Procrastination tends to multiply problems even for Faith

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Normally, Faith, my service dog, eats at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. As soon as the alarm sounds, she begins her ritualistic dance for her breakfast. The longer I take the more earnest she dances. It’s as if each waiting minute brings her closer to starvation. Her big brown eyes scrutinizing every move I make hoping the next one will be toward the kitchen.

Not long ago, after sleeping late, I awoke to the sight of wide-open eyes set in a black furry face propped on the edge of my bed staring intently into my eyes. Not getting the response she wanted, she laid back down on her bed.

When I casually got out of bed, Faith nonchalantly walked around my wheelchair and out the bedroom door. There was no frantic dance being performed, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to feed her. Then she came back in. Only half-paying attention, I saw her leave the room again. Only this time, she stopped a few steps past the doorway. Next, I heard the sickening sounds of her empty stomach revolting. Hugging and consoling her while it emptied itself of what little it still contained, the price of my procrastination stared back at me from the floor.

I went straight to the kitchen to feed her.

Watching her eat her physical food, brought to mind how important is our spiritual food. Each day, we need to nourish our spiritual bodies with God’s sustenance. His wisdom strengthens us as we go into the world and combat evil around us.

When we do not feed on His word, our spiritual stomachs rebel because it is empty of God’s wisdom. Procrastination tends to result in spiritual illness.

Thinking of Faith’s stomach rebelling from lack of physical nutrition, served as a reminder to keep my spiritual stomach nourished with God’s wisdom.

How do you stay filled with God’s wisdom?

How Do You Envision Comfort?

Tags

, , , , , , ,

What comes to mind when you think of something that makes you feel surrounded in comfort? Is it a warm shower, a walk on the beach at sunset or solitude with a good book?

When I think of comfort, my mind envisions my dog, Faith, on her side, nestled on our bed. Her long, velvety ear sticks out. I snuggle beside her and nestle my cheek on her ear. As I relax against her soft fur and smell her faint doggy aroma, my day’s stresses drain away.

Faith drifts into a deep sleep, not a worry on her mind. My nap is slower in coming. Everything crying out for completion by the day’s end refuses to allow me a break for refreshment. I consciously focus on Faith at rest. Little by little the pressures release their hold on my thoughts and allow me to join her in dreamland.

No matter what you do or think to bring comfort to you, the one common perspective is peace. You can’t feel the comfort of someone or something unless you are familiar enough to have a sense of peace.

Whatever brings your comfort, is temporary. A warm shower turns cold, the sun vanishes or the book comes to its conclusion. One peace always brings comfort. Having a relationship with God brings peace of mind. No matter where we are or what we are doing, God is right there with us. In our thoughts, we snuggle close to Him and He comforts us.

To me, knowing He is always with me brings me even more comfort than a nap cuddled around my sleeping Faith.

What brings you comfort?

Is Your Schedule Ruling You?

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Even though blustery cold winds gave me good reason to stay in the warm, my four-legged companion needed to do her business outside. I donned my husband’s parka and heavy boots, wrapped my legs in a blanket and put on gloves to sit in the doorway while she made her way down the stairs beside the ramp. Her fur coat kept her warm as she sniffed the ground finding the perfect place for her deposit. Her search took her under the ramp out of sight.

Job completed and ready for her warm house, she ascended the stairs only to be stopped on the third one.

“Go round,” I told Faith.

Deciding she had wrapped the leash around a ramp post, her execution of making a trip around the post should have solved the problem. She headed back up the steps getting no farther than the last time.

What do I try now?

I dropped the leash in anticipation of her dragging it up the steps behind her.

“Come on, Faith,” I said.

She tried. My brilliant idea didn’t work. By this time, she was getting anxious to be freed and not able to get to her, I was helpless.

“Wait. I am going to get help,” I tried reassuring her.

Closing the door, her desperate cries tore through my heart as I raced to awaken my husband, snuggled in our warm bed, sound asleep. Rousing him with my pleadings to rescue Faith, he abandoned sleep to brave the elements.

