RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: June 2014

It’s Good to be Bossy

Normally, I would not claim that it is good to be bossy. In a house of 7, with 5 (sometimes bickering, bossing) kids, I feel like, “Don’t be bossy,” is on the tip of my tongue most of the time. Yet, there are times that I know best, whether my kids want to hear it or not.

There are times I know best whether one of the dog thinks I do, or not.

There are times I know best whether Risky thinks I do, or not.

We have had a few minor injuries, on one dog in particular, and Risky, lately. The dog developed a fly-bite induced sore and subsequent skin infection. His least favorite thing is when I clean the wound, allowing adequate drainage, and put ointment on it. Weighing in at roughly 70lbs, and being an all-muscle boxer makes this task a challenge. Thankfully, my husband is always there with his helping hands so we can keep him taken care of. He’s almost cleared up now, which we are both glad to see.

Risky is struggling with all of the lovely ticks in Oklahoma, and being a Colorado native, she’s neither used to the bites, or the sores that can develop. She recently managed to get a tick in each ear, and she turned a little bit crazy. She wouldn’t let me bridle her, or trim any of the wild hairs around her ears, or pet her near/around her ears for anything. She’s usually very comfortable with being rubbed/petted/messed with anywhere, and I’d never had any issue with her ears. She was acting so crazy, though, that I couldn’t even determine what the problem was. She would fly backwards, and even act as though she may rear. I spent a day feeling stumped by her behavior, and how to help her, until I came to the brilliant realization that we have a vet barn with stocks available for use.

I took Risky down, and much like a trailer loaded session, quietly coaxed her to load up. (Loading in the stocks was much easier than the bear cave I last tried to load her in, honestly.) She get settled in the stock, I gave her a treat, and then latched the gate behind her. Now, I believe in still working on a partnership with her, so I didn’t race for her ears. Instead, I petted her all over and walked around her, talking and waiting for the deep breath, lick & chew, that all said, “Okay, no one is eating me up right now.” It took a few minutes of her snorting in the barn, and even trying to paw a little bit, but she finally brought her head down and let me know she felt okay.

I approached her head, and while talking to her, began working my hand around and over her and in her ear, feeling for anything that was amiss. It didn’t take long to find the blood sucker in each ear, and I carefully removed them. I was glad I only found one in each ear. I made sure to clean her ears up, and apply some stuff to prevent more ticks from finding there way inside. The down side is, none of this immediately relieved her discomfort. In fact, by the look in her eye, and her braced stance, she felt like I was increasing her discomfort. Boy did that make me want to stop – my goal wasn’t to make it worse, not at all! I was trying to help her feel better. But the truth is, when we end up with a blood-sucking, life-draining problem, sometimes the healing that comes after pest-removal is when we start to feel better. The initial plucking just serves to irritate the already sore spot.

I believe we should all recognize who God has given us to speak into our lives – whether our lifegroup friends, mentors, pastors, or other wise and godly counsel. I believe we should pray that God would keep us soft and humble to hear the good things they speak over our lives, and to tolerate the painful pluckings, too. Risky will be better without those ticks in her ears, and we will be better without ________________ (problem that is sucking the life out of us). It takes courage to face those things, and it takes courage to be bossy enough to face the problem head on, but I believe that there are times that we are called to be bossy, and times we are called to listen to those that are bossy. Pray about who in your life should have the privilege of speaking to you about the tough times, and whether or not their advice lines up with His word, and His desires for your life. Not all “bossiness” or advice from friends is safe, or wise to take, but God wants you to have people in your life that push you closer to Him, your spouse, your family, etc.

Advertisements

Yahoo Friday!!

My awesome friend, Angela, is a fascinating author. Along with having a book published (see link on the right), she writes regularly for Yahoo! Check out her “Yahoo Friday!” post and see if any of her articles are helpful to you!

Just Step Back

Risky has been full of lessons for me lately – like don’t add garlic to her dinner, she’s not a fan.

Today, after a good ride, I gave her a bath. I tied her, and began the process of soaking, soaping, and rinsing. About half way through the first side, she decided she wasn’t having fun anymore and she pulled back. I stepped back, and while I calmly reassured her verbally, I physically stayed out of the way. I talked to her and waited for her to decide whether pulling back, or standing, were the better option for her.

I let her work her problem out for herself.

She had to work the same problem out twice today, to decide that standing was really a pretty fantastic choice.

We finished the bath, I put some stuff on for ticks and treated a couple of sores I found from tick bites, and I let her stand tied while I carted things back to the truck. I really wanted her to have the whole thing worked out and behind her, whether the water was on or off, or whether I was standing there or not.

It didn’t dawn on me immediately, the lesson in all of this. It took me driving away, replaying everything, to really open my eyes to this gem.

I have a hard time standing back and letting people work out problems for themselves – friends, family, my kids. If I don’t have a solution in mind, I’m pretty good at looking things up until I come up with a solution (or what seems worth a shot to me). But sometimes, people have to work things out for themselves. They need to know, and weigh, their own options – and we have to step back and watch. We can sometimes offer a word of encouragement or support, but everyone is safer (and learning more) if we stay back. It’s easy to jump in, thinking we are helping, and not only get ourselves unnecessarily hurt, but also the other person.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we abandon those that are hurting or walking through a mess, or creating a mess. I didn’t abandon Risky. But I didn’t make the problem worse by getting in the way. See, if I had jumped in, then when she leaped forward, I would have been stepped on. Or maybe forward wouldn’t have “looked” like an option anymore – leaving her with pulling back only. Pulling back proved to be a tiring endeavor that offered no results or solution to her perceived problem. So, she found a solution by coming forward.

Sometimes, the lessons we learn by testing, trying, and coming to our own conclusion, stick with us for much longer than the lessons other people try to teach us.

Can you think of a time you should have stepped back, and how that may have helped someone more than jumping in did?

Special Places

Risky reminded me of something recently, and I really got to indulge in the peace and quiet of it today – we all need a place that allows us to cast our cares aside, de-stress, rest, recuperate and get refreshed. Years ago, that place was the barn for me – where I spent countless hours caring for, riding, washing, spoiling and tormenting Dreamer, and several other critters that came and went.

Now today, again I find the barn is my solace. It is the place I just get away – for however brief my time is. Even with the chores, feeding, mucking, and filling water buckets, I just feel like I’m away from all the stress of raising 5 kids, running a business, & managing a house (or trying to).

Briefly, I felt like I was being selfish. I made the specific request that no ex’s come pick up kids (sometimes that comes with drama) at the barn. And I am very picky about who comes to the barn with us, and when. I don’t have very many “protected” moments in my day or week, but my barn minutes are precious to me. And tonight, as I was driving out, kid free, I was thinking about all of this, and even praying about it.

You know, I realized we all need a place we can just take a few deep breaths and get refilled. We all have demands on our time, money, energy, etc. If we don’t take the time to refill, then we won’t have what we need to pour out to the people we love best, the people God sends our way, and all of the divine appointments He makes for us. I want to be available for my husband, my kids, our business, and any of the other times/places God has in mind for me.

Where is your getaway? Is there a place you can go, where you can pray freely, and refill yourself to face the tasks that are before you?

Good Advice, Bad Advice, Unasked for Advice

I was only a child when I got my first pony, her name was Rainbow. I knew nothing about how to care for a horse, I did not know what they needed in terms of medical attention, wound care, diet, exercise, or even how to teach them good habits/healthy boundaries. But I had my mom, and as I got older, I also had an incredible 4-H group, lead by some amazing moms/women/horse ladies.

I remember thinking as a teenager, several years into my journey as a horse person, and as a knucklehead in general, that I couldn’t wait to be grown. I thought, “There is no way adults get as much advice as kids do!” Boy was I ever wrong. WRONG. I get more advice now than I did as a kid.

As I learned about what horses physically needed, and a tiny portion of how they process information (this is a daily learning activity, not one of those things you ever arrive at “fully knowing” in my opinion), I also learned how to sort through advice. I knew who I could trust for sound training & health tips, and I started learning who to smile and nod at, and walk away from without absorbing their advice.

I took english lessons for a brief time. My horse, Dreamer, had a lazy streak. He could be a touch stubborn, just enough to keep me paying attention, but he really wanted to please. We were walking, and trotting, in the arena, but he would not lope. I usually had to convince him that I meant it, but that didn’t take much convincing, and on this day he would NOT do it. No way, siree! The lady giving my lesson was getting frustrated and wanted me to spat him with my crop, which I wasn’t comfortable with, and the more she pushed, the more I was getting upset, the less Dreamer was cooperating. I finally came to a stop and went for the dismount.

My saddle rolled and probably dumped me on the ground, on my tush. (The landing on my tush part happened to me a lot, I’m a clutz. I don’t remember for sure if I made it off on my feet this time, or not!) Dreamer gave me the “See, idiot?” look that I loved from him, and when both my mom and I tried to tell the lady he knew the saddle wasn’t properly secured, she disagreed and we all quickly decided that we weren’t a good match for lessons.

I’m dealing with a situation at the barn I’m at, where someone is acting strangely. I had no idea why she got louder and seemed like she was vying for my attention while she worked with her horses, and I was feeling frustrated. I shared with a friend and mentor what was going on, and she wisely said, “She is TEACHING you.” Oh! I get it now. Advice.

Good Advice, Bad Advice, Unasked for Advice – we get the privilege some days, the chore other days, of sorting through advice and using what makes our life better and disregarding what does not. Whether it is marital advice, business advice, financial in nature, about child bearing & rearing, or how-to-train-your-horse advice, we all get it.

My prayer today, as I face more advice than I want, about more situations in my life than I want people offering advice on, is for grace. I have people I trust for advice, I have people I avoid for advice, and I meet strangers that have advice that I am pretty sure I didn’t ask for, and I just ask that God would give me the filter, the wisdom, and grace to sort through all advice, use what I can, leave what I can’t, and always respond graciously to the giver. (Easier said than done, that’s why I am asking for His help, folks.)