Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Latest Puppy Pics

Sydney's little darlings are now ten days old. They still specialize in eating and sleeping, but they are also practicing barking and growling and exploring their box. They LOVE being cuddled and we are happy to oblige. Soon they will be too busy to be bothered with that.
In order of appearance from top to bottom: Kanga, Roo, Penny, Bailey, and Boomer. More photos of the gang when their eyes open in a few days.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Puppy Update

Our sweet little babies are growing like weeds! I will post more pics in a couple days, but in the meantime, here is Sydney with her little posse. She is so proud! And she is very good at counting them. She knows when we have abducted one or two and isn't happy until all five are accounted for. She's an awesome mama.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sydney's Little Charmers

Though it was a late night/early morning arrival, Sydney did a great job of bringing her five darling pups into the world without an ounce of help. We had had her x-rayed and they predicted four. After four we all went to bed. This morning there were five!! They are all very healthy and eating like pigs!! We have one blue merle female, one red merle female, two tri-color females and one tri-color male. They are all sooo snuggly! I only posted pics of the two merles and one of the tris as Sydney was getting impatient with me stealing her babies. You can be sure there will be many more photos to come.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Secrets and Lies

Isn't that a movie title? The topic is an interesting one for me as of late, so I thought I'd attempt to sort out my thoughts about secrets.

While I'm not one who likes the whole idea of having secrets at all, I suppose there are good and bad secrets. There are secrets kept in order to bless someone with a happy surprise, like surprise 50th birthday parties. Oh, that's not a good example of a good secret, because I don't enjoy surprise parties. But some do, and that would be a good secret. There are good secrets that are kept so that someone else can reveal them at the best time for them; joyful occasions such as engagement or pregnancy. I, for one, hope that when my daughter is pregnant, she will not keep it a secret for long. But that's just me. Where I work, I am forced to keep secrets in order to not break the rule of confidentiality. You just don't tell what happens in a church setting. Period. Good or bad. But I have a hard time with secrets that cause me to lie to keep them, whether good or bad. I have found it best just not to say anything at all because I am a lousy liar anyway, but at times I have felt backed into a corner in order to lead people away from discovering a secret.

But what I'm struggling most with is other kinds of secrets. The ones where it is not clear-cut whether keeping the secret is good or bad. Currently I know two pretty big secrets that I wish I didn't know. One is about something that happened in the past and I can discern that it wouldn't do anyone any good to share it. The other seems a ridiculous secret that I can't understand the big deal about keeping it a secret. Both are secrets about things that people shouldn't be doing. They are attempting to cover up something.

Just this week my Precept study in II Samuel was all about David's big secret. He got involved in something he should not have. And instead of fessing up and asking forgiveness from God and the parties involved, he did a major cover up job. You can read the whole snowball effect of David's secret in II Sam. 11 & 12. It resulted in lies, and more lies, and plotting, and eventually murder. There were huge consequences not only for him, but there were ripples of consequences for so many others.

It seems to me that MOST secrets are to cover something up, to save face, to hide out so that people can continue to do what they want rather than what they should. These are a great burden for others who know the secret. I once had to confront a friend about a secret relationship and it didn't end well. My friend no longer has anything to do with me. There is a difference between hiding out and just sharing something in confidentiality. I have no problem keeping conversations to myself in order to be of help to someone who's struggling or just needs to vent. But I feel a sense of obligation to confront bad secrets head on. They are often just the snowflake in a huge snowball of destruction that is to come.

Well, not sure I've got it all figured out yet. Some secrets are easy to keep and some are hard. Wish I didn't have to keep ANY. Wish people didn't put themselves in the position of needing to keep bad secrets. Wish it wasn't my responsibility to respond or intervene (i.e. Nathan the prophet in II Sam.). Found a couple quotes I think are true about secret keeping:

"Nothing weighs on us so heavily as a secret." Jean de LaFontaine, French poet

"Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off." Samuel Johnson

"Three can keep a secret if two are dead." Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Extremes of Dark and Light

Easter. I love the fact that Easter, like Christmas, is really a big party that's all about Jesus. It's totally a celebration of new life that includes bunnies and eggs and baskets and pastel dresses. It's a party!! I love the joyful part that comes with Easter Sunday morning. The putting on the party clothes and going to the party (church) where we sing happy songs about Jesus' coming back to life. The having a fun family dinner with ham and scalloped potatoes and deviled eggs. It's a happy, happy day.

But there is this other part of the Easter event that comes before the party. It's the dark side that includes remembering that Jesus had to lose His life to get it back. It's the part that many of us might give fleeting thought to as we approach the Easter Sunday party. It's the part that I must acknowledge before I can truly celebrate. It's knowing that He willingly gave up His life so I could have mine. And it didn't happen in a pretty way. There was pain, there was suffering, there was separation, there was sadness. But if there weren't that, the party wouldn't mean much, would it?

