Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category

I’m Thankful For My Dog

Posted: November 30, 2013 in Attitude
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Callie, 2 months old, 5 pounds, June 2010

Callie, 2 months old, 5 pounds, June 2010

Those who know me well and those with whom I’m connected on Facebook are very familiar with my love for my dog, Callie. I’ve always been a dog person from as early as I can remember. Most of my nearly 57 years have seen a canine companion at my side.

When my previous dog, Bonnie, passed away, I promised my wife one full year of not having a dog just so we could experience all the seasons, travel and life experiences without the added responsibility of a dog for a year. We ended up going for two years before we found Callie. It was a long two years where I went every week without fail to a pet store or animal shelter to look at pups. It was on one of those weekly visits that we saw Callie in a bin with her more aggressive sibling. She fell asleep in minutes cuddled up with Linda, and I knew at that moment who our next companion would be. We’ve had her for 3.5 years now and she is a treasure.

always by me, if not always awake

always by me, if not always awake

Of all the dogs I’ve had in my life, I’ve never had one with whom I shared a relationship like I have with Callie. When I am home, we are inseparable (unless Linda is cooking in the kitchen, in which case Callie hangs around her in hopes of some food dropping on the floor). When I go from one room to the next, she goes with me – even to the bathroom. When I go to bed, she either lays on the floor by me or crawls under the bed below me and usually stays there until my alarm goes off. When I’m in my favorite recliner at the end of my sectional sofa in the basement, she is on the next section beside me or trying to get between my laptop and me.

No day is complete in her mind unless we throw the Frisbee in the back yard and take a long walk. It helps that I have a daily step goal of at least 10,000 steps (about five miles). Callie is guaranteed to get in 2-4 miles a day walking with me, depending on how many steps I need to reach 10,000 for the day. Her other favorite ritual is to have me chase her around the basement yelling, clapping my hands and roaring at her while she dashes in a big circle around the room. I hope the neighbors can’t hear me.

No return home is complete without Callie being at the door waiting for me and then nearly bursting out of her skin with excitement when I arrive. She goes nuts, whether I’m returning from a full day at work or a short shopping trip. It serves as the appropriate bookend to my leaving for work when she will sit at the door watching in stillness as I drive away until I’m out of sight. My wife tells me that Callie whimpers and whines if I go out into the yard or to the car to do something without her for a moment, disappearing for a while from her sight.

CallieDashing

always ready for a walk or run

Callie is pretty good at obeying me. She quickly learned the basic commands and does them for me – come, give, sit, stay, down, up, get your ball/bone/chain/Frisbee, etc. – using either my spoken commands or hand motions. She may or may not perform when others give the commands. She’s a smart Border Collie, Labrador mix (a Borador) that we haven’t trained nearly as much as we could have. I had visions of using her as a therapy dog and she would be a sweet dog for that, but we didn’t train her enough to keep her as settled down and under control as a therapy dog would need to be visiting the sick or elderly. She is perfectly behaved around my 2-year-old granddaughter, although the wagging tail is about face-high to my granddaughter right now, but that will change soon.

From the first days of having her when she was two months old, I’ve intentionally tried to socialize her by walking her toward other people and dogs. She knows no stranger and is willing to befriend anyone or any dog unless they give her a reason not to do so. On those walks, she’ll gladly run with me for as long as I want to run as long as it’s not too hot outside – she doesn’t handle summer heat very well for long. Otherwise, she’ll walk with me for as long as I want to be out.

Some people let their dogs lick them and some don’t. I do, and Callie gives me more kisses in a day than probably all of my previous dogs did combined. If I’ve slept on my couch and am waking up, Callie hops up, lays down on my chest, puts one paw on either side of my head and kisses until I stop her. In that position she’ll also take one paw and gently stroke my face a few times which is sweet, but I have to stop that quickly for fear of a claw leaving its mark.

SharingFries-small

time to share some drive-through French fries

Callie is a trusting dog and would let me wash her, brush her, check out some injury or treat her if needed without putting up a fuss. The back seat of my PT Cruiser is covered with a dog hammock where she willingly rides whenever and wherever I ask, running to her door to jump in whenever I say “Let’s go for a ride.” We usually share a large order of French fries whenever we go through some fast food drive-through, but that isn’t too often for health and calorie reasons.

As I started writing this post, she was taking a nap beside me with one paw stretched out to touch me. Now she’s laying on my feet. Typical.

