Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Know You Are A Great Dane Owner When...

- Your dog backs out of small rooms.
- You tell your dog to sit, and he backs up until he finds a chair (or couch in my house!)
- It takes 3 people to get your dog on the scale at the vets
- You walk your dog and everyone knows him by name, but you have no idea who these people are
- Your dog can hide an entire tennis ball (among other things) fully inside his lips and give you that innocent look that says, "What? I'm not eating anything!"
- After banishing your husband, the snoring in your bedroom still keeps you awake
- You toss your dog a ball and cringe when he almost hits his head on the top of the doorway
- You take your dog for a ride and he rests his head on your arm, causing you to make random right turns
- You have given up on water dishes and you just use the bathtub (or sink in our case)
- You have to move over when brushing your teeth because your dog wants a drink
- While stopped at a stop light, everyone stares as your car rocks back and forth because the dog is panting out the window
- You avoid the dogs on your way out the door, so they won't smear your makeup
- You've learned to force a smile when asked "do you have a saddle for that thing?"
- You have had to train your dog not to lick dishes, and the dishes are in the sink
- The donuts you put on top of the refrigerator are gone when you get home and your dog has powdered sugar on his nose (nothing is safe on the fridge at our house!)
- Your dog can see what you're cooking, and he tries to assist you in the preparation
- The pizza delivery people tell you to meet them at the end of the sidewalk (hehe...they do!)
- You purchase a large screen TV and you still can't see the program when he stands in front of the television
- After surgery, your bored pup decides to get up and cruise around the vet's office-- pulling the rolling IV stand behind him
- Your dog goes from 12 pounds to 102 pounds in 8 months
- In one play session your 5 month old dog gives you a punctured tongue, a punctured lip, a blood shot eye, and an aching foot.
- Guests tell your dog to "sit" and she immediately sits - on them.
- You have not been able to navigate through your house in a straight line for years.
- Your 110 pound puppy just doesn't understand it when other dogs bark at him and run away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pray for Iran

International pressure sought against mandatory death penalty for ‘apostates.’

LOS ANGELES, September 23 (Compass Direct News) – Without international pressure there is little to stop the Iranian government from ratifying a bill that will make “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, a capital crime, say human rights groups and experts.

On Sept. 9 the Iranian parliament approved a new penal code by a vote of 196-7 calling for a mandatory death sentence for apostates, or those who leave Islam. The Christian and Baha’i communities of Iran are most likely to be affected by this decision.

“Unless there is a coordinated and very strong effort from the international community to place pressure on Iran for this, I don’t think there will be anything stopping the Iranian government from passing this legislation,” Joseph Grieboski, founder of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, told Compass.

The bill still has to make its way through Iran’s policy-making process before it becomes law. Parliament is reviewing it article by article, after which it will be sent to Iran’s most influential body, the Guardian Council, which will rule on it.

The council is made up of six conservative theologians appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader and six jurists nominated by the judiciary and approved by parliament. This body has the power to veto any bill it deems inconsistent with the constitution and Islamic law.

In the case of the new penal code, however, which appears to be a return to a strict adherence of sharia (Islamic law), sources said they do not expect the Guardian Council to reject the penal code.

The timing of the debate on the penal code is not coincidental, said Grieboski. While the international community is focused on Iran’s nuclear activities, he said, the Iranian government appears to be taunting the West with deliberate human rights violations.

“Because of the nuclear issues, ones like these get put on the backburner, which means that the regime can move with great liberty to install legislation like this with impunity, because the nuclear issue gives them cover,” said Grieboski.

Iran has been criticized for its treatment of Baha’is, Zoroastrians and Christians, who have all suffered under the current regime.

“The Baha’is and the Christians are the ones being used as pawns by the regime in its dance with the West,” said Grieboski. “Iran is a human rights black hole in the middle of the world.”
A source told Compass that when he discussed the apostasy article in the penal code with some of the reformists in Iran’s parliament, they responded by saying they were not aware of the apostasy bill. The source argued that the Iranian government was trying to bury the apostasy article in the 113-page penal code.

