All posts by loralpepoon@gmail.com

Sometimes Love Unintentionally Pricks

My dad and Gabriel, helping my mom learn about "accidental love pricks"
My dad and Gabriel, helping my mom learn about “accidental love pricks”

Lessons from Cat Sitting Gabriel
Guestpost by Loral Pepoon, Clive’s Mom

This weekend, we are watching our friend’s cat, Gabriel, because he just had surgery a couple of days ago. Our friends, his owners, just wanted to make sure he was OK since they were going to be away so soon.

My husband and I were elated to report to our friends that he was feeling well enough to jump up on our laps this morning!

But the events that ensued after that were a bit surprising—and yet insightful!

I was so excited to see that Gabriel was better, to receive his love, and to have him with me on my chair! He could sense that love, and his motor began to roar. He then took the next step to show his adoration: kneading…you know, that’s when cats press one hand and then the next into you…

The problem was, that Gabriel has claws, and the claws were pricking my skin with every move!

Gabriel just wanted to be close to me, to show his affection and to rest in companionship. But I was unprepared to receive it. I hadn’t put on a protective clothing—I was wearing shorts.

I was sad to have to interrupt this precious moment and make him get down, but I had to—for the sake of my legs! He then promptly got onto my husband, who had longer shorts on. My husband was able to grab his claws and keep Gabriel from kneading and to keep them both comfortable. He saw the hurtful potential in this interaction and stopped it in its tracks. The morning love sweetly continued.

Tonight all was redeemed with Gabriel and I. He jumped up on my lap once again. This time, I was ready. I was covered with a blanket on the couch and he could offer cuddles without pain. He could relax and so could I, and in a couple minutes, he fell fast asleep. He is sleeping on my legs as I write this—but it took us another attempt to get here.

Relationship interactions cycle like my interactions with Gabriel did today.

Sometimes, in our best efforts to love people, we prick them just because we are excited and haven’t trimmed our own claws enough.

I know my husband and I accidentally prick each other much more often than we would like. All we are trying to do is express love, but somehow—to our complete surprise—our actions end up scratching a sore or unprotected spot.

So, how can we cover ourselves? How can we still experience the closeness of love? Put on a protective blanket that covers our fragile skin or sore spots.

As I live in relationship with my husband, that covering also means looking past what actually happened in a hurtful moment to what I know what was intended by him.

It can also mean trying to gain an understanding of how he has been created or conditioned as as factors before I make a judgment about how his action translates into his feelings for me.

I’m actually thankful for these accidental “pricks” are also fantastic conversation starters and lie busters.

We can clear the air by sharing what we meant to do, just as soon as we can stop the immediate hurt and get each person to hear an explanation. We can also share about why we tend to do what we do, and tell each other how our previous experiences have shaped us.

Sometimes another person giving a loving reaction despite the prick we might have given can help us realize that perhaps our defenses came out when they weren’t needed—like the cat’s claws came out when he was trying to love.

We can also try to alter our perceptions based on the totality of another’s personality rather than making a judgment based on a single action. Gabriel, like my husband, is a gem the lionshare of the time—those claws only come out and hurt on rare occasions. In my husband, I see sweetness, care, responsibility and love with 95% of his actions—and that track record helps me forgive the small percentage of actions that hurt me without him knowing or intending to.

But today, I’m also thankful for those accidental pricks. They help us learn about what we can do to make the situation better—and our relationship continues to grow.

With every accidental love prick, we learn.

To learn more about relationship lessons on the adventures of life, please visit my husband’s blog, hikingwithyourhoney.com

Has something that has “pricked” you taught you something? What insights might you have to share?

If you have a blog, article or book that you aren’t sure how to start or if you feel stuck, I can help! Visit cowriterpro.com or contact me. I have helped corporations, small businesses and authors craft compelling messages for more nearly 20 years—and I can help you too!

 

 

Seven Ways I Am Like My Mom

It’s my mom’s birthday, so I told her I would do a post for her tonight so that she completes her current blog challenge. Recently, she wrote a story about how she’s like me—Clive, her cat. So, for her birthday, I thought it was only fitting that I told you how I have become like her.

