Archives

Observations of a Dog’s Vacation

Nothing brings a pet owner closer to a furry friend than having a 25 pound, fuzzy-haired dog sitting on one’s lap for 1253 miles in an RV!

I must admit though, it brought out several philosophical reflections while on vacation last week.

Like how trusting our pets are.

That little guy entrusted his safety to us, oblivious to traveling along winding, mountainous highways with steep cliffs as crazy drivers sped by.

I observed how secure he seemed, even when he discovered “monsters under the bus,” which turned out to be only rumble strips.

Letting go allows us to live in a state of peace, as we turn our concerns over to the LORD. God’s shoulders are strong enough to handle it all. Turning our concerns over to our Almighty Father first – not after we’ve tried all other options, results in peace.

As we travel along our personal pathways of life, highways aren’t always smooth either.  We do come across ups, downs and detours which divert us to unexpected places, (like moving from Arizona to NE Ohio.) Sometimes during diversions we acquaint ourselves with fabulous loyal friends, discover magnificent landscapes, beautiful gardens and peaceful settings as we embrace unfamiliar territory. How much we would have missed!

Sure, there are occasionally potholes and rumble strips, but those are learning experiences. Why stress out over every little challenge we face daily, when we can place our hope and confidence in Him? God longs to provide safety and blessings as we journey through unique adventures, striving to do His Will.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths”   (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Our destination was a gorgeous RV resort attached to a SC beach. Of course along the way, Mr. “What-at- you-up-to-now?” occasionally got curious.

As we were setting up, we noticed several swans gracefully gliding down onto the lake. Having never seen creatures of this kind before, I felt “Mr. No No’s” muscles tense as he began emitting a low growl. I gently reprimanded him: settle down or risk observing the landscape from inside.

Then, as the swans swam by, he straightened, looked back at me, quizzically, as if I’d answer the question of, “What in heck kind of dogs were those???!!!”

Oh, the wonder of innocence! So many visions in life we haven’t yet seen either! Makes me wonder how we will approach Heaven when the time comes. Will we stand in awe and wonder of the perfection God creates, asking questions?

“But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

After setting up, we immediately took a stroll along the ocean. Our Mr. “OhNoYouDon’t!” boldly approached the awesome, seemingly never-ending water for the first time, but quickly withdrew as the waves crashed against the shore.

Curious now, he wandered closer as the tide receded, then dashed back as the waves appeared to chase him.

Pretty soon, he grew accustomed to the rhythmic cadence of the wave’s ebbs and flows, bravely walking alongside us, carelessly enjoying the wind in his fur while getting his feet wet and nose covered with sand.

Standing and observing a huge ocean with its constant, rhythmic, systematic timing, always makes any problem seem small. Life continues. Troubles too will pass when wrapped in God’s Love and Favor.

Relax, God whispered, you’re on vacation! I’ve got this.

Blessings abound when we place our Trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

Are You Running Away Like Jonah?

There are so many life lessons we can learn from the Biblical Jonah. As you recall, Jonah was commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh but he ran away rather than face his responsibilities.

Have you ever thought, well how foolish! I wouldn’t ever run away from God when He commands me to do something!  He’s everywhere!

But we do actually act like Jonah at times! We are commanded by God to go on a journey. It is a life journey.

And as a Father, when His children rebel, God will get our attention in any way He can. Even by allowing storms (illness) to invade our body naturally when we consume too many unhealthy, chemically-laden foods.  Remember that was our choice, not His.

We live under Grace but are responsible for everything we do. Moderation is fine, but who forced us daily consume an entire bag of chips, overeat at the buffet or super-size that fast-food meal?

Like Jonah, God asks us to follow specific orders.  One of those is to keep our bodies holy and take care of this earthly temple He gave us.

1 Peter 1:16 states,  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

But we run away from this responsiblity, don’t we?  Sometimes it seems like a monumental task trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Momentary pleasure overrides common sense.

Think of it this way: If we entered the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, we wouldn’t throw trash on that sacred floor, would we? No, but it’s exactly what we’re doing when we continually throw unhealthy food into our bodily temple.

God does not ignore disobedience, as Jonah discovered, no matter how much we feel we “got away with it.”

Look at Jonah again. When God asked him to go to Nineveh, he foolishly ran from God, trying to sail away from his obligations. But the Lord sent a storm which affected not only Jonah, but the entire crew of the ship.  That got his attention.

