It’s early, but…

Both of my girls have birthdays on days that had earth-shattering events occur. It is often mentioned when talking about the girls and their birthdays. So, with this in mind, I am writing this post early so that my mind won’t be torn to write about the event that should not be forgotten but should not be tied to the celebration of this woman.

Saturday is my youngest daughter’s birthday. (Yes, 9/11, see the above paragraph! ) Happy Birthday my dear Rachel.

I would like to share a bit about this woman. She is probably rolling her eyes about now, but isn’t that what being a mother is all about? I have always said that she is my special gift from Jesus, and she is. Like most women, once you reach a certain age, you recognize a birthday as another year around the calendar. Just another day, you get cards, you get online greetings and if you are lucky you get cake. Not a big deal.

This year, though I feel like she needs to recognized. She is a tireless worker, not saying she doesn’t get tired, we all do, but, she continues working and is faithful in her work. That can be housework, home-school work, tutoring, or ministry at her church. She is faithful in what she does. She finds joy in what she does. People rely on her knowing she is a responsible and loyal person. I stand in awe of what she can accomplish in a given day.

Being a Mom, (like all Moms) she rises and gets moving. She tends to her family. And, like most families, Moms are just there. Of course they are doing what needs to be done, they’re MOM. Moms can often feel like they are in the midst of everything but are like a piece of furniture, you see it, you depend on it, but since it’s always there you don’t fully appreciate it’s value. Rachel, I appreciate you and I definitely see your value.

My daughter is creative, she always has been. Throughout my house are reminders of her creativity. School crafts that have survived countless moves, a little red and white barn with our last name on it and tiny animals that were once glued inside, now just leaning freely. A wooden heart painted pink that says, Mom the heart of the home which hangs in my kitchen still. A framed painting that used to grace my desk when I worked. Homemade jam, vanilla, the list could go on and on. She is talented and competent in accomplishing tasks and projects. I love her artistic flare for life.

She has a tender heart. When she was in elementary school she had a t-shirt that had a heart on the sleeve, after wearing it one day her principal commented that it was the perfect shirt for her because she had a heart that was open and giving. She is the same still. Her compassion and gentleness is a gift to all who can see and recognize this quality in her.

As an adult I have seen an inner strength in her that I admire. I have watched her through trials that would have broken me and yet, she stands. She stands with grace and mercy. She reminds me of a willow tree, that moves freely in the wind, but has strong roots to keep her in place.

All this to say, Happiest of Birthdays my darling girl. I am so proud to be your Mom. You have graced my life with much laughter, much love, and some gray hair. Thank you for being you. You truly are my special gift from Jesus. “Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.” James 1:17 (The Passion Translation)

Cathi (DAF)

At the stroke of twelve midnight….

Tonight at the stroke of twelve, my son-in-law will have a Cinderella type experience, as Cinderella became the servant girl again, tonight, my son-in-law will become a civilian once more. This event will go mostly unnoticed, except by his family and close friends. His work place will continue on their mission just as they did today. His replacement is already at his desk. His personal things are most likely in a box sitting in a room at his home. Tomorrow his uniforms will be put into another closet. Tonight marks the beginning of another chapter. This is an incredible moment in the life of any military man who has given most of his adult life in service to our country. Twenty years is a long time.

Unlike my husband, our son will not have a ceremony to commemorate this achievement. My daughter will not be recognized for her service in support of our military. He will not be piped ashore in a traditional way. Since he will not be recognized I am going to recognize his achievement, thus this post.

Rusty (yes, I used his name) was first introduced to me via my daughter. It was not a personal meeting, no, I first heard of him with an endearing term I will not mention here. I just knew that there was this Navy man with incredible arms who was training in San Diego. They dated for a few months, and we never got to meet him that time around.

He was always in the background though, conversations, dates, and frustrations as they went on their way of growing up. He was deployed and I could see the worry in her eyes. He did serve in the hot spots around the world. He did his job well, and it was not an easy job to do. He would run in, drop in, dive in where support was needed. He did an excellent job.

