Sunday….Well for a few more minutes…. 31 Days of Observing

31 Days Observing

I have observed today, that with a challenge such as I have attempted, if I do not write a post in the morning or early afternoon,  it doesn’t get written.   So, that is my observation this 27th day, and I’m sticking with it.  Have a great day!

Since I haven't written today, maybe I should join my puppy under the covers...

Since I haven’t written today, maybe I should join my puppy under the covers…

Seasons…. 31 Days of Observing…

 

31 Days Observing

Each day of this challenge I have wondered what I was going to write.  It is one of the first thoughts of my day.  I noticed yesterday that I was counting the days until the end of the month.  But, I am determined that I will not stop now.

This morning I woke up, did my usual routine and thought about a topic.  I looked as I was walking the dog.  I stood at the windows looking out at my yard trying to see something unusual.  Nothing popped out.  I watched the dog laying on the floor, he was not co-operating either.  He just lay there licking himself.

I looked over at hubby.  Sitting in his chair with his headphones on, he was oblivious to anything around him.  I knew I would get nothing there.

I went to my Reader to see what other bloggers were writing about.  Today was a full day of reading.  My heart was tugged in many ways.  I know I have attachments to many of the writers of the blogs I follow.  I find I rejoice with them and grieve with them.  They are part of my life.

bliss in images  wrote a compelling post today.  Titled into the woods, it is a good read that I recommend.

It was in reading her post today that my post came into mind.  What I have noticed or observed is that each person I know and have had conversations with have seasons of their lives that they revisit.  Some of these seasons are wonderful times of warm memories and joy.  Some seasons are harsh, like a cold winter, filled with bitterness and frigid times.  Each of these scenarios are hard to revisit, I think.

The joyous times are hard to revisit because they have a sense of sadness in being over.  The joy is in the past, it is a warm memory, but it is a chapter that has already been read and lived.  They can bring a longing to return and knowledge that what transpired can never be replayed in the exact way again.  They are relegated to the scrapbook of memories in our hearts.

The bitter seasons are even more difficult.  The memories are not easy to relive.  They hurt.  They cause pain.  They bring tears and a pit in your stomach that cannot be settled.  Those seasons hold areas needing forgiveness.  Forgiving others for behavior they had and forgiveness for yourself, which is even harder to give at times.   The visits to these seasons can come unexpectedly, when you least want to remember.

But, revisit seasons of our lives is something we all do.  We walk through the scrapbook in our heart, looking at memories, dusting off feelings and either tossing them aside where they belong or gently wrapping them up so we can gingerly take them out again.

Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF

Aging… 31 Days of Observing….

My precious puppy is approaching 12 years old.  In March, he will celebrate that milestone.  We have had him since he was 7 and half weeks old.  He is a wonderful little guy, I would say he is my favorite dog of all time.  I have had several dogs in my lifetime and each hold a special place in my heart, but, this one has moved in and captured it all.
Our Shugo is a Shiba Inu.  Inu in Japanese means a dog.  So, here, in this country, when people say they have a Shiba Inu dog, they are actually saying they have a Shiba dog dog.   We love to let people know that fact.
Shugo is our Shiba.  He is a character.  Shiba’s are very independent dogs.  They are the most cat-like dog around.  They love to groom and they like to be petted on their terms.  His independence fits well with our family.
He is playful and is quiet.  He only barks when it is important, or if he is very playful and wants to hear himself speak.  We have vaulted ceilings and there are times when he is playing around and starts to bark, only to be surprised at the loudness of his bark.  He then continues, I think, to hear how loud he can make it sound.
He loves carrots, they are his treat.  He will sit, shake hands, give you a high-five and a low five and a house bark (a very low bark) and gently take the carrot from your fingers.  He makes me smile.
For the past few months I have noticed a change in our little guy.  He is starting to feel his age.  He is the equivalent of a 77-year-old man.  We understand that with him.  He sleeps more.  He doesn’t wake up as quickly.  He gets a bit grumpy if we disturb his napping.  He stands up a bit slower and we can hear his bones creak with age.  He still sheds a lot, and his red hair is being replaced slowly by white.
He still loves his walks and will go on them with a puppy like briskness.  His eyes aren’t as sharp as they once were, so squirrels aren’t as threatened as they once were.  Frogs aren’t lunged at as much.  Cats are just ignored.    His nose is still sharp and lately his walks are more about sniffing things out, discovering new scents.
He was never one to cuddle with you.  He was too much like a cat for that, until lately.  He will nuzzle up to me.  Pushing his nose into the side of my leg for a good petting.  He will let me know if I should continue by not moving from my side.
Thinking of aging today.  I think we all start to stop and sniff the life around us.  We like to have some good snuggles and close time with those we love.  We like to relax and get up a bit slower.  We may creak and groan and shed some hair.  Our color is replaced with white.  But, we are devoted to those we love.  We take more time to be with them, to let them know their importance to us.  We make certain our place in their hearts is permanent.
Shugo

Shugo

Thank you to my Shugo for showing me so much lately.  DAF

Conversation with Nature… 31 Days of Observing

This morning heading out the door to walk my dog Shugo, I stepped onto the porch and felt the heat of the sun.  Groaning to whoever or whatever was listening I complained about the heat.
I have been known to talk to myself and to carry on conversations with myself, and this is most likely what I was doing, but for creativity sake I am going to say I had a conversation with nature.
Here is how it went:
DAF: The sun is hot and it is supposed to be fall.  (make certain you put an air of disgust in this statement)
Nature: Yes, it is fall and a glorious fall day.  Look at the blue in the sky, you don’t see that any other time of the year.
DAF:  True, true….  the clouds are also very nice.  Crisp, white and fluffy.  But… the sun is hot and it is fall!
Nature:  Do not worry, the sun’s reign of terrifying heat is passed for this year.
DAF:  And how can you be certain of this?  I feel heat….
Nature: Observe some things.  (notice, Nature knew I was looking for blog posts on observing things)
DAF:  Like what?  I feel the sun’s heat!  (yes, I can be fixated on certain things)
Nature:  See the long shadows so early in the day?  That means the sun has moved and that also means that although you feel heat, the reign of sweltering temperatures is over. (Nature was trying hard to reassure me)
DAF:  That’s true, the shadows are long and beautiful.  The light in the trees is also beautiful.  It is a beautiful day, isn’t it?  A little hot, but such a pretty day… (yes, I am caving)
Nature:  How do you feel in the shadows you are walking in?
DAF:  It isn’t  so hot in the shadows… hmm. maybe you are right Nature.
Nature:  Do you feel the nuance in the air?  The one that starts warm but ends with a brisk touch?  Feel that, DAF?
DAF:  Yes, yes, I do feel that slight nuance.  Is this the one with a promise of cool weather?  Is this truly the heralding of fall?  Is that nuance also have a smell to it of falling leaves?
Nature:  (excitedly) YES!  YES!   You have noticed the change!  You have seen that summer is past, and fall is upon us.  How wonderful!
DAF:  So, when is it going to get to the point where I can put on a jacket and feel my face getting cold?  When is it going to be really windy?
Nature: (sighing with frustration) Oh, DAF, you were so close….  the sky?  the clouds?  the shadows?
DAF:  (taking a deep breath) Yes, today is glorious, just pulling your leg Nature.
“This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  (Psalm 118:24, New Living Translation)
Thanks for eavesdropping today on my conversation,   DAF

When the clever escapes you

Sometimes clever posts escape me.  I go about my week looking at everything with potential blog post eyes.  Sometimes little things happen and I know that what just happened will make great posts.  I love those opportunities.

The past couple days I have wanted to write.  My heart desire was to sit down and compose something, anything.  I signed onto my blog and just stared at it.  Nothing, absolutely nothing happened.  I clicked off and went back to other things.

I read a post last night about how we tend to write about outstanding things in our life.  We leave the mundane things alone.  It was an excellent post and it got me thinking.  As bloggers we tend to write about things that we think others will enjoy.  We want to entertain, minister to, and inspire others.  It is a noble cause for certain.  I know I am inspired by many of the blogs I read.

But, the clever has escaped me.  So, for today, a dose of my reality is what I write about.  It is humid here.  Tropical storm Andrea just went through.  The front yard is soggy, so is the back yard for that matter.   Walking the dog is a chore in this humidity, even he is balking at the heat.

I did a couple of loads of laundry today and even enjoyed folding it for a change.  I usually dislike the folding process.  But, today, it is all cleaned, folded and put away properly.

The dishwasher is the only noise in the background as I write this and hubby is researching routers online.

Nothing clever, nothing exciting, Just a glimpse into the ordinary-ness that besets us all.

I really, really hope that today has been more exciting for you.  Please comment and let me know that there is life beyond laundry and dishes!