  1. I love to be right up in my loved ones space! I’m so thankful for them! I know she is thankful for me too—I made her top 10 list of things she is thankful for! I show my love much of the time by sniffing faces, settling on laps or laying on their chests. I do this most often if she has her laptop.I see her do that to my dad, though, too! So, I learned that interrupt whatever is happening if I want love. My dad can be working on his blog, which tells of their adventures together, and she walks up to him, and sits on his lap and asks, “What are you doing?” AND I’ve seen my dad do the same thing to her, too—but this post is about how I am like my mom.
  2. I beg for food if I smell something good. I also learned this from my mom. If my dad has something on his plate that she wants, He must share, or she will take it! But she always asks first. And that’s all I’m doing when I meow when my parents eat! I’m asking many times! But, if they don’t give me any, I’ll eventually try to get up on the table and take my share.
  3. I love gazing out the window on a beautiful day when the sun is shining. I see my mom look out the window longingly as she is waiting for the words to come that she writes. I watch her close her eyes and warm her face in the sunshine. I do that too, after I look at everything—I just bask in it. That’s why mom mom loves where we live now—that’s up on a hill. We have beautiful views of trees and the sun and the woods, with windows on three sides of the room where she typically sits during the day.
  4. I love bird watching. My dad calls my mom “bluebird queen” because she loves bluebirds and because they played a part in her coming to Tennessee. But that’s another story she will have to tell. I love watching the bluebirds, robins, cardinals, blackbirds and any other bird I see outside. I meow at them quietly and wag my tail, but they don’t seem to hear me.
  5. I go through many hair ties . Mom is always putting these things in her hair, and taking her hair down again and leaving the hair tie wherever she is—and she thinks they disappear. Hair ties are my absolute favorite toy. I take them. I chase them all over the floor until they go under a piece of furniture. But she doesn’t see where they go and I can’t them out of there. Whenever we move next, we will find all the lost hairties, and have great fun!
  6. I am most content at home, but I long to get outside, too. My mom works at home, and she has to go run an errand just to get out sometimes so she can see the outside world. I totally get that. I want to get outside everytime a door opens. I always get right to the door, but then one of my humans blocks me from getting out. Then I remember that they are in there or I know they will come back, and I am comforted—because my number one priority is to just be with them.
  7. I am comforted by talking to my people. When mom feeds me, I say thank you. When she calls me, I perk up. When she calls my name and pats her lap or rubs her chest, I come. I know her signals for wanting love—and I’m happy to oblige.

I love you Mom, and I hope me writing the blog today for your birthday has made you feel special.

Mom is taking a few days off from projects, but she wanted me to tell you that if you have a writing or editing project that you need done, please feel free to check out her Website, cowriterpro.com. You can read her blog posts there about writing, view her online portfolio and contact her. She’ll be back at it again soon.

Country Living with Critters

moving clive

Clive, my 23-pound tabby hunk of feline love, teaches me life lessons every day.

My parents recently moved from a city apartment to a small country house. After I got over the traumatic experience of my entire world being torn apart, I grew to really love this country house.

It felt like a homecoming of sorts, because when I first met my mom, she lived with two other ladies in a country home. I had missed the panoramic views and watching the birds—and now I get to enjoy these sights again.

My favorite part of our new home is that now, my  parents let me sleep on the bed with them—all night long! I am thrilled that the closet where my food is doesn’t have a real door—because if it did, they would likely make me sleep in there.

I also love how cool the uncarpeted floors ar on my furry belly! Mom has area rugs and blankets, though, if I feel like getting cozy and warm.

BUT THEN…COMPETING CRITTERS!

First, a racoon lived under our house. I know those things can hurt me, but luckily my dad is kind of Daniel Boone like—and he trapped him and took him away.

