Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cat Boy

A little over 5 years ago, Tim took me to the humane society to pick up the best Christmas present ever.  He was a blue eyed Siamese, Balinese mix named Fluffy....and that was a stupid name.  So, we brought him home and named him Jack.
Over those five years, there were countless times that I laughed until I cried at the things he did, the foods he ate and the places he would hide.  He was always good for a snuggle and a kitten hug and big purrs.  He liked to beg for my food and sometimes, just take it out of my hand when he felt he needed to.  He loved to escape and hide under the porch and scratch himself on the bush in the front yard.  He loved to torment Lily Belle.  He loved to play with his favorite toy Fish.  He would often sprint from room to room to room before sliding across the tile in the kitchen right into the food mat...consequently spilling all the food.  When Tim would go on hunting trips, Jack never left my side.  He slept in front of the bedroom door and would wait by the back door for Tim to get home.  Often times, even before we got a king sized bed, we would wake up to find Jack stretched out, under the covers, with his head on a pillow in between the two of us.  If he wasn't sleeping there, he was sleeping on my pillow, wrapped around my head or stretched out on Tim's back with his paws on Tim's shoulders.  He loved our fireplace insert in our entertainment center.  He spent cold nights lying in front of it and spent the days trying to figure out how to get the cat inside of it out...(his reflection...) He was patient and funny and loving and affectionate.
Then, he got sick.
I'll spare you the details, but to the very last day, he was still affectionate and loving and snuggly, even if he didn't feel good.
Taking my son to the vet that very last time was the hardest thing that I have ever done.  Ever.  And I've done a lot of hard things.
I miss him every day.  I miss seeing him run to the door when I get home.  I miss having him jump on my lap at the dinner table.  I miss him standing on the counter trying to get into the crockpot.  I miss him sitting in between the shower curtains.  I miss him.  I know that he's sitting in Heaven with my Grammy being scratched and coddled and waiting for me to get there so that he can run to the door to meet me, but it doesn't make it any easier.
I never thought that a simple trip to the humane society could change my life.
We went there to rescue him...
And it turned out that Jack rescued me.

love you forever, little cat boy.

Friday, February 28, 2014

He's not "Just a Cat..."

A little over 5 years ago, my husband gave me the greatest Christmas gift any girl could ever ask for.  He called me at work and told me to meet him at the Humane Society.  I was OVERJOYED.  The minute I walked in and saw his little furry face, I was in love.  I had never seen a cat so fluffy with such bright blue eyes and a big, bushy tail.
I put him in his carrier and put him in the front seat.  As I put the car in reverse, he started to cry, because I'm sure he was frightened.  So, first rule broken...and I opened the carrier and put him on my lap and drove all the way home.
We took him inside and let him out.  He was timid...but quickly became comfortable with his new home.  Tim and I decided that the name they gave him at the humane society(Skye or Fluffy...depending on who you talked to..) just wasn't going to work.  My favorite movie at the time was Pirates of the Caribbean, so we named him Captain Jack Who Eats Sparrows Jennings.
Everyday when I came home for lunch or from work Jack ran to the door to meet me.  He purred, played, slept on my pillow, snuggled between Tim and I at night under the covers, begged for food, ate off of my spoon and lots of other sweet things.
I especially remember the time that the Humane Society came to do their quick home visit.  Tim and I were having a lazy Saturday and just hanging out in our jammies when the doorbell rang.  We answered the door and were surprised to see the ladies from the humane society.  I think one of them was secretly wishing that we weren't treating him well so she could take him back.  She called him Fluffy with no response.  He took one look at them and proceeded to run around our living room jumping on everything and showing off.  I think he was trying to tell them that he loved his new house and please go away.  They never came back.  
Jack has always been there when I've been sad.  He protects me (or thinks he does) when Tim is away.  He loves sitting by the stove when I cook bacon because he knows I'll drop some on purpose for him. He loves to snuggle and often sits on a certain husband of mine's lap.  He loves to pick on his sister.  All the time.  He loves to play hide and seek.  Yes, I'm aware that he's a cat.
About a month ago, I noticed his weight loss.  Jack has always been a BIG cat.  And he seemed...skinnier.  So, I took him to the vet and after a HORRIBLE experience with a TERRIBLE vet...we found out that it could be one of three things...cancer, pancreatitis or a stomach/bowel problem.  I hoped for the best and treated the stomach ick thing...for two weeks...to no avail.  And now...my cat is dying.  And my heart is breaking.  And I feel awful.
There are people out there that are suffering real losses...grandparents, friends, sisters, mothers, family members.

To the rest of the world- Jack is just a cat.

To me, he is my child.
I love you, my little cat boy.

Lately

Hey.  Have you missed me?  Have you noticed my absence?
Not to worry, it's because I've been doing something else for a while...and I will be continuing to put my efforts there for the next few months...
I would love for you to check it out and share it with some people that need it.  It's a website for women like me.  Women that are childless and LDS and trying to work our way through it.  So, please...for now, have a look and I promise I'll be back soon.
Love!
www.childlessmormonsupport.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seeking Inspiration...

