blonde hair blur daylight environment

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on

I have attempted many things in my life that I never would have thought of doing when I was growing up in my small hometown of Oil City, PA.   I married my high school sweetheart which at the time was a pretty normal thing for people to do.  However, he was a career Navy man and the day after our wedding he drove me away from the security of our hometown, and we have been on an adventure since then.

I have seen the Atlantic ocean, the Pacific ocean, Tokyo Bay, Sagami Bay, and the finger lakes around Mt Fuji,  the Gulf of California off San Felipe, the Gulf of Mexico .  I have been to Tokyo several times, been on an aircraft carrier for a day, been mountain climbing in Maine with our five month old daughter, passing her between one another while we climbed to the top (not our most prepared moment).  I have run across the Golden Gate Bridge for fun, fallen off a bike into a rice paddy, eaten some strange foods not knowing what they were.     I have felt adventurous, bold, brave.  I have had fun.  I know in comparison to others, these are all small things to accomplish, but, for this small town girl who never thought she would see anything except the Allegheny River and Oil Creek, these are big things.

I said all of the above because yesterday as I was preparing for some decorating for our upcoming Ladies Retreat, I came across a clip art that showed a woman leaping from one mountain top to another.  This piece of clip art stopped me.  I literally stopped what I was doing and just stared at the image for several moments.  It wasn’t necessarily a striking image, it was just a woman in mid-air between two outcropping peaks of a mountain.   I have jumped across mountain outcroppings like this before without a thought as to what I was doing, and normally I would just smile and continue to look for what I originally was searching for.

However, I stopped.  I studied this image.  My heart joined in the study.  This clip art spoke of faith.  This person photographed an act of faith.  This woman left a piece of ground she was certain of.  She knew what she was standing on.  It was firm land, safe land.  She left that security and leapt not knowing what the ground across from her would be like.  Would that ground be as firm as what she just left?  When she landed again would the ground be firm or would it be slick?  Would there be rocks covered in moss or gravel?  Would she stumble or slip?  These questions flooded my mind as I stared at the clip art.

Then, a question came to my mind, “When was the last time you took a leap of faith?”  The answer to myself was not positive.  I once thought myself adventuresome.  There was a part of me that smiled because I had done so many things that a girl from Oil City never thought of doing, and yet, here I am, now an older woman from South Carolina who leads a pretty ordinary, quiet life.

Have I settled?  Have I told myself it’s time that I shouldn’t expect that rush of excitement and adventure?  All these questions and thoughts flooded my mind and heart in a five-minute time frame, and then kept rattling around my brain since.   In getting older, those leaps of faith come with a bit of wisdom and experience, memories of skinned knees, aching limbs, racing hearts and disappointments jump up in the front of my mind.   I don’t want to miss out though.

While in Japan, hubby and I went to the mountains for a weekend retreat.  Our car’s battery had been blown so the car wouldn’t start on its own, we had to push it to start it.  We drove that beat up old car into the mountains, each time we stopped I would get out and push it as I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift then, and popping a clutch was an unnatural feat for me.   But, it was during that memorable trip that Psalm 121 became a part of my life.   To me, it speaks of faith, leaping faith, and I close sharing it here with you.

Psalm 121 (New Living Translation)

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

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.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

I am now challenged to look for places to leap out in faith.  Will I succeed?  I really don’t know, all I know is I am going to look for places to leap, it may only be jumping across a puddle for now, but maybe, just maybe I have a mountain top or two to leap over.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)


At Long Last… Home…

Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness.

Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace. ~Vernon Baker

We lived in Downeast Maine during the last year of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s.  We had been married five years.

There was another young mother who had a daughter the same age as our oldest.  Several times a week we would put the girls in their strollers and we would walk through the little village of Winter Harbor and climb the hill to walk around Grindstone Neck.  An area that is filled with mansions with large beautiful windows and curving driveways and plush lawns.

