Monday, March 31, 2008

... continuing along the way



I've been on a journey for the last few months...
I'm definitely NOT in "Kansas" anymore...
and in as much as some I know...
would love comparing CA to OZ....
I've never seen the Emerald City here...

Munchkins, flying monkeys...
cowardly lions, talking scarecrows, tinmen...
horses-of-a-different-color, evil witches...
and "faux" wizards, selling "snake oil"...
for sure...
a "shining city on a hill"... ?
not here....

we are all travelers...
some journey, looking for "home"...
some seek "truth"... "enlightenment"...
all want to find acceptance... love...
happiness... fulfillment... a purpose to all this...
all need forgiveness... and hope...
to know that we are not alone...
to believe that "this"...is NOT "all there is..."



to "continue" means to progress forward...on a chosen path...
choosing which path is critical...
"two roads diverged in a yellow wood...
and sorry I could not travel both...
I looked down one as far as I could..."
[Robert Frost "The Road Not Taken"]

we seek guidance from "wise men"...
check our horoscopes...read cards, palms and tea leaves...
and find no more satisfying an answer...
than if we had asked the "Magic 8 Ball"...
or read a "fortune cookie"....

the way, can be made plain if you choose to believe
that Jesus is the way...
"I am the Way, the truth and the life...
no one comes to the Father except through Me"

but then, there is plain...and there is God's "plain"...
"blessed are you Thomas, because you have seen me...
blessed are those who have not seen, and still believe..."
THIS is God's "plain"...

have you ever noticed that "plain" is merely
"plan"...with an "I" in it ?...
when "you" ["I"], are in God's "plan"...
the way is made "plain"...
but, I digress...

since I have been following His path for me
these last 4 months, I have learned a number of things...
not with fanfare...
the heavens have not opened with a burst of light...
illuminating a profound truth in my mind...

quite the opposite...
our God is the master of the still, small voice...
the quieting calm in the presence of shattering grief...
the comforting peace of a trusting prayer...

we must learn patience...
how to trust..."resting" in Him...
abiding, if you will...in His presence...
giving up control...trusting all to Him...
building up our faith..." a belief in things unseen..."

"knowing" is a form of control...
"faith" does not "need" to "know"...
it just "trusts and believes"...
and thus, is "led" in the path
that is God's will for us...

once we learn this lesson...
relinquish our "need to know"...
and just trust...
then He gently guides us through the maze...

He is there...beside you...
opening doors once locked tight...
tearing down barriers... softening hearts...
dissolving bitterness...
filling withered, barren places...
with His love and grace...
and the fruits of the Spirit...

but only if you ask Him in...
if you give Him your heart and life...
and listen to His plan...
waiting patiently to be led...

but it is never as easy as all this may sound...
trust...is hard-won...
watered with tears...
through grief and shame...
the first wobbly steps of belief and praise...
it's always a struggle... with our selves...
but we have Jesus... and he is the Way...

"Does the road wind
uphill all the way ?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the journey take
the whole long day ?
From morn to night, my friend."
[C.G. Rossetti "Uphill"]

...click for the animals












I first saw this link on Miz Minka's blog...
[here, look to the right, above the Blog Catalog icon]
by clicking on it, you go to The Animal Rescue Site
and when you click where directed...
sponsors will provide food for shelter animals,
to the amount of .6 bowls of food per click...

they will count 1 click per IP address per day...
this costs you nothing and the shelters listed
all have good credentials, as does this site...
as a lifelong supporter of shelters...
this is a good [and free ! ] way to allow all to help...

I'm NOT telling you how many unsuccessful
attempts I made before I was able to add this link ...
I will only say that changing a label from "HTML edit"
to "rich text" was eventually involved...
once again proving, you CAN teach an old cat new tricks...

So click daily to help feed shelter animals...
trap, spay or neuter and release feral cats...
spay and neuter your pets... and...
UNTIL THERE ARE NONE, ADOPT ONE !

Saturday, March 29, 2008

...that cat already has a round tuit...

when the shoe doesn't fit....
go barefoot...
faker...? .... moi....?
but the catly girth, TV remote and "beverage" fit...
[well, the beer should be dark...
I'll get my "black" crayon and fix it...]















You are most like:


Selective Procrastinator



As a selective procrastinator, you know how to procrastinate but only do it when you feel you can afford to.
Your a faker!


 

Take this quiz: How Bad A Procrastinator Are You?



[blog author is not responsible for the above spelling/grammar faux pas]

...what color of the basic 8 crayons are you most like ?

I always knew that being colorful...
wasn't really my style...
give me "orchestra black" any time...
[hee, hee...]













You are most like:


Black


You are bold with a dark side. You make clear lines wherever you go, though you color outside of the lines. Many people may just see the surface of you and think you are merely plain, but you have a lot of depth to you as well.


 

Take this quiz: Which Crayola Box of 8 Color Are You?

...who's obsessive compulsive now ?

50%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?





I found this little quiz on Fran's Sacred Ordinary...
and couldn't resist trying it...
all things considered...
I was pretty sure I'ld rank "up there"...
[OCD and all...]

boy, was I surprised to only rank at 50 % !
perhaps all the "work" I've put in...
is doing some good !
of course, I AM blogging about it....

hmmmmm....

...when I get a round to it...













I always thought of this phrase as a joke...
[it was "money" with my students...]
ironically poking some gentle [or not so...] fun...
at those of us who always seem to be a bit "behind"...
[you know who you are...
and those of you,
who know me,
and are ROTFL...
I hear you... ; D ]


knowing human nature as I do...
I wouldn't doubt that people have been,
"putting things off" since the first human
made the first "to do" list...
probably painted on a cave wall...
[kill Dodo bird... redo cave....]

but to say I was surprised to discover the Roman origins...
[ carpe tuit ? ..no Appian Wayus...]
is an understatement...
and as factual as this "information appears...
I remain highly "skeptical" of the veracity implied...
[tongue firmly planted in cheek...
as they also "sell" the ancient Egyptian version...]

they claim that a Roman named, [are you ready ?]
Procrastinatus [give me a break...]
was made a gift of the original by his wife...
for FINALLY repairing the heating system in their villa...

they claim the orginal was discovered in Somerset, England...
during an archeological dig of some Roman villa ruins...
with obviously dug-up and redone tile floors...
I'll let you be the judge...
[click on the Roman "TUIT" for detail...]
[www.quantementerprises.co.uk/roundtuitimages]

[BTW...feel free to print out these "round TUITs"...
for, uh, anyone, umm, that you might know...who needs one...
not that there's ANYTHING wrong with needing one...
and you, of course, would NEVER have a use for one...]


