Tag Archives: french bulldogs

Void Spaces

Poor Carl.  He has been removed once more. First he was taken from his home where he resides as the king and taken to my daughter’s home for the week we were on vacation. After spending less than two days with her family, he was taken to doggy daycare to finish out his days until our return.

Having the luxury of cameras to give us a clear view of Carl’s actions, we witnessed his removal from the play area after an altercation with another dog. We understood the decision to send him back to his cage, but the thought of him being secluded, hurt our hearts.

Every couple of hours we would turn the app on and seek out our little dog among the others only to see void space where Carl would be. Void space can also be found in our hearts where God should reside.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God has put eternity into our hearts. A space where nothing or no one can fill.

Most people strive to fill the space with things, power, or success. They will even try to occupy it with a relationship or two. But no matter how much is crammed in, it just won’t fit. Given a square won’t fit into a circle peg, anything outside of the will of God, will not fit into the space that God has placed in our hearts.

Several hours later, we turned the app on once more to see Carl wondering around the large room among the many dogs. The girl in the room seemed to have her eyes set on him to make sure he behaved. Carl even seemed cautious as he wondered around, making sure that he could stay in this space that once was void.

Life From a Different Perspective

Carl has literally been kicked off his precious couch. All week, Eli, our grandson, has been staying with us which means Carl doesn’t get first bids on the place he calls his. But that isn’t the only thing that has had to change. All of us, including Carl have had to change our perspective.

Eli sees life through a different lens than most people. He has a touch of Autism that impacts not only how he encounters life but how everyone around him does. If you haven’t had the good fortune to spend time with someone with Autism, I have to tell you that you are missing out!

As a special educator, I was blessed to spend entire days with children that have a “seat on the rainbow”. These incredible little people taught me so much about how to live life to the fullest. But in order to encounter the blessing, you MUST take off your conformity glasses. I can promise you that if you keep them on, life becomes one entangled mess. But if you are willing to go a bit out of your comfort zone and let go of your own reigns, you will experience a side of life that is only available to a select few.

Just the other day, my husband took Eli for a bike ride. When he returned he gave me a taste of this other dimension. The first woman that they encountered on their ride was a woman that greeted Eli with “good morning”. So of course in Eli’s mind, that was what you do. So every person he rode past on the trail received a “good morning”. It didn’t matter if they returned the salutation or not. Or even if they grumbled or gave an awkward look.  The rule was “good morning” and Eli kept it every single time.

God has blessed us with many different kinds of people in this world. Jesus embraced the ones that we might tend to dismiss or turn away from. But if you would take the time to take off your own conformity glasses and try and see people like Jesus did, you might be blessed like we have been.

As for Carl, he has been very patient and willing to give up his spot for Eli. He has even realized that there is a benefit to having our little house guest around. With extra pets and a warm body to snuggle up against, Carl has also been blessed by our guest.

Living Between Faith and Fear

Carl knew that we were leaving.  He just wasn’t sure if he would be included in the departure or would be left. To improve his odds of being allowed to join us, he placed his paws in front of him and took a prayer stance. His body was shaking with fear as he waited patiently to see the outcome of what would take place. Carl was living in the middle of fear and faith.

How often do we reside somewhere between the fear that wants to stop us from acting in faith? Personally, I have to confess that I have allowed fear to dictate too many of the decisions in my life.

Abigail was one woman that stood firm in her faith and brushed the fear that was brewing in her heart to dissipate. When she heard that David was coming to kill off all her family because of her husband’s foolish behavior, she knew she had to act quickly.

So with fear trying to convince her to stop, Abigail chose to act out of faith. Immediately, she packed enough food to feed an army, and rode out into the desert to meet the one who had the power to end her life.

“When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground.”(1 Samuel 25:23)

With humility, Abigail made her case and stopped the demise of her family. If she had chosen the path of fear, the story would have ended very differently. But because she elected to act, God took care of the situation and her family was spared.

Carl ended up coming with us and spent the day playing with other dogs in a pet resort. He met new friends and enjoyed frolicking around with no cares. What could have ended as a lonely day turned into a fun filled excursion.

The Wall of Insecurity

Carl was clearly showing signs of insecurity. He wouldn’t come into the bedroom because of his fear of his sister. After going out into the hall and literally pushing him inside, it was clear our pooch needed support to enter. 

Once inside and on his bed, he was shaking uncontrollably. Carl, who stands only a foot off the ground, typically portrays himself as the size of a great dame on his walks but now had shriveled into the body of a Chihuahua.

How can a dog who one minute appears so confident be transformed into a pile of mush? Before judging this little Frenchie, we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves the same question.

We all have sensitive spots in our personality that cause the wall of insecurity to keep us from going forward. The question arises when we are face to face with the wall and how we are going to get over it. Or in some cases, if we are even going to attempt the climb.

Many of us are forced to make the ascent over our personal insecurity when we are in occupations that require it. Others, make the choice to fight through uncertainty when an important relationship is on the line.

But then there are others that avoid facing their barricade or pretend it doesn’t exist. King David was a perfect example of this. After his son Absalom was killed, the king was paralyzed by his insecurity. Instead of leading his country, he became absorbed with self-doubt and drew inward. The result of his actions had a devastating effect on the country. Without a leader, all the people went back aimlessly to their own tents.

