September 4, 2015

The life lessons we learned at the animal shelter

When my children stated they wanted to do community service by volunteering at a local animal shelter, I couldn’t have been happier.  Truth be told, I would probably be a hoarder with fifty dogs if it wasn’t for my wonderful, conservative husband.  
I have to admit we were caught off guard our first trip there.  Not only is it hard to see all the animals in kennels, we were also side by side with female inmates from the local jail which was a first for us.

We also witnessed several owner surrenders.  A family brought in their three yard dogs; one with its ears ripped open and bleeding after being bit. We noticed that no one in the family seemed upset.
Then we watched as a woman surrendered her sweet bulldog at the front desk because “she was moving and they wouldn’t allow dogs there”.  The dog had a heavy chain for a collar and leash, which was bothersome to see.  My daughter whispered after the woman left, “she is probably going to jail and that is why she can’t keep the dog.”  I chuckled a bit at the irony of her comment.

We felt validated at the animal shelter. we were doing the right thing.  We have two rescues at home, and loved getting the sweet dogs out for some play time.  And, who gives up their dog?
Then on the way home, I remembered that we actually surrendered our dog Buffi to an animal shelter 12 years ago.  She had tried to bite our baby.  I tried to rehome her sitting with her at Petsmart on Saturdays, but as she snarled at people and bared her teeth, it didn't really go well.   When my husband took Buffi to that shelter years ago, they didn’t even take her collar.  She would immediately be put down.  My husband was one of those people in the foyer. 

But many years had passed, and I was quick to judge the owner surrenders I witnessed.   

Several visits later to the animal shelter, we were walking the dogs outside for some time in their chain link fence pens. The male inmates in the jail next door were given their “outside” time in their much larger chain link kennel.  My girls were quite uncomfortable by the all the inmates in uniform.  They chose to stay inside in the puppy room and avoid seeing the inmates.  I was uncomfortable too.  I was envisioning cat calls and chose to avoid the dog run areas which were close to the inmates. 

The inmates were a big point of conversation that day.  We talked about life choices and how you don’t want to end up in jail.
Then something happened the next night at dinner.  As we were saying grace before the meal, my oldest prayed for our sick friends.  Then my youngest added, “We should pray for the inmates too”.

That’s when I realized volunteering at the shelter wasn’t just about walking the dogs.   

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ "Acts 20:35.

August 24, 2015

Why you should really bring tissues to a Nascar Race

I attended my first Nascar race this past weekend.  My friend googled some helpful tips for newbies, among the suggested items:

bring tissues in case the bathrooms run out of toilet paper
Well, I am sure glad we had tissues.  
I left for the trip anticipating the “People of Walmart” combined with a football tailgate, and that is pretty accurate. But, it is also SO much more.   

It is an event where fans-

...never meet a stranger.  Our campground neighbor left their outdoor TV  on for our group to watch the Friday night qualifier race we didn’t attend.

...can let it all hang out.  

...repeat, let it all hang out.

...get 5-star service with cooler check-in.  Take that college football. other fans they are in fact a “professional Nascar” regular attendee by sporting the  well-stocked, clear backpack. 

(clearly an amateur fan)
...Pray with over 100,000 of your best friends for the safety of the drivers, before you go purchase your 20-ounce beer.  

...get an arm workout as you wave at your driver as they pass in front of you, 500 times.  

500 times!

...see stadium parachuters, a jet flyover, fireworks and a car burnout in the same evening.  

Okay, this was really cool to watch in person.

Although some of these moments were either touching or made me laugh till I was about to cry, that is not why I needed tissues.   It was these 2 babies that were stowaways in our friends rented RV bus that were found Friday at 4 AM.  

They only saw a tail at first and thought it was a rat, but then they started desperately meowing.
They were alive, but had endured  over 12 hours in a drawer underneath the bus.   


The Nascar fans jumped into action.   

A friend who had an infant let us feed the kittens her pumped milk.

Another neighbor gave us their dog’s food in case we could soften it for them to eat.  Another got us a tall box we could leave them in while we attended the race on Saturday night (in the A/C of course). 

And all came over to wish them well in their make shift pack n play.

At maybe 4 weeks old, it really is a miracle they were alive.  Luckily, between the milk and soft food we purchased at the local store, we were able to not only keep them alive, but see them flourish and act like fun little kittens.

We later found out that there were more kittens the RV owners removed from the RV, but they couldn’t get to these two.   I can’t comment on that with my own words and keep this post clean, so I found a bible verse:

A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. Proverbs 12:10

 These babies have a great life ahead of them and quite a story to tell.  They were taken home by our friends who had rented the RV they were found in (they said we should take them, but as the owner of 2 dogs, about to add a 3rd rescue, I thought, "we are good")
I was totally caught off guard when I said goodbye to these sweet babies I cared for and loved on for two days, I bawled like a little baby.   
I followed the kittens into the RV bus as they were leaving and thought about becoming a stowaway myself. 

