Category Archives: growth

Carl the Super Hero Dog

Carl acts like he is a super hero dog. And why not? He is able to go through walls. (With the help of a remote controlled doggy door) Any time he wants water, he can go to his bowl that is always full. But when Carl stands on the back deck and runs off all the wild animals with the sound of his ferocious bark, he stands like he actually has super powers.

But the truth is Carl is not a super hero dog. As much as he wants to be, he has limitations. He is totally dependent on humans to feed him, bathe him, and meet all of his medical needs.

It is easy to see that Carl doesn’t have super powers but it can be more difficult for us to see our lack of power. If we are healthy and gainfully employed, it can be easy to list all of the ways that we are in control of our lives. Doesn’t our toil produce the money necessary to purchase what we need?

If we take a closer look, we might see that we shouldn’t be so quick to take the credit for our self-sufficiency. In Psalm 127, Solomon writes, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” To get a clearer picture of what this verse means, I looked up in Dictionary.com what “in vain” means. And I was surprised to see it meant “without effect or avail; to no purpose.”

We can build all of our lives but if the Lord is not at the center of why we are building, it serves no purpose. Yes, our efforts will put food on the table and a roof over our heads, but ultimately will not produce the eternal fruit that we were created for.

Since we are spiritual creatures, we need to realize that everything that we are given, has been given to us by our Lord. With this knowledge, we ought to give Him the credit for all His gifts.

It might be difficult to convince Carl that he is not a super hero dog, but I can assure you that when it is time to eat, he is eager to demonstrate his gratitude by looking up at me with a humble expression. Hopefully, we can extend even more thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father.

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Needy

Calling Carl needy is an understatement. If he is left in the backyard, it won’t take him long before the howling begins. If I come home after a few minutes of being gone, Carl will act like I have been gone for days. But the one time that he acts the neediest is when I come back from taking Bee on a walk. When we enter through the door, the little bully can’t contain himself. He is jumping up and pushing Bee out of the way so that I can only give him his desired attention.

Being needy can be considered a weakness by many people. But not to God.  He looks at our hearts and the need we have for Him. Even if we mess up, God will forgive us if He can see our desire to have a relationship with Him. This is demonstrated in the book of 1 Samuel during a very dark period for David.

David was tired of being hunted down by King Saul. He was relentless and wouldn’t stop until David was dead. This had been going on for years and David had been worn down. He wanted to please God but his faith had waned. So what does he do? Lies. Not just once but many times.

Now King Saul was also a sinner. After the Philistines had marched towards the Israelites to begin war, Saul tried to confer with God and got no response. So without regard to God, he visits a witch to find out his destiny. The spirit of Samuel, the prophet appears to her and to Saul. And what he says is not the news that Saul was looking for. He tells him that he and his sons will be killed in battle.

So why would God save this man and have King Saul killed? Only one reason. Because even though David’s lack of faith led him to lie, he ultimately had a desire for a deep relationship with God. If you read the Psalms that David wrote during this time, it is clear that he has a deep need for his maker.

This inspires me a great deal as I struggle through this life. When I think about how David’s life was spared and how he ultimately became king, I am encouraged.  So as Carl comes up to me with a look of need in his eyes I will reflect on how much God wants me to need Him.

Thank you God for using my little dog to help me see my need for You.

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Seized with Revenge

Carl is definitely the top dog at our house. But whenever he sees his sister Bee get preferential treatment, he has a hard time with his emotions. If she walks in front of him on a walk, Carl will nip at her to let her know that she needs to get back. At dinner time, Carl will always be fed first and treats also need to be given in that order.

But if you want to see Carl get into a fighting mode it is when attention is given to Bee from friends and strangers. Whenever someone will reach down to pet his sister dog, he goes crazy mad! His calm demeanor is immediately changed to a dog with only revenge on his mind. And don’t even think about reasoning with him when he is in the heat of the moment.

As many times as we have tried to reason him out of his hostility, it does no good until he is given some time to cool down. Isn’t Carl like so many of us when our buttons have been pushed? Can you remember a time that you were so angry at someone that all you wanted was to see harm done to them? You may not have actually acted out the feelings, but the thoughts were clearly being played out in your mind.

It is moments like these that I am thankful that God included David in the Bible. We think of him as the one that was constantly being sought after by Saul because of the hatred he had towards David. But God demonstrates through his word, that even men like David, a man after God’s own heart, could become seized with revenge.

