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Image result for level up video gameA couple of months ago, I changed my diet. Cut out sugar and processed foods. Added fruit, veggies, whole grains. Actually waited until I heard my stomach growl before I headed to the kitchen. Cut out recreational grazing. When I did feel like a nosh, it was blueberries, walnuts, or hummus.

I was feeling better in general.

Cut to: next weigh-in at the doctor’s office. What the? I actually gained five pounds!!! I thought about quitting this healthy eating. What’s the point? Even ate ice cream that night after the weigh-in.

You know what? I enjoyed the ice cream while I was eating it, but afterwards, felt sluggish and bloated. I simply felt better overall when I was eating healthier foods.

Maybe it’s not about the numbers in life after all: weight, height, age, income, grade, credit score, IQ. It’s about your level of contentment. Granted, I could use more money. It’d be nice to have a higher IQ. Better credit score. But obsessing about the numbers can leave you in a constant state of dissatisfaction.

So while I’m not fully content yet, I know I’m doing my level best for the situation I’m in. I have a measure of peace of mind that most people don’t seem to have. They’re always running, doing, buying, tweeting, but no one seems any happier. If I stay in a positive frame of mind and improve what I can, maybe someday, I’ll level up in this game called life.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow, our city celebrates their annual May festival. Last year, our church participated for the first time in the parade.  We’re doing it again this year and instead of decorating a car we are decorating a float.

Simply put, this is an exercise in try, try again. Something is too long, covering the door that needs to open.  The tape won’t stick to something else.  And that?  It just isn’t high enough.

Trouble shooting and multiple attempts accompany almost every step in the process.  Fortunately, when you’re working with others, you can laugh and get back to it.  Which is a good thing because the next thing you try?  That too may take multiple attempts even when you are using the gifts God gave you.


“Ms. Williams, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but…With this test result, we think the most humane option would be to put him down,” the vet said to me over the phone last week.

I suppose I didn’t even realize that this really was my cat until I heard these words.  After all, I’d scarcely succeeded in getting this stray cat to trust me enough to come near.

Reluctantly, after a long conversation and phone calls to family members, I agreed that they should euthanize my cat. I sat alone for an hour, beside myself and in tears.  Then the phone rang again.

Apparently, the senior veterinarian had disagreed with the prognosis. He said he wouldn’t euthanize this cat. It wasn’t necessary, he said, and it wasn’t right. This isn’t the sort of condition that requires such an extreme measure.

I was so relieved!  So glad I’d get to bring my semi-cat home.  He was still semi-stray, since he insisted on going out every night. It worried me, because sometimes he’d come back with scratches on his face. Once, he came back to my door in the morning with gasoline on his back, as if he had slept next to a car or a lawn mower.

Even with this good news, I was still consumed with guilt.  Just the day before, I was thinking of asking the vet if they knew of an organization that could help me find KitKat a “forever-home.”

You see, I’d been trying for months to get the cat to stay inside with us, learn to use the litter box, and just be part of the family.  But night after night, Kitkat would wake me with loud meows from the sunroom – sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning – and demand to be let out. He did spend the whole day snoozing on a comfy armchair, but at night, he was outta there.

To be honest, it was really exhausting trying to take care of this cat, my house, my son and myself, since I was diagnosed with progressive MS. Chronic pain is my constant companion, along with neuropathy, spasticity, balance and gait issues. Add to it all a sweet but skittish kitty, and I sometimes felt it was more than I could handle.  He had to have things done in a certain way, and any minor change would send him running to the door.  If there was a noise he didn’t recognize, he’d hide behind the couch.

This cat is kind of a hard case, I said to myself.

But if I really think about it… couldn’t God say the same thing about me?  After all, I don’t trust people easily – if at all (I mean, I am from Jersey!)  I’m kind of a loner and not open to new situations.  I have my own way of doing things, and I’m not about to change my ways at this stage of the game.  I have quirks aplenty, such as an aversion to crumbs on the kitchen table.  I cannot, will not eat until I clear those crumbs! And I need to have my chapstick and box of tissues near me at all times.

Does that sound a bit persnickety?

Just like my cat.

I had to remind myself that this cat had really come a long way from the days when he skulked around the perimeter of my yard, scrounging for food.  It took the better part of a year before he came close enough for me to pat him.  And when he finally did come near, he purred like a motorboat’s engine.  It was loud and clear.  He was making the effort as best he could.

And I’d come a long way too.  This time last year, I was in the hospital, recovering from an MS exacerbation.  When I came home, I couldn’t feel my feet, as I wrote about in an earlier post.  I didn’t bounce right back immediately; no, it took patience, time and a veritable village of health care professionals to help me literally get back on my feet.

If God had thrown up his hands and thought, that woman is such a hard case! …where in the world would I be? No, He didn’t give up on me. He was there all along.

So I’ll keep trying to make this persnickety semi-cat feel at home here, and I’ll keep in mind that even hard cases (like me and Kitkat) deserve a loving family and a good life. I’m grateful that God gave us both a second chance. Pardon me now, while I go let the cat out.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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