I go almost every day to the Lincoln Parish Park to walk The Wonder Dog and sometimes make a second trip to walk myself.  The park is such an asset to the community and includes a 1 1/4 mile paved walking path around a beautiful lake.

In an effort to keep Hero from chunking up, we always walk at least the lake path and sometimes venture into the woods.  Unfortunately the water from the lake has been drained off and sold to drilling companies.  There is fracking going on all over the parish and fracking requires LOTS of water.  I suppose it is better to use surface water than to drain our precious aquifer,  but the lake has been pulled WAY DOWN.

The theory behind allowing this surface water to be sold is the local rains will soon fill the lake up again.  As we have walked around the lake, I have noticed only two sources of flowing water refilling the half empty lake.

This little stream is slowly emptying into the lake.  It flows more freely when is has been raining, but today the skies are bright blue.  It reminds me of the old saying "Spitting in the ocean".  It does not seem to be make a dent.

This is an overflow from a pond a little higher up the hill.  It certainly is a better source and over time will help replenish the water.  The bottom line is--the water will take some time to fill the lake up to it's maximum height.  When the resource has been severely depleted, there is no fast fix in the replenishment.

So it is with mankind, there are times we are so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, we are doing good to put one foot in front of the other.  If we continue to drain what is left, we will soon resemble a tub without a drain.  Never enough input to replenish what is continuously going down the drain.
We are not created to sustain constant output with no input.  We need food of all types- from hamburgers to a good book to keep us in top form.

We can also suffer depletion spiritually if we are never going to The Well and drawing from The Source.  Without time with God~be it prayer or in His Word~or in our faith communities, we soon will grow weak and frail from all the output.  Our peak spiritual form is only accomplished when we take the time to refill our spiritual tank.

Thankful God has blessed us with resources so we can continue to draw upon the source of all that is Good and Perfect.   To keep the power flowing--remember to stay plugged in!

But those that trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.
They will rise on wings like eagles;
they will run and not get weary;
they will walk and not grow weak.
Isiah 40:31 


Hero, The Wonder Dog, went with me to Texas to watch the grands for a long weekend.  The back ground story on Hero is he was once the grands' dog.  He came to live with me following a back injury just over a year ago which prevented him from running up and down the stairs in their house.  Hero stayed outside a great deal of the time when living with them (he hid in the bushes for some strange reason--perhaps staying out of the path of the two littles). .  We ALL know Hero is a known runner.  After landing in the slammer a few times, they had an invisible fence installed, since he was so small he could slip between the iron fence slats of the back yard fence.  Hero never tried to run out of the invisible fence.  The warning the collar gave him was enough to keep him in the yard.

Fast forward, Hero has lived with me for over a year, we are going back to their house for the weekend, and I am more than a little nervous about him making a break for it.  He no longer has the receptor collar and his replacement, Brock, has inherited the sensor for his collar.  Hero is still a nervous Nellie around the littles and prefers to stay outside.  I am understandingly nervous about him heading for the hills since I am not sure he remembers the threat of being shocked if he leaves the parameters of the fence.

Turns out The Wonder Dog has the memory of an elephant and never tries to make a get away the entire weekend. His past experience has been a great teacher and he has not forgotten the threat of possible pain if he sticks his neck out.  Poor Hero---he loves to wander ---and he missed his big chance (not that I am complaining).  There was a whole world out there waiting to be sniffed and marked and he missed his golden opportunity for fear of being shocked.  A shock that could not possibly happen.

This is remarkably like our own spirit of timidity when it comes to the possibility of  being hurt, embarrassed, in pain...  Once we have experienced a painful or unpleasant experience, we begin to guard ourselves against the chance of suffering the same consequences again.  We put an invisible fence up around our hearts and refuse to take any risks or steps that might lead to pain.  We forego the possibility of great things, big adventure, new relationships because we fear the risk of pain and suffering which might happen.  We stand behind the invisible line we have drawn in the sand and dare not cross when we give in to our fear.  The  old saying "Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" perfectly portrays what I am trying to say.  "Nothing ventured, Nothing gained" is another great phrase describing my thoughts.  Stick a toe in the deep end and test the water---What is the worst thing that could happen?  A little shock--but the better question is What are we missing if we don't try?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, 
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
II Timothy 1:7











At our last Bible Study group meeting, our fearless teacher handed out packets of seeds.  Took me back to my days in 4-H and selling packets of seeds to fund raise for our group.

