Great Lengths

Luke must really love our dog, Bella. Over the past week he has been doing all kinds of things to help her keep warm this winter. He bought a lamp and installed it in her dog house, in the hopes that it will give off some heat to keep the house warm, or at least warmer than it is outside. He also has started putting a child’s sized vest on her during cold nights. It is the funniest thing seeing her running around the yard in her vest. I guess some dogs wear clothes all year round, but this would be considered extreme pampering for Bella, since we have trouble even remembering to feed and water her. And really, all this attention to keeping her warm/alive this winter outdoors I can consider as Luke’s love gift to me- I Do Not Want Her Indoors in a cage, like she was last winter. That was unpleasant, to say the least, especially the time she got sprayed by a skunk. I thought we’d never stop smelling it in the house.

Luke gave the three older boys haircuts last week, and while I was not ready to cut off Adon’s curls at the time, I think I want him to get another trim soon. Kenan’s hair is growing out pretty straight, so maybe after his birthday picture is taken, I will ask Luke to cut his, too. He does not yet have the customary overalls for the picture; I told Sarah, who is his buddy now, to get them for him for Christmas.

Over breakfast we briefly discussed a menu for Thanksgiving dinner, and some Christmas gift-giving thoughts. Dinner will be spectacular as always, with turkey made the same way as last year, and some more of a good stuffing recipe I found last year, too. I had bookmarked the blog where I found the turkey recipe last December, but long about spring had deleted it. I worried I might not be able to find it again, but tried googling “Best Roast Turkey” or something like that. When the results come up, most of them are going to be blue, but if I have visited the site before, it will come up purple. The site came up purple, and on the first page, too! Luke gave me a disinterested look when I shared how exciting (and a bit creepy) it was that Google not only remembered me visiting the page before, but knew what I was likely looking for and put it on the first page of results. He works with Google every day, and its wonders (and all-seeing eye) are often lost on him.

We just switched buddies- before it was boys with boys, girls with girls, and Abbie was the odd girl out, since Kenan was a boy and couldn’t really use a buddy yet. Now, it is the five older paired with the five younger. Sam was not happy to get Adon again, as he is a handful right now, but I couldn’t see us picking names again in the hopes he’d get someone different. Maybe he needs Adon as much if not more than Adon needs him. So I am thinking the buddies will have a Christmas gift exchange. That should be really cute, seeing what they will get for each other. At this very moment Kenan is thinking about Sarah and her particular likes and dislikes, and is drawing up a list of possible gifts. I can hear him grunting in concentration. I can think of many things we can get Luke, but the problems will be 1) keeping him from knowing and 2) keeping him from getting it for himself first. I give up on this most Christmases, but there is one thing in particular that if I could furnish it it would really surprise him. We shall see.

We are almost done reading a biography about George Muller for this month’s book club. How inspiring to think of the many ways God provided for His orphanages, simply because George asked Him to, and not anyone else. I wonder why God does not provide certain things for us that I have asked for in the past, and think one reason is that I am not being a very good steward with what I already have. At one point in the book, George asks his wife, Mary, to get rid of her silver and finery that she has decorating their house, with the thought that as they minister to the very poor, it wouldn’t do to have these nice things laying around their house. Our pastor wrote a neat daily devotional for the 40 days leading up to the MY HOPE with Billy Graham program, and on one of the days he asked a challenging question: are you holding onto anything that you would be embarrassed to have when the Lord returns? I hope not, but look around my house and see all the stuff…Ay yi yi. Most of it is raising kids stuff, I know. And it is our kids that keep me from too much materialism and greed. That’s good. May this Christmas be the best yet for me to let go of the gets and major on the giving.