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CatoMarch2020Keith and I adopted another shelter dog last week, a puppy we named Cato. When we first brought Cato home, he pulled on his leash and jumped on us despite our “off” commands. He chewed on Heathcliff and Freya’s ears, legs and tails despite their warning growls. He lunged for food, tried to climb onto furniture and into our laps, and piddled inside the house. Most of his behaviors were due to a puppy’s lack of curbs, mirrors, and guides.

And fear.

Pastor Tim Bohlmann at Bethany Lutheran Church often reminds us that Old Testament Law is a “I have to” versus the New Testament’s “I get to.” Thou shalt love God and your neighbors—I have to, and I get to.

The Law is a curb, a mirror, and a guide. The curb tells us what to do and what not to do; the mirror allows us see our transgressions and repent; the guide helps us to walk in the light.


Late last week, I came down with a cold. I’m nursing it in the usual way: feeding the cold good food and fluids, doing what I have to or feel up to doing, and resting.

On Sunday morning, I looked forward to rehearsing with the Men’s Choir and singing with the Mixed Choir for second service at church. But Keith reminded me of the curb: love others by setting a good example and not exposing them to illness. When I protested a bit, I saw my “but they need me” self-importance in the mirror and repented.

As my mother used to say, graveyards are filled with indispensable people.

I texted the music director: “I’m sorry I won’t be at church today. Came down with a cold, which I don’t want to share. Hope to be back for choir practice on Wednesday.”

A curb for the sake of community health.


CatoCrateMarch2020Cato’s crate curbs his fear so he can rest instead of piddling inside. Keith and I have established other curbs, mirrors, and guides: routine walks for outside peeing and pooping, daily on-leash play time, feeding etiquette, and lots of mirrored affection, which he desperately needs, poor lonely fella. Heathcliff and Freya also mirror correct behavior, and we’re giving them more attention, too, especially Heathcliff since he’s a bit jealous of this young male. At dinner, Keith and I pray for guidance to help us all make this adjustment.

We are a pack. Curbs, mirrors, and guides help us stay calm.

And build healthy relationships.


This post on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FUweg9eDno&feature=youtu.be