Category Archives: All creatures great & small

I want feet like a deer, reflections from Pslam 18:33

If you read my blog from a couple weeks ago (and I KNOW all you fine readers have, right? but in case you missed it: Ready for a slow down, reflections from Psalm 90) then you’re already aware that I’ve been doing a self-study in the book of Psalm. A book that I’m falling in love with because it’s so musically written & “flowy” (is “flowy” a word??? Who knows? but I dig it!). While studying chapter 18 this scripture leapt out at me…

“He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places”

-Psalm 18:33-(NKJV)

**By the way** Don’t cha’ totally love my word play??? leapt/deer…get it??? Smooth!

Anyways, (refocus) If I have read this scripture before, I’ve never noticed it. It’s pretty unassuming, but to an animal-studied-nerd, like myself, wow…this is a good one!

Deer feet. No doubt you don’t have to be in student loan debt to realize that, yeah, deer feet are important to deer. But do you know that, hands down, hooves are the MOST IMPORTANT part of deer anatomy??? untitled

Deer are flight animals, meaning they run from perceived danger, they’re lovers not fighters. Those skinny little toothpick legs carry a few hundred pounds gracefully at 40mph; they can leap about 8 feet high & the hooves are designed in such a way that they take the brunt of all that force. Pretty impressive, huh??

Without getting too technical & for the sake of this blog illustration, let’s break the hoof down into two simple parts; we’ll call it the “outer” & the “bottom” (creative, thank you very much). Most people know that deer are cloven hooved animals, meaning they have two toes, not one single toe-like a horse. God in his infinite wisdom designed them that way knowing the wide variety of terrain they’d be covering. That design allows them to cover everything from swimming in deep water, to scaling a mountain. The hard outer wall of the hoof is made of keratin (the same stuff as your fingernails) this helps them claw, paw, dig & fight; bottom part is a soft, spongy material that helps them grip slippery surfaces. Pretty cool that when you see a herd of deer running & leaping, they really don’t know what’s on the other side of those leaps, but rarely do they slip & fall. Flight animals cannot survive without their legs, the hoof is the first line of defense to protecting the legs & in turn, the entire being.

I’m in awe of the responsibility that hooves have.

“He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places” -Psalm 18:33-

This chapter in Psalm was written by David wrote after the Lord delivered him from his enemies & Saul (who was out for blood!). David was in a tough spot, he had no idea how he was going to get out of the mess he found himself in. He prayed with a ferocity & the Lord saved him, not in a way he was expecting, for the Lord didn’t rescue him from the mess but equipped him with strength & abilities David didn’t know he had…and he conquered & gave the glory back to God. The NET version goes,”He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain”. You may not think you’re equipped to negotiate the rugged terrain in your life & it may look impossible, but the Lord has equipped you to be a conqueror.

So next time you feel overwhelmed, look at your feet & see yourself has having the feet of deer!

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And yet another example of why people should never attempt at turning an exotic animal into a “pet”…

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The good thing about having a blog is I can voice my opinion in a controlled environment in an attempt at a well-thought out debatable essay, especially when the topic is controversial & most people like the sound of their own spouting rather than say something worthy & substantial. Which is why I urge everyone to start a blog, it’s much cheaper than therapy & you reduce the number of people you want to shake & say, “really???” Everyone has an opinion, however, not everyone’s opinion is informative. Most are emotional & not factually based.

Recently in my hometown a spider monkey was euthanized after biting a human, without getting into specifics (you can look it up on Fox 8 Cleveland’s website) the outrage is getting a little ridiculous & in my opinion, the anger is severely displaced. I have worked in the animal industry for 12 years professionally & have earned several degrees over the course of that time all animal related (with the exception of a Business degree thrown in). While I by no means claim to be an expert, in fact, I’m humbled & excited by how much I have yet to learn, I do have a little more experience with the industry than most people voicing an emotional opinion. I have worked with horses, livestock, reptiles, domesticated, avian, wildlife, aquatics, pocket pets, & exotics. I have personally worked with spider monkeys both in a zoo facility & an exotic animal rehabilitation center, not to mention the rotation I did during college where I worked in the vet department of an animal testing facility that tested on Spider & Capuchin Monkey’s (don’t get me started on that!) When I say that these animals are NOT meant to be pets, that’s not an exaggeration.

