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Always room for one more at the table
(photo courtesy of D. Cuppels)
 

From the minister's desk:

Ten things I have learned from my dog!

It’s true: I’m obsessed with my dog! Some of you may have had the opportunity to meet my “visiting” dog. Three years of obedience training has earned her certificates in Advanced Obedience Training and her “Canine Good Citizen” certification from the Canadian Kennel Club. Not bad for a terrier breed known to be rather independent and sometimes just plain stubborn. Of course, our wonderful trainer said that obedience training is just as much about the people as it is the dog.  My “Westie” (West Highland White Terrier) “Madagan” (better known as Maddie) is now seven, and I can’t help but reflect on the time we’ve had together. Over the years, she’s become a true part of the family, my friend, and above all, a reminder of what life’s truly about. If you’ve ever loved a dog, you understand this bond. What we don’t always understand as dog lovers, however, is how much our dogs teach us about ourselves, about others, about life and about faith. Here are ten lessons Maddie has taught me.
 

1. It doesn’t always take a lot to make someone smile.

I don’t know if it’s her white fluffy coat, quizzical expression, soulful eyes, or joyful personality, but Maddie brings out smiles in everyone. We’ve been walking and had cars stop just to smile and say hello. Maddie’s been to a nursing home, recovery groups, knitting groups and to many other events. No matter where she goes, she brings out happiness in others just by being present. She’s made me realize that sometimes in life, all we crave is connection and a small moment to get us through.

2. Some of the best days are spent at home.

Maddie is always excited for Friday movie night with our friend Mary. She gets to visit and have a treat. The movie choice doesn’t matter. Maddie also loves parks and visiting other friends, the local pet stores and the ice cream shop. Don’t get me wrong, she loves going out. However, she’s also just as happy hanging on the couch, napping in the yard, and playing with her mountain of toys. She’s helped me see that sometimes the best days in life are the days parked at home.

 

3. Don’t be afraid of looking like a fool.

Whether she’s dashing about after squirrels, barking and dancing as I sing along to pop music, or just zooming around the yard by herself, Maddie isn’t afraid to be silly. She takes every moment for what it is and does what she wants. She doesn’t worry about looking silly. If only we were all willing to find our own sense of joy without worrying about what others were thinking.

4. It’s okay to be afraid.

Terriers were bred to chase small prey and to “go to ground.” Even when that meant going underground! Their strong tail is a feature that could be used to pull the dog out of the hole when stuck. Maddie had to be “encouraged” to go into her play tunnel. She won’t go down interior stairs and finds lightning and thunder scary.  Maybe it is because when you’re small and cute its OK to be afraid; it helps others feel better and understand that we all have things that make us afraid. And when we are afraid we all need a prayer and a good friend.
 

5. Peanut butter is, seriously, the best comfort food.

Maddie is obsessed with peanut butter. She loves it. It is the best treat one can have. She recognizes the jar and I am certain can tell as soon as the jar is opened – even when she is in the backyard! A smart dog, if you ask me.
 

6. Love keeps you going on the worst days.

On the worst days, Maddie is always happy to see me. Even when one might be in the midst of anger, tears, or just frustration. When I feel like life is discouraging, Maddie’s wagging tail at the door reminds me that she’s always there for me. She reminds me what unconditional love looks like. She loves me in spite of myself – just as God’s abundant love and grace is given, in spite of ourselves.

 

7. Don’t be afraid to talk to people.

Maddie draws a lot of attention to herself because of her cuteness and her overly social nature. She actively looks for people on our walks to come and pet her, and she will try to “steal” a pet as we walk by people. She loves people and would never shy away from a chance to meet someone. As somewhat of an introvert, I’ve learned from Maddie that connecting with others is a good thing. I’ve met so many great people in our neighborhood and beyond thanks to Maddie. She has been the icebreaker with conversations I might have avoided without her.

8. There are worse things in life than muddy paws on the carpet.

Dogs remind us to not sweat the small stuff. Maddie reminds me to find the joy in life and not panic over things that really don’t matter in the scheme of things—such as small Westie-sized muddy paws on the floor or on the sofa.
 

9. Sometimes things we don’t want are the best things of all.  


There have been few times in my life when I did not have a dog as a pet. There were two instances when my husband was not happy with me bringing a dog home without “permission.” As I was the one taking full responsibility for said dog I didn’t feel I needed “permission” to adopt a pet. It took a while but eventually Steve came to really care for, what became, “our dogs”. After we lost our Yorkshire Terrier, Sophie (yes – I have a thing for terriers) in the fall of 2010 I wanted to wait until the spring for a new puppy. But Steve had other ideas. He encouraged me to go look at puppies. And you know what happens when you “look” at puppies? You bring one home. I warned him. And then something else happened. Steve was over the moon for this little white bundle of fur and energy. He was in love! Maddie wormed her way into his heart and was the dearest thing to him. Maddie taught him that sometimes the things we need in our lives most of all are things we never would dream of wanting. She has shown us that the unexpected joys in life sometimes stem from unexpected places. She’s shown me to never think you have everything or everyone figured out.

10. We never, ever get enough time.

As Maddie approached her seventh birthday, I was thankful for all of the moments we’ve had, but I was also a little sad too. Every birthday that goes by is another year less that I get with my best friend and, as any dog lover knows, we already get way too little time with our four-legged best friends. I can’t even imagine what I’m going to do when Maddie celebrates her final birthday, when the moments are gone, and the photographs are all snapped. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her knowing eyes looking at me every day. I know that no matter how long she lives, it will never be long enough. However, it is because of this that Maddie has taught me the greatest lesson of all; she’s taught me to enjoy every single moment we have with our loved ones. She’s taught me to engage in the moment. She’s taught me to laugh, to have fun, and to soak up every second because life is too short and too precious to do anything else.

Blessings,

Rev. Wendy


 

WORSHIP SERVICES: FEBruary-march 2018

(Worship services at Dundas St. Centre United Church will be held at 11:00 am and led by Rev. Wendy Noble unless stated otherwise)


 

FEB 4:  Fifth Sunday after Epiphany.

FEB 11:  Transfiguration Sunday.  Leading the service will be Karlene Kimber.

FEB 14 Ash Wednesday.  7 pm shared worship service at Rowntree Memorial United Church.  Pancake Supper at 6 pm. (RSVP for the supper: 519-432-8075)

FEB 18:  First Sunday of Lent.  Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

FEB 25:  Second Sunday of Lent.  Annual General Meeting of the Congregation follows the service.

MAR 4:  Third Sunday of Lent.

MAR 11:  Fourth Sunday of Lent.

MAR 18:  Fifth Sunday of Lent.

MAR 25:  Palm Sunday. Reception of new members.

MAR 30:  Shared (with Rowntree Memorial United Church) Good Friday worship service at Dundas St. Centre United Church.  Service is at 11 am.
 


 

Notices:

 

  • The next Unified Board meeting will be FEBRUARY 10 2018 at 10:15 am.

 

  • The Annual General Meeting of the Congregation is on FEBRUARY 25 2018,

       immediately following the worship service.

  • Now on sale: Pictorial Guide to Dundas St. Centre United Church.  Cost: $25. 


 

This 32-page booklet highlights the architectural beauty of our Romanesque Revival church, which is listed as one of London’s most important designated historic structures. There are 42 colour photos with accompanying commentary. 

If you would like to order one of these booklets, please email the church office at outofthecold@golden.net (subject line: Pictorial Guide). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events:   
 

MARCH 17, 2018:  STARTS AT 12:30 PM
 
ENTERTAINMENT PROVIDED BY NORM ABBOTT AND COMPANY

TICKETS: $15

(AVAILABLE DURING SUNDAY COFFEE HOUR OR FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE)

 

 

 

Useful Links:

Information on church ministries, educational programs, congregations and calendar:

                        The United Church of Canada

The official website of London Conference, the United Church of Canada

                         London Conference United Church of Canada  

The official website of Middlesex Presbytery, the United Church of Canada

                         Middlesex Presbytery United Church of Canada  

New international version of the Bible:

                         http://www.devotions.net/bible/00bible.htm

 

 

 A United Church of Canada e-newsletter

                     http://www.united-church.ca/newsletters  

"It focuses on the justice work of the church. Published about twice a month, it shares worship and education resources, as well as news from church ministries, networks, and partners, including how they are taking action locally and globally."  Subscription is free.

 


 
Last updated:Saturday, February 03, 2018 02:13:34 PM