January 9, 2013

I prayed and then answered the King

Posted in bible study, christianity, faith at 3:44 am by critterkeeper


Fascinating look at the beginning of the book of Nehemiah this morning.  Only two chapters, but filled with some truths I have never picked out before.  That’s the thing about God’s word and why we should strive to always be in it:  the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to truths he has just for you.  If another person were to read the same passage, other verses may have been used by the Counselor for instruction, but these are the two truths shown to me this morning, for which I am grateful.

Nehemiah is one of those books that is sort of tucked into the end of the first half of the Old Testament.  It takes place at a time that Jerusalem was in a heap of ruins from when it was decimated by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  This story takes place over 100 years later in aprox 440 BC.

First, the Lord sent a messenger to Nehemiah to let him know just how bad the conditions in Jerusalem were.  Now God could have just spoken to Nehemiah directly or given him a vision, as clearly we will see, Nehemiah had an open line of communication with God the Father.  I find it interesting and a clear example, again, that God uses members of the body to function together as a whole.  He selected Hanani to bring the message to Nehemiah about the state of affairs in Jerusalem (Neh 1:2).  Is there anyone in your life right now that God has selected to bring you a message, whether it be good or bad?  Are you able recognize it as such?  Food for thought.

Second point that I just loved this morning is found in Neh 2:4-5.  Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king and known to be in good spirits.  He was heart sick over the condition of his home kingdom.  The king noticed and asked why he was so down.  Nehemiah was a servant; a slave to the king.  One did not say things to the king that could get them killed and Nehemiah says “I was very much afraid”.  What did he do next?  The opposite of what I might have done.  Instead of either relying on his own oratory skills and wooing the king with his own words, or worse, pretending nothing was wrong out of fear the King may have his head, Neh 2:4 has a short phrase that happens in very real time.  It says:  (right after the kings asks him what is wrong) “Then I prayed to the God of Heaven and I answered the king……”.   I LOVE that.  Prayer is often thought of by some as an arduous task where you set aside time to present a “wish list” to God.  While time set apart to pray is good, it is so much more dynamic and interwoven into our lives than that.  Every decision you make or face can and should be proceeded by, “I prayed to the God of Heaven and then I……”  How many fewer mistakes I would make!  Just a few tiny words and yet they say so much.  Perhaps it is this practice that makes Nehemiah the right man to take on the task of returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  That leads up to the next point that is just fascinating.

In 458 BC, just 14 years prior to this, under the SAME KING (king Artaxerxes), exiles had returned to Jerusalem to do the very same thing… they attempted to rebuild the city walls of their home, Jerusalem.  People loyal to the King petitioned him that Jerusalem was known for rebellious acts toward kings and that they would be trouble and even a threat to his own kingdom.  After hearing this, King Artaxerxes put a stop to the rebuilding. This tells us that this same king not only knows about the history of Jerusalem, but that he has been briefed and even put a stop to the attempt at rebuilding just 14 years prior.  This is found in Ezra 4:7-23.  So what changed?  Nothing really other than the fact that Nehemiah “prayed to the God of Heaven and then” asked for permission to do the same thing that the King had already deemed a very bad idea.  But wait…it gets even better:  Nehemiah must have had a two way conversation in that short prayer, for he did not just ask permission to go back to inspect his home land (which was already a dangerous conversation to bother the king as one of his servants) but he went big!  He went for it!  He added…and I would like a letter for safe passage, AND I would like a letter to compel Asaph the keeper of the royal park to provide me timber for the rebuilding of the citadel!  Whoa….that was huge!  He was not hiding (at this point) his intention of why he was going…he even asked the king to help supply his needs to make it happen!  And what did happen?  Neh 2:8 “Because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests”  Requests: pleural!  All of them!   By themselves these verses are easy to run over as dry Old Testament minor prophet stuff….but look at it in it’s context….look at what just happened here through the courage of one man who “prayed and then answered the king”.

I was going to write about the rest of chapter two this morning…but it is chalked full of goodies too, so I am going to wait until tomorrow for that.

