Our Crazy Zoey

Zoey. Who is this flash of fur, this pouncing, spring loaded canine? If you were to sit in my living room, you would find yourself thoroughly entertained by this white haired terrier, who leaps around playing with grapes and takes naps with her squeaky monkey toy.

Going from a geriatric dog to an almost puppy is quite a change up. Suddenly, we find ourselves not checking on the dog to make sure its breathing, but instead to make sure she’s not rolling in mud, or licking the grime off of air conditioners.

The road to training the perfect dog, however, is not by any means gilded.  Zoey’s first two weeks were filled with mishaps.

She was fond of jumping up on furniture and people, sprinting like one possessed by Forrest Gump when let off the chain, and yowling like a small child when left home alone. Laying down normally seems to be beyond her capacity–instead, she drops shoulders to the ground first, scoots along the ground with her backside elevated and her tail wagging, then collapses dramatically down to her side. When excited, her brain shuts off entirely. She also enjoys finding trash and walking around with it in her mouth…Q-tips, used tissues, plastic jugs, whatever tastes delicious. Her ability to learn quickly, however, is astounding. Zoey and the Monkey

Zoey quickly learned that to be petted, she had to quietly sit down, instead of wiping her muddy paws all over your shirt. Her want, however, is to climb up into your lap and smother you, like a heated blanket. The result is an adorable action, in which she uses her paws like hands and hugs your legs whenever she’s sitting next to you.

Her athletic ability is boundless. Oh, were you expecting to eat that pork chop bone you were holding? Too late! One Olympic leap upward, a gentle nibble of the lip, and the bone is being carried away by a wire-haired blur. She’s not only a fan of meat, however–she’ll also gobble tomatoes, lettuce, apples and green beans.

Teaching her not to run off was a big one, one we didn’t want to rush. So for nearly two weeks, we went on about twelve walks a day, with her squiggling against the harness and chain like a hairy grub who possesses the unnatural strength of an ox.

The first day of freedom off this restraining chain ended badly–winding two stray dogs, she took off after the frightened canines, (who ironically are 3x as big as she,) and kept going, and kept going… We knew chasing after her only rewarded her, but we had no choice: it was catch her, or lose her. So there we went, in the dead of an icy winter, with me wearing a thermal top, running shorts, camouflage boots and a flapped hat, sliding down an icy road after a riled animal.

But little Zoe is now on an amended path. Most of her psychotic quirks have faded into cute idiosyncrasies, and she now trots along at your side amiably, without sprinting off into the wild blue yonder. She does, however, still enjoy mud.

How awesome is it, being able to train an awesome dog? (: 

Zoey enjoys the mud

The Unresolved Resolutions of 2011

This time last year, I was sitting on a couch, brooding over the resolutions that never quite got a check mark beside them, when the ghost of New Years Past paid me a visit. He told me that it was alright–make those resolutions stick for 2011, and you’ll be set. No regret necessary. But now, sitting at a computer on this day, exactly a year later, I look over the last 365 days and reminisce on these same resolutions…you know, the forgotten ones that get stuffed in the closet with the skeleton.

One of these resolutions was to set school as my numero uno. Instead, it took a back seat to my book, friends, and family–which, although not a despicable act, really set my teeth on edge at times with stress. My grades didn’t suffer too much by it, but my pride did.

Having fallen from my high horse of security, my thoughts turned to some successes.

A resolution that came true was to clean the tornado impact zone of the house–my room. Have you ever seen Hoarders? Tone the people on that show down by about 90% and you can envision me, throwing stuff I don’t really need into boxes that just end up hiding my bed, clogging the way to the closet, and overflowing out from underneath the mattress. Ah, but I’m proud to say that, yes! The room did get organized. You can now walk in it and find all my stuff. And yes! I really grew as a person from the experience of giving some of my old stuff away.

