Monday, August 15, 2016

Almost Thirty, But Still Just Twenty-Nine

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.
-Paul Sweeney

I do wish in some ways I was referring to my own age but I am referring to the age of my marriage. My husband and I have officially been married 29 years now. At this time last year, our daughter had been in our lives for half of our marriage and I wonder where we will all be when she has been in our lives for two-thirds of it in 13 more years.

We did not go out to celebrate because my husband was not feeling up to it. He has been working a very physically demanding job at a site with inadequate air conditioning for the past week and will be all of this week as well. He is very tired and not his usual optimistic self right now, so I cancelled our plans for dinner at the Melting Pot with another family we had invited to join us this weekend. I have been married to the guy with an unpredictable work and travel schedule too long to quibble over dates. We will celebrate when it works well for all of us.

However, the Princess was invited to see a movie with some friends after church service so my husband and I did make a stop at Cold Stone for way more delicious ice cream than we should have ate.

Then we went on with our plan to use our 30% off coupon at Kohl's for some shorts and socks my husband was needing. I was also looking for cross trainer shoes, but they had none in my size that I liked...and then I spotted some adorable booties on sale—originally $70. (There are few things in the world that are irresistible to me, like brownies, kittens, cheesecake, sci-fi, and dark chocolate, but boots are right up there in that list, too.) I walked away with a pair of these cuties at $31.50 plus tax. How could I possibly say no as they called to me on my anniversary?

I also got a little something for the Princess, but I do not know when I will be giving it to her. Shhh!

My Lord, thank you for my husband, a good man, and our marriage that has withstood its first 29 years. I am looking forward to the next 29.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Knowing the Heart

Thousands are deceived into supposing that they have "accepted Christ" as their "personal Savior", who have not first received Him as their LORD. - A. W. Pink

Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I ran into a woman I first met over a decade ago. I will call her Liza here. I met Liza at a health seminar and she was interested in some products that I sold back then. My products were unique and rare, so I usually had to spend time with each person to demo them and train buyers in how to use them. Liza was excited at the prospect of me working with her, but instead she was highly disappointed when I tried to talk her out of it. You see, I knew that one product she wanted would not only require personalized training, but also it would not really help her.

I had consulted with unsaved as well as saved, Christians as well as people of many other religions, such as Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, and some without a definition, as well as agnostics and atheists. All of them benefited as well as the others using the products. BUT from years of experience, I had found that there were people, who seem to only improve a little and barely maintain that. It was not the product that caused this nor did it pick and choose people that would benefit based on their beliefs, but rather it was the people causing their imbalances that would not correct in their health because of what they believed.


These were the people who believed they were Christians, but were not saved. (I can discern this.) Also, in this category were former Christians, who had willfully rejected Christianity. No matter how many different ones I tried to help, they never achieved their goal and only had temporary or subtle improvements and then barely maintain that level. It was so disappointing that after much prayer it was obvious that I needed to be choosier about who would I would agree consult and train. People could still buy the products through my website with detailed instructions, they could even order evaluations, but these were not guarantees that I would help with personalized instructions.

Liza was local so I demonstrated the products to her in person. She was impressed and bought a few of the kind that did not require any training to use. However, she also wanted the product that did. Liza had painful arthritis through her body although she was in her early forties with children in grade school, so it was very hard to tell her that I would rather not sell her the product and even if she bought it, I would not provide personalized instructions. I was praying the entire time that God would give me the words He wanted her to hear. You see, God had already shown me that she really was not a believer, just one who believed she was.

Liza believed absolutely she was a Christian, but she was married to a man that was of another religion. I asked her how that worked in their family and she told me of how they had agreed to go to a Unitarian church. She believed that many religions believed in the same God and could worship together, which was confirmation of what God had already revealed to me. I was surprised by the words that came out of my mouth, because I am not often confrontational, but I had given this situation completely over to God. I heard myself say that I would not work with her because I knew she would not get better, and the reason for that was because she believed she was a Christian and she was not...which I said rather sternly, not the tone I would have chosen in this situation.

I do not think a potential client has ever looked at me quite that way before or since. She walked out obviously in a huff and I just continued to pray for her whenever God brought her to mind and one day I just knew that she had accepted Jesus.

A year later, I saw Liza at another health seminar. She made a point to come up to me afterward in the parking lot. The moment I looked at her face, I could just see it. She glowed. The change in her was so very obvious. I even said to her "there is definitely something different about you." The first thing she told me is that she had become a Christian.

