Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Motivation - Spectacular Simplicity - My 100th Blog Post!

When my husband, Jack, handed me the comics and pointed out “Monty” from a couple of weeks ago, he said, “Here’s you and your writer’s block.” Okay, but it really isn’t that bad! However, I did get a chuckle out of the comic.

Of course, the humor is really in the irony. Monty is looking around for inspiration for his future screenplay masterpiece, when behind him a very interesting situation is taking place. He looks out the window and sees a taco vendor stepping in a puddle of slosh. Isn’t it really a matter of genre though?

Monty may be missing a chance to write a science fiction thriller about an android changing his head! Is he a robot spy putting on a new disguise? There are lots of questions to answer there. On the other hand, he writes about the guy he sees through the window.

Monty Comic Strip, March 16, 2014 on

The beauty of stories or even memories can be found in the simplest things. I wrote about finding writing prompts in a snowflake back in December. I might have a blind spot to something seemingly amazing, but what if I see something as simple as a disheveled young woman stepping into a puddle, wearing boots that look too big? I may write something like this: Amanda didn’t care as the water sloshed up over her feet. She wiggled her toes in the dry warmth of the cast off boots she found in the dumpster. Even better, there was room for socks if they were giving them away at the homeless shelter. But if she went back there, she might run into him again. She wasn’t ready for the way his piercing blue eyes studied her from across the dark, crowded soup kitchen.

It’s not the most literary piece of writing, but you get the point. I’ve introduced a protagonist and set her in a difficult situation and planted questions. What seems small and unexciting can turn into an interesting story. The limit is only in the writer’s imagination. 

Take a few minutes to watch the simple or spectacular. Write a paragraph of your thoughts. What are some ways you recommend finding new or different ideas to write about?

This week I’m celebrating my 100th blog post! Follow or leave a comment or both, each for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card. Follow and/or leave your comment by Sunday, April 13th and leave your email addy in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com to qualify for the drawing.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Spiritual Uplift - Can You Sit Still?

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. (Luke 6:12-13)

Doctor appointments, writing, cleaning, lunch with friends, cooking, sometimes working at a dental office, exercise, devotions, reading, research, church and the list goes on. I always thought life would slow down once my kids were grown, but it seems more stuff fills the hours than ever. When I find myself anxious, worrying about the future, looking for direction or just feeling down, I know that it’s time to be still. And listen . . . as I read God’s word and pray.

Why is it so difficult to find the time? Jesus prayed all night by himself! After having people clamor around Him for healing or blessing, to see miracles or ask questions, He must have felt drained sometimes. We know Jesus slept sometimes, like He did when He napped soundly in a boat during a storm. How did He find the time to spend all night basking in fellowship with His Father? If He wanted He could have made time stand still and made the night longer, so He could have time to sleep too. Somehow, I think He didn’t do that, but experiencing life as we do, limited himself to the same twenty-four hours as his disciples and others around Him.

Yet I struggle to slow down for an hour, for a half-hour, sometimes even for ten minutes. The radio blares out news or music, laundry or vacuuming demand my attention, the cat whines for a treat.

When I was a young mother, the constant needs of my children competed for my attention. I can understand Jesus' disappointment in the Garden of Gethsemane when his followers couldn’t stay awake long enough to pray with Him hours before His death.

A few weeks ago, I took some time reading my Bible, praying and listening. The listening part seems to be the hardest, but I pray for the Lord to open my eyes and ears to what He is showing me. I wasn’t up all night, but took some extra time a couple of different mornings. He filled me up and gave me peace, speaking to my heart in a way beyond what I expected.

Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before He came down from a mountain to call twelve of His closest followers to become His apostles. Do I take the time to seek Him and His wisdom the way I should before I face a large task? Or jump at a chance to say, “yes” to a job I’m not sure I should do? Or “no” for that matter? Not often enough!
Hands in Prayer by Otto Greiner

As I ponder these thoughts, I’m thinking I need to make time for a mini-retreat even once a month, whether it’s an hour or two or a half a day, I need that special fellowship with the Lord which will provide guidance and strength. While my children were growing up, I liked to sneak off to a coffee shop with a journal and a Bible for a couple of hours. Now I have the whole house to myself. What about you? How will you find time to be still?

Father, help me to make the time I need to spend with You. Please open my eyes and ears to your voice. Don’t let me become distracted by the cares of this world, but to follow the example of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Please feel free to share how you make/find that special time alone with God.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - Lilybit's Tail of Woe

Lilybits finding the right place to sit before she does her
blog post. 

