Monday, December 31, 2018

The Pooping Pup and Other Afflictions

So, I read back over my first post for this last day of 2018 and it sounded rather idyllic.  Perhaps a little "too Perfect" to reflect reality.  I decided an additional list would be appropriate.  All I'm reporting to you has happened in the span of about six hours.  No poetic licensing was taken in the writing of this post.  It has been SOME kind of day!

  • Kitty, the Schreck's Great Dane puppy we're dog-sitting, is NOT house trained.  Kitty is NOT kennel trained.  Kitty is seriously Un-Trained in all areas related to dog training.  Since we picked her up yesterday, she has filled her kennel about six times.  (She only eats four cups of carefully measured food each day.  I mean, WHERE is all this stuff coming from?!)
  • I'm still recovering from a pretty serious cold that started on Christmas day.  All the nasal issues have now morphed into a nasty cough.  The medicine is almost as bad because it makes me so sleepy.  My get up and go has gotten up and gone.  I was getting ready at the speed of someone moving through drying cement.
  • While I was getting ready to go to lunch, Frank called.  He calmly reported that our car was broken down on the side of the road.  He and Steve had been on their way to brunch and smoke started coming out from under the hood.  Fortunately, we have one free tow each year; glad we waited until today to use it.
  • He said I should go on to lunch with Becky.  So I finished brushing my hair, grabbed my purse and hurried out of our bedroom.  That's when I discovered fiasco number three.  It seems the sheets had all bunched together in the dryer which put the dryer off balance which caused serious vibration which threw my container of liquid detergent onto the hall carpet with such force that the lid popped off and detergent SOAKED said carpet.  Why, yes!  As a matter of fact, I HAD just purchased the detergent which usually lasts me about three months.
  • I managed to salvage a small bit of the bright blue liquid, threw a towel over the mess for addressing later and headed toward the door.  That's when I saw the tow truck carrying our little red car coming up the road.  I waited so Frank and Steve could just drop me off and go on to their brunch turned lunch.  They regaled me with stories of the foul-mouthed tow truck driver who seemed to be applying for his own spot on a reality TV show with the unbelievable tales he told during their drive.
  • Becky is a patient friend who said she enjoyed the half hour she had to wait for me.  SIGH!  Her sweet smile was kind but seriously, who wants to wait for anyone that long?  We enjoyed our meal and our time together (as always) then she brought me home. 
  • On the ride home, I received a text from a friend who realized in all our holiday hurriedness, Frank and I had neglected to register for our ministerial licenses.  We had until end of business day to tackle that problem or pay a substantial fine.  Frank took the call like a champ.  "I'll handle it, Honey."   
  • As Becky and I pulled into the driveway, I discovered I had given my house key to Frank.  We've since locked the window I used for climbing in last time I was locked out.  Fortunately, there is a tiny (I do mean TINY) window beside our bed.  There was no other option so I crammed my pleasingly plump self through that 18" opening like a professional contortionist.
  • Relief at being inside flooded my heart as I slowly uncurled my 60-year-old back.  But my joy was short-lived as I realized the air was FILLED with a decidedly unpleasant odor.  I rushed into the dining room to discover that our grand dog had yet AGAIN filled her kennel.  But apparently all that excreting had caused her to want to dance with relief herself.  She had spun round and round in her kennel several times.  So many times, in fact, that she had not only spread everything around every open inch of the kennel, it had also splashed out onto the floor and I even found some on the wall beside her kennel.  Can Not Make This Up! 
  • Being careful where I stepped with the cute little red shoes I wore to lunch, I drug the kennel (with the dog still in it) onto our outside patio.  The hose was waiting.  I reached in carefully and grabbed Kitty's collar planning to secure her on the outside leash while washing the kennel.  Did I mention that Kitty is a very playful and loving dog?  Did I mention that even though a puppy, her paws easily rest on my shoulders she's so big?  Happy to be free, Kitty bounded out of the kennel and started jumping up onto Noni with those huge, poopie paws.  My cute little lunch outfit was quickly covered with unpleasantness!  
Right now, Frank is working with the shop vac trying to get up all the liquid detergent slung far and wide in our hallway.  My seriously soiled lunch outfit is washing. He managed to get us registered for another year of ministry.  We have a plan in place for getting our car to a dealership.  I'm watching Kitty rest while I type - no she has NOT gone to the bathroom again since being outside. And I need to prepare something for our New Year's Eve dinner.  At this point, it may just be chicken soup and a scrambled egg sandwich.  

