Tuesday, December 31, 2002

A Look Back at 2002: The Year of the Cat

Wow, what a year! Can't say I hate seeing it go. It's been too long for my tastes.

No move this year, but I was told I'd have to move early next year. About sixty days notice...the house has been sold, we are all out. I hate moving, and it's even harder with two cats. I wish I could afford my own studio apartment, move in, and stay there 20 years or so.

The year of the cat...oh, how so! I started wanting a kitten late last year, but there were no babies at the time. It took three trips to the shelter before I was able to bring home little Xena, weighing only about 1 1/4 pds. She was about 6-7 weeks old when I brought her home. She's now almost 9 months old and must weight at least 10 pds. Her last weigh-in was several weeks ago and she was over 9 pds. at that point. She is still the light of my life and a beautiful classic silver tabby. I just wanted her; no other cats.

Fate had other plans.

This fall my co-worker, Brad, and I walked out on my back porch after I had not been out to the backyard in quite a while. We were looking for a lawnmower. Instead, we ended up surprising a family of feral kittens who were playing on the back porch. They looked to be about six weeks old.

I rented a trap and managed to catch them all—a mom and six kitten. The mom was an orange tabby, and the kittens—four orange tabby males and two tortie females—were the cutest things, even though they spent a lot of time hissing and spitting.

I'll make a long story short by saying that I gave away the kittens—three to a vet, three to private households—and adopted the mom. I wasn't planning on it, but I had to hold onto her so long before I managed to get her fixed that before I knew it, we belonged to each other. She was used to being in the house, and I couldn't just kick her outside. So the short of it is that I now have two tabbies, one silver and one orange, both spaded females.

I learned about the problems with the feral cat population, and the "fix and release" method of keeping the population steady. Now I want to fix and release more feral cats, though I won't be keeping any more of them. I own my own trap and want to help others by making sure fewer kittens are born.

As for my meds, I changed doctors since I could tell that my pdoc didn't want to give me my meds free anymore. The new doctor is willing to see me less often. I also learned about buying meds from Canada, found I could even get a generic of my prescription not available here in the U.S, and can even somewhat afford it – about $200 U.S. dollars for a three months' supply. She wants me to have a blood test to test for thyroid problems, which can cause depression, but I haven’t been able to get to it yet. I will, as I do feel it should be ruled in or out.

On the spiritual front:

In August, I got to go to my denomination's annual General Conference, held in upstate New York this year. It was so awesome! I attended the whole week and it was the best 500+ bucks I ever spent (including plane fare and everything).

At Conference I was able to give a short version of my testimony at the Tuesday night worship service (largest group I've ever spoken to), and made connection with Andrew Camenga about writing for the Helping Hand. I was later given my first assignment—two weeks of devotionals, due February 1.

I also had the highest spiritual experience of my life at Sabbath Eve worship. Wow! What an awesome God we serve! For so long I have struggled with whether or not God is worthy of praise, even though I know that in my head. That night, I felt it in my heart.

In September of this year Kathi moved her board off Delphi and was able to make regular appearances once again. For the first time in a long time I feel like I am just where I belong doing exactly what God wants me to do. What an awesome feeling! For so long I have felt like I was up on a shelf and God wasn't using me. To see that come to an end and really be able to sink my teeth into the new board has been awesome.

So overall it's been a busy year, but good.

Sunday, March 31, 2002

poem: Into the Valley, I-IV

{Later note: This is a series of poems I wrote over a two and a half year period. It constitutes one story. I'm placing it here because this is the day when #4 was pretty much completed. It just wasn't in it's final forum until I went back to it about two and a half years later.}


Into the Valley
The sun is setting and the
Wind is starting to blow,
As we start down the path.
I shiver.
He wraps His cloak of promises around me
To keep me warm.
But the wind pays no attention to the cloak,
Kicking up dust that gets in my eyes.
It is dark, and we are alone.

Even though Jesus is with me,
I rage at God inwardly.
A God who would let a world such as this
Continue without check.
A God who would die for the payment of my sin,
Yet force me to bear this cross
Not of my making,
And suffer this pain I don't deserve.
I am filled with anger.

I can't see the other side of the valley.
I see the valley, in all its horror,
Spread out before me.
But I cannot see its end.
Does it have one?
There is loose gravel beneath my feet
And the stone underneath that is smooth.
I could slip.
Yes, I will slip.
But I will not die. Instead,
I will go on living this horror.
Even though He is with me,
I begin to cry.


Into the Valley II - Alone
My feet slip on the path,
I struggle to keep my balance.
I take another halting step
Deeper into the black sea beneath me--
The valley below.
I look for my Companion,
But see no one.
With a start I realize
I am alone
Still wearing the cloak
He wrapped around me.

I howl, I cry at this
But the wind picks up,
Howling louder than me,
Drowning my voice and
Whipping my hair into my eyes.
I pull His cloak tight around my fragile body, but
It is no use.
The wind is too strong.
The sand from the path flies up, taunting me, and
Rushes at my eyes,
Stinging, burning.

Why have You left me to
Fight these monsters in my head
It's dark, so dark.
And cold.
I am afraid.
The moon is waning, almost new.
It will not rise until dawn,
And by then it will be too late.
I can't find You.
I'm so angry, Lord.
I'm so hurting.
I'm so lost.


Into the Valley III - Retreat
The night seems to grow darker,
If that is even possible.
I rage at the One who has put me here.
You have betrayed me!
I hate You.
I take another step forward and

Why does the path suddenly dip down?
I squint into the darkness.
Indeed, it is steeper, perilously steeper.
I cannot see where--if ever--it levels out.
I retreat a few step, crawling.
I sit, the pebbles and rock
Cold and uneven under me.
Why have You led me here?

I wonder about going back to the trailhead,
And figure I could make it to the top.
I look up the trail.
Yes, I will do it!
But I take barely one step, before a
Lion--as out of thin air--appears, baring its teeth.
I stumble back.
Lord, why do You hate me so?

Edited 10/5/04

Into the Valley IV - The Way Out
It is You who led me into the valley,
Into a dark, windy, cold night we walked,
I lost sight of Your love, could only feel pain,
The rebuke of the One who sought.

But today I realize that I made it out,
And never thanked you in word.
So thank You, Father, for bringing me out.
Thank You that my prayers have been heard.

So out of the valley we walked hand in hand,
Out of the valley there was no blowing sand.
Out in the sunlight, I've made it through.
Thank You for staying by me and being You.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

poem: The Morning After

{A poem about 9/11.}

The Morning After
Life goes on, world goes 'round,
Fallen shadows, with no sound
But cries and heartbreak, tearful nights,
Of those who lived to see the sight.

Months of cleanup, dusty air,
Thousands dead, we gawk and stare.
Tearing, ripping, hearts aflame,
All is different, ne'er again the same.

I cannot cry, though close I've come,
I cannot shed a tear, not one.
I wish I could, to let it out,
Instead of being so strong and stout.

God bless those who died and left
Wives, husbands, children, now bereft.
And God bless those of us still here,
Help us to realize life is dear.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Short-term prayer request

I've decided I want to get a kitten. I want something to love and love me back, have something that looks to me to meet its needs.

I sublet (like renting), so I need to clear this with the owner. He's a live-in owner and owns two grown cats, one of which I adore. :)

If I ever have to move and can't find a place that allows cats, a friend of mine [Eleanor] says she will take it in, so that's covered.

Pray that I'll be allowed to get a cat and that it will all work out between the owner and I (I don't need him getting upset at my over anything, cat or non-cat related).

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Innocence Dies: 2001 – The Day America Cried

December 24 and 31, 2001
Updated January 8, 2002

It began like any other day. But it wasn’t. It was a day that we will mark time by – before or after?

It seems absurd on the surface to write of a year, and focus primarily on just one day. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. But this year I must. This year, all things pale in the light – or should I say darkness? – of that one day.

September 11, 2001 – oh God, how could You have let these terrorist attacks happen? But You did. And it has brought us together. We are united. We will stand. We are Americans. I have never in my life been so proud of that.

I think we all felt numb the day it happened. The mere thought of carrying on as normal, going through the motions, seemed like sacrilege. But we had to. Even as thousands died and millions (including all of us) mourned. Even as life stopped for so many, and changed for so many more.

How could they attack our country? How could they kill us so crassly? How could they do it in the name of God? But they did. And it’s over. And we have to go on. And we will, because we are Americans.

It seems sacrilege to write of any other happenings this year, but I must. This year was another turning point for me when I started on meds. I can’t believe how much Zoloft has helped me. I pray God will keep His promise to me to not worry about how I will pay. He has been faithful so far.

And of course, I can’t fail to mention the gift. How could I forget the gift? Spending three days at Charles’ house and meeting his new wife and kids was pure, unmerited grace. I didn’t ask for it, and I certainly don’t deserve it. Thank You, God. I don’t know why You keep doing these things for me.

Once I said I was glad to see the year end because it had been so hard. But I wasn’t. Not really. I lied because it seemed the right thing to say and because I wanted to leave the pain behind.

But the pain doesn’t go away. It comes into the new year with us. So I don’t want to say good-bye to 2001. It’s sacrilege, and lying, to leave some things in the past. I will always – always – remember September 11, and it should not be forgotten. I don’t want to leave it in the past as we enter this new year. Indeed, it won’t stay in the past; it is a present reality, even in 2002.

So as I say good-bye to 2001, I will not let go of that one day, even as I embrace whatever the next September 11 holds. May God bless me, this new year, and may He bless and heal my country.