Life with Jesus

Tick Attack: Betcha Can’t Eat Just One

If anyone can locate the actual TicTac slogan, feel free to let me know. I couldn’t find it after seconds of searching on wikipedia, so it’s obviously not on the internet.

Gracie (my dog) and I had a rough morning on Thursday. My mornings are supposed to be full of waxing on about andragogy and my philosophy of education (more about this in another post) but on Thursday, none of that occurred. I worked out a little in the morning, threw the ball for the dog, and then decided to kill two birds with one stone so the dog and I took a shower. While I was cleaning her, I ran my fingers over a bump on her side. I thought it was a schnauzer bump (oh, didn’t know what that is? google it) but upon closer inspection, I realized it was a


Ew. I had gotten my first up close and personal encounter with a tick a few days earlier when Alex found an engorged one on the floor of our bedroom. We didn’t really know where it had come from but Alex had just gotten back from camping, so we assumed it was from him. We did look Gracie over, though.

After we got out of the shower, I dried her off. I grabbed her little face to apologize for being a negligent dog owner and then gasped when I saw another one hanging off of her eyeball. Okay, I exaggerated, it’s on her eye lid but still, pretty gross.

Of course, I ran to the internet and looked up the easiest way to get rid of them, which was suffocating them with fingernail polish remover. I can do that! So, I sat on the bathroom floor and tried to kill the little booger with a paper towel soaked in nail polish remover. Didn’t work. What’s my normal course of action after the easy thing doesn’t work? Call Alex at work and tell him to do it.

Call #1: He told me to put on my big girl panties and take care of things (I believe, in my mom’s terms, he was telling me to be a prairie woman). I needed to get  get a match and try to burn them off. I said, “IT’S LATCHED ON TO HER RETINA. YOU REALLY WANT ME TO LIGHT A MATCH NEAR HER EYE WITH ONE HAND WHILE I RESTRAIN HER WITH THE OTHER?”  He said, “Yes”. So, I laid down a towel on our bedroom floor, directed Gracie to take a rest there, and grabbed the matches. Step one, though, is cleaning off the area that I doused in fingernail polish remover after the paper towel thing didn’t work. While I’m sure a flaming inferno of f.p.r. death is fitting for a tick, I don’t think Gracie would appreciate it that much. In our mini operating room, the patient did great, even though I’m sure the sound of lighting matches terrifies her, just like the sound of an empty gift-wrap tube hitting floor also terrifies her. I started with the one on the side. I lit the first match, let it burn for a second, and then blew it out. When I placed it on the body of the tick, the tick shrieked, screamed “Why are you doing this?”, had a death scene worthy of an Oscar, and then self-destructed. Not really. In fact all it did was make an indent in the tick, like I poked it in the stomach and the dent just stayed there. I tried it two more times with the same results. The little thing still didn’t come off. So…

Call #2: (transcripted)

Beth: Matches didn’t work. Matches DIDN’T WORK!

Alex: Okay, you have to get the tweezers and pull them off. Grip it close to the head. Be gentle… (Other stern instructions about being gentle while ripping a parasite off my dog’s eye).

Beth: I really don’t want to do this. Can’t you just do it when you get home?

Alex: No. They need to come off.

Beth: Can I bring her up to work and you can do it?

Alex: No. I’m working. You’ll just have to do it.

Beth: Ugh. I can’t. I don’t know where the tweezers are. I think we lost them all.

Alex: Yes, you do.

Beth: (internally dying a little inside) Okay.

So, I find the tweezers, Gracie and I reconvene at our operating table and I push her hair out of the way. I try to grab the stupid thing near the head with the tweezers and I start pulling and twisting. Almost immediately, I start to whimper, which I’m sure brings much confidence to the patient. I know it’s pathetic, but sometimes  you just can’t help being pathetic. When it won’t come out, I get more despondent and start feeling nauseous. The whole ordeal lasts about 2.3 seconds.

Call #3: (transcripted)

Beth: I can’t do this. I’m crying. I’m going to pass out. I can’t do it.

Alex: Take her to the vet.

Beth: Yes. Okay. Good idea. We’ll go to the vet.

Gracie and I hop in the car and drive over to the budget vet in Farmers Branch. When the secretary asks me what we need, I tell her that my dog has ticks and the vet needs to remove them. She clicks her teeth and says, “Oh, we don’t do that. Your best bet is a groomer but you can try to just apply the flea/tick stuff and it should work in about 12 hours.” After she reassured me that it was okay to leave the ticks on the dog while they died slowly and painfully, I called Alex again to tell him that Gracie was going to be okay.

I put the stufff on her immediately when we got home and then did some research and the “flea and tick” stuff that we’ve been using only works on fleas. So, Alex picked up some actual stuff at the store on his way home from work and today the ticks are dead. Still there, but dead.

Since I don’t have real ticks (just phantom ticks- you know, like phantom lice when your entire body feels itchy even though all you did was walk past a kid at the mall with lice), I can’t speak to how painful tick removal is. It seems pretty painful, considering they’ve burrowed in there and latched on for dear life.  Keeping the ticks away requires alot of upkeep on our part. We have to put the flea/tick stuff on her, check her when she comes in from galavanting in the wilderness, and then take immediate action when we find one.

So it is with sin. Paul directs Christians to put on the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:

 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

This idea kind of goes along with what I wrote about footholds (or giant wads of fungus in your sink). If you aren’t girding your spiritual loins daily, sin, just like ticks, will take root in your life. Sometimes it happens so subtley that you might not realize it’s there until it has buried itself deep into your habits and mindset.

Lately, God has been alerting me to the fact that I like to gossip…alot. This has always been something that I have struggled with and if I don’t put on my breastplate of righteousness, then Satan pierces my heart with his arrows of peer pressure and desire for human attention and I gossip. Since God has brought it to my attention again (and I decided to listen to him this time), I’ve realized just how difficult it will be to remove this spiritual tick from my life. It’s got its little head buried in my daily life and people have seen it and know it’s there, so they want to continue to gossip with me, even though I’m fighting it. 

Removing sin from our lives can be painful and embarassing and uncomfortable because we’ve let it sneak in and set up shop but it’s vitally important that we keep an eye out for it before it becomes embedded in our lives.  The good news is that Jesus has offered us freedom from our sins, with His help. Getting your daily dose of Jesus will keep those spiritual ticks away.

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