Cavy Treats

My guinea pigs get treats regularly, which they love.  When they hear the rustle of a bag, they wheek, in hopes that the bag might contain something special for them.

Today, I was passing out molasses, raisin, and oatmeal horse treats.  They come as three circles together as a triangle and I usually break them apart so each pig gets one section.

Sometimes when I pass out the treats, sometimes one pig is concentrating so hard on his neighbor getting a treat that he misses when I drop a treat into his cage. Because he is worried about what his neighbor has, he misses out on what good stuff I just gave him.

It made me wonder – how many times and I so focused on what someone else has that I miss what God has given me?

Count Your Blessings

After a friend, Kylee, was hospitalized after a particularly scary series of dystonic attacks and still chose to post 10 positives for the day, I decided to follow suite and post a list of my own positives.  I also found this very appropriate quote which reminds me of the old hymn “Count Your Blessings.”
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1. The weather has been beautiful!  I’m loving the thunderstorms that bring the rain the crops, garden, and flowers need as well as the warm spring days.

2. The flowers are blooming like crazy, and I’m actually able to enjoy them as my meds have managed to keep my allergies fairly well in check.

A gift from a friend, beautiful blooms!

 3. I’m so grateful for the time I spend with my friends, especially my friend Mallory.

4. My God has provided me with so much and I am extremely grateful for all He has done.
5. I’m grateful that I live in a country where I can get health care, where I have privileges I might not otherwise have and where I can freely believe and worship God without fear.
6. I was able to stay up late and enjoy the “supermoon” the other night and it was a beautiful night.

Maigee admires the “supermoon.”

7. Maigee, my service dog, gives me independence and freedom to do things I might not otherwise be able to do.

8. I’m grateful for all my pets – Tyler, Roxie, and Rascal, the cats; Zac, the guinea pig; Loi, Hope III, and Tubby, the fish; and of course, Maigee.

9. My family, while they occasionally drive me nuts, are a blessing to me as well.

10. I’m grateful for all the wonderful people I’ve met through this journey!

Anti-Christmas

I’ve not been around much, and I suppose there are excuses for it, but I’m not going to go into them in depth here (maybe later). This post is to talk about this crazy holiday we are celebrating.

Recently, I’ve become rather anti-Christmas. The last few years, it was mostly just the commercialism of Christmas – trees, presents, decorations, that sort of thing. This year, whether it is because of my depression or because of my pain or because of my relationship with God, I have become anti-Christmas to the point that most manger scenes annoy me. When people talk about the real reason for the season, but it is only about happy nativities and that sort of thing, it seems to me they don’t go beyond the surface level. It is more than about the nativity, it was more even than the cross. There is a whole book about God, not just the two sections we pull out and remember every year.

Christianity has a whole lot more depth than just the birth and death of Christ. There is a whole book about creation and our likeness to God, a whole history of how God chose His people and guided them, how they went through leaders and judges and kings who were both good and bad, they were given rules and went through battles and captivity and rebuilding, there are stories of what happened to Christ between His birth and His death, it is recorded how the gift was extended to those beyond that group of people to everyone, then it tells how the truth began to spread throughout the world, including instruction and commands for each of us, and then finished with information about the future.

There is a whole lot more to the Bible than just Christmas (or Easter). I’m sick of people saying “remember the reason for the season” while looking at beautiful, peaceful nativities. I don’t think that is how it was at that first Christmas at all.

First of all, it wasn’t necessarily winter and even if it was it doesn’t snow in Israel. We don’t even know if it was a clear night, it could have been cloudy. We do know that the inn was full – so the stable (which was actually more of a cave) was most likely full of all of the traveler’s animals. It was most likely crowded with donkeys, cattle, camels, and horses. All those animals probably made the place rather fragrant and crowded. Mary was young, perhaps even as young at 13 or 14, and was not blonde haired and blue eyed. I highly doubt that she had the instant, painless birth that we so often see in skits. I imagine her lying exhausted and sweaty on a musty stack of straw in a corner of a crowded barn. After hours of labor, the child arrives, and screams for the first time. I don’t think he didn’t make a sound – he was God, but was also fully man! Joseph, nervously watched over his bride (or possibly wasn’t even present for the birth, I think I read somewhere that men couldn’t be present at the birthing of a child at that time). He was mostly likely older than Mary, possibly by quite a bit.

So, I may have ruined some of your ideas of a nice, happy nativity scene, but again, there is more to the story than just the happy nativity. A lot more. This Christmas, though I’m frustrated at decorations, annoyed at carols, and flustered at nativities, I find myself drawing nearer to God and allowing Him to take over more of my life. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t given everything to Him and I still struggle daily to even remember to make Him a part of my day, but I want to encourage you to examine your life this Christmas, and try to discover where God fits in – all three of His persons – Father and Spirit, in addition to the Son. Remember the real reason for the season (and I don’t mean the pagan background either).

Hope

“He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
1 Peter 1:3 and 6

In our growth group, we are reading through 1 Peter and that stood out to me. We all have trials and grief, but even through all of our suffering, we can still hold hope because He has given us HOPE. It is that hope that gets us through the long days (and nights) and through the long trials. We can keep our hope because of our faith in what He has done for us. It doesn’t mean life is going to be easy, we are going to have to suffer grief, but He will give us the hope to press on through the tough times.

Comfort from a Storm

One thing that I’ve been questioning recently is how God could have allowed all this pain to happen to me when so many people were praying for my surgery to go well and cure the pain.  A few days ago, God revealed a comforting analogy to me through nature that helped me understand a little bit of why.
Some days, the sun is hidden by many clouds.  Sometimes the rain pounds the earth, while thunder shakes the earth and lightning streaks across the sky.  This is not what we expected, not what we wanted, yet God remains in control.  The rain that drenches the ground also softens the seed coats to allow growth.  Without it, the seeds could not grow.  My life has seemed like a thunderstorm the past few months.   I often struggle to see how it is the answer to my prayers, but sometimes we need the stormy times for growth.  I pray that my heart would continue to be softened to hear His words and to grow closer to Him.

Who Can Do It?

In reflection over my last post, I’ve realized that I failed to mention another huge part of the realization my lack of participation in worship made me realize. God is worthy and I cannot give Him what He deserves. It doesn’t matter if you have one working arm or a hundred, as humans we simply cannot give Him what He deserves.

It isn’t something I am lacking solely because I cannot worship with the accompaniment of bass sounding music, but something we as a human race, as all creation, lacks. Sure we can sing Him pretty songs, help others, or even lead others to Him, but He is deserving of so much more.

This fact never came to me before, I don’t know if I’m just dense or if everyone is oblivious to the wonder of our God, but even when I served God with my whole heart and my whole healthy body, I could not give Him what He deserves.

If God did nothing, He would be worthy of praise beyond anything I can imagine.

This realization may give some the excuse that if we can’t do it all, we should do anything to worship Him, but that is so wrong. I will go on praising my God with my whole life, even if it causes me pain to do it because He is so worthy of my praise!