dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Mom…

Each year I end up writing something about my Mom.  Today is the anniversary of her death.  She was in her early forties when she lost her battle to pancreatic cancer.

I was eleven at the time, but, I still carry vivid memories of her.  I remember conversations and how she smelled and lots of things that have not been erased by time, fortunately.

I miss her often and each year I remember the day and what all happened, that, I think is a given whenever you lose someone you love.  But, this year, it’s not so much her personally I miss, but how many years it has been since she passed away.  50 years.  50 years she has been gone.  That’s a long time!  I cannot wrap my mind around how long it has been.  I don’t feel like I am old enough to remember 50 years.  But, I do.  When I think of this anniversary, my mind just remembers the 11-year-old and her sisters, all young.  Needless to say, we’re not.

When it occurred to me that she has been gone for fifty years, I started to wonder what she would think about life now.  How would she feel about her daughters being in different states and not seeing each other as much as we would like?  What would she think of our husbands?  I know she would share a beer or two with them, but would she like them?  What would she say and think about our kids, her grandchildren?  I am certain they could have done no wrong in her eyes.   Her great grand children?  Well, there is nothing better than they are, honestly.  So, there is no doubt she would have adored them.

Family is one thing to think about, but, this world has changed so much since 1966.  She once told me that one day we would talk on the phone and see each other.  I thought that was a wild dream.  This morning, I skyped with Little Miss and her Mom.  I got to see my granddaughter walk around, read a book, talk with me, eat a snack and wave to me.  We did ‘cheers’ her, with her sippy cup and me with my coffee cup.  Yes, Mom, we can talk to one another and see each other.  You would have loved that.

What type of phone would she have?  Would she have the latest and greatest?  Would she face time and text?  Would she have a twitter account?  Personally, I couldn’t imagine that. What would she think of television shows?  Who would be her favorite actor?  Would she be appalled that there are no western series on television?  She loved Rawhide and Wagon Train.

What would she think of the political climate? What would be her take on the issues in this country?

These are the thoughts that have run through my mind this past week. This has made me aware of the pace of the world today. Life truly was so much simpler fifty years ago.  Yes, there were riots then.  There were racial issues then.  There were wars going on.  Things were broadcast and it seemed fast then, since no other wars had reports given so quickly.  But, now, there is live streaming.  We are able to see events unfolding, for better or worse.

These are all things I will never know.  They will continue to plague my thinking.  I love the  “what if’s” in this life.   All I can be certain of is this, she left us too soon.  She missed so many of life’s treasured moments.  Three of her granddaughters have her name in some form.  Her fourth granddaughter has some of her fiesty-ness.  Her legacy continues in many ways.

Today I will continue to think of her, and my sisters.  We are strong women, all of us.  We love deeply, we think independently, we argue, we laugh, we cry.   I think she would be proud of us.      DAF (Cathi)

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God’s Artistry….

Our home is surrounded by woods, in our backyard and across the street.  It is amazing and peaceful.

Each morning as I take the dog to the back yard to let him roam and do his business, I look at the woods behind the house. I repeat a verse of my favorite poem by Robert Frost, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” .   Each morning the stanza, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But, I have promises to keep.  And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”  This echoes in my thoughts and has become a sort of prayer for me.  I look at the woods, hear this verse and then ask the Lord that I make the most of my day and keep the promises I have made to others, knowing that there are many hours before I go to sleep.

This morning as I stood looking at the woods,  I could hear our stream flowing, and the wind rustling through the trees.  I realized that I could see a pathway through the woods today, which has always been there, but, is hidden well during the summer months.

I came inside thinking about this. God is an amazing artist.  Each season He paints masterpieces for us to enjoy daily.  During the summer, He uses a palate of greens and blues.  The woods are deep green, hiding the browns and grays of the bark of the trees.  The green overtakes everything and somehow all I focus on is the brilliant shades of green surrounding me.  The summer months remind me of a sauna.  Not one of my favorite things.  They are hot and stifling.  Being  outside in the summer is hard for me.  I work outside and enjoy what I am doing, but, I do have to concentrate hard and in doing so, I miss much of the surrounding beauty there.  In summer the colors have feeling to them.  Each breath you take in the summer, to me, is inhaling the blue of the sky, the green of the grasses and the trees.  Summer invades me top to bottom.

