Link, the Cat

My daughter moved up here to stay with us temporarily. She brought her cat, Link.

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At eight months old, Link is still a kitten, with all the playfulness, mischief and energy the word, kitten, implies.

It’s amazing how one’s household changes with another person residing upstairs. But the presence of a cat totally changes the way Bruce and I operate.

For one thing, we have to be very careful where we step. Link likes to weave through our feet, a recipe for disaster when you’re walking downstairs.

Link likes to bite. Not bad bites, and he stops as soon as you go “ach!”

Like most youngsters, Link has boundless energy and loves to be the center of attention. It’s hard not to pay attention to him. He’s adorable, with marmalade fur, amber eyes, and a line of darker fur which slants downward from his eyes to his temples, giving him a somewhat comically sad expression.

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And his tail. What a tail! He’s got medium length, very soft fur, but his tail is the tail of a Persian cat. I find it hard to resist playing with that wondrous tail even when he’s getting more playful and more prone to bite at each passing second.

Link likes to watch TV, especially when I’m watching my favorite Nat Geo animal shows. He runs over to the TV and tries to bat at the wild animals moving across the screen.

As a growing boy, he’s always hungry. He’s gotten me so soft that I gave him my last bite of sliced roast beef.

I have to keep the lid of the piano down any time I’m not practicing because he loves to explore the length of the ivory, jumping at the strange sounds that tink or plunk or growl from the throat of this big mahogany beast. I say, “Link, get off Joanne! She doesn’t like you running on her keys.”

Like any youngster, Link loves to explore. He accidentally got locked inside our storage room the other day when Kiri went down there to get something. But he wasn’t upset. He spent those two dark hours,—I imagine—inspecting, sniffing, jumping up, jumping down, discovering and batting about a bug or spider carcass, mapping in his cat head those places he might explore more thoroughly at a later opportunity.

A dog would have howled if he’d been left locked up downstairs, away from his person. But not Link. He’s a cat’s cat, a miniature tiger, a natural-born killer, roaming his new domicile, ever hopeful that a mouse or bunny will appear to satisfy his craving for the hunt and the kill.  Vocalizing, “kick,kick,kick” softly, in the back of his throat at the sight of birds or squirrels at the bird feeder on my deck.

Everything about cats is stalking and killing. Besides procreating and rearing their young, cats only think about murder. Sure, they’re affectionate, and they enjoy the attention of their people. But even when they’re enjoying your attention, their tails twitch and their eyes watch the movement of your hands for any signs of becoming  prey. If Link were thirty pounds bigger, he’d probably kill one of us in a second of unbridled instinct.

Still, I’ve grown fond of this marmalade-colored murderer. With a few adaptations on my part, I think I can keep my feet and ankles safe from his claws.

When Kiri is ready to move, I’ll miss the cat, too.

 

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This is totally off the subject, but I wanted to give you a heads-up about the release of book three of The Hunted series. Haven’s Fire, the exciting, slightly creepy, romantic suspense-filled completion of this trilogy is due to release on May 10th. It will be a paper-back and an ebook.

I’m currently looking for volunteers who would be willing to read an Advance Reader Copy and post a review on Amazon a few days before the book releases. If you’re interested in doing this, the Advance Reader Copy will be sent to you as an ebook. (No paper-back copies. Sorry!) I need tons of reviews, so please consider this.

Let me know in the comments section if you’re interested.

Have a wonderful day!

Giveaway!

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Today and through Dec. 24th, Sara Beth Williams, another wonderful Anaiah Press author, is offering some lovely giveaways, including paperback books, ebooks and other prizes.

Today, Dec. 15th, is my day to offer a free copy of my contemporary romance, High Country Dilemma, set in the Colorado Rockies.

 

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Check out all the wonderful new books and giveaways on Sara Beth Williams’s blog. Here’s the link to her blog so you can view the books and enter the rafflecopter prize giveaway:

Christmas giveaway

Happy Reading! Dena

Loss

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This December, I have been juggling two emotions: one of happy expectation for Christmas and the new year, of celebrations with friends and family, of worshiping the newborn King in word and deed, and in beginnings, and hope for hard and rewarding work in the coming seasons.

The other emotion is grief and the process of handling memories. My mother passed away on Thanksgiving, just a few weeks away from her ninety-fourth birthday

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Jun 21, 1947. My mom and dad, flanked by Jay and Frances Reed, mom’s parents.

 

It is a bitter-sweet process. Just last week I stood at my mother’s open casket and grieved over words left unsaid. I grieved over the relationship we should have had. But I thank the Lord that I was able to say many times this year, “I love you, Mother.”

And I was able to place my hand on hers and whisper, though my sobs, “I forgive you.”

 

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My mother was an irregular person: musically gifted, filled with passion, ambitious for her children, but lacking a filter on her mouth or the ability to empathize. Her words could be a balm at surprising times. But all too often, her words cut and bludgeoned.

In the last few years, the Lord helped me to see my mother as a hurting soul and to view her with His eyes of compassion.

She wanted the best for us, but she didn’t know how to nurture us with gentleness and affirmation.

