My Cat Is Older (and Probably Smarter) than Your Honor Student and Other Thoughts

For those who are new to me and my blog posts, I have an elderly feline. Her name is Lucy and she’s 17. I realized while I was volunteering yet again for the Youth Evangelism Conference a couple of weekends ago that my cat is probably older than most of the students who were in attendance there. She may or may not also be smarter.

Think about it. She doesn’t have to get up at a ridiculously early hour to go off to work. She doesn’t run around like a headless chicken in order to feel productive. She does what she wants when she feels like it. At this point, that consists of mostly napping with the occasional snack and poop thrown in to keep things interesting.

I confess that I’m a bit jealous sometimes. I wish she could go to my job and I could stay home and do some napping. After all, she’s old enough to drive, right?

I refuse to engage in the debate about whether cats are better than dogs or visa versa. I like both. Right now, I have a cat and I love the fact that she’s super low-maintenance, as well as the world’s best lap cat. I also love dog sitting and hanging out with all manner of pups.

I think life’s better with pets. Unless you’re deathly allergic, I highly recommend one. They’re great companions and their love isn’t based on your looks or money or personality or anything other than you exist. Plus, it keeps you humble when you realize they love sniffing their own butts just as much as you.

So go get a pet if you don’t have one. Take care of it. Don’t abandon it when it gets old and less cute. If you’re going to have a dog perpetually chained up in the backyard 24/7, don’t get one. You’d be better off with a lawn ornament. But that’s definitely another topic for another blog post on another day.


Reasons It’s Better to be a Cat

My cat Lucy has it made. She may be 16 years old but she doesn’t look like the geriatric feline that she is. Maybe that has something to do with her life of comfort and ease. She’s a prime example of why it’s better to be a cat. Here are a few of the reasons why:

  1. You get to sleep as much as you want and no one thinks the worse of you for it. Lucy probably gets in 23 hours of sleep a day (I may be exaggerating but not by much) and gets told all the time how adorable and cuddly she looks while she’s sleeping.
  2. The fatter you are, the more people like you. Skinny cats don’t get the love nearly as much as the fat . . . I mean fluffy ones do.
  3. You get to set your own schedule. Sleep in? Go for it. Take a nap after you just woke up from another one? Why not. Eat ten meals a day? More power to you.
  4. Your compact size greatly increases the amount of comfy spaces available for you to lounge around in and take naps in. Humans will humor you when you take their favorite spots because you’re so cuddly and cute.
  5. Nobody expects much of you, so anything you do is automatically adorable. The bar is set incredibly low for cats, so there’s not a whole lot of stress when it comes to pleasing your owners. Dogs have to do all sorts of tricks. You just have to occasionally be sweet and adorable.
  6. You never have to worry about what you will wear or if it will go out of style. In fact, you never have to worry about clothes at all. You get to go your whole life without ever having to wear pants. I call that a win.
  7. In case you need more proof, review 1-6 again and remember that in Egypt, cats were revered as gods and worshipped. Need I say more?

People and Things That Make Me Really Tired

I used to get upset at a lot of things. Now when I’m confronted by these same things, I feel the overwhelming urge to lie down and take a nap.

Here’s a list of the people and things that make me really tired (note that this is 98% in jest and not to be taken too seriously):

  1. People who won’t speak to you or acknowledge you even when you’re literally sitting right next to them. Is it that hard?
  2. Every piece of electronic equipment that seems to slow down when you’re trying to get through the end of the day.
  3. People who are super impatient and hyper-aggressive drivers that will cut in front of fifteen cars to arrive at their destinations a whopping thirty seconds earlier.
  4. People who still think that spiritual problems have political answers, even after twenty plus years of evidence to the contrary.
  5. People who make lists about people who get on their nerves.
  6. People who are unkind and/or neglectful to animals or children (or other grown people). Kindness literally costs nothing and benefits you greatly, at least a lot more than jerkiness does.
  7. Being up since 5:25 am, which is totally unnatural, unbiblical, and unethical (in my opinion),

Quite honestly, I make my own self tired a lot. I catch myself doing and saying stupid stuff a la Joey Tribbiani. I catch myself thinking judgmentally toward others when  I would expect grace if I were in their shoes.

I think my guardian angel looks at me a lot and shakes his head and face-palms over me on a daily basis. I think I even drive him to drink alcoholic beverages (which is probably frowned upon in heaven).

I know that God looks at me and sees none of the royal mess-ups I make or my daily screw-ups but instead sees the perfection of His Son Jesus. He looks at me more completely and perfectly than anyone else (including me looking at myself in a mirror) and is pleased.

And that, my friends, is the only opinion that matters.

The end.


The continuing adventures of dog sitting

I’m back dog-sitting for some friends of my parents (and of mine, too). The dog’s name is Millie and she’s a 15-year old PBGV (which stands for Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen). She’s a gentle old soul who’s a joy to take care of.