We would push our strollers and gaze at these homes.  We would mention what we had heard in passing.  Who lived there, who rented there.  There was one home that had a breakfast nook that overlooked the road.  There were lacy curtains and you could see the breakfast table sitting in the window.  We would both say that one day, we would have a home with a bump out like that.  We would sit in our beautiful bathrobe and eat a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup.  We thought this would be heaven since neither of us had the time to eat a warm piece of toast with our toddlers.

After my morning walks, I would often meet with a couple of other women from the housing area.  One being Little Man’s Nana.  We would sit over tea cups and talk about the day when we would each have our own home.  A home that was not painted Navy gray.  We would sit and dream of sidewalks for our kids to roller skate on or ride their bikes on.  We would dream of being able to paint each room whatever color we felt like.  We talked about having our own yards and plants.

Through the years I have dreamed of a perfect home.  When I was younger, I always wanted a wishing well in the front yard.  I had seen one in one of the housing units on base.  I thought it was wonderful.   I always wanted that bumped out window.  I liked Palladium windows also.  Gazebos were also something I thought would be great.  They look like a fun place to visit.  Flowers, trees, yards, benches, and more trees.  Ah… that would be ideal.

Hubby and I have long thought about the time when we would buy our house to grow old in.  We have talked so much about what we would love to have.  We usually laughed and sighed and admitted that it was up to the Lord as to what He wanted us to have and where He would like us to be.

This past January we traveled up to the upstate region of South Carolina.  We began to look at places we had seen online.  We met with a realtor and he showed us several places.  None of them worked.  None of them sparked in us what we knew would be “the” place.

In February, our realtor called and said he had just been asked to list a property.  He said he thought he had found ‘our’ place, and would we come up to look at it.  So, we packed the dog and the car and headed up once more.

We programmed the address into our gps and drove to the place just to get a sneak peek.  We drove past nice homes, and old broken down barns.  We passed silos covered with ivy and more homes.  We turned onto the street and turned up the driveway.  We parked the car and looked at each other.  We smiled.

The next day the realtor took us inside this place.  We spent two and half hours poking around this place and property.  We smiled more.  We began to think we had found our place.

We returned home, put in an offer and after a brief negotiation, we started the paperwork.  This past Friday we signed the papers and were handed the key to our new home.

As I sat at the lawyer’s table looking at the key, I commented that this little piece of metal represented so much to us.  We spent the weekend there.  We had two camping chairs, the dog’s bed, and an air mattress.  We had the best time!  We worked hard and are tired, but, it is home.  It is filled with a peace that confounds us.

And yes, having taken an inventory of my memories that I have just shared, this house has them all.  A wishing well is standing at the corner of the driveway, complete with a handle that moves.  It houses a hose for watering that part of the yard.  A gazebo graces the front yard, it needs a coat of paint, but, it is going to be a wonderful stage for Little Man and Little Miss to perform on, and it will be a place to sit and sip and talk.   The big palladium window graces the front of the house and it is a modified Cape Cod style that I have always loved.  There is a bump out breakfast area in our kitchen.  I can sit there and watch the birds and the bees pollinate the flowers surrounding the home.  A screen porch overlooks the pool and beyond that is a yard that is surrounded by a couple of acres of trees and a stream.

We are blessed beyond measure.  I am humbled that through my life the little things that I silently mentioned to the Lord He gave to me.  Things that I thought were so far out of the realm of the possible for me have been given to me.  I walked through the house yesterday before we left.  I thanked the Lord for the gift of the house and I prayed for each room.  My prayer now is that this home will be a place of rest, not only for us, but for anyone who needs to  regroup and be restored.

We will be in our rental for another couple of weeks while we paint and do some other things in our new home, and finish getting some things done here in the rental, but, I know hubby and I left our heart in our new home already.

