Friday, January 30, 2015

When doing what's right hurts more than ignoring reality

Yesterday I took our sweet rescue dog Fendi to the veterinarian's office for her annual check up. She was her usual anxious self in the car as we rode. I  was used to her being a bundle of nerves outside our home. The  pet adoption agency where we rescued her said she was picked up roaming the busy streets in the North Metro Atlanta area.

When we adopt a dog we assume there has been some sort of abuse issues. She was fearful and edgy until she felt safe inside our home. Then she quickly became affectionate and grateful.

At the same time I was leery of her fearful anxiety, but I didn't realize I was getting use to it, too. Probably because when she was inside our home with us she was affectionate, obedient, playful and a cozy snuggler. She was that way with Don and me and with our daughters when they came to visit. She adored us and we adored her!

Fendi was definitely a four-legged member of our family

Fendi Balint playing board game with her family.

Fendi snuggling with our daughter Mary

Our daughter Grace with her buddy Fendi

Fendi loved to snuggle with me in my early morning reading

Until our visit yesterday morning I didn't know I  was ignoring little signs of her aggression. The doctor and staff all noticed it. Fendi bit the doctor and the doctor had not touched her. When they tried to put a muzzle on her so they could care for her she got more heated. Then I tried to put it on her and she aggressively tried to bite me.They even tried to sedate her so they could help her. Fendi was out of control in fear and anxiety. It was a very difficult day. Fendi was frightened and irrational.

The doctors and staff had been generously and patiently working with Fendi and me for months to help her calm down about coming to the office. They were trying to help me teach Fendi she could trust people, since she was clearly abused before we adopted her. They told me yesterday all the work and love was not working. They all agreed she was getting more aggressive.  It was heart breaking. It was a terrible trial and I'm not going to go into all that happened. I will say that after I called Don and told him about the reality of her condition we sadly realized the best thing to do was to put her down.
My guy Don with a cozy Fendi  ... within a week of her adoption

I realize now that I was just used to her passive aggression because she was such a joy for us inside our home. But I heard God telling my heart -- through what I was experiencing and what the medical staff was telling me yesterday -- that she's in internal, mental angst from her tormented past and it's getting worse. I didn't know then that she was in this dark condition when we adopted her but God's grace and our love for her subdued some of that aggression for a while. I guess since she was getting into biting more and more it was God's way of saying, "Let her go now." The staff told me it was obvious we gave her so much love and happiness.  They tried to gently warn me that her issue is serious and we could have big problems later.

 Whenever someone came to our front door -- a French door --  she went ballistic trying to scratch through the door to get the person she saw standing on our front porch. She was loud and very aggressive. I see in a new way that God used us to create a loving world for her inside our home and she did not want any "intruders" in this sweet world to take it away and abuse her.
Our daughter Mary and Fendi snuggling again

When we took her for a daily walk she was anxious and loud. The doctor explained it was like Fendi was saying to the outside world who tormented her and abused her, "I'm going to get you before you hurt me." That's how pitiful it was for Fendi outside our home. She was in misery.

Fendi is insisting Grace let her join her in her stretches after a her yoga workout

In our home she was loved, She was well-trained and I taught her cute tricks. So the fact that her aggression had increased meant she was mentally unstable. Finally we realized it was a red flag for us. We are living in a neighborhood community with lots of children playing in the streets!  

The day we decided to adopt Fendi

Before the eyes of our God we had to be responsible for Fendi's behavior. Don and I could not let this continue to accelerate into who knows what?  No, putting her down was the right thing to do in our case. Fendi is no longer in her pitiful angst, either. Yes, doing the right thing really does hurt a whole lot more than ignoring the reality of Fendi's situation. 

But we trust God will be pleased that we did what was best, not what we initially desired. We have a responsibility to honor God toward our neighbors and in our community. The pain of loss remains for now. We'll leave the rest to God.

For HIS glory,
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!" Psalm 34:3

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Missionary of Woodmont Needs Our Prayers Now

Nora Joiner is on staff at Woodmont Golf & Country Club as the housekeeper but she's really so much more than her official title there. Nora is a humble, absolutely selfless woman of God who consistently goes-the-extra mile to meet someone's need. She doesn't just dust and vacuum, she voluntarily climbs to the top of (too tall) ladders to replace light bulbs, cleans up litter blowing along the sidewalks, mops and scrubs walls, floors, and toilets. Iv'e seen Nora touch-up nicks and spots on walls with a small can of paint she purchased herself. She "keeps house" all over the entire country club area: from the tennis courts to the two swimming pool areas. I've seen her drive a golf cart across the busy intersection of Gaddis Rd. and East Cherokee Dr. to do some cleaning at the pool area. Shall I go on? Her work ethic is stellar and consistent. 

Anyone who knows her in our sprawling neighborhood is fully aware of her kind and gentle spirit, servant's heart and passion for God and prayer. Her office is a closet in the clubhouse but it's also a prayer closet for her as she prays for fellow employees, club members and residents who pop in the dining room for a quick bite of lunch.
 Nora Joiner in her supply closet that she also uses as her prayer closet at 
Woodmont Golf & Country Club. She has Bible verses posted around her closet.
It's to reminder herself where her strength comes from and that He'll keep helping her.

Nora always takes time with club members whether they are asking her to pray for them or whether she is inquiring about their families. Yep. That's Nora. Kind. Thoughtful. Beloved. 

In fact I'm sure she has no idea how many of us at Woodmont adore her. Adore her heart. Adore her as a person. Yep. It's true. 

And now Nora needs our prayers. Last Monday she had a colonoscopy and doctors found a mass on her colon. Surgery is scheduled to remove the cancerous mass, a portion of her colon and her appendix on Thursday, January 22. When Nora shared the news with me I asked her if I could let the "troops" know so they could be praying. She said in her humble manner, "Yes, that would be all right. Thank you."

The "troops" I was referring to were the countless number of women who attended one of the sessions of Woodmont Ladies Bible Study from 2000-2009. There are a bunch of us who have gathered over the years at the studies, whether we met in the clubhouse, the ladies' locker room or Cherokee Hall. Nora stopped by as often as she could and often would be cleaning where we were. She rarely could stay the whole time because she was working or on a short break. 
Woodmont Ladies Bible Study, 2003. Nora is in middle row, second from right, shoulder-length hair, navy hoodie.

Even Nora's fellow Woodmont employees knew when our study was gathering because they would ask her just before the study started, "Nora, I know your study is today, will you ask the ladies for pray for me?" Honestly. They knew she loved and trusted her God! That's quite a testimony of her gentle but powerful influence. And when she showed up she'd tell us who was asking for prayer. We were thankful for the privilege to pray, too. Pretty cool, huh? This went on for the nine years I hosted the study! 
Woodmont Ladies Bible Study, 2004 
Nora is seated front row, second from left.

And that's how we started calling her the Missionary of Woodmont. She knows the names of so many members and she's watched our children grow up! She scatters God's love all over the entire neighborhood. Now it's our turn to pour out love and prayers for her! 

May God be glorified in restoring her health!


can be dropped off at the Woodmont Clubhouse offices of: Hannah Hilton, Woodmont 

Membership & Social Director,( and/or Patricia 

Gaskins, Woodmont Club accountant, ( They will 

collect donations (cash or checks made our to Nora Joiner) and secure them for the family.

If you would like to send Nora a card of encouragement:
Nora Joiner
129 Sequoyah Circle
Canton, GA 30115