Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Dunes

A few weeks ago, my husband and I made small a detour on our way home from a camping trip in Michigan.  I wanted to see the dunes.  Aaron had spent time here as a child; his memories and my curiosity about giant sand dunes in Michigan were enough to sidetrack our journey home.


The entrance to Warren Dunes State Park could have been the entrance to any park in the nation.  We made our way at 10 mph around to the lakefront shore; as soon as we broke out of the trees into the open ground surrounding the lake, I saw them.  Standing 240 feet (almost the length of a football field) above the lake, one of the dunes, apply named Tower Hill, looms above the parking area.  Shaped and formed by winds and rain, the yellow sand glints in the sun.


We kicked off our shoes and began to climb.  Every step you take is reduced by at least half as the sand shifts beneath your feet – if the fitness gurus get a hold of this, we will all have huge piles of sand in our basements for at-home-sand-running work outs.  “15 minutes a day and you will look fabulous!”  Of course the real work out will be cleaning up all the sand!  Feel the burn.


Once we made it to the top (and I stopped breathing like a locomotive), we began to explore.  Tower Hill is just one in a string of dunes that line the lake shore.  “I wonder how long these have been here?”  “What did they look like 10 years ago?  50 years ago?  100 years ago?”  As I wondered around, taking in the view, it occurred to me that permanence is a matter of perspective.  From my finite human point of view, things that last 100 years seem permanent.  From God’s infinite point of view, things that last 100 years are like the blink of an eye.  These dunes are constantly changing and shifting – I may not even recognize them in 50 years – and yet they seem very substantial and long-lasting from my perspective.  We need God’s wisdom and guidance in our lives – only He has the perspective to guide our decisions and to reveal the things that have eternal permanence.


As I turned to leave, I noticed a beautiful poplar tree.  It was rooted into the side of the dune, and had grown up and spread great shady, leafy bows.  I stood for a minute, enjoying its shade, and realizing that when I listen to God and live my life based on His perspective, He will cause my life to grow and produce fruit, even in an ever-changing, unstable landscape like the one we are living in now.  He is our permanence.  He is our constant.  He is our Rock.


With that, I began my wild descent of Tower Hill dune.  The sand slopes away at a steep angle, perfect for spreading your arms, leaping out and then running all the way down.  The way up is rough, but the way down is exhilarating.  So fun, in fact, that we climbed up and did it again!

The Green Flippy

I know this is gross, but bear with me to the end!


This morning, at 4:45 am, I was awakened by the awful sound of my dog, Sherpa, vomiting.  Not only was she puking, she was puking on the newest carpet in the house.  I jumped out of bed, opened the door leading onto the back porch, and shoved her out.  The night was just beginning to fade to the grey of early dawn (not that I could see much anyway as I had not taken the time to put my glasses on), but I could make out that she was heaving for a second time.  “Good morning to you too, Sherpa.”


My husband was away, having left at 1:15 am to pick up some friends who needed an early lift to the airport, so Sherpa and I were on our own.  I rushed to the kitchen for paper towels to clean up the mess, then laid back down, hoping to fall quickly back to sleep.  That might have happened, if Sherpa hadn’t jumped back off the bed and started the vomit routine again at 5:00 am.  At this point I began to worry.  Sherps hadn’t seemed herself yesterday, she had been lethargic and uneasy.  Not her normal happy-go-lucky, ready for anything, full of life and love, Golden Retriever-self.  “What is going on with you, girl?”  She paused between heaves and gave me a weak tail wag.  How serious was this?  Was she going to need medicine?  Did she get some kind of horrible bacteria from the creek at the park?


Sherpa had finished round two, and was now making her rounds in the yard, checking up on all her favorite corners and chipmunk holes.  I wasn’t as sure that this was over.  I ducked back inside to get a flashlight to, well… to investigate the puke.  I have no credentials to support my belief that I could diagnose what was ailing my beloved dog by investigating the nature and composition of her vomit, but that is just what I did.  And there, in the largest pool of ick, was the cause of all this mess.  A small rubber disk that we called the “green flippy.”  It had been great fun to turn it inside out, wait for it to pop and flip into the air.  Sherpa loved to jump for it, capturing it mid-flip.


At some point in the last few days, she apparently swallowed it whole.


Now I knew that everything was going to be OK.  The foreign object had been expelled.  As we lay down to finally drift back off to sleep, Sherpa gave my hand three little licks as if to say, “Thank you.  Sorry about the mess, and I do feel better now.  Love you.”  “I love you too, you golden fluff.  Just stay away from the non-digestibles, OK?”


Before sleep could come, this thought entered my mind – how often have I felt restless, listless, even ailing in my spirit?  As Christians, we sometimes fall into thinking that this restlessness comes because God has disappointed us or failed to hold up His end of the “Life and life to the full” promise.  But that is not the case.  Sherpa’s troubles reminded me that my feelings of dissatisfaction are often rooted in un-Godly habits of thought or action that I have allowed in my life.  Romans 14:22 says, “Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.”  Blessed is the woman who does not harden her heart or dull her spirit by what she allows to enter and to remain in her heart and mind!


Are you restless?  Lethargic?  Ailing in spirit?  Search your heart.  You may need to expel selfishness, entitlement, apathy, hedonism, negativity, gossip, blaming – any old habits of thought or action that are holding you back from the life and calling that God has for you.  Get rid of it!  It may not be the most pleasant process to expel it, but it is worth it!


The green flippy is in the trashcan, and it is trash day so it will soon be gone from our home forever.  Daybreak has come; and with it, a soft rain, washing away all the unsavory evidence in the backyard.  Sherpa is looking up at me with her smiling face, and dropping a soccer ball at my feet.  It is playtime again.