Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to St. Nick

Husband (I'm sure he hates being called "husband") and I do work for a rescue group called SPIN - Saving Pyrs in Need. This group rescues and rehabs Great Pyrenees and adopts them out to good homes across the United States.

The day before Christmas Eve, we got a call about a pyr in east Texas, almost to Shreveport. This "girl" had been abandoned and was in pretty sorry shape. You name it, "she" had it - mange, stinky, emaciated, running eyes, worms, who knows if "she" had heart worms. We were sent a photo of this awful looking dog in a cage and of course, we were moved. Carl (aka "husband") said we would go to east Texas to get her if someone could foster. Looks like Angel would have a good Christmas after all.

Well, Christmas eve, we get in the car and head east. I've brought along a couple of small packages of cookies, a leash and blankets for our newest rescue. We get to the shelter, the worker lets us in, and brings to use the most God-awful looking and smelling BOY pyr either one of us has ever seen.

I swear, when I saw him. I wanted to cry so badly. About a year old, this boy was practically bald, his skin all crusty and scabby, he smelled to high heaven. And yet, he was the most polite and GRATEFUL boy ever. I opened a package of cookies and gave them to him on the spot. It was like he hadn't eaten in a while - his ribs and hipbones were sticking straight out of him.

Carl took him out of the shelter to walk him while I did the paperwork. Come to find out this pyr was basically abandoned, yet still technically "owned" - we were kidnapping this boy so he could not be returned to his "owners." God bless this shelter for allowing us to do this.

We got this little body of bones into the truck and headed back to Dallas. We stopped a couple of times to let him potty. Clumps of hair were literally falling off his body. I took Carl's knife and cut off this HUGE clump that was hanging by a couple of strands of hair. He looked at me gratefully, like I was cutting off a huge piece of his past.

We fed him cookies, jerky and slim jims on the ride home, all the way driving with the windows wide open. He would hang his face out of the window, always facing forward - he never once looked back. I don't believe he ever sat on the drive home. Between looking out the windows, he would lay his head on husband's shoulder, and then on mine, or he would come and ask for a scratch under the chin - the only place that seemed safe to touch him. The rest of him was so cracked and crusty and bleeding. His eyes were framed by ancient looking scabbed-over skin in deep folds - there was literally no fat, no waste on this dog anywhere. But his eyes - oh his eyes were SO happy looking - like he knew something better was about to happen.

We got him to Cindy's house, where he will be staying. When Love saw him, she started to cry. There has never been a pyr this bad taken in to the group before. Oh they have seen some bad ones, but this one was so pitiful.

Love gave him his shots, a bunch of pills, a bowl of food and water. I looked around and took some animal cookies from a jar and gave them to him. He took them gently, one by one, eating them and looking for more.

He began to feel safer and made himself at home on Cindy's couch. Love said she was going to try to give this boy a bath - he smelled SO bad. There was infection all over him.

There were a bunch of emails flying back and forth amongst the group about what to call this "girl." Of course, now that we found out he is a BOY, my suggestion was Beautiful Joe - after the dog in the book of the same name (if you have a chance, read it - it will break your heart and then restore it). But I guess I was overruled.

So little Nick woke up today in a warm house, with food in his belly and antibiotics flowing through his system. He might be the ugliest pyr right now, but give him time. He's going to be one Beautiful Joe.

Merry Christmas, Nick. Thank you for letting us be a little part of your story.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things I am thankful for today

There are a LOT of things I am thankful for. So here's my top ten list from the home office in Sioux City, Iowa:

  • Big G, Little J and the rocking Holy Spirit
  • My husband - because he's a sweetie and a good smoocher
  • My parents and family - so far away. I MISS you guys!
  • Our six doggies. You heard right, there's six. Including TWO puppies.
  • HOT HOT showers on cold windy days (like today)
  • Diet Pepsi Max - the invigorating cola with ginseng and other stuff to PEP you up
  • Good friends both near and far
  • A job I really, really like at Pier 1
  • My friend Lynne, whom God managed to work out a reconnection after 25 years. This is the coolest story - and Lynne is now SAVED! YAY Lynne!
  • The worship music of Kari Jobe - that girl rocks! And is totally used of God. Thank you Anita for introducing me to her!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Susan's Famous Pot Roast recipe

Since you've been asking... here it is!

1 good-sized roast - 2-4 pounds, with decent marbling (that fat isn't going to kill you)
1 large onion, cut into quarters
4 stalks celery, washed and cut into large chunks
1 pound baby carrots
1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and the ends trimmed
1 pkg. instant onion soup mix

Get out your crock pot and turn it on LOW. Make a mirepoix (that's a fancy French term for vegetables you are going to throw away) of the onion and the celery. Place them in the bottom of the crock pot.

Place a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan and turn it on medium high to high. Get your roast and season it liberally with seasoned salt and LOTS of black pepper. Now we are going to sear this puppy.

Sear the roast on all sides in the hot oil until browned on the outside. This is the secret to the pot roast (shhhh!). This takes a little time, but believe me, this roast will make you want to spank your mama.

Once the roast is seared, place it on top of the onions and celery in the crock pot. Sprinkle with one envelope of onion soup mix. Then top the roast with the carrots and the green beans.

