The Ghost of Greta

10 03 2018

Puppy Greta

In spite of a preponderance of evidence and testimony from trustworthy sources, I have always been a bit skeptical about the existence of ghosts. Angels? Yes. But ghosts? No longer a skeptic! I am now a believer…at least as far as pets go.

 

In 2010 and again in 2011, I posted a couple of stories about our dog, Greta but don’t think I posted anything following her death in 2012-it was too painful to write. She had been diagnosed with cancer and we had no choice but to put her down. As anyone with a pet, particularly a dog, will tell you, she was like one of the family and it was so sad when she died. It took a very long time for my wife and me to get over her passing.

 

When we first brought her home as a 10 week-old puppy, I made the mistake of putting her on the bed that first night rather than force her to sleep alone in her bed on the floor. She decided that’s where she belonged and so that’s where she slept every night…lying against my stomach. During the night, she would move from that spot to another and this five-pound, long-haired miniature diva…I mean dachshund, would wake me up while stepping on top of me or across my legs as she sought a more comfortable spot.

 

About six months ago, I was awakened by a feeling that was very reminiscent of Greta stepping over my legs as she had done on so many nights. I decided it was just my wife moving about and causing the covers to move. But then it happened again. And again. And again. Finally, about a month ago, I mentioned it to my wife. I think she may have been a little skeptical herself and I can’t say as I blame her.

 

This morning (Sunday) at around 4:15, my wife got up to go to the bathroom. I usually get up around 3:30 or 4:00 except on weekends when I’ll sleep in until around six. So, when she returned to bed at 4:30, I was very much awake. Almost immediately, she went back to sleep. As I lay there, I soon noticed the sensation of movement and pressure against my right thigh, much like it felt when Greta would be settling in to get comfortable. I turned to my wife to tell her Greta was back but was dissuaded by her snoring (my wife’s not Greta’s). I decided she didn’t need to know that badly. But I lay there and the movement stopped. I then reached down toward my thigh where I had “felt her moving” and “scratched the back of her head.”  Immediately, the sensation returned and lasted only a couple of seconds. A minute or two passed and I reached down and did it again. Again, the sensation returned for a second or two. So, I lay there as I began to form this post in my mind and after a couple of minutes without feeling anything, I rolled over to my other side. Almost immediately, I felt her walking across my legs and between my feet just as she had always done.

 

If you’re too young to remember The Twilight Zone, then I suggest you Google and watch an episode or two. The host of the show, Rod Serling, once said, “There is nothing in the dark that isn’t there when the lights are on.” Well, if that’s true then there’s a five-pound long-haired miniature dachshund living on my bed day and night because, she is certainly there in the dark.

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What’s Your Goliath?

10 02 2018

“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

 

David faced a giant. Goliath was a career warrior who had been training to fight since he was a child. He was nine feet tall with the strength of a bear. The tip alone, on the spear he carried, weighed 15 pounds. And, his bronze helmet probably weighed as much as the scrawny David. Now, he stepped out onto the battlefield to challenge the Israelites, but, no one would come out to fight him. They knew there was none among them who could defeat this leviathan.

 

Along comes David, a skinny shepherd boy, with enough faith in God to move a mountain. We read at I Samuel 17:38 that, as Goliath started out across the expanse between the armies, David ran out to meet him. He wasn’t timid. He didn’t walk out or amble out. He ran out, without hesitation and with unspeakable confidence, to remove the head of this enemy of his people. You see, David knew something that neither Goliath nor anyone else knew-he knew God was with him. David knew, just as Joshua knew at the battle of Jericho, the victory was already his. Joshua 6:2 says, “And the Lord said unto Joshua, ‘See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.’” The battle had been won even before it began. Such was the situation for David. His faith in God told him that God had is back, to put it into today’s vernacular, and he would be victorious thanks to the power of God.

 

Everyone has a Goliath in his or her life. Mounting debt. Health problems. An addiction. A tragedy.  A difficult boss or strained relation with a friend or family member. If you believe God is the promised Messiah and you have accepted Him as personal Savior, He will help you overcome that obstacle. No giant is bigger than God. Oh, we’ll still have rough spots. We’ll still have struggles; but, He sends His angels to watch over and protect us. The battle is already won thanks to the Cross. Isn’t it comforting to know that no matter how hard life gets, there will come a time when we will spend each perfect day in the presence of God for eternity.

 

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psalms 18:2

 





LET ME OUTTA HERE!

21 01 2018

 

Kids will be kids. http://www.cbc.ca

Last Wednesday morning it began to snow and the snow didn’t stop until it was nearly a foot deep. Or, as my good friend, Jim, would say, “axel deep to a Ferris wheel.” Then, true to form for the South, the next morning, the sun shined bright, the temperature rose to nearly sixty and everything began to melt. As you might imagine, after two days of unrelenting, copious melting, the ground is good and soggy.

 

So, today, Saturday, on my way to the store to do my weekly grocery shopping, I drove past a park and noticed there were a number of parents with their toddlers in the park. The little tykes were having a blast playing on the swings, sliding down the slides into the mud pool awaiting at the lower end, and doing what kids do in a park. I thought to myself, why would responsible parents bring their one, two and three-year olds to play in a park when the ground was so wet and muddy? Then (smack my forehead), like the floor when I fall, it hit me…these parents had been shut up in the house with these little hellions for three days and were at the end of their rope of tolerance. They were dying to get out of the house. Also, I’ll point out, this park was in one of the more “progressive” neighborhoods with “Resist” signs in the front yards of the older refurbished homes owned by young parents who believe spanking is a form of child abuse. Guess they figured they had better get out of the house before they snapped and betrayed their theory that little Aaron and Moonbeam should never experience spanking. Regardless of their parental theories, I can’t say as I blame them.

 





Boys: Precious Little Demons

2 07 2017

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of!”

 

Many people have tried, over the years, to explain the meaning of the opening lines of this nursery rhyme. After all, what the heck is a snip? Well, suffice it to say, without any attempt at detailed explanations, it simply refers to the rambunctious nature of the typical little boy. He’s always into something. If not climbing on top of the stove, he’s putting butter on the dog. If not filling his pockets with worms and rocks to take home, he’s flushing toys down the toilet. He’s positively lovable but far from sugar and spice.

 

Now, that said, let me introduce you to my grandson, Cody. Cody just turned two this week so, of course, he’s going through the terrible twos. No, he isn’t just going through the terrible twos; he got a jump on the terrible twos and has been practicing for 6 months now. I think it’s fair to say, he has perfected the terrible twos.

 

But, Cody is the quintessential little boy. He is the kind of child whom you cannot, in fact, you had better not, turn your back on because he spends each waking moment practicing his craft of being a boy.

 

So, when Cody began making routine, unescorted trips up the stairs, my son and daughter-in-law put a child gate across the opening to the stairs. The other day, my son heard Cody call out for him. So, he went to see what mischief Cody had gotten into. It seems Cody was having a hard time negotiating the stair landing from outside the rails. As for me, granddaddy expected no less.

 

God called David a man after His own heart. Well, Cody, like all three of my sons, is my David.

So, pops, how much did you pay for that gate?





Scammers, Con-Men and Thieves, Oh My!

6 11 2016

In this age of scammers and scumbags, who can you trust? Hardly a day goes by we don’t get a phone call from somedna-1 dip-wad with a heavy Middle Eastern accent calling us right out of the blue to help us fix our supposedly ailing computers, or threaten us with arrest because we supposedly owe the IRS some huge sum. It’s made us wary of anyone who calls. Now, I understand that some readers will think I’m not being politically correct because I mentioned someone with a Middle Eastern accent. Well, first of all, I don’t give a fat rat about political correctness and secondly, I dare those readers to deny the truth. If I hear someone saying he had a hard time finding somewhere to “pok his cah,” I can’t help but notice the accent. And, I’m not thinking he’s from Valdosta, Georgia. No, I’m a little more inclined to think he’s from one of the New England states…probably somewhere between Boston and Bangor. So, when I hear a Middle Eastern accent, I can’t help but think, this thief is from the Middle East.

 

So, have you seen the television commercial for Ancestry DNA in which the guy, or guyette, says something like, “I’ve always told everyone I was of German descent; but, when I got my results from Ancestry DNA, I learned there’s not a single cell of German in me. I’ve just always had a hankering for bratwurst and wiener schnitzel. My ancestry is British Isles, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, and 5 percent southern Israel. My ancestry has more varieties than a case of Heinz 57.”

 

Here’s the way it works. You send them 99 bucks and they send you a DNA test kit. You return the kit along with a little bit of your spit and, Voila!!, in 6-8 weeks you get a report back with a pie chart describing your genetic ethnicity. I’m not saying it IS one, but could there be an easier scam? I mean how does the recipient know that the pie chart is the real deal and not something made up by Rajesh Jones sitting at a computer in New Delhi, or some out of work criminal politician in Chappaqua, New York?

 

Ancestry seems to be a reliable company, so it is probably legit; but, then, that’s what grandma thought when she sent Sanjay twenty-five $100 gift cards from Target to pay her debt to the IRS.

 

All I’m saying is beware. Shalom, ya’ll!

 





Maybe He’s Smarter Than You Think

21 05 2016

I had to go to Minneapolis this week to speak at a managers’ conference for a large food manufacturer. As many of you are already aware, I fly Delta almost exclusively, unless I’m going abroad and Delta just doesn’t go where I need to be. On this trip, I had a non-stop flight straight to Minneapolis.

When Delta boards an aircraft, they begin with the folks who need a little extra time getting down the jet bridge…those doing the Tim Conway shuffle. I shouldn’t say that because that’ll be me one day. They are followed by those having children under the age of two. As I watched the young parents line up to begin boarding, I thought, oh my goodness! There must be a Parents with Children Under the Age of Two convention in Minneapolis this week. It looked like they just emptied the nursery at Duke Medical Center and all the new parents decided to go, at the same time, to see grandma in Minneapolis; and, on the same flight…MY flight.

Well, kudos to Delta. They had the foresight to seat all of these families with their cherubs, together, near the back of the plane. A pox on your house, Delta! You had the audacity to put me right in front of them! Actually, when I entered the plane and saw that I was sitting directly in front of this group, I took it in stride. I really don’t mind sitting near babies, even crying babies. In fact, I feel sympathy for parents traveling with small children. If you are a follower of this blog, you know from past posts this isn’t my first encounter with flying tots. See Coffee, Tea or Screaming Baby. (https://billtaylorcsp.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/coffee-tea-or-screaming-baby/ ) The Lord gave me the gift of being able to tune out crying babies, nagging wives (not mine, of course) and other annoying sounds. Little did I know that one of these ankle biters was about to put me to the test.

Now, this was a Regional Jet, so it wasn’t a very large plane. And, when you put a…well, what DO you call a group of infants and toddlers? If it’s a gaggle of geese, a brood of chicks, a kindle of kittens…must be a bellowing of babies.

I wasn't through telling you about my husband!

I wasn’t through telling you about my husband!

Well, I took my seat beside some lady who appeared to be about my age. Before the air could even escape from my seat cushion, she was talking to me. She was telling me that her husband was supposed to be in my seat, but he did something really stupid. They were on their way to Bozeman, Montana and he had made his own reservations; but, they didn’t discover until the night before, that he had made his reservations on the wrong flight. He was actually on his way to Bozeman via Salt Lake City at that moment. And she didn’t stop there. She went on and on like a square dance caller. Well, as I listened to her non-stop monologue, two thoughts came to my mind. First…she only THINKS her husband made a mistake and accidentally wound up on the wrong plane. He was probably halfway to Salt Lake City thinking about the poor schmuck who got stuck beside his wife. Secondly…where are the cries from all these babies when I need them?

It was about that time the child directly behind me began to wail. And wail. And wail. That gave me the opportunity to put my Bose headphones on and read my book without being too obvious to the lady that I felt we had engaged long enough.

Now, it has been my experience with small babies, that when they cry, eventually, they will begin to tire and go to sleep. Not this child. This six-month old had the endurance of a Kenyan distance runner. Three hours later, as we entered our approach into the Minneapolis airport, this child was still going strong. Her ears were probably hurting-poor baby. But then, a third thought came to mind. In 64 years she will probably be sitting beside a stranger in a plane explaining how her husband accidentally booked himself on the wrong flight. The poor schmuck!





Love Trumps Everything!

26 09 2015

A member of a men’s Bible study group, of which my son is a member, has been struggling with a decision. It seems his nephew is about to get married…to another guy. He loves and wants to honor his nephew by attending the wedding, but is afraid that doing so will cast the appearance that he is supporting the union and a gay life-style.

