I might just be falling in like…


Emmy is getting to me. It’s not just her nose kisses, or the way she follows me around like I’m the most important person in the her world, more the way she’s filling in the vacancy in my heart left by my Buddy. Completely different to him, not trying to walk in his footsteps (muddy pawprints, I mean) she’s just Emmy. Bob and I sit on the porch in the evening and marvel at her energy, where just a few days ago we cringed. We have taken to inviting her up on the couch in the evening and onto our bed partway through the night. Emmy is learning a lot of new things, and being the incredibly intelligent breed that she is, it seems too easy sometimes.

Call me crazy, but I’ve been praying about Emmy and us. I believe God cares about all the details of my life… even the dog. So, I asked him to help me, to let me see some improvement (or not) in Emmy that would help my decision making process and get me off the fence of indecision. God works in mysterious ways, as they say, and I’ve found that listening to various experts and applying knowledge and paying attention and seeing success is God’s way of saying, “This is going to be OK. Really!”

For example, after watching ‘The Dog Whisperer’ the other night, I decided to use Cesar’s techniques to teach Emmy some boundaries and respect at our front door. I took command of the space in front of the closed door first, then standing up straight with my chest puffed out, head upright, and a serious ‘Cesar-esque’ look on my face, I opened the door and Emmy… didn’t bolt!!! So, I promptly exited said door and stood on the front landing, and Emmy… didn’t bolt! She laid down and looked at me. Then I called her to me and told her to sit, and she did and Emmy… didn’t bolt! This is the same dog that we’ve been holding back from the front door since day one, the same dog that has bolted on several occasions across the road into our senior neighbour’s yard. Too good to be true, I’m thinking. But I continued to do this same routine with Emmy several more times yesterday and again today and Emmy… stayed put!!!

If you’ve never watched Cesar Milan and witnessed his techniques of dog rehabilitation and obedience training, you should. He is a miracle worker in the dog world. He can fix any dog, any problem… and most problems (interestingly enough) are with the dog owners lack of being a strong pack leader! And after my success with being the boss at the front door, it appears that some of Cesar’s miracles can be recreated at home, despite the disclaimer on his show stating, “Do not attempt these techniques without a professional trainer.”

So, with some successful bike rides apres Emmy, some bonding times, crate training for ‘zooloo times’, stronger leadership, and some indication that she is beginning to fit into the rhythm of our lives, I find my heart softening and I might just be falling in like with her. And I’m OK with that.

Now I really should email all the wonderful local dog training people whose shoulders I’ve cried on, to explain where I’m at now with Emmy. Sounds like I’ve almost made up my mind… on the cutie who is asleep at my feet while I sit in my favourite writing chair and write. A perfect moment the fulfills my vision of my life with dog. Dog as companion, dog as added value to a balanced family life.

Perhaps not so ‘ruff’ after all. Thank you Cesar. Thank you God.

Lesley-Anne

A screen fast for Lent?


As I begin to write this, I’m completely aware of the corrective words of Jesus to his disciples regarding praying in public places in loud voices, rather than praying in private. And his words about fasting with long faces so that everyone can see and know what they are about. It seems that the Pharisees (religious leaders) of the day were making a scene to draw attention to themselves, rather than keeping what they were doing between them and God. And Jesus did not approve one bit, and warned his disciples to not follow suit.

So, I have to preface this post by giving notice that when and if I do a ‘screen fast’ or any other kind of fast, I will proceed privately between God and I. I will not blog about the process. There will be signs that I’m not online, but that is all. The details will remain private.

Presenting the idea now is simply to allow you to consider it for yourself.

Lent is a rather new concept for me, as I didn’t grow up with it, and I haven’t focused on it in my adult life either. But, at this time of the year, Lent is practiced by many devout followers of Jesus, who for the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, choose to turn away from the distractions of the world and worldly pleasures, and draw closer to Christ. Lent 2010 begins next week on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010.

Not only is Lent about abstaining from certain activities, foods, or whatever you personally choose to remove from your life, Lent is also about what you choose to do with the time that has been opened up with the removal of these things. In Isaiah 58:1-12, Christ teaches that ‘fasting’ without works of charity does us no good. Fasting is also about devoting time to prayer and solitude with God, learning more about him, spending time with him. For example, if fasting my lunchtime meal is what I choose to do, then each lunchtime I would feel the physical trigger of hunger pangs, which would remind me to turn my thoughts toward God in prayer.

When I look at my own life and the values I profess to have, and compare that to how I spend my time and what takes up a large portion of my day, I can’t help but acknowledge that the ‘screen’ is where I’m drawn to most often. Not to my bible, not to my knees, but to my screen. Whether that’s to connect with friends, family, teachers by email, or blogging, or checking my blog stats, or my facebook, or doing important research, or writing new poems or stories, that’s where I go, A LOT. Whenever I have a spare minute, with very little structure or parameters, I walk around the corner to my computer desk and click, click, click. And, without being completely aware of it, I’m there for long periods of time.

So, it makes sense to me that to fast something in my life that might even hold some power over me, it would have to be my computer.

For you it could be texting, eating certain foods, television, shopping, talking on the phone, or whatever you feel could or should go.

40 days is a long time. I took time out from my computer once before, over a year ago, for a month. And that was difficult. People didn’t understand. I felt cut off. I felt disappointed that phone calls didn’t take the place of emails. I didn’t do it then for the primary purpose of seeking God, but for the purposes of breaking the hold the computer had over me. And, here I am recognizing that the mesmerizing white glow of the screen might just have me in it’s grasp one more time. And if I say I value Jesus over all, then my life had better show that singleness of heart and action.

A blog I read occasionally has some great steps to prepare for a ‘screen fast’. I will print them out today and give serious consideration. And then, I will choose.

Logging off for now,

Lesley-Anne