David had been running from Saul and found himself in the wilderness surrounded by six hundred needy men. During this time, he sent these men out to protect the local shepherds from bandits and to literally create a wall of protection. There was one particular wealthy shepherd by the name of Nabal that had benefited from David’s safeguard.

It was shearing time and was the custom, David had expected his men to be given some of the meat from the slaughter. So when David had sent several men to Nabal to receive what was rightfully his, Nabal blatantly refused to give him anything.

Seized with anger, David put on his sword and led his men to kill Nabal and all the males of his family. David was determined to act out on his revenge and nothing could stop him. Oh but wait. Who do I see in the distance with donkeys carrying enough food to feed an army?

Nabal was an evil man. No one disputed that. But his wife Abigail was exactly the opposite. She was a wise woman with integrity. When one of the servants had heard that David was coming to destroy Nabal’s family, he went to Abigail and told her the situation. This woman probably had every reason to allow the slaughter of her husband to take place, but she didn’t.

Instead, she prayed to God and He gave her the words to speak to David. Incredibly, what she said had such impact that David turned his men around and went back into the wilderness. And she went home to her husband.

But God wasn’t finished yet. It states in 1 Samuel 25:38 “And about ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.” And doesn’t it say in Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

Many times when we are so angry and can only see the wrath we want to impart on others, we should stop and allow God to work. David would have had suffered major consequences for the death of Nabal. In the same manner, when we act before giving the situation to God, we will also have a cost to pay.

As for Carl, he usually gets over his feelings towards Bee once he receives the attention that he craves. If only he could understand that God cares about him and will supply his needs. Realistically, he is only a dog. But one that has taught me so much.

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Carl, a Product of God’s Sense of Humor

Carl was born on October 6, 2014, the same day that my husband’s father entered into an assistant living community. We never knew that this day would change our world in so many ways. For my father in law, this day would mean going from independence to a life of being told what to do and where he could and could not go.

Our life also changed on this day in October because of the peace we would experience from knowing that Joe, my father in law, would be receiving the care he needed after being diagnosed with dementia and lung cancer.  But it was also the birthday of our little dog that would rock our world.

I personally believe that God has a great sense of humor. To have two major events happen on the same day without our knowledge can only be seen as a touch of humor from our maker. If you think about it, He created us with a sense of humor so why should we think He doesn’t have one?

Didn’t God allow Sarah, an old woman far beyond her child bearing age, to carry a child to term? Even when she laughed when God promised Abraham that he would be a father. And what about the day that He stopped the rotation of the earth long enough for Joshua to destroy the Amorites? Could this be an act of humor as He observed the Israelites battle with the extra couple of hours of sunlight?

But the one time in the Bible that clearly demonstrates God’s sense of humor can be found in Numbers 22:27-34 when he opened the mouth of a donkey to tell his servant Balaam, that an angel was standing in the road. God must have been shaking his head and wondering what he had to do to get his attention.

So if God opened the mouth of a donkey to speak to Balaam, I believe God can use a tailless French bull dog to speak to me. Carl may not speak words but he has surely spoken volumes as I have tried to discover what God’s will is for me. And the coolest part of owning this little Frenchie is seeing a glimpse of God’s humor every day.

 

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Bee and My Strong Willed Bully

A friend helped me see something about Carl and Bee that I never thought of before. Believe it or not, Bee is the alpha dog. All this time, I thought Carl was the dominant dog and ran the show. But as I think about it, Carl is only fighting for the place at the top that will probably never be his.

This little black and white dog with the less assertive demeanor is running the show. She has the little fawn colored male just where she wants him, under her spell.

All my life, I have been trying to figure out where I stand in regard to how I am perceived by others. Growing up in a large family with many strong personalities, I was definitely nowhere near the top of the pecking order. With my own strong personality being pushed down instead of encouraged upward, life was hard in my younger years.

But God had a better life in store for me as an adult. He designed a life for me that fit my personality and desires. He placed me with a wonderful man that loves me and encourages me to fulfill my dreams.

Many women I have encountered think that God only views them as second ranked citizens, wanting only for them to be submissive to their husbands and quiet unless spoken to. But this isn’t the God I know. He demonstrated over and over again how much He loves women and wants their needs met.

In John 19:25-27 it states, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

But what caught my eye in the scriptures was the next verse. “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished.” Jesus could have easily died without taking care of his mother without it impacting his ultimate purpose. But He didn’t. Instead, his last action was to take care of this special woman in his life.

