The Summer Files: Day 7. J-O-Y

The Summer has stumbled into our valley with a surge of wind and scowls. With my delayed book release and The Son’s medical tests at the Children’s Hospital, a sweet summer seemed to have gotten knocked into the abyss like a dirt clod.


But The Son, even in the midst of his medical prep, had this song for us. Down in the valley, there is J-O-Y. Yes, he sang this during his colonoscopy prep (test one of two).

You hear about kids with health problems that are supernaturally happy and think it’s just a creation of Hallmark films, but it’s no cliché. The Son has been gifted with joy, and indeed was the comfort for his family through his whole ordeal, even when they put the mask on his face and his day faded to black.

When he woke, he smiled and sheepishly asked where his pants were.

I was reminded this morning of our uniqueness, our gifts that God has given each one of us. Sometimes, we hear such reminders so often they lose their power until we walk into those low valleys and find there’s always someone there to offer a song and a chair in which to listen, or an instrument to play your own music.

I suppose we switch from one to the other in various walks of our lives, but isn’t it nice that God has made us so different, yet with the capability of becoming a master orchestra? We are vital to each other.

Now off to work, friends.

On Walking Dogs and the Neighbors that Avoid You.

Last week, I went to a neighbor’s house for an essential oil party. I really didn’t have time to go, and I know others who sell the product, but I went anyway. I’ve only met a few of our neighbors and a writer doesn’t have much to write about unless they step from behind their keyboard and live.

I was a little hesitant to attend because my dog tends to offend many of the local dog-walkers, even to the point where one lady turns around and goes the opposite direction when she sees us coming. Bella is a great family dog, but isn’t well socialized. Basically, she thinks other dogs are steak. The neighbors might not want to socialize with the owner of a steak-slaying dog.

You also never know about people—a few of locals are so reclusive, some only The-Burbs-tom-hanks-13565958-720-480come outside when getting their mail. In their cars. (Oh my gosh, we’re living in The ‘Burbs!)

Guess who was at the party? Lady who turns her small steak around at the speed of light when she sees us coming.

Surprisingly, we had a good time and I was able to apologize and tell her a bit about our rescue dog who doesn’t have any dog friends. I’ve noticed the words rescue dog tend to soften the hearts of otherwise dog elitists.

We all inhaled peppermint oil and amazingly my sinuses cleared for the first time in years, but that wasn’t the best part. We got to chat, find out the “quiet” neighbors aren’t hiding bodies in their basements (I don’t think, anyway), but they just like living quietly, that’s all.

While walking on opposite sides of the road a few days ago, the dog-walker greeted me kindly, and politely ignored Bella as I pinned her to the sidewalk. She even asked about my kids through the barks and growls. Her small steak is amazingly unfazed by Bella. And we’re friendly, now. Turns out she lives only a few houses down from us, and delighted in filling our kids Trick or Treat buckets this Halloween.

It’s good to be social—especially in person. Social media is great, but you can’t see the humanity in someone, or learn what’s beyond the firewall unless you know them up close—small steaks and all.