Tag Archives: animal-assisted

Dove Notes – Intro

A single mention of anything in Scripture ought to be paid attention to.  But when there are multiple mentions of any one thing, it seems to me God has something important in mind!  It piques my interest.

Scripture mentions doves over thirty times.  Often the context gives great honor to the dove.  The most well-known mention being in the baptism of Jesus, which links the Holy Spirit with the symbolism of the dove.

animal animal photography avian birds
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

 

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.  Luke 3:22

In Song of Solomon, the great book on the love of God, both the lover and the beloved are said to have eyes like the dove.  Jesus sent His disciples out with the admonition to be as wise as serpents but gentle as doves.  Noah sent a dove out to learn if the ground was ready for dwelling.  Doves were a common sacrifice in Temple worship.  For more details on the Scriptural mentions of doves, Biblical Archaeology offers an in-depth look at the symbolism of doves.

Interactive learning helps me  The dove as symbolic of the Spirit of God intrigued me; so, I purchased some doves to learn from them.  It’s been a delight and I wanted to share some of their lessons.  Over the next few weeks, I will share a dove note to enjoy!  May it bless you and tune your ears to the Holy Spirit!

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Finding The Answer to Anxiety

Anxiety now ranks as the Number One mental health disorder in America.  Nearly 20% of the population are being treated for anxiety-related issues…many more receive no treatment or are unaware of the root cause of problems.  As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, but we can’t always figure out how to let him reign over our anxieties.  Pet-Assisted Learning sessions improve knowledge application.

“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you….”  Job 12:7a

Horse-Powered learning sessions help move things we believe from our head to our heels.  The truth is that we only believe what we actually live.  Saying that Jesus has given us peace but living with anxiety is painful, destructive and even dishonest. The abundant life is ours to enjoy.  Let the animals help you learn how!

P.A.L. Path to Peace: Answering Anxiety

Traveling on the path to peace requires awareness and action.  Participants will begin by observing the animals & surroundings, and consider their own anxiety level.  With attention directed to physical signs of anxiety and active thoughts, participants will then gather their learning partner and begin. 

Leading their partner, participants will travel a pre-made obstacle course to explore:

  • what causes anxiety for horses
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  • what anxiety looks like (and creates)
  • what can be done about it

Understanding the fear nature of a horse helps participants see more deeply into their  own ‘flight responses.’  After completing the course, horses will be allowed to move freely about as participants reflect on the experience and insights gained.

Participants will then build an obstacle course that reflects their personal anxieties and how it feels to navigate through those anxieties.  They will then gather their horse partner and prepare to journey through their course together.

Before that obstacle course is navigated, participant and partner travel a path of peace to gather Scripture truths that will help them conquer the obstacles.  Armed with the knowledge gained in the previous two paths, participants will then face their personal path to peace.

Sunday, January 28 – 3:30 -5:00 PM

Chester County, SC

Limited openings.  $25 per person

P.A.L. Sessions can be scheduled as private sessions or sign up for Glory Glimpse to receive notice of community sessions.

Bunnies are Bullies

BULLYING

Current statistics indicate half of school-age children report having been bullied in the past month.  A strong link exists between bullying and suicide–the leading cause of death for young people.

Bullying is an increasing problem, but it isn’t a new problem nor is it confined to schools.  Businesses bully, politicians bully, police bully, minorities bully, families bully–and sadly, even Christians bully.

Bullying isn’t always violent, but it is always an attempt to control.  It manipulates, pressures, shames and intimidates.  It’s a learned behavior that destroys lives as it proclaims, “It’s all about ME!”

  • Bullies want their own way more they want anything else.
  • Bullies are bossy.
  • Bullies demand their own way when they want it & how they want it.
  • Bullies set themselves up as god.

We can stop bullying…and the creation of bullies…by living as a child of the Most High God!  God NEVER bullies, though the sad truth is many think God is a bully.  He is humble, generous and good.  His Way is the way to end bullying!  Jesus is that Way!

Of course, knowing the answer is way easier than living the answer!

Let the animals teach…
Heartsong Bunnies and Bullies

Bullying is a natural trait of….wait for it…BUNNIES!

I saw that roll of the eyes.  Stay with me.

Yes, bunnies are a prey animal. In nature, they are often on the receiving end of much more than bully-ing.  By nature, though, within their social structure, bullying is a way of life.

BIG Bunny

Bunny hierarchy is pretty interesting but visit this link if bunny details are your primary interest because this will just be a fly (well, hop) over.  While every colony (or warren) will have a Chief BIG BUNNY (BB), there are many BBs  in the bunny world. Every BB expects–demands–to be worshiped and obeyed by every other bunny.  The message from every BB (Big Bunny or Big Bully) is the same:  “This life–including your life–is all about me.”

Good Goals Gone Wrong

Even good goals get lost with a self-centered approach.  Respect & affection are the foundational values of bunny life.  Every demand a bunny makes is for one of those purposes.

Good goals pursued the wrong way stop being good.