Not a day goes by that I don’t look at Callie and marvel at how a human and a dog – two incredibly different species – can not only coexist but actually have a genuine, deep, loving relationship with one another. That may sound freaky or weird to some, but to me it is an incredible joy and gift that brings happiness to every day in spite of the hassles of cleaning up after her, letting her out many times a day, vet bills and occasional sickness. Some days a nice hug and time with Callie is just what the doctor ordered for me to relieve some stress and make things right.

I don’t know if God plans on having dogs in heaven when he brings about his re-created heaven and earth the Bible speaks of at some point in the future. I don’t see why not since animals were a part of his perfect creation to start with. Why wouldn’t a perfect re-creation have them as well? If that’s the case, I know which of all my animals past and present I’d like to scamper around with for eternity – Callie. Whether or not that happens, I am incredibly thankful for the years we enjoy each other now. There is a reason why dogs are known as man’s best friend.

Thank you, God, for my dog.

friendsMy Facebook profile says that I have 353 friends. My LinkedIn profile claims 614 connections. I think we all know the number of true friends among those is barely double digits. I am thankful for many great relationships with colleagues past and present, with so many people from my years growing up in Winchester, Kentucky that I’m still in contact with, and with those other friends from churches and elsewhere gained along the way that are truly special people in my life.

There is a difference between being an acquaintance and being a friend. With acquaintances, you may go long periods of time without contact and be just fine with that. In fact, cold as it sounds, you can take or leave most acquaintances. You’re cordial when together and perhaps enjoy the company, but they really aren’t an ongoing part of your life, so if circumstances change and you never meet or cross paths again, it doesn’t really matter.

Friends, of course, are different. You think about friends and anticipate the next time you’ll be together. Friends build on histories together and have key events that get remembered, shared repeatedly, and woven into the fabric of their combined life story. Friends enjoy being together whether there is a lot of talk and chatter or whether there is mostly quiet. With friends, a good time isn’t defined by what happens as much as it is by who is present. Friends expect you to be yourself even with your oddities and shortcomings. Friends forgive you; they don’t hold grudges. Friends come to your aid of their own accord when you’re down or down on your luck. They give without any expectation of return. They comfort you, challenge you, defend you, encourage you. Friends make you laugh at life and at yourself. The thought of a good friend brings a smile to your face.

I count myself fortunate to have friends that go back to high school days. I may not see them in person very often, but Facebook has been an avenue of keeping those relationships alive. I’m thankful for friends I’ve had since college – relationships formed in that critical period of life that have withstood the test of time. I’m thankful for dear friends I’ve gained through churches where I’ve served on the ministerial staff or been a member. I’m thankful for the added bonus of some work relationships turning into friendships that outlive working together at a company. I’m thankful for those special, closest friends where conversations just seem to pick up wherever we left off regardless of how much time has separated our being together.

We don’t need a lot of friends in our lives, but we do need some. I am thankful for all the special people in my life that I call friend.

Thank you, God, for my friends.

AmericanFlagI’m thankful for my country. Being born and raised in the United States, and having only visited several other countries in a couple of other continents for short periods, it is natural for me to love my own country. It is not perfect by any wild stretch of the imagination, and with each passing year come many trends that give me deep concern for our future. As a conservative Christian, it is obvious that society isn’t adopting beliefs and practices I hold dear. In fact, it seems to be abandoning them consistently year by year in a majority of its citizenship and certainly in its leadership.

Those trends worry me. I fear what society will look like in a generation or two. I ache at what younger generations will face after I’m gone. But that is no reason to stop loving, respecting, appreciating and being the best citizen I can be in a country that is by all measures historically remarkable.

I am deeply appreciative of those who took incalculable risks many generations ago to lay the foundation for what we have in the U.S. today. I’m thankful for men and women past and present who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. I’m thankful for the freedom to worship my God without fear of persecution as some of my brothers and sisters in the faith in other countries experience (although I believe the U.S. will one day unfortunately follow suit in the name of political correctness). I’m thankful that the country provides great opportunity for those willing to work hard and earn a comfortable living. I’m thankful to live in a safe neighborhood, city, region and state compared to what so many around the world experience daily just trying to get by in war-torn, poverty-stricken areas. I’m thankful for the ability to protect myself (although I also think this right will gradually be taken away). I’m thankful for the beauty of this land and its 50 states, 46 of which I’ve visited through the years.

We are a nation deeply divided in many ways. We have much to overcome that can only be overcome by willingly working together and caring for one another while working hard as though we expect nothing from anyone else.

