Stealing Faith

humor for relationships, family & life

Strange Storage Stories, Episode 2


How would you feel if this was barreling toward you?

I’ve just had an experience.

 

I was fighting my never ending battle with the laundry of our household when I happened to glance out my kitchen window. There, tucked in the aisles of the storage buildings, was a young man, urinating on the building.

 

I was a bit taken aback and wondering exactly what to say. I noticed the boy had a small rat terrier-type dog with him. As I watched, he was definitely calling the dog to him, but he was also having a difficult time getting his pants to cover up his manly pride and joy.

 

It was hard to believe I was being flashed by a kid who looked about 12 years old. I sat at the window, wondering about his motivations. The kid moved farther into the property, dodging in and out of the stored cars, moving along the gate and toward where we keep our landscaping tools.

 

Where was he going? What should I do? Call the cops? That seemed mean to do to a kid I suspected was an inadvertent flasher (who must have been very cold!). The dog was wandering all over the place with the kid, urinating on everything as well.

 

Light bulb.

 

It’s a little less than 20 degrees today so the dogs are cozied up in their crate inside. I called Samba, the Great Dane, and opened the front door.

 

The dogs, Dane and poodles, were off like shots. They were NOT a fan of this small rat terrier being in their territory and marking their trees.

 

My willie-flooping young boy saw Samba headed his direction, got his pants up around his waist and took off at a speed I didn’t think was capable in a human. He and his dog headed toward the gate.

 

By the time I got my shoes and jacket on to go investigate the boy was long gone. But that stupid rat terrier was back!

 

It thought it was pretty tough and kept challenging the poodles. But then Samba would take after it and it would head toward the gate.

 

This went on for a few minutes before a white sedan pulled into the gate. Who should pop out of the passenger seat but my young exhibitionist?! I didn’t get a good look at the driver, and I had to ask Samba to go after the rat terrier a few more times to give it a conviction it would be wiser to go with its family than stick around here, but finally the flasher, the terrier and the sedan were all loaded and headed toward their own homes.

 

I have no explanation for this story, but it did end well and I’m really proud of our dogs, particularly Samba, who is large enough to intimidate and sweet enough to let the threat do the talking. Plus, as soon as I called the dogs back all three responded promptly and obediently. This is much better than I could have expected!

 

That’s the word from my mundane existence. Have you ever set your dogs loose on someone/something? How about been flashed?

Knock Out


I kid you not, Tres is having a hard week.

Yesterday she got whopped in the eye by her golf club-wielding older sister and just a few minutes ago she made the unfortunate choice of standing in the doorway as the Great Dane was being let into the house.

Yep. She was plowed.

It doesn’t matter that the dog wasn’t trying to run her down, it’s just the dog is ridiculously stupid. Best-natured family dog ever, and I’d HIGHLY recommend the Great Dane as a pet, but oh, my, that dog has rocks in her skull.

So there Tres was, sprawled flat on her back in the middle of the doorway with her legs waggling in the air, howling at the top of her lungs while the dog rummaged around in her crate, trying to get the pillow in just the perfect composition, clueless she was the cause of all the noise.

Of course I ran to get Tres and she was fine after lots of snuggles, kisses and the bribe of a nibble of chocolate, but the whole episode made me think about how I react when I get bowled over.

Let’s face it, all of us get the wind knocked out of our sails every once in a while.

Our grand hopes, dreams and ambitions don’t work out quite like we planned.

Our families aren’t picture perfect like we planned.

That job didn’t work out like we planned.

Our financial situation isn’t turning out like we planned.

When I find myself sitting in the middle of the floor on my behind from an intentional or unintentional knock out, there are a few things I’m training myself to do:

1. Re-evaluate why I had the plan in the first place. What was my motivation for setting the goal in the first place? Maybe it’s not working out because I’ve changed or the goal isn’t relevant anymore. Taking stock of what’s brought you to this place is the first step of deciding which direction to walk as soon as you stand up again.

2. Stand Up and Start Walking. I choose to move. I resolve to go confidently in the direction of my dreams. There are statistics all over the place of people who fail but don’t give up. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison… people whose names are embedded in history could have stopped earlier in their careers and be seen as failures. But they got back up and started moving. I want to be like that.

3. Smile. Life throws curveballs. Lots of them. I’m doing my best to keep smiling and seeing the quirky, funny and lighthearted aspects of our day-to-day. And you know what? Because I’m role modeling for those little girls, sometimes I smile even when I want to cry. I want them to see a mom who had a fighting spirit and refused to be defeated. So I’m going to smile. (and sometimes my teeth will be gritted, too.)

