Living life beyond Cerebral Palsy for God's glory.

Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

My Gentle Giant

He was big, black and beautiful. He arrived in my life the day the For Sale sign was hammered into our front lawn. He was as stressed as I was. We were both in transition. He had a new home and a new master, and I was moving from the home I had lived in for 40 years.

Tate, my third service dog, had such a gentle spirit and a great desire to work. He spent six weeks with me in London: watching people pack boxes, seeing them come and go, and learning how to help me. Then we helped each other transition to a new community. Tate picked up his tasks quickly and we were soon working like a well-oiled machine. He knew things I needed before I would ask.

He also was full of mischief. One day I thought he was in my room with the door shut while I was at my brother’s, only to look down the hall and see him standing there wagging his tail. He seemed very proud that he could open the door without me asking.

Tate and I had fun, and though he loved to work, he did not like his working harness. He was very ticklish, and for the first few minutes, it would bug him. But after he got over that, he was ready to go were his job led him.

 

Two years ago, I retired Tate. Yet, he stayed with me. He was happy being at home more but would still want to go with me wherever I went. I would take him in the car for a ride if it was not too cold or too hot, but it got too hard for him to get in and out of the car. After that, he took it upon himself to be at the door to welcome me home with great vitality. Even in retirement, he was a blessing to others by visiting our local hospice, giving hope to those at the end of life.

Last May at Tate’s checkup, the vet found cancer and told me he had about six months to live. That dog loved life and had fun with my new service dog. They became close buddies.

In April I traveled to London for my book launch. Tate came with me and stayed with a friend. On April 23, five days before my second book launch, it was apparent that Tate’s life was ending and the heartbreaking phone call to the vet was made. My brother Dan and his youngest son, Malcolm, dug the hole for Tate to be placed in later that evening.

Life must go on, but there will always be a big hole in my heart for the gentle giant who served me so well.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV).

 

Tate

My favourite picture of Tate he loved snow.

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My Rose

 

My younger sister is turning 50 this week. Sharon is a very caring person – even though she likes to hide that fact.

The Rose of Sharon is a common name that applies to several different species of flowering plant that are highly valued throughout the world. My sister is like a rose. Upon first meeting her, you might only see a rough, prickly person, but as you get to know her, you realize she is very hard-working, enjoys cooking for others, and loves to help people in need. Sharon is a highly valued person – even donating her left kidney. And she would donate the right one if she did not need it.

Sharon and I grew up in a time when it was not cool to have a “different” sister. She had to deal with much teasing at school. We had fun together sleeping in the same room (okay – talking more than sleeping). We worked well together. I had the ideas; she had the legs. Unfortunately for her, the legs got caught more than the ideas. She did not need my ideas, however, when it came to spreading butter on mom’s couch or climbing the cupboards to get baby aspirin.

Sharon, my little sister, thanks for 50 years of adventures and for being you. My life would not be the same without you. I’m so glad you married Ian. He brought your smile back – and I love your smile. Thank you for having three children and for being a great cook. (You make it hard to eat right.) I could not ask for a better sis.

Love you!  Happy 50th.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me

 

I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. ’

 

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

 

And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?   And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?

 

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’   Matt. 25:34-40

 

Mom

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NLT).

We met when she was 21. She was an ordinary person, but her warm smile would warm up the coldest day. She loved chocolate, ice cream, black coffee, and making things with her hands. She always made time to listen or help others. She knew nothing about Cerebral Palsy, but she was willing to learn. She pushed me to work hard, but at the same time, she accepted my limitations and loved me for who I was.  When the world told me I could not succeed, she told me to try.

This person is my mother. She looked after me every day for the first 25 years of my life: getting me up and dressed every morning, bathing me, feeding me, getting me ready for bed. She could not call in sick. The doctors told her to give me up and put me in an institution, but she did not.

In 2012 Mom went through a different battle. She had ovarian cancer. Mom went through surgery and chemo. This May she has been done chemo for one year. It has not been an easy year. She has lived through much pain.

I want to thank Mom for her dedication to Jesus, her husband, her children, grandchildren, and life.

Thanks, Mom, I love you, you’re the best!

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (Proverbs 31:28-29 NLT)

Marilou

“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38 NLT).

My friend Marilou loves Jesus. The verse above was one of her favourites. This past June, Marilou’s life on earth ended. Her last year on this planet was full of pain as cancer was growing throughout her body. When you asked her how she was, she would quickly turn the question around to ask about you or someone else.

Marilou loved to have a good laugh. She loved Mr. Big chocolate bars. And she loved to sing. But helping others gave her joy. Many people had food dropped at their door when their cupboards were bare.

On May 13, 2012 I went to see Marilou. She was in the hospital in palliative care. I knew it would be my last chance to see her on this earth, so I took her something special. Yes, you guessed it; I took her a Mr Big. She had a huge smile on her face and asked how my mom was coping with her chemo treatments. As we held hands before leaving, I said, “We’ll see you soon.”

On June 14, I received the phone call. Jesus had taken Marilou home. Her battle was over. I was sad. I took my dog for a long walk that day, talking to God through tears, telling Him it was hard to say goodbye to friends. (He knows that already but it helped me.) By the time I got home, He had brought this verse to mind, assuring me Marilou was safe at home with Him. What joy filled my heart as I know someday I will see Marilou again.

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV).

 

What is Love?

 

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 KJV) .

 

February is the month of “Love”. We buy heart-shaped chocolates, flowers, and cards with hearts on them. Some people even have hearts on their underwear. We all need love: love from our parents, siblings, friends, and husband or wife if we are married. Many look for love in the wrong places.

 

The greatest man to love us was Jesus. He left heaven to come and live as a man on the earth. Why would the king of heaven come to earth? He came because He loved us. We were helpless in our sin, and the only way for us to be forgiven was for Him to die in our place.

 

This Valentine ’s Day take time to think about who you would lay down your life for? More importantly who would lay down their life for you?

 

If you would like to know more about the love Jesus has for you, I encourage you to read the Gospel of John.

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT