Magnolia: The Rescue

We adopted the sweetest 8 month old puppy yesterday! Magnolia is believed to be a mix of Great Pyrenees and Australian Shepherd and she is smart, obedient, and fits right in here.

Many of you may remember the loss of our puppy Harmony in June. Harmony was a planned and purchased pet. She was specifically chosen for her breed’s characteristics, and we had a vision for her to become an assistive therapy dog for my counseling practice.

But parvo.

Following Harmony’s loss, we continued to take her sister, Willow, to training which they had started together. Since Jonah, my 10 year old, is Willow’s trainer. I spent my time waiting for them walking through Petsmart and it’s rescue shelter.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to fill Harmony’s spot. I was just curious, but quickly overwhelmed by all of the little faces in cages. Following a difficult puppy-free exit, I began googling and reading more about animal adoption and rescues.

Turns out, Harmony’s breed, Goldendoodle, has a rescue center filled with puppies to seniors, who need homes. The more I looked, I discovered rescues across North Texas and beyond whose sole reason for existing is to identify specific breeds in shelters, rehabilitate them, teach them love and good manners, and then conduct a strict process for rehoming these sweet abandoned pups.

I had no idea.

I will spare you the hundreds of horror stories I encountered, but if you are curious, simply google pet rescues or click on some of the links in this post. There is a rescue for most any breed of dog you can think of and they don’t stop there. Cats, bunnies, donkeys

You name it.

I was heavily convicted about our failure as human race to properly care for the animals with whom we share this planet. I won’t get preachy and have no right at all to judge, but I can tell you, I’m not the same regarding the way I see animal ownership any longer.

From this divinely designed experience, I realized Harmony never really belonged to us, but rather we had the privilege of caring for her and all of the joys, and yes sorrows, that came with that.

We had a hole in our family and in our hearts from the loss of Harmony. Although she can’t be replaced, the truth was we had room for one of these sweet abandoned animals. We have love, hope, and healing that could easily flow out to another little spirit.

Back to Magnolia.

When Magnolia was just a few months old she was found wandering a roadside with broken hip. Thankfully, SPIN rescue organization took her in, paid for the surgery she needed, and nursed her back to health.

Her full story is here.

We spotted Ziggy, now Magnolia, on the SPIN website and inquired. After a long application, home visit, reference and vet checks, we were approved to meet her. Ziggy/Magnolia’s foster mom/rescue/hero brought her to us to ensure our current dog and home was a good fit for her.

Ziggy/Magnolia ran right in the house and found the one toy Harmony had left behind. She won our hearts and said goodbye to her foster mom.

Magnolia is home and we are so grateful.

She was not planned, we have no experience with this breed, and the timing is not logical with school starting tomorrow. Still, I am confident she was meant for our family. She rescued us!

Side note:

Interestingly, today is Clear the Shelters day in North Texas. This means adoption fees are waived and many pets will be adopted. Knowing what I do now about the return and discard rate following these types of events, my prayer is that the right furever families show up for these animals today.

If you are looking for a pet, I would love to share what I’ve learned about adopting a rescue. Magnolia is house trained, slept through the night, is incredibly loving, and has been a perfect addition to our family. She has a bit of recovery left on her hip but we’ve already ordered YL Sulfurzyme and Animalscents Mendwell to help support that process!

Here are some other rescues we worked with to find our furever pup:

Allie’s Haven

Doodle Rock Rescue

Doodle Dandy Rescue

Running Lessons: Planning

The school year is upon us and our family schedules are changing.

During vacation months, I enjoy the time with my kids but simultaneously want more order and structure. So, the end of the summer is generally both sad and exciting for me. See, the fall quickly provides that structure in which I thrive, but it also creates an empty house.

As my family heads back to school, my daily company becomes Willow our black lab. I see clients on weekends and attend classes for my doctoral program in the evening, making my schedule opposite to that of my people.

Wellness will require some planning. Less sugar for healthy bodies, warm potted meals due to less produce and prep-time, and supporting immune systems and spirits with warm scents of Young Living Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Thieves. Even when I’m gone I can leave these investments for my family.

Running during this season is a perfect reminder for how to adapt.

