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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Man's Best Friend

As if life isn't exciting enough with three children, over the years we have accrued three fur babies as well.  People think we are crazy, I'm sure. Some days I would agree. But most days, I realize how complete they make our family and how much we would be missing out on without them around.
As most of you know, I have been really sick lately.  I don't mean I haven't felt well so I have been eating saltines and chicken noodle soup and catching up on DVR. I mean, sick SICK!  I have been unable to keep crackers and soup down and the movement on the TV just makes me feel like I am on a fair ride that will never end. :(  Through all of this, I have seen friends and family cover me in love and prayers and I promise, I have felt that love and those prayers and I love you all for it. :)
I have also noticed something kind of strange.  Our dogs are super needy for MY attention. They want to be laying near me or sitting next to me.  At first, I'm sad to admit, that it was bothersome.  I spent most of the day pushing them off my legs (or my face...Osa) and some days their attention only made me feel worse.  But the last few days, it has been a constant comfort to me that they are paying so much attention to me. It has made me feel loved and frankly, taken care of. I've wondered if maybe they KNOW that I don't feel well and they want to be there for me, even though "being there" isn't anything more than simply being near me.
I don't know how long they will be with us.  I hope it's a very long time from now. But I have found a new appreciation, a new gratitude, and a deeper connection with these three fur babies.  They litter the yard, raid the trash, jump on visitors and bark incessantly, but I can't imagine life without them.
Because with all the challenges they bring, there are few more genuine greetings at the front door or more excited awakenings in the morning than the ones these four-legged monsters give our family every single day.
Animals of all kinds can bring us so much joy, not only when things are going well, but also when we feel pain and are suffering.
Dogs don't solve our problems or offer advice. All they do is sit there with us when we're emotional basket cases or maybe even when we are just not feeling well, and that's enough.  For me, that is enough. :)
So go find your dog.  Roll it over and scratch it's tummy. Let it lick your face and go get it a treat because they deserve love and will often make you feel more loved than any one person in your life.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Count Your Many Blessings.

One of the most difficult things for me to stay mindful of, as a Christian, is to be thankful in ALL things.  It is so hard to trust the Lord and be thankful when you feel like you are facing a mountain alone.  But isn't that exactly what we have been called to do?  Aren't we called to come to Him with a thankful heart?  Essentially, we are called to "Let Go and Let God".  That concept is hard for me.  I struggle with letting go and trusting Him to take care of me. Let's be honest; Haven't we all tried to take matters into our own hands and "fix" something before we even gave God the chance to intervene? 
I recently read a quote that really touched my heart and gave me reason to pause: "What if you only had tomorrow, what you gave thanks for today?"  Wow.
If you woke up tomorrow and all that was left were the things you'd thanked God for the day before, what would be left?  Family and Friends?  A roof over your head? A bed to sleep in? Food to eat?  Most importantly, would you have forgiveness of your sins?  We don't deserve these things and we certainly haven't earned them, but yet we take them for granted and even feel entitled to them.  These are all gifts of God's grace and we ought to give thanks for them every day.  
We must learn to be content with what we have and where God has placed us, not just in the good times, but ALWAYS and in ALL things.
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

My goal is to recognize and be thankful for the many blessings in my life.  I hope you will make this a personal goal of yours too.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His steadfast love endures forever." - Psalm 136:1
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