This post is purely for the purpose of giving you a little chuckle and for letting you know that No One has a perfect life.  We all have our maladies to face.  May yours be few this coming year and much smaller than great danes that poop and prance and paw their Nonis.  

Happy New Year, Friend!

Merry New Year!

I guess it's okay to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year all at once.  I do hope your Christmas season was abundantly blessed.  And I'm believing for a year full of opportunity and favor from God for us all in 2019.

There are so many stories and tidbits I want to share on this final day of 2018.  My head is rather like a log-jam with thoughts blocking one another.  I'm thinking more in terms of a letter than a post.  Perhaps a list would be the best way to proceed:

  • We managed to see both of our parents over this holiday season.  We were with Mom Hawley in November.  The entire family gathered for our niece's wedding.  Our Thanksgiving dinner was held at a local restaurant where the service was slow and our laughter was loud. It was great being together!  Thanks to our adopted children (Hoggards) who opened their home to us the three days we were in NC. 
  • We traveled to N FL to visit my dad and his wife, Christeen on December 26th..  After many years, my sister and I were finally able to co-ordinate visits.  It was great fun sharing another Christmas with that part of our family.
  • The Hawley Clan celebrated Christmas the Saturday before.  It was a resplendent day that started with all the children and grands showing up on our doorstep an hour early.  Frank and I were scurrying to finish breakfast preparations when he stopped and said, "Someone is singing!"  They were all loudly wishing us a merry Christmas to announce their arrival.  Such Fun!
  • This was the first Christmas for Parker Franklin McGhee and for Grayson Oliver Smith.  Of course, Papa and I had to see to it that their Christmas pj's included "First Christmas" on the shirt.  The picture of all eight grands was great fun as the girls' pj's had little tutus and the big boys' said, "Never Naughty.  Always Nice."  Parents rolled their eyes at us when those were unwrapped.
  • One dark spot was the day last week when Abby came down a slide head first. She landed squarely on her delicate wrist and fractured the bone.  Their trip to the ER left them wondering if surgery would be needed and if they would have to cancel their trip to NY.  Fortunately, the orthopedic specialist assured them only a cast was required.  Off they went the next day for a 20-hour drive with four small children.  Brave Parents!
  • We were able to attend Christmas programs for Spencer, Abby and Noah.  They all did such great jobs.  They stood straight, sang loudly and smiled broadly!  What more could grandparents ask?  This was Noah's first performance as he is in K-4.  You can never miss with little ones sharing the Christmas story!
  • Frank and I spent yesterday reminiscing as it was the 39th anniversary of our wedding day.  It was all the more special to me because we were married on December 30, 1979 which happened to fall on a Sunday.  We made plans to have dinner at the place we ate our first meal as husband and wife, Church's Fried Chicken!  (Receptions in our day consisted of cake and punch.  We added mixed nuts to take it up a notch.  But I was Hungry when we left so the local drive-thru worked just fine.) 
  • Right now, we're dog-sitting our new grand dog.  Some of you may remember that John and Joy's dog, JJ, died unexpectedly this fall.  The entire family was heart-broken as JJ had been part of their family over 10 years.  A new dog was soon located.  Please bear in mind, John and Joy are both tall people.  They have four growing children and a small backyard.  So they bought the most practical dog you could imagine. . . a Great Dane.  Yes, you read that correctly.  And they named her, "Kitty!"  She will blend right in with their full-tilt family.
  • Another sad spot in our holiday season was the marking of 10 years since my mom's passing.  It seems surreal still.  There are still days that I think to call her and share some bit of good news.  I miss her hugs and her laughter.  My sister and I went to a florist together and selected a new arrangement to place on her grave.  The flowers gave us joy and we both know she would have loved the polka dot bow the florist chose for the lavender arrangement.   
  • Today, I get to have lunch with my dear friend, Becky Smith.  It's always a bonus when they come to FL to visit Meagan and Nathan.  Nathan hasn't had much vacation time as they had to use it all for Grayson's arrival in July.  I feel a little selfish but always thankful when we get time with our co-grandparents, the Smiths.
Well, speaking of which, I need to start getting ready.  But I do pray the Lord's blessings on each of you as we move into the new year.  May you sense Him especially near and may we all move to obey His whispered instructions for 2019.  