Fall is breaking through now.  This morning reminded me of the fragile line that divides seasons.  You have to look for it, or you miss its gentle passing.  One day is hot and humid, the next is warm and breezy.  It’s that hint that comes gently into the air.  That hint that changes the palate from dark greens to greens that are slowly fading.  The greens of the trees are fading into yellow and rust, while leaves dance like confetti.   The sun teases the eye and you see things highlighted that you hadn’t seen for a while.   A path to the stream at the foot of the hill.  A bird house that usually blends into the trees, illuminated by an autumn sun.  A deer path across the street that invites your eye to follow as far as you can.

My imagination stirs in fall.  I see God’s handiwork and I get excited.  He is the original artist.  He created colors.  He created depth.  He created sound.  He created.  Today, as I took my dog out for his morning break, I walked into God’s gallery.  I felt the warmth of the sun, heard the whisper of the trees, saw the dance of the leaves and saw paths waiting to be walked.

 The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But, I have promises to keep.  And miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep.    Happy Fall.  Enjoy the masterpieces surrounding you today.   Cathi (DAF)

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45 years ago…

Forty-five years ago today was the last day I was by myself.  The 17th of September, 1971, I went about my day.  Our teachers were on strike and I was at home most likely doing nothing, but reveling in the extended summer vacation the lower class-men at the high school had.  The seniors continued on in school with teachers who were not union members so they could keep college and military commitments when they graduated.

I was a junior in high school that year, so I was blissfully at home wondering when we would be able to go back to school.  We knew the longer we were out in September the longer we would be in in June.  It was a weird year of school for certain.

Forty-five years ago today I made plans with a friend to go to a dance the 18th.  We would meet and one of us would drive to the fire hall where we would dance and flirt and not really meet anyone, since we were the quiet girls and mostly went unnoticed by most everyone in school.

What I did not know that day was that the following day would change my life.  Literally.    The following day, the 18th of September, 1971, a couple of my guy friends would help the music teacher move some things into his summer cottage.  It took them most of the day and at the end of the day they were paid.

Later that afternoon on the 18th the phone would ring.  I would be getting ready for the dance.  The phone call would be for me.   Heading to answer the phone, my older sister would holler at me, “If it’s a guy and he asks you out… GO!”  It was a guy, he did ask me out, and I accepted.  I was scared of my older sister, and when she said jump, I would jump, hoping it was high enough. (Sorry, Dottie)

That night, forty-five years ago tomorrow, I went bowling with my hubby.  We bowled three games, I won one, he won two.  I confess by the third game I was a bit over bowling, but, what can you do when you are on a date?

Forty five years ago the 18th I had my last first kiss.  I was 16 years old.  I have been with my husband longer than I wasn’t.  We have grown up together, we have fought, we have made up, we have traveled the world, we have raised our family.  I really cannot believe it has been 45 years.

There are times when I look at him and still see that boy who asked me out.  That boy who spent his hard-earned money to take me bowling and put gas in his mother’s car.  We have always marked this day as a special day for us.  Tomorrow will actually be the first time in several years that we will be together on this day.  One of us has been traveling during this time recently.

So, happy anniversary of our first date, honey.  I would say, “here’s to the next 45”, but, I really don’t think we will be around when we are 107!

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

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September Thoughts…

There are certain times of the year that provoke a sense of reflection in me.  I write about these times often, for I believe that writing them down etches them in my mind more clearly.

The days leading up to the 11th of September is one of these seasons.  Tomorrow is Grandparents day, a holiday started in 1978.  I had no idea it was even a ‘thing’ until 1983 when I saw the first cards celebrating it.   I don’t even know who buys those cards, but each year I see them.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of  9/11.  It is amazing to me that it has been 15 years.  It seems like yesterday that the horror of that day happened.  The images and repugnance reverberates to this day.  I will always remember and I will never forget.

