Chillemi Catz ~ what a feline frenzy

A LeeLee
LeeLee, momma cat of this colony.

 

Okay, okay, I admit it. Nike N. Chillemi is a notorious cat lady. So, there I said it. Yes, it’s true. I not only have five cats and a little doggie inside the house with me, but I also feed a colony of eight stray cats every morning. I believe God’s original plan has not changed. We, as stewards, are to make the space we occupy as closely as we can to resemble Eden.

 

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. ~ Genesis 2:15 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

 

Seven of the eight cats are orange to some degree. That’s because LeeLee, the momma cat and queen-bee of the colony is an orange cat.

A Ooies
Dewey in the foreground, Hughie near the broom, LeeLee in the back.

 

The next generation of orange cats have ringed tails. For the longest time two came. Then one day, a third one arrived, and my mouth literally fell open. I wasn’t expecting three orange ring-tailed cats. So, they were named Hughie, Dewey, and Louie.

I always bring a broom out in case I have to sweep up. This is Florida and there can’t be little bits of food laying in front of my door in the heat.

A Louie

 

Tink (Tinkerbelle) is the third generation and is orange and white. Fiona (gray, on the left) isn’t an offspring of LeeLee’s. The colony accepted her and she comes for breakfast every morning. That’s Louie under the car. When the three orange ring-tailed cats come every morning, I’ve been known to say aloud, “Here come the Ooies.”

 

A Tonk
Tonk

Tonk is Tink’s brother and the last generation of orange cats. A vet tech lived in the condo complex and she had them all spayed and neutered. Spaying and neutering of animals is so important on so many levels. If more people spayed/neutered we would not have cat colonies.

My neighbor feeds them at night and she’s given them grand names like Heathcliff. So when they’re at Marlene’s door, they’re in Brit Box. When they’re at Nike’s door, they’re in Toontown.

A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. ~ [Proverbs 12:10, New American Standard Bible, NASB]

 

This is my sworn statement, and I’m sticking to my story.

Nike N. Chillemi

 

Waking Up With My ‘Roomie’ Sophie ~ and being a blessing

A Sophie

This is the day that the Lord has made;
 let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24 [English Standard Version, ESV]

 

During this Cornona Virus pandemic, I was diagnosed with a health issue. I’m in the “vulnerable group” even without a health issue. You’d think Covid19 would be a time when I’d be totally secluded.  First one of my senior cats needed life saving surgery. That required three visits to the vet. When I paid the bill, that was my contribution to a local small business.

Then there were the weekly visits to the supermarket. My senior care medical office referred me to a specialist and I went into the hospital. So there were trips back-and-forth to doctors and to-and-from the hospital. I was one busy lady.  Through all of this my friends, neighbors, and my animals (Sophie and 5 cats) were such a blessing to me. Those who live with animals know they are keenly aware if the mistress of the house is not up to snuff. This is especially true of dogs. Sophie is 14 years old and 90% blind and she has been trying as best she can to take care of me.

In the midst of all this, I’d been asking the Lord for a way to bless somebody. Not so easy when you’re shut-in.

An aside: It so happened years ago when I lived in NYC, my husband and I bought a bicycle for our youngest daughter’s birthday. She had just finished 8th grade with good grades. I took her to the bicycle store and she picked out a candy pink wide-tired bike with a detachable bright-white basket  and a large bright-white bell. Of course, in September she went into 9th grade she became much too grown up to ride a candy pink bike. So, after not even a complete summer of use the bike sat in our garage. I brought it with me to Florida and I rode it…maybe four times in four years. It still looked brand new.

So, my friend (the lady across the parking lot in my condo complex who loves animals as much as I do and has watched mine when I’m away), told me her daughter called and mentioned she wants to get a bike to ride to the supermarket. A lot of people ride bikes in northeastern coastal Florida, especially for short trips. This was my blessing to give. My friend was so happy. She said her daughter talked about getting a baby seat to attach to the back of a bike so she could take her baby out riding. I gave her the bike and it really blessed me to do so.

not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:9 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

 

 

 

 

Throwing Out My Rug Runners ~ the devil made me do it

A A Runner Out

The Chinese Wuhan Corona virus is a great motivator.

This was something I’d been “fixin” to do anyway. Fixin’ is southern. I moved from Brooklyn (NYC) three and a half years ago to live in Florida and I’ve picked up a few southern tid bits to add to my vocabulary.

