking--with a stinky dog. I now make sure to stay in her line-of-sight so she doesn't turn and look for me while she's fulfilling her responsibility.

When I lose sight of God, I too often do the same thing--soil what He's called me to do. He calls us to fix our eyes on Jesus and don't go chasing the biscuit.

I'm off now--to do my job.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What The Cold Revealed

I ashamedly remember my first year singing with the choir. I must have been a spry 40 years old or so. We had an elder soprano named Frances who had horrible arthritis. Her top knuckles were so eroded that her finger tips twisted sideways until they were perpendicular to the rest of her fingers.

Every once in awhile I'd glance at her fingers and think (now, shamefully): I'll never let that happen to my fingers. I figured you could tape your fingers or maybe splint them so they would stay straight. That's what I would have done, I thought all those years back.

What an ignorant fool I was.

Now I have severe "erosive" osteoarthritis. That means that the cartilage in the joints of my fingers and thumb have been eaten away, leaving the bones to grind against each other. An X-ray would reveal a haze where my joints are supposed to be.

This "bone dust" is a wonderful metaphor for fallen creation. As Paul says in Romans 7:

For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

How many times I've repented of my stupid thoughts about dear Frances! Beyond her near century of service to our church and community, two things stand out to me. She sang with choir into her eighties, and though her voice grew faint, she always sang in key. (In my spry 50s, I'm finding it hard now to not go flat.) And, though the year she died she was into her nineties, she still managed to knit something like 50 scarves, hats, and/or mittens for the children in her extended family. Twisted fingers, failing eyesight and all.

Were I only to have a portion of Frances' spirit!

I have a blessing Frances did not. About five years ago, I had two joints on my left hand fused against pain. This was the only remedy at that time. Last year I had a joint replacement in my left hand, this year a joint replacement in my right hand. I lost the pain on "mousing" and typing, and gained the ability to open jars.

In August, I had the joints in two fingers on my right hand not fused--replaced. I continue to discover the extent of this blessing. Yesterday I picked up my flute for the first time in years and delighted in pushing the keys. I can make a fist. Today I sit in my office, typing and mousing happily away. Pain-free.

There's been another blessing associated with my hand restoration.

Last winter, we kept the thermostat at 68. This was far too cold for my hands, so I wore two pairs of pants, a tee-shirt, turtleneck, and sweater to get my body temperature high enough to bring comfort to my eroded fingers.

Today the temperature in my office is 62. I wear yoga pants, a tee-shirt, and a light long-sleeve shirt. My fingers are warm and happy because Dr. Stefan Strapko of Nashua, NH restored what was eaten away.

Frances May of Dunstable, Massachusetts blessed so many with her twisted fingers. Without complaint. With conviction.

With a quiet and enduring faith.

Thank you, Jesus. Frances deserved these pain-free and functional fingers far more than I.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Older Women Teach the Younger...

Daisy O., a two-year-old beagle, visited last Sunday and took 2 hours to teach Savvy how to play. Savvy rolled continuously for almost an hour, trying to "submit" to her elder. Daisy persisted, hopping around, on, and over Savvy until Savvy finally figured out what to do.

She was more than ready for Sadie when she visited today.

The elder hath taught the younger.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

We had powerful rains last night and this morning. It's hard to believe that we got pounded at 9:30 this morning, greeted by blue skies and bright sunshine by 10. Perfect for Savvy's morning walk.

One of the by-products of the forester's mess is that the woods have many deep ruts where the path used to be. In the spring and after hard rains, these ruts fill up with water. I have hated these ruts--they're nearly unpassable when wet and treacherous when iced over.

Amazing how a puppy can change one's perspective. I now do not leave the house without boots because if it's not dewy (or frosty) grass, it's mucky, wet woods. When it was just me and the forester, I hated having to wear boots because of his mess.

But here's the untended consequence of that mess -- water for my dog,.

Savvy discovered water her first day with us, stepping into her water bowl and overturning it. Gone are the days we used to have to bend down and hold the bowl when she drank. Now she's a lady (relatively), drinking nicely from her bowl. And the jacuzzi. And the toilet bowl...not yet but she's trying to figure that out.

Savvy is a Labrador Retriever, bred to run through swamps and bogs to retrieve water fowl. That breeding is fully on display on a day like today when the ruts are filled with water and she can leap and dive and splash and frolic to her literal heart's content.

I love the ruts because my dog loves them. I'm blessed by watching this joyful emergence of her basic nature.

And isn't this what God expects of me? Joyful frolicking in whatever mess He allows in my path?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Every Dog Lover Dreams Of

Grace, dignity, and beauty. Correct?

And here's Savvy...starting to doze off under a bed, the toilet paper she's stolen by her side. Yep. Grace, dignity, and beauty indeed.
That's my pup.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mortality in Splintered Steps

Steve's father died yesterday. At 94, we all agreed he had years left. Harry still babysat his great-grandchildren, loved lobster rolls, loved his wife Evelyn more than anything.

One can wax on about mortality as if it's to be measured on the vet's scale. But life will have its way in splintered steps, marching or leaping or shuffling forward until it fades away with the morning mist.

Breathe in. Then sigh.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mortality in Leaps and Bounds

Savvy is going to the vet weekly for her shots. They always weigh her, a tail-wagging exercise that makes me so pleased she's not Tasha, who would scramble off the weighing table.

Two weeks ago she gained 2 pounds. This week she gained 3 pounds. No fat on this dog, she's all muscle and lately, lots of leg.

The lesson of mortality is so evident in her rapid growth. Dogs her breed live around 10 years, can become pregnant at 6 months, so she's got to grow fast. Sometimes she's grown during her afternoon nap, so the dog that went into the pen comes out a taller lass.

I can't remember Barnabus, our first lab, as a puppy. Perhaps that's because that was almost 30 years ago. Or perhaps it's because I had two toddlers at the time so he fell into the mix. Tasha came to us at 1 year old so she was full-grown, though terribly in need of training and order. So I watch Savvy with considerable joy, but also a certain trepidation, as soft puppy turns so quickly to gangling doggie. Adolescence will come around Christmas, adult-hood next summer.

Maybe then I'll stop thinking about how fast time goes. Until then, I'll praise God for the miracle of puppies and stop worrying about the mortal inevitabilities.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Creation Thuds

I have a deer tick imbedded in my umbilicus. Deep in, under a fold of skin. (And we won't mention the adipose tissue cushioning it!) I will need to go to my doctor to have it cut out of there.

I discovered it only because my belly broke out in a rash. Yeah, that good ol' Lyme Disease rash. Otherwise, why ever would I venture into my own umbilicus. I prefer to meditate on the Lord Almighty, and not my navel.

I know from Genesis 1 that deer ticks were not designed to feast on blood. And that they do is part of our corporate Adamic sin. That a disease as potentially debilitating as Lyme nestles deep in their throats (or whatever ticks have) is downright tragic.

And now that tick has to be cut out of my bellybutton and the Lyme washed from my blood.

So it goes. Over and over again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

God-awful Day?

God-awful is a common term, but really improper, when you think of it. That said, were you to quiz 100 people about this day, 99 of them would term it such. It's cold, pelting rain, rising wind, barren trees. Just awful all around.

Savvy would be among the 99, should she be allowed a vote. I have to lure her from the porch with "cookies" that, despite my rain slicker, are soggy before we even make the woods. It's a four-bite hike to get her in there, and she looks skyward with trepidation. Meanwhile, I'm soaked, my Patriots cap dripping madly, my slicker, sweatshirt, and tee-shirt drinking up the cold rain, my pants soggy between the tops of my boots and the bottom of my slicker.

God-awful is the term that comes to my mind but I dismiss it quickly. It's improper to pair the name of the Almighty with an adjective like awful, and blasphemous to throw the description about. Ugly might be the best term. Wet, windy, cold, the color of October flung to the ground in a brown mess, with six months of lifelessness ahead.

And we venture deeper into the woods, Savvy shakes off her trepidation and takes the lead. Something has kicked in, the essential nature of a Labrador Retriever that makes water friend and not threat, that makes sticks and sod and puddles a fulfillment of the Lord's creation and not something to be endured.

Something kicks in for me as well. I'm even wetter but my warmth spreads outward, my soggy shoulders defying the awfulness of the day. I am the 1 in 100, the fool out in the maelstrom, the witness to God's creation in all its glory, even as He has stirred the clouds to drench dog and woman and woods.
Last week the colors peaked and the tourists snapped photos and ooh-ed and ah-ed about Indian summer and ripe apples and brilliant trees.

This week -- this day -- is mine, to be shared with a puppy who has found her God-given nature and thus exults in the storm. I exult with her, though perhaps without her, my praise would have been grumbles.

Thus is the essence of a dog. The ability -- the calling --to turn a hideous day into a God-awesome one.

De-Pooping the Pup -- Part II

So Savvy's a good girl this morning, comes with me through the rain and mist to the edge of the woods and does her business.

I go inside to fetch her breakfast, come back 60 seconds later and can't find her. She's a homebody, a front-porch pup who never wanders. I walk out in bare feet, in a mild panic as I call for her.

She's in the bushes next to the porch. Digging up BadCat's newly-deposited business. And of course, being a Lab, she's eating it.

I yell at her to "drop it" and shuffle her inside.

Interesting how she looks for cover to do her own poop, but is willing to eat cat-, deer-, dog-, or you-name-it-poop.

Is this me, Lord? Hiding my own sins but quick to dig up others? Taking a sick nourishment from someone else's fall?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

De-Pooping the Pup

Getting Savvy to poop is like pulling teeth (ugh, such an ugly image). There's no predictability to her function and thus, no easy way to ensure she's done her business and can be let inside among civilized folk. Yesterday I spent an hour following her around, waiting for her to go. Nothing, so she finally came inside and was penned while we had supper.

I took her out again, and she finally pooped. Ah, safe I thought, and brought her in to enjoy her company. We were upstairs, making the bed and playing. Steve was tossing a toy, she was running joyfully wild and we all were enjoying puppy time.

Then I smelled something. "Smell that?" I asked Steve.

"I never smell anything," he said. "You know that."

It smelled like dead fish. I sniffed his clothes (because who knows what chemical he'd worked with that day) and then his breath. Ah, sweetness.

"I don't smell anything," he said again.

My nose never lies. The dog had pooped again, a big present on the white carpet.

"Bad!" I yelled, and brought her to visit it.

She seemed to have no shame, and yet the fact that she went behind a chair speaks of some regret.

God's nose is far more sensitive, and his desire for me not to soil the white carpet far more exquisite. Is it any wonder sometimes He's got me wandering the "yard" when I think I should be let inside?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pain In The . . .

This morning I will have my sixth injection of cortisone into my spine. I've had my lumbar injected, my hip joint, and my hamstring tendon. Still, the Pain remains.

I've celebrated the Pain's first birthday on October 16th. That's not the day of the injury. I can't even pinpoint an injury. But it was a very important day for the company I worked at, and I marked it with hard work, mild rejoicing with co-workers, and a butt-full of pain.

Despite all the MRI's and injections and therapies, the pain remains the same. Today is my last chance at a steroid-induced relief. After Dr. S. injects my sacro-iliac joint, there's no location left to inject.

I have little hope of relief, because thus far I've gotten none. And it's an odd Pain, in some way, a blessed Pain. It hurts when I sit, dissipates when I stand, disappears when I walk. Is it any wonder I longed for a dog -- and thus a rationale -- for many, many walks?

No one sees the Pain, except perhaps Steve who watches me squirm in my chair. Marj sympathizes because she knows pain. Otherwise, it's an occult affair, no evidence of agony because I walk vigorously.

I can't help but think of the pain of others. Hidden -- deeply. Placed -- oddly. Agonizing -- silently. The pain only God knows because people walk through the world with no sign of sorrow and hopelessness. How does the Christian seek out such pain? The quick answer is that we don't -- we let the Holy Spirit bring it to us. But there are signs. Sometimes just a new wrinkle, like the one I have over my right eye. Deep furrows in the face from enduring. Sometimes a too-slow "fine" to the question "How're ya doin'?"

I need to forget that Pain, forget my fear that this last desperate shot to ease my Pain will fail, too. Need to stop worrying about the day when someone says, "Sorry, Mrs. Mackel. There's nothing more we can do."

Need to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Need to rejoice in the time and beauty and puppy that bless my walk. What grace is this, that I can walk without the Pain? What blessing should I walk forth with?

Whose pain to carry as I God-and-Dog-Walk? After all, it's a miracle that I don't have to carry my own,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fuzzy Bone Redux

I was mulling mortality, organizing my thoughts into something palatable (and dare I say -- forcibly intelligent?) when Savvy provided me an earthier perspective.

She found Fuzzy Bone.

Fuzzy Bone started life as Tasha's favorite toy. Tasha gave it plenty of go-arounds, even in later life, so that it became quite "icky." I stored it away with Tasha's doghouse and quilts after she passed on.

Sadie found it. Groady and sticky, it was not fit for canine companionship. For sentimental reasons, I asked Jamie not to trash it. I'm not sure what I had planned, but Tasha's death was still to near to part with her favorite toy. We should have thought to bury it with her but that was such an outlandish, insane event, we didn't think.

Someone -- maybe Jamie, or maybe I -- buried Fuzzy Bone under old brush and dead leaves on the edge of the woods.

Savvy found it this morning. It was not only soaked and filthy but it had a layer of green mold growing on it. This only enhanced its desirablility for Savvy. She will not be allowed to keep it -- and this time, it will be trashed -- but it heartened me before the icks set in to see my new pup embracing my old pup's joy.

I'll worry about mortality some other time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Cross Near the Woods

We've got a cross on the border of the woods. Steve made it for a Maundy Thursday presentation a couple years back. It's as rustic as can be, two sticks notched in the middle and wired together.

When the Maundy Thursday presentation was past, I couldn't bear to take it apart and toss it back to the woods. I hung it in my favorite sitting place, and too often pass by without even noticing. It blends in well, you see.

This morning I was depositing a Savvy-job over the wall when I did notice. I sat, wanting silence. The mind whirs and bucks, impossible to nail even on the smallest of crosses. The birds shouted and sang and squeaked, a symphony that finally brought me to silence, thank you, Jesus.

So I sat. Pooper scooper at my feet. Considering the cross.

Thinking how big one would have to be to hold a man. "Hung on a tree" isn't simply an Old Testament prophecy. Looking at my meager cross, a poor representation of what the real thing had to be to hold a man.

To hold a man. To kill a man.

How do I dare approach anything bigger than my Maundy Thursday cross? Even this one made of sticks has its own majesty, in an undying image of an undying man.

So I will sit. Pooper scooper at my feet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Certain of What We Hope For

Savvy and I were outside for the sunrise today. The grass was iced over, the dahlias destroyed, but there was a lightness to the air that infected the puppy, and she bounded instead of trudged to get her business done.

It's been a while since I've seen the sunrise, and this one was a beauty. In the Tasha days, we'd run down to the road and cross to the farm so we could watch the full glory of colors across the fields and through the branches of the ancient trees. Instead, I settled for the promise of the sunrise, a peek of colors over the trees that block the horizon.

