Trust to Love and Be Loved

I grew up in a house full of animals. I never really thought much of it. We always had at least one cat, and usually a dog. When my brother and I became teenagers, we decide to buy a horse together and share the responsibilities of it. We had both enjoyed the couple of trail rides we had been on, and the riding in an arena. Well, after one time of cleaning stalls and seeing that there wasn’t much riding time, I really wasn’t interested anymore. Not to mention the Quarter horse we purchased was once a barrel racer, and we weren’t! I spent a few times on the very hard ground. The fun of horse ownership was very short-lived for me. My brother went on to be an extremely good rider, showed horses at the local fairs, winning many ribbons. He took English riding lessons and Dressage. I think of him as the first horse whisperer, before I knew there was such a thing. My sister also showed horses in the cart class, and our youngest brother worked with them a lot as well. For a long time, our family had many horses, and that was their life. The summers revolved around getting ready for the fair, and then the rotation of fair dates in August and September in the upstate New York region.

Animals were a part of my life. They were just always there. I always loved cats, and kittens were extra special. I was in 7th heaven when a stray cat ended up at our house in Arizona. She happened to be a beautiful cat, a long-haired Siamese, with a really rotten attitude. But she was also pregnant we soon discovered. She happily delivered a lot of kittens. (I want to say she had thirteen, but time has faded my memory. It was definitely more than seven!) Sadie thought the lining of my parents bed was the best place to have her kittens. Of course this wouldn’t work, so several times the mewing tangle of fur was relocated to my bedroom, and put in a box. Sadie spent most of her days for the first few days after the kittens were born, taking them back to the bed-lining. The kittens either got too big, or Sadie wore out, but she gave up the moving finally. This same batch of kittens traveled with us when we moved back to upstate New York, May of 1983. Sadie, her kittens, at least one more adult cat and a dog traveled in the dressing room of the horse trailer. I want to say two horses traveled with us, but again, after over thirty years, my memory fades. My father drove the truck pulling the horse trailer, and I drove my father’s Datsun, newly purchased and a five-speed. It was an interesting trip with six people and all those animals!

After marriage, cats were still generally a part of our lives. Many moves made it difficult at times, and I’ve become use to having a house free from cat hair and cat box odors. I rather like it that way. We have one cat, an older cat, and she really enjoys her summers outside. She is a wonderful, loyal cat, rather a watch-cat for our yard. She is pretty savvy as well.

But kittens are still very special. So when my husband sent me this picture last week, I felt terrible.

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He had found them where he works, no mommy could be located. They were weak and very hungry from not eating all day and being out in the 90+ heat. I took some farm milk to them and we were finally able to get them to eat a few drops. My husband brought them home with milk replacement and a bottle from the vet. After a bath in the kitchen sink and the removal of 9+ ticks from their tiny bodies, they settled down to eat, chewing that little nipple to pieces. We were delighted to see them using the little cat box we had placed in their tiny kitty apartment. It always fascinates me to see animals doing activities of daily living with no training! God’s creation is awesome!

One week later, they are drinking and eating from a dish. They run around, hopping over one another and wrestling. Of course the male is the aggressive one, and the female more quiet and loving. She puts up with him and smiles. My husband weighed them last night to see what they should be eating for dry food. The female, the calico, weighed 1.2 lbs. and the male 1.5 lbs. They have grown! This makes adopted mommies happy! And you can see from the picture taken last night that they are pretty happy and content. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you might say.

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They are adorable, and I wish they could stay. But soon they will be in that teenager stage where my curtains are shredded and my sofa hanging in tatters. You know, rather like your home after your human teenagers leave? The plan was to take them to a shelter so they could be vaccinated, fixed and adopted out to a loving family.

It’s only been a week, but love and care have gone into these two babies. They have begun to trust us, whereas just a week ago they were scared and jumpy, trying to protect one another. I would like to think that someone would care for them the same, that another family would love and protect them the same as we would here, but that is not always the case. And that saddens me.

As a Christian, I have been told multiple times by other Christians that animals are only animals and they shouldn’t be treated as humans. And that is correct. They are not human, and as far as I’ve studied in the Bible, I do not believe that they will have a soul that will live eternally as ours does. But animals were given to us to care for, by God. It is His design. Some were given for food, some were given to be companionship. But all are to be protected and cared for by us. This was God’s design. There is no place for animal abuse and neglect. Whatever God has given us, is to be treated with respect and we are to do the most that we are able. After watching these two babies for the past week, again I am reminded at the ability of an animal to trust and love, and that is God-given. Shame and wrath on those that do not respect that!

