My Veteran…

Tomorrow, November 11th is Veterans Day.  In all the years that I have had my blog, I have never written a post to honor my Veteran on this day.   I have shared about him and some of our adventures, but never on this day that honors Veterans.

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This is hubby and I.  Yes, it is an old picture, but one of my favorites.  This was taken the summer before my hubby joined the U.S. Navy.   We had been dating for a few years at this time.  Neither of us had a clue as to what our future held, we were having fun, working, and being young.

In November of that year, I woke early to meet his father and him downtown.  The sun was barely shining and a bus arrived that would take him to Pittsburgh, PA to be processed into the Navy and from there he would take his first flight to Orlando for boot camp.   It was a sad good-bye for me and after the bus departed, I went home, changed and threw myself into work for the next few weeks.

He was able to come home for the Christmas holidays.  I was overjoyed at the thought of him coming home.  I anxiously waited to see his parent’s car pull up in front  of our house, and I immediately ran to the front door to greet him.

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At the door stood a familiar face, a familiar smile, and arms that felt so wonderful.  But, this was no longer the high school boy I had been dating.  Before me stood a military man.  He left as the kid from high school, but came home so different.  He had left the world we both knew so well and he came home a sailor.  It took a couple of days for me to realize that he truly was the same kid I fell in love with, it was just that he now was part of the U.S. Navy.

During his brief visit home, we were engaged to be married.  He placed a sparkling diamond on my finger and we once more said good-bye.  We were beginning to see a pattern here that would repeat itself often throughout his career.

I planned our wedding and thirteen months later, we had our day.   A part of our wedding had a John Denver song, “Follow Me”.  The lyrics say, “You see I’d like to share my life with you And show you things I’ve seen Places that I’m going to places where I’ve been To have you there beside me and never be alone And all the time that you’re with me We will be at home Follow me where I go what I do and who I know Make it part of you to be a part of me Follow me up and down all the way Take my hand and I will follow you”   I selected this as I thought it was romantic and sweet.   Little did I know that it would become a way of life.

The day after our wedding, our adventure began.  This man, who has been in my life since I was 15, has served our country.  He has given me a number of adventures.  We have lived in many places.  He has missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, school events, life events.  He met his youngest daughter eight and half months after her birth. IMG_0426He has had to switch mental gears often, becoming a gentle Daddy to little girls after a day or weeks of being solely a military man.  He has made hard choices to leave the comfort of a home to be where he was needed.  We learned that sometimes sacrifice was a priority, and I never saw him grumble about it.

We watched his career continue for almost 21 years, and then the girls, now in high school and middle school, watched with me as we saw him enter a retirement ceremony as an active duty sailor and leave to the tune of boatswain’s mate pipe as he walked out a Veteran.    A few short steps and our grand adventure was over.  No more deployments, no more separations.

There was a time when I looked at him and could see the readiness of our military.  I could see him bounding up ladders on a ship.  I could see his ready smile as he saw any of the ships moored on the base.  I could feel his excitement, his love, his devotion to his career.  It was honorable.  I often stood amazed that he could be so devoted to family and at the same time be so devoted to his service to his country.

Now, I look at this man and the admiration is still there, although there is no bounding up any steps, let alone ladders!  This man not only gave his life and youth to serving, but, he took me along with him.  The love for his country and for the military easily spread to my heart.  The adventure of his Navy career was short in the great scheme of life, however, it was one that filled my heart, and my mind with memories, remembered aromas from places we lived, and echoes of laughter and conversations with those we met and carry in our heart.

Veterans are truly special people.  You see them often.  The old men and women on the street, or at the stores.  They are the young men and women, some crippled visibly and some not so visible. They deserve honor.  They deserve praise.  Yet, I am partial to my Veteran.  He is my favorite.  I have followed him, and will continue to take his hand, for when we are together we are home.

Thank you for stopping by today.   I appreciate it, Cathi (DAF)

Juggling…

I have a faint memory from childhood of having juggling balls.  I remember looking at the direction book and practicing with them.  I think I was able to get up to three balls.  I was excited at what I could do, but when I tried the fourth ball, I became discouraged and quit.

