Feline Friends–Or Foes?

 These are my 2 kitties, Stella and Luna. They are sisters that we rescued from the shores of a neighborhood lake. They are identical except that Stella has a small patch of white on her lower belly. They love each other. When we first brought them home, at about 3 months old, they were inseperable. When one wasn’t in the same room, the other would cry and cry until her sister came running.

Then we did what responsible pet owners do: we got them spayed. My mistake was getting the surgeries done on separate days. I was taking them to a new vet, and I wanted to make sure that one did well before taking the other.

Stella was first. She came through the procedure just fine, but when we got her home, we attempted to put the evil collar on her that would keep her from messing with her stitches. That was futile. She hated it and squirmed her way out of it within minutes. Luna didn’t know quite what to make of the whole thing. Stella did a lot of growling and hissing because she was uncomfortable, but soon enough  we had to keep them from romping  with each other while Stella continued to heal.

Suffice it to say that we thought we had made all our mistakes with Stella, so with Luna we would know better. So, a few days later we made the second trip. Everything went perfectly right up to the moment when we brought Luna through the door at home.

You would have thought she had been abducted and replaced with some evil alien bent on taking over the world. Stella not only would have nothing to do with her, she growled and hissed at her like she was the vilest creature on earth.

OK. She just smells funny from the vet. And even though Stella had just been there herself, she was highly offended by the odor. But I thought surely after a day things would be fine.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The next day there was absolutely no improvement. I had to feed them in separate places. I had to monitor Luna so that she wouldn’t even walk near Stella. This went on for 5 days.

Thank goodness for the internet. I went online and googled the issue. To a person they all said, “Give it time.”

 But Luna mourned that lost relationship. She could not understand it. I saw her cowering when Stella was near. It was like Anna in Disney’s Frozen. “We used to be best buddies, now we’re not. I wish you could tell me why.”

Sometimes we’re like that with God. If something happens and He doesn’t act how we think He should act, or He doesn’t look the way we think He should look, we back away. We isolate ourselves, or we lash out.

And He watches mournfully, sad at our broken relationship.

We kept telling Stella, “She’s your sister! She hasn’t changed. She may smell a little funny, but she’s still the sibling you know and love!”

Eventurally, after 5 long days, Stella accepted Luna again. Now they’re as sweet and loving as ever. And I will never make the mistake again of taking them to the vet at different times.

And God waits for us. He’s not going anywhere. He’ll wait until we remember that He hasn’t changed.

Mama Bear Goes Too Far

halloween candyMy eldest child has food allergies. He is most severely allergic to dairy, but peanuts and seafood make the list as well. We discovered his dairy allergy when he was just 6 months old. Ever since then, we have, of course, taken precautions to ensure that he does not consume dairy. He’s almost 19 now, so he’s pretty much on his own.

When classmates would have birthdays and bring goodies to share, I asked to be informed ahead of time so that I could provide an alternative for him. When people who didn’t know about his allergy gave him something he couldn’t eat, he was taught to tell them thank you and bring it home for another family member to enjoy. We occasionally had neighbors bring some baked goodie by, and even relatives who forgot his limitations sent boxes of homemade or purchased treats for Christmas gifts, and he couldn’t enjoy them. He was sad, but he got over it. He’s not fond of his situation, but there’s really nothing that can change it except an act of God.

Halloween was one of those days that could have been completely frustrating for him. He really wanted to go out trick-or-treating, but knew that he would be able to have very little of what was handed out. Imagine not being able to have chocolate. {shudder} But, for a few years anyway, he still participated, then came home and doled out what he couldn’t have to his siblings, leaving the Twizzlers, Smarties, bubblegum and other innocuous items for himself.

He didn’t complain; the allergies were his reality, like it or not.

