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Archive for the ‘The Beast’ Category

10351802_10152855583535590_6673932177946581782_nJust over five years ago I introduced you to our beast.

My Loves – The Beast

She became a regular on this blog, as regular as the rest of our crazy family.

Over a year ago she started to tire more quickly, followed by tripping up the stairs, eventually reaching the point that required us to carry her outside to relieve herself.

In those months of deteriorating health, the beast taught our family some very important lessons on life.

Sacrifice 

It began when the beast started slipping on our laminate floors. We needed to allow her onto our carpeted bedroom and living room, so that she would have spaces to share time with us. Hubby, generously, okayed that allowance (despite allergies to her fur). We carried her sixty pound frame outside, and cleaned feces from carpet as she lost the ability to control her bowls. Each sacrifice was accepted by all, not as a sacrifice, but an expression of commitment to her live, to the end.

Move in to the Hurting

As the beast’s ability to move reduced, she could no longer follow us throughout the house, so we moved towards her. As a family, we read, did homework, played video games and wrote sermons together in our living room. She no longer followed us, we came to her. We knew each day with her might be her last, and I think we all wanted to ensure that she was not alone.

Loving Hurts

As we awaited the end of her life, we hurt (even hubby, who used to use her as an example of sin in his sermons). There were memories and moments of our lives tied up in that eternally shedding beast. Our kids grew ten years older with her. She was one who made us feel frustration when she got out, unleashed, running through the neighbourhood with freedoms smile plastered on her face. She made us smile when she joyfully greeted us every time we entered the house. She gave us comfort, as she sat snuggly beside us, or entered our arms for a hug. She amused us with her ‘mean dog’ look … such an act for such a peaceful dog. She tugged at our heart strings when she would nearly dislocate our shoulder if she were to hear a child crying in the distance while out for a walk. Remembering how she added to our lives, made the sorrow of parting greater.

If you are not a dog or animal person, my words and emotions expressed might seem rather over the top. That’s okay, I have been there. But this experience of loving the beast  has taught us much about loving people.

Love is sacrifice.

If we are going to truly love others, we are going to have to sacrifice.

Move in to the hurting.

When someone you love is hurting, go closer to them, not farther away.

Love hurts.

I think C. S. Lewis has said it best:

 

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I know all (2) of my readers are dying to hear the story of how our dog got out of her crate without the crate being unlocked. Well, so am I!

The real ‘bones’ of the story are that we leave the house, with our beast locked into her crate. We are happy. We come home to find our beast outside of her crate. Our beast is happy. The crate is still locked. We are mystified (and really p.o.’d because she has been nibbling on the door moldings … hope hubby doesn’t decide to read this entry …).

But how does she escape? Is she part hamster? Are her bones made of rubber?

This latest escape goes back to the beginning, almost seven and a half years ago, when we adopted our, then one and a half year old, beastMy Beast from a local shelter. I saw her picture on the internet, and fell in love with her big brown eyes.

WAIT … I’ve gotta go back further. About eight years ago our kids started doing and saying what all kids eventually do, “can we get a dog? We will look after it all by ourselves. You will never have to do anything.” Oh, I remember those words well … probably because they ring in my ears whenever I am feeding her, walking her, brushing her, or … scooping her poop! For any reader who has children, or will one day have children, they will eventually say the same promises to you … they LIE! But I digress.

So, I fell in love with her big brown eyes (ever heard the phrase ‘don’t buy a book by it’s cover’?). I went to the shelter to ‘pick her up’. In reality it was more like the great inquisition! And the paperwork would rival what you have to sign and fill out to adopt a real live human child! And, despite being completely honest in all I wrote (except maybe the part about ALL household members wanting to adopt her … a certain male occupant of this house and family was not, and will never, ever admit to wanting to adopt her, except to adopt her to someone else), they let me have her!

I went to the shelter that day, and fell even more in love with this beast’s motherly instincts than her eyes. I had brought my son with me (he had been having a tough year at school on the playground and I really wanted him to connect with the beast, with hopes that they would become great friends) so, while I was writing the equivalent to novelettes of why our family ‘needed’ to adopt the beast, my son sat at a table and drew pictures, and the beast laid at his feet. Whenever someone walked near the table, the beast sat up, at stayed between them and my boy.

