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 Middle of August, almost…

Each year about this time, I want it to be fall.  I want to pull out my leaf garland and my pumpkins and have it be fall.  I know that it is still summer.  It is still hot and humid out, but, there is always just a hint of fall in the air around this time.

Moving to a new place, I am really aware of that certain something in the air.  Some of our leaves are turning yellow.  This may be normal for the bushes,  I really don’t know.  I have to say, though, those yellow leaves are only adding to my anticipation of fall.

It’s fun to be in a new home this year.  Seeing the differences each day that either I hadn’t noticed, or that something has changed.    The pool is still beckoning me to jump in and swim, but, something in my thought process has changed.  I can’t wait to see the leaves change colors, to see them fall, and even have it cool enough to rake them.

But, for now, I will sit and wait,listening to the cicadas and knowing the season will soon be here and before I know it, I will be putting Christmas decorations away and looking forward to spring flowers.  There is a big kid inside me.  The kid that is always looking forward to the next thing.  That kid needs to have a time out to stop and notice the beauty and the things in front of her now.

Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

At Long Last… Home…

Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness.

Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace. ~Vernon Baker

We lived in Downeast Maine during the last year of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s.  We had been married five years.

There was another young mother who had a daughter the same age as our oldest.  Several times a week we would put the girls in their strollers and we would walk through the little village of Winter Harbor and climb the hill to walk around Grindstone Neck.  An area that is filled with mansions with large beautiful windows and curving driveways and plush lawns.

We would push our strollers and gaze at these homes.  We would mention what we had heard in passing.  Who lived there, who rented there.  There was one home that had a breakfast nook that overlooked the road.  There were lacy curtains and you could see the breakfast table sitting in the window.  We would both say that one day, we would have a home with a bump out like that.  We would sit in our beautiful bathrobe and eat a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup.  We thought this would be heaven since neither of us had the time to eat a warm piece of toast with our toddlers.

After my morning walks, I would often meet with a couple of other women from the housing area.  One being Little Man’s Nana.  We would sit over tea cups and talk about the day when we would each have our own home.  A home that was not painted Navy gray.  We would sit and dream of sidewalks for our kids to roller skate on or ride their bikes on.  We would dream of being able to paint each room whatever color we felt like.  We talked about having our own yards and plants.

Through the years I have dreamed of a perfect home.  When I was younger, I always wanted a wishing well in the front yard.  I had seen one in one of the housing units on base.  I thought it was wonderful.   I always wanted that bumped out window.  I liked Palladium windows also.  Gazebos were also something I thought would be great.  They look like a fun place to visit.  Flowers, trees, yards, benches, and more trees.  Ah… that would be ideal.

Hubby and I have long thought about the time when we would buy our house to grow old in.  We have talked so much about what we would love to have.  We usually laughed and sighed and admitted that it was up to the Lord as to what He wanted us to have and where He would like us to be.

This past January we traveled up to the upstate region of South Carolina.  We began to look at places we had seen online.  We met with a realtor and he showed us several places.  None of them worked.  None of them sparked in us what we knew would be “the” place.

In February, our realtor called and said he had just been asked to list a property.  He said he thought he had found ‘our’ place, and would we come up to look at it.  So, we packed the dog and the car and headed up once more.

We programmed the address into our gps and drove to the place just to get a sneak peek.  We drove past nice homes, and old broken down barns.  We passed silos covered with ivy and more homes.  We turned onto the street and turned up the driveway.  We parked the car and looked at each other.  We smiled.

The next day the realtor took us inside this place.  We spent two and half hours poking around this place and property.  We smiled more.  We began to think we had found our place.

We returned home, put in an offer and after a brief negotiation, we started the paperwork.  This past Friday we signed the papers and were handed the key to our new home.

As I sat at the lawyer’s table looking at the key, I commented that this little piece of metal represented so much to us.  We spent the weekend there.  We had two camping chairs, the dog’s bed, and an air mattress.  We had the best time!  We worked hard and are tired, but, it is home.  It is filled with a peace that confounds us.

