Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

I grew up in the very small town of Janesville, CA which is located about 83 miles north of Reno, NV. After graduating high school I moved to Reno and worked at various jobs. Decided that the lifestyle was not my cup of tea. I was adrift not knowing what I wanted to do and had no money. So, I joined the Army! At that point in my life it was the best decision, I needed discipline, guidance and a renewal of my confidence and self-worth. While stationed at Ft. Huachuca, AZ was “fixed up” with a blind date. 8 weeks later we were married. We were blessed with one son who is married and blessed us with two awesome grandkids.

I became a widow in 2003 after a difficult few years struggling with the effects of Hep C. I lost my faith and became very angry with God. My anger intensified when I dealt with health issues of my own. Spent several years angry, lost and unhappy. Then I moved to Coeur d’Alene and stepped through the front doors of First Pres. Downtown! I felt so welcome, my heart began to open and the walls began to fall away.

When I was approached about the co-receptionist position my old friends fear and self-doubt raised their ugly heads and that old saying “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” came to mind. Spent a lot of time in prayer and reflection and decided to go for it. It has been a little bumpy with a few unexpected speed bumps thrown in.

So, can you teach an old dog new tricks. I believe you can. It may take a lot of motivation, patience and encouragement but all things are possible. I thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and your patience.

Patience with others is love.

Patience with self is hope.

Patience with God is faith.


-Chris Gray


  1. Reply
    Betty Cheeley says

    Welcome ,Chris. Thank you for sharing your story.If you need comfort at any time, just give me a call 208-664-2612. Leave a message if I’m not there and I will get back to you.

  2. Reply
    Bev Turner says

    Enjoyed getting to know a little about you & God Bless as you keep on learning those new tricks! Blessed to have you in our awesome loving church.

  3. Reply
    Teresa Brown-Douglas says

    Chris, Your radiant smile and presence in the office are great. Throughout life’s journey it seems we create ouselves many times for varying reasons including realities or choices. Cheering for you with positive wishes! Sometimes seems we are freshmen or seniors, again and again. Either way we are learning. Thank you for sharing your story. Look forward to chatting more with you. Sending smiles, Teresa

  4. Reply
    Laurie says

    I am so proud of the welcoming, friendly atmosphere of our church! So glad you are one of us (working through periods of fear and self-doubt) with the knowledge that through our own AND others’ prayers God is always with us. Thank you!

  5. Reply
    Teel McGavin says

    So glad you’re here with us & still learning new tricks, too!
    Thanks for the bio. I hope you’ll continue to feel the “Love First” at First Pres. And..welcome!!

  6. Reply
    Charlie Branch says

    Blessings, Chris. I spent a winter month in Reno in 2004 and again in 2007 to “fly my tail off” at Stead during vacations from coastal Alaska winters. One of my coworkers and a fellow IBEW shop steward also spent time in Reno as a power lineman, so we both watched “Reno 911” episodes to pick out landmarks. ‘Course nothing beats flying over the Great Basin to see where the cutthroat trout subspecies we’d studied in fishery management class (at Missoula) originated. Lahontan, Pyramid Lake and…
    Thank you for sharing!

  7. Reply
    Laura Coffman to Emily says

    Reading your blog reminded me of a song I learned when my daughter was a girl scout–“make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” It’s a continuous process. As you find new friends in our church, I hope to be a new friend to you. Laura

  8. Reply
    Emily says

    I’m so happy to be working with you, my friend! Welcome aboard!

  9. Reply
    Kathy says

    Love you Chris and our Christ Care gals – (Stay well)

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