Christmas with a Cat? Helping Out. (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This is a quiet, relaxed post. Just what I needed for Christmas Day, several years ago. Just what I needed this year, as well. I have a common cold, again. I feel rather miserable, but I am under orders from several on my Church Council to take it easy for the rest of the week. So, that is exactly what I am doing. (Oh, and reposting one of my Year of Being Kind posts.) Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas season. God bless everyone. No exceptions.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, December 25, 2014

cat in a window

Christmas with a Cat? Helping Out.

Three services in the past four days? Check, check, and check. Sunday worship, the last Sunday of Advent. The Blue Christmas service on Monday. And, Christmas Eve service last night. Other pastors at other churches have as heavy a schedule, if not more so. But since this was my first year in a parish setting in a pastoral role, everything was more hectic than I would like.

After a number of days with a good deal of activity—and the prayer, planning and forethought that went into each worship service—I had a much needed rest today. A true day of rest. A Sabbath. A day to rest and recoup. What more blessed day to rest than the day we have set aside to celebrate the birth of the Baby in Bethlehem?

I did not do a great deal all day. Of course, there was present-opening around the Christmas tree this morning. My daughter and I went out to get some late lunch, mid-afternoon. (There is a wonderful Middle Eastern restaurant about two miles or so from our house. Kifta! Shawarma! Falafel! And of course, good rice!) No huge Christmas dinner for me, this year. Truth to tell, I preferred it that way.

However, I think I can speak for my husband, daughter and I when I say that one of the highlights of our quiet, low-key Christmas was going over to another daughter’s apartment to check up on her cat. Toby is very sweet. She really enjoyed our visit. Toby even got rambunctious. My husband took some string and was playing with her for a bit. Her tail whipping to and fro, pouncing on the string, or on my husband’s outstretched hand and drumming fingers.

Isn’t it fascinating how much enjoyment can be found in simple things? Things like visiting with a cat, lively conversation and laughter at the cat’s antics. I made sure Toby’s physical needs were met, too. Food, water, litter box. And, I enjoyed visiting her, very much. I always like it, even though I do have cat allergies. (Which did become more obvious today, since one of my eyes became red, swollen, and extremely itchy. I must have touched my face near my eye with a hand covered with cat dander. Alas.)

Nevertheless, it was a good day. A day to be kind, and be helpful to a sweet cat. Toby cat.


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(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a meditation journey through Pentecost and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!) (also published at .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Being Kind to a Daughter’s Cat

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 26, 2014

cat drawing from 1000illustrations (Tumblr)

cat drawing
from 1000illustrations (Tumblr)

Being Kind to a Daughter’s Cat

One of my daughters has a cat. And a roommate. What to do when both she and her roommate are out of town? Ask her mom to be of service, of course. To take care of the cat, I mean.

Toby, the domestic shorthair cat, is quite affectionate. She’s tiger-striped (in shades of brown), with a white bib and paws. She doesn’t mew very loudly, but she does make her presence known. For example, when I’m typing on my laptop—like I am right now. Yes, I’m at Toby’s apartment. She’s been fed, her water’s changed, and I’ve cleaned her litter box. She is regularly coming over to me and asking for petting. I’m happy to oblige! (At least, being careful not to touch my face with a hand full of cat dander. Allergies.) That’s how I’m being kind, today.

Toby makes me think of various pets I’ve shared my house with in my life, or have been in my sister’s life. When I was born, there was a large, friendly Airedale terrier resident in my parents’ house. My earliest memories were of her. Fond memories, indeed! Then, when I was in the middle grades, my parents got another Airedale. A bit smaller, but equally as friendly! Such good girls. So affectionate. And the adventurous, striped cat that shared our apartment when my older girls were small? They all certainly made me feel good. I don’t want to forget my sister’s dogs over the years: the Labrador mix, the German shepherd mix, and the Vizsla? All faithful companions, every one. God, thank You so much for bringing animals and people together! So helpful. So loving. So inspiring!

A recent online article I read spoke of depression, and several simple ways to lessen its effects. A proper, healthy diet and regular exercise featured highly in this article. However, the article also mentioned companionship of pets. Just petting an affectionate dog or cat helps me feel better. Amazing, I know. This is one sure-fire way for me to take care of myself, to be kind to myself. Of course, sharing a house or apartment with pets is not for everyone. But for those who are able, our animal friends are wonderful, loving companions.

Besides, I can be of service to my daughter, and help out her cat, at the same time. Sounds to me like a win-win-win situation!


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Be Kind, Take Every Opportunity to Smile!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, June 23, 2014

Cute-Kitten-and-Puppy-Wallpaper 2013-06

Be Kind, Take Every Opportunity to Smile!

Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone for the first time, and somehow knowing that this person was not going to be your best friend? Or, any kind of friend at all? I know I have. I’ve met a few people who did not have a positive attraction for me. I describe these people to myself as ‘cat-people.’ When they meet a dog-person like me (yes, I just love dogs!), their ‘fur’ automatically goes up. Negative reaction. When I meet them, the hair on the back of my neck sometimes stands on end.

(In the interest of rigorous honesty, I need to insert this qualification. I grew up with a dog, and had another dog for ten years until I was in college. Yes, I love dogs! And, I love cats, too! My two older daughters have cats. Sadly, I am allergic to these four-footed friends. I really enjoy them, and they often come straight to me for petting, rubbing of ears, and tummy rubs. But my eyes water, and I start sneezing if I’m around them too long. Drat that cat dander!)

One particular situation came to mind today. Or, one particular person, I mean. Again. But I’ll say more about that in a minute.

I had a wonderful exercise class today! Yoga is so beneficial for me, especially the gentle yoga and stretching class I attend. A really positive experience. On my way out of the Y, I went through the large lobby, with several employees at the front desk, and another at the scanning station. I’ve been a Y member for several years. Almost all of these people know me, by sight if not by name. I smiled at them as I walked through the lobby.

In case you don’t know what I look like, I have a friendly, natural smile. My big smile just sort of happens. Automatically. My dear friend, retired Pastor Carl, gave me some excellent advice some years ago when I graduated from seminary. He said I had a lovely smile, and I ought to use it, often. I’ve taken that advice to heart. I do smile, as often as I can! It was especially useful when I was working in hospitals as a chaplain. I often had patients or their loved ones tell me my smile brightened up their whole day. That warmed my heart! And, made me appreciate Pastor Carl’s excellent advice, too.

But for some reason, as I smiled at a whole bunch of people today, a situation from a number of years ago came to mind. Then, I attended a preliminary, adjudicatory meeting. One of the panel in the meeting appeared all buttoned up, somber, almost as if the panel member had sucked on a lemon. This member did not say a word all meeting long, until I rose to get up at the end of my portion of the meeting. Then came the zinger: looking directly at me, “You smile too much.”

God, this situation periodically plays over and over in my mind. I know I need to evict this person from renting space in my head. How much more mental space I would have for things that are pleasing to You! Dear God, I pray for this person. Again, I pray all good things for their family, too. Dear God, help this member in every aspect of their life. Amen. So be it, God!


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