Isn’t that how it is when we are trying something new or going through new experiences?   We step out confident, and then that fourth ball comes into play and all of a sudden we are all fingers and toes and can’t hold onto anything.

How did this memory come back to me, you ask?   Well, here is how it came back from the dark recesses of my mind.   That mind of mine is a scary thing, as I really don’t have to let you know.   I am certain you could perceive that from reading this blog!

Hubby and I are starting a new regiment in our old age.  We are watching what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat and along with that, we are exercising.   We had been faithfully walking until the rains hit starting a bit last week and continuing into this week.   Knowing we couldn’t afford to just go to Costco and walk around there to get in our steps and exercise, we pulled out our Wii system that had been packed away since before we moved.     Yes, we did move five years ago, but, let’s not get into that.

As we all know, Wii’s are those game systems that help you move.   I did the normal favorites of mine, finding out I am much more unbalanced and slower than the last time I used it.  Plus that Wii board groans when I step on it, which I personally think is very rude of it.    Anyhow, I am going off on a tangent…

One of the games is hitting soccer balls with your head while trying not to get hit by random objects, mostly shoes or stuffed animals.  I haven’t broken ten hits of the balls.  I have, however been hit many times by shoes and stuffed animals.  Each time you are hit with a shoe, the system makes a sound like a splat! The first time I played I was laughing so hard that there really was no way for me to hit the balls.   I played a few more times just to keep laughing at myself.

Last night as I lay in bed I thought of that game and being hit by the shoes.  That is when the memory of the juggling balls came to mind.   The shoes were virtual, they really didn’t hit you or hurt you, but I still remember the feeling of the juggling balls that dropped on my toes.  They fell with a thud and I felt each one on my feet.

As a child, I hurt each time I was hit by a flying ball.  It must have hurt if I can still remember the feeling.  That thought brought this thought to mind, as we get older, the things that are thrown at us can either continue to hurt or we can stand our ground and not have it affect us.

Juggling is not only about tossing balls into the air with a flourish, it is about concentration, ability, agility and confidence.  I confess I possess little of what I just wrote.   But, I do have the Lord on my side, who gives me all the concentration, ability, agility and confidence I need especially when life starts throwing not only balls, but random objects at me.  I may not hit all the balls with grace, but I am learning how to dodge those random objects thrown my way.  I may end up a bit bruised in the process, but, I am still standing and that my friends is victory.

Isaiah 43: 2 says: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.NLT

With having this assurance, I can stand, not only on that Wii board, but, in my daily routine and know that flying objects that appear out of nowhere trying to distract and discourage me won’t  overthrow me.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Little Girls…

Little girls come into your life and they nuzzle up and reach in and steal your heart.  They do this easily and quickly.

I always wanted to have five boys.  That was my dream when I was young.  I wanted enough boys to have a pick up basketball team.  I always thought I would have a household full of boys.  They would grow up and look down on me and be in my home to eat all my food and make me laugh.  Yes, if you would have asked me in my early twenties, that is what I would have told you.

Then, near my mid twenties, our first daughter was born.  Suddenly, little girls were my world.  Lots of pink and ruffles and sweet little smiles.   A few years later her sister was born.  Again, lots of ruffles, but, lavender this time.

My girls carry my heart with them wherever they go.  I have gotten used to not having all my heart with me.   My girls, as they often do, grew up into beautiful women whom I am proud to know.  I am even more proud to be their Mom.

My youngest married first and she gifted me with a grandson, my Little Man.  He is a joy in himself, full of laughter and jokes and sly smiles.  He is a soccer man, and is improving all the time.  He loves his rock and roll music, and will talk about music all the time if you can keep up with him.  He makes my heart smile.

A couple of years after Little Man, our Little Miss came to us.   This little girl, this little gift.  She came a bit early and was really small.  Her size did not deter her personality though, as it was full grown and ready to be presented to the world.

Granddaughters are so much different than daughters.  They melt your heart even sooner than my daughters did.  I saw my husband melt within the first few hours after her birth.  It was different than with Little Man.  With Little Man, he was proud.  I could see his chest popping out in pride.  This was his Grandson.   In a moment he was in the future with him, working on cars and going fishing and doing all the guy stuff he had experienced when he was young.

