A friend of mine who is a dog trainer sent this to me last week. I asked her for permission to put it on our board and she told me I could. Just to clarify, Jan and her husband plan to retire to Montana someday and Atla is one of her Greater Swiss Mountain dogs (she has 4). Thirty-Second Blessings By Jan Manning Take Time to Smell the Roses...or Horses...or Puppies It's one of the ways I keep myself sane and grounded in a sometimes tumultuous world. Each day I identify some 30-second incident as the highlight of my day. While it's happening, I actually think to myself, "This is the highlight of my day! This is it!" Frankly, I'm not into smelling roses. A horse, maybe. Last night when I went out to feed my herd in the cold darkness, I took a few extra seconds to bury my nose in the warm, dry, wooly neck of my little Icelandic. I inhaled deeply. I smelled gentleness, trustworthiness, and Montana. "You smell like Montana," I murmured to him. "This is the highlight of my day." I inhaled his scent once more to etch the picture into my brain. The picture was of the future, but the actual experience was happening--in my head--as I stood there with him. Sometimes it's a mid-day nap with Atlas' head nestled beneath my chin. I can feel and hear his rhythmic, relaxed breathing. He always smells wonderful, and his plush-toy warmth puts me right to sleep. What a highlight! How great it would be if everyone could know and appreciate such a simple pleasure! Maybe I'll be out skiing in the orchard by myself,listening to Handel on my Ipod. The conditions are perfect for rhythmic gliding and for the endless pursuit of the perfect stride. Clean, good snow, clear tracks, crisp solitude. For a few seconds I'll actually perform a few near-perfect, effortless strides in time with the stirring music. That's the moment! Last Saturday I gave a lesson to an elderly lady and her dog. I had expected problems, but what I met was a dog that embodied truly angelic qualities. There was something UNNATURALLY special about that dog, whom she wanted to train to be a therapy dog. Holding his head in my hands and looking into his eyes, I thought, "This is the highlight of my day. I'm blessed to experience a moment like this, and to meet a dog like this." Slow down and LET THESE MOMENTS HAPPEN. Recognize them, seize them, and triumph in them. If they happen early in the morning, they're like high-octane fuel to get you through the rest of the day. If they happen in the evening, they're your dessert. Go stroke a horse, watch quail scuttle about, or let a loving dog affectionately lick your face. These are the thirty-second blessings of life! --Jan Hugzz Greenbean "Don't forget to stop and smell the puppies!"