Tag Archives: dog

Nacho

Standard
Our dog Nacho

Our dog Nacho

We have a dog named Nacho.  Before we even left for the mission field, back in 2004 we promised our kids that once we got through itineration, language school and two international moves that we would get a dog.  So once we landed in Mexico, we made plans to fulfill our promise.  We sent a message home to my parents to go to a breeder and pick out a dog for us.  We wanted a Shih Tzu.

So my parents went out to the farm where the breeder lives and picked out the cutest, most cuddly puppy they had.  Some friends of ours from Mexico were in town for a wedding, so we made plans for Nacho to travel back to Mexico with them.  They brought us this adorable little fur ball.

Nacho has traveled to Mexico, back to Minnesota, and on to Costa Rica with us.  Missionary kids have to give up a lot of things as we move country to country.  So we make an effort to keep Nacho as one of the “constants” in their lives.  Some missionary families have to leave their pets on the field and get a new pet in each new place where they live.  That works for some families but I don’t think that would work for our kids.

The other thing that Nacho is good for is as a built in alarm system.  He barks whenever anyone comes to our door.  He guards our yard, although the most dangerous thing that enters our yard are those yellow birds that he hates and the gardener with his evil “weed wacker.”  But he lets those on the outside of our gate know that a dog lives here and so they better beware.  He’s got an important job to do.

Nacho loved the snow in Minnesota

Nacho loved the snow in Minnesota

But one major pitfall of having a pet when you live the life of a global nomad is that you must constantly be searching for someone to watch your dog for you when you leave town for a night or a week or a year.  It’s a head ache!  When we were home on furlough this last time there was a lovely lady in our home church who offered to take Nacho for us whenever we left town to go speak at a church.  She said, “I don’t have any money to support a missionary, but this is something I can do to bless you.”  And that was HUGE for us!!  Just huge!  To know that we never had to worry about finding a dog sitter when we had to travel and that Nacho was being well cared for was indeed a huge blessing for our family.

So I would like to encourage all of you who love missions but don’t have the financial means to support a missionary.  Look for practical ways that you can bless a missionary and make their life back home a little less stressful.  It might be offering to take in their mail, shovel their snowy driveway, mow their lawn, or water their plants while they are away.  Or offering to be the emergency contact person for the school where their children attend (a few times we found ourselves stuck in traffic and couldn’t pick up our kids after school.  It helped having friends who could run up to the school and pick them up for us.)  Ask a missionary if they have someone to fold and stuff their newsletters a few times a year.  That’s a practical blessing for sure!

Or maybe you know that the family will be arriving in your state in the middle of winter and they will have NO snow clothing for the first few weeks.  This would be a great opportunity to ask your friends if the family could borrow jackets and boots and mittens for a few weeks.  You have no idea how fast kids grow and how hard it is to find winter coats in December!  Anyhow, look for practical ways that you can bless others.  Listen to what they are talking about and ask yourself if there is a need you can meet here.  It’s a huge blessing for us missionaries!

Losing ourselves and loving it

Standard

It is time to revive a theme:  Gross Mommy stories.  Today’s horror story comes to you directly from the bowels of Costa Rica in the lovely town of Atenas.  Missionary friends of ours live out there with their brood of kids and their dog Lucy.  I hope your breakfast has already digested.  

This morning started out normally enough: early to rise, breakfast of homemade banana bread, the juiciest of pineapples, and yogurt (keep this menu in mind as I proceed). The kids had just finished clearing their morning dishes from the table, and Brody and Ashlyn had headed out to lounge in the hammock in the backyard till school started. I was at the sink washing dishes, which so happens to be a chore I don’t mind one bit.

As I watched the two littles perform their normal kid antics, I heard Ashlyn’s voice, full of shock, yell, “What’s Lucy doing?” I looked up and out the window above the sink to see Lucy squatting to accomplish her morning duty in the backyard. What I failed to miss at first glance was what Ashlyn’s sharp little eyes had spied. “Oh mom,” she screamed, “I’m going to throw up!”

I emptied my hands and leaned forward in an attempt to get a better look at what was so horrifying about Lucy’s very normal activity. It was then that I glimpsed it, the very non-typical neon green string, that was very much NOT a normal part of this normal dog activity. Within moments, Lucy seemed to finish up, and quickly began to jaunt away from the scene of the crime. As she did so, something stretched from her backside toward the ground. As her distance from the scene increased, so did the tension in the neon green string. Now taut, something attached to this green string jumped from the ground and slapped the unsuspecting Lucy on the haunches.

