An Object Lesson from a Goose

When Mother Goose returned the clueless fish to the fish tank, half of them were instantly killed by the toxic effects of chlorine in their water. “Chlorine shock” was the term used by my bloggish friend Debra at BreatheLighter. It was an accident, of course, but stuff happens in aquarium life. As soon as Mother Goose remembered and quickly added the water conditioner, the remaining fish were saved from an untimely demise.

We all realize that under the right circumstances, chlorine is our friend. It’s the chemical that blasts all of the germs out of our drinking water, and makes our swimming pools a safer place to play. Few chemicals are as efficient at disinfecting our lives as chlorine.

However, chlorine has also been used as a weapon of warfare. During WWI, Germany first used chlorine as a chemical weapon. Canisters of chlorine gas were simply opened on the battlefield and the gas was dispersed by wind currents into the camps of the allied forces.

Poison gas used as a weapon in WWI.

It was a hideous weapon, and even today we do not lack for hideous weapons.

But getting back to my fish story, the fish who were exposed to the chlorine in their home could do nothing to protect themselves. In fact, they didn’t even know what was happening to them. The effects of the chlorine in their water were swift and deadly. They could not possibly fight back. They had no resources of their own to fight against chlorine — there was no way on earth these fish could neutralize their own water and make it habitable and safe. Helpless. At the mercy of the poison. It was a foregone conclusion that they would die. Hopeless.

Only the rapid application of the water conditioner saved the remaining fish.

Let’s look for a little life application now, shall we? (Note: if you are at all squeamish about discussing topics of a spiritual nature, this might be a good time for you to go and check your email or your facebook updates…:-) )

In our lives, in our world, we must deal with toxicity at many levels. There are pollutants and irritants in the air we breathe. We are bombarded with harmful solar radiation everyday. Depending on where you live on this Earth, you may have to fix your tainted water before it is drinkable. The food we consume can be full of pesticides and herbicides — harmful if not toxic to our bodies, to be sure.

Besides the poisons in our natural environment, we also must deal with the toxic effects of the media in our lives. The bad news and bad vibes spewed forth day and night from news sources and broadcast entertainment works as nerve gas (chlorine) on our minds — telling us that we are meaningless individuals with no purpose other than to consume and be consumed. The messages we receive from the voices around us can leak into our very souls, rendering us hopeless and helpless and pretty darn depressed.

And then there are the negatives within us. The feelings of guilt and shame that eat away at the joy in our lives, the burdens we carry as a result of our own personal sins and the toxic talk we feed ourselves everyday.

Our own individual fish tanks, our worlds, are pretty much filled with different forms of chlorine, and often we don’t even know what is hitting us, but we feel like we are sinking deeper and deeper. Unable to help ourselves.

But we try, don’t we?

There’s the old “denial” treatment. Just pretend that nothing is wrong and it will all go away.

Or just cover it all up with whatever makes us numb and happy.

Or find a religion that works for us. Talk to the “universe” or make a vow to Buddha or work really hard in our lives to be better persons and rise to the next level of play — like a video game, beat the bad guys, the monsters and bosses and level up. But there’s no winning level, is there? Just more of the same…

Even Jewel asked “Who will save your soul?”

Even Paul asked, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

There’s only one person who loves you enough to save you and rescue you from sin and poison and death. Only one God who has the power and the love to accomplish what we could never do on our own. Talk to Jesus about this today. He’s the simple solution, the “water conditioner” who can neutralize the poison in your heart and your life.

Trust me — Mother Goose speaks from experience here. His love has saved me. He loves you too.

Fish Tank Fail

The most faithful followers of Mother Goose will recall the problems of last week — especially the case where she inadvertently put the doggy eye drops into the eyes of the youngest daughter causing her pupils to dilate to enormous proportion and remain in that condition for six days…

Today Mother Goose attempted to clean the family fish tank. Sadly, there were casualties…

Over the course of months, the fish tank of the Goose family acquires its share of algae and green slime. Then it’s time for Mother Goose to roll up her sleeves and do some serious housekeeping on behalf of the fish pets. These pictures could speak for themselves, but I will add some humorous comments just to keep you amused….until the very end.

The fish appear happy, but Mother Goose is concerned about the content on the bottom of the fish tank.

I transferred the fishes to this pitcher for safe-keeping. They look OK.

I bailed gallons and gallons of water out of the fishless tank.

The family bathtub is a great place for washing slimy fish tanks… and I tossed out the icky rocks.

Think anyone would notice if I forgot to clean the bathtub after cleaning the fish tank?

I discarded the disgusting and dirty old filter…

Replacing the water filter is very important — I handily installed a fresh one.

The tank is so clean, you could probably eat off of it.

It takes a lot of pots and pans to refill the fish tank.

