Tag Archives: French Bulldog

The Last Will Be First

Carl hasn’t been challenged that much in life. Every day, he has a similar routine that begins with a walk, lunch, sleeping in the sun, dinner, and then finding a good spot to spend the night. Every once in a while, his routine is broken up but nothing to get his panties tied in a knot about.

Most of us would initially say that we would love to have a life like Carl’s. Just drifting from one fun thing to the next without giving much thought to anything but our pleasure and basic needs. Initially, everyone says, “Sign me up!”

Yesterday, I went to my second go cart race with my nine year old grandson. He has driven five races and initially he did extremely well. Since he just started, he began in a division that didn’t require much skill. He easily came in first or second place without much effort.

But as most of you who have played a sport or been involved in developing a skill, there are different levels that change up the effort and perseverance needed in order to be successful. So my grandson was now racing among boys his age that had raced fifty races to his five. They had cars that had been fine tuned to the race conditions and lots of people supporting them.

My son in law and his good friend are both mechanics and raced when they were young and are now getting back into the sport after being away for decades. So as you can guess, winning wasn’t in the picture. But on the other hand, an unforeseen gift was.

Everett, my grandson, and his best friend started the first race with high hopes. Everett had made a mistake in qualifying and ended up at the end of the pack. He was extremely upset but pushed through the emotions and went out determined to do his best.

Yesterday’s conditions were challenging to say the least. It was over 95 degrees and the course was hard and slick which made it difficult to stay on the track when making turns. After about the fifth lap, my attention was deferred from my grandson to his friend. A car started spinning right in front of him and he had no choice but to run right into him. From afar, it didn’t look good. And when the ambulance pulled on the track, my heart started racing.  All I could do was start praying.

With my other grandson and Everett’s friend’s brother running toward me, I pulled them close to me and comforted them. And then something happened that touched my heart more than any victory could ever. Eli, my five year old grandson took his friend’s hand and said, “Let us pray for your brother.” And then he closed his eyes and asked God to take care of his friend.

It seemed forever before finally, Everett’s friend was able to walk off the track on his own. He was shaken up and had to be closely monitored for the rest of the time we were there. The paramedic came over to our trailer and double checked on him, but he was ultimately okay.

Everett raced his last race without his friend. He got out there and did the best job he could, spinning out several times, but just like the ready ever battery bunny, Everett pulled back into the race and finished last.

But to me, Everett and Eli finished first. First in character and integrity. First in reaching out to God, when so many children would have become angry and self-absorbed. First where it truly matters in life. In my mind, this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

As for Carl, I believe he has a great dog life. But as for me, I want to be more like my grandson, who was willing to be put in a situation that challenged more than just his driving skills, but also his character.

Carl’s Great Escape

Carl hardly ever has his eyes totally closed when I am nearby.  He is constantly on alert for any unusual movement I make.  I think Carl wants to make sure he doesn’t miss out on anything fun or entertaining.

Keeping an Eye on the Situation

No matter if he is in his bed, on the couch, or lying down on the screen porch, his eyes are looking in all directions for any detection of movement. When I need to go outside without Carl, I usually have to tippy toe past him and open the door without making a sound.

If I am caught, Carl will slither through the door beside me, and wander around outside until he is placed back inside. This can be aggravating when I am in a hurry or have a task that doesn’t call for the help of a Frenchie with no tail.

Carl loves the folly of exploring outside the boundaries of the house. He is unaware of the dangers of the busy street that borders our yard.  He typically won’t go out into the street unless he spots a dog being walked. Then all bets are off.

Enjoying Freedom

Just like Carl, we all have a tendency to folly out beyond the boundaries set before us by God. Proverbs 15:21 states it simply but profoundly.

“Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.”

How often do we slither outside and wander where we are not intended to travel? This can take place in our minds or in our actions. No matter, there are times when we lack sense and need to return to the straight path.

As for Carl, he will continue to dart outside every chance he can. And you will find me taking a hold of his collar and dragging him back to the safety of the screened porch.

Waiting for the Right Opportunity

Stuck Behind the Wall

Bee is still healing from her broken leg. There has been some improvement with the bone mending but recently an infection on her leg has caused us to be concerned. The cast has been rubbing up against her leg and intensified the infection.

There are times in our lives that we are broken. It could be from a death, a diagnosis, or a wrecked relationship. No matter what caused us to be shattered, we usually have the opportunity to mend and become even better than before.

But occasionally, when we are broken, an infection of sin will set in and keep the healing process from happening.  If we are not careful, during these broken times, the sin of anger or bitterness can seep into our hearts.

While plagued with the constant inward thoughts we become stuck behind a wall built by all the why questions.  With no answers and only scabs created by hostility, we can become unable to move on. So how do we become healed? If we turn to God, our creator, the answer can be found.

David was often broken and could have easily been satiated with why questions.  But instead of focusing on questions that would keep him behind the wall, he focused on God.

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

  Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—

  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  

  who redeems your life from the pit                             

  and crowns you with love and compassion,

  who satisfies your desires with good things

  so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

Bee’s paw is finally getting better, but until it is healed, she has to wear a stylish cone that has to be worn to keep her from licking. Just like my little dog, when sin seeps in, we can use the cone of God’s word to shield us from aggravating our own infection.

Trading in Bitterness for Blessings

It was clear that Bee was bitter about her situation.  It had been three weeks of hearing the casted paw clunk across the wooden floor. Bee’s freedom had been compromised and instead of free reign of going in and out, she had to have her paw wrapped before going out into the yard.

As she dealt with the uncomfortable cast, her brother, Carl didn’t miss a beat.  He pranced right by his sister to go in and out as he pleased. After weeks of being immobilized, Bee had shown signs of a deep seated anger that could be clearly seen as she watched her brother run circles around her.

Miriam, Moses’s sister knew bitterness. She had lived with it for years as she watched her brother take center stage. She was fed up with being a supporting actress so she corralled her brother Aaron into helping her cause. But when she tried to slander Moses in front of the Israelites, God burned with anger.

Once God finished speaking, Miriam was covered with leprosy from head to toe. Miriam was banished from the Israelite camp and if it wasn’t for Moses’ plea for her, she would have died alone. (Numbers 12:1-3)

For seven days, Miriam lived alone in her bitterness. Because of her sin, everything was put on hold. The people of God were stuck.

Isn’t that what a sour heart does to us?  Keeps us separated and stuck. Unable to move forward in the direction that God wants us to go.

It’s too bad that Bee doesn’t understand how her feelings towards Carl can only hurt her. But as I observe her, I can be reminded of the dangers of focusing on the blessings of others, when God has so many blessings just for me.

Unintended Doors

Since the season has recently changed from winter to spring, Carl has made his way outside to frolic among nature. There is not a lot of wildlife for my little Frenchie to interact with but when a squirrel makes his presence known, Carl is sure to do his best to chase him up a tree or over the fence.

Bee, my other Frenchie, has just as much ambition to clear the backyard of unwelcomed guests as Carl. So one Thursday afternoon when both little pups saw the prey from afar, a chase began that ended with Bee falling and breaking a bone in her paw.

At first, I didn’t know if it was broken or just bruised, but after two days of limping and not putting weight on it, we took her to the vet where the x-ray showed a clear break. Bee was given a cast and we were given directions to wrap the cast to keep it from getting wet when she would go outside.

We have an electric doggy door which Bee has been using for several years.  Her collar has an electrical transmitter that lets the door know that she is near and will automatically open. But since we are supposed to keep her paw dry, we have taken the collar off to protect her paw from getting wet.

Bee doesn’t understand why this door is not responding to her presence. She has begun to give up on the door but every once in a while, Carl will trigger the door and Bee will slip through.

How often have we slipped through a door that wasn’t intended for us? This is why it is so important to closely monitor the friends we keep. I can remember in my past the times that I followed someone through a door that God never intended for me.

Proverbs 12:26 states it perfectly: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully. For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

My past has been sprinkled with doors that I slipped through because of the desperate need for acceptance.  Times that I didn’t trust God enough to complete me with people that hungered for His righteousness.

Just last night, Bee followed Carl out into the backyard without our knowledge. When she returned, her cast was wet and moldy. And just like her cast will decay, our hearts will also wane from God if we keep going through the door that is not intended for us.

Carl’s Comfort Spot

There was no disputing it. Carl was comfortable and he didn’t want to move. It was turning 9:00 am and he wasn’t even thinking about the possibility of getting up.  But do you blame him?  He had nowhere to go and the sleep he was going in and out of was just too enjoyable to give up.

How often do we wish for an easy alternative when we have been thrown a hard ball in life? I know for myself that when I have a problem that can’t be solved and keeps pestering me, I will tend to start daydreaming about my next vacation.

So why does God allow the hard times to come knocking on our doors of life?  And why does He allow them to not just knock on the door but shove through them and take residence?

Consider Peter. After Jesus was resurrected, this man spent the rest of his life telling others about Jesus. He was constantly persecuted and was crucified upside down for his faith. Peter chose a life of hardship over comfort for only one reason. He believed with his entire being that this world was not his home.

With a heavenly perspective, we all can withstand life’s hardballs. I have often heard that if we live our lives with heaven as our destination, we will be able to withstand the earthly storms that blow our way. But if we only look at life through a worldly perspective, we will end up hopeless.  

I don’t blame Carl for his choice for comfort. If I was a dog, I would look for the most relaxing spot in the house to lay my head. But we are not dogs.  Unlike all other animals, God breathed the breath of life into our nostrils, causing us to be eternal. (Genesis 2:7)

As an eternal being, I am looking forward to my life after this one ends. And I hope to see you there as well.

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.