Archive for the ‘Dog Journal’ Category

Diverse Holiday Brings Hope

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

diversity “The holidays” of 2010 will soon draw to a close. They were frantic and mostly fun but also crammed with the most diverse religious experiences in memory. In the past week, I’ve gone from observing Shabbat with Orthodox Jewish relatives to celebrating Christmas not only at my house but with a more southern flair with my daughter-in-law’s family, to a sermon about Kwanzaa (folllowed by a little Charlie Brown Christmas music) at the unitarian church I attend, and finally to a Buddhist meditation dinner (in a living room that also sported a Christmas tree). Whew!

As different as these traditions may be, the spirit of love and community that ran through them brought a message of hope for 2011.

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Christmas Anytime

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Holiday Christmas Lights on Snowy BridgeChristmas seems like the right time to have an epiphany, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m having one.

It finally occurred to me that all of the things I spend time planning for over the holidays – the dinner, the decorating – are not what actually bring me joy.

Instead, it’s the small moments and surprises that happen, shopping list in hand, on the way to someplace else. It’s that moment getting lost in a neighborhood, springing suddenly onto an amazing light display, the last-minute decision to duck into a tavern for turtle soup, an unexpected homemade treat from a friend.

So when the wrapping paper and dried needles are swept off the floor, there’s no need for a letdown. Brilliantly and at will, the other Christmas moments can be recalled and extend the season, even in the dull gray days of January, February and beyond.

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The Picture Of Gratitude

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Samantha 12-2010 051Funny how gratitude works. Sometimes. to become truly grateful, we have to regain something we’ve always taken for granted and lost. So it is with Samantha Snyder, canine cousin I’ve gotten to know in Gaithersburg, Md., these past few months. No comment on gratitude in the Dog Journal would be complete without her story.

On and off, I’ve spent weekends with Samantha and my cousins, her owners, while I immersed myself in a coach’s training program. It has not been an easy time for Samantha. She used to have the run of the house, and her favorite digs were in the basement, perched in front of the wide-screen TV. That was before, for an undisclosed reason, she was banned from the lower level.

Her eyes were sad. She whimpered. She barely wagged her tail. It didn’t help that I – a mere visitor – WAS allowed in the basement. Every step I took toward the basement door took her one step closer to clinical depression.

I was thrilled on my last night there to be present when Samantha was finally allowed to return – just in time for a family tournament of Quip-It, a wonderful TV game. Perched on a bean bag chair, looking from one of us to another, she could not have been more grateful to be included at last in the action. Her picture here, taken by Katie Snyder, is going on my desk as a reminder. Take nothing for granted!

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