First, I want to say, “thanks” to my 
cousin Harley for doing a fine job 
helping me out last Wednesday.
Now I must begin my tale of no tail as I promised I would. 

Once upon a time . . .

I can’t quite remember what happened the first time I hurt my tail, being in a bit of shock from the pain. But I think it was a nasty door my poor tail was slammed in. After I lost the end of my tail I had phantom pains, which made me mad. The rescue lady decided I should go to the vet, who removed an offending piece more than once. It was terrible!

I really used to have a tail--at least
a partial one!
Finally I was well enough to take to Last Chance Rescue events. After my adopted mom brought me home, I seemed fine. Then she gave me catnip and I was jumping all over the place like a wild kitten. Wouldn’t you know, I bumped the end of my tail on the wall quite hard and it started hurting again.

The next day while Mom was at the computer I hissed and made her jump. Then I began chasing my tail, round and round until I could give it a good bite! Unfortunately it didn’t help. After my tail started to bleed and wasn’t getting better, Mom took me to the veterinarian—the last place I wanted to go.

My tail had become infected. After trying topical pain relief and medicine to make the infection go away, I only healed up temporarily. When it started to bother me again, I wanted to tell Mom, but the best I could do was bite it and the trouble started all over again.

The vet suggested removing the tail down to a stump, which Mom felt badly about, but they weren’t sure what else to do. They took me in that March, about five years ago, and left me over night. My surgery and recovery could be a whole other story in itself, but I don’t think you want to hear about that.

But I will tell you there’s a happy ending to my tail, pardon the pun. The surgical site healed up well and the fur on my behind grew back. I thought things seemed a little strange at first. Jumping atop the high bookcase in the family room was a bit of a trick! However, now I do very well with balancing and I don’t have any more phantom pains! I am a happy little cat! And, might I add, beautiful even without that usually prized appendage.

Tail-less, but regal!

And that is how I became Lilybits, the Tail-less wonder! The End—no pun intended.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Motivation - Keeping it Real

Research. According to research is: diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc. In fact, it comes from two French words, which mean “to search.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that makes sense.

Writers, especially authors of historical novels seem to revel in research. And I do love to learn more about a subject when I’m really interested in it. However, I am a victim of two things: A wandering mind and lack of patience! Even when I was in elementary school, I would be looking up facts for a report on an animal and I would inevitably start reading about some great writer, artist, statesman, an exotic place or beautiful plant in the encyclopedia. So many facts, so little time!
Add caption

These days I sometimes don’t ask the right question and this leads to frustration. When I want to pin down whether a certain product was available in 1900, but I can’t find anything exact about it’s history, I panic. Well, okay, I want to pound the desk, but doing that won’t make any difference. My impatience becomes visible. And I keep trying, but it may mean making a change in my story.

One of my favorite resources for research is finding good, but inexpensive used books online for studying my subject and having them sent right to my door. Often books, if they’re in the public domain, and are available for anyone to read right there online. And of course, don’t forget interlibrary loan. Then there are journals and historical books found in the stores of museums and historical sites, but they may be a costlier investment.

This week I’ll be tackling some rewriting, but I will also be spending time in research, journeying into the past to ancient Egypt. I’ll definitely be praying that the Lord leads me in the right direction to find some things I need to know.

If you’ve put a manuscript aside and you need some impetus to get back into your story, try setting aside some time for research this week. Get yourself back into the mood for working on your story and save time later by having some facts at hand.

Writing prompt: The archaeologist slid further down the narrow passageway into the Pharaoh’s tomb and became
wedged . . .

Take several minutes to explore how you might feel in the archaeologist’s place and how she or he might get out of this predicament!

Please share your favorite methods of research in the comment section below. Do you delve into research before writing? During writing? Or after the first draft is written? Which do you think saves the most time?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Saturday Spiritual Uplift (on Sunday!) - What's Following You?

What’s Following You?

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)

The book of Psalms is filled with songs of worship, prayers poured out to the Lord which are filled with emotion. Penned by David, Asaph and others, they record the full spectrum of human emotion. When I’m feeling down and having trouble trusting the Lord, I often turn to this book of the Bible. I read, asking the Lord to speak to me. When I come to a verse that may encourage me to be more grateful, calls me to repentance, assures me of His unfailing love, or something else meaningful, I stop to ponder it, often underlining the most important words.

