Tag Archives: French Bulldog

Misplaced Power

Bee stood in the way of Vern’s food. She sat down and wouldn’t budge. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. Vern was under her spell. No matter how many times we placed the food near Vern, he refused to eat. Instead, he scanned the room to note where his female companion could be found and wouldn’t take his eyes off of her.

Vern has grown to be the size of Bee and is stronger than her. So why would he allow this mellow Frenchie to have so much power over him? Before we start calling Vern a coward or calling Bee a bully, we need to turn inward to where we misplace our power.

Jesus knew that we would struggle with placing our feelings onto people that don’t seem to care for us in the way we want. In his day, he was particularly concerned about the people that were trying to please the religious leaders that set unbearable rules and regulations onto the masses. Jesus knew that it was impossible to please this establishment and it hurt him deeply.

In today’s world, we struggle with wanting approval as well. It could be from the church we attend but mostly it is from social media. With technology allowing us to share our lives for everyone to see, we can get caught up in our self-worth being defined by the number of likes we receive.

So what is the answer? Jesus gives it to us in Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Instead of striving to impress others, take on the yoke of Jesus and learn from him. It is where rest for our souls can be found. Give it a try. Instead of reaching for Facebook, pick up your Bible and learn from Jesus.

As for Vern, he finally did eat his breakfast and shook off the shackles of being under Bee’s power. More than likely, it will happen again. But thankfully, we don’t have to live with misplaced power.

The Neon Lights of Fear

Vern’s cries could be heard upstairs. Not sure why there was such a commotion, I peered down to find Bee in front of the fire. The place I left Vern only moments earlier. And there lying on the carpet steps away from the ideal spot was Vern with body creeping ever closer to the place he gave up.

There is only one reason Vern would give up such an idyllic location. Fear. Plain and simple. Even though his sister is smaller and much older, the little French Bull dog is afraid of the bully that he resides with.

Why is he afraid? Before giving him such a hard time, look at your own fears. The unwelcome thoughts that come through your mind coupled with the emotions that enhance them. The road blocks that stand in your way of going down the path that God has etched for you.

Are you afraid of failure? How about success? Or what about change? Could it be a conversation that you need to have with someone you care about? And it goes on and on. The four letter word that can take over, if we aren’t careful.

So when the neon lights of fear flash in front of you, what should we do? Ignore them and they will come back, hold back and they will take hold. The answer is simple and complex all at the same time.

“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)

If we can place our focus on our God, our mighty and compassionate Lord, He will lead us through the fear and create a confidence within us.

As for Vern, it is hard to predict if he will overcome. As long as he succumbs to Bee’s stern approach, fear will hold a grip on our little bully. Only time will tell.

The Art of Contentment

Vern appeared perfectly content. After breakfast had been served, he went for his morning walk around the neighborhood. He spotted a deer in the distance and pulled tightly on the leash when another larger dog came into view. But now that he was home, Vern had nothing else on his agenda but to do a little relaxing before taking a short nap.

Life for Vern is light and free of burdens. Not so much for all of us humans. All of us have concerns weighing on us. Covid has impacted all of us in our own unique way. And if it isn’t this nasty virus on the top of our minds, then it must be the political craziness that stirs all around us. And the list can go on and on….

So I was reflecting on Jesus and if he was present today what he would be talking about and doing with his time. And as I studied what he talked about and what he did, I was a little surprised. Jesus never discussed politics nor did he get involved in heavy discussions about the way the Romans were treating the people of the day.

Instead, Jesus focused on the kingdom of God. He spoke in parables to the masses that had come to him for hope. He healed people and removed demons. He raised people from the dead and fed thousands with only a loaf and a couple of fish.

Jesus saw our inner needs being far more important than all the stuff swirling around. And I believe if he was here today, he would say exactly what he said over two thousand years ago. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Vern has found a cool spot near Bee and is enjoying a moment of tossing around on the rug. With no cares or worries, this little dog has a lot to teach me. When I want to place the afflictions of the day upon my back, I need to look down at my four legged friends and remember the one who is always there to take on my burdens.

In the Shade of Little Things

Vern slipped his little body through my legs and slithered outside where he began to explore the freedom of the world. My first attempt to catch him was unsuccessful as his small black frame slipped from my grasp. I had to take a different approach so I rushed back inside and found the treats that stopped him in his tracks.

Even though Vern is a little guy, he has made a huge impact on our lives. His sweet personality and curious nature have brought a smile to our hearts.

Have you ever noticed how God uses little things to draw us closer to him? It could be so small at first that we might not even notice it. A tiny voice in the back of our mind, a new friend that speaks a different way of doing life, or a virus that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Jesus stated in Mark 4:30-32, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth, but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”

God uses little things to create the biggest changes in our lives. This has become apparently clear as we all have struggled to be grateful in the times of Covid-19. But if we focus on the little things that we have been given, hopefully, we will not miss out on the shade God is providing.

Words of Life

Vern was incessant on picking up any small pebble or plant that he could find along the hard concrete road. If it was in anyway in his reach, it was in his mouth for at least a good tasting. After he would roll it around for a taste test, he would decide to either swallow it or drop it back on the road. It was just what he does.

Vern’s behavior of picking up stones reminds me of the parable of the sower. Jesus states in Mark 4:3-4 “Listen! Behold a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.”

The crowds of people listened intently to the parable but most didn’t understand what he was trying to say. Today, in our world there is a sower sowing for all to hear. Right now as you read the words that Jesus preached, the sower is sowing.

What happens to the word will depend on the softness of your heart and your willingness to take it in and mull it over. If you let the words fall to the ground without taking it in, the birds of the air, or Satan himself will pick it up and take it away.

Instead of letting it drop away without much thought, pick up your Bible and cultivate the word in your heart. You might be surprised at how impactful it can be in these unprecedented times.

As for Vern, hopefully with time, he will quit putting everything in his mouth. But for now, I can’t imagine what is mulling around in his mouth.

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?