Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

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Lindsey the Amazing Rescued Dog

September 14, 2013

Today we buried our sweet Lindsey girl.

This has been a rough, leaky week, as our furry family member declined rapidly. She took her last breaths Friday morning and we are comforted to know she’s no longer in pain.

Her life was hard. Who knows what abuse she endured before she was rescued? We know she ran away from her previous owners and was found with a rope tied around her neck. Her hocks were worn and bloody (indicative of being tied up on a short leash, likely on concrete) and she exhibited signs of being beat about the head. Her teeth were worn or broken, likely from trying to chew wood or chain. When we got her from Furry Friends Rescue at what they thought was about seven years old, she’d been with wonderful foster parents for about six months. They told us what a sweetheart she was, and they were right. This is her picture from Furry Friends’ Web site that captured my heart the moment I saw her:

Lindsey immediately after being rescued

Lindsey, a short time after being rescued.

We brought her home on a bright sunny, summer day, with her Aunt Diane in the back seat comforting her during the transition. Once home we discovered she didn’t know “normal dog things.” She didn’t know how to climb stairs, wouldn’t walk on hard indoor surfaces, and didn’t know how to play. It took a few days, but she learned the stairs with some coaxing.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Giving it a try.

Giving it a try.

Her first success without coaxing.

Her first success without coaxing.

Ours is likely the first back yard she’d ever been free to roam. In little time she discovered squirrels that she chased and barked at, tunneling under the deck after other critters, and climbing in my garden.

Running free and safe.

Running free and safe.

She loved the squirrels.

She loved the squirrels.

AND my garden. :-)

AND my garden. 🙂

We buried our sweet girl today deep under the same spot in my garden she used to love to dig. The alstromeria, from my father-in-love’s garden, will remind me of her daily.

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“Rest in Peace.”

Lindsey turned out to be THE BEST little road trip dog. She loved long road trips up to my mom’s in Washington, a 10-12 hour drive. Then when we got to mom’s she settled in like it was her second home. She loved the back yard with all its space and new critter smells.

Chillin' on I-5.

Chillin’ on I-5.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

And I'm going to sit here until I discover what it is!

And I’m going to sit here until I discover what it is!

She was also an amazing companion. When I had major surgery a couple of years ago I slept downstairs and walked slowly and with pain for the first several days. Lindsey-girl slept right at my feet and if I got up, she would slowly walk right beside me. She never left my side. You just knew she knew I hurt. Until she got too weak to climb stairs she was my constant shadow. Then this week, when she was the invalid, I slept downstairs and helped her get up and walk, or just caressed her when she was beyond rising.

Always watching out for me.

Always watching out for me.

And I watched out for her.

And I watched out for her.

Good friends of Lindsey visited often this past week, taking time to share their love with her one last time and say goodbye. My besties brought flowers that continue to brighten my day and remind me that good friends share the sad times as well as the good times. Dozens of friends have left the kindest messages on Facebook. The commonness of loving and losing canine companions is evident in the heartfelt sincerity of their words.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

More flowers today, from Lindsey's second mom.

More flowers today from Lindsey’s second mom.

Now the house is quiet and neat. My strong husband quietly gathered her beds, bowls, collars, and blankets while we waited for the mobile vet to arrive. The presence of these things would surely add to my grief, yet their absence is still new and strange.

Lindsey's favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Lindsey’s favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Dr. Marianna Juergens could not have been more compassionate when she arrived with her colleague. They sat with us and fading Lindsey, until we were ready. They were gentle, patient and kind. They were liberal with hugs afterward. After their departure, and my husband and I had a good cry, we prepared to carry on with the rest of the day. The doorbell rang and my sweet next-door neighbor was on the step to give more hugs. She’d seen the mobile vet leave and, a rescued dog lover herself, could empathize and wanted to share in the sorrow. Her kindness lifted some grief and I was comforted yet again.

We thought we’d have our four-legged friend for more than three years. We learned from our wonderful vet recently that she was likely at least 12 now, rather than 10. Still too young to die, but we are so grateful for the time we had. She was the sweetest, gentlest dog, literally changing “non-dog people” into those who wanted to find one just like her!  She leaves us and so many others with the best memories. I grieve for the pain she experienced for the first several years of her life, and the last few days of her life, but am SO glad we were able to redeem some of the “lost years” and make her final years on earth happy and filled with joyful experiences.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

She loved to give kisses.

She loved to give kisses.

She especially loved her "dad."

She especially loved her “dad.”

But he didn't much care for cats on her special blanket.

But she didn’t much care for cats on her special blanket.

Road trips were her favorite.

Road trips were her favorite.

She eventually learned to share with others.

She eventually learned to share with others.

I like to think that I’ll see her again. Regardless, it’ll be a very long time before these wonderful memories fade.

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, Lindsey!

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, sweet Lindsey girl!

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“Paying It Forward” and Passing It On

February 27, 2013

I would like for you to hear my friend, Samson.

Samson Nyongesa is a fine young leader in Nairobi. My husband and I first learned of him when he was much younger, through our dear friend Erna Grasz, founder and CEO of Asante Africa. Samson was the first person we sponsored to obtain an education that otherwise might not be possible.

It’s obvious that this bright young man not only excelled at his studies, he graduated and is becoming a leader in areas that count: He is passing it on.

pay-it-forward

There are many ways we can make a difference in this world. One way we think is very impacting is through education. Why?

“Education is vital to a thriving society. A society that is ignorant will become the breeding ground for violence and intolerance. But an educated society will be a breeding ground for tolerance and peace, justice and understanding, innovation and advancement, and positive, self-sustaining growth. It’s important to educate our children, no matter where they live, for they will grow to become responsible citizens of their society. Each child represents a future, the future of the community, of the country, and indeed the future of the whole world.”

