Archive for October, 2013

What, Me Worry?
October 25, 2013

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And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? ~ Matthew 6:27

I used to worry a lot about little things that are of no consequence now. What a waste of time, not to mention all the stress that came as a result of all that worrying! Now, I have learned to let my worries go, because I have seen over and over again that God does provide in ways both big and small. Joel and I often comment on His many gifts of grace to us.

For example, here are some small ways that He has stepped up in recent months. You may think they are somewhat silly and inconsequential, but I believe all of them were gifts.

A Gift of Rain-  Houston was very dry this past summer, so while walking each morning, I’d send prayers for a good rain to drench the parched plants around town. On one particular day, despite a slim possibility of rain, I decided to try the old “wash the car” trick to make it rain. Donnie Ray  was really filthy. The clouds to the east were ominous, so I was hopeful. But alas, there was no rain on the west side of town.

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Later, I ran some errands in some really threatening conditions and was hoping to dodge the raindrops until the pristine DR was safely garaged.

Heading west on I-10 towards home, I could see a torrential downpour ahead, and I was honestly thrilled! I didn’t care at all about my clean car; I just wanted it to rain on my garden and give all the trees a good soaking.

Well, my enthusiasm waned as I grew near my house and could see that the torrential downpour ended about a half mile from my house. DANG! My clean car got rained on, but it didn’t rain on my garden!

However, God did come through, and later that afternoon, we did get a wonderful, soaking rain. I was so grateful! I had toweled off DR after the initial deluge , and he was safely protected in the garage when the rains finally came to our house.

Thanks be to God!

The Breakdown-  Yet another time God provided was when our car failed while on our summer road trip. We were heading home from Wyoming, and the coolant flushed out on I-45 south, somewhere between Madisonville and Huntsville. We limped over to the side of the road and parked beneath a tree to provide some shade from the summer sun. For some reason, I wasn’t all that worried; sure, it was inconvenient, but we were safe, and I knew we’d get home one way or another.

Tucker and I sat on a beach towel in the shade while we waited for AAA to come to our rescue. As it turned out, our membership provides us 100 miles of free towing. We were exactly 112 miles from home.

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I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened  if this breakdown occurred while we were driving through the desolate panhandle of Texas the day before? How long would it have taken for AAA to get there, and how hot we would have been? (I can take the heat, but we had Tucker with us, and he would have really suffered) Then where would we have towed the car, and how would we have gotten home, etc. etc. How grateful I was that everything turned out so well…

I truly think God was watching over us.

The Shirt Surprise-  Our son in law, Kat worked in Houston this summer, but since Shannon was back in Virginia working at her job, she was only able to come visit every so often. So I tried to make Kat’s life a bit easier for him by taking care of such errands as taking his shirts to the cleaners along with Joel’s. They wear different sizes, so we separated them at the cleaners. And once a week, I’d go pick up the clean ones and bring them home.

Kat went back to Virginia in mid August. Two months later (this past week), both he and Shannon returned to participate in a very special wedding. That Tuesday, I picked up Joel’s shirts and brought them home. Upon unwrapping them, he said, “This one isn’t mine. Could it be Kat’s?”

I said, “Surely not; it’s been two months since he’s been here!” Later that week, I took the shirt back to the cleaners, so they could find the rightful owner. Well, they checked the bar code, which indicated that it WAS under our account, and had been dropped off in June.

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Where had it been all this time? Who knows? So I took it back home. In an exquisitely timed moment, Kat walked in the back door to press the wrinkles out of another white shirt, and I was able to surprise him with a fresh one all ready to go!

What are the odds of this shirt being lost out there somewhere, only to show up months later at exactly the moment when Kat was back and needing a pressed white dress shirt?

God provides. In small ways and in big ones, and in many that I am not even aware of, He showers us with blessings! I am so grateful.

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Tucker’s First Road Trip: Part Seven: Finale
October 18, 2013

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(note: this is the seventh part of a series about Tucker’s road trip to Wyoming this past summer. To read it in its entirety, scroll down to the September 6, 2013 post: Part One, and continue upwards)

On the road again, Goin’ places that I’ve never been.
Seein’ things that I may never see again; And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
~Willie Nelson

All good things must come to an end, which meant that it was time to head for home. Of course, I had no real conception of this; all I knew was that we left home awhile back, and now we were here at OBC. Dogs live in the present. For all I knew, this was where we would live forever!

There was much going up and down the stairs early that morning, hauling all our stuff out and loading it into our car. Mom made sure my bowls, toys, food and snacks were there, and off we went. Good-bye, Old Baldy Club!

Once again, I sat up in the back seat and looked out the window, but soon lost interest. I think I was getting used to what Mom calls a “road trip”, which means that you get in the car and stay there for a very long time. Just like when we drove up to OBC, we’d stop along the way and stretch our legs at gas stations.

It was about lunchtime by the time we reached Denver, so when my Dad stopped for gas, they made sandwiches, and gave me a bite of cheese. Best ever snack! I love road trips.