During that year, she became infuriated when a speaker at the Unitarian Church had thrown down the Bible and said they did not need it. She had always been where the scriptures were held in high reverence. She had also begun reading the Left Behind series. Searching God's heart, she began going to an intense Bible study that went through the Bible book by book. One day at the Bible study, she accepted Jesus into her heart.

I smiled and said I could see that (although I already knew)! Then she told me, "But, I want you to know I really thought I was a Christian."

"And God really wanted you to know that you weren't!" (Of that I was certain.)

Then she began to cry. Her husband being a different religion forbade her to talk about Jesus to their children. I cried with her and said that this was what I would have expected with a Christian so unevenly yoked and that I was so sorry for the sorrow she had then because she had become a true believer.

Another year passed and we ran into each other at the health food store. Her marriage had come apart and her relationship with her children was strained, but she still glowed...and Liza had no more arthritic pain at all! You see, her health issue was manifesting from her previous self-deception and that is why nothing she had tried really worked, nor would have mine. I have seen this many times before and since, how a person in deception or living with another in deception, believing they are Christians when they really are not, will heal from his debilitating health condition (some were never clearly diagnosed) after becoming a Christian for real or leaving the one who is not.

I still sometimes doubt myself and I definitely have people around me who doubt it, doubt this gift, but then I remember Liza and a few other people from whom I was given clear confirmation and I just trust my God. So, when people tell me that only God knows a person's heart, I just smile. If God knows then He can make it known to whomever He wishes. He is God after all.

Still, there are people in our churches that talk the talk and even seem to walk the walk, but do not have it in their hearts. They believe they are Christian, really believe it, they are so deceived...but God is not. We do not need to weed them out, but help them come into the fold.

My Lord, thank you for giving me this gift. At times I do not want to use it, but I know You wish me to do so. I need to help You guide the lost into truly accepting You.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Rightness Wrong Done

An image of God doesn’t contain God, in the same way a word about God or a doctrine or a dogma about God isn’t God; it only points to God. -Rob Bell, What We Talk About When We Talk About God: A Special Edition

When I first began reading about homeschooling, while my daughter was an infant, there were two books in particular that intrigued me, one was the first edition of The Well-Tained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer and the other was Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey Bluedorn and Laurie Bluedorn. The Well-Tained Mind, being the first one I read, excited me about how the traditional trivium stages of grammar, dialectic (or logic), and rhetoric are used all our lives in all our learning, not just homeschooling. Yet in Teaching the Trivium, the trivium was referred to as knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as found predominately in Proverbs.

When we first learn anything whether it be while reading a book, learning a new task, or training for a new job, we first are given knowledge: information, data, things we must be able to routinely recall and perform without much thought. This is the grammar stage. When we are very young most of the new stuff we learned through rote. Children learn to recite nursery rhymes, sing songs, memorize math facts, and do repetitive simple tasks. When we are adults, many of those things do not take much to recall, they are just with us, but we will not recall some facts if we have not routinely used them; for instance, I can remember my passwords that I use presently but do not remember my high school locker combination that I used to use daily. The knowledge stage does not end in the grammar years; we still learn songs, read books, and learn new tasks as needed.

I am taking this out of context, which I normally do not do, but bear with me: in Hosea 4:6, God is saying that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Knowledge is the foundation of understanding and wisdom. You cannot grow in understanding without first learning  knowledge.

Understanding is in the logic stage, when we take the information learned and begin to understand its purpose. Teaching a child phonics can just be a game, but if the child desires to read as much as my Princess did at the age of three, then the student realizes the purpose of decoding words is so eventually she will be able to read book on her own. This stage is very evident around the tweens, when a child is told to do something, he begins to challenge the instruction as to why it needs to be done or even if it does...or if it must be done him.

The rhetoric stage is when we are supposed to grow in wisdom of how we apply and communicate our accumulation of knowledge and understanding. Some wisdom comes from trial and error, but I have come to the conclusion recently that it should not be assumed that one's experience will make him wiser. We decide to avoid walking on a broken step on the stairway we walk every day because through experience we know it is broken and through understanding we know that walking on that step could cause injury. Now, some might find it wise to avoid the step, but did we actually use wisdom to make that decision? I do not think so and it may be wiser to fix the step so for the safety of all, but really that is just a logical conclusion when considering the problem of what to do with the broken, dangerous step.

