The Castle

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  Have you ever gazed upon something magical, something wonderful, something worth gasping about, and you think of who you want to tell about it?  Perhaps I can illustrate this way.  You know, it’s the feeling every time you see me and you have to tell the world.  You have to. It’s natural to feel a bit of puppy love.

That was how I felt this weekend as Girl Person and I were walking on the beach.  You may wonder where Deputy Digby was.  With all of our thunderstorms and rain and lightening, he has become a bit obstinate.  If it is raining, or if rain is even thinking about raining, Digby ain’t goin nowhere.  And so after Girl Person almost pulled her back out trying to carry him down our flooded, campground roadway, she gave up.  She took Digby back to the Big Blue Treat Wagon RV and he was happy to wait it out.  However, what Digby didn’t know was that the rain never came, and then me and Girl Person were alone on the beach a mile away.  Feeling pretty empty without Digby with us.  It just didn’t feel right at all.  And that’s when I saw it.  The castle in the sand.

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Truth be told, and I always tell the truth, I was a bit down.  Without Deputy Digby to make my life more difficult, it had become too easy for that hour.  And normally, when we see a sandcastle, Girl Person has to pull Digby away from peeing on it.  She has to block him from knocking it down.  And well.  There the castle was, just being a castle, no one was around, and the castle wasn’t in any danger.  This wasn’t so much fun.  Boring.  I felt like we were just wandering around for no reason.

I knew that I should try and remember to tell Deputy Digby about the castle in case the next day he wanted to do his business plan on it.  I took a picture in my mind of our coordinates, and I sat down next to it so that Girl Person could take my picture.  She started laughing because she thought that I really, really, liked this castle.  Well, I did.  I didn’t even care that people were walking by gazing at the feast for the eyes that was me by a well built castle.  Oh, I looked like an angel.

As I sat there though, and I admired this castle that was all mine, and not even Digby’s…I wondered.  Was a castle really worth having if you were the only one there?  Was a castle even as majestic or big or pretty if only one person saw it?  Wouldn’t its beauty be worth more the more people that visited it?  I wondered.

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As I gazed upon the castle, and wished for the days gone past when Digby would have just knocked it down, it occurred to me.  Even I can’t be King of the castle with no one else there.

As I did my deep thinking as usual, I turned my back to the castle.  With one, big wave, the castle was washed away.  And I suppose that I knew it would happen.  There is nothing material in our life that can’t be taken away in an instance…including the ones that we love.  It didn’t matter to me at that point that the castle had been washed away.  It only mattered to me that in a few minutes time, I could walk back to our RV and see my Deputy again.  I was feeling pretty good that I had that chance.  However, when you leave Digby all alone in an RV for an hour, your castle sure doesn’t smell like a castle.  And yet, that was ok.  I might not be a King of a castle, but King of an RV is a pretty good job too.

We all build on what is important to us. Be careful that your worth isn’t based on something that can be lost or washed away.  You can spend all of your time building something that although big, will leave no room for anything else in your life.  Fill your castle with the ones you love.  Even if your castle is a house on wheels.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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Build Me Up

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  I know that you probably can’t tell this.  But the beach…well…its my happy place.  I pretty much get so happy on the sand, and near the water that I nearly fall asleep instantly.  Especially every evening when I find the sandcastle that I built.

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When we first got here to this Jacksonville, Florida place, I found it.  A perfect place for Girl Person to sit down on a piece of driftwood, in front of a sand dune for Digby to pee on, and for me, I decided to build a little pillow and sandcastle to sit on every night.  And even with all the storms we have had, the rain, the wind and the tides, my little sandcastle remains.

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You may wonder how I could be so attached to a castle that isn’t even mine, really.  You may think that I don’t own this beach or the sand on it.  And I thought about that a little too at first.  I mean, should I get so attached to a place that we didn’t own and that we were only camping at?  I mean, this wasn’t truly our home.  We didn’t pay for it.  But one night, Girl Person told me that it was ok.  She is always trying to build me up like that sandcastle…higher and higher.

She said that on this earth, none of us really and truly own anything.  She said even persons with all the money in the world, with big houses and mansions don’t own where they live. Truly. She said that they don’t own where they live any more than I own my sandcastle.  She said that the earth is owned by no one.  She said that it is here for us to enjoy and take care of.  But saying that we own some of it is simply not true.

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You see, when we think that we own something just because we shuffled around paper money and signed more papers to shuffle around with our signature that says it is ours, sometimes we may think that we can do anything we want with it.  It seems less valuable.  For now, the beach, the ocean and my sandcastle is enjoyable whether a piece of paper says we own it or not.  And that was a hard lesson to learn.  You see, life is made of experiences. Not pieces of signed papers.

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Our experiences can either build us up like a sandcastle, or bring us down.  Fighting to be in a cycle to keep up with everyone else can rob us of joy and seeing what is really out there to enjoy.  Living within our means is difficult sometimes.  Because even I will admit that I would like more peanut butter cookies some days.  But the days I do have them make them more special.  And although we haven’t found somewhere that we can afford and that feels like home yet, we are learning that constantly being in a search for something else makes us forget what is right in front of us.

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So for now sandcastle, you sure feel like home to me.  In my heart, this is where I want to be.  For today.  No one can tell me my heart doesn’t own this beach.  No one can tell me my heart doesn’t own my ocean.  And no one can tell me that heart doesn’t live here.  Where does your heart own?  Go there today. Own it.

As we walked out to the beach this weekend, we had one more reminder about life from a dog named Jack that we never met.  And if Jack could be here now, I would tell him that I am enjoying the beach and the sand and the balls that he did.  And that his love for this place will live on in us until we pass it on as well.  He loved this place.  And I bet he had his own sandcastle too.

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Remember that life is more than papers.  There are so many beautiful, wonderful things meant to build us up.  If you can today..throw a ball in remembrance of Jack.  Live your life as much as Jack loved his tennis balls.  Build yourself up and build others up as high as you can.  Your life is yours. You don’t need to sign your life away to live it.  Make the best sandcastle you have ever seen. But not my sandcastle.  This one is taken.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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