Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year

Figaro wetting his whistle

It has been another long spell between blog entries.  The weather remains grim and gray, and with all the holiday activities and my busy year end schedule at work I have not had much time to come up with new photos.  But I have been taking snapshots of my humorous hounds as they have settled in for a long winter hibernation.  Not that they mind.  Laying around in a puddle of their own drool, with perpetual morning breath suits them just fine. 

Houdini waiting for dinner in his kennel

They do enjoy a nice romp in the yard once or twice a day....but with this soggy weather it is a recipe for mud splattered undercarriages and wet ears.  I honestly can't wait for the ground to freeze and reduce the muddy paw marks on the floor and the number of extra towels washed weekly from cleaning them up!

 I did read a really nice JR Miller devotional while preparing this blog entry.  And to some it may seem silly to think of basset hounds when writing about the New Year, but it actually is very fitting for the excerpt below. I will explain at the bottom how these two things relate! ;-)


By J.R. Miller:

Smudge thinks he's king
We ought never to be willing to live any year—just as we lived the last one. No one is striving after the best things—who is not intent on an upward and a forward movement continually. The circular movement is essential too, the going around and around in the old grooves, routine work, daily tasks; yet, even in this treadmill round, there should be constant progress. We ought to do the same things, better each day. Then in the midst of the outward routine—our inner life ought to be growing in earnestness, in force, in strength, in depth.

Yet there are some people whose life year by year is only a going around and around in the old beaten paths, with no onward movement. They are like men who walk in a circular course for a prize, covering a thousand miles, perhaps, but ending just where they began. Rather, our daily walk should be like one whose path goes around a mountain, but climbs a little higher with each circuit, until at last he gains the clear summit, and looks into the face of God. While we must do in a measure the same things every day—we should do them a little better with each repetition.

Now how does that JR Miller excerpt relate to my dogs, you might ask.  Well, if you have never had a hound for a pet let me tell you they are perfect examples of daily routine and circular life.  In fact, I have never known a breed of dogs that was so habit driven as a hound.  If they do it once, the idea or behavior becomes embedded in their furry noggins and they will try to repeat it for the rest of their life.

Take Figaro to the left....he learned the bad habit of tipping over my office trash can as a young pup.  He shredded paper and made a mess.  Now every he has a little timer in his brain, he lumbers into my office in the morning after his breakfast.....and tips over the trash can and roots through the papers and makes a mess.  The only upside....I don't need an electric shredder for sensitive documentation!    It really takes effort to break a hound of a habit.....but people are sort of that way too.   But when it comes to growing in grace and living a Christ centered life, I think JR Miller makes a good point for NOT being like my hounds.

Enjoy these shots of my hounds taking their evening nap all over our living room furniture.  This is likely what they will look like tonight around midnight when we ring in 2012....there is a pretty strong chance I will be in a similar repose as well.  So let me be the first to say, HAPPY NEW YEAR!   May the Lord make us better than we were as we cross into a new year.

James 4:13-15
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weather Woes

 Hi everyone!  I have been realizing this week how long it has been since I posted to the blog.  I wasn't kidding when I said that gloomy November was a real dry spell for photo taking.  The weather is very soggy and that keeps this shutterbug indoors....because my equipment, like myself, is like sugar and spice and everything nice!  It would be a shame to melt in the I have been waiting for the first snowfall.  But I remember I did have some shots of the first frost from the end of October that I never got around to sharing yet. 

I have been spending more time in the kitchen baking and cooking to beat the blues with the dreary weather.  True to Ohioan form, I tend to grumble about the weather sometimes.  Especially when a day of clouds and rain stretches into several weeks.  And it must have gotten the better of some of the adults in my family, as my very handsome nephew, age 4, innocently said this week, "Well, it is God who makes the weather after all."   Out of the mouths of babes!  What a charming reminder of how a Christan should view the weather....even if you live in the Ohio Valley.

By Arthur Pink:

"He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.  He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?  He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow."
Psalm 147:16-18

What a declaration is this! The changes of the elements are beneath God's sovereign control. It is God who withholds the rain—and it is God who gives the rain . . .

  when He wills,
  where He wills,
  as He wills, and
  on whom He wills!

Truly, then, God governs the elements!

Earth and wind,
fire and rain,
hail and snow,
stormy winds and angry seas

—all obey His omnipotent word—and fulfill His sovereign pleasure! Therefore, when we complain about the weather, we are, in reality, murmuring against God!

Let His Word speak once more:

"Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.  He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries." Psalm 135:6-7

"All things are in the hands of God, have Him for their Author, and are directed and governed by Him to such ends as are most suitable to His wise providence. Whoever complains of the weather—complains of the God who ordains the weather!"  -William Law

 As usual I had a feline companion on this quick pre-breakfast shoot.  Truth be told, I threw outerwear and  boots on over my pajamas and headed outside the minute I drew up my blinds and saw there was frost!  That is a brisk way to greet the day, let me tell you!

I also had a trio of romping hounds jumping on me!  Normally they are on their own in the morning to sniff and patrol the backyard, so they were excited to have human company.  Big Fig, the mature man of the pack, was reluctant to step onto the crunchy cold grass, so he modeled for me with a wagging tail instead.