Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Found God in My Husband...

Yesterday, marked the anniversary of 14 years of marriage for me and my "King Charming," David. I have been blessed with a husband who is a noble and honorable man... one who stands firm in his convictions, but who also yields when it is in the best interests of the family (or his sanity!). One who provides for our family and models the type of man I want my sons to emmulate. I am lucky, for sure, and I thought I'd share just a few of the lessons I've learned from him...

1. Don't Waver On Your Faith - When David and I got married, I was VERY resistent to going to church. But David was patient and steadfast - he quietly followed my initial "one week on - one week off" rule regarding our church attendance, but continued his own growth with men's classes on the side. He encouraged me to pick up more responsibility at our church - even joining me in helping in the nursery and such. When I came time to find a new church closer to our home, he valued my opinions and insight on the various places we visited. We've had some spirited discussion on many "hot" topics: homosexuality, abortion, etc. - and his point of view has always been backed by Biblical teachings. He has never let society and their "rules" interfere with what he knows to be True from the Bible. One's faith is critical - you have to know WHAT you belief... and more importantly, you have to know WHY you believe it so you can explain it to others. David knows his stuff ... and he can share it with others so that they can understand too. God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship. - Proverbs 22:11 (Msg)

2. Know when to bend. You know how we had to put our beloved dog, Clifton, down last month? "THE PLAN" was to wait a year (or at least across a summer) before getting a new one. I was on board with THE PLAN... when we had an infirm dog already and taking a break seemed like a good idea.... but about 12 hours after having "no dog," I realized that I hated not having a dog in our house...!! And 36 hours later, I had found a new dog on the Columbus Cocker Rescue site! Needless to say, David was flabbergasted - he was not on this "NEW PLAN" of mine - but he came to realize how important getting a new dog was to me. He put his own wants and needs aside for me - gave up his plan and accepted the new plan... for me... because he loves me, and in this instance, he could be the bigger person and B E N D.

3. Leave the baggage behind. Everyone has baggage in their life... sometime small bags that are easily discarded and forgotten... but sometimes BIG baggage that sits in the foyer of your lives forever - unable to be emptied, recycled, trashed, or wiped from memory. But one's circumstances or past does NOT have to dictate your whole life - The past may have shaped who you are TODAY... but it does NOT have to dictate who you will be tomorrow. David refuses to let old family stuff impact our kids or our family. He steps up and protects our core family from the baggage that could infect another generation. It's not easy - and I so admire him for that!

4. Have fun with your family. ... And on the 7th day, God rested... David takes time to play with the family... We see movies, he wrestles with the kids, he coaches their sports teams, he co-leads the Scouts. He shows our kids all the time that they are important to him and that they matter. Sure, he's got work... and lots of it! But he's not ALL about work - and the kids know that THEY are more valuable to him than work.

5. Love your spouse. Proverbs 6:17-20 (Msg) reminds us to "never take love for granted." David brings me flowers... not just on a birthday or anniversary... but "just because." He once went out a 9:45PM (10 minutes before Best Buy would close) to buy me a security cable for my laptop before we left on vacation because he knew I really wanted (needed?!) one for our trip. He takes care of our cars (you have to change the oil??) - our home (what's a furnace filter?) - and our money (with help from Dave Ramsey). He's endured more than one craft show, the nightmarish rubber stamp convention, the garrish Rennassance Festival, and the American Girl Doll Store (and we don't even have a daughter!). This man SHOWS me over and over... daily... that he loves me and our family.

Thanks, Sweetie... for your everyday life lessons... ♥
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Found God In My Dog...

Last night, we said "good-bye" to our 13-year old Cocker Spaniel, Clifton. I'm assuming that since God took the loving care to create cats and dogs (and other pets) who would bond so fervently with his human creations, He has also provided a place for them in Heaven. So I'm comforted by the idea that Clifton is now playing with any other pets from my life as well as various relatives who have gone on before us.

Now that our "interactive stuffed animal" (He looked like a giant Webkinz), is gone, there are so many lessons I can take from his life (the equivelent of a 91-year-old!). Here are five that stand out:
  1. Stop whining about the crummy stuff! - Buck up and deal with it...! About 5 years ago, Clifton went blind due to cataracts. That didn't stop him - he used his hearing and sniffer to get around. Then he lost his hearing. He was only able to smell and feel these last few years, but he still went outside... He still followed us around the house... He still explored new areas (moved furniture, a kennel). There was no whining - a dog can't complain all day long; he just deals with it. I wish humans were so adaptable. Jesus endured unspeakable pain before His death - nothing we go through will be as bad as that - so stop whining and buck up.

  2. Don't Hold Grudges...! Because Clifton was blind and deaf AND insisted on being "where the action was" (i.e. wherever we were in the house), he was under-foot most of the time. Quite often, we would trip over him when he unexpectedly darted under our feet, and I'm sad to say that he was inadvertantly kicked in the head a lot. *sigh* But we never heard a growl... a snarl... nothing. Clifton was as loving as always - every day. I've got two kids who whack each other the moment the first one makes a transgression against the other. I would love it if they were as forgiving as my ol', blind & deaf dog!

  3. It's the Simple Things In Life That Matter Most...! Clifton didn't need a fancy bed, or a fancy toy, or a bedazzled collar to be happy. He just wanted to be with us - snuggled on the couch watching TV... or gnawing on a piece of rawhide... or sandwiched in the bed between me and David. Above all, he wanted TIME with us... And TIME with your loved ones, is usually the best gift you can give them.

  4. It's Not Always About You...! When Clifton got "old," not only did he lose his sight and hearing, but he suffered periodic seizures, and he had warts all over his skin, and he had a few cancerous tumors removed. His stomach got tricky - and about twice a week, we'd come downstairs to find he'd tossed his cookies (usually on the carpet!), or had an accident (also on the carpet). It's easy to get angry when older beings fall apart - what was once strong and independent (and in a dog's case, trained!), is now weak, fragile, and messy. But real love is a choice - and we choose to give of ourselves to care for this dog (or this grandparent or this friend) no matter how messy it gets. Caring for Clifton may have gotten frustrating at times, but it's not always about ME... it's about making life better and easier for my friend.

  5. Love Unconditionally...! "A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself." We are flawed, we screw up, but our dog loved us anyway. God is the same way - We make rediculous decisions every day, and God still gives us His unconditional love. Having a pet helps you love unconditionally and experience this back. We are blessed with 13 years of memories of our precious dog; he helped us become more loving people.

When God made the earth and sky, the flowers and the trees.
He then made all the snimals, the fish, the birds, and bees.
And when at last He'd finished, no one was quite the same.
He said, I'll walk this world 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 called you "DOG," my friend.

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