Oh, Where…

The last couple days, I’d noticed Ruby’s hair looking a little unkempt.

At breakfast today, the back was all matted and tangled.

“Do you need some help with your hair?” I asked, trying to be diplomatic.

“Yes,”she said around a bite of Belgian waffle.

“I can wet it down for you and brush it through,” I said.

“I don’t have a brush,” she said.


“Why didn’t you ask for one?” I asked.

“Because I couldn’t find it,” she said.


Which means we hit Safeway at 7:10 a.m. for a new hairbrush. Because Ruby has hair.


The Cat Came Back, Part 2


Last night, we watched a movie called The Christmas Candle . I know it’s February. Don’t judge. We enjoyed a fire in the woodstove along with some pizza. The movie’s themes about faith and prayer and God’s timing touched a nerve. We’re waiting on so many things. Rex needs to come back, I thought. My parents need to find a house of their own. Ruby needs some good neighborhood chums. And many more.

Suddenly, Ruby shouted, “Rex is back!”

His furry face appeared at the back door. I got up to open it to let him in. It’s been so cold, dropping down below freezing the last several nights. I had started to worry about him. I swung the door open. He skittered away. His face registered disbelief. “Do I live here?” he seemed to ask. He crept towards the opening. I stepped back. He sniffed the air, looking for something familiar. He circled to the left. Rex craned his neck forward, peering into the comfortable room. Then he ran into the house.

But he didn’t settle. He trotted into the main part of the house. He looked the downstairs over. He came back and ate some food, then he was off to explore again. He peeked at the woodstove with its fiery logs putting out powerful heat. He looked at each of us. He and Chloe sniffed each other as if to say, you’re back, too. He spied the blanket in my lap and seemed to recall its cozy qualities. Because after he ate and drank and groomed himself, he settled in my lap.

Rex got lost. He’s a little thinner for not having eaten for 2 nights. He had some gunk stuck to his tail. He probably slept little, nervous as he is. When he took off Thursday morning, he had no idea how strange his world had gotten. He dove into it headfirst and then didn’t know how to get back. We left the litterbox outside because I’d heard cats can smell it a long way off and find their way home. But I found little pawprints and scattered litter on the ground. Someone decided they wanted to be civilized instead of pooping in the great outdoors. I don’t think the litterbox acted like a homing beacon, at least not for him.

Rex’s return reminded me about when we get off track with the Lord. Sometimes we’re off for a few days. Sometimes we’re off doing our own thing for years. That time off the road of truth makes us leery to come back. Will God accept me? Does He still love me? How could he, after all I’ve done? The fact is He’s always waiting, His comforting embrace on the other side of the entry way. Yet He won’t barge in. He waits for us. All we have to do is open the door and cross the threshold. Then, like Rex relaxing in his staff’s owners’ presence, we remember that we belong.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” – Revelation 3:20

The Cat Came Back, Part 1

Our cats have acclimated to the new, larger house surrounded by a  circle of tall trees.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Yesterday, I headed out for a run. Both cats wanted to go out. They had each been out for a few minutes on their own. I thought, Cool. I can get a short run in and let them back into the house when I return. They’d be more than ready, on sensory overload with all the new smells and creatures and crevices to explore.

Only they weren’t around when I returned. I called. I traipsed around the back of the house a little, calling. Silence. Not even crickets.

I went back into the house to get ready for work. By sunup, I reasoned, their furry faces would appear at the back door. No big deal.

Sunup came and went. So did the afternoon, then the evening. I got home from kettlebells and everyone else greeted me except the cats.

Now I felt terrible. If only I’d kept the felines corralled. I could have nudged them away from the door and then they would be safe.

After rehearsal last night, we drove by our old house to see if they’d gathered there, like a safe place. We wandered the yard and turned lights on. We cried out. Again, silence.

Ruby was pretty upset. We prayed for the cats’ safe return. I prayed, too.

“What if they’re gone for years?”Ruby wondered.

I told her we had to have faith and be patient. Nobody’s good at it, but everyone gets a chance to practice it.

“You know,” Jonathon said. “I’m going to miss Rex more than I missed Rita. Rex and I have a love-hate relationship. He thinks I hate him,” he mused.

I know I did.

This morning, I had a feeling. I dressed for a run and walked out back. A light snow fell, stinging my eyes.

“Chloe! Rex!” I called, trying to be quiet because everyone else slept.


Chloe appeared. Somehow, she got stuck on the other side of the fence from us, in the neighbor’s yard. I walked her over to the gap in the fences and she slid through. “Reunited, and it feels so good…”I held the black Muppet cat in my arms.

She ran into the rotunda and straight to her food bowl. I petted her back. Little bits of pine needles and burrs stuck to her, a testament to her 24-hour exile. She plopped down on the carpet. Her purr filled the room.

Thanks, Jesus, for returning Ruby’s favorite cat. We praise you for answered prayers. OK, Lord. Please send Rex right over.  We’re ready.







Wednesday Welcome



Today’s run started out damp. Nothing fell from the sky, but nothing dried out, either. I looked up and spied a tangerine moon sliver in a charcoal gray expanse. Our new house is in the middle of a hillside, so I’m finding new distances to run up and down to get mileage in. Truth be told, I’m still building back up after pulling some muscle in my right leg.

