Sunday, March 31, 2013
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Good morning fans! As Cora says, “It’s not morning ’till I get my coffee.” But look at me -- I’m up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, blogging away before breakfast, or should I say, “blogfast”? And speaking of bushy tails, did you know that we, Persians have to get our hair brushed at least two to three times a week, or even once a day for the aristocatic ones.
Speaking of which, I heard Cora talking about the amazing butterfly exhibition she visited at the State Fair in October. She said it was Creation at it’s finest -- these beautiful delicate creatures were flitting around, landing on people’s heads, hats, floral dresses, etc. Each person was given a Q tip to dip in butterfly nectar, and the idea was to gently put it between the butterflyís feet. They could carry the butterfly around in this position, either until he escaped or until they placed him on a flower, by carefully twisting and tugging on the Q tip.
I once tried to get my paws on a butterfly, but he fluttered away so fast ... and I could tell by the look on Cora’s face, that if I ever captured a butterfly -- even an “I can’t believe it’s not butter-fly” -- I’d be in the dog-house for the rest of my life (or at least until Humphrey came and barked me out of there).
And in other end-of-Summer news -- I know it’s almost Christmas, but here in the Desert South West, it’s still Summer in the afternoons. Seriously, we Persian Blues are milking the sun for all it’s worth.
Oh, yes -- the news ... right ...
Is anyone listening out there?
So, did you know that Cora and her bigger and better half spent a week in California in September ( lucky dogs!) where they had the privilege of sampling the beach, once again -- this time at Santa Monica. BTW, did I ever mention that Cora is not only a chocaholic but also a major beachaholic? But sadly her other half is not much of a salt-water person (to which I can relate, since here in cat culture, we avoid water like Bubonic plague.) Anyway, this just happened to be the day the Space Shuttle, “Endeavour” was being flown from Washington to its final resting place in California. Well at 11:45 am that day, the aircraft zipped right over Santa Monica beach. And of course, it was a magnet, drawing photographer-hubby straight to the beach at lightening speed. Hence the saying: “It took a space shuttle landing on the earth to get my husband to come to the beach.” This, of course, will go down in history (the beach appearance, that is). Cora said it was the best day of her Summer. You know, I seriously thought she’d say it was the day she came home to take care of her priceless Persian Blue. I’m so naive ... Honestly, sometimes I feel like a cat-astrophe.
Well, gotta go now. It’s time for me to get decorated for Christmas -- sure hope they don’t put those red bows on my head like last year ...
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Hi there, Klaus, here -- Klaus, the Persian Blue, that is. (Well technically, I'm a Persian grey, but let's not be racist here). Like I said, Cora's column is back, but with a twist, since this time I have the privilege of telling her story.
You know, it's amazing how much you can pick up, while faking a nap under a patio chair. You should have heard Cora raving to her sister on the phone this morning about her super-sized week in Chicago. And how come she always has so much fun when I'm not there? That girl sure does talk a lot on the phone; made me feel like a middle cat -- I swear, I could count the number of times, on one paw, that she rubbed my head during the whole hour-long conversation.
Sounds like one of her favorite places in Chicago was the Lincoln Park Zoo. You know, some of my wilder cousins live there. Cora was going on and on about the intricate patterns on the leopard and the jag, and the difference between them. And it seems the puma and black panther were pretty awesome too. So where does that leave me? "You do know, my ancestors originated in the Middle East, don't you? They were not brought over to America until the late 1800's. Isn't that exotic enough for you?"
Although I did overhear Cora saying once that I too was a beautiful specimen of God's creation. Now there's something to make me grin like my relatives over in Cheshire do.
Well my ears pricked up when I heard Cora showing off to her sister about how she swam in Lake Michigan -- "the best day of her whole vacoliday," she said. But I'll let you into a little secret -- she's using the term "swam," very loosely! I'd call it, more like "testing the waters." I know, 'cause she's a real whimp when it comes to being cold and wet. Then she was saying how convenient everything was in Chicago -- they even had an ATM machine on the beach -- My gosh -- plonked right there in the sand. What is it with these humans -- they can't even go to the beach without thinking about their money!
What? A chocolate tour of Chicago? I guess Cora and her daughter walked all over the city, sampling chocolate in all the wonderful little cafes and chocolate shops -- chocolate truffles, chocolate caramels, chocolate brownies, chocolate chocolate, double chocolate frappacinos, triple chocolate mocchacinos ...