I was waiting far too long for a simple tangled leash extrication, when the door flew open and I was greeted with very cold, wet paws. Faith’s happy pirouettes were interrupted periodically by placing grateful kisses all over my face.

Faith’s experience reminded me of how tangled our lives get with busyness. Our schedules dictate what, when, where and how we live. Before we realize what is happening, our lives get so tangled we have no time for God. Trying our own methods to free us from what holds us back, we make our lives more jumbled. It is only when we stop trying our futile ways and focus on God’s open arms waiting to free us, will we experience success.

What in your life has you tangled?

Rethinking the Christmas Attitude

Tags

, , , , ,

Christmas. Children can’t wait for it to come. Teenagers submit their Christmas present list expecting to receive their must-haves, which would cause parents to mortgage house and home. To most adults, Christmas translates to shopping, decorating, shopping, family gatherings, baking, shopping, special music, shopping, preparing the snow blower, shopping, traffic jams, special programs, shopping, gifts¼

My service dog, Faith, once again exemplifies the attitude we should have for this season. She is lying beside me. Her quiet, peaceful demeanor silently communicates how I should manage Christmas preparations.

Each day she focuses on my desires and eagerly fulfills them. A small treat is her reward for each task completed. The more she does, the happier she becomes and the faster her tail travels. Her eagerness to serve and her sincere happiness in doing so is CHRISTmas.

Christ came to serve, and we are to emulate Christ. In serving others, we receive sincere joy in return.

This Christmas what service can you do?

Do you have confidence in faith?

Tags

, , , , , ,

 “Unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence; anything believed; complete trust, confidence, or reliance.” Webster’s New World Dictionary

Each day we use faith without even thinking about it. We trust our car will get us to our destination. We have confidence the heater in our house will keep us warm during the chilly winter. We rely on water flowing from the faucet when we turn it on.

Do you still have faith in your car after it quits on your way to a very important meeting? Do you still have faith in your heater after waking in the middle of the night to a cold house? What happens to faith when there is no water coming from the faucet? Maybe one time isn’t so bad; your faith may not be shaken. Will your faith remain strong when problems continue?

Is your faith shaking or unshakable?

What shakes your faith?

CIRCUS ACT

Tags

, , , ,

1 ball + 1 rope + 1 service dog = New Circus Act

“Faith, want to go play?” Faith lunged unto her seat in my van in near record time.

Chas, my husband, accompanied us to the local park for some fresh air and change of scenery. Our destination was atop a large grass-covered hill overlooking the Susquehanna River, ideal for ball throwing and retrieving.

Undressing Faith from her service dog gear had to be executed in sequential order. First, her power steering mechanism, the fabric around her nose where a leash attaches, was taken off. Next, her pink scarf, worn so people realize she is a girl. Lastly, her harness was removed. Faith immediately dropped to the ground and rolled on her back. Wiggling and kicking the air, she gave the impression of demonstrating a new upside-down dance.

“Mom, where’s the ball? I want to play.” Faith conveys as she placed her front paws on my lap and nuzzled for the ball.

Canine Partners for Life has a rule. If the play area is not fenced, the dog must be attached to a rope. I hooked one end to Faith’s collar.

Now where am I going to tie the other end? There’s nothing but grass. I’ll tie it around my waist. After all, what could happen? I weigh a whole lot more than she does.

Our normal playtime routine began. Number one: throw the ball. Number two: Faith races for ball. Number three: ball is relinquished to me.

 “How long is this rope?”

The next throw confirmed laws of physics. One. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Two. Objects rolling down hill tend to increase speed.

Faith missed the ball. Not wanting it to escape down the grassy knoll, she pursued her prize with gusto.

My body, following after her, lurched through the air like being shot out of a circus cannon. Arms and legs free from their wheelchair confines stretched out different directions. My four-point landing, two arms and two knees, did not qualify for the Olympics. Rolling over in sheer laughter, I wondered if observers liked my circus act debut.

“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” asked Chas.

“The only thing hurt is my pride.”

Faith, excited I was on her level, bathed my face with her tongue. Ball throwing temporarily suspended.

