Unconditional Love – Is It Really A Mystery?

I received an update from one of my favorite sites this morning and it made me think.  Is unconditional love an urban myth?  Are we able to accomplish this?  What stands in our way of true unconditional love?

The topic of this article is Unreasonable Love.  These words are going to be engraved on a plaque to remind me everyday:

To love unconditionally means you don’t need a “reason” to justify loving. In other words…

  1. When you have a good reason to love, then you love.
  2. When you have a good reason not to love, you love anyway.
  3. You love for no reason at all.

I didn’t experience this type of love growing up, everything had a condition and you better be appreciative.  If you weren’t perfect, you were excommunicated.  I can guarantee any of the doubters that this type of love is cruel.  You might even find yourself excommunicated one day, from this type of love.

Why do we put conditions on our love?  The message I heard growing up, “It is tough love.  It makes you a better person.”  Their point was to make sure I learned to survive on my own and didn’t rely on anyone.  Another message constantly repeated, “Your family is the only one who will tell you the truth about yourself”.  There are some benefits to this type of lesson, but the downside is that you learn to be an island.  You don’t rely on anyone and you feel that you don’t need anyone.  Pretty lonely!  Is that the lesson to learn?

I ask myself “Why do we expect so much from those we love?”  Do we try to control them with love as the ultimate reward for compliance?  Is love meant to be part of the reward/punishment method?  We need to stop and ask ourselves – “What is my motivation for what I am doing?”  Maybe there is a better way to gain cooperation, without taking away love.

The time out process can be misused to demonstrate the withdrawal of love for non-compliance.  If our child is not behaving by our standards, do you really think putting them in the corner to be ignored is a good way to set an example of good behavior?  I have seen the threat of time out (isolation) being used in this manner.  Don’t get me wrong, getting frustrated and even angry is normal.  Refusing to love or saying things that are focused on withdrawing from them is not all right.

The process of time out, in my opinion, should be used as a way for your child to learn to stop, calm down, and rejoin the activity.  Nothing is wrong with hugging them, telling them you love them, and you are sorry they don’t understand.  Show them the correct behavior by example and calmly explaining it.  What is wrong with time out in mom’s lap?  You aren’t accepting the behavior, you are changing it through love.  Many times children are so excited they can’t control their emotions.  It is our job to show them the tools to regain this control.  Not isolate them!

During my journey to find myself, I have started to notice many of my lessons were learned from the animals that I saved.  They never rejected me and they showed me unconditional love.  Their hearts were always so full of love and devotion, they weren’t afraid to need me.  I was key to their survival and in some cases I was their last stop.

Just to name a few of them:  Dreamer, the severely abused horse who was headed for a very short life.  Horatio, you can see his story on an earlier post.  Desdemona, the road weary Pekingnese.  Drucilla, the one eyed, deaf, declawed, defenseless, homeless cat (her story is to come.)  Smithers, the bear like puppy with Parvo.  Slinky, the homeless cat who chose me (of course more to come about her as well).  Rosie, the lost, starved, unwanted, saddest hound I have ever seen (yep, I will write her story too).  Oh yeah, how could I forget Abe the retired gentleman who’s owners didn’t find a need for him anymore.  There have been so many kittens I have nursed to health and found homes (Stay tuned for the great story about 30 kittens I saved at one time).  Squirrels, puppies, homeless dogs …..  you name it.  I felt their need and I answered.

I mentioned before that I have been lucky to have met some inspiring animals in my life, that is so true.  These lost souls taught me to love, no matter what.  We all could learn a little from this.  Previous owners of these animals used the “Unreasonable Love” methods and almost destroyed their precious lives.  These animals could choose to never trust or love anyone ever again for fear of the same outcome.  But over and over they choose to love anyway, in hopes that someone will appreciate their love.

My debt to these wonderful creatures is something I can never repay.  They have given me the gift of unconditional love and taught me how to give it in return.  My efforts with my little girl are based on these lessons.  I have found a depth of love that I never knew existed.  I love her for who she is, what she is, and what she wants to be.  My only goal is to help her obtain her goals.  Support, unconditional love, loyalty, patience, forgiving, and understanding are my tools to accomplish this task.

