When You Don’t Have a Dog in the Fight

dog in the fight
The dog in the fight

There was more than one dog in the fight. We heard the commotion late one night outside on our deck. The pack of dogs that run together in our neighborhood decided to visit our place. The crash we heard was the grill shoved against the door. Tables and chairs were shoved aside by the bodies of the dogs, and we knew disaster was at hand. By the time we got there, the trash can was overturned and its contents scattered. Underneath the mass of black and brown was a tan dog, smaller than all the rest. He howled and tried to get away, but he was no match.

A bucket of water on their backs did not deter them, so Dave shoved them apart with the first object he could get his hands on. In seconds, they were gone. The dogs ran off together as though there had been no scrape. The chaos they left behind proved what had taken place. The dog who lives at our house stayed behind, probably glad to see them gone. The only marks she sustained were the piles of froth on her back from the mouths of the other dogs.

No dog in the fight

We didn’t have a dog in the fight, and I was not happy that these dogs invaded my territory. We didn’t even have a dog in the fight, I thought. Why did they have to come to my space and unsettle the quiet? Then I found myself wondering what that phrase means. This I found: “If you have no dog in a fight, you are not concerned and will not be affected either way by the outcome of something.”

Basically, if it doesn’t affect me, or mine, I do not need to (or intend to) concern myself with the matter. It is also saying that it’s really none of my business, and therefore I won’t get involved.

The problem with this logic is that there is always an effect to someone, even if it is not to me. There are others who have dogs in the fight and there’s nothing they can do about it. Since I don’t have a dog in the fight, do I really need to care? Does it need to matter to me?

dog in the fightThe fight

We must, instead, model to our children and to others what Jesus taught: to do to others what we would want them to do to us. When we are down and out and being kicked about, we need someone to help rescue us. So this year, let’s look for folks we can help rescue. We begin by looking for the needs of others and  helping our children understand those needs as well.

To prepare our kids for life, we should involve them in ministry. Whether we’re singing for elderly neighbors, visiting in the nursing home, or reaching out to downtrodden in our community, it matters. Beyond the walls of our community are villages and people who need our help. We might not be able to travel to those places, but we can send others who can. We can partner with other ministries, and our children can help partner with us. This is something I wish we would have done better with our kids. 

No matter where or how we’ve failed in the past, there is still today – and tomorrow. So go ahead. Do something about the dogs in the fight.

Don’t turn your face the other way. Do not ignore abuse, poverty, prostitution, or trafficking just because you don’t have a dog in the fight. Help your kids think about others instead of themselves. Encourage your teenagers to reach out to those who need a friend. Ask God to give you a heart to minister to those near you. 

In this New Year, consider what God wants you to do – who He wants you to reach – even though you have no dog in the fight. Make a difference so there won’t be any debris left. Do your part to help get rid of the dogs in the fight. Don’t do it because I said so, but because Jesus did.

Pinterest No Dog in the Fight

Organizations that make a difference

There are many organizations helping in the name of Christ.  Some of them are more familiar than others. You certainly can find places to contribute and to help physically.  Here is a list of organizations with which I have personally had experience. Each one of these is near and dear to my heart.

Compassion International.  A child-advocacy ministry pairing compassionate people with children living in extreme poverty to release the children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty.

Good Hope. Equestrian and Regenerative Farm. (Local to this community.) “Where the hope of healing the soul and soil come together!” 

Kingdom Channels.   Making disciples of Christ and establishing assemblies which uphold all HIs teachings among every unreached people group of the 10/40 window.

O.U.R. Operation Underground Railroad. “We exist to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. We offer freedom and healing to survivors of human trafficking and exploitation through direct intervention and aftercare.”

Plain Compassion. Resources and leadership to humanitarian disasters in the US and around the world.

Preemptive Love. Fear leads to violence. Violence leads to war. Preemptive Love unmakes violence. We stretch across Iraq, Syria, Latin America, the United States, and beyond, working together to unmake violence and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. 

Samaritan’s Purse. International Disaster Relief. The mission of Samaritan’s Purse us to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel. [think Christmas Shoeboxes].

 

 

Sunset – Remembering in January Sunsets

sunset

sunset

Sunset at the end of the day

The days are cold here and the nights even colder.  At dusk, the sunsets are beautiful.

From the inside looking out, I’ve watched the orange-gold sun setting behind barren trees, lighting the sky with one final nod before it settles in the western sky. All is still.

Morning comes, and the birds vie for spaces at the bird feeder. I watch them as I sip hot tea with lemon and locally made honey. Always, I remember my mama.

Mama kept a warm house and watched birds from her kitchen window.  Any size or shape was welcome at her feeders, and she especially enjoyed watching woodpeckers on the trees in the woods outside the window.  At evening, Mama enjoyed sunsets.

Was it the vibrancy against the coming night that she enjoyed?  Could it be the kaleidoscope of colors that changed from evening to evening? Was it the clouds backdropped in colors, sometimes fluffy like cotton or thin like tissue?  Maybe it was the promise that, after the sunset, comes the morning?

Remembering the sunset

In January 2010, we buried our mama in the graveyard of the church she attended most of her life. It was a windy, blustery, and icy day. The wind whipped at our hearts, reminding us that another era of our life is past. All during the funeral service, men from the church re-shoveled the path from the church to the graveyard so we could make our way up the hill to bury our mama.

Family, cousins, and friends helped us sing one of our mama’s favorite songs that day in her memorial service. Sometimes I sing it now, remembering her. Sometimes I sing it, remembering that there is more to life beyond the sunset than anything I can ever experience here.

We stood around her bed that early, early Saturday morning and watched as her ship set sail. She sailed away and slipped beyond the sunset.

January sunsets remind me of her. Sunsets remind me that I will, one day, be where there is no night and there are no farewells. One day, there will be no more ships to set sail.

One day, there will be a reunion in that land where the sun will never, ever set again — that land that is far beyond the sunset! But today, I wonder: what is it like There, beyond the sunset?  It is enough to know that, one day, I will be there, and then, I will know.

The Song

The song is an older song, and was written in 1871 by Josephine Pollard (1834-1892).

To listen to Harding University Concert Choir sing this acapella, click on this link.

To hear an instrumental version, click here. 

Here are the words to this beautiful song:

Beyond the Sunset

by Josephine Pollard, 1871
Beyond the sunset’s radiant glow, there is a brighter world, I know,
Where golden glories ever shine beyond the thought of day’s decline.
Beyond the sunset’s purple rim, beyond the twilight, deep and dim,
Where storms and darkness never come, my soul shall find its heavenly home.
Beyond this desert dark and drear, the golden city will appear,
And morning’s lovely beams arise upon my mansion in the skies.
Those golden portals ever shine beyond the reach of day’s decline,
And Jesus bids my soul prepare to gain a heavenly entrance there.
Chorus:
Beyond the sunset’s radiant glow, there is a brighter world I know.
Beyond the sunset I may spend delightful days that never end.

Food Fun for Kids

finger food

When the day is going to be long or you’ve got extra kids underfoot, make a fun meal for everyone. It will be a bright spot in your day and you’ll find kids eating food they won’t normally eat. Jazz it up with some fancy names, and your kids will be begging to come to the table.

Enticing presentations

Pigs in a Blanket are so simple and easy. All you need is hot dogs and refrigerator biscuits or crescent rolls. Cut the hot dogs in half and roll each one up inside the crescent roll or biscuit. You can roll them up beginning at the short or the wide end.  Either way works. Bake according to the directions on the container. Serve with ketchup or mustard – or both. 

Finger Jello is another fun treat, especially if you cut the jello into special shapes. Choose the flavor/color by the season. Red for Christmas and Valentine’s day, green for St. Patrick’s day, and watermelon for summer flavor. You can find the recipe for that here.

Sailboat Eggs are fun to make and serve. For the recipe I use, click  here. To make the sails, cut triangles out of any color paper. If you’d like, you can use them as name tags. Label the sail and put the egg on the child’s plate.  A toothpick and some Scotch tape will secure the sail for you.

Ants on a Log are a fun way to get kids to eat some raisins or craisins. (I tell them the craisins are crazy raisins.) Put peanut butter on celery sticks and then place raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, or some other fruit or nut on top of the peanut butter.

Serve Sloppy Jo sandwiches in miniature buns or hot dog buns. Once I changed the name of Sloppy Jo sandwiches to Sassy Sadie sandwiches just because a child visiting my house that day didn’t like Sloppy Jos. She snarfed these Sassy Sadie sandwiches up – was it because she was intrigued by their name?  For younger kids, hot dog buns work well for these sandwiches. Cut the buns in half so the kids can handle them better.

The name of the game – food fun!

When you have extra kids underfoot, finger foods make for easy clean-up. They also give an extra impetus to clean a plate during mealtime. It’s also a good way to get kids to eat when they’re picky, not feeling well, or easily distracted.

Come up with your own ideas and designs. It’s fun to keep kids guessing and make mealtimes interesting.

Pinterest Food Fun

This is a repost from seven years ago. These recipes are tried and true in my household!

“Retired” is Not a Box to Check

retireThe boxes to be checked

The form in front of me gave me choices to help differentiate who I am. There’s no box for wife, mom, or grandma, although there are boxes for married, single, or divorced. Another section of the form allowed me to list my credits in the workplace. I could check fulltime, part-time, or retired. That’s not fair. 

Oh sure, I’m retired. I phased out of work when the clinic in which I was working closed. I was “old enough” to retire and folks said I “deserved” it, but I’m not retired. I’m as busy now as I ever was. 

retireA mom never retires

That’s because a mom never retires. She’s always a mom. It doesn’t matter how old or how grown her kids are, nor does it matter if they live in the same state or in other states; she’s still a mom. That’s why a mom does not retire – because she’s never out of a job.

retireBeing a Mom is a 24/7 job, and sometimes it means following your kids across different time zones, different careers, and different experiences. It always means praying for your kids no matter where they are or what they’re doing. That’s why a mom does not retire. She’s still the mom. She’s always the mom, no matter how old she is.

retireRetired? Never!

As long as a mom is in her right mind, she never goes out to pasture. That’s because she knows her kids and she’s their mom. Sure, things are different on the home front when they’re gone. There’s less laundry, less dirt in the house, and a whole lot less groceries to cart into the house and put away. Morning routines are quieter. Bedtime routines are no longer dependent on kids at home, because there are no kids at home. Yet this does not matter, because she’s still the mom. 

Retirement from a job might come and the last paycheck received from employment might be deposited, but a mom never, ever retires. She is always a mom.

Pinterest Retired

Photo credits: pixabay.com

It is not Where I’m From, but Where I’m Going

where I'm goingCoulda, shoulda, woulda 

,Every one of us have moments when we “coulda, shoulda, woulda”, if only, don’t we?

Those are the times we wish we could go back and change what is in the past – but we can’t. Instead of looking ahead to new roads, we look back on the past and wish desperately there was a way to change that ugly, miserable past. There isn’t.

You know what to do when you want to keep looking back? Focus on “where you are going.”

STOP looking in the rear-view mirror. Don’t keep going back. Instead, look ahead. 

This is why: we cannot undo our past. We can only change the course of our future. We cannot change the decisions we made in our past. Certainly, we can regret our choices and regret some of those consequences. Yet, we can’t change the choices or the consequences. This is why we stop looking in the rear-view mirror and look ahead.

where I'm goingWhere I’m going

Scripture talks about this. Paul gives the church at Philippi his testimony:  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect, but I press on,  . . . one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

In pressing toward his goal, he quit looking back and focused forward. He focused on “where I’m going” so he could keep his eyes on that goal.  We become like our focus. We head toward our focus. That is why we need to focus on “where I’m going” instead of shoulda, woulda, coulda. 

Close the door and keep moving

We must reckon with our past. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignoring our mistakes and failures makes us more vulnerable. It also keep us from making progress. Survey the scenes of your past and acknowledge the failures and consequences. Next, shut the door and move forward. Remember: today is not about where you have come from, but where you are going. Don’t ever forget to keep your eye on the goal – and you’ll be sure to win the prize.

Where I'm Going