I’ve never know a perfect human and I’ve never known a perfect country, but as countries go, I’ll take mine with a grateful heart.

Thank you, God, for my country.

I’m Thankful For My Home

Posted: November 27, 2013 in Attitude
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image from revgalblogpals.blogspot.com

image from revgalblogpals.blogspot.com

We’ve lived in our current home for 25 years. It’s a modest Cape Cod home in St. Matthews (Louisville), Kentucky. Our boys were young when we purchased it and have long since moved away. We finished the basement in 2000 to have a nice hangout for our sons’ friends and thoroughly enjoyed the years when it was filled nightly with lots of teenagers and college students. Of course, the basement is my man cave now and where my dog and I spend most of our time. Last year we made other major upgrades to the kitchen and upstairs that will serve us well for a long while to come.

A couple of years ago we made an attempt to move to downtown Louisville closer to our work and church, but we were unable to sell our house at the time (largely due to the kitchen and upstairs needing updates) and finally gave up on that idea in favor of sprucing up our current place. In all likelihood, this is where we will remain for the foreseeable future, and we’re both fine with that.

I could be content in all kinds of different homes, large or small. I could even be content in one of the tiny little micro homes you may have seen in the news lately. I guess that’s why I didn’t mind traveling for work years ago and living in hotel rooms about three weeks per month while doing so. That was enough room for me. I can’t stand clutter, so I’d be happy to give away at least half of everything in our house, probably more. In fact, I’d be pretty content just having my basement of our current house, but it would look a little silly without the main and second floors above it. It’s safe to say that I do not measure success or contentedness by the size of my house or the quantity of its contents.

What makes it a great home, though, is that it’s a haven. It’s peaceful. I can sit in my favorite recliner in my man cave surrounded by things that fill my days and evenings. I can connect to or disconnect from the world as I wish via whatever communications channel I choose. I can throw the Frisbee with my dog, watch the little critters come and go from the back yard, read a book, surf the Web, talk with my wife, soak in the Jacuzzi, sip my favorite beverage or entertain guests. I can walk to a nearby park or places of business. I can sit on the patio or on the front porch and see a street full of younger families with little children and their dogs playing.

It’s a good home. It fits us. A quarter of a century ago when we moved here, we were among the youngest families on the block. Now we’re the undisputed oldest couple on the block. That’s OK. It’s nice to be surrounded by the sounds of kids playing.

In a world where so many don’t have a decent place to live, I am truly thankful to have this home as my haven. It is more than enough.

Thank you, God, for my home.

I’m Thankful For My Work

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Attitude
Tags: , ,

Choose A Job You Love“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

I work hard. I work long hours. I can’t remember a year in recent memory where I didn’t average more than 50 hours per week for my job. But I love what I do, and I am happy to voluntarily sit in my favorite recliner at home in the evening  – drink on one side and dog on the other – and churn out some things for work because I love doing it. I don’t mind coming in early or staying late.

Many of us spend more waking hours at work than at home. How awful would it be to not like what you do, to dread being there, or to always be wishing your circumstances were different? Fortunately, that isn’t the case with me. Sure, there are times when I get tired and need a break. There are regular frustrations that come with the territory and the aggravations of large corporate life. But those are thorns on the bouquet and not worthy of my focus.

I am thankful for my work for several reasons:

  • It is enjoyable.
  • It forces me to keep learning.
  • It is cutting edge.
  • It makes a difference to many thousands of individuals and to a Fortune 100 company.
  • I get to share my work days with wonderful colleagues.
  • I work for a company that treats me fairly, that allows me to reinvent myself every few years, and that I believe in.
  • I work for a manager and senior leadership that I respect and trust.
  • My company offers constant, helpful initiatives to improve the well-being of associates in the areas of health, security, purpose and belonging.

How could I not like such a circumstance? I would not have celebrated my 10th anniversary a few months ago if my work was not a very good fit for who I am, what I’m passionate about, good at, and eager to continue for the foreseeable future. I probably have another ten or so years of full-time work ahead of me. I expect to be quite content to continue doing what I’m doing for a long while to come.

Work is an honorable thing. Doing one’s best is what I expect from myself and from others. To be in a situation where doing so is both a challenge and a pleasure is a treat that not everyone is fortunate to experience, so I am grateful for my work situation every day. In a time when so many people are out of work, my appreciation is even greater.

Thank you, God, for my work.