That beast was Shiloh, and she became ours that day, because SHE adopted US.

We had done our reading about dogs … by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. We had bought all the tools and gadgets … by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. And our beast would be crate trained … by ‘our beast’ I mean ‘we’. It was more of a magic show, and she the master illusionist. You see we would put the beast in her crate (not the hard plastic type, but the wire ones … that look more like a cage … a certain male occupant of the house prefers the word ‘cage’), then go off to work, school, etc. Then we would come home to the beast happily meeting us at the door, and the crate still locked.

We realized that the metal bars could be bended out of place (and her bones may, indeed, be made of rubber), so carabiners were added … everywhere! Hubby took on the task of ‘securing’ the crate … and when testosterone is added to any job, overkill is bound to occur. This crate is more carabiner than it is crate! And, until yesterday, that was good enough.

I should mention that the crate was also carabinered to the two walls it is near … we had discovered that if she couldn’t get free ‘of’ the crate, she would free herself ‘and’ the crate, and both would be many feet from where we left them in the morning.

So, back to the fiasco.

One day, when I placed the beast in her crate she had ‘the look’. Now our beast, whose eyes drew me to her in the first place, also communicates wholly with those eyes. After years now of her ‘eye whispering’ I think I am starting to catch on to her language. That day she looked at me and communicated “I miss three of MY people, I’m lonely, I’m not happy with the rainy forecast for the week (because I know YOU are a wimp and won’t walk me in the rain, like HE would), and I’m going to show you who the Alpha female is in this house.” And I shook in my perfectly practical shoes. Because I ‘knew’ she would escape her cage.

When we got home I asked my daughter to humor me, and get out of the vehicle, and wait by the garage door, ready to catch the dog escaping (her crate is in the garage … don’t get your knickers in a knot, we leave the light on, and … hubby’s choice … she listens to sports radio … I think he does that as a torture tactic). As soon as the door started to rise, out she came! But we … and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, were onto her!

So, off to the hardware store for more carabiners … but, whose the alpha female now, beastie?

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Poo on the Pathway

*this is a re-post from 2011 … but I still am right!

I am a bit … anal (catch 20140608-160321-57801031.jpgthe pun?) when it comes to what comes out of a dog. But I am okay with that, because … I am right!

There is nothing that can get my knickers in a knot like poo on the path! I always feel as though my eyes (and nasal passages) have been violated when I see that! Seriously, how hard is it to bend your body down and scoop up that warm, stinky, bacteria-breeding matter, then dispose of it in the nearest garbage can? Heck, if you forget your ‘poo baggie’ you can at least take a stick and move it out of sight. Oh, my aching nasal passages!

So, one night (when the sun FINALLY decided to show it’s face in my life, while hubby sends me daily emails, with statements from a Southern Eden that say “Oh, it’s a bit chilly today, only 80 degrees” … let me tell you, he can take his 80 degrees and … lets just say, another pun) I took the beast for a walk (and wished I had brought mittens, and a toque).

We had a great walk. The weather was dry, mostly (when it started to rain, I started my ‘I hate rain dance’, and, for a change, it worked! The weather gods probably didn’t want me dancing in public anymore … it was probably quite a site … kind of a mix of something tribal, and a two-year old having a hissy fit). The beast was thrilled to be relieved of her cabin fever (cabin fever definition for my beast – any movement, by any of her ‘persons’ in the household ‘could’ mean she gets to GO, and so she will leap from wherever she is when she hears any movement beyond breathing). I was thrilled to be relieved of my cabin fever (cabin fever definition for me – sighs, whenever I hear or see rain, followed by frantic searching of real estate ANYWHERE else … Winnipeg has not be omitted! Can you sense my desperation?).

