Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Scooby, Middle Name Doo

Superman had Lex Luther; Sherlock Holmes had Moriarity. My current nemesis is Scooby, middle name Doo. The connection I have with our dog of two months is a classic love/hate relationship. When our puggle is sleeping, curled up somewhere, I love him. The moment his little bug eyes open, the affection decreases substantially.

I have tried. Lord knows I have tried. It has taken hours to train him and house- break him and convince him that we will not leave him chained up for hours at a time in a garage like his former owners. I have made the effort. At times I feel his little paws are inching into my heart. But then, he does something. Like the other day.

Noah was at school and John was at work. I walked into the living room and saw Scooby on top of our couch lying on a big cushion. This is a usual spot for him. But he seemed to be burrowing.

“Scooby, what are you doing?”

His head swiveled around quickly and he hopped down and ran to me. His eyes spoke.

“Hi, Robbie. I wasn’t doing anything. Food? Huh? Food? Do you have food?”

Something hung down from the corner of his mouth.

“Scooby, what is that?” I bent to get it.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Robbie. Food? Huh? Anything?”

It was a piece of stuffing from a cushion. (See picture above - the white stuffing hanging from his mouth is evidence sample A)


The dog ran off and I went to inspect the scene of the crime. I have watched CSI so I looked at the hole in the corner of the cushion and I glanced over to inspect the size of the dog’s mouth as he sat cowering in the corner.

Perfect match.

“Scooby, no!”

I walked over to him and picked him up and took him to the hole in the cushion.

“No. No chewing, you freak!”

He hopped out of my arms and ran to the corner. I scowled at him and his eyes spoke words from the Bill Murray movie, “What about Bob?”

“Robbie, I need. I need. I need love….and food. Huh? Anything?”

I shook my head in disgust and decided what any slightly crazy woman would do at this point. I would give my dog the silent treatment. That would show him.

Ignoring Scooby was easy at first. When the two of us are alone at home, he is kind of like my stalker and this particular afternoon was no different. If I went to a different room, his little paws followed. But on this day I did not acknowledge the puggle. I really think it was getting to him. When I sat down to write, he assumed his usual position of curling up with his head on one of my feet.

I moved my foot. Yes, I definitely was letting him know what was what.

Scooby got the point. He looked up at me, his little eyes full of doggy sadness.


“I have nothing for you, you couch chewing, cushion eating freak.”

Scooby left the room and went outside on the patio.

I felt a bit victorious, but soon my passive aggressive craziness faded.

Forgiveness began. Scooby was sitting in the swing when I walked out on the porch. His head swiveled.

“Hi Robbie. I’m so glad you’re here. Food? Huh? Anything?”

I sat and down and we began to swing together, crazy dog owner and little puggle freak.

I remembered the moment when we first met Scooby at the Dumb Friends League. We were considering adopting him or one of two other puggles. Noah was set on Scooby the minute he saw the dog. I just didn’t know.

I sat in the little office where they put us to get to know Scooby and I prayed.

“God, please let me know if this is the dog for us. Or let him do something like bite Noah so I know it isn’t the dog for us.”

Yes, I am a little insane.

I watched Noah and the puggle together. They were both in perfect joy, playing with each other like two little boys, best friends already. Scooby suddenly looked at me for the first time. His eyes spoke.

“Hi, I’m Scooby…I like the boy. Do you want me? Do you have food? Huh? Anything?”

No lightning bolt or even a soft voice in the wind, but I knew that God answered my prayer when I saw the little freak’s eyes. Iknew God wanted to give Noah a gift of joy in a little puggle. Sometimes, I have to look hard to see the joy, but it is there, wagging its tail.

As we swung together, my hand found its way to Scooby’s head. I honestly hate this little mongrel.

His eyes closed as I petted his puggle head.

But sometimes, I love him.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shaking With Laughter

God has an incredible sense of humor. I bet His laugh is one of those great laughs that is so contagious when you hear it, you can’t help but grin. Then the giggle begins and before you know it you are in a semi-chuckle moments away from the full blown chortle which gives way to the guffaw. In my mind, heaven will be full of music and laughter. So why not warm up here on earth? Solomon gave us wisdom in Ecclesiastes when he told us that there is a time for everything. I believe it is important to laugh every day, just as it is important to put on deodorant. Without it, life kind of stinks.
Some of my best laughs are when I look at the silly things I do. Take last Friday night. Earlier that day, my wonderful husband gave me a birthday card with money in it. It was in my size and color, the perfect gift. For my birthday, I chose to take a trip with my sister-in-law Lory to a little mountain town in Colorado where we would gamble and shop and enjoy a quaint Victorian hotel.
John was more than generous and I thanked him and put the card in my purse.
Later than evening, he and I went to a banquet fundraiser with my brother and sister-in-law. The meal was lovely and the presentation was convicting. The organization reached out to teenagers and gave them hope in Christ. At the end of the banquet, my brother Phil, as our table leader, gave John and me an envelope. If we wanted to contribute to the organization, we could put money into it.
I am cheap, selfish and greedy. I also love Jesus and thank God for His mercy towards me – a cheap, selfish and greedy gal. As a teacher for nineteen years, I have been a part of countless fundraisers. So much so, I avoid most of them.
But this was truly a worthy cause. John and I began giving each other the man and wife look that says, “Well, how much?” During our negotiations, it occurred to me that I had money in my purse – my birthday gambling money.
My thoughts went very quickly at this point.
No, that is MY money.
John gave me a lot. I could give some.
No, that is MY money.
Are you a Christian? Are you a heartless witch?
No…but that is MY money.

I took a deep breath and whispered to John, “I can give part of my birthday money.”
I suggested an amount and John said he would match it. He put his money in the envelope and gave it to me to do the same.
I reached for my purse.
My thoughts:
I AM a Christian. I am not heartless witch.
Good for me. I am a giver!
It feels so good to give.
Maybe God will bless my gambling now.
(No, I did not go here. I know better.)
So feeling incredibly self-righteous, I opened my purse. The money was still in the card John gave me.
In order to understand my reaction to what happened next you must know that as I opened up the card, it was the “Just as I Am” moment of the banquet. “Just as I Am” is an old hymn that is played at the end of some church services, when it is very quiet in the room and everyone is pensive and dealing with the conviction of the Spirit.
You also need to know that John gave me one of those musical birthday cards that play a song when you open them.
In the quiet of the hotel banquet hall, feeling as if I was a great generous Christian, suddenly the Mother Teresa of fundraising or the Bill Gates of social causes, I opened my birthday card to get some money.
A song pealed out: “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”
Kenny Rogers’ voice scared me and I shut the card and purse. I ducked my head in gambler’s shame.
My thoughts:
After my face flooded with humiliation, my giggling began. It was that wonderful silent laughter that causes the entire body to shake and tears well up in the eyes. I knew it was an inappropriate time for to laugh but I couldn’t help it. It was still quiet. The closing prayer began and I continued to shake.
John put his hand on my back. Later he told me that he thought he heard something but didn’t know what it was. He didn’t know if I was crying or laughing. Afterward Phil and Lory commented on my tears and red blowfish face.
I put the money in the envelope later when the milling of people began.
A silly goof, but a wonderful chance to laugh at myself. God once again humbled me – His cheap, selfish, greedy, wonderful beloved daughter – and showed me not to take myself so seriously. God laughed with me, I am sure. A wonderful contagious laugh that shook heaven, I bet you. Of course, I’m not literally betting on that.
His presence is full of joy…and sometimes shaking laughter.