Shepherd, show me …

“Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections.”
— Mary Baker Eddy

When Riggy went missing Thursday morning, my first instinct was to call a Christian Science practitioner. She assured me she would take up the work and asked me to keep her updated.

In between calls, Ron and I took the appropriate human footsteps: talking with neighbors; putting up posters; contacting Rig’s microchip company; posting online; calling vets; checking shelters; and even taking Songdog out for walks all over the neighborhood so Rig would have a familiar scent to follow if he’d simply lost his way.

I woke up this morning thinking of a few lines from one of Mrs. Eddy’s hymns:

Shepherd, show me how to go
O’er the hillside steep …

I will listen for thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray.
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.

When I called the practitioner this morning, she mentioned that hymn — and seemed delighted to learn I’d been humming it all morning.

Rig is coming home, I thought.

When we walked Song this afternoon, I felt drawn to an industrial area surrounded by vacant, overgrown land. To human sense, it might seem dull and empty, but to a hungry little dog who was bred to hunt rodents, it would look like a game preserve.

As we walked, Ron took note of the thick vegetation and commented that our bees probably foraged there.

It clicked: Our bees have seen Riggy. I took comfort from the realization that if he were within two miles of the house, at least a few of our 200,000 honeybees would encounter him in their daily travels. He wasn’t lost. Our girls knew where he was.

I turned that thought over and over as we walked home. I’d been awfully angry earlier this summer, when the city ordered us to move our hives. My anger was a function of fear: Conventional wisdom says if you move a hive more than two feet but less than two miles, the bees won’t realize they’ve moved, and they’ll get lost trying to find their way home the next day.

We moved the hives a week ago. The girls are fine.

I thought about that. I thought about bees. And I thought about the fact that thousands of tiny creatures manage to explore the entire neighborhood and find their way back to our yard every single day.

Is anyone really surprised that when Song came in from his evening constitutional, Riggy came sauntering in with him, as if nothing had happened?


AWOL terrier

I need some assistance from my readers today. Our black-and-tan rat terrier, Riggy, apparently escaped from the backyard this morning through a small gap between the fence and the house. A little black dog who’s used to spending most of his time in the air conditioning really doesn’t need to be out running around in this heat, so if anybody sees him, I’d appreciate it if you could grab him for me.

Riggy weighs about 17 pounds and looks like what you’d get if you crossed a Doberman with a Shrinky-Dink. He was not wearing a collar when he left, but he is microchipped. He’s fidgety and very friendly, so he’ll probably come right up to you and lick you half to death if he crosses your path. If this happens, please grab him and let me know where to pick him up.

Songdog would especially appreciate it if you could help bring his best friend home, as he misses him terribly and has done nothing but wander around, looking lost, since he disappeared.

Here are a few pictures of the Rig-Monster:

Come home, little prodigal. You don’t need to wander around in the far country by yourself.


Righteousness’ sake

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Christ Jesus

A longtime acquaintance recently “unfriended” several people — including me — on Facebook as part of an apparent effort to insulate himself from criticism where his political views are concerned.

This individual had developed an unfortunate habit of posting ill-researched political screeds and incendiary comments which could be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of violence. If anyone questioned his statements, one of his supporters would immediately respond by assuring him that he was merely being persecuted for “taking a stand for Christ.”

This kind of nonsense is obnoxious and offensive, but it’s not particularly unusual. There is a species of error that loves to go around calling names, inciting arguments, and preaching hatred and division in the name of Jesus.

I’ve often wondered why a self-professed Christian would want to act like that. In considering the question, I think I’ve found the answer in the fifth chapter of Matthew.

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with some pretty sound spiritual advice: Look to God for inspiration when you’re feeling down; know that heartaches can’t last forever; don’t get too full of yourself; try to do the right thing; cut people some slack; keep your mind out of the gutter; be nice to each other.

It’s pretty straightforward until we get to Matt. 10-11, where Jesus starts talking about being “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”

Righteousness is, in essence, a tendency to obey the rules. Thanks to our Constitution, precious few people in this country can honestly claim to have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And I think that worries some people. If we’re not being persecuted, maybe that means we’re not being righteous enough — so we panic and try to provoke some kind of confrontation that will allow us to feel persecuted (and, thus, assured of our own salvation).

There’s a difference between being persecuted for righteousness’ sake and being persecuted for self-righteousness’ sake. Jesus promised us blessings if we endure the former. He didn’t say anything about the latter. Do we understand the difference?


Hippie lodgings

So Mom and Dad came to stay with us Saturday night. Ron and I got the bedroom nice and clean and changed the sheets and made sure everything was perfectly comfortable for them, as they would be sleeping in our room.

We forgot to make sure we knew where the linens were for the futon, so when it was time for bed, I wound up going out to the car to get the only extra sheet I could find:

Nothing says “hippie” quite like a folded-out futon in the middle of the living room with a tie-dyed sheet draped over it. For the record, I’d be OK with it if we just left it this way.


Menacing presence

Noticed this little tree frog slyly blending in with the tabletop so he could stalk my honeybees unobserved while they were cleaning off spent frames and other equipment after a honey harvest the other day. I didn’t like that look he was giving the girls, so I encouraged him to move along.

He’s cute, but I don’t want him eating my bees. That wouldn’t be good for them or for him, either.

There’s a closeup of one of the girls after the jump.

Continue reading Menacing presence

How to kill a week

This is what my living room looked like after an entire school year of neglect, followed by two road trips:

And this is what it looked like after several days’ worth of decluttering, moving furniture, sweeping, vacuuming, and steaming the carpet in sections:

Ahhhh … much nicer. I wanted to do this a long time ago, but I just didn’t have the time until this week. I probably would have procrastinated even longer, because the job was starting to seem a little overwhelming, but then Walter peed somewhere in my office, necessitating the purchase of the steam cleaner, and I knew my parents were coming to visit for the weekend, which motivated me to declutter and try to make the house presentable. It took me the better end of a week, but the house — with the notable exception of Ron’s office — is clean and well-organized, and I’m really looking forward to curling up in my ball chair with a book and catching my breath in a stress-free environment.

Hope you’ve had a productive week, too.


Retail therapy

You know that unless it involves hardware or farm supplies, I’m not usually a big shopper, but after spending the better end of a week cleaning the house and moving furniture around so I could steam the carpets, I decided it was time to spoil myself a little bit, so I headed out to a mom-and-pop shoe store to see if they had any Earth Shoes. When I got there, they had a sign on the door that said something like, “Be back in five minutes — sorry for the inconvenience,” so I decided to kill five minutes by wandering into ding-bats, which is in the same block and specializes in ridiculously cute children’s merchandise.

I was powerless to resist:

This is supposed to be a little kid’s backpack, but I decided it would make an awfully cute purse for a beekeeper. It’s the perfect size to carry my iPad and a few other odds and ends. It’s the cutest product I’ve seen in a long time….