Archive for March, 2013


Mexican Bunny Hop…


If you live in Texas,
You can do this, too.
It’s a little dance
Called Cascarone Fight.

Hide your head from all,
Duck before you fall,
To avoid getting the
Hit, hit, hit.

No one is too safe,
But before you chafe,
Just retaliate with a
Bop, Bop, Bop.

Dontcha love big eggs,
And confetti on your legs
You can do it, too.
Just drop, drop, drop.


Things That Breed In My House…

Minolta DSC

At this time of year our attention turns to bunnies. Notice I left out a particular E word, because so many people have been maimed, mauled and otherwise abused by visits from a large white bunny that delivers eggs. (Why do I always feel like that bunny missed the biology class on just how baby bunnies are born???) Yes, dear ones, that was sarcasm.

Since bunnies are not exactly reproductively challenged, my mind often turns to things that also seem to breed in my house:

1. Mismatched sox.

2. Receipts, usually from the HEB pharmacy. What can I say? My life is one health adventure after another.

3. Junk mail. I’m about to adopt my brother’s philosophy of sending it back to the sender in their postage paid envelopes….just so they can have as much junk mail as I do. I always knew my brother was absolutely brilliant.

4. Christmas ornaments. Ahem. *cough* This is my own fault, but I’m a sucker for Christmas.

5. Matched sox. I sense a theme here.

6. Underwear. They’re racing the sox for total clothing domination. They come two different ways: with holes and without.

7. Wedding “stuff.”I thought this stuff would leave last June. Most of my furniture left instead.

8. Counseling books, counseling research papers (152 to be exact) and counseling notebooks. After looking at this “mess,” I’m ready for…counseling.

9. Dust bunnies. A lot of them are comprised of blonde dog hair…I wonder who’s responsible for that.

10. Lime water spots. Even with filtered and bottled water in abundance at my house. And the Lime Spot cleaner seems to be breeding, too.

11. Dishes. I’m beginning to think I’m Martha Stewart’s long lost sister. Nah.

12. Tupperware containers. I’ve been to one too many Tupperware parties, but one can never have enough Pampered Chef, right?

13. Boots. You name the kind and the size and they are somewhere in my domicile.

14. Catalogs. I shop online and despite un-checking the boxes that ask if these stores can send me catalogs, they do anyway. I’m going to get their order forms and send them some…sox. Why? The lime spots are a little tough to get in the envelopes.

15. Wii and X-box games. I don’t remember buying very many of these. Hmmm….

16. Empty boxes. You try living with a sales team leader. I forgot to mention, in the marriage pre-nup, that I’d prefer for the hubby to house his company’s supplies in an actual office…located somewhere other than in my home and garage. My bad.

17. Sports equipment that we never use.

18. Dog equipment that we never use.

19. Broken fitness equipment.

20. Cell phones, cell phone cords, and computer cables. I think we’re into the 3rd rather large drawer for all this stuff. Why? Because we will need some ancient cord or cell phone if dinosaurs ever walk the planet again.

21. Microwaves, old TVs and mini-refrigerators. This is what happens when your kids go to college and then actually develop taste and cash from a job.

22. Bibles. Name the version and we probably have it.

23. Hats. The PH has a rather large collection. I have a rather large headache.

24. Coffee pots. What? You don’t cook breakfast for an army at your house?

25. Blue and gold items. I blame this on our overachieving local high school. It is Texas, after all…we live Friday Night Lights. Must consult those counseling books. There has got to be a disorder for this.

Tomorrow’s Post: Mexican Bunny Hop?


Slow Reader Thursday: The Hole in our Gospel


Warning: Get 2 of your favorite beverages first. You’re going to be here for a while today, but I promise it’s worth it.

How would you react to the following U.S. news headline: 100 U.S. Chartered Jetliners Crash, 26,500 children killed? And what if that headline was repeated the very next day and the next and the next? I think our media would drop everything and cover the story and the FAA would probably shut down all of our airports until the cause and the solutions were found and implemented. We’d all be scared to travel by air and re-work air travel plans. We’d donate to aid organizations with overwhelming amounts of money.

