Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kittie’s Littered Musings, #2

Expectations, Perceptions, and Respect

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about expectations and how they both feed and result from perception. It doesn’t matter whether the expectations are reasonable or unreasonable. Often, our expectations of others, after influence by perception, affect the level of respect we have for others. Unfortunately, respect is often given based on perception of facts as opposed to actual fact. Perception may rule our decisions, but the problem with perception is that it’s like stories about life: there is more than one view and the truth is somewhere in the middle. When making decisions about respect for others, perception must always be questioned: Satan pretends to serve God, and faery changelings looked like the real baby that had disappeared. Respect can only be given to those who tell stories of wisdom and kindness, woven over time through pain and bad decisions and hard luck lives.

The Baltimore Riots

Everyone seems to want to play the race game when something bad happens to a non-Caucasian in the custody of authorities. Then, they make poor choices and riot in the streets, burning buildings and attacking people and stealing things that don’t belong to them. If you truly feel a race is poorly perceived, why add to the problem by doing unwise things that cause damage to property and economic hemorrhaging to businesses that have to be shut down because of your activities?!? The reality is that there has been progress, and society as a whole needs to be given credit for where we are. But to fix the problems, you need to work on communicating not only what the problems are but also what you feel the solutions might be. Simply reviewing problems is a negative drain on mutual respect and good will, and it makes you look immature and bitter and overly critical.

Gay Marriage

*cringing* I almost don’t want to address this topic. I know I hold a minority view. But I think I need to explain it a little differently.

Romans 1:18-27 pretty much is interpreted by some who oppose gay marriage as homosexuality is a punishment from a pissy deity having a really bad eon because he’s not worshipped. In effect, ignore me and I will make you sin so I don’t have to see you in eternity.

I would argue that this is a very narrow view that is totally unbalanced. With Adam’s sin, all of creation was subjected to the futility of brokenness and disorder and dysfunction and disease. But continuing on to Romans 1:28-30 as a conclusion of Romans 1:18-27, there is a whole host of sin that is included with the penalty for not worshipping the Deity, including hatred, strife, pride, disobedience, unforgiveness, deceit, and other such nasties.

No one sin is truly any worse than the other. The gossip is as deserving of hell as the slanderer as the pedophile as the murderer as the adulterer as the homosexual as the accountant skimming off the top from the IRS. Pretty much, we are all sinning screw ups who deserve to fry like bacon for eternity. There but for the grace of the Deity…

That said, we in the minority need to accept that for the time being many sins are legal (such as abortion), and we may have to accept that this is one more that may be hard to swallow.

However, our opponents do have a sneaky way to make us acquiesce. Make gay marriage law by hook or by crook.  Give religious bodies the right to refuse to perform the marriages without losing 501c status as a right and just concession under the First Amendment. Throw in some businesses refusing services related to marriage as a bonus concession. Then, all the supporters of gay marriage can migrate with their boku bucks en masse away from bigots.

In effect, turn up the heat on gay marriage opponents until like the proverbial frog we don’t know that we are boiled in our own narrow beliefs and hypocrisies. We will be all warm and toasty, too complacent to fight well or care. In a generation, no one will know why we object. It’s worked with other nasties.

A Walk in the Woods

I am walking alone through an older forest. It is warm like a late spring day. A gentle breeze blows the curls off my neck and causes the branches of the trees to create a dappling of light and dark shapes and shadows on the ground.

As I walk, I come upon a grey squirrel. He is chattering while he inspects an acorn. He turns it around and around and seems to lift and drop it like he’s trying to assess if it’s dense enough to feed him for a day or two next winter. Suddenly, I sneeze, and the acorn flies out of his paws in one direction while he bolts up a stately oak a few hundred yards off in another direction.

I laugh to myself and breathe deeply, my exhale slowly turning to a sigh. Lost in the sweet forest smell of leaves and trees and sky, I continue wandering until I find myself coming upon a cottage. It has no fence, and it is neither big nor small. It is just right for another place in the world, the Irish countryside covered in grass so green emeralds get green eyed monsters when they see it.

The door is wide open, so after I knock and get no answer I wander inside. There is a neat wooden board table off in a corner. It has a teapot and some china cups, and there is a stack of books.

Feeling like an intruder I wander out the back door and find myself in a garden. It looks almost like it’s a Colonial herb garden. Just beyond the garden, is a lawn that looks more like the earthen floor of a forest clearing than the well-manicured greens of a golf tee. I trip. While recovering my balance, I notice there is a cup sticking out of the ground. I’ve partially dislodged it. I’m confused. It looks like it should be washed up and placed in the house on the table with the other teacups in the set.

