Thoughts from me - a preacher's wife, farmer's daughter, mom, and nurse. Posts are mainly intended to help me journal the events of my life - topics will include kids, church, work, marriage, life in general,
and of course my dogs . . . and whatever else I feel compelled to write about.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

All in the Family

Family - there's just something about that blood connection.

There are 18 of us cousins on my dad's side of the family. When we were little we were close, but now as adults we rarely see each other.

Jerry - He starts the list of cousins. Jerry is now 50 and not it great health. He is the oldest cousin and was born on July 11
Cathy - She is Jerry, Laurie, and Jimmy's sister - I haven't seen her in years.
Larry - He lives close to my parents. Larry used to help Daddy farm and spent a lot of time with us when I was in high school.
Laurie - She has done a lot in her life. She was a nun for a while and now is a teacher at a Catholic high school. Laurie is a great mom to her two boys one of which has severe disabilities.
Cheri - She married Mike who is a big-time farmer a few hours a way. Cheri home schools her 6 kids who are all successful in all they do. No - I am serious, they really are.
Lisa - She is a chemist at Eli Lilly's and a single mom to Jonathon whom she adopted from Russia. Lisa has recently taken a leave from work to home school Jonathon and spend more time with her mom, Aunt Ann, who has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home.
Diane - My sister.
Jimmy - He is a 3rd generation farmer. Daddy helps him farm now that he is retired.
Steve - He is my most notorious cousin. Steve has grown up a lot and now has a great wife and three kids. His son Dallas is just like him, and we are all enjoying that! Steve drives a school bus where he's known as Porter; however, it's still hard for me not to call him Stevie.
Tracy - She is 6 months younger than me but is a grandma - not necessarily by her choosing. She is sweet and hard working. I am glad to see her in a great relationship now.
Billy - I haven't seen Billy in years. His is the son of Aunt Mary whom no one has seen in years although she lives just a short drive away. I heard Billy got married not too long ago. He dated a girl for years and years and she died of cancer; it took him a long time to get over that.
David (Shannon) - He is a fireman and doesn't live that far away. He has a beautiful wife and two kids.
Missy - She is the daughter of Aunt Jeannie who died at 33 from breast cancer when Missy was just 10. Missy married Jerome who is a mortician/funeral director and semi-pro wrestler! She has one son and still lives in her hometown.
Toby - He is Tracy's brother. Toby has a wife named Charity and two kids. He served in the military for a while. I haven't seen him for 4-5 years now.
Chris - He is the other son of Aunt Mary. I can't even remember the last time I saw Chris. I am sure he wouldn't recognize me at all, in fact, I don't know if he ever even knew who I was. I heard he looks just like his dad. I think he is a teacher and tennis coach.
Doug - He is Missy's brother. Doug races motorcycles and has a pretty wife and two adorable boys. I am pretty certain that he is in business with his dad.
Danny - My brother. Youngest cousin and was born on July 11 just like the oldest cousin.

My parents host a family reunion every August, but unfortunately, not every one comes. It has been years since we have all been together collectively as a family.

But despite not seeing each other often, when we do we are definitely still family.

This is a picture of Joel and my cousin Tracy's daughter, Ciara. They are both freshman in high school. TCM played Ciara's school on Friday night. Joel played and Ciara cheered. Although they don't even know each other, I think you can tell they are family.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Samuel Robin

How do you reward years of faithful service? Well, in Sam's case you let him sleep on the couch when the windchill is -27 degrees.

Sam is our faithful first dog. He is 12 years old and has spent 11 of those twelve years outside guarding "the Lodge."

The story of how we got Sam is a little bittersweet for me. You see, Brian had been adamant about the fact that we were not to get a dog. He didn't want one - not yet. We were planning on moving in a year or so and Brian wanted to wait until we had more room for a dog.

Actually I might have just made all of that up. The fact was Brian didn't want a dog - he just didn't like dogs. A fact that would later change - but I digress.

Anyway, the problem was that I really wanted a dog. I wanted a dog now.

One weekend, Megan and I had to run to Walmart for some screws for a dresser Brian was putting together. As we walked into the store we passed a box of "free puppies." That's where we saw Sam. Instead of smiling at the puppies as we passed them by - we stopped and fell in love.

Megan and I agreed to do our shopping and while in the store pray about whether we should take one of those adorable free puppies. I realize now that praying about whether I should blatantly disobey my husband doesn't exactly line up with Scripture.

Needless to say, after five minutes of shopping and "praying" Megan and I had both come to the conclusion that we should take one of the puppies home. We picked a puppy originally named "Adam."

He was so small and sweet. He fit on Megan's little 6 year old lap and she wrapped him in her sweater. You would think we would be ecstatic that we finally had our puppy - but instead we both cried all the way home.

We knew we had disobeyed. We knew we were in the wrong. We should have just turned around and taken little "Adam" back to Walmart, but we didn't. We took him home.

Brian was upset, but even worse than that he was disappointed. It was the first time I had out and out disobeyed his request. And to top it off, I had dragged Megan into my disobedience.

"Adam" who we renamed Sam was everything Brian didn't want in a dog. He pooped on the floor, constantly chewed on things - especially shoes, wouldn't stay in the yard, dug under the fence, and Megan and Levi grew to be afraid of him and his needle sharp puppy teeth.

"Dog Whisperer" Joel, who was only 2 at the time, would wrestle Sam and and carry him around. And I would try to defend Sam's actions and make excuses for his behavior.

It was a rough couple months.

I finally apologized to Brian for my disobedience and asked him to forgive me and swore I would never blatantly disobey him again. We did end up moving and Sam became an outside dog. Things immediately improved and Sam became our beloved mole-hunting, guard dog.

He has served our family well. Brian loves him and appreciates his service to our family.

Sam is old and deaf now. He has arthritis and he smells bad. But I still love him and the lesson I learned from getting him is worth me giving up the couch for a few days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit's Not a Watermelon

I was meeting Megan at the Verizon Store to upgrade her phone. We knew she was eligible for an upgrade in January. Her phone had been giving her fits and she was more than ready for a new one.

I listened to one of my favorite radio preacher's on the way to the Verizon store. He was preaching on the fruit of the spirit. It was a very good message, and as he preached I was reflecting on my own life wondering if my walk with the Lord was producing visible fruit.

Enter the store.

Sales Clerk: May I help you.

Megan: I'm here to upgrade my phone.

Sales Clerk: What's your cell phone number.

Megan: **************

Sales Clerk: Oh, I'm sorry. You are not eligible for an upgrade until January 23.

Me: What! January 23. That is just one week away. We drove all the way from ****ville just for this upgrade. (Patience?)

Sales Clerk: I'm sorry, ma'am. There's nothing I can do about it.

Me: Well, we need a phone today. Not in a week. We have five cell phones with Verizon, and pay a whopping monthly bill. We need a new phone today. (Peace?)

Sales Clerk: Well, I am sorry, but I can't do that. It is a strict company policy.

Me: Her phone isn't working right. It is going to be -27 degrees tonight and she is going to be driving home from a late class. She needs a phone that works!!!!! (Gentleness?)

Sales Clerk: I'll tell you what I will do. This is a one time deal. I will give her a new battery to get her by for another week.

Me: Okay. Thank you. [walking away to allow Megan to finish the transaction] (Self control? maybe)

It was at this moment that I became sensitive to the Holy Spirit's conviction. Would this sales clerk now be receptive to me witnessing to her or inviting her to church. I doubt it.

I could hear Angel singing:

The fruit of the spirit's not a watermelon.
The fruit of the spirit's not a watermelon.
If you want to be a watermelon, you might as well cheer it.
But you can't be a fruit of the spirit.

For the fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . .
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.