By the time we were in the home stretch (aka, the point of the walk that I start thinking about all the calories I just burned, and how that means I can now give myself a ‘treat’ … solid thinking!), I was feeling like a million bucks, and was starting to have ‘west coast’ thinking (aka. it rains for two weeks straight, then the sun comes out, and so do the west coasters, who all say the same things; “why isn’t this the best place to live?”, “It is so great to live here.” and “I love where I live.” … but where do their memories of the previous two weeks go? … and don’t tell me it’s optimism, it’s downright delusion!).

Then my beast did what she NEVER does … she pooed … on the gravely trail! My beast only poos on green … my fashionista daughter thinks it’s because her poos are yellowish and the green of the grass bring out the lighter, brighter hues … Oh crap (another pun), please don’t tell me you were falling for that!

Truly, she really never poos on anything that isn’t green. Why, last summer we has a dry spell (some time I need to tell you about the insanity of limiting water use … here!), and I thought our beast might be contemplating bulimia to avoid having to poo on brown grass. Heck, the kids are so infrequent at doing the ‘poo pick-up’, our grass is always brown anyway! But, I digress.

So, she poos on the the gravely trail. After my shock at her irregular (ha! ha! another pun) behavior subsides, I reach into my pocket for a baggie (praying the whole time that it didn’t fall out), and there it is, phew! At least I didn’t have to stand there looking around, wondering if anyone was looking at us, so I could skulk off, poo still on the path, because I didn’t have a baggie.

I go to ‘scoop the poop, in one fell swoop’, but, I am inexperienced in scooping poop from a gravely pathway, so one fell swoop just isn’t going to do it! I go in for the second swoop, but, again due to my inexperience, I apply too much downward pressure (this could be a pun ..), and my baggie (made out of the thinnest plastic available), shreds against the gravely pathway.

I am now so feeling the pressure (more puns) to get this mess wiped (pun) off the seat (pun) of my existence. I look at the shredded side of the baggie, I look at the remaining pooh still on the gravely path, I look at the beast, and give her a look that communicates ‘this is your fault’, and she looks at me and communicates ‘GO?’ (another, but much more unintentional, pun).

So, I reposition the poo in the baggie (don’t think for too long, of how I might have done that), so as to create the best possibility of one last (complete) successful swoop, avoiding any … skid marks … on my hand. But there’s just so many little pieces of poo strewn throughout the gravel! I am perplexed.

I swoop quickly, so quickly that the little pieces of poo, along with the gravitational (downward) pull, fly through the air, creating a much larger area strewn with the stinky stuff. I am left with a decision to make; do I even try to ‘finish the job’?

But, I have standards, and poo-lluting the pathway cannot go unwiped!

I bend, I swoop, and … it’s a clean sweep! I’ve bagged the poo! So, I tie the baggie up, and toss it into a nearby garbage can (when does that ever happen … usually I carry the full baggie so long, I forget about it until I start to toss it in the garbage in the van … imagine the sweet smell of success that could produce?).

This post, although greatly enhanced, is true, and I dedicate it to my 11-year old son, for whom there is no humor like potty humor! (and for whom, there is no greener color you turn, than when you are picking up poo).

 

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It wasn’t my fault … really!

Like a good girl (can I still call myself a girl, while hiding gray hairs under regular highlighting treatments?), I packed a poo bag into my hoody pocket, before heading out on a walk on the trail with my beast. But, something so unexpected, so terrible happened …

The day started out so perfectly! The sun was shining (a miracle really, as the monsoons and cooler April weather, had gone on for over a week straight), there was fresh snow on the mountains (cooler weather and monsoons down here equal fresh snow up there), it was cool (but not so cool that I needed my toque), the beast was excited (she’s a dog, she’s always excited to walk … well, except during the monsoons … we are kindred spirits!), and I was ready for a brisk exercise (so I could burn calories, and, therefore, eat more later).

And off we went. I walked the regular distance in record time! (probably had something to do with the fact that my beast, literally, pulls me up the hills … I love her!)

Then, about three quarters of the walk done, she starts pulling to the side (where the grass was). So, I loosen the leash so as to allow her the freedom to find her perfect ‘port-a-potty’ site.

She squats.

I put my hand in my pocket to retrieve ‘poo bag’.

I frowned.

