Bad Luck Cat

“We saw people who loved their neighbours and were kind to man and beast, we might know that was God’s mark, for ‘God is love.'” –Black Beauty

Last year on Halloween day, I was picking up my kids from school. A lady was bending under her car, trying to coax a tiny black kitten to come out. I could tell the lady was in a hurry, so I offered to take responsibility for it. I had heard rumors that some terrible things happen to black cats on Halloween. I knew I couldn’t leave it. Thankfully, the owner’s information was on her collar and she got safely home. I have researched that black cats rarely get adopted because of silly stereotypes, so I wrote a short story about a cat who is sad over the bad luck myths and just wants to be loved. At the beginning a little boy tries to keep his sister away. The next part is the poor cat wishing she was anything other than a black cat. Finally the little sister comes back at the end of the story to save the day. Today, I share the story with you all and encourage you to consider adopting a black cat today. Be a light in a poor black cat’s dark world.

Bad Luck Cat

Bad luck cat, Bad luck cat

I warn you. Stay away from that!

Look at her black and matted fur.

Look at her evil eyes.

She’s going to cast a spell on you.

She hisses and she flies.

Don’t let her cross your path, look out!

She is nothing but bad luck

She dances with all her creepy friends

On the hour midnight is struck.

So, come back home with me little sis

Hurry or she’ll spit a curse.

A black cat for our pet?!

I can think of nothing worse.

Bad luck cat, Bad luck cat?

Why do they keep saying that?

I’m tired of this nonsense

Cast a spell? I don’t know how

But if I could, a tuna melt

You’d surely be by now.

This superstition that I’m bad luck

It has gone too far indeed.

No one would be afraid of me

if I were another breed.

If I were a slinky Siamese

With piercing, sapphire eyes

A poised and elegant feline

How could they despise?

How I wish I were a Persian,

I’d be glamorous and white

A perfect, preening powder-puff

On velvet pillows every night.

A tabby cat would be some fun

I’d frolic in haylofts on a farm

I’d have fresh cow’s milk every day

And add to the country charm.

Maybe a Manx, without a tail

But I’d jump as high as a tree

No rocking chairs to stress my nerves

What an athlete I would be

A calico cat would be just fine

With a coat of many colors

A fuzzy patchwork kitty

Not like all the others

Egyptian Mau or Bengal

Those pure, expensive breeds

If I were just like them

I would get the respect I need

Or perhaps a bigger cat instead

A tiger or ocelot

A wild lion, a cheetah?

Hmmm….maybe not

Forget it! I am all alone

This curse will never end

Maybe I’d rather be a dog

After all, they’re man’s best friend.

Oh fluff and whiskers!

I think I’ve lost my mind!

No, a loyal cat I’ll stay

I can’t turn on my own kind.

Bad luck cat, Bad luck cat

I really don’t believe that

Look at your beautiful emerald eyes

Your soft and shiny fur

Almost like a baby panther

Aw, what a happy and calming purr

You aren’t bad luck at all

Mysterious, yes, but kind

You’re the perfect cat for me

I won’t leave you behind

Bad luck cat, bad luck cat?

Well, that is the end of that.

“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” –Groucho Marx

Moms of Faith

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Proverbs 22:6 NLT

I know that I am not the only mother who worries daily about her children. Their future keeps me up at night. Sometimes the worry will just cripple me mid-day without warning while I clean up their rooms. This world is powerfully persuasive and can be dangerous. How can we have faith that our children will be safe? How can we have confidence that we are raising them right?

Hannah wanted a child so badly that she promised to dedicate Samuel’s whole life to the Lord. The Bible tells us that Eli, the priest’s sons stole the best parts of the sacrifices from the people of Jerusalem and had intimate date nights within the tabernacle. Hannah made a promise to God and kept it, even though she was most likely aware of Eli’s despicable sons. She could have gone back on her word in the name of keeping her son safe from the world. She was well-off and her home life was obviously more comfortable than in a tent in a hot desert climate. Upon reading about Hannah’s second meeting with Eli, I couldn’t help but read her words in a mama bear tone.

And she said, Oh my Lord, as thy soul “liveth, my Lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord . For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him”
1 Samuel 1:26‭-‬27 KJV

Was their hidden subtext in the phrase that would hint, “I am trusting the Lord with my boy and I am trusting you, and I know what your sons are doing.” Hannah had faith in the Lord.

