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)

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Broken Bones, Broken Hearts and Broken Promises…

After a bit of encouragement today from a lovely group of bloggers, my mind started to once more formulate something to write. It has been three months since my last post. I broke a promise to myself to be more consistent in writing. I was determined and I did not see it through. I realized today that for years I have been playing at writing. It is a life long goal of mine to be a writer. A serious one. Each new year I think to myself, “This is THE year. I am going to start that novel I have carried in my heart and mind for the past twenty plus years. ” And then, by the end of January those thoughts fade and I think to myself, “Well, maybe someday I will get to it.” This year was no different, I thought maybe this year I will do it. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t ruled it out.

The past three months have been eventful. They have flown by actually. The end of October I was blessed in being able to speak to a group of women whom I love dearly. It was a long weekend retreat at a beach house in Myrtle Beach, SC. The talk centered around forgiveness and a hard lesson I learned about forgiveness and faith several years ago. It was a cathartic experience in writing this. But, with experiences like this, I felt drained after sharing my thoughts and words and emotions.

During the time of the retreat I had to miss the memorial service for my dear cousin who had passed away. It broke my heart to not be there for him or for my extended family. We each have that one cousin (if we are blessed) that brings your heart joy with each thought. He was that cousin for me. My heart smiles with each memory of him, but, I feel his absence daily with each thought also.

After the retreat, hubby and I traveled to our hometown in Northwest Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful time, it is always fun to be with friends and see family. We had a wedding to attend and that made the time even more enjoyable. Our niece made a beautiful bride and her new husband is a wonderful addition to our family.

As we were celebrating in our niece’s joy we received word that a dear friend passed away suddenly after a fall. It made the cracks in our heart deeper as we realized once more that we would not be there for the memorial service. The separation of death hurts in ways you do not expect. We have the assurance that we will see one another again, both my cousin and our friend, when we pass through this life, but, it does not ease the desire for one more conversation, one more round of laughter, one more time to pray for one another.

On our last night in our hometown, my dear hubby decided to do a tap dance with a cat, at the top of a staircase. Guess who won the dance contest? Yep, the cat! Fortunately, no fall down the stairs, but there was a trip to the emergency room for a broken ankle. It fortunately healed quickly and he is back to normal and on the mend.

Yes, it’s been a hectic three months. But, worth it. In between all the chaos were the holidays and a trip to see Mickey and Minnie at Disney World. I have found that usually in life there is chaos and confusion at times, but in the day to day things there is always a place where peace and joy reside. It is in the little things. The memories of loved ones that make your heart smile. The laughter as you explain to doctors how an ankle was broken. The victory of being able to share things from your life you never thought you would be able to speak aloud. The sparkle of tree lights and the sparkle of grandchildren as they look and marvel at gifts under the tree. The gleeful laughter of grands as they play and chase one another around the house, dogs in pursuit and mothers yelling to slow down. Life, sometimes it needs encouragement, sometimes it needs quiet, sometimes a simple nudge to just write helps immensely.

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

SIPB SUMMER BLOG TAG

I have had my blog for several years and have only recently discovered blogging group pages on Facebook.   This past year I joined a group that I thoroughly enjoy.  There are few like this out in the ‘virtual’ world.    This group Sharing, Inspiring, Promoting Bloggers    is a great group.   A few weeks ago there was a thread that I jumped in on.  I could not resist it.  I sat for a good couple of hours laughing and reading and commenting.  It was like a high-speed pen-pal journey,  you remember pen-pals, don’t you?  You know those names you pulled out of a box in primary school, a name from a different country or state and you wrote them mainly as an exercise for grammar and learning to write letters.  But, if you were lucky enough, you got a response and a long distance friendship was born.    It was always exciting to get a letter with a foreign stamp on the front of it and you opened the paper to discover something new about someone.    This is what that thread was like.   I sat on my couch in my living room in the south, sipping some iced tea, but it felt like I was sitting on someone’s porch with a group of friends.  It was wonderful.

What transpired was a list of questions that several of us are responding to.  Please check out the link above if you are looking for a dynamic group to be part of on Facebook.  Below are the answers to the questions posed that delightful day.