I put my hand, further into my pocket (there was no ‘further’).

Nothing.

Panic set in.

Dog is still squatting.

I hear voices, in the distance, coming closer.

I break into a cold sweat.

What will I do … with the poo?!

I yank the leash attached to squatting beast.

No poo on the ground.

I sigh, relief!

We walk for almost twenty minutes more. The beast in distress with each step (remember she had been in squatting position, so, she is now spending 20mins. ‘turtling’ … you know how a turtle’s head moves in and out … enough said).

We reach the van. I grab another poo bag out of the glove compartment (I think of it more as a catch all compartment). I take beast to fresh, green, lush grass.

Beast sniffs grass.

Beast looks up at me.

I say, “poo beast”.

Beast looks up at me.

Beast sits on fresh, green, lush grass.

Crises averted!

20 Hours Later …

Beast finally poos, in our backyard …

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I am a bit … anal (catch the pun?) when it comes to what comes out of a dog. But I am okay with that, because … I am right!

There is nothing that can get my knickers in a knot like poo on the path! I always feel as though my eyes (and nasal passages) have been violated when I see that! Seriously, how hard is it to bend your body down and scoop up that warm, stinky, bacteria-breeding matter, then dispose of it in the nearest garbage can? Heck, if you forget your ‘poo baggie’ you can at least take a stick and move it out of sight. Oh, my aching nasal passages!

So, tonight (when the sun FINALLY decided to show it’s face in my life, while hubby sends me daily emails, with statements from a Southern Eden that say “Oh, it’s a bit chilly today, only 80 degrees” … let me tell you, he can take his 80 degrees and … lets just say, another pun) I took the beast for a walk (and wished I had brought mittens, and a toque).

We had a great walk. The weather was dry, mostly (when it started to rain, I started my ‘I hate rain dance’, and, for a change, it worked! The weather gods probably didn’t want me dancing in public anymore … it was probably quite a site … kind of a mix of something tribal, and a two-year old having a hissy fit). The beast was thrilled to be relieved of her cabin fever (cabin fever definition for my beast – any movement, by any of her ‘persons’ in the household ‘could’ mean she gets to GO, and so she will leap from wherever she is when she hears any movement beyond breathing). I was thrilled to be relieved of my cabin fever (cabin fever definition for me – sighs, whenever I hear or see rain, followed by frantic searching of real estate ANYWHERE else … Winnipeg has not be omitted! Can you sense my desperation?).

By the time we were in the home stretch (aka, the point of the walk that I start thinking about all the calories I just burned, and how that means I can now give myself a ‘treat’ … solid thinking!), I was feeling like a million bucks, and was starting to have ‘west coast’ thinking (aka. it rains for two weeks straight, then the sun comes out, and so do the west coasters, who all say the same things; “why isn’t this the best place to live?”, “It is so great to live here.” and “I love where I live.” … but where do their memories of the previous two weeks go? … and don’t tell me it’s optimism, it’s downright delusion!).

Then my beast did what she NEVER does … she pooed … on the gravely trail! My beast only poos on green … my fashionista daughter thinks it’s because her poos are yellowish and the green of the grass bring out the lighter, brighter hues … Oh crap (another pun), please don’t tell me you were falling for that!

Truly, she really never poos on anything that isn’t green. Why, last summer we has a dry spell (some time I need to tell you about the insanity of limiting water use … here!), and I thought our beast might be contemplating bulimia to avoid having to poo on brown grass. Heck, the kids are so infrequent at doing the ‘poo pick-up’, our grass is always brown anyway! But, I digress.

So, she poo is on the the gravely trail. After my shock at her irregular (ha! ha! another pun) behavior subsides, I reach into my pocket for a baggie (praying the whole time that it didn’t fall out), and there it is, phew! At least I didn’t have to stand there looking around, wondering if anyone was looking at us, so I could skulk off, poo still on the path, because I didn’t have a baggie.

I go to ‘scoop the poop, in one fell swoop’, but, I am inexperienced in scooping poop from a gravely pathway, so one fell swoop just isn’t going to do it! I go in for the second swoop, but, again due to my inexperience, I apply too much downward pressure (this could be a pun ..), and my baggie (made out of the thinnest plastic available), shreds against the gravely pathway.

