Posts Tagged ‘learning’


I am a dog person.  I don’t know how many dogs I’ve had—they often followed me home.

Boots, Rusty, Rebel, Nike, Taki, Echo, Patches, Shadow, Mandy, to name a few.  But my longest, best dog was Loki–14 wonderful years.

A little white furball of cockapoo puppy, it took me several days to name him.  I chose Loki, who was the Norwegian god of Mischief and Disorder.  Liv, my Norwegian friend, said, “Is he that bad?”

What was I thinking?  No, he wasn’t bad.  But he was always in trouble it seemed.  Mischief and disorder prevailed.

We lived in the mountains for his early years, and he had some freedom to run.  Alas, he loved to chase cars.  He caught one once—it ran over his leg, and he limped around for weeks before it healed.

Normally Loki spent his days by our mountain home, resting in the shade under the carport.  As I drove home one afternoon, I felt a bump under the tire.  I could see Loki, so I knew it wasn’t he.  No, it was 4-foot rattlesnake, stunned and still.  I ran into the house to get a shovel to kill it, but when I returned it was gone.

But that snake returned.  The next day when I came home, Loki was lying in the driveway, looking very lifeless.  He had a greatly swollen neck and was not moving.  I rushed him to the vet, who said it was surely a rattlesnake bite, and Loki might live or might not.  He did.  Youth and prayer prevailed.

A few months later snails invaded our garden.  Assured that snail meal would take care of them, I sprinkled it around.  I did not read all the warnings—like the one that said it was attractive to pets.  Loki managed to lick up enough to send himself into convulsions.  Three days at the vet’s, not at all sure he would pull through.  But he did.  Youth and prayer once again.

Then I married, and Loki, Steve and I moved to Arrowhead Springs, partway up the mountain.  Again, Loki had a lot of freedom and lived up to his name in many harmless ways.

Until the day he decided to take a journey down the hill into town.  I was frantic.  We posted signs, put an ad in the paper.  We got calls—yes, people had seen him.  One even had him in her yard.  Always he was gone by the time we got there.

Then the trail indicated he was heading home, but we couldn’t find him.  A friend was walking down the big hill at Arrowhead Springs and heard whimpering from high in a narrow ravine.  We were not hopeful, but went to look.  When I called Loki, the whimpering grew louder.

My sweet husband climbed up the ravine, back against one wall, legs inching up the other wall.  And there was Loki, trapped by thorny palm branches tangled in his wooly hair.  Steve extricated him slowly, inched back down and handed me a scrawny, dirty, crying dog.

So what can I learn from Loki’s escapades?  First, I should have protected him more.  Freedom is nice (I really like it), but some appropriate boundaries are needed.

Second, Loki’s playful mischief was not a problem, but when he chose to step out of the safety of our home, he put himself in grave danger.

How often do I step outside of God’s good and protective will for my life—and find myself in grave danger?  I may want more freedom, but I have slowly learned that true freedom comes in His way, not mine.

How about you?  Have your choices sometimes taken you outside of God’s good plan for you?  What kinds of consequences have you experienced?

C2012 Judy Douglass


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4 Word…Women who work…love…pray:  Diane Paddison’s new web community for young professional women, and her book, Work Pray Love, provide community, encouragement, support and connection for working women who want to walk with God through all aspects of their lives.

I have the privilege of being interviewed on the 4Word Women blog today, talking about parenting and living, loving and learning through a prodigal child.

So click on over to 4Word Women to read my interview.  I would love your response:  How have your children stretched you spiritually?  Comment on post there, or come here to comment.

From the interview:

4word: Would you say that parenting stretches and grows your faith?

Judy: Parenting is probably the greatest faith stretcher there is. It reveals what’s inside us: our strengths and weaknesses.   We feel unbelievably responsible and totally inadequate…

continue reading

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As parents we have responsibility to love and nurture and provide and teach and train our children to become responsible, moral, hardworking, creative, authentic adults and contributors to society. Most of us try to do something like that, with varying degrees of competency and success.

But I’ve found that God seems to have an equally important role for our children in our lives. I will try to share a few of the things my kids have taught me. This lesson comes from my #2 child, Michelle.

From the day she was born, Michelle has not been in a hurry. She slept much of her first year (I don’t wake sleeping babies). She cuddled, laughed, listened a lot and talked enough.

She played quietly, explored, created, painted, invented, rescued.

But she never rushed.

I’m more of a destination person. She’s more of a journey person. I like to get there. She likes the getting there.

Probably the words she heard most from me, after “I love you.” and “Please forgive me.” were “Hurry up, we’re late.”

“We will be late to church, Michelle.” “Carpool is waiting, Michelle.” “We need to get to soccer practice, Michelle.”

Nothing hurried her. But I know I frustrated her, discouraged her, hurt her.

Over time, I began to hear the Lord whispering, “What’s your hurry, Judy?”

And he reminded me of those famous sisters, Mary and Martha.

Martha was focused on getting dinner ready. She rushed around, fretting that Mary wasn’t helping her.

And Mary? She was enjoying Jesus. Listening, learning, reflecting.

Slowly Michelle’s ability to live in the present, her not hurrying to the future, began to rub off on me. I still like to get things done, and I usually have a long list. But I have learned to let things go, to stop for people in my life, to leave tasks for another day.

I don’t get as much done. But I enjoy the journey so much more.

C 2011 Judy Douglass

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