is Pure - June 2005
THE PRETTY ONE
It had been a very long night. Our black Cocker spaniel Precious was having a difficult delivery. I lay on the floor beside her large four-foot square cage, watching her every movement. Watching and waiting, just in case I had to rush her to the veterinarian.
After six hours the puppies started to appear. The first-born was black and white. The second and third puppies were tan and brown in color. The fourth and fifth were also spotted black and white. "One, two, three, four, five," I counted to myself as I walked down the hallway to wake my wife, Judy, and tell her that everything was fine.
As we walked back down the hallway and into the spare bedroom, I noticed a sixth puppy had been born and was now laying all by itself over to the side of the cage. I picked up the small puppy and laid it on top of the large pile of puppies, who were whining and trying to nurse on the mother. Precious immediately pushed the small puppy away from rest of the group. She refused to recognize it as a member of her family.
"Something's wrong," said Judy.
I reached over and picked up the puppy. My heart sank inside my chest when I saw the little puppy had a cleft lip and palate and could not close its little mouth. I decided right there and then that if there was any way to save this animal I was going to give it my best shot.
I took the puppy to the vet and was told nothing could be done unless we were willing to spend about a thousand dollars to try and correct the defect. He told us that the puppy would die mainly because it could not suckle. After returning home, Judy and I decided that we could not afford to spend that kind of money without getting some type of assurance from the vet that the puppy had a chance to live. However, that did not stop me from purchasing a syringe and feeding the puppy by hand. Which I did every day and night, every two hours, for more than ten days. The little puppy survived and learned to eat on his own as long as it was soft canned food.
The fifth week I placed an ad in the newspaper, and within a week we had people interested in all of the pups, except the one with the deformity. Late one afternoon I went to the store to pick up a few groceries. Upon returning I happened to see the old retired schoolteacher, who lived across the street from us, waving at me. She had read in the paper that we had puppies and was wondering if she might get one from us for her grandson and his family. I told her all the puppies had found homes, but I would keep my eyes open for anyone else who might have an available cocker spaniel. I also mentioned that if someone should change their mind, I would let her know. Within days, all but one of the puppies had been picked up by their new families. This left me with one brown and tan cocker as well as the smaller puppy with the cleft lip and palate.
Two days passed without me hearing anything from the gentleman who had been promised the tan and brown pup. I telephoned the schoolteacher and told her I had one puppy left and that she was welcome to come and look at it. She advised me that she was going to pick up her grandson and would come over at about eight o'clock that evening.
That night at around seven-thirty, Judy and I were eating supper when we heard a knock on the front door. When I opened the door, the man who had wanted the tan and brown pup was standing there. We walked inside, took care of the adoption details and I handed him the puppy. Judy and I did not know what we would do or say when the teacher showed up with her grandson. At exactly eight o'clock the doorbell rang. I opened the door, and there was the schoolteacher with her grandson standing behind her. I explained to her the man had come for the puppy after all, and there were no puppies left. "I'm sorry, Jeffery. They found homes for all the puppies," she told her grandson.
Just at that moment, the small puppy left in the bedroom began to yelp.
"My puppy! My puppy!" yelled the little boy as he ran out from behind his grandmother.
I just about fell over when I saw that the small child also had a cleft lip and palate. The boy ran past me as fast as he could, down the hallway to where the puppy was still yelping. When the three of us made it to the bedroom, the small boy was holding the puppy in his arms. He looked up at his grandmother and said, "Look, Grandma. They found homes for all the puppies except the pretty one, and he looks just like me."
The schoolteacher turned to us, "Is this puppy available?"
"Yes," I answered. "That puppy is available."
The little boy, who was now hugging the puppy, chimed in, "My grandma told me these kind of puppies are real expensive and that I have to take real good care of it."
The lady opened her purse, but I reached over and pushed her hand back down into her purse so that she would not pull her wallet out. "How much do you think this puppy is worth?" I asked the boy. "About a dollar?" "No. This puppy is very, very expensive," he replied.
"More than a dollar?" I asked.
"I'm afraid so," said his grandmother.
The boy stood there pressing the small puppy against his cheek. "We could not possibly take less than two dollars for this puppy," Judy said, squeezing my hand. "Like you said, it's the pretty one."
The schoolteacher took out two dollars and handed it to the young boy.
"It's your dog now, Jeffery. You pay the man."
Still holding the puppy tightly, the boy proudly handed me the money. Any worries I'd had about the puppy's future were gone.
The image of the little boy and his matching pup stays with me still. I think it must be a wonderful feeling for any young person to look at themselves in the mirror and see nothing, except "the pretty one."
Stories from The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser
Author, Roger Dean Kiser
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IF YOU EVER NEED ME (SAYS THE LORD)
If you ever need ME, I'M just a stones throw away
call on ME anytime, and I will brighten your day
with mystery, the likes you can all but imagine...and
have a stronghold on evil so the devil can't win
been around all your life, for its part of MY master plan
what's in store for you is true, no representatives greater than
ME, just believe and I'LL add light to your darkness
relief to your pain, all one need do is spark this
candle with flame, see I was sent to maintain
and make all ill will nil, so refrain
from being idle, for it's you know who's workshop
let ME be your protector, MY perseverance is nonstop
turn around!, here I am! are you ready for the victory
I'VE already fought the battle, weathered the storm, if faiths iniquity
brings you doubt, it's plain to see that ME is who you can't be without
so get on that rooftop or pedestal, just proclaim!, scream!, and shout!
see I'M here to take away the fear, that seems quite near
it's MY CROSS to bear; unload your burden so I can wear
just remember, I give you as much as I feel you can handle
through OUR FATHER, don't try to rationalize what can't be dismantled
for what is, is; end of story
this message I pass on so that GOD gets the glory
in the event you feel spent, are in a bad place to be
all you have to do is call, if you ever need ME
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EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4
Things didn't go quite like I'd planned today. "Imagine that," I thought. Well, if there is one thing in life we can be certain of, it's change. When our kids were growing up, I recall feeling strongly about preparing them for change in their lives, to understand the need to be flexible without compromising our values and who we are.
The names for the Lord God Almighty, our triune God, are many in the Old Testament scriptures. Among them are Jehovah Shammah, the God who is there. That is one of my favourites. Also Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our banner, who goes before us, and Jehovah Rohe, the God who heals.
My personal extra name for God is Jehovah Surprise, the God of the Unexpected. Not that anything happening catches Him
off guard. He's not up in heaven, looking down, exclaiming, "Oh my gosh! Look at that!" Rather, I'm the one who is continually surprised by events and people. Sometimes I even surprise myself. That is not always so great.
There's a saying," We make plans and God laughs." And yet another saying, "Life is what happens while we're making other plans." God may be full of surprises, yet He is still in control, still the sovereign God of the universe, still on His throne, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The Lord's love and faithfulness is about the only thing we can expect in the midst of the unexpected. The good news is we can count on Him in our constantly ever-changing world.
©Sally I. Kennedy
Author of "Words from the Heart, and 52 Little Parables from Ireland" (Creation House Press)
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Our Best Or Our All?
This weekend, one of my dearest friends had her birthday. I hold her very close to my heart and it was my aim and intention to bless her and honour her not just as friend but also as a wonderful person. Her family and friends admire her and her co-workers all respect her greatly. I have told her more than once that I consider her a role model in my life and have learned much about integrity through her day-to-day actions.
When I asked her what she would like to do for her day, she replied, hoping we could go out for dinner but that she did not want any gifts. A dangerous glint in my eye steered her away from denying us the pleasure of buying her cards at least. So there I was, looking at the selections in my favourite card shop. I must have spent a good forty-five minutes, reading each card, thinking about my friend and wanting to bless her with the best. One card was too bland, one was too sentimental, one was too 'old', and one was too sarcastic. Finally! The perfect card! Carefully, I scrawled out a well-thought out comment and tucked it away in my purse, making sure it couldn't be creased or stained. I would never dream to giving her anything but the best I could afford, after all, she is my friend!
How often the economy of the kingdom of God differs from ours. We only want to give our best to our earthly friends and families and leave our own garbage out of their hands, knowing that it would be insulting to give them our tawdry, second-class stuff. We would never think of putting burned cookies on a plate along with the perfectly baked cookies. Yet …
God asks us for all of us. He asks for our failures as well as our triumphs. He wants a carte-blanche invitation to enter our spiritual houses even with our unmade beds, our dusty corners and our piled up dishes. He wants to see our dirty laundry, our ring around the tub. He wants permission to explore every area of our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Give God your all. He does not ask you to give Him only what you would consider perfection. Give Him everything, every scrap, every part of you, everything you've kept hidden on the back shelf of your heart, judging it as not good enough, or too broken to be used. God can and will transform the good, the bad, what you deem the ugly. Let Him sift and sort things through. You will be amazed at what the Master Creator can make out of what you might consider the shambles of your heart.
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