All in all, I’d say 2011 was a great year. I’ve taken major steps into deciding what I’d like to do with my life…the person I’d like to be, the milestones I’d like to hit, the tours I’d like to conduct as a park ranger, the screenplays I’d like to write for Hollywood (can you imagine a clean movie that actually captivates?!). Looking ahead on the road of life, I can see everything I dream of doing, the notches I’ve tightened in the belt of success, and all that still remains in the unfinished bin. The openness of it all…I’ve never felt so free.

But, you know? Those old, dusty resolutions don’t look so bad with a little spit and polish. So here’s my new resolution;  instead of just setting a single goal that means MASSIVE change,  I’m going to set a few monthly goals instead, so that I’ll build up to the change that needs to happen. That way, on this day next year, I might just compose a much different blog post–all the things I accomplished in 2012.

Here’s to you, readers! May you have the most excellent, fulfilling year imaginable.

In honor of the New Year’s Day Star Wars marathon, let’s throw it back to Yoda for the mantra of 2012—

“Do or do not…there is no try.”

Thanksgiving and Skeeter the Geriatric

Well, friends, it’s official. I have graduated from the ranks of poor food pickers, carbohydrate-phobics, and those who would shriek at the sight of a calorie! This Thanksgiving warrior stood atop that bathroom scale before her holiday meal, read the steady measurement of 134.6, then girded herself with the breastplate  of felled fowl, the belt of peachy pie, and the helm of determination. The after weight? 140.1. I’ve never been so proud.

But what made this Thanksgiving truly great was the Big Pot of Crazy that goes by the simple name, family. We’ve got your rednecks, your artists, some scientifically minded, others obsessed with the pH scale of soil for next year’s crop, and a persnickety, adoring old man. Even my 17 year old dog, Skeeter, joined us this year. Nothing’s so odd as watching your ancient, Alzheimer’s stricken canine friend run into walls thinking they’re doors, or spinning in circles for reasons still unknown.

But the Thanksgiving spirit runs rampant in our family, and in a way, poor old Skeeter became a warrior again, too. While walking on rickety chicken-like legs outside, her snuffling nose caught a tantalizing whiff. Before my sister knew it, off she sprinted with the strength of a jackal toward a lounging cat. The cat, not waiting around for the geriatric terrier to reach it, slipped into an old shed by means of a smallish hole in the wooden wall. Skeeter was undaunted. She wriggled in after it, barked a little (an admittedly pathetic sounding woof!), then fell silent. My sister went in after her, sure the dog had gone all paralytic again, or something worse. And there, in the pitch black shed, was Skeeter, stuck behind an old chair, confused but still dazzled by excitement. Her prey had gotten away, but good ol’ Skeeter felt alive again.

Having Skeeter in a strange house has also been entertaining. Being partially blind and completely deaf, she has a system for walking. She’ll walk the same route, under tables, between desks and couches, several times. She’s finally lost her marbles, I found myself thinking. But no, there’s method to her madness–within a day, she had the layout of the house memorized, and only trips over stairs and chairlegs occasionally.

Throughout her amazingly long life, she’s been a bit Han Solo-ish…did she really need us, or were we, in some twist of plot, the backup, the wookie whose words are nothing but gobbledygook (real word) like Chewie’s?

And so, like a true quadrupedal adventurer, following was tortuous–instead, she’d bound off on her own quests. This led to a rattle snake bite on the nose (complete with snout swollen past her eyes) and a near run-in with a bear. We once witnessed her streaking across the plain with a coyote on her heels–Dad then took off after the coyote, waving a large stick over his head.

Then one day, back when she was a fresh faced seven year old, she vanished. Convinced she had kicked the bucket in some far off field, we found her three days later, ten miles from home, covered with dirt (undoubtedly from some rabbit burrow she had gotten stuck in). She’s limped home every time, nails torn off, a little bloody, but happy. How she’s survived as long as she has, I’ll never know. But let it be known that Skeeter was a real scrapper. In her retirement years, however, she’s toned this life of danger and espionage way down in favor of naps in the sun and naps in the shade, naps in the house and naps on the porch.  I found her napping beneath my desk once, her head pillowed on my sneaker, her paws folded up beneath her.

