Bonus Deo

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Feb 292012

What would you do with one more day?

For the first time in history, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are open 24 hours today in celebration of Leap Day. Event promoters posed the delightful question, “What would you do with One More Disney Day?”

Have you ever felt like you’ve been given bonus time?

If you’ve read the last few blog posts, you know about my dog Max. He really lived up to his name by achieving a maximum life. First thought he was near death around this time last year, so, as a temporary fix until I could get back home, put him on heart medicines. He faltered a couple times after that, and it could have been the end. Then, last fall he was bitten several times by a loose dog, but again, rebounded.

Every day with this maximum dog seemed like a bonus, and I was transformed living with this reality. I became more aware of him, spent more time with him and gave him more attention and affection. Over time, I became more habitually grateful.

Maybe you, like my sister, are a cancer survivor. Or maybe, like most of us, you’ve been involved in a near-miss on the highway.

One year ago this month, a giant eucalyptus crushed my best friend’s parked car. Just 2 minutes later and she would not have survived. In these past 365 days I have thanked God for her more than ever.

A few years ago I was visiting my mother. For various reasons, it had been very difficult to pack and say goodbye. I wanted to stay longer. At the last minute, weather cancelled hundreds of flights, and I was blessed with 3 more days in my beloved home town. I really made hay with that extra time, accomplishing many things important to me.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

God is an abundant God – our “Bonus” Deo!

Since we never know which day may be our last, how are you, as a Thinking Christian Woman, making the most of each of your “bonus days” until you go to Him, or He comes for you…one of these days?!

 © 2012 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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Feb 242012

I recently used a friend’s shopping bag that was printed all over with one-liners like “live in the moment,” “dance, sing, floss and travel,” “listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.” One in particular piqued my interest.

Do one thing a day that scares you!

As a conservative adventurer, I thought about what would be quick, convenient, safe and still stretch my comfort level. It so happened I was at the property where my old dog’s grave had been dug months before. Max had defied death, and was with me that day as I contemplated the gaping hole, covered with boards, which waited patiently for the inevitable.

Scare-factors: deep hole intended as a grave (that’s creepy all by itself), there might be bugs or worse, and getting back out wasn’t a sure thing – yep, that would do! Without much deliberation (no time to talk myself out of such a strange idea), I hopped in. Ground level was about at my shoulders. Crouching highlighted the profound stillness. I could see the walking world, but no longer felt part of it. And above all, my dear dog, for whom this space was lovingly reserved, gazed down quizzically.

All of a sudden I realized that this somewhat impetuous mini-adventure had formed a sweet bridge between life and death. Looking up at Max, I realized that one day soon I would be looking down and saying goodbye, but for now, it seemed like I was making the space a little more friendly by my presence.

Didn’t Jesus go to the cross, the tomb and beyond for us? Didn’t our victorious predecessor friend take the sting out of death for us? What I did was nothing like that, but somehow it seemed to help soften the eery edge of my companion’s imminent death.

And something else – from that lowly perspective, everything that I cared about and wanted to return to was above.

I play senior women’s basketball and a team member recently mentioned that she likes to play basketball because, “you look up a lot.” I’d never thought about that before, but it’s true!

There are certainly times to bow in reverence to God, but we are also urged, at appropriate times, to look up.

  • Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2
  • And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them. Matthew 14:19
  • …looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2

While it was fun to try something “scary,” and the exercise yielded insights, in general, I don’t recommend taking life cues from a shopping bag. The Good Book is, of course, unequaled as a rich source of life-giving stories, examples, proverbs, axioms, maxims, aphorisms and adages for the Thinking Christian Woman whose life is looking up!

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved


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Feb 012012

My dear old boxer friend Max died this afternoon. He lived a good long life and entered the big sleep gently and with dignity. Several weeks ago, a friend encouraged me to ponder the lessons God has been teaching through this great companion, which continues to be a God-glorifying exercise. Here now, for your consideration, is a sampling of:

Lessons Learned with Mr. Max

“Look to the animals, and they will teach you…” Job 12:7

  1. Be willing to lay your life down for your friends
  2. Communicate, even if it means tipping over your toy box
  3. Know your job and do it. Stay focused
  4. Choose friends wisely. Pour your life into a few select souls
  5. Greet loved ones enthusiastically
  6. Walk guests to the gate
  7. Growl before you bark
  8. Don’t beg
  9. Learn and honor others’ boundaries
  10. Open your heart to the love around you
  11. If you have a choice between drinking from your bowl, or the pond, choose the pond
  12. Some of the best communications have no words
  13. Accept and embrace others with your eyes
  14. Find out where the doggie door is and learn to use it
  15. Home is where your loved one’s are
  16. Just when you think you’ve reached the end, there might be more.
  17. Lose yourself for awhile in something wholesome you enjoy
  18. Don’t jump on people
  19. Get out in the sun at least 10 minutes every day
  20. Don’t try to force others to do what you want, even if you can
  21. Respect authority; rest in it.
  22. Be ready to play at a moment’s notice
  23. Sit. Staaaayyyy. Love waits patiently
  24. Take a nap when you need one
  25. On a leash, you’re free from the pressure of deciding where to go
  26. Cats are more fun to chase than to catch
  27. Ask for what you want, then be grateful for what you get
  28. Be content to stay in your own yard
  29. Never give up. Defy the odds
  30. When you’re happy, wag all over

On this occasion, as possibly less of a thinking Christian woman, and more of a grieving Christian woman, I’ve taken the liberty of modifying a poem called The Last Battle, and am dedicating it to Mr. Max, in case it might help someone else with a terminally ill pet.

With Love and Thanks

If it should be that I grow weak, too tired to play, too pained to sleep, then you will do what must be done, I’m trusting you, you are the one.

You’ll be sad I understand, but don’t let grief restrain your hand, for on this day, more than the rest, I need your love to stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years, I understand your aching tears, but don’t ask me to suffer so, just please, do this and help me go.

Take me where my needs they’ll tend, and stay with me until the end. Your scent, your sound, your eyes, your touch will comfort me so very much.

Please hold me firm and speak to me, until my eyes no longer see. I know in time that you’ll agree, it’s one more kindness that you’ve done for me.

Although my tail has waved its last, all pain and suffering now is past. Great Master, I pray her soul You’ll lift – good life, good death such precious gifts.

Don’t grieve too much it fell to you, this sad and painful thing to do; we’ve been so close these many years, my love and thanks flow with your tears.

© 2012 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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