Tag Archives: french bulldogs

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



 

Masking our Weaknesses

Carl never likes to show his weakness. When he is distraught, instead of whimpering and demonstrating a feebleness in his character, he will bellow out a howl of authority and strength. The sad thing about this action, is that instead of drawing comfort, I usually will end up yelling at him to stop being so loud.IMG_4145

I can’t find fought in this action because I know that I can be just as guilty. When I feel vulnerable and in need of another’s comfort, I usually will mask it with an independent spirit.

Why is it that most of us want to appear strong, without a need for others? Are we much more concerned about how others think of us that we neglect one of our basic human needs, to be comforted?

Jesus saw right through this human flaw. He was constantly challenging his own disciples to shed off their pride, and admit their weaknesses. Even after three years of being with Jesus, Peter still wanted to hold onto his human strength and refused to admit his weakness in character.

After Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed, Peter refused to believe that he could do such a thing.

Matthew 26: 69-75 paints a picture of a man who not only betrayed his best friend but did it in a very short period of time.

“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed.  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.”

We all can relate to Peter in this situation. Instead of admitting his fear, Peter acted like he had it all under control. Choosing a strong demeanor over admitting weakness demonstrated for all mankind the flaw that we all possess.

No matter how much I want Carl to change, I know in my heart that he will choose to act like he doesn’t have a feeble bone in his body. On the other hand, I can only hope that I will be willing to become weak so that God can transform me by his strength.IMG_4170

 

 

The Price of a Peaceful Heart

If I just didn’t love Carl and Bee so much.  But the truth is our little dogs are our “babies”.  With the approaching hurricane, my husband and I had to make an extremely difficult decision. Instead of going to Puerto Rico for several days with my daughter whom we haven’t seen in many months, we canceled our trip. IMG_2358

Carl and Bee have a difficult enough time when we are gone for several hours but if we got stranded away, they could definitely be traumatized.  So, with heavy hearts we are going to stay home where we will be with our dogs as Florence makes its way over us.

To make life even more interesting for us as we go through hurricane force winds, our four grandchildren will be joining us for the ride. Given that my other daughter is an EMS worker in Wilmington, it just made sense that they be evacuated.

The hurricane isn’t supposed to arrive until Thursday but our little ones will be coming tomorrow afternoon. So instead of a quiet vacation on the island of Puerto Rico, we will create our own island as the waters approach Durham, North Carolina.

Carl has no idea of the sacrifice we will be making by staying home, but that is okay. Peace in my heart is much more valuable than a drink with an umbrella and time on the beach.

Lord, I know you will be with us as we go through this storm. Just as your Son tamed the winds and waves, I believe You can give us a peace during the days and weeks to come.

Our Unfulfilled Purpose

Carl doesn’t care too much about anything but getting his needs met. Two meals, water, a place to sleep and lots of stroking are all the essentials to a happy life. For the most part, this is the same for all dogs.  They go through life doing what they are intended for, being loved and loving the people in their lives.IMG_4135

If you think about it, all animals have a specific purpose that they go through life fulfilling without much effort. So why then is it so hard for us humans to be content in the role that we were created for?

The answer can only be found within the pages of the Bible. Adam and Eve had everything they needed or could want in the Garden of Eden. They began their existence fulfilling their purpose by living in harmony with God. All was going well until Eve was tempted by the serpent.

Genesis 3:1-6 states,

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

How often are we tempted by the one thing that we are told to stay away from? Just like Eve, we can fall into temptation because we have desires for things that are not from God. Notice how she saw that the apple was pleasing to the eye. How often are we distracted from spending time with God because of our pursuit of what is pleasing to the eye?

God had given them everything they needed but Eve wasn’t content with it. She believed the serpent’s lie and decided she wanted more. It is when we pursue the things that we want that we can lose sight of our real purpose.

Carl doesn’t think about his purpose and he doesn’t have to. He goes through life being a dog that seems content with who he is and what he has. We all have so much to learn from Carl and the animals that are around us. If we could focus on our true purpose of glorifying God, what an incredible world we would have.IMG_4115

 

The Brutality of Disappointment

Disappointment could be clearly seen plastered across Carl’s face. I didn’t have time to take him for his walk and as he followed me around the house, he shared with me his pitiful frustrated state of mind. He knew when I put my tennis outfit on instead of my walking clothes that I was going to leave him behind.IMG_2164

Disappointment is a bitter emotion that can cause us to turn from our faith and rely on our feelings. When we are not studying the truth and something happens in our lives, our natural response is to immediately turn to our feelings as the picture of our reality.

But if we are in the Bible and digesting the facts of God’s word, when disappointment does coming knocking, we will be better prepared to accept any situation that comes our way. David and Saul are great examples of this. David, meditated on the truth and was constantly calling out to God. Saul on the other hand, relied totally on his feelings when making decisions.

Even though Saul was king, he didn’t feel like it. He constantly compared himself to David and lived in a state of disappointment. These feelings drove him to spend his entire life hunting down David in order to make himself feel like the king.

David on the other hand was living in danger every wakening moment but didn’t see his life based on his emotions but on the truth that God never breaks promises. He had been anointed as king and he believed that his God would ultimately place him in this role.

Many times in the book of Psalms, we can witness David working through his emotions based on the truth. Psalm 61:1-4 is a clear picture of how this man dealt with his feelings.

“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.  I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”

David starts with a plea based on his emotions but he quickly takes the focus off his feelings and turns it towards the truth about God.

We have so much to learn from this scripture and how to overcome the entrapment of our feelings. As for Carl, he will never understand this principle of putting the facts before his feelings. Even so, I am thankful for him even if I have to constantly assure him through the emotions of his disappointments.IMG_4102