To further understand the difference between wisdom and experience, animals do not have the capacity to be wise but they will learn from experience (knowledge gained from repetition and some measure of understanding reward and punishment), which is why many types of animals are trainable to some degree. I had a German Shepherd, who was particularly protective of our/his property. He was perimeter trained, but when he was still young, he would break his perimeter to chase away any dog that came near our property. Eventually, all of the dogs that walked freely in our neighborhood from time to time would make a very wide berth to avoid our property, some would not even look our way, even though Sasha was not out. On a funny note, Sasha was not allowed to pester cats so our neighbors' cats would come to sit out on our front lawn and watch the dogs avoid the yard. The point here is not that how we trained Sasha but how the other dogs learned from repeatedly experiences to avoid our property and the cats learned also that they would be safe in our yard from the very same dogs that treed them whenever they were anywhere else in the neighborhood. These animals seemed to make wise choices, but their actions really were not the results of using wisdom.

It had been very difficult for me to accept that a greying head does not mean a wiser brain. When I was young I was taught not only to just respect my elders but to expect them to have wisdom. My maternal grandfather was very wise, but my mother never really was, even when her hair was completely white. Oh, throughout my life, she did say a few wise and profound things at times, but that was from rote, because she was repeating what she heard many times from her father. My mother often lacked in greater understanding as well and without logical thinking there is not a solid foundation for wisdom. So, I have come to the understanding, the logical conclusion, that people, like dogs and cats, may gain more experience as one ages, but not necessarily be wise.


Wisdom is built on knowledge and understanding, yet it is has a spiritual nature because it is given from God, so it is not necessarily the result of having knowledge and understanding. Through God's given wisdom one can have the ability to know and understand without having full knowledge. Wisdom recognizes what is not yet known and desires to learn it when there is need to do so. Knowing without knowledge is like not knowing a person, yet knowing what that person is likely to do...or how to guide that person to reveal the things he tries to hide in his heart that is obvious to the wise.

Think about King Solomon when presented with two women claiming the same baby. He had only the knowledge that both claimed the child and the understanding that one only could be the child's mother, while the other was lying. He did not know the women or which one was likely to lie, so he presented the two women with the same impossible choice: the baby will be cut into two or one will give up her claim to allow the baby to live. Both women revealed what was in their hearts with this horrible choice, but only the real mother decided she was willing to give up her child so that he would live.

Many people go with their feelings, which is often based on the result of experiences, desires, and fears, as animals can do. For one to use wisdom, he must be able to do what an animal cannot do and place himself aside to have the perspective of an objective outsider. Please understand, though, that even the wisest of all men fails to do this all the time because he cannot always think as an objective outsider when it is his own life. Again, thinking of Solomon, I shake my head as to why he had so many wives, with some being idol worshipers. In this aspect of his life he certainly was not using wisdom.

Another aspect of true wisdom is having the ability to understand people where they are and effectively guide them to accept knowledge they presently lack in order for them to understand a different perspective, which is not based on their own experience and may actually be in opposition to their conclusions or feelings, while accepting that they will probably think it is their own idea. (Actually, they have to own it as one of their experiences or else it will not make a lasting impact.) God does this every day because we can be so very stubborn, especially when we think we are right.

Now, some Christians have much pride of their knowledge of the Bible and have the propensity to throw scriptures at others. They are much like my mother, repeating rote where they think it may apply due to their own experience, sometimes with understanding and sometimes without so sometimes it was applicable to the situation and sometimes not. Their understanding is limited to what the scriptures mean to them and how they mean for them to be applied, frequently out of context. Yet, they are confident that they are only saying what is right because they are using scripture from God's Holy Bible, His Holy Words! I remember trying to encourage one man to soften his tone as he would use scripture to beat down pagans on a local message board. He was not saying anything wrong, but it was in how he was saying it that made it not right. He was so confident in his rightness that he lost sight of God's Spirit of righteousness. His purpose was right as he wanted to right their hearts and bring them to God, but in doing so, he portrayed God as angry and hateful to these people, so his use of what is always right was terribly done wrong.


Rightness is not wisdom and it is not always wise to try to prove one's rightness either. A recent exchange reminded me of this. I had been praying for a friend of mine, who had been vexed by the anger Christians seem to have on social media, which I have avoided. I wondered how bad it could be and then God gave me an opportunity to experience a taste of it. The person was so convinced of her rightness that she was not willing accept knowledge or have understanding, she only wanted to prove she was right. Even though I knew it was the wiser choice to say nothing, there are times the wisest choice is to be a fool for God. I felt the Lord asking me to confront her gently. I did and so much of that pent up anger that she holds so closely in her heart came at me. I did not take it personally and there were many flaws in her argument that I could have debated, but God wanted me to stay focused on His purpose, to expose her anger, and not look at what was trivial. Then as abruptly as it began, I was to end it. She felt the victor, but she missed the message God had for her and I feel so sad for her, but I realized that God wanted me to also see how bad this anger is among His children and why. She is symbolic of a particular kind of Christian: the ones who have replaced the Holy Spirit with the Holy Bible. The ones caught up in legalism and their own feelings without an ear to hear God talking to them.

