Friday, November 30, 2007

Our Thera-Wennie!

It is official! Gracey is the newest addition to the Rehabilitation Therapy Dog team at Hendrick Medical Center. I have been waiting for this opportunity for years since I was blessed at the hospital with therapy dogs back in 2003. I knew Gracey was sensitive enough to be around hurting people because she experienced a lot of medical events with me going through Chemo and being sick and weak. So I filled out an application and spoke with the directors and commenced the process of getting Gracey ready for evaluation.

Most people assume a therapy dog is one who visits sick people in the hospital. And although Gracey may cheer up others, her main task is to aid them in actual rehabilitation therapy. For example there will be many victims of stroke and she will be able to allow them to pet her while they stretch and build up muscles that have not been used. Instead of simply raising their arm to exercise, they will have something cuddly and soft to focus on. Some patients will also be learning to speak again. Gracey will perhaps be on their lap and they will point and say, “Ears, tail, or paw.” The opportunity we have to bless people is endless. She will even have her own badge and bandanna that will say “Gracey” on it!

Last night was Gracey’s evaluation. We were to demonstrate our ability to work as a team in front of 7 people. I would give commands and she would obey. They told us to walk in to a non-slip mat on the floor in one of the rehabs gyms. From there they asked us to execute about 15-20 different commands and would observe Gracey. Some of them were like, her sitting and staying while a walker or wheelchair went by. She had to be in a down (on her belly) position while I was 6 feet away and she was to stay for 3 minutes. They also tested her character and even had a HUGE dog there to see what she would do. They were to walk and then sit by each other. They also had to test her to see what she would do if startled. They told me to have her in a down position and then they dropped something loud behind her. They said if she jumped up to put her back in position and then she should be commanded to stay there for a minute. There are something’s to work on, but overall she did well.

I had so much fun! They sent us out to later be brought back in to the panel introduced as the newest therapy team! I don’t think I have been happier about something in a long time!

She will need to do standard training and will be on probation for 6 months like all the dogs are. We go in on Monday for our first training day and I am beyond excited. I know this is an opening for a way to serve the Lord and I plan to remember this is a reflection of His love.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm a Year Older

When you are younger, birthdays accompany endless excitement and wonder. You’d wake up with expected recognition of who you were. You knew at least your parents would perhaps spoil you just a little. And maybe, just maybe, you would get that special something you really desired. Our family consisted only of my mom, dad, and sister. There were no Aunts and Uncles, Grandmother or Grandfathers, and no cousins around. They were all back in Hungary where my mom and dad originally came from. We were a simple non-perfect family just like everyone else. So when holidays and birthday’s came it was a big deal. We were a big deal and I liked it. My mom tried extremely hard and succeeded at gifts, decorations, and food and cake. We didn’t have much money, so going out or ordering pizza on my birthday was joyous.

I just had another birthday and still feel excitement, but it is not the same. I am dreading getting older. I just turned 27! Twenty-Seven?!! How did this happen? Have you seen the Friends episode where Joey freaks out when they all turn 30? That’s how I feel. I am shocked! It is not that I am upset. I feel like I have lived my years well, but I am not anywhere near ready to be 30. There is so much I wanted or expected during this time of my life.

I don’t feel like I need to accomplish certain criteria to feel good about myself. But there are some things I long for, like motherhood, that gnaws at my soul. And every year that goes by with birthdays and holidays and feels like something is missing. I am trying desperately to hold onto the promise I was made, but sometimes it feels like I have been waiting forever. But I know I am not the only one or the only situation.

When we approach the 30 mark we ought to comprehend reality whether it be something we want to accept or not. On my birthday Bryan brought me out to Red Robin and a friend of his, a waiter, stopped by to say “hi.” He was updating us on his life and what was going on and began to explain he was waiting on God. He looked at us and said something that I am still honored to hear. He said, “I am just waiting on God to tell me what He wants me to do. Whatever it is, whether it is even working here for the rest of my life, I am ready to know that and accept it and praise Him. I just want confirmation that what I do is where He wants me.”

Maybe this is another puzzle piece to wisdom.
Surrendering without bitterness.

*Bryan and I made and decorated my cake. We messed up a little with not being able to get it out of the mold, but it was still yummy enough to eat!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tears

"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer. Only very few realized that." (Frankl, p. 100)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Unique

"When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden." (Frankl, p. 99)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nietzsche's Words

"Nietzsche's words, 'He who has a why to to live for can bear with almost any how.'" (Frankl, p. 97)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hope and Courage

"Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind and man- his courage and hope, or lack of them- and the state of immunity of his body will understand that the sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect. The ultimate cause of my friend's death was that the expected liberation did not come and he was severely disappointed. This suddenly lowered his body's resistance against the latent typhus infection. His faith in the future and his will to live had become paralyzed and his body feel victim to the illness- and thus the voice of his dream was right after all." (Frankl, p. 96,97)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meaning

"What does Spinoza say in his Ethics? - 'Affectus, qui passio est, desinit esse passio simulatque eius claram et distinctam formamus ideam.' Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it." (Frankl, p. 95)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Think to the Future

"It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future- sub specie aeternitatis. And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task." (Frankl, p. 94)

My "goal" and "future" is heaven and eternity with God. When we concentrate on the eternal, we know that we are never done or complete. God has something for us if we are still here, and we are obligated to allow Him that honor.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Growth

"Regarding our "provisional existence" as unreal was in itself an important factor in causing the prisoners to lose their hold on life; everything in a way became pointless. Such people forget that often it is just such an exceptionally difficult situation which gives man the opportunity to grow spiritually beyond himself." (Frankl, p. 93)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Worthy Suffering

"Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity- even under the most difficult circumstances - to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish.Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or forgo the opportunities pf attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his suffering or not." (Frankl, p. 88)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Human Freedom

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance, to chose one’s own way.” (Frankl, p. 86)


There is great power in thinking and feeling through things that are uncomfortable.
In these moments you grow.
You grow either with hatred and anger,
or you grow with love and peace.
We just have to be willing to allow ourselves to feel through our ignorance.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Immeasurable


“Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation. It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.” (Frankl, p. 63)

“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of trick learned while mastering the art of living. Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent. To draw an analogy; a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.” (Frankl, p. 64)

I have come to a realization that pain is pain. No one can measure it. No one can say, “My pain is more than yours.” One who has pain, feels it everywhere. That is why I appreciate the analogy Viktor makes in the second quote.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Greatest Thing is Love

“A thought transfixed me; for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth- that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart; The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in position of action, when his only achievement may consist on enduring his sufferings in the right way- an honorable way- in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carried of his beloved achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”” (Frankl, p. 57)

It has been proved over and over through God’s words and in the experiences of man, that love is the ultimate remnant and goal of ones existence. When everything is taken away, when life is not going the way planned, when illness or death strikes unexpectedly, when money is not plentiful, when the injustices of the world are upon you, when all else is stolen or taken away, love still remains. It is a choice we make to acknowledge it. It is the decision made when we accepted Jesus and decided to live for Him. We are a demonstration of His love, both to accept it and live it. If we can truly recognize this and live it, I am convinced we can live through any circumstance good or bad.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Inspiration


In college I accidentally stumbled upon a book called Man’s search for Meaning. I was given an assignment in a counseling class to study a specific type or area of therapy and I headed to the ACU library and unknowingly grabbed Viktor’s book off the shelf. I say “unknowingly” because if I knew how much the book would affect me and how popular it’s contents is, I would have immediately chosen it to accomplish my project with without hesitation. I read it almost within one session and began to formulate my interpretation and opinion on the experiences written.

See, Viktor Frankl is a holocaust survivor. He was imprisoned at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp and fought physically to stay alive. But more than this, he battled with his emotions and his psychological health. In the end, it was the effort he made mentally that saved him and allowed him to encourage other physiologists and sufferers.

His book is divided into two sections, with a later copy adding a third part (which I did not read at that time). The first section, the largest, talks bluntly about his experiences in camp and how he mentally struggled through day after day of complete horror and brutality. The second section speaks of Logotherapy, Viktor’s contribution to modern existentialism. He determined man could survive with giving meaning to life and suffering. In the preface (and I notice this deep statement shadows the rest of the books enlightened depth) it states:

But these moments of comfort do not establish the will to live unless they help the prisoner make larger sense out of his apparently senseless suffering. It is here that we encounter the central theme of existentialism: to live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. If there is purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and dying.” (Frankl, p.11)

In the concentration camp every circumstance conspires to make the prisoner lose his hold. All the familiar goals on life are snatched away. What alone remains is “the last of human freedom’s” – the ability to “choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” (Frankl, p.12)

When first reading Man’s Search for Meaning, I saw wisdom in the words on each page. I always remembered the impact it had on me and wondered what it would be like to read it today after I experienced suffering and death. It was nothing to the extent of Viktor’s trials, but I too had questioned and searched for my meaning in the midst of immense struggle. I was at the depths of sorrow wondering many things about existence. I too decided, like Viktor, we give meaning to our life through the things we chose to believe. I had to believe, with Natalie’s death, with my illness, and with other hard times, that there was purpose to my pain.

I am slowly reading through this book again and will be posting quotes from it. I challenge you to read them, not just browse through them. They are inspiring words from a man whose life exemplifies perseverance.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bryan's New and Improved Blogspot

My husband is going to start blogging again. Here is his new and improved site! I helped him work on his header. Check it out! (www.bryanbrigham.blogspot.com)


Friday, November 02, 2007

Does Cuteness Sell?

Bryan is selling his car and I made some really cute flyer's today...



Let's see if cuteness sells!

If you are looking for some great movies to rent here are a couple of my top choices:

Flyboys: Based on WWI, American pilots fight for the French before America enters the war. A true story without any violent language or inappropriate sexual conduct.

Transformers: I know it may sound stupid, but this was really a great movie. They did well with the special affects and story line. I actually laughed a lot at this movie. It was funny.

One Night With The King: An excellent story about Esther. It portrays a wonderful view of her struggle with obeying God even though it may jeopardize her safety. I love this movie so much.

the Nativity: The way the exemplify Joseph and Mary in this film truly shows their trial and dilemma. I cried a lot during this film and appreciated the perspective of the characters.

The Ultimate Gift: A story about a grandfather who leaves his grandson a part of his will. But before he can receive it he must carry out several tasks that will lead to the Ultimate Gift. It is a great story based on Christian love.

Amazing Grace: This story takes place during the peak of the slave trade. One man decides to stand up for justice concerning the abuse and neglect towards God's people...no matter what race they are. Definitely a tear jerker. It is a little long, but it is worth watching and you don't seem to notice how much time goes by.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

One exciting past week!


Bryan was injured at work the other day. He tore a tendon out of his muscle.
It was a lot of pain, but the doctors seem to think surgery is not necessary. He
has been doing a lot better since it happened and we feel like he will be
recovered soon. But he wont be running for a while. Which is sad because
he was training to run the 10k at this years Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in Dallas.

We are Sox fans and wore our gear on their play days. Boston won the world series this year!

Olivia, Bryan, Sky (David's Fiance), and David (Bryan's brother) eating at Olive Garden.