The Rescue Cat that Rescued Us (from getting a Dog) – Part Two

Continued from Part One

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It was just a random weekday.

I doubt I had any plans for even our meals that day, let alone rescuing someone.

But that’s the thing about rescues.

They’re not really planned.

It’s just that someone needs saving and…whatdoyaknow?…you’re nearby.

Early that afternoon, our neighbor shared a photo on Facebook of the tiniest kitten that had stumbled its way onto her back porch. “Anyone know whose kitten this is?” she asked. It was starving and scared and, since she is very allergic to cats, she was hoping to find its home quickly or get it to a place where someone could care for it without sneezing all the way to their death.

Seeing that tiny little furball on my screen, I dashed out of my chair like a lunatic, thinking…

what?

What WAS I thinking?

I don’t even know.

It was something like…

“KITTEN!!!”

Looking back, it’s like the 6-year old girl in me took over, even though, if you had me in an interrogating room with a lie-detector test today, it would probably come out that I don’t reallllly like cats.

That 6-year old girl in me, however?

KITTENS!!!

She loves them.

And so, if you’ll remember, does my 6-year old daughter.

And speaking of her, I immediately called out her name…again, I don’t know WHY…with a mixture of panic and excitement in my voice.

“Get your shoes on!!” I urged her.

“Why?” she asked.

“I just need you!!” I said. “Hurry!!!!

Frantically throwing shoes on our feet, we dashed onto the front porch where my husband was visiting with a friend. Leaning down to where he was sitting in the rocking chair, I murmured something in his ear, explaining where we were going and why.

Do you know what I said?

I said “KITTEN!!!”

I just wanted to see it, really. To let my kitten-loving daughter see it. We’d just look at it and maybe…well, there was no maybe, because there was no PLAN. We were just going, blindingly, toward KITTEN.

My husband seemed to interpret my thoughts…he’s really good at that…and gave me to the go-ahead to see what we could do to help. At the very least, we could bring the little baby over to our non-cat-allergic house and take care of it until its owner could be found.

We were quickly met with a big problem, though.

When our neighbor went out onto the back porch with us to show us the kitten…

the kitten was no longer there.

“KITTEN!” I inwardly yelled. “Where are you??”

“I can’t believe this,” she said. “It’s been meowing back here since 6:00 this morning! I mean, it was just here! But it was extremely skittish, it might be hiding somewhere…”

We started snooping around the porch and backyard, but to no avail.

“Kitten” was GONE.

My girl and I shrugged in disappointment and had just picked up the turtle we found on our way over to head back home (did I forget to mention a turtle? We also brought home a turtle that day…) when our neighbor, miracle of miracles, spotted a flash of fur in one of their ricks of wood.

Putting the turtle back down, the three of us surrounded the wood pile, trying to coax the kitten to come out.

And our brave friend was just sticking her hand into the wood pile to snatch it when her husband yelled at us from the garage across the yard, “Hey!!! The cat’s over here!!!”

We all slowly looked at each other with wide eyes.

We STILL don’t know what sort of animal she was about to drag out of the woodpile, but we don’t really care to know!

Leaving that mystery critter behind, we high-tailed it to the garage only to discover that the kitten was…oh the drama and excitement!!…in the hood of their car!!

Now we were in a real predicament.

I had to call in the troops.

I waved down my husband and his friend, and soon, our entire family was over there. Have you ever been surrounded by five adults and four children who are about to save a kitten? It is VERY exciting. And also very loud, what with all the ideas and opinions about how to save the kitten and “can we keep the kitten??” and so on and so forth.

Carefully, so as not to frighten the skittish kitten away, the menfolk opened the hood of the SUV, and there she was. The most frightened little kitten you ever did see.

SO frightened, in fact, that when my husband tried to slowly reach for her, she lunged deeper into the engine.

But quick as a whip, our visiting friend caught her by one paw.

The surrounding congregation broke out into cheers! We had a foot!

He dragged her gently out, and soon she was clawing onto his hand like…

well, like a scaredy-cat.

The rest, my friends, is a TOTAL blur.

I don’t know how…

I don’t know when…

I don’t know WHY…

I don’t know what was said and who agreed to what…

but by nightfall…

this was pretty much OUR cat.

Well, HER cat.

Said cat lives in our house now.

Her name is Chloe.

And she has a giant litter box in our tiny laundry room.

And a special, magical trashcan for cat poo.

And toys and jingly balls and tiny stuffed animals and all KINDS of stuff that I never really planned on having in my house.

But our kids are obsessed with her. And she’s insanely weird and hilarious. And, somehow, even though she drives me mad when I’m trying to clean the house, she reminds me of this beautiful picture of being helpless and marching hopelessly toward death and having someone big and kind and powerful reach down and pluck you up and give you a home where you are safe and loved. It’s kind of really, really beautiful to behold.

But mostly…

she’s not a dog.

So that’s really, really good.

~

Ah, cats. I have more Chloe stories to tell, and hope to do so soon. Until then, find us on Facebook and Instagram!

The Rescue Cat that Rescued Us (from getting a dog)

When our firstborn son turned six years old, we got him a dog.

It was a sentimental affair, for sure. I was pregnant and I was emotional and I ended up making it into a “moment” like no other. Sniffle sniffle. (See for yourself by clicking on the picture below.)

 

Then when our eldest daughter was six years old, for Christmas, we got her a dog.

Because we obviously weren’t thinking.

“Not thinking” is what happens when you are in love with tiny people who grow up so fast. All you know…all you can manage to think about, sometimes…is that time is flying by and you’ve got this window of life to do all the things that you want to do for them. Like, FOR INSTANCE, surprising them with a puppy on Christmas morning even though you just GOT a puppy two years ago.

Our little girl is a true dog fanatic, and a Basset Hound had been the dream of her little heart “for her whole LIFE”, she’d been telling us.

So I turned off my brain for the months of November and December and I made and sold buckets of granola to make sure we had that dog under the tree on the 25th.

I’m not gonna lie. It was a “moment”, too, also like no other.

I love it. “Can I sleep with it??” and then my favorite line from little sister, “Aww, why didn’t I get one?!” Precious, sweet, darling memories, even if we had to deal with a puppy after the moment had passed.

Well, as you know, we have four kids (outside of the womb, that is), and when two of those kids got a dog when they were six years old, rumors started swirling ’round these parts, namely, in the upstairs nursery.

For example, that getting a DOG when you’re SIX is the way we DO things, for all time, for every person.

Gulp.

Well, guess what?

Our third child turned six in May.

Did you know that, as you have more and more children, they turn six faster and faster? It’s true.

And for the entire year leading up to this most recent 6th birthday, the sibling group had been discussing what kind of dog the soon-to-be-six-year-old would be getting.

Not “if”.

“When”.

They’d even poured over books about dogs, researching the perfect breed.

And all the while, I quietly listened…

and also I inwardly panicked.

We can’t have THREE dogs!!!

Where are we going to put another dog?!

How much dog food are we committing to here??

We don’t have a three dog yard!!! And I don’t even think I have a three dog heart!!

Sometimes, when I wasn’t panicking, I was just a’thinkin’…

WHY are we even talking about dogs when her favorite animal is a CAT?

Does she even LIKE dogs?

Why don’t we get a kitten?

She has a kitten purse, kitten stuffed animals, kitten t-shirts…

She has no dogs!!! Just cats!

Finally, I broached the subject to my eldest daughter, earlier in the year.

“Can we talk about something and keep it a secret?” I asked her. “How do you think your sister would feel if we surprised her with a kitten and not a dog sometime this year?”

“Well…” she replied, “kittens ARE her favorite animal. But we’ve been talking about a dog so much that I don’t know…”

Ha! MY PROBLEM EXACTLY!!!!

Since that day, we whispered about this possibility behind the birthday girl’s back, mostly because my then 7-year old loves to whisper about secret things.

I wasn’t too worried about it yet, honestly. We’d had some major events on the horizon that had consumed my thought life (like a pregnancy and a husband going to Africa) and I figured that, once those upcoming hurdles were crossed, we’d get to the pet issue.

After all, the big kids didn’t get their first pet ON their sixth birthday, just sometime during their sixth year.

In other words, we had pleeeeenty time to figure it all out.

Or so I thought…

~

Stay tuned for Part Two, coming soon!!! 🙂

Sing the Bible

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the music of Slugs & Bugs.

It was VBS time, 2016, and though there are few busier times for a pastor’s family, my mind was preoccupied with the “Story Warren” website, an online resource that helps parents foster a holy imagination in their children.

I felt I’d stumbled into a secret tunnel that led me to a magical like-hearted community where children are treasured and imaginations are nurtured and God is glorified, all at the same time. And just when I thought I’d discovered all the faces and facets of this movement, I’d find another…and another! Writers! Poets! Musicians! Artists! Each delightfully using their gifts for the Lord.

I was atwitter and, as time allowed, would come back to read more — sometimes even during my breaks between VBS music classes.

Arriving home that night, I pulled the website back up to check out more of the recommended links…

and that’s when I landed upon the site of Slugs & Bugs.

It was a love at first sight moment. The artwork reeled me in, I think. A lightning bug playing a bulbous bugle? I’M IN!

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And though I was clueless about who they were and where they’d been all my life, I just clicked on the first video I saw. It was called “God Made Me“, and I wish you could have seen my kids’ ears immediately perk up, all across our house. In seconds, I was surrounded by children, and their eyes were lit up in my favorite way, and they were giggling, and I turned to my husband and resolutely said, “No offense to Lifeway, but this has to be our new VBS theme song.” The whales and the sea and the green and blue…it was simple and funny and quirky and it fit perfectly with 2016’s “Submerged” theme.

The next night, before learning our Lifeway songs, we played that Slugs & Bugs video for each class, and a current went through the room every time, whether it was the 5th graders or the preschoolers. The kids sat up straighter, their eyes began to dance, they were cracking up…it was thrilling to behold.

“God Made Me” turned out to be the number one requested song of the week — in every class! — and what I loved most is that the kids actually SANG it. Loudly. Childishly. Smilingly! Every single word. Every single time.

That was last summer, and as the year has passed, our family has added more Slugs & Bugs songs to our library and, although we still have a couple albums to go, there is already no way to pick a favorite.

There are songs like “I Wanna Help” that have inspired our kids to work around the house (HALLELUJAH!).

Or “Tiger” that I’ve heard my girls singing together whilst pretending to run a zoo (be still my heart!).

Or “The Ten Commandments” that teach about God’s Law while also teaching about our inability to keep God’s Law while ALSO preaching the good news of Jesus while also teaching important vocabulary definitions like “covet” while ALSO teaching about the leading monsters of literature. Phew! Instant classic.

Or “Masterpiece” that fills my heart with praise (usually while my daughters do ballet across the schoolroom…the perfect twirly song!)

Or “It’s Sleepytime” that just slays me and causes me to shamelessly beg my 10-year old to let me rock him to sleep, just like old times.

Or “Tractor Tractor” that makes our entire family to smile, from age 3 to age 36.

Or “The Boy Who Was Bored” that is so epically cool and boyish it HURTS.

Or “You Can Always Come Home” that…sniffle sniffle…is so everything I want to say to my entire family, every day.

Or, yes, even “Mexican Rhapsody” that gets in my head SO BAD but that I can’t stop loving because…it is so stinking funny!!!

I could go on and on. Diverse musical styles. Humor. Ninjas. Bible memorization. Potty-training motivation. The Society of Extraordinary Raccoons Society. Biblical principles. Pirates. Monsters. Imaginative poems and rhymes…it’s all there, and it’s all fantastic.

There are people in this world who, just by being who they are and creating what they create, produce the keys to children’s hearts. They intuitively know exactly how to turn a phrase, to paint a picture, to make a rhyme, to sing a song…and in so doing, they unlock the magic of childhood in its fullness.

Slugs & Bugs has that ability in spades. There is so much music on the market that give children a knock-off version of what the pop world has to offer and, while it might make them feel cool and edgy (I know, I remember how it felt to sing with my Barbie cassette in Elementary school), Slugs & Bugs meets kids where they are and says, “You are free. Free to be little and silly and funny and adventurous and starry-eyed and exactly how God made you to be.”

You know what? I think that’s a message worth investing in, and that’s why I asked Slugs & Bugs if I could help spread the word about their new Kickstarter campaign that, if its goal is reached, will result in TWO new “Sing the Bible” albums being produced in 2017 (one of which is a Christmas album inspired by Charlie Brown, SWOON!). Listen, y’all…

the Gore family needs more Slugs & Bugs music in our life.

And I think yours does, too.

We have a lot going on in our house — as I type, we are simultaneously raising funds for a mission trip to Tanzania AND for our one-room schoolhouse in Oklahoma — but we believe in this music SO MUCH that we plan to sit down this week to determine what we can commit to the campaign.

I hope you’ll join us.

You can check out the Kickstarter page here:

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The reward packages are so fun, and you’d better believe if I had a spare $5,000, I’d drop it in an instant to get that free concert! I’ll be honest, though, the virtual high-five and free coloring pages sound pretty awesome. 🙂

You can also find sneak peeks of songs that will be on the albums and I’m already making major heart-eyes at  Galatians 4, it’s light and airy and leads me heavenward. I know you’ll love it, too.

If you’re a parent, a grandparent, or just a champion of children, PLEASE don’t miss this chance to be a part of an amazing project that will feed the hearts and souls of families all across the Kingdom of God.

Thanks for lending me your ears today, precious readers! Now…spit spot!…go lend your ears to some Slugs & Bugs. Pick an album, any album. You won’t be disappointed.

~

Any Slugs & Bugs fans out there? Tell us your favorite songs! And be sure to share the Kickstarter link with your friends and family: http://bit.ly/STBVol3

Want to keep up with Mrs. Gore and family? Subscribe at the top of this page, or find us on Facebook!

Ode to a Cardboard Box

Mr. Gore took the big kids “on a date” yesterday afternoon (i.e. lunch and grocery shopping), and while Shep took his long, afternoon nap, my mom and I were going to attempt Day 2 of spring cleaning by tackling my master bedroom.

That only left one person with nothin’ much to do.

Betsie.

She had been such a trooper by staying behind, and her unspoiled nature was gloriously on display after her siblings departed.

“We’re having a ‘HOME date’!” she giggled to me and her grandmother as we sat around the table eating tacos. Excited by her day as an only child, she was chattering a hundred words a minute, and it was so fun to just look at her and delight in who she is.

I should buy her something,” I thought to myself, wanting to reward her for being a good sport and making the best out a day that might seem kind of lame to other kids.

But then the wiser voice within me spoke up: “Why would you do that? Are you crazy??

Truly. What better way to spoil an unspoiled child than to buy her toys every time she acts unspoiled? Silly me.

So I just smiled at her instead and gazed into her eyes, even as my heart longed to shower her with blessings.

And that’s why I’m so very thankful that a perfect reward presented itself about thirty minutes later.

I was unloading a box that had been sitting in my room since Christmas, preparing to break it down and send it out the door, when that wise voice piped up again.

“What are you throwing that away for, you big dumb-dumb?”

Betsie, meet box.

The two were inseparable for the rest of the afternoon.

Now, any of you who keep up with us on Facebook know that this beloved 3rd child of mine, though brilliant in many regards, can be a bit of a dingaling. I shared the following story on Facebook yesterday:

It was just Betsie this afternoon, so I hauled out a big cardboard box to keep her busy while I worked on my bedroom.

Her goal was to design a very beautiful house, so before I left her to it with a bucket of markers, glue and construction paper, I got a big, sharp knife and sawed some windows on the side.

“Now stay WAY back, Bets,” I warned her. “This knife is very dangerous.”

“Okay,” she said, agreeably, “I’ll just get inside the box.”

Sigh. I love that girl. We call her “Oh, honey” (from “How I Met Your Mother”) in her ditzier moments, which is approximately 2.5 times a day.

Anyhow, after the windows were finished, I moved on to my work and left her to hers, occasionally checking in and snapping a few photos.

I had to laugh when I noticed that she was busy working in her default Smeagol position.

Betsie has crouched like Smeagol from “Lord of the Rings” since she was just a tiny thing. One day, I had her in the walk-in shower while I cleaned the bathroom, and I looked over to see her crouching and trying to pick up a bar of soap.

She looked over her shoulder at me, and with her wet hair plastered down on her head and her giant eyes gleaming seriously at me, she sort of looked exactly like this…

375068_10152751167490464_1530719967_n On days like that, instead of calling her “Oh, honey” we call her “my precious”.

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Moving on, can I just say that, while I ADORE having a big family, there is something really special about having some one-on-one time with each of your children?

These sorts of simple activities like making houses out of boxes COMPLETELY frazzle me when we’re all home together – maybe because there are four people asking me for things at one time while I’m trying to divvy up markers and supplies!!! – thus, I was kind of blown away by how EASY it was to enjoy this sort of homemade fun with just one of my stinkers.

It reminded me that I can be FUN and spontaneous, even on spring cleaning days.

So long as half of our kids are out of the house and one is asleep.

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Tisn’t a Pinterest-worthy box, but…

it’s OUR box.

And we love it.

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That’s chocolate ice cream on her face. Life is good.

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By the way, Betsie’s my favorite poser in the family.

That girl is cray.

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When it came to her house-box, her very favorite part was the “welcome” mat I drew for her.

“A RUG???!!!!” she squealed when I finished.

I want to be like Betsie when I grow up.

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The window and curtains (decorated by Betsie) were a big hit, too.

After she colored them in, she gave her box a kiss.

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I think this ragamuffin has finally found a home.

She wants to live her forever.

And sleep here.

And eat popcorn here whilst watching “Sleeping Beauty”.

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Turns out, she was also very territorial of her box. (Being an only child for the day will do that to ya).

About an hour into box-time, she asked me to add a few words (sentences) to her “welcome” mat.

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“Don’t come in. In a minute, Betsie’s going to go to sleep.”

Not very welcoming.

But when Sheppy woke up from his nap and backed in to her box until he kerplunked right down in her lap, she didn’t kick him out.

So maybe she’s hospitable, after all.

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The moral of this story is: we KNOW the best things in life are free, and we KNOW that boxes make the best toys, but sometimes we forget.

It’s good to be reminded.

Mud (and New Arrivals).

A couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law, Amy, was busy at the hospital bringing forth another nephew for me to love, and while we waited for the good news, we were living it up at my mom and dad’s house in the country, cousin style.

Mom and I have decided over the years that it is much easier to team up than to go it alone. Whether you are having a dinner party, or deep-cleaning your house, or keeping watch over a houseful of kids, two REALLY are better than one.

I could have kept my four kids at my house, alone, while she kept her four grandkids at her house, alone, and we could have talked to each other on the phone periodically, swapping stories about how bored the kids were and about how they were asking every five minutes when they were going to get to play with their cousins…

OR we could spend every waking moment together, sitting on the back porch, sipping coffee, while eight happy, nature-loving kiddos crawled, toddled, walked, ran, climbed, jumped and skipped all about us.

In fact, when this group of cousins are together, we hardly even SEE them – they speak their own cousin language, the fights are very few and very far between, and they play their little HEARTS out, from morning till night – leaving us to merely hold down the fort and brace ourselves for feeding and bathing time, because, as you well know, the payback for letting kids play hard all day is that they are hungry…nay, starving…and dirty…nay, filthy…by the end of the day.

And sometimes they’re REALLY filthy.

During the baby’s nap time, the littlest of the bunch disappeared to the front porch for a spell, and five minutes later when we went to check on them and make sure all was well, we discovered this…

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What can you do when you find a mess like this but to just let them GO for it? Their cleanliness was already beyond preserving, they were completely thrilled and occupied and we had a pot of coffee that needed drinking, so…

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we gave them a good scolding, we warned all the other children not to go NEAR that mess and we left them to it.

2-year old Abel, 3-year old Betsie and 5-year old Kate had the time of their life while the others seethed with jealousy that they hadn’t stumbled upon this muddy fun. But we had a new baby to meet that evening, and there was NO WAY we were going to administer eight post-mud baths before then.

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And every time I checked on their progress…

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they were a bit dirtier…

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and dirtier…

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and dirtier…

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and DIRTIER.

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And the porch? Lord, have mercy.

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But there are few things as precious in this life as children who are free at play.

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They can make the biggest, most colossal messes…

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but they’re so stinkin’ cute while they’re doing it.

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p.s. I totally left the cleaning of this ear to my mom. This was one of her kids for the week, after all, not mine. 😉

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And, in the meantime, Amy made us this:

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Welcome to our world, baby Jude. Can’t wait until you’re joining us in the mud.

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