He married our daughter and they have Little Miss. I have seen this man go from a hardened warrior, eager to get onto the field of battle to a family man. No, we did not get along when this family was formed. But, I knew that I would grow to love him. What I didn’t realize is how quickly he crept into my heart to stay. Yes, he is a warrior, ready for battle, but, he is also a Daddy of girls. It takes someone special to do what he has done in the military, but, even more so, it takes someone special to be a Daddy to girls. This man has done both well. I am proud of him.

I have also said that it’s time for my daughter to retire from military life, I have said she has forty years in the Navy, but that is incorrect, she has 35 years in. She has gone from Navy brat to Navy wife. Her first outing was to see her Daddy of two weeks re-enlist. She screamed through the whole thing , her last day of being a Navy wife was spent in the car taking care of stuff that seems to pop up when you are planning something different. It is a typical Navy wife type of day.

So, as this day will draw to an end and we see the end of August tomorrow, this family will begin a new chapter in their lives. Our Little Miss will start first grade and life will continue. Work will be done, family time will continue and yet, the memories and achievements will linger on. Stories will all be past tense. Such is the life of a Veteran.

So, Rusty, I salute you. If I had a boatswains pipe, I would pipe you ashore. There is a saying that is given in times like this. It is a saying derived from sailors. It is an appropriate saying for today.

My dear son, Well done. May you have Fair Winds and Following Seas. I know this next chapter will be a wonderful one. Dad and I are proud of you. Thank you for your service, we have slept easy knowing you were on duty.

Cathi (DAF)

Attitude Adjustment…

We live in a rural area. Our home is set back from the road and so our driveway is a good length. My walks usually mean that I am walking laps in our driveway. It’s not a vigorous walk, but it does get me moving and that always helps.

Today as I walked down the steps to the driveway, I realized that I was not in the greatest mood. In fact, I was in a funk. I started up our drive looking at what was beneath me, twigs from the surrounding trees, and bits of grassy parts coming up where gravel once was. Grumbling, I muttered to myself that the grass needs to get removed. I glanced toward our roof, noticing that the weekend rains had brought leaves down onto it. I heaved a sigh and thought of how many more leaves will be all over in another 6 weeks. By this time I am almost to our road and that’s when I remembered what my walks were for.

My walks are to get me moving, but they are also a time for me to start my day off in a good direction, walking, but more importantly, a time of prayer. When I am outside I am not hearing the washer running, I am not looking at dust on furniture, I am not listening (or half listening) to any videos my hubby is watching (I mean do I really need to know how to drain a carburetor?). When I am outside I can focus clearly.

So, by time I got to the road this morning, I recognized my funk, it was a critical spirit rising up in me. I asked forgiveness and had an attitude adjustment. I sighed once more, only this time it was a cleansing sigh. I continued to do my “laps” as I call my driveway walks and each step got easier and easier. As I walked I was reminded about this house. What a miracle it was to find it, buy it, and just be here. I walked past the yard, looking at my gazebo framed by beautiful dogwoods, I remembered how beautiful it is in the spring with the blossoms framing the roof line. I strolled beside my little wishing well that is just a cute covering for a hose bib/and storage place, I smiled remembering how long I waited for a wishing well like that in my yard.

My funk was diminishing quickly. I started to remember what the Lord had done in giving us this home. How many answered ‘wishes’ He had given me with this property. Things I had admired in other places we had lived and I would whisper to myself how I would like to someday have ‘that”. This home has everyone one of those whispered wishes. It truly is a gift.

As I was starting to finish up my walk, I noticed our holly tree beside our home. It is tall and full of greenery at the top part. The trunk is curved, going one direction and then growing in the opposite direction. I had once heard it referred to as a ‘free-form’ holly tree. I have a love/hate relationship with the tree. It feeds the birds in December and it is a joy to see the tree filled with chirping birds feasting on the berries, but for the other months I consider removing it. Anyhow, as I looked at the tree I felt like the Lord said to me, “See how the trunk is shaped?” I replied that I did. This is what I then heard, “This tree is like your life. It grows in one direction, and then another, but the directions are one trunk. The main point is that you produce fruit. ”

What I gleaned from today’s walk is this, I may have twists and turns in my life, I may have rotten attitudes and moods, but, as long as I am striving to move toward our Lord and keep producing some fruit to nourish others, then today is a good day. My focus may look at the things around me, like Peter looking at the sea and the waves, and looking at these things will cause me to sink. Also, like Peter, I need to keep my focus on Jesus and none of the things of this world will cause me to drown.

