Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Years Day

It's a Wonderful Life is one of my most favorite movies.  And the end scene is one of my most favorite scenes.  Here everyone in the house sings "Auld Lang Syne."  This moves me to tears every time.

I wondered what the song meant, so I looked online and found that auld lang syne is Scottish for days of long ago. 

I think the song is fitting for this scene as the community remembers all that George has done for them, and have not forgotten him in his time of need.  In that regard, George "is the richest man in town," as his brother Harry said.

We sing this song at New Years Eve parties right before the clock strikes midnight.  I wonder if we really even know what  it means, or if it is just a catchy ditty to sing as we raise our glasses to ring in the old year.

I always find myself singing it at the end of the movie and long after, the song playing over and over in my head.

Now I know what auld lang syne means, I appreciate now even more.

The holidays always remind me of pets of long ago and my grandparents.  I miss them all and even more so during these days.  I hope I never forget all they've done for me.

That is why I tell my parents I will never put them in a home.  I wished I could have taken care of my grandparents when they needed help.  And why I volunteer and advocate for animals.  For my pets have given me such love and companionship over the years, this is my way of giving back.

New Years is about reflecting on the past, yet also looking forward to the future.  I look back on the loss of my cat, Chocolate.  I look forward to being a published author someday. 

I am blessed to have had such a great life. I achieved a college degree.  I had a career.  I have my own home.  I have a great family.  I have wonderful friends.  I traveled all around Europe. 

I have a warm bed to sleep in at night.  Clothes to protect me from the cold.  And food in the cupboards to fill my belly.  I have people in my life who have been there for me, through all the commitments that one makes in their marriage vows.  And I have people who I have had the privilege to help in some way. 

I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Advent #4

Today my sister brought her dog to the vet.  The dog is getting older and having health problems that go along with age.  I know how much her dog means to my sister, as did my cat meant to me.  It is hard to be reminded of my grief, and I cried throughout the night thinking about my sister, not wanting her to suffer as I did with Chocolate.

My sister and I have always loved our pets and depended on them.  Probably too much.  It is hard not to when neither of us feel very comfortable in this world, both feeling so different and at odds with others around us.  We never fit in growing up, instead feeling a connection with our pets.  They made us feel like we mattered.  They made us feel loved.

Today I am also thinking of past Christmases with my grandparents.  I dream about them, along with my past pets, and I miss them, especially around the holidays.

Why do loved ones have to die?  I think God knows the pain we feel.  After all, His own Son died.  Although He rose again, God still remembers the pain and grief.

The only One who will always be there, time eternal, is Jesus.  His name means God saves.  Emmanuel means God with us.

This fall after Chocolate's death I have felt God's presence more now than I have ever felt before.  I think I was distracted before, being too obsessed with Chocolate and worrying about him. Was he happy?  Was he in pain?  I wanted so much to do whatever I could do for him that I fear that he became  more important to me than God.

The thing is, pets come and go.  They will not be with us forever.  People come and go.  But God, He is forever.

Maybe I sound naïve and weak.  But I know I would not make it through this life without Jesus.  I shudder at the thought of where I would be  if I didn't know Him.  If I didn't believe in Him.

Maybe people think what has God done for me? I am unemployed, unattached, and without my parents, I would be homeless. 

But God saved me.  He saved me from myself.  My own path of destruction that I paved a long road down.  A path of anger, bitterness, and self-righteousness.

Yes, I am naïve and weak.  Maybe I don't look like I have it all together.  But I do have this.  The assurance that God is with me, no matter what.  He never gives up on me.  He always loves me.  He sees me and hears me.  I am never alone. 

I love myself. Amazing!  I love the way I look.  I love my life.  Life is such a gift not to be wasted or thrown away.  God gave that to me.

Everyone has a purpose.  Every life has meaning.  That is what Christmas is all about.  Receiving the gift of life that God offers to all of us.  Not just life here on earth.  Eternal life.  It is real.  God is real.  God is with us.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent #3

Advent is the season for waiting.  I have been waiting these days.  Waiting to see if I get any response from an agent or a publisher.  Waiting for the day I will finally be emotionally ready to foster or adopt a pet.  These are minimal though compared to what the world is waiting for.

This past Sunday I watched "60 Minutes" with my family.  They had a segment about Syrians making a documentary about the civil war going on there.  They displayed videos of animals suffering and dead children.  I started so sob as I sat there, not being able to control the emotions that flowed through me.  I don't know if I am just more sensitive these days because of Chocolate's death.  But I cry so easily, especially when I see or hear of children and animals suffering in any way.  They are so vulnerable and helpless.  They depend on us to protect them and keep them safe.  I felt so vulnerable and helpless myself.  It was hard for me to separate myself from them, and it left me shaken for the rest of the night.

I said to my mom how hard it is to live with so much evil.  It made me sick, and broke my heart.  I felt such despair for the victims.  At that time I forgot who is in control.

