When a Rock is More Than Just a Rock

I have dogs… lots of dogs… When I first moved to Arkansas, I had two: Jack (a Toy Fox Terrier) and Jade (a Pit Bull Terrier). Jack is buried under the oak tree in my front yard. Jade’s ashes are in a cedar box in my living room. My dog population has been as high as 35 when I was actively involved in animal rescue. Lately it has hovered around 10 or 12.

I also have rocks… lots of rocks… This is Arkansas, after all, and we have very rocky soil here. My property has rocks of all colors and sizes (which makes it very difficult to dig a hole!).

rocks

As long as I have had dogs here, I’ve also had rocks here. The dogs have never really cared. They enjoy a game of ball, or tug of war, or chasing each other around. They also enjoy chasing rabbits and trying to unearth the gophers or moles in my yard. But they’ve never really cared about rocks… until now.

Enter Pearl…

Pearl is an 11 month old Black Labrador Retriever. Even though I swore I wouldn’t take in any more dogs, when Pearl’s mother showed up at our surgery center after being hit by a car and was on the verge of being euthanized, I asked the family to release her to me. After all, I’ve seen so many hit-by-car dogs recover and go on to live long, happy lives. I figured I’d just re-home her once she was healed.

I didn’t know that Nova had suffered neurological injuries and would be incontinent. I also didn’t know she was pregnant.

Nova & Puppies

I found homes for all five of her pups, but Pearl came back. Most of the dogs I have are one left over from a litter that was rescued and re-homed.

 

But, I digress…

 

PearlPearl likes rocks. She doesn’t know they are only rocks. She thinks they are toys. 90% of the time when I take the dogs outside for a walk, Pearl will run ahead of us, dig up a rock, and then jealously guard it during the walk. She’ll run ahead of the pack, plop down in the grass with the rock between her front paws, and when we catch up, she’ll grab the rock in her mouth and run ahead of us again.

I have a variety of rocks in my house, compliments of Pearl.

The funny thing is, the other dogs are now beginning to think there is something special about these rocks too. A few minutes ago, Spot (the alpha male) took Pearl’s rock and is now sleeping on the bed with it. He never cared about rocks before.

Children and dogs are a lot alike. They see magic in the things we adults see as ordinary. Click To Tweet

girl and dandelion

Children and dogs are a lot alike. They see magic in the things we adults see as ordinary. They have the ability to have fun in almost any given situation or circumstance. They see treasures in the mundane things of life.

 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God... and all these things shall be added unto you. Mat 6:33 Click To Tweet

Lately, I have been doing a Bible study on the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus told us we were to seek that first, and then everything else would come to us naturally. So, I have been spending about an hour a day looking up every scripture that mentions the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God and writing them down in my journal. I’ve started with the NIV, but will do a cross-comparison with other translations and commentaries as well.

Unless you... become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mat 18:3 Click To Tweet

Jesus also said that if we wanted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we had to become as little children.

I don’t have any little children at home to observe and study, but I do have dogs… lots of dogs… and I think in many ways they are similar.

They see magic in everyday things. They play often. They never grow weary. And all of their needs are met… hmmmmm…

Maybe the reason I have so many dogs, is that I have a lot of lessons to learn from them.

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28 Day Core Challenge

So, today we started the 28-Day Core Challenge. What I want to know is, are you in? Core strength is one of the main areas people say they want to work on in fitness… you know, those tight, sexy abs… that six pack you’ve always wanted…

I guarantee if you follow along with this simple four week challenge, you WILL make a difference in your core strength. The best part? You can do this in the privacy of your own home, and it will take you four minutes or less each day.

So, what are you waiting for? If you missed day one, no worries! Just join us for day two and then keep on going. I want to help you crush your goals this year. If fitness is one of them, take this challenge… it’s a bite-sized step toward a much bigger goal. You’ll find the daily plan under the video.

Oh, and leave me a comment as well. I’d like to know if you’re in!

Plank Challenge

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The Challenge of not being Pro-Trump in the South

InaugurationI have a confession to make. I did not vote for Donald Trump. Many of you already know this. I haven’t tried to hide it. I find myself surrounded by friends, family, church family and community who, for the most part, are very pro-Trump and very vocal about it.

The problem arises when it is assumed that I feel the same way.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I did not vote for Trump because not only do I believe he lacks the skill set necessary to be an effective leader, but he possesses none of the qualities scripture directs me to look for in a leader. I base this on his past and present words and actions. Some might consider me wrong for “judging” him, but when scripture tells us that we will know people by their fruits, isn’t it then insinuating that we are expected to judge. When it comes to leadership, we are given specific criteria on which to evaluate the leaders we choose.

I’m shocked Christians voted for him; dismayed Evangelical leaders endorsed him. Click To Tweet

Frankly, I’m shocked that so many Christians were able to vote for him, and dismayed that Evangelical leaders endorsed him.

Before I go much further, let me also say, I did not want Hillary Clinton in the White House, and didn’t vote for her either. Sadly, I feel they have more in common than most people realize. A brief review of Mr. Trump’s political past shows that he has been liberal, then conservative, then liberal, then conservative… His politics and “principles” seem to change whenever and however it is most beneficial for him.

Did I want a liberal judge appointed to the bench? No. We have strayed so far from the principles this country was founded on already. But, abortion shouldn’t be the only topic Christians use to evaluate a leader. There are other commandments – nine of them, in fact. I realize no one is perfect, but I would like to see a little distance from some of the more blatant acts of willful disobedience, and perhaps some remorse as well, from a Presidential candidate.