When Little Miss was born, this man of mine became jello.  He held her and melted.  I watched him do it.  He looked at her and his heart was now in her little fingers.  It has remained so to this day.

Tomorrow, Little Miss turns five.  She is our Halloween pumpkin.  She is giggles and long stories.   She is a ballerina on her toes, leaping and in the next minute she is chasing her dogs and trying to hug them.   She is wanting to wear frilly dresses but not let her long locks be touched by a hairbrush.  She is a range of emotions like the range of the Appalachian mountains, it just goes on and on.

She is our precious little one.  The one who has her Mom take pictures of her in her church outfit so I can see how she looks.  She poses with one foot out, like a ballet position.  She is a true little girl, the sugar and spice, but also a measure of snips and snails and puppy dog tails…

Happy Birthday my Little Miss.  May your joy be complete and may this year be one filled with adventures and excitement.  You are loved.   Grammy.

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Thanks for stopping by today,  Cathi (DAF)

Confessions and Memories…

I discovered today that there is actually a National Day of the Deployed.  Never heard of such a thing, and yet, when I looked, there is actually a day for those who are currently deployed, or have been deployed as a day to honor their sacrifice and commitment.  So, to make it official, I thanked my hubby and son-in-law for their service, and then I got off of Facebook and started to do my ironing.

As I was ironing, I figured I would write and wax poetic on how wonderful these two men are in serving in the Navy.   I would try to make it sound great and noble and I could feel good about writing that.

Then, as I was in the middle of ironing hubby’s shirts, reality hit me.  I like ironing.  In fact, I like doing most housework.  As my daughters used to tease me, I am a 50’s housewife.  Not like Donna Reed, with heels, dresses, aprons and perfectly coiffed hair, no, I am more of the likes of Roseanne.   I prefer tennis shoes, jeans (the old ratty ones), stained tee shirts (sometimes with holes in them), my hair is all over the place and please, make-up?  No, not around the house…

I truly became a 50’s housewife while my hubby was deployed.  When you spend months at a time on your own, raising a family, you have got to start to fill your time somehow.  I started cleaning.  Scrubbing down walls in frustration and anxiety when I didn’t hear from him for weeks.  Back then we did not have e-mail or video chats, we had snail mail and yes, sometimes a snail was faster than mail arriving at my home.

I could watch the news and worry.  I could read the newspaper and wonder.  Or, as I often did, I would pull out the bucket, and scrub walls.  It was therapeutic, it was exercise, but most of all, it was a stress reliever.   Windows would come next.   Washing windows, like cleaning toilets or ironing is a perfect exercise in instant gratification.  You immediately see results.   It’s rewarding.

After months of deployment, this all became a habit for me.  I guess I owe my habits to the deployment rotation of my husband.

Weekdays were okay, I could clean, I could do laundry, I could keep busy.   Weekends are a killer for those whose spouses are deployed. Weekends are the fun times for families.  Those are the days of togetherness.  For us, my daughters and I, it was just another day.

Sundays were the worst for me.  We would go to church, and afterwards hear everyone making plans for lunch.  I would load the girls back into the car and fight the lone-lies, you know that feeling sorry for yourself and wanting to wallow in it.    Each Sunday, as I drove down the freeway,  my pity party would begin.   That was the season that began going to the malls in the areas to look around.  We would have lunch, mostly at home, and head out to a mall.  Sees candy shops were my salvation.  These stores, then, had sugar sticks, all different flavors.  They sold them 3 for a quarter.   So, for less than a dollar,  we could go window shopping and the girls could pick out their favorite candy sticks and have a bag to prove they had been shopping.  Plus, with the free sample they gave to everyone who came into the store, we could each have our chocolate fix for the day.   I loved it when they passed out my favorite, a Mayfair, with milk chocolate, a white creamy center with cherries and walnuts.

Days do pass, and eventually deployments end.  The spouse arrives home to much fanfare and pomp and you head home.   A family reconnected and yet, there is a time of adjustment.  For us, hubby’s voice was deep and louder than ours.  It took a day or two to recognize and remember the comfort of his voice.  Schedules that I had in place were disrupted.  Meal times changed with his schedule.  None of this earth-shattering, but different.