We’re finding our rhythm here. Most of our worldly possessions sit in a metal box on site. The rest are squirreled away in bedrooms, the basement, or other handy nooks. The cats have acclimated. The first day, they hid and peeked out at everyone. They didn’t know what to make of their new digs. Now, they have the run of the house, loving the extra hands to pet them. Chloe even ventured outside today. Rex has yet to dare.

Shelton in February seems a mushroom world, filled with moss and slimy dead leaves and lots of gray.The air is sometimes a pale smoke against the darkest green trees in the early morning and twilight. Shreds of mist linger among branches. Rain falls at random times to sustain this universe.

We’re finally starting to catch our breath from the move. It’s a blessing to be here, in this house, with my dad and stepmom, for such a time as this. This season will give way to another, then another. But I don’t want to miss this. I look out at the mammoth cedars surrounding us and thank God for all His blessings.




Moving Day

It’s here. We’re moving into the new place. Of course, my dad and stepmom are still in it, so it’ll be a new adventure in family togetherness and bonding. I look forward to making memories. But the house belongs to us.

This house, the one where I sit and type this, doesn’t.

A good friend of mine and I packed up the rest of the kitchen, the winter coats, and she tackled Jonathon’s basement workshop area yesterday. I got the stuff out from under the bathroom sink. Oh, the places you’ll go!

I ran one last time in our neighborhood. A typical Shelton “mizzle” fell from the dark sky. Every muscle group ached from all the packing of yesterday. I wanted to feel something, anything, about this house and area we’ve inhabited for just over 10 years. But sometimes  feelings don’t hop to our schedules. No memories came to mind. I only felt numb from exhaustion.

Ruby wrote this note and magnetized it to our new-old refrigerator.




I had to smile. This note says it better than I could ever say. I love it when someone else is able to express what you can’t. Sometimes, words aren’t enough. We need pictures, too.

Thanks, house, for sheltering us, keeping us warm and keeping us cool, for being our first home in Shelton. Thanks for helping us be a part of this welcoming community and for letting us learn how to welcome others, too. Thanks for your proximity to both our church and the library, as well as the kids’ grade school. Thanks for blessing us. May you bless the new family who settles here. We’ll see you around.

Flat Out & Love

I’m sorry I haven’t written anything lately. Between work and packing our house, I’ve been going flat out. I’ve had random thoughts, though, so you’ll get the benefit of those.

Valentine’s Day.


“Oh, you better not forget tomorrow. It’s Valentine’s Day,” a coworker teased another employee on February 13.

“I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I don’t do anything for it,” he growled.

I took my piece of paper and slunk out of the room. I tried not to laugh, because he has strong opinions about many things, including ink pens. I understand the mentality about Valentine’s Day. I know it’s a made up holiday. I have my own issues about Administrative Professionals’ Day. He and I had talked about this before, the pressure of having to appreciate or show love to someone on one specific day.

“You should appreciate people all year long,” he said.

I agreed back then. I still do. The problem becomes if you don’t have a set day of some kind, you may never do it. You might let their birthday slip by. “Oh, I’ll catch up with them later and take them to lunch.” Christmas might get a pass, too. Your wedding anniversary escapes attention. The years roll on. Circumstances change. The people who brought joy to your everyday move on in their journey. You miss your chance to tell them they matter and thank them for their impact on you. You live with constant regret.

When do you give care if you don’t make a plan? The special people in our lives deserve to know how much they mean to us. Any day will do. Just pick one.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. –  1 John 4:7


Snow Day



It snowed yesterday. I heard there was some important football game on, but it snowed. It kept on snowing all afternoon and into the evening. It covered the grass. it poured from the sky in a relentless white curtain.

I read a book and watched it snow. Then I watched some TV. Rex slept on the loveseat, uninterested in the unusual weather pattern. Zac played video games. Now and then, I heard him chatting with his friends as they battled monsters together. Jonathon and Ruby attended a party for said football game over at my brother’s place.

Early this morning, I opened the curtains and looked. The snow glowed under the light of the street lamp, making it seem like an early dawn. Nothing stirred outside. No cars rattled by at the end of our gravel road. No walkers shuffled along, hurrying to a warmer destination. The downy blanket muffled every sound, a cottony silencer. I found tracks of some animal this morning in the front yard. The started on the paved path and ended by the rosebushes. Neither of our cats ventured out into it. Dog tracks? Raccoon prints? Possum? I’ll never know.

I wished for a snow day today. But alas, I live too close to the office. I also work with the guys who plow and sand the roads. If they can work all night to keep us traveling safely, the least I can do is put all that hard work to good use by getting to work. The kids have a 2-hour delayed start. I could take that, too.

The kids’ late start turned into a snow day. Even now, fluffy fat flakes float to the ground. Driving on side streets is treacherous. Windshield wipers swipe away snow just as well as rain.  Slushy high points at intersections make you fishtail a little. Minor corrections, I reminded myself. Don’t jerk the wheel.

Even after two years of full-time work, it’s still strange to be the only one who leaves the house on a cancelled school day. The cats slumber. The kids entertain themselves and Jonathon works in his aerie. I don’t want to disturb the peace in the house. Though I’d like to be home enjoying the cozy quality of the day, I remember I had a snow day yesterday, just a day early. And it was grand.