Puppy Love

IMG_2225Five weeks ago, I brought home my new puppy girl after a whirlwind 30-hour adventure to Reno and back. My new collie companion is named Ayrabelle (Air-uh-bell), which in Scottish—the home country of collies—means “prayerful . . . beautiful . . . loving.” What a fitting name for this spunky yet gentle pup! Two hours after I met her in the Reno airport, Ayrabelle crossed her paws and fell asleep on my lap during the turbulent flight to Seattle. Doesn’t she look “prayerful”? (Shhh . . . don’t tell any airline folks that I took her out of her soft-sided carrier.) IMG_2109

So much prayer went into my finding Ayrabelle and I am beyond grateful for your prayers after my agonizing loss of Logan. I can hardly believe that he passed six months ago! I plan to train Ayrabelle for puppy therapy to visit hospitals, care facilities, schools, etc. More and more I am sensing the need to give back to others and my community. I know I will have more stories to tell in the months and years ahead.

In the meantime, I want to share a few darn cute photos of Ayrabelle, also affectionately known as Piranha Puppy. Her baby teeth are razor sharp and I feel like my recent vocabulary has reduced to two words that I bark out repeatedly: “No chew.”

IMG_2170Here’s to believing that good things DO come to those who wait. In this process of waiting and searching for the right-fit dog for me, I’ve found greater respect for the lamenting and honesty in the Psalms. David and the other psalmists remind us that it’s okay to grieve and long for better times. Waiting is interwoven in resiliency. “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord, hear my voice . . . I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:1-2, 5).

If you are in an in-between time of waiting for answers to your prayers, take heart in knowing that Ayrabelle, my prayerful pup, is ready to cross her paws for you. Me too.

IMG_2269Brave and Resilient Tip #135: Good things DO come to those who wait!

Hmmm…look who has mud on her lips. Someone was digging in the backyard raised flowerbed where Logan loved to dig.

Let’s Talk

’Twas the Week Before Christmas

Q. What can I picture this week to keep myself restful on the inside and focused on the real reason for celebrating?

A. Let’s Talk! My very favorite Scripture verse about Christmas that helps me is a word picture found in Luke 1:35: “The angel answered and said to her [Mary], ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.’”

I don’t know about you, but I need overshadowing!! To be overshadowed by God is a beautiful picture and a beautiful promise of the blessing, power, rest, and authority that believers walk in.

Isaiah 61:1 is another verse to keep us restful. These are Jesus’ words at the start of His ministry:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners.”

For Deeper Reflection

So, at the proclamation of Jesus’ birth to the first day of His advent—the Spirit was promised. Today the Holy Spirit is promised to overshadow and indwell all those who belong to Him. If you are not sure you belong to Him, and if you want to make sure, you can pray a simple prayer inviting Him into your heart and life.

Here is the assurance we have from 1 John 5:11-13:

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Enjoy this beautiful reason and we’ll talk in the New Year!

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com


”Pray for Us”

I’m overwhelmed and my words feel as if they are tumbling out and sliding off my keyboard. Another multiple-victim shooting in our country? Earlier today the horrors unfolded in San Bernardino, Calif., where I lived for more than a decade post-college. Last Friday just about eight miles from my home in Colorado, another mass shooting ripped into our collective psyche. “Close to home” reaches a deeper meaning for me.

prayer - candle in handsThe words brave and resilient are increasingly intermingled in news reports and interviews with government and community leaders. Now is not the time for me to share my opinions on these tragedies in America and around the world. Instead, I am dedicating this brief message to ask for us to pause and pray. Would you join me in praying right now for all the people affected by these senseless murders? One of the women in today’s shootings sent a text to her father: “Pray for us.”

Her three short, tangible words remind us to put our busyness on hold for even just 20 seconds and ask for healing and help for those injured and those traumatized by these merciless shootings. May the grieving loved ones right now sense the closeness of the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3) and may we never let these troubled acts become normal to us.

Bless you for blessing countless others through your heartfelt prayers.

Brave and Resilient Tip #126: Your prayers matter!

Paws for Prayer

During the summer before my sophomore year in college, a friend advised me, “Just be honest with God when you pray. He knows what you’re thinking and feeling anyway.” Hmmm. . . I had never thought that intently before about just conversing with God and letting Him in on my frustrations or fears or I-like-that-cute-guy confessions. Tell the Almighty anything and everything? Authentic, conversational prayers would be a brave adjustment from my familiarity of “professional prayers” mixed with a few Thees and Thous.

photoIt’s been a few years, okay, well, decades from that summertime chat with my friend, but her words still ring true. “Just be honest with God when you pray.” I’d add, be relaxed yet respectful. Talking with God is really about your relationship not a religious regimen. There are a plethora of resources out there on how to improve your prayer life, but I’d like to offer a few simple three-word prayers, which at times is all I can muster:

            • Help, God, help.     • Lord, help me.

            • I need strength.      • I’m sorry, God.

            • I need You.              • Thank You, Lord.

• You’re in control.   • You’re my strength.  • I love You.

• You’re with me.        • I trust You.              • You’re the best!

• Go, Huskers, go! (I do pray this one and I’m pretty sure God is involved in those successful Hail Mary passes.)

I find myself praying these succinct prayers while driving or waiting at traffic lights. Sometimes I mutter them when I’m sick or in a tense situation. No matter where we are, God just invites us to talk to Him honestly, simply—three words or thousand words at a time. And like the Psalmist David, we can exclaim: God did listen! Blessed be God! “But he most surely did listen, he came on the double when he heard my prayer. Blessed be God: he didn’t turn a deaf ear, stayed with me, loyal in his love” (Psalm 66:19-20, The Message).

What are some of your favorite three-word prayers?

Brave and Resilient Tip #101: Just talk with God in simple, honest words. Anytime. Anywhere.