For Everything there is a Season…

I usually do any deep reflecting at the end of the year, after Christmas and right around the New Year’s celebrations.   That is when I think of the past year and ponder what the new year will bring.  That is the way I have done it for years and years (and if I was truthful, I would add another ‘and years’ to that statement).

So, it has been unusual for me to begin to reflect this early in the year.  This time of year is when I complain about the heat and the mosquitoes, if nothing else, I am a creature of habit. Specific things for specific times.

I have a great-niece (actually, I have six nieces that are great) but this is actually a great-niece as in my niece’s daughter,  hopefully that made sense.  She is a wonderful young woman, (as is her sister), and she recently graduated from high school.  Her Facebook posts reflect those of a recent graduate.  They are filled with emotion and excitement, determination, anticipation and mixed in with all of that, is a measure of uncertainty and if I am being truthful, fear.    This is an exciting time for her.  Her whole life is before her.  A vast hallway filled with open doors and adventures.  She is standing in the doorway, ready to embark on the rest of her life.

Yesterday hubby and I were having a conversation with some friends.  We were talking about our age and how quickly we came to the point we are.  We talked how we felt on the inside versus how we ‘looked’ on the outside.  It’s a conversation I have had several times in the past few years.  In fact, I find myself saying the same things while having these conversations.

This morning I woke up in a pondering mood.  I lay in bed as I thought of my life.  I really could see many opportunities that I passed on.  I realized that my vast hallway filled with open doors had many doors still open or halfway closed, all covered in cobwebs for not being used.  I wondered if I regretted not exploring them.  As I dressed for the day listening to my creaking joints and looking at my gray hair, it occurred to me that, yes, I am as old as I look, no matter how young I may think I am.

I know these were deep thoughts for a Monday morning, but, when my mind starts a journey of thought, I determine that I will see it through, with or without my first cup of coffee.

A couple of songs went through my mind.  The first, by the Byrd’s , “Turn, Turn, Turn”  and then just a snippet of Frank Sinatra’s classic, “I did it my way”  But, for the latter, the only phrase that stuck in my mind was “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”.

There were two things I took away from my morning musing which, obviously I am going to share with you.   The first, I did not explore all that was available to me, but, I would not travel back down that vast hallway just to see what I missed.

Secondly, each part of our life is a new season.  Each part of our life finds us at the doorway of a hallway.  That hallway may not be as long as what it was when we were freshly out of school, but, nevertheless, it is a hallway filled with open doors.  We each have new things to discover and explore.  New adventures await.  So, by this afternoon, this white-haired, creaky lady, who still feels like she is eighteen, albeit a very slow-moving eighteen year old is about to take a step from the doorway into her hall.

I also leave you with a quote from Ecclesiastes, which is where the song mentioned above came from.  This is Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 from the New Living Translation.   It sort of sums up how I am feeling on this Monday afternoon.   11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Thank you for stopping by today, hope you are having a good day.   Cathi (DAF)

 

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Grammy’s purse…

My daughter is married to a Navy man, which makes our Little Miss a Navy brat.  A couple of weeks ago my daughter and son-in-law had a weekend military commitment, and hubby and I went to Florida to watch our Little Miss for them.

We arrived on a Wednesday and spent the next couple of days in a resort condo that belongs to a friend of theirs.  We loved the view of the Gulf of Mexico, the white sand, the boardwalk, and most of all, we loved being with our kids.  IMG_1914IMG_1911.JPG

Each time we went to eat, Little Miss would gravitate to my purse.  She would start with the line,”I really like your purse Grammy.”  It is a bright pink wristlet bag that is small but somehow holds a lot!  Little Miss would hold on to my bag, and then shake it.  Of course she would hear the mints inside.

My purse is a treasure trove for a three-year old girl.   Inside is a container of mints, some cute sticky notes, pens, and lips losps (lip gloss).  What more could a girl ask for?  Each meal the purse would come out, the contents rummaged through, mints eaten and lip gloss applied.  The sticky notes and pen entertained her for at least a minute, it was just pure heaven for her.

Friday of that week, we took Little Miss back to her house for the weekend, while Mom and Dad stayed at the resort for their event.  We got to the house, unloaded the car, unloaded Little Miss and got settled in.  A few minutes after getting to the house, Little Miss went down for her nap and Grammy decided it was time to head to the store to pick up a few things.