Mary was a mom. Did she have the same anxieties we do? Did she leave Jesus in Jerusalem for two days because of mom brain? The King James version quotes Mary as saying “Your father and I sought thee sorrowing.” Mary had faith, but one forboding incident was enough to make her erupt with worry. Did she know where Jesus was going when it was time for the devil to tempt him in the desert? “Wait…you are going where? With who? No way am I letting you go through that!” Did she scold him afterward. “Good grief! Have you eaten anything?” Did she ever show disapproval of who he was hanging out with? Smelly fishermen? Tax collectors?! A prostitute?! The Bible says she pondered all in her heart, but what about when he was dying on the cross. Had it been pondered before? When she was watching her beloved son die, what bravery that must have taken. There wasn’t anything she could do. After going through pregnancy, going through childbirth, after raising him for 30 years…there was nothing she could do. When Jesus’ birth was foretold, the angel Gabriel told Mary “The Lord is with you…: and that her future son’s “kingdom will never end.”

I acted in a passion play as Mary, the mother of Jesus. I was escorted by Mary Magdalene and John. I tripped over to the cross and in true method acting form, I imagined my first child. The child that I never got to hold. The child that died at 8 weeks. I remembered the pain of not having any power over my baby returning to the kingdom of heaven, but the Scripture says that “Mary was standing at the cross.” When Jesus said that she was John’s mother now. When that word mother was the last time she heard it from his lips, was she no longer standing? Did she falter? Did she weep? Was she meditating on the words the angel spoke to her? Mary was a mom of faith.

I have gladiolus in my garden. Even though they only last for two weeks in the spring, I look forward to the tall, vibrant stalks to illuminate my back window. They attract hummingbirds and it is a treat to catch their majestic flight while I sip my morning coffee. (Picture above) Many times the gladiolus bloom for one day, but the weight of the flower makes the thin stems collapse. All that work and toil. Digging, pulling, watering and for what? A fleeting moment of picturesque scenery gone before the first day of April. Mark 4:26 says “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.” We planted the seed, our children grow and grow and sometimes we cannot fathom the process of how they grow up so fast. Just like enjoying my 2-3 days of proud, standing gladiolus, it is another reminder to enjoy the present and not to let the future cause you anxiety. We don’t know what is in store for our children, much like I’m not sure if some of my annual garden flowers have enough resources to return year after year. Our faith is built on the same principle. We can’t fathom the homes that are waiting for us in heaven. We don’t know the entirety of God’s plan. There are still so many unanswered questions in spite of our faith. We just hope and anticipate a beautiful eternity where we can enjoy the view, reunite with loved ones and give glory to God.

But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children
Psalms 103:17 NLT

This is what the Lord says: “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid…
Jeremiah 10:2 NLT

And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection.
Luke 20:36 NLT

Two Lions

Deep in the valley, there was a lion. It was badly hurt. Thorns covered his body. He writhed and howled as the brambled bushes continued to overtake him. The lioness stood above the valley. From the edge, she peered at him, longing to help, but she was encircled by another lion. His sleek and shiny fur constantly rubbing against her ear. Every step she took, the second lion would roar threateningly or block her path. After a few nips taken at her heel, the lioness allowed him to lead her away from the valley. She could still hear the poor, trapped creature, his anguish echoing through the plains. She yearned to turn back, but the magnificent lion bade her to relax in the cool of the trees. The beast’s enormous teeth were terrifying, yet he spoke sweetly. Surely she had made the right choice. It was unbearably hot and she was tired. Why choose weakness, when she had pleasure to look forward to? She rolled in the cool dirt over and over, then buried her face in the wet mud. Suddenly, she saw a set of paws in front of her. Huge thorns embedded deep in the center of them. She looked up. There he was, free from the valley, towering over her, smiling with a playful face. He was strong. She put her paw on the hem of his and bent down to dig the thorn out, but the other lion returned with a monstrous snarl and pounce. He was encircling her again, now pushing her back toward the valley. “No!” She thought frantically. “Not back there! I’m not strong enough.” She was sliding backwards towards the twisting, threatening thicket. He gnashed at her wildly, he pushed her, closer and closer. At the edge of the thicket he prowled and purred, as he motioned his head toward the trees and then to the looming danger of a thorny grave. “Yield to him. Or perish.” she thought. She tried hard to plant herself into the ground. She resisted his brute force, but she was frightened. Suddenly, a thunderous roar deafened the savannah. It was followed by multiple roars, as if a pride was all around her circling her for protection. She found her voice. She roared in turn, and the strong lion was there, beside her, pushing with her against the prowler. The lioness fought against her fatigue and despair. In the second lion’s eyes she saw her weakness and her doubt. She hung her head, trying to forget the reflections of those evil and horrible yellow eyes. The lion, still by her side nudged her to fight. There was hope in his kind face. With one last push, their advesary vanished in a wisp of smoke. The lioness collapsed into the dirt. It was more cool and refreshing than before. She glanced at her friend, her rescuer. No longer was he adorned with thorns. Thankful and relieved, she rested her head on his paw. The orange painted sky deepened into violet twilight. The lioness looked toward a single twinkling star and overcome with joy, she fell into a peaceful sleep.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory.
Revelation 5:5 NLT

You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.
Psalms 91:13‭-‬14 NLT

Why Can’t I Make it All Better?

