God is able

A phrase that’s been on the front of my mind lately is one you’ll hear in sermons, in songs, or written on posters or in sympathy cards. It comes from Ephesians 3:20.

God is able.


If you’re like me, though, every once in a while you might ask yourself, “What is He able to do, exactly?” I think the Sunday School answer is everything. But that doesn’t necessarily help me when I’m stuck in traffic and frustrated, or when I make a mistake at work, or when I say something that’s not exactly encouraging to someone. Or for you, maybe you’re losing patience with your kids, or lost out on a big work project, or didn’t do so hot on a recent test. Or maybe you just accomplished something significant, or did get that big work project. There’s still a need for God even in those situations, right? It could almost be anything at all that points us to a need for something more.

What has made the phrase relevant in my life recently is acknowledging that I sometimes get caught in this cycle:

Feeling discouraged <turns into> thinking something will or won’t happen <turns into>  doubt <turns into> unhealthy behavior <turns into> guilt.

So I’ll admit, then, sometimes I wonder about it. “Is God able?” I’ll ask. Is He actually able to help me with what I’m doing today? Using the cycle above, is He able to keep me from diving into discouragement, etc?

Then recently it dawned on me: Yes, He is. Because His ability to “do” isn’t constrained by and doesn’t rely on my belief that He can. He can. He can. That’s it. He can. It’s like wondering if a beagle howls. Or a dolphin jumps. Or if grass is green. The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Whether I believe it or not, the grass is still green. A dolphin will still jump. A beagle will still howl.

And God is able.

So I’m thankful today that even in my wavering ups and downs where for one minute I’m singing How Great Thou Art and the next I’m quoting one of my favorite lines from Rescue Dawn – “God, why don’t You help us when we need You most?” – God is still there, and He is still able.

-Out of the Wilderness


An open letter to the Nashville family who recently lost their home

In my neighborhood a few days ago I came across a relatively new home that had the roof torn off, and everything inside was scattered about. Utterly destroyed, it was. I could tell a lot of effort went in to building this little home. I know what you’re thinking: it was a tornado, right? No, that’s wrong. It wasn’t a tornado. Nashville’s been having pretty great weather.

The victims weren’t anywhere in sight, although just a few minutes before I came across the destruction a female flew by me as if she were being chased by a monster. As it turns out, she was being chased by two monsters! I was right on two assumptions: 1. She was the homeowner as I’d suspected, and 2. Those monsters were my two sweet docile loving cuddly dogs!

OK, they were  not being cuddly at this particular moment. They were being savages, as wild as wolves, howling like sirens. They were in hot pursuit of the female… rabbit! Yes, a rabbit. Despite their best effort, though, they didn’t catch her and once they realized she was out of reach they snooped around and found her home. A rabbit hole. They began to sniff and dig. Dig and sniff. Rabbits make their homes by piling up sticks and leaves and their own fur, and usually do it in plain sight as a way to trick any wild animals that might prey on them.

I entered the story (besides the bunny fly-by) when I caught up to my dogs doing the sniffing and the digging. I saw a bunch of fur an thought, “Did they catch the rabbit??” Then as I got closer, I realized they didn’t, but that they’d found the rabbit’s home.

Fur, debris, and an empty hole. That’s all I saw. I’m going to assume (for my own peace of mind) that the baby bunnies, if any were tucked in there, scurried away safely before the monsters arrived.

Next time, I hope mama bunny doesn’t make her home in the middle of a dog park!


Why I’d suck at war

In the cold days of fall and winter, I typically keep my A/C low. Think 65° as a high indoors. It gets quite chilly. I have ways to combat the frigid temperatures; a space heater, blankets, dogs. They all work together to make it more bearable. Here’s one of my dogs with our space heater.
Piper and I love being warm by that little heater.

But then the time comes to take a shower. In the 30 seconds the water is warming up (before I set foot in it), I wonder what a soldier would do right now? I think of myself as weak because I’m waiting for the freezing cold water to warm up to hot tub temp. I ask myself,

If I were in the military and didn’t have a choice, like I’m in a war zone or something, where there wasn’t any hot water, could I wake up and take a cold shower?

I usually don’t come up with an answer before the water is steamy and I hop in for a relaxing shower. I’m so weak.