Friday, March 28, 2008

...all things bright and beautiful







the wind is picking up outside....
evidence that spring has sprung is everywhere...
but that doesn't stop nature from reminding us that,
"It's not WISE, to take Mother Nature for granted... ! "
[well, I just "dated" myself with that old margarine ad paraphrase...]

the celebration of all things, "bunnies, chickies & duckies"...
is past...[and Unkle Phil enjoyed eating most of them...]
but the explosion of blooming things in my yard...
is in full sway...

finally, a brave Iris has unfurled...
[deep purple... my favorite]
hopefully, there will be more...
but they are late this year...

the older lilac bush from Mom's cuttings...
is covered with fragrant lavender plumes...
the final cutting, transplanted last year,
survived last summer and this past winter...
and is shooting up, covered with leaves...
in the shadow of it's sister's radiant plumage...

roses are blooming in front and back...
Joseph's Coat are cozying up to the lilacs...
and most of the bushes in the front are covered with buds...
as well as a few early risers in yellow and orange-y red...

my "new" weeping cherry has only a few blooms left...
it was much prettier in this it's second year...
it's shape is perfect ...
and I look forward to many years of admiring it...
it was sad to see the old one go, but its time had passed...

the "original" gardenia bush next to my front steps
finally succumbed to old age, too many frosts...
and being covered by Virginia Creeper...
I found a new gardenia, and it's waiting for me to "muscle up"...
"put" the creeper up on newly acquired trellises...
dig out the old one [won't be easy... lots of roots...]
and plant the new one...

I also have some red anagazanthis [kangaroo paws]
to plant in the back [another harder-than-it-sounds job...]
a large schefflera to repot and put inside [ditto]
and some marigolds and petunias who smiled at me,
outside the grocery store... and now need planting...
[this...I can handle without hurting myself...]

then there is the veggie garden...sigh....
I found some pole bean sets...
they await my soil prep and planting of them
in their "long & narrow" bed...
[did I mention that the stakes, etc.,
from last year have to be dealt with first ?]

but I can do this...for just this one bed...
I should be able to do this ...
without too much damage to my arthritic body...
the rest of the veggie garden though, is another matter...

planting squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant...
only creates food for the "critters"....
last summer, I got to eat beans and tomatoes...
the squash & cucumbers were "critter chow"...
[ not to mention the long-awaited apples...]

the thought of a garden without tomatoes...
is depressing...
but it's probably too much for me to prep alone...
actually, I'll be lucky if I get those beans in...
at least my water bill will be lower...

my apple tree is blooming...the cherry is setting...
as well as the peach and apricot...
no pomegranate blooms yet...
but they need more warmth...
as do the citrus, which wait until late April to perfume the air...
[of course, the Meyer lemon blooms year round...]

soon, the dogwood will bring forth its snowy blossoms...
the yellow freesia had a white surprise for me this year...
and the new leaves of the Japanese maples,
in green & red, glow from the sun...

the "ying-yang" that is Spring...
the glorious bursting forth of reinvigorated life...
and the dark, bare branches of those
that will burst forth in blossom no more...
last year, it was the weeping cherry...
planted on Easter, many years before..

this year, the old gardenia...
and the flowering quince from Mom's hasn't "popped"...
I'm hoping the dogwood is healthier than it appears...
and that the tangerine the rats attacked, eating the bark...
will "come back"...

life and death...in the garden...
so much to do everywhere...
leaves to rake... grass to trim...
beds to clean out, prep & plant...
and soon...

but Spring still has me in her thrall...
I find myself, like my dad before me...
life-long farmer that he was...
just standing... and looking...
I "come to", and time has passed...
but my goals are no closer... the yard is a wreak...

I remember when I could work hard all day...
being only a bit stiff the next...
and accomplish so much...
I remember digging HUGE gardens...
harvesting bushels of tomatoes, beans, squash...

I wouldn't want to be "that person" again...
but I'ld sure like to have that strength and energy...
if only for a few days...

I guess, all things considered...
I'm in a pretty good place...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

...John Donne, 2.0








"Perchance he, for whom this bell tolls,
may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him;
and perchance I may think myself so much better
than I am, as that they who are about me...
may have caused it to toll for me....

all mankind is of one author,
and is one volume;
when one man dies,
one chapter is not torn out of the book,
but translated into a better language;
and every chapter must be so translated...

Therefore, the bell that rings to a sermon,
calls not upon the preacher only,
but upon the congregation to come:
so this bell calls us all;
but how much more me,
who am brought so near the door by this sickness...

The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth;
and though it intermit again,
yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him,
he is united to God.

Who casts not up his eye
to the sun when it rises ?
but who takes off his eye
from a comet when that breaks out ?

Who bends not his ear to any bell,
which upon any occasion rings ?
but who can remove it from that bell
which is passing a piece of himself out of this world ?

No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod of dirt be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less...

any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind...
therefore, never send
to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee..."

[Meditation : Devotions XVII, selected]




Wednesday, March 26, 2008

...it isn't easy...



I am, the Catsinger...
and at the risk of misquoting a frog...[ & a pig...]
"...it isn't easy being moi..."

I am, by nature...
either...
...very quiet... withdrawn... isolated... even secretive...
or...
..."talkative"...
[ annoyingly so, as my numerous "victims" might attest...]

how someone as attracted to the ideal
of the "Golden Mean"...
[ moderation in all things...balance...]
could be so, "schizoid"...
is beyond my comprehension...

when I taught, it all came out at school...
elsewhere...I was silent...stoic, if you will...
but now, I'm retired...no students to "guide"...
my blog has helped...although if you are a regular reader...
or receive e-mails from me...
you know how "verbose" and "loquacious" I can be...
[at least, no trees die in cyberspace...]

since "waking up" last November...
I have had more of a need for communication...
but like many of my lifelong conditions...
this "skill" needs work...

"He must increase, I must decrease..."
in more ways than one...
and, besides, I know that a dialogue,
is always better than a monologue...

so I've been praying that my annoying
lack of listening skills, would be supplemented...
and my tendencies to monopolize a conversation...
will diminish, as my appetite has been...
diminished, that is...

and I'll work on those e-mails...

after all, God has promised to provide ALL of our needs...
and as He continues to guide me in the ways I NEED to go...
I believe that He will continue to bless me with His love and support...
as He has already done...in many marvelous ways...
through various "channels"...

some obstacles to happiness, are very large...
and must be slowly "removed" in stages...bit by bit...
this is not easy...
until 4 months ago, it was impossible...

it's still not easy... and never will be...
but now, it is possible...
I am changing... and with His love, in its' various forms...
I will become the person He intends me to be...

especially with help ...
and caring encouragement, freely given...
a blessing never imagined...
a loving faithfulness undeserved...
but appreciated beyond words...
[you know who you are...]

sometimes words fail to come, even for me...
[yes, I hear that laughter...but 'tis true...]
fortunately, there are "ways"...
beyond words...

has this way ever occurred to you ?


...a battle of wits...



Man invents "blogging"....
proving the cat's observation accurate...

[see "'Nuff Said..." 3/25/08]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

...'nuff said...

...John Donne 1.0




as a choral singer, I have enjoyed singing several of Donne's poems set to music...
especially a setting by Imogene Holst of the first 2 stanzas of this poem...enjoy...


"A Hymn to Christ, at the Author's Last Going into Germany"...

In what torne ship soever I embark,
That ship shall be my emblem of Thy ark;
What sea soever swallow me, that flood
Shall be to me an emblem of Thy blood;
Though Thou with clouds of anger do disguise
Thy face, yet through that mask I know those eyes,
Which though they turn away sometimes,
They never will despise.

I sacrifice this island unto Thee,
And all whom I loved there, and who loved me;
When I have put our seas 'twixt them and me,
Put Thou Thy sea betwixt my sins and Thee.
As the tree's sap doth seek the root below
In winter, in my winter now I go
Where none but Thee, the eternal root
Of true love, I may know.