All clean and shiny! Simply add fishies.

And suddenly four fishies were lying on the bottom of the fish tank! Oh no, Mother Goose! Did you add the water conditioner to the water to neutralize the chlorine in the tap water before you added the fish? Oh no….

Fish tank FAIL. Yes, I was so happy and excited and honking and flapping about the clean fish tank, and busily recording the event on my camera for my dear and gentle readers that I forgot to un-poison their water. I poured them into the fish tank, they took a great big gulp of their new fully-chlorinated pool, and several of the fishes immediately keeled over and sunk like rocks to the bottom of their deadly home.

And now, it’s off to the pet store where I will choose some new fish, some hearty fish, some fresh fish and some alive fish.

Until next time, this is Mother Goose signing off — with head hung low, and dragging her rubbery feet in frustration…

Hell Week for the Goose

“I do not believe in God, because I do not believe in Mother Goose.” Clarence Darrow

Perhaps Clarence was confused about the reality of Mother Goose. He was definitely confused about God. But even Mother Goose who has abundant faith, hope and love is at a loss for an explanation when it comes to the events of this past week. Let’s reflect together for just a few minutes about the Hell Week of a Goose.

On Monday, the youngest of the goslings mentioned that she felt something was in her eye. Mother Goose looked and saw nothing.

On Tuesday, the child’s eyelid was puffed up like a cumulus cloud. Mother Goose ran to her medicine cabinet and pulled out two ophthalmic products — a small bottle of eye drops and a tube of neomycin ointment (an antibiotic). She dutifully applied both products to the right eye of the child. Within an hour, the pupil in the child’s right eye was completely dilated. The puffiness had not diminished.

Not my daughter’s eye, but definitely a dilated pupil.

Well, how strange, thought Mother Goose. “Let’s just go to sleep now, and I’m sure you’ll be fine tomorrow morning for the first day of school.”

And, of course, in the morning, the eye was puffier than ever and the pupil was still dilated. The brave child went off to school anyway, leaving Mother Goose at home to Google this problem, and to make an appointment with the doctor. The antibiotic cream was fine, according to Google. Mother Goose now googled the name of the prescription eyedrops, Atropine. “A very strong medicine for dilating the pupil, used primarily for glaucoma patients, people with bleeding eyes and dogs with eye infections…”

Yes, our dog had used these drops in her eyes just a few months ago for her eye infection.

Oh, Mother Goose…

Four days later, my daughter’s pupil is nearly back to its normal size and activity.

Oh, Mother Goose…

Also this week, the husband of Mother Goose was the subject of a dental procedure — the extraction of his abscessed molar.

The molar of husband Goose didn’t look this good…

On the same day, one of the goosemobiles suffered a meltdown, requiring a $500 repair at the Pep Boys.

They do everything for less…

Another of the goslings accidentally smashed his arm into a door, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room at our local hospital. The poor fellow cracked it so terribly hard that he couldn’t straighten it out. The good folks at West Suburban Medical Center took a few xrays and determined that the arm was neither broken nor dislocated, only horribly bruised.

We’ve been here several times over the years…

Whew… it’s been just awful for Mother Goose who was crying and honking all at the same time.

Did I mention that I also sliced a huge chunk out of my index finger as I washed the perpetual dishes one morning?

Do you ever have days like these? Do you ever just want to throw your wings up in the air and give up? Do you shake your fist at the heavens and swear revenge on the universe? Have you ever just wanted to go back to bed and start the week all over again?

Mother Goose shed her fair share of tears this week in the course of these light and momentary struggles and trials. There was even a bit of shouting in our normally peaceful nest. Yes, shouting. Can you even imagine?

But whether we believe in Mother Goose or in God, either or both, here’s the eventual outcome:

Each of us survived our personal battles this week. Each of us has made it to Friday night, pretty much intact. We are weary of the Hell Week and hope that tomorrow and the next day will be better, but deep within each of us is the truth that no matter what problems we face, what fears we have, no matter if the incorrect eye drops have been placed in our eyes, it’s gonna be OK.

When we get to the other side of Hell Week, we are full of hope that we can probably get through anything. There is much grace in Hell Week. It’s gonna be OK.

It’s one of the favorite sayings of Mother Goose — she knows it’s true because she lives it out every day.

It’s gonna be OK. Really!

“The facilities are usable.”

The sweet words of Master Plumber Len were like music in the ears of Mother Goose this morning. There can be stress when a home has no outgoing drainage. There can be MUCH stress when the plumbing utterly and miserably fails. There can be harsh words spoken when flushing of the toilets does not achieve the desired effect of evacuating the waste product from the home of a goose. There can be tears. There can be a sense of hopelessness that the world is indeed caving in just like the one-hundred year old sewer pipe which is buried under the concrete basement floor.

Mother Goose and four of her children did themselves evacuate the premises, preferring the comforts of a local Best Western rather than go wandering through the backyard in search of a suitable spot under a tree to relieve themselves during the night and wee hours of the morning.

The majority of the plumbing in our home is quite old. The original deed on our house is dated 1895. That is not a typographical error — 1895 is truly the legal birthday of this house. I suspect the house was built before then, but they just made it official in 1895. Let’s shine the light of historical perspective on this date, just for fun…

Grover Cleveland was the president of the United States. Remember Grover?

Loving the tie, Mr. President.

America’s first official automobile race was held in Chicago. “The race started in the early morning in snowy conditions. A little over 10 hours later, Frank Duryea was the first to cross the finish line having survived a journey punctured by numerous breakdowns and repairs. He had averaged 7.3 miles per hour and took home a prize of $2,000 ($49,500 in today’s money).” (courtesy of EyeWitnesstoHistory.com)

Charles Duryea, 1895 speed monster

The first movie projector was demonstrated in the United States. It was named the “Panopticon” by its inventors, Woodville Latham and his sons Otway and Gray.

The American Bowling Congress was organized in Beethoven Hall, N.Y., to restore respectability to the sport and popularize it.

And, American men got a new pin-up queen, the Gibson Girl, drawn by Charles Dana Gibson for major magazines.

Those drainage pipes under the basement of Mother Goose have seen a lot in their day — so much that they did indeed collapse under the strain of their endeavors. The hard-working plumbers of Nuzzo Sewer and Plumbing are to be commended for their own endeavors yesterday and today. Thank you so much, dear plumbing guys.

Unearthing the broken pipe…

Not wanting to get too close to this…

Old clay pipe now replaced by nice modern plastic pipe and fresh concrete poured to cover the scene of the problem… “The facilities are usable.”

Great News!

Mother Goose is honking and happy to report that only TWO people have had problems recently! Can we just get a round of “Wow”. Out of all the thousands of potential problem-bearers, only two of my readers actually had a problem! I’m overwhelmed with joy and gladness that most people are problem-free. Keep up the good work, my dear friends.

However, if you do have a problem and were too shy to share it with Mother Goose, that’s OK — I am a sensitive goose, and I completely understand. Just remember, I’m here for you day or night.

I read something so interesting this morning in my “Jesus Calling” devotional book. Listen to this with an open heart, pretend this is Jesus talking to you…

“Make friends with the problems in your life…the best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them…you can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than with dread.”

Now doesn’t that just give you a new way to deal with problems? I have to say, Mother Goose just about fell out of her chair when she read those words! It’s revolutionary to even consider this!

Let’s just pretend that you have a problem with your pet. Your pet continues to “mess” on the floor whenever you leave the house for work or school or to run an errand. You consistently return home to find the “mess” on the floor. This is a persistent problem! You’ve grown frustrated with the pet, and frustrated with the situation.

The pup is so embarrassed by this problem.

But now, you have a new approach…make the house training problem your friend! First of all, be thankful for your problem. “Thank you, Jesus, that my pet messes on the floor. I know that You can bring goodness out of this problem.” Now, if your are comfortable with your sincere thankfulness for your problem, go ahead and name your friend/problem. In this case, we’ll name the problem, “Stinky”. Now greet your new “friend” with a gracious comment such as, “Welcome to my home, Stinky. I hope that you’ll stay awhile so we can get to know one another better.” You’ll want to be very familiar with Stinky so that you have no dread when we go out or when you return home. You’ll want to be glad about Stinky.

Once you’ve thanked the Lord for your friend and named your friend, simply open your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from this difficulty. Cleaning up Stinky will keep your pride in check. A humble heart is a happy heart! You will possibly discover new cleaning products and maybe even meet new friends with similar friend/problems. Perhaps you’ll be able to bless others with the humor and thankfulness of befriending your problems.

Without being too irreverent, Mother Goose would like to add that “next steps” are just as important as “first steps” when it comes to problems. Introduce your friend/problem to Jesus, enabling Him to embrace it in His loving Presence. I would imagine an introduction like this: “Jesus, I’d like you to meet my dear friend, Stinky. Stinky, Jesus is here to help us, and I think maybe you’d like to go with Him to the park. It’s a really nice day outside — take your time coming home. I’ll be here — don’t worry. If you’d like to go away for a few days with Jesus, that’s fine with me too. Bye now! Have a nice time! And thank you, Jesus.”

He may not necessarily remove all of your problems, dear and gentle reader, but it never hurts to ask. And remember that He’ll always be there with you in the midst of them. And that’s a blessing. And Great News!

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 63,068 honks to date

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