dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Love at First Sight…

Today, being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write a love story.  A love story dear to my heart.

Two years ago last night we saw our house for the first time on the outside.    Two years ago today, we walked into our house for the first time.  It was empty and filled with the winter sunlight.

We walked from room to room.  We searched each closet, each nook and cranny.  We didn’t leave for two and a half hours.  We walked around inside and outside.  We tried to see something we didn’t like.

But, as what happens with cases of love at first sight, we did not see anything.  We went ahead and now it is our home.  Like any relationship, we have come to see some flaws in our home.  We have been discouraged with some things.  This home, though, has grown with us.  It has seen visitors and loved ones.  It has witnessed much love and laughter.  It has seen our tears and heartaches.

Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, we fell in love with a house.  A structure sitting on a parcel of land.  It needed some work and still does, but, when it boils down  to it, don’t we all?    Two years ago, this was our gift to one another.  A forever home for us.  A place to grow old in.  A place to make memories.  A place to shelter us and provide a setting where love and peace live.

Happy Valentine’s Day.      Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

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Homesick for what was…

Today was just another day.  We had a lot of rain last night, so I decided to go out and pull some more English ivy from around one of the tree gardens in our yard.  It is growing and choking out some azalea bushes and spring flowers. I spent a short time out doing that. Afterwards, I had a wonderful conversation with a friend from California and while talking with her, I realized some branches had come down during the rain last night.

So, after the conversation.  I went out to pick up the fallen branches.  It was a lovely day out.  Daffodils are blooming all over the yard and the hyacinths are budding.  I love this house in the spring.  Each place I look I see signs of spring and new life.   I picked a bouquet of daffodils and placed them on my kitchen counter.  My kitchen is a dark blue and the daffodils are a beautiful contrast.  I have been content today.

Later this afternoon, I heard a car drive into our driveway.  Several times I heard the locks beep.  I got up, and went outside.   A young woman was standing there.  I asked if I could help her.  She said she used to live in this house and wondered if it would be okay to sit in our driveway for a bit.  I told her it was not a problem and told her how much we loved our home.  She then asked if it would be okay to walk around a bit.  I agreed to that.  She thanked me and I told her it was nothing.  I then said, you’re homesick, aren’t you?  With that she started to cry and walked around to the side yard.

My heart broke.  She stood by our little wishing well, gently touching it.   I watched a bit from a window and could see her crying.  Hubby went out to talk with her and they stood and visited for a few minutes.  He asked if she wanted to come in, but, she declined.  She told him that the room that is now our guest room was her room.

As I have thought about this unexpected visit from a stranger, my heart broke for her.  She told my hubby that her folks divorced and they could not keep the house.  I know, for her today, she needed to see something that was a part of a past for her.  A past where she grew up and had love and laughter and memories.   I have prayed for her since she left.  I don’t know what she is going through now, but, I know there have been times in my life where I have longed for the past.  I have longed for the familiar, the comfortable.    As she drove off, I prayed that she would be okay.  We told her she was welcome to stop by anytime.  I hope somehow she felt a bit comforted by her visit home.

Many times we walk around lonely.  I hope that if any one of you who read this are experiencing such loneliness that someone will provide that bit of security and comfort for you.  Thanks for stopping by.    Cathi (DAF)

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Once Upon A Time at Christmas…

A week ago, my daughter (Little Miss’ mom) and her family arrived for Christmas.  It was the first time in a decade that we were able to spend Christmas together.  I was so thrilled!  Her sister, obviously my other daughter,  was supposed to join us, but, at the last moment, couldn’t.  We were disappointed, but, understood.

The days leading up to Christmas were full.  We had fun, visiting, playing with our Little Miss, who is two and filled with giggles and two-year old conversations.   We went shopping for last-minute gifts, for groceries, for nothing in particular.  It was a lovely few days leading up to the 25th.

Christmas Eve we set out gifts and made plans for the following morning.  My daughter made a breakfast casserole in the crock pot and we planned to get up and head to church.  We each had our outfits ready to go, and it was all planned out.  Get up, have a nice breakfast, go to church, come home and open gifts and have a nice dinner.