Well, they say to bring tissues to a Nascar race and I am glad I did.

June 28, 2015

Why Christians should really be upset.

Christians we should be upset.  Very upset. But not because the Supreme Court upheld gay marriage.

We should be upset because someone can walk into a church or our children’s school and shoot them dead.  

We should be upset because college students raped an incoherent girl in their dorm and people laughed while they did it.

We should be upset that everyday someone finds out they have cancer.

We should be upset because everyday children are dying or being abused at the hands of their caretakers and/or parents.

We should be upset because there are people with children who can’t care for them physically, emotionally or financially.

We should be upset because everyday people commit suicide.

We should be upset that there are people in our community, maybe our own neighborhood, that didn’t eat dinner tonight.

We should be upset that we live next to pedophiles, murderers and rapists.

We should be upset that some people would rather to beg then to work.

We should be upset that our schools don’t have the resources they need to teach our precious children.

We should be upset with what is on TV.  

We should be upset that we don’t know our next door neighbor.

We should be upset that so many don’t know the love of Jesus.

So be upset.  But don’t spread hatred.

I was raised by a lesbian ERA hippie. I am now a Christian stay at home mom and vote republican. Who would have thought?

Preach less. Pray more.

January 27, 2015

Common Sense You Need to Know

Remember the nice poster we all have read,

“Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten.”  

After reading the news,
I came up with a new list.
What is wrong with people!

This... could save someone or something’s life.

  1. If you have sex, you can get pregnant.
  2. Plan accordingly now that you have read #1. 
  3. If you don’t read #2, know that children need caretakers, food, clothing, shelter and love.
  4. You cannot leave infants or children in cars, or home alone to fend for themselves, or lock them in cages.
  5. You should not leave infants or children alone with child molesters or any type of animal. Even ferrets.  
  6. If you cannot abide by #3, #4, AND #5, please give your child up for adoption.
  7. Animals can reproduce just like humans, but more quickly.  Take the same precautions as #2. 
  8. You cannot board a plane with any weapons, chemicals or animals that are not allowed.
  9. It is not okay to drown a puppy in the toilet in the airport once you are told you are not allowed to board the plane with the animal.
  10. Do not swim alone.
  11. If you cannot swim, do not go in a lake or ocean where the floor drops off abruptly.  Even if you can swim, be careful.
  12. Tell your family or friends where you are going and where you have been.
  13. Respect and obey the police. If you resist arrest or fight with police, you may get shot.
  14. If you barge through someone’s front door, you may get shot.  
  15. Don’t drink and drive; and if you engage police in a high speed chase, you could get killed or kill someone.
  16. If you kill someone, the death penalty may be the punishment, so please don't act suprised. 
  17.  Salt and chili powder can in fact be lethal.
  18. Stealing is against the law.
  19. The addicted, lost, angry and homeless all have a story.   
  20. Tell the truth.
  21. Go with your gut instinct, always.
  22. If you don't like something in the store, you won't like it any better at home. 
  23. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
  24. You catch more flies with honey, so remember to smile and bake cookies for someone.
  25. Pray daily.  Not just for yourselves and your family, but for our whole world. 

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

October 6, 2014

My child, I won't promise you ice cream, but I will promise you this...

This about did me in this weekend.  “But Daddy, Mommy PROMISED she would take me to the store this weekend. She always breaks her promises. She forget to print two things out for me this week too.”

Let’s look at the definition of promise:

Promise [ ˈpräməs ]


1.     a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen:

synonyms: word (of honor) · assurance · pledge · vow · guarantee · oath ·

2.     the quality of potential excellence:

3.     an indication that something specified is expected or likely to occur:

synonyms: indication · hint · suggestion · sign


4.     assure someone that one will definitely do, give, or arrange something; undertake or declare that something will happen:

synonyms: give one's word · swear · pledge · vow · undertake · guarantee ·

contract · engage · give an assurance · commit oneself · bind oneself · swear/take an oath · covenant · plight

I didn’t break a promise about the  store, I changed my mind. I get to  do that, I am the parent. And forgetting to print something out is called being human.
When did this word promise become part of our children’s vocabulary? Oh, at a very young age apparently.

“YOU PROMISED ME ICE CREAM” followed by the 3 year old tantrum

Really, ice cream is a vow, pledge, undertaking?  Here is what a promise to you my child, as your parent.  I will:  

Love you unconditionally like the day you were born.
Raise you in a Christian home.
Love you father.

Care for you when you are sick.

Make sure you have food on the table.

Make sure you have a roof over your head.

Make sure you have a shirt on your back and shoes on your feet.

Support you in your academics.

Help pay for college to the best of our abilities.

Support you in your afterschool activities, as long as they don’t interfere with academics.

Discipline you.

Teach you.

And once again, love you.
These, my child, are promises.



September 22, 2014

I'm letting my life go to the dogs.

I was walking my dogs this morning around the green space in front our home.  
There isn't anything special about this grassy green space.   

It was actually line with trashcans today.

But my dogs were so excited to go around the circle.  Checking everything out, taking in everything for the first time.  Then we went around that same, ordinary circle, six more times.

But the funny thing is, my dogs were just as excited to go around the circle each additional time - as if each was the first time.  
Noticing something new to see each trip around.

 I began to think, how many times have I treated each day, or even a moment of the day, like a second trip around the "ordinary" circle. Thinking I was doing the same thing or routine, and just going around and around, and not really looking at it as anything special. 

So today, my eyes are open, and I am going to act more like my dogs. I'm not going to start peeing on everything and chasing chipmunks BUT, I am going to go around EACH round of that ordinary circle as if it were the first time.   

Recognizing that each trip around the circle is an opportunity to see something special.

Is there a butterfly to see, or a flower I didn't notice before, or a friend to wave at or talk to as I am walking around that "ordinary" circle?

Although I love my dogs, it would not be fair to give them all the credit for my eyes being wide open this morning.  Actually, this is my "first" day after My Walk To Emmaus.  And to continue in tradition of our gifted table of Ruth, I can summarize the experience in one word, "WOW".

I dedicate this post to all the Sisters that were there at the Georgia Foothills walk to Emmaus #26, as we now are walking with, not only our eyes, but our hearts wide open.  

Psalm 104: 1-3

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot;
    he rides on the wings of the wind;

June 23, 2014

We didn't start the day out mullet hunting...

The plan was for the kids and me to drive to Panama City and pick my husband up at the airport for a conference.

We were about 30 miles out from the airport,
 in the middle of nowhere when...
Really? So, I get fancy with my husbands two year old vehicle's gadgets and search for the closest Automotive Center. It was only 4.7 miles away, the other way. And I was watching it get further away, 4.9, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5, 5.7 miles.... hmmm... turn around or push forward and see what happens.

After some praying and a couple minutes of driving, 
fighting flashbacks from college when I had a loser of a car,
maybe some cussing (not in the same breath) 

I see this glorious place. 
I pull around to the back as instructed by the sign on the door and a  nice gentlemen walks up.  I ask, "Do you work here?" Great first line, did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere? The helpful man thinks its the radiator cap, and fills the car with water and says I should head to the dealership 22 miles away, near our destination.  He explains it's clearly under warranty.

Meanwhile, I am scoping out the place for a getaway, grabbing a pen in the car for a weapon, realizing my cell phone has NO SERVICE and no one knows I am here and my kids are in the car.  

Then I give him a small tip and get his business card because I realize if I breakdown, he will be the one to save us.  We begin the trek to the dealership and get a hold of my husband on my oldest child's $9.99/month trac fone. It's working great. Just great.

My husband grabs a cab and tells me to call the company vehicle maintenance people. I'm instructed to "Pull over immediately", and a tow truck will come get us. After driving 38 MPH with the flashers on with people angrily passing, this is a welcome thought. We pull into a shut down diner, however there is a lovely Subway right across the street. 

My husband arrives, and we play pong with cars to cross the four lane highway to Subway. I have seen women in strollers do this in the big city, so I've got this....right?

Did I mention the Subway is inside the convenience store. I mean, that is convenient.
We make ourselves at home while he handles arrangements. 

Dog food, water, and pepsi!
I was relieved when a friend agreed  to come get us while my husband went with the tow truck, because "we were out of our element in this part of town". Wait....what?

Over the next hour, I had a lovely conversation with a local who said we needed to be careful we don't get over charged from the mechanic. You see, that happened to him in Kentucky. Then the Subway worker's son came in and they asked how his leg was after the chain saw "accident". He said that was nothing after the machete injury to his arm. Everyone decided he should really be more careful.

They even had a great place to charge my cell phone. 

And then wobbly guy came in who looked at my oldest one to many times. I initially thought he was special  and ignored it, then I decided he was especially drunk and maybe a little special. But if you look at my kid to many times, I don't really care what you have going on because the crazy in me will come out. He successfully got his sandwich while carefully holding steady on the counter. He then walked slowly up to the convenience store cashier, and gave her a hug, smelling her hair for a few moments. He tells her, "Your hair smells reeeaalll nice." 

Thankfully, our friend showed up immediately after that. 