Longfellow wrote "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" during the Civil War.  When I read the lyrics tonight, it was just the right song that conveyed what I wanted to say.

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Fringe of His Cloak

And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the [p]fringe of His [q]cloak; 21 for she was saying [r]to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will [s]get well.” 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has [t]made you well.” [u]At once the woman was [v]made well. (Matt. 9)

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place [r]recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured. (Matt. 14)

Tonight I received my own prayer shawl.  Jennifer, an amazing woman in my Bible study gave me a prayer shawl that she knitted for me.  It is like the shawls the Jews wore during that time, rectangular with tassels on the four corners.  I don't know much about the meaning of the tassels but I do know that the Jews of Jesus' day knew.  And they knew that there was healing. Not in the tassels, but that they were symbolic of the healing that could only come from the Power of God through Jesus.

Tonight I experienced healing in my heart.  A healing balm to the soothe the sorrows I felt today as I grieved not only the loss of my pet, but also my grandparents.  I remember them fondly especially every Christmas, and am sad that those seemingly carefree days are gone. 

But I was reminded tonight that I am still full.  Full of people in my life who remember me in my time of grief, people who have not forgotten me and think me worthy of their time and attention.  I marvel at the beauty of the women in my Bible study group.  And I wonder how I have become so blessed to know such loving women, who demonstrate to me the love of Jesus.

Thank you women of Common Ground, for showing me the love of Jesus.  May God bless you richly in your faithfulness to be a holy vessel of His love. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent #2

Last night I watched a rerun of Big Bang Theory, the last episode of last season.  Here Sheldon is faced with many changes out of his control: his roommate is engaged and he no longer believes in string theory.  Sheldon is VERY resistant to change, especially when it is not of his doing.  He finds he can't cope and decides to embark on train travel across the country.

I cried as I watched this episode as I am facing changes of my own.  The most being that my beloved cat died two months ago, my own roomie.  The one I was too dependent on the fill the need in my heart for someone to share my life with.  Also the Animal Humane Society is making changes to the adoption process which affects me as a volunteer.  The change itself is not the problem.  It is rather that they are having all the staff and volunteers use radios with headsets, which have ear pieces to put in the ear.  This is a problem for someone who wears hearing aids.  Even regular headsets would be a problem as the ear covers would cause my hearing aids to ring in my ears, which also happens when I hug people. I can't imagine I would be the only one with this problem.  I hope they can figure something out. 

Why am I writing this when the title is Advent?  Because advent is about change.  The second week is about preparing our hearts for transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Change is hard, even good change, and sometimes we resist it.  I know I do. 

But that is what life is about: change.  God changes us.  We change our selves.  We even try to change others, which is futile.  But I know that I can't change anything, or cope with change, without God.  I am hopeless and helpless without Him.

I don't know what the future holds for me.  It feels weird to not have a pet here.  I keep forgetting that I don't have to feed him or change his litter.  But even then I miss those things, even cleaning up his poop and puke.  I miss everything about him.

It's like trying to make new friends.  It takes a lot of time and energy.  I loved everything about Chocolate because we had a relationship, so I readily and willingly coped with the problems.  But with a new pet I just missed my old one.  I just wanted Chocolate back.

We never seem to appreciate what we have until we lose it, don't we.  We think something else will make us happier.  But now I finally agree that  nothing on this earth will fill that space in my heart except Jesus.

Maybe this is God's way of preparing my heart for Him. 

Prepare the way
Prepare the way
Prepare the way of the Lord


You are the light of the world
You are the light of the world
You are the light of the world


You are the King of the earth
You are the King of the earth
You are the King of the earth


Tuesday, December 2, 2014


When I think of Advent I think of how Mary received the angel who told her she would give birth to the Son of God.  At first she wondered how this could be, but then she received it with open hands.  It reminds me of La Pieta in St. Paul's Cathedral in the Vatican.  I love that sculpture by Michelangelo, where Mary's hands are held open as the dead body of Christ is laid across her lap.  I wonder if she held her hands open like that when she first heard she would be with child.

She was probably just a teen, maybe like my niece's age, much like the ages of teens getting married now in the Middle East rural areas, where life doesn't seem to progress much past Bible times.  I can't imagine being that age, married, and with child!  How many die from being too young to go through that painful labor?  But Mary, Mary was willing.  Was she scared of the pain?  Did she wonder what others would think? 

And then Joseph, pledged to be married to her, finding out that he would raise a child that was not his own.  Yet Jesus was considered part of his lineage, a descendent of David and Abraham.  How did he feel about all this?  Did he feel honored to be chosen to be the earthy father of Christ?  Did Mary feel this honor?

All I know is that it happened, these two young people accepted God's will.  They probably were scared, worried, and hesitant, but they followed God, not knowing, yet knowing.  They knew the Bible and the prophecies, but did they know Jesus would die young, horribly murdered by the masses, by all of us?

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.