But in the middle of these events is a sweet dance of my youngest daughter’s life.

In thinking on all of the above, it is amazing what stands out in vivid memory.  I can remember seeing those Grandparent Day cards being almost nine months pregnant, thinking I should buy one for my in-laws.  I thought I would send it from my oldest daughter, having her sign it and how they would love that.  I also thought that maybe my second  child would be born on that day.  I never got the card, and my baby did come on Grandparent’s Day.

I remember when she was born, looking at my sweet baby, a time that is burned into a mother’s mind.  Each child, so unique, so beautiful.  Seeing that baby for the first time and knowing that this look is the look you will cherish until your dying day.  I was handed my sweet child and looked down on her.  No sweet expression, just this scowl on her little face.  Staring up at me as if to say, “Lady, I am not happy.”  Literally, a scowl, one that still appears on her face this day, some  thirtysomething years later…  I looked down at her, laughed and said as only a mother can, “Well sweetie, you are the one who decided to come, I really had nothing to do with it.”    Yes, those sweet , sweet life moments I will never forget.

That morning fifteen years ago that sweet baby was up before me.  Hubby had already left for work, and her older sister was living on her own and on her way to work.  I came downstairs and wished her a happy birthday.  We were going for her driver’s test and I asked if she was ready.  She told me to turn on the t.v.  and horror hit me.  Last night as I thought on this, I thought of this child of mine.  She was basically alone when she first heard all of this on the radio.  I never thought of how any of this affected her.  What was going on in her mind, how did it color her birthday then and how does it affect her to this day?

Yes, it is funny how certain things stick out in your mind on different days.  Those are my thoughts this weekend.  The thought that comes most readily to mind is this.  I have been blessed with this child, now a grown woman.  Her life has filled mine with laughter.  Her life has brought me joy.  I asked the Lord early on what life lessons my children have taught me.  I wanted to know when they were young, so I could truly grasp the gifts they are.

My oldest has taught me unconditional love.  A lesson we all need to have.  To love , no matter what happens, how easy or difficult is may be.  That lesson has not only been for my oldest, but she taught me that for all areas of my life.

The birthday girl?  She taught me laughter.  I really do not think I laughed purely or openly until the day she was born.  She gave me the gift of mirth.  She has blessed me with being able to see the joy in all things.

So, happy birthday dear one.  Thank you for being you.  You truly are my special gift from Jesus.

                                                              ~Mom ~ Cathi (DAF)

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I need a time out chair…

I am a middle child.   A product of Catholic school.  I am Irish.   I am a mess.

The combination of all of the three points above drive me to distraction.  I see something and immediately I feel like I need to jump in and do something.  I see myself at times like a spastic physical comedian, someone who is moving to all corners trying to juggle things and having plates flying off in all directions crashing and breaking.

I want things to be great for everyone.  I have often said that if someone stubs a toe in the frozen north, I will feel guilty about it.   I struggle with this daily.

The opposite side to all of this is, I am a born again believer.  Therefore, in my mind, none of this should matter to me.  I should take this all to the Lord and believe that He will take control of it all.  I should reside in peace and calm.  Serenity should be the feeling I exude.   I should go about my day with a calm, prayerful repose that greets each challenge with a tranquil walk.  I should be the way we see princesses in movies, greeting each creature with an outstretched hand, singing to them.

Yes, you saw a lot of  shoulds in that last paragraph.  Should, I heard once, should be banned from my vocabulary.  The should’s in my life also drive me to distraction.

The truth of the matter is, I am me.  Full of bumps, bruises, and foibles.   I do stupid things.  I put my mouth in motion when it needs to be shut.  I react instead of act.  I wear my heart on a sleeve and get my feelings hurt.  I demand too much of myself, when I don’t expect that of others.  I am human.

The fact that I am a Christian, does not make me perfect.  For that I am grateful.  I am a human who is trying to navigate through this world.  Some days are better than others.

