Friday, August 21, 2015

Put Up Your Guard - Guest Column

Today I have a guest column for you -- Some wise words on a very important topic from Chris Lawler, a minister in Waynetown, Indiana.  Please leave him some love in the comments!

Put up your guard!
Malachi 2:15-16 NLT

Most people who watch the news or frequent social media sites have heard about the
hacking of an online site that promotes extra-marital affairs. 

The existence of such a site says much about us. The fact that there were, apparently,
millions of subscribers, sadly, says much more. And now, as the list of subscribers has gone public (due to the hackers), countless marriages that were secretly in trouble are now going to publicly crumble.

But while this hacking scandal is public and terrible, it is not unique. This event only reveals on the outside what already existed on the inside. We, as a people, have put our guard down when it comes to our hearts, families and marriages. Consider what God says on the matter:

Malachi 2:15-16 NLT
[15] “Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. [16] "For I hate divorce!" says the LORD, the God of Israel. "To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. "So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife." (This passages speaks to men, but just as easily applies to both husbands and wives)

It doesn't take a website to crumble a marriage. It just takes an open heart. Sin often needs only an opportunity.

We don't need a website to bring devastation to our families.  We simply need to think "it could never happen to us."  Affairs and marital fractures happened long before today.  And they can happen to any of us.  All of us.

All we need to do is drop our guard.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Blogs I Follow...

While I'm not always writing on this blog, I sure am reading perspectives from other blogs!  Thought I'd share my favorites with you in case you'd like them too!

MATT WALSH - Ultra conservative, fierce, and fearless.  Preaching Truth - and he's saying all the things we're afraid to say out loud.

JEN HATMAKER - How much do I LOVE this lady!  I've read several of her books and participated in many of her Bible Studies.  I wish I knew her in real life!

WE ARE THAT FAMILY -  This wonderful Christian wife, mother, author, and runner of Mercy House writes an amazing blog about how she navigates a secular world with Christian values and choices.  I always get great inside from her blog posts!

MOMASTERY - The most amazing book this lady wrote is called, "Carry On, Warrior."  It's a MUST-READ for all women.  Seriously.  The Momastery blog is also full of great posts!

Happy Reading!
:) Mags
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

H O P E = Hold On... Pain Ends.

Lately, I've been standing in the gap in prayer for some friends' marriages.  Satan seems to be doing a lot of work lately attacking people that I care about, and all I can do is watch (and pray), and offer support (and pray), and cry (and pray), and, to be honest, there's been a lot of cursing (but more praying).  In searching for some words of wisdom, I once again found myself at the Momastery website.  I LOVE this article from Glennon Doyle Melton: .

So if your marriage is under attack... or even if not, I strongly encourage you to GO.  NOW.  to read her Easter story.  Be sure you read the Post-Script... and even the comments... Satan has been busy, but God always wins.

Easter blessings to you,
♥ Mags
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Be Brave... Live.

I used to roll my eyes at people who cried when a random celebrity died.  I just didn't understand how there could be such despair over a stranger.  But, like pretty much everything I've ever scoffed at, karma always comes back to bite me in the butt... because the news of Robin William's death hit me hard Monday.  And I confess, I cried... not only for the death of a comical genius, but for the loneliness and despair this man must have felt at the end.

Depression is ugly, people.  Depression lies.  Like the snake in the garden of Eden, Depression twists and turns it way into your mind, and your heart, and your gut; it whispers small lies at first... building and building until the only "voice" you hear is the demanding, punishing voice that is Depression.  I have danced with Depression a few times in my life.

The first was after Kid 1 was born.  It had already been established that I had OCD.  I am not the compulsive hand-washer or cleaner (sorry, Hubby!), I am the "lock-checker."  At my worst, I spent 20+ minutes just trying to exit my house.  Testing exterior doors... holding the shaft of the curling iron in my hand to make sure it was cool and off... squeezing the plug of the iron and curling iron into my hand to make imprints so I'd remember that I'd unplugged them... laying my hand on each stove burner to make sure it was cool.  Yeah... I did all of that! :(  Once I started medication (zoloft), the panicked voice in my head convincing me that I would single-handedly burn my house down with a careless light left on was muted somewhat, I could finally concentrate on the "sane" thoughts that had become buried in the cacophony of lies.  I found my "normal" again.  For me, medicine helps me sort through truths and lies.  "Mind over matter" wasn't enough for me, I needed professional, medical help.

