Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Day in the Life of Butter

Okay, so this is really a picture of Peanut, but Butter just moves too much for the Camera.

Butter is my pet mouse. He has had quite an interesting day, but I don't want to spoil it. Here's the story from his perspective:

Today started like any other day. I woke up - itchy as usual. I've got to stop scratching because my skin is really taking a beating. Anyway, today was, like I said, pretty normal. Early on, one of the big hands reached into my cage to give me some more food. The big hand let me climb around on it some. Then it gave me a treat - that's the best part.

I kinda like that big hand. It feeds me, and gives me water and treats. It even lets me snuggle up in it sometimes. There's something comforting about it. It's nice.

It didn't take long for this normal day to become not so normal. All of a sudden, the big hands picked up my house. What was going on? Next thing I knew, I was in this hot, muggy thing and it felt like everything was moving under me. I went forward and backwards. I didn't like it and I started to get sick. I just wanted out!

Then, suddenly the moving thing stopped moving. And the big hands picked my house up out of the big, moving, hot thing. It was great! I was done...or so I thought. After moving my house around several times, the big hands finally left it alone in one place for a little while.

The big hand rested in my cage like it usually did, waiting for me to climb up on it. I quickly went to it, hoping that it would have something comforting to offer me, but it didn't! It gave me to another set of big hands I'd never seen before and then put me on this cold, black, hard thing. That was scary. Then, I was able to go back to my home.

Not long after that, the new, strange set of hands came and got me again. Then, another set of strange hands put some kind of liquid on me and scraped one of my scabs - ouch! That hurt! I DID NOT LIKE THIS! Why couldn't the day just end?

Soon, I was placed safely in my home again, but not for long. Again, I was picked up by that strange pair of hands. This time they held me tight and I was forced to eat something. It actually tasted kind of good, but I didn't understand why I had to be held so tightly, or why I was forced to eat it.

When I was put back in my cage this time, I was also put back into the hot moving thing. Would this ever end?! It did end. Soon, I was safe with my house in it's usual spot. All was peaceful and quiet. However, I have just been moved to a different home. It's smaller, and I'm not sure I'm happy about it. The wheel is even smaller.

What is with today? It must be the worst day of my life!
The story from the perspective of the big hands (me).

I noticed that Butter had been scratching a lot lately. He had scratched himself so much that he was beginning to scratch big hunks right out of his skin. After much online hunting, I concluded that he must have mites. Mites cause all sorts of itchiness for mice (it's the equivalent of Scabes for humans), and if untreated, can actually kill them. After some more research, I concluded that this must have been what caused the death of our beloved Peanut.

I hunted for the prescribed cure at area pet stores, but to no avail. There was only one solution to rid my mouse of this terrible itch and save him from (sort of certain) death - a trip to the vet.

I loaded Butter into the hot vehicle, blasting the air and driving slowly and gingerly so as to cause the poor mouse the least possible stress. When I got to the vet they weighed Butter at a healthy 0.4lbs. Then they took him off for a skin scrape. This was to make sure that my initial conclusion (about mites) was correct. The vet tech returned, informing me that the vet had found half a mite and was looking in his books for further information.

Butter was given a dose of oral medication, and I was left with strict instructions on a several days process of sterilizing his cage. Fortunately, we have a small cage from before that would suffice while Butter's larger cage when through rigorous sanitation. We moved him over as soon as we had a chance this evening.

Next Friday he goes back to the vet for another dose of medication and an exam to check on those pesky little critters. Hopefully that visit will find him mite free, itch free and without the danger of dieing from those pesky varmets.


Oh how often I feel like Butter. Everything seems to be going wrong; nothing right. Yet, I must remember that there is a loving pair of hands taking care of me. He knows the whole situation, and He sees far more than I can imagine. It is my prayer that I may learn to trust Him more. To trust even what I don't understand.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."
~Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, August 24, 2007

Don't forget the jogging.

Athletic shoes - check. Athletic socks - check. Super sporty pony tail - check. Nice and comfy exercise pants - check. Pliable exercise shirt - check. Woo Hoo - I'm ready to work out now.

I love wearing my exercise clothes. For one thing they are incredibly comfortable. For another thing they make me feel fit and slim. When I'm wearing my work-out garb I feel like I could run a mile, for that matter, I feel like I could run 10 miles. I am motivated.

As I dressed in such attire today and was looking at my schedule, it hit me. I can wear these confidence boosting clothes, but I'm not any more fit, slim, healthy, toned, etc until I actually exercise. Yes, it's sad but true. When it comes right down to it, this outfit really doesn't do much for me except give me a little boost. It really isn't a miracle outfit though. I won't lose 5 pounds if I wear it 30 minutes every day. I won't tone my abs if I jump into the suit while working on homework. It just doesn't work that way.

Then I was thinking some more, and this kind of reminds me of Christianity. Wearing Christian clothes, having the title, going to church, etc doesn't make me a Christian. These are all like my exercise outfit. Sure, they can be great motivators and reminders, but in and of themselves, they don't do much.

