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I got the idea for Five Things Friday from my sister’s blog,

My Five Favorite Ice Cream Toppings

  1. Caramel
  2. Strawberries
  3. Pecans
  4. Hot Fudge
  5. Rice Krispies (seriously—the crunch is great!)

Happy Friday, everyone!

On Friday I visited my uncle, who’s been in the hospital for a few weeks because of a bad fall. He was pretty beat up and also pretty out of it, what with all the pain meds and everything. He’d sleep for a while and then wake up and not know where he was and try to pull out his IV and other tubes.

He was awake for quite a while on Friday, and kind of in and out of it. I was standing next to the bed when he came to again, and he started to get quite agitated—confused, not sure where he was or what was happening to him. I was just standing there when he suddenly reached for my hand and held it. It seemed to calm him; he settled down and eventually drifted back to sleep, still holding on to my hand.

Ironically, just the day before I had been reading Isaiah 42: “I am the LORD…I have taken you by the hand and kept you” (v. 6).

Is it possible that, by holding his hand, I represented God’s peace to my uncle in that moment? It seems odd to think so: After all, I wasn’t trying to minister to him or actively pray for him or do any “preachy” things—I was quite literally just standing there. And yet, is it possible that God made use of me even when I wasn’t doing anything? It’s a humbling thought.

What I do know is this: God is there, standing right by our bedside, so to speak, whether we’re in the hospital or having a bad day or just needing a hug. God is continually reaching out a hand to us; all we have to do is grab hold of it—and trust that God is already holding on tight.

Ellie and I headed up to the lake this afternoon. I had promised Dad I would water the sod that he recently laid down around the house. And while I was dragging the hoses around, Ellie was having the time of her life.

She loves to run around in the woods — only this was more like zooming, from one end of the peninsula to the other and then back again.

She chased squirrels. She herded the golden retriever from next door. She explored the shoreline. She dipped a paw in the water and then looked at me indignantly like, “Did YOU know how cold that is?” Then she raced off again.

At one point I realized I hadn’t seen her in a while, so I called for her and she came rocketing out of the swamp like a 50-pound, furry bullet and skidded to a stop in front of me. “What?” she seemed to say. “I have things to sniff, do you mind?” And away she went.

Ellie runs just for the sheer joy of running. It’s what she was made for — and she’s happiest when’s she doing what she was made for.

What are we made for? What will give us sheer joy?

“You have shown me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy.” – Psalm 16:11

“If you understand, things are just as they are. If you do not understand, things are just as they are.”  


This Zen proverb has been up on my fridge for a few years now — and yet I still don’t, ahem, understand it. Or, rather, I don’t understand why it’s so hard for us as humans to accept the things we do not understand.

Perhaps the point of it all isn’t to understand. Perhaps the point is just to live the abundant life that Jesus promises us (John 10:10). Perhaps our joy really starts to become complete (John 15:11) when we stop fighting to understand God’s love and instead embrace it.

To put this proverb another way: “If you believe it, God loves you. If you don’t believe it, God loves you.”

I am sitting here eating a delicious raspberry muffin. The reason I am eating a muffin at work instead of cereal at home is because I overslept this morning and didn’t have time for breakfast as I was rushing out the door. Then I couldn’t find a parking space and had to settle for a spot several blocks away. It was a rough morning.

But THEN, as I was hiking to work, I came across a woman walking three border collies. I stopped and said hello and they sniffed me and let me pet them (the dogs, not the woman). “I have one just like you at home,” I told the first one, who had stapled her head to my leg so I could scratch her ears. She wagged her tail in response.

It reminded me of the first time I saw Ellie, terribly thin with her fur all matted, but so happy to say hello. It was love at first sniff as she wagged her tail and, I swear, smiled at me through her boogered-up eyes. It was like she was saying, “It’s been a rough year, but life is still good. Let’s play.”

So let’s play.