And yes, having taken an inventory of my memories that I have just shared, this house has them all.  A wishing well is standing at the corner of the driveway, complete with a handle that moves.  It houses a hose for watering that part of the yard.  A gazebo graces the front yard, it needs a coat of paint, but, it is going to be a wonderful stage for Little Man and Little Miss to perform on, and it will be a place to sit and sip and talk.   The big palladium window graces the front of the house and it is a modified Cape Cod style that I have always loved.  There is a bump out breakfast area in our kitchen.  I can sit there and watch the birds and the bees pollinate the flowers surrounding the home.  A screen porch overlooks the pool and beyond that is a yard that is surrounded by a couple of acres of trees and a stream.

We are blessed beyond measure.  I am humbled that through my life the little things that I silently mentioned to the Lord He gave to me.  Things that I thought were so far out of the realm of the possible for me have been given to me.  I walked through the house yesterday before we left.  I thanked the Lord for the gift of the house and I prayed for each room.  My prayer now is that this home will be a place of rest, not only for us, but for anyone who needs to  regroup and be restored.

We will be in our rental for another couple of weeks while we paint and do some other things in our new home, and finish getting some things done here in the rental, but, I know hubby and I left our heart in our new home already.

Thanks for stopping by today…  DAF

Kitchen Memories…

Two years ago yesterday we moved to our current home.  We did not like it here.  It was not the house we wanted to be in, yet, we had to move since the owners of our previous home wanted to live there.  We understood why they wanted to be there, it is a great home.

So, anyhow, fast forward two years and I am again neck-deep in boxes.  I really don’t mind and I haven’t wanted to dwell too much on here with moving, although when you are in the middle of it, it is what you think about and ultimately write about.

Yesterday, I jumped into the kitchen.  Determined to whittle down what was in the cupboards to the bare minimal.  We are hoping to close soon and I want to be able to throw what is remaining into a box and have it done with.

I am also sorting as I go.  Pitching things that are way beyond useful and pulling out things that still have life to them to donate.  I confess, I did hold on to a couple of small appliances that truly are past their prime, but still work well, although they do not look good.

But, for the most part, I looked at things critically to decide what went and what stayed.  The thing that spoke the most to me was how often some of these things have been packed.  I wrapped some things that were wedding gifts 40+ years ago.  A cake plate.  Given to us by our best man.  I use it daily, well, it sits on my counter top.  I love it.  The lid that I now put on top of it belonged to another cake plate hubby got me a few years back.  The plate itself didn’t last long, but the cover was heavy enough and it went with the original cake plate.  I wrapped them both and prayed they wouldn’t be broken in this, their last move.

I did this often yesterday.  Picked up a piece and wrapped it, and remembered how long I have had it, what the story behind it was and thought of the moves we have made over the years.

For some of these things, it is the 12th move.  That’s not a large number considering we were military.  But, having stayed in one place for 28 years, it is still a lot of moves.   Memories crowded my mind and kept me company yesterday.  It was an interesting day.   I remember our first ‘official’ move.  The one we did not do ourselves.  The packers came in, they packed things up quickly and then looked around our little apartment.  They wanted to take the furniture, which would have helped us, but, it was a furnished apartment.  We had enough to fill a half of a crate.  Up to that point, we  thought we were overloaded with ‘stuff’.

This move will take a very large truck.  We have a houseful of furniture and a storage shed.  We will most likely take things we shouldn’t.  Things that would be better tossed or donated.  But, we have come to a point where we look at things and see a place and a point to keeping them.  I am hoping it is not weariness guiding us, but, I have a feeling it is.

So, two years after being in this home, I have started to say good-bye to it.  We didn’t start as friends, but, it now echoes memories and laughter and some tears.  It amazes me how packing up a few dishes reveals the heart changes that happen.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Dinner with Friends…

This evening I was invited to have dinner with a couple of friends.  They wanted to have one more meal together while we were all still in the same town.  I was treated to a lovely meal downtown and I feel special because of their caring.

