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Showing posts from 2009

A Very Sivils' CHRISTmas

The CHRISTmas season is always eagerly and joyfully anticipated around here. We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving and camp under the tree that night. Then we enjoy nightly story time around the tree complete with hot chocolate or apple cidar. We anxiously wait for our light rides and many other traditions that we carry on year to year.


This year CHRISTmas was a JOY-filled celebration from the minute the first decoration went up, and it hasn't stopped yet.




I was rather disappointed that our CHRISTmas would be somewhat smaller this year than what we've done in the past for our children. My van was hit by an uninsured motorist in November at the same time that our Golden Retriever, Scarlet was diagnosed and treated for heartworms. A combination of vet visits and the deductible to have the van repaired greatly reduced our CHRISTmas budget. The kids said many times over that they were okay with less presents this year, but I couldn't come to terms with it.




Then the Frid…

Merry CHRISTmas

Agape Pet Therapy wishes you, your family, and your fur friends a very Merry CHRISTmas. We pray your Christmas is filled with joy, laughter, and love as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Service Dog in Training

Agape Pet Therapy has teamed with Brookhaven Animal Rescue League in the training of a service dog for a young, disabled woman. We met this past week to select a potential dog from the shelter. While APT has trained dogs in the past, we have not been involved in the training of a service dog prior to this. We are very excited to work with Paris and Clover.

We hope to train Clover not only to be a friend and companion, but also to retrieve items for Paris that are dropped or needed. We'll update as training progresses!

Please keep APT lifted up in prayer as we follow where God leads.

Losing is Part of Loving

This month welcomes in the fifth year that we have been visiting residents at Brook Manor Golden Living facility. It has always blessed me that every resident has been touched by our ministry in one way or another. Most everyone loves the visit from the kids and the dogs, and the ones who are not "dog lovers" still enjoy the kids.

We've formed friendships with several of the residents over the years. We have come to look forward to seeing them as much as they look forward to seeing us. A few have blessed my heart. Two in particular that I want to tell you about...

(Names changed to protect identity.)

Mrs. Smith was one of the first people we really formed a close friendship with. She had raised Border Collies in her younger years. She loved the DOGS and KIDS, and always welcomed them into her room with treats and candy. She also reminded me of my grandmother... both in her mannerisms and appearance. I enjoyed visiting her as it made me feel closer to my grandmother who live…

What is a Therapy Dog?

From Wikipedia:


A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, with people with learning difficulties and stressful situations such as disaster areas.

Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, at ease in all situations, and gentle. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily.

A therapy dog's primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an invalid's lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there. Many dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audiences or by playing carefully structured g…

What are you advertising?

Several weeks ago while shopping in Wal-Mart, I asked my eight year old son to grab a box of Kleenex and put in the shopping cart. He was quick to inform me, "But Puff's has lotion. It's better for your nose." Having been brainwashed to believe that "a nose in need deserves Puff's indeed", Jaden was convinced that it was the only choice for our family.

Companies carefully select and pay high dollar to marketing firms to make you believe that their product is the best of its kind. Can you look at a package of Skittles without thinking "taste the rainbow" or Burger King's "have it your way"? Effective advertising mixed with clever phrases and tunes equal big profits for products that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Whether we are aware of it or not, every minute of every day we are marketing ourselves. People are watching and our attitudes and actions advertise our hearts and lives from the inside out.

A while back someone told me th…

M.I.A.

Yep, it's been a while since I've blogged, but life has as always been crazy. We're always saying, "when things get back to normal...", but for our family, the unexpected does seem to be normal.
Our wonderful caboose, Connor, turned three a couple of weeks ago. He had a "Wonder Pets/Go Diego Go" party. It was a lot of fun watching him as the big day got closer. He'd announce each morning, "Tomorrow my birthday??" When it finally arrived he was one happy fellow. He tickeled us as he opened gifts. He showed little emotion as he opened each item and was ready to get on to the next one. He did really love his new Wonder Pet toys and his Mickey Raceway set. It was a special day, and I can say I have survived the terrible two's for the last time!!!  Thank you, Jesus!





The Monday after Connor's birthday (which also happened to be the day before Dacey's birthday), I slipped in water while visiting my mom at her office. A trip to the ER p…

ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE

School is back under way and has started off with a bang. The kids are especially excited about the nature study that we are doing this year. Their enthusiasm is contagious. We have already made it a point to be outdoors more and to really "study" God's creation. Romans 1:20 says that God reveals Himself to man through His creation. As we learn about nature, we are also learning about our Father.

Our first week back to school we enjoyed a nature walk at our local lake. The kids had a great time exploring. Isaac even caught a dragonfly. We were able to put it in our bug catcher and examine in through the magnifying glass door. We all agreed it was cool. Later in the week we were able to observe a katydid in the bug catcher too.

