I had someone share with me recently that while my blog was a ‘nice enough idea,’ it couldn’t possibly apply to enough people to ever really catch on.
Regardless of their skepticism, it did make me take pause. What with our recent announcement of keeping Miss Gia, some of you may be wondering what this means as far as our blog, and our involvement in rescue. Of course, I have already taken on a more active role within LCPO, on their Leadership Team. I only hope to become more present within their organization (even though I’m at a distance) with time. However, I also don’t want to rule out the possibility of fostering in the future. While we can’t continue to be a permanent foster home at this specific point in our lives, there is no reason to think that we wouldn’t be able to do so someday, when our circumstances change (moving, etc.) I also plan to use this space to continue highlighting adoptable dogs, as well as showcasing all of the wonderful things pit bulls are doing in our communities! Finally, I hope to be a resource for pet owners who are facing challenges with their dogs, of any breed. I have a few other exciting prospects that are in the works, so I don’t anticipate that this space will be terribly boring any time soon!
I don’t know specifically what the future holds for me, and that can be a scary realization for someone who is a Type A planner by nature! I am a person that has always pictured my life with a visible end-point and goal in sight. At the age of 8, I surprised my mother by dragging her into my room, to show her the list of my goals for that year, which I had written and taped up beside my mirror! At any stage in life, if you had asked me what I felt to be my greatest strengths, I would have told you that it was my drive and passion. In the past few years, my life has thrown me some pretty swift curve balls, both good and bad, that have caused my plans and goals to veer drastically off course. Those deviations made it impossible for me to stay on track with my aspirations, which thereby led to feelings of immense inadequacy. If I wasn’t driving toward my passions, then who was I, and what was my purpose?
It finally seems as though the course is leveling, the seas have calmed, and the storms are at bay. I am able to take a deep breath, and really focus on where I am and what I am meant to do. With all that has happened in my young life, it can be hard for even me to remember that I only just turned 23! (It feels good to say only.) In such a fast-paced world, full of successes and fame, it can be easy to feel like I am already behind in the race. However, I am learning to take the good with the bad, because without the heartbreak of defeat, wouldn’t come the sweetest victory of success. I am realizing what my heart’s passions and strengths are, and also that they have changed in the past few years… and that this is okay!
I know that this space serves as a place to come and read about dogs, but the reality of it is that it is also a cathartic release for me… a place where the world gets quiet, and I can get my thoughts and feelings out on
paper the screen in a way that is (to me, anyway) clear, orderly, and logical. For the first time in my life, I don’t know exactly how to get ‘there’, or even where ‘there’ is… but what is also a first, is that I’m learning to sit back and enjoy the (horseback) ride. Literally.
I know I’m coming across a little bit scatter-brained today, and I apologize for that. What I am really wanting to get to, is that it is important to do big things. The things that inspire you, but also the things that scare you. What is interesting, is that these things almost always also happen to be good for the people in the world around you. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life, you probably have an idea of what makes you smile. I know you are sitting there reading, with this big cRaZy dream in your head, and you’re saying, “But Stephanie, I am so busy, and so stressed, and so tired, and so overwhelmed… there is no way that I have room in my life to do more things. Especially BIG things.”
I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong! Do you think that fostering Georgia was always easy? What about living away from my family at the age of 16, and graduating both high school and college a year early? Nope, not easy. I’ve also maintained a job of some sort since I was 10, while simultaneously competing with horses around the nation. So guess what? I didn’t ever do it perfectly, and I didn’t
ever always do it gracefully. But it taught me a heck of a lot more than going through life the old-fashioned way.
My point here is not at all to brag… I want to inspire you to do the things that seem scary and hard. Because in the end, isn’t happiness our ultimate goal? An adult couple I know, spends all of their free hours (when not working at their full-time, corporate jobs) volunteering in soup kitchens and prisons. They love to help others, and they love to share their passion for the power of prayer. My brother, who is a sophomore at UVA, and is a pre-med major, is following his life-long passion by not playing on his school’s team, but volunteering as a children’s soccer coach. Did I mention that he is a stellar student, and also has a job? Soccer has been his constant driving force throughout life, and he wants to share that devotion with kids. I have a friend who believes in combining her love of animals, with children who have come across hard times, and messages from the Bible. So, she is pursuing ways to make this vision into a therapeutic riding facility, with a Christian background. A busy mama that I know, is not only a PHENOMENAL mother, but also works, writes, draws, cooks, and dreams… and she will be doing big things one day. A girl I know who just graduated from college, is an aspiring musician, but also spends tons of time with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
I know at least a few of you are (hopefully still) sitting there, reading these words, with one specific thought lingering in your mind. Maybe you have pushed it away for years, into that dark little corner full of cob webs and dust bunnies. What is the worst that could happen? So what if we end up a little bit bruised, with less money in our pockets, and less ‘fans’ than when we began… you only have a short time here to achieve your dreams, friends. And if you are happy, what more could you really ask for? I’m not talking about content-happy. I mean ‘life-is-a-grand-adventure, and-I’m-thankful-for-it-every-day’ kind of happy. The kind of happy that comes from dancing in the sunshine, picking flowers, and cuddling puppies.
What I’m trying to say, is don’t just talk about how much you love animals… get up off your butt and volunteer! Maybe children are your passion; do some research, and find a local organization that helps disadvantaged youth. It could be music or sports or cooking or writing… it doesn’t matter where you choose to concentrate your efforts, or even the amount of time you can devote to it right now, but what does matter is that you do it. Just think of what a different place the world would be, if we all put into action, the thoughts and dreams that were in our hearts. Don’t you think that there is a reason you have these inspirations sitting inside of you? Share them with the world, instead of bottling them up inside. I can promise that you will have at least one fan rooting for you. 😉
“What would you dare to do, if you knew that you could not fail?”
-Robert H. Schuller