Saturday, August 23, 2008

Civil Forum

I'm a little behind... one week to be exact, but I have to make a couple of comments regarding the Civil Forum between Barrack Obama and John McCain at Saddleback Church. First, I really enjoyed watching it! And, I am NOT into politics at all... I avoid it as much as I can because I cannot stand the mudslinging that goes on because I don't really care what negative thoughts you have on the other candidate, I want to know what you stand for. It was nice to watch these two men be able to talk about their views, both politically and spiritually, in a respectful, honorable way. I thought that Pastor Rick did a wonderful job and I would like to see him interview them each more at length. He didn't tip toe around the candidates, he came straight out and asked them difficult questions.

Oddly enough, I had never really heard either one of them speak about their views. It's true what they say about Barrack- he is a very charasmatic speaker and he sounds very educated (and I'm sure that he is). However, if you ever take the time to listen to what he's saying, often he doesn't seem to be answering the question asked of him. Specifically, when asked when he thinks an unborn baby has human rights. What was his response? "That's above my pay grade." I'm sorry... what was that? I had to rewind and listen again because I thought for certain that I had misheard him. No. That's what he said. Not only that, he never answered the question... he went into this speech of how we need to lower the number of unwanted pregnancies and realize that this is a difficult decision for women to make. Ummm... okay. Great. You didn't answer the question, but thanks for sharing. I found McCain to be much more direct. I felt like he knew where he stood on the topic and he didn't have any shame in sharing that view. McCain also seemed to address the audience whereas, Barrack always looked at Rick. I really liked the story McCain told about when he was a P.O.W. in the Vietnam War. His dad had connections and he was going to be able to be released before another prisoner, who had been there longer and, thus should have been the one released first. They made the offer to McCain and he declined because of the military code and the other man was released, and McCain remained in the prison for 3 more years. I just felt that the story really demonstrated character and the attitude of a servant. He sacrificed his freedom so someone else could be free. I don't care which side you are on... you have to admire and respect that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

If Only...

I was reading a daily devotional this morning and it just really resonated with me and I really felt that God was convicting me in this message and I wanted to pass it along to you all.

Heart Whispers

"A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it." Job 4:12

If only I had called her.

If only I had listened to that little voice in my head that nudged me to call her several times over the past few months. Although we were casual acquaintances whose paths did not cross very often, I still considered her a friend and a dear sister in Christ. She had been fighting cancer for years, but had recently been in remission and in good health. More than a year had passed since we had spoken, but we would still smile and wave at each other at church.

For several weeks recently, this friend kept coming to mind. I had felt God laying her on my heart, and I kept intending to call her, but would get busy and forget. Then I arrived at church one Sunday morning, only to read the shocking news that she had passed away. I was stunned. I had seen her fairly recently, buzzing around the sanctuary, and she looked great, but now she was gone. Now it was too late to call her. The door of opportunity to hear her kind voice had slammed shut.

If only I had listened to that inner voice of the Holy Spirit prompting me to pick up the phone to call and check on her. I was unaware that she was sick again, but God knew.

If only I had stopped whatever I was doing, and taken just a few minutes to let her know I was thinking of her. I was unaware of her need to be remembered, but God knew.

If only I had called her, and let her know how her unshakable joy had impacted my walk with God. I was unaware of her need for encouragement, but God knew.

Tears filled my eyes as I considered not only the loss of this sweet, precious woman, but my own remorse for not listening to God's whispers to my heart. God's ways are not our ways, as we are told in Isaiah 55:8, and I have learned through this experience to always listen to the quietest of voices, and recognize that this voice is holy.

I now understand that when I suddenly feel the need to call someone whom I haven't thought of, spoken to, or seen in months or even years, that it may be God Himself whispering to my heart. When I have an urge to tell someone I love them, even though I am sure they already know it, God is whispering to my heart. When I find myself dropping by to visit someone in the hospital that I don't know well or possibly do not them at all, God is whispering to my heart.

God knows what His children need, and He uses each of us to meet those needs. Just because we don't have all the answers yet, or do not know why God is prompting us to do a certain thing, doesn't mean we should ignore the whisper. His ways are not our ways... but His way is the best way... and the necessary way.

When I learned of my friend's passing, I made a commitment to myself and to God that I will never again ignore even the tiniest, quietest whisper from the Holy Spirit. I will pray for discernment and whether He tells me to make a big sacrifice, or simply make a phone call, my hope is that I will step out in faith and obey, without delay.

If God has been whispering to you about someone or something, listen to those whispers. Don't discount them. Pray for discernment and be willing to take action, even if you don't fully understand the reason yet. Unfortunately, the consequence of not listening to those whispers, could result in you having to say, "If only ..." just like me.

Have you heard His whisper?


God is never in the loudness and busyness around us. You have to turn off the TV and radio, you have to make the choice to go up to your room and close the door, you have to ignore the ringing phone or the emails calling your name. Once you do that, you have to, as this devotional suggests, be willing to listen and act on those promptings, no matter how little sense they make. If you don't, you might be left with regrets or missed opportunities to experience God working in your life. There have, unfortunately, been so many times that I didn't listen to God's whisper. Several times they ended up in injury, severe regret, and/or missed opportunities.

I remember one time when I was back in High School, I was leaving the house to run an errand, and I just kept having this feeling that I shouldn't be leaving- it was something that I couldn't shake. But, I ignored it and went along my way. The feeling wouldn't leave me and, because of that, I was driving much more cautiously and slower than I normally would. Well, I turn the corner and there are two parked cars on either side of the road from me. I'm approaching one of the cars and a little boy in his boy scout uniform dashes out from behind one of the cars, running over to his mom in the other car. I slammed on the breaks and stopped just short of hitting him. Had I been going at the normal speed, I probably would have hit him. Thank the Lord that, even though I didn't listen to Him, He still saved me from having potentially injured (or worse) that little boy.

I think that I should, also, set things straight in that I'm not hearing an audible voice of God. Not even what you would, technically, call a whisper. It's more of a thought will just come into my mind, out of nowhere, or I'll remember something or a piece of scripture will come to mind that applies to the situation I'm praying about. Sometimes I wish that I heard an audible voice... but, then, knowing me, I'd worry that I'd developed another personality :-) kidding...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I don't think you're going to fit...

Check this progression out...

Poor Jack thinks that he's still a kitten and can fit in the basket. Made me think of us girls and how we try to fit into our 'skinny jeans' from high school :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Dark Knight

Finally went to see the Dark Knight, if you hadn't already guessed by the blog title. I have to say, for someone who initially had no desire to see it, I was really blown away by it. The first weekend it came out, all I heard was how, well, how 'dark' it was and I really wasn't in the mood to go see a movie and walk out feeling horrible. But, then one by one, friends and co-workers were going to see it and everyone thought that it was really good... the only complaint I ever heard was that it was too long. (2 1/2 hours) Oh, and everyone raved about Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker. Now, this is the pessimist in me...people usually have the nicest things to say about someone once they've passed away, so I was pessimistic about how really "amazing" his performance really was. Well, I have to eat my words because it really was an amazing performance! With the exception of one brief shot of him without make-up, you would never recognize him by looks or his voice. And he really did give an Oscar-worthy performance. And, really, everyone's performance in this movie was incredible.

I think one of the reasons this movie was so interesting was the storyline. With this Joker, he wasn't creating havoc for the sake of power or money or drugs, rather, he was creating havoc for the sake of creating havoc. He loved to see 'civilized' people get pushed to their limits and how these so called moral people, if it came down to their lives or someone elses, they are capable of committing horrible evil acts upon one another. He puts them in situations that make them have to chose 'him' or 'me'. One particular scene (I won't give anything away), there were two ferry's out on the water and suddenly both of their motors died and they are stranded. Next thing you know, people on both of the ferrys find these gold boxes with purple ribbons wrapped around them. They open them up and inside is a detonator. Only, they come to find out, from the Joker, that the detonator is rigged up so that if ferry A presses the button, then ferry B will blow up. They have until midnight to make their decision, otherwise the Joker was going to blow both of the boats up. To put a little something more in the mix, the one ferry is full of prisoners who they are evacuating from the city and the other ferry is just everyday ordinary civilians... so, who deserves to live? Basically, whoever pushes the button first will live or both boats blow up if no one presses either button.

