Tag Archive | Aunt Marilyn

Abbey’s Dream

Abbey Profile 2Abbey came running to see me this morning. “Hey Mom, I’ve gotta tell ya about the dream I had last night. You won’t believe everyone who was in it!”

“Really, Abbey. Who was there? Tell me all about it,” I replied.

“The dogs who used to live with you – Megabyte and Maia were in the dream. Aunt Marilyn’s cats were in it, too! I can hardly believe it, Mom. Grandma and Grandpa were also there. The dream was so vivid. Now I know what everyone looks like, even though I haven’t seen anyone face to face – yet. The whole dream took place in heaven…”

Megabyte (left) and Maia

Megabyte (left) and Maia exploring CamRock Park about 12 years ago.

The dream began with Megabyte trotting home to her dog mansion on the banks of the little creek in Dogwood Estates. (Yes, Mom. There are lots of smaller settlements throughout the “Holy City.”) Maia was lying on the front step, just waking up from a nap. She looked up at Meg and asked, “Where have you been, Meggie?”

“I’ve been visiting with Grandma and Grandpa over at their house in Peaceful Prairie. Did I ever have an interesting afternoon! Too bad you didn’t come with me. I decided to go over there to ask Grandpa to throw some tennis balls for me to catch. I didn’t ask you to come along with me because I know you’d rather play herding games than catch a tennis ball.”

“That’s right. But if you had an interesting afternoon, you must have done more than catch tennis balls. What happened?”

“Yup. Grandma had some visitors. Cats! You remember Spiffy and Kimberly Katt, don’t you? They were Aunt Marilyn’s cats when she lived in Wheaton and Chicago.”

“Of course, I remember Spiff and Kimberly. We get together to play stalking games sometimes, but we haven’t seen them in several months. What were they doing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?” Maia asked.

cat talking“They were bringing a new cat, Millie, to meet Grandma. Millie lived with Aunt Marilyn for the last 17 years, and she just arrived in heaven a couple weeks ago. Spiff and Kimberly were taking her around to meet some of their favorite people. Grandma made them all some catnip tea. They were having a good time! When Grandma saw me coming, she dished up some ice cream for me. We all sat around and visited for a long time.”

“What did you talk about?”

“That’s what was so interesting. The cats took turns telling us what they each had taught Aunt Marilyn. They were actually bragging about the wisdom they each had shared with her. To hear them talk, you’d think cats were the smartest creatures God ever created. But I’ll admit, they did teach Aunt Marilyn a lot.”

“We taught our moms a lot, too. But what did the cats teach Aunt Marilyn?

“Well Spiff talked first, as the eldest. He had only five years to teach Aunt Marilyn because he died young of feline leukemia. He taught her how important it is to go on adventures, to stalk for prey, even if it’s imaginary.”

Maia smiled. “I like Spiff. He’s always ready to go on an adventure. We need to hike over to Cattail Land more often to play together.”

“I agree, Maia. I especially like to play with Kimberly Katt. In our conversation at Grandma’s, Kimberly said she taught Aunt Marilyn to play catch, to take time to play, to not be too busy to enjoy life.”

“Yeah. Kimberly is right about that. I’ll never understand why it’s so hard for people to learn that. They always think they have to be so busy.”

cat talking and smiling“From this afternoon’s conversation, I think Millie taught Aunt Marilyn more than the other two cats put together. Maybe it’s because she lived with her the longest. Or, maybe it was just that Grandma encouraged Millie to talk the most because she was new to heaven, and Grandma wanted to make her feel at home.”

“Yup. Grandma would do that – want to make her feel really welcome,” Maia interjected.

“Millie described herself as an engineer. Her favorite game was to watch Aunt Marilyn pull a string under or through something. Millie would calculate where it would end up, and that’s where she would pounce. However, on the rare occasion that she miscalculated a jump, the lesson she taught Aunt Marilyn was that it’s okay to make a mistake, but then it’s important to get right back up and try again. Millie talked about other lessons she taught Aunt Marilyn, too, but I finished my ice cream and wanted to go play catch with Grandpa, so we went outside to play ball while the cats kept on talking inside with Grandma.”

Meg w tennis balls

Megabyte resting after retrieving two of her favorite tennis balls.

“Well it sounds like you had a good afternoon. I had a good nap. I think I’ll go down to the front gate for a while to see if St. Peter needs any help keeping the new arrivals in line. See you later, Meggie.”

“Bye, Maia.”

Abbey was quiet for a minute when she finished telling me her dream. Then she looked up at me and said, “You know what, Mom. I think when we get to heaven, we’ll get new healthier bodies, but we’ll still be the same inside. Megabyte is still a golden retriever at heart. You can tell by how much she loves to catch tennis balls. And Maia is still a border collie who lives to herd anything. She loves her job helping St. Peter at heaven’s entrance gate.”

“I’m sure you’re right, Abbey. Hey, thanks for sharing your dream with me. You’re teaching me a lot of things, too. God had a really good idea about placing cats and dogs in human households to teach people about what’s important in life. I’m not sure we would have ever figured it out on our own.”

