Our New Home

Our New Home
Fall is in the air!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Spunk is Back...


I am glad to report that we made it through the adverse weather front that moved through our area last week!  My cell phone suddenly died on Friday so we had to venture out to the local ATT store to get a new one as I didn’t want to be without a phone!  The young man at the store who was born and raised here, told me that he had never seen it as cold as it had been.  The only difficulty we experienced was trying to get my wife and her chair around in the snow.  I quickly came to learn that accumulated snow and ice don’t mix real well with a wheel chair!
After manhandling her over and through the snow on the sidewalks a few times, I finally got my flat shovel and cleared the walkway from our door to the parking lot.  It was actually kind of fun… but I sure felt it the next day!  I have since talked to the maintenance folks and they assured me that they will make a point to keep our walkway free as much as possible.  Our building doesn’t get much sun in the front, so the snow and ice tend to stick around longer than the entrances to the other buildings.
Like I said though, all in all it was an interesting experience that was definitely different than what we were used to in northern California.  I am thankful that it doesn’t snow too much in our locale and I am sure that we’ll get used to it.  One night the temperature, when combined with the wind chill factor, got down to about -3 degrees.  During the day last Thursday we reached a high temperature of 17 degrees.  But we still got out for a few abbreviated walks.  I figure that since we are here that I’m not going to let the weather dictate what we can and cannot do!
I got a good laugh after the initial shock when we returned home from the Cell Phone shop.  I had stored up the trash from the previous few days since we couldn’t walk all the way across the complex to the trash compactor.  I had filled a couple of 13 gallon trash bags and was going to drop them off on the way to the ATT store but in my haste forgot to bring them.  So you guessed it…  Our happy helper dog helped herself to the delicacies inside one of the bags and spread its contents all around the front rooms!
I was in a good mood to begin with so I did not get too upset… but the dog sure made a beeline to the safety of the bedroom as soon as we walked in!  Since it is easier to back my wife’s chair in and out of the front door, she had her back to the scene before me.  Taking advantage of that situation, I began reciting an animated description of what “her dog” did and then dramatically spun her chair around so she could see for herself.  Piper’s reaction was priceless, especially when you consider that the Alzheimer’s has greatly reduced her vocal interactions.  She took one look at the mess and broke out into a big smile and simply, but with great expression uttered “Ah-Ha!”
It was so typical of the spontaneous old Piper that I practically fell on the floor and rolled over with laughter!  After that I couldn’t be upset anymore and spent the next half hour giggling while cleaning up the floor!
I think that our first reactions to the incidents of life have everything to do with the way we see our world around us!  The event with the dog on Friday really helped me to get back on track.  The crazy weather and the potential interruptions to our daily routine, combined with some rough mornings for my wife and not a lot of sleep for me, had done a number on my normally joyful and positive disposition.  Not that I was throwing in the towel or anything, but it all just made for some difficult skirmishes inside of me.
Piper’s light-hearted reaction to the pile of coffee grinds, torn napkins and other yucky things on the floor quickly brought me back to remembrance of how we have always lived our married lives together and handled the pressures that came along the way!  It reminded me of the countless times when things look like they were going to explode and she would flash her infectious grin and break into a chorus of “Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord !”
Many times I would grunt and groan in immediate response… but that would just encourage her to sing a little louder until I relented and with clinched teeth, join her in song.  Then within a matter of moments we would both be laughing and we’d join hands and walk forth into the throne room of Papa God in prayer.
Philippians 4:7-8 tells us that “if there be any praise think on these things.”  Those things being that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report… in other words, think on what the Word of God says about what you’re going through!  Hebrews 13:15 talks about continually offering up “the sacrifice of praise…” (both references - KJV)  Over the years I have come to appreciate the inherent power behind the praise that comes from our lips… especially when we don’t feel like uttering praises!
One of my favorite scriptures that I confess over my wife multiple times a day from our tattered and well-worn pages of healing scriptures is from Job 33:24-25.  I have personalized it into a statement from Papa God to my wife declaring that “I have provided a ransom (or atonement) for you and therefore your flesh and in particular your brain and everything and anything that has anything to do with it, is in the process of becoming fresher than a child’s and you are returning as unto the healthy days of your youth.”  One night after speaking it out, I had the thought that if I could summarize my impression of Piper when I first met her as a 16 year old youth, how would I characterize her.  And without any hesitation I stated aloud: “Spunky!”  Then I heard the voice of the Lord speak to my heart saying, “Well Jim, the spunk is back and better!”
Well, that word from the Lord has since become an important part of our daily confessions and continues to be a spark to my faith.  Piper’s spunky reaction to the mess the dog made confirmed and strengthen my resolve and refocused ALL my attention back onto Papa God and the truth of His Word.  Suddenly everything came clearly back into focus and without a doubt we had something to PRAISE Him about… even though all we could see was trash spread from the kitchen table to the couch in the living room!
What we saw didn’t matter anymore.  It was more important that we took more stock in the truth of the matter as described in God’s infallible Word and not in the distressful scene before us!  So join the “Spunk” and find yourself rejoicing today!  Let Piper’s spontaneous “Ah Ha!” be the igniter of spontaneous praise emanating from your lips!  Then you’ll have a great week and stay in tune to God’s Word… and through it all – don’t forget to keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

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