EXTRAordinary: A Day Worthy of Celebration

I just whipped up a sugar-free boxed cake to throw in the oven. At 11pm on a school night. After returning from a hair appointment and battling a raspy throat for over a week. Why? Well, in addition to nearing the start of our corporate Lenten fast (who needs chocolate for 21 days? rhetorical question, of course), I have so many reasons to be thankful on this standard, run-of-the-mill school night. Today was anything but ordinary.

This morning, I said goodbye to my family and stopped to get gas during my commute. In the back of my mind, I was aware that this was part of the franchise where a local teen lost his life a few nights ago. Before I arrived at work, my hubby called to tell me that our son’s school was being evacuated for precaution of a bomb threat. A few minutes later, my son called to tell me he was safe and that they’d be returning to a regular school day since the authorities had deemed the building safe within 3 hours of the evacuation. My son auditioned for All-State Honors Band this weekend and found out that he wasn’t selected. However, knowing that my child came home safe today meant more to me than him earning All-State designation. Some things you just can’t put a price tag on.

The old folks used to sing the hymn while tapping their feet on wooden floorboards, “Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God has done.” Today was anything but ordinary, and I am sincerely thankful. Overwhelmed with gratitude. Overflowing with praise and thanksgiving to the God Who is big enough to keep me and my family and everyone else in the palm of His hand and under the Shadow of the Almighty. My list of blessings is growing by the minute – how about yours?

Do take a moment to reflect on your own list…while I go pour a glass of milk, frost this cake, and sample my handiwork…because today was an EXTRAordinary day, truly worthy of celebration! After all, who needs a special reason for a warm slice of sugar-free chocolate cake anyway? On second thought, I’ll skip the frosting…this moment can be savored “as is…” and I’d better get to bed soon!

 “…but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me…”
(I Kings 17:13b)
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
(Psalm 69:30)
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
(Psalm 91:1)

© Copyright 2018 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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Lost…and Found!

This year, I’m challenging myself to do new things and embrace experiences outside of my comfort zone. Oh, the places I am going!
Though I tend to be directionally challenged and beyond map assistance, this vignette is not about ME getting lost (this time) – read on, my friend…

Memories of MPLS Feb. 2018

A fond memory from my first trip to Minneapolis in February – when I discovered the outdoor covered waiting area for the light rail was equipped with a HEATER! #euphoria #elation #southerngal

This past Monday, I found myself flying for work to a Midwest a city I’d never visited. “Welcome to Minneapolis!” the pilot announced as we prepared to land. “The current temperature is 0 degrees…” I don’t know what else he said after that; I must’ve blanked out, because in my southern belle mindset, ZERO is not a temperature. It’s a level of tolerance, but it’s definitely not a temperature. So after grappling with the decision of whether or not to get off the plane (I did), experiencing zero degrees for myself (I don’t need to do that again), and surviving the cold to joyfully return two days later to 60+ degree February weather in North Carolina (with much gratitude), I was grateful for all of the layers of outerwear that helped keep me from becoming a popsicle. I probably looked like a 5-foot tall Minnesota Yeti (do those exist?), but I wasn’t there to make a fashion statement – I wanted to stay warm. Mission accomplished.

On this sojourn into the wintry tundra, I’d taken my Isotoner gloves (given to me by my dearly departed grandmother, maven of classic style), so not only are they functional (and insulated!), but they have sentimental value because I’ve had this personalized gift for (at least) a decade. My gloves arrived home with me, safely tucked into the pockets of my fur-lined winter parka affectionately dubbed by my hubby as “the mini-bear.” I wore “the mini-bear” to Bible Study on Wednesday, and when I reached into my pockets after service concluded, I gasped when I pulled out only one. I feverishly dug around for the matching glove, asking people who sat near me if they’d seen a black glove lying around, and felt my heart sink as I retraced my steps to the car, seeing no lone glove laying on the pavement. Grrr…what good is one glove?

Anyone who knows me is aware that I react in similar manner when a sock in my house is missing its mate (baffling – if two went into the washing machine, how can only one come out of the dryer? Is there a sock-eating monster hiding in my laundry room???). As I continue to explore the conspiracy, I’ve started pairing my own socks with a safety pin before tossing them into the hamper – this has brought me some semblance of sanity from the mysterious disappearances. But this wasn’t a sock; this was the set of gloves given to me by my grandmother – and I desperately wanted to find the match. Thursday, it was so warm that I didn’t need “the mini-bear,” and I tried to console myself that maybe the glove would miraculously turn up before it got cold again in a few days. By Friday, I wasn’t sulking about my unfortunately misplaced glove, and had somewhat resigned myself to the fact that I’d enjoyed the pair for over a decade, so if I needed to purchase another set of gloves, I was in a position to do so (hey – making lemonade from lemons, right?).

Saturday morning, as I dressed to take my children to a science enrichment program, I put on my comfiest pair of grey sweatpants, reached in to straighten out the bulky pocket lining gone awry, and lo and behold if I didn’t feel my long-lost glove! I squealed with glee and ran to proclaim the glad tidings to the rest of my family (who stared at me flatly for two seconds before returning to their breakfast without a word, shaking their heads as if to say, “That’s just Mom.”).

Though they didn’t share my jubilation, what immediately flashed through my mind was how God must feel about the return of someone who belongs to Him. Do we diligently seek to save that which is lost and bring them back into His sheepfold? Do we have any idea of the sheer delight it brings His heart to see the return of someone restored to where they rightfully belong because they humbly receive the sacrifice made by His dear Son? May we realize that souls are more important to our Father than a missing glove or sock could ever be…and align our actions accordingly to consistently build the citizenry of His kingdom.

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
(Luke 15:4-10)

© Copyright 2018 by Kayren J. Cathcart

 

A Mother’s Day Rebuke…and a Reminder of God’s Promises

rebuke (noun) – reproach, reproof, scolding, telling-off, lecture, criticism
rebuke (verb) – reprimand, reprove, scold, admonish, chide

Now that the title has grabbed your attention (‘cuz we ALL know a mama or two – or more – who can put down her share of a good ol’ piece of rebukin’! LOL – but we know it was ultimately for our benefit), I’ll give you the backstory…because I always have a backstory, right? 🙂

One of the Bible apps on my phone featured Isaiah 32:17 as the daily scripture this week (and since after the doozie of a week it’s been, I was longing for peace, quietness, and assurance like you wouldn’t believe!), so I decided to read the scripture verse in full context of the chapter this morning during my personal Quiet Time. Granted, I wanted to sleep late while my hubby was out cutting grass at church, but the irresistible draw of opening the blinds to watch the lively bird sanctuary in my backyard inspired me to take advantage of this morning time of solitude. While the children were still sleeping, I seized the opportunity to have some moments of meditation with my Creator.

17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
(Isaiah 32:17-18)

Sounds wonderful, eh? Yep, it just put me into a mindset of tranquility. So on I read from the beginning of the chapter, and I was a little surprised at what I found…but I shouldn’t have been, because God is full of surprises! I found some verses that addressed women…how timely in light of this being Mother’s Day weekend.

“9 Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.
10 Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.
11 Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.
12 They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.”
(Isaiah 32:9-12)

 Here’s a mini-breakdown from my study time:

Verse 9 – women at ease and careless daughters are called to attention and away from slothfulness (hence, the title of this post); it’s not saying that most women are “trifling,” but we all know that being a godly mother requires hard WORK – and lots of it!

Verse 10 – vintage = harvest of grapes; lack of productivity or harvest has long-lasting repercussions

Verse 11 – we must repent and change ALL ways that do not glorify God

Verse 12 – the things real godly mothers are supposed to provide, produce, render, and give include and are represented by:

  • Teats – for nurturing and nourishment
  • Pleasant Fields – homemaking is a lost art that must be rediscovered and recultivated for the continued perpetuity of a civilized society
  • Fruitful Vine – productivity (at home, in business, as a wife, in child-rearing, etc.) entails and encompasses ACTIVELY working in and pursuing the things of God (because we’re all virtuous Proverbs 31 women, right? Right!) 🙂
  • If any of these components are missing from our “mothering,” deficiencies will be evident.

After seeing that analysis, I honestly couldn’t take much more and stopped reading to catch my breath after the wind was knocked outta me (“You said that for real, God?!”). But at the same time, I was overwhelmed with God’s miraculous love that gives mothers such a tremendous job, but it’s given along with His promise to never leave nor forsake us, and His promise to provide the wisdom and guidance we need daily. How comforting to know that we’re never alone as we face the challenges and joys of motherhood!

