Easy Summer Dog Treats…

I am constantly looking for ways to keep my English bulldog cool on these crazy hot Louisiana days! Recently, I found these awesome silicone muffin pans at Dollar General for $4.50! Everywhere else I looked they were $10-$20 which is nuts.

Just fill them with water, put them in the freezer and pop one out with frozen. My Betty Lou loves getting one when she’s hot and sweaty. The best part is, it’s just water, no sugar like a popsicle, she she’s getting hydrated and cooled down!

Here’s a link for the item on DG! https://www.dollargeneral.com/baked-with-love-silicone-baking-pan-silicone.html

Hope you guys love it!

The box.

Death came knocking a little too close.

What is it about death, that the mere mention of its name causes a deep consideration? It makes one stop just a moment longer. Requires reflection of ourselves and those around us. Our relationships are perused. Attention is paid.

It did just that for me, when I heard it. Its haunted knock. Seems feeble, but anything but. The thud of its finality, just a little too close. It is so very final.

When we die, we are placed in a box.

Funny, I am beginning to see the truth is this; we are in a box long before we die.

I remember as a child playing with cardboard boxes. These boxes could be anything and everything. With some tape and a knife, the boundaries were limitless. A spaceships for the worlds youngest astronaut. Top secret forts for the sneakiest spy. Breathtaking castle for the belle of the kingdom. The imagination was the only ceiling. But then it stops. It just stops. One day the imagination stops, we go into the box, that once had so many endless possibilities and we never come back out.

Oh sure, we like to vociferate that others put us in our boxes, circumstances keep us caged, limits keep us limited, but really, it is our own doing. We are the ones that allow the windows to be barred, the deadbolts to be installed. We allow it. They say what not to do, where not to go, what not to wear, how not to think and we listen. Tell us where to go, how to learn, what should make us happy and we let them. We accept it. We willingly embrace what they hand us and we affix them to our box or to the reasons why we must remain.

And we remain. We sit inside, discontented, miserable and depressed. We stop creating, imaging and living and we go in, shut the door and never come out. We scroll through pictures of others in their boxes, watch them as they pretend not to be in one. Maybe we lean out of the windows, wish, day dream, fantasize, hope, but that is all. We do not dare open the door, we do not dare wander out.

Perhaps, there are moments when we get close. Dare to break free. Events, such as death or a pandemic, cause a spark. Passion is resuscitated in our soul, but it soon fans out. It fans out, we blow it out, or watch as we allow others to snuff it out.

We have questions, so many questions.

We have doubts, fears, insecurities. A circular heyday of uncertainty runs rampant, destroying. So we cry, eat, shop, drink, spend, gossip, sleep, don’t sleep, anything to pacify the insistent, intense hole.

Refusing to exit.

Get me out of this box. Let me not wake up and it be too late to run away.

Slow

I love slow Saturday mornings. Really, any slow morning will do just fine. Mornings not burdened with alarms or schedules. Mornings not planned for me or requiring of me. Mornings that can drift slowly by while sipping coffee, practicing lazy.

The practice of lazy, is just that. For a recovering “busy bee” it is all about the practice. There was a time when slow was anything but enjoyable. A time when I had to go, had to do, had to be. A time when sitting still seemed torturous. Every moment had to be filled, every ounce had to be planned. And if I wasn’t going, wasn’t doing, I was terribly vexed and unsettled.

I am thankful for my husband in this regard. It is he who taught me to enjoy the quiet. He showed me how to slow down, how to enjoy being still, being content in nothing. Often he asks me why I love him, this is one reason. If not for him, I know I’d be shackled to busy, unsettled and discontent. So thank you my love. Thank you for saving me from busy and showing me slowness.

The Hump.

A hump.

It’s a funny thing.

Funny it doesn’t seem like one when you’re going through it.

Monumental in the present, minuscule in the past.

Teaching tool, patience maker, tear jerker, pain maker. Metaphorical thorn.

Any “thing” can classify as a hump. What is for one, maybe not for another. My hump, not your hump.

Purpose derives from the midst of the hump. Success born in the struggle. From the challenges, the misunderstandings, the darkness. Each have reason, each complete a task.

The danger comes from getting stuck in the hump.

All the sticking points. Sticking too tight. Incapable of breaking the tethers.

What had purpose now has detriment.

Scream, kick, claw, bite, fight. Push past the hump. Once the purpose served, do not linger.

Let the hump be a highway, not a habitat. A track, not a tether. A lesson, not a limit.

Faithful.

Faithful. Steadfast to affection or allegiance. Firm in adherence to promises. True to the facts and to a standard.

Countless verses in the Bible speak about faithfulness. Some though, speak directly to the source of faithfulness. The fulfillment of the word faithful. These scriptures direct our focus directly to the faithfulness of God. It is this faithfulness that grabbed my attention this morning. “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Our world is anything and everything but faithful. I suppose it always has been, but lately it seems treacherous. Not much is steady. Consistency is hard to find. It leads the soul to unrest. Poses questions and doubts. Sparks fear.

Yet this scripture. These words. In an instant, grant the ability to find rest. They recall, recount and rehash the truth that is His faithfulness. They release the noose of fear and capture truth, that He, is in control.

Immediately, I am thankful for what is so easily forgotten. Faithfulness. Steadfast to a promise. Not changing, not unsteady. Consistent. As the things around me rattle and shake. As unsteadiness creeps in. A promise made so long ago, is so prevalent to today. A promise He knew I would need this day, the same promise another may need tomorrow.

Thank you Father for being faithful when I am not. When we are not.

Thank you for speaking a promise so long ago, knowing I would need it today.

Broke without breaking.

