Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lessons One Can Learn From a Dog

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Friday, February 22, 2013

A Dog's Prayer

Once I was a lonely dog,
Just looking for a home.
I had no place to go,
No one to call my own.
I wandered up and down the streets,
in rain in heat and snow.
I ate what ever I could find,
I was always on the go.
My skin would itch, my feet were sore,
My body ached with pain.
And no one stopped to give a pat
Or to gently say my name.
I never saw a loving glance,
I was always on the run.
For people thought that hurting me
was really lots of fun.
And then one day I heard a voice
So gentle, kind and sweet,
And arms so soft reached down to me
And took me off my feet.
"No one again will hurt you"
Was whispered in my ear.
"You'll have a home to call your own
where you will know no fear."
"You will be dry, you will be warm,
you'll have enough to eat
And rest assured that when you sleep,
your dreams will all be sweet."
I was afraid I must admit,
I've lived so long in fear.
I can't remember when I let
A human come so near.
And as she tended to my wounds
And bathed and brushed my fur
She told me 'bout the rescue group
And what it meant to her.
She said, "We are a circle,
A line that never ends.
And in the center there is you
protected by new friends."
"And all around you are
the ones that check the pounds,
And those that share their home
after you've been found."
"And all the other folk
are searching near and far.
To find the perfect home for you,
where you can be a star."
She said, "There is a family,
that's waiting patiently,
and pretty soon we'll find them,
just you wait and see."
"And then they'll join our circle
they'll help to make it grow,
so there'll be room for more like you,
who have no place to go."
I waited very patiently,
The days they came and went.
Today's the day I thought,
my family will be sent.
Then just when I began to think
It wasn't meant to be,
there were people standing there
just gazing down at me.
I knew them in a heart beat,
I could tell they felt it too.
They said, "We have been waiting
for a special dog like you."
Now every night I say a prayer
to all the gods that be.
"Thank you for the life I live
and all you've given me.
But most of all protect the dogs
in the pound and on the street.
And send a Rescue Person
to lift them off their feet."

~ Author: Arlene Pace

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Burned Biscuit

Burnt Biscuits

Burned Biscuits - A lesson we all should learn . . 

"When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!
All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing...never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said, "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides . . a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.
I'm not the best at much of anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today...that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child, or even a friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket--keep it in your own."

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

And PLEASE pass this along to someone who has enriched your life!

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
--Unknown Author

Monday, February 11, 2013

When the Underdog Succeeds

After my poppers had been called home in 1998 I found myself in a transitional place and had no idea what to do with myself.  I had for most of the year taken care of my poppers 24/7.

One day as I was pondering on what my next step should be that trusted voice whispered, "Go back to school."  Without hesitation I found myself at the local college trying to decide what I should "major" in.
I was set up with a counselor who encouraged me to take some test which would show where your strengths were and your weaknesses and then they could help place you in the "right major."
I took their test which was totally alien to me since I had not been near a class room since 1985.
Upon completing the test I eagerly met with my counselor to see what he would suggest; as he looked at my apparently bleak test scores, he commented that I did well in vocabulary and some other location and then he proceeded to let me know all the places that I had failed and then closed with this remark, "save your money, you are to stupid to come to college."  I was heartbroken.  I thanked him for his time and started down the hallway with tears in my eyes.
 I bumped into a elderly grandmotherly instructor who upon seeing my tears stopped and asked me what was wrong.  Not holding back I let her know what had just transpired.  She wrapped her arm around me and matter of factly stated, "well now, you just come with me."
She took me to another building on campus to her office where she then proceeded to pull up my test scores.  Looking at my scores she then related to me that the only area I had really suffered in was Math; which I already knew because I have always struggled with math and numbers.  She then informed me that she was going to enroll me in the Bookkeeping program because she felt I would do well in that program.
Right then and there she enrolled me in classes for the upcoming semester.
I will never forget how nervous I was that first day and of course I bombed my first test.  My instructor was so great, he simply pulled me aside and shared with me that he knew I understood the concept but I suffered from, "Test Anxiety."  He then advised me to think of all my upcoming tests as quizzes.  After that I received A's and B's and was on the Dean's list for the entire program.
I was so pleased with myself and so grateful to that grandmotherly instructor who took the time to look at the person and not the "numbers."

