Posts Tagged ‘cats’

C is for Catching Up! (Multitude Mondays #111-125)

Catching up on many things.  I wrote yesterday (okay, really today) about balancing blogging with the rest of life.  I’ve had several big decisions and other dilemmas dominating my thoughts for the last few months.  I’m fairly sure some of those will come out for the D post tomorrow.  In the midst of all of that, I have not kept up with this blog as much as I’d like to.  The one part of the blog that I do want to keep up with… which has been in place in various ways since this blog started… is a gratitude journal.  It is a way for me to consider blessings when it seems life is in chaos… and to be connected with others who are doing the same.

I’ll talk some more about the practice of gratitude and my experience of it in a few days… but for today I’m just continuing counting gifts with Ann and the Gratitude Community

#111 – a sweet note I received from a friend with much potential to be a much better friend… which is something I could use right now!
#112 – my 5 year old’s enthusiasm for reading his new Bible (his prayer tonight — Dear God, thank you for making Mommy read me the Bible every night. Theology of viewing God as being his wish-granter aside, I thought that was pretty great!)
#113 – finally getting meds for my cat (who had a huge health scare last fall and was finally diagnosed with an enlarged heart which is very treatable)
#114 – being offered the opportunity to serve at a fundraising event last weekend… and realizing how much I miss it (though I have to admit it is much more fun when the “service opportunity” is not a mandantory add-on to already overwhelming responsibilities associated with working full time)
#115 – flowers everywhere!  I have pink azaleas blooming, yellow buttercups and dandelions in the yard, and random purple wildflowers.  They are all even better when presented from my favorite 5 year old.
#116- no cavities at the dentist for the 5 year old *and* me a few weeks ago!  Having dental insurance that covers routine checkups and access to good dental care is a blessing that I don’t take for granted.
#117 – hope
#118 – 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, New International Version, ©2011) — the verse which has been in my head for the last few weeks — and what a blessing is the ability to approach God… with confidence that he is good and merciful and understanding of our frailties and fears.
#119 – An afternoon spent with a good friend and her little boy making pretzels (yum!)
#120 – Rain percussion (and a storm that thankfully just provided us with some outdoor music and a lot of rain… lots of damage a few miles away from my house but all is okay here)
#121 – A working dishwasher 🙂 It has been not working for a while… finally called a repairman and it worked for him! Glad he just charged us the fee to come out and wishing the same thing would happen when we get around to getting the car fixed…
#122 – Birds chirping outside
#123 – Free dinner @ Chipotle in honor of their Grand Opening tomorrow — nice not to cook *and* to get free food!
#124 – Storytimes, complete with books and activities, presented by my 5 year old librarian-in-residence at my house for his stuffed animals and any grownups who care to participate
#125 – The realization today… when I finally cleaned house a little after a few weeks of not feeling well (ironically, from asthma/allergies triggered by cleaning house!)… that there really can be pleasure in slowly turning a house into a home… (even when it seems it will never get there)… and that it is okay if it is a process (even when I feel like everyone else has long ago reached the finish line!).

Interested in counting the everyday and not-so-everyday gifts in your life? Feel free to join in!

 

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One Thousand Gifts: #89-#110

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

I’ve been slacking on blog posting during the holidays… and apparently well into January… but happy to report that I have not stopped being grateful. 🙂  Here are some little and not-so-little blessings of the last few weeks… and a promise from me to make more notes of what I am grateful for to share with you!

89) a white Christmas — flurries in Memphis, snow covering the ground in Nashville… that’s a white Christmas in the South!

90) the beauty of snow-glazed trees on the drive down I-40…

91) my little boy who is more excited to give than to receive gifts…

92) and who gets most excited about the presents that to us are materially small.  The “big gift” in his eyes last year?  A pear from Santa.  The “big gifts” this year?  That Santa remembered to bring a pear again… and a little Jelly Belly jelly bean machine.

93) spending time with extended family… some of whom I haven’t seen in a few years… at Christmas at my grandmother’s house.

94) The clean slate of a New Year…

95) Which also always reminds me of the blessing of parenting this miracle — for 5 years now.  (His birthday is New Year’s Day)

96) Being invited to play along with all the new Legos and Lincoln Logs and fun new board games.  I’ll take any day he wants to include me!

97) Watching all over again how much my little boy loves his Granny (my mom)

98) Clean water

99) Having access to whatever ingredients I need for cooking and baking… and being able to choose from a variety of foods to prepare (or, for that matter, never wondering if I am going to be able to eat on any given day)

100) The people who work on Christmas Day — doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel and gas station attendants come to mind…. passed a bad wreck on the interstate on Christmas Day and all I could think of was the family dealing with tragedy on that day… and the people who were there to help the day be a little better.

101) Watching the love between my little boy and our Oliver-kitty (so wish I had pictures of this one!)

102) The crunch of snow underfoot — twice in two weeks!

103) Watching Andrew and another little boy from our neighborhood play together in the snow… neighborhood friends are few and far between here.

104) My shower drain that finally drains water on its own (simple fix that took forever to figure out… but it makes the days start a little better around here!)

105) A impromptu story time at Chick Fil A (I offered to read a book to a little girl and attracted a crowd for a couple of minutes!) 🙂

106) The wonderful staff at our pediatrician’s office — I am glad we are not there often but also glad to be in such a caring environment when we are there!

107) Some peace on the decision to try out our local public school for kindergarten… or at least more peace than unrest at this point.

108) Avocados. 🙂  (Yes, I’ve been on an avocado kick lately…)

109) Being able to see the floor in my closet.

110) Silence… the gift for right now… just me up, and no sound except the click of the keys on the keyboard… not even kitty snores, which are usually part of the background noise.

Hoping that all of my blog readers haven’t left during my long hiatus!  I promise to get more on track with blogging. 🙂

Just for the joy of it

Joy.

Today I have needed joy. My 4 year old, after a too-late night having fun with his daddy, spent the morning behaving horribly at the library, though not as quite as badly as at church the other week.   (By the way, mentioning that incident to friends who were at church has taught me that others don’t notice your child’s acting out as much as you think they do at the time)!  Once we (finally) got back to the car, he informed me,  “I just feel grumpy… and angry.”   Yeah, me too.  Lesson learned (again) that 4 year olds don’t like being dragged around the library while mom searches for a book.  Lesson also learned to pick out my book before he gets all of his… because after that he was D.O.N.E.  Yes, I threatened to put all of his books back.  Yes, I threatened no story time next time.  Why do I make these threats that we both know I am not going to keep? Really? Books have rarely if ever gotten taken away here.  Anyway.. back to joy. Yeah, it wasn’t so much easy to find today.  I was not feeling joyful.  At all.

Until I started thinking about it, after being reminded by a friend’s blog post.  So… here are the random moments of joy we’ve found today.

  1. Looking at the fog on trip #1 to the library.
  2. The joy on my little boy’s face when we got to the library for trip #2 and he discovered that his left-behind coat had NOT been taken (hey, you never know) but that someone had been kind enough to give it to the librarians… and that they were kind enough to give it back to him (without a lecture, unlike his mommy)
  3. That same little boy’s excitement at getting sweet tea at Chick-Fil-A (seriously, what is it with this child and sweet tea?  Have I ever mentioned that his first sentence was “I want TEA!”?)
  4. Coming home to a slightly cleaner floor than I left and two adorable kitties snoozing in comfortable places. They looked up at me and went straight back to their naps.
  5. The quiet hour or so I had between banishing the 4 year old to his room (where he promptly fell asleep) and my husband coming home from work.
  6. My husband bringing in the mail and realizing that we got the Veggie Tales CD that I won earlier in the week. (Expect a favorable review soon).
  7. Realizing that one of our local radio stations is now playing all Christmas music, all the time.  Even though I inevitably realize long before Thanksgiving that I don’t like their Christmas song selections.  (My goal this year is to make it through the holiday season without having to hear Christmas Shoes — good message, horribly overplayed and sentimental song.  And I am not usually against sentimental.  I did include a link in case you have somehow missed it.)
  8. Taking a few minutes to look through an old blog of mine and watch adorable videos of my little boy from a few years ago… and share them with him.
  9. Bedtime hugs and snuggles… which always help at the end of a long day.  The last two nights, I’ve told Andrew he was my favorite almost 5 year old.  His response?  “You are my favorite almost three-ty-six year old!”  (three-ty being how he pronounces thirty because he can’t say it right, got frustrated, and decided to say three-ty instead!).  Um… yeah, thanks bud.  I thought I just turned thirty-five…
Linking up with Sharon at Good, True and Beautiful for this post today… leave a comment and let me know what has brought you joy today!

Multitude Monday: One Thousand Gifts

holy experience

Linking up with Ann Voskamp and The Gratitude Community today to officially begin listing what I am grateful for today.  It it so, so easy for me to be ungrateful and discouraged (see yesterday’s post!)… and I am striving to be more grateful.  I have been seeing these 1000 Gifts posts around the Internet and finally decided to investigate today.  I was amazed and astounded by what I found.  I fell in love with the idea, with Ann’s writing style, with the community she has founded.  I have no doubt participating in this community will change my life.  If you are interested or intrigued, please join me.  If you think you have nothing to be thankful for… I can assure you that you will find something.  Even through the brief periods I have practiced gratitude, I have become much more aware of blessings in my life.  Starting today with as many as I can name… and because I am who I am, I am sure I’ll feel obligated to give commentary and not just a list.

Today I am thankful for…

1) Grace.  Grace from God, grace from my family (especially the little boy who constantly teaches me about grace and forgiveness), grace from my friends who put up with me all too often when I don’t stay in touch, spend too much time complaining, and feel like I ask so much more than I give.

2) Space for God — the book which first introduced me to the practice of gratitude and being thankful for the small blessings of life — and my friend Sheila who introduced it to me.

3) Music.  I am always thankful for music.  Listening to the music from Ann’s blog at the moment.  Music triggers so much emotion…and often peace… in my life.  I don’t know what I would do without it.

4) Books and being able to read.  Another thing that I don’t know what I would do without.

5) This verse: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  — Philippians 4:6-7.  Why?  Because I discovered it during a time in my life when anxiety reigned, life was nowhere near plan… and somehow, inexplicably, I found peace in the midst of chaos.  It has become the verse I cling to whenever life does not go according to my plan… which is most of the time.

6) Getting mail or packages, especially around the holidays.  Yes, a UPS package was just dropped off at my door.  It likely contains Christmas presents for my little boy, who is excited that a package came as well.  Isn’t it a great feeling to open up a personal letter or package and know someone thought of you?

7) Hot chocolate.  There is just something about curling up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, or coming in from the cold to enjoy a cup.  Coffee just isn’t the same.  Though I am also grateful for…

8 ) Coffee.  I’m grateful for coffee because, as an adult, it reminds me of time spent with friends over coffee.  A few years ago, a life-long friend and I spent time over mochas every week discussing our lives (yes, she is another who has extended numerous times of grace to me… especially since I have done horribly at staying in touch since we no longer live in the same town).  Last week I had the privilege of spending several nights with groups of mom-friends drinking coffee and just sharing life.

9) The friend I ran into over the weekend… with her 7 year old and infant in tow… who reminded me I’m not the only one out there who will have a sizable age gap between kids… who reminded me that plenty of people aren’t giving up hope of having kids after 35… or 40… or later.

10) My cats.  They offer unconditional love, warmth for cold feet, a listening ear, and an endless source of amusement at times.

