These are also from January in Shipshewana. So glad the lights were still up to enjoy. My preference is to keep the lights up until St. Patty’s Day. It keeps the winter’s chill away.
(Wait, is that Santa’s fanny?)
This month was a whirlwind of activity in so many aspects of my life. It is a month filled with joyous birthdays of family and friends, while it is also the month in which my niece Erin died in 2005. There were ups and down with my personal and work life, as well as with health, faith, family, and friends. Yet the thing this month that has me bursting with love: people reaching out to check on me.
My pastor, colleagues, my friend of the most years, other treasured friends, family, and church family have reached out to ask if I am okay. At times, the answer is “no”, while it is usually and mostly a “yes”. The answer isn’t what matters. The reaching out is what filled this month with overwhelming love and gratitude.
Most of the time I am living in gratitude for being single. My siblings and I haven’t had much luck in the romance department, and I am often grateful not to be in a poor relationship. But this month, I have no idea why, I actually think of the possibility of being in love with someone. A good man, kind and generous, and to be in partnership with for life. I don’t regret that I haven’t had this thus far, and I certainly don’t expect it. However, I feel like it might be possible. I have no data or knowledge or experience to tell me this would be true, just a new and unusual feeling. Maybe it’s from watching too many Hallmark movies.
As for Hallmark movies and crime dramas, I am teaching our semi-feral kitties to enjoy them. I pray one day we are all one happy kitty family with four loving kitties that get along more than not. Until then, I treasure my time alone with Poppy and Willow, and I treasure my Joy kitty’s company when I’m not with the semi-feral sweeties. Of course, there’s Merry, my mom’s kitty. At the same time, I’m keeping my brother in prayer as he weighs getting a new dog while still missing terribly his dog Rufus. Rufus was nearly 16 years old and he’d been with us for over 15 of those years. That big shepherd/chow/who-knows-what mutt was loved by many, especially the apple customers. My heart goes out to all missing a furry friend who has gone to heaven to await our arrival.
I am so grateful for the activities of this month. It began with minor surgery to prevent migraines. The procedure will prevent them for the majority of a year, but the healing can take up to a full month, and it is quite painful for the first several weeks. The freedom of migraines from all but weather related (or failing to read labels properly) is well worth this one month a year. Because of this, I spent my birthday quietly in my cat cave with one friend. We both needed that time to escape the world and watch some lovely kitties become comfortable around us feline friendly humans. It was a good day.
The following weekend, my mom and I took the circle tour around Lake Michigan (this is over 1,000 miles). We went through Indiana, Illinois, and spent our first night in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We didn’t see much of it, but mom enjoyed reminiscing about where her family had lived in Chicago as our journey began.
The next day we headed straight up to see my great niece Nicole, her dad, and his girlfriend Heather. Nicole looked very tired, but she was clearly delighted to give us a tour of her campus. Dinner with everyone was a historic bar at Bill’s recommendation, and burgers that were spectacularly tasty. The French fries were also remarkably delicious. I rarely eat so many! In my fry coma, they went back south, while my mom and I drove north to Copper Harbor – the top of the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior. We again didn’t see much of the town, but we enjoyed an adorable cabin and the best hotel room bed I’ve experienced to date (and I stay in hotels for approximately six work trips per year (happy 10th anniversary in this job to me)).
The following morning, we drove back to Houghton to spend time with Nicole again. Nicole, mom, and I enjoyed a boat ride on The Portage which did a circle turn in Lake Superior. It was a pleasant day and Nicole was refreshed and enjoyed the ride. After a good hug good-bye, we headed south for dinner in St. Ignace at Jose’s Cantina (excellent meal again at Bill’s suggestion) and over the bridge to our hotel in Gaylord for the night. The next morning brought us on home to Kalamazoo. No one was harmed on this journey (at least two small herds of deer, and about 20 geese were not hit even though they were in the road and gaping at me a little too long).
