Friday, July 25, 2014

Drinkin' from the Toliet Bowl


     God's been speaking to me a lot lately about being thirsty. Dehydration both in the physical and in the Spiritual can be deadly. Yesterday I heard a familiar sound but couldn't put my finger on it, so I went to investigate. There in the spare bathroom was Shadow drinking out of the toilet! It seems someone left the lid up and forgot to flush. Yuck. I thought to myself, "He needs water and he's thirsty." But when I went into the kitchen there was a full bowl of clean water. I shook my head at how crazy he can act.
     But once again God spoke to me, showing me that often times when we are Spiritually thirsty we too choose to drink from the toilet bowl. We choose it over the fresh living water of God's word. Oh the toilet water might taste good at the time, but in reality it can be filthy and lead to further dehydration of the soul. And then there's our 16 year old cat, Fred, who whines until I turn on the faucet so he can drink fresh running water. To him his water bowl is just not "clean" enough, even after I have just filled it. Cats are known to be finicky. It seems to me however we can learn a lot from both Fred and Shadow. Clean fresh water is essential for the body and the Spirit. And there is only one whose "living water" will satisfy even the driest of bones.
"Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~John 4: 13-14

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." ~Matthew 5:6

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Waiting for the Walk

     The look in Shadow's eyes spoke far more than the tilt of his head. How many times had I seen that expression in his eyes?  How often did he stand staring, waiting for my signal, alerting him of his turn; the time to walk once again? And how many times have I acknowledged him while running out the door with a mere nod saying, "I'll be back?"

    Before the arthritis invaded his joints, Shadow and I adored our walks together. Early morning was our favorite time,  before the world came to life. He and I would take the short car ride to the walking trails near our home.  I'm not sure what he enjoyed most, the walk itself or the fresh air blowing against his snout during the drive. As we walked he wore with pride my keys around his neck. Their jingling gave rhythm to our walk. There also seemed to be an extra bounce in his step those days. Our walks together were treasures.  I came to know Shadow's mannerisms and became keenly aware of when he was thirsty or tired. The pace of our steps were often in-sync, rarely did he tug or pull; he simply was content walking next to me.  And I was thrilled to have him there.  I thoroughly enjoyed the gentleness of those mornings, just he and I, and God's creation. Those mornings always set the tone for a much better day.

     The last couple of years I've been helping a lady care for her little dogs. Daily I feed them and walk them. They are sweet and I thoroughly delight in our time together.  I love the feel of the warm breeze and watching the loons and other wild life as we meander around the lake together. Recently I began helping other friends with their dogs as well. This takes up a bit more of my time. But each time I return home, there are my two loving pups, waiting to greet me at the door; ready and willing to lavish me with their unconditional love.

     The other morning after walking one set of pups I came home for a quick lunch. And rushed back out the door for another appointment. As I turned to say goodbye to Shadow there he stood, my gray faced pup, head tilted. He waited longingly, as if to say, "Can I come now?"  His expression tugged at my heart as I gave him a big hug. I felt like such a traitor.

     It was true. I had been spending far more time giving love and attention to other's pets. But sadly the last time Shadow and I walked down our street his arthritic joints slowed him down. We had not walked far when he began limping.  He never whimpered, yet I worried he was in pain. It was in his faithfulness to me that kept him right on walking. He was thrilled just to be with his master. My heart broke as I watched him limp back home and I decided then that our days of walking together were coming to a close.

    As I drove to my next appointment, I pondered about  how wonderful those times were.  I kept thinking of the longing in Shadow's eyes, the confusion, as he stood at the door waiting for me just to give the word. I never meant to betray my sweet old pup, but something about his expression that day really nudged at me.  Like a gentle breeze I felt another nudging; another's whisper.  I sensed the Lord's voice, "Shadow is not the only one whose heart longs for you."  Once again God. in his kindness, had revealed another lesson from Shadow;  the Lord's love for us is far greater and he too stands waiting at the door.

     Like Shadow, He longs for our time together, it is a treasure to Him.  I began to ask myself, "Do I get as excited over my walk with Him?"  I wonder how often he finds me running out the door with nothing more than a mere nod in his direction.  Yet the Lord is gentle and will never force us to love Him. He simply desires that we would take delight in our walk with Him as much as He delights in us. So He waits.  Like Shadow he continues to wait patiently, longingly.

