karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

How do you change your world? One word at a time, one heart at a time

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Me and You and a Dog Named Tank

The two most powerful things in existence: a kind word and a thoughtful gesture.
– Ken Langone
Yes, dear, I know it’s really Boo, but where’s the fun in that? And pay attention, or you might just miss the lesson. I’d been reading a lot about PTSD recently, again, and was reminded of this story that, whether true or false – there are both sides claiming ownership out there on the net – is heartwarming nonetheless. We never really know the real story behind the story until we see the end. Here’s one I love:
They told Tom the big black Lab’s name was Reggie as he looked at him lying in his pen. Tom had only been in the area for six months, but everywhere he went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.
But something was still missing as he attempted to settle in to his new life, and he thought a dog couldn’t hurt.
At first, he thought the shelter had misjudged him in giving up Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner. See, Reggie and Tom didn’t really hit it off when they got home. They struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter said to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that Tom was trying to adjust, too.
For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls … he wouldn’t go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of Tom’s other unpacked boxes.
Tom tried the normal commands the shelter told him he knew, ones like stay and come and heel, and Reggie would follow them … when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when his name was called. When he was asked again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.
The relationship just wasn’t working. Reggie chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. Tom was a little too stern with him and he resented it. The friction got so bad that Tom couldn’t wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, he was in full-on search mode for his cell phone amid all of his unpacked stuff.
Related: A Story About Living as Told by a Six Year Old Boy About His Dog
Finally he found it, but before he could punch up the shelter’s number, he also found Reggie’s pad and other toys from the shelter. Tom tossed the pad in Reggie’s direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm that he’d shown since arriving at his new home.
But then Tom called, Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I’ll give you a treat. Instead, he sort of glanced in his direction … maybe ‘glared’ is more accurate … and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down, with little to no interest.
Well, that’s not going to do it either, Tom thought. And he punched the shelter phone number.
But he hung up when he saw the sealed envelope. It had been completely forgotten and ignored until now. ‘Okay, Reggie,’
Tom said out loud, lets see if your previous owner has any advice.
The note was addressed:
To Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner.
I’m not even happy writing it.
My last visit with my dog was when I dropped him at the shelter. He knew something was different… I had packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time … it’s like he knew something was wrong. And something was wrong … which is why I had to try to make it right.
So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.
First, he loves tennis balls, the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there.
Hasn’t done it yet. Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after it, so be careful … really don’t do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.
Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I’ll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones …sit, stay, come, heel. He knows hand signals: back … to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and over … if you put your hand out right or left. Shake … for shaking water off, andpaw … for a high-five. He does down … when he feels like lying down … I bet you could work on that with him some more.
He knows ball, and food and bone and treat like nobody’s business. I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog. Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He’s up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they’ll make sure to send you reminders for when he’s due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car … I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. I’ve never been married, so it’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain. He just loves to be around people and me most especially. This means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.
And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you …
His name’s not Reggie.
I don’t know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt but I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I’d never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything’s fine.
But if someone else is reading it, well … well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It’ll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in his demeanor if he’s been giving you problems.
His real name is Tank … because that is what I drive.

Again, if you’re reading this and you’re from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn’t make Reggie available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with … and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call the shelter in the event to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he’d do it personally. And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.
Well, this letter is getting too downright depressing, even though, frankly, I’m just writing it for my dog. I couldn’t imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family. But still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.
And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.
That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible thing … and to keep those terrible people from coming over here.
If I had to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He was my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades…
All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don’t think I’ll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.
Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight every night from me.
Thank you, Paul Mallory
Tom folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure he had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously being awarded the Silver Star because he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.
He leaned forward in his chair, rested his elbows on his knees, and said quietly: ‘Hey, Tank’. The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.
C’ mere boy.
He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted; searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months.
Tank, Tom whispered. His tail swished.
He kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. Tom stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried his face into his scruff and hugged him.
It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.
Tank reached up and licked his cheek. So whatdaya say we play some ball? His ears perked again. Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball? Tank tore from Tom’s hands and disappeared in the next room.
And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.
A word can really change a heart. And so can love.
Kari, the work-in-progress
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

