Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bert the Ladies Dog

Hello Friends.

I've noticed that my buddy Bert seems to have special something about him that makes the ladies go all gaw gaw over him.  It is quite the sight to see.  Case in point.  We have a friend named Miss Sophie.  Miss Sophie, like Bert, is a therapy dog.  She works at the same hospital as Bert bringing smiles to all they meet.  She also works with Bert at the airport.  They roam around and brings smiles and relieves stress from passengers and employees alike.  This past weekend we all went on a walk together.  And sure enough Miss Sophie sees Bert and just can't help butt throw herself at him.  Just watch the video and see for yourself.

I mean really what is it about him?

Oh sure I walk along all gentledog like with Miss Sophie.

Butt soon as she sees Bert she zips past me to be with him, and jump on him, and kiss and attack him.

So as I walked along through the marsh I pondered what it is about my buddy Bert that makes the girlies go nuts for him.

Then it hit me as Miss Sophie runs to catch up with the irresistible Bert.

Just maybe...

Could it be????

All the goose poop (not mine butt the birds) that he rolls in?  Is that the reason the ladies just can't help themselves around him?  Is that his secret weapon?

Butt if that is it, the goose poop being all magical, how do you explain this........ (just watch the first video)

To my understanding there is no goose poop inside the airport, so Bert could not have rolled in his favorite cologne.  Yet when Miss Sophie sees her beloved Bert at the airport she leaps as high as the planes fly.

"Seriously Bert, what is your secret?"
"Secret?  Secret to what?"
"The girls falling all over themselves to get to you."
"Brother Goose have you seen me?  I mean just look at me!  Oh and a little splash of goose poop, the birds not yours, on the Golden furs never hurts."

And there ya have it friends..... goose poop.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Hello Friend.

You may remember on Sunday I was in deep thought as I looked out my front window.  I was think about Thanksgiving, about the past, present and future.  So today I thought I’d give you a little message with a Thanksgiving theme.  Of course I will scatter in some photos.  Some of these photos are recent and some are from the past.  I even have some photos of my buddy Bert when he was just a wee little pup and of course some of me and my Golden Gal Pal Belle.  (Oh and F&E just a warning Allred might show up in a photo.)

Brain science has now discovered what The White Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” always knew: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."

The most recent research in cognitive science, which is a fancy name for the science of “how the brain works,” reveals that remembering the past and visualizing the future use the same neural mechanisms. Memory and prophesy are flip sides of the same mental coin.  Memory works forward, and the very skills that enable you to remember your past enable you to envision your future.  To walk down memory lane is, at the same time, to follow the yellow brick road into your dream future.

In Roman mythology there was a god known as “Janus.” Janus was believed to be the god who was a guiding force for individuals at fresh starts, at new beginnings, and at all times of transition.  Janus was always depicted as having two faces — one face looking backwards into the past, the other face turned towards the future. Hence the hinge month of “January.”

For Christians to be “two-faced” was to be a prophet, except a prophet was seen in threefold scenarios, not two.  A prophet was supposed to have three faces: a face oriented toward past, the present and the future, simultaneously.  A prophet doesn't foresee the future.  A prophet sees the past, present and future at once and as one.  For Christians this ability to bring together the past, present and future is best represented not by Janus, but by Jesus.

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States.  Our annual Thanksgiving holiday may be our most prophetic of all holidays.  On one hand, Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and tradition. Even though we are now a “fast-food” nation and a “take-out” culture, Thanksgiving is the one day when we remember old recipes, when we literally and intentionally “taste” our past and let the food tell the story of our families and the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Why do we do this?  Why do we make such a huge investment in this short weekend holiday by traveling far and near to be with family and friends?  Because we want to recall, remember, rekindle and rebuild family relationships.  Thanksgiving is the time when we look around the table and give thanks for our roots and our reasons for being together.

More and more the big “draw” of the family get-together has a different motivation.  Over the last twenty years “Black Friday” has grown from being a fun day of sales to being a seismic event that determines the end-of-the-year economic health of major corporations.  So crucial are the sales numbers racked up on this coming weekend that stores have now slid down the slippery slope from “Black Friday” to “Grey Thursday.”  After years of consciously trying not to “intrude” on the sacred “family holiday” of Thanksgiving, retailers have now decided that “Black Friday” can legitimately begin before the turkey gets cold on Thanksgiving Thursday.  The “gathering together” for a bit of family time at Thanksgiving has now become a “staging time” for an assault into the shopping malls and big box outlets offering outrageous deals…if you get there first.