Videos of returning troops make me cry.   They are honest and true.  I have been on the waiting end.  I remember being swooped up in hugs and kisses and tears.  These are the initial moments and they are wonderful.  They will live in your heart forever.  No one sees what it’s like after the camera is turned off.  Those awkward times of loud voices and laughter that is different from the quiet giggles that had reigned for months.   The presence of a spouse that completes a family, but also adds a difference to a routine.

These are the times though, that made me a 50’s housewife.  The times that I had to look afresh at this man I had married.  This man who was absent for birthdays and anniversaries and Christmases and school programs.  This man I love.   This was when my resolve cemented.  Yes, I would gladly iron his shirts and do his laundry.  Yes, I would put out towels for his shower and at times I would lay out what I knew he would wear.  I would gladly prepare his meals and make certain it looks beautiful.  He deserves it.  He deserves it all, because for years this man ate in a mess hall.  Having food put on a plate and handed to him, overcooked and unappealing.   For years this man lived out of a seabag.

Today, while ironing, this is what I realized, I have gladly become a 50’s housewife, fetching, cleaning and cooking.   I do it because I have been blessed to have the memories, sometimes haunting memories, of what a deployment means.  The insecurity of not knowing where he is and what he is doing.  The fear that can come with wondering.  The disappointment of going to the mailbox to find it only filled with bills, and no letters.   All of these memories make the time, even in retirement when there are no deployments, worth it all.   So, thank you to all who are currently deployed, soon to be deployed or have been deployed.   You are heroes all.   But, to all who wait, be brave, take courage and find new adventures for you and your family.  They don’t have to be grand to be memorable.

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

 

It became second nature…

We have spent increased time at the Veteran’s Hospital this past month.   Appointments and classes and tests have given us the chance to drive up to the mountains and spend some of our days at this facility.

Yesterday, we were there for an appointment for my hubby.  Some friends of ours went along with us, keeping us company.   It was wonderful to have them with us and she commented a couple of times, how honored she was to be there, seeing the men and women who have served this great country of ours.

I readily agreed, and once more, as I usually do, started looking at the men and women heading into their appointments.  There were a couple who looked like they had served in WWII, a few more that looked like they had served in Korea, and a lot of our precious Viet Nam vets.   Some of them were young and had on Wounded Warrior shirts and you could tell they were our newest veterans.

This time, though, I looked at the women who were pushing wheelchairs, helping men with walking, and those sitting beside their men waiting with them. These women.  These spouses who have served along side these heroes.  These women who kept the home fires burning.  These faithful few.

I am one of them.  Last night before falling asleep, I thought of these women.  I thought of my story.  Adapting to military life did not come naturally.  It was not second nature to me at first.   We were married on a Saturday, on Monday we were in the office at my husband’s command getting my military I.D. card.  At the time, there were stacks of papers to sign.  I had only had my married name for two days.  I had to sign my married name on each of those papers.  I concentrated.  I was purposeful.  I kept repeating to myself my new name.  I had to, because hubby and the man behind the desk kept teasing me to not write my maiden name.  I managed to sign several copies before they won.  They laughed hysterically when I goofed up.  I was not happy.

The next day, I went to get groceries.  On the base.   Alone.  As I had dropped hubby off for work that morning, he sternly admonished me to not speed on base.  I did my best, although, I couldn’t keep the car at 25 mph. .   I did not get pulled over.

I went to pick up groceries.  I had my list.  But, this naive little girl from a small Northwestern Pennsylvania town never expected to see Filipinos.   I had never seen anyone from another country.  I had never heard Tagalog.   I confess, I stared , a lot!   Picking up hubby that day, I excitedly told him about the Chinese people in the commissary.  He looked at me.  Actually he stared at me.  He told me, it was not possible for someone from China to be able to shop on base.  I stood my ground.  I was adamant.

He took me back to the store just to see what I was talking about.  There, by the frozen foods, a group of people were standing by their carts, talking.  I pointed.  Yes, I did, pointer finger out, and aiming directly at them.  I was determined to prove how right I was.    At this point, hubby leaned over and told me to stop pointing.  I obeyed.  He started to laugh.  I really didn’t appreciate it.  He explained to me that these “Chinese” people were from the Philippine Islands and they were, in fact, serving in the U.S. Navy.

At that point, I knew I would never adapt.  I would never understand, and I would never survive the Navy life.  I held back tears on the way home.  This life was all too much for a small town girl.

Yes, the first few months of being married to a military guy was hard.  It was confusing.  It was different.  Nevertheless, I persevered.  Actually, I flourished.  It became second nature to me.  I learned the ebb and flow of how things worked.  I learned how to cook Filipino food.  I was stretched and pulled.  Many times, I resisted, to no avail. The bases we were stationed at became familiar to me.  Familiar like your hometown is.  It was comforting for me to see men and women in uniform.  To see salutes being passed.  It is comforting still for me to see our uniformed military.

So, yesterday as we sat waiting for hubby to finish, I looked at these women.  They are my people.  They understand.  They have been through similar situations as I have.  They have looked at the cupboard on the 14th of the month, wondering how to stretch that last bit of food until tomorrow, when it is payday.  We have rushed to the mailbox hoping for a letter, or even a note to just have a connection with a spouse who is deployed.  We have sat alone on the floor in the dark, praying for our spouse’s safety.  We have run our homes and done our duty.  We have been creative in raising our children, making certain Daddy is always mentioned and pictures of him shown, so they have some connection to a parent miles away.   We waited.  At piers, at airfields, at airports, at staging grounds. We stood, sometimes for hours, until we could run and throw arms around our man.

And still, we wait.  We wait as they slowly walk with canes or walkers.  We wait as they visit and keep their appointments.  Many of us are relics of the Cold War.   We are the old folks the new veterans look at.

However, if you look closely, you will see a different story than the apparent one that is first visible.   You can see a twinkle in the eye of the man in the wheelchair.  A bit of playfulness, like he truly does want to pop a wheelie and race down the hall to his appointment.  You can see in a walk that this man was once a force to be reckoned with, that yes and sir were directed his way daily.  The women who helps her husband up out of the chair used to pull him up to hit the dance floor at the NCO club.  Life is still there, it is just hidden a bit.

It is all just second nature now.  It is my life.  We may have retired years ago, but, that Navy wife is just dormant.

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

 

Pride Cometh Before a…..

I am often lecturing my sweet hubby about his balance.  His balance isn’t the best because of past injuries.  Having had one foot broken off on his left leg and a severed quadriceps tendon on his right leg, I repeatably tell him he hasn’t a foot to stand on.   He often takes a tumble and then I grab my soapbox and remind him of his problem with balance and how he needs to have a plan before overextending his reach.  I write all this so I can continue on.

Yesterday, (and yes, I do realize it is only October) I went upstairs to the little storage cubby where all my Christmas decorations are stored.  Again, I do realize it is only October.   I wanted to look at what ribbons I have to see if I wanted to buy more.   I am planning ahead here, folks…    I remember that I had a container almost completely full of ribbon and I wanted to see how tattered it may look and also give me an idea of what I want to do with my decorations this year.

I stuck most of my body in and saw that Charlotte had moved in.  Trying not to disturb the cobwebs, I ducked down and picked up my empty box of fall decorations.  I put it in the next room because, well, I need to pack up my current decorations once Thanksgiving is over.  Then, I saw it, a box laying in the small distance, marked “Christmas”.   Instead of walking in further, remember those cobwebs, I leaned in to reach the box.

With my right hand stretched out, I started to comprehend my dear hubby’s situation.  That box was just a bit out of my reach.  I glanced back and put my left hand on a stack of boxes.  That didn’t help.  Empty gift boxes are just that, fluff…  The boxes went flying.  I started to think that I was going to land head first onto the small opening on the floor.  I hollered , “Help!”.   Many thoughts racing in my mind, none of them pretty.  I felt my lecturing days waning.   I knew my soapbox was going to be removed.  I knew it was going to hurt.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big red storage box.  I grabbed at that.  Victory!  Again I hollered, “Never mind!”   I regained my footing.  I backed out of the storage area, with the box I was reaching for!

Laughing, I went to reassure my hubby that I was, in fact, okay.   I returned to check out that box of ribbons.  The ornaments in there were all wrapped nicely.  I returned to that storage area, I looked, and decided that I really did not feel like pulling everything out as I know that whatever I am looking for is usually in the very last box.  I will wait another month.

