Tag Archive | Love

Lessons from a Feral Cat Father

From Christina: It’s my pleasure (I think) to have Liza O’Connor as a special guest today as part of a Father’s Day weekend celebration.  She’s here to tell us about her “feral father”.  Enjoy!


Liza O’Connor—Yes, I was raised by feral cats.

Feral Cat Dad

However, I loved my Feral Dad Cat (FDC) and wish to share a few valuable lessons I learned from him:

1) There’s no shame in frugality

My dad was the cheapest cat I ever knew. He’d buy large bags of bread, past the expiration date, meant to be sold as chicken food. To ensure humans didn’t buy it for consumption, someone would jab their hand in the middle of each loaf. While Dad once retrieved a partially eaten grapefruit from the trash and made me scrape all the flesh out better, thankfully, he allowed me to toss out the bread slices that had been finger stabbed. Even feral cats have their limits of cheapness.

2) Expect to work for anything you get and value what you earn.

Like all small children wandering through a store full of toys or candy, I would ask my feral cat if I could have something. He’d say ‘not unless you have the money to buy it.” That would provoke me to follow behind him saying ‘cheap, cheap, cheap’ like a baby chick. You might think it unsafe for a baby chick to taunt a feral cat, but he just laughed at me. However, I NEVER got the item I asked for.

Finally, after six months of chirping, I took his advice and asked for a job. He grew flowers for a living and it turns out even tiny children can carry small potted plants from one place to another. (I was paid a penny for relocating a pot to wherever my dad or grandmother said to put it.) Trudging through a hot humid greenhouse during summers was hard work. I soon learned that money could be had, but it didn’t come easy, and thus I became very selective on what I bought with my money.

3) Love can be said without words

My Dad Cat worked all the time, but since he worked ‘at home’ in the green houses, when I tired of carting pots, I would crawl upon his big foot and wrap myself around his leg and let him cart me about while I bonded with his ankle. He soon nicknamed me ‘Bug’. When I challenged my new name, he said it was short for ‘Sweet potato bug”. I loved sweet potatoes, so I became ‘Bug’. Even as an adult, he called me that. It was his way of saying he loved me. Because, let’s be frank, you have to truly love a person to let them sit on your foot while you drag them about as you try to do your work.

4) Be adventurous and brave

My feral dad cat had no sense of safety precautions. NONE. He once let me climb into the bucket of his tractor so he could carry me about. (I had gotten too old for his foot; I was about twelve). I get in the bucket, he says something, but I can’t hear him over the noisy tractor. So I look over the top to ask him what he said—just as he raised the bucket. Split my chin wide open. BTW: He’d tried to tell me to hold on tight because if I fell out of the bucket, he wouldn’t know and I’d be run over. (And still he was going to let me do this.)

He once had me walk the 6” beam across the top of the green house, dragging along thin rope, so he could attach it to the heavy plastics and pull it over the beams, creating a new roof for the greenhouse. If I had fallen, it would have been a 30’ drop.

Each summer we would go to Buffalo River. We couldn’t afford a raft, so, he taught us to ‘walk the rocks’ in the rapids. (You keep your feet out in front and walk over the rocks you meet as the water rushes you downstream.)

Having survived these adventures, I learned not to fear danger, which explains why I kayak, raft, fly planes, hand-glide, sky-dive, scuba dive, shark dive etc.

Love you, Feral Dad Cat from your kitten, Liza

These are just a few things my feral cat dad taught me. I could go on for pages. Yes, he was a flawed parent, but you don’t have to be perfect to be greatly loved by your kittens. You just have to love them and give them moments of happiness. And that he did.

Love you feral Dad Cat!

 

 

 

 

 

 



Having been raised by feral cats, Liza is a certifiable nut.  She has no manners, loves to make people laugh, and works very hard to make you laugh.

You can find her books at Amazon.



 

Liza O’Connor was recently featured in an Author “Quick Chat” at ABC Author Book Chat.  Check it out!

Author Quick Chat – Liza O’Connor

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The Luckiest Girl in the World by A J Best

From Christina: Ever gotten something you didn’t quite expect? That’s what happened to A J Best. I think you’ll enjoy her Valentine’s story. I certainly did.

