I had an uneventful drive to work yesterday morning. That is, until I sat at a stop light. I noticed the people behind me as I checked my rear-view mirror. I noticed them for three reasons.
Reason 1: Skin color, hair color, and facial features made it obvious they were family. Mother at the wheel, teen-age son riding shotgun.
Reason 2: They were not smiling. I could not read their lips, but their non-verbals were deafening. The pursed lips on the mom and the squint to her eyes told me she was angry. The boy looked down and when he looked back up, he just stared forward. The boy’s lips moved, they both stared forward. It almost looked like they were both taking in the moment, both longing to be elsewhere.
Reason 3: The short-lived silent moment ended when the mom sucker-punched her son in the left temple. Her lips moved and she gave him some more words. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t guard himself. Was he used to this behavior from his mom, or did he not expect it? His sad eyes shifted to stare out the passenger side window. I know that stare out the window; I have looked there myself during unpleasant car rides.
My jaw hit the floorboard. I tried to make it obvious I saw what she did as I physically turned around to look at them, but neither noticed me. My heart broke for the son. I have no idea what aggravated this assault, but it sure had me full of emotion.
My heart felt sucker-punched. I wanted to let this car pass me so I could follow them and find the place where the mom gets out of her car. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind. I even thought of more violent things I could do to her. Lucky for that mom, we were on a two-lane road with construction and I could not let them pass and I could not follow them.
I could not physically help that boy, but I was able to bring in the big guns and help him Spiritually. I prayed for him. That was all I could do, but it was more than anyone could do at that moment.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
My Bible is old, a bit tattered and worn. Some pages at the very beginning have pulled away from the binding, but remain in their original space. Pages are dog-eared, sticky notes are stuck and bookmarks of all shapes and sizes lie in waiting within.
Aspects I love about my Bible are the previous yellow highlights. What God spoke to me in the past has been so important, I wanted to be sure not to miss it in the future.
A yellow highlight that jumps out at me from my time alone with God this weekend is from John 1:12-13 which says: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Membership in God’s family is by Grace alone–the gift of God.
Finding just one aspect of myself that I consider to be my worst quality is hard because I am human; I am flawed in many ways. I will become top-shelf quality when I die as my soul will reunite with my creator. However, while in my physical body, I must be honest and admit that I am a wasteful person.
I am wasting precious time on this earth hoarding my skills and talents because I let fear keep me in its grip. God has given me a nurturing and caring personality, but I find myself being cold and careless with His creation. God has given me a creative mind, but I remain in a career that does not recognize or fertilize this gift. I waste time sitting on my hands calling it writer’s block even though my dream is to write a book. I make more excuses than I do plans; I waste precious time with family and friends.
It is not easy to admit that waste is my worst quality. I am ashamed to call this to the forefront of all my flaws. The good thing is, now that I have this out in the open, I can evaluate what is going on and start to make changes.
Can you be honest with yourself today and call out your worst quality?
Psalm 23:4 New International Version (NIV)
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Vacation! The time spent together is priceless.
I am lying in bed, looking up information on my iPhone amidst a pile of sleeping cats. Family time such as this keeps me grounded, literrally.
Alli, my 13-year old, claims my lap every chance she gets. We call it the coveted spot in the house. If I have my legs crossed she headbutts the intruding leg until it gives in and repositions allowing her the access she demanded. If my laptop claims that space, she will pace back and forth across the keyboard until I move it off to the side, inconvenient only to me, just so my teen-ager can sit with her mommy. Human teen-agers are just the opposite, so I consider myself very blessed by Alli’s need to be with me.
If and when my lap is free, Zoe claims the coveted space. If any of the other cats even look Zoe’s way, she lets out a deep-seeded growl warning them that she is there and is not planning to move anytime soon. Put into words that growl says, “keep walkin’ “.
Mojo is content with curling up close. He always has to touch. He recently was on duty, making sure there was no riff-raff going on in the house. When he jumped on the bed, he put both front paws on my arm and laid his head softly on his arms and quickly fell asleep. I could tell he was back from making his rounds as there was a chill to his little furry paws. His paws lost their chill as they sucked away the heat from my body. Quickly asleep he started to dream. Mojo’s face started to twitch and his paws made movements as if he were running. His once relaxed breathing pattern sped up. He woke startled, probably wondering if he was dreaming.
