Category Archives: animals

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Food and Fur

It’s still a work in progress, but take a look at my new writing spot!

It’s not the most comfortable seating position (in relation to the keyboard), but I think I’ll get used to it… Oh, cool! I just lowered my chair and the keyboard’s in a better position! Sweet!

Anyway, it’s been a really long while since I sat down to write a brand new post, so here it goes!

Culture Shocks

Moving to a new city and a new culture brings with it a multitude of “shocks.” You’d think that a distance of 250 miles (201 as the crow flies) wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but you’d be wrong. Life in rural middle Georgia compared to metropolitan Chattanooga (Gig City) is totally different, and some adjustments are easier than others.

For instance, back in the Chattanooga area there are tons of restaurants, and not just the fast-food variety. There, for instance, you can find several very good barbecue restaurants, all within a few miles of each other. Yet, when my wife and I decided we wanted to find some barbecue down here, we had to drive 45 minutes to a place that was open only on Fridays and Saturdays, had outdoor bathrooms, had no air conditioning, and the floor was sawdust.

I asked a lady sitting quietly nearby, “So, tell me about this place.” With matter-of-fact tone and an attitude that gave me the impression she didn’t enjoy strangers asking stupid questions, she replied, “My daddy woke up one day and decided he wanted to sell barbecue, so he did.”

Hey, the food wasn’t bad, but even more, you didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling!

As we find other culinary establishments to visit, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. Should you come visit and get tired of my wife’s cooking, you’ll be better aware of your options.

Critter Shocks

We left not only our daughters behind when we moved away, but we left two little dogs we loved, too. However, even though I have no wagging tails to great me when I walk in the door; there are plenty of wagging tails on the outside.

Imagine waking up your first morning in a new house, sitting down on your front porch to enjoy the cool, misty air while you sip a cup of coffee and read your Bible. Then, imagine looking up to see two dogs trotting down the quiet two-lane road, one with a shoe hanging from its mouth by the strings. With only the sound of a few birds singing in the trees and the faint squeak of the antique glider you’re sitting on going back and forth, imagine saying to yourself – as I did, “Well, that’s different.”

Here in the equivalent of Mayberry, the dogs are happy, wander the neighborhood, enjoy being petted, and steal any shoe left overnight on a front porch. Literally, the very next morning this same dog came from the opposite direction with a different shoe … only this time she came into my yard and dropped it long enough lick my hand and roll on her back to greet me. A neighbor, out for a walk at the same time, hollered from the street, “She’s the community dog … she doesn’t belong to anybody, but she’s a good watchdog … her name is Dog.”

…There’s also the gnats.

Did you know there was such a thing as the “Gnat Belt”?

Well, we are in it!

Continued Observations

Honestly, there’s a lot more I’d like to tell you, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. If I bore you now, you might not come back. How sad would that be?

I mean, I’ve left my hometown; I’d hate to lose you guys!

So, hug the ones you love, thank the Lord for His blessings, and be on the lookout for some more posts. What I’m learning I’ll certainly share with you 🙂

God bless!

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Filed under animals, blogging, community, Food, General Observations, places, writing

Bunny Essentials?

 

Whilst shopping for dietary essentials like food, my attention was caught by what appeared to be a section dedicated to Easter items.

There I saw bunny ears, colored plastic eggs, stuffed bunnies, a few fuzzy rabbits, and a sign or two that read, “Bunny Crossing Hopping.” But what I did not expect to see was what has now become an “essential” in Easter bunny must-haves…

A crossbow.

Why? Seriously, why?

I know, none of this has anything to do with the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but even from a pagan perspective, why?

Essential? What part of bunny hopping and Easter egg hunts does a weapon play? Instead of “pin the tail on the donkey,” are we now teaching our biblically illiterate toddlers how to hurl a missile downrange?

What must needs be shot? IF the crossbow with two (count them, 2) arrows is essential, what is it that must be shot with a crossbow arrow and nothing else? I mean, the arrows are “essential,” or are they not? A shotgun with two (count them, 2) cartridges wouldn’t suffice?

Well, let’s be logical about this . . . If I were to go purchase some shotgun shells for hunting, odds are there would be some ducks printed on the box, if, of course, they were meant for duck hunting. If I were to go buy a deer rifle, and the company selling it wanted me to know it was great for the job, I might expect to see a deer somewhere in the packaging.

What do we see on the package of the “essential” crossbow and two (count’em, 2) arrows? The supposed Easter Bunny and a chicken.

Since when was it a thing to shoot the Easter Bunny??? And, more than that, who hunts chicken? You keep ’em in pens and wring their scrawny necks or just buy them already nugget-shaped.

Next thing we’ll be seeing are bear traps being sold as “Christmas Essentials.” I mean, there’s nothing more necessary to a wonderful Noel than catching that sneaky Chris Kringle coming down the chimney, right?

Oh, what fun!

I guess if you’re gonna have something resurrecting from the dead it’s ESSENTIAL you kill it first.

Got it. It all makes sense, now!

He was pierced for our transgressions with the bolt from a crossbow, then placed in a colored egg with some chocolate and jelly beans. 

I knew the “essential” truth of Easter was in there somewhere. Yep. 

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Filed under animals, Easter, General Observations

If a Monkey Can Do It, Why Can’t We?

Free Movies

One of the great things about modern cable networks is the ability to watch free movies on demand. It’s a great thing, but I guess it’s also a bad thing, too. Free movies mean lots of wasted time in front of a television – because there’s always something to watch.

Well, sorta.

I mean, it’s precisely because I am NOT paying for these movies that the selection is a tad bit limited. When you get what you pay for, and you pay nothing, then you get what you pay for.

So, that’s why I found myself watching “Oz the Great and Wonderful” late Sunday night. I’d forgotten that I’d already seen it back in 2014.

Finley the Flying Monkey

Anyway, even though the movie was rather lame, there were a few well-acted scenes. I especially liked Mila Kunis as Theodora: the creepy, emotionally-ill, heartbroken witch that later became the wicked witch of Dorothy fame. She became the prime reason I will never trust an attractive woman dressed in red that just so happens to greet me in the middle of the woods.

But of all the scenes, one stood out immediately (at least this time around when it was free), and that was the following scene where Finley the monkey indebts himself to Oz.

When I saw this Sunday night, I immediately thought of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I was once trapped and bound by sin. A lion that had been seeking me out to devour me was just about to pounce. I cried out to the only One who could save me, and he did – except in my case, He took the lion’s bite for me.

Why is it so hard to understand that I owe him my life? Oh, I know I do, but do I ever really go about it in the way that Finley the monkey did? Do you?

You do realize, don’t you, that without Jesus we would be dead – eternally so. The life we live is only because of the grace of God. The least we can do is echo the words of Finley and say, “You saved my life, oh Jesus. So, I hereby swear a life debt to you. From this moment on, I shall be your loyal and faithful servant until death.”

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

If a monkey can do it, why can’t we?

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Filed under animals, Christianity, grace, Movie review, salvation, worship

I Live With Animals

The following post was first published nearly 6 years ago, but nothing much has changed except location. We still live with animals; we still live in a house that’s never a showroom, and I’m once again at a computer on a Saturday morning. It’s just that this time I’ve got places to go and people to see … and messes to clean up 😉


Early Riser

Today I am up a little later than usual because it is Saturday. It is nearly 10 a.m. at the time of this writing and I am just now finishing an egg, cheese grits, and my first cup of black coffee (in my TTU mug).

I sat down at the computer for a few moments in order to study for tomorrow’s Proverbial Thought post on Proverbs 14:3. Then, as I read the next proverb, 14:4, an additional thought came to mind…

I live with animals, and I’m glad.

Furry and Furless

Animals. Now, when I say, “I live with animals,” don’t get the impression that I live in a barn, although barns are pretty nice if you remodel them. The animals I am referring to are not only the four-legged, flea-bearing, shoe-chewing canine types, but the 2-legged, child-bearing, shoe-buying female types.

Barns. Sometimes I really do think I am living in a madhouse. Other times I feel like I am living in a barn of the un-remodeled style. But most of the time I am cognizant (I went to college) of the fact that animals of all kinds make messes. Whether they be furry or furless, you can tell where animals live.

Qualifying “Messes”

Before I get into trouble, let me qualify what I meant by “messes.” My children, my wife, and I do not leave the same kind of messes lying around the house that our four-legged barn-guests are capable of. We know how to use our indoor plumbing.

The kind of mess I am talking about is just the stuff that comes as a result of living a hectic life. For example, clothes aren’t always put away; dishes get piled up; the kitchen table is a community desk, and a remote-controlled helicopter is in the china cabinet (that’s my fault…along with the clothes, dishes, and table).

But what if these messes weren’t there? What if everything in the house looked like a picture from Martha Stewart’s fake family album? Without at least some of the mess, home would be nothing more than a sanitary stable or a clean crib – and that could be bad.

Too Clean

Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” In other words, a clean stable might be nice, but that’s not always a good thing.

This proverb is trying to tell us that in order to have the grain to make a mess, you need the messer-uppers to harvest the grain. Without the messer-uppers in the stable there will be no harvest – so quit complaining.

A strong family is a family that lives like a family, not like legalistic representation of perfection. It’s nice to have a clean house, for sure. Yet, I would rather live with a bunch of animals (myself included) in a happy barn, than like a white mouse in a sanitary laboratory.

As soon as my wife and daughters read this, my funeral will be a simple affair.

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Filed under animals, Do not judge, Homeschool, Relationships and Family

Hide In the Rock, or Be Wolf Poop…Your Choice

“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: … The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks” – Proverbs 30:24, 36

Conies

The conies are second in the list  “four (little) things” that are exceedingly wise. But what is a coney? Is it a hot dog found on Long Island, New York? Possibly, but only if a legless wiener is capable of wisdom. These conies in this proverb seem to have a defense against being eaten with mustard – they hide in the rocks.