We are getting closer to moving.  I have packed so many boxes, I think I should be finished.  I’m not and when I look around all I see is more ‘stuff’ that needs to be sorted through.  But, that is not what I wanted to write about tonight.

When we moved here five years ago, I never truly thought about what it would be like to live in a city where I knew no one.  I had lived in San Diego for so long, that I knew people and had friends.  I took that feeling of belonging to someone’s circle of friends for granted.  I still miss those friends, and time and distance has not erased the wish to meet for coffee or walk around lakes.  They are forever etched into my heart.

This evening I had dinner with two women.  One I know and can talk with, but, we have never spent time one on one.  Until this evening when we carpooled to the restaurant.  It was the first time I had actually spent more than five minutes alone with her.  The conversation was easy and fun and I will always remember the drive into town.

The other women was my first friend in Charleston.  When you move, you meet neighbors and they are polite and nice.  They sort of have to be that way, since, after all, you are neighbors.  Then I met people at church, and again, people are nice because, well, they sort of have to be.  I felt that these people were a given.  But, this woman, was my first friend.  She had a conversation with me when there was no real obligation for her to do so.  Of course, she did own a shop and I was in shopping, but, the conversation went beyond that.  I visited her store often and each time the conversations grew in length and fun.  Soon, I was working with her and we would talk the day through, if we could.  I had a friend.

I once wrote a blog post about friendship, I referenced the Girl Scout song, make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.  I mentioned this friend in the link and said that I thought that she would one day move from the silver group into the gold.

This  evening, I realized that this woman has become a golden friend.  We have shared much the past few years.  We have laughed and cried and shopped and laughed some more.  We are both retired military wives and we know what it is like to start over again and again.  We know that distance does not make a friendship disappear.

Our friendship will not disappear, this we know.  But, once more, this evening I felt the pang I have felt so many times in my life.  I have sat at a table laughing and talking only to have the time run out and the last words spoken: good luck; this is a new adventure; and, we will miss you.    All wonderful words, but they hurt the heart when you think of so many friends you have said this to.  I carry in my heart faces of women who have blessed me, laughed with me, propped me up when I could not stand, and made me laugh until I snorted soda, or tea, or coffee from my nose.

So, in the next month I will be in a familiar situation again.  I will meet new neighbors.  We will find another church to attend.  And hopefully, I will find someone who will take that chance to strike up a conversation that will never truly end.

And so dear friend, thank you for the dinner and the memories of a wonderful time spent here in the Lowcountry.

Thanks for stopping by….  DAF

On Missing a Way of Life… 31 Days of Observing…

This morning I spent some time reading posts on my Reader section.   There was a post from Adopting James titled “We Know Jack”  (
It was about the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”  (Tim Burton’s 1993 movie).   It was a great post to read, but what it did was transport me to Disneyland.  I could see the decorations that grace the Haunted Mansion in the park from Halloween until the beginning of the year.  The music plays while waiting for the ride and all through the ride.  You walk around the park for the rest of your visit humming it.  Sometimes it is a duet with the other themes of rides, so that it can become a cacophony of music in your head.
After reading this post, I was immediately homesick for a drive up to Disneyland.  For 27 years I was able to drive to Disneyland.  It  was less than two hours away.  No gps or maps were needed, I got in the car and drove. I know my way there.
This got me thinking, always a bit dangerous.   I miss that way of life.  I miss the way I lived when I was in San Diego.  I never thought I would say that.  I was glad to leave the west coast and move east.  It was a dream I held for at least 27 years while living in California.
I miss being able to meet friends for a walk and either have coffee or a meal afterwards.  I miss shopping at the malls with all the good stores there.  I miss meeting our dear friends for coffee and or dinner and movies on Friday nights.  I miss the mountains and the apple pies and apple picking there.  I miss knowing my way around like the back of my hand, knowing that if I am not certain where I am, if I head toward the water, I will eventually find out where I am.  I miss real Mexican food, with real salsa.  I miss it all.
Now, that all seems nice, doesn’t it?  I have to confess that, while in San Diego, I missed Maine.  I missed the coast and the rocky shoreline.  I missed the snowstorms, I missed the little military housing community I lived in.  I missed my friends in my neighborhood.  I missed the lobsters and the blueberry pies.  I missed Mt Desert and Bar Harbor.  I missed it all.
Finding a pattern here?  In Maine, I missed Japan.  I missed seeing Mt Fuji out my windows.  I missed the excitement of living overseas.  I missed the food and the smells and the noise.  I missed riding my bicycle everywhere.  I missed living in early occupation housing with all its challenges.  I missed my friends.
Yes, this is my observation today.  Seasons change.  Not just outside in nature, but in our lives.  Change is inevitable.  We can’t help it.  It happens.  For our growth, for our lives, because we serve a God who knows what is the very best for us.
I have spent the past several months missing our old house here in Charleston.  It was beautiful.  The neighborhood was idyllic.  It was comforting and I love it.  Our new place, I am grateful for.  I am learning also, that there will be things that I will eventually miss about this place too.  The way the wind blows through the tress in the backyard.  The ugly pond (more like a drainage ditch), that is home to three alligators.  I never would have been able to watch the gators swim around like I do here.  I actually enjoy watching them.  One loves to swim all day long.  One almost frolics in the water and the largest one makes the theme song from Jaws run through my mind.
Yes, the autumn of this year is upon us.  It has brought with it a cooler temperature, changing and falling leaves and most importantly, a changing attitude in me.  This is another season of my life.  Not perfect.  Not ideal. But, time that I will grow to enjoy and appreciate.  A time of learning and discovering.
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. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
thank you for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF

Up from the debris of boxes…..

Uhhh… air… not the stuffy box smell.  My head is no longer in the middle of unpacking boxes.  There are remnants of packing paper and boxes still visible but for the most part we look normal in our new house.

It was an experience to say the least.  My dear hubby and I have moved overseas, and back again.  We have moved across this great country of ours a couple of times.  We have experience in moving.  We know the motions.  We know the preparation.  We know the tired feeling.  It is in our long-term memory areas.

We have acquired a few little scratches along the way, both the furniture and ourselves.  The major damage in all those moves was a china tea saucer broken.  In half, a perfect break.  That was at least 30 years ago.  I saved the pieces so that I could glue it together.  A couple of weeks ago while packing a cupboard in our kitchen I came across the two pieces, still not glued.  Just tired enough, I looked at the pieces and pitched them into the trash.  I know I would never glue them.  So, when I am departed, whoever gets my china will just be one saucer short.  They will wonder what happened to it, and you will all know.

I share the memories with you about these earlier moves.  This move was, well, the only way to describe it is ‘the move from hell’.  It was rainy to start with.  Humidity was there, but not overwhelming.  Our poor puppy who is advanced in his little life did not tolerate the move well.  As things started to leave our home in the hands of strangers, he looked at me as if to say, ‘are you aware they are taking things out of our house?’.   By the end of the first day, he was shaking so badly, our neighbors came and took him to their home so he could relax.  He ended staying with them for the night and the next day.   It helped him and made me feel more relaxed about his well-being.

The first night ended at midnight.  Yes, you read that right.  It was midnight before things were unloaded into our storage facility.  Dear hubby and I got into our car and began driving in search of a local hotel.  We found one.  They were reluctant at first to rent us a room since we looked like we had just crawled out of the sewer.  But, when hubby produced the numbers for the honors club we are members of, they addressed us by name and produced a wonderful room and a great shower.  We enjoyed that facility for the next five hours of sleep and had a great breakfast to boot!

The next day ended at 6 p.m. with all the boxes dumped into the house, the bed was set up and made, and we were officially ‘moved’.   After dinner and retrieving our beloved puppy, we spent our first night in our new place.

We also took further notice of our belongings.  Hubby had taken pictures all through the day of scratches, gouges and rips.  Nothing was spared, except what I had packed.  I am so glad I packed the house, otherwise nothing would have survived.  For a twenty-minute drive from our last place, we have damage to everything.  Hubby’s desk was smashed into about seven pieces.  Yes, this is horrible, but I do confess, it was pretty ugly for a desk, so I am no too upset…  😉  But, the fact remains, now we are starting to deal with this all.  There are countless amounts of paperwork to fill out.  That is hubby’s job.  Mine is to make this place feel like home.

The other noticeable thing about this move is how tired we are.  My brain has hurt, it is so tired from lugging and unpacking boxes.  But, however, it is over.  We are home.

So, I will now go about getting back into a routine.  Cleaning.  Cooking. Blogging.  It will be nice to resume the regularly scheduled programming.

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate your visits.  DAF

Stepping Out…

Several of the blogs I have read in the past few days have all dealt with a word we hesitate to say.  Even more, we hesitate to follow through on.  The word?  Change.

Each of the creative writers I follow (and there are many creative and talented writers) have talked about change in situation, in thinking, in children and in directions or paths chosen.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that it looked like I would have to return to the work force.  It scared me to mention it in writing because it made it seem a reality.  But, in mentioning it, I was able to talk to friends about it and to family.  I have since been able to write a resume and start to get a plan together.  I have a direction that I am going to go.  Along those lines there is a scripture that keeps coming to mind.  Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans,  but the Lord determines our steps.”   (New Living Translation)

I have felt more confident the past week or so about going back to work.  I still haven’t a clue about what I am going to end up doing, but I have a peace about it.  Is it something I cannot wait to have happen?  No.  I enjoy my status as being semi-retired.  But, change in this life in inevitable.  Change happens whether we want it or not.

I have a painting hanging over our fireplace.  It is not one that I purchased and it isn’t worth much.  The title of the painting is ‘Birth of new direction’.  At least, I think that is what I called it.  I wrote it on the back.  I also wrote a scripture on the back of it.  Isaiah 26:7 which talks about God doing what is right and smoothing out the path for us. (at least that is how I read it).

I look to the painting and have a remembrance that when I painted it several years ago, it was different from any other painting I had done.  I love landscapes, this was more abstract.  I had never named a painting and yet, this one had a clear name to it.  A new direction.  About a year after I painted it for our livingroom in San Diego, we moved.  A new direction, a new path.  Now, I look at it and am reminded that I am still on a new path.

Change happens.  Life happens.  It can take us by surprise.  It can take our breath away (literally).  But, we cannot avoid it.  It is part of our life here on earth.  So, I think this is a year that I will be stepping out on that new path.  I will continue to write and keep you involved in this new direction, I am certain it will lead to ideas for posts.

The panic has subsided.  A calm fear has replaced the panic.  But, there is a part of me waiting hesitantly to see what will happen next.  I know I will leave my tennis shoes and put on my dress shoes as I go stepping out.

Thanks for stopping by.  It means so much to me.  DAF


Almost Jumping In

Today is the third day of this new year.  It is damp and a bit dreary here in the low country.  The rain has come several times today and it is a mixture of wanting to crawl into bed and stay there or just get busy.

I have accomplished some things today.  I have my dining room returned to normal.  Not a hint of last weeks decorations in sight.  It is refreshing to see it back to its plain normal setting.  My mantle in the living room is boasting a different set of accessories, and I am not certain it is going to stay that way.

I want a change.  Nothing major, just rearranging some things.  I think this is what is happening in my life now.  I have spent the past couple days trying to get excited about this new year.  It is like I am on the edge of wonderful pool.  It looks inviting and fun, but for some reason, I am running up to the edge about to jump and then I stop.

I know change is coming this year.  I knew it was coming at the end of last year.  I was thinking of it and preparing, and holding off to the new year.  So, now it is here.  I guess it came sooner than I wanted.  But, here it is and I am staring into the next few weeks and getting myself pumped up for the next season of our lives.

In another month I will reread this post and smile.  I will reconsider what this time was like and laugh at my hesitancy.  Change is always like this.  You see it coming and you balk.  But, on I go.  I will once more back up, look ahead and start to run.  Maybe soon I won’t stop at the edge but go for a big cannonball jump into the pool of the unknown.

Thanks for stopping by.  DAF