May your Mother’s Day weekend – and every day going forward – be filled with the joy of the Lord which is your strength. Do we get tired and weary sometimes? Absolutely! But we can walk in abundant blessings as we undertake every task and assignment associated with and required for building the foundation of future generations – no small feat, but one for which God has thoroughly equipped us (with His Word and His Spirit) to accomplish in excellence and for HIS glory. Be encouraged as you trust the Lord to guide you through every twist and turn along the journey of motherhood. I am! 🙂

“37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
(Luke 1:37-38)
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
(Psalm 1:3)
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
(III John 1:4)

© Copyright 2015 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Spammed!

spam – disruptive messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail; unsolicited, undesired e-mail; the e-mail version of junk mail

Thank goodness my self-esteem is intact enough today that I didn’t fall for a fake ego trip (again – LOL; it’s true what they say about being older and wiser…). I got a comment from an unknown poster complimenting my writing skills (go figure – that college degree is coming in handy) and blog layout (it’s a template, for heaven’s sake). Since it appeared to be a link to a bootleg online luxury products outlet (again, age and deliverance make a healthy combination), I decided to Google the link in the attempted flatterer’s signature instead of clicking on it. (I absolutely detest internet “cookies,” and the thought of getting unending pop-up ads for who-knows-what makes me livid). When that initial search didn’t give me adequate or specific details about my phony admirer from afar, I searched the text “I am really impressed with your writing skills” and lo and behold if that site wasn’t listed multiple times, and in various languages. My suspicious hunch was right. With a few clicks, I’d confirmed that the message wasn’t from someone who genuinely appreciated my literary prowess (ha!), but instead, it was a sham from someone who wanted to squat on my web property for free advertising. Kinda like realizing that you’ve gotten a photocopied “love letter…” and you feel just a bit less-than-special…Needless to say, I hit delete on that message.

Rather ironic, since I just retrieved an e-mail message I’d been awaiting since last month – only to find out yesterday that it had – unbeknownst to me – been relegated to my “Junk” folder – yikes! The sender had been awaiting my response…and I’d been completely unaware that the important information had been sent to my attention weeks ago. Then I felt horrible that my delay had impacted my ability to disseminate the information to other people who needed it. What a ripple effect – ugh!

The value of a message can be determined by the identity of the sender, right? Unwanted message gets received, desired message doesn’t get received…I’m no techno-whiz, but it’s nearly a herculean feat to keep track of my own electronic traffic these days. And who (or what algorithm) determines that I should get daily shoe sale e-mails in my Inbox, while important personal messages get condemned to the abysmal Junk folder?!?

How often do we get spammed in a spiritual sense? We’re having a great day, focused on the goodness of the Lord, then – WHAMMO! – something unauthorized and definitely not legit comes from outta the blue that sends us spinning off course. Saints of the Most High, we must be on guard for potential intruders and distractions that desire to run roughshod and ramshackle through our emotional and spiritual well-being, leaving overturned tables and broken vases in the wake of their forced entry. What disruptive, unsolicited, or undesired messages have been bombarding you lately? In these last and evil days, our recourse is in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We need His discernment, wisdom, guidance, and protection. I dare assert that He is the ultimate spam blocker!

“1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.”
(Psalm 61:1-4)

© Copyright 2014 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great…Emergency!

Was it a fall…or a jump?  Either way the children’s story goes, I’ve been told that most little boys have at least one Superman episode…to make a long story short, my son’s just occurred.

They say the best time to prepare for an emergency is before it’s necessary.  How do I know?  Because I got a call at work this past Thursday around 11:30 a.m. that my son had jumped from the top of the sliding board (or fallen from the monkey bars, depending on the iteration of the story) during a field trip to the park – and his arm was twisted, mangled, and – I was told – dislocated.  This was no time to practice the peace the comes only from resting in the presence of God – it was “go time.”  