HyraxThe animal described here is the hyrax, or rock badger (no relation to the kind that can chew off your arm). Found in Africa and the Middle East, these cute little critters, weighing an average of 8 lbs., are scavengers which live in groups of 8 to 10 and find refuge in the cracks and crevices of rocky terrain. Though scientists say the hyrax is a close relative to the elephant (it even has tiny little tusks – how cute!), this furry little animal is practically defenseless…at least on its own.

Their Defense System

Even though hyraxes are small, weak, and incapable of fighting off a predator, they are not on the endangered species list. Why is that? The answer lies in where they make their homes – in the rocks – and how they look out for each other.

Being small and rather slow, the hyraxes in Africa are preyed upon by other animals such as wild dogs, leopards, and Egyptian cobras. However, it seems that the conies in Israel, like the ones of which Solomon spoke, have learned how to use the rocks to their advantage, along with a “system of sentries.”

 “In Israel, the rock hyrax is reportedly rarely preyed upon by terrestrial predators, as their system of sentries and their reliable refuges provide considerable protection. Hyrax remains are almost absent from the droppings of wolves in the Judean Desert.” (Wickipedia)

Is it any wonder why Solomon called the conies (hyraxes) “exceeding wise?” Knowing the danger posed by wolves and the like, the defenseless animals band together, watch over each other, and run to the rocks any time there is a threat.

Our Defense

One would have to be blind to miss the parallels here. Why do so many fools fall victim to the ravenous wolves of the world? Their bones are found scattered across the sands of time because they ventured out alone, without the watchful eyes of others, and without the defense available in the true Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.

Why won’t more people heed the wisdom of Proverbs? Why do so many of us continue to be eaten alive by the enemy when there is a Rock in which to run and hide?

“OH! Rock of Ages, hide thou me!”

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Filed under animals, Bible Study, Christian Unity, community, God, Life/Death, Struggles and Trials

I’ve Never Seen THAT Before!

What I Saw

I have been driving since I was 15, so that’s been nearly 35 years. On top of that, I have been a professional driver for the last 16 years, and during that time I’ve logged a lot of miles on back roads, highways, and interstates.

Needless to say, I have driven enough miles on enough roads to have seen a whole lot of things. But what I saw today was something that I had never seen before – ever. It was a big, green, plant-based elephant on the back of a flatbed trailer.

I didn’t have time to take a picture of it. There were two other people in the school bus we were transferring from one site to another. They saw it, too, but no picture was taken by them, either.

“Well, that’s the first time in my life I’ve ever seen something like that,” I said to the other two people on the bus. They felt the same way; they had never seen anything like that, either.

Then a thought came into my head…what if I were to tell people, “Hey! Guess what I saw, today! I saw a big, green elephant going down the highway!”? I could only imagine what they would say, “Really? Were you drinking and driving?

Then the one thought led to another.

What They Saw

As I was thinking about trying to explain how I literally saw a big, green, elephant of a bush rolling down the road, I was reminded of how hard it must have been for the disciples to explain seeing a dead man living again (i.e., Jesus).

Some people obviously didn’t want to believe them, and some even threatened them with imprisonment should they keep talking about the crucified Jesus supposedly living again. I mean, nobody had ever seen anything like that before, and there were no photographs to prove what they saw, either.

Yet, Peter and John saw what they saw, and touched Who they touched, and talked with Whom they talked, etc., etc., etc. So, they wouldn’t keep quiet.

So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:18-20 NLT

Then came another thought: Some people may not believe what I have experienced, nor the testimony of others who have seen and experienced the same thing, but which is more important…a giant shrub, or a Glorious Savior?

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Filed under animals, Christianity, Faith, General Observations, salvation

An Update On Jack (and answered prayer)

On Tuesday, June 6, our little dog, Jack, was attacked in our front yard by a roaming pit bull mix (I despise that dog). On June 7, the day after, I published a post entitled “Praying for an Animal” and addressed the biblical reasons for doing so.

Here are some photos of how bad he was messed up.

Jack had approximately 15 puncture wounds, a couple of which went into the muscle – these were the most troubling.

There was so much damage that drain tubes had to be inserted all over his little body so that fluid could drain. He had multiple staples holding his wounds together.

Most concerning was his back, because it was there that the skin was literally pulled away from the muscle beneath. Between that and the punctured muscle, the vet warned us this might not end well.

However, despite how crazy it might have seemed, the evening of the 7th we prayed for Jack, even anointing his little furry head with oil. Want to know what happened next?

The first thing Thursday morning the 8th Jack was sitting up and wanting to play with his favorite toy, a chewed-up cheetah!

Now, just a week and four days later…today…in our back yard…I filmed a camera-shy little Jack. You judge for yourself whether or not God answered our prayers.

Thank you, everybody, for your kind thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes. I believe Jack is going to be fine 🙂

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Filed under animals, Prayer