Next, a possum took his place. If my parents knew then what they knew now, they would have kept him, because those ugly beasts eat ticks.

possum

Later, squirrels scurried above our heads between the ceiling and the roof! We were all trying to take a nap one Sunday, and these noisy nut-seekers were so loud that they were disturbing our peace. Well, my dad wasn’t going to stand for that, and he went outside in a hurry! I’m not sure what he did, but we haven’t heard them since!

Then, ants and worms invaded my “party in the potty.” I love to go to the loo whenever one of my parents do, so that’s what she calls our time together there. I know my mom wishes that I would eat the bugs and worms, but I think they are gross—just like she does.

Speaking of the potty, we had to get a new one. Yep, for at least three days, my parents had no indoor plumbing. It was pretty gross, and they were gone a lot. At least they didn’t try to use my box! They are too big!

And, now…the worst critters of all—FLEAS and TICKS! These monsters must have been mad when my dad got rid of all the other critters and they found their way to me. I itch everywhere, and the first medicine made me really sick. I got another kind after mom and dad took me to the Kitty ER the other night.

It’s supposed to take a few days to work, and mom and dad are washing everything in site. So, for a few more days, my cozy home is kind of crazy.

But, I can deal with all these critters, as long as my mom and dad are here, and they love on me—which they always do.

So, here’s my Insightful Insight for this weekend:

Don’t let the distractions get you down. You—and your loved ones—can defeat them by focusing on what’s most important.

If you want to read more about how to deal with ticks, read my dad’s blog, Hiking With Your Honey.

10 Things I’m Grateful For

With my pen in hand...pondering for these posts...Enjoy!
With my pen in hand…pondering for these posts…Enjoy!

At this time of year, Mom and Dad are talking about thankfulness. They intentionally remember the blessings and experiences they have shared over the past year. So, I decided to share what I am most thankful for in one post. Those of you who have had a chance to read my words during the last month may find this list somewhat predictable, but Mom tells me it’s OK to give thanks as often as possible, so here is goes:

  1. My Mom and Dad. They love me, feed me, pet me, hold me, let me be the center of attention, put up with all my crazy (but cute) antics, let me sleep as they write, and take lots of pictures of me to help my dream of sharing my cuteness and insights with the world. We are just starting this public journey, so we will see where it goes. I know I am connecting with cats all over the world on Twitter, and that is fun. Mom says that over Thanksgiving break, she is going to let me have my own social media pages! Is she great or what?
  2. Laps and chests. My favorite place to lay is on a lap if my people are sitting up. If they are laying down, I get on top of their chests. I purr and snort and carry on. All my people have to do is pet me. And, if you come over to our house and stay very long, I will do it to you too. My Gigi (grandma) visited us not too long ago, and I crawled on top of her as she rested, too!
  3. Morning couch time. This special time is when Mom, Dad and I read devotional books, the Bible and pray. Mom and Dad sip hot beverages as they ask God for guidance about work and life issues. They also lift up family members and friends. I cross my hands and pray right along with them, as I sit patiently and pray. Mom and Dad trust God to direct each day, and He faithfully show them His priorities!
  4. My food. I know my love for food may be obvious by my 23-pound, burly feline physique. But , just in case you can’t tell how much I eat from the pictures, let me tell you that I LOVE MY FOOD! My parents ration my food and have me on a weight-loss formula, but it is still sooo good!
  5. My parents food: Isagenix protein shakes. My parents both have been drinking these drinakable delights for more than a year for weigh loss and health. I know my mommy wishes she never gave me a taste—but she did. And I meow for them every morning like CRAZY! I know when my parents move around after couch time, my tastes are coming!
  6. Hair ties. These little round circles are better than any cat toy on the market, hands down. I love to get my paws in them and throw them down the hall. It’s my ongoing source of simple entertainment that never gets old.
  7. Daddy’s shoes. I love everything about my Daddy. He is kind and patient, yet macho and manly. I want to be just like him when I grow up. But when Daddy is at work, I like to lay on his shoes, just to remember his scent. Sometimes, I even lick them. Don’t be grossed out—it’s what cats do.
  8. Sandwiches.” A sandwich is a term that I coined for my hugs with my parents. It started when Mom began using me as a pillow. At first I thought I wouldn’t like it, but I was surprised. I would just purr for a long time. Then, when my parents first get home from going out, and just before they put me to bed each night, Dad usually picks me (because Mom can’t with her injured shoulder) and they hug with me in the middle. Other than couch time, this is my absolute favorite thing. I squeal in delight.
  9. My box and the bathroom. I love my box to be clean and for it to be in my favorite spot for it in the hallway. It gets much use because I eat so much. But I don’t only love my box, I love my parents “box”—the bathroom— as well. I love it so much that I bust the door open to get in there whenever my parents are in there. I love to sit on their feet in front of the toilet. I also love to hang out with them when they get ready. I put my paws up on the sink and stand on the toilet just to be with them. They try not to let me drink toilet water or water after they have showered from the tub, but sometimes I sneak some anyway. 😜
  10. A small apartment. I used to live in a larger house, but I like living in an apartment, where my parents write in the same room at night. I can see both of them at once and lay in between them. I take turns getting on their laps or sitting at their feet. But I always have to have both of them in sight. Well, that’s enough for me to chew on for a while. Since today is the last day of my 30-day blog challenge, I am signing off for a while and will write less frequently.

