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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Knowing Your Boundaries

This past Saturday, Tilly and I represented the kennel at Pet Appreciation Week at our local Tractor Supply.  I know what you're thinking - what a glamorous life I lead.  Yes, it's true.
Even more amazing, Tilly was extremely well behaved at this event, where there was a lot of commotion with all the other vendors, and her very favorite - people!  Lots and lots of people!

A couple of different booths were promoting their specialty dog foods.  When the unassuming public approached, they were bombarded with questions about what kind of dog food they fed their dogs.  If it wasn't the vendor's food, they told the dog owner why they should feed them their product.

Now, having a kennel means I know from very personal experience the DIRECT effect of dog food on how much a dog sheds and....well, how much waste the food produces.  So of course I have opinions on dog foods.  However, it is rare that I tell a dog owner what they should feed their dog.  Every now and then I have, with mixed reactions - blank stares, open hostility, and rarely, a bit of appreciation of my vast knowledge of such things.

Part of respect for others is letting them make decisions with their lives, whether it is what they feed their dog or where they go, and what they do with their time.  I assume, as another human being, they possess a certain amount of intelligence (I know, this is a dicey assumption at times), have the same access to the same types of information I do, and can make an informed decision.  So while I may have an opinion on another person's decision, telling a person what they SHOULD do from a position of superiority is terribly insulting.

We let friends into our lives and expect feedback from them and generally their opinions are welcome. But unless that is the kind of give and take relationship we have with others, TELLING people or QUESTIONING (yes, I am enjoying the all caps in a yelling kind of way) what they do can be very disrespectful in the least and border-ling bullying at the most.

In other words, be careful out there, Everyone.  Respect others, even if you disagree with them.  Unless we are talking about dangerous situations, a polite conversation can quickly turn ugly quickly when we step over our boundaries with others.

I know.  I have seen it happen.  I've had it happen to me. I've probably done it to others.  You probably have had it happen to you.  Maybe you've done it to others.  So let's all just step back and give each other some space, shall we?

Seeing the facial expressions of the customers at TSC being subject to twenty questions about their dog food didn't make for a warm and fuzzy interaction.  It was a good reminder that my interactions need to include respect for the other person first.

When we trust the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions, it can be life changing.  Only God knows what is truly best for us.  He will not mislead us nor will he badger us.  And best of all, He isn't selling us something.

That's pretty good.  Remember to keep that trust alive.

Friday, September 19, 2014

What are You Pursuing?

How can it be three  weeks since the last blog post?  Is it because one week I was mowing the yard in a tank top and took a dip in the pond because it was so hot and the next I was mowing bundled up in a coat and had to make a fire to warm up?  Yes, that could be it - and the lingering cold symptoms.

This is Lucy and her very favorite toy at the kennel.  She is a rare dog in that she is allowed to run outside with Tilly.  She has since she was a very young dog living with a very old dog.  It was when Tilly was a very young dog and Foster was our very old dog.  Tilly and Lucy love to play with these balls.

Lucy loves to swim, so I threw the ball in the pond for her several times.  Now Lucy is not in the best of shape, so I knew she would wear out soon.  However, she is DRIVEN and does not stop obsessing with the ball ever.  So when the ball went under the raft in the pond and she couldn't reach it, and wouldn't stop trying, I feared for her life.  No matter how many times I called her, she wouldn't stop sticking her head under the raft trying to get the ball.

Fortunately, she finally paid attention to me.  When she got to land, very tired, I grabbed onto her so that she wouldn't change her mind, as she kept looking back at the raft.  What she loved most to pursue in her life could have ended it.

Isn't it true that there are things that obsess us to distraction, despair, and our detriment?  Sure, these are not always bad things, but they are not often worthy of our tireless pursuit.

Emilie Barnes said, "God has put into each of our lives a void that cannot be filled by the world.  We may leave God or put Him on hold, but He is always there, patiently waiting for us...to turn back to Him."

Today stop and consider what is exhausting you.  Is it worth it really?  What is worth more is connecting with God and living a life dedicated to what is important to Him.  When we want what He wants and love what He loves, the rest of our life can fall into a peaceful harmony.