Rather than take it inside, I notice there is a pump for water that I could use to clean it. Unfortunately, the pump was not primed, but a nice person left a jar of water. I use the jar to prime the pump. Then I wash the teacup, have a few cups of sweet spring water, and refill the jar so the next person can prime the pump. I also rinse the teacup and set it by the jar.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see an opening in the plants that leads to the cleared area. As I walk through it, I see a small pond. It’s a rock pond. Somehow, the water is recycled to flow down a mini-waterfall. There are three koi in the pond–an all-silver fish that glides smoothly, an orange fish that seems to be skittish and always darting around, and a silver fish dappled with orange and brown spots.

I walk around the pond and stumble on a path. I follow the path and mysteriously find myself at the place where I entered the forest.

I want to thank Higher Perspective for this writing prompt (http://higherperspectives.com/relational-psychology-test/). It appeared on a distant cousin’s Facebook page. What I didn’t like was the psychoanalysis of my creativity. *sighs* So I am going to respond with my responses to the psychobabble. Please enjoy.

First, whoever I am walking with is the most important person in my life. I am visibly alone. Does that mean I value no one? Does that mean I am the most important person in my life, and if so, am I self-centered? Jesus is not visibly there with me; can He still be the most important Person in my life?

The size of the squirrel is supposed to represent the size of my problems. Hmmm… Is it entirely possible that since I was using my imagination I wanted something pleasant to consider? After all, a hungry black bear isn’t likely to be a fun game that inspires creativity. (Well, maybe for Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but not me.)

Next, the size of my action is supposed to determine whether I’m passive or aggressive. I didn’t do anything but walk and sneeze. The sneeze wasn’t very big, at least not the kind you’d see in Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello. Does that mean I’m neither, or does it mean I’m passive aggressive and everyone should watch out?

The size of the building, in my case a cottage, represents the size of my ambition. If that’s the case, that cottage should have been run down and uninhabitable because until I’m done with work and running the house, I’m too tired to even sleep. Oh, and the missing fence is supposed to indicate that I’m very open; that may be true, but only with people I really know well.

The fact that I had a tea set and books on the table is supposed to indicate unhappiness. Well, we all know that can’t be right. I am a card carrying book worm, a habitual nerd who refuses to go into recovery and pretend to be normal. Books are my favorite things, especially hard, real books that don’t live somewhere in the ether to be displayed on a computer screen.

The durability of the teacup I found in the garden is supposed to indicate the strength of my relationship to the person I was walking with. I’m not sure how it can tie back since I was walking alone (rather happily I might add).

The size of the body of water is supposed to represent my sex drive. I suspect this organization focuses on Freud. Freud thought everything in the universe tied back to sex. Maybe for me the koi pond was a defiant attempt to say I didn’t need a body of water in this imagination journey? Or maybe the babbling brooks in the distance were enough for me?

My level of wetness on the way home is supposed to indicate how important sex is to me. I’m not going to explore that one. I walked around the pond since I don’t like getting wet and then trying to dry like a raisin in the sun.

Days of the Week

I belong to several writing groups on FB (surprise, surprise). In addition to jokes only grammarians and schoolmarms would get, sometimes these groups actually give some good writing topic suggestions and prompts.

So I’m going to stretch as a writer and take today’s challenge: Describe each of the days of the week with human personalities.

Monday: She is a strict task mistress. Heavy, sedate, and strong, she demands a kind of precision and clockwork accuracy that very few of us could ever achieve. She almost has OCD about organization and discipline. If you saw her outfit, it would be a floor-length fitted skirt with a Victorian era lace blouse and lace up heels.

Tuesday: He is jovial and happy go-lucky in his attitude. He’s always smiling and laughing. His blue collar roots run deep. He is loyal and faithful in all his activities, but he knows how to relax when the time is right. He runs around in work boots and Dickies work pants and shirts. He’s pretty much your average Joe.

Wednesday: No one quite knows what s/he is. The gender of this individual is all but absent. The clothes can be worn by men or woman. It’s almost like the person is malleable, a work in progress. So much has already been done, but Wednesday wanders aimlessly like s/he knows there’s more to life if s/he could only find it. Friends are few for Wednesday, but they are genuine and eclectic.

