Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Let 'Em Get Your Goat

Are you a goat-getter?  I am.  (I perfected my goat-getting art on my little brother, Joe. Unfortunately, he perfected the same art on me.)

And, now that I've spent some time in Haiti, I'm a goat-getter in more than one way.

If you're a goat-getter, you don't enjoy making someone outright mad.  No, no--that's just being mean.  What's waaaaaaay more fun is to go through the process of cleverly annoying someone.  It takes time.  And, it's done very covertly...gently...yet unmistakably.

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "getting your goat" comes from?

Apparently, it came from early horse racing days, where goats were kept with nervous race horses to help keep them calm before a big race.  To sabotage your competition, you could get their goat, which would leave their horse all worked up and agitated--possibly even too nervous to race.

So, over time, "getting your goat" came to describe aggravating someone.

C'mon, you can admit it.  You've gotten someone's goat before.  Or, maybe you're always letting people get YOUR goat?

Perhaps the real challenge is not to be a goat-getter, but to learn how NOT to let others get your goat...

Now, THAT skill has taken me longer to learn.  It's only been in the last, oh, 8 years that I've gotten the hang of it.  Before I became a mom, people were getting my goats ALL the time.  It went like this:

Somebody cut me off while driving...  There goes my goat.

Repairman showed up 3 hours later than expected...  There goes my goat.

Coworker got credit for an idea I generated?  My goat was gone.

Eventually, though, I started to guard my goat more carefully.  I decided I wasn't going to let it go so easily!  Your "goat" is that quiet, calm, peaceful place inside.  When I keep my peaceful place in tact, I can perform better at the tasks God sets before me.  I can think rationally through obstacles that I come up against.  I can pour out kindness and generosity on the people I love, and be more patient and understanding with everyone I meet.

"Don't let him bother you--he's just trying to get your goat."

Ok, so that's one way that I'm a goat-getter.  The other way is quite literal.  I've mentioned this before, right?

On the campus where I live, one of my jobs is to take care of the goats.  I make sure nobody "gets 'em."  Hahaha...  No, seriously, all I do is give them water and move them around the campus so they have fresh grass and leaves to eat.  Oh, and I name them sometimes.

This is Strawberry.  
She has the strangest bleat that is more like 
the bray of a tiny donkey than a goat.

This is Mr. T, the only male in the herd.  
I'm not sure how he came by his name, but I think it has 
something to do with his black mohawk 
and beard that resemble this guy's. 

Awww.  Look at that face! Those eyes!  
This is Mama Heart, my favorite. 
She's so sweet and gentle (unless she thinks
 one of her babies is being threatened).  
She adores mangoes.

Here is Mama's one remaining baby (two of her babies have died, sadly), 
Chocolate Chip Cookie.  But, the kids call her "Triple C." She's so cute! 

This is Earlene.  
She's new here and still very unsure of me.  
I named her Earlene because of her one very strangely deformed ear--see it?
She's going to have a couple kids very soon...

This is Little Honey, the smallest of the herd.  
She's very pregnant and very shy.

This is Noelle.  Guess what time of year she was born?
She is one crazy goat.  
I have yet to figure out how to anticipate her behaviors.  
When approaching Noelle, I remember the following quote:
“Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side.”

 She has very pretty and unique facial markings.  Take a look:

Finally, the two sisters, Oreo and Velma.  
I keep some distance between them because 
they fight like...well...sisters.  
Sisters who, um, happen to have horns.

Before coming to Haiti, I knew one thing about goats: they eat pretty much anything.  Watch your clothes, shoelaces, and hair if you meet one in a petting zoo.  Now, I can say that I know much more about them.  I'm not sure this knowledge will be at all helpful in any situation I might find myself in in the future, but... you never know, right?  Goats are pretty calm creatures.  They're mainly interested in eating and there isn't much that will upset them as long as they can keep that up.  I can see why their presence would have been calming to race horses back in the day.

So, the next time you feel yourself getting annoyed...aggravated...frustrated...  Just think of the goats.

Don't let 'em get your goat!

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.


  1. This is a good one to remember! I won't ever look at goat again in the same way! ;). Praying for you guys tonight!!

  2. ah....I miss the herd...the neighbors too!

  3. Sarah - I somehow stumbled upon your blog and am so glad I did! Not sure if you remember me but we used to work together eons ago, way before husbands and littles at American Eagle! Love what you and your family are doing in Haiti! What an amazing experience! May God bless you all!


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