Wednesday, March 24, 2010


(((NOTE:   I wrote this the day after Zorro took off on "vacation"...before my husband wrote his post (which he wrote before he read this).  Obviously, he did come home, and again my husband eloquently put fingers to the keys and poured out my elation into words.  I debated whether to post this or not because it seems superfluous........and, yet, I needed to "get my words out", so here it is....)))

Here's the "back story" about the cat:

From 1999-2009 I worked as an insurance adjuster.  I was the person who would review the policy and tell someone who had been involved in an auto accident, or who had something happen to their house, what was covered and what was not...and I was the person who would decide how much to pay...and I was the person who got griped out on a continual basis for doing my job!  (People do not like to hear, "I'm sorry, but a 20 year old roof that's leaking, but has no storm damage, is not going to be replaced by your insurance policy.") 2006, less than a month after my (second) ex-husband left (you can read about that here), the county I was working experienced the worst hail storm to hit a single county in the history of the state.  I watched the news in horror that night knowing my work life was about to look a lot like my personal life...and I didn't know how I was going to get through the next several months.

It seemed every day there was new insult added to injury.

My company asked me (told me) to cancel a Florida vacation my kids and I were set to go on the following week.  (People were called in from all over the state to work in order to get policy holders paid for their damage...they couldn't let some of us go on vacation at the same time...understandable.)

My kids went away to their dad's for spring break, leaving me alone to work ungodly hours...leaving me alone in a house built for five.  I was reeling from the pain, and the work stress was unbelievable to say the least.
Working late on a Saturday, I pulled up to a hail-damaged house and got out of my truck preparing to set up my ladder.  A gorgeous black cat came bounding up to me and started rubbing on my leg.  I bent down and patted his head, for which he immediately rewarded me with purrs so loud I thought a car was coming up behind me!  After taking a moment to enjoy the unbridled love of my new best friend, I told him I had to get on the roof and do my job.

After I scoped the damage to the house, and as I was discussing with the home owners what I was going to be able to pay, the cat reappeared.  He jumped into the arms of Mr. Homeowner, and started rubbing the man's beard with his face.  When the man put him back down on the ground, the cat became quite "dog-like" and went from Mr. Homeowner, to Mrs. Homeowner, then to me looking for love and attention.  I made a comment like, "That's the kind of cat I want."  They told me how he had belonged to their daughter; due to health reasons she was no longer able to care for him.  They had been looking for a new home for him because he had to be outside although he'd always been an inside cat (he didn't get along with their bird!).

I should tell you, my ex was a cat hater, even though I had a cat when we first got married.  (We moved to a rental house that didn't allow pets of any kind, so we had to find a new home for him.)  A couple of years before he left, he (my ex) bought a dog (completely against my wishes)--a completely CRAZY short legged Jack Russell Terrier.   (It's not that I didn't want a dog, I just thought we needed to get one that would fit in with our family, a family pet; from everything I had read, this dog was not the most likely pet for us.)

Since, I still had very high hopes my ex and I were going to work out our differences, and that he was going to come home (with the dog), when the offer to take this beautiful cat was made, my first thought was "HE" would never "allow" me to have a cat. 

As usual with me, there was much thought involved with the decision to take, or not take, the cat home.  Worried that my husband would think bringing home a cat would mean I didn't want him to come back, I sent a (long and involved) email asking him about it.   His response should have been a clue of what was to come..., "I don't care if you get a cat."  I agonized over the decision and what it would mean...the message it might send, what life would be like if we put the cat and dog together under one roof, how horrible it would be to take the cat home and then have to later find another home for him when my family was reunited (everything I had read suggested JRTs can NOT live with cats).  It took me five days to decide....

Right from the start, he was a great cat.  He was always ready for love, unlike most felines.  When I would cry my eyes out over my marriage, he would nuzzle my face with his, reminding me I was indeed loved and needed.   He came when you would call for him.  He had a particular fondness for that when someone (anyone) would take off their shoes, he would walk up and put his face down inside one of them!!  Then he would lay down with his paws around it as if the shoe was his long lost beloved soul mate!

