Saturday, November 14, 2020

Judge Slow, Love Quick

 Josh Wilson's song "Revolutionary" keeps spinning in my head.
Here's are the lyrics, in part:

Maybe you're not like me
Maybe we don't agree
Maybe that doesn't mean
We gotta be enemies

Maybe we just get brave
Take a big leap of faith
Call a truce so me and you
Can find a better way

Let's take some time, open our eyes, look and listen,
And we're gonna find we're more alike than we are different,

Why does kindness seem revolutionary?
When did we let hate get so ordinary?

Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary.

I'm turning the TV down
Drowning their voices out
'Cause I believe that you and me
Can find some common ground

See maybe I'm not like you
But I'll walk a mile in your shoes
If it means I might see
The world the way you do

What would Jesus do?
He would love first

Yeah, He would love first
So we should love first...

This is one of the most divisive times in US history. But those lyrics remind me to respond in love.

Love doesn't mean we necessarily agree with another person's point of view.
It does mean we show that person respect and compassion.

When asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:36-39

What would happen if we stood firm on our values, yet loved like Jesus loves?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-44

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

10 second "Want vs. Need" Quiz


Which is a need, which is a want? Take this highly scientific 10 second quiz to discover the answer!

Q) Which of the following is a need?

A) "My arm is broken. I need to go to the hospital."

B) "My outfits are lame. I need to go to the mall." 

If you chose A, congratulations. You identified the need.

(Insider's note: both are actual quotes from a twelve-year-old family member.)

My want list contains things like a unicorn, and a personal chef who turns chocolate desserts into a low calorie health food. But my needs list includes asking my husband to help with dinner so we don't wind up in the ER from my cooking.

(Insiders note: my grandson swears I killed a squirrel who ate the burnt eggplant I'd set outside.)

So what do you need help with? Work projects? School? Child care? Cooking? Cleaning? Tending sick friends or elderly relatives? 

Be proactive. Seek help from family, friends, neighbors, your church family, and coworkers. Sometimes a small break can make a major difference. Maybe you need a meal delivered, or a few hours without the children. Maybe you need a tutor, or a night out with friends or your spouse. Although that might be a picnic instead of dinner at an exclusive restaurant.

(Insiders note: my husband would rather eat my lethal burnt eggplant than dine in a fine restaurant.)

We live in a constantly changing "new normal" with Covid-19, social unrest, and economic uncertainty. People have contended with plagues, fires, famines, political machinations, and wars for centuries. An ancient book offers advice to deal with it:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phil 4:6 NLT

Which lines up with 1 Peter 5:7, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."
So, I might want to worry. but I need to pray. 

What new--or old--methods are you using to meet your needs and those of others?

By the way, if anyone wants or needs burnt eggplant, I'll gladly share my portion.

(Insider's note: I actually burned the green beans while writing this blog. But I left the smoky pan inside this time to prevent squirrel deaths.)

Photo courtesy of



Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Who Cloned my Dog?

Chicken Soup for the Soul's newest release, "The Magic of Dogs" goes on sale today.
The book contains 101 stories about our canine friends. Some hilarious. Some heartwarming.

I think mine, "Tundra's Clone," carries a bit of both. But you be the judge.


“Sheesh Dad, she’s bawlin’ again.”

Patty’s voice echoed down the hall into our master bedroom. My Super Mom Radar detected a patented eye-roll accompanying our sixth-grader’s words.

I rested my forehead against the cold window glass and stared at the weathered wooden cross in our backyard. A memorial for my dog Tundra, my constant companion.

I closed my eyes and pictured the companion who’d spent so many years by my side.
Golden fur.
Alert ears.
Smiling muzzle.
Wise brown eyes shining with love.

My husband Jake walked into the room and pulled me into his arms. “Honey, I’m sorry you’re hurting, but Tundra died last year. Maybe we should get a new dog.”

I jerked back and wailed like a two year old throwing a grocery store tantrum. “No dog could ever replace Tundra.”

Patty tip-toed into the room holding out a tissue box like a shield. “Mom, I miss Tundra too, but maybe looking at puppies will make us feel better.”

