Tag Archives: French Bulldog

Vern’s Idea of Contentment

Vern looked up from the back seat and began to whimper. Was he distressed or just didn’t understand where we were going without his sister Bee. As much as he enjoyed being with us, it appeared that he just couldn’t figure out why she was left behind. We would have thought Vern would love the idea of having our undivided attention, but given he has never been away from Bee, he probably did miss her.

We can’t fault Vern for wanting his doggy companion to be with him. Aren’t we all like him to a certain degree? From an outsider’s point of view, everything should be wonderful, but it just isn’t. That one thing that we desire, is missing.

So how can we be content in our circumstances, no matter what is going on? Particularly now, with life turned upside down and normalcy nowhere to be found. Sometimes, I personally want to scream for the life we had before Covid-19.

There is a scripture tucked in the book of Psalms that can serve as a springboard for all of us. “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 34:4) But how do we take delight in the LORD when our treasures are bound in the things of the world? “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”(Psalm 34:3)

As we go through these times of uncertainty, we need to trust in the LORD and do good. If we cultivate faithfulness, our desires will change. Instead of looking to the ways of the world for our contentment, God promises us to change our hearts. As for Vern, he seems to have calmed down and is now content being close to his daddy.

Son Drenched Days

The sound of the pitter pattering of Vern’s web shaped feet could be heard as he made his way across the back porch. For the first time in five days, the rain had stopped and the sun was making a strong come back. Finally, after being cooped inside with little to do, the puppy appears delighted to be able to explore the outside world.

But instead of spending a lot of extra energy on petty things like eating pine cones or digging up dirt from the wet ground, Vern has found a spot in the warm sun and has sprawled down to take in the balminess of the day.

For many of us, the clouds of life have covered up the Son and all his goodness. We have been so focused on the troubles that have come raining down on us, that we have been unable to see the hope that is ever present.

James 1:2 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

This might be one of the hardest verses to wrap our minds around, particularly when we are experiencing trials that don’t appear to be ending. Clouds of life have closed in and all we want is to get out of the trials.  If we could change our mindset and consider the joy that is all around us, we might be able to see life from an entirely different perspective.

We can begin by training ourselves to think of the blessings that we still have. Instead of negative thoughts, scream out the goodness that is present. You may have forgotten about these hidden treasures that just need to be recognized.

Vern hasn’t experienced a lot of life up to this point, but I can tell that he lives in the moment, whatever it has to offer. Either in rainy days or in sun drenched mornings, his demeanor is bright and sunny. A clear reminder of the goodness that is ever present.

Looking Forward

Vern was gently placed inside his crate. The latch shook into place and he was suddenly left on his own surrounded by a metal cage. From Vern’s perspective, the black metal bars served as a means of protection. Protection from the outside world. Protection from everything that could cause him harm.

The crate is covered with a thick gray blanket that creates a cave like feel. Vern can only see the world outside of his habitat by looking through the front bars. All other perspectives are cut off from his sight. Surprisingly, he seems to be content with this arrangement as long as he can see his human friends.

It is so easy in today’s world to be preoccupied with the views that come to us from all directions. Everyone has their opinion about Covid-19 and the problems that it has caused. It is so easy to be sucked into the dismal outlook the world has to offer. But if we would place our focus towards our Heavenly Father and remember his Word, we can enjoy peace, even in these crazy times.

Psalm 123:1-2 states, “I lift up my eyes to you,

    to you who sit enthroned in heaven.

 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,

    as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to the Lord our God,

    till he shows us his mercy.”

In the mornings, Vern has to be prodded to come out of his crate. Only when he looks up and sees my husband’s hands reach in, does the puppy eagerly climb into his arms. Once, he is lifted up and taken out into the yard, does the little dog run free.

If only we could be more like Vern and the Psalmist. Both looking upward and keeping their eyes focused on the one that knows best.

Taken Up and Carried

Vern just doesn’t understand why he is unable to open the doggy door. Even though he walks up to it, nothing happens. Bee on the other hand, just has to approach the opening and the plastic sheet magically rises up long enough for her round body to enter.

At first, Vern got pretty agitated with it and tried to follow Bee through the opening. But once after his paw felt the weight of the door come down on it, he stayed away.

Why does it appear that doors open for certain people and remain closed for others? Why do certain people seem to have an easy time of reaching their goals while others struggle their entire lives?

