Monday, December 22, 2014

Rejoice!

I grew up going to mass every Sunday. I continued that until about two years ago when I quit going to the church in my town. As I get older, I find myself understanding and connecting more and more with Dickinson's "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church"; I find more serenity walking in the woods with Barley than I do sitting in a church filled with screaming babies. But, I still go to church every Sunday with my mom when I visit her.

Last weekend--the third Sunday of Advent--the priest gave a homily about the struggle many people have to find joy, especially at this time of year. He challenged everyone to stop thinking about what they don't have and to be thankful for the things they do have.

Throughout the whole homily, I couldn't help but think of Barley. She embodies joy.




Whether she's exploring a new trail, playing with a toy, or frolicking in the snow, Barley is my smiling dog.

It's hard not to find joy in life when you're hanging out with Barley. Of course, she creates plenty of stress, too, but Barley has no trouble finding joy in the little things in life: squirrels, snacks, snuggles. She's helped me find joy in the world, too.

Soth doesn't have much trouble finding joy, either--despite his struggles with FLUTD. Give him a fuzzy blanket (or a dog bed), a catnip toy, or a bite to eat and he's happy.



Barley, Soth, and I hope that you're all feeling the joy of the holiday season this week, but if you're struggling to find that joy at this time of year, try taking a page out of our pets' books. Find joy in mischief, in nature, in family and friends, in snacks, in curling up under a well-loved blanket. Christmas really isn't about what we don't have. Love is Christmas and if you have a pet, you definitely have love.



18 comments:

  1. We;re having a miserable Christmas so far. But I love my critters, and they make me smile every day.

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    1. Oh no! I'm sorry you're having a miserable Christmas so far. March was our miserable month, but pets certainly do help with finding some joy in every day!

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  2. They always help keep me focused on the joy.

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    1. Me, too! Even on the most stressful days, Barley and Soth find a way to make me smile (even if sometimes they were the reason for the stress in the first place!).

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  3. The photo with the octopus on Barleys head killed me, so cute!

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  4. Hi Y'all!

    Ah, don't forget dog is God spelled backwards. Sharing our world and our time together is the closest you Humans can get to hugging God.

    Have a warm and wonderful sharing Christmas. We pawed ones appreciate it.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. Hope you have a wonderful, warm Christmas, too!

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  5. That photo of Barley with the octopus toy on her head is too much! BOL! Wishing you lots of Christmas joy this season! *wags* - Gilligan

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    1. We have lots of pictures with toys on her head--she's very patient with me when I pull out the camera ;) Hope you have lots of Christmas joy, too!

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  6. What a great message. I am a firm believer that dogs are a lesson in hope and joy.

    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

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    1. In one of the books I have my students read, there's a line about how animals are happier than humans because they just live instead of thinking about how to live--Barley reminds me of that every day!

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  7. This is such a wonderful post!! Thank you for the great reminder!! Barley and Sloth are so cute! <3 Happy Holidays!

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    1. Happy holidays to you, too! I certainly needed the reminder, too, as I was stressing about presents that hadn't shipped yet and how we'd get all the cousin dogs to get along under one roof!

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  8. oh I might have to re read this post a few times... I've been questioning the hap hap hapiest time of the year... we're off sugar and eating better to feel better. No family except each other. I love what you wrote, and cherish the littlest family around here, and will be thinking about you as we share a video, watch Cole chew a new toy, take a walk together and remember we have each other. And now we have you too. Glad I found your blog. LeeAnna and Cole at not afraid of color

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    1. Hope that you get to enjoy lots of time with Cole for the holidays! This past Easter was my first Easter alone and getting to enjoy the day with a nice walk with Barley definitely made it easier to enjoy the holiday even though I didn't have the rest of my family around me.

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  9. oh and God is on the walk, maybe easier to hear in the quiet. Barley and Soth are adorable. LeeAnna (again)

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    1. I definitely agree! And thank you!

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