The trees lead by example and remind me to change gracefully, conserve energy, and shed unnecessary attachments. The cooler temps remind me to add useful layers and purpose to connect with others to stay warm. Rising heat in the afternoons, remind me that the summer will be back sooner than I expect.

Time.

Next week, I will begin taking later morning runs and eating earlier dinners. Both will be alone, as I we all complete another semester.

I am preparing my heart for this gift. I know it’s exactly what we need. Still, I am grieving another summer, another year with my small but growing boy and the young lady who is no longer little. Meanwhile, celebrating and still missing the oldest whose away at college. I know time can’t stand still, but I wonder if has to go so fast?

Gratitude and praise.

Here’s to another school year. May it bring friendships, knowledge, health, opportunities for service and a gentle practice of training through change.

How are you preparing for fall?

Running Lessons- Don’t run alone.

Accountability is one of the many reasons for this series. I’ve committed to run and write about running and the life that follows. Although this has been a great practice to keep me both consistently moving, thinking, and writing, I can’t help but be grateful for the person with whom I am running this race.

On long runs, I follow my husband. I learned this practice several years ago. Honestly, it was in the practice of running that has God shown me how to follow my husband.

Tom’s top five Gallup Strengths are Empathy, Harmony, Communication, Arranger, & Maximizer. Mine are Strategic, Restorative, Input, Achiever & Intellection. You might say he’s all heart and connection, and I’m head and execution in this marriage, but that wouldn’t be completely true.

With Restorative qualities, I also have a deep desire to heal what’s broken in the world and with Arranger and Maximizer strengths he loves his work as a public educator and leader.

We are both soft and steel; we are murky-deep and still transparent. Our strengths characterize how we make things happen, but our passions dictate which things.

With Strategic as my number one, I rarely enjoy being told what to do. Years ago, I fully understood following my husband to be just this. I struggled because 1.) He didn’t often tell me what to do. 2.) When he did, I rarely listened. This caused some problems early in our marriage. I won’t sugar coat this- I was wrong.

And we almost didn’t make it.

Still, somewhere around year eleven, after Tom had torn his Achilles’ heal/tendon. Our marriage and his ankle healed. He did the work. Physical therapy, exercise, ate right, took his supplements, and began to rebuild his lifelong running practice.

Meanwhile, I had begun running 5Ks with my newly found health. I was new to running, but Tom coached me from the couch as he recovered.

Now, we began running together. As he recovered, he began to pass me. I followed begrudgingly and only because he was faster. After awhile though, I began to love the security I felt following him.

With his strengths of empathy, he signals when bikers are near, checks for me when I slow, and paces our race based on both of our needs (mostly mine). In life, I continue to watch for his signals and do my best to follow.

I am the weaker vessel, and I am fine with this.

I’m grateful for my husband and his leadership on and off the road. I’ve learned that one of my best strategies, is to defer to him. He understands what I need before I do and this is a gift for my highly driven and Achievement oriented design. He also helps me finish what I start because he believes in me while I’m still stirring the excuses in my prayer closet and strategizing.

This practice keeps peace and passion alive in our marriage. It is organization, not control. It’s by design, and I absolutely adore it!

I am beyond grateful for my running partner and the God who orchestrated every step.

Who or what keeps you going?

Curious about strengths in your marriage? I’d love to help! Click here for more information on Strengths Finder.

Running Lessons- Guilt

My mother says, “Guilt is a useless emotion.”

I am not sure about the psychological truth to this statement- yet. I do know that guilt tends to surround my efforts in health and fitness. You know the shoulds and oughts that linger the minute you’ve eaten off plan or rested on a non-rest day?

Maybe it’s just me.

Yesterday, I had a three mile run scheduled, but I also had some unscheduled insomnia the night before. Sleeplessness shows up from time to time and does it’s best to wreck my plans for productivity. I’ve learned many tricks that help: yoga, essential oils, good nutrition, and supplements. Still, I have off days of little to no sleep.

Progress not perfection.

Instead of a run, I slept late. Then, I took my son to the aquarium, where we met our aunt, uncle, and cousins. We ate lunch at the cafe instead of at home as planned and ended with ice cream.

