About Arguing and Dogs

I love my dogs.  They are simple, loving little creatures who’s life goals are as follows:  play outside, eat as much food as possible, and love and please their mama and be loved by her.  They also sleep often but sleeping for my two dogs doesn’t seem as much of a goal as it is something they do to pass the time between moments when they can be eating or playing outside or snuggling with me.

Sometimes I talk about them when people talk about their kids.  People talk about their kids a lot and the closest things I have to relate with are my dogs.  Sorry if I ever talk about my dogs around you, I’m just trying to join in on the kid conversation.

Anyway, my dogs teach me a lot.  In fact, they taught me how to argue well.

Sometimes Josh and I argue.  When we do my two dogs act very differently.

When Josh and I argue Haley hides and shivers uncontrollably.  If and when you find her again she’s a hunched over mess peering up at you with Precious Moment’s eyes while convulsing like she’s experiencing hypothermia.  Because of such a reaction, Josh and I started learning to tame our tongues in our arguments.  We noticed that the more tame our volume and tone remained the longer we could keep Haley in the room.  Thus, because of Haley, Josh and I learned how to argue civilly much sooner than we may have without her.

When Josh and I argue Sam follows me around with his tail slightly between his legs and his posture is wholly apologetic.

Haley’s fear of arguments is enough to melt my heart.  However, her approach to getting us to stop the flow of angry words can easily go unnoticed for a while.  But now there’s Sam. Turns out, it’s hard to yell at your spouse when there is an adorable fluff ball at your feet pleading for a chance to console you.

This morning Josh and I had a little spat.  I can’t say it was an argument or even a disagreement, just a moment when both of us felt frustrated in various ways that needed to be discussed.  Shortly into the chat I melted onto the floor, too overwhelmed by emotion to remain standing to cry about it (thank you pregnancy), and the moment I did Sam appeared in my lap.  I actually didn’t notice he’d arrived until I was already petting him and feeling much better already.  They say there is something calming about petting a dog.  Sam must know that and that’s why he chooses to sweetly offer his fluffy self up as a sort of sacrificial lamb in the middle of a heated spat.  Brave little bugger.

I think everyone should love dogs.  They teach me so much about God’s love all the time.  In arguments they both have their ways of encouraging the argument to desist.  Through Haley I can picture how God would need to leave the room when Josh and I spiral out of control and wait in the other room until we were ready to come back into his presence and be loving again – His goodness can’t stick around with such sin storming about.  Through Sam I can also picture how Jesus stays right beside me, offering his love like a warm blanket as I discuss hurt with my husband.

Thank God for dogs.

Life is Too Short

I think life is too short to waste time not doing what you love.  If you don’t love you’re job, make it something you love or change it.  If you don’t love your marriage, put the work in and make it incredible.  If you don’t love your house, put in the time to make it beautiful or move on.   If you don’t have valuable friendships, go out and make some friends and really spend time investing in those relationships.   Bottom line, you are not doing anyone any favors by maintaining a miserable state of being.  In order to life a full life sometimes you have to be bold enough to change it.

I am not talking about the American search for happiness.  I am talking about searching for joy.  In searching for joy you are searching for the heart of God.  And that my friends, is where life starts.

Jobs consume about 25% of your life (based on a 40 hour work week).  Sleep consumes about 33% of your life (based on 8 hours of sleep a night).  Not including working overtime, commuting, eating, showering, maintaining the home, and other necessary activities, you are left with 42% of your life to work with.  Here you might spend time with your family, exercise, work on a hobby, enjoy some leisure time… etc.  I lay out these stats to specifically point out just how much time is spent at your job.  I have, and hopefully always will be, a HUGE advocate for doing the work you love, not working to do what you love.  Too many people work 40+ a week and are looking forward to the weekend the moment their Monday morning alarm goes off.  If you know you cannot love the work you are doing please seek something else.  I highly recommend picking up Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life and 48 Days to The Work You Love to help get your started.

Marriage isn’t about you.  Period.  Marriage is about your partner and growing your heart closer to Christ.  If anyone has entered marriage thinking of themselves it will be better to learn sooner rather than later that it isn’t by being served by your spouse, but by serving your spouse that will bring you joy in your marriage.  People say marriage makes you die to yourself, but I say you can only really die to yourself if you want to.  It is all to easy to stay selfish even if you’re married.

