The Way We’ve Always Done It…part 67

Yesterday, as you may have heard, Sarah went for her summer spa day.

She came home hungry, tired, and looking like a very large puppy.

The voices in my head were squabbling.

I, who showed dogs for many years, seem to still have a case of the way we’ve always done it.

I say this knowing that there are an awful lot of other folks with different versions of the way we’ve always done it who think they’re just as right as I think I am.

Take, for example, Poodle people. Their always and Newfoundland people’s always look pretty different!

And there’s part of me that still hates having Sarah clipped short.

IMG_2986It’s also true that Sarah has allergies and an odd, wooly coat that mats about half an hour after you quit brushing her, which she doesn’t enjoy much anyway.

And so we clip.

And she looks like something Dr. Seuss dreamed up!

The voices in my head squabbled louder, though, when it came to deciding what to do for Phoebe on her spa day, today.

She’s really lovely and has a gorgeous coat. In the winter.

Right now, she itches. A lot.

And she’s blowing so much coat she could be an entire ad for a vacuum cleaner.

I asked my Newf buddies and got lots of good advice.

I still felt a lot like I did when Dave got his first “big boy” haircut and the ringlets went the way of history.

Then I remembered something I count on. (You may have those kinds of things, too.)

It’s all in what you’re trying to accomplish!

And, oddly, the Poodle people and the Newf people are trying to accomplish the same thing, at least historically. Protecting dogs from cold water!

I’m trying to accomplish comfortable, relatively easy care dogs who think of grooming as a good thing instead of torture. (Luther, too!)

It would also, if we’re being honest,  be ok if I didn’t contribute quite so much money and energy to the Swiffer thing!

So, we’re letting go of the way we’ve always done it.

Also, I guess, we’ve never done it that way before.

I’m going with what I’m trying to accomplish.

I imagine it will be interesting!

As God is watering the garden today, I’m going to get really brave and start the next layer on my painting which is, when I think about it, another of those things I’ve never done that way before.

At least I’ll have less hair to pick out of the canvas!

IMG_2997Phoebe, as it turns out, is just right for her.

Sarah is a bit skeptical.

And Luther made it three whole steps into the new family room to find out what all the fuss was about.

Sometimes I guess right twice in the same day!




A Trip to Another World

Deep in the winter of 1989, I went with a group of seminary students and one of our professors to visit the far away land of Hungary.

It was just before the old Eastern block fell. Free falling into a world of communist customs agents and Russian tanks thundering through what were once farmers’ fields beside the road.

It was cold. It was dark. It was so very, very different. (Which was, after all, the point.)

Alternative Context. A program designed to get wanna-be preachers outside the familiar worlds where they grew up and into the lives of those who seemed other.

Food was quite an issue.

Red pickled cabbage, the only vegetable we encountered.

Coffee so dark and thick it didn’t require a cup.

Something that resembled liquid peanut brittle for breakfast.

A fabulous bowl of fish soup on the shores of Lake Balanton. If you didn’t mind picking out the eyeballs.

And the infamous “pig jell-o” all gray and jiggly on a platter, full of suspicious chunks, at a village luncheon.

So much I didn’t understand, long before my days of local, seasonal food.

And so much I’ve learned.

We’re having a similar learning experience at our house.

The resident herd of Newfies are going species appropriate real food.

Controversial, perhaps, in some circles. The next logical thing in our world.

They have orthopedic and digestive and allergy problems I haven’t been able to solve so far. Problems that limit their lives.

We’re starting with turkey and, while we have some skill development to work on, it looks like they’re pretty thrilled.

My fears are disappearing.

There was the whole (perceived) germ thing, after years as an O.R. nurse. (Which is way more me than what they’re eating!)

And the hunting and gathering thing which I’m doing lots of myself, still complicated a bit by that recent fall.

Quantities. Timing. Keeping them from mugging each other for a chicken foot.

I started out anxious. And hopeful. And pretending to be confident!

Which is exactly how I’ve felt about every big change in my life.

My local farmer friends are thrilled.

Bill’s stocking up on dishwasher soap.

The ironic thing is that I’m feeding our dogs essentially what we eat. Clean, local, seasonal food.

Sources I trust.

Support for farmers I know.

The beasties might be feeling like they woke up in Hungary for a while. And there’s the whole thing about shifting to one meal a day!  Adjusting to that may take a bit.

I’m hoping they’ll be glad to learn new things. I’m still learning from that trip to Hungary.

And grateful now, more than ever.

Life is for learning!






Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach