February 17:  The squirrels were talking about what it means to be happy, truly happy.  So I shared this Sheltie tale:
Said a Shelite puppy to his older Sheltie uncle dog, “From my short experience in life I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness and that happiness is in my tail.  That is why I’m chasing my tail, and when I catch it, I shall have perfect happiness.”  The older Sheltie dog replied, “From my research and long experience, I too, have judged that happiness is a fine thing for a dog and that happiness is in his tail.  But I’ve noticed that whenever I chase it, it keeps running away from me, but when I go about my business, it comes after me.” 

What does happiness look like? Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew and in the Sermon on the Plain in Luke what real happiness is and where we can find it….  by listening and being a true disciple of Christ.

February 10:  St. Valentine Day is this Saturday. Gotta a riddle for all of you: “What kind of flowers do squirrels send their sweethearts? The answer is “Forget-Me-NUTS.” Oh. those silly squirrels!!  So who was St. Valentine anyways? My Sheltie knowledge (and my Dad’s computer) found the following:

On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Under the rule of Claudius, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families. To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270. Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine." For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death. Now you know! Go and spread the love!!

February 3:  Sunday Feb. 3rd is the Feast of St. Blaise, the Saint well-known for the blessing of throats!  Using my Sheltie knowledge, let me tell you about this cool Saint!
We actually know more about the devotion to Saint Blaise by Christians around the world than we know about the Saint himself.  
We know that Bishop Blaise was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316. The legendary Acts of St. Blaise were written 400 years later. According to them, Blaise was a good bishop, working hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people. Although the Edict of Toleration (311), granting freedom of worship in the Roman Empire, was already five years old, persecution still raged in Armenia. Blaise was apparently forced to flee to the back country. There he lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer, but he made friends with the wild animals. One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for the amphitheater stumbled upon Blaise’s cave. They were first surprised and then frightened. The bishop was kneeling in prayer surrounded by patiently waiting wolves, lions and bears.

The legend has it that as the hunters hauled Blaise off to prison, a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat.  At Blaise’s command, the child was able to cough up the bone.  Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia, tried to persuade Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols. The first time Blaise refused, he was beaten. The next time he was suspended from a tree and his flesh torn with iron combs or rakes. Finally, he was beheaded.

January 27:  So, if I were to ask you to write down the 10 commandments, would you be able to do so??  These basic principles that come to us from God—it’s amazing how many people do not have them committed to memory.  For those who need a refresher in these basic truths of our lives, they are:
--I am the Lord your God. You shall not have  false gods before me. 
--Thou shall not take the  name of the Lord  thy God in vain.
--Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day!
--Honor thy father and mother.
--Thou shall not kill.
--Thou shall not commit adultery.
--Thou shall not steal.
 --Thou shall not bear false witness against   thy neighbor.
--Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
--Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s   goods.
It’s important to remember God didn’t say these were 10 suggestions!!  It’s important to know and live these tenets of our faith.  There would certainly be a lot more order in our world if God’s Word was heard and obeyed, you think?  Perhaps it could all start at home! 

 For more of Maggie's musings, see our online bulletin archives.  Maggie's column appears on page 3