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Red Ryder BB Gun

January 11, 2020

She was all I wanted this Christmas.

A fluffy little bundle of energy with one blue eye and one brown eye. Our new puppy!

Her name is Harper and I wanted her for Christmas like Ralphie wanted his Red Ryder BB Gun in A Christmas Story.

Our kids have been asking for a dog for months, and I kept saying we couldn’t afford it. But as Christmas neared, a dream began to grow in my heart. I told Seth, “Imagine if we got the kids a puppy for Christmas! Best Christmas Ever. They would always remember it!”

Seth agreed, but we still didn’t have the money and we were particular about the breed. Our last dog was a Golden Retriever and she had the sweetest, most gentle personality. We were thinking another Golden Retriever would be perfect.

I prayed hard. And I searched Craiglist. Then I saw them. Golden Retriever puppies that would be ready to go home Christmas Eve. Are you kidding me?? Meant to be!

But when I contacted the breeder, the price was not meant to be. But I still had faith! I kept praying money would come in.

As the calendar days checked off and Christmas loomed, worry also loomed. What if there was no money? What if we didn’t get to surprise the kids with a puppy at Christmas? One early morning as I drove to work in the dark, I cried and told God I trusted Him and that I wouldn’t make a foolish financial decision to force MY plan of a Golden Retriever puppy at Christmas. I knew God could easily provide money if He wanted us to have a dog for Christmas.

I confessed to God that I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for all of the tremendous blessings He has given us. But I also told Him that the puppy was what I really, really wanted.

And then I pictured God being like Ralphie’s dad on Christmas morning when he surprised Ralphie with the one thing his son wanted the absolute most.

Ralphie’s dad was filled with joy just to watch the delight and wonder on his child’s face.

I know that God loves me, and all of His children, with that kind of extravagant love. He has already given us more than we could ever deserve by sacrificing His Son Jesus for us. And yet He goes above and beyond that to give us such good gifts, because He’s just a daddy wanting to surprise His kids and put joy on their faces. He’s done it time and again in my life.

I prayed that this Christmas would be one of those times!

As Christmas got closer, I saw a few other posts for Golden Retriever puppies. All of them were out of our price range. Each day I checked back on the posts to see if they were still there, hoping that money would come in at the final hour and “our” puppy would still be available. But then I saw the posts disappearing. One-by-one. Other families were getting a Christmas puppy and we weren’t.

On December 23rd, I still hadn’t given up hope. I decided to widen my search to all puppies instead of just Golden Retrievers.

And then I saw her.

A Goldendoodle/Husky mix. Within our price range. Posted that day. In the final hours of “Operation Christmas Puppy for the Morleys.”

I showed Seth the picture. I was nervous that he couldn’t be spontaneous enough to switch the plan so quickly. But it didn’t take him long to adore her. He made a call and found that a few of her sibling puppies were already gone, but not our girl. The man said he could hold her for us.

Seth and I whispered a plan as we were all getting ready to leave the house to do our annual Christmas lights viewing. We told the kids that we were making an extra long drive this year to go see a new neighborhood with really cool Christmas lights, which was recommended to me by a coworker. (Big fib). They were 0% suspicious since I had talked about getting a dog 0 times in the month of December. I had been carefully avoiding the topic in hopes that we would get to surprise them.

And now it was actually happening.

I was both excited and nervous on the drive. I’m not very spontaneous but this situation called for it. I talked to God as we drove and told Him I hoped we were making the right choice. I prayed it would be clear when we met the puppy.

We pulled up to the neighborhood that was supposed to have the cool lights, and there were no lights. Seth put on his best display of being confused. “Your friend must have been wrong! There aren’t any lights here!”

The garage opened. They were expecting us. Seth got out with the pretense of asking about the lights. I was so nervous. I kept up the charade by saying, “Dad is going to talk to them! This is so awkward!”

There was a wooden pen in the garage with a bunch of excited brown puppies in it. But the couple knew who we came for, and they placed our cream-colored pup in Seth’s arms.

It was time for the reveal. I said, “Let’s get out.”

When we got to the garage, Seth placed the puppy in Ivy’s arms. The kids petted her and exclaimed over her. We noticed she had two different colored eyes, which made her even better! And then I said, “She’s ours. We’re keeping her.”

Ivy’s eyes got huge. “Seriously?”

I said yes. Surprise and happiness shone on her face.

Isaiah’s smile said it all. Later I asked him to describe that moment and he said, “Epic.”

I told the couple, “Thank you so much! You’ve made us so happy!” They didn’t know they were part of God’s answer to my prayers. I handed over the money and they handed over the new Love of Our Lives.

On the way home I said to Seth, “It’s so cool that she has one blue eye and one brown eye! How come no one else chose her already??”

Seth said, “Because she was meant for us.”

Insert emojis: hearts and happy tears.

Later that night, when I was finally ready for bed, I told Seth I was tempted to let her sleep with me. He said to go for it. As I was about to climb into bed, she peed on my blanket. We threw that in the wash and then I snuggled into bed with my arms gently wrapped around her. It felt like Heaven. Best night of my life.

Later during the night I discovered another wet spot on my bed, ugh, no longer heavenly, so she then went to sleep in the bathroom. She has never been allowed on my bed since. But let’s just pretend puppy life is perfect, mmmkay??

I keep thanking God for giving us the gift of Harper! She’s the cutest puppy on the planet. Sorry to anyone else who has a dog because we absolutely have the best one. Just admit it.

Of course, just like a baby, she has her challenges. This week she had several accidents in the house. She bites at us with her razor teeth. She stepped in her own poop. She woke me at 4:50 AM to go out. She jumped up on me in the rain and got mud on my pajamas. She got the roll of toilet paper off the bathroom counter, where we put it to keep it away from her, and chewed it up. She snuck into the garage and gobbled up the cat food. She playfully tipped over her water bowl because she liked seeing it splash. She stole Ivy’s pizza off the couch. She stole several dirty socks from the bedrooms and ran away to “enjoy” chewing on them.

To prove my point, here's what she's doing now. Trying to chew the mouse cord.

She's a handful. But she’s also a delight and a love and a fluffball and my Baby!

And she’s what God gave me for Christmas.

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

Matthew 7:11

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