Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thirteen Years Old

The first time I saw her she was covered in dark monkey-like hair, not only on her head, but on her upper back as well. You see, she was premature, by six weeks, and still had her protective hair. We usually don't see that, as it is lost before birth if the baby is full term. Tubes were coming out of her in many different places and she was in an incubator, which prevented me from holding her. But I was in LOVE. The kind of love that comes with being a grandparent. For the next few weeks she went through so much. She would gain an inch and then lose two, only to gain three and lose another two. Many tears were shed and prayers were lifted up to her Heavenly Father. What a roller coaster of emotions we were on during that time. But finally she was healthy enough to go home.

That first meeting seems like such a short time ago and yet this angel child, my first granddaughter, will be thirteen tomorrow. What an amazing miracle she is.............thank you,Father God for sending her to us!............Shalom, Bebe

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knocking Jesus out of Christmas

I was in that place between sleep and awake, listening to a strange noise coming from the living room. Clickity, click, clack, swoosh, clack, clack, click, swoosh. What was it? The bed was warm and so cozy and I could tell the temperature had dropped during the night. This meant that the tile was going to be icy cold. Did I really want to get up and check on this noise? I knew it was probably one of my cats, but what I didn't know was if what they were doing to produce this unusual noise was potentially dangerous. So I peeled off the comforting blankets and went to investigate.

At first I couldn't tell what was happening, but as I drew closer to the noise I could see Eeny Meeny swatting something around on the tile. He was truly enjoying himself and was not the least bit sorry that he had disturbed my dreams. "Eeny Meeny what do you have there?" On closer inspection I could see that the object of his frenzied play was Baby Jesus. He had somehow removed Baby Jesus from the manger in my Advent Wreath which sat on the coffee table and was knocking him all over the living room. I picked up Baby Jesus and returned him to the wreath.

Throughout the day I thought of what Eeny Meeny had done and of how it paralleled with what we have done to a certain extent with our Christmas observance. Christmas was originated to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but so many other things have been introduced and taken precedence on this special day,that Jesus keeps getting knocked out of his own birthday celebration. I'm grateful for the ways God speaks to me to help me get back on course when my thinking veers off course. Once again he spoke to me through a funny little cat named Eeny Meeny......................Shalom, Bebe

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do Jesus and Santa Claus have in common?

The sky was deep blue and crystal clear. The air was crisp and cool with a hint of woodsmoke from early morning fires. I was filled with a sense of peace, as I drove west on 441 through Mount Dora and Eustis. Cassi, my 3 year old granddaughter, and I were on our way to the Downtown Eustis park, one of our favorite Friday play places. From her car seat in the back I could hear her talking to her imaginary friend,Sally. Her little voice, as usual caused me to smile, as she shared 3 year old incite with Sally. Then she asked me, "Bebe, where's Jesus?" I realized that in that exact spot the previous week I had shared with her that Jesus was with us all the time. Now she picked up that train of thought, as though we still carrying on that conversation. My response to her was, "He's with us right now, Cassi. We can't see him, but he is here, and we love him so much, don't we?" She responded with, "Yes, and we love Santa Clause too!" With a little laugh, I answered, " Yes, we do, Baby?"

I've been mulling this conversation over and over in my head trying to determine why Cassi connected loving Jesus with loving Santa Claus. What conversation had she overheard that made this connection for her? Were they of equal importance in her little mind? Had we been talking so much about "Santa's coming to town" that she now understood Jesus and Santa to be on the same level of significance? Had I demoted God to the level of Santa Claus?

She's only 3 and her understanding of Jesus comes from what she has heard those older than her share. She doesn't understand the Trinity, but then few of us do. She knows that Jesus loves us and that we talk (pray) to him about our needs and concerns. She doesn't yet understand John 3:16, but she does understand that when things aren't going right we go to Jesus (God) and talk to him about it. She understands that we thank Jesus for the blessings in our life. All this is good, but is it enough if she understands Jesus and Santa to be worthy of the same kind of love.

I want my granddaughters to understand that Jesus is the truth, the life and the way. That apart from him NOTHING ELSE matters. I want them to love him because he is God, not for what he has done, or what he will do. So now I ask myself what can I do to help them, and in this case, Cassi, understand His Majesty?

This has become my mission..............Shalom, Bebe

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Wisdom of a Three Year Old"

"Bebe, that is where my old body is buried. I have a new body now!" These were the words I heard coming from my 3 year old granddaughters' mouth as we passed the cemetery. Not sure that I heard her correctly, I asked, "What did you say, Cassi?" Once again she repeated the sentence and then asked me if my old body was there too? Needless to say I was slightly perplexed at this statement and question coming from a 3 year old mouth.

Later that afternoon I shared this disconcerting conversation with my daughter. She explained that they frequently take flowers to place on the graves of family members and to explain to Cassi why they were doing it, she told her that our bodies wear out over time, are placed in the ground and then we go to heaven and get a new body. Actually, that is quite a good explanation for what happens to believers.

