Sure many will have you believe that diamonds are a girl’s best friend; although I argue why not have two? Diamonds and dogs are a perfect combination on any day.
If you have a dog you may share in the joy of your pal and if you are not yet the proud owner of a pooch (pug pug pug) perhaps you will be.
I have been blessed with a pug with a personality like none other. Her facial expressions tell it all. Olive is her name. She not only brings such joy but also many lessons taboot. If you step back and look at all the things you have learned from you dog I’m sure there are many. A few I share are:
1. Patience. When I make Olive’s breakfast she sits pretty and waits patiently; watching intently. What a lesson as I recall the days of the past where I would get impatient waiting for microwave popcorn! Perhaps it’s the fact that I couldn’t decide what to name Olive so I included ‘Patience’ as a middle name since it was something I needed in my life.
2. There can be fun in anything. Dogs don’t hide this fact. Try to chase them to come inside and you will surely find out. It’s all about perspective and for them life is good and always fun.
3. Exploring new things is worthwhile. Dogs love exploration. The new smells of the grass, butts and flowers are all part of the majestic components of life. Of course we also can’t forget a great wardrobe is wonderful for the soul too! We can all learn to stop the routine and just look around and smell the beauty that surrounds us.
4. Sleeping is not a bad thing. Dogs know this and they don’t hide it. They aren’t like people where there is too much to do that in our attempt to do it all we end up not doing all of it to the level that we could because we are simply too tired. Nope. Dogs check out when they are done. Perhaps we should too!
5. Just because the food is there doesn’t mean it needs to be eaten. Now of course unless you are a lab who eats everything including the Slim Fast. Dogs eat until they are full and that’s that. There is no worry of the happy plate or leaving a few morsels. We may have smaller waistlines if we humans could only grasp that.
6. A little pat on the back goes a long way. It’s the simple things that mean the most. Dogs enjoy being rewarded as it inspires them to do more. How many pats can you give today to those around you?
7. Support for another can be silent. Dogs know when something isn’t right. They don’t need to do anything more than simply sit next to you; and perhaps place a cute paw on your leg or arm. It is their mere presence that says it all.
8. A good walk is energizing. Dogs love the outdoor breeze and fresh air. It’s about being outside that brings a refreshing to life. You may be surprised to how great you can feel just by getting out and taking a walk.
9. Being a part of something is good. Dogs as we know are pack animals. When left alone with other dogs they find their way. They find their own level of participation and involvement and it’s a good thing. People are no different. The inclusion and need to be needed is an innate quality in everyone. Isolation doesn’t work for dogs nor does it work for people either.
10. Unconditional love does exist. Regardless of how many mistakes you make dogs don’t care. They still love you. There is no judgment because you are who you are and that’s that. There is no need for you to change to get them to like you; they just do. And that is something we can all learn from.
There is much we can learn from the pup pals if we just sit back and reflect for a moment. The companionship offered isn’t anything you can buy in a store. It just comes with the entire package and those lessons that are part of the package can become lifelong ones so long as we let them. So how about you? What additional lessons have your dogs taught you?
Image of Olive is owned by Julie Blair. Any use of this image requires written permission.
It’s a serious question that we must ask ourselves. It is a command to love they neighbor for it is written in Mark 12:31 ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Interesting isn’t it? You may have grown up hearing it but not now where it comes from. I ask again- do you really love your neighbor? It seems in our society that we love twitter, we love a great shoe sale or Duke basketball; even though they loss but do we really love our neighbor? Do we love the obese man next door? Do we love the African American to the other side of the house? Do we love the homosexual couple? Or do we just think we are speaking a good idea in theory?
Yesterday I had a conversation with someone and listening to her testimony truly touched me. See; all too often we interact with people and base whether we like them on political stances instead of the people themselves. Whether you are homosexual or agree with the lifestyle is irrelevant. It simply is. The Bible is clear but so do we need to continue to focus on that in that context or go bigger to see something else? In the conversation with this woman I was blessed to hear her story, her pain and loss and her victory that she now blesses others with. I could hear that what she wanted most was to be loved and accepted for who she is and to love others. It is natural. It is normal. Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are and right where they are. The good news is that you are!
