Callie is the first part of "the girls" Callie's a beautiful 10 year old tortie (tortoiseshell) cat. She's my love-bug, my purr-baby, and my Callie-boo. She's got excellent manners, is relatively quiet, and low-maintenance. She's content sleeping out in the sunroom or under the big bay window in the living room. As long as she's got food, water, and a clean box, she's a happy camper.

Callie came to me on a cool, drizzly October day in 1998. I'd recently graduated seminary and had moved into a new apartment. She showed up on the back patio starving, thirsty, and very thin. She then moved into the empty boxes we had stored on the patio. Then she moved into my heart. Since she was a stray for who knows how long, she'd developed some feral cat behaviors and is a very timid and shy kitty who doesn't like loud noises, strangers, or a stressful household. Over the years she's come out of her shell and totally flourished. She's definitely a momma's cat, too!

We've had a rough start to the year with the Callie-bug. She had an upper respiratory infection...twice, which is very unusual since she's never had any kind of illness since I've had her. She's been diagnosed with arthritis. (It's tough getting old!) We now have her on a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement that she gets twice a day and is responding very well to that. Most recently, she had a bladder infection. I've learned the easiest way to collect a urine specimen from a cat is to put them in kitty daycare at the vet and let them collect it! She's over that now and has gotten a clean bill of health from the vet.

With all the change and stress in the house of adding a second kitty, I'm sure that most of Callie's problems except for the arthritis, were due to stress. During all of this, she'd started showing some of her stray/feral behaviors, so I began the very long, slow process of bringing her out of her shell once again. Over the past 2 months or so, Callie's learned to trust again and we're starting to see glimpses of her former self. For example, this morning she was on the perch by the window in our bedroom playing with the blinds. She used to do this every morning to wake me up, but hasn't done it once in the past 4 months. Then, she jumped up on the bed next to me and laid down. She wasn't touching me, but she was laying down by me, purring contentedly. Again, this is something else she's not done in months. I was so happy to awake to her on the perch, playing in the blinds, and purring on the bed next to me. Sometimes it's the small things in life that bring us much joy.

As I sit and reflect on all that Callie's been through these past 5 months and how I've longed to see her wonderful personality and trust in me return, I get a glimpse of how God must feel. Just like I patiently wait for Callie to come out of her shell and into her own again, I am reminded of how patiently God waits for me to turn to Him and to trust Him fully. Just as I celebrate each small accomplishment of Callie in her progress, I am reminded how God celebrates each small step I take back towards Him and the life He has planned for me. As I recall the many times I laid beside Callie over the months, petting her and talking to her, reassuring her of my love, I cannot help but think of the many times God has held me close, reassuring me of His love for me, reminding me that His plan for me is bigger than my immediate situation, His plan is perfect, and I am His.