And just between you and me, I once caught Cora eating chocolate for breakfast -- four squares of it -- the deep dark organic stuff too -- 70 % cocoa solids (the whole thing makes my head spin), and not a saucer of milk in sight! I swear, that girl should join Chocoholics Anonymous. Apparently her son brought it all the way from Antigua. And get this, she says she eats it for the anti-oxidants. But we all know the real reason ...
Well, better stop all this yappin' now. Gotta save some energy for sleeping. I'm already late for my mid-morning nap!
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sorry I have not written for so long, but what can you say when a writer is too busy to write!? Actually I have been busy writing poetry (my passion), and got some published on line. Meanwhile, my Blog lay dormant... But plenty of activity has been going on in my family. On the upside, my daughter just graduated from College with a Bachelor in Fine Arts.
Sadly, my Mom passed away on January 24th. I miss her so much, but her love lives on, and I am living proof that "God is near to the brokenhearted." Below is a tribute I wrote for her, and had the honor of reading at her funeral. I have called it "Exceeding Abundance," because of the exceeding abundant ways God has blessed me through my Mom.(see Ephesians 3:20)
I never wanted to say goodbye, but I have countless beautiful memories of my precious Mom.
From my earliest days, I remember the feeling of being wrapped in the blanket of her unselfish, unconditional love. She was constantly quoting scripture in our home. From the time I was three or four years old, whenever my sisters and I used to fight over a toy, I remember my Mom patiently repeating to us that Jesus said we should be kind to each other, and then -- her favorite quotation of all -- "This is how they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another!" (John 13:35) (Paraphrased)
I think my Mom passed on to me a love of God’s Word. It was obvious that she just cherished the words of Scripture, by the way she said them -- the reason being, of course, that she knew and loved the Author.
When I was seven years old, I rushed home from school one afternoon, clutching my little scripture memorization book, so excited to recite for my Mom, my newly learned Psalm 19, only to find that she already knew it! And ever since that day, we shared a love of Psalm 19:--
"The Heavens declare the Glory Of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands...
The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart;
They are more precious than gold --
yea than much fine gold...
Moreover by them is your servant warned,
and in keeping of them , there is great reward!" (Paraphrased)
And I am certain that my Mom is, right now, enjoying that great reward for keeping God’s precious Holy Word for so many faithful years!
My Mom helped to fulfill my childhood dreams.
As a six-year-old, my Mom knew that my deepest desire was to have a little kitten to play with. So she ploughed through newspaper ads. for weeks on end, in search of the perfect little cat!
And when the long awaited day came, after what seemed like an endless bus ride, we climbed the steps of a lovely old Georgian house and rang the bell.
And my Mom knew that behind that door lay my dream...
A kind wrinkled-faced lady welcomed us in, and handed us the adorable brown tabby who was to become our beloved family pet for many years. The plan was to zip her up in a big brown two-handled bag, in anticipation of the long bumpy bus ride.
Well the bag miaowed the whole way home. My sisters and I smugly giggled and smiled in reply to the surprised stares of fellow bus riders.
Then one seemingly ordinary day, around my tenth birthday, my Mom told us she had a surprise for us after lunch. So she took us out to the garage -- and there, under a wooden table, in a box of old newspapers, lay our little cat, Dinkey -- who in our eyes,was still our "baby" -- feeding her four tiny newborn kittens. Well it was the most precious thing I had seen in all of my ten years. My Mom used this and many other instances to demonstrate to us, the existence of God, and His power and wisdom as Creator -- how He could create and re-create these gentle felines...
God also used my Mom to give me endless encouragement in my christian walk. When I’d been married about eleven years, and we had four young children, we were stationed in Oklahoma, and had been promised a house on the Air Force Base. Well we arrived at the housing office only to be told that this house did not exist.
"Sorry," we were told, "but we do not have a house for you and besides, the waiting list is eleven months long."
And since our assignment was for only ten months, it was not even worthwhile getting on the waiting list. Now this was going to be a huge inconvenience for us. It meant we’d have to rent a house outside the Base -- our children could not attend the Air Force school, and we would not have a grocery store, shops, library and church, all within walking distance as you would on an Air Force Base. We only had one car.
