24 years

As she often does, my niece who writes over at PDA: Positive Disabled Adult has hit it out of the ballpark.  Here are her words.  Proud does not even begin to describe how I feel about her.

via 24 years

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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)

Words…

I haven’t been on my blog much the past few weeks, but, I have been writing.  I have spent the past couple of months writing, thinking and preparing for a Bible Study that I have shared with a wonderful group of ladies at my church.  It is always an honor to speak and this time was no different.

What I have really thought about these past few weeks is words.  How we say things is as important as what we say. Wording is so very important, isn’t it?

I know I have failed miserably in the past to put thoughts into words and also writing before actually thinking things through.  But, I suppose we are all guilty of saying things to others before thinking of how they may come out and how they may sound to the other person.

We truly do not know what is going on inside another person.  We do not know the pain or anguish or stress they may be carrying, yet are not showing it to the outside world.  How we respond in words can make a person’s day or ruin it.

Several times this past year I have spoken without thinking.  I know it has caused pain, but, even after apologizing, the pain, for me, was still there.  Words can damage a heart if spoken in haste or without thought.  So, for the past few weeks, I have been cautious as to how I am wording conversations.

This experience has revealed several things to me.  First, the adage, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, should be tattooed in my eyelids so that  I can always see them.  Secondly, don’t expect forgiveness to come easily if you have harmed someone with your words.  I am the type of person who can flare up, but within an hour, I am sorry, and have recognized that I have been wrong.  I have learned not everyone is like me.  Thirdly, lack of words is worse than an abundance of words.  It is a very fine line and I am learning, unfortunately, how to be a tight rope walker.

I have thought in the past that a blog is where you can write things you may be feeling and with that you can release emotions that may not be an easy part of yourself to reveal.  I am rethinking that.  A part of my Bible Study has been to encourage women to be themselves and to not hide behind masks that are so much a part of being a human being, especially a woman.  We tend to hide and only reveal our strength, our firmness, and not allow our fragile side to come out.   Sometimes, in writing words, we reveal a soft side and it can be poked and bruised easily.

I am hoping that through these past few weeks, I have learned much about words and wording and coming out behind masks.    I have always loved words, and putting them together.  I have always loved being able to have a few close friends that I can share spoken words with.  My love of words is still a very present part of me, and I look forward to learning more about how and what to write.    Cathi (DAF)

The ticking sound of time

Prelude:   This post is by my very talented niece, Beth.  Please take the time to read this, it’s awesome!  But, also visit her blog,  PDA: The Positive Disabled Adult.  Leave some comments for her, she deserves to be read and read often.  She leaves me inspired and encouraged and especially during this season, we need to feel that.  Thank you dear niece for being you!

“You would know the value of time, the day you start counting not the hours, but the seconds they contain, and what you did with them.” -Herman J Steinherr As the holidays quickly appro…

Source: The ticking sound of time

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)

 

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)

 

Memorial Day…

This weekend is the Memorial Day weekend.  A time where there are picnics and sometimes parades.    My Facebook feed has been filled the past few days with memes of Memorial Day.

It is true that this weekend marks the beginning of summer, of course it does, it is the end of May and June is next, the schools are out and the weather is increasingly warmer and the calendar is in order, May, June, July, August, the summer months.

People do use this weekend to mark the time to start the onslaught of potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs and grilling out.  I think they would do this even if it was not a three-day weekend here.

Yes, there are mega-sales in all the stores.  Retailers, given a reason to grab money will use any three-day weekend to draw crowds and move merchandise.  It’s a given.

The notices on my Facebook feed remind everyone that Memorial Day is different from Veteran’s Day, and Armed Forces Day.  A part of me is glad to see that people are aware of the difference, but, there is a part of me that looks at those memes and says, “Well, duh!”.

Maybe this is because as a child we were taught that there was a reason for Memorial Day.  Maybe because we were the generation born after WWII, with our parents still having the memories of that great war fresh in their minds that we knew this day was a somber reminder of those who gave their lives in order for our lives to be secure.

Growing up in the midst of the Viet Nam war made an impression on me.  Each Memorial Day my dad would take us for a walk to a cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony.  A time where there were old men speaking in hushed tones, a gun salute, bugles playing.    This all crept into my heart and resided there.  There was a reverence for those who had fallen.  This also made me wonder why I felt like the war in Viet Nam was not getting the same rep.  I confess there were often times after seeing the newspaper and television reports that I could agree with the protestors.  The draft was a huge topic growing up.  I had mixed feelings on that until, as a senior and dating my hubby that I realized he could be drafted.

Hubby and I talked about the draft all the time.  His friend had a number that was below number 25, he was certain to be called up.  Hubby’s number was in the 300’s.  About that time, the draft was ended.   His friend stayed home.  Hubby enlisted.

To many people, it appeared that hubby served in peace time.  A time where there was no danger, no difficulties.  But, for the first 15 years of his enlistment, his commanders would recommend that they not wear their uniforms off base, as military was not accepted.  There were still too many harsh feelings concerning the Viet Nam vets.  I was always proud of the uniform he wore.  I was proud of the job he did.

My personal belief is that each generation has a duty to recognize and respect those who have served.  I also think that the term ‘peace-time’ is a fallacy. There is no such thing as peace when each country has a military to defend its borders. The men and women who choose to serve this great country of ours deserve respect.  They are going places and doing things most of us would not do.  The military does not question, they go.

I have a picture of my dad and his brothers all in their uniforms during WWII.  They stand together proudly, it is a wonderful picture.  They were a sampling of the brave men who defended us during that war.  They are all gone now, as many of their generation are.

Now we will begin to see those who served and fought in Viet Nam  start to dwindle in numbers.  Hopefully they will finally get the acknowledgement that they answered a call, they served when it was not popular, and some of them returned to a nation that was not grateful.  I pray that those who were lost in this war get the respect and honor they deserve.

Yes, Memorial Day is a day that raises many questions for many people.  Today, this weekend, there will be families who will receive a phone call or a knock on the door with terrible news that a loved one has been lost in action.  It is for these families, like generations of families before them , that we stop on Monday and remember.  We need to solemnly stop and remember why we can laugh and swim and picnic and eat a full meal in peace.  We can swim and go to the beach and not worry.    We can live in this country because of the men and women who gave their lives for ours.

I know this has been a soap-box post from me, and now, I will step down from it grateful  for what I have because of those who gave the ultimate gift.  DAF