Thursday: He is your absent minded professor. His tweed suit is crumpled, and if you look from the wrong angle, you can see a stain from last week’s meatloaf and gravy in the cafeteria. He’s really smart, but if you catch him at the wrong time, he can’t seem to find his name let alone the book he promised to lend you. He is somewhat introverted.

Friday: He rides the wind on an original Harley, wandering around looking for the next human adventure story. His black riding leathers are worn and comfortable, and his boots are strong enough to take whatever terrain he finds. He’s just finished helping a farmer in need before he hops on his bike to follow a small country back road to the next day job. He’s as intense about his bike as he is concerned for his fellow man (and woman), even the ones who are just friends he hasn’t met yet.

Saturday: She is your suburban soccer mom. She is organized and disciplined, but she has just enough humor and humanity to make her endearing. She’s running carpools and baking for the PTA. Her hair is tied back with an old bandana like her father used as a handkerchief, and her jeans and sweater are new enough to look good but worn enough to be comfortable. Everyone loves her, especially children and puppies.

Sunday: She is the original crunchy granola hippy chick. She has a tie-dyed T-shirt and a floor length broomstick skirt. She walks barefoot in the grass, with just a hint of a hemp anklet peeking out, and her Birkenstocks dangle from her thumb. Her laid back soul leads her to wander aimlessly looking at clouds and birds and trees and grass. Her thoughts are as deep as the ocean and as numerous as the grains of sand.

Zippy Takeover, #4

Zippy Dressed in Casual ClothesHey! It’s me again. I’m taking over ’cause my adult human female smells really tired and she seems to have a good, calm energy level. Here are some of the things I’m thinking.

Toys

These humans keep buying me these fluffy things called toys. They throw them and actually expect me to get the toys and bring them back. I have so much more fun watching them trying to teach me to play with the toys. Then the humans take away the toys when I get all the clouds out of them.

What I don’t understand is why I can’t play with the toys they don’t use. These toys are hiding in a big, dark plastic bag. They smell like all the good things my humans eat that they won’t let me eat. They are shiny and feel different when I squish them all together or pounce on them. They are hard to tear apart (well, some are). Every week, the bag disappears. It gets replaced with a new bag and new toys. But they still won’t let me play with them. And when I try to get the humans to let me play with them with these toys, the humans aren’t happy. They turn away from me and act mad like I’m doing something wrong.

Ever feel like humans are just plain crazy?

Be Careful What You Wag For

Remember how in one of my last posts I asked for a whelp for the females in my house? I sure barked up the wrong tree. The adult female had two human pups delivered to her house. At first I was really excited.

But then things started to go horribly wrong. The adult female paid more attention to the baby female than she did to me. She even gave the baby treats. The baby didn’t wag her tail or crawl or do anything interesting, and she still got more attention.

Then the boy kept falling and hugging me all at once. My adult human female stopped him. Then he kept trying to pet my tail. Doesn’t he know my tail is for telling him how I feel?!?

I was so scared I was going to be stuck with the new whelp forever. After so many moping naps, some other adult human came and took the whelp away. I was so happy! I will definitely accept being held like a human baby over that… that… that different schedule any time.

Traitors

My food has been so good for months. Then, last week, my humans took me to the V-E-T. Ever since then, my night time meal has been this disgusting green kibble. It’s balls that are squishy and mush all over. The humans don’t seem to get that I don’t like it, even when I take some out of the bowl to share with them to show them how awful it is. Sometimes there are some orange kibble bits too. They don’t roll; they just sit there. And they are squishy and mushy.

And my treats–oh, the horror! I don’t get the good ones any more. I get the dried stuff that definitely is not meat.

How I Feel

I’m still trying to tell my humans how I feel and what I think. It’s not working so well. I wish I could use their barks… er, I guess they call it language. I don’t always understand why I can’t chase the fiendish furballs or why I can sometimes be in the big bed and not others. And the food… how can I tell them I want my real food back? They don’t understand that the white stuff hurts my paws and I’d rather just hold it and pee twice as much the next time. They don’t get that I’m bored with their unfenced kennel and I need to explore more ground to make mine.

And the adult human female… I wish I could explain to her just what it means that I pick her feet to sleep at. I wish how I could tell her how good she starts to smell to me when I have been at her feet for a while or when she has held me like a baby (yes, I still do find it embarrassing, but since the invading whelp left, I can tolerate it). I wish I understood why she moves so much when she sleeps some nights, so much that she kicks me off the bed. And I wish I could ask her why she got mad when I tried to clean her big toe for her…

Thoughts for Easter 2015

Okay, so I’m just due to post something, anything. It’s that time of year when my body is up on the warm, sunny days and shouting passive resistance on the colder, damper, rainier days. I’ve just pushed through two very busy weeks in a row, and I just need to take a moment to breathe.