I hear the news reports, ringing in my ears.

I see the devastation happening, blazing in my eyes.

I feel the unfathomable impact, weighted in my soul.

For days it has rendered me speechless. Unable to form a sound opinion, unable to gain reason. Grieving.

Grief, unbearable grief.

The lyrics of a song roll round and round in my mind.

Broke without breaking.

We are broken. So broken.

Our country. Our communities. Our lives.

The brokenness creeps closer and closer.

Not physically broken by an outside force, an internal breaking at our own accord.

From the inside out.

Broken without breaking.

The worst kind of broken.

Oblivious brokenness.

Like a vase, still intact, on closer inspection reveals utter decimation.

Cracked in all directions.

Shattered on every surface.

Rived deeply within our core.

In the midst of my grief, I can only whisper, Father we need you.

On this beautiful morning

On this beautiful morning, I am reminded of my mother.

I am reminded of the power and beauty of our relationship.

I am reminded that in hard, difficult, and ugly times, our relationship was formed. Like a rock, it was solidified.

I am reminded of how, through what was, the worst time in my life- she stood by me in strength and dignity- she held me up when I could not stand.

On this beautiful morning, I am reminded of the whimsical, creative, joyfulness that flows forth from her soul. Like a bubbling brook.
How everything that she touches breathes new life.

I am reminded of how she can receive what is broken and create exhilarating, breathtaking beauty.

On this beautiful morning, I am reminded of how she prays.

I am reminded of the many times, hearing her cries in the basement or seeing her submerge with red nose, knowing, instantly, she was on her face, moving God with her fervent prayer.

I am reminded of her unending faithfulness, her ability to cling to hope when all seems lost.

On this beautiful morning, I am reminded of my love for this woman and my hope that one day, I will obtain, even a single ounce of the beauty she obtains.

Penetrating beauty, deep inside.

Water

Because I live in Louisiana, rain is a overwhelmingly common theme in my life. I have learned it doesn’t really matter the season, the rain isn’t picky. Spring, summer, fall and winter….Rain.

Along with rain, we also live on the lake. On the lake, in the swamp, with constant rain. Needless to say I am familiar with water. Lots of water.

These facts are what forced me to locate and hire a mason. A mason to build a wall, a mason to join forces with me, to take a stand, in one last feeble attempt at controlling the water on the lake. Yes, I realize the severity of this oxymoron.

It was while this mason was assessing the situation, compiling an action plan, I was inspired. “One thing about water”, he said. “It goes where it wants.” So nonchalantly.

I pondered. How, with aggressive fervency, I am trying to control the water in my life. With sheer tenacity I attempt to contain it, to make it go where I see fit and keep it out of where I believe it does not belong.

I pondered. “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

How often do I too, attempt to control the living water inside of me?

Contain it.

Control it.

Change it.

Change this, but I’ll keep that.

Fix him, fix it, but don’t show me, me.

Do a new thing, but not like that.

Has my heart become a series of walls, built by my own hands?

God says, “Live.”

Our eyes are open, they stay open. Explains frankly why we stay so tired. Exhausted. It is our hearts that are shut. Boarded up hearts. Hearts closed for business. Too much hurt, too much pain, too much unknown. Some hearts closed and we are unable to remember when it happened. Others closed and the shutdown relived too many times to count.

Without seeing, we cannot live.

Our ears, like satellites, search for the latest signal, the latest update, the newest news. Constantly roaming, hunting, chasing- to hear it first, be in the know, never miss out. Hearing so much, that the hearing has become muffled. The volume on our souls speakers have been muted. Unable to recognize truth.

Without hearing, we cannot live.

Our touches morphed, digitally mastered and sped through without significance. Embraces, if existent, often mimic actors unable to capture their audience with realism. Authentic touches nonexistence, reveal spirits that too, fall short of authenticity. Spirits unable to feel the touch of our creator, the gentle move of His presence.

Without touch, we cannot live.

God says, “Live!”

How Father?

How do I truly Live?

Touch and actually feel.

Consume and really taste.

Embrace and truly feel.

Unlock, unmuffle, unshackle.

Un-assume, un-automate, un-choreograph.

Live.

God says, Live!

HOPE.

Can you imagine what they felt on this day? After the painstaking devastation their souls and eyes witnessed just hours before. I wonder, did they sleep? Could they close their eyes without reliving every heartbreaking detail. Could Mary even breathe?

Coming into this weekend, I felt the word HOPE rising within me. Felt the word HOPE stirring me to deep thought. Felt the word HOPE driving me to wonder. When they woke on this day, did they have an ounce of HOPE?

HOPE is wanting something to happen. Wanting something to be true. To expect with confidence. Can you have HOPE when all hope seems lost? When the very thing, the actuality of hope is ripped from you, can you still generate, muster or feel hope?

Amongst their abundant grief did they remember the words He spoke? Did their souls long for something to be true? Could they even fathom, after the tragedy witnessed, that the promises were not just lost on the wind? Would their heart allow them to cleave to the anchor of HOPE?

On this day where the sun still rose, where the birds still chirped, where others went about life as usual, could they look past what was and cling to the HOPE of what was to come? Could they set aside the deep, gut wrenching anguish and find a glimmer of HOPE?

Can you?

In the pit of your deepest despair, can you remember the words that He spoke? Can the promises that He made be an anchor for your soul rather than a ship passing in the night?

“I will never leave you, or forsake you.”

“I will fight for you, you need only to be still.”

“He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.”

“Do not fear, for I am with you.”

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

“But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

Choose HOPE.

Choose to anchor.

For tomorrow is coming.

#Easter#HOPE#Heisrisen#Jesus