But stay tuned and when I get my own pages, I’ll invite you to the party!

Mean while, if you have enjoyed my words, would you tell me so below? Or share anything on your mind.

Cheers from this Happy Cat,

Clive

Take More Breaks, Mom! 

Laying on Mom's work so she can't get to it
Laying on Mom’s work so she can’t get to it

My Mom works as an editor, and she is blessed to get to stay home next to me to do that, if she chooses.

Sometimes, when she is rushed to meet a deadline, I don’t like what that does to her. She doesn’t have as much time to play with me or write my thoughts as she does on days when her schedule goes as planned.

She and I both function better is she has more margin in her day. She is nicer to me and not as stressed.

I see her duress, and I try to help her. I sit on top of her projects as much as possible. Then, she can’t work! Genius, right? I think so.

Now that she has an injury, I also know that it can be hard for her to get me off of the papers that she needs. After all, I am a burly 23-pound hunk of love. I know I have said that many times—but it bears repeating.

I’m still a single cat and am taking inquiries for my soulmate! Well, maybe. I actually don’t know if I want to share my castle. No—I don’t. Scratch that idea.

Where was I? Oh yes. I remember. I was telling you how I purposely sit on top of mom’s work to make her take a break and pet me. I have to be THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING!

What happens if she doesn’t heed my advice to take a break? What do I do if she pushes my off her papers and she keeps working?

Well, I get kind of obnoxious. One time, I marched right into a Skype conference call. Luckily, her client loves cat and had been asking to see what I looked like. My reputation had proceeded me and I took over the entire meeting because everyone at the virtual table oohed and ahhed at my cuteness.

I thought it went very well, but Mom doesn’t do work for that client any more, so maybe it didn’t. I guess I should be more careful. But she should take more breaks—and when she takes them, she could always take a cat nap with me.

Applications for Life

Do you have enough margin in your day? How do you take enough mental breaks to cope with life’s unexpected deadlines and curveballs? Does someone have to force you to stop in that scenario? If so, maybe you could consider a strategy to satisfy your need for periodic mental breaks. If pets or family members are distracting, maybe consider ways to divert their attention to something that may also be a better way to spend their time.

Thoughts? We would love to hear them in the comments below!

Guys Night In

Hanging out with my Dad
Hanging out with my Dad

Experiencing An Unusual Weekend. Friday evening, I began to notice something unusual: Mom wasn’t home. She and my Dad are usually together—after all, they are still newlyweds since they have been married under two years.

Daddy came home from the grocery store and was working on his blog, Hiking with Your Honey. He sat in his normal writing spot at the table, and I sat with Him for a while in peace next to his feet. I was also brave going outside with him. At night, the scary mechanical birds they call airplanes don’t seem to fly overhead as much (we live right by an airport).

