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What fights for your attention? What interrupts you? We can name dozens of things for both of those questions. Life is a whirlwind! Fast and frenzied at times. Some folks might say, “I can’t do anything about it. It’s the way my life is!” No matter how busy you are, there are ways you can be more mindful and more present in the moment. First I’ll share three tips for you and then build a case for why it matters.
So listen, we know you need your keys, phone, charger, and all the regular things. But just for a moment, let’s look at 3 important things from an intellectual perspective. To have a productive and joyful day these 3 Things can help you hit a bullseye!
There is a pathway worth walking. There is a life mantra worth embracing. There is an attitude that enhances your life. It is JOYFUL LIVING! Here are six ways to live a more rewarding life. We'll use the acrostic, "JOYFUL."
J is for JOIN. Surround yourself with happy people. Happiness is contagious. So, join a a friend for lunch. A friend that I worked with as writers for several magazines found me on facebook. We have not seen each other in more than ten years! I found out she is ten minutes from me. So, I'm going to join her for lunch soon to really catch up after all these years. Join your spouse for some quiet time. Sometimes we are in such a hurry we don't slow down long enough to have a true (electronics free) conversation. You can also join a church where you feel welcomed and comfortable. Joining a church body contributes dramatically to a joyful life!
O is for OPEN. Open your heart to Philanthropy. Philanthropy means the love of humanity. Find a charitable cause to support. Some folks like to actively participate in causes. Whether it be running a 5K for Breast Cancer or helping the homeless, supporting a cause is giving back and raises your joyful feelings. I love an idea I saw on Facebook for helping the homeless. It's called, "Blessing Bags." You take a gallon size ziplock bag and fill it with things like socks, a $5 dollar bill, a restaurant gift card, toothpaste and toothbrush, snacks, a battery operated fan, etc. Keep a couple in your car ready to bless the next homeless person you see. My Bible study group collected soft baby blankets for the Pregnancy Resource Center. If you can, contribute financially to a cause like St. Jude's Children's Hospital. The possibilities are endless.
Y is for YANK. Yank the negative people right out of your life! You can't live a positive life with a negative mind. Hanging out with gripers, complainers and whiners will suck you into the vortex of misery. In fact, the old saying goes, "Misery loves company." This is a true statement. People who are negative want you to join into their misery. You don't need it. You are the company you keep is another true saying. Hang out with positive people who have your same values. When I say, "Yank them out of your life," it doesn't need to be a big, dramatic deal. Just hang out with them less or limit your conversations. There's enough bad news in the world... you don't need people or so called friends dragging you down.
F is for FIND. Find your smile. Smiling regularly, on purpose, brings you joy. I make it a point to connect with people, even strangers, with a simple smile accompanied by, "Good Morning!" It lifts people's spirits and it lifts your own as well. Search YouTube videos on humor. Watch a comedy movie with friends. A good belly laugh produces endorphins that make you feel good inside. Find the humor in everyday life. I stopped at a store the other day to buy a cold drink and when I opened the cooler door I heard a voice behind the cooler door singing the song, "Can't Keep My Hands to Myself." I looked behind me and around the store and closed the door. What a weird feeling to reach in for a drink and hear someone singing inside the cooler. It made me giggle!
U is for UNDERSTAND. Understand life is full of inconveniences, disappointment, and minor irritations. Learn to cultivate patience and don't let every little thing get on your nerves. Learning to manage your impatience will contribute to more joy. We all have to wait for things. Waiting in line, waiting at the doctor, waiting for slow drivers. Getting upset is not going to change the circumstances. No doubt this takes great self control. However, it's worth it so that you can preserve your joy and it minimizes your stress.
L is for LIFT. Lift someone's spirit. Send a card to someone just to make them smile. Show up with Starbucks for your co-worker. There are so many lonely people in the world. I recently read an article in Psychology Today. The article stated that we are in a lonliness epidemic. Insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor than obesity and the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It goes on to say that lonliness causes serious hurt, acting on the same parts of the brain as physical pain. I found these facts astounding! Go through your phone contacts and see who you haven't talked to in awhile. Your call will make them smile and chance are, it will lift your spirit too!
Start your day off strong! Have some breakfast and coffee. Dress for success. And check out these powerful daily reminders:
Power Thought One: I am GRATEFUL for many things. Starting your day with thoughts of how much you have to be thankful for fuels your thinking and kick starts your spirit. Take it a step further and jot down your thoughts of gratitude in your planner or in a journal. Gratefulness cancels out fear because gratitude and fear cannot occupy the same space in your mind. By focusing on all that you have to be happy about centers your thinking and puts you in a good mood.
Power Thought Two: I am UNIQUE and ORIGINAL. There is not a single person that is like you! Let your color show! Live vibrantly! Write down ten cool things about yourself! I bet you've never done this. It can be you are creative. Maybe you are good with plants. Perhaps you are a singer or a muscian. Maybe it's the way you look at the world. Maybe you have hidden talents no one knows about! Jot down ten cool things and read the list everday.
Power Thought Three: I can do ANYTHING that I set my mind to. With knowledge at our fingertips, the sky is the limit to obtain everything you need to learn to make your dreams come true. Put your toe in the water looking for details you need to know to plan your goals and dreams. Get a business license. Look into getting a website. Go to social media classes to master that. Start making plans and take baby steps in the direction you ultimately want to go.
Power Thought Four: I can make a DIFFERENCE in the world. Everyday you have opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. Make, "kindness," your daily mantra. Be the peace keeper at work. Be the one who searches for solutions rather than complain about problems. Help a stranger. Smile and offer a courteous word to all those that come across your path. Build your character and decide what your core values are. Once you cement and agree upon your core values they become anchors in your life.
“Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So, figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be.” ~ Psychology Today
1. You Can Be a Rockstar!
No one can steal your dreams. You have the power, ability and determination. You just need to parlay that into a game plan for your life. Whether it is to get ahead in your current role or to totally revamp your life, you can do it! I’m currently re-designing the second half of my life. By now, in my mid-fifties, I know what I want in life and I know what I don’t want. Dream up your best life and start making baby steps to make it happen.
2. There Will Be Nay-Sayers
To stay motivated, you must be a master of communication. To get ahead you need a full box of communications tools. When someone sees a great communicator, they take notice. Being a good communicator is a necessity in life. Here are some communication options for negative comments.
When You Disagree, Say:
• You have every right to see it that way.
• It’s clear that you feel strongly about this.
• You are certainly entitled to your viewpoint.
• I do hear what you are saying.
• I understand that you see it that way.
When Introducing a Different Opinion, Say:
• One thing to consider is…
• Another way to look at it is…
• Here’s a thought…
• Consider the impact if we do it that way…
3. Operate in the Realm of Kindness
You don’t get ahead by ignoring the needs of other. Become a master networker. How can you help others while pursuing your dream? Introduce friends and colleagues. Brag on someone’s accomplishments. Pass along kind words someone else said. Charisma is defined as, “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Charisma helps make your dreams come true because people like you and trust you and will want to help you in your endeavors. No one becomes successful on their own. Remember the golden rule. Effectively manage the nay-sayers and become the rockstar you were always meant to be.
In Honor of Labor Day, we are looking at work ethic. Here are 5 helpful tips to assist your efforts at work.
Be More Than Your Job Description
Some people will do the bare minimum at work. In fact, if it's not in their job description, they may even tell you, "That's not my job!" I've even heard customer service reps say that to customers! Odds are you have some talents beyond what your job description is. It's a good thing to let folks (and your boss) notice this. This very step is what has gotten me promoted time and time again over the last 39 years! Take the lead on a project. Be the one to volunteer for a special task force. It feels good to excel and it will get you noticed.
Be Reliable, Trustworthy, and Appreciative
When you are given a deadline, turn the project in 2 days early...consistently. Your boss will be appreciative and deem you super reliable. When you say you are going to do something, do it accurately and on time. Never speak ill of co-workers to your boss. This never bodes well of your image. And be appreciative...verbally. Thank your boss for opportunities before and after the project. Verbally appreciate your co-workers when you notice their efforts or they assist you in some manner. This is integrity. Christ honors integrity.
Be Solution-Oriented, Not Problem-Focused
Problems create stress, however, dwelling on them does not fix anything. Our first response is usually to complain, blame or commiserate with our equally unhappy colleagues. Resist this urge. Even if you manager doesn't hear you say negative things, someone may throw you under the bus. It is so not worth it. So begin to think of solutions. Hopefully creative, out of the box solutions. If you know you are going to a meeting about the problem, jot down some notes or ideas that could improve the situation. Research what other companies have done. Google the problem, get some stats. It will be impressive!
Avoid Whiners & Complainers
Whiners and complainers bring everyone down. They suck the joy right out of you. They are usually the gossips as well. When you find yourself in the midst of gossip, simply state, "I don't feel comfortable talking about someone behind their back." It's bold and firm and it needs to be. You can also make the statement, "I understand the company is working on solutions. Do you have any ideas?" Or simply excuse yourself. You are the company you keep and that group is a pity party you don't want to attend.
Work Hard & Be Nice
We read in Galatians 6:9, "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." The steps above will definitely further your career, bring you satisfaction as a true professional and please God. Consisitency is key. Work hard, have the right attitude and you will excel. Be nice to everyone from the cafeteria worker, to the janitor, to the guy they call, "weirdo." God will see you and bless you. God's got an epic plan for your life. Just walk in the footsteps ordered of the Lord and He will get you there.
When we ponder abundance, we may think of different things. Some folks think of wealth. Some folks think of success. What does abundance mean to you? It has a lot to do with our mindset in life. One mistake we sometimes make, is focusing on the wrong things. When we are in need, it's easy to focus on what we don't have. Sometimes we fixate on it and dwell on it. We mope about it, become depressed. And we worry.
Here Are Four points on Worry.
1) Worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but you don't get anywhere.
2) Worry is thinking you can fix things better than God or trying to do life without Him.
3) Worry is meditating on everything you don't want.
4) Worry can become chronic and lead to depression or physical illness.
We either believe the Word of God or we don't. When things seem utterly impossible, God shows up and shows out. God solves things at a different level, for our long term good. We see quite a huge promise in the following scripture: "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor. 9:8
Our Father promises us that we will have everything we need and then some, if we put our trust in Him. Worry can be a stumbling block or a stepping stone into God's ultimate favor. Place scriptures, positive visuals, and encouraging thoughts everywhere so you can see them. God, Himself, encourages us to think positively. There is a reason for it. So that we can demonstrate the goodness of the Lord and so that in all things He will be glorified.
The average person tells four lies a day or 1460 a year; a total of 87,600 by the age of 60. And the most common lie is: "I'm Fine." We all need help. Why are we hesitant to ask for help? Sometimes we are afraid of admitting we need help. We are anxious that we might be judged. We don't want to appear weak. Margie Warrel writes in Forbes Magazine that, "Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness." She goes on to say, "We can all do so much more together than we ever can alone. Too often though we 'tough it out' rather than reaching out to ask for help when we need it most. Fear gets the better of us while depriving others of a chance to show they care and share their gifts.
Exhaust Your Own Efforts First
Try some things yourself to work out your needs before asking for help. We read in Psychology Today, "People are more inclined to want to help those who've attempted to help themselves first. When asking for help, briefly explain what you've tried independently. That way the person from whom you're requesting help knows you've tried to figure out your problem for yourself before requesting help." Alice Boyes,Ph.D. Sometimes people give in too easily without trying to help themselves. Or we are depressed so it's hard to think of answers. Here are somes suggestions to help.
No Shame in Your Game
Remember, as mentioned, asking for help is strength, not weakness. Make a list of trusted friends. Think about what you need to talk about. Select the person who will be most willing to listen and the person who is most apt to challenge your thinking and give you honest options. You don't want an overly nurturing person that's likely to pat your hand and tell you everything's going to be alright. You want concrete advice and someone that will keep confidences.
Think Things Through
Make a list of your issues and things you need to talk about. Jot down questions you have. A family member may or may not be the right person to talk to because they may have pre-concieved notions about you and will just tell you what you need to do without talking it out. Also family members may or may not communicate in an effective way. Also remember the best person to talk to may be a Professional Counselor. Counselors are unbiased and have a multitude of resources available. They don't know you, so they can see your situation more clearly and offer ways to improve your life.
Start a Journal
Keeping a journal is helpful. You can write out what you're struggling with, what your thoughts are and how you are feeling. Just getting it out on paper can help you. You can also jot down advice as people offer options. Include how the situations are made better eventually. A journal can show you that things do get better. It can also help you pinpoint your own wrong thinking that you needed to revisit and this can assist you as you move forward in the future.
If the help you need is more serious, take action immediately. These situations include drug or alcohol addictions or thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else. Visit our Panic Room for resources, helpful articles and a phone number to call (800) 273-8255 where you can talk to someone right now. Remember you are valuable and worthy of love and there is a pathway to peace. You can get there!
Decisions, decisions. We are faced with them all day, everyday. Some decisions are anti-climatic. Simple things like what to wear and what to have for lunch. These decisions are simple enough and it will not result in any major crisis. Some folks have a hard time making even small decisions like these. Have you ever been with a group of people deciding on where to go for lunch? Some folks will say, "I don't care. Wherever you want is fine." Then they follow that up with,"Oh, I had Mexican last night, but it doesn't matter to me." Then the scenario goes on for 15 minutes. Aggravating, to say the least. Just like some folks have problems with making small decisions, making the important decisions in life is really challenging. That's what we are focusing on today, the big decisions. There are three significant times you should put important decisions on hold temporarily.
Reason #1: You are ANGRY.
Here's some research from Harvard Business Review. You have had a bad morning. The leftover anger will continue to color your decisions at work, without your awareness—not a good thing for anyone trying to steer the best course through the day’s decisions and problems. From a family quarrel to a lost parking space—their work will suffer for it. For example, angry people tend to rely on cognitive shortcuts—easy rules of thumb—rather than on more systematic reasoning. They’re also quick to blame individuals, rather than aspects of a situation, for problems. These are just a couple of points in their research. When you are angry, you are not logical or reasoning. Your emotions have been tampered with and you may end up making a decision you regret.
Reason #2: You are TIRED.
When you are exhausted, sleep deprived, or tired, your decision making skills are impaired. Many of us try to make decisions while we are trying to fall asleep. This is not a good practice because we tired, so we are not rational. And it keeps us awake. We don't get enough sleep and the vicious cycle continues. Don’t try to think about important things (money, family, relationships, jobs, future goals) when you’re overtired or trying to go to sleep. You WILL drive yourself slowly batty while sacrificing your body’s well-being in the process.
When our physical energy slumps, so does the quality of our decisions. MICHAEL HYATT
Reason #3: You are RUSHED.
Waiting is never a fun thing, right? Usually, when I find myself waiting, it's never at an opportune time! Waiting on an important call. Waiting in line with two items behind someone with a full basket of groceries. Waiting 45 minutes past the time of our actual Dr,'s appointment. Waiting for the last ten cents of the gas to pump. And the list goes on! Even harder, though, is waiting on life issues to be resolved and seriously desperate situations to work out. Let's look at three "R's" that are pertinent in the waiting game.
Reasons God Has Us Wait
Not one of us can know what God's thinking is. We can rest assured that His plan is for our good at all times! 1 Corinthians 1:7 tells us, "so that you are not lacking in any gift, wait eagerly on the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ." Sometimes God has us wait because His timing is perfect and He knows how the future will unfold. Othertimes, He is looking for us to have faith in His plan, because, it too, is perfect. And to be frank, sometimes He is unable to move in our lives because there is sin. So we must always examine our lives to make sure there is nothing wrong between us and God.
Reach Out To God With Expectancy
When we wait, we cannot wait with the attitude of, "I hope God will answer my prayer," or, "I know God can do this but will he do it for me?" This is worry and thoughts of doubt and not what God wants from us. We read in Psalm 1:3, "In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will pray to You and eagerly watch." God wants us to eagerly wait and see just how powerfully and miraculously He will work all for our good according to His Word.
Receive God's Peace While We Wait
Psalm 33:20 says, "Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield." If we truly embrace this scripture and the others shared here, we are standing on God's promises. God does not fail. He is our help and our shield. A shield protects and that is what God does. He protects us. Simply share words of affirmation with God while you are waiting. "God I trust you." "Father, You are my deliverer." "Lord I rely on you for all things." Saying these words to God, builds our faith and He will not fail us.
Let me start out by saying this year my husband and I will celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. Quite the accomplishment and a lot of tears as well as laughter. Things were not all so rosy at the ten year mark of our marriage. We bought our dream home and I never moved in. Instead I moved from Georgia to Florida with our children and bought my own home. I had no intention of looking back. But life has a strange way of throwing you curve balls and emotions to navigate. We were seperated for one and a half years. During that time neither of us cheated on the other. Remarkable fact because usually the first thing folks do is jump right into a relationship to prove they are still desirable since you feel a huge heap of rejection when your marriage hits the rocks.
The truth is we didn't want someone else. We just couldn't live with the condition of our marriage. Eventually we realized this and my husband agreed to fly from Georgia to Tampa once a week to go to a counselor. God gave us the perfect counselor to pinpoint our problems. Here's the first of two things that turned things around for us. It's a book called The Five Love Languages. The premise is simple. We are all loved and receive or expect love to be shown to us in a preferred way.
