A Little Effort
{And Sharing His Beauty}

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Last week we got a second cat. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision as we had been thinking about it for quite a while. Our existing cat, Sophie, whom I like to refer to as my “therapy cat”, needed a therapy cat of her own. She has been a great friend to me over the last year and I have come to truly appreciate this little ball of fur. She’s inquisitive, extremely friendly and a total lap cat. I have, in fact, found myself “trapped” beneath her 10 pounds of purring comfort more times than I care to admit!

She has, however, become bored. I can sense this as she chases me down the hallway and bats at my heels, sometimes with claws extended. When I return after being gone for the day, she is quite put out with me. Now, I know cats are not always the most social of animals, however, they can get lonely. Sophie is living feline proof! So, we decided to get her a friend…or at least someone for her to think about besides us. (At this time of year the lizards are hibernating, so her favorite pastime in that respect is on hold…)

So, on to the new cat. Since Sophie has such a gregarious personality, we wanted a new one with a personality (or would that be a feline-ality?) that was less extroverted. Enter, Frankie. He’s an interesting cat, 4 ½ months old, all white with tabby ears and tail. His eyes are pale green with an almond shape. But, I think what is most interesting about him is that he is the total opposite of Sophie. The humane society referred to him as “shy” but I think a better term would be “new-people-timid”. He doesn’t seem to need the extra attention that his surrogate big sister does. However, I’m happy to say he has warmed up to us quite nicely.

For those of you who are wondering where this post is going, and rightly so, let me get to the point. Sophie and Frankie have been learning some valuable skills over the past few days. Though they are quite different, they are fine-tuning the art of getting along! I say “art” because for cats, this can be quite a feat. I must say that there has been some hissing and a tussle here and there as they have been learning how to share the same space.

It can be the same for people. Sometimes there are personalities that just rub each other the wrong way. For many of us the need to be right is just too strong. At other times, envy, jealousy or just plain irritability are a factor. The result? Disagreements and bickering leading to turmoil, stress and lack of peace.

God knows that we are each different. He created us that way. But, he also wants us to live in harmony with one another. Time and time again in God’s word, He tells us to put our anger aside. He reminds us to search for ways to sort through our differences rather than allowing them to draw us into conflicts.

He wants us to make an effort to find the best in each other. Of course there are times when we are offended. Sometimes someone has done wrong to us and we are angered and want retaliation. I have learned, however, that a better course is to forgive and move on. I love how The Message paraphrases Romans 12:17-19, “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’” Isn’t that perfect? God is the Good Judge and we can trust Him to do exactly what needs to be done in every situation. The pressure is off of us! We don’t need to waste our energy bickering or belligerently seeking revenge. As we work together at living in harmony, trusting God to be our Guide, we can live a much more peaceful existence than if we had chosen to do otherwise.

Are you wondering about the cats? Well, it is day 6 and I’m happy to say that the lessons my little furry friends have been learning have been good ones. Territories are being established, rules are being set and most importantly, they have taken a liking to each other. I have witnessed them avoiding conflicts by not always insisting on their own way. Amazingly, they are learning to share. Each day, they are using good sense and have learned to be patient with one another while seeking out each other’s best. Observing them, I can see that they understand they are different and have made a conscious effort to peacefully co-exist. This is something that is not beyond our human abilities. As we each seek out the best in each other, setting aside our differences, God will bless our effort… and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.


Sophie & Frankie after a little effort

And now it's time for the Sharing His Beauty Link Up!


Where has God shown you His beauty this week? Please join me to share the blessing that God is to you in your life. Write a post on your own blog and then simply click on the "You're Next" linky below and enter your blog information. You can find more information about Sharing His Beauty by clicking the tab in my top menu.

You can also Tweet your participation by clicking here: #Sharinghisbeauty

I'd also love to hear from you in the comment section of my blog! You may leave a comment on this post to tell of the beauty you have found in His hands. Be sure to visit some of the other inspirational sites linked up and be encouraged today!

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34 comments

  1. What a great 'cat' story, Joan!! Surely, if cats can make it work, humans should be able to, right?! I know, though, that that is easier said than done. In all of our humanness, we tend to get caught up in our own sense of justice and fairness. Life isn't always fair and we don't always agree with others...just look at politics!! I am glad Sophie and Frankie finally became more open to one another. (I bet they will eventually become inseparable.) That happened with our two dogs, Jet and Cheyenne. Jet growled at her for several days when she first came home, then just gave in. Now, he will protect her if anyone threatens to harm her or if she needs help.