Truth #2: there are no victimless crimes! What we do affects others.  You might think, leave me alone! It’s my body! I’ll do what I please!

Okay, Grace again.  But when we eat unhealthily, we will eventually become ill. Heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems, strokes, cancer all trace back to what we eat.

When  we suffer, those around us suffer too! Just ask those who sit by our bedside while we’re in pain!

As parents, God asks us to exemplify higher standards to our families and yet we continue to provide an abundance of fast food, causing our family members to become ill too. Don’t you think God notices?

To correct our resistant, foolish direction, He might allow the consequences of that behavior to catch up with us. (As Jonah found out.) In our case, we might develop a simple belly ache or something worse like diabetes.

Now the question is, since He now has our attention, do we turn from our naiveté and start living and eating right, or do we shake our fist at God, defiantly demanding, Why did You allow this to happen; growing even more defiant, turning away and running away from God?

When faced with seemingly insurmountable goals, we get scared! It’s not easy but stop running! Immediately take baby steps to begin rectifying the situation. Start by consuming whole, nutritious foods. Stop trashing our earthly temple!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)    

 

 

 

 

Updating to a Better You!

As I was revamping, improving and updating my e-book novel from 7 years ago, I thought as I went along, “yuk, that doesn’t express what I wanted to say! How could I have ever written this crazy paragraph?  Umm, there’s got to be a better way to convey that!”

I’m sure most writers have similar feelings.  As the author of 2 novels, another on the way, a short story and a nutritional counseling work based on Biblical principles, I’m always critiquing my work. GOSH, that’s not good enough! translated that means, Gosh, I’m not a good enough writer, am I? 

As humans, we should strive for excellence not perfection – because there was only one perfect person and we’re not Him!

As flawed beings we are also searching for perfection. I sometimes want a re-do. Do you look back on your life and also ask yourself, why in the world did I do that – or say or wear that?

Sure everyone wants a do-over for something and we all probably have regrets. That’s the challenge. – we can never re-do that day, EVER.  Once words are  said, an action completed, it’s over. Therefore we can live in the past with regrets and bitterness or learn to forgive, attempt to make restitution and carry on becoming a better version of ourselves for God’s Glory.

I praise God for all I’ve gone through in my life. It’s true I’ve endured unspeakable childhood traumas, loneliness, betrayals and other life lessons; but each made me into a stronger, more capable woman. It was His Will, so who am I to shake my fist at God? He molded me, brought me out and set me on solid ground while always being by my side. That’s LOVE.

I once existed in a pit but I was never meant to live there, neither are you! I retain much Joy in my life because the Lord has been there, strengthening, teaching and loving me throughout. That was sometimes difficult to understand. How does God love the unlovable and imperfect being, I was?

I don’t know but He does!

Now as a counselor, I reflect back on life lessons and use that empathy to assist others.

I know some patients who believed they were unlovable, not worth anyone’s attention or time. They tried one weight loss program after another and failed every time. Why? Because they felt they weren’t worth the effort and self-destructed. That’s a fallacy. You have worth because you ARE!  God designed and created you and God doesn’t make JUNK!

We’ve recently gone through a wonderful sermon series on the life of Joseph. He has always been one of my favorite Biblical personalities. He didn’t deserve the treatment he received either but he learned patience, to endure and even become his best self through those trials he faced.

Think of those Jesus walked with: Did our Lord love Peter any less when he denied knowing him? No. How about Mary Magdalene when she was a prostitute? No. David, Abraham, Jacob, Moses or anyone else when they fell? No.

As it states in the wonderful film, I Can Only Imagine, “If God can forgive me, why can’t you?” Choose to forgive yourself or others and lift a heavy burden off your shoulders.

The Apostle Paul professed it beautifully:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13–14)

 

 

Where Have All the Relationships Gone?

I came across a cute cartoon on Facebook which was created entirely of emoji’s and icons. (not this one, wasn’t sure if other had a copyright) It professed that after more than 3,00o years we’ve returned to speaking through modern day hieroglyphics. How true!

Real one-on-one communication today seems to be disintegrating as quickly as paper books. Twitter, Texting and Facebook have emerged as conversations without actual voices. A happy face icon is replacing actual laughter and a physical hug and in this extremely mobile modern world, even close friendships can dissolve quickly.

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina indicated that stress levels were lowered when participants hugged each other. Hugging releases chemical feel-good endorphins such as oxytocin, described as a hormone of love and the neurotransmitter, serotonin. This allows us emotionally to feel safe, secure and in trusted hands. No amount of x’s, o’s or happy face icons attached as an internet hug can replace a physical one!

