May 31, 2005

Faded youth

I have written before about living in a small town. It’s a fun and interesting place to live. We love our small town not only because it is cozy, nestled against green, beautiful mountains….not only because of it’s Mayberry qualities of knowing your neighbors, of rejoicing as a town for people who have babies, get married or graduate from high school…but we love this town because it grieves together for those who are hurting. Since we’ve lived here the past 8 years, we have seen several deaths in the community, but none so full of grief and suffering as losing one of our young people.

We saw this community pull together after we had been here only 2 years. There is a train that runs through our town, it is a major train route between the west and the east, so there are a lot of trains that come right through our downtown area. The loud blasts the trains make as they get close to the crossings are simply lost on us because we are desensitized to them. People here are used to them and don’t think much about the trains, except that they are a minor nuisance when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. One day a 17 year old girl from our high school either didn’t see the train coming (she was running late for work) or she might have tried to beat the train over the crossing. It really doesn’t matter which scenario it was….because she died, hit broadside by an iron locomotive going 45 miles an hour or more. There is now a totally new crossing signal at that intersection…it has flashing lights, huge gates that come down and loud bells that signal a train coming across. Everyone knew Karen because she was the flower delivery girl. If you ordered flowers for someone, her mother’s shop was the only place to get them in town, and Karen would come to your door with them. There was a massive funeral, the crowd flowed out into the parking lot of the church her family attended…..a crowd of all ages, but mostly of classmates, young people who were facing their own mortality, the cruel fact that we are fragile....and you never know when it's going to be your time to go.

In September of 2001, two days after the terrorist attack on New York City, we lost a dear friend, a young man named Brian, who attended our church. He took his own life. He thought his world was falling apart with the attacks on the U.S. and his girlfriend breaking up with him. The music he listened to planted the idea in his mind, deeply rooted itself there. He thought suicide was a way out of the pain, a valid escape, and a way to show his frustration and anger. The school had to call in counselors and pastors and anyone who would come to talk to the kids about their grief. We watched for signs of copycat plans for suicide in other kids in the community. The family is still dealing with their loss and the aftershocks of grief almost 4 years later. The funeral was at our church…we knew the whole community would be there, as well as almost the entire high school… a man who does it professionally put up televisions in the fellowship hall and out in the parking lot so that people could watch the funeral from a camera set up in the sanctuary. It was packed, the rows of chairs as well as the isles, fellowship hall and parking lot had family, friends, kids from the school and community leaders who come to support the family, as well as just to be with each other in a time of great pain. My husband gave a wonderful sermon....full of hope and the gospel message.

The people in this town really care about each other. It doesn't seem like it sometimes because, but when things like this happen, we all pull together and put down our differences. We all feel like we’re a part of each others’ lives somehow……it’s a strong connection.

This past Memorial Day weekend it happened again. We lost a beautiful young woman due to a stupid, reckless accident. It was the last day of school about 11am, school had just let out….graduation was that night. It is a tradition with some of the kids to ride around town in the back of pick up trucks, throwing water balloons and making noise, celebrating the end of school. One truck driver, a 19 year old girl, decided to race another car full of kids down a town street. As they started, Dulce, who was sitting in the back of the truck fell out, head first, then was run over by the back tires. There were a lot teenagers in the back of that truck… she did not survive long afterwards, and all these kids watched her die on the street, waiting helplessly for an ambulance. These kids are so shaken, so out of their minds from grief and from seeing all the traumatic events that night, that again counselors were brought in all afternoon on graduation day and are still available if anyone comes in or calls. One of these kids who was in the truck is a 15 year old girl who goes to our small church school, a good friend to one of my daughters. Life is so fragile….so temporary….so much more precious now to this group of kids. Some of them feel guilty for being alive…for being the ones who didn’t fall out. Pray for these kids and their families, especially the driver of the truck.

Dulce had just had her quinceanera, a traditional Mexican coming out party for a girl who turns 15. She is from a big family here in town, everyone knows someone who is related to her. Everyone is grieving….all the shops in town have donation buckets at their registers to help the family with expenses. A huge wave of grief came over me as I went into the grocery store on Monday afternoon. Dulce’s cousins and siblings were standing at the doors collecting for the funeral, a large poster of her pictures beside them…’s a good thing I only needed a couple of things, because I couldn’t think or breathe in there after seeing those kids with their sad eyes and the haunting picture of Dulce at her recent birthday celebration. I remember her only as the little 7 year old girl who used to come walk with my daughter to school in second grade. I didn’t even recognize the beautiful young woman in the picture. Still…..there’s a connection. And there is the fact that my daughter is the same age and could have been the one to recklessly sit on the edge of a pick up bed and fall out.