Christmas Eve we went to bed.  All was quiet…   Hubby and I got up, showered, got ready for church.  Our daughter was getting up and Little Miss’ daddy was kind enough to discover that our guest room bath had standing water in it.  Such a wonderful Christmas gift for us!  We went to the basement and lo!  there was more standing water.

That lovely Christmas breakfast casserole stayed in the crock pot just a bit longer.  Hubby and I changed from our church clothes into work clothes.  So, for the next two hours the guys worked.  Pumping and vacuuming water from the floor.  Turning off water certain places to make certain it didn’t leak. Moving a toilet to make certain it wasn’t the cause of the water.  Discovering that our septic tank decided to be full.  Full on Christmas Day.  Not Christmas Eve…. no…. Christmas Day.  It could not wait another day… no… full on Christmas Day.

So, we called and got an appointment for the next morning to have the tank pumped.  That was good.  It was going to happen soon.  We had water to drink that did not need to be run through the sink.  So, that was great.  But… cooking.  I just could not think about doing that in my kitchen.   This will be in part 2…

We ate some breakfast, although the guys did not have much appetite after clearing the rooms.  I had the fumes of disinfectant lingering in my nose as I scrubbed the floors where the water had been and where the men had walked.  We ate, not truly enjoying the casserole that was delicious.

We read the Christmas story.  Little Miss was a bit distracted, but hubby was trying to salvage something of the day.  The story ended.  I went to the kitchen and decided that mimosas were in order.   And then we opened gifts.  Christmas, as it is spoken of in  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  did come.  “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… He thought …means a little bit more.”   Christmas came even though the tank overflowed…

Christmas came.  We laughed with one another as we sat in our stinky work clothes.  We hugged and thanked each other even though only half of us managed to shower that morning.  We had each other and the cares and weight of the messy morning did not ruin what happens when family sit around a tree on Christmas morning and share with one another.

Christmas came as it did centuries ago.  Christmas came quietly that day long ago.  That day when our Savior was born.  Christmas came without ribbons, it came without tags.  It continues to come even when the morning is filled with shop vacs and buckets and scrubbing.    I hope your Christmas was special like ours, but, not as eventful as ours turned out.   Cathi

 

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Where my mind has taken me….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There’s a spiritual lesson in there somewhere…

I try to find lessons in all areas of my life.  I think I have done this most of my adult life.  I have learned things cleaning a toilet.  I try to see things from how I think the Lord would talk to me.  I guess that means in parables, or stories.    I have a whole list of things that I have learned that way and for all of those little lessons, I am grateful.

I have nursery duty this month at church.  It really isn’t a duty because I get to snuggle with a little boy who is usually ready for his nap and he is willing and ready to be rocked.  You can’t beat rocking a baby to sleep while sitting in a comfy rocker knowing that rocking is the only thing you are required to do at that moment.

Anyhow, today the little boy was awake the whole time he was in the nursery.  But, he wanted to be rocked anyhow.  We rocked and played and he giggled, which is like heaven whenever a baby giggles.    He left early since his mom had to work, so I was able to sneak back into church and catch the end of the sermon.

From what I heard the pastor (a guest speaker from Michigan) was encouraging us to keep the flame lit.  Not to run short of oil.  It was great and I will need to go back and listen online to the beginning of the message.

We came home and had a lazy afternoon.  Earlier this evening we sat out on our screen porch and hubby started looking at the pool.  There was a faint green line around the bottom of the pool.    He looked at me and said, “you have some algae growing in there.”   Not exactly what I wanted to hear when I really wanted to do nothing the rest of the day.

I asked if I what I was thinking it needed was right.  I was right and I started to grumble about doing it today.  Hubby told me to wait until the morning and I almost agreed, but, there was something else.  By waiting, it would give the algae a bigger hold on the pool.   So, grabbing the necessary things, I went to the pool and started working on it.  I brushed it and loosened the growth (really not much), then I shocked it and added a few more chlorine tablets to the chlorinater.    Easy stuff, actually.

You see, this week, I haven’t done any maintenance on the pool.  It has rained non stop and when it has taken a break, I have been in the middle of something else.  We tested the water a couple of times to make certain it was okay and it was.  So, we waited.