Bean is the tiniest cat of the group. Mojo tends to dominate her which kicks me into protector mode. I think I would lay down my life for her as she is so innocent and sweet. Her big green eyes make me melt. When Mojo is not up close and personal with me, then that is where Bean stations herself.
Vacation! Time spent together as a family is priceless.
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
I was not raised to be a cat lover. My aversion was a learned response from my family’s reaction to cats.
When I started dating my husband, the topic of his cats came up early in conversation. Jaguar was a male, dark brown (black looking) Manx, and Pixel was a female dilute torti. Upon meeting the cats, I quickly found out that Jaguar had to give everyone he met a quick bite to state his dominance in the relationship. After the initial bite, he was a cuddle-bug. Pixel, on the other hand, was very dainty and the sweetest little girl. She curled up with Jaguar, as one cat ball, and they would nap together all the time. So cute!!
When Pixel began vomiting and drinking more water than usual, we made an appointment with the veterinarian. Blood work results concluded that our little girl was suffering from renal failure. We learned how to administer subcutaneous fluids to keep her from dehydrating and she was given a special diet along with additional medications.
The diagnosis of feline renal failure is an invitation to a funeral. Pixel may have lived about two years longer than most “renal failure cat families” because we were on a strict subcutaneous fluid routine and we kept regular veterinarian appointments.
October 8, 2003…Quality of life was the deciding factor for the one-way trip to the veterinarian’s office where the last kisses were administered and the first tears flowed. I could not stop crying. The pain was raw and insufferable.
Did I mention that I could not stop crying? About one week passed since Pixel passed. I was on the second level of my home where Pixel and I spent a lot of one-on-one time together. I was on my knees on the floor, in the middle of the room, sobbing uncontrollably, mourning the loss of our sweet little girl. Remembering how she suffered during her final days kept me in this crouched position, dehydrated from the river of tears pouring out of me. Here, at my lowest point, I began to cry out to God seeking His peace from the pain I was experiencing. After this heart-felt prayer, it happened. I began to feel warm. First my head, then my shoulders and arms. Next thing I knew, my torso, legs and toes…all warm. I instantly stopped crying and I was at peace.
God showed up, as I had asked, and He hovered over me as a warm blanket of peace. What an awesome feeling.
I was not raised to be a cat lover. My love for cats was a learned response from Pixel and Jaguar’s reaction to me.
Today is the anniversary of your passing, Pixel. Rest in peace, our precious little girl.
Psalm 29:11 (NIV)
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
The church I attend has been without a permanent Pastor for approximately two years. Our Bishop called Pastor Michael Kemper, who is a full-time Interim Pastor, to fill in and shepherd our flock.
After the entrance hymn, opening prayers, and before the readings, Pastor Mike invites the little children to join him on the steps to the altar to sit around him as he shares a story, on their level, based on the Bible readings for the day. Pastor Mike’s first children’s sermon was a little longer than our church family had ever heard. The second week, a little boy asked Pastor if he was going to tell them a long story again. Oh, such honesty. 🙂 As time pressed forward, Pastor Mike told his stories at whatever length was necessary to get the message across and I feel that no one, young or old, concerned themselves with a time limit as he is an engaging story-teller. My inner child would always run up to the altar, with the little children, to hear their special sermon.
Pastor Mike never gave a bad sermon to the adults either. Truly, I wish he would write books as I know he would be my favorite author.
On October 2, 2011, we will blot tears from our eyes as we wave good-bye to Pastor Mike and his lovely wife, Jane. The Bishop has a new assignment for our favorite Interim Pastor. My inner child is throwing a tantrum because I do not want him to leave. My adult self understands that people must pass through our lives as they serve God’s purpose for our growth as well as their own. If I feel this way about my Interim Pastor, just think how the people felt in the towns that Jesus passed through during his ministry. I hope our paths will cross again on this earth, but if not, I will look for Pastor Mike in heaven some day.
Pastor Mike, you have given our church stability at a time we felt broken, prayed for us when we could not, and shared your smile every time we saw you. Our congregation is blessed to have been under your leadership. I pray the church(es) you serve will realize you are a blessing from God.