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Archive for the ‘Humane Connections’ Category

 

dreamstime_s_61457120You’ve seen the videos of bulldogs surfing, riding a skateboard, or rolling down a hill. Mine does none of that.

When Diesel was young, around 9 weeks old, I didn’t think he liked me. I obviously did not understand bulldogs because that unhappy look became the stern typical bulldog look.

Of course, my husband reminds me that when we first got our bulldog I was taking an aromatherapy course and I involved with my projects. He endured. He knew where my trial products were stored and he stared at the drawer every night until I opened a bottle for him to sniff. He loved the lavender concoctions.

I never trained our boy to do the correct things, like sit, stay, or don’t jump on people. He does – or does not do – all of this on his own, but not because I’ve trained him. Instead, I taught him “Brain Waves.” Yes, he thinks it is a normal thing to put his forehead against mine while we stare into each other’s eyes.

He recently learned how to “shake” paws, but instead of a high-five (which I sometimes get him to do), he puts his paw in my hand and I have to rub it, count his toes, and talk to him in a soothing voice. He loves it. I think I do too.

He also has a turkey leg. When he was a pup he was trained by our elder female boxer to go outside and do his duty. She was a very obedient dog. Out they would go, and back in they came. No fencing, out in the country. One day he barreled in through back door and quickly walked by me. I reached down to touch the cute little independant bellow. His back leg shot out like a tiny turkey leg, straight out. He stood rigid on all 3’s. It was funny, you had to have been there. I ended up laughing with tears streaming down my face. To this day, his favorite thing is a rub on the front side of his turkey leg. He’ll flop over and fall asleep, snoring seconds later, after a late night turkey leg rub.

I know, this blog post is like hearing long stories about someone else’s children, which is nice for short periods of time, but eventually…yawn.

I want 2 or 3 bulldogs, but I have enough on my plate for now. Someday…someday.

If you want a well-behaved dog, this is the one to get. If you want a dog that does not drool. This is not the dog to get. If you want a dog that seldom needs maintenance. This is not the breed to get (I will explain in another blog post). If you want loyalty, this is the dog to get. If you want a dog that snores. This is the dog to get.

I love my boy.

What is your favorite dog breed? BTW…I like mutts too. Me and the dog from the third floor touch noses when she walks down the stairs. Yes, we go nose-to-nose when she reaches my level and she now expects it. Our lovely gift from God, animals for companionship and fun.

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memorial day www.hispasturepress.comI brought my satchel of notes and planner with me. I had decided to turn a chair or two into office space as I sat in the waiting room in anticipation of a one-hour stay.

An elderly couple caught my attention as they helped each other walk into the room. When they sat down, the husband placed his hat, which displayed bright gold stitching “WWII,” on his knee. As a daughter of a father that was proud of the years that he had served in the U.S. Army, my heart swelled at the site of the mounted hat.

Moments later, another couple entered the waiting area. After they settled into their seats, I noticed the man was also wearing a similar hat. I thought it was only going to be a short matter of time before the veterans struck up a conversation. The first husband looked at his wife as he rose up, “I need to go pay someone a visit.”

The men patted each other on the shoulders and I heard places of war mentioned, one was Okinawa. My thoughts funneled down to one, this is the way it should be. Without a prompt, this was the unspoken understanding between two strangers — admiration, support, warmth, and love.

The dainty wife looked at me. With honor and respect in her voice, and with tiny tear-drops on her eyelids, “He’s found someone to talk to.” She knew why, and without a doubt, she was also pleased.

When her husband returned to his seat, she laced her fingers through his, “You found someone to talk to.” They both smiled and my heart melted. Time and space filled with unspoken words.

There, in that bland waiting room, one thing stood out – the image of love and devotion. Devotion between two men that had fought for all of our lives, and a woman and a man who had made it through the ups and downs of wedded life. They had bound their gnarled fingers together, held in peace as one.

My own lesson for the day, and one that should never fade from me, to remember and treasure these things. Love. Devotion. Support. Never forget to hold those that have fought for us in honor and admiration.

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jumbo puppy www.hispasturepressDiesel and I were secured in the dog park when I heard a little voice squeal with delight, “Look mom, a jumbo puppy!” He did not see a chunky wrinkle-faced bulldog, he saw a jumbo puppy! The tiny boy clung to the chain link fence with intent, with nothing short of delight in his eyes. A memory formed in the boy’s mind that instant, the days he saw a tiger-striped chubby dog that strolled in a rolling motion and snorted as he went.

This notice of simple pleasure reminded me to treat today, every day, as the best day ever.

To see life through the eyes of a child.

The sun suddenly became brighter. Blue deepened from horizon to horizon. Clouds fluffed. Air freshened.

This coffee mug that sits within my reach holds not just any ordinary beverage and it is not of a simple design. It is painted with bright hues of red, blue, yellow, and green. I could be drinking it on a veranda, admiring the beautiful Hill Country. I see it. Do you? The coffee is perfectly steamy, with just a touch of vanilla…and something else that I do not recognize. Smooth. This is why they call it Texas Pecan. Today, I let it linger over my tongue. I enjoy every…single…drop.

As I prepare for my day, I am not simply dressing. I am staging my day with color. Today is a deep blue day…from turquoise to navy, with a touch of clay. I am choosing from the box of crayons of life once again. Is it periwinkle, or sea foam green? Perhaps it is tomato red tomorrow. Mountain meadow?

