Last Friday, our cat Aslan lost his battle with pancreatitis.  I think he would have died that day on his own, but we took him to the vet and had him put down.  I think we saved him hours of pain, and I’m glad if we were able to make it more bearable for him.  We loved him, and we held him and kissed him at the end.  Even the vet cried.

It’s hard to lose a pet.  Even with our remaining two cats and two dogs, there was an empty spot in our house.  Aslan took so much of my time, with his medications and my efforts to get him to eat well and give him extra attention.  It’s hard, missing who he was and how he needed me.  That empty spot he left behind was too much for me.  We didn’t plan to take in another pet, but …

Well, like I told my husband, sometimes kittens just happen and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it.  So there.

Meet Diego.

Danni and Diego

The weird thing is, we picked out the name Diego before we went to the shelter.  I told my Mom we were getting a kitten and we’d picked a name, and she confused “Diego” with “Diablo” (devil), which made me wonder what Diego might really mean.

Diego Sleepy Quilt 2

Diego means “supplanter”, or “he that replaces”.

Aslan was one of a kind, so I can’t really think that he’s been replaced.

But that empty spot is much easier to take, and we smile a lot more.

Diego Sleepy Quilt 3

Thank you, Diego.



Coin Jars

My eleven year old daughter recently told me that when she was younger, she thought the Salvation Army was an actual branch of the United States military.  She thought our country was so kind to have an army who’s purpose was just to make sure that people in need had a nice Christmas.  She wanted to grow up and be one of their soldiers.

Isn’t it amazing how children see the world?  It warmed my heart – that kid is so sweet –  and kind of made me sad that it doesn’t quite work her way.  (There have been many times I wished the world worked the way she’s imagined it.)

She’s made me more aware though.  We have a couple Mason jars on the kitchen counter to catch our spare change.  Most of the time, we’re just adding to it, not taking away.  But this month the jars have less coins all the time.  If I need to go to the grocery store, I grab my purse, list and keys, then remember that there will be a bell ringer out front and fill my pocket with change.  The kids have gotten into the spirit and will remind me to grab some change if I forget, then fill their pockets, too.

Our extra coins may not make much of a difference in the world, but it can’t hurt.  The important part here is that each time we leave the house, we pause for a moment to think if we’ll have an opportunity to help others while we’re out.  And then we do something about it.

I hope this is a habit we’ll keep after the holidays are over.

For the Birds


If you’re crafty and frequently have snips of fabric and little pieces of thread left over after a project, find a jar, pretty bowl or even a bag you can hide away and save up those scraps.

Cut up the larger pieces as you go so you have a collection of skinny bits.  Once you have enough, stuff them into a clean suet bird feeder.  Early next spring, hang it in a bird friendly spot.  (Don’t quit saving up your scraps, make another for a friend!)

For the Birds

Hopefully your friendly neighborhood birdies will come upon this jackpot of nest building materials and fill your trees with the most colorful nests you’ve ever seen!

This would be a good lesson for a young child.  While cleaning up after a project, you can talk about how it’s good for the earth (and our personal economies) to get as much use as we possibly can out of everything.  You can also teach them about bird families, and how much Mommy and Daddy birds love their babies and prepare for them just like people do.  This just reinforces what kids already know – they are indeed the center of the universe.

When it gets cold again, your suet feeder can be used to feed the birdie families you helped in spring.  Which puts us right back to the recycling bit again … :)