15 Feb

The ABCs of Love (according to my dog) – part 2

abcs of love object

{Haven’t read the A and the B of love according to my dog? Start here first}

C – Cherish.

Share something you cherish with others.

If you sit anywhere in our house long enough Triton will show up to share his cherished toy to share with you. Dripping with slobber, wet and cold…this disgusting piece of skin/fur from a stuffed dog toy dropped in your lap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, it is as wretched as it looks, sounds and lets not talk about smells.

But Triton is onto something. No words, just a gesture. Deepest affections offered in a gross, yet strangely tender moment. No matter how much I don’t want that slimy, disgusting thing in my lap it is very important to Triton. It is his most cherished object and he has chosen to share it with me.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you take to chewing dog toys or dropping them in people’s laps am suggesting you look around your life, what fills your days? What do you most cherish?

For Christmas the last two years my father-in-law has gotten our four-year-old son these little magnet rocks. They are pretty and cool and very magnetic. And he is very, very protective over them. Not just anybody can play with them. But when I hear his sweet little voice offer “do you want to play with my magnet rocks?” it is a big deal. He’s sharing what he cherishes with someone important to him.

I’ve come to realize that for many of us, what we cherish isn’t an object or a thing…it is time. Our time alone. Our quite time. Our time to watch tv. Our time to workout.

Time.

For me, it is time alone. I rarely get that. You all understand, that I know. A house full of kids, schooling, life, a hubby that works outside the home all this makes time alone so rare (heck I can’t even go to the bathroom without dogs at the door, little fingers under the door, and mom “where is…..” shouted through the door). Time alone is rare indeed…and oh so precious. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything, but listen to the quiet and just be alone.

And while we need to pursue time alone – to recharge, to rest in Christ. I have also found that when I use that time to love on someone else it is so much sweeter for both of us.

If we follow Triton’s example and share out love with others – unsolicited, just cuz we love ’em and we want to. What could we do? It doesn’t take much, really. I came up with just a few ideas…

– Handwritten notes. In world of email, texts, Facebook and on the go communications a handwritten cards brings a delight like no other. I have a friend that from time to time when she visits she leaves a card behind on the counter or tucked in my Bible.

– Invite someone to join you – whether it is grabbing a cup of coffee, working out, whatever. Call up a friend, or someone you’d like to get to know and invite them along. Just this past Tuesday I got a text from a sweet friend who I don’t see often. I know she is busy and there just never seems to be time. But this text asked me when we could have a meal together…any meal, my choice. She just wanted to see me.

– Pass on things that have encouraged you. After I read the book “One Thousands Gifts” I bought several copies, some copies became gifts, others I loan out. The comfort and love that book brought to my soul (and my family) was HUGE and I wanted to share that with those I love.

– Share scripture. Know what your friends are facing? Call them, write or text them a verse that you found that speaks to their situation. Nothing like the words of God Himself to comfort our souls.

– Finally, do something that you enjoy for them. I love to cook and bake. Now and then the inspiration strikes to me make a double batch for dinner and call up a friend and say don’t cook tonight, I’m dropping off dinner. I know when I have been ill, had babies and faced surgeries, there is nothing like a meal on the table…my family taken care…food that I didn’t cook. What a blessing that is. What an expression of love.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives. And Triton reminded me that sometimes sharing your life is as easy as sharing the things you love with others. And what. A gift of love that can be.

14 Feb

The ABC’s of Love (according to my dog) – Part 1

abcs of love

We have this big ole’ love of a Rottweiler. And as I sat pondering the theme of a recent event (practical ways to show love) he came and put his head in my lap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so I decided to share the ABC’s of sharing your love (according to my dog).

 A – Always Run to the Door.

When someone enters your home – husband after a day at work, company for dinner, your child and their friends – be there to greet them or rush over to do it. The act of hospitality is overlooked in our society and the art of the simple things that express love are all but lost.

The Bible tell us in Hebrews 13:2 – “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing show so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” For a while I had this verse posted by our door…wow, what a difference it made when I greeted the UPS driver, the neighborhood kids fundraising for their schools, and those ladies from that church that keep coming by trying to convert me. Suddenly I found myself offering drinks, popsicles, and getting to know perfect strangers on our porch. And as I pondered this change in how I greeted strangers, I was convicted. If this is how I treat people I do not know, how do I greet the people who are most important in my life.

Share Jesus with them…even if only through love and welcoming. Of course, wiggling, chasing your tail and drooling are optional.

 B – Be close.

Within moments of sitting down on the couch my husband’s lap is covered by a massive dog head. With big brown eyes looking up at him, Triton, our Rottweiler just waits and stays close. Some days this is the beginning of petting, talking, man and dog time. Other days it is just a silent expression of love that is not returned or acknowledged.

Sometimes the only way to expressive love is to just be close.