I am listening in these early morning hours to the hum of the refrigerator. I think of my grandmother’s large kitchen with her Formica topped table and white metal cabinets. The freezer and refrigerator filled with Missouri peaches and grandfather’s favorite salads. They also hummed away, holding the treasures from earth cold and fresh. The snoring buzz of the bulldog, the five-year-old jumbo puppy gives warmth to my heart. His eyes pop open now and then, but he is unconscious, the monkey. I hear the tapping of the keyboard. Happy sounds from my fingertips. Painting words on paper. This is not just the ordinary. This is life times one-hundred.

Hello world. I shake your hand. I hug your people. I embrace your beauty. I absorb what you, my Father, have surrounded my being with.

Today, I am who I am. I live in a “jumbo puppy” world.

This is the best day…ever.

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I silently eased the window open.

The world remained asleep in the muted morning light except for an occasional call from a bird.

www.hispasturepress.com dreamstime,douglassdickensThe fog had carried in cool air, filled with dampness in the river valley.

As a child might do, I quietly planted myself on the soft carpet below the window. I imagined a walk in the garden that lay before my eyes.

I wanted to take in a stroll, undisturbed, to fill my lungs with the scent of damp earth, to absorb the favor of tranquility, and to admire the green that my elder was so perfect at urging out of the ground.

If I woke her, grandmother would make herself busy with my breakfast. I would put up a protest without winning. The day would become active in a hurry. Alas, this was my time with nature, to admire it from my quiet spot, and this was her time to rest.

I squinted from my window seat. What was that orange ball in the back row of the garden? I had not noticed it the day before.

I drew my face in closer as I squinted in disbelief. Grandmother had never grown pumpkins before, and how would one emerge overnight?

She was a creature of habit, and pumpkin simply did not fit in. What new church recipe or canning adventure was she eager to try?

I noticed the movement in the back row of the garden. The orange ball stretched out a lazy leg, then another, followed by a head with erect feline ears.

The orange stood up and sauntered to the back porch where grandmother had left breakfast in a bowl.

My grandmother’s first garden pumpkin was content.

The world was at peace.

So was I.

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We cannot see it.

We cannot touch it.

We cannot taste it.

Alas, we can feel it — not with our fingertips, but through our spirit and deep into our soul.

Love.

A man of law challenged Jesus with a question. What is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Are these commandments easier to obey – to not covet, kill, or is it to honor thy mother and thy father?

Peace, for all, is found in commitment to the first and greatest commandment, but the second, the one that is “like it” is also the one that changes our world….one person, one moment at a time. Do you see it, the most difficult of all to follow? It requires strength and forgiveness — letting go of self.

I have heard it said, “If you want to change the world start with you.” One tiny speck in the crowd – me, you, and we.

Jesus changed the world because he gave us an ultimate choice to make, one that brings forgiveness, and absolute freedom. He did not, and could not, change the world with one swipe of his teachings. He still stands, though, and this (He, our un-denying vow) is the difference we can make in this world. Keep it alive.

Pray, share, and practice – carry it out – love.

Be strong.

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Matthew 22:35-40 (NIV)

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www.hispasturepress.com Writing and Speaking ConsiselyI walked through a large portion of my life with the desire to leave a soft spot for people to associate with. I, in person, was a landing-place.

My high school year books, filled with student signatures, held a common theme, “Such a nice (sweet) girl.”

I believe being loving and gentle has its place in life, but it does not fit in when you simply want to say no, or when you want to get your point across.

Using words in your writing or speech, such as: probably, nearly, almost, practically, not quite, sort or kind of, as good as, or just about…leaves what you intend to say in a semisolid position, as if your words are floating about in billowy clouds that have no substance.

Solid consists of saying what you mean, leaving no questions asked. Solid, in writing, does not leave the reader wondering. The reader grasps your firm point and glides through your fluent story without a snag. Solid, in life applications, puts you in the position of having control of your own life.

Which would you rather have? Spongy sloppy ground that leaves people unsure of what you are really writing (or saying), or believable words that emit from a heart that has empathy, care and grace as its forefront?

Closely observe what you say and write, and make it a habit to delete the words that undermine the strength of your writing or yourself.

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”  ~ Miquel Angel Ruiz

 

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Do you realize how much of an impact you make on the lives of others? I hope to remember that I do.

It really is sad when someone feels non-existent.  I know, it happens, even if for a moment.

Think about a time when you were brushed off and noticed it.  I will give a glimpse into a short experience I had.  It had been a rushed morning, with more to come.  I watched the clock and planned a quick trip to the local discount store.  As I drove to the store I realized that I needed to slow down and connect with people, if just one, face to face.  My thinking, I was not going to rub off my busy feeling to anyone that morning.  Have you ever made the effort to genuinely smile at someone, to pay attention to what she (or he) had to say, beyond the business transaction at hand? What I received in return was a bag handed to me, without a glimpse upwards, a very mumbled “Have a nice day,” as they turned on their heels to leisurely talk to the other person behind the counter with them.  They never noticed that I stood for a second in amazement before I went out the door.  I am not overly sensitive, mind you, I had not been snubbed by a best friend.

The point is, making an impact begins with a greeting.  Making an impact engages fully when you are genuine, when you put oomph into the connection.

Whether in flesh and blood, or online on a social site, we do make a difference.  As an individual we hold our own unique key to a communication tool that makes an impact.

I may be busy, but I hope to make a difference today.  Someone may just need a small bite of real consideration.  Please give me a nudge if I slip off my mission, I’ll return the favor if you wish.

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