Monday, March 24, 2008

...working without a net...part deux

in a previous existence...
[ "assistant" to the Music Director of a large RC parish;
music arranger, contractor & facilitator,cantor, singer,
bell ringer, trumpet player and go-fer...]
Holy Week was a blur...

not that it went by quickly, [as in easy......]
there was just SO MUCH to accomplish
that required painstaking detail-work....
the HOURS of preparation of choral music,
assembling groups of musicians, arranging & copying music,
rehearsals, hauling & moving equipment, etc...

[Palm Sunday ( 8 AM -noon)
Holy Monday[Mass of the Oils (4 hours)]...
a marathon Weds. rehearsal...(3-4 hours)
Maundy Thursday Service ...( a Seder, then church...3-4 hours...)
Good Friday Service (11 AM-3PM) THEN...
Taizé Service (6:30 -8:30 PM)
Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil (7 - 1 AM)
Easter Sunday (8 AM -noon)
you do the math...]

the blur came from the grinding fatigue of the long hours...
the stress of performance, choreography of logistics...
details, details, details...
people, music, equipment, timing...
all blended into a blur...

"felted", if you will, by heat and friction...
into something with indistinct edges...
no longer able to be separated back
into its component parts...

as a working musician for most of my life,
religious "holidays"...[Holy Days]
have always been "busy"...
a time to "cash-in"...
"make hay, while the sun shines"...

Temples hire extra singers for the High Holy Days...
Churches hire trumpet players for major "Feast Days"
or large musical productions [Cantatas]...
celebrating seasons such as Christmas and Easter....
not to mention the "liturgical" churches and synagogues...
who need regular cantors for their services...
and those who must, for whatever reasons, hire choristers...

so my personal celebrations became fixed by the "gigs" I had...
Christmas Day or Thanksgiving with Mom happened after "church"...
[it was about a 2 hour drive...not too bad...]
I never celebrated Easter...
I was usually "napping" after several services...
one Easter in Mudville, I played at 4 Easter services before noon...
"play and run" was my policy that day...

even as a believer...
participating in the services I was singing or playing for...
there was always a profound sense of relief ...
when the Easter recessionals' last notes died away...

instruments were packed, music stowed, robes or tux removed...
farewells said to others I'd see again soon ...
at the "next" rehearsal or gig...
networking contacts for the "next" job....
"playing the game"...

and all the while...
an immense feeling of release...
joy...that it was OVER...
no thought for what we had celebrated...just that it was DONE....

the sleep that had been impossible [no optional in this...]
would manifest itself in a totally comatose afternoon/evening nap...
being jarred awake by the alarm at 0dark:30 the next morning ...
for a couple of stiff, groggy days at school...
before my mind and body would begin to be "right" again...
[ did I mention that all this was going on WHILE I taught full-time...
AND played in the symphony...? ]

it has only been in the last year or so ...
that my perspective has "shifted"...

I used to have the blasé musicians' attitude of,
"I'm glad that's over...where's the next gig ?"
or the let down that always comes with the close of a big project...
a show you spent months playing/directing...
an opera you were onstage for...
a ballet you contracted the orchestra for...
a group you were "on the road" with...

these kinds of endeavors generally end,
"...not with a bang, but a whimper..."
leaving a hole in your life...

something that "consumed" you, is now gone...
after all the "group effort"...the bond is broken...
leaving you with the thought, "isn't there more...?"
"...is that ALL there is ?"

if you're busy, you can avoid full-blown depression...
by jumping into the next thing with abandon...
burying yourself... avoiding dealing with your feelings...

if you're not, or worse...
you succumb to some illness brought on by the stress...
and have to lay around, with yourself, being sick...
or struggle to go to "work" in your infirmity...
you can sink deep into the fruitlessness of life...
and the emptiness that the enemy relishes filling
with a sense of loss, doubt and sadness...

even as my "musical busyness" has slacked off in recent years,
I found myself still "stressed-out"...
by the responsibilities of Holy Week or Christmas...
cantoring or soloing with uncertain voice...
trying to "resurrect" my trumpet skills...

noon on Easter found me exhausted and seeking only a nap...
only my responsibilities to "be there" for Mom,
moved me "down the highway" on Christmas and Thanksgiving...
when all I wanted was oblivion...and to be left alone...

and then, Mom was gone...
the musical scene at my church "morphed" as DD departed for IN...
uncertainty... NO desire on my part for the "stress of leadership"...
and then, God moved in an obvious way in my life...

I had to "step up" and be a servant of the music program I loved...
I couldn't just stay "within"... feeding on it...
I had to "serve" or risk losing everything I loved...
reluctantly, I "oozed" into the place God wanted me...

the first step turned out to be the most difficult...
I seemed to know "exactly" what to say and do...hummm...
our Lessons & Carols Service went well...
and I, "working without a net"[or so I thought...]
have continued to assume more duties...

Holy Week was a specter ...looming on the horizon...
fortunately, BLT, who is "the knower of all liturgical knowledge"...
as well as an accomplished musician...
has been there to show the way, and keep me,
and the organist from falling over the "edge"...

and then there are the singers...
loving, spirit-filled brothers & sisters all...
whose amazing musicianship, sensitivity
and dedicated, unflinching support
for praising God by making a beautiful "joyful noise"...
have been blessing our congregation for years...
I am privileged, humbled & blessed to serve God with them...

so this week, I have noticed a real difference in my perspective...

there have been bits and pieces of this feeling before...
especially on Christmas...
but considering all the responsibility of Holy Week...
not to mention 3 memorial services/funeral masses...
as well as the Lenten Taizé Services...
and my inability to sleep more than an hour or so
the last few nights...which left me groggy...
I should have been exhausted yesterday...

on Maundy Thursday, I felt His pain...
on Good Friday...I felt His abandonment...and total grief...
before the Great Vigil on Saturday, I felt the joy rising in the choir...
one generous soul had hand-made gifts for all in celebration...
her joy in giving, was infectious...
and soon everyone was grinning in anticipation...

after the service, there was an Agapé Feast...
we all sat, smiling, eating and visiting...
enjoying the fellowship churches often speak of... but seldom have...
enjoying the common bond of a risen Lord worshipped...

Easter morning...more smiles...and gifts...
JOY ... bubbling up and spilling out in our music...
big smiles all around... our music, a "group effort"...
"...the trumpeters and singers were united in one voice, praising God..."

then, it's over...the blessings given...
we return the vestments to the hangers...
stow away instruments and music...
and find our way into the GHall...

where many of us sit, visiting...
places to go...
celebration dinners to attend...

including an invitation for me...
there'll be no nap time this Easter...
and strangely, though I couldn't sleep Saturday night...
I won't go to bed until nearly 10 PM...
a bit groggy, but content...

and so, we sit...chatting...
for more than an hour... not ready to go on our way...
not just yet, anyway...
lingering in the joy of our risen Lord worshipped...
and the fellowship of that bond...

"...we few, we happy few....
we band of brothers (and sisters)..."

the joy of music made, to celebrate our risen Lord,
with "family"...
who'll be there next week...
and forever...

Christ is Risen, Alleluia !

