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Posts tagged ‘Animals’

Community | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains  County Leader on August 20, 2019:

communityAccording to several on-line dictionaries, community is 1) a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common and 2) a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Last weekend I attended the 5th Annual White Chapel Girls Retreat at the White Chapel Bed & Breakfast in Mountain Home, Texas. Every year about this time, a dozen women withdraw from everyday responsibilities and gather for Bible study and prayer along with lots of food and fellowship.

Before it became a B and B, the site of the retreat was simply the home of Julee White, a Donkey twinswoman with a heart that is much bigger than the six acres on which she lives. She has the gift of hospitality, and because of this, she has become the go-to place for strays of all kinds. At present, she has 4 dogs, 4 cats, 7 goats, and 3 donkeys in residence. The dogs and cats have free access through a pet door into the laundry room where they find a variety of food and water dishes which, although intended to be species specific, are often shared equally. The donkeys and goats share their food with each other as well as with the small herd of deer that sidle over when they hear the door to the feed shed squeak open. In addition to the four-legged critters, Julee feeds her feathered friends from countless hummingbird and regular bird feeders. The deer have been known to help themselves to the spillage there as well. Because of her many mealtime guests, especially the goats who have become very well-rounded since coming to live with her, Julee originally named her place the F & H (Fat & Happy) Ranch .

Julee also has many human friends, and her home is a museum of their love. Her lawn is encircled by a walking path lined with yard art, and her front walk is embedded with mementos, all from people who love her. The interior of her home is filled with treasures, and she can tell you who gave her each piece and when.

ChapelHowever, the focal point is the White Chapel, also referred to as the Broken Chapel. Several years ago, Julee felt a Divine Call to build a chapel toward the back of her property. She tried to brush the idea off, but it wouldn’t go away. She wanted it to have special meaning, so she sent out a call to friends for materials that were broken or discarded from other projects, and the response was overwhelming. The resulting chapel is more than can be described in this small space, but it is all she had imagined and more.

In 2014 Julee received a call from two friends who wanted to organize several women’s retreats, and they wanted to know if she wanted to participate. “Now I know why God wanted me to build the Chapel,” she said through tears. “Can we have one here?”

Friend invited friend, and in August of 2015 ten women invaded Julee’s home for the first annual White Chapel Girls Retreat. We were all a little uneasy at first. Some of us knew only one other person, and the teacher had never done anything of this scope, but Julee wasn’t fazed. She spread air mattresses on the floor, pulled casseroles out of the freezer, and by the end of the long weekend, we were all Fat and Happy sisters.

Five years later, the F & H Ranch has become the White Chapel Bed & Breakfast, and the White Chapel Girls, now an even dozen, have become a community. For most of the year, we live in places scattered across the country, but for one weekend a year we live together. I don’t know if that qualifies us as a community, but we definitely have a particular characteristic in common – we all believe in Jesus as our personal Savior. As for the second definition, that fits us to a Tee. Throughout the year, we share attitudes, interests, and goals through Facebook and email so that each year there is a feeling of fellowship as if we had been apart days instead of months.

WCG with paintings

On our last night together, we shared Communion in the Chapel. Community and Communion come from the same root word, and one definition of Communion is sharing or exchanging intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. As we communicated with God and remembered His sacrifice, we also looked around the circle and thanked God for each other.

Our world has become a scattered place where we can live, work, shop, and travel without ever seeing another person. But like Julee’s menagerie of birds and animals, we were made for community. “Reach out and touch someone” is more than a telephone company commercial.

Blessings,

Linda

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Pets and Their Rituals | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 4, 2019:

Kitty 061515Kitty came to live with us four years ago this month. If you’ve followed my column for any length of time, you know that her assimilation into our family has not always been smooth. However, through the months and years, we’ve worked out routines that work for all of us. Some of them have even become rituals.

Kitty makes no secret of the fact that David is her favorite, but since I’m the first one up after a long, lonely night, she’s usually glad to see me. When I come into the kitchen, she stands by her feeding station and looks at me pitifully. While I scoop kibble into her bowl, she runs around the island counter clockwise, stops in front of her bowl, and looks up again. This time she has a more demanding look, asking without words why I’m not petting her. (more…)

Kitty’s Back | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 12, 2019:

Cats acting strangeKitty has been in a strange mood for the last several weeks. I know you’re thinking How could you tell? – and that’s a valid question. Let’s just say her behavior has been a different kind of strange.

I’m not sure what put her into her latest tail spin, but I have a couple of ideas. A week or so ago, we were getting ready for bed, and I heard an unfamiliar noise coming from the kitchen.

“That sounded like Kitty jumping on top of the cabinets,” I said to David. He agreed, so I went to the kitchen to investigate. Sure enough, there she was, staring down at me from the cabinet above the refrigerator. I retrieved the squirt bottle and proceeded to try and convince her of the error of her ways. By the time she made it back to the floor, she was pretty wet, and I didn’t see much of her for the next few days. (more…)

Kitty unchained | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 13, 2018:

Nuggie on a leashLast week I mentioned that I’m trying to train Kitty to wear a harness and walk on a leash. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. I have a cousin whose cat loves his leash – so much, in fact, that he will stand on her chest and give her a death stare when he wants to go for “walkies.” A couple of months ago I asked her if she thought it was possible to train Kitty at her advanced age. She said that with time and patience she thought it could definitely be done.

The next time we made a Walmart run, I chose an inexpensive harness in a pretty shade of blue. No bling, though. We’ll wait on that until after we see how she reacts. I hesitated a bit on the size. I knew a small wouldn’t work, but I was afraid a large would fall off. I finally settled on a medium, hoping she wasn’t bigger than fourteen inches around the chest, and I found a leash to match. All the way home, I wondered if I had wasted my ten dollars. (more…)

A Spike Update | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 25, 2018:

City Girl Banner at BoothBesides sharing a booth with Tennille Case, another fun part of the Fair was visiting with those of you who stopped to tell me how much you enjoy reading my column each week. One gentleman specifically mentioned my Spike stories, so I thought it was time for an update. Conveniently, we’re staying with him this week, so I have news to share. Spike hasn’t been well the last several weeks, but he’s improving. In fact, he was feeling well enough to give me a hard time the first night we were here. (more…)

A Tale of Kitty’s Tail (and Video)| by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 31, 2018:

Kitty plays favorites – she’s definitely partial to David and spends much more time with him than she does with me. That’s not really news, but it continues to be a source of disappointment to me – most of the time.

In the last several months, she has begun to warm up to me more. She sometimes rubs against my legs and then stands with her left rear foot on top of my left foot. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but she does it to David frequently, and it seems to imply some sort of ownership. She’s also allowing me to pet her more, and she sometimes asks me for attention, especially when we first get home in the afternoon. If she’s awake when we arrive, she greets us from the chair by the front door, pushing her head against any part of us she can reach, especially if it’s a hand. She used to save this kind of affection for David, but now I’m included as well.

Another new bid for attention involves my rolling computer stand and the TV table that has become one of her favorite napping places. Because of spatial limitations, the tables are close to each other, and the “mouse ledge” of the computer stand overlaps the edge of the TV table by several inches. When Kitty is lying on her TV table, she rests her head on the computer stand. This is no problem at all except when I’m using my mouse, and Kitty decides she needs my attention. Sometimes she tries to take the mouse out of my hand, and since she doesn’t always remember to sheath her claws, this can be painful for me. Other times she will put her paw on my hand and give that I-know-you-want-to-pet-me look. My typical response is to rub just above her eyes with one finger. She likes that until she doesn’t, and then she bites me.

For quite some time, one of Kitty’s favorite places to lie has been the back of the sofa where David usually sits. It’s high enough to allow her to look down on her loyal subjects, and it’s close to David. It’s also fun to dig between the cushions and the back of the couch unless, of course, David has the spray bottle close at hand to give her a squirt for scratching the furniture. Lately, she has been spending some time on the back of the love seat where I sit. Her favorite place is right behind me. That puts her in the perfect spot to swish her tail and whop me upside my head. Who knew a fluffy tail could pack such a wallop.

Occasionally, instead of lying lengthwise along the back, she lies across it so she can look out the window better. She scoots her backside down until she’s sitting on my shoulder. It’s nice and cozy, and she allows me to lay my head against her like a pillow from time to time. Thankfully, she chooses the left shoulder instead of the sore one, and I enjoy the closeness – until, that is, she swishes her tail. Then, instead of hitting me in the ear, she gets me in the face. Oh well. I guess since I’m number two in her affections, I have to take what I can get, even if it seems like I’m getting the bad end of the deal.

Blessings,

Linda

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Different but still friends | by Linda Brendle

Published by the Rains County Leader on April 10, 2018:

FriendshipFriendship is not easily defined. The dictionary says a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, but friendship is more than that. During the ten years when I was single again, I met Mary one night at choir practice. Before the night was over, we had discovered that we were both raised in small towns in west Texas, we were both single after twenty-three years of marriage, and we both had one child. We had so much in common that we sometimes wondered if I had been switched at birth with her twin sister. We were and still are fast friends. Friendships are often based on common grounds, but sometimes it takes some investigation to discover those grounds.

Ten years ago I read a book titled Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Same kind of different as meDenver Moore. It’s not unusual for two friends to write a book together, but Ron was a millionaire art dealer, and Denver was a former victim of modern-day slavery who escaped only to end up living on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth. Their common ground was Deborah, Ron’s wife whose passion was helping the homeless, and their heart-warming story is well worth reading. (more…)

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