God, time, communication and laughter in my opinion, is the glue that holds friendship together. Your spouse should also be your friend.

GOD is the Anchor. He instills a moral compass as well as the Golden Rule. There is no coincidence with God. He brought you together for a reason. Do you care? That which you treasure, you take care of. Protect each other’s feelings through a lifetime commitment of respect, courtesy and love.

LAUGHTER keeps a relationship young-at-heart. What seems like a crisis  in a relationship can often be a learning experience which over time is usually laughed about when relating that story to family and friends years later. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as the saying goes. In perspective, it’s all small stuff. Only what we do for our Lord matters.

TIME. In a strong, loving, balanced relationship, a couple should continually allocate more time together than apart. Never stop supporting, learning and growing together! God created us as complex creatures. It’s exciting to discover new interests that add to a couple’s extensive memory portfolio in marriage!

Communicate! Don’t let your relationships become complacent! Complacency leads to boredom. Sadly, many marriages are disposable in today’s throw-away society. How many times while counseling did I heard the phrase: “We used to talk for hours, but he doesn’t communicate with me anymore!” Wouldn’t most women prefer good communication from the heart than a gift from the store?

I can’t believe in life you can’t find something to talk about:  vacation plans, politics, sports, travel, world events, work, music, television shows, a joke you heard, a Bible study point of view . . . there’s literally a world of items to discuss!

We surround ourselves with such busyness and noise and yet more and more, as humans, we are so lonely. Then we reach for anything that temporarily satisfies, food, drugs, alcohol, shopping. We find ourselves in a void, falling further and further away from God’s love. Get back to the Word!

Surround yourself with godly people who encourage, build you up and believe you are worth speaking to. It takes commitment, patience and the Lord as the center of any relationship to ensure longevity. Reach out!

 “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.”  (Jeremiah 42:6)

Breathe, Relax and De-Stress!

Is your life filled with stress?

Do you work under stressful conditions? Have a domineering boss? Do you experiences stress as a nurse, (my #1 patient) when you can’t do anything for that small child dying in the ICU? As an overworked teacher, when that popular teenager calls you a derogatory name behind your back and others laugh? Or a social worker, wishing you had funds to purchase food for every struggling family, but can only stand by and help in what little way you can?

You might even question God and wonder why He allows such things to happen?

Faith is trusting, even when we don’t understand why.

A stressful environment can result not only in irritability, fatigue, headaches, memory loss, high blood pressure, insomnia and other health issues, but it can also add additional weight to your frame.

American Neurobiologist, Dr. Sapolsky, studied a Kenyan baboon community for 30 years. Existing in a class system, the aggressive Alpha males terrorized the gentler males causing stress-related illnesses within the group; elevated blood pressure, heart problems and yes, even weight gain.

Since the Alpha males also dominated the food chain; they would eat first. However they once consumed a deadly substance which caused disease and killed them off. The kinder males took over the community which then thrived due to a stress-less environment. This produced peace . . . and weight loss.

Food can be many a person’s comfort drug when they are feeling stressed. Food’s as addictive as smoking, drugs or alcohol because it changes the body’s chemistry and the neurotransmitters in our brain.

If you’re tired or having a stressful morning, it’s easy to reach for the sugary donuts in the break room. Sugar increases energy and also releases feel-good serotonin to the brain. Angry? Those pretzels and peanuts are therapeutically crunchy, releasing pent up frustration!!! Lonely? Subconsciously you reach for that stress-reliever, comforting  chemical, phenylethylamine, found in chocolate.

We need to seek peace in other ways besides reaching for food.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9: 9,10)

Although we can’t totally eradicate stress from our lives because there is good and bad stress everywhere, every day; we can take steps to control harmful stress.

Create a Strategy and Take Action!

  1. Exercise. Serotonin is also released through exercise too! Bike, walk, play tennis, swim, go to the gym but discipline yourself!
  2. Warm relaxing baths or massage therapy.  Have your spouse give you a foot or back rub.
  3. Take action to assist and be a blessing to others. Work at an employment agency, volunteer at a charity, cook a meal, read a story to that suffering child. Be pro-active and make a difference in someone’s life.
  4. Have a cup of tea, enjoy the sunset and relax with music.
  5. Meditate.  The closer you experience God, the more peace you’ll experience. Have Faith that His Way is Best.
  6. Laughter relieves stress. Laugh with your family, watch a comedy, play games, have a date night.
  7. Remember you can’t live in a vacuum. Find someone to talk to, whether it’s a spouse, friend or pastor, we all need a support system.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” (Psalm 143:10)

Success is within reach but you must want to take action to grasp it!