So, imagine my wonderment when a friend shared this image on Facebook:

halloween memo

What in the world could this parent have been thinking? Getting free candy from neighbors is not a right. Teaching your child that the world will cater to them is just plain foolishness. I understand wanting to protect your child. I understand not wanting them to feel left out. Truly I do. I have lived it for 19 years. But what I don’t understand is the mindset that because my child can’t do something, no one else’s should be able to either.

The lesson a child will learn from that is that they are entitled to what everyone else has. The world should look out for them. Their needs come before anyone else’s.

If your child has severe allergies, don’t send them out trick-or-treating. Tell them, “I know it stinks, buddy. I’m sorry. Let’s think of another way we can have fun.”

I believe it’s a different situation when you have a peanut-allergic child in childcare or preschool and you ask people to not bring in peanut butter, because any inadvertent contact can cause them to react. I have no problem with that. I understand peanut-free flights on airplanes. Peanut oil can be pervasive. But we’re talking trick-or-treating here. It’s totally a choice.

Suggesting that your neighbors only hand out carrots, raisins or other such items is ludicrous. It’s OK for a child to be sad about missing out on something. I think “devastated” by not getting candy is overstating it a bit. Life isn’t fair. Sometimes reality stinks, but you just have to learn to live with it.

And by the way, if I were to “practice responsible parenting,” I probably shouldn’t let me child eat candy at all!

That mama bear went a bit too far.

We Are At War: A Movie Review of “War Room”

War RoomI learned very early on in my marriage that my husband is not my enemy. We definitely have an enemy, but it is not each other. The movie “War Room” makes that very clear.

This movie is an unapologetic Christian film focused on a young couple with a young daughter who are caught up in the troubles of this world. He is a successful pharmaceutical salesman and she is a rising realtor. And their marriage is in trouble.

I’ve spent just a little bit of time perusing some reviews, and it’s evident that if you don’t understand spiritual things, you absolutely won’t understand the power of prayer and what affect God can have in a person’s life and marriage. The intention of the Kendrick brothers (writer and co-directors) was definitely not to say that abused women should stay with their abusers, as some have suggested. It’s a story of redemption and prayer and God’s work in our daily lives.

Yes, Tony was not a good husband. He had a wandering eye, a problem with business ethics and a distant relationship with his young daughter. But he was not a physical abuser and deserved to be given a chance to repent and reform. Truth is, God changes lives. It happens all the time.

I’ve mentioned that I’m not the most discerning of movie goers, but I really, really liked this movie. When we walked out, I said to David, “Did we just go to church?” People were praising God, saying “hallelujah!” and cheering all through out this God-honoring film. There was truth, there was laughter, there were tears. There were people of faith understanding that prayer is powerful and it is a battle.

The premise, of course, is that we are waging war everyday against our real enemy, Satan. Once Elizabeth started praying for her husband, Tony, things started to change. One scene I loved, and that I think should be repeated in every household in the world, was when Elizabeth finally decided to get serious about her relationship with God and walked her house kicking Satan out of every room, proclaiming that he had no place there because Jesus was now in charge. That brought down the house!

Scoff at the scene of Miss Clara thwarting a mugging by rebuking the thief in Jesus’ name? There are stories on record of that actually happening.

Think Tony had no redeeming qualities and that Elizabeth should have just dumped him and moved on? Yeah, that’s what a lot of people do nowadays. But thanks be to God that no one is beyond hope.

Instead of bemoaning her situation, Elizabeth accepted Miss Clara’s challenge to pray that God would change things. This is not an uncommon occurrence for people of faith. But the Bible says that God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). What seems utterly ridiculous to those who think they know is exactly what God uses to accomplish His purposes.

Go see “War Room.” Give God a chance to show His power. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Our Unbridled Freedom Will Lead To Our Ultimate Destruction

eagle-of-freedom-31539Freedom of religion.

Freedom of speech.

Right to bear arms.

Freedom of assembly.

The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We hear a lot about freedom in America. But what happens when those freedoms have no boundary?