The funeral will be tomorrow at the Catholic church. I’m sure it will be packed out and extremely emotional. It will be a hard, sad day for our town.

Although these three stories sound very similar, they are actually very different in the scope of eternity. The first two, Karen and Brian, were believers. I know Karen was because of the testimony of several people who knew her well, one being her pastor. I know Brian was a believer because, even though he was misguided in the last couple of years of his life, I had talked to him about faith and God and he knew Jesus. He was rebellious, but he knew Who he was rebelling against and I could see that he was miserable doing it. The third teen though……she grew up in a family who I really don't know and by the way she was living, I doubt that she knew Jesus. I can't say for sure, because I don't know....only God knows. But it makes me cringe about our obligation to the kids and families in this community. Maybe she had never had the opportunity….maybe our Christian community had dropped the ball and never reached out to the group that she hung around with.....although I know one of her male cousins, who she hung around with, did become a Christian at winter youth camp a couple of years ago and has been a part of our youth group ever since then. So maybe people had reached out and she decided that she would have fun now while she was young and think about eternity later when she was older, when life got more serious. It is a sad fact that many teens feel this way, thinking they have all the time in the world to deal with God…..that the here and now is for friends, partying and self indulgence.

I don’t want these reminders of life’s fragility to go for naught. We need to take each opportunity to share God’s love, the hope we have in Jesus, and the knowledge that He has a purpose and a plan for us if we'll follow Him. It is the greatest news on earth….and, Christian brothers and sisters, WE are the torchbearers….let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) Let's draw them to Him....

……remember, some may not have tomorrow.

May 27, 2005

Life with Swallows

Each year we’ve lived here in northern Arizona, we’ve had a group of swallows come to nest under the overhangs of our roof on any little ledge they can balance on. Actually they build in the exact place they nested the year before….even when we’ve prayed the nests down in the Fall. They are really cute little birds, about the size of a sparrow, but thinner, with flitting, swoopy flight patterns and adept balancing acts as they build their nests each year with mouthful by mouthful of mud, sticks of grass too. The have these very expressive faces and heads and I am always in awe of their cute little shoulders…they are the only bird I know of that has shoulders. I almost expect them to shrug at me when they cock their heads, wishing I’d leave the porch. Every year I think aloud to my husband, “We should knock those nests down before they lay their eggs.” Before you think I’m cruel, I will tell you the reason.

While swallows are quite charming and they do eat a bazillion mosquitoes each day, they become like any guest who has overstayed their welcome…annoying!! This morning I was awakened by swallows…their nest built directly above my bedroom window, which is wide open at night. The problem was that it was around 4am….my husband said they had been making noise since 3:30am. The noise they made was like a war cry or torture session! They were actually shrieking and screaming. So I’m a little perturbed at them. I came out here on the front porch with my laptop to enjoy a little outdoors while typing today but there is another nest directly over my husband’s porch rocker. My rocker is a few feet away, but they are still fussing at me, one in the nest (laying the eggs I think), and the other is on the porch light squawking and twittering in my general direction. A few minutes ago, as I started this, the male swallow swooped almost on top of my head while squawking. I refuse to give in to that little cute-shouldered twerp though!

"This is MY porch, for crying out loud" I want to shout!

….but I just turned to him and told him, "I'm not going to mess with your nest. Would you just chill out?"

I think he shrugged his shoulders at me….he definitely cocked his head in a mighty sassy way.

While they were building this front porch nest, they would routinely drip mouthfuls of mud on my husband as he sat in his rocker. He would just keep talking to me and flick off the mud as if it were lint. This cracked me up! I told him they were doing it on purpose…that we would soon be driven off our own front porch once the eggs were laid and that the babies would just fall out and die again this year. (Another story in and of itself...trying to rescue wayward baby swallows last summer!) We should have knocked it down! But my husband is a bird lover and wants them there….so now we are swooped upon and spat upon. Last Sunday night we had our small group meeting out on and by the front porch because it was too warm in the house and it was just right outside. So the swallows…there were 4 of them…..were lined up on the edge of the roof cussing us out. Of course the small group people just thought they were cute, but I know….I know them....those horrid pests, taking over our porches. Yes, our back porch has a nest too…..

