Please for the love of all that is holy in this world, stop calling your dog or your cat your “furbaby.” I get it. I get that you don’t want to think of your dog or your cat as a pet. He or she is like a member of the family. But a dog or a cat is not a child, no matter how fondly you think of it.

You didn’t give birth to it. You weren’t even pregnant with it.

You don’t have to save up for its college education.

You can leave it alone in the house when it is very young and not get arrested.

It won’t ever call you at 3 a.m. for bail money.

It won’t ever ask for keys to the car.

The only crossover is that perhaps you might find out one day that it is unintentionally pregnant – but there too, the comparison ends. You would go to jail if you advertised in the newspaper that your daughter’s children were “free to a good home.” Then, let’s consider those people who are dog breeders. They sell the offspring. That too would be illegal if they were human.

Please. No more “furbaby.” Let the term die. It is bizarre.

Modeh Ani

I’ve recently discovered the myriad of Jewish prayers. I’m fascinated with the idea that every part of the day offers up an opportunity to serve God. Now, as a disclaimer, many Jewish writers will not write out “God” but will write “G_d” or another characteristic of God, such as “Hashem” (the Name). I understand the need for showing respect to your Creator, but as “God” is not so much a name as a job title, I don’t feel a need to change it.

There are many things I find admirable about the Jewish faith, and I find it beneficial to my Christian path to learn them. Jesus was, after all, a Jew. The more I learn about Judaism, the more I understand about Jesus’ message.

Every day is to be filled with thankfulness to God. These blessings are a reminder that we are from God and are made to serve God. It has been suggested that you are supposed to say 100 blessings a day. The day begins with the Modeh Ani.

Modeh Ani is a Jewish prayer that observant Jews recite daily upon waking, while still in bed.

From Wikipedia –
• Hebrew: מוֹדֶה (מוֹדָה) אֲנִי לְפָנֶֽיךָ מֶֽלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּים. שֶׁהֶֽחֱזַֽרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמֽוּנָתֶֽךָ׃
• Transliteration: Modeh (modah) ani lifanekha melekh ḥai v’kayam sheheḥezarta bi nishmahti b’ḥemlah, rabah emunatekha.
• Translation: I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me with compassion; Your faithfulness is great.

(Actually, the Wikipedia article eliminated the word “Compassion” in the translation, but had it in the commentary. Other translations have “compassion” there, so I inserted it.)

Note – women say “modah” and men say “modeh”.

Some commentators say you are to arise with a “lionlike” resolve, ready to start the day.

The Kotzer Reb says that this is a good time to reflect “Who am I?” and “Who are You?”
The “Torah Tots” website offers this interpretation of this idea –
“As one sage once said, “We would do well to reflect upon the “Ani,” “I,” and the “Le’fanecha,” “You (Hashem).” When we realize who we really are, and before Whom we stand, our sense of appreciation would be greatly enhanced.”

You give thanks that God has restored your soul to you. Sleep is likened to death. When you are asleep, you are like a dead person, because you have no control over what you do.

When you awaken, you are now again able to choose what to do. Part of the meaning of this prayer is that you are aware that God has restored you to your full capacity, with the understanding that you are to thank God for this by serving God.

This prayer is recited upon first waking up – while you are still in bed. Your first conscious act is to serve and be thankful to God.

Again from Torah tots” – According to the Shulchan Aruch, one should pause slightly between the words “bechemlah – compassion” and ” rabbah – abundant (is Your faithfulness).” Rabbah and emunatecha should be said together, as in the verse, “They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Eicha 3:23)

This is similar to the idea of “In the Beginning…” or, as the first word of the Bible is sometimes translated “With Beginnings”. Every day is a new chance. We aren’t stuck. We have a new day and new energy with which to serve God. We have a new day to make things better.