After the divorce, and our house was sold, I moved to a rental house (making sure they would allow me to keep Zorro).  The landlords had one stipulation, that he be completely declawed.  Since I had willingly given up custody of the (crazy) dog, and since Zorro had not seen the outside of the house for over six months and was a perfect inside-only cat...I obliged.  All ten of his cat defenses were taken from him.  Left in their place were soft sweet paws that would caress my face as I held my sweet kitty in my lap.  (He had this habit of touching my cheeks with his paws as if he were a person.)

Not too long after Zorro became a permanent member of our household, I bought an automatic feeder so he could be left at home while we were away on a trip.  He was a perfect litter box patron, and he already had a special water bowl.  The only thing he would miss was his daily dose of edible love.  He did fine with the feeder, except that he learned how to make it dispense the food at his will--and this cat loved to eat!  Over time he gained about 10 pounds and was lovingly nicknamed "Fat Cat".

When I met the man who I later realized was the man of my prayers...I made sure he understood I was a package deal that included not only all my past baggage (that I was working on ridding myself of), and two teenagers...there was also an adored cat included, no extra charge.  (Well, actually, there was an extra charge of food, litter, toys, vet bills, and all that's involved with including a cat in your life.)  He reluctantly agreed to accept my cat as an extension of me.
When I put my house up for sale, my cat moved in with my man.  This man, who had professed to merely tolerate the cat, went out the first day and bought toys, cat nip, and a fluffy cat bed (although the cat became his new bed partner so the cat bed was hardly ever used).  This man, who would be perfectly happy living in a (windowless) cave, started leaving the blinds in the sun room slightly open for Zorro's enjoyment (to watch birds and bunnies in the back yard).

After we got married and as life settled down we put Fat Cat on a diet.  The vet told me the second leading cause of feline mortality is diabetes...and that's caused by over feeding combined with a lack of exercise.  He went from self feeding at an all-he-could-eat feeder, to 1/2 cup of food a day, and then down to 1/4 cup of food a day.

About six months ago we decided to add another member to our family when my daughter rescued a dog (a terrier mix) from the pound.  That's a whole other post...but this dog was PERFECT for our family in almost every way, not the least of which was how he was accepted by the cat.  They became best buddies.  They would play and chase and pretend to attack each other.   I think the dog really is scared of the cat, even though the truth is the dog could kill the cat with one shake of his head, but who am I to judge?

Last night, I think the cat either decided he wasn't being fed enough, or he grew tired of his playmate, or he just wanted to feel the cold night air in his fur once the door opened, he scurried out into the darkness.  He's done that a couple of times, but usually he stays right by the door and we're able to get him back inside easily.  Last night however, when my daughter was trying to get him to come in, I guess he decided to have an adventure, and he ran away.  A black cat is impossible to find on a moonless night.

At this writing, he hasn't come home.

I took my feline friend for granted.  His constant meowing for food and affection was often met with frustration.  I didn't realize until he was gone exactly what he meant to me.  He wasn't just a cat....just a pet.  Yes, I'm sure I'm over analyzing (as usual), but after reading the story, can you really blame me?  That cat was my indulgence.  I got him for me at a time in my life I most needed a showing of unconditional love.  This house full of life, and full of love, is missing something with him gone.  Not just an incessant feels like a piece of me left into the night.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Prodigal Cats and Tearful Wives

Dwayne writing once again … forgive me for the intrusion, but some form of closure regarding the “beast” is called for. I promise not to invade again without explicit permission … or some other good reason.

After wandering through the wilderness of backyards, stray dogs, and birds unwilling to lie down before his clawless might, the prodigal cat decided to return home. Dana and I had retired to bed, thankful for another day of life and health, but also melancholy about the seemingly inevitable fate of the beast.

She wanted the monstrosity back because she loved it. I wanted it back because she loved it.

Our eyes were heavy with sleep and sadness when a light tapping on the door caught our attention. The daughter entered our bedroom holding a black bundle of fur and saying softly, almost whispering, “Mommy, look what I found.” The fact that the daughter hasn’t referred to Dana as “Mommy” for some years only added to the tenderness of the moment.

