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.


A Vacation Rescue

As we looked down at our fawn colored French bulldog, stuck between two carts and looking terrified, we knew we had to act quickly. Thankfully the cart behind us had smashed their brakes in the nick of time and saved Carl from a life threatening injury.

Once Carl was back up in the lap of my husband, we continued down the parade route. I couldn’t believe the number of carts that participated in this event. People of all ages and demographics took part in this spectacle. Later I learned that this golf cart parade has been going on since 1974.  CRAZY! IMG_3876

As the week went by, Carl enjoyed the attention he received from strangers. Many who had to leave their own pet at home just wanted a minute or two to stroke Carl’s back and share about their own dog that was left behind.

Early each morning, before the sun peeked out from the horizon, my husband would get up and call for us to join him on the beach. This morning we rose extra early so that we would make sure to see the bright orange ball rise above the ocean line.

It is a good thing that most people that were lingering on the beach had also been jostled out of bed by a loved one. Since I didn’t have a chance to run a comb through my hair, I felt like I was in similar company. IMG_3863 (1)

I must admit that watching the brilliant sun rise gave me a sense that our creator was providing a new day for all of us to enjoy. One tall man with a huge smile greeted us as he passed. Then before I knew it, he had clasped the hands of a middle aged man and could be heard praying.

Isn’t it cool how if you are looking for a spiritual connection, it can be easily found?  It is all about being in touch with the Holy Spirit.  This man was a great example of how God will place the exact person in your life if you keep an open mind and heart.

Days have taken on a pattern.  Getting up early for a walk on the beach and through the campground. Once we get back, Carl takes a little nap before everyone gets up from their slumber. After breakfast, it is off to the water park where there is an area suited for all age groups. IMG_3897

It has been extremely hot this week and Carl spends most of the daytime hours in the comfort of his air conditioned guest house. But once the sun makes its way towards the horizon and the sand is no longer hot, Carl makes his way onto the beach and prances down to the water. IMG_3882

As the week came to an end, Carl has made many new friends. Instead of the typical jumping up behaviors that we witness at home, the little dog has been transformed into a docile pooch.

The last night of our vacation, Carl and I made one last trip to the beach where the sky was being lit up by fireworks. And even though the popping noise is loud, he doesn’t seem fazed by it.  All he seemed to want to do is find the next person to rub his head and be told how wonderful he is.

But as we all know, vacations will always come to an end. And as wonderful as Myrtle Beach was, getting home to our own house and routine seems to be just what Carl is dreaming about. IMG_3901 (1)


Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”



Carl lay on his bed with his eyes open and stared at each move we were making. He could feel the excitement of a vacation in the air. With the open suitcase on the bench, Carl was not going to leave it up to chance that he would be coming with us. Once we were up and moving the luggage to the truck, the little dog started showing signs of anxiety.

Would Carl come with us or would he spend the week at a doggy resort? He didn’t know and it was driving him crazy…..

Once the car was packed, Carl heard the words he was dying to hear. “Come on, Carl, jump in the truck.” Leaving his sister Bee behind, we headed down the road.  (Bee is using her talents as a therapy dog this week to make two people very happy. She loves the people that she is staying with. )IMG_3826

So we headed down I-40 to the town of Leland where we were going to meet my daughter and her family.  After two hours of sleeping contently in the back seat, we arrived to a fresh bowl of dog food and into the loving arms of my granddaughter, Ellie.IMG_3828

After a trip to Walmart and a quick lunch of barbeque that we picked up from a fund raiser to help a firefighter who lost his home and wife to a fire, we headed south to Myrtle Beach. What we thought would only take us an hour to get to our destination, ended up taking three.

I am not sure if you have ever been to Myrtle Beach on a Saturday afternoon, and particularly to a huge campground like Ocean Lakes, but if you have, you will know that the traffic is CRAZY. It is a waiting game. Waiting to get to the entrance and at least forty-five minutes of waiting to get the pass to allow us into our destination.

After getting our pass, we thought we were home free but after a wrong turn, an easy drive turned into a maze of houses that seemed to always turn into a dead end. The map that they gave us didn’t help matters.  With eyes that are growing old, it was impossible to find the unit number in the hundreds of numbers that spread across a small space. This is when our patience with each other was cut very thin and our appreciation for our four legged friend was amplified.IMG_3829 (1)

Not once did Carl complain or roll his eyes.  He was just content to be with the humans that he loves. All he did was plaster his face up against the window in anticipation of his vacation home.  Thankfully after a couple of agonizing minutes the cottage was located and Carl was super excited to jump out of the truck.

We were blessed to have a place so close to the beach and it only took a couple of minutes to be on the wide open beach with the sea air swirling all around us. I had to hold Carl back from getting in the water.  His only desire seemed to get his little paws in the water and pick up the seaweed that floated on top of the waves.IMG_1326

Even though we arrived late, no moment was lost until late until the night.  My husband took Carl for his last walk around 9:30.  What he described when he returned sounded like something out of the movies.

If you have ever been to a campground like Ocean Lakes, you know that the mode of transportation is a golf cart.  So during the late evening hours, everyone gets in their ride and cruises down the main strip that parallels the ocean front.

The next day were filled with new smells and places to explore. Carl loved being around so many people and getting so much attention. Some friends of my daughters came over for dinner the next evening. One of the little girls has very limited sight but instantly gravitated towards Carl.  She immediately got on the floor and started stroking his coat. And the amazing thing was that he accepted all of the hands on attention without any signs of stress. It was like he could sense that this young girl was special and that they were giving to each other.IMG_3856

As soon as the friends left to go back to their RV, we all climbed up into the golf cart and made our way to the main strip.  And what we saw was hard to believe. For as far as the eye could see, golf carts were lined in both direction moving at a slow speed. Carl was seated in the back seat on my husband’s lap.

Every cart we passed, my five year old grandson put out his hand and someone from the other line would give it a warm slap or even a piece of candy. For the next thirty minutes, we moved slowly to the other side of the campground. It had now grown dark and it was tricky to maneuver the cart forward due to the tight squeeze between the vehicles.

Carl did a wonderful job of sitting while we went down the parade route. He sat as still as he could and even held out his paw to the people coming in the opposite direction.  And then it happened. The cart jolted to a stop and Carl tumbled off the seat and into the path of an oncoming cart.IMG_1337

The look of sheer terror by the woman in the cart behind us told the story. Was our little dog hurt? Had this fun adventure turned into a nightmare?






dogs · holiday · Uncategorized

Carl’s Vacation

Carl”s Vacation

Carl went on vacation last week.  After the episode with his sister bulldog, it was determined that the two dogs needed to be separated. So Carl went down to the coast for a couple of days of sun and relaxation.

As we drove him down to his getaway, we were kind of sad to see him go. We knew his needs would be met but it was still upsetting to think he would be away for the week.

Each night, we would get an update on how he was doing and if he seemed upset to be away from home. And every night we were told that he was doing well, walking to the water, working on his tan, but mostly enjoying being the center of attention.

Being the center of attention is what everyone craves. Deep down we want to be recognized for accomplishing a major undertaking, winning a prize, or just being first. If only the recognition could truly satisfy us. But it never really does.  Once I finish one endeavor, I am ready to begin another with the hopes that I will find the same brief satisfaction.

So if being the center of attention doesn’t bring the satisfaction that we seek, what does?  I have heard that the kingdom of God is an upside kingdom. The world screams at us that it is important to be famous and rich in order to be happy.

The upside kingdom of God tells us something totally different. Instead of having the spotlight on us, we need to intentionally take it off ourselves and place it on God. Jesus states in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

Interesting concept.  Instead of trying to make life about us as the main character, we should give God the lead role. Then and only then will we find a sense of satisfaction that we all yearn for.

Carl came home from his time away two days ago. It is hard to tell if he would rather be with us or back in his holiday setting. Either way, just like all of us, it really isn’t where we are but who we think we are.