Matthew 14:22-33 (The Passion Translation)

Jesus Walks on Water

22 As soon as the people were fed, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and to go to the other side of the lake while he stayed behind to dismiss the people. 23 After the crowds dispersed, Jesus went up into the hills to pray. And as night fell he was there praying alone. 24 But the disciples, who were now in the middle of the lake, ran into trouble, for their boat was tossed about by the high winds and heavy seas. 25 At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the waves! 26 When the disciples saw him walking on top of the water, they were terrified and screamed, “A ghost!” 27 Then Jesus said, “Be brave and don’t be afraid. I am here!” 28 Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!” 29 “Come and join me,” Jesus replied. So Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. 30 But when he realized how high the waves were, he became frightened and started to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he cried out. 31 Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up and said, “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?” 32 And the very moment they both stepped into the boat, the raging wind ceased. 33 Then all the disciples bowed down before him and worshiped Jesus. They said in adoration, “You are truly the Son of God!”

Cathi (DAF)

It’s Only….

These two words have started many comments this evening. It started actually late this afternoon, when looking at hubby I said, “It’s only 4:30”. It’s been one of those days.

Today as I was walking, I felt like the Lord told me to be still today, not have a long list of things to do, but to sit and do nothing. Well, He should know better than that for me. Sitting is not one of my finer points. I can wait for people in a vehicle, I can wait in a physicians’ office, I am a good ‘waiter’, but being still? Not me. It’s even worse with my fitbit as I am looking at it hourly to see how many steps I have done. Today, it’s been a measly 4,607, not much at all.

But, I am trying lately to listen to what I feel the Lord is telling me to do, some things in the past week I have shaken my head at, but, I have done them. I walk in the morning and that is my prayer time, my time for conversations with my Lord. I love those times. I loved this morning, except for the being still today.

So, I was quieter today. I just did one load of laundry. I fixed meals. I sent text messages and notes to people. Looking back,(as it is only 10:36 p.m. now), it was a nice day. We had several thunderstorms roll through out area and it was cozy in our living room. Hubby watched his favorite care repair videos , his favorite home repair videos, and that was his day. I tried to zone out the videos and I confess I did glance up more than I expected.

As we said, “It’s only 6:15 p.m.”, I knew we were in for a long night. We couldn’t decide on a movie and we ended up listening to music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Before turning on the music I was certain we would be stuck in time at 6:16 p.m.

It’s still been quiet, but somehow listening to music has brought smiles and small talk to us. I texted a friend and told her we were bored, but not bored enough to do anything about it. Sometimes quiet is good for you. Stillness is good, although I still prefer to be busy and not idle. Nevertheless, as it is now 10:45, I can honestly say I have had a good day. I have sat beside my husband, and shared in his day, just by being still and not busy. As I look around I know there is nothing in sight that needs immediate attention, yes, there are things that could be done, but they can wait. I have often thought that although my first given name is Mary, I have the tendencies of a Martha. I truly am trying to be like Mary in the Bible, sitting at the feet of Jesus and not like Martha, worrying about the things that needed to be done. Luke 10:38-42 (The Passion Translation): 38–39 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. 40 But Martha became exasperated with finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.” 41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? 42 Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”

Cathi (DAF)

Ecclesiates 3

Everything Has Its Time

 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New King James

Yesterday we once more went to a memorial service. This scripture was read and talked about. Actually, I have been thinking of this passage for a while now. The past few months have brought these words alive for me. There is a time and a purpose for all things under heaven. This is something I have to remind myself of often. It is so easy to question and wonder why. We all do it.

We see births and rejoice. The cute little fingers and toes, the rosy cheeks of a baby, the little cries from them. They are a gift and one cannot help but smile when we see a newborn. The older we get, the more we smile, both in admiration and in sympathy for the new parents who are experiencing sleepless nights and feelings of lack of ability and wisdom in having the child.