Ask yourself what you can do to show unconditional love to your family?  Share some of your stories of unconditional love and how it made you feel?  What do you do when you find this love tested, how do you remind yourself to show love in all of your actions?

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Found On The Side Of The Road –

I have had the unique experience of spending time with some great animals in my life.  Most people love to talk about the most inspiring people they have met, but for me it has been some of the most inspiring animals.  Horatio, the lost lonely dog on the side of the road, was one of these.

Before moving to Georgia, I lived in the boonies of Virginia.  Loved it – long roads with fields of animals on both sides, no cars pass by for hours, no cell phone coverage (not so great at times), long drives to the grocery store (lots of time to contemplate your life)…. During one of these long drives, I noticed a black dog hunched over on the side of the road.  Nothing is extraordinary about seeing dog on the side of the road, Beaverdam (name of the town) is the home of the free roaming hunting dogs.  But this dog caught my attention, he looked as though he was extremely old or very sick.

I was compelled to turn the car around and check on him.  On closer inspection, I saw that he wasn’t old at all, in fact I thought he was a very large adolescent.  Paws were almost the size of my hand, head was a big as a basketball, long gangly legs, long droopy jowls, and super long ears.  Almost as if a Great Dane had mated with a Bloodhound and a Black Lab.  He was extremely skinny, hunched in his back, one ear was swollen to the size of a baseball, and tears in his eyes.  I knew I could not leave this poor guy, so I called my husband.

At that time, I was overrun with animals already in my home – six dogs, seven cats, one horse, and 4 ducks.  So you can understand when my husband said, “WHAT?!!???  NO!”  I convinced him that I was just going to take him home, take care of him, and find him a NEW home.  My husband hesitantly agreed to come help me.  Although, he knew that I had said that about the other 10 animals in our home.

As soon as my husband saw him, all hesitancy was gone.  He insisted that this lost dog ride in the truck with him back to our house.  Upon arrival home, my husband immediately stepped out of his truck and said “Horatio!  His name is going to be Horatio!”  At that moment, I knew Horatio wasn’t lost anymore.

Oh, did I not know what was in store for me.

Immediately I took him to the veterinarian to determine his health.  This guy was not trusting of people, but laid back enough to let you do whatever you wanted.  With this in mind, I walk him to the car for our trip.  As soon as I open the car door at the clinic, Horatio can’t seem to walk.  I was forced to carry this small horse sized dog inside.  All the techs came running to my aide and were concerned that Horatio was paralyzed.  I was a little confused, I knew he could walk.  The hunched posture and the hump in his spine did concern me though.  During the examination, he never stood up.  We couldn’t find anything that would explain his inability to walk.  What we did find was that he was full of worms, heartworms, severely dehydrated, underweight, and incontinent.  Several infections required antibiotics.  His enormous ear was a hematoma from shaking his head, because of the rampant ear infection.  HE WAS MISERABLE!

Determined to help him, I carried him back to my car.  (I failed to mention that my car was a two door Mitsubishi Eclipse – TINY!)  Safely in the front seat we head home.  As soon as I open the car door the previously immobile dog comes bounding out.  WHAT!?  He could walk just fine.  Apparently when faced with fear, he goes limp.  No amount of encouragement will make him move.

During our time together, Horatio amazed me and always made me laugh.  We were able to get him back to health, but were never able to rid him of his incontinence.  He actually leaked urine all the time.  Being creative, I made him a diaper.  Not wanting to hurt his feelings, we called them in “big boy pants”.  He wore the proudly.  You could actually see him smile, standing there in his bright white big boy pants.  He never fought me when I put them on and he never tried to take them off.

Riding in the car was his thing!  I would put the seats down flat in the back, so he could have enough room to lie down.  He almost filled the entire hatchback area.  Most dogs would hang their heads out of the window or fall asleep, but not him.  We would drive down the road with his gigantic head draped over my shoulder.  Another little quirk I learned later – he was going to go with you in the car whether you wanted him to or not.

One afternoon, as I was patiently waiting for him to do his business, he disappeared.  I ran around calling for him, for hours I am sure.  My husband came home from work and started looking as well.  We both were starting to get worried.  I decided to take the car and look for him.  As I am about to start the car, I feel a big head rest down on my shoulder.  He had jumped through the car window and was waiting, for hours, for me to go for a ride.  He did this many more times over the years, my first sign to his stubbornness.

I got a new car – small SUV.  I didn’t want to take him with me as much with the new car.  One day, as I was pulling out of the driveway, Horatio was trying to follow me.  I had to get out of the car to open the entry way gate.  As I have my back to the car, I hear him trying to put his paws on the side of the car.  I am saying, “NO Horatio, not this time buddy.”  I still hear him, so I turn around.  I couldn’t believe my eyes – He WAS ON THE ROOF.  The scratching was his efforts to open my sunroof. I can just imagine the laughs the neighbors were getting at my expense – red SUV, giant black dog on the roof, and me with my hands on my hips trying to reason with him.  Of course, I caved and took him with me.

From Horatio’s days on the lamb, he picked up some interesting habits.  One was stealing.  I was working for a horse breeder and he used to go with me.  The horses loved him.  I think they thought he was a foal.  Many times you would find him standing in front of a stall with a horse licking his face.  I know I saw him smile!  But, as for the stealing, we couldn’t keep a pair of gloves anywhere within his reach.  In fact, one day I laid my gloves on the ground for just a second to undo a horse blanket.  I returned to only one glove.  GRRR!!!!

It got so bad, I had to replace my gloves on a monthly basis.  I went to the local feed store and purchased 12 pairs, the owner kind of chuckled.  He told me he had just sold another lady several pairs.  I laughed and said, “I wonder if her dog is eating her gloves too”.  He told me it wasn’t her dog, but it was a dog.  Uncanny, so I mentioned the name of the owner of the barn where I worked, it was the same person.  HORATIO!!!!!!

Unusually enough, Horatio took a liking to carrots.  In the barn, we used them as treats for the horses.  One day I bought a large bag of carrots (not the pre-cut ones) and put it on the counter in the feed room.  When I returned the entire bag was gone, thinking I had misplaced them I searched everywhere.  I heard the owner of the barn laughing, so I came out to see.  There was Horatio, lying on the ground (smiling) with chewed up carrots all around him.

I miss the old man, he was such a joy!  He definitely kept me guessing and laughing.  Horatio was given 6 months to live when I found him, he lived for 6 years.  What a journey and gift the time was that I spent with Horatio.  He was one of the quirkiest, funniest, and fun loving dogs I have ever met.

The Road Less Traveled

In looking back at my life a poem by Robert Frost popped into my head, “The Road Not Taken”.  I am by no means a literature buff or can even recite poems.  In fact, I thought the name of the poem was “The Road Less Traveled”.  Robert Frost is probably rolling over in his grave right now.

I first read this poem in high school and I guess it resonated with me.  They say that the great writers talk to your soul, well I guess this one did.  (Apologies to my English teacher, I don’t remember anything else.)

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Don’t you think that some of the great people in the world took this less traveled path?  You hear people say, “She is a trend setter.” We tend to flock towards these people who are agents of change.  We want them to show us the way.  It takes a lot of courage to be this kind of person.  You are always making the way for others to follow, but you don’t know as you head down this road where it will end.  No footsteps to tread in, no map, and no previous experiences to learn from.  Some of the people I admire are: Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and then efforts to free others; Susan B. Anthony in her fight for women’s rights and sufferage;  Mohandas Ghandi in his nonviolent approach to civil disobedience that freed India and set an example for the world;  Martin Luther King a human rights icon.

There are so many people in this world that have achieved greatness by taking the road less traveled.  Society promotes that we follow the rules, listen to our elders, fit in with a group, or just be a follower.  Too many times, modern education grades us on how well we follow directions.  Your scores are compared with those ahead of you.  I think parents even gauge their children’s successes based on their own or those of their siblings.  Shouldn’t we be teaching them to find their own strengths.  Guide them to use those strengths to accomplish anything they want.  Encourage them to think for themselves and to ask “why?”

I think I was born with some sort of quirk that made me buck the system, defy the rules, and set my own path.  I can remember my mother once saying, “You seem to always run into the doors before opening them.”  For some reason, I have to know the motivation behind rules that have set.  If I agree with the motivations, I can follow the rule.  If not, I set my own path.  I have this innate ability to want to do things differently than they were done before.

In my parenting, I am trying to encourage my child to have this courage to expand her horizons, take risks, and be courageous.  Due to her condition, having different ways to accomplish the same end goal is going to be key.  Current teaching methods might cause her frustration and inability to move forward.  My role will be to come up with ways to use her strengths to overcome her weaknesses.  Who knows what her future holds?  I hope she is an agent of change and  always challenges herself to take the road less traveled.

I am telling you this, not because I am a leader or role model by any means.  My hopes are that it will encourage you to take that first step down your road less traveled.  It won’t be easy.  There are always bumps in the road, but with each step you will become more and more able to circumvent and handle those bumps.

“When you develop yourself to the point where your belief in yourself is so strong that you know you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, your future will be unlimited.” – Brian Tracy

What challenges do you face?  Who do you admire as an agent of change?  Do you have an experience with taking the road less traveled?

What Is In Your Way?

Do you find it interesting how many times you get some great creative inspirations, but you never manage to start (or finish) them?  I probably have over 100 half done creative projects and a million more ideas that I never started.  When I ask myself why or try to get motivated to complete them, I find a million reasons not to.

Reasons pile up and serve as anchors to our dreams.  It is hard to try new things and find your niche without trying.  I have said and heard so many of the following excuses:

1.  I don’t have time for anything new.  2.  No one would like my projects.  3.  I am too old.  4.  I don’t know how to get started.  5.  I am not good at that.  6.  I don’t have anyone to do it with me.

I have seen many articles that talk about why we have trouble staying motivated -1.  Fear of failure.  2.  Afraid to take risks.  3.  Attention seeking – ever notice how much people like to complain about their lives, very few talk about the successes.  4.  Negative attitudes  5.  Perfectionism

One of my biggest roadblocks is seeing my project not turning out the way I had planned, so I abandon it.  In the beginning, I research, plan, ask around, and try to figure out what to do with my finished product.  Most times, I can reason that I will try to sell it, gift it, or use it.  But for some odd reason, I never feel proud enough of my work to wear it.  Although I love it when my daughter wears it, she looks so cute and can make anything look better.  But truthfully, why don’t I have the pride and confidence in my work.

Recently I have been having fun writing blog posts, but that again goes back to being afraid that no one is interested.  So, when I sit down to write I have a hard time staying motivated.  Worrying about what others think is a huge inspiration killer.  Starting a new blog is scary and hard.  You don’t know what will become of it and you don’t know what to do with it.  From many of the blogs that I read, I have seen a main theme – all of them started out at just a personal journal, a place for release, and even to keep family members involved in their lives.  The funny part is that they all agree, their blogs became so much more than their original intentions.  Staying with it and just enjoying the journey of writing, meeting others, and sharing experiences are the examples these people have used on how to succeed.

I love to create, but I don’t finish much.  I am so afraid (even crippled) by perfectionism.  Enjoying the creating should be my goal.  Liking my end product is my responsibility, maybe then I won’t care so much what others think.

But, back to my original thought – we all let things get in the way of our dreams.  WHY?  What does it take to overcome these obstacles?  What would our lives be like if we were able to stay inspired and reach our goals?  I get so down when I see all my unfinished projects.  Isn’t it better to be proud that I finished them?

This site had some good advice to share on staying motivated….  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/10-ways-to-find-new-motivation-and-rise-above-roadblocks/

How Has Social Media Changed Your Life?

As I sit here with my glass of wine reading the highlights of everyone’s blogs, it makes me think.  I grew up in a very isolated and rural area, no cable TV, dial up internet access, and computers that ran on with DOS operating systems (no GUIs for us).

It was a simpler way of life.  We spent more time outside playing, because there was nothing on TV.  At night after a family dinner, we would all gather around to watch Dukes of Hazzard, Murder She Wrote, or MacGyver.  With no TIVO, you had to watch the show when it aired or else you missed it all together.  Reruns didn’t come around very often, so you could not dare miss an episode.

Because of our location, my high school was about 30 minutes from my house.  All my friends lived in different counties, therefore it was long distance to call them.  None of those long, unending phone calls with my friends.  No free long distance or unlimited minutes existed.  Socializing with my friends was left to on school grounds.  When I got my driver’s license the sense of freedom was amazing.  I could drive to meet my friends.

The social scene was limited to a fast food restaurant, BK lounge (Burger King).  All the popular kids would gather there to discuss a party location.  Starting around 9pm the parking lot would begin to fill and the cars would start crusin around.

Do they even still do cruising?  A major part of our teenage years was spent cruising along the streets of town, so you could see and be seen.  That is how we met kids from other schools and expanded our groups of friends.

With the creation of social media, children are in contact 24-7. They can expand their social circles to anyone in the world.  Pretty amazing!  Although I have to say, it was a good thing I didn’t have this kind of access.  I would have gotten into so much trouble.

Today, things are moving so fast.  No one has time to have lunch, enjoy a conversation with a good friend, or go to a movie.  Has social media provided a crutch for this?  Do you remember the days when snail mail was the only mail?  Writing letters and getting letters was a gift.  I can remember getting letters in the mail from a boyfriend who lived in another town.  I couldn’t wait to check the mail each day, looking for that letter.  Email has just given us another reason to want immediate gratification. We can’t hardly wait one minute for a response, a week WHAT?!!?!

Facebook has connected us even more.  Now we can see when, where, and what people are doing.  Some people have even been compelled to tell you what they are making for breakfast or when they are going to the grocery store.  If they had to pick up a phone to tell someone this, would they?  Besides who really needs to know this type of mundane information.  When facebook first came out, I was so excited.  I found many of my high school friends that I hadn’t seen in over 15 + years.  How awesome, you could see pictures of them and their families.  Touch base and catch up.  But then, as time goes on you notice how different you are.  The distance seems even greater. Facebook almost turns into a place for people to brag about their lives – kind of like being back in high school.

I admit, I stalked a few people on facebook.  But for the most part, I don’t really feel connected to my FB friends.  It is kind of like having that conversation with someone at a party who you really aren’t interested in, but you don’t want to stand alone.  I love to feel connected with my friends, share in their joys, sadness, loss, and celebrations.

Don’t get me started on Twitter.  Never understood it, never will.  I have tried it, but I guess I am too old fashioned.  Blogging has been great.  I think I can see the inside of people who blog.  They share their joys, sadness, etc…..  Bloggers are open and honest!  It is refreshing.  Something about sitting behind a computer screen and writing out your inner thought is freeing!

I met my husband on Yahoo.  When I went through my divorce from my first husband, I turned to social media to help me cope.  It made me feel less alone.  I met some great people and went on some great dates.  I married one of those guys, in fact.  I think the meeting sites are great, better than a bar.  While you are trying to meet people in a bar, you are slowly drinking away your life.  Some don’t break free and suffer from alcoholism.  I found that by meeting people on line, I was able to get to know them before going on a date.  You are able to let down your guard and speak honestly.  If the reject you online, so what!  Hit delete!!  When you do manage to meet for the first time, the conversation flows easily.  You already know so much about each other, it is easier to talk freely.

Have you seen the new sites for meeting friends?  They now have a site where you can rent a friend. No need to socialize and build relationships with people, you can buy companionship (not the illegal kind).

Social media has changed the world in so many ways.  Is this good or bad?  Obesity in children is on the rise, due to lack of exercise.  Less and less people are spending time together one on one.  Cell phones, laptops etc are stealing time away from families (it isn’t just TV anymore).  More and more sites are going up exposing our children to pornography.  I can remember when this was not even available – sneaking a Playboy from someone’s house was the closest we ever got to porn.

