Saturday, March 28, 2015

Furry Fun

Even though I wrote in my last post about sometimes wanting to turn down my house/pet-sitting jobs, I really do enjoy them. I'm an animal-lover by nature, so getting paid to hang out with them is a pretty sweet deal, if I do say so myself. Inspired by my small group's study of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts*, I was determined to go into my spring break (aka Marathon Pet-Sitting Week) with a thankful heart, and I thought I'd carry that positive attitude over here to the blog. On that note:

1. The Love. You know how you walk through the door and your dog is there to greet you ecstatically? Imagine walking into multiple houses and being greeted by multiple animals multiple times a day. There are extra snuggles at night, more kisses than you can handle, and the amazing unconditional acceptance dogs always give. (The cats?  Not so much.) These fur babies are missing their owners, and they're starving for attention. That's where YOU come in, Hero Pet-Sitter!

2. The Exercise. Lots of four-legged friends means lots of energy, and what better way to work it off than with a stroll around the block? I think I've walked twice a day every day this week, and I've lost two pounds as a result of my higher-than-normal activity level. Happy dogs, happy waistline. It's a win-win situation!

3. The Relaxation. If it wasn't for my desperation to earn/save money, I probably would have spent my spring break visiting my parents in Florida. It would've no doubt been a blast, but chances are good that I'd have gone back to work just as (if not more) exhausted than when I left. But when I'm pet-sitting, I'm getting paid to sit with pets. So while I'm free to carry on as normal, I'm also expected to keep these furry friends company for at least part of the day. That means sitting around their houses reading, writing, playing with them, or watching TV. So even though I've been "working" this week, I also feel remarkably rested.

4. The Dress Code. Exercise and muddy paws don't exactly lend themselves to "business casual." In my experience, it's more like yoga pants and hoodies, and that is 100% A-OK with me! Dogs and cats don't care if you've showered, done your hair, or changed your shirt in the last three days.  It's incredibly freeing and a great reminder that it's the inside that counts!

5. The Flexibility. I pet-sit ALL THE TIME. Weekdays, weekends, holidays, overnight, and for two week stretches. Aside from going out of town myself, there's very little I can't do while working this job. I'm not tied down to a store or an office, and I can make my own hours. Getting to make money and continuing to live your life while doing it is priceless.

If you find yourself needing a little extra cash, or just want to help your pet-parent friends out, give house-sitting a try.  I can't guarantee that you won't come home with a pound of fur in your overnight bag, but I can promise you'll be relaxed, happy, and you never know, maybe even thinner!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Don't Quit

When a songwriter moves to Nashville, a novelist seeks a publisher, or a singer tries out for American Idol, what's the first piece of advice they always hear?

Don't quit your day job.

Not quite discouraging, but boldly realistic.  Those five words sum up the journey those dream-chasers are about to embark on.  It'll be hard.  Uncertain.  Full of twists and turns.  There will be unexpected highs and unimaginable lows.  They'd better cling to what they have because chances are good that things won't turn out anything at all like they'd hoped.

So why do they bother?  Why do I bother?

What is it about a dream that keeps us moving forward?  For me, it's a reason to get up in the morning.  I've written before about my dream to become a foster/adoptive parent, and waking up with that goal in mind keeps me pressing on, keeps my thoughts and efforts focused somewhere besides myself.  Sure, it's meant working 2-3 jobs at times to be in a place where that's financially possible, but to me it's worth it.  I've dreamed of providing a safe haven for kids in need almost all my life.

Just because it's worth it doesn't mean it's easy, though.  Sometimes, I want to turn down house-sitting gigs and just sleep in my own bed.  I want to splurge on a new car or a vacation.  And I admit it- sometimes I even want to quit.  I want to stop the striving and saving and working towards a goal and just... live for today.  But I know that I can't.  This is the task God's given me, and until I see it through, I have no choice but to stay reliant on Him.  (And let's face it, when this dream does come true?  I'm going to need Him more than I ever have in my life, and yet I can't wait for that time to come!)

That's why I fell in love with a piece of artwork I found at Hobby Lobby that (I thought*) read "Don't quit your dreams."

Don't quit your dreams.  That advice is perhaps even more important than sticking with what's tried and true, isn't it?  After all, it's our dreams that offer us hope and our dreams that keep us at the foot of the cross where we're meant to be. Our day jobs might make us a living, but it's our dreams that give us a life worth living.

*God encouraged me so much through this piece of art that I went back to buy it last night. Imagine my surprise when I realized I'd misread the quote the first time around. Oops! "Don't quit your day dreams" is a nice sentiment as well, but if I'm being honest, I waste a whole lot of time on those, and quitting them might not be such a bad idea. ;)

So, what about you?  What's the dream that keeps you going?