Gordon, The Foster Dog

This is Gordon.

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Gordon was adopted but then surrendered again.  So, the SPCA behaviorist asked me to take Gordon on as a foster to see how he does in the home.  The surrendering family said that he had problems with housetraining.  He is afraid to go outside so I could see how this might be a problem

But he did great in our home!  Granted, he mostly just wanted to snuggle on the couch (and by snuggle, I mean practically laying on top of me while I was on the computer!).

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But he did go outside and potty.  And he never made a mess inside!  You do have to prod him with a leash to go outside, but he started getting the idea pretty quickly that if he went to the bathroom, then we could go back inside and snuggle.

He got along with my pups as well.  They loved taking naps together.

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He was a big dog, but so sweet and gentle.  He will make a great addition to any family!

 

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Beautiful Day For A Wedding

This past weekend, one of Michael’s coworkers got married.  And it was incredibly beautiful.  We realized that it’s been a while since we have attended a wedding, as most of our friends are now parents, so this was a real treat to get all dressed up.20170813_163342.jpg

The venue was gorgeous.  It was The Room on Main in Dallas.  It just looked like a simple building on the outside, but when we got to the sixth floor and walked through the doors, the room was absolutely breathtaking.

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Incredibly high, cove ceilings with large, original windows overlooking the downtown area.

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The bride’s dress was a beautiful mermaid cut with a long train.  And the bridesmaids wore elegantly draped dresses.  This was the only picture I took of the wedding because I didn’t want to interfere with the photographers.  At one point, there were a lot of phones out, and it just made me think of all those articles written by wedding photographers, begging for people not to ruin those pictures.

Then, the curtains lifted to reveal the reception area, identical to the first side with windows all the way around.  At each table setting, there was this beautiful little note coming from the bride and groom.

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The food was delicious.  There was cake and dancing and laughter.  It was perfect.  And the view from the windows was spectacular.

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We were so blessed to be witnesses to this event.  We wish all the best to the bride and groom!

 

The Immortal Series: A review

When I went through my books earlier this year, I came across this series.  I started the series several years ago, but I never finished it.  So, I decided I would start purchasing the books and read all the way through the series as part of my summer goals.  I got every book but the last one by the beginning of June and dug in (I borrowed the last one from the library).

Spoilers ahead.

The first book introduces Ever, a girl who loses her family in a tragic car accident and gets shipped off to live with her aunt.  When she wakes in the hospital after that accident, she finds out that she has psychic powers, including the ability to see her dead sister.  At her new school, she meets Damen who reveals that not only are they soulmates, but he made her immortal at the scene of that car accident.

Lots of conflicts and other characters ensue.  I won’t go heavily into the stories of the other books.  Basically, Book one was good, Book two was okay.  Book three I wanted to throw across the room because Ever made the same stupid mistake that she makes in book two.  Book four was just annoying.  Book five was better.  And Book six literally wraps up every single loose end from every other one of the books.

I liked the first book because of the ideas of alchemy and past lives.  I thought that the other books would dig deeper into these past lives, and I love a good historical fiction.  But I feel like the past lives were just a means to an end.  There were a couple of quips about the differences (like medieval times didn’t use toilets…so different!), but it was just so shallow.

The themes finally came out in the last book, which helped me to appreciate the journey, but not as much as I would have liked.  The idea that we live in abundance and not scarcity was a good one and that we should make our choices out of living in abundance That our soul is immortal and that we shouldn’t hold onto our physical self so tightly, knowing that there is more eternal meaning to our life, I can agree with that, too.  But the rest of it got really new age-y, maybe even too much for me.

There was a whole love triangle (there were more than one, actually, but I’m talking about the main one) that I did not agree with.  The “loser” of the triangle I thought should have been the soulmate, and I think the author didn’t do a good job to convince me otherwise, even though there were chapters and chapters of explanation.  It just wasn’t a very good explanation.  Of course, this could probably be true for a lot of YA love triangles.  I just happened to be on the dissenting side this time.  And I feel like out of all the loose ends, this guy’s end wasn’t tied up very well, either.

I feel like I also need to address the fact that sex is a major theme in the book.  The two main characters are unable to consummate their love for much of the story (with some really weird exceptions), and while I think the author was trying to create tension, I don’t think it was very well done.

I feel like the book could have been better in a trilogy, not six books.  The author seemed to draw things out just for the sake of making more money by selling more books than what was necessary.  It just made the plot more tedious to me.  As far as any graphic violence or sexual content, it’s not really there, but it’s very heavy on the new age aspects.  The if I just believe hard enough I can manifest anything for myself, which I don’t think goes well with my own Christian beliefs of struggle and dependence on God and not self.

I give it two out of five stars for the series itself.  You could almost read the first and last books and enjoy the series just as well.  It’s prompted me to get rid of any book series where I just bought the first book and enjoyed it.  I may go back some day and read those other book series, but for now, I’m going to focus on my growing present book-et list.

We Got an Upgrade!

Ever since we moved into this house almost eight years ago (has it been that long?), we knew that at some point we would have to replace the water heater.  I remember within the first few years of living here, at least two of our neighbors had their water heaters burst and flood their homes.  It was one of the many reasons we continued to renew our home warranty each year, but we were not looking forward to dealing with the inevitable flood.

I am thoroughly happy to report that not all water heater replacements require that flood.

So, about the middle of last week, Michael noticed some brown water coming out of the bathroom faucet as he was getting ready for work in the morning.  I had been taking baths the previous few nights as per my self-care regimen, so we figured that I had actually managed to empty the water heater, revealing the sediment at the bottom of the tank.  Michael was worried that it might also be rust, so we called our warranty and they sent out a plumber.

When the plumbers arrived, they checked the water coming out of the bathtub first, and while that was running, one of them went downstairs to check on the water heater, itself.  He came back in with this picture (well, one like it.  I asked him to take a picture on my phone so I could send it to Michael).

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Do you see all of the corrosion and leakage?  We had actually caught the leak early enough to avoid a massive deluge in our home!  Of course, we’ve not always been this lucky (especially with our A/C), but I was ecstatic that it would be replaced without much problem.

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It had to be brought up to code (including installing a drain pipe that would allow the water to run down the garage and driveway in case of a leak instead of the house), but the warranty covered the installation and the unit itself.  So even though we were out of pocket a bit of money, it wasn’t nearly the amount it could have been, and it wasn’t nearly the disaster it could have been!

So happy and thankful for such smooth replacement!

Summer Study: Philippians 3

Before I share my thoughts about this chapter, I wanted to say that my heart is with those in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I pray that God’s love and mercy extinguish the flames of hate and fear throughout our country. I denounce the words and actions of white supremacy and racism that were on display this weekend. We are a broken people of a brokenhearted God.

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Paul continues his letter to the Gentiles about circumcision. This is a topic that permeates through most of his letters. There were groups of Jewish Christians who insisted that Gentiles must get circumcised in order to be truly saved (which was no small task), and Paul, again and again, refutes this.

What stood out to me the most in this chapter was how Paul makes the case that on paper, he’s pretty much perfect. He was a Pharisee. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews. Circumcised. Legalistically Righteous (following the letter of the law).

And yet, he would throw it all away, consider it rubbish, to chase after Jesus. Because the words on his resume are finite. Jesus is eternal.

The same could be said about us. We strive and pursue and pull up by our bootstraps and achieve. There is so much importance on the outer perceptions of our world, just like back then. But Christ is so much more interested in the inward – the putting to death of our old self to be renewed in him.

It’s easy to put to death my brokenness and my sin, but would I put to death my competence? Not just use my gifts for God, but consider those gifts temporary and finite. Those gifts, my abilities are not going to save me. Only Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his victory over death save me in the end.

This year, I’ve been working on my people pleasing attitude. It is almost an addiction to receive attention, respect, admiration, and acceptance from others. And I have freely given my time and energy and abilities in the hope that I will receive these things from others that I so desperately desire. Would I consider these things I’ve been addicted to for so long rubbish in comparison the Jesus Christ?

Paul makes it clear that those who are focused on these earthly things are on a path to destruction. But we are destined for so much more in Christ. We will be transformed into his likeness. We can leave the past behind (even the accolades and good stuff) and strain towards the future with God. And through that vision of what is to come, we can see the reality of what is today. This world is not our home.

Paul even admitted, for all the knowledge he had obtained in his lifetime, he still didn’t have it all figured out. He was continually growing and maturing upon the foundation that Christ had built. And he encouraged the church in Philippi to do the same. Never give up. Keep the faith and keep going.

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Friday Ramble: Connection

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Several weeks ago, in another post, I can’t remember which one, I removed two paragraphs because I realized it didn’t fit with the rest of what I was writing.  I held onto those two paragraphs until I had another day to dig deeper into it.  And when I opened up the Word document to jog my memory on this topic, this is what I read:

It’s really, really easy to barrier yourself in this life.  All of our houses have garages that close, doors that lock, fences that border.  Our phones come with a do not disturb function on it and caller id, but before that, we were using voicemail to screen our calls (or was that just me?).  We have been moving towards isolation with furious speed for decades.  We blame the tools of this world – smart phones, social media, the internet – for all of it, but we, mankind, created those tools.

This is not a declaration against social media or cell phones or even the internet.  God is in every connection.  We can’t encrypt against his omnipresence.  We can’t go incognito from his omniscience.  And I believe he works as much in the virtual world as he does in the physical one.  You can’t block God.

This month has been particularly hard for me.  The end of this month will bring the one year anniversary of losing our second daughter.  And just like with our first, the weeks leading up to it have been hard.  Like I said earlier this week, I feel drained by any social interaction, so I’ve chosen to take some time to myself.

Then, I read these two paragraphs and realize how appropriate they are as a reminder. Even when I’m feeling the need to distance myself to work through grief, it is such good news that God remains connected.  And he has made himself known to me – through nature, my dogs, even conversations online with friends and strangers.  It’s so amazing to have people check in at random, but perfectly timed, moments.

So, thank you, friends.  Thank you to those of you who have commented on my blog recently.  You have made my heart smile.  Thank you to those who have sent private messages or small reminders to let us know that you are praying for us this month.  It has meant so much more than you will ever know.  In the midst of pain and grief, I can look to my Heavenly Father who provides for me, and I know that I am blessed.