Tag Archives: relationships

The Power of a Name

Carl has been away for over a week. He has taken up residence with my daughter’s family. I got a text from her stating that her children didn’t want to let him go.  They had fallen in love with our sweet dog and proved it by changing his name to Uncle Carl.

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Prior to this stay, Carl was only tolerated by my daughter’s family. So when I had heard that his name had been changed, it warmed my heart. How often do we enjoy hearing an endearing name come from someone we love?  As a mother, I cherish being called mom or mommy.

When my husband and I were dating, he began calling me Little. When we were married, he had this name engraved inside my wedding ring. To this day, I find it very special when he refers to me as Little.

If given a name by a loved one is special, I can’t help but wonder what Abram and Sarai felt when God intentionally changed their names. In Genesis 17, Abram has an encounter with God. At the age of 99, we could all assume that Abram was waiting for his final exit. But God had other plans for him.

The first thing God did was change his name as well as his wife’s. Abram’s name would be Abraham which means father of the multitudes and Sarai’s name would be Sarah which means princess of nations. Given that this couple had been barren for long after their child bearing age, Sarah laughed when she had heard the news.

I am sure even after God had told them that they would have a child, Sarah and Abraham had to continue to doubt. But what about the name changes? Why would God change their names if He wasn’t going to make them parents? The time between God’s announcement and the pregnancy had to be agonizing. And all they had to believe with were the names that God had given them.

Sometimes when my husband and I are going through rough spots in our marriage, I will think about the name inscribed in my ring and how much he loved me when he called me his Little.  And just like Abraham and Sarah, I believe that the love that is represented in this name will get us through the tough times and allow God to work his miracles.

As for Uncle Carl, he is now home and missed by all the grandchildren. He also sIMG_2845eems a little sad to be among the quiet walls of our home. I am sure that over time, he will bounce back to the playful dog that we all know.

As for my daughter’s family, I truly feel thankful for the love that was extended to our little dog and the name that officially made him family.

 

 

Left in the Manger

Carl doesn’t understand Christmas with all the comings and goings. Our schedule has changed with all the parties and people dropping off gifts. All the changes seems to have caused our pooch to become edgy and he appears to only want life to get back into a normal routine.

I enjoy spending time with friends, baking cookies, and getting into the shopping rush but I also like the predictability that life has provided us over the last couple of years. One of those routines that I have enjoyed the most is writing this blog and reflecting on how Carl may view life along with a spiritual lesson that I feel the need to share.

This season I have particularly been preoccupied with the reality of what actually happened two thousand years ago in a stable that could have been easily the side of a cliff. With the sound of Christmas music in the background, I can’t help but feel that many of us only know Jesus as the little baby lying in swaddling clothes in the manger with a bright light shining all around him.  Oh and let’s not forget the shepherds and the wise men that came by to worship the baby.

Just as they left with baby Jesus lying in the manger, we can easily walk back into our lives without considering who this baby grew up to be. As you begin to step away from this season, consider the young mother who couldn’t walk back into her previous life. Instead in Luke 2:19 it states, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

For the next thirty-three years, she must have pondered over who this baby had become. And as she stood near the cross where her son was being crucified, she must have only been comforted by the knowledge that she knew that He was truly from God and was God.

So give yourself a true Christmas present this year. Open the Book that God gave us. The one that may be collecting dust. Turn to the third chapter of Luke and follow the journey that Mary must have taken as she watched her baby become a man.

Carl is getting antsy as he notices that we are getting ready to leave once more. This time to the Christmas program that our church puts on each year. He is following us around like he knows that we will be exiting any minute. And as we close the door behind us, he will find his way back to the comfort of his sofa.

Carl and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of God’s eternal treasures.

As a side note: Please let me know if I should continue to write this blog by liking it or writing a short comment. I am considering taking up a different style of blogging but would like input from you before doing so.

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No Comfy Beds

Carl loves a good walk. Because his snout is a little longer than most French Bull Dogs, he can tolerate an extended walk in both the heat and the cold. But as much as he loves to walk, when he is close to home, he picks up his pace and is clearly happy to walk through the doors and lie on the cool floor and drink from his water bowl.

