Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sheldon The Cardinal

For the last two years, we have had an interesting bird take up residence on our property.

It's a gorgeous male cardinal that we have lovingly named "Sheldon."

If you're a fan of the comedy "The Big Bang Theory," then you are very familiar with the character of Sheldon. Sheldon always knocks three times (over & over) on the door of the person (or persons) he is trying to get the attention of. If you've never seen the show, here is a clip of Sheldon "knocking."

We were first made aware of our "Sheldon" when we heard him knocking on our basement windows.

From sun up to sun down, "Sheldon" is knocking.

Every. Single. Day.

We've tried to do things to scare him away.

We've put rubber snakes in the window. They didn't scare him off.

We've put stuffed animals in the window. They didn't scare him off either.

In fact, he looks like he's sitting amongst his friends.

(Every time I see him sitting in the window with all of the stuffed animals, I'm reminded of an old Sesame Street song that has lyrics that go something like this: "Four of these things belong together. Four of these things are kind of the same. Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?" But I digress.)

Day after day "Sheldon" knocks.

I've been told a few different reasons as to why people think "Sheldon" knocks on our windows all day long. Some say that he more than likely is seeing his own reflection and is trying to protect himself and his nest from this stranger he thinks he is seeing in the window.

I at first thought to myself, "What an idiot! He spends all day long, every single day fighting a battle that doesn't even exist. He's his own worst enemy!"

Then I realized, that sounds very familiar......

"You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (NIV) ~Matthew 7:5

I was suddenly humbled.

Very humbled.

How many days have I wasted in my life fighting battles that don't even exist?

How many days have I wasted on worry?

How many days have I wasted on doubt?

How many days have I wasted on all of the "What ifs" that I could possibly think of?

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."(NIV) ~John 14:27

I realized, the only difference between "Sheldon" and me, is that I know better.

I have God's Word to read and be encouraged by each and every day. I have no excuses for wasting my days fighting battles that don't exist. Not one.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (NLT) ~2 Timothy 1:7

I also have to hand it to "Sheldon," because he does have an incredible work ethic. From sun up to sun down, he is working, which is more than I can say for most humans I know.

He works so hard, that now he's even decided to take up a second job. He has started knocking on our kitchen window as well. I guess I should say "crashing into our kitchen window." There is not a ledge for him to sit on at the kitchen window, so he just crashes into it.

Over and over.

Every. Single. Day.

As I sit typing these words, he is crashing into the window. Bless his heart.

Now every time I hear "Sheldon" knocking on or crashing into the windows, or even if I see a cardinal just flying outside, I'm reminded to not borrow trouble and to not create problems, where problems do not exist.

I hope after reading this, that each time you see a red cardinal, that you will also be reminded to not have a spirit of fear and to simply trust the Lord with your life.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" ~Matthew 6:25-27

That being said, if any of the ten of you reading this blog post have windows that would benefit from a bird knocking on them all day long every single day, I know of a cardinal in Crazyville that has lost his current position and is looking for a new place to work. ;)

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~John Watson

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

~ Taming The Tongue ~

My family and I recently watched the movie "The King's Speech." If you're not familiar with the movie, the IMDb website describes "The King's Speech" this way: "Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war."

It was a wonderful movie, as truth usually is much better than fiction. I was struck by the relationship that the King had with his speech therapist. As I've shared before, true friends in this life are a very rare blessing.

But that's not what I want to talk about today.

The part of the King's story that stood out the most to me was his ability to say curse words without any hesitance, but regular words took so much more of his concentration and effort. Human nature is so interesting. As a general rule we can quickly accuse someone of a wrong doing with an entire list of inappropriate words, but it's much harder for us when we've wronged someone else to say these two simple words, "I'm sorry."

The King had a stammer that he struggled with for most of his life. He struggled to say the most basic of words and phrases. But when his speech therapist gave him curse words to say.....they would just roll off of his tongue.

Many years ago, Shannon and I stepped in to be substitute teachers for our Sunday school class. The lesson we were given to do was on "Taming the Tongue" from the book of James.

Shannon and I were both very nervous about taking the lesson on, but we agreed to do it anyway. We put our heads together and prayed.

Here are the verses from James that we were going to cover.

James 3:1-12

Taming the Tongue

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

The Saturday evening before the class, we went for a walk together to discuss the lesson for Sunday school, and then we had to stop in at Walmart to pick up a few things. In order to speed up the shopping, Shannon went and picked up a few items around the store, and I decided to pick out all of the produce that we needed.

While trying to sort through some bags of grapes to determine what was seedless and what was not, I heard a young man ask over my shoulder, "Are these grapes seedless?" (Now he had quite a stammer, so it took him a bit to get all of those words out.) I patiently let him finish his question, then answered, "Yes, they are. I was having trouble figuring that out myself." Then I smiled at him.

He looked at me and smiled, then proceeded with so much struggle to try and say something else to me. He was trying so hard, but he could not get the words out. He even started growling like a bear. I wasn't sure what to make of all of that noise. (It made me think of Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter" saying to Doolittle, "Stop makin' that noise, Doo! You sound like an old bear growling." But I digress.) I did not want to be rude, but Shannon was motioning for me to come on, as he was done with his part of the shopping, so I asked, "Are you trying to say, 'Thank you?'" To which he replied with a huge sigh of relief, "Yes!"

I told him that it was no problem, and I was happy to help. He then starts trying to say something else to me all the while growling like a bear. I realized that most people would probably be taken aback by all of that growling and never give him the time of day, so I wanted to let him say what he was obviously desperate to say.

He said (with still much struggle) that several years earlier he had been in a motorcycle accident that left him with brain damage. He said he struggles being able to speak. He can curse very easily, but normal words and phrases are much more difficult for him to get out.

He went on to tell me that he had been "caned" since his accident. I said, "Excuse me?" So he explained. He said that one day while shopping, he got so frustrated trying to ask for help, that he started spewing curse words....At about that same time an older woman with a cane walked up and hit him with it. She told him that curse words of that kind were uncalled for, and that he should work on saying nicer things.

He said it taught him a lesson, so now he tries very hard to stop cursing so much, especially when other people are around. Instead of cursing, he growls. I laughed with him as I said, "Well, I totally understand. I don't have a brain injury, and sometimes it is a struggle for me too. Oh, who am I kidding? It's a struggle for me a lot of the time. Maybe I should start growling too.";)

As we wrapped up our conversation, he tried again (with much struggle) to thank me for taking the time to listen to him. Shannon walked over to me as the man walked off and asked, "So, who's the new boyfriend? Ya'll sure did talk a long time." ;)

I told him about the conversation, and like me, he was so tickled at how God works. We had just been on a walk together, wondering what on earth we were going to use as examples of "Taming the Tongue" in class Sunday morning, and there, over the mixed up bags of grapes, God placed that example right in our path.

As I was talking to Shannon about the man and his struggle, it still struck me how even with brain damage, it was easier for him to spew curse words than to say the two simple words, "Thank you." But at that same token, even with brain damage, he still made an incredible effort each day to growl instead of curse when he was frustrated. That really humbled me, because I have NO excuse.

Even though curse words come more easily for me than even I care to admit, other hateful words have not always come as easily (until I turned 40 that is, but I'll talk about that in a different post). I know there have been times in my life that I have LONGED to say something to someone that has hurt me. I have thought to myself, "If only I could say this or that to a particular person, I would feel so much better!!" But the truth is, even if that person deserves every hurtful word that I could think of to say to will never make me feel better to hurt them with my words. In fact, the times that I have been able to say the very "ugly" thing I wanted to say, it only made me feel worse.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie "You've Got Mail" tells exactly what I'm trying to say. The scene is an email exchange between Joe and Kathleen.

Here are their words.

Joe: Do you ever feel you become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's Box of all the secret hateful parts --your arrogance, your spite, your condescension -- has sprung open. Someone provokes you, and instead of just smiling and moving on, you zing them. Hello, it's Mr. Nasty. I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Kathleen replies: I know what you mean and I'm completely jealous. What happens to me when I'm provoked is that I get tongue-tied. My mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to think of what I should have said.

To which Joe responds: Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could pass all my zingers to you and then I would never behave badly and you could behave badly all the time and we'd both be happy? On the other hand, I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.

Remorse inevitably follows...Let those words sink in.

"By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach." ~Winston Churchill

It's interesting to me how we work on our physical bodies to make our muscles stronger, but the muscle in our body that needs the most attention, we let atrophy....which is something for us all to ponder.

"The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body; use yours to lift someone up today." ~Terri Ann Armstrong

If you have not seen "The King's Speech," here is the movie trailer to watch. If you watch the movie, keep your own tongue in mind as you watch the King struggle to tame his. If you're like me, you may see yourself in his struggle.

"Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." ~Robert Frost

God Bless,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soaring Gas Prices Lead To Desperation

(I have had so much going on lately, that I haven't had time to complete a new blog post, however, I've managed to find plenty of time to complain think about how much it costs just to live in today's times. I've especially complained thought about the price of gas.

Last night as I was complaining thinking, I remembered an old post that I did about that very subject. Ironically enough, it is still very true today.

Even though the price of gas is not a funny subject at all, I hope this post will still make you smile.)

I don't know about your family, but the price of gasoline is putting a real strain on my family.

We live about twenty minutes "from town" so to speak, so just driving to the store uses up quite a bit of gas.

We thought about making our own moonshine fuel, but that is an awful lot of trouble. (Not to mention illegal dangerous.)

So instead of risking the law being on our tails being blown to bits, we thought of some different methods of gasoline conservation.

For example, I try to run my errands all at the same time so that I do not have to make unnecessary trips in to town.

We split the driving with other parents when our boys go to various activities at church or to spend the night with friends.

I've even started ordering some things we need over the Internet, because it is cheaper to pay the shipping and handling costs than it is to pay for the gas to drive to the nearest stores.

Shannon bought a car that gets right at thirty-two miles to the gallon to help keep our gas costs down, but we still spend a fortune in gasoline every month.

It's starting to look like Shannon and I are going to have to get our boys to help us get around.

Pretty soon we might have to park the cars and dust off the bicycles and the roller blades.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

(Of course, I am only kidding. Shannon and I would definitely never make our children pull us into town this way. We don't even have any roller blades yet.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bible Study About Joanna

This weekend, I opened up my email, only to discover this wonderful message. It was by a woman that had left a comment on my blog post about Joanna that I had written in July of 2008.

"Hi Amy! Your blog post on Joanna is still inspiring others in 2011! I found it searching about Joanna to teach a girls' Bible study in my home in India. The girls are all from Hindu or Sikh background. Later in the week I teach their moms the same lesson but with different applications.Thank you!"

I was so touched by her kind and encouraging words.
I have been feeling like I'm supposed to share more of these devotional posts on here, and that email was truly confirmation for me. So, I will be doing more in the near future. (Click here to see the Women of the Bible that I've shared so far.)

Until then, I wanted to share the post about Joanna again. I hope that it will encourage you in your own walk of faith.

Thank you to all of you that have encouraged me through this blogging journey; you all mean the world to me.

God Bless,


The woman that I read about in my devotional study book this week is Joanna.

This study is the first time that I have ever heard of Joanna. There is not much said about her in Scripture, but God does not have to use very many words to say so much, amen?

We are introduced to Joanna in the book of Luke.

Luke 8:1-3
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Being the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household, would have made Joanna a woman of high rank in Herod's court.

These verses tell us that Jesus healed Joanna, but we don't know "what" she experienced healing from, but her response to Jesus' healing touch was huge and personal. She gave herself to Jesus and His ministry. She, like the other women, followed Jesus wherever He went, and she supported him and his ministry from her own means.

The devotional that I am reading points out that Herod himself may have known about Joanna's personal story of healing at the hands of Jesus.

As with all of the other women that I have learned about in my devotional, there is always a certain part of each story that sticks out in my mind. This story is no exception.

Before I tell you what struck me the most, let me share the verses from God's Word that tells a little more about Joanna and the other faithful women that were with her.

Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

What strikes me so much about the story of Joanna is her faith and the faith of the ladies that she was with.
Think about it for a minute.......These ladies are telling the Eleven and some others what the angels had just told them to be true of Jesus and what had happened to His body, but the men did not believe them.

The Eleven did not believe them.

The Eleven who had been with Jesus all throughout His ministry.

The Eleven that knew Him personally.

The Eleven that loved Him.

Are the same Eleven men that thought that these women spoke words of nonsense.

But these ladies, including Joanna, spoke boldly in faith to the Eleven. They knew what they had seen with their own eyes, and they knew what they had heard with their own ears. They knew the peace that they felt in their hearts.

That is what strikes me the most of the story of Joanna; her complete confidence in Jesus.
Being married to the manager of Herod's household, Joanna was a woman very familiar with power. But she knew that the power she had been surrounded by in her wealthy lifestyle in Herod's court was nothing like the power she had found in Jesus.

It did not matter to her if others thought that she was just an hysterical, grieving woman, because she knew what the truth was. She knew Who the Truth was.

God honored her faithfulness by letting her be one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection.

So many times in our own lives and walk with the Lord, others don't believe us when we tell them something wonderful that God has done in our lives. If you go so far as to tell someone that God has promised you a miracle in any given situation, most times you will be looked at as someone speaking "nonsense."

But thankfully, God has given us the testimony of Joanna and her faithful friends for encouragement in our own walks of faith. What those faithful women told the Eleven about Jesus was one hundred percent true. The disbelief of the Eleven did not change a thing; these women knew the truth.

When God speaks a word into our hearts, we need to walk with that same faith. Others may not believe you, but that's okay, because you know what God spoke to your heart.

I have been confronted by someone in my past who tried to argue with me about this very topic. I shared with her a promise that God had made to me, and she told me very matter of fact that I was completely mistaken. She said that God would not promise me that because of decisions that Shannon and I had made in our past. I looked at her and said, "You can think what you want, and that is okay. The thing is, God told me about this promise, not you." She was quite speechless after that. And I will humbly tell you that was the first time in my life that I did not back down, and I did not let the devil use her negative comments to confuse me or make me question what I knew God had told me.

And several months later, God honored my faithfulness of believing His Word over the negative words of another. That same girl called me and apologized, because God had shown her that what He told me was completely possible, and that it lined up with His Word. She said that she realized just because God wasn't speaking to her in that same way, didn't mean that He wasn't speaking to me.

Our relationship with God is a personal one. So no other person can know (without your sharing) what God says to you. That is between you and God.

God speaks to each and every one of us differently.

Only Moses stood in front of the burning bush.

Only Jonah sat in the belly of a whale.

Only Daniel sat in the lion's den.

Only Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood in the fire.

God speaks to us uniquely,and works through us all uniquely, because we are all unique. Not one of us are the same, nor will our walks with Him be the same.

So listen for God's Voice in your own life.

Look for His activity all around you.

Open your Bible and read it to see if what you are seeing and hearing lines up with the Word of God.

He will speak to you. You just need to open your heart, listen, and believe!

The devotional book points out how Joanna and the other women went to the tomb grieving, but left the tomb rejoicing.

Scripture tells us that we will experience that same type of joy. It may not come in "our" timing, but our joy will come in God's timing.

And it is a promise.

His timing is perfect.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

The devotional ends with a beautiful prayer that I will share with you.

"Lord, you laugh at the rulers and powers of this world who oppose you. Help me to realize that no evil, regardless of how terrible or prolonged it might be, can ever stand against you. Give me a greater sense of your resurrection power and majesty."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

~ Make A Difference~

Since our family rescued Daisy Dooley (you can click here to read that story if you missed it), we have been made keenly aware of the pet population crisis in this country.

We found Daisy when we saw her picture that a friend of ours had posted on Facebook from Pet Pardons.

Pet Pardons is a Facebook App. It is where "you can post a pet who is on death row (or in a no-kill shelter) to try & save them, or go to a pet's profile & click "Advocate" to share the pet on your wall & hopefully find the help they need. The more Advocates a pet has, the better chance they have of being seen by someone who can save them."

I made a Facebook page for Daisy Dooley (click here to see it) and now along with thousands of others, I work advocating for the animals found on the Pet Pardons site located here on Facebook.

Here's a link to a great article about Pet Pardons. Since Chris Hoar and Ashley Owen Hill launched Pet Pardons on December 24, 2010, over 3,000 pets have been saved through Pet Pardons!!!

People taking the time to ADVOCATE using Pet Pardons LITERALLY saved Daisy's life.

All of the sweet babies in shelters across the country deserve to know what it's like to be wanted and loved. They should know what it feels like to be part of a family.

Advocating is easy to do. It takes only minutes of your time. And it saves lives. Lives of boys and girls just like Daisy's.

There are literally MILLIONS of people on Facebook every single day. If each person only shared one animal, imagine how many pets would be seen & saved every single day.

I now work each day with Daisy Dooley's friends to help save more lives.

That's my mission. I can't do everything. But I can do this thing. Sharing their profiles and pictures from Pet Pardons is giving so many of these animals a chance at life and love.

They deserve that chance.

My family and I now hope for nothing more than to inspire others to want to make a difference in the lives of these boys & girls that are in shelters all across our country.

Please watch and share.

God bless.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~Anne Frank

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Her Colors Are "Pink" And "Pink"

If you've read this blog before, then chances are you have already met my sweet friend Melissa. I shared the story of how Melissa and I met in this post here.

We also went on a trip to the Mediterranean together. If you'd like to see all 87 the posts of that trip, click here. (And if you're interested in the nonsense that happened on that trip, I will have more posts about it coming sometime in the near future.)

Today, I want to tell the ten of you (well really nine of you, because Melissa already knows) that Melissa is getting married this Saturday night. On June 11, 20011, she will be marrying Patrick, the man of her dreams. Here is a picture of the happy couple.

