In God We Trust

January 17, 2013

Funny, isn’t it, that that’s what’s written on our money?  It’s like someone knew we’d be needing the reminder.

“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.”  (Proverbs 11:28)

Let me vent for a moment and I promise I’ll circle back to the important point.

Months ago, I realized that in preparation for our Disney trip I should probably be ramping up our savings; I didn’t want to drain the entire account (admittedly unlikely, but there’s a lot of uncertainty in preparing for a trip that big).  So I did my best to start funneling a little extra each paycheck into our savings account.

That’s when it started.

It began very slowly; so slowly I didn’t even notice for a bit.  But the longer time went on, the more I began to see a pattern:  things were going wrong.  Often.  At an increasing rate.  The phrase “that’s what savings is for” was being thrown around more and more; so much so that I began to tack on an addendum:  “that’s what savings is for….but what happens when it’s all gone?”  The fact that we would be adding a baby into the mix in just a few months didn’t help my attitude one bit; nor did the timing of Christmas shopping.

Our list:

6/15  Husband’s pharmacy license renewed (thankfully, reimbursed)

7/11  Sprinkler repair

7/30  Tax oops (yeah….I don’t wanna talk about it)

9/9  Car battery (mine)

9/12  Bo…last vet visit

9/19  Brake work  (mine)

10/4  Tire  (mine…wow….it sounds like I drive a beater)

10/11 TRIP!!  (at least this was planned for)

10/26  New dog:  Kina!

11/1  Meds for Kina

11/12 Garage door repair

11/16  Kina disaster

11/20  Kina final lab work

12/4  Car repair (husband’s)

12/10  Furnace repair (to get us through the holidays)

1/3  New furnace install

1/18?  Impending new tire (Mine.  Wow….maybe I DO drive a beater!)

Some stuff on that list was known; the trip was a planned expense.  The dog purchase….an arguable expense, but this family doesn’t stay dog-free for long.  Everything else was a nasty surprise, and each time I’d find myself getting more and more worked up about it.  And each time, I could sense God prodding me:  Who are you trusting in?

It’s easy to sit back and blab about how much I trust in God when everything’s coming up roses.  It’s truly hard for me to remember what it was like, sixteen years ago, when we were first married and flat broke and barely making it.  There’s a lot of trust when you’re barely making it.  Now “we’re doing fine”–that seems to be our phrase of choice; not rich, but far, far away from “scraping by.”

That list of problems has forced me back to trust; to evaluate who I’m truly trusting in and whether that trust holds even as bank accounts weaken.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?”  (Psalm 56:3-4)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (Proberbs 3:5)

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No, we don’t have mice….

December 12, 2012

I’ve read two different posts in the past few months about people forced to clean out, declutter, and reorganize due to mice.  (Read them here and here.)  While we have done our time with mice, our current “reorganization situation” involves a slightly different problem.  It involves a dog who’s learned how to open the pantry.

When we got Kina, I was thrilled that she was smart, but not too smart.  We’d had fourteen years with a dog who was too smart, and frankly, it’s exhausting.  Kina seemed to be just the right mix of friendly and bright; well-behaved and smart enough to train, but not so smart that she was out-smarting the training.

Then came the night we came home from church to discover….what was that on the living room floor?  I truly didn’t know until I got right up on it:  a bag of coconut, pulled from my basket of ingredients for making various granola bar goodies.  She clearly didn’t care for it, but that didn’t change the face that she’d opened the pantry to get it.

Once she’d learned she could do it, it was all over.  Every time I’d come home from dropping the kids off at school, I’d find something else.  The tub of oatmeal.  The container of flax seeds.  The box of cinnamon squares cereal.  It was funny and frustrating all at the same time.  How on earth was I going to completely reorganize the pantry to keep everything out of her reach?  I truly couldn’t think of how to rearrange things to where nothing would be touchable; it’s not that big of a pantry.  She was even nudging the canned food off the shelves, which obviously didn’t do much but dent the cans, but still…..

Then one Thursday morning my mom and I returned to the house after running errands to discover a box of raisin bran completely obliterated.  She ate the cardboard, too, she’d liked it so much.  For those who don’t know, raisins can be toxic to dogs, and that is how we ended up at the doggie ER (yes, there really are such things), essentially having her stomach pumped.  (“We’ll give her a shot to make her throw up, and once her stomach is empty, we’ll give her another shot to calm it back down; then we’ll feed her charcoal to keep any of the toxins from being absorbed…..”)

As my husband put it, “the dog just ate and barfed our entire Christmas budget.”