My grandparents are 93 and 96. They live in an assisted living facility in Roanoke. I grew up loving my grandfather more than anyone else in the world. I was and am Grandpa’s girl. At least once a month we pack our little family into our minivan and set off for a day trip. With food, treats, crayon drawn pictures and lots of love we show up in a flurry of activity. Grandma has late stage Alzheimer’s. Some days she recognizes us (or is at least thrilled to see us) and interacts with a frustrated game of charades and lots of nodding and pointing. Other days she sleeps the whole time or is angry and agitated. My grandfather has age related dementia, a failing memory and boring days can leave him a mixed bag of emotions. Some visits are full of chatter, questions and moments with the man I’ve adored my whole life. The next visit we might find an angry, bitter man who barks short sentences or a man who is so confused conversations are tough, near impossible.

So our visits these days are much like the love of our Rottweiler…silent, steady, and true. We are close. We exhale love and hope they inhale just a bit of grace.

 {Read part 2}

10 Feb

Little Hearts

sugary love

Tomorrow little fingers will turn them over and over. They will dissolve on little tongues and crunch against little teeth.

Today they are just candies. Tomorrow they’ll taste like love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pick through the bag and lay truth on the table. Little red words, on little pastel hearts. Little red words…whispers of Jesus. Whispers of truth.

Today, as you read this I will be sitting on the living room floor criss-cross applesauce with a gaggle of homeschooled darlings. Squirming little bodies. Hands open and reaching for sugar. Hearts open and reaching for love.

And as their little hands grasp little teaching objects, what will their little ears hear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where does love come from, I’ll ask. And I’ll wait…

And after answers ranging from God to pets to moms and back again. We’ll read the Truth together….

For God so love the world… (John 3:16)

We love, because He first loved us… (1 John 4:19)

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Together we’ll walk through 1 Corinthians 13 reading what love looks….what God looks like.

God is patient.
God is kind.
God does not envy.
God does not boast.
God is not proud.
God does not dishonor others.
God is no self-seeking.
God is not easily angered.
God keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil.
God rejoices in the truth.
God always trust.
God always hopes.
God always perseveres.
God never fails.
And in the fleeting moments of candy hearts, paper love notes and sticky glued together crafts may they hear the truth echo in their hearts. God’s promises of love. God’s commands of love. God’s model of love. Little girls that will find security in a love that never measures them or walks away. Little boys who will hear of a love that is bold, strong and truth seeking. Little hearts all sweet and full of the possibilities of life…waiting to be molded and stamped with Jesus’ red words.
URS 4EVR (Romans 10:9)
Got Luv? (Romans 5:8)

Just One. (John 17:3) 

Be Mine. My Love. (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16)

Will you join me in prayer today for these sweet little people that I get to share God’s love with this morning. That theirs would be lives of bold, courageous faith. That His love becomes their reality…their truth…their love.

 

17 Jun

Love…I can do that

Hidden under the heavy blankets with the fan whirring above me I finally let it out. Tears. Not sobs or that ugly cry. Just tears. One after another. Like someone had opened the release valve for my heart. 

His body, crumpled by years and time, precariously perched in his wheelchair watching as I hung the crayon masterpieces delivered by sticky hands with sing song descriptions and tales. This is his life now. These beige walls. Beige carpet. Little rooms. Where time hangs heavy, moments pass slowly and sadness covers the room like a late winter blanket of heavy, crusty snow. 

Pushing the scotch tape against the wall with every thing I had, I was willing myself to keep it together.  As if this tiny piece of tape holding paper to concrete could somehow hold my heart together. Swallow the tears. Get it together.

Words have failed her for a long time. Locked in a world of early memories she functions in her own world these days. I listen to her crying and grunting as they change her. All dignity lost. Like a child she is laid out to have her body cleaned and clothes changed. Her discomfort and confusion palpable in the noises  she makes.

I push the scotch tape to the wall.

Helpless. We all are.

Time has robbed them of so much. Even the memories of better days…

I remember. 

She’s singing “In the Garden” and dancing in the living room. She tells me of God and His love. That Jesus loves me…and so does she. The seeds she planted wouldn’t sprout for years in my life, but how her love and her faith changed me. I remember.

He’s working outside. Hands in the dirt. Planting. Building. Always busy. And even as my little legs struggle to keep up with him, his heart was never too busy for me. On our walks and in his garden he taught of love, responsibility and family. As I look out the window at my garden I know why I am drawn there…that’s him in me. I remember.

And there I stood. Scotch taping my heart. 

In my hurt I cry out to God. Why? He doesn’t answer.  I ask over and over on the three hour drive. Question Him. His plan. He doesn’t answer.

As my eyes burned from the tears hidden in the dark, from somewhere in the depths of me I wailed to heaven. What can I do??? 

And I recalled a blog I read the other day. (Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience) about love and using your words when that is all you have to give. That love itself is radical and God filled. And even as the tears stream down my face as I write I know God answered me last night. 

Love.