I wonder at times how the people, who have spent more time with their Bibles, memorizing scripture, using scripture to brow beat others, and praying at God but not hearing Him speaking to them, will acclimate to heaven, where I am thinking there will be no need of a Bible, recalling scripture, rebuking other believers, and there can be sermone in persona (an in-person conversation) with God. (Of course, God has made provisions in heaven for these as well, not to worry.)

Please do not think that I am against anyone using the Bible to gain knowledge about God. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the Bible, but how it used...that is completely different. What I am concerned about is people getting stuck there in the knowledge about God and having too much pride in their ability to recite Bible verses at other people, believers as well as unbelievers. This just reminds me too much of the scribes and Pharisees. I mean, Jesus, the Son of God, was right there in front of them in the flesh and they were so out of touch with God they did not recognize Jesus, yet they definitely knew all of God's laws, they knew His words up to that time, at least. If I had to choose between having a Bible and conversing with God, I would choose the latter.

It is just not wise to think God stop talking to His children and through His children when so few of His Words were actually written and copied over the centuries.

My Lord, may we always seek Your heart and help those stuck in their spiritual growth to see there is so much more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Circle of Anger

Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools. -Ecclesiastes 7:9

Everything has an opposite and even contains its opposite depending on your perspective. Try this experiment: Point your index finger to make circles to the right in the air as if you were writing them on an imaginary board in front of you. Continue to make those circles but turn your hand so you are writing on the back side of your imaginary board, which will give you the perspective of your circles as would be seen if a person was facing you and you will see that your circles are turning left, the opposite direction. The direction did not change, only your perception of it.

Opposites are more complicated than just hot and cold, especially with emotions. Some say the opposite of love is hate and others say indifference is the opposite of love and hate. Actually, both are true and false. (I do try to warn people that I am complicated.) I believe that everything tends to contain on the flip side or it draws in/attracts its opposite, like the opposing poles of a magnet. So, in one aspect love is the opposing attractor of hate.

One really cannot hate something he did not love, which brings me back to the term "love." We really cannot love something that does not have the capacity to give love. For instance, as much time as I spend on my tech devices and appreciate what I can do with them and really feel lost without them because of my dependency on them, I do not really grieve when one of them "dies." Also, I do not think my tech is being uncooperative because it hates me. I may say I hate or love this or that, but in reality only the beings (people and animals) that stir my heart to grief when they are gone forever are the things I love.

If we look at a bipolar magnet, we see a north pole and a south pole with equal forces, like the earth. Now, let's imagine love being one pole and hate being the other. If we had another love-hate magnet, and placed the love side near the hate side of the other, they would attract. If we place the hate sides together, they would repel as would the love sides. Now the hate sides repelling makes perfect sense, but the love sides? Well, what happens when two men love the same woman? Yeah, that is when you can see that love also attracts hate.

Lesser known is that exactly in the middle of a bipolar magnet about the width of a needle is an area that has no magnetic pull at all. It is called the Bloch Wall. The Bloch Wall in our love-hate magnet is indifference. So while love and hate attract each other, indifference attracts neither. Technically, love and hate are opposites, but neither love or hate has any influence with indifference. So, if we lived in the Bloch Wall of indifference or perfect neutrality, we would neither feel love or hate.

God is not indifferent.

One of the things that intrigues me about the scriptures are the things that is not written. This is one of those things. We have read that God hates sins and He loves us, but there is no place in the Bible that even suggests that God is ever indifferent. God just has never said, " I don't care."

God cares.

God has feelings.

God both loves and hates.

We both love and hate because God made us in His image.

God is not indifferent, so we are also not indifferent.

Therefore, everyone has feelings about everything. Everyone has an opinion. And, our capacity to love something is the same as our capacity to hate it. What makes all the difference is we also have the capacity to choose. We can choose to turn our hand and see the another perspective of the circle.

God did this with us and for us. He brought is Son into the world as one of us to experience our perspective and He provided us with His perspective of His Kingdom through Jesus.

Now, imagine the circular motion itself represents anger and on one side of the motion of anger is love and the other is hate. That makes sense, does it not? You usually become angry with people you love because they did not live up to an expectation (I invite you to read: Changing My Expectations) and about things you hate. Remember that no matter which way you move around or change perspective, the circular motion is still representative of anger.

Yesterday, I was in a store waiting in a check out line watching an older woman in another check out line placing her items on the conveyor belt. It was obvious difficult for her and I thought in that moment that I could leave my place and go help her, but then I saw the man behind her chose to do that. It was a black man helping a white woman. Now, normally I do not "see" color but with all the racial tensions that have been building in my country, I now notice. Was this man angry at white people or this woman angry at black people? I do not know, but in that moment there was kindness without color. It was something that would make God smile. This simple act of a few seconds that went largely unnoticed beyond the two involved certainly made me smile for long after it happened. I actually felt that there is hope because one black man chose to help one white woman. In my little part of Georgia, racial tensions are quite low and I think that is because of the stronghold of Christianity here. Even those who are not Christian are influenced by it.

What if a person chose to actually change the force of the circle itself? There still would be love on one side and hate on the other, but anger would not be the driving force. What would be the driving force between hate and love? Some might say happiness, joy, or even delight, but remember that the potentials for love and hate must still generated in equal capacity.

I think the opposite direction is something more Godly in nature, like blessedness, sanctification, holiness, righteousness, or simply spiritual-mindedness. That now takes away our selfish and self-centered influences on love and hate and moves our hearts to be Spirit-directed. There will still be love and hate, but it will be God centered. What makes so many Christians angry might only be a symptom of our lack of depending on or having faith in God!

So now when I have ongoing anger I ask myself why. Is it because of an expectation I had that is not met? Am I just over tired and irritable? Is something stirring the Spirit within me? Or is it that I made a choice to allow anger be the force of my circle instead of staying spiritually minded? 

My Lord, please forgive me of my anger. Let me not my lack in my dependence on You or faith in You. Let anger not be a force in me but only Your Spirit.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Christians Picking Sides

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. -1 John 4:7-8

One of my dearest friends, who is also my muse, has been rather vexed because of the volatile pressures building within Christendom and widening divide between conservatives and liberal thinking polarizing God's people. Which one is the more morally right? I tend to think both are right and both are wrong. Speaking strictly of Christians, both sides could have the right heart, but tackle the problem from a completely opposing and even combative mindset. Both prioritize, focus on making a change for the better as they see it, and push aside all that has less value or is inconsequential to them.

Before I continue I will confess that I am conservative, but at times faced with the problems it can leave in its wake, I wonder if I melt into the shallows of being a somewhat closet liberal. (I said this to my husband once and I thought I was going to have to do CPR.) However, I know that there really is no middle ground. People in the middle are just too wishy-washy for either side.

I used to not like to pick sides. It reminds me of picking team members for a playground game and someone always is always left feeling hurt. There are the firsts, the seconds, the lasts as in the ones nobody really wants...and sometimes ones who are just plain left out. Would I be picked on the liberal team? No! Would I be left out? I think people realize I am very conservative, but I am probably not outspoken enough to be a first pick, which means I am also not as much a target or threat to the other team...so they would think. They may even think I can sympathize with them, which is true.

No, I am not definitely liberal, but I can see the liberal side of thinking. I can understand it, but that does not mean that I can tolerate it well all the time, especially when liberal interpretation is applied to scripture. I once had this long and rather lively discussion on a local message board when one liberal Christian wrote "love is God." In the scriptures, it is written, "God is love."




Now the liberal sees this in the simplest form: if God = love, then love = God, perhaps even God is all love so all love is God. Sounds truly heavenly (with angels singing) and simple. It even portrays a child-like innocence.

The conservative analyzes the complexities: "God is love" was originally written ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, meaning God = the highest form of love, therefore love (in ALL its forms) ≠ God.

Which is true? Both sides can be debated. God first loved us with the highest form of love so all love first came from God. However, we live in a fallen world and sin tainted God's love, at least our perception of it. To sharply point out the problem with these differences, I will use a word that might make this post avoided by some search engines: sex = love. Now whether you are liberal or conservative or even in the murky middle, your mind immediately began working out that sex does not always mean love is involved and likewise not all forms of love involve sex, or at the very least should not. I believe that God designed ἔρως, the....hm, intimate form of love, to be reserved for marriage of a man and woman. I think most Christians can agree that is NOT the form of love that is referred to in "God is love," although some cult leaders have used it that way.

