Saturday, April 14, 2007

An Amazing Story: Diane and Gracie, the World’s First Italian Greyhound Service Dog

Motivational speaker, singer, and new author, Diane Dike’s body has been failing her for as long as she can remember. She eagerly wants answers. Then the call comes and she learns she has an incurable disease. This jolting news brings to the forefront the understanding that her days are numbered and sets Diane on a journey to discover what kind of life she can have now.

Grief and loss is experienced in many different ways. How one decides to deal with grief is unique to each individual.

I discussed with Diane Dike about her new books, The Adventures of Gracie and Diane and autobiography: God Made Only One of Me, that depict how she overcame her grief challenges while dealing with an incurable blood disease.

This is what Diane had to say.

Jewel: Hi Diane. Thank you for wanting to share a few of your insights on how to get through the challenges of grief through writing. How did you begin to get through the grief of never having a body that would function to meet your everyday needs?

Diane: Meeting my grief challenges began when I said a prayer and God gave me what I needed, rather than what I deserved. God helped Gracie and I find each other. I named my new Italian Greyhound companion Gracie because it was not long that I realized how incredibly blessed I am by God's grace. While Gracie has changed my life forever, she has also improved the quality of my life, as I try to overcome the challenges and circumstances of my earthly existence. Gracie plays a big part in my life’s story of overcoming the challenges that life gives you.

Jewel: Where did you get your ideas for your books ?
Diane: Everywhere we go people want to know about Gracie, the world's first Italian Greyhound Service Dog. I thought if I write a book I could tell our whole story rather than just giving glimpses at chance meetings with people. I even thought that maybe I could get my errands done faster if people already knew her amazing story.
Gracie has been an astounding source of help and I wanted to give God glory for His provision, and encourage children that God still answers prayers. The idea for Gracie's book series came from our many adventures together. The series will include topics about the values of friendship, love, and teamwork. I rescued Gracie and she rescued me right back. Children and parents alike will see how we cheer each other on as we overcome life’s challenges and "keep on keeping on" together.

Jewel: How long did it take to write each book?
Diane: Gracie's adventure book has about three years and my autobiography has taken me a lifetime to write.

Jewel: How long will it be before your books are available?
Diane: The Adventures of Gracie & Diane is set to publish in, June 2007. The autobiography, God Made Only One of Me, is set to be out this summer 2007. Book orders are being accepted now through my website.

Jewel: What do you think is the secret to your success?
Diane: Working hard, learning to ask for help and praying constantly. Furthermore, by not giving up I am able to transcend my suffering and overcome my challenges. I realize more and more all that I would have missed if I had given up.

Jewel: What inspires you as an author?
Diane: The Bible is my main source of inspiration and edifying music. Others who have triumphed over challenges to make a difference for the good also inspire me.

Jewel: Please describe your typical writing day.
Diane: Sometimes I do not sleep well. So, I often work all nightlong writing, editing, answering emails, and networking. If I do sleep, I get up by 6 am, read my devotions, and get going on all of the above.

Jewel: Do you have a favorite place to write?
Diane: I would like to say I write from the mountaintops of Vail and by the seashore as the surf gently rolls in. But I really write best in bed where I can control the variables that can cause me serious health complications. I have two air purifiers, my blankets, and my alert dog; I am ready to go.

Jewel: What do your surroundings look like as you write?
Diane: I have huge windows that look out over the Vail Valley of Colorado. I can see the ski runs, trees changing colors and the RV's rolling down the highway on there way to adventures untold. We have a beautiful park across the street where Gracie makes me take breaks. We walk around the trout filled pond, throw a stick or ball, enjoy the waterfall and then we come home for a treat.

Jewel: Do you have some advice you wish to share with other writers?
Diane: Don't give up. We all have a story to tell. If writing isn't your gift then find someone to help you. Or maybe your gift is singing, writing a letter of sympathy, or encouragement. Whatever your gift is, use it; and share it freely with others. The world will be a better, richer place because of it and you will be happier too!

Jewel: Do you have a humorous story regarding your writing that you want to share?
Diane: Just that God has a great sense of humor. Instead of a healing, I get to be the only woman in the world walking around with a dog strapped to my chest for medical reasons. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind! When we ride our special bike down the road and Gracie has her Doogles on you can read people’s lips saying, “Wow, cool bike is, that, that is a dog awwwww.”

Jewel: Do you plan to write another book? Or are you going on tour?
Diane: My mom was just diagnosed with cancer. She is fighting for her life right now. So Paul and I are selling our home and heading to Florida and try to help my mom and dad.

I spoke at my alumni, Warner Southern College's chapel service about two months ago. The Lord has opened up doors there and we are very excited. We are already getting orders for the books and interest from all over the world. Word of mouth has been powerful. Last month I gave my testimony, as I visited prisons R.V. parks, school programs, and many churches. I am thankful that Gracie and I were graciously welcomed at all places and God saw fit to use us. Fifteen prisoners gave their life to the Lord and twenty-four came forward for prayer. I will not soon forget that experience!

We do plan to continue writing the Gracie Adventures series. There will be six stories in the first sequence. Our team in Florida is setting up a non-profit organization called, "Second Chances."

We are looking for corporate sponsors to help with funding so we can travel to hospitals. We hope to give the children who are suffering Gracie's book, a Gracie Beanie Baby and CD's or DVD's so, in the middle of the night when they are feeling lonely or afraid, they can look down at their Gracie toy and listen to her story to be reminded that if Gracie can do it, then they can too. Gracie and I know all too well how sad and lonely being stuck in the hospital can be as the world seems to go on without you. We all need affirmations that we matter, that people care about us, and God is counting on us to accomplish what He sent us here to do. It is never too late, you are never too old and you are never too sick to glorify Him with your life.

I believe that each of us has a purpose and plan in life: It is my calling in life to bring encouragement, hope, and love to others. With Gracie’s help, God has given me a new lease on life and the inspiration to do this, along with my wonderful husband. We are doing the most we can with the second chance we have been given. Hope to see you somewhere along the road--soon!

Jewel: Thank you for sharing with readers a few of your insights on how to get through the challenges of grief and loss. May you continue to be blessed as you embark on your journey.

Diane, Paul and Gracie are a dynamic team strongly motivated to share their personal Christian experience with others with the hope it will encourage them to never give up, to accept their situation, and to rejoice with the understanding that real life living is with God’s help. To order her books go to Diane's home pages.

No comments: