"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

February 6, 2013


A few weeks ago, Jon and I went out of town for the weekend. We were going to be busy both Friday and Saturday nights and would be spending both nights in a motel, so needed to leave Sammie (our puppy) with someone. Jon's parents volunteered to keep him, so we dropped him off on Friday morning and picked him up on Sunday afternoon.

This was the first time that we had ever left Sammie with anyone, and from our understanding, he did well with Jon's parents; although he did keep looking out the front door for us and was very quiet the first couple days. When we picked him up, he was very excited and kept jumping up and down (and inadvertently had a small accident on their living room carpet). I thought picking him up would help calm him down enough so that I could take him outside before any accidents occurred, but I wasn't quick enough.

For the next couple weeks following us leaving Sammie, he stuck to us like glue and didn't want us out of his sight. Each evening, he wanted either on the couch between us or on one of our laps (preferably mine).

He was extremely clingy (for lack of a better term) to me in particular. During the day he followed right on my heels from room to room and would sit on the floor right beside me as I cooked or used the bathroom. Actually, more times than not, he wouldn't sit, but would jump up on me wanting to be picked up and held. In the evenings, Jon could get up from the couch and leave the room and Sammie wouldn't move a muscle, but if I got up, he would immediately jump down and follow me. The only way Jon could get him to stay with him is if he held onto Sammie.

The first few days were the worst. I would sit on the couch and Sammie would squeeze in between the arm of the couch and my leg; or he would want on my lap and when my legs got tired I'd have to pick him up and lay him beside me. He would get jealous if I was using my laptop and would try to nudge it out of the way or else try to lay his head on top of it. He would paw at our hands to get us to rub his belly and wanted us touching him or rubbing him continuously. Sammie really preferred that we both take him outside to potty.

Finally, after a couple weeks he has begun settling in and not being quite so needy. Sammie still likes having our attention, having his belly rubbed, and will follow us but he doesn't have to be on our laps or between us constantly. He will follow Jon upstairs when he gets home from work or let Jon hold him or play with him, and doesn't have to be with me all the time.

There is a possibility of Jon traveling internationally late spring/early summer and me going with him, and we're thinking, "If Sammie reacted like this after a weekend, what will he be like if we leave him for 2-3 weeks?!"

A few days ago, Jon and I went to my sister's house. Her son and his two kids were there visiting. Abigail wanted to play with Sammie constantly. She wanted to hold him and carry him around or pull him around in a laundry basket. Sammie wasn't too thrilled, but did tolerate her -- to a point. My sister and I had to leave for a while and while we were gone, Jon noticed that Abigail had put Sammie up on the couch and had stacked a bunch of stuffed animals all around him and on top of him. Sammie was patiently lying there putting up with it. But as soon as Jon called his name, Sammie jumped up and ran to him.

Although Sammie will tolerate the attention of others, his loyalty and devotion is to the two of us. It could be because we spoil him; but the bottom line is, Sammie loves us and enjoys being with us. When we call his name, he will run to us. He enjoys being where we are.

I love being with Jon. When he has to travel for work I miss him and can't wait until he comes back home. We don't like being apart. I enjoy spending time with him and being where he is. The two of us like talking together and sharing our hopes and dreams. Spending time with Jon is one of my very favorite things to do.

Luke 10:27 tells us to "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and will all thy mind; and [love] thy neighbor as thyself."

It's often easier to show our love for others, whether it be our spouse, kids, grandkids, friends, or even a pet, than it is to show our love for God. If we don't show our love for our spouse, then our marriage will suffer and our relationship will become strained. It doesn't seem as if most grandparents have a problem showing love and affection for their grandkids! We will put forth an effort to cultivate friendships and relationships because those people are important to us and we want them to know that we care.

But although we say that we love God, He is often the last person that we spend time with or show our devotion to. We may attend church, but then will grow busy throughout the week and will attend to everything and everyone else except God. If it's convenient we will read a few scriptures, or if we are faced with a need we will say a prayer. But do we really show our love, devotion, and loyalty on a consistent daily basis?

We have all heard the story about the wife asking her husband if he still loves her. He replied, "I told you I loved you when I married you thirty years ago! If anything had changed I would have told you."

We often have that same type of mentality regarding our relationship with Jesus. "I told Jesus that I loved Him when I became a Christian thirty years ago! If anything had changed I would have told Him."

When we truly love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind we will have a desire to express our love to Him continuously. It won't just be a Sunday thing, but we will want to tell Him every day.

Jon and I say, "I love you," to one another every morning, every night before going to sleep, at the end of each phone call, etc. I never grow tired of hearing him say those words to me. In fact, I enjoy hearing Jon express his love for me, no matter how many times a day I hear it.

I know that I am guilty of being negligent in expressing my love for God. Too often, I assume that He knows my heart and knows how I feel without me saying the words. But if I'm not careful, I will allow time to pass without me telling Jesus of my love for Him.

I pray that I will have that same feeling of devotion and loyalty to God that Sammie has for us or that Jon and I have for one another. In fact, I desire that it be on an even deeper level. I want to feel that surge of excitement in my heart every time I speak to God and spend time with Him. I want to be wherever God is and bask in His presence on a daily basis. I pray that I will come to the place where I will consistently have that unspeakable (meaning beyond description, indescribable) joy every time I spend time with God or speak to others about Him.


When I get home sometimes, Sammie will bark at me. He did this afternoon. He barked and growled like he was going to attack any second. Then I said something. He recognized my voice, and changed his demeanor immediately. He ran to the corner and peeked around. When he saw me, he ran up and started jumping as high as he could to reach my hand.

John 10:4 says, "And when He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice."

I can't say I've really heard Jesus's voice. I don't know that I'd recognize Him just by the sound of His voice. But I hope that I've learned to recognize what things are from God, and what things are not.

Sammie recognized me by my voice, but before he got very excited, he peeked around the corner to make sure. Jesus's disciples wanted to check His scars to make sure it was really Him after His crucifiction.


Hamburger and Vegetable Soup

1 lb. Ground beef, browned and drained

1 can corn

2 cups diced carrots

3-4 small cans tomato sauce

4-6 stalks diced celery

3-4 small tomato sauce cans full of water

1 small diced onion

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

4-6 diced potatoes

All amounts can be adjusted to your liking. You can also substitute/add fresh canned tomatoes as well. Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Continue to cook for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally. Serve with crackers or cornbread.

***NOTE: What I like about this soup recipe is that it is a guideline to go by, but can be adapted to your individual taste. For instance, when I made it I left out the onion because my stomach can't handle onion very well. I also, didn't use as much celery as it called for. I also didn't want a real strong tomato base for the juice, so I used a 15 ounce size can of tomato sauce and one can of water, then I added a couple cups of beef broth that I had in the fridge. I had a bag of fresh frozen corn in the freezer so used that instead of canned corn. I also had a couple cloves of garlic so minced them up and added in. The soup turned out good.

Other suggestions is to leave out carrots or celery or onion if you don't have them on hand or care for them, and add in green beans (which Jon would hate!) and/or peas (which both Jon and I would hate!!), etc. We think it would also be good to use stew meat, leftover pot roast, or Andouille Sausage instead of hamburger.

I also made this in the crock pot instead of cooking it on the stovetop -- because I'm lazy and didn't want to watch it and the crock pot is easier. I put it on in the morning and cooked it on low all day and it turned out perfectly.


My great-nephew, Jax, just found out a few days ago what pouting was. His mom didn't buy him a toy when they were at the store when he wanted one. She asked if he was pouting and he asked what pouting was. She told him it was when he acted ugly when he didn't get his way. Later after she checked out, he ran over to the door and said, "Mama, I'm pouting now!" She told him fine, but she was going home. Of course, he said, "I want to go with you! Don't leave me!"

A couple days later he was laying in bed with her one evening and wanted to play on her cell phone. She told him no, that she was using it. The conversation went something like this:

"I'm going to pout!"


"Mama, do I cross my arms like this or like this?"

"It doesn't matter -- either way if fine."

"What else do I need to do?"

"You need to roll your lip down a little bit more."


"People find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than for being right." - J.K. Rowling


We love you!

Loretta & Jon