I also enjoy walking but after about three miles, I am also glad to make my way through the screened in porch and into my house where I can sit down and rest. I have to say that I am truly grateful for the ability to return to my temperature controlled home with all its amenities on a daily basis.

Sometimes, during this season of the year, we can romanticize the birth of Jesus. But in reality, what Mary and Joseph had to go through was truly difficult. Instead of a three mile walk, they had to walk over a hundred miles to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This journey for a woman who was nine months pregnant had to be extremely challenging.

Joseph wasn’t sure how he would provide for his young bride and the baby that would come. He knew that many people would be coming to Bethlehem to be counted among the census and that rooms would be hard to come by. He only had his faith and the knowledge that God would provide for them.

Exhausted and famished, Joseph and Mary went from place to place to find a bed to lay their heads. No temperature controlled rooms with cold water coming out of a tap. No comfy beds with tons of pillows that we mold around our bodies. Not even a hard floor of an extra spare room.

When all options seemed closed, a farmer offers his barn for the young couple to reside in. Too tired to turn the offer down, the two make their way into the smelly space where they were greeted by a couple of sheep and a donkey.

For most of us, we would ask where God was in all of this. But I am sure Mary kept repeating the words that the angel told her nine months ago. “For with God, nothing will be impossible.” Matthew 1:37. She believed that He would give them what they needed. She only had to trust.

Carl has no reason to believe that his needs will not be met. Just yesterday when the temperatures were in the thirties, we purchased a coat for him and his sister Bee so they would be warm as we took a walk on the trail.  Which got me thinking. If we are willing to make sure our animals are taken care of, why wouldn’t God, our creator, take care of our needs?

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The Gift of Friendships

Poor Carl. He was barred from his bed and once again had to sleep on the couch. Bee, stood in the doorway and made it crystal clear that he was not going to enter. So instead of experiencing the abuse of the Frenchie, he turned and walked down the darkened hallway to sleep alone.IMG_2403

I am sure he feels that no one understands his plight. Others would call him a wimp if they knew how his smaller sister was bullying him. As much as I wish I could teach him to stand up for himself, Bee has taken the role of the alpha and they need to work it out.

Mary must have felt similar feelings when the angel came to her and told her that she would carry the Son of God in her womb. Who would have any understanding of the situation and how to find peace in it?

When we go through trials alone, we can become very self-absorbed and just feel sorry for ourselves. But if we can find someone that has gone through a similar situation, we can find peace and purpose in our hardships.

God knows us and knew the importance of having someone for Mary at this time. Luke 1:39-41 states, “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

For the next three months, Mary stayed with Elizabeth as she came to full term and delivered her baby. This must have been a very special time for both of these women as they shared the joy of being a first time mother.

God loved these two women so much that He gave them each other at such a sensitive time in their lives. And if He demonstrated his love for these women by giving them each other, why shouldn’t we acknowledge His love in the friendships that He has given us?

 

A Life Changing Dream

As I look towards the fire, I can’t help but smile at my little white dog. He is cuddled up on the couch as close to the fire as he can get. The blower to our furnace is broken, so for now, the gas fire place is the spot to be near to stay warm. Carl’s eyes are closed and he seems to be preoccupied in his world of dreams.

Dreams. Many of them can be unpleasant and others can take you to the edge of ecstasy. I can’t say that I have had any in my lifetime that changed the course of my life. Some have given me something to think about but for the most part, nothing earth shattering.

But this isn’t the case for Joseph. Ever since he had found out that Mary was pregnant, he couldn’t think about anything else. He wanted to believe her but how could it be possible that she was pregnant without sleeping with another man?

And the nights were the worse. Sleep didn’t come easily. But this night Joseph finally drifted into a deep coma. This is when it happened. An angel appeared to him and even though he was asleep, Joseph knew that this was the most real experience he had ever had.

The angel shared a clear message from God. ““Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21.

Joseph awoke and knew that he had to honor God by coveting the relationship he had with Mary. The angel was very clear and Joseph knew he had to do whatever it took to protect this woman and the baby she carried. And this is where the journey began that would ultimately change the course of humanity.

Unlike Joseph, Carl’s dreams seem to be only a fleeting set of pictures that may consist of his doggy family or a wild adventure that has no real significance. On occasion, Carl has awoken with a strong reaction to something that appeared in a dream. But after a few moments of adjusting his thoughts, he has been able to calm down and fall back to sleep.  IMG_2048

The Other Side of the Glass

I just got back from walking the dogs. I was going to walk Carl first and then Leo and Bee but after Bee got loose and started running around the neighborhood, those plans went out the window. After slipping out the gate, she literally took a bee line to the neighbor’s house. Once she saw no one coming to the door, she ran across the street without even a glance to see if a car was coming.

I was concerned that I might not catch Bee, but thankfully, she saw a cat sitting on the other side of a sliding glass door. This is when she started barking and clawing at the glass in hopes that she might reach the stoic feline.

As I think about Bee barking at the neighbor’s cat, I wonder if she thought she would have been satisfied if she could have gotten to the animal on the other side of the window pane. Just watching her do everything in her power to reach the cat, it seems like she had it in her mind and heart that fulfillment was in her grasp.

How often is a sense of being totally satisfied on the other side of the glass? What is it that you believe can complete you? A bigger paycheck? A new romance? Fame and fortune? No matter what it is for you, if you have gotten through the glass and obtained it, you probably came away disappointed.

Then what? Weren’t we created to be filled? YES! But how?

Jesus clearly states how we can be satisfied in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:6 states: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Isaiah 55: 1-2 states it this way.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters;

And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat.

Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And let your soul delight itself in abundance.”

Jesus confronts a Samaritan woman who believed being satisfied came in the form of a husband. After having five husbands she was ready to look elsewhere for satisfaction. It was then, when she knew that no man could complete her that she was eager to hear what Jesus had to offer. So what does He offer her? And what is He offering us?

Living water. Water that satisfies and completes us.

Bee never got through the glass. I was able to fasten her leash to her collar and lead her away from the cat. Just the two of us ended up taking a walk around the block. And from the way she carried herself, I think she felt a sense of satisfaction that just couldn’t come from the cat on the other side of the glass.

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A Broken Stitch

So I had some minor surgery the other day on my head. I have been blessed with a genetic condition that causes my hair follicles to get blocked. Once the blockage occurs, a cyst is born.  Over time, just like an oyster creates a pearl, my head produces a hard substance that is encased in a sack.

Over the years, I have produced close to a dozen of these pearls and once they get too large to ignore, I get them taken off. I have been avoiding having these annoying bumps removed due to the distaste for pain and the fact that they don’t bother anyone but me. But after consulting with my dermatologist, I sucked it up and had four of them removed.

Of course, I was sent home with a set of instructions of things that I shouldn’t do for at least twenty-four hours. No bending, stooping, or lifting. To my defense I would like to explain to those of you that haven’t had surgery on your head that there aren’t as many nerve endings so the recovery is pretty painless. The problem with this is that you may tend to do more than you should. Which is exactly what happened to me.

The second I got home, Carl started jumping up on me for attention. Once I calmed him down, Bee and Leo were looking at me so I had to reach down and give them some love. Then it was dinner time for the dogs which again meant scooping down for their food. When I was finally able to sit down to watch some television, Leo climbed up on my lap.

I thought everything was going well until about 8:30 PM. I had just sat down from cleaning the dishes and I felt something wet on my shoulder. I called my husband over to check out the blood I had caught in my hand. Apparently a stitch broke and blood was gushing out of the incision. He immediately found a bandage for me to put on top of the incision.  After a call to my daughter who is a nurse, I was instructed to lie with my head elevated and keep the bandage securely on my head.

This is when the dogs took their positions on the floor next to the couch. All three of them seemed extremely concerned and wouldn’t budge. For the thirty minutes it took for the bleeding to subside, the threesome didn’t take their eyes off of me.

As I lay there, I couldn’t help but think about how God watches over me on a constant basis. He is concerned about me during difficult and joyous occasions. Psalm 121:7-8 states this truth for all who seek the Lord.

“The Lord will keep you from all harm—

He will watch over your life;

The Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.”

Even though I wasn’t sure if a trip to the emergency room was in order, I was extremely comforted by my dog’s actions. After a while, Leo and Carl made their way up onto the couch and positioned themselves against my body. All was well until Carl woke from a bad dream, saw Leo up against me, and began to growl.

Thankfully, no major fight broke out and we are all doing well. All the dogs have moved on to their own routine and I am healing nicely.