Fear and the sharp, pointy bits of nature

A month or two ago, I began to notice dogs wearing nets over their heads. I couldn’t imagine their purpose, but one day, I asked a couple walking by why their dog was wearing the net.

“Foxtails,” they replied, pointing to the plants nearby. They went on to explain the multiple expensive surgeries ($500 a pop) their dog had to endure after inhaling foxtails. They tried to reassure me. “Your dog will probably be fine because you keep her on a leash. Ours likes to wander through the grass, and that’s where he picks them up.”

I looked at the yellow plants choking out everything else and wondered how on earth I could possibly keep my dog away from them, short of a head net.


My usual path is lined with these plant beasties, and in some places, they completely span the trail.


Not to spoil the surprise, but these aren’t foxtails.

Uncharacteristic for me, I didn’t immediately search online for more information. I told my husband about the nets and the thorny plants—we had both wondered about the nets to each other—and he said, “Oh, I hate those plants. They have vicious thorns.”

They do, these yellow plants. Brush against them as you walk or run past, and you’ll come away with scratches. Ouch. But it turns out they aren’t yellow foxtails. Continue reading

Guest blog post: Dealing with pain

Many of you good aunts know that being a good aunt doesn’t always come without pain. Sometimes not having children can be accompanied by physical pain (miscarriages and endometriosis come to mind), and other times the pain can be emotional or mental anguish or spiritual disillusionment.

Today’s guest blogger Allison Cain talks about dealing with pain through prayer, as you revise the expectations you had for your life. Her message comes from her personal experience during the recession, when her family’s economic reality forced a dramatic downsize and, ultimately, a revision of her heart. You can read about her journey in her latest book Revision of a Heart. And be sure to check out her blog: The Whisper of God.

Allison Cain, photo provided by the author

Now, here’s Allison:


“I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me.” – Psalm 69:29 (NIV)

I was in the kitchen chopping potatoes when my newly sharpened knife slipped and sliced a nice gash in my thumb. It shocked me, and I instantly dropped the knife and grabbed my thumb, unable to even look at it as my husband came in and said, “Are you going to need stitches?” It just needed a little super glue. Thank goodness!

When you experience pain from an external injury, wounds are usually quick to heal. You can see the healing occur as a scab or bruise forms. You can also determine if you are healing correctly and, if there is an infection forming, quickly take action to continue healing.

However, with emotional injuries we can’t see the scars and infection. It is easier to leave these wounds unattended or simply ignore them because they aren’t on the surface. Leaving these internal wounds unattended can lead to catastrophic results. Continue reading