And yet this is happening…day after day…after day. That’s how many children died yesterday from completely preventable causes related to poverty. And yet the U.S. news media refuses to talk about it. Even our churches often don’t talk about it.How do I all of know this? Because of Richard Stearns.

Richard Stearns has written a book called, The Hole in our Gospel, that has permanently changed my life. Stearns was the CEO for Lenox China. I say, “was” because he is now working as the President of World Vision International. When he was approached to be President by World Vision International, he was, to say the least, reluctant. Even being a Christian didn’t help his resolve. He liked his life in a luxury industry and didn’t feel he had much to offer World Vision. Becoming President of World Vision meant taking a 90% pay cut and moving his family. But, he did it because God wouldn’t let him not do it.

Stearns‘ main point is that we tend to ignore, through our media and through our busy lives, the needs of those in the world around us. And this is not Biblical. In fact if we went through our Bibles, page by page, and literally cut out every reference to helping the needy and working for justice in our world, we’d literally have a Bible in tatters. It’s replete with such references. So, what do we tend to focus on? I don’t know about you, but I tend to focus on the passages that help me have a better life, at least one with some peace in it.

But, I think God would not be very happy with me for focusing on those passages, even though I’m sure God is happy that I’m at least reading my Bible for once! And here is why:

1. Over 914,000,000 people do not have enough to eat.

2. Over 1,000,000,000 people do not have clean drinking water somewhere near where they live.

3. Over 1,000,000,000 do not have even basic health care. That probably means they don’t have a Band-Aid for when they cut their finger.

4. Every 5 seconds a child under 5 dies from a hunger-related issue. I have four children (3 biological, 1 in-law) if the next four to die were all mine, my children would all be dead within 20 seconds with this statistic. I wouldn’t have time to even react to the first death in that amount of time.

5. 800 million go hungry every day (That’s more than 2 times the U.S. population.).

6. American Christians make up 5% of the total Christian world population. The U.S. only contains 4.5% of the world population.

7. Yet, we control half the world’s wealth.

8. That 1/2 of the world’s wealth amounts to about 5.2 trillion U.S. dollars. Even now.

9. That figure in # 1 or # 2 could be eradicated if Americans just gave 1% of their income to causes that try to address world hunger and provide safe drinking water. For me, even with my paltry graduate assistant job, that would have been 30 cents per day. I spend more than that on my soft drinks each day.

10. Over 70 children in my little town do not have enough food to eat on the weekends. Their nutrition primarily comes from school-provided food when school is in session. That’s a maximum of 2 meals a day for 5 days a week during the school year only. And let’s be honest, school lunches only provide minimum nutrition.

Does it really matter whether a hungry person’s government leader is a dictator? Does it really matter whether or not that hungry person knows my God or even hates Christians? Does it really matter if that person made a lot of bad choices? I don’t think so. My God loves everyone. Even the U.S. says that all are equal.

I know, at my house, 1% is do-able, even now. Let’s be honest. Even if there were an all-out media blitz on this crisis, we would be really fortunate if half the households in America tried to give 1%. But, even if I double or triple that amount to cover those who won’t contribute, we’re still talking a maximum of 3% of my income. I think I can live on 97%! And yet those of us who call ourselves Christians and are supposed to tithe 10% of our income only tithe 2.58%. And only 2% of that actually reaches impoverished people. And those who do not believe in God actually contribute more than that. Yes, that’s right.

I think, when we see these HUGE numbers, we think there is no way we can eliminate world hunger. So, since we can’t help EVERYONE, we’re not going to help ANYONE? Just because we don’t know them? My family and friends are better than that. My country is better than that. I hope 1/2 the world is better than that.

Point to Ponder Challenges: So, let me suggest some worthy places to send your pocket change and some ways you can change these “headlines”:

1. Send that change to your local church. Our church is supporting the Backpack Buddies ministry to provide food on the weekends to those 70+ children I just mentioned. I’ll bet that as the word spreads, we’ll find more children who need this kind of help. If you live in the area, our church would love to have your church involved, too. Through our denomination we also support hunger and safe water causes around the world.

2. Send that change to World Vision International–Mr. Stearns’ organization. They’ve been doing this right for decades and have a multitude of ways to help you put that pocket change to the best use. In fact, under his leadership, they have lowered their administration costs and increased aid to over 100 countries.

3. Start a birthday campaign at–If you read yesterday’s post, you know I love this idea of creating your own web page on their site and starting a fund to build safe water wells in various parts of the world. You will be amazed at how a few bucks can quickly supply a whole family with clean water. They will even track where your fund’s money went and report it to you. And did you really need another birthday present?

4. While at the store buying your groceries, throw an extra can of soup or green beans in the cart. Then, take said can to the local food pantry or church.

5. Can’t afford even 1%? Then, how about 2 cents? How about giving 2 cents a day for 365 days? If everyone in the U.S. (right now) sent in two pennies a day to help take care of others, we would raise     $ 2,303,640,487 at the end of the year. And guess what? We didn’t have to raise taxes or cut government spending to do that. And we didn’t have to wait for any politicians to vote on anything. Because children are dying while they are making up their minds and we don’t have time for that nonsense.

6. Fund a micro-loan. World Vision now has a way for all of us to fund small business loans to people in 3rd world countries for as little as $ 25. By funding these loans, impoverished people create small businesses that usually lead to increased health and prosperity for everyone in that person’s or persons’ community. One couple took a $ 300 loan and turned it, in time, into 11 businesses that greatly improved the wealth of their whole community. Talk about eradicating poverty for good!

7. Are you on Facebook? Are you on Twitter? Do you blog? Then, tell your friends about the need for help for these people and tell them what you are doing or intend to do. If you like the idea of 2 cents a day, how about saying, “I put in my 2 cents worth. Have you?” We know how social media can spread good works! What if it spread across the world and even half of us did this? That would mean over $ 25 billion for aid to people who truly need a miracle.

8. Buy Stearns’ book and read it. I promise it will change how you perceive your world, if nothing else. After reading this book, I am no longer complaining about the cracks in my ceiling, the chipping paint, and the appliance that won’t work. I also no longer have any desire to own a diamond tennis bracelet or a pearl necklace. The fake one I have will do just fine. And I’m going to stop whining about people dinging my car with their cars at the Walmart parking lot.

If you click on the highlighted words above, they will take you directly to links where you can get started doing these things right now! Why? Because children are dying while you’re reading this…that’s why.

So, today do your best to become holy by becoming holey and make the hole the one in your pocket or wallet where your change used to be….not in your Bible. Go make me proud to know you. Because I am. And Mr. Stearns? Thanks for leaving Lenox.


Lessons Learned from a 9 year old…


I originally posted this on FB on 8-16-11. If you want to see an update about Rachel’s effect on people she didn’t even know, go here:

Today I watched Today…like I do every “today.” Why? Because I just start my day that way. That’s what I’ve done all my adult life. It’s as normal for me as drinking my Keurig cup of coffee in the AM…essential, if you want me to be civil to you later on in the day.

Now, 9 times out of 10, I begin to tune out after the 7:30 am hour because it’s mostly “fluff” stories after 8 am and 1/2 of them are about raising toddlers, making fattening food, and shopping for the little black dress. I’m a little past the toddler stage at my house–since the youngest is graduating from high school this spring. And I’m a little past shopping for the little black dress. I prefer to shop for little black workout pants now.

But, today was different on Today. 🙂 Long after the 8 am hour, they told the story of Rachel, a 9 year old little beauty with a really big heart. At 5 years old Rachel decided to donate her long hair to Locks of Love….on her own…no prompting from the parentals. She did it again a few years later.

For her 9th birthday, Rachel decided she didn’t need any birthday gifts. Instead, Rachel wanted…water…for children in Africa. She set up a web page on to help her accomplish that feat. All on her own…no prompting from her parentals. She set a goal of raising $ 300 and that amount would create water for 3 families or 15 people. Rachel was a tad disappointed that she only raised $ 220 by her birthday, but told her mom that she wanted to do the same thing for her 10th birthday.

Less than a month ago, a huge “pile-up” crash occurred on the Seattle highways near Rachel’s home. Rachel was critically injured in the crash. As her mom realized that Rachel probably wasn’t going to survive the accident, she decided to reopen Rachel’s web page so that concerned family and friends could donate in her honor. Very quickly, Rachel met her $ 300 goal.