On this day in 2001, we all grieved as a nation. We grieved for thousands of people that we didn’t even know. I keep this panoramic shot on my fridge, because I know it is important to remember September 11th. This morning I snapped a shot of it on my phone, ready to share it on social media as a token of remembrance and sympathy, but I wanted to change it. I wanted to punch it up visually and to make it stand out, because it was an old memory. It was a photo taken from a digital camera by my teenage self in the year 1999. It has started to become dingy and faded. As I scrolled through my photo editing choices, the filter entitled “memory” seemed appropriate. The gray and cracked skyline seems to be disappearing, just like our memories. In an effort to digitally accentuate an old picture, it looks even older, but hauntingly beautiful. What an interesting window into our reality. We are starting to forget. 9/11 is becoming just as the filter says. A memory. Yet people are still grieving, with no hope of their grief ever fading away.

Anytime I have loved ones struggling with grief, I want to make it all better. I want the right words of comfort and hope to pour out of me like a fountain. Rarely does it happen. I hesitate to offer condolences, because I don’t know what to say or how to say it. Will they be bitter with me if I text instead of call? Sometimes I offer to cook meals for them, even though I have no idea if my bank account agrees that I can. Sometimes I rack my brain for days and days about how stupid I was to say whatever it was I said and that I probably made matters worse. I want to punch up the picture. A picture of tears and wailing and despair. I want to bring light to a clouded soul. Some days I can see it as an exercise in futility. There isn’t anything I can do. People are suffering and nothing I say or do will change the past. We can post all of these heartfelt messages and promise to never forget, and it is beautiful that we can come together, but what happens tomorrow? Political squabbles continue, people will lose jobs and crimes will be committed Divorce, poverty, pettiness, abortion, suicide, still remain. Grief is still all around us. Honestly, I hate the world right now. I hate that I don’t have millions of dollars to feed the hungry. I hate that I can’t speak comfort to everyone who is hurting. I hate that this world is a picture of darkness and evil. But what emphasizes this, is sadly, social media. We wouldn’t be as exposed to it if we didn’t check it multiple times a day. Social media digs us deep into despair. It also digs into our anxiety while we compare our lives to other people’s “filtered happiness” which hides the same grief and helplessness everyone feels. We want our lives to look beautiful. We want to stand out, but it will fade. In time it will just be another memory.

The Bible says to be still. I don’t want to be still while there is so much pain. It was comforting to read the letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. It seemed he didn’t even know what to say when others were hurting either. He struggled to sympathize and comfort as well, but the point is, he expressed his love the best way he could.

I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
2 Corinthians 2:1‭-‬4 NLT

Jesus has great love for us and even he wept. In our suffering, we can imagine he weeps with us as our comforting Abba Father. Our Jehovah Rafa, our healer. I know the power of prayer and I know that it certainly isn’t futile. We have to have the faith, because with prayer, mountains are moved, enemies are defeated and our grief turns to joy.

I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord and He heard me. Jonah 2:2

So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
John 16:22 NLT

“Sorrow may come in the darkest night, but the Cross has the final word.”-Cody Carnes

A Mother’s Sound of Silence

Alternative lyrics to the popular song by Simon & Garfunkel and Disturbed.

Hello, laundry my old friend. I’ve come to not fold you again. You see it’s been almost eleven weeks. And the children’s room already reeks. And I’ve forgotten which ones are dirty and which ones are clean….I need caffeine…is that the sound…of fighting?

I quickly tell the kids time out. They won’t tell me what it’s about. While they push and shove they cry and shriek. Bloody noses and a blue bruised cheek, and then they punch… my favorite coffee cup out of my hand…and there I stand…frozen in…the silence.

And so I quickly run away. I just can’t do it all today. I slam the bathroom door and hide myself. Grab my chocolate stash on that high shelf. The kids come knocking, scream “Mommy mommy! Let me in!…so I begin…to say a prayer…then silence.

Bedtime finally has come. The daily mom work is all done. My baby cuddles into my right cheek. His snoring sounds like little mousy squeaks. And I smile, because I’ll gladly do it all again. Keep momming, friends…this is a rare…sweet silence.

Epilogue: Just for Fun

The Blame Game (to the tune of The Name Game) His fault his fault, no her fault nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah your fault nuh- uh his fault! Her fault! The Blaaaaaaame Gaaaaaame.

Because I Said So (to the tune of I Love Rock N Roll) Because I said so, now go clean your room, don’t you argue baby! Because I said so, and don’t you even roll your eyes at me!