The movie was more of a psychological thriller and it really keeps you thinking about it long after you've left the theatre. I kept thinking back to the three part series Kay Warren did on her book. I remember her saying how we all like to think that everyone is 'basically good at heart'; but, that we really aren't. Our natural tendency is to look out for ourselves and that if we are put in the right situation and under the right circumstances, we are all capable of committing evil acts (nice thought, huh?). I mean, on a smaller scale, if someone cuts you off on the road, what is your initial response? Is it to shout, "God Bless You!" or is it to shout something else? Or even better, try to get in front of that car and cut them off? The only thing that keeps us from doing horrible things to one another is our sense of right and wrong, our morals and ethics, all of which were instilled in us by God.

I highly recommend the movie and if you haven't seen it, you should... just be prepared for a very intense movie :-)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Answered Prayer

Amongst all of the animal drama these past couple of weeks, between Jack's swollen gum, cancer-scare and Smallz couple of days on this earth, it was a bit emotionally exhausting. I seriously don't know how parents do it with their kids. I was completely distraught and stressed and I can't even imagine how I'd be if these were my children going through these things.

Jack is doing well...

He's back to his playful, lovey-dovey self.

Smallz, unfortunately, didn't live very long, but he was a really sweet little thing who liked to squeek a lot.

But, back to the topic of this blog. I have a happy animal story today. One of my friends at work was telling me about one of her co-workers and how he was stressed out because his 13 year old cat had, somehow, escaped their home and they hadn't been able to find her for several days. The cat is old and had never been out of the house, so it wouldn't know how to take care of itself. We said a quick prayer that the cat would come home and then I completely forgot about it for the rest of the day. Yuree IM'd me at the end of the day with the news that his cat had wandered back home and was safe and sound.

It always amazes me when God, so quickly, answers prayers. It's also such a good reminder that God cares about everything that we care about- no matter how seemingly big or small. I used to only feel validated in praying for the 'big' things... someone's health, the safety of someone, etc. It's only been in the past few years that I realized how much God cares about everything. I pray over all sorts of things now. Everything from someone's cancer to be cured to finding a close parking spot at the mall. Granted, the more 'monumental' the situation, the longer the prayer tends to be, whereas, for a parking space, my prayer is pretty much, "God, let there be a close parking spot. In Jesus' name, Amen." and that's that... nothing fancy. I don't believe that God cares how you talk to Him, as long as you talk to Him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2 Posts in One Day! Lucky you :-)

I've been meaning to post this video from YouTube and I kept forgetting and then I saw it on someone else's blog today and I was reminded to do it.

This is a small segment from an interview Larry King had with Steven Curtis Chapman and his family, with regards to the untimely death of their little 5 year old girl, Maria Sue. (not Mary Sue as Larry kept referring to her... good grief... you're a world renowned journalist/interviewer and you can't even get her name straight? Okay, I'm done with my rant)

There's a lot of great statements made in this small piece from the interview, but I'm posting it because of the "SEE" story...really amazing to hear how God comforts those who are grieving.

Sad Day

Yesterday was a sad day, as you can probably gather by the title. Smallz, our rat/mouse died. We had been feeding him Pedialyte and Kitten Replacement Milk, as suggested by the 'Rat Specialists', and I had just fed him that morning and went back to feed him again about 4-5 hours later and he had died sometime in between. I felt like I had instantly time-warped back to when I was a little kid and we'd find injured birds or baby birds who had fallen out of their nests. We'd always do our best to keep them warm and to feed them, but, ultimately, none of them ever made it. We had this one little area in our backyard where we'd have our little bird funerals and we'd put them in a small box and bury them (not that we had that many experiences with dying birds, but I know that it happened 3-4 times at least). I even started crying like you do when you're a kid... you know, that type of crying where you sound like you're hyperventilating and you're just focusing on trying to breathe... that exhausting kind of crying. I've never really cared for anything that helpless before. He couldn't do anything for himself. He had to completely rely on me, which is a scarey thought all it's own, considering I have a knack for breaking and/or losing things.

