Tag Archives: French Bull Dogs

Facing our Fears

Vern loves to go camping but when it is time for sleep, he transforms from a confident male to a meek puppy full of fear. Last night as we lay our heads down and turned the light off, Vern began to cry. At first it was a soft whimper but when we didn’t react, it transitioned into a loud howl. No matter how many times we reassured him that it would be okay, the cries continued.

So finally, he got what he wanted. As I reached down and brought him up into the bed, I knew that it was not going to be pleasant. And I was right. All night, Vern snored right in my ear. An intermittent sound that reminded me of riding a bike over gravel. If that had been the only issue, I believe I could have gotten some sleep, but it wasn’t. Either his paws were pressed into my back or he was moving around to get comfortable.

Fear is one of the strongest motivators known to man or beast. We will persist down the wrong path in life due to being afraid of change. We will stop our dreams in midstream when the fear of failure or even success takes over. Fear is why so many people never reach their full potential.

Jesus knew fear like no one else and he looked it right in the eye and conquered it. Matthew 26:38-39 paints a clear picture of this fear. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘”My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as your will.’”

As we know, Jesus took the cup of the cross and went straight into the depths of death for our sake. Hopefully, because of his willingness to fight off fear, I can do the same.
I am not sure where Vern will sleep tonight. I hope he will conquer his fear and sleep on the floor. But only time will tell.


(I want to dedicate this entry to Lucita Lyons, my sister in Christ. She passed away this week from breast cancer. This woman of faith encouraged me to keep writing, even after my main muse, Carl died. I will always remember her for supporting me through my fears.)

Stepping Stones of Regrets

Bee has no regrets. If she does, she hasn’t told me about them. As she lies in front of the fire and sleeps peacefully, there are no signs of guilt. Only peace.

On the other hand, I have stepping stones made up of regrets that reach back into my past. A path that I avoid going down at all costs. But one that draws me to take when I am least expecting it.

I wonder about the rich young ruler who happened to meet Jesus on the road. I have to speculate, when confronted by Jesus, that he regretted his decision, and had wished he had changed his decision for the eternal life he hungered for.

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:17-23)

Wishing we could have changed our actions is common to man. For this man, he wanted the treasures of heaven but he wasn’t willing to let go of the treasures of this earth. Feelings of guilt consumed him.

How often do we retrace our steps to see the regrets of life flash in front of us? We will never know if this wealthy man changed his mind and gave up what he was clinging to for a relationship with Jesus. But for no other reason, this passage gives me hope. Not because the man walked away, but because Jesus gave him an invitation to come back.

Bee has no regrets to erase but I do. Guilt that lingers as long as I walk down my own pathway. But there is hope. And his name is Jesus. Waiting alongside the road offering me to take on my burdens and transforming my regrets to peace.

Bee a Friend

Bee looked up at me with her deep black eyes and seemed to be telling me that it was time to look at her. Time to put the past behind me and focus on what God has given me today. That the gifts of the past were for the past and it was now in this day that I had so much to be grateful for.

A special friend reminded me of this this morning. We had been conversing the other day about what a great author Carl had been. She noted that my writing wasn’t the same since our little dog had past. I had to totally agree.

But then this morning, I was awakened by a message on my phone that brought me to tears. She shared that she had been nudged by God to encourage me to look at my little Bee in a different light. One that she felt that could inspire my readers in a special and unique way.

So I took some time and observed my little pooch. Her quiet demeanor and sweet presence filled the empty space within my heart. Bee has never demanded attention or expected us to be anything but ourselves. She has only desired to be in our company and enjoy the brief time she has on this earth.

Then it struck me. Bee does have a message to share. God gave me this little pooch for a reason and for so long I didn’t see it because of being distracted by “you know who”.

So today, if you get a nudge from God to encourage someone, please do. Don’t put it off.  That person may need your words more than you will ever know. And just like my little Frenchie, Bee a friend.

Hidden Gifts

It’s time to move on. Carl still lies in the backyard under a mum and a spread of ivy that is covering up where there used to be churned up dirt. Time to look in a different direction. A time for leaving the path that I have been so accustomed to and finally putting it to rest.

Bee’s ears perked up by the mention of a walk. Her body came to life at this simple word. Instead of being told to stay, the temperatures have become perfect for our little Frenchie with her smashed in nose to take to the streets. A time to wiggle her little tail and pull her master around the block.

Now that Bee has taken center stage, her personality has begun to shine. It has always been there but my attention was pulled in another direction. How often do we get distracted by certain things in life that keep us from seeing the gifts that are right in front of us?

So many of the religious leaders that interacted with Jesus missed the gift that God had given to them. For thousands of years, the Jews had been waiting for the Messiah. They had studied the law and knew the scriptures but when Jesus finally arrived, the religious leaders missed the gift.

The love of power and the deep seeded pride of being right had kept them blinded from seeing exactly what they had prayed and yearned for.  Before I can judge these men, I need to reflect on my own life and see what keeps me from seeing the gifts, particularly the gift of Jesus.

I know that the distractions of this world with all of its glamour and pleasantries has kept me from seeing who Jesus is. If I could just move these distractions out of the way, I probably will be surprised at how much clearer I can see who Jesus is.

I have realized from having to go down this altered path in life that there are gifts for us to take hold of. And for me, Bee just happens to be one of them.

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.

The Power of Silence

Carl doesn’t have a lot to say. Every once in a while when he is upset or wants our attention, he will give us his ear piercing screech that will stop you in your tracks. Other than these times, he is for all purposes, quiet.

I have been giving some thought to the fact that here is a dog that hasn’t spoken a word, but has lots of admirers. People who run into me always ask about Carl, and how he is doing. And all this without saying a single word.

We could all learn from Carl. I know of times when I have opened my mouth, only to regret the words that came out. Hurtful words thrown out like feathers from a pillow scattered into crevices that were impossible to retrieve. Words that stained the hearts of others.

Jesus wasn’t quick to speak and when He did, the words were thoughtful and held eternal power. Notice His interaction with the Pharisees when they brought a woman who had been found in an adulterous situation.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”(John 8:4-11)

I can’t imagine how irritated the Pharisees were when Jesus was drawing in the sand and saying nothing. They wanted Jesus to speak words that they could use against Him, but He remained silent. And when Jesus finally did speak, the words were words that brought life and not death.

Since Carl can’t speak, I thought I would give him an opportunity to try posting this blog. Thinking maybe he might want to say something to his cyberspace friends. But even with some bribing, he just sat there.

Thinking about what he will write for the blog.

I have a lot to learn from my silent friend. As hard as it can be, in the future, I hope I can be quiet when wanting to speak. And like Jesus, speak words of life and not death.

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.

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

A Small Jar of Oil

2 King 4: 1-2

“The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Several years ago,

after retiring from teaching, I was unsure what to do with my life. In some ways, I felt like I was starting over. With my career behind me and my children grown and out of the house, I thought I had nothing at all.

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But after looking out unto my back porch and seeing the little fawn colored French Bull dog, I realized that God had given me the perfect muse to work from.

2 King 4: 3-6

“Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.  Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.  When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.”

Carl has been like the small jar of oil for me.

Many days, when I didn’t see what direction my life was going in, I would look down at my sweet pooch, and God would pour into me a spiritual lesson.

Just like this woman, I have come to realize that God works best with empty jars. If we become so full of ourselves or the stuff that we obtain, we won’t have room for the oil that God wants to pour into us. So we shouldn’t be surprised when God has to clear the clutter from our hearts and even bank accounts in order to make room for the spiritual oil.

Another lesson that I have learned is that when we stay focused on our problems and not on what we do have, we will not be able to be used by God. But if we pour our oil into others, our own jars will be filled.

Carl doesn’t understand any of this but he doesn’t have to. 

All I know is that if I share with others about how God can use a little dog like Carl, He will continue to pour His precious oil into my life and hopefully into the hearts of my readers.IMG_1546