Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘Heartsong Pets’

ABCs of Relationships

 

The beautiful depths of life require connection with others.  God created humanity for relationship.  Much of our culture today draws us away from deep connection with others–but the longing never leaves us.  It is the design God wove into humanity.

Part of the plans for Heartsong Ministry include using horses (and other animals, in time) to teach relationship principles.  The ABCs of Relationships is the beginning of those curriculum plans.

As you read, consider posting comments or questions.  Have you seen these principles in your own relationships?  Are there other key components to healthy, thriving connections you feel need to be included?

A

Attentive – tune into your thoughts, feelings and desires.  Consider same for ‘other.’

Ask – what do you want?   Is it ‘good’ for both?  How will you communicate the ask?

How can you create a safe space that allows ignoring, resisting or cooperating?

Accept – limitations, weaknesses and differences of opinion.

B

Bear with each other – no one, no relationship is perfect; create your unique relationship by working through your unique challenges

Bond – working through problems creates that special bond; the more things you go through, the stronger the bond

Blessed—humanity was created by love, in love, to love; the work of relationship brings great blessing.

 

C

Committed—The blessing of the bond develops deeper desires and more opportunities.  Every layer of depth in a relationship demands more sacrifice and surrender.

Connected—Paul said he was constrained by the love of God…the deepening bonds of relationship ‘constrain’ us to love more, give more.  Getting what we want or simply going along is never goal.

Creating—God created humanity for connection.  Relationships develop to give life and create more connection.  We see more possibilities and the process of connecting is endless…always new ways, new depths.

For more on how horses can help us learn relationship skills, pop on over to Building Relationships or contact me at billiejoyoumans@heartsongministry.net.

Celebrating Heartsong’s Sir Barnabas

12011203_10206373999700891_2684319076143043947_nSir Barnabas of Chester is ONE year old!  He is an ‘abundant life’ dog for sure.  Named in honor of Barnabas in Scripture, his destiny is to become an encourager.  His first year of life has been one of expressing himself and learning to be part of a family.

And in doing that, he encourages all around him to do the same!  That’s a pretty good start in legacy building.  Join us in celebrating and may each reader BE ENCOURAGED!906112_10206577955119649_1065774115508889853_o

Barnabas came to Chester as a gift of love and appreciation.  Craig faithfully provides our family with love and care…and has done so for nearly a quarter of a century.  The kids and I wanted him to have joy in loving…in the form of a squirming, wrinkled bully.  Barnabas wiggled into that role perfectly.

0219160922Although he didn’t realize it (and sometimes still doesn’t), Barney didn’t come to rule his own kingdom.  He came into a home with two doggy siblings…and a myriad of DSC07193 (2)other critters.  He had to find his way to harmony, and it hasn’t always been easy.

Sometimes you have to surrender to be a part of the pack!  But sometimes you can just charge on with pack and have a good time, too. As Barney found his place in his new ‘kingdom’ everyone else learned a bit more about themselves too!

Sir Barnabas knows who he is created to be and he lives out the design with a strong will and determination.  Sometimes his rambunctious pursuit of what he wants aggravates others–and gets him in trouble.   That doesn’t really slow him down; he just loves with equal passion.  This first year, Barney has spent encouraging his house mates to live and love!  We celebrate that and anticipate the expansion of his legacy in year two.

flip barney

 

Happy Birthday, Heartsong’s Sir Barnabas!

 

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Walking with the Leader!

Walking with Scout certainly taught me many lessons.  Walking with Scout, Cooper and Barnabas has continued the process.  Personalities, self-centeredness, leadership and unity are three major challenges we tackle every time we go out for a walk.  Trying to walk 150+ pounds of dog is helping me walk out the requirements of God as stated in Micah 6:8:

He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Our dogs have inherited characteristics from their breed—and they have distinct 0219160922personalities as well.  Scout, our boxer, is a big dog—powerful and playful, he tends to be
easy-going but clearly defines the limits he finds comfortable.  Cooper is a Jack Russell, high-strung, always on edge and ready to fight any who disturb him.  Barnabas, an English Bulldog, has a stubborn complacency about him that defies disruption.  Their personalities are not equally enjoyable to me.  I have a tendency to excuse some behaviors and correct others based on my own preferences.

God is not like me: Hallelujah!  He loves each wholly.

He created each one of us different and rejoices in our differences.  God does not have favorites because He loves perfectly.  Awareness is the first step in change, so I’m glad these guys help me see that my preferences are not to determine my choices.  Loving diversity while doing justly is part of honoring God!

Appreciating uniqueness is the mark of leadership that produces unity!

Self-centeredness is a characteristic of animals–one we humans all too often share.  (By the DSC07195 (2)way, I whole-heartedly acknowledge that the love of animals is a key aspect of pet ownership.  But I submit that their love is self-centered because it emanates out of their need.  And their perspective about pet ownership is that we
belong to them!)  Taking a walk with three self-centered creatures
builds the arm and back muscles.  All
too often what catches the eye of one is in the opposite direction of what catches the eye of another.  My responsibility is to capture their attention and set the direction.

Failure to lead in a clear direction creates chaos and frustration!

The LORD is a leader who sets a definite direction.  Since God created humanity above the animals, we have extra responsibility.  Learning to take dominion over my dogs on a walk DSC00011reminds me that I am also in charge of my own walk with the LORD.  It is my responsibility to keep my eyes fixed on the LORD.  He is the author and perfecter of my faith…the One who sets the course I am to follow.  Running off my own initiative will result in correction because He is a good leader with a perfect plan.

Fixing our eyes on the Lord as our leader produces unity that advances the Kingdom of God!

Are you letting your preferences and distractability

interfere with following the Leader?  

Soul Training in the Barn is a Bible Study created to set a foundation for a firm walk.  Check it out on Amazon – it is free to Kindle Plus users!

Heartsong Pets – Building Trust

The foundation of obedience is trust.  In our first session of Heartsong Pet Dog Training, we built on this truth:

Obedience to the call of God requires that we trust Him more than we trust ourselves.  

In that first session, we covered basic obedience training concepts:

  • Responding to name – a call to Attention
  • Exercising impulse control – a call for restraint
  • Resting 148789_117501068313177_1646713_n
  • Accepting “No.”
  • Sit – a default position while waiting for further instruction

We built on our foundation with the truth of an ‘old saying:’

The life of faith is well described as a

‘long obedience in one direction.’

Session two on our way to Pet Therapy Teams brought us to these points of obedience:

  • Responding to their name when competing interests ‘called’.  The walk of faith increases in difficulty when things we really like compete for God’s attention.  Obedience overcomes the temptation–and response to the name happens!
  • Moving from an ATTENTION command to a CORRECTION command, we practiced “Leave it.”  This is an exercise to teach making good choices.  Leave it is practiced with things that are enticing…obedience calls to a higher choice.
  • OUCH!  Dogs really do not know we are not one of them.  They are made for biting and chewing upon.  We are not.  Dramatic exclamations of pain help them learn to stop behaviors that harm us.  They want to please; we have to help them understand–just like God does for us.
  • Stay or Wait.  Do you not hate waiting?!  Stay is taught in a two-step process.  First, we ask our pet to stay while we are with them–just moving a few feet away.  Then, we move farther out.  God does the same.  In the early stages of our faith-walk, we need constant assurance and blessings to keep us going.  As we grow in obedience, we may be called to endure some times of waiting.   Distractions are a key factor in this…anything that draws the focus of our pet will require us to move closer to the pet.  That’s a pretty good faith recommendation too.  The busier we are, the more we need face time with Jesus!
  • Come!  Taught in much the same way as Stay!, the distance and distractions work in relationship.  Come is not the same as Name Response.  With Name, we want attention–but perhaps not running to us.  Name is to elicit a stop and look; come means ‘draw near.’

I’d love to hear how your training–and trusting–is growing!

Obedience = Trust

“Obedience is really just getting your dog to trust your judgment more than its own.”  Wally Wimmer, Last Straw Dog TrainingDSC00011

Heartsong Pets continues toward developing therapy dogs to bless our community!  Our heart desire is to help our pets honor the intent of St. Francis of Asissi when he said, “Preach the Gospel at all times–and if necessary, use words.”  Below you will find an overview of the steps we are following to help our dogs.  But I can’t help but see how it relates to walking out a life of faith.

For me, learning to obey the commands of God is exactly the same.  The Word of God is a loving letter of instruction from our Heavenly Father.  He never makes rules to hear Himself talk or rob of us of pleasure.  God gives rules that we might understand what His heart looks like.  We will never understand until we choose to obey.

The privilege and power of choice is easily overlooked.  As parents, our job is to offer choices to our children that are fit for their maturity level.  Our goal is that they will learn to exercise their right to choose with wisdom that comes along with increased knowledge.  Children who never learn to think for themselves and exercise choice become adults who are easily led astray.  Treasuring choice actually leads us to obedience.  God gave choice to humanity because it is the only path to fully understanding the greatness of God.

Choice is a divine privilege.  Robbing humanity of choice is the work of the devil.  There is an interesting dynamic of evil that hides itself well.  The temptation to reject restraint actually leads to total bondage.  Addiction is the perfect example.  Choosing to drink or drug is a decision each individual can make…stopping becomes increasingly harder.  Choosing not to surrender to God is a choice one can make…but the sound of His loving call becomes fainter with each step away.   The arms of God remain open to all who will heed His call to come, though!  The option to choose God remains as long as His breath is in our body!

Obedience to His call is trusting Him more than we trust ourselves.  

Heartsong Pet – Training Session One

  • Teach the name as a command.  When the name is called, the response should be immediate.
  • No is also a critical command.  Clear instruction when a behavior is not desired matters.
  • Sit is a command that becomes an efficient ‘base of operations’ for later commands.
  • Nap (rest or wait) is a command that assists with impulse control.

Session Two will focus on playing together…fun, productive games to build bonds with our pet pals!

Heartsong Pets – Dog Training

Today at 3 PM, Last Straw Dog Training will provide the first in a series of dog obedience classes at our house.  Any are welcome, but there is an underlying goal to this venture.

1 Corinthians 15:46 sums it up well for me:

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the answer to all of life’s dilemmas, but we are often blind as to how that can be.  We believe that pets are great instructors who can reveal truths in powerful ways!

The natural life is our ground for learning about Jesus.  Pets reach hearts when people cannot.  The tangible results of pet interaction for those with hurting hearts is well documented.  Children are drawn to pets; old people as well.  From family pets to therapy dogs to service animals, the potential of well-trained pets is phenomenal.

For those willing to invest themselves in partnering with their pets (to learn and share natural/spiritual truths) there are even greater rewards.  The natural (our minds, our bodies) must meld knowledge and discipline.  That is our responsibility. The spirit work is all the Lord’s.  The natural life training will benefit anyone willing to exercise themselves to do it.  The spiritual potential will be enjoyed by any willing to receive it.

Participation in actual therapy visits is not a requirement for attending the training.  The cost is $25 per pet.  For more information on how we see animals partnering to teach us, visit Heartsong Pets.

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