Part of the reason I was so sad was because when I really needed to step up and do something right, I completely failed. Not only that, but during the couple of days that we had him, there were several times when I was ticked off at God for putting him in my path... why did I have to take a different path on my walk that day? Why did I have to look down and see him? Why couldn't someone else have taken on this responsibility? Or, the bigger question, why did he even have to be born if you were just going to make him suffer? What it boiled down to, was that I was being inconvenienced. I wasn't able to go and run my errands or go see a movie, as planned on Sunday and, now, who knew how long I would need to take care of him... I mean, was I going to be inconvenienced for months? Trust me, I'm not proud of these thoughts and I even remember, at the time, when I was having those thoughts, 'Julie, you'd better stop thinking so selfishly... what if he dies? Then you'll really feel horrible.' Well... he died and I do feel horrible. I can't help but think that I must have done something wrong or not done something that I was supposed to do. I do feel that God has given me comfort in knowing that I tried. I didn't just leave him on the sidewalk to be burned up by the heat of the day and eaten alive by ants. At least he died a peaceful death, and maybe that was my only purpose in finding him. I mean, God is in control of absolutely everything... even something as small and simple as a mouse and I know that God doesn't want to see any of his creation suffering and maybe I was just there to remove that suffering.

Several people have told me that they don't know if they would have done the same thing that I did. But, I really find that hard to believe. The way I look at it, even if you've never had pets or, for that matter, maybe you don't even like animals, it really doesn't matter. It's very clear in the Bible that God has given humans the earth and dominion over ALL of the creatures of the earth. He's given them to us as our responsibility to take care of. It doesn't matter if you like to do it or not, you have to do it. I mean, God even commanded that animals rest on the sabbath and the Bible tells us that no sparrow falls from the sky without God knowing about it. In Psalms, it reads:

"Your righteousness is like the
mighty mountains,
Your justice like the ocean
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord."

Oh my gosh... this was appropriate... this is the Message paraphrase of this same scripture:

"...Yet in His largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks."

Then, lastly, in Proverbs 12:10, it reads:

"The godly care for their animals,
but the wicked are always cruel."

I really don't think that I did anything that special...really... at all. My prayer is that this experience will make me less selfish and put aside my own agenda and be open to whatever God may have in store for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I didn't suck as bad as I thought I would...

I opted to not go to small group tonight and, instead, I took a card-making class at a local scrapbooking store. It was fun :-) I always feel anxious going into these things because, odds are, most of the people there are going to know much more about whatever we are doing than I do. I'm really bad that way- I put way too much pressure on myself to be a perfectionist and I don't give myself any patience or time to learn something new. I was pleasantly surprised, though... I really didn't think that I was going to do well, but the teacher sat down with me and showed me a couple of tips and, for the first time making cards, they came out fairly well... here is the finished product for 3 of the 5 cards we made (the other two are still in production :-)

Oh, and an update on 'Smallz' (our mouse/rat/creature)... he/she is still alive and kickin'. He/she has been taking in a lot more fluids and seems to be doing okay.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rats! Or a mouse... I'm not sure...

While I absolutely love animals and I've always had a heart for them, I've never been a huge rodent fan, or any creature of that variety- mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc. I didn't grow up with rodents as pets and one of my earliest and only memories of rats was having a couple of them as pets in my third grade classroom and one day, hearing a scream from one of the boys, looking over and his finger is gushing blood. That was enough to keep me at arms length from the little creatures. (although, looking back, the little boy whose finger was bitten was a bit of a punk, so he probably did something to anger the rat in the first place and the rat was probably more than justified in sinking his teeth into the brat) But, I am a sucker for anything that is seemingly helpless... thus the reason I now have a newborn mouse/rat (still undetermined) in my garage.

I was out for a walk this morning and I noticed something off to the side of the sidewalk. I looked closer and all that I could tell was that it was a creature of some sort that had, obviously, just been born within the past day or two because it had no hair, was probably 3-4 inches long and it's eyes were still shut. There were ants starting to crawl all over it and it was shaking, so it was obviously still alive. I can't imagine anyone could see that and just walk on, so I picked up a couple of leaves and brushed the ants off of it, scooped it up into one of the leaves and carried it back home. I put it in a box and took it to the vet down the street and they confirmed that it was either a mouse or a rat, but it was too early to tell which one. They said that I could leave it with them and they would 'take care of it'. I know what 'take care of it' meant. They weren't going to be nursing it back to health, they were going to euthanize it. So, now I have a mouse/rat (temporarily) in a mouse house in my garage. Mind you... this is NOT a new pet. It's going to take God to get this mouse to survive the next couple of days. We're trying to give it Pedialyte and Kitten Milk Substitution (what the vet and a Rat/Mouse Rescue organization (yes, they do exist) told me to do), but we can't be certain that it's even taking any of it in. But, I have to, at the very least, give it a chance to survive and, if it does, I already had an employee at Petsmart tell me to come back in and she might be able to find a home for it, or, at the very least, because it is not a domesticated mouse, I can release it back into the hills. Even if I wanted a mouse as a pet (and I don't), I couldn't keep it... I have cats who would think that it's their new playtoy.