I wonder how many baby swallows will fall prey to our new puppy, Winnie, on the back porch this year. She brought in a dead bird chew toy to the family room last Fall. Maggie, our 7 year old, was so mad at her for killing a bird that she called Winnie a wolf and wanted us to return her to the woods if she was going to act like that. She got over it in time, but for a while every time she went in to the backyard to play, she would scold and chastise the poor goofy dog, who didn't have a clue about what she was saying. I saw her take a leap and snap her jaws at one of the swooping swallows a few weeks ago as it dove through the porch, so I think we are in for an interesting June.

*10 minutes later*….I have to admit defeat. I have come back into the house, afraid that I was going to become a poop target. That male swallow was getting pretty aggressive. =( Gilmore Girls was starting though, so it was a good thing I came inside. My oldest daughter Hannah and I are enjoying watching reruns of the episodes where Rory goes to college, as Hannah is staring college in the Fall and moving 30 miles down the interstate to her first apartment. Did I mention this is traumatic?

More later…..

May 23, 2005


Life is a conundrum.

Remember our creek? Well every year about this time, the banks of the creek grow full, green, lush, tall grass called Timothy grass. It looks like wheat…it waves in the wind, which is pleasing to the eye as well as to my ears. My husband and I LOVE to sit on our front porch and gaze out at the sky or the creek or the birds and animals. It is such a great place to rebuild your mental and emotional energies after a long day. It is also a wonderful place to visit and talk the day through….you can think and communicate more clearly without all the household noises and distractions. But every year also about this time, my poor husband gets itchy nose and eyes…..his face and eyes turn red from irritation, and his nose becomes a fount of gunk. The creek that we hold so dear all year long becomes a scourge of irritation in May and June. He is so allergic to that Timothy grass, that the doctor gives him a steroid shot (sometimes 2), prescription nasal spray, prescription oral medication and an oral steroid to use…..just because of the grass. And the worst thing is, it drives him in to hiding in the house for 6-8 weeks of the year. He started running an air purifier that someone gave us, put in our window unit air conditioner and shut the house up today because it’s started. The beautiful green creek bank has driven him to be a prisoner in his own house.

Just to make it interesting, when I came home today, there was a foul odor in our house. I went down the hall to see who was using this terrible smelling cleaner or glue or whatever it was. No one knew what I was talking about. Finally I noticed this noise in the living room as I walked by and thought it was my husband’s computer, went to investigate…..and found the source of the icky smell. It’s the air purifier! Ew, it smells! It’s hard to describe….kind of a metallic/cheap bleachish smell. (my spell check doesn’t want me to say ew or bleachish, but I have to, so I’m ignoring it) Here’s the conundrum….the thing that he is hoping will give him the best year yet allergy wise is going to drive me out with it’s weird smell! The person who gave it to us said her husband wouldn’t let her run it due to a smell he didn’t like, but I didn’t realize how irritating it would be til it’s been running in our home for a day. I’ve had this sour look on my face all afternoon smelling it.

Now this is a temporary, silly conundrum, but life is sometimes a more serious unsolvable puzzle that looks like it’s going to absolutely choke us out of existence. I have a friend whose life has been like that for over 3 years now… altering situations that just seem to be going from bad to worse to unbearable. What do you do when life is such a series of unfortunate (or ridiculously insane) events? I don’t know if I could handle it. Yet my friend is holding on….she is smiling and holding her family together by threads. She says that at times she just knows she will fall apart, but she doesn’t. There is something unseen there. Something supernatural and strong is undergirding her, holding up her head and helping her keep it together. She has learned how to let God work and to trust Him with all these tragic events in her life that seem like they will not let up. Everyone who mentions her though says the same thing….she is at peace…has a deep joy and hope that is confounding to us who are looking on with horror as things unfold in that family. It is a hideous, seemingly unsolvable puzzle that bad decisions and poor choices have caused. The Sunday School answer of course, is that God knows their situation….He is going to bring good out of the bad and we can trust Him. I am not sure I could say that if I were in her shoes. She doesn’t know what will happen and if any good will ever come of any of it. But she is holding tightly to God and His Word. And I am seeing, all of us are seeing, how that is affecting her ability to handle and survive this time in her life. If Satan was ever shaking someone’s tree, he is there shaking hers and she is holding on tight and is not being shaken. I don’t understand it…but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Cor. 1:27)

So you go, girl! We are in awe of how God solves the unsolvable….His wisdom and ways are beyond any Sunday School answer we’ve ever heard.

May 16, 2005


Sunday nights are one of my favorite times of the week. We have had small group meeting at our home on Sunday nights for the past two years or longer. I love our small group! It could be any group of people, but we have settled in at the maximum capacity for small groups…..twelve people (just the size of Jesus’ small group)…..there have been a few changes in our make up, but it is a very good variety right now. We have a sampling of older and younger couples, a representative of almost every stage of child rearing, as well as one woman who is married and has never had children. We laugh a lot together, eat together and have become very honest and vulnerable with each other over the past two years. I don’t think this particular group of people would have ever come together in any other venue or would have stuck together as friends if it were not for the small group setting and how it brings people into a wonderful bond with each other. We started out by doing the 40 days of purpose campaign, reading and discussing the book, The Purpose Driven Life. We have since studied books on prayer, Jesus’ life and ministry, a book on Christian apologetics and most recently the Holy Spirit.

The last two chapters in the book on the Holy Spirit were on the fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit as the Comforter. So, being the creative and fun people we are, we decided to have the food themes for these weeks to be fruit night and this past week, comfort foods. I found it interesting when discussing what our favorite comfort foods are *as our ice breaker* what a variety of foods were represented as comforting. Most of the foods brought to the meal were sweets! While I am a sweets eater and I do love desserts, that is not what brings me comfort. When I think of comfort foods, I think of homemade, labor of love types of meals that families would sit down and eat together as an occasion. We’re talking pot roast with homemade rolls, fried chicken and mashed potatoes. And while my husband’s favorites went back to his childhood favorites of southern foods like chicken fried steak, fried okra or pan fried pork chops, you could tell where I grew up by my choices also, like my mom’s homemade chimichangas with homemade guacamole and taco salad or tamale pie. Several people in the generation just above mine in our group recalled loving one of the staples in a modest home life, pinto beans with ham hocks and cornbread. These were usually made with drippings from the ‘fat pot’, a jar or pot kept by the stove, where grease and fat drippings were saved (as well as ‘aged’) and used to add to dishes to give them that special touch. Now, I didn’t grow up in a well to do family or anything, but we didn’t have a fat pot. Thankfully my mother was kind of paranoid about food spoilage and didn’t keep things that weren’t refrigerated and preserved well. We also didn’t have pinto beans much because they reminded my mom of hard times during the depression, eating nothing but beans and cornbread.

Why are those homemade meals were so comforting and remembered with such fondness? I think it was the love that goes into preparing a meal from scratch, of spending time, investing in a project that was soon devoured and gone….yet brought such wonderful feelings to a family. In this generation of fast and convenient packaged and restaurant foods, a good homemade, lovingly prepared meal is a rarity! Since becoming the one who is responsible for my family’s cooking, I really appreciate, more than ever, the effort and care it takes to make a meal from scratch. It takes precious time to prepare a meal like that, just to have it disappear in a matter of minutes, all cut up, pulled apart, spooned out. But what a blessing it is to watch the joy and simple pleasure it gives to a family to sit down to a good meal together, enjoying and talking and knowing someone took time to prepare for you, to nourish you and comfort you.

As I smelled my own crockpot of beans cooking all day Sunday to please our small group, I remembered all the times I walked in on a Sunday afternoon to smell a pot roast cooking or fresh bread baking, or chimichangas frying, knowing someone had been preparing something special for us, thinking of us and going just a bit above and beyond making a regular meal to please us and love us.

