It’s Still a Dog-Sitter’s Life

I’m back dog-sitting on this lovely Thanksgiving evening. I’m thankful that ol’ Millie is still around for me to take care of her again. She even gave me an enthusiastic greeting when I walked through the garage door earlier.

I still think most of us could learn a lot from dogs. They know how to appreciate the little things that most of us take for granted, like going for walks or enjoying your foot or getting a nice head rub. Not nearly enough humans appreciate the joys of a good head rub.

Yes, I just about ate myself into a tryptophan-induced food coma. I probably gained 15 pounds, but it was well worth it. On a side note, I have to give props to my nephew Ethan for his help with the meal. We just might have the Food Channel’s next new star in the works.

But after all that, I’m hanging out with a friendly geriatric dog who is currently snoozing away (which I will be doing very shortly). It could be all that tryptophan from earlier.

That’s another lesson people could learn from dogs– when you’re tired, take a nap or go to bed. Too many of us wreck our health by not listening to our internal clocks and pushing ourselves beyond what we were intended to bear. Rest is not weakness. Rest is simply confessing that you’re human and can’t pretend to do it all.

So that’s it. I’m thankful for being able to dog-sit this friendly old gal who I still hope lives to be at least 20 so I can have many more dog-sitting opportunities in the future.

 

 

Reasons It’s Better to be a Cat

My cat Lucy has it made. She may be 16 years old but she doesn’t look like the geriatric feline that she is. Maybe that has something to do with her life of comfort and ease. She’s a prime example of why it’s better to be a cat. Here are a few of the reasons why:

  1. You get to sleep as much as you want and no one thinks the worse of you for it. Lucy probably gets in 23 hours of sleep a day (I may be exaggerating but not by much) and gets told all the time how adorable and cuddly she looks while she’s sleeping.
  2. The fatter you are, the more people like you. Skinny cats don’t get the love nearly as much as the fat . . . I mean fluffy ones do.
  3. You get to set your own schedule. Sleep in? Go for it. Take a nap after you just woke up from another one? Why not. Eat ten meals a day? More power to you.
  4. Your compact size greatly increases the amount of comfy spaces available for you to lounge around in and take naps in. Humans will humor you when you take their favorite spots because you’re so cuddly and cute.
  5. Nobody expects much of you, so anything you do is automatically adorable. The bar is set incredibly low for cats, so there’s not a whole lot of stress when it comes to pleasing your owners. Dogs have to do all sorts of tricks. You just have to occasionally be sweet and adorable.
  6. You never have to worry about what you will wear or if it will go out of style. In fact, you never have to worry about clothes at all. You get to go your whole life without ever having to wear pants. I call that a win.
  7. In case you need more proof, review 1-6 again and remember that in Egypt, cats were revered as gods and worshipped. Need I say more?

Another One of those Random Blogs about Nothing and Everything

This is day two of my first (and hopefully only) bout with pneumonia. To be more accurate, this is the second day since I was diagnosed with pneumonia. It still seems surreal to think about. I’m almost positive that I did my best Don Knotts look of surprise when the doctor told me what I had.

I still don’t feel horrible. I feel decent. I just don’t have an overabundance of energy (and whatever I have ebbs quickly). If I have to be sick periodically, I’d rather it be like this where I can still marginally participate in life and do stuff.

Also, I think it’s easier to be sick in either the fall or spring than in the middle of summer. All that ridiculous heat and excessive humidity don’t help with the whole low-energy, fatigued situation.

I’m thankful for drugs. Especially the drugs that keep you from having to go to the hospital where they charge you one arm, one leg, one kidney, and one first born. Health care has officially spiraled out of control.

I’m thankful for perpetually sleepy 16- (going on 17) year old cats who give the best therapy by curling up in your lap and promptly falling asleep. I believe that may have more of a healing effect than any drug.

I’m thankful for good music that still has the power to transcend the immediate pitfalls and trials of life and transports me back to a seemingly easier and better time. Today’s soundtrack was provided by Steely Dan.

I’m thankful that while I may have more difficultly sleeping lately, my God never sleeps nor slumbers while I’m under His care. There’s not a night that goes by where He doesn’t see me and know where I am and who I am. There will never be a place where He can’t find me to rescue and heal and save me.

As that old guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail said, “I’m feeling better!”

 

Back to Radnor

Sometimes, you just need to get back to nature. There’s an almost irresistible urge to get away from everything mechanized and electronic and just commune with God’s creation.

For me, that was the urge and Radnor Lake State Park was once again the place to go to  satisfy that craving. It had been far too long since the last time I actually hiked there.

Almost immediately, I felt my blood pressure lowering and my anxiety levels bottoming out. Not that I was overly stressed, but any normal working day carries with it some amount of stress and worry.

I read somewhere that if you have trouble sleeping, the best way to reset your internal clock is to spend a week away from everything electronic and digital. For most of us, that’s not exactly the most practical solution.

I do think that even an hour or two can be beneficial to resetting your mental calm. You can actually hear yourself think. Life slows down for that brief period of time. Everything that seemed so pressing and urgent fades into the background for a little while.

I love it. I don’t know why I don’t go there more often.

The extra added benefit is that I got at least half of my 10,000 steps there. I walked until I was weary. But it was a good kind of weary that usually leads to a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to live that way all the time. You hear all the time that the best nutrition is to eat foods as close to the way God made them as possible. I wonder if we could learn to live as close to nature as possible if we wouldn’t be healthier– and not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Anyway, I recommend Radnor Lake if you’re ever in the area. It’s good for your soul.

 

Patty Griffin and the Long Ride Home

  
“I’ve had some time to think about you
And watch the sun set like a stone
I’ve had some time to think about you
On the long ride home” (Patty Griffin).

So, here’s the deal. The Red Sled has a pooped-out transmission. Thankfully, that means rebuilding and NOT replacing (which is apparently about $1400 more). That got my anxiety up a bit.

But on my ride home, I had Patty Griffin’s A Kiss in Time to keep me company. To those who only know top-40, Patty Griffin is an astoundingly amazing artist who has the rare combination of angelic voice and keen songwriting ability. This particular album captured her in a 2003 live performance at the Ryman Auditorium (the same place where I saw her live in 2011).

There’s something about music that forces you to be present in the present. You can’t daydream about the past or fret about the future when a good song is playing. You can’t help but notice the music. At least I can’t.

Music is a reminder that you can’t change the past or control the future. All you can do is to live in the present and receive it like the gift it is. Each moment is a package waiting to be unwrapped by those not enslaved to their smart devices.

So I go to bed tonight knowing that in the end everything will be fine, because God’s already there and He’s promised me that He’d take care of the details.

Hopefully, I won’t keep myself up half the night coughing out my lungs like I did last night. That’s not my idea of fun.

Here’s hoping you find something to smile about and celebrate about God in the days and weeks to come.

My celebration will be my head hitting the pillow as soon as humanly possible.

 

Soooooooo Tired

This is my experience lately. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t. So here goes.

I basically am on the go at work from 7:30 straight through until 4 pm (taking 30 minutes for lunch).

From there, I headed south to the Goodwill on Highway 96 where I made some good $2 music finds. Those are always the best kind.

After that, I walked over to Bar-B-Cuties for a stellar dinner, including the world’s best fruit tea. If you’re ever at a Bar-B-Cuties, you should try it.

Following the grub, I went in the direction of a friend’s house where I attend a Life Group, but I stopped off at a pet store because I would have been super early to his place. I browsed and bought a little something for the cat.

After all that, I made it to my friend’s house and finally sat down. Then I was tired. Really tired.

It’s funny how that works. As long as you’re on the go, you don’t realize how drained you are. Not at least until you stop. Then all that activity catches up with you.

As much as I’d like to fall back a couple of hours tonight so I could sleep extra, that’s not the best kind of rest.

The best kind of rest is the kind Jesus promises to all those who are weary and heavy-laden. He says, “Come to me, all you who work to the point of exhaustion and I will give you real rest.”

Not necessarily sleep, although that is sometimes part of it. What Jesus means is the rest from striving to perform in order to measure up to some artificial standard (either your’s or someone else’s). It’s ceasing from feeling like you always have to do more and be more to be complete and fulfilled.

Jesus says, “I love you just as you are, not as you should be or as you wish you could be or how everyone else wishes you would be. Come to me, right now, just exactly the way you are, and I will get you to where and who you need to be.”

That’s true rest.

 

Words of Wisdom

hemingway

As you can see, I posted this way back in 2013.

I can’t say that I’ve always lived to the fullest, but I can say those were by and large the best moments that I can remember.

This is the only present you will ever have. There will never again be a moment exactly like the one you’re in now.

Even in those bad moments, there is always something good to be found, something to be thankful for, and something to learn from.

It’s hard to keep from looking back into the past or looking ahead into possible futures, but the best life is lived when you’re fully present in the moment, taking in all of your surroundings, i.e. not with your head buried in a smart phone, tablet, or some other kind of electronic gizmo.

You may miss out on what’s trending on social media or the big announcement your friend just posted about, but the gain is so much more than what you lose. You get to see sunshine, breathe in fresh air, and see the glory of God cascading down all around you. You get to live.

My recommendation (weather permitting) is to have a meal at a restaurant that has outside seating. If you can, go the whole meal without using any smart media. Maybe even journal about who and what you see. Take it all in and try not to miss a thing. And yes, order the dessert.

 

Oh So Tired

I finished the work week and I am tired. I mean dog tired. Or better yet, cat tired, since cats seem to sleep more than dogs. At least my cat does.

I’m looking forward to turning off the alarm clock and sleeping in tomorrow. That will be lovely. No 5:40 wake-up call for me. No sirree.

It’s the good kind of tired. It’s the kind of tired where you feel like you’ve accomplished something productive and made a difference, albeit the tiniest, in people’s lives.

I’ve learned that sleep is God’s gift. Some nights, it doesn’t matter how tired I am. I simply can’t sleep. I also noticed that I do my best sleeping just before my alarm is set to go off. What’s up with that?

Sleep belongs to those who know it’s not up to them to figure it all out. Sleep belongs to those who understand not just intellectually but experientially that God is in control of every aspect of their lives.

It still amazes me how my cat can fall asleep at any moment in any place at any given time. Cats never have insomnia. I suppose they have a lot less on their little kitty minds to keep them awake at night.

In fact, my cat is asleep close to me as I write all this. I suppose when you’re as cute and cuddly as Lucy is, what better way to exhibit it than to sleep all the time. Plus, you get the added benefit of being your own blanket.

So here’s hoping and praying that you find not just sleep but rest. Here’s hoping and praying that you can rest in the knowledge that your Abba is very fond of you at this moment just as you are. And His love will lead you all the way to where you need to be.

 

My Life is God’s Prayer

“When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer” (Psalm 42:8 MSG)

That’s the kind of rehearsal I really like, remembering everything I know of God and all He’s done for me. Or even better yet, looking back through ages past and seeing how many times in how many places God has come through for His people.

God’s faithfulness trumps my faithlessness. God’s promises outweigh my doubts. Not that I am so bad, but God is so good. Not that I’m so very weak, but God is so very strong.

I could go on and on, but I am really tired. It’s a good kind of tired, but it still leaves me wanting to visit my pillow in the worst way possible.

I’ll be up excruciatingly early on a Saturday, heading over to Belmont University at 6:30 am for Freshman Move-In Day. It’s still in my top favorite activities that I’m involved in over the year.

Yes, you read that right. That’s 6:30 in the AM. A nap will be had later on in the day by me. Then I think there will be the usual frivolity up and down Main Street in Franklin in celebration of surviving a week of waking up at 5:30 am.

“So let my deeds outrun my words
And let my life outweigh my songs” (Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman).

 

Those Sleepless Nights

I had a rough night last night. Well, that may be overstating things a bit. Last night, I didn’t sleep as well as I normally do. That’s more accurate.

I tossed and turned until after 1 am, then managed to wake up several more times in the night. At least I didn’t wake up one minute before my alarm is set to go off. That’s the absolute worst.

So I’m tired.

The Bible says that God grants sleep to those He loves.

I know that more than a few of you know what it’s like to go whole nights without sleeping. It can get to be a frustrating process, with you getting more and more weary and less and less able to sleep.

Maybe God has you up in the middle of the night for a reason. Maybe He’s putting something (or someone) on your mind to turn over to Him in prayer.

Pay attention to what God whispers in your ear on those sleepless nights. Maybe cease from all your tossing and turning and be still. Listen for that still, small voice that calls you Beloved.

I hope that I’ll sleep better tonight. I think I will. But in case I don’t, just know that I will likely be praying for some of you.