Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skunk! Ugh!! Skunk!! Ugh!! Skunk...

I've been using the Peroxide Formula for years now, but never heard about the additional ingredients (beer and vanilla) until now. Things I hadn't considered when performing this particular cleaning procedure was about how to get through that thick layer of fur to the base coat. I just kept manipulating the mixture deeper and deeper. Turns out the beer does wonders!! Yay beer!! (Note to self: Buy extra beer next time as there was hardly enough left for the cleaning... What do you mean 9am is too early to drink?? Have you smelled my house??)

They say there are two types of dogs when it comes to skunks: Those that learn the first time (I have one of those) and those who never learn (do I have one of those?).

So ... my investigative hunt has produced this, my brilliant new house/skunk remedy:

Cleaning clothing: Wash as usual, adding one can of Coca-Cola. Yay for Coke! I wonder why in the world we ever drank this stuff. No... really!

Cleaning the house: Clean as usual, adding bleach and water to a mist bottle and uh, misting as you go. Set out dishes of coffee beans, or coffee grounds and dishes of vinegar. Open all the windows (as you can) and air out the house. If you can't open the windows, close the rooms with the worst smell and let the coffee and vinegar do their work. Refresh the bowls daily as needed. (Avoid any other human contact for perhaps a week; a month if you can swing it. (Kidding here!)) Boil vanilla on the stove. Do not, under any circumstances, forget the boiling vanilla. Burned vanilla smells only slightly better than skunk oil.

My dogs remind me of the "Blue Cyclone" story. One dog learned the first time, and the other, looking for his buddy to back him up, discovered the firstnowhere to be found. Luckily, because of the disappearing dog trick, dog two received his "lickin's" on the side of his neck/ear area. Will he learn? Only time will tell.

Good luck people. Have patience, know that all will eventually be well again.

Things you need for the PEROXIDE FORMULA:

  1. 1 Qt of 3% Peroxide
  2. 1/4 cup of Baking Soda
  3. A good dallop of Dawn detergent
  4. A beer (for the bucket) (not required)
  5. A dash of vanilla (not required)
  6. An open mixing bucket
  7. A bathtub.
  8. A good dog.
  9. Throw all together and wait 10 minutes.
  10. And rinse.
  11. God forbid, repeat as necessary.

In the event you have little amounts of Peroxide on hand, do the following:

  1. Yell properly at the dog for stupidly getting sprayed, AGAIN.
  2. Sniff the dog for the areas most pungent.
  3. In a small open dish, mix what you have in peroxide, adding smaller amounts of baking soda & detergent.
  4. Using paper towels, work mixture well into affected area and surrounding areas, until mixture is gone.
  5. Wait 10 minutes.
  6. Return to dog, yelling and muttering, all the while.
  7. Grab a bottle of coke on your way past the refrigerator.
  8. Work Coke into affected areas.
  9. Wait another 10 minutes.
  10. Rinse with warm water.
  11. Rub dry with disposable terry towel.
  12. Throw away the towel.
  13. Say "BAD DOG," again.
  14. Go to bed.
  15. Pray for a cleaner smelling dog in the morning.
Seriously, I hope this guide helps to restore your sanity, which is a fragile thing when dealing with skunk odor.

Be well,
~ J ~

Monday, November 8, 2010

Romans Road Trip: Route 666

This has been an emotional journey for me, and if you'll permit, I'll continue.  Along our way Paul answered another good question:

So, I can't "deserve" it, how do I get in?

