Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - A to Z Meme, as in B is for Bats!

B is for Bats!

I’m going to bet that Mom has never shared on this blog how I’ve saved her and Dad from bats—twice! Whenever they complain about my upkeep I am sure to remind them, let me tell you.

Very early one August morning, my thumping around on the footboard of my humans’ bed, woke Mom up. She asked me if I was batting at moths (no pun intended). We had quite the summer infestation of the insects from a bucket of sunflower seeds in the garage that year.

She went into the human litter box room and closed the door. Then Dad woke up and turned the light on. He saw my flying nemesis, most likely a brown bat, and yelled at Mom not to come out. He then used some fancy cowboy move with a shirt and lassoed the bat—well, actually picking the bat up and taking it outside to release it. And he lived to tell about it. Mom, in the mean time, was wondering why everything was so quiet. Finally Dad let her know it was safe. And why was it safe? Because I had set off the alarm! He just hadn't given me enough time to fight the bat to the death for their protection.

The second time Dad insists I didn’t really help. The bat got in through the furnace chimney, into the basement , and came up the stairs into the kitchen. Dad saw it first and warned Mom, who helpfully screamed and ran outside. I, on the other hand, was brave and helped corner the creepy critter. Yes, I did hear Dad tell me not to chase it and I was obedient, but observant. We cornered it in the living room curtains. This time Dad calmly went to get his work gloves and grabbed the bat to take it outside.

I am happy to report there were no bites or injuries. It could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t been here. No need to thank me. Just give me an extra treat!

Do you have a scary bat story? Or do you like bats? Inquiring minds want to know! We love your comments!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Motivation: The Marathons of Life

With the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Marathon coming up, I admire those I know who are participating in one of the events. For various reasons, running hasn’t been something I’ve taken on for a long time. I’m just a boring walker. (Not of The Walking Dead zombie variety!)
{CC} license - free to share
I had been ignoring the weight gain of the last couple of years that is due to hormonal changes and stress, so I am now faced with the reality of changing some of my eating habits-- more vegetables for one, less on-demand chocolate for another. I’m also working on increasing my exercise, whether walking through the neighborhood, getting on the treadmill, popping a walking DVD into the player, or working out with weights.

Gone are the days in which I could work this hard and lose five pounds in a week. That’s been my problem lately, I want to give up too soon. I am trying to get it into my head and heart that lifelong fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.

Many other things are also like this in other areas of life. Broken relationships take time, love and patience to repair. Building a good marriage takes perseverance. Overcoming bad habits takes a relentless commitment to change. Writing a three or four hundred page novel doesn’t happen in a day. It can take months or years, but you have to take the first step by writing the first word, first paragraph, first page--and repeat.

Those preparing for the marathon this weekend didn’t start last week. They’ve been working at it for a long time. What might have seemed impossible at one time became doable, because they took the first step and kept moving forward.

What marathons are you facing in life today? Ask the Lord to guide you in your first steps to move in the direction He wants you to go.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
(Hebrews 12:1-3)

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to trust You today. Guide me to take steps and move forward in the direction you want me to go. Help me to persevere and not give up as I take one step, one day, one moment at a time. Thank you that Your mercies are new every day!

Please leave a comment--share something you are learning about walking in faith in the longterm. We love your comments!

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Wild Cat

Lilybit's Tribute to Wild Cat

Last year I had an interview with a wise old Wild Cat. She was a precious feline friend and muse to Mom’s writer friend, Elaine Stock. I’m sad to report that Wild Cat has passed away recently—at the ripe old age of around 19! (That has to be comparable to at least a 100-year-old human!)

