Cats Are Part of the Family Too…

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I cried for my babies tonight. And it wasn’t the first time. But it was probably the biggest cry, if I had to measure it. The biggest cry for them ever over the many years that I have been their mama…

My youngest Mica, who follows me around like a dog, finally sat in my lap tonight. She is so stubborn and wants to do what she wants to do. As most cats do. All of you cat owners feel my pain. But, that is one of the characteristics that draws us to them… These beautiful, loving and loyal furry animals who become part of our family.

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Jazzi is 10 years old and we have had her as part of the family since she was @ 6 months old. Mica is the baby. She is just 7, and we have had her since the mere age of 6 weeks, when she was weened from her mother.

These two beauties have been my babies for many years and I am heartbroken at the thought of having to let them go.

But GOD has spoken in this journey He is sending me on. HE wants me to be mobile. That’s the word He has given me and well, cats don’t make that possible. So, the Father who loves my babies more than I love them, already has a plan. I just need to figure it out.

That doesn’t mean I won’t shed tears for my beautiful girls whom I love so very much!!! And again I cry as I look at them and I think about how much I love them.

Anyone who has had a cat understands that they are there when you need them. Mine tend to to stay by me at the exact moments that I feel most alone. It’s almost like they sense it and they stick by you because, well, regardless of what dog lovers might say, this furry felines love us and they want us to be ok. To me, this is an amazing thing because, there have been many times where even when I felt alone, I really wasn’t, because my furry babies were there for me!

This is the biggest reason why I am struggling with letting them go.

I love them so much and how will I live without them???

The answer…

The same way I live without my husband who I will see maybe monthly instead of weekly and my daughter who I might see every other week instead of every other day… With the help of God.

With the help of the God who has sent me on this adventure that is leading me to California, where I know no one and will be by myself, almost completely, I still know that the Father will be there with me as I draw closer to Him than I have ever been!!! In this new season, my God will help me be strong in Him and thus go forth walking in the calling He has placed on my life. God will equip me and enable me to move forward even in the midst of loss. I will be stronger because of it!

In experiencing these two beautiful animals, my life has been enhanced and changed forever! Thank you Lord God for allowing me to love and be loved by these two beautiful girls. I just pray that their remaining years will be full of love.

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My Worst Day = My Best Day

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I am not into writing about things that make me sad. Well, not for others anyway. Most of my personal writing is all about my feelings and over the years, it has been mostly comprised of much sadness and pain. 

Ah, sadness and pain… two things that can totally consume you if you allow it. In fact, you almost have to fight, tooth and nail, to stay out of it. 

That sadness and pain almost destroyed me fifteen years ago. It took many years, some amazing people in my life AND GOD to pull me out. I feel like I need to share because someone reading this understands and either has felt or is feeling exactly what I felt.

Here’s my story…

It’s not easy to watch someone die. No, it is the most horrible thing in the entire world!!! That someone for me was my mom.

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My mom was a rock. She was the one who loved everyone, talked to everyone, hugged everyone, never met a stranger. Oh how I wanted to be just like her!!! I was so shy and she was the exact opposite, but we still got along so well.

There were points in my late teenage and early adult years where we had our battles, but it was very short lived. And once I became a mom, things changed drastically. I understood her and she understood me. We became best friends!

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I became pregnant and in my third month, we found out that mom had ovarian cancer. A complete hysterectomy was performed but only 80% of the cancer was removed. Chemo was our only hope for her survival. The doctors were honest with us and relayed that they felt she only had a year to live.

My mom was 50 and I was just 26. It was 1997. It didn’t seem fair.

Here I was pregnant and my mom and I were best friends and she was going to die!

I don’t even remember the drive home that night following her surgery. All I know is from that moment on, I was determined to spend as much time as I possibly could with her… whatever it took. I didn’t know how much time I had and I wasn’t going to waste any of it!

Mom began treatments and months passed and finally it was time for my daughter to be born. Now, all you moms of daughters understand that all your children are special and so are your grandchildren, but, when your daughter has a baby, it’s just different. There is a connection that is only understood between moms and daughters.

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Mom and dad lived about an hour and a half away from us and we had planned a visit with them on this particular day, two days before my due date. They were coming to see us. On this morning of September 18, 1997, when we realized I was in labor, I called my mom and told her and dad just to come to the hospital. At 10:01 am, Kaysi Marie Elizabeth Schmidt was born and at 10:05 am, my mom and dad walked into the hospital room.

My mom actually held her before anyone!

In that moment, I almost forgot about mom’s illness

It was such a joyous time! And she was there to share it with me, minutes after!!! It was more than I could have asked for!

In the months that ensued, my mom continued with treatments and I began to make the drive back and forth, with Kaysi, as a baby, once or twice a week. It might not seem like much, but I wasn’t a stay at home mom, I worked 50-60 hours a week. Needless to say, it was very tiring, but I HAD TO DO IT!!!

Not only did I have to see my mom, but my daughter had to know her Grammy. 

One year passed and mom was still with us. It even seemed as though she might be getting better. I was so grateful. I needed my mom and my daughter needed her Grammy.

For the time being our world seemed right. 

After we began the second year, it seemed mom was getting even better, but then she began having some set-backs. The cancer was not going away. And because of that, neither was I. My almost obsession to see my mom and for Kaysi to see her was all I thought about.

