Tag Archives: dogs

Wet Paw Prints

The rain continued to beat against the window pane as Carl looked up from his bed, and then rolled over. It was clear he had no intention of jumping off, and making his way outside to do his business.

For the last couple of weeks, the rain has come in waves, turning our backyard into a pond. Carl has tried to avoid getting wet, but even with his efforts, it is impossible to miss his muddy paw prints scattered across the wood floors.

Just like Carl, at times we leave muddy footprints across the floors of life. They can come from making rash decisions or stating harsh words in the middle of our own personal storms.

Given that life will bring days of squalls and dark clouds, we must prepare ourselves before their arrival.  And who best to emulate than Jesus, the creator of the storms.

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘“Quiet! Be still!”’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:37-39)

Many people have questioned how Jesus could sleep during this horrendous storm when all his disciples were scared to death. Just like these men, we often wonder where Jesus is when we go through storms. And when we can’t find Him, we have a tendency to react out of fear.

I have found that if I focus on what Jesus did during this storm, I will not be consumed with fear but faith. In order to sleep, Jesus must have known the outcome of the storm, and then once He was awoken, He demonstrated His power by calming the wind and waves.

This passage points me to Jesus when I am in the middle of heavy rainstorms. When it doesn’t look like it will ever stop and the sun is missing from the sky, I visualize Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat.

Carl continued to sleep until the rain subsided and he could go outside without getting drenched. We appreciated his attempt to stay dry but had to laugh as he walked across the wooden floors and left a trail of wet paw prints.

From a Distance

The car slowed to a stop and the man rolled his window down.  Not sure what he was going to say, both my husband and I leaned in. “I just want you to know that you have a good looking dog.” As we thanked him, we couldn’t help but say back in jest, “You can have him, if you want.” (We were just kidding!)

I have also seen Carl from a distance and have to agree that he sure is cute and desirable. But what Carl is from a distance and what he is up, close and personable are totally two different things.

What is it about us humans that cause us to crave the things that are at a distance? So often, we feel the need to have the very thing that can cause us such heartache.

All the Samaritan woman wanted was to have a husband that loved her and she ended up with five broken marriages and a compromised life. The rich young ruler only wanted his wealth and ended up lacking the peace that comes from putting God first.

Jesus clearly tells us in John 6:36 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

If we can only stop looking in the distance for the bread of life and turn to the source, we will finally be content and full.

I personally can’t imagine life without Carl.  Even though it has been difficult at times, I am thankful God has used this little dog to help me draw closer to Him so that I don’t have to continue to desire what is at a distance.

Slammed Doors

Carl stood at the door waiting for us to call his name to come along on a journey. But today, Carl wasn’t going to be able to come. Instead of joining us for a fun episode of life, the door was shut in his face.

How often do we wait at the door of opportunity to have a door shut in our face? We can be so excited about life one moment and then the next moment, we feel like God has played a joke on us.

It is during these times of trials and suffering, with no entrance in sight that we are forced to take our focus off of what is on the opposite side of the door. It is at this moment that we are provided other options, ones that we may not choose, but ones that have to be faced.

Most of the people Jesus interacted with had doors shut in their face. Individuals just like you and me that were locked out of the dreams that they had based their happiness on. Some chose the path of bitterness and resentment that left them facing the locked exit.

But then there were the few that understood Jesus’s power to show them an upward direction that would transport their earthly journey to a spiritual one.

There was a Gentile woman that knew what life was like to have doors slammed in her face. Her daughter was demon possessed and was suffering. This mother had heard about the miracles that Jesus had performed and believed that He was from God.

The woman respected Jesus’s mission. He had come specifically for the Jews but she had to try. So when she engaged Him in a conversation about dogs eating crumbs, Jesus opened the door of healing. (Matthew 15:21-28)

As we drive down the road towards our destination, I can’t help but think about the door that Carl is facing. Hopefully, he will realize that he needs to look beyond the door until we return. If not, he will be staring at a shut door for quite a while. Poor Carl.

Pushing Forward into Confidence

Carl hid behind the blanket and it was clear he didn’t want to be seen. When he heard the closing of the door, he knew he had missed his opportunity to ride in the shot gun seat in the big black truck.  Instead of riding with my husband on their regular Sunday morning drive, Carl stayed put in his comfortable bed.

I had encouraged him to get up and catch up with my husband but he seemed to lack the confidence to do so. What had been a move that Carl did automatically, he now seemed hesitant to even try. Could this little dog who seems so confident at times, feel insecure today?

We can easily lose confidence in life if we aren’t careful.  A blow to our self-esteem can come out of nowhere and if we aren’t centered, can send us reeling. When this happens, I find myself backing away so that I won’t feel the hurt that comes with the blow.

Many times, I have probably given up some of God’s most amazing gifts because I pulled away when I allowed my feelings to dictate my actions. Instead of pushing through the stabs of pain and using it to refine my heart, I have taken myself out of the fire.

“These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold;” 1 Peter 1:7 Living Version

God has a purpose for the fires in our lives. It is meant to refine our faith, not weaken it. This encourages me when my feelings are telling me one thing but His word is speaking an entirely different message.

As for Carl, I will encourage him to get up and move past the disappointment he currently feels. And when I push him, I am going to also push myself to not pull back but push forward when the fire begins to get a little too hot for my liking.

The Passing of a Loved One

Carl’s friend Leo had to be put down today.  Leo was a very special dog. I know because we had the privilege of taking care of him for six weeks while his human family transitioned into their new home. Leo had a way of letting you know that you were loved.

You will be missed..

People tell us that dogs are man’s best friend. I have to disagree. Dogs, particularly ones like Leo, are more than friends. They are family.  He had a way of sticking to my heart strings and even though I didn’t see him again, he will always have a place in my heart. Pets can do that to you.

Sometimes when a loved one passes on, the pain can be very difficult. All kinds of questions for God arise that usually can never be answered. But even through the pain, gratitude for the experience of having that loved one in our lives should reign over the unanswered questions.

So I want to thank Leo’s family for entrusting us to take care of their four legged “baby”. Thank you Leo, for the short time you came into our home and became a part of our family.  But, most of all, I want to thank you God for creating animals like Leo, who love us unconditionally. 

Peace to you Leo and to your family…..

Good Times

The Promise of the Present

Carl was clearly upset. Even though he wanted the spot in front of the fire, he didn’t want his sister Bee to occupy his place on the sofa. She looked too comfortable and he didn’t like it. He should be occupying the space that she now claimed as her own.img_4878

Carl is no stranger to jealousy. Many times in the years that he has lived in our home, he has displayed a streak of envy towards Bee. It has been very difficult for him to see the benefit of the space he currently occupies. Too many times, Carl would rather be somewhere else.

How often do we want to be somewhere else in our lives? When I was young, I wanted to be older. When I was single, I wanted to be married. When I didn’t have a child, I wanted one. And the list goes on and on.

God only promises us the present. It is His gift to us. Whatever our present situation is, is what He wants us to be grateful for. 2 Peter 3:8 states, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

God is not bound in time. He knows our future and our past. He understands our desires and needs. Most importantly, He wants us to cherish the moments and situations that we are presently experiencing. Too often, we spend too much time focused on being out of a situation that we are in.  This mindset can only rob us of the gift of the present.

Carl will probably never understand the value of being content in his present situation. He will continue to desire what he doesn’t have, particularly when it involves his sister Bee. But hopefully over time, he will see the blessings that he has been given, no matter where he is lying.img_4879

Living Life in the Present

Carl loves his walks.  Next to being fed, taking a walk around the block is what he lives for. He and his sister Bee constantly compete for who will lead their pack around the three mile path marked out by their humans.IMG_4776

With his ears perked up and his body stiff and alert, Carl walks like he is on a mission. As he struts forward, he is always attentive to his surroundings. You could say that Carl lives in the present.

We all could learn from Carl.  So often, I find myself drifting in my thoughts to either my past or my future.  This is particularly true right before a vacation.

My husband and I will be going on a cruise in the near future. Just the thought of being out in the middle of the ocean with 80 degree temperatures can sweep my thoughts away. Carnival Cruise lines has an app that you can open and it states to the minute how long it will be before we will set sail. At this time it will be 8 days, 1 hour and 59 minutes.

Every day for the last week, we have opened the app just to see the numbers drop and the time draw closer and closer to our cruise. There really isn’t anything bad about doing this. We all have thoughts that captivate us and send us into another time and place. Even though it isn’t bad, there is a better way to spend my moments. In the present.

I have come to realize that if I spend too much time focusing on the future, I miss out on the gift of the present. The Apostle Paul learned a lesson that I believe we all can benefit from.  He stated, “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.” Philippians 4:11-13

So instead of dreaming about the future, I need to be content in the present. God doesn’t promise me the days ahead but as long as I am breathing, I do have the present to enjoy.

Carl is back from his walk and resting in his favorite place. He sure knows how to live his life to the fullest. Even when he is sleeping, he seems pleased with his present circumstances. If my dog can be happy with his life, surely, with the help of Jesus who gives me strength, I can  enjoy mine.IMG_4774