Book Reviews

The Art of Raising a Puppy by Monks of New Skete

The Art of Raising a PuppyTitle: The Art of Raising a Puppy
Author: Monks of New Skete
Rating: ★★★

What of ourselves? In actuality the monk’s journey is everyone’s journey, though in our frenetic world of activity and distraction we often miss the fact that we are also desert wanderers. Who or what leads us? In this day and age, we are dangerously out of touch with the nonhuman world around us, leaving our hearts dulled and our vision blurred. Nothing impresses us anymore, and we travel farther into a disharmonious cavern of individualism, with ourselves as guides. We arrogantly “process” reality through preconceived notions that are sterile and cold. Our world is stripped of a profound and compelling mystery.

Some of you may be wondering why my blog is named “Synopses by Sarge” when my name is Nikki. For those of you that are close to me, you’ll know it is because of recent acquisition of my new best friend and companion, Sarge, also know as my black German Shepherd puppy (Christmas picture of Sarge from the breeder shown below).IMG_5846

The Art of Raising a Puppy is the second novel I have read written by the Monks of New Skete (How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend being the first). The first was recommended by my breeder and I am so grateful for the recommendation. Surprisingly not super technical in verbage (I expected the writing to be insufferably proper), the ease with which all new owners can read and learn about the proper technique for raising a puppy was pleasant and fulfilling.

Learning the value of silence is learning to listen to, instead of screaming at, reality: opening your mind enough to find what the end of someone else’s sentence sounds like, or listening to a dog until you discover what is needed instead of imposing yourself in the name of training.

Having had a dog present in my life for all but four months (the time between the death of a previous dog and receiving a new generation of doggy life), I became attune to the “myths” of training. Granted, all of my family’s previous dogs were well-behaved, I have come across dogs who didn’t possess these same qualities: piddling in excitement of new people, greeting by jumping up, and bad reception to recall to name a few. By reading this novel, I learned that to really train your dog to be a part of your every day life successfully, you need to understand your dog. Sounds easy, but it is actually quite difficult. We may interpret behaviors based on what we have heard previously and act in accordance with that way, when, in reality, the way we act has the complete opposite effect.

For example, I mentioned earlier the piddling in excitement or submission at the greeting of owners or when meeting new people. From reading the words of wisdom by the Monks of New Skete, I interpreted this very act wrong from what I have heard in the past having seen this as a dog being over-excited. A very submissive dog will piddle at the feet of his owner or someone new as a sign of submission. This could be a reaction from the way we approach the dog, with high-pitched voices or looming above the dog. A way to infringe upon this is to crouch down with arms wide open, or to have the dog sit as we greet our friend. A dog is less likely to piddle while sitting as it is uncomfortable for them.

Overall, this novel was a great refresher to read before getting another best friend and companion (it’s been 13 and a half years since my last puppy). Not only did it teach me the basic principles of raising a puppy, but it helped me to better understand my puppy as an individual. Knowing this will create a lasting impression on both of us and strengthen our relationship with each other. I would definitely recommend this for anyone getting a puppy for the first time or if it has been a while since having a puppy.

Bookish Features

Winter Jam 2018

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If you have never heard of Winter Jam before and you are Christian, you need to go! It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to…and there were so many talented artists there!

So the story goes that I was originally looking for Jordan Feliz concerts (because I adore him). Well, I happened to stumble upon this concert that not only featured Jordan Feliz, but Skillet, and a new favorite, Dan Bremnes. Being a few weeks after my brother’s birthday and knowing that he also enjoys Skillet, I figured what other birthday present could compare? Plus, who wouldn’t love my company?! haha

P.S. I apologize ahead of time for gracing everyone with my beautiful singing voice you may hear in the videos. The sound quality may be a little lacking…too much bass (said only me ever).

First up…Dan BremnesATT00001
All of his music is really catchy and just so positive, I don’t know how you could ever be in a bad mood listening to it.

 

Next up…Jordan Feliz, the man of my night
“Witness”

“Beloved”

 

Last but certainly not least…Skillet!

So, this is how they opened the show…Not complaining whatsoever! Looked much cooler in person!
“Feel Invincible”

Jen Ledger rocking on the drums
“The Resistance”

Who can not think John Cooper is one of the most attractive guys out there?! Not only that, but he acts pretty much like Bane (any superhero/villain nerds out there like me?!) in this video:
“Sick”

 

One surprisingly great addition to the concert was John Crist. Those of you who know me know that it takes a lot to make me laugh. Not only that, but I really haven’t found any stand up comedians to be funny. That all changed last Friday when John Crist walked on the stage. I was literally crying.

As for overall experience, I would give this an easy cropped-star1cropped-star1cropped-star1cropped-star1cropped-star1. I will definitely be going back next year!

Bookish Features

A Letter To My Ex

Dear Ex,

It’s been months since we dated. More time has passed than the time we spent together. I still wonder why all of it had to happen the way it did. Why was I not enough? Why did my feelings not matter? What more could I have done to show you how much I cared for you?

I probably never told you enough how proud I was of you. You were always looking out for others even when they didn’t reciprocate it to you. Always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. You were the guy that was always there when a family member or friend needed you. It hurt me to see how loving you were towards them, but they only fit you in when you were convenient to them or when it was beneficial to them. I didn’t want anyone to hurt you.

I wish things didn’t end on such a bad note. I wish we could’ve had that final “goodbye”. I wanted to feel like I was the most important thing to you always and a thousand times more important than those who came before me. I wanted you to be the one who stayed. Who never left. The one I could tell anything and everything to. Who would be there whenever I was having a bad day and needed a shoulder to cry on. I needed you.

I will always be grateful towards you. I learned how to love by dating you. There were times you made me feel like your whole world. That no matter what I did, you would always be there for me. Maybe I asked too much. Maybe I wasn’t the one who could give you everything you wanted, but someone out there can. I want you to succeed in every aspect of your life. I want you to find someone who you couldn’t stand to be without, where your heart aches leaving them even for a minute. But most of all, I want you to be happy. And hopefully your experience with me will lead you to that.

Love Always,
Your Ex