My friend, Claudia, got a very nice camera for Christmas from her loving hubby. And just because she’s naive enough to believe I know something about photography, she sent me a few of her practice shots for feedback.
I think Claudia is a natural picture taker. She has a good eye–and the more she gets out there and shoots, the more that talent is going to shine through.
I couldn’t help but be captivated by two of the pictures, though–and only because they were so ordinary…
…in the most extraordinary way.
Sometimes we miss the beauty of simple things. A cozy neighbourhood corner sporting a spiffy red stop sign is so comforting close up–it reminds me that we should all have a place to go back to at the end of the day.
And who ever takes the time to stare at a chimney? It pours out heat from the hearth of happy homes.
Even the most mundane things look appealing with the right focus.
That’s the way it is with us, too. None of us are really all that, not really. But when we get our focus on God, and He gets us into focus–well, He makes us look a lot more appealing than we ever could have otherwise.
But He has a good eye–and He focuses on making the most out of ordinary people.
When we first got Min, the ‘nasty’ cat, she was, well… she was nasty. My daughter talked me into getting her from her uncle’s friend because no one else would take her and she absolutely had to have a new home.
This, of course, was after she’d talked me into getting ‘Loco,’ from the girls’ dance group teacher because no one else was going to do it, so we absolutely had to.
“Min likes being brushed every day,” he told us. So we brushed Min.
Min liked being brushed very much. She liked being brushed the way a serial killer loves stalking their next victim. She loved to let the brush glide gently over her silky fur and around her appendages, and then suddenly thrust her front talons deeply into your humerus, while pummeling the exposed flesh of your forearms into shreds with her back paws. It would sometimes take two of us to pry her off.
We tried oven mitts, but she would only exact revenge later by swiping out at us from unexpected locations while we went about our day. We gave up.
Min also liked to back Loco into a corner and lash her repeatedly. I had no idea cats could move their paws so fast it looks like a blur. It took me a while to rescue the dog the first time I saw it because I was mesmerized by how much it seemed like I was watching an old cartoon flick.
Min grew older and mellowed. She adapted to our dog and rabbit, and eventually became approachable when Mia came on the scene. She’s the CatFather, still–and the other pets know it, but she’s become affectionate over the years (in her signature scabrous style), and we love her dearly–nasty quirks and all.
Lately, Min seems to be aging exponentially, though. At first she couldn’t hear very well. Now she can’t see–we find her sleeping in odd corners because she just ends up somewhere, and there she stays. She’s become skeletal. If not for the huge amount of fur she has, she’d be an eerie sight.
She’s also slow going up and down the stairs and doesn’t always make it to the kitty litter on time. She makes messes almost daily. I have to lock her in the room where the litter is every night so that I can keep the messes to a minimum.
And, I am battling the age-old, old-age pet dilemma–when, if ever, is the right time to put them down? Now, see–I can’t do it. Just typing those words makes me cry. There’s still so much life in her yet. She loves to hop up on my lap and fall asleep. She loves for me to bring her out on the back deck and brush her–I can finally do it without oven mitts or fear of retribution.
I left her out there the other day and after a few minutes found her emaciated body curled up, fur wafting in the breeze and tail thumping the deck, a look of contentment across her face. So, I came up with my grand, baby gate idea.
Surely, the two younger pets would learn to leap over it, and Min would be confined to the upstairs–with food, water and kitty litter seconds away.
I propped it up and started teaching Loco how to jump it.
She cowered and waited until this afternoon when I lifted her over, and made a beeline for the food and water. Mia slept through the whole thing.
Then I heard a loud thump, followed by a lamenting meow, and Min limping down the stairs. She walked into the kitchen, spread herself out on the linoleum, and wagged her tail. How can you mess with determination like that?
I don’t have the heart to put her down, so I’m praying God will take her peacefully in her sleep–on billowy clouds of ascension, while angels play harps, and visions of tuna pâté dance in her head. But, in the mean time, if you have any ideas, I’m game.
At my age, getting a love letter in your mailbox doesn’t happen every day.
Okay–it actually never happened… ever.
Which is why
when it does happen
it is a
Especially when that love letter
comes from a
Children have a way of giving us days to write home about.
Jasper and Ralph could only watch helplessly behind the locked door at the aftermath outside–when the Small Rodents truck collided with the Small Flightless Birds truck . . .
The best part of yesterday was raiding my friend’s rhubarb patch (I’ll bake a pie tomorrow that we won’t eat–we’re just not big pie eaters) and picking buttercups at the creek with the neighbor girls.
The best part of today was finding some really cool yard sale treasures–like this photo box–for just $1.50,
Meeting Max (who lives a few doors down),
planning this really cool idea I have to paint the stairwell to the basement black with daisies on it,
and saying ‘sorry’ to my son for getting upset and yelling at him earlier.
I had this extraordinary friend, Sophie. I met her in Montreal, at a bus stop on my way to church one morning (she’s from Egypt and makes the best baklava known to man). I ended up going to her church instead that morning, and she ended up becoming like a second mom.
“Heather,” she told me one night while I was visiting. “Always keep a short account with God and everyone else.”
I haven’t always been able to do that, to be honest. But, at times like this I really have to wonder what’s up with that.
When I bought this Boston Fern several years ago,
I wasn’t really expecting for it to last as long as it has.
“Careful,” the woman at the hardware store told me on my way out. “They’re very temperamental. Better not touch it too much, don’t let the fronds rest on anything (they hate that, and will probably die), just hang it somewhere out-of-the-way and keep it watered.”
“Those are hard to take care of,” my friends told me. “Try not to let the fronds touch anything,” they said.
Since my track record for plants succumbing to a slow and painful demise in my presence was pretty much 100% I was pretty sure it was only a matter of time. After all, consider the Peace Lily–mine neither complains nor weeps, yet after five years with me it’s an anemic nervous wreck.
Apparently, Peace Lilies are practically impossible to destroy. Which is why they’re considered the perfect plant for the ‘houseplant challenged.’ Which is also why there are some things about my life I just don’t get.
Since I figured the fern’s days were numbered anyway I subjected it to the usual abuse and neglect: days without rain followed by the requisite drenching downpour. Just the conditions Peace Lilies are supposed to thrive under, by the way. I plunked it right on top of my hutch and let the fronds fondle the edges.
I shake it out when I notice brown leaves and fluff it up when I get the whim. I take it down regularly and give it a thorough soaking and shaking, then plop it back on top again–all the while letting its gorgeous green talons brush up against walls and countertops, and not to mention, me. And what do I get for it? It loves me!
In fact, most of the pot is completely overtaken with amorous feelings (and roots) and it’s still thriving. Maybe ferns are just sick and tired of people mollycoddling them. Maybe they want to be treated like everybody else.
And that has me thinking about some of the relationships in my life. Maybe I’ve just mollycoddled the life right out of them. I just can’t figure out where I went wrong, but, thank God I’m surrounded by so many finicky ferns flourishing despite all the shaking they get sometimes. And, I still have those gorgeous Ivies.
Guess that’s the thing about relationships–sometimes it’s not about how careful we are to keep them from dying. Sometimes it’s all about just letting them be.