Sunday, September 27, 2009

Off to Carlsbad!....Or not?

For weeks now, our family has been planning to go with some friends of ours to Carlsbad to see the caverns. Excitement built as the time came closer. The date was marked on the calender: September 24 and we were to come back Saturday evening.

The day arrived and we were all very busy getting ready to leave that afternoon. As Mom and I were doing some last minute cleaning, Jonathan walked in from outside and stated bluntly, "the van won't start." "What?" exclaimed Mom. "Your joking, right?" Jonathan wasn't. Dad had started our van and it refused to start for him.

This presented a huge problem for us. Yes, we had our Suburban (one seat short) and Dad's little car, which seated two, but this was our family vacation! Did we really want to drive four hours out there separately, get there only to split up in different rooms (the hotel didn't have a room for ten) :) and drive back in separate cars. That is not to mention the gas it would take, and the money that it looked like we would have to spend on our van!

We were all discouraged, and upon finding out we could not go, some tears were shed, as others tried to find a way to go anyways. Mom and Dad began calling our friends to let them know that we would not be meeting up with them. It was a disappointment for all of us to say the least. We decided to try renting a van, although the cost was something we didn't really want to spend now. Well, we looked but nobody had a 15 passenger van except for one company who charged $130 dollars a day. That would be a bit much because we would have to keep the van until Moday. So that wasn't happening.

Dad called the tow truck company to come get our van. Then we discovered that the garage could not even take a look at the car, much less fix it, until Monday. It began to really settle in that the Hoppman family would not be going to Carlsbad.

Something that came to mind was, God was probably either protecting us from something, on the trip, keeping us at our home for some reason or maybe we would never know, but Mom and Dad, plus some others, were ready to give up the vacation if it meant God had a bigger, better plan for us. Disappointing? Yes, but we were willing to stay. (I guess we didn't have a choice anyways!)

Seeing that some of the younger ones were not ready to give up the fact that we could not go on this trip Dad and Mom said, "OK, if it is God's will that we go on this trip, why don't we pray that He will find a way to make it happen." (With God, all things are possible!) To take a greater step in faith, Dad decided to take our Suburban and go to the store to buy those few flashlights we still needed for the trip. Josh, Mom, Dad, and I prayed that God's will would happen no matter what we thought should come to pass.

Surprisingly, the tow truck arrived in about a half hour and towed our broken-down-van away.

A short while later, Dad called the tow truck company again, just to let them know the guy was on his way with our van. Apparently, he had already arrived and they were actually able to work on the car that very day, but they mentioned that there was no way they would get it fixed today. Right away they began to work on our big family van. But time was ticking and it was getting further into the day. Dad left to buy our needed flashlights, and Mom and I got some things ready, just in case. While Dad was gone, the repair man called and told us that our van was DONE, and we could come pick it up anytime that was convenient. The house was sent in a flurry of excitement. We were going to Carlsbad after all! God had answered ours, and my younger siblings prayers! There was a funny thing I noticed though. Early that morning, all of us kids, excited to leave, had place our knapsacks and bags by the front door. When we all found out we were not going, all of the bags disappeared back into our rooms. Mom's and Dad's bags however, were put down, ready to go, by the front door, after we found out we were not going. It was a step of faith and they took it! Everyone else, on the other hand , (including myself) quietly slipped our bags back into our rooms and then prayed that the trip would still happen.

What about you? When the time comes that might require you to trust God, will you hide in the back round hoping for the best, or act upon your faith? Yes, sometimes God does not choose to supply our every whim, but sometimes there is a place for this type of childlike faith.

Go on, put those bags by the door.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Animal Experience...

Saturday afternoon, Mykaela decided that she wanted to give baths to some of the animals. Chiquita, (mini horse) Scooter, (our bigger dog) Joy, (our smaller dog) and our two puppies, Copper and Zinc.

Well, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. For some reason I did not feel at all like giving the animals a bath, particularly five of them. Mykaela insisted and mom was unable to help at the moment, so I was voted for the job. Mom decided that Mykaela should be able to handle Joy, since she was not a large dog, and I would help her when it came time for Scooter, Chiquita, and the pups.

Mykaela went outside and began the bath for Joy using the hose and dog shampoo which she had set up in the front yard on the driveway. Needless to say, Kayla came in rather upset, and unhappily informed me that "dearest" Joy had slipped through her collar and run off. Mykaela had difficulty holding Joy because Josiah, (our five year old brother) had picked up the hose and was squirting poor Kayla as Josiah giggled the whole time. (And no, Joy doesn't care for baths, in fact, as we found out Saturday, she abhors them!)

I went outside to see if I could catch the little trouble-maker. Sure enough, Joy was hiding under the trailer. I walked over there, bent down and reached under the trailer. Fortunately, I was able to catch her, carefully pull her out from under her hideaway, and help Kayla resume the cleaning, which Joy now needed more than ever.