Are You Part Of God’s Amazing Patchwork Design?

Once I watched a friend labor over a needlepoint project. From where I sat, tapestryit looked like a total mess. All those patchwork colors were joined in scrambled directions. What in the world was she working on? Was this her first attempt; was she over her head? Did she know what she was doing?

Then she turned it over. On the other side lay beautiful crosses atop a hillside of colorful flowers. Who knew??? It was so lovely and intricate; revealing a life lesson to me to not judge a piece of work until it is finished!

How very much like a needlepoint design, is God’s intricate work in us.

Several years ago I worked for a Christian drug recovery organization.  The women who arrived at the facility were messy, beaten down by life and shattered into pieces. Life’s choices hadn’t been good to them. Most had become drug addicts.

Sometimes their addiction began as a cry for attention. For some, it was to cover painful emotional attachments to everyday family issues, boyfriend or peer pressure situations. Others to dull the pain of loneliness, self esteem issues or friends urging them to join into the “thrill” of drugs and alcoholism.

Regretfully and unbelievably, several had begun their dangerous meth or drug habit merely to lose weight or worth. Now they’re addicted. What a half-truth Satan proclaims when he tells a young woman that she will gain beauty, popularity or lose weight through drugs. Weight loss? Of course – through malnutrition and death!

The half-truths of this world mislead many, just as it has since Adam and Eve. (“Surely you will not die . . .  ” Genesis 3:4) And any drug which artificially jumpstarts one’s metabolism will hang on to every pound after the “goal” is reached as an act of survival. Losing weight through manipulating drugs  WILL. NOT. WORK! Please do not even think of attempting a drug (diet pills) to lose weight if you are a Christian. You are God’s holy temple and drugs change your biochemistry and brain function!

Today many of these lovely women (but sadly not all) have conquered the satanic bonds that anchored them to this world’s view of beauty.

Those who placed their trust in Christ are now firmly anchored to His Truth of Salvation instead of drugs. They are healthier and happier as Christ demonstrates each one was worth the sacrifice He endured for them. They are now a child of the One True King! When their minds truly believed that, they began to act like the royalty they are.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

A lured idol has a powerful tug of the heart. But the Word of God is stronger! I pray that the intricately woven Word of God will be able to assist you in resisting the ever present, powerful enticement towards a degrading lifestyle of weight loss pills and other fallacies.

If our life is God’s tapestry, it is unclear even to us how His work will turn out until our lives are completed. God’s prick of the needle can be painful as He works on us. And sometimes God needs to modify His creation by reworking the pattern if we go astray. (Genesis 50:20) His Patience and His Timing is perfect. He will never put us aside and forget about us.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Like Searching Thru Luke Skywalker’s Backpack

Does your pet have as much paraphernalia and play items as ours has?

Remember the scene in Stars Wars when Yoda is scavenging through Luke Skywalker’s backpack? Butt in the air, he’s throwing items hither and yon?

Well sometimes our pooch is like that too! He has his own toy box in our kitchen corner filled with balls, chewy’s, several Kongs, rope toys and other items to occupy his time. Butt in the air, he throws out most of his stuff until he finally chooses one item. But not for long for it seems he is never satisfied!

In fact, we found he’d rather frolic, chewing leaves and twigs than play with the myriad of items which occupy his precious box. It reminds me of Christmas years ago when, as parents, we would lovingly put together some intricate toy for our children to play with and after a few exclamations of joy, found exploring the box it arrived in more enjoyable than the item itself.

Aren’t we still like that today? Even as adults? We gather as many materialistic possessions as possible and after a while we grow bored, restless, wanting that next great iPad, phone, Kindle, computer, TV, sports car, kitchen utensil or whatever. Are we really that hard to please? Why do we spend so much time on things that don’t matter and won’t last, rather than lay up treasure in Heaven which lasts eternally?

What does it take to satisfy a restless heart? What can fill an empty one? Only Love! Isn’t that what we do when we skip from one activity to another? No amount of activity, drug or even food can fill the empty void within an empty heart. Only Jesus can.

I discovered what my little dog is searching for isn’t a new anything. He is searching for time, attention, joy . . . with his master. “Throw it again Mom, so we can play!!! You’re my favorite toy!!!”

We recently came back from a camping vacation at a beautiful state park. Our site had sporadic cell phone service, no television reception to speak of and only  intermittent Wi-Fi when our cell phone service’s hot spot reached a signal.

But it was heaven to us. Nothing but time together, no stress, a gorgeous lake view, changing tree colors, reading material for an upcoming bible study, a quiet camp fire, relaxed husband and a cherished pet who happily traipsed along with us on trail after hiking trail. Although we had taken toys along for the vacation, he never missed them, for he craved time with us and that’s enough.

We also experienced time with our Master and Lord – that was enough for us too. Isn’t it amazing when one actually clears the mind of noisy distractions, one can focus on what is truly important in life? Peace.

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”  (Hebrews 12:14 NLT)

Through Our Brokenness, God Heals

After the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, women in Japan at first experienced only pain. They found their cherished but broken ancestral pottery destroyed, strewn across a desolate landscape. As they began the process of picking up the broken pieces of their lives, they lovingly gathered the broken pieces of pottery as well. Through their brokenness they created intricate, beautiful necklaces, selling them around the world. Through this godly  testimony, they began to recover financially, creating something to be proud of, thus reclaiming their dignity.

If you will allow Him, God will heal the pain of your past too. He touches and changes hearts. When God is with you, it’s never hopeless. There is no challenge you’ve experienced or anywhere you can hide that He isn’t there with you! He is the only one who can fill the void. Drugs, alcohol, food, activities simply mask the pain. Only God can truly heal and renovate your hurting heart, starting from the inside.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139: 7-10)

Desire to change must come from the inside.

Many of us place smiles on our faces and when asked how we are, profess the superficial, “I’m fine, how are you?” meanwhile holding our pain secretly within; believing, “People only want to be around happy personalities.” or “If they really knew me, no one would like me.”

Sometimes it’s a trust issue. Perhaps in the past a friend betrayed them, family member belittled or a boss ridiculed them in front of others. Therefore they place that shield around their heart. It’s safer that way. “If I don’t get close, no one can ever hurt me.”

But it becomes a vicious circle. Telling yourself you have no need of  relationships comes  across as unfeeling, mean-spirited or apathetic which drives others away. Something else then numbs the pain of loneliness.

Sadly, the covering surrounding our heart becomes so tough, no one except God can break through.

Others have been taught as a child that one doesn’t show their true feelings in public. They put on a false front. Sad? Place a smile on your face! Scared? Put on a swagger and bravado that shows a confident attitude. As they have grown they have mastered their feelings. But God has known us since the womb. (Jeremiah 1:5) He understands feelings; after all He created them!

Become proactive, trust our Lord and we won’t feel out of control!

  1. Memorize Scripture.  God knows you can be strong!  1 John 4:4. 
  2. Talk to a true friend; one who wouldn’t tell you only what your itchy ears want to hear ( 2 Timothy 4:3) or allow you to wallow in self-pity.
  3. Seek out wise women of God who allowed God’s Word to change their broken spirit. Learn from their example. Become precious in God’s sight.

“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”  (Psalm 25:11)

It’s true some days we might feel like Job. Life is messy. Worlds crash through no fault of our own. At that time, the last thing we need is to sit and mope. Our first thoughts should go to the Lord. He understands heartache, betrayal, hunger . . . suffering. He was tested, tempted, overcame and endured it all. Cling to our Almighty Fortress and find Strength.

 

 

 

 

 

Resolve to Become Stronger in Your Health Goals

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”

Well not necessarily  – especially when it comes to what you eat. We have a choice and I trust you’ll choose life-giving nutrients.

Have you ever heard someone say that they’re “dying” for a piece of pie, fried chicken, bacon, mac and cheese or a hot fudge sundae? Yes those are delicious and I doubt if consuming a bit of anything will kill them if they are healthy to begin with and eating in moderation. However, if one suffers from diabetes or a heart condition, eventually wrong culinary choices could.

Anything is fine in moderation and there is no formula or one size-fits-all-diet-plan because each person is created chemically unique. With the billions on Earth who have lived, there has never been anyone exactly like you. Amazing isn’t it? (And “diet” is a generic term, meaning only what we consume each day. Therefore everyone’s on some kind of diet daily.)