11) Grief.  Last week I spent several hours concerned I was going to have to say good-bye to one of my cats.  It reminded me of too many other times I’ve had to say goodbye over the last few years… or of the times I spent grieving what was never there to lose… maybe lost expectations?  I have grown so much through times of grief… even though it is one of those experiences that often only brings gratitude once you are through it to a certain extent.

12) Autumn leaves.  The roads bordered by trees have burst into color over the past week.  I spent several days driving up and down the streets of Memphis amazed by their beauty.

13) Gifts.  I am grateful for gifts… not that I have received, but that I am able to give.  I have loved starting Christmas shopping for my family and watching my little boy be so excited over giving to others.

14) An unexpected “date night” with my husband last night while our little boy enjoyed children’s activities at church.  It ended up being a quick dinner and filling out an application for a part-time job… but it was still nice to get a few minutes alone.

15) The strawberries and nutella crepe I had during that date night… how can something so good be not-too-bad for you?  Yum!

16) Watercolor paintings from my growing artist-in-residence.

17) Candles and candlelight.

18) The simple beauty of a clean room.

19) Homemade soup waiting in the crock pot after a long day.

20) This post — a 10 point manifesto of joyful parenting.  Time to try to put it into action. 🙂

Wrapping up for today… but planning to make this a regular Monday thing.  Well… planning to make this a daily thing but only blog about it on Mondays.  I hope you will join me.

Oliver

Oliver is my 13 year old Siamese mix cat. He has been in my life for only slightly less time than my husband. He (along with a few other kitties) was our baby for years… and he has been neglected a bit in the onslaught of stress (including parenting a human baby!) over the past few years.

Today I have thought more than I wanted to about how life will be without him around. Tonight he is staying at an emergency clinic after having some breathing problems earlier today. We are hopeful there is nothing terribly wrong… but I also know that there is a great chance that something *will* be terribly wrong over the next few years. Today I had to face my fears and a 4 year old’s questions at the same time. It was tough. I’m so hoping that tomorrow brings much more hope and answers than I have tonight.

I’m probably over-reacting… but this is the kitty who listened to me sob for months when I didn’t think anyone else would care about some huge things going on in my life. This is the kitty who has slept with me since he was a tiny kitten –the one who roams the house making sure everyone is in bed before he goes for a final midnight snack and to bed himself for a few hours. This is my lap kitty… the one who loves to read over my shoulder… the one who was so super-gentle (if a bit jealous!) of the baby we eventually brought home. The one who didn’t take long to fall in love with that baby too… and now wants to sleep in his bed more often than mine, much to Andrew’s chagrin (Mommy! Oliver is in my bed! Make him GO AWAY!).  They love each other though.  The picture at the end of this post proves it!

Life has been chaotic the last few years, to say the least. Tonight I got a reminder that relationships, even those with pets, are more important than the things that tend to demand my time. Right now, I have 2 kitties who are getting older… a little boy who is rapidly approaching kindergarten and new freedoms, regardless of schooling decisions we make… and a husband who doesn’t need to be forgotten in the mix either. I’m looking around my messy living room (and remembering that I never did switch off the crockpot that has been keeping dinner warm for too many hours now) and hoping that tomorrow I’ll remember that snuggles are more important than sweeping and reading a book to my 4 year old (hopefully with a cat nearby) is more important than reloading the dishwasher.

Tonight, I am so thankful for those reminders. I am so thankful for my kitties, who all have their own stories of how much they have enriched my life. (And, I am also so thankful that Andrew was amazingly patient during the oh-so-long waits to see what was going on with “his kitty”). Give your kids and pets extra snuggles from me today!

Kitties! :)

I may get around to a second K post for today if I ever finish a book I need to review… but for now, enjoy some tidbits about the fur babies in my house!  I have 2 cats at home, Oliver (the white Siamese mix) and Bailey (the black long-hair).  We still claim Abby too.  She was a tan/gray striped cat who lived with us for about 8 years and unfortunately ran away about a year ago.  My fault. 😦  She got outside during a thunderstorm and never came back.

  1. Oliver was my first baby. 🙂  We got him just a few months after we got married.  At the time, my husband worked nights and Oliver’s “job” was to keep me company at night.  He is the sweetest cat ever and definitely does an amazing job.  He’s a really good listener too.  I don’t know what I would have done without him.
  2. When Oliver was a kitten, he loved to watch ski jumping at the Winter Olympics (in 1998, I guess?).  He would follow the skier as they jumped and stop watching TV during the commercials.
  3. We never intended on having more than one cat.  Quick story of how Bailey joined our home — we had a car accident, the salvage shop had found some kittens who were days old and had been abandoned by their mom, I’m a sucker for kittens.  We took him home and bottle fed him.  He even went to work with me for a few weeks!
  4. To thank me for keeping him alive, Bailey promptly decided that my husband was his favorite human.  I’m still second best.
  5. When Bailey first came to live with us, he was so tiny we couldn’t tell if he was a boy or a girl.  We guessed boy and named him Coal.  Then the vet told us he was a girl and we named him Annabelle (Belle for short).  Well… he turned out to be a boy… so his name is Bailey.  We still have a tiny stocking from his first Christmas with us that says Annabelle.
  6. We definitely didn’t intend on having THREE cats.  So how did Abby join our home?  Well… my boss found a kitten living on the streets.  Her 4-year-old nephew was living with her at the time and terrorizing the poor kitty.  She told us we had to stop by “just to see her, we didn’t have to take her”.  Did I mention I’m a sucker for kittens?  We left with our third cat.
  7. Abby never grew much beyond kitten size, so we said we really had 2 1/2 cats.
  8. Abby was more mischievous than the other 2 combined.  We loved her and definitely miss her… but have to admit that life is a bit easier without her around!
  9. Oliver likes to sleep on my head.  I’m allergic to cats, this does not help.
  10. Oliver likes to sit on my shoulder and “read” with me.
  11. Bailey’s favorite past time is knocking random items off of the table and other surfuaces.  We joke that his job is to clean up.  (He also took it upon himself to get annoyed with Abby, who did not really like the litter box, whenever she left a mess — and then bring it to our attention).
  12. Bailey thinks he doesn’t like catnip.  We don’t give it to our cats anymore but used to.  If we showed him the bag, he would hiss at it and smack it away.  If we just gave him catnip in something, he asks like it is the greatest thing ever.
  13. When Bailey first came to live with us, we kept him in the bathroom because it was the only room with a door that would shut all of the way.  He was so tiny we could just let him play in a laundry basket.  He still loves bathrooms and water to this day.  He likes to sit on the side of the bathtub and scare me while I am taking a shower.
  14. Cats are an amazing source of entertainment when you are young and have no money. 🙂  We used to laugh for hours watching Bailey chase a laser beam around the floor and on the walls.  He could jump really high!  Think Mario’s wall jump on Super Mario Brothers.
  15. Oliver has always had a collar with a bell.  He loves it.  We tried to put a collar on Bailey one day.  He was traumatized.
  16. Bailey has a bit of an attitude problem.
  17. Oliver has transferred his love for me into a love for Andrew (my 4 year old) too.  They are best buddies and Andrew is (mostly) so gentle with Oliver.  Oliver is very patient on the times he is not gentle.
  18. Andrew and I agree that Oliver makes a great pillow.
  19. Oliver refuses to eat any kind of “people food”.  Bailey has an obsession with chicken.  He will beg for it and usually manages to get a bite or two.  Abby had an obsession with any kind of people food she could get.
  20. I cannot imagine life without my cats (though I can imagine a house with less cat hair).  They are getting older… Oliver is almost 13 and Bailey is almost 10.  I’m trying not to think about it.

In short:

cat – 1 walking ego with an attitude problem (Bailey) 2 lap warmer with built-in buzzer (Oliver) 3 proof that eating and sleeping isn’t all bad (Abby)