Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Covenants and Coffee Cups

This morning I spent about an hour on my deck amongst my plants enjoying my coffee from a little yellow cup I bought Up North. Every year we stop at the little antique shop in town to buy something. Nothing fancy or expensive. Always something that will be absorbed into my life to give me a reminder of what I love and all I have. Most years I look for an old hymnal for a collection I'm building, started with the old green hymn book I worshiped from in childhood. The song leader from those days, Frank Barta, let me have one of the books and thus began my collection.
A few years back I wanted an old stuffed monkey, you can guess the genesis of that! The Mr. talked me out of it and I bought an antique necklace instead but couldn't get that stuffed monkey out of my mind. My mom sent my dad to the shop when he went to the cottage and they gave me that monkey for my birthday one year.
This year there were no hymnals or monkeys so I got a little yellow coffee cup for $1.20. Do you remember the days of coffee cups, not mugs? Living in my grandparents house I still use many of their belongings amongst which are coffee cups. I will admit to importing many of my own giant mugs. But the little yellow cup reminded me of one they might have used. I don't now that it is old enough to call an antique, maybe circa late 1960s? Perhaps not even that old. The price tag hints that it is not old enough to be of any value. But I like it and I use it in the mornings and today I used it as I sat on my deck.
When you don't use a coffee MUG, you have to refill more often. That means you are always sipping hot coffee instead of luke warm coffee having cooled in the cup. Maybe there's something to this coffee cup idea. So I sat and sipped and watched the birds and threw Donny's tennis ball approximately 200 times and in general, had a nice start to my day.
I also awoke this morning with the story of the Ark of the Covenant and its return to Israel under the rule of King David. I'm going to spend some time revisiting that passage of scripture and remembering the lesson of the glory of God and how we become so hardened to holiness and true worship.
Maybe those old hymnals and little yellow coffee cup are important to me because they make me pause in the middle of my life to remember the things that came before and that time should not dilute my appreciation of what is sacred, of what God has done. It is what He has done that promises what He will yet do. And that is what turns quiet faith into shouts of praise.
Let me never move so far forward in my life to leave the covenant under which I live to be forgotten. I will always reach back to bring the glory of the past with me as Christ defines my future.

2 Samuel 6:1 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. 2 He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thank You Lord

This past weekend was not only my turn to work but the midnights manager was on vacation which put me either in the hospital or on call for 48 hours, 8:00 Saturday to 8:00 Monday morning. So I need to say thank you, Lord.
I only have two complaints about my job; working weekends and being on call. So obviously this was a weekend I wasn't looking forward to. Well, that's not really true. I have tried in earnest this week to put busy summer days and just plain laziness behind me and become Christ-centered. It's one thing to say I'm Christ-centered but another to actually be sure that daily, I am. I know the symptoms of being Christ off-centered. My Bible sits. And sometimes I am not sure where it is. I find myself reading and think, I should at least take ten minutes of reading time for the Word, but I don't. Church can't catch my attention or I walk away with more criticism than joy. And God becomes a second thought rather than second nature. There's lots more but the point is that it is not turning my back on him so much as sort of turning sideways. Living by his mercy more than my passion.
But this week I have taken those specific steps we all need to take to put Christ back at center. Turned off the television, read the scripture, dedicated prayer time...
And when this weekend started taking form in the middle of last week, I took it in stride. I prayed about it and found that I was not dreading it or aggravated. It just had to be dealt with. So I never got twisted. Although I did hope it wouldn't become a nightmare. And it was and wasn't.
I had to do some swing shift. Had to juggle some things. Had to be flexible with my sleep schedule, which only the Lord himself could accomplish! And it was fine. It was more than fine, it was a good weekend.
I have found that the best times can often only be seen in the rear view mirror. Challenges that arise and aren't easily tamed are when we find out just how strong we are. And if we are smart, we immediately realize that means just how great God is.
So I made it through with only two short midnight phone calls on Sunday night, and those to tell me something had been dealt with and just updating me. The people I work with saw me stretching and stretched along with me so we all shared the load together and I didn't feel overwhelmed or alone in any of it. Kindness prevailed when stress increased and a rotten weekend was a good one.
I don't think that Christ was more active because I read a few chapters in Judges or that I shifted my axis. I think that I just got that bit of tuning in that the Holy Spirit provides to show me the truth. The Truth. The truth that I am his and he prepares every moment. Including the rotten ones. That in some divine way the exhausting days in life are the ones that produce the greatest moments to praise and glorify God. And that when we glorify him, he is magnified.
No, he didn't get bigger. I just got smaller.
So, thank you Lord.

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

written 9/21/08

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Senescence. In other words, living and dying all at once.
Today was the first day when it was very clear that summer has gone and autumn has arrived. Overcast skies and cool winds. I needed to wear long sleeves to work outside. And that's where I was when I thought of senescence.
I pulled out my annuals and cleaned out the flower pots. I put my lawn chairs away and moved the plants that will come inside in a few weeks on to the deck. The Mr. mowed the lawn talking about just a few more times to do that this year. I swept and put away flower pots until next summer and then I sat down on my deck to relax for a moment. My yard is in senescence. It was only a few months ago that I was almost beside myself waiting for warm weather to finally come. Planting seeds and buying hanging flowers; a few every weekend. It was only a short time ago that I bought orange and green cushions for my lawn furniture and started one of many ponds until Donny finally stopped trying to rescue the water plants by throwing them on to dry land. Only a little while since I first sat on the deck with my morning coffee in this new old house. The first summer without my gramma and grampa.
It doesn't take me by surprise anymore how quickly summer flies past us. And being a Michigander, I'm always ready for the next season. Now I'm munching on Honey Crisp apples and sleeping with open windows and cold night air and enjoying it. I put a few Halloween candle holders here and there and am planning having friends over for chilli or some such cool weather dinner next week. So I can't say that I'm heartbroken that summer is gone and fall is here. And the same will happen when fall is gone and winter is here. And then again, if the Lord ordains, I'll venture out onto the deck in bare feet to drink my coffee in the warm sunshine.
And I, like the yard, will be in senescence. There will be wrinkles a little deeper around my eyes and my hands will look older. There will be more gray when my roots start to show and I can predict yet more vericose veins.
This year I planted only annuals. Cheaper. So as the cold nights get colder, I will wake up one morning to find the last marigold is brown and dead and there will be not one more tomato on my vines. When the earth turns warm again, those flowers and vegetables will not come back. They were only meant for one season. Next year I will plant perennials, I will invest in flowers that will outlast me. I'm home now and there is no need for temporary gardening.
We are approaching a year since my gramma died, in November. So this is the last round for me of thinking "this time last year she was alive." I remember last year's skies turning overcast and wind blowing colder. We knew then that time was growing short for summer and for my gramma. And much like my readiness for the change of seasons, I was ready for that one too. Sad that it was over. Joy that the seasons prior had been so sweet.
Senescence. Like perennials that will push through frozen ground and cold dark days to bloom with vigor, I will grow older this year. And the next. And like a perennial and like my gramma, I will one day go to sleep in cold earth and darkness. And like a perennial and like my gramma, I will push away winter to live again. Glorious life without senescence. One day.
To everything there is a season...and for me joy in these mornings until I awaken in that one.