Word spread about Rachel’s page and soon Seattle talk jocks were talking about her page. As one DJ talked about her page on his show, he kept refreshing her page every few minutes. As he did, the amount raised on Rachel’s page kept going up $ 1000 each time!

Soon, the folks at noticed Rachel’s giant leap in donations and took great interest in her story. Sadly, Rachel passed away. But, the donation page kept going up.

Eventually, there were comments on her page from…Australia! As of this morning’s piece on the Today Show, Rachel’s water page total was…over 1.14 million dollars! One donor commented, “Soon, there will be too much water in Africa.”

Just now I refreshed Rachel’s page and…the total is now over 1.42 million dollars. Rachel’s page is set right now to help over 57,000 people! In other words, Rachel has met her goal 3000 times over!

The reality is that hungry people can survive a lot longer than thirsty people. And the reality is that we have the technology and ability to change the lack of clean drinking water today for people all over the world. All we need is the funding to go do it! Think about that as you drink your bottled water today.

Update: While Rachel’s water campaign is over, she wound up helping 60,000 people. Her wells are being built. Click on the link above to see Rachel’s mom visit the folks that are benefiting from her unselfishness.

“And a little child shall lead them…”

“When I was thirsty, you gave me water…”

Point to Ponder Challenge: The other reality is that all of us could do exactly as Rachel did–set up a water campaign as our birthday wish for this year and ask people to donate to it. Click on this link to do that today. And I will challenge myself to do the same if…five of you go and do it and submit a comment below giving me the link to your campaign! We may not help 60,000 people like Rachel, but if we help 1 person each, we will have taken care of an entire family! 

Tomorrow’s Post: The Holey Gospel…and no, that wasn’t a typo.


26 Tuesdays: Hubbard


Last week’s 26 Acts of Kindness honoree was Madeleine Hsu. Madeleine loved dancing and running. At first I thought I would center my act of kindness around dancing since the DD was a dancer, too. Apparently, God had other ideas. I received, in the mail, a request from one of my “adopteds” to support her as she ran a half-marathon on behalf of her mother, who is living through everyone’s worst nightmare: cancer. When I reread the description of Madeleine, it reminded me of Ms. Adopted, who had very similar qualities to Madeleine, when she was 6 years old. So, this week’s kindness act is a donation to her fund to raise money for research for lymphoma and leukemia. May that very donation be a way for her mom to live a while longer–her mom sustained me, emotionally, when I was going through a very dark time in my life and so, it only seems right to do something that also honors her.

The MIP Acts of Kindness count stands at 19. How about you? What did you do this week for your act of kindness? Please submit a comment below or send me a private email (about participating this week) on the Contact Page. Thanks!

This week’s honoree is a little ginger named Catherine. Read below for more information about her via CNN:

Catherine V. Hubbard, 6

The little girl with bright red hair will be remembered for her smile and her love of animals. Catherine is survived by her older brother, her parents, grandparents, great-grandmother, uncles, aunts and nine cousins. “Her family prays that she, all the students of Sandy Hook Elementary, and all those affected by this brutal event find peace in their hearts,” they wrote in her obituary. In lieu of flowers, her family asked that people make donations to the Newtown Animal Center. A Facebook page honoring Catherine spoke of how she is now an angel. “Such a beautiful little soul,” the post read, saying the family’s loss is heaven’s gain.

Please note that I have put links to the Newtown Animal Center and Catherine’s FB page, in case you want more information about her. Just click on the highlighted words above.

Tomorrow’s Post: And a little child shall lead them…


Word of the Week: tutelary

Dictionary --Word of the Week

As we begin the third month of MIP posts, I humbly thank my readers for helping the blog to pass another milestone:”1000+ views.” While I sincerely hope that God takes this blog where He wants it to go, I did think it was important, back in January, to set some goals for the blog, just to make sure I gave God an actual chance to do what He wanted with it. Translation? I needed goals to keep myself disciplined about this. The 1000 view mark is one I set back on the first week of January and I fully expected it to take a  year to reach. To surpass that at the end of month 2 is proof, to me, that God is most definitely in charge and that I am blessed with the best blog readers. So thank you, again, for “checking in” here and even bigger thanks to those of you who take the time to comment or give feedback to me as you “encounter” me. It means more than I can say.

Now, on to “business.” 😀 Last week’s Word of the Week was traduce. Traduce means to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation. I have never, ever done that. *cough, sputter* Let me pause a moment as we wait for lightning to strike my laptop.

Okay, so now that I have a new laptop, let’s work on this week’s word:

tutelary: (ˈtü-tə-ˌler-ē) 1. a geometric corollary about tutes, whatever a tute is. 2. the latest drug not covered by my prescription insurance plan that has just now been prescribed by my doctor 3. a tutor named Larry. 4. what an Irish dyslexic calls “Tipperary.”

What’s your guess? “Points” for humorous guesses. Submit a comment below or send me an email via the Contact page and let’s see who gets the closest! Thanks for “playing.”

Tomorrow’s Post: What did you do for your act of kindness this week?




My Madness…


It’s madness;
It’s mayhem;
It’s superior fandom.
It’s Hoopland torture
For the bracket worshipper.

Watching four channels
And burning out remotes,
To see the hottest play
Or the coaches’ best quotes.

We don’t want to miss a second at all,
For if we did, we might miss the latest bucketed ball.
And that would be horrible
For all of us fans;
We sure don’t want that to happen
When the score finally stands.

And what is the point of all of this drivel?
To see who walked by missing a dribble!
And to find out who’s queen or king,
Not of the b-ball court,
But of this bracket thing.

Will I be there at the very end?
Based on so far,
I’d say that’s a stretch.
Because when I pick a winner,
My bracket makes me look like a wretch.

Monday’s Post: Do you traduce?


Lessons Learned from Not Running…



On the day when the Lord was handing out athletic genes, I must have been in the “facilities” because I have zero hand-to-eye coordination and a limited ability to do just about anything else requiring physical ability.  However, as a child, I was blessed with two much older brothers and in an effort to keep me from continually annoying them, they were endlessly running from me and I was endlessly chasing them.  The result:  MaryAnn, despite being vertically-challenged, was a pretty okay runner.  In fact, I’m a bit like Seabiscuit on a track.  Put a runner in front of me and I am bent on beating them.  I may not come in first, but I will probably be right behind the winner of the race.

I used to like running.  It felt like freedom to me.  But, then something good happened.  Isn’t that always the way?  The good stuff in our lives often takes away something else that is also good.  My “something good” was I had children. And guess what happened when running after I had children??? Let’s not go there. It’s not for polite conversation.  Let’s just say it was embarrassing.

So, I got lazy and only walked.  But, thanks to modern medical technology, I can now run again.  Unfortunately, someone forgot to give my 50-something body the memo.  Once you stop running, your body has this very nasty way of vehemently making you pay for ever lifting your feet off soil ever again. So, today I only briefly run…this is even more embarrassing than why I didn’t run.  Thus, I confine my poor excuse for running to my treadmill.  I think it’s safe to say that I am “running away” from “running.”  Fortunately, my Bible tells me I didn’t invent such a trait.  It’s been around for centuries:

Exhibit A:  Jacob.  When you lie to your dad, leave for a long time.  And I mean leave.

Exhibit B:  Moses.  When you kill a fellow countryman, leave for a long time and marry a foreigner.

Exhibit C:  David:  When you tick off the leader of your country, head for the nearest cave.

Exhibit D:  Jonah:  I’d hide in the belly of a fish, too, if God told me to tell an entire city to get their act together…not exactly a way to get yourself elected mayor.

Exhibit E:  Peter:  Okay. So, he didn’t run away literally.  But, would you call lying about your relationship with the savior of the world a resume-builder for founding and leading a church?

The reality is, that doing what God asks you to do, is often a dangerous, difficult, demanding task.  And what do we do? We run…and run…and run…away. It’s so human to do so.  Unfortunately, when we run away, we often miss some very important things:

1. That God is with us.  He knows where the finish line is and how happy we are going to be when we reach it.

2. That God is for us. When we stumble, He will be there with his encouragements, if we are quiet and wise enough to hear Him.

3. That God is before us.  He will point the way (even if He has to hit me “upside the head” to alert me to it).

4.  That God is beyond us.  He can see much more than our immediate and often, limited, perspective.

5.  That God is by us.  He actually takes the time to run with us and beside us, knowing that the journey is much easier with “back-up.”

So, today I’m going to try to do a little running (literally and figuratively) and hope that I can get out of that belly (and quit feeding my own…Grr.) and do a little more of what God would have me do.  How about you?

“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.  Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.  So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.”  —I Cor. 9: 24-26, NRSV

“Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.” Habakkuk 2: 2, NRSV

See you at the finish line. 🙂

Tomorrow’s Post: March Madness Poetry…c’mon, you knew it was coming!


Slow Reader Thursday: i am not but i know I AM

Gospel of John

On My Soapbox: WARNING! If e. e. cummings had had Microsoft Word and grammar check, he would have thought twice about using all lower case letters in his poetry. How do I know this? Just try to type the title of the book I’m reviewing this week without Word wanting to correct all your lowercase i’s! And since I have always enjoyed Mr. cummings’ poetry and his innovative use of lowercase, this especially annoys me. Okay, I’m getting down (off the soapbox) now.

I’m sure today’s author, Louie Giglio, was also annoyed as he desperately tried to type this title and his entire book, littered with the lowercase i. And he was trying to do this for one very good reason: to make the point that we are very, very small people in comparison to a very big God.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I had difficulty reading this book at first. Your first clue is that I did not do this review one week ago, as scheduled. Have you ever felt that a book didn’t penetrate your soul the way it should have simply because you had finished reading a book that will never leave your soul??? That’s how I felt reading i am not but i know I AM.

Is Mr. Giglio a poor writer by comparison? No. His use of words is truly creative. Is his message to us trite and over-exposed? No. It’s rather fresh. Is it 1600 pages long, making it difficult to finish? No. Even with 3 very readable addenda, it’s a mere 166 pages long.

So, what was the problem? Me. I tried to read this book like I read every other book—in bits and pieces, around other tasks in my daily schedule and while multi-tasking. Now, this usually works for me very well. Not so with this book. This book demands serious reflective time and consuming it in rather large chunks, since the message slowly builds upon itself.

Because Mr. Giglio emphasizes that we should be servants first and think about ourselves last, I also felt that he writes quietly. No big applause or bravado with his writing (although he readily admits to succumbing to that, upon occasion), but simple, timeless truths about who we are not and who God is.

And despite my initial loathing of this book, page 134 reduced me to tears. Giglio states, “When I crumble under the pressure, I have lost the plot, declaring that the outcome of life rests squarely on my shoulders, not His.” Ouch. Yep, that would be me.

And I am taking something more (than this one quote) away from this book—the One-Word Bible Study method, in which Giglio meditates on only one word of a Bible verse each day. The first day he did this, the word to be pondered was “and.” Not exactly an exciting word to begin a Bible study, hunh? And yet, by merely thinking about “and” for one whole day, Giglio was given huge insights about God and his relationship to God. Similar things happened on subsequent days, even when the word was “the.” So, trust me, I am about to launch into some one-word Bible studying myself.

So, to read or not to read? That is the question. Yes, most definitely read it. Don’t let little me get in your way. But, do yourself a favor—read it when you have a serious chunk of time to devote to it, so that it can penetrate your soul the way God intended.


Changes Since the Maize Arrived…


The FB faithful will tell you that a large number of my FB notes featured yet another member of my family. No, she’s not the DD. She’s Maizie, our beloved and spoiled rotten golden Labrador retriever. Maizie actually belongs to the youngest DS. He “earned” her by meeting reading goals in 7th grade, when reading wasn’t exactly his favorite activity. Heck, it’s still not his favorite activity. She was just a pup when she came to us at the end of that school year, although she was a very chunky pup and 12 weeks old already.

Since I am, admittedly, a dog lover (According to my mom, I was a dog lover at birth.), Maizie definitely captured my heart upon her arrival in our family. And thus, FB fell victim to the infamous “Dog Diary” notes from moi. When I announced on FB that I was “taking down” my notes, these were the very notes everyone wanted to read before they permanently left FB. Apparently, our sweet lady has captured more hearts than just mine.

Yesterday Maizie celebrated turning 5. (Her way of celebrating? A new rawhide bone and two rounds of frisbee-catching.) Yes, she is now 5 years old and while she has grown and mellowed, she still exhibits a lot of the personality quirks that we came to love in the Dog Diary Days. As I type this, she is sprawled out in my office, rawhide bone nearby, taking one of her many naps. We are already dreading the day when she won’t be out-catching Texas Ranger outfielders anymore. Here’s a look back at her very first birthday, as I penned it back in March of 2009, along with an update of how she’s doing today:

Maizie celebrated her first doggie b-day by quickly chewing up yet another supposedly indestructible toy, chewing off the end of one major rawhide bone and keeping us up all night…oh, and spilling red melting liquid on my lovely blue carpeting…sigh. As a result of her over-exuberance at being 1, she was relegated to her dog crate for the night…she protested with barking and whining…and this from the dog who never barks at strangers…sigh again. Update: The crate is permanently in the garage…no more bad behavior to warrant it!

So, here are the changes since June 1st, when the little puppy girl (as the youngest DS calls her) arrived in our home, in our hearts and on our clothes (no one escapes Maizie’s blonde puppy fur):

1. We have fewer intact sox. Update: Now we have too many sox. Maybe I need to pour some beef juice on a few old ones???

2. We have fewer intact shoelaces. Update: Loafers and boots work fine.

3. We no longer leave any clothing item whatsoever on the floor for longer than 10 seconds. Update: The PH and I still don’t leave our clothes on the floor. The youngest DS? That’s another story. Fortunately, Maizie just sleeps on them now. I think she thinks of them as a really smelly nest.

4. The broom is wearing out from sweeping up shed blonde hair. Update: I have a broom? Since we no longer have 3 people in the family working on college degrees at the same time, there is now enough in the family budget for a grooming appointment for Maizie every 2 weeks in the wintertime. In the summertime she has fallen victim to the PH‘s tendency to shave anything with 4 legs.

5. The vacuum had to be replaced…too much stress from picking up Maizie fur and the remnants of chewed up toys. Update: I finally quit buying cheap vacuums and bought a Dyson…let’s just say that we could probably provide fur for another dog by the time I finish vacuuming with my trusty new vacuum, which just happens to be called The Animal….Dyson’s choice…not mine, but apropos.

6. The funniest sight in the world is watching a puppy try to upend a Frisbee on a tile floor. Update: Maizie figured out that if you push it to the edge of the carpet, it will flip up just enough to get a big paw on it and allow it to be put in a mouth. So, now she merely “kills” those mean bubbles that the DD and the youngest DS blow at her. Yes, she will actually jump up to bite them.

7. We now vacuum the trampoline. Update: The trampoline was getting dangerous from a sizable dog and a teenage boy jumping on it simultaneously all the time and had to be torn down. But, that’s okay with her. She has more of a vantage point now to be able to spot pesky birds, squirrels and skunks when they invade her yard.

8. We no longer have to pull out dead flowers or shrubs…we have a four-legged extraction machine, fueled by dog chow. Update: The PH just commented this weekend that we may have to call someone to trim the trees this year. Maybe I should give her less dog chow??? That would be cheaper than paying for someone to trim trees, right?

9. The national debt is smaller than our dog chow and rawhide bone bill. Update: Even with a growing national debt, this is still true. I’m off to the store today to buy more rawhide bones…no kidding.

10. We have a rather large bag of puppy food that will never get used…may I never, ever, see Maizie sick again. Update: She can maim a tree just fine, but if you give her one too many bones or treats, we revisit “sick Maizie” days. And I still would rather have a root canal.

11. The window sills now need replacing…baby Maizie thought they were teething rings. Update: The window sills were replaced last year…thanks to a kitchen remodel. And Maizie now has no interest in the new ones whatsoever. However, she does like to “nose slime” our windows so she can see what’s going on outside. At least Windex and thick rubber gloves fixes that issue. For a day. Two, if I’m lucky.

