Thursday, March 7, 2013

Good Dogs Are Happy Dogs.

There are three dogs in my life right now. My sister's family Dog, Roxy, and my best friends two dogs, Fozzie and Gracie. Roxy is an Argentine Dogo-Pit mix. Gracie is a gordon setter. They are both on the younger side, Gracie is still a pup though. They are both very good dogs. Very obedient, eager to please. They have both had rules and boundaries set from a very young age and consistent and dedicated training by their owners. They are well loved, happy and well adjusted.
And then there is Fozzie. Fozzie is a...golden retriever border collie mix? He's a twinkie with legs. An adorable, GRUMPY, twinkie with legs, Who is stubborn and does what he wants. Gracie gets on his nerves, he loves food and doesn't particularly want to play himself, but will get jealous and try to take over when someone if playing with gracie "too much". If Dog's can be opinionated and condescending, Fozzie it both. When asked to do something he either ignores it completely, looks at you like you are an idiot, or does it until you aren't looking and then does what he wants. Do not get me wrong, It may seem like I don't like Fozzie, I do like him. He is cute, loves people and food, LIVES to be touched, longs to be in the same room with you and despite the twinkie-esk body of his he will literally jump at the idea of a walk. SOOOO much happiness when going for a walk. And he's old, so maybe he has reasons to be as crotchety as he is, my point though, is that Roxy and Gracie are generally happier than old Fozz', And I find it interesting.
The difference in these dogs attitudes struck me particularly today because I had some time alone woth them to think, well, not roxy, but her and I have also spent lots of time together alone. We're buds. This morning I had the opportunity to take Gracie to the Vet because her pops was a work. After we came home I decided to take Fozzie for a walk because he was pretty miffed when I came and whisked Gracie away and he was not invited. Fozz and Anne time. I wasn't there when Fozzie was growing up but my best friend has told me a lot about it. He said He never really was trained, He was potty trained and learned basic commands, but he barked when he wanted and walked in front and did what Fozzie does best, what ever the heck he wants. And now, He's kind of grumpy. He's a bit aggressive and impatient with other dogs and although he loves humans, takes pretty much everything they say with a grain of salt. On our walk today he walked in front, he walked in back, he sniffed at every tree we wanted, not because I let him but because he knows how to use his weight to his advantage. Over all it was a good experience and I really enjoyed myself, but there was pulling and waiting and coaxing and convincing of every kind going on. No boundaries. He wasn't given any as a pup and now he's an old man and doesn't like being told what to do.
It may be the missionary in me but during our walk (if it can be called a walk, I tried to explain to Fozzie that in order to be called a walk he needed to move his little feet in a forward motion) I kept thinking of the scripture in Mosiah, the one at the very end of King Benjamin's speech when he says, "And moreover  I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it"
Boundaries make us happy. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It helps us build trust and makes us happy dang it! It is so much easier to accept those boundaries when we are young. Should we strive to have a good relationship with our children yes! or any children for that matter? YES! But they come into this world, into our society with out knowing any of the rules, right and wrong, any of the commandments. They will look to us who have been here longer and know more than them and they will test their boundaries, but it's so that they can know them. Obedience brings happiness, peace, joy even, and empowers us to pass those things on to others that come after us, but they need to be taught in order to be passed down. And if they aren't, good news!! people can change! if you feel you've missed out on learning boundaries then start now! Set boundaries for yourself. Decide how you want to live your life! set goals for yourself and achieve them! set a standard for yourself and meet it! As long as we are willing to commit ourselves to better living we can reap all the benefits that have always been ours as children of God. Happiness, peace, joy. 
Something I learned on my mission is that goals do not have to be lofty. I think there is wisdom in stretching yourself and continuing to stretch yourself as you grow, but goals can be simple. Like the one Sister Schetselaar set to only talk in british accents after 8. I'm not sure how much stretching was done on that goal, but it was fun. So set a new goal. Don't read your scriptures everyday? Start! Morning and night prayer absent or lacking? Step it up a notch! really sit down and have a conversation with Heavenly Father. Memorize a scripture, attend the temple weekly. Goals goals goals goals goals! SO AWESOME. and when you are dicouraged I'd suggest you reflect unpon the happy state of those that live with in the boundaries the Lord has set. And then keep going. In what ever it may be. Setting boundaries for yourself or for your little ones. Be happy. 

Now, the Atonement study has not ended, and I did do it today. I read the talk that the study provided for today by Elder Nelson. It was really good, something weird happened to the page for me though, I don't know if it will happen for you, but it randomly repeated itself and you really had to pay attention to find your place again, but! really good. my favorite part actually had nothing to do with the atonement. It was referring to the Fall and he said,"'“And they would have had no children,'nor experience life’s trials. (Please forgive me for mentioning children and the trials of life in the same breath.)"
I watched a video today that only reinforced my love for the differentiation between "trials" and children" and the notion that they shouldn't even be in the same sentence. 
We need more parents like this:

The rest of Nelson's talk high lighted how the atonement made the creation and the fall actually mean something. It would have all been for not had we not been provided a way to not only be reconciled with God but seal to Him and our families forever. It really was an amazing talk and I had so many more thoughts about it and appreciation for it than I'm communicating right now, but I am getting suuuuuper tired. I'm a go to bed early person and this staying up late thing doesn't work well for me. 

In addition to this talk I also read one suggested by my Ma from this months ensign called the enabling power of the atonement. Also so good. I am fading fast, Maybe I will write about them tomorrow.

I'm going to go back to telling everyone I love them all the time, because I do. I love all of you. Happy friday eve!

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