So are you loving your neighbor? Are you living in the land of love or are you too busy judging others because they are not the size 2, driving the vehicle that you think is cool, or drinking your favorite beer? Are you looking down on someone because they don’t attend your 40k member mega-church? It is simply not the place of any of us to judge anyone as that in and of itself is sin. Who is anyone to look at the life and path of another and condemn them? Am I not just as guilty for the sins I have committed? See; being homosexual is no different in the eyes of God as adultery, abortion; or stealing a pen. Sin is sin and we have to remember that. Sure the outcome may be different but that simply is not the point for this moment.
It’s amazing how many don’t realize the magnificent and the magnitude of the words Jesus spoke before His death: ‘Forgive them Father for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34) and how true it is! People are hurting by their sins so why judge them even more?
I remember a few years ago I was walking out of a store and a strange gentleman asked me my plans for the evening. I replied ‘none’ and his reply was ‘oh another beautiful lady home on a Friday night.’ Ouch! What I saw though was that the pretty ladies are judged for their looks just as much as the not so pretty ladies. In the end- all are home alone on a Friday night. And that’s not cool!
We are only called to love our neighbors. It’s that simple. None of us know the specific path that someone has been through. We just don’t. Know one has walked my journey except for Jesus and the same is for you. I will be dealt with on Judgment Day as will all of us whether we believe it or; like it or not or want it or not. Through al of this so long as we hold over those who we believe are more sinful than ourselves we are simply playing God. It is not up to any of us to place ourselves in that position as what we think today may be different tomorrow. It is only our responsibility and duty to reach out and love our neighbors and demonstrate that love so that others can see the light and forever be changed.
Shopping malls are like bad ex spouse; they just keeps popping up in places you would rather not see. I read an article earlier this morning about how the shopping malls of America are undergoing transformation; as if we couldn’t tell right?
While the article was trying to bring light to the fact that malls aren’t dead; t it’s just the size of the mall that is dying. In other words; bigger malls are better for America. And more of that is just what America needs. More for more right? More roller coasters in malls for more of your money. More is the American dream after all.
As I reflected on the idea of the shopping mall and how consumers are shopping now and what that experience really is. As a kid we used to go to the mall and it was an experience. An experience of finding a bathing suit that I was allowed to wear in public. An experience of finding clothes that would be appropriate. It was never a good experience; until I went without my parents. You may remember Mervins, the Denver, May D & F and others. The hours certainly were not what they are now and it wasn’t about riding roller coasters and having a Starbucks or five star meal. The purpose was to shop. It’s changed since then and what may surprise you that only 6% of retail sales were online according to the US Census Bureau.
When I think of shopping malls now it screams desperation. Desperation for you to come and willingly pay more than you should for most items because the retailers can’t afford their rent any other way. The mall screams manipulation of getting your kids to want to go to climb the wall or ice skate while you pay a fortune for them to do so; all in the name of the experience of shopping. Who wouln’t really want to shell out four dollars for a pretzel?
In the big scheme of things you probably don’t need most of what you get in a shopping mall. They need you more than you realize. It’s a trap for you think otherwise. If you look at what you currently own you probably have more than enough. More to get by with. More to enjoy; and maybe even more to give away. Just take a closer look. You have enough. Like that old spouse; let it go. You don’t need it any more. You have all that you need just the way you are.
The world we live in has changed. Society is distorted. There is no way around this. You know it’s distorted that one in state a woman can get an abortion legally all the while a 64oz soda is not allowed. Society and its rules have just changed. The impact proves devastation for many. Regardless of what societal changes are; my friend you are enough. Take one look the mirror and speak to yourself today. I challenge you.
Right where you are stop for a moment and reflect on that. You are enough. The way you are is enough. You truly have all that you need for it is written that His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him. What this means is that you don’t have to strive to be something you are not!
You don’t have to go and prove to others that you are worthy of their love. You are already loved! No need to beg for roses with His love. You don’t have to strive to be skinnier as society doesn’t have a cap on that one either. The good news is that you don’t have to kill yourself trying to make more money to buy that fancy car to impress people that you can’t impress because they are too busy trying to impress you. You just don’t.
There will never be anything in society that will tell you that you are tall enough, wealthy enough, big breasted enough, intelligent enough, pretty enough; or anything enough. Never ever.
Cosmetics companies would not exist with campaigns that you are beautiful without their makeup. Muscle building companies would not exist if they had advertisements telling you that your small muscles were enough to get chics.
