I am not a crazy cat lady. I do not have upwards of 30 cats roaming around, shedding, shredding, or hacking up undigested slimy fur balls.
However, I am a cat person. That is, I like cats. I prefer them to dogs, although I like dogs well enough. I grew up an only child with a succession of feline siblings. I’d spend hours scritching around the ears and under their chin, feeding them, grooming them, snuggling with them every night. I even wore them (right).
As a college student away from home and cat, I chafed at the dorm rules prohibiting pets. Pete and I and picked out an abandoned ball of fur at the pound the day after we moved into our first house. We’ve had at least one (and as many as three) cat(s) ever since—35 years’ worth of cats—until this past year when our last cat passed away at the ripe old age of nineteen. Between moving into a pristine, un-furred house (with new, odorless carpet) and the discovery that Pete is allergic, a cat is no longer an option.
Organic is popular. We eat organic food. We wear organic cotton. Even our household cleaners are organic. Organic is supposed to be good for us and good for the environment. But what does organic mean? Is it really always better?
To the dictionary, organic means “of, relating to, or derived from living matter.” So you and I are organic. The cement sidewalk is not. All the food in my fridge is organic. The refrigerator itself is not.
To a chemist, an organic molecule is “the kind normally found in living systems.” Organic molecules usually include hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. These atoms can be strung together into long chains or arranged into rings. Starches and proteins are organic molecules. Salt is not.
Last week I let the Bible point out how God wants us to treat foreigners— refugees—living among us. We are not to mistreat or oppress them, we are to treat them as we treat one another, with the same laws. We are to provide food and clothing, and ensure they receive justice. However, we aren’t the only ones with responsibilities. God has expectations for the foreigners as well.
It’s a difficult situation. Vast numbers of refugees are fleeing war and terrorism, risking their lives in open boats, trudging across Europe, seeking safety. In response, many nations are stretching their own resources to accommodate them, allowing them into the country, scrambling to provide food, clothing, and shelter. Pictures of adorable but frightened children, held by exhausted mothers, fill the news. How can we not help them?
On the other hand, hidden in that mass of desperate humanity are radical Muslims with their guns and bombs, seeking to destroy us.
We are a culture of action. We’re eager to get started, to accomplish something. And to a great extent, we are valued according to what we achieve. How much money do we make? What awards have we won? What discoveries have we made?
When we meet someone new, we ask “What do you do?” If we have a need, the standard advice is to “don’t just sit there—do something!” We applaud a man of action and disparage a couch potato. We tell ourselves that life is too short to wait. Continue reading
What are you praying for?
As we close out 2015 and begin 2016, my friend’s blog post suggested we ask God some questions: “What prayers did You answer in this past year?” and “Are there any areas You want me to focus on in prayer this year?” (You can read her excellent post here.) As they were meant to do, those questions started me thinking….
“Here, you will need to learn these recipes!” My future mother-in-law pressed the cookbook into my hands. She was smiling, but I knew that she was serious. Pete’s mom was 100% Finnish, and now she expected me to help carry on her family traditions.
The Finnish Cookbook, by Beatrice A Ojakangas, was published in 1964, and to a great extent, the contents reflected that era. There were numerous casseroles and few vegetable dishes. Almost half the book was devoted to the “coffee table”—a spread of cookies, cakes, breads, tarts, and tortes all containing huge quantities of butter, cream, and sugar. It all looked delicious—and really, really bad for you. I quickly realized that while I might learn to make these things, I was going to have to ration them carefully!