I’m not here to bash the owner or all the supporters of the owner, their actions (or lack thereof) speak for themselves. It was an unfortunate situation with heartbreaking results & I’m sure after the emotion has died down, the owner(s) will realize the role they played in this situation & I’m trusting will not make the same decisions again. Whether it’s a domesticated animal or an exotic animal, when you choose to bring one into your home you have a responsibility to that animal to keep it safe. That includes obeying all laws, following all regulations & being knowledgeable about the animal that trusts you.

As I’m sure most of you amazing readers know, several years ago a guy let loose dozens of exotic animals onto the streets of Zanesville, Ohio. After that incident people were OUTRAGED over the destruction & mass killing of several of these animals…all senselessly. There is always good that can come from every situation and Ohio started adapting stricter exotic animal laws to more safely regulate what people can own & the standards by which they have to house these animals. Ohio went from being the worst (no exaggeration) state to being one of the most regulated. Ohio even created a whole department within the Department of Agriculture to regulate, monitor & fine private & public organizations and owners who have chosen to own exotic animals. While it has been costly for owners & organizations it also has cut down on people owning exotic animals & regulates how many animals a rescue can financially support. I know it may seem like another Government interference but (to me) it’s common sense to monitor this trend that is way out of control & long overdue.

People should not own exotic animals to keep as pets, ever! And you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that works in the animal field to disagree. God created all things for a very specific purpose & when people try to change that purpose, senseless things like the recent Spider Monkey euthanasia happen. Love plays a big part on why people decide to incorporate an exotic animal into their home; they “love” a certain animal species, so naturally they want to own it. This doesn’t make sense to me. You “love” something, so you decide to keep it from living out its God designed purpose? Not to mention it’s a selfish way to think. Because YOU decide that YOU want to own an exotic animal YOU get one. You’re putting your needs before the welfare of the animal. The very essence & definition of love is putting somebody else’s needs above your own. The very animal that you decide to own can teach you that lesson by observing it in a natural environment; a mama bear will always protect her cubs before thinking about her safety.

My best-bud & greatest workout personal trainer I’ve ever had is my dog, Waylon, an Australian Cattle Dog. This dog loooooooves to be outdoors & is the epitome of energy! And I adore him for that. But Australian Cattle Dogs are designed to do exactly what their name implies. They herd cattle. This is their purpose in life, their instinct. What God has created them to do. I’m responsible for stealing his joy, on a daily basis, because I don’t fulfill that need in my dog. Is my dog happy…absolutely. Is he well taken care of…you’ve never met a dog more spoiled. But the level of happiness Waylon would achieve if getting that need met daily is nothing that I can provide him right now. He gets spurts of that activity; many chances to “herd” horses around the farm, squirrels & chipmunks are a daily roundup, he even “herds” me when we’re out on our daily walks/runs. As his owner, someone who he puts his trust in, it is my responsibility to make sure that instinct is met…and I fail at this, I’m 100% to blame & it is a selfish act on my part because I wanted this rescue dog. Just like other fellow dog owners who fail at this if they don’t provide the same opportunity with their dogs & their instinctual purposes. The difference is, these are “domesticated” animals. Through years of evolving, dogs are no longer wild & now know their place within the hierarchy of a human family unit. Exotic animals will never be domesticated, it’s a scientific fact. And even if some mutant gene forms & they do become domesticated, it will never be in our generation or in our great-great-great-gazillion great grandkid’s generation. When humans interfere too much with changing Mother Nature, we do more harm than good. She’s been around a lot longer than we have & is a hell of a lot smarter than we are. Believe it or not but humans are not entitled to own everything on this planet just because we “want” it, there are some things that don’t belong to us. Every time you support a company that does research using animals by purchasing their products, every time you buy an animal from a breeder instead of adopting or not spaying/neutering your pet, every time you pay money to watch animals being put on display (circus’s, rodeo’s) you are selfishly contributing to the destruction of mother nature. I’m guilty of this as well, it will forever be a lifetime of choices that you have to make. Not one person can save the world, but everybody can do their small contribution & that does add up.

I’m very passionate about animal rights, especially on rescue/rehabilitation work (not buying from breeders, spaying/neutering, etc.) & exotic animal rights. When you work in the industry you see the effects that human’s selfishness & stupidity can cause. If I was friends with myself, I would be annoyed with myself when I get on a soapbox about it. I know that I can nag about this topic, but it’s because it’s so important. Think about something you’re passionate about, something you’re willing to fight for…can you really nag it enough? I would rather beat this topic to death than know it’s going on & remain silent. Many times I’ve prayed to not know some of the things that I know & to not have seen some of things I’ve witnessed because the weight of the problem can seem overwhelming, especially when people don’t seem to care or heed your advice. But in those moments I’m reminded of the animals I’ve seen emaciated, beaten, left to freeze to death on frozen ground, of the animals I’ve personally had to put to death because people have chosen to buy from a breeder and/or not spay & neuter. The exotic animals behind cages who were meant to roam freely, the lab animals injected with cancer-causing agents so humans can get the right scent of body wash & the poaching of game who were unfortunate enough to be born with a much desired delicacy. If people are made aware of the problems, they cannot claim ignorance. Whether or not they choose to do something about their contribution to the problem is up to them & therefore the responsibility of that decision, good or bad, also falls on them. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
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Book Report: “WoodSong” by Gary Paulsen

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I love, love, LOVE this book!

I wish I had waited a couple weeks before I wrote the blog on my top 10 favorite, https://chapstickchatter.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/my-top-10-favorite-books-of-all-time/,because this memoir would’ve been on it! No idea how or when this quick read ended up in my bookcase, but I’m disappointed that I took so long to pick it up to read!

Not a big book, less than 150 pages, & I knocked it out in a couple hours on a snowed-in afternoon. WoodSong is one page-turning adventure! It’s the true life, hard-to-believe-it’s-actually-nonfiction memoirs of author Gary Paulsen (Hatchetf, Dogsong, The Winter Room, etc) & his life running a sled-dog team, training for the Iditarod.

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The first half of the book tells how the author first got interested in dog sledding; the trials, hit & misses, ignorance, mistakes that he made as his passion grew. This is one of the best novels I’ve ever read on wildlife conservation & the relationships between pets & their owners. The author wrote with such honesty & rawness over his own misunderstanding at nature & her unforgiving spirit. He also is openly candid at admitting his many failures, mistakes & ignorance at owning a team of intelligent, high-strung working dogs. The regret with which he wrote about at “ruining” some of these dogs over his lack of knowledge is something that, those of us who work & have worked in the animal industry, have seen first hand way to many times.

I was not bored or lost interest on any page of this novel. I laughed outloud in several parts describing his mistakes & how the dogs corrected him, I bawled over the words he wrote on the death of his favorite sled dog, Storm & I found myself saying,”sooooo true” in agreement with him over the ways in which man destroys wildlife & nature.

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The second half of the novel was about his weeks running the Iditarod dog sled race held annually in Alaska. A grueling 1150mile course through unforgiving mountains, backcountry wilderness & heavy waterways. Mushers & dogs work as a team to finish in less than two weeks time. It was fascinating to read behind the scenes on what really happens, the non-televised versions; deaths, hallucinations, sleep & hunger depravity, injuries, & basic survival instincts kicking in for both man & animal. I read with captivity. Truly is a testimony on what the body goes through when pushed to the brink of competition, with others & yourself.

If you’re a nature-freak, survivalist, animal lover, dog obsessed, conservationist or adventure seeker you’ll love this book! It’s a super fast, easy read full of honest & raw, non-exaggerated writing. The author is a natural teacher who simplifies his passion for readers & conveys his love for wildlife & environmental conservation, as well as, animal rights.

If I could rate this higher than 5 stars On Goodreads I would!
*WoodSong book trailor* http://youtu.be/xgIIs5peyLI

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My top 10 favorite books of all time!

….Disclaimer: this list is subject to change at any given time without notice depending on my mood & not-yet-read books… 😀

So this marks my first blog post that is being done entirely on my smartphone. I’ve always seen the WordPress blog icon on my home screen, but have yet to try it. Weather outside is reminiscent of the Great Flood, so seemed like an appropriate time to try it out. Considering my blogs are usually novel length I figure typing it up on my smartphone might shorten this one up. But since I’m talking about books I have big doubts!

My friend Stephanie recently posed this question to me asking me to name my top 10 favorite books of all time. Even though she told me not to put much thought into it & just spout them off, that wasn’t likely to happen since I over-think most everything especially when having to choose “favorites” #lifedecisions 😉

After much editing I feel pretty (fairly) confident in my chosen top 10. Honorable mentions go out to: The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson & The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (wow! That’s a lot of Nicholas’ in one category). They were all so close to making the list, but sadly ended up second strings. Maybe next year boys!

In no particular order:

1) The Bible, by some dude I can’t remember his name 😉– within these pages I have found comfort, answers, tears, questions, confusion, anger, sadness, forgiveness, love, joy, peace & many other emotions. All spoken to me by God himself. The living Word that I turn to almost daily.

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2) The Loop by Nicholas Evans–my all-time favorite author. This is the story of a wolf biologist who is observing & monitoring a pack of wolves in the mountains of Montana & her fight against a town that wants to extinguish this pack out.

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3) The Cross Gardener by Jason F. Wright. About a guy who loses his wife & unborn child in a fatal car accident. One day he takes a cross to the accident site where his wife died & meets The Cross Gardener, a guy who travels roadways caring for crosses & memorials that people have placed at loved ones accident sites.

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4) The Tale of Three Trees by a Folklore– Kids book about 3 trees that each have dreams they want to grow into. Their dreams don’t turn out how they planned, but God uses them in mighty ways for His greater purpose.

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5) The Pillars of the Earth & World Without End by Ken Follett–these are two seperate books about the village of Kingsbridge, England during the 1100’s-1300’s. Pillars is about the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral & World is about the village. Be prepared to devote some time to these novels, each is about 2000 pages long!

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6) Steve & Me by Terri Irwin–Terri Irwin’s autobiography chronicling her life with late husband, the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. I was such a big fan of Steve & Terri even before I read this novel, but after reading it I gained even more respect. Such an adventurous life & I laughed, bawled & was humbled by this couple.

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7) Black Beauty by Anna Sewell–I have read this novel so many times that I can quote lines from it. First read as a kid & broke my heart so much that it stirred in me a deep passion for animal rescue. The whole novel is told through the eyes of Beauty & you go from loved beginnings to a life of abuse & neglect. Classic that everyone should read at least once!

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8) In the Presence of My Enemies by Graicia Burnham– true story of missionaries in the Philippians who are kidnapped & held hostage for several years. The grace, humility, & forgiveness that got them through their ordeal is such a testament to faith in God. After reading this novel it made me appreciate missionaries more & opened my eyes to how desperately I want to be a part of that front line of ministry.

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9) Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo– true story of Todd’s 3year old son Colton & his trip to heaven & back after he died for several minutes during a surgery. Only book I’ve ever read that I actually called in “sick” to work because I couldn’t put it down & wanted to finish (shhhh…don’t tell!). Changed & in some ways answered questions I had about what heaven’s really like. Heard Hollywood is converting this movie to the big screen, anxious to see how it transpires.

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10) Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls– another book I first read as a kid & have read countless times. Story of a boy who lives in the Ozarks during Depression-era. He saves his money to buy 2 Redbone Coonhounds & hand-trains them to be hunting dogs. Have the Kleenex in hand!

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There ya go fellow book-nerds, my top 10 (as of today any ways!). I’m always on the prowl for good books so pass your suggestions my way!

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Book Report: The Secret Life of Bees…

Since I’m currently computer-less at home my posts make lack the usual “flair” they usually do. My computer went to the big computer heaven in the sky several weeks ago & I’ve disconnected my internet at home, trying to reduce my dependency on social networking (at least for the summer months). After a bought of not even having a cell phone for a few days (when my cell-phone decided to follow my computer into another dimension, needless to say that was quickly remedied) I’m finding out this may be a looooong summer on the homestead!

The Secret Life of Bees

By Sue Monk Kidd

Overall I enjoyed this novel, but it teeters on the line between 3 & 4 stars for me.

I saw the movie based on the novel several years ago & while I really enjoyed the movie I had heard so many positive reviews about the novel & several friends recommended this book to me that naturally I put off reading it as long as possible. You see, I’m kind of an book snob when it comes to popular mainstream novels ( with the exception of The Hunger Games trilogy) most leave me with a big disappointment & feels of, “really???” when those big expectations are not met. It’s the overly critical & judgmental part of my personality shining through. I found, “The Secret Life of Bees” at a thrift store for less than $1 & figured it was time to check it off my Goodreads reading list.

Set in segregated & racist South Carolina during the early 1960’s, it’s the story of teenage Lily Owens, who grew up motherless with an abusive father. After her “stand-in-mother” Rosaleen; an African-American female winds up in jail for spitting on the shoes of the town racist, Lily decides to break Rosaleen out of jail & together they run away. Following the label of an old honey-jar that belonged to her deceased mother, they end up in Tiburon, SC on the doorstep of the 3 Boatwright sisters, who make their living as beekeepers selling Black Madonna Honey. Lily & Rosaleen in grain themselves into the lives of these sisters, their friends, & neighbors. Its set against the tone of beekeeping as a profession with each chapter offering a real-life fact on bees & their social colonies (which I adored, favorite parts of the novel).

“The whole fabric of honey bee society depends on communication;  an innate ability to send and receive messages, to encode and decode information.”

-The Honey Bee-

The whole novel surrounds Lily Owens & her quest to discover who her mother was & to relinquish her own guilt (or to find out if she did, in fact) accidentally kill her mother when she was a small child. We later learn that her mother had spent time in Tiburon & the reasons she had visited, left, & her relationships with the Boatwright sisters.

Since I’m a nature-buff & I’ve looked into keeping my own beehives, the parts of the novel I loved the most were the parts about beekeeping. I fell in love with the character of August Boatwright, the eldest of the sisters, & if the whole novel was just about her wisdom of beekeeping I probably would’ve LOVED this novel. She was about the only character in the novel that I really liked (which I’m sure is the author’s main intention anyways). I enjoyed her life-stories & how she related them to beekeeping. May, I thought, was annoying with her constant tantrums & the way she was babied by everyone else (I know she was mentally handicapped & had been through her own emotional trials, but it was still annoying). Lily was…well…a typical teenage girl, high-drama & all (but I did think the love interest with Zach was uber-adorable). June & Rosaleen were interesting as secondary characters, even though I think Rosaleen’s character should’ve been more developed since she had a pretty major role throughout the novel.

I would definitely recommend this book for a quick summer read. I loved the little life-tidbits that were stuck in the most obscure of spots:

“J-Jesus, O-Others, Y-Yourself. This is the correct order for life and if you follow it, you will have JOY.”

“After you get stung, you can’t get unstung no matter how much you whine about it.”

And many more little gems like that!

Like I said earlier, overall I really enjoyed it, however, it wouldn’t be one that I’d ever pick up to read again. My problem is that I need to just stay away from really popular books, they always seem to fall flat in my expectations. It’s a read that’s worth it if you even have a tiny interest in beekeeping as a hobby because its chock-full of tips & factual info on keeping hives, otherwise, I’d say skip the novel & Netflix the movie; it contained more of the “storyline” & less of the information on beekeeping.

 

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Lessons Learned: Taking Ownership…

Lessons learned

One of my part-time jobs (yes, I work a couple!) is working at a horse rescue. Even though my employment “status” falls under the veterinary department, as anybody involved in rescue work knows; you usually end up wearing a multitude of hats. More often than not I’ve found myself doing less vaccine administration & more stall-mucking (fortunately a part of me loves that hard-labor work). Within the last few months, the founder asked if I’d be interested in learning how the adoption-process works; going through the application & interviewing process, matching up potentials with the right “fit”, home visits & conducting background & financial checks on potentials. At first I was hesitant…this is supposed to be my “fun” job, even though I’d still be working directly with the horses & getting my hands dirty, a few hours of office work would now be added to my plate. Blah! But since my ultimate life-goal is to run my own animal rescue/adoption group one day (my big God-dream) with little thought I seized the opportunity knowing this is something I need to learn & will only benefit me in the long run.

