Posts Tagged ‘Jack’

The Big Glue

May 5, 2011 2 comments

Dana will remember and point it out to me after she reads this.  I can’t remember where it happened, but I do know when it happened.  It was Good Friday and we bumped into random stranger lady who made a comment about it being strange that the calendar landed on both Good Friday and Earth Day.

Earth Day.  You might know it.  It’s when the hippy community and the Christian community have an extra thing in common – caring for creation.  My first interaction with Earth Day was from my science teacher in 8th grade, Robin Ringland.  I grew up in Stanwood, Washington, and there was absolutely no way Robin could have professed Christ in the midst of her teaching overtly – she’d be out faster than you can say molecular biology.  But she did point us in the trajectory of Christ – especially on Earth Day.

Back to random stranger lady – the kind of person I like to interact with.  She mentioned the shared date of Good Friday and Earth Day with a big question mark on the end.  We were walking away when I saw the glue that brings the two together.  Reconciliation.  Good Friday and Earth Day are all about reconciliation.  God is reconciling to Godself the creation: both humankind and the Earth.  Why shouldn’t they happen on the same day?

If you are one who calls yourself after the name of Christ, I’m guessing you’re called to be a part of that reconciliation.  We usher in this coming Kingdom of God which has within it a shalom, a wholeness, a complete-as-it-was-in-the-beginning kind of reconciling between God and God’s creation: man, woman, mineral, vegetable, science, truth, beauty, art, hard work, work without toil, sabbath, relationships, clean air, birds, and horses.  World without end.  Amen.  Amen.


Meow, Click

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment


Warning: this story includes my personal opinion about cats.

This story is only funny because it turned out OK.  I received a phone call at 8:30 in the morning from a friend of mine who is part of our church.  She sounded pretty cool, calm and collected, so I didn’t expect what came next.  Turns out she was in a storage room (no windows, no heat) in her house when her cat knocked over a piece of furniture that knocked into the door.  The door happened to be locked (from the outside).  The door closed on my friend and vuala! – locked and alone.  Meanwhile a meowing cat (probably complaining about kitty litter or not enough catnip) paced outside the room.

Fortunately she had her phone in her pocket and rang me up.  After a few calls, and a brother-in-law with a spare key and a video camera, she was free from her feline imprisoner, and on to the rest of her day.

No point here.  Just an awesome story about why Julie needs to consider getting a dog.

Did I forget to give you my personal opinion about cats?  Oh.  Well, I hate to alienate friends who like cats.  So, I won’t.

Categories: Yellow w/ White Trim Tags: , ,

All We Like Dogs

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

This morning I spent $111 at the vet’s office.  We’ve had Jack for a year now, so I made an appointment for him to go to see the vet.  Something you have to know about Jack: he’s a scaredy dog.  He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and as such he’s supposed to be really social and love new people and enjoy sniffing everybody’s everything, but Jack’s not that way (one of the reasons I like Jack).  He doesn’t follow all the norms, but does things his own way.

When we adopted Jack we heard that he had spent the first year of his life in a barn away from people (Cavaliers are bred to be around people all the time), so he was never properly socialized around people or other dogs.  He’s not aggressive (mostly) and never bites to draw blood.  He’s just odd in his really super-cute way.  If we go somewhere new or meet someone new he hides behind Dana or myself.

But I’m finding that we get something from Jack and we love it.  He loves us.  He thinks we’re great, and I think he enjoys all my puns and terrific jokes.  We receive that from him, and he receives love back from us.  He also gets food, treats, a bed to sleep in (my bed, by the way), and this morning…shots.

I hate to be the cynical bearer of honesty today, but I think there’s something else I have gotten from Jack: an understanding that all non-forced relationships have built within them a giving and receiving.  I’m friends with the people I’m friends with because I get something from them: mutual respect or good conversation or someone to share a common interest.  There simply has to be that or I probably won’t spend time with them.  Wow.  This kind of makes me sound like a really horrible person, but I think it’s the case with everyone.  Even Mother Theresa received from those she spent time with.

If this weren’t the case, we would spend time with many more people than we do.  Think about why you have the friends you do.  Or maybe why you don’t have as many friends as you would like.

We could argue about this, I’m sure, but here’s my point: Jack was terrified to be around people (not just the vet’s office people), but when I took him to the dog park directly after that, he happily sniffed the butt of every dog there.  He had something in common with the dogs – they are alike in ways that make them sniff each other.

We can smell on someone else a kindredness.  And in the church, people from completely different worlds with completely different likes and dislikes with everything in the world pulling them apart…come together because they have a kindredness – a shared giving and taking, a holy connection…they are family.  We have received together the gifts of salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and a connection to the Creator, Sustainer, and Giver of life.

So we look past our differences in light of our one ENORMOUS likeness.  We serve and share in the same God who has made us a family.  One group of dogs: mutts and purebreds, clean and dirty, foul-smelling and perfumed, long and short-haired, collared and haltered – who gathers weekly to jump on our master and express our love and then to go out into the world having relieved ourselves of all that weighs us down and hinders us – out to wag our tails and share the love our master has so feely given us…all of us rescues who need to overcome our fear of those unlike us.

Ok, I recognize this was a bit cheesey.  But I spent all morning looking at big brown eyes and long floppy ears.  Forgive me.

The bird, not the Catholic

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment


Our house is covered in snow.  Coincidentally, by nature of being nearby, so is our backyard.  We’ve got, I don’t know, 20 inches or so – enough that our dog doesn’t want to go out and enough that my kids do want do go out.  At lunch today I had a sudden inhalation of breath as I looked out the kitchen window.

