$2 A day

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Over three billion people — more than half the world population as of 2010 — live on less than $2.50 US Dollars (USD) a day. More than 80% of the population lives on less than $10 USD per day. To put that in perspective, the average American spends about $7 USD a day on entertainment alone, and more than twice that on transportation.~visualeconomics.com

I’ve had workmen in my home for two weeks now. My kitchen is completely torn down. Did you ever realize how much gunk goes down the side of your stove? Okay, it’s not really the topic today but I’ll post about that later.

Back to the thought process. Each morning on my way to work I walk downstairs and say good morning to the workers. This particular morning Doug had left earlier than I had and he asked how he could bless me. I replied that he could get back before I left for work and bring me a Starbucks. Actually what I said was, “I’ll love you forever if you bring me a tea from Starbucks before I leave.” Well he did. I kiss him goodbye and I walk downstairs that morning with a purse, a computer, and a Starbucks in my hand.

“Good Morning!”, I call out. One of the workmen said, “You’re always so happy Pastora. Every time I see you, you’re always in a good mood.” I really was in a great mood, because how could I not be, and I said, “What’s not to be happy about? We are blessed.” We said our goodbyes and I left.

I put my computer bag in the back seat of my car, put my purse in the passenger seat and was about to put my Starbucks in the cup holder and I paused.

“What’s not to be happy about? We are blessed.”

My tea costs $4.10.

I spent more on tea in one morning before 9 am than half the world makes in a day and a half. What do I have to complain about?

Do you ever just put your life in perspective? It’s hard to be depressed when you view your life through the lens of the average world citizen. Watching Storage Wars on television I saw where we have enough storage units in the USA to house every single person on the planet. Do you realize our storage units house our leftovers? Yes, we’re in a recession and things are looking bleak but when we look at it from a lens of gratitude we are abundantly blessed.

No matter your circumstances today, take a little time to count your blessings. You’re probably reading this blog post on a Internet connection that is costing about $1.00 a day. Would you have Internet if it costs half a day’s wage? Face it, we have it pretty sweet.

Lulu The Wonder Dog

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This is Lulu the Wonder Dog! What makes her so wonderful? Let me count the ways!

She is thrilled to see me every time I walk through the door.

She sticks by my side whether I have something to offer or not.

She loves to go to the office and sleep under my desk.

She loves to snuggle and watch a movie.

She really is the most verbal dog I have ever had.

She is trained and more obedient than any of my children.

She sighs as I do my chores and jumps on the couch and naps and waits patiently for me to finish.

She demands attention when I get distracted. She is known for taking my hands off of the computer with the prodding of her head. She also puts a paw on the computer and gets in my face when she needs attention.

She loves Starbucks as much as I do!

Lulu came to me at a transitional time in my life. She was at a critical time in her life. Near death, I bottled fed her, gave her IV’s, and nursed her back to health. She nursed my soul as I came back to life. She asked no tough questions, she simply gazed into my eyes with understanding. I named her after my daughter Casey who when she was little decided she wanted to be called Lulu. Casey was transitioning into adult life after college and I was having a rough time of it. I needed a reminder of a time.

She was the bridge with our family and reconnected us through her love and her persistence. She was the steady constant one, reminding me that she needed me to look outside of myself to her service. She wasn’t perfect. She ate my favorite pair of heels as a puppy. Had no shame either. She sat on my bed with said shoe in her mouth and chowed down. That’s when I learned to close my closet door.

Now she’s all grown up and still the most active dog I’ve ever had. She never stops. She also is the biggest tattletale I’ve ever seen. She’ll wake me up at 2 am just to get me to come and see that my husband is downstairs making queso dip and watching the military channel and he isn’t sharing. She was great at pointing out the kids weren’t following the no food in their rooms rule because she would discover the stashes of empty cereal bowls.

In this picture we’re driving to deliver a meal to a friend. You can see her smiling. She loves people. In our human understanding we say she is a rescue dog. A puppy from the pound. In her heart she doesn’t see it that way. She rescued us and keeps us all together and happy. That’s what makes her a wonder dog!

Creating Sacred Space

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Hebrews 13:4 Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband.

I am a firm believer in a marriage bed. I believe it is sacred space. I am not a big fan of a family bed because I believe that it erodes a small piece of intimacy between a husband and a wife. That being said, I let a little something come between my husband and I. I began to let Lulu the wonder dog, snuggle in our bed before she had to go to her crate. My husband quickly referred to her as “the space between”. I had violated my own rule!

In most homes there is a living space, a dining space, a kitchen, a bathroom, and then there are bedrooms. Can there be one space where a man and a woman find a place of romance, beauty, intimacy and oneness? You share you life with so many in those places that creating a sacred space for just two people seems like a small thing to ask.

With that said, over the next little while in my life, I’m going to spend some time redoing our sacred space. I love our bedding, but I had put our “good stuff” away because I didn’t want Lulu to mess it up. We’re taking back our sacred space! I simply allowed her to jump on the bed and lie at our feet, but she’ll adapt, and we’ll go back to that space being for the two of us.

Lulu Turns 5

This is a blog from 5 years ago. It tells Lulu’s story of how she came to be our puppy. Lulu is turning 5 in just a few days, I love her more today than I did when she first came home! So please indulge me in my reminiscing!

January 7, 2008 -About 3 p.m. today (yesterday for you reading this) animal control called me. Some idiot left a litter of five puppies abandoned at the shelter. These little guys are about 1 maybe 1.5 weeks old, not old enough to be without their mom. The shelter couldn’t keep them as they needed to be kept warm and bottle-fed, and they aren’t set up for that, so they called me to see if I would be their foster mom. I asked PD because he’s not really cool on these ideas of mine. He said ask the kids and I knew then it was on!