James talks about this in James 1:22-25

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Let us fully embrace the gift, the love, the life that our Father in Heaven has giving us. Sure, go out, joyfully wear your exercise outfit. But in the process, don't forget a nice, refreshing jog. I'll see you at the starting line!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My God is so BIG

"My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God can not do. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God can not do."
As these words floated through the air at cradle roll this morning. I thought for a moment. "There's nothing my God can not do." I know it's true. Obviously we learn that from an early age. I mean for crying out loud, God parted the red sea, he provided manna in the desert, he walked on water, he healed multitudes, he created the earth and everything in it! There truly is nothing that He cannot do.

But then I thought some more. I really don't believe that do I? If I did, I wouldn't stress so much about finances. I wouldn't worry when plans didn't seem to be working right. Whenever I had a problem I would turn to God FIRST. My thoughts continued along this line for quite some time.

It's amazing how profound a song sung by 2-4 year olds can truly be!

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.
~ Psalm 93:4

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Journey Home (A parable by me)

Monica sat contentedly in her seat on flight 553. She couldn't wait to arrive at her destination. It had been 10 years since she visited her small hometown of Hindersonville. More than anything she was excited to connect with the cherished people of her past.

The people of Hindersonville found it hard to forget their beloved Monica. They eagerly awaited her arrival and took the tenderest care to make sure her trip would be perfect. Their ambitious plans insured a visit that would result in gleeful reminiscing.

As her flight grew closer to the Hindersonville airport, Monica couldn't help but wonder about the people she so fondly remembered. She giggled at the memory of Timmy and Thomas. These two mischievous boys were twins. She babysat them from the time they were born until she left Hindersonville two weeks before their 5th birthday. They would be 15 now. Monica couldn't wait to see how they had grown. She couldn't wait to hear of all of their adventures.

Then, there was the dear old lady who lived down the street; Mrs. Tompkins was her name. Boy, that was a smile Monica would never forget. Mrs. Tompkins would sit on her poarch and watch as people walked by. Anyone who looked her way or said hi would be greeted with the most sincere, crooked smile that beamed with kindness. Monica remembered the many glasses of lemonade she shared with this kind grandma as she told stories of days long passed. Monica couldn't wait to hear of old Mrs. Tompkins. Was she still alive? Would she still have stories to share?

Monica's cousin, Jena, lived in Hendersonville too. She had heard that Jena had great plans to change the world. Of course, this was no surprise to Monica. Jena had always been an enthusiastic go-getter, stopping at nothing to see her dreams turned into reality. But what were these big plans? What great dreams was Jena striving to achieve?

Oh, and Monica couldn't forget the Murpheys. This young couple moved to Hendersonville just before she left to follow the path laid out before her. She remembered seeing them beaming as they proudly announced at church that they were going to have their first child. Was it a boy or a girl? Did they have more children? Monica wanted to know everything.

Monica's thoughts were quickly brought back as she heard the pilot announce that the plane was landing.

Meanwhile, a happy party - signs ready, hats on head and party blowers in hand eagerly awaited the arrival of their young friend.

Monica stepped off the plane, excited to see all the eager faces. She saw twins, but they weren't boys, they were almost men. Could that be Timmy and Thomas? Oh, and there were the Murphey's, but there were no children. Maybe the kids were in bed. Monica couldn't wait to meet them. Jena was there too. There were so many people. Monica was so excited she thought she might burst. But before she could think, she was enveloped in a whirlwind of people dragging her away and quickly loading her into a personal limo to take her to the nicest hotel in town. The limo ride was nice, but how Monica longed to be with the ones she loved so much.

Upon arriving at the hotel, Monica was immediately escorted to the nicest room in the place. As she opened the door she was shocked. Her mouth dropped open a bit as she absorbed the scene of flowers, pictures and notes beautifully decorating her suite. The notes all told of the excitement of her arrival. As Monica fondly looked through the pictures, her eagerness grew to deeply connect with these people who made up her past.

This opportunity never came.

The plans for this short trip were amazing, so intricately and lovingly set in place, yet everything was rushed. From one event to the next she flew, always loudly proclaimed and fondly spoken of. Despite all this she was barely able to spend five minutes with one person before being shuffled off to the next thing on the itinerary.

The week was soon over. The people of the town were beaming. They had set all the best in motion. They had given Monica the best food, the best lodging, the best clothes, the best luxuries. They had done so much for her.

As she boarded the plane, Monica managed a smile and a sincere thank you for all of the love and care they put into planning this trip. As she got on the plane, a tear began to slowly trickle down her cheek. Loneliness, sorrow, and sadness gripped her. What Monica wanted more than anything was to connect with these people so dear in her heart. She wanted to share in their triumphs and to comfort them in their sorrows. Yet, in their eagerness to "go all out" for her, they forgot all about her.

How often do we treat God like the people of Hendersonville treated Monica? We get so excited about living our lives for God, or so caught up on the plans that He has for us, that we forget all about God. We forget to take that time to share with Him and include Him. We forget to make Him first, above all else. Jesus didn't die so that we might do great things for Him. He died so that He may spend eternity with us. Why not start right now?