Stillness…

There are many nights where I do not fall asleep,  I lay there with a parade of thoughts marching through my mind.  Sometimes these thoughts are worries or fears, sometimes they are imagination, sometimes they are memories.  Needless to say, they keep me up.  This parade, without a brass band still make noises that keep me from sleep.

Sometimes, though, I stay awake and after the parade passes by, my thoughts are distilled into prayers.  Last night was such a night.   I lay there initially thinking of how my hip was bothering me and after trying different positions trying to get comfortable, my mind went on to other things.  I once more, mentally, worked on the opening lines for my book.  These opening lines have been written and rewritten several times over the course of my life.  I am finding that they are coming into a clear rhythm and I will write them down soon.  (This is an aside to my sister who has reminded me that she has yet to receive pages to edit).

After the success of mentally writing my first few paragraphs of my book, I thought about Little Man and Little Miss and their toy room here in our home.  With help from my youngest who was here last week, the toy room is undergoing a change from toddler toys to things that will hold their interest.  I hadn’t expected them to grow so quickly, I guess this Grammy just wanted them to stay small longer.

Finally, after the parade ended and like all parades the only thing left was a bit of clutter from the confetti of thoughts.  I mentally swept it up and came to the most important part of all of this, Prayer.

I prayed for friends, for their health, for their lives, for their finances, for their families, but, I knew there was more I had to do before sleep would come to me.   I got out of bed and quietly stepped out of the bedroom, hoping not to disturb my hubby.  I walked through the living room stopping to pick up the pictures on the table.  Two of my favorite pictures, they are of my oldest and her hubby on their wedding day.  The two of them holding on to each other on the beach.  The other is my youngest and her hubby, also on the beach, but posing with our precious puppy.

I took the photos and held on to them, hugging them as if I were hugging them in person.  I went to the guest room and opened up the curtains.  I held onto the pictures and prayed.  I thanked the Lord for the four of them and then looked, for the first time out the window.

It is sometimes in these quiet moments when you think you are doing something, that something else out of the blue happens.  This was the case last night.  Although the prayer for my kids was wonderful and touched my heart, the view from the guest room window was a gift in itself.

Last night the moon was full.  The light flooded our front yard that is filled with trees.  The light filtered through the leaves and the front yard was dappled in the moonlight.  I stood for several minutes looking at the scene.  Everything was still.  No wind, no breeze, just stillness.  Our gazebo, the trees and the ground painted by the Lord in moonlight.  Peace came over me and I knew without doubt, that all the thoughts and prayers that had gotten me to that point would be taken care of.

I walked through the house, looking through each window.  The views I pay attention to in the day were now dreamlike.   Quiet was everywhere, no birds singing, no tractors in the distance, nothing, just stillness.

In Mark chapter 4 in the Bible, a part of the scripture says that Jesus commanded the sea to be at peace, be still.   The seas obeyed Him.  Last night, after the parade in my mind, I looked out my windows and heard, “Peace, be still”.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

Advertisements

This Day…

For the past several days there have been photos, articles, memes and memories of September 11, 2001.  Each one pricks at my heart and brings the tears to my eyes.  Each one is a jab at what happened to our country.  I still feel anger and shock when I look at the pictures and read the articles.  It will always be like that, I think.

This time of year everyone asks, “Where were you that morning?”   or,  “What were you doing when it happened?”

These two questions cause me to realize that this day, with all the grieving associated with it, gives me pause.

We were in San Diego, three hours behind the east coast.  What was I doing when the planes hit the towers?   Sleeping.

That morning I woke up.  I woke up smiling.   My baby was turning 18 that day.   We were going to go to the DMV so she could get her drivers license.  We were going to celebrate this young woman who was a freshman in college.  We had dinner reservations with a friend of hers and her god-parents.  It was going to be a great day, a day to celebrate this woman who was starting out on her great adventure of life.

We did do everything we planned that day, but, although it was a bright sunny day outdoors, we were glued to the television, watching events unfold.   A depressing pall fell on everyone.

To this day, I feel conflicted on this day, I want to mourn what happened in our country, yet, I want to celebrate this person.  To me, this day is a joyful day, it is the day my youngest was born.   A day I celebrate daily in knowing she is in this world.  She completed our little family.  She has succeeded in so many areas of her life.  She has given this world Little Man.  She deserves to be celebrated for so many reasons.

A few years ago, another layer was added to this day.  18 years ago, our son-in-law, (Little Miss’s dad) received his first military I.D. card.   This man has served this country faithfully and has loved his family.