I can’t turn back the clock. I can’t change the circumstances of my grandparents’ life right now, but I can love them. I can show up with stacks of the kids’ art for their walls, I can call and tell the same stories over and over again, and I can hold their hands when there is nothing else to be said. Love. I can do that.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
14 Feb

Fridge Magnet Truth & Tissue Paper Love


The little magnet on the back barely holds it onto the fridge. The sheer weight of its truth almost makes it too heavy to be useful. But even before it touched the fridge something about the craft struck a chord so deep in me that I almost couldn’t breathe.

I can hear some of you now. Um, yeah, Wendy its a foam heart with a cross on it. And???
Stick with me here.
Just hours before Jesus died He was sharing a meal with those closest to Him, the disciples. It is at that meal that Jesus gives the disciples a new commandment. “Love one another.” There’s the long and the short of it. So simple and yet, so darn hard. Love one another. Not like. Not put up with. Love.
But, I digress.
Jesus says that is how the world will know that we are His. Our love for one another. Not by the Scripture you can recite. Not by the number of times you go to church. Not a pew with your name on it. Not how well behaved your children are. Your love for others.
What is stamped on your heart? As I held Isabel’s Sunday school craft project in my hands I heard the echoes of Jesus…by this they will know you…by this they will know me.

With that truth ringing in my ears I continued my quest for the perfect Valentine’s card for my sweet hubby. He always seems to find just the right card — love, devotion, God and romance all sealed tight in an envelope with my name on it. For every holiday. I struggle. I must read 50 cards every time I go searching for one for him. Be it valentines, birthdays, whatever. There are never the right words. NEVER!
And this year was no different. Feeling like a failure I gave up the hunt this year. There is no card for my man, because no one can speak the love that is in my heart for him.
Hallmark doesn’t make the my life sucked then you appeared card. Or the why do you find my attractive?? I don’t get it, but I’m thankful for it card. Or how about the thanks for putting up with my mood swings, food cravings and emotional breakdowns card (that would be a hot seller, huh?)
As our peanuts began making cards for daddy it struck me. I can make a card, because I know the love I have for that man.
So I wrote. (that was the easy part) I spilled out my lil heart on the inside of a folded piece of card stock. With the final stroke of my name signed at the bottom I was pleased…there is our truth in this card. The love, the laughter, the silliness, the blessings and the Creator of our love.
I folded it shut. Happy. Content. Excited to give it to him.
But there on the table laid a plain piece of folded white card stock. Hardly a romantic card. Then the spark of creativity flashed in my brain. Grabbing glue, tissue paper and a pen I was off like a flash. Creative magic was happening right here in my kitchen.
When I was done it isn’t exactly the beautiful masterpiece I had envisioned. Not so much…

And for a split second I was ready to toss it out. Ready to face my hubby with no card on the most romantic day of the year (okay, so it was a melodramatic split second). And then I opened it again.
There under that mass of sorta, kinda heart shaped tissue paper is our love. My heart calling to his. There would be no throwing it out.
I have spent years waiting for huge spiritual truths to come crashing into my life…like a heavenly meteor lined with the knowledge I need. I study and pray and wait for spiritual enlightenment in grown up ways. And where did it come from this week…fridge magnets and tissue paper. Ha, so simple I could have missed it.
Father, how blessed we are that You love us. That you teach us how to love. Thank you for the truth of who you are and what we’ve been given. Thank you using the simplest things to teach the biggest lessons.
13 Feb

In Love with Love

When we were dating and falling in love Will asked me, “Are you in love with love?” He went on to tell me how his friend had told him to avoid women who just were in love with love and not with the man.

I quickly assured him that I was in love with him…not with love. In all truth I had no idea what that question meant.
Still don’t.
And while I didn’t want him to think I was some lunatic girl in love with everyone and connected to nobody, I answered no. But the more I thought about the question. The more I live. I might have changed my answer.
Oh, sigh, on this day of hearts, flowers, lil fat guys armed with arrows and chocolates wrapped in romantic colors, don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. I love his laugh, his smile, the tears that well up in his eyes when life moves his heart. I love that he is a provider, a conqueror, my hero and my comedian. His love inspires me to be a better person, to be the wife he deserves. Oh, yes, I love that man of mine.
But the truth is I am in love with love.
For you see, I am in love with the One who is love.
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
God is patient.
God is kind.
God does not envy.
God does not boast.
God is not proud.
God does not dishonor others.
God is no self-seeking.
God is not easily angered.
God keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil.
God rejoices in the truth.
God always trust.
God always hopes.
God always perseveres.
God never fails.
So, as we celebrate a sugared up holiday about romance and love. I urge you to take a moment breathe a prayer to the Holy valentine.
I’m in love with love.
I’m in love with Jesus.
Father, thank you for loving us before we knew of love. Thank you for loving us despite all the reasons not to. Teach us to love. The deep, grace-filled, sacrificial love that only comes from You. Bless our single friends, may they feel complete in Your Holy love and remember that You are the author of their love story. And for all those in a relationship and marriage, Father, remind them of the preciousness of their moments…to treasure and celebrate them. Thank you for love!
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