Today I want to dwell on this:  am I “praying and then acting?” Or am I forging ahead, even with good intentions thinking that I am using the gifts God gave me to do his will.  Nehemiah must have been terrified, but a man of great faith.  What a great example.  First he listened to messengers sent to him by God (spirit recognizes spirit) and then He prayed first in private, a prayer of repentance for the people of Israel (also I think this is an important key point; repented first in private quiet time) and then he prays “on the fly” in front of the King in his own mind in real time.  Perhaps God had already laid on his heart the things he was to ask for and the “on the fly” prayer was more of a “God give me courage and let your hand be upon me right now”  Or perhaps he simply was a vessel and the words just flowed through him.  We will never know.  What we do know is that he spent time in prayer, and then he prayed during the action he was taking.  And he believed God could deliver.  He didn’t stop short and just pray for a “vacation” to his homeland (he could have).  He had such faith….knowing he is asking the very king who stopped the rebuilding just 14 years ago, he asks for leave of absence, safe passage, and Oh, could you throw in some really nice timber?

Just amazing.  Can’t wait to see what Nehemiah does next.  I have been through the book many times, but it is a living word and God will give me “the bread of life” I need just for today.  I hope these truths from the first two chapters of Nehemiah will bless you as well.  Remember:  we are part of a body, repentance and earnest prayer opens the lines of communication to the Lord, and every decision should be preceded by “I prayed and then….”

May you have a thoughtful, prayerful and bold day!


January 8, 2013

Just a quick note about this mornings run

Posted in christianity, fitness, gym, health related, running at 6:58 am by critterkeeper

A book every runner needs to read!

A book every runner needs to read!

This one really will not be very exciting, it is more of a mental note to myself of the things I have learned in the last two years about running that have been life changing!  Before reading this book I was plagued with every runner’s injury you could imagine:  achilles tendonitis, ITB, runner’s knee, rotated tail bone (that one is a bit odd, but it happened twice on different runs and took weeks of PT to fix!).  I always had to wear a patellar knee strap to be able to even tolerate running and could not run even a block without it, or my knees would scream.  Every one said I needed to give running up. Always injured from pushing to hard, but when you have a passion that God gave you, you don’t throw that away.  I just didn’t know what to do.  I can’t even remember now how I heard of this book, but what a life changer!

The way we are taught to run (mostly by the billion dollar shoe industries) is to cushion our feet, and stability bars, heel strike and lengthen stride.  It’s all wrong!  It’s exactly why I could not run uninjured!  I won’t go into all the details, because if you have an interest in it, you really should get the book and read it.  It’s written in a really engaging fun novel format….it’s a fun, fast read.

There is one (maybe it was two) chapters that I have philosophical differences with the author.  He spends an entire chapter talking about how our bodies have evolved to run and everyone can be a runner.  Because it annoyed me I wanted to skip that chapter…but what I did instead is wherever the word evolved was,  I substituted “created to” and the information was still spot on!  So getting past that small hurdle, if you apply what you learn in this book, unless you already have crippling bone on bone injuries, you too can be a runner!

I run pain free now…no patellar straps, no devices.  Simple shoes (using a transitional shoe right now; like everything I went head on into transitioning into a barefoot shoe and cracked a sesmoid in my foot…ouch…not cool.  Takes years to transition to barefoot….so right now I run in a minimally cushioned neutral shoe and will wear them until there is really nothing left but sole.

my shoe

During the day at work I wear Merrell Pace Glove shoes so I am constantly building up the pads in my feet to make this transition easier.


So, as I said, this post was a little different than most, but I needed to reflect on how I got to the point of running pain free.  If you have an interest, do yourself a favor and read the book!  You’ll enjoy it and it may change your life and give you an avenue of fitness you never knew was possible for you.

Have an energetic, focused, enlightening day.

January 7, 2013

Part of something bigger

Posted in bible study, christianity, day to day living, faith, family life at 9:27 pm by critterkeeper

bodyI have so many posts started that are works in progress, but this is one I needed to crank out tonight.  So it will be rough, haphazard, unorganized and possibly nonsensical.

