Gorgeous George, named by my mother, is a peacock.
One warm spring day a few years ago, he appeared out of nowhere and stood at her window. He peered in quite seriously, as if he were on a mission. His sole purpose seemed to be to protect her and watch over her.
I was grateful for his help. Mother was at the end stage of her life, spending her last weeks in the comfort of her own home. When George fanned his beautiful tail feathers out, with their beautiful hues of green and blue, Mother thought she might be getting a peek at heaven.
After Mom died, George attended her funeral, standing solemnly and proud with his magnificent tail spread out in all its glory. A glory Mom would know a hundred times over.
—Julie Buck, Johnson City, Indiana
With groceries piled high in the back seat, I pulled into the driveway one Saturday afternoon and rolled down the window.
“How’s the kitten?” I called to my husband, Bill, who was busy mowing the lawn. We hadn’t had our baby Siamese long, and I couldn’t help but fuss over our new family member.
“Jodie hasn’t let her out of her sight,” Bill reported. Jodie, our Border Collie, proved to be a born cat sitter. I hit the garage door opener and reached for the gearshift. Jodie planted herself right in front of the garage, blocking my way.
“C’mon, Jodie,” I yelled. “Move it, girl!” I wanted to get my hands on my little fur ball and this dog was keeping me from her.
Bill had gone back to his mowing, and Jodie refused to budge. Exasperated, I got out of the car in a huff.
Before I could scold her, I saw a flash of gray shoot out from under the car. The kitten! She must have run under the car while I was talking to Bill. I would have run her over if not for Jodie.
“Good girl,” I said, ruffling her fur. Border Collie, cat sitter, and now, guardian angel.
—Margaret Gunn, Haslett, Michigan
Message of the Sparrow
The view out my kitchen window was dull and brown and did nothing to lift my spirits.
Life had thrown me some curve balls lately. Despite all my praying, comfort seemed to be nowhere in sight. Did God care about my plight?
“Lord, at least send me some birds,” I said, looking out at our yard. “A cardinal, a blue jay, a goldfinch. Some spot of color to brighten my world.”
I reached for a glass above the kitchen sink. A tiny bird appeared on the window sill.
She blinked her eyes at me as if to say, “Did someone call for me?”
But this was no colorful bird. Just a gray, flat, dull sparrow. The humblest of birds. What was the biblical verse? “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
The humblest of birds was, on that bleak day, the most perfect of messengers.
—Kathy Nickerson, Bethel, Missouri
Where Two Are Gathered
My Mama Cat is more than beautiful. She has a special talent.
Every time I kneel in prayer Mama Cat appears by my side to place a paw on my hands and mew along quietly.
Even if I’m in another room silently praying, she somehow knows and comes running.
Recently some friends joined me for a prayer meeting. Mama Cat prowled around our feet. She stopped to rub up against each one of us, adding her prayers to ours.
How blessed I am never to have to pray alone.
—Lola Walker, Alliance, Nebraska
Driving on the highway I saw an 18-wheeler send something flying. I pulled over to check it out.
A wounded porcupine dragged itself toward the median. I couldn’t just leave the animal to suffer.
I scooped the porcupine up and put it in the trunk. Even though I was bare-handed, the porcupine didn’t quill me.
At the veterinarian’s office, I learned the porcupine was female. I decided to call her Penelope. X-rays revealed Penelope had a broken pelvis. The vet provided me with a box and blanket, but wasn’t optimistic she’d make it.
I’d become attached to her and agreed to take care of her anyhow. She let me hold her with nary a bite or scratch.
We pulled into my garage late at night. I set her up in the backyard with her box, her blanket and some food, and made sure my curious dogs and cats didn’t get too close.
A day or two later Penelope must have been strong enough to tip her box. I hope she found a new home in the woods bordering my yard. Though she was part of our family for a short time, I will never forget Penelope.
She allowed me to care for her, and in so doing, to appreciate the wonder of nature and the beauty of God’s creations. That was Penelope’s gift to me.
—Christopher Guly, Ottawa, Ontario
Illustrations by Jacqui Oakley
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