I can still remember tormenting my faithful friend with roller blades. At the ripe age of six, my sister and I would chase that poor dog all over the house. Thankfully, she forgave us.

But poor ol’ Skeeter has been going down-hill fast. I guess that’s not hard to imagine, at her advanced age. And as the years have passed, I’ve found that owning a dog is depressingly like watching a dog movie. Old Yeller? Marley and Me? Disgustingly realistic endings. I’ve had a lot of goldfish die on me, but my dog? Say it ain’t so! I’d rather lose a hand.

So here’s to you, Skeeter old pal, my faithful friend. We grew up together, and we’re still together. You never cease to make me smile. May we have at least another Thanksgiving together.

Biblia Veritas

I’ve always been bad with words. Verbally, I’m usually no more elegant than a club tongued hobo. So, instead, I turn to the written word. With the aid of this wondrous form of communication, my poorly executed jokes are made slightly more funny (slighty), puns take on sudden meaning, and I am left with time to mercilessly edit and rewrite if something ceases to trip my trigger.
But before I discovered this love of spelling bees and typing classes, I was introduced to words infused with much more meaning than I could ever inject into a blog post.That’s right, folks. I’m taking about the Bible.
I was recently introduced to a great “booky” site by a friend named Jody 🙂 Once signed up for the site, you can like an innumerable amount of books you’ve read, mark books you find as “want to read”, and get introduced to loads of spot on recommendations. (If you’d like to join me on this great site, I’ve placed the URL at the bottom of this post.)
While searching through this gold mine of literature, I ran across my favorite read, my most treasured truth, of all time. But upon clicking upon its link, I found many disgruntling comments made by those who do not share my view.


One David Remington scathes: “A thrilling work of science fiction on an epic scale. With a cast of thousands, a storyline that continues through generations, and a seemingly never ending tapestry of plot twists this book is sure to delight any reader. One must admit that the idea of having your main protagonist be a cosmic Jewish zombie telepath seems a bit hokey at first, but somehow the authors pull it off with only a few insults to the reader’s intelligence.”

The sad thing? More people than one might expect feel the same way. David’s comment is like that shot that echoes ’round the world, but this is no Emerson stanza or cry of revolution…it is a bullet that kills much more than the physical body.

Recent Gallup poles have shown that only 59% of Americans still read their Bibles…but being no believer in statistics, and knowing that our friend David seems to have also read his Bible, that’s not saying much.

A better question would be to ask how many Americans–why not expand that to earthlings?–actually believe in the written Word of God. And we can expand that, as well. How many earthlings act on the Word of God?

Through the span of my still short life, I’ve communicated with aethiests, lovers of religion, and church going people alike. We all have one binding thing in common. Dedication. But dedication is a tricky, deceiving thing, and loyalties can often blind even the most upright. As Jesus said in Luke 13:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

In the end, when we each face our deaths, what shall we say? I sincerely love the line the leper king had in Kingdom of Heaven, that “When you stand before God, you cannot say, ‘But I was told by others to do thus,’ or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.”

We all have choices. We can choose to follow the Creator. To obey His commandments down to the last jot and tittle, (including full immersion baptism as demonstrated throughout the entire NT), and to be blessed immeasurably for doing so. Or we can turn away, and forge our own paths, and find ourselves at the end of our days, filled with an all consuming dread of what lies ahead of us.

You might be thinking now that this post was very unrelated to this blog’s theme. But I don’t think it is 🙂 Why not be a Bible nerd? Why not learn the Lord’s words by heart, to let it be a light to our stumbling feet? If I knew more Bible verses than random movie quotes, I’d be a much wiser person.

One more verse, and I’ll step down from my soap box.

Joshua 24:15 “…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”