There is a Proverb in God’s word that goes like this: “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Of course this is true. And when we use this knowledge to improve the lives of those around us, I think that makes the heart of God very glad. May knowledgeable people seek God for true life and their purpose in how to “pay it forward.”

God bless Samson and those like him.

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KONY 2012 (In case you haven’t read enough.)

March 13, 2012

I was going to post my thoughts on the Invisible Children Kony 2012 campaign, but after reading so many other insightful blogs on the topic, I have nothing to add. So instead, here are links to a few of those so you can form your own opinion (mine is at the end).

First, the record-breaking YouTube video (nearly 77 million views in about twice as many hours):

Up-to-the-minute news coverage from the UK’s The Guardian:  Kony 2012: What’s the Real Story?

A blog  (Paradox Uganda) by missionaries who are there: On Kony and Viruses.

A number of resources posted by Rachel Held Evans:  Some Resources on the Invisible Children Controversy as well as her post on RELEVANT magazine:  Is Kony 2012 Good or Bad?

My opinion, in brief:

  1. Shining a bright light on injustice and causing people to fight evil and protect the innocent is a good thing.
  2. We would do well to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves with regard to our response to a very complex and ongoing situation which is very unfamiliar to most Americans. Any approach should honor the very people who are the objective of the ‘rescue.’
  3. Evil is not one man, wickedness lurks in every heart. Jesus Christ is the only Changer of hearts.

My prayer is that God uses the movement, the controversy, and the conversation to bring justice to innocent people, people to saving grace, and most of all: glory to Himself.

Update — 3.16.12:

A couple of additional resources worth checking out:

Matt Papa’s response to Kony

Michele Perry asks what it really means to love our enemies

Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey answers some of the questions about Invisible Children that have been raised in the wake of KONY 2012’s viral success

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Families of the Fallen

December 9, 2011

I am sitting at the DFW airport (gate A33) watching a huge welcoming committee made of USO volunteers and others, clapping and cheering those coming off the flight at gate 34. There is someone dressed up as Rudolph and those welcoming the travelers are all wearing festive red and white shirts and hats.

I asked the gate agents here if they were greeting our military folks returning from overseas, and they said no, they were welcoming the families of fallen soldiers. They are shuttling them to a banquet celebration. I thought that was awfully cool. I wondered if that was the first time some of those little children had smiled and laughed in awhile. And it caused me to pray again for those families who are grieving for a lost spouse, parent, son or daughter, and those who still serve.

Just thought I’d share.

P.S. Moments after posting this, they announced more families coming into our gate so I joined in with the welcoming committee. While waiting I learned from an American Airlines employee next to me that American partners with other companies to provide more than just a banquet — this time they are going to Six Flags, Gilley’s and a couple of other places over the next few days. American pays for the airfare for 1700 people and coordinates the events!

I cheered with the rest as the Captain of the flight lead the procession of families off the jetway. Their expressions were priceless. Kudos to American Airlines! I hope all goes well with your restructure!

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A Little Like Penn State?

November 23, 2011

I just read an article today in an industry rag to which I subscribe. It was a little piece about an effort one major hotel chain has undertaken to train their staff to detect and report child sex-trafficking. The article bothered me on a couple of levels. (Of course the fact that an article on child sex-trafficking has to be written in the first place is disturbing in itself) but I caught two other things I think are way off:

First, the fact that the hotel chain apparently knew this had been going on, yet it took a court order to to something about it. Similarly, the article calls other hotel chains to act as well. Do we have to ASK companies to act against the trafficking of children for sex? Shame on us!

Second, apparently the training that will be provided to employees is less about detecting whether illegal sex trafficking is going on, but to encourage them to report it: “The staff at hotels and motels often has firsthand knowledge of such activities but may be reluctant or unsure of what to do about it.”  So let’s break this down—employees at a hotel KNOW there are children in their rooms, held against their will, for the sole purpose of illegal sex purchased by the sick and twisted. Yet they are unsure what to do about it?!?

Well I just don’t get that. If you see a crime, report the crime. If you are aware of active abuse under your nose DO SOMETHING! My goodness — Penn State, children repeatedly abused in hotel rooms, “it’s not my business”??? For decades we have killed thousands of babies before they make the six inches through the birth canal to make them “illegal” to kill — perhaps that’s the precursor and the hardening of the American heart to turning a blind eye to the abuse of children in locker rooms and hotel rooms (and the disregard of our aging citizens—another rant for another day)…

My heart aches and I wouldn’t blame God if He treated America like Sodom and Gomorrah. And if we don’t DO something that may be our fate.

If you feel so inclined to learn more about the horrors of the hundreds of thousands of children stolen for sex-trade and many other men and women caught in the evil of slavery, do some homework here:  International Justice Mission.


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Silly Green

September 6, 2011

I’ve bought into the “green” habit of bringing my own bags to the grocer and thereby avoid carrying home more plastic or paper bags. But this is silly: I can’t bring myself to bring in competitor’s bags. It’s like when you are traveling and you like Taco Bell and your husband like McDonald’s, so you find a lunch stop where they are across the street from each other, but then you eat in the car ’cause you feel silly bringing into one place the food from another.

So I have Safeway bags, WholeFoods bags, and Sprouts bags. If I lived closer to Trader Joe’s I’d probably have those, too. I should have just bought generic bags to use everywhere, so I won’t feel bad. I know, it’s silly stupid. And I have no idea why this bothers me.

Who wants to diagnose this phobia?  🙂

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Dance Your Shoes Off

April 13, 2011

Reposting a post…

Dance your shoes off.

I love it.