Tag Archives: Carl the French Bulldog

Unfamiliar Waters

I am now in unfamiliar waters. Far from the normalcy that I have become accustomed to. Since Carl has left us, life has taken me in a direction that I didn’t choose or predict.

Many times in life, we get diverted and have to figure out how we are going to handle the situation that has been placed in our lives. There is no one that knew this better than the Apostle Paul. Since his conversion, life changed drastically for him.

Paul lost all control of his circumstances. After being imprisoned for his faith, taken on a ship in rough waters, and then shipwrecked on an island called Malta, this man only had his faith in God to rely on. While on the island, he accidently picked up a poisonous snake that bit him. Everyone thought he would die but instead, he lived without any effects of the snake.

Malta was a place that Paul did not plan on going to. He probably wondered how God would use him on such a small remote island in the middle of nowhere. But He did. Just like Paul, I am in a place that I was not expecting to be in without my little writing buddy by my side.

God has given me Bee, my other French bull dog to help fill the gap. She has been a little lost since Carl has left us, but enjoying all the extra attention a one dog family affords. She has been quick to get in my husband’s lap and come by my side for extra petting. Just this morning, she truly enjoyed a walk around the block without having to fight her way to the front.

Just like Bee, I need to be willing to look forward and not towards the past. And if I do, hopefully, I will understand how to find God’s presence in the midst of unfamiliar waters.

Carl- On the Other Side

If Carl could see my husband and I as we have mourned for him in the last couple of days, he probably wouldn’t understand the tears or sad looks. He wouldn’t comprehend how the thought of him in all of his usual places causes us to catch our breath as we try to shake off the unwelcome feelings.

The pain of loss is a difficult emotion to move through. I keep telling myself that is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. But it still doesn’t make the feelings go away or change the realization that we will never see our beloved Carl again.

I have received several encouraging notes about a Rainbow Bridge where animals go until they greet their owners on the other side. A place where animals have all their needs met and no longer suffer.

I love the thought of Carl running around an open field making new four legged friends. No leashes or restraints, just the freedom of running free. I can also envision him as he turns his head upward and howls for everyone to know that he has arrived.

But what gives me the most hope about this situation can be found in John 11:32-33. “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”

What gives me the most encouragement is the fact that Jesus entered Mary’s pain. He didn’t minimize it or down play it, but he allowed it to consume him. He cried with her and I know he is crying with me now. He doesn’t think being upset at the loss of a dog is silly or trite. Instead, he is beside me as I suffer.

It brings me an extreme amount of comfort just knowing the author of life has entered into our pain. And with this knowledge, I believe that He will provide for our furry friend in death as he takes care of us in life.

I want to thank all of you who have supported me as I have written about all the craziness that came with living with Carl. I am not sure if I will continue to blog, but I am sure God will provide an avenue if it is meant to be. In the meantime, if you would like to purchase my book, Empty Hands, it is now available today on Amazon as an eBook for only $.99.

Thank you,

Cora

Unpleasant Repercussions

Carl was in a fight and lost. It wasn’t with another dog or even a cat. It wasn’t with a squirrel or even a bird. But a frog! Carl thought he would take a good bite out of the brown bumpy reptile but was immediately horrified by what he experienced next.

Apparently, frogs have a toxin on their skin that keeps them safe from all the Carls out there. And it was definitely effective. Immediately, Carl released the frog. He began to foam at the mouth and his eyes began to water. Our little Frenchie was clearly unhappy with his decision.

How often do we make quick decisions that are not thought through and have unpleasant repercussions? How many times do we wish we could go back and redo what has been done? All of us can think of regrettable moments that we wish we could erase from our memory. If only we had a huge eraser that could take away all our regrets.

And that is exactly what happened when Jesus chose to die for us on the cross. During the hours that He hung there dying, he took each regret and gave it over to God to forgive. Jesus did this so we could move forward in our lives with humility and gratitude.

It was clear that Carl wished he hadn’t bothered the frog this morning. His eye drained all day and he slept more than he usually does. But thankfully, dogs don’t dwell on their bad decisions like humans. My guess is that tomorrow Carl will wake up ready to go out into the world and take on whatever comes into his path.

God’s Grace- Unanswered Prayers

Carl ran through the doggy door and made his way from room to room in search of his male companion. Little did he know that my husband went out one door as Carl was waiting for the electronic door to open for him to come inside.

Once Carl made it through the door, he was confused and was in a state of despair. But instead of dwelling on the disappointing circumstances, he settled for a good petting from me.

How often do we go through doors in our lives, with certain expectations, only to find the rooms void of what we long for? Then when we are in the space and don’t find what we hope for, we sulk or become angry with God.

Moses, in Numbers 11, was given the responsibility of leading the Israelites after they were freed from the Egyptians. He may have thought that being delivered from their enemies would have humbled these people but instead he was left with millions of complaining people. Feeling totally overwhelmed, Moses prays to God to take his life.

Moses had entered a space in his life that lacked any hope or peace. His plea to have his life taken was clearly an indication that this wasn’t where he wanted to be. God saw this and instead of answering his prayer, he gave him seventy men, filled them with his spirit, and lightened Moses’ load.

This wasn’t what Moses had asked for but thankfully, God knew what Moses needed more than he did. In the same manner, we can be praying for a specific answer to a prayer that isn’t what is best for us. So instead of sulking when life doesn’t look like we think it should, trust in the God who knows what is best for us.

As for Carl, he became content after I scratched under his ears for a minute. He then laid on the floor and rested until the sound of the opening door woke him.

Intentions, A Personal Encounter with Jesus

Carl is very intentional in what he does. He knows what he wants and doesn’t waiver from doing everything he can to get it. Take for instance his desire for treats. Carl will sit, lie down, or stay in order to get a piece of food. If he wants attention, he will take his paw and claw at your arm until you pet him.

But as intentional as Carl is for food, Jesus was more so for the purpose set before him by his heavenly father. A great example of this comes in the fourth chapter of John when he travels through Samaria.  Most Jews never would go through this region because they knew the people hated them. But Jesus intentionally walked to Sychar and sat down at a specific well and waited.

Have you ever been in a time of life where you felt hopeless and that God was nowhere to be found? This is what Photina felt as she went to get her daily supply of water. Stuck in a cycle of searching for fulfillment through men, this woman had no understanding of how to get unstuck. Deep down in her soul there was a yearning for something more than the men that she slept with. But she was drowning with no way to save herself from the life that she had created.

Little did she know that a man was waiting for her at the well that would change her life forever. A man that had intentionally walked through a forbidden land until he was tired and hot just to have a personal encounter with her.

I have a hard time understanding the compassion that Jesus had as he waited. Compassion for a woman that others had rejected and saw nothing good in. But not Jesus. He saw something in this woman that would cause him to deliberately walk out of his way and wait.

And if Jesus would intentionally go many miles out of his way for this woman, why shouldn’t I believe that he will go out of his way for me?

Photina was never the same again after her encounter with Jesus. Her two sons and five sisters were known for their outspoken confession of Jesus as Lord. And as ironic as it is, Photina was ultimately thrown into a well by Emperor Nero’s orders where she died for her faith.

Carl just scratched my leg so that I would pet his coat and give him the attention he believes he deserves. His intentional actions are a good reminder to stop and think about how Jesus deliberately searched for Photina and is now searching for me.

(If you enjoy reading this blog, you will enjoy my new book, Empty Hands.  It will be on Amazon on September 6th.)

Carl’s Perception of Truth

Carl has been gone for almost two weeks.  His life hasn’t interceded with ours except through pictures and Facetime. And even though we see him on the screen, he isn’t a part of our present.

My husband and I have been on a cruise to Alaska while Carl has been rotating between staying with our daughter and a pet resort. So it is easy to say that our reality on the cruise ship is very different from our four legged friend.

We have been experiencing average temperatures in the 70s while Carl has been enduring scorching 90 degree temps. Our reality has been sailing across the ocean at about 23 miles an hour looking out over beautiful snowcapped mountains while Carl has been confined to the backyard with four little people to get along with.

In other words, our perception of life has been altered by our circumstances. Neither Carl or my husband and I are living the truth of the life that we are typically bound by. 

So how do we know what truth is when our circumstances have been changed so drastically?  There is only one way.  Only one person who spoke truth regardless of the circumstances. John 14:6 states, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.”

Jesus is truth and the barometer in which to compare ourselves by, no matter our present circumstances.  So no matter where we are on this planet, if we know Jesus through His words, we will have the life He planned for us.

Carl may think that this life he is presently living will be his reality for the remainder of his days. He doesn’t know when he will return or if he will. On the other hand, as I write this, I know that tomorrow I will port in Seattle and I will fly across the country to my home in North Carolina where life will return to the reality that I am accustomed to. No matter where Carl and I find ourselves, I know that truth isn’t found in my circumstances or even the place where I reside.

Living Between Faith and Fear

Carl knew that we were leaving.  He just wasn’t sure if he would be included in the departure or would be left. To improve his odds of being allowed to join us, he placed his paws in front of him and took a prayer stance. His body was shaking with fear as he waited patiently to see the outcome of what would take place. Carl was living in the middle of fear and faith.

How often do we reside somewhere between the fear that wants to stop us from acting in faith? Personally, I have to confess that I have allowed fear to dictate too many of the decisions in my life.

Abigail was one woman that stood firm in her faith and brushed the fear that was brewing in her heart to dissipate. When she heard that David was coming to kill off all her family because of her husband’s foolish behavior, she knew she had to act quickly.

So with fear trying to convince her to stop, Abigail chose to act out of faith. Immediately, she packed enough food to feed an army, and rode out into the desert to meet the one who had the power to end her life.

“When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground.”(1 Samuel 25:23)

With humility, Abigail made her case and stopped the demise of her family. If she had chosen the path of fear, the story would have ended very differently. But because she elected to act, God took care of the situation and her family was spared.

Carl ended up coming with us and spent the day playing with other dogs in a pet resort. He met new friends and enjoyed frolicking around with no cares. What could have ended as a lonely day turned into a fun filled excursion.