Happy 2nd Little Man….

In a couple of hours I will be going to a party.  This is a party I have looked forward to attending.  Little Man is two years old today.

My thoughts have gone back to two years ago often the past couple of days.  When he was carried into our lives and we saw him for the first time.  Time stopped in a way as we all gathered around and noticed each thing about him.  His little perfectly shaped head, his little mouth, his little fingers and toes.  Our hearts stopped  as we welcomed him to our family.  Our hearts stopped as this was a moment in time to notice.  A moment that could never be reproduced.  This was his moment to become ours.

He hasn’t stopped capturing our hearts these past twenty-four months.  Each conversation, each squeal of laughter, each smile grabs us by our hearts and squeezes more joy from us.  His little hand in ours is a reminder of the precious gift this child is.

He is our delight and our joy.  We celebrate him daily, but, today, we will celebrate him with presents and food and most importantly, cake!

Happy Birthday Little Man!  You are loved, Grammy (aka DAF)

Little Man in May

What a great idea…

 

I love the fact that WordPress supplies ways to keep your blog going.  They have challenges in posting photos, and suggestions for writing daily.  I read these each day and I am not always inspired.  Today’s suggestion prompted thoughts immediately.

The suggestion, you ask?

“Seat Guru

You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?”

So, here is my idea.  I love giving dinner parties.  I love being able to do the table decorations and think up wonderful food.  I really have no idea what I would serve these people, but I know the table would have a lovely flower arrangement, something simple and not too large, so it wouldn’t keep everyone from seeing one another.  There would also be some low candles, lit and providing a calm and intimate atmosphere.

Seated at the table, besides myself, (who would stay quiet for the most part, because I would want to listen to everything being said) would be Jane Austen, J.M. Barrie, Dr. Seuss, and Janis Joplin.

Now you know why I had to write this!  I think having these four people in a room together would be fascinating.  The writing styles of the authors would be different and yet, they all have a common sensibility.  They wrote with humor, truth that is dripping with wistfulness, and I think they would begin to bounce ideas off one another.  Could you imagine how Jane Austen would write about Peter Pan?  Could you imagine the rhymes and words Dr. Seuss could  use in describing Mr. Darcy?  What type of villain would J.M. Barrie make of the Grinch?  Add the raw singing of Janis to put it all into song and I think the evening would be one to remember always.

Just my thoughts, thanks for stopping by, DAF

Hands…

First of all, I would like to thank  athingirldotcom for her post yesterday.  She had a phrase in her post that prompted a memory that I wanted to write about hands.  So, thank you Susannah!

I have always looked at hands.  As far as I can remember I notice people’s hands.  I love to see what they look like.  Are they perfectly manicured?  Are they calloused?  Chubby hands or tiny hands?    I am fascinated by hands.  To me, they show the person’s personality.

I know I have always noticed hands.  I became very aware of how much I looked at hands several years ago.  Hubby and I had been invited to a fund-raising dinner for a ministry.  We were in San Diego and the dinner was held at the Hotel Del Coronado.  It was our first experience at the Del.  It’s a beautifully historic hotel and is one of our favorite places to visit and roam around.

Anyhow, the table we were seated  had hubby and I, our friends who invited us and another couple.  This couple was older and very sweet.  There was a prayer before dinner and we were instructed to hold hands to pray for the evening meal.  My right hand was in hubby’s hand.  His hand is large and strong.  My entire hand fits into the palm of his.  I can never hold his hand when we walk, I can only grasp onto his first couple of fingers.

My left hand gently held onto the older woman’s hands.  When the prayer was finished, she leaned over to me and apologized for her hand.  She said it was not soft and manicured as mine was.  I looked at her and placed her hand in both of mine.  With all honesty, I looked at her and said, ‘Mam, these hands are hands that have loved deeply.  They are worn from years of working for those you love.  I am certain these hands have scrubbed floors and walls and children.  I think your hands are lovely.  I hope that someday my hands will look the same.”  I didn’t think anything of this conversation, because I knew I was being honest.  She grabbed my hands and with tears in her eyes she thanked me.

Over the years I have thought about that exchange.  I wonder what happened with that woman.  I am certain she is no longer with us.  But, I have always remembered her.

A few months ago, hubby was sitting beside me and looked down and gently picked up my hand.  He simply said, “your poor little hands.”  He then lifted my hand to his lips and kissed them.

DAF's right hand...

DAF’s right hand…

I asked what was wrong with my hands and he answered that they looked sore.  They were in fact very sore.  They ached, which they tend to do often anymore.  But, I sat and looked at my hands.  They looked familiar to me.  They looked like that woman’s hands did years ago.  They don’t get manicured often anymore.  I just don’t take the time for that.  But, these hands have loved and worked and been there to do what is needed.

I have the answer to that prayer I had long ago.  My hands look old and worn.  But, I am proud of what we have accomplished through the years.

Yes, people notice eyes, or ears or rear ends.  I can talk to someone for hours and never tell you what color their eyes are, but, I can tell you what kind of hands they have.    What do you notice about people?

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

 

On Visiting the Folks…

Today I visited my father.  He didn’t say much, in fact he said nothing.  He is like that, and has been since he passed away several years ago.

I know that opening sentence is a bit callous, but, I can tend to be a bit glib when talking about my folks.

I still miss them and think of them often.  Each time I pass the apartment where my father lived, I look up on the deck to see if he is still there.  I chide myself each time I do that, but, still I do it.

Today, hubby and I were out and about.  I asked if we could stop by and visit my Dad.  He drove up and parked.  We walked up to the grave and I looked down at the stone.  There was his name, his birthdate and date of death.  Underneath was listed  Sgt. AACS WWII.  Beside his stone was a flag.  Hubby straightened the flag and we paid our respects.

I know it changes nothing when I go to visit my folks.  I know they do not know that I am there.  But, a part of me needs to visit.  I need to see  their graves, and take a moment to remember them.  To stop my day and remember.  Most of the time those moments last maybe three minutes in length.

The older I get the more I wonder how I will be remembered.  Will I be remembered for grace and laughter and help?  Or will there be moments that are not my best that will be brought to mind?

I remember good things about my folks.  Times that were nice.  But, honestly, I still remember some not so great times also.  I guess that is life and memories, good and bad and ordinary.

Anyhow, I always pride myself that I can visit my folks and not get into any arguments anymore….

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Sammy, Max and Sparky…

I am not a cat person.  When I was younger, I thought that maybe I was.  I worked for the Army Veterinary Corps for a few years while we were living in Japan.  It was a great job, I would do the office work typing up certificates during clinic hours and on off hours I worked as a scrub nurse, helping out during surgeries.  It was a job I just fell into and I loved it.  I got bit by a dog once.   It wasn’t bad, and it was a one time experience.  However, I received at least four cat bites a day.  After the first couple of weeks, I decided I may not be a cat person.  By the time I left that job, I knew I was not a cat person.  There is nothing wrong with cat people, most of my dearest friends are cat people.  I’m not though.

The friends we are staying with have cats.  Three of them.  Sammy, Max and Sparky.  I remind myself daily that I am not a cat person.  They are bothersome, I have memories of cat bites.

These three cats are all rescue cats.  Max was the last one to join the brood.  We heard that our friend’s son found him and brought him home until his friend came to pick him up.  Their son has been married for seven years now.  His friend still hasn’t shown up.  Max still has all his claws.  Max is vocal.  Max is weaseling his way into my heart.  He makes me smile.  But, I am not a cat person.

Sammy was found half starving.  He was brought in to get a good meal and when our friend’s daughter moved into her own place, Sammy was going to go with her.  She has been married for almost six years now.  She has two dogs and two cats, and yes, Sammy is not one of them.

Sparky I have known for seven years.  The friends we are staying with are a firefighting family.  One winter day their son was inspecting the fire engine.  He heard a faint cry.  He looked all over to see where the cry was coming from.  He found Sparky half-frozen into the wheel well of the fire engine.  It took several hours to free him and warm him up.  Thus his name, Sparky.    Sparky and I became friends several years ago.  I like his personality and his tenacity.  I tell him often that I am not a cat person.  He understands.

The cats live in the family rooms downstairs, they sometimes venture up to the main floor and have a stand-off with our Shugo.  The cats are leery of this dog.   Our dog would just like to play with them.  That’s why I am a dog person, they like to play.  The cats have nothing to do with him.  They arch their backs and growl at Shugo.  Shugo just whimpers and tries to get to them.  It can turn into a circus if we let it.  We don’t, and the cats are smart enough to retreat back downstairs.

So, this has been my life the past few weeks.  I talk with the cats, tell them I do not like cats and pet them to make certain they understand that although Sparky and I can be friends, I don’t have to like him.   I will feed and water them and care for them.  But, I am not a cat person.

Being Uneasy…

There is a conversation from the movie, “While You Were Sleeping” that I often think of.  The conversation is between the late Peter Boyle’s character and Bill Pullman’s character.  It goes like this:

Peter Boyle: “Life is a pain in the ass. l´ll tell ya. You know?  You work hard, try to provide for the family, and then, for one minute,  everything´s good. Everyone´s well. Everyone´s happy.   ln– ln that one minute, you have peace.”

Bill Pullman: “Pop, this isn´t that minute.”

This has been my life the past few months.   Life has been that proverbial pain for the past few years, but, in that time I have had seasons of peace, hope and encouragement.  The past few months, well, it is sort of like eating a wonderfully sweet chocolate cupcake and washing it down with tart lemonade.  It just doesn’t set right.   It makes you uneasy.

This has been a summer unlike any other in recent history.  Nothing is right.  I am watching my husband deal with situations with his brothers that should have been dealt with years ago.  They weren’t dealt with, and it built up and now we are in our hometown for an extended period trying to undo years of build up.

I see my youngest  who is a wonderful mother and wife and that part is great.  She has that one minute of peace, for the most part.  For the most part, except she is struggling with career issues.  Nothing to panic about, but, still issues that make her life complicated and hard for her.

