Being that it’s Christmas week, I thought I’d share some of the memorable Christmases we’ve had as the pastor’s family.


We had this dog.Familypicture_056_3

Her name was Pepper and she was a schnauzer.  (Don’t let the cuteness of this picture deceive you.)

My family consistently told Ken and me what a cute, friendly, smart little dog she was.  She did smart things like bark at trees if you told her “Get the squirrel, Pepper!”  She didn’t care whether or not a squirrel was actually in the tree.

At the time of the dog, my dad was doing Family Living Seminars and one of his points was that the entire family should greet Dad (or Mom) when he came home from work.  In other words, homes whould be places of welcome.  So my parents taught Pepper to jump up and down and bark with enthusiasm and excitement if you said, “Daddy’s home.” It didn’t matter that it was my father saying it to her, she would still do it.

OK.  Maybe when this dog was young, she was cute, friendly and smart.  Back when she was my brother’s dog.  But then he went to college and she became my parents’ dog.  Then they started doing Family Living Seminars, so at the point in this dog’s life (I think she was about 213) when she was no longer exactly cute, she was ceremoniously brought to our house in Michigan.

Two things characterized our life with Pepper.

1. She scratched incessantly.  Bang, bang, bang, bang, her doggie kneecap hit the floor.  No, she didn’t have fleas, she just liked to scratch.  Maybe if we could’ve afforded to send to some doggie spa for a moisterizer treatment, we could’ve stopped it, but alas, we didn’t even have money to send ourselves anywhere, much less the dog. The scratching drove all of us crazy – and the bald spots on her fur looked less than beautiful, too.

2. She ate everything and anything she could get her doggie mouth on.  Truly, you had to dispose of the garbage and empty every wastebasket before you left the house even for a moment.  And, because she was a schnauzer and not a BIG dog, any people food was cause for major throw up and I mean MAJOR.  Now, I’ve been around dogs all my life and I know dogs throw up – but because a schnauzer’s stomach is delicate well … enough said.

One time, we had some out-of-town company so before we left for church, I warned them to lock up anything edible.  They had some candy bars, so they hid them away in their suitcases.  However, they forgot to lock up their toothpaste.  No joke.  What a mess!  At least she had good breath that day!

Anyhow, remember those Christmas candy boxes churches used to give out at Christmas programs?  They were about 5 x 2 x 3 in size and brightly colored.  You ordered them for a Christmas-program-candy-specialty place and they were filled with hard candy and chocolate-covered creams that tasted like melted plastic.

So, this one day we were over at church rehearsing for the Christmas program.  Afterwards, we cheerfully went home and discovered a dog with chocolate all over her face.  She had literally opened the sealed cardboard packing box and eaten about 25 boxes of the  Christmas candy.  Unbelievable.

Ken just sighed.  He knew we would have one sick dog. 

So Pepper got locked in the bathroom that night (away from the carpeted floors) and the next morning … well … I’ll leave that to your imagination …

Meanwhile, we erased the checkmark on our “todo” list in front of Christmas Program Candy and headed back to the store …

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