There is a time to die. This has been a hard one for me. The realization is there, the knowledge that when one is called Home it is a great celebration for those called, but for those of us remaining, it leaves a hole in your heart and being. I used to hear often when I was younger that heaven was a sweeter place. Of course it is, I thought, it’s where God is. But through the past few years my thoughts on that phrase are different. Heaven has become a sweeter place, it is being filled with friends and family and not only will I see Jesus at that time, I will see those who have already made Heaven their home. I know we will all be parted for a bit, and eternity will be spent together, what a wonderful time that will be!

A time to heal and a time to build up. Life can break us down, wear us down, cause discouragement, loneliness, disappointment, estrangement. But through all of this, the Lord can and does heal us. After those areas of our life are put back together, we can and often do begin to build up again. I have experienced both the healing and the building up again. It’s not always an immediate process, but our Lord uses His Word, others words, situations, and dear friends and family to bring restoration and strength to us often when we have decided to be alone as we can no longer place trust in others.

A time to weep and a time to laugh. The past month I have seen both. Tears flowing easily and then an outburst of laughter. Does it change the time of mourning? No, it doesn’t, but it helps. The laughter gives release from the heaviness of weeping and mourning, and then you long for the time that mourning gives way to dancing. Dancing in reverence to the Lord and releasing from the burden and weight that has been enveloping you.

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. This has so many layers to this now. We have had many months of not embracing, not drawing near. We think twice upon meeting someone we know. Hug or not to hug? Although, I know this is not the meaning of this passage, but this is what came to my mind now.

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  a time to love, and a time to hate. Hate is such a strong and vile emotion, but there are times where we do hate things in this world. Certain things grate against our beliefs, our emotions, our lives, our being and we know that we cannot tolerate things. A time to be silent. Those times when you know that if you were to say anything, it would be the wrong thing to speak, the wrong way to say it, and misunderstood. Sometimes, I think, silence is self-preservation of your personal peace. Silence also does not cause unrest to others. I have found as I have aged that silence has become a dear friend to me as so much of what I say and how I say things gets lost in translation. But, also, as I have aged, I realize that there is a time to speak. So much of my life I have been an agreeable person, a true middle child, peace maker, don’t cause ripples, don’t stir up things, but I am finally learning that things I think can be voiced, and not everyone needs to agree with me.

Above all, though is love. Love needs to be expressed. Love is shown in many ways. It would be wonderful if it was always calm and peaceful and agreeable, but it isn’t. To love someone means you want the very best for them, and sometimes that means pointing out things to them that are hard to hear. Love doesn’t fail though. We have the example of our Lord, He continues to love us when we totally blow it. He welcomes us and holds us when we make major errors and bad judgements. That is how we need to treat others. This is my personal thoughts on this scripture. I am thinking of many things. The preciousness of friends. The heartbreak of life. The many times I was isolated and alone, only to be drawn out by those who love me. The joy when I felt like my broken heart had once more been restored. The hope that eternity will be much more glorious than this life here on earth. The hope I have in my Savior.

We have just returned from our second trip to San Diego. We are once more at home in our quiet retreat, the sun dappled through the leaves on our trees. But our hearts are lonesome for friends we were able to be with. Those we left who are in the midst of mourning and weeping. Our hearts long to embrace them, to weep with them and to laugh with them. And yes, I think of eternity, knowing we will all spend eternity together, dancing, rejoicing and laughing together.

Cathi (DAF)

Pastor, Boss, Mentor, Friend…

According to Mirriam Webster the definition of Pastor is a spiritual overseer. It’s etymology Middle English pastour, from Anglo-French, from Latin pastor herdsman, from pascere to feed. Pastors do feed their flock. You are blessed if you receive fresh, nourishing food from a Pastor.

The definition of Boss is to exercise control or authority over. A great boss leads in a way that the employee never feels controlled but yet will respect the authority and thrive under it.

A Mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. Someone who teaches in every situation and causes you to grow beyond what you imagined.

A Friend is one attached to another by affection or esteem. A long friendship often morphs from surface conversations to entrusting another with basically your life, knowing that a true friend will hold your life and tenderly pray, admonish and love you no matter what. A true friend can be sarcastic and joke while all the time reaching out with care.

We just returned this week from a trip to San Diego. We haven’t been there since Little Miss was born. We landed and the muscle memory of living there most of our lives took over. It was a weird sensation. At times I wondered what I had in my refrigerator in my kitchen in our old house. That lasted only a few minutes until I realized I no longer had a refrigerator, kitchen or house in San Diego.

