Reality check….

The first week of July was a hard time for me.  Yes, we had just moved and getting settled was (and is) taking longer than I expected, but, there were other things happening that got to me.

The first Sunday of the month, we went to church, and came home, and as is normal, I went online and checked Facebook to see what was going on.  An acquaintance of mine, that I have actually known since kindergarten had several comments on her page.  None of them were normal.  There were no snide remarks or no humor.  There were condolences.  My husband’s cousin, who is also a mutual friend wrote to ask what was going on.  Together, we wrote back and forth until we discovered what was happening.  This acquaintance had lost her husband very suddenly to a heart attack.  I knew of him, but did not know him personally.  I read his obituary and realized he was two weeks younger than me.  This hit me hard.  Like hit me in the gut and have me double over hard.  It still bothers me and my heart goes out to this woman who is grieving, rightly so.

The following day I wrote a message to another friend on Facebook.  We also have known each other since kindergarten.  We were neighbors and played with one another.  We caught bees in jars and played on her swing set.  We played when she got the mumps, so that I would catch them and get it over.  (I never caught them)  We drifted apart through high school and reconnected about 20 years ago at our husband’s class reunion.  We have chatted online often since then.  Anyhow, this friend had been on my mind and so I wrote to see how she was.  She wrote back.  She is undergoing chemotherapy for a bout with cancer.

For the second day in a row, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

Since then I have thought about life.  I have thought about relationships.  Both are fragile and both can be gone in an instant.  I confess it took several weeks for me to get out of the funk that I went to after hearing the news of those two days.  But, what has surfaced from those two stomach wrenching days is a renewed appreciation for today.  Taking each day as the gift it is.  We are not promised tomorrow.

I have yet another friend on Facebook and each morning she posts, “I am glad to be on my feet today.”  That is how I am feeling lately.  I am glad to be on my feet.  I am glad to have this beautiful unsettled home.  I am glad for my hubby.  Glad that he makes me smile and makes me roll my eyes by some of the things he says and does.  I am thankful for another day with my puppy.  We didn’t think we would have him past the day we took him to the hospital, and he is still here, giving me doggy smiles and nose hugs.

Yes, life is good and sometimes we need to be reminded just how good it is.    Speaking of good…  I am planning on having a guest blogger soon….  I am excited about this.   More to come later.  Thanks for stopping by… DAF

The ABC’s of Moving…

Thought I would try a different approach to writing about the past few weeks…

A ~ auto accident while showing our oldest daughter around our new area… nothing serious, a fender bender for them, a dented passenger door for us.

B ~ broken ribs (five of them) for a good friend of ours who was trying to help us get ready to move in…  he fell off a ladder and is now recovering…

C~ Carpeting that still isn’t ordered as we had planned…. this reminds me of the saying, “We make plans and God laughs”

D ~ Discovering new areas where we live, new shops, new restaurants, new roads to travel

E ~ Energy that is eluding hubby and I.  It’s a hot summer, but, the humidity isn’t near what it was in Charleston.

F ~ Finding things packed in odd boxes, and forgetting that I really thought I was organized a few months ago.

G ~ Grocery shopping in new places and finding that familiar things aren’t always where we expect them.

H ~ Heavy boxes are always the ones that are in the way of the boxes you need to get to.  The heavy boxes move from one place to another and you find that you have to shove them out-of-the-way no matter how many times you move them.

I ~ Insurance agents that you are getting to know quickly after the broken ribs and the fender bender… They are very nice and accommodating…

J ~ Junk drawers… I never thought I had so much useless stuff that I really will need at some point in my life….

K ~ Killing bugs that think they belong in this house… they don’t.

L ~ Little Miss visiting us and making us laugh often.  She is a sweetie.

M ~ Memories that have already started to accumulate in our new home.  I have a happy heart thinking of the people who have already seen this place and I dream of the time when others can be here with us.

N ~ Naps desired… but not many taken.

O ~ Opening box upon box upon box and still not finding the legs to my table that goes on my side of the bed.

P ~ Pool cleaning… poor hubby…. we have had a pool of many colors.  He is becoming well-known at the local pool supply store…  But, it’s getting closer to being the right color….

Q ~ A new quilt bought for our guest room, it is lovely and looks perfect in the guest room.

R ~ Reminders of friends and family fill our new place with reminders of sweet presents we have received through the years.

