The Sunshine Factor

where sunshine is a way of life


Cat Stories

Hi folks,

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my two cats.

Rachael, the little one, our “princess”, now shares her cat bed (complete with soft pink baby blanket that Mama gave her) with Micah, our rather big male tabby.  I have her bed right next to a giant red heart pillow on the large table next to the entertainment center in the family room.  It’s really cute to see them napping right next to each other.  Rachael actually likes the heart pillow, now that she wants to share her bed with Micah.  However, I would like to see the cats try being in their bed at the same time!  Dave figures they probably already know it would be a tight fit for the two cats at once…

Rachael has been known to ask her “brother” for her face to be washed.  He lovingly obliges — until, of course, he is batted by her and she runs off.  I think she needs to learn some manners here.  🙂  Why can’t she simply walk away when she is done with the face washing – why must she strike out at Micah?  Seems like her boundaries could be loosened a little more…

Since Rachael came from a shelter that gave her moist cat food once a day and dry food throughout the day, I follow the same practice.  Micah has really hit his jackpot — oh boy!  Tasty food once Mama comes home from work at the end of the day!  He has a cute way of giving me direct eye contact, meowing and tossing his head to accent some of the meows.   He only talks to me this way, of course, when he’s hungry.  On weekends he will start to beg for his supper a few hours ahead of schedule.  His eagerness to devour his food has led me to feed Rachael on an extra chair.  That way he doesn’t push her away from her dish when he is done with his.  Smart mama, you say?  I think it’s more a case of cat mom indulgence!

Oh, and one more thing.  You know how people say “Now what?” when things keep happening to them?  Well, at the Stanton household, the new catch phrase is “Meowww what”.  (You might have to be there, I don’t know!)

Meoww for now!

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Art Gallery in the Magazine

Hi!  Do you see the pictures below the Pinterest banner – in the right sidebar?  I refer to those pictures as my Art Gallery.  I plan to switch them out monthly unless there are some that are really liked by people.  How would I know which ones people like, you ask?

If you click on any of the pictures to see better, you will see the picture, its entire caption, AND a chance to comment on it.  My computer would not let me comment, but that’s probably because I originated the gallery.  But YOU can…give it a shot and let me know how it works out.





The Conclusion of the series, “The Adventures of Debb’s Blog…”

Ahhh.  The Great Launch.  It’s coming soon on January 4th!   I’m still keeping The Sunshine Factor blog, but it will published within an online magazine, called Stanton Sunshine.  This is where my writing trail has brought me, and it feels like a very nice place!

How will this be different than a blog, you might be asking.  This one will be a community effort of like-minded individuals willing to share their particular kind of sunshine to make up one big place where everyone can participate.   But why participate?  To give and receive emotional support in a world that seems to be getting darker by the day.   You can be published here if you want to be! You can submit artwork, or that of your children or grandchildren.  Like a great recipe?  Please share with the author of the magazine, me, and I will look into getting it out to the community.  Prefer to just read and enjoy?  That’s great, too, but hopefully we can each get the word out to our friends about Stanton Sunshine.

I’ve always believed that to be a museum curator would be an awesome job.  I could decide what would be displayed and what wouldn’t.  I could gather friends together for a good time while enjoying art (and in this case — art AND literature). I would be hot on the trail, and new finds would pepper my museum.  So actually, I can be a curator after all – just in magazine format.  And in a community format, where all people are loved and welcome and can find a positive spin on their lives.

Together we can be strong — that is my motto.  This is how we will begin the new year.  (Start now by signing up for my new Facebook page:  I will keep you abreast of the latest developments and trailmarkers on this Facebook page as well as on this blog.)

More soon!


The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part Five

In taking a hard look at my blog, I enjoyed having a mixture of posts – recipes, poems, stories, articles…but I wanted more.  I wanted artwork from children and adults filling up the blog, along with guest poems and articles.  I wanted to have (and give my readers) it all!  So the next question was:  so where can I get all this additional writing?  The answer came to me when I defined what my blog is.

I call this blog and its readership a community of people with the same goal and focus:  finding the sunshine in your life in spite of sometimes negative circumstances.  Hmmm….a community thrives on its citizens all contributing in their own special way.  Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  Our Sunshine community could do that – offer up their own kinds of sunshine to the community.  We could be enriching each other’s lives!  The extra photos, art, book reviews, stories, poems, articles would fit into that niche in a grand fashion!

If I could write for my blog two weeks out of the month, and write my various projects in the other two weeks, how fantastic would that be?!  I had been having a conflict within myself about writing the blog so much I was neglecting the other part of my writing life.  Here, my friends, was my answer.  If I created a new website with a lot to read, enough to keep people busy for a month, I could do all my writing!  AND get my friends involved in a great project, too!  🙂

Next up:  Where Debb’s trail ends up and announcement of The Great Launch – coming soon to a computer near you!



She Loves Me Just For Me!

Nepeta cataria L. ;Original Description: Katze...

Nepeta cataria L. ;Original Description: Katzenminze, Nepeta cataria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Catnip is one of those things that cats either love or hate.  In the Stanton camp, Micah adores it.  Rachel is critical of it.  I was trying to coax Rachel over to me so she could try catnip this morning.   She made a beeline for me while skirting the hated object.  Imagine that – a cat who loves me for me and not the catnip that I can offer!  🙂

Oh – and not to worry – Micah later snarfed up Rachel’s portion too.  Now everyone is happy!  🙂

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The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part Two

nature often inspired Debb to write

nature often inspired Debb to write

Want to know how Debb decided what posts would be in her blog?  She explains it below.

I promised God that I would post something every day, since He had inspired me to write a blog.  Amazingly, I was able to accomplish this.  (I try not to make promises lightly, since I am a woman of my word; but this promise to God – well, I thought that maybe I was promising in the heat of excitement and realization, and maybe I wouldn’t carry it out.)

