February 9, 2015

You Are Not Alone

No matter what path you walk

No matter who you are

No matter what you do

You are never alone

Despite wishing things were different

Despite executing our free will

Despite the choices we make

We never walk alone

Make friends with the Spirit

Who shares in our lives

For together, 

You are not alone

The Wisdom of the Universe

Will always be there

For guidance and direction

We must acknowledge

Our weakness

And surrender

Our struggle

            Keep looking forward

            Forget looking back

Our God of the Universe

Existed before Time

And has never

Left your side

            Not for one moment

God is as close as a whisper

A prayer

A song of praise

         Never will you be forsaken

            Never are you alone

Believe in this truth

Banish fear


You are Not Alone

Strength from the Almighty

Power of the Breath of Life

Yours, for the asking

Yours, for the taking

God's Angels surround you

God's Comfort enfold you

Walk with confidence,

Child of God

(The cloud pictures are all mine, taken at various times. Can you tell that I am always looking up? ;)

February 3, 2015

A Lucky Life

My Facebook friends have recently seen this picture as my new profile pic. This is my beloved Lucky Cat. 

I lost him two days before my birthday last December. It's taken me this long to be able to write about him, but I have to share his story because I loved him so. He was my baby kitty for 16 years, and I lost him three days before Christmas.

Cats could win awards for the ways they sleep!

I have lots of pictures of my sweet, furry friend. How funny is it that most of them are of him sleeping? Cats really have the life, don't they? And though they may seem to just eat and sleep a lot, the love they give is
Lucky & Kali sharing a Cat Nap

I found this little guy when he was only 6 weeks old. 
Driving down Center Road to pick my son up from football practice, I saw a kitten sitting on the line in the middle of the road. I pulled over right away and jumped out, only to see the little hairball run up under my SUV. 

This tiny kitten was so afraid, he crawled up on top of the rear axle beyond where I could reach or even see him!

He was a big boy when he was healthy in 2013

Two people out for an evening walk came up and asked, "Was that a squirrel that ran up under your car?" "No, it was a kitten!" I exclaimed. So now three adults were under the rear end of my SUV trying to find this kitten. 

We flagged down an Ameritec worker who had been working up the street, as he had a flashlight and it was now beginning to get dark. So now there are FOUR adults under the vehicle with a flashlight and a long stick trying to find this kitten! Finally, I got a paw, and pulled him down. He was only fur and bones, so he must have been lost for awhile and certainly hadn't eaten for some time. 

I tucked him into my coat and went on with my evening, including taking him with me to a Cub Scout meeting where the treat after the meeting was vanilla ice cream. We gave a taste to the little kitten and he LOVED it! After the meeting I took him home, and he became my Lucky Cat, so named because he was lucky to be alive. 

He was too young to be away from his mama, so I became the Momma Kitty from the day I brought him home.  Over the years he grew into a sweet, fat, cat and enjoyed life with our other cat, Rocky, and our English Springer Spaniel Lizzy.

As he reached his senior years, he developed diabetes and I had to give him insulin twice daily. He still thrived but began to decline in the spring of last year. I took a vacation and he never seemed to recover from my absence. 

He kept losing weight, even though we finally got his glucose levels controlled, and watching him decline was so hard.

As my son Tim and I decorated our Christmas tree this year, Lucky slept by the fireplace on a bed of blankets I'd made for him, and he never got up again. 

That night I slept on the living room floor with him with my hand gently touching his front paws as he didn't want to be held anymore. The lights on the tree shone down as I checked on him throughout the night. He seemed to sleep peacefully. But in the morning, he passed away, quite peacefully, with his family all around him. 

Rocky Man in the Sunshine

It's taken me this long to write because I miss him so much. Our sweet old cat Rocky Man, who is in his 21st year, has outlived both Lizzy and Lucky. My son's kitten, Kali, knew that Lucky was sick. Rocky has his own medical issues and was temporarily blind from having high blood pressure, so he really didn't know that Lucky was gone. 

I know Kali misses him, and she was sad after his passing. I can tell she also knows of my sadness, as she has become closer to me since then.

It's hard to put a positive twist on this story, but I am grateful for the 16 years I had with my baby kitty and I know that he is pain free and frolicking in kitty heaven with my Mittsy Cat from long ago. We love our pets like family, and losing one of them leaves a big hole in our lives.
Rocky and Kali checking out the back yard

Lucky used to follow me around like a shadow, always hoping for treats. He could be sound asleep on the couch, and I would walk by into the kitchen and boom! he was up following me and looking up to me with hopeful eyes for a treat. 

