Dear Jack: I Think You Found Your Spirit Animal

11 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

There are so many reasons you love to spend time at your Aunt Dana’s house; like you did the week leading up to Christmas, while Mommy and I still had to work.

But one of those reasons is because you get to play with your cousin Calla’s pet cats while you are there; since the only pet we have at our house is our hamster.

Specifically, it seems their cat Cocoa particular likes you; as if the two of you are on the same level.

Perhaps a housecat is your spirit animal. I could see that.



Dear Holly: If You Were a Cat, You Would Look Like This

4 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend Mommy and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary by visiting Look Out Winery near Chattanooga. We arrived a few minutes before they opened, and as we were making our way over to our table, which overlooked the river, we could help but notice an inviting little cat lying there on the ledge.

Mommy and I immediately both thought the same thing:

If Holly were a cat, this would be her.

She wasn’t a kitten. She seemed fully grown. However, she was more of the size of a kitten. She had big blue almond-shaped eyes.

And of course, she was very friendly, inviting, and playful.

Just like you!



Dear Jack: Your Possible New Part-Time Pet Named Whiskers (or Oliver?)

5 years.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Your Possible New Part-Time Pet Named Whiskers (or Oliver?)

Last weekend while we were in Alabama visiting my side of the family for Thanksgiving weekend, Mommy and I went on our usual 2 mile morning walk that we always do when we go there.

As we were half way through our route, a little black kitty started following us; desperately meowing as if to say, “Won’t somebody take care of me? I’m so hungry. I don’t have anyone.”

I kneeled down and petted the cat, then we continued on our walk. It followed us briefly, but then couldn’t keep up.

Fifteen minutes later, as Mommy and I rounded back down that road, the little black kitty was waiting for us.

We didn’t slow down, as we assumed there was a good chance it actually lived on that road. But this time, the cat kept its speed; even though we were ignoring it the whole way back.

Once we arrived back at Nonna and Papa’s house, we soon realized the difficulty of even trying to feed the kitten; as your grandparents don’t have any meat; much less, cat food, in their house.

So Mommy suggested we beat an egg, and serve it in a bowl to the kitten. It worked.

It was obvious the cat was in great need of nutrition. Throughout the day, I cut some slices of cheese I found in the refrigerator and feed it to the kitty.

To everyone’s surprise, we woke up and the little black kitten was still there; asleep on the back porch where we had fed it the eggs and cheese.

After all, he apparently had nowhere else to be or to go.

For the record, we did attempt to feed the kitten some of our food, which is vegan and vegetarian, but the cat was uninterested; after all, felines are carnivores, not omnivores.

So Nonna had me run in to the local grocery store and buy some official cat food.

His name, according to you, is Whiskers.

However, Nana likes the name Oliver; and she, along with Papa, will be the ones actually taking care of him.

And yes, it is a him; as seen in my new web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Last night as we were watching the 3rd webisode, you announced, “Hey Daddy, look… I can see his nugget pouch!”

(Previously you had asked me how I knew he was a boy cat, so I explained that his “nugget pouch” under his tail was how I could tell.)

“Kitty,” as he is known on my show, apparently will be a by-default regular supporting cast member (like Gunther on Friends).

In addition to being part of the main plotline of the “Freddie the Fox” webisode, he also is undeniably present in the opening montage of my new show.

I never intended for him to be part of the show, but he just kept showing up during filming, so I wrote him into the script.

You and your cousin Calla definitely enjoyed having him around this past weekend. If he sticks around Nonna and Papa’s place, he just might end up being your part-time pet each time we visit there.



Finding Favor is Better than Being Lucky

Luck vs. destiny.

Here in Nashville, a phrase that pretty much instantly started annoying me the first time I heard it was “networking”.  “It’s all about networking”, say the people who claim to know how struggling musicians become stars.  And they’re right.  It’s all about who you know.  Of course talent and experience have something to do with it too. 

But it’s one thing to know the right people, and another to find favor with them.  To stand out and to be special in their eyes.  By doing a quick Google search of the phrase “found favor Bible”, it becomes pretty apparent that finding favor with the right person, or with God, dramatically altered a person’s life throughout Jewish and Christian history:

Joseph found favor with Potiphar.  Esther found favor with King Ahasuerus.  Daniel found favor with the Babylonian king.  Noah, David, and Mary found favor with God.  In all of these people’s lives, their careers as well as their social and spiritual roles would never the same (in a good way) after finding favor.

Therefore, a staple request in my daily prayers is to find favor with the right people(As well as for wisdom!)  While I do believe it’s important to pray specifically for my future life plans, I also am adamant on trusting God in all the unseen blessings, detours, and surprises that come packaged with them.  Because those unseen elements in life often carry the most weight, more so than the ones we plan or have any control over. 

Finding favor with people doesn’t necessarily mean being charming, suave, or slick.  I think back to a much underrated movie I admit I really like, despite the fact it’s technically a “chick flick” and it seems no one else has ever seen it: Little Black Book, starring Brittany Murphy and Holly Hunter.  A certain quote from this movie really sticks out in my mind and conveniently ties in to the current subject matter: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” 

What others may see as luck, I choose to see as divinely ordained favor, where God appoints a person in our lives to grant a good opportunity.  That’s my version of luck. But of course, in all the Biblical cases where someone found favor with God or the right people, the favored person had already done their part to be qualified.  Noah was already a righteous man.  Mary was already a righteous woman.  Then God used them for great things. 

They may not have had the proper experience yet, but they had the right relationship with God and had paid their dues in the mundane stuff of life.  Then, it happened.  The Big Event began and they finally became active in the role they had prepared for their entire whole lives to fulfill.

Animalspeak Volume 1: Why are Animals Able to Talk in Cartoons?

One of my pleasures in my life is pointing out the universally accepted concepts that surprisingly no one ever questions. The majority of children’s animated TV shows and movies involve talking animals. We have simply accepted this as “make believe”. Okay. But what I can’t accept is that fact there is no explanation as to how the animals gained the ability to talk.

Was it a magic spell? Extreme intelligence? Possession? And did the same thing that made the cast of the Lion King able to speak also enable the cast of Looney Tunes to speak as well? And sometimes animals interact through speech with humans like it’s no big deal. If I found a talking animal I would definitely exploit it for all it’s worth.

There has to be a physical explanation for this. But I just can’t see it. Even if an animal had the intelligence to speak, most animals don’t have the physical features necessary to do so. For example, how could a cat say the word “brother” since cats don’t really have lips? It would sound like “rother”.

Also, the other hole I have found in this concept of talking animals is that their voices would sound nothing like they do on Disney movies. By doing a quick search on “talking cat” on YouTube, I can watch a cat saying “I love you” but it sounds more like “rye row yoo-oo-ow”. And its voice has the same sound and tone as when a cat meows. It doesn’t sound like a man or woman’s voice.

Life can be disappointing sometimes.