To my Master’s Graduate 

You graduate tonight.

Oh, what an accomplishment that is.

You spent four years going for  your Bachelors in Education. You studied hard, stressed a lot, but succeeded of course. You tried finding joy in teaching. You tried finding happiness in that career for about a year, but you were unsatisfied. You knew you were made for greater things. Everyone around you knew you were made for greater things. God knew you were made for greater things.

After some thinking and a lot of praying, you decided to head back to school for yet another two years. You wanted your Masters in School Counseling. You wanted to help people.

God clearly showed you your path, and you took it, without hesitation.

I am so proud of you. Not only that, I look up to you. I may be a minute older, but you are so  much wiser. Not only that, you are beautiful from the inside out, which is something I always knew. Anyone who knew you or even just met you, could see that beauty shining through.

That beautiful soul is one reason you were made to help people. You listen to people, without judgment. You care about people, even when they try to make it impossible. You love all people, even if they aren’t like you.

Thinking about watching you walk across that stage tonight to get your second diploma, brings tears to my eyes. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of recognition. I couldn’t be more proud of my twin sister, my best friend, my soul mate. I love you more than I can even describe.

And it is just the beginning for you, because I know you are destined for great things. More importantly, God made you destined for great things.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

You have such a bright future, my beautiful sister. God gave you that hope, so that one day, you could give hope to others.

So as you walk across that stage tonight, hold your head high and smile the biggest smile you have ever smiled, because you have accomplished something great. When you hear all that applause, know that you deserve it. Everyone sitting around you tonight watching, can see that beauty shining so bright, just like the ones who love you the most have always seen.

Congratulations twin sister – I love you so much!

The Love he was Sent to the World to Give

He was caged up from sun up to sun down, never graced with human touch, compassion, or love. Every day, he waited for food that would never come and a friendly smile that he would never see. He was starved, beaten, and ignored, but yet every time his owner approached, even with the cruelest of intentions, he would still wag his tail. He had hope that maybe his owner had changed, that maybe he would pet his fur, hold him tight, and tell him that he was a good boy, while rewarding him with a healthy bowl of kibble. That never happened. His world was dark. 

But why? What had he ever done to deserve such abuse? He had a heart full of unconditional love – A soul full of loyalty.  And yet, he was rejected. That chipper outlook on life slowly started fading away. His happiness was caged up and his joy began to wither from being starved. Would he ever receive the love he was sent to this world to give?

Then one day, the sun started peaking through the clouds. 

He woke up surrounded by unfamiliar, but yet welcoming, faces. They were calling to him from just outside the fence. 

He looked around. If he approached these people, would he be disciplined by his owner? Was this all a set up? 

He was scared, but yet his curiousity drew him to their outstretched arms. There was no sign of his master, so he began a slow march to the strangers. Maybe they had food or water for him. 

He hesitantly approached them. When he finally reached their hands, he was trembling in fear. 

The one man lifted his hand. 

The dog dropped to the ground, and covered his eyes. He was anticipating a smack across the head. Why had he decided to trust these strangers? 

But after a few seconds past, the dog did not feel any pain. Instead, the stranger, gently placed his warm and tender palms on his fur and began stroking him. “Good boy,” the stranger kept repeating. Then he took a biscuit out of his pocket, and waited for the dog to take it. 

After minutes of this affection, the strangers lifted the dog out from the cage. This was the first time in his entire life, that he had been outside of those four fences. 

They put him in a van and drove him to a place. A place full of other dogs like him. 

But instead of being starved, beaten and ignored, they were all given a big bowl of food and water, they were all touched by the soft and kind hands of the workers, and they were all smothered with attention. 

It didn’t take the dog long to feel safe with these people. He trusted them. He had never felt this kind of compassion. 

Years past, and you could no longer see this dog’s ribs. He no longer trembled with fear when a human would reach out his/her hands to touch him. He finally had a family that gave him the love that he was sent to earth to give. His world was no longer dark. 

He ran around a big house from sun up to sun down, chasing after a ball that his human brother kept throwing across the floor. Every day he was fed and every morning he was greeted with a “Good morning” and big kisses from his human family. He was loved, played with, and cared for, and every time his owners approached him, he would wag his tail. He had hope, and that hope never disappeared, not for the rest of his life. 

Help give hope back to an animal. April is a month dedicated to stopping the abuse to innocent animals. Let’s start with this month, and continue showing compassion and love to animals every month. Show them the love that they were sent to this earth to give. 

Till I See You Again

And just like that, you took your last breath, as everyone you loved, pulled you close to them. You were in no more pain. You had no more discomfort. You were at peace…

Losing a pet is on the top three list of hardest things that a person can go through. Sure, it’s not as traumatizing as losing a human member of the family, but it can still shatter a heart.

No, they are not human. I understand this. But, they are still a major part of your world. One of the loves of your life. You made memories with them over the years. You spoiled them like a human child. You held on to them for comfort when times became hard or sad. They were family.

It is never easy saying goodbye to an animal who you loved. In that moment, all the memories come flooding back, and you come to the realization, that as of that instant, there will be no more memories created with that being in this lifetime. You will not see them again, while you are still on this Earth. There will be no more tail wags as you walk through the door. No more slobbery kisses to wake you up in the morning. No more cuddles that help put you to sleep. For the rest of your worldly life, they will be gone.

But make no mistake, you will see them again.

They are waiting for you in that beautiful place, and as soon as you walk through the doors leading into eternity, they will be there, wagging their tails. And the best part is, you never have to say goodbye to them again. They will forever be by your side.

Just like you spent days preparing for the first day that your pet would come home to you. Buying them toys, treats, food, beds, etc., they are doing the same for you in Heaven.

They are keeping your side of the bed warm, because they know how much you like that. They are making sure that everything at home is perfect, for when you arrive.

Right now, I know the pain is unbearable. Your heart is broken, and your eyes have not yet stopped crying. Your pet, your love, your family member, has left you behind.

But, I promise, it is only for a little while. You will see them again. And those slobbery kisses, will be just as great, if not better, than what you remember.

…You were at peace. I kissed your soft head, and whispered in your ear, ‘Till I see you again.’

 

 

 

Let Me Tell You a Secret…

Christmas is once again over.

I know for many of you, you are struggling with the ‘Christmas is over blues.’ It can be depressing. You spend all year preparing for this big, exciting day, and in what feels like seconds, it is over. No more Christmas music playing on the radio non-stop, no more gorging yourself full of sweet treats or holiday ham, and no more 24 hour streaming of your favorite Christmas movie. In layman’s terms: IT SUCKS! You have 364 days standing in between you and that wonderful time of year again.

Okay, I get it, you are all sad. It is now back to the reality of work, dealing with snow (which would have been perfectly acceptable on Christmas Day. But any other time it snows, you just want to murder someone), and back to all the other stresses that come along with life. But let me fill you in on a little secret, that I think will boost your mood, put a smile back on your face, and a sensation of happiness back in your soul. The secret is… Christmas is not over, in fact, Christmas never ends. It continues the entire 365 days of the year.

I’m sure you are all scratching your heads and saying, “No, nah, no way. This chick and dog are nuts. That makes absolutely no sense. The calendar and society have always told us that Christmas is only on December 25th.” Well folks, screw what society and the calendar tell you. Christmas indeed continues throughout the entire year.

Why? – you ask.. Well it’s because the real reason of the season, Jesus, is someone that doesn’t go away. He shouldn’t be boxed up like your ornaments. He shouldn’t be tossed in the trash like the left over ham or cookies. And he shouldn’t stop streaming in  your hearts or minds, like all those holiday movies. No, he should be someone celebrated the entire year.

After all, he was the greatest gift ever given. The gift that saved us all, showed us what true love really was, and the gift that gave us all a chance to have forgiveness, grace, and eternal life. Wow, that is something to celebrate all year.

So stop your Kim Kardashian ugly cry everyone, because I just gave you some great news. Christmas is so much more than presents, food, movies, music, and decorations. And it is a lot longer than one measly day. Christmas my friends is about Jesus, and all the love that he has shown us and continues to show us every single day of the year. He doesn’t stop loving us after one day, so we should continue to celebrate him every minute, every hour, every day, and every month of the year.

Merry Christmas everyone! Man, it feels great to be able to say that everyday.

An Ode by a Dog

If I ran for President, I would definitely win. Not just because of my handsome looks, amazing hair, or trustworthy grin. 

For one, it would be because I have nothing to hide. No deleted emails or secrets happening on the inside. 

No I’m not like Hillary. I don’t cheat, steal, or lie. I don’t just sit back and relax, while innocent people die. 

The only secret I have, is that I like to pass gas. And then blame the closest human, for a good belly-aching laugh. 

 The second reason is because I have normal hair. No toupee that could blow off with the slightest gust of air. 

I don’t look like a clown dressed up in a suit. In fact, I have women tell me everyday how I’m so daper and cute. 

And that’s another thing that makes me better than the rest. I think women are great, and I treat everyone of them with respect. 

I also love babies, and would never let them die. Even if they weren’t yet born and were still on the inside. 

I’m sorry Hillary, I just don’t understand. How you can say you are for the children, but then want abortion in this country to still stand. 

I would say let all the babies get a chance at life. And if the birth mother doesn’t want them, give them to a nice husband and wife. 

Who would give anything to have a chance. At raising a beautiful baby to play ball with, cuddle with, or share with a  first dance. 

And finally, you can all rest your heads. Knowing that everyone of you will be able to afford a warm house, dinner for your family, and nice warm beds. 

After all, I won’t steal your money. I’m not a crook or a theif. All I need for myself are some treats, squeaky toys, and my kibbles and beef. 

So, if I ran for President, I would definitely win. Not just because of my handsome looks, amazing hair, or trustworthy grin. 

It’s slightly because I have morals and mostly because I’m not either of the others in line. Isn’t is sad, that this country would be better off, in the hands of a canine. 

Now before my ode ends, I’ll leave everyone with this last note. Please, for the sake of this country, be smart. Get out and vote. 

Joy Comes In The Morning

Jesus loves your joy. 

He doesn’t love how much money you make. He doesn’t love how successful you are. He doesn’t love your job. He doesn’t love any materialistic thing that this world and even you may possess. 

He only loves you and your happiness. 

But a lot of the times, we forget that. A lot of the time, I forget that. 

I sometimes catch myself focusing on how successful I am, how much money I do, or sometimes, don’t make, or others expectations for myself. When I focus on these things, especially the expectations that others hold over me, I find myself unhappy – I find myself losing my joy. 

I worry a lot of the times about what other people think about me, especially the ones closest to me. I worry that they might not think I’m successful enough, or that they think I’m selling myself short. The one thing I forget when I spiral into this trap of anxiety, is what makes me happy- what fills me with joy. 

You see, I might not have a job with a fancy title. I might not make as much money as others do. I might not be doing what others people expected I would be doing. But I don’t have to. I just have to be happy. 

God doesn’t care about the big things in life. In fact, he even admits that it is the small things we do that please him – as long as those small things are done with joy and bring us happiness. 

So when we feel like we aren’t good enough for others, remember the only thing that matters is your joy. 

Afterall, Jesus loves your joy. And even if it is something small, or something that other people never expected that you would do in life, as long as your happy, that is all that God cares about. That is all that you should care about. 

Sometimes you will feel down and you will feel defeated. In this world, it’s inevitable. When these times of uncertainty come, always remember one important thing – with God, your anxiety and sadness will only last for a short time. If you trust in him, you will once again find joy. 

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

Be their Happy Ending 

Take a walk in their shoes, or in this case, take a walk in their paws – take a walk in the paws of all the shelter animals around the country that are patiently waiting for the perfect companion to rescue them. 

Each of the shelter animals have a story, usually a sad and unfortunate story, but a story that led them to where they are now – in an animal shelter which is working hard to place them with someone who will give their story a happily ever after ending .

If you visit the website of a local animal shelter, you will see the photos and read the stories behind many amazing animals. Stories that will tear at your heart strings and photos that will give you that awww moment. 

There are many beautiful, loyal, loving, and compassionate animals at these shelters. Some are shy, some are outgoing, some are old, some are young, some are cats, some are dogs, some are pure bred, and some are mutts. No matter the personality, the age, the look, the kind, or the gender, they all have two things in common. They deserve someone special and they deserve a happy ending. 

Many have endured so much – Abuse, neglect, starvation, fear, sadness, heartache, and loneliness – So much that was unfair. They were put on this earth to love and to be loved, and they deserve to experience the fullest kind of love offered. The kind of love that God intended them to receive and to also show to the right person- unconditional love. Luckily for these animals, they got a second chance to find this kind of love by being brought in to an animal shelter.

The no-kill animal shelters are amazing. Their sole mission is to care for these animals to the highest extent while searching endlessly for the perfect companion for each. These shelters speak out against abuse and neglect, they stand up for the rights of animals, and they fight to give all of the animals in their care a chance – a chance to find the happy ending that they’ve been waiting so long for and so rightfully deserve. 

First off, these shelters need a round of applause. What they do is absolutely amazing. It takes a lot of patience and compassion to do what they do everyday. Not only do the animals there appreciate what they do, but all humans who have worked with them to adopt their pet, appreciate and respect them to the highest level. 

Secondly, help these shelters change these animals lives and fight for these animals rights. It’s a big and tough job – one that can use all the support and help it can possibly get. If more people stand up for these animals, then more of their lives will change for the better. 

And finally, adopt a shelter animal for yourself. Find one that has a story or a photo that speaks to you. Find one that you want to share your life and unconditional love with. Find one who you can give a happy ending to. 

Happy National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day everyone! Go out and change some animals’ lives.