My oldest is dealing with things that complicate her life.  I hear in her voice concern, and I am trying to be there for her, but these are things she is dealing with.

In fact, all around me are things that others that I love and care about are dealing with.  I truly cannot help anyone.  I can’t make anything better.  I would like to smack some heads , but, in the long run, that would not help anything or anyone.

I am frustrated, and uneasy.  My nature is to nurture, and help, and fix things.  I have no tool belt to fix any of the situations this summer.  There is no fine print in my mother’s contract or my marriage contract that can direct me on how to ‘repair’ any of this.

I am useless.  Yes, I know there is support in the way of conversation and fixing food and washing clothes and prayer.  I have done all of this.

Dear hubby has told me over and over his quote for situations like this, “Worry is like an ugly dog, it looks worse coming, than going.”  I get what he means, but, somehow, that just doesn’t cut it.

Again, hubby has quoted the wise counsel of my younger sister, “Will this matter in six months?”  Usually, I look at him and say, ‘No,’  because I know that even in six weeks something else will come along and all of my current thoughts will have been long forgotten.  When hubby asked  me the other day the question about six months from now, I thought for a moment and was truthful.  The truth being that in six months some of this will still matter to me.    He asked if it would still matter in a year.  That, I did not know, and told him so.

What has struck me about all of this, is that although I am an easy-going person who can roll with the punches, I have found that this summer, I cannot.  Each roll of the punch feels like it is a stomach punch.  It hits hard and the pain lingers.

I know that there are seasons in life where pain is constant.  Things happen and life happens.  I have had these experiences before.  It’s not that I fight it, because that makes no sense to do that.  It is just that sometimes there are constant reminders of what is happening in your world, and sometimes joy is absent from those situations.  Are these bad times?  No.  I don’t believe they are bad, just difficult.  I know that growth, personal, emotional and spiritual all come in hard times.  That is a good thing.

What has made this season difficult is I am not among my own things.  I am not in my home, my kitchen, my laundry room.  I am removed from those who would encourage me with hugs and distractions.  I am in my hometown that has reminders of my life all around me.   A life I left almost forty years ago.

So, I go on.  Uneasy.  Close to tears, always.  I keep thinking of the story I have heard often in church, how the eagle stirs the nest when she wants her eaglet to take flight.  It is in reference to Deuteronomy 32:11,

He was like an eagle hovering over its nest,
        overshadowing its young,
    Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air,
        teaching them to fly.
(The Message)

Underneath all that I am feeling, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am once more learning to fly.  It is my hope that this is what it is, because sometimes I am feeling like I might have fallen out of a nest high up and the ground is approaching sooner than I am ready for.

I know this was not a short, light-hearted post.  Thank you for sticking with it, if in fact you did.  This is what has churned in my mind while not writing this summer.  It was what was tied up in my post about words and the effect they have on you.  Sometimes in life you hear words uttered that you never wanted to hear and once you do hear them they echo about, bouncing on your thoughts and again you eat a chocolate cupcake and drink some lemonade.    Uneasy.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

 

 

 

 

 

4th of July…

As I  have gone through my Facebook page several times today, I have read all the wishes for a Happy 4th of July.  I have read blogs talking about this wonderful country and there is a part of me that wants to stand up today, hoist a flag and cheer for our beloved country.  I am certain I would only be one of several million today to feel that way.

Three things I have read today have made a deep impression in my heart.  One was a statement by a dear friend on Facebook.  It simply said, “Why are there no knock-knock jokes about America?  Because Freedom rings.”  I knew he would come up with something so humorous but simply stated, true.

Another was a video posted by  good friend who is currently serving our country in the U.S. Navy.  It was a Navy video of the navy’s version of fireworksIt is a great video for me, being a retired navy wife.

The third post that truly spoke to me today was from a fellow blogger,  athingirl.com.  Here is her post today.

Today there will be picnics everywhere.  Families will be together.  Friends will gather to celebrate.  Fireworks, sparklers, poppers will burst forth in bright lights.  Patriotic songs will be heard and tears of gratitude will be shed.

Today I am doing ordinary things.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Walking the dog.  Nothing spectacular, nothing special.  But, I am thrilled about this.  I am thrilled because I CAN do the ordinary on an extraordinary day.  I can have a normal day because of those who risk their lives, who suffer separation from loved ones, who go without so I can be ordinary.

I am proud of my country.  I am a flag-waver.  I am like this 365 days a year, I confess.  But, because of the bravery of a handful of men in the beginning of a new country I can be like I am.  Those men who signed that Declaration so many years ago, standing firm in the face of grave danger and imprisonment, admitting that they were the ones who were determined to start this country, I can be ordinary.

To those who are fighting today to keep me free, thank you.  To those who served while there was no major battles, but still did dangerous things, I am proud to have been a small part of keeping the home fires burning.

Yes, today is a day of celebration, I hope you enjoy each moment of this day.  I also hope that tomorrow you continue to remember what a great country we live in.  DAF