The Five Love Languages are:
Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. My love language is Words of Affirmation. My husband's is Quality Time. My husband had the bad habit of being very verbally abusive to me. So not only was he not meeting my love language, he was violating it. His love language, being quality time, was not at all met because I wanted to be as far away from him as I could. We were doing opposite of what the other partner needed. Children also have love languages. The book helps in so many different ways. Within ten minutes of the therapist explaining the book to us, we walked out feeling like we could fix things. The book will truly change your life and the way you interact in all of your relationships. You can purchase it right here on our website in the LifeSIght Library!
The second thing that made a huge difference that has lasted for years is to ask your spouse one question daily. That question is: "What would make you feel loved today?" This really, really works and will make a huge impact on your marriage. Somtimes I would ask, "Will you put gas in the car for me today?" Sometimes my husband would ask, "Will you make Tuna Casserole tonight?" Sometimes it would be watch a certain TV show with me and snuggle? Othertimes it may be something intimate, which is great! Just don't make it sensual every single day. Mix it up. It's surprising the things that make a difference.
So, Buy the Book: The Five Love Languages from our Library and ask your spouse daily, "What would make you feel loved today?"
Try these two things and you will be surprised just how big of an impact it will make on your, "Happily Ever After!"
Here is a startling statistic for you! Out of the 15,000+ that comes to our minds daily, two thirds of those thoughts are negative! This is according to Dr. Dennis Gersten of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. There are many internet studies that claim we have as many as one thought every 17 seconds! The bottom line is most of us can’t think straight because of the overwhelming thoughts flying through our heads constantly. We are so mentally bombarded by negativity from family members, other people, work, news, media, and tragedies that our minds tend to lean naturally to the negative or skeptical side. We will often look for a hidden agenda before we make the effort to assume positive intention for any given situation.
A Hidden Agenda is like an ulterior motive; you or someone else, may do something or act a certain way in supposed benevolence, but the real reason you or they actually did that was also for personal gain; not to just help out. We may even think thoughts to ourselves like, "What are they up to?" Or, "Why are they being so nice? What do they want from me?"
Assuming Positive Intentions comes from within. There are times that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to accomplish this. It can only come from deep within our character. The long-term and short-term benefits of doing this are tremendous!
When Should We Assume Positive Intentions?
• We have heard a rumor or gossip.
• We do not have the facts.
• We have received 2nd or 3rd party information.
• What we have heard doesn’t seem logical.
• The person sharing the information may have a hidden agenda.
• The information affects a relationship that needs to remain constructive.
• The information we have received involves someone important to us.
The Benefits of Assuming Positive Intentions:
It preserves our sanity and manages our stress level. How often have you worried about something that wasn’t true or never came to pass?
It allows you time to think and sort out your emotions.
It maintains a positive team atmosphere and cultivates trust.
It shows confidence in your employee, which results in them wanting to make an effort and that increases their work competencies.
We All Get Dubious Situations Dropped in Our Laps.
It is important to resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon of negativity. A calm simple statement will help, such as, “Let’s just hear all the facts, before we get upset.” “I’d rather talk to them directly about this situation.” “Thank you for bringing it to my attention.” “Let’s talk about this after lunch.”
How Do I Assume Positive Intentions?
• Don’t jump the gun.
• Resist the urge to “fill in the blanks.”
• Don’t look back at history.
• Wait until you have the facts.
• Resist the tendency to be negative.
• Plan what you will say either way.
The benefits of assuming positive intentions far outweighs a cynical view. It creates an environment where we honor our company values and we protect them to create the kind of serving culture that is in alignment with our company mission.
So the next time an awkward scenario rears its dubious chaos, take a breath. Take a time break. Take the high road.
A young father asked his son to move a large log to the other side of the yard. He told his son, “Use all your strength!” The dad watched as the young boy struggled. Again the dad said, “Use all your strength, son!” The boy replied, “I am dad! I’m using all the strength I have!” The dad responded, “No son, you haven’t asked me for help!”
Many people go through life struggling without asking for help. Helping others can be as simple as sharing a better way to do things, offering brief advice or simply encouraging someone to a better path. Let’s look at 5 powerful reasons helping others helps you!
POWER REASON #1: It Boosts your Happiness & Well Being!
Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. Studies indicate that the very act of giving back to the community boosts your happiness, health, and sense of wellbeing. As a Motivational Speaker & Seminar Leader, there has never been an occasion when I regretted helping someone improve his or her attitude or his or her life.
POWER REASON #2: It Stimulates Your Brain in a Positive Way!
Christopher Bergland in Psychology Today Magazine shares some impressive study results. “For this study, participants were asked about various scenarios in which they either gave or received social support. For example, having "someone to lean on" or "looking for ways to cheer people up" when they were feeling down. As would be expected, both giving and receiving social support correlated to lower reported negative psychosocial outcomes."
Read his full article, 3 Specific Ways Helping Others Benefits Your Brain. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201602/3-specific-ways-helping-others-benefits-your-brain
POWER REASON #3: It Lowers Your Stress to Lift Another’s Spirit.
If you want to cope better with stress serve others. Connecting with others in need can enhance stress management and resilience.
Charles de Lint says, “I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
POWER REASON #4: It Raises Your Self Confidence and Esteem
United Health Care states in an article: The experience of helping others can lead to a sense of greater self-worth and confidence. And volunteering can provide you with a sense of purpose, especially in tough times.
It makes you feel good to offer sound advice and improve someone’s life with just a few short words. Sometimes it will point them to a better direction or even change their lives!
POWER REASON #5: It Creates a Chain Reaction of Making the World a Better Place.
Joshua Becker in, “Helping Others Succeed Can Be Your Greatest Success” states some phenomenal benefits. Consider how helping another achieve success results in significant benefits in a number of directions:
The receiver has reached a far greater potential than they could have on their own.
The world has been bettered and has been given a life-giving model to emulate.
The giver is remembered fondly and is often publicly (and privately) thanked for their contribution.
A stranger is likely to be the recipient of the original receiver “paying it forward.” And the cycle begins again.
Owning a dog can be one of the most enriching, aggravating, annoying and enjoyable experiences in life. In fact, dog ownership can be a microcosm of life in general. About two years ago, I lost my best friend. His name was Bubba and was the best dog I ever had. I raised and trained him from a puppy. He was a beautiful black and tan Doberman and weighed about 92 lbs. We found him dead in the woods today next to a spot where he had been digging about fifty feet from the house just over into the wood line. It looked as if he just fell over during the dig. His giant paws still in a digging formation. It seems fitting for him. He loved to dig and dig and dig. Fortunately for me, it was usually in the woods. Bubba, whose real name was Buddy but Amelia, my youngest daughter, couldn't pronounce his name when she started talking, was brave and courageous. Once he took a bite from a cottonmouth and saved me from the bite. I will always owe him a debt of gratitude for that. He was also a lover. Even though he had been fixed, he never quite realized what that meant and constantly tried to procreate with our boxer. He never gave up on it. But he was a lover of humans too.
His was the kind of unconditional love and acceptance those of us who have enjoyed dogs as friends have come to appreciate and love. It didn't matter to him when the girls hollered at him to get away because he had just snacked on something dead and they had on their Sunday best. He still loved them. No matter the weather, rain and cold or hot and a thunderstorm he trekked to the barn with me twice a day, always leading the way at first and then following me around. If I was working outside on a Saturday and stopped to take a leak next to a tree, he was right behind me marking the same spot. He never grumbled or complained and was happy just to spend time with me. He was constantly looking for a pat on the head or to lean on you. Bubba was always quick to give a lick usually when you least expected it or wanted it. He wasn't fierce and was a gentle soul although those who came to our house feared he might chew them up when he stood up with his ears at attention. I was often asked if he bit. My response was always, "only when I tell him to."
Bubba liked to lean on people and for some odd reason, like to nip men in the crotch. I usually warned my friends about that. Others I did not. I assumed they would figure it out on their own. He loved to chase the outside cats, the horses, and squirrels. Many times, he would be inches away from getting his head kicked off but it seemed to make it that much more fun for him. He caught more than his fair share of squirrels, too. I think he was happiest when he was eating fresh horse manure or rolling in something dead. I never will forget the time JoAnna was walking up and down the driveway for exercise. Bubba proudly came running up to her with a snake about four feet long hanging out of his mouth. He was so proud. JoAnna was to say the least, distressed. I will miss him the most at barn. During those times when i would sit down at the barn in some kind of distress over finances, relationships, kids, work, or whatever and praying to God for wisdom, help or answer to prayer, it wouldn't be long before a wet black nose would push into my lap as if to reassure me that everything would be okay. He was my best friend and I will miss him. Rest in peace Bubba. I miss you tremendously.