I haven't been able to get this innocent conversation out of my mind. Especially, the "is your old body there, Bebe?" part. So today I began searching scripture for references to "old and new body". I knew that God was speaking to me through my granddaughter, but couldn't grasp fully what he wanted to say to me until I reached Romans 6:1-11. As I read these verses, I understood.

1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness?

2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

3 Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him?

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was.

6 Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life.

9 We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.

10 He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God.

11 So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.
(The New Living Translation)

As I read this, the question, "Is your old body buried there, Bebe?" rang in my ears. If, like I claimed, I was a follower of Jesus and had placed my trust in Him and Him alone, it should be. But, was I continuing to "live in the sin", verse 2, of my "Old Body"? I wasn't committing the obvious sins, but was I sinning none the less? Segments of these verses (in bold)leaped off the page as I read.

"How can we continue to live in it(sin)? When we became Christians we died with him. Now we also live new lives. So that sin might loose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. We were set free from the power of sin and are able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus."

Was I really living the new life Christ had promised me? Was I acting as though sin had no power over me? Was I living free from the power of sin? Or did I live as though that worn out old body was still the home of my spirit more often than not? Was I living fully in my "New Body" as Cassi was or did I reek of the odor of an "Old Body" that should have been buried long ago?

Guess what? I had to admit that while claiming a "New Body" as mine, I had neglected to bury the "Old Body". I was still wallowing in the sins of fear, lack of trust, jealousy, selfish ambition, anger and other sins that kept me from "being able to fully live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus". If anyone had asked me prior to the conversation I had with Cassi if I were carrying around the carcass of my "Old Body" I would have laughed, but a 3 year old's wisdom caused me to evaluate whether my "Old Body" was in need of burial. Now, with "shovel" in hand I am determine to lay to rest my "Old Body", so that my "New Body" may live free from the stench of sin that clung to my "Old Body" and bring the glory of God through Christ Jesus to the world I live in.....................Shalom, Bebe

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Continuation of the Miney Saga : Neutering Appointment #4

It's been awhile since I have had time or inclination to sit down and write about the ongoing saga of Eeny Meeny, Miney and Momo. But today God once again spoke to me through these little ferals He as entrusted to me. So I find myself once again needing to share the lesson He has taught today and hopefully I have embraced as truth.

Miney is scheduled once again to be neutered. As you can tell from the title, this is his fourth appointment. Many of my friends have been praying for this much needed neutering to take place and prayerfully on Monday, 3/22/10 at 9:30 AM, theirs and mine will be answered. I believe God answers prayers, so I have to believe He has had a reason for delaying this request. Probably because I had many lessons to learn about my relationship with Him, my Master.

Since my last writing we have had Miney inside more than out. We stopped feeding him on the patio, so if he wanted to eat he had to come inside. He's okay with that arrangement, but every few days he would begin to put up quite a fuss to go out. Having never had a non-neutered male cat, I didn't realize that they could be so persistent. In his more female-sounding-than-male voice he would pace from door to window to door to window with his pathetic meowing growing ever louder and irritating.

After a few hours of trying to ignore him, we would let him out. Within a day or two, with his tummy empty and his urges satiated, he would show up at the patio door. Within the past few weeks, he's actually been returning the same day. We had decided that possibly he wasn't being accepted by the other neighborhood feral males and he'd decided to return to his
accepting "family" more quickly. With his fourth appointment looming we chose to ignore his annoying meowing and keep him inside this week, as we were fearful that he might not return in time to trap him for his appointment. This has been challenging.

We have been feeding him tuna each night inside the pet carrier that we plan to trap him in. In the beginning we put the dish right inside the door, but with each succeeding night we moved the dish a little farther inside, until we now have it touching the far wall of the carrier. He seems comfortable with our walking around the area, so we feel fairly confident that we will be able to close the door, once he is inside. I say fairly confident, for remember this is Miney we are talking about. So, with well thought out plans we move hopefully toward DE-Day, the Day of Entrapment, 3/21/10.

Today, 3/20/10, the first day of Spring, I chose to crack the windows open just enough to allow the heavenly fresh breeze to air out the winter miasma, which may also have arisen from the presence of litter boxes in need of their morning cleaning. Miney ventured from window to window searching for an escape route. Although small, I knew he was still too large to get his head through any of the openings, however he was still able to get into trouble. While eating lunch I suddenly heard what sounded like cow bells ringing. Upon investigating I found a very frightened and pathetic Miney with a small wire basket hanging from his neck. This little basket sits on the bathroom windowsill to hold small odds and ends, now the basket and all the odds and ends were dangling from Miney's head. He was not happy, but he was quiet for a change.

