Morning Walk

I had a date this morning with someone who loves me even when I hide my bed head under a knit cap and am sporting a lanyard with a container holding poop bags at the end. Yep, my date was with our dog, Jacob, or Jake.

Jake gets so excited when I first take the leash off the hook, but then it becomes a wrestling match to ease his rather large German Shepherd nose into his Halti® collar.  Once that’s on, he sprints for the door and we’re off to walk and explore and stop frequently for sniffing and tracking goodness-knows-what!

I just can’t help but wonder what Jake is thinking with his nose to the ground, through the park, past the courthouse and the library, barely looking at the people we pass by, not a care in the world.

He gets timid on the bridges if there’s a lot of traffic, something that reminds me of his puppy days.  Jake keeps turning and looking to make sure I’ve got things under control.  Don’t worry, Jake, I’ll keep you safe.

This morning, we arrive back at the house after a very short walk and I think, let’s go around the block once before we head inside.  Jake looks at me like I’m nuts when we walk past the yard and our front steps, but he keeps on walking with me.  We take the sidewalk near the house up to the driveway and then the funniest thing happens.  When we get to the end of the sidewalk by the driveway, Jake just stops and sits.  He’s not going another step and he gives me that famous death stare.  He’s done.  The walk is finished, and he wants to go home.  So today I decide, that’s enough.  Let’s go home.  And we walk back down the sidewalk and then he practically sprints up our porch steps.

I don’t have a scripture quote that goes along with dog walking today, friends, but walking with my dog has led me to a talk with God this morning.  I’m reminded that I, too, must take time on the daily travels of life to stop and notice, to taste and see the Goodness of the LORD.  When I’m timid or uncertain or downright terrified, I’m not alone.  Don’t worry, Kris.  I’ll keep you safe.  And somedays being home is better than wandering aimlessly.

Thanks, Jacob!

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Unexpected Drive Thru Conversation

A funny thing happened to me recently while driving home from work.  It had been a long day and I really wanted to get home. My stomach was growling most likely because I had skipped dinner, so I drove to a local burger joint only to discover that the drive thru window was closed.  I decided I’d stop at another burger place closer to home.  My rationale was that it would be quicker to go through a drive thru than go into the store to order dinner.  I just wanted to grab a burger and get home.

All the traffic lights seemed to be “with me” for a change so when I pulled up to pay at the drive thru window, I figured I’d soon be on my merry way home with a bag of fries and a burger in hand.  It was all going so well until I asked that one question that changed everything…all I asked the woman at the window was, “How are you doing tonight?”  For what seemed like close to five minutes, this woman shared her feelings with me, a total stranger, while I impatiently waited for my food order.  As I listened to her talk about how it was her dad’s anniversary of his death AND her uncle had just died, my impatience turned to compassion and my “hangry” attitude melted away.  I have no idea why she chose to share ANY of this information with me, but I knew my role here had to be one of patient listener.  When she handed me the warm bag of food, all I could say was “Thank you,” and “I will be thinking of you.  Please take care.”

As I drove home, the burger and fries didn’t really seem to matter that much.  The short exchange of words with a stranger, the quiet understanding of what it means to miss a parent who has died, that had already filled me up in a different way.

Advent is coming up soon, followed by Christmas.  Sometimes during the days leading up to Christmas, I can get so consumed with the “busyness” of the season that I forget to watch for the little signs of Christ present in others and everyday situations.  If I always seek the “drive thru” moments, I may miss out on the wonder and beauty of this time of joyful anticipation that is Advent.  I encourage you to occasionally take the “long way home” this Advent instead of staying on the fast track.  Let’s usher in this Advent season slowly and mindfully.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

 

 

Thank You

This past summer, I purchased an economy-sized box of Thank You notes.  They were attractive, and I was certain I’d put them to good use!  Months later, that extremely large box of barely-used cards now sits on the table almost mocking me.

To make matters worse, during the month of November, people seem to get all grateful on social media, posting #thirtydaysofthankfulness and other such things.  Before you write me off as some type of Scrooge, please know that I DO live a life of gratitude.  I just really have become a slouch when it comes to writing thank you notes, so today’s blog is the beginning of my attempt to turn things around.

This morning I say thank you for a warm mug of black coffee and my old, soft bathrobe.  Thank you for a dog who still loves me even though I ran out of his favorite dental treats.  Thank you for a clear head and a heart full of love and a reason to get out of bed this morning.  These thank you’s lead me to spend some time in prayer with the Psalms:

I will always thank the LORD; I will never stop praising him.

I will praise him for what he has done; may all who are oppressed listen and be glad!

Proclaim with me the LORD’s greatness; let us praise his name together! 

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears.                     (Psalm 34: 1-4, GNT)

Thank you for this day, Lord.  Thank you for the people I will encounter. Help me to use this day to share the gifts you’ve given with everyone I meet.  Let me trust in your goodness and mercy!  Thank you, Lord, for loving me even on the days when I am not acting particularly lovable.  Thank you for knowing what sits on my heart and for continuing to walk with me on the best of days and the worst of days.  Thank you for your unceasing love and guidance.

Thank you for all the things in life that are, in all actuality, not things at all—the people, the conversations, the grace-filled moments that remind me that I’m just one small part of something so much bigger and wonderful than this human brain can even fathom.  Thank you for continuing to fill me, your humble servant, with awe and wonder, Lord:  I thank you LORD, with all my heart.  (Psalm 138: 1, GNT).