Tuesday, August 28, 2012

goodbyes ...

My "grand-cat" died yesterday. She lived a long full life for a Scottish Fold, but the grief we felt as a family wasn't comforted much by that. Critters, in my family at least, are family members. They are "not just animals". I firmly believe all of God's critters are provided for in the next life, but none of that lessens the pain when eyes close for the last time, and furry bodies become empty of all that made them special. Shermin was a good cat. She put up with a family of large dogs, and did it gracefully. She didn't get the memo that Scottish Folds are cuddly lap cats, that all seemed to be beneath her dignity most of the time, but she was loved for the fur-person she was none the less.

I've often wondered why we lavish so much attention on our pets, and so little on each other. Is it because it's easier to love an animal who does not criticize, who forgives our transgressions (like an empty kibble bowl) or worse? Is it that it's easier to "let our hair down" for a critter than it is to expose ourselves to other people? I don't know. I have my own opinions, the strongest of which is that we respond to the unconditional love they give us, when we won't respond to our heavenly Father's unconditional love. I think their lives are shorter than ours to keep us from taking them for granted. We know when we first choose a cat or a dog, a bird or a hamster, that we're setting ourselves up for hurt when they die ... but we do it anyway. I've lived with cats for 43 years, as well as birds, hamsters, fish ... and grieved deeply when they died, but that didn't stop me from going to the pound and bringing home another. Not to replace, but to replenish.

And it doesn't stop there. I have outside feeders for birds, squirrels, any other creature who passes by, and I mourn the deaths of those who dare to cross the highway when they shouldn't. I honestly don't think I would live, or thrive, without the furry, finned and feathered ones who come and go in my life. People who have lived with me, or knew me, often didn't understand all that, but they're rather to be pitied than censured. They left out of their own lives some really wonderful and "wonder full" moments in life.

So, my challenge to you today is to stop and look around you. If you have pets, take some time to spend with them, with all your attention (not just filling the kibble bowls). Look around you at the flora and fauna that live around you. In short, "stop and smell the roses" of life. Oh, you might have a truly wonderful day if you don't, but you'll make it even more special if you do. And if you're too busy to do this, you're too busy!! MAKE time!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Magnificently Millennial.

I don't usually do a book review, but ...   You can find the book on Amazon, both in print or in Kindle version. I've read it twice already, and know I'll read it again. These are troubled times, no doubt about it. But reading this fills a person with hope, and something to anticipate. Yes, it's fiction, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's not more fact than fiction. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the time spent.  Here is what the nice folks at Amazon say about it: 

Be transformed and be inspired!

Magnificently Millennial contains the chronicles of Prince Jay-vareh, a glorified child of the Most High God. After experiencing the Rapture and life in heaven for seven years during the Great Tribulation, Jay-vareh returns to an earth desperately trying to arise from the ashes of planetary war. Seeing a staggering need, Jay-vareh along with his consort (the beautiful princess Sha-hareh) are among the first of their kind to travel the globe spreading their own unique brand of supernatural hope, healing, and love during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ.

   From the Inside Flap

There are beginnings, and then there are new beginnings.....

The millennial reign of Christ on earth has been anxiously anticipated by generations of Christians down through the centuries.  Countless prayers have been sent up, imploring Jesus to return for His church and lead the world into the new era of worldwide peace as foretold by the ancient prophets.

And on one spectacularly glorious day, despite all the skepticism and rhetoric to the contrary, the blessed event finally and mercifully occurs.

Glory to God in the highest ....

Changes ...

One of my favorite musicians has lyrics that say "changes in latitude, changes in attitude".  Change is inevitable. We can't avoid it, circumnavigate it, ignore it, it's going to happen whether you want it to or not.  The 20th of July marked major changes in many people's lives. The obvious first two were the death of my husband, and the realization for me that nothing that was will stay the same.  For him, it meant the end of horrible and chronic pain, the indignity of being kept alive by medications, feeding schedules, and endless lists of things  he couldn't do. Physical limitations frustrated him the most. He was reduced to sleeping his days away or watching television.  For him, death was swift, and merciful.  For those he left behind, there were feelings of helplessness, loss, even anger.

The most difficult task was notifying his children, and believe me there was no easy way to do that. His sister lives about 20 minutes from here, so she arrived before the chaos in my living room subsided. Yes, Dennis was here at home, in his own room, when I found him.  As the shock waves reached cousins and friends across the country, I discovered my role had changed, from that of "grieving widow" to "comforter".  It was left to me to "say the right thing", find a way to soften the blow, help those grieving people to find a way to accept this thing that had happened in their lives.

As for me,  as the dust settles, I find myself in uncharted territory. Nothing I have experienced in my lifetime has prepared me for the changes that continue to occur. When my father died, I had Dennis to lean on. But in the past six years, I've dealt with the deaths of four people who played major roles in my day to day existence. This time, I'm "winging it".

Change isn't the worst thing that can happen to you.  Complacence would be.  Since I am a "planner", I've rehearsed in my mind many times what I would do if I found myself alone. I'd even planned what dishes I'd use.  As I put into place the things I'd imagined doing, I find a bit of comfort. I'm not standing there in the kitchen, deer-in-the-headlight-ish, I have a plan.

I think what I want to say to you is to think ahead, be able to embrace change without a sense of sheer panic.  Every day changes most of us can take in stride. But are  you really prepared for the catastrophic ones? Have you thought ahead in situations that would cause major changes (good or bad)? While no one is ever prepared for the loss of  a loved one, or a family member, having rehearsed in your mind what you'd do, what you would need to do, if that occurred can be the difference between coping or not.  I was able to calmly make phone calls to Social Security, Veterans' Affairs, etc. Don't get me wrong, I had my melt down, and I'm sure as the months progress there will be other melt downs ...

My challenge, then, for you is to think ahead, think outside the comfortable box you live in, and imagine what you would do "if".  Do you have a central location for important documents, and does someone else know where that is? Do you have an idea what you or a loved one would want done if death occurred? Do others know what you would want?