So why can’t we believe as women that He won’t take care of our needs? Even if our needs include a strong personality and desires at an older age.

I have a lot to learn from my little dog Bee. She may not have the personality that Carl has but she does have the confidence to stand her ground against our strong willed bully.

Bee is starred in a book that I have written called Seasons at the Bus Stop. If you are interested in purchasing this children’s book, please visit my website at Beeafriendbooks.com.

Carl’s Leap Forward

Bee can’t jump but Carl can. A couple of years ago, Carl went to stay with some neighbors and he came back jumping. Even though Carl and Bee are very similar in stature, Carl has been practicing the art of raising his body and leaping onto the furniture.

What causes one person to be able to leap through life higher than others? Why are some content with staying on the ground while others are jumping to new heights? David gives us a glimpse of how God is ready and waiting to give anyone who asks, a push upward.

In my previous blog, David had just been anointed as king. But he didn’t take on this role until much later. Instead, he returned to the pastures and the sheep that he had surrounded himself with. No one considered much of him.  But God did. He was grooming David by placing him out in the pasture where he was forced to kill both a bear and a lion.

It is hard to imagine how this young adolescent felt about what he could accomplish after he slayed these two animals. But I am sure his confidence in God had increased as he thought back on these events.

So when David witnessed the harassment of the Israelites by a Philistine giant, he knew what he had to do. Even when his brothers and King Saul tried to convince him that he was crazy, he pursued the mission of killing the giant.

Why would David take on Goliath when all the others pulled back in fear? In 1 Samuel 17:26 David asks, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

It is clear from this question that David not only believed in God but knew Him intimately. This relationship was so real that David couldn’t stand by and allow this nine foot bully to intimidate the army of the living God.  While all the other men stood on the ground focusing on serving a hollow king, David was already leaping into a spiritual battle.

There are many times that I should be focused on our living God but instead my eyes are stuck on mortals with no power. But when I turn my attention on to God, you may see me soaring through life.

Just this evening, Carl took another leap onto the couch and made himself comfortable. Poor Bee was left with her front paws up on the furniture wondering how Carl could get himself up so high. But don’t feel too sorry for her. I bought her a deluxe bed that her brother is not allowed on. My only concern is that he will mark his territory when I am not looking. Time will only tell.

Living in the Shadows

For the last week, Carl has been living in the shadows. I never thought there would be a day that Carl would not be in the center of our home’s attention. But given our grandchildren are staying with us, Carl has been living his life beyond the forefront.

There are many of us that never live in the forefront. We may appear insignificant to the masses and walk around without ever being noticed. We may have mundane occupations that never receive the awards and accolades that others we know receive.

What is interesting is as I read the story of David, I have realized he is one of us. When Samuel went to anoint a son of Jesse to become king,  he thought he knew exactly who would be chosen. Samuel asked Jesse to present his sons to him. The first son to parade before God was Abinadab. Since Jesse chose him first, he must have had a special place in his father’s heart. But God told Samuel that he would not be king.

As Jesse called Shammah, he must have thought that it had to be this son. If it wasn’t Abinadab it must have been this strong young man that demanded the attention of others. Perfect candidate for being a king. But once more, Samuel hears no word from God.

I can’t imagine how Jesse felt as the sons that he would have chosen paraded by the prophet without even a second glance. All seven of them didn’t even get a nod.

Then Samuel asks Jesse if this was all of his sons. Just the thought of not even being considered states a lot about how Jesse felt about David. Can you imagine how David must have been treated as a child if he isn’t even a blimp on the radar?

Jesse responds by telling Samuel that there is one more BUT there is no way God would be considering anointing him.  He is out shepherding the sheep. A job that would be given to servants or ones that you don’t want around. I am sure Jesse must have been thinking that Samuel had it all wrong. Why would God want David?

In the isolation of the fields, God had been preparing David for his position as king over Israel. The lonely nights where David only had God to speak with and to rely on. God knew David’s heart. He knew that in this mundane, out of the forefront life, God had a man that he could etch into the greatest king that was ever known.

This encourages me as I sit here and peck out words that I believe God put on my heart. For so many years of working in a classroom without recognition and being the youngest of five. I can relate to David. I know that I was never chosen to be a king but I do believe I was chosen to be a child of God.

As for Carl. The grandchildren will eventually go home and he will once again return to the forefront of our attention. But until then, you can find our little pooch living in the shadows.

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