Despite my protests, we drove to our local Humane Society. Inside the florescent-lit room a barking chorus blasted our ears, a veritable Mastiff Tabernacle Choir.

A jeans-clad volunteer waved hello as she scrubbed the chain link kennels lining the long room. The scent of damp fur and fresh doggie poo competed with her pungent disinfectant.

Patty dashed from one canine resident to the next. A monstrously large Akita, roughly the size of Jupiter, sucked my tall, weight-lifter husband into its gravitational pull. “Hey honey, the tag says he came from Japan.” Jake reached into the cage and petted the mutant beast.

I forced a smile, but my heart ached for my precious Tundra. To hide my rising tears I walked to the end of the row.

There she stood.
My Tundra’s clone. In miniature.

Same golden fur.
Same alert ears.
Same smiling muzzle.
Same wise brown eyes shining with love.

“Lord, am I losing my mind?” I whispered.

Tundra’s tiny double pawed the kennel door as I knelt down. The force of her wagging tail shook her entire body. I knew this wasn’t my dog. Still, I couldn’t help whispering, “Tundra?”

The pup transformed into a bundle of canine craziness. Jumping, spinning, barking--the epitome of puppy joy.

Jake hurried over to see the commotion. His eyes widened. “Holy smoke, it’s Tundra. Pint sized.”

Patty ran over and screeched to a stop. “It’s a tiny Tundra!” She squatted next to me and gawked at Tundra’s replica.

chicken Soup for the Soul The Magic of Dogs book cover

The kennel attendant walked over, smiling. “Hi, I’m Francis. I’ll bring her out.”

She grabbed a leash and opened the kennel door. I crouched down and the Tundra clone raced into my outstretched arms. A second later I sat on the chilly concrete floor with the exuberant puppy commandeering my lap.

Jake watched the pup lick tears from my grinning face. My husband cast a longing glance at the planet-sized Akita, sighed, and pointed to the pooch in my lap. “Francis, we want to adopt this puppy.”

Francis bent and tickled the pup under her chin. “We found this little girl crouched in a drainpipe, shaking and sopping wet. Her owners have three more days to claim her. If not, she goes up for adoption on Monday.”

I cuddled the pup closer. “OK, we’ll pick her up Monday.”

Francis shook her head. “We adopt out on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Realization dawned with sickening clarity. I asked, “You mean, someone else might get her?”

She nodded. “I’m sorry, but that’s a possibility. The new owner must meet our adoption criteria, of course.”

Patty jumped to her feet. “My mom needs this puppy so she can quit cryin’ over her dead dog. This puppy is his clone!”

Francis patted Patty’s shoulder. “I can tell your mom really likes this dog, but it’s out of my hands. This puppy is exceptionally popular. If her owner doesn’t claim her, the first qualified person here Monday gets her.”

Francis lifted the pup from my lap and winked. “Fill out our paperwork, and check back Monday morning.”

I’d already lost my Tundra. The thought of not getting this puppy transitioned my eyes to “Embarrassing Public Tears” mode.

Patty groaned. “Sheesh, Dad, there she goes again.”

The next day, Saturday, I risked a ticket speeding to the animal shelter. Tiny Tundra leapt up, pawing the chain link door when she saw me.

Francis noticed, and brought the pup out. I spent the morning playing doggie-snuggle while rivers of people flowed past. When potential rivals ogled Tundra’s double, I tried projecting a, “This Dog is Taken” ray into their brains.

Sunday after church I hurried back to visit my duplicate Tundra. A middle-aged woman cooed to her through the cage mesh. I sent up a panicked semi-prayer, "Lord, smite that woman with dog fur allergy. Or turn her into a cat lover.” Jerking out my wallet, I raced into the kennel’s office and found Francis. “I’ll pay extra to take her home today.”

She lifted her hands. “I’m sorry, we have to follow protocol. The owner has until tonight to claim her. Call us tomorrow.” At my stricken look Francis said, “If this doesn’t work out there are plenty of other dogs available.”

“Not for me.”

Francis tapped her finger against her chin. “Get here tomorrow before we open. If you’re the first approved applicant, she’ll be yours.” Francis held up a cautioning hand. “Even so, you can’t take her directly home. We’d transport her to your veterinarian to be spayed. You’d get her from there.”