I am now so feeling the pressure (more puns) to get this mess wiped (pun) off the seat (pun) of my existence. I look at the shredded side of the baggie, I look at the remaining pooh still on the gravely path, I look at the beast, and give her a look that communicates ‘this is your fault’, and she looks at me and communicates ‘GO?’ (another, but much more unintentional, pun).

So, I reposition the poo in the baggie (don’t think for too long, of how I might have done that), so as to create the best possibility of one last (complete) successful swoop, avoiding any … skid marks … on my hand. But there’s just so many little pieces of poo strewn throughout the gravel! I am perplexed.

I swoop quickly, so quickly that the little pieces of poo, along with the gravitational (downward) pull, fly through the air, creating a much larger area strewn with the stinky stuff. I am left with a decision to make; do I even try to ‘finish the job’?

But, I have standards, and poo-lluting the pathway cannot go unwiped!

I bend, I swoop, and … it’s a clean sweep! I’ve bagged the poo! So, I tie the baggie up, and toss it into a nearby garbage can (when does that ever happen … usually I carry the full baggie so long, I forget about it until I start to toss it in the garbage in the van … imagine the sweet smell of success that could produce?).

This post, although greatly enhanced, is true, and I dedicate it to my 11-year old son, for whom there is no humor like potty humor! (and for whom, there is no greener color you turn, than when you are picking up poo).

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It was a miracle! It was a weekend AND it was sunny and beautiful!

With hubby and all three of our kids gone, and with our two from China opting for retail therapy, the beast and I were free to do whatever we desired on that gorgeous day. So we chose a brisk walk on the trail.

People were out in droves. There were the young teenage couples who couldn’t keep their tonsils eyes off each other, and the older couples who walked arm in arm for both physical and emotional support. There were the single walkers, with or without a beast, briskly marching along, and the families with little ones, walking at a snails pace to take in every bit of wonder around them.

I am never really sure of the real reason that beast loves to go for walks. Oh, she loves the actual walk, but deep down the thing I think she likes most is the people we meet. There is nothing like a comment like, “oh what a pretty dog” to make her ears soar, and then she will prance down the path … head swelling bigger by the moment! If the passing compliment is not enough to excite her, there is also the adoring “puppy!” from a small child! Often we will stop, and allow her adoring little admirer touch and see her up close. If there is a child’s cry or screech within earshot of our beast, I am at risk of shoulder dislocation! She immediately wants to fly into action in the direction of the cry.

For me the walks encompass so much more than just the exercise, which is beneficial, of course. It is the opportunity to be still (I rarely ‘plug in’ on my walks, but I have been known to stop and quickly email a blog post idea to myself) mentally. It allows all of the cells in my body to inhale fresh, oxygen-rich air, that can clear my mind like nothing else. I am enabled by the combination of fresh air, beauty of creation, and physical activity to become more creative, and despite that fact that I have walked this path frequently, these walks “still take my breath away and offers so much scope for imagination!” (Anne of Green Gables)

What a gift the exercise, the fresh air, the sun shining brightly in the sky were to the beasty and I … cheaper and more effective than any other therapy!

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Last year I was feeling the heat about planning for our Thanksgiving meal.

I was finishing a week-long course (complete with exam), I was adjusting to working full time, our family was still adjusting to the addition of two members to our household, we were in the busiest part of our son’s football season, and so on.

All I wanted was to take the family out for dinner (a rather expensive option when seven people, most of them teenagers, are involved).

At the same time I yearned for the delicious smell of a turkey roasting. The turkey itself is easy, you simply season it, pop it in the oven and it does it’s thing. I had considered simply roasting big bird, and serving it, with a fork for everyone …

I decided I HAD to do what needed to be done, so I headed out (on Saturday) to get the essential parts of a good, home cooked Thanksgiving feast.