After I left her at the emergency clinic, I drove to Home Depot and got magnet closures for the pantry.  Forget cleaning and reorganizing.  We just need the stupid thing to stay closed.

 

Update:  Yes, true to her cast-iron-stomach Lab roots, the dog is totally fine.  My favorite part of the story involved a trip to our regular vet for the final blood work to check on her kidney functions.  When the vet tech got her to the back, the phone rang; so she put her in a room and closed the door so she could take the call.  The dog–yep–opened the door and came running back out to me in the lobby, leash dangling behind her, and threw her front paws in my lap:  “Quick, Mom!  Now’s our chance to make a break for it!!”

Yeah.  “Not too smart” my eye….

Dog days are here!

October 31, 2012

“Four hours till home.  Anyone want to place bets on how long it will take my husband to get a dog now that the trip is over?”  –my Facebook post, Monday, October 22nd

 

Five days.  That’s the final count:  home Monday night; dog Friday night.  She’s curled up next to me on the sofa, sacked out, as I write this.  And she’s been such a blessing.

A very brief history of where we’d come from:  one dog owned for fourteen years, another owned for twelve years, neither one of which were big fans of “those kids” once they came along nine years ago.  Bo was a mean enough dog we were genuinely concerned about how things were going to go; it turned out to be fine, but I never trusted him much.  Basie was tolerant but skittish; he’d just leave the room if a child wandered in.

So much for the idea of “a boy and his dog.”

For three days after we were home my husband and I researched dogs; we looked online at three different shelters and a rescue and compared notes about who we’d found that was interesting.  (This involved lots of “Oh, look at this one!”; and hormonal pregnant woman having to leave the room when the family would look at the homeless doggie videos.)  I was surprised–pleased, really–at how quickly some promising dogs came and went; a dog there one day might not be there the next.  But I collected a little list of names when my husband said we’d go by one of the shelters Friday night.

When we pulled up, I saw her.  I knew it was her, but I didn’t say anything to my husband; who had already assured me he’d done this before and that what we really wanted to do was walk the kennels and see who we were drawn to.  So I said nothing as we piled out of the car and took in all the incessant barking around us, and then I heard him say, “Look at that black one….” and I got to smile and know that this would be easier than I thought.

We went in, though, to ask a worker for some more information about my list of four; she was an amazing source of information and could rattle off all sorts of things about each dog:  “Alex was just adopted this morning; Carolean….you really don’t want her in a family with kids, that wouldn’t go well; Kina would be wonderful, she’d be great; Jullian, well…..”  And then I had to laugh as she went on to describe behavior that pretty much fit our old Bo to a “T.”  (At one point later, I was talking about Jullian-dog with another worker, who used the phrase, “He can be…..weird,” which made me burst out laughing.  That was the exact same phrase we used about Bo.  Often.)

“He can be so sweet and so affectionate, but there are times, if he’s cornered….he can get really aggressive….but he can truly be a really good dog….”

Yeah…I’ve done that for fourteen years, thanks.  I’m done.  Time for a friendly dog.

So we went out to collect sweet Kina and get to know her a bit, in the huge play yard/agility training course they have in one area.  Of course, for the first ten minutes, she had absolutely no interest in us, as the area had probably been marked by dozens of dogs, and there were so many things to smell.  (At one point my foster-parent-trained husband looked at me and laughed, “She has attachment issues.”)  But she finally decided that the people were more interesting than the smells, and as I watched my family play with the dog–the one I felt from the start was ours–I knew it was official.

Why would anyone get rid of such a friendly, precious dog?  It turned out their grandchildren had allergies.  Our extended family has had much discussion about who they’d get rid of….the dog or the kids.  lol  (My pharmacist husband’s comment:  “They make medicine for that.”)

So we came home with a pet.  Not a former stray, or just a dog, but someone who’s been a pet for six years and who’d been passed over time and again at the shelter (age-related concerns, I assume) but who is an unbelievably well-trained, well-behaved, sweet-tempered pet.  She loves to be loved, and will snuggle with my kids. (!!!)  It broke my heart the first few nights she was here as I realized we were having to teach my kids how to play with a dog; they’d never been able to before.  Now they can play with her and walk her and love on her and I’m able to relax a bit and not spend every waking moment saying “Careful of the dog!”

And then, that first night home, she went outside and rolled in something completely heinous.

Yep…..we’re officially dog owners again.  🙂

 

The title from this post came from the announcement my daughter wrote on our dry-erase board the night we got Kina, playing off the “Florence and the Machine” song “Dog Days are Over.”  I thought it was pretty ingenious for a seven-year-old.