Wild Cat helping her she-human, Elaine.
She gave good advice, too, saying the best feline muses take care of themselves first and then make sure their humans are happy and well rested, so they will be more productive. (Like I’d ever let that happen around here. It’s just too tempting to be a pest while they’re sleeping. Wild Cat was much nicer than I am.) Not only was she a great muse and liked to cuddle Elaine while she was writing, but she also helped her he-human, Wally, restore pianos. (See photo below.)
This was Wild Cat in her younger days. (Her he-human restores pianos for
a living and she's making sure this piano doesn’t walk away.)
In her earlier years, Wild Cat was at the bottom of the pecking order with two cat siblings, though she had enjoyed snuggling with them on top of clean laundry in a basket. Since they went on to kitty glory about nine years ago, Wild Cat had reigned supreme. She liked to keep Elaine company at her 3 a.m. breakfast and often enjoyed a few stray muffin crumbs. Though quieter than her name suggested, Wild Cat did like to bellow at dinnertime, waiting for her own, well-deserved taste of Elaine’s dinner.

No more will Elaine and Wally see Wild Cat's ears peeking through the window while she waited for them to come home. And even though she tried to disguise her gladness at their return, as she thumped down off the trunk by the window where she waited, they knew she cared.

Wild Cat is greatly missed and onto her eternal reward, which I believe must include an all-you-can-eat tuna buffet, mice to chase (Hey, it’s not their heaven.), and laser beams to attack, while running through a meadow of sweet smelling grass! And when she’s tired, she can nap in the sunshine. So I say a fond “good-bye” to my elderly friend, Wild Cat, who lived a full and delightful feline life with her humans, Elaine and Wally.

See you on the other side someday, Wild Cat. May you eat, nap, run, and play
in peace.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Top Five Things Cats Find Most ANNOYING!

A is for ANNOYING!

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

The Top Five Things Cats Find Most ANNOYING

Okay, so this post is really the top five things I (Lilybits) find most annoying--at this moment. As any fussy cat knows, my opinions could change shortly. After some intense training of my servants—it took me a few years to break them in--they still aren’t always listening. What’s the deal?

#5 – When I’m catching a simple catnap or dreaming about chasing chipmunks, one of my humans nearly rolls over on top of me at night. Or they wake me up to tell me how cute I am and scratch behind my ear during the day. (Never mind that I lick Mom’s nose when she’s sleeping and I want something.)

#4 – When Mom deserts me, leaving me ALONE long enough to make me wait for treats or wet food. I don’t understand why she isn’t content to stay home and be ignored by me while catering to my every whim. Isn’t that her job?

Minnesota cousin, Tasha, looking out the window.

#3 – Dad cutting my nails. A girl’s manicure time is rather personal and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it by scratching the love seat in the living room. . . and occasionally my scratching posts. Of course the genius makes things more difficult by putting tape on the side of the furniture. I don’t like that sticky feeling on my paws.

#2 – I’m doubly ANNOYED with this new policy Mom and Dad are following, because the vet said not to give me ANY more people food (Did she say to give me any less?) and fewer treats. I even promised not to tell the doctor next time I see her.  So what if I have a sensitive tummy? My taste buds are suffering! 

#1 – And the number one most annoying thing that my people do is not feeding me my wet food dinner right at five o’clock every day! My fine tuned feline internal clock always lets me know at least an hour before, so I can start bugging her. But when I whine too much, Mom locks me in the laundry room! Where’s the APSCA when you need them?

I hope my humans are reading this and taking all of this seriously. My job of keeping them in line is hard enough as it is.


I'll be back Friday with a special tribute to my friend, Wild Cat.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kate Breslin: Retelling a Beloved Biblical Account

 Welcome Kate Breslin:
 Author of For Such a Time!

