THE NEW EWE

"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

June 5, 2013

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

My sister, Janie, and I got our puppies the same day. The puppies have the same daddy but different mama's. Janie had actually done a lot of research ahead of time and knew that she wanted a bishon poodle mix; they don't shed because they have hair instead of fur, they are smart, don't get too big, and really don't require a lot of maintenance. Plus they are really cute!

She had searched and couldn't find a puppy that was affordable, and one evening I happened to run across a website of a breeder, not far from our home town in Missouri, who was selling a litter of bishon-poodles, and the price was the most affordable we had found. The following week Janie, Jon and I were going to Missouri for a few days, so the timing was perfect. Janie kept telling me that I needed a puppy and I kept saying no; after all, I had always said that there was no way that I would ever have a house dog! But the more she talked, the more I listened, and then the desire to have a puppy begin to take root in my heart.

When Janie called the breeder to make arrangements to pick up her puppy, she asked if there were anymore puppies left. She was just checking for me in case I changed my mind! The breeder told Janie that she had just sold the last puppy in that litter, but that she had a little gray bichon-poodle from another litter. He was that particular mama dog's first litter and was the only one born. He was born with a hernia, so the breeder had not yet advertised him for sale until after he healed from his hernia surgery. Her comment was, "He is really different looking.... but he's cute."

More out of curiosity than anything, when we went and picked up Janie's puppy, we asked to see the little gray one. We were wondering exactly what, "different looking," meant. When she brought out this little gray fur ball, he stole my heart! Cutest little thing ever! So Jon indulged me and we brought Sammie home.

Here's the thing: Janie had a criteria of what she was looking for in a puppy. She has grandkids so wanted one that would be playful and good with the kids. She also wanted a little lap dog that she could hold.

When she first brought Lilah home, she was the shyest little puppy ever! She hid beneath the love seat or underneath Janie's bed and would rarely come out. She didn't like playing with the kids and didn't like sitting on Janie's lap. Janie would have to coax her out from beneath the chair, or else lay on the floor and reach underneath and pull Lilah out. She slept in Janie's bed from the beginning, but sleeps at the foot of the bed.

Then Janie discovered that Lilah might be quiet, but she was ornery as she could be! She has chewed up numerous pairs of Janie's shoes. She has learned how to jump into the wicker clothes hamper, without knocking it over, and get out Janie's dirty underclothes... and drag them into various rooms of the house. Janie's son had to install an electric fence around the backyard because Lilah figured out how to escape; and she could fit through the smallest hole imaginable. Lilah is white with black spots, and she will find the muddiest, dirtiest place in the yard to roll and play; with her favorite hiding spot being beneath their shed.

But she is also extremely smart. She will pick up her toys and line them up in a row according to size. My sister has sat and watched her do it. After my sister makes her bed in the mornings, Lilah will get one of the small stuffed animals she likes playing with and will "put it to bed", placing its head on one of the pillows on the bed. She has brought one of her stuffed animals and laid it between the food and water dishes.

Lilah has finally become more outgoing and will lie on the chair beside my sister. She is good with the kids and tolerates them.

My nephew has a big boxer, and Lilah is not intimidated by Ellie's size whatsoever. In fact, the two dogs are big buddies. Ellie is Lilah's favorite thing to play with. She will bite at Ellie's legs and antagonize her. Ellie "mothers" Lilah and is good with her, but there are times when Lilah doesn't know when to stop and Ellie has her big mouth open over Lilah's head like she just wants to bite it off!

Even though Lilah may not have fit my sister's original criteria for what she was looking for in a puppy, she is exactly what my sister needed. Janie has said that she loves Lilah and that out of all the dogs they've had over the years, Lilah is her favorite. She loves Lilah's orneriness and personality.

On the other hand, God knew that Sammie was what Jon and I needed. He's playful and fun, but not too rambunctious and doesn't chew things up. His favorite place to be in the evenings is right between us. Jon has enjoyed teaching him some tricks and playing with him outside. And Sammie follows me everywhere I go! He has never tried to dig out from underneath the fence in our backyard. He likes chasing squirrels and birds.

In the beginning we said no way were we ever letting Sammie sleep in our bed! But it started out that when we took naps on Saturday or Sunday afternoons we'd let him up on the bed with us. At first, his favorite spot was on one of our pillows, between our head and the headboard of the bed. That didn't work very well, so we'd keep moving him. He has never liked sleeping at the foot of the bed, which would be more comfortable for me and Jon, but wants to be right by us. Now, more times than not, he will sleep in our bed.... right between us. Sometimes when we crowd him, he will jump down and go lay on the love seat. But as soon as the first alarm goes off in the morning, he will come over and want up in bed with us.

God knew the exact puppy that Janie needed during this time in her life. He also knew that Jon and I needed Sammie.

We read the scripture, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus," (Philippians 4:19) and generally think about financial needs, or physical needs, or spiritual needs. But often it goes far beyond that.

God brings people into our lives, that can minister to a particular situation that we are dealing with, at the exact time that we need them. It may be through a friendship or a support group or a church or a misdialed phone number.

My sister's church had been trying to find someone to take care of a roofing issue on their building, and were having difficulties finding someone who was reasonably priced. The pastor of the adjoining church was helping by making phone calls and trying to get bids. He was trying to call a particular roofing company and misdialed by one number. But it happened that the misdialed number was a christian man who owned a small roofing company. He came out and gave a reasonable bid and was able to come in and get the job done for the church.

My niece and her husband have been going through the adoption process for over a year. Last week they got a call for an emergency placement of a brother and sister who were one and three years old. They got the call on Tuesday afternoon and the kids were brought to them on Wednesday morning. This is a foster to adopt situation, with an almost 100% surety that they will get to keep these two sweet children as their own.

What's been amazing is the outpouring of help and donations that their church, friends, and family have given them. They didn't have a bed for the 3 year old girl to sleep in, and that Wednesday night their church took the husband to Sam's and bought a twin bed with all the bedding for them to have for her. They've had clothes given to them for the kids. Their washer and dryer were old and just about shot, and a group of people took up a donation and gave them enough money where they will be able to purchase a new washer and dryer.

God knows our needs! Over and over again, He has provided for us. And at times, it has been things that we didn't really even know that we needed, until God blessed us with them. Sometimes He uses the most unexpected sources or people. God doesn't always work or answer in ways that we would imagine.

When Mama was so sick with cancer, we lived in a small house with no air conditioning. We opened windows and used box fans. One summer a man from the community, who had never attended church as far as I know and who many regarded as being hateful and very bitter, showed up at our house with a brand new window air conditioner. He and Daddy got along well and Daddy had always been kind to him. He told Daddy that he knew Mama was sick and he didn't want her to have to lie there in the house and be hot. It was an act of kindness that was from a very unexpected source, and was a huge blessing to our family. We had never had an air conditioner and had no idea how much it would help, but God knew that it would make Mama more comfortable, and used a man that had the resources to purchase it for us.

There are times when God may use us as His vessel to meet the needs of others. And there are times when He will open up doors and allow others to bless us and provide what we need for a particular moment. We not only need to be willing to be used, but also be willing to accept God's provision when He chooses to meet our needs through others.

We often think we know what we need. We will make a "wish list" and try to figure out how we're going to get all those things that we think we should have. There are times when God will provide those things on our list, because they truly are genuine needs in our lives. God is a good God and He will take care of us. But other times, we may receive things that we had never even dreamed of or thought that we needed. But God knew!

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

There's an old saying, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." But as Loretta mentioned, sometimes you don't know what you're missing till you get it.

If anyone had asked me years before I met Loretta, who I'd expect to marry someday, I doubt I would have described Loretta very closely. I pictured someone who loved games.

And if someone had asked Loretta, she wouldn't have described me, either. She's told me several times that she never dreamed she'd marry an engineer.

But we each got the mate who was perfect for us. God had us picked out, even though we had no idea.

We had to wait years longer than we would have guessed, too. But I think that's another topic...

ON THE MENEWE:

Homemade Salsa

28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes

10 Cilantro Leaves

1/2 tsp. Salt

7 Jalapeno Slices (can use fresh or canned)

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

2 Tbsp. Chopped Onion

Combine the ingredients in a food processor until blended to your likeness.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Homemade dryer sheets:

Cut a flannel baby blanket into squares (approximately 4 inch by 4 inch). Immerse the squares in fabric softener (such as Downy or any other liquid fabric softener) until they are completely soaked. Separate the flannel squares and let them completely dry. Stack them together and store in a ziplock bag. Put one of the squares in your dryer in place of a dryer sheet. You can use the same square over and over for several loads. They do a much better job than the store-bought dryer sheets, and each square lasts a long time, so it ends up being cheaper. They make the clothes smell fresh and work very well. You can tell by feel when the cloth has been used up and needs to be replaced. When you've used them all, you can just soak them in the liquid fabric softener and let them dry and continue using the same pieces of flannel over and over again.

My sister made some and gave them to me to try and we really like them and think they do an excellent job!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

You must speak up to be heard, but sometimes you have to shut up to be appreciated. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org