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What can I learn about God from a talking gorilla?

 

Sema, an eight-year-old, 250-pound gorilla, communicates through sign language. Glee Granger trained Sema since birth. Now, the zoo wants her back.

 

ImageIn her novel Unspoken, Angela Hunt relates Glee’s battle to remain Sema’s caregiver, researcher, trainer, and family. The gorilla-human relationship depends upon the bond between the two, but the zoo’s demand threatens to destroy the connection.

 

No one else knows the signs Glee has specifically created for Sema. No one else knows Sema’s heart and personality. No one else will listen when Sema talks. And talk Sema does. She communicates love, concern, fear, needs, and happiness. 

 

What will happen when her lines of communication are broken? If they are broken? Hunt covers all this and more in a novel that made me fall in love with Sema and her honest communication. I wanted to talk with her, learn from her.

 

Have you ever wondered what animals think? What they’d say if they could talk?

 

Sema’s desire to talk is similar to God’s desire to talk with me, to hear me. He knows the signs for me, my personal code. He talks, but do I listen? To do so, I must make myself available, slow down, and pay attention. Not easy to do when the world’s fighting to steal me away, but the benefits are worth the effort. When I do, God shares his love and care for me. I only have to listen.

Do you struggle to listen? What benefits have you received from doing so?

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Party till you drop

photo-22We’ve finished the major holiday season and plunged into the new year. My visit with my family went well. Not as expected, but well. On Christmas day, we all gathered at my mom’s house and enjoyed a great meal and gave gifts to each other.  Nothing unusual about any of that. It began snowing and sleeting in the afternoon, so we all headed to our homes and hotel rooms. Just it time it turned out.

The next morning, we awoke to ten inches of snow and ice. All of us were stranded, with and without power at varying times, across the Arkansas capital area. My sister Sherri created our indoor exercise program—we climbed all nine floors of our hotel, walking the halls on every floor on the way up and down. She, David, and I talked all the way. What a great time from a situation we couldn’t do anything about.

Over the next couple days, we dug ourselves out, and the whole family shopped, ate, and visited the Clinton Presidential Library (http://www.clintonlibrary.gov). The snow and power outages took away any pressure to do anything other than enjoy the opportunities we had. Before leaving town, we met at IHOP and feasted on pancakes and other breakfast goodies.

David and I drove home on a new route so we could visit with one of my critique partners and her husband. It was delightful to finally meet Lora and Bill, and we chatted for hours.

The second day of our drive, we played tourist. We checked out the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, Kansas (http://www.greatwolf.com), the Great Overland Station in Topeka (http://www.greatoverlandstation.com), and ended the day with the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas (http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov). I highly recommend stopping for any of these if you get the chance. All our sightseeing took up the bulk of the day, and we stayed another night on the road.

The next day, we woke to more snow and drove slowly through limited visibility in Kansas then reached clear weather in Colorado. We finally made it home in the late afternoon.

Our Westie, Daisy, stayed with our friend Cathy and her dogs, Emma and Katie. The three girls played like crazy the entire time we were gone. Daisy slept for two days after we picked her up. This picture of her sums up what happens when you have a good time over the holidays hanging out with family and friends.

I hope your holidays were just as fun. What did you do and how are you recovering?

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Home for the holidays

Exactly where is that? Every day I’m at home with my husband and dog, visiting with friends nearby, or hanging out in my favorite places. During the holidays, other homes beckon. Birth family home being one of them. This year, that’s where I’m headed. We’re converging on Mom’s house in Arkansas where we’ll pig out on good Southern food to the point we have to loosen our jeans, laugh until our stomach hurts for another reason, catch up face to face, and maybe have a snit or two. That’s what family’s all about: being comfortable and safe with those who love you and knowing they’ll forgive you even when you get testy. Did anyone say pie?

The three girls

The three girls

Where’s your home for the holidays?

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