Commence the dry heaves and wretches that so often proceed an all out vomit fest…from both Brody and Ashlyn. As Lucy ran, helter skelter, to escape whatever was pursuing her and slapping her as she ran, Brody and Ashlyn came rushing toward the back door threatening to evacuate their stomachs. Ashlyn made it further than Brody, who ended up losing his just-eaten breakfast on the threshold of the back door. I heard Ashlyn make it around the corner into the hallway and it was there that I heard the tell tale splatters on the tile floor.

As I rushed to assist Brody at the back door, Lucy met me as she continued her attempted escape from the neon green assailant. And then the horror, oh the horror! The duet that met me on the threshold was the thing nightmares are made of. Brody, still in the midst of projectile vomiting, with Lucy standing beside him, soiled, neon green sticky frog glued to her side, string still trailing from somewhere deep inside.


It is worth mentioning that for the last few weeks I have had Proverbs 31:25 up on my fridge, as a constant reminder to myself, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (NIV).

Touché, Lord, for in that very moment I began laughing like never before. I was laughing so hard that big ol’ tears streamed down my face. Meanwhile the retching and vomiting continued in surround sound, Brody before me and Ashlyn behind. All the while Lucy tried to make a mad dash into the house to hide under the kitchen table.

I did all I knew to do in that moment. I shut the back doors. I shut the doors. And I laughed. Oh, did I ever laugh. The situation was unbelievable. Truly, truly, truly unfathomable. Oh if only I could have kept that door shut and not faced the reality of what awaited me on the other side: the clean up and the extrication of the stretchy green frog from the backside of our dog.

My one-day-a-week house helper snapped me from my reverie of insanity, having come running in alarm at what must have sounded like nothing short of pure pandemonium. I retold the story the best I could through giggles, snorts, and dripping eyes. You should have seen Liliana’s face. I saw shock, horror, alarm, hilarity, disgust, and a whole other gamut of emotions pass over her face as I spoke Spanish words I’ve yet to use together, recto (rectum), jugette elastico (elastic toy), pegado (stuck), and vomitando (vomiting). Sweet lady she is, she half-whispered that she would help. “No,” I told her, “no, this is my job.”

I’ll save you the details of untangling the stretchy poo-covered frog from Lucy’s long fur. I’ll also save you the details of the extraction of the string from her innards (suffice it to say that stretching, poo, and being slapped in the hand, rubber-band fashion, were involved). I’ll save you the details of the vomit clean up. I’ll save you the details of the smell. Lawdy, the smell!

Horrific as it all was, this is one story to remember. Epic in portion, outlandish in details, and like no other story I’ve ever heard. Indeed, “these are the days I’ll remember” (cue the 10,000 Maniacs song)!

You can read more of their crazy, wild adventures in missions and life over seas at Jennie’s blog “Losing ourselves and loving it”.

Quit feeding these kids! (They’re getting too big.)

Standard

I’ve probably said it a thousand times, “These kids have got to stop growing!”  You don’t realize how much your own kids have changed because you see them every day.  But you notice when other people’s kids are growing.  We went back to Minnesota for Christmas this year.  We haven’t been home in a year and a half.  Aside from the shock of the temperature difference between Costa Rica and Minnesota, I was totally shocked at how big all my nieces and nephews had grown in 18 months.  Everyone came to the airport to greet us.  When we walked through the security doors all these tall, gangly teenagers came running down the hall at us!

It reminded me of when I take my dog to the groomers.  I always tell them to cut Nacho’s hair very short because shih-tzus are long haired dogs.  It buys me time between visits to the “Peluqueria”.  Every time they bring out my freshly shorn pup I don’t recognize him.  But he seems really happy to see me, so this must be my dog.  I take him home and in a few days I again recognize my own dog.  The change is just so shocking at first!

Well it was the same with my nieces and nephews.  I didn’t recognize these kids.  But they seemed really happy to see me, so they must be my family.  In a few days it wasn’t so weird that most of them are taller than me now.  And I was once again recognizing my own family members.  The change was just so shocking at first.  I told them all to quit growing so I don’t have to go through this again when we come back next time.  I doubt they’ll listen to me.