Aren't they darling together?

Patrick "is from a good old Southern family with good old Southern values. You either shoot it, stuff it, or marry it."

They are getting married in the Northwest Passage area of the Memphis Zoo. For those of you that don't live near here, this is a gorgeous area of the Memphis Zoo where the Polar Bears and seals live. Click here to see more about the location.

If you've ever been around Melissa and me in a public setting (bless your hearts), then you've undoubtedly heard us quoting from Steel Magnolias, since it is one of our all time favorite movies to quote (hence the title of this blog post).

With her wedding coming up this weekend, our quoting of Steel Magnolias has been on the rise, much to my family's dismay, I'm sure. "How pretentious is this weddin' gonna get, I ask you?"

Even though "I'm not as sweet as I used to be," I'm really looking forward to the wedding and the reception. "It's going to be a great party." The Northwest Passage will "look like it's been hosed down with Pepto Bismol."

I am so honored to be included in Melissa and Patrick's wedding.

However, I do have 50 or so a few concerns.

The first thing that I'm concerned about is the weather. This week in Crazyville we have been experiencing record breaking high temperatures. The kind that make you sweat. Profusely.

Add that to my second concern...I have to walk in heels. "In a good shoe, I wear a size six, but a seven feels so good, I buy a size eight." And in these heels, I will have to walk down stone steps. In front of people. While sweating from the heat (see the above mentioned concern).

Melissa is so thoughtful that way.

Could ya'll pray?

Not that I'm complaining about this, mind you, I'm just concerned is all. "Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!"

As we all know, "There is no such thing as natural beauty." Which is the thing that concerns me the most about being in this wedding.

If you've read my blog before, then you probably already know that when it comes to dressing up, applying make up, and doing my own hair....left to my own devices.....well, let's just say....the result I achieve is not always a desirable one.

"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."

"Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face."

It's going to take a village.

"But the bridesmaids' dresses, they are really beautiful." I just have that fear of people seeing me in my dress and saying, "Looks like two pigs fightin' under a blanket."

Could ya'll pray?

Melissa, "you know I love ya more than my luggage."

(P.S. If you're a true Steel Magnolias "Geek" like Melissa and me, leave a comment with your favorite quote.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Heartbreak of Poison Ivy

Well, as I promised you all in my first post back (click here if you missed it), I am now going to tell all ten of you about the horrible, miserable case of poison ivy that I had to deal with this spring.

Edith Bunker once said (referring to another illness), "Oh, my, I hope it ain't as bad as the heartbreak of psoriasis." I don't know about that, but this case of poison ivy was pretty heartbreaking to me.

As the ten of you probably already know, I'm not one to complain much about things, but this experience caused me to complain every single day for a month a few times on Facebook, much to the dismay of my tens of friends on there, I'm sure.

It also led me to threaten have serious questions regarding my personal health care professionals. I felt like Joanna Stayton/Annie Proffitt in the movie Overboard saying, "Listen to me, medical people. ... I don't know who I am, but I'm sure I have a lawyer."

But I digress.

I'll just share the story and the pictures with you now, so you can feel extremely sorry for me see for yourself.

Shannon and I worked on cleaning up our land one weekend at the beginning of spring, and we both managed to get poison ivy all over us. NOT on purpose obviously, but nevertheless.....

However, as is par for the course in my life, I managed to get a much more serious case than Shannon did. We were both treated for the poison ivy on the same day, but my poison ivy had a mind of its very own.

A dirty, twisted mind.

I had poison ivy all over my body (please don't worry, I'm only going to show you the pictures of my arm), but it was REALLY HORRIBLE on my left arm. I noticed two days into this miserable case of poison ivy that something on my arm was different than the other parts of my body.

It looked like this....

Then the next day it looked like this....

As the days wore on, it continued to get worse.

I took pictures of it each day, so that I could text them to my family and friends. I wanted them to share in my misery know how I was doing.

By now, I'm sure you've all had enough.

I'll share this last one with you.....This was many, many, many days into the poison ivy misery that I experienced.

This is also after 2 Depo Medrol shots, 1 1/2 Medrol Dose Paks, 3 antibiotics (because the first one didn't work, & I had an allergic reaction to the 2nd one...but that is for another post), & 2 different strengths of steroids.

After so long on steroids, I am now in the process of trying to grow a beard, and my voice is deeper.

But I'm not bitter.

The poison ivy that was all over my body was your regular run of the mill misery. The poison ivy that was on my left arm, however, was cellulitis. Which as you have just seen...isn't pretty.

