Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bathing the Beast

This is Neo.

Neo is always very sad when he has to take a shower.

Neo hates showers.

Neo pretty much hates water in general...especially if it is soapy and spraying directly on his back.

Neo thinks that the closer he stands to the shower door, the closer he is to freedom.

Neo is wrong.

Neo leaves lots of dirty hair in the shower when he has a bath.

Cleaning Neo's hair out of the drain is very gross.

Obviously, Neo has more hair than I do.  This makes me sad.

Neo looks beautiful after his bath, but he is still very sad.

Neo must stay in the bathroom until he is mostly dry because Neo likes to shake his wet fur all over everything.  This is not acceptable anywhere but the bathroom.

Neo still smells like a wet dog even when he is clean.  I am always glad when Neo is dry.

Once I tried to dry Neo with the hair dryer but Neo freaked out and I thought he was going to have an asthma attack so I stopped and let him dry naturally.  Poor poor Neo.

Neo gets to stay indoors on his bath days when it is cold outside.  Normally he loves to be indoors, but baths make him so sad that he is not cheerful (as you can see in this picture). 

Neo is not a very willing participant on bath day and I have to actually get in the shower to clean him and shove him into the water stream.  This is not my favorite thing.  After I am done washing him, I have to take a shower because I also smell like a dirty dog. And then I have to take a nap because it takes lots of muscles to bathe an overweight canine.

Neo feels humiliated by baths which is why I did not tell him that I was writing a blog on the subject.  I would appreciate if you would not mention it to him. 

Soon Neo will need another bath and he will hate it just as much, but not as much as our cat.  You can read about that here.  

Thanks for your attention to this matter.

The end.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I feel guilty about a lot of things.  I feel guilty that I don’t use cloth grocery bags even though I have a thousand of them stuffed in the back of my car.  In fact, I have so many of them back there that when the little guy from Fareway helps me carry out my massive amount of items, he has to move the cloth bags to fit all the plastic, earth-killing, pet-suffocating ones in.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not really the environmentalist, tree-hugging sort, and I only drive an electric car because my husband makes me.  And sometimes, I drive it too fast and the little green ball (that tells me when I am being the most efficient with my battery life) turns yellow.  Don’t tell Brent.  But I do like pets and I would be so sad if my cat decided to commit suicide by using a grocery bag that I brought home.  I’m not sure why I can’t remember to use the re-usable bags.  Maybe it has something to do with being old now. 

While we are on the subject of pets, I feel guilty that my dog now weighs 138.8 pounds and has asthma because of his girth.  Last summer, we put him on a diet and he got down to a svelte 125 pounds and was breathing freely.  I was nervous about taking him to the vet last week because of his obesity.  This might have something to do with the last time I took him to the vet.  You can read about that here. 

I feel guilty about being addicted to Diet Coke.  I’m not sure why I like it so much, but it makes me feel happy. especially if it’s fountain pop and has really good pellet ice (Sonic!).  Diet Coke pretty much goes against every thing I believe in—like eating healthy and trying to avoid foods containing ingredients I can’t pronounce.  I think the whole addiction thing started when I had four kids six and under and nothing to look forward to each day—except pop.  (I exaggerate here. I’m sure my children and I had many lovely days together at home.  The entire decade of the 1990’s is a little blurry).  Anyway, now I’m addicted and I try to act like I’m not even though all the waiters at El Azteca greet me with “Diet Coke?” when I sit down to eat there.  That’s always a bad sign.  It may also be a sign that I am eating at El Azteca a little too often.

I feel guilty that my teenage and young adult children have trouble telling time on an analog clock.  They can do it, but it takes several minutes of squishing up their eyes and grimacing until they can  figure out which hand points to the hour and which to the minutes.  I didn’t know they couldn’t tell time until our electricity was out recently and they kept looking at the cat clock, whose eyes and tail no longer move, and asking what time it was.  It’s probably my fault for never buying them watches with hands.  It’s one of those things, you know?  I felt really good if I could keep them all alive when they were young.  I guess time-telling lessons just kind of got pushed into the non-urgent quadrant—the same place as teeth brushing and fingernail clipping.  I used to feel guilt about those things too but I’m past that now since they can all groom themselves.  and they seem to have pretty good teeth.

I also feel guilty that none of my kids makes their beds in the morning.  I tried.  I really did.  I even fined (as in money) them for not making their beds for a period of time.  This seemed to get their attention, but then they started saying they didn’t have any money to give to church so I stopped making collections.  I demonstrated to them how easy it was to make a bed.  I gave them heavy comforters and a sheet…only two items to pull up to their pillows…and they still leave them looking disheveled and messy.  They don’t seem to mind the messiness—none of them.  I have learned to just close their doors to keep the peace.  One time, though, Cole had a long stretch where his bed was made perfectly.  I would walk in his room and be so happy.  Then I found out that he was sleeping in the tree house every night—on a futon—in a sleeping bag.