Along with the muscle memory came the flood of memories in each turn of the freeway. A feeling of home, yet not home.

We walked into a home that held so many precious times, wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, birthday celebrations, Boxing Day celebrations, church. It still held the peace and comfort it always had.

The babies that had showers for are now young adults. They tower over me, and bring joy to my heart in their smiles. They are the grandchildren of our friends.

I started this post with definitions. Each describe one man. He was our pastor, he was my boss for many years, he was our mentor, speaking truth and life and encouragement into our lives. Most of all, he was our friend.

We went to say good-bye. Sounds simple enough. Sounds like it should be easy as it is only two words. We all say good-bye daily. It flows off our tongue without thought. This was not a simple thing to do. Yes, we know where his home is now. We know that his diseases are gone, healed, never to be felt again. He is walking with ease, breathing with ease, laughing aloud with his contagious laugh. Yet, we here, only hear the echoes of his voice.

The time we had was bittersweet. We reminisced, we laughed, we cried, we sang. I watched teenage grandchildren move closer to adulthood. You could see it reflected in their faces. The boys who were teasing, laughing poking fun at each other became more stoic, jaws set, eyes focused, shoulders able to bear a load no one wanted them to bear. I saw a granddaughter perform tasks that she had learned in training to be an EMT. Memories of her as a flower girl rolling her eyes because her Papa was taking too long talking during a ceremony, when she just wanted to twirl in her dress and smell her sunflower. This little girl, was now professional, caring and diligent watching over her Papa while longing for a conversation.

My friend, his wife, being faithful and loving through this all. Moments of tears and laughter and song, sometimes all of them at once. I learned from her again, as her example to me just continued.

It was a bittersweet week. I had a plan on what I wanted to say and do and yet, when it came down to it, my tears fell freely, and the best I could do was hold a hand (well, several over the week), be a shoulder to lean on or cry on and just be there. It was one of the best weeks and hardest weeks ever.

But, Pastor, thank you for always giving us fresh bread from the throne of God. It fed us and nourished us. It gave us strength and encouraged us. We are better because of that, and after all a call to salvation is a call to ministry. That will stay with me.

Boss, I had so much fun in the office. It truly was my best job. You taught me that I could do things and do some of them pretty good. I never had such a great place to go each day, I never dreaded walking into the office. I learned how to prank from the best of pranksters. That truly is an art you had mastered.

Mentor, hubby and I would not be where we are or who we are without you (you too Lois). We learned how to be the best we could be. Thank you for the hours, days, months and years you poured into us.

Friend. John, you will be missed, but, we will see you again. And the four of us will spend eternity sipping coffee together when we aren’t praising Jesus, are there any Starbucks in Heaven? If so, find the one with the best seating where we can sit around and catch up or maybe find the best hamburgers there.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27

Cathi (DAF)

Winnowing…

The past few days I have had images of winnowing wheat and chaff in my mind. I have read scriptures about wheat and chaff and understand the basic thought of it.

Yesterday while looking at quotes I came upon this quote, “But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Maria Craik, A Life for a Life, “Chapter XVI: Her Story,” 1859″ Again with the wheat and the chaff.

As I tried to sleep last night the thought of winnowing played over and over in my thoughts. I determined today to do some research on the subject and see if I was missing anything about the subject. Honestly, I wanted to look up the definition of chaff to see if I was correct in my thinking. Turns out, I was! Chaff is not edible by humans, but it can be used as fodder for animals, or it can be burned or blown away into the wind.

There have been seasons where I have felt like I have experienced winnowing. Those times when I have had chaff removed from what is truly me, being shaken and thrown to release the dry and scaly casing around me so that the true me is evident. These are unpleasant, but necessary times in my life.

There are also winnowing times in circumstances of my life. Those seasons when people and places are removed. Those seasons when things that are happening are out of my control, and I look to see situations that I wish to have a say in, but know silence is a better option. Wishing that explanations could be made to somehow make things easier, but again, with winnowing, the best will settle and what is not necessary will blow away or be burned.