The daughter heard a sound outside her window, looked, hoping against hope, and she saw the beast. The prodigal had returned. She gathered the cat from the back door and rushed to our room.

As the beast fell from daughter’s arms to Dana’s, I saw the most amazing transformation come over my wife’s face, and I was reminded, once again, why I love her so much. There was no scolding, not even in jest. There was only unadulterated joy at the return of one loved so much.

The whole parable of the prodigal son is one that I’ve mostly viewed from the perspective of the son … his selfish choices, his squandering of the gifts given, his lack of gratitude and understanding. It’s a perspective I understand with my own failures and struggles in life.

Yet Dana helped me see through the eyes of the parent dying for their child to return to love and grace.

She laughed, she hugged, she told the cat she loved it so many times I wondered if I should leave for a few days and come back. Her heart was so full it overflowed, leaking from the corners of her eyes in the form of salty tears of joy. She took the hungry thing and went straight to the kitchen and fed it, all the while carefully inspecting for injury or damage.

It struck me as I witnessed this miracle that Dana is the closest thing to transparent I’ve ever personally witnessed in a human. And then, like lightening hitting the same spot twice, it struck me that her love is pure and powerful and so … god-like in its application.

You see, Dana and the daughter often butt heads. Sometimes to the point of me wanting to severe one of the heads from its young neck! (Kidding … mostly) I’ve seen this woman, my wife, be so exasperated and frustrated and hyper-ventilated that she could chew bricks and bore holes through solid steel with laser eyes. Yet, as soon as the daughter shows any sign of humanity and remorse, Dana demonstrates an even greater love than she gave the cat.

It is unfeigned and unconditional. My wife KNOWS how to forgive (on a side note, she’s probably aided by a less than stellar memory, but that’s a story, perhaps lots of stories, for another day).

I often feel that the daughter takes advantage of Dana. Not knowingly, because the daughter is not evil, just young. She asks for favors and repays them with sarcasm and snottiness (YES, that’s a word, or it should be). And Dana keeps giving and loving.

I’ve seen her greatest joys and deepest sorrows center around the love she has for that girl. Please understand, dearest daughter is a beautiful, wonderful young lady 91.3% of the time, and that percentage seems to be improving as she matures. Yet Dana’s love and general patience have remained unwavering. One day the daughter will realize the full scope and power of her mother’s love and be prepared to love her own children, and husband, the same way.

I’m reminded of One Republic, one of my favorite groups, who has a song titled “Prodigal”. One of the verses has the following:

I’ll take everything from you,
But you’ll take anything, won’t you?

Whether it’s the cat, or the insecure daughter trying to find her way in the world, or the selfish husband, we often TAKE everything from her. We rely on her ministrations to make it through the day. We need her affirmation and laughter or we lapse into modes of silence that threaten to become black holes of introspection.

And in return, she TAKES anything we give her, loving us and rejoicing in our joys, sorrowing in our sorrows.

Dana teaches me, and the daughter, and the cat too if its brain was any bigger than a black-eyed pea, that love is long on patience and forgiveness and short on memory and offenses.

The beauty of that is it makes me never want to take advantage of her love. Her vulnerability and tenderness makes me, more than ever before, want to protect her and keep her soft. Shoot, I’d probably fight a dragon for her … or at least let her keep up with me as we ran away.

If you ever have a chance to receive a prodigal, be it a cat or daughter or husband or wife, remember what Dana has taught me … love and forgiveness are more powerful than the very gates of hell. If God’s love eclipses the vision of my wife, then Heaven will be more wonderful than words can describe.

Who would have thought that stinking monstrosity had anything left to teach me?

Here's One Republic's Prodigal ... be sure and pause Dana's playlist at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We Fought, This Beast and I

We fought, this narcissistic beast and I.

I’m Dana’s husband, Dwayne, and the creature invaded my cozy man-cave when Dana needed to sell her house. In my mind, at least at the time, the beast was an extension of Dana herself, so I treated it well. I fed it, cleaned up after it, and even drugged it (cat-nip) in an attempt to make it feel it at home.