A person can be fixin’ to do something, as in they’d get around to it sometime-or-other. If there’s energy in their tone, it means they’re gonna get right on it. My relationship with the rug runners fell into the first category. I keep multiple animals in my condo unit, and the rugs are there to catch things. Of course I constantly vacuum them. However they were beginning to annoy me. This is hair shedding season and they were catching too much cat hair…and sometimes cat throw up. Blech.

COVID19 became a true motivator, as we enter what is being called the “peak.” The issue is the rugs do catch things and hold them. I was concerned about going to Walmart, to my doctor’s office (I have an appointment and although it’s not an emergency, it’s one I must keep), etc., and coming back home with the virus on my shoes. Then my rug runners might catch and hold it. So, the rugs that were annoying me anyway had to go.

There is one rug at the entrance. I’m going to wash it, and also replace that one if I feel that’s needed. I’m making a shoe station there. I will take off shoes I’ve worn outside and leave them by the door until this is all over.

I’m a true Floridian now. I’m not living in fear. I do go out for necessities. I’ve visited two friends to help keep them and myself up and cheerful. Attitude is so important. I’m treating this like I would a Cat 5 Hurricane (only this is of much longer duration). I prepared three weeks ago building a food and household products supply. I forgot about toilet paper. It never occurred to me there would be a run on TP. Thankfully, I was able to get a 6-pack last week and a 4-pack this week. So, I have enough of everything now. I take washing hands and hand sanitizing very seriously, especially when I’m out and immediately when I get home. I try to stay 4-6 feet away from people when I’m out. I do talk people. I need that, and so do they. I have not been wearing a cotton mask, yet. I’ve heard it protects others more than oneself. However, I do believe it offers some self-protection, and if this gets much, much worse (and I pray it won’t) I will wear some type of face covering which I will change and wash frequently. And very important, I’m limiting how much news media I’m listening to. They stress the worst scenario, scare tactics to garner higher ratings.

When people from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut flee the virus and run to Florida, please do NOT treat my new and beloved state as carelessly as you’ve treated your own home. I lived in New York City for thirty-five years, so I do know what I’m talking about. Don’t throw your cigarette butts and trash on our sidewalks. If you see that you’ve come to a semi-tropical paradise and want to stay, at least for a while, don’t try to turn it into the place you just fled. Florida is a paradise because we don’t think like you. We don’t rush like you do. It took me about four months to slow down when I got here. There is culture shock. But I knew there was something special here, and I wanted it. I didn’t want to bring New York City with me. I liked that people were kind to each other down here, polite, and took time for each other. I loved that I never, ever heard the F-bomb uttered on the streets. We don’t use the F-bomb as five parts of speech in one sentence. I can still do that, I chose not to on purpose. We don’t think it’s cool. It’s truly slovenly.

So, I pray for America at this time of the COVID19 pandemic. I pray for the world. This plague is not of God. There is no disease or sickness in God. This is outside the shelter of His wings. So, pray, and seek the shelter of His might shadow in this pandemic storm. He loves you and will be there for you, if you seek Him.

Psalm 91 New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in [e]trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

Destiny Church Baptisms ~ Jacksonville

Destiniy Bapt 2.20
Lead Pastor Chris  Tomlinson w/2 two young women to be baptized

80 Degrees in the Sun in February

Still both young women commented the water was incredibly cold. Well we are Floridians. We enjoy heated pools.

Destiny Bapt 2

The first young lady to take the plunge. “Hold your nose!”

…the church photographer in the foreground

Destiny Bapt 3 2.20

When the second young woman was baptized the pastor comment on how nice it was she was wearing white. This is a reference to the first century Christian baptisms when new Christians who were making this public commitment wore white.

…church photographer kneeling in foreground

What a happy occasion. I enjoyed this ceremony tremendously. Destiny Church begins a 21-day fast tomorrow. There are many kinds of fasts (limited food, giving up sweets, giving up internet, etc.).

Destiny Church of Jacksonville | 9525 Philips Hwy Jacksonville, FL 32256 | 904-401-1334

Sunday Service: 10:0 am

My Christmas Story ~ 2019

Xmas Angel

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. ~ Luke 2:10-11, King James Version [KJV]

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. It’s a season that starts with Advent and ends on the 12th Day of Christmas, sometimes called Epiphany or Three Kings Day (January 6). These twelve days are symbolic of the period of time from the birth of Jesus until the Three Magi arrived in Bethlehem bearing giftsfor the baby Jesus.

.Xmas 19 JAX Chick-fil-A 12 Days   Xmas FL 19 JAX Chick-fil-A   JAX Chick-f0;-A Carolers   Xmas 19 JAX Chick-fil-A Cow

My personal Christmas celebration began twelve days before Christmas when the local Chick-fil-A in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville had their own “12 Days of Christmas” with a percentage of sales going to local charities. I was sooo excited I got my pix taken in the sleigh with the Chick-fil-A cow from the TV commercials…or a kids dressed up like him. He does exist!

Xmas Fl 19 Deb Williams   Xmas Fl 19 Deb Tree #2   Xmas FL Deb Tree #3   Xmas Fl 19 Deb Nativity

Christmas has always been important to me. I believe in the supernatural, and so believe in the Spirit of Christmas. This is how Jesus manifests Himself to me at this time of year through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s as if He’s wrapped me up in a warm blanket of good cheer, music, glittering lights. ~~  The next stop on my Christmas journey was my good and excellent gal-pal Deborah Williams. (see above) Now she’s a real decorating diva. She invited her good friend Becky Walsh, Valery Riley, a professor at Trinity College and kittie foster mom, and moi for a Christmas luncheon featuring one of her famous chili recipes. Yum.Xmas FL 19

Then Lynn Wood Rix (writing as Dalyn Woods) and Lou Ann Atwood, my JAX reading, writing, lunch/dinner, thrifting friends celebrated Christmas the Friday before with a steak dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse.

Xmas FL Destiny Kids

Next came the Christmas Sunday service at Destiny Church. Lou Ann Atwood and her adult son Douglas went with me. The children performed a brief skit…more like a skitlet, and then they sang a truly powerful rendition of the Christmas song, “My Gift Is Me.” There was also an amazing saxophone solo when the adult music team sang. I’d already put my phone away and couldn’t get it out and right-side-up fast enough to get a pix of the sax player. (My relationship with cell phones is another blog article.Xmas FL 19 Alaska Logs 2

Every year I do Christmas baking. I always make my mother’s recipe for Alaska Logs which is a huge hit wherever I bring them. Thanks mom!  Last Christmas I gave the recipe on this blog. Click for recipeThis year I also made Cheaters Christmas Stollen which Olivia, a sweetheart of a character in my new release ACTS OF MALICE, baked for guests. Stollen is a German Christmas sweet bread with fruit and possibly also nuts. The cheaters version is a hack that takes half-the-time. It’s the first time I’ve made it, and while it tastes good, I’ll perfect it by next year and give the recipe then. ~~ So, I finished my baking on the day of Christmas Eve. There wasn’t enough time to make a proper Eastern European Christmas Eve dinner for myself (meatless) and also get to a candlelight service. So, I threw family tradition to the wind and grabbed some dinner at Chili’s. Then I drove to the Mandarin Presbyterian Church for their candlelight service which was amazing. I didn’t take any photos of the magnificent church and choir because I was a first-time guest and as the service ended, we were instructed to light our candles and to walk out onto their piazza as a body to sing Christmas carols. At that point, I was juggling candle in one hand, handbag on my other shoulder. And then there’s that proverbial relationship (or lack of one) I have with cell phone…so, no photos.

I went to Lou Ann’s house for Christmas dinner and also didn’t take photos. Again, I was a first time guest. Besides, the good sized house was crammed with family and friends and the joint was jumpin’. And then there’s that relationship I have with cell phones. There’s no pix of it, but trust me, the prime rib was out-of-this world as were the desserts and everything in-between.

Beth, moi JAX Bch 12.18

I want to take a moment to remember and celebrate the life of my dear friend Beth Glash, Beth Ellen on Facebook, writing amazing Christian romance novels as Jenna Victoria. She waged a full assault on advanced triple negative breast cancer for eight years. This awful disease finally took her on December 5th of this year. We were friends while I lived in Brooklyn (NYC) and she lived on Long Island lunching, mall-crawling, going to movies. She visited me in Florida right before Christmas in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, it was so warm in mid-December that we hung out on Jacksonville Beach in short sleeves. She was an accomplished person in her career. As a Long Island RAW member, she organized and directed their annual luncheon at the Fox Hollow Country Club. What a gal! What a friend! I miss her.

Hope You’re Rockin’ Around ~ the Christmas tree

J's Biker Jacket

In the new old fashioned way.

When I got up to feed the strays it was 40 degrees in Jacksonville (with a feels like of 38). That’s when Floridians start thinking of wintering in the Caribbean. It had dropped to the mid 30s overnight. It was cold and damp…a breeze coming off the Atlantic and up the St. John’s River. I’m closer to the river than the beach.

I had been meaning to give my late husband Joseph’s biker jacket to Goodwill since I only wore it once last year. That was right before Christmas, when I went to see Deck the Chairs in Jacksonville Beach with my daughter Victoria and Lynn Woods Rix writing as Dalyn Woods. It was cold that night This year, I wanted to let someone get some use out of the jacket, but Joseph had loved it even though he didn’t have a Harley, not even a motor scooter. It made him feel a little like James Dean. I must confess, when I wear it some of that James Dean spirit rubs off on me too. There’s just something about a well-worn, broken in biker jacket.

Joseph passed away on December 8th three years ago. I’m seeing a lot of memes about how to treat a person who is mourning at Christmas. Should you bring up the loved one who is gone? Should you tip-toe around it? If you care for your loved one who is in mourning, they will know you care. You might say the wrong thing. If you’re a believer, you might say, “He/she’s in heaven with Jesus,” when all your loved one wants is for them to be back here, even for a moment. We all say the wrong thing in situations like this. Your loved one knows that. Your loved one has also said the wrong things. It means you’re human.

So, what should you do? What should you say at Christmas to a loved one who’s heart is aching (and mourning goes on for years)? Say, “I love you lots.” Call them, tweet them, private message them, email them, send them cute, light-hearted memes, send them a Christmas card. For a person in mourning, the hours can creep slowly by, feeling empty. Fill some of that empty space up…in a gentle, gentle way saying “I love you.” “I’m thinking of you.” Don’t pressure them to be part of the holly-jolly spirit of Christmas, but leave the door open to them if they’d like to join in. You might be surprised. They might have no place to celebrate and would love to be part of your Christmas.

…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

JDC Xmas 2013-3
Joseph, Christmas morning 2012, before coffee
JDC Waldorf Astoria-Boca
Boca Raton, vacay 2011

Jacksonville ~ Is Christmas Town

JAX Chick-fil-A 19

First Coast All About Christmas

A neighbor in my condo complex wanted to see the local  Mandarin Chick-fil-A’s Twelve Nights of Christmas, again. Mandarin is our neighborhood in the geographically huge city of Jacksonville.

She’d been there the night before to support her daughter’s school. Each night if customers mentioned the name of the particular local not-for-profit showcased, the organization received a percentage of the price of the meal. So, I said, “Why take two cars, I’ll drive.”JAX Xmas Tree 3

We had our chicken sandwich meal and the place was packed with families. Squirming, laughing children couldn’t wait to rush over to the the outside decorated area and see what was going on. Many of the not-for-profits had decorated a tree.

JAX Chick-fil-A 19 2

We were early-birds and the singing presentation would be quite a bit later. We didn’t stay for it. We did listen to the teenagers rehearsing their Christmas carols. They sounded great.JAX Chick-f0;-A Carolers

Jacksonville is on the First Coast (called thus because St. Augustine was the first permanent settlement by Europeans in the Americas) and the First Coast is very Christmasy. Nothing can compare to it.  It seems every single church is having a presentation of some type (classical Christmas music, Christmas worship music, children’s presentations, a series of family-friendly Christmas movies, and much more). There are local neighborhood Christmas crafts fairs, food fairs, and the like.

JAX Chick-fil-A Cow

I did get to meet the Chick-fil-A cow from the television commercials. He is real.

The Jacksonville Historical Society has an extraordinary Gingerbread Extravaganza display every year. Grade school classes contribute displays as well as professional bakers.

Jacksonville Beach has Deck the Chairs every year. I went last year and it was spectacular…forty decorated lifeguard chairs.

When I lived in NYC, my husband and I went many times to see “the tree” and huge lighted angels at Rockefeller Center. Each time it was wonderful. But, let me tell you, St. Augustine’s Night of Lights at Christmas has NYC beat by a mile. You have not seen a Christmas light display like this. It’s not to be missed.