Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What do cat scars, salty dutch licorice, fairy dust, and tree ornaments have in common?

So what do cat scars, salty dutch licorice, fairy dust, and tree ornaments  have in common? You may think I'm nuts and wonder what hat I pulled this idea out of? But trust me, they all link together. Keep reading...

Cat Scars
Yoda is my cat. I love him to bits. He has been with this family since he was 3 weeks old (we fostered him as a kitten along with his brother and 4 sisters). I used to walk the kids to school with him tucked into my coat pocket. All the kids, from each of my girls classes, got to know Yoda. They thought he was a cool cat. That was five years ago.
He still is a cool cat. He just gets himself into trouble every so often (shhhhh...he's not so bright). He drinks out of the toilet (not even my dog does that), he steals food from the counter (not even my dog does that), he torments the dog (yes a 4 pound cat can reduce a 60 pound dog to a whimpering mess), he even torments the neighbours dog (he has been seen poking his paws into the mail slot of my neighbours front door with a 100 pound German Shepard whining on the other side). He has climbed up the Christmas tree, he still climbs up on the kitchen counter (even though I've sprayed him with water, put Tabasco sauce on the counter top and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and in a deep pack leader voice said, "NO", firmly), but it seems only the dog is a good listener. Yoda is not. He has attitude. When Yoda wants something, Yoda does it with out thought of the consequences. His choices have not always been good ones and this attitude of his has gotten him into a lot of trouble over the years and he has acquired a few scars, some physical... some mental.
Perhaps you have a few physical and mental scars yourself? I do.
Now, hold onto that thought while I get to the salty licorice.

Salty Dutch Licorice
I lead a children's program called Celebration Station, and this past week I spoke to the kids about choices. How do we make good choices rather than bad ones?
I brought a bag of dutch candies and licorice with me and some were sweet and other's were very salty. These zwaart and wit candies (see picture), were sweet on the outside and salty on the inside. Before I let them pick a candy I asked them, "How do you know to pick the one you like without taste testing it first?"
Here are their answers:
- You just try it and if it's yucky, spit it out
- You look at it and see if it looks good
- You ask questions to someone who has had some
 I added one other:
- Read the manual or in this case the recipe
On the first try, the kids picked the candies that looked good and one of them ended up with this zwaart and wit one.
"MMMM, I made a right choice!" they were so happy... at first... then they got to the middle.
"YUCK! I'm going to throw up," and they ran to the garbage can. 
I explained to them, that sometimes our choices may seem right in the beginning but we can still end up in a big yucky mess. That's why it's good to talk to someone you trust about the decisions you need to make in life, and it's good to read the manual or the recipe of life.

Fairy Dust
 My daughter decided to shake out the 'snow' (cotton batten we use for our Christmas village), not at the side of the house or in the back garden, but right at my front walk.
Last year we used snowflake powder to sprinkle our village to make it look as if it had new fallen snow. It sparkled and glimmered as the light reflected off the small flake like particles. It was beautiful, but it made a mess everywhere.
Now, it lay at my front door. Did I mention these flakes stick to the bottom of shoes and paws?
I swept up the mess two days ago, yet I'm still finding fairy dust sparkles as far as the upstairs bathroom. Where is it coming from? It's everywhere and so hard to get rid of. Just like dirt.
I wonder if it breeds?

Tree Ornaments
Every Christmas I take the time to sit and just look at my tree. It's not a perfect tree, it's tilted a little to the left (I blame the cat). Each ornament is different, home made, not one alike. Some ornaments have been flattened, a few punctured, squished, folded and have been broken and now wear the glue gun scars of wear and tear.
"That's the one I made in kindergarten."
"I made this one at girl guides."
"My mom crochet this angel."
No, my tree is not a perfect designer tree. I do not have stamped out ornaments made in China. Each ornament has a unique memory linked to it. And I love to just sit there and stare at my tree and reminisce.

Where it all comes together
We all have scars inside and out. It's a fact. Some of us try to hide them behind fake 'made in china' designer ornaments and pretend that everything is perfect. But, when we stick a band aid on the boo boo, the scars never have a chance to heal, they need air to dry out and time to heal. We need to sit and focus on each scar, not in resentment but look at what we have learned from the experience. God turns the hurt into blessings, when our focus detours in the opposite direction of resentment, our character grows up out of the hurts. No longer ugly scars but beautiful ornaments.
When we hold onto hurts, the darkness in our lives can spread to those we love. Just like dirt. When we let go and trust, Gods grace and light comes into us and reflects out so we can spread it around. Just like the fairy dust. Which would you rather spread around?
Some hurts come from the bad decision others have made, some have come from a fallen world. We have no control over these. We do, however,  have control over the decisions we make. Talk to those you trust. Understand that Christ knows all about wounds and wants to help heal yours, and if you find yourself confused in which direction to take, read the manual.

Love You!

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