I stopped taking Zoloft when we decided to get pregnant.   Then I decided to try breast-feeding after Kid 1 was born.  That meant a total of about a year without meds... and postpartum depression slithered through that open door inside my mind.  I remember looking at my baby and realizing just how fragile he was.  Everything he required depended on me!  The doubts got so strong that I started being afraid to walk past the top of the stairs with him.  I had visions of tossing him down the stairs, even.  I'd hold him close on the trek from our room to his room and hug the back wall - staring straight ahead to his door, walking swiftly (but not TOO quickly or I might trip!).  I didn't want to be responsible for breaking or hurting or killing him.  I reminds me now of a conversation that Twilight's Edward had with Bella:
It’s just that you are so soft, so fragile. I have to mind my actions every moment that we’re together so that I don’t hurt you. I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply by accident.
Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 14, p.310
I didn't tell anyone my feelings - the Lies twisted and told me that "they'd" take my child away... that I was a rotten mother... that I was crazy."  When breast-feeding turned out to be a complete disaster (Thank you, God!), I returned to my prescription.  The Lies were muted; common sense could reign again.

The second time, the medicine caused the lies...
Packaging on anti-depressants tell you that if you develop suicidal tendencies, to CALL YOUR DOCTOR right away.  A few years later... this weary stay-home mom with a toddler and a new baby was exhausted.  Overweight... with high blood pressure... pulled in so many different directions...  I remember thinking that "If everyone keeps taking a piece of me... soon I'll be left with nothing but pieces..."  And, I remember thinking that perhaps it would be SO much quieter if I were dead.  Fortunately, I also remembered the warnings on the medicine package.  I called my doctor, switched my medicine, and the lies of Depression were stifled once again.

I share my story in a effort to show that if you are suffering from depression, or anxiety, or OCD, or crazy thoughts, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  There was a funny  quote kicking around that said:
1 in 4 people are crazy.
Look at your 3 best friends.
If they seem normal, it's you.

Sometimes, I think that's a bit backwards... because the amount of people I've run into who have had issues with depression, anxiety, etc. seem a lot higher than 1 in 4!  

But Depression is a powerful, powerful snake.  It crawls in and tramples all over the "sane" thoughts until all you hear are the lies.  My friend, Phil, posted this Bible verse recently:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:10-11 ESV)

Depression IS a thief.  It steals your joy, your sanity, your life.  And there isn't a quick fix.  There are only tools that you can try (and mix & match!) to get control over it. First, is God... and then all of the people, programs, medication, and/or therapy that God has put in place around you.  

God tells us in Isaiah 40:31-
But those who HOPE in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

And in Psalm 46:1 - 
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

God is there for you to turn towards.  And He has placed key people on this earth to help you as well.  Friends, Family, Doctors, Therapists, Medicine, Meditation, Blogging,  ... who and whatever!  Reach out.  Talk to someone.  You are not alone.  Please, use the tools around you to thwart the Lies.  Because there IS joy ahead for you.  There IS faith.  There IS life.

Everyone who's ever met me knows that my all-time favorite show is Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  Best show ever  - seriously.  And at the end of Season 5, Buffy must sacrifice herself to save the entire world by jumping through a portal keep all hell (literally) from closing in.  She gives these final words to her sister, Dawn:

"Dawn, listen to me.  Listen.  I love you.  I will always love you.  But this is the work that I have to do.  Tell Giles... tell Giles, I figured it out.  And, and I'm okay.  And give my love to my friends.  You have to take care of them now.  You have to take care of each other.  You have to be strong, Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it.  Be brave.  Live.  For me."

The hardest thing in this world... is to LIVE in it.  All of you who struggle, I encourage you to be brave.  LIVE.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

I'd Like To Be As Good A Friend As My Dog...

As I type this, my sweet dog, Ranger is laying on my feet on the sofa.  

He has already followed me around the house, walked with me to the bus stop, patrolled our backyard against strangers (or strange birds... or just regular birds), dissected his Kong of treats, and wandered around the house glancing out the windows in search of the evil chipmunks who taunt him through the glass.

God really knew what He was doing when he made "Man's Best Friend" - I think this chapter missed it's spot in Genesis:

If you have a furry companion, you are blessed.  They may have their infuriating moments, but dogs show this amazing loyalty and friendship to their people.  I was thinking this morning, that I hope I'm as good of a friend to others as my dog is to me.

I'd like to think that I'm ready to play or hang out at any moment... that I'm quick to forgive and forget... that I'm loyal, and a good listener, and happy, and outgoing, and adaptable.  I'm sure I fail all the time, but hopefully I succeed more than not.

The Bible has some great verses on friendship... One of my favorites is when Jesus is speaking:

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

How amazing is it that Jesus wants to call me, you, all of us, his friend?!

And if my dog can get it right, can't we all?
Your friend,
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

For My Husband... And My Sons... And ALL the Men in My World...

Yesterday was for my girls - today is for you, Dudes.  Because the guys in my life are special, and unique, and AWESOME as well... 

God created you for an amazing purpose... have you found it yet?  Are you living up to the MASTERPIECE that you are?