A Place of Pain

A good friend of mine for over 20 years, though she doesn’t have a clue, is Joyce Meyer. Next to my pastor she’s probably sown more into my spiritual growth than anyone else. Yesterday she said that when you go through things in life it may be painful, but the only way out is through. And through always means pain. She has also said in the past that the same door you went through to get into a situation is the same door you’ll have to go through to leave it.
I’m well familiar with pain. In my few short years on this planet I’ve definitely had my share of heartache. One of my heroes, my worship pastor, Scott Schazline, says that you can’t teach what you haven’t survived. How right I have found that he is. For one so young he has a whole lot of wisdom. My guy Gary always says it’s not what you go through, it’s how you go through it. We all make choices, and we can say all we want that our choices are ours alone to make and that they don’t affect anyone else but it’s not true. Actions always have consequences, and some can be devastating.
Case in point: one of my favourite introductions to any book other than the Bible that I’ve ever read. The book is called The Oath, by Frank Perretti. In the 10th Anniversary edition he chose to share why he wrote the book in the first place. It changed my life. I’ve quoted it on my blog before but it speaks to me every single time I read it. Here it is, for those who never have, and please don’t sue me – I’m just trying to share something that could be life-changing for you to:
“Sin is the monster we love to deny.
It can stalk us, bite a slice out of our lives, return again and bite again, and even as we bleed and hobble, we prefer to believe nothing has happened. That makes sin the perfect monster, a man-eater that blinds and numbs its victims, convincing them that nothing is wrong and there is no need to flee, and then consumes them at its leisure.
We’ve all been assailed by the beast, sometimes face-to-face, but all too often from a direction we aren’t prepared to defend, and it’s only in recognizing the beast for what it is that we can hope to escape at all. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and empowered to overcome sin, but opening the door and tossing the beast kitchen scraps of our character is no way to drive it off. Toying with an animal that is actually toying with us is a sure way to lose part of ourselves.
I was watching it happen to some friends of mine the year I began writing The Oath. As the rest of us just kept on praising the Lord, loving one another, smiling, and trying not to be judgmental, some really good people walked stupidly, blindly into the jaws of sin. The tooth marks still show today, in ruined marriages and soiled ministries. The rest of us should have said something.
In The Oath, I tried to say something through a vicious drama. I gave sin a form, an identifiable embodiment hellbent to consume the hero. I chose an obscure, remote setting because sin shies from examination just as vermin flee from the light, and in this place, there are no rules. Denial is easy, and sin is protected. The consequences, of course, play out just as they do in so many real lives: we’ve all seen friends, relatives, and fellow believers dragged out the door by a pet that got too big to control. Some have managed to come back, bleeding and bruised, hopefully healing and wiser. Some have never come back at all. And some of us have been there.
The Oath is a story we’ve all had a part in, to one degree or another. And years later, it still cries out the same warning God gave Cain: Sin is crouching at the door, and it wants you, but you must overcome it.”
My question to you today, dear reader, is simply this; what can you do to help heal a broken wounded world on its way to the wrong destination?

Kari, the healed and healing
almost all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

Mr. Adam, I Presume?

If it wasn’t for Mr. Adam and Mrs. Eve we wouldn’t be in this pickle; we’d all be living in a garden naked eating free fruit. I know. But I’m tired of blaming others. If I truly want change, it might just have to start with me. A good friend of mine last night introduced me to a concept I’d never really thought about before. She, like me, apparently learns a lot of God principles from many things other than His Word, although that is always the plumbline for my life and if something I learn doesn’t line up with that I throw it out. Her simple but profound statement was this: a good call girl doesn’t sell her body; she sells the promise of it. How like satan. He always sells the dream, the illusion, the hope that this – whatever your ‘this’ is – will bring you comfort, satisfaction, pleasure, enjoyment. How fleeting and empty his promises truly are. He, like a good call girl, promises what he knows you want but hopes you won’t discover will never truly fill that empty place in your heart.
You see it everywhere you look. Empty promises that never truly deliver. The beer commercials promising fun but never showing you the hangover next morning. Stunning car commercials that forget to mention the payments will put you into debt. Sexy men and hot women supposedly having a grand old time but never showing you the results of sex outside of marriage. The longer I live the more clearly I see his deception and I’m so very thankful. That same friend taught me another concept, too. 1st Peter 5 verse 9 says we have to “stand firm against him (the devil), and be strong in your faith. Remember your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering.” It’s good to know we’re not alone, isn’t it? How about 1st Peter 4 verse 12? The “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened to you” verse. Oh, joy. Actually, it is. The next part goes on to say not only should we not think it strange, we should actually rejoice. Don’t know about you, but that’s easier said than done for me. The kicker? James 1 verse 2. Which tells us we’re supposed to “count it all joy” when we get into these situations. The Message bible, a personal fave of mine, digs a little deeper, and tells us to “consider it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” Just in case ya didn’t get the NIV or NLT, that’ll make it abundantly clear. Verse 3 goes on to tell us “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely”. As Joyce Meyer would say, “Ouch! Hallelujah!”
He has a great point. As my pastor often says, there’s no such thing as unjoy. Happiness actually comes from the root Anglo Saxon word hap, which means happenstance. In other words, if everything in your life is “happening” the way you would like, you’re happy. Forgive me but that seems like a shallow way to live. I’d rather dive in deep, even if it gets messy from time to time. Heidi Baker says, never stop stopping for the one. God knows I’ve been the one, many times, and those who stopped to notice rate highly in my book.
So it’s a new day and I have a new question for you. Will you live an authentic, no-holes-barred, honest-to-goodness real life in front of those you encounter? Some will love you for it, others won’t, but the ones who relate will appreciate the lack of hypocrisy. Are you willing to come with me on the new journey of being authentically real? Joyce says it’s time to start a Love Revolution, and that it starts with her. I’m right behind her. The buck stops here, and it stops with me. What do you say? Together we can take a healing Christ to a hurting world. And it will make all the difference.
Kari, the on-fire, Holy-Ghost-filled, seeking, satisfied, sanctified child of the Most High God
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved
ps. by the way, will you please smack them both upside the head for me, if you get to Heaven first? Thank you.

The Story of a Rug

I saw the phrase Rag Rugging recently, and it stuck with me. I once heard the story of how a rug was made. This isn’t it, but it’s the closest I can find. When I heard it, my mind immediately started to learn spiritual things.
The link below shows the story of a rug, if you’re interested, but almost everything in life has a deeper meaning. For me it was this:
The Grand Weaver, as Ravvi Zacharias calls Him, decided may years ago to make a rug that would astound an amaze. It involved a death, and new life. The rug design in and of itself was very carefully designed. In fact, He decided to make many, many rugs. He has “knit” us “together in our mother’s womb”, Psalm 139 verse 13, intricately and expertly. Even on your worst days, remember there are two sides to every rug, and God loves your messy side!
If more women knew they had worth and value regardless of their past, they’d quit allowing the culture to define them and start defining their culture! I’m so over the outside. I prefer the inside. Character, integrity, honesty, faithfulness. How about you?
Kari, the happy rug
original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1gcOupNCi8

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