I'm better now. I just have what appears to be a shadow of it left behind on my arm. If you weren't looking for it, chances are, you'd never notice it. That, of course, will never happen, because if I see you, I will show it to you. ;)

Now, you may think I'm telling you all of this just to get your sympathy, but that's very not true. I'm telling you this for YOUR benefit. The next time you're at a party, and you find yourself talking to that person at the party that always has to OUTDO every single story they hear (you know the person I'm talking about), you can now tell them this story. You can tell them about the lady you know that had to suffer through "The Heartbreak of Poison Ivy." And not just any poison ivy, but the WORSE CASE OF POISON IVY EVER RECORDED.

There's no need to thank me. The enjoyment you will get from being able to tell my poison ivy saga to others and always outdo those "competitive" story tellers at parties is thanks enough.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Google Search Words & Phrases

Even though I took an over 2 year hiatus from writing on this blog, every day people are still led here from various entries of Google search words & phrases. Several years ago, I did a couple of posts about the different Google search words and phrases that people had typed in only to be led to my blog. (You can click here & here to see those posts.)

The letters in bold are the exact words that the people entered in a Google search. You can click on each of the phrases below to see the exact post of mine that their search words led to. I'm willing to bet that the majority of people that were led here did not find the information that they were looking for. Most of the time. ;)

"why are frogs in my toilet?"

(That really IS a great question for the plumber in my life; isn't it?)

"frog in the toilet"

"how to stop frogs from coming into toilet"

(These are really great questions, and ones I wanted answers to myself at one time in my life.)

"the woman with the issue of blood devotional"

(I'm sensing a theme here, and trying not to take it personally.)

"elephant ear wash"

(Don't even ask. My life is a series of one embarrassing situation after another.)

"jennifer anistons feet" (Not once, but 6 times?)

"aniston feet" (7 times. 7!?)

"jennifer aniston feet" (Are you ready for this? This was entered 78 times!! 78!)

(This is the only picture of feet on my blog. I shared with the ten of you that used to read this blog my personal battle of not being able to paint my toenails without getting the polish all over my toes. I had no idea that 78 strangers would also be staring at my feet.)

What's weird too, is I don't even like feet that are attached to grown ups. At all. Not even the beautiful Jennifer Aniston's feet. I'm sure as you're reading this 45 more people are landing on this blog with their desire to know more about her feet. I could see Googling about her hair, but her feet? Makes you wonder about people. Not judging, mind you, just find it interesting. Very interesting.

"cindy crawford" (And they got led to my blog? Must have been disappointing. Bless their hearts.)

Now last, but certainly not least, my new personal favorite:

"house wife peeing in the bathroom while plumbing"

(Thankfully, I don't have a picture to share with you about this entry. You're welcome.)

If this is the last time you ever want to read my blog, I completely understand.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Daisy Dooley's Rescue Story

Since I've been away for over 2 years *gulp*, it's hard to figure out where to begin, but I've decided to begin with the most important thing that has happened in my life recently. (It's not the miserable poison ivy that I told you about in my first new post, but don't worry, I will get to that.) ;)
This is the story of how Daisy Dooley came into our lives. I originally wrote this for a lady that is putting together a book on personal stories of animal rescue, but since my story was longer than she could use, I decided to just publish it on Facebook instead. She offered to edit it, but I feel like if I took anything out, it took away too much meaning. So, now I'm going to share it here with you. Please read it & share it with your friends. We hope that our story will inspire others to make a difference in the lives of shelter pets all across this country. Thanks so much. ~Amy

It's funny how God works in our lives. While we see seemingly insignificant little "pieces" of our lives as they happen, He sees the "full picture."

The story of how Daisy Dooley came into our lives is very much like that.

Pieces of our lives that fit together to form a beautiful picture designed by God.

This is our story.

Just to give you a little background (at the risk of putting you to sleep), I love daisies. Always have. They are my favorite flower. I guess because they just seem so happy.

My name is Amy, and I'm married to Shannon. For many years, as a term of endearment, I have called Shannon "Mr. Dooley." The name Mr. Dooley comes from a funny scene in one of my all time favorite movies "Barefoot in the Park." But I digress.

I love to read, and I'm a sucker for alliteration. One day last year, I was browsing through the bookstore and came across a title that made me laugh out loud. The book was called "Daisy Dooley Does Divorce" by Anna Pasternak. Well, after what I've just shared with you, you can understand that I had to purchase the book immediately.

