Tag Archives: relationships

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.

Staying Close By

Carl is making typing very difficult. I am sitting on the couch next to Leo and of course Carl feels the need to sit with us. Leo spent a couple of days with his family and when he returned we all noticed something different. Instead of his rambunctious self, he chose to sit in place. Given that it was Sunday evening, we all decided to watch him closely and have him seen by his veterinarian in the morning.

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This is Carl watching over Leo

 

Last night Leo spent most of his time sleeping and refused to go up steps. He ate his dinner and then climbed into the bed for the night. I did find it interesting when he didn’t get up to eat when Carl and Bee made their way into the kitchen for their middle of the night breakfast.

 

But it was when I heard something fall that I knew Leo was in trouble. At first I couldn’t find him but when I went into the family room, I saw the little black dog flat on the floor. It was clear that he had collapsed and he couldn’t get himself up.  I ran over, reached down and scooped him into my arms. His body was shaking feverishly and all I could do was hold him close to my heart.

 

During the most difficult times in my life I have been truly comforted when someone has taken the time to stay near me. I will never forget the time that I had severe food poisoning and my husband didn’t leave my side. It was an awful experience for him to endure but even so, he stayed close by.

 

I love Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;”

 

It is so comforting to know that when we go through challenging situations that God is with us. All we need to do is call out to Him and believe in his faithfulness.

 

As for Leo, his human father picked him up early this morning and took him to the vet. After some probing around, it was found that Leo’s left hip is bothering him. He was prescribed some doggy pain meds and is now resting comfortably.

The cool thing in all this is how compassionate Carl and Bee have been towards Leo. They can sense their four legged friend isn’t feeling up to par and have been very sensitive to his needs.  I am sure it won’t last for long, but I will appreciate these moments when everyone is being kind to one another.

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Bee checking out Leo to see if he is okay.

Slipping into Loneliness

Carl slipped underneath the ottoman and acted like neither Bee nor Leo could see him. He laid very still with only the tip of his nose exposed. Bee sat next to the ottoman and Leo stood in front of it and began to bark at the piece of furniture.

After a couple of moments, Carl soared from his hiding place and charged at the door where I stood waiting for the three amigos to dart by me. I am not sure what Carl wanted to accomplish by hiding himself. But I knew for sure that he wasn’t going to stay concealed and alone if I left the room.

Carl doesn’t like being alone. He will follow me around the house and beg for a good stroking or scratch on the head. In the past three years, I still haven’t figured a way of escaping the house without having to throw treats at him so I can slip through the door.

Being alone can be awkward at times. I personally don’t feel totally comfortable walking into a restaurant by myself and having a meal. I can also count the number of times I have gone to the movies by myself with one hand.

I have been blessed to have a husband that comes home every night and enjoys my company. Since I have been married for over 38 years and being a twin, I have rarely had to go places on my own. This is why I have found the Bible to be so comforting when I feel a pinch of loneliness sneak into my thoughts.

In Psalm 94:14 it states, “For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.”

In other words, the Lord is with me, no matter where I go.

It is too bad that Carl can’t understand that he is not alone. Even if I am not around, he is always surrounded by other dogs. But for him, it just isn’t enough. He needs human contact like we need spiritual contact. I have to admit that I am grateful for Carl’s need for me.  As a pet owner, we all know how great it feels to experience unconditional love by our dog or cat. And being Carl’s guardian is no exception.

If you want to see a short video of them go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yasTTPafl-o

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