Wanted: male companionship. Humans need not apply…

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I’m suffering from serious dog envy.  I miss my precious puppy dog so much.  Four months and 19 days after his sudden passing from intestinal cancer this past Easter Monday, and I want another dog now more than ever.  I know I can never replace Max but I have a great desire to celebrate his life and all the joy he brought me by providing another rescue dog with a loving, caring, and stable home.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a walk at a huge park near home and happened upon two different dogs in the off leash area.  The first dog was a golden haired cross between a lab and a golden retriever.  He was following behind his owners but as I approached, I swear he flashed me a smile before venturing over and sniffing my hand.  He gave my left kneecap a welcoming lick as I leaned over and pet him ever so tenderly.  I heard one of his owners say, “Awwwww”.  After a couple of moments, I pried myself away and started walking up the trail but, even though his owners kept calling him to come, “Pacer” didn’t move a muscle and instead stared at me intently as I moved progressively farther away.  If I thought I had the slightest possibility of successfully hoisting his sizable girth off the ground, my instinct would have been to ‘make tracks’ with Pacer.

Further up the trail, I happened upon an older gentleman who was walking a full-sized husky.  Max had been a combination husky, shepherd, lab so I asked if the dog was friendly.  “Too friendly” was the response.  Boy, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’d used that exact phrase to describe my Max.  I decided that huskies must be inherently social.

As soon as I started petting the dog, he moved to stand in front of me sideways and then leaned into me heavily in that oh-so-familiar way Max used to.  I was enthralled.  I reluctantly extricated myself and continued on with my walk, making a conscious effort not to look back this time.  If that dog had stared longingly after me too, I may well have snapped and crossed the line into the shadowy world of ‘dognapping’.  And we all know there’s nothing more logical than to stuff a mid to large sized dog into the confines of a tiny bachelor apartment.

The way I see it, I have three options:  keep Max’s memory alive by remembering how quirky, loving, funny, and kind he was; keep going for walks where I can have random meetings with other great dogs; or volunteer at either the Humane Society or the Animal Rescue Society so I can make a difference in the lives of these wonderful dogs until the day I have a pet friendly place to bring a new dog home.  Thankfully, I don’t have to choose.  All three options are more than possible, and highly probable.

So, who are the front runners if I were able to bring a new dog home today?  The list changes from day to day as dogs come and go through adoption but a 5 year old Shepherd/Cross named Charley is currently high on the list.  The other main contender is a dog named Petey, a special needs dog, who had a leg amputated after being found wandering with a badly injured and severely infected leg.

Dogs like Charley and Petey, who’ve had a pretty rough start, appeal to me the most.  Max had a pretty rough start but, in the two short years we had him, we gave him as smooth a finish as any dog could hope for.  To be able to give this gift to yet another dog is high on my list of things to do.

So, it goes without saying that some day, some way, some how, another dog will join Max on my list of “main men”.  It will truly be a dogged pursuit.

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Goodbye perfectionism, you won’t be missed…

I recently took a perfectionism quiz.  The results said I’m a ‘high achiever’ and that, while I strive toward perfection, I have a healthy understanding of what is and isn’t possible, and that I’m able to enjoy the journey without getting overly hung up on the results.  I really like that assessment except for the part where it said I strive toward perfection.  You see, I’m a reformed perfectionist.  I’m a fledgling excellentist.  Since that word hasn’t made it into the dictionary yet, I’m obviously charting relatively new territory.  But I’m thinking excellentism could be the wave of the future.

I’m really not sure how perfectionism became such a desirable pursuit in the first place.  Perfectionism is universally described in a negative connotation, not to mention that it’s inherently unattainable.  There can be no conceivable outcome from its pursuit than misery.  I know this firsthand because the pursuit of perfectionism did, in fact, make me miserable.

My decision to be come an excellentist is a relatively recent one but it’s already changed me for the better.  I’m doing more things in moderation, I’m more realistic about what I can and cannot do,  I’m happier, and I’m finally starting to like me for me.

So far, the pursuit of excellence has been a freeing experience.  My perspective is sharper, my priorities are more defined, and my outlook is far more positive.  I think I’m more of a Joy to be around.  So, I don’t know about you but I’m giving perfectionism the boot, and choosing the more excellent way.

 

My two cents on feeling like a million bucks…

Have you ever felt like you don’t measure up?  That your worth depends on what other people tell you?   That no matter what you do, it will never be enough?  That the mistakes from your past will forever hold back your future?

What if I told you that your worth doesn’t depend on what you do, or on what other people say, but solely on what God says?  And what if I told you that this is what God says about you?  Yes, you!

Do you believe it?  Can you believe it?  Will you believe it?

Most of my life, someone close to me has communicated through their words and actions that I don’t measure up, that I don’t have the same worth as other people (usually them…), that nothing I do will ever be enough, and that the mistakes from my past will forever hold back my future.

Guess what?  They were wrong.  Every single one of them.  My true worth depends on how God sees me, and He loves me for who I am. 

I recently realized that I don’t like myself very much.  I also decided it’s time I changed that.  I’m making a conscious effort to see myself as God sees me.  Every day, I’m trying to celebrate how God made me, and to be intentional about using my gifts and talents in ways that interest me, and that have the potential to make a difference in people’s lives.  My focus is on what I can do and not on what I can’t.

Weaknesses and faults?  I definitely have them.  But, I’m striving to be more realistic both about what they are and what they aren’t, and then surrender them daily to God, who promises that His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In short, I’m finally starting to realize that I’m…

So are you.

If someone is telling you otherwise, it’s not healthy to let them keep doing it for even one more minute.  And trying to convince them of your real worth might seem worthwhile but the truth is that it never works.  Trust me, I know.  If someone doesn’t recognize your true worth up front, nothing you say is ever going to convince them, no matter how many years you tell them.

I’m working on surrounding myself with people who build me up and encourage me but who care enough about me to speak the truth in love.  I’m also setting healthy boundaries so that the people who bring me down won’t have the power to do so anymore.  The result?  Freedom.  I’m free to be me.  And truthfully, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  I feel like a million bucks!  You can too…

Call 1-800-GOT-BUGS…

I’m a big fan of the television show, Sell This House – Extreme.  The premise of the show is to help desperate homeowners sell their difficult-to-sell spaces through extreme renovation and home staging.

During a recent episode, they were tearing down drywall in one of the rooms when they made an unexpected discovery.  Termites.  While the damage was extensive, it  would have gone unnoticed if the walls had never come down.

This scenario can be applied to life.  How many times does someone come across as the perfect husband or the perfect wife, or always seem to be perfectly dressed, perfectly mannered, or perfected presented, yet one day the walls come down and we find out they have termites, so to speak?  Maybe it’s even been true of you.

Termites can be issues such as insecurity, anxiety, greed, anger, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, impatience, addictions, compulsions, and/or obsessions, to name a few.  It starts out as just one or two termites but, before you know it, you’re completely infested.  Termites always multiply.

People with termites generally like to keep it a secret… perhaps just focus on making a few cosmetic changes and, for whatever reason, ignore what’s happening beneath the surface.  But, you can have the nicest home and furnishings, the most successful business or career, any cosmetic procedure that makes you look younger or prettier or more handsome, or you can publicly say or do all the right things, but it won’t do a thing to get rid of the termites in your life.  Just like painting the walls of your house won’t do a thing to get rid of termites.  The walls first have to come down.  You can either choose to initiate the process or it will happen one day when you least expect it.

It’s inevitable.  Whether it’s in your house or in your life, you ignore termites at your own peril.

The first step in getting rid of termites is acknowledging you have them.  You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  If they’re in your house, seek professional help.  The same is true if you have an addiction, compulsion and/or obsession.  If it’s a lesser issue, it’s still critical that you bring it into the light.  Whether it’s a trusted friend, your doctor, your pastor, or an accountability partner, it’s important to tell someone.  Termites are harder to get rid of than you think, so you’ll need all the help you can get.

I’m a big believer in praying.  And in counselling.  Counselling can help us gain perspective from a trained but neutral person before a minor infestation mushrooms into a full blown invasion.  I’d rather drop a bomb on my termites, to be on the safe side, than to wake up one day and wish I’d done a whole lot more a whole lot sooner.  I want my house to be sound from the inside out.

I hope I haven’t bugged you with this post but, if I have, it might be time to do a self-evaluation for termites.  After all, if you don’t have them, they can’t bug you.

It all depends on where you are…

I’ve noticed an unusual phenomenon lately.  The temperatures have been in the high twenties, with the humidex in the low thirties, yet I’ve seen an unnerving number of people wearing jackets.  Two days ago, I saw a man mowing his lawn with a bomber jacket on… and not only on but completely zipped up!  Then this afternoon, in less than a thirty minute span of time, I passed by at least seven people wearing jackets.  Three of the guys were in one group, leaving me to briefly wonder if I was the one improperly dressed for the weather!

Several years ago, Sesame Street demonstrated how perception of something depends on our proximity to it, using an elephant as an example.  NEAR………. far.  The slogan was “it all depends on where you are”.

I’ve come to conclusion that this slogan can be applied to life.  Or to wearing jackets in sweltering heat.  Or to wearing shorts in the freezing cold.

You get my point.

Everyone is at a different place in life, and so their perceptions tend to vary.  It’s easy for us to decide that our way is the right way or the best way or the only way but the reality is we’re not always right.  And, even if we are right, the other person or people might not see it the same way because they’re not in the same place.  It all depends on where they are.  Just like it all depends on where we are.

The answer isn’t to force anything on anyone else.  The world would be a much better place if everyone voiced their opinions or convictions without judgement, hatred, or ridicule.   It’s the least we can do for others because it’s the least we hope for ourselves.

It’s ok to respectfully explain our viewpoint but that’s where it needs to end.  Sometimes the most effective way to get our point across is to do more and say less.  With the more important things in life, hopefully others will take notice and see that we’ve put our money where our mouth is (in a manner of speaking…).  But, with the less important things in life – like wearing jackets in sweltering heat – maybe we’ll realize that it’s ok to be different.  That there’s no right way or wrong way.

After all, at any moment the winds of change could blow, and we might be tempted to put a jacket on after all.

What direction are you going in?

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately.  People seem preoccupied with the past.  I talk about the past sometimes myself but there’s a difference between talking about the past and obsessing about the past.  To me, the past provides memories – some good and some bad – and experiences – some good and some bad – that serve no other purpose than to provide information about how to learn and grow in order to move toward a better, happier, healthier, more rewarding future.  But, it’s all too easy to get stuck in the past.

Some people think their best years are behind them, and focus on those memories and experiences.  Others get stuck focusing on a bad memory or experience, and never seem to get beyond it.

I’ve been through everything you can imagine.  The past three months alone could fill a book.  But I’ve chosen to forgive, to be thankful for the good, to learn from the bad, and to make a conscious decision to keep moving forward.

One thing I’ve learned is you can’t move forward if you’ve moving backwards.  It’s not possible.  I also believe the best is yet to come… but I’ll never find that out if I choose to live where it may be more comfortable but where it’s also infinitely more confining.  After all, the past is defined while the future is limitless.

My goal is to move forward for the rest of my life.  How about you?  What direction are you going in?