Home is the place you rest your head at night.  Whether you are living with your parents, have a crummy apartment, live in a problem house or your parents live with you, you rent a stunning loft, or own a gorgeous home, this is the place to invest some thought.  The best answer isn’t always trying to find the next best place.  Sometimes the best answer is making your current place a gem.  To get started on your own Remaking Home project you can take a look at my experience doing this HERE.

People need people.  No matter who you are.  People need people even if they are married… especially if they are married.  Any one person cannot be your everything.  That is the beauty of fellowship.  For example, my husband doesn’t want to listen to me talk about books, but my Mom loves talking about books.  I would bore my husband to death talking about photography for more than ten minutes, but I could talk about photography all night long with Laura.  And most people wouldn’t listen to me talk about my deepest hurts, but my husband and my family would listen to me until I had no words left.  Like a marriage, friendships are an opportunity for you to grow.  By truly investing in friendships you learn to die to yourself just a little more.  If your friend needs help moving, you clear your schedule and lend a hand.  If your friend lost a loved one, you clear your schedule and show up to the funeral.  If your friend just passed a major milestone like having a baby or publishing a book, you throw a party.  And remember, by loving your friends well you are not only pulling your focus off of yourself but you are loving the heart of God.

Now go love your life!

A Photo A Day | July 1 – 7

1Monday 2Tu3W 4Th5F 6Saturday 7Sunday

MONDAY  A 6MO baby photography with William!   (Full blog post coming soon!)

TUESDAY  Babysitting our niece and nephew 🙂

WEDNESDAY Date afternoon with Josh!  Coffee date and checkers 🙂

THURSDAY  Fourth of July Milton Parade!

FRIDAY  Haley hates fireworks so this is her being scared 🙂

SATURDAY  Kelly + Sam = Married!  (Full blog post coming soon)

SUNDAY  Just got these new reusable panty liners.  Less trash and you only have to buy them once!


More from a softball night, babysitting, and parade.


What is your favorite subject matter in these “a Photo a Day” blog posts?

Skunked Dog

The story of my first skunked adventure with my dogs.

a Photo a Day” blog post is postponed until tomorrow 🙂

Last night I let the dogs out for their ritualistic, before bed time tinkle.  When I hear Sam barking his “I’m super scared and trying to scare something off” bark I run to the door and when I open it two things happen at once: the reek of skunk floods my nostrils and Haley bolts inside.  Curiously though, Sam stubbornly stays outside.  I get nervous because I can’t see a thing and I assume that, since Sam is rooted to the spot, that the skunk is possibly dead or wounded at his feet.  I dart back inside and frantically run around the house turning on the porch light and grabbing my iPhone for a flashlight so I can see what I’m dealing with.

Sam looked unscathed and was alone but had crazy eyes.  I proceed to call him again but he wouldn’t budge.  Finally he moves but only in a tiny arch that keeps him as far away from the back of the house and the door I’m summoning him to as his harness will allow.  I don’t want to dawdle around for fear of the skunk rushing me or Sam so I result to bribing.  I pull out some dog food shake it until Sam forgets the threat long enough to answer my call.

I leave him on the harness in the porch so he can’t touch anything else.  Now that both dogs are safe I go find Haley to check if she stinks.  She does.  In fact, the whole room does because she went directly to the bedroom and rolled all over the bed.

I call her into the bathroom and she is wonderfully obedient as usual.  I tell her to stay while I fetch a towel and a couple other bath necessities and get to work.  I lift her into the tub.  This makes me laugh, as usual, because she does this spread eagle, disjoined air sprawl.  Once she is in I set to work.  I soap her up once, then twice, and then I give her a sniff.  She still reeks but now I can at least pinpoint the place on her body where the smell is coming from.  But I need another plan since the soap proved mostly ineffective.

I leave my shivering dog in the tub while I research solutions.  I found one that required hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap; I didn’t have hydrogen peroxide but decided I would have to give it a shot anyway.  I think it helped but she still reeked.

I take a break to give my oddly patient Sam a sniff.  I smell his face. Nothing. I smell his back. Nothing.  I smell his belly.  Nothing.  And I am so convinced at the naughtiness of my dog that I smell every inch of him but I still don’t get even a slight whiff of skunk.  I’m completely floored.  How is it possible that my disobedient, trouble-making Sam was the good dog tonight.  I suddenly realize that he was somehow smart enough to recognize the threat without having to investigate AND had the good grace to alert me of the issue.

Even though Sam doesn’t smell, I’m so convinced that he had to be the culprit that I actually entertain the idea that I’m so used to the smell already that I simply can’t smell it on him.  But that doesn’t hold up because when I go sniff Haley again there is no mistaking that she definitely was skunked.  So I let Sam off the hook and bring him around the house as my investigator.  He promptly reveals to me any areas Haley touched with her skunk face and I gather up all that stuff and pop it in the wash.  I give Sam a grateful pet and squeeze and get back to the bathroom to attend to Haley.

I just sit on my bathroom floor for a while… pondering what I can possibly do to get rid of the stink.  My eyes fall on my Sabon Body Scrub.  I shrug and think “well, it’s worth a shot.”  I am hoping the oils in the scrub will replace and overwhelm the skunk oils.  I scrub her once. Sniff.  And she actually smells significantly better but I still have two troublesome spots to deal with. I scrub her two more times and decide the scrub can’t do any more for me.  So I try the baking soda/dish soap blend again and she’s about as close to clean as I can get her I think.

I lift her out of the tub, dry her off, make her sit, and rub tea tree oil on her face.  And I did it!  After three different methods of washing and a little tea tree oil my dog is odor free!

It is midnight but I quickly give Sam a bath just because I’m already at it, wash myself (half to get the now pouring sweat off of me and half to secure my own odor-free state), rotate the laundry, make the bed with spare sheets, and crawl into bed with my two clean, but semi-damp pups and fall asleep smiling.

Church Quotes

Willow Creek Community Church is my home church. I have only missed a handful of Sundays since I started attending in October of 2011 – and that was because I absolutely cannot make it, I have come home early from trips just to be at church on Sunday morning.

Often times when I am asked where I go to church I am met with immediate skepticism and subtle negativity – I have found that people too often judge Willow simply because it’s a mega church with a lot of wealthy attendees. People ask why I go to Willow and my reply grows with each passing Sunday. I love the teaching and how it not only “feeds me” and gives me strength and fire for the week but, more importantly, I am challenged to grow in my faith practically, emotionally, physically, and knowledgeably. Most importantly, I so often feel the Lord’s hands in the message and his voice speaking through the sermon. And I love the worship, but not as much for the skill presented on stage but for the hearts and commitment I see on that stage. Most importantly, I can see the love of God in their eyes and as I watch them lead us in worship I feel like God is loving me through them. These two reasons are what made me choose Willow.

Since regularly attending I have grown more committed and in love with my church. I love their passion for giving and giving in a way that not only alleviates poverty through aid but pursues permanent solutions through partnership. I love their passion for establishing the Biblical relationships modeled by Jesus: the many, the “Oikos” (or 72), the small group (or 12 disciples), and the close friends (or 3 confidants). I particularly love how they are establishing Oikos communities in the church by fostering relationships within the auditorium section you sit in. Because of this initiative this BIG church is becoming very small as I am now frequently stopped in the halls for a chat or a hug or even to grab a cup of coffee to catch up.

There is too much more that I love about my church but this blog post is supposed to be for the tidbits I’ve jotted down with my sermon notes over the past few weeks. So here they are, some quotes said from the stage that encouraged and impacted me.

Referring to pain and struggle and how it is an opportunity for growth: “I’m not asking you to like [the pain and struggle], but I’m asking you to not waste it.”
– Shane Farmer

“God doesn’t need good ideas, he wants good servants.”
– Shane Farmer

“God is like a navigation system. When you take a right instead of the required left, He doesn’t abandon you, he reroutes you. The trouble is, with too many wrong turns, you start to run out of time and the road gets rougher.”
Michael Jr

“First of all, if God could be explained He wouldn’t be God.”
Michael Jr

Happy Wednesday friends! Have a super day!

Kaia Calhoun