Mar 242019

Two dogs are more trouble than one.  They fight, they vie for attention, they eat twice the food and make double the mess.  You must take two walks or take one walk with both hands holding tight to two leashes, which promptly get tangled and twisted.  It’s weird.  I now have two big dogs and double the trouble, but if you asked me if I was willing to give one away, I would say no. 

Attachment is a strange thing.  We can get attached to dogs, to people, to places and things.  We can get attached to habits and ideas and perhaps, even our miseries.  We get comfortable.  We get used to life a certain way and we fear any changes because we prefer what we know to the unknown.  Maybe I won’t like that new house.  What if the new job is even more miserable than the one I have?  It’s the opposite of the “grass is always greener” syndrome.  It’s the “what if the other grass is even more weedy” syndrome. 

There are some people that are always looking for a change because they think it will make life better.  There are other people that are always trying to keep things the same, because they are afraid the change might make things worse.  I doubt that either extreme is good.  I probably lean toward the latter rather than the former.  The right attitude is probably somewhere in the middle.  Unfortunately, moving to the middle requires either more, or less change, depending on which side you are on.  And for either of the extremes, that’s a difficult move.

Dec 152018

Well, after three months, we have one puppy left, and it’s getting harder and harder to let him go.  Just this morning, I already had to clean up poop and pee, and there is still a mess in the garage to deal with, but the puppy is still here.  I haven’t killed him yet.  In fact, I want to keep him around more today than I did when he was first born.  I’ve been thinking about why that is.

Buster Brown sleeping on his stuffed dog

Love is the key to all this.  When dealing with all the hardship caused by puppies, the poop, pee, chewing, waking in the middle of the night, etc. there are really only two emotional responses that can happen.  Either you decide to love them anyway, using that force which is always patient, always kind, always bears all things and never fails, or you can decide to move in the other direction.  You can let resentment build, let frustration grow, embrace anger, set your jaw and determine to get rid of the troublesome vermin as soon as possible. 

Option B is what causes little puppies to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere to starve.  Option A, an even stronger force, has the unfortunate side affect of puppies sticking around longer than they should on occasion.  Sometimes it even causes a lifetime of hardship.  But it’s a lifetime of hardship that is chosen because of a decision to love.  For me, I’d rather have the troubles of option A than the heart of option B any day. 

So, the puppy is still here.  And if it turns out that he is still here a year from now, don’t judge me too harshly just because I chose option A.  I learned it from my Father who, from the beginning of time, chose option A for me.

Oct 312018

So there’s this lady who painted herself all white, and wears all white clothes. She stands real still and pretends to be a statue. She’s a real person, pretending to be a facsimile of a real person. That’s her job. People give her money to pretend to be a fake person. Shucks, I gave her money.

It’s funny. Instead of art imitating life, it’s life imitating art imitating life. The curious part to me is why is it so fascinating to look at? I guess it’s because it’s hard to believe a real person could stand so still and look so fake. But why should that be interesting? There are plenty of people in this world who are going nowhere and constantly faking it . . . and most of them even get paid for it.

Sep 182018
Joy with her puppies

Our dog Joy had puppies this week-end.  Now she has nine squirmy, noisy, pooping, peeing, totally self-absorbed little fur balls causing her enormous amounts of grief and uncomfort.  Even so, she lays still for hours on end, bearing their constant grunts and squeals as thy crawl all over her, biting, sucking, and pulling in places they should, and shouldn’t.

I guess it is instinct that makes her tolerate their torture.  Somehow she knows that only she can provide what they really need.  Somehow she knows she must patiently watch over and deal with them as only a mother can.  Somehow she manages to deny her own needs so that she can tend to theirs.  For dogs, we call it instinct.  When people do it, we call it love.  But you know, the Bible says God is love.  So, should we really be surprised to find it reflected all throughout his creation?

Aug 312018


At the top of Horseshoe Falls

We recently returned from a trip to see Niagara Falls. It’s hard to find the right words to describe what it was like. Standing in front of the falls, hearing the constant thunder of the falling water, feeling the mist in my face, and seeing the massive roiling liquid sheet spilling over the edge into a foamy tumult… It was emotionally overpowering. Even now, just thinking about it, I want to bow down in worship, clap my hands, and shout the praise of the glorious God who created such a majestic wonder.

We planned to spend three days in the area of the falls. I thought it was too much time. After all, what else was there to do but look at the falls. So we figured out a bunch of activities to keep us busy and went about doing them – Journey Behind the Falls, Voyage to the Falls, Cave of the Winds and more. We filled up three days of fun with no problem and now that I am home, I think I would like to spend more time there.

The view from Skylon Tower

I know one thing for sure: If I ever do get the chance to go back to Niagara Falls for another three days, I won’t need a bunch of activities to fill the time. I could spend the entire time just looking at the falls and worshipping the God who created such a wondrous thing.


Jul 032018

I was swimming in the pool this past weekend, enjoying the cool water oasis in the early Summer heat, when my dog decided to take advantage of the cool water too. She walked over to the steps as if to enter the pool, lowered her head, and started lapping up the water. I swam over to her as she lifted her head and looked down at me, water dripping from her mouth, back into the pool.

For a moment, I couldn’t decide if she was drinking my pool water or if I was swimming in her giant water dish. I contemplated it for a moment, then decided whatever state I was in, therein to be content.

 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Jun 112018

God always shows up.

When I’m in the middle of the battle, I don’t see it.

I’m busy swinging my sword, or running for cover, or hiding from the enemy, so I don’t see it.

In the middle of a battle, it’s tough to see everything that is happening.

But when the battle is over, and you begin to put together the picture of what happened… how the battle was won… When the history of the battle is written, the last line of the story will be, God showed up.

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Apr 132018

I have been thinking about success lately. Some people have it, some people don’t and I am often uncertain of the category in which I belong. In trying to figure out if I had it – indeed if I even wanted it – it became apparent to me that I must first discover what it is.

I think we often equate a successful person with successful actions. A person who is very good at something, who can accomplish great things, is often considered successful. But I think a man who can often accomplish what he sets out to do is not necessarily a successful man. Hitler was a successful leader (he managed to rally millions behind his loathsome cause), but does that make him a success? I think not. The two things can go together. I can be a successful manager AND a successful person, but I do not believe I need necessarily be both.

I suspect the world is full of people who think themselves a success when all they really are is a failure with a talent.

 Posted by at 1:17 pm
Mar 242018

The Gardener’s Handiwork

It almost looks like ghosts have invaded my yard.  Sheets and blankets hunch over my precious budding trees and bushes as if to cuddle them in a protective embrace.  A few unseasonably warm days have tricked my poor plants into blooming.  They know that Spring is on the way, but they have failed to account for Winter’s last gasp of chilly breath.  It happens almost every year.  There is nothing I, as gardener, can do to change the weather, but I can do some things to protect my precious plants from its effects.

Sometimes I wonder if the problem with the plants and the early spring freeze is because we have planted plants in the wrong place.  Am I trying to grow fruit in a place that is too cold for it?  Would my blueberries and apple trees fare better if they were planted further south?  Or would they then just bloom even earlier, still risking the cold?  Maybe I could plant them where it never freezes, but then how would I enjoy my fresh apples and blueberries this Summer?  I want my fruit near me, where I can watch it grow.  See it produce.  Enjoy it and share it.  So, when needed, I’ll protect it from the cold, fertilize it, prune it, and defend it from the bugs and critters that try to steal my blessing.   It’s what any good gardener does.

“. . . my Father is the Gardener . . .”  John 15:1


 Posted by at 7:30 am
Feb 272018

Sam and I went to downtown Duluth, GA last night because that was the location of the nearest place to make a change to his cell phone service. While we were there, a lady (and I use the term loosely ) came in.

Life has happened to her. She can not look back to how she got where she is. It hurts too much. She only looks forward to the next drink, the next fix. Something to make the pain go away. Where will she get the money, what can she do? Her life is a mess. The cruel rewards of her lifestyle display their ugly result on her mottled skin. Like her feet, her soul is bare. And yet, Jesus loves her. Jesus died for her. If she could only see it. Her life could change.

How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus to her? A burger and a ride home seems so inadequate.

 Posted by at 2:36 pm