Thankfully, Joab, his right hand man, had the confidence to speak sternly to the king. Then and only then did King David take his position of authority and push through his insecurity. Once he was seated on his throne, the people were willing to come out of their own hiding places and give respect to the king.  (2 Samuel 19)

Carl doesn’t understand how his insecurity impacts us. He doesn’t see the inconvenience of being awakened by his howl and having to get up to move him through his self-doubt. Many people who lack confidence don’t see how their actions hurt the people around them. But just like David, it only takes a decision to take the position that God has given us.

Hopefully in the future, Carl will climb over his personal wall of self-doubt and make his way to his sleeping position that he has been assigned. And just like him, the next time I come face to face with my own wall of insecurity, I will be willing to make the climb upward and over. 

Us and Them

Carl looked up at me and then turned toward the door and pranced out with my husband for his daily walk. If he could talk, he would say something like, “If you want to come with us, that is okay, but it doesn’t matter to me.”

When he takes to the streets, Carl makes it clear that it is all about “us” and “them”. He really doesn’t care about the feelings of the other dogs or humans that he comes across, just as long as he has the undivided attention of my husband, Carl is perfectly content.

Since social media has given people their own personal platform, people are becoming more and more about us and them. Social apps are bombarded with extreme views that automatically categorize friends and family into “us” or “them”.

With each comment, a brick goes up into the wall that divides “us” from “them”. A wall that is being built without concern for others. So how do we take down the bricks to create a world that focuses more on “we”?  It starts when we take our focus off of “me” and place it on a man that walked the earth two thousand years ago.

This man lived each day of His life for everyone to be a “we”. As He was getting ready to die for each one of us, He prayed to God for unity. “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they maybe one as we are one.” (John 16:22)

Whenever I am tempted to put an “us” and “them” brick into the wall, I have to take my thoughts to a hill covered with blood and tears. And when I am there in my mind, I look around and see others that could be on the other side of the wall looking up into the eyes of the man who died for “we”.

Being a dog, Carl will never understand how he may be hurting others when he walks by them with his nose in the air. But unlike Carl, I hope the next time I am feeling the temptation to place a brick of “us” into the wall, I will remember the “them” who resides on the other side.

Wet Paw Prints

The rain continued to beat against the window pane as Carl looked up from his bed, and then rolled over. It was clear he had no intention of jumping off, and making his way outside to do his business.

For the last couple of weeks, the rain has come in waves, turning our backyard into a pond. Carl has tried to avoid getting wet, but even with his efforts, it is impossible to miss his muddy paw prints scattered across the wood floors.

Just like Carl, at times we leave muddy footprints across the floors of life. They can come from making rash decisions or stating harsh words in the middle of our own personal storms.

Given that life will bring days of squalls and dark clouds, we must prepare ourselves before their arrival.  And who best to emulate than Jesus, the creator of the storms.

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘“Quiet! Be still!”’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:37-39)

Many people have questioned how Jesus could sleep during this horrendous storm when all his disciples were scared to death. Just like these men, we often wonder where Jesus is when we go through storms. And when we can’t find Him, we have a tendency to react out of fear.

I have found that if I focus on what Jesus did during this storm, I will not be consumed with fear but faith. In order to sleep, Jesus must have known the outcome of the storm, and then once He was awoken, He demonstrated His power by calming the wind and waves.

This passage points me to Jesus when I am in the middle of heavy rainstorms. When it doesn’t look like it will ever stop and the sun is missing from the sky, I visualize Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat.

Carl continued to sleep until the rain subsided and he could go outside without getting drenched. We appreciated his attempt to stay dry but had to laugh as he walked across the wooden floors and left a trail of wet paw prints.

The Truth About Angels

Carl is no angel.  He is far from it. If I get too close to him while he is dozing on the couch, I have learned that if he is irritated by my proximity, he will let out a quiet but effective growl. This is his way of letting me know that I need to back off.IMG_4061

Just recently, I have been doing some research on angels and their spiritual purposes. It is amazing how many myths have been written about them and how we humans have a very shallow understanding of these invisible but real beings.

I don’t want to be a myth buster but I do believe that angels are real and have a specific purpose. First of all, angels are only male. There is not one single female angel mentioned in the Bible. Given that God created them before He created man and that they don’t die, there is no reason to have female angels flying around.

Another perception of angels that many believe is that they are like cuddling little beings that would only give us a warm feeling inside if we saw one. In every incident that an angel appeared in the Bible, the person practically freaked out with fear.

Angels are noted by the messages they send from God and the protection they provide to believers. Michael, the archangel is known for the battles that he has fought against demons while Gabriel is known for bringing messages to Mary, the mother of Jesus and to others.

The cool thing about angels is that they are invisible but can be transformed into the likeness of a human. And on rare occasions, a human can be given the ability to see them in their spiritual form.

Have you ever had a situation where you saw someone at an accident scene or in a hospital room that was there one minute but gone the next?  It could have been an angel. Or have you ever been on the highway and you were sure that you should have been hit by a car but didn’t? It could have been an angel interceding for you.

Carl has at times provided the inspiration for my blog as well as tried in his little bulldog way to protect me from harm.  Other than this, as much as I would like to believe that he is my little angel, he is far from it. But he does seem a little angelic with his wings. InkedIMG_0916_LI