“I am not sure there is an adequate means of underscoring how serious this law is in terms of violation of international law and a violation of the fundamental freedom of religion or belief,” said Kit Bigelow of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States.
She urged people to write their representatives in their respective governments.

International pressure is crucial if the apostasy bill is to be countered, agreed a Christian source. He recalled how in 2005 Christian convert Hamid Pourmand was acquitted of apostasy as a direct result of international pressure.

“I don’t know who you are, but apparently the rest of the world does,” the presiding judge had told Pourmand, according to media sources. “You must be an important person, because many people from government have called me, saying to cancel your case.”

The news of parliament approving the bill comes on the heels of two Christians being officially charged with apostasy this summer. Mahmood Matin Azad, 52, and Arash Basirat, 44, have been in prison since May 15 and now await their court date.

Although their future and that of other non-Muslims looks grim, some believe this bill is the act of a government desperately trying to hang onto power.

“I have to say the Iranian regime is tightening severely its control over as many aspects of the lives of Iranian people as they possibly can,” said Grieboski. “And that, I think, is the sign of a weakening regime.”

The original penal code was passed into law in 1991 and last amended in 1996.

Monday, September 22, 2008


It has been a pretty good day. Church this morning was wonderful, because it was a baptism service. We heard the beautiful stories of people who had been lost yet by the grace of God have seen that Christ is the only way. I get tears in my eyes every time I hear testimonies of lives that have been transformed, changed and are now so full of hope in Jesus.

Tonight at work, I came across this quote which hit me hard...I was and am still convicted.

"If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men."
--Oswald Chambers

Lately I have been so burnt out at work. I'm sure part of it is working nights here for over two years but another part of me has just been so fed up with the ungrateful kids. So as you can see, this quote met me right where I am. If the Lord has placed me here working with drug and alcohol addicted, completely broken teenage girls than I am ultimately working for him. Every encouraging word I speak, every moment of service, and any compassion my heart expresses will come out because my life is rooted in love for my Savior and Lord. These times of service are loving acts of worship to God as I attempt to live out the Gospel through word and deed. May these young women see something that will draw them closer to God and may they realize their need for Him. They are broken and desperate and there is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who can save them from their sins, give them dignity and self respect, and ultimately give their lives purpose and hope.

Father forgive me for letting my own selfish thoughts get in the way of serving those who are lost without you. May these children see you in my brokenness and may they come to the saving knowledge of your sacrifice on their behalf.

Friday, September 19, 2008

China's Stolen Children

You can view the entire documentary on youtube. It is heartbreaking to hear these stories...so what does this mean for us? My heart remains burdened.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A storm

Seascape Study with Rain Cloud- John Constable

This is a fairly new painting for me. I have a vague feeling that I've seen it before in an art class perhaps but it caught my eye tonight. I think it's stunning. Constable mainly painted landscapes which were never a favorite subject of mine. I think I enjoy art that is a little more gritty and not so picturesque...or maybe it was just his style of painting that originally turned me off to his work. The second picture is one of John's well known works and well...it's beautiful for sure but not my favorite style.

Anyway...tonight has been a rough night at work. Nothing in particular has happened and life right now is blessed beyond measure but I'm just plain worn out. Constable's painting just seems to speak directly to how I'm feeling at this exact moment. I feel burdened about many things. Earlier in the day I met with a good friend who is struggling through a storm in her spiritual life and though God remains faithful she is so overcome with emotion and buffeted so hard by the attacks of Satan that she has trouble seeing all that God is doing.

At work tonight I've also been reminded of how easy my life is. I live in a country where I can go to church on Sunday and meet with my small group every Wednesday night without fear of prison or death. There is a dire situation that calls for our prayers taking place in India. In Orrisa India (and in other parts as well) there has been an outbreak of widespread persecution of Christians by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) extremists. Believers are being attacked, and orphanages and chuches are being burned down with people trapped inside. It is horrific and reminds me that we must join with our brothers and sisters in prayer asking the Lord to give them strength and safety in the midst of such tragedy and that despite the terror taking place that the Gospel would still be proclaimed to free the captive. Pray especially for the salvation of those who are participating in these acts of violence. To read more of what is happening in India you can check out this blog: http://christianpersecutionindia.blogspot.com/

Well there is not much I can say that seems relevant or of much importance after speaking of all that is taking place in India. So please be in prayer for the turmoil that country is in . My heart is heavy...Lord be with them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...almost...

