Love from a Man’s Best Friend

For one reason or another I was checking my Facebook today and I happened to click a link that told a story about a Veterinarian who was wrestling with the decision of whether or not to put down his own dog. His dog was already 15 years old and it was discovered that he had some small internal bleeding that would escalate into a larger issue. At that point there was nothing he really could do for his dog except try to give it some good days before it was his time to go. In the end, he decided to put his dog to sleep in order for him to not feel the pain that was coming.

It was a sad story and the thing is that this happens all the time. It’s one of the worst things about being a pet owner. The realization that one day you might have to make a tough decision like that and potentially will have to see your best friend put to sleep. Honestly, I’m not sure what I would do in that situation. Twix is like a son to us. I know it might sound weird if you haven’t been a pet owner but I think if you have owned any kind of pet whether it was a dog, cat, fish, etc, you get this emotional attachment. Your pet is dependent on you, much like a child would be. In my honest opinion, a pet has the potential to be the most loyal thing in your life.

Twix, for example, is always very happy to see us when we come back home from the store or from shopping. He would always come up to the door with a smile on his face and his tail wagging in all sorts of directions. (Maybe I should take that back, with older age he sometimes can be lazy and just wait for us to get to the bedroom before greeting us). He is dependent on us giving him food, water, and love. He seems to know when we’re having bad days and will cuddle with us when that happens. He can be a troublemaker but you just know that he loves you with all his heart.

It makes me sad to think sometimes that I yelled at Twix. For the times that he’s gotten into the trash or barked like a crazy dog at other pets. There were plenty of times but you know thinking about it.. it’s probably not fair to Twix. You have to be able to shrug things off sometimes. You just have to because you never know when that day will come that your friend isn’t by your side.

It might be bold of me to say this but maybe we all need to be more like dogs. Maybe we need to have that unwavering loyalty. Maybe we need to be happy every day and be grateful to see another day. Maybe we need to know when to comfort someone and be there to do that.

Maybe we need to love like a dog.

I think that’s what we need in our everyday life. More love. More smiles. More loyalty. That’s what makes this life worth living. That’s how God meant us to live our lives.

The Sheep and The Shepherd

This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

 

 

Remember Humility

Let me not boast, Lord God, about my accomplishments in your service. What good I have done has been due to your help, grace, and inspiration. Let me be aware of your assistance through fidelity, honesty, courage, and faith. If I am at peace both with myself and with others, it is due mainly to your help in keeping me from bitterness, hate, or jealousy. Let my kindness to others reflect your kindness to me. – Rev William Simmons, CSC

What Matters to God

The following is a letter from a parishioner from the Nativity of Our Lady Catholic Church  in San Luis Obispo, CA that appeared in their August 2010 Sunday Church bulletin. It is in reference to the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We wanted to share it, as we were moved and how it will move you, too. You can read the five most recent bulletins at the church’s website: http://www.nativityslo.org/.

Greg and I have a friend whose garage has a large poster of a sleek red Ferrari, with a caption that reads, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” Our friend has an enormous home, beautifully decorated, and all the “toys” to go with it – a pool, several sports cars, a boat, some jet skis, an airplane, and even another home for vacations. You’d think that his life is full of the joy of play, but of course he has to work extremely hard to pay for all this stuff. And in fact, when he’s not working, our friend spends most of his time MAINTAINING the stuff – cleaning, storing, repairing, painting, and otherwise tending to all of his possessions rather than enjoying them. We rarely see him relaxed.

If that’s winning, I think I’ll pass. And yet, it’s so easy to get caught up in the race to “die with the most toys.” I can’t even hold up our friend as a bad example, because if I had his wealth, I’m afraid that I might also want to collect a lot of fabulous stuff! Perhaps many of us are prone to being like the rich man in today’s gospel from Luke, who builds ever-bigger barns to store all his accumulated “grains and other goods,” only to hear the voice of God calling him to account: “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

The point, of course, is that the one who dies with the most toys … well … DIES. And then someone else gets the toys! True wealth, as Jesus reminds us in this parable, is found in “what matters to “God.” Fortunately, Luke’s gospel names the things that matter to God: prayer, honesty, generosity, mercy, love for the other – qualities that won’t be taken away, but are given to us by God to cherish and share.

Peace,

Deborah Wilhelm – Nativity Parishoner

LCBD: Why Did I Have to Change?

Change: it happens to all of us, and our human nature is to be unsettled by change. However, it seems that everyone preaches “Change is Good!”

When my husband and I met, we had an instant connection.

