kindness

When I think about living a life filled with abundance, I cannot imagine that life without animals. I have been an animal lover my whole life. I started out with goldfish (that cost about $.05 a piece and lasted about a day) and added two tiny turtles I named “NoNo” and “SoSo.” They lasted quite a while.

At 5 I begged for and was granted a cat named Kitty Gray. A string of cats followed, as well as a German Shepherd/Collie mixed puppy who was stolen.

I always wanted a horse and my husband bought one for me. However, because I had 3 young children, I didn’t have enough time to spend with her, so I gave her away to a horse friend who lived on a farm.

At one time, our family had 2 hamsters, 2 parakeets, a beta fish, a cat, a horse and 3 dogs. I was in heaven! The photo in the header above is our current dogs, 2 Rough Collie puppies and a long coat German Shepherd.

However, animals cost money. There are food expenses and veterinary bills. In the case of my horse there was a monthly boarding fee as well as the farrier fees.

I don’t care how much you love animals, if you cannot afford or are unable (or unwilling) to take care of them, then you should not have them.

This brings me to the reason for this blog post today. The news is reporting that a man in South Carolina had at least 3 dogs (rough collies) and 29 Arabian horses who were matted, malnourished and sick. One of the horses was dead.

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From the Examiner:

South Carolina resident Ron Hevener seems to have lived a charmed life. According to his biography on his official website, Hevener owns “one of the oldest dog show kennels in the U.S.” and he’s both an artist and a licensed racehorse trainer, but according to WLTX.com, the Calhoun County resident is now facing multiple counts of “ill treatment of animals,” dogs and horses.

The Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers told WLTX that in April, someone tipped them off about the malnourished horses on his farm on Doodle Hill Road in St. Matthews. The officers found a dead horse and a veterinarian determined that other horses were in need of immediate care.

Photographs taken by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department show the horses have back and hip bones clearly protruding. Hevener was charged with eight counts of ill-treatment and given a plan to bring the animals back to a healthy condition but by 12 May 2015, the deputies returned to the farm and found that the animals were still suffering. Hevener was arrested and 29 of his horses were seized. County animal control officers, the Humane Society and the Arabian Rescue Mission are caring for the horses, but Collie Rescue of the Carolinas is taking on the three dogs.

As an animal lover, this just breaks my heart.

If you would like to donate to the Collie Rescue, go HERE.

If you would like to donate to the Arabian Rescue, go HERE.

Animals become a part of your family and should be treated with love. Kindness isn’t just for humans.

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marriage

I thought long and hard about writing this blog post. Mostly, because I’ve only been married for 19 years and who am I to give advice?

I’ve seen marriages break up after 25 and 30 years, and I’ve always wondered, “What was it that they couldn’t get past?”

A friend from college had a best friend who’s parents he described as “the perfect couple.” Indeed, they had been together since high school and seemed to be very loving and affectionate every time I saw them. They both seemed very happy. Then one day, after 27 years together, he asked her for a divorce. He’d fallen in love with another woman, someone he worked with and after almost 3 decades of marriage, it was over.

I thought my cousin had the perfect marriage. They too had been together since high school. I always looked to them as the ideal of what I wanted my marriage to be like. However, what I didn’t know was that he was an alcoholic and it was destroying their marriage and family. Ultimately, it led to the demise of the marriage and him.

Divorce is an ugly thing. It destroys families, even when there are no children involved, the hurt and pain is obvious.

Look at the Bobby Flay/Stephanie March divorce drama going on right now. It’s gotten so ugly that she’s claiming her tasting his food warrants a bigger settlement and he’s claiming her health problems are from a boob job (he probably wanted her to get in the first place).

Then there’s Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford and her ex-husband’s mess. She had to be court-ordered to put him on her youngest child’s birth certificate, then had her lawyer send a tip to the U.S. government that he was a drug-dealing terrorist. Since he was a German citizen, this “tip” automatically got his visa revoked. Kelly thought that meant she would get full custody of the children and cut him out of their lives for good. Turns out, courts don’t like people to alienate children from the other parent and ruled he could take the children to live with him in Europe and Kelly could visit.

Now she’s throwing a fit because her children are not with her.

All of this is to point out that whether or not children are involved, divorce is ugly with a capital U. Marriage should not be taken lightly and in the words of some wedding vows:

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is [an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is]* commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Marriage is not a white dress or a big elaborate party, it’s a very serious undertaking and it’s not for the faint of heart. Marriage may be described as a rose garden, but roses have thorns and you have to get around those thorns to get to the beauty of the flowers.

One of the tips from the Blue Zones is staying married and having a family. So how do you do it? How do you stay married when at times all you want to do is strangle your spouse?

Michael Hyatt wrote a piece on protecting your marriage. He had some great tips such as not flirting with someone of the opposite sex, not traveling with someone of the opposite sex and not even having a meal alone with someone of the opposite sex and always speaking highly of your spouse. You can read that article here.

I have often recommended Stormie Omartian’s book, “Power of a Praying Wife.” It really turned my thinking around about how to approach my marriage and any problems that might pop up. You can find that book on Amazon:

I use this book every morning (along with the Praying Parent book). It has helped me more times than I can count.

The biggest takeaway I have is that we need to be responsible for our own happiness and not expect it from others. Like everything else in life, you cannot change another person, you can only change how you react to it and change yourself.

You chose this path. You chose this person. You chose this marriage.

Do whatever it takes to hang in there and make it the best marriage you possibly can. Stop thinking about fair, or past mistakes and grievances and focus on what YOU can do to be the best, most attractive and supportive spouse you can be.

And leave the rest to God.

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goalslist

Do you have a lifetime goals list? You should!

Years ago, I made a 100 things I want to do before I die and never looked at it again. You know what? Years later when I saw that list, I had done almost half of them.

Isn’t that incredible?

Jack Canfield recently wrote a blog post about making a 101 Lifetime Goals list. Here is an excerpt:

Experts on the science of success know that the brain is a goal-seeking organism. Whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work night and day to achieve it.

However, one goal isn’t good enough. Some goals take longer to achieve than others – and if you spend years working toward only one objective, you’re likely to get discouraged when it doesn’t happen right away.

But when you have a long list of goals you’d like to achieve, you have more to strive for, and more opportunities to check those goals off your list. And the rush you feel every time you check one of those goals off the list will inspire you to accomplish even more of them!

What goals do YOU want to achieve in your lifetime?

Make a list of 101 goals you’d like to achieve in your life. Be as specific as possible. Include details such as when they will happen, where they will happen, how much you’ll make, what model you’ll buy, what size it will be, and so on.

Keep your goals somewhere you can review them often. You might want to put them on a deck of 3”x5” cards you shuffle through every morning, on a poster or piece of paper you hang on the wall beside your computer, or in a book you read each night before you fall asleep. By keeping them top of mind, you’ll be more likely to make them a reality.

And every time you achieve one of your goals, check it off the list and celebrate what you’ve managed to accomplish in your life!

I keep a vision board beside my bed with the things I want to accomplish, as well as places I want to go. This is a great visual reminder of your goals list.

As Jack said, make the list, be specific and put a time limit on it.

My husband did this about 6 months ago and was amazed how quickly life arranged itself to help him accomplish his goals.

You can do it too! Make your list today and start living the life of your dreams!

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