The divide in Christendom begins and ends with the interpretation of "love." (Actually, it goes even deeper to our understanding of God, but for now....) We all agree that we are suppose to love everyone so what do we do with that?

Jesus lived in a time when Israel was a conquered nation. Rome controlled it and there was inequality, corruption, and brutality. Jesus did not incite his followers to protest nor did He Himself even speak out against the Romans. He simply healed people and taught that God's Kingdom, the Highest Kingdom, was at hand. He change their hearts, their perspective, their love.

I agree that we live in the land as it is now and that we have rights in free countries to voice our opinions about inequality, corruption, brutality, and more, but Christians can quibble with each other about so many things that really are irrelevant to the Kingdom. I have done this myself, because I think things should change too, but in the end, this is God's world. I watch in amazement how some Christians are willing to try to destroy people in order to try to save the planet or something else thought to be just as noble—think about this! God warned us this world is going to end and the ending is going to be terribly horrible, like watching a dying child violently struggle for each one of his last painful breaths.

I just think we Christians can do better on that loving each other thing while we are still here on a fallen world because we are a part of the Highest Kingdom. How well are we going to fit into that loving, peaceful kingdom after we have been practicing anger and hate here for so long, I wonder.

My Lord, sometimes we get so caught up in the world that we fail to see You and the Kingdom. Help Your children love You and each other.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hanah

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Our dog Hanah has been fast getting to the point she cannot use her back legs well to walk and just this week she began needing assistance going up and down steps. It seems the end of her life is now at hand. Of the dogs we have had, Hanah latched on to me more than any, probably because she was trained by a woman who had similar features, so I was her alpha. I did not take to Hanah as easily as she did to me, although I often thought it funny when my husband, who is usually seen as the alpha in our home, would give an order and Hanah would look to me for the final approval.

Hanah was Schutzhund trained so we had to command her in German mostly, although she also remembered some Czech commands from her homeland. She was brought from Czechoslovakia by a breeder/trainer in Ohio, the one I resemble, where she was further trained. Unfortunately, she has always been a very hyper dog and a bit clumsy even though well past the puppy years. She had been sold to an older couple who found her too much for them and brought back to the breeder within a few weeks. She also worked as a border patrol dog in Texas for some years but again was sent back to the breeder because she was having problems with her eyes. You can read about more about that in Who Let the Dog Out?

This picture is of her when we went to north Georgia in October last fall in her calmer state, or a bit worn out, perhaps. You would never have known that Hanah's nickname became Tail of Destruction, but it sometimes was Head of Destruction or Body of Destruction or just plain Dog of Destruction. I honestly cannot tell you how may times in her exuberance that she knocked things over with her tail, or turn too fast and hit her head into a corner of the wall or furniture, or just practically knocked me down on the stairway. She always had this habit of wanting to go before me so she did not follow me as much as walked fast to get in front of me and then stop or turn to see where I was going from a particular pivotal point. If I was going straight without stopping also, I often nearly tripped over her. She had a true knack for being in the way and I do not think I have ever said "move" so much to all the pets of my life summed up as I have to Hanah. I just never could get her to follow or even just stay along side of me, unless I put her back into her duty mode to make her "foos" (heel).

Our time with Hanah has been short because she was six years old, the height of a GSD's prime, when she became a part of our family. Now she is thirteen. As she aged, her hyper activity calmed down some. I used to say I could just tap a toe lightly and she would be on her paws ready to go. Honestly, any move I made she would jump up as if on duty. She did not do this with my husband or daughter so much.

Although she loved to chase things in the begining, she has not been a very playful dog, everything seem to be about duty with her. I would remind her that she was retired and to relax. She always followed me from room to room, mostly trying to get a head of me, but with her hyper activity and clumsiness, I found that irritating much of the time. She always has looked to see where I was; if my husband fed her, as soon as she scarfed down her food, she would be searching for me if I was not in sight. Whenever I would go outside to garden without her, she would look out the windows for me, going back and forth until she could see me, but for the last couple of months she would lie by the front door as that is the one I use the most. Although the past couple of years I have enjoyed her more relaxed attitude much more where I can step over her now and then, now I am realizing that the past few months, she is not just more relaxed but incapable of doing what she used to do.

Funny how the very things that irritated me are now the things I am beginning to miss her doing, but that is how it is with loved ones.

My Lord, thank you for the times we have had together with Hanah.