NOW I am dating myself!  A stream of loose association going on here---the point of the post is NOT seed sales.

As you can well imagine, she talked about planting seeds and the stages of life for the seed.  It was a great analogy, but what I came away with was not different types of soil, not sowing the seeds, why not even the process of germination~ I came away with a very clear imagery of waiting around for the blooms.

There were no two seed packets the same.  As they passed around the room, I was one of the last to pick a flower. I was not disappointed, lupines are some of my favorites and do well here in the deep south.  On the back of the packet--in small print is the requirements for growing AND the time elapse before you will see the blooms.  LOOK at that~  365 days---ONE FULL YEAR.

SO--It's is NOT as simple as putting the seed in the soil and WA LA---blooms ---I will have to remember to water, protect the plants from severe freeze, make sure they are in the sun~  I will have to tend my crop to see the beauty of the blooms A WHOLE YEAR LATER!  Growing patience is what I will be doing!

If you read all the information carefully--the seedlings will emerge in 18-21 days.  SO I might not have blooms BUT I will have pretty green plants to watch grow.  I plant the seed, it will pop out of the dirt 2-3 weeks later, and then I tend the plant for a year and THEN I will see the bloom.  

Gardeners enjoy the process of watching the plants grow as much as seeing the blooms.  It is a wonder to behold to see a small seed stuck a quarter of an inch in the dirt, sprout and grow.  A reminder of God's gift of life to us.

And IF I am patient, if I tend my plant, there will be blooms to enjoy for a period of time.  For a brief period of a few weeks, the lupines show off their beautiful blooms.  And then they are gone.  So for a year, I have worked to enjoy the beautiful blooms for a brief point in time.

AH, but here is the wonderful secret about these lupines.  They are perennials--they will come back--and bloom year after year.  AND they will sow seeds that will grow more lupines.  Before you know it the fields are covered with the magnificent blooms every year.  

It could never happen though, unless I first planted the seed and tended the plant.

So it is with God's Word, we plant the seed, nourish it, watch it grow, and see the fruit at different intervals.  Those plants of Wisdom produce blooms of comfort, joy, peace, hope .....  But first we need to plant the seed--

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalms 1:1-3


Once every couple of years, I decide to put together a puzzle.  Being iced/snowed in for a couple of days seemed the perfect time to start another one.  It looked easy enough---looks can be deceiving.  It took more than a couple of days to finish this lovely winter scene.  Once the pieces are all on the table face up--I am on a mission to get it put together.  Once finished, I spend~ perhaps 30 minutes looking at the completed project and then systematically take it apart~with no two pieces left connected.

This puzzle was filled with whites, reds, and blues.  Subtle differences in the shades are the only clue as to what belongs together.  The shape of the pieces must fit nicely together.  Beginning with small bits and pieces of the scene--before you realize it the big picture begins to form.  There is one down side to puzzles---if one piece is lost---there is a void in the picture.  A hole left in the otherwise peaceful~beautiful scene.

The rug under the table where I worked on the puzzle is multi-colored.  It has white, red, and blue in addition to yellow and brown.  A few pieces were accidentally brushed off the table onto the rug in the process of shifting 1000 pieces around to find matches.  The time finally came when there a few holes left, but no more pieces on the table to fill in the gaps.  A thorough search of the rug revealed several pieces that blended into the rug perfectly and missed my notice when concentrating on the pieces in front of me.  The puzzle would not have been complete had I not found, picked up and inserted those pieces.  The missing pieces of the puzzle were the key to finishing a beautiful scene.