Is it bad that I'm already looking forward to Christmas? Yeah, yeah I know I'm ridiculous but there is just something about that time of year that makes it one of my favorite holidays ever! My poor husband thinks I'm a nut and he laughs at me when I admit to him that I'm looking forward to listening and singing to Christmas music, stringing popcorn and cranberries or baking Christmas cookies....I look forward to starting those types of family traditions with our kids (which hopefully won't be too far down the road). Part of the excitement has to do with the great memories I have about Christmas time from my childhood, which I will have to share at a later date...like when it is actually winter.

So okay I admit that I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of fall, the leaves changing, Thanksgiving time and eventually Christmas. So for now I guess my Christmas cds will have to stay tucked away for another couple of months but it wouldn't hurt to get started on Christmas lists for my family. (Now is the time to put in your wish lists members of the Locke and Groves clan.)

104 days till Christmas (I promise I won't count down every day...I'm not that crazy!! ;-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Too long

Wow, it has been way too long since I posted on here. I feel like the past couple of weeks have been a blur. Since my last post, Jon started his fall semester of classes and we brought home our cute puppy Paisley, who now weighs in at 31 pounds!! Jon's classes are going well but I've struggled to adapt to his hectic schedule which leaves us with little time together on our days off. Thankfully I have a puppy to look after which takes up quite a bit of my free time (I'll post pictures soon).

Paisley has been doing well. She is such a cute dog and I adore her...even when she is attempting to eat our couch. Thankfully due to the watchful eye of both me and my husband, Paisley has yet to chew anything up. *knock on wood* This coming Saturday we will be taking her to a puppy class at the Humane Society so that she can get some good socialization with other dogs. This will also help give us the tools we need to properly train her.

On a more serious note, I have felt burdened. Lately my heart has been restless, so much so that it interrupts my sleep during the day and clouds my mind when I'm working. I'm not really sure where this all came from. Part of this could be due to the fact that I'm tired of my job and I find no fulfillment in it. My heart feels kind of empty and I wonder what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel stupid even writing this down. It's odd because a few months ago I was going through these same feelings and I never really worked through them. So now, here they are again. What is God's call on my life?

I know part of my calling is as a helpmate to my husband, especially as he goes into ministry. However, I also know that the Lord has a calling on my life to use the gifts he has given me to glorify him and share the gospel...but what is that calling? Do I need to go back to school? Should I look for another job? The big problem here is that I'm not even sure what I'm called to do so I don't know where to turn.

Here are some of the things that are heavy on my heart:

- God has recently awakened my heart toward adoption and the plight of abandoned children. (I'm tired of dealing with spoiled teenagers who feel entitled to everything...ugh. I think I'm a little burnt out on work.)


- I've always had a heart for missions. I would love to visit India!!

- Evangelism has always been something I feel compelled to do.

- The lukewarm living in churches today makes me angry (I've found myself in that situation too often and I'm sick of it.) I want to see churches filled with praying people whose hearts are hungry for the word, worship, prayer, and evangelism. Maybe that is why I would love to go overseas...things would be very different in China or India...

I've thought about returning to school. If I went back I could study social work or anthropology (mainly because that fascinates me) but why would I get degrees in these areas? Geez, I don't know. I would love to work for a missions organization and help plan trips and maybe even travel some. It would also be amazing if God called us overseas. So many thoughts and questions. Maybe I'm just supposed to learn to be content where I'm at, but I sense that there is more to it than just that.

So yeah, there are my thoughts in a jumbled mess because I haven't yet sorted through it all. Jon reminded me yesterday that I need to be seeking the Lord about this and I know he is right. Jon can't tell me the answer and I can't find it in a book. I need to seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance. I just want to do something dramatic and live a life abandoned to God. I want to comfort the orphans, feed the hungry, and share the word of God to those who are lost...my life in Christ should be more marked by my actions. So here I am waiting on the Lord...I could use some prayer.