I am very particular in where I put my purse since it has all my id’s and cards, and basically my life.  I grabbed the keys, the shopping list and went to grab my purse.  It was nowhere in sight.  I looked in the car, nothing.  I looked in the laundry room, nothing.  Looked in our room, again, nothing.  I retraced my steps several times.  I asked hubby if he had seen it.  He told me he brought it in and where he put it.  It wasn’t there.  I questioned him over and over, doubting more each time and putting a sudden onset of dementia on him, thinking he just didn’t remember right.

I gave up and just headed to the store, praying that I would not get in an accident or pulled over with no license on my person.  I have never (up to this point in my life) lost a wallet or purse.  I was sick at the thought of having to replace cards and identification.

I made it home without meeting any of the local law enforcement and decided to pull a Scarlett O’Hara, putting my hand to my forehead and saying, “I will think about that tomorrow.”   Replacing the wallet was going to take a back seat to preparing dinner, although I was truly sick thinking about the lost purse.

After putting groceries away, I started to fix dinner, wanting to get it done while Little Miss was sleeping.   I went to get a pan out and there sitting on top of the pans was my pink purse.  Hubby had said that he had placed my purse on the kitchen counter and sure enough he had, within an arm’s reach of a certain three-year old who decided to put the purse up for safe keeping.    I stared at the purse perched on top of the pans and just started to laugh.  Never would I have thought to look there, but, it was there for safe keeping.  I picked up the purse and put it up, out of the reach of a certain Little Miss.   It was a wonderful time and I haven’t laughed that much in a while.IMG_1950

Thanks for stopping by,  Cathi (DAF)

 

 

Unrequited…

I recently read that not every person who comes into our lives brings positive and wonderful things.  That oftentimes we meet prickly people.  Although, the person I am writing about in this post is not a prickly person, he did teach me a hard lesson.

As I have written before, my Mom passed away when I was eleven.  It goes without saying that the following few years were tough for myself and my sisters.

The summer of 69 brought a fresh breeze though and it was a turning point especially in my life.  That summer, my older sister met her husband while working at the city pool.  That summer I met my first love at the same pool.

I have known for a very long time that I would one day write about him, but, so often the words failed to be cohesive and make sense to me.  I finally, after much thought and actually praying about this, am ready to write this.

We were fourteen years old.  He(GJL) was tall, dark and I thought handsome.  I fell hard and as is common with a first love, I gave my heart.  It was a brief romance, just a few weeks that amounted to a first slow dance in the living room of his future sister in law’s living room, meeting at the pool, and a day watching a soap box derby, a walk through the park and the highlight of having my hand held for the first time.  That sums up the romance, actually.  Except for the fact that a piece of my heart went to him.  His mom, had other ideas about this romance and she ended it which I found out much later after wondering why I was being ignored.  His younger brother finally told me.  So, there was no closure.  No ending.  Just nothing, and my heart broken.

We went to the same high school and whenever I saw GJL, my tummy would do flips as I would hope he would at least smile at me.   Hubby and GJL worked together during the summer and actually he is partly responsible for hubby and I getting together since I would talk with hubby during summer school art enrichment classes so I could look at GJL.

The lesson I learned from GJL is this, hearts can and will be broken.  When they break, it colors how you view relationships, both those of a dating nature and friendships.  You can adopt the philosophy of  “hurt before being hurt“, and/or you can keep everyone at arm’s length, therefore protecting yourself for further hurt.  Both of these things, I have done.  Unrequited means something is not returned, it is not reciprocated.  When things do not have a closure you cannot retrieve what was given, and therefore after almost fifty years, a piece of my heart is still missing.

Would I trade anything in the past fifty years?  No.  I would not.  Because, when I was going through all of this I turned to the One friend who has never left me, never hurt me, never led me in the wrong direction. I would pour out my heart to Him while sobbing in my pillow at night. That friend knows what a broken heart feels like.  His heart was broken for us when He died on the cross.    Luke 4:18 says in the first part, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted”  (New King James Version)  

Since that time my heart has been broken several times.  Because of that first heart-break I have learned that although it is not pleasant, broken hearts do heal. Each break brings new wisdom.  Each break strengthens you in some way.  My heart is now scattered all over, in old boyfriends (there really weren’t that many), old friendships that soured, family members who have turned their back on me. I can’t retrieve those pieces and I don’t think I would want to because with each loss, I have become who I am.