  1. What is your favorite Summer holiday destination?   I have so many places that I have enjoyed that this would be a list,  anyplace with my grandchildren, the state of Maine, Disney resorts (or any amusement park), Prince Edward Island, camping in the mountains, or just my backyard!
  2. What is my favorite childhood memory of Summer?  Playing with my sisters, riding our bikes, walking barefoot to the community pool, going to the park sitting on the monkey bars and eating potato chips with my sister, playing kick ball and hide and seek with the neighborhood kids.  I had a great time in the summer when I was a kid.
  3. Which do you prefer: ice cream or frozen yogurt?   Summers are made for ice cream, or frozen custard (soft serve).  For soft serve, it has to be vanilla dipped in chocolate and ice cream I love is cherry vanilla.   Of course my favorite ice cream can change with the day also!
  4. What is your go to meal on a hot Summer evening?  When we lived in a house with  no air conditioning, it was either taco salad or fruit salad with a sweet dip and muffins.  Now that I have the luxury of an air-conditioned house I cook whatever I feel like!  Just so it is quick and easy!
  5. What is your favorite BBQ food?   I have recently learned that here in the south, BBQ is its own food, but, having grown up in the northern states I think of BBQ as anything cooked on the outside grill.  (I gave that disclaimer for any of my local friend who may be reading)  There is nothing better to me than a hot dog on the grill.  A plain, simple hot dog, on a bun with catsup and a tiny bit of mustard and if hubby isn’t going to be around, then a spoonful of diced onions.   And now, that is what I want for dinner!
  6. Share a song that takes you back to an amazing Summer. The summer of 69 was probably my favorite summer.  It was the summer before high school and I loved that summer.  I think we are alone now by  Tommy James and the Shondells takes me back.
  7. How do you beat the heat in summer?   As I mentioned before, I do love my air conditioning!  I sit inside and pray for summer to end!!  I am not a summer person, really, I am not.
  8. Do you prefer swimming in an ocean or a pool?   I immediately say pool since you know what is beneath you, but, once I am in the ocean I love it.  I love the spray on my face and the feeling of the sand flowing out from under my feet as the waves go back and forth.
  9. Do you prefer to travel with family, friends or solo?  I most enjoy just getting away with my hubby, we make a great team traveling together.  Family is fun, but it can get tiring for everyone.  The kids get tired and their parents get tired and since we are old, we are always tired.  Solo is fun, I have done that a couple of times and I really like it, but, if I were always alone, it would not be fun at all.  I have a whole book of memories traveling with a friend that I will someday share, it was a riot.
  10. Flip flops or barefoot?   There was a time when it was only bare feet for me, the soft grass of Northwest Pennsylvania is wonderful to sink your feet into.  But, the feel of grasses in most of the places we have lived has never matched that feel of grass in childhood and I have since been a feet covered person.  I will wear flip-flops at time, but for the most part its athletic shoes and socks!!

I have had so much fun thinking of answers and traveling back in my mind and looking through the scrapbook of my mental memories for this post.  I thank the members of this group for extending not only friendship but encouragement and information, you are all the best!

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Implementing an Idea…

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write.  I have always loved the idea of putting thoughts together to somehow have an impact on another’s life.  I don’t know if I have ever succeeded in doing so, but, as you know, it has not stopped me.

As we were leaving Japan to return to living in the states, I had an idea for a book.  Obviously, that has not happened.    The book was to be a devotional of the lessons I had learned from the people in my life.  I have tried a few times to start it and each time, I reread what I had written and either tore it up (before computers) and threw it away, or, I have hit the delete button and it disappeared.

After my last post, I realized that lately I have had a theme in several of my posts that talk about people in my life and what they have meant to me.  I have suggested that you tell those you love, or who are in your life how important they are to you.    As I finished my last post, it occurred to me that this might be the time for me to at least blog about the lessons and truths I have learned along the way with those precious people who have been in my life.  So, I am going to begin sharing some things from people who have been placed in my life.  This will be my (hopefully) gift to those close to me.

So, my blog will be my observations, lessons, and love I have gathered along the way.  Life is fleeting, and I want to take the time to share my love.  That is, of course, unless something really exciting happens and I have to write about that!