Thanks for stopping by today…  DAF

The Women of Winter Harbor…

This week I have thought of the people we have met in our married life.  Being military, we have met so many folks and have had such a full life of being with people we never would have known if we hadn’t had being in the military in common.

The one group that stands out the most is the women from our tour of duty in Winter Harbor, Me.  We lived in military housing there, which was a blessing to everyone.  Winter Harbor is part of the Acadia National Park area and it is a beautiful spot to live.  The view of the Atlantic is one that etches itself to your heart.  You are never the same after seeing it.

The military housing was divided into four different sections.  There was a group of apartments on the base proper.  These were incredible apartments being made into apartments from a mansion.  They were ornate and lovely.  I was in one once.  They were reserved for the officers in charge.

Another section was known as Capehart.  This was a group of  Cape Cod style homes.  These homes were for the chief petty officers and the officer families.

The other two sections were simply called “New Fund” and “Old Fund”.  Pretty self-explanatory.  New Fund housed the junior enlisted families, Old Fund was the senior enlisted.  We lived in Old Fund.  A duplex with a tiny front yard and a back yard overlooking the Cape homes.  Hubby and I used to joke that we were ‘above’ those people.

Each place could stay separate except for another part that was a binding tie.  The base chapel.  We were active in the chapel along with a dear group of families.  The families were from all the housing parts (except the apartments).

This group of people in the chapel became our family.  We did things together, we shared our lives.  The women became dear friends.  A bond was formed that has withstood the test of time, distance, joys, sorrows.   Little did we know that sitting in same kitchens in base housing, sipping tea and eating whatever kind of sweet available, we were joined together in heart and spirit.

We were the only family ready to avail to one another.  Our birth families were miles away and without the convenience of laptops or cell phones, we only communicated via letters or the occasional phone call.  The people in housing became our emergency support system.  We watched kids while there was a run to the emergency room with another child.  We tucked kids into bed for one another, we became the surrogate aunts and uncles.

The women of Winter Harbor are still close.  We know what is going on in each other’s lives.  We share memories of the times together.  We still laugh and cry together.   They are precious and dear to me.  I just said good-bye to one of these dear women a few minutes ago.  She and her husband stopped by on their way home from a vacation.  We stayed up late talking and catching up.  We laughed and shed a tear or two.  We clasped hands and just remembered.  We talked of the other women and smiled and remembered with fondness the times together.  The time sped by and they are on their way home, and we are filled with the joy that comes from this relationship.

These women are a gift to my life.  We have always said we were more than friends, we were family.  Little Man’s Nana is one of these Winter Harbor women.  We are truly family now and it seems this bond is complete now.  I tucked my son-in-law into bed while his folks were out one night, I watched him grow for a season of his life.

It is a wonderful gift and bond and for this part, I am so thankful for the time that we lived there.  That is where I met the rest of my family.


Love… Until Death do we Part…

Today, good friends of ours are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  I used to think that number was reserved to really old people… guess it’s not as old as I may have thought.  Ruthie and Neil are a wonderful couple.  I have known them for about 34 years now.  They have always been examples of love to me.

The first time I truly got to know them was when they invited hubby and I to their home for dinner.  They have two daughters who, at that time, were starting into their high school years.

Ruthie and Neil were youth leaders for the base we were living.  We wanted to help them and we thought that the dinner would be a time to get involved with what they were doing.  We had a lovely dinner and after dinner Neil excused himself from the table.  He returned with a large box of things.  He handed us the box and said, ” Here is the stuff for the youth group.  Good luck!  We promised our daughters that we would not be youth leaders when they got to be this age.  They need to be able to confide in someone not their Mom and Dad.  It is all yours.”   Hubby and I dumbfoundedly took the box and after a few more minutes of dessert and conversation, we left.  We ended up having a wonderful experience with the youth group and loved each moment we had with the youth in Maine.

That was just the first  lesson we received from Ruthie and Neil.  We learned that when our girls got to be high school age, that we needed to make certain they had other people to confide in, and learn from.