Whoops wait, regarding that anything in moderation remark! (Written tongue-in-cheek.) I seemingly must add a caveat for those who will write to me and state if one is allergic to it or if it’s a poisonous berry DON’T consume it, so actually everything isn’t fine in moderation . . . sigh. My mother used to say, “Don’t put beans in your ears,” too, referring to whatever is basically common sense and should be easy to figure out as well.

So that being said, have you decided how important is it to YOU to consume healthier food? Do you love food more than playing with your children, hiking in the Alps, dancing at your daughter’s wedding or being  able to sit in an amusement park seat? Sadly, these are true incidents of patients of mine who loved food more than the joys of life itself.

Abundant health isn’t something you can obtain by sending in a form and receiving a certificate in return. Nor is it something you can purchase for any amount of money. Health can only be acquired through individual desire, a denial of self and a disciplined nature. Ask yourself how much do you want to be healthy? Or have you truly made food an idol which you’d rather not give up?

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.” (Psalm 28:7)

Why do so many think of God as Lucy to our Charlie Brown? Remember how Lucy used to snatch away poor Charlie’s football when he was hopeful she’d finally hold it for him? God only wants to provide GOOD for us! He gave us all these fabulous choices for us to eat, why don’t we choose those? It wasn’t God who messed up our environment – we did just fine by ourselves by greedily plundering the soil of nutrients.

There’s always a trade-off to health.  As mentioned, there’s discipline involved. I’ve seen what wrong choices do, not only to one’s waistline, but to one’s mental capacity as well. We ARE what we eat and I’d prefer to maintain adequate energy and mental function as long as possible. I enjoy being flexible enough to touch my toes as I approach age 70. Please choose health, you won’t be sorry!

This is a time of the harvest when Farmer’s Markets have an abundance of fabulous fruits, vegetables, cheeses and herbs for purchase. Fresh herbs and spices add flavor to foods so much more than plain salt. Experiment with different selections. Praise God for a truly abundant life!

 

A Tribute to Our Little Walking Buddy

I’ve been putting off this post for weeks because of my broken heart.  Our beloved Lhasa was only 10 years old when she unexpectedly developed bladder stones last month and had to be put down. Our other two Lhasa Apso’s lived 16 1/2 years and we had no reason to expect she wouldn’t live as long. It was with a heavy heart we made that decision rather than have her endure an intricate painful operation which  provided only a 50% chance of survival at best.

For many years she was my little walking buddy. She kept me on my toes literally. Our two mile walk in Arizona was one I wrote of frequently. She rode shotgun beside me on the passenger seat while I drove the 2500 mile drive from Arizona to Ohio.

I used illustrations I saw in her and our beautiful 14 year old Cocker Spaniel’s behavior many times in my blogs.  It became easy to relate canine behavior to our relationship with God and health. She inspired me to write about trust, discipline and eating habits among other topics which can be found via my search engine on my webpage.

When she was a puppy she was so sweet and affectionate! She would climb upon my chest, wrap her little paws around me and give me an actual hug.  She was a favorite at the dog park at the RV resort we lived in at the time.

Then something happened after we moved into our new home. In most Arizona communities, people went to work, drove home, entered their enclosed garage and sat out on their private patio afterwards, enclosed behind a 6 foot high fence. We failed to keep her socialized and she became over-protective and sadly mean-spirited with strangers.

This was a terrible mistake on our part but we learn from our mistakes. Dog owners aren’t perfect, neither are parents or individuals. I needed to forgive myself and instill necessary changes. So I vowed last year after our beautiful Cocker Spaniel passed, that we would absolutely socialize our transitional pup, “Mr. No-no.” Happily he has become the most loving of pets.

Five years ago when I began this blog, I had no idea what God had in store for me – that He’d ask me to become a pastor’s wife 3 years ago. (You want me to do what God?) I never expected His leading to take me down this pathway. But I began to listen to my Master’s Voice, trust HIm and grew in a closer relationship with my Lord.  Throughout the decision some tough choices had to be made. Now here I am in northeast Ohio surrounded by family and friends, being more blessed than I ever imagined.

It takes an enormous amount of faith to trust God, even through sorrow, knowing that He only has our best interests at heart. Life is messy, hurtful, unfair at times. She was my last tie to my daughter and for that I will be forever grateful for having her in my life.

Someday I’ll know why God’s pathway has lead me to where He wants me to be now, even amidst sorrow. For I’d rather have memories of my little Lhasa buddy than to never have had her in my life at all.  Until then, He has His arms around me, soothing me with comforting Words. All I need to do is trust and learn not pull on my leash. Trust – it’s a liberating word.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)