The Big, Big Sky – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, why are you staring out the window?

Me:        I’m looking at the sky.

Stella:    Why are you looking at the sky and not at me?

Me:        The sky is so big. It reminds me how small we are. We need to be reminded of that.

Stella:    Lady Human, are you sad? You don’t feel to me the same as when we laugh together.

Me:        Yes, Stella, I am sad tonight. And I was sad last week, but I think I hid it better.

Stella:    I knew. I didn’t say anything because you didn’t seem to want to talk about it. Are you sad about a human thing?

Me:        Yes. Do you remember when I told you all this morning after breakfast that I was going to church, and that I would see you later?

Stella:    Yes. You say that every week. I don’t know why. I figure church is like the grocery store, someplace you have to go once in a while.

Me:        Well, some of our neighbors here in Texas went to their church this morning and they didn’t come home.

Stella:    Oh. Oh. OH!

Me:        Calm down, Stella girl. Everything will be all right. It doesn’t seem like it, but it will be. This morning at my church, I opened my Bible…

Stella:    That book that smells good like leather.

Me:        Yes. It has very important things in it and it fell open to the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah. The last part of the 24th verse caught my eye. It says, “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”

Stella:    Is that the Great Creator? Is that His book?

Me:        Yes. I believe that with all my heart.

Stella:    I wish I could read.

Me:        Oh, you do, Stella. You all do in your way.

Stella:    And you are looking at the big, big sky because He fills that sky.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:    You feel better now. I sense it.

Me:        Yes, some.

Stella:    I feel better, too, Lady Human. Looking at the Great Creator’s big, big sky with you makes me feel better.




Copyright 2017 H. J. Hill All Rights Reserved.




Clean Hands, Clean Heart – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. I hereby issue an edict. Lady Human must wash her hands before she touches me.

Me:        What? Why? I wash my hands a lot.

Stella:    Not from what I scented off you just now.

Me:        Well, somebody has to clean up around here.

Stella:    Don’t look at me!

Me:        I don’t.

Stella:    Get Sweetie to help you. She knows how to mop. But then she’ll need to wash her paws before she plays with me.

Me:        Okay. What about you when you go prancing through the dirt and mud? You don’t wash your paws before you start putting them on me.

Stella:    Different.

Me:        How?

Stella:    My paws are naturally clean.

Me:        Really?

Stella:    Here. Smell.

Me:        Uh, no thank you, but anyway.

Stella:    Here. Smell.

Me:        Uh, I don’t really smell anything but dog.

Stella:    See! I don’t stink. Now go wash your hands and you can pet me.

Me:        How gracious of you, Stella.

Stella:    Yes. Yes, it is. Now go wash your hands. I want to be petted. Clean hands, clean heart.

Me:        Where did you hear that?

Stella:    One of those things you were reading aloud out of that book that smells good like leather.

Me:        Oh, right. I guess I wasn’t listening to what I was reading. That’s from Psalm 24 in the Bible. But I don’t think it means that you will have a clean heart if you wash your hands.

Stella:    Clean heart or not, you are not petting me until you wash your hands.

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Begats and the Bulldogs

Every once in a while when I was a kid, our Sunday School teacher would go over a Bible lesson that contained some “begats”. The begats were genealogies of people – prophets, kings, fathers, sons, even a few mothers and daughters. (For example, Genesis 10 and 11 and 1 Chronicles 1 and 2. Of course, it’s the King James Version that uses the old fashioned word “begat”.)

I enjoy genealogy now. All I remember from those childhood lessons was how boring and long the begats could be. My fellow students complained. “Why all these begats? Who cares? What difference does it make?” (I was thinking it. I just didn’t have the guts to say it.)

The LORD always knows what He is doing. He included the begats for multiple reasons. For one thing, they remind us that there were those who came before us, that we did not simply spring out of the ground by our lonesomes, all by ourselves.

Begats show us patterns of what gets passed on to children. Some good traits and some bad. They also demonstrate that we are not stuck with what our parents did or did not do – good or bad.

In my whole life, Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie are the first dogs that I have been able to compare to their mother. I have been surprised by their similarities and their differences.


They are all trash divers. None of our other bulldogs are. Wiggles the mom, Doodlebug, and Miss Sweetie will always check the trash baskets on the way out the door. You never know when the humans might have failed to finish that breakfast sausage or might have left a few licks in that yogurt container.

They are dirt rollers. Again, none of the others do this. Is there a good, soft spot of ground anywhere for a little back scratching action? Wet or dry makes no difference. In fact, the messier, the better. One can always obtain a bath if one is dirty enough.

They are all platform climbers. The others are not. Provide anything from a cold fire pit to an old picnic table to a decorative stone, and you will routinely find one or more of them perched on top. King or Queen of the Hill.


Wiggles never soils her crate unlike her daughter, Miss Sweetie, who has struggled against this habit.

Doodlebug is up for any adventure, including opening doors, untying his lead, and climbing any structure that will give him a foothold (but only if there is an interesting item at the top). That’s right. A climbing bulldog. We have an interesting future ahead of us.

Unlike her mother and brother who bolt in the very moment the door is opened, Miss Sweetie will sit down at the back door and patiently wait to be invited inside. No one trained her to do this. It is in her personality to wait. (Unless, of course, it is waiting for the bathroom and then at times, ten seconds is too long. Why don’t the humans move faster?”

So what have I learned from the begats and the bulldogs?

That we learn a lot from our close families even when we don’t mean to.

That we can carry some things with us from generation to generation.

That we don’t have to carry everything with us from generation to generation.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.