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 
      you formed me in my mother's womb. 
   I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! 
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 
      I worship in adoration—what a creation! 
   You know me inside and out, 
      you know every bone in my body; 
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; 
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
   The days of my life all prepared 
      before I'd even lived one day.
Psalm 139:13-16, The Msg

Thank you for being you,
♥ Mags
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Attention Women! This Is For YOU!!!

I've mentioned before, that when I meet a new kid - especially one of my kids' friends, I usually introduce myself as Maggie-is-Awesome.  I tell them that I will answer to "Mrs. Buckley," but that I honestly prefer either "Maggie-Is-Awesome," "Darth Magius," or "Magius Malfoy" (if you don't get the last two references, you need to stop reading this, and go out an BUY and WATCH "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" ..... like, NOW).   

The need to continually remind others that I'm not a dork (which in turn probably gives just opposite message) likely stems from my elementary school years as being... well... a dork.  (Who needs psychotherapy?  See how easy that was to figure out?!)  But I've got a message for all my gals today... just in case you aren't feeling it, YOU are AWESOME.  But don't just take MY word for it...


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
-Psalm 139:14 NIV

Embrace it.
♥ Mags
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Friendship in UNusual places

Love finding God in unusual places... how about a BEER commercial?!!  If you want to see a true definition of friendship, take a look at this commercial.  Be sure you watch it all the way through (or it won't make sense!):  

"And as you wish that others would do to you,
do so unto them."
Luke 6:31

What have you done for a friend lately?  
Today, I am thankful for my friends - who make me laugh... who offer support, guidance, fashion advice (*wink*), and more.... who love my kids... who love my quirks.  
Thank you, my friends.

:) Mags
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

There's A New Dog In Town...

I've been quite remiss in my blogging!  Summer hit, and I was knee-deep in baseball tournaments, games, and practices... then vacation... then back-to-school meetings, shopping, and routines.  I hope you all have had a wonderful summer - and have had a chance to glimpse God in one of your everyday places. :)

I also want to show off our new (ish) dog.  I confess, I did NOT wait 4 months to get a new furry friend... I was on Petfinder within 24 hours of losing Mick.  I started with our the closest, Columbus Cocker Rescue, but at the time, all of the dogs they had were older (we were hoping for a 1-2 year old dog so he still had some "life" in him to play).  So we widened our search... and widened it some more... and then found the perfect pooch... in Texas.  Yeah... Texas... Have I mentioned that I live in Ohio?!  But it's interesting how God eases the way for some things.  The adoption fee was lower than other local rescues, the airfare was low - and together, the total cost was just about a $100 more than adopting locally.  The wonderful people at Houston Cocker Spaniel Rescue worked with us and Columbus Cocker Rescue (who graciously provided references since they had done such extensive screening already), and THIS little guy was on a plane headed our way.  Meet Ranger!

This little guy is hilarious - We think he's part cat the way he hops up on the edges of furniture and perches there.  As I type, he is dozing right next to me.  He's definitely a bird-dog.  Did you see Doug in the movie, "Up?"  Well, instead of "SQUIRREL!," imagine our dog doing the same thing at "BIRD!!!!"

This blog post isn't one of my "deeper ones."   Just the simple idea that even when you have crummy things happen to you, better days are always ahead.  And you have to be willing to think outside the box.  At first, adopting a dog nearly 900 miles away seemed like crazy talk.  But with persistence, and commitment, and God easing the way, we have our new dog.  And it was worth it.

Luke 11:9-10 ESV
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks, finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

:) Mags

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

All Dogs Go To Heaven :)

Our 5-year old, sweet Cocker Spaniel named Mick died yesterday.  It was completely unexpected.  He started having seizures on Sunday and got progressively worse.  We saw two different vets - but blood work was clear, he hadn't been injured, he hadn't eaten anything weird - there was no outward cause.  By Tuesday, we got to a Veterinarian Neurologist who suspected either (best case) epilepsy or (fixable) encephalitis or (worst case) a brain tumor.  They admitted him for 24 hours to give him anti-convulsives and stabilize him.  But within 5 hours of being admitted, he died.

To say we were shocked was an understatement.  No one expects an otherwise healthy, 5-year old dog to suddenly expire.  As we talked with the neurologist when we checked him in - we were looking at some tough decisions ahead.  The only way to completely determine what was going on was a $2200.00 canine MRI (that would actually be done at the downtown Children's Hospital - how crazy is that?!).  This could show if it was a tumor, encephalitis, or nothing (leaving the last diagnosis as epilepsy).  But the hospital only did these on Thursdays.  There was also the enormous cost to consider.  We had already spent nearly $1000 in just the last few days on tests and care for him - was an MRI the right choice?  And if it was a tumor - what was our next plan?  Brain surgery on a dog?  I have first hand experience with this - I had a benign cystic glioma removed in 2002.  Recovering from brain surgery is grueling!  Could we actually ask that of our sweet Mick just so WE could feel better and keep him around longer?

