A Year-End Conversation with My Dog, Abbey

[Copied from my first blog. Originally posted on December 26, 2011.]

So, Abbey, as you look back over 2011, have there been any significant changes in your life?

     I guess the most significant change in my life is that I’ve changed my attitude toward sneaking out for a walk. I know it makes you and Mim worry whenever I go out by myself, so I decided I don’t need to worry you. I can be just as happy inside with my Grandmas petting me as I can be outside following Gary Gopher’s scent to yet another gopher hole. Occasionally I lapse back into my old attitude and slip out the door, but not very often. How about you? Did you make any changes in your life in 2011?

     Well, yes, I did. I tried to make one significant change on January 1, 2011. I committed to read and write every day in the journaling version of the Jesus Calling devotional book by Sarah Young.

Were you successful? Did you read and write every day? And, did it make any difference in your life?

To answer your last question first, I’d say yes. The common theme of the daily devotions in Jesus Calling is to be constantly aware that God loves me and is right beside me every day. To be reminded of Jesus being right there to help me with whatever comes my way every single day was very helpful in increasing my awareness of God’s presence with me. It’s definitely an attitude changer. In answer to your other question, did I read and write every single day? Not quite. A few days I couldn’t get to it early in the morning, and sometimes I got to it later in the day, sometimes I didn’t. I also got tired of writing my thoughts in response to the reading for the day. I probably won’t do a journaling devotional again. But I’ll definitely commit to reading from another daily devotional book next year.

I sometimes wish I could read, especially when I see you and Mim get so excited about something you’re reading. But I guess God has given us different gifts. You don’t get to sit next to your favorite people and feel them petting you in silence for hours at a time.

I sometimes wish I could just sit still for a long time like you, but there seem to always be things I need to do. One of the new things I started doing in 2011 is playing the piano for the women’s worship service in the County Jail. In February I started playing the piano in jail twice a month. Last week when I was there, we had to wait about 15 minutes after the service was over before a guard came to escort the women back to their cell block. While we were waiting one of the women asked me if I knew the song, “Dona Nobis Pacem.” I said that I’d heard it, but I didn’t have the music for it. I suggested that we go to the piano together and I’d try to pick it out with her singing it. After we did that song, other women joined us and a spontaneous Christmas Carol Sing-along broke out. It was so much fun!

That sounds like fun. I wish I could have gone with you. I bet some of those women would have liked to pet me. We work together pretty well. Why don’t you ask the chaplain if I can come along next time?

     I don’t think that would be approved, Abbey. They’re pretty strict in the jail. I have a hard enough time getting a songbook past the guards. I’m sure I couldn’t bring a dog along. But you’re right, we do work together well. This blog is a perfect example of that. I started writing this blog in April. That’s one of the best new things I did in 2011. I have fun writing almost every Monday morning to share some reflections with all the friends of Whispering Winds Retreat Haven. But occasionally, I have a hard time figuring out what to write about. And without fail, whenever that happens, you jump right in and help me write it. Thanks, Abbey, I really appreciate your help.

     You’re welcome. I like to write, too. That’s one of my favorite new things of 2011. Do you think we should start any new things in 2012?

     I have a suggestion for you, Abbey. How would you like to commit to not stealing any more food off the kitchen counter? That kringle you stole from the counter yesterday was not good for you, and Mim and I and the Grandmas really wanted to eat it ourselves. We would have given you a taste. Why did you take the whole thing?

     Oh, was that kringle ever good! I couldn’t really help myself. Once I took the first bite, I knew I had to eat it all. I’m not sure I’m really sorry that I did it. I am sorry that there wasn’t any more for you, but I’m really glad I got to eat it, too. I’m not sure about making any New Year’s resolutions about something like that.

     Well, you have a few days before New Year’s Day. Just think about it… And, thanks again for your help in writing this blog.

You’re welcome. My pleasure. I’m glad we had this little talk. It’s good to think back over last year to think about the changes we’ve made in our lives. Maybe we should have another talk about things we might want do do next year. I’ll start thinking about that.

2 comments (0 new) | Add a New Comment
1. Diane Iverson | December 26, 2011 at 03:59 PM EST [ delete ]

What a great blog reminding us how special our nonhuman friends are to us! Abbey sounds alot like a dog we once had – his name was Toma and we got him as a puppy and he lived to be 18 1/2 years old. Toma got into everything, especially food, and after Toma was gone, I vowed that all dogs we adopted would have to be adult dogs and not puppies, who are much more mischiveous. Happy New Year to you both and Mim too. See you at church, Diane

2. Beth Mickelson | December 27, 2011 at 02:47 PM EST [ delete ]

Marian,

This is such a wonderful \”end of the year\” blog. Your blogs have meant so much and I continue to get such pleasure in reading them. Thank you so much for this gift. You have a God given talent in your desire and ability to write so very well. I will continue to look forward to you stories and thoughts in 2012.

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