My Food Chain Gang – Restored!

Posted in God on June 16th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have a wonderful tale to tell – a God story, and I love those.

A few weeks ago now, I met a friend for lunch at McD’s.  Later that evening, as my hubby inquired about my day and asked how my lunch was, I talked about how much I enjoyed hearing my friend’s updates on her beloved cat, Mya.  I even lamented, “I wish I could have a kitten.”  I seem to be an animal person you say (I AM) – so why don’t I just get a kitten?  Well, I’m allergic to cats, otherwise I would probably have a cat (or two or three or…).  I actually had one for 10 years and loved her very much, but I was very allergic to her and that was tough for both of us.  But anyway – back to this Friday night a few weeks ago – I’m wanting a cat.  Saturday morning, the early risers in our family were alerted by an “alarming” sound in our backyard.  They found 2 cats fighting on the fence, and across the yard, 3 baby bunnies crying out in alarm.  Sammie was dispatched to alert me (still in bed, allowed to sleep-in, THANK YOU Hubby!), and in the now-calm backyard I found 3 exhausted baby bunnies resting while my kids were comforting one of the stray cats.  The stray was a friendly fellow; he had black and white fur, green eyes, and a few extra toes.  I couldn’t believe the obliging attitude – pleasure even – that this cat was deriving from the attention my kids were doting upon it.

I couldn’t resist petting this friendly kitty, and when I did, something strange happened.  Well, actually,  it was nothing at all that happened.  No sniffles, no itches, no hives – no allergy symptoms.  How could it be that I wasn’t allergic to this cat?  For the record, Hubby is also allergic to cats but didn’t react to this one either.  So anyway, we let the super friendly tuxedo cat in the house.  He walked right in and looked around, and it really did seem as if he had lived here for years – and he’s been here ever since!  Just fit right in with our entire family, and it’s not an easy feat to forge a seamless transition from outdoor feral cat to indoor family cat, especially when the new family =  5 kids (3 girls ages 12, 8, 5 and 2 boys ages 3 and 8 mos.), a dog, a parrot, a rabbit, and 2 rats.   But saying we’ve had a smooth transition would be an understatement!

What a gift he has been.  A gift from God for our family…  to bring us together as we welcome a new member for however long we’re allowed to take care of him.  A gift for us to cherish together while we play with him.  A gift for me to help ease the mounting stress I’ve felt lately.  Have you seen the medical research on how a purring cat relieves stress?  It exists, trust me!

So to acknowledge this gift for us and to honor our God, “Mittens” became “Moses” – and it is cute when the kids rhyme about “Moses with the extra toe-ses”.  Moses seems very adept at using his paws, and he acts very cat-like around the house, which I love – just why I wanted to have a cat around.  For now, we are enjoying Moses and his company.  He gets along with all of our other pets and is wonderfully tolerant of the kids – he fits in our family like the missing piece of a puzzle; not that any of us realized there was a piece missing before Moses came.  So could it be that “my food chain gang” has been restored?

Both an article I read and a devotional I heard recently happened to be about the same subject: knowing and having the faith and satisfaction that God sees you, even if you feel invisible to the world.  God uses many aspects of His creation to bring people closer to having meaningful relationships with Him and to help us receive His messages, even animals.  My family was getting burnt out from a busy schedule, and it really rejuvenated the kids’ spirits to get to have this cat.  And they aren’t the only ones 😉

“…You are the God who sees me…”  from Genesis 16:13

This is a picture of our oldest daughter holding the cat.  No, my 12-year-old does not normally wear make-up; this was “spa night”  🙂

God is so good!!