Someday Savvy will be old enough and obedient enough to enjoy the full glory of the sunrise. Until then, I'll hold back...sacrifice my pleasure for her safety. And what sacrifice is that, really?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Never Say Never

Our Accidental Poet asked me the other day if we had snow yet. "Never in October. This is my favorite time of year," I told her. "Leaves blazing, sun warming, wind with just the tiniest pinch of the season. No. Never in October."
I wake this morning, struggle into fleece pants, boots, mittens, two sweatshirts (because I can't find my jacket) and get Savvy out for her first business of the day. Peering through the dark, I see never falling from the sky.

I'm calling it Accidental Snow. Because it's not supposed to happen this way. Too early, I'm not ready, it takes away the beauty of the trees and my last valiant dahlias fighting the inevitable.

There's a space between will and could and never. It's the latter space--between could and never--where God likes to play.

My head can comprehend the could but my heart fears the never, because the closer I get , the more God has to pry my fingers away from the maybe-later.

That snow coming down is today's Accidental Never. With God, it's never accidental. And I'm so afraid of slipping...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Image of the Invisible God

Savvy's second trip outside this morning was around 7 A.M. (Note the second trip...for which I hope to garner much sympathy.) The sun was cresting the trees in the east, leaving no mystery as to its rising. Because of its position, it shone directly on one of our second-floor windows.

As I walked around the lawn, imploring Savvy to do her duty, I discovered a "hot" spot in the air. Given it was a little over forty degrees and the cold mist was still rising from the grass, I was surprised to find such heat. I turned toward the house, realized I was being hit flush in the face by the reflection of the sun off the glass of that second-story window.

Sun--to window--to me. Not the most graceful of metaphors but I couldn't help but enjoy the power of such warmth, and the wonder of it being imparted to me. Especially because we think of the transparency of glass, and not of its power to give back light.

Were I only so transparent and yet so reflective.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bear Ye One Another's Burdens

You'd like to think that having a young puppy would be rife with opportunities to meditate on the wonders of creation, new life, love, and general puppy cuteness.

I spend most my time meditating on poop. More specifically, when and where is it coming?

Curious how Savvy can pee predicably. Her BMs, while blessedly infrequent, seem to bear no relation to what she's fed, when she's exercised, or even how excited she becomes. She has no angst about dropping a present, though if she poops inside, she'll be sure to bark and whine until I clean it up.

Savvy is at least showing some small aptitude of finding a spot that's out of the way. That requires me to dig out a flashlight and hunt down her messes. I am resolved never to let one sit in our yard but to speed and scoop, keeping our lawn pristine and my bare feet free of that sickening "what just squished between my toes" sensation.

Having worked through some issues with my church brethren this past year, it seems to me that crises in the body of Christ seem to follow the same pattern. With all our wisdom, we want to be able to predict when and where but, when we least expect it, some stinky drops in our mist. Sometimes it takes some doing to root it and scoop it before another joins it. Most of the time, we don't smell it until it's spread far and wide.

Oh Lord, if only my spiritual nose and my faithfulness were half as developed as my passion for puppy poop!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Forgot How to Find the Sunrise

I lost my dog, my career, my health, and almost my son. Too busy focusing on what the locusts had eaten, I forgot I could walk with God without a dog at my side.

God blessed me and my family in our year of darkness and pain. Incredible blessings that took me that year to find.

I'm ready to walk again, though it's with babysteps because I need to be retrained far more than our puppy. I took her out this morning, she did all the wonderful and smart things a baby dog can do to please her owner. (Look Ma, no newspapers needed!)

I wandered the front lawn, watching the night mist rise into the early day. Watching the east for the sunrise but I couldn't figure out the bright sky and dark clouds. Had the sun already risen? I couldn't see it but it might sit low on the horizon this time of year. Was it behind the trees or should I linger, waiting for the gold to dance in the east?

I couldn't remember how to find the sunrise.

But at least I remember that I need to look...