It was an interesting process as I tried to hose off Joy as she squirmed around in a circle, at the same time, I was trying not to get Mykaela wet, who was holding her leash and collar. I then covered her back and legs in suds, hoping to get her nice and clean. I had instructed Kayla on how to hold her leash (which we were also using as a collar) in a way that didn't pinch her if she pulled hard, but would be effective in keeping her still. She willingly followed my directions, and as I turned around for a moment, I heard Kayla's wail of despair. Looking back I noticed Mykaela standing on our driveway with an empty leash in her hands. I think my face gave away how I felt about this new turn of events... Joy ran away, once again to her secure, hiding spot under our small trailer, with suds and dirt (but now, mostly dirt) covering her. I ran over there determined to get the runaway, this time going around the other side of the trailer, in hopes that she wouldn't notice me.

Joy is alot smarter then she looks! Seeing me coming around, she slipped out from under the trailer, ran past Mykaela, and crawled underneath our 15 passenger van. Using my most ferocious sounding voice, in a low tone I called, "Joy, come here right now!" I don't think it came out sounding too scary though. If she could she would probably laugh at how it sounded... :)
Don't get me wrong, Joy is usually a very obedient dog, but in this case, she refused to come over to me. As Mykaela and I circled around the van like hounds around a tree, Joy, once again, bolted. It was then that I happened to glance in our neighbor's yard, noticing several men working there, knowing all to well they probably saw the whole thing. At that point though, I just had to forget about how silly it must of looked and I determinedly walked to our trampoline in the backyard were Joy was now hiding. Please understand, Joy was not acting like an abused, poor dog. She was enjoying this chase! I guess she decided it wasn't as much fun anymore, but for whatever reason, she allowed me to walk up to her and pick her up. At this point, our once white furry Joy was brown, and even dirtier than when poor Kayla had started. We finally got Joy hosed off, cleaned, and dried. Kala and I eagerly let Joy in the house glad to done and over with that whole ordeal.

Next, was Chiquita. Though she did not run free from Mykaela's strong, determined grasp, she did continue turning circles as we attempted to hose her off. (horses are supposed to like water!) Of course, our mini horse did get alot of treats given to her as we washed her off.

Things are never slow around the house if you own animals! I'm sure all of you that have some would agree! :)

Now, I was planning to say something about how Joy was like people that keep returning to their sin whether they know what's best for them or not, but I think (after doing my last post) that Joy has been picked on enough. Though it may be hard to believe after reading this, she really is a wonderful, and sweet dog.

Mykaela and I did not have enough time that day to wash Scooter or the pups. (much to my relief!)

I guess that sums up one adventure for the day!

By-the-way, yes, I believe (from what I've heard) the the pups would enjoy a bath, but as far as Scooter goes... Let's just say, unlike the pups, I know from experience he doesn't. That is a story for another time though! :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Judgement by the Cone

Our family recently got two boxer/mastiff/lab pups from Arizona. We have been integrating them with our other two dogs, Scooter, and Joy, in hopes that they become friends with each other.

Our black puppy, Zinc, chewed on his stub tail, recently after it had been docked. Because of that, he has to wear a cone on his collar, to prevent him from chewing his tail again.

Our other puppy Copper Penny, was a good girl and she is cone free. :)

It took her almost a week, but Joy, who is close to the puppies size (at least right now she is) began to play with Copper. They are now best buddies. Zinc, on the other hand was sort of left out. Scooter feels to old and grumpy to play and run around with a young energetic pup, and Joy is scared of Zincs' cone. Whenever Zinc ran over to join the fun, Joy would tuck in her tail and slink off. After watching this happen for several days, we took off Zincs' collar for a moment, making sure to keep a close eye on him so he didn't chew his tail. Seeing the cone-less Zinc, Joy ran over and all three dogs began doing laps around our Family Room. Joy then wrestled with Zinc, having a grand time... That is, until the cone had to be put back on, and when Zinc tried playing with her, Joy ran away.

Isn't this how it is with people? We judge others by their looks and what kind of person they "seem like" Something that I have found that I need to work on, is being careful not to look at a total stranger and judge them by what they look like. It's easy enough to do. It's our sin nature to look at someone and decide right then and there whether we like them or not. That is why we have to be so careful of how we react and think about others. Have you ever seen someone and decided you don't like them, only to meet them later and find out their not that bad after all?

Samuel 16.7 ...Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Even if your "judging" is correct, we need to have grace and still be kind to others, whether you get along with them or not.

Mostly, try not to think of others in a negative mind, or compare them to how "bad" they are from your measuring stick. This is pride on our part and if they are in the wrong, it is between them and God.

Our dog Joy, took one look at Zinc and decided he was scary and mean. As soon as the cone came off, to Joy, Zinc was an exciting and fun play-mate. (so much so that it was Copper who got left in the dust!)

Joy was "judging" what Zinc was like by the cone he was wearing. Joy, of course is a dog, so she can get away with it. What about when it comes down to us? Will we be a stranger to many because we judged them by their "cone"?

Philippians 4.8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.