In return, it demanded attention, crawling in my lap when I tried typing on my laptop, waking me at 4:30 in the morning to be fed, reminding me when it needed scratching, and so on.

Little did I realize just how much of an extension of Dana it truly was. Even now when my love feels that she isn’t getting my full attention, and she grabs my ears with both hands and says, “ME! I’m the center of your universe!” … even now I can hear a slight “meow” to her voice.

I saw much of Dana in the mannerisms of the beast. It would approach strangers with wild trust and offer its affection and friendship. Yet it withdrew at the hint of disapproval, even to the point of turning a cold shoulder and appearing angry.

It had a knack for tripping my trigger … knocking over a glass, jumping on counters, and, did I mention, waking me at 4:30 in the morning!

But, when I was angry enough to throw the beast through the window, it would reach up with its furry little furry paw (you’ll need to ask Dana about the “furry little furry” line) and stroke my face. Where, I ask, did it learn to do that? The affection it demonstrated at times was definitively more dog-like than many dogs I’ve known.

Dana’s own struggles with her self-confidence, with emotions, with hurt and pain … have all been mirrored to one degree or another in the feline monstrosity.

Monstrosity? Yes, the word was chosen carefully, for the beast pursued its own ends, constantly tried to escape, terrorized the dog, and stole entire chicken strips from my dinner plate! While it offered affection and sought attention, it did so on its terms. I realize that’s par for the course for cats, but the analogy of being an extension of Dana continues.

You see, when Dana and I first dated, we would have wonderful visits, and … not … so … wonderful … visits! We fought and angered one another as we walked through the minefield of past baggage and ingrained habits. At times I represented an extension of her past, and she lived her old fears and defenses in front of me. And in her most cat-like moments, she offered affection and attention, but she was inclined to do so on her terms.

For so long, she was a woman torn by her past. She tried to escape pain, terrorized others in acts of self-defense, and probably stole chicken strips when people weren’t looking.

But something changed shortly before I met her several years ago. Something broke inside as God crushed her life to bring forth a sweet wine. As I mentioned, we had our difficulties through dating, and perhaps, if she ever lets me invade her blog again, I’ll share some of those with you. But what I saw in our good times was irresistibly attractive … she trusted me, heard my worst sins, cried, laughed, talked (wow, did she talk!), and wove a web that I couldn’t untangle even if I wanted … which I don’t.

We share a level of honesty and trust that is alien to me, or at least it was. She knows that she is loved and understood without question. When she tells me she respects me and admires me as a man, I believe her and don’t feel manipulated. When she tells me her fears and misgivings, I know there are no hidden agendas, only someone I love baring her soul before me. When she expresses anger toward me (and she’s VERY good at that), I know she’s upset and I know exactly why … no guesses, she tells me.

And when she stood in the kitchen yesterday and cried on my shoulder because her cat was missing, I knew how much she was hurting. Some part of her ran out the door with the beast into the unknown … some part that longed for old pains because they were familiar. You see, the analogy she drew with the cat and dog very much tells the story of her own metamorphosis. Perhaps in some way that only God can see, it was time for the cat to go. Perhaps the cat has been a living metaphor.

If it comes back, we’ll rejoice, knowing that something has changed.

If it doesn’t, then we’ll move forward with a greater appreciation for what the creature taught us, and showed us about ourselves. Even the daughter appreciated the greater truth as she lectured the dog on not leaving his loving home for “the lie” of freedom outside.

I’m not glad to see the cat gone, but breaking the analogy only slightly, I am so glad to see what my wife is today, as opposed to what she was in the past. She is the most wonderful creature I’ve ever met. I love every laugh and every sob that escapes her lips. She changes me daily, helping me be the man I never was before. THIS is what love truly is … and, in some small way, the cat helped us see that.

We fought, this beast and I …

With Devoted Love, Sandy the Dog

Hello there, fellow blog readers!  This is Sandy the dog, here to bear witness to my master's honor and good nature.

First, let me tell you a little bit about myself...