Sunday, September 28,2008

Ruth 2:12 May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Breaking News

1. Going to pull out my flowers this weekend and start some fall clean-up.
2. Donny goes to the beauty parlor this morning, which is good 'cause he's getting funky.
3. The Mr. hung plantation blinds in our bedroom, love them!
4. Mac's birthday in a few days~19 years old.
5. Gotta take back some very expensive shoes which hurt my feet.
6. Dreamt I gave myself a perm. Woke up before I saw the results, probably a good thing.
7. The Mr. has junk spread all over this desk. I hate that.
8. The Mr. and the guys and the girl singer are playing at Baxter's in November.
9. I think I'd like to get a facial. Haven't ever had a per-feshonal one.
10. My head hurts and I have three canker sores.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Married young and having had babies young, our marriage has had the consistent theme of not enough money. We never starved and really never did without much but we were always right there; one pay check away...
No matter how long the lean years seemed to last, time moved on quickly. It's hard to imagine the canyon we've crossed between there and here. If I didn't have Christ to smooth out my rough edges, today's blessings could twist into ugly bitterness. I could be saying, "What about the last twenty two years?" You know, when the kids were little, when it almost broke me, when I looked at sheets at Wal Mart and thought of them as a luxury item. Did you have those days?
Today's finances are better. Of course, today we also have more wisdom about stewardship. I bet there's a lesson in there somewhere.
So today I don't wake up with a stomach ache worrying about the lights staying on. I don't pick up the phone to see if there's a dial tone (seriously I used to do this.) I do still ask Dean if I can purchase something on pay day and he has to remind me that we now have funds in between. The bank used to be empty on the Monday after pay day. But today as my son prepares to move into his first home, I can plan on what we will buy for him. And really, that was my dream all those years ago. Will I be able to be the kind of parent and grandparent that I had? God is good and yes I will. He is all things including on time.
In fact, yesterday my husband and I had a conversation about making less money. About finding the balance between salary and time. And where the wisdom lies. That is our now lesson. We know how to make more money. Now we are learning about how to bank more time. Should we start making changes in the next year to guard our time? Should we make a long term plan? In five years? I have opportunities and decisions. And I see why God didn't give me this twenty two years ago. My faith has grown, my fear has fled and I can wait quietly on him to tell me what comes next and when.
I have twenty two years of being denied what I thought was mine to find out there was something better. I have countless nights of praying for answers and being given only peace, and finding out that that was the answer.
I no longer impulsively purchase something because I'm so sick and tired of feeling poor and then regret it until the next pay day.
So I don't need to have those answers right now. I already have the peace that was poured into me during those dark days and nights. Now I can just wait quietly knowing that he will pour out yet more goodness into our lives in his perfect time. And when it comes, it will be better than I had hoped for.

Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So I Married The Wrong Guy & Then...

Then nothing. I'm still married to him.
Seriously, I am not sure I married the right man. I have pretty much nothing in common with him. I love to read, I've yet to discover evidence that he can read. I love silence, he talks so loud it makes my nose run. I am relatively self-disciplined and he more or less runs amok. Amok I tell ya.
I am a homebody, he not only loves to run errands but will do them in the most inefficient way possible to make them last longer.
I love nature. He loves plastic.
I am concrete, I fit into very few situations. He is a chameleon, he can blend in anywhere.
He is non confrontational. I am disappointed if I miss a take-down at work.
I want to fill my home with sentimental mementos of my childhood and family.
He wants to "decorate to look like Panera."
He flips his spoon over to eat pudding. Need I say more?
You might think I'm saying all this to finally point out that we balance one another out. Not so. I'm not seeing it. I'm am no less concrete and he is no less loud.
No. I think we married the wrong people.
I don't know who I was supposed to marry. He thinks he was supposed to marry Sandra Bullock.
I'm realistic, he's insane.
Sometimes I look at him and I'm breathless at how utterly perfect he seems to me. Sometimes I am aware on a spiritual level what a sacred path we travel even through days when there is less passion than determination. Sometimes I sit in the car while he's driving and wonder what in the flip I was thinking in 1986. Sometimes after work I let my cell go to voice mail because I fear his loud voice after a hard day will cause an aneurysm.
Anyway, what I do know is that sometimes we may not exactly hit the bulls-eye in life. Wouldn't it be a terrifying thing if we were doomed for missing the mark? I think that is why God, in the Old Testament, consumed the sacrifices. Just the dove, the grain, the calf; could not be made worthy. The power of the sacrifice came in bringing the best they could come up with and letting God consume it. Set fire to it, purify it and receive it.
It wasn't perfection that pleased God, it was putting the thing before him to do whatever was necessary to make it acceptable. That compelled him to come into the temple and receive the offering. The giving of it.
And so I married the wrong guy. And can't imagine being married to anyone else. Before God, laid in sacrifice for him to do what needs doing, we are made right.