Every time Dad got up, I expected him to go to the door, and that Mom would walk in. But she didn’t. I began to get stressed. Dad couldn’t figure out why I was stressed and tried to feed me, cleaned my box, and scratched my head. The petting eased my pain a little, and I calmed down because it was time to go to bed.

The next day, though, Dad didn’t engage in the normal routine of having our “couch time” Bible study right away. He had a morning appointment and much to do that Saturday, so he got busy with our technological tasks and laundry.

Crying Out for A Familiar, Comforting Activity. I kept meowing at Him, missing my Mom. I looked all around the apartment and couldn’t find her. But I was also meowing because I could tell my Dad wasn’t Himself either.

Finally, in an effort to comfort me, my Dad did something that comforted us both.

He went to the couch for “couch time.” He got out my favorite blanket and our devotional books, and I ran up and jumped on His lap, like I always do. He began to read and pray like he and Mom normally do each morning.

Finding Peace. I think I was comforted by routine being reestablished and He was comforted by God, who was speaking to my Dad that it is His power that enables people to get tasks done and His Spirit that enables people to find the best direction for the day.

A few hours later, Mom came home. I was so excited to see her. I ran to her when the door opened and Dad picked me up so we could have a parent sandwich. My purring motor roared with delight, and all was well.

Understanding that the Discomfort Had a Purpose. It turns out, Mom was at a women’s conference at her church. She loves her boys at home, but every once in a while, she needs extended fellowship and teaching with just the ladies. She came home tired from the deep teaching, but with a satisfied soul. When she arose this morning, she was refreshed and happy. We had our normal “couch time” once again—and all was well.

Applications for Life

When your routine changes and discomfort ensues, consider engaging in a comforting activity to help divert your mind from your new circumstances. I also encourage you to find someone to pray with.

I hear my parents pray that God would show them what He wants them to learn about the circumstance. Finally, give thanks in the everyday for the “normal” patterns of life—for the people that you love, and the activities and routines that make up your life. Appreciate the simple things and the little moments—you are storing memories and treasures in your heart to get you through the challenges.

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Tempering Unpredictable Reactions

Showing off my not-so-great side...reacting in an unpleasant way...
Showing off my not-so-great side…reacting in an unpleasant way…

Good Intentions. I do my best to be a good cat by loving my humans well. I am always around them, I don’t make much noise—well, unless I am starving and I don’t really require them to do much to take care of me. Feed my and clean my litter box, and I’m a happy cat—most of the time.

Unpredictable Reactions. But every once in a while, I get really snippy. And I snip at my parents, with my teeth. They can be petting me on my head, giving me the best head scratch that I was happy with less than five minutes ago.

And out pops a snip, which takes my parents by surprise. Sometimes a hand is pulled away, and followed by a firm yet gentle slap on my head.

Other times, I have just been fed and sometimes I like to see more food in my bowl. I get scared when they walk around that they might leave and forget to feed me. It’s not rational, because they just fed me, and I have food in my bowl, but my reactions happen anyway sometimes. I jump up and nip on their pants with my teeth.

When my mom has pants on that are wide or flowy on the bottom, I jump up and grab harder so that I actually get to her leg.

Loving Discipline. Mom gets mad when I jump on her leg like that, and she turns around, raises her voice a little, points her finger and says no, and then she  gives me a little slap on the head.

I know I have not been kind because she doesn’t do that if I don’t hurt her. She doesn’t do that if I just meow and tell her that I need comforting.

But fear is a strange motivator of bad behavior. I wish I didn’t get scared and react badly, but Mom and Dad gently discipline me, which reminds me that hurting them out of fear is not OK. I am grateful that they temper my moods, and remind me of a better way.

Self-Initiated Corrective Action. I know that I have done something wrong, and within a few minutes, I come out from hiding and want to be with them, and I know to be nice.

I have also learned that if I can’t be nice, I know I am likely overly tired. I just need to sleep. I am pleased that I have found a way to temper my own mood—before parental discipline is necessary.