I loved school and since I had such a good experience in the Bookkeeping program I decided to get a degree in Business.  In the process of working towards that degree I received my Liberal Arts Degree with A's and B's.  I had to take College Algebra three time but I finally received a B in the one class that had been my greatest obstacle.  Words cannot describe my elation with that hard earned B.

In the Spring of 2007 or 2008 as I was looking through the catalog trying to decide which classes I was going to take to complete my Business Degree that old familiar voice once again whispered, "you need to go into nursing."  Again without hesitation I responded, "all rightie then."  I immediately flipped through the catalog to the nursing requirements and decided to try and get my LPN since  I had never been  a "Certified CNA."  One of the requirements was to get three references.  I knew immediately who my first two would be.

During a routine visit at the Doc's office with my poppers, our favorite friend turned and looked at me as were leaving and said, "Lorie you need to go into nursing."  I laughed and replied, "no way in hell, was I going into nursing."  He just smiled.
He had the same smile when I asked him if he would consider being one of my references.  He immediately agreed and sent in the paperwork as quick as he could.  My next reference was my trusted Stake President who gave me a copy of his recommendation.  "WOW" was all I felt as tears streamed down my face as I read his kind words.  Lastly I asked supervisor if she would be kind enough to give me reference also.

With the program you are rated by a point system and each and every time I figured the math of what points I had I always came up short, so to be honest I really wasn't thinking that I would make it into the LPN program.  One can imagine my surprise when my husband called one day to let me know that the head of the nursing department had been trying to get a hold of me to let me know that I had been accepted into the Fall program.  I was elated and nervous.  My heart was overfilled and I found myself thanking my Heavenly Father, my trusted provider and my beloved Stake President because without them there was no way I would have got into the program.
I was not about to let any one of them down.

As usual, I bombed my first test and was hysterical thinking that I was going to be kicked out of the program the first semester but I prevailed.  This time I had a few C's thrown into my grades but I was grateful that I had passed.  When we started going out to the local facilities I found one that I really liked due in part to four people:  Cindy, Theresa, Paula and Linda.
One day I was visiting with an instructor and letting her know that I had found the facility I would like to work at.  When I told her the name of the facility she scoffed and replied, "you would never make it at that facility they would chew you up and spit you out in no time.  You could not handle the pressure."
How many times had I heard that one but I vowed to myself that I would show her and show her I did.

After graduation I spent two to three times a week in the temple as part of my preparation for taking the N-Clex; the final exam.  The big day finally arrived and boy howdy was I nervous.  As I sat down the very first question was one that was vague to me, I started to panic when out of the blue I heard one of my instructors voices as he taught about this very thing and what to do.  I then confidently picked my answer.
The following questions seemed very easy and just as I thought to myself that I had better buckle down and really focus the test shut off.  I was surprised but not nervous.  As I stepped out of the room the Tester person commented, "wow, I have never seen anybody complete that test so fast."  I was sick to my stomach thinking that I had just bombed the most important test of my life at that time.  Called my husband in tears.
Two days later I received the e-mail that let me know the results of my test.  I had passed.  I could not believe it.  That following Friday I had my nursing license and off I went to that facility that would "Chew me up and spit me out."  I was hired on the spot.

I worked at that facility for four years.  I worked under the best nurses Rn's and LPNs who assisted me in building a good and solid foundation.  They taught me so very much but the one lesson that has stuck with me was to "trust you're gut."  They were impressed with my instincts.  I may not have understood what was happening when I got this feeling that something was very wrong but with their guidance I began to recognize some symptoms of common infections.

I have always been a believer in seasons.  At first I was saddened that my season at this facility was coming to an end but I have learned I am always offered new opportunities to learn and grow.
While working there I branched out into "Crisis Care nursing"  Oh how I love it.  It was my first job away from my trusted teachers and I was so scared but because of the foundation and my gut I am flourishing.

Recently I started working full-time at another facility, I shadowed a nurse one night and then I was put on the floor by my self.  I had to utilize each and every tool my trusted friends had given me to make it through.
Alas, this season was for a very brief moment and I am now moving on and to be honest I'm still not sure but one thing I am sure of I will know without a doubt which way to go.
As my season at this new facility winds down I am leaving with my head held high and pleased with a job well done.  If any facility would have chewed me up and spit me out, it would have been this new one because it was totally different than my original home.
I know that as this door shuts behind me I will be given a high five and the satisfaction
that "I did it!"

Alas the Underdog has succeeded!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One of the Ninety and Nine

I love Micheal McLean's messages one can find within the lyrics of his music.  One song that has really touched a chord with me is entitled "I'm Just One of the Ninety and Nine."
Mr McLean found himself wondering why the "lost souls" got so much attention in the scriptures.
His thoughts then turned to the Prodigal son who came home and his dad threw a party.
He mentions Saul/Paul who was a world class persecutor on the road to Damascus and how he got a light and a voice.
He then mentioned that if "you're a sheep that strays from the fold, the good shepherd leaves the ninety and nine good guy sheep in search of the lost one."
(How grateful I am that the shepherd did leave those ninety and nine and come searching for me.)

Mr. McLean continued with this question, "but what about the people who aren't particularly lost but may feel unnoticed?  What about the ones who are carpooling Cub Scouts, serving in soup kitchens, taking clothing to Goodwill, donating blood, singing in the choir, volunteering at the hospital, visiting the nursing home, tutoring students, teaching Sunday School, coaching Little League and doing the thousands of other activities the regular good guys do...without any spotlight or fanfare, without seeking any credit, without building themselves up?  What about the ones who are wearing out their lives more or less being the kind of people the good shepherd doesn't have to worry about?  What about them?"

May I include a humble branch president who takes time out of his busy schedule to call a member that he has learned is facing some dark challenges. He calls just to visit or his lovely wife who upon seeing this wounded soul throws her arms around her and lets her know how happy she is to see you and how you've have been missed.
It is so amazing at how healing a honest and loving hug and a thinking of you phone call can be.
Brother Joseph was really unto something when he talked about the power of love.

Mr. McLean finds his answers in music and these are the words that came into his mind to answer all his questions:

I am one of the ninety and nine
I'm not perfect but basically I'm doing fine
I have not lost my way, I have not gone astray
I'm just one of the ninety and nine
And I'm here in the heart of the fold
I'm not mindless, but I try to do as I'm told
I'm not tempted to run and become the lost one
I'm just here in the heart of the fold
So why is my shepherd coming this way toward me?
He's holding His arms out and calling my name
He's calling my name, but how can this be?
I'm just one of the ninety and nine
I have stumbled and fallen, but I've kept in line
I'm not one He must seek; I'm not all that unique
I'm just one of the ninety and nine
So why is my shepherd treating me like His lost lamb?
He's searching to He's holding me now,
He's holding me now, and teaching me who I am
And why am I felling like I'm the only one here?
It's's like I'm His favorite...
And He takes me aside and He sweetly confides
These remarkable words in my ear.  He says:

"You're one of the ninety and nine 
Have you any idea how brightly you shine?
You are safe in this fold
And it's time that you were told that I know where you've been,
So I know where you'll be,
Because all of your life you've been following me,
You are more than just one of the sands of the sea
Or just one of ninety and nine:
You are are are are mine
Guess I'm one of the ninety and nine."

Mr. McLean closed with this thought, "I'm feeling that where ever we are on the path, that's exactly where God will meet us and walk with us and teach us and encourage us and love us if we'll let Him...He meets us where we are.  In the fold or out, He lets us feel what perfect love feels like...whatever blessing we need, we'll receive."

The last two weeks have been very trying for me and true to Mr McLean's words, My Savior came to me and reminded me of how very much He loves ME.  I was reminded of that love via a Priesthood blessing from a friend who has known me since I was in the "depths of deep despair."  The blessing I truly needed had been received.

These last few days I have truly once again felt like "His Favorite."  Because I am truly His.  I have finally reached the rank of being "One of the Ninety and Nine."