Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grab a cup of coffee and settle in...

...we have lots to talk about.


We'll go ahead and get that out of the way - despite many applications and resumes sent, I have not had an interview nor a job offer, as of yet. The latest round of apps went out a week ago today so I'm hopeful maybe (MAYBE!) this will turn up something. Another thing to get out in the open: I'm applying for jobs EVERYWHERE and that includes - Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Tennessee. When one is desperate for a job and not held down to a specific location, the sky's the limit.

To clarify, I'm not entirely desperate for job....but, kinda, yeah. It's getting to THAT point where I need to be making some serious dough. For S-E-R-I-O-U-S.

Skye and Me:

What can I say? We're pretty rockin' right now.

Last Saturday I took her to hang out with the guy I bought her from. He's my narcotic detective friend from my reporter days at the ML&T. He also trains police dogs and has recently started his own obedience school. A couple other trainers were there when we visited - Morgan, who trains for bite work and Robbie, who trains cadaver recovery and search and rescue dogs.

We played around with Skye in the backyard and she wowed her onlookers with her love of her bumper and her ability to track and recover it.

Basically, Skye and I are on the Team. :) We start training this week for cadaver recovery.

I really can't express how excited I am. Next to journalism, is my love for dogs and working dogs, at that.

So I finally have my (most amazing, smarter-then-I-am) dog and the opportunity to put her brains and my hobby to work.

Here's the crazy part - once she's trained and certified, I'll be deputized as a member of the team and be given arresting power and the ability to carry a gun on-scene. Who knew that law enforcement could possibly be in my future?

Another perk of this turn of events is that it gives me the unbridled ability to unashamedly brag on my dog and you have to listen because you're so intrigued. :)

The first part of our training was getting her hooked on a tennis ball tied to the end of a string. She must know this is her gateway to putting her overactive brain to use. She saw it for the first time and hasn't forgotten it since. She even play-growled while playing tug-o-war with me. She NEVER does that.

I made the mistake of putting the contraption on my bed so now the scent of it is on my comforter. She spent about ten minutes last night clawing my feet and trying to jump on the bed to get to the scent. I also have to make sure she doesn't see where I put it away at. The first night, she watched me put in the closet and she ended up sleeping curled up next to the closet door - after she unsuccessfully tried to get me out of bed (literally) for it.

The exalted bumper pales in comparison to her ball-on-a-string.

Essentially, in her brain, the search (and recovery) of dead people will result in her ball-on-a-string suddenly appearing. And thus the game begins.

What better way to combine TWO of my greatest loves then to visit the LAKE every day?

There is no better way, really.

Every day (and by "every day", I really do mean every day) Jada, Skye and I manuever the two miles to the boat dock/our personal swimming area. I ride the golf cart, Jada runs ahead of us and Skye plods along treadmill-style next to me.

They love it to the point that a crying fit ensues from the time Skye sees me with the leash heading to the golf cart to when she's biting at the front left tire for us to go faster. And Jada's at full alert with a smile on her face.

These dogs love to run.

I have to call Jada in as we get closer to the boat dock, to make sure no boats are entering/exiting. It's about all I can do on voice command alone to hold her back to ensure safety and then release her when the coast is clear. She rushes down the boat ramp and swims out about two feet to just where she can't touch and her belly and back are enveloped in the water.

Skye waits until the golf cart is parked and I unhook her leash. Then she's off.

This is where the bumper comes into play.

As many times as I throw it out in the water, she'll go get it. From the shore, off the dock...doesn't matter. She's jumping in and getting that sucker.

Our regular time for going is about 6:30 or 7, when the sun isn't so intense and they can run their two miles without fear of bad heat-things happening.

This is my favorite time of day. For many reasons.

I'm with my dogs.
I'm at the lake - during sunset, one of my favorite times to be there.

I wade out in the water and Skye and Jada take turns swimming out to me. Last night I was the only one out there, while both my dogs sat on the shoreline looking at me.

The sun isn't setting now until about 9 p.m. Last night's color palette across the lake was blue - a deep, cobalt blue over the water, accented by the darkened tree line and highlighted by a rosy peach over the horizon as the sun eventually disappeared.

I sat and watched it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm really loving the fact that I can send texts (such as this) to my blog and have it published right away. And e-mail too. I can e-mail my blog, haha! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009


I have to say how wonderful it is to apply fingers to keyboard on a desktop.

I really just had to say that first.

Last week I spent experiencing an entirely new thing for me - senior high school church camp. Believe it or not, I have never been to church camp as camper or counselor. As an older and wiser counselor told me afterwards, I had the "deer-in-the-headlights" look for the first two days and after that I bravely told the girls, "come on, cry on me." Basically, that's how it went.

