Monday, April 30, 2012

four-legged theology

I have loved animals my whole life. My great-grandfather and his daughter, my grandma, taught me that. Not my great-grandma- she tolerated the endless stray animals her husband brought in and fed but that was about it. The other two, though, they oozed affection and compassion for anything covered in fur and four-legged. To this day, you won't see my Gramma Charli without a yorkie underfoot.

My love for animals goes beyond that though. I still stop and save worms from the sidewalk. Even though my husband laughs at me and gets embarrassed when I stop every few feet to pick one up and toss back to the grass. He says I'm silly. "They're just worms." They are, but God made them and we should take care of them. It was this same rationale that helped me decide that while I want a potbellied pig so bad I can't stand it, I will never own one because Tevie says we will have to slaughter it eventually... and I just couldn't bear to take the baby I raised since he was a tiny tea cup pig to meet his demise.

It's all this obsession with animals that makes me debate weekly whether or not I should become a vegetarian and convicted me to stop buying pork and boycott Tyson and Purdue after watching Food, Inc. Unfortunately for them, this compassion does not extend to anything with eight legs or scales. I'm sorry, guys. I know God made you on purpose, but I have no purpose for you.

It took some convincing, but one summer after much begging discussion, Tevie agreed to let us foster dogs from a local rescue and through the local animal shelter. One summer we saw nearly 40 dogs and puppies come through our doors. One night- it was ten (10!) beagle puppies...who had just been wormed...which meant a lot of poop...shew. That was a long night. :) We snuggled sweet Pomeranians and four precious St. Bernard pups (again-all at once!). It was hard work, but it was so much fun...for me, Tevie went along for the ride. I'm kidding, he really was a good sport. And, as many foster parents can attest to, when you see that many sweet faces there is going to be at least one that gets to you. One that is different from all the rest. One who needs you. One who was meant for your family.
The first fluffball to waddle through our door was named Bingo. His momma died of cancer and with no family who would take them, he and his Doberman brother were sent to a rescue. Bingo's momma was good to him (or bad, depending on how you look at it) letting him snuggle with her in her hospice bed eating cheetos, fast food and heaven- knows-what else. He was (is) the fattest Bichon Frise I had (have) ever seen.
We got Bingo not long after his momma had died. Bichons love their people and since he had lost his, he attached to us almost immediately. Six months after he came to us, someone started the adoption process on him. When it fell through, I knew we had to be the ones to adopt him. I couldn't stand him going anywhere else.

We call him our velcro dog. He sticks tighter to you than superglue. Always underfoot, even in the bathroom, he whimpers if I leave him. We took to calling him Bings because we didn't really like Bingo, but having known only that name for his 8 years, it was too late to change it. A friend's little boy started calling him Binx-- and that stuck. Binx, B, Bingo Cardingo. He'd worked his way into our hearts.
a cross-country roadtrip (KY to AZ). Binx is a world-class traveler.

momma can't leave me if I'm in her suitcase.
All those cheetos and fast food have been hard on his little body. He's the fattest dog I have ever seen. We ration his food and walk him daily, but the weight won't budge. I tease that us fat ones are always last as Tevie and Elphie always outrun me and Binx. At nearly twelve years old, he's begun slowing down even more. He can't jump in or out of the bed, sometimes even the couch is too high. His hips ache, his breath stinks and his fur is starting to feel coarse and get matted so easily.

A few weeks ago I noticed two lumps on his hips. Those, coupled with the fact that he whimpers if you touch his hip too firmly, had me worried. He cried out while I was grooming him after his bath this weekend... and I continued brushing as tears streamed down my face. His big, cloudy brown eyes just look tired.

Today we went to the vet. Our vet is in the neighborhood so we walked the half mile distance. I prayed as I walked that I would be able to handle what I heard. If they were tumors, we would love him to pieces until it was his time. Forget food rationing, I make the poor guy steaks! I felt so bad for feeling frustrated by him lately. Barking when Dane is napping, whining for no reason, running off and coming home muddy.

The vet listened to his heart and lungs. He felt him all over and checked out his hips. "He is really overweight. These feel like pockets of fat that are collecting." WHAT? He's just fat?! He doesn't have cancer. He's just fat and old! I breathed a sigh of relief. He does need to lose some weight. I need to do a better job of making sure he doesn't eat his bowl of food AND his sister's. He is old, his joints are sore, his eyes are clouding and his time is drawing to a close-- but at least for now, he's just old and fat.

My dogs have taught me a lot. I've seen how fragile life is-- losing some unexpectedly. I've also had a glimpse into our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Sometimes I am a rotten pet owner. I leave them for too long in their crate, I yell at them for silly things and I don't always walk them enough... but they love me unconditionally. When I don't deserve love, they love me. When I don't deserve attention, they smother me. When I break their hearts, they extend grace and forgiveness. When I'm too mad to pursue them, they pursue me...and especially lately, I have never been more thankful to have a God who pursues me even when I'm too mad to pursue Him.

Sometimes Binx mirrors God's unconditional love, and sometimes he portrays me in my relationship with the Lord. Here's an example:

via google

The bottom photo is what a Bichon Frise should look like-- slimmer, trimmer and very well-manicured. Binx is a mess. Creek-swimming, cat-chasing, treat-eating, smelly breathed mess. When we go out, people ask what he is. They ask if he's supposed to be that fat. Some even call him ugly. :( Don't you know the Lord sticks up for us when satan says that about us?

"What is she?"
"Is she suppose to be doing that?"
"What is she doing, God?"
"Why do love her, Lord? Why do you claim her- give her grace and new mercies every morning? She is just going to fail you. She doesn't look anything like she's suppose to."

Because we are God's creation, made in His image and set free in Christ- He rebukes satan. He looks past the sand in our fur from wallowing in the creek bed and when we come home dirty, thirsty and tired from chasing something this world told us we needed, He brings us in, bathes us, brushes us and makes us a new creation.

Okay, so really I was just feeling overly sentimental and wanted to write about my dear, old dog. The theology was a stretch, but maybe you agree that we can all learn a thing or two from our favorite four-legged friends. :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

9 month check-up

Dane had his 9 month check-up on Tuesday with another glowing report! He weighed in a 20lbs 3oz (56th percentile) and measured 29inches (80th percentile). Looks like his percentile scores are finally averaging out. The doctor saw two more little teeth buds on his top gums and said they might pop through in the next month. 
 Fascinated by the paper on the exam table.

He's growing and changing so much everyday. He babbles on about his "dadada" and loves to squeal and hum to himself. He is rolling over in his sleep and waking himself up... not fun for mama and daddy who go in to reassure him in the night. Dane can pull up on just about everything if he's sitting up. He hasn't figured out how to get into a sitting position on his own if he's laying down. When he does- we'll be in trouble! He can also get on his knees and rock back and forth so I'm sure crawling is right around the corner! 

I'm so very thankful for my current job-- one where there's always laundry to do, dishes to wash and peekaboo to play. Oh, and there's no shortage of free entertainment. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

pizza with pappy

Perry Dane has no shortage of people who simply adore him. We are so blessed that our sweet boy will always be surrounded by a supportive, loving family who encourage him in the ways of the Lord. 

Dane's Pappy (Tevie's dad) loves to sing and always sings bible songs to Dane. One of their favorites to do together is "The Wise Man". I'm not sure if Dane finally grasped that the floods came up, or if he thought it was funny to put his sippy on his head, either way, it made for cute pictures and laughs from his family. :)

 Laughing with Pappy while they sing.
 "Here, Elphie, are you thirsty?"

 Gumming a pizza crust to death. :)
 This is my most favorite picture EVER!!! Elphie was giving a high five, hoping Dane would share with her! What a mess!!

a boy and his dad

We've tried to take full advantage of this beautiful spring weather, spending as much time as we can outside. Today we met Daddy for lunch at the city park. We packed a picnic lunch and Daddy taught Dane the fine art of swinging. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

then what?

725 HRS. 

That was the license plate of a car in my neighborhood this morning. I'd never seen it before so as Dane, the pups and I strolled by on our morning walk I made a mental note of the plate. Since the tornados/storms passed through our area last month our neighborhood has been full of construction workers repairing all of the damaged houses. All of these strange men with power tools has my fearful self on heightened alert. 

If you've read this blog for any length of time you know fear is a daily battle for me. It's a stronghold I would like to say has been defeated, but I was reminded again today that the enemy has my number. Oh, man, does he ever. 

I'm working my way through Beth Moore's Esther study. I've done the first few weeks before, but the scripture is jumping off the page to me in brand new ways. Like tonight, for example. I sat watching a video that I have seen before, my book opened to a page so full of notes there was hardly room to scratch down anything else. In that scribbled mess of notes, I hadn't written a single thing about fear. And yet tonight the word "fear" was spoken at full volume. I sat on my couch, curled up under a blanket, Bible in hand sobbing like a little boy who just found out his dog had died. It was pathetic y'all.

My man is out late tonight. Whew, there it is. A chill of fear falls all over me. What am I going to say, "No you can't go be a part of ministry to college students because I don't want you to be out late because that means I will be home alone which means I won't sleep!!!" No, I wasn't going to say that. So instead I facetimed with my sister until she practically had to hang up on me. Then I dead bolted all the doors, turned on every outside light (because, you know, bad guys don't like the light?! I'm not even rational, I know), checked my baby's room for creeps, and sat down to spend some time in the Word. 

In this particular session, Beth is talking about the courage Esther showed in asking the Jews to fast for her before she goes to Xerxes to plead for their lives. You can read all of this in Esther 4. She shares very candidly her greatest fear-- losing her husband to another woman. She explains how the Lord talked her through it. She said He made her go through her worst case scenario in her mind. "Then what?", He'd ask. "Ok, then what?" When she walked through the whole thing in her mind, she realized she wouldn't die- though that was her fear. She would eventually get back to ministry and the Lord would carry her through it. So I sat there staring at two empty blanks on the page. 

If _______________, then ______________. 

I can't go there. I can't go there, Lord.

I can't walk through my worst fear... because it still owns me. The enemy has this nightmare on repeat in my brain and I can't turn it off. 

I thought I was fearful before I became a mother. Heavens to Betsy, that was nothin'. As a momma, knowing that there is someone else on this earth who depends on me, who needs me, that's a feeling unlike any other. If something happened to me, a precious little boy would grow up not knowing his momma. Worse than that, if something happened to him... if I didn't have those luscious cheeks and big blue eyes to look into...

If I lose my baby, then... 

I wept until my chest hurt and my eyes burned from all those salty tears. If someone takes my baby, then what? Then what? What do you do when the most precious thing you have on this whole entire earth is gone? This is a very real situation to people I love and because of that, please know I do not take this lightly. Maybe it's because I have seen this in such close proximity before that I fear it now for myself. This is a very real fear for me-- something I pray about DAILY. HOURLY. BY THE MINUTE somedays.  

Most of things we fear will NEVER COME TO FRUITION. But do you know what the enemy tells me? But it can. "What about those babies you read about in the news? Snatched from their beds in the night. Who's to say that couldn't happen to Dane." I can't tell you how many times I have prayed protection over my sweet boy in Jesus' name. In His name I remind satan that he was DEFEATED. He has no power over me and I claim Christ's command to not be afraid. I claim that God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity but one of power, love and a sound mind (2Tim 1:7). Power, love, sound mind is my middle of the night mantra when I get spooked. Don't laugh, y'all. I'm being 100% honest with you.

And just when I think I've mastered it. When I have defeated fear... it creeps back. 
725 HRS. He was tall and thin. The car was red... just in case the police ask.
I'll just check once more to make sure the windows are locked. 
Did you hear that sound? 
Why is that trucked stopped in front of the house?
Baby in one arm, groceries in the other, finger on the panic button on my car keys.

If _________, then __________. 

If _________, then GOD.
If _________, then GOD.
If _________, then GOD.

When everything falls apart His arms hold me together. He commands me to trust Him-- to trust Him that the things I fear most will never happen AND to trust Him that IF THEY DO He is working all things for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).

There's no denying I have a loooong way to go on this. Thankfully, the Lord won't leave me this way. He will continue working in me. Jesus says many times (as I was reminded in the study tonight) that we are to TAKE courage. It's there-- it's our for the taking. We just have to reach out and grab it. 

So tonight, I am. I kissed my baby good night. I turned out some lights (it's a start!). And I'm going to sleep...

...power, love, sound mind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

baby on board

We are still trying to recuperate from our whirlwind family vacation. We spent last week traveling with my parents to Phoenix and San Antonio to visit family. Dane is an all-star flyer- handling each of the three flights we took with the poise of a big boy! 

I wish I could say he handled the time change that well. Moving ahead two hours proved tough on the little guy. We had it all figured out by the end, but, boy, were we all glad to be back at home in our own beds. Here are a few photos from our big adventure. 

Dane is named after my great grandpa Perry Lou Crawley. He went to be with Jesus on June 6, 2004. His bride, my great grandma Johnie, just oozes adoration for my sweet boy who not only shares her love's name but also his birthdate. 
We lived in a total of four houses in Phoenix. Hey, I told you we moved a lot, right? This was our favorite by far. We were trying to remind Chase of all the cool things he was far too little to recall. It's fun walking down memory lane, but I'm so glad we didn't stay in that precious house. If we had, I wouldn't have my amazing husband and sweet boy.
Speaking of memory lane, I called up an old friend and we got to spend some time together while I was in town. I love that now that I'm a mommy I find myself reaching out to the girls I haven't seen since we left Arizona over ten years ago. Whenever I have a question about cloth diapering, breast feeding, baby food making, etc, it's my Arizona friends I seek counsel from. I guess you can take the girl out of Arizona but you can't take the Arizona out of the girl. :)

Brianne has such a sweet spirit and her baby girl Kaelyn is precious! They were so sweet to let us come play at their house. I have never seen two babies act like ours did together! Dane was soooooooo excited. He wanted to hug Kaelyn, pinch her, pull her hairbow. Maybe it was love at first sight! ;) Hey, with godly loving parents like she has, I wouldn't object. Maybe there is something to arranged marriages....