Giddy with happiness, I rushed home to share the news, then called my boss to request Monday morning off.

He answered after multiple rings, his voice squeaking like a smashed party horn. I explained my dilemma. He said, “Half of the office is sick. I’m sorry, but we need you at work.”

Panic set in. Someone else would get my dog.

Jake stroked my back. “Calm down. I’ll go there tomorrow morning after work.”

“You work nights. By the time you get there it’ll be too late.” I pictured tiny Tundra with the middle-aged cooing woman. My overactive tear-ducts sprang into action.

Patty strolled into the room. “Sheesh, Dad, not again!”

At her father’s, “Not now,” signal, Patty sighed and wandered out.

Jake lifted my chin. “Everything will work out. You’ll see.”

Monday morning found me performing agonized mental gymnastics. Would Jake reach the shelter before someone else claimed my puppy? I drove to work trembling. Jake called soon after, sounding cheerful. “Swing by the vet tonight to pick up your dog.”

I choked out, “Jake, you’re the best,” before my eyes locked into “Uncontrollable Joyous Tears” mode.

That evening we sat on the living room floor while Tiny Tundra romped across our legs. I snuggled against Jake. “Sorry for acting so crazy after Tundra died.”

“You acted pretty crazy about Tiny Tundra too, Mom,” Patty chimed in.

Encircled by the precious family who’d supported me through the challenging past year, tears welled. Patty scooped up Tiny Tundra and settled her in my lap. “Mom, enough blubbering!”

Laughing, I kissed Patty’s cheek and cuddled our vivacious pup. “Happy tears, Honey. Only happy tears from now on.”

Young boy hugging dog
Elderly TinyTundra with Patty's son.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Encouragement in the midst of adversity

Anybody need encouragement today?

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 14:10

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Easter vs. COVID-19

"Dad, it feels like Easter is cancelled. Has this ever happened before? Maybe during WW2?"

My eighty-five year old father replied, "Honey, this is a first. Even during wartime we always celebrated Easter. Services at church. The whole family together for dinner. Easter egg hunts for the kids." Dad paused for a moment. "We've never been in a situation like this, but we'll make it through."

Dad's right. So hit the road, Easter Grinch. Celebrations may look different, but they will continue. Because the whole reason for Easter isn't colored eggs and chocolate bunnies--although I'm a major chocolate bunny fan.

Easter is a celebration of Jesus coming to Earth. Sacrificing His life so we can have new life. And He offers His love, hope, and encouragement throughout the toughest times.

Photo courtesy of
Yes, we're in the midst of trying times. But Jesus said, 
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (The bible, John 16:33)

The coronavirus pandemic will end.
Jesus love and victory won't.
So take heart! Celebrate Easter in creative ways. And snag a chocolate bunny for me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Dear Diary, It's a BAT!

Dear Diary,

8:00 pm--Made foolish decision to drink Mountain Dew. Experienced extended caffeine rush.

3:30 am--Went to bed. Got up 1.2 nanoseconds later to investigate noise in bedroom.

3:31 am--Discovered black, wriggling, fist-sized object inside the window track.

3:32 am--Utilized evasive maneuvers to avoid BAT swooping through bedroom. Evidently a bat's radar draws it toward pajamas. And human shrieks. Much ducking, flailing, and running on my part.

3:45 am--Husband and I donned protective gear. Jake in coat and welding gloves. Me in fluffy pink robe and gardening gloves.

3:55 am--Bat's concealment techniques rivaled Jason Bourne's. We searched possible hiding places, including clothes hamper, closet, bed, shoes, purse.  Located intruder holed up in drapery fold.

4:00 am--After much struggle, captured bat with 6 foot fishing net. Flung bat outside, where it fell lifeless to roof overhang beneath window.

4:05 am--Looked for bat's body. Gone. So not dead.

4:10 am--Began bedroom cleaning/disinfecting process.

6:30 am--Finished bedroom cleaning/ disinfection process. Went to sleep in guest bedroom.

11:00 am--Called parent and shared bat story.

11:30 am--Received call back from Dad saying, "So the bat wasn't dead? Next time use a stake through the heart."