So what is Thanksgiving about in 2014?  It’s now 393 years after that “first Thanksgiving” harvest celebration shared by the Native Americans and the new settlers in Plymouth.  So what are we looking back at, and what are we looking forward to?  If remembering and imagining are part of the same mental process, is Thanksgiving a time to look back at family, friends and traditions and looking around the table at ones we love?  Or is Thanksgiving a time when we take a deep breath of the past so we can and plunge into a future of consumerism, obsessed with grabbing great deals for the upcoming Christmas extravaganza?

In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul writes to the Ephesian community but he makes his words applicable to all who might receive it.  It begins with a profound expression of thanksgiving — and as with our twenty-first century thanksgiving moment, it’s a two-faced, Janus type thanksgiving.

Paul’s thanks are not directed backwards to the past and then forward toward the future.  Paul’s thanksgiving prayer is directed outward and upward.  It’s directed “outward” to the community of disciples, to those whose faith has led them to have a “spirit of wisdom” and a “heart enlightened.”  Paul declares that the faithful know the “hope to which he has called you” and so may revel in and reveal the “riches of his glorious inheritance” — that is, a new life “among the saints.”  His thankfulness is for the faith of those who confess a commitment to Christ and live life based upon that commitment.

But then Paul follows up that outward thanksgiving with an upward expression of thankfulness and praise.  Paul’s “thanksgiving” is upwardly founded and outwardly grounded.  His outward gratitude could not be complete without his gratitude for the upward divine grace that made such faith possible.  Paul’s ultimate thankfulness is directed “upward,” “heavenward,” toward the power, majesty, and beauty of God.  Paul’s upward thankfulness is for the revolutionary “change-up” that took place when Christ was raised from the dead and redemption became a reality for all.

What are we really thankful for this Thanksgiving?  Are you thankful that you get a four-day weekend off from school or work?  Are you thankful that you have a warm home and a lovely meal to sit down to and enjoy with friends and family?  Thanksgiving is a strangely laser-focused yet loosey-goosey holiday.  It’s defined with laser-like focus: a time to “give thanks.”  But WHAT we give thanks for is left up to us.

When family members and friends work hard all day to create a wonderful environment — great food, warm place to gather — that is something to be thankful for.  But the real “thankfulness” that Thanksgiving should bring out in each of us is not a thankfulness for “things.”  Thanksgiving is not about where we are, what we are eating, or what our shopping strategy is for Friday.  Thanksgiving must be rooted in a thankfulness for the greatest relationship we have been given, a relationship with the risen, regnant and returning Christ who calls the faithful to a “glorious hope” and an illustrious “inheritance.”

Admit it.  Every family gathering includes some we cannot wait to “embrace,” and some for whom we have to “brace.”  Those whom we cannot wait to “embrace” are those whose lives intentionally include and envelope others.

The grandmother who always remembers to send a Birthday, Halloween, Valentine, and, even though you are not Irish, a St. Patrick’s Day card and a little note meant just for you.

The distant cousin or friend who checks in on Facebook, knows what days are special to you, and lets you know they know it.

The little brother or sister who waits for your text every day, and you wait for his or her reply.  Those are the ones who at Thanksgiving are easy to “embrace.”

The “brace for” family members are not so easy.  Every family has those who are part of the family tree, but do not fit into the family plan.  But they are still family.  We welcome them with grace and hospitality because they are family, but also because, as people of faith, we know our “family” goes way beyond our genes and geography, I know my MOM’s does.  Our “family” will always be who and where we make it.

It was probably goose or wild duck, not turkey, that was the centerpiece of that First Thanksgiving.  There would have been fish present in the form of eels and various shellfish like lobster, clams and mussels.  Probably no salmon, just like no sweet potatoes or cranberries at that first Thanksgiving (which I think is a shame), although many people have made smoked salmon and salmon dip a feature of Thanksgiving appetizers today.

You know what?  Salmon are either the most brilliant or the stupidest creatures on earth.  Salmon babies, known as “fry,” hatch out in beautiful flowing fresh streams of water.  They have plenty to eat and a safe place to live.  Then they leave.  They travel downstream to escape this nice, safe habitat, so that they might merge into larger streams, rushing mighty rivers, and ultimately into the vast ocean.

Fresh-water born salmon migrate to the salt-water environment of the ocean, a journey that requires them to navigate hundreds of miles and requires them to completely change their bodies.  Fresh water salmon fry become salt water salmon.  For a while.

