She was a Feisty One…

Polgara; the Duchess Who Outranks Everyone
Polgara; the Duchess Who Outranks Everyone

She was born in a dumpster and rescued at about 2 days old. The first time we held her, her eyes were still closed and the umbilicus was still attached. Her mother was a feral cat, so a vet tech hand-fed the litter of three until she and her sister were ready to be weaned and come live with us. Her brother went to another home.

Polgara lived up to the inspiration and audacity of her namesake, the sorceress Polgara of David Eddings’ books. She was small-boned, dainty and a whole 8 pounds when she was full-grown.  She had a ‘tude like a mountain lion and took no sass. But she was also smart enough to know when to beat a hasty retreat if she was outweighed and outplayed.

In November, we noticed a bump on her left shoulder blade. In December, it had grown enough that we took her to the vet (or as she called it, “The Shoppe of Horrors”). It was diagnosed as being a fibrosarcoma, rare in cats these days with changes in vaccines. At almost 17 years old, we did not opt for surgery (she would have lost a whole leg!) or kitty chemo. We knew we had chosen kitty hospice, so we got a pain med for her from our vet, made sure she had cozy places to sleep, and spoiled her with treats and extra snacks.

The toasty spot - right in front of a heater vent in the kitchen!
The toasty spot – right in front of a heater vent in the kitchen!

As winter got colder, she looked for toasty spots around the house, choosing a sunny window, or putting her affected shoulder near the heater vent. We created cozy beds for her there.

This last weekend, we saw that climbing steps had become difficult for her. And if she tried to turn suddenly to the left, she would stagger and catch herself before completely losing her balance. She had stopped grooming herself as meticulously,  (probably because it hurt to twist and groom her back), and she wasn’t playing with pingpong balls, or doing her “nighttime crazies” romp around the house. On Monday, I took her to the vet… knowing that probably it was not going to be a round trip.

We miss her talking to us in the kitchen, snoozing next to us on the couch, and just being present here and there with her dainty, regal presence. While we love and enjoy our other two cats, she had a “purrsonality” that we miss. A lot.*

Life goes on. We are sad. It’s kind of a stop-and-gut-check moment, to appreciate the people and animals God puts in our path. And to celebrate the lovely, whimsical bit of Creation we share space with every day.

Quiet moments this morning... 2014-02-28 14.40.25


*I know many of you are not “cat people” or even “dog people.” We’ve had people tell us “Oh, it’s just an animal – why are you sad?” (And if you are thinking that, why are we friends? Just sayin…)



Light and Shadow

Over on my 365 photos blog, I posted this picture and a poem.

I walk through this area every day, many times as I’m headed towards my car, towards home and a “normal” life… something my patients long for, dream of, and dare to believe will be theirs some day. The sudden brightness and contrasting shadows resonated immediately.

There’s many occasions on the average “day-in-the-life” of  a chaplain where I walk from the happiest of moments to the saddest, almost in the same breath. It can happen going from bed to bed, room to room, or floor to floor. If I am not self-aware, I can be slammed with the sudden change from joyous light to deepest sorrow.

Today was a day of contrasts. Of hope. Of despair. Of pushing onward towards healing. Of giving up. I felt the push-pull on my heart. In both situations, God is there. Tonight I celebrate and mourn.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, your perfect love is casting out fear… This song came to me this evening when I was reflecting on my photo-of-the-day…

What I said in 2007

Hat tip to Seeking Authentic Voice for this idea… who writes: “Several blogs have posted the first sentences of the first post for each month of 2007.”

To save you from doing all the clicking and scrolling, if there’s a sentence that captures your fancy, just click on the month.

“We’re the new “ears” in town…”

Sometimes, you just don’t give a rip…


Just a few days… from Palms and Hosannas to loneliness and pain.

I may worry for naught.

OK – I confess – the first thing that came to mind was Paul Simon’s song Kodachrome!

NOoooo…. not THAT one!

Abbey of the Arts had a poetry invitation on her blog.


Oh my.



This was a fun review of a pretty amazing year.

Easy? Uh. NOPE. Impossible? It seemed that way, but I made it through, with a lot of God’s grace and many good friends and family (blogging and not.)