Thursday, October 31, 2013

Desk Dweller

Here's Carbon, "helping me" write.
What is it about books and writing that attracts the feline?  Every morning, one of my cats decides to lay on the paper?  In general, these are not helpful gestures.

Sometimes I worry that I am not very helpful either.  I know, it's hard to imagine when in every other way I'm completely fabulous and practically perfect (cough).  But I am aware that I'm not always "aware" of others' sensitivities.  I try, but sometimes I just plow right over a more sensitive soul.

Love covers a multitude of sins.  What does this mean?  Choosing love, believing the best of others, can help us look past our more abrasive brothers and sisters. 

Meanwhile, I'll continue to work on it.  I'll pray the Lord helps me with compassion and love.  Because I sure can't do it on my own!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plays Well With Others

Just recently, the dogs have been going to the local dog park.  It's a good half hour drive, which is long with panting, whining, excited dogs.  On the way home, though, it's much faster as they are tired.
At the dog park, all sizes, shapes and ages of dogs sniff, run, and play.  Every now and then, hackles are raised and owners step in to remind them to back off and be nice.

Community is hard.  Really hard.  There is so much disagreement in our culture sometimes it seems there are few topics one can safely discuss without ruffling each other's "fur."  We are tempted to avoid people rather than weather those difficulties, focusing instead on what we have in common, and choosing kindness over disagreement. 

With a tendency to be grumpy, I need God to step in and remind me to play nice with others.  It's not always easy to meet new people and get to know others.  However, it is worth the effort, even if it feels a bit bumpy along the way.  Being successful socializing leaves me happy.

Over and over again God calls us to "love one another."  As our Creator, He knows that we NEED other people, even when it's difficult, to be happy in life.

Today grab your dog and go out to meet others.  You and your dog will be glad you did.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Leader of the Pack

(cue music:  "Vroom...vroom!")

Boston Terriers.  They are small, but they don't that.  There is one I watched for a long week recently.  She has been here before, but usually just for a day or two and generally acts a bit afraid and cautious.

As time passed, she got more and more comfortable with the other dogs (who were there for the same length of time).  She went from being afraid of them, to mingling freely, to playing with them.  When a new dog came to the kennel, she decided to protect her new pack by attacking the newcomer.
From timid to in charge.  From twelve pounds to bossing around 150 pounds of dogs.

It's always good to see a dog adjust.  It's stunning to watch them take over.  That's when I need to step in.

However, if I'm honest, I'm the same way.  When I first meet others, I am rather shy, taking the dynamics of all the people in.  When I'm comfortable, I turn into a talker.  And if I'm not careful, I may try to take over. 

For those who come to faith in God later in life, they may be shy about approaching the Lord in prayer.  Certainly our Loving Father wants us to come and be comfortable in His presence.  The danger is getting so comfortable with God's love that we forget His holiness.  Sometimes we think we get to tell others who God will love and who He will not love.  We've overstepped our bounds, like a rabid Boston Terrier.  Often God will step in and remind us that we most certainly are not in charge of His pack.

Today take inventory of where you are with the Lord.  Run to His Loving arms.  But don't get so comfortable that you think God's arms are crossed, barring others.  I need to pray often to keep my heart soft, for compassion, not rules, to be greater in my heart.  Let's all try to live there.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Caring for the Aging Canine

I've said it before.  I love old dogs.  Puppies are cute, but I prefer the charm of the dignified older dog.
Bugs, above, was here this weekend.  I've watched him since he was first adopted.  He came from a neglected background, and he didn't always know how to behave when he was first here.  However, he matured into a really great dog.  Now, he's thirteen and has significant health problems.

People want to hold onto their dogs for as long as they can.  Perhaps tending their particular issues is bothersome, but still we persist.

As we age and mature ourselves, we remember that God tends us with love and care, easily negotiating the tough times we have and all of our ailments.  All the tough things we weather are perfectly simple to the Great God. 

Let's celebrate age, wisdom, and God's perfect love.

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Uneasy Diagnosis

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month (in case you wonder what all the pink is about), many women (and men) share their stories of being diagnosed with cancer.  Having two friends get diagnosed within the same week eight years ago, I remember it only from a secondary fright and concern.  Fortunately, both are not just alive but thriving, even after both had a second bout with this terrible illness.

Our lives are not in our own hands, and our failure to control what we wish to control is a constant frustration.  When our very bodies betray us, we are brought to our knees.  And while God is not a child abuser, He desires us to seek him out (and if you're on your knees, that's  great place to start) in sickness and in health.

Last Friday I had great plans to blog about a funny story of something that happened in the kennel years ago.  Then, Tilly decided to have a seizure that lasted several minutes.  I managed to get her outside, where she had a second one.  I called the vet's office and they to bring her in.  I carefully scooped her up and made the three minute trip.
She jumped out of the car, just fine, tail wagging.  Since we were there, they decided to check her out.  Then, she had a third seizure, which prompted a shot of valium to make it stop.  Now, with a diagnosis of epilepsy, Tilly is on twice a day medication.

Now I won't compare a person with breast cancer with a dog with epilepsy in terms of equal gravity.  However, both instances remind us that life can turn on a dime from every day expectation to a complete change.  In every case - in every mountain and valley - God is there.  We need to run to Him.  There, God provides comfort, guidance, and sometimes simply presence, with no explanation.  And God's presence is an essential thing, no matter what.

Monday, October 7, 2013

When No One Is Watching

Over the years, people have told me sad stories about how their dogs were treated at other kennels.  While I in no way endorse what may have been done, I do understand that dogs can truly test a person's patience.  And dogs can't report abuse or neglect, sadly.

Good Shepherd Boarding Kennel has one very large window.  From the day we opened, I've functioned with the idea that anyone at any time could be looking in and watching how I care for these loved pets.  I'm certainly not perfect and if someone had been watching the day I had to leap and body tackle a large, gleefully romping free spirit, they would likely have laughed rather than been horrified.

Last night I had a reminder of always watching my tongue and my behavior.  Somehow I missed a client pulling into the parking area while I was in the kennel.  I walked back to the house and Tilly was, as she often does, lollygagging.  I called for her and she finally came.

After getting comfy on the couch to watch tv, a figure appeared at the door.  Yes, it was my client to get his dog. OOOPS!

But it was a good reminder.  Someone may be watching me, or hearing me shrieking at my own dog.  However, God always hears and sees me, and more than that, He knows my heart.  That is reminder enough to ask for His strength to love and nurture those in my care.

What about you?  What tries your patience more than others?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Battling Bitterness

Sometimes when you have a disruption in your day/week/life, a very simple thing can remind you that life is bigger than your problem.
It's Fun Friday!