Love and a Spotted Donkey

Saturday night, my husband and I were on our way to eat out when he pulled over on the side of the road.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking at the horses,” he said.

I’d passed these horses a thousand times, and I was hungry, but he didn’t put the car in drive, so I glanced at the scene unfolding in the pasture.

It was twilight~~

That magical time right before sunset when God peels back the curtain and reveals a touch of wonder.

The horses were stunning, the edge of the sun slipping over their strong shoulders.

I rolled down the window and became a part of their world.

The sweet scent of October grass filled the car.

In the far left corner of the field, a chocolate-brown donkey stood on the other side of the fence, grazing.

Two more tan donkeys joined her. A smaller animal stood between them.

It looked like a small horse with big, pointy ears.ย  Or maybe a goat.

“What’s the spotted thing?”

“It’s a donkey,” Rick said.

“A spotted donkey?”


I had no idea there were spotted donkeys.

Captured by her beauty, I watched her for a few seconds before asking my next question. “Have we always had donkeys on our street?”


“Even the spotted one?”


How have I missed this little donkey all these years?

I felt a warm sensation in my heart.

What is it, Lord? I’m listening…

I thought about how He’s the Good Shepherd–how He knows the condition of His flock. (from John 10:14-15 and Proverbs 27:23)

Lord, You don’t zip down the road of life, too busy to care about us.

You don’t glance at us from time to time when You have nothing better to do.

You’re in the field with us.ย 

And for sure, You’d never forget You have a spotted donkey.

Lord, You’re the Good Shepherd. You can’t possibly forget me! (click to tweet)ย 

Did you know about spotted donkeys?

How’s the Good Shepherd helping you today?














  1. Anna Haney says:

    Spotted donkeys. Near our old house, there were some donkeys in a field. We drove by there the other day and a new housing development had moved in, displacing them.
    It amazes me how much we see every day without really seeing it. As you reminded us, though, God sees it all. He has placed it there with divine purpose. And we see it just at the precise moment we are meant to, so that we are blessed and/or learn something.
    It is finally fall here in East Tennessee. As I walked into the office, I could see my breath in the air. The sky is a brilliant blue and there is a tinge of color to the leaves. It seems like there are way more geese at the pond than in years past. Perhaps, though, like the spotted donkey, they’ve been there all along, but I’ve been too busy to see.
    Hope you have a blessed day. You have already blessed mine.

    • Yes, Yes, Yes, Anna. To everything you said!!

      And we saw our breath this morning at our Porch Party. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Just so grateful I FINALLY noticed the spotted donkey! Now waiting and watching for what’s next…

      Love you!

  2. Janice Chapman says:

    Thank so much Julie, love reading your/God’s thoughts!
    God often speaks to us in the most unusual ways. Thanks for listening, and sharing!
    Love you! Janice

    • Hey Janice! And thanks so much for letting me know you’re reading–and this makes sense to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Nothing makes a writer’s day more than what you just did.

      So much love,

  3. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie/Leafy2,

    A touch of wonder – just like Arthur Gordon’s book! I love that sweet little chocolate brown donkey. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a spotted one or not. I don’t see many donkeys at all. Just think, if your husband hadn’t pulled over you still might not know they were there! It’s very awesome when God helps us to see something through someone else’s eyes. Things we might not see for ourselves. I think we all do that for each other in one way or another. If you have a passion for something I don’t and you tell me about it, that passion you have will be catchy, and cause me to stop and think about it when I probably wouldn’t have on my own. Your blog is like that I think. And whoooooo knows but that all of my going on about owls might have opened someone else’s eyes to something they’d never thought of before. Doesn’t even have to be a passion. Could be a passing interest but it could catch someone’s eye, or deeper still, their heart. This world of owls has been around since creation, right? And I knew that in my head but just didn’t think twice about it — until that one day I wound up on an owl live cam site while actually searching for something else. I almost dismissed it but decided to at least take a look. Pretty soon I was hooked, watching everyday, then finding more cams to watch. I learned about them. Started going to owl shows, birding festivals, joined the Audubon Society, etc. And all because of something I never knew I’d care about, until I was shown. And by the way — I do believe there are donkey live cams too! Just sayin’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    God bless!


    • Leafy,
      When I fell in love with the little spotted donkey, I thought about you. I thought, NOW I GET IT! I know why Leafy loves owls! At least, my heart was opened to why Leafy Loves Owls. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, animals catch our hearts. And surely God speaks to us through animals.

      What an amazing story you have—you joined the Audubon Society! Surely the Lord is in this passion I your life!!!! And I wish I could set up a web cam on my donkey….


  4. Melinda says:

    oh, Julie. Loved your words this morning. The Good Shepherd is teaching me to dig deep, to think, to ponder His words.
    A couple of my cousins have donkeys in with their cows. We always stop and look for them when we drive past. I think they are special because of the cross they have on their shoulders from carrying our Lord. I can’t ever see one w/o remembering that and I think He does as well.
    I hope your day is wonderful and your week is as well..

    • Melinda, Rick DID point on the cross on their backs. I wanted to tie it into the post, but it seemed to go in a different direction. And I thought about how Jesus rode on a donkey, when He could’ve used a champion horse!

      Love your thoughts–how The Good Shepherd is teaching you to dig deep, to think, to ponder His words.

      Hugs from my little cabin in the woods–right up the road from the spotted donkey.

      • Jan says:

        Donkeys were the traditional ride for the kings of Israel, or so I can remember hearing once upon a sermon. I used to pet-sit for a lady whose brother kept horses on her place–and he added spotted donkeys! So I have seen them too. The dogs and I would visit them, sweet things–there were three. One was bigger and kind of bossy, but the littlest one was lowly and kind.

        • Love your descriptions and memory, Jan. I got such a vivid picture as I read.

          Thank you for readingโ€”and letting me know youโ€™re reading!!


  5. Kim says:

    Julie your post inspired me this morning. I had planned on riding (bicycle) but was considering not since it is so cold out. But reading about the animals and donkey made me want to go after all and take the little bit longer than normal route so I could look at the little farm that has one fenced area with goats and another that has a donkey grazing with their handful of cows. So, I went after all. The donkey was not with the cows today. But! Shortly beyond there I turn around and head back. And I saw a different house that had 8 donkeys in the yard. Guess what? One of them was spotted! I’ve never known about those donkeys or seen a spotted one before. Amazing!

    • No way, Kim!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe it!!!!!

      First of all, it just blows me away that you changed your plans and took another route. And then, lo and behold, you spotted 8 donkeys and one with spots.

      This makes my day. I’m not the only one who’s never seen a spotted donkey.

      So much love, my friend,
      Julie–and thanks for sharing a piece of your Joy with us.

  6. I think I’m a spotted donkey. Sometimes I feel like the world is passing me by, but I know God loves me. And I know other spotted donkeys (and non-spotted donkeys) love me. I just feel different sometimes. Ever have that feeling? Silly question….I already know the answer. ; o )

    Being a writer is tough work. I wrote recently to a group of workshoppers in a get-to-know-you bio that I’m excited that we work for GP. I also admitted that IMHO it takes guts to put ourselves out there, moxie to submit, and balls to go through the revision process. That’s when I cringe and want to become a spotted donkey…one that roams the fields with others but is one that no one really notices. But then….God whispers…and I listen. And once more I must have guts, moxie, and balls. ; o ) And become a spotted donkey that people see.

    Love you!

    • This is absolutely beautiful, B.J.

      I’m a spotted donkey too! At least I have days where I feel like one. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Oh, boy, is writing hard. You’re SO right.

      And the flip-side of being a spotted donkey is that people DO see us. We aren’t invisible.

      And God helps us learn to love our spots. And even be brave and let other people see us.

      Great perspective!!


  7. Merilee Hampton says:

    Thanks Julie for a wonderful story and pictures. When I was a little girl , my Mom always told me: ”
    There is no spot, where God is not” I’ve carried this with me all of my life.
    Love your blogs and stories in my Guideposts magazines.

    • Love, love, love what you said, Merilee!

      Yes!!!!!!! I sure do!

      Thank you for your words and for letting me know you’re reading.

      Big hugs from my little cabin in the woods~~

  8. Love everything about this post! I especially love that you reminded me that He is in the field with us…always near.

    • He sure is, isn’t He, Dee Dee.

      Love you my friend. Wish we could sit and talk and talk and talk.


  9. Julie, I didn’t know about spotted donkeys either. I just know about the Eeyore kind, like my neighbor has. And I so love her … sweet Sugar. I want her so much. I’m not coveting though … ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s just so darling. But actually, I have it pretty good because I get to enjoy her, but I don’t have the expense of feeding her. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Guess what, Shelli? I thought about you when I first saw the donkey…even wondered if it was a goat. ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought about all your animals and how much you love them.

      I don’t think I’ll ever drive down our street again without looking for that sweet donkey. She taught me so much.

      Thank you for being you. I love your tender heart.

  10. Cathy Mayfield says:

    What a sweet donkey! It made me think of a totally different animal in the equine family – a pony named Betty. This cantankerous, mean-spirited beast actually chased my mother right into the cabin where we vacationed every summer!

    On a different topic, I don’t think this fits exactly, but when thinking on things we miss in our daily walk through this earthly life, I’ve discovered an amazing world in Psalm 119. A few months ago, I began the practice of meditating on scripture, something I’ve wanted to do for years. I decided to begin with Psalm 119, and since I’m a “words person” who loves looking up meanings for little words like “if” and “it,” I tried an exercise I’d done in the past.