When everything seems wrong with the present, I can take comfort in the future knowing He has promised I will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” David also  said, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life . . .” There is the observable, but yet sometimes unseen hand of the Lord working on our behalf. While I may sometimes feel discouraged, I don’t know what tragedy He has prevented in my life. And I have family, especially my precious husband, and friends who God provides along the journey of life. How often do I discount His love, goodness and mercy, taking it all for granted?

Amazing isn’t it that His goodness and mercy follows us always? But do we diligently
follow our Shepherd and stay near to Him each day?

Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to your work in my life. Help me to be thankful for your steadfast love, to not take for granted that your goodness and mercy follow me throughout my life. Amen.

I'm back from vacation! On Monday, Writing, Whimsy and Devotion will return to its regularly scheduled posts. Thanks for your patience. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy (on Thursday!) - Help from Harley

Lily apologizes because Rush Limbaugh wasn’t available and Oprah didn’t have enough advance notice, so today’s special host is Harley the Himalayan of Lakeville, Minnesota. He’s taking questions from cats around the country from his non-motorized power basket situated under the living room table.

Dear Harley: My colorblind human brought home a new pink cat bed for me to sleep in. He doesn’t care, because he can’t see color, but I can. Do I have to be worried about compromising my masculinity by sleeping in it?

Fanger from Fargo

Dear Fanger: You have nothing to worry about. After all, look at me. Besides, the feline babes love it!

Harley the Himalayan in his non-motorized power basket.
Dear Harley: My humans brought home a snotty little kitten. She comes over to lick my fur while I’m trying to sleep. I am a mature, elegant cat who has no time for such nonsense. What do you suggest I do to put her in place?

Tertius from Teaneck

Dear Tertius: I suggest large doses of catnip and if there’s some left over, give it to the kitten.

Dear Harley: How do you keep your hair so beautiful? Lily says she gets lots of grooming tips from you. What do you suggest?

Tangled in Trenton

Dear Tangled: Two words: crème rinse.

 Do your pets have any questions for wise old Harley? Or do you have some suggestions for him?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monday Motivation (On Tuesday!) - A Resource for the Journey

Inciting incident, three-act structure, motivation, conflict, plot twists, secondary characters . . . you name it. These things are just some of the elements of an interesting story. Those words, “let me tell you a story” usually are the gateway to truly listening. Any student in a class would rather be subjected to an interesting story than only dry facts.

One resource that became an eye opener for me was The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. At one time Hollywood story analyst and now a literary consultant, he distilled the ideas in mythologist, Joseph Campbell’s, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, into a fascinating read for screenwriters and novelists alike. It is based on Campbell’s observation that in myths and fairy tales, the hero’s journey follows the same pattern. Used in films and stories this pattern creates a satisfying story with a transformational character arc.

While The Writer’s Journey has been around for over 20 years, it’s still a wonderful resource for writers and would-be novelists. You can find more detailed information on Christopher Vogler’s website.

This week I’m on a bit of a break, so we have Writing, Whimsy and Devotion light version!
Hop on over to Celtic Voices for a post about St. Patrick and to Karla Akins' blog for a peek at vintage St. Patrick’s Day post cards! A belated happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hungry Yet? (Saturday Spiritual Uplift)

When David wrote Psalm 23 I wonder what
he had in mind when he wrote You prepare a feast for me 
in the presence of my enemies. Was an army marching toward him while he was out having a picnic? Was he having a great feast after a battle victory? Or is he talking about the sheep—munching the grass safely while the shepherd fended off the wolf? What does this look like in our world? I realize it’s symbolic, but I wondered about believers suffering in poverty and persecution. Is there a feast available to them?

My conclusion was even in trying circumstances, I have a feast available to me in God’s Word and in talking with Him through prayer. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty . . .” And John describes Jesus as the Word in the beginning of his gospel: 
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Reading the Bible, times of prayer and fellowship with God nourish the spirit, giving us direction, even if He’s asking us to be still, trust and wait on Him. Read the Psalms and He repeatedly whispers of His unfailing love and care for us. In the work of the Holy Spirit we are led to truth and He helps us in our weakness. Jesus left us a gift of peace: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

The eternal part of us is strengthened and we have hope again, so that we continue to live for Christ, body and soul. Romans 8:35 and 37 says: Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 

Jesus is always with His children and makes spiritual food available to us daily. The question is: Am I hungry enough to partake? Or has my heart at times grown cold and self-sufficient?