The spiritual lesson here, at least for me? We can be washed cleaned by the blood of Jesus. We can have the right balance to us.  But, if we decide to just ‘be’ for a while, we have the chance of becoming stagnant.  Thin lines of green can form in our souls and if we do not stir ourselves up and renew ourselves with the bleaching of the Word of God, or prayer, that spiritual algae will continue to grow in us.   We will begin to grow murky and not be good for much.

In the New Living Version of the  Bible, Psalm 51:2 says, “Wash me inside and out from my wrong-doing and make me clean from my sin.”

Today, the lesson for me made me think about how clean I am.  I am going to spend some time this evening seeing if there is any spiritual algae growing in me and what I need to do about it.

I know this is a bit different from my usual writing, but, it is something I wanted to share.

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

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Reminders and Echoes…

This past week we celebrated Little Man’s fourth birthday here.  The pool was ready, the weather was wonderful and it was a great celebration.

Little Miss arrived before Little Man and the time with these two wonderful, lively human beings went much too fast.

Little Miss left just a few hours ago. The house is now quiet.  I have picked up the living room of the remaining things lying around.  Up the stairs went the books and balls and crayons and coloring books.  A few stuffed animals went up the stairs also.

I put the things carried up into the guest area upstairs.  I dared not go into the toy room, at least not yet.  I was in there earlier this morning with Little Miss and the echoes resounding in there were deafening.  The puzzle Little Man put together was still together on the floor.  The paper he was painting on still laying there where he put it.  The trucks are all crashed in disarray and there are puzzle pieces scattered throughout the room.  Little Miss was in there copying how she had seen her cousin playing earlier this week.  She was his shadow, mimicking everything he did.

They became cousins this week, I think.  They no longer just stared at one another.  She followed him closer than his shadow did.  She was under his feet studying his each move.  If he played with the ball, so did she.  Of course this led to the normal stance of most young cousins, throwing things, pushing each other and grabbing things out of each other’s hands.  It was delightful to see!  I could picture them in years to come, chasing one another, challenging each other and having talks that only cousins can have.  It made my heart swell and now, it brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

Yes, it is quieter without the grandchildren here.  We are lonely for them.  We dislike when they leave, our lives are just a bit duller and there is not enough laughter resounding between the two of us.

This visit, though, I realized it was not just the little kids that made leaving so hard.  I have missed ‘my’ kids.  My girls.  Tell-tale signs that they were home make me stop and wipe a tear from my eye.  Seeing towels put into the washer so I didn’t have to put them there.  Reading a note in my guest room guest book.  Seeing a guest room put back together and knowing she did it.  Seeing a favorite coffee cup out and being hesitant to put it away into the dishwasher, knowing that she was the last one to hold it.  Yes, all of these things make me wish for one more hug, one more laugh.

Times go by too fast.  Times that we mostly take for granted.  This week cemented in me that this house is a house we have dreamed of for years.  It is a place where my kids and their kids can let their hair down.  A place where they can relax and not worry about fingerprints on windows or sticky floors or bringing crayons into a livingroom.  It is a place where you can bounce a ball or yourself down the stairs while laughing and screaming ‘boom’ or ‘bump’.  A place to blow bubbles inside. This is the house I always wanted.  A place with a screen door that slams.  A place where there is adventure and fun.  A place to jump off the side of a pool or from the ladder.  This is home, this is where family come to be family, loud, noisy, laughing, talking, remembering and even being annoyed or frustrated.  I am so thankful for my girls and their families.  We may not be wealthy or have a pristine home, but, we are rich in being able to be a family.  I have waited too many years for this and at long last it feels like my dreams have come true.  A family that can come home, and relax. taking naps or finding a room to just sit and get caught up with one another.

I have had a great week.  I sit here a little more tired, and a lot more lonely, but my heart is full when I listen to the echoes that are still bouncing around the room.  My heart is full when I see remnants of toys and towels and floats for the pool.    So, thank you to my girls and their families making this Grammy a happy one, albeit a very teary-eyed one today.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)

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Anticipation…

I am excited!  In two days, Little Miss will be here.  I cannot wait to see their car pull into the driveway, knowing who is sitting in the backseat waiting to be freed from her car seat.   I will be anxious to scoop her up and know that after a long drive her mama will be ready to get out of the car herself.  As it most likely goes, Little Miss will be ready to be changed or sticky or drenched from pouring water on herself.  That is always the case with children, you prepare for them to be perfect to see their grandparents and then on the way reality strikes and the end product is never what you think and dream it will be.  (Speaking from experience here with two little girls that I always wanted to look ‘just so’ when seeing their grandparents for the first time of a visit.  I always looked like I just put my finger in a socket and they looked like  street hooligans who hadn’t been fed or bathed in six years of their four years of life.)