Our morals have been eroded, and Christians – who amazingly comprise 80% of the U.S. Population according to census records – are persecuted for practicing their spiritual beliefs in public; as if we could compartmentalize God to one day of the week, and one event. To have a relationship with God means that He is a part of every facet of your life. He is wherever you are, whenever you are there. Yet our society seems to think we should only worship in private so that we don’t “offend” people who hold different beliefs.

There is an overwhelming abundance of evidence that Mr. Trump lies, repeatedly and often. Click To Tweet

I understand Mr. Trump has promised to end persecution of Christians, and make sure preachers can teach what they believe from the pulpit. I hope he keeps his word. But there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence that Mr. Trump lies, repeatedly and often, when it helps his cause.

If you tell me he is a great businessman, and that gives him the ability to lead the country, I will remind you that some of his wealth came from Trump University, where many unsuspecting people were robbed of their money and their future to increase the size of his bank account. He retains some of his wealth by avoiding taxes because of business losses from numerous companies he ran that went bankrupt. I can only hope that he does not bankrupt our country and steal the finances and futures of the people he has now been elected to serve.

He still has not divested himself of his multiple businesses and, in fact, in his first official press conference, his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, “plugged” the Trump Hotel – clearly a conflict of interests.

Parks Service Twitter deactivated for posting pictures of inauguration attendance. Click To Tweet

The National Parks Service Twitter account was deactivated by the Interior Department for posting pictures and numbers associated with inauguration attendance. It has been restored now, and they apologized for the “mistaken retweets” on the account. The problem is, the mistake appeared to be that they contradicted the president, not that the tweets were inaccurate. The pictures obviously paint a different picture than Mr. Trump would like us to believe. In fact, he and his Press Secretary both stated that attendance estimates were a lie, and produced figures of transit use, and talked about television viewers and in fact all viewers, being higher than any other inauguration period.

Trump boasts 11 million more viewers than Obama in 2013, but in 2009, there were 7 million more! Click To Tweet

The pictures tell a different story. The official transit records show much smaller numbers for this year than 4 years ago, and Nielson states that this year’s inauguration had the 5th largest viewing audience, not the largest. And although the 2017 inauguration had nearly 31 million viewers, the 2009 inauguration had nearly 38 million.

In Sean Spicer’s press conference/speech, he blasted the news media for reporting lies, and suggested what they should be covering instead, and even stated they would “hold the press accountable” – a reference to outcries about Mr. Trump saying what he pleases on his Twitter account, no matter how blatantly incorrect or inflammatory or self-aggrandizing it is.

Mr. Trump describes the news media as 'among the most dishonest human beings on earth.' Click To Tweet

At his CIA speech, Mr. Trump lied about the inaugural attendance, and blamed the news media for the fabricated bad relationship he had with the intelligence community. You may recall that during the election, Mr. Trump compared the intelligence community to Nazi Germany for investigating his ties with Russia. In the CIA speech Mr. Trump described the news media as “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” and “we caught them in a beauty” referring to the “lie” about inauguration attendance.

Kellyanne Conway defends Spicer's and Trump's lies as 'alternative facts'. Click To Tweet

This morning, Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer and Mr. Trump, saying he didn’t state a falsehood, but merely used “alternative facts”.

To start off the first full day in office with lies from the President, and his press secretary, and then to have them defended as “alternative facts” by his top Counselor is not just disturbing, it’s downright scary.

So, about the inauguration… I thought Melania Trump was lovely. Yes, I immediately saw the similarity to Jacquie Kennedy’s outfit, and thought it was a great choice on her part. I liked the fact that the entire first family participated in the parade. I thought our local Russellville High School Marching Band did a terrific job in the parade. But, please don’t ask me what I thought about Mr. Trump’s inaugural address. You probably don’t want to know.

Pray for our nation... we seem to be entering a very dark time indeed. Click To Tweet

No, I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Yes, he is my president. And yes, I’m deeply concerned for this country that I love. I pray I’m wrong, and am just reading too much into everything… but most of all, I pray for our nation, because we seem to be entering a very dark time indeed.

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be amazing

Be amazing today!

#MorningMotivation

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Difference Between Where You Are & Where You Want to Be

excuse differenceI’m enjoying some time away at a Minister’s Conference in Hot Springs this weekend. This is a quote from one of today’s speakers.

Think about your own life… where you are now… where you would like to be instead. Now ask yourself: “What is holding me back?”

Probably, what is holding you back is an excuse.

Maybe like Moses, you can’t speak well (so God told him to take Aaron along).

It’s actually ironic that illustration was the first to come to my mind. I have been battling this “speaker” label. I have spoken. And, I’m actually pretty good at speaking. People tell me I have a pleasant speaking voice. I’m very detail oriented, so if you give me a topic, I will do the research and have the facts to back up my point of view. I’m also a better than average writer.

I call myself a speaker, yet I’m just as apt to tell you that I’m not a speaker, depending on the circumstances.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it depends on the circumstances. And it also depends on what I tell myself.

I’ve already chosen my One Word for 2017 (faithful). If I hadn’t, I would chose the word BOLD or BOLDNESS. This word has been spoken many times during this conference, and it speaks to me personally.

It’s time to stop referring to myself as a “wall flower”. It’s time to be bold.

The truth is, I am a speaker… and I’m actually a pretty darn good speaker.

And, I know better than to use the words I AM in conjunction with something I don’t want to be true. Those are powerful words. They have an almost magic quality of coming true.

So, this year, I will be faithful in the words I speak AND I will also be bold. I will speak boldly, and act boldly and face the year and my circumstances unafraid. The future is bright with promise, and I won’t let any excuses stand in my way.

What are some of the excuses you are going to give up this year? No time? No money? No talent?

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