Dog Adoption: Discouraged, Yet Hopeful

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As someone who struggles with depression, I find myself discouraged and downtrodden more times than I’d care to admit. I have tried many ways to circumvent this struggle, often to no avail.

However, one thing I am certain will help is having a dog, which is why my husband and I are actively looking for one.

The search for a dog has been extremely challenging, or at least I think so. To tell you the truth, I have wanted a dog ever since I had to let go of my last dog five years ago. It was tough.

I am committed to the search, so much so that I currently have nine tabs constantly open on my phone of dog adoption sites. I simply refresh daily just hoping to find a dog.

This is probably the time to tell you what type of dog I am looking for. It is called a Havanese, as shown in the photograph above. It is like a bichon or poodle. It is small, sociable, and fluffy.

Regardless, it is not easy to find adoptable dogs of that breed. I come across one in my state once a month—maybe.

Granted, I won’t settle for any other breed. Plus, I want a male, not a female. So, those two factors alone make it rather difficult, especially since I am not willing to budge on them. Regardless of the adoption process, I have put myself in quite the dilemma.

Yet, that isn’t to say the adoption process isn’t a major hurdle in this search. Believe me, it is. Little did I know that adopting a dog would involve such an intensive application.

Most of the shelters I have found a Havanese want to know way too much about me, like who my employer is, what type of crate I plan on using for the dog, if I plan on keeping the dog, if am I willing to have the shelter visit my home, if I agree to bring the dog back to the specific shelter if I ever had to get rid of it, etc.

This is only a small array of the slew of odd questions I have run across. Honestly, to me, it seems a bit unnecessary. Granted, I know the adoption process for humans is even more intensive but that makes a bit more sense to me.

According to God’s holy word, man is above animals. Specifically, Genesis 1:26 (NASB) reads:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Therefore, to have nearly the same intensive process for a pet seems like people of the world are trying to equate animals to the same standard of humans, which doesn’t sit right with me.

Other hurdles in the adoption process include technical glitches, which I know come with using the internet.  For instance, most websites don’t have entirely accurate information. Every once in a while, I’ll see several sites contradict themselves. One site says a dog is available, the other doesn’t.

Plus, some sites don’t even fully confirm the breed of dog! One of the several local shelters in my state simply says all their dogs are “mixed breeds” unless the owners happen to bring certification verifying otherwise. They say this online and if you visit the dog in person, meaning you may never truly know what breed of dog you are adopting.

I understand their intentions since most of the shelter dogs are mutts. But, it does not help people like me who are looking for a specific breed. I am not asking for a purebred Havanese, though it would be outstanding if I rescued one. Nevertheless, I would still like to know if it is a Havanese mix, not just simply a general mixed breed.

Thankfully, I know what Havanese look like. Yet, pictures aren’t always helpful.

Even all those aforementioned hurdles aren’t the most annoying part of the process. The worst part of the process is a fair chunk of adoption places won’t adopt out of state. Nearly every single Havanese I see is outside of my state of residence, only discouraging me more.

I understand the precautions, I truly do. But, it doesn’t help someone who clearly struggles with depression, when I know full-well having a pet would do wonders to my emotional state. I could consider getting a different breed of dog, but I have interacted with enough Havanese dogs to know that is the breed for me.

The cynic in me can’t help but believe this is what I get for being adamant about not shopping for a dog. I refuse to spend thousands of dollars on a purebred dog. It simply isn’t an option for me when I know there are thousands of dogs in need of homes, many of whom are in shelters that euthanize.

I want to be that person who gives a dog a home. As someone who has been adopted, I know the feeling of being unwanted all too well.

So, this is where you find me. Discouraged by a system that makes it extremely difficult to find a pet. I hope to get a dog soon, not just for mental health reasons. But, simply because I love dogs a lot.

And I want to experience the joy of watching my husband have a pet for the first time. Believe me, he is just as excited and longing for a dog as I am…if not more some days!

No matter how discouraging and difficult the process may be some days, I know it will be worth it. I am hopeful.

And because of that, my call to you is this: Adopt, don’t shop. There are too many pets longing for a home. That’s the plain, simple truth, friends.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

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Things I’ve Considered: Even More School

2 Thessalonians 1-11

This is a post I never thought I’d write. I’ve considered getting a master’s degree.

I am four classes away from getting my bachelor’s degree and I’ve seriously thought about getting a master’s.

That’s crazy to me.

For the longest time, I was convinced I would be that person who would never go back to school once I got a bachelor’s degree. But, you know what happens when people make sweeping declarations—they are bound to do the exact opposite.

So, this is where you find me.