The Luckiest Girl in the World

by A J Best

Sometimes I can be a little dense, and a little spoiled. So two years ago when my boyfriend got me the following three things, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry:

Heart

1. Bacon flavored lip balm.

2. An anatomically correct plush beating heart.

3. A shirt that has the phrase “I love my geek.”

I was kinda in a w-t-f moment. The lip balm tasted like year old bacon grease and the heart….really? I was heartbroken. I didn’t know what I had done wrong to garner such a weird and thoughtless gift.

My boyfriend and I have a completely open door policy so we can discuss things that are bothering us.  After gathering the right words and the guts, I asked him about the gifts. And this is what he had to say.

“I knew you were disappointed, and I’m sorry. But this is what I was thinking. When I bought your shirt, I bought one for me that said geek on it. So we could wear matching shirts. But you haven’t worn it so I didn’t think you liked it. The bacon lip balm was just a little gag gift knowing how much you like bacon. And the heart, it’s mine. You stole my heart so I figured you should have it properly.”

I felt like the biggest heel on the planet. I’ve learned that you have to take time to understand gifts and not be so spoiled to think that you weren’t given the ‘proper’ gift. For that Valentine’s Day I was given something more precious than gold or diamonds. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Old Aquaintances…and New

I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve because of the traditional song, Auld Lang Syne.

“Should old aquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…”

The song is about old friends, good times shared, and most of all, about the inexorable passing of time.

Auld Lang Syne

I’ve been blessed this year to be able to share my thoughts and my beliefs about love with romance readers who enjoy traditional historical stories. Thank you for all your kind words, your wonderful reviews of my books, and your continued support.

I hope my new stories will continue to inspire you, delight you, and satisfy those cravings for something both sweet and spicy.

I’ve also been incredibly blessed this year to share my life and time with many, many talented romance authors. Writing is truly all about sharing — sharing our thoughts, sharing our beliefs, sharing our passions, sharing our time. I am grateful to those authors who have long been friends as well as those whose acquaintance I’ve made during this past year.

I especially want to thank Vicki Batman, Angela K. Roe, Ashley Nemer, Sabrina Garie, Mae Clair, Holly Jody Gill, and Charlene Roberts for taking time out during this very, very busy holiday season to visit Time for Love and share their personal thoughts and Christmas traditions.

It was also a pleasure to meet several new authors in 2013. Thanks go out to Gioconda Lyss, Shelby Rebecca, and Robin Leigh Morgan for sharing their experiences with us.

Now, as we leave the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind and come to the end of the year — and the beginning of a new year — many of us will be thinking of resolutions to keep, goals we’d like to reach, and changes that can help us make 2014 the best year of our lives.

My resolutions are simple: Live fully. Laugh often. Love deeply.

 

Live Fully

 

 

And always take time to express gratitude, appreciation, and thanksgiving. I’ve been blessed in 2013, and I wish the best to you and your families in the coming year.

– With Love, Christina –

Writing the Story of Your Life

Everyone needs a little inspiration from time to time. As a writer, I sometimes joke about inspiration, as in this E-Card I created:

Inspiration by Noon

Of course, as a writer, I actually know better than to sit around waiting for inspiration. I’ve learned to create my own.

We live in a world of inspiration. We have only to look at the beauty around us to find moments of breath-taking wonder and awe. We can draw inspiration, too, from the words of others — words of love, encouragement, strength, and determination.

Each day, I come to my little writing room, I sit down, and I tell stories. I write about people who’ve come into my head, about their lives, their struggles, their dreams, and ultimately, their triumphs and happy endings. They are imaginary people, yet they’ve become my friends. They’ve whispered in my ear, sharing the stories of their lives and loves.

In many ways, each of us is an author. You might not write fiction, but you are writing a story — the story of your life.  With that idea in mind, I began browsing a bit.

I found this inspiring thought:

 

These are powerful words to remember. It’s up to us to create the life we wish to lead, up to us to develop our character, discover our strengths, and find the healing power of love. We can’t allow others to take control, to determine how our story ends.

Many of the ideas and principles I use in writing romance novels can apply as well to the art of writing our own life story.

All  stories begin with characters.  In fiction, good characters are imperfect; they have flaws. Yet they also possess a fundamental goodness. They make mistakes, but they do know the difference between right and wrong. They may be reluctant to reach out, but still, they do care about others.