I had to laugh, even though I was already thinking how this would surely throw a monkey wrench in our well laid plans of capture. The basket hanging from his neck would prevent him from reaching the tuna, or for that matter any other food or water. And remember, he is totally feral,WE CAN NOT TOUCH HIM. So my pathetic little Miney begin pacing with Eeny Meeny and Momo on his heels trying to figure out what interesting object Miney had acquired. Growing increasingly annoyed with their attention, he pushed through the kitty-door into the garage and somehow in doing that he dislodged the basket and was a free "man" once again. This experience may have left him somewhat traumatized, for I haven't heard a meow out of him since he came in from the garage. He has fallen asleep and I hope he stays that way for a long time.

Now, what did I learn from all of this? Like Miney, I love the fact that God the Father,my Master, provides so well for me. I have a warm cozy house,plenty to eat, clean water to drink, clothes to wear, good health and so,so much more. My Father really takes good care of me. But often I take all this for granted and I want to receive this care on my own terms. Also, like Miney, if I look beyond my blessings to what I don't have, I complain about the fact, that although I have everything I need, I don't have the "ONE THING" I really want, whatever that may be at the moment. Then I begin to run from "window to window" looking at what others have and wondering why I can't have it too. My lack of contentment sometimes takes me to the same place it took Miney, with something huge "hanging from my head" filling me with anxiety and dread. I think God calls that "huge thing" envy and covetousness. Once I realize what I've done, the only way I can be free from this horrible appendage is to repent and become totally aware of and grateful for God's goodness directed towards me. When that happens I too am made free. And to stay free I have to stop looking out the windows with anything but thanksgiving for how I've already been abundantly blessed.............Shalom, Bebe

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Continued Saga of Eeny Meeny, Miney and Mo(mo)

My heart has been so heavy since Thursday. I believe I have an inkling of understanding of how God feels when his children reject his love..........

Miney was scheduled to be neutered on Thursday, January 21, 2010, but we were unable to trap him, so it never happened. On January 3, 2010, just before the cold Artic air hit Florida, I enticed him into the pet carrier with tuna. I was so relieved, as that night the first of the icy wind arrived and remained for a week here in not-so-warm-and-sunny Florida.

He was not happy to be inside. He ran from window to window meowing loudly as he went. After awhile he would wear himself out, but as soon as he rested he would begin his frantic pacing once again. Thursday morning was the eighteenth day that he had been inside. After 18 days of being given his favorite snacks he was still no closer to being domesticated than he had been prior to January 3, 2010. No amount of "sweet talk" or treats had any positive effect on him. Hormones were driving him and nothing we did made a difference.

Steve and I decided to let him out and try again in a week or so.....That night stong rains rolled in and he was outside in the unfriendly elements once again. As of this morning, Saturday, January 23, 2010, he has not returned to eat on the patio. I'm worried...........

So often we are like Miney. God's love for us is so great that he puts up with our constant whining and shenanigans, but we continue to thwart his love. He knows what is best for us long term, but we can only see the here and now. "If it feels good we want to do it", as our 60's mantra proclaimed. And look where that got us.

Some of us, like the prodigal son, have recognized the error of our ways and returned to the Father's house. Occasionally we buck against his plan for us, but when our way proves futile, we turn around and repent once again. I am praying that just as I have learned there is safety only in my "Heavenly Father's House", my "Prodigal Cat" will return with that same understanding......Shalom, Bebe

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

I haven't written this year. I really haven't had time, but I had hoped to be catching you up on the latest in the lives of my three sweet little ferals. However, the earthquake that devastated Haiti on Tuesday, 1/12/10, has my thoughts going in another direction.

Last night Steve and I watched the news and my heart broke. Tears ran down my cheeks as I saw the tragic scenes unfold in my family room. The news commentators all wore the same face, that of disbelief and grief. I saw tears in their eyes and heard voices breaking with emotion. They, like the rest of us, could not comprehend devastation of the magnitude that hit Haiti.

The first question we often find ourselves asking is, "Where was God?". I must admit that I have asked that question myself many times, but as I watched I knew in my spirit that God's heart was broken too. I could imagine tears welling up in his eyes and streaking his cheeks as well. His "kids" were in pain.

I truly believe that God desires only the best for us, but the sin that caused chaos and despair to enter the Garden of Eden is still as real today as it was then. One day the paradise that he designed will once more be available to us. Until then the evil that the first man(woman) chose because of their rebellion will continue to create that same web of destruction.I have had my share of tragedy and I'm sure you have too. In most cases, I can draw a line from that event to an occasion of rebellion, either within myself or someone else.

As I ponder on the evil and sadness that sin has brought into this world, I am reminded that "all creation groans for Christ's return". Romans 8:18-22) But,thank God, all creation has the hope that what was intended will be restored and there will be a day when there will no longer be an event like the tragedy in Haiti. For when the eastern skies split and Jesus the King returns there will be no more sorrow. In Revelation 22:12, He assures us, "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward will be with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." And in the 20th verse he repeats, "Yes, I am coming soon." Praise God!

In the meantime, I intend to be about my "Father's business", sharing his love with mankind and lifting their needs to him in prayer................Shalom, Bebe