Nothing in society will ever want you to think you are enough. Following society is a trap. It’s tiring, exhausting, lonely at times. It is more than a conqueror to stealing who you are, your value; your soul. And you my friends; are more than conquerors. You are worth more than the hours you give trying your best to find time to post all the tweets and facebook stuff that the so called business experts require. You are more than the tears you weep from the time not spent with your children. You are more than the 10lbs you want to lose in time for spring. You are worth more than what is being robbed from you.
The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. He is ever so sly in his inner workings. Be strong. Get strong and know that you are more than a conqueror. You are His and through that-you have all the value you will ever need.
It’s something worth repeating: you are accepted. You are good enough right where you are; muffin top and all. I say this because it’s incredible how much in our society people are searching. Searching for that one thing to make them more well; accepted. The search for love on television shows; hoping that one guy or gal they meet and spend 3 hours with will want them. The search for 5,000 facebook fake friends to add to the mix, the drinking group that just accepts you becaues you can handle more tequilla shots than the next person. You can search everywhere for acceptance or you can accept that you are accepted and good enough right where you sit. You don’t even need a Mac!
There is no need to go about life trying to change who you are. It won’t work. It can’t. Those that would accepte you based upon the fake you will eventually see the truth and then what? You are starting your search over again seeking elsewhere for that acceptance that doesn’t exist.
You don’t need to beg for roses, have sex on the first date; or drink yourself into oblivion to impress others who are drunk. You just don’t. You don’t have to have bigger muscles or better car either. See; Jesus doesn’t care about any of that. He is much wiser to see the core of who you. the best part? He loves you despite of your shortcomings.
It took me a long time to get to a place of 1) accepting Jesus, 2) accepting the fact that He already accepted me, 3) accepting myself. I had no idea what that meant at the time. I only knew that what I was doing wasn’t working. How about you? Are you tired of searching? Are you tired of being where you are? Perhaps is the day you try something new. Perhaps today is your day to believe and receive. Perhaps today is a new day where you see just how accepted you truly are.
I’ve blogged about this now 3 times and well; apparently we are still experiencing it and sometimes we can all use a reminder. I would have loved to not have 80 degrees on Saturday and then ice and with the windchill -2 in Dallas; but such is life and being prepared in and out of season is something to be mindful of. Currently; I have been without power for about 3 hours and counting.
It was reported back in August that winter 2013 will be the worst on record and that was around the first time I blogged about it. Did you pay attention? Did you follow any of my suggestions? If you didn’t; my hope is that you are warm and not suffering in this cold weather that seems to not go away!
In Colorado where I grew up things were different in that winter came and everyone was prepared. It was just life. People had gardens and the crops were canned for winter. It was life. The blizzards of 1982 was one such example. It came on Christmas Eve. It’s not one people soon forget. The other ones that people still talk about are 1997 where in Coal Creek Canyon 56″ of snow was reported in less than 12 hours. In 2003 people were snowed in for at minimum 5 days. Because some cities outlawed driving people skied to the nearest grocery store; before everything was shut down. How ingenious right? Or stupid that the grocery workers were still there but I digress.
At least in Denver people have 4-wheel drive vehicles. In most cities across America; people aren’t equipped for such weather as snow and ice; or even cold. The city workers aren’t either so a weather related storm can definitely wreck havoc without a doubt. I need to make sure I am prepared for whatever comes this winter. How about you?
In reflection of a few things that would be necessary for survival is one that has thinking I need to step up my game. The grocery stores only have supplies for three days. Three days! What if the weather is so bad that the power is out longer than that? What if the weather is so bad that the trucks can’t even get to your city to deliver the products you need? What then would you do? It occurs to me that there are some things I need to take care of. It’s not like I will be able to just use my cell phone and order pizza.
A few things to think about to be prepared are:
1- Water. Of course everyone needs water so this goes without say. If you start now stocking up on water then you are set for drinking but what about the rest of your life? What about showering, cooking, or anything else. Don’t you need to be able to flush the toilet so you may need more water? If you have the drinking water do you really want to pour that down the toilet? The large blue containers you can fill up with a few gallons of tap water and then store them in the garage so you have something. You wouldn’t want to store your drinking water in the heat in the garage as it will only take more like plastic than it already does.
