Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

What's in a Name? (Part 2)

So last blog I covered the meaning of my first name, Sarah, and this week I did a little digging into my middle name, Elizabeth.

Now I've always known Elizabeth was from the bible and I looked up her name and it means "God's Promise." She was yet another famous character for not being able to get pregnant, but I haven't read her story in a long time. It starts in Luke chapter 1 with the direct statement that Elizabeth is not able to have children with her husband, Zacharias, and now she's really old. One day when Zacharias was performing his duties in the church (he was a priest) an angel appeared to him and told him that he and Elizabeth would get pregnant and have a baby boy who be named John and would be pure and filled with the Holy Spirit and turn many people back to God. Zacharias was scared out of his mind and he basically told the angel that he was crazy and didn't believe him. In reply, the angel told Zacharias, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."

Within a few days Elizabeth became pregnant and sure enough, Zacharias completely lost his voice. Nine months later Elizabeth went into labor and the scriptures say that her friends and neighbors "rejoiced with her, knowing that the Lord had shown her grace." What a great picture of community! I'm sure all of Elizabeth's girlfriends had cried with her through her bareness and celebrated with her when she finally became pregnant, so what a beautiful moment for them all to see God's promise come true.
As was customary of the time, they asked Elizabeth if she wanted to name the baby boy after his father, but she declined in favor of the name that the angel had given him, John, but since no one in her family was named John, they sought out Zacharias to see what he wanted to name the child. Since he couldn't talk, he asked for a tablet, and wrote down, "His name is John," and immediately he was able to speak again after 9 months of muteness. The baby was circumcised on the eight day and named John, meaning "God is gracious." Wow.

I can only imagine how desperately Elizabeth wanted a baby. After years of watching her friends get pregnant and have children it must have started to seem impossible for them to have a child of their own. Just like the story of Sarah, it sticks out so distinctly to me because of how God intentionally chose extremely human people through which he worked his miracles. This reminds me of when Paul is struggling with doubt and distress in his letter to the Corinthian church (2 Cor. 12:9) and speaking of the Lord he write, "Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." 

So no matter what I am struggling through, I know I follow in the footsteps of not one, but two women who God gave specific situations in which they couldn't fix things on their own and they had to grow their trust in Him to do the impossible. How often do we actually get faced with a problem that we can't solve by our own abilities or from our own wallets? For this, I am so thankful. 
Just like Paul, I am learning to embrace my weakness knowing that the less capable I am the more room God has to do things I could only dream of being able to accomplish on my own.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lucille II

I just realized that I never published this post about welcoming Lucy into our home! How did I miss that?

Garland and I have never been the type to avoid change, in fact, we get antsy if we are not undertaking a new project at all times. First it was getting engaged, then buying a house, then getting married, then renovating the house. So when our painting and moving and marrying slowed down a month after our wedding, we knew we were ready to take on a pet. That's where Bosco came into the picture, and he kept us busy for quite some time. In the next year and a half I entered and completed my Masters program, we finished renovating our first home and started talking about shopping for a new one, started the discussion about having kids one day, and decided that our dear, sweet Bosco needed a play mate.

Garland was way more into it at first, I was nervous about having another living thing to be responsible for, feed, take to the vet, walk, etc. I resisted even going to the shelter when he suggested it because I knew I'd fall in love. I finally conceded to going to the shelter (I was really excited deep down), but I had a list of requirements and I wasn't coming home with any dog that didn't meet them.
1) Female
2) Small but not too small (15-25)
3) Not yippy (I hate small, yippy dogs)
4) Not a major shedder
5) no puppies, must be 2-4 years old 
6) Not super hyper
7) Not a barker

As you can imagine, not many dogs met my strict standards. On our third visit we finally found the perfect dog, a 2 year old female pug that was sweet as could be. We signed all the papers and named her Lucille and planned to pick her up the next morning after she got her shots. That night I was so excited I made G take me to buy a new food bowl, water bowl, leash, collar, and dog pillow (all in girly colors, of course). When we went to pick her up the next morning (new purple collar and leash in hand) they gave us the bad news that they had accidentally overbooked and promised the dog to someone else the day before we found her. I was devastated. I had already sent pictures to all my friends telling them about our newest addition. As a consolation, they told us that Lucille had given birth to 6 puppies who were available for adoption. After a short conversation about if we would even consider a puppy (I really did not want to do the whole potty training, chewing, following commands thing all over again) we decided we should at least go look.
I fell in love with Lucille II from the moments she curled up against Garland's chest and just laid there in the nook of his arm. Something maternal kicked into gear and I wanted to take care of that puppy and give her a home. Garland saw the look in my eye and knew right away that he was in trouble and so he went to the Shelter man and told him we'd take her. 
Bosco was so intrigued with her right from the beginning but he was also gentle. It was like he knew she was a baby and a lot smaller than him so even when she would bite at his tail or jump on him he would just barely nudge her back. They are, without a doubt, the best of friends. Lucy wants to be just like Bosco. If you look out our window when they're in the back yard you will always see her following her big brother around, sniffing and barking just like he does (even when she doesn't know what he's sniffing or who he's barking at). And Bosco, in turn, is extremely protective over Lucy. The first time I vacuumed after Lucy moved in she tried to walk up and bark and the vacuum like it was an adversary and Bosco (who is scared of the vacuum) jumped of the couch and nudged her away from the vacuum and into the kitchen as if to say, "don't you know that thing will get you?!"

Here are some of my favorite things about Lucy:
-She is only part pug, so she has the pug body and coloring and curly tail, but she has a snout and her eyes don't bug out. She is also leaner and has longer legs than a pug. She's adorable!
-She sometimes growls at her own tail when she chases it.
-Her default position is sitting, so I will turn around and she will be sitting in a recliner, on the coffee table, fireplace, arm of the couch, etc.
-She makes a wide variety of really weird noises.
-She eats SO MUCH. We often joke that she is half pug half pig.
-When she gets really excited she starts hopping on two legs and looks kind of like a rabbit.
-She constantly crawls under beds and furniture when I enter a room. I'll close it when I leave and then start looking for Lucy after 5 minutes and open the door again and she is patiently sitting on the other side waiting to be let out.