Thursday, October 30, 2008

Livin' Life in Hindsight

Have you ever wished you had the gift of foresight? Sometimes, I think perhaps I do but that's usually when I'm reflecting back on a situation that went wrong and realize the thought had occurred to me to do something different which I ignored. Kind of like what I wrote about in the last post.

I'm pretty sure I have the gift of hindsight. It's a gift available to just about anyone if you're paying attention. You see, it's been a rough couple of weeks, really draining. At the end of each day I've collapsed into bed and rebelled against the alarm clock each morning. Because my days (and my mind) have been filled beyond measure, I've been unable to make time for my daily Bible study. I really don't know how I would have done it but I wish I had.

I got an email from someone in my small group the other day and she mentioned how encouraging this past week's readings were. Apparently it spoke of God's provision and protection. That reminder would have been a real encouragment in the middle of all that's been going on. I mean, it still is now - now when, Lord willing, I'm nearing the tail end of all this.

I guess my point is this - and take it from one with the gift of hindsight, (which you know is 20/20) - stay in the Word of God no matter what! Like my sister always says, even if it's just a verse or a short passage, read something of God's Word. And then meditate on it. God's word is alive and active. Keeping our eyes and our deeper focus on God through the rough times is what will get us through them without feeling like we've been run over by a bus. Now me? I can still smell the exhaust fumes but I'm lookin' up again.

One good thing about hindsight is that there's always a lesson to be learned if we're paying attention. I just wish I didn't have to repeat the class so much.

But what about you? What verses are getting you through your tough times? I'd love to hear.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Again...

I'm having another one of those days. Haven't I said that recently? I feel like I've been having quite a few of those lately.

I had a strong feeling this morning that I should not have been bringing Apollo down to the bus stop this morning. But do I listen to myself? Nooooooooo! He's been pulling on his leash like crazy lately - more so than usual and that little voice in my head said I should just leave him home.

Well, I didn't. He loves going down to the bus stop in the morning. He's like a celebrity down there. The kids love him; the adults love him; and Fred the black lab loves him too. They're good buds and always enjoy a little play time after the kids get on the bus.

Unfortunately, today things went a little awry (not a word I use everyday but it is what happened). After the kids got on the bus, Fred's dad and I brought the dogs together for their little howdy-do time and things were great until Apollo somehow got his toe stuck in Fred's collar. I'm tellin' you it was the freakiest thing I've ever seen. They wouldn't have been able to do that on purpose if they tried. Both dogs freaked out and were scared to death. Apollo got dragged a bit and dripped blood from his toe all the way home. I managed to get the bleeding stopped but things didn't look so good so I brought him to the vet to have him checked out and good thing I did.

He needed stitches between his toes and unfortunately had to be completely sedated to do it. So a simple, inexpensive procedure it was not. Oi Vey. Just when you think you have a chance to get out from behind the 8 ball, life happens. As they dragged him to the back, the poor thing was fighting to get back to me, crying and looking at me like he was pleading for me to save him from a fate worse than death.

Now the poor little(?) guy has his foot all bandaged up and lampshade (aka Elizabethan Collar) on his head. Just pitiful.

**P.S. It seems the stupic collar isn't keeping him from getting to his foot! Joy. Guess who's not gonna sleep well tonight.

***P.S.S. Well, I think we all slept most of the night anyway but the bonehead this morning got the cone off his head!!! Unbelievable. Off to get a BIGGER lampshade.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kids Do Say the Darndest Things

I was up at my kids' school today helping with health screenings - you know the whole weight, eyes and hearing checks, etc. My job was to usher the kids back and forth between rooms. Eyes and weight in this room, hearing across the hall. I really like this job 'cause I get to talk to the kids a little bit while they wait plus I'm usually able to catch one of my own kids either during the screening itself or just in the hallway between classes. That always gives my heart (and my face) a smile. I love their reaction when they see me so unexpectedly.

Anyway, I had a group of kindergardeners waiting to for their hearing test and with the school all decorated with fall themes made by the kids, I asked them to sit on the floor behind the scarecrow that's pasted on the wall. I told them he was the lineleader - they all respect that. Across from him was another scarecrow only this one didn't have a mouth as one of boys pointed out. So I asked them why they thought that was. One boy said it was because the scarecrow was cold so he had to pull his shirt up over his face (and demonstrated what he meant). Then one of the other boys said - and this totally cracked me up - that someone must have farted and it smelled bad so he pulled his shirt up as he pointed out that the tip of the scarecrow's nose was indeed covered by the shirt.

Sounds to me as if this boy or someone close to him has had some experience in the matter. I cracked up.

Hope you're having a sweet-smelling day.

Be blessed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time to Pick the Pumpkins

It was time for our annual pumpkin picking outing. We had a good time, met up unexpectedly with some friends and came back with a few good finds. Now where are my carving tools?

I wish I had taken my sunglasses off;
this would have been a good picture.

Be blessed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What's in a Name?

Quite a lot, I'm learning. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. Perhaps you know the story in Daniel. The 3 of them thrown into the fiery furnace only to be rescued by God. I don't usually think of those names only one at a time either - they all go together - those names just flow; I don't separate them. Kind of like the 3 musketeers or something.

In those days, names weren't just what people went by, they were a person's very identity. Can you, without looking it up, remember what their original names were? Did you even know that they had other names? I didn't remember that and I certainly couldn't have told you what they were - until today. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, taken captive along with the rest of the Israelites, were the names the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, gave to them and they each had meaning identifying them with the gods of the Babylonians. Their Hebrew names (and meanings), however, given them at birth were (in the same order), Hananiah (Yah has been gracious), Mishael (Who is what God is) and Azariah (Yah has helped). Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to completely forget who they were and identify themselves completely with their new culture. Can you imagine how insulting and demeaning it must have been for these true young Israelites to be called by such idolatrous names?

Let's bring this to present day. As Beth Moore said in today's study, "In our culture, a name's sound or sentimental value is a far bigger priority than its meaning." Many don't even know what their name means. We often get our identity, however, based on what other people have told us we are. Hopefully that's been a good thing, something life-giving. Unfortunately for many that's not their story. Beth asked a question "Has the world (or worse yet, a loved one) ever tried to give you a bad name or a bad identity?" "Did you fall for it?" "Are you still falling for it?"

Over the years, I came to believe a big part of my identity was "Unable". That there were others far better able at (fill in the blank) than I was. This led me to not even bother trying and I settled for a life of mediocrity. No more. Thankfully God has been revealing a completely different identity - one that's in Him. God says to and of me "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Also, "it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." (Phil 2:13)

How about you? Whose identity are you going to take? One of this world fathered by the father of lies or the one, true God, the Father of life? Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. From now on, I'm going to try to remember them for who they truly were - who God meant and proved them to be. I don't want to remember them just by their Babylonian names any more than I'd want myself to be remembered simply by my life outside of Christ.

By the way, my first name means "dark". My middle name, Ann, I just found out, means gracious, merciful. While I like the sound of my first name, I've never much cared for its meaning. And I never even thought to look up the meaning of my middle name 'cause I never liked it. I thought it was boring; Now I think I was wrong. Now, it seems like I have my whole testimony and a constant reminder of what God's done in my life wrapped up into my two names - grace and mercy followed the darkness. Indeed it did. Praise His Name!

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A New Day Has Dawned

Things often seem better in the light of a new day and today is no different. A little sleep doesn't hurt either.

Apollo is still definitely not back to himself by any means, but he does seem some better. He slept the whole night and today he's mellow and restless at the same time. I had him in his crate just to try to keep him quiet and get some rest but I noticed he was shivering so I put a towel on the couch and let him go up and cuddle next to his favorite girl. He fell right to sleep.

Yes, sleep is a beautiful thing.

Hope you're having a good day.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stick Me With a Fork, I Am Done

I should be going to bed right now because I am utterly exhausted. I mean emotionally, physically, eyes burning, tired. What a night it's been. I guess I just need to share before I crash.

First, I had to finally tell my pastor and worship leader, both of whom I love and respect immensely, that we believe God is calling us to a different church. I had been procrastinating on this for a while because, well, I knew it would be hard. I love this body of believers and they have meant so much to me and my family and I have poured so much of my own heart out there. As much as I believe we're doing what God is leading us to do, I had hoped it would be easier. I don't know why. From past experience I know that some of what God asks of me is not necessarily easy. I feel like I broke up with someone and asked them if we could still be friends. Is that ridiculous? You know what? Don't answer that. At least for a couple of days until I get some sleep, have had time to pray some more about it and can think with some clarity. Until then, please be kind.

Then after crying my eyes out there, I come home to find that Apollo has thrown up all over his crate and as I got him outside, he continued to throw up, was walking weird, stretching his back legs out straight, drooling like a broken faucet and generally looked awful. I was really worried and called the vet who had me come straight over.