I, of course, didn't read it immediately. I actually didn't open it until many months later. At about the same time that I started to read the book, I told my friend Melissa about it, and the title made her laugh out loud as well. She got so tickled. She said, "Amy, if you ever get another dog, you HAVE to name her Daisy Dooley." I laughed at that thought as well. It would be the perfect name. I told Shannon what she had said, and he thought it was funny...and a perfect name too.

But see, at this time in our lives, getting another dog was not something we had ever even discussed. We were still grieving the loss of our sweet American Staffordshire Terrier named Allie Girl. We lost Allie about a year and a half before. She was our baby. Allie was 7 1/2 years old when she died from heart & kidney failure. The pain of losing her was still so great, that we didn't know if we'd ever be able to love like that again.

But God knew something we didn't. Little did we know that He was already busy putting the "pieces" of a beautiful puzzle into place for us.

I started to read the book that I mentioned to you on a Monday....the following Friday afternoon, I signed into Facebook just like I do 456 times every single day. This day, however, would prove to be quite different. As I logged on that particular day, the first thing I saw in my Facebook feed was a picture of this gorgeous dog.......named Daisy. My friend Judy Jacobs had posted the picture of Daisy from a new Facebook App called Pet Pardons. Pet Pardons is an app designed to promote animals on death row at shelters, or in no-kill shelters all over the country, and to help find them a forever home.

Above Daisy's picture were the words "Please help save Daisy the Dog." See, Daisy was scheduled to be killed Monday, January 24, 2011, but as I'm looking at her picture it is Friday around 4:00pm (closing time for the shelter) January 21, 2011.

I don't know how to explain to you the feeling that I had in the pit of my stomach when I saw Daisy's face. She reminded me SO much of our sweet Allie. And something inside of me said, "Call right now about that dog!" Shannon was not even home from work yet, and calling about getting a dog was not something I would normally ever do without speaking to him first. But again.....something said, "Call right now about that dog!"

So, I did.

A lady by the name of Ashley Owen Hill had posted Daisy on the Pet Pardons site, so she was the person that I had to call. I called and left a message with her just saying that I wanted to ask about Daisy.

I had so many butterflies running around in my stomach. I didn't know what to make of any of it, because I didn't even want another dog. My heart was still so broken over losing our precious Allie. But something inside of me kept saying...."She is yours."

And in my heart, I already knew that.

I already wanted her.

I already loved her.

As I sat waiting for Ashley to return my call and for Shannon to get home from work, I told our youngest son Daniel about the phone call I had just made, then, I showed him Daisy's picture. He took one look at her and said, "Momma, you have to call Ashley back again. Make sure she gets your message."

At about that same time, Shannon arrived home. He brought the mail in with him...there was a package. He set in on the counter, as I approached him. I looked at him and said, "I have to show you something and tell you what I've done." I proceeded to show him Daisy's picture and told him that I had called and left a message with Ashley.

He was just as shocked as me. And a bit overwhelmed.

But something inside him was telling him as well...."She is yours."

And in his heart, he already knew that.

He already wanted her.

He already loved her.

Then Ashley called. Basically, I shared with Ashley everything that I just shared with you. She told me that Daisy was a very sweet and friendly girl that desperately needed help. She was scheduled to be killed on Monday if Ashley could not find a home for her. I didn't find out until later, but Ashley told me that the area of Mississippi that she's in cannot allow any Pit bull or Pit bull Mixes to be adopted. They are always put to sleep, unless they are pulled by a Rescuer. The shelter does that in order to keep the dog from being adopted by Dog Fighters that would use the helpless babies as bait dogs. They figure, and rightly so, it is more humane to put the dogs to sleep, than to risk them being tortured by cruel, violent people.

Ashley and I continued to talk for a while. She ended the conversation by telling us to pray about the decision and to call her back the next day.

Shannon and I were just so overwhelmed with mixed emotions. Both of us "knowing" what we were "supposed" to do, but still so unsure about all of it.

As we were talking about adopting Daisy, I walked over to the counter to open up the package that Shannon had brought in from the mail box. Shannon said, "It's just so weird to agree to adopt a dog that we've never even seen in person." At that moment, I had opened the package. Inside the envelope was a plaque that my sweet friend Valerie had sent me. And on the plaque were these words from Hebrews 11:1...."Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Shannon and I looked at each other and just laughed out loud. What more was there to say. That was our answer.

God has an amazing sense of humor that way. His timing is impeccable.

So, needless to say, the next day we called Ashley and told her that we were definitely adopting Daisy.

Ashley pulled Daisy from the rescue that Monday and took her to the vet to have her checked out and spayed. She found out that Daisy tested "low" positive for heartworms. Although that was devastating to hear, we still knew she was "ours."