Deuteronomy 27:6 Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God...

I Don't Know Why You Say Hello, I Say Good-bye

For the sake of clarification, now hear this. I do not like my cell phone. I do not want to be reachable all of the time. People have lost the ability to judge when it is appropriate to call someone, courtesy has died!
The Mr. would like to remove our land line altogether and just have cell phones. I am not doing this either. This is based on my theory that people are much more apt to call your own cell number at any given moment than to call your home. Somehow it's easier to just call the number you know will connect you directly to someone than to possibly interrupt their entire household. And guess what, not everybody has my cell phone number! That's right! Maybe I do not want you calling me everywhere at any time!
While I'm at it, let me insert another thought. People have come to think that by calling an individual's cell number, they are not necessarily bothering anyone but that person. Sorry, that's wrong. When you call my husband while we are out to dinner or driving you are interrupting me as well as him. And I hold him more to blame for taking every single call. If the call had come to our home, our conversation in the restaurant or the car would not have been interrupted. I also think that we immediately call with every single thought because we have forgotten that the person might be in the presence of other people. We might not call their home phone for the same reason we are now calling their cell phone.
Answering machines are bad enough, but if you at least have the ability to leave a message I see no reason I have to be at the beck and call of everyone at all times.
The Mr. loves his cell phone. I am thoroughly convinced that he has developed a secondary addiction by thinking whenever he is in the car he has to be talking on the phone. If you pass him on the road, he'll be on that phone I promise you. This brings me to another issue. When you're driving, hang up the freaking phone! What conversation is so dire that it is worth you dividing your attention between that and the people sharing the road with you?
Cell phones have also created a breeding ground for people getting annoyed at one another. Where were you? I called your cell!
Because I ate scrambled eggs for breakfast and wanted to tell you.
Or something equally important.
Didn't you see my call on your caller i.d.? Why didn't you call me back?
Because in the old days of a civilized society, you didn't have a running tally of everyone who called you when you were away from the phone and so people would just TRY AGAIN LATER.
I am being held hostage by cell phones and their users.
Not to mention I now have four phone numbers; office, work cell, personal cell and home. I do not dispense all of these numbers willy nilly. If you have them all, you are my mother,my child or my husband. And I still may not pick up.
And let's talk about the idea of everyone having their own number. Their own personal line. That no one else uses. Your kid can now call you and check in any time. Fabulous. They can also have conversations with anyone they want to any time they want to about whatever they want to and you have no control. There are no limits imposed on time talking to other people. They don't need to wrap the kitchen phone cord into the hall way for "privacy." They can go sit in the back yard, or talk from school. That girl or boy you don't walk them getting involved with? They don't have to call your home and speak to you. Or acknowledge you or respect you.
My phone and my husband's phone have two different phone books programmed. Is this really good? If I flip through his phone book and his calls, I don't know a good portion of the people I find. People that would have needed to call our home and possibly speak to me, or he'd have to speak to them in my presence, have direct access to my husband. All of the time. Do I think he's up to something? No. Do I think it could happen. Yes. It does happen. Worse, it's so very easy to have a secret cell number.
Are we more likely to share our cell numbers than our home numbers? Why? I have a rule of thumb, men don't get my cell number unless they are mutual relationships of my husband and mine. In fact, I might give his number instead.
All silliness aside, it's one more guard that has dropped from around families.
So there you have it. If you call my cell number I may not answer as I usually have it turned off for days on end, or only on while I'm out and about. If I'm driving or in line or at a restaurant, I probably won't answer it any way. If you leave no message, I will not be calling you back.
I hate my cell phone.
On the bright side, I love my e mail and will answer it as soon as possible. It is not intrusive and does not endanger the other people on the road. You know why? Because MY CELL PHONE DOES NOT HAVE INTERNET...
But that's a rant for another day.
Don't call me.

Genesis 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sin Welcome Here

I want to be like Jesus. But I'm not. And sometimes, I don't want to be like him at all. He is exactly what I am not. Being like him can actually give me a stomach ache. Or a headache. Jesus rarely punched people in the head. At least, no one wrote it down if he did. I can't find the scripture that says he punched somebody in the head. So I guess I'm not supposed to punch people in the head. But I want to. So I'm not like Jesus. But I don't, so I try to be like Jesus.
Being like Jesus involves risk for me. He is constantly (at least when I let him) changing my insides, my thoughts. There are ideas that I have been so sure of that I would've said they were from God himself. Then somewhere down the road, those thoughts are forced to change when circumstances show me that my own ideas just won't work if I want to be like Jesus. I can usually give you some kind of speech to convince you that I am taking some higher ground approach but I know in my gut, I am not like Jesus.
In the last several years this has been shown to me when my ideas also happen to be the easier way for me to handle something. Jesus didn't take the easy way. The idea is that someone who continually breaks trust with me should be pushed away from me. This way they will feel the isolation of their actions, become repentant and then be inspired to change. Seriously, this has been a theory of mine for almost my entire life. Added bonus, I can dump the losers who treat me like crap. Beautiful.
I don't want to be that person any longer. I want to be the safe harbour. I want to be so able to show mercy that I don't even register the offense as mine but the hurt as the offender's. I want to skip over the whole discussion of exactly what happened and just offer restoration. Hope. Love.
I've had a million and one conversations where I tried to convince someone that they were doing wrong. I've debated and I've begged people to change. I've usually taken the route of holiness which means I remind them of eternal damnation as a result of their behavior. This has not had a good return on affecting change.
This in fact, has come to seem to me like domestic abuse. The spouse who says "I don't want to hurt you, but you made me do it." I don't want to turn my back on you but you leave me no choice. Bring your dirty laundry to me and I'll use it to suffocate you.
I'm not pointing this at anyone but myself. I know good and well that my loner personality has made it very appealing to quickly turn people out into the world to think about their actions until they can repent. Then quite a few years ago to my own surprise, God laid this incredible love for a kid at our church into my heart. This kid was not likable. He was a liar. He was sneaky. He would lie to your face without batting an eye. He would promise you the world with tears running down his face and leave you looking like a fool for believing him. Just the perfect candidate for my theory of someone breaking trust one too many times. Without warning and certainly without my asking for it, God put this kid deep into my heart. And I didn't even like him in the first place.
We were sitting in Sunday School and I'm trying to teach and as usual this kid is alternating between snoring and making obnoxious comments. I tried to quietly reprimand him and I tried to threaten to kick him out and nothing worked. He didn't care. But on this Sunday morning I walked behind him and put my hand over his and held it while I spoke. Not tight, just a gentle hand over his. I hadn't been begging God for direction. It was just a moment that happened before I thought it through. In honesty, I can remember whacking this kid in the head with my teacher's book on prior Sunday mornings.
But that day, I held his hand. And he quieted.
Over time, I reached out to him with true affection, with the love that Jesus had for him. It was love that I could not find within myself. I spent lots of Sunday mornings with my hand over his in Sunday School. I spent lots of time rubbing his back during church while he sat with his head down tuning out the sermon. I earned the right to tell him to hush when he was being obnoxious because I spent more time holding his hand than shutting him up.
He'd call me in the middle of the night with problems and I'd sit up talking to him quietly, trying not to wake the Mr. He'd stop by my house and I'd drop what I was doing to give him my full attention although it never seemed to have any effect on his life. The only change, in fact, was that I was now in the inside of his life instead of the outside. And the only thing he really took from me was my love. He remained, otherwise, a liar and a trust-breaker. And those lies and broken promises were directed at me as often as anyone else.
He'd call me pretty regularly and tell me what was going on. What was messed up. Ask me what he should do.
One night at 2:00 in the morning, there was a knock on our door. There he was. Had a fight at home. I talked to him for a long time. I hugged him and tucked him in on our couch when he finally fell asleep. The Mr. called off work the next day to make sure he was OK because I had to go in.
Speaking of the 2:00 in the morning thing, this is when God chose to talk to me about this rotten kid. I'd wake up thinking of him and wouldn't be able to sleep until I had prayed for him. Now I was giving up my waking and my sleeping time for a kid I didn't really like. Only I really loved him all of a sudden.
I loved him so much that I was driven by selfishness to keep my door open to him, I couldn't stand the idea of losing him. It would hurt too much. Hurt me too much.
In the middle of this I started to understand that this is how Jesus loves me. So much, so deep and so real that he himself hurts at the idea of my loss. It was the first time I understood that, about being loved by God.
This was when I became a person who wanted to be a safe harbour. I want to be able to extend love without judgement. I want to show mercy and grace to people who can't conceive of it. This doesn't come easily to me. I don't like being awakened to someone banging on my door at 2:00 a.m. I hate talking on the phone. But I will open the door and I will answer the phone. I don't care about the details.
There are a million ways in which I could love more like Jesus. This is one that I now embrace. With complete acknowledgement that I am being fooled, manipulated and making it easier for someone to keep on doing wrong; I am going to love. I have to.
It hurts too much to do anything else.

John 8
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cool Bright Silence

This morning is sunny and cool. You'd describe it as crisp and you'd be right. I am off work on this Friday with the Mr. and Daboyz both gone for the day. In my flannel pajamas and white tube socks I've finished my second cup of coffee and turned off the television. I have started the laundry and so the house is scented with laundry soap and coffee. The sun is bright and cold through the windows. It is silent.
As I walk through the east facing living room I feel the Holy Spirit here. He lives here. This cool bright silence has been in this house for better than thirty years. This is a tabernacle, a place of worship set down in the middle of life. Not a church built to house service. Instead it is a place that was ordinary and is now sacred. This house has not required television in the background because a King James Bible has been the axis on which it turned.
How remarkable this cool bright silence is. So familiar to me and so right. I am only slightly saddened at realizing that this is as it should be and yet has caught my attention for its specialness.
I don't know if you believe in God's presence being greater here than there. I do. I have been in homes that felt deeply sad. And I have been here where the cool bright silence is as though standing in a sunbeam from the throne. I think it is so because it has not been tolerated but hungered after. A daily longing to feel Jehovah that has become a part of the plaster and lumber of this house. I think this place itself longs for Christ because its inhabitants have been made of nothing more than desire for God.
I know their imperfections well. I know how great their failures and how ugly their battles. Yet God dwelled here drawn by hunger.
And I, stepping into the cool bright silence am suddenly aware, I am hungry too.

Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sure Fire Pick-Me-Uppers

1. A really good cup of coffee.
2. A new book.
3. A clean house.
4. An old movie.
5. Sunshine in any temperature weather.
6. The weekend off (as opposed to this ridiculous swing shift weekend I'm havin'!)
7. Hearing the Mr. sing.
8. Third Day.
9. People who make me laugh.
10.Jeans that are a little loose.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Think About What You Did!" (forever)