Instead of relying on my less-than-stellar sense of direction, I printed a quick set of MapQuest directions to the hospital, and off I zoomed.  When my co-worker generously offered to drive me to my car (which I would’ve had to reach after a 2 block walk to the train, then a 10 minute ride), her quick thinking and thoughtfulness helped me arrive at the hospital 10 minutes before my child and his caregiver.  And it was a blessing that a parent chaperone for the field trip just happened to be a nurse…whose daughter had broken her little arm a few months prior.  It was no coincidence that this woman knew exactly what to do to calm my hysterical child.  God is so faithful!

Well, after 7 x-rays, a couple of shots of morphine, tears too numerous to tally, (and a partridge in a pear tree, it felt like), Emergency Room staff confirmed that both of his forearm bones (ulna and radius) were indeed broken.  And to think that my biggest decision that morning was what time I’d go get a mani/pedi…and wax the fuzzy caterpillars still (unfortunately) adorning my forehead.  As a parent, it’s a matter of priorities; I resigned myself not to think about the unruly, bushy eyebrows anymore.  However, I digress…

The entire ER staff at Levine Children’s Hospital was absolutely EXCEPTIONAL during the 6+ hours we were there.  My child had some pretty strong “dreams” as a result of the anesthesia (conscious sedation, I believe they called it) and it took him a couple of hours to shake off the grogginess enough to come home.  However, after eating a popsicle and evidencing that the drugs had worn off significantly, he was discharged until a 1-week follow-up appointment.  I had no complaints because I’m very aware that some mothers don’t leave the ER with their children in one piece.  As we headed for x-rays, we passed a young girl with her neck in an immobilizing brace; I know our story could have ended in such a different way.  Yet, by Sunday, my son was back to his jovial self – and sporting his blue cast, complete with signatures.

So goes another chapter in the “growing up” saga…for both child and parent.  Since my “fix the pain” threshold usually ends at “Band-Aid duty,” God definitely carried me through the day with His grace.  Considering that I was whining about pulling teeth for the past couple of years, I’m a witness that promotion truly comes from the Lord!  Before this set of circumstances, my honorary MD stood for “Mommy Dentist,” but I dare say that I’ve been elevated to “Mommy Doctor.”  I am grateful.

Thank the Lord that He is able to put us back together again!  May we daily walk in obedience to reap the rewards of righteousness and enjoy the protective benefits of yielding to God’s authority.

“Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.”

(Psalm 6:2)

 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

(Proverbs 3:7-8)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

broken right arm

The broken right arm - what a shape...

Which Way, Lord?

Hint:  Ask God first before making a major decision.  You’ll be glad you did…

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

(Deuteronomy 30:19)

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”

(Proverbs 3:5-7) 

 

“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”

(Proverbs 6:23)

“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.”

(Proverbs 10:17)

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

(Matthew 7:14)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Getting Dressed: God is at Work in Me

An ornament adorns; it is something one puts on.  This morning, before I was anywhere close to getting dressed, God spoke.  And I listened.  What a blessing for me.  Thought I’d share with you before running off to work…be abundantly blessed.

Get back to the core of who I created you to be – and let nothing and no one but Me define who you are today. You are a work in progress, and I continue to mold, make, form, and shape you for My good pleasure.  Nothing can contain you because I am in you.  Abide in the True Vine (John 15:5) and be nourished and replenished. 

Even as you wonder whether I’d stopped calling you because it had been a while since you sat at my feet and soaked in my presence, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I say to you that My character of unconditional love won’t permit me to stop calling you, longing after you, desiring to spend quality time with you.  I hear your heart’s cry – even through the clutter of the carnal abyss – and still it beats strongly for Me.  And that delights Me.  It is a good heart condition to have. 

Go forth and greet the day I’ve created just for you – with you in mind as I touched each bird to sing, each ray of sunshine to beam down where you’d be.  You can’t control unconditional love – that’s why tears are leaking from your lids, My daughter.  Even when you feel most miserable and wretched, My love reaches out to you.  Now can you allow My love to do the same thing through you to others?  That is evidence of true growth.

No need to chase the things of this world.  Seek first My kingdom…and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).  There is a tenderness inside you that not many know the depth of.  That’s why you try to cover up and protect yourself with humor or other “shells” – but there’s no need to put up a pseudo-tough exterior façade for Me; I know you – inside out, through and through.  And I love you still.

“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.”

(Jeremiah 18:3)

 

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

(I Peter 3:4)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart