TBT: Queen and EveryLivingThing

She was the most adorable puppy ever born, a collie/shepherd mix with the sweetest disposition.  Sure, she belonged to the whole family, but in my mind, she was my dog. Her mother was named Princess so we thought it fitting that she should be named Queen.  Okay, that doesn’t really work, but I’m pretty sure it seemed logical to us kids.

After a quick perusal of a book I checked out from the library, I considered myself a skilled dog trainer and proceeded to instruct Queenie on the fundamentals of come, sit, down, and stay.  She was an excellent student and had it nailed in less than an hour.

When I got my own car, she loved going along wherever I went.  She also enjoyed going out in our canoe on the lake.  She was a good passenger and never made us tip.  No pet is perfect, however, and Queen’s Achilles heel was her dislike of anyone pulling her hair.  Since she was part collie so she needed to be brushed and the person doing the brushing would get a gentle nip if they pulled a little too hard.

Queen 2

These pictures are from October of 1979, taken in Alanson, northern lower Michigan.  This is what an incredibly cool nineteen-year-old girl in a puffy jacket looked like back then. When I went off to college and later got married, my little sister stepped up and made Queen hers.

Queen 2

Animals have always played an important role in my life.  In recent years, I’ve been shocked and horrified at the way we treat animals, made changes in my lifestyle to do everything I can to minimize their inhumane treatment, and adopted Hannah and other pets from a local animal rescue. 

On May 24, 2015, in his encyclical, Pope Frances said, ‘The Catechism firmly states that human power has limits and that “it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly”.’  Last week a group of Evangelicals made a declaration regarding caring for the animals entrusted to our care.  I’m encouraged that pastors, scholars, and other leaders in the religious community are stepping up to do something about the issue. If you have a moment, watch the video and consider joining the movement.

What animals have made an impact on your life, shared your joys and your sorrows, and taught you lessons? Please share your stories and pictures with me and other readers. 

TBT: Good Old Days

This week I’m spending time with fabulous people I’ve known for a long time, some more than a dozen years.  We’ve got a lot of history together, some good, some bad, some funny, some embarrassing.  When we first meet up, we catch up on what’s new in everyone’s lives, what their families are up to, all the pertinent details. Once we’ve worked through all that, we start reminiscing about the past, sharing stories, maybe a little trash talking, and hilarity ensues.  We remember those times fondly, with a sort of wistfulness, because things are so different today then they were then.

We often look back on the past with affection, things were simpler then, better, not the way they are today.  Yet it’s only the passing of time that gives us that perspective – in reality, those good old days really weren’t that good, at least not in the way it seems at this moment. 

A wise counselor once told me – as I was lamenting that I just wanted things to go back the way they used to be – that she doesn’t help people go back, she only helps them move forward.  At the time, those words really irritated me, how could she not understand that I was happy back then and I wanted that feeling back?!  Again, it’s only the perspective of time that has made me realize that the life I wanted back was not without issues or problems, it’s simply that they were familiar and I had built coping mechanisms for them that were comfortable. I didn’t have that same luxury with the current problems and issues I was facing. 

It’s these realizations that illustrate so clearly to me how nothing has changed since Biblical times.  God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt – they were free!  But were they thankful for their freedom? 

Numbers 11:4 – 6. . . the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

In addition to their freedom, all of their physical needs are met.  They have silver and gold that was given to them by their Egyptian neighbors.  But they are wailing because things just aren’t the way they used to be.  They’d forgotten their harsh treatment as slaves, how the king had ordered the murder of all of their sons – they only remembered the free food from the all-you-can-eat buffet. 

So it is with me.  I tend to want to go back to what was before because it’s much more comfortable than the hard thing I’m going through or the uncertainty of what might happen in the future.  I want what’s familiar because I’m under the delusion that in this familiarity I might have some semblance of control.

It’s been great to be able to relive the history of my relationship with these fine people, but what I’ve enjoyed even more are the new memories that we’ve made together this week.  We can’t go back to what we had before, but we can forge ahead and create a new thing.

Do you find yourself wishing you could go back to a certain point in time and stay there?  Maybe it’s time to walk away from the past and venture into the unknown that just might be the promised land. 

TBT: Rafting

What would you do if you were a kid and your Mom brought home giant styrofoam boxes from her job in the seafood department in a grocery store?

Would you care that the box smelled like fish?

Would you build a fort?

Would you build a castle?

Would you build a raft?

If you built a raft, would you take it to a lake to see if it would float before you got on it?

Or would you launch it in the creek behind your house that’s at flood stage because it’s been raining for days?  Would you wear your raincoat just to be on the safe side?

Creek Rafting

Obviously you would just jump on the raft with your brother, get one of your friends to come along, and get your Dad to give you a push, completely ignoring the fact that the water is brown.  You would have a great time and your Mom would take pictures so she could put them on the Internet twenty odd years later for the world to see on Throw Back Thursday. 

What kind of adventures did you have when you were a kid?  Be sure to add a comment and tell me all about it.