    Each day I meditate, I write the verse out in a steno book, one word per line on one side of the page. Then, I read the verse aloud as many times as there are words in it, each time emphasizing the next word. It’s amazing how much insight we can get from a line by doing this, whether a scripture verse, a line in a poem, or a random “thought for the day.” I write my thoughts about the emphasized word in the column across from it, sometimes looking it up to see the actual definition or checking its synonyms. Most days, the Holy Spirit has something to teach me from one or more of the words. I LOVE this practice and miss days when I do not get to do it.

    Give it a try! Start with this simple verse from John: “Thy Word is truth.” Repeat it aloud four times, each time emphasizing the next word. If need be, look the word up in your favorite dictionary. “THY Word is truth!” This makes me think about how every word of the Bible was breathed into existence by the Spirit! “Thy WORD is truth!” Not only the words of Scripture, but Jesus Himself! “Thy Word IS truth!” Not “was,” as in only for times of old; not “will be,” as in prophetic words revealed. But it IS – now, this moment, for something we need THIS day! And finally, “Thy Word is TRUTH!” Every single word rings out with that message: factual, exact, authentic, not to be disputed, never-changing, absolute TRUTH! And on that, we can meditate and know He loves us enough to BE that TRUTH for us, in us, through us…forever.

    Much love, Julie!

    • Cathy!!!!! You’ll never believe this, but Saturday, I’m speaking at a Ladies’ Retreat on Praying the Psalms. So this registered with my heart big time!!

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your idea. I’ve never divided it into word-by-word prayer and Bible Study.

      Love you! Love this! and thank you~~~

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        God loves serendipity! <3 (So do I!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

        I'm praying for your retreat! May the Spirit fill you with His words, His Word! And may you be blessed as you bless the ladies. Wish I could be there to hear you speak! (I'd love a transcript…or better yet, a recording?)

  11. Our steps are truly ordered by God, I believe nothing happens buy stance. What a beautiful lesson for us all, I am so thankful that God keeps his eye on this spotted donkey,and thankful you stopped and noticed and listened to the Holy Spirt’s voice.
    As a keeper of seven donkeys with two more on the way, I indeed know about the spotted donkey, we had a rare donkey born on the farm this year, a white donkey with blue eyes!
    Always a joy to visit and always leave so blessed, encouraged, and motivated.

  12. Sue!!! You’re kidding! You have donkeys?!

    I’d love to see a white donkey with blue eyes. How beautiful he/she must be.

    I’ve always been curious about donkeys. They seem to be such a humble creature, content to be in the background of majestic horses.

    Would LOVE to see pics!!!! If you email them to me, I’d share them with our bloggy friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Much love, my friend.

  13. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, such beautiful words that I needed to hear today! Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem with a donkey, and most likely fled to Egypt with the same donkey and then returned to Nazareth when it was safe. I always felt that donkeys played a large role in the Bible. I think they are very humble, but also strong and gentle just like the character of Jesus as he was to His disciples. How is Katie? How are you and Rick?

    • Patricia I completely agree, and Iโ€™ve never thought about how Jesusโ€™ characteristics are like the donkey. Just beautiful…. Kateโ€™s doing just fine. We went to church with Katie and her family this past Sunday.

  14. Patricia Martin says:

    ((: Loved your post!

    • Thank you! I’ll never look at a donkey without smiling!!

      Hugs, Patricia. You are sooooo special to me.

  15. Marcia B says:

    Even though I do not often comment, I look forward to your blog posts and the comments that the ladies make on their observations of what you write. Today I thought about how I miss so many things because of the busyness of life–like your wanting to get something to eat. There will always be a need to get something to eat, but not always a moment in time that the Lord reveals a spiritual truth in the beauty of a spotted donkey against the vibrant horizon of a sunset. As with CathyMayfield, the Lord has put a desire to meditate on His Word more throughout my day. This causes me to take that moment to be still in the busyness of life and observe His presence around me–one of encouragement and strength in this journey called life. You and your ladies are also those encouragers. May He show His grace in your life today, Julie.

  16. Hey Marcia,

    You’re on to something huge. Yes! Those moments when we can slow down the world and be in His Presence, well, nothing compares to Him.

    Thank you for letting me know you’re reading, and for how this post affected you. And I’ll never see a donkey without being grateful and slowing down–at least for a moment.

    I’m smiling. ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Even in what we think is the ordinary, God whips up a beautiful surprise, out comes the extraordinary. Sometimes I’m too engrossed in my thoughts I don’t get to enjoy my surrounding. So guilty of that. Nice view of twilight!

    • Julie says:

      Love your thoughts, as always, Lux. Thank you!

      Hugging you from Georgia this afternoon



  1. […] Driving down a country road near our house, I tried to ignore the donkey’s odd behavior.ย God had spoken to me a few months earlier through this same pasture of donkeys. […]

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