Interesting Experience – Unexpected Gift

I have been going through a tough time with my daughter lately.  We are approaching the age at which we are going to be able to see the affects of her condition.  Her future is dependent upon how well she develops over the next few years.  She is almost two years old and we had her first series tests to determine if any new tumors have developed or the current tubers in her brain have changed.

I was petrified going into this series of tests.  I understand the necessity of knowing what changes are going on an addressing them as soon as possible.  On the other side, it is so hard to go in for results knowing that the news might be very bad.  I haven’t been able to breathe for over two months, since the day we scheduled her tests.

The day before her appointment, I was taking her into daycare when I got the most unexpected gift.  I was stopped in the hallway by a woman who wanted to talk to me about Lily.  She works at the facility and is always sharing stories about her time spent with Lily.  As we started talking, I noticed that she was referring to Lily’s future.  Under the assumption that she was trying to reassure me and express her opinions of Lily’s future, I was appreciative of her views.

As the conversation went on, I noticed her looking at a picture of Lily.  She almost seem to be talking to the air.  This made me curious.  Her observations moved to Lily attending special schools and our abilities to provide her with the education she needed.  She was telling me that Lily and I will be very close and she will always turn to me for help.  In her teenage years, Lily was going to be easier than others.  She wasn’t going to be getting involved with the social pressures of drugs, alcohol, and partying.  Her love was going to be focused on her family and animals.  She will prefer to be home, because it is her place of peace.  She mentioned about Lily’s independent spirit and how I will be challenged with not stifling her and letting her work things out on her own.  Last of all, she told me Lily was a gift and a special child.  She will teach me things about myself.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, she was a “seer”.  Seer’s are similar to psychics, but a little more spiritual based.  She considers her gift to be from God and it only comes to her when the time is right.

I am sure some of you are skeptical and I have to admit at one time in my life I was as well.  But she was right about one thing for sure, I needed what she was telling me!  I felt that it was a message to remind me that my daughter was going to be OK and I have what resources I need to help her.  I started to breathe for the first time in over two months (more like two years, since the day she was diagnosed).  I went into her Neurologist’s appointment today more relaxed and ready to handle whatever was next.

Well, the second we walked into his office – the doctor said, “Everything looks fine guys!”  (He loves to use the term “guys”, even if it is only me in the room.)  Her tests showed no new tumors or changes!!!!  I was overwhelmed with relief and I remembered my conversation with the seer.  Whether her abilities are real or not – I am thankful!

As a side note, this was my second experience with this ability.  I met with a animal communicator once.  I mentioned my abused horse, I wanted to set up an appt to talk with her.  She started mentioning things about my horse immediately.  I was caught off guard, because I was talking with her in Georgia and my horse was in Virginia.  I thought you had to be in the presence of the animal to communicate.

She told me about a pain that Dreamer had in her left hip.  Many vets had examined her and no such pain existed, so I was writing her off almost immediately.  Five years later, Dreamer developed a pain in her back which required a chiropractor.  During the chiropractic exam, they found her pelvis to be off.  Her left side was evidence of a previous injury that had healed wrong.  In fact, they suspected that she had broken her pelvis many years ago.  The source of her pain was the pelvis – left side.  Strange coincidence, huh!?  This was the first time anyone had mentioned her having pain.  Once someone told me she had eyesight problems on the left side, but no lameness.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that you never know.  Our rational side tells us not to believe, but our hearts want to believe.  The only thing I can say with any certainty, I am open to the messages around me!  Some are obvious knocks on the door or blinding lights of discovery – but some are mere whispers on the wind, easily missed.

I Need Inspiration…..

If you like this blog, have any suggestions, or would like to see more posts – Please let me know!  I am enjoying writing some of my stories, but I want to hear yours too.

What inspires you?  Who is your role model?  Or just share a funny story!

On that note—  I heard a joke on my way to work this morning…..

“What did the old lady’s breast say to the other breast?”

“If we don’t perk up, they are going to think we are nuts!”

I need a little inspiration!   Thanks to all my readers!  I hope that I am able to add some value with my posts.

Have a great weekend!