Tag Archives: puppies

Close to Home

Vern only knows what is directly in front of him. He doesn’t know how other dogs live. He only knows about his yard, house, and what he spots when we walk around the block. Vern knows what he will be receiving when I say “treat” or “dinner”. But if he wanted a different yard to play in or a different kind of food, he would be out of luck.

So far, life has treated the little French bulldog well. But if he was to get hurt or lost, he would have a difficult time without our assistance. And as little as our puppy knows, he does have the sense to realize how much he needs us for direction and protection.

In Mark, chapter 6 a multitude of people come running after Jesus. They didn’t have food for the day or a way to protect themselves from the elements. But they came anyway. And what is Jesus’ reaction to these people that appeared to be lost? Mark 6:34 states, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.”

Have you ever thought of yourself as lost or unprotected from the hurled rocks that are being thrown at you from all directions? If so, you are just like these people that came to Jesus. And just like them, there is a shepherd that wants to guide you home.

Vern rarely tries to get out of the fence or squeeze through the screen door. He has become content in knowing that if he stays close to his human provider, he will be safe and loved.

If only we could imitate the animals that God gives us to help us home….

Facing our Fears

Vern loves to go camping but when it is time for sleep, he transforms from a confident male to a meek puppy full of fear. Last night as we lay our heads down and turned the light off, Vern began to cry. At first it was a soft whimper but when we didn’t react, it transitioned into a loud howl. No matter how many times we reassured him that it would be okay, the cries continued.

So finally, he got what he wanted. As I reached down and brought him up into the bed, I knew that it was not going to be pleasant. And I was right. All night, Vern snored right in my ear. An intermittent sound that reminded me of riding a bike over gravel. If that had been the only issue, I believe I could have gotten some sleep, but it wasn’t. Either his paws were pressed into my back or he was moving around to get comfortable.

Fear is one of the strongest motivators known to man or beast. We will persist down the wrong path in life due to being afraid of change. We will stop our dreams in midstream when the fear of failure or even success takes over. Fear is why so many people never reach their full potential.

Jesus knew fear like no one else and he looked it right in the eye and conquered it. Matthew 26:38-39 paints a clear picture of this fear. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘”My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as your will.’”

As we know, Jesus took the cup of the cross and went straight into the depths of death for our sake. Hopefully, because of his willingness to fight off fear, I can do the same.
I am not sure where Vern will sleep tonight. I hope he will conquer his fear and sleep on the floor. But only time will tell.


(I want to dedicate this entry to Lucita Lyons, my sister in Christ. She passed away this week from breast cancer. This woman of faith encouraged me to keep writing, even after my main muse, Carl died. I will always remember her for supporting me through my fears.)

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.

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.)

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.

The Disenchanted

If I could go into the mind of my little dog, I wonder what he thinks about the life that he has been given.  Is Carl truly content with how it has all worked out for him? Is he thinking about a life that he wishes he could have had?  A life full of frolicking with his Frenchie siblings?

Carl's Frenchie Pack

Could Carl be disenchanted with his life?  If so, what would he do to be able to change it? Would he run away in search for the life that he thought he should have had? Or could he find contentment in his life with my husband and I?

IMG_2134

We will never know. But what we do know is that everyone has been given a unique life to live. It is like a card hand that has been dealt and how we play the hand will determine are character and integrity.

One of the saddest stories in the Bible has to do with a man that had been dealt an amazing hand but he didn’t see it.  For three years, Judas walked beside Jesus and witnessed incredible miracles and heard messages that were spoken with great authority.

He believed that Jesus was going to be king and over take the Roman Empire. And as Jesus took over, he would become rich and powerful. But that didn’t happen. As the days drew closer to the death of Jesus, Judas knew that he had to take a different approach if he was going to become rich and powerful.

So Judas went to the religious leaders and was given thirty silver coins to betray Jesus.  Instead of finding satisfaction in what he had done, Judas felt a need to go back to the religious leaders with the hope that they would give him a place among them. But they only treated him with contempt which was too much for him to bare. At this point, Judas felt there was no other recourse but to hang himself.

All because he was disenchanted. You see he couldn’t see who Jesus was because he was focused on who he wanted Jesus to be.  Can’t we all relate to this?  If something goes terribly wrong in our life, don’t we all become disenchanted with who God is?  Thinking that we know best, we can easily become angry with God and in some cases deny his existence.

When we are in our darkest hours, we need to take our eyes off of who we want Jesus to be and place it on who Jesus is. You see there were others that died that day and one man’s outcome was totally different from Judas.

Three men hung from crosses, two robbers that deserved their punishment and one that was God. And as they hung there, one of the robbers realized who Jesus was and asked for forgiveness. And it was granted. This criminal that knew he was guilty and deserving of death was forgiven and taken with Jesus into Paradise.

This is the Jesus I know. Enchanting isn’t it?