As I read the quote above, I thought of the security of talking with a true friend. There is safety and security being able to be honest and open with another person. Not having to think of how to phrase things and being able to openly talk without fear of repercussion or offending others. This does not happen often. Few are those who will listen and gently and faithfully blow away those things that are not important and cling to the basic truth that is encased in the chaff.

I believe I am just in the beginning of my study on wheat and chaff. I truly do not know where it will lead me, but, I wanted to put down my initial thoughts so I do not lose them. Even in your mind, if you are not careful thoughts can dissolve and not only does the chaff blow into the wind the wheat can be buried in the muck and mire of our everyday life.

Therefore I will scatter them like stubble that passes away by the wind of the wilderness. Jeremiah 13:24 (NKJV)

Cathi (DAF)

Excitement…

I used to live in a major metropolitan city. Our house was situated on a hill and our property extended down the hill to the road. We had a deck on our upper floor and several times a week we would hear the helicopters circling overhead and see the lights flooding our lower lot. About the same time we would hear the sirens racing down the freeway which we could see from our home. I would race up to the deck and watch the action. It fascinated me. I also would pray for the officers involved in the activity. I would then watch the news to see what happened. Very rarely did any of the excitement make the news.

Now we lived in a rural area. It is quiet. We notice when a plane flies overhead, it’s that quiet. A couple of weeks ago we traveled to a couple of different places. The first stop we spent two nights at a hotel. The first night there we were awakened often by sirens. Turns out we were just down the street from the emergency response center, so sirens were going off all night long. The second night was a bit quieter.

On the way to our next destination we remarked at how noisy it was and how thankful we are to be in a rural area. We got to our next stop and it was quiet for the most part. We heard sirens but not like at the first place. The last night at that destination we were awakened by flashing lights and a weird noise. It actually reminded us of the scene in Polar Express where the train wakes the boy up. Hubby looked at me and asked what was going on. I leaned up and peeked out the window. What sounded like an alien invasion was just a street cleaner going down the street. We laughed and said we must be country bumpkins now. I remarked that I didn’t know street cleaners still existed.

Our next stop was to see our oldest and her family. We were only there a couple of days, but during that time we did get to see and hear the Navy’s jets fly across the sky. It’s a wonderful experience to see these pilots do their job.

So, we have been home for the past couple of days. It’s quiet and still. Hubby and I follow our community page on Facebook. We have read with interest about an incident with a particular vehicle and a driver who is not very considerate. Tonight while watching a movie we paused the movie to hear a siren. Yes, it’s that different to hear a siren that we pause a show to listen. After the movie, I opened my facebook page to read of the excitement in our town. There was a police action concerning this car and the driver. The post at my last glance had close to 200 comments. Still no one seems to know how it all ended. I told hubby I missed my upstairs deck where I could watch the excitement. He said he would build me one, but we know it would be impossible to see anything over the trees. As I thought of it all, I realized how things are the same. Lots of excitement and still I don’t know what is going on.

Thanks for stopping by tonight, Cathi (DAF)

Come and See, The Chosen. A Review…

I have never written a review. I don’t consider my opinion to be one that others would think would accurately describe something, so I have avoided such things. A couple of weeks ago, a Christian blogging page I follow asked a question if God had ever asked you to do something out of your comfort zone in your writing. This is it.

We watched the first season of The Chosen a year ago. We couldn’t stop watching. We have seen the first shows of season two. Each episode has brought tears to my husband and I. Our hearts have been touched by what we have seen. Still not enough to write a review. Then… How many times has there been a then…? In my life, there have been several instances where there has been that time and several times I have ignored that prompting. This time I cannot. So, here goes…

My husband and I were born again in 1977. We were overseas and I know most of our friends and family thought we had gone off the deep end. Our letters were filled with ramblings of the excitement we felt in ‘meeting the Lord’. Scriptures filled our pages as we desperately tried to convey our newfound love for our Lord. I can only imagine the groans of my sisters seeing a letter addressed to them from our FPO address, thoughts of another lecture on righteousness. I know that I have since appeared to be a goody two shoes, one who doesn’t do much. If only they knew how I truly am. They would see differently.

Then comes this show, The Chosen. I see my sisters talking about it, glowing reports of how wonderful the show is. I watch. Once more, they are right.