Chas helped me back unto my wheelchair and removed the rope from my waist. Something told me he didn’t want a repeat performance.

Remember, life may not be what it seems. Make sure you are secured to a solid anchor.

Commitment

Tags

, , ,

Recently, Faith and I took our test to be recertified as a service dog team from Canine Partners for Life. All working service dog teams take a test to graduate from the three-week training school when we are first matched. Every two years afterward, we retake the test. This keeps us fresh with our commands and our partner’s skills.

Our tester made a comment about other service dogs her age retiring. My heart hiccupped. I’m not ready to entertain retirement thoughts. Our commitment to each other is strong.

Faith is 10 ½ year-old and we have been together 9 years. Out of those years, we have been separated only about 7 hours. Any more, I feel we are one entity. I am committed to her. When I plan anything, preparation always includes her. She has accompanied me to 37 states and 2 Canadian provinces. Modes of transportation have included such things as plane, train, school bus, sailboat, cruise ship, helicopter and even a horse and buggy.

Faith’s commitment to me is clear. She rides in ambulance with me when I have an emergency and stays by my bed in the hospital. Okay, she actually shares the bed with me. Going outside to do her business, her good behavior brings nice comments. Her devotion shows through on her return trip. As soon as she can tell where I am, she becomes very determined to get back. I hear her harness jingle and then see her racing to me pulling her surprised volunteer behind like extra weight slowing her down.

My expectations for a new dog would not be the same as they were nine years ago. The thought of beginning a new relationship with another partner is one I do not look forward to with anticipation. We are comfortable with each other, like my favorite sneakers. They conform to my feet because I have worn them so much. We know how each other thinks. She does so many things for me so my energy does not end before the day ends.

To what are you committed? Why are commitments important?

Relationships Take Time

Tags

, , ,

Meaningful relationships take time. Time to be together. Time to learn about each other. Time to learn each other’s needs.

When Faith, my service dog, and I were first paired as a team, we were total strangers yet both wanted the same outcome. In her deep brown eyes, I saw her eagerness to please. Faith had learned skills, like picking something off the floor and giving it to her trainer. I needed her help so I could be more independent.

For six months after Faith and I finished our formal training, we were physically attached to each other 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It took some acclimation to remember to include Faith in everything I did. Spending all our time together, we learned a great deal about each other. Our new relationship deepened; now wanting to be with each other all the time.

Almost nine years later, we know each other intimately. We don’t allow each other out of our sight. When I encounter something new, my plan of action always includes Faith.

So it is when I first began my relationship with God. He was a stranger, but I wanted to get to know Him and I was eager to please Him.

Over time, the more I learned about God the more contented I became. I realized He was always by my side.

Today my response when faced with a new challenge is determined, in large part, by whether it would please God.

How close are you and God? Are you a team?

Silver Links in God’s Eternal Plan

Tags

,

Silver links come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large and bold. Some are small and delicate. Some at first glance look unusable. No matter what the finished product looks like, they all began the same way, encumbered with dirt and filth.

In its original form, silver is almost unrecognizable. The Artisan seeing its potential extricates it from the impurities that hinder its usability. The purifying process is sometimes painful and difficult but necessary.

The Master Craftsman, in His unique way, fashions the pure silver according to His perfect plans. Some silver became strong, bold links. Their names are easily recognizable, shining forth His strong message. Down through the generations, their lives stand out as a brilliant reflection of His workmanship.

Some silver is fabricated into small, delicate links quietly fulfilling His plans for their lives, yet quickly forgotten by future links. Their presence in the Master’s chain remains strong holding past, present and future links together against the pull of the world trying to break the chain of God’s eternal plans.

There is silver the Master crafts into thin delicate thread so fine it is hardly noticeable. This silver is woven in, through and around all the links and pendants of all the ages. It attaches to the beginning clasp of time and will not end until it attaches itself to the final clasp signifying the end of time. The silver thread is the prayers of saints, which strengthens each link and supports the burdens carried by them for the rest of the precious metals still encased in selfish dirt and filth.

No matter how it is used, the Master Artisan sees potential in all His silver.