Do you ever have one of those days where you see first hand how the body of Christ works together?  When I was younger, much younger, I struggled with that idea.  I had a fierce sense of independence and self reliance.  That however is not a healthy attitude when you were created to be part of a body and reliant on your creator for all your needs, often provided through one of his disciples.  It was a long and arduous journey that brought me to a position where I found the value in meekness (meekness is not being a door mat and it is separate from humbleness too)  Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a wonderful online webinar you can do free of charge if you are intrigued in the differences between the two.  It is freeing to know that I do not have to have all the answers, carry all the weight, or bear the full burden alone.  While I am a very active social net-worker (and understatement), I am still a very private person.  Asking for someone’s help requires both recognition that you cannot do it on your own and trust, that God is faithful and can provide in unusual ways if you keep your eyes and ears open to receive it.

Today was such a day.  A day of tiredness, from lack of sleep, from stress, from a plate that is perpetually too full and it quickly turned into a day of brokenness.  Being vulnerable is probably the hardest thing for any person, but particularly for me.  I don’t need to list the things I am vulnerable too; that is not the point.  The point is that God cares about each and every detail of your life.  I used to love to study the different names of God and one that has stuck with me through the years is Jehovah Jirah, which means  God provides.  It doesn’t just mean that he provides for your physical needs.  He knows all your needs.  He knows every vulnerability, every hurt, every wasted moment, every tear that you have cried.  And he can redeem them all.  God never authors the wicked things that happen on this earth, but He is faithful to redeem these things for his glory if we give him the room, space and ability to.  Ability? you ask?  Isn’t God able to do all things?  Yes, but he is a gentleman and never forces Himself upon anyone.  He was kind enough to give us a living word that instructs us how to live to be blessable.  You can make yourself ineligible for blessing if you are living life that separates you from his love.

I was reminded today how much He loves me through the obedience and kindness of a friend who through their own busy day was obedient to the creator and sustainer to help a member of the body.  It brought full circle the lesson I learned long ago that there is value in being a member of a body.  Only Christ can fulfill you emotionally, but he uses people in our lives to “overflow” our cup and accomplish things that we otherwise may have missed.  How good it is to be part of a body; a safety net, where you don’t have to make it on your own.

I only hope I can be that safety net, that refuge, that safe place for someone else when they need it; that I never get so busy in my day, with my overflowing plate, that I don’t stop and listen to the Holy Spirit to help a member of the body.

So tonight, I am thankful for friendship.  I am thankful for unity and solidarity of the body.  I always rejoice when I can share things and “spirit recognizes spirit”.

God is good, God is faithful.  He cares about every one of our hurts.  He will find a way to minister to each of us either in His own way or through a member of the body.  Watch for it, wait for it, accept it.  Rejoice when you recognize and receive it.  He is so faithful.  Without him it feels like the movie GroundHog day living out the book of Ecclesiastes.  God has so much more for us.  Life is not a dress rehearsal.  You can’t get one hour back that you have wasted.  As I said the other day on FB, no time with God is wasted.  Do you give him as much time as TV?  As a friend?  As your spouse?  Do you rely on him for every decision and thank him for every fingerprint in your life?

I know this may have been hard to follow, but I needed to journal about today and if it helps just one person, then I will feel like I have been a member of the body for someone else.

Have a blessed, redeemed, thankful evening.

March 6, 2009

I think I’ve flipped my lid this time!

Posted in family life, running tagged , , , , at 1:01 pm by critterkeeper

Spontaneity looks great on others.  I don’t believe I don it quite as graciously.  What was I thinking??? How could I be so silly?  I am a reasonable person, who carefully weighs things, plans things and considers things before committing to them.  So what happened last night?

Here is the scenario….  Ring, ring, ring goes the telephone…I see Illinois on the caller ID…the only person I know from that state is my sister-in-law, whom I rarely ever get to see, and really don’t get to talk to that often either.  I happily answered the phone….her first question was….”What are you doing in October?”  I said it depended on what weekend.  She then said…”Well, would you want to run with me somewhere?”   “Uh…I don’t know…what did you have in mind?”

“Well,” she said, ” Nike is having their half marathon then I already entered, but I really want someone to go and run with me.”  Ugh….I thought, I’ve had the flu for about 15 days now and feel like a slug…plus with my past history of always injuring myself when I train for a race my immediate (and probably most sensibly answer) was that I didn’t think I could, didn’t really feel like it and “oh, by the way, where is it?”  She laughingly informed me it was in San Francisco and was being put on to benefit Leukemia research…which her dad (my husband’s dad) died from when they were very young. 

So with that I got off the phone and decided I would discuss it with my husband…surely he would talk sense into me…especially once I reminded him I would be gone the weekend before that to Women of Faith up in Portland…it would mean two weekends in a row where I would be gone.

“That’s a great idea!” he said.  That  sounds like fun…he says….”I’m a big boy…I can handle the kids and the house a couple of weekends…you go and have fun.”  Wow, wasn’t exactly expecting that one.

OK…so I called Julia back and committed, and then before I got cold feet, I went on-line and signed up and paid my entry fee. 

Now…the caveat is that they draw to see who “gets to run”.  So we may not even get to go…the drawing is at the end of March and we would be drawn as a group, so either both of us goes, or neither of us.  I am not sure which to hope for.

For finishing the race you get a blue box from Tiffany’s with who know what in it…sounds great except for the fact that I don’t wear jewelry.  Oh well…

So you can imagine how panicked I felt this morning….feeling sick still, sluggish, and did I mention, I am not comfortable traveling…it freaks me out.  San Francisco???? Are you kidding me?  I am terrified!

Well, there you go….will update you once names are drawn.  In all truth…I know this is sad…but I am more excited about the free chocolate than the box from Tiffany’s at the finish line… I will take my allergy meds and enjoy a piece of that free Ghiradelli’s chocolate no matter what the consequences!!  Can you blame me?

February 17, 2009

Out of balance!

Posted in bible study, christianity, day to day living, faith at 7:30 am by critterkeeper

I know I have been absent for awhile.  This has actually been purposeful.  I just love to write and have enjoyed trying to awaken some creative fibers within these old dry bones…but as I have alluded to previously…I am an all or nothing kind of person.  How ironic that the blog titled to be about finding balance was actually throwing me out of whack. 

I was using writing, blogging and internet surfing as an excuse to fall behind on household duties…and that just isn’t acceptable.

So I purposely stayed away (not from the internet all together) to help re-balance the time I spend here.

I will still have occasional posts…as I don’t want to be an “all or nothing”.  Believe me, I thought about quitting all together…but that sort of defeats the purpose of finding balance.

So now I am being more faithful in being a steward of my home and family.  Things are getting done and I am thankful for every task that I have (well…cleaning the bunny cage is hard to be thankful for…)

A verse I came across this morning in my reading was one I had read before, but as God’s perfect timing would have it, it struck a cord in me this morning.  It is Colossians 3:23-24.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Boy did I need that one.  My other favorite scripture is found in Proverbs 6:10 and says “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to res, and poverty will come upon you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

So I will still be here… I do have some topics that I really want to write about….but it will be a little less frequently.  I will still stay updated with friends on Facebook as that takes such a small amount of time and I love to hear what everyone is doing each day.  So ironically…this blog about balance will be less verbose and less frequently updated to teach me the very thing I was hoping to write about.  I do hope to pop in here and write once a week or so…

Hope you are all having a wonderful week.

Have a balanced, focused and stewardly day!

January 30, 2009

God cares about the little things too!

Posted in christianity, fitness, gym, health related, running tagged , , , , at 2:18 pm by critterkeeper

Do you believe that all good things are a gift from above?  I do.  It’s easy to see it when you have something as dramatic as the safety of all those aboard the plane that landed in the Hudson River.  How can anyone deny that divine intervention and protection was at work there?  (Oh, I am sure there are some who will).

But what about the little things…the fingerprints of God in your life that you take for granted.  I had one of those moments yesterday morning, and I am learning to take note and give praise and thanks back when I see these little moments occur.

To fully appreciate this, here is a little history prior to today’s events.