This was definitely not in my plans for the weekend...

Friday, August 8, 2008

So sad it's over...

Last night was the season finale of "So You Think You Can Dance?". I'm bummed. I really like that show and, for some reason, this season I really liked all of the finalists. I feel like I get emotionally invested in them... I almost find myself holding my breath every week when they are announcing who will be leaving the show.

Like I said, this was one of my favorite seasons. They were all amazing dancers and all seemed to be very humble about their gifts. I'm not a dancer by any means, but I love watching other people dance...well, professional dancing. I don't go out to the local clubs and watch a bunch of twenty-somethings dancing around. But, because I have two left feet, I enjoy living vicariously through others who know what they are doing.

Joshua ended up being the winner of the competition, and the amazing thing is that he has NEVER had any dance training. He's a hip hop street dancer who decided to try out. I thought that it was great, at the end of the show when he was announced the winner, he said something to the effect, "don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't do something. God is in control and He can make anything happen." I love it when I see younger people (he's 17) professing their faith to millions of people. You always hear such negative things about todays teenagers and it's gives me such a sense of hope when you see someone who really seems to be grounded.

Another one of my favorite dancers was Twitch, who is also a hip hop dancer. One of my favorite dances of the season was with Twitch and Khyrington (both from North Orange County no less!). I don't even know what it was about the dance... I thought everything about it was perfect- beautiful costumes, lighting, music, the story behind the choreography... like I said, everything. Here's a video clip of the dance. (if you just want to see the dance, fast forward to 2:20.

This was another favorite with Katee and Joshua (the winner).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"To Do" Lists

So, I'm a very big 'to do' list person. I love making lists. Not that I ever get everything done on them, but I like to have them. Why? Because I can be forgetful...I'm not sure if it's a memory thing or if it's just that my mind runs 100mph, so the chances of me remembering everything that I want to remember are very slim. Lists relieve me of the worry that I'll forget to get something done, call/email someone, get a chore done or forget to buy something at Target- this happens probably the most- I have ONE thing that I need at Target, so I go, walk out of the store with TEN things, not one of which is the thing I purposely went to Target for in the first place. I love love love being able to cross things off of my list and it's even better when the entire list is done and I can throw the post-it just gives me such a sense of accomplishment! So, it wasn't surprising, yesterday, when I was going through my folder at work and ran across an old post-it note with a 'to do' list on it. This was the list:

* Buy stuff to make cookies
* Mail birthday gift
* Mow lawn
* Spend time with God
* Call for haircut appt
* Clean bathroom

...what was that fourth 'to do'???? Yes, that's right- "spend time with God". Right in between mowing my backyard lawn and calling to make a haircut appointment, there God was. I actually did a double take when I first read the list... I mean, I didn't actually put God on a check off list, did I? Not only that, but He wasn't even the priority, the first thing on my list... He was fourth on the list! I let out a laugh and really had to wonder what God thought of all of that. Did He appreciate being put on a list? Or, how about the fact that "Spend time with God" wasn't even crossed off of the list, meaning it probably didn't happen. I have to say that the old list really has convicted me these past couple of days. I've been thinking a lot lately about how I put God last. I used to always think that, 'oh, I've got SO much to do, there's no way that I can sit down now and read the Bible... I'll be too distracted. I'll just get everything done and then I can be focused and present before God. But, what happens time and time again??? Yes, I get all of my work done, I sit down to read and within 5 minutes I'm asleep because I've exhausted myself. And, honestly, I know better. I can't even tell you how many times I've chosen to stop what I'm doing in the morning, read a little out of the Bible, prayed and my day goes SO much more smoothly. I feel a sense of peace and happiness and I'm in a better mood (which is beneficial to everyone :-) and I've noticed that on those really busy Saturday mornings when I have 10 errands to run, all before noon, if I stop and talk to God first, it seems like I'm able to get everything done and even afterwards, I don't see how I was able to get to where I needed to go so quickly, or how easily I found the product I was needing to buy or how short the lines were in the grocery store. It happens every single time.