In September I noticed that my early morning walks often yielded an idea for a post (or many posts).  I drafted the post or posts in my head while walking and enjoying nature.  (Oftentimes, the posts did talk about the nature I’d seen.)  I’d come home from work and rush to the computer so I could capture my thoughts.

The more I wrote, the more lively my imagination became.  I no longer cared what my audience would think.  Whatever grabbed my attention is what would show up in my blog.  I laughed at myself within posts (for instance, when I had bragged to my boss I was a good cook, and when he came to dinner, the dinner bombed – haha) and put myself out there as someone who makes mistakes – plenty of them at times!

Next up:  what forms of writing did Debb employ?  See you next week!


The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part One

Being a breast cancer survivor was the first reason Debb started to blog

Being a breast cancer survivor was the first reason Debb started to blog

Have you ever wondered why I started this blog and why I gave it the name I did?  Today you shall find the answers.

Debb Stanton was used to “silent retreats” at her friend’s Catholic church.  Contemplative was another way of describing them, and Debb was hooked.   “Still waters run deep” had been said of her to describe her quiet curiosity and introversion.  She liked the silent retreats because she could be alone with her thoughts and her Lord except for a couple of worship services and meals with the other retreatants (meals which were also silent, a woman needing to smile and point at the salt shaker in order for it to be passed to her).  She could nap all afternoon in her tiny guest room, or she could pray, or journal, or whatever.  At this point in Debb’s life, she was very much a perfectionist who said to herself, “I’ve got to journal every day.  I must journal every day.  What kind of writer can I be if I don’t write every day?  I’d better journal every day…”  and with white-knuckled determination she would come home from a retreat and force herself to write — for a grand total of two, maybe three days and then -poof!- she’d ease up on herself and no more writing would be done for awhile.
In August of 2012, Debb was two weeks away from her third cancer survivorship anniversary, and she went on a women’s retreat with her church friends.  This retreat was not a silent retreat (in fact, anything but).  Debb brought her Kindle along, and she discovered a poet who had a blog on WordPress.  By the end of the retreat, Debb was convinced that her “assignment” was to start a blog, and to write on it every day.  She was very thankful for her cancer recovery, and she was in a hurry to let as many people as possible know that getting a cancer diagnosis was not necessarily a death sentence — she was living proof.
WordPress was the blogging platform Debb chose, and when it came time to name the blog, she decided on “Sunshine Factor”.   Sunshine because this described her personality and was the nickname she was called by many people.  The ‘factor’ part came because “inner sunshine” was a big part of her life, and it was one of the factors that helped her through her cancer and beyond.
When Debb found out that Sunshine Factor is also the name of a pet and bird food and medicine company, she added a disclaimer to her blog, stating that she and they were not the same.  In the last couple months she bought her own domain name; now the blog is “The Sunshine Factor”.  Even though she loves animals and birds, Debb was now her own entity, not part of a company about animals, and she had her own blog.
Next up:  Part Two, which discusses how the blog became something of a melting pot of ideas, encouragement and creative writing.   See you next week!

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Poetry Saturday: Aware


Micah watches Rachael constantly

Rachael comes to Micah’s aid whenever he cries

They have a sturdy communication system going on


Even when sleeping

they are totally aware

of the other’s presence


Like siblings do,

they want equal attention

and more of Mom’s time


Who are Micah and Rachael?

They are my fur babies:

totally aware cats

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Humanizing Wednesday: The Cat Who Could Cook

Cat food for sale at an Istanbul animal market

Cat food for sale at an Istanbul animal market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Micah the cat

not generally a brat

put on a cook’s hat

and cooked for his sister.

He thought he was smart enough

because he watched his human mama

open cans of moist cat food

that smelled delish.


But he wanted to actually cook..

The delicacies his mama made for people

sent him scurrying to his favorite cat cookbook:

The Cat of Cooking.


Mama didn’t see all the proceedings

but a rare sight greeted her when she came home.

Micah had gotten into the refrigerator

and somehow got some pancake syrup in his hair.

When he made homemade pasta,

the flour went up his triangle nose

and some unused, cooked pasta

hung around his tail.


The smell of beef came from his mouth

but his sister rejected him, saying,

“I told you to cook fish for dinner!”

Micah, I guess, was not a winner.


Then Micah became content again

to wait patiently for his cat supper.

Only the best for this interesting cat

and his darling, princess-like sister!


Humanizing Wednesday: The Porch and the Clock

Temperatures in the Midwest

were finally turning cooler

the central air conditioning was turned off

Life couldn’t be greater


Mrs.  Craziwell

now read every day on her front porch

Porch was so pleased,

since Mrs. C had hidden inside from the heat

most of the summer


The grandfather clock in the front hall

was feeling the pleasant breezes

from the front door

His wood was getting dry and old

He was glad that Porch was nearby


“How do you do it?”  Clock called out to Porch.

“How do you remain cheerful

when people don’t come out and sit very much anymore?”


Porch answered,

“I just remind myself

that I can always be counted on

when people actually remember to come outside and relax.”


“How do YOU remain cheerful, Old Grandfather?”

Porch asked Clock.


“But I’m not cheerful,” Clock corrected his friend.

“You just can’t see my thoughts behind my face.

I am mad that people around here

let me wind down

and don’t wind me up again — for DAYS!”


Another example of things not being as they seem

was handed to Porch through all his time-worn, paintless planks.


“Oh, you’re feeling forgotten?” asked Porch.

“Yes, that’s right,” answered Clock.

“How can I keep my family on time

if they don’t remember to wind me every day?”


“I guess that’s out of your control,” said Porch.

“Maybe you just have to be glad for the times you are telling the correct time.”


“True,” Clock agreed,

shifting his weight so he only rested on

two legs instead of four.

“Hey – do you think you could wind me up, Porch?”


“Um, maybe you’ve never seen me,” came the reply,

“but I am big and bulky,  I have no hands and fingers

to do what you are asking me to.

