Archive | February, 2012

Sneaky Stuff

24 Feb

Ranger is on a diet. That’s right. Blame it on too many dog biscuits. Or maybe the beef & cheese Gaines Burgers that he loves so much. Or perhaps not enough squirrel-chasing. I’m not sure what’s at fault. But now that his winter coat is beginning to thin, there’s no hiding the fact that Ranger is looking rather rotund.

And to think that last fall I was concerned that he was too scrawny. I worried that he didn’t have enough body fat to keep himself warm during the Idaho winter. It’s not like we let him adjust the thermostat in the dog house, you know.  

Well, he’s sure not looking scrawny anymore.

Surprising, isn’t it, how a few extra pounds can be so sneaky? (As I write this, I’m eating my second still-hot-from-the-oven brownie). This makes me wonder what other sneaky things may have quietly crept up on me unawares. Perhaps a negative attitude. A harmful habit. Selfish thoughts. Words that are quick to criticize. The list goes on.

As spring approaches, I’m thinking that maybe it wouldn’t hurt to refresh my outlook on life a bit. Set aside a time for some introspection, some self-examination. Cut back on the detrimental and self-centered stuff. Renew the focus on faith, hope, and God’s most amazing grace. Prepare my heart and mind in anticipation of celebrating the upcoming joys of Easter.

Even Ranger seems to be embracing a fresh outlook today as he gives up his afternoon nap for a race around our backyard. He will be in good shape by the time spring arrives.

Perhaps I will too.

 

His Name

10 Feb

I often hear from women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. These women are scattered all over the nation. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Yet, they all ask me the very same question — How did I survive?

These women are not asking how I survived in a medical sense. What they want to know is how I survived the day of my diagnosis without giving up hope. They want to know how I could face a regimen of grueling treatments and yet hold onto a sense of peace. They want to know how I could fight a potentially fatal disease and still have faith for the future.

Because to a newly diagnosed person, these things seem impossible. And the truth is – they are. But all things are possible with God.

Awhile back, I received an email from a desperately hurting woman. She had lost her job, her hair, her husband, and her home — all because of breast cancer. She wrote to tell me that she had just finished reading my book. And that she now hoped to find something far more important than everything she had lost.

“I realize now that if I’m going to survive, I need God in my life,” she told me. “I just need God.”

We don’t have to be diagnosed with cancer or facing some other crisis before turning to God. Whether we realize it yet or not, we need God in our everyday lives. We really do. We need His hope, His peace, His grace. No one can ever love us like He does. It’s okay, go ahead and turn to Him now.

He has been waiting all of your life to hear you call His name.

 

 

Chasing my Tail

3 Feb

Some days I’m convinced I do nothing other than running in circles, like a dog chasing its tail. Today, for example, I had a long to-do list and several deadlines to meet. And it was house-cleaning day. I tend to be a tiny bit OCD when it comes to a clean house, so that was first on my agenda. I figured if I worked hard and cleaned fast, I’d still have time to do the other things that needed doing.

When I clean house, I always listen to Lonestar. I call it my house-cleaning music. But today, halfway through cleaning, I decided to try something different. I put on an old Keith Green CD.

I should have stuck with Lonestar.

Our dog Ranger is 100% an outdoor dog. However, a week or so ago, we moved his dog crate into the dining room so that he could convalesce indoors (don’t worry, he’s going to be fine).

Ranger likes Lonestar. Ranger does not like Keith Green. At least that’s the impression I got when he started barking and howling and rattling his crate. No way was I going to change the music for a dog, so I kicked him outside. That’s when I noticed for the first time that I had a very dirty dog crate in my clean house.

Ranger watched through the window as I stuck my head and shoulders into his crate. The old bath towels he had been sleeping on were too filthy to be vacuumed. They needed to see the inside of a washing machine. But first, I figured I had better take them outside for a good shaking. Ranger couldn’t have been more pleased when I joined him outdoors. He thought it was a game. I tried to shake the towels, but he jumped and nipped at them. Then the crazy dog, still riled-up from the Keith Green incident, started nipping at me. Giving up on the towel-shaking, I stepped back into the house and slammed the door shut.

I had dog hair in my mouth. I had dog hair on my eye balls. And as I looked around, I could see dog hairs settling all over my clean dining room. So much for trying to clean the house quickly. Sighing, I decided I was way too tired to work so hard at accomplishing nothing.

According to the experts, persistent fatigue is one of the most common lingering problems affecting breast cancer survivors. I can sure relate to that, particularly on days like today.

As I stood in my dog-hair-covered dining room, I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew.  They go something like this –Come to me, all you who are weary and covered with dog hair, stop chasing your tail and I will give you rest.

Isn’t that awesome? Jesus always knows just what we need. He remembers that we are merely made of dust – (of which I am so insistent upon cleaning!) I love how he understands our frailness and invites us to rest.

After the Keith Green CD ended, I let Ranger back inside. He curled up in his crate and settled down for a nap. Perhaps I will too.

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Sound familiar to some of you? That’s because this is a re-post from awhile back. Writing a new post was on my to-do list,it really was, but with all the tail-chasing that I’ve been doing today, no new post got written. Given the way this day has gone, I figured this old post would  be perfectly appropriate.