This is a wonderful analogy for a number of subjects rolling around in my head.  The one thought that kept bubbling to the surface was life.  Each and every day is a piece of the puzzle which forms our lives.  It takes each and every piece to complete the picture of our trek through life.  If you look closely at the finished puzzle, you will notice a couple of barren trees---not so beautiful when taken alone~but an intricate part of the entire scene as a whole.  Some pieces of the puzzle we would really like to do without, but the scene is not complete until each and every piece is in place.

This reminds me of a passage from The Shack.  The Holy Spirit is showing Mack the beauty of the tapestry of life and the world as seen from above.  When viewing it from ground level it seems to be a hazy kaleidoscope of color and mist which makes no sense.  From God's view, it is breath-taking beautiful.

So--keep putting your puzzle together--remember each piece is important to the integrity of the beauty of the whole.  Even when the pieces seem unnecessary--unneeded--unwanted---once completed God's tapestry of our lives is a magnificent work of art.

11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12 So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. 13 All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift.
14 I know that everything God does will last forever.
 You can't add anything to it or take anything away from it.
 And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him.
Ecclesiastes 3:11-14


There seems to be an evolution of my thoughts on underwear over time.  (My two male readers Bare with me) YES--PUN INTENDED!   

It ALL began with a simple white cotton number with one row of ruffles around the legs.  NO--I DO NOT monogram my underwear--NOT THEN--NOT NOW!  They were all white--folded neatly in a row in my drawer.  There was NEVER a question as to what underwear I should wear.  

With time came color and a change of material.  The older I got--the less material was required for coverage.  In fact coverage might be stretching it.  Even with stretching these did not cover much.

AND THEN came the day when I was concerned with what someone else might think of my underwear.  I certainly didn't want to look like a grandma--but then again didn't want to lean too far into the other camp either.  My mother's only advice was to not leave the house in holey underwear (NOT to be confused with Holy underwear).  BUT IF someone special happened to see my underwear, I needed to convey the right message about who I was by wearing the perfect underwear for the occasion.

Today it seems I am still concerned about what someone else might think of my underwear.  The someone else though has changed to the staff at the emergency room in case I need to be rushed to the hospital.  You can't be too careful!  The day when I might have a need for emergency care is getting closer.  I would not want anyone feeling sorry for the little old lady and the sad state of her underwear.

What's the big deal about underwear anyway?  We all can do a great job on the surface with our dress, but what's underneath says a lot about us as well.   Are we only concerned about the surface or are we well put together from the inside out?  If others could see beyond our surface, what would they think?

What's in your underwear drawer?

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
Psalms 139!














Hero, the wonder dog, is certainly a wonder.  I wonder what in the world makes him act they way he does a great deal.  One of the things he does on a daily basis is bury his nose when he is sleeping.  He likes to burrow under the covers at night, but during the day, I will see him sleeping with his nose against the side of his bed or under a pillow on the couch.  Personally, I get a little claustrophobic with these actions.

NOW as a child, I slept with my heads under the covers every night.  Everyone knows the monsters can't get you when you are hidden under the covers.  There was nothing my brother and cousins liked better than scaring me at night--so WHY would I NOT think the monsters came out at night?  Those monsters definitely tortured me whenever they had the opportunity.  BUT I ALWAYS had my nose sticking out from under the cover---suffocation was almost as scary as the monsters.  So there is a part of me that understands Hero hiding his nose--it's self protection.

We all practice various forms of self protection.  Some stay on the offense and are in attack mode at all times.  They lash out before they even know if they are going to be attacked.  Their defense seldom gets a workout.  In fact, wars have been started by infamous historical figures with this very philosophy.  To allow another to create the need to go on the defense is not an option.  Attack-attack--and attack--beat them down with a verbal assault and never allow a word to be uttered by another.

Another form of self protection is withdrawal.  If a confrontation is never possible, then there is no need for a good defense.  By refusing to enter the fray, we remove the risk of injury.  With withdrawal though comes isolation and loneliness.  

Finally, there are the masks many of us wear in an effort to protect ourselves.  If we don't allow the world to see who we really are, then there is no possibility of injury.  We put the mask of the moment on to fit in with those we are surrounded by.  No one ever sees through the mask and knows who we really are.  If you were to ask different people from different groups in our lives, they would all describe us differently.  We have adapted to what we think is acceptable depending upon the time and circumstance.  We have become chameleons.