Heavenly Father, please keep my heart soft to hear the voice of your Holy Spirit and open to see your work. Help me to be hungry for your Word and wisdom, to be closer to You and more like Jesus.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - The Kitten Chronicles, Part Two

A few months ago I had a chat with Natasha, my Siberian
cousin in Minnesota. She is a kitten, but nearly a year old.
Mom and I thought you might enjoy finding out how she's doing these days.

Hi cousin Tasha! Welcome to Wednesday Whimsy. 

Thank you, Lily; it is nice to visit with you again. I enjoy following your blog, you interview such interesting personalities, especially the other felines.
Have you grown much since we last chatted?

I am nearly a year old now, and have grown as much as I think I am going to, but am filling out nicely, or so my humans tell me. The fun thing is, I still fit under the love seat, so can escape whenever I want.  And, I am now big enough to hold my own when wrestling with Elliot, also known as “The Big Galoot”, and can pin him down. I am feeling really wonderful; full of energy and vigor. Life is grand.

How is the captivity going? Have you adjusted well to your most recent surroundings?

I often forget I am captive since I am having so much fun and feeling very much at home. Oh, Lily, I so enjoy myself. There are so many great places to nap--wherever I please really, although my humans sometimes annoy me by chasing me off some of the choicest spots, but I show them by sneaking back when they are not looking; Ha! I particularly love to lay in front of the fireplace and warm my paws and nether regions on a cold winter evening.  
Tasha watching a bird.

It is also fun to watch the birds out the window. My humans put birdseed right out on the ledge of the front window and I get to see the birds just inches in front of my nose. It is so exciting! It is also a thrill to watch the squirrels on the deck outside the back patio door.

Life is like a party--I AM a party animal!  I just love to have fun, and play, and run, and jump, and wrestle.
Tasha and her brothers enjoy watching the birds and squirrels.

Is your human training going any better? Are your humans getting any less “foolish and slow to learn”, as you put it our first interview?

I finally have my humans fairly well trained, though it has been an exercise in patience, let me tell you!  They have virtually ceased to annoy me in most matters, and especially about what I prefer to eat. It has finally sunk into their thick skulls, I think, that I will eat what I want and when I want, and sleep when I want and where.

They have provided all sorts of toys and furniture for me to enjoy, and I have almost complete run of the house. On the other paw, they have taken to brushing my teeth in spite of by most vehement and vociferous protests. I can take care of my own teeth, thank you! I may have to take drastic action there.

What do you like best about Tom and Betsi?

Hmmm; I suspect Tom is really a dog-person, Lily. He is so bucolic; just like a dog...disgusting! I won’t let him near me most of the time; sometimes I have to dive under the love seat to get away from him. On the other paw, he does get up at 5:00 AM, and so I can coerce him into feeding me right away. My brother cats and I have taken to coaxing him to awaken at 4:00 AM to get up sooner to feed us even earlier, but so far he has resisted. However, I think he will soon acquiesce; he knows I am not pleased.    

Betsi, on the other paw, is clearly a cat-person, and is pleasant to have around.  I prefer her company, and am more willing to let her play with me and even permit her to touch me occasionally. She is refined and elegant, and much more suitable to serve a cat of my status.

Sounds like you are keeping the upper paw with your humans. Good job!

How is life with your stepbrothers, Harley and Elliot? Do you have a favorite one to play with?

Tasha and Elliot snuggling.
Oh, Lily, I just love Elliot! I like to snuggle with him, and lick him. Sometimes, we hold paws, and occasionally when I lick his fur, he licks me back and I am in heaven! It is all so grand! We also like to chase each other back and forth across the house, and wrestle; though our mistress seems to get upset about the things we knock over, as if things are as important as we are.

Harley is mostly an old grump, and he usually sleeps all the time.  He does not like to be bothered at all, which makes it more fun to do it, but I mostly stay away from him.   

Paw holding, close up!

What are your future ambitions?

I have not yet jumped to the top of the piano to explore the crystal candlesticks or onto the fireplace mantel to investigate the porcelain birds. I also want to jump onto the kitchen counter to sample the food that I smell up there. I am practicing my climbing and jumping techniques to prepare for these activities, which I expect to accomplish in the next few months.

Someday, I would also like to sneak out of doors and catch a squirrel, perhaps this spring or summer. I am told this is not allowed, but I call my own shots, and will jump at the chance when I can. That squirrel is in for a big surprise!

Thank you, Tasha, for updating us on your life in Minnesota. It’s good to hear from you.