A Florida girl who migrated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin lives with her husband, John, and a very spoiled cat named Coco. Kate has written several travel articles, published award-winning poetry, and her first manuscript, a Scottish historical romance, was an RWA Golden Heart finalist. For Such a Time is her debut novel. Kate’s writing journey has been one of faith as well as success; after years spent writing novels aimed at the general romance market, she finally heeded God’s call to write stories of how His love brings two hearts together. When not plotting her next novel, she loves spending time with author friends, reading from her mountain of books, or watching anything Jane Austen on BBC. Kate’s also an avid gardener and enjoys taking long walks in Washington State’s many forests. A traveler as well, she’s toured most of the country at one time or another and also been abroad–Paris, Munich, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, even a day trip to Turkey. She’d love to hear from you so please stop by and say hello!  
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28 (NRSV)
Kate, what led you to write this marvelous retelling of the story of Esther in an historical, yet more modern setting than Bible times? Why is For Such a Time set during World War II? 
Kathy, thank you so much! The idea came to me as I was reading Queen Esther’s story and was struck by the fact the Jewish people have suffered prejudice and torment throughout history. The most recent event that came to mind was the Holocaust of WWII, and so I began to see similarities between the wicked Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews and Hitler’s “Final Solution.” I wondered if I could superimpose the Biblical work into this more modern venue; and as I began research, the story was born.
Do you have any favorite characters among your cast? And why? 
Having spent so many years with all of my characters, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Still, I think the houseboy, Joseph, is closest to my heart. He proves to be resourceful, intelligent and oh, so brave, yet his young years hold onto a measure of innocence. I imagine many Jewish children must have endured as he did during that horrific time. 
I agree, Joseph is an endearing character!
What have you found to be the best research sources? 
When I first began writing For Such A Time, there wasn’t much available on the Internet, so my information came primarily from reading books, watching documentaries, looking at photographs, etc. For my latest novel I was able to research almost exclusively online. The World Wide Web has become an amazing tool! 
Would you like to share something about your next book with us? 
Yes, thank you! My next novel for Bethany House is another historical romance, this time set in the “Garden of England,” Britain’s county of Kent, during WWI. Take a beautiful London Suffragette and a mysterious aristocrat, mix with a dash of Downton and a pinch of espionage and you’ve got Not by Sight, which will release next summer. I really enjoyed writing this story and hope my readers will love it, too! 
What have you learned about yourself through the writing process? 
I’ve learned I can work long hours under pressure while fighting off wild dust bunnies and climbing mountains of dirty laundry!  Seriously, I’ve discovered I’m more organized in my approach to writing than I realized. Preparation up front saved me tons of time and I like having a “map” (synopsis) before I begin. It allowed me more creativity, while minimizing those plot snags halfway through a manuscript. Writing is an ever-changing process, however, so I’m certain I’ll evolve even more with the next novel. 

Kate, is there anything you would like to share with readers about yourself, such as information about family, hobbies, pets or anything else? 
 I’d love to! I have been married 35 years to my incredibly gifted guitarist husband,    John, and we have a grown son and ten-year-old grandson who live locally. And yes, I dote on them whenever possible. We also have a cat, a beautiful Russian gray named Coco (as in Channel,) that I admittedly spoil. She’s ten years old now, but for most of her life our other cat, Nick, loved picking on her at every opportunity. He’s gone now and we miss him, but Coco is THE QUEEN of the cat condo.  
As far as hobbies, I enjoy dabbling at the piano, but my true passion is writing. I’m also an avid walker and try to get in a couple of miles each day. It helps clear my head for writing and is great exercise. Fortunately, our neighborhood is quiet and wooded, so I can take off whenever I like. I love to read, I enjoy my rose garden, and John and I go camping in our RV around Washington State as often as we can get away. Traveling abroad is also one of my favorite ways to vacation. I hope to venture to Barcelona, Spain in a year or so. A return trip to Greece is definitely on my bucket list as well.  And who knows? There may be another story in the making… 
Thank you, Kate, for sharing with us about your writing journey and your life. 
Where to connect with Kate Breslin:

More about For Such a Time:

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther
In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, her Aryan-like looks allow her to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners. When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice. God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


A Mother’s Heart
Sometimes bearing our hearts is so painful, it’s tough to share. Every mother faces heartbreak in some form. It might be when she feels for her child when he’s picked on at school, waving good-bye on the first day of kindergarten or when dropping her off at college. There are bigger difficulties: Illnesses of children, some incurable, others ongoing; drug addiction, rebellion, alcoholism, mental illness, estrangement. Mothers feel it differently than fathers—for the most part. My wonderful husband, Jack, refers to it as the invisible umbilical cord, which is quite a bit different than the proverbial apron strings.
Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt {PD}

Unfortunately, moms often feel they should take the blame for everything their child does. We wonder if we had done something different, if they’d have made better decisions. What we don’t know is, if they would have made worse decisions without our nurturing. God, with His sovereign knowledge, gave us just the right kids and he gave our children the parents he deemed necessary. He fits us together. Not that that gives parents the right to mistreat their children. They aren’t our property, but they are loaned to us for a time.