So, this day is filled with emotions for me.   Sadness, anger, pride, joy, hope.  I guess, in thinking about those things, it is a good day.   I will never forget, but the pride I have in my son-in-law and in my daughter will never die.  And because of the reason for my pride, I have joy and hope for the future because I know great things will happen because my family is who they are.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi(DAF)

 

What is in a tree?

Last week while Little Man and his family were visiting due to being evacuated for Hurricane Dorian, we took little day trips.  He is a smart Little Man and is interested in a myriad of things.  So, with this in mind, we went to visit Cowpens Battlefield here in the area.

Having visited the battlefield once before, I knew there was a film that told about the battle in the visitor’s center.   We watched the film and at the end of the film there was a statement, “in the time it took to watch this film, the battle was over.”   I had forgotten that part.   The film was less than an hour long.   That statement started my mind going for the rest of the visit.

We walked along a trail through the battlefield, and my mind kept going back to the length of the battle.  Along the way were markers that talked about the battle, with sketches and diagrams as to where you were.

In each of the markers, with the sketches of the battle were what the background could have looked like.   There were saplings that were portrayed, and fields.  The saplings caught my eye, for where they were in the sketch, in reality there were large trees.  These trees, at least some of them, could have been there when this battle took place.

img_20190905_141101106

This tree caught my eye, obviously, since I took a picture of it.  The bark on it was twisted and it was fascinating to look at.

The image of this tree has not left my mind since our visit.  If trees could talk, what would this one say?  Was it a sapling in 1781?  Or was it a sapling during the Civil War?   How many people have picnicked underneath it?   How many couples used this tree as a place to meet?  How many times has this tree been climbed? What has this tree heard in it’s lifetime?  Promises made, promises broken?  Epitaphs?  Declarations of love and or hate?  All of this has rumbled around my mind.

This battle, short as it was, made history.  This field, once a place used solely for cattle, is now a national place.  This field is honored, people come to this field to learn, to remember our history, to reflect how our country came about.  Yet, these silent sentinels remain where all can see.  These trees, at least some of them, witnessed the events we learn about in visits like these.

When I look at trees, and as you have guessed, I love trees, I think of wisdom.  Trees outlast us.  They put their roots deep into the ground.  They survive storms and winds, snow and hail.  They stand tall during rain, they soak up what they need.  They shed leaves, they bloom new ones.  They provide shade, they provide protection, they provide.

In short, I truly would like to be like a tree.  Someone who may look a little gnarled on the outside, but is full of wisdom, protection, and provision.  A place where people can come and unload, vent, or just sit quietly while being refreshed.

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

That time of year…

As many of us here in the states know, there is a hurricane approaching.   The weather forecasters are reporting the paths that could be taken, the speed of the storm, the temperature of the water, the path of the air, the height of the waves, the amount of flooding, and so on and so forth.   I can find that I spend much of my time watching, as I am fascinated by this science of hurricanes.   They are violent storms, but they are also a visual of the power of God, as He is the One who has created it all.   I love to see manifestations of His power.  No, I am not going to engage in why all of this happens, it just does.

I see myself as a person of prayer. I have often mentioned that I love to pray and I love to see the answers our Lord gives as we come before Him.   Again, this is seeing His glory and power manifested.

Now, we just returned from a visit to the panhandle of Florida.  That is where our daughter’s family is and that is also where hurricane Michael hit last October.   Driving to her home, there was still much destruction visible.  It is going to take years for all the damage to be undone.   Tarps still cover many homes and businesses.  There are blatant reminders of the destruction a hurricane makes.  It is heart breaking to see it all.

We came home to hear about Dorian approaching.   I have seen many memes of this approaching storm.  I have smiled at many of them, I have chuckled aloud at several.   The one that keeps coming to mind, though, is a map of the southern states with a handful of cooked spaghetti laying on top of it.   That is accurate, I think.

The storm looks like it is going to hit the peninsula of Florida.  I have many dear cousins who live there.  I have friends who live there.   I really do not want their homes to be harmed, or their lives to be in danger.   But, I know that if it veers in any direction, going off into the gulf would affect my oldest daughter, and if it hits further up the eastern seaboard, it will affect my youngest and her family.

I mentioned to my cousin last night that my prayers may not do much, but, I serve a God who talks to the wind.  I pray for the protection of the people in Florida and any who may be affected by this storm.

And then, on the other side of me, there is that thought, hmmm… maybe I could see my Little Man if they have to evacuate….   There is always that side of me, the grammy side that  would just like to snuggle with my babies…

Thanks for listening to me ramble tonight…  Cathi (DAF)

Little Man…

It has been quite a while since I have written and even longer since I last wrote about Little Man.  Little Man is now seven.  Seems impossible, but he turned seven on Friday this past week.

Hubby and I traveled to see him and were able to spend time with him.  It was glorious!  I always come away with a lesson learned from him and this time was no exception.

Friday we spent a couple of hours with him in the pool.  It was a fun time with lots of laughter and splashing and rough-housing.  He showed us his jumps into the pool, his cannonball, his karate kick jump, and his vertical alligator jump.   All named appropriately, and each delivered with grace and style.  If they were to be judged by this Grammy, they would all be a 10.

We played cards, and Rock em, Sock em Robots.   It was a tie at the cards, but only because the game was interrupted by dinner and then forgotten for a bit.   I lost the battle of the robots, much to the glee of the seven year old.

The lesson I have learned this past weekend?  To live life with joy.  Embrace the fun that life holds.   Jump into the pool of life instead of gently lowering yourself into the tide and flow.  Most of all, hug, laugh and make funny noises when words fail you.

Happy Birthday Little Man, you will always have my heart as I learn from your example.

Thanks for stopping by today.   Cathi (DAF)

Hope…

Hubby and I have been busy traveling the past month.   For Easter, we celebrated with our dear friends along with Little Man (who is not so little anymore) and his folks.  It was a wonderful time to celebrate and catch up.

The week after Easter we traveled to Florida to see Little Miss and her folks.   We were able to spend a couple of weeks with them.

Little Miss, as you may recall lives in the panhandle of Florida.   Seven months ago the area they live in was hit by the category 5 hurricane Michael.    I confess as we drove down the excitement of seeing my daughter and her family outweighed any thought of what had happened seven months ago.   Time and events are like that, we watch the news reports before and during a major event like the hurricane, and we think and pray for the area for a bit and then, as normal, we forget.

Yes, we had talked with our daughter and had been kept abreast of the recovery of the area, but, we live several states away and the reality of what it is like fades with each passing week.

We stopped to get gas and I texted our daughter our progress.  She texted back and asked if were starting to see some of the damage.   We hadn’t at that point.

Shortly after our stop, our mouths started to open wide.  On either side of us there were acres of open spaces.  Trees were gone.   The trees left standing were either twisted or snapped off at the top like someone had taken a sharp saw and cut off all the tree tops.   The roadside stands that dotted the highway were either gone or mangled, laying in heaps of debris.   Hubby kept asking what the gps said the speed limit was,  I thought he was being overly cautious.   Finally, tired of checking the speed limit I told him to look at the signs, he calmly told me there were none.  Homes were covered in tarps that took the place of roofs or walls.  All of this was miles from where the eye of the storm hit.   We were dumbfounded.

Our hearts were saddened by what we saw.   All of this devastation and it has been seven months.   I couldn’t imagine how these people were dealing with all of this.  This area was where the outer bands of the hurricane was.   Our daughter had told us that funding was not coming for repairs.  That several of the insurance companies were sluggish.   I felt so bad knowing that I was driving through this area on the way to my great joy in seeing a grandchild.  It was a vacation, and we had just left our home with the roof intact and our home surrounded by trees full of leaves and branches.

And then…   At an intersection I saw a school bus.  A few feet down I looked into an empty field and saw a tractor plowing up the land.  I saw a makeshift table and tent selling items, I saw hope.   These people may have been hit hard, but, they did not flounder.   Yes, there are tarps covering many of the homes there.  There are many stores still not open because they are awaiting repairs, there are buildings with just the steel structure showing, there are more tarps on homes and buildings than I could imagine.  But, there is hope.  There is life.  There is resilience.   Hurricane Michael was a category 5 hurricane, it hit hard.   But, it did not diminish the strength of the people who live there.

Yes, the landscape of the area is different, driving into our daughter’s development was different.  There were no trees, except the palm trees.  There was a pond that no one noticed before because it was surrounded by trees.  We watched roofs being put back on, life getting back into a new normal.   We saw hope in action.

As we drove out of town, hubby chuckled a bit.   I looked up from my phone and he pointed to the side of the road.   The speed limit signs had returned.   Hope.

Thanks for stopping by…  DAF  (Cathi)

Hey.. Hey…

You know when some event happens and it brings back a flood of memories?   Today (well, technically yesterday as it is after midnight now), such an event happened for me.   I was on Facebook and saw that Peter Tork of the Monkees had passed away.

For a moment, I did not believe my eyes, so off my fingers went to google and sure enough what I had read was correct.   Peter Tork had passed away.  A part of my middle school life was gone.  Sweet memories flooded my mind and also a weird pang in my heart jabbed me.

The teeny-bopper television show was one I loved and I was a faithful fan of the Monkees.   Posters crowded my closet door.  I would save my baby sitting money to buy teen magazines so I could keep up with the latest on the Monkees.   I had their 45’s.  I had their albums.   To this day when I hear a Monkees song on the radio I can sing right along and also know where the needle on our record player would jump or stay put.   Of course, we all know that if you put a penny on the arm the needle would track the record better.

Beyond the usual teeny-bopper craze were the memories of a group of friends I had.  Marlene, Lorraine, Vicki and I spent each lunch hour together.  We were good friends and had spent each lunch hour together as long as I can remember.  We did not go home for lunch as many students at St. Joseph Catholic school did.   No, we ate in the lunch room and then went to the playground for the rest of the lunch hour.  The playground was actually the asphalt parking lot for the church, but, it was what we had.  No swings, no slides, no teeter-totter, just asphalt.   There were the occasional jump ropes and if we truly scored there was a ball to play with, but for the most part, it was conversations as we huddled in the corners between the spires of the church.  It was there that Marlene told us that her mom was going to have a baby and she hoped it was a girl as she only had one sister and five brothers.  It was there that Lorraine told us she was going to be an aunt, and we marveled how she was able to be an aunt in sixth grade even though we knew her brothers were much older than she was.   I know it was also where I could talk about my Mom and how much I missed her.

My Mom died in 1966, the year the Monkees television show started.  Their music and their show distracted me away from the grief I felt most of the time.  When I was with my friends and we were talking about the Monkees, I was no longer that girl whose Mom had died, I was just a normal girl.  Somehow, the Monkees enabled me to be a regular person and one that could carry on conversations.

I actually did not realize until today how much that group meant to me.  I knew I liked them.  I knew I was a fan.   But, it wasn’t until today, some fifty years later, that I realized they helped me move past my grief and back into normalcy.

So, thank you gentlemen for helping me through that season of my life.  Rest in peace, to my favorite Monkee.     Cathi (DAF)

 

Tea…

I sit here drinking a cup of chai tea.  It is warm, comforting and I am enjoying it very much.   I decided to have a cup after reading Chai and a Chat on Ritu’s But I Smile Anyway.    I commented to her that in comparison to what she would be drinking, mine is a weak American counterpart.

I grew up with tea.  My folks being of Irish and Scottish descent, tea was ladled out for all sort of remedies.   Don’t feel good?  Here’s a cup of tea.   Feeling sad?  Here’s a cup of tea.   I continued that tradition with my girls.

During dinner when we were young, I remember my Mom would heat up the water and fill the teapot.  After dinner, the teapot would be placed on the table, and both of my folks would have a cup of tea to finish their meal.  I always left a bit of milk in my glass because, if I was lucky enough, Mom would pour some of her tea into my glass and I would be able to join in with them.

I don’t remember the teapot being on the table after my Mom got sick, but, the memory lingers in the deep recesses of my brain.   I remember the teapot as a teapot.  I can’t remember the color or design, but the image of it sitting on the table comes back to me often.

I love teapots.  I actually have a collection of them.  I have some from Japan (for loose green tea), and I have one from each member of my family.  Hubby got me a big one that I don’t use often as when it is filled, it is heavy.  My oldest gave me one that actually matched my kitchen when we lived in San Diego.  My youngest gave me a plain white one that, I confess is usually the one I grab when making tea for hubby and I in the evening.  It doesn’t pour well, I hold it over the sink to pour, otherwise more tea ends up on the counter than in the cup.

My most prized teapot is a special one my girls brought back from their vacation to London a few years ago.   They  said they went into a shop either in Piccadilly or Notting Hill,  (I am not certain which right now) and described me to the shopkeeper.  They told him that I collect teapots and I love unusual ones.  He reached down and produced the teapot they purchased.  It is one of my most prized possessions.  It sits in my china hutch and I use it on special occasions.  It pours so beautifully and brings tears to my eyes when I look at it.

I know things like this are made to be used and enjoyed, and after all, they are just things.  This one, though is more to me, as it reminds me that I have two loving daughters who care about me.   They spent time during their vacation with each other to remember me.  They made certain it was carefully packed to arrive perfect for me.

So, now my cup of tea is finished as is this post.   Just some random thoughts on this sunny day here, thanks for stopping by.   Cathi (DAF)