You are welcome, Lily; it was nice to chat again.  Do come and visit me sometime.

(And a special thank you to our Minnesota cousins, Tom and Betsi for helping Natasha
with the answers and sending these wonderful pictures!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Motivation - Would You Write More if You Had a Longer Day?

Time is a fleeting commodity. If we could extend by six hours, we’d manage to need another meal and probably a nap to get through a longer day. So if we had more hours, we would probably wind up making ourselves busier and not necessarily accomplishing much more.

A little over a week ago I pulled something out of place in my lower back. Once the back was feeling a bit better, I strained the muscles around my hip as I tried to catch up on things too soon. That slowed me down again. As I looked around at what I couldn’t do, I focused on what I could do.

I had more time for editing and rewriting, catching up on emails and correspondence and some creative endeavors. Translation: More sitting than usual. After a little r & r with hubby on the weekend, I am overly positive about Monday, in fact most Mondays I am ready to attack the house and writing. Somehow I think I will be Super Writer and Homemaker. Usually by Thursday I realize there’s no way I will accomplish everything I’ve set out to do for the week.

So there I am: I have the same seven twenty-four blocks of time I did last week. For me, this is where a list comes in handy. As all the chores I need to catch up on flood my mind, writing time isn’t swept over with the tidal wave of to-dos. Whether it’s on the list or written in the appointment book, I have made sure writing time gets noticed. Barring sickness or emergencies, if I don’t make the time for writing it’s nobody else’s fault. That block of time didn’t get sucked into a vacuum, but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Right now I’m able to take chunks of time, as in two or more hours, and go at it. But writing time in your life it may look a bit different. It may be twenty minutes outlining what you want to write before the kids get up or you leave for work. It may be thirty minutes researching your topic at lunch time and taking a few notes. Or it may be an hour at the end of the day to write what you outlined that morning after your family goes to bed.

Whatever works for you, don’t be a victim of the tyranny of the urgent, use time wisely to make the most of your writing—starting today.

Writing Prompt: They strolled through the woods to find . . .

(Incorporate as many senses as you can into this pleasant spring stroll!)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday Spiritual Uplift - Don't Get Weighed Down

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.           
 (Hebrews 12:1, NLT) 

Weight is a word that brings scales and a particular number to mind for each of us . . . usually. As the years pass by it gets harder to move that number downward. I’m looking forward to spring and sunshine, but not spring and summer clothes, since I still haven’t managed to peel off all my extra pounds.

However, the extra weight our bodies carry isn’t the only thing that can weigh us down. While I like to think my house is at least clean, I still battle clutter. After going back to college full-time for a year and working full-time for a year, when I was used to being a homemaker, my focus had shifted. All those projects I’ve been meaning to conquer have piled up. Though I often buy e-books to avoid taking up more shelf space, beautiful covers with intriguing titles still call to me. Pretty beads at the craft store get my imagination fired up for jewelry projects. Soon it’s easy to have more things than I have places to store.

Next thing I know, I need to buy more containers for my extra stuff. This is just one example. Actually, it’s the old stuff that sits in the basement . . . and . . . cupboards . . . and drawers that hasn’t been looked at in years, which takes up space that I probably need to pitch.

What is weighing you down today? Having an overabundance of stuff to take care of which
could be given away or thrown out, is only a fraction of what gets in the way of my living a lighter life. Worries, when I don’t willingly give them away to the Lord, weigh me down a great deal and make the lines in my forehead deeper. Not forgiving someone else or letting go of my past mistakes burdens me as well. Am I trusting that the Lord and His plans can overcome my past with His grace? Or not? In my own little defiant way I insist on letting these things burden me at times rather than trusting that God is in control and loves me enough to make all things come together for my good. 

Every day is a good day to take stock and de-clutter a little more, not just on the outside, but also in my heart.

Lord, please forgive me for worrying, for letting the past get in the way of the present. Help me to make a new start each day, aware of Your grace and mercy. Amen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday Whimsy - Monkeying Around with Toby

We’re monkeying around at Writing, Whimsy and Devotion this week! Meet Toby, Patty Wysong’s pet monkey! Patty is a writer and blog/web designer extraordinaire and always has something encouraging to share with fellow writers.

Hi, Toby! Thanks for joining me today on Wednesday Whimsy.

Thank you for inviting me! I was so excited when Mom told me! By the way, I love your name. Liiiiiily. Bits.


Sounds yummy. But I’ll be good. I promise.