Leviticus 5:4-6 " 'Or if a person thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil—in any matter one might carelessly swear about—even though he is unaware of it, in any case when he learns of it he will be guilty. " 'When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.
I called a business the other day and when I got the voice mail of the individual I needed to speak with, his out-going message said this at the end, "If in any way you are not satisfied with my service, please call my supervisor at ___________."
I cannot imagine putting that message on my office phone. I don't particularly want you calling my supervisor if you are not satisfied with my service. Mainly because I don't always give the best service. What a commitment to tell someone to go ahead and report me if you think I didn't do a good job. Sheesh. I am embarrassed to admit that this kind of commitment would change some of my behavior. I didn't even realize this was true until I heard that message.
Putting that kind of statement out there means that I am going to do my best but if I don't, I'll own up to it. My goal is for the other person to be taken care of and not to protect my own convenience. I'll take the hit if I fail. I won't try to hide it.
It made me think of Adam and Eve and their fig leaves. I wonder how much of the time God sees me wearing a fig leaf. If so, I hope it's a largish one.
It also made me realize that it's not about perfection and it's not about shame. It's about truly getting up in the morning wanting and trying to do right. And then when you fall short skipping over the shame part and just moving on to making it right if you didn't do it right. Being willing to own my actions.
So why wouldn't I do this? I guess because people have taught me that if I take that approach, I might not get applause for it. I might get yelled at. Rejected. Mocked, talked about. People have taught me that to err is human and to admit it is stupid.
I have learned that when I mess up, it all ends with either getting away with it or getting punished. Being an excellent pupil, I have taken great pains to pass the message on.
That's not God, that's people. God adds another step, just make it right. Do what you can to acknowledge it and move on. Yes, you won't be able to fix everything so you'll need Christ to do that for you.
Admit it. Apologize. Do what you can to make it right. Let Christ do the rest. Accept his sacrifice in place of the price you can't pay anyway and move on. MOVE ON.
It isn't a Vengeful God that makes us afraid. It's a vengeful humanity. We teach each other that it's safer not to be accountable. Stay under the radar. Oh, and in the process be crushed on the inside.
I wish I was brave enough to tell you to report me if I did something wrong. But I'm still seeing too much of man in my vision of God. I'm still afraid that it will end with punishment and loss.
No, I can't make it right. I can only do my best. But if I believe in a big enough God; that's not a problem.
The tiny little god we present that doesn't let you move on is the one who scares us.
The tiny little god that we have appointed ourselves to be.
No wonder we are so afraid.

Come To Church With Me

This week I read Amrita's post and thought, "enough!" Then I read Louise's and thought, "enough!" Then I thought in general, enough. Enough of people being attacked and battling. Not that it will ever end, but maybe the enough is enough of me knowing and praying quickly as I stop by a blog. We are the church you know. Every one of us that gathers and claims Christ are at church. On a blog or in a living room. At work or at Starbucks (or Panera which is where Margie and I have church.) It's church when we're together.
There are times when I wish I could create a hybrid church. So many people I love who, for one reason or another, don't attend Metrosouth with me. I had a lot of years of my best friends and closest family all attending church together and going out for Sunday dinner afterward. What a sweet time that was. How blessed to have my little boys run across the aisle to sit with Aunt Pat. To have my mom take a crying baby to the nursery for me so I could worship. To have Kelly hold a very bad Mac for hours so he could be in the Christmas play. To see Louise and Arlene several times a week and to have them be a part of my life from the earliest moments.
Now life is different. Some of us still live in the same houses but God has called us to different houses of worship. Some of you I've never met and will never sit next to on a Sunday morning. Some of you I will again minister with when God decides it's time.
And some of you are Metroites.
But all of you, those in the list on the right and those who I know read quietly, you're my family. There is a higher order of friends when God has created us for one another. You are those people. So humor me because today, I want to go to church with you. I want us to pray for those people among us who we know are in a battle and those who I know about privately and those who haven't shared but hurt within.
Do you need healing of the heart, mind or body? Do you need forgiveness that you keep asking for but can't feel? Do you need financial salvation? Do you need God to save people you love before it's too late? Do you just need?
One of the most sacred times of all those church years was communion. A time to stop, and together, to remind ourselves who we belong to. To God. To one another. That common bond of Christ and his blood. Not a time for perfect people to sip wine and nibble a cracker. A time for imperfect struggling hurting loving people to accept the sacrifice that answers all the questions.
I don't care if you haven't stepped foot inside of a church in thirty years. I don't care if you just took communion with five hundred people last week. Come, take communion with us. To remember, to worship, to ask and to receive.
Get a bottle of water and a bread crust. It doesn't have to be fancy. But I'm inviting you, today. Now.
Will you come to church with me and share communion?

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

1. For you if you have received Christ as your savior, even if it was just this moment. Join us.
2. You will need a drink to represent the wine/blood of Christ. Any drink will do.
3. You will need bread or a cracker to represent the bread/body of Christ.
4. Read the scripture above. Out loud is great but it can be silent.
5. When you get to verse 24, take the "bread" and think about Christ giving his body for your sins so that you can be free to serve him. And think about the fact that you are a part of our body, the church. Thank him for his sacrifice and eat the bread.
6. Read verse 25. Think about the blood of Christ. But this time, it is not about death it is about life. Our life is in our own blood physically. Spiritually our life is in the blood of Christ. He supplies every need through himself so that every part of us can grow and be whole. Thank him for always covering your mistakes and your future with his blood, with life. Even when it feels like you are living in death, ask him to make you see that he gives life continuously to us. Thank him, then drink your "wine."

Lord, thank you for the gift of your son. Thank you for communion to help us to understand that you took death from us by dying for us. And you gave life to us in its place to wash over us even in our own destruction. Thank you for every person who shares their time with me through this blog. Bless them, heal them, guide them and meet their needs. Draw us together to minister to one another in whatever ways we can. This church loves you God. Thank you. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Wish We'd All Been Ready