It’s been some time since we’ve seen this part of our family and it was fun to catch up while exploring. I absolutely loved this day and the time spent with my sweet boy and our family.

It was a treat.

Guilt lingered in the background to be sure it wasn’t left out, and pestered this morning as the sun came up.

And today, I’m back on schedule and headed out for a run. I intend to eat better too- again.

I wonder if guilt is what gets me back on track? I also wonder if grace could be a better more kind and edifying encourager?

Off to pound that out. Wishing you a day filled with guilt-free joy!

Running Lessons: Rest Days

Confession: Rest Days make me nervous.

I think the problem stems from the fact that I do not ever really rest. I generally only sleep 4-5 hours, and then, run full speed through my daily tasks. So, having a designated day, when I am suppose to be resting, feels a like a lot of pressure.

I am in no way glorifying my busy. I admire people who can relax, read books without stopping to research something that needs more explanation, or watch a television show without working on a blog, the Young Living Business, editing photos, or cleaning the house.

Still, that is not me- yet.

See that growth mindset thing I did there? As it turns out, I’ve actually improved in this area. Calming down takes practice when you have genetics like mine.

Don’t laugh.

In full honesty, I come from a long line of people who don’t sleep much, work too much, don’t retire, idle high, and never stop thinking.

Strengths call this Intellection & Achievement.

I long to be good at rest. I oil regularly and yoga often to get there. And no, the irony of my working to rest, does not escape me.

Strengths calls this Restorative.

Interestingly, my brain slows down when I am running. Thoughts get themselves in order. I’m able to become more steady minded and grounded. My breaths deepen and fill my core. Eventually, I can hear my heartbeat; on good days I hear His voice.

And I listen for my next steps.

Maybe for me, running days are actually my rest days?

Who else runs to rest?

Running Lessons- On the mat

Today was cross-training day. Heated yoga stretched me out and strengthened my body and mind.

This teacher was incredible.

I have been a yoga teacher for several years now. Still, my personal practice is always incredibly challenging. See, as a teacher, I lead. I’m in control. When I’m led in yoga, I am challenged to submit to another’s leading and grow every single time.

Fun Fact- The brain requires new content, discomfort, adaptation, challenges, good food habits, and healthy living for improved neuroplasticity.

Yoga.

You might be wondering what Running Lessons I learned on my mat today? Well, I learned more about my inability to live with temperance and consistency. Just like on my mat, as a runner, I start off too fast. I also, don’t practice regularly and then when I do act as if I have been.

Ouch.

With every movement in this practice, I encounter a need for balance, breath, effort, rest, submission, humility and water- Running Lessons.

Who else loves yoga and all it has to teach us about living well?

A series: Running Lessons- Day 1

When I share my love for running with others, there are generally some who respond with a curiosity about my sanity, and then, there are some who get it.

Hear me, I love both respondents. Yet, it is the ones who understand the joys of sweating, hurting, and forcing the body and mind to near death experiences, on purpose, that are forever my people.

See, I know that those people, the runners, have first hand knowledge of the clarity of mind that comes at mile two and the bargaining that begins at the end of three, six, and again at nine. They know the patience, self-control, and tolerance that can exist while running, and how those skills support the rest of the day.

For me, running lessons have changed the way I live. In this next blog series, I want to share some of this and I hope, if you’re a runner, I will see a “me too” in the comments.

Share your lessons. I want to know what you learn out there. I hope to cultivate some connections and maybe even some accountability between people who learn things on the road through the intentional act of putting one foot in front of the other for the sake of a new t-shirt.

Full disclosure: I have been slacking off on my running this past year. Consequently, other parts of my life have suffered too. Weight and stress management for two, but more concerning are stifled idea-making, problem-solving, and creativity. My sleep has also taken a hit.

Most concerning? Not hearing from God. While running, I can’t get distracted, multitask, take a call, or respond to a child. Instead, I am more open to listen. I miss this most.

With that, today I began training for a half marathon in 12 weeks. It was a hot and slow run, but it is done.

Today’s lesson: Not every run will be noticeably life-altering. Do it anyway, because they really are.

With that, I am one day closer to my goal and chipping away at my excuse pile. Join me?

This gift was in my mailbox when I returned from my run today. Perhaps!