Hero's penchant for burying his nose is caused from years of environment and genetic tendencies.  Why do we humans--the top of the food chain feel the need for self protection?  Our experiences and living in a fallen world create a need to try and protect ourselves from injury and attack.  Sadly the Golden Rule seems to have been forgotten at best and purposefully discarded at the extreme worst.  We have forgotten how to treat others the way we desire to be treated.  

What is the answer?  As we used to tell the two and three year old classes in Children's Church, Jesus is always the answer.  The world needs Jesus--plain and simple.  Jesus is our protector, our defender, our faithful provider.  Jesus--the Mighty Lion--our Fortress in a broken world.  Jesus.

1 How I love you, Lord! You are my defender. 
2 The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe. 
3 I call to the Lord, and he saves me from my enemies. Praise the Lord! 
Psalm 18:1-3


One of the reasons we all love "The Greatest Showman" so much is they live happily ever after.  Although PT has feet of clay, he redeems the situation and all affected ride into the sunset reconciled and redeemed.  Or so the world of movies would have us believe.  

Recently I had a very brief talk with a sweet friend concerning redemption.  She was reminding me of the impossibility of a life circumstance ever being reconciled due to the death of the one who created the situation.  I commented that I knew how difficult it was to know this would never be redeemed.  As I walked away, I had a nagging dissatisfaction with my comment.  Following a great deal of reflection and thought, I have had a change of heart.  There is redemption--always--with Jesus in our lives--there is redemption.

Life sometimes brings disappointments--and at times these disappointments are at the hand of our fellow man.  When there is no possibility of redemption or reconciliation, how do we find peace?  As I have thought this over, I was struck (we all know who does the striking) by the notion that we are only responsible for our side of the redemption of any situation.  When we have been wronged, our side is to forgive.  By God's example, we are to extend grace, and forgive those who have wronged us.

The prayer Jesus taught us, reminds us that we are to forgive those who have sinned against us--"Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us."  At the very center of it all, we only have control over our part of the equation.  There is peace to be found in doing our part without the completion of the steps needed for redemption.  

We live in a fallen world and in this world we will not always have the opportunity or means to reconcile and redeem all circumstances.  How do we live with these unresolved issues?  By doing our part of what is required and asking God to grant us the ability to accept those things which we have no control.  God has promised to give us peace---and God always fulfills His promises.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33


I went to see this movie recently.  One of the best movies I have seen in a LONG time!  A musical--it may not tickle the fancy of all of you--but I came away with new tunes playing in my head and toes that refuse to not tap.

I left the theater with several thoughts about the plot and subplots.  I especially enjoy movies which cause me to think.  WHY would I come away thinking, "I could watch that again?"  Probably because the main theme behind the movie is wonder and hope.  We all love to experience wonder in our lives.  And who doesn't look for the hope of a better tomorrow?  The movie capitalizes on these two and leaves us all with the warm fuzzies.  I LOVE to have a good case of the warm fuzzies!

I have traveled many a mile and hiked up steep trails to see the wonder of God's creation such as this picture.  When I hold a baby, I am always amazed by the wonder of new life.  I sit in wonder as I watch premier athletes perform.  All of us relish having our souls tickled by the thrill of experiencing wonders that boggle even our greatest imagination.

Without hope is there any reason for tomorrow?  Hope keeps us going--inspires us to reach for the brass ring--challenges us to look beyond today.  Hope is the recognition tomorrow can be a better day.  

A fantasy world to lose myself in for a couple of hours, the movie left me remembering why we all keep going.  Why we continue to put one foot in front of the other.  Hope is the reason and hope is a gift that allows us to believe what we have been promised--a future.