S ~ A dead scorpion in the guest bathroom… couldn’t figure out why my puppy was growling and lunging until we saw the dead insect on the floor.  Found out they are common in the area, but their sting is no worse than a wasp sting…. I really hope it was the only one I see and that I never experience their sting.

T ~ Tinkering… seeing hubby move from one project to another, happy as can be.  This blesses me.

U ~ Unearthing  gems of landscaping under fall leaves that were never picked up.

V ~ Visiting  local places and seeing whether they will become popular haunts to revisit.

W ~ Wishing that this place was more organized and settled.

X ~  eXcited to be in our own home.  Feeling giddy each time I pull into the driveway.

Y ~ Yearning to be settled.  To be able to walk in each room and find it ready.  I know it will come, I am just anxious for it to be finished.

Z ~ Zeal to be here.  To be home.

The past few weeks have been crazy busy.  But, I have loved each moment spent here.  Hot, sweaty, frustrated, perplexed, giddy with excitement and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of chores ahead of us.  This home is truly a gift for us and we want to prove worthy stewards of this place.  A lot has happened, but, that is truly what makes a house a home.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

As It Was In The Days of Noah…

Yes, I know it is Easter time and Facebook and blogs are filled with words remembering the significance of this week.  Yes, I heartily agree with all of this, but, no, this is not a spiritual post.  Just a reference.

Noah built the ark, and the rains started.   Last night I was thinking of pulling out the plans for a boat, just didn’t know how quickly I could get it made.

The rains started yesterday afternoon, as expected.  The winds blew, the rains came and stayed.  It was cozy inside.  We donned our slickers and took the dog out a couple of times for a wet walk.

Last evening we looked at the pond.  It’s not a particularly lovely pond anyhow, more like a culvert with water in it.  There is an area of brush at one end of the pond, the brush stands at least ten feet in height.  Last evening the brush was half covered in water.  The pond was almost full.  The roads were full, as was our front yard.

Now, I know the house is raised just a bit for times like these.  I understand that.  My concern in all of this?  The three alligators who live in the pond.  Two of them are pretty little and I half expected to look out this morning to see them on my porch.

But, as the sun attempted to shine today, I looked out to puddles, a pond that had drained and no gators on my porch.  So, now we are waiting for the next round of storms and again we will watch the pond.

Have a great Easter weekend.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Just Below the Surface…

We live in South Carolina.  That is not news, really.  South Carolina is a beautiful state, and here in the low country we have beautiful waterways and marshes that are set around our landscape.  Most housing areas contain at least one pond.  These ponds always come with a warning, “Alligators may live here.  No pets. No swimming.”   Seems logical, I think.

As I wrote before, the sign by the pond that is about 10 feet from the side of our house reads differently.  It says, “Do not feed the alligator.  Do not throw anything into pond.”  We didn’t notice this sign until AFTER we signed our lease.  Yes, I did learn my lesson…. look closer to your environs.  (Duh!)

The other night, dear hubby and I were eating our dinner.  The eat-in area of our kitchen has two windows, each facing a different view.  Hubby’s view is out towards the wooded area behind our house.  My view is the pond.  We sat eating and carrying on a conversation, it was a nice time.  During a break in conversation though, something caught my eye in the pond.  It was not one of the turtles frolicking around.  It was not one of the beautiful birds that stand by the ponds.  No, this creature had a big (and I mean big) smile.  His nose was pretty pointed and he was at least 5 feet long.  A gator!!!  Now, this is not the first alligator I have seen.  We had them visit our backyard in the other house a couple of times.  They are majestic creatures.

The difference, and this is a big one, is that the pond in the other house was at least 20 to 25 feet away from our house.  An alligator could come up to our yard in the former place and it was a safe distance to watch and admire.  I saw this guy’s eyes and his scales and I have to say, I was startled.

Being married to a big kid, my hubby immediately went out to look at this creature.  Fortunately, by time hubby made it outside our dear amphibian creature had gone underwater.  Hubby, like a true little boy, was disappointed.  He came back into the house, finished his dinner and questioned me over and over about where in the pond I saw this creature.

Now, we haven’t actually seen him again, but I have had it explained to me that these creatures feed (turtles are their favorite food) and then go to the bottom of the pond and wait until they are hungry again.  Although their brain is small, they are aware of everything going on outside of the pond and they wait and calculate  their attack.  So, the trick is to not do something at the same time every day, which fortunately, we don’t.

When I look outside now, I see the pond.  I see the birds around the water and I still see one or two turtles (we used to have several). It looks peaceful, calm.  Just below the surface, though, is danger.