Friday, March 21, 2008

...mea culpa










the glorious Spring day beckons softly...
the "fresh green" of newly unfurled leaves
that dance seductively in the Spring breeze...
as of yet, unshredded by gusty winds...
parched by scorching heat or coated with dust....

in another month, the green is darker...
the sunlight more direct and intense...
the ground drier... the bulbs spent...
all the blossoms "set"...and the petals scattered...

but this can't be a frolicking "Spring" day... not this day...
for today is our annual day for remembrance...
a day that we set aside to "tap into" what Jesus did for us...
to remember just what He saved us from...

if you have had "darkness" in your life...
the "light of Christ" is so much more special...
and we who follow Him, think of His sacrifice for us,
each week, as we receive Holy Communion...

but this is different...

I remember as a kid, being at my Grandma's house...
it was probably Easter... but on the black & white TV,
they were showing a grim re-telling of the Crucifixion...
I was probably 9 or 10...and knew the story...
but this was very different...

they showed Him suffering...then, He died...
thunder... lightning... earthquakes...
suddenly... everyone was so sorry...
and the depressing gloom, filling the tiny room...
I wouldn't experience that feeling again,
around a TV, until JFK's funeral...

last night, after the Maundy Thursday service...
with the call to servant hood ...
and the commemoration of the first "Lord's Supper"....
we chanted Psalm 22...
["They divide My garments among them..."]
while the host was removed to the side alter...

then, continued the Psalm ...
as the main altar was "stripped"...
candles extinguished...and removed....
all the fine linens, crosses, chalices... removed...
and finally, the lamp that burns
to show the presence of Christ, in the Host...
lowered... and extinguished...
leaving a stark landscape...
devoid of Christ...devoid of hope...

as we left the church in silence...
and returned our vestments to the hangers...
I thought of Jesus...all those years ago...
His "farewell dinner" accomplished...
His "new commandment" given...
He went to the "garden" to pray...
and wait for His betrayer to arrive...

He knew what was coming...
and prayed to be delivered from the pain of it...
the separation, humiliation and death...
just as most of us would do...



but unlike most of us...
He prayed that God's will would be done...
and then willingly, laid aside His power...
and in His great love, found the strength and peace
to endure the most painful and degrading treatment...

...for us...

showing the depth of His love for us...
He spoke not a word...
did not raise His hand
against anyone...
who was being used to carry out the will of God...

He was cruelly beaten... humiliated...
mocked... falsely accused ....
deserted by His loved ones.. ...
then after hours of this...
He was beaten again, crowned with thorns ...
and forced to carry a heavy cross through the streets...

nailed, naked, to the cross ...
and raised to the full view of all...
this wasn't the worst...
He would hang there... from those cruel nails...
the object of scorn, for about 3 hours...

finally, separated from God by our sins that He bore...
He forgave "us"... and died...
going alone into the depths of Hell...
to defeat death for us...
once... and for all...

I believe that He could have come down from that cross...
in complete triumph...
at any time...
scattering the crowd with lightning bolts...
raining down Holy Fire on all His detractors...

it would have been quite a scene...

God triumphant...
Jesus' message vindicated...
His disciples would have instantly become "society's darlings"...
the hordes who shouted "Crucify Him" so recently...
would have gone back to "Hosanna" again...
quickly...perhaps without skipping a beat...

almost everyone would have found a way
to "buy into" the miraculous outcome...
the Jewish leaders would have their "proof"...
and could legitimize Him as a "true prophet"...
[saving "face"...]

the Romans would be too afraid of His power to stay...
or would "jump on the bandwagon"...
[strong sense of which "horse to back" with them...]
all the "believers" could come and be healed, fed and raised from the dead...

well... NOT everyone would be "pleased"...

the entire point of God made man, was for Him to live as one of us...
although blameless, to be falsely accused and die...
in our place...
only a Christ could accomplish that...

He demonstrated His "unearthly" love for us...
by His actions...
He, Himself blameless, took on our sins...

He never opened His mouth in His own defense ...
because it was God's will...
never used His mighty power to fight His accusers...
because that was God's will too...

that He would willingly...
submit Himself in our place...
dying...
that we might have access to God's love ...
and eternal life with Him...
available only through Jesus' death...

a friend has said, "...God often works organically..."
for me that means, naturally...seemingly effortless...
true artists never let you see the effort that they put into their masterpiece...
except for this one time... nearly 2000 years ago...
when we saw the blood, the sweat and the tears...
felt the pain, loneliness and fear of loss...
and through it all... a template for love...

"that while we were yet sinners...Christ died for us..."

thank you, Jesus...


Thursday, March 20, 2008

...Vernal Equinox...

today is the first full day of Spring...
it officially arrived last night at 10:58 PM,PDT....
the "equal day & night", signifying the beginning
of longer days and shorter nights...
until we get to the summer solstice...
when the pattern reverses...

Fall has always been my favorite season...
[cooler weather, my birthday and all that...]
but I think that the real reason ...
was the coming of inclement weather...
leading into the cozy hibernation of Winter....

when I was younger...
I loved being "out" in the weather...
swirling snow, howling winds, pelting sleet,
driving rain, shrouding fog, chilling drizzle...
I loved it all !

walking in it made me feel alive...
all bundled-up against the cold and wet...
and then, shaking off the wet...
stamping off the snow...
coming inside to dry off
in front of a roaring fire...

steaming, hot drink warming frozen hands...
damp hair, face and clothes becoming dry...
feeling and warmth returning to frozen toes...
finally freed from icy, wet boots and sox...

and as the warmth returned...
standing or sitting, inside...
looking out at natures' fury...
now safe and snug...
surrounded by sleeping cats...
it resonated with every part of my being...

I was "in control"..."safe"....
the iciness of the harsh world was "blocked out"...
no one and nothing could take my "safe haven"...
I was content in my "little world"...
boy, was I wrong...

Spring... the harbinger of the heat of Summer...
was never a season I was thrilled to see arrive...
I have always enjoyed "growing things"...
country girl ...and all that...

but even though I liked the outpouring of flowers...
the awakening of the slumbering earth...
the planting of gardens and the return of the sunshine...
there was always the shadow of the heat to come...
and the dread of how I would suffer in it...

perhaps, I was afraid of all things "warm"...
after all, letting someone "in"... complicates everything...
whether a person or God...
we must give up a measure of control,
when we allow someone to know us...
if you're shy... that's as hard
as living through a heat storm...

and if that person whom you allow "in", hurts you...
by leaving...or betrayal...or "using" you...
all the cold iciness of winter's worst is suddenly there...
freezing your heart... withering your soul...
without a warm, safe haven in sight...
so you close yourself off....closing out God in the process...

this last summer was different experience for me, however...
from a purely "temporal" perspective...
the new central heat & air units that I had to install,
after the old furnace had died...
changed everything...

I've never liked "AC"...it aggravates my arthritis and allergies...
but this was different... set on a programmable thermostat...
that actually worked well for me...[after some experimentation...]
I only ran it all night 3 or 4 times...
and I didn't wake up "stiff", or "stuffed-up"...

it served to keep me "comfortable"...
and give me an affordable haven from the severe heat...
much like the heat does in the colder months...
and when I want a fire, I just lower the thermostat...

so now that I'm "comfortable"...
in heat or cold...
I find that I like Spring more...
[perhaps dread the heat less... ?]

or maybe, due to the massive "overhaul"
I've undergone in the last 4 months...
I like myself more...am open to "possibilities"...
and God's love flowing to me...and through me...

now, the first day of Spring, with all the explosion of nature...
fills me with a joy I don't remember before...
there is an anticipation...a tingle in the pit of my stomach...
it's not fear or dread... it's joy !

the "winter of my discontent"...is past...
the time of the "singing of birds" is here...
a time to join all of nature in expressing joy
in the gift of returning life...
symbolized in the Easter season...

this is SOOO NOT ME....
anyway, it wasn't...NOT EVER...before...

before... God sent willing hearts to pull me from "that hole"...
before ...God manifested His love so clearly ...
in the smiles of my brothers and sisters...
before... I had a "family"...and a place I truly belonged...

before... it was always winter in my soul...
but never "Christmas"...
now..."Christmas" has come...
and the "promise" is fulfilled by Easter...