Mom’s Musings

How I’m like Clive. I know that even with my best intentions, I surprise myself interacting with others when I react in an irritable fashion. After the reaction comes out, I realize that my reaction may not have been warranted, or perhaps some reaction was warranted, but the one that slipped out was bigger than the situation called for.

Once I identify my response and logically assess its appropriateness, I can move toward a self-initiated corrective action. These actions can involve spending time with God to ask Him about it, getting a little more rest and apologizing if my inappropriate actions have been directed at my husband, God or another person.

Finding gratitude and redemption. I’m thankful to God that He has, in His grace, shown me that my reactions may be as unwarranted as Clive’s when he bites the hand that is feeding him or scratching his head. I’m also thankful that His blood covers each and every offense. I’m grateful that he washes me clean, and that He is working on my behalf to mold me more and more into His character. I’m grateful to look back and see the lessons learned and to have another chance.

Applications for Life

What about you? Do you recognize unpredictable hurtful actions that you may or may not intend to do to others? Does God shift your mind and heart to contrition and repentance (or turning away from the previous behavior and toward a way that’s more loving?) Have you experienced God’s redemption from a bad mood or unmerited bad reaction? If not, ask Him to show you His redemptive power in your life. Ask Him to continue to mold your character to be more like the character of Jesus. He is faithful to answer those prayers.

“…Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love (Ephesians 4:1–2).

The Same…Only Different

I am having a fairly casual, fun Friday, so I am not quite as full of words as I’ve been in recent days. So, I looked to my namesake, C.S. Lewis (spelled out Clive Staples), the prolific author and theologian, for some inspirational thoughts to share with you. Here’s the one that jumped out for today:

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” (Prince Caspian, 1951).

My mom for the first five years of my life sent her friend—my current mom—a picture of me when I was only six months old. Wow! I was little!

At six months old...looking up in a dreamy, contemplative manner.
At six months old…looking up in a dreamy, contemplative manner.

But I see a few ways that show me how I resemble my current self, in that picture alone.

  • I still look up in that dreamy, pensive manner.
  • I still am uber cute.
  • I still have striking markings and a wonderful fur pattern that I was born with.

And, from hearing stories about when I was a kitten, much is similar about me that may not be obvious from looking at photos:

  • I still love to jump up onto “my” humans.
  • I still love to eat.
  • I am always right in the middle of all the action.
  • I am more dog like in my pursuit of people.
  • I am not a fierce hunter—I have always played with bugs and mice instead of demolishing them.
My dreamy, contemplative self today, at 5 1/2 years old and 23 pounds!
My dreamy, contemplative self today, at 5 1/2 years old and 23 pounds!

But, looking at the picture of me today , you can also see one very obvious fact: I have more than tripled in size! I have grown up. Like many humans say, “I’m not sure when that happened, I don’t feel any older.” Neither do I.

Despite few changes in me, in the last two plus years since we met, my new Mom has experienced significant changes in her life:

  • She lived with two ladies—and now she is married to a loving man.
  • She moved from a home on five acres on a lovely property to an apartment close to her husband’s work. (I joined her here a few months into her marriage).
  • She has moved from being an employee to running her own business.
  • She not only writes and edits for others, but she has begun publishing stories about her life.

So, my Mom’s life has changed far more than mine did, but she, at her core, is still the same: a woman who loves Jesus, others dear to her and me, a cat she is blessed to know.

Applications for Life
As we approach Thanksgiving in the U.S., I, Clive’s Mom, am taking stock of where I’ve been and where I’m at today. I’m making a list, thanking God for all the consistencies, changes, blessings and challenges. Then, as the New Year approaches, I’ll begin to pray for His direction about what to change and what to keep the same. Perhaps you’ll be led to join me in this reflective time of gratitude and prayer.

Spiritual Insights
“O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting” (1 Chronicles 16:34, NASB).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philipians 4:6–7, ESV).