Before I came to live here in paradise, I lived a life of unspeakable struggles.  Suffice it to say, my new master found me locked up in jail, weak and covered in blood sucking fleas.  My master came to my rescue, even though I didn't deserve it.  I didn't earn the right to be saved, she just loved me from the moment she laid eyes on me and immediately decided to bring me here.  She took me to a place where they washed me white as snow (almost).  She covered me with a liquid that not only took the fleas off of me, it kept any new ones from being able to attach themselves to me.

I quickly came to trust my master and know that she loves me with all her heart.  She would never do anything to hurt me, and only wants what's best for me.  I didn't understand everything she wanted from me at first...but because I love her, I want to please her, and want to follow her commands.

My playmate, the cat, doesn't understand the rules are put in place to protect us.  He thinks he is the ruler of his own destiny.  The other day he decided he'd be better off outside the protection of the master's home so he ran away.  My master sits by the window all day and night looking for the cat, waiting for him to return.  Oh the party we'll have if (I hope it's "when") he decides to come back.

See, the thing is, I've lived out there, and I know how much better things are here.  I know I can trust my master to continue to love me.  I believe my master is good and would never do anything to hurt me.  Because of my love and my trust, I can relax within the boundaries she has set out for me.

There are times, like when we're on a walk, that I want to test those limits.  I try to run faster than she will allow me, but she gently reminds me that's not acceptable.  One day she gave me my way and let me run up to a fence.  There was a dog barking on the other side-laughing at me for being on a leash, telling me I should be able to run free.  I ran up to the fence to see for myself what his world looked like....and, do you know what he did???  He BIT my nose!!  I realized instantly, he had not wanted me to see he was being held in a yard.  He wanted me to think he had the whole world at his feet, but he didn't.  He had boundaries of his own, even if he wasn't enjoying his comfortable freedom.

That experience taught me that my master wasn't telling me "no" just to suck fun out of my day.  She only tells me "no" when what I want to do will cause me harm, or will cause someone else harm, in some way.   I know that if I listen to her, and obey her, she will pour out her love to me.  I will have all my needs taken care of, and I will enjoy a comfortable life right by her side.

When I cross over my limits, some thing bad usually happens to me or to someone or something else.  My master told me not to chew up my toy...  When I did, I didn't have another one to play with.  If I had just played with it like she tried to tell me to, I would still be enjoying it.

Unlike the cat, I choose to trust, and have faith in, my master's love for me.  I want to please her and do everything I can to obey her directions for my life.

The cat liked to eat...a lot.  He would eat all of the food our master would give us, and then he would beg for more.  He would sometimes even try to eat my food!  One time he got into a food bad and ate so much he was sick, literally sick.  You would think that would be enough to deter him from doing that again....but, no, he was back to begging for more food the very next day.  Now, I can't say I've been perfect in this area, but I believe I'm getting better at realizing my master knows what's best for me and only wants good things for me.

I put my trust in my master

I sure hope the cat comes back, I miss my play mate.

Zorro Was Here


My slaves call me Zorro the cat, my real name is King Majesty on Highest.  I've hacked into my head slave's blog to tell you the real story before she has the chance to slander my good name.

I was living the high life in my kingdom, when my former slave became ill and wasn't able to meet the expectations I laid out for her at the beginning of her serfdom.  Due to her incapacitation, I allowed her to transfer me from of the stifling heat of my castle into the cool breezes of the outer world.

I decided quickly this new living arrangement suited me nicely.  I hunted wild game.  I slept in the trees and boldly scared off screeching winged monsters.  My slave continued her feeding obligation;  when I grew tired of hunting, a nice bowl of ready-made nourishment waited on my terrace for my enjoyment.

My love for this new life became tainted when a bath was poured on top of me from the sky and there was no hiding place, or soft dryness, ready for me at its end.  Lucky for my slave, a new applicant came along about the time I had grown weary of the excitement.