Through the years we have learned much from this couple.  They are examples of love.  They enjoy each other’s company.  They laugh together… often.  They pray together… often.  They are often there for others.    Our lives have been enriched by this couple.  We are so very thankful for them.

My prayer for them today is that this anniversary is just a stepping stone to a long and beautiful marriage.  They deserve the very best.

This is what I thought my post would be today.   I woke up thinking about Ruthie and Neil and this milestone in their lives.  On Facebook this morning there were several pictures of them.  There was one from their wedding.  It is a great picture and they both look radiant.  My heart was filled with joy for them.

I continued to scroll down on Facebook and came to a post from hubby’s cousin.  My heart stopped when I read her post.  I read and reread it.  With a lump in my throat I looked over at hubby and said, “Hap died.”   Two simple words that broke my heart a bit.  Hap was hubby’s cousin.  His proper name Harold, was never used, and his wife’s nickname is Pinkie.    Hap and Pinkie were just a couple of years older than hubby and I.  They were fun to be with and we loved when we could see them.  Hap loaned hubby his new car when I was a senior in high school.  It was the car hubby drove me to the prom in.  He took hubby’s beat up, but very cool opal home that night in May.  Hubby took me to the prom in a brand new sports car.  I had never ridden in anything so beautiful.

Through the years in family life, we spent hours with Hap and Pinkie.  Laughter was always present.  They, in many ways were like Neil and Ruthie to us, mentors.  They encouraged us and loved us.

In our youth we make vows to one another.  We love the best way we know how.  We struggle and strain and some times we are filled with lightness and laughter.  The vows we take with a carefree thought  while filled with youthful love are binding.  Today I see what those vows mean.  Ruthie and Neil are celebrating a milestone in their marriage.  Fifty years is remarkable today.  They are the exception to the rule.  They have stood by their vows and have done so in a fashion that is wonderful.  Hap and Pinkie stood by their vows too, they loved until death parted them this morning.

I sit and write this filled with emotions.  Joy and heartbreak.  Sometimes, that is what love is, isn’t it?  DAF

Winters in the Past…

I have lived with many types of winter.  Each one is wonderful in itself, but my favorites have been the ones with snow and ice and gray skies.  I miss those winters.

Growing up in northwestern Pennsylvania, we had good winters.  Sometimes they would arrive early and stay late.  I can remember wearing winter coats under Halloween costumes and wearing snow boots with the costumes also.  We had snow and if we were lucky we had snow days where we could miss school and stay home and play outdoors.

When I married we moved to Norfolk, VA.  The winters there were a shock to my system.  First off, there was the smell of the sea air that attacked my senses. It was cold in a different way.  The gray skies were not the comforting skies that I grew up with .  The snow was more like a heavy frost and yet the city would come to a halt when there was snow.  I really did not like the experience of winter in Norfolk.

We moved overseas after living in Norfolk.  Mostly we did not see snow while living in Japan.  Although, there was one year where we did get a decent snowfall.  It was exciting.  I remember leaving the store after getting groceries and seeing snow flurries.  I was thrilled.  It continued to fall and accumulate.  We got about five inches and I was in heaven.  My best memory of that snowfall was having a friend who grew up in Hawaii call to ask me how to make a snowman.  She had two small children and wanted to take them out to play in the snow and she wasn’t certain how to make a snowman.  I stifled my laughter and asked if she knew how to make a snowball.  She replied that she did know how to do that.  I told her to make a snowball and roll it around until it was large enough to be the bottom, then to repeat the process two more times, making each ball a bit smaller.  She succeeded and was thrilled with her success.  Her children thought she was a genius and I still laugh at that.

From the land of not much snow we moved to Maine.   Maine was the perfect place for someone who loves winter.  I love Maine.  I loved the cold, the snow, the ice, the wind chill.  It was all wonderful.  I would move back in a minute.  But, alas, hubby is not as keen on snow as I am, so that’s not going to happen.

After Maine we lived in southern California for almost 27 years.  I learned to appreciate the winters there.  The winters appeared with a nuance.  There was a certain feel in the air and you knew winter had arrived.  Coats would appear and sweaters.  Sometimes we would actually need to put the coats on, most of the time we didn’t.   The mountains were a half hour from where we lived.  In the winter, we would get up, look outside towards the mountains.  Often hubby would say to me, “It looks like snow in the mountains.”   This would be followed by his taking a personal day off.  We would take our girls to school and head to the mountains to play.  We would drive around the snow,  have a late breakfast or early lunch up in the mountains and get back in time to pick the girls up from school with the tell-tale signs of leftover snow on the car.

Moving to the south we have had snow a couple of times.  The first year we were here we had three inches fall.  I was so excited!  The dog experienced it first hand and he fell in love with the white stuff also.  It didn’t last long, but, each year since I hold out hope for snow.  I look at the clouds and sniff the air.  The past week or so, it could have snowed, it smelled like it could and looked like it could, but, no snow for us.

Winter is one of my favorite seasons.  It is a time where you can dress warmly and snuggle under blankets.  It is a time that is refreshing and brisk.  I am enjoying this cold weather we are having.  I think on the winters of my life and am grateful for all the different types I have lived in.   What is your favorite winter memory?  DAF

No kids allowed…

Today, this post is dedicated to my dear friend,  SusieSince I didn’t get you a birthday present, and I can’t find a card that is as beautiful as one you would make, here is my gift to you….  a memory.  Happy birthday dear friend. “Friends love through all kinds of weather,  and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” (Proverbs 17:17, the Message)

Living in military housing is a unique experience, especially when the base you are assigned to is a small base.  Such was the case when we lived in Winter Harbor, Maine.

There was temporary housing sixty miles away in Bangor, and that is where we met our friends (and now family) Nana and Biggie, (Little Man’s other set of grandparents).

When we first met, we lived in the same quad unit.  Nana and family moved to Winter Harbor first.  Several months later, it was our turn to move.  There were two options for hubby and I to move to.  One was called New Fund, an area of new quad townhouse type units, the other was Old Fund (yes, there was not much creativity in naming the areas), a group of duplex that had more character and was our first choice.  We did get a lovely unit in Old Fund.  Across the street from us, Nana and Biggie and their children lived, we were destined to be together.

Below Old Fund was another area, Capehart,  for the senior enlisted and officers.  Nana, Biggie, Hubby and I  had (and still have) several friends who lived in that area.

All of this is background for the story I am about to share.  I wanted you to have a mental image of at least the two areas, Old Fund and Capehart.

One day a good snow storm moved into the town.  I am certain it was everything that just happened this week in New England.  The only difference was that this took place a good 32 years ago and there was no Weather Channel to tell us how dire the weather was.  We saw it as a good snow.

Nana was a preschool teacher at the time and had a board meeting scheduled at her house that evening.  She cancelled it and thought she gotten hold of all the members.  She was in her comfy clothes and in for the night.

As usual, hubby was in a playful mood and went over to see what they were up to.  He popped over, basically harassed Nana and came home.  Unbeknownst to an unsuspecting board member who went to the cancelled meeting, he knocked on Susie’s door, only to get hit with a snowball by her.   She explained that she had thought he was my hubby. He laughed, as he knew my hubby well and went home.

That event started a chain of events that makes that night the most memorable night ever.  It is legend.

I don’t know who challenged whom that night, but the gauntlet was thrown down.  A snowball fight!  We got our outdoor clothes on and met in the street.  We tossed a few snowballs and decided it wasn’t enough.  We would go to Capehart!  We would challenge the housing area there.

We left our future son-in-law to watch our oldest, who was a toddler then, and off we went.  Capehart housing was below our houses.  Looking down the little hill, it looked like an idyllic setting.  A quaint picturesque scene.  Snow covered houses and roads and in between a small hill, a cow pasture and a path somewhere beneath the snow.

