The Celebrated Jumping Dog

August 27, 2008

**With apologies to Mark Twain**

The Celebrated Jumping Dog

The Celebrated Jumping Dog

Last Saturday morning I stumbled out of bed before the sun was up to get ready for work.  It was one of those mornings that I wished that caffeine was still my friend.  Little did I know that I was going to have an awakening that would rival caffeine. 

My first hint that something was different that morning was that my dogs were not outside my bedroom door.  A lot of times they sleep on the steps or outside our bedroom doors.  Once my pack hears any movement, their tails start thumping on the walls and doors.  Sounds like a persistent knocking on the door.  When I leave the room, I have to herd them down the steps in front of me so I don’t take a tumble.  After all, we are talking about two hundred plus pounds of dogs.  When they get to the bottom of the steps they do this “ansy-dancey” prancing in anticipation of their morning breakfast while I walk down the steps. 

I guess, being only half-awake, I failed to register the differences in the morning dog rituals. I was half-way down the steps before anything registered.  This morning my dogs were already down the steps.  And I was not the center of attention.  My boxer mix, Duchess, was standing with her nose to the front door and her tail was going like crazy.  The other two were watching her cautiously from a distance. 

My first thought was that someone was at the front door.  Then Duchess jumped. 

Straight up.  About two or three feet high. 

Not a small feat for a seventy-pound dog with hip problems. 

I stood stock still and watched.  Duchess moved back a couple of steps.  Then I saw it.  A long, green frog leaping at the front door.  Apparently even frogs know where to find the exit….

Duchess watched the frog make two or three more tries at the front door.  Then she moved back in, hoping for a playmate.  The frog didn’t see the possibility of fun and quickly scuttled behind the legs of a table in the foyer.  The other two dogs just watched Duchess, their look saying “You’re on your own with this.” 

I was now officially awake!  Once I was past the initial shock, it all made sense.  I guess for that to make sense to you, you’d have to know us to understand that the appearance of amphibians or reptiles in the house usually has a logical explanation.  We won’t discuss the cricket invasion….

Logical explanation or not, that didn’t mean that I was going to try and capture the frog.  I don’t do amphibians or reptiles.  For further clarification of this see my previous post,

So, for help, I went to the number one frog source in the house, my oldest son.  Sure enough, it was a friend’s frog.  The questions rolled through my brain.  A friend’s frog? Since when had we started boarding other people’s amphibians?  Why was a friend’s frog loose in our house? 

Now, as the mother of four children, I’ve learned never to ask questions unless I really want to know the answer.  Considering the number of amphibians and reptiles (NO SNAKES) in my son’s room, I really didn’t want to know. 

I like to sleep at night. 

We did recapture the frog.  Or rather, my son did.  Duchess was out a new playmate, and the frog was safe once again.  It was better than caffeine. 

Sometimes life throws you something unexpected.  Like frogs at the front door.  Or jumping dogs. 

Me, I just knew there was a logical explanation.  I wish that was always my first reaction when life hands me more than frogs and jumping dogs.  Unfortunately, I don’t always know the big picture in life.   

And sometimes things more unexpected than a frog trying to make an exit occur.  

That’s when I have to go to the source of ALL things: escaping frogs, jumping dogs, unpredictable people, life’s challenges. ALL things.  I like it that God always has the big picture.  Jumping dogs are never a surprise to him.  Neither are the bigger things in life. 

Psalm 139:1-6

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.                                                         
 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
         You understand my thought afar off.
 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
         And are acquainted with all my ways.
 4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
         But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
 5 You have hedged me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me.
 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
         It is high, I cannot attain it.

Know Thyself

July 25, 2008

Over the last three or four days, I’ve come to believe that I must not really know myself.  Or, at least, that’s what several websites that I’ve tried to log onto would have me believe. 

“Invalid User ID or Password” is a message that I’ve been getting a lot lately.  Oh, it would be understandable if ALL of them were websites I rarely use, but two were websites that I am on almost daily.  That’s when it started to get frustrating.

I entered my ID again.  And again.  And, well, you get the idea.

Same message both times.  Same message five or six times.  Same message even if I changed the ID just in case I was confused.  Seems like no matter how many times I insisted that I knew myself, the website insisted that I was wrong.

I was not a happy camper!  If you could have measured the increase of force on the keyboard as I typed….  Oh, and if you had been nearby you might have wondered who I was having that animated conversation with at the time….

Eventually, I was logged on.  But not until I went through the process of answering security questions and having my ID’s sent to me.  When they came, well, let’s just say that, in at least one case, I didn’t know myself as well as I thought I did. 