But I can ask Squirrel to help you out!”


Clock eagerly began huffing and puffing,

moving slowly toward Porch

because he was a heavy grandfather clock

and too old to be waltzing lightly to the front door.


Once Clock got to the door,

he pushed against the screen door

so that Squirrel could come inside


It didn’t take Squirrel very long

to shimmy up Clock and retrieve the key

and then wind up the poor old clock


“Hey – maybe that’s what we can be happy about,” said Porch.

“We may not always feel needed, but we give darn good service

to others when they need us.

And you, Squirrel, thank you for coming to our aid today!”


“You’re welcome, guys,” Squirrel said.

For the first time, Porch and Clock saw each other.

Clock couldn’t wave at Porch because

his hands were needed to keep the right time

but Porch understood.

Squirrel looked from one to the other, transfixed.

And he let a bunch of flies into the house

but no one cared.



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Now I’m a Turtle!

my little friend Kaya

my little friend Kaya


This photo was taken at the Children’s Museum in St. Paul.  I work pretty close to the Museum, but have never investigated this fun place.  It looks like I have been missing out!  Kaya seemed to really enjoy being a turtle (even if only for a little while).  I just love Kaya;  she has a personality that is as colorful as her painted face.    Now that’s what I call REAL sunshine!

Hope you have a sunshiney day too.


Daily Prompt: The Cat Says Meow

Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person. Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person.

My name is Micah.  I am a 10 year old male brown tabby cat.   I have a sister cat, Rachael, age 3.  But alas, I am not telling you about us — or not much, anyway.  I would like to talk to you about our mother lady.   Her name is Debb, but when she talks to us, she calls herself “Mama”.

Mama rescued both of us from shelters – she found me at one of the Humane Societies in her area, and I jumped on her lap in the visiting room right away.  She is so sweet, and she was trying to help her friend pick out a cat for himself.  Instead, I ignored him, and gravitated to her immediately.  Her smile and face and voice were full of sunshine.  I knew she wouldn’t leave me outside to fend for myself.  She is a truly mother type, although she doesn’t have human children.  However, Rachael and I are known to be her fur babies, and we are real proud of our mom.  She gives us so much love and good will.  Peace reigns in our house, the one she has named “Safe Haven”.   She spoils us rotten and believe it or not, she does get frustrated with my sister.

My sister Rachael was at a local shelter for a year before Mama brought her home.   She knew that Rachael’s wish was to find someone she could trust.  Well, it wasn’t long, and Rachael trusted Mama.  Mama has loved Rachael’s fear right out of her.  The only problem is,   Rachael and I jump onto Mama’s desk at home.  I tend to sleep right in front of the keyboard, but Rachael walks ON the keyboard.  To keep her away, Mama has to pet her with one hand and type with the other hand.  Even then, she never treats Rachael badly.  But, I admit, I don’t like it when her office door is closed.  That means that Mama absolutely cannot be disturbed by anyone or anything – not even by her two furry angels.  It’s at those times, when the door is shut, that Mama is working on something she calls her blog.   Is a blog a frog, only the beginning of the word uses a different letter?  You will have to let me know.    Just go to Mama’s contact page (she’s got to have one) and email her and put my name in the subject line.  Then she will read me your letter.  Thank you!  Meoowww and a hundred times Mmmeeeeeoooooooooowwww!

Mama is a real lovely person.  She likes to make noises at me – kind of uses a high-pitched eeeekkkkk!  I think she thinks I think she’s a mouse, but I will let her think what she wants.  I want to please her in return for her providing us a nice house.   I really felt bad for her when my brother Tiger died in February.  She wept so loud, I was scared and had to run to a different part of the house!

Oh yeah, one more thing.  Mama is peace loving, so she treats me and my sister the same.  When one of us wants a scratch behind the ears, the other cat gets one too at the same time.   She gives each of us our own dry kibble, water, and moist food dishes so we don’t have to share.

I love my Mama, and so does Rachael.  I think  if you met her, you would love her too.  We are glad that our daddy loves her much and treats her very well.   She deserves the very best.   Thank you, Mama dear!


Micah Pants

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Perfume Haters

Fragrance Wheel perfume classification chart, ...

Fragrance Wheel perfume classification chart, ver. 1983 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not complaining about people who hate perfume, I don’t like it in large doses either.   A lot of people have allergies to scents, and I can understand this, as sometimes I cough when someone has too much on when I’m around.

Much of corporate America has policies prohibiting their employees to wear scents in the workplace due to the increasing amount of allergies.

The perfume hater I am talking about today is my cat Micah.  When I reached out to him to say goodbye yesterday morning, as soon as he smelled my hand he recoiled and looked at me as if to say, “Hey, whatcha doin’ to me here?”   He evidently smelled Giorgio on my wrist.  It took me awhile to figure out why he recoiled, since I usually don’t wear cologne during the week, and usually forget to put it on on the weekends.  (I follow my company’s scent policy.)  My perfume collection has tapered down to three favorites now, so Micah should be glad I don’t have as much as I used to!  🙂

In contrast to that, my dear departed Tiger was drawn to me when I came back from Jamaica and had my hair in corn rows.  He laid on my pillow every time I went to bed, and I fell asleep to the sound of him sniffing my hair.  He couldn’t get enough!

Life:  what a contrast.


Humanizing Wednesday: The Angry Sea


The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from s...

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from space by NASA’s Terra satellite on May 24, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Oil Slick in the Timor Sea, September...

English: Oil Slick in the Timor Sea, September 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A beach after an oil spill.

A beach after an oil spill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Angry Sea

The ocean, so colorful and calming,

could also be a threat to swimmers and sailors and vacationers.

But unexpectedly, one of the oceans named Claire

was actually violently angry toward people –

the people that couldn’t prevent oil spills

or keep from killing thousands of sea birds and animals.

She felt so bad for the lives lost in her waters —

human beings and ocean creatures both.

She just couldn’t forget the last ocean catastrophe,

and she couldn’t forgive people with their corporations

lusting for money so much they forgot to be careful

with how they used natural resources.


Claire called upon her old friend Thunder

and his friend Lightning

to see if they held her same opinion.

“We certainly agree,” thundered her very loud friend Thunder.

Lightning, for his agreement, flashed his eyes quickly,

blinding everyone who saw him.

Since the sky was now dark,

stars, the sea’s friends,

twinkled their appearance

and joined in the discussion.

“Yes, we look small to living creatures on the earth,” they responded,

“but we are actually big,

and we are very ANGRY too.”


The outcome of this nature’s summit

was that Claire decided to do things differently.

She asked the tides to be a little more gentle

so Claire wouldn’t have to be rough in turn.

(The tides said they would try.)

Thunder and Lightning and anything else

getting Claire to act up

promised to do all they could to prevent more tragedies from happening.


So now when you see the clouds roll in but

Thunder and Lightning do not show up,

you are benefiting from the summit they had with Claire.

And one day, Thunder and Lightning hope,

they will just hang out for short little light shows but nothing harmful.

Claire is going to work on forgiveness,

and in the meantime,

she will still be a very caring agent of nature.

Long live Claire and other oceans and bodies of water like her, and their inhabitants!

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Focus for Wednesdays


As a writer for both children and adults, I often give human traits to plants and animals. My imagination seems to soar, turning things I see in my everyday life into a story or poem.

Instead of writing of series of “humanizing” posts, I will reserve each Wednesday for my humanizing writing. I have two ideas so far, and having a focus for Wednesdays will prompt me to keep on finding more stories.

My first “humanizing” post will be Wednesday, August 21st. I hope you will join me.  🙂


Sunshine Factor Blog Turns One Today!

copy-sg201935balloons.jpg Hello, dear readers, followers, and friends!   of193teddybearbirthday

I thank God above for Sunshine Factor reaching its first milestone. A year ago today my first post went public; I had no idea what life in the blogging world would bring, but I’ve loved my first year! I have met so many nice people through WordPress; I am humbled to have received 160 followers (not counting my Facebook peeps). I have written 575 posts so far, which leads me to believe I do have something to say. 🙂  In the past year I’ve started some other blogs, I collaborate with Eric in the Story Squared blog, and I collaborate with Lyn in the Sunday Showcase blog.  Adventures aplenty abound!  🙂

Blogging has turned my world upside-down (in a good way), and I am so thankful for all of you out there and for the chance to share some of my writing. I have also learned a lot from you, and I cherish our friendship.

I recently changed my blog theme to include some of my favorite things: castles and tartans! Let’s see how long I keep this theme! LOL

Thanks,  and God bless you,                                                  4201_1140582920254_1419477_n-puppies-in-a-bowl




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Response to Daily Prompt 7/27/13

Daily Prompt: A to Z

by michelle w. on July 27, 2013
My response:
A 1910 photograph of The Orchard in bloom

A 1910 photograph of The Orchard in bloom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Apples, cherries, apricots and peaches are what her dad grew in his orchard on a high hill. Bees made it a point to drink the nectar from the blossoming trees in spring and summer. Choirs could not attempt to capture the glory of this orchard. Dentists liked the orchard because their patients could eat something healthy, that wouldn’t cause problems for teeth. Everything in its time and place, the orchardist often said. Failure to try meant a failure to live fully. Gossiping was over-rated, since it was not a very healthy habit. Hayrides could be held in orchards, but not in this one. Importance was placed on working hard, not hardly working. Jugglers would love to juggle in this orchard, as the view to the surrounding Lake Michigan would have been a beautiful backdrop. Kildeer birds were found in the orchard, the birds with the long, spindly legs and seagull-like cry. Lake Michigan down below was like a beautifully sparkling, blue jewel. Monarch butterflies flew nearby, but human monarchs did not have as beautiful a kingdom as this. Never be afraid of hard work, the orchardist said. Optimize joy, is the idea his daughter now practices. Press memories firmly in your heart so they can add value to your life. Questions in life will always abound, but good questioning leads to wonderful living. Ranting and raving tends to bring a person down, so stay away from it. Sarcasm is also another energy-draining vice that is a good idea to leave at the door. Troubles are made easier by sharing with a trusted friend. Umbrellas do their best work when rain is falling without heavy winds. Victory can be ours if we but persevere. When someone asks for help, freely give it, because someday you may be asking for help. Expound on the good, forget the bad, and balance can be found, pretty as a peace rose.  Yellow is the orchardist’s daughter (me)’s favorite color, its creaminess being a very calming feature for her.  Zebras are black and white, but woe to the person who sees the world in just those colors.

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Cat Limerick

Did you hear of the cat owned by Jack Spratt?
The one who could only sleep on an old mat?

I don’t know who was stranger, the cat or the man
I do know that the man liked to boil marbles in his sauce pan.

I like Jack Spratt and his cat far more than I like a fly-by-night bat!


Happy Birthday, Cherry Blossom!

English: Cherry tree blossom Русский: Цветущая...

English: Cherry tree blossom Русский: Цветущая ветка вишни Latina: Prunus cerasus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had so many nicknames throughout the years, it’s fun to go back and try to recall them all. 🙂

The one having to do with my dad’s cherry (and other fruit) orchard was the one that was my favorite, but only one person ever called me that (one of my dad’s sisters). I loved spending time in the orchard, and to that end, that’s why I thought the nickname “Cherry Blossom” would be easy to remember. Here’s what I liked about the orchard:

My dad, always having loved forestry and nature, would sometimes bring us home something to teach us…I remember the pail of water he brought home (our orchard was on the outskirts on the other side of town) filled with water from the small pond. The pail had a few tadpoles in it. I forgot what we fed the poor things, but grow up they did: first they grew legs, then their tails disappeared. Then it was time to let them loose!