I will always revel in the cold, wild windy weather...
the "armor" of heavy coats, scarves, gloves and boots...
the comforts of the "hard-won hearth"...
the coziness of being warm & safe....
it feeds my heart...

but..."Spring "... has finally come into my soul...
and now I can revel in "growth"...
the joy of "re-birth"...
of "all things...[ including me ! ...] new...again..."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

...clearing out cobwebs

I should be putting together all the stuff to have my taxes done...
but procrastination...or is it "Spring Fever"....
seems to be MUCH more alluring at the moment...

maybe it's the 3 memorial services/funerals in less than 3 weeks...
memorializing 3 "remarkable women" I didn't know...
but from all I've heard, would have liked to...

maybe it's the reminder of Mom's service, a year ago...
or the loss of my old cat recently....
perhaps it being Holy Week, the culmination of Lent...

there is in me a need to be outside...
to feel the warm sun on my back...
the dirt between my fingers, as I plant small things...
country girl, that I was raised to be...

of course, much work needs to be done first...
planting, must be preceded by raking and bagging...
cleaning out of the debris from last year...

then the digging, amending, setting irrigation lines...
all before the setting out of plants can be done...
there is a dead gardenia to dig out and replace...
the Virginia creeper, now budding, must be staked out of the way...

I managed to mow and weed 'n feed the lawn...
but still need to clean up the front porch, as well as feed the roses...
and I have "Spring Fever".... bad...

so, I'll take a walk...with my camera...
my cherry and peach trees are blooming in the back...
as well as the weeping cherry in the front...
soon, the apple, apricot, flowering quince
and pomegranates will join the party...

my yellow freesias have replaced the daffodils ...
the paper whites have gone... the "Johnny Jump-ups" are fading...
but no sign of Iris' yet...[I've had Iris in December...]

the lilac cuttings from Mom's bush that we planted last Spring,
are leafing out and the mature bush is budding...
the Japanese maples are also leafing and the dogwood buds are swelling...

there is plum blossom "snow" in the birdbath...
and all the roses have new growth...
the oaks have new leaves and the camellias are spectacular !

so, I'm off on my walk...
camera in hand...
procrastination in my heart...

to soak up the warm sun...
like a lizard on a rock...
and enjoy God's promise...
fulfilled, yet again...

Friday, March 14, 2008

...map reading, 101

I've never really been good with "oral" instructions...
especially if they are complicated....
which is surprising to me, since I have a good memory...
especially for that which I hear...
[a gift that can be both a blessing, and a curse...]

I only needed to take notes for picky details in school...
if I was "engaged" [focused...] by the lesson...
I always remembered it...
especially in English or history classes...
languages, math and science were much more technical...
and, therefore, much more difficult...

I think that the repetition of "detail"...
necessary for mastering math,
was tedious, or boring, to me...
if I thought I understood the "concept"...
I didn't want to spend more time on practising it...
it didn't work for math...and it doesn't work for life either...

during my "artist" period... I copied pictures, drawings...
I did illuminated music manuscripts...from pictures...
I could copy many different things...
but the ability to be "original" wasn't there...

I didn't trust myself because I couldn't visualize it...
I need to see details written down...
I can't just see them in my mind...
I think I've always had trust issues...
trying to draw something you can't touch is definitely a trust issue...

it was like that for me as a musician too...
for a long time, I couldn't play anything by memory...
and improvising was impossible....
I couldn't just "let go" of control...trusting myself to succeed...
until a few years ago...

as I gained confidence as a singer...
[I developed a "solo voice" around age 40...
VERY unusual... a complete gift from God...]
I began to put more emotion into my singing...
and I discovered that I had a wellspring of music INSIDE of me...

as I trusted my "inner singer" more and more...
I discovered that not only melodies came, but words too...
I wondered if I could do similar things on the trumpet...
so I began to trust my trumpet skills...

and discovered that, while I wasn't ready
to be a "jazzer" anytime soon...
I could play "by ear" much more than ever before...
especially, if I let the "music" be my focus...

my walk in the Lord is like that musical journey...
I've spent a lot of time, "absorbed in the stories"...
remembering most of the concepts...
and extrapolating the rest...
but much of the detail...
the methods that make things "work"...
escaped my primary focus...
because my focus was on the "big picture"...

I've always "known" about trust...
and "resting in the Lord"...
I've understood the concepts...
I could repeat the facts regarding the absolute necessity
of rejoicing in His will...
not just "accepting it" submissively and with resignation...
but actively being joyful in ALL circumstances...

when we are "resigned" ...
or merely "accepting", of His will for us...
we actually postpone or prevent His will
from being fulfilled in our lives...
we put God into rescue mode
when we become "needy" or distressed...
He must first rescue us from ourselves....
help us "bind our wounds"...
making us "fit" for the plans He has...
before He will implement those plans...

for most of us, "being" truly joyful
in adverse conditions...
is very difficult...
if not downright impossible...

life is hard...

and when God wants to use, and bless,
a believer in mighty ways...
you must know that the enemy takes notice...
and marshals his forces...

I truly believe, as I've said in previous posts...
"fear"... is the enemy's most effective weapon...
and when the fear is for your health, or that of a loved one...
unemployment... the specter of homelessness...
loss of a loved one... becoming an outcast from your society...
then "fear" is a reasonable, human reaction...

so, was "eating the apple"...
"human", that is...
[we humans can NEVER leave well enough alone, can we...?]
but we, as believers, are called to be " in the world...
but not of it..."
for He, in our place,
"... has overcome the world..."

so, does this mean that if we can not rejoice
in our illness, joblessness or other distress,
that we are not true believers ?

no... we are just human believers...
who must TRUST God....giving up control...
moment by moment, if need be...
to provide the things we need...
the relief for our distress...

so... this.... is me...

"God, I want your will for my life...
I give You complete control..."

then as I go through the day...
the enemy lays his insidious little traps...

next thing I know...I'm "worrying"...
which leads to anxiety and, fear...
then God has to rescue me from myself...
and the road to complete trust must begin again...
not much progress is made in this way...

if, when I first notice the the faintest whiff of sulphur...
I go before God... asking for His protection, joy and peace...
they come... taking the anxiety... never developing into fear...
and we don't have to go all the way back to the beginning...again...

however...if I can begin to praise Him...
IN THE VERY MIDST OF MY PAIN...
the fear NEVER comes...the infusion of joy and peace
fill me to the bursting point...
and THEN... God is truly free
to work His will and bestow His blessings on me...

for the last 5 years I taught
through the first 2 years of retirement...
I searched and prayed for a job...
my "early" retirement would leave me short each month...
and the safety net of savings/etc. would not last...

I did all the "right things"...
I asked for the "job He wanted me in..."
a job that I could do well and would enjoy...
I was a teacher, a skilled musician
and a trained librarian/archivist...

the school district wanted me back...
as a low-paid "long-term sub"...
[if I couldn't "live" with it as a high paid teacher...
why would I put up with all the soul-stealing aggravation
for almost nothing ?]
no, it was clear...
God didn't want me there anymore...
that door was closed...

I had retired from the symphony and "freelancing" in general...
I was tired of the stress and needed a rest from that...
fatigue and health issues made "playing", NOT an "open door"...
neither was "private teaching"...also a "closed door"...

since my credential was a few units short of an "MLS" degree...
working in a public library was not going to happen...
and the economy has made sure that
that door has stayed closed...
so...on all fronts...I encountered closed doors...

frustrated... I did some "consulting"...
[indentured servant labor for the school disrict...]
the first year was marginal...the second year,
it became an uncomfortable situation...
they still wanted me... [as cheap, "grunt" labor...]
but God made it clear that "this was not His will..."

so I didn't return to consulting this year...
and I have been able to release the stress and bitterness
that I've always associated with the district...
resulting, at least in part, in some of the growth
I've been undergoing since November...

I tried to teach music at a Catholic school
during my first year of retirement...
and believed, for a while...
that joining the staff full-time WAS "the plan"...
but when I "left it in His hands"...
and they never called me back...
I knew that that door was also shut....

so here I am... still needing to "increase my resources"...
in an economy where so many very capable
and much younger people,
are looking for work... and all doors seem closed...
unless you have a map...to find the open one...

as I have recently learned and grown closer to God...
I have developed the confidence that not only
will God provide what I need...
but as I do what He asks...
He will bless me with abundance...
the key to reading the map is "praise"...

praise opens doors... praise softens your heart...
melts the barriers between you and the Almighty God of Everything...
when we are joyfully accepting of all the lessons He gives us...
doing what He asks...we become the person He intends...
AND ONLY THEN...will He open the doors...

to that "perfect job"...
the person we were made to share our lives with...
the abundance of blessings He wants to shower on us...
united in joy... us and God...
I have felt that joy...
nothing on earth compares...

but only praise to God can open those doors...
praise from a heart that trusts and believes...
that "all things are possible with God..."
as long as you "follow the map..."
[of joyfully desiring His will for you...]

and if we can't yet be that trusting and full of praise...
He must first put us in a place to learn those lessons...
we ask for His "help"...when we need to surrender all control...
we must "let Him do it"... not just "help" us...
so it is truly His will...not just ours...

when scripture says,"I can do all things
through Christ, who strengthens me..."
I have come to realize that it doesn't mean
to ask only for His help,
and then attempt to "do it" for ourselves....

it means to surrender all control ...
because the "all things"
includes praising and being thankful in the distress...
even for the "bad things"...
["in all things, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you..."]

it is TRUST... a joyful, peaceful, confident trust...
when we are walking in the light...
the doors are open...
trust lights the way...

all the jobs I thought were His will for me...
were not...because I WAS NOT RIGHT with Him....
as I am becoming closer to who He wants me to be...
the solution to my needs will become obvious...

the door I could have only dreamed of, will open...
I will see it and enter it...because I will be ready...
after all, until I am more "who" He intends...
I won't fit "where" He intends...

so, activate your "GPS" [God Praising Spirit]...
get out your "maps"... joyfully follow the path of His will...
prepare to be changed...and richly blessed...
it will be a "Heavenly" trip...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

...OHHHH....THAT'S why...



I've have a first name that I've NEVER liked...
family and good friends have almost always called me,"Nance"...
after looking at the brain scans for both my "real" name...
and my preferred appellation...
now I know why..



so if you want me to be content...call me Nance...
[Catsinger is OK too...]

...Tippy update,final...

Tippy died early this morning...
she had eaten well last night...
and drank a lot of water...
and then the rattle, and attempts to cough, began...

I heard my clock chime 2 AM...then 3...
as she struggled, coughed and struggled again...
her breathing eventually settled into a rattling, almost purr-like "pop'...
interspersed with whistling wheezing...

a little after 7 AM...
I awoke to the sounds of very labored gasping...
I got up and went to her nest...
where she was struggling to breathe...

I pushed up on her diaphragm to try and help
her cough up the phlegm choking her...
it didn't do much good...
I took her to the water, but she was too out of breath to drink...

I turned my back, and she got onto the floor...
crawling under my bed...
as I pulled her back out... in her paw was my ring...
[my diamond ring I'd lost back in December...
and could never find...]

I lay her, gasping, on my bed...
wiping away the under-the-bed dust bunnies...
since a bit of water had helped before...
I gave her a dropper full...

there was a small cough...
then she had a very small convulsion...
and went limp in my arms...
she was gone...

I have been "there" at the passing of many kitties...
it is, after all, the last thing that you can do
for a creature that has loved you faithfully...
it could have been so much harder on her...

I'll bury her in the garden she loved...
yesterday, before she ate lunch, she looked out, longingly...
I told her that she'd have to wait until she was better...
I guess she was tired of waiting....

sweet dreams, Tippy...
may all your gardens be warm and sunny...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

...teaching an old cat new tricks...



I have finally figured out how to download this kind of thing....
[I'm NOT sharing how many "attempts" it took...]
I always knew that it was just my tired brain...
and, NOT, just my "annoying Mac"...
who knows ? maybe I can even master photos...

anyway...thanks to Dearest Dragonfly for this idea...
I'm not at all sure what the icons mean...
but at least they aren't armed, drooling ...
or in straight jackets...

this is supposed to be a "personality" quiz thing...
but they leave the interpretation to you
are the "eyes closed guys" sad...
or simply asleep...?

all the "cool guys in shades" are surprising...
although they do seem to be sporting my "signature" snide grin...
I guess the big guy with hearts for eyes
is the "hopeless romantic" at my core...
[although he resembles a dialogue balloon more than the rest...]

but all the "thumbs up"... ? [I AM NOT "Fonzie"...
although I DO have a leather jacket...]
the "embarrassed guys" I get...
I am basically shy and have difficulties with compliments...
or a lot of attention... even the positive kind...
I guess it's the hermit in my soul...

at any length...
I'm quite pleased...
that I figured out HOW to get this here...
I guess you CAN teach an old cat new tricks...

...Tippy update 1.7

even though she has some trouble walking
and has become very thin in the rear...
she's more alert...and her eyes are brighter...

she eats real food now, without "encouragement"...
if I help her get there, several times a day...
she is also drinking water voluntarily...
in between mouthfuls of food...

she's always been a "responsive" cat...
and that hasn't changed...
but when she was really sick, she didn't react to me...
unless I was touching her in some way...

now, whenever I go into the bedroom
and speak to her ...
she always raises her headand looks at me...
[perhaps, being wary of further treatment...]
and "talks" to me...

often in a continuing conversation...
just like she always has done...
["I'm hungry..." "What's for lunch ?"]
and her voice does sound so much better...

her wheezing and subsequent coughing are still there...
but somehow seem less constant or ugly...
of course, everytime I get encouraged...
she seems to relapse...so we'll see...

she looked like she wanted to scoot out the window this AM...
she's not up to garden sunbathing yet...
so ... I wait... watch... hope...
and am thankful for all the years we've had...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

...Tippy update 1.6

a step forward...a step back...
more wheezing and coughing...
she seems weaker overall...
but she's still hanging-in there...

she has been better about eating real food...
at least twice a day...
but I have to help her get there...
she can get back pretty much on her own...
[although, this morning, she fell into the trash can again...]

she will generally drink broth & water
when I bring it to her...
but hasn't been drinking water on her "own"...
for a few days...until this morning...

I took the bowl of broth to her nest...
and held it as she drank about 1/3 C...
then I took her out of the nest, to change the bedding...
I ended up carrying her to the food...
where she ate about 1/2 a can...

hearing noises, I looked up to see her voluntarily
drinking water...[it's been several days...]
I've given her water by dropper, and mixed with the broth,
several times a day since she stopped drinking on her own,
so this is a good sign...as is her food intake...

I know that she probably won't ever recover
her former health... but despite the nasty rattle...
and coughing...she doesn't have that "look" yet...
the one that tells me it's time...

so I wait...I watch...and I hope...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

... fear... is a 4 letter word...

when I was growing-up,[1948-68] a kid could get in BIG trouble...
REAL fast...just by saying one of a few "bad" words...
most of the "biggies" had 4 letters and thus,
the moniker, "4 letter word" gained an almost mystical power...

as in the film, "A Christmas Story"...
having your mouth washed out with soap
was a common "price to pay" for "freedom of expression"...
so was having your behind sore for a few days,
if what you said was REALLY bad...

so of course, we "boomers" all grew-up to be without vulgarity, right ?
WRONG ! we became "hippies" and said it all !
especially the 4 letter words... [remember the Fugs ?...]
rebellion... being "cool"... vulgarity... were made for each other...
and we reveled in it....

so now, as we "boomers" age...we see the fruits of our
"new frontiers" manifest in many ways...
pollution, global warming, growing divides between classes...
and the destruction of cultures and society...from within...

just as our parents and grandparents attempted to
control our thoughts and behavior by controlling the words we used...
the mass media now controls our society by the use of advertising...
nothing "just happens"...it is "spun", until unrecognisable from the original...

pop culture has taken the "4 letter word" into new grammatical territory...
words that were once "simple nouns" are used for every part of speech...
all in the same sentence...
and don't get me started on "texting"...

a society that can't communicate will cease to exist...
"4 letter words" were set apart at one time...
because they were NOT polite... they were "curses"...vulgarity...
apparently, now our society is SO all those things...
that the "4 letter words" are the only vocabulary that's appropriate...

how sad ! perhaps, we should revisit the idea
behind the "setting aside" of offensive words to begin with...
since re designating the long-established "bad words" taboo,
would be pointless...[that possibility is long gone...]
I propose establishing some different words [with 4 letters or not...] as "verboten"...

my first choice is "fear"...
a nasty concept with SOOO many ugly applications...
it is the root of "OCD"...
since ALL compulsions are fear-driven, or they don't exist...
"bad things will happen if I don't..."
"so-and-so will not love/like me if I ...."
"if I don't achieve....., then ........ will/won't happen"

even if you don't have a compulsive personality...
fear is the enemy's best tool...
fear of disappointing someone... betrayal... being left... loss...
poverty... pain... grief... loss of control... death...

it has been, and will always be...
my biggest problem...
if I can manage to turn over all my fears
and fear generated feelings,
to God, as soon as I recognize them...
I'm good... if not...
I'm miserable..
and create various kinds of problems
for all who come in contact with me...

because I "live in my head"...
I can become focused on situations or emotions
and get "stuck" there...
I try to "figure things out"...
and get mired down...

I suppose that that's the "obsessive" part of OCD...
and also a hazard of "head living"...
I have found that nearly any legitimate
distraction works to get me "unfocused"...
as long as fear hasn't been triggered...

I first confronted my OCD about 10 years ago...
I saw a TV show about OCD...
the poor souls on the show were "collectors"...
everything from other people's trash to cats...

I had that sinking feeling...
I was a "cat collector" too...
true... I was "rescuing" them...
but I was at that point...
where there were 'way too many...

add to this the cancer surgery/recovery period
that robbed me of my strength for about 3 years...
all the stuff from Mom and the ranch...
attempts to remodel and restore...
my general "pack rat" tendancies...
and I knew I was in trouble...

I'm pleased to say that since that revelation,
I have added only 2 cats [in almost 10 years...]
and those were on their way to the pound
and certain death...
natural "attrition", as sad as it has been,
has also "thinned the herd"...

after years of wanting to get rid
of the mess and clutter...
I now have a clean, functioning,
modern kitchen/breakfast nook...
my DR/LR is painted...
the wood floors are cleaned...
new furniture and rugs have replaced
the old, dirty and worn-out...
there are NO PILES OR BOXES in the DR/LR...

in the last couple of months, I've been dealing
with the last [I hope...] vestiges of the OCD...
and the "fear revelations" are, I believe,
it's "death knell"...

if I were truly OCD...
I don't think that I could have gotten
this far along [even with God...]
without professional help...

the fact that when I recognized the particular problems...
AND recognized the solution...
AND was able to set that solution in motion...
I was able, with God's help, to overcome the fear causing the problem...

some things took forever, or so it seemed...
other things were quick and easy...
the sooner I let God take the fear
and then just let Him "do it"...
whatever it was...
the quicker and easier it was...

I've learned that just letting God deal with the details...
gives the enemy much less of a chance...
to sneak up on me ... and zap me...
the results are always much nicer too...

does this mean that I don't have to think for myself anymore ?
no... but for now, praying His will for whatever situation
seems to be what He wants me to do...
so I'm truly happy to oblige...

this also means that I don't consider myself OCD anymore...
unless letting God handle my life, my fears, my relationships
means that I'm obsessing over Him...
on second thought, that's not so bad either...

so, that's why I think that ...fear...
should head up the new "bad words" list...
I'm sure that if I tried, I could come up
with a few more "nominees" for the list...
not just "4 letter words" either...

how about you ?
what word would you want to "nominate" ?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

...Tippy update 1.5...

she's now coming to eat "real food" on a regular basis...
I'm still doing the slurries...
since she won't drink water on her own...yet...
she seems stronger...
[although there is some wheezing
from time to time...
and some coughing...mostly after drinking...]

today was "bath day"...
after being told by the folks at the vet's
just how much she HATED her last bath there...
I was NOT looking forward to the experience...

so... I put the kitchen sink faucet on "spray"...
wrapped "Herself" in a large bath towel...
[with only "minor protestations"...]
carried her to the sink...adjusted the water to
nice and warm, with a gentle spray...
set her in the sink, under the "shower"...
and gently lathered and scrubbed her "nether regions",
tummy, tail and back legs...

I used a mild liquid anti-bacterial hand soap [Dial]...
and just tiny amounts...making sure that I rinsed it out well...
after she was clean...
[she almost seemed to like it...cats...go figure...]
I wrapped her in the towel, sat on my bed and toweled her dry...

I had taken all the soiled bedding out already...
["puppy training pads" are great for incontinence,
but she has other issues now...]
and replaced it with clean bedding & puppy pads...

one of my teacher friends made me a fleece,
cat-covered lap robe for Christmas a couple of years ago...
and Tippy & Fluff had claimed it as their own...
so while her bed is being washed...
Tipps is "snugging" in fleece...

when last I checked on her...
she was not happy that her nest was changed...
but she's clean, warm & dry...but wheezing...
so hopefully, she'll settle down soon...

she's finished her medicine...
the vet is now closed until Monday...
I'm going to go and "give" her water...
[trying to get her to cough...to help the wheezing...]
I hope she'll be OK...

