Rolo is about three months old now. She is a good dog! She sleeps ten hours at night, which is a blessing!! The kids love her and do a good job taking care of her. She likes to go on walks and play in the backyard. And she loves doing things that earn her treats– like sit, down, come, and shake. We are helping her learn how to stay OFF the furniture and to NOT jump up on people.
It’s going to be interesting to see how we manage our school day next week with her around. She has gotten used to lots of attention and love and exercise. She is super cute!
Some years are hard to say goodbye to, while other years can’t wrap themselves up quick enough.
2017 is a year I am happy to see come to an end, if I am honest. If I had to choose one word to describe my year, it would be “struggle.” As a verb, struggle (with) means “having difficulty handling or coping with.” As a noun, I would choose “a determined effort under difficulties” as the best definition for my struggle in 2017.
Struggling with the challenges of living in an older home (the plumber has been to my house 7 times in one year).
Struggling to find a church home.
Struggling to find my place within that church home.
Struggling to find some answers with the help of a counselor.
Struggling with two car accidents.
Struggling to help my kids adjust (and since learning that this is their struggle, not mine).
Struggling with connection.
Struggling in my time with The Lord (Are you there, Lord? And yes, He was and is.)
Struggling with my weight (can anyone say, “emotional eater” ?!?)
There were victories and growth all along the way, but if I absolutely had to boil it down to one word, “struggle” would be the one.
Josh challenged us to come up with some goals for the New Year. Spiritual goals, physical goals, mental goals and relationship goals. As I have thought about these areas, the spiritual goals came to me the clearest. I plan to go back to reading through the Bible and memorizing scripture. When I think back on the last decade or so of my life, these two things spur me on in my walk more than anything else.
I signed up for the Bible Project read-through-the-Bible-plan on YouVersion. I went ahead and started because I wanted to! And I was so encouraged by the large doses of God’s Word. Reminded that God’s Word is POWERFUL and able to change people and circumstances. Reminded of His faithfulness in the midst of unfaithful human beings. Reminded that His ways are always right and good and perfect.
A new blank journal always helps, too!
I plan to choose a memory verse on the 1st and 15th of each month. And I bought my index spiral yesterday and put Psalm 40:16-17 on the first card:
“Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘The LORD be magnified!’ Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.”
I look back at the old scripture memory cards from years past and it makes me excited about this coming year!
I am thankful for the struggles in my life…they make me stronger and are a part of life! But I am also looking forward to experiencing more joy in my heart as a result of seeking The Lord with a revived effort. It’s all His grace in my life, and for that I am so thankful!
All the best to each of you as we wrap up 2017 and look forward to 2018!
Another Christmas got here way too quick! We were able to see Irvin last week, and he took the kids to the mall for some Christmas shopping.
They each got a pair of shoes and then the girls spent some more money in Altar’d State, their favorite store. It was a fun time! And PawPaw and Rolo were able to do some bonding.
There has been a lot of lying around this Christmas break. Lying around with Rolo close by.
Molly thinks Rolo’s bed is super comfortable. It’s concerning, actually…but sometimes Rolo gets to sleep on her bed all by herself.
My parents came by on the 23rd to spend the night and head on to their Christmas destination. We enjoyed having them here and exchanging gifts…and of course, there was time for bonding with Rolo.
Christmas Eve was filled with breakfast with my parents, then a Panthers football game, a Christmas Eve candlelight church service, and then a surprise visit from friends. What a sweet day!
Christmas Day has been sweet as well. Gifts and food, a walk with Rolo, a fire, naps, movies, time in God’s Word, and time together. We are grateful to be able to celebrate Jesus’ birth together as a family and with friends throughout the weekend.
Ruby and Mack had cake for breakfast on Christmas morning…I mean, why not?
Mack has been wanting a ping-pong table and a pool table. He obviously doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. We don’t have any sort of extra space for such tables. So, a table tennis net that would fit on any table would have to do.
Ruby wanted sunglasses because she wears contacts most of the time and was excited that she could wear non-prescription sunglasses.
Molly has been eyeing this sweatshirt for a while. It is “lit.”
Mack has been asking for UGA stuff for his room, so we started that process. He will get to pick out some UGA wall decor as he finds what he wants. But let’s just say, for now Mack is super happy!
Molly is upstairs playing her guitar, Mack is playing with his electric card deck and taking walks back to his room every now and then to admire it, and Ruby is watching a movie in her new Georgia sweatshirt. It’s been a good day. Thankful!
Rolo has shaken things up around here. The kids love her, but they also said it has been more work than they initially thought it would be. I do my very best to not say “I TOLD YOU SO” in an annoying sing-song tone. I just smile and say that they are doing a good job taking care of her.
Mack and I took the early morning duties the first two weeks, but I could see right away that I was feeling ill towards this dog when this dog is the kids’ dog, yet I found myself standing out in the cold, dark morning saying, “Go poo-poo, go pee-pee” over and over again. So now Ruby goes out with her in the morning…anywhere between 5:30am and 6:30am. Usually Josh and I are up then as well and if we are feeling nice, we let Ruby go back to bed while we watch Rolo. Let’s just say she has put a damper on my morning quiet time. I am trying to keep a good attitude about it though. I think this season of constant watching over her will be short-lived and eventually we will have a sweet dog that doesn’t need to be watched 24/7.
I did enjoy chatting with Mack on those early mornings. He is a funny kid.
I hired a professional dog trainer, though. You know, since I don’t know what I am doing, but I need a good dog. Not an annoying, bad dog. The first session was awesome and gave me such HOPE that we can actually teach this dog to obey! Our trainer comes every 21 days or so for six months, and I am thinking hiring her is the best decision I made this year. She gave me two words to hold on to during our first 21 days of training: SUPERVISION and CONFINEMENT.
We are taking her on walks at a trail a few times a week and the other days we walk her up and down the street in front of our house. She is scared of cars right now, so the trail provides a better atmosphere for actually enjoying our walk. She rides in a booster seat for dogs on the way to the trail.
One afternoon, the girls and I took her out to “socialize.” We went to Starbucks and then walked to Petsmart. And I went in a few stores while the girls sat on a bench and let people come up and talk to her. It went sort of well….if you don’t count that she spent quite a bit of time hiding behind a pot of flowers.
She is a cute little puppy. I am glad we got her, most of the time. But I also know that having a dog doesn’t equal being a dog person. Maybe it will come in time…we shall see. I am proud of the kids and how they have stepped up and done a lot to take care of her. They are definitely becoming dog people.
I have been quite aware of my need for Jesus in this season of life. It’s such a good thing, but it is also disturbing when you get glimpses of your mean self. The self that really envisioned me pushing a lady down who was super rude to me at the mall. I didn’t actually push her down, but the desire was majorly there. Her need for Jesus helped me become aware of my need for Jesus.
Sometimes I am short with the kids, selfish with my time, impatient with Josh’s schedule, frustrated with my ‘to-do’ list, lazy, cranky, judgmental, sarcastic, prideful….need I go on? Gracious. What a broken vessel I am. And I encounter many other broken vessels throughout my day. And you are a broken, needy person that also encounters many other broken, needy people throughout your day.
I read Psalm 86 and could agree with the Psalmist in verse 1, “I am afflicted and needy.”
Yep. That’s me.
Then, the chapter goes on and describes God as being a listener, being gracious and good, ready to forgive, abundant in lovingkindness, the one true God, great, doingwondrous deeds, my teacher, deliverer, loving and merciful and gracious, slow to anger, faithful, helper to me, and my Comforter.
Yep. That’s God.
And the Gospel is that He came to this earth for broken, needy sinners–like me. Sometimes I wrongly find comfort in my good attitude or kind responses to mean people or I feel more lovable when I am seemingly doing the good Christian things. That is simply not true. Jesus loves me even in my sin. There is nothing I do to earn His love and nothing I do causes His love for me to diminish. This is so upside down from how we humans tend to think.
“There Is A Mountain” is a song by Caroline Cobb that expresses our need and Jesus as the meeter of our need. This Christmas season I am most thankful that Jesus humbled Himself and set an example of walking in humility and graciousness. And I am thankful this is a gift anyone can receive. Even if you have received the gift of salvation years ago, we sometimes need reminding that we didn’t do anything to get to Jesus. And we don’t keep His love by our ‘good Christian deeds.’ He did it all and offers us all we need for all time.
“Come with open hands, in need. Come hearts broken, bended knee. A gift can only be received. Come to the mountain; He carries the crippled to the feast. Come to the table. Come sit, He has saved you a seat. Come eat and drink without money, without cost because He has paid it on the cross.”
I could have titled this blog entry “Hell Hath Frozen Over” or “Never Say Never” or “The Sacrificial Love of a Mother,” but I went with “Meet Rolo” to keep things simple.
Mack has been begging asking for a dog for years. He is 10 years old, and I am making all his dreams come true. He has posted this anonymous quote he saw in a magazine all around the house where I would be sure to see it.
So, I really didn’t have a choice in the matter, did I? This journey is a new one for our family. I remind the kids that they are at a GREAT age to learn responsibility and do EVERYTHING for this dog. And it’s my opinion that dog people are nice people. Nicer than me. So maybe now I will learn to be a nice dog person. Worst case, I won’t change, but all of my kids will be nice dog people.
Rolo is a Lagotto Romagnolo –an Italian water dog. She seems to be adjusting quite well to her new home and family!