After taking an xray they found what looked like tiny bone chips in his stomach. She said it looked like about 20 of them though when I looked at it, I didn't think it looked like quite that many but what the heck do I know; I'm not the doc. Anyway, she gave him all kinds of meds and fluids and some special high-fiber food to get things moving so he can hopefully pass them. I've got to give him Mylanta twice a day before eating. When we got home from the vet I still had to clean the mess in his crate and realized that part of what he had thrown up were these stupid red landscaping rocks we've got in our backyard. Now that didn't look like what I saw in the xray so I'm wondering if it was the rocks that made him get sick and the bones were already there. I don't know. I guess I'll call the vet in the morning.

I just feel awful for not keeping a better eye on him and I don't know if it's my own guilty imagination or what but I swear it seemed like the vet and company were lookin' and talkin' to me like I was just some irresponsible pet owner or something not worthy of this precious little guy. Now you all know we are just crazy about this dog. My poor daughter was beside herself with worry - I think having flashbacks about when we had to put our cocker spaniel down a little over a year ago. Poor kid had to go the bathroom twice and sat outside a couple of times to get some fresh air, pray and calm down a bit.

All of this on top of being concerned that my son's teacher wants a special conference. She did tell me why and it's nothing horrible and I'm sure I'll probably post about it in the future but for now, it's still a concern all the same.

But like my daddy used to say, "This too shall pass" (hopefully literally in Apollo's case). Beside, in about 15 minutes, it'll be a whole new 24 hour period. Glad to put this day behind me. Later, folks.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An Apollo Fix

It's been a whole two weeks or so since I've posted on Apollo and I've got pics to share! Many of us know that having a puppy in the house is, in many ways, like having a baby around (only without the diapers! sigh...). Well, like any mother of a toddler knows, if it's too quiet, check 'em! They are surely up to no good. I was getting ready for work this morning and took the risk of leaving Apollo unsupervised since he seemed perfectly content laying on his blanket playing with his chew-toy. Well, as I flat-ironed my hair I thought it had been a little while, I should probably check on him. This first picture is what I found. Notice he still had his toy.

As adorable as he was I did kick him off - but not before I got the picture!

Still lovin' the sand

And the leaves...

And this is just plain cute.

Hope you liked. Be blessed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What do you think?

"You are SO mean!" "That's not FAIR!" "HER mom let's HER do it!"

Do those words have a ring of familiarity at all to you? I'm almost certain I've spoken them in my lifetime (although probably not the first one 'cause I liked my head where it was and didn't want it handed to me but the other two for sure). I did however have them spoken to me today and it got me a little curious, hence the poll to the right. Let me explain.

Today my 10 year old daughter's friend (also 10) came by on her bike; she lives several blocks away. Each time this friend (who I like very much by the way) comes by, my daughter wants to go bike riding around the neighborhood with her and my answer is the same each time - no, you're not old enough. It's a safety thing, particularly with some of the stuff going on in our neighborhood right now. She proceeded to ask how old she has to be to be allowed and I said 12. Of course, she had a hissy fit and that's fine. I have my reasons and I'm perfectly comfortable with my answer.

This has been a conversation some other moms and I have been having lately too - at what age do we let our kids go riding around the neighborhood? So, I'm curious, what do you think? Obviously an individual child's maturity level and the type of neighborhood one lives in might influence one's answer but generally speaking at what age have you or will you allow your kids to go riding with friends or alone without adult supervision?

Feel free to take my poll at the right, comment below or both. Thanks for your input.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Sobering Reminder

Because I have a tendency to lean toward being a bit serious with myself and life in general (who said drama queen???), I love opportunities to laugh. I love spending time with funny people. I'll take Scrubs over CSI or Monk over Law and Order most days of the week. But life is about balance and there are serious things that absolutely deserve and warrent our attention.

Now, if you have visited my blog for any length of time, you probably have noticed that I am a big fan of Beth Moore, her Bible studies and writings and a regular visitor to her blog. Her daughter, Amanda, seems to have some of the same giftings as her mom and posted an incredible message on the blog today. It's something, I believe, we all need to be reminded of...I was going to say from time to time, but on second thought, it deserves more than that. Let's allow it to remain in the forefront of our minds; let it impact our prayers and our conversations with others. It is not funny but it is of the utmost importance.

Can I encourage you to pop on over to Beth's blog and read Amanda's post entitled "There Is A Rescuer" for yourself? I think you'll be blessed. I certainly was. Here's the link.

Be blessed.