Friday, March 7, 2008

..."I" am still here....

I am still here...somehow... somewhere...
with all the cutting away, pruning and molding
I've gone through in the last 3 months...
it's almost a surprise to discover that I am still here...

I remember writing in late December, as the darkness closed in,
that I would have to leave the self I had always been,
behind... if I wanted to grow in God's will for me...
I had NO idea at that time... just what that would entail...
and what it would set in motion...

like most of us, facing a personal "crisis"...
[I didn't have one in my 40's, so I guess this was it...]
I thought that I had gone through the worst of "it"
climbing out of "that hole"... [see "holes"...11/25/07...]

what I would yet experience would make that "hole"
almost appealing by comparison...

confronting and naming my personal "7 deadly sins"...
all in a monstrous onslaught by the enemy, left me dazed...
confused and as popular as "Typhoid Mary"...
as the confusion cleared...some clarity came...
along with pain, grief and loss...

the person I had hoped I was becoming,
was nowhere to be found...
and worse...
I had absolutely NO idea
where to look for "me"...
or of what to do next...

so, choosing to believe that "all things happen for a reason"...
I went with that... and prayed for guidance...
being told that, "yes, this WAS a part of God's plan..."
so I set about to love...
"bearing, believing & hoping ALL things ..."

praying through my tears that God
would fix the mess I had made of myself...
and heal the pain I'd caused...
I believed that He could... and would...

I just couldn't seem to get past the pain of what I'd done
and the problems I'd caused for those I loved...
I knew I hadn't retreated back into that "hole"...
because it had NEVER hurt that much, down there...

I kept being told to "rejoice" in the pain...
and when I could finally forgive myself enough...
to move into thankfulness...
I began to see that this was really only the beginning
of what I had to learn...

how the enemy used my "fear" response to trigger negative behavior...
how the panic, anxiety and obsessive compulsive "neediness"
that were part of my "obnoxious BAD self"... driving people away...
were really a denial of God's saving grace on my part...

as the "scales fell from my eyes"...
and I began to see all forms of FEAR
as the enemy's attempts to defuse my spiritual growth...
I began to ask God to banish the unsettled feelings...
if they were not from Him... and the fear would leave...
replaced by by His peace...

so after a week or so of this...I found myself wondering...
"who am I now ?"... "how would I describe "me",
to someone I hadn't seen for a while..."
and I have to say, "I don't know..."

people say that I'm different since November 25...
that... I know...leaving the "hole" behind was "life altering"...
and if I didn't go back into it in the last 2 months...
it's truly "history"... filled-in...gone...kapaut...

the 7 deadly sins were all fear-driven...
I believe that they are also gone for good...
because the fear has been "dealt with"...
paid for, once for all, for all time...

there is "less" of me...I AM feeling "a lightness in my step"...
I am stronger...I "fit" better... there's a long ways to go...
but I've now entered a place I haven't been in years...
and it's empowering... a part of the "losing of self"...

my clutter is VERY slowly going... sometimes, too slow for my taste...
but I can only DO so much at a time...
I guess I'm also learning patience... and perseverance...
[I've always been stubborn...]
sometimes...I'm tempted by dumpsters...then I look at the price...

so, where am "I"... who am I ? ...
now that so much of "me" has "left the building"...
what's left when all the "dross" has been consumed by the flame...?
the impurities are burned away... and only the elements remain...?

I know who I would like to be...
...a trusted, loving friend and sister in Christ...
...a loyal and true spirit that can be depended on in times of joy, trouble or sorrow...
...one that bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things in His love...
...a compassionate and empathic heart... reaching out to those
who seek understanding and relief for their pain...
...someone who can be loved...

perhaps as I seek to be more like Him...
I can come closer to my goals...
but, who I really am, at this point...or could ever become...
I just can't say...

these are my hopes...my desires... who I wish to be....
I can do "all things... through Christ Who strengthens me..."
but just where am I now ?
so I "wait on the Lord"....

and as I wait, my "joyful anticipation" is under almost constant attack...
from, you guessed it... FEAR...
I send it away... and it attacks from new angles...
so in an almost totally exhausted daze...
I give Him everything...

because just "thinking" hurts...
and the pain brings some form of insidious fear...
I'm so tired of this...
so I "rest in Him..."
praying for insight....but I'm told just to
"wait...pray... have faith...
and I will see the answer to my prayers..."

the scriptures say that when we see Him...
we shall "know"... but now, we only see,
through a glass, darkly...
the lines... blurry... the image... dim...

I have always had an aversion to "fooling myself"...
this has generally made the revelations
of my personal shortcomings...
and their effects on people I cared about,
very hard for me to take...

this lead, in due course, to "hole digging"...
OCB in it's many forms...
and the dreaded "FEAR" response...
it's sad to think that I know the bad parts of "me"...
'WAY more than I know the good...

perhaps my problem is that we can't really see
the "good" in ourselves...
we know when we "feel good" about ourselves...
when others perceive us as "a good person"...

someone trustworthy..."safe" to love...
no nasty surprises lurking just below the surface...
someone you can "like"... and enjoy just "being" with...
OCB never fits into this description...

positive feedback doesn't seem to be an option...
at the moment, anyway...
[I'm really not into being "stroked"...
if it's not authentic...I'm just not interested...]
so I'll just have to trust Him to make me "in His image"...
...that could take a very long time...

I do feel that, "I"... am still here...
"I", have always been here...
covered up, hidden...or standing shyly off to the side...
pushed away by the more obnoxious character flaws...

I seem to know so well who I am, "not"...
at least, "not" anymore...
it would be sad to never know who I, truly "am"...
or am becoming...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tippy update 1.4.1

sometimes, it's hard to know where you are...
by all signs, Tippy seems stronger...
there's hardly any wheezing or coughing...
but she isn't into food or even water now...

she likes the "slurry" I made...
[chicken baby food & boxed turkey broth...
(yes, like what I used to make the gravy at Thanksgiving...)]
I've even tried mixing the FF with it...even with just water...

she drinks it right out of the bowl...
and then wants more...
and while this is better than not eating...
I wish she would get into regular food again...
and drink water like she used to...

I've noticed that she paws at her mouth a lot...
one of her lower front fangs
seems to be rubbing on her upper lip...
if it keeps bothering her and prevents her from eating,
then we'll have to see about having it pulled...

I don't know if she could take another anesthesia at this point...
so instead of watching her spiral down into suffering...
I'm watching... waiting... hopeful... but realistic...
there needs to be an upturn soon...
or it's time for her to say good-bye...

right now, she's not having any fun...
she so enjoyed her food...
and sleeping in the garden...
and now, she can't...
always fastidious, her current lack of "control"
embarrasses her...

years ago, when I promised her
that I would always be her mom...
I knew this day would come...
I just wanted it to be a lot later...

3/7/08

well, after 3 bowls [about 1/2 C each...]
of the slurry...eaten with gusto, I might add...
over the last 18-24 hours...
she got up this morning...came to the dish...
and ate regular food on her own..most of a can...

she seems stronger...but didn't drink water...
so I gave her some with the dropper...
she hasn't been peeing much... so I have to watch her...
I hope this is a good direction...