I went about the rest of my day, not giving my acrobatics another thought.  I went to bed, fell asleep and then, in the middle of the night I woke up in pain.  My knee hurt.  My hip hurt, my shoulder hurt.  My neck hurt.   I lay there a few minutes contemplating the reason.  I hobbled into the bathroom to put on the muscle cream.  As I got to the bathroom memories of  attempting gymnastic moves came to mind.  Image result for cartoon falls

I learned a couple of things yesterday.   First, don’t judge.   Second, why in the world am I concerned about Christmas ribbons in October?  Get a grip, Cathi!

So, humbled, I close this out, a bit sore from being old and having a momentary lapse of good judgment, but all in one piece!   Thanks for stopping by today.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Elk…

Late Friday morning this past week, Hubby and I joined another couple for lunch.  It had been a while since we spent time with them and we enjoyed a lunch together, catching up and talking.  It was wonderful.  We had all made plans for the rest of the afternoon when we decided to ditch those plans and head out for a day trip.

This couple often talk about Maggie Valley in North Carolina, it is a place they love to visit and relax.  Part of going there is to visit Cataloochee Valley, a historic place in the great Smoky Mountains. We have heard so much about this place, as well as seeing their photos on Facebook, that when it was suggested we drive up after lunch, we readily agreed.

As we headed up the mountains, I thought it was just nice to get away for an afternoon.   I didn’t know what awaited me and personally, I didn’t care.  It was an adventure that I didn’t know I was in need of.   We stopped in Maggie Valley to pick up some snacks to eat when we got to Cataloochee, and after getting back into the car, to me, was when the real adventure started.   Up to that point it was usual freeway driving and then onto little country towns, relaxing, but nothing out of the ordinary.

We headed towards Cataloochee and the road delighted my hubby who loves a challenging road.  This proved to be the first highlight of his trip.  Driving in what was not just an “S” curve, but, actually a long squiggly series of “S” turns, he was smiling with each new turn.   The road soon turned to an unpaved road which just added to his glee.

We drove quite a ways, first up a mountain and then headed down into a valley.  It seemed to take forever and just added to the anticipation at seeing this place that gives our friends such joy.   On the way we were told how elk were brought into the area several years ago and how they have flourished here.

Although I grew up in an area close to Elk county, PA, I confess, I had never seen an elk. There was a part of me that wondered if I would that afternoon.   I didn’t need to wonder long, as we came upon a traffic stop.   Cars were stopped and people were sticking their heads out of the windows.   There in the middle of the road, causing this mini traffic jam was a bull elk.  He was slowly sauntering down the road, oblivious to everyone around him.  He finally walked over to a field and traffic continued on.   With the elk in the field, hubby, as he passed by, rolled down his window and bellowed low out the window.  We stopped as we watched the elk.  The elk lifted his head as he was trying to listen and then, as if answering my hubby, he bellowed back.  The sound was like an old rusty swing on a swing set.   It was incredible.img_20190927_161854187

Our first stop in this adventure was at this little church, where we got out and walked around a bit.   I kept waiting to see an elk walking around, but, we didn’t.  This was such a peaceful place.  A stream flowed in front of this building and I could have spent the entire afternoon here and been content.

We drove on and by now, I was so excited!  This was an adventure I truly needed.  It fed my desire to see new places, and it also fed my spirit which needed to feel some quiet and tranquility.

We continued on our car ride and came to the valley floor.  This is an open space with a few structures from long ago.  It was crowded as it was a Friday afternoon and weekend travelers were visiting.  It did not dampen the excitement for me as in the fields were elk.