“You’re welcome, Mom. I’m glad God brought us together, too. And just think, some day we’ll all get together in heaven, just like the song says.”

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

[When We All Get to Heaven by Eliza E. Hewitt, published 1898]




Another Lesson from Abbey

Thank You Kiss“Hey, Mom. Thanks for showing me Aunt Marilyn’s blog post last week. I’ve heard a lot about Millie and Aunt Marilyn’s two previous cats, and I’m sorry I never met them. I don’t remember that you’ve ever taken me to Chicago to see your old home and to visit with your old friends.”

“Well, Abbey, we don’t get to Chicago very often any more. At least you’ve gotten to know your Aunt Marilyn from the times she’s come up to Wisconsin to visit us. She used to live on the first floor of our two-flat in Chicago. She was our extended family, sharing the same street address.”

“According to Aunt Marilyn’s blog, her cat Millie was pretty smart. Millie must have been a good companion. I bet she taught Aunt Marilyn a lot about life.

“That makes me think about all I’ve taught you about life, Mom, and what I still need to teach you before I move on to heaven. I’ll be able to meet Millie in heaven, face-to-face, before too long, so I better get busy teaching you what you still need to learn while I’m still here.”

Ann - Abbey 3“I’m afraid that’s true, Abbey. Your time on earth may not be much longer. I don’t know what the first few years of your life on earth were like, but over the last eight years you have been a wonderful member of our family. You have demonstrated an incredible amount of love and patience with everyone who has lived with us. You have loved and been loved by over a dozen grandmas and a couple grandpas. Although you still like to sit with the 93-year-olds in our household, I can see that you have a much harder time getting up and walking with them.”

“Yup, but I’m still enjoying life. I’m not ready to leave you yet. There’s still one really important thing I need to teach you.”

“What’s that, Abbey? I’m all ears!”

“That’s just it. You often say “I’m all ears” when someone wants to tell you something that you really want to hear about. Or, you may talk about a wonderful sight that you’ve seen with your eyes. But I’ve never heard you say, ‘I’m all nose!’ God gave you the sense of smell as well as hearing and sight.”

“I guess you’re right, Abbey. You certainly make good use of your nose. You’re always sniffing out whatever is on the ground or in the air.”

“That’s right. Nothing gives me more pleasure than reading all the smells on the ground when we’re out for a walk. You don’t seem to pay much attention to all those wonderful smells. Yesterday you went for a walk and looked at all the flowers around the farmhouse. Did you take time to smell the peonies and the mock orange blossoms and the wild roses?”

“They were all so beautiful, all of them in full bloom.”

“That’s my point. You saw all the blooms, but did you smell them? When God created everything on earth, God created smells and tastes as well as colors and sounds. Remember all the burnt sacrifices described throughout the Old Testament? The practical purpose of burning all those sacrifices was to create wonderful fragrances for God to smell. For example, after the flood described in Genesis 8, when Noah came off the ark, he built an altar to make burnt sacrifices to God.

God smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, “I’ll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age, but I’ll never again kill off everything living as I’ve just done.” [Genesis 8:20-21 The Message]

“God didn’t decide to bless the earth because of how it looked or sounded. It was because of how wonderful the burnt offering smelled. You people just don’t get it,” Abbey continued. “The sense of smell is the most godly of all the senses. Jesus and his friends when he was on earth understood this. One of my favorite Bible stories happened just days before Jesus was crucified. Here’s part of the story.

Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house. [John 12:2-3 The Message]

mock orange blossoms

Mock orange blossoms

“Just imagine what that must have smelled like, Mom. It was probably even sweeter than the fragrance of the mock orange blossoms at the farm.”

Abbey continued her lecture. “The apostle Paul understood the superiority of the sense of smell over all other senses. When he was thanking the people living in Philippi for all the gifts they had sent him, he said:

And now I have it all – and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. [Philippians 4:18 The Message]

“Are you beginning to get it, Mom? God didn’t put all these wonderful fragrances on the earth just for us dogs. You can smell them, too, if you pay attention.”

“You’re right, Abbey. I need to remember to pay more attention to the smells surrounding me. The first time I smell someone cutting their grass in early spring, I notice how sweet and refreshing it smells. When a neighbor is grilling hamburgers outside, I notice that smell. It makes me hungry. And I create wonderful smells in the kitchen when I’m baking cookies.”

“You’re beginning to understand, Mom. But, try a little harder. Every time you step outside, sniff the air, like I do. I doubt you’ll ever put your nose to the ground like I do, but there are plenty of smells at your nose level, too. Maybe you’ll start to thank God each time you get a whiff of something that’s simply wonderful, or something that brings back a special memory.”

“I’ll try, Abbey. Thanks for nudging me to become a little more aware of another one of God’s magnificent gifts.”

“You’re welcome, Mom. Thanks for listening. I want to talk a little more about Millie, but I guess we can do that next time. I hear Mom Mim singing in the kitchen, and… Sniff the air, Mom! Do you smell it? I can smell that she’s cooking something that smells really good. She may need my help… See ya later, Mom.”

Marian - Abbey - Mim: We're always learning something from each other!

Marian – Abbey – Mim: We’re always learning something from each other!