Welcome to The WatchCat
Saturday, April 19 2014 @ 12:55 PM PDT

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Community

General News**As I write, reports are coming in regarding another shooting at Ft. Hood. Prayers for all involved**

I recently returned to my church after a rather complicated hiatus. The warmth of the welcome took me by surprise. I remembered that friendships had changed but by no means dissolved. But two things particularly stood out:

1) When I was isolated from the community, my attention very naturally focused on my own concerns. I came back and realized that I had friends who were in the midst of some terrible battles. Shaky marriages, new grief... we're meant to bear each other's burdens and I was falling down on the job.

2) A friend told me: "It is good to see you back in your place again. When you were gone, your place remained empty." It was a lovely double entendre about both a tangible place and my position within the community.

We need community. When we're tired and hurting, it's too easy to think we're a burden. So we slink away. We top up our most pressing need with superficial interaction like a tired mom soothing her hunger pangs with a mocha. ;) We sit in a quiet house or have the TV on nonstop, and then we wonder about those thoughts that come into our heads. Or eventually, we just believe them.

Community shouts down the thoughts and turns us away from the TV. Community teaches us to pray when we can't put our own troubles into words but make the effort for our friends' troubles. Community...real, not utopian....changes the equation to one in which our life is more than our individual success.

Today, success is a friend persevering in her marriage for another day.
Today, success is making wise choices about hospice.
Today, success is a card written to a grieving friend.
Today, success is another day of choosing life.

Whatever the means, success is making sure no one is truly alone.
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Close Call

General NewsOn a personal level, the blog is for days like today. For those days when there are warning bells in your head and you still don't know how you made it through what unfolded next. For those days when you feel guilty for what might have happened even though you did everything reasonable to avoid it and then some.

In short, we were nearly in a car accident today. My son and I. It would have been purely the other guy's fault; I had the right of way and he turned left into my left turn. I veered right and took every last scrap of road I could to get out of his way, and he missed the driver's side doors by inches. If I'd have stopped or stayed on course, we would have been hit. I'm sure of it. And so I still ask myself if I should have put my turn signal on earlier, and of course I'm mad about the wrong turn that put me on that particular road in the first place.

Thank God for our survival. Thank the angels and the saints. And I'm also thankful for the Muscovites and Cairo taxi drivers who influenced my understanding of what is possible on the road.

It's a lesson in gratitude for all those things "which we know and which we know not." Life is saved or lost by a thread. Remember to be thankful for even the threads we don't understand.
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The Kid Who Melts the DI

General NewsMay God bless this DI and this kid. Some of the finest men and women in the world are in the US Military, and this troubled boy is able to recognize it.

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Putin's Game

General NewsLike many of you, I'm spending a fair amount of my "free time" keeping an eye on what's happening in Ukraine. Perhaps unlike you, I have many Russian friends, some Ukrainian acquaintances and some almost-family types with strong Ukrainian ties. For these and other reasons, I have been very careful about my comments.

I'm not an expert on Ukraine, but I know Russia tolerably well. I know Orthodoxy. And I know a little something of the KGB of Putin's time.

Someone recently said that Russia is playing chess while the US is playing marbles. Keep that comment in mind with every article you read. Yes, it feels like the 1930s. And the 1980s. And 2008. We also need to remember Russia's Christian history and how this impacts their understanding of other territories.

However...

We're getting a little too wrapped up in how Pres. Obama screwed this up. Yes, I predicted that Putin would have Obama for breakfast. But we need to move beyond that to have any real sense of what is happening.

Any simplistic explanation of what Putin is doing is likely wrong.

This is chess. Putin makes a move with his opponent's responses in mind. If he takes a pawn or a knight, was that his endgame? Of course not; he wants the queen to move.

Does Putin want to return Russia to her "former glory?" Probably.

Is it narcissism, like so many Russian leaders of the past?

He takes a knight and moves back a few spaces. So what does he really want?
Probably something most of us don't see.
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Excellent exploration of the options

General NewsHow Will the West Read Putin's Playbook?
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Forever a Boy Scout

General NewsGod Bless the Garbage Man

This is a local story but I've decided it needs to go viral. ;) This shouldn't be news, but it is, and the fact that it has become a big deal just shows how much we need Jeremy Fischer's example. So sorry, Jeremy, but you're getting your fifteen minutes of fame.

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Into the Pain

General NewsYes, I was that mom yesterday. The one with the screaming toddler who absolutely would not go into his car seat. And if you know his parents, it shouldn't be any surprise when I say that this little guy is strong. And wily. And very, very determined. So, I eventually got him locked down, but I hurt my lower back in the process.

This morning I was using the awesome tool known as the foam roller to try to unlock my muscles. And it struck me that using a foam roller right is a bit like working through other problems: if you avoid the pain, you won't get anywhere. You have to touch that spot over and over, and eventually lean in to the pain if you ever want it to release. It takes patience, because it doesn't happen instantly. It takes perseverance, because it will hurt and you'll want to go where it feels better. But if you avoid it, you'll just keep limping through life.

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Living the Legend

General NewsWhat do you believe about yourself?
What do you believe about the most important people in your life?
....Are you sure you are right?

One particular issue has tangled me and my relationships up for years. But in a recent late-night conversation about that issue, I heard the response, "I've been telling you X (the thing I want) for years, but it's like you don't believe I think that."

I don't trust easily, and if trust is broken, it is very hard for me to restore. But sometimes people do deserve our trust. They see things in us, good things that we don't know for ourselves. It can frustrate us if we think they are making something of us that we are not. My time in the Middle East did a real number on my understanding of what it is to be a woman, and I've spent years avoiding that pigeon hole. But the smartest thing I've done recently was to get personal feedback from a number of friends, and I discovered something interesting.

One of the things that makes me a good fiction writer is my ability to create a character or persona. I understand what pieces fit and how conflicts coexist. A person without conflict is boring at best and psychopathic at worst. So when my friends started describing myself to me, I realized those things I avoided were actually wrong for my character to neglect. Their absence put me out of balance; their presence belongs with the strong person I've become.

And so my current "project" is to rewrite the character in my head. We usually believe it is difficult to change ourselves, but we typically try to change our actions and hope the thoughts follow. I'm reversing that.

Decide who you are. Write it down, evaluate it, change the description to fit the person you are meant to be. Then act like it.
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More on Lone Survivor

General NewsLone Survivor and Truth and Lone Survivor: The Review

H/T SOFREP. Interesting perspective on Hollywood's loose relationship with the truth. I doubt that the script inaccuracies have much impact on the "propaganda" issues but the points about our tendency to learn history from Hollywood are valid.

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Critics

General NewsIf you feel like getting angry, go read this review of "Lone Survivor:" Lone Survivor: A Pro War Propaganda Surprise Hit

I don't have it in me to go looking for more of the kind (I'm sure they're out there) but I saw the video of the reactions of Marcus Luttrell and Dakota Meyer and wanted to know the source. I almost wish I hadn't found it.

This pretty much sums up the review: " Its trying to tell us that whatever we may think we think about what our country did over the past dozen years this SEAL team was based at Bagram Air Force base, where some of the worst acts of CIA or military torture were committed dying for the red, white and blue is still a holy enterprise."
The whole attitude of that statement angers me, but the ignorance is what really makes my head explode. How many thousands of soldiers have gone through Bagram? I have a good friend who was a postal worker there; will you accuse her too? The Left has been inbreeding for far too long; their brain function is diminishing.

I liked Dakota Meyer's response: Call it whatever you want to call it, but it was factual.

And facts upset the people who would rather ignore them.