We set up a small picnic area near a stream that looked like a perfect place to play in.  We munched on our snacks and talked, when across the stream came another bull elk.  He took my breath away, actually!  We watched as he made his way to the stream, looked around and crossed the stream and headed away from us.  Such a majestic animal.  So blessed we were to see him so closely!   img_20190927_170806306-1

By then, the afternoon was winding down and storm clouds were forming.  Hubby kept a close eye on the sky and we decided to visit a home that remains in the area and is open to view before we headed back home.   img_20190927_174630164

This home, so well built,  has withstood time and weather, was fascinating.   I wish the walls could tell the stories that happened within the walls.     As we were leaving the house a cow elk walked into the front yard.  She took her time eating the grass and just enjoying the late afternoon sun.   There are signs posted everywhere to stay 50 yards away from the elk, so we stayed on the porch watching her.  It was captivating, watching her.   img_20190927_175525492

As she made her way to the rest of her herd, we made our way to our car.  It was a full day.  Filled with the  beauty of the area, the majestic elk, the peace that resides in the valley, and the company of dear friends.  It was a perfect day for us and one that I will cherish in my memory.  This impromptu adventure blessed me in ways I was not expecting.   I love mountain areas.  Given a choice between the coast or mountains, I will always choose mountains.   I am always reminded of Psalm 121,  which says this, I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. (New Living Translation).    I left that valley full.  Full of the peaceful relaxation our friends have talked about.  I understood what they meant.  I experienced that same refreshment.   I am grateful for an unexpected adventure.   img_20190927_173224350

Thank you for stopping by today,  I hope you have some unexpected adventures yourself that will fill you with peace and refreshing.    Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

 

Middle of the Night Reminders…

Several years ago while living in San Diego, I had one of those horrible, no good, awful days.  You know the kind, where you carry your soap box around with you because everything sets you off and you want to voice your opinion on them.   I cannot remember what all set me off, some I do and since they are of a political nature, I will refrain from dredging them up.   Anyhow, my dear hubby came home from work, ate his dinner listening to my rants of the day and suggested an evening drive to the mountains.  Now, if it were me, I would make that suggestion to throw me off said mountain, but, fortunately, I am not him.  Instead, he drove me to the mountains, to ‘our’ spot that has a turn out and a beautiful view of the desert floor.

We drove the 40 minutes to the mountains, pulled into our spot and got out of the car.  I stood looking at the darkness surrounding me.  It was quiet there, no traffic noise.   Hubby wrapped his arms around me and just held me.  After the day I had, he knew that this is what I needed.  Quiet, peace and the sky.  I sighed and told him, “Someday I just want to be able to walk out my front door and see stars again.  Not have to drive almost an hour just to see a star in the sky.”

Stars are hard to see in big cities.  The light pollution fills the night sky and blank out the stars.  Yes, there are a few stars, but, they are not brilliant.

Last night I could not sleep.  Again.   As I lay in bed I started to watch the parade in my mind of every little thing that needed attention.  Granted, in the middle of the night, EVERYTHING you think of is in need of attention.  I finally got up and walked into our dining room.  I peeked out of the curtains and saw the front porch.  On it sat two chairs, small ones but they were there nonetheless.  They are just little things that I wanted this summer and there they were.  I told myself that this was a reminder, things get taken care of.

I next walked into our living room and walked over to a set of french doors.  Looking out I tried to see if any deer were sleeping in the yard, there were none that I could see.  I started to think of the flower garden that each year I attempt to get under control and each year I have failed.  I quickly walked away from the window.

Next, I was in our kitchen.  At the window I looked out and adjusted my eyes to the lights at the end of our driveway and our neighbors driveway lights.   They gave a gentle glow to the bare trees in our side yard.   Beautifully rising and casting shadows in the night sky.  It was an awesome sight, like a painting I have seen somewhere.  My eyes kept going up and there, spread across the sky as far as I could see were stars!  Bright stars that reminded me of little white Christmas lights blanketing the sky.

In that moment, I felt like I was being covered with a warm blanket.  Those stars were shining for me to see.  Those stars were right outside my door.  Stars for me to see and watch and marvel at.   Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”     Standing in my kitchen and looking out at the night sky, I realized I had so many of my heart’s desires.  Humbled, I turned to go back to bed. 

As I reached the doorway of my bedroom I remembered Psalm 46:10 a “Be still, and know that I am God;” 

It always amazes me when I actually stop long enough to be still.  To stop and listen instead of continually yapping to our Lord about things.  Middle of the night parades rob me of peace.  They rob me of sleep.  They rob me of listening when I need to hear things.  Sometimes I need to get up and just look at what surrounds me and remember that my God knows exactly what I need.  Today, I am thankful and grateful and hopefully I won’t move from this place for a while.

Thanks for stopping by today,  hope you have a good day.   Cathi (DAF)