I like my name too! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Me? I’m a white faced Capuchin monkey. I’m the baby of the family and live with my brothers and one of my sisters and Mom and Dad. But I can never get enough attention, not even being the baby. Playing volleyball is fun but my favoritest thing is giving Mom the slip and running down the hall and seeing how long I can stay loose. She always gets me, though, with that ol’ marshmallow trick. No matter how hard I try to resist, those marshmallows get me every time. I love marshmallows. And lollipops. And soda. And… Mom says I’m a junk food junkie. We make a good pair.

How long have you owned your humans?

Hmm. Must be a few years now. I don’t think their lives have been the same since I joined the family.

I hear you’re part of the entertainment industry. What do you do? Do you like to travel?

Oh, I looove traveling. See, that’s me. I get to ride in the front seat with Mom. I nap on her lap until we get to the good parts then I jump up and look out the windows. You should see those drive-through window workers when they see me. By the time we get to the pick-up window it’s full of people and I have so much fun. And I love it when we’re stuck in traffic, even if Dad doesn’t. There’s so many people to wave to, but Mom worries I’ll cause an accident so sometimes she makes me go in my pet carrier. I hate that.

At work I have to wear clothes. It’s not too bad, really.  My favorite outfit was that Santa suit Mom made me. It was nice and warm and I got lots of attention when I wore it.  My favorite part is watching the people. Did you know biker dudes giggle sometimes? They do! I really like them. Mom’s trying to teach me to be a big boy and take quarters and shake people’s hands.

Did you have to take lessons? Or were you a natural?

Well, I’m a natural at sitting for pictures with people, but Mom’s still teaching me to take quarters and shake hands with people. I had it down by Christmas but I tell ya, all those loud people wanting to grab my hand…sometimes it’s scary. But I’ll learn to be as good as Fonzie.

Who’s Fonzie?

Fonzie’s my big brother. He’s a monkey too and an ace at taking quarters and shaking hands withpeople. He’s so cool.

Everybody thinks monkeys like bananas best. What’s your favorite food?

Bananas? I only eat ‘em if I have to. But I love papaya and cantaloupe and sweet potatoes. My favoritest food is Mom’s homemade mac ‘n’cheese. It’s the bestest.

What’s the best way to train your human?

Toby texting.
Well, I know I’m supposed to, but I’m not gonna share my marshmallows, so I use kisses. It gets Mom every time.

What does Patty write?

Sappy romances. It’s so embarrassing.

How do you inspire Patty to write?

Mom tells me what she’s thinking about for a scene and I let her know if it’s any good. When I ignore her she knows her idea stinks. That happens a lot. If I snuggle, I like it, and if I bounce off the walls it’s because I thinks it’s a fantastic idea. But then Mom gets to playing with me and forgets the idea before she gets back to the computer. I try to remind her about it but she’s hopeless sometimes. I tell ya, we’d have a best seller if I could write all the good scenes she’s forgotten.

How can we best help our writing humans?

Learn to spell so they understand the things we text and type on their keyboards.

Do you ever get in trouble for helping “too much”? Or does your human have a sense of humor?

Yeah, Mom doesn’t like it when I poke at her keyboard and she hates it when I walk on the thing. She doesn’t know that I’m trying to write those scenes she’s forgotten. Thankfully I’m so cute that I don’t get in trouble for it and Mom can’t stay mad at me for too long. 

One more question, I’ve heard my human use the term “monkeyshines”. What does this mean? Do monkeys actually shine?
Toby with his mom, Patty.

Monkeyshines? Sounds like a lollipop to me!! And I looooove lollipops.

Thank you, Toby, for being on my blog today!

Thanks for having me, Lilybits. It was fun talking with you!

(Was I good? Mom said I could have a lollipop if I was good.)

Yeah, for a monkey you were really good. You didn’t bite or anything! You can come back any time!

Since Patty quit running from God's call on her life and surrendered her pen to Him, she's been happy. Life is never dull as she juggles being a wife, mom to a handful of kids and a couple of Capuchin monkeys, life on the road, and being a writer. As long as she's obeying God's leading, she figures that sanity is a novelty and not a necessity in the zoo she lives in. Patty clings to the promise that God will enable her to do what He asks of her, otherwise she would be living with the scaredy cats at the Funny Farm and not just occasionally visiting. You can find her blogging at and on Instagram, too, where she daily sneaks in a few sane moments. 

Feel free to take a moment to say "hi" to Toby and Patty
if you like in the comment section below!