I half expected when I tuned into the show that I would see Jesus portrayed as a constipated person. I don’t mean that to be sacrilegious it’s just that most actors are so stern at playing Jesus, they come off looking constipated. At least that is my opinion (again, why I do not review). This Jesus is how I have pictured Him. Real. Approachable. Smiling. Exhorting. Encouraging. Laughing. Dancing. Caring. Healing. Restoring.

The writers, the actors are portraying onscreen what I have fumbled and failed to convey when talking about my Savior. They have expressed the comfort, the love, the safety I feel when I look into the eyes of Jesus during prayer time or when I am reading my Bible.

The episodes give a backstory to the people we know through Sunday school, sermons, reading. You see the humanity that most likely we could see had we lived in that time. Instead of the glossed over images that covered felt boards in a Sunday school classrooms, you see a living, breathing human being, flawed and normal. The disciples did not walk around with halos appearing over their heads. They were like me. Having a temper, having doubts and fears, having good days and bad days. They laughed, I have always believed my God has a sense of humor, after all, He created me. They cried. They danced and rejoiced. Same as we do.

This series is a gift to me. A boost to my heart. It does not replace my need to fellowship. It does not replace my need to read or pray. What it does is encourage me to be more. It reminds me of that excitement I felt in 1977. When, for the first time I had my heart opened up by my Creator. He sparked in me a joy I had never experienced. I truly felt alive for the first time. Like Matthew, in the series, when he was called, he left everything behind to follow Jesus. I have experienced that. I have felt that call and walked away from how I was raised, what I was taught and followed. Again, this series reflects what I have failed to convey happened deep within me.

I recommend this series to those of you who have not seen it. You can catch some episodes on You Tube, you can also download the app on your app store. Come and See what the hype is. I know you will enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

A Memory of A Friend…

Friendships grow out of a shared experience, a shared time, a shared interest. Sometimes you are thrown together unexpectedly, and it turns out that it was a divine appointment. A meeting that was ordained from God.

Such was a friendship that began so many years ago. When we arrived in Japan in 1976, we were put onto a housing list. We could not get into government quarters (translated an American type home) until our name came to the top of the list. We arrived in June of 76 and until November of that year we lived in a cute little Japanese apartment.

When our name came to the top we drove up to Yokohama to look at houses. There were three couples who were looking at three houses. As typical in military communities, rank took priority. Hubby and I had second choice of the three couples.

The first home was cute, and the couple ahead of us commented on how cute it was. So, we knew that house was taken immediately. One to the second one, it was nice, not as nice as the first. I knew I could live there with no problem. I heard the wife of the third in line couple say, ” I really like this, but, it will most likely go to the other couple.” The third place we were unable to go into. We went to the third place, which overlooked a cute little grassy area. I loved it. So, each of us got our wish for our houses.

We settled into our place and thought no more of the other couples, until one day I was grocery shopping and ran into the second couple. They invited hubby and I over for tacos. We went and from that simple beginning, a friendship that became family developed.

So many things I do in daily life remind me of them. And like family, thoughts, prayers and memories happen with the simplest of things. Last Saturday, Cindy passed away. Her health has been failing the past few years. We have talked, but, as is true, not often enough. Hindsight is generally filled with regret. The should-haves flood your heart as you think of missed opportunities. Such was true for me.

When I heard the hard words from her daughter whom I have known since before she started school, my heart broke. I knew she was now whole, able to see again, able to walk and run (although I could hear her laugh at that thought) and that she was once more healthy. No more would she be trapped in a body that was failing her, she would be free and looking into the face of her Creator.

Cindy was a dear friend. One who listened with a caring ear. She would encourage me, laugh with me, cry with me, and challenge me. Her quiet way was filled with strength. When we talked we would say our hellos and then start to laugh and cry at the same time each telling the other we needed to not take so long between calls.

She leaves behind her husband who is my brother from another mother, and three beautiful girls all with their own families and stories. We were able to spend time with them and it was like walking into home to be with them. They had grown, they had families, but, it was still the same in so many ways.

When I was younger I would hear older people say how dear Heaven is. I never quite understood that saying. I thought how can Heaven be so precious when there is so much of life here. I now understand, with the passing of each person I know Heaven is becoming a treasure, a place I long to be, to be reunited with friends and family and once more laugh with my friend Cindy.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)