-Out of the Wilderness

Off the beaten path

I took the dogs out to a beautiful Nashville greenway and they loved it, of course. One of our favorite things is to venture off the course. Take a look at our adventure below. wpid-img_20150803_164851185.jpgI do wear a fanny pack full of dog treats and water. Hey, judge me if you want, or better yet… buy me one of these!
wpid-img_20150803_164826532.jpgWe ventured into a nearby creek.
wpid-img_20150803_165031200.jpg wpid-img_20150803_165220655.jpg wpid-img_20150803_165705711.jpg wpid-img_20150803_164757368.jpg
wpid-img_20150803_165252067.jpg wpid-img_20150803_170004473.jpg wpid-img_20150803_165702901.jpg wpid-img_20150803_165225325.jpg-Out of the Wilderness

Not being lost, discovering an abandoned golf course, and bonding with my dogs

Rain, rain, go away. This week in Nashville has been a tough one where the weather is concerned. Most city league sports were cancelled every day, standing water all over the place, and we haven’t seen the sun in 40 days! OK, it’s not the flood, but it’s been rainy and dreary for days. Today, though, the rain held off long enough for the dogs and me to go on an adventure to a greenway we haven’t been to yet.

Like a bridge over troubled water.

The hour-and-a-half walk started off superbly. It was very scenic, including a bridge, flowers, a little stream, and more. 13 4 27 30 3111Not all who wander are lost. That’s mostly true for us. We were wandering, we weren’t exactly lost, but I was starting to think we were Lost, if you know what I mean. There weren’t smoke monsters, polar bears, or Evangeline Lilly (darn it!), but I stumbled upon an abandoned golf course and country club. 12 13 14 15 16 19 20 22 It was quite eerie being out there in the great wide open. Grass unkempt and wild. Animal carcasses along the paths. Nothing neat or tidy like typical country clubs that take pride in their visual appeal. The further we walked, the more alone I felt. It was like a scene out of every horror movie, including a guy I kept seeing, who was clearly an axe murderer. See if you notice him in the pic below. 21 If he runs, we run.

That is to say, the second this guy starts running towards us, we take off. I kept whispering it to psych myself up. I know I’d be the slowest out of the 3, dang it! Again, I wish I had 4 legs. But no, I’m sure this person was was a nice fellow just out for a stroll, but then again, so was Jin. Except yeah, he was a contract killer.

Good… good… good… good di-rect-ions!

All in all, I think we missed a turn somewhere to stumble onto this deserted golf course, which made our adventure pretty exciting. Check out the gallery for more pictures. And Evangeline, if you’re reading this feel free to comment with your digits!

-Out of the Wilderness

Home Improvement: My experience installing a screen door

Now, I’m no handyman. I’m somewhere between Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor and a pool float. But since I was laid off, I’ve been tackling projects around the house, the most recent was installing a storm door on the back door entrance. Thanks to the wide selection at Lowe’s, I went with the 32-inch Larson Screen-Away.

It was all paws on deck with this installation.
IMAG1096I had the instructions, all the screws and parts, almost all the right tools (I had to make another trip to Lowe’s for a 3/7 inch drill bit and a 9/16 drill bit), and a few hours to get the door mounted. At one point early on, I thought to myself,

9274384737_bf85a14c98_o“That doesn’t look right.”

But I charged on determined to finish the task with speed and gusto! Now the door is mounted but there are still a few things left to do: installing the latch frame, the drip guard, the closer, and the handle/locking mechanism. I was knocking these things out like a champ. I thought to myself,

“Dang, I’m good.”

Then I let the door close as I was standing inside the house, as opposed to outside where I had been working up to this point. Sadness. Deflated excitement. Shoulders slump at the sight of huge gaps above the door, beside the door, and under the door. Deep airy sighs. What went wrong? “Dang, I’m good” turned into “Darn, I’m the worst.” Remember the thing that “doesn’t look right”? Well, it turns out that “thing” was the door frame, and it was upside down. Who knew it mattered so much?

So after 2 and a half hours of work, I had to essentially start over. The funny part is, once I righted the wrong, it took about 30 minutes to get back to where I was. Oh, how frustrating it sometimes is to be hard-headed.

The door’s been working now for about a week, and I love it (scroll down for pictures). Although, the process would’ve gone much smoother had Al been around.

-Out of the Wilderness

IMAG1098 IMAG1097