  • We were Disney lovers, math nerds, Filipino, computer geeks, book fans, gamers (video & board), and best of all, strawberry ice cream lovers…everything he liked, I liked too  –  two peas in a pod! (Later, we would also find out that our parents have the same names!)
  • Of course, we also had our differences. I’m loud, energetic, spontaneous, and talkative; Michael is pensive, calculative, calm, and spares his words. I love the outdoors, and he prefers to stay in. I prefer dogs, he grew up with cats. I’m a die-hard for the Lakers…he roots for the Spurs *shudder* – nevertheless, he’s the Yin to my Yang.

They say that in marriage, or any relationship, there are compromises that are made. As our relationship got more and more serious, I’ll admit my strong-headed temperament allowed for me to make less compromises. I influenced him to open up more, try new things, be spontaneous and for my 22nd birthday, he even got me our precious pup, Twix! So, of course, I figured I would be slowly introducing him to things I loved and he never did; he was slowly start to like, and even love, some of the things I really loved. After all, aren’t relationships supposed to help each other become better versions of themselves? That’s part of why I started “Little Change, Big Difference;” little changes made for the better can make a big difference down the line, for ourselves, others, the whole world. However…

I never thought that I was the one who would have to change.

In August of 2011, Michael and I finally lived in the same city after two years of long distance. I started to feel tired and physically exhausted all the time; my job is a house manager (guest services manager) for a performing arts center, so I worked weird, inconsistent, early/late hours. Naturally, we blamed my hours and the physical aspects on my job were taking a toll. Still, I didn’t really understand or believe it.

I worked entertainment at Disney, sometimes standing up with little relief and wearing heavy equipment for 6-10 hours.From Disney Entertainment, I moved to hospitality in the hotels and the job was surprisingly more demanding than standing the whole shift carrying over 15 lbs of equipment. Those past two jobs were more physically demanding than my house management job, yet I kept having physical pains and started to lose strength in my hands.

By January of 2012, I couldn’t even make a fist with either hand. I knew I had to see a doctor when my hands were so stiff that I had to call Michael to pick me up since I couldn’t grip the wheel. We had to have one of our friends follow Michael while driving my car so it wouldn’t get towed.

In May of 2012, just before my 25th birthday, I met with a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE). Since then, in addition to our 40+ hour jobs, it’s been doctors, labs, testing, and therapy every week, and almost every day, for me and Michael.  Having had been sickly, including severe asthma and allergies, my whole life, I’m fairly used to the process of going to specialists, physical therapists, and emergency clinics.

Today, we’re at two years and almost ten additional diagnoses. We aren’t even sure if we are much closer to a solution to help my illnesses be less disruptive to my work and social life. This is not written to have you pity me, as I do have a wonderful support system through my ever loving husband, my parents, my siblings, and my closest family and dear friends. I have my faith and optimistic attitude that has me rely on God, knowing that everything happens for a reason and that I can get through anything because I have God and my loved ones to help me through it.

Even with how hard I fight to stay healthy and active, I have learned there are many things I would not be able to do again, or should not do again. Yes, a lot of them are things I liked to do: camping, archery, go-karting, laying out in the sun all day. I have recently realized, dealing with this illness was to help slow down in life. I was running at life, at work, at dreams at full throttle and, though I know what is most important are family and friends, I was doing too much.

My illness has changed me, for the better, emphasizing what is important and bringing Michael and I even closer together, which we never thought was really possible, being as close as we already were. Through it all, God was having me to slow down to Michael’s pace and learn to really “stop and smell the roses.I thought I had all the answers: putting God and family first, doing service, appreciating how blessed you are, be God fearing, spread God’s word, do good (yes, good, not well), and always love and forgive.

This just goes to show that God really does work in mysterious ways; if you wanted to make God laugh, show Him your plans. God has helped me to learn how to truly appreciate all the things I enjoy and can do with my husband rather than pushing him to his limits to join me in other things I found fun. I thought I was changing Mike for the better (in my opinion), but God will always be guiding your life: His will be done. What does God want you to do today? How can you change for the better?

God Bless!

Krazy Kree

 

Becoming a Professional

For the past month or so, I’ve been browsing through jobs, and trying to grow my resume. I was startled by my lack of material. As we continue to grow older, we become aware of the plights of the ‘real world’. I’ve come to both appreciate and disdain the financial support I’ve continued to have from my family. Yes, it was nice going through the majority of my college experience without having to penny-pinch, but at the same time, I’ve damned myself as a viable candidate for many employment opportunities. Whereas my college profile is exemplary, my employment history is lackluster. Reasonably so, I was really kicking myself in the behind for it. But, recently, I was given some really good advice from a successful business professional.  He taught me that you should never look at yourself as a less-deserving applicant. His exacts words were, “So, you think the other person should get the job over you?” Of course, to this I passionately replied, “No!” We spoke for nearly an hour on the topic, and I came to realize that half the battle is mental state.

Confidence carries far. You have to learn to sell yourself. The key to any successful business is promotion and marketing. My advice: think of yourself as a business. What’s your objective? Do you want to fail or succeed? If you’re looking for success, then do you want to break-even, or be prosperous? These seemingly simple questions can make the biggest difference. Truth is, many of us don’t necessarily know which direction we want our lives to take, and that’s completely okay. Having a vague goal, is still a goal.

Ask yourself the right questions to get motivated for an interview or even while writing that daunting cover letter. Let your first impression be one that lasts and sets you apart from others. Take a break from your job search rather than spending hours working on applications non-stop, especially if you start seeing that negative mindset rearing its ugly head. Simplify, analyze, realign, and then resume.

One of the keys to the human experience is the interaction that we have with others. I hope that I have been able to help some of you by sharing my thoughts and experience.  I’ll leave you today with a hackneyed quote, “Keep calm, and prosper.”

The 12 Most Tissue-Worthy Wedding Stories Of 2013

Because I just got recently married and I have many friends that are getting married, I find stories like this bring a big smile to my eyes. Nothing beats marrying a person you love but the stories behind these wedding stories just add more icing to the cake. Enjoy!

Credit:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/04/touching-wedding-stories_n_4538976.html

By Stefania Sainato for Bridal Guide

This past year, we profiled extraordinary couples who triumphed and overcame all odds to get married, as well as those who opened their hearts and helped those in need. Their kindness, resilience and unwavering courage serves as a reminder of what’s truly important on the wedding day.

12. Sailor marries high school sweetheart in Reno Airport

After being stationed overseas in Syria, Navy sailor Dylan Ruffer couldn’t stand to waste another moment being apart from Madison Meinhardt — they wanted to get married right away. When he landed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Nov. 19th, he was shocked to realize that his wish had been granted.

His fiancée planned a surprise wedding with the help of airport employees, who were so touched by the couple’s story that they even decorated the reception area for them (which was held at the baggage claim), complete with catering, a cake and a DJ.

 

11. Marine’s sky-high wedding “toast”

Matthew Krivohlavy, currently deployed overseas, couldn’t attend his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas, so the Marine pilot did the next best thing — he taped a video “toast” from the cockpit of his Harrier jet.

Like any fabulous wedding toast, he mentioned how special both the groom and bride (Mandy Takacs) are to him, and he offered memorable wedding advice. At the end of the video, he does a 360-degree roll in the sky!

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10. Dad overcomes stroke in time to walk his daughter down the aisle

Walter Schupp Jr. suffered a massive stroke this past May, just one month before his daughter Victoria Torres’s wedding was scheduled to take place. She and her family members made the difficult choice to have him undergo a highly risky operation. Against all odds, he began to show signs of progress and he learned how to speak and walk again with the help of a walker.

“This was a miracle; he went from nearly dying to walking and talking a little bit in about a month! I got married on June 8th, and I couldn’t have been happier to have my father present and able to walk me down the aisle,” writes Torres.

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9. Paralyzed bride walks down the aisle

When Stevie Beale was just 17 years old, a car accident paralyzed her from the waist down. “[After the accident] I thought I was doomed to my parents’ house, to never have a boyfriend or never get married,” Beale told Today.com.

Seven years later, she fulfilled a promise that she made to herself after she was injured and she walked down the aisle towards her groom, Jared VanAusdale. He “cried like a baby in front of 300 people” when his wife achieved her goal after months of grueling physical therapy sessions.

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8. 92-year-old fulfills lifelong dream

Ruth Sullivan married her husband Norman in 1946, and she never had the chance to wear a grand wedding dress, like she had hoped. Sadly, he passed away in 2004, but throughout their 58-year marriage, Ruth always wondered “What If?”

Thanks to the help of Second Wind Dreams — a foundation whose goal is to change the perception of aging — and David’s Bridal, she enjoyed a fun-filled day trying on beautiful wedding gowns with her loved ones in attendance.

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7. Canceled wedding turns into triumph for the homeless

When Tamara Fowler’s wedding was canceled just 40 days before it was supposed to take place, she and her family didn’t want the 200-guest reception they had already paid for go to waste, so they hosted an event for a homeless charity. The event was named the First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love, and the family hopes to host an even larger event next year.

“She [Tamara] was very delighted to see and know that others had an opportunity to enjoy something rather than just allow it to go to waste,” says Tamara’s mother.

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6. 911 dispatcher saves one couple’s wedding day

Bride Amanda [she declined to publish her last name] had her wedding gown stolenon the morning of her nuptials in Washington, DC. She called 911 to report the theft, and Candice, the dispatcher who answered the call, couldn’t help but sympathize, having gotten married herself just 18 months earlier.

“All I kept thinking was, ‘I have a wedding dress. Maybe she could wear that,” she told Good Morning America. She lent the bride her gown and miraculously, it fit and she was able to walk down the aisle as planned!!

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Photo Credit: Yahoo Shine

5. Triple wedding held in honor of dying mom

Cancer patient Becky Swales always hoped that all three of her daughters would get married. On Oct. 13th, her dream came true when she watched her girls — Sarah, Kaylee, and Jodie — say “I do” in unison. The sisters were already engaged before their mom’s health deteriorated and they decided to wed all at once so that she would be able to experience this life-changing moment with them.

Just 12 hours later, she lost her four-year battle with the disease. Prior to her passing, Dad Otis told FOX5 that she was “the love of my life, so it’s hard, but I’m proud of my daughters.”

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4. A heartwarming father/daughter dance

Rachel Wolf’s father/daughter dance on July 20th was everything she hoped it would be — the only thing missing was a groom to watch on. Her dad, Dr. John Wolf, suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer.

Regretting that he would never get to take part in her big day — yet not wanting to pressure her current boyfriend to propose — she came up with the idea to host a special dance now that she can record and play at her future nuptials someday.

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3. Bride with cancer receives fantasy wedding

After being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, Jen Bulik decided to marry her boyfriend, Jeff Lang, as soon as possible in a low-key ceremony. Pro wedding planner Erica Ota was so moved by their story that she decided to give them a wedding they could only dream about.

With only two weeks to plan, she secured more than $50,000 worth of donations from 65 vendors and the couple got married on July 27th surrounded by family members and friends. Sadly, Bulik lost her battle with cancer in October.

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2. Dad recreates wedding photos with his daughter

Ben Nunery wanted to find a way to remember the happy times that he had shared with his late wife, Ali, who passed away in 2011 from a rare form of lung cancer. So he asked his sister-in-law, Melanie Pace, a professional photographer, to take some photos of him and his three-year-old daughter, Olivia.

Pace shot the couple’s original wedding photos back in 2009 and she was able to recreate some of their favorite snapshots, substituting the bride for Olivia. “I hope that people can see it as evidence of a love that Ali and I shared that is still very deep, [and] that love carries on, and it doesn’t die,” Ben told Today.com.

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1. Boston Marathon bombing victim finds love where he least expects it

James Costello, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing who suffered burns to his arms and legs, could have never anticipated that the worst day of his life would lead to him discovering his soulmate. During his recovery, he fell in love with one of his nurses, Krista D’Agostino, and he proposed to her earlier this month during a European vacation held in honor of the survivors.

“I now realized why I was involved in the tragedy. It was to meet my best friend, and the love of my life,” Costello wrote in a Facebook post.

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The Thank You Project: #195 (Facebook)

As much as I don’t like Facebook since it constantly changes (it’s one of the things that sometimes makes me feel old especially when I can’t find something because they moved the location), it is useful for a lot of different reasons. The biggest one that I want to give thanks for today is connecting with family. Facebook has the ability to connect people across the globe. All you have to do is find each other and you will be able to chat and leave messages for each other easily. You can put whatever level of your life on Facebook and show how you’ve grown up as well. Photo albums for example are very good at showing your memories and Facebook makes it easier to share.

I was able to reconnect with multiple members of my family. First it was some of my family on my adopted father’s side. Facebook allowed me to connect with enough of them that I was able to invite and have them present on my wedding day. That was a true blessing and it’s all due to Facebook.

Recently, some of my biological siblings have found me on Facebook. I couldn’t be more excited since I have not known them for most of my life and I just want to see how they are doing in life and I’d like to share my life with them as well.

It’s hard to fathom that when I was a child, Facebook didn’t exist and it was much harder to connect with others. It is so easy now and even babies have Facebook profiles. So for today’s thank you, I just want to give thanks for the connections that Facebook can provide.

Buy The Milk

Originally seen at: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/faithstories/buythemilk

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had spoken about “listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice.”

The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?” After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray,”God, if you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.”

driving through town at nightAs he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply, so he started on toward home. But again, the thought came to him… buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel, and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. So, he stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street.” This is crazy, he thought, and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will”.

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark, like people were already in bed.

gallon of milkAgain, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.”

Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door and said, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but, if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here.”

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.

The man asked, “What is it?”

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk and said, “Here, I brought this to you,” he said. The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. man holding crying babyThe man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.” His wife in the kitchen yelled out,”I ask him to send an angel with some. Are you an Angel?”

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man’s hand. Then he turned and walked back toward his car and tears were streaming down his face. He knew then that God does still speak to people… and answer prayers.