It's kind of like when you hear couples talking about having a baby. You always hear them say, 'now's just not a good time...we're going to wait until things are more settled'. And, I think that we all think the same thing when we hear that- there's never going to be a perfect time! You'll never be 100% financially or emotionally prepared for parenthood- you do it despite any perceived obstacles. We have to be that same way with God. There will never be the perfect time to sit and think, reflect, pray, read or whatever you do in your quiet time. In all honesty, we have someone who wants to make sure that never happens. Pay attention next time you sit down or are getting ready to go and pray/read. I notice that my phone has never ringed so much, I notice a smudge on the carpet that needs to be cleaned up, I'll drop and break something... be prepared for distractions, but also be prepared for the blessings and insight and peace that will come if you push those distractions aside and focus on spending time with the most important One of all.

Friday, August 1, 2008


This past weekend I had a good reminder of God's faithfulness in all of the circumstances in our lives.

I don't know about you, but I find that it's really easy to believe that God is present with me when everything is going well. I can sit and thank and praise God all day long when I'm happy and things are going the way I believe that they should go. But, the moment a wrench is thrown into 'my plans', freaking out is my first reaction. By 'freaking out' I mean that I get sick to my stomach, and thoughts just begin to snowball in my mind. All of a sudden, I've gone from receiving news that something might be wrong to the worst case scenario of what that news actually means. But, once I start, it's almost impossible to stop... it'd be like trying to step on the tracks and stop a speeding train by holding out your hand.

Last Friday night, at about this time, I noticed that Jack, my sister's cat, looked like he was holding his jaw funny. Looking a little more closely at it, we could tell that the one side seemed to be swollen. My sister had to work at the hospital the next day, so I took Jack in to see the vet in the morning. Prior to even taking him in, I had a bad feeling. There was really no reason to have a bad feeling because it looked like Jack might have just played rough with the other cat and this injury was just the result; but, nonetheless, I just didn't have a good feeling. The vet takes a look at him and she starts to feel around on his jaw and all she said to me was, "hmmm... I'm not sure that I like this". Great. That's encouraging. She ran x-rays to get a look at the lump and she seemed less than hopeful after those results... basically, telling me that she was concerned that it looked like cancer. She said that it could possibly be a really bad infection, but you could tell by the tone of her voice that she really didn't think that was what it was and she was just trying to give me some shred of hope (or maybe she was trying to stop me from bawling... not sure which one) She starts throwing out at me all of these different things that they want to do and what our options would be if he did have cancer and I really wasn't processing any of it. All I could think about was having to call my sister, at work, and tell her that her 7 year old cat has cancer. The vet left me in the exam room to call my sister, but because she works in a hospital, she can't have her cell phone on, so I wasn't able to reach her right away and I left a message. While I was waiting for her to call me back, I was pleading with God that Jack wouldn't have cancer and pleading that He wasn't going to put us in a position where we'd have to decide Jack's 'quality of life' and be put in that position where we had to make a decision regarding Jack's life. I've been involved in those situations before and, actually, absolutely every pet I've ever had has had to be put to sleep due to illness and I was angry that God couldn't just let our pets die a natural death and not put us through the agony of that decision. I felt like I wasn't getting any answers from God or reassurance from Him and I was feeling really alone and just really wanting someone else to come in and take over- I didn't want to have to be there on my own. Around that point in time, the Vet Tech came back in the room to explain the procedures they wanted to do and once he was done, he told me that he was going on his lunch break, but that if we had any questions, to go ahead and ask for him. He started to walk out the door and I stopped him to ask him what his name was, so I would know who to ask for. I glanced at his nametag and his name is "Immanuel" - 'God With Us'. I thought that it was so amazing that God would reach out to me at that time and remind me that I wasn't alone and that He was with me in that examining room.

These are a couple of pictures of Jack right after his surgery:

Yesterday we found out that Jack doesn't have cancer. It turns out that it was that really bad infection that was a slight possibility, previously mentioned by the vet. So, he just needs to stay on antibiotics for a while and he should be fine. :-)

In this picture, he apparently doesn't realize his actual size...