There was a little, two-room, run-down shack in the middle of the orchard, in the shade and near a bubbling brook. Dad affectionately called it “The Hilton.” I wanted to sew him some curtains for the two windows, but then I realized I hated to sew! (This was at age 10, but I still have not changed my mind about sewing! haha)

The water in the creek running through the orchard was mesmerizing – a quiet but happy sound of bubbling water – and the water quality was better than what we have nowadays in “filtered water”. It was clean, clear, and refreshing!

The grass in the orchard grew tall between the rows of fruit trees. My dog Cookie took great advantage of that. Dad would drive our two dogs to the orchard. As soon as the dogs got out of the truck, Cookie would leap through the high grass, jumping high like a rabbit. (You could see her “smile”, she was so happy to not have to be on a leash.) Trixie, our older dog, just ambled along slowly. Evidently the orchard wasn’t her favorite place like it was Cookie’s.

Last but not least, there were the dark (sweet/”black”) cherries. We as a family could not eat many of them, since they would be sold at the markets in town, but we still managed to eat too much of them. (If you’re not aware of this, sweet cherries can give you a good stomachache if eaten in excess.) My mom made the best sweet cherry pie – the rich custard she would pour over the cherries baked around each individual cherry. Pure bliss!

“Cherry Blossom”



Deck Memories




I miss my cat Tiger.

Now that the deck is redone and covered with flower pots, I notice his absence even more. He always followed me around with my watering can and also drank rain water from the gutter. Now he would have appreciated the increase in flower pots from other years, and he would have been disappointed that a leaf guard has been put over the gutter, so drinking from there would have been more difficult now.

Tiger enjoyed the deck three seasons out of four. He didn’t even mind the cold, since he had a double layer of hair. Micah and Rachael are absolutely not interested in going outside, so it’s a little lonely going out there now. But I had breakfast out there this morning, and tomorrow I want to take time to deadhead the spent flowers and also read for an hour and enjoy nature. Think I will read for an hour? 🙂


Where the Rabbits Go

English: Eastern Cottontail

English: Eastern Cottontail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Spruce. Tree.

Blue Spruce. Tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my early walk the other day, a rabbit far ahead of me ran from the bushes to the lawn across the street. The house was on a beautiful corner lot that afforded the little bunny much protection.

As I neared the corner, my footsteps slowed down so I wouldn’t scare the bunny. As rabbits do, he posed, frozen. Once I went past the corner, however, I did call out to him softly: “here, bunny, bunny”. That is when the bunny decided he’d better take cover. He disappeared under the magnificently big blue spruce tree where I couldn’t see him anymore. I imagine all his brothers and sisters could fit under the one tree!

With a switch of his white cotton tail, he was off again, this time in the direction from where he came.

My dear Mr./Miss Cottontail is one example of beauty that can’t be touched. 🙂


Poetry Saturday: Animals and Their Language

Golden RetrieverAnimals have a way of communicating with us
having nothing to do with words

They don’t ponder if they’re going to communicate
but communicate, they do.

On a pre-dawn walk this week
I saw Matthew and his dog Buddy

I called Buddy’s name
I could see the hello in his eyes
and the rhythmic wag of his tail
“Mrs. S!” he seemed to say
even though his lips did not move at all

When I got home from my walk
My cats communicated with me too

Micah circled my legs and gave me a head bump
Rachael ran toward her momma and “chirped” with her tiny little voice

I don’t think my household could ever be without a pet
we would miss the little signs of love and acceptance shown by them


“I have yet to see a cat, any cat, who has insomnia.”


I don’t know who coined that phrase, but I think it’s a former U.S. president.  This phrase is so very true, at least for my two cats!  Our cats have been known to encourage human beings to take naps; their total laziness does impart a sense of relaxation.    Meoowwww, it’s time to take a nap now…   🙂


Happy June!

photo credit: terrydu via photopin ccMy favorite flower

photo credit: terrydu via photopin ccMy favorite flower

English: Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

English: Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June is one of my favorite months.  Here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the mosquitoes are not at their peak yet, so it’s easier to be outside.   The humidity is not so cumbersome yet.  In early June, the blossoms on the trees such as the crabapple and lilac bushes might still be around for a little while yet.

June seems to be the harbinger of new beginnings, such as graduation from school or college  –and weddings too.  For me, it’s always a time for me to take more walks outside and enjoy nature.

Trivia question:  do you know that in the beginning of the month of June, when you walk past a Russian olive tree, you can smell something spicy, like cinnamon?   My neighborhood had a lot of vacant lots where the deer and other critters lived, and the vacant lots were edged with my “cinnamon trees”.  Alas, now the new subdivision has moved in.  The deer and turkeys are still around; however, my walks don’t smell spicy anymore.  😦

I wish you a very happy month of June, and prayers go out for a safe and remarkable month for you.


Rachael’s Newest Trick!

I can hardly believe this.  My baby cat, Rachael, has now taken up watching “TV” — she is sitting on my computer desk right now and watching the monitor screen very intently.   I can see her cock her head and move her head from left to right as she watches the gloved-hand symbol or arrow when I move the mouse.  Amazing.  Her big brother, Micah, does rest on the desk surface as I type, but he never watches the “action”, nor does he step all over my keys like Rachael does.   Wow, now both cats are near me when I type.  They really like their connection with “Cat Mom”, and my husband says “I think they’ve realized what a good deal they’ve got.”

Do you have any action going on as you type?


Happy One Week Birthday, Story Squared!

Today I feel like happiness in the flesh, like a proud parent of a wonderful “child”.

The story that Eric and I have created and add to every day (  has now been in the WordPress blogosphere for one week.

This is a big deal, for the joy in writing it is immense, and I want to cherish AND recognize each moment.

I can’t help but reread each entry several times, it amuses me so.

I need to thank each of its readers and followers — thank you for tuning in and liking our story.