Cover the crock pot with foil and then put the lid on. NOTE: We did NOT add any water to this roast. You don't want a New England Boiled dinner here. DON'T ADD ANY WATER!!!

Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until it smells so good you will sell your kids to the neighbors for a set of dinnerware.

Remove the green beans and carrots to a bowl. The roast will be falling apart tender, so put that on a platter. The onions and celery are for flavoring only. You can eat them if you want, but I usually just toss them.

You will find you have a fabulous stock left. Strain this into a small saucepan and turn on the heat to medium-ish. In a shaker, mix 1/4 cup flour with about 1/2 cup water. Shake shake shake until there are no lumps in this mixture. By this time, your stock should be boiling. Mix the flour mixture into the stock with a wire whisk. Simmer for a minute or two until the flour is cooked through and the gravy is thickened.

I serve this with cream cheese smashed potatoes and the vegetables. And a BIG glass of milk.

"So I says to her, Lynne, I says..."

Have you ever wondered what happened to some of the people you grew up with? You know, those people who totally meant a lot to you in high school or college or something?

Let me tell you about one of my friends. Her name is Lynne.

Ever since I "got my Jesus back", I have been having some interesting dreams. I dreamed one of my friends was pregnant, and she turned out to be. Cool. I dreamed about my old friend Lynne, whom I haven't seen in 25 years - that's 25 - probably before some of you were born. Anybutt, I had this dream about Lynne and the dream was basically that she was in some trouble and she needed to leave the place she was in, but the message she was saying was "but my whole life is here."

Like I said, it's been 25 years since we've seen each other. Oh, we talked back in the late 80's when I was totally on fire for Christ. At that time, Lynne was into some Wiccan practices and was technically a witch. Anyhoo, I was praying and thinking about HOW in the world I could get in touch with her. She had no listed phone number and had long since moved from the address I had for her. So I looked on Reunion.com - nothing. Finally, I did a search for some common acquaintances and found one. Terri is a Wiccan priestess, but she had Lynne's email address (or an old one). She gave it to me and I sent Lynne an email.

I was totally SHOCKED by two things - first that the email address was a good one, and second. to learn that Lynne was homeless. By homeless, I mean living in a shelter, losing all your money and your job and your home and your car kind of homeless. And it had happened to her in just the past month.

WOW, was pretty much all I could think of. We fell into an email correspondence (the homeless in Michigan hang out at the library too - it must be some kind of law) and she told me that she GOT SAVED and was a believer now. She repented to me of not listening to the message when it was offered a long time ago, but I knew that when God plants seeds, they find a way to get watered and grow. He's very cool like that.

Anyway, it's very cool what God does when you are truly at the end of your rope and there is nowhere left to turn. It's interesting, how when I told Lynne about the dream I had about her, and that I thought she needed to leave Michigan, the thing she said to me was "but my whole life is here."

Now we know that her life is in Christ now, praise God. Sometimes we become so attached to our things, that we forget that Big G has already taken care of all our needs.

Now Lynne has next to nothing and I have an extra bedroom. And now we are getting somewhere. (That's a whole lot of nows and I apologize blog reader. Would you believe I am PAID to write in my real life?)

:::::to be continued:::::

Christmas Questions (or getting to know me a little better)

I got these questions from a friend and thought they might be fun! What are YOUR answers???

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I LOVE to rip off wrapping paper and make a huge mess. Plus the dogs LOVE the paper!
  2. Real tree or artificial? Love real trees, but the dogs will pee on them,.
  3. When do you put up the tree? We don't put a tree up, really, as there is no room at our house. We DO have a little 2-foot one for the dining table tho.
  4. When do you take the tree down? Are you SUPPOSED to take it down?
  5. Do you like eggnog? No. A thousand times no.
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? A Chrissy doll. Her hair grew when you poked in her belly button. And my gramma Stella used to give us $5.00 in dimes. SCORE!!!
  7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, my mom bought me a very nice one. Thanks, Mom!
  8. Hardest person to buy for? Carl. He never wants anything. And Dad. Same thing.
  9. Easiest person to buy for? Monica. She sends lists so I know what to get her. Even though I usually just wind up giving her a gift card... LOL.
  10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A sweater with all kinds of sparkly jewels on it. SO not me.
  11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I try to mail them, but have failed for two years in a row now. Call me a slacker. Go ahead. have I gotten a card from YOU yet?
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? ELF. Smiling's my favorite.
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I shop all year long and then have a mad rush on Christmas Eve.
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Who want's to know? I took the tags off, right?
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? This list can get really long: Ham, my fabulous cheesy potatoes, baked beans, toffee chocolate chip cookies, big glasses of cold milk.
  16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.
  17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night and My Grown-up Christmas Wish by Amy Grant.
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home mostly, but I do want to get back home to Michigan for Christmas before my parents don't remember me.
  19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes.
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
  21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? YES. Mostly I open presents whenever I see one addressed to me. I love presents!
  22. What do you like least about Christmas? The crazy traffic, the crazy drivers, and the crazy amounts of people in stores like Walmart or Target.
  23. What I love most about Christmas? Being able to sleep in! The dogs opening their presents. Calling home and having Dad talk to me for more than just a "Hello, here's your mother." Smooching Carl under the mistletoe (even if we don't have any mistletoe).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why call it A Little Plate of Crazy?

Well, because it's how I feel about me right now. :-D