 Dane has rapidly developed over the last few weeks. His personality is really shining through. He is very easily excitable and full of it facial expressions. The bigger reaction he gets from his audience, the more faces he'll make. I think he has a future on the stage...
 One big development is figuring out to move. He isn't crawling yet but if the way he's getting up on his knees is any indication, it won't be long!
 My aunt and uncle and their two amazing kids live in San Antonio. They volunteer with a production company that brings CCM bands to the area. While we were in town, the Casting Crowns "Come to the Well" tour was in Austin. They got us hooked up as volunteers. It was such a cool night. Did you know that the whole tour meets before the show for a devotional? They pray together and then everyone spreads out through the venue to pray over each and every seat. It was so cool to be a part of that and to see that these artists really view what they do as a ministry.
 Casting Crowns is cool and all....but I totally went to see Matthew West. My Pandora is set to Matthew West Radio and I can't tell you how his album "Something to Say" has ministered to me. After the show he was kind enough to let us take a quick picture. His is humble and kind-- and, man, can he sing! My favorite thing though? He carries his own sharpies. He didn't admit to being a germophobe, but as a germophobe myself, I'm pretty sure it's because he doesn't want to be touching other peoples' germy pens. And that makes me love him even more.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Right now

This is what I'm doing right now. Holding a sweet sleeping boy. It's lunch time and Tevie will be home soon. I should be making lunch... Except that I can't bring myself to put down this precious bundle of chubby cheeks and curly hair. My heart is often overwhelmed by the amount love I carry for him. He's just too precious for his own good.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I am so grateful we didn't have a typical wet, cold winter. Even still, it was wet and cold enough to keep me and Dane cooped up in the house for too long! We've been enjoying the spring weather. He loves to play outside in the grass and take walks around the neighborhood in his stroller. 
swinging at the park for the first time!

don't you wish you could strip down to a diaper when you got hot? :)

visiting daddy at work. The campus has the prettiest flowers and blooming trees in the spring!
Papa J and Granna sent Little Man a walker... he hasn't quite figured it out yet. He's getting better though. He can back himself into a corner but still doesn't understand the whole idea of the thing is to move forward.
Bathtime is our favorite time of day. Dane will splash for hours on end. He's going to be so much fun in the pool this summer!
It turns out feeding yourself is pretty hard work. He is getting better every day. Here he is eating a snack in the car.
 This was taken immediately after he pulled himself up for the first time. Apparently he was as shocked as we were that he could do it!

My birthday was Saturday. Tevie took me to Lexington for lunch at PF Chang's (our favorite!) and a little shopping. I got this dress but it turns out it is not AT ALL nursing friendly. So I returned it and got this one. Can't wait for the first opportunity to wear it! Dane and I spend our days in comfy stuff so we, okay I, love the chance to put on something other than yoga pants. After lunch and the mall we went shopping at a REAL grocery. You know, the kind that sells beer and fancy cheese! My love for cooking and my small town grocery don't mix, so I relish the opportunity to meander through a grocery in a big city. 

In case you're wondering, we got out of LEX before game time and the couch burning in the streets that followed. In fact, my entire birthday celebration was planned around being home in time for tipoff of the UK/UofL Final Four game. Tevie celebrated pre-game and post game. :)

In other news, my sweet boy has a very Lyle Lovitt-esque pompadour workin' on his noggin. Good thing he's cute! When we're out we usually hear "He is so beautiful!" first followed by "Look at that hair!"

I've tried smearing lotion in it after the bath to tame it... it doesn't work. Those crazy curls have a mind of their own. He is so precious! For his birthday present to me he decided to ROLL OVER! FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! Tevie and I squealed with excitement. And just in case that wasn't enough, he also decided to stand on his own for a few seconds- no leg to grip, to ottoman to lean on- just his two legs! Tevie asked if he was ready to mow the yard next! 

Next week we head out to Arizona and Texas to visit family. I can't wait to take pictures on the new DSLR my parents got me for my birthday! It's going to be a fun trip. Dane will get to see his great and great-great grandmas and some special aunts, uncles and cousins. We leave Easter Sunday. This year, just like last year, we are "Forgetting the Frock" and rockin' our t-shirts to support Orphan Care. Hop on over to my sweet, sweet friend Emily's blog to learn more about it. 

Oh, gotta run. Sounds like naptime is over!