Thursday, January 28, 2010

And the winner is...

...NOT to dog. :( :(

After lots of input from Facebook peeps, in-real-life friends, and prayers from friends & family, I made my decision...the one that was my first instinct yesterday afternoon when I got the phone call that might have changed my life.

I will NOT be adopting "Sophie" the little Yorkie.

I'm going to hold out for my Pugs, maybe even from see, I have thought and planned about my "girls" for years. Their names will be Petunia & Violet (Petunia after Porky Pig's sister and Violet because it's my favorite [Crayola] shade of God's best color!) There will be 2 of them so they can keep each other company during the day while I'm at work.

They will be Pugs for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is:
  • Pugs do not have to be groomed - just "wash and wear" and trim the nails (I can do that without a groomer at home)
  • Pugs do not need a lot of exercise, and are fairly low-energy, which is conducive to my lifestyle with FMS
  • They fit the size/weight restrictions for most apartment complexes
  • They've stolen my heart with their sad eyes and just look like they'd be great companions
But, as is the case with a lot of my other dreams, I realize that God may provide for my need of canine companionship in other ways, and I am open to that...hence why I did give Sophie genuine consideration.

Thanks for letting me think through things...thanks Mrs YH for your prayers! I have peace with my decision and hope that someone else will be able to provide Sophie with a loving home!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To Dog or not to Dog...

...that is the question!

I've been offered a 5 year old 2.5 pound female Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie). Since this is my blog and since very few people read it and since I have a headache and don't feel up to chatting on the phone with friends right now to think this through, I'm going to use this venue to write out my thoughts.

There's no question that I love dogs and that I could use the companionship. No question at all. The real question is whether I want to make that kind of financial commitment. I've been wanting a dog (actually 2, so they can keep each other company during the day while I work) for a LONG time...really ever since I had to show the "last act of love" to my 12.5 year old dog when I lived in MI 9 years ago. I have a furry hole in my heart that only a canine can fill.

I do not have any experience with Yorkies, but have a friend that does and there are some definite benefits--smaller kennel, smaller appetite, smaller collar, smaller leash, smaller everything, which usually means smaller price tag as well. The grooming thing, though, is a concern. One of the reasons I wanted to get Pug(s) is because they are a 'wash and wear' breed...not so with the Yorkie. I would think I'd need to get her groomed every month or so. Then there is of course the matter of the pet deposit at the apartment...$300, which is nothing for me to sneeze at. I think they'll let me pay it over the course of a few months, but nonetheless...

I don't think a Yorkie would require an extraordinary amount of exercise--I would think playing with her in the apartment would be good. I would try to walk her as much as I could, as much as my physical limitations allow. But I cannot have a dog that requires a lot of activity (like a Border Collie or Welsh Corgi or a Lab or a Golden Retriever, etc., etc.) Because the Yorkie is so small, she would get quite a bit of energy expelled just roaming/playing/running around the 600 square feet of space I rent here.

Bottom line - cost of care vs. unconditional love and companionship is a tough choice for me right now. Finances are not my strong suit and one of the things I wanted to get a better handle on this year. Would certainly mean less expendable income for spoiling my niece (by blood) and nieces (of the heart, my friends' baby girls). But in the long run, perhaps I could save money by being forced to watch my spending more closely.

My friend that called me today asking if I would give "Sophie" a home is going to continue to try to find someone else, and if she does then obviously that will be the Lord's answer. But this is not a decision I take lightly so I want to be sure I give it the prayer and thought it (she) deserves. Thanks for anyone who's reading this for reading this. :) I appreciate you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency (or maybe it does) on mine…

The definition of stress, I’ve heard, is being held responsible for something you can’t control. That surely defines my situation these days at The Company. However, I am very thankful to have a job and to work for my particular boss at The Company. I know I am very blessed with this position and so I do not mean to come across as having a complaining spirit. So many others I know are still out of work, having been laid off for several months or even years. In this crazy busy stressful period at The Company, on days that I work 10-11 hours (which is a lot for someone with FMS) that I am often weary beyond exhaustion. It’s then, above all other times, that I find great comfort in God’s sufficient strength.

One of my favorite passages as far as beautiful word strung together (as only Eugene Peterson can do in The Message )is this one below…this language has come a long way from the KJV “weary and heavy laden”—but the truth is still ever precious:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."—Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

How very compassionate, merciful and faithful of our God to give us rest. He has every right to make things difficult for me—I am a sinful, prideful human that constantly is failing to make Him the One and Only in every area of my life. YET, He promises to give me rest, and He does. He knows just how much I can handle—and I believe—gives me more than I can handle…ON MY OWN…but NEVER more than He and I can handle TOGETHER.

You know my favorite sentence in the paragraph below? “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Grace is unforced. I once had grace described to me as allowing the escalator/people mover to carry you the whole way, and not forcing your way up/over. That’s very hard for me to do, especially when I’m in a hurry. But grace is not in a hurry; it is unforced.

So on days like this when I feel like things at The Company are spinning completely out of control, I need to remember to fix my heart on my Jesus. He will help me have a restful spirit, even if, at the time, I can’t physically take a rest. May I learn to take things more lightly, not get so stressed, worried and frustrated, and just allow the unforced rhythms of His grace to transform my weary heart.

Though, for the record, when I ask someone at The Company to give me something by date/time, that’s when I actually need it (not the next day or the day after or the day after that!) I don’t make up these “due dates” for my health, let me tell you!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hope and Help for Haiti

I have no words to express my thoughts about the "horror in Haiti" as Fox News calls it. Truly only our amazing, Almighty God can make good out of this crisis. If you feel so led, please go HERE to donate to Compassion's Haiti campaign.

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'"--Matthew 25:37-40, The Message

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trusting God (by Lydia Brownback)

Hi. I don't plan on making this a habit, but I follow a writer (Lydia Brownback's) blog and she has a powerful article on trusting God. Please click over here to read it!

Lord, help me trust You more!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who's Planning the Party?!?

"Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'”--James 4:13-15 NIV

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

"But you'll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration. You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers, for decking us out in delight."--Psalm 5:11-12, The Message

Why is it that we as humans always think we can do things better ourselves? How could we possibly think that we as mere creations know better than the completely omnipotent and entirely omniscient Creator? Why do we think that it’s OK to map our entire lives out—right down to the exact year we’ll get married and how many children we’ll have—years and years in advance? We do so fully expecting that God will just go along with our ideas, show up and bless the party of a life we’ve planned!

Over and over the Lord has to teach me that life in Christ is best lived with I allow HIM to plan the party of my life and I just follow along, and “show up” as He directs me to. God has had to teach me this so many times—sometimes with subtle, gentle lessons, and more often (because of my own selfish stubbornness)—harsh and painful ones.

My mom tells me that one of the first phrases I learned to say was “by I self! By I self!”! Guess that pretty much says it all…I’ve been a self-motivated over-achiever since day one. I even shudder when I’m assigned a group project in school or any time when I’m required to work on a team to accomplish a goal. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s because so often there are those in my group or on my team that fail to “pull their own weight” and I end up having to do their part of the project. A few bad experiences such as this in life have made me reluctant to relinquish control over my achievement of the goal—or the obtainment of a good grade—to the others on my team.

Such behavior is arrogant and prideful enough when it involves other people, but infinitely more so when I begin to believe the lie that I know better what’s good for me that my Heavenly Father does. While I may not admit that this is so, my behavior betrays me when I am surprised the minute my life does not go according to my plan! How many times I have surrendered my life to Christ…and then un-surrendered it! How many times I have given a particular struggle or burden over to Him, just to turn around and take it out of His hands later! Why is it that I can’t leave what I give Him at the foot of His cross, walk away, and never go back to get it?

The Bible instructs us to hold loosely to the things of this life. It’s when our fingers get “sticky” and clutch tightly to our possessions, abilities, responsibilities and blessings that we get all tangled up in pride, selfishness, arrogance, and self-reliance. Martin Luther once said: “I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” What is it that the Lord is trying to pry out of your hands? What is it that you just won’t relinquish control of? Have you ever stopped to think why? Do you truly believe that you can manage your life better than the One that gave you life to begin with?

Most of us don’t consciously set out to take the reigns of our lives from the sovereign hands of the Lord. It just happens—because it’s a part of our sin nature to want to be in control. Yet if we rely on the strength God is ready and willing to provide us, we can place every aspect of our lives in His very able hands—and leave it there—permanently. This doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted to go back and pick it up, and do things our way once again. Instead, by being ever aware of our tendency to want to control and plan our lives, we are acknowledging our utter dependence upon our gracious God. We have nothing that He did not give us. And should He choose, this very instant, He could take it all away. He owes us nothing—except death—and just think of all His gives us! Everlasting life in salvation, ever-abundant mercy and grace each day, and ever-ready forgiveness for every sin we’ve committed and will commit from now on—and innumerably more blessings!

So just sit back and think for a moment. Who’s planning the party? I guarantee you it’ll be so much better if you let God have the job of managing your life and you keep the responsibility of following where He leads. You can’t take His hand if both of yours are filled with burdens and cares. So let go, look up, hold on and let Him have His way. It’s going to be the best party ever.