The four of us headed down.  We almost lost Susie in a drift, but Biggie was there to pull her out.  We knocked on the first door,  of course, the knock was with snowballs.  The couple poked their head out.  They smiled.  We hollered, ‘no kids allowed’!  They came out.  We went door to door.  We made noise, lots of it.  We got as many people as possible to join in.  We were armed as each door opened, snowballs in hand, ready to let go, even at the door that had no glass in it.  Snowballs flew into the living room!  Oops!   That didn’t matter, we still laughed.

The snowball fight lasted for a while.  We ransacked that idyllic neighborhood.  People were tackled, people were thrown, snowballs got bigger and harder.  Biggie got a face full of snow.  It knocked him over.  It was incredible!  I was standing beside the man who threw the snowball.   Biggie got up, he looked in the direction of where the snowball came.  He bent over in his best football move and charged toward us.  The thrower of the snowball stepped aside just in time.  Not me.  It was my first time being tackled.  Actually, it was the only time I was tackled.  I can remember getting some air beneath my feet before landing into a snow bank.  Biggie looked down at me.  He was so apologetic!  So, was the thrower of the snowball!  I was laughing too hard to notice.

There were skirmishes like this all over the small housing area.  Soon, we all broke up and went home.  After all, it was a school night.  Hubby and I went back to Nana and Biggie’s house.  We had hot chocolate.  We laughed some more.

Memories like these make a life.  That night is one that is mentioned when anyone from that group gets together.  It was a night when these couples became kids again.  There were no children allowed to play with us.  We played like we wanted to.  We played like kids.  These military families who were responsible for so much took a break and had fun.

Words cannot express the joy, the laughter, the play that was in that night.  It was our gift to each other.  It is a memory that time cannot erase.  The laughter still echoes in my head.  The expressions on the faces of those taking part are etched into my heart.    It is a joy I carry with me.

So, thank you for sticking with me in this long post today.  Susie, happy birthday friend.  It has been an adventure knowing you.  We may not ransack any neighborhoods again, but, what a ride we have had!  Happy birthday dear friend!  DAF

On Missing a Way of Life… 31 Days of Observing…

This morning I spent some time reading posts on my Reader section.   There was a post from Adopting James titled “We Know Jack”  (
It was about the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”  (Tim Burton’s 1993 movie).   It was a great post to read, but what it did was transport me to Disneyland.  I could see the decorations that grace the Haunted Mansion in the park from Halloween until the beginning of the year.  The music plays while waiting for the ride and all through the ride.  You walk around the park for the rest of your visit humming it.  Sometimes it is a duet with the other themes of rides, so that it can become a cacophony of music in your head.
After reading this post, I was immediately homesick for a drive up to Disneyland.  For 27 years I was able to drive to Disneyland.  It  was less than two hours away.  No gps or maps were needed, I got in the car and drove. I know my way there.
This got me thinking, always a bit dangerous.   I miss that way of life.  I miss the way I lived when I was in San Diego.  I never thought I would say that.  I was glad to leave the west coast and move east.  It was a dream I held for at least 27 years while living in California.
I miss being able to meet friends for a walk and either have coffee or a meal afterwards.  I miss shopping at the malls with all the good stores there.  I miss meeting our dear friends for coffee and or dinner and movies on Friday nights.  I miss the mountains and the apple pies and apple picking there.  I miss knowing my way around like the back of my hand, knowing that if I am not certain where I am, if I head toward the water, I will eventually find out where I am.  I miss real Mexican food, with real salsa.  I miss it all.
Now, that all seems nice, doesn’t it?  I have to confess that, while in San Diego, I missed Maine.  I missed the coast and the rocky shoreline.  I missed the snowstorms, I missed the little military housing community I lived in.  I missed my friends in my neighborhood.  I missed the lobsters and the blueberry pies.  I missed Mt Desert and Bar Harbor.  I missed it all.
Finding a pattern here?  In Maine, I missed Japan.  I missed seeing Mt Fuji out my windows.  I missed the excitement of living overseas.  I missed the food and the smells and the noise.  I missed riding my bicycle everywhere.  I missed living in early occupation housing with all its challenges.  I missed my friends.
Yes, this is my observation today.  Seasons change.  Not just outside in nature, but in our lives.  Change is inevitable.  We can’t help it.  It happens.  For our growth, for our lives, because we serve a God who knows what is the very best for us.
I have spent the past several months missing our old house here in Charleston.  It was beautiful.  The neighborhood was idyllic.  It was comforting and I love it.  Our new place, I am grateful for.  I am learning also, that there will be things that I will eventually miss about this place too.  The way the wind blows through the tress in the backyard.  The ugly pond (more like a drainage ditch), that is home to three alligators.  I never would have been able to watch the gators swim around like I do here.  I actually enjoy watching them.  One loves to swim all day long.  One almost frolics in the water and the largest one makes the theme song from Jaws run through my mind.
Yes, the autumn of this year is upon us.  It has brought with it a cooler temperature, changing and falling leaves and most importantly, a changing attitude in me.  This is another season of my life.  Not perfect.  Not ideal. But, time that I will grow to enjoy and appreciate.  A time of learning and discovering.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
thank you for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF

Visiting… 31 Days of Observing…

We left Japan when I was 25 years old.  It had been my home since I was 21.   When hubby and I were transferred to Japan, I thought it would never feel like home.  I was so wrong.  The time we spent there was wonderful.  It was life changing and those years are years that I cherish in memory.
From Japan, we travelled to Downeast Maine.  Arriving in Maine, I felt lost.  I missed my friends from overseas and I longed to be with them.  Of course, we had met Nana and Biggie and our dear son-in-law and his sister, but we didn’t know many others at first.
We found a church home, thanks for the family who would one day truly be family and that is where we began to fall in love with Maine.
There was a family at the church in Maine who sort of adopted us as part of their family.  They opened up their home to us and shared their family times and several meals with us.  We would visit one another and spend the weekends with each other.
We have kept in touch and have returned to Maine a few times to visit.  The last time we saw them was in the early 90’s.  Life gets busy.  Too busy at times.  We thought of them often and wondered how they were doing.  In the midst of life taking over, the letters became fewer, and the phone calls even less.  Soon, we had just the memories of the times we had shared and the times of thinking of them and talking about the times we had shared with them.
A couple of years ago I did one of those Facebook things where you begin to look up everyone you have known in your life.  I typed in the name of this couple.  Sure enough, there they were.  We ‘friended’ and soon we were reconnected with one another.
In thinking of this family, I am very thankful.  They were a major part of our young lives and we learned from them several things.  They etched a place in our hearts that cannot be filled by any other.  I came to think that the memories and the time of Facebook sharing would be how this story ended.  I was grateful that I have those.
Last night this couple pulled into our driveway.  It wasn’t an unexpected visit as we had arranged to have them stop on the way to their grandson’s graduation from boot camp.  I prepared our dinner and set the table and was ready for them to arrive.  I felt the excitement growing the closer they got.
When they pulled into the driveway, I was waiting on the porch enjoying a warm fall day.  I walked down the steps to greet them.  The hugs of friends never changes.  Hugging each of them it occurred to me that I never thought I would be able to do that again.  I figured that those days were forever gone and I would just remember them.
We shared dinner together and talked into the night.  I have often thought that good friends are those in which you can continue a conversation that was paused when you last parted.  That was how the conversation was last night.  Easy, relaxing, filled with humor and laughter.  I sat watching hubby and this other man in an animated conversation.  They enjoyed themselves immensely.  I watched the body language of the two men, they were comfortable with one another.    In the middle of my reverie, the woman looked at me, touched my arm and said to me, “It’s like the years never passed.  Just like old times.”
This couple is in their 70’s.  The four of us remarked that we couldn’t figure out where the years had gone.
Before heading to bed last night, the man looked at me and told me that he felt blessed in having my hubby as a friend.  He went on to say that in all his years he had few friends that meant as much as my hubby did to him.
The honesty of his comment made me think that too often, we are not as open and honest in conveying our love to our friends.  Lives change in a twinkling of an eye and we are never promised our next breath.
So, I have observed how we should be often.  Open, loving and caring.  For those of you reading,  who know me and are friends of mine, I love you.  Each of you have touched my life in a way that no one else could.  There is an indelible mark on my heart that bears your signature.  Without you, I would not be me.
For those blogging friends I have discovered, thank you.  Each of you, with your comments and ‘likes’ of my posts, you too, have left your mark.  You have challenged me in my writing.  You have encouraged me and made me laugh and cry.  My life would not be as rich as it is now without you.
So, my observation is easy…. appreciate people in your life.  It’s an easy thing to do when we take the time.  Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF

When it rains…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you!  DAF

Frozen in time: memories, root beer floats and brownies

A part of this title is a nod to a wonderful blogger at Life With The Top Down ( and her post yesterday about a frozen ham.  Great post, but I digress.

The post mentioned above talked about changes in life.  We all have them, we experience them daily for the most part.  Frequently,  we meet changes without any notice, as they are, just a part of life.  There are times, though, where we are hit upside the head with changes and we have to take a step back and go, “WOW!”  Frontwards or backwards, it’s the same, wow!

Last night we had the privilege of hosting a couple we have known for years and years.  I would add another ‘years’ to that, but you get the message.   Our home was a stopover for them on a trip up the eastern coast of this wonderful country.

It was wonderful to see them.  The visit was the usual shot in the arm as we hugged and laughed and teared up a bit.  This couple is just one of a group of us that were all stationed together in a small Maine town in the late 70’s, very early 80’s.  This group has remained close.  We may not be in daily contact, but we keep in touch often.  This group is family.  The dynamic has only occurred once in all of our travels.  We have dear friends, but none compare to the relationship this group has with one another.

In talking last night, we mentioned our ages this year.  The gentleman is turning 69 in a few months.  This was one of those moments I mentioned earlier where it hit my dear hubby upside the head and we went ‘WOW’.  Where did the time go?

This thought was compounded when I looked on a friend’s Facebook page recently and they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  I wondered how this could be possible as they couldn’t be 50 yet themselves.  Again, people and memories are frozen in time.  We live our lives and we think of those we love and they are ageless,  memories are still current in our thinking.

When planning the menu for this visit, I remembered another friend mentioning how this couple loves their root beer floats.  They had had a chance to visit with each other and there was a strong memory of root beer floats.  So, taking the cue, I made sure that we had floats for dessert.  My dear hubby wanted brownies also.  My brownies, frosted, so I baked them and had them ready.

The floats were a huge success!  The brownies remained untouched.  The chocolate keeps them up at night and so they passed on them.  One more reminder that time had marched on so silently that we did not notice.  Where did the days go where we could gorge ourselves with brownies, floats, and anything else that went along with our cravings?

But, I have to say, although the brownies went untouched, our hearts were warmed and comforted.  We returned to our goofy younger selves several times throughout the evening.  Hints of our youth peeked out at several points in conversation.  Memories were braided together, those from long ago and those we made last night.  The undercurrent present though, was how precious this time was for all of us.  Time is relentless, we have no idea how many times we will be able to meet together and share the laughter and the floats.  We have already lost some of this precious group.  This we do know though, we will all meet again one day and there we will be young, healthy and spend eternity together.  We won’t have to worry about what keeps us up at night, we will just have time to rejoice for having lived.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always,  DAF