Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reb Ribbon and All

In August of last year we lost our dog Ollie. We were extremely sad. He had been a great dog. We had him for five years, since he was six weeks old. We have been travelling a lot so we didn't get another dog right away. Besides, we couldn't just replace our Ollie. In the following months, we still missed Ollie. Every time we had bones left from beef stew, we remember how much Ollie would have loved to chew on it, but mostly go bury it.

By December we were ready for a new dog and Sam had a breed in mind. He wanted a Great Pyrenees. I wanted a Great Dane and the kids wanted another Jack Russell like Ollie. After reading about several kinds of breeds and thinking about our needs we (Sam and I) chose a Great Pyrenees. The kids thought we were still thinking about it. After searching around we found a farmer who had a litter of Christmas puppies for a very reasonable price. Sam and I snuck away to check out the puppies. The first thing I saw when we pulled up was their great big daddy guarding the cattle and the mother, Sugar, guarding the sheep. They were beautiful animals and very social, yet sober. The puppies all came stumbling out, they were barely six weeks and still a little unstable. I was so excited. We wanted a dog that had been socialized some, we wanted to be able to see the parents and we wanted to raise it from a puppy.
Great Pyrenees are working dogs. They were breed to be flock guardian dogs and they do a very good job. We know that safety is of the Lord, but it is nice knowing we will have a family dog that likes to protect her family if need be and is social as long as she knows there is no threat. The ad in the paper said something about "fluffy ball of white fur". And that is just what she was; cute and fluffy, and a little shy at first.
Sam and I picked her up on Christmas Eve and she cried all the way to my brother’s house, where she stayed the rest of the evening. She was happy as long as my little niece held her. Sam and I picked her up after the kids were in bed. We gave her a bath, which really stressed her out and put her in her kennel in a nearby building. Sam got up at 3:00 am to check on her and she was crying. He ended up sleeping on the floor next to her to keep her from alerting the kids. In the morning we got them over to my mom and dad’s house as quickly as possible. As soon as we had unwrapped gifts, Sam announced he had forgotten my gift and jumped in the van to go get it. It is a short mile down the road. The children commenced to playing with their new toys and looking at their new books and things.

Then in comes Sam with the yet to be named, very young, very stressed out, but extremely cute puppy complete with red ribbon. The kids were very surprised and very excited.

Heidi started out quite shy; in fact she spent most of Christmas day sleep under something. She was still unstable on her feet at this point and it was so tempting to just carry her around. It didn't take her long to start to come out of her shell. She is adjusting to our family very well and is even doing well with all the travel and new places.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

People Are the Most Important Thing

I can really get caught up in the doing. List must be made. List for home schooling. List for moving. List for grocery shopping. List of books I want to read and the important "to-do" list. And then, after you have written the list you must do the things on the list, so you can check then off the list. It is important to accomplish things. The children's education is important, we will be moving and everyone must be fed. Usually they like to be fed 3 times per day, go figure. I love home making. I could be very happy at home for a very long time. I love to stand at the counter and chop up vegetables, glancing outside the window to see the children playing. I'm social or I have developed the ability to socialize with other people, I even enjoy it, but I would be happy in my own little world. I could walk through a store and be so involved in my own little world that I completely miss the people around me, many of which are hurting.

So you can see reaching out to others is not my strong point. It is something I work at. It is not hard for me to put myself aside to "serve" my family. And I don't mean serve them, as in weight-on-them-hand-and-foot and cater to all their needs. I mean, using my time in doing things to make my home sweeter, to help them become the people Gods wants them to be. Things like read to them, cook for them and with them, study with them, read the scriptures with them, let young ones "help" me when it's really not convenient, make German chocolate cake from scratch on their birthday and greet them warmly even when I'm tired. For my husband and children this is not hard, but when it comes to others I often find myself lacking.

It's not because I don't think this is important. I think reaching out to your church family is an important way to encourage one another and reaching out the world is a commandment. In my Bible it's written in red letters and it is the last words spoken by the Savior before he ascends to heaven.

My sweet husband is the exact opposite of me. He is constantly on the look out for people to minister to in anyway possible. If he had his way, we would have company three times a week. I do regret we have not had people over more, those that have come, didn't seem to mind the small quarters we now occupy. If Sam finds someone at the store hurting or even willing to talk, he sets everything aside and spends the time needed with that person, even if it means the ingredient he was sent to fetch sit in his cart, while I push supper back and wonder where he is.

So it has gone on now for 14 years, me understanding and admiring his gift of reaching out and him understanding my focused mind and tendency toward solitude. He tries to ask me or give me notice before he invites someone over and I try to be more flexible when it comes to "serving" others. I try to make sure my Bible reading is not an item on the list to be checked off and that I put people on the list a lot more.

If there is one thing for which I feel ill prepared, it is being in a foreign culture and bringing people into my home. I found myself thinking of this often. I have images of a home were others are welcome at all times. I know this seems ludicrous to some, especially those in the ministry here in the States. You have to "protect" your family and your time with your family. I hear that, I do, I think it is tempered with wisdom. Still I can't get away from this thing, this calling, this "word from God". God has it worked out already, because I can't imagine how to work it out. I can't make a list for it. I can't make a schedule for it. God knows exactly what we need to do to reach out to the city of Jerez, I just have to be willing to step out of myself and follow his direction.

There is a place for quite refuge, for alone time, but it seems the modern day mantra of "I must take care of myself" has been terribly, humanistly distorted. Really our Bible teaches, and the example we are given in the life of Christ, is a life of dying to self. It is so easy to get so caught up in this world that we forget it is very temporary, solely a pilgrimage.

Our family is reading through the Bible together this year and it is giving all of us such broader picture. I encourage everyone to join us. It's still only January.