A Year of Sweetness and Laughter: Happy Gotcha Day, Acadia!

One year ago today this sweet little imp joined our family.

Just a few days after she arrived here, when we were still keeping her confined to the laundry room when not supervised, Acadia figured out how to open the door at the top of the stairs in that photo– climbing up the door jam, pressing the thumb latch, and, with all of her tiny six pounds, pushing open the solid wood door that tends to swing shut, then sauntering out as if cats open doors every day. We knew we were in for an interesting ride!

Acadia is still a sweet little imp, but now she also is the regal queen of the household.

She supervises all that happens here, including my artwork. When I’m painting in my studio, she is usually either purring on my lap or sitting on my table right next to my palette, watching every move I make, occasionally batting at my brushes while I’m using them. I have had to learn not to leave my brushes out, because loves to bat them off the table and carry them away. Once I left a kneaded eraser out, and when it disappeared I was afraid she’d eaten it. I was very thankful to find it down the hall, behind a door.

One of Acadia’s favorite occupations is watching birds. She sits on the windowsills in my studio or the kitchen watching “Kitty TV,” occasionally trying to enter into the show she’s watching by leaping at the birds on the other side of the glass. It’s a good thing she’s entirely an inside cat, because I’m sure she would be death on all the birds in the neighborhood if she were outside. She is amazingly fast with the hunting she does do– catching any flies or moths that are foolish enough to venture into the house.

Quick morning sketch of Acadia watching the birds from the window sill

Another of Acadia’s favorite activities is playing with her favorite toys– crumpled up sheets of paper. If you visit us, you’ll likely see crumpled balls of paper in the corners of various rooms and you might hear them being batted up and down the hall, across the kitchen, under the chairs. Acadia also picks them up and carries them in her mouth, usually to one of the water bowls, where she drops them in! She then watches them briefly and usually leaves them there for me to fish out when I find them, but this morning she pulled the soggy paper out, dropped it on the floor, then walked away. We don’t know why she does that, but I’m wondering if she’s figured out that submerging the paper is the only way to make it go limp as if she had killed it.

Another water bowl amusement is to sit as still as a statue in front of the water bowl in my studio, staring at the water, then all of a sudden leap forward and smack the water with her front paw, causing the water to leap like a miniature tidal wave all over the floor and bookcase. (I don’t have any photos of that.)

When our toddler grandson, Paul, was here over Christmas, I think they were fascinated with each other.

Best of all, what Acadia does is warm my lap and my soul. Often when she hears the creak of me sitting in my rocking chair, she comes running and leaps onto my lap, where she’ll curl up and purr until she falls asleep. And because I don’t want to disturb a peacefully sleeping cat, I end up sitting still and spending more time sketching, reading, or praying than I would otherwise– a real plus since I tend to be a bit like a Jack-in-the-box otherwise. I am thankful every day for what a gift this sweet little cat is.

Quiet Day Musings

Today I am enjoying my weekly Quiet Day, a day when I savor the gifts of silence and solitude, with unhurried time to read, reflect, pray, ponder, walk, and write.

This morning I took a leisurely walk with Petra.

I relaxed in my rocking chair with hot green tea in a pretty mug (I always choose a pretty mug on my Quiet Day) and Acadia purring on my lap.

I sat on the floor beside Rowan, running my fingers through his soft, luxurious coat, feeling his warmth and the gentle tickle of his whiskers as he sniffed my face, thankful for all the time I have with my aging boy.

I laughed as Milo played gleefully, his tail and ears going in all directions with his irrepressible joy.

I watched and sketched squirrels and birds, always lively on our deck, not trying to do great sketches, but just capturing the moment.

Often, when I am feeling wound up with too long a to-do list or with concerns that weigh on my mind or with the busyness of this time of year, my animals help me slow down and return to the present, where I regain perspective and where worries take their place behind gratitude. I am thankful for a full life, for quiet moments that help me appreciate that fullness, and for the peace God gives as he reminds me of his presence through his creation.

The Sweet Savor of Home

We got home earlier this week from a wonderful trip visiting Arielle and Stephen’s mother. We walked, talked, ate good food, hiked, painted, and generally had a restful, refreshing time. I may post some of those paintings and sketches in another post. I love traveling to visit family or see interesting places but, even so, I’m always happy to come back home.

I especially cherish the simple, peaceful moments at the start of most days when I sit, tea in hand and Acadia warming my lap, reading my Bible and watching birds breakfasting at our feeders. 

Quiet evenings I stroll in the yard with my dogs romping or exploring as I review the day, while long shadows and rich evening light refresh my soul. 

And then at the close of the day, right before I go to bed, I usually step out one last time to look into the depths of the indigo sky sprinkled with bright stars, and I thank God for the wonder of his creation as I bid the day good-night.

Six Sweet Pounds of Purr and Fur

A paper grocery bag scuttles across my studio floor, a couple of inches of fluff moving side to side behind it like a furry rudder. Suddenly a brownish striped and spotted form darts out from beneath the bag, then turns and leaps into it, smacking the back of the bag with a crinkly thump. Acadia has come to live with us.

After extensive (some might say obsessive) searching on petfinder.com and adoptapet.com, and several lengthy interviews with rescues about various cats, I came upon “Lisa” and fell in love with her sweet face and relaxed body language. After another careful interview, I met “Lisa,” who decided she was home and let me know that, of the names I was considering, Acadia was the one that would fit her. Acadia is probably a bit over a year old, so I’m designating November 28, 2013 as her birthday– Thanksgiving Day, because I am so thankful for her. 
I knew I’d missed having a cat since Silver died a year and a half ago, but I didn’t realize how much until Acadia moved in eight days ago. There’s a saying by Roger Caras, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole.” I know many cat lovers would say the same about cats. I’m not sure I’d put it quite that way, since I believe it is God who makes my life whole, but I do believe that He uses dogs and cats to help many of us experience His love that makes our lives whole. I know that’s how it works for me. I’ve had a cat-shaped emptiness in my heart and lap for too long, and this past week I have often had tears of gratitude and joy at having that emptiness so warmly filled. I’ve been filling my journal with sketches of Acadia, and I look forward to many years of sketching this beautiful creature while she purrs on my lap or scampers around our home.