So many of us call this day Easter, at least in the Latin Rites and Protestant traditions (Orthodox siblings celebrate next Sunday). Those who believe in Jesus celebrate that His Crucifixion was not the end; He arose from the grave, left an empty tomb, was seen by hundreds, ascended into Heaven, and gave His Holy Spirit to set the world on fire. I’m not sure why we call it Easter, as the name has roots in pagan holidays (trying to be more inclusive?). I’m much happier thinking of it as Resurrection Day, but I digress.

After meeting with my church family and my mother’s church family (formerly my grandma’s church family), I’m feeling this vague dissatisfaction. Sure, I’ve got all the slogans in my head (like the rest of you):

  • It may be Friday night, but Sunday’s on the way.
  • He is risen! Alleluia, alleluia.
  • It’s time for the birds to sing again.
  • The evidence for the Resurrection demands a verdict.
  • Death has lost its sting, and the grave is defeated.

But here, in the real world, where the Christian meets the pagan or atheist; where the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob competes for the affection of all with the false gods of Molech (success and position over life), Mammon (money and affection over people), Eros (lust over love and respect), Dionysus (partying and travel), Sophia (wisdom, knowledge, and intellect), et al.; where dark and light should be obvious and instead are muddled in a swirling puddle of confusion; what does Resurrection and life in Christ really mean?

I wish I could tell you for certain. I wish I could distill it into a short sentence that everyone would remember for years; that would pierce every human on the planet to the quick of their heart to choose love, love for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and love for all fellow man regardless of creed or race or health; that would ensure every soul from here on out for all eternity would have a beautiful afterlife. But if Jesus Himself couldn’t do it, I’m bound to fail, and fail miserably.

All I can tell you is it’s complex and never easy and always requires leading of the Holy Spirit to pull all the pieces together. Right now, I am thinking of so many Scriptures that tell me what it means. Some include:

  • Romans 8:11 — When my well for life is dry and I have no desire to leave my house, the power of the Holy Spirit can give me the strength to do what needs to be done. He did if for Jesus, and He’ll do it for me if I’m within his will.
  • Isaiah 1:18 — My Creator made me. No matter how sinful I get, if I choose to truly return to Him, He will cleanse me of every sin. He even appreciates that I might like to think; He actually invites me to use reason!
  • Philippians 4:8 — Negativity is a constant risk in this world. I can through God’s Word inoculate myself against it, but it will take effort. I must figure out what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Then, I have to think about those things.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 — The Christian walk is a complete package, not a puzzle that can be achieved piece by piece on my choosing. To truly reflect Christ’s glory, I have to have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is a complete package. Fruit is singular, indicating that all those qualities are required to have the fruit.
  • James 1:27 — I cannot just look upward to God for my relationship with Him; I must look at those in this world who have little. They have no physical goods, or they have no one in this world willing to defend them. It is my responsibility to find a way to step up and be the hero they need, the Jesus with skin on.
  • Matthew 25:31-43 — This is scary to me. First, I can see me in the great throng on judgment day looking at where I am the crowd and where Jesus is, trying to remember this passage, and trying to triangulate to slip on over to the proper side if I’m on the wrong side (yeah, that won’t work in the presence of a perfect God, but I can imagine, can’t I?). In reality, this is a warning. We will be held as accountable for what we leave undone as what we do. Not only that, but we can be willfully blind to what is undone.

I could go on and on all night for pages and pages. The point is, if we Christians want our Jesus to be loved in this world, if we want others to believe that He is alive, if we want souls to give Jesus His rightful place in their hearts, we have to start with our own lives.

We have to know His Word to be able to apply it to our lives. To have His thoughts and His Mind, we have to walk to the beat of the rhythm of His Heart, living His love. We have to look at others through His eyes of mercy and choose to act accordingly. Our walk must align with our talk so we are not the modern hypocritical children of the religious leaders of His day, burdening those around us with high standards and legalistic checklists that have no life and no salvation, a yoke from which freedom is elusive and never found.

If we don’t choose to reflect the glory of the Risen Christ in our words and actions, His death and Resurrection are truly in vain. We crucify the Lord of Glory yet again. And that thought should overwhelm us with dissatisfaction and repentance and resolve and revival.