Have you seen War Room?

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My honored Guest blogger today is a friend of mine from Mississippi, Chris Martin. Chris and I are both old enough to remember when long distance was not free and chatting with friends in other states simply did not happen! But now we can call anyone, anywhere and watch entire football games! And so it was in late December we were chatting and watching a bowl game. A discussion of movie channels led to current movies and I asked Chris if he had seen the movie War Room with Priscilla Shirer. Chris had not, but was interested when I told him how inspiring the movie was and what a thrill it had been to see the local theater full to capacity for a non violent, non R rated, Christian film. In subsequent texts I kept bugging Chris that he needed to see this movie and….

I’ll let Chris take it away from here!

I was seeing a lady named Cassie who also kept telling me about this movie and she wanted me to see it. One night she was not working she brought it over for me to watch. I had heard this was a good Christian movie but I was unaware of what was in store for me spiritually speaking. As I watched this movie it kept bearing witness in my spirit. I watched it again and it really touched me deeply, in my spirit. God spoke to my heart. It was revealed to me that this movie is all about spiritual investment. God wants us all to do something no matter how large, or how small for His kingdom. I knew at that point that I needed to get people to watch this movie. Then if they would agree to watch it, pray, if they felt led to go out and buy a copy of this movie to give away. And when they give a copy away, give it with a note that the movie is not to be kept but given away again, because the more who watch it the greater the spiritual investment.

I have been doing this at my job. God has blessed me to met people from all over our country. There is now a woman in Nebraska who started sharing and giving away copies at her job as well. A local pastor I met has now included sharing the movie as part of his neighborhood outreach. A young man who had just lost his brother got a call while at my shop that a close family member had been killed, talking about the movie gave me a chance to minister and pray over this hurting man and he promised to see the movie then start sharing it as well. So from Mississippi to Nebraska and most states in between we now have people actively sharing this movie and it’s message. I want everyone to have a chance to make this spiritual investment. Share this with others and do the same thing. To God be the Glory, forevermore, Amen!

Wow! Thank you Chris, I am inspired again by your testimony! I encourage everyone reading to pick up a copy of War Room and get in on the action!

Missing Suzanna

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It’s been eight months since I lost my best friend. And I still have a 104 lb. hole in my heart. Only those of you who are dog lovers will understand. And if you’re not, don’t bother reading this post. Suzanna was my black Labrador Retriever. Her “fluffy full figure” caused by table food and her birthday ribeyes weighed her in at 104 lb’s and gave my vet fits at each weigh in. We struggled and did manage to get down to a more respectable 96 lb’s, or maybe the vet just gave up on us!

For all her excesses at the dinner table, Sweet Sue constantly and consistently displayed the best virtues of any humans. In fact, virtues many humans don’t possess. She was strong, stable, kind, devoted, loyal and fiercely protective. Everyone who met her loved her. And Suzie prayed, a lot. OK, I know what your thinking, dog lovers are loony about their beloved canines but I’m telling you this dog prayed? Seriously? Well this dog was my constant companion through many fierce trials including toddlers, the category five hurricane divorce, four major moves and those toddlers turning into teens. Every time I said, “Dear Jesus” this dog got up, put her big head in my lap and closed her eyes. All I could do in response was to put my head on top of hers, stroke her velvety soft ears and keep talking to Jesus. Suzanna never flinched or moved till I said, “amen”, quit crying or both. And there were a few times I had to dry her off with a towel because of my tears.

Consider this, Suzie was such a gentle soul I used to take her to retirement homes to visit the elderly. Sue would always go first to those in wheelchairs and put her head in their laps. But she never closed her eyes and after a good head rub she moved on to the next person.