In fiction, it’s important for an author to fully develop the main character. This means finding those flaws, helping the character acknowledge his or her weaknesses, and most of all, guiding the character through a process of transformation. Character development means finding strengths, too, and showing the character how to draw upon them, how to find courage and faith, how to love, and how to trust.

Often in writing a story, I find myself getting tangled up in lots of clever little sub-plots. At least, that’s how they first appear. Later, I realize they’re not so clever after all. They’ve taken the focus of the story away from what’s really important. They’ve created unnecessary complications for my main character. They’ve led me — and my characters –down pathways that go nowhere. There’s nothing of value to be found at the end.

In our own lives, we also get tangled up in awkward situations, wrapped up in worries that don’t rightly belong to us, and caught up in other people’s drama. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be there to support our friends and family during troubling times. I am saying that we need to maintain the proper perspective and draw lines when needed. Allowing ourselves to be swallowed up in another’s misery isn’t helping anybody. Not them. Not us.

Often, I submit scenes or chapters of stories I’m working on to the IWW — the Internet Writing Workshop — for critiques from other members. In return I read their submissions and offer my thoughts. We all like to think our prose is thrilling, our stories exciting, and our style so enthralling that readers will be unable to put down our book. As we’re writing, that’s how it feels. Thrilling. Exciting. Absolutely enthralling. But, it’s not.  I’ve written my share of dull, boring scenes. It’s important to catch them, revise them, or take them out of the story altogether. I think it was Sam Clemens who once said:

Writing is life…with the dull parts taken out.

Take out the dull parts in your life story. Life is short, and each day is precious. Make the most of every moment. 

Remember, too, that your life story will include conflicts and complications. In the tales I tell, my characters must encounter opposition. It’s how they grow, how they learn, how they discover the best within themselves. In the same way, each of us can learn from our past experiences and create a better future.

 

Much of my story-planning involves finding the way to happiness for my characters. I don’t like to begin writing until I know how the story will end. Love stories — at least, the old-fashioned variety that I write — always have happy endings. No matter how difficult the struggles, how far the characters have had to journey, how hard they’ve had to fight, they will find a way to triumph in the end.

Their happiness, however, isn’t a matter of chance. Over the course of the story, they’ve learned lessons about life, they’ve opened themselves up to love and to be loved, they’ve made difficult choices, and they have proved that they deserve their happy ending.

In the same way, you can find happiness. You can begin today to give and receive more love, to make the right choices, to demonstrate your own self worth. You do deserve your happy ending.

Faith often plays a role, as well. In romantic fiction, it’s not really the hero who saves the heroine, or, when the situation is reversed, the brave heroine who rescues who hero. Oh, that may happen in the story, but even when it does, the hero and heroine — together — usually find themselves facing a bleak, black moment. It’s the point at which all appears lost.

But miracles happen. As often as not in romantic fiction, divine intervention saves the day. Hearts are changed. Old feuds are forgotten. Forgiveness is granted.

Life is filled with opportunities for little miracles. Develop a strong faith, find the power you believe in, and expect good things to happen. Do all you can, and when you find yourself facing those dark nights when despair sets in, draw upon that faith. Expect a miracle.

Remember, too, that heroes and heroines in love stories are filled with doubts. When responsibilities are thrust upon them, they don’t often feel adequate to the task. They worry about failing, about letting others down. They’re painfully aware of their weaknesses, and they fear that others are better, stronger, wiser, and far more capable.

We all have doubts. But love is a powerful force. Find it, give it to others, share it with the world.

Write your own love story and create a happy ending.

A Season of Thanks

As we come to the start of November, our thoughts turn from witches and ghosts and falling leaves, to gray days, dark nights, and maybe even the first snowfall of the season. We turn, too, to a season of thanksgiving, a time for sharing, a time for caring, a time for love.

I’d like to open this Thanksgiving season by expressing my appreciation to the many romance authors who’ve taken time from their busy schedules to share personal reflections on the autumn season or to give us a fright or two for Halloween.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about D’Ann Lindun’s childhood in Colorado, and V L Locey’s goat-herding experiences! Nikki Lynn Barrett and Krista Ames wrote about falling in love, and Deryn Pittar added her own very unique perspective to the season.  Flossie Benton Rogers put a supernatural spin on things, and Charlene Roberts gave us a fright! Tricia Andersen added Halloween treats, while Gemma Juliana gave us a chance to stop and think about how we like our Halloween.

