Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Vision in White

So there we were again, Lily and I walking on the bike trail. The crickets chirping, birds singing and the sun hung perfectly in the sky. As we turned for home I saw a small image half a mile or so in front of us. As Lily continued to prance ahead we drew closer to the image. Moments turned to minutes and the figure became clear. There running towards me in a white cotton sun dress, was my three year old daughter. Her gait quickened as she saw us approaching. Once close enough she leaped into my arms.

Literally moments before the white blob became clear, I had been praying. I was asking God to guide the day. Asking Him to slow me down so that I could see His beauty all around. And pleading to feel His presence. The white cloaked toddler was like an angel sent to remind me that God loves me and hears me and runs to me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Butterfly Kisses

It's been a little while since my last blog entry. In 45 days we had the privilege and horror of saying goodbye to my brother-in-law, Eric. He was a gentle, generous and giving soul. Lily had a puppy-sitter for a good part of the month of July. I will share some of those misadventures soon. But before launching into our puppy adventures, I would like to pause and honor the simple rhythm of our Creator.

After returning from steamy Houston, mind scrambled and heart broken... I took Lily for a walk. Up on the bike trail behind our house, the clouds hung in a vivid blue sky. The lake water was like glass. The breeze rustled the grass and wild flowers on either side of the path. As we walked we were followed by a cluster of tiny yellow butterflies. Lily and I walked, well truthfully Lily tugged as I sped to catch up with her pace. After a few moments, she noticed the butterflies. Lily began to prance and almost dance with the flowing movements of the butterflies. For a fleeting second she gently batted at the the butterflies. It was as if she was communing with them, hugging, kisses, sharing tender space. Lily looked like a dog out of a Norman Rockwell photograph.

And then, as quickly as I could say: "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi" the playful banter ended. Lily's jaw clamped down and three of the five butterflies met their demise. Crushed by Lily's over-zealous attempt to experience their beauty.

I couldn't help but reflect on the experience of losing our loved one. In the bustle of life we sometimes forget to live. And then life ends. Just like the butterfly who was bringing beauty and depth to our walk was crushed by an unsuspecting spectator, we never know when our live's will end.

Life is all about living. One of my greatest lessons (one that I forget easily and often) is to LIVE every moment and to LOVE who I am with. No one knows the day or the hour they will leave this earth. So LIVE your life. Bask in the beauty of our Creator. Rest in the arms of the One who made you. Smile, Hug, Share words of encouragement and tell the one's you love that YOU LOVE THEM.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Have you ever been so excited about an idea, a project, or an accomplishment? In your excitement you have run home to share the news with a friend, family member or spouse. Unfortunately your excitement has been met with an uninterested information recipient. The "look" told it all... like: "Why are you so excited about that." In turn you feel disappointed, rejected... deflated!

While swimming in our pool the kids accidently knocked a beach ball over the edge. In Lily's excitement she ran to retrieve the ball. She pounced on it with all four paws. She looked up at the kids with a look of total satisfaction as the ball lost all its air and collapsed into a heap of plastic on the ground. The kids screamed in frustration and Lily sat up confused! How could her accomplished retrieval be met with such dissatisfaction?

Somehow this experience seems to mirror so much of life!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lily Bear

Since Lily joined our home she has had many names. Lily Baby, Lily Bug and most recently Lily Bear. As I had shared in my last post, Lily has had her ears perked on our daily walks. Perry and I have noticed that in addition to her perked ears, her hair was standing up. She was intensely aware of something. But besides the chipmunks nothing has shown up.
When I my son was in preschool his favorite book was Eric Carl's picture book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I have changed the rhyme a bit to include a new character, Lily Bear.
"Lily Bear, Lily Bear what do you see... I see a brown bear looking at me."
Sure enough, our neighbor reported a brown bear siting in our front yard on Sunday morning. Our little Lily Bear sensed something a little more threatening than a chipmunk.

Good Dog, Lily!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Puppy Sense

This morning we had a most unusual experience. After walking one mile, running one mile, we cooled back down to a walking pace and noticed a chipmunk on the path. Lily was acting very out of sync. Dodging to the right and then the left. I could see one chipmunk about 12 feet in front of us on the path. Then another chipmunk emerged from the hedges. As we approached the chipmunks didn’t move and instead were joined by 2 more friends. Lily and I approached both of us staring the chipmunks in the eyes. I got to within 3 feet of the chipmunks, expecting them to scamper off. They didn’t. Lily assumed her boxing pose, lunging back and forth feigning an attack. Lily was ready to take them on. I was not! Instead. Rather than experience 4 rabid chipmunks with furry vengeance, I turned us around and headed home. All four chipmunks sat on the path ruling the roost for the moment.... until a more brave walker came along. Strange!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Puppy Love and Baby Fever!

Lily met her cousin Jacob today. During a skype visit to New Mexico, Lily became very interested in my computer. The kids gathered around the small laptop screen to peer at their 13 month old cousin Jacob. In and amongst the jabbering, Lily grew closer and closer to me. She began by laying on my fee and ended up standing on my feet with her tail wagging intently. I picked Lily up to look at the computer. It was like love at first site. Jacob nearly leapt onto his computer and Lily nearly lapped our computer screen... trying to reach the baby. There is something so pure about puppy love and baby fever!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Horse Shouter

A few days ago my husband and I were listening to Dennis Miller. He mentioned that he was the "horse shouter." This was particularly funny because we had watched the "dog whisperer" only the night before. The dog whisperer was encouraging the dog owner to assert its authority as master over the pet. We both felt empowered and began to walk Lily with more authority. She is lighter on her paws and nipping less. We felt even more empowered after a bit of comedy by Dennis. His honest rant about "horse shouting" rather than "whispering" was a riot. Later the same day we were hanging out as a family. Lily was entertaining all of us. My husband looked at Jael, our 3 year old, and said: "I'm the kid shouter." No more whispering, talking... I'm moving right to shouting!

Lily is doing well. Growing leaps and bounds. And had her first successful play date with a 13 month old baby with only gentle touching. Yah!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Puppy Prayers

Well, it's been quite a while since I last wrote. Our days have been very full! And our nights have been even more eventful. Lily doesn't like to be alone. She cries. Our first night I listened to Lily howl, bark, cry, whine, and wimper. She wanted nothing more than to sleep close to us. We listened for hours as she howled. I really love to sleep and during sleepless nights I try to pray. I figure if I am up anyway there is someone I could pray for. While Lily kept us awake I imagined her sounds as a prayer language. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit understands our spirit groans. As I listened I heard sharp barks of frustration, horrendous howls of loneliness, manipulative whines and weak wimpers. I felt like I could understand what she was saying. It brought me comfort recognizing her sounds. If I can recognize the different barks of my puppy... how much more can God hear me.

What genius of God to hear our cries, moans, groans and even breaths and hear something beautiful. He truly hears me... even when I can't find words to express what I feel.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Little Heaven on Earth

There is a wonderful scripture that most church goers have memorized early on in their spiritual journey. It goes something like this: "Give us this day our daily bread, forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of others .... Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. Yesterday, my daughter Jael sat on the floor holding Lily. She looked up at me and asked: "If I go to Heaven, when can I come back?" I gazed at her and said: "What do you mean?" Jael looked back and said: "I would like to see Dakota and then come back to be with Lily." (Dakota was our 13 year old golden retriever who died last September). After a brief theological discussion about eternity Jael explained: "I want to tell Dakota that Lily is here now."
"Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven." Lily is a little bit of Heaven come to earth for our family. She is evidence that God cares about even the smallest details of life. He cares for us to love and be loved. He authors the sunsets, paints the flowers and gives personality to every living creature for our enjoyment.
Lily inspires me to live the scripture... and bring Heaven to earth for those around me.

New Arrivals

Do you remember when you were a kid and it took forever for things to happen? Now I feel like life whizzes by and I barely absorb one memory before the next one is being made. On Thursday night Isabelle, Jael and I drove to the airport with great expectation. Jael (3) fell asleep before we pulled out of the driveway. Isabelle on the other hand sat in the back seat asking the same question over and over: "Are we there yet?" At one point she said: "Mom why does it take so long for things that you want to happen? It was a great question.
Lucky for her, the hour and half ride to the airport was uneventful and we arrived with out delay. Upon pulling into the arrival gates, we all peered out our windows hoping to catch a glimpse of our new arrival. Then at gate 6, we saw her. Grandma opened the door to the backseat of the car and laid the most precious 20 pounds on the girls lap.
Lily lay across their laps amongst giggles, sighs, and other joyful sounds. What a wonderful memory... very worth the wait.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Most Important Things!

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a choice. I was offered a puppy? This opportunity to replace our family pet launched me into a much deeper conversation. The question: "What is really important to me?" Our family dog died in September, 2009. He was 13 years old. Dakoda had lived with me for one year before I got married. He moved with me five times. He guarded the crib three different times when our new babies came home from the hospital. When he finally passed away, he was crippled and disorientated. It was one of the strangest losses I had ever experienced. My husband and I decided to wait through the winter to replace our pet. It was mostly a pragmatic decision, since the thought of house breaking a puppy in the Wisconsin snow, didn't sound fun! In March we were offered a puppy, the runt of my friends litter of lab puppies. I remember looking at the picture and thinking this is a great thing. I also remember wondering if I could do it. I am already so busy - managing our family, work, ministry and my volunteer commitments. I guess my heart won, when we accepted the gift and began to plan for her arrival.

It amazes me that just the thought of the new pet brings so much happiness and excitement. The choice to accept Lily was also my choice to accept "new life." Just the idea of a puppy brings joy, freedom and new life to our family. Lily is the name that she comes with, but our family feels it perfectly depicts her story with us. She is our Easter Lily... our sign of hope for the future.