Here’s to even more smiles and laughs and joy – cheers!




Nature Journal

English: A white-tailed deer

English: A white-tailed deer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Early yesterday morning, my neighborhood was serene but filled with nature sounds.

As I walked from my street and into the new subdivision, one or two houses in, I saw it.

It was an animal that you don’t usually see in broad daylight.  It was about two miles south of where his “congregation” lives.

It was a deer, standing near the pond that is between that row of houses and the row up the hill behind it.

It was young enough and had no horns, that I didn’t know if it was a buck or doe.

Either way, it stood so still, I was sure at first that it was a realistic-looking lawn ornament.

Then I saw it was real, and it looked at me, as transfixed by the sight of me as I was of it.

I called out gently, “Good morning, deer, I won’t hurt you,” and I walked on.  Wow, I didn’t startle it into running away.


Once up the hill and to the next row of houses, I heard a Canadian goose honking.

The sound wasn’t so unusual, it was where the goose was that I found enchanting.

He was standing on top of the roof of a two-or-three-story house; in fact, he was centered perfectly.

He honked a bunch of one-syllable “words” to his buddy or mate, on the ground two houses east.


I heard a blue jay “screeching” or cawing as they do.

Come to think of it, I’ve never heard a blue jay sing.

He is related to the common crow, so that is probably why.

Jays are beautiful birds, and I am told they are very protective parents in August.


Back home, when I sit down in my living room,

I can see nothing but trees.  I feel like I live in a nature park, and it makes me happy.


I thoroughly enjoy my neighborhood!  Here’s hoping you enjoy your little bit of nature where you are.  🙂


Another Beautiful Day!

Ivan Aivazovsky's painting Walking on Water (1888)

Ivan Aivazovsky’s painting Walking on Water (1888) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I say that, not because it’s early morning on a sunny day.  No, it’s cloudy, but I started the day out with a walk.  No two walks are ever the same with me.  Today’s walk provided some animal company.  🙂

Since it’s my day off, I decided to try another walking route nearby, to see how many minutes it takes to do that one.  Coming home, on the wooden path over the marsh, I saw the black cat.

The black cat who, last year, on one of the trails, let me pet him but then would hiss.  Pet again, hiss.  Pet, hiss.

This year he didn’t hiss at me.  He rolled around on his belly and rubbed against me.  I noticed that he (black) had a mustache area of gray and a few gray hairs sprinkled on his back.  Maybe he is mellowing.  🙂

This cat and I would walk together, he’d stay back and I’d encourage him to walk with me again.  We did that about four times.  It was a sweet moment for me, and upon my return, Micah got to “meet” this other cat from smelling my hand.  Come to think of it, I’ve seen this black cat run up my front porch steps.  He probably knows it’s a cat-friendly place.

By the way, when I got home, I forgot to see how long I had been walking.  Something to do on Saturday.  🙂

You may wonder what the painting on this post has to do with anything I’ve talked about today.  It doesn’t.  I just saw it on Zemanta and loved it so much, I posted it.  You know how I love watercolors and shades of yellow and water itself.   This picture captures all three VERY well.

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NaPoWriMo #22




Tiger, my dear cat,

where have you gone?

I know that the traveling vet took you away in February,

but I miss you still.

I keep thinking you are coming back.

If I could only see you once more,

I wouldn’t get annoyed at your tapping on my leg

for food handouts.

I wouldn’t care that your back claws dug into my legs

when I was on the computer.

I miss your soft meows answering my questions,

when your mouth moved to speak but nothing came out.

Are you having fun in heaven, catching micies and fishies?

Are you patrolling the grounds up there

like you were a sentry for us in our house?

Our new kitty Rachael is now the watch cat

but please remember, you were the best.

We had a sad day on April 18th, which would have been your 16th birthday.

You are still in our family

and very much loved —

and terribly much missed.

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NaPoWriMo #9


David had bronchitis and was napping in the chair

and Debbie had reactive asthma, so no, it wasn’t fair.

The two cats always on the bed with her lie,

All afternoon, they sure make time fly by.

Debb was wheezing and thought it was Rachael snoring

but it was her lungs who Debbie they weren’t adoring.

Micah snored too, and so the bedroom was noisy ~

I wonder, could they hear us in Boise?

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NaPoWriMo #8

English: Is a photo of a turkey Català: És una...

English: Photo of a proud tom turkey Català: És una fotografia d’un gall dindi en epoca d’aparellament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


You remember that Rachael is our newest cat?

She is very small and classier than the Cat in the Hat.

Every early morning she rushes to her favorite place

to see her favorite wild turkeys almost face to face.

Almost all year three tom turkeys stroll past

and look for food by our front deck.

Lately the hens hang out, they make their visit last

and watch the tom with the scrawny neck.

The hens could about Tom care less

Even as he puts on his courting show.

His tail feathers fan out for who he admires, Bess,

He really hopes she won’t say no.

Today Tom again came calling

but lo, his confidence is falling.

The hens had already come and gone,

They weren’t interested in his feathery brawn.

Rachael waits for the hens to come back,

she seems to be on their side.

She’s concerned about the hens and their lack

and wants her Mama to bring them inside.

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What About Micah?

As you may recall, Micah is my oldest cat.  On February 6th his friend Tiger died.  About three weeks later we acquired Rachael, a very petite adult younger cat.  The two get along famously, but I can tell that Micah still is not the same as before.


Today he woke me up in the tradition of Tiger, meowing right in my ear instead of snuggling with me like he always used to do.  And, to take Tiger’s place with me in my office (or as closely as possible), Micah now sits on my desk, right above my pullout tray for my keyboard.  Our computer has a cordless mouse now, and when I am writing, Micah nuzzles my hand for some scratching that he loves.  In the process, however, the mouse gets bumped out of my hand, or some categories of the post I am writing get checked, when I know that the categories are not right.  Well, you can guess who my ghostwriter is – Micah Bean.  (I add the name Bean to his name and say it lovingly.)

Oh yeah.  Micah wants you to know that he does NOT like lamb and rice canned cat food like his sister does.  Oh well, there’s a critic in every crowd.  🙂


Micah's Look-A-Likes

Micah’s Look-A-Likes


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Such a Fine Day!

My bad cold is still hanging on, but I’m feeling better.  The snow is finally melting around here, and the sun is out.  Today I went to two appointments.  For those times, I saw one lady in the parking lot that complimented me on my hot pink purse – that made my day!   And I got to actually pet a service dog – poor thing is deaf, but he sure was cute!   He is a long-haired (white) Chihuhua.

I then took myself out to lunch with help from my honey, and when I got home I took a nice long walk with my friend Pat.  It sure is fun to catch up on news when you can be out walking in the sunshine!

Wishing you all a good day, and keep that smile on your face!



The Myth of Delicate – Part One

English: Surf at Clipperton Island in the Paci...

English: Surf at Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She was a lady of the ocean, the girl that the song phrases “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” and “green-eyed lady, ocean lady” were written about.  Yes – she did work as a cocktail waitress at a seaside bar, and she had beautiful green eyes like that of the sea she loved.  Her long hair of copper hue made her look like a princess.

This girl was named Delicate at birth, and indeed she lived up to her name.  Her limbs were long, and she had a charming delicacy about her.   She loved the ocean and birds and animals, often wishing she had a horse that she could ride up and down the coast.   Delicate rented a room above her grandmother’s duplex, so her waitress salary was adequate.  She spent her spare time at the ocean’s edge, frolicking in the surf or painting an oil picture of her favorite subject.

Delicate had many friends and was loved by all, young and old and anywhere in between.  This is why a well-known fact was a mystery.

Delicate had only two great loves in her whole life.

Her first love was actually just a school-girl crush, and he wasn’t actually hers.  She was a pretty although timid girl, so did not make moves on anyone.

Her second and last love was what all love stories are written about.   They had the love of the century, and of course Delicate thought it would last forever, till the day he came to her and announced to her his intention of leaving.

He, the seaman, who had treated her so well and gave her a silver locket bearing his name, had resolved that he was ultimately more in love with the sea than with her.

Delicate understood this because she loved the ocean with the same passion and fervor too.   But she didn’t understand why he couldn’t love both of them.  How could the ocean, this fluid, wonderful friend of theirs, be her enemy and competitor?

Delicate was in an awful state of mind.   She stopped eating and sleeping, lost her dreams and her passion of music and artwork.  To be sure, she stopped swimming in the surf.  She even said goodbye to her dolphin friends and to her grandmother.

Delicate unceremoniously quit her job at the bar and ran away to the forest, to where the sunlight only partially came beaming down on her.  This was a pretty dark place, matching her mood exactly.  She lived there for days with the beasts and birds of the forest and ate berries for sustenance.

Weaker and weaker this girl got, and she yearned for the ocean.  The sound and sight of it had always calmed her down before…but this time, when in the forest she could hardly hear the ocean anymore, it provided no help.

Delicate decided that even though she was mad at the ocean for taking her love away, she needed to go to it.  To lay at surfside and let the water wash over her and tickle her feet.  To splash its water and maybe even frolic in it once again.

By this time, Delicate was fading fast.  She was so weak, it took her a week to crawl back to the water.  When the ocean saw her, it rejoiced.  It celebrated with exploding waves that imparted happiness to Delicate.  She got in the water, and then something incredible happened.

See you on Saturday with the conclusion of this tale

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Rachael the Wonder Cat

Our “little one”, Rachael, is so amazing!  I hereby list why I think so:


*  She does not cry in the car in her little cat carrier.  She is a joy to drive with, the only cat who didn’t cry the whole way to the vet and back.

*  After her declaw surgery, she does not walk with any tenderness in her front feet whatsoever.   She jumps on the beds and to high places even after surgery.  Wow!

*   She is the size of a maturing kitten – very petite.   She is the first cat we’ve had that wasn’t “portly”.  (Maybe I can take a lesson from her)

*  She is three years old but has the bounce and energy of a kitten.

Okay, so maybe there aren’t  lot of reasons why she is so special…I hope she can gain some patience for getting ear drops twice a day (her Catmom needs this, too) for an ear infection I discovered.

I should brag on our elder cat, Micah.   On Day 6, he and Rachael met each other and have been friendly since.  He already lets her sleep close to him, and it took years for Tiger to get “permission” from Micah for close contact.

Dave and I are SO blessed!  In addition to the new furniture and new cat, Dave also brought home a brand new computer that has the latest and greatest loaded on it already, and it is incredible!   Thank you so much, Honey, we’re sure going to enjoy this!

Over and out, God Bless,


P.S.  What is special about your pet or pets?



Poetry Saturday

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, today’s poetry style is in limerick form – the type of poem that originated in Ireland. 🙂

There’s something to be said for the wearing o’ the green
With pride, the wearer seems to have a certain sheen
The colorful St. Patrick’s Day parades can’t be beat
Last year St. Paul, MN had for its parade an outside temperature of high heat
All kinds of clothing types, including shorts, were seen.

But hey, aren’t limericks supposed to be funny?
Well yes, so our model can’t be a humble bunny.
I love to write limericks because I love to laugh
So I try to picture something funny, like a giraffe
Or a pair of costume-wearing, dancing walruses, now that’s a honey!

I hope you have a wonderful day
where your inner child can come out to play
Of a favorite beverage, take a sip
Before your brother on a watery floor will slip

One more stanza will do
I should write about the funny ewe
Who hid out on a ship
So her coat they couldn’t clip
Because unshorn sheep are far too few.

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Pitter pit pat,

I think I smell a rat

said the cat

whose momma was fat

and wouldn’t take her turn at bat.


This girl cat was new to hunting

she wasn’t fond of punting

but her Catmom loved her like a baby in a bunting.

Maybe her new brother Micah will show her

how to catch live things with fur

although it was actually Tiger who had been the hunter.


The Stantons would like to give you a wish

that your weekend is, simply put, quite a dish.   🙂

Meoww and goodbye,

Debb and crew



Are We Forgetful, Too?

I have a feeling I’ll be writing more about our cats Micah and Rachael because they’re such a big part of life at the Stanton household…

I’ve only had Micah for approximately four years, and he already has forgotten that he, too, was once a new cat in the household.  Back when he arrived, our dear cat Tiger wanted to welcome him.  But, being the nervous type, Micah the newcomer is the cat who hissed and growled (out of fear).

He is reticent to give little Rachael a chance, but is getting more accepting.  Dave has referred to me as “the cat whisperer” (person who can help or understand animals), but Micah’s situation just needs patience.

Micah  now has reacted to his primal instincts – to defend territory – he did not reason like a person can.

But what about people?  Do we forget things when dealing with others?  I’m referring to a Bible story where a man was forgiven his large debt but then turned around and did not act gracious to the person who owed him money.

Then, there is the story of the lepers.  Only one of them, after being healed, came back to thank Jesus.

I’m just wondering if we forget to be thankful or forgive or give grace like we receive it.   I know the leper story always got to me; I vowed to not be like the ones who didn’t come back to say thanks.

And as long as we’re on the subject of thanks…thank you to my readers who are ever-loving and affirming and faithful.  You make me smile.    🙂


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The Stanton Cats’ Feline Frolics

Hello –

I haven’t been posting the last couple days because my Internet was down, plus I was letting Micah and little Rachael get aquainted.  Micah is not believing that Rachael could actually be a new friend of his, but he doesn’t growl as much as he had, and only hisses half the time now.  Meanwhile, little Rachael is so adorable – she comes close to Micah and just looks at him with a yearning in her eyes that says “please, can we please be friends?”  She follows him everywhere so indeed, he must be her big “brother”.  Also, the shelter where we got her let the cats be free and not have to be in cages, so she is already very sociable.  Overnights and when we’re gone at work finds her in her own room, put there by me, “Catmom”.  Yesterday she ran up and down the stairs and in all the rooms continually, so much that she skipped all the naps that cats usually take, and was out like a light by 8:30 p.m. last night.

Please pray for my dear new cat, as she still has a kitty cold, so her surgery had to be postponed.  Also, she could use some prayers to get Micah to warm up to her sooner than later.

Thanks from Catmom!  🙂     Meowww…

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Everything New (well, almost everything)!

Mall of America interior

Mall of America interior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have many things ready to become new to our house and life pretty soon.

1)  My business looks to be thriving; I won’t be sure until mid-March, but so far I’m thankful for you folks who have visited my shops and maybe even purchased something.

2)  Our new cat Rachael hasn’t arrived at the Stanton’s yet due to how we wanted to get her medical care at the vet before we bring her home.  We pick her up this Saturday.  🙂

3)  I’ve been asked to represent my department at work for a special study they are doing.  This involved going to the other corporate office (the one that’s next to the Mall of America) last week for a training meeting, and today I am starting my workday out there for a half hour meeting.

4)  Remember I told you my good friend Patti is moving away this year?  Well, March 7th most of her furniture is being moved to us where we will give it a good home.  I bought practically a whole house’s worth of furniture, and I am so excited!  I feel like I’m going to be re-nesting!  🙂

Items 2 and 4 will take the most getting used to, but it’s fun!  It’s almost like another New Year already!

You just never know what a month or two can bring!  In preparation for what may occur, keep on smiling!  🙂


Happy Monday

Good morning, it’s a new day

and with it, let’s find a way

to rejoice in a new week.

We wake up on Mondays happy but tired

Oh, it’s too early to be wired

so maybe it’s okay to just coast for a little while.

We have worlds to conquer and work to do

Reasons to relax are far too few

but this is life, we can make the best of it.

A new week begins

A new week begins


Poetry Saturday: Poverty

Cat, with its mouth open

Cat, with its mouth open (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s poem will use abstract or indefeinite nouns in a concrete or definite sense – i.e.

“He slaughtered his gluttony for it to be forever gone.”


She sat in the dark bedroom, pinching the pennies in her checkbook

hoping against hope that for getting out of this mess, there would be some salvation.


He wanted to fly amongst the clouds into infinity

and not have to worry about this thing called unemployment


Their little girl escaped into her safe place

to imagine the bill collectors falling off the steep front porch

after they beat down the door.


Her older brother struck out into the air with his fists

to punish Poverty for attempting to bother them.

He kicked the state of being morose

into the yawning, dark pit of hell.


The family pets,

a cat and a dog,

meowed and whined at the hunger in their little stomachs.

They wanted to go back to their ancestors,

to the jungles and hillsides

where there might be a little more food than here.


Salvation did eventually arrive, not a moment too soon

and made their hearts shine.

Charity saved the day

and blessed the giver of the money

as much as it had blessed this precious little family.



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Alphabet Metaphors – Part II

Non-existent dreams are as helpful as apathy.

Oranges are as needed as oars for a boat.

Pearls are as precious as paternal love.

Queens are as quick to make mistakes as the next person.

Rations of food are a relief to the starving, like water to the most terrible thirst.

Sunshine is as bright as solitude is helpful to the worn out person.

Timber is as sturdy as a giant is tall.

Umbrellas are uncharacteristically unhelpful as a dry sponge.

Victory is as valiant as a job very well done.

Water is as wonderful as life itself.

Xylophones are extra special, like a Stradivarius.

Yellow is a yearning for light, like black calls for dark.

Zebras are as beautiful as the sleekest palominos.

Edgar Bundy: Antonio Stradivari at work in his...

Edgar Bundy: Antonio Stradivari at work in his studio (1893). 35.5×52 cm, private collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)