So, after ALL that excitement, what do my kids say?

"Mom, did that cashier have a mullet?" 

Later that night, we let the kids watch the TV version of Joe Dirt with their friends. I figured after everything else they had seen that day, it should be the least of my worries. 

April 2, 2014

If I have a happy marriage, why did I spend my wedding anniversay crying?

It’s not because my husband forgot to buy me a card and his usual flowers. He did forget, but he’d had a long day and when he told me I actually laughed. I laughed because I bought him a card and I NEVER do! And then I forgot to give him the card, we both laughed.

It’s not because we got married on April Fool’s Day and he played a mean trick on me.  Or vice versa.
And it’s not because he fell asleep in his chair by 9:00 pm.

It’s simply because our children had left us flowers that morning of our anniversary and two homemade cards.
This one made me laugh
 The second card made me laugh too.
“It takes a lot of strength to keep a marriage alive this long. Don’t worry, you make it look easy.”
Any married person knows it is not easy. We realized a couple years ago that all our friends were not going to stay married, and it made us start to appreciate each other more.  

 I told our children how much I appreciated their thoughtfulness all day, which included a romantic “breakfast” dinner for two.

I wanted to shout from the roof top that it meant more to me than they could ever know, how happy I am that they are being raised with both their parents and to cherish every moment.  

Then it hit me, this girl from a “broken home” whose parents divorced when she was very young, was already is teaching them that. 

And that is why I couldn’t stop crying. 


March 21, 2014

I refuse to raise a mean child. But ultimately the choice is up to them.

I have been having the same parenting conversation recently with one of my children and feel like I'm stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. 
"Mom, today (fill in any school circumstance in the class or on the bus where one child was the target of laughter) and I laughed a little that bad?" Or, "Today I chimed in on and then I giggled only a little at so in so...."  "So in so was misbehaving on the bus, and I encouraged it a little too....but only a little..."  

Is there such think as laughing A LITTLE
at another child? No, to that child it looks like this.
I cherish the honestly and opportunity to parent, and it really shows the sweetness of my child. But I am plain sick of saying, "Don't give in to peer pressure and act like the other kids. You should have done this, or should have handled it like this, or next time, or WWJD? or fill in blank here____"
Last night the same conversation had a new twist. After yet another story, I explained AGAIN how her father and I were the target of laughter when we were children. "You know Mommy and Daddy were laughed at and that made them sad."
I could not believe the response my child gave back, who clearly is out parenting my parenting. 

"Well, look how great you turned out Mom. So I don't think I should really feel that bad."
Really? Are you kidding me?

I calmly said, "Look, I am tired of telling you how to you should act. You have a choice in life, to be one of these people in this category" (insert me pointing to imaginary Group A), "OR you can be one of these people over here." (Imaginary Group B.) "This group cares about other peoples feelings, and this other group cares what other people think.  I have a feeling if this happened at church, you would have handled it differently.  But you chose to fall under peer pressure and handle it like the rest of the group.  I am not going to tell you what group to be in, that is your choice. I know what group I would like you to be in, and what group God would like you to be in.  But you need to make a decision which group it is, and your everyday actions should match whatever group you choose to be in. I am going to leave the room now and give you time to think about it." Me pointing. "This group here or this one over here."
A look of fear set in and possibly a tear. "Wait mommy, I know what group I want to be in. Whichever one you just pointed to that was the nice group, because I can't tell just by you pointing at them."
I got a good chuckle, and I think the better choice will be made.

February 20, 2014

Motherhood turned me into an Animal

And many at that.   
One moment I'm a mama bird, firm on life lessons and consequences, pushing my baby bird out of the nest.   

Mess with my kids? I turn into a mama bear.


Then there’s the moment, “Mom, I don’t feel like you are listening…are you on Facebook?” and I want to put my head in the ground like an ostrich (after I comment on my friends post).
Not sure they are behaving?
I have the supersonic hearing of a bat.

When teaching my children,
I want to be a leader of the the pack.

During play, I want the freedom of
 a dolphin jumping in the sea beside them.  

 Those quiet moments when my children are hurt, scared or
 they have self doubt,
I am a  kangaroo with my baby back in my pouch.

When my children amaze me by just being..... themselves, I feel like a lion holding my mane up high a top a beautiful mountain. 
 And when my patience is tested,
I climb into a Eucalyptus tree quietly like a koala bear. 
Thankfully, the Eucalyptus tree sometimes has wine in it.
Like swans, I have found a mate for life who can help
navigate this parenting jungle.

And like the ants who team up to carry one piece of
food for the whole crew,
I have many family, friends and God to lighten the load.

But no matter where life takes us,
my children will always be as miraculous
 and fragile as a nest of baby eggs in the wild.   
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