You know it’s been a long time since you’ve exercised— when you have to chase down the beagle after the Noah boy releases her into the wild…and you return, sounding like hippo dying of asthma.

While sipping coffee- this morning- I heard the “woo whooo” sound that suffices for Noah’s “whistle” for Sami.

Noah whistling for Sami is a bad thing.

It means he let her out the door. (well, it means he opened the patio door- and she bolted)

We have no fences in our neighborhood. We have loads of critters (skunks, possum, raccoons, birds and a fox, the deer have moved on) in our neighborhood. Sami is a beagle. Beagles hunt. Beagles bodies get outside-then, their noses engage the ground. It is a serious relationship between beagles and noses…it propels their cute little possessed bodies forward, as if their brain has been by-passed- with only the nose, left to controls their movements, and that it does.

Sami is desf to our calls when hunting, she is a hunting machine. I grabbed the leash (dragging a squirming beagle thro a swamp by the collar is not a favorite past-time) couldn’t find shoes and then threatened the child that if he moved from his spot on the couch he would NEVER see “Sprout TV” again.

Then, I took off, after the possessed beast.

I ran through the swamp- (really a water retention pond in the common area behind our house) weeds above my knees- mosquitoes, buzzing and trying to follow the zigzagging white tipped beagle tale- as it searched for prey.

I lost my “visual” soon enough. At which point I remembered that before exercising— (this was) I need to take my inhaler. I had the leash-but no inhaler.

“Wheeeeeeeeeze, cough, hack. cough, hack, huff, puff.”

So our morning began.

I could see it as if in slow motion: “NO Sami!” I wheezed, but It was too late- she had already caught and killed her prey.  A bird.

I thought that would be my chance to catch her. I dove, as she barked in a circle around the poor flopping bird…. I THINK I DOVE to get her….(well- I may have fallen while trying to reach for her.. but let’s say “DOVE” sounds much more dramatic.)

The grass was wet.  I slid. I didn’t get her.

I did, however,  avoid the bird. (sigh of relief.)

I didn’t break anything.

I did however,  become momentarily possessed- (I must have, because the evil hoarse wheezy  sounding “SAMI” that escaped my throat was not my voice. I finally stopped her.)

I grabbed her by the collar. wrapped the lead around my wrist. Summoned up what was left of my wheezy dignity,and walked her home. On a VERY short leash.

Panic set in as I suddenly became afraid that Noah  (only 4 at the time)  had started his own search- and I’d have to find him next.  He hadn’t. I found him  crying by the back door.

Things I learned this morning:

1) They make child proof locks for sliding doors..

2) I need to keep tennis shoes by the back door. (Barefoot swamp raciing isn’t going to make my top 10 list of favorite activities.)

3) I need to exercise. (So I can better chase dogs and kids)

4) I need to get my inhaler prescription refilled

5) I do like this stupid dog. ( I went running thru the neighborhood sans makeup- in a tank top and sweats to get the stupid thing… THAT shows love- trust me;) I would chase her again, if she got out later today.

I also think it’s a very good thing that God doesn’t have asthma- because I have been SOOOO like Sami. Nose to the ground- sniffing to find “what I want”– oblivious to my surroundings- running too close to a dangerous road.

Fortunately- for me- God is a much better runner. He is patient and loving- and never WHEEZES. Sometimes he patiently waits for me to tire- and return. Sometimes-without giving chase- He “Arrives” and makes himself known in the middle of my chase.

I stop. I walk home with Him. Instead of a “butt whooping” I get a gentle reminder of His love for me…..He rejoices when He finds us- regardless of where we’re running- or what we’ve done…

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Matthew 18: 10-14
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Dear Lord- I love you- thank you for chasing me- although- I feel more like a dumb dog- than a dumb sheep- but I suppose it’s the same….Thank you for loving me enough, to die on a cross- for my sin. Thank you for your patience love and mercy in my life- thank you for helping me catch that stupid dog today- We do care about her, even if she’s bad!
I love you Lord- and ask you to help me be patient with others, to help me run only TO you – and never FROM you.

Best of all- Thank you for catching me Lord- and walking home with ME! Amen!