As you recall, I was just a wee bit dissatisfied with the services provided by my current gym and have already taken the liberty of signing up at God’s Gold’s gym.  So on Wednesday morning I decided I would finally have a discussion with the current gym’s manager and lay out my case as to why they are in violation of their side of the contract which should make it null and void, sparing me from paying the $50 cancellation fee. 

I had a great workout.  Ran my five miles, did a core workout and a few upper body machines…then off to the shower room.  I rehearsed what I had planned to say…reminded myself to be calm and respectful and went out to the front counter.  I had planned to talk to the manager first and then go get my son out of childcare.  To  my surprise, my step-dad had already gotten my son and was waiting on me to leave.  That never happens…he even commented on how he had never before been into the children’s area and had just decided this morning on a whim to go get him for me.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Here is why. 

So we left and I resolved that the conversation would have to wait until the next day.  Oh well.  So the next morning (Thursday morning) I get a call from the gym before getting ready to go.  The manager informs me that now daycare will be cut to only 3 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She went on to say that she knew the days I came were Wed, Thur, and Fri…so she said she understood if I needed to cancel, since they were not upholding the stipulations that I signed up under.  She said I could cancel and not pay the cancellation fee.

Is God good or what?  I didn’t even have to ask.  What a great gift.  The timing was all too perfect not to have been divinely orchestrated.  Not only that, but it gave me complete peace about my choice to have switched gyms…for now I truly had no other choice.




Have a grateful, thankful, prayer filled day

January 28, 2009

The most beautiful horse in all the world

Posted in horses tagged , at 8:39 pm by critterkeeper

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.  As promised, however, I did scan in a couple of photos of my most favorite horse of all time.  There will never be another like him.  I am probably the only person I know that likes him too…he is so onery!  My husband doesn’t like him, my parents can’t stand him, my farrier just tolerates him…thankfully I can be his veterinarian :-).  He is just so full of himself…but he and I get along so well.  We are like two peas in a pod.  What does that say about me, anyway?  OK…now leave me a comment and tell me he isn’t just the most majestic thing you have ever seen!

He and I in the old days!

He and I in the old days!



How I love that horse.  I had his mother, who lived to be 34.  I hope he surpasses this.  He still acts like a three year old.  Hope you enjoyed his pictures.

Have a majestic, wildly beautiful, captivating day!

January 27, 2009

Meet the Crew

Posted in cats, dogs, family life, horses tagged , , , , , , , at 2:09 pm by critterkeeper

I am a bit squirmish about posting any pictures of my kids or family, and probably won’t ever change that!  Distrustful, I know…but given the world we live in, I just can’t justify any added risk to my kiddos.  That said, I am more than happy to post pictures of some of my critters.  Since I talk about them all the time…you may as well have a visual of who they are.  I may on another day, have to scan in some pictures of the horses…most of those are prints and i do not have digital images of them…suppose I really need to make a trip out to the pasture with the digital camera!  But here are a few that I can upload:

Old Danny boy.  Gentle giant!  In his mid twenties, still lots and lots of years left I hope!

Old Danny boy. Gentle giant! In his mid twenties, still lots and lots of years left I hope!


Katie-bug.  The little stinker we got from a rescue group in Fossil, Oregon. She is so so naughty, but we all lover her anyway.

Katie bug. the little stinker we got from a rescue group in Fossil, Oregon. She is so naughty, but we all love her anyway.

Domino, my mini. He was my "surgery pony" in vet school, whom my lab partners and I refused to do the terminal surgery on. We then went to the auction where the school took him and bought him. Had him almost ten years now.

Domino, my mini. He was my "surgery pony" in vet school, whom my lab partners and I refused to do the terminal surgery on. We then went to the auction where the school took him and bought him. Had him almost ten years now.