Do I think of GJL?  Not as much as I once did, but every once in a while I wonder about how he is doing and if he is happy and well.   I hope he is.  I know I am.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (The Message)  The future I got so many years ago is beyond what I could have thought about or hoped for. 

Thank you for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

 

 

We have the same name…

I went to kindergarten in the morning.  I had a friend who lived across the street somewhat, it’s an intersection where there are actually a couple of streets merging off of one.  Anyhow, I really liked this girl and her name also was Kathy.   I remember one day another girl came to play with my friend Kathy.  She had red hair.  She went to afternoon kindergarten.  She was playing with my friend Kathy.  I immediately did not like her.  She was crowding in on my friend territory.  Her name?  Kathy.

Fast  forward through eight years of elementary school and this red-headed Kathy was at all of my birthday parties and I was at hers.  We were friends.  The other Kathy? I really have lost touch with her and don’t actually know where she is…

But, this third Kathy, this red-headed girl has become my forever friend.  We grew closer during high school.  I was at her house all the time.  We spent nights together, talking until three or four in the morning.  She introduced me to my husband, I was there when she tripped and actually fell into the lap of her future husband, smashing an ice cream cone into his face.  Yes, I was that friend who sat and laughed uncontrollably while that happened.   It was classic!

I just went online to read the definition of forever friend.  I read articles of how you know when you find a forever friend.  I didn’t need to read any of it.  The definition of a forever friend?  Kathy.

C.S. Lewis (one of my favorite writers) once said, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ”   This is my friend.

We have gone long times when we haven’t spoken.  We have had a distance between us.  We have been like sisters at times when we have argued and stayed mad at one another.  But, then, that melody drifts into our hearts and we know that we need to reach out to one another. We need to have that time of restoration.  To hear one another, and to listen to each other.  Those words that remind us of who we are.   That melody in our hearts that were sung as children and teens, and kept us sane as young mothers.  That harmony that now eases us into our ‘senior years’.  The song that started out as a light melody has now become an orchestral piece, rich with all the sounds of the instruments.  The deep bass of the hard and difficult times we have seen one another through, the piccolo of the happy times, the weddings and the births of grandchildren.  Those calming woodwinds that  echo with memories of times spent together.  Each movement conveying notes we carry in our hearts for one another.

Friends are truly a gift from our God.  I have been blessed with many friends.  I am honored when someone befriends me and I often wonder why they would.  The friendship with Kathy has been grown over time.  I often see a reflection of God in her.  Her faith, her giving heart, her determination, her drive, challenges me and at the same time amazes me.  There are very few people who I can be truly and honestly myself with.  I am grateful that Kathy allows me to be me, bumps, bruises, frustration, anger, tears, laughter, all of who I am, I can be.   She will listen and then, with ever so much grace she will point me the Lord and the direction I need to go.

In the Message Bible, Proverbs 17:17 says, Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.”  

I am so grateful to God for the gift of that red-headed girl I met so many, many, many years ago.   I hope you have had the blessing of a forever friend.  Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

Thoughts on Her Birthday…

 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,

Psalm 23:3a  (New Living Translation)

I have had my blog since 2013.  In the five years writing, I have only written about this woman twice on her birthday.  I just checked to make certain.

I was eleven when she died. Some years her birthday warrants just a short glimpse of a memory.  Other years I am affected by her birthday.

In light of what I have been writing lately, I knew that I would eventually write about her, and since today would have been a celebration of her, why not today?

As the years go on memories of my Mom ebb and flow.  Sometimes there is a clarity to the memories like looking through a window pane. Time seems to be non-existent, like she could be sitting right beside me.  Other times the memories are like an old faded letter.  The edges are worn and the ink is fading.  Time has begun to erase the sharp edges and the clarity of what you are grasping for.

In reality, how many of us truly remember everything from when we were eleven and before?  That is an age of being a child.  A place where things like cancer and death should not exist.  A place where there should not be a bed set up in what was a playroom before. There should not be memories of a table filled with prescription bottles and get well cards.  A child should not know what a bed pan is or how to empty it.  But, this child, along with her sisters knew that.  It was our reality. It was what part of our childhood consisted of for six months.