      Thankfully He walks beside us daily, even when we don't acknowledge Him.  The journey of our lives is a gift from our Master. He yearns for us to know that walking beside Him is also a gift.                                       

   How precious is the path for those who daily walk beside their Master.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         "You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more."  ~Psalm 16:11

                                                                                                       (Google image above)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

To Live the Life of a Treasure Hunter

You've heard it said, "Live as though today is the first and last day of your life." But how do we put it into practice? Why is it that people who are living with a terminal disease can appreciate life so much more than those of us who go through our usual day to day existence?  What reality snaps within them that allows them to appreciate the flight of a butterfly or the strength of an ant so much more than before their diagnosis?  Is it because they are able to now appreciate the gift of life that they have been given; even if only for this moment?  The butterfly has not changed its flight, nor has the ant its stride, yet simply the perception of them has become new. I long for that kind of vision, to appreciate LIFE, every bit of it. Of course I'd prefer not  to have to come face to face with death in order to do so. But if we are truly honest, we all are terminal; we only have this moment. The next moment is a mystery, and life can change in the blink of an eye.  Yes, what a gift to see the world with the awe of a child, to capture the beauty within the mundane, to give thanks for the pain, because even in the pain there is life.  

                Lord, on our journey together, no matter how long or short it may be, please open my eyes. 
                                               I want to find it to be a beautiful view, every step of the way.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Leash of Life


 Instead of leading as she usually does during our morning walk, today little Lilly decided to walk far behind me.  As I led the way, she was easily distracted and chose to chase birds, smell the air and eat bird poop (I know yuck, right!)

     She and I both had confidence in the leash, recognizing that it would keep her connected to me. As long as I held the leash and it was attached to her, she would be kept safe.  It was her life line. The Lord showed me that we too have a life line, a leash of sorts, by way of his Holy Spirit. On those days when we just can't seem to find our way and get off course, we can be confident knowing that his Holy Spirit will somehow draw us to where we need to go. Just as I gently drew Lilly toward the lake by way of the leash, He too will draw us on his path for us by way of His Spirit.  Let's face it, if we're honest we all have days like that; days we're just taggin' along in life, unfocused and easily distracted by life's circumstances. Thankfully for those of us who have accepted the gift of God's son, Jesus, we can be certain that even on those days, we have a wonderful life line that will never leave us stranded. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Joshua 1:5
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with youI will never leave you nor forsake you.

                                                                              ~GOD                             (google image)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A lesson from Lilly


I wonder if I am more like one of the little dogs I walk, than I realize. Her name is Lilly and she is a Prima Donna. Always the last one to get out of her master's bed in the morning. Each morning after I walk her brother and sister I go to her, waking her for her morning walk. She covers her sweet little face with her tiny paws as if to say, "Not now, please go away, let me sleep." I suppose here would be a good place to interject that I don't mean to say that I too am a Prima Donna! 

But walking her this morning, with her pom pom tail wagging along the way, the Lord showed me how similar we can be.
As we traveled down the path she sniffed her usual spots, always several steps ahead of me. After she "did her duty" she continued to walk farther down the path getting further ahead of me than I desired. The path is beautifully paved and winds around a quaint little lake. It's full of lots of scents and wildlife, lots of distractions for a little dog. Much like life can be for you and I.

Lilly is one who wants to be boss, always. Ahem, I'm not bossy either (Well. . . maybe sometimes.) But as I turned and began to walk in the direction toward home, I called to her, beckoning for her to follow. Lilly leaned forward puling with all her 15 lbs of force; her chest nearly resting on the ground. She was not budging. Determined to lead she leaned further in the other direction. (She does this A LOT) I called to her as lovingly as I could, but she just tugged the leash even harder, determined to walk in the way she wanted to go, paying no attention to my calls.

Lilly and I have walked for over two years now. In that time I have learned that when it comes to little Lilly, the harder I pull the harder she pulls back. Stubborn that one is. Obviously, I am much bigger than her and I could just give her one big yank and send her flying back in my direction. (Believe me I have been tempted.) But that could seriously hurt her. So I gently let up on the leash, giving her some slack, allowing her to walk the way she has decided to go. Once she is no longer focused on getting her own way I am then able to get her attention. I call her name, squat down, clap my hands and she comes running, happy as a lark.

This morning once again as she leaned with all her might, the Lord placed it on my heart that people are much like Lilly. We walk down the path of life often times walking ahead of God paying him little to no attention at all. Sometimes we acknowledge him but still want to lead, wanting to go in our own direction. He is such a gentleman, and He never yanks. Just as I wanted Lilly to make it safely home, He also knows the right path for us. Lilly didn't see the rain clouds and didn't know it was about to rain, but I did. God sees the clouds rising in the distance in our lives and attempts to lead his children in a different direction. Sadly, many times, just like Lilly, we too keep forging ahead, away from the one who can see us safely home. Rebellion is a dangerous thing yet always smelling attractive and looking lovely.

