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Blog, Faith, Family, Marriage, pets, prayer

Lessons from stray cats

“There are few things more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.”–Tay Hohoff

Me & Natalya our cat

Me & Natalya our cat

Do you love or hate cats? Usually it’s one or the other; it’s hard to be neutral concerning cats. Recently when I asked a friend at church to pray for a hard situation concerning a cat, he said, “Okay, pray for me to have more compassion for cats. I don’t like them and I’m allergic to them.” LOL. I have another friend who is highly allergic to them and sneezes terribly, even from their furs’ dander on our carpet.

Other complaints about cats are that they scratch and ruin furniture, they can spray the carpet with urine, and worse of all –they don’t obey, like dogs do when trained!

My sweet kitty Natalya

My sweet kitty Natalya

That’s one of the reasons I actually like cats. They are independent with a mind of their own (like me!). 

Natalya my cat

Natalya my cat

My husband Ray and I have never had stray cats before. But at this house in Butler, Missouri, which we bought several years ago, we’ve had several stray cats coming around here. I’ve been feeding them since spring 2022. (It has gotten expensive, too!)

Heather seeing our cat Natalya the first time

Heather seeing our cat Natalya the first time

 

Our granddaughters Violet & Annabelle seeing Natalya the 1st time

Our granddaughters Violet & Annabelle seeing Natalya the 1st time

They’re all male cats. Some come more often than others to eat. I asked Ray to help me name them. They are:

Silas, a male tabby/mix breed (a vet said possibly Maine Coon because of his bushy tail; another vet said possibly Siamese mix), who I took inside our home this year and he’s now our second (inside only) cat. We got him neutered and his vaccinations, because he was doing the male mating call and yowling day and night. He was trying to mate with my female cat Natalya, even though she was fixed! He can still be aggressive at times with her and me, but he’s a sweet kitty. Ray also wanted him neutered so he wouldn’t spray our furniture and carpet with urine, as non-neutered males often do.

Silas

Silas

Nicodemus, a male. unneutered tabby mix cat with a bushy tail, who Ray and I think is Silas’ brother. However, Silas hisses at him when he sees him through the front screen door or the sunroom screens, and twice he has escaped out the door and chased him into the neighbor’s yard. (I’m thankful that Silas came back, so he must like it here! Or at least, the daily food and love!)

I think Nicodemus is beautiful and so sweet, and I want to keep him. But I know Silas would fight him and possibly hurt him. Plus, I don’t know if he has the contagious cat virus FIV or cat leukemia FLV. I wouldn’t want to possibly expose my cats to it. So he is one of our outdoor kitties right now. He comes every day, sometimes several times a day!

I’ve been worrying over him and Marmalade (the male, non-neutered orange tabby stray cat) with cold winter coming, so Ray and I bought a feral cat shelter for them. A vet recommended this kind. He said NOT to put straw or hay in a cat shelter, as it can get wet and then mildew and it can also draw pests.

Marmalade

Marmalade

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Blog, Family, Friendship

An ordinary day on your birthday, an extraordinary God

Today is my birthday! I haven’t done anything spectacular to celebrate it; in fact, it’s been a very ordinary day…primarily because I just had some dental work done and I’m on a soft food diet this week (which means, the hygienist said, no chips & salsa right now (or cake)…although I did buy a Sonic hot fudge sundae today to put in my coffee for a little chocolate, creamy treat!). I can’t have hot or cold drinks right now, so I had to let it cool first. But it was so good!

hot fudge sundae for my coffee

hot fudge sundae for my coffee

But my perspective (despite not being able to go out to eat for my birthday) is that each day and moment is a precious gift and sacred, whether you’re saving lives like my husband Ray does in his courageous career (Marines/Navy corpsman, paramedic, police chief, SWAT team medic, and currently a fire chief/paramedic); a doctor or nurse; a lawyer; a librarian; a homeschooling mom; a garbage truck worker; a scientist; a therapist; a radio show host; a stay at home mom changing diapers; or ____ (you fill in the blank). 

Fire Chief Ray JonesCentral Cass County Fire Dept yellow-ribbon cutting ceremony

Fire Chief Ray Jones
Central Cass County Fire Dept yellow-ribbon cutting ceremony

When I went to get Swiffer power mop cloths at Walmart this morning to mop the floors, I also bought myself some gorgeous yellow roses there. They are among my fave flowers, besides sunflowers, daisies, and wildflowers. 

Yellow roses for my birthday

Yellow roses for my birthday

They go nicely with my t-shirt with the yellow inscription (with a cute heart!), which reads, “Choose Happy.” I believe that we do have to CHOOSE happiness, or joy, rather, no matter what our circumstances are. “The joy of the LORD is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Choose Happy t-shirt

Choose Happy t-shirt

Today was a beautiful day with the sunshine streaming through the trees in our yard. 

Sunlight through the trees

Sunlight through the trees

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Blog, Faith, Family, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, worship/praise/music

When you’re looking for a new church home

Image: Edward Cisneros @ Unsplash

Image: Edward Cisneros @ Unsplash

My husband Ray and I have been looking for a new church home for years. I’m excited about the new church that we’ve been attending, Hope City Church of Harrisonville, Missouri. Why? We’re among the 1/3 of people who used to attend church, but now stay away specifically because they “lost trust in God, the church, or Christians.” (According to a 2019 “Unchurched Report” by Billy Graham Center Institute and Lifeway Research, You Found Me, Rich Richardson, p. 47)

Image: Julian Florez at Unsplash

Image: Julian Florez at Unsplash

It’s a startling and scary fact that the number of youth (Americans ages 18-29) who have no religious affiliation has nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years, and 59% of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.

There are several reasons that Ray and I and our children were wounded that I won’t go into here, but we’ve had to walk through a LOT of forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are many people in the same boat. My hope is that this new church will be a safe haven for us of God’s agape (unconditional) love, truth, and forgiveness; that we can make new friends; and that we’ll be able to serve in the Body of Christ and use our spiritual gifts, talents, and skills for God’s glory there. 

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