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.  Cathi (DAF)

And time marches on….

It’s been two months since I last wrote on my blog.  Truthfully, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long, and I had to check my stats to actually prove to myself that it has been.

Two months, eight weeks, sixty some days, more hours than I care to figure out.  It is time and it has passed by.

In this time I have spent time with friends.  Had meals out with friends.  Cleaned my house several times.  Done a ton of laundry (well, not really, it just seems that way).  Ironed for several hours (which I really do not mind).   I have gone on a women’s retreat at the beach.  I have written and taught a Bible Study.  I have made holiday plans for both Thanksgiving, and Christmas and New Year’s.   I have even addressed most of my Christmas cards and started to plan our neighborhood party.

Time passes.  Seasons fly by.  Our area has been hit with two tornadoes.  The green leaves have changed to bright colors and have started to fade and fall all over.  The last of our tomatoes have been brought indoors and we watch them wondering if they will ripen any more.

The holly berries have appeared and the camellia’s are budding, waiting for the holidays to come so they can start to bloom.  Soon the birds will perch on the holly trees ridding them of the bright red berries.

And time marches on.  Seasons continue to pass.  The sky gets dark earlier and the cold sets in then.  It is the beginning of winter and I am happy for that.  I have started to decorate for Christmas already.  I have never done this this early before and have found myself enjoying it more than I imagined.  Somehow, it brings a sense of settling in.  A sense of preparation for Christmas.  A feeling of not rushing to do it all and trying to grasp the joy of it all.  A feeling of looking forward to not only the gift giving, surge of activity, but of actually thinking of what Christmas is.   I can look at the angels and think of the host of angels that appeared over that manger.  I can look at the trees that are up and decorated and think of the people who will gather around them and be grateful and so thankful for them.

Yes, time is marching on and there is a peace to all of it.  Thanks for stopping by.  I do appreciate it.  Cathi (DAF)

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)

It’s a New Year…

Yes, it’s the third day of this new year.  No, I haven’t been celebrating for the past four days.   I am just now getting around to reading blog entries and deciding to write.

I have read blogs talking of new starts, new hope, blank slates.  All of them poignant and encouraging.  To be honest, this year, I haven’t done my usual inventory of the past year and I haven’t thought about this new year.  As cynical as it sounds, my thoughts have been wondering what all will happen this year.

Each year I have tried to look ahead.  I try to plan things I would like to do.  I don’t call them resolutions because I know by February I will have forgotten what I resolved to do.  I just like to make mental plans of what I could do during the year.

Except this year.  I haven’t a clue as to what this year holds.   I know whatever happens, with the grace of God, I will get through it.  The grace of God is what has gotten me through several years.  It is only by His grace, His care and His love that I am where I am.

A year ago today, if someone were to have told me that my hubby was going to be laid up throughout the summer and I would have to do the things I had to do this summer, I would have run screaming through our woods hoping to get lost and never found.  I would not have had the courage to go through this year.    I would have quit.  I wouldn’t have gone forward.

That’s the thing about not knowing the future.  We may not have the courage to proceed if we know what is in store for us.

So, as this year starts, I am sitting here wondering what this year will be like.  I wonder what I will be like this year.  I wonder what changes will happen.  How they will affect me.

Last night I made popcorn.  Not a remarkable event.  But, it was the first time I had made popcorn without our puppy underfoot.  As usual, I dropped some popcorn pieces as I was pouring it into the bowls.  I looked down and realized that for the first time in 16 years I had to pick that popcorn up.  There was no Shugo to scarf it down and beg for more.

This is just one example of how things have changed this past year.  Last year the thought of losing Shugo was a possibility, but by the end of the year, it was reality.

I am grateful for my faith in our Creator.  For, without that faith, that assurance of His care and protection of me, I could not face a new year that is unknown.  I know this is a different tone than my usual post, but, this is what is on my heart.  I face this new year, now, 362 days left in it.  I know I will write about it, cry over it, fight it, enjoy it and this time next year, Lord willing, I will look back and once more know who it was who actually got me through it.  Thank you Lord, in advance.     Happy New Year.

Season’s Greetings…

As this year draws to a close, I realize I have not been as consistent in writing this year.  A goal for 2017?  Be more so.

The one thing I have been consistent in, though, is my deep appreciation for those who read my blog and those I read.  To the writers of other blogs, thank you for your words.  They have made me laugh, made me cry, encouraged me and challenged me.  They have given me comfort when you knew nothing of what I was going through.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a joyous Christmas.  May this holiday season be filled with love from those you hold dearly.  May this season be filled with laughter, unexpected and bringing tears of joy to your eyes.  Most of all, may this season bring a deep and lasting peace to you.

Thank you for being in my life.  Because of you all, my life is fuller.    Merry Christmas.


Where my mind has taken me….

But, first…. a preface!  Last night one of my dear cousins wrote me and asked how I was doing.  She does this often, and I do miss her and wish we could somehow travel back in time and get to spend more time together. But, I digress…. in the middle of the message, she encouraged me to not give up my blog.    I haven’t written in weeks.  I do have a reason.  I have had this cold/bronchitis/sinus  stuff that lingers and lingers and lingers.  I have taken cold medicine and my mind has been more than hazy.    So, this morning, in my haziness, I forgot to take my cold medicine and amazingly enough… my mind is clear!  And a post came to mind.  So, even though I sound like I am hacking up a lung, I do have something I want to write….

When we were in the process of buying our home, we had a house inspection done.  The inspector gave us a book (literally), and reassured us that this book was much smaller than almost every other home he inspected.  This helped us greatly in deciding to proceed with the purchase of the home.

One of the things in this book, was the notification that all of the appliances were original to the house.  The inspector told us that the next five years would find us repairing and/or replacing these appliances.

That was okay with us, we like new things and we decided to buy them as they went out.  We bought a refrigerator which I love, and we have been watching to see which would be next.  Our microwave will occasionally turn on by itself for a minute.  We laugh at this, and say it must be a Revolutionary ghost soldier.  He hasn’t been around in months as the microwave has only turned on when we press the buttons.

Last week, though, I finished loading the dishwasher, put the little soap thingy in it and went to close the door.  The door would not latch.  I pulled out the shelves and rearranged everything.  Tried again.  No latching.  I looked at the latch and tried to figure it out.  No success!   I sigh, walk into the living room and tell hubby.  He gets up.  He closes the door.  It doesn’t latch.  He slams the door.  Still doesn’t latch.  He pulls out the shelves, rearranges things.  Still nothing.  I hear him looking at latch.  Still nothing.  He comes in and says,  “I don’t know what to tell you.”   He sighs and I say, “It’s okay, I can wash them.”

I love my dishwasher.  I have only had a dishwasher since we moved to South Carolina.  We have been married almost 42 years.  We have lived in South Carolina for 7 years.  That’s a lot of time of washing dishes.

I fill up my dish pan.  I start to empty the dishwasher and I look up.  Although I have lived here for a year and half, it occurs to me that I do not have a window to look out of while doing dishes.   In San Diego I could look out the window while doing dishes and have an incredible view.  I could see the Pacific Ocean, the Coronado Bay Bridge, and Point Loma.  I could watch the sunset.  I could see a view that some people will never see.  It was an incredible view to have.  I never took it for granted.  I was always in awe of the view.    I did not expect to be transported back to that old kitchen of mine while doing dishes here.

As I continued to wash the dishes I thought of other kitchens I had.  I thought of our first kitchen.  How, I stared at a wall while doing dishes.  It didn’t matter though, because I was doing our dishes after fixing him a meal.  I remembered how excited I was to have a kitchen that belonged to us.  I smiled to myself.  I wasn’t expecting to take a journey in my mind.  I was not expecting to have such wonderful memories while washing the dishes.

It took almost a half hour to get the dishwasher empty, to wash the dishes and dry them and put them away.  But, it was a wonderful respite for me.    As I folded the dish towels and closed the cupboards, I leaned down, lifted the door to the dishwasher and click!  It latched!

I just started laughing.  Grateful that we didn’t have to replace our dishwasher so close to Thanksgiving, but, also, grateful for the memories that flooded my mind so unexpectedly.

It’s the little things that happen in life that amaze me the most.    Thanks for stopping by today.  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)