Just some food for thought. Have you surrendered to his leading today or are you determined to go your own way, rain and all?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Learning to See


Shadow continues to stay close to me, like glue. When I was telling my father in law about how Shadow seems to follow me even closer now that he has gotten older, he mentioned that perhaps his eye sight isn't as good and therefore he stays near me so he can "see." Seems to me there is a lesson to be learned here for us as well. . . Have you ever noticed how often times "older folks" have a much stronger faith than when they were younger?  Could it be that they too have learned that to "see" means staying close to their Master? Another lesson from my sweet companion Shadow.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Clanking Bowl

                                                                      google image

I tugged at the pink fleece, bringing it to my chin as I sank into the worn leather seat; its cushions created an enveloping refuge.  The fire next to me, cast green and golden hues. The fresh scent of newly laundered fleece and the sounds of the TV caused my eyelids to grow heavy and without my knowing I drifted into a peaceful slumber.


I'm not sure how many times I heard the noise before I found my way back to consciousness. The familiar clanking of ceramic against the hard wood caught my attention. I could hear it as it spun around the floor; spinning fast at first, then slowing with each repetition, coming to a quick crescendo before its final halt. I opened my eyes, knowing the sound far to well. Yet comfort called to me again; soothing was the crackling of the fire.  My eyes closed. And as I began to drift away, I heard it for a second time. My eyes flew wide and I waited. . .

While clearing the fog from my eyes, "it" came just as I suspected; a low guttural growl from the kitchen door way.  A simple request from an friend; Shadow's usual and final plea before his Lassie like bark.  I dreaded the idea of moving from the comfort of my seat by the fire, but I knew far to well Shadow would not give up easily.  The fleece fell to the couch as I shuffled into my slippers and headed into the next room.



There in the middle of the floor stood the empty water bowl, Shadow next to it. A smile tugged at my heart as I recognized his trust in me. My old friend, thirsty as he was, knew I would be the one to satisfy his thirst if he could get my attention.  I pet his head and began to run the water cool, waiting for just the perfect temperature. His tail wagged as he pawed at me; another request.  I felt for him, how awful it is to be thirsty. The sound of the running water caused "Bo Bear," Shadow's brother to come into the kitchen.

 I could not help but ponder over their contrasting personalities. Though Bo was also thirsty, he never attempted to alert me of his desire for fresh water.  Yet, Shadow never gave up, always knocking, faithful that I would hear and respond. Persistent is Shadow, that special one of mine, trusting me to lavish him in love; knowing I will give him what is needed and what is best.

As I stared into the stream of clear water I was reminded of the Lord's words ,  "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37)

The Psalmist words followed, "As a deer pants for  streams of water,  so my soul pants for you, my God." (Psalm 42:1)


       Clean water refreshes, cleanses and heals. It replenishes and gives life.


God spoke to my heart showing me that we can learn a lot from Shadow's persistence. When we are running on empty, dry as a bone and thirsty, who or what do we turn to for refreshing?  In what or whom do we trust to satisfy our our deepest needs? Are we like Shadow, persistent to knock at our master's door; trusting/believing that he will hear us, that he will satisfy?  Do we trust God's love enough that we would knock long and hard?

               "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7: 7-8

   Yes, Shadow panted, he thirst. He knocked, trusting that I would respond by giving him refreshing waters. Do we desire Yeshua and his promises with such persistence?


When, like the bowl, our souls run empty we have a choice. We can, like Bo, stay quiet and not request refreshing; or we can choose to walk in faith and trust in the Good Master, Jesus, whose desire is to satisfy our deepest needs with his unending well. He longs to fill us, if only we would knock.

I am grateful for the things the Lord teaches me through my sweet and faithful pups.  An empty bowl clanking on the floor, who would have thought? But what a wonderful reminder to us that God desires us to come to him knocking while believing in His goodness.  Trusting that He is the living water, the unending wellspring of life who longs to refresh the emptiest of souls.

                                                  Linking with:



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Corn Pile

Lately I have wondered if Shadow has become hard of hearing or simply more stubborn in his old(er) age. Inside the house he still is "attached at the hip" following me from one place to the next, but outside seems to have become a different story.

                                  It seems he has found a new love. . .
                                                                        google image

When the leaves begin to turn crimson and gold, my son, Caleb, places piles of corn out back for the wild life to enjoy. He continues to do so through out the winter season. We've enjoyed a herd of deer that comes to visit each dawn and dusk.They skip from our neighbor's apple tree to our yard for their meals. We watch as they prance around and wait with baited breath to see the old buck make his way through the woods into our yard. Yet, somehow Shadow feels he too falls into the wild life category; as he sneaks his way to a pile hidden behind an old evergreen. 

Corn is not good for puppies (or old dogs). It can cause all kinds of physical ailments, and it can cause an already pudgy puppy to become even pudgier and lazy.  Over the years I've been very careful to give only the best food to our dogs so they can be healthy and vibrant. I love them and want only the best for them, but I cannot compete with their desire for the forbidden goodies.  I've talked to my son regarding removing the corn, but that's another story for another time. He insists on feeding the wildlife. But would someone please inform Shadow that he IS. NOT. A. DEER?