We've been talking a lot this year at church about ministering to the one, about that one lost sheep that desperately needs found.  I'll admit.  I'm kind of a coward.  I can do the paperwork part.  I can find them.  I can track them down...but when it goes to actually walking out my door and physically finding them...I'm a coward.
Sunday, my sweet friend Suzanne taught a lesson in primary about following the example of Jesus Christ.  She referenced a scripture found in Luke 15:4 - 6. 


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 neighbors saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.


I'm not going to lie.  I felt awful.  And it's been on my mind for days.  I'm the primary president.  I'm supposed to be the shepherd that sets the example and the standard for primary kids to follow.  I need to work harder.  But how?  And how can I ever find the courage to do it?  How can I be inspired enough to overcome my fear?


So, tonight, I taught piano lessons...and after my student left, I decided to sit and play for a while.  And while I was playing, I came across two songs that pierced my heart.  I wish I could explain the way I felt.  I wish you could feel it too.  I wish I didn't have to work because the fire has been lit.  I'm there.  I want to spend my days searching and finding and protecting my sheep.  Have a listen and hopefully, you understand what I'm about to say.






My Savior loves me enough that I know that He would come find me and I know that He expects me to love my sheep enough to go find them.  How can I not?  He would do it for me.  And because I want to be like Him, I will find them.  I will go, I will do, I will search and I won't quit searching until I find them.

I've also been thinking about how it must feel to be the "found sheep".  I know through personal experiences that it is a life changing experience.  To know that someone thinks enough of you and loves you enough to put in that effort to bring you back to the proverbial fold can change your world.  So, let us not find sheep because we're told to.  Let's not make this something to check off on our celestial to do list.  Let's do it because we love our Savior.  Let's do it because we realize that "the worth of souls is great".  Let's find them because we would each want someone to find us.

And to leave you with some inspiration...here is a quote from Prophet Thomas S Monson's most recent Priesthood Session talk, True Shepherds. (found here)

"The work will never be concluded until our Lord and Master says, “It is enough.” There are lives to brighten. There are hearts to touch. There are souls to save. Ours is the sacred privilege to brighten, to touch, and to save those precious souls entrusted to our care. We should do so faithfully and with hearts filled with gladness."


Friday, January 10, 2014

The Journey of a Thousand Miles...or something similar.

So, I've been doing some research to try and understand myself.  I've been reading a book called "Dressing Your Truth" by Carol Tuttle.  This book tries to help you make some sense of who you are and why you do, say and act the way you do.  A lot of it makes sense.  There are four types...and I am CLEARLY a type 1. ( Find your type here! )  Everything within that type describes me perfectly.  I am trying very hard to live my life that way.  However, in doing this research, I'm finding some things.  And I don't like it.
A type 1 personality is described as bright and airy.  Her goal is to have fun and to inspire others to have fun. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE to have fun.  I can have fun doing almost anything.  I can often be found daydreaming, doodling, creating, singing, dancing (badly) or other childlike things.  I have always been that way.  Always.  Want an example?  Here you go...
eating cookie dough..while covered...with Grandma.
Shocking.
Having fun is a double edged sword.  Because I am always on the lookout for fun, I live a somewhat indulgent lifestyle.  I like cookies because they're good.  I like snow cones because they're fun.  I like Famous Dave's because it's fun.  And tasty.  If something isn't fun to me, I don't want to do it and often don't actually do things that I think are lame. For instance, things that are necessary in life aren't always fun.  Cooking, cleaning, exercising, planning, organizing, being responsible, etc.  I am an excellent party planner - but I hate to clean it up.  Does that make sense?

So, I've learned all these things about myself...and I need to find ways to make adult life FUN.  My job isn't ever a problem because I love the customers that I work with and it's FUN to talk to them. Primary is FUN.  I need to make exercising, planning, cooking and eating right FUN.  Ugh.

I love to be the funny girl in the group, but let's be honest shall we?  I'm the funny one because the slots for the smart one, the organized one, and the pretty one are taken.  I don't mind being the funny one, really...but I need to be the healthy one.

Today, my husband said to me- We need to get healthy because I want you around in 30 years.  And I got scared.  And worried.  And I started thinking...do I really want to be skinny?  If I'm skinnier, I'll probably be prettier and then will people actually listen to me or think I'm funny?  Is the only reason that I'm funny because I'm chubby?  What happens when I lose my chubby shell and I can't hide behind it anymore?  What happens when I can't make fat girl jokes?  Will people still like me?  

I've had to be friendly and funny and personable because I've never been the skinny, pretty one.  I had to cultivate other skills to make friends.  I am honestly worried that if I am skinny...I'll have to start over.  

Now, I know how stupid that sounds.  I do. But this weight loss journey is scary.  It's who I am.  It's what I do.  It's my spot in life.  I like hiding in my chubby girl suit.  It's safe here.  People can't hurt you here. They don't necessarily judge you for all your failings...they just judge you because you're a fat kid.  That's so much easier than what people COULD judge me for, right?