Disobedience to bunny social rules is read as disrespect–and receives a punishment.  There are a lot of ways to offend a bunny.  Hopping by without speaking, attention to another bunny or being too familiar can generate a foot flick, an angry look, a growl, bite or complete shunning.  Taking offense is a bunny characteristic…it’s a bully characteristic too.

War in the Warren

Bunny bullying is pretty tame when they live in the wild.  But a bunny stuck with humans who don’t speak bunny can get pretty aggressive.  We humans are prone to disobeying bunny rules and creating resentments.   Bunnies hold a grudge, and just like with people, grudges create walls of separation.  Bully bunnies become so damaged, they do not want a relationship with people.  Sometimes, fear, anger or pride take over every other desire and their innate sociability is destroyed.  It is a sad state for the bunny-and its human family.

Does the Bullying problem in our world make more sense?

A World of Bullies

Self-centeredness and resentments are the commonality in warrens–and in our world.  Selfishness and unhealed, open wounds create bullies…and victims.  Unforgiveness is poison to yourself and the world around you!

The answer for both self-centeredness and resentments is the same:  

Jesus, the Healer….Jesus, the reconciler.

Like bunnies, we people are created to be social.  God so longed for relationship He created humanity.  But God humbly loves…He gave humanity the freedom to choose to love Him or not.  It is a fearsome choice with serious consequences.  While God is generous and good, He is also holy.  We are accountable for our choices.  Every choice is a choice of LIFE or DEATH.  Our choices are actions that produce one or the other.

Sadly, sometimes in our lives, greed, fear, anger and pride push God aside and we take matters in our own hands.  We choose our way instead of The Way.  We choose death.

Bullying is not solved by becoming a bigger bully.

Bullying stops when we refuse to bully–and when we refuse to be bullied–the same WAY Jesus responded.  Instead of taking offenses to heart and holding on to them, we must know who God is and who He created us (ourselves & our offenders) to be.

Victors not Victims

Knowing God as the Bible reveals Him to be gives us victorious courage.  We can walk through life secure in His care.  That does not mean we will never have trials.  Learning to trust God enough to die to self is a daily (moment-by-moment) necessity.

Jesus is the Way…and if we look at His life, we see His earthly life ended by bullies.  In America, that is not a common danger–though it is in some places and sometimes is true here.  Jim Elliott, who gave His life that others would have life, speaks eloquently to that concern:

Image result for he is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep

Finally, the cure to bullying is in knowing the value of every life.  The King of Kings died on the cross for individuals–not the masses.  He died not as a martyr but as a sacrifice with great purpose:  destroy the works of the devil and re-open the Way to relationship with the Father in heaven.  He gave His life that we would be able to live in union with God and others.  Our lives flow with that power and purpose when He lives in us.

Victors over Bullying

  • Victors want God’s way more they want anything else.
  • Victors are humble and meek.
  • Victors respect people’s right to choose.
  • Victors bow before their God and enjoy His presence.

What things tempt you to bully?

What ways are you bullied by others?

Will you choose The Way?

 

CLICK here for more info or to schedule a Heartsong visit.

 

 

 

 

Heartsong AART

Birthing a new program feels like extended labor.  My gratitude to those who labor with me and listen as I seek to articulate the vision of my heart.  I wanted to share part of the labor with you for feedback, prayers and interest.  We have a new booklet, A.A.R.T., Animal Assisted Relationship Training, which outlines the sessions currently in development to aid in discipleship.

This piece of Heartsong will grow with other animals but the heart remains the same:  to see Christians LIVE out the calling God has placed within them.  Another popular activity is a children’s workshop, “Buddies or Bullies” that utilizes the characteristics of bunnies to point out bullying tactics.

 

Here is a sample of what A.A.R.T. will provide:

ABCS of Safety, Security & Significance: In the Garden of Eden, the choice to reject God’s one command cut humanity off from the Need Meeter. When we seek to meet the needs that God built into us…instead of seeking Him…we sin & become captive to that sin. Restoring connecting to the Father begins the process of healing…and fulfillment…and loving ourselves. From childhood to senior citizen, we must find how Christ is the answer we seek and understand how to apply that answer to diverse situations.

Acceptance by God restores IDENTITY for individuals; it provides strength for life in a changing world. When roles or actions give a person identity, they never learn the unique design God gave them. “Who am I” is a necessary question because the answer gives stability. AART activities help us see through our facades. Scriptures focused on identity in Christ & being treasured by God. (Psalm 139:13-14)

Belonging to God restores boundaries that provide safety and security. In the natural world, safety is an increasing concern from childhood to old age. Involvement with animals requires learning to be observant of body language and danger zones. It is easy to appreciate the value of fences, reins and lead ropes. Extending those truths to the internet, to strangers with candy or puppies and to individual choices is the goal of the coach in the follow up. (Psalm 46:1)

Calling of God restores purpose to lives. The Word tells us God has created us for good works…and for connection to Him. He treasures His children and cares for them. Using the natural needs of animals (nutrition, coat & hoof care, exercise), coaches draw parallels to caring for the body as the temple of God and caring for others. (Eph 2:10)