We spoke with Ashley several times that week. All of this was so new to us and we had so many questions for her.

One of the times we spoke, I just had to ask this one question that I kept thinking of over and over. I said to Ashley, "If you don't mind me asking, who named Daisy?" She replied, "I did. I can't explain why. I just looked at her and knew her name was Daisy." It was so amazing to me to realize God's hand in all of this. I always thought if we did ever get another dog, we would pick her out and name her Daisy ourselves, but God knew different. He picked our Daisy and named her for us. Maybe just to reassure us that, "Yes, SHE is your girl."

I also told Ashley that I looked forward to our spring daisies blooming in the front yard, so that I could take a picture of our Daisy in them.

We arranged to pick Daisy up the following Saturday. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive to get her, so the entire way there, we were just so excited.

When we finally saw her with our own eyes, we were overjoyed! She was so precious and so very happy to meet us. It was as if she had always been ours. There was not one moment of "adjustment" with her. I don't know how to explain it, but she was "at home" the minute she was with us. It was overwhelming and wonderful.

I sat in the back seat with her all the way home, and I could not take my eyes off of her. I was overcome with emotions. It's so hard to imagine that this precious girl just opened her heart to us with no hesitation. She had no reason to trust us....two complete strangers to her....but she did. With abandon.

We don't know really anything about her past....but based on what we could see and would soon find out...she had obviously been used as a breeder dog. And once she was no longer "useful," to her previous owners, she was dumped. Left alone to fend for herself...with a heart FULL of heartworms.

One week after bringing Daisy home, we almost lost her. She was coughing up blood, so I took her to the vet. He did an Xray of her heart and lungs. He called me in the exam room to look at the films, and even I could see it was very bad news. She had a case of heartworms much worse than the original rescue vet had diagnosed. Her heart was completely deformed from the amount of worms inside her. She had lost 25% of her lung capacity as well. She was very, very sick.

I asked the doctor what could we do. What should we do. He was perplexed, because this happy, sweet, healthy looking baby, that he could see with his own eyes in his office, did not match the Xrays that he was looking at. He said to let him keep her for a week. She would be on complete cage rest, and he would keep a close watch on her.

Having to leave Daisy for that week at the vet was one of the hardest, longest weeks of my life. I prayed for her constantly and could not stop crying. I ached for this precious girl that had never known the love of a family before and now that she had a family to love.....she was so close to losing her life. I clung to the verse on that plaque that my friend Valerie sent me. Hebrews 11:1... . "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I had to trust that God had brought this baby into our lives for a reason, and He was going to let her live and know what it was like to be loved.

And He did.

One week later, she came home. She was still very sick, but so full of love and life. You could tell she was just so happy to finally have a home. I sat by her side constantly for the next two weeks, because she had to have complete rest in order to survive the heartworm treatment. As I would hold her and just cry, she would lick my tears. She, the little girl that had been through such a horrific ordeal, was comforting me. This little girl had never been shown love before in her life.....but she so desperately longed to share love with us.

Loving Daisy has changed ways that we didn't even know we needed to change.

After Daisy was through the worst part of her illness, I was able to take some time to think about what we could do as a family to help other boys and girls just like Daisy.

So, we started a Facebook page for Daisy. Without Ashley Owen Hill and the Pet Pardons Facebook App, we would have never known about Daisy, so now we work every day to spread the word about Pet Pardons. We want to spread awareness about the needs of shelter pets all over the country, and we also wanted to show people that Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes make such loving pets. Society and the media have made them all out to be vicious dogs, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Pet Pardons creators Chris Hoar and Ashley Owen Hill and all of the people who use the Pet Pardons App work tirelessly every single day to save the lives of as many pets as they can. They also promote educating the public about the importance of having pets spayed and neutered, always adopting animals, and information on all kinds of preventive vet care. They have an amazing goal: To End ALL Euthanasia in American Shelters by January 1, 2015. My family and I want to work every day to help them meet that goal. (You can click here to go to Ashley's Lucky Dog Rescue Blog and read all about the work that she is doing.)

That's our rescue story. So many seemingly insignificant little" pieces" of our lives, that once all put together, formed one of the most significant "pictures" that God has ever created for our family.

God made my wish come true for a picture of our special Daisy sitting among the spring daisies too. That was a very special day for see her sweet happy face surrounded by the happiest flowers on earth. I will never forget it.

People say we did a good thing by rescuing Daisy Dooley, because we saved her life.

Truth is, she saved ours.