After all, I still had no idea how long we had…

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GOD gave mom more time than we had ever expected and I couldn’t have asked for more. Actually, I did want more… I wanted her healed and whole again. I wanted my mom back the way it was before that HORRIBLE cancer attacked her!

Year three of the journey of my mom’s last days began. Little did we know in just nine months we would have to say GOODBYE. FOREVER…

I continued to travel, frequently, the hour and a half trip to see my mom, AND for Kaysi to see her Grammy.

Every moment was precious… 

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It was worth it. Even though she was very young, my daughter has some happy memories of her Grammy. That almost made the whole ordeal bearable… almost.

As the year passed, mom’s health became worse and worse. Hospice came in and we knew it was just a matter of time. My biggest fear in that moment, was not being there to say goodbye to my mom…

I HAD TO BE ABLE TO SAY GOODBYE!

The weekend before Kaysi’s third birthday, she and I went down to stay with mom and dad, as we always did when I was off work. This weekend was different. Mom was not herself. She almost seemed as if she were somewhere else.

I remember her talking about seeing Kaysi running through the house in a pretty dress dancing and laughing. It made her so happy… Her Kaysi always made her so happy. Kaysi and I headed home on Sunday evening, as usual.

Monday morning came… Kaysi’s birthday.

My little girl was 3!!! WOW!

But I didn’t feel like celebrating. Something in my world didn’t seem right that morning. I was so distracted that by the time I got to work, I was almost 2 hours late! Within 10 minutes of being there, my oldest brother calls… “Sis, I think you need to come.”

MY HEART DROPPED.

I raced out and prayed all the way there that I would make it in time. Thankfully, God allowed me to be there. We all gathered around mom’s bed, my two brothers, their wives, my dad and me. Together, with my mom, as a family, we waited as she took her last breaths…

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IT WAS TRULY THE HARDEST THING I EVER HAD TO EXPERIENCE…

But I had to! And in the remaining moments of my mom’s life, I experienced the absolute perfect and unconditional love between her and my dad. Her last breath was to tell her husband of 33 years… “I love you”

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Love was the answer to all of it. All of the years, even the hard ones, love was the answer.

Even in the moment of her death, love was there… GOD was there.

He even made it easier. How? My mom’s death happened on my daughter’s birthday.

So each year we could remember my mom AND celebrate Kaysi’s birthday.

God truly made something bad not quite so bad. It didn’t hurt quite as much. Kaysi, I am convinced, was the reason my mom lived over 3 years instead of the 1 year the doctors gave her. My mom adored Kaysi AND Kaysi adored her.

Now when I ponder that day, and as I often do, I think on that blessing almost in disguise. Revelation hits me…

My worst day was also my best day.

God surely works in mysterious ways to love on His children, when they need it most.

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It’s All in the Family

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How many times have you thought about someone and thought, man if they weren’t family, I would never speak to them again?

Yes, we get that mad sometimes.

Well, not us, no never… all the people not reading this. Ha! I bet you have been on the receiving end of that thought. Families can be tough.

But we are family, so we do love and stick together regardless of what happens.

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Or at least we should. This is the picture of the Greek word for love, storge. Storge is the kind of love we feel towards our parents, our children, our siblings and anyone else who is a family member. In the Greek, storge is defined as parental affection or instinctual affection by humans and animals for their young. (wordnik.com) It is the kind of love that comes naturally, paternally even.

This love is not found in the New Testament. Instead there are two negative uses and a compound use of the word. In both Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3, the word astorgos is used, meaning no love or without love. (gotquestions.org/whatisstorgelove?) In Romans 12:10 it is used in combination with phileo as philostorgos. In this instance the translation is to be devoted and to cherish one’s kindred.

This is a picture of what God’s family should look like, where we are all considered brothers and sisters through Jesus and thus we should love each other as such.

In this love level, there is a focus on time.

TIME…

As we go through life with our families, we should be spending time with them. God has chosen each person in our families to be who they are, the sibling, the parent, the aunt or uncle, the grandparent. Each of these roles is integral in the functioning of the family.

This could be compared to the picture of the body of Christ. Each of us in the body have a specific anointing which if we do not accept it, then part of the body will not function properly.

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The same is true of the family. Each person has their role and are important to the family unit. When there are hurt feelings or discord within the family, there are often trials and even unforgiveness. You all know what I am talking about, I am sure. Maybe some of you have even experienced it where one or more members disagree about something and stop talking while holding onto bitterness because they cannot forgive the other person.

That is not a picture of love on any level.

We should always be forgiving of anyone for any wrong. As we understand the difference between acceptance and forgiveness, we can forgive without making the person think what they did was right. Moreover, as we understand God’s love, and His forgiveness of our sins, all of them, we come to understand what that looks like for us as we are a reflection of Him.

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.”                        Mark V. Olsen

Another picture of love is now on the horizon.

As I think about family and what that means to me, I think not only of my blood family, but also of my spiritual family. So often, family is those who are related to us in some way. But, guess what? Our spiritual family is related to us through blood too… through the blood of Jesus!!! And even though the Bible does not refer to family much, as the earthly family, the family of God is spoken of many times. One of the sections that I think most personifies the family of God is the following verse from Ephesians:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.   (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Love is family.

Family is love.

Whatever your family looks like, make sure you appreciate them, spend time with them, and above all… love them!!!

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