This winter the cold weather has brought an even greater challenge. You see, as I call out the back door to Shadow, he seldom will come running and no longer glances up, as if intoxicated by the corn before him.  In the early morning hours, I've been know to traipse out to the corn pile to bring him back inside to eat his own healthy breakfast. Once he sees me he usually will walk sheepishly toward me- ears back, or run for the door. There have even been times I can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he tries to weigh which he desires most, the corn or my affection.  And do you have any idea how awkward it is walking out to the back fence in Angry Bird footie pajamas?? The neighbors must get a good laugh at my expense.

This morning was no exception (except I wore a coat over my PJ's). I called his name as I made the trek toward the back fence. My sweet (and ornery) puppy was deeply distracted once again by the corn.  I walked closer still repeating his name, and still there was no response. My heart began to sink at the thought that perhaps my sweet friend could no longer hear my voice.  And as he fed his growing belly he lost sight of me. However, I could see him; his nose to the ground as he chomped on a nugget of corn.  Approaching the pile I called one last time. He looked up, a bit startled and came to me, sitting at my feet. I gave him a pat on the head and then scolded him pointing to the door. He trotted ahead of me.  Even in my anger, my heart swelled.  I just love that dog. He's a special one alright!

The truth is that I know his heart still wants to please me, but he has become so easily distracted by the corn that he's loses his focus. My voice,  he no longer listens for.  As I walked back to the house in my footies,  I felt the Lord tug at my heart about my own distractions.  Once again the Lord taught me about faithfulness through my dear old friend, Shadow.

How many times as believers have we become so distracted by our own earthy desires, that we have completely missed the call of our master?  How often have we chosen to "feed" on unhealthy things rather than the pure food of the Lord? And how many times have we found ourselves so caught up in what we wanted that we no longer listened for our master's voice? 

From time to time we all have our own piles of "corn" that keeps us from hearing the loving call of our master.  He calls us to safety, to the wonderful feast He has waiting for us, yet often times in our stubbornness we refuse to listen, to hear.
The Lord whispers in his quiet gentle voice, desiring to shower us with his love and affection. He knows there will always be distractions of the heart, but it is His grace that draws us back to him, back to our first love.  It is true: hearing is not only with our ears but with our heart. May we stop "chomping on a nugget" long enough to hear his loving voice calling to us once again. Thankfully, He never loses sight of us and comes looking for us even when we're at the corn pile.
                      "May he who has ears,  hear." ~Jesus
                                                   Linking with



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Grabbing His Boots


     My sweet "puppy" Shadow, (who is actually 13 years old) went outside this morning so he could "do his business."   Chicago has been referred to as Chiberia the last few days because it actually has been colder than Siberia. It is so bitter cold that Shadow's little paws  kept giving out from underneath him as he attempted to relieve himself. He'd pull one paw up, then the next, then the next, his body sinking into the snow as he tried to alleviate the pain. Squatting became almost impossible for him.  I watched from inside, my heart aching. When he finally finished he began the short trek through the drifts back to the house. Sadly he was unable to walk and needed to lie down in the snow to give his paws and legs some relief. All the while his eyes stayed on me. Immediately, I left the door to run for some boots. Within a few seconds, I was out the door.  In that short time he had managed to pull himself up and began limping/crawling through the snow toward the house; his eyes still on the door.  His determination made me run faster.  He wasn't far off,  yet it was far enough that it was torturous. Right away I wrapped my arms around his soft neck, giving him a reassuring hug, guiding and encouraging him all the way back.  Once inside, his paws were inspected as I dried them with a warm towel.  I spoke softly and slathered him in love like only a loving master can do.  His tail began to wag as he gave kisses and I knew my sweet friend was going to be okay.  I just love that Dog.  He's a special one alright.  It was classic Lassie-like moment. How faithful is my Shadow!


      I began to think how a believers's life is much the same way.
Often times we find ourselves crawling through painful circumstances and   desire to get back to the safe arms of the One who loves us the most. When Shadow could no longer see his master at the door, he became determined to find her,  in spite of his pain. What a picture of faith.

    Sometimes during the most painful storms we ourselves lose sight of God  and wonder where He has gone. Some cry out and feel abandoned, ready to throw in the towel; while others keep trekking along, eyes still on the door longing for their master to return.  What many don't realize is that God is simply "grabbing his boots."   The question for us is this:  "Will we stay in that place of pain,  with the weight of it all pulling us to the ground and become paralyzed by it? Or will we, like Shadow,  push through the pain; giving it our all and never losing faith that the one who loves us most is simply "grabbing his boots"?

Psalm 25:15  "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare."