Sunday, November 16, 2008

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

This is our new and improved, million dollar, bionic dog. As you can see from his expression, Gimli does NOT like being a cone head. However, being a 'the-glass-is-half-full' kind of dog, Gimli decided to make lemonade out of life's lemons and put his cone-head to good use...
...raking leaves. The cone ended up being very useful in scooping up the leaves. Unfortunately, Gimli didn't quite understand the idea of making piles of leaves; he's more of a leaf-flinger. But I give him an A for effort and admire his good attitude. If only we could all be as optimistic as my dog!

This last picture is Gimli after a hard day's work. Even the most optimistic dog needs a break every now and then!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I just stumbled across this website:, and can I say I am just so impressed. I am definitely going to take some time to check all of this out! While looking at some of the links I found this poem that really hit me right at the heart. The author is unknown but whoever it was that wrote this really captured my feelings and really inspired me today. So here's the poem. Go to the website for more great inspiration and thoughts!
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, 'Child, you must wait'.
'Wait? You say, wait! ' my indignant reply.
'Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, 'You must wait.'
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, 'So, I'm waiting.... for what?'
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, 'I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want But, you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save.... (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for Thee.'
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, 'WAIT.'

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Dog and My Country (sounds like a good country song...)

I find the best time to blog is while doing laundry. With that statement in mind, you can see how often I do my laundry...judging by the piles of dirty clothes, not often enough, apparently! So, this week has been a whirlwind of adventures.
First, poor little Gimli is still at the vet! In the past two weeks, I've got to bring him home a couple of times but it has been like a scene from some gory horror show. I won't go into too much detail, just imagine blood everywhere. When Gimli has been at home, it has been rough. We won't let him leave his room, which, luckily, we recently switched over from carpet to laminate, because we don't want the rest of the house to look like his room. But Gimli likes to be near us, so when we're in the other rooms, he cries and cries and cries. Thus, I've spent a lot of time propped up against the washer, doing my school work or watching old episodes of my favorite shows on the Internet in Gimli's room. We've also done many loads of laundry cleaning towels and blankets and rotating out Gim's bedding. Also, Gimli has to wear the cone around his head which is the biggest cone they make seeing how his head is on the big side. To make matters worse (and funnier looking), they had to make it bigger by taping another XXX-L cone onto the first cone. My dog is receiving satelite communication from China! When Gimli tries to cuddle with me, I can fit both of my knees inside the cone under his chin and both arms and shoulders in the cone petting his head. I seriously think Gimli could completely scoop me up and go running off with me in tow. So, because of the bleeding thing, we've had to take Gimli back to the vet. Apparently, he has blood clotting issues. They were going to do some super-duper test yesterday to see what the problem might be. I just want my dog back. I'm starting to contemplate a plan to break Gimli out of vet-jail. If you see someone on the news tonight being arrested for attempting to break into a vetrinarian clinic and kidnap a dog, it might be me...By the way, no one has mentioned a bill yet. I'm hoping if I don't bring it up, they won't bring it up. Wishful thinking. Ideal situation-this is all covered under post-operation warranty and we don't need to pay any more. Non-ideal situation-they'll give us the bill and we'll have to pay up before we can get our dog out of hoc, and Hubbie and I will have to sell a kidney...Guess which situation I'm hoping for!
In other news, the plummeting economy has gotten a little too close to home for me. We have some good friends that have just hit really hard times. They are the nicest people. A young couple with two very young children (a 3 year old and a 1 year old). Just trying to raise their family and live their lives in the best possible way. The wife is a stay at home mom, but used to work in special education. The husband just lost his job. He had been thinking about looking for a different job for awhile now. He wasn't getting paid enough to make ends meet. But every time he would start looking, they would give him some promotion or make some promises, so he would stay, thinking things were going to get better. But they didn't. And now he is working in construction, which is bringing in some money at least, but doesn't have any benefits like health care. They're now facing foreclosure of their home and bankruptcy. It is so hard to see such hard times hit such good people. The husband is really struggling emotionally and spiritually because I think husbands tend to hang a lot of their worth on their ability to provide for their family, and he feels like he has failed. The wife is trying to stay positive and be strong for her family. And I'm not sure what we can do to help them. I wish my basement were a little bigger, I would totally bring them in to live with us. Even better, I wish I were a millionaire and could just buy their home for them as a tax write-off and a gift to them until they can get back on their feet again. Now when I hear and see things on the news about our struggling economy, the numbers have names and faces. And I feel broken-hearted and afraid. Are we heading toward another great Depression era? As a nation, how are we going to pull ourselves out of this?
In more political news, we had the great election this week. This presidential election has been really difficult for me. I am a voter--too many people have fought and sacrificed their lives for my right to vote, for me not to vote. And I've done research, so much research. But even as I approached the voting booth, I still wasn't 100% sure who I wanted to vote for. I have always had a clear-cut idea of who to vote for, but not this time. I liked where McCain stood for many of the issues, but I also liked where Obama stood for many of the issues. There were some very important issues, like education, where I didn't like where either of them stood. To be honest, if Biden were running for president, I think I would have voted for him. As vice-president I don't think he's going to have much influence, to be honest. I found McCain to gruff and harsh in some things, not able to see the big picture and not really offering real solutions. I found Obama too silver-tongued in some things, not able to see the big picture and offering some big promises to fix things that I'm not sure he really has a valid plan to back up these promises. In short, I didn't really like either of them. I was tempted to write-in myself or Donald Duck or something! But I did vote, I made a choice.
Here's what I would think the dream candidate would be like:
1. Right at the beginning of his (or her) campaign, he would send each voter a clear cut, no mis-understandings, chart of where he stands on each of the important issues. It would sound something like this: I am against __________________, or I am for ________________, and if he really wasn't sure, he could just say, I'm not really sure until I look into it further.
2. Each candidate and politician for that matter should research the issues more dilligently. If the issue is the war in Iraq and what to do, that person is meeting with millitary leaders, soldiers serving in Iraq, soldiers recently returned home from Iraq, families of soldiers, families who have lost loved ones in the war, protestors against the war, protestors for the war, etc. This isn't a one time visit either. The candidate is researching history-what worked, what didn't work. The candidate is doing all in his power to see every angle of the situation and trying to arrive at the best possible solution. For example, when No Child Left Behind was passed, I'm not sure legislators were doing a lot of talking with teachers, maybe with education lobbyists and union leaders; but why not walk into a school right there in Washington D.C. and talk to the teachers, the administration, the students. I don't think any teacher would have looked at NCLB and the way it is set up, and said, "that's a great idea! It's a totally realistic plan for the classrooms of America!" Before making decisions that affect education, candidates and legislators need to be talking to teacher unions, to teachers themselves, to education professors at universities, to administrators, to parents, to students, to anyone who might be affected by the decisions you are trying to make.
3. I would love an honest politician. If a politician said, "I've got to be honest, our economy is in the crapper, and I'm going to have to raise taxes by X amount. However, I have a laid out plan and can show you exactly where and what your money will go to and how it will help improve things," that candidate would have my vote. I just want to know the truth, and I want to know that the person making decisions that affect my everyday life and the American dream as a whole, is realistic, innovative, and honest.
4. I would love a candidate who could look past party affiliations and just make good decisions. If it's the other party's idea, but it's a good idea, who cares? I just wish politicians could get past the politics of things!!
Anyway, there you have it, my political rant. Don't even get me started on all of the issues arising with Proposition 8. That is a whole other political debate that I'm not ready to step into yet. The last thing I want to say though about all of this is that, whether or not I voted for Obama, he has now been elected by a majority as president, and I will support him as such. Too many people are making silly threats, wanting to move to Canada, etc. So, I'll just end with some good patriotic quotes:

What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. --Adlai Stevenson

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?"--George Bernard Shaw

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.--Jane Addams

Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest," but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.--Sydney J. Harris