Thursday, September 26, 2013

Patience in Thrift Shops

I started reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance.  Familiar to me only because she's been mentioned by my favorite authors she has name recognition simply because I've pinned a few of her quotes onto favorite boards.

Recently I was scouring a thrift shop's bookshelves, because I just know there are hidden treasures to be found there, and I stumbled across luck when her book's coral jacket design caught my eye.  (Along with Austen's Sense and Sensibility beautifully bound in blue, Zarafa, and new hardback copy of A Painted House.)  That's right, since thrift books aren't placed in any kind of order, the jacket is usually what catches my eye first.

Simple Abundance is a daybook I've come to love.  Devouring a good book is often difficult in my life. Laundry, dishes, making dinner, running errands or helping with homework usually come first.  Time is often too precious to sit and read for an hour, let alone hours.  Daybooks allow me to read a page each day and lift a deeper meaning or curious thought to turn over and over during my hurried day.

Today her entry centered around something I need more of and I love her thoughts:
"Patience is the art of waiting.  Like all high arts, it takes time to master, which shouldn't be surprising, since patience is the knowledge of time.  How to use time to your advantage, how to be at the right place at the right time, how to pick your moments, how to bite your tongue.  Patience is discovering the mysterious pattern of cycles that cradle the Universe and ensure that everything that has happened once will recur.  Perseverance in life is being steadfast; persistence is being stubborn. Persistence is grittier than perseverance.  Perseverance is achievement's perspiration; persistence is its sweat.  The potent alchemy of patience and persistence, which together become endurance...  If you are determined to gather life's honey, to stick your hand into the hive again and again and again, to be stung so many times that you become numb to the pain, to persevere and persist till those who know and love you become unable to think of you as a fairly normal woman, you will not be called mad.  You will be called authentic."

Finding that you love a little of her writing?  Me, too.  Especially when I couple today's thought with the idea that there is a reason I stand in front of bookshelves searching and searching for a little treasure just like this. The wonderfulness is she's not just available in little mom & pop thrift shops, but lovely bookstores too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Thought for Tuesday

Whence and what, if not God, is this mystery we call “mind”? What is it that thinks, and feels, and plans, and acts?  O, who can deny the divinity that stirs within us?
God is everywhere and is in everything. His mystery is in every bud, and blossom, and leaf, and tree; in every rock, and hill, and mountain; in every spring, and rivulet, and river.

The rustle of his wings is in every zephyr; his might is in every tempest. He dwells in the dark pavilion of every storm cloud. The lightning is his messenger, and the thunder is his voice. His awful tread is in every earthquake and on every angry ocean. 

The heavens above us teem with his myriads of shining witnesses—the universe of solar systems whose wheeling orbs course the crystal dread halls of eternity, the glory and power and dominion of the all-wise, omnipotent, and eternal God.  

Governor of Tennessee, Robert L. Taylor 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Feral Cat Named Josepheline

This week she makes me feel like a superhero. Lately, she's relinquished a half dozen lives after I've made as many leaps and bounds down the deck stairs with hands on hips demanding: Drop IT! when I hear her little meow-meow-meow status as she prowls around the yard.  So, I figure it's time.  Get me that mask and cape.  I've reached superhero status for saving a few innocent wild lives lately.

She's a feral beach kitty we picked up nine years ago from the OBX.  I can still see my kids' three little faces in the rear-view mirror's reflection of the backseat as the van door slid shut and clicked closed.  Seeing those faces, I knew I was in trouble because I didn't want to say goodbye to her and watch her in my side-view mirror as we drove away either.  

That skinny young kitty had spent a lazy summer beach week crunching through our Golden Retriever's oversized dog food each evening.  We fed her from a recycled plastic feta cheese container on the porch as the sun slid silently over the Sound.  She was scrawny but oh-so friendly and comfortable around us.  She'd easily rub her heathered-gray striped tail around our legs or hop onto the porch swing to sit with us, purring loudly and affectionately.  Her tidily notched peach-colored ear told me she'd been rounded up by vets doing good deeds and gaining experience by doing quick spays and releases on feral beach cats up and down the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  And those big green eyes...  How could I say no to an easier life at home with us?

So, open the van door slid, in she hopped, and round-as-saucers went three sets of eyes in delight as she sniffed around her first car ride.  On the way home, she swiped at our dear old Chapman-the-dog once, before resigning herself to curling up on the floor on the passenger side floor. Yawning and licking and catnapping all the way to Raleigh.  

On the way home we talked about perfect cat names.  Just right names, silly names, appropriate feral cat-type names.  The boys were still at the Scooby-Doo cartoon age.  I mentioned Josie and the Pussycats and the name "Josie" stuck.  Beautiful but fun, I wanted her to have a more proper name than a nickname.  So, Josephine it might be.  Or, better yet, Josepheline.  A play on words as exciting as her little personality.  And since the beach would always be a part of her, I added Pearl, but spelled it "Purrl" because her motor was (and is) always running. 

Nine years later, our Josepheline Purrl has shown us she's got more than 9 tough lives. She's made us laugh, cry, hug her tighter, yell in anger, walk away in disgust.  We've carved out a niche in our lives for a feral cat who has seen us through not one, but four dogs. Quietly and cautiously she has tolerated all of them.  She flicks her tail as she sips from our koi pond, hopefully understanding they too are pets just like Caspian our twelve year old green-cheeked conure in his elegant standing cage.  

Exuberantly, she will dash through a nighttime backyard flickering orange with bonfire light, easily climbing ten feet into a wild dogwood treetop and shimmying carefully back down when she's done showing off her feline talent.  Loyally she trots after us on cold North Carolina evening winter walks for 30 or 40 minutes.  She drags home baby bunnies and squirrels each spring.  If we can't save them, she eats them.  All.  It is sad and perplexing, but deep inside, I know this, too, is a part of her.  When we brought her home we knew she was feral, and you can't remove feral from a cat who deeply loves her wild life as well as her tame family.