Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Welcome to my first blog post!

At long last I’m launching myself into the blogosphere. So, how about some encouragement throughout your month? Welcome to my blog: Trail Tails. The way I figure it, we all need to be encouraged in this daily adventure we call life.  I, personally, love stories about how God shows up in our everyday lives, helping us along our trail.  And I love to laugh.
My life is fairly interesting.  My husband, Bruce and I sing Christian Country music and sing/minister all over the western United States.  We’ve been living on the road full-time in our living quarters horse trailer for about nine years. Needless to say, we and our two horses, Rocky and Nocona (aka The Boys) have had many adventures.  Some of those stories I’ve compiled in a book, Walk Like A Warrior: Inspirational true stories of God’s encouragement on the trail less-traveled (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). And still other stories have been sold to magazines. I also enjoy sharing the stories of others.

I invite you to enjoy my blog with its adventures (ours and others) and the pictures. I also welcome your input: Have a question? I’ll be quick to answer (If I don’t, you’ll know we’re galavanting around the backcountry and returning with more stories.);  Or, have a bit of constructive criticism? I’ll don my thick skin with “ears up.”

I picked this first story because I just felt it would be an encouragement to many that, in God’s eyes, you always matter.  And thanks for hanging out with me for awhile.

Chico and the Man

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."-Psalm 34:17-19

My father-in-law, Henry, loves dogs. Years ago his original "dog plan" was to breed Rat Terriers as a business adventure (yes, adventure). However, as the puppies were born, he became so attached to them he couldn't bear to sell them. His brood grew to a lively bunch of seven. I have fond memories of watching him walk his dogs next to the cow pasture. With Henry leading the way, his little entourage followed him like the Pied Piper. Or, when he drove his "Mule" to the back end of the property, one of his bunch would proudly sit in the passenger seat—mouth open, tongue hanging, and ears blowing back in the breeze.  

Henry also has a huge heart for homeless or unwanted dogs no matter what size or breed. As each one of the little Rat Terriers eventually moved on to the "Happy Hunting Ground of Heaven," a stray or unwanted dog would, without fail, show up "on the door step."    

He discovered Smokey, abandoned and wandering, around a gas station pump. She stole Henry's heart and became his constant companion for many years.

When the inevitable time came and she passed peacefully to join her former companions, my father-in-law was heartbroken. It is never easy to lose a loved one, be it human or animal, no matter what the age or reason.

It was a lonely drive as he traveled to the family farm for his monthly visit. He tried to steel himself as he passed every rest and potty stop that he and Smokey would frequent during that long trip. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. "I can't deal with this," he cried. "Lord, You're going to have to help me." He drove on to the farm, parked his car, and wearily began to unload his things.   

Suddenly something caught his attention—a tiny figure next to the farmhouse door. He moved in for a closer inspection and discovered a lively little Chihuahua investigating the porch.

Daily inquiries were made until it was apparent that this little guy was homeless … dumped on the County Road to fend for himself. At this realization, Henry immediately made him part of the family and named him Chico.

Chico has proven to be a family project. Scared and defensive, no one could get close without him yelping. One day my mother-in-law, Betty, was lying on the couch and her hand slipped to the ground … right next to Chico. A "Grrrrrrrr!" immediately resounded from somewhere under the coffee table—her hand pushing the boundaries of his comfort zone. 

However, as Henry and Betty persevered in their patient care of this little dog, Chico began to progress from whimpering at them to whimpering for them when they were out of his sight. The latest feat was actually picking him up, which,had not been a tolerable move until now. With heavy BBQ gloves to protect against defensive teeth, they crossed this last hurdle. But they needn't have bothered with the gloves. Chico lay perfectly peaceful in their "armory" … no animosity, whatsoever, expressed. He has now become Henry's faithful companion, following him everywhere and sleeping next to him in a little blanketed, cardboard box next to the bed.

The Lord displayed his grace by bringing these lives together: one with a broken heart, the other abused and homeless. He knows that in this life we will go through trials and heartaches. But He promises, through Jesus, to deliver us out of them all in victory and with strength. His love is so great that it will reach out in answer to a simple prayer—even bringing an abandoned little dog to a man's door step to help ease the pain of a loss. 
(1 John 4:14-16; Lamentations 3:21-23)  

Stay tuned for another adventure …

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