I feel guilty about not being more disciplined in my writing.  which is why I am writing now.  and why I am going try to start posting twice a week again.  even if it’s about me and my guilt or my fat dog.  Speaking of Neo, I am planning to write a post very soon about bathing him.  because it’s a big event.  because he’s a big dog.  and because I took pictures of his very sad face last time I bathed him.  Bet you can’t wait. 

But now, I need to go.  I think I will go buy some Diet Coke to assuage my guilt.  But I will put it in a cloth bag to carry it out.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mary, Mother of Jesus

And now, the final story in my “Ignored Characters from the Easter Story”...

 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.   ~ John 19:25

O God!  He hangs there!  My baby hangs there!  He is crying Lord!  My baby is crying!  Your baby is crying!  Why God?!  Oh Why?  He is in pain! Why must my son, my beloved child suffer?  O Lord, why could it not be me?

I cannot help him.  He hangs there, my baby boy, in agony.  When they pierced his hands, I heard him moan. I know those hands they pierced with nails; wrinkled and red on the day He was born, chubby and velvety soft when He learned how to walk, calloused and rough as a young carpenter.  I held those hands as we strolled together into the village.  I washed those hands as the dust from the road gathered in their creases.  I felt those hands around me as He hugged my neck and touched my face. 

O God!  Please comfort Him!  Please comfort your son!  I cannot protect him Lord!  My heart is being ripped from my chest because of His pain!  O God! O God! O God, can I touch Him?  Can I caress his face once more? 

I remember the night He was born.  I put my ear to his tiny chest to hear his heart beating.  It was steady and strong, just like a drum.  In the moonlight, I looked on this Miracle Baby that God have given me and I marveled at His perfection.  How could I love Someone so much so quickly?  I knew then that I wanted to protect Him forever.

I can’t get close to Him, Lord!  He is too high, too far away.  My arms can no longer embrace Him.  He is calling for you, do you hear?  My God, He thinks You have forsaken Him Lord!  Have you forsaken your only Son?  Have you forsaken my Baby Boy?  O God, I want to hold Him!  I have not forsaken my Son!  I will never stop loving my Son!  Does He know how much I love Him?  My spirit dies with Him, O God!

I remember the night the Spirit of God visited me and told me that I would bear God’s Son.  It was so magnificent!  So unbelievable!  So confusing!  Why would the Creator of all want me to carry His child?  Why a meager peasant girl?  But I did carry the Son of Man…in my womb, in my arms, in my heart.  I did carry Him, but I can no longer.  He hangs on that cross, torn and tortured.  I stand on this dirt, dying a different kind of death. Helpless.

Is He dead, my Lord?  Has He died?  I want to go to Him.  I want to listen for His breathing.  Is He still breathing Lord?  O God!  They have pierced His side!  They have damaged my Son again!  He is bleeding God!  Blood and water are pouring from His wound! 

Sometimes when He was a baby, and even when He was an older child, I would go in quietly and sit by His mat and watch His chest rise and fall.  I would listen for His rhythmic breaths.  Then I would silently creep out, comforted by the obvious life in my Child; peaceful because of my Child’s peacefulness. 

Is this the end?  Is my Baby boy gone forever?  Is He with You Lord?  He said He must first descend to Hell.  Is He there Lord?  Is this not Hell enough? Are you listening to me God?  What is happening to my Son?  Your Son?  Is He really bearing my sin?  Even my sin at this moment?  Is that why my perfect Son had to die, Father?  What is this accomplishing, this decimation of my Child?  What good is this, Lord?  Save your Son!  Save me God!

God told me He was to die.  He said my Son, His Son, was born to die, born for sorrow.  It didn’t seem real—the suffering, the sorrow, the dying.  It didn’t seem real when He told me that He was to die for me—my Son would be my Savior—my Son would bear all sin—even my sin.  My Son would take man’s curse upon Himself.  My Son would rise again.

Will He rise, my Lord?  Will my Son rise from the dead?  Is it real? He said He would conquer death.  How will He conquer death?  O Lord, take care of my Baby. My heart aches, my mind screams for justice.  Where is the justice Lord?  Why, God?  Why did you give me this burden? I am terrified my Lord.  I am terrified by your will.  What is your will, Lord?  Show me the way of your will. 

The hot sun had shown on my face.  But now it is dark.  So very dark.  It has happened.  I stand here helpless.  My Son hangs there limp and lifeless.  He is still my Baby.  I am still His mother.  How can I move from here?  My Baby hangs on a cross.  They have killed him.  They have killed me.  Everything is colorless.  Yet, I want to believe He will yet live.  The horror of this day makes me doubt. 

O God, sustain my spirit.  I commend it into your hands.  My baby has gone.  Please do not leave me, my Lord.  I need You my Lord, O God, I need You.  I am so confused, so very confused.  You hold my breath, my feeble breath in your hands, you keep my broken heart beating.  Only You can have a plan for this nightmare, my Lord. Only You can make Him live again.  Only you can make all things new. 

Yes, Lord.  Make all things new.

Make all things new.