Paul says in Romans 3:21—5:19, that no one, absolutely no one, has a right standing before God and Bad News Paul adds, we're gonna need to fix that if we want in. The beginning of this trip started in "Selfland," and I know the end destination is a place called "New Jerusalem," right? But, since we are not born citizens in this new city that God is creating, we know we must establish an eternal relationship with God if we want to get in; which means we must pass through a place called "Submissive to His Will." Submissive. Ugh. Submissive is where I struggle and have struggled for an eternity, but God isn't finished with me yet.
I was living a foolish life for a long time and, forget about the suitcase, I had a luggage cart full of junk! In fact, even after my repentance and return to Him, I still had a booty full. And, maybe like you, once upon a time, I didn't want to reach out to God and apologize. I felt like my life was messed up.  I felt like I was at rock bottom and somehow now I wanted Christ to come along and fix me, if He even would. But, sometimes that's just the way it goes. Sometimes we have to be at rock bottom, flat on our backs, looking UP at God, before we can see Him. Want to know a secret? He doesn't mind if we come in all dirty and bedraggled.  In fact, I kinda think we're His sort.
I have a dear friend whose father placed his belief in Christ on his deathbed. She really struggled with his conversion and the "fairness" of it all. She had lived a good life, been a good mom, and a good moral person, and he, her father, not so much. In fact, she would say he had been a pretty good-sized louse. How was it "right" that he gets to live life the way he wanted, in a virtual "Sin'atopia," while she followed the rules and now, NOW, at the end, he's going to Heaven? Where's the justice!! My response, my only thought actually, was, "PRAISE GOD!!  Your dad is in Heaven!"  Really, what is the other option? No, really!   She has religion, he has relationship.  Like so many other churches, she is singing the "Do/Be" song.  Do good/ Be saved.  Do'be do'be do (wop wop).  This story has so many more facets to explore, but if I go down that rabbit hole it may take a while to resurface here, so, I'll wait. Remind me later to tell you about the prodigal son. Love that story.

::Side Note … This guy was the exception, not the rule. Most people don't get the opportunity to "linger" long enough to choose Christ. Please, choose early! :)::

"Sin is not how bad we are, but how good we are not," Josh reminds us. We were all born into sin… thanks Adam, for that. Josh says that he thinks Adam is gonna have a pretty tough go of it when we all get to Heaven someday. 'Hey Adam!' ::Slaps on his back:: 'Way to go, man', or 'Smooth, man, real smooth.' Truth is though, Adam made a selfish choice to eat from the tree he knew not to eat from. He introduced the sin "virus" into his body: Selfishness. And we have inherited Adam's virus, Adam's choice for all of us, just like we inherit cataracts or blonde hair. But Paul says we can unchoose! The opportunity is available because of one man. Just like one man's disobedience caused us to move out of the garden, one man's obedience gives us righteousness and a way back in. His blood is our perfect antivirus; perfect and sufficient because He paid the price for us through the cross, our "door of hope."
It must be a faith decision. We must believe. Our faith must be placed solely on the work of the cross to get us across the ginormous pot hole in the middle of the road. There is nothing we can do to bridge it. Nothing we can do can catapult us across… only faith in Jesus gets us onto the bridge He has created. Even Abraham wasn't justified by his works; he "believed" God and it was counted to him as righteousness (4:18-22). When Abraham placed his faith in God something happened on the inside of him, as real as what happened to Adam when he made his selfish decision. God took all the debt of sin from Abraham's suitcase and replaced it with His own righteousness. Even still, Abraham needed atonement. Abraham could not enter into God's presence without the sacrifice of Christ and His saving blood. The Bible says the dead were resting in a place called "Abraham's Bosom", (Eph 4) (Heb 10:4) because no one could be in the Father's presence without the atoning blood of Christ. No one got in by their works, or by their circumcision, or by their Jewishness. Not even Abraham.
Atonement? In the Old Testament a lamb without blemish was brought to the priest to "pay" for sins. The priest would put his hand on the top of the lambs head and then cut its throat. The blood would be carried into the temple and set on the altar as substitution for the sins of the sinner. God would accept this as payment.
Jesus is the lamb, without blemish, without sin. If we want to be declared right with God, we must place our faith in Christ as He hangs on the cross so he can bear our sin. Because His blood has no junk, no virus, no sin, it is sufficient payment for all of our guilt and all of our sin. This plan is the same plan for everyone! There isn't a different plan for the flamboyantly sinful vs. the once-in-awhile sinner. Sin is sin. Remember, as Paul taught us earlier, its pass or fail.
So what do I do with this?
Do I place my hand on the head of Jesus, as He hangs on the cross, and willingly transfer my shame and guilt and sin to Him? [3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.]   None of us meet the standards. Some are more moral, but NONE OF US measure up.

**Dang pot hole**

No matter how hard I have tried to leap the gap between God and myself, I have failed.  And, if I continue trying the end will be the same, I will end up in the ditch, dead and eternally separated from God. I need Jesus. He is the bridge. His cross is the ONLY way I can get to the other side where God is. This means I must step out and rely solely on the work of the cross to get me there. No matter how moral I think I am compared to the others around me, it must be my reliance on Him, and Him alone, that grants me citizenship into Gods new world.

There is NO other way

I'm getting off this path and getting on a new one.  Hey there, I see Highway 777 right up ahead. My indicator is on!

In Him,
~ J ~

Lee Strobel: The Case For Christ. Amazing atheist on a journey to discover how to disprove Christ.

Thanks again, to my pastor, Josh White, and other pastors, for their unintentional assistance with this blog. I am a voracious note taker, and if you said it, I probably wrote it down. Thank you for letting me plagiarize you for Christ.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Romans Road Trip

Road trips… We’ve had some good ones. My all-time favorite trip was with Don and the kids, when we went to Arizona via Disneyland. I’d dare to think that my sister's favorite road trip was probably her honeymoon when she visited the Grand Canyon and Yosemite; although their family trip to Indiana could be a contender. After this last week, with the skunk, I would have preferred ANY road trip, even a bad one. That aside, the most profound road trip I’ve taken is recently, when I went down the Romans Road, with Paul. He asked me all kinds of good questions along the way, like:

Where do I stand with the maker of our universe, God?
In Romans 1 – 3:20 Paul teaches us about our standing with God. Don was, as Paul describes it, a Gentile. He did not grow up in a Christian home, like I did. He was the “unchurched”; he did not honor God or know who He was. My pastor, Josh, says that we will all be judged on what we KNOW of God, so that all mankind will be without excuse. Paul says evidence of God’s existence is so clear that nobody will be able to say God isn’t real, and that knowledge is what they will be judged on, even if they have no other knowledge, on the final day. Examples of “knowledge” are:

Creation: The world around us is an effect that demands a cause. God. Nature cannot originate itself, Paul says, therefore there is a God.

Organization: When you look at creation and observe the purpose and order and design we must conclude there was a designer, just like when we look at a Ferrari... there was no way the car gave itself purpose or beauty. Those qualities were gifts from the designer.

Man: It’s one thing to create a living organism but to create man with emotion, will, and a sense of right and wrong, requires God. Evolution cannot produce a soul and spirit.

Being: The fact that we have an idea of The most important being in our heart and mind means, HE must exist. In all generations, at all times, men have known of God. He built it into our make-up. And, in fact, the Bible says that we have His laws written on our hearts.
My atheist friend says, “If there is a God how could He have let so many bad things happen to so many good people?” Talk about putting the cart before the horse! My super-smart friend is hung-up on the idea that God is a “crutch” to the Christian, just like Santa is for children at Christmas. One day you grow up and realize that Santa was never real, and so, therefore, neither is God. She believes she is smarter than the average person, and in many ways I agree with her, she is! However, the intellectual veracity of her argument is flawed in that we should first determine whether God exists, not if He is good or bad … ”IF God exists, I pray that He is good,” Josh says.  As individuals we determine for ourselves whether something is good or not, therefore, the first question cannot be to judge the moral character of God but rather to determine if He exists at all.
Paul says people deny the existence of God, even though their whole being says He does exist, because they take, “go away God pills”, or “God suppressants”. [Vs. 18 says, “Men suppress the truth by their wickedness.”] Because of our sinful nature we want to live our lives the way we want to, putting ourselves on the thrones of our hearts. [Vs. 21-22 … “their thinking became futile and … they claimed to be wise … they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God” … for trash.] Paul says that if people persist in denying God, one day they will cross a line and God will give them over to a depraved mind. We can become numb to the idea that God exists. Societies go from bad to worst in a heartbeat because of immoral lifestyles. If, however, we admit that there is a God, the next step is that we must be submitted to His will.