For several weeks I’d been working with this girl (she’s given me permission to blog her story), around my age, divorced, no kids…a horse girl at heart. For several years of her marriage she had lived in the city & had gotten away from her country roots. Upon her divorce, she moved out to the country, got a dog, & was now looking to add a horse to her little family. Several emails back & forth, a few meet & greets and (finally) we found a Quarter Horse mare that was a nice fit Buckles1for her (and on a personal level, this was a horse that was dear to my heart & I was waiting until just the right person came along!) I was stoked, she was stoked & in my heart I felt good. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Because of the cost to do background & financial checks, we don’t do them until the very last step (otherwise we’d be doing them on everybody & that cost adds up fast!) when we know this is a serious potential & that’s the last hurdle to overcome. This girl did not pass the financial check. I was heartbroken (literally, I cried) I felt so BAD for her knowing how much she needed this specific horse for her own healing from a painful divorce. I fought & fought on her behalf to our head Adoption Coordinator & in the end she told me,”Carey, its our policy. It’s not meant to be for either of them. This position requires you to be a voice for the voiceless.” I rolled my eyes at her (stupidest thing I’d ever heard!) & said, “F**k the policy” & walked out of the office (classy!) to call this girl with the news that it wasn’t going to happen this time. She was upset, but said,”I can’t blame anyone but myself. My finances are not in order & I’m going to have to learn that nobody is going to change that but me.”

I thought about these words on my drive home (and it’s a long drive!)

I really respect that answer. So often people blame others for their mistakes (myself included). When I’ve failed at something, I do find myself blaming this reason or that & more often than not, its because I wasn’t prepared. When my bank account is wavering on the verge of non-existent, I can look down & see the new shoes I bought because I “had to” have them in that moment. When I step on the scale & realize how much weight I’ve gained I blame my past, how I was raised, my genes…everything but the boxes of Girl Scout cookies I inhaled for every meal for 2 weeks straight. This is an area I struggle with, its hard to look in the mirror & take responsibility for your actions…all of them!

You’re in the situation you’re in because of decisions that (A) you’ve either made or (B) your response to situation’s you had no control over.

Every single decision that you will ever make has either a good consequence or a bad consequence….but take ownership of it, either way.

I wish I could tell you exactly how to do this, I don’t know. It’s something that I will have to work through, as well. Over the last few years, there’s been things brought up in my personal life that I’ve had to deal with & I’ve learned how its affected behavior that I didn’t even realize it affected. The point is, I can’t use it as an excuse anymore…taking ownership.

Today, was a good lesson.

 

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I feel closest to the devil when I’m bored indoors…

Wow, that’ a genius line! That’s on the level of, “needs to be a line in a country-western song” good!

Okay, enough bragging on my one-hit-title-writing-wonder-line (can you tell I’m in a fantastic mood.

                            It was a good day! 27

The weather was  all-star today. It makes it hard to be in a bad mood when mother nature is happy.

I was fortunate enough to spend the WHOLE day outside! At work I had sunshine on my face in active bliss, when I got home my dog was raring to go & get some warm-weather love on his body. When he saw me grab his hiking harness he immediately turned into a crazed, psychopathic, pony-prancing, kangaroo-jumping, rodeo-spinning bull, neurotic in his delirious happiness at what he knew was to come.

I understand that feeling.

Recently a good friend of mine posted a photo of herself out on the hiking trail & referred to it as her “church” (blog-bomb for Heidi H. Winking smile). Now this is a good friend (not just one of those “good-friend” terms people toss around to make them sound more popular. But an honest-to-goodness good friend). She’s one of the most inspiring, energetic, blissfully contagious people I’ve ever met & has been such a source of strength for me in my recent journey of living a healthier lifestyle. If I’m being honest though, I was a little taken aback by her reference to being outdoors on a beautiful Sunday & calling it “church”. I didn’t think it was wrong for her to feel this way, but something about the reference didn’t sit well with me. It felt somewhat…belittled…to me & I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it made me uncomfortable to compare the two.

So I did nothing. I pushed the thought out of my mind, knowing the answer would reveal itself to me in due time. When I was more accepting & open to dissecting it.

We had a medical setback in our family recently, which meant some time spend in the hospital visiting a relative of mine that I love very much. Unsure of the seriousness & future of the diagnosis it resulted in some stressful days (don’t worry, things have since balanced out!), however, the nice weather days that were granted to North Eastern Ohio, I spent them indoors…in the hospital…stressed out…crabby…short-tempered. When things settled down & I found myself with a free day off; I slept in, woke up & did absolutely nothing that day! I mean…nothing! I didn’t even get out of my pajamas! While to some, that may seem like a PERFECT way to spend the day, but for me, when I crawled into bed that night I felt…angry…bitchy…crabby…mean…hateful…pissed off. I didn’t even know WHAT  I was mad about, just that I was mad & felt like taking it out on someone (and unfortunately it was the rare day that my wine rack was completely empty, double bummer!)

Naturally I took out my frustration & vengeance on God (He got the wrath of Carey spewed forth. But after all, he’s God…so he was probably expecting it!). This came forth by way of cursing, defiance & self-loathing. I refused to read my Bible (that’ll show him!) & I refused to spend my time in meditative prayer (which I try to do every night before bed).

It was while laying in bed, fuming in hate, in the absolute quiet darkness of my bedroom that a thought popped into my head,”you didn’t talk to me at all today…”…and I had no excuse because I hadn’t. By doing “nothing” all day, I had distanced myself from God & opened the door for the devil to walk in, where he revealed himself in me by way of the vile things I was saying about myself to the Lord, the anger that I was displacing unto the Lord.

When I’m “bored” I make bad decisions. When I veg out & waste my time, I’m not showing God glory. Every second counts & is important. The devil knows when I’m at my weakest & that’s when he works his magic by attacking my thoughts (for what person on this planet doesn’t give in to negative thoughts when they’ve got nothing to do but “think”).

I HATE being indoors for to long. It’s no joke that it truly alters my personality. I’m passionate about hiking & I have a deep rooted love for nature. I did not realize it until that night but being on the hiking trail, being out in a nature that was kissed by God, was my church too! For that is the place where I feel closest to God. Where I know He’s hiking with me & where I ALWAYS talk to him. It’s where I think clearest, where my troubles seem manageable & where I can hear God talking & listening to me.

Now don’t get me wrong or misunderstand me, I LOVE going to my “home” church. It’s the church I’ve attended since I was a child. My most treasured 27.2memories, tears, & faces lie in that building. You NEED to have a church “family” in your walk with  Christ; people that support you & hold you accountable. God is in that place! But I CRAVE my one-on-one time with a God that breathed life into me. A God that knows the depths of my heart better than I do & therefore, he knows the way to get me listening to Him is by sending me outdoors on an open trail with a dog that loves hiking as much as I do.

I was judgmental in a way that I didn’t even realize I was being towards a friend that I hold the utmost respect & admiration for. How dare I ever judge how God decides to communicate with his children! How dare I ever assume that just because somebody chooses to attend or not attend your standard-brick-building-with-the-cross-on-the-door “church” that they have any less of a relationship with God than I do. I have no idea how God works in other people’s lives, when I’m (barely) beginning to understand how he’s working in mine!

I pray all the time, constantly, that God keeps my ears tuned in, my mind receptive, & my eyes open to his direction, voice, & guidance. He does just that whenever I’m fueling my obsession for being outdoors. I always end my hikes feeling light, relaxed, peaceful, with a full heart & a mind overflowing with positive thoughts, counting down the moments until my next hike in the sunshine.

And isn’t that what time with the Lord is supposed to feel like?

“The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.”-Deuteronomy 5:4-

See ya out on the hiking trail!

cheaperthantherapy1

 

 

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