And so, we go to Good Friday service first. It's a heavy occasion where we focus on the dark side. We acknowledge, we remember, we confess. Why do we do it? Because if we didn't, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the party in the same way. It's like coming out of the blackest dark into the brightest bright sun. It's much like a glorious warm spring day after a long, cold winter. It's so much sweeter after having gone through the bitter part.

I embrace the contrast. Tomorrow is a heavy day. And then comes the party!!
Happy Easter!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Heellloooo, SPRING!

It took it's sweet time, but I think spring is FINALLY here. Yesterday when I came back from Newport, I was able to roll up my sleeves and pant legs and soak up a little Vitamin D out on our deck. It wasn't HOT by any means, but it was pleasantly warm and bright. I have come to learn that just 20 minutes a day in the sun not only gives me a nice healthy (but not skin cancer inducing) glow, but it does tremendous things to my state of mind. My MP3 player and a very large glass of iced tea make it extra refreshing.

And so as I type, I am watching the outdoor temperature rise and am getting itchy to move out to the deck. I WILL make myself start some laundry. I WILL do some prep for my Precept class tomorrow. I WILL tidy up the t.v. room and kitchen. But I will do them QUICKLY because I can hardly wait to stir up the giant peach iced tea, put on my shades and head out the back door. Ahhhh, spring! And the best thing of all is that summer will soon follow. Yee-haw!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Girlfriend Getaway

I am blessed to have a number of amazing women in my life. Of course I must mention my mother and my sisters here as they are the amazing women that I have known the longest. I also still keep in touch with my nearly 40-year friend Mishell. My relationships with them are incredibly important to me, but sadly, I don't get to spend quality time with them as often as I'd like.

I have been so fortunate through the paths of my life that I have had women friends who, for a season, have had great influence on me and I have had especially meaningful relationship with. Six years ago I met my friend Gail, who at the time was my job share partner. I also soon discovered she was my neighbor. She became my support system as I went through cancer treatment. We became prayer partners, confidants, counselors. Our husbands became friends. Her kids are like my own. We have shared countless adventures, including a ten-day Maui getaway, Thanksgiving at Fairmont, Canada, and a camping trip to the St. Joe River. This friendship was unexpected and God-ordained. It blesses me every day.

My friendship with Gail has also included sharing other friends that on our own, we would have likely not crossed paths with. As I have gotten to know Gail's circle of friends, I have come to appreciate the godly, fun-loving, warm, transparent people they are. Over time they have allowed me to infiltrate their circle and have embraced me as not just Gail's friend, but their friend as well. I have laughed with them, cried with them, shared experiences, feelings, beliefs.

This weekend we took part in a girlfriends' getaway to The Inn at the Lake near Newport, WA. This group lives and loves to have fun and that's what we did. We traveled to Sand Point, ID for lunch and shopping, then settled into the beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Diamond Lake. We took over the lower level of this immense house, enjoyed the lovely rooms and warm hospitality. From time to time, we reflected on some of the harder things some of us are going through. But mostly it was a time of great conversation, delighting in the fact that God gives us friends.

I am so thankful that God taught us to be in relationship. Life would be really hard without it. Sometimes relationships are hard, too, but they are worth any pain involved. Now that our little getaway is over, I am left feeling deeply satisfied and blessed. And I crave more opportunities for those relationships to flourish. Here's to spending quality time with the people God placed in my life. It's sooo much better than trying to do life alone.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stations of the Cross

One of the advantages of my job is that I have opportunities to expand my spiritual horizons. Our weekly staff meetings usually offer a chance for us to encourage and pray for each other along with discussing and making decisions regarding ministry and church business. But this week was extra special as we took our staff meeting on the road. We actually left the Timberview walls and took a field trip to the Student Chapel at Gonzaga University to view the Stations of the Cross. (Thanks, Whitney, for being our hostess and being our "in" at GU).

The Stations or Way of the Cross are depictions of the last hours of Christ. The Stations in the Student Chapel are beautiful three dimensional wood carvings. Pastor Glenn led us around the room to the fourteen stations and gave us a guide to follow. Following along with the scriptures added to the impact of the detailed carvings. I found it to be a powerful and memorable experience as I focused on what Christ experienced on his way to the cross. I was especially struck by the depiction of Simon coming to Christ's aid when the cross became too heavy. Of course God in the flesh could have done it all without help, but he chose to embrace humanity and let Simon come alongside. Christ can do all things, but he chooses to let us help him. I've meditated on that fact for the past two days. He doesn't NEED my help, but he WANTS my help. Profound. Humbling. Awe-inspiring.

This will remain a highlight of the Easter season for me this year. It's easy to become desensitized to Christ's suffering as we celebrate His resurrection year after year. Dying on the cross was not a simple act of mercy for mankind. It was brutal, painful, sacrificial. I don't want to overlook that. But I'm glad the fifteenth Station depicting the resurrection has been recognized as a vital addition to the Stations of the Cross. I love a happy ending.