The hu-woman happily accepted the opportunity to have me in her midst.  She showed me around a new castle.  Liking what I saw, I agreed to allow her to serve me.  I explained the terms of her employment:
  • she would pet me, with both hands, at every moment other than the times she worked to prepare my meals, or clean my toilet; 
  • my food would be delivered at my calling, and available to me at every moment; 
  • I would sleep on the largest bed in my room (aptly named the "master bedroom"), and would graciously allow her to keep me warm by sleeping next to me.
Finally, I had the life I was meant to lead.  My new slave loved me (almost) as much as I demanded, although she could not seem to understand sitting on her bathroom throne did not absolve her of the requirement to pet me at my will.  Still, I rewarded her with my presence, and would purr my appreciation for her servitude.   When her memory of her obligations would lapse, I meowed my demands loudly, lest she made a habit of the forgetfulness.

One day my slave introduced me to a hu-man.  She explained to me she wanted to share the few minutes a day she had that were not devoted to my pampering with this  At first I wasn't sure this new arrangement would work, until he demonstrated both his willingness to bow to my greatness, and his allegiance to me, with catnip.  I accepted his loyalty and made sure the hu-man understood the terms of his co-employment with my slave hu-woman.

They brought me to a new castle, one I loved because of the great expances of space and large windows overlooking my new kingdom full of winged monsters who were there merely for my pleasure and amusement (as I'm sure they understood).

And slaves committed high treason.  They brought a canine creature into my castle without my preapproval.  Sure, they attempted to explain that, much like the aviary outside my windows, his presence was merely for my personal satisfaction...but I withheld my approval.  I watched and observed.  This animal was forced to live in a cage while my hu-woman and hu-man were out gathering my food.  He was forced to ask to go into the outer world to use the bathroom, even when the ice blanket covered the ground.  I, on the other hand, continued to have the run of the castle, and maintained my clean personal bathroom, which was available to me without slave notification.

The day I agreed to allow the canine jester to continue living in my castle, I made a grand display of my dominance by pouncing on him as he rested quietly on the slave seating area.  He accepted his place in my home and acknowledged my superiority with a yelp of subservience.

One day my slaves took me to a medicine man who had the nerve to say I was overfed.  He convinced them to feed me according to his directions rather than the terms of their employment.  I protested, loudly and I attempted to gather my own food every opportunity I could.   My pleas for justice went unanswered.

About the same time, the jester began to believe the slaves were the masters of the castle, instead of recognizing my status as the alpha.  He began to listen to them and even ((gasp...)) obey their commands for his obedience to them.  Couldn't he see my obvious superiority? 

These acts were nothing short of MY castle.

The other night I made the decision I would no longer allow my slaves, or my jester, to display this wanton behavior toward me.  I fled the confines of my castle.  I've been roaming my kingdom for two days now.  What a glorious feeling to know I have the world under my feet again.  My slaves have attempted to lure me back, and have continued in their feeding duties (leaving my food by the front door).  I want them to understand the seriousness of the offenses they have committed against me, therefore I made a personal pact not to return until they are willing to once again bow at my feet and give me everything in life I deserve.

This freedom I'm enjoying is exactly what I was looking for when I left.  Once again I'm able to hunt wild game, sleep under the stars, and feel the earth under my feet.  I even languished under a sky-bath yesterday.  Yes-sir-ee.  I love the joys of living off my land.  When my slaves realize how wrong they have been, and I believe they can agree to serve me in the manner I deserve, I'll return and allow them to beg me for forgiveness.  Until then I'm going to make them suffer without me.

In the mean time, if you happen to see me, feel free to give hand-outs.  While you're at it, you have my permission to apply to be my new slave.  I'll let you know if the quality and quantity of your worship suits my fancy.

Zorro the cat......OH, I mean King Majesty on Highest.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Cat...The Dog

Coming Soon....

An insightful post about how I used to live my life like the cat...

(He's sitting in a box of recipes...which has nothing to do with the analogy...)

And how I'm now living more like the dog...

(Notice the Bama shirt?!  Again, nothing to do with the analogy.)

I know you can't wait, right??


Friday, March 5, 2010

Using Faith to Conquer Anxious Thinking

.....I will write for ONE HOUR ONLY and then stop no matter where I'm at with this post....

