Oh, but I hope that many of you were gazing at the moon this past Sunday evening! It was a glorious, defined orb suspended by invisible wires against a backdrop of twilight blue nothingness. Even though I was shivering, I braved the bone-chilling cold to just stand still and admire its stark beauty. As often happens, random thoughts drifted through my mind as I stood there. I wondered what this same moon would look like were I standing in the middle of the southern Arizona desert instead of the middle of a dirt road in Oklahoma. And would it look the same were I standing on the edge of the Pacific Ocean looking over my shoulder?

And my next thought turned into a precious memory! That same moon was shining back then, back when I was part of a harvest crew cutting our last maize crop out of the field. The rest of the crew consisted of my dear stepfather, Paul, my cousins Steven and Bob Ed, and my brother-in-law, Rob. We made quite a crew I must say, and I thoroughly enjoyed being one of the “boys” during harvest. I can so easily see the rows of orange maize heads out ahead of me as I steered the old green John Deere combine through the field. I can still hear the rhythmic beat of the wooden paddles drawing in the stalks and I can hear the rumble of the combine as it did its job of threshing seed from chaff. I remember shivering back then too, covered from head to toe in maize dust and itching all over. We were always in a hurry to finish the harvest before the weather changed and while the crop was dry enough to cut, and so it was generally by the light of the moon - the harvest moon - that we would finally separate the last maize head from its stalk. Glad to be done, and yet wishing there was more to cut, I remember feeling wistful as I left the cab of the combine to join the guys. We all piled in the pickup, turned the heater on full blast, and had an icy cold beer to celebrate the end of the harvest. And now, staring at this moon and thinking of that moon, I find that I'm smiling through chattering teeth - and I'm suddenly itching all over!

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You may recall that about four months ago a dear, old soul of a dog came to live with me. Kiotee Joe seemed to be on his “last legs” then, and was in need of a tricky surgical procedure, which our very capable vet, Rusty, performed. But the problem couldn't be resolved, and about a month ago Rusty suggested I either take Kiotee to OSU for another surgery or think about putting him to sleep. With money being a big part of the equation, I knew Kiotee wouldn't be heading to OSU, and that left the other option - dog heaven. But somewhere between the vet clinic and my corner that day, and with Kiotee sitting next to me in the pickup, I realized there was a third option. Since I thoroughly believe in the power of prayer, blessings and thankfulness, I decided that even though Kiotee was four-pawed and not two-footed, I would put my beliefs to work on his behalf.. And even as he continued to sometimes struggle with bodily functions, each day his coat of blonde fur steadily grew thicker and shinier. And even though his legs were stiff with arthritis, he became playful, and his trusting brown eyes shone a little brighter. He also became my shadow, no matter where I went in the house. But then, this past week I noticed that Kiotee would sometimes whine quietly as he laid in the middle of the floor, as if he was in pain. So I let myself doubt what I was doing and my faith wavered, and last Saturday Robbie and I took Kiotee out to see Rusty for the final time. And yet I noticed that he was alert and calm and exhibited no signs of pain as we waited our turn. So in lieu of a shot, I had Rusty clip Kiotee's toenails instead, and I returned home with the dear, old soul of a dog. And the next day I realized why he was whining as he laid in the middle of floor. It wasn't because he was in pain, but because Shiloh was in his spot - beneath the computer table, with his head resting on my foot.

I share this story with you because I have to ask you - if God will bless a dog, how much more will He do for you and me if we truly believe in the power of prayer, blessings and thankfulness?