While at Costco, I noticed they had pumpkin pies for like really cheap. I stood, I pondered, I felt like I had Rosanne Barr on one shoulder and Martha Stewart on the other, battling it out for my families meal. Finally, I flicked Martha off my shoulder, winked at Rosanne, and thought, ‘this year we are having homemade by Costco.’

I was on a roll, and Martha was in the dust of my grocery cart.

I then purchase baby carrots instead of ones that need to be peeled and sliced. I bought a package of gravy mix … mine was never that great anyway.

I bought rolls, rather than make my own … really, with such a big meal, who would miss them?

I stood in the aisle and considered using stove top … but everyone loves my stuffing, so I thought it was worth the extra effort.

A few days before, we had guests who had brought a bouquet of flowers, and that was to be the centerpiece for our feast.

So, Thanksgiving Sunday morning I seasoned Big Bird, and popped her into the oven at a very low heat … because we would not be eating until the evening. We attended church, had a small lunch, popped the stuffing (which never gets stuffed into the bird) into a big casserole dish in the warming oven, cranked the heat on our roasting beast, and went to our son’s football game.

We returned home, and my daughters set the table, I cooked the baby carrots and frozen veggies, basted the bird, and unwrapped the homemade from Costco pumpkin pie.

We used to have a household of people over to enjoy meal together. This year it was just us, and that was quite okay.

It was a delicious meal, with ridiculous conversations, oodles of laughter, and very full bellies at the end of the meal.

Our beast got her bowl full of heart, liver and whatever else is in that little prize package they shove into the cavity of the turkey, and she lay at our feet while we ate, licking her chops.

As always, the stuffing was eliminated, there were significant veggies left over, and turkey in abundance for the week to come.

I didn’t miss the ‘old’ way of doing Thanksgiving. It was certainly different without other guests, but we got to spend our meal concentrating more on the ones for whom we are most thankful for, and that was a good difference.

So, yes, you can celebrate Thanksgiving without a homemade pumpkin pie.

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Hubby and I have been married for almost an eternity and we share three children … ages almost twenty, fifteen and a half and almost thirteen (funny … almost and halves are never added to the ages of parents … I, for instance, am thirty-nine … with three four years experience).

Just a few weeks ago we said farewell to our eldest for a semester at an East Coast University. Our youngest daughter entered grade ten, and our youngest is in his last year of Middle School.

For the past couple of summers I have had moments when I can see into the future.

Our home would frequently be vacated by our kids. Dinners in the summer are often just three of us, or, if we are lucky, two. Those times when it is just us two, we feel are treats, and we enjoy the peace and quiet that our kid’s busy social lives allow.

But, peace and quiet, as delightful as it is once in a while, reminds me that it is coming in a more regular fashion, and very soon. These moments of alone time for hubby and I remind me that soon it will be hubby and I more often than not. That the laundry will not take all Saturday. That dinner out will not be Subway. That grocery shopping will be a short stop rather than an evening affair. That my vehicle will not be a minivan, and it will not go through fuel like that of a taxi.

Recently, when the house was empty, except for hubby and I, I just sat and imagined all that extra time to do as I pleased. Hubby was tapping away at his laptop, watching something on television. The beast was having her after-dinner nap. And, I was still and imagined.

I did not like what I was imagining, because it seemed so very … quiet.

As I sat, imagining, I realized that this phase of life is the one I dreamed of most, back when it was just hubby and I, dreaming together of what our future would be. I have never been a ‘baby person,’ although I loved our kids as babies. I always dreamed of having a house full of adolescents and teens, filling our house, and my days, with noise, and laughter and the challenges of growing up. I imagined just what I have, right now.

How blessed I am to have this dream fulfilled. And how blessed I am that God whispered in my ear, to be still, so that I didn’t wish this most desired phase of life to be over without fully immersing my heart into it.

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I have this desire that rarely gets fulfilled, but I dream of often. I awaken, later than normal (meaning pretty much any time after seven in the morning), only to the sound of my Beasty scratching under her ears. There is no hubby snoring away beside me, no teenagers needing a drive anywhere, or help to open the pool. I stretch, and sit on the side of my bed to find a note with my name on my bed table. As I reach to enfold it, the following is written:

We have gone out for the day, the whole day.
We will not call, or text or contact you.
Enjoy this gift of a day to enjoy the quiet of our home,
as you wish,
hubby and the kids

And with the reading of the final line, a realization hits me,

I am home alone …

Hallelujah!

