Searching for Happily Ever After…

Hubby and I are on a quest of sorts…  We are in the process of finding our forever after home.  Being a military couple, we have had our share of moving.  Granted, we were at one place for almost 28 years, but, we did have one move during that time. This is hopefully the last time we utter that four letter word.  It is a painful word and one we dread.  MOVE, is a mighty word.  It makes me tired just looking at it.  But, move, we will be doing this year.  Where?  That is our question also. This week, in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary, we have set out to start our quest for this home. Today, we drove around the upstate part of South Carolina.  As we drove around I thought of what I was seeing out the window.  (Now, mind you, I gave in and actually had two glasses of a forbidden substance for me… I caved and had sweet tea)  Some of my readers, well, one in particular (you know who you are!  wink, wink…) know the effects of sweet tea, me and a closed in-car.  I begin to bounce off the seat, and I start to talk, fast.  I start to laugh at anything, and I make off-hand remarks.  Hubby threatened to put me in the back with the dog and have him be his navigator, but he didn’t follow through on his threats. What we did see was beautiful countryside.  Rolling hills, fields, small towns, and many interesting homes.  We saw some lovely large churches, and some cute little churches that looked welcoming.  There were cemetaries everywhere.  We commented that either there were many cemetaries in the area, or we kept going around a very large area of tombstones and we were seeing it from different angles. Several places were burned.  They looked like chimney fires.  One that struck me was a burnt pile of debris.  There was a man sitting by the ruins.  He was looking out over the site.  My heart was touched as I thought (and obviously am still thinking) about him. The day was filled for me in silent prayer.  Prayer for that man.  Prayer for the area.  Most of all, prayer that we will, Lord willing find the place He wants us to land.  A place to put down roots that need a place to grow.  A place that is not a temporary fix, but a place to grow old in.  A place to see not only the landscape mature, but see us, as a couple, a family mature and age. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your visit.   DAF

The Progression of Decorating a Front Porch…

Hubby and I are late getting Christmas decorating done.  I had started a bit last week.  I put our dog’s bow tie (red) on his collar.  He is now ready for Christmas.  He looks dapper.

I went outside and decorated our mailbox.  It looks pretty good.  Except for the fire ant mound at the base of the post.  (Fire ants beware! We are planning your demise).  I put up a little garland on the bannister on the porch.  It looked bare and ugly.  I gave up, came inside and sat to ponder what to do next.

Skip  to today.  Well, actually to the beginning of the week when hubby purchased lighted garland for the front porch.  The boxes have sat in our dining room waiting to be unpacked, unfurled and hung.  This afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., I went outside, took down the ugly garland, brought it inside and declared that I was going to start to decorate the porch.

I announced to hubby that I was going to trim a couple of branches of a bush that is near the porch.  Hubby jumped up and declared that he had wanted to trim all the bushes first and off he went to get his electric trimmer.  While he was setting up, I decided to clean the banister and posts.

Hubby came out, he was not happy.  His electric cords were missing.  Evidently they decided they liked Flagstaff, AZ and stayed at the campground, and we did not notice their absence until today when we needed them.

So, off to the hardware store we went.  I didn’t really have to go, but I wanted to look at any other decorations that needed to be bought.  An hour later, we returned.  I finished cleaning and hubby set to work on the bushes.

I went to help with the branches and then picked up the rake to rake up the debris.  This is where we took a big detour in the decorating department.  The simple act of raking up the branches turned into the major job of raking most of our yard, the front and side yards.  We bagged leaves, we raked leaves, we carried leaves, we pruned dead branches off our trees.  We worked while we watched the beautiful sunset and moonrise.

We walked the dog, and then I came in, shower and collapsed.  On the way through the house we saw the boxes of the lighted garland, still waiting to be unpacked and unfurled and hung.   The porch is empty of lights, but the yard certainly looks a lot better!

I’m tired and sore, thanks for stopping by though, DAF

A Big Loop…

Towards the end of October Hubby and I went on an adventure.  We set off with our little dog, a tent, an air mattress, and some supplies.  We went north a bit and then straight across Interstate 40.  Each night we stopped, set up our tent (not without a lot of grumbling from yours truly), had a small dinner and went to bed with the sun.  We woke up with the sun, listened for a while and when we were brave enough to move in the early morning cold, we got up.

We did this each night except one, in Tucumcari, NM.  There the campground was on a high plateau overlooking mountains and it was gorgeous.  It was also so windy that we knew a session of putting up a tent would do us in.  So, hubby, being a wise man, opted for a cabin for us.  It was like heaven for me.  Inside, just pulling out our sleeping bags and having something to sit on.  There was a small front porch with a swing and we sat watching the sky and snacking.  It was a piece of heaven for me.

The next night we were in Flagstaff, AZ.  The campground was surrounded by mountains, and it was a lovely place to stop.  Of course, the overnight temperature was in the low 30’s, but we did stay in our tent.  I was a bit leery at first, but we were toasty and warm and it was an adventure.

The adventure paused for a few weeks while we welcomed our Little Miss, born on Halloween.  A little pumpkin at 5 lbs 13 oz..  She had a bunch of black hair and she is sweet.  She was early and arrived three days after we arrived, so we were able to spend some time getting to know her.  She is funny.  She coos but also grunts.  She makes faces and would rival any of the photos of girls with the pouty lips, she has that down already.  She smiles sweetly, yes, mostly from gas, but they are sweet smiles nonetheless.  We stayed for a couple of weeks.  We loved each moment of getting to know her.  Then, with tears (mostly me) we said goodbye and headed home.

On the way home, hubby, again being wise, went to hotels.  We traveled the southern route of Interstate 20.  We had never travelled that way before and saw many wonderful sights.

There will be stories coming from this trip, but, for now, I wanted to get back onto my blog and catch you up.  Thanks for stopping by, I have missed you all.  DAF

July 3rd…

We are still in our hometown.  Writing has somehow been harder to do here.  The ideas do not flow as easily as they do when I am in my home and surroundings.

Today is the third of July.  It has been  40 years since I was in town for a fourth of July.  I thought of this while walking our dog this evening.

We actually have no plans for tomorrow.  Hubby will most likely continue to work on family business and I will cook something here and do what I have done for the past month while here.  Nothing exciting.

I had a conversation with an old friend this past week.  We got caught up on each other’s lives.  She looked at me and said that I had an exciting life.  Those words hit me.  I haven’t considered my life exciting.  It has just been my life.

So, this evening while walking our little pup, I thought about her words and how I have spent the last 40 fourth of Julys.  Here are some of the ways I have celebrated:

I have had a meal in the mess hall aboard a Coast Guard ship.

I have stood in water half way up my leg while wearing a winter coat watching a parade to celebrate America’s bi-centennial in Japan.  The reason for the water and the winter coat?  It was cold, damp and a typhoon was off the coast dumping rain and wind onshore.

I have gone on backyard picnics along the coast of Maine.

I have camped on the beach and climbed on top of WWII bunkers to watch fireworks in San Diego.

I have sat in a parking lot of a Target store to watch fireworks.

I have stood on my upstairs deck and watched fireworks.

I have been with family and watched them in the D.C. area.

I have gone on a lovely boat ride to watch fireworks shot off a battleship.

Tonight, the fireworks are going off as I write this.  We have not gone to watch them.  It is just one of those years.  We don’t need to see the sky lit up with different colors to know this country is worth celebrating.

This year, my patriotism as well as my faith is quiet.  It is not silent, but it is still.  There is a difference.  This year I feel like the two are intertwined a bit.  I know my Lord is a powerful and awesome God.  He has watched over this country since those rebels of so long ago drafted a declaration of Independence.   I am trusting in Him to keep this country safe and to have it remember it’s roots and beginnings.

So,  I close this post with the words of a song by Irving Berlin that makes me cry each time I hear it.

God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above;

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.”

Thanks for stopping by today, Happy Fourth of July!   DAF


Last night I had a dream about my mother in law.  No, it was not a nightmare, as I had a wonderful mother in law.

I haven’t dreamed about her in years, so last night’s visit was special.  Mom passed away 23 years ago.  I have missed her daily.

Most people have a period of adjustment when it comes to mother- in-laws.  It’s just the nature of the beast, I think.  I did not have that time.  We bonded long before I said ‘I do’ to her son.  We were friends and cohorts in crime together.  We would shop, get lost, laugh hysterically, shop some more, eat and all the while we talked and laughed together.

Hubby came from a family of all boys.  So, Mom never had a daughter.  When it came time to plan our wedding Mom stepped in to help.  It was a perfect arrangement, really.  She had no daughter and I had no mother.  She actually picked out my wedding dress and was with me during each decision for our wedding.

Throughout this time though, I did not know what to call her.  I avoided using a name in conversation.  The day after we married, hubby and I had to travel to our new home a few states away from where we grew up.  Before we left, I had a conversation with Mom.  I asked what I should call her, since we were both Mrs…….  .  She looked at me and said, “Well, you could call me Marietta, or Etta. ” She then paused and looked at me and gently said, “Or, you could call me Mom.”

The word Mom had not passed my lips at that point for  almost 8 years.  I thought a few minutes about it.  As we were leaving, I gave her a hug and said, “Good bye Mom, we’ll call when we get there.”

A few years later, I read the book of Ruth in the Bible.  It talked about a family where the father and his son died.  The son was married to Ruth, and his mother was Naomi.  Ruth could have left Naomi and had a life of her own, she instead chose to stay with Naomi.  She loved her mother in law.    I love this story.  I understand how Ruth felt, for I felt this way towards Marietta.

Love comes in many forms.  When my Mother died, I did not think I would ever feel that unique bond again.  I never expected to find in with a mother in law.  God places people in families, but I did not realize that when I married.

Today, I have missed Mom.  She was a joy to be around.  We could get into trouble going to the grocery store.  I have spent the day going through memories and smiling.

This verse is one that reminds me of her,  ” But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!” Ruth 1:16-17 (The Message)

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

Sitting with a Friend on a Winter’s night…

My Shugo is going to be 12 in March.  In people years, that’s 84.   He’s getting up there in age and he is beginning to show signs of aging.  He’s not the happy puppy all the time.  His little bones creak and his movements are a bit slower.

Earlier this evening he looked at hubby and I, sighed and went into bed.  I could hear him stirring and soon he came back into the living room and laid down again.

When hubby and I headed to bed, he hesitated at the door.  We told him to get into his bed and he obeyed, the good dog that he is.

As usual, I did not fall asleep right away.  My mind wandered and I lay thinking of what I could write about winter.   The trains in the distant seemed closer tonight.  The whistles were louder and more impatient.   I focused on them until I heard a softer whine.  A persistent whine.

Shugo was not sleeping.  He laid on the floor crying.  I got up and we came back into the living room where he lay on the floor and shivered and cried.  I got him his blanket that he loves and wrapped him up.  I sat beside him and patted him.  He appreciated it, but did not want to be close.  He kept moving and I kept following him, covering him up.

So, here I am, on the couch watching my friend shiver on the floor.  He is now wrapped in his favorite blanket and another that I grabbed off the couch.  He is resting and my heart is aching.

I know his breed can live up to 20 years, but,  I don’t want him to live that long and have a poor quality of life.  What I can see is that this is the winter of his life.  This breaks my heart. This friend who has given me such joy and laughter.  He has given me stories and lessons that I will cherish for the rest of my life.  He has gotten up with me in the nighttime.  He has heard me pray in the early hours of the day.  He has sat beside me, waiting for me to do what I need to.  He is content with a pat on his head and ‘a good boy’.  He is my friend.

So, tonight, I think of winter.  The winter of age.  That time we will all face when aches and pains take over rest and relaxation.  Tonight I sit with a friend as he finally finds a place that is comfortable and warm, and I pray for him as he drifts off to sleep, snoring peacefully.


Out with the Old…

We live in a small neighborhood, there are two roads in this subdivision and there are 37 houses here.  So, when I walk the dog we walk the entire neighborhood.

This morning as I walked onto the porch I could hear the wind.  I love days like this.  The neighborhood has tall pine trees, oak trees and some sycamore trees.  Each house is surrounded by trees, especially ours, which has a buffer of trees in our backyard.  Beyond the buffer is a large reservoir.

I love hearing the sound of the wind.  It rustles the branches and the trees sway in choreographed motion.  The sky is gray and we are having rain off and on.  It is a delightful day.

Some small branches were strewn across yards, wind chimes were not melodically chiming, they were being slammed against porch posts.  The remnants of leaves were flying around as if the trees were trying to shed the last of this past year’s foliage.

I enjoyed my walk this morning.  I watched as the trees bent and birds flew on the air currents.  What truly came to mind, is this, the wind is blowing the rest of the year away.

That thought has kept coming to mind.  To get rid of the old year.  It is tired and has had its day.  It was filled with good things, but it is almost empty.  So, as I listen to the wind outside, I sit here thinking of what I will do with the remaining days of 2013.  How will I end it?  What else is in store for me in the waning hours?

Anticipation begins to fill my heart.  A new year coming.  A new season of buds and blossoms and leaves.  Pretty exciting, huh?  I think so.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

Lessons Learned…

Today is the 26th of December, Boxing Day as it is celebrated by our neighbors to the north.   It is a day we celebrated with our dear friends in San Diego who lived in Canada for several years.
I wake up on the 26th yearning for the buffet that they always had and the eggnog I used to make.  It was a day to keep on celebrating and I loved it.

Today, is quiet.  Hubby still is playing Christmas music and it is nice.

As we walked our puppy this morning we looked at what was at the curb for our trash pickup, which is every Thursday.  We smiled as we saw the empty toy boxes, saw which children got new riding toys, and what kids like Spiderman, who got new crock pots.  It was fun.  Neighbors were putting last-minute trash out, looking bleary eyed and exhausted.  Yes, Christmas arrived and people had wonderful days.

Yesterday was a good day.  Like the Who’s in Whoville, Christmas came.  It dawned without the fanfare and the presents and bags.  It was a quiet day, but a day that was filled with peace and gifts  that weren’t bought.

What I learned this year was that people understand.  They love and they give.  The giving comes in the form of hugs, laughter, baked goods, joy in seeing you and sometimes emails.

My heart was full last night.  Honestly, I had dreaded the day.  I didn’t want it to come.  I feared that it would be a day of sadness and tears.  It wasn’t.  The day held everything we hold dear on Christmas.  It was a complete day, except for the power going out a few short times in the morning, which led to lots of beeping of electronics and lights.  That somehow led to the cable being out for most of the day meaning no t.v., computer, or phones.  Even that wasn’t horrible as we had our cell phones to talk with, and we watched our old Christmas movies.

All in all, this year, this lean year was a blessing and I know as I close the scrapbook of Christmas, this one will shine in a few years.

I have enjoyed sharing my Christmases with you all.  Now, on to the next adventure in writing, have some thoughts running through my mind, have to catch them as they try to escape with leftover ribbon bits.    Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Fake Presents…

Oh, by this title I could go in almost any direction, couldn’t I?  I could talk about all kinds of presents and the meaning behind them, but that just sounds boring and honestly, I don’t have the thoughts to carry on with that train of thought.

But, there is a purpose for the name of this post.
We got our puppy almost twelve years ago.  His first Christmas with us, he discovered the water for the tree in the tree stand.  He discovered it while we were out.  We came home to see the results of his drink from the tree.  It did not set well with him.  He had gotten sick and there was a mess from both ends to contend with.  Poor little guy.

The following year I learned to put some decorated baskets around the bottom of the tree. The tree was in a corner and it seemed to help.  After Christmas we did find some dried signs that it didn’t work perfectly.

We tried several options over the years, always putting our tree in a corner to keep at least a couple of angles closed from access for the dog.

When we moved to South Carolina, both houses did not have a deep corner like our California home.  I started wrapping fake presents to put under the tree.  These really keep him away, although he has been known to dive into them while playing, but, he has not been drinking the forbidden water.

I love the fake presents.  I usually find nice coordinating paper and decorate the boxes as much as I can.  It makes the tree look so beautiful.  This year is a lean year for us.  There is no coordinating paper, and so the boxes are wrapped with leftover paper. This year the fake presents glisten and somehow they look ‘homey’.  There is something about a tree with presents under it.

Our neighbor kids used to come into the house and point and ooh and aah over the gifts.  You could see them wondering if any might be for them, or what each box held under the wrapping.   They would do that until one of the wiser kids would walk up behind them and say with authority… “Those are fake presents.”    Thus, the kids would look at me with disdain for having faked them out.

No, I am not a Grinch, just someone who hates clean up duty!  Here is a glimpse of this year’s fake presents…  if I could, I would have a business of wrapping presents, it is just so much fun!  Thanks for stopping by, DAF


All fake...

All fake…

On an Adventure…

It seems so strange to not have to write a post today and yet, all day I kept feeling like I was missing something.


This morning we took our little puppy to spend the weekend with two of his friends, Hank and Clark.  He will play and run with them while hubby and I are on an adventure.


Hubby, who is looking at being housebound for several weeks starting this week, wanted to get away.  One last drive before his arm is bound and there will be no more driving, no more shifting gears, no more passing safely.  He will be chair bound.


So, after dropping off our Shugo, we got in the car and headed to the mountains.  It started to be a gorgeous drive until we hit rain and more rain, and traffic and fog.  I was relieved he was doing the driving.  But, now, here we sit, unwinding and enjoying the sunny view out our hotel window.  I can see the leaves on the trees, red and orange and vibrant.


Will take pictures and will share more of our adventure later!  Thanks for stopping by!  DAF