In the Kingdom of God, we don’t always know ourselves as well as we think either.  It isn’t until life takes a twist, disaster strikes, health impairs, friends desert you, or you drive on I-285 in Atlanta, that you really know what you are made of inside. 

We would do well to examine ourselves carefully.  And when the trial comes, as it inevitably will, we can see who we really are. 

Psalms 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

My laundry room often takes on a life of its own.  There are seven of us in this household, and six of us do our own laundry.  I will leave you to imagine how well that works!  I was in there trying to do Triage today, although it probably needed CPR, and it struck me that the laundry has a lot to teach me.  So, here are some of my favorite lessons from the laundry room. 

1. Let me get it out of my system first and give you my favorite quote from Erma Bombeck: “Normal is just a setting on your dryer.”  There is no one definition of normal.  Yet, I sometimes find myself trying to live up to some imaginary plumb line.  Both my washer and dryer acknowledge the differences in life.  They offer a lot of different settings and temperatures from Cotton/Sturdy to Delicate/Knit.  There is no one version that is normal.  The laundry room allows for a lot of differences.  So why do I, a child of God, keep measuring myself against some false standard.  God has His own standard.  It’s not normal either.   

2. The sooner you treat a stain, the more likely it is to come out of the fabric.  Even the simplest stains can become permanent if left to set too long.  My heart is like that.  I can allow the stains of sin, of attitude, of bitterness to set in.  If I stuff down my feelings or allow things to fester, they become much harder to dislodge.  The same is true of relationships.  Fix them quickly before opportunities are missed.  Both of these are lessons I’ve learned the hard way. 

3. Clean the lint filter regularly.  Life’s daily loads take a toll.  Lint accumulates quickly.  If we don’t clean the filter, not only won’t the dryer work efficiently, but we could end up with a fire.  My spirit is like that.  Daily life accumulates lint.  We have to take time to clean ourselves off.  To keep our spirit from accumulating too much of life’s lint.  Otherwise the next load could prove more combustible than you would expect. 

4. Some stains leave a permanent mark no matter what.  Like red Kool-Aid or red berries.  Sometimes what comes into contact with our heart can leave a permanent mark.  When the substance itself that comes into contact is impermeable.  Not Kool-Aid or red berries.  Guard your hearts and be careful what stain you rub off on others.

5. Laundry has rules.  When we fail to follow the basic principles, there are consequences.  I think all of us have had pink underwear at times!  Life is like that.  If we don’t follow Godly principles, pink underwear is the least of our problems.  Reaping and sowing apply in laundry and in life.     

Life, relationships, and our walk with God are a lot like laundry.  And fortunately for us, He is the ultimate spot remover. 

Psalm 51:2

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.


June 17, 2008

My oldest daughter is an awesome photographer.  The pictures she takes are pure art.  Like me, she deals with Attention Deficit Disorder on a daily basis.  Unlike me, you put her behind the lens of a camera and life comes into focus. 

Focus, for me, can be an elusive thing.  Some days it’s there, intensely.  Today, I struggle with focus.  My brain’s lens is angled too wide between what I want to do and what I have to do.  Between what is of interest and what has to be done. 

For the record, what has to be done involves the state of the bathrooms, the fact that I could create a small-to-medium sized dog off the hair that mine have left on the floor (R.I.P. roomba), the four child life histories waiting to be written, the laundry, etc., etc., etc.

What is of interest is the five-year-old grandchild who wants to play Go Fish, the still unfinished novel, writing this blog, reading a good book, surfing my favorite web sites, answering my email, and just about anything that isn’t work. 

The myth is that those of us who deal with ADHD can’t focus.  We can.  I can.  But usually best on something with a high motivational factor.  Most days I can find a balance.  Do some of both.  Be efficient.  Get several things done. 

Today wasn’t one of those days.

Instead, the fuzzy brained status won.  The world was out of focus.  I did a few things, but the floor still has dog hair tumbleweeds in the corners, anyone who uses the laundry room will need a compass to find their way in and out, and there are still four child life histories to write. 

So, what do I do now?  Where is the lens that brings today into focus?

The lens used to be one of guilt.  Seeing myself as a failure based on my lack of performance would have been the theme of my mental photo gallery.  Now, the camera lens I use is one of grace. 

 II Corinithian 12: 9And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficent for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I glory rather in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Grace is sufficient.  I am not my performance.  Tomorrow will be a better day.  Fuzzy-brained days rarely come in pairs.  But, in the meantime, there is grace.