This summer has been an adventure for me.  It has brought out the best and the worst of me.  I have struggled how I have done and said some very stupid things.  The truth being this summer has worn me out.  I know that this summer has taught me much, but, the whole lesson I have learned will take a few more months to reveal itself.

Today I have read two different quotes.  Each has blessed me and been the proverbial slap in the face I have needed.  I will share these at the end of this post.  I have needed a slap into reality and many people have been too kind to do that.  When stupidity reigns, reality needs to take a turn at bat.   What I am thinking of is this,  a mother of a toddler who sees that child flail around fussing and crying.  Finally the mother picks the child up and puts them to bed, telling them they need to rest.    These two quotes today provided, for me, for today, that feeling.    I have been told to take a time out.  I will find my hypothetical chair and sit in it.  Hoping that things will put themselves into perspective and when I get up things will be better.

For those of you who are in contact with me, thank you for putting up with me.  I wouldn’t have been so gracious.

Here are the two quotes:  “God is fixing every broken situation in your life right now.” (I am not certain who wrote this, so unfortunately, I cannot give credit there, but it blessed me reading this)    and  this, again not knowing who to give credit for:   “You have permission to rest.  You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken. You do not have to try and make everyone happy. For now, take time for you.  It is time to replenish.”  

Yes, I know that I most likely will think of these off and on.  The trouble will be to allow myself to stop.  Thank you for stopping by,  Cathi (DAF)

 

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Junctures…

The sun shines different ways in winter and summer. We shine different ways in the seasons of our lives. ~Terri Guillemets

In April of 2013 I wrote a post titled “One is Silver…”.   I have thought of this post several times the last week or so.    It was one of those posts that was on my heart when I wrote it and one I think of often.

In it, I talked about friends, old, new and those whom I had just met.   Seasons move on and it is always fascinating to me to see how things change over the years.

Having just reread this post I smile as I realize those friends who I knew were going to move into a different part of my life, have.    I cannot imagine my life without them now.  They are a part of the vein of my life that gives breath and laughter to me.

There were some who were in an autumn phase of friendship, and now I  look back and realize that those friendships were not cared for and sadly, they are dormant.  Sometimes too much time passes and it is hard to renew and start over.  I store the memories in my heart and pray for them, but there is a mixture of resignation, regret and acceptance that this is where we are as friends.

Other friends are slipping into different categories and it intrigues me to see the changes.  It is like I am standing at one of those car wash facilities where you stand at a window and see your car progress through the line.  You see what is happening with the car, but, you are helpless if you notice a window is opened a crack.  You can see the damage slip into the car, but there isn’t anything you can do until the car travels to the end and you can grab a towel to get it dried.

Some friendships are that car with the open window.  You can see the crack in the window and know that something is going to happen.  It is like it is out of your grasp, but there is nothing you can do to change it at the moment.

No, I have never left a window open in a car wash, but, I have imagined it often.  I use it as an analogy for the purpose of this essay on friends.    Sometimes that crack is there, you see it, but, it really isn’t doing anything, so nothing changes.

Other times that crack can let everything fly through and you end up with all this debris thrown about inside.

In thinking of this with friends, I realize that sometimes that debris is necessary.  Change is necessary.  Reevaluation is necessary.   Growth is different in each of us.  A tree’s branches do not grow the same length all together.  Each limb has its own unique character.    It is the same with people.  They are part of your heart, part of your life, but often times life itself, and circumstances and health all get intertwined and friendships suffer.

The good ones are renewed in time.  They come back stronger, fuller.   The joy is greater, the laughter is louder and the heart is more comforted by the other.

Thank you for reflecting with me on friendships.  I appreciate your visit here.

 When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ~Henri Nouwen

I will continue to think on my friendships.  I strive to be a true  friend,  for we need true friends in this world that is harsh and unfair and at times, unlovely.  So, to my friends, those silver, those gold, those who have a patina and those who are a bit rusty, know that my heart carries you with me.  You have helped to shape me into who I am and for that, I am grateful.  As the season of autumn approaches, know that I am here.  A little bare of leaves, as it were, and a little exposed, but rooted down in the bonds that tie us together.  Thank you for being you.  Cathi (DAF)

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Thinking on Disappointment…

I have been battling disappointment.  Someone has let me down and it has blindsided me so completely I have not been able to wrap my mind around it.

The truth is, that it isn’t the first time I have experienced disappointment from this person.  But, I usually can just look at the situation and get over it.  For some reason, this time is different.

I try my best to not be a disappointment.  My daughters have always told me that the worst thing I could ever say to them is that I was disappointed.  Although I have said it to them at times, they could never disappoint me.  The joy and life they bring to my heart is a constant source of peace to me.

That is one reason why I have struggled with this.  This evening after dinner hubby and I were talking about things on our hearts and mind.  I started to verbalize, for the first time in weeks what I was struggling with.  He listened intently and gave me wise counsel, which I have mulled over in my mind.

So, since this is the place where I am honest with myself, I decided to write about it.    I am not looking for a resolution, but, I needed to write this out.  Mostly for me to see and know that this nagging feeling that has been pricking my heart has a name and a reason.    It is disappointment.

A quote I found sums it up for me: “Nothing hurts more than being disappointed by the person you thought would never hurt you.”    I found this on Iliketoquote.com.

DAF

 

 

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I’m More Interesting on my Blog…

Today I have received two surprises via mail and delivery.  The first was the mail.  I received a card from a friend.  It’s always fun to get mail, especially when it is just because.  There were no birthdays or anniversaries for me and there it was, sitting in my mailbox, a red envelope with my name on it.  I was thrilled!

Inside was a wonderful card…  it had the word blog all over the front of it and at first that is all I saw.  I was outside in the sun and the lettering is shiny.   I then focused on the colored lettering and saw the phrase, I’m more interesting on my blog.  I just started laughing.  This friend knows me well, I thought…

But, she did not mean that, she wrote an encouraging letter inside the card.  The card, she said, reminded her of me.  She then went on to tell me that she enjoys my blog and that she is glad I started writing it.  I felt humbled.   Humbled, because the last couple of days I have questioned if I should continue writing,  and if anything I wrote really made a difference in the greater scheme of things.

I love to write.  I always have.  I laughed when I read the card, well, because, I AM more interesting on my blog!   My confidence level when I write is strong.  I can express myself better when I write.  I look at things and learn more about myself when I write.

In person, well, I tend to be quiet.  Unless of course, I feel extremely comfortable around you, or I have known you my entire life, or you are related to me.  Large crowds creep me out, although I would love to speak to groups of women.  I do well with one on one conversations.  I do not ask questions.  I am trying to change that.  But, on a whole, I am a bit of a boring conversationalist.

I am an  introvert.  I have said this before and I know I will repeat myself.  Saying this and repeating this is a self-defense for introverts.  It somehow allows us the excuse to not say much and not join in.  I am married to an extrovert.   Through the years we have gone to parties and he mingles and goes from conversation to conversation.  I stand there, making small talk.  Nice dress.  Pretty place.  Weather has been good, bad, rainy, hot…  (depends on the time of the year).   That is when I see people’s eyes glaze over and they make an excuse to go get a drink, even though theirs is full.  I don’t get hurt by that, I understand.  Get me one too!

Countless evenings have been spent in agony.  Of course, in my mind, I am making all sorts of conversations, but, they never seem to come out audibly.    Yes, I am more interesting on my blog! 

The other gift today was from a friend who sent me a Bible study book.  It looks fascinating and I cannot wait to start it.  She had gone to a retreat recently and heard this author speak.  She said she had reminded her of me.    Opening the book and seeing the detail and the depth this study goes into, I wondered how this author ever reminded her of me.  I read the author’s biography and again I wondered.   I looked at the author’s picture and it looked like how I wore my hair the last time I saw this friend, so maybe that was it.

Again, I thought,  I am more interesting on my blog.    Maybe that is the key though.  As my friend wrote in the card, she gets to see more of me in my writing.  She said she sees the inside me.

Maybe that’s what this blog is for me…  A place to allow myself to be me.  Maybe that is why  I am more interesting on my blog!

