Thursday, February 28, 2008

Good News!

I've got some good news:

Our fundraising goal for "4 Paws For Ability, Inc." has been, my my best "accounting", MET! Now we just need our travel fund for training. As soon as I have "official" word and dates for our training in Ohio, I'll let you know!

Love, Claudia

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Power of Paradox

I just received an email from a remarkable man named Jim Harrell Jim has ALS and he, like me, feels that he is BLESSED to have ALS! To the world, we are fools. How could we be blessed with this illness?

Not coincidentally (I don't believe in coincidences), Jim contacte me via Randy Alcorn. Randy has written a phenomenal book simply entitled "Heaven" which I am studying with my church small group. I contacted Randy to get recommendations on books on Heaven for Christopher (Randy has written several children's books on Heaven as well and has a ministry called Eternal Perspective Ministries).

Jim and I are blessed by ALS. We are loosing our lives, but we are gaining our SOULS! Matthew 10:39 says, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Did you know that for every American who believes he's going to Hell, there are 120 who believe they are going to Heaven*? A legitimate question is "Why do you think that?". Is Heaven our default destination? The Bible says is is NOT. Matthew 7:13-14 says: "13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Romans 3:23-24 says, "23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

Do you know where YOU'RE going? I do. C. S. Lewis wrote:
"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." --A Grief Observed

Well, guess what? Being human is 100% fatal. I only know in advance that I may not live as long as you think you will. Think about it. The truth in the paradox....."Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Michael Card sings a song called "God's Own Fool"

The lyrics follow:

Seems I've imagined Him all of my life
As the wisest of all of mankind
But if God's Holy wisdom is foolish to men
He must have seemed out of His mind
For even His family said He was mad
And the priests said a demon's to blame
But God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane

When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong

And so we follow God's own fool
For only the foolish can tell-
Believe the unbelievable
And come be a fool as well
So come lose your life for a carpenter's son
For a madman who died for a dream
And you'll have the faith
His first followers had
And you'll feel the weight of the beam
So surrender the hunger to say you must know
Have the courage to say I believe
For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see

So we follow God's own Fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable,
And come be a fool as well

* K.Connie Kang, "Nest Stop, the Pearly Gates...or Hell?" Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2003

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Waiting for March 1st.....

Several of you have asked if we've finished fundraising for the dog yet. 4 Paws policy is that families can only request fundraising totals twice a month (on the 1st and 15th, otherwise we'd be calling and emaling 500 times a day...or at least I would!!!!). So I can't get an 'official' total again until March 1st. Of course, I KNOW about the $10,000 donation so I can mentally add that (giving the total of $13,348.53 listed below). My prayer is that we will have met our $14k goal on March 1st.

After our 4 Paws fundraising goal is met we will need to begin to work on chipping away at the $3000 travel expenses for training (we will be traveling, per contract with 4 Paws, with two additional adults, plus Christopher, myself and Amy .. and we'll be taking "our dog" (!) back to the hotel with us every night so we will be staying at the Residence Inn Beavercreek ...hence donations of Marriott points being welcome!).

Tax deductible gifts for travel can be sent to:

Congregation of the Covenants
c/o Malcolm Smith
6927 Thousand Oaks Lane
Indianapolis, IN 46214-3298

On the memo line, please designate for what your gift is to be used. A receipt will be mailed to you at the end of the year.

I promise an update on totals as soon as I get one!!!!!!!!! Thanks for your prayers, love and support. Hugs, Claudia

Saturday, February 16, 2008

We're Almost There

I am allowed to check totals at 4 Paws twice a month....on the 1st and the 15th. Friday (Feb. 15th) the total was $3,348.53. Obviously, that doesn't include the two $5000.00 checks that are in the mail!!! SO, that brings our total to $13,348.53 out of our needed $14,000..... $651.47 to go!

We also will need money for the two week stay in Ohio for training. Tax deductible gifts can be sent to:

Congregation of the Covenants
c/o Malcolm Smith
6927 Thousand Oaks Lane
Indianapolis, IN 46214-3298

On the memo line, please designate for what
your gift is to be used.
A receipt will be mailed to you at the end of the year.
We are getting excited! Love, Claudia

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

4 Paws 4 Christopher Closer to becoming a reality!

Thanks to two generous donors, we are now less than $2k from our fundraising goal for 4 Paws For Ability (original goal $14,000). This morning I received an email that two checks totalling $10,000 were being sent to 4 Paws in Christopher's honor! Additionally, $800 has been raised by Care Animal Hosptial here in Muncie and more than $1200 has come from sacrificial donations from individual donors. Now is the time for you to spread the word that all those "small donations" really will count! In addition to the $2k for 4 Paws, we need an additional $2k for the two week trip to training when we receive our dog (for details visit Don't stop praying! Thank you all for your great love and support!!!

I can't wait to post that we're "done" and assigned a training class... and then the day will come when we receive THE email introducing us to Christopher's 4-legged angel!

Love, Claudia

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Do you ever bang your head against a wall (proverbially, not literally I hope!)? I do. All the time! I spent the last couple of decades working hard to get better at what I did and to stay on top of all the changes in medicine, (literally) when I was flying: memorizing and understanding the physiology behind 126 pages (yes I said PAGES) of clinical guidelines so that my partner and I could autonomously care for the "sickest of the sick" without direct consultation with a physician. That was my JOB....and I LOVED it! I miss it. Striving. Working... harder, better, smarter. Every flight meticulously analyzed by peers, clinical manager, medical director (MD)and then often again by peers (at Flight Review). EVERY flight. Every chart... sometimes 20+ pages each... with every word, every trend in vital signs, every intervention scrutinized. Every flight was a learning experience... but one axiom held true: "You're only as good as your last flight". Striving.

Today I found myself feeling frustrated at a pattern of behavior that just doesn't seem "changeable". I was banging my head against a wall. This didn't feel like a learning experience. It just felt frustrating. I found myself thinking, "This isn't going to get better!" and I feel like nothing I do will change it! GRRRRR. Then I opened my email to find the following "Prime Time With God" devotion from Ephesians Four Ministries. It doesn't speak directly to the issue I face, but it does speak to the issue of human striving and our need -- no, our OBLIGATION -- to be totally dependent on God... and THERE is the power for HIM, not in US!

I hope if you're struggling today that this will speak to you like it did to me. Love, Claudia

Today's Prayer
Dear God, Your Word [instructs] me to cast my cares upon you. Oh how I want to do that, to bring all my cares to you and leave them at your feet. I do not want to be a worrier, but one whose faith is strong to trust you. I want to bring those burdens and concerns to you, and not keep picking them up and worrying about them. May this year be one of spiritual breakthrough in my life and in the lives of those I love. May our lives be filled with joy and peace through your Spirit. May you be the center and the heart of our homes. May we be more Christlike and less like the world in our everyday lives. Help us and have mercy upon us, dear God. Please forgive us of our sins and guide our steps. In Jesus' name, amen.

Withholding Your Natural Gifting
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power" (1 Corinthians 2:3-5).

In the work world, we are trained to press through obstacles, no matter the cost. However, perseverance that is not directed by the Holy Spirit is only sweat and toil. We must learn to walk the fine line between these two concepts. On this subject of relying on our human strength, Watchman Nee wrote:

"I believe many people are so rich and strong that they give no ground for God to work. I frequently recall the words, 'helpless and hopeless.' I must tell God, 'all that I have is yours, I myself have nothing. Apart from you I am truly helpless and hopeless. We need to have such a dependent attitude toward God that it is as if we cannot inhale or exhale without Him. In this way we shall see that our power as well as our holiness all comes from Him. Oh how God delights in seeing us coming hopeless and helpless to Him. A brother once asked me, 'What is the condition for the working of the Spirit?' To which I replied that . . . the Holy Spirit must first bring us to a place where we can do nothing by ourselves."

Of course, God gives us our natural skills and He will use them, although it can be hard at times to tell whether it is God working through us or if it is our natural skill alone making things happen. We need to try to distinguish the difference even as we resist over-analyzing (which can result in paralysis by analysis).

The apostle Paul understood that it was not his ability to deliver eloquent sermons that changed people. It was the power of God working through him. If God?s power comes through our work, that brings glory to the Father.

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