Blessings, Dear Readers!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Throw the Water!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the year!!

Christmas and everything surrounding it has long been my favorite time of year.

  • Favorite movies - Christmas.  
  • Favorite plays - Christmas.
  • Favorite music - Christmas.
  • Favorite memories - Christmas.
  • Favorite life surprises - Christmas.
Frank and I started dating just before our Christmas break from college 40 years ago.  I have ornaments and a stuffed dog named Snoopy dressed as Santa which he gave me as gifts in 1978.  We got married just one year later on December 30, 1979.  Meagan (our youngest) was born December 20, 1987.  Our family has countless stories of wonder from our own Christmases while the girls were growing up. 

Well, you get the idea. 

Please take note of one important fact, I said I LOVE Christmas.  However, Christmas isn't always a perfect nor is it an easy time.  Many of my Christmas memories are also filled with sadness and great struggle.

Some of you reading this post have lost a loved one and there will be a massive empty spot this season where that person should be.  Each happy carol, lighted candle or special candy causes another wave of grief to roll over you.

Some have never experienced pure Joy during Christmas.  One's living standard has nothing to do with this part.  Joy is something we determine to embrace; not something we buy.  I've seen both mansions and hovels equally devoid of true Joy.  (Of course, the opposite is also true.)

I'm aware that some readers are in the midst of crisis or great struggle they never saw coming.  To be going through such a time of sorrow is made even more difficult when everyone around you is singing and skipping and kissing and hugging one another.  

Furthermore, Christmas has a tendency to throw us into close proximity to people we otherwise manage to avoid throughout the year.  That can be anyone from co-workers to friends of a spouse or even extended family.  People we would just rather stay away from if at all possible!  (Don't worry.  I won't make you raise your hand or confess or anything.)

The only encouragement I can offer about the first three struggle points is this, I've experienced them all.  There is comfort to be found, dear friend.  Sometimes, we have to make extra effort to find comfort in healthy ways but it's available.  Trust me.

But if you find yourself thrown into a conversation, a party or perhaps even a week-long celebration with people you don't normally enjoy, take courage!  I have a message of HOPE for your situation.

My quick word of encouragement comes from a sermon I heard years ago.  A friend was speaking on the struggles we face when dealing with difficult people.  How do you handle situations that have the potential to blow sky high?  What can you do when too many people are too passionately tied to too many emotions and words start getting heated?  How can you respond when those heated words threaten to spontaneously combust?

The speaker challenged us all to imagine ourselves standing in front of the situation, arms stretched out from our sides.  We were to envision ourselves each holding two completely full water pails.  And the pails we were straining to hold were indeed filled with a solution.  One contained the clear, cooling water you would expect; while the other pail was filled with gasoline. 

Can you see yourself doing the same thing? 

The choice is ours.  We evaluate the situation and quickly make a determination.  Will we throw water on the escalating words and bring peace?  Or will we throw gasoline on it adding fuel to the fire?  It seems like an easy answer.  But when the words are painful for you or someone you love, what then?  

I hear you calling to me, "Throw the water!  Squelch the fire!  Bring peace to the situation!"

Oh, Friend!  How I long to say I've always chosen that route.  Unfortunately, I can't.  It wouldn't be true.  Many times, I've let my emotions draw me right into the middle of the foray and before I could stop myself SLOSH went my pail of gasoline.  (Come to think of it, that's probably why my eyebrows are so thin.)

Sometimes, I have chosen to throw water.  I've held my tongue and kept my own emotions from boiling to the surface.  I've chosen to help bring peace.  Those times are the ones I remember with joy.   

Christmas truly is a wonderful time of year.  But we still are all a bunch of imperfect, broken people sharing this season together.  I don't imagine for a minute that every element of this Christmas time will be perfect.  Yours probably won't be either. But imagine yourself holding those two pails.  And rehearse for yourself, "I'm holding the solution that will bring peace to this moment."

Throw the water, my Friend!  Choose to be the catalyst for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men.

Your eyebrows will thank you!