I have been thinking about this for a while now but never wrote about it because it seemed rather too theological for me to try to speak to. But I've come to the realization that if I never talk about things I do not completely comprehend, I will never speak. And we all know that ain't happening. So here it goes.
The Rapture, Second Coming, Tribulation, Mark of the Beast. The Anti-Christ.
When I was a kid, this whole End Times thing was terrifying. At times, it was a constant thought. Am I saved? Will I be left behind? Who is the Anti-Christ? Is he a baby now? A man? My age? Hey! Was that a trumpet?
If you were raised in church, I've got to think some of you have had the same experience. At least in the 1970s Pentecostal church we were kept holy via terror of someone writing 666 on our foreheads in Sharpie. Seriously, I laid awake at night fearing the Rapture and praying to stay saved at least through the night. Then I started hearing about Pre-Trib, Post-Trib, Mid-Trib, Armageddon...this is why I now work in mental health. I lost my mind and my eye sight staring to the East. Because it was such a huge fear in my childhood, in adulthood I made myself face the whole Revelations thing head-on and get a grip on it. I didn't do a deep scriptural research project or travel to the Holy Land or call the Pope or anything. I thought it through and made a decision to get over it. I can't do anything but live for Christ now and face the rest of time as it unfolds. If the Rapture happens after the Tribulation and it happens during my life time, there it is. How in the world am I going to change that? I'd best just get to living knowing that God will be sufficient however my days are spent.
One thing I have figured out is the Anti-Christ. Many smarter people than I probably have a better handle on this, but I'm putting my thoughts out there for the rest of you Beast watchers. I don't think the Anti-Christ is some little boy adopted in Italy with weird writing under his hair. I don't think there is some evil infant out there that we need to hunt down and eliminate. I think that throughout all of time, there has been someone evil enough to be used for this purpose. There has always been some fool who wants to lift himself above God and will give in to his own arrogance in exchange for his soul. Who will believe in himself above God. The Anti-Christ, I think, has always walked the earth. And always will. Until...
Until we decide it is time to give him the power for which he hungers. Until we stop seeking after God and righteousness and holiness. We have stopped the Hitlers and all who came before him. But someday; we, humanity, will decide that we can tolerate one more thing. And one more. And one more. And that we can separate our desire for wealth from our desire for God. And we can look the other way and let someone else make the decisions. We will be drawn to pretty words and warm smiles and promises of ease.
And we will have the spirit of the Anti-Christ. Or at least, we will welcome him. We will sit quietly and let him ascend as long as our little lives are not too bothered. We will assume someone else will be the warrior to stop him. We will believe another generation, (before or after ours), is called to battle.
When we get tired or selfish or lazy or stupid enough; it will be time.
I know my great grandparents and my grandparents stopped him. I know that it is time for my parents and I to stop him.
And I must teach my children and grand children to stop him.
But someday, we will not stop him. We will welcome him. And with him, the end of time.
This year is much scarier than the 1970s.

1 John 4:2-4 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm Not Free

Somehow the giant concept of salvation as freedom always gets crammed into a tiny little box in my hands. Once I get beyond free from going to hell, I'm stumped. Maybe I don't trust myself with all of this freedom. I think that it's supposed to ultimately manifest itself in joy, freedom in Christ. Freedom from feeling shamed, unworthy, unloved. Freedom from every little nasty voice from within and without that can take a perfectly nice day and make my stomach hurt.
I also think that something about not being free appeals to me. Freedom and rules don't necessarily co-habitate and I like rules. Obedience of the rules makes me proud of myself. Obedience of the rules also has some clear benefit in the avoidance of consequences. My problem is that I like rules too much and I use them to justify what I want to do. Schedules and bed times and chores and "taking care of myself" are all rules that make me not free. Not free to have a cup of coffee with you or visit someone in the hospital or extend myself somewhere beyond the rules that build my life. I'm just not...free.
Not free, not available. Freedom in this tiny box of what should be according to me. Freedom to say "No, I'm too tired." because I worked over time and now even if I let someone down, I am free to not come for a visit. Freedom to say, "I can't afford to give." because I tithed my 10% and I want to spend my money somewhere else or I don't want to take a chance on not having money in case I want to spend it somewhere else. I'm free to suspect that someone needs counsel and not do it because "They will probably be offended and Christ doesn't want me to be offensive."
I'm free to walk away. That freedom I claim. I am free not to be free.
I am free not to spend time in true prayer on my knees in a quiet room because I am always communicating with God (sure I am) and he knows what's going on and someone out there is called to be a prayer warrior. I am free not to sit with a Bible in my hands because I more or less know what's in there at this point.
I'm free to have a feeling that I really need to call someone and then not do it because I am at work (the rules!) or it's late (the rules!) or I told the Mr. to because it's a man I'm worried about and he didn't (the rules!) or it's none of my business (the rules!) The rules really work well for me.
I am free to not write that letter or send that card because someone will never change. I am free not to offer to help because they never learn. I am free to not confront because they will get angry. I am free to throw my hands up and walk away because someone else will probably do a better job anyway.
I am free not to teach a Bible study because I am burned out and it always turns ugly and I never accomplish what I hoped to and I probably do more harm than good because I am not spiritual enough.
I am free to be quietly redeemed while someone else is quietly drifting farther away from God every day.
My tiny little box of freedom. Certainly not enough to share.

1 Corinthians 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Psalm 107:24-25 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This Rainy Weekend

1. Housework.
2. Laundry.
3. Pot of chili.
4. Move furniture.
5. Grocery shopping.
6. Church.
7. Organize jewelry.
8. Buy a new book, finished with Hughes.
9. Manicure @ home.
10. Watch old movies.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Smith Happens (A Rerun)

The following is from an e mail from a few years back. it likely contains spelling and grammatical errors due to the traumitized nature of the author; me. Warning: disturbing and offensive imagery to follow. And now, by popular demand...SMITH HAPPENS