So next time I talked to my Mom on the phone, I told her of the predicament.
"Well, she said, "I’m going to pray for a house on the Base anyway!"
I tried to explain to her that it was impossible -- "The waiting list is eleven months long."
"Oh, that doesn’t matter," she replied. "I’m still going to pray!"
You see, she had not forgotten, that we serve a God who is not limited by logic or human weakness, but a supernatural God. And we, as Christians, have been called to a supernatural life. And to help us live it, God has given us the mind of Christ. So my Mom prayed in faith, and sure enough, three weeks later, we were in a house on Base. And not just any old house, but a big spacious house, on a cul-de-sac, where our four children could safely play. A house with a school, church, supermarket, shops, swimming pool, library and park, all close at hand. So here was God, once again, doing "exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think!" (Ephesians 3:20) Another of my Mom’s favorite verses.
And I wish I could have been there to hold my Mom’s hand , on that dark Winter evening on January 24, as she slipped away into Eternity. But that’s okay, because I know Jesus was there, and I am convinced that He was holding her hand. In fact He has been holding her hand every day, as she walked with Him for the past eighty-six years -- ever since that day when as a little eleven-year-old girl, she committed her life to Jesus, and began following the Creator of the Universe, the One who has built storehouses for the hail and the snow, the One who controls the waves of the sea, who says, "Thus far you shall come, and no further!"
This is the kind of God who has been walking with my Mom all these years, and this is the God who is taking care of her right now, and will keep her safe for the rest of Eternity.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
We celebrated my daughter’s twenty-first birthday last month, so naturally I started meandering down the trails of memory lane!
One of my earliest family memories of her began one January afternoon, when a couple of my girlfriends came over to drop off a baby gift (a gorgeous pink satiny dress and matching bonnet, which I still have, tucked away, somewhere in my closet) and, to hopefully view the "newborn".
But much to my friends’ disappointment, the new little one was sleeping peacefully, upstairs in her bassinet.
"NOW THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING", thought big brother, Phillip, in his little
six - year-old mind!
So, unbeknown to me, he proceeded to climb the stairs ... and ten minutes later arrived back down in the living room with his little baby sister cradled in his arms.
A spine chilling moment!
But the amazing thing was that my little cherub was still sound asleep (snuggled in her fluffy sleep suit; her little hands still curled up), completely oblivious to the fact that she had just survived the perilous journey down seventeen steps of a marble
stair case, in the arms of a first grader! "But how precious this little girl must be to God," my heart breathed, as I rescued her into my trembling arms.
Fast forward two years ... another January afternoon -
Excitedly, I flipped through the carousel of tiny dresses - flowers, frills and lace ... I was in a pink and white paradise!
But time was of the essence - the department store was busy; I had a rapidly expiring coupon to use up, and I had just let my toddler out of the stroller to stretch her little legs. So I was on "heightened alert"! My ten-year-old son was also kindly keeping an eagle’s eye on her.
But in the blink of an eye, I looked down, and there was an awful empty space where my little girl had been!
I frantically searched between the racks of clothes, in the dressing rooms, the whole baby department ...
Then, with a lump in my throat, the size of Camelback Mountain, I approached the sales assistant. She immediately announced the message on the PA system - "a little girl in pink tights and a pink and white dress..."
Almost blinded by tears, I flew downstairs on the escalator, thinking that perhaps she had put one foot on the top step and been carried down ... Horrendous thoughts evolved in my mind - surely God would not have taken away my walking talking laughing growing baby doll so soon... and right before her second birthday...I already had the presents, the candles, the party plates...
But once I got back upstairs, there was my baby girl perched on the counter, carrying on a conversation with the jovial sales lady. She had found her wandering in and out of the fitting rooms, calling "Mama!" Tears of relief flowed like a waterfall.
Our children are priceless jewels to us, as parents. "No one could love them more than I do," we insist. But if we could only stop talking long enough, we just might hear the voice of God - in His perfect love - echoing in our hearts, with the words,
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The Gift of God
Well, I’m finally back in Blogland.
Sorry I haven’t written for so long, but life has been so exciting lately…
We just got back from visiting our first-born son, and celebrating his college graduation (Hons. B.A. Degree in Graphic Arts).
