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Here's a quick pic out our front window this morning….
Oh, the weather outside is frightful! Yes, I know that we are no longer celebrating Christmas and are in Ordinary Time in the Church calendar, but it sure didn't feel like it last night here in the Ohio snow belt! And there's more to come, according to the weather extraordinaires.
Experiencing intense snowfall is an expected occurrence around here, but last night the snowfall was really exacerbated by strong feelings of concern in my heart.
We have two dogs: a Mini-Australian Shepherd, Junebug, and her daughter, Peanut. Both wear electric collars, and they do for good reason! Someday I will post a story I have submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul about the reason for these collars, but I can guarantee that our final choices lay between sending them to new owners or getting them collars, neither of which we wanted to take. One reason I will offer is that they needed to be protected from the road as well as the parking lot to a little store that we run on the front of our property. Serious safety measures had to considered, and I refused to tie them up.
But I digress. (In case you haven't figured it out yet, I was at the top of my class in Digression 101 in college, just so you are forewarned in the future!)
Anyway, the collars work well for the most part (unless someone forgets to replace the batteries!) and they rarely get shocked. Peanut, especially, has responded well to the collar and can run safely within her accepted parameters. Junebug is a bit more of a challenge since her chasing instincts are much stronger and she is loaded with a huge, gorgeous carpet of hair. Still, we are grateful that the dogs can be free to roam yet be safe.
Yesterday as the kids and I were in and out all day, we noticed that Peanut was nowhere to be seen. This isn't completely out of the ordinary, but it was odd that Junebug was easily found hanging close to the house without her sidekick. My hubby, Rod, had seen Peanut during the day, so we didn't think much about it until late last night when we returned home again. A quick look at the collar monitor showed she had somehow breeched the parameter and was now out of range. I began hunting for clues outside, but the growing snowstorm was making the search very difficult. I drove out to search the road but found nothing. Still, I wasn't too worried. The dogs had many friends with the neighbors and I reasoned that she was probably holed up in one of their barns out of the storm.
Around 11:00 pm I stood staring out into the white abyss definitely concerned. She had still not come home, and I knew that the night would bring our coldest temperatures of the season with constant snowfall. I had read a book given to me by a friend (whom I have little doubt will someday be a saint) that reminded me about praising God in all things.
"I will praise you in the storm, Lord," I whispered out loud as I stared at the swirling snow. Yes, I know that our dog is just a pet, but she does mean a lot to our family, especially to the kids who have watched her grow from birth through puppyhood to her graduating into adult doghood.
I woke up several times throughout the night to check on Peanut's return, but was greeted with only the striking blue eyes of Junebug, not the brown ones belonging to her daughter. Determined to show God that I trusted Him and His plan for my family (and in an effort to convince myself as well!), I praised Him again and thanked Him for His great love for us. I also asked Him to give the kids strength for whatever His plan held, even concerning their beloved pet.
In the morning we were snowed in and Rod had to plow us out as well as some of our Amish neighbors. While doing so, he kept an eye out Peanut everywhere he went, but found no trace of where she might have gone.
Our seven-year-old son at one point burst into tears and exclaimed that he knew that she wasn't coming back. I had found him deep in prayer to Saint Anthony last night after he was in bed. My mother's heart broke, of course.
At his outburst this morning, we sat and had a surprisingly deep discussion about God's plan for our lives. This young boy, very likely "gifted" with ADHD, actually took in every word and seemed to get it. We looked out the window and talked about the limited view that we have through that frame. But God has no limiting frame and sees the entire earth, the entire universe.
This, of course, is a great example of His great plan for us. We see only a window's view of His plan for us, while He sees it infinitely. We agreed how awesome it is that we have someone that we can trust to see the entire plan!
As we were talking, the backdoor opened and my hubby stumbled in covered in white fluff.
"Give me some water," he called.
"Water? Like a little or a lot?" I responded.
"Just warm water….I've got Peanut!!"
"What?!" I cried, incredulously.
I immediately looked at John Joseph who already had tears forming in his eyes.
A HUGE smile broke out on his face and he closed his eyes. "God is so good," he said.
Obviously at this point the house became bedlam as everyone ran to see a very cold and probably dehydrated Peanut. She appeared very tired but her eyes were bright and her tail wagged at the attention.
What a crazy last 12 hours. And yet what a plan God had! There is now a little boy who is more in love with Him than ever, and you can't beat that.
And by the way, I completely agree with my son. God really is so, so good.
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