So Lauren and I went to go and pick them up. PD should never send the two of us to the pound. We want to adopt all of them. We almost got one but she was a female and we knew that was a bad mix with Greta in the house, we were already pushing it with the puppies.

Sometimes I am ashamed of my species. I mean honestly, we are in the middle of a storm here in California, and some jerk abandons helpless animals. They were shaking and extremely dehydrated when I got them. We quickly got formula, warm blankets and a heating disc and we fed them, burped them, stimulated them and put them down for a nap. We’ll have to feed them this way every couple of hours. Yes, it’s going to be a pain but the alternative is not giving a living thing a chance at a life. I am just praying they make it.

Why don’t people spay and neuter their animals? They do it for free for God’s sake! Why would you choose today of all days to dump them? Why not just cowboy up and take them when the shelter is open? It really makes me mad. I mean be honest the reason why your dog got pregnant is because you are irresponsible.

On the other hand, the kids and I were sitting there with baby bottles feeding hungry little puppies, kissing them, and smiling at new life. Right now the kids are fighting to be the “one” who gets to feed them but we’ll see if in a few days the newness of it all doesn’t get really old.

For now, I am going to take a nap and get ready for my turn at feeding. Now we all have to pray then get adopted into good homes and live long happy healthy lives. Oh, by the way, Greta is NOT happy. She is the MAIN dog around here and she wants them gone!

Here is a couple of pictures to melt your heart. They aren’t great quality, as they were taken with my cell phone.

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Creatures of Habits

My Lulu the wonder dog!

Every night Lulu, the wonder dog, snuggles up for a little while on her blanket at the foot of our bed and then we send her to her kennel. Doug just snaps his fingers and says “kennel” and she jumps off the bed and goes to bed. I do it differently (quit laughing!), I wake her up and say, “C’mon Lu, let’s go nightnight.” She opens one eye, stretches and moves slowly, stops short of her kennel for her kiss on her forehead and the last scratch between her ears and I tell her I love her. Then she goes in her kennel. Last night she and I both fell asleep, and I guess so did Doug, because in the middle of the night she wakes me up. I think she has to go out so I get up and get my robe on. Guess what? She didn’t want to go out at all she wanted to go to bed in her kennel.

We’re all like that. Creatures of habit that enjoy the little things that make us feel comforted like sleeping in our own bed. Rituals that soothe our souls and let us know that no matter how the day went, there will be some semblance of order at some point. Take a little time today to thank God for those things that bring us peace and comfort. It’s the little things in life that sometimes are the most comforting things.

Sunday

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Luke 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

I love Sundays. We wake up, get the coffee going, get the shower started and get ready for church. We all head out to church separately because we all have to be there at different times. We worship with fellow believers and before we know it, it’s over and it’s time to figure out lunch. Today it was hot outside so my husband decided to grill some steaks. I got some artichokes steaming on the stove and some red potatoes boiling and pretty soon we had a fantastic “linner”. You know what that is right? The lunch that is so big it takes care of dinner as well.

This Sunday there were no appointments or plans so we took some nice long naps. The great part of living in this little town is that pretty much without fail the evening brings a cool breeze. That makes for some backyard time in the evenings when we’re home.

I made a pot of coffee, and went and sat out on the swing to enjoy the breeze. The palm trees were swaying, Greta, our German Shepherd is now a middle-aged lady at 6 years old, she bounces around for awhile when she first sees you but she prefers to just sit on your feet and enjoy the evening with you. Lulu, the wonder dog, is only four so she is still quite the spas. She never stops coming to you to play keep away.

My husband has this bird feeder on the fence, he likes to help God out. The birds came to the feeder as I drank my coffee. Sometimes there were three at a time, sometimes only one. Pigeons and sparrows mostly. They come and stay a few minutes to eat their seed, then stop at the waterfall and take a quick shower. Then they stop at the top of the fence and sing as they figure out where they are going next.

They don’t store up seed as squirrels do, there are no to-go plates as funky family members make. They simply eat their fill in that moment. They don’t worry about where the next meal will come from, that is simply God’s job. As I sat there in this simple moment of life, I realize I take life way too seriously. I spend too much time on the what-ifs, making to-do lists and thinking these moments of stillness could be better used to scrub the tub. I think I need to take some lessons from the birds. I’ve been told they’re not very smart, in fact, calling someone a bird brain is an insult. Actually, I think they may be wiser than we are.

I’m A Big Faker!

So I went to the doctor today because I wasn’t 100% yet. I had caught a cold last week. I felt better but not great. Then I had a scare where I had chills so bad in the middle of the night that my teeth were chattering and my whole body was tense. Lulu laid her body across me and was licking my face.

That made me scared because they say that dogs and cats know when something serious is going on so I thought okay, if I have some terminal illness I better get to the doctor. So I went in and told him what was up. He was quiet as he checked my ears, my throat and put the stethoscope on to listen to me breathe. Then he sat down and I told him about Lu. He’s a big dog fan too so he smiled and said dogs knew if you were sick.

With a serious look he said, “You’re a big faker.” I said seriously, “You really think I’m faking? I’m not feeling like I’m dying but I don’t feel well.” He said, “No, you’re faking being well.” Turns out I was one sick puppy. Figures. So some antibiotics, some steroids and a couple of inhalers and I’ll back to normal. At least, I am not dying and Lulu the wonder dog is the hero of the story! You go girl!

How often do you put yourself on the back burner? Not just with physical symptoms, but do you really get real about what is going on in your life? Don’t just simply wait until an emergency happens, react when the symptoms are small enough to handle. Take regular assessments of your life. Are you hanging on for dear life, or have you balanced your time equally between priorities and being still? You have got to be your own priority. Stop being a faker pretending everything is fine!