Still Small Voice

A few new books are stirring in my head, on paper and in my laptop. It seems my mind sees most everything as a topic for writing. What I loved most about reporting, was writing stories about other people. Often seeing how lives intersect with mine and many others. God put us each here for a purpose. Trying to find my purpose has been a lifetime journey. In the last five years, or so, and most recently this year, God’s voice has become clear in my mind and heart.

Our church, Buckeye Christian Church, in Grove City, Ohio, has been growing their small groups within our church. This is remarkable to me because my experience is typically large churches do this so people won’t feel lost within a huge membership. Buckye is caring about each one of the almost 400 members and attendees.

Lisa W. has begun a small, mid-week group that I would have loved to attend. I haven’t been behind the wheel of a car since February 2004, due to my MS, so how would I get there? It didn’t seem fair for me to commit to a group that someone else would need to take me to and from.

Then the thought that I could start a small group in our home came to me. At first, it seemed selfish or self-serving. But soon I realized that opening our home and welcoming friends was not selfish. After emailing my idea back and forth with a friend at Buckeye, I knew it’s what God wanted me to do. I prayed about a theme.

Within the same week the idea came to me to start a small group, the theme idea came to me in and obvious and  quiet voice. “Remember the song I gave you years ago, ‘Made with Love’?” and I looked up at the kitchen ceiling and said, “Yes! That’s it!” I wasso excited I emailed my friend right away telling her that God had nudged me with the theme.

The song’s first two lines are:

The tag upon the worn old quilt, said it was made with love;
The sweater that my grandma knit I know she made with love!

I would name the group “Made with Love” and invite others to come and bring needlework or crafts to work on while we visited.

It was God who did this, not me. It’s all about God, not me.

Thanks for listening!

Amy, from Buckeye, found this picture and added the words of the group:

Hearing Dog Training has begun

When Toby was about eight months old, training with Cathy Nagaich, with Lions Hearing Dogs, began. My former hearing dog, Snert, was trained using this same method. He was 13 1/2 when he died (in March  2009) and a faithful hearing dog to the end. He is missed.

Cathy came to meet Toby and he smiled at her – yes, he smiles! We began with obedience training; sit, lie down, stay, come. He has done well. We progressed to ‘wait’ as I give him the signal and leave the room, he learns to wait until I call him. Since he follows me everywhere, this was tricky. But he learned that the praise when he waited was well worth doing it correctly.

Now we move to sound training. We have begun with door knocking. I keep him on his leash, during training sessions, and someone knocks loudly at the front door. I sit with him on his leash  and see what he does. First, he barks. Next he goes to the door (this is all good). The other person has now knocked two times loudly (bang, bang, bang). If he has not come back to get me, I pull his leash and say, “Toby, come. ” If he comes, we both go to the door with him at my left side, he sits and I open the door.

Right now, he barks, goes to the door, looks back at me and starts to come back. We are working on his  coming all the way to me, nudging me and we go to the door. Practice, practice! Without his leash, when we are not training, he barks and goes to the door. When I call to him, “Toby, come,” he responds part way and returns to the door. Once we get this done correctly with and without the leash, we will move on to other doors, with me not in the same room, and so forth.

On his own, he has come to where I am when the tea kettle is whistling and the over timer is buzzing. He has it in him and he loves the praise! When we are all done practicing, I take off the leash and call him my wonder dog! Then we play.