I close thanking our Lord for the mundane though.  It is a gift from Him to us.  He gives us ordinary days as a blessing.  There is nothing major happening now.  We have a roof over our heads, food in our stomach, clothes to launder.  He has given us a day that is not exciting.  I think too often we forget that the ordinary is truly extraordinary.

Thanks for stopping by, 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

Can I hear a chorus of, “I told you so”???

A short post this evening.  We are surrounded by boxes, tape and paper for wrapping our belongings.  There are pathways throughout the house.  Our dear little puppy is beginning to think this is normal…

Yes, we have found a home.  It is a bit smaller than this one, but I am getting to know it and we are forming an affection.  There is a pond, not like the current pond in our back yard, but, it is a pond, or as my dear hubby refers to it, “a deep puddle”.

We have met some neighbors already and they are very nice. I have put some things away and I think I will have plenty of room.  I took pictures over to grace the mantle so that it will seem more like home to us, and the refrigerator is already covered in my magnet photos, so it is beginning to feel ‘normal’.

The movers will come tomorrow to help finish the packing.  When I say this, I truly mean the garage.  Most everything else is packed in the house.  It will be an early morning tomorrow and I will push through to finish up packing the inside of the house.

So, thank you all for the encouragement and support over these past six weeks.  I so appreciate your words of kindness and support.  I will post more when we are settled and the internet is up and running at the new place.  I will also take some pictures of my new digs.

Until then, sing away with the “I told you so…”  It’s a lovely melody to hear.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

My younger sister

I am a middle child.  I love that fact.  Middle children are the most quirky of kids, in my humble opinion.  We have been known as the peace makers, we try to please everyone.  We don’t have the responsiblity that falls to the oldest and yet we are never in possession of the ‘cuteness’ factor that most of the youngest children have.  We are in the middle.

I have great sisters.  My older sister had the grim duty to assume motherly duties when my mother passed away.  This was hard on her and she still teeters on that fine balance of being a sister and a mother.  I never know when I talk with her if she is in sister mode or mother mode.  I prefer sister mode, as this is a better fit for her.  Sisters were not created to be mothers to their siblings.

My younger sister is so dear to me.  She is as close to a living saint as I have ever met.  She inspires me and encourages me.  I love her dearly.  She has four children.  Two are married to beautiful women, her youngest son is discovering who he is and doing a great job at that.  I love my nephews.  They bring me joy in just thinking of them.  They are all talented and very good-looking.  They have personalities that don’t stop and they love me as a goofy aunt.  My sister’s fourth child is my niece.  She is incredible.  She is my energizer bunny on steroids.  She does not stop.  She does not quit.  She is a childhood brain cancer survivor.  That in itself is an accomplishment, but she was also the victim of radiation poisoning as a child.  She was not expected to survive past 5, then 10.  After that she wasn’t expected to do much with her life.  She was prom queen, she was Miss Handicapped Maryland, she is an author, speaker, and a senior in college.  She is incredible.

She is also just a part of why I think my sister is inspiring.  She took care of her daughter with such care and love.  She encouraged her to live.  She did this while also caring for my brother-in-law who was dying of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s.   He survived with this horrendous disease for eight years.  She nursed him, raised wonderful sons, cared for her daughter with brain cancer and taught second grade.  She did this all with grace and humor and determination.

When things get difficult in my life, I look at a few pictures in my home.  One of my sister and I at my daughter’s wedding, another of both of my sisters and I at my nephew’s wedding, and finally I look at my niece’s high school graduation photo which is sitting by her book.  They remind me that nothing is too difficult.

My niece will be the first to give God glory in her survival.  My sister, also.  But, ever the practical Irish woman she is, she ends any conversation where frustrations and feelings of being frazzled have been spoken, with this little gem of wisdom, “Six weeks from now, we will be fretting over something different, and this will be far from our concerns.”

Oh! How I love my sister for this.  This morning while walking with my dear hubby and our dear puppy, I grumbled and complained.  This is a shame since it is a perfectly lovely day out.  I couldn’t see the beauty though, for my grumpiness.  As the morning progressed though, I looked at the photos and could hear my sister lovingly screaming in my ear (as only sisters can do), Six weeks from now, you will be fretting over something different and this will be far from your mind.   Thanks for the kick little sister, you have a great aim and a long-range kick in you, and for that, I am glad.

Thanks for stopping by, I so appreciate your visit.  DAF

 

 

When it rains…

As a child I often sat on my bed in northwestern Pennsylvania dreaming of growing up and moving to California.  I dreamed of sunny beaches and big houses and being rich enough to flourish there.  I don’t know why I ever thought of that, but I did.  I guess it didn’t help with the Mommas and the Pappas song, California Dreamin, which I loved.

Some years later, married, living in Maine, my hubby got orders for San Diego, CA.   Was I excited?  No, not really.  I loved Maine.  I loved our little house, I loved seeing the changing seasons and the snow.  But, when Uncle (Sam) says to move, you move.

We moved to San Diego and ended up staying there for twenty-seven years.  We bought a home with a wonderful view of the Pacific and enjoyed gorgeous sunsets daily.  But, it did not feel like home to me.  We raised our girls there.  We created memories there, but it was not home to us.

For several years I told my hubby, ‘I would love to live anywhere, EAST of the Mississippi’.  I didn’t care if it was mid-Atlantic, south or north, just so it was east.

When we finally did move to South Carolina, I was thrilled.  We fell in love with the low country.  We fell in love with the people here.  It felt like home to us.

We still love this area.  It is fun to explore and discover things about our new home.  We still feel like newcomers even though it is our fourth year here.

Today it is raining again.  It has rained for the past couple days.  Rain doesn’t bother me at all.  It makes things green.  But, tonight, as I was walking our dear puppy for his last walk for the day, I was having second thoughts on rain.  It is really dark out tonight.  I don’t know if it is a new moon, or if the rain clouds are shielding the moon from our view.  But, it is dark.  So dark, you cannot see the standing water on the roads and sidewalks.  Walking out to the street for our walk, it felt like I was stepping onto sponges instead of our front yard.  I managed to avoid the running water by our curb, but soon realized it was a loosing battle to avoid all the water.

So, now here I sit, about to go get into some dry jammies and slippers.  My feet are soaked and my living room smells like wet dog.   I think I really have discovered why they call this the Low country…   😉

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you!  DAF

Nature was still

Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw.

This is today’s Daily Prompt.  At first I wasn’t going to write on it.  I have a beautiful view that I thought I actually saw each day.  But, while waiting for my coffee this morning, I stood at my patio door and looked out to my back yard.

At first, it looked the same.  Deck with winter dirty furniture on it.  Dormant grass, leafless trees and the pond.  I stood and actually started to see what I was looking at.  There is a difference, you know.

The pond was still.  No ripples, no currents.  No fish jumping, or turtles swimming, nothing.  Still as the glass I was looking through.  The morning sun reflected on the water.  The brown, dry reeds on the other side of the pond swayed almost without causing notice.  I looked at their reflection in the pond.  The sun made the dry brown reeds look golden when their image reflected on the still water.  They were very pretty.  So pretty, I thought I might venture over and walk around by them.  That is the marsh side of the pond.  I have been over there a few times, but haven’t ventured over there recently.  It was tempting.

I stood and looked at the beauty of my yard.  I didn’t notice the deck needed cleaned.  I didn’t notice the window also needed cleaning.  I just saw an invitation from nature to come and visit.

As my alloted minute was about to end, a great grey heron flew from the corner of the pond and soared between the houses.  What an excellent end to a minute.

As I drank my coffee, I returned to the window.  It was such a pleasant experience, I thought I would continue.

Shortly after coffee this morning, we ventured out to walk our puppy.  Hubby and I took a longer walk today, which suited me just fine.  I was in the mood to get out into this beckoning nature I had witnessed.

We left the quiet of the house and heard the stillness of nature.  Well, not really.  The air was alive with the sound of birds chirping and calling out to one another.  Crows were perched in leafless trees cawing to one another.  There was the distant sound of traffic on the interstate. Squirrels jumped from tree to tree, busy in their days.  There was life to the nature I quietly viewed.

As I sit and write this, the wind has picked up just a bit.  The reeds across the pond are dancing now and the pond is full of ripples.  The reflections are broken up and longer.  The marsh seems alive.  Not quiet like this morning.

Still, there is an invitation to come and visit.  To be in the midst of the palette given to us by our Creator.  He leads us beside still waters.  He restores our soul.  He paints the sky with colors so vivid we stand in awe of them.  He created the life that is not still, the squirrels, the birds, the herons, and the snakes living in the marsh across the pond.

I am grateful that I stopped today and looked beyond my boundaries.  I am glad I actually saw what was in front of me.  Too often, I think, we do not see the beauty and the joy and the invitations issued to us by what surrounds us.  I hope that this is not just a short, quick lesson for me.  I hope that I actually stop to look at what is in front of me from now on.

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Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF