September 24, 2016
There were a hundred hints of Autumn in the wind when I took my dogs outside this morning. The air was cooler and drier than it had been for months. The Queen Anne’s Lace and Black Eyed Susan’s seemed to be shivering in the September Sun. Our puppy, Fluffy was carrying around a freshly fallen leaf in his mouth. Overhead a flock of ducks seemed to be debating whether or not it was time to head south. I breathed in deep and smiled. This was my favorite time of the year. I closed my eyes for a moment and was amazed when a thousand Autumn memories mixed and mingled in my mind.
I was a four year old carrying an armful of colorful leaves into the house to give to my Mom. I was a young boy riding my bike down a hill with the wind whistling past my face. I was standing on the football field before practice laughing with my friends. I was riding the school bus watching the changing leaves with my lunch box on my lap. I was walking in the woods wondering why some leaves turn a rich red, while others turn a brilliant yellow and still others turn an awe inspiring orange. I was a young dad pushing my son and daughter on the swings at the school yard on a Saturday afternoon. I was raking a crunchy carpet of Maple and Oak leaves into a pile in my Dad’s front yard so my niece and nephew could jump in them. I was walking around a local lake with my children taking in the Fall colors and wondering why the prettiest season seemed to be the shortest. I was sitting on my back porch drinking tea, thanking God for another glorious Autumn afternoon and wondering if in Heaven it was Autumn all of the time.
As I bathed my mind in these memories I looked forward to another wonderful Autumn here and thanked our Heavenly Father for this special season. I remembered what Ralph Waldo Emerson had once said: “Beauty is God’s handwriting.” I wondered too if God had a special pen just for Autumn.
We are all traveling through time in this world. We are all strolling through sweet seasons in this life. We are all creating memories every moment of everyday. May we always take the time then to appreciate all of God’s wonders. May we always take the time to add our own love, joy, and beauty to them.
Author - Joseph J. Mazzella
Vintage Dilbert September 12, 2012
A long lost sheep, Shrek, became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.
This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.
When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.
I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
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Vintage Dilbert September 10, 2009
Recently a kind lady found a six week old puppy abandoned in her driveway. It was skin and bones, covered in fleas, and close to death. It was beyond belief how anyone could do this to a little, baby dog. Fluffy
This wonderful woman, though, rescued this tiny, white ball of fluff, took him in and bathed him a long time to kill the fleas. Then unable to raise him herself she put a notice on Facebook trying to find him a good home. It was there that my daughter saw it. She knew that I was hoping to get my oldest son, JJ a new puppy. It wasn’t long then until we were bringing this little guy home. My son named him, “Fluffy.”
After another bath, a few good meals, and a trip to the vet Fluffy no longer seemed sick or sad. Instead his true personality emerged. Just this morning he chewed on my ankles, my toes, the rugs, his chew toy, and his own tail. He wiggled out of his new collar. He whined his way onto my lap while I ate breakfast. He wolfed down his puppy chow and pooped on the floor. He barked at his toy bone, chased the my old beagle all over the house, and french kissed the cat. He also melted all of our hearts with his happiness and unconditional love. It looks like he is going to be quite a handful as he grows up but we don’t mind. I am sure that he was meant to come to us at this time and to bring his love into our lives.
Isn’t it incredible how our Heavenly Father can use even the worst acts that some of us do to bring out the best in the rest of us? I thank that sweet lady who saved Fluffy’s life and I want her to know that he will always be loved and cared for here.
We are all connected in this life. We are connected with each other. We are connected with God. We are connected with all of His creatures. We can weaken those connections with acts of evil or we can strengthen them with acts of Love. May you always choose Love.
By Joseph J. Mazzella