Make all things new. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Loosening the Reigns

I still have one more post in my "Ignored Characters from the Easter story"series, but thought I would take a little break and share my guest blogger post at 18 Short Years--Loosening the Reigns. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


This is my third story in my series, “Ignored Characters from the Easter Story”

From Matthew 27…

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

It was the smell that bothered him the most—the smell of the moist earthen walls, the stench of his un-bathed cell mates, the putridity of the decomposing excrement.  The odor had invaded his pores in the last three weeks since his imprisonment.  In this damp, dark dungeon grew mold and mania…and evil.

The night had been restless.  The moaning and cursing from the others made sleep elusive, and his eyes felt the heaviness of the morning’s exhaustion.  Not sure he could bear another hopeless day in the bowels of the earth, he again began rehearsing his crime in his head; he had murdered another…was it worth it?  Was his vengeance satisfactory enough to warrant the execution that awaited him?  Remorse steadily made its way into his scattered brain and seized his thoughts, breaking him of all pride.  Barabbas cried.  The hot tears ran quickly, drawing clean lines on his dirty cheeks –making his countenance a reflection of the bars that surrounded his body. 

“That one!”  His ruminations interrupted by voices outside the cell, Barabbas looked up.  He saw them there, dressed in all their shiny Roman finery –the servants of Pilate.  The rusted iron door swung open with a mournful creak and they grabbed him.  The hand upon him was warm . A fleeting memory of his mother, leading him by the hand, came to mind and he wished for her, her comfort, her serenity.  He knew the place where they were leading him now was a place of horror—not a place of love—was it a proper place for a criminal like him?  Was it a place for anyone?

With bare feet chained, he stumbled into the day, eyes assaulted by harsh unfamiliar sunlight, and was forced by his captors to climb the crumbling stone steps which led to the upper terrace of Pilate’s quarters.  Why were they taking him there?  Wasn’t Golgatha away, beyond these ornamented walls?  Didn’t his death on a cross mean separation, sacrifice, and humiliation?  Why would he be entering into the presence of a king? 

Why were all the people there?  Standing in the courtyard looking like a thousand hungry souls?  Did the presence of his highness not make them tremble, as it did him?—a million tiny goose bumps forming under his dirty, matted hair.  Who was this other rebel here?  His face seemed unaffected by the guilt of his past; His eyes, clear and calm…and something else; innocent? 

Wait!  Was it Passover?  Was that the reason for the swarming mass of humanity?  No wonder the throngs strained to hear Pilate.  There was a custom at Passover in which the Roman governor would release a prisoner of the crowd’s choice. He remembered this now! He remembered being there, in this very courtyard as a youngster, with his family, when a man—a prisoner like himself—was absolved of his guilt!  And now he was here.  He was the prisoner.  And now some child was watching him…and deciding if he lived or died.  How did his life get here?  What kind of man had he become?  Would it be him?  Would they release him?  Would grace be his?  

But what about the other guy?  Why was He here?  What was His crime?  Was the name of the man really Jesus?  His name was Jesus too—Jesus Barabbas.  They kept yelling “Jesus!” and “Crucify him!”  Which one were they talking about? What had Pilate asked of them? Who was the target of their hatred?  Maybe they would kill the other Jesus—maybe they would crucify Him in place of Barabbas!  Maybe Barabbas would get to live!  Maybe he could live a new life!  A joyful life!  A life of freedom forever! 

A cold palm grabbed his bicep and pulled Barabbas to the front with Jesus—A king on one side of him, a mere man on the other-- the criminal stood leg to leg with the one who held life or death in his hands. 

“Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”, the voice next to him screamed out. 

“Barabbas!”  They were yelling his name!  They wanted to free himHe wasn’t going to die!

“What shall I do then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 

He is called “Messiah”?  The “Messiah”?  Does this man really think He is God’s Savior?  Then Heaven save Him now.  Maybe His death will satisfy this wrath.  

“Crucify him!”  He heard them hiss below. 

Pilate hesitated, then questioned, “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

“Crucify him!” Their retort was deafening, condemning. 

With that, Pilate shrugged, thrust his arms into the ivory water bowl, and with dripping hands, pronounced his sentence, “I am innocent of this man’s blood!  It is your responsibility!”

“His blood is on us and our children!”

Abruptly, Pilate released his grip on Barabbas.  He was free. His shackles were unfettered.   And Jesus—the other Jesus—was handed over to the hungry crowds so they could whip Him, strip Him, and crucify Him upon a cross. 

The other Jesus was quiet now, not weeping, but somehow serene,  facing eternity.  As they led the Accused away, Barabbas felt a pang of guilt—the same guilt that had been transferred to the body of Another…the same guilt that killed a Man Who had become his Substitute…the same guilt that a Savior's blood would wash clean.  Barabbas would now live.  And this Man, this Jesus, this Deliverer would die in his place. 

Again, Barabbas cried.  Grateful, humble, forgiven.

And Jesus the Christ, died.  Obedient, rejected, forsaken

And death was defeated forever.