If we look at it from an earthly standpoint, it can appear very unfair to us. Why would wealth come so easily for some and impossible for others? When we compare our circumstances with others, we can become jealous and angry with God.

Instead of looking towards the treasures of this world for our joy and peace, we should look to the author of life. Given that he created each of us to be unique individuals, shouldn’t we try and discover the doors he wants us to walk through?

Jesus stated in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I am excited about the distinctive door that is just for me. The one that can be opened if I just seek.

In a week or so, the electronic device that Bee has will also be placed on Vern’s collar, so he will also be able to enter and exit the house at his leisure. Until then, Vern seems content to be taken up into our arms and carried in and out.

Maybe, the next time you can’t get through the door you so desperately want to enter, look around. You may just find that you are also being carried.  

Entangled in Our Own Power

Vern looked up from his bed, gazed around the room to see who was present, cushioned his head between the bumps in his blanket, and drifted off to sleep. With a sense of peace, the little puppy drifted into a land of slumber filled with other puppies frolicking around him, making him the king of the world.

Being a new arrival to this life, Vern has no understanding of the changes that have taken place in our world. In his mind, life couldn’t be better. With no worries and all his needs met, he is one happy pup.

Vern has no control over who will put his food in his dish or why the water never runs out. He just believes it will happen which leads to the serenity he possesses.

All of us humans could learn from this little puppy. In this time of Covid 19, the economy closing down, and fear ripping through our country, we can easily get entangled in our own power or loss of it.

There have been times in history that have looked just as bleak. One specific period of time, a little over two thousand years ago, the brutality of the Roman Empire consumed the thinking of everyone. Crosses of innocent men lined the borders of the city to intentionally let everyone know who ruled.

Then entered a man with talk of a new kingdom, an eternal one that extended beyond the grave. A man who healed people and forgave the sins of the wicked. He not only promised freedom from the physical world but also the spiritual soul of every man.

Jesus didn’t change the brutality of the Romans nor did he make life easier for the ordinary people that followed him. What he did, was far greater. He gave those who believed hope. Hope in a loving God that didn’t just love from a distance but came down to earth and endured the pain for each one of us.

No one knows what will happen in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. But we do know what happened outside of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus actually rose from the dead and walked among us. All he wants is for us to transfer our focus off of the unknown and place it on him.

Vern is fast asleep. A sense of trust dictating his every move. Knowing that even when he tears up my hostas or pees on the floor, he will still be loved. And if he can trust the imperfect humans that have given him a home, why can’t we trust our Heavenly Father who was willing to sacrifice his only Son for you and me?

Seeds of Faith

Vern has been spending a lot of time outside with me in the last couple of weeks. As he has been growing, my seeds in my greenhouse have also been taking form. Three weeks ago, I planted the tomato seeds in small containers, watered them, and now have been waiting for God to do his job.

When I planted my tomato seeds, I also planted some old squash seeds that I thought would sprout. But to my disappointment, nothing happened. The seeds had just as much water and sunlight as my tomato plants, but they just didn’t pop out of the soil.

Unlike my squash plants, Vern has been rapidly growing from the little puppy that I could hold in one hand to a little dog that is getting heavier by the day. His body is taking on a different shape and even though he is still a puppy, he is beginning to look more and more like a dog.

Both the seeds and my puppy have their own unique purpose. They are both growing and changing in an intentional manner. One will end up producing fruit and the other is becoming a loved member of our family.

In the same manner, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. (Luke 13:18-19)  The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds but it grows up to be so large that birds can make their nests in them. He also tells us that if we can have faith like a mustard seed, we can move mountains. (Matthew 17:20)

Every year, I love taking seeds out and planting them in the soil and watching them grow into plants that produce fruit. In the same manner when I act within the will of God, I can have confidence that the seeds of my faith will produce much more than I can ever expect or consider. And in my case, one of the sown seeds sprouted into a puppy named Vern.

Give us Today

Vern and Bee just returned from their morning walk. Vern rode in a puppy stroller surrounded by blankets and a bone for chewing, while Bee led the way. Once we got home, Vern was placed in the backyard so he could do his business. He was a little subdued given that he slept through most of his stroll. But as he got orientated to his surroundings, he began to look around the yard at all the green grass, hostas, and the pink azaleas that serve as a border.

For Vern and Bee, the days have not changed except for the inclusion of our presence on a constant basis. Everything else seems normal for them, making them clueless to the fear and uncertainty that has permutated the world. All they see is a beautiful spring day with green leaves sprouting from trees and freshly mowed grass.

Matthew 6:11 states, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Jesus knew that there would be periods of time full of insecurity and anxiety. Times that could cause us to be consumed with dread if we focused on the future. He knew the importance of keeping our eyes on only today.

Matthew 6:34 states, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Vern is lying on his bed fast asleep without a single concern. Since being in our home, he has been fed and given a safe place to sleep. He trusts that we will provide for him. Why shouldn’t he?

In the same manner, we should focus on today and trust that God will abundantly provide for us. I pray that we will take a minute to thank God for specific blessings that he has revealed to us during this time of uncertainty. Blessings that we may never have experienced if life had gone on as it was.

A Present Distraction

Since returning from our cruise, Bee has been watching us like a hawk. She can’t trust the fact that we are back safe and sound. Just like our little dog, many of my closest friends have been monitoring my arrival back into the United States.

As we sailed around the Eastern Caribbean on a Royal Caribbean ship, the world made a huge shift. Physically it looks the same as it did when we left Port Canaveral. The sky is the same rich blue and the ground that we stepped on isn’t any different. But there is a stark transformation that can’t be denied by anyone who has walked on the earth for any length of time.

The verse that keeps flowing through my mind is short and to the point. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

My husband and I will be hunkering down in our home for the next couple of weeks. We will stay away from large crowds and strive to put in place all the recommendations to keep us healthy. And as we spend time in our home, we will add Vern to our family.

In no way do I want to down play the seriousness of the life we are in the midst of, but in the same vein, I believe God gives us gifts that He wants us to share in all seasons. And Vern happens to be one of those gifts.

Bee still has no way of knowing what is getting ready to happen. And neither do we. But hopefully, Vern will add a positive light to this fearful picture that is being painted all around us.

(Vern comes home on Saturday, March 21st. I will post a short blog as soon as he arrives.)

Feeling the Love of Christmas

Bee would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  As you can see, she has made herself nice and comfortable in front of the fire and is content just being healthy and loved.

Hoping everyone out there can join her mindset and have a blessed day, no matter your situation. If we can just take a minute and remember the day we are celebrating. There was nothing about this couple’s situation that would have given them joy. They were in a foreign city with no place but a dirty space to bring their child into the world.

But with nothing but the promise of God and the love between them, a baby was born. Even when the shepherds showed up to honor the baby, their situation didn’t change. But even so, they found joy in their situation.

I pray that we will take our eyes off of the disappointments that may come today and place it on the true meaning of this day. Jesus came into the world in poverty for a reason. To demonstrate that it doesn’t take things to make us happy. Mary and Joseph only had each other and were happy. Praying that you can turn to the ones that God has given you and feel the love that is meant for this day.

The Importance of Remembering

Bee has been gone for nearly three weeks. She has been with my daughter and her family. One member of my daughter’s family is her dog Maddie who can be seen in this picture doing what she does well, jumping. Bee, on the other hand, is waiting for the door to open so she can come in and have her dinner.

Just the other day, after we had gotten off a cruise ship, my husband and I were taken by bus to the airport where we were corralled into a check in line. As we all waited patiently, people were coming off buses and stepping in front of us, disregarding the lines of people off to the left.

I could feel my anger building up and the need to call out to the service attendants about the unfairness of the situation. My husband told me to calm down which only caused me to become angrier. Why had I become so annoyed in only a matter of minutes? What was it about my own nature that precipitated these emotions?

“The Israelites said to them, “’If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” Exodus 16:3

We all have a tendency to judge the Israelites for their negative attitude as they were shuffled out of Egypt and led through the wilderness. But if I can’t keep a positive attitude for thirty minutes in an airport line, why would I think that I could stay cool wondering in the desert without food or water?

And if I struggled over such a minor issue, how can I get through the major calamities of life? There is only one way that I know of. Remembering who God is. If we can only take the focus off of our present circumstances and place it on who God is, our feelings will follow.

Bee finally got inside and has eaten not only that meal but many others while being with my daughter’s family. She has added an inch or two around her waist and doesn’t seem to be missing me. But none the less, I am looking forward to having her home and our family all together again.