Facing Fear

Posted in church on May 23rd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In church as of late, we are in the midst of a pastoral series called Fearless.  I  am enjoying this series because so far we have been able to study the Biblical  story of David and Goliath and also the story of Moses and the Parting of the Red Sea – two stories I’ve certainly heard about, but hadn’t heard the details or about how they relate to modern-day Christianity until now.  Last Sunday at church, our pastor told of an amusing story during his Fearless series, and I thought I’d share it.  Also in this service, the band accompanied an amazing Bossa Nova / Spanish-style vocal  duet unlike anything I’ve seen in church so far – it was awesome!  I can’t reproduce the song unfortunately, but here is a summary of the pastor’s fun story:

A beautiful village nestled on the bottom of a valley erupted in flames.  All of the surrounding villages’ fire engines came to fight the fire, but they all stopped at the top of the hill on the road leading to the burning village in the valley, for they figured the village would not be savable and would only pose a danger to their own firefighters.  A rickety old fire truck soon showed up from a distant town, and it didn’t hesitate as it crested the hill and rode straight into the valley to fight the fire.  The fire was extinguished, the village saved, and there was a grand ceremony of celebration.  When the fearless fire department who put out the fire rose to accept their rewards and thanks, the fire chief took the stage.  The mayor of the saved village asked him, “What are you going to do with your rewards and with your thank-you money?”  The fire chief of that heroic fire department who  fearlessly rode down  the hill to save the neighboring town said, “The first thing we are going to do is to fix the brakes on that fire truck!”

The moral of the story?  Here’s my take:  The “fearless” fire-fighters didn’t even mean to go into the fire to fight it…  But they did just that, and once they got down in the valley accidentally (because of the failed brakes on the fire truck), they faced their fears and conquered that fire, even though they didn’t originally intend to and also despite their fears.

The story tied in nicely with our church’s Fearless series.  And our pastor told us that story, I think, to get our attention and to get us thinking…  And that it did.

…And Back Again

Posted in Everyday Life, Travel on May 4th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(continued from the previous post – To Hellinois…)

So FINALLY, after yet another GPS debacle orchestrated by Jill (might be time to change the persona of the GPS again and fire Jill!) we arrived in Aurora, and it’s the first time I’ve seen my parents’ dogs in years.  Loopy is looking a little bit gray in the muzzle, but also much slimmer since last time I saw her.  And Happy… well, Happy is herself, I guess – hyper and happy to see my kids, I wouldn’t expect any less!  We visited with my mom  for a little while, and then it was off to lunch, which my husband and I had carefully orchestrated.  My mom was nice enough to watch our girls so that we could enjoy a little time out with just the baby, and after all that driving + the morning’s (more than) two hour tantrum, boy, did we need some time to ourselves!  So we went to Sweet Tomatoes – a restaurant that specializes in an ultra-fresh salad buffet, my husband’s favorite, and I don’t think he was disappointed!  They also have 6 kinds of soup and 3 kinds fresh hand-tossed pasta – YUM!  We drove around for a few minutes after lunch searching for a dollar store or two – next to zoos and cuisine, “exotic” dollar stores are my favorite things to see while in different areas,  but we couldn’t find one, so we went to a Petland instead.  So I put aside my opinions that Petland is a leading trader in  puppy mill pups, and we went for a visit.  And this Petland had LOTS of animals with very nice habitats.  They did have a huge bunch of puppies though, and almost all of their “getting to know you” puppy rooms were taken (let me just vent real quick by saying – why can’t more people consider shelter dogs so we can reduce the amount of homeless pets in the country!!!)  And I asked the staff members a few questions – some to learn things but most to test their knowledge on subjects – and they passed.  They no longer sell seahorses  because they require ultra-clean water and exceptionally large tanks.  I was glad to see that Petland was no longer putting the lives of seahorses in jeopardy just to make a quick buck, but they lost me when they offered to order me some – oh well.  There were the cutest little Robinsky hamsters – about the size of a silver dollar – and they were in constant motion.  They are so fast that they kept flipping each other over in the hamster wheel and making each other go upside down!  They were adorable, but how anyone could handle having such a busy pet is beyond me – you couldn’t even pick them up since they were so fast!  Here is a picture of someone who actually got one of these things in their hand:

roblovski-hamster

So then it was on to my nephew’s first birthday party – he is only 2½ months older than my son, and the two of them together were SO cute!  My son is on the left, birthday boy on the right:

ryans-first-bday-5-2-09-004

The party was lots of fun, and it was nice getting to spend time with my family and my sister’s in-laws, who we don’t see very often.  We had to leave a little bit early to try to get on the road at a decent hour, but before we left, my kids did a good job of trashing my sister’s house.  One of them clogged the toilet, one of them crumbled their birthday cake all over the floor (requiring my brother-in-law to haul out his Shop-Vac!), and one of them had too much cake and ice cream and spit up all over Grandma and the floor.  I bet they’re glad we don’t come over very often!  Just kidding, I’m sure it was understood that with 8 kids at one party, something was bound to get messed up – but why did all the messes have to be traced back to my kids?