Now, I am sure you all are wondering what I would get the degree in. I would get a degree in counseling. This desire to go into counseling is not new. I’ve actually deeply considered it for months now.

It hasn’t been just a small thought or whisper of an idea.

I’ve actually reached out to multiple people in the field to see if they think I would be a good fit for it. To my surprise, they have said yes, and even offered to help me!

That’s exciting to me, friends. Extremely exciting.

Part of the reason why I’ve considered going into counseling is I see how much good it has done for me. In fact, I think it has done more good for me than I allow myself to believe. So much so that some people have been genuinely surprised to know why I am seeking counseling.

All I can say to that is glory to God. It is He who is working in me.

I will say some may think it may not be wise for someone who is seeking their own counselor to be a counselor themselves. To that, I kindly disagree. For, as I’ve shared in my post professing my untold story, my counselor once told me, “Even counselors need counseling.”

Counselors are not perfect people. I think if anything it is through their own often tragic or difficult experiences that behavioral health professionals realize their potential to be in the field themselves. And that brings me to my next point.

Another reason why I’ve considered going into counseling is I desperately want to help people heal. I want to help others experience the joy of even a small dose of healing. After all, that is why I also want to share my testimony in some capacity. I want to show people they are not alone by sharing my story.

Granted, I wouldn’t be able to share my own hurts and pains in a counseling session, but I would play a pivotal role in helping others know they are not alone through proven clinical studies, methods, and whatnot.

I guess, for me, my testimony would be my personal, yet public method of proclaiming others are not alone. And acting as a counselor would be my professional way of doing so.

I’ve also considered going into counseling because I’ve been told by multiple people that I listen well. And this is where my communication degree would go hand-in-hand. My bachelor’s degree in communication is all about dissecting how humans communicate in various groups, organizations, styles, and methods.

It is all about discovering why humans are wired the way they are by analyzing verbal and nonverbal tendencies, which is increasingly more important in an era where face-to-face communication is second fiddle to technology.

Lastly, I’ve considered going into counseling simply because it is a deep desire God has placed on my heart. To tell you the truth, it came out of the blue for me. Because, as I said earlier, I was convinced I wouldn’t get a master’s degree. But, here I am fervently considering it and proclaiming it.

And that has been God’s plan all along.  He planted the desire. I did not seek it, I can assure you that.

Wow. Talk about a declaration. To some, it may seem minuscule. But, to me, it is massive. Honestly, I don’t know when, if, or how this will come to fruition. I’ve got a few things to figure out and deal with before anything concrete occurs, of this I am sure.

However, I choose to embrace this God-given desire. I choose to see where He leads me. And that makes my heart so full.

My call to you is this: As I’ve said before, listen to that nagging feeling in your heart, your gut, or the back of your head. God will guide you. Just listen—even if it seems like the craziest or most absurd idea. Obey God’s call.

God wouldn’t have planted the desire in you if He wasn’t intending to bring it to full fruition. May this post and my journey to this point and from here on out be a loud testament to that.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

My Recent Discovery: I Enjoy Podcasts

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I recently traveled for a wedding. While on that trip, I did something I didn’t think would intrigue me so much.

I listened to podcasts.

A few months ago, I downloaded quite a few not really sure when I would listen to them. I downloaded a handful of interviews from the Rhett and Link podcast Ear Biscuits. Rhett and Link are the faces of the ever-popular YouTube channel Good Mythical Morning.

And for those of you who may not know, I love YouTube. I would much rather watch a YouTube video than a hip Netflix show. As a result, I am extremely willing to support YouTubers in their endeavors outside of the platform as well, whether that be Rhett and Link’s podcast, Rosana Pansino’s baking line, or LaurDIY’s pajamas.

I am committed to watching someone’s channel and their professional pursuits take flight. Once I follow you, I am fairly invested.

Yet, truthfully, I did not think I’d really like podcasts because I am not really a fan of audiobooks. Granted, now that I think about it, they aren’t really the same. But, for the longest time, I thought, if I didn’t like one, I wouldn’t like the other.

I don’t like audiobooks because it is extremely difficult for me to follow them. As an English major, I much rather prefer a physical, tangible book over one via headphones. I often get distracted when listening to audiobooks.

And I can’t be that person who listens to something new while completing another task. Therefore, I think if I were to ever listen to an audiobook, it’d have to be one I’ve read a plethora of times, like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I can’t be surprised. It is too overwhelming. In order for me to intently listen, I have to completely devote myself to the task.

So, with this mentality, I didn’t think podcasts would work out well for me. But, after listening to Rhett and Link’s Ear Biscuits, I realized I’d been going about podcasts all wrong. My preconceived idea of audiobooks made me think podcasts had to be rigid and polished, like a textbook or college course.

But, that isn’t the case at all. Rhett and Link showed me that all you need for a successful podcast is someone willing to share their story with people willing to listen.

The relational person in me was instantly hooked. I was hooked to the chatty interview style, question and answer podcasts with the main goal of simply connecting with people.

But, even then, it wasn’t about Rhett and Link asking questions and shaping the interview. It was about hearing the interviewee bring their stories to life.

I loved the idea of getting to know YouTubers in an intimate one-on-one setting. I loved getting to hear their back stories and thoughts in their own words. For that hour, I was immersed in the dialogue and I just wanted to know more—so much so that I was sad when each interview ended.

So, now, I am hooked to podcasts. After listening to a handful of Ear Biscuits episodes, I’ve found my genre—people…as if that should surprise me!

In fact, as I write this post, I realize I probably liked podcasts even before listening to Ear Biscuits. I just didn’t know it! For, throughout my communication degree path, I have had to listen to a couple of podcasts called Serial and StoryCorps.

And listening to them were some of my favorite assignments because I am invested in getting to know people. I suppose back then it didn’t seem as exciting because it was required of me. Or, perhaps I refused to disbelieve my preconceived notion.

However, I choose to embrace this new truth now.

I choose to believe podcasts are no longer this conglomerate of boring informational textbook-like resources. Instead, they are just another resource for getting to know people. For hearing stories.

That isn’t intimidating to me anymore. In fact, it is exciting. It is reinvigorating.

So, now I find myself enthralled by the task of finding people-oriented podcasts, like Ear Biscuits, StoryCorps, or Serial.

Needless to say, I would LOVE to hear what podcasts you all gravitate toward. I am invested. The more options the better!

And as for you all, my call is this: Listen to one Ear Biscuits episode, especially one of the older ones back in 2014 or so. Even if you don’t like the style and format of the podcast, I challenge you to get to know any of the people Rhett and Link have interviewed, whether it be Justine Ezarik, Lindsey Stirling, Natalie Tran, or someone completely different.

If anything, listen to get a glimpse of why I enjoy YouTube so much. This call may seem a little selfish. But, trust me, it is worth it.

YouTubers are fascinating people. The platform may be evolving on a daily basis, but I believe the people who originally got started to simply make videos over ten years ago are some of the most genuine individuals.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

A Cooking Adventure: Russian Pancakes

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I’ve had another cooking adventure recently. This one did not end poorly, unlike the macaroni and cheese a few months back. Feel free to read about that escapade here.

Perhaps, it did not fail because I wasn’t the one who cooked. Some friends did, actually. Even though I did not cook, I still consider it an adventure because of the food we made.

Russian pancakes.

Yes, we made Russian pancakes.

For those of you who may not know, I was born in Russia. And besides the time I ate food in Russia before flying to America when I was adopted, I don’t recall ever having any Russian food. And the food I did eat back then, I don’t have any memory of since I was five at the time.

Needless to say, this adventure was quite necessary for the sake of my heritage. I just had to have a small idea of what Russians ate.

So, here’s what I discovered.

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Russian pancakes are like crepes, but a little bit thinner—at least the ones we made. They are not like the thick buttermilk American ones. I honestly don’t know if there are other versions of them. But, I do know that Bulgarian pancakes are like crepes, too. Perhaps, it is just a non-American tradition.

To tell you the truth, I was rather curious to see what they tasteed like. I am not much of a crepe person. Granted, I am pretty sure the only time I’ve had a crepe is at IHOP, which could be part of my problem.

Plus, I absolutely love pancakes. In fact, I am that person who has a preference between pancakes and waffles. I’ve made both and much preferred the pancakes over the waffles.

Although I have a preference, I don’t really understand why there is this competition between the two of them. They are made practically the same way. Maybe it is a question of who wants to put their syrup in little compartments. I’d love to hear if you all know why there is this battle between the battered breakfast items.

Regardless, it took quite a bit of time to make the Russian pancakes. It took much longer than one may anticipate, which is probably why my friends don’t make them often. And from what I could see, they can be a bit difficult to make, depending on the size of one’s pan.

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We had some with cinnamon and sugar inside them. Then, there were others with cherries on top of them. Again, I don’t know if that is the traditional way, but it is how my friends preferred to eat them, so I went with it. Much like the crepes I’ve had before, they can be a bit of a sweet meal.

Much to my surprise, I enjoyed them! I usually don’t like sweet food, especially for breakfast. I quite liked the subtle sweetness of the cinnamon and sugar with the thin crepe. It helped greatly that I controlled how much cinnamon and sugar was on them.

I would not consider the ones we made to be enough for a full meal, which is why we had to have other items alongside them. Honestly, that was a bit of a let-down for me.  But, I usually don’t like to have a large breakfast so maybe I’d fit right in. We had ours for dinner, thus my need for more substance.

All in all, though, I am extremely thankful for my friends’ hospitality and willingness to make the Russian pancakes. I don’t know about you, guys, but it sure does mean a lot to me when those around me embrace my heritage and identity right alongside me. Or, better yet, in this case, they help me learn even more!

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Because, as I’ve said before, my Russian heritage will always be a part of who I am, even though I don’t know much about it or understand it completely. Therefore, I am grateful to anyone who helps me make greater sense of it.

I don’t know what Russian food I’ll be cooking next or when I will tackle the Russian pancakes recipe myself. But, I do know I want to go to a restaurant that serves Russian food for my birthday. Here’s to hoping I can give you all an update about that in the near future!

Regardless, my call to you is this: Be honest about who you are and where you come from. You never know who knows a little something about your heritage. It is a part of you, even in the form of a breakfast item.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

Boasting in My Weakness: I Am Fearful

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First, I’d like to say that this week marks three years of the coffee soothes the soul blog! Wow! I’ve recently spent some time looking back at my old posts. All I can say is, they truly are a representation of my life in real time.

God is good.

Also, thank you. Thank you for praying with me this past week. I deeply appreciate you all.

I would ask that you continue to pray with me. This is a season of life filled with a lot of despair and uncertainty. Nevertheless, I believe God is faithful.

However, as I mentioned last week, walking with God is not a cakewalk. Truth be told, there are many areas of my life I still struggle with as a believer. Walking with God does not make my struggles go away.

Instead, God shines a bright light on them.

And as I sit listening to the progression of a thunderstorm, I am reminded of one of my constant struggles—fear. I am a relatively fearful person.

I am that person who always feels the need to look over their shoulder.

I am that person who always feels jittery and unsafe. In fact, as I type that, I can feel my leg muscles tense up.

I am that person who always feels the need to control their surroundings.

I am that person who always jumps to conclusions of what could happen.

I hate staying home alone at night.

I hate showering when no one else is home.

I live in constant fear that I will be harmed.

And now I must tell you why.

Even though some may disagree with me, I firmly believe being left at a hospital and living part of my life as an orphan was a traumatic experience for me.

I once had someone ask me if I had been through a trauma. At the time, I thought, “No, not really, except for my adoption, perhaps.”

But, as I get older and reflect on life more, I firmly believe being an orphan was a traumatic experience for me. And there lies my fearful nature.

I think a lot of my actions, attitudes, and behaviors can be stemmed from that event in life. It has shaped who I am and my perspective on the world and the people in it.

Part of me hates admitting that, considering two and a half years ago, I said I was trying to break free from the anchor of my emotions—my adoption. In that post, I shared how I should not live a life where I must explain to others I am the way I am because of my adoption, that instead, I should make Jesus the anchor of my life.

I still hold true to what I said then, just as I hold true to what I am saying now. Because, if anything, the time difference shows you that dealing with an adoption is not a quick and easy process. Instead, it is one filled with many ups and downs, as my various adoption posts have shown, which you can find by typing “adoption” into the search bar.

And so, I believe it is because of this foundational experience in life that I am fearful. I trust God. But, not completely. At least, not easily. Often times, I am the believer who finds herself kicking and screaming to give God her all.

And I hate that, I truly do.

I don’t want to be that type of person who always has to watch her back.

I don’t want to be that person who second-guesses God’s goodness.

I guess I am writing you all to tell you that my adoption brings joys and hurts in life. For instance, I believe it is because of my adoption I love people well.  I believe it is because of my adoption that I refuse to buy a dog from a breeder.

Yet, I also believe it is because of my adoption that I tend to be passive aggressive. I believe it is because of my adoption that I want to shut people out when I am hurting.

Maybe it is just the thunderous weather getting to me. Or, maybe it is God shining a light on this struggle so that Satan would no longer be able to use it to distort my view of Him. Honestly, I don’t know.

But, I do know God calls us to not be fearful. May this post be a reminder to me and you—God is an awesome God! His plans prevail.

And that is why I am confident in His call to tell you I am a fearful person. And just that alone. I don’t have that part of my life figured out. Truthfully, it may not happen on this side of heaven.

Yet, God will use my declaration for His glory. I will boast in my weakness so that God’s unrelenting power may rest in me.

Of that, I am not fearful in the slightest.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).