Tag Archives: Carl the French Bulldog

Paralyzed with Fear

I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.  It had been so long since I had seen Carl in this position that it took me a minute to realize what I was looking at. I had gotten up in the middle of the night and I happened to look in the hallway and there, paralyzed, was Carl.

Darkness was surrounding him on all sides. I could see Carl’s body shake and knew he was unable to make his way through the door and over to his bed. As I peered in the direction that he was looking, all I could see was Bee, our other French bull dog dozing on her pillow.

Fear can paralyze all of us. It can stop us in our tracks and surround us like the darkness of night. Whatever we are facing can seem too large for us to get through. To others it may seem as passive as a sleeping dog, but to us, it can be too massive to get around.

When the fear begins to continue to lie to us about our inability to move, there is someone that we need to picture in our minds. Someone who didn’t allow fear to dictate His next moves. Someone who knew the horrific events that He would have to get through on our behalf.

Jesus didn’t allow the fear of the night to stop Him from the journey that took him to the grave, the place where we fear the most. He did this so that we would continue when our hearts tell us to stop.

The same power that was used to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power that we as believers have to walk through our fears.

The only thing I could do when I saw Carl stuck in place was to escort him to his bed. He didn’t want to walk by his sister Bee so he took a detour under the bed and slid close to the outside wall. Even though it wasn’t the most direct route, he did have the courage to find his way to his bed.

Hopefully, the next time I am gripped with fear, I will be willing to find my way through it, even if I have to follow Carl’s example and take a detour.

Resolving Carl’s Problem

Carl has a problem. He and his sister Bee are not getting along. He doesn’t see this being an issue but we do. Just the other night, Carl became embarrassed when he was being given his Frontline on his back and out of nowhere attacked his Frenchie sister.

If this isn’t a guilty look….

Things didn’t turn out the way that Carl thought they would.  Instead of hurting his sister, she took hold of his left cheek and wouldn’t let go until they were pulled apart. Bruised and in pain, Carl retreated to his couch and laid there for the rest of the night.

I am not sure exactly how to solve this problem. Carl’s prideful attitude can take over at the most unexpected times without any sign of aggression. One moment he is the sweetest little fella and then the next he is out of control.

We all have problems that are hard to find solutions for. Some are huge problems while others can be very minor. Many times when we are faced with troublesome issues, we want to take drastic steps to eradicate them. But if you seriously think about most of the problems you experienced in the past, many of them were resolved by what was nearby.

Just a couple of months ago, I was faced with an issue that didn’t seem like it could be resolved. My thoughts traveled to places way out of the scope of reality on how to solve the problem. I was willing to choose steps that would make the matter worse, not better.

Yesterday, I heard a message from Steve Furdick from Elevation Church that resonated in my thoughts about solving problems.  He shared about Jesus and the first miracle he performed, the changing of water to wine. If you remember, Jesus used what was readily available to Him. He took the water containers used for ceremonial washing and had servants fill them with water. Once the containers were full, the water turned into 1000 bottles of some of the best wine ever made.

Jesus used what was nearby. When we have a problem, most times the solution can be found close to where we are. Jesus then acted as soon as the problem was presented to Him.  He acted in the now. He didn’t wait until tomorrow when it would have been too late, but acted immediately.  And lastly, He looked to a normal solution, not an outrageous one like winning the lottery or finding another spouse.

So many times we are confronted with problems that can be resolved if we first of all ask for help in the form of prayer and then focus on what we have at our disposal. Speaking of problems, I am still not sure how I am going to handle Carl’s outbursts of anger but I do believe with some prayer the answers will come.

My Problem Child

Traveling Through The Rough Times

Carl was in a funk. Almost every waking moment he was constantly seeking out our attention. It had gotten to be pretty annoying in the last couple of days. It didn’t make any sense. We were home more now than ever before. He was getting a long walk every day and receiving more treats than usual. So why was he so needy?

