Loving Where You Live

Dunoon 10 pm

We live in Dunoon, Scotland. I love it. It’s beautiful and interesting—but the people make the difference. They are great.

Our rough collie Savannah just turned nine months old. For the past two months, she has battled constant diarrhea and wouldn’t eat. When her diarrhea started occurring every fifteen minutes, I called our local vet practice, Bute & Cowal Vets. Dr. Catriona MacIntyre got up out of bed and met us there at 3:00 a.m., sweeping aside apologies for interrupting her sleep. Savannah was no better on Saturday, so Catriona performed surgery, removing tissue for biopsies. When Savannah was worse on Monday, Catriona sent her to Glasgow to an emergency animal hospital. When Savannah started discharging blood and quickly fouled three diapers in a row, Catriona ran back and forth from her surgery to the taxi cab bringing towels, wet wipes, a huge roll of paper towels. By the time we arrived in Glasgow with Savannah, Catriona was already on the phone to them asking if Savannah had arrived yet and how she was doing.

sav in ditch

For the next three days, Savannah was in the hospital and Catriona called the hospital regularly to check on her. Moreover, when I called Clyde Taxi to schedule a trip home—the dispatcher and the driver who had taken us immediately asked how Savannah was doing.

We got back home to find FB messages and posts asking about Savannah, many from our New Life Christian Fellowship friends, many from FB friends, and some from complete strangers who had seen Savannah’s pictures on FB and who had been praying for her.

Dunoon is a great place to live. Wherever you live is a great place to live. In spite of negative and false news – so is this world. Love it, treasure it, be thankful for it. Neither this world – nor any of us – will last forever. But isn’t it good to know that wherever you live is a great place to be?

“And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17

cross St. John

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You CAN Go Home Again

bandera horse statue

Thomas Wolfe was wrong – you CAN go home again – if “home” is Bandera, Texas, “Cowboy Capital of the World.” The hard part is getting there.

Take the couple on the plane next to me with the sanitary wipes. So diligent were they at wiping down everything around them that I thought, “If they know I let dogs kiss me on the face – they’ll spray me with something.”

Airport signs. The one for my gate pointed straight up. “Heaven?” I wondered. “I would love to see Luke again.”

Picking up my bag in Newark to go through customs and recheck it, I followed the signs to the elevator, but a live person turned me away at the top and sent me back down, over two elevators, and up a different elevator. That led to “Priority” whatever, and the workers standing behind desks doing absolutely nothing gave me a major eye roll. I’ll have to remember that when I’m writing my next book. People really do roll their eyes.

horses and wagon main street

A lovely friend whom I hadn’t seen in 42 years met me at the San Antonio Airport. I was afraid we wouldn’t recognize each other, but we did. The only problem…she couldn’t find her car. Perfect! I’m not the only directionally challenged person in the world!

bandera welcome sign

Once in Bandera I felt like I had never left. After having been gone for nine years, folks said, “Hey, nice to see you. I haven’t seen you in a while. What ‘ya been up to?” No clue I had been gone.

texas hill country gate and view

Main Street seemed cleaner and wider. There were new buildings. Some old ones were gone. Hair was a bit whiter on some heads and some folks walked with a cane. But the Bandera spirit of friendliness and welcome remained changed.

prickly pear bloom and bite out

Everywhere I went in Bandera, folks talked openly about God. They prayed before meals and included the U.S. and the President in those prayers. Never heard a word of profanity while I was there. Home.

deer calm

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Broken Sticks…

One day that bat-fowled fiend satan was smarting off to God and God asked him, “Have you considered my faithful servant Job?” That ornery ole devil smarted off again and said that the only reason Job worshiped God was because God had blessed him so much. So God allowed that mean ole devil to take away everything Job had except his nagging wife. Job said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away and blessed be the name of the Lord.”

So that cursed serpent said, “Let me at him again! Then he’ll cuss you up one side and down the other.” So God allowed slimeball, sleeze satan to touch Job’s body. I mean to tell you, that poor ole boy had boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. He was so messed up he had to take his boots off to scratch. Job still blessed God.

Then along comes these three friends to comfort Job. Let me tell you: when you’ve got friends like these, you’re up to your armpits in enemies. They started in on Job something fierce about how he must have done something powerful bad to get punished by God and how he was a terrible secret sinner. After a bit, Job had had about all the comforting he could stand from these fellers.

So Job says, “How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with your words?” (Job 19:1)

I challenge you. Take a stick and break it. Put it back together. Does it fit right? Is it as strong as it was before you broke it? Can you put it back together perfectly so that you can’t tell it’s been broken?

Your words can break people or heal them. When you get angry and break people with words, an apology never quite does the job of mending the relationship. There is always that jagged, hurting shard of memory that spoils the symmetry of the friendship and mars its previous flawless beauty.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Choose to speak life with your tongue instead of breaking sticks that will never mend.

At the end of Job’s story in the Bible, God held Job’s three friends accountable for their stick-breaking words. He told them they had not spoken what was right and true and ordered them to apologize to Job and have Job pray for them. Then…”the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.”

Words are powerful. Communication is a gift from God. Use yours to build, not break.

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