The content of this blog is the author's personal view. I am not a theologian, writer, or photographer. The views in this blog are based on personal experiences and not a judgement of what others are doing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

...and then there's Opie: Learning the Rules

Opie has come to live with us for a while.
He is our sons dog and our son Kyle has moved home from Nashville to start a new life.
The plan: to get a job and move out


Opie seems to think laying in my strawberry patch is the perfect spot
to lay with his ball in the sun.
Turk knows the rules

Opie! Get out of my garden!

Opie learns fast and eventually he will stay out of my garden.  He loves piano lessons and greets each new student happily and the ones he's met before he greets like an old friend.  Yesterday, he dug each toy out from under the couch in the piano room, somehow got a sticker on his butt, and decided to take a drink under the piano.  I have water in a bucket for moisture.  My dogs have never considered drinking from it.  Turk and Tazer were a little more accepting of him on their piano turf this time.  When he visited one year, they wouldn't let him in the piano room.  I had to step in and tell them all the rules (it's my room).

He loves the freedom of our fenced in yard as he is never allowed to run because he will -- run.  Each morning they have a good wrestle and even Turk as old as he is joins in the fun.

Yesterday looking pretty innocent.

We don't need another dog, but Opie just wiggles into your heart and makes himself at home.  So I guess he is home for now... where Kyle goes is where he wants to be, but Gramma's house is a lot of fun.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Hair-raising walk

Today we took our 'Frank' walk.  We didn't see Frank today at the coffee shop, but someone else stood in for him and gave the dogs their treat.  When I am pinched for time, I head straight home but like a bunch of kids, the dogs always have to try for the longer walk.  We loop around a little further and head down to take a short trail by the locks.  In town, but by the edge of the river and more woods. 

Today the dogs sniffed in the usual spots.  In the winter I can see the deer trail and where they jump over the approximately 10 ft high fence with barbed wire on the top.  You can see in the snow where they come to the fence and where the trail continues on the other side of the fence.  I wonder if I am seeing things right and the dogs confirm by sniffing the trail which tells me they are on the scent of something.  They can tell me how long ago too.   A sniff and a quick look around tells me something passed by not very long ago.  Most of the time though they sniff and don't look for anything to be standing around which means it was longer ago.

This reminds me.  Yesterday my husband saw a snake in the front yard.  The dogs couldn't tell where it was as long as it wasn't moving, but when I came out and it was gone, I asked Tazer where the snake went.  She put her nose to the ground and tracked the trail it had taken to the corner of our house.  Note taken. 

In the winter you can also see where deer have bedded down for the night which is always very fascinating to me.  I normally would not notice this, but the dogs drag me to the scent and then I see all the droppings and you see where the heat from their bodies melted the snow.  Many times we find the deer beds from the night before in peoples back yards just at the edge of the trees.  In this area by the locks, we found an area after jumping over that they made into what looked like a deer 'hotel'.  There were approximately 20 different areas where you could see where the deer had slept.  It is a great area if you are trying to get out of the north wind.

Doesn't look like much to you or I,

but the dogs told me each of these spots

were a deer bed from the night before

Today I got my proof that the deer really are jumping that 10 ft. high fence.  We came across a pile of hair at the exact spot I have seen the deer trail in the winter.

An indentation in the ground where the deer landed

and all the hair he left behind

The fence they jumped

Somewhere in town is a deer with a shaved belly.

Tazer the would be good Mommy

Tazer has always hidden her babies.  When the dogs receive a stuffed animal, Turk will tear it up as only a Lab can.  Tazer always takes her animals outside and hides them in the bushes.  She will never let us see her do this, because she is a good Mama.  Turk always respects her babies and has never pulled any babies out of her hiding place.  Opie (my sons dog) is another story... he will pull every one of her babies out when he is visiting.  Tazer always looks a little stressed when he does this and then when he leaves, they mysteriously disappear again.

Her favorite stuffed animal seems to be Pooh bear.  I think it is because he looks more like a pup than maybe a duck or a dinosaur.  I have quit trying to keep her animals in the house because she will always sneak them out when I'm not looking.  She is a good Mama.

I have kept an album on my facebook page and have made it public so you can also share in the memories!

Tazer's Babies: an album of memories

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Turk's Weather: 2 Swims and Ice Cream kind of Day

It is only March and although the daffodils and crocus know,
the weather doesn't seem to

Turk headed for the water on our walk.  Instead of waiting to get further on the trail,
he went for the 1st stop.  He just stood in the water for a couple minutes.

Checking to make sure the bubbles aren't frogs

2nd stop. I missed him in the water as I was walking over the bridge to meet him on the other side.
Gotta roll in the grass after a good swim.

In the distance, just above Tazer's back are a pair of Heron's
They were not happy.