While reading posts from these great authors, I learned that Ashley Nemer grew up in Kansas, discovered that Judy Baker and her husband take an autumn bike ride each year, and learned about almond harvesting from Janice Seagraves.

Cindy Christiansen gave us an inspiring look at home and family, and Rose Anderson shared her little game of “Can You Stand It?” Lena Hart shared personal reflections along with a cup of hot cocoa, and Barbara Edwards took us to the Rhodes End for a spooky All Hallow’s Eve.

For a change of pace, debut author Giaconda Lyss wrote about overcoming fear and taking risks — an important message for any time of the year.

Ladies, I thank each of  you for your contributions.

In coming weeks, the focus at Time for Love will be on gratitude and Thanksgiving. Please visit often! My hope is that the thoughts and reflections you find here will inspire you to reach out to others to share your own love, gratitude, and thanksgiving.

Best Wishes for this Season of Thanksgiving

Thoughts about Fall by Krista Ames

From Christina: So pleased to share another bit of romance from another lover of autumn. Please welcome Krista Ames to Time for Love.

Thoughts about Fall

Who doesn’t love fall ?

It’s literally my favorite season and I don’t think I always knew that.  I grew up in Indiana where we definitely had four seasons and once I became an adult, I always hated to see snow come and the need to drive in it, especially after I had kids.  Once my third child was born, we made the life altering decision to move to Florida and warm weather all the time was quite a change from what I’d been used to.  I think after a year there I finally figured out what I was missing.  There are no season changes.  There was only hot and hotter.  The fall came and went with no changing of the colors and even at Christmas there was no snow.  How weird do you think it was to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt at Christmas?  The longer we stayed there, the more I missed fall and the cooler, sweatshirt and jeans weather.

Finally after three-ish years and some tough personal issues, during the fall season I made the decision to move my children and myself back to Indiana.  It was a beautiful drive and good to be getting things back to normal.  Then I met my second husband and was so thrilled that he loved fall as much as me.  So much so that we even got married in the middle of September, outside at a state park and planned a fall themed wedding.  Every year now we make a point of taking a color tour of the north between mid-September and mid-October.

Now, we live in Northern Lower Michigan and the leaves have changed colors and mostly fallen from the trees.  I took advantage when I could and snapped tons of pictures of my kids with the fall theme.

Krista

The weather was a cool 40 degrees over the weekend as we took the kids to a fall festival.  I’m not looking forward to fall ending because the temperature will continue to drop and that white stuff will be here before I want it to.  Once it arrives, I’ll be asking myself as I do every year now, why is it that I moved from Florida?

Yep that’s right, because fall is my favorite season and it’s worth it just to have a few months of that cool and beautiful weather.  If there was a place in the states where the weather was 60ish degree sweatshirt weather year round, trust me, I’d be there !!

So how do you feel about fall?

Author Bio: Krista is a full time, stay-at-home mom. She pursues her writing career when she’s not chasing kids, cooking, or doing laundry.  Watch for her upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, titled “Second Nature”. It’s Book One in the “Second Series”. Krista can be found online at Passion for Romance. She loves to hear from readers. You can also contact her by email, krista@kristaames.com.

Autumn in the Air

Dear Readers,

I love autumn. It’s my favorite time of year.  It’s a time for colorful leaves, crisp mornings, and long walks in the woods. The picture, below, is one I took on an autumn morning at George Owens Nature Park. I hiked along the Wapiti Trail, saw a flock of wild turkeys, and spent a little time at the lake, reflecting on who I am, where I’ve been, and where I hope to go in my future.

For me, autumn means apple pie, pumpkins, gourds, and pickles.  Of course, it’s also football, tailgating, World Series baseball, and huge bowls of popcorn. It’s Halloween, witches, black cats, and bats.

What does autumn mean to you?

Morning Hike

I’ve invited many of my friends to stop by and share a few of their thoughts about autumn and their favorite autumn memories.

So, grab a cuppa — hot, spiced cider sounds good, doesn’t it? Curl up and enjoy getting to know your favorite authors.  Be sure to check out their new books, too.

As romance authors, we appreciate our readers, and we thank you for your support of all we do.

Love, Christina