I read an article in Better Homes and Gardens this morning that really got me to thinking (well 1/2 an article anyway...).  It was about changing negative thinking into positive thinking. 

I think there are (at least) two kinds of negative is an anxious thought, the other is more generalized negative thinking.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not really sure if I'd be classified as an optimist or a pessimist.  My best friend would probably call me an optimist.  She has told me in the past I'm one of the only people she knows who can put a silver lining on a funnel cloud!  At the same time, if you've read any posts on either of my blogs, you'd know I battle negative thinking all the time.  So, as usual, I write as an attempt to answer my own questions for myself--NOT IN ANY WAY as an attempt to point the finger at anyone who might be reading.

One other thing....I've read several blogs lately that have really struck a cord with me.  I've had a very hard time not commenting with 100% abandon.  I'm trying to remember that just because someone publishes a blog post, he/she might not want the same kind of "feedback" that I want.  Just to be VERY CLEAR---I want your feedback.  If you have a thought while reading this post, please feel complete freedom to post your uncensored thoughts....even if you want to post them annonymously.  I am a firm believer that we are all here (on Earth) to learn from one another, and I welcome anything you have to say. get to the topic in my mind today.....

I think both anxious thoughts and generalized negative thinking are based in lack of faith, but I'm going to try to stay on the topic of anxious thoughts in this post.

God tells us to cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)...and that all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  To me, that doesn't mean we are to turn our anxious thoughts into positive thoughts, other than the positive thought that God has plans for our welfare and peace, not for evil, to give us hope in our final outcome (Amplified version of Jeremiah 29:11).  (I could list several other verses/passages, but I'll stop with these.)

There have been two school shootings in my city recently (one at a middle school, one boy shot-and killed-another boy; one at a college where a professor shot-and killed three other professors), and just yesterday a gun was found in the bathroom of another middle school.  I have naturally had concerns for my daughter's safety at school.  

On top of that, she has been sick with some strange symptoms.  (I don't believe they are related to stress from these shootings at all...maybe stress for some other reasons, but most likely something truly physical.)  The wonderful world of google has given me numerous medical conditions of which to be afraid.  

I believe it would be "wrong" for me to think my daughter is going to be perfectly safe at school, or that she is going to be completely fine medically.  The truth is, she really could get hurt, or sick.  AND, God would still be in control, and He would STILL be a good God, worthy of my praise.

Again, it's not my intention to be accusatory of anyone who might be struggling with anxious thoughts, or who has struggled in the past.  I'm just trying to build up my own personal faith.  

What if Job woke up the morning all of his children were killed with a "negative" thought that something bad might happen to them that day??  And, what if he told himself that all of his kids were going to be perfectly fine and healthy, and that they all would continue to prosper?  And what if, when they weren't, he cursed God for not protecting his family?  

I don't believe for one minute our lack of faith causes things to happen to us, and I don't think bad things are a punishment for anything.  Bad things happen because we live on earth...and God continues to be in control, and He continues to be good.

When I hear someone who is sick say, "well, I know I'm going to be healed because I believe in God and I have faith He can heal this"....I worry (if the intention is that God will heal them by Earthly standards).  God help me if I ever have to deal with that particular struggle, because it would be an extreme test of faith...but I have to believe I would be able to honestly pray, "Your will be done" and mean it no matter what the outcome.

So...what do I do with my anxious thoughts?  I cast them at His feet.  I remind myself, every day that has been ordained for me (and everyone else for that matter) was written into the book of life, and He knew every word on every page, before any of us were even born.  I hold on to, and have faith in, the belief that He will never leave me or forsake me.  No matter what happens, to me, my family, my friends...even if the moon crashes into the earth two years from now....I'm going to spend eternity in Heaven along with every one else who has accepted Jesus as their personal savior. 

Having said all that, I think it's obvious my personal struggle lies more with generalized negative thinking about myself.  Obviously that's a much harder topic to tackle because it doesn't just strike a nerve, it hammers and saws on the most delicate nerve I think I've got!!  But, lucky 1 hour timer just went off so I have other things that must get done.

As I said before, please feel the complete freedom to post any (and every) comment you have on this topic.