My Dog and I

Today, our home underwent a little renovation. The screened in porch was knocked down, opening up a patio to the backyard. I am pleased with the change. James and I sat rocking on the patio and complementing the recent change, Madison and a friend giggled while they jumped on the trampoline, and Tucker ran around the trampoline barking, believing he is one of the children. 

Suddenly from the bright blue sky, an intense boom of thunder shook our world. The girls screamed and began their sprint to the safety of the house. But with a look that he had just been spanked with a bolt of lightning, Tucker took off with the fastest hot lap that I have seen performed, running for his life. 

The hilarity was in watching his determined face as he passed the open patio…open patio…open patio, where he could have entered with ease, as he high tailed it to the spot where the old screened in door used to hang and he entered where that creature of habit has entered since he was a wee puppy and he first became house trained. 

And I realize that doggie and I have something in common. WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT. I like a BBQ sandwich with cole slaw on top, because that’s the way I’ve always eaten it. Don’t try to keep me from my Sunday afternoon nap. Christmas decorations are hung the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Don’t even think about straying from the traditional turkey and dressing on that day of ️thanks. And if my side of the bed gets switched, I am bound to wake up on the wrong side, if you know what I mean. There is a certain way that our culture talks and acts and does life and if you get too weird on us…well, we don’t like it. Why?  WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT. That’s not how we do it. 

And then there is the part I like to keep a secret. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. When my house is messy, I am grumpy. When I get mad at my husband, I get quiet. When I mess up, it is hard for me to let go and move on. I value comfort much too much. And I judge people that judge people. (Hmmm)  I am a creature of habit even when it comes to my sins. 

I AM FREE FROM SIN!  Jesus paid the debt. The chain is broken. Satan is defeated. I do not have to worry about this world and comfort and what others think of me!  I am a blink away from eternity. The movers are called and I’m packing for my mansion in glory!

I am like a prisoner with the prison door open and I still sit upon my cot. I am holding the shackles that have been cut off my arms. I am eating the crumbs under the table when the feast was prepared for me. And I am dressing in old rags when a designer dress was ordered and the party was planned for me!

Sinner of habit, the whole patio is open!  Stop running from the storm and chasing my old habits!  The race is won!  The price is paid!  Jesus loves me. NOW LIVE!

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Giving Thanks: The Final Post in a Thanksgiving Series

This is the third and last post in a Thanksgiving series.  I do not often quote other writers on this site but the facts in this post are taken from “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.

“By October 1621 the corn planted that spring was ready for harvest.  The fields yielded a large crop that would keep the colony from starvation in the coming winter.  Their hearts were full of gratitude for their renewed health, for the abundant harvest, and for the peace they enjoyed with the Indians.

William Bradford, who at thirty three years of age had been elected leader of the colony after the death of John Carver that summer, was thankful for the harvest.  As the new governor, he declared that Plymouth should hold a thanksgiving festival and invite the settlement’s Indian friends as special guests.  A date was set, and an invitation delivered to Chief Massasoit.

When Massasoit arrived with ninety hungry braves, the Pilgrims became worried.  How could they feed that many people?  And if they used too much of their precious stockpiled corn, would they have adequate food supply to survive the winter?

When Massasoit and his men arrived at Plymouth, they too went to the woods and seashore to gather food.  The Pilgrims breathed a sigh of relief and began preparing the meal.

When it was time to eat, the menu was impressive:  venison, goose, lobster, eel, oysters, clam chowder, parsnips, turnips, cucumbers, onions, carrots, cabbage, beets, radishes, and dried fruit that included gooseberries, strawberries, cherries, plums,  and ashcakes, and popcorn (provided by the Indians.)

The feasting continued over a three-day period, during which both Indians and Pilgrims participated in games and exhibitions of shooting skill with bows and arrows and guns.  The Pilgrim boys joined the races and wrestling matches of the Indians, and in turn the Indians learned how to play stoolball – a game resembling croquet.”

The Pilgrims lost 50% of those that had traveled over on the Mayflower with them.  Imagine!  Just think of journeying to a new land and half of your group dies!

BUT!  God was not through with them yet!  They absolutely could not know what America would grow to be!  They could not know what they were starting:  the amazing nation, the United States of America!  But God had brought them to this new land.  And after such a harsh winter, it was spring again.  They had learned to farm.  They had made friends with the Indians.  They were going to survive.  I don’t know about you, but when we get in a circle at Thanksgiving time and share what we are thankful for, I have never said, “I am going to survive.  Thank God.”  Well, that was their thanks!  They looked at the remaining children, their remaining family, and said, “We have hope.  We have God.  Look what he has done.  It looks like our dream of this new country is going to come true after all.  Let’s give thanks.”  So, a week early, I say to all my friends in the United States of America, and to all my friends around the world, “Let’s give thanks for what God has done.”  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Hardships Beyond What I Have Ever Known: Post 2 in a Thanksgiving Series

You would not think that the people that began our Thanksgiving tradition still had such hardships fresh in their minds.  Hardships that I can not begin to imagine.  This is the second post in a Thanksgiving series.  The facts are taken from “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.

“Perhaps the Pilgrims had felt that the worst was over when they finally set foot on solid ground again.  But their relief was only momentary.  As the weeks went by, the weather grew worse.  In the coldest stretch of winter, a disease made much of the community desperately ill.  The Pilgrims began to die in alarming numbers.  Near the end of March, with the weather improving and the worst of the influenza outbreak over, the surviving Pilgrims assessed their winter losses.  Several entire families had perished in the epidemic; fifteen of nineteen women were dead; in only four couples had both spouses survived.  The children had fared the best.  Of ten girls, nine survived, and only eight of the twenty-three boys died.  Nearly half of those who had arrived on the Mayflower now lay in the shallow graves dug on a windswept hill beside the sea.”

These are the men and women that established our country.  These tragedies struck the very land that we inhabit today.  These is our family tree.

Surely they questioned their journey.  I am sure some of them wished they had stayed in England.  I imagine that many of them questioned God.  Surely some of them were angry.  How hard!  Now they were in a new land with no home, no knowledge of how to survive, and now each of them had been touched by death in a huge way.  This is not the Thanksgiving story that runs through the mind of most while we prepare the turkey.