So often, everything on the outside looks great.  We all have a tendency to look at others and think that they must have a perfect life based on the things they possess and the situation they are in. But just like Carl, many times our peace doesn’t come from what is on the outside but what lies deep within our souls.

The times when an unexplained dark cloud sweeps over our lives can be the most difficult.  It is easier to travel through hard times when you are sharing the circumstance with others. We can all huddle together and know that others can relate to what is happening. But it is when we have an internal mood pass through, that life feels like you are on your own.

No one likes to be alone in their sorrow and the gut wrenching feeling that comes with it. We can easily deny the feelings but everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. When this overwhelming emotion takes residence in our bodies, we should look to the one that can sympathize with us.

Jesus had been with God since the beginning. They had been together from the start. But in order for us to be able to have a relationship with God, Jesus had to separate himself from his father.

It is hard to fathom the deep hurt that Jesus and God felt to be a part. It was such a devastating experience that God turned the day into night.  In the darkness, Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 26:46 Words that demonstrate how hurt He was as He left this world alone.

Jesus wants us to know that He has been alone and knows the feelings that accompany this state of mind. His willingness to experience isolation from his father was done so that we would choose to call on Him when we are grieving in silence.

As I wrote this, I felt the need to go and spend some time with Carl.  I felt he wanted to know that he was loved so I sat on the couch with him. As I petted his soft coat and spoke to him, he seemed to appreciate the attention I was giving him. In the same way, we can receive what we need if we converse with God and use His word to encourage us out of the rough times.

Not the Dog I Wanted

I have to confess that Carl was not the dog I wanted. I wanted the brown female dog that had died when her mother rolled on top of her. But knowing it could take a long time before a brown female was born, my husband and I settled on the fawn colored male.img_4753

Earlier in my life I had owned a male dog and found him harder to train and just didn’t bond with him. So when we brought Carl home, I knew that I had to have an open mind and a willingness to cultivate the relationship.

Before working with Carl, I had to cultivate positive thoughts about this little puppy. So instead of focusing on Carl’s obnoxious behaviors of constantly nipping everyone who walked in the door, howling in the middle of the night and marking his territory, I shifted my thoughts to how much joy he was bringing to my family and friends.

I had to be intentional with this cultivation.  My thoughts towards this little Frenchie had to be positive and encouraging. When a negative thought came fleeting through my mind, I had to transform it into a hopeful outcome.

After four years with this little dog, I have realized that nothing worth having in life will come easily.  The most precious things will take time and effort.  Each meaningful relationship, career, and hobby has taken a lot of cultivation to witness a bountiful harvest.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4 states it beautifully:

To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down and a time to build up;

A time to weep and a time laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

As we cultivate our lives, we need to be attentive to the specific timing that God has created for our unique lives. If we try and rush the outcomes, we will lose out on the harvest that God is creating for us.

So as I write these words and think about my little dog, I know that there will always be more cultivating to do. And that is fine with me.img_4765

 

 

 

Our Deepest Desire

It was clear what Carl wanted. We were sitting at the breakfast table when Carl placed his paws in my lap.  Looking at me with those soulful brown eyes, if he could speak, he would be asking for some of the sausage dish that could be seen on our plates.

I pushed his paws off me and firmly told him that he would not be getting any food off my plate. With a sad demeanor, Carl turned from me and slowly walked back to the couch and curled up in his familiar spot.56605741629__FFAC95CB-502E-4A67-BCDA-3817A1CED79C

Carl is not the only one that wants.  We all do.  And the want list only seems to increase during the holiday season. Children are conditioned from birth that Christmas means getting what you want. Presents are stacked under the tree by parents with the hope that their loved ones will find enjoyment from the gifts that are given.

But if you think about it, will the presents fill the desire of what we really want?  As the gifts are unwrapped, a sense of anticipation rises up in our hearts. But no matter what is inside, it just can’t give us the long lasting satisfaction that we all yearn for.

So where can we find this satisfaction that our hearts so desperately desires? Will it be in the things that take up the space in our homes? Or in the accomplishment of a lifetime goal? Could it come through a relationship that has been sought after?

What if our greatest want or desire could be satisfied by the baby in the manger? The newborn cuddled up in the hay.

Take a long look at the babe.  The one that the angel told the shepherds to come worship.  The one that the star directed the wise men to. God’s only son. Christ the king.

So often we lose sight of the gift that God has given us. The only gift that will fill the void that He actually created within us.  So in this season, let us not forget the reason to celebrate. If this means opening up your Bible and reading the story as it is actually written, do it. Or if music can resonate in your heart, play music that is intended for worship of our savior’s birth.

Carl will surely return to the table and try to persuade me to give him what he wants. And as he places his paws on my lap and looks at me with his soulful brown eyes, I will use this as a reminder of what is truly desired.IMG_4656

“Thank you Lord for sending your only begotten Son to earth as a baby. I want to particularly thank you for allowing this baby to grow into a man, one that understands my frailty and temptations. Thank you for allowing Him to die on the cross so that I can live life to the fullest.”

Outside Looking In

Carl’s nose was pressed against the French door as he watched the people inside mingling around. He wanted to come in but the electronic door wasn’t working and he seemed to be stuck on the outside. IMG_4601

How many times have you ever felt like you were on the outside of a group or situation and just didn’t know how to get in? I know I have felt this way many times in the course of my life.  I have wanted something that others had and felt the insecurity that comes when I didn’t feel like I measured up.

Hagar definitely struggled with being on the outside. She was an Egyptian maidservant living in the home of Abraham and Sarah. Looking in on this couple, I am sure Hagar longed for her own husband and a man to love only her.

To make matters worse, Sarah told her husband to take Hagar as his second wife and bear a child. Instead of being happy about conceiving Abraham’s child, Hagar began to detest Sarah for the situation she was now in. Genesis 16:4

It is easy to understand Hagar’s feelings. We have all felt the nagging anger that comes when our lives don’t turn out like we expect them to. And to make it even more difficult we seem to draw others around us that appear to have just what we want.

So what do we do when we are stuck on the outside looking in? How can we be content in all situations?

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-13. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

So the next time you start looking through the glass from the outside, take your focus off of the people inside and look towards Christ. Paul was so right, only when we focus on our savior can we be content with any and every situation.

Carl doesn’t have the ability to see beyond the glass and the humans that are mingling within the confines of the room. He only has the capability of focusing on what he sees. But thank goodness God created us with an eternal perspective that can help us see beyond the confines of this world.IMG_4427

The Storm Continues

Carl is taking advantage of the quiet house before the children return from the movies. We are thankful that we haven’t lost power at this time but won’t be surprised if we fall victim to the strong wind gusts of Florence. The three guest dogs are also resting in the garage and getting used to their new setting.IMG_4196

On the other hand, it is hard to be at peace while my daughter is working as an EMS nurse in Wilmington.  I got a text around 11:00 that she and her crew were headed out for a rescue mission. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be battered around by the strong winds and rain while focusing on taking care of a patient.

No one knows the number of days that this hurricane will play havoc on the eastern part of North and South Carolina. I can tell you for myself that I feel physically and mentally exhausted from the days leading up to this storm. But even as difficult as it has been to give up an incredible vacation to Puerto Rico and take in six family members, I can only believe that I am blessed.

I am thankful that I am rooted in God’s word. Knowing that God is sovereign and has a plan in this storm, helps me to take the focus off of myself and on to the people He has placed in my home. As for Carl, he has been a little agitated by all the activity but seems to be coping.

Dear God, please help me to be available to be used to do your will, particularly in trying times like these. Also, please take care of my daughter and the other individuals that are putting their life on the line to save the people of their community.Sara