Category Archives: cats

Making Himself at Home

When I got home today, my husband told me that Carl and Bee had gone exploring down the road.  Apparently, the wind had opened the screen door and the dogs took their opportunity to escape.

But what Carl did after he got lose was surprising.  Instead of heading straight to the neighbors he loves so much, he decided to make his way to unchartered territory.

The houses on our street each have close to an acre and are pretty spread apart. Each yard is full of pine trees in the back of the homes with nothing but game land bordering the lots. Happy to be free, Carl and Bee ran past three houses and noticed that the backdoor of the fourth house to be open.

Being the curious dog that he is, Carl looked in and spotted a big sheep dog and the owner of the house and made his way past them, jumped up on the couch, and made himself at home. Bee on the other hand, wouldn’t come in and decided to run back in the direction of home.

The owner of the house thought this was very amusing but knew he needed to find out where Carl had come from. So he left Carl slumbering and walked down to find the owner of this peculiar dog. Once my husband realized that both Bee and Carl were missing, he grabbed a leash and headed down the road.

As I thought about how Carl could have made a bad decision that could have led him into danger, I can’t help but think about all the animals that are being impacted by Hurricane Irma and Harvey. It breaks my heart to think about the animals that will suffer because of these storms.

I couldn’t imagine having to make a choice of leaving for shelter without my two dogs. This provoked me to ask what God thinks about the animals that He puts in our lives. I was truly encouraged when I read Proverbs 12:10.  “A righteous man regards the life of his animal.”

Matthew 6:26 states, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Both of these verses encourage me as we wonder how the animals will survive through these hurricanes. My prayers are definitely with these four legged friends.

As for Carl, when my husband made his way into our neighbor’s house, he couldn’t help but laugh at our little dog and how he had made himself at home.

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Unexpected Outcomes

Carl had to stay with our neighbor while we were in the mountains. The campground that we were staying in had strict rules that I knew Carl could not abide by. When we were ready to pull out, I took off Carl’s collar and directed him to the house next door. I wasn’t sure if he would be upset that we were going to leave him but this concern quickly evaporated when he ran up to the door and began to scratch with his paw.

After we had settled into our campsite, I texted my neighbor to find out how Carl had been doing. What she said was a little disturbing. “Carl had a semi-serious incident with one of our cats but all is now in hand.”

I am not quite sure what happened but I can guess that Carl spotted the cat and without thinking, ran after it. Given the cat still had his claws, I am sure the incident wasn’t pretty.

How often do we run or walk into situations without understanding the implications? One day, while camping, we decided to walk one of the trails in the Smokey Mountain National Park. The sign said it was 1.2 miles long and that it would lead us to a waterfall. I should have realized that something wasn’t right when the trail took on a steep grade that was very difficult to walk.

As we continued to struggle upward, I had to stop to catch my breath and contemplate if the water fall was worth all this effort. But given my persistent nature and my husband’s encouragement, we made our way up the steep incline to our final destination.

The further into the dense forest we went, I had to question if we were on the right trail. The sound of rushing water had ceased and the possibility of a waterfall existing so far up seemed unlikely.

Finally as the trees began to thin, we could tell we were close to the end of our hike. In the distance, there was a clearing but no sign of a water fall. And what we found in the clearing was even more puzzling.

When was the last time that you can remember going down a trail in life and ending up in an unfamiliar destination? I am sure the disciples that followed Jesus began their journey with a preconceived notion of where it was going to take them and ended up in a place that they would have never imagined.

I can’t even conceive what Levi thought when Jesus approached him. In Luke 5:27-28 it states, “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.”

Giving up his income and status, Levi left everything he was familiar with and got up and followed Jesus. Just as we didn’t have an idea what would be at the end of our trail, Levi could have never guessed where his decision would lead.

Once we finally got to the end of our trail, three tombstones greeted us. Violet, Theodore, and Guy Wiggins. No date of birth or death. Just three fairly new stones up the steepest trail I have ever traveled.

I would have never guessed that at the top of a mountain in a national park, there would be a family cemetery. As we made our way back down, I considered our situation and what we had discovered at the end of such an arduous journey. It definitely wasn’t what we expected. In the same way, following Jesus can also lead us up trails high above the world below to unpredictable discoveries.

Sadly, Carl had no idea when he entered my neighbor’s house that this would be his last stay with this family.  Apparently, he had not been happy about being left and he made his feelings known to the dogs and cat in the house. He even unintentionally scratched the four year old boy that he loves so dearly.

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Pride Goes Before The Fall

The second Carl spotted the feline, he literally flipped out. We had walked on my neighbor’s porch and that is when Carl saw the cat slither past him. I am not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t had him on his leash. Thankfully, the cat was on the other side of the sliding glass door and I was able to hold onto my strong headed bully.

As if pulling hard on his collar wasn’t enough, Carl then found the need to begin to squeal with a high pitched note that could probably break glass. At this point the cat seemed to know that the dog couldn’t reach him so he began to gaze at his predator with confidence. The hair on both animals raised straight up showing signs of heightened anxiety. No one showed signs of lessening their stance. Their pride just wouldn’t let them.

The Bible has a lot to say about pride. Proverbs 16:18 states,” Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride comes in many forms and many of us don’t realize the pride that bubbles up in our hearts and eats away at the love that we should have for others. I recently heard a message about this deadly sin and saw my own pride in a manner that I never had before.

One question that was posed had to do with my identity. The person asked if I ever felt annoyed if I wasn’t recognized for my hard work. Check. Another question had to do with how I felt when others enjoyed success in the areas that I have pursued. Check. As the questions were asked, I began to realize that my humble opinion of myself was being shattered.

But why is pride such a lethal sin? God shares with us in the book of Daniel on how much He detests pride. Nebuchadnezzar was the king over Babylon. He literally ruled the world. He had built an incredible empire that he took credit for and thought way too much about his own accomplishments.

Daniel had been given a dream by God that was given to warn the king about his prideful attitude. But like most of us, Nebuchadnezzar ignored it. So instantly, this powerful king went from surveying his kingdom with pride to eating grass and living like an animal. It even states that his hair grew on his body like a beast and his nails grew long and tough.

For seven years, this powerful king lived in this insane condition alone and vulnerable. Then as quickly as he had become insane, God graciously restored his mind and position. At this point, Nebuchadnezzar praised and worshipped our Heavenly Father and gave Him the respect He deserves. For this king, he realized that God has the power to humble all men and will do so for His sake.

As for Carl and the cat, neither were going to back down any time soon. Carl continued to pull on his leash and howl with the piercing sound that could break sound barriers. On the other side of the glass, the cat proceeded to look straight at my dog with no intention of letting down. With no other option, my neighbor went inside and moved their cat into another room and out of Carl’s vision.

After a couple of seconds, the prideful bully loosened his pull and his entire body went limp. He seemed confused by the absence of the animal but was then able to focus on the others around him. In that moment, I had to smile as I thought about how Carl taught me another lesson. This one on how pride pulls us away from what really matters in life and how humility gives us the mentality to see it.IMG_1519