Thanks for stopping by today.  I do appreciate you.  Cathi (DAF)

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Grateful…

Yesterday I was in a funk.  Big funk.  I was tired and weary.  I spent most of the day chiding myself for feeling that way and yet, I could not get out of it.

Finally, late last night I went to my blog.  I figured that I could possibly write, but knew that if I attempted anything , it would come out wrong.

I have a dear friend who, when we are in that frame of mind, say to one another, “Step away from the computer”.   We have both, on several occasions go online and written something that we regret as soon as we hit the enter key.  I did not want to make that mistake yesterday.

The next best thing is to read.  So, I went to my reader section on my blog and got caught up with others in the blogging community.

I am grateful for being able to read other blogs.  It does help me.  I read blogs from all over and it gives me a glimpse into lives of others.  Soon, the focus goes off of me and onto others.  That is a good thing.

This morning I have had the pleasure to chat with two of the bloggers I read.  One is in London and the other New York City.  These women bless me so very much, and I am grateful for them.  They encourage me to break out of my funk just by their words and their conversations.

It does help to refocus your thoughts.  I can have a tendency to withdraw and just keep myself alone.  We are people who need to be with other people, we need to touch lives and allow ourselves to be touched.

What helps you to get out of funk?  I would love to hear from you.  Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

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There’s a spiritual lesson in there somewhere…

I try to find lessons in all areas of my life.  I think I have done this most of my adult life.  I have learned things cleaning a toilet.  I try to see things from how I think the Lord would talk to me.  I guess that means in parables, or stories.    I have a whole list of things that I have learned that way and for all of those little lessons, I am grateful.

I have nursery duty this month at church.  It really isn’t a duty because I get to snuggle with a little boy who is usually ready for his nap and he is willing and ready to be rocked.  You can’t beat rocking a baby to sleep while sitting in a comfy rocker knowing that rocking is the only thing you are required to do at that moment.

Anyhow, today the little boy was awake the whole time he was in the nursery.  But, he wanted to be rocked anyhow.  We rocked and played and he giggled, which is like heaven whenever a baby giggles.    He left early since his mom had to work, so I was able to sneak back into church and catch the end of the sermon.

From what I heard the pastor (a guest speaker from Michigan) was encouraging us to keep the flame lit.  Not to run short of oil.  It was great and I will need to go back and listen online to the beginning of the message.

We came home and had a lazy afternoon.  Earlier this evening we sat out on our screen porch and hubby started looking at the pool.  There was a faint green line around the bottom of the pool.    He looked at me and said, “you have some algae growing in there.”   Not exactly what I wanted to hear when I really wanted to do nothing the rest of the day.

I asked if I what I was thinking it needed was right.  I was right and I started to grumble about doing it today.  Hubby told me to wait until the morning and I almost agreed, but, there was something else.  By waiting, it would give the algae a bigger hold on the pool.   So, grabbing the necessary things, I went to the pool and started working on it.  I brushed it and loosened the growth (really not much), then I shocked it and added a few more chlorine tablets to the chlorinater.    Easy stuff, actually.

You see, this week, I haven’t done any maintenance on the pool.  It has rained non stop and when it has taken a break, I have been in the middle of something else.  We tested the water a couple of times to make certain it was okay and it was.  So, we waited.

The spiritual lesson here, at least for me? We can be washed cleaned by the blood of Jesus. We can have the right balance to us.  But, if we decide to just ‘be’ for a while, we have the chance of becoming stagnant.  Thin lines of green can form in our souls and if we do not stir ourselves up and renew ourselves with the bleaching of the Word of God, or prayer, that spiritual algae will continue to grow in us.   We will begin to grow murky and not be good for much.

In the New Living Version of the  Bible, Psalm 51:2 says, “Wash me inside and out from my wrong-doing and make me clean from my sin.”

Today, the lesson for me made me think about how clean I am.  I am going to spend some time this evening seeing if there is any spiritual algae growing in me and what I need to do about it.

I know this is a bit different from my usual writing, but, it is something I wanted to share.

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you.  DAF (Cathi)

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