Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Celebrating "National Relaxation Day" - My Way

I noticed several posts on Facebook today, informing me that is 
"National Relaxation Day".  

Hmmmmmm, sounds like a good deal to me!

And while I would love to be relaxing  poolside at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston, like I was here....

August, 2009 - The Four Seasons Hotel rooftop pool

I guess I will be settling for some down time in my favorite reading spot, instead. 

August, 2012 - Reading "Porch Lights" by Dorothea Benton Frank

Still, it's a nice thing to be able to sit down and relax for a little while 
at the end of a "busy day".  
Don't you agree?

So, how did you celebrate the day? 

Keep counting blessings, my Friends.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bumps and Blessings

Ever just feel like you're having one of those days when everything that can go wrong does go wrong?!?!?

It's almost like a snowball effect, picking up momentum and growing in girth as it barrels along.  One thing goes awry, then another.....and pretty soon you're afraid to answer the phone when it rings, for fear of what's waiting on the other end of the line!!!

Well, even in the midst of today's chaos, there were some rather significant blessings.  Yes, indeed, there were!

~ I took Pepper to the vet for a rash that has recently cropped up.  It really seemed to "bloom" over the weekend, with a patch of hair on her side just falling out overnight!  Really kinda scary!  Our wonderful vet did some skin scrapings on the affected areas, examined them under the microscope and determined that she simply has severe skin allergies and has gotten a staph infection where she had scratched herself raw.  So, for the next month, we are doing antibiotics and antihistamines twice a day.  Good news - no parasites or varmints eating on her skin and the condition is not contagious to the other dogs.  The medicine seems to be helping her rest more comfortably this evening, too.  So, overall, a pretty good outcome!

Hi, I'm Pepper and I'm stinkin' cute!!!
 ~ This evening, I spent nearly 3 hours helping fellow Realtors fit kids in our community for new shoes!  This was done through a community service program at our local Abilene Association of Realtors called "Walk with Pride".  Members of our association donate and raise money to provide a new pair of shoes for kids who qualify through a number of programs.  This year, we expect to put new shoes from Payless Shoes on the feet of 800 kids!!!  Okay, on the surface, you might wonder how this was a blessing to me.  I mean, honestly, I endured some pretty smelly little feets this evening!  But, wow, to see those kids' little faces light up when they found just the right pair of shoes and got to take them home was a big enough blessing! 

So, although there were some hiccups today, the blessings far outweighed the bumps.  Better to count the blessings and be thankful rather than moan and groan about the obstacles.

How was your day?  I hope the blessings outweighed the bumps for you, too!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Follow Up: What in the world is going on?!?!?

It seems that my post of the craziness of the world around us stirred up lots of emotions and responses.  If you missed my original post, you can check it out here.

I appreciate the comments on that post because they seemed to so closely echo my own thoughts on the matter. 

Yes, we have become desensitized to violence and crime in our world.  It is on tv, radio, Facebook, everywhere.....but, as long as it doesn't touch us personally, it is easy to push it aside and ignore it.  Just flip the channel or close the page and walk away.

I agree with one commenter that we are not even safe in our own homes.  (In my post, I guess I should have put "safe and secure in our snug homes" in actual quotation marks - as opposed to feeling that you would envision my busy little hands making those "air" quotation marks all over the place as I typed it.)  As evil elements in our society start to expand, none of us is truly safe from random acts of violence.  Even at our own home, in one of the most established and desired neighborhoods in town, we have experienced the nip of criminal activity.  My car, parked not 10 feet from the front porch, was gone through during the night a while back.  Someone must have been searching for money or drugs - they dumped everything out of the glove box and console.  Thank goodness they didn't destroy or vandalize anything - they certainly had the opportunity, if they had so desired!  Even though I accidentally left it unlocked that night, I felt violated and frightened upon finding evidence that someone had been so close to my home, in my car, touching my stuff (even if it was just a bunch of paperwork and cd's)......

I know that throughout the course of history, there has always been crime and corruption in the world.  Look back at some of the horrific events, just in the last century, and that is obvious.  Evil entered the world when Adam and Eve first sinned and left the garden.  And scriptures warn us of the existence of the enemy and the demise of the world.  Are we in the "end times"?  I don't know.....I wouldn't begin to try to make that determination.  I just know we shouldn't have to live in a state of fear - fear of going out into public places, fear of stepping outside with the dogs after dark, fear of coming home to a dark house at night.  Our greatest fear should be that the next generation is not learning the difference between right and wrong in their own homes or by example - as so often seems to be the case!

In this age when news travels so quickly, in this age of lightening fast reporting of these type of events, no one can claim not to realize what is happening.  No more "head in the sand" ignorance can excuse lack of action on the part of society. 

One common thread to remarks about my post is the need for people to take action - even if that action is as simple as hitting our knees!  Our faith calls upon us to believe that God can make a difference in this troubled world around us.  So, there IS something we can do, even though it may feel small and insignificant in the beginning.  The power of prayer is a mighty awesome thing and it is the very least we should be doing. 

I challenge myself, and you, to make an effort to stand in that gap between good and evil and pray for that swing in the pendulum back to Good. 

Believing we can make a difference......

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What in the World Is Going On???

I sometimes wonder what is happening with our world....why evil seems to be lurking around every corner. 

In the last 48 hours, there has been a rash of violence in my hometown which is mind boggling and disturbing....

A 21-year old man is arrested after two children are struck by gunfire into an SUV when a drug deal went bad.  One of the children remains in critical condition, with a grim prognosis. 

A 28-year old man goes on a rampage in an apparent fit of "road rage", driving at speeds up to 100 mph and ramming another vehicle - with his 1-year old child in the back seat of the car. 

A man breaks into the house of his estranged wife and refuses to drop his loaded pistol when police arrive, instead pointing it at officers and drawing fire which results in his death. 

I live in a normally pretty boring town of 120,000, right in the middle of Texas.  Our fair city is home to a thriving Air Force base and three church-affiliated universities - not a crime-riddled inner city.

And, yet there seems to be an element of evil growing and flourishing here.

Some blame the extreme heat this summer.  Perhaps the depressed economy encourages irrational behavior.  I am sure there are some socioeconomic factors that factor into the recent surge in crime.  

Whatever the cause, though, it is frightening.  Discouraging.  Disgusting.  Has our society started devolving, losing ground against the sweeping tide of corrupt and self-centered behavior where there is no respect or value for human life?  Is this trend a passing fluke or is it indicative of what we have come to expect of the world in which we live? 

My prayers are with the families involved in all of these situations.....

Those children in the back of the SUV shouldn't have been anywhere near a drug deal - some adult put them into that situation. 

That baby's care should not be entrusted to a man who so easily loses control and jeopardizes other lives. 

Those police officers never expected to take another man's life when they reported for their shift and their lives will forever be changed because of this man's actions. 

I don't have the answers, but I can certainly tell that something is out of whack with our world.  Realizing that there is problem is integral to dealing with it, don't you think?  Denial will only allow the trend to continue and escalate.  Those of us in our safe and snug homes and lifestyles will ultimately find these problems knocking on our own doors.  This crazy climate of carelessness and disregard for law and life can affect any one of us in a heartbeat.

I really try not to get up on the soap box too much here on The Porch, but some days, well, it feels like we're living in a Frank Peretti novel.  And I want to scream out loud, "Wake up, people!!!"

Okay, stepping down now.  But, I would like to hear what you think.  Surely I'm not alone in the way I feel about the encroaching craziness of the world.

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