Lucky in the Sunshine

Lucky peacefully enjoying the sunshine in my garden 
I guess the moral of the story is that we should never take anything for granted. After we lost our Lizzy Girl 3 years ago, I knew what it felt like to not be able to hug and pet her anymore. As my kitties age, I've given them special attention and love, knowing that they won't be with me forever, either. 

I love all of these pictures (and I have many more!), even though most of them are of sleeping kitties! I love to see Lucky's beautiful coat and his little brown nose. I wish so much I could hold him one more time.

Some might say taking pictures of a sleeping cat is a waste of time. But now I have these pictures to help me cherish the memory of a furry little friend who was my companion for 16 years. I miss him so and Lucky, I will never forget you. 

February 2, 2015

What's Up with that Groundhog?

Sometime through the wee hours of the night, relentless winds that had blown snow horizontally for nearly a full day ceased. The storm was over, leaving behind a palette of white with crazy drifts and designs in the newly fallen snow.

Temperatures plummeted to single digits, with wind chills flirting below zero.

Welcome to February in Wisconsin.

The morning dawns with clear skies ushering in happy thoughts of bright sunshine on dazzling new white snow. 

Then I remembered: It's Groundhog Day.

Oh no! That means 6 more weeks of winter if that furry little rodent sees his shadow!

But wait! Is it just Punxsutawney Phil who predicts weather for the whole nation? If so, this storm shouldn't have cleared out of the Northeast yet, thus, it's still cloudy there and spring will be early. 

Snow sculpted around the tree trunks

I've always held to the philosophy that some little Wisconsin groundhog was responsible for predicting our early spring because it's usually cloudy here and clear wherever Phil pokes his head out. 

I'm forever the optimist. 

But how in the world did we ever decide to get long term weather reports from a rodent? 

It turns out Punxsutawney Phil isn't the only groundhog show out there! Several other furry friends have their own websites, including Wiarton Willie in Ontario, Staten Island Chuck (more formally referred to as Charles G. Hogg), and this year Birmingham Bill (the Birmingham, Alabama Zoo woodchuck) is deferring to Punxsutawney Phil for his prediction (no explanation given). There are others, too. Raleigh, North Carolina has Sir Walter Wally and Atlanta has General Beau Lee. 

Every tree is ringed this way

And here in our blissfully brrrrrr state of Wisconsin, we have Jimmy. Until this day I had no idea that Sun Prairie, Wisconsin is "The Official Groundhog Capital of the World". What a claim to fame!

Did you know that in Washington, D.C. they use a stuffed groundhog for their predictions. What's up with that?

Love the designs the wind drew in the snow

Sadly, I've just read that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, despite overcast skies (how is that possible?) 

That makes it a double whammy, or maybe a triple, if you count Jimmy and looking out into my own backyard. 

(However, I've discovered the real truth is that Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by know-it-alls on Gobbler's Knob. Say it isn't so!)

So we settle in for a long February. 

How is it that the shortest month of the year can seem the longest? 
Sunshine on snow really does sparkle like diamonds!

Let's look at this this way: we've made it through January with not much snow or bitter cold. And WE'VE MADE IT THROUGH JANUARY! It's always a little victory to know that the first month of the new year's winter is behind us.

And after we sail through February (ahem) it will be MARCH and we can look forward to crazy winds every day and unpredictable temperature swings and even more snow and ice, because any good northerner knows, spring does not arrive with the Gregorian calendar in the upper Midwest. Rather, we might get a glimpse of Spring in early April, if we are lucky.

So, hunker down. Make some more hot cocoa, grab an extra blanket for the bed and toss another log on the fire. It's winter in Wisconsin, and despite the predictions of a furry rodent and the foreboding of 6 more weeks of winter, we already know that to be true here in our northern clime. 

We might as well find ways to enjoy it. I'm getting out my snowshoes and layering on the clothes and heading out into the brilliantly bright, snowy world. Keep warm, my friends!


Here are some pictures of a woodchuck who visited us and hung out in my maple tree a few years back. The little guy wasn't sure what to make of this lady and her camera. 


I've since learned that another name for the woodchuck (or groundhog) is a whistling pig, due to a whistling noise they make! There's your trivia for the day!