4. Treats Help, Too. There are times when I think a solid dose of sugar therapy is quite alright. Usually I choose Fruit Gushers but right now I’m craving Milk Duds. It doesn’t really matter what the treat is, but when I’m a little insecure and a $1 bag of candy can help, I think that’s a good investment. Now, if only I could still find a pina colada Eegees. Then life would be seriously sweet!

What are some of the tips you give yourself when you get knocked down?

Rabbit Trail


I’d like to take you down the crazy rabbit hole of my brain this morning.

The last week or so has been exceedingly difficult for me because it’s the first August in many, many years I haven’t been surrounded by college students being trained for their positions in Student Development.

The jobs I have held at colleges have been far more than a paycheck.  I’ve bucked tradition and my desire to stay home after having children because I knew, knew that I was doing the work God called me to do.

(I have to believe I wasn’t delusional about my impact because two of the last three years I was selected Staff Member of the Year.  I appreciated that honor but was always a little surprised because the honor wasn’t something I worked to receive… I just did what I thought was right to the best of my ability.)

It’s always been that way for me – working with college students has been a calling, not a paycheck, not a place to be because I couldn’t find a real job, not an easy out because parenting is hard… I’ve felt a certainty in my soul I was doing what God asked me to do.

And this year August training happened without me.

One thousand miles away the staff I selected trained for a job I shaped and went on with their lives without me while I sat in a little mountain top town in a mouse-hole of a home with my family, two puddles and a Great Dane.

Professionally, this has reinforced my longtime knowledge that no institution is made up of one person and no one is irreplaceable.  Because that staff is going to be awesome, they’re going to do great without me and if it hasn’t already happened, they’ll forget about me because the staff they have now is incredible!

But on a personal note I’ve had to do some serious soul searching.

I know we are where God calls us to be in the timing He has decided.  I’ve felt no conflict about being here, doing this job in our mountaintop town in our mouse-hole of a home with my family, two puddles and a Great Dane.

But what do you do when you’re not Doing what God called you to Do?

The last few days I’ve realized I need to change my perspective.  I don’t always need to do the things God has called me to do in the past if I can be the person God has called me to be right now and in the future.

Does that distinction make sense?  I fear I’m not writing it well because it has been so immense in my brain it’s hard to wrap my hands around it.

This life we live throws a lot of curve balls.  Right now our financial system is askew, people are scared, marriages are in disarray, and culturally we are looking bankruptcy in the whites of the eyes.

We have to adapt if we’re going to survive and holding on to yesterday’s glory is a surefire way to damnation.

I know I need to release the work I’ve done in the past and embrace the work I’m doing right now. Who knows what the future will bring – but I’m totally accountable for my today. And the person I am Today must be the person God’s called me to Be.

I can let Him take care of the rest of life, the doors opening and closing (whether those be gentle or firm!).

“Be Still and Know that I Am God.” Psalm 46:10

“The LORD will fight for you, you need only be still.”  Exodus 14:14

I don’t usually do crazy things like quote Scripture from the Bible on this blog.  I’m much more prone to tell stories of my children’s poop or other such uplifting topics.  But every once in awhile I think it’s ok to be authentic with struggles and let you know what’s touching my life.

So thanks for joining me down the rabbit hole today.  Tomorrow may bring poop and humor back into the Force.  You’ll just have to check back and see.

Do you ever struggle with these topics?  What conclusions do you have?

Stumble It!

Why I’m 1,063 in Dog Years


I have been awake for three hours.

Thanks to something magical and incomprehensible, like a wormhole through time and space or even the mystery of a lava lamp or what makes a Jack in the Box taco so compelling, I’m pretty sure I’ve aged approximately 63.429 years in that three hours.

Let me illuminate.

Last night we drove back from The Big City and our conference but decided to cut the journey short by an hour by spending the night with my parents.  We needed to collect the last of our belongings, mainly clothing and the dogs, and drive them up to our mountaintop dwelling place.

This morning we overslept, which started everything off on the wrong foot.

To clarify the facts, we have two toy poodles and a Great Dane.  Also numbered in our party are three children in car seats and two full-grown adults carrying a little extra fluff I like to call “the lard baby.”

We were driving the full-sized, 4×4, four-door pick up truck named Bruce.

(Bruce and Stella (the Suburban I usually drive) are not married, although they’re both good-looking, husky beings.  They have a genuine fondness and understanding for one another, both being Chevrolet’s, but we’ve discouraged the hookup until Uno is at least 15 years old.  We just don’t need little Chevy’s running around here.)

(Wait, it doesn’t work that way?  Really?!  I thought there was a natural order to reproduction!)

In theory our road trip and vehicle selection was going to work out because the dogs could hang out in the bed of the truck for the hour-long journey north.  But in reality it was tricky because when we left for The Big City from the mountain town we loaded the back of the truck with scrap metal to sell but when we got down to The Big City we discovered we had the wrong composition of scrap for the dealer we were visiting.

Then we ran out of time to visit other scrap metal dealers and thus traveled back to the mountains with a pickup bed full of scrap metal and a cab full of grown ups and car seats.

Ultimate situation this morning: running late, full truck bed, three kids locked up in their seats and a Great Dane freaking out and trying to jump into the kid’s laps, which didn’t work out so well.

Did I mention Penny the Poodle is in heat?

Yep.  I put a diaper on her.

So, we finally got everyone loaded.  The girls got the luggage packed underneath their legs and we positioned the Great Dane between us on the bench seat.  I had a poodle on my lap and the diaper-wearing poodle sat on top of the Great Dane.

She likes it there, promise.  I tell you about her activity there in a minute.

All of this was “golden” for the first 15 minutes of our trip.  By that time we had gotten into town and the Great Dane, who doesn’t get out much, realized there were people on the sidewalks she’d never seen before.

The only logical option for the Great Dane was to get all excited, slobber, and lunge at the side window.

Poodles went flying.

People on the sidewalk jumped back and visibly gulped.  They might have cussed but I’m not that adept at reading lips.

The diaper stayed on.

The stop light turned green.

We drove on.

To add to the drama – because there wasn’t enough already – the lid of the milk bottle flew off and milk went everywhere.

Yummy.

Now, if you think the kids were quiet in the back seat, let me assure you, they were not.  In fact, Tres was adding her opinion to the proceedings by screeching, “Mwahh!  Ahh!  Aahh!  Tchee!”

Dos was injured by a misplaced toenail during the mad Great Dane leap to the back seat.  So she kept trying to get the Dane’s attention, “Samba!  Samba!  You hurt me!  You need to say sorry!”

Uno was more concerned with the aesthetics of the operation.  Dogs tend to pant when they’re stressed out and, of course, Penny the Diapered Poodle had that not-so-fresh scent.

It was, admittedly, quite smelly.

Uno says, “Ug!  It smells so bad in here!  I wanna cut my nose off because of the stink!”

So, safely away from the sidewalked area of the journey, Lizard let the windows down.

Tres, offended by the wind blowing through her tufts of hair, began screaming in protest.

It begs the question: of all the five senses, which is most important?  Is there a hierarchy?

Sight? Hearing? Taste? Touch? Scent?

Really, if there were a World’s Strongest Senses competition and all the senses got to put forth their hot-pant-wearing representatives, which would win?

For us, today, the sense of hearing bested the sense of smell.

We rolled the window up and the baby stopped screaming.

At this point we’d gone about 25-minutes into our 45-minute journey and I tried to shoot myself but the gun was covered in milk and wouldn’t fire.

The dogs settled down, the kids stopped screaming, and the road stretched before us with promise.

So, excitement aside, the diapered poodle settled onto the top of the Great Dane to begin her dental hygeine work.

Lizard says this is a normal display of canine submission but I’ve never seen it before this pair.  The poodle places her entire head inside the lips of the Great Dane and licks her teeth.  It’s really intimate and really gross and they do it several times a day.

I wish I could paint a better word picture for you of the sight of the large jowl draped across the poodle’s head so only the poodle’s brow line and top knot are visible.

Maybe you need to see it to understand but please, believe me, it’s disturbing.

We drove on.

The girls began to serenade us with remarkable, off-tuned, one-note skill.  Their monotones did not conform to the traditionally recognized Western scale.

I began to sweat while the poodle on my lap continued to pant heavily.

Dos stopped singing to chant, “No problem, no problem, no problem, no problem, no problem, no problem, no problem….”

Au contraire, mon frere, Houston, we have a problem!

We finally made it back to our mouse hole and I thought, with a sigh of relief, that we were in the clear!

Except, in setting up the monstrous dog crate we’ve discovered an entire wall of our new home has rot.

Ants.  Carpenter Ants.  Millions of ants.  A pile of dead ants at least two inches high while more ants coming seething from the wall to hit the ant spray and fall to the pile again.

A living science experiment, right here in our home!

We are such a good home school family.

Thanks for sticking with me for this long post of our morning’s activities.  If it made you laugh, please rate it and share it with your friends, family, or strangers on the street.  No promises my Dane won’t find the stranger on the street and bark at them, though.

Stumble It!

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