Our little feral kitty turned house kitty.  She was so ugly when she was trapped and brought in 8 years ago, we didn't even know what color she was. She was pregnant and had very little hair dut to ringworm.  Now you would never this princess was once a queen of the night.
Our little feral kitty turned house kitty. She was so ugly when she was trapped and brought in 8 years ago, we didn’t even know what color she was. She was pregnant and had very little hair due to ringworm. Now you would never this princess was once a queen of the night.
I am missing digital pictures of my most favorite horse of all (I know I shouldn’t have favorites, but I do!)  My beloved old gelding.  Had him since he was born and now he  about to turn 20 years old!  Here is a picture of a horse that looks very similar to him:


I will scan in an actual one soon…then you can tell me if this picture is even close 🙂

Old Topper dog. Such a wonderful fella.  Couldn't ask for a more trustworthy canine to help bring up my kiddos.  He has a wonderful heart surrounded by a plethora of hair and fur!  Man can he shed!

Old Topper dog. Such a wonderful fella. Couldn't ask for a more trustworthy canine to help bring up my kiddos. He has a wonderful heart surrounded by a plethora of hair and fur! Man can he shed!

Have a kind, giving, stewardship filled day.

Alpha Who?

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:20 pm by critterkeeper

Just had to share this real quickly!  If you feel like you are writing to yourself (which is OK too!) and want more traffic to your blog, try alphainventions.  They send a ton of traffic your way, and it costs you nothing…it really is pretty cool.

I have them on my sidebar too, so you can use that to click over…just thought I would pass that little tip along to you bloggers out there who don’t already know about it!

Katie the Bandit and a possible breakthrough!

Posted in dogs, fitness, running tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:34 pm by critterkeeper

Can you say "naughty dog?!"

Can you say "naughty dog?!"

Arghh!  That Katie dog!  I mean, I love her…but this eating my stuff is driving me nuts.  It’s not like she is a true puppy either.  She is about two and a half going on four months!

Sunday I had the rare opportunity to indulge myself by doing basically anything I wanted to.  My husband took our kids along with grandpa to a nearby ski lodge for their first ever adventure skiing.  That left me with endless options on what I might do.  Let’s see…I could take a nap, clean the house, read a book…oh no!  Wait, I got it…I’ll go for a run!  I have been running in the gym since my New Year’s Day fiasco, so this would have been my first road run since then.  That means…Katie’s first run in three weeks.  So I go to get my gym bag so I can grab my patellar knee straps (which I cannot run a yard without) and what do I see?

Katie packing one in her mouth out the the living room!!!  I grabbed it away and immediately began looking for the other one (which is my favorite one).  It’s gone.  Well, actually it’s probably in Katie’s duodenum by now, unless of course it hangs up on her pylorus, in which case I will see it again encased in bile and mucus when she pukes it back up on my carper in the next two days.  I could have strangled her!  Fortunately, I have a spare one, so I put that on, and off she and I went.  We ran a pleasant 5 1/4 miles.  It was a perfect 38 degrees out and just lightly misting, so really a nice run.  I definitely could tell a difference on my perceived effort, having only run in the gym the last three weeks…got my work cut out for me now.

Josh Cox

That leads to the potential breakthrough.  If you recall my post a couple of weeks back about starting Lolo Jone’s  core workout.  Well, at the same time I started Josh Cox’s core workout posted on Runner’s World, and have been doing these regularly.  I have read for a long time how important core strength is to a runner to prevent injury and to increase endurance.  Blah, blah, blah I thought.  Well, I have to say that on my run I took special care to keep my torso and pelvis in proper alignment, using core strength and I was amazed at how pain free my knee was.  I even went up a little hill, which is normally excruciating, and had only one tiny twinge that was barely noticeable.  I think I may really be on to something.  Probably too early to tell, but I am certainly going to pursue this avenue.  Hey, if nothing else, it has the nice side benefit of starting to define abdominal muscles I forgot I even had!

Have a lavishly relaxing, humorous, fit day!

THis is all too true when you run in my hometown, where all dogs run free and very few are spayed or neutered. (let alone vaccinated and dewormed!)

This is all too true when you run in my hometown, where all dogs run free and very few are spayed or neutered. (let alone vaccinated and dewormed!)


Addendum to above post:

I began writing this post on Sunday when the events transpired, but Monday I found the other patellar strap where Katie had hid it under my daughter’s bed.  Yeah!  She didn’t eat it after all.  Good dog, Katie…but she still is a bandit!!

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