Loving Me Where I’m At

My view of Mom when she was hanging out with me on the floor, just to love me where I'm at
My view of Mom when she was hanging out with me on the floor, just to love me where I’m at

I’ve told you before about how much of the time I jump up on my parent’s laps, or how I climb up to their level on top of something. I—like most cats—love to climb and get on top of whatever I can.

But sometimes, you know what? I just don’t feel like jumping up anywhere. I have to plop right down on the floor, wherever I feel like it.

Sometimes, I don’t come when I’m called—although I usually respond to my name. At the very least I give a short meow or sound that is a response that’s saying “I heard you,” in a friendly voice.

On those times, perhaps I long for my owners to come to me. Those times, I want for you to make an effort to be with me. I love responding to my owners 90% of the time in dog like fashion—but I can’t escape my feline DNA.

That feline make up makes me be aloof and want things my way—sometimes. If I ask my Mommy or Daddy about the other, they will say that my other parent likes to have it his or her way too, so I don’t feel bad. After all, like owner, like pet!

However, my Mom is so perceptive. When I am in one of these moods, where I just want to lay wherever I want to lay, she comes to me to pet me!

It doesn’t matter that she is now laying on the old carpet, squeezing her body in between me and two bookshelves down a narrow hallway. She still does it.

I love it when she loves me where I’m at—when she comes down to my level. It makes me feel unconditionally loved and accepted, and I’m grateful.

Spiritual Insights

In this instance, I (Clive’s Mom) am only mirroring how God loves me. I want Clive to feel unconditional love. God just wanted to be with me, so he sent His Son, Jesus, down to my level from God down to a lower level—as a human being. When I think of Him doing that just to be with me—I am in awe. I don’t understand it…until I think of my husband, Clive and close friends—all of whom I would lay on the floor to hang out with. I guess God is giving me a glimpse of His love.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5–11, NIV).

Honoring Veterans

Honoring the American flag, starring at toy soldiers and proudly wearing Daddy's veteran's hat.
Honoring the American flag, starring at toy soldiers and proudly wearing Daddy’s veteran’s hat.

Today I take a break from the typical fun feline frolicking as I stand in solidarity with my Daddy.

As he rose this morning—albeit a bit later than normal because he had the day off for Veteran’sDay—he surprised both Mom and me as he emotionally gripped an encased flag and his army men.

Daddy served proudly for eight years in the Army National Guard.

Daddy proudly wearing his veterans hat
Daddy proudly wearing his veterans hat

He was honorably discharged from the 475th MASH (a military hospital unit) as a Sergeant. He spoke of the ever-present conflict of being away from family that constantly grips each soldiers heart. He shared that he had hoped to parachute out of planes, and go on missions to get our enemies, but that his service had kept him stateside.

He was also remembering his own father, whose casket that flag had draped just three years ago. Daddy loved his father, but at times, daddy wished his father hadn’t been so difficult. Daddy laughed as he remembered his father mowing the lawn in dress shoes and doing his best to dress up, even though his sense of fashion was sometimes questionable.

That man was my grandpa, and I never met him. Although he was one of the fortunate vets from World War II, because he lived a full life before he died of natural causes at 88 years old.

Daddy was also praying and crying out for those whose families made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

He was praying for those who are still in harm’s way, defending our country today. He lifted up to the Lord our dear friend, John, who serves today in the Navy in the Middle East, with his wife and three children a world away.

He asked that our merciful God protect all U.S. soldiers today from harm’s way, and that their hearts would be protected from the worst display of immorality and vulgarity that he had ever experienced.

He was mourning the country he knew as a youth—and wondered where the old-fashioned moral standards he knew as a pastor’s son growing up more than 20 years ago have gone. He wondered what our country will be like as his soon-to-be-born grand daughter comes of age.

He wondered if he was asked to serve today, what ideals would he be fighting for? Would he, if serving today, be able to express His love for Jesus Christ without being told he was offending someone, or being asked to keep his faith separate from the front lines?

Difficult questions indeed. And ones that our veterans and active military face each day. I am just a cat, but I empathize with my owners. So, I stare in awe of this flag and these army men—and we—in this family—offer our prayers and deep felt gratitude.