Yes I know it is supposed to be the geese are getting fat but this is no mistake. Our cat is certainly piling on the pounds and there is one main reason. Our daughter Erin absolutely adores him and thinks that the best way to show her love is by feeding him. We are proud owners of a slightly obese cat who needs to be put on a diet as soon as possible.

Today I looked at Zorro’s portly belly and remembered back to the words of wisdom that were spoken to us by another family who had been in the expat position. They told us that it was important to keep as many things as normal as possible for the kids, if they were used to having pets they needed to have pets. Even with these words of wisdom our “logic” kicked in with many reasons why getting a pet during this season was not logical. “We travel a lot”, “We haven’t the security of a permanent home”, “We should wait until we are more established here” were some of the many excuses we used.

One day our neighbours, an elderly Hungarian couple, showed us “their” new kitten. It was a beautiful little black “spitfire”. They then produced a box put the kitten in it and passed it over the fence. They told us that the kids needed a pet, they knew we travelled but they would look after it any time we were speaking somewhere. This process sounds easier than it actually was, I should add that they don’t speak any English and I used the “phone a friend” option in case I had misheard and they just wanted us to look after their cat for a few days.

The bottom line is when you are in new circumstances it is good to listen to the wisdom of others. That kitten really lit up our children’s lives. They have been much more settled and content now that we have some sense of “normality” in our home. The outflow of that has been much less stress for us all. When the children are unhappy or under pressure then we feel the consequences, pressure in our marriage. Pressure in our marriage can come from many sources our children being a primary source. It is easy to become distressed when you see your decisions causing the kids pain. When you are living in another country, when you are dealing with another language, another culture and another school system it is easy to succumb to stress. The person who gets the “outflow” from that stress is often our spouse.

A long time ago we wrote an article called “Stress Busting Your Marriage” but it is so easy to get so caught up in what is happening around us that we forget the things we “know”. One thing I can say is that I have started to learn from our cat, he is never stressed, he takes time to rest, he knows hugs are a high priority.

Matthew 6:25 -34 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As well as checking out “Stress Busting Your Marriage” You might also want to check out the “Marriage Stress Test”.

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