Short, cold days seem to pass quickly, and like most of the nation, the weather has been much colder here on the Panhandle than normal.  Just days before the first vicious cold front that rolled across the nation, our family purchased a new Labrador puppy.  Had the weather cooperated she would have quickly found herself outside with a heat lamp for company, but the bitter cold bought her compassion and she has remained inside as one storm followed another.

I have a renewed sympathy for mothers of young children since I have had some short nights during the past week as we have tried to adapt her sleeping habits to complement those of our family.  An energetic puppy in the house also requires a tremendous amount of care and supervision.  But beyond the necessary care for her needs, her stay indoors has also forced us to continually work on house training.   Our incessant efforts have been rewarded and she has quickly grasped the concept and I have been surprised how much she has learned in such a short time.

She has been a bushel of fun and despite all the extra work we have enjoyed her antics and companionship.  Although we would have spent time playing with her had she stayed outside, there are many things we would have missed, and I am certain that though she would enjoy our attention and companionship, she would have also bonded very closely with our other Labs which can sometimes make training a bit harder and make it more difficult for her to learn to pay close attention to commands.

As I listen to the shrill winds whistle and rattle windows and pipes trying to force bitter cold air through every available crack and crevice, I look at the puppy sleeping soundly on warm carpeted floors and I wonder if the Lord often sends winter storms into our lives to draw us into him.  Our experience with winter allows Him the opportunity to train and mold our lives and as we stay wrapped in the folds of his arms while the cold winds rage around us, our ears learn to listen to His voice and our hearts find joy in His presence.