Lots of crying; so many emotions and burdens unloaded in one week.

For them and for me.

I woke up Thursday morning, our last full day together, with the phrase "join-up" on my mind.

Some of you are in the dark, I know.

"What does it mean?"

Without further ado, I'll tell you.

Essentially, it's the process of gaining trust and submission from a horse by its owner or trainer.

My brother, Daniel, is an excellent horse trainer who's responsible for much of the breaking and training of colts on our ranch.

He brings a young horse (usually about two years old) into the roundpen and releases them - some have a halter on but most of the time, they have nothing.

Horses, by nature, are fight or flight animals and this young beast is charged with fear in this unknown environment. She starts running.

Running from what? The human in the middle of the circle.
Running where? She doesn't know. Just running.

Daniel stands in the middle, sometimes with a whip or rope that he waves in the air periodically but most of the time, he just stands there, his presence enough to drive her on and on.

Around and around.

Minutes pass and when the filly starts breathing heavily, Daniel utters a quiet command and stops moving.


The filly slows.

This is the pivotal moment - it's time for her to choose.

Generally, in the beginning, the filly will slow down and turn around into the roundpen panels, which means that her butt is pointed to Daniel.

Daniel forces her to start running again.

Another choice is to hear the "whoa" but keep running and bucking. The flight mode kicks in strong again and the filly runs...running from fear, running with instinct.

Daniel will let her run for a few more minutes and then try again.


This is the appropriate response:

The filly stops, nostrils blowing, foamy sweat lathering her chest, and faces Daniel, head slightly down.

This is their moment.

With an outstretched hand, Daniel approaches the filly. If at any time, her racing heart is overtaken by fear and she snaps her head up and turns away from him, Daniel backs up and makes her run again. She's not ready to trust.

But sometimes, on the first try, she is ready.

Daniel approaches her on her left side, starts rubbing her neck, her face. Armed with nothing but his command for submission, Daniel turns away from the filly and starts walking back to the middle of the circular roundpen.

She follows him, her head sometimes nearly touching the ground but most often resting near his elbow.

He stops. She stops. He moves to the right, she moves to the right. He walks in a straight line, so does she.

Except for the fact that he's human and she's filly, you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. - their movements are in sync.

As soon as this act of surrender occurs, the lesson for the day is over - no matter if it took ten minutes or three hours.

That's all he was after.

It's a moment when 1,200 pounds of flesh decides to take a risk and override every instinct to run by trusting this 175-pound human being.

It's the moment when I have ran enough and finally surrender to the Creator.

It's a moment that every other lesson from now on will come back to - do you trust me?

It's the moment that I answer "yes, no matter where you take me or what you do, I will trust you."

It's a moment that returns beast to the human master.

It's the moment I am once again Christ's and he is mine.

It's a lesson for the day.

It's the lesson for my life.

Daniel and Diez joined-up

Thursday, June 4, 2009

These are Safe Arms

A five-year-old hugged me yesterday. Not an unusual occurrence in my current life as a three-quarter-time nanny to Josey who I've cared for pretty steadily since she was 18 months old.

To sum it up, she has my heart - as many children have who I've had to give up at some point or another. It's a novelty, really. Thinking of having a child one day that's MINE. To keep. Forever.

Despite our long history of her tantrums as a two-year-old (there were some wing-doosies), her emotional breakdowns and wily manipulation, fighting with her over what she eats and drinks, winning the battle of brushing her hair every morning and crying with her sometimes, it's her I look forward to seeing nearly every afternoon.

I'd gotten her dressed yesterday and was brushing her hair when her daddy came in the kitchen.

"I'm going with Holly," she told him, some in words, some in her gibberish.

He sang her a funny song and she ran back into the living room to mimick it for me. When she finished, she threw herself into me for a giggly hug.

I'm used to her displays of affection - her spontaneous hugs, her peeking open the door just to say, "I love you, Holly." I always hug her back and I always say, "I love you too, Josey." Always. Even if it's the 10th time in 15 minutes.

Naturally, this time, I opened my arms and she fell into me, laughing. I enveloped her and whispered, "I love you," into her hair.

Her giggling stopped and she melted, falling heavier into my chest and grabbing tighter with her hands.

That's what we do.

She melts and I hold her - as long as she needs.

These are safe arms, I thought.

Arms that say honey buns aren't good for us because they "have too much sugar."
Arms that say water is the only beverage on the menu tonight
Arms that promise a golf cart ride to the lake
Arms that introduce the imaginary adventure of books
Arms that begin the process of reading and writing with exciting new school supplies
Arms that say bedtime is bedtime
Arms that wrestle and tickle
Arms that hold and rock to sleep in the hammock
Arms that say "I love you"

I hope you have your safe arms.