And there’s the rub.

When we went to Mexico we were stopped by Customs Officials. These nice, but firm (and well armed!) officers asked us what our purpose was in visiting their country.  They asked what we had in our luggage; everything had to be opened up and inspected. Nothing that was suspect, even our bottled water, was allowed into their country. I got the feeling that if we had anything in our bag that they didn’t like, they might not have let us in and worse, they may have thrown us into their jail!
In Romans 2, Paul teaches us that the end destination of the Romans Road is not actually another country, but in fact, another world altogether. [Rev 21-22 is a description of the brand new world.] God will create a new earth that will not be dying because of the curse in Gen 3. No more weeds, no global warming! God is constructing a brand new city called New Jerusalem. It will be ON this new earth. AND, God himself, will be a resident in this new city. No more death, illness, tears, anger, greed, selfishness, deceit. It will not be allowed. All the residents will honor and worship God, as God. Complete and perfect love and respect. Everyone will have a meaningful purpose and life. BUT … 

Before we can enter, God will need to check our bags.

We will not be allowed to bring anything inappropriate or harmful into this city. [Rom 1:29-31 They had become filled with every kind of wickedness … gossips, slanderers, … even to inventing ways of being evil…] Arrogance, greed, deceit, new evils yet unnamed! There’s no way those outsiders (Gentiles) are getting in. But what about us? The insiders?? What is inside MY bag … the person who grew up in a Christian home? An “insider” who knows the stories of the Bible; one who agrees with every principal taught? “You who pass judgment, do the same things” … “Do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” Okay, I admit, I may have some junk in my bag, but it’s not nearly as bad as those “other” people. It’s not as big as the deceitfulness of those heathens. Greed?  Maybe a bit, but certainly not as much as those outsiders. Arrogance? Hah!  I am no where NEAR as haughty as those nasty Gentiles. Anyway, surely God will be grading on the curve, and so therefore, I will be just fine at the end of the day; just need a “C” to get in. BUT... 

God’s country is actually pass or fail. There is no curve.

The amount of sin in my bag is not what’s judged. If I add something vile (even in the tiniest amount) to something pure, it putrefies the whole thing. Years ago there was no "flu" season and now we have the swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, etc. One person, one animal, one bird with the disease spread it to a whole country, tainting the entire place. God cannot allow any contamination into the new world or we will become exactly what we are now, sick and dying… sinful.
Knowing that God cannot allow this garbage in His new kingdom, I pull myself up by my bootstraps and say, “Self, get that junk outta your trunk.”  But it’s not going to work. [Vs. 3:9 “…all under sin, there is no one righteous, no not one … therefore, no one will be declared right by observing the law.”] Apart from God nobody has a right standing with God. We cannot do it on our own.  In Chapter 2, Paul says there’s an end to the road and God will be checking our bags to see what’s in them. *Oy vey!*
We will be standing, on judgment day, in the biggest check-point line ever. [2:16 God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.] All the secrets stowed away will be revealed. Insider or outsider, we will not be allowed to enter if we are contaminated.
So, where do I stand with God? Thank Jesus, there is a way. When we were in Mexico there was a place to declare any contents which may be questionable, giving the authorities the right to take it away and let us enter their country without consequence. Paul says I can repent. I can pull over to the side of the road, and declare now that the contents in my luggage will not allow me entrance into the new country. Amnesty. I must swallow my pride, put aside my stubbornness (which is why most people don’t come to a right relationship with Christ), and repent. Even as an “insider” or Christian, as we call ourselves today, stubbornness exists in bucket loads, well, at least in THIS insider it does.
It seems the older I get, the harder it is to get the stuff out of my bag. It was easy when I was young, but now I’ve had a lot more time to do a lot more things. Some have been good, but the reality is, I can’t get all the junk out of there on my own. The people I love the most are the people I have hurt the most. And so I must begin where Paul suggests, with repentance; putting aside my stubborn pride and asking for forgiveness.
The closer I get to God, the more I see how big He really is. Across the room, He looked a lot smaller … And, I look at myself against His righteousness and holiness and ... I am ashamed.
I don’t want to be a poser. I know that there are contaminants in my life.  Admitting these things brings me to a place where I can cry out for help, understanding that I cannot face the divine check-point at the end of my life without it. I must come into a right relationship with God. ...I have explosive anger, contaminated motives and, while I can hide it better than some, everything will be revealed; it is better if I pull over and declare it.  I am truly sorry to those I’ve hurt along the way...
Next week, Paul answers:  How do you become a Christian?  Shall we continue on The Romans Road Trip?  Will you join me?  I hope you will; I'd love to have you come along.
In Him,
~ J ~
Thanks in part to my pastor, Josh White, and other pastors through the years, for their unintentional assistance with this blog. I am a voracious note taker, and if you said it, I probably wrote it down.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God's Dogs

Did you ever read the bible and go ... I get it! I get it!! One day last week, I think I got it! Sometimes, I don't get it. Well, not all of it. I get the easy stuff, like "Thou shalt not ..." but the harder stuff ... sometimes not so much. You know how you feel when you're sure there's more to a story and you're behind the curve?? That's me. I feel like the bible is so much deeper than I "get" sometimes.

I was reading in Exodus about the children of Israel and the promised land. The Israelites have been rescued from a horrible life of slavery by the oppressive Egyptians. They are now headed for the promised land and they've got it better than they've had it in a while. They can eat, they can drink, they can laugh and be joyful. More importantly, they can worship the way they want to and they're not building pyramids anymore (that in itself would inspire me to be thankful)! But they weren't happy. They weren't laughing or joyful. They were complaining! And they were complaining about stupid stuff ... "We want to go back to Egypt. At least in Egypt we had onions." I'm thinking, are you kidding me?? Are you kidding me??? You want to go back to Egypt to live in slavery because of ONIONS?? And I wonder. I wonder why God in all of His wrath and fury didn't annihilate these people. Why not go choose another people to be the "chosen ones." I closed my bible and I pondered.

A couple of days later I went shopping at Home Depot with the husband. I love Home Depot and Lowes. Really. Not only do they have some stinkin' cool stuff, they have animals of all types in there. Birds flying overhead. Dogs walking with their owners.  Seriously, I love these stores.  We spot this couple at the service desk and they have a very cute little black lab; maybe 5 months old. I could tell she was still young.  I couldn't help myself, I had to go say hi. [Yes, we have labs too. More importantly we have BLACK labs.]   We chat about our dogs and admire theirs.  They told us of their devotion to this (did I mention very cute?) little girl and how they actually don't leave her alone. When she absolutely must be by herself, they put her in a crate; for obvious reasons. Obvious that is, to those of us with black labs. We laugh and nod knowingly. We tell how our beloved dogs have managed to chew up the arms on our $3000 leather sofa's (husband says I just wanted new furniture so I willed it to happen), gnawed on the bottom rungs of my brand new kitchen table and chairs, all the way to how our newest puppy had chewed through the copper shielding on our internet connection outside the house. Twice. In two days. Argh! We all had a good time and then moved on to continue our shopping ... and I wonder ... could it be?? Was this the answer I had been looking for?

It strikes me that people want to know, pretty regularly, why we don't get rid of our dogs. Why don't we get nice animals that don't dig or bark, poop or CHEW. And our answer is always the same. "One day they're gonna be good dogs. It happens when you don't give up and persevere through all the rottenness of their youth. And they will love you until the end of time for your faithfulness to them." ... ... ...


And as I explained to my dear husband all that was in my heart and mind, he said, "Oooh, I get it too! We're God's dogs!!" Truth is though, sometimes I think we've all got a bit of cat in us too. We all want to do everything all by ourselves. Independent little hot heads until we get ourselves into a horrible muddle. THEN we scream like crazy for God's helping hand. Yeah, I think we've all got cat in us too, but I kinda like knowing that I am one of God's dogs.  And, He won't give up on me.

In Him,
~ J ~