And then they “come home.”  After spending years being salt water creatures they finally and fully feel the pull of home.  They MUST go back.  They journey through the ocean, go back into the fresh water rivers, navigate through locks and dams and bears and eagles and eager fishermen, and finally — a few of them — make it back to their family table, to the place they were born and nurtured.

The simple salmon “embraces” every part of its family heritage, at a huge, indeed at an ultimate, cost.  When we intentionally gather together and regroup our families, it can also be costly.  It costs us our independence.  It costs us our self-made identities.  It costs us our personal power and preferred placement.

We become salmon.  We join together and become greater together, individuals with a new and vital future found in company with others. Why?  Because we return to our roots even as we are looking towards the future.  Because we dare to look both backwards and forwards at the same time.

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13).

What “works” follow us into eternity?  Not the works of our hands, as in our mansions, our Mercedes, our monies, but the works of our hearts, our deeds of love, beauty, truth and goodness.  This is that for which we give thanks to God this Thanksgiving.  You know what giving God thanks will get you?  It gets you Grace.  And you know where Grace leads you?  It leads you to JOY, overwhelming joy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's What's for Dinner

Hello Friends.

So last evening after MOM picked me up from Bert's place I was surprised that instead of heading home, MOM took us to a fishing spot.  This was strange because it was dark.  Now MOM and I have fished in the dark plenty of times, but usually it is when we are camping or backpacking.  Not after a long day at work.  But MOM said she needed to think about stuff and sometimes fishing is the only thing to put her in the right frame of mind.  Who am I to argue.  If it means a little adventure, even in the dark, I'm all for it.  (Yes she always has fishing gear in the car).  So there we were, standing along the bank, MOM deep in thought, when all of the sudden, BAM, the fishing pole almost flew out of her hands.  I don't think she was really expecting to catch anything, except perspective and insight.  I was doing the happy fishy dance on the bank as my MOM tried reeling in the fishy.  All the while thinking, "Oh boy fish for dinner or maybe MOM would make that fish jerky I love so much."

Wooooo Hooooo fish for dinner.  I love fish!!  I am MOM's sue chef. 
"Ummmm MOM?  I think we need a bigger pan."
I'm not sure if MOM gained the insight she was looking for.  Butt I gained a tasty meal.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Hello Friends.

I am just sitting here pondering.  Thinking about being thankful.  Thankful in everything, in all things.  Hummmmm.  Come back Thursday and I just might have a thought or two about that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Hello Friends.

Sure glad it's Wordless Wednesday.  Feel free to not comment.

Friday, November 14, 2014

See Beautiful

Hello Friends.

I know I am late in putting up my This Moment See Beautiful post hosted by SUGAR.  MOM spent much of today with doctor type people.  Butt I am here now and have a video to share with you. 

You are beautiful my friends.  Trust me I AM and expert on this matter.  See It, Share It, Create It, Believe It.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Hello Friends.

MOM and I love reading.  On this night it was my turn to read to her.  As I have gotten older I have to put on my glasses.  MOM says it makes me look distinguished. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Billy Replaced

Hello Friends.

If you know me you know I love to sleep with my Billy Moose.
I love to snuggle with Billy.  I sleep with him almost every night, I nap with him.  If I am tired I grab Billy and we knock back a few Zzzz's together.  Butt there is one thing that is even better than Billy Moose...

My MOM. 
I really haven't replaced Billy, just sometimes a guy needs his mom.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello Friends.

Halloween is the ultimate holiday of “pretending.”

On Halloween we dress up and “pretend” to be someone or something other than ourselves.  On Halloween we “pretend” to believe that the people jumping out at us and scaring us in the “haunted houses” we paid $25 to get into are monsters and zombies.

On Halloween we happily “pretend” that the scariest stuff in life are those things that “go bump in the night.”  On Halloween we revel in “pretend” bumps instead of bumping into the terrifying realities of evil and cruelty that appear on any street, in any office, at any school, in broad daylight, on any given day — and that’s just a rundown of the terrors of the last two weeks.

Yesterday, the day after “All Hallows Eve,” is known in the liturgical calendar as “All Saints Day.” “All Saints” is a celebration and commemoration of those who were never about pretense, but who devoted their lives to expressing true faithfulness and genuine piety. The church lives, not by the majesty of its beliefs but by the manifestation of its manifold witness through the magnificence of its “communion of saints.”