12. We’ll be getting a new kitchen table soon…Maizie mistook the feet for her rawhide bone…well, they are the same color. Update: The table with the chewed legs now resides in the DD’s and DSL’s home where…they have a new puppy. At least the new puppy will know where to start…Maizie left him a “road map.”

13. New door locks will be going on a lot of doors…Maizie has figured out the current ones. Update: To be fair to Maizie, the door locks needed to be replaced and thanks to the youngest DS and the PH, they are all replaced now and she hasn’t figured out the new ones. Yet.

14. A running treadmill and a tennis ball will entertain a dog for hours. Update: We figured out that she tears up tennis balls too easily. I found teeth resistant frisbees on and she seems content to catch these any day it’s not raining. (And they are the slimiest, ugliest frisbees you have ever seen. The next time I have to clean them, I’m donning a hazmat suit.) She is completely bored by the treadmill these days.

15. Maizie will offer to be your companion while you’re trying to do the yoga standing tree position on Wii Fit. Apparently, she thinks that is more torture than I should endure. I tend to agree. Update: Both she and I have given up on Wii Fit, but she does still offer to be my yoga buddy for the Sun Salutation whenever I feel the need to stretch. She seems to think I can pet her while in Downward Dog. I’m lucky if I can just do the position.

16. We buy batteries in bulk now…to replace in Maizie’s fence collar. Update: Now, we just have a regular shipment mailed to us and these last longer than the original variety. Note to self: Give UPS delivery personnel a really good Christmas bonus next December.

17. We have 2 collars and 4 broken leashes. Update: Thanks to our “Dog Whisperer,” we haven’t bought a leash or a collar in years. That’s a relief to the basket that holds all things related to Maizie.

18. We like the jingle of dog tags. “Stealth puppies” should not be trusted. Update: She occasionally gets to be the “stealth puppy” after a bath for a few hours, but if we don’t hear the jingle of dog tags when we call her name, we start to worry…not about the mischief she’s in, but about her well-being.

19. We buy cheap hot dogs in bulk. Update: We had to quit this practice because Maizie started putting on too many pounds. She’s now on the “Healthy Weight” Beneful diet and she only gets treats on the weekend…when the PH is home. Hmmm….I’d stop him, but he gives me treats on the weekend, too.

20. We no longer have to go in search of meat or cheese….Maizie’s nose will find it for you. Update: Heck, if we open one part of our refrigerator, she’s right there. (She could have been in Siberia prior to this event and somehow she is still right by the refrigerator. We don’t call her “Stealth Puppy” for nothing.) The nose is obsolete.

21. We no longer roll down the windows when Maizie is in the car…’nuf said. Update: We don’t roll down windows too far, but we do open the sun roof and yes, her head will be out of the top of the car, except when we brake. She learned that one the hard way.

22. We think $ 500 and 45 minute commutes to weekly dog lessons are a bargain. Update: She is now such a “good girl” that she has taught herself new commands, so doggie lessons are no longer necessary. (As the Dog Whisperer said, “Maizie has read the Dog Training Manual.”) She even plays “Hide and Seek” with ridiculous accuracy and doesn’t mind being “it” every single time.

23. We have company when we visit the restroom, whether we like it or not. Update: Still true, but she will sadly, dejectedly, mournfully, go lie down elsewhere when ordered. I think she got this look from my 3 offspring. Why? Cuz it worked for them, too.

24. The only difference between a puppy and a child is the amount of hair they shed. Update: Maizie and I are having a contest to see who can shed the most hair now. At least hers doesn’t clog up the shower drain every 3 months.

25. The best therapy in the world is a wagging golden tail when you walk through the door after a tough day. Update: This is still so true that we get worried if she isn’t right at the door waiting with her wagging tail and hyper-ness. She even knows the distinct sounds of all of our cars and may actually whimper until we get through the door. That is, if she’ll let us through the door. Greetings must come first in her mind. Forget that you’re carrying groceries or luggage.

Point to Ponder Challenge: Do you have an animal friend, too? Is the animal up to date on all health checks, vaccinations, and grooming tasks? If not, celebrate Maizie’s birthday by taking a little extra care of that pet. And if you’ve been a diligent pet owner, then hug that pet and spend some time having fun with him or her today. It’s a little bit like taking time to smell the roses. 🙂