28 November 2010

Thanksgiving: Here and Gone

As usual, the Holidays are flying by and time seems fleeting as we all gather with loved ones to celebrate joy, peace, and love. The moment from the day before Thanksgiving until December 25th is my absolute favorite time of year-- especially in the Midwest. Temperatures slide down below freezing and those magical little flakes of glistening white build up on the ground and create a world of magic.

And everyone is in a better mood. More smiles light faces, more "pleases" and "thank yous" leave those smiling lips, and God's presence flows through the Christmas lights, shiny ornaments, wrapped packages, and sugar cookies. We sing carols, decorate trees, shop for that perfect gift that'll bring just the right amount of joy to a friend's face, and I love every minute of it.

Although this world is harsh and life is hard, I am thankful for every breath and every step God gives me. For a husband who loves every inch of my mutated body, inside and out, not to mention all of my issues, and a cat with a quirky personality who (although he won't show it) misses us when we leave and loves when we come home. For family. I am blessed with the most incredible set of aunts, uncles, cousins, and immediate family members that a girl could ever want. Plus my Grandma... one of the most amazing women in the world-- I learn so much from her. And friends who share in the laughter, love, and embrace my weirdness with open arms.

I am thankful for continuing opportunities; for trials and tribulations that make me stronger; for enemies and the ability to pray for them; for hearth and home.

Most of all, I am grateful for God and the love He has introduced into my life. Happy Holidays.

13 November 2010

About my Grandpa...

Recently, I received news that my grandfather on my dad's side went to the hospital because he couldn't reach the living room from his bedroom without stopping for breath. As of today, he is in the ICU with a breathing tube-- technical medical terms are not my specialty-- and undergoing dialysis. My grandpa is well into his 80's (exact age is unknown because he and my grandma adamantly refuse to allow anyone to celebrate their birthdays), has suffered many health issues as of late, so this comes as no surprise that he is sick once again.

Although the doctors have yet to speak the words "he is dying," my dad and his siblings are preparing for the worst-- if you can honestly call it that.

You see, I don't like my grandfather. At all. While I harbor no actual anger or hatred toward him and do not wish him ill, I have no feelings of any kind in terms of my dad's dad. This numbness has bothered me over the past few days. Shouldn't I be sad? Shouldn't this turn my heart toward him in compassion and hope of redemption? Of course but... it won't happen. There is no love in my heart nor a place there for this man and I ask God to forgive me for it.

Whenever my grandfather comes up in conversation-- usually involving family drama-- I describe him simply:
"He's an asshole," I say with ironic laughter, "no, seriously, my grandpa is an asshole."

If only it weren't true. If only he hadn't yelled at me when I was a girl for taking my shoes off at his home. If only he hadn't constantly asserted his opinion as fact in every topic of conversation. If only he hadn't gotten worked up in conversations so much that he'd start yelling. If only he hadn't laughed at everyone else's mistakes. If only he hadn't acted superior to my grandma because of her alcoholism. If only he hadn't tried turning his children against each other. If only he hadn't treated my dad like the black sheep of the family. If only he had taken more of an interest. If only...

After years of my grandpa's emotional abuse, I decided to view his rude behavior with a sense of humor and stopped giving a shit. I mean, the man spent his summer sitting in the shadows on his porch yelling "get off my lawn!" to anyone who set foot on his grass! The people I feel the saddest for are my grandma, aunt, uncle, and dad-- they are the ones who truly endured my grandfather's abuse and his wrath the most. Thus, I see these casualties of a man bent on spreading misery and hatefulness in need of my prayers more than the man himself.

But of course, that's incorrect and this is where my dilemma comes to haunt me. Although the family most certainly deserves and needs prayer to heal and cope, the curmudgeon lying in the hospital blaming everyone but himself while going through life weighed down by grudges, anger, and hate without love needs my prayers the most. And so I am trying to work up the strength with the help of Christ to genuinely pray for a man incapable of loving.

06 November 2010


A few things I love about my Niko...

Every night he resumes guard duty, crouched down and bunched up facing the door with intent.

Niko loves to talk. A lot. We have long conversations with him almost every morning as soon as we're awake and he comes to investigate the conversation resonating from our bedroom.

He stepped on my face the other day and kicked my hubby in the eye once.

Give him a few treats and he'll love you forever.

I can't go to the bathroom and shut the door because he will cry and push it open. No privacy unless he says so.

My husband plays Hide-and-Go-Seek with him. Niko even meows before looking, as if to say "ready or not here I come!"

Even though he's not a lap cat, Niko climbs all over me early in the morning to make sure I feed him. If I don't get up right away he will sit on my shoulder or chest and stare me down.

He loves forts.

When my husband makes coffee, Niko jumps on top of the counter to help.

He eats my baking.

The second bedroom is Niko's room.

When playing he keeps his claws retracted.

Whenever Michael goes on the computer, Niko is right there sticking his kitty butt in my husband's face, begging for attention.

He will always be my little love.