We left the pet hospital with our heads spinning - but were sure that in 24-hours, the doctors would be able to at least stabilize him so we could work on the next steps.

This was my prayer yesterday:
Dear God - 
Please take care of our sweet dog, Mick.  
Ease his pain and show us a clear direction in which to take his care.  

God tells us to be specific in our prayers.  He knows what we want, but He also wants us to ask:
 Ask, and it will be given to you;  seek, and you will find; 
knock, and it will be opened to you
Matthew 7:7 

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
Matthew 21:22 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24  

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it
John 14:13-14 

Well... You can get much clearer than our answer.  God took Mick to heaven - to play with Clifton (our previous dog of 12 years), and Julia (our niece), and all of the other past pets and family.  Either he knew that no amount of testing would fix Mick on earth... or decided that an MRI wasn't the best use of our fiscal gifts... or just really wanted to have our sweet dog hanging out with him in Heaven, God answered our prayer.  It might not be the answer I wanted, but it's the answer I asked for, and how can I argue with the answer that involves my beloved pet being healthy, whole, and happy running around in God's big playground?!!

On a side note... Not sure if our pets go to Heaven?  Consider this response by Christian author, Rick Warren:
People miss Heaven because of their rebellion against God's offer of love, by rejecting Jesus.  But dogs, which have no ability to sin nor moral conscious, do not have an ability to reject Jesus.  It is the same principle as a baby, young child, or mentally challenged individual.  The Bible calls then "safe," not "saved."  In Proverbs, we read that "The Lord preserves the simple" which includes persons without the ability, capacity, or moral conscious to reject Jesus.

Our dogs (and cats, pigs, ferrets, bunnies, whatever) are totally going to Heaven. :)

Mick was a rescue dog.  We got him through a wonderful organization called Columbus Cocker Rescue. At first I was beating myself up over the fact that WE were supposed to be his rescue - yet we only had him 3 years before he died. But this morning, I realized that even the three short years of rescue were important.  God calls us to be His hands and feet to all his creations by reaching out in prayer, help, comfort, service, or with our financial gifts.  While God is the ULTIMATE Rescuer, He EXPECTS us to do some earthly rescuing too!!

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3-4

When we first got Mick at age 2, he had terrible ear infections.  The previous owners had not taken care of his ears at all-- to the extent that vets were talking full ear ablations.  And ablation is a grisly ear surgery where all of the inner and middle ear is removed and outer ear flap is sewn shut.  
Obviously, all hearing is lost in the ablated ear; an ablation is saved as a very last resort for a chronically ear-infected pet.  We were steadfast (especially my awesome husband!) in getting all of the medicines deep into Mick's ears to heal the infection-- for over 6 months we worked to avoid ablation - and had to regularly make sure we were keeping his ears clean.  One thing the vet mentioned was that even through had significant damage deep in his ears from the older infections, the canal (that we could reach and clean) looked good.  So I'm feeling more confident this morning that we did our part with Mick.  

My friend, Amy, told me that "If God knew Mick wouldn't have a long life, sending Mick to the House of Buckley was a pretty good deal, I think!"    David has often said that if he could be reincarnated, he's only want to come back as a dog in our house - because those dogs have one sweet life!  I have to remind David that HE is part of the "good life" that dogs in our house receive... ahhhh...details. ;)

Just because yesterday was completely craptastic, and my eyes are puffy today from all the tears, I am solid in the knowledge that one sad day is small in comparison to the love, and joy, and companionship Mick gave to us.  And since I know God isn't finished with US yet, I am resolute that God expects us to continue to do our part in helping others - whether that be people or pets.

If you are looking to adopt a furry friend and changing a life, consider taking a look at CCR's list of dogs looking for a home.  Just look at some of these faces - and these are just a handful of the dogs wishing for a forever home!  (Images are linked to dog's description.)






Not local to SW Ohio?  Use Petfinder to locate a pet-in-need in your area.

And, give your pet a hug from me today.  I miss mine.

When God had made the earth and sky, the flowers and the trees.
He then made all the animals, the fish, the birds, and bees.

And when at last He'd finished, not one was quite the same.
God said, "I'll walk this earth of mine, and give each one a name."

And so He traveled far and wide.  And everywhere He went,
A little creature followed Him, until it's strength was spent.

When all were named upon the earth, and in the sky, and sea,
The little creature said, "Dear Lord!  There's not one left for me!"

Kindly the Father said to him, "I've left you to the end.
I've turned my own name back to front, and call you DOG, my friend."
-Author Unknown

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