When a Good Dog Dies, pt 2

Looked at some dogs at the Humane Society today just because I was there and I like to visit them.  I saw about a dozen sweet tempered, calm/submissive dogs that included two bully breeds, a Jack Russell, a standard Dachshund & a mini long-hair one (in the same kennel so they might have been buds),  a Great Pyrenese mix, and others.  I saw three or four Jack Russells. A small light brown pit bull girl probably had the sweetest, calm temperament, but she wasn’t pretty.  Well, to someone she’s pretty.  I hope they all get good homes.  I saw about 4 Chihuahuas.  Only one had the stocky, macho confirmation I like on a Chihuhua. He was a beautiful taupe (brownish gray) color and had a nice temperament. I could have brought him home on the spot, but we’re not ready yet to have another dog.  The reason I would even consider a chihuahua is because 1) I’m impressed with Cesar Millan’s Chihuahua and, for some crazy reason, Beeker loves Chihuahuas. I don’t think Jerry wants one though.  Maybe he’s afraid the poor thing would get stepped on.  8:))

When a Good Dog Dies

It’s been a month and two days since we buried Hanna–my second precious West Highland White terrier–at the rich age of 16 years and 4 months. Most of the time, I’m okay.  She was, after all, a very old lady and she had a wonderful life.
Today I took her left-over food to the Humane Society.  It was hard to do.  I felt sad and missed her. It felt like slap. Giving my dog’s food away.  Little things make me miss her. Like when I got teary-eyed in the grocery store yesterday while walking down  the dog food section to pick up a can of food for Hanna and remembered that she’s not here any more.  Most of the time I’m okay, but her absence has left void in this house.  Image

Life Today & Book Notes

A Place to Belong: through the religious maze to amazing grace.a journeySo, you want to hear about my life? Okay, you asked for it. The really exciting thing is that after being unemployed between June 2009 and September 2013, except for six-months- of temporary jobs, I am gainfully employed. After passing my  exams this morning, I am now a certified Customer Service Representative.   

I thank the Almighty One for taking care of us during lean times and I pray for those still struggling to find employment.  It’s a tough job climate out there.  Qualified people can’t find work.  The competition for every job is fierce. I’ve seen it at job fairs, Idaho Department of Labor-sponsored classes, job sites, and talking to others looking for work. 

The other current news is that the book I’m writing finally has title that truly fits. After many title ideas, title-naming contests, votes, Facebook feedback, and soul searching I have decided to name the book A Place to Belong: Through the Religious Maze to Amazing Grace.  I have also decided on a cover design. I would like to publicly acknowledge my talented husband for taking the cover photo and for the subtitle for A Place to Belong. Go JT!

I am caught up with my editing until one (or both) of my editors send the next batch of edits. When the edits and cover design are complete, the next step is formatting the manuscript the cover. And then I am ready to publish!

Top Heavy Churches

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

This scripture reminds me that reality will often oppose desire. This is an irony that points to a popular misconception within Christianity. This misconception sounds something like this: serve God and good things will come your way. When bad times come, God has forsaken you. But not according to King Solomon.

I have learned more about the mercy and comfort of the Lord in painful times than I have in good times.  Yes, I like to feel good. Yes, I like to receive good things and good experiences. But the disappointing, painful times have driven my “roots” deep into the “soil” of my soul. God has been a constant reality in good times as well as bad, but more dramatically present in bad.

This irony is played out in church when a pastor, or another church leader, believes they are somehow more important than the people they seemingly serve.  Many a good man/woman in churches around the world has fallen from their self-conceived throne to a humbling end of power. I believe that spiritual leaders get away with this behavior because parishioners do not hold their leaders accountable.

A healthy leader is always willingly accountable to someone.  That is what I like about our church.  The pastors are not lone ducks. They are accountable to other church leaders, as well as church members. They walk with us, not ahead of us.  They are well aware of their imperfections. They never take a superior position.  They eat with us and fellowship with us and laugh with us, and cry with us.

I have spent enough years in churches to know the difference between a pastor-dominated pastor church and a church that focuses on Jesus Christ.

I choose Jesus!

Julia and Julie: Attracting Readers to Your Blog

Once again, I have not been faithful to write my blogs on a regular basis.  From my observations and experience, I have concluded that it doesn’t matter as much how often one writes their blog as how regularly they write it.  If one writes on a regular basis, readers will anticipate the blog, particularly if the blog is engaging and well written and relatable–the reader cares because they identify with the subject–and creates an expectation (hook). Why do blogs, like Julie and Julia, the blog documenting Julie’s project to cook a recipe from a Julia Child’s cook book every day for a year become so successful?  How could a blog about a cookbook attract so many people including literary agents and movie producers? It was because it was engaging, well written, and created an expectation. Can I do the same? Up until now, my A Book is Born blog has not had a strong core subject. I have concluded that I have written about too many different subjects, stuffing them into a blog regardless as to their subject. The other problem is that, except for the last few, my titles do not link readers to my piece.  Thus, many blogs are falling through the crack. I’m considering beginning again, connecting my subject matter, engaging the reader with interesting content that is likely to create an expectation. Would you like to come with me?  I would love to take you on this new journey! Marsha T.