Monday’s Musings — A Shelter Pup, Me & the Safe Place

Maya sitting in a chair watching baseball on Saturday
Maya sitting in a chair watching baseball on Saturday

My youngest son had a baseball scrimmage on Saturday evening.
I decided to take along our dog, Maya.

She’s a shelter pup.
She’s a shelter pup we adopted just over two years ago.
She’s a shelter pup who, we believe, came from an abusive situation.

Maya doesn’t like riding in the car.
Maya doesn’t like men.
Maya doesn’t like men wearing hats.
Maya doesn’t like little girls.
Maya doesn’t like people she doesn’t know.
Maya doesn’t like other dogs.
Maya doesn’t like paper towel rolls, cords of any kind or objects which look like bats.

Taking Maya to baseball activities can – obviously – be a challenge.
So why do I take her?
I want to help her to overcome some of her fears in a safe way.

She is a wonderfully perfect dog for us at home; it’s just when she comes into contact with these things that her nervousness, fearful growling and hesitancies occur.

Maya is part German Shepherd and part Chihuahua (…uh-huh…go ahead…you can ponder that one for a bit…). At home, she’s all Shepherd…she smells everything, she’s a fantastic watchdog and alerts us to anything going on in the house, driveway or yard that isn’t in her view of 100% normal, and she’s loving and protective. However, should something outside her view of normal persist, should she encounter one of her fears, or if we take her out of her environment, then the yippy, growling, shaking and fearful Chihuahua comes out in her.


I can relate to Maya. I like my home environment. My things are where I want them, my thoughts are where I need them, and my routine is mostly mine. I’m like a Momma Shepherd at home, but I’ll let doubts and hesitancy flare up when I’m away from my comfort zones.

I’ve had to deal with new people and new situations a lot over the last few years…many of which I would never have imagined or have chosen. I’m not a hermit by any means, but I can get a little nervous when I’m called to step out of my comfort zone, even if it is in a safe place.

Sometimes I wonder…
What will others think?
What will they think of me?
Am I up to the task?
Will I be good enough?
I cherish when there are others near me who know me and who can help me walk through hesitancies or challenges.

Through my own challenges, I’ve found comfort and confidence in a few close friends, but mostly, I’ve found my strength in the Lord.

I’ve had to repeatedly tell myself that if He has allowed me to walk through this season of my life, then He will be with me. I’ve found comfort in His Word and in knowing He will be my shield, my strength, my comforter and my defender. He has, and — despite the challenges of life — my joy has overflowed as a result of His presence.


That’s what I have to do with Maya. When she’s shaking and staring at me with that “I’m so afraid” look, I need to be a good master by helping her to confidently walk through the hesitancies and by helping her to safely (for her and for others) deal with her fears.

She knows she’s safe when I’m near and when she can sit at my feet,
and I know I’m safe when He is here and when I can sit at His feet.




Monday’s Musings — It Ain’t Over


How many of us woke up this morning to proclaim, “HE IS RISEN, INDEED!”?

A lot of us DID do that yesterday, but did we do it today?

Yesterday was a day where, upon waking, I’m sure we thought about the sacrifice He made and the glory of His resurrection. We went to church and thought about it some more. We took the time to celebrate that He is no longer on the cross, and He’s no longer in the tomb.

The story of His redeeming love is absolutely awesome and awe-inspiring.

The thing is…it wasn’t just awe-inspiring yesterday on Resurrection Sunday;
it is awe-inspiring EVERY SINGLE DAY.

For over 2000 years, it’s been awe-inspiring, and that won’t end.

What He did then was just as amazing as it is today. Yesterday’s proclamation is today’s proclamation, and it will also be tomorrow’s proclamation.

His redeeming love is worthy of our awe-filled thoughts every day, not just on the “holy day.”

Before your feet hit the floor tomorrow morning, take a moment to revel in His love.
Think about what His resurrection means to your eternity.
Think about what His resurrection means to your life.

When your feet hit the floor, allow the awe of redemption to make a path for your day.



Monday’s Musings — Joy

“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox.
I want to see in them the joy of finding God
while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him.
I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.”
~ A. W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer was a pastor, speaker and writer who had a profound impact on those with a deep desire to pursue God during the 1920s to 1960s. His books and legacy live on in churches today. He was known for his prayer time, his holy pursuit of a deeper walk with God, and for cautions to live simply and avoid moving down a path toward worldliness.

Too often, it is our JOY which is missing in our pursuit of a Christian walk. We go through our days, our chores, our mealtimes, our careers, our relationships, our quiet moments, and we fail to find joy in what we do … in just being.

Joy is bigger than happiness.

I’ve come to believe that happiness comes from our emotions about a situation, circumstance, person, whereas joy is not an emotion–it is simply a state of being. It’s just there … or it’s just not. It’s deeper than happiness, and I also think it comes from acknowledging that which is greater than our self or our circumstances.

My personal opinion?Joy exists in those who are learning to know, trust and understand who God is while allowing Him to be THE impact in their walk.

Just as we can quiet or quell the leading of the Holy Spirit within us, our joy can be stifled when we focus too much on Self or on circumstances. We hear more of the Spirit’s voice moving within us when we get out of the way, and we’ll experience more joy in our life when our focus is on pursuing God through His Word, through prayer, through fellowship (with Him and with others), and in learning to walk in obedience to how He has called us to live. It’s a process and a path, but it’s one where joy is present.





Monday’s Musings — Metal Spheres & Choices

Newton'sCradle.Choices.HSHave you ever stopped to stare at one of these scientific pendulum contraptions?

…to look at the way the spheres move? …how they collide with one another? …how they are impacted by one another?

Pick up the device (it’s known as “Newton’s Cradle”) to rock it back and forth, and all the spheres will stay stuck to one another and move in perfect harmony.

Pick up one ball, and, via the outside force of fingers releasing a ball, it will connect with the second ball to create a dynamic which impacts the remaining three.

Pick up two balls, and, when released, they will stay together and work together impacting and absorbing the motion of the remaining three balls.

Even if shaken, the balls will quickly find their way back into order.

The response varies depending on the force and how it is used, but there is still a response. There is always a response. …even when the motion slows and the balls come to a complete rest, there is still a motion happening in the group.

In one of these little scientific devices, we can observe harmony and how the spheres seem to work WITH one another!


But something else happens, too. If you play with the device long enough, you will see that the balls aren’t always working in harmony with one another, but that they are reacting to the force exerted on them by the other balls.


Life does this to us.

Another’s choices, words, actions or deeds hit us hard, and we are caught in the fallout.

Our own thoughts lead to choices, words, actions, or deeds that change life forever — for us and for those around us.
…never to be the same again…
Time and forgiveness — offered or received — will help, but life will still always be different.


So, is it harmony or fallout?

When life impacts us,
when another’s choices impact us,
when life changes forever,
how do we respond?

We do have a choice.

We’re not just a metal ball hanging on a string from a wire frame bracing for the impact. We’re not just a sphere stuck in the middle waiting to see what those around us do.

We do have a choice. We have a choice in how to respond to what has been done to us. And, if we’ve done it to another, we have a choice in how to proceed forward with the impact we have made.


Life is about choices.

As much as we want to blame another person, fill our thoughts with “what-ifs,” dream of a rewind, wish it away or ignore it all, that’s not what we’ve been given in this present moment.

Life is about choices, and today is about choices. …making choices that lead to living the kind of life where joy, peace and hope can take root and take hold.

The choices we make today can create a harmony around us, or, the choices we make today can create yet another level of fallout.

I need to choose wisely…we all do.


Monday’s Musings – The Artificial Flavor of Life


A discussion ensued in our household this morning after I was asked a question about my tea:  “Mom, are the flavors in tea real?”

I like to drink tea, and I also like to drink coffee. Not all teas and coffees appeal to me, though. I like REAL flavors.

I explained to the boys that anytime one sees “artificial flavors” on a tin, bag, box or label, there are chemicals used to make that product. In defining “natural flavors,” I told them how I like to find products that are flavored with true flavors, too, and not just labeled with a natural derivative.

As an example, I told them how I’ll look for a tea with “orange peel” or “vanilla bean” or “hibiscus flowers”  in the ingredient list, rather than “natural vanilla flavor,” which may really not be from nature at all. We also talked about how coffee can be flavored with spices, ground nuts or pure essential oils added on top of the grounds before brewing to have a real experience instead of grinding coffee beans that have been soaked in a lab-created substitute.

Artificial flavors have infiltrated a lot of our cupboards.


Artificial “flavors” have also infiltrated our parenting, our marriages, our laws, our doctrines, our morals, our thoughts and our faith.

So often today, we can see what God intended for good has been made bad, and what He intended for evil has been made good. (Isaiah 5:20a) Lines are so often blurred that we no longer know what is real, what is good, what is right, or even what is desired based on His Word. We, ourselves, often blur those lines even more by rationalizing what we see as accepted by the world serves as more of an authority to us than what is taught in the Word.

You know what? He calls us to be a natural flavor, not an artificial one, and he calls us to live IN this world as Believers, but to be cautious about being OF this world.

Time to drink a cuppa and study some more…