The six of us had the best time laying on our trampoline watching the meteor shower last week. It was a grand and awesome display of God's "fireworks in the sky". We talked about in scripture where it says He numbered the stars and kn…

THE GAME OF LIFE

One night this week while sitting around the dining table playing the LIFE board game with my husband and children, my daughter commented, "Every time I get ahead, something else comes along and takes all my money." I laughed. "Yes, dear. That's life."

Or so it has seemed with our life as of late. Two weeks ago one of our commodes became unflushable. Once our two year olds toothbrush was retrieved from the pipes by my husband and his trusty plumbing snake, the commode again began working properly. However, just a few days later our dryer stopped working. For a family that normally washes ten to fifteen loads of laundry a week, a dryer tends to be more of a necessity than a luxury. This I have learned as for the past week I have been hanging clothes out to dry like they did back in the old days. It is a much slower process and not nearly as many clothes are able to be cleaned, dried, and put away in a day's time.

On Friday the kids and I were on our way home…

Almost Back to School Time Blues

As time for our next school year quickly approaches, I have found myself feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the task ahead.

Dacey will be starting 6th grade this year. As she pointed out to me the other day, "Just three years and I'll be a Freshman, Mom!" She announced this with much more enthusiasm than I appreciated.

Perhaps it was that single declaration that has me feeling so much more stressed this year than what I typically experience. Or maybe it because in addition to teaching Dacey 6th grade and Jaden and Isaac 1st and 3rd grades, I will also be attempting to begin 3 year old Kindergarten with Connor... not so much as to teach him, but more to keep him occupied while I am busy with the other three.  (Though I am sure it will indeed be a learning experience for us all!)

Yet while beginning to organize things for our school year I am feeling anxious. There are computers to be reformatted and loaded with new programs. There are lesson plans to pull together for four …

How much must you hate someone?

A while back a youtube video circulated through the online Christian community of famed magician Penn Jillette talking about a touching experience he'd had with a "good" man during one of his shows. Jillette is a known atheist. He seems to be just as devout an atheist as I am a Christian. However, during this show this "good man", as Jillette often referred to him, offered Jillette a Gideon Bible.

Instead of being offended by the gesture, Jillette was touched. Though still passionately denying the existence of God, he said, "If you believe there is a heaven and a hell and that people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever and you think that it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward," he continued, "how much must you hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?"

Those words have pierced my heart. How much must I hate someone not to tell them abou…

The Lord's Lullabye

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17


(This verse has been on my heart this morning. I wrote about it a few years back but needed to be reminded of the message. I hope it speaks to your heart as it has mine.)

A few nights ago after having lulled Connor to sleep I was flipping through my Bible when I came across this verse. It has long been a favorite of mine, but I guess because of this season in my life it had new meaning to me.

As I read it I pictured myself a baby in God's arms. He rocked me back and forth gently patting my back to quiet me. As He did this He sang a lullaby to sooth my soul. He says, "Child, you are mine! I have called you by name." (Isaiah 43:1.)

How great is the love of God for us. He is ready every moment of each day to let us climb up on His lap to be comforted by His love. He is truly my Abba Father.


As a mother com…

Father's Day - Celebrating God as Father

Over the past several months God has shown His love as Father to me in a new light.

It has been said that it is common to equate God's love as Father with how we perceived or observed love given by men who have served an important role in our life. While I always knew that He was indeed my heavenly Father, I often looked on God as a disapproving judge rather than the loving, attentive Father that He is. After reading "The Shack" by W.M. Young earlier this year, my life and perspective of who God is and who He wants to be in my life changed drastically.

I began observing my husband with our children more. He is kind, loving, always ready to give them attention, always ready to play or wrestle, always looking for ways to bless them in some small (or sometimes large) way. He works ten hour days with over a half hour drive each way, but still comes home and is interested in what has happened with our children during their day. When our children misbehave, he disciplines them. …

Stuck in a Rut

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10b


It has been a while since I have blogged, and many of you have been wondering where I have been. The answer is: stuck in a rut.

I love my life. I have a wonderful husband, and four amazing children. I am blessed beyond all imagination and yet here I am, stuck in a rut.

Is it any wonder that I have become slightly discouraged as this year has raged on? Besides having been filled with endless doctor's visits due to an insane amount of accidents and injuries, and all of the unexpected things that pop up on a daily basis, my house seems to have taken on a life of its own and is working against me. My best efforts to become more organized and to teach my children some responsibility and discipline has ended in defeat and despair. Is it any wonder that there are days that I cry, "Calgon, take me away!"