2- Food. Of course you have to eat and because you may not have electricity or know when it will be restored you definitely have to plan. What is your daily food consumption now? How long will the food in the refrigerator and freezer last? How would you prepare it? I was told years ago to take old water bottles and fill them with water but not all the way full and then store them in the freezer for occasions just like this. Perhaps a few MRE’s and other items should be accounted for before it’s too late. Foods high in protein and require no cooking are the most obvious. Plan for additional foods for the children and infants in your family. Not only this; how often do people eat out of boredom? Planning now will help you know what you have so your level of irritability won’t be so high.
3- Paper items. Toilet paper, napkins and other items are good to have on hand. Because water supply is limited doing dishes won’t be easy using paper products can serve the purpose. If count for how much toilet paper you use per month then perhaps an extra month supply would be good. Obviously if you are single you use less than a family of five; and that is the last thing you want to run out of. One opened item of anything is never enough!
4- Protection. It’s wise to be able to defend yourself in all seasons. Keeping current with firearms training and having ammunition is just prudent. My CHL is current and being proficient in using it doesn’t take much time out of my life. It’s just one of those things that is no different than taking care of the laundry.
5- Toiletries. As I said before an opened anything is never enough. Are you at the bottom of the shampoo bottle? Last roll of the toothpaste? What then if you run out before the weather clears and your store is restocked. How terrible would it be to not be able to brush your teeth for a few days or weeks?
6- Lighting. Candles of course can work just great; but how many would you need to use for light and warmth? When I look around my town home I see 20ft ceilings which means all the warmth going everyone else except to me. I would need to get creative with where I would spend my time because I obviously don’t want to waste my candles. My personal idea is pretty simple. My bathroom is a decent size and is closed in so it would make the most sense to set up shop in there. I would set up an air mattress in the bathtub and that room would be the warmest with less heat escaping. Sitting on the air mattress also gets me off the floor. Because my dining room, kitchen, living room; and bedroom all have windows using candles simply would be more work. GE sells the LED lanterns that take D batteries so for 20 bucks I have light and with my candles have warmth. Don’t forget the matches or lighters. I have a fireplace that was one thought although the bathroom would still provide better options for longer warmth.
7- Pet food and supplies. You can’t let your pet go hungry now can you? Of course mot! The Olive needs her food too. How much does your pet consume daily? What about flea, tick or heart worm medicine? Having these items on hand will only help you better protect your animal. Perhaps a few extra treats or raw hide bones would serve as a distraction from the situation. You may also think about a dog sweater or sweatshirt. While most with the purse dogs spend more on these items; your lab or Great Dane deserves one too!
8-Prescriptions. While it’s easy to call the pharmacist to place the prescription order on most days; you most likely wouldn’t have phone service to make the call or be able to get to that location to purchase it. Having enough supply on hand is wise as you would have to have your mother or child suffer those consequences!
9- Extra glasses or contacts. If it’s dark and you lose a pair of glasses now you are stuck. Stuck using your light to go search in the cold of the night to find them when if you had an extra pair in an easy to find location you would be just fine. This is one thing on my list without a doubt! I’ve never lost a pair but that doesn’t mean an extra pair wouldn’t be beneficial. I’m also learning that too many things that can be done tomorrow can wreck havoc on it too!
10- Blankets. If you happen to be like many bachelors you may just have your sheet and comforter that you sometimes use; or even perhaps you have the old quilt from someone years ago. Having enough blankets to keep you warm is a definite! If you hold up in one room you can always use one at the base of the door to keep any heat from escaping. My favorite is my down comforter; although I have two other bed sets and numerous other blankets that I have picked up along the way. This one item that can definitely serve it’s purpose. Of course if you have the sleeping bag that you use for those hunting excursions those will work just fine.
11- Generator. Sure you may not want to spare the expense of a few hundred bucks and no one blames you. For those who like to really be prepared it may be the best way to go. While others may be suffering; those with the generators wouldn’t lose any power so perhaps it is something to consider.
While there are many other items to include like salt for the driveway or front steps, sturdy ice scraper; and a prepare mentality this is a good start. More people die in the cold of winter than in the heat summer so why not cool yourself off from that heat of the day today? When that day comes you will be glad you did! And for now I am just waiting for the power to be restored……