 

Okay, so here’s my two-cents worth on the subject. I believe we should consider three things when faced with a decision such as this – our own sins, salvation for others, and love.

 

The Stick in My Own Eye

Homosexuality is wrong. It is a sin. It is an abomination to God. This is not opinion, it is fact. (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10) And, gay marriage is an acceptable practice only in a secular society corrupted by Godless lawmakers who would force its Christian citizens to violate their moral principles. While Scripture tells us to obey our government and its laws, (Romans 13: 1-7) God doesn’t expect us to take actions which will violate our moral beliefs. If we refuse to obey government rule, we should expect to pay the penalty…a la Kim Davis. (That’s a story for another post.) But, before we single out gays for their lifestyle, we should ask ourselves:  is their sin any worse than mine? Is a homosexual lifestyle any worse, in the eyes of God, than stealing? Gossiping? Anger? Coveting? Infidelity? Oh, the list just goes on and on and I don’t have an answer for that question. But then, I shouldn’t concern myself with which, or whose, sin is greater. My job, as a Christian, is to try to avoid sinning and leave the judging to God.

 

My point is, we have all sinned. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

 

Now, before you say, “Well, I haven’t done any of those things!” think about it. Have you ever taken paper or markers from the office supply room to use on your kid’s science project? It may not have seemed like a big deal to you at the time, but that was stealing. Have you spent time on Facebook when you were being paid to do your job instead? If so, you’ve taken time which was not yours to take. And, who hasn’t ever gotten angry at someone who cut them off in traffic or honked because they thought they were driving too slowly? Some people will get angry at me for writing this post and expressing my position on gay marriage. Jesus said we will face judgment if we are angry toward someone without justification. We were all born with a sinful nature and, as a result, none of us is without sin; and, it’s not my place to say that someone else’s sin is worse than mine.

 

Share the Good News

Before he began to follow Jesus, Matthew, like most of the tax collectors in Jesus’ day, was well-known for cheating people out of their money. When Jesus answered Matthew’s dinner invitation, He was joined at the table by several of Matthew’s cohorts, among them were sinners and tax collectors, (Matthew 9: 10-13) He didn’t get up and leave the table. Instead, He saw it as an opportunity to help someone in need of salvation. He was criticized by the Pharisees for associating with known lowlifes and sinners.

 

We should avoid being like the self-righteous Pharisees who were more concerned about their own appearance of holiness than helping others. They were more concerned about trapping Jesus than listening to what He had to say.

 

Christians should be concerned about appearances, but not to the point we neglect our responsibility to share the Good News with those who need to hear it. If you are living in the light in a way that pleases God, then others will see this and will not likely think of you as a supporter of gay marriage just because you attend the same-sex wedding of a loved one. But, so what if they do? There is only One we need to worry about pleasing and He sees what others cannot see…what is in our hearts.

 

Love

“…And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

 

Who is your neighbor? Well, in this context, it is everyone. I like to think I have 7 billion neighbors. I just haven’t gotten around to meeting them all yet.  The Jones’ live next door now but when they sell their house, it may be bought by the Berkowicz family, or the Bashirs. The point is, anyone and everyone is, in the eyes of God, my neighbor and I am commanded to love them. That includes Rosie O’Donnell, Vladimir Putin, Pastor Douglas, Rabbi Abrams, heck, even Barrack Obama. Need I go on? But, it also includes the young man who loves your nephew enough to marry him even though you don’t agree with the union or the lifestyle. As they say, hate the sin but love the sinner. If I choose not to love sinners, that would leave no one for me to love and no one to love me.

 

So, back to my son’s Bible study friend…I believe the right thing to do is to show his nephew, along with his partner, that he loves them both. He need not express his views against the marriage and he should not worry about what others might think. To reject his nephew’s partner will force his nephew into choosing between the two. That will not have a good ending for anyone. Remember, love trumps everything. Everything. If you are trying to show love to someone, anyone, you are pleasing God. He should welcome the son’s partner into the family. After all, they have something in common…they both love the nephew. I think attending the wedding is the right thing to do. If anyone has a problem with that then their time would be better spent polishing their own glass house. But that’s only my two-cents worth.