Jesus said He is the Bread of Life, He’s the Comforter who sustains us when we’re hanging by a thread to sanity and just keeping it together. The comfort we receive from Him is much more lasting and real than any food every prepared. He is the real deal. And He wants us to enjoy the meat that He has to nourish us instead of the baby milk that just sustains us as Christians. There is a difference between eating to survive and eating to nourish and strengthen us for health. A lot of us Christians are like the starving millions in third world countries, bellies hanging out, full of worms and disease, when the nourishment that can help us become healthy is sitting there on our shelf, untouched or ignored. And we don’t need healthy foods and vitamins once a week or month or year, we need it each day to grow and have health.

We need to ingest for the feast He has for our spiritual life. It’s much more satisfying and comforting, but we settle for the fast and convenient food that we can ‘catch’ by the wayside as we travel through our life as a shallow Christian with our own agenda. And what happens when you eat fast food in a hurry, not taking time to properly digest and chew it well….it doesn’t usually sit right, does it? I personally have seen lots of Christians who take in a Sunday sermon quickly, without chewing on it, digesting it and processing it…and it makes them say, “Bleh, that doesn’t sit right.” God has given us a labor of love, a preparation of treasures and richness for the spirit beyond what the world or our own agenda could ever give us. I think I may be at the point in my spiritual life too where I can more fully appreciate and enjoy the labor of love God’s given us in His Word, like a woman who becomes a mother and can more fully appreciate the labor her mother went through to provide for her family. I can always use some nourishment, comfort and assurance of love, can’t you? =) Take, eat, enjoy and grow. It’s free for the taking….and will set you free as well.

May 6, 2005

A g'day

Well after 2 torrentially bad days in a row, today was a keeper! I won’t bore you with yesterday’s pain, but it had to do with ordinary things like badly a clogged toilet, a hardware store trip, husband being out of town, pms, tears upon tears, lots of bleach spray and finally a plumber and great rejoicing! I feel so bad whining about miniscule problems while the world, our country, my town and my friends suffer from troubles on a much more magnified scale….life-altering types of stuff. When you have pms though, it’s the small stuff that drives you crazy (well maybe not you, but me) and makes me overreact.

Today was my day off. I tried to sleep in but couldn’t so it gave me a chance to have a long talk with my husband, who’s been out of town for 3 days. We had a good, good talk….about important things….and I felt like I had helped him sort some things out, which is rare for me, but it’s what I want to do. So it was a great start….then I had a long morning: prayed and got some insight into some things, watched a Judging Amy rerun, then had a long shower and even shaved my legs….which always makes me feel better. =) Then I decided I was going to finally cook this interesting wild rice mix I had bought in bulk from our farmer’s market. It came with no instructions, so it was a gamble. I found a recipe on and got it going before running to get our passport applications done at the post office. We are so goofy. On a passport application you cannot make a mistake…no scribbling over a 1 with a 3, no white out or erasers. We each ended up filling out 3 apps! First it was putting 2005 for my birth date *DUH* and Chas put his mother’s birth date in his father’s birth date spot….this could have been frustrating, but the rediculousness of it cracked us up, as well as the postal employees helping us. Being a small town, I know that this will get around and we’ll have people teasing us about it. Well it took an hour, but we finally got done. My rice casserole with sausage and chicken is almost done, but I took a test taste from it a while ago and it tastes wonderful! The rice was still a bit too crunchy, but an extra half hour should have done the trick. I will post the recipe tomorrow if it’s a keeper.

Oh, and the weather today was very cozy. Rain alternating with sleet, gusty wind and distant thunder rumbling… not loud enough to make the poodle animal who lives in our house tremble, but just enough to make you look out the windows more often and smile because the weather gave me a good reason not to have to go anywhere. The laundry is about done, all my kids are home tonight, and we’re going to eat yummy rice casserole and watch National Treasure together. It’s all insignificant in perspective of our lives here on earth,
but I thank God for small treasures like a day like today.

May 4, 2005


Today was quite a day. The kids at school got their work done with the usual whining and questioning every little thing. ~aarg~ I had to leave for an hour to take our church secretary and our financial secretary out to lunch, in place of my husband, for secretary’s day. (He is out of town til tomorrow night.) We went to a very touristy restaurant at a train depot in town….good lunch! When I got back it was time to take the kids out for PE to play tennis at a nearby tennis court. So the other adult helper and I decided to play each other instead of playing with the kids. We hit those little neon green balls back and forth for a good 30 minutes, then for another 15 minutes after a break. It was fun! Then back to the school, to a Mexican dance performance by our local children’s dance club. Really beautiful.

After school, I stopped by the grocery store while waiting for my high school daughters to get out of band. Went home, only to hear a message from my friend Edith on the answering machine that our friends, the Holleys were going to be late, so I was to call Edith before taking their dinner over so she could let me in to leave the dinner. …..uh….THE DINNER! If I were more unorganized, I’d be a basket case. I went into high gear and got grilled chicken, scalloped potatoes and green beans ready by 5pm and took it over. A miracle by anyone’s estimation I think! Then I went to Dr B's, my chiropractor, on the way home cuz my whole back and legs ache and are stiff from all the tennis. Then home, ate dinner (had the same menu as the Holleys), got the girls off to youth group and am now crashed, totally, on the couch. I want to whimper, but I'm too tired! My gimpy knee is fussing at me and every time I try to get up, it crackles….I don’t think that is a good thing. I’ve also had 7-8 calls on the phone since crashing on the couch and I’m thinking of throwing it out the window except that it is a new phone and I like it.

I have to take Hannah to work in the morning. =( This is all my husband’s doing. He is out of town with the other car. Hannah goes to work at 5:30am at an espresso shop. Then a full day of work again. After school we go to piano lessons 10 miles out of town for my two younger daughters, then in the evening we go to the Spring high school band concert my two oldest daughters are in. I just wanted to let someone know in case I disappear tomorrow.

I’m entertaining thoughts of running away…..but where would I go….hmmmm

Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night. ~unknown~

Parents are often so busy with the physical rearing of children that they miss the glory of parenthood, just as the grandeur of the trees is lost when raking leaves. ~Marcelene Cox~


May 3, 2005

The best medicine

My sister sent me smile...chuckle, chortle and snort...

~*~Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.~*~


1. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't. *tsk tsk*
2. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it. Wheeeeee!
3. I work hard because millions on welfare depend on me!
4. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them. *chortle*
5. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke. Having kids wrecks it.
6. Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive. Pessimistic, aren’t we?
7. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me. You too?
8. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. I never held a beer, so I dunno.
9. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe. Not arguing.
10. I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are missing. Eh…hehehehee
11. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes. Does this come on a t-shirt?
12. NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine. Cozy.
13. God must love stupid people; He made so many.
14. The gene pool could use a little chlorine. *Snort!*
15. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
16. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again? Yes.
17. Being "over the hill" is much better than being under it! Shut up.
18. Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up. =(
19. Procrastinate Now!
20. I Have a degree in Liberal Arts; do you want fries with that?
21. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
22. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance. Heh…
23. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!
24. They call it PMS because MadCow Disease was already taken. OK, who put this one in the list!
25. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.
26. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.
27. Ham and eggs. A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.
28. The trouble with life is there's no background music. Wouldn’t it be nice though?
29. The original point and click interface was a Smith and Wesson. Scary…
30. I smile because I have no idea what’s going on. =)

May 1, 2005

A lesson in Ernest

A very cool thing happen today. I was teaching children’s’ church….this is my month to do so. The curriculum was a bit contrived….a story about Jesus as a boy. He was talking to his mother and she was giving him some chores to do. I don’t like telling children stories about Jesus that aren’t really in the Bible for various reasons. So what we did instead was think of some things Jesus probably did as a child….. played with friends, had some chores he may have done, and how he worked hard at school to learn his synagogue lessons. There is very little said about his childhood except the story of him staying behind at the Temple to talk to the teachers when he was about 12. Then it says that he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:5)

In the middle of our discussion about what Jesus might have done for fun, this little black dog bursts through the door and runs to the children, sitting around the table in the fellowship hall. It was so funny and cute, the kids just burst into squeals and laughter. Don’t you know that God loves fun….loves seeing us enjoy his creations. Well, the little intruder, whose name is Ernest we found out, was scooped up and given back to his elderly owner who was scurrying in after him, after letting all the children pet and ogle over him for a few minutes. So after they calmed down a bit, we were reminded that Jesus probably had animals to take care of and how fun it is to watch animals play, to pet them and talk to them. He must have enjoyed that and maybe even squealed in laughter at his own little dog or goat or sheep.

I was thankful for the wonderful object lesson. And I know full well that was no coincidence!