Knowing that you wait anxiously for all news Smith, let me share the last few days with you.....
Our bathroom sink has not been draining properly for some time. A fact which concerned me, but not so much the Mister. Finally Saturday night, I reminded him once again what a discouragement this was to me, so he went out at 9 PM to purchase heavy duty- don't use this if you aren't a professional, in fact even professionals shouldn't use this, back away from the bottle slowly drain cleaner. So here's his big plan, this stuff is some kind of acid in granular form which activates when it contacts water. So he decides the best move is to pour it down the drain, then turn the shop vac on blow to force it all the way down. So what do you think happened? Yup. He starts screaming "Sara turn it off, turn it off!" The acid granules are indeed blowing back into his face, eyes, mouth, nose and all over his chubby little body in general. So I run in and turn it off and he goes into fast motion Silkwood style stripping and into the shower for the Meryl Streep treatment whilst I throw his clothing down the chute, (burning my fingerprints off) and cover the drain with a towel to prevent further contamination. He takes about 4 more showers and a shot of Benadryl to deactivate the reaction to the crap he's inhaled and happily, the sink is draining. Injured and exhausted, it's off to bed for us.
Then Jay decides to take a shower, which makes us happy. Afterward, even more hygienic measures involving q-tips. More pride. Several dozen q-tips fall into the toilet. Ha ha. Jay is a smart boy, he flushes them.
2 a.m., the Mister gets up for the nightly tinkle and, well that's funny, the toilet is sure flushing slow and kind of backing up. Hmm. I get up at 4 for the early a.m. whiz, and golly Moses that toilet is a 'backin' up like nobody's business. 7 a.m. the back up and slow flush continue and the Mister is applying plunger in boxer shorts with Benadryl/acid burn hangover. 8 a.m., more of the same. 9 a.m., drain cleaner down the toilet. 10 a.m., no progress and we ain't goin' to church. Boyz wake up and Jay's foolishness is exposed. He claims no responsibility as "everything should be flushable."
So last night the toilet is still flushing slow, filling to the rim, draining over 20 minutes. The Mister announces there's nothing for it but a plumber. Sigh.
This morning much to my horror the entire Smith household finds themselves in need of bowel movement
Jumping Jehosophat. It's sure to be bad news.
I return from dropping the boys off at school to about 4 inches of dark brown chunky water in the toilet and Sweet Mother of God I have to go #2. Devil jerk poo master
So, I throw caution to the wind and pray for a loose stool. No such luck my friend. Two hours and several flush attempts later, poo galore to the rim. Apparently, gasp, I have to attempt to fix the toilet which now harbors several gallons of Smith fecal infested doo doo juice. So, I grab the plumber, nothing but poo splash from that. I get the snake, no luck.
Bend over, grab your knees and kiss your butt good-bye, I'm gonna have to shop vac that mother out. So I go down into the basement, haul up the shop vac, and suck me up some doo juice. Let me just insert here that it is a good thing that I am a trained poop cleaner as it was nasty on many levels and stink like you can't believe. The sound effects? Low pitched suck with occasional 'THUD', let your imagination fill in the gaps on that one. So I gave that bad boy a good long poo sucking and then all of a sudden the liquid chunk sound turns to a delicate rattle. Can it be? Have I actually sucked through the water, sewage, toilet paper and poop and hit the mother load? Yes, yes! Sweet fancy Moses I believe I've extracted the offending q-tips. So I refill the tank, breathing through my nose, and flush and glory hallelujah! The toilet is a 'flushing and a 'filling. I fixed it! So now I can eliminate to my hearts content but I got me a stinking industrial sized shop vac full of poo. What to do? Put it in the back yard of course So,now I'm dragging and it's swishing and stinking all the way through the house and then I realize, great gatsby! I have to get this mother down the basement landing stairs to get of the back door. Merciful Jesus don't let the lid come off. Well, I did it and it's now standing proudly in the backyard full of stink waiting for the Mister's return. Won't he be proud? How, you may ask, will we dispose of this toxic drum full of poo? Not my problem, I say we take the whole thing to the dump and buy a new one. My work here is done.
Love & tales from a poo

For further information on what happened to the shop vac full of feces; please contact the Mr.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Just Thankful

This evening is just one of those times I have to say, "thank you Lord." In the old days, it might be a testimony shared on Sunday evening; standing up to tell the congregation what God has done. I think those old days were wiser days. Too often now I find myself thanking God belatedly for his constant care.
Driving to work this morning at 8:00 a.m. on the Southfield freeway, the car in front of me slammed on his brakes. I hit him, the guy behind me hit me, a fourth guy hit him. Three impacts that felt pretty hard from my seat. My head bounced back on the head rest a few times and I was thrown against my seat belt. Car number one kept right on driving. Myself and car number three stopped. Car number four didn't stop. The gentleman who hit me was named Les. I want to take a moment to thank the Lord for this sweet guy who could've been frustrated or even angry. We got out to survey our vehicles parked on the Southfield embankment near Six Mile. I was astonished to look at my truck and find no damage. Looking closely there's a slight dent on my tail gate. You'd never see it if you didn't know to check. I went around front where I'd hit car number one. Nothing. Les, however, was looking at his SUV with broken head lights, smashed grill, accordion hood and some kind of clear liquid pouring out from under the front end.
I asked him if he was okay. His response, "I'm fine baby. Don't worry. Wasn't your fault, wasn't my fault." We exchanged information and went on our way. He shook my hand and smilingly said, "It's sure a pretty day. Just as good as any to have to call off and get my car fixed."
I got back into my truck and waiting for the freeway traffic to open up I thanked God for not only keeping my body safe, but protecting my truck and even putting this sweet man in the car behind me.
So tonight I've got a sore back, stiff neck and a head ache. But a heart thankful for a four car accident that reminded me that I am watched over even when I haven't asked to be.

Proverbs 2:7-8 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

p.s. Marty, what law enforcement agency do I make a police report with on the Southfield at 6 Mile? State? County? Detroit?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Good Enough For Me And Ellen Mc Gee

And here we have another of those all important posts. What kind of shoes should I wear to work? The seasons are changing here in Michigan and I have to pick up a few items for work. This time last year I was wearing scrubs, now I wear "business casual." I'm not entirely sure what that means either than every day I feel markedly over or under dressed and always uncomfortable.
The biggest issue is shoes. I love shoes, truly I do. But I also have very bad feet that hurt after approximately 10 minutes standing on them. Too much arch hurts my flat feet. Not enough arch and I have a back ache. I work on hard hospital floors all day and at times I'm involved in physical management. My workplace was built by the architects of Hogwarts, none of the floors match up and there are stairs everywhere.
Now consider business wear daily that require finding suitable black and brown shoes at the very least. Slight heel, flat heel, etc. It's ridiculous. It's a ton of money for constant discomfort causing me to go back to the store to spend more money to be uncomfortable again. And I am such a t-shirt and jeans girl anyway.
So this is what I lay before the jury for consideration. I am seriously considering wearing tennis shoes every day regardless of my clothing. It will save me physical pain. It will save me money. But it will also look like I am wearing gym shoes with dress clothes because basically, I will be.
Years ago business women in New York started wearing gym shoes with their suits. Cybill Shephard used to wear them with everything stating that she refused to cause herself back pain and damage for the sake of a pair of pretty shoes. Here's what I'm thinking, you have to work the look to make it work. I think Ellen (who likes many things I do not like. Or at least one thing) has a good jump on the funky smart casual gym shoes look.
So before I start building my wardrobe, give me some ideas. Then I will think about them and shoot them down one by one and do my own thing.