While thinking of writing this post I wondered what lessons I had gleaned from my Mom.  She taught us the basics, how to eat, wash, take care of ourselves, iron, do some laundry.  We learned by mistakes how to cook, clean, iron things other than handkerchiefs, how to get groceries, how to be strong, independent women.  We learned to take things in stride.  We had learned the hard lessons already,  people get sick and people die and you learn to stand up, dust yourself off and move in a forward direction.

I spent many years in differing situations wondering what my Mom would do, what she would think, what she would say.  I still do that occasionally.  The truth is, I don’t know.  For the woman who I knew and love was young.  I was young.  The truths she would have imparted to me would be the truths you tell a child.  Truths that are not totally complete, for as a child how can you grasp a full concept of things?

The one thing I always remember is her telling me that Psalm 23 was her favorite Bible verse.  Of course, it may have been for that moment it was her favorite, but, I hold that psalm close to me as being her favorite.  I chose this verse today because of her.  Also, this verse reminds me of Whose guiding hand has been ever-present in my life.  He has guided me when I didn’t have a Mom to verbally tell me not to do things.  Did I always listen?  No, just like I would not have listened to my Mom always.

The point is, though, that we are given one mother.  She brings us in to the world.  She nourishes us, holds us, loves us and teaches us as much as she can.  As a mother myself, I know mothers are not perfect creatures.  We tire.  We get discouraged. We sometimes focus on the wrong things.  We don’t always listen with an open mind.  We don’t always agree with what is going on.  But, underneath all of it, at the very core of our hearts, that bond between mother and child is permanently knit into our being.  It is a cord that cannot be severed.  It is our lifeblood.  It is our heartbeat.  It is that voice deep within us that echoes throughout us.

That cord was broken so many years ago, but the song of love still exists for me.  Happy Birthday Mom.  You are still missed.

My Brother…

1 Corinthians 10:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

I never had a brother.  I always wanted one.  Growing up with my sisters was wonderful and I cherish them, but, I saw my cousins who were, or had brothers and I envied them.  There is just something about having a brother.  I actually wanted a big brother.  That was just not possible.

Not possible, until we went to Japan.  When we first went to Japan we moved into a small apartment on the “economy”, which meant we moved into a Japanese neighborhood and lived like they did.   We were put on a waiting list for government housing, which is an American style home.  (Well, American as what the Occupation housing was like).

Several months after arriving in Japan we were contacted that we had worked our way through the housing list.  We drove from our little place in Kikoba, Hayama to Yokohama, Japan.  There we met up with two other couples, one a little older than us and the other, a couple our age with their baby girl in a little carrier.   There were three couples and three homes.  There was a ranking order and so we knew that when the older couple said which house they wanted, it was theirs.   We ended up with the houses we all wanted, so there was no strife in the decisions.

We moved in and a few months later while I was grocery shopping I ran into the couple with the baby.  They invited hubby and I to dinner that night and thus began a life long friendship.

But, this post is not just about them, it is about my desire for a brother.  The Lord heard my cry for one and He provided a brother for me in this young man.  After we all left Japan, they moved to San Diego and eventually we were there also.

It was during our time in San Diego that Mike truly became my big brother.  With hubby deployed so often, Mike stepped in and did the heavy stuff around our home.  Without asking, he was there faithfully to mow our lawn, build fences, move dirt, anything I might need.    His family is our family, we love each other and they are Aunt and Uncle and cousins to my girls and we are that to their girls.

Michael is not just a brother in a sense of taking care of things for me, he is the one I can argue with and disagree with.  He will challenge me when I am wrong, he will correct me.  He has words that are encouraging and words that make me spit out drinks from my nose in laughter.  As they say now, he truly is my brother from another mother.  I cherish his presence in my life.

Michael has taught me many things.  His life reflects his determination to be available for others.  He looks for the good in others, he brings it out in people.  He strives to expose in people things they do not see themselves.  He has done this for me.  I have grudgingly listened to him and mentally fought what he has said to me, eventually realizing he was right all along, thus giving me a firmer foundation.

Sometimes the desires of our hearts are not what we thought they were.  As a child, I saw an older brother as a mere protector, someone to guard against bullies, or to wrestle with, or to just hang out with.  The brother I received could be all of that, but, he is a voice that will beckon me to better things.  He will show by example consistency in his family.  He can be annoying in disagreements, and he will just smile when I realize he was right.    But, even though I do not see him much now, I know that he is a phone call away and if it is possible he would be at our side as soon as humanly possible.

Our Lord places us in families, those we are born with and those that just ‘happen’ to come to us.  My family was blessed to be placed together with theirs.  I am grateful for my brother.

Lord, thank you for Michael.  Thank You for the lessons You have taught me through him.  Help me to follow his example of You.  Those examples of seeing people as You see them, being consistent in my life.  Let my life be a reflection of You this day.

Thank you for stopping by…  Cathi (DAF)

When your first kiss passes…

It was the summer of ’69.   I had always been a bit taller than most of the kids in my class.  I had nicknames like, Stilts, Stretch, Legs, Wilt through what is now known as middle school.  I didn’t mind though and actually sort of liked those names, as they set me apart from other girls and made me feel like I was acknowledged.

In the summer of ’69 I was heading into my freshman year of high school.  I was 14.  I had my first summer romance.  Yes, I know, it is young, but, when you are tall and every boy you have met thus far was at least a half-foot shorter than you, and then you meet someone who is taller than you, has a cute smile and thinks you are cute, it is love.  Albeit, young love.  We used to meet at the pool and swim and talk.  I was smitten.  But, alas, it was not meant to be.  His mother (wise woman she was)  said, “Good Catholic boys do not date girls at 14 years old.”   So, my summer romance ended.  I was heart-broken.  All of this happened before the middle of July.

In August of the summer of ’69, my older sister (another wise woman) suggested I join the local group of “Up With People!”.    She most likely was tired of seeing me mope around the house, so I listened to her and joined.  It was some of the best times of my young life.  I learned more about leadership, and team work and community involvement in my years in Up With People than I have since.  But, that is another story.

I met many kids, some that I would be going to school with, since I was transferring to a new school in my freshman year.  It was exhilarating.  One of the people I met was a somewhat shy boy.  He was a freshman also and we clicked right away.  He was easy to laugh with and you never quite knew what he would do next.  He had a great voice and I soon learned that young love can be renewed.

My first official show for Up With People was in our hometown, in the bandshell, which now no longer exists.   I had looked forward to this time for at least a month and I was so ready to go on.   As the group did their pre show  gathering we all took our places to run onto the stage.  Suddenly, right beside me, was this shy kid.  He looked at me, wished me good luck, reached down grabbing my hand.  He then lifted my hand and kissed it.

My first kiss.    Not the most heart stopping experience.  Not the most drop in your tracks romantic.  But, to me, it changed my world.  A boy had kissed me.

We were a ‘couple’ for the next couple of years.  We could fight like cats and dogs and then we would be back to laughing together.  A typical young teenage ‘couple’.

His family moved to California before our junior year.  We wrote for a bit and then completely lost track of one another.  Thanks for Facebook, though, we reconnected a few years back.  We didn’t message each other often, but, we at least kept in touch once or twice a year.

He recently retired and he and his husband went on a cruise.  I told him to have fun and congratulated him on his retirement and didn’t think anything else about him.  Friday while online I saw of picture of him in front of the New York City skyline.  I laughed to myself and thought, he is making the most of his retirement.  I read the post below the picture.  I reread it.  I read it the third time.  This time I spoke, telling my hubby that he had died.   My dear sweet husband, who didn’t miss a beat came to my side and asked me how I was.  I don’t think I would have thought to do that if his first girlfriend had passed away, but, he did.

I stood in my husband’s arms and realized that this news had hit me harder than I could have thought it would.

Yes, that kiss on the hand led to other kisses not on the hand.  We went to the junior high prom, me in a yellow dress and he in a green suit (hey, it was 1970!) .  We collected tickets for the junior/senior prom when we were sophomores.  We continued to be in Up With People until he moved.  Suddenly memories flooded my mind.  They have swirled around all weekend long.

Yes, it was many years ago.  Most people don’t keep in touch with their first kiss.  I truly didn’t think I would.  But, I did.  He died unexpectedly, which kind of fits him.  When I knew him, you never really knew what he would do next.

He is the third person in a little over a year to die.  The third person that had impacted my life in a memorable way.  Each time I have been affected.  Each time I have paused to think of how dear people are and how important it is to keep in touch and let others know how special they are for you.

I never thought I would remember so clearly that event of August 11th, 1969.  So many more dates carry heavier and deeper memories for me.  A reminder for me to let people know their importance in my life.

Thanks for stopping by.   Cathi (DAF)

Navy Family…

Military families are a unique group of people.  Separated from biological families, they have to make and become part of a new family with each duty station.  Their children have very little access to their real cousins, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents.  So, in the absence of having blood relations around, family units are formed and the bond is as strong as it would be if you had grown up in your hometown.

As is common in some families, though, there are times where there is little communication and days of not talking can turn into weeks, months and eventually years.  You think of them, you pray for them, but life continues and soon you realize that you have lost touch with them.  Their names are no longer on your Christmas card list, and their birthdays are no longer marked on the calendar.  You have the memories of them, you smile to yourself as you remember the duty station and the things you had in common, but, for the most part, you smile and once more tuck the memories away in the file in your heart labeled (for me) Norfolk, Yokosuka, Nagai, Bangor, Winter Harbor, San Diego.

And then…   your text notification goes off at 2:00 a.m..  My first thought was to ignore it.  My second thought, it may be one of the girls and you panic trying to figure out what happened and if the grand-babies are okay.  The third thought is, ‘Put on your glasses dummy and see who it was” .  So, at 2:05 a.m., I fumble for my glasses, and stumble into the bathroom, turn on the light and bleary-eyed read the text.  It was urgent sounding.  Prayer needed.  No name, just a phone number.    My next thought was, “poor thing.  must be a wrong number since there was no name attached to the text.”   I pray for this person and then the area code sinks into my brain.  I recognize the area code, I used to have this area code.  By now I am mentally awake.  I scroll down and realize it is a different number than the Maine numbers I have.  I pray a bit harder.

I get back to sleep after feeling like I had prayed enough.   It was a group text and honestly, I think people get up way too early on Sundays.  My notifications started to go off at 5:30 a.m..   One after another.  I finally put my phone under my pillow so it wasn’t so annoying, after all, I had my alarm set for 7 a.m.  and I didn’t want to over sleep!

In a nutshell, all of the texts and commotion through the night was for a ‘family’ member from Winter Harbor.  She is ill, and in the hospital.  She was one that had been lost for me.  It was her number that showed up on my phone.  Today I talked with her for the first time in I can’t remember how long.  We laughed and shared memories and prayed together.  It brought a smile to my face.

Then an hour ago, another unidentified phone number showed up on my phone.  I answered and figured it was a sales call.  It was not.  It was someone else that I had lost touch with.  She was part of that family in Winter Harbor.  I recognized her voice, as with family, you do not have to identify yourself when calling.  You know the voice.  Your heart recognizes the voice.  We visited for a short time and the call ended.

In hanging up from that call, I realized that our adopted families are just like our biological families.  We know we are there.  We can call, or choose not to.  We can message, text, write a letter, share a post, or we can decide not to.  But, when there is an event, or an emergency,  family comes together.  We may not be as close as we once were, and we may no longer see eye to eye on everything, but, we will come together to pray, to support, to hold one another up.

I am grateful for my adopted families.  My life has been shaped and formed through knowing them.  My mind and heart are filled with memories shared with them.  When I think of them, I am transported to the housing area that had a perfect view of Mt. Fuji, rice paddies, and yakitori stands.  Or, I am immediately put on the rock-bound coast of Maine, with the sea smell and lobster traps.  Images and smells and sounds of my life.  Littered with snippets of people who have encouraged me, challenged me, supported me and laughed with me.  So, to my siblings that have been on my mind and heart today, Mike, Cindy, Debbie, Dick, Maggie, Jackie, Bob, Susie, Vance, Ruthie, Neil, Rosalee, and so many more, thank you for making me me.  My life has been so blessed by you all.  I love you.  And, to my nieces and nephews,  Janna, Wendy, Cathy, Beth, Dawn, Paige, Kelly, Kevin,  and Aimee, I love you.  You are missed and your young lives made me smile in so many ways, thank you for the blessing of being you.    (Disclaimer: I failed to mention another Vance, who started as an adopted part of family, but became family, as did his mom, dad and sister and he became Little Man’s daddy)

Thanks for dropping by today and for reading my stroll down memory lane.  Cathi (DAF)

Heroes…

A few years ago we watched a movie that made a huge impact on me.  I actually think of it often and am still moved by it.  The movie was “Taking Chance”, starring Kevin Bacon.  It is about a fallen soldier being taken home and the military officer who accompanied him.  I cried through the entire movie, I really wanted to just sit and sob, but retained my composure and just let the tears fall.

All too often in recent years, we have seen videos of our military personnel who are being loaded onto aircraft.  We see the honor guard and the spouses and family standing soberly by the casket.   It is heart wrenching to say the least.  But, it truly is what these heroes deserve.

A couple of nights ago, a gentleman from our church passed away.  I confess, I did not know him well.  I knew him to see him and I loved when he would stand to pray.  His prayers were bold, and strong and elegant.  His prayers would make my heart soar.   Hubby, though, did know this man.  He had visited him frequently the past month as his health was declining.  So, the other night when we received a call that he had passed, hubby went to the hospital to be with the family.

I got a text from him an hour or so later and he said that he would be staying with this man until he was taken to the morgue.  I didn’t think much of it, it just sounds like something my husband would do.    He came home later that night and I could tell the passing of this man had touched my husband’s heart.   We knew he was now out of pain and was peaceful.  Hubby said there was almost a smile on his face in death, and we both agreed that he most likely saw the glory of heaven in his last moments and that is enough to make anyone smile.

As I started to drift off to sleep that night, it occurred to me what my husband had done that evening.  He had said when he came in that his feet were a bit tired from standing and I didn’t connect the dots until I was trying to go to sleep.   He was standing watch for his friend, who not only was his friend, but, a brother in arms.  This man who died was a combat veteran who had served in the Air Force for 20 years.  He served in Viet Nam and the military when it wasn’t fashionable to do so.  He served his country when most people ridiculed our military.  He never received  accolades given for his service like they are given today.  No one stopped him on the street to thank him for his service.  He quietly did his duty.  He was a hero.

And, my husband, who recognized this hero stood watch beside him.  To the staff at the hospital, he was a cancer patient who had most likely lived a full life.  He was older and he lost his battle to cancer.   Hubby, though, knew the rest of the story.  He knew he was a veteran.  They had shared stories of their time in the service, they bonded as only brothers in arms can.

So, at the end of his life, he received the honor he deserved.  He was not left alone.  He had a brother standing guard, watching and making certain he was taken care of.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and ages.  I am proud I have my own hero.  A man who respects the tenants and traditions of the military.  A man who will honor the heroes that have served and gone on before him.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Cathi (DAF)

Just Thinking…

Each year at this time I begin to remember and think of what I was doing and where I was.  Each year I add another number to the count of the years.  Each year I wonder where the time has gone.  Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s birthday.  I don’t mind my own birthday, but, hers gets to me yearly.

Yes, I have two daughters, but until recently the only birthday that bothered me was my oldest daughter’s birthday.  Now, that her sister has made it to her mid-thirties, I begin to feel older in September also.

I can remember talking to my Dad on my birthday.  He would ask, “How old are you now?”  I always thought that was a bizarre question, I  mean, how could you not remember how old your child was?  I am beginning to think it was self-preservation that he asked that question.  I think he was most likely hoping I would give a lower number, which I never did, because, as I mentioned previously, my birthday never seems to really bother me. So, I would proudly announce my age and his response is one that I have become very familiar with, “How did you get to be that old and I really don’t think I am old enough to have a daughter your age.”   I guess with age comes wisdom.  I feel that same way.

Today as I was going through my Facebook page, I started to read the responses on a friend’s post.  As usual there was a secondary conversation that was between my friend and a friend of hers that I do not know.  The conversation went like this, (friend 1) “How is your Mom?”   (friend I don’t know) “She is good.  64 now and healthy.”

I swallowed hard.  This comment made it sound like at 64 the woman should be in a home for the infirm and aged.  This, on top of my oldest approaching what could be a milestone year as she hits a big year next year (sorry Sweetie), made me start to look for my walker, a cane or my bed pan.  Or all three of them.

It truly is amazing that I have my facilities to actually write this out and think coherently.  Age, in wine, cheese and Sean Connery it is a wonderful and delightful thing, each year making it better than before.

So, I will continue to think on this.  This business with age, and numbers and gray hair and arthritic hands.  This business of growing older.

I close with this quote I found.  
Never use the passing years as an excuse for old age. ~Robert Brault

Thanks for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  Oh, and to my dear daughter, Thank you for the years of laughter and tears and worry and joy.  May #%* be the best year yet for you!  Cathi (DAF)