However.  I love Tim more than I could ever love myself.  And because I love him, I will do this.  I will be healthy.  I'm not aiming for skinny.  I'm not aiming for gorgeous.  I'm aiming for healthy and for self acceptance.  I don't want to be this girl ever again.  (except for the meeting Reba part...that was freaking cool.)

So, please.  Be patient with me.  The journey of a thousand miles (or a hundred pounds) begins with one step.  
Ready.
Set.
Go.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Reflections

Well, here we are again.
Christmas.
Yup.

We have had an amazing year.  We've lived, we've loved, we've traveled, we've served, we've worked, some of us have hunted and fished and some of us have made candy and painted snow flakes.

Most of all this year, though, I've learned.

I've been reflecting on the past year, trying to figure out what to write.  And this is what I came up with.

Our primary theme this year was "I Am a Child of God".  Seems simple, right? Something that most of us know and have heard all of our lives, right?

Today, we did a recap of the theme for the end of the year in primary.  I read the kids the same story today that I read them on the first Sunday of 2013 - "You Are Special" by Max Lucado.  I know it's not your typical LDS book but it teaches a valuable lesson.  And today, as I was reading it and looking at each of these beautiful, kind, good children...these words hit home.


“Remember, you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes.”

I am not a mistake.  I am not broken.  I am not worthless. I am not less of a person because of my weaknesses.
As we discussed this, we came to the conclusion that our Heavenly Father made us who we are on purpose.  We are who and what and where we are supposed to be.  We are here to learn and to grow from our experience.  It's okay that we're not all the same.  Each of us has a unique talent and a spot in this world to fill that no one else can. I asked each child what their special talent was and got some amazing answers.  And then they asked me...I honestly could think of something for every person in that room...(about 30 kids and some adults...) and couldn't think of anything for me.  Until I looked at those faces looking back at me.  No one can love them like I can.  I'm really good at loving people.  And when I said that...they all agreed.  And the more we talked, the more I realized that I was not teaching this lesson for them.  This lesson was for me.

I wish I could tell you how strongly I feel about this.  I wish you could see how much it has affected me.  I wish you could know what I know.  Some of you do...and some of you don't.  I wish I could bring each of you to primary with me and let you learn what I have learned.  No one can be Katie Jennings like I can.  No one can do the things that I do in the way that I do them. No one can love people like I can. I have struggled this year with finding my place in this world...and I think I know where it is.  It is in the heart of the Shepherd's fold- loving, fellowshipping and teaching.

I wish I could shout from the rooftops that I am a Child of God and I am special.  I wish I could look each of you in the eyes and make you know that you are too.  But...since I can't...
This will have to do.
You are loved.
You are special.
You are a Child of God.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Friends That Aren't So Imaginary Anymore.

I have been trying very, very hard to be more outgoing. I used to be CRAAAAZY outgoing and as I've gotten older, I've become incredibly self conscious.  I'm not crazy about the way I look, the way I talk, the things I lack or the person that I'm not.  In fact, you could almost say that I loathe those things.  Yes.  Loathe. Because I am a self imposed introvert, I don't have to see those things.  I don't have to notice that I didn't go to college.  I don't have to compare my hair to anyone else's.  I can wear crazy mismatched things and it's okay ... in the comfort of my own home.  I can love cats and think in song titles and movie quotes and laugh at myself for hours. I can wear my winter hat with my pajamas and some mismatched slippers...which is what I'm doing now.  I can dance.  I can sing. When I'm at home....I'm okay with me.  I don't have to put on the facade that I love my fabulous life.  When someone on tv starts discussing things that make me uncomfortable, I can change to ESPN and feel okay about it.

I have to admit, this year has been a journey for me.  At first, I was a displaced caregiver trying to find a purpose.  Then, I became Super Mormon Primary Woman....and I still try to fill those shoes every Sunday, but it can't consume my life.  And then...I found them.  I found a group where I belong.  I found women like me.  These women struggle with the thing they lack at times and celebrate it at others.  They have careers.  They have hobbies.  They understand.  And thus, the journey to self acceptance began for the first time in my adult life.  We talk-figuratively.  We cry.  We laugh.  We understand and most importantly, we accept.  We build and support.  We comfort. We empathize. We pray for each other and for ourselves.  I'm usually not a huge supporter of sharing information with people I've never met- but they are different.  I could not have made it through this year without them.  Y'all know who you are.  Heavenly Father must really love us an awful lot because He made us all awesome...and then led us to each other.

I know this post is incredibly vague, but for right now, it has to be.  I am just so grateful that Heavenly Father puts people in our lives for a reason. I'm glad He put us here and gave us hearts to feel and understand.  I am grateful for a little Facebook group of 23 women from all over the world that helps me to not feel like such a misfit.  I may never meet some of them, but I am glad to know them. I am glad for their part in my life and in my journey.

And all because I figured out that I am Christina Yang.