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    1. That's exactly what I was thinking, Ann! If my cats can learn to get along (and they're not normally social animals) we humans can certainly do it! But, like you said, it is easier said than done. That's why I'm so thankful for our God and His word. His advice is always sound and we can count on Him to help us as we seek to show Christ's love to others.

      I'm glad your cute dogs have become friends!

      Blessings, Joan

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  2. Aw, they're so cute! And look at how they've learned to share their space in such a short time (maybe not so short if you were living with the hissing and tussing!). People tend to take a lot longer and even then, don't want to be sharing THAT close of a space. Thanks for making me smile today, Joan.

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    1. Glad to put a smile on your face this Monday morning, Mary! Yes, we had an exciting few days around here! LOL I agree, with people it can take a while...I'm so glad that God helps us to get through the process!

      Blessings, Joan

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  3. Cute cat picture and a great lesson too. My middle daughter would love a kitten, so it may not be too long before our family is sharing cat stories too :) Thank you for the reminder to be intentional about finding, and bringing out, the best in others. Wishing you a blessed week!

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    1. Thanks, Jed! Sometimes it is difficult, but I'm convinced that when we seek the best in others peace can be ours!

      Blessings, Joan

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  4. So glad your cats are learning to get along. Our daughter added a puppy to their family last summer and it has taken many visits for Sadie and Mazey to learn to get along. After many ear tugs and tail nips they are finally becoming friends. I think too many of linger in the ear tug and tail nip stage. I keep hoping more people will decide to focus on the things we share in common than frustrate ourselves over our differences. Happy Monday to you!

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    1. You know Deb, that's the key! We all have a lot more in common that at first glance. If we focus on those things rather than on our differences, life is a lot calmer! Have a blessed Monday! Joan

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  5. There is so much wisdom in this post. I have been thinking along these same lines for the last week. Grateful to have read the Romans passage from The Message. Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. The Message is a great resource and addition to my "regular" Bible... I love how the verses are put in such a voice of today! Thanks for stopping by today, Joanne!

      Blessings, Joan

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  6. Joan, as a cat-lover, I enjoyed your post and the points you made. By the way, your site and your photos are beautiful! Thanks so much for hosting. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Donna! I'm enjoying writing more often again (though I hadn't stopped the link up) and the positive feedback is really spurring me on! Blessings, Joan

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  7. Joan, this is my first time visiting your blog! This was a great post. “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’” I don't think I've ever read the Message version for this scripture. I love this! When I feel attacked or threatened, my natural tendency is to want to fight back. Don't we all? It's so hard to humble ourselves and rely on the Lord to fight our battles. I agree with you, looking for the best in people can make this process a whole lot easier. Perhaps their negativity toward us, is a reflection of what's going on in them? That changes our focus from our feelings to theirs. I'm so glad Lyli @ 3-D Lessons for Life referred me! I look forward to reading more!

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    1. Welcome! I'm so glad you're here...Lyli is wonderful, isn't she? You're right...in our humanness, it is difficult to humble ourselves and rely on God. Our first reaction is not always the best! You bring up a great point that possibly other people's negativity is simply a reaction to what is going on in their own lives. It is good to keep that in mind as we seek the best in them. Blessings, Joan

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  8. I so love cats. Yes, they do get lonely. My Perry gets lonely at 3 a.m., however, and wants to play. They are nocturnal after all. LOL I love the scriptural lesson you were able to write as you observed your cats this week. God can use so many things in our lives to illustrate His truths. :)

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    1. Hi Mary! 3 a.m. Yes, that seems to be "the hour" for these sweet friends of ours, doesn't it? I've had to close our door at night because Sophie tries to wake me up with a little paw to the face at that time! Now, at least, she has a little brother to play with! I love how God uses all things in our lives to teach us things. He's amazing that way. Even through the simple interaction of our pets we can discover huge truths!

      Blessings, Joan

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  9. I love the way you tied the cats getting along to us humans. It isn't always easy to live in harmony but so grateful God gave us such great teachings on how to live it out. Glad to be your neighbor at #IntentionalTuesday

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    1. Thanks, Laura! I'm so grateful as well for God's awesome book of instructions! :-) We can count on Him to always guide us on the right path!

      Blessings, Joan

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  10. sweet! I love cats and learn so much from mine...his sister disappeared (probably a coyote )..but when they were together they were soooo different..at times they argued other times they cuddled..love your story, what beautiful lessons these sweet kitties can teach us! Really love your use of scripture here...

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    1. Hi Kathy!

      So sorry to hear that you lost one of your cats. It is always so hard when we lose our sweet furry friends! I love to watch mine and I think I learn something each day by doing so! God uses all things to teach us, doesn't He? I am so grateful!

      Blessings, Joan

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  11. Hi Joan. I'm your neighbor at Holley's today. I loved reading about Sophie and Frankie. Animals truly can teach us some wonderful lessons, can't they? To seek the best in each other and to accept our differences in so important in our lives. Thank you for the smiles today. Your kitties look so cute. :)

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    1. Hi Trudy! Thanks for coming here from Holley's link up! Yes, watching our pets can certainly teach us things! My thought is, if these two bundles of fur and claws can learn to get along, people certainly can, too! And, what a blessing it is when we can set aside our differences!

      Blessings, Joan

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  12. Joan, I absolutely love that translation of the Message! Sometimes the Message just says it in a what that hits home so powerfully (and makes me smile ;-)) Thank you, Joan, as always for your beautiful messages and for your heart to host this link up each week!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. Yes, I agree. Sometimes the Message says things in such a way that I giggle... And then, end up remembering it! (Laughter does that to me!)

      Thanks for linking up today!

      Blessings, Joan

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  13. The kitties are precious, and what good lessons they are teaching!! Yes, when we live with people, sometimes our fur stands up, sometimes our claws come out, and sometimes things aren't purr-fect. But, it is in the adapting and compromising that God sometimes does His best work of changing us, transforming us - making us look more like His Son!

    This week beauty is found in knowing that we never walk in darkness if we follow the Light of the World!!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. LOL Sharon! I can always count on you to add a little humor to my life! My fur does sometimes stand up! LOL But also, like you wrote, God does some of His best work in us when we adapt and compromise. I love being transformed by Him!

      Blessings, Joan

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  14. Awe, how cute are they?! Years ago, we did the same thing. We had two cats, a brother and sister. The brother died, and the sister seemed lonely, so after a few years, we got another kitty-friend for her. They really loved each other. Sadly, they've both passed away from old age now. Love the way you attached it to real-life issues. Sweet post. :) Happy to be your linkup buddy at Lyli's place this morning. ((blessings))

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    1. Hi Brenda! Thanks for stopping by from Lyli's! It's surprising how cats really do enjoy one another's company...after the initial "get to know you" stage! At this very moment, while I'm typing this comment, these two cuties are romping around the living room play-fighting! It is sweet to watch :)

      Blessings, Joan

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  15. I enjoyed your post! There is such truth in your words that we all could use..."made a conscious effort to peacefully co-exist". Love that! And now the image in my mind will be of your two cats sleeping side by side! (Your "neighbor" from #livefree!)

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    1. Hi Cindy! Yes, it often takes conscious effort, but is not beyond our abilities...especially with God as our guide!

      Blessings, Joan

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  16. First of all...this really made me miss my cat! She went to kitty heaven a month or so ago, and she's been irreplaceable. Well, we're going to attempt to fill the void with a puppy...but we both know that will be a different kind of experience.
    Second, I love friendship. I love what God has to say about it, and I loved what He spoke through you in this post. "For many of us the need to be right is just too strong" Isn't that just a bit of truth? Amen! And guilty!
    Thanks for sharing your gift.
    Happy Thursday, from your #LiveFreeThursday neighbor!!
    Megs

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    1. Oh! I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. It is always so difficult to lose our beloved pets. Yes, a puppy will be quite different, but I'm sure he'll (or she'll) fill your life with much joy and giggles!

      I've been guilty of the "need to be right" issue as well. But, with God's help, I'm finding victory!

      Blessings, Joan

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  17. Joan, thanks for this reminder to look for the beauty and "play nice" with the other kitties. Meow. :)

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    1. LOL! Yes...playing nice is "purrrrr-fect"!

      Blessings, Joan

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