Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Crazy Cat Lady

Here's an article from The Barrow Journal that was published a few weeks ago.  Kitten season is upon us!!!

The Crazy Cat Lady

 Life without kitties?  I don’t think so!   For as long as I can remember,  the pitter patter of sweet little paws, sandpaper kisses, and purring lullabies have been part of my life.  Besides grandbabies, there’s nothing sweeter than a little fur ball curled up in my lap, snoozing after a hard afternoon of frolicking about the house.

Currently there are three kitties who share my home.  Why do I have three kitties?  Because I can’t afford four (or a hundred!) I could so totally be The Crazy Cat Lady.  I want them all.  I had to stop following the Humane Society pages on Facebook, because I worried about the kitties finding homes, and I’m sure my friends grew tired of me always posting pictures of kitties who needed homes. 

While there are many factors that determine the active kitten season, it seems that spring and summer are the busiest intake times for the shelters.  And guess what… spring is right around the corner. 
There are beautiful breeds from which to choose for those who are looking to buy a fancy cat.  Of all the cats I’ve had, there were two that I actually paid money for.  Yes, they were gorgeous specimens of fine breeding, and I loved them dearly.  But, in reality, they were no more special than any other cat I’ve had – including the ones with torn and tattered ears, one with a paralyzed tail, and several who surely qualified for the Kitty Psyche Ward.  Bottom line, if it purrs, I love it. 

I’ve recently been amazed and delighted to find that there are folks in the area who are totally dedicated to the feral cat population, and are personally committed to these homeless kitties.  There was a story on one of the cat pages on Facebook about a woman who came into town for work, and stayed at a local hotel for a few days.  She discovered a sweet kitty living in the parking lot, and started feeding her.  The kitty would come out late in the evening, and after a few days, allowed her new friend to pet her. She had an obvious injury to one of her feet, and the lady wanted to save her. She reached out to this Facebook page, and several people got involved right away.  Someone volunteered to adopt her, if she could be caught.  Another person agreed to come to the site and capture her. This was an amazing story to follow.  The lady from out of town was so concerned about the kitty, that she stayed in Athens for an extra two nights, just to ensure that someone was able to rescue the kitty.   It took a village to save this little furbaby, and after getting the medical care she needed, she is flourishing in her new home. 

Kelly Bettinger is the awesome gal who captured the kitty.  She works with an organization called Campus Cats over at UGA.  I know she is awesome because she rescued that particular kitty in a matter of minutes, late one night, on her own time.   Kelly also drove to Statham one Sunday afternoon to help capture Dixie, one of my best friend’s kitties, who was scheduled for spay surgery the following morning.  Dixie is one of four kitties who “took up” at DJ’s house a while back.  Dixie got herself in the family way, as cats are prone to do, and gave birth to four beautiful kittens.  As responsible pet owners, DJ and David made sure to get all the kitties fixed, but could not for the life of them capture Miss Dixie.  After seeing the story about the parking-lot rescue, I hooked DJ up with Kelly, and she drove out and got Dixie caged in no time flat, enabling her to be transported for surgery. 

Yes, I love kitties, and I’d like to adopt all of them.  But these folks who get out in the field, give of their personal time to really make a difference… these are my heroes.  Perhaps someday I’ll have the time and resources to help, but until then, I’ll do my best to take extra good care of Cooper, Scout, and Boo Radley, my sweet rescue kitties.

With kitten season just around the corner, please consider several ways in which you can help the overpopulation problem:   Adopt a kitty of your own for a delightful addition to your family!   Yes, there is an adoption fee, but your kitty will be totally vetted, fixed, and microchipped.  It’s a great deal!   You can also help control the feral population as well, by notifying a company called Altered Feral State, who will trap, fix, and return feral cats.  For more information about this organization, you can call the Pet Smart store in Winder.  I’m not sure how far out of Athens the Campus Cats folks are able to provide service, but please contact them for information, or volunteer to help.  They are making a huge difference in the Athens area, and would so appreciate your help.  There are many adoption agencies who work with pet stores in this area, as well as Humane Society offices located in most counties.  These folks are always in need of supplies, donations, and volunteers.  Add a bag of kitty litter, cat food, paper and cloth towels, or bleach to your shopping cart for donating.  Sponsor a surgery for a homeless kitty.  Call one of the agencies and schedule a play date for you and your kids to go into the shelters and play with the cats and kittens.  They need to learn socialization with people to help them be better candidates for adoption. 

I’d love to be The Crazy Cat Lady and have a house/yard full of kitties.  I’d love to save them all.  But I can’t.  However, I recently saw a poster that said “How can you save 100 cats?  Spay or neuter just one.”  

There’s room for lots more heroes out there, and there’s a superhero cape with YOUR name on it!  If you’re more of a dog than cat person, the same needs exist for our canine friends as well.  Please consider how you can make a difference in the lives of our furry friends.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It Takes A Village

With all that's been going on in our family recently, I've not updated here in quite some time.  Here is an article from the Barrow Journal that was published in late February/early March.  


It Takes A Village

When I was a kid growing up, I remember sitting out in the yard in folding lawn chairs, feet dangling from my short legs, with a newspaper spread open in my lap.  A handful of peas or butter beans piled high would keep me busy for an hour or so.  I loved the smell of the raw vegetables, - but not the sore thumbnails I’d have the next day!   I tried my best to emulate the way my grandmother would pop open the peas or butter beans, swipe her thumb through the hull, and hold the prize in the palm of her left hand.  She would shell a handful before tossing the bounty into a little white basin.  My small hands could only hold a few of the prized peas before they would spill out onto the newspaper.   Green beans were fun, too.  She’d pop off one end of the bean, pull the string down to the bottom, flip the bean over and snap off the other end, faster than Matt Dillon could draw a six shooter.  While still holding the strings in her right hand, she’d then snap the bean into several pieces, before depositing them into a different basin.  I was amazed at how quickly she worked, and how she could hold so much in her hands. 

An added bonus to the harvesting process was sharing the chores with friends.  We’d go over to Jackie and Roger Steed’s house, sit in their yard, and shell peas or shuck corn.  Or they would come to our house and help us shell a mess of butter beans.  The task was accomplished faster, and sharing in conversation made the time pass even more quickly.  I remember aunts and cousins sitting out in my grandmother’s yard peeling delicious, juicy peaches for canning.  They didn’t allow the kids to be around for that project, as there were sharp knives involved (and sticky fingers of children who would abscond with the bounty!)  We didn’t argue too much about being banned from the peach project, as we didn’t like the inevitable honeybee infestation that went along with peach canning.  But I remember how they enjoyed visiting together.  “It takes a village” is not such a bad statement, when viewed in this context.  Sometimes having the help of a “village” is the only way that we can get through the day.

So, what is this phenomenon of support?  We go about our daily lives, hopefully remembering to stop and be thankful for another day in which to live.  We face our challenges of meeting deadlines, managing personal finances, and striving to reach goals.  Whether employed or retired, for the most part, we are allowed to make choices to determine how we spend our free time.   Sometimes there just do not seem to be enough hours in the day, and we do well just to get things done, with hardly any free time at all.   There is very little yard-sitting with neighbors these days, and life moves at a much faster pace.  

For the generation above mine, the telephone revolutionized communication.  They no longer had to go down to the corner store, or the town square to hear all the latest local news – or discuss the news they heard on the radio or newfangled television sets.   They could just pick up the phone, and the operator would ring the neighbor.  Before long, we were able to dial our own phones and speak with people all over the world.  My generation saw the evolution of an untethered phone without wires, and today's generation has seen further evolution to mini-phones/computers that fit in our pockets!! Oh, the wonders of technology!

Communication is at an all-time high these days, what with social media, electronic mail, Skype, etc.  Facebook is probably the “telephone” of this generation, in that it has totally changed the way we communicate.  With one click of a button, we can notify an unlimited number of people the news about what we ate for dinner (and can post a picture of it, too!),  share pictures of our grandkids, post about our political views, or anything else we choose.  We can keep up with the latest news about our favorite sports team, be reminded of birthdays, and send quick greetings without going to the store for a card, or paying for postage stamps.  (And then remembering to put it in the mail.)  The World Wide Web gives us access to up-to-the-minute news, right at our fingertips, and the Information Highway has all but ended our need for encyclopedias and dictionaries.  

Social media also allows us to learn of unfortunate events, and troubled times that our friends are facing.  I see almost as many posts asking for prayers as I do any other types of posts.  This is a fabulous tool, and a very efficient way to get folks praying without having to utilize a phone tree or prayer chain that requires someone to stop what they are doing, look up phone numbers, and call the people on the list.  Sometimes a rapid response is needed!

My family experienced this first-hand a few days ago.  We were in the ER with my dad, and within moments of a few texts and phone calls, our friends and family were quick to rally with prayers of support.  A couple of posts on Facebook by my brother and I have resulted in hundreds of people praying for our dad.  There’s our village!!!  Our support group!! 

In just a few hours, I’ll be sitting in an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by the whir of machines, and the sounds of busy nurses going about their tasks.  My family, and many friends, have sat, slumped, and tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to sleep in those uncomfortable chairs over the past few days.  We are not unfamiliar with this.  As with most of you, we’ve sat at the bedsides of our family members, prayed lots of prayers, and  waited (and WAITED) for the doctors to make rounds. We’ve taken the calls from friends offering prayers and appreciate every one of them!  We have such a great support system from friends in the community and church family.  We totally feel the love, and we are blessed by each person who calls, visits, texts, or posts on social media.   

The love and support of friends is an extra measure of healing potion, and plays a huge part in the healing process.  No doubt, we’ve all been on the receiving end of such power.  Sometimes, when I see a prayer request, I am tempted to just keep scrolling and pray for the person later.  But then I forget.  There’s a reason that I’m seeing that post at that particular moment of the day, so it is easier to say a prayer for the situation right at the moment.  For all the people who have sent words of encouragement our way, we know there are many others who have prayed and sent happy, healing thoughts, but did so quietly. 

Having been the recipient of these blessings over the past few days, and experiencing the outpouring of love, I will never again minimize the power that my piddly little prayers contain.  If you are a praying person, always remember that even a quick “bless this person” prayer is precious, and has the power to make a real difference.

And about my dad – he’s a trooper, and has rocked the first part of the battle like a boss.  We believe our prayers, and the prayers of our friends, have made all the difference in the world.  The moral of this story:  You are important.  You are a vital part of the lives of those around you.  Consider it an honor to pray for them, think kind thoughts, offer your support, bake some brownies, pick up the newspaper from the driveway, or many other small acts of kindness you can show.  It matters.  So much.  And you will be blessed to have been a part of the village. 

Edited to add:  Going on six weeks since this article was written, I'm happy to report that Dad is continuing to improve, and is receiving intensive physical and occupational therapy.  We are hopeful that he will return home to us soon, and can continue the long road to recovery in the comfort of home.  We have awesome neighbors and friends who are traveling this journey with us, and we appreciate our "village" so very  much.  Special thanks to Chris Humble and Perry Barton, for getting Dad's garden up and going this year.  He won't be able to work in it this time around, but these wonderful men know how much my dad loves his garden, and they know being able to enjoy watch it grow and enjoy its bounty will be very helpful in the healing process for him.  We love our community so much, and are so grateful for all who have shown kindness to us!!!!!