After the party, I dropped my husband off at a Walgreens for some clearance shopping – his favorite! – cuz I wanted to stop by White Castle and get a case of slyders to bring home.  White Castle is an institution in Chicagoland, and one of the things I miss that we don’t have here.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, slyders are what locals call the little hamburgers that White Castle sells – the secret to the awesome flavor is steamed onions.  My hubby must love me a lot to put up with the smell of steamed onions for the 4 hour drive home!  And no, the frozen ones they sell at Walmart are not the same as the ones you can buy at the restaurants – which is why I try to bring home a case every time I go!  But on Sunday, I kept getting behind slow drivers (what happened to the drivers in Illinois?  I swear, during this trip I was the most aggressive driver I ran into, what’s happened to all the a**holes that used to be on the road over there?  Could it be the red-light cameras?), and then they took forever at White Castle.  And what do I do?  I drive off with only my drinks, forgetting my cheeseburgers.  So I get back in line, and of course I’m behind the slowest lady in the world – I was in line for 20 minutes, just to get food I had forgotten!  By the time I got back to Walgreens, my husband was ready to put out an APB on our van.  And of course the baby cried the whole time because he was tired and wanted his bottle, and I couldn’t reach the spot in the car where he had thrown it.  So I was flustered by the time we finally started for home.  Luckily for me, we achieved a quadruple pass out though, so the drive home was peaceful.  We got home around 1 am, and much to our surprise, our pet sitter and great friend Carol was still in our house!  The kids started to wake up, so we rudely hushed Carol and brought the crying kids upstairs.  Luckily we only had one straggler who stayed up for a little while, and I apologized to Carol for my rudeness (and my stench of coming off a 4-hour drive sitting next to steamed onions with baby spit-up on me).  We were more than happy to share the White Castle bounty, and my husband drove poor Carol home since her car had died and she was trapped at our house – I felt badly getting in so late!  I was so tired that I forgot to call my mom to tell her we made it safely – I don’t think that’s ever happened, oops!

Sunday we somehow got up for church, and we got to see some people get baptized which was a neat experience.  The sermon was about Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, which interested me because I don’t have much religious background and didn’t know the story.  But I learned some useful tools that I think might help me during this ultra-trying time that Samantha has been putting us through lately.  After church, they had a program they call KidStuff – they have it twice a year – and Sunday’s KidStuff was about obedience – perfect!  Just the message we need to drill into our kids’ heads lately!  It was a really cute skit about how it’s important to be obedient, and I thought it was very well done.  There was lots of physical comedy for the kids, goofy characters, an air horn (kids love noisy things!), and they stressed the importance of obedience repeatedly.  And, they gave us an orange “O” to put on our fridge to remind the kids about being obedient!  I was so excited to get home and apply these lessons to real life!  But alas, after the pizza lunch at church for KidStuff, Sammie had to rub it in how much she DIDN’T learn from the skit – our friend is a professional photographer and met us at the park to get some Spring pics of the kids.  But our family picture is minus one – Sammie refused to participate in the picture taking.  Even seeing a robin’s nest up close didn’t soften her enough to be cooperative.  So all my hopes about her learning something, even a little bit, from the obedience skit flew out the window.  But the baby robin was adorable – there were two eggs and one that had hatched, couldn’t have been more than a day old.  I’ve never seen one so little, it barely had any feathers or baby bird peach fuzz!  Awww!

Overall, a great weekend.  I call it Hellinois, but I’m (half) joking.  You couldn’t pay me to live there, but there are worse places we could have to visit!  I think we might be going back sometime soon for a very exciting, awesomely fun event – more on that later!!!