It was not until I read my devotion this morning that I realized that I am indeed "…

One of those days...

Today has been one of those days that will either make you lie down and cry or take a step back and smile through it all. While wanting to do the prior there have been thoughts of other folks that have pressed me on to do the latter.

A couple of incidents that have had me on the verge of tears are sure to tickle your funny bone as you envision the scenes in your mind.

The first would be the sight of a full gallon of milk poured into the kitchen floor with kids and dogs slipping and sliding through it. None of the children thought to tell their mother that such a thing had happened. It was only when I found the empty container that was purchased just hours ago that a confession was made.

Or maybe you'd prefer the dog washing incident. I suppose the children thought they were making a grand gesture when they decided not to wash only my dog but their three as well. I did not see all four dogs piled into the bath tub together, but I did see the obvious mess that was bound to follow. We…

Until Prince Charming Comes Along...

...Superman will have to do!
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Happy Mother's Day

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, BLOG FRIENDS!

My family has spared no expense to lavish me with love today.  My husband got me a flip video camera that I have been wanting for some time and photoshop elements.. also something I've wanted for quite a while.  My children surprised me with a beautiful set of stained-glass-cross windchimes.  It produces the most beautiful sound!  They have plans to take me to eat later today.  I am so blessed beyond words. 

I guess my favorite "gift" was the precious video greeting they made me with the flip featured above.  It really has made me smile from the inside out.

These guys fill my heart with such joy and happiness.  God has given me so much more than I deserve.

I Would if I Could

For the past several months since my husband's shoulder surgery, he has stayed in a constant state of excruciating pain. It has hurt me to watch him suffer. Last night I told him something I've said to him and our children hundred of times before when they've been sick or hurt, "If I could take your pain, I would." Even though I know it is a physical impossibility, I would if I could.

As I made that statement to my husband the realization burned in my heart that that is just what Jesus did on the cross. He wasn't limited by human restrictions. He was God and He became what we were so that we could be born again. He took our pain, our hurts, our sickness, and our sin. He became those things on the cross. There was no, "I would if I could," but rather an, "I can so I will."

And the greatest act of love was made.
2 Corinthians 5:21 - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Thank you, …

Pour My Love on You

I have woke up each morning this week singing this song. Have you heard it? It says,

"Like oil upon your feet
Like wine for you to drink
Life water from my heart
I pour my love on you
If praise is like the perfume
I lavish mine on you
Till every drop is gone
I pour my love on you."

My heart has changed these past few weeks. I am more aware of God's love for me than I have ever been at any other point in my life. For a person who has been a Christian most of their life (except for a couple of years of youth stupidity), I think the feeling I have is what most new Christian's feel when they are born again.

Not only have I become more aware of His love for me, but I am also overwhelmed with this new love I have for HIM. I want to sit at His feet and soak in His presence. I want to bathe in His love. I want to be like Mary and truly "pour my love" on my Lord, my Savior, my King.

I had not intended to write this blog today, but how appropriate is it for this Good Friday? Wh…

Never a Dull Moment

When I say that there is never a dull moment in our home, it is not an exaggeration. Really. My husband and I would prefer dull to our normal lives. Normal in our world is upside down most of the time.

For the third time in the past six months, we had to rush a child to the ER Thursday night for x-rays. My eight year old son, Jaden, wrecked his bike. While that is definitely not something out of the ordinary, the chain of events that followed were.

The kids ride their bikes on a narrow side walk in front of our house. Jaden was heading one way when he saw his sister coming from the opposite direction at full speed. He swerved to miss her and was thrown over the top of his bike landing with his side in the handle bars. He stood up, walked about three steps, and fell to the ground. His daddy and I rushed to his side and by that point he was rolling in pain. Tommy picked him up to carry him back to the house.

Once in the house Jaden walked into my bedroom and collapsed onto my bed. For the …

Who are these people and why are they calling me MOMMA??

I am so thankful for my CHILDREN! Yes, they have been known to drive me nuts... especially since their father has returned to work or so it seems. But I love each one of them so much more than I could have ever imagined before becoming a mommy.

I love my kiddos for their individuality and uniqueness. I love their quirks and smirks, their humor and wit. I love their passion to follow Christ and to "do the right thing"! I love the relationship that they have with each other (at least most of the time). I love their eagerness to help someone in need.

I am blessed with GREAT children, but sometimes I forget just how great they really are.

I am most likely to forget when I'm fighting them to finish school, do their chores, practice their instruments, clean their bedrooms, stop fighting, stop nagging. I'm likely to forget when Connor is in the throws of a typical two year olds temper tantrum or has thrown something that is not suppose to go into the commode in the commode for…

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

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