How often in our daily lives is danger lurking just below the surface and we are not aware of it?  Yes, I can be startled and frightened of this big,   yet to be made handbag or shoes (I know, peta would not like that, it was an attempt at a joke…) .  I can avoid going outside and definitely avoid walking on that side of the house.  I even look out before heading to the porch and once on the porch I look under the cars (sort of  like checking under the bed for monsters before going to sleep).  But, the truth of it all is, there is danger everywhere, and we are just not aware of it.

I had posted on Facebook about the alligator and got several comments.  The best was from our dear friends out in San Diego.  He was joking about said alligator and how he was not scared at all about the gator in MY backyard.   My point about danger everywhere came back home late last night, when, not being able to sleep, I got up and went back online.  There, on my Facebook page was a picture from a friend who rents a room from my friend I just mentioned.  This picture was of a visitor in THEIR backyard.   It was a picture of  a rattlesnake.    Yes, danger is below the surface everywhere.

And, although Luke 10:19 says, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.”  (New Living Translation)  I will not purposely step on a snake (or scorpion).  I will, though, trust that I will be safe from the danger lurking just below the surface as I continue to trust and follow the Lord and use my common sense.

Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF

The Lake

About a week ago I called a friend of mine in San Diego.  I called to give her our new address and phone number, since I hadn’t talked with her for a while.

As I was about to begin telling her about our move, she said, are you settled?  This caused me to question how she knew what was going on.  She just laughed and said, ‘your blog’.  I had totally forgotten that she knew about my blog.

She then told me that she missed reading my posts and had hoped all was going well.  I filled her in and we continued our conversation.  It was wonderful.  In the course of the conversation, she said that reading my blog was like walking around the lake with me.  Now, to most of you, this makes no sense, but, to me, it made me cry.

This friend I met years ago, before her youngest was born and he is now out of college and starting his life as an adult.  That’s how many years it has been.  We had a friendship that started slowly, and grew over the years. She ended up moving fairly close to our place in California.  About a five-minute drive from one another.

In between our houses is a lake.  Not a massive one, in fact most of the people here on the east coast would call it a pond.  But, for San Diego standards, it is a lake.  Around this lake is a walking path with the signs so common to the area, “Rattlesnakes in the area.  Caution when walking off the path”  , sort of like the signs here in Charleston by the ponds, “alligators may live here.  No swimming or pets allowed.”  Both signs cause me to say, “Well, duh!”  But, I digress.

We would meet often at the lake between our houses.  We would set a time, and meet in the parking lot.  Greeting each other with a hug and locking our cars, we would head to the path.  We would fall into step and begin talking.  We would talk about everything possible.  How our days were going, how our kids were, how her job was, how school was, how my hubby was driving me crazy.  Nothing was off-limits.  We had days where we would laugh continuously and days where the tears fell and our hearts would break for one another.

Most of the time we really didn’t notice our surroundings, that was not the point.  We connected with one another, held each other up in hard times and always prayed for each other.

There are geese at this pond.  These, she does not like, nor trust.  Squirrels aren’t high on a likeable list either, they are quick and can startle.  One season we saw a black swan at the lake.  It was beautiful.  We did stop and marvel at this.  It was unique and beautiful.  Like the times we shared together.  Unique and beautiful.

This friend of mine is incredible.  She has survived a brain tumor.  As a single mother, she put herself through college and graduated with honors.  She cares about people in a way that truly impresses me.  She works hard and never gives up.  Most of all, she loves the Lord and is one of the first to draw me away from the edge with words of encouragement and exhortation.

I know, that if she is reading this, she will laugh a little and in her mind argue points that I have said.  But, that is okay.  That’s what friends do.

After talking with her, I was determined to give her a stroll back in time, a walk once more around the lake together.  I miss those times.  They were times of refreshment for me.  I would laugh when she would move to the other side to avoid walking by a goose.  I would laugh harder when a squirrel would race down a tree and dash across the path in front of us, making her squeal in shock and almost jumping into my arms!

A couple of times a week we would walk around the lake for two or three laps.  It was our exercise time as well as our talking time.  It made us feel good to have that exercise.  We would talk about how good we felt about exercise as we would head to a local restaurant and have breakfast, or head to the local coffee shop and have tea and cookies…. you know you always need to replenish yourself after exercising….

So, today, thank you for joining me at the lake in my memory.  So glad you stopped by.  DAF