Little Miss is coming for a party.  Not a huge party, just a family celebration.  The celebration was moved here since Grampy is confined to small areas still.  He can go to local places to eat as long as he can put his leg up, but, he still cannot travel well.  So, we are having a family pool party at our home.  I am so excited!

The honoree for the party?  Why, that is Little Man!  He is going to be four years old.  Yes, that is right, he is no longer a toddler, but a little boy.  He will be arriving on Monday and I cannot wait to scoop him up and continue our ongoing conversation.   This conversation started four years ago and each time we see each other that conversation continues.

So, yes, the anticipation of having both Little Miss and Little Man here is killing me.  I keep wishing the time would pass more quickly.  I impatiently look at the hour and look outside wishing it was one day closer.  I know it will be a short visit for both of them, but, even spending a few hours with them is like Christmas morning for  me. The greatest gifts that have ever been given to me, wrapped up in little arms and hands and giggles.  Hearing stories and seeing their faces makes my heart full of health and well-being.

After these past few weeks hubby and I need a dose of healing and laughter.  We need a time to see these precious gifts and most of all we need a day to celebrate our Little Man, who has blessed our life with his.  His curiosity is boundless and his ability to carry on a conversation and ask wonderful questions gives us joy.  So, an early Happy Birthday Little Man.  I can’t believe you are four already.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF (Cathi)

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Uncovering…

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The front yard before moving in

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The driveway

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Another front yard view

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Our gazebo in the front yard

I have not shared pictures of our home.  I had wanted to wait until it was completed and looked like a spread in a home and garden magazine.  I don’t think that will happen in the near future.

Everyone talks about the joys of home ownership and most of the time it is talked about sarcastically.  I confess, I have done that also.  This home, though, has made me smile.  Each morning I awake, open the drapes and smile when I look outside.  Yes, there is so much to do.  But, it is our home, and for the first time in our marriage, I feel like we are home.  We are no longer in transit.  We are no longer temporary, we are putting down roots and being planted here.

As you can tell from the pictures, there were lots and lots of leaves when we moved in.  We got to some of them last summer, but, we did not make a dent.  Then, autumn came and all those leaves were doubled.  It was beautiful, amazing and daunting all at once.  We joked with one another that raking would be our retirement entertainment.

This spring, we have started once more to uncover.  We uncovered a bit of the front yard by the driveway and discovered  three azalea bushes.  They were small and totally overwhelmed by the leaves.  We were thrilled at the discovery and wanted to see what else was here.

About a month ago, some dear friends came down from Pennsylvania to visit.  She brought me some plants from her gardens and together we planted flowers from home along with some dirt from our hometown.  I welcomed each plant and was thrilled to have combined our past with our future in these little plantings.  They have taken off growing and thriving, reminding me that we do bloom when we are planted where we are supposed to be.

We planted the plants by our gazebo, as they are spreading plants and I could picture them growing down the hillside there.  We raked and cleared a space for them.  Again, we uncovered several things.  Leading up to the gazebo is a stone path, buried and waiting to be discovered.  There were plantings there, hosta, sedum, saplings, all hidden and unable to grow.

Last week, our dear friends who are family came up.  She looked at the large garden by our pool and  gave me ideas for the garden.  It was the first time I could picture what to actually do in the garden instead of just weeding it, and being confused.  She helped identify things in the garden that I didn’t know.  I showed her what I did know and had learned from my friend from Pennsylvania.  Together we discovered more things that have been hidden and overwhelmed.

Yes, this home is a process.  We will spend several years uncovering and discovering.  It is a journey and an adventure.  What I have learned is I also discover lessons about myself.  Uncovering things that are hidden is a lifetime chore.  Each stage of our life reveals something we don’t know about ourselves.  I had thought when I reached my 60’s I would have arrived.  I would be exactly who I am supposed to be.  I am, to a point, but, there are things in me that I am still uncovering.  Areas of my life where I have let debris pile up, stunting growth and opportunity.  I am realizing as I rake and discover that there are places in my heart and mind that need to be raked and brought into the light.  Places that need to grow and discover their full potential.  This, too, will take time.  I may not know a lot about gardening and weeding, but I am learning as I go.

Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF (Cathi)

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Crumbs from Christmas….

Before I dig into my day I stop and think of what I want to accomplish.  I know I need to clean.  I look where our Christmas tree stood until late yesterday afternoon.  I swept up most of the fallen needles, but there are a few left on the carpet… waiting to be swept up by the vacuum.

The fake presents I wrap and decorate so that our dog does not lift his leg on our tree or drink the tree water lay around the floor looking oddly out of place.  Today, I will unwrap those boxes and throw them away, saving the ribbon and decorations on them for next year.

The dining room has the sad remains of my ‘snack’ table.  Sad, forgotten and unwanted cookies lay on the plates knowing that they will never be eaten and today will join the wrapping paper and boxes in the trash.

The mostly empty tins of pralines, now soggy and too sugary  await their final destination also.

The only hopeful is the tin of peppermint bark, almost completely empty, but still tasty.  I think that will be my reward for cleaning up the Christmas crumbs.

So, onward I move, not nearly as excited as I was a month ago when the ribbons and wrappings were fresh and looked beautiful.  It is a new year now and time marches on.  Valentine’s Day  decorations are beginning to peak through the mounds of Christmas decorations awaiting their long summer’s sleep.  Red and green is replaced by red and pink.

I already feel like this year is speeding by.  I look around in anticipation of what this year holds.  But, first, I must get busy.   Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

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The Unexpected Year…

Happy 2016!  I am blowing the dust off my blog and writing.  Last week I read my year review of my blog…. it was abysmal to say the least.  I started strong and just faded into the sunset.

A year ago as I put away the Christmas decorations I wondered where I would be this year.  Hubby and I talked about the possibility of being somewhere new, in our own home.  We then laughed and said, “Nah, we will be here still.”

We were wrong.

Last February, on my birthday we received a life changing phone call.  It was from our Realtor.  He told us to get up to the upstate of South Carolina, for he thought he had found ‘our’ house.  We came up, not expecting it to be ‘the’ house.

Again, we were wrong.

The house was perfect for us.  A 15 year old home, that will need work as everything is original to the house.  The next five years will find us replacing and repairing things.  But, the house is perfect for us.  We are so very grateful to be here.

Before we moved, we prayed and felt like this house would be a place of rest and restoration for people.  We felt like we were told to expect our house to be filled with guests.  We figured we would have a couple of people visit for a few days.

Guess what?  Wrong again.

I figured it out one day about a month ago.  The first six months of living here and we had three and a half months of company. Since then, we have had company for another 10 days.

Each person who comes here says the same thing.  This place is so peaceful.    It is.  It is our little haven.  I open the curtains in the morning and thank God for His blessings on us.  Yes, we need to paint and replace the carpet and rake a ton of leaves, but, it is our place to rest.

I have missed writing.  It is the place where I actually sit still long enough to reflect on life.  That is a good thing.  I have missed my blogging friends.  I am sorry to those whom I usually read, that I have not read and encouraged and laughed along with you all.  I promise to do better.

Life sometimes takes over.  It is like a bulldozer and you are swept up in the busyness that can envelop us.  I can hide in the busyness.  It is easy for me to do so.  I can make excuses why I do that  and think that I am right.

No, I am wrong.

We need one another.  We need to encourage and support one another.  This blogging intertwines lives.  We get glimpses into each other’s thoughts and wishes and dreams.  We laugh at experiences we have.  We cry with sorrows shared.  I think that I can write or not write and it makes no difference to anyone.

I hope I am wrong.

So, here is my first post of the year.  In thinking of my blog this coming year, I am hoping to be more consistent in writing and reading.  I await the unexpected this year, for that is where we have adventure and experiences that give us things to write about.

Thanks for stopping by.   DAF

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