When I take her walking, she always tries to introduce herself to any of the dogs we pass by. Or humans. She doesn’t discriminate. She likes to go up to people’s doorsteps, and she’d probably ring the doorbell if she could reach it. She’s that friendly.

I love the way she can be totally alert one moment and be asleep and snoring the next. I don’t mean “cute and petite little animal” kind of snoring. I mean “old man with serious sinus issues” kind of snoring.

She loves her some treats and will sometimes sit in front of me and whine and look pitiful until I almost have to give her one. She acts like she hasn’t eaten in days, even when I just fed her. She’s crafty like that.

Having a pet makes life better. There’s nothing like coming home to a furry face that’s excited to see you and that never gets tired of you. I come home to a feline, but I like dogs, too. Their love is simple and pure, a basic cupboard kind of love that seeks the simple pleasures. They will love you, no matter what.

It’s too bad that animals don’t live as long as people. You get so attached to them that when you say your final goodbyes, it’s like saying goodbye to a piece of your heart.

I do enjoy dog sitting. I hope to be able to take care of more dogs (and possibly even a few cats) in the future. Plus, I really hope I can come take care of Millie again in the future.

So I Have an Old Cat Now


My cat Lucy turned 15 yesterday. It’s still hard to comprehend that she’s that old because she doesn’t act that old. And if you ask her, she’ll swear up and down that she’s only 9.

I remember picking her out of a litter of one-week old kittens at Vet Pets, a pet store/veterinary clinic, in 2000. I equally remember bringing her home in that hole-y cardboard box when she was five weeks old and how she cried all the way home.

I remember how she got lost when she was three and was gone for two days, the longest two days of my life. But we found her. Apparently, she went up to some strange lady’s door and essentially asked, “I’ve lost my person. Will you be my new person?” Thanks to some lost cat posters all over the neighborhood, the mailman recognized her as the missing cat and she came home to me on Christmas Eve.

Then there was the time she had cancer and it was 50/50 that surgery would get all of the tumor. I cried and prayed and even lit one of those prayer candles like they have in Roman Catholic churches for her. She got better. She’s still 100% cancer-free.

I hope she lives to be 30. That would be great. There’s a part of me that wishes that she’d at least outlive me. But realistically, I know that’s not possible. I know there will be a day when I’ll have to say a final goodbye to my little furry baby (and also to a little piece of my heart). I can’t focus on that but I can cherish every day I get to spend with her.

The same goes to the rest of those I love. I’m not guaranteed a tomorrow. Neither are they. That’s why I can only be thankful for each day that I get to spend with each one of them.

Don’t ever take the ones you love for granted. Don’t ever go to bed angry with a friend or a family member. You never know that you will get the chance in the morning to make it right. Always say the words “I love you” whenever you get the chance. Always.

Christmas Decorations


One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating the ol’ family Christmas tree.

Most people have ornaments from places like Pier One and Hobby Lobby and all those trendy places, but most of the ornaments on this tree are anything but trendy.

A lot of these ornaments look like they were crafted by kids, because a lot of them were. Leigh (my sister) and I are represented on the tree by lots of those paper ornaments that probably wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else. But they mean a lot to me.

Many of the decorations have the year on them from when they first became a part of the infamous Johnson Family Tree. Some go back to the 80’s. A few even go back before that. Some are even older than I am.

We have ornaments for all the dead pets, too. That amounts to three dogs and one parakeet for those of you who are keeping score.

Each one taken individually, they are not really all that pretty. But each one holds memories that can’t be bought, so to me they are priceless.

Somehow, when they are all put together, they look beautiful.

I guess that’s kind of like the Church. Individually, we may not look like much. We may not even amount to much in the eyes of most people. But put together, we become something amazing and beautiful and powerful. We become the very hands and feet of God. We are the very body of Christ present to the world.

What most people would look at once and throw in the garbage, Jesus takes and makes into something grand. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are heaven’s poetry etched onto human lives.

All that from some old decorations. Wow. Maybe I’ll look at those old ornaments differently this year.


I’m Feeling a Bit Sheepish


Sheep are stupid. I know, I know. You look at a lamb and think, “Isn’t that the cutest and cuddliest thing ever?” But really sheep are helpless and defenseless without a shepherd. Yet Jesus calls His believers sheep, not to be insulting but to remind us of who we are.

Most of us (especially in this time) look at children and see innocence. We at times tend to idolize and adore children almost to the point of worship. But have you ever seen a sick child refuse to take the medicine that might make him well? Maybe you’ve been that child at some point. Or maybe you’ve seen a child engage in behavior that will lead to injury because he won’t listen to the parent that tells him not to do that.

Jesus calls attention to little children. True, He wants us to have the unwavering faith of a child, but He also wants us to see that we’re completely dependent on a loving Father who sometimes makes choices we don’t like but end up being way better for us in the end than what we would have chosen.

The point is that we’re all fallen creatures who live with the consequences of Adam and Eve’s bad choices (hey, they both messed up and are equally to blame). We’ve ALL sinned and ALL fallen short of the glory of God.

I think Jesus wants us to remember who we are. We’re frail, fallible human beings who need a Savior, even after we’re saved. We will never not need Jesus.

There’s a great book that I read a long time ago that really delves into Psalm 23 from a shepherd’s point of view. It’s by Philip Kellor and is called A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm. I highly recommend it.

So remember that you’re not perfect. You’re not the be-all, end-all. But also remember that you do bear the image of God, even in the midst of all your flaws and failures.

What Do Almost 14-Year Old Cats Do?


In case you were absolutely dying to know what my cat Lucy does all day, it’s not overly complicated. Basically, she sleeps all day.

When I say she sleeps around, I’m not saying anything about her morals. I’m saying she literally sleeps in different places throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong. She has her favorite nap spots that she likes to go back to, like we humans have favorite vacation destinations or restaurants.

To say she takes cat naps is a misnomer. She takes people naps. She takes power marathon naps. Actually, she does the opposite of a cat nap in that she is awake for 15 minutes, give or take, and asleep the rest of the time.

I suppose when you’re a cat and you’re almost 14, you get to sleep a lot.

I do get annoyed at how easily she falls asleep, especially when I’m dealing with my periodic episodes of insomnia. I wish I could lay my head on the pillow and be instantly out.

Now you know a little more about Lucy the Wonder Cat. She is very companionable and can be very affectionate at times. She’s also good blog material when I can’t think of anything else to write about. Like tonight.

Random Factoids About Me


As part of a new discipleship class I am taking at my church, I had to come up with three little known facts about myself. Side note: if you’ve never actually written yours down, I recommend it. It’s fascinating.

1) I have my Masters of Divinity, making me a seminary graduate and officially overeducated and underemployed. But I am proud of my accomplishment and don’t regret a single moment of it.

2) I can whistle and hum at the same time. Demonstrations are available upon request.

3) I am mostly right-handed, but I write left-handed and eat ambidextrously. I likes my food.

4) I am an Eagle Scout. I managed to earn this award one month before I turned 18, which is the age deadline. Yes, I am extremely proud of it.

5) I am owned by one elderly cat who likes to curl up in my lap and hang around me whenever I’m home. Ok, so that’s fairly common knowledge. My little known fact is that I like both cats AND dogs. Why should I have to pick one or the other?

6) I have never broken any bones in my body to this point. I thought I had broken my pinky when I got hit by a car in December 2012, but it was only dislocated.

7) I write a blog every day and have done so since July of 2010. Then again, if you’re reading this, you probably already knew that.

8) I am the beloved of my Abba and He is still very much fond of me after all these years. I haven’t even come close to fathoming how deep and wide and high and long that love is or why it should exist for me. I only know that it does. I also know that He loves you the same way all the time.

There are more that I am probably forgetting. I may come back later and add one or two more as they come to mind or as I am reminded by family members who read this.

10 Years Later


In all the hoopla of gift-giving and gift-getting (not forgetting all the food-eating and dessert-eating), I almost forgot a very important anniversary.

It was 10 years to the day on December 24 that my beloved cat, Lucy, came home again after getting out and having an adventure. A very un-Hobbitlike adventure.

She somehow managed to get out and get lost on December 22. All the frantic searching in the world on the next day produced nothing. I vividly remember being distraught and very emotional. I had all but given up hope of ever seeing her again.

We had put up flyers all over the neighborhood. These flyers had her name, age, description, approximate weight, and a black-and-white photo. Apparently, on December 24, the mailman recognized the picture and informed us that she was taking up residence in a neighbor’s garage down the street.

I can imagine her trotting up to a strange lady and saying something like, “I’ve lost my family. Will you be my family?” Of course, this isn’t Narnia, so she wouldn’t actually say these things, but it would all be implied by her meowings.

Apparently, she got rained on a bit, got her nose scraped a bit, and had a few traumatic events, but came out of it the same old weird, goofy cat she’d always been.

I got her back on Christmas Eve. That remains my best gift.

She’s had a few other adventures since then, including a cancer scare which she thankfully survived.

Thinking back on the whole thing, I’m reminded that for those who want to come home, there’s always a way. Even more so with God.

No one who wants to find God, earnestly and truly, and know Him will be denied. All who seek Him in truth find Him and find at the same time that really He was the one seeking them. He was the one pursuing them and wooing them. The only way we ever find and love God is that He first finds and loves us.

And that goes for all the prodigals out there. The Father still waits and looks down the road for those who want to come home. Better than that, He already knows where you are and is whispering the way home to your heart. There is always a way back and a way home.

My reward is that I’ve gotten 10 years of feline therapy and free cat-scans. Your reward for seeking God isn’t as much the gifts and blessings from God, but God Himself. That’s still the best part.