Tag Archives: French Bull Dogs

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.

IMG_2800

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

Held Captive

I am not sure who had it worse, the frog or Carl. The frog had somehow jumped down onto the board that was surrounded by wire on one side and screen on the other.IMG_3660 Years ago, we had to put the wire up to keep Carl from tearing up the screen but the downside of the wired barricade were the prisoners that were taken in, some that actually died before they figured out a way to free themselves.

Carl on the other hand, couldn’t reach the frog but became a prisoner of his obsession to grasp him. He wouldn’t move far from the frog, even when Bee moved into her position of dominance. All Carl could think about was catching his prey.IMG_3663

How often do we become prisoners of our own thoughts?  I call it “stinkin thinkin”. Those words that run across the teleprompter of our brain and won’t stop playing. That is until we take our thoughts captive and exchange them for words of truth.

Paul states it perfectly in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

A few minutes ago, I went out to check on the frog. I am not sure if I had the guts to try and catch him to release him into the world but I wanted to see what was happening. Instead of Carl standing guard, Bee was now in position to take the prey if it tried to escape. But the crazy thing was that it was gone.  Nowhere to be found.

I searched the porch to see if it had climbed up high to get out of reach from its predators. But instead of going high, it climbed over to the other screen, still held captive. Pray that I will have courage to figure out a way to save it.IMG_3664

 

Getting Out of Our Lane

Carl is notorious for budging Bee from her position as they walk down the road. Sometimes it can be a nip to the ear and other times it can be an outright push with his body. Either way, when he gets out of his lane, it makes walking the bullies awkward for all of us.

IMG_3467

When I was in high school, I wanted to participate in all the sports that I could. Since I was short, I knew that track would be challenging but I thought I would give it a try. With little training and understanding of running long distances, it quickly became apparent that this would not be the sport that I would excel in.

One particular race will never be erased from my memory. I started off well.  I was even in the lead around the first quarter mile turn. But then it all changed. I could hear the breathing of my opponents drawing closer and closer to me. Instead of staying focused on my race, I started looking to the left and right of me.

Before I knew it, the other racers started passing me. And instead of being first, I was drawn back to the very back of the pack. To this day, I think about the fact that I took my eyes off of my race and was consumed with the racers around me.

Hebrews 12:1 states it beautifully, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

How often do we do this in life? We start off well, focusing on what we need to focus on and then someone runs beside us and appears to be passing us. Instead of staying focused on our particular race, we start looking in their direction. Then, it happens. The bitterness of envy and jealousy seep into our hearts and our race becomes entangled.

Because of Carl’s determination to lead, his leash has gotten entangled and we now have to stop and untangle the leashes before moving on. As I struggle to break apart the leashes, I have to smile and think about how often I have been stopped in my own walk to untangle the mess that I have created. Once the leashes are free, Carl puts his head straight ahead and we are back on the race that has been marked out for both of us.

img_3464.jpg

Glamping with Carl

Glamping with Carl has its own unique challenges.  Our little camper found its way to Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia. This cool park is known for stones that can be found only in a couple of places in the world. The hilly incline and tall oaks surrounded us during our stay. Temperatures were unusually cold and the winds were gusting up to 50 miles per hour. IMG_3423

The cold temperatures and blustery winds didn’t stop Carl from enjoying his one on one time with his human companions. The little bully cherished the walks through the woods as he scoped out squirrels, raccoons, and other canine species. Once spotted, the ego centered bully would go crazy until he was pulled away from eye shot. IMG_3422

But it was the sleeping arrangement that was the most challenging for us humans. Instead of sleeping on his own chair at home, Carl found a spot right between the two of us and planted his little body for the duration of the night. No matter how hard we pushed him to go down to the bottom of the bed, Carl didn’t budge.

How often do we refuse to budge when we have planted ourselves in a certain situation that we just don’t want to move from? Even when we are being encouraged to move, we refuse to dislodge ourselves from our position.

It could be a bad relationship, a job that isn’t going anywhere, or a dream that has no potential of becoming a reality.  No matter the nudging, we stay planted in the hope that something could change.

So when do we really know it’s time to move on?  How much pecking at a situation do we need to do before we need to start pursuing other options?

Every situation is different which makes answering this life question so difficult. I can personally tell you that there have been jobs that I left too late, dreams that I wouldn’t let go of, and relationships that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens_ a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time

Even the Bible tells us there is a time for everything under the sun but it never tells us specifically when that time is. This leads us back to our initial question without a clear answer.

When do we reap and when do we sow?  When do we embrace and when do we push away? We may never actually know but one thing we can be assured of, if we do the things we do to glorify God, He will create good from it.

As for Carl, he didn’t budge while we were camping but once we got home, he knew that he was destined to be sleeping back in his chair.  No one had to tell him.  He just knew.

Taking a Ride with God

 

Hillary a!

I know that some of you are wondering why in the world Bee is riding in a buggy.  Well first of all, she is my baby (ba-Bee). Second, if you look closely, her snout is pressed close to her face which doesn’t give her the airway that her brother Carl has.

Lately, we have noticed that Bee, my French Bull dog, has difficulty walking the three miles that doesn’t impact Carl in the slightest. So when my husband saw a doggy stroller online for only $25.00, we thought we would give it a try.

I wish I could tell you that the first ride in the stroller went without a hitch, but I can’t. Bee couldn’t understand why she had to ride, even though she was winded.  In the first five minutes, she lunged out of the stroller and thankfully landed a couple of feet in front of the buggy.

Just like Bee, there are times that we can’t understand why our ride through life has changed up. We want to walk like we always have but God wants us to take a ride. I am sure Moses felt this way when he met up with God. For most of his adult life, Moses worked for his father-in-law as a shepherd. He was minding his own business when God turned his world upside down.

I am sure Moses didn’t see life beyond the fields that he lived in as he shepherded his flock. But God had other plans for Moses and his insecure self. Moses tried to tell God that he wasn’t the man for the job but God knew better. Instead of walking his usual walk, God had him on the ride of his life. Exodus 3

Have you ever had a time in your life that you went from walking to taking a ride with God?  Were you eager to ride or did you react like Bee and jump out of the vehicle?

Carl also took a ride at the end of the walk. He also wasn’t crazy about being confined and it was clear he only wanted to get out and strut beside his sister. We aren’t giving up on our purchase. So if you are driving down the road and see us pushing a carriage, please come over to say hello to our ba-Bee.