Work has had a few more downs than ups lately, but with the best of colleagues, they are ensuring that I am well. I am blessed with many colleagues who make this world a better place. And our clients are pretty awesome too. Their kindness can be overwhelming. At the same time, a treasured colleague moved into another position at work. She was an absolute delight to work with, and our office is not only empty without her presence, but hollow without our daily chats about our work, our clients, and life in general. There’s a hole in my work heart. I pray her new colleagues see her as the blessing she is, and I pray that the one to follow her here is as kind of heart and wise of mind.
All of my chinny chin chin hairs are gray. Granted, there are like 6 of them, which of course appeared in high school, as if I wasn’t already awkward and gawky enough. They were mostly blond, and then they turned brown. In recent years, they have slowly each in turn become gray. I find it funny because my brother is 18 years my senior and barely has any gray, but if I were a guy, I’d probably have a gray beard. And I already have that lovely gray highlighting in my bangs from the Good Lord … which also started appearing in high school. It’s funny the gray is so slow on me, when I think I’d like a gray doo.
A friend’s father passed away. One week we’re having a nice lunch commiserating about the silly things our parents do to keep us on our toes and noticing that her dad is slowing down a bit. The next week he was hospitalized and passed on within 24 hours. He was 90, but when you love someone, no amount of time is ever enough. Keeping her and all who have lost loved ones recently in heartfelt prayers.
What a full month! But let’s not forget my loves: Joy, Merry, Willow, and Poppy. Our Pastor has been speaking on rest and renewal. The time I spend each evening hoping to tame Willow and Poppy is my haven. Just being with them, a few Hallmark movies, and slowing down to pet them often is precious time I wouldn’t ordinarily take out of my day is a comfort. Although I cannot yet pick them up, I can pet them, and petting kitties is healing to my soul.
May your soul find rest and renewal.
May peace be yours.
May you know you are loved.
These two semi-feral cats may have old souls. They were playing with their new toys, but when I started to cut paper for a project, they watched the paper cutter instead. Then I moved on to a bit of crochet. That too won out over their newest kitty toys.
I’m not sure if my paperwork met with her approval or not, but Poppy definitely inspected my efforts.
Just glad to see them happy, no matter their taste in entertainment.
Moral of the Story: No matter what others think of it, so long as it causes no one harm, find your bliss.
12:12 a.m.: Poppy purred for me for the first time … ever.
If you know cats, that’s music. Sweet, melodic music. Even if it’s loud and gravelly.
I was sitting on the floor petting her. It would seem she’d prefer me at a table where I’m more eye to eye with her, but no. She was on the floor a foot in front of me as I sat cross legged and bent over to pet her cheeks, face, and chin.
I’m elated! And Willow then let me sit in the chair next to her favorite sleeping chair and pet her for a long while too. No purr, but still progress.
Moral of the Story: Time and patience can heal the wounds that taught them to distrust the human animal. May we all behave in a manner worthy of their trust.
Poppy standing, Willow resting
I was going to save the world today. From what, I don’t know. But this rare treat happened, and this happens about three times a year, so I must sit here and enjoy this sweet kitty who has graced me with a rare “lap cat” moment. Maybe someone else can save the world today. My plans changed.
As mentioned in my last post, when I attended the spring Beekeeping classes through my local community college, I feared being able to care for such a small animal and not causing it harm. After only my first session of the autumn class, I feel I must give it my best efforts.
This class was only my second time to be exposed to the hives in person. It was my first time to help open a hive. A fellow classmate who already has bees gently guided me and had me fully assist in opening the hive and removing the boxes. I was shocked at my heartfelt affection for these wee ones. We both worked very hard not to squish any of them. We managed to take off three boxes, test for varroa mites, and put them back only taking one sweet life.
If you’re an animal person, you probably have some sort of heartfelt or gut reaction to one species or another, such as dogs, cats, cows, or birds. I’ve always felt that for most furry creatures. But I was shocked from my toes to the top of my skull that I felt the same affection that I do for my cats regarding these buzzing bees. How could something with such a stinger pull at my heartstrings and make me all gushy for their sweet little faces? I don’t know, but the affection is real.
I must see this through and become a Beekeeper if at all possible.
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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx
The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World