September 7, 2008

Leviticus 26:4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

What Is The Difference Between A Possum and An Opossum?

1. Does anything smell better than the first cup of coffee in the morning?
2. Jay's coming home this evening!
3. Gotta catch up on blog reading.
4. Great sleeping weather.
5. There was a giant possum in my yard this week. I hate his guts.
6. Time to make reservations for Marshall.
7. Back on my diet this week and I MEAN IT.
8. I need a new camera.
9. Current book; Howard Hughes, His Life and Madness
10. I can't think of a number ten.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


It has been on television all day long. By the time I got home and turned on the news to really get the details, I just sat and cried. Took myself by surprise. I have spent my share of time discussing this with sarcasm and a judgemental attitude.
But tonight I suddenly saw a man loved deeply by God. This man who has been gifted with so much that God must have had a purpose for. He is still viable to be used to glorify God. But today, I feel so sad for him. I will admit, for the first time I am sad for him. I do not defend him. He shames Detroit. I am not sure he got consequences severe enough for his actions.
But I do know that God's heart is breaking.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Eternal Lump of Clay That Is Me

I know people who it seems have been settled into their lives for twenty years. And I'm still not quite there. Not quite? Who am I kidding, I don't even have an estimated time of arrival. I thought by now I'd be more "there"; where ever there is. I'd have my career running smoothly and be living in THE house and be ever so wise and serene. Oh, and beautiful. It doesn't seem like that is such a difficult thing because most of the people I know seem to have accomplished all of this while I'm still faking being a grown up. I don't know what the heck I'm doing.
I seem to always have been at loose ends. Planning without accomplishing. Thinking that by some age in the future I'd have my act together but those ages keep coming and going and my act seems to be less together than ever. I should be humming along in a job I have mastered at this point, piling up retirement funds. No. Not me. I'm starting on yet another new position and learning again how to do my work. I'm returning to school again and trying to paint a new picture in my mind of what the goal is. And the thing is, I am not discontent. I would be perfectly satisfied settling in at any point along the way. Do you hear me God? Not asking for any new challenges! Status quo would be a lovely way to live from here on in. But I keep getting pushed through doors. This is probably because someone just opening the door doesn't inspire me, I have to be shoved through. This usually results in a Lucille Ball entrance into the next phase of my life; stumbling and landing on my hands and knees looking around bewildered.
I keep waiting to grow up, by that I mean to get "there." To arrive. To be able to set myself on cruise control. That doesn't seem to be the plan for me. Until very recently I thought my constant life flux was because I keep messing up. Missing the exit and having to take the long way around. Changing course because I am always going in the wrong direction. Certainly this is often the case.
Now I am trying to just take it as a whole. Life may never settle in for me. Or it may do so when I'm about 85 and still going to school. This is definitely not the way I saw myself when I was eighteen and planning my future. I saw myself as a home maker, maybe someday a school teacher. Someone who would fade quietly into the background of life. Perhaps not giving much but hopefully not taking too much either. God just won't leave it there. He keeps pulling the rug out from under me. If you're waiting for the final paragraph where all the lessons are learned, it hasn't been written yet. I don't get it. I don't know why I can't just settle in on cruise control. All I have learned has only revealed how much I don't know.
The question on my mind has changed from what do I want to be to this...God, what can you make of me?

Romans 9:20-21 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fashion Sense

Me: I think your blouse is inside out.
She: Why do you say that?
Me: Because you see these things? They're shoulder pads. They go on the inside.
She: But then you can't see them.

Monday, September 01, 2008

To Everything There Is A Tennis Ball

Believe it or not, I'm a lot more laid back than I used to be. Those who have been around a while remember my anniversary trip when I couldn't stop thinking of the dirty laundry at home. I'm trying to out grow that kind of thinking.
I have fried many days off with the pressure of getting done all the stuff that hadn't gotten done throughout the week. I have found that I can get just as much done without a clenched jaw and furrowed brow. Also discovered that if I take time in my days off to watch an old Katherine Hepburn movie or Green Acres rerun or take an impromptu nap; I'm not so exhausted on my work days that I can't throw in some laundry. I figure the day before I die I'll have learned how to live with both accomplishment and rest at the same time.
Donny could teach me a thing or two about daily pleasures. He insists on fun. He does not particularly care if his fun is at the expense of your convenience. If he wants to go outside, he wants it RIGHT NOW and he's not going away until you stand up and open the door. And let me tell you about his tennis ball problem. He is obsessed. He carries two or three at a time and will drop the nasty dirty spitty things in your lap over and over until you give up and throw it for him to chase it. And when it's time to rest, he's very particular about just exactly what is the best spot for lazing. Kennel? Couch? In the hole in the back yard? In bed? He knows what he likes. I fear my dog is more mentally healthy than I am. I have never seen him with a furrowed brow. And between you and me, I have evidence that he is not constipated like some of us.
It is to Donny's advantage that he can pursue only fun every day. But I will admit that I have had the opportunity for the pursuit of pleasure and let it pass me by. Maybe my guilty secret is my pleasure was complaining about being a martyr?
There will always be another table to dust, another floor to mop. I am learning now to do enough (and that does not mean do nothing) and then to sit on the deck eating Rice Krispies and just resting.
So if you see me with a tennis ball in my mouth, don't worry. I'm just trying to find a little balance.

Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.