It’s been several years since Suzanna was able to get out and bring joy to the elderly, my Suzie had gotten quite elderly herself. Every time she fell trying to get up my stomach flipped. Wondering how much pain she was in kept me awake at nights watching her, wondering. It got so hard for her to get in and out of the car that car trips were no more, except for vet trips. So the joy of riding was gone now too. Medications were added, adjusted, treatments suggested and tried. Suzie had already had a hip replacement years ago so now at her age that was not an option. Suzanna was now 105 in dog years… The more my big sweet girl struggled, the more the dread of the inevitable built my heart. How could I lose this dog that was my friend and companion? Why can’t bad people die instead of good dogs? 10256757_10204282852326713_2765847782933822613_o

The struggle ended in February of this year, and the skies over the gulf of Mexico brought forth tropical storm force rains that were no match for the torrent of tears inside my home. My kids and I cried till we were cried out. Then it was time for memories and even some laughter remembering so many funny stories and good times.

In the midst of this grief and celebration of life was Shannon. At ten years of age he was already “old” for a Labrador. But to me he never aged, he was always “Suzie’s puppy”, my kids playmate and swim buddy. The absolute rascal who could get out of any gate, fencing system or locked door. He was totally opposite of Suzie’s sweetness. He was rambunctious and rowdy, a one dog- kid entertainment system who chased balls and kids for hours. My children never swam alone, the black, four-legged life guard was right there on top of them. Shannon never peacefully prayed like Suzanna. Or if he did, it was just a quick, “thank God!” as my daughter rolled him in blankets and put him in her bed every night. He never spent a day of his life without his Suzie Mamma at his side.

Until now. We grieved over Suzanna but showered Shannon with  attention. He got a new collar, new blankets, lots of treat food. I thought it may help him to have new things that were not permeated with Suzanna’s smell and presence. But Shannon got sick right after Suzie died. It was one thing after another for months, ear infections, eye infections, skin infections. He was already grey but his entire head went completely grey overnight along with his feet, his chest and tail. Shannon was no longer recognizable as a black Labrador!

One month ago this week, the unthinkable, again. Antibiotics and steroids were no longer helping. I saw Shannon fall down the steps outside and my stomach flipped. He soon quit eating, then drinking. Was it infections? Old age? Or simply grief?

I have no idea…

But I do know that both of these dogs with such different yet lovable and loving personalities are together again and that gives me comfort.

It’s been a devastating blow to lose two family members seven months apart, this year has had more than it’s fair share of drama with the human family members. But I know what I know- Suzanna and Shannon had very long, very good lives and were absolutely cherished by their people. The illness and the ends that brought us so much grief are fading into the memories that grief can not tarnish and time can not take away from us.

So in the end we do get to keep them forever.

And I am so grateful.

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Whisper of the Skunk

I’m re-blogging this post from June 14 for you. I did not write it, a fellow blogger whose work I greatly admire and touches me deeply posted this. I’ve been wanting to share it for a while now and obtained permission to do so.

240 words was all it took for Damien to completely express the wonder and gratitude of everything life has to offer. Enjoy and please see the links back to Damien’s blog/Twitter/FB at the end so you too can enjoy his wonderful work!

Whisper of the Skunk

It’s another great day to be alive, healthy, and sober. The sunset last night was so spectacular here in Menemsha. It was a true reminder of how beautiful this world and this life really are.

As I sit here on the porch of the cottage we are renting this morning the sky is clear, the birds are singing, and the harbor bell is ringing in the distance.

Driving back from a 12 Step meeting in Vineyard Haven this morning, listening to my favorite radio station in the world on FM instead of over the Internet, I was reminded of my friend Mark’s blog title, the Miracle of the Mundane.

There truly is something miraculous about these little every day occurrences. As I’ve become more present and aware in my sobriety, I’m starting to notice the small things that make this world so amazing. I am finding beauty in everything.

The first day on the island, as we drove from Vineyard Haven, I noticed this faint sweet smell that was at once pleasant and also noxious. I couldn’t describe it if I tried. I thought perhaps it was a flower or plant native to the island.

After being here a few days, I’ve discovered that the faint smell is not a flower or plant. It’s the whisper of the scent of a skunk in the air. And there is actually something beautiful about it.