Along the fenceline between my house and Roy Gibson’s house is a line of bush/trees.  Not sure what they are, but I trimmed them last spring from 15 ft. to 7 ft. with the help of a friend.  They looked extravagantly ugly at the beginning, but later in the summer they ended up looking great – vindication for a risky springtime pruning.

Anyway, the bush/trees are thinned out and have only a remnant of dead leaves hanging on…brown branches with brown leaves – you can see the stark white of snow through them.  And then the thing that made me take a breath out of nowhere.  The unexpected pop of color, a cardinal (the bird, not the Catholic – that would also have made me catch my breath, but in a freakier way).  In the middle of the branches one, wait two…Dana come and look at this…now I see three cardinals in the bush/tree back there.

We just stared out the window while my soup bubbled on the stove and her bagel thawed in the microwave.  It had the ability to stop us dead in our tracks and put everything else out of mind for a moment.  A laser beam of focus on the bright color in the middle dappled brown and white.

What must it have been like for shepherds in the field who saw, then heard, angels?

Loved to Death

November 22, 2010 1 comment

This good thing came to an end.

Jack has lots of toys.  There are tons of them…way more than he needs.  But there’s one that is his favorite – “Squeak Toy”.  And oh, how he loves squeak toy.  I’ve written about this before.  Since then, however, he’s loved it to death.  He finally ruined it.  Actually, I’m pretty amazed it lasted this long – the way he loves that thing.  He’s been very careful with it.  He never chews, only gums and licks it.  But…all good things must come to an end, right?

It gets me to thinking about my kids.  Maybe your kids, too, if you have them.  I know parents who love and protect and coddle and care for their kids so much that it turns them away.  “Give me space!” they seem to scream as they quietly (or loudly) slip away.  It’s like the kid who was raised up in the church and then starts to turn away.  The parent clings to him/her more closely and makes sure they goes to church even more.  Then, when the child starts to wear dark clothes and goth make-up, the parent holds him/her between their paws and holds them even tighter…maybe enrolls them in a Christian school.

Nothing wrong with these things, but sometimes you just have to release a little control and give the child some space to breathe and think.  This verse comes to mind: do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they turn again and rend you.  Could it be that the best things that we want to give our kids (faith and an understanding of God in their lives) can be pushed so hard that it gets met by a temporarily hardened heart and then possibly rejected altogether?

I threw away squeak toy this weekend.  My dog keeps looking for it, and you can tell that things just aren’t right in his world because he can’t find it.  It may have lasted if he didn’t love it so much…too much, in fact.

I’m certainly no expert on kids.  Take this for what it’s worth.

Windy Days

October 27, 2010 1 comment

I love windy days.  I live at the end of a longish street.  It runs East-West and we’re near Lake Michigan, so when it’s windy off the lake the breeze blows right down our street and vortexes into our slider door.  Monday night we knew there was a storm coming, so we went outside and brought in most of the lightweight stuff and did a little battoning of the hatches.  Tuesday morning we found that school had been cancelled because of a tornado watch.  Ok.

Here’s moment #1 of my two favorite moments yesterday: No school, so I’m sitting with Alex in our living room.  He’s in Dana’s chair reading an “American Chillers” novel…something about Ogres and Ohio.  I’m in my chair reading my latest novel.  Jack is in his little bed gnawing on a toy.  I felt lifted by the thought that my son loves to read.  I timed him and he can put down a page every 45 seconds or so.  Pretty fast.  Now for some comprehension, right?  I watched the wind blow my deck chair to the left, then to the right.  Pretty powerful.

Here’s moment #2 of my two favorite moments yesterday: I got the opportunity to listen to the faith stories of two people in our church who want their children baptised.  I sat in their living room and heard about how one was born in a Laotian refugee camp in Thailand, moved to Holland and grew up in the church.  The other grew up in Holland and was only involved in church when she was very small and then only very occasionally until recently.  The woman had a revelation just a month or so ago “I never knew how people who don’t have faith get faith.  Then I realized: you have to ask for it.  I wish someone would have told me that a long time ago.  Why didn’t someone say that?  Now I want to tell everybody.”

The Spirit of God blew down my street yesterday and gave me a sense of peace with my son.  The Spirit of God blew into that family’s life and has renewed and fanned a flame long since smoldering.  I love windy days.

20 Does Not = 7

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I get home on time to see Alex get off the bus.  The bus, #7, stops way at the end of our road, and I can see it when it does so.  It gives me about 5 minutes lag time between when it stops and when the boy actually comes in the door.  He likes to dally, which is totally cool with me.  So, when he didn’t show up 5 minutes later, I wasn’t too concerned.  When he didn’t show up 10 minutes later…

I hooked the dog up to the leash and we decided to go looking for him.  I figured he had stopped at a friends house along the way without asking permission (a reasonably small offense), but I needed to know he was OK, so Jack and I headed out to find the little prodigal.

As we got to the end of our driveway a school bus headed straight for our driveway.  This is odd because it doesn’t come that way.  In it: one driver and one boy.  “I don’t know how he thought 20 was 7, but here he is,” the driver said like it happens every day that a kid gets on the wrong bus…probably does.

One scared little boy (usually full of power and sure of himself) ran down the steps of the bus and into my arms, crying.  It wasn’t the place he wanted to be, though.  He headed straight for his mother and there he cuddled crying and scared.  Poor little guy.

I feel that way, too, sometimes.  I get on the wrong bus and when I finally get it figured out I just want to crawl up into my Father’s arms and be consoled…the only arms that are able to bring me into the wholeness and safety, the only arms that, when they’re done holding me, set me off in the right direction – never wanting to get on the wrong bus again.

Categories: Yellow w/ White Trim Tags: , , ,