Who are these “all saints?” The “all saints” are all the everyday, ordinary men and women who live lives of humility and service in Jesus’ name and for his sake. They never “dressed up” or “dressed down” in order to exhibit some “pretend” piety. They never paraded their piety in peacock plumage. Generation after generation of these “all saints” make up the great “Cloud of Witnesses” (the church had “The Cloud” before Microsoft) who make it possible for the historic Jesus of the first century to become the living Christ of the twenty-first century.

The community of “all saints” didn’t need to play “pretend.” Their lives witnessed to the living presence of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who made them all into “transformers,” transformers of lives, transformers of hopes, transformers of dreams, transformers of the world they lived in.

Today, the day after “All Saints Day,” the scripture in Matthew 23:1-12 is once again warning us about the poison of pretense, the mistake of wearing masks of piety.  Jesus recognized both the genuine faith and the grand folly that was combined in the Pharisees’ religious system.  Jesus gave an “example” involving “phylacteries” and “fringes” — admittedly not your ordinary signs of excess in a 2014 neighborhood.

Phylacteries are leather boxes with long leather straps that are bound to the forehead and around the right arm and worn during a devout Jew’s daily prayers. Inside these leather boxes are written copies of various biblical verses.

The “fringes” Jesus speaks of are traditional signs of faith attached to a garment worn by all observant Jews. These “fringes” show themselves no matter what else the individual is wearing. In sum, they subtly “advertise” the wearer’s faithfulness.

Jesus’ criticism is not about wearing phylacteries or fringes. It’s about wearing Humvee-sized phylacteries and Ferrari fringes while living a Fiat-sized faith. Both phylacteries and fringes were traditions that had been established as signs of humility and faithfulness. But they had been “souped-up” and “super-sized” by some of the most favorable and revered religious authorities, transforming humble holiness into Humvee holiness and Ferrari performances. Those wearing the over-sized phylacteries and falling down fringes were simply engaged in playing “pretend,” dressing up for a Halloween party, not living the life of one of the faithful, not embodying the daily witness of an “all saint.”

Jesus never paraded his identity. Even after his resurrection, the greatest event in the history of the world, he didn’t flaunt his power and presence. In fact, Jesus’ life and death were public, but his resurrection was private and almost secret.

He repeatedly asked his disciples who they thought he was, what they thought he was doing, where did they think he came from, what were others saying of him. Jesus ate at the homes of the outcasts and the illegals. He washed the feet of his students. He hung out with the pariahs of his day, lepers and prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus had no interest in the appearance of righteousness, only the application of righteousness. Whereas other teachers were masters of abstraction, Jesus was a master of personalization. He knew people not by appearances or pretenses or by what they did. He knew individuals by name.

For Jesus, the blind weren’t just blind, and the demon possessed weren’t just demon possessed, and the lepers weren’t just lepers. For Jesus each one was a valuable person, a child of God. This is what scandalized those with their Humvee holiness and Ferrari rituals: for Jesus, sinners were never just sinners, they were people to love

There are two things we all know about “profiling.” First, it’s illegal and it’s wrong. Second, it’s what each of us instinctually does every day. We all judge those we encounter on some “gut level” regardless of what we believe and hope and pray for. We like the UPS guy. We cannot stand the checker on Aisle 6 at the grocery store. We know there is some kind of problem with the guy who wears shorts and a fuzzy hat as he wanders the neighborhood every day.  We make judgments, “that is good”. We make judgments, “that is bad”.

The Pharisees “judged” all those who failed to live up to their standards as moral failures, inferior spiritually and unsuccessful citizens. Jesus challenged those assumptions. Jesus dared us to look beyond our instinct to “profile” and instead to seek out a relationship, a true connection, with those who did not have long enough fringes, big enough bank accounts, or normal enough looking lives. Jesus expects his disciples to give each person the grace of acceptance that divine love demands.

Jesus was famous for not looking on the outward surfaces. In Mark 12:14 it says “They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” The original Greek for “you pay no attention to who they are” or “you do not look on the outward appearance” translates literally “you do not look on the face” or “you do not look at faces.” In other words, Jesus does not look on the surface. Jesus does not look on faces — at face values, at face lifts, “on the face of it.” Jesus looks on the heart. Jesus looks behind the face at the deeper truths of the heart.  Jesus see the beauty in each of us, even that person you turn around to avoid.

We have a God who doesn’t look on outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:7; John 7:24, 2 Cor.5:12). Jesus looked beyond the face to the heart, to the beautiful in each person. We don’t need a people of Humvee holiness, but of heart holiness, or humble holiness.