(oh, and did you catch the reference to the Princess Bride? “as you wish” … a little romantic reference always makes me happier).

What happens next is a bit of the Tom Cruise dance from the movie Risky Business, and Kevin from Home Alone eating way too much ice cream.

After the initial euphoria is spent on dancing in my underwear (T. M. I … too much information!) and eating ice cream for breakfast I would spread myself across the sofa and smile my biggest Cheshire Cat smile … and smile a contented sigh.

Hey, it is not that I do not love my family, or that I would wish them away. They are four of the best pieces of my life! It is just that once in a while, the thought of being home alone is simply so very delectable to me. The thought of having every waking hour, all to myself, with no expectations of anyone else, just about makes me want to burst with excitement.

And what would I do with all of those hours alone to myself? Well, after the dancing and eating of ice cream … I would probably write a blog post or two (because I love it) … make my bed (because it is my habit) … clean the bathroom (because it needs to be done) … make cookies (because hubby and the kids would love to come home to them) … finish a project or two (because there is always a project or two that is undone in our home) … and weed the garden (because there is just never any desire to do it when others are home).

Hum, other than the dancing and ice cream eating, it really looks like a pretty normal day … but, I desire it so much!

Hey, a girl can dream, right?!

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It was a beautiful day for a walk on my favorite trail, with my beast. A little podalic (things pertaining to feet 😉 ) therapy!

I felt as though it had been forever since we had the freedom for this most favorite activity, and that my fuzzy brain cells were calling out for it.

For a change, we did not speed walk. Instead it was a leisurely wander through the trails, taking in all of the details of change that spring brings along the path. Even my beast seemed unbothered by the change in pace.

As I started to walk, I exhaled. The kind of exhale that says, I need to purge my mind of all that is within it, of all that is overloading it. To purge it, though, means to first acknowledge all that is being, mentally, held on to.

I had been preoccupied about my husbands job security, and how that affects everything about our family’s life. I had been thinking about what I want my professional future to look like. About our eldest daughter’s plans to move away in the fall. About my other daughter’s summer. Wondering if we were being intentional enough with our son to build a firm foundation for the teen years to come. If we were meeting the needs of our International students , and if their presence was coming between ourselves and our own kids. Wondering about the future, about homes, and money and travel, and where our future would take us.

I was allowing my insecurities, and lack of vision of the future to hinder my ability to enjoy the present.

I stopped, and sat on a bench to enjoy the river. I thought of how the rising river made it fit it’s banks so much better than it had a couple of weeks earlier. On the other hand, the rising river could also mean impending doom for people whose homes or businesses are near the river. The future of the rising river is unseen.

Then I thought of my Magnolia tree, that is ready to burst into full flower. It will not bloom, though, until those hard, ugly shells open up with the pressure of the petals to burst free. Those hard, boring, ugly shells have kept the beauty hidden and safe, while they grew and prepared to show themselves in spring. If I did not know what is unseen, I might pluck those ugly shells off of them. But, because I know of the beauty that is currently out of sight, I wait for the beauty within to open up.

Then I looked at my beast, who had just plopped herself down on a bunch of dandelions. She has no insecurities in this world. She looks to me, as her co-master, and trusts that, although her bowl might get empty, it will be refilled again. She is not worried about much of anything (other than an intruder on the property, like a cat, or squirrel, or stray leaf blowing in the wind), because she trusts that as long as her masters are near, her needs will be met, because her masters care for her.

I realized that true beauty and true security do not come from what we know, or from what we can see. I remembered the words of 2 Corinthians 4:18, “so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

My brain cells are still a bit fuzzy, and I am still concerned about some of the aspects of life that endanger my understanding of security, but, I know that what is unseen might just be the most beautiful thing to come, and that I can be confident of how much my master cares for me, and this gives me fresh air to inhale.

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