Cindy Vincent and I share a love for the Lord and a love for cats, so it has been a delight to meet her through this interview process. She has written a short devotional book of 33 meditations called Cats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too, which you will learn about in our interview. This book is free for Kindle readers through Tuesday, May 6 - and then it will go back to its regular price of $2.99. Anyone who loves cats will find this book fun and inspirational. You can read my review here and also enter a giveaway which runs throughout the month of May.
Now come and meet Cindy . . .
Thank you so much Carole, for hosting me here today, and for being part of our blog tour. Your blog is absolutely beautiful, and I love the piano photo at the top! What a stunning picture!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your spiritual walk, Cindy.
I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but have lived most of my life in the US. I've been married to my wonderful husband for 25 years, and we get transferred around a lot with his corporation. We've lived in both big cities and small rural towns. All over the US and Canada. It's been an interesting adventure, and I've truly enjoyed meeting tons of people and making friends. As you can imagine, it's given me lots to write about!
I have an M.A.Ed., and among other things, I have worked as a magazine editor and a freelance writer. For the last 19 years, I owned and operated Mysteries by Vincent, LLC, where I wrote and published a wide range of mystery party games, for both dinner parties, kids parties and church fund-raisers. I've also written and independently published (through my own press, Whodunit Press) four middle-grade mystery novels, one grownups' cozy mystery, and this daily devotional book.
As for my spiritual side . . . I didn’t grow up with a church and my family was not what could be called “religious.” Yet for some reason, I knew God and His Son Jesus at a very young age. I still cannot explain this. I remember lying in bed and praying at night – the very simple, informal and spontaneous prayers of a child. Then when I was twenty and going through some tribulation, a friend suggested that I “give it to God.” Wow, I had no idea a person could do that! So I did. And it opened up a whole new world for me. Little by little, I officially became a Christian and got involved in a church and various Christian organizations. Now, in my mid-fifties, I feel a very close walk with God, and pray throughout the day. I believe He leads and guides me in my writing, (and everything else!), and I have been blessed beyond measure!
Q: Have you always wanted to write?
I started writing just as soon as I learned how to read and write as a child. I wrote my first real "work" in the First Grade. That's when the Charlie Brown specials had come out, and I wrote my own version of these specials as a puppet show. Complete with a commercial, which I spelled out -- using my phonics -- as Kamershell. Ha! I still have a copy of this. I made sock puppets and my wonderful teacher let my friends and me perform it in front of the class. I'm sure it was pretty bad, but our teacher was wise enough to just let us do it ourselves and learn from it, rather than taking over and making it perfect.
In later grade school years, I wrote class plays and short stories and on and on. Now, as a grownup, my happiest days are the days I get to spend writing. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. Writing for me is right up there with breathing and eating and sleeping. (Okay, maybe not sleeping so much . . .) It's a necessity, and not an option. I'm sure lots of writers feel the same way.
Q: How did your love for cats develop? Did your family have cats when you were growing up?
I remember watching the movie Bambi as a child, which, in retrospect, may not have been such a great movie for a little kid! Yikes! Because I was horrified that Bambi’s mother was killed and that he and Thumper were on their own. I think from that moment on, I was out to rescue any critter I found running around by itself, determining that it “must need a home.” I was forever bringing home turtles and frogs and tortoises and even a baby bunny who fell in a window well. Of course, these little creatures were all later released. (Probably once they were determined to be sufficiently independent. Ha!)
But I also grew up with hamsters and gerbils, and yes, a little bit later, cats. And while I certainly loved all God’s creatures, cats were by far my favorites. Then, as a grownup, after various vets watched how my husband and I cared for our animals, we found ourselves at the top of the People-to-call-for-cat-adoption lists. Plus neighbors and pet sitters would also show up whenever they came across an animal that needed a home. So . . . we’ve ended up with a few more kitties over the years than we ever planned on . . . But we’ve been extra blessed because of it!
Q: What is one of the funniest experiences you've had with a cat?
Such an excellent question! But so many stories . . . ha! We spend a lot of time laughing at cat antics around here . . .
But here’s one of my favorites. When Mokie was such a teeny, tiny kitten, she was a “collector” or what some people might call a “klepto-cat.” She especially loved to get into my purse and steal my dollar bills. Though interestingly enough, she never bothered with the ones or fives, but went straight for the twenties. We’d find her running around with a twenty in her mouth on many a morning. Of course, we thought this was funny, and we always got the money back, so it was no big deal.
That was, until I hosted one of my first “real” sort of formal dinner parties. All was well until the meal was over and I moved everyone out to the patio for coffee. With the dark skies outside, and the lights still on inside, I had a perfect view into the house. While I was busy pouring coffee and keeping the conversation going, I spotted Mokie inside on the kitchen counter. She had grabbed the bag of dinner rolls, (three times her size) and proceeded to drag them onto a chair and then to the floor. Okay, that didn’t seem really bad, since dinner was over, so I didn’t go rushing in to stop her. But then, a few minutes later, I saw her dig into someone’s purse and come up a ten-dollar bill . . .That’s when I (not-so-graciously) excused myself and made a mad dash into the house. I’m sure my guests would have been so impressed to know my cat was quietly stealing their money behind their backs . . . Anyway, I put the money back in the purse and no one was the wiser! From that moment on, I pretty much kept Mokie by my side for the rest of the night!
Q: Tell us a little about your book that we are featuring today, Cats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too.
The original concept for this book came to me years ago, when Moose, our adorable black cat at the time, would get frantic every night around dinnertime. Though he’d never gone a day of his life without food, and often there was food still left in the bowl, he acted as though this would be “the” night when we’d no longer feed him. One night, I turned to my husband and asked, “Why does he act this way? Doesn’t he know by now that we’ll feed him?”
And that’s when it hit me. I expected Moose to trust me. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t have faith in me. Yet isn’t that exactly what God asks of us? Doesn’t He want us to have faith in Him, and know that He’ll take care of us? Yet, much like Moose worried every night about whether we’d feed him or not, we still worry about whether God will take care of us, too. And once I’d seen this parallel, I started seeing examples all over the place, comparing my relationship with my cats, as a pet Mom, to my human relationship to my Heavenly Father. And I thought, if I can put this in writing, it would be a great way to show people how much God loves them. Sooooo . . . that’s what I did.
Q: Is this a book that children would enjoy also, or that could be used in teaching moments?
While I haven’t actually tested this book out in a children’s market, many reviewers have told me they believe it would be an excellent teaching tool for children. I tend to agree. I think they’d love the cats, and they could learn Christian lessons as well.
Q: You have a gift for seeing and conveying the things of God through the behaviors of these precious felines, Cindy. Please share a short devotional thought from the book that is especially meaningful to you.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Carole!! And yes, I’d be happy to share a devotional:
We Are Never Really Lost
When Mokie was almost 18 years old, she finally started to show some signs of aging. Not only did she lose a little weight, but she also lost a lot of her hearing. She didn’t keep her beautiful fur as neatly groomed as she once had and she suddenly became fussy about her food. That's when we realized she had truly hit Senior Citizen status. We vowed to make her Golden Years as comfortable and happy as possible. Especially during her “Senior Moments,” when she would wander around the house, meowing and hollering constantly. It seemed the longer one of these episodes went on, the more she would pad from room to room, crying ever louder. It was as though she was getting lost, in a sense, as she seemed to be confused about where she was.
So whenever she had one of her episodes, we would find her, kneel down beside her and pet the nape of her neck. Then she would look up, slightly startled, but recognition would quickly dawn in her eyes. It was her human Mom or Dad! And from that moment on, she would quit crying, as though she was no longer lost. As long as she was with one of us, she knew where she was. She was at home.
* * * * * * * * * *
With God, we are never lost. He is with us wherever we go, whether we realize it sometimes or not. He is there in good times and bad, in times of good health or bad health. He is always there, and you are never really lost.
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.”
— Matthew 18:11-13 (NKJV)
Q: What would you say to motivate people to give rescue shelter pets a chance?
This is one of my favorite topics! So glad you brought this up! I’d tell people there is a very good reason why there are a gazillion “cute cat” videos on the internet. “Cat People” are not crazy. We know the joys of having a few felines in our homes. And as a pet Mom who has adopted a number of shelter cats, the happiness an animal like this can bring is beyond belief. Having a bad day? Cuddle up to a cat. Want to have some fun? Watch the world through the eyes of a kitten. Your life may not be complete without a cat or two!
Q: I've heard that there might be a cat detective around here somewhere. Would you know anything about that, Cindy?
Ah, yes, the rumor is true and they’re sitting right here watching the screen! My own two beloved black cats, Buckley and Bogey, are the stars of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers. Even though they’re both black cats with gold eyes, they couldn’t be more different. Bogey is older, sleek and slim, and as laid back as could be. Whereas Buckley is a huge Maine Coon cat and is pretty much nervous about everything. We had Bogey for a year before we adopted Buckley, and the two were fast friends within five minutes. They’ve practically been inseparable. And since they appeared to be running surveillance on our house every night, the two just seemed like a natural basis for a cat detective mystery series. The stories are written from the viewpoint and voice of Buckley, when he was only two years old and just learning the ropes of the cat detective business. So far we have two books out, The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks, and The Case of the Cat Show Princess.
You can read more about it at http://www.buckleyandbogey.com. The boys’ third book is due out this summer.
Q: Have you written other books that the cat lovers among us would enjoy?
Absolutely. As a cat lover, I usually at least add a cat to a story, or I feature them as important characters. Not only have I written the Buckley and Bogey series, but you’ll also find cats in my two Daisy Diamond Detectives series for pre-teen girls, The Mystery of the Missing Ming, and The Case of the Rising Star Ruby.
Q: Thank you so much for being with us today, Cindy. Is there anything else you would like to share?
With this devotional book, I’m hoping to show people the incredible joy that comes from a very close relationship with God. Much like my cats couldn’t explain how I just happen to have an eternal supply of cat food and treats in my pantry, I can’t explain how God has an eternal supply of love and blessings for me. That’s a pretty incredible thing, when you think about it, that the greatest “being” in the universe loves us like He does. I hope and pray that everyone can experience the incredible power of that love!
Thank you so much again, Carole, for your wonderful work and for hosting me today. You’ve given me some fantastic questions and really gotten to the heart of the soul of the matter, so to speak. I wish you all the best in the future, and I hope you continue your fantastic blog for a long time to come!
May you truly know the love of God, and may He bless you all your days!
Cindy, it has been a pleasure to have you here today, and I personally want to explore more of your feline adventures! Readers, I encourage you to check out the review and giveaway page and also get a copy of Cats Are a Part of His Kingdom, Too - currently free for Kindle at Amazon.