Archive for September 2019

Faithfully   Leave a comment

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions about ten years ago.  While I know they can be a useful motivational tool for some, they mostly seem like a source of jokes for pastors around the end of January.

When I was younger, I did have lists of goals I wished to achieve, personal goals that is, ways to make myself better.

And, there are areas in which I’ve matured.

I’m making some progress being more patient with other people and myself.

I’m making some progress with keeping control of my temper when pushed to my limit.

I’ve become a really good cook over the last thirty years of cooking!

But there are quite a few other worthy goals that I haven’t been able to achieve.

I also have found that no matter what area I improve, flaws pop up in other areas.  If I work on being better organized, some other aspect of home life begins to suffer.  If I combine errands to town, which include paying for the car tags and going to the butcher shop, I realize the next week that I was supposed to renew my driver’s license and I should have done that when I was there for the car tags.  I’m not a calm, capable parent when things are going crazy.  I haven’t written that book yet.  And no matter how hard I try to remember it all, I’m starting to lose bits of information from my mind and forget things that affect other people.  It’s quite embarrassing.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot I can do about these imperfections, because no matter how hard I try, there’s always some way I fall short of my goals.

I have realized that I must learn to be content to live faithfully–as a failure.

It does matter that I am faithful.

But it also means my worth isn’t based on my progress, my efforts or my performance.

Posted September 25, 2019 by swanatbagend in identity

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Crazy Cats   Leave a comment

We brought home new kittens in June, little adorable male litter-mates, one a grey tabby and the other a golden brown tabby with an unusual pattern.  I had a few hesitations about having two male cats in the house, but I didn’t spend that much time on it, because my experience has been that males are more personable, and also because I like large cats, the bigger the better.

They took about a week to get acclimated to the house and were timid at first about areas that our older cat was in.  Of course they hated the vacuum.  But by the end of the week they were roaming everywhere and playing with whatever they could find.

Now, three and a half months later, we’re learning just how much energy two young tomcats can have.

I had lived with a total of seven cats before they came along, including three who were kittens when I met them, and (I thought our previous male cat was a busybody!) these guys are into just about everything.  They haven’t tried climbing the curtains in the front room yet, but that’s about it.  They definitely don’t spend most of the day sleeping.

They destroyed a topiary of dried flowers I’d had for twenty five years.

They knock glasses off the table and break them.

They try to get in the fridge.

They try to get in the garage.

They try to get outside.

They eat ribbons.

They tear the cardboard off the cat climbing tower.

They play with and lose the seashells I used to have on my dresser.

They get on the kitchen counter, despite being sprayed with water.

They nibble on their cardboard scratcher boxes.

They open cabinet doors and crawl around inside.

They lose their crinkle ball toys within fifteen minutes of my getting them out from under the couch.

They nibble on any dried flowers they can find, including a wreath that’s on the wall in the bathroom.

They pee in the recycle bin or laundry basket, if the litter box nearby isn’t kept clean enough for their preferences.

When they were neutered it did not slow them down.  We were told to keep them in their crates for another half hour when we got home.  The tan one bonked his head against the door the entire time he was waiting to get out.

They played for over an hour with a toy mouse suspended from an elastic cord today.  I had to put it away to get them to rest; their sides were heaving.

Yea, it’s been pretty crazy for me to adjust to….and that isn’t counting the potty problems we’ve had.  I thought once my youngest child was potty trained that I was done with poo.  Apparently not.

All that said–they are personable, just like I hoped.  They are extremely soft.  They purr almost every time you approach and pet them.  They are sweet boys.  The tan one runs to meet my husband when he comes in the door.

So yeah, we’re glad God created the cat, because we have the pleasure of caressing the tiger.

Posted September 21, 2019 by swanatbagend in cats

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The Gap Between Faith and Practice   1 comment

In the gap between my faith and my practice is–what?  In the past, the answer has been, try harder.

Today what stands in the gap between my faith and my practice is repentance.

I will turn away from my sins and failures and turn toward Jesus, who provides the power to be different.  No matter how many times I’ve vowed to do better, it hasn’t worked.  I’m sure there are people for whom self help books do it, and there are those who are good at pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.

If you haven’t found those paths to be successful, perhaps a turning will suffice?

I’m to turn from my sins, which are as follows: impatience, pride, greed, being a controller, selfishness, self absorption, envy and busyness for its own sake.

Instead of attempting to find a way to be good enough to overcome these on my own, I can deal with my gap now by giving them up.  I can step away from my idol–the illusion of power that I think will fix my problems.

Instead of attempting to put sin away by sheer force of will, I will turn to Jesus Christ and receive his power, love and mercy.  He’s the one who stands in the gap for me.



Posted September 18, 2019 by swanatbagend in reflections

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