They walked slowly up the hill, squawking at us the whole way

Finally made it to the top
(they have some red on their heads)

Still watching us and squawking

And now later after lunch, a little ice cream on the deck.
Temps are at 85 degrees

I guess if you don't fight this unseasonable weather,
you just have to enjoy it.
Time to get rid of the winter coats
(for me and especially the dogs)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Is It Summer?

What happened to spring?  A gradual transition from the cold of winter.  Thankful for 40 and 50 degree weather.  Here we are in the beginning of March and we are getting 70's and 80's.  Everyone is wearing flip flops like it's the middle of summer. 

I'm not overly anxious to get out my summer clothes.  I am not ready to bare my winter toes, let alone my 'whiter than a Yooper in February' legs.  I folded last weeks laundry yesterday and yes, I wore a turtleneck just this last week.

I did pull the straw off of my strawberries yesterday so they could get some sun.  I got warm and since we have a fenced in yard I pulled my long sleeve top off and wore my exercise tank.  As I got ready for bed, I noticed I had gotten a little sun on my shoulders. 

I feel like this is all a mirage, like it's not reality.  When we go back to our normal 38 for a high temps, we are all going to be walking around depressed.  But I guess I'll take it. 

The dogs panted the whole walk yesterday.  Later in the day, Tazer came up to me breathing hard.  I thought she was really hot, but then I recognized the sound.  It was the sound she made when she had swallowed a big chunk of rawhide and it was stuck in her throat.  She would always walk up to me as a pup as if to tell me it was stuck.  So I did the motherly thing and pried open her jaw and shoved my fingers down her throat to pull it out.  She always says thank you.  I give her the mom talk about chewing before she swallows and she listens.

This past week we had the ice melt off the canal and the high waters from the melting snow has died down.  Turk was happy to have his favorite watering hole back.  Some pics from this week:

The Geese are dreaming about their new family
I don't see a nest yet
A lone duck hiding in the grass

Nothing better than a good roll in the grass after a swim!

Last weeks sighting - 6 deer
A little stompin' and snortin' but they wouldn't run.
We were a little too close for comfort
Two more deer by the creek
It looks like the lone duck must live right there

I guess I'll take this weather. 
But when we return to our norm for temps, I'll take that too! 
At least it's above zero!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Touched by Prayer

Prayer is a tough one for me.  Why?  Because it is so hard for me to just sit and think of the right words.  But praying without ceasing, well that I can do.  I can pray immediately when things come up and pray about it right then and there.  Short and to the point.  I feel guilty though that I don't sit for hours and pray for people.  I don't think it is a gift I have, to sit for hours- and pray anyway.   Maybe it is something I have to work on, something I just need to do.  Somehow though I get it into my head that there has to be a certain way I do it and then it becomes a law that I have to follow. 

At the women's retreat I attended a couple weeks ago, we split up into groups.  I picked the 'empty nester' group.  I could have gone with the 'Grandma group' and maybe one other I can't think of.  This was our prayer group for the weekend.  This always makes me a little uncomfortable because when I am put on the spotlight, my words don't come.  Maybe someday I will be better at this, but I have always been better with thinking about things for a l-o-n-g time and then writing things down.

I have had awesome answers to prayers.  The shortest one - Help! I think sent angels down to help me. Ha ha.  Another time, I asked God a question and then just left it at that.  What happened some weeks after that was nothing short of a miracle since there was no earthly answer to the question I gave Him. 

One time I actually asked God if I had any friends.  I was feeling like a loner and that everyone was getting together with people and I had no one to get together with.  As the next couple days unfolded, I was reminded of all the friends I had.  I started writing them down.  People I knew I could call and they would listen or go to lunch with me.  I had a BIG list.

My best prayer position isn't necessarily sitting at attention knowing I am going to sit and pray, but sometimes just sprawled out on my chair in the morning with a not knowing what has hit me kind of feeling (that is how I feel when I wake up most mornings) and not really having words, but turning my full attention to God and his thoughts. 

I remember doing this one time (season) many years ago and I said to God in my dazed state:  I don't know what I need God, but I know you do, and I know you can give it to me.  In the days that followed I noticed weird stuff.  Like I started laughing at my husbands jokes.  I was joyful for no reason.  I started noticing how joyful I was and thought how odd that I had this joy in my life when I really felt like crap.  And then I remembered my prayer.  Yeah God.

Last year I had reflexology done at this women's retreat.  I ended up going to see her for a full appointment a few months later.  I was having a hard time physically and emotionally in handling it.  After the appointment, she asked if she could pray for me.  She knew I was a Christian.  I said yes and she prayed for my health and then she prayed for my marriage and that my health condition would not put a barrier in my marriage.  I started crying.  No one had ever given words to my prayers.  She has the gift of prayer and is using it to pray for others.

This past week I got a package in the mail.  I couldn't think of anything I had ordered.  There was no name on the package, but inside was a crocheted prayer shawl!  I am assuming it was probably from someone in my prayer group because they knew some about me.  We were to put on a card what our prayer concerns were - things that pertained to what was going on in our life.  I always put health because I have pain that is always there.  I may have some good days, but the pain seems to consume my life.  There was a card with this gift.  It said:
This prayer shawl is a gift, hand-crafted and woven with prayers for healing and comfort.  As you wrap yourself in the prayer shawl, may you be comforted by your faith and by the presence of those who love and support you.  May you be strengthened in your daily comings and goings and in your tentative new beginnings.  May you be wrapped in love and surrounded with peace, love and comfort.
I teared up.  It is a prayer I had no words for.  Just the thought that someone is praying for me.  Praying for me when I have no words in this season in life.  This is why we need to pray for each other.  Sometimes people just cannot pray.  Sometimes when people are in the middle of something, they cannot find the words.  When someone is sick, they cannot pray for themselves.  They need the prayers of others.  Other prayer warriors.

When I meet a prayer warrior, I have a deep reverential respect for them.  Theirs isn't an easy task.  I have roomed with a lady from our church who is a prayer warrior.  I joked with her that she is praying even in her sleep!  She literally mumbled all night.

Yesterday as I walked into the nursing home, I was greeted cheerfully by the front desk lady whom I consider a friend.  She told me she saw me on TV the other day.  You know the Wise Woman Roxanne post.  I told her how I didn't really want to talk on TV, but that I had been feeling better and wanted to share with other women that they have options.  Lately though I am now facing new issues of pain and what to do about it.  A nun working close by started asking me more questions and was very interested.  So of course I talked.  I then felt a little self conscious that I was telling her all this and said this to her.  She said 'oh no, no! Now I know how I can pray for you.'  She said she was on her way to Manitowoc (an hour away) and that she would be praying for me all the way there.  ! 

This is so touching to me.  Not that someone just casually says 'I'll pray for you', but when you know that you know that they are going to be having a specific conversation with God about you. Wow.

What gives me comfort in my 'can't find the right words to pray' mode is that according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit knows our thoughts and interprets them for God.  I know this to be true because I also had another time when I had absolutely no words.  All I could pray was "God...".  That was it.  It was a class I attended and the instructor shared more of her personal life than she probably should have (sounds familiar).  I was moved though.  The next class I attended, she had a jaw dropping story to tell.  It was what I had prayed for even without having words.  It was an answer to prayer - one of those that you know is God because humanly we don't have the strength for some of this stuff. 

This is why we need to share with others.  When we just bottle everything up, it isolates us from others and from God.  When we share honestly with those we trust, it gives them an opportunity to talk to God about it.  Sometimes I think that I need to just shut up about my life and deal with it.  But then I know that I would not have all the people praying for me that I do.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  James 5:16
After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.  Job 42:10 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  Romans 8:26

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Snowman's Life (and death)

A snowman starts their life fresh and shapely,
everything packed tight where it belongs.

Around middle age (3 days in the spring),
his face starts sagging
and sometimes it's just hard to pick yourself up
(especially without arms)
...and then it's over
Glad I'm not a snowman, but if I was I would only be 3-5 days old!  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Turks Weather: A Hello-Goodbye Walk

Saying hello to last weekends snow
Temps below 20 degrees and I put a jacket on old Turk
 Turk is getting old enough to know about the seasons changing.  Being a dog, he also know how to enjoy the moment- something I do when I am with my dogs, but forget sometimes when they aren't reminding me.  With the good 6 inches we had over the weekend, we woke up to 50 degree temps this morning.  And so Turk said goodbye.  Every winter he celebrates each snowfall, and as it melts, he says goodbye to each snowbank.

As we started our walk today, the dogs looked at each other and then at me.  The looked surprised at how warm it was.  As we came across each snowbank that was left, he had to dive in and say goodbye.

Last weekend, I let him go sledding one last time
A gate was left open by the locks, so we explored
We don't get to see this side of the locks very often

The side we see usually
It was early, by noon it looked like shanty town
Turk always wants to go out and see what they caught
Today would not be a good day for ice fishing

We chose the Konkapot trail today
What was I thinking?  Was I thinking like a dog?
It was very muddy, but I'm sure there were lots of smells for the dogs

Much different than the weekend

The creek lost it's bend

The weekends beautiful snow picture

The dogs were very interested in a spot
that isn't usually interesting

Another beautiful snow picture (last weekend)

The water was raging fast

A line where the muddy water flowed

We went off the trail

But I found this! I thought, I wonder what this is?
Oh, a camera strap. I should leave it for whoever lost it.
Wait! That's from my camera!
Must have fallen out of my case in the snow last time

Today Mr Snowman
After looking at the pic, I realized his face was all over the ground

His younger days
(on the weekend)

A final goodbye as we ended our walk
Turk was eating snow like a snowcone
We may get more, but the end is near

If you take lessons from a dog,
you enjoy each moment,
every change in every season
each new day!