God is the author of hope and the wonder of it all is Jesus is the answer to why we should believe things will be better.  It is truly a wonder that Jesus gave His all so that we might have the assurance of a hope and a future.  So thankful for the wonder of having the blessing of hope ~ they give me good cause to get out of the bed every morning~in anticipation of the wonder that only hope can bring.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13


I am attending an aerobics class at the local university Intramural Center.  There are several 7:00 and 8:00 AM classes scheduled at the same time as my class AND imagine this--the students demand parking spaces as well.  It leads to  the parking lot becoming a traffic jam.

It is a study in humanity to see how people treat the dilemma of trying to get a parking spot when many others are also in search of the coveted spot.  Here are a few of the personality types I have observed in a short span of time-

FRONT ROW JOE--this fellow seems to think he deserves a spot at the front door.  I find it amazing that you are going to the gym, but refuse to walk any farther than the closest parking spot.   These folks have a sense of entitlement that is mind blowing.  WHERE does that come from?  Who or what convinced you that you are special and deserving?  They will pass up an entire row of open spots and wait for their front row spot.  With no regard for who might be waiting behind them, they are willing to impatiently wait for Granny to get in her car, get situated, start the car, and slowly back out so they can park in the spot they feel they deserve.  They MIGHT try my patience!

PARKING SPOT THIEF-we all know the rules of common decency.  Common decency says if someone has their blinker on and is waiting for a spot, you let them have it.  This is my favorite scene from "Fried Green Tomatoes" and speaks volumes.  Be VERY careful who you steal a spot out from under.  Some of us are best not pushed over the edge of reason!

RING AROUND THE ROSIE-then there are those who are willing to drive round and round looking for their spot.  ENDLESS patience!  If we have too  many of these, we end up with a parking lot jammed with vehicles and no one is moving---much less is there any room to back out if you happen to be leaving.  Perhaps they are thinking--I need to park in the lot by the building I am entering.  Not certain of their reasoning, but in awe of their patience.

LOOKING BEYOND THE OBVIOUS--this tends to be my style.  One trip around the parking lot and I am on to the next available lot.  There is a dorm next door, sorority houses and high school across the street and the alumni house next door.  If I don't find a spot in the adjacent parking lot, I will walk a few more steps.

If I waited around long enough for the perfect spot, I might miss the entire class.  Certainly I would prefer to park near the class I attend, but I had rather walk some additional steps than miss the class entirely.

So it is with life, often we are guilty of  waiting around for the right position, the right time, the right people to dive into some great opportunities.  I will become a volunteer when I can find a perfect fit for my talents.  I will start visiting my friends in assisted living and nursing homes, when the flu season is over.  I have a million excuses for putting off the countless things I plan to do as soon as the perfect spot opens up.  I love the expression~

I might add--seize the day while you still can or you might miss your chance.  Opportunity might pass me by if I don't grab the first one available.  Invariably with slipping into the first available spot, nothing is lost--and much is gained and so what if I walked a few extra steps.  Would I rather be frozen in a traffic jam or walking toward the door?  No answer needed--we all want to be moving toward the door!

Forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.
Philippians 3:13


All of us~at one time or another~ have had to deal with at least one elephant in the room.

Some thought, idea, occurrence, subject which we are so uncomfortable with that we declare it taboo.  We do not know what in the world to do with the elephant.  My ideas on the subject of elephants are not 100% right each and every time, but as a rule of thumb~they are not all bad.

1.  Ignoring it will not make the elephant go away.

You know it--everyone else knows it--but no one mentions there is an elephant here.  Refusing to speak of the elephant will not make the elephant disappear.

2.  Acknowledge the elephant up front.

With practice it becomes easier.  Say the words, " I miss _____ tonight, sure wish they were here."  Speak the taboo subject and set everyone at ease.  Others will pick up on the signal that you are okay with talking about the elephant and the tension will be broken.

3.  After introducing the elephant, allow the conversation to move forward.

The elephant has been acknowledged, so listen to the conversation concerning the elephant.  Discussing the elephant will diminish the unease with what was thought to be an emotionally charged or awkward subject.  Listening gives affirmation to the emotions of others and acknowledges our respect for their feelings.