If you take on the responsibility of an animal, and it is a lot of responsibility, please care for that animal. Have them vetted, have them sterilized so they don’t just have more and more babies that are abandoned and abused. Teach your children how to care for them and love them. If you don’t want to do all the above…don’t have pets! You are not respecting what God has designed. We are the humans, and we are to care for and do what’s best for the animal. Not act worse than the so-called animal.

This was not to be a post about my feelings about how animals are treated, but these last paragraphs have become that. Maybe because of the kittens that were born from a mother that was probably abandoned where my husband works. We have had so many animals over the years that have been left along side the road, or abused. And it is appalling to me. I believe it is to God as well. And someday, it will all be set right.

So back to the cute kittens that have graced our house for the past week. I pray good homes are found for them. I pray the effort and love we have put into them are not wasted, and the trust we have instilled has not put them at a disadvantage. But God knows.

Eyes Wide Open

Discernment. Now there’s a word for you! Here’s the definition copied from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Definition of discernment

  1. 1:  the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure :  skill in discerning

  2. 2:  an act of perceiving or discerning something

That first definition is where it’s at, the heart of the word you might say, and it’s what befuddles us all. It is something we should all have. It’s a character trait that is developed over our years on this earth. We generally have very little discernment when we are young. A very young child cannot discern whether a stove is hot or cold until they touch it. Hence the need for parents and protection. Discernment should mature as we age, as we learn from touching the hot stove,  and our experiences in life.

Our experiences in life come in many different forms. Some from trial and error. “Wow, that stove top was glowing red and when I touched it, I was burned. It hurt!” Wisdom is another trait that comes with age. But a wise person will begin to listen at a young age to others that have experienced life a little bit. You bring in other aspects of trust and obedience to start working on that wisdom, and it’s what is crucial to raising children. They absolutely have to have areas of trial and error to cement something. But in other situations, it would be really lovely if they trusted and obeyed. “Child, the traffic on that highway is moving at 75 mph, don’t cross the road.”

The quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. As a writer, I love to observe people. You can learn so much about a person before you ever even talk to them, just by observing their actions. Most people are fairly easy to read in the broad spectrum of things. Most people don’t hide a lot of who they are. I think it’s more about what we choose to see in someone. The one area I can think of where this is so very true is:

Dating.

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I’m fairly certain that most of us can say we dated at some point in our lives, even if it was only once in more of a courtship-type scenario. We had our eye on someone, they returned that attraction and for a period of time we were known as a couple. It may have worked out and led to marriage, or it fizzled and someone else came along. But during this period of time, we have used discernment to some extent. Maybe not well, or so well that you decided that person was not for you.

Having discernment in our teenage years and early twenties is difficult. Hormones are raging, and we tend to go blind to all the things that other person is showing and even telling us in so many ways. This is when a wise, young adult will seek guidance and listen to others that are older and have more experience in grasping and comprehending what is obscure. 

We have all come across the person that is able to put on a great act. They seem to be the perfect match. They say and do everything just right. The word seem is the one to pay attention to here. No one and no situation is perfect. So step back and observe for awhile. Sometimes this takes a few months, maybe a few years. You are looking for good character traits in a person you are thinking of marrying.

Always observe with both eyes wide open. Listen to what is actually being said, not what you want to hear. Examples of this:

  1. Your boyfriend tells you how beautiful you are, but his eyes are always watching another pretty girl.
  2. He says you can call or visit anytime, but he’s never where he says he’s going to be.
  3. He tells you he’s going to do something, but does something else.
  4. He says he wants to get married, but he doesn’t have a job, a place to  live, a car to drive, etc. He basically can’t take care of himself, but wants to add another person to the chaos.
  5. He says he loves you, but something else is always more important. His friends, partying, etc.

The list could go on and on and I’m sure you all could share some of your own. I’ve stated the above from my female viewpoint, but it can be turned around to fit the guy’s view as well. So many people have made the decision to marry into lots of problems, saying they didn’t know what the person was like. More than likely, that person showed it all, but discernment wasn’t used.

None of us will ever be perfect or find the perfect person. It will not happen on this earth. But we can save ourselves a lot of heartache if we correctly discern a certain situation.

1) Decide what kind of a person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

2) Decide what issues are extremely important to you and stick with them.

3)Don’t lower your standards to just have someone around.

Those three key statements above will take you a long way in making an informed decision about a person. Whether you are looking to be married or even a friendship. They may sound old-fashioned, and maybe they are old ideals. But they worked. Raise your children to be discerning from a very young age. It will hold them well throughout their lives.