After that, my mom drove and got stuck in a big traffic jam on I-25 south of Denver. She gamely plodded along, convinced that next time we should try an alternate route, when all of a sudden, it became clear why there was so much traffic! There was a Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, CO, and everybody was exiting there. But not us! We zoomed on past, and were glad to be making tracks towards Amarillo.

Woo hoo! She was going 80 mph. But then came the dreaded Raton Pass, and she slowed down there, so I wouldn’t get flung hither and yon.

Texas, Our Texas! all hail the mighty State! We were back in the great state of Texas and back to Central Daylight Time. Onwards we drove towards Amarillo. It rained on us along this isolated stretch of highway; the countryside was verdant and lush, such a treat for the eyes to see green everywhere that had previously been dried up and brown in recent years.

(note: this is my mom talking; I wouldn’t have any frame of reference about anything but the here and now- because this was only the second time I’d driven through this particular stretch of highway!)

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Amarillo by evening! We stopped at a midrise Drury Inn along I-40; it was “dog friendly” so there were lots of dogs staying there with us! By this time, I was an elevator expert, so going up to the fourth floor was no biggie, except when I had to go outside at 3:33 am, and my dad had to take me… sorry, Dad!

On the road again in the morning, heading for home! We made good time and even stopped for a picnic lunch (at a roadside park that had no bossy monitors who wouldn’t allow a dog to sit at a table!) outside Wichita Falls. I love picnics, and once again, I got a bite of cheese. YUM!

Heading into the home stretch on I-45, making good time, aiming to be home by 6 pm, when all of a sudden, our faithful eleven year old,  Donnie Ray started chiming alerts; all was not well, and we had to pull over and stop. I’m a dog, and I don’t know much about cars except that you ride in them to go places. Dad said that the coolant gauge indicated that it was overheated, and when you’re in Texas in August, well, that’s a good reason to pull over.

Thank goodness for AAA, and thank goodness this happened somewhere between Madisonville and Huntsville and not up in the desolate Texas panhandle, hundreds of miles from home! Dad parked under a tree, where we had shade from the sun. Mom spread out a beach towel for us to sit on as we waited for the tow truck. I had water to drink, and we were safe.

Then I got to ride in a tow truck! I sat on my mom’s lap in the front seat, and the driver took us all the way home (112 miles, with the first 100 miles being free of charge. Mom is promoting AAA here; I wouldn’t have any idea about stuff like that). All I know is that I was so tired and I slept just about the entire way home, because I was safe in my mom’s lap.

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We were all so glad to finally be home! But Mom wasn’t so excited to break out with poison ivy the next day. Yes, that tree by the highway was full of it and it was all in the grass, too. It got in my fur, and I rubbed it off on her as I sat in her lap. Oh well. She got over it after a trip to her dermatologist.

So now I’m an experienced road warrior! I loved my trip, and can’t wait to do it again next summer. To all people who may be thinking about taking a trip with your dog, my mom says do it! Yes, you will have an extra layer of responsibility, but the bonus is all the new friends you will meet, both human and canine. See you at OBC next summer!

Happy trails to you…

Tucker’s First Road Trip: Part Six
October 11, 2013

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(note, this is part six of Tucker’s road trip journal. Scroll down to begin at part one and continue upwards) 

Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers. ~ Herbert Hoover

The next few days were just as much fun as the previous ones! We settled into a routine with a long morning walk, followed by various activities. One thing that Shelties really like (and Mom says that all dogs like) is a routine that we can count on. My mom says that baby people like this, too.

One day I got to play with my friend, Jules (the black lab) while his “mom” had to be away for the day (to take Fenwick in for a root canal; he broke his tooth). They lived across the hall from our room in the lodge, so it was easy for us to go back and forth. We went down to play with Jules in the grass a few times, and he even came over to our room to play with my toys for awhile! I think he had a good time and didn’t miss his mom too much.

After lunch, my mom had a fly fishing lesson, so I got to sit in the shade with my dad and watch. She was flinging a fishing pole around and snapping the line this way and that. While I still don’t understand what “fishing” is, I barked encouragement at her, to make her feel better. Then she took me to meet the lady who does manicures, who had just lost her sweet dog. My mom thought a visit from me would cheer her up, and I can tell you for sure that my happy dance did the trick!

Later, when my mom and dad went to the cookout (in their cowboy/girl duds), I got to stay in our room and chew on a really yummy bone. Mom told me that tomorrow, I’ll get to play with Jules again while they went fishing!

Fishing? Why would they want to go fishing instead of staying here and having fun with me? Oh well, I guess I’ll have fun with Jules.

So the next day Mom got up really early to take me on a LONG walk before she and Dad left me alone. They were going to be gone for a long time! I don’t really understand the concept of time, but my mom made sure I would be busy and happy while they were away.

My friends Jules and Fenwick (and their mom, Janine) came to get me, and we had a good romp in the meadow. Janine loves the way I prance and run like the wind!

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Later, my mom and dad came back after their successful outing. It was my mom’s first time fly fishing, and she said she caught six! But I still don’t really understand what a fish is. The other thing she told me about were all the interesting birds she saw. I DO know what birds are; sometimes I try to herd them!

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But yikes, she saw some really big birds. I think I would be a little worried about herding them. They might try to eat me instead!

It was pretty boring this afternoon, mostly spent napping (all three of us in the bed), but later it was time for PUPPY CAMP! Once again, I had lots of fun playing with my friends, and enjoyed lots of treats. Some of the moms seemed to be having fun as well, enjoying some happy beverages!

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(my mom said that if she did that, she’d fall asleep at the dinner table, so she stuck to drinking her usual afternoon Diet Coke)

Later, when the shadows grew long, my mom and I had a last romp in the meadow. We scared two bucks, who bounded away when they saw us running pell mell in the grass. Seriously, they did not run, they BOUNDED!

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(note, this is not my photo, but one that illustrates how deer bound!)

The next day was much like the previous one, up early for a long walk; this one was extra fun, because we encountered Janine, Jules and Fenwick, so we all walked together. Then my mom and dad went off again, this time to ride horses (what’s a horse?), so Janine, Jules and Fenwick came to play with me, so I wouldn’t be too bored all by myself.

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 (my mom and dad sure smelled interesting when they got back from riding horses!)

While they were away, Janine decided to teach me to go up and down the stairs (if you have been following the previous posts, you will know that I preferred the elevator to walking up those scary open stairs). She had Jules and Fenwick help me, and after some practice (and treats!), I did it!!! My mom was so proud of me.

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That night, Mom started bustling about , putting stuff back into her suitcase. Dad said that we were going to go HOME tomorrow! I don’t know if I should be happy or sad…

Tucker’s First Road Trip: Part Five
October 4, 2013

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 In the nation’s banner free
There’s one star that has for me
A radiance pure and splendor like the sun;
Mine it is, Wyoming’s star…

~ Wyoming, C.E. Winter

Today was the “take a hike” day that my mom and dad had been telling me about. Since Dad didn’t go fishing this morning, he came, too! But because the forecast was for more thunderstorms, we decided to stick close by and just walk the trails within the Old Baldy Club perimeter instead of driving up to the big mountains.

So off we went with a few supplies (including my brand new collapsible water bowl). After hiking for awhile, my mom found a shady spot and poured me a drink of water. Well, I was VERY suspicious of it, and no matter how hard she tried to convince me to drink some, I wasn’t going to have anything to do with it. Maybe she can flatten it and toss it for me to catch like a frisbee? Then she wouldn’t have wasted her money.

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After awhile I started walking more and more slowly, and we were still pretty far away from the lodge, so my mom and dad decided to take a short cut and surreptitiously walk across the golf course. We made it! No golf balls rained on our heads.

The very first thing I did when we got back to our room was to take a LONG drink of water out of MY bowl.

After a long nap, it was finally time for the much ballyhooed  PUPPY CAMP!  Every Wednesday and Friday afternoon at the OBC, all dogs (and their owners) are invited to meet in the meadow to play together. Both my mom and dad came with me to my first Puppy Camp, which made me feel a little more confident.

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There must have been at least 20 dogs there of all shapes and sizes: Labs, Bassetts, Jack Russells, King Charles Cavaliers, a Border Collie, Greyhound, Springer Spaniel and more. I was the only Sheltie, but heard there was another one that wasn’t able to come on this particular day.

All the dogs were milling around, running, barking, playing, sniffing. And all the people were milling around, too, taking pictures, handing out treats, drinking stuff and laughing a lot. My new friend Jeanine (Fenwick and Jules’ mom) ran far away across the meadow while our people held on to us. When she shouted “GO!”, they let us run, because we all knew she had treats for us!

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I mentioned there was a Greyhound in the pack. His name is DeBeers, and he is a beautiful fawn colored dog that loves to run. Well! When DeBeers took off running, he looked like a Ferrari passing a bunch of Prius cars. He may have had a delayed start, but goodness, when his instincts kicked in, he beat everydog to the finish line!

There was also a little white dog named Bentley who LOVED my friend Bella (from Dallas) that I met yesterday. There was also a Border Collie named Mesa who kept trying to herd poor Bella (she is a curly haired dog that I guess Mesa mistook for a sheep). Between Bentley’s attempts to be amorous, and Mesa’s attempts to corral her, poor Bella spent most of her time trying to escape these two. I watched Bentley carefully and learned some new things. I didn’t know dogs did stuff like that!

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 (clockwise from left: Bella, Bentley, Mesa and Tucker)

So I tried to show my new devotion to my new girlfriend (yes, Mesa), and I can’t wait to see her again on Friday! My mom was like, “TUCKER!”

Later that evening, we went for a walk up to our lot to enjoy the sunset. Mom and Dad were focused on the sky, but I spied a momma deer and two fawns. Oh! I wanted to chase them so badly, but my mom wouldn’t let me. On the way back to the lodge, we saw two “big boy” deer (with spike antlers) just a-chewing away on the shrubs at somebody’s house. Mom tried to take their picture, but it was too dark, so it didn’t come out.

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What a fun day this was! Wyoming is going to be a great place to live in the summer…