My plan this month was to write something for Mothers’ Day, and I know I missed the "Day", but here goes, anyway -
My impressions - or should I say, my rambling soliloquy on motherhood:
As I grew up, I observed my Mom, lovingly and conscientiously pursuing her career as a Full-Time Wife and Mom, and seeing the joyous fulfillment she derived from her every day life, I was inspired to follow in her footsteps. ("That everyone that may eat, drink and find enjoyment in all his work. This is the gift of God." Eccl 3:13).
Even as young children, she always set this high standard before my sisters and me - "Be kind and compassionate to one another, always forgiving each other in love, as God in Christ forgave you."(Eph 4:32) and has always tried to exemplify it herself.
As a little girl, I was always fascinated by watching my Mom, wash clothes and put them through the wringer, and was so excited the day she finally decided I was old enough to use that red-handled contraption myself!
And then, to watch history repeat itself ... About twenty - five years later, my little girl (then three years old ) watched me "playing around" with the laundry, and announced, one day, "When I am big, I do de washing like you!"
Well, now she is "big" (20 years old) and she does de washing in the coin-operated Laundromat of her apartment ("coins" being the operative word). But she’s discovering (since like most of us girls, she has countless separate loads to do) that this "laundry business" could send a girl sky-rocketing into major debt!
The following are two stories on motherhood - the first involves me as a sixteen-year-old and my Mom (and, yes I was a teenager, once - back when dinosaurs roamed the earth - according to my kids!).
The second involves me as a Mom.
The scene is the Juniors’ section of a major Department store in Dublin, Ireland.
The date - circa 1968!
I coyly emerged from the fitting room, in a pretty wild flowered pink gathered mini dress. One look in the mirror, and I was sold! There was nothing else I wanted to see!
But naturally, my Mom was not convinced. She kept insisting that it looked "cheap", and assured me that when I got older, and got a job, I could buy as many mini dresses and skirts as I wanted (with my own money!)
The sales assistant, of course, was on my side - declaring that the dress was a perfect fit; it was fabulous, summery and had "fun" written all over it (not to mention MINI!)
So eventually, my Mom caved! After all, who could go against an eager sales girl and a sixteen-year-old?
But, as we stood waiting at the bus stop, (my treasured prize in hand, in the shiny blue and white striped bag) my Mom kept lamenting the fact that she had not put her foot down, and insisted on the much more classy and sophisticated (and definitely much longer) blue dress.
But I was completed elated with my mini, and proudly modeled it around the house all evening!
But much to my disappointment, the next day, while I was at school my Mom marched resolutely back to the shop, and exchanged the pink dress for the blue one.
But, as it turned out, my Mom was right - the moment I tried that angelic blue dress, I loved it! (And, actually, I did end up shortening it a little bit, but when you’re only just five feet tall, what are you gonna do?!) I wore it for years, and got copious compliments!
And the future unfolded just as my Mom suggested - once I got a job, I bought mini dresses galore, and loved every one of them!
And now that I’m a mother, I’m really glad my Mom took the pink dress back, so that she could have the pleasure of being the "Mom" once more , before I completely grew up. And today, as a ninety-five year old Grandma, she still has a photo of me, in that sweet little blue dress, on her dining room mantle piece.
And now, my own Mom story:
One warm Turkish evening, in the Summer of 1989, when my children were very small, (6 months, 3, 6 and 8) we were busily rounding up all the tricycles and outside toys for the night. My husband had flown back to the States for a 6 - week Air Force training; so I was trying to play Supermom (or should I say Survivalmom!)
(We had given our little three-year-old boy an adorable yellow plastic Volkswagen pedal-car the previous Christmas. Well, he traveled far and wide in that little ORV - over the sand hills, around the play area, along the jogging path and across the soft Spring grass).
But I suddenly noticed, there was no yellow car in the mix. So I asked him, "Where’s your car?" to which he promptly replied,
"It down de bark!" And with great gusto - "Mikey take it - I say, "NO!"
So we all trooped off - Mama bear and her little bears - down to the park, in search of the precious yellow car.
And, sure enough, there it was, grounded in the sandy play area - with childish fingerprints on the steering wheel and sand on the seat - along with several unclaimed colorful buckets and spades, lying haphazardly around ...
So Mikey had taken the VW all right, but had politely left it in "de park" for his little friend. I mean, what little boy would not have been tempted to park it in his own driveway? - the latest VW model in yellow plastic with silver foil trim ...
So we trundled the beloved vehicle back to its home at "229b Bergama", knowing we could all sleep in peace that night!
Well now that our little three year-old has grown up, I will forever treasure the memories of that cute little munchkin voice, his blonde floppy hair and the big gumdrop eyes! And it’s not just memories, but the memories of the memories ... the retelling of the stories...and the smiles they beget around the dinner table, or some special family event...
As I mentioned before, my ultimate ambition was always to become an F.T.W. and M. But on the way to that, I pursued my passionate desire to study music and hopefully teach; but I also had an interest in Nursing as a career (big dilemma!).
Well, after teaching piano for a couple of years, God sent an amazing man, who was to be my husband, and later, God, in His gracious love, gave us four unique, fun, challenging and interesting children.
So the dilemma turned out to be a "non-issue", since I found myself in the supremely rewarding role of Teacher, Nurse, Wife and Mother, to the people I love most!
HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY - every day!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentines Day!
What does it really mean to love someone?
L earning as much as possible about them.
O ffering them what you’d like to keep for yourself.
V ery happily accepting them as they are.
E ntering into their world , and seeing things from their point of view.
Think back to the first time you told your husband / boyfriend you loved him. The chances are (if, for you, that was long enough ago to make history,) you know a lot more about love today.
Remember, back then, how love seemed like a never- ending river of chocolate; red velvet hearts and music from the "Magic Flute?"
But, once you got married, you realized that love is, "for better, for worse; in sickness and in health …"
I think, achieving that self-sacrificing, forgiving, "not keeping a record of wrongs" kind of love (1Corinthians 13) is a life-long learning experience. Maybe that’s why the marriage vows are worded "till death us do part."
Back in the 70’s, my husband (then boyfriend) used to give me those little porcelain "Love is" figurines as gifts. We always thought it was fun, composing our own captions for them. For years, my favorite one has been "Love is when he brings you breakfast in bed on Sunday morning." That is until a couple of weeks ago … My latest one now reads, "Love is when he pays for you to go to your first Christian Writers’ Conference!" (Trust me, it was awesome - I didn’t come down off the "high" for three days! But more about that later.)
Lately, I’ve been studying 2 Peter:1. Peter has a comprehensive list here of all the qualities we need to add to our faith (v.5-7). (Faith is a given, since he is writing to Christians.) We need to add goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and last of all - the ultimate - LOVE.
Do you think Peter is saying that we need to acquire all of these attributes in order to practice Biblical love?
If we compare Peter’s words to Paul’s list of the components of love in 1 Corinthians 13, they are very similar.
Paul says love is basically all of the above plus more - "Love is patient; not rude, envious, self-seeking or easily angered; always protects, trusts and hopes and never fails." When it comes to faith, hope and love, Paul says, the greatest, (but also the hardest, I think) is love.
So much for the chocolate river!
But getting back to Peter’s letter, think of how far this fisherman had come.
We see him in John 18 denying Jesus three times; then we meet him in John 21, enjoying a fish barbecue on the beach with Jesus and some other disciples. This is where Jesus challenged him by asking him three times, "Do you truly love me? " Indignantly, Peter
replied, "I do."
"Then , let your work match your words, " said Jesus. "Feed my sheep."(paraphrasing)
Well, Peter went on to do amazing things in the New Testament. In Acts 2, after he preached to a crowd, 3000 people were saved; he healed a crippled beggar; he wrote two Epistles, etc. thus proving how he surely knew that love involves work.
And isn’t it interesting that Jesus says the two greatest commandments involve love?
1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind."
2 "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt 22: 37-40)
Perhaps Jesus also meant that they were the two hardest commandments. Obviously, if we’re going to love God with every compartment of our heart, soul and mind, it involves keeping all His other commandments - not committing adultery, lying, or stealing, loving our enemies etc. - in other words, loving our neighbor as ourself.
It is only with the power of God working in and through us that we can practice this level of love.
Thirty years ago, my husband and I had the words "The greatest of these is
Love" (1Cor.13:13) printed on our wedding reception napkins (and naturally we kept one as a momento.)
Today, I can’t quite put my finger on that napkin, but I’ll always know where I can find the love!