She did excel in a couple of things: She read to us each day and stressed the importance of using the English language well.

She taught us piano and made sure our practice was perfect. I am eternally grateful that she was an exacting taskmaster, because I have grown into a good pianist, which gave me a marketable skill as a music teacher.

She accompanied me on the piano when I sang all over the San Francisco bay area. I couldn’t have had a more dedicated and musical accompanist than Mother.

Her sensitive and artistic soul influenced us to see beauty in music, in art, in nature, in the human form, in architecture and literature.

Joanne Nicolaisen, my mother. By the grace of God, I am what I am partly because of her. Thank you, Mother, for the good memories. I miss your piano playing. I miss your passion. I miss you terribly.

 

 

Healthy Habits

One of the perks of being retired—well, retired from teaching, but not from writing—is that I can take as little or as much time as I want, or need, to read scripture every day.

Here’s my routine: make coffee, have my eggs and bacon, take my supplements, clean up, go to my favorite chair…

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and open my Bible. (My spot is on the couch underneath the painting.)

I like to read large portions of scripture, out loud, with as much expression as possible. I think both seeing and hearing the words helps me concentrate on what I’m reading. And the added expressive reading requires that I correctly comprehend the meaning of the text.

The other day, I read all of Ephesians and was impressed by these thoughts:

  • God prepared certain good works for me to do. (That’s you, too.) Verse 2:10
  • God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”3: 20 I keep forgetting this.
  • We—not the pastors, nor the missionaries, nor the professionals—are the ones who do the work of ministry to others, both in the church and outside the church. We! Not someone else. 4:11,12

Of course, there is so much more to Ephesians, but these are the texts that stood out in my mind on this particular reading.

The other benefit of reading the entire book (especially one of the letters) is that I keep in mind the over-arching theme and see the main points all in the same reading.

Right now, I’m in the middle of 1Timothy. When I get through Revelation, I’ll start all over again at the beginning.

Do you have routines, too? I’d love to hear.

And one more thing: with Thanksgiving coming up, and Black Friday right afterward, my publisher, Anaiah Press is going to offer a sale on all the books they’ve released in the past two years. That means that my book, High Country Dilemma, will also be on sale starting on Black Friday and continuing through the weekend.

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If you like contemporary romance, set in the Colorado Rockies, you’ll love this book. A lovely girl and a hunky firefighter team up to perform in the annual melodrama in an old refurbished opera house. Lots of sweet romance with a redemptive message of God’s love and faithfulness. Safe for teen readers, too.

Stay tuned for more information on this sale.

Have a great day!

Dena

 

The Source of Harvest

 

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A dear friend gave me a beautiful flowering plant called “Oxalis.

This particular species’ leaves are a deep maroon color and each is shaped like a triangle. Oxalis triangularis is what I have. They bear pale pink trumpet shaped flowers. I placed the plant on the window sill, and when it got bigger, I re-planted it to a bigger terra cotta pot. All year that beautiful plant gave me joy.

Then, my oxalis seemed to grow weaker. The leaves became sparce and fewer flowers decorated its foliage.

It seemed to refuse any of my nurturing, or watering, or plant food.

Finally, I gave up and put the dying plant in my cool storage room and forgot about it. I felt a kind of grief, like when the vibrant reds and oranges of fall give way to bare branches.

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Next year, I needed a good-sized terra cotta pot for some new pansies I’d picked up at a local plant sale. I took the pot I’d used for my now-dead oxalis, turned the soil, added more potting mix and fertilizer, then planted the new pansies.

I put the pot of pansies out on my bistro table on my deck. Each morning I enjoyed coffee out on the deck, savoring the beauty and variety of colors and textures, of the dappling of sunlight across the banister and over my impatiens, pansies, and marigolds, and geraniums.

Then something almost miraculous happened. In the middle of summer, a speck of maroon-colored foliage peeked through the green leaves of my pansies.

What?

Sure enough, as I delved through the greenery and bright purples and pinks of the pansies I saw the children of my oxalis straining beyond the shadows to reach life-giving light.

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The two plants lived harmoniously for the rest of the summer and into the fall. But as the weather has cooled, the pansies have reached the end of their time-lines. But the oxalis will live on.

That plant goes through cycles where it seems to wither and die. But wait a while. Leave it. Go away and look at something else. And when the time is right, come back and scratch into the soil and find a new creation, straining upward.

This is the story of the miracle of God’s creative power. Like the oxalis, we artists—made to reflect God’s image—also go dormant at times. It is not strange, as I once thought about the oxalis. I didn’t understand about such things.

But as writer, I have found that we must be patient when we cycle in and out of creativity and productivity. We need those quiet times while we rest from our frantic pace of growth and reproduction. We must let our minds lie fallow for a time.

And trust God to prepare the new seeds for germination and to enliven the old, dried up roots.

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In the book of Galations, Paul is speaking about those who live to please God, how they will reap a harvest of everlasting life. And for Christian writers, as well as others who love God and seek to care for others, we can draw the same conclusion.

Here is what Paul says in Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

 

 

 

Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts

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