Posted in My life in pictures

154/365 Happy Birthday My Love

Today is Gil’s birthday. He worked a full day and we headed out to church as soon as I got home. We had our growth group orientation tonight for the upcoming semester. As I listened to the pastors talking about our responsibilities for our leadership role, I sat thinking how lucky I am. Gil and I had just moments earlier been talking about the change in our relationship since we discovered Relevant. It’s not that it was bad before we started on this journey but what was good before has become something beyond my wildest imagination since. I am so blessed to be able to grow in my relationship with my husband and best friend while discovering this new relationship with God. And the best part is that we are sharing this with each other, every step of the way.

I know it wasn’t the biggest of celebrations for his birthday, but at least we got to share the evening with each other and with some of our church family. I know how much he would have loved to have been with his kids today, but hopefully they can make up for it tomorrow.

Gil, I love you. My life is so complete because of you.

 

Posted in My life in pictures

152/365 Happy Birthday, Mom

We were out of town for mom’s birthday weekend so we made it up to her by taking her out for a big, fat, juicy steak. This was the same 14 ounce steak that I devoured a few weeks ago. My mother, who eats like a bird, almost at the whole thing. I’m telling you….these steaks are amazing.

 

Posted in My life in pictures

033/365 You’re Invited

All day long I’ve been planning to post pictures from the baby shower I co-hosted today. It’s what all this owl crafty stuff has been about all week and I couldn’t wait to show it all off. However, sometimes life deals you surprises in the most wonderful of ways.

I left the baby shower this afternoon thinking how great it was going to be to relax the rest of the evening and how I didn’t need to print anything or punch holes in anything or trim edges or even touch a paper cutter. No more crafting for a while.

HA! Silly me.

Natalie came to me last night and showed me an invitation she had gotten to a classmate’s costume party. It was really cute and she told me how much she liked it and would like to do something like that for her birthday party in two weeks. Then she got me. “Would you help me make them?” she said. I, of course, told her I would LOVE to help her but we would need to do it very soon. She immediately called her mom and finalized the details of the whens and whats and announced she was ready. I mentioned that if she could sleep over tonight then we could certainly formulate a plan and see what I had here we could use. I was thinking a trip to Micheal’s would certainly be on our agenda for Sunday.

Well, she’s sleeping over and guess what we did all night. We not only formulated a plan, we kicked that plan’s ass. Oh yeah, planned and executed! She was really happy with them and I didn’t care one bit that I spent yet another night designing, printing, measuring, digging through craft closets, cutting, punching holes, and finally, admiring our finished product. Not one bit.

I have to say that when she asked me to help her with this project it made my heart swell so big. Her mom is a crafty type, too, so I’m sure she could have tackled this little project with ease. But, Natalie asked me. And, that made my day week month year.

P.S. – She already has next year’s invites planned and announced that we should ALWAYS make our own cards from now on. What have I done?!?

P.S.S. Special thanks to her dear father for helping us with the poem for the invite and for understanding that, after the first draft, he needed her to help him get into the mind of a 12 year old girl so that it was less dorky.

 

 

Posted in My Life

Happy Birthday, Daddy; and Thanks for the Parting Gift

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is a big day for me. It would be my daddy’s 67th birthday. It’s been 11 years since I’ve been able to wish him a happy birthday. Well, sort of.

The loss of my father was not unexpected. Years earlier he had battled cancer and won. Unfortunately, the damage the treatment for cancer does to a body is often as devastating as the disease itself. He was left with severe liver damage, and after a hard four year fight, God decided to call him home. I miss him terribly, but I find that I don’t cry much for the loss of my father. When he left us, he gave us one of the greatest gifts we could have ever asked for and I wrote about that earlier this year. Being witness to this amazing event was the greatest gift my father could have ever given me. But, days later, I would find that he had something else in store for me. It was something that would bring me a type of peace that I never expected.

On May 3, 2000, we buried my dad. It was a dreadful kind of day with the realization that I would never see him again. I would never feel his beautiful, caring, nurturing soul near me again. Or would I?

We were all filled with grief as we left the church and headed home. My mom and I got home and went about doing some mindless tasks. I can’t remember what I needed to go outside for, but I stepped out her back door and almost trampled right on top of the tiniest, most adorable kitten ever. Mama Kitty was just sitting there looking at me as if to say, “This is for you”. It took a few minutes to process what I was seeing. I knew the mama kitty because she had been a barn cat that had been around for years, and my parent had told me that she had been pregnant but they had not seen her in weeks. If you know barn cats, you know this is their MO. But, she was back and she apparently had a gift for me.

When I was a little girl, I had lots and lots of pets. Our home was a revolving door for dogs and cats. However, there was one constant cat in my youth and her name was Fuzz Buzz. (Don’t judge me) She was a beautiful long-haired orange and white tabby that purred so loudly you could hear her from across the room. I’ve always had an affinity for these orange beauties, but another never seemed to find its way into my life after Fuzz Buzz. In the years before Daddy died, I had often expressed an interest in getting another orange kitty. However, I’m not sure I ever made that declaration in front of my dad.

Sweet head-butt kisses

Once I processed what was happening, I began to believe this kitten was for me. As a matter of fact, I’m sure of it. I was crying and sad and then this little bundle of fur seemed to take that away. I was no longer focused on the loss of my dad. My focus was entirely on this tiny little kitten. I scooped him up and took him home with me, and that decision changed my life and the way I dealt with the loss of the most important man in my life. For the first few days I called him Papi, but that never seemed right so it soon morphed into Peppy, the Sunshine Kitty.

This furry, four-legged creature has been the one constant in my life for 11 years. He has loved me unconditionally. All it takes is for one teardrop to fall and he comes out of nowhere to lick it away. He has an uncanny ability to recognize when I’m sad and he will climb up on my chest, wrap his paws around my neck and somehow suck that sadness right out of me.  He has removed the hurt from physical and mental ailments. He protects me and calms me. He listens to my thoughts and knows exactly when to head butt me with his special form of kisses. He even lets me sing silly songs like “You Are My Sunshine” without running away in agony like most humans do. This cat’s love for me is not like a typical human/pet bond. There is something deeper and almost supernatural about the connection we share. Others have witnessed it and once they do, almost always agree that there is something extraordinary about this animal.

Helping to soothe my physical pain after my ankle sprain

I believe my Peppy is a blessing from God, a vessel in which my father’s spirit continues to grace and to soothe me in my most trying times. People find comfort in all sorts of things after the loss of a loved one. They may feel a rainbow is a sign that everything is okay, or they may sense a deceased loved one’s presence in the birth of a child. I believe that angels walk among us and I chose to believe my father sent a guardian angel to me in the most fitting form possible, the form of a cat.

Today is the 11th year that I’ve looked through the eyes of my sweet Peppy and into the soul of my father to say, “Happy Birthday Daddy”. It’s in those eyes that I find comfort, happiness, kindness and the kind of love only a father can give his little girl. Or in this case, the kind of love a father can give his little girl through a beautiful, golden-eyed, orange and white tabby ball of fluff and flab.