4.  Don't allow the elephant to take up all the air and space in the room.

Once the elephant has been acknowledged and discussed, move on.  The elephant will suck the air from the room, if we are not willing to allow the subject to change.  People run from uneasy subjects, and if we are unwilling to talk of nothing else, we will find ourselves being avoided.   Yes, there is an elephant in the room, but the elephant should never be the center of attention for the entire time.  Acknowledge the elephant, address the elephant and then move on --let Old Peanut Breath have a rest.

Elephants come when life throws us curve balls or we fall off the cliff of despair.  At times our friends and families are unwilling to discuss the occurrences for fear of upsetting us.  They do not know how to help and are uncomfortable with our pain.  We need to acknowledge the presence of the elephant with them and allow them to hear our thoughts.  The dynamic duo of talking and time will help us to deal with our circumstance, but first we have to be willing to introduce the elephant in the middle of the room.  

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen
James 1:19


I am really sorry to have to inform all of you that Hero is the most intelligent dog in the universe.  In case you have the audacity to dispute this---I can back my claim up.  My friend Judith (aka the Dog Whisperer) recently posted a comment of my Facebook link to this blog that dogs sniff to get intellectual stimulation.  Hero can suck the green off of each and every blade of grass he waltzes by.  THERE you have it!  Hero is the smartest dog ever!  Why if I had named him, instead of the Grands, his name would be Dyson.

Hero has one other sensory trick up his sleeve--LICKING!  He drives me closer to the edge when he starts the licking routine.  Somehow he waits until all is quiet--I am reading--or watching a mindless television show and HERE HE GOES.  Lick-----LICK LICK-----LICK LICK LICK------LICK LICK LICK LICK LICK 
The "Dog Whisperer" tells me this is soothing for dogs to lick themselves.  WELL--THAT may well be but I am FAR from soothed when he gets going with this routine.  A couple of licks --I'm good--but after about 10-15 minutes I want to throw him out the back door.  I will say--unlike most children--he seems to sense when I have had enough and picks up on the tone of voice that says, "ENOUGH"!

Here we go, people,  I am circling around with my loosely associated mind to the topic of today's post.  A lifetime ago, I had a sweet dog who developed a "hot spot".  He licked the hot spot until it became an oozing wound.  Lick--lick--lick--the vet finally got sick and tired of seeing me coming through the door.  Dr. Davis has since retired, but I always loved his down home--common sense ideas about my dogs.  He put a cast on the dog's leg where the "hot spot" was located.  NOT to be outdone, the dog chewed into the cast so he could lick his wound.  The yo-yo returns to Dr. Davis and he proceeds to put a cast SO thick on the leg that the dog would NEVER be able to chew it off.  IT WORKED!  The wound healed and we went back to have the cast taken off.  Dr. Davis takes his pocket knife out of his pocket and proceeds to whittle through several inches of plaster.  I AM AGHAST!  "Where is the cast saw?" I inquire with great disdain.  He looked at me and cocked his head to the side and said, "Have you ever turned a high pitched cast saw on around a dog?"  About an hour of whittling later, I took the healed and sedate dog home.

(NOT the dog--but isn't he cute?"

A dog will lick and lick a wound.  Perhaps it is soothing, perhaps it is instinct, but he cannot leave that wound alone.  Back in the day, before someone came up with the cone of shame idea, we had little to prevent them from all of the licking.  So UNLESS they had sense enough to eventually leave it alone, it never got well.

  I dare say, most of us two legged mammals have licked a wound a two--perhaps not literally, but certainly metaphorically.  We become injured and keep pulling the scab off the wound and re-opening the raw open sore.  We lick and lick--and cannot seem to allow it to heal.  Here's the thing about that--the longer we refuse to allow it to heal--the bigger the scar will be.  I have certainly licked my wounds in the past, but thankfully have been able to allow the open sore to heal before it festered and hardened me.  Will we ever learn to let it go--leave it alone--and move on?  Sometimes we are slow learners and unfortunately there is no cone of shame for our hearts.  Supposedly we are at the top of the heap when it comes to brains--at times I wonder?

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32








photo credit-SB gamecam

photo credit-SB gamecam

photo credit-Keith Boydstun