So often the stories I write surround mothers and children. Orphans being fit into the right family, just as God adopted His children through His son, Jesus—His sacrifice on the cross, our faith—His gift of grace.

As I’ve been going over a biblical story I’ve been writing about Moses relationship with his mothers, I’ve been thinking about faith and sacrifice. As he is placed in a basket on the river, what faith Jochebed had to completely let go of him, knowing she had to trust the Lord to keep him safe. Then, after she placed him back into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter after weaning him, she had to completely release Moses again.  
Moses' Mother by Alexey Tyranov {PD}

We read a few lines in the book of Exodus that span a few years. How much family time was packed in there? How many emotions? And yet, God allowed Jochebed to have her baby back for a couple of years as his wet nurse. I’ve tried to get into her head and heart, trying to experience what she must have felt. I’m not sure I could ever do her feelings complete justice, because I live in such a completely different time and culture. However, a mother’s heart is universal. Whether borne from our bodies or adopted, we want the best for our children. If are no longer able to fill that role, or it’s time for them to leave the nest, mother’s feel as though a piece of their heart is being taken from them. That’s how close we feel to our children.

Jochebed’s faith challenges me to release my children’s care to the Lord, even if I have to do it several times a day. It gives me the opportunity to tell Him I trust His plan. Praying isn’t just the only thing we can do sometimes, it’s the most we can do!

About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months.  But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.  The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him. Exodus 2:1-4, NLT

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy: It's Been a Long Summer, but We're Back!

Lilybits--not large, but in
It’s been a long summer . . .
Well, Mom says it hasn’t been, because summer weather came so late and winter lasted so long. We were a bit busy. Okay, Mom says she was busy, but I have to keep an eye on her and Dad, when I’m not busy getting my beauty sleep. Sometimes I sleep with one eye open.

I only escaped once this summer and Mom’s friend caught me. I like to give Mom extra worry. She insists I can’t wander outside, because I am small and delicate and that a coyote would like to make lunch out of me, yadda, yadda, yadda. She still calls me “baby girl” and doesn’t realize I am a purr-fectly mature adult cat, who can be responsible for myself! At least as long as I’m fed three times a day, brushed and petted when I give permission.

Mom spent most of June on her laptop, when I should be her laptop, period! She wrote lots of words on her latest manuscript. Boooring! Her next project was learning how to make wire wrap jewelry. She quickly learned not to leave beads or other small components uncovered, because I like to roll them onto the floor. Hee hee!

Sea glass earrings!
As for going places, she got to meet my friend, Toby the monkey, when she went to meet his human, Patty Wysong, at the Belleville Strawberry Festival. She said Toby was sweet and charming. I decided to ignore her for a couple of days after that. Mom says she never takes me any place to meet monkeys or other creatures, because I don’t like being tethered in my harness or riding in the car. I’m thinking that’s her fault for not figuring out how to make them more pleasant experiences.
Patty Wysong and Toby

Speaking of going places, they do take me up north to the cottage they rent near Mackinaw City. First they sneak something that makes me feel really weird, and my paws look really big, into food I can’t resist. Then I go hide, because I know the harness is coming . . . and the car ride. However, when I was feeling a little less sedated, I was able to help Dad drive! He wouldn’t let me drive by myself, because I was still under the influence and he said something about needing a driver’s license. I thought those were only for humans.  
Lily helping Dad drive.
I did enjoy watching the birds at the lake, and the chipmunks, though they can be annoying. It also gives me an opportunity to hunt fresh dust bunnies under the beds and have new countertops to walk on without permission.

View from the cottage.
Mom plans on writing more blog posts this fall and is imploring me to do the same. We hope you’ll visit us again soon!