Freedom OF religion becomes freedom FROM religion. Your religion is wrong, so you shouldn’t be able to practice it. If someone doesn’t believe in God, then your practice of our religion offends them. There should be no sign of faith in any public place. That’s not freedom. It’s no longer about practicing your religion without government interference; it’s about demanding that I not be offended because of your beliefs. Without the boundary of love, that freedom has become twisted until it’s unrecognizable from its original intent.

Freedom of speech becomes license to spew hatred to any who disagree.  You have the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, about whomever you want. The other person’s feelings don’t matter. It’s not about being able to voice your opinion without fear of prosecution anymore. Without the boundary of love, that freedom wounds deeply and wins no souls.

The right to bear arms becomes an incensed fight to stockpile weapons that have nothing to do with hunting or hobby. It doesn’t take into consideration logical arguments about waiting periods and mental health. Other fears, experiences and thoughts on the matter aren’t important. Without the boundary of love, that freedom screams irresponsibility and insensitivity.

Freedom of assembly becomes an excuse to riot and destroy and loot in the name of a worthy cause that could be so much better supported with peaceful demonstration. You’ll get your 15 minutes of fame, all right, but what have you proven about yourself? Without the boundary of love, that freedom simply shows the world your worst side.

The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness becomes an excuse to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, to hide our elderly in nursing homes, to forget the disenfranchised, to change our gender, to marry whomever we want, or to do anything else that we might see as the way to our happiness. We can justify anything. There are no longer black and white issues. Nothing is wrong anymore. It’s MY life. Stay out of it! Without the boundary of love, those rights are excuses to make things more convenient for ourselves.

We’ve lost our moral compass. In the name of freedom we are chasing every wind and demanding that we be allowed to do whatever we want without interference, and the government is catering to the loudest voice. And the consequences of this unbridled freedom will be our ultimate destruction.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Free to love, free from the tyranny of sin, free to worship God with no barrier, free from condemnation because Jesus already paid the price. But shall we then use that freedom as a license to sin?

May it never be.

A Sponge Out Of Place

sponge on the roadSometimes when I ride my bike in the mornings before it gets too hot, I happen upon some strange things. The other day, it was a dried out kitchen sponge just lying in the middle of the bike lane in a quiet neighborhood. Trash isn’t necessarily hard to find, but I found this little yellow sponge to be uniquely out of place, and a poignant reminder of a spiritual truth: Unless we are soaking in the presence of the Living Water, we will be like that sponge in the middle of the road.

What do I mean by that exactly? Well, what was that sponge doing? Was it fulfilling its purpose? No. It was dried up. It had been cast aside, or lost. It was insignificant.

Take that sponge back to a body of clean water, and it could once again do what it was meant to do. It might need a run through the washing machine first, but what once was a dried up piece of trash that nobody wanted would become a useful household item again, doing what it was created to do.

I’m not suggesting we have to be doing something to be acceptable to our Heavenly Father. He loves us whether we’re doing what we were created to do or not. But how much better is it when we are walking with Him, doing what He wants us to do, and fulfilling our God-given purpose.

I didn’t pick up that old sponge that day and take it home and rehabilitate it. But that’s what God has done for each one of us. He has poured His Spirit into us and given us purpose. I know I’m happiest when I’m doing what God wants me to do. How about you?

3 Things I Learned On The Day I Got Engaged

Today is the 25th anniversary of the day my husband asked me to marry him.

sc0079bb1fAs I reflect on that day, there are a few things that I might not have realized then, but that I’ve come to see as truths over the last 25 years.

1. Though I always wanted to have someone to love me best, little did I fully know that I already did. Though we loved each other and were excited about embarking on this new adventure, if David and I had any notion that we were the answer to each other’s emotional needs, we were going to be sadly disappointed. David is not the answer to that dream I had of having someone always know where I was and love me more than anyone else, though he does those things (except the knowing where I am part. Sometimes he forgets). Jesus already did that. I know, I know, He doesn’t play favorites, but the fact of the matter is, if I was the only one in need of salvation, He still would have died for me. That’s pretty spectacular.

