Stillness…

There are many nights where I do not fall asleep,  I lay there with a parade of thoughts marching through my mind.  Sometimes these thoughts are worries or fears, sometimes they are imagination, sometimes they are memories.  Needless to say, they keep me up.  This parade, without a brass band still make noises that keep me from sleep.

Sometimes, though, I stay awake and after the parade passes by, my thoughts are distilled into prayers.  Last night was such a night.   I lay there initially thinking of how my hip was bothering me and after trying different positions trying to get comfortable, my mind went on to other things.  I once more, mentally, worked on the opening lines for my book.  These opening lines have been written and rewritten several times over the course of my life.  I am finding that they are coming into a clear rhythm and I will write them down soon.  (This is an aside to my sister who has reminded me that she has yet to receive pages to edit).

After the success of mentally writing my first few paragraphs of my book, I thought about Little Man and Little Miss and their toy room here in our home.  With help from my youngest who was here last week, the toy room is undergoing a change from toddler toys to things that will hold their interest.  I hadn’t expected them to grow so quickly, I guess this Grammy just wanted them to stay small longer.

Finally, after the parade ended and like all parades the only thing left was a bit of clutter from the confetti of thoughts.  I mentally swept it up and came to the most important part of all of this, Prayer.

I prayed for friends, for their health, for their lives, for their finances, for their families, but, I knew there was more I had to do before sleep would come to me.   I got out of bed and quietly stepped out of the bedroom, hoping not to disturb my hubby.  I walked through the living room stopping to pick up the pictures on the table.  Two of my favorite pictures, they are of my oldest and her hubby on their wedding day.  The two of them holding on to each other on the beach.  The other is my youngest and her hubby, also on the beach, but posing with our precious puppy.

I took the photos and held on to them, hugging them as if I were hugging them in person.  I went to the guest room and opened up the curtains.  I held onto the pictures and prayed.  I thanked the Lord for the four of them and then looked, for the first time out the window.

It is sometimes in these quiet moments when you think you are doing something, that something else out of the blue happens.  This was the case last night.  Although the prayer for my kids was wonderful and touched my heart, the view from the guest room window was a gift in itself.

Last night the moon was full.  The light flooded our front yard that is filled with trees.  The light filtered through the leaves and the front yard was dappled in the moonlight.  I stood for several minutes looking at the scene.  Everything was still.  No wind, no breeze, just stillness.  Our gazebo, the trees and the ground painted by the Lord in moonlight.  Peace came over me and I knew without doubt, that all the thoughts and prayers that had gotten me to that point would be taken care of.

I walked through the house, looking through each window.  The views I pay attention to in the day were now dreamlike.   Quiet was everywhere, no birds singing, no tractors in the distance, nothing, just stillness.

In Mark chapter 4 in the Bible, a part of the scripture says that Jesus commanded the sea to be at peace, be still.   The seas obeyed Him.  Last night, after the parade in my mind, I looked out my windows and heard, “Peace, be still”.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

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This Day…

For the past several days there have been photos, articles, memes and memories of September 11, 2001.  Each one pricks at my heart and brings the tears to my eyes.  Each one is a jab at what happened to our country.  I still feel anger and shock when I look at the pictures and read the articles.  It will always be like that, I think.

This time of year everyone asks, “Where were you that morning?”   or,  “What were you doing when it happened?”

These two questions cause me to realize that this day, with all the grieving associated with it, gives me pause.

We were in San Diego, three hours behind the east coast.  What was I doing when the planes hit the towers?   Sleeping.

That morning I woke up.  I woke up smiling.   My baby was turning 18 that day.   We were going to go to the DMV so she could get her drivers license.  We were going to celebrate this young woman who was a freshman in college.  We had dinner reservations with a friend of hers and her god-parents.  It was going to be a great day, a day to celebrate this woman who was starting out on her great adventure of life.

We did do everything we planned that day, but, although it was a bright sunny day outdoors, we were glued to the television, watching events unfold.   A depressing pall fell on everyone.

To this day, I feel conflicted on this day, I want to mourn what happened in our country, yet, I want to celebrate this person.  To me, this day is a joyful day, it is the day my youngest was born.   A day I celebrate daily in knowing she is in this world.  She completed our little family.  She has succeeded in so many areas of her life.  She has given this world Little Man.  She deserves to be celebrated for so many reasons.

A few years ago, another layer was added to this day.  18 years ago, our son-in-law, (Little Miss’s dad) received his first military I.D. card.   This man has served this country faithfully and has loved his family.

So, this day is filled with emotions for me.   Sadness, anger, pride, joy, hope.  I guess, in thinking about those things, it is a good day.   I will never forget, but the pride I have in my son-in-law and in my daughter will never die.  And because of the reason for my pride, I have joy and hope for the future because I know great things will happen because my family is who they are.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi(DAF)

 

What is in a tree?

Last week while Little Man and his family were visiting due to being evacuated for Hurricane Dorian, we took little day trips.  He is a smart Little Man and is interested in a myriad of things.  So, with this in mind, we went to visit Cowpens Battlefield here in the area.

Having visited the battlefield once before, I knew there was a film that told about the battle in the visitor’s center.   We watched the film and at the end of the film there was a statement, “in the time it took to watch this film, the battle was over.”   I had forgotten that part.   The film was less than an hour long.   That statement started my mind going for the rest of the visit.

We walked along a trail through the battlefield, and my mind kept going back to the length of the battle.  Along the way were markers that talked about the battle, with sketches and diagrams as to where you were.

In each of the markers, with the sketches of the battle were what the background could have looked like.   There were saplings that were portrayed, and fields.  The saplings caught my eye, for where they were in the sketch, in reality there were large trees.  These trees, at least some of them, could have been there when this battle took place.

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This tree caught my eye, obviously, since I took a picture of it.  The bark on it was twisted and it was fascinating to look at.

The image of this tree has not left my mind since our visit.  If trees could talk, what would this one say?  Was it a sapling in 1781?  Or was it a sapling during the Civil War?   How many people have picnicked underneath it?   How many couples used this tree as a place to meet?  How many times has this tree been climbed? What has this tree heard in it’s lifetime?  Promises made, promises broken?  Epitaphs?  Declarations of love and or hate?  All of this has rumbled around my mind.

This battle, short as it was, made history.  This field, once a place used solely for cattle, is now a national place.  This field is honored, people come to this field to learn, to remember our history, to reflect how our country came about.  Yet, these silent sentinels remain where all can see.  These trees, at least some of them, witnessed the events we learn about in visits like these.

When I look at trees, and as you have guessed, I love trees, I think of wisdom.  Trees outlast us.  They put their roots deep into the ground.  They survive storms and winds, snow and hail.  They stand tall during rain, they soak up what they need.  They shed leaves, they bloom new ones.  They provide shade, they provide protection, they provide.

In short, I truly would like to be like a tree.  Someone who may look a little gnarled on the outside, but is full of wisdom, protection, and provision.  A place where people can come and unload, vent, or just sit quietly while being refreshed.

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

That time of year…

As many of us here in the states know, there is a hurricane approaching.   The weather forecasters are reporting the paths that could be taken, the speed of the storm, the temperature of the water, the path of the air, the height of the waves, the amount of flooding, and so on and so forth.   I can find that I spend much of my time watching, as I am fascinated by this science of hurricanes.   They are violent storms, but they are also a visual of the power of God, as He is the One who has created it all.   I love to see manifestations of His power.  No, I am not going to engage in why all of this happens, it just does.

I see myself as a person of prayer. I have often mentioned that I love to pray and I love to see the answers our Lord gives as we come before Him.   Again, this is seeing His glory and power manifested.

Now, we just returned from a visit to the panhandle of Florida.  That is where our daughter’s family is and that is also where hurricane Michael hit last October.   Driving to her home, there was still much destruction visible.  It is going to take years for all the damage to be undone.   Tarps still cover many homes and businesses.  There are blatant reminders of the destruction a hurricane makes.  It is heart breaking to see it all.

We came home to hear about Dorian approaching.   I have seen many memes of this approaching storm.  I have smiled at many of them, I have chuckled aloud at several.   The one that keeps coming to mind, though, is a map of the southern states with a handful of cooked spaghetti laying on top of it.   That is accurate, I think.

The storm looks like it is going to hit the peninsula of Florida.  I have many dear cousins who live there.  I have friends who live there.   I really do not want their homes to be harmed, or their lives to be in danger.   But, I know that if it veers in any direction, going off into the gulf would affect my oldest daughter, and if it hits further up the eastern seaboard, it will affect my youngest and her family.

I mentioned to my cousin last night that my prayers may not do much, but, I serve a God who talks to the wind.  I pray for the protection of the people in Florida and any who may be affected by this storm.

And then, on the other side of me, there is that thought, hmmm… maybe I could see my Little Man if they have to evacuate….   There is always that side of me, the grammy side that  would just like to snuggle with my babies…

Thanks for listening to me ramble tonight…  Cathi (DAF)

Little Man…

It has been quite a while since I have written and even longer since I last wrote about Little Man.  Little Man is now seven.  Seems impossible, but he turned seven on Friday this past week.

Hubby and I traveled to see him and were able to spend time with him.  It was glorious!  I always come away with a lesson learned from him and this time was no exception.

Friday we spent a couple of hours with him in the pool.  It was a fun time with lots of laughter and splashing and rough-housing.  He showed us his jumps into the pool, his cannonball, his karate kick jump, and his vertical alligator jump.   All named appropriately, and each delivered with grace and style.  If they were to be judged by this Grammy, they would all be a 10.

We played cards, and Rock em, Sock em Robots.   It was a tie at the cards, but only because the game was interrupted by dinner and then forgotten for a bit.   I lost the battle of the robots, much to the glee of the seven year old.

The lesson I have learned this past weekend?  To live life with joy.  Embrace the fun that life holds.   Jump into the pool of life instead of gently lowering yourself into the tide and flow.  Most of all, hug, laugh and make funny noises when words fail you.

Happy Birthday Little Man, you will always have my heart as I learn from your example.

Thanks for stopping by today.   Cathi (DAF)

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)

Michael…

I haven’t been on my blog or reading other blogs for about a week now.  I don’t know what has been written about the hurricane and so I have been hesitant to write about it myself.

We had the remnants of the hurricane pass through our area, we were on the western edge, so to us, the storm was no different from a good winter type storm. Some wind, rain and a few small branches laying in the yard.

Our daughter’s family lives in Panama City Beach, had Michael not veered slightly to the east, she would have been in the direct path.   As it was, she did not receive as much damage as expected, for which we are so grateful.

What has prompted me to write is this, although the initial reports were wonderful, like most things in life, when the dust settles and the air is clear things appear that at first glance were overlooked.  Such was the case with family there.   They are still so much farther ahead than  others and they are so thankful and know they are blessed, but they still have some obstacles to overcome.

They have learned a few lessons so far in this process and by default,  I am learning them too. I am so proud of my daughter and son-in-law.  They give.  They give of themselves, their time, their belongings.  I am looking at my home in a fresh way this week.  I am looking at what is in my home in a new way.  This storm has touched my life.   I know there have been other storms, and I am not diminishing those in any way, this one was more personal.  When things are personalized they take on greater meaning.  I have joked in the past that I do like the hurricane seasons because my kids, who are both in hurricane prone areas, come to visit.  Yes, that is wonderful, and I do love those times, but this time the kids did not come home.   They made the intelligent decision to go a bit further west and found safety from the storm and had a few days of sun.

Coming home to what they did, they took nothing for granted.  They have power and cell coverage.  They no longer just turn on a switch and expect the lights to come on.  The lights are a blessing.  Their cell carrier who is usually complained about is now a wonderful treat.  They are sharing their phones with others, so things can be accomplished and loved ones can hear a voice and feel reassured.

It’s the little things that are usually taken for granted that have opened their (and my) eyes to the blessing they are.  The photos do not do justice to the area.  Their neighborhood is being cleared, but the damage is great.  There is a bridge that connects Panama City Beach to Panama City.  My daughter said that the damage on her side of the bridge takes your breath away in the magnitude, but, she said compared to the other side of the bridge they are very fortunate.

I have shared this to encourage whoever is reading to pray for those in the path of Michael.  There are some who are still struggling with the effects of Florence who  were hit once more with this last storm.  As  news stories come and go, we tend to forget those major headlines from a week ago.  The headlines may fade, but the damage does not go away as quickly.

Thank you for stopping by today.  DAF (Cathi)

Six years out…

Six years ago on the 28th of July, I wrote this blog post:

This will be short. I am busy watching my baby’s baby. He is absolutely gorgeous, all 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long.

He coos, he squeals, he cries, and he is the proud owner of my heart. It no longer belongs to me, it is his. His little fingers have wrapped their way around my heart and there they will stay.

That’s it for now, I am busy reveling in the glory of our God in giving our family such a gift.

Yes, it was a short post, and it seems like yesterday that I wrote it.  But, it’s not.  It was six years ago.

Tomorrow Little Man turns six.  Can you believe that?  I know I can’t!  So many little stories I have written about him and when I re-read each one, it seems like it just happened.

It has been a while since I wrote anything about this precious little guy.  My heart is still his, like my heart is also his cousin’s.  Those little ones grab your heart with that first look and they do not let go of it, nor, would I want them to.

Little Man is now heading into the first grade.  He is an avid reader, reading much more above his grade level.  He is into dinosaurs currently, he still loves his legos, and his taste in music is incredible.  He can rock out with the best of us.

He makes me smile just with a glance and when it has been a while since I last saw him, my arms ache for a hug.

So much of what I took for granted while raising my daughters, like birthdays and interests, loose teeth, and advancing in school, is now of great interest to me.  I love hearing him tell me of his adventures, those  big and small.  These little things are so important to him, and to me.   He continues to teach me things I have long forgotten.  The joy of discovering a new trick on a scooter, the fun of wriggling a loose tooth, the information on dinosaurs and how they looked or what they ate.   These are important lessons to focus on.

I am still amazed at this Little Man.  He makes my heart smile. IMG_1760Happy Birthday six-year-old!  Grammy loves you.

 

 

We have the same name…

I went to kindergarten in the morning.  I had a friend who lived across the street somewhat, it’s an intersection where there are actually a couple of streets merging off of one.  Anyhow, I really liked this girl and her name also was Kathy.   I remember one day another girl came to play with my friend Kathy.  She had red hair.  She went to afternoon kindergarten.  She was playing with my friend Kathy.  I immediately did not like her.  She was crowding in on my friend territory.  Her name?  Kathy.

Fast  forward through eight years of elementary school and this red-headed Kathy was at all of my birthday parties and I was at hers.  We were friends.  The other Kathy? I really have lost touch with her and don’t actually know where she is…

But, this third Kathy, this red-headed girl has become my forever friend.  We grew closer during high school.  I was at her house all the time.  We spent nights together, talking until three or four in the morning.  She introduced me to my husband, I was there when she tripped and actually fell into the lap of her future husband, smashing an ice cream cone into his face.  Yes, I was that friend who sat and laughed uncontrollably while that happened.   It was classic!

I just went online to read the definition of forever friend.  I read articles of how you know when you find a forever friend.  I didn’t need to read any of it.  The definition of a forever friend?  Kathy.

C.S. Lewis (one of my favorite writers) once said, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ”   This is my friend.

We have gone long times when we haven’t spoken.  We have had a distance between us.  We have been like sisters at times when we have argued and stayed mad at one another.  But, then, that melody drifts into our hearts and we know that we need to reach out to one another. We need to have that time of restoration.  To hear one another, and to listen to each other.  Those words that remind us of who we are.   That melody in our hearts that were sung as children and teens, and kept us sane as young mothers.  That harmony that now eases us into our ‘senior years’.  The song that started out as a light melody has now become an orchestral piece, rich with all the sounds of the instruments.  The deep bass of the hard and difficult times we have seen one another through, the piccolo of the happy times, the weddings and the births of grandchildren.  Those calming woodwinds that  echo with memories of times spent together.  Each movement conveying notes we carry in our hearts for one another.

Friends are truly a gift from our God.  I have been blessed with many friends.  I am honored when someone befriends me and I often wonder why they would.  The friendship with Kathy has been grown over time.  I often see a reflection of God in her.  Her faith, her giving heart, her determination, her drive, challenges me and at the same time amazes me.  There are very few people who I can be truly and honestly myself with.  I am grateful that Kathy allows me to be me, bumps, bruises, frustration, anger, tears, laughter, all of who I am, I can be.   She will listen and then, with ever so much grace she will point me the Lord and the direction I need to go.

In the Message Bible, Proverbs 17:17 says, Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.”  

I am so grateful to God for the gift of that red-headed girl I met so many, many, many years ago.   I hope you have had the blessing of a forever friend.  Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)