2. That day was the beginning of a lifelong learning process. I’ve had friends who have struggled with the question: How can I be sure? I would venture to say that it’s not a matter of knowing that your marriage will be all wine and roses, but knowing that this person is someone you’re going to make the choice to stay with and love and support for the rest of your life. I’ve been married 24+ years, and there are still things I’m learning about my husband. And he’s not the same man I married, so I have to grow and learn and change right along with him. Thank God we’re not the same. How sad would that be, to not have grown and changed after 24 years?

3. Getting to be with my best friend every day is the best thing ever. We can look at each other now and see the gray in our engagement anniversaryhair and the extra pounds which we have to work really hard to keep off. We can look at our 3 kids and know that some day, it will be down to just the 2 of us again (and probably still a multitude of small animals, if he keeps agreeing to me having them) because time keeps marching on. But we still love to do things together. We still have to tell each other we’re sorry and to ask forgiveness. We still have to date and play and laugh together. And we still have to choose every single day to say yes, I’d marry you all over again.

Happy engagement anniversary, Hunny! Thanks for proposing 25 years ago.

You might enjoy previous posts I’ve written on this day last year and the year before.

Cinderella: A Movie Review


 My 12-year-old daughter and I went to see “Cinderella” the other day. I’m not a huge Disney princess fan, but I like the idea of the live-action movies. I must say, I loved this one. As Morgan and I ate lunch afterward and talked about it, I wondered aloud, “Is there anything about this movie that I didn’t like?”

First of all I need to admit that I’m not a really discerning movie watcher. I don’t analyze lighting, the musical score, costumes, etc. If I like the story and feel it was well acted, that’s good enough for me. Here are 4 things I really enjoyed about this new movie.

1. Good dad models. First we have Ella’s dad. He loved her and her mother beyond the moon. Yes, he was gone a lot with his job as a merchant, but when he was home, he was all there. He wasn’t afraid to tell Ella that he loved her, and he wasn’t afraid to show her he cared. 

Then there’s the king. In this movie, the prince is called “Kit,” as he says that’s what his dad calls him when he’s not peaved with him. The king is kind, thoughtful, and also isn’t afraid to tell his son that he loves him. The respect and love between them is evident and sweet.

2. The fact that you don’t have to have a dark soul to be interesting. Ella is faced with monumental grief when he mom dies (not a spoiler: everyone knows Cinderella has an evil stepmother) and yet her focus is rarely on herself. When she’s grieving her banishment from the ball and her mistreatment by her “family,” an old hag asks her for bread and milk. Without hesitation, Ella provides it. She genuinely cannot understand why her stepmother is so evil. Ella is sweet, caring and kind. Which leads to the 3rd thing I liked:

3. The running theme of having courage and being kind. Before she died, Ella’s mother said to her, “Have courage and be kind. Promise me!” And Ella never forgets those words. She lives them out her whole life. Again after being banished from the ball by her stepmother, Ella runs to the garden and cries out to her mother, apologizing because she’s tried to be courageous, but feels that she has let her mother down, because she just has no courage. But she does. To stay kind in the midst of mistreatment takes courage. Bitterness is easy.

4. Humor keeps the spirit light. I admit it, I cried at least 4 times during this movie. But I also laughed. The magic was lighthearted and the computer animation of the mice turned horses and the lizards who become footmen and the goose who becomes the coachman who doesn’t know how to drive served a humorous purpose that made this story of the poor cinder girl easier to bear.

There is no bad language; there is no sex —just 1 kiss between Kit and Ella after they marry; there is no violence (unless you count a cat chasing a mouse and crashing into a cabinet in the pursuit). 

I will be purchasing this movie when it comes out on BluRay so that we can enjoy it again and again. I recommend it for audiences of any age, even though a mother and father dying might be hard on the littlest of kids. Well done, Disney.