Out with the Old…

We live in a small neighborhood, there are two roads in this subdivision and there are 37 houses here.  So, when I walk the dog we walk the entire neighborhood.

This morning as I walked onto the porch I could hear the wind.  I love days like this.  The neighborhood has tall pine trees, oak trees and some sycamore trees.  Each house is surrounded by trees, especially ours, which has a buffer of trees in our backyard.  Beyond the buffer is a large reservoir.

I love hearing the sound of the wind.  It rustles the branches and the trees sway in choreographed motion.  The sky is gray and we are having rain off and on.  It is a delightful day.

Some small branches were strewn across yards, wind chimes were not melodically chiming, they were being slammed against porch posts.  The remnants of leaves were flying around as if the trees were trying to shed the last of this past year’s foliage.

I enjoyed my walk this morning.  I watched as the trees bent and birds flew on the air currents.  What truly came to mind, is this, the wind is blowing the rest of the year away.

That thought has kept coming to mind.  To get rid of the old year.  It is tired and has had its day.  It was filled with good things, but it is almost empty.  So, as I listen to the wind outside, I sit here thinking of what I will do with the remaining days of 2013.  How will I end it?  What else is in store for me in the waning hours?

Anticipation begins to fill my heart.  A new year coming.  A new season of buds and blossoms and leaves.  Pretty exciting, huh?  I think so.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

Ponds…. 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

There are ponds all over the low country.  It seems that most neighborhoods have at least one pond.  Our first house had a beautiful pond in the back yard.  It was a graceful looking pond.  It butted up to the marsh and there were lovely pines and palmetto trees and marsh grasses.  A pathway led around the pond and the neighborhood children were often seen playing in the area.  Yes, we had the occasional alligator or two or three, but it was a genteel pond.  It was clean, manicured and a delight to look at.

Now, the pond at our current house is unsophisticated.  It is a deep narrow pond.  It looks like a drainage ditch, if truth be told.  It is unkempt.  A large growth of brush is at one end of the pond.  It is never cut, or at least has never been cut since we have lived here.  The mowers come in, circle the pond and leave.  A sign on the other side of the pond says, ‘Do not feed alligator.  Do not throw anything into the water.’   Wise words considering there are three resident alligators living there.

Weekly, one of the neighbors and his children come to feed the alligators.  They throw bread into the pond, like they are feeding ducks.  Also, weekly there is a bottle or two floating in the pond.  Hubby has bravely pulled out several containers since we have moved in.

This pond is different from the one we had the pleasure of living by before.   I look at the pond daily, in fact, several times a day.  I have enjoyed watching the gators and the birds that come by for visits.

In looking the past couple days, I have seen beauty appear at this pond.  At first, it was the cattail opening up that caught my eye.  They were by the thick brush at the one end of the pond.  Yesterday I saw yellow at each end of the pond and there were yellow daisy like flowers blooming.  The pond is coming alive with color and texture.   It is amazing to me, as this was the last place I had expected to see beauty in this neighborhood.

My observation is simple today.  When we least expect it and in places we think are void of beauty, beauty will appear.  I need to keep my eyes truly open to see the beauty that I may miss in expecting the normal.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

Hidden in the Ordinary…. 31 Days of Observing….

I don’t think I have consistently written a post for longer than five days straight.  I have tried to write daily, but usually after about five days I lose momentum and it takes me a few days of not writing to start-up again.   This challenge is becoming that, a challenge.
This morning while walking, I was trying to think of what to write.  The weather?  No, just did that.  (fall is here for good, I think).  Friends?  No, just did that, a couple of times.  Hubby?  No, that just isn’t exciting.
No ideas.  Just an ordinary day.  Walking the dog.  Being in the fresh air.  Looking at the decorations on the homes.  A lovely ordinary day.
So, with that in mind, my decision was made to write on an ordinary day.    The walk I take with the dog each morning is simple.  We walk up the slight hill by our home and down an incline to the cul-de-sac on the other street in our neighborhood.  He stops at the mailboxes he wants to water and the big excitement is where he decides to do his business.  Yes, that is our ordinary.  Pretty exciting stuff.
I was grasping on the way home to find something extraordinary in our walk.  I figured I would have to embellish a great deal in this post.  Lost in my thoughts, it finally occurred to me, that the dog was pulling me the entire walk.  He was darting all over on his leash.  He usually heels nicely when we are walking.  Today he was having a sniff fest.  Along our path he went from the left to the right, his nose working overtime.  I stopped him, made him heel and he would behave for a few seconds.
Hidden in the ordinary for me, was something new and exciting for him.  Is it a new pet in the neighborhood?  We have had a couple new families move in.  Or, maybe with the cooler weather there are more nocturnal animals roaming the neighborhood from the woods that surround the homes.  Whatever, it is exciting for our dog.  He loves going out again (of course, he always loves going out).  There are new scents to explore and discover.



So, my observation today? Hidden in the mundane part of our days is something different.  I need to stop doing the casual observation.  The obvious observation.  I truly do need to notice things.  To study what is near to me.
As I walked into the house I prayed that my eyes would be open to see and to hear and to understand that things may be changing around me.  I thought of the scripture that sort of fit what I was thinking about,  the one where Jesus was teaching in parables and wasn’t being understood and he quoted Isaiah and said this, : “and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me  and let me heal them.”  (Matthew 13: 15b, The New Living Translation)
Today, I am thinking of the hidden blessings and joys in my ordinary day.  Today I am hoping to see and hear hope in the quiet that is our normal.
Thank you for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF

Touching my heart

Yesterday as dear hubby and I were going out our front door a plastic grocery bag flew inside.  Hubby inquired about what it was and I threw it on the table and said I would look at it later.

We did our errand and when I came into the house I stopped to see what the bag was.  Inside the bag was a sheet of paper.  The paper was from a young man from a neighboring subdivision.  He explained that he was working towards making Eagle Scout and his project was collecting goods for a local food bank ministry.  Anyone wishing to take part was to fill the bag and leave it on our doorstep after four p.m. this afternoon.

At the bottom of the very nice letter were pictures of this young man.  He was in his boy scout uniform with all of his badges proudly shown.  He was also pictured in a wheelchair.  He is handicapped and looks like he spends his life with his chair.

Well, no matter if he were in the chair or a capable young man, both hubby and I agree that scouting is a good thing.  To attain the rank of Eagle Scout is incredible.  I know this, because, I married an Eagle Scout.  So, I filled up the bag and late this afternoon I put the bag on the doorstep.

I was standing in my dining room doing some things when activity caught my eye outside.  I stood at the window at 4:30 this afternoon to see several cub scouts, in uniform, going door to door picking up the bags.  There was a group of parents walking down the middle of the street, helping the cub scouts with the bags.  Behind all of this, a gentleman was driving a jeep towing a trailer.  The trailer was filled with canned good and bags and bigger boxes of food.

Tears came to my eyes as I watched this procession.  First, I thought of the generosity of the people in this area.  They freely give of themselves and what they have.  That was obvious looking at the trailer.  Secondly, I thought of this young man’s mother.  I am certain that whatever put that boy into the wheelchair was devastating.  I am certain she never thought she would see the day when her son accomplished such a feat.  Yet, he did.

So often we take for granted things around us.  We become discouraged when things don’t come easy for us.  I am so grateful that I saw that procession today.  It was a good kick in the pants for me.  It was a reminder to stay steadfast in my endeavors.  Life isn’t always easy.  But, it is worth each trial we face.

A good friend wrote a post today on her blog and she quoted this scripture.  I am going to borrow it as a reminder of what I need to think of and what I saw today for that young man in the area.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for stopping by today, this is my 100th post.  I really can’t believe I have written that many.  Thank you for your support and encouragement along the way.  I am doubly blessed this day.   DAF

The Journey

What a difference a week makes.  This time last week, I was reeling.  Going from shock and awe to the deep pits of panic and despair.

This week, is not any different, really.  Nothing has changed, except, my attitude.  Deep breaths have happened.  Prayer has happened.  Talking with my dear hubby has happened.  But, we are still in flux.  We are still moving.

Moving is what caused such a shock to my system.  Being a Navy wife, it should not have caused such an uproar in me.  It did, though.  I have spent the week curious about why this news shook me so.  I have come to some conclusions.  Which is always a good thing.

First, after living in Southern California for over 27 years and never feeling  at “home” there, it was a comfort to me when, after only a couple of weeks here in the low country, I felt totally at home.  Home.  That place where you know you can relax.  Home.  That place where family is and where they visit.  Home.  That place where your neighbors are not just people who live beside you, they are an extended family.  Home.  It has been where we have lived the past few years.

I realized that, although we are renters, in my mind I have accepted this place as my home.  When the owners have wanted to come to their home, it was like I was being evicted.  My emotions rebelled at this.

A week later, I am a bit more understanding.  I am starting to see this as a journey.  An adventure.  I am thinking of singing that song, 99 Bottles of Beer on the wall, only with my version of lyrics.  I think they will go like this, “99 million boxes on the floor to pack, 99 million boxes.  Pick one up, tape and pack, 99 million boxes to go.”  Yes, I realize that I didn’t take one away because, after starting to pack our guest room, I have a feeling this is going to be a never-ending song!

So, now, I have gone through one roll of packing tape, almost a dozen boxes and I am not even close to being done in one room.  But, I will persevere!!!  I will conquer this.   Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  That is going to be my motto and life verse, I think.

We are looking for places to live.  We have driven through some neighborhoods and liked some of them.  We really liked the house we sat in front of today waiting for the realtor to arrive.  Unfortunately, we did not get his email that said the house was no longer available.  Rats!  But, then again, the yard did look like it needed some care.

We know there is a place for us.  We know that seven weeks from now most of the boxes will be unpacked.  We will be discovering our new neighborhood.  We will be meeting people who may become part of our extended family.

Yes, my attitude has improved.  I am thankful for the encouragement I have received from those who are reading my blog.  Your comments are so uplifting for me.  You give me energy to pack the boxes.

So, thanks for stopping by and for going on this journey with me.   I must go now… 99 million boxes to pack, 99 million boxes….    DAF

Shugo, meet Stanley… a lesson in the unexpected


waiting on the steps for a walk

waiting on the steps for a walk

For those of you who follow my blog, you know I have my dear puppy.  His name is Shugo.  He is a Shiba Inu.  A Japanese breed that at most weighs 25 pounds.  They were bred to hunt wild boar on the hillsides of Japan.  They are excellent hunters, can run at the speed of light, and are just incredible dogs.  Shugo belongs in our family, not because we have had him since he was 7 weeks old, but because he is stubborn and likes things done his way.  Fits right in.  Shugo also believes he is the largest dog in the universe and all other dogs bow to him.

Now that we have a bit of a background about what my dog is like I will continue.

Last night, just at dusk, I took my dear puppy for his evening walk.  We walk from our house to the park in the development here and then we head home another way, to make a large circle and a good time of exercise for me.

We were a couple of minutes from our house when we passed the home of a family who moved into the area this past spring.  They have two dogs.  A very large one, that I think is a Portuguese Water Dog, and a small white bit of fluff.  Both of these dogs make noise when any other dog passes by.

We passed the house without too much noise and we stopped at a mailbox so dear Shugo could sniff and relieve himself.  That is when I heard the delayed noise, followed by a loud thump.  I thought to myself,  ‘this cannot be good’.

I turned to look at the noise.  Running down the street at full gallop was this large dog.  Barking, gnashing his teeth and running at full speed.  My first reaction was ‘HELP!’   I then gained control of my thoughts, put my hand out and commanded this horse to stop.  To my surprise he did stop!  I then told him he wasn’t supposed to be in the street and to go home.  He turned around and trotted off.  Since I didn’t want him to change his mind and continue to follow me I walked behind him to his house.  I knew no one knew he had escaped. The two dogs were growling at each other trying to decide who was the bigger and stronger of the two.  I rang the doorbell while trying to keep two males apart from one another.  I rang the doorbell again.  I finally just started knocking impatiently at the door.  A woman answered the door, she looked at me and then looked down.  Her face went from questioning who was this crazy person knocking on her door to, frustration.

“STANLEY!  get in this house!”   Obviously, Stanley has done this before.  The woman apologized and asked if our dog was okay. If he was scared.  I answered and told her that Shugo thinks he is bigger than Stanley.  We exchanged good byes and I headed down the road.

Shugo was excited about his recent encounter.  He strutted down the rest of the way to the park.  He marked every mail box he could stop at.

We were almost home when my heart finally went back to my chest area instead of my throat.

This morning, as I was again walking Shugo, (and we did not run into Stanley), I began to think of what it is like when we have unexpected events happen in our lives.  Sometimes things come at us full force, galloping toward our lives making noise and gnashing teeth.  Do we freeze, or do we march those events back to where they belong?  Do we stand our ground like the 25 pound puppy against the 125 pound puppy?  Or do we run off with our proverbial tails between our legs?  Don’t really have an answer, but I thought it was good food for thought this day.

May all your “Stanley’s” be behind fences today behaving themselves.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF


Last night was one of those sleepless nights. I went to bed shortly after midnight and I got back up a little after 2 a.m.. My dear hubby gave up after 3:30 a.m. and I was still up.

At first I was half heartedly looking at Facebook and watching an old Sean Connery movie.  The movie was much more interesting than what was going on in the world of Facebook.  Soon, the movie ended, I gave up on Facebook and for some reason I was winning all my games of solitaire.

I decided to go over to my blog and see if anyone was reading mine.  Of course, they weren’t.  It was either the middle of the night or the middle of the day so most sane people were asleep or working.  I played around with buttons and tabs I had never hit before, just to see what they would produce.  I toyed with writing something, but although I was awake, my brain was not functioning.

There was a link that said, ‘inspire me’.  I hit that.  It was for a picture that I  couldn’t see for some reason.  The title of the picture was Safe, and there was a prompt of a safe.  Still, no inspiration, or maybe because the sun was almost up and I should have been asleep!

So, now, this morning, (late morning, I realize, but it is still before noon) the word safe is rambling around my foggy mind.

What is the meaning of safe to me?  When do I feel safe?  How do I know I am safe?

Without looking up the word, when I think of safe (aside from baseball, which I love) I think security, protection, peace.

I know I feel safe when I am in my home.  When I look around at the familiar.  When I see photos of my family.  When I am surrounded by memories.  That is when I feel safe.

I know I am safe when there is no panic in my being.  When my heart is not racing and I am at ease.  When I don’t look around and wonder where there is a corner for me to hang out in.  When I can be myself.

Today I am safe.  I feel safe.  I am safe.

As I was walking my little pup today I realized that I felt so secure that I didn’t even look to see if anyone was behind me.  My neighborhood is a throwback to the 1950’s so I could be certain that there was no one around.  But, this also, made me think of being safe.

All my ramblings on this word brought me to one conclusion, and it is one that I have gone to often.  I am safe because I have put my trust in God.  He is my safety net.  He is the One who watches over and protects me.  People can fail me and I can fail others.  I let people down, and I allow myself to be disappointed.  But, the One who is my faithful friend, my Comfort and my Security is the One I have never seen face to face.

So, to me, to be safe is to have faith.  Here is a part of one of my favorite Bible verses: Psalm 91:1-2 from the New Living Translation:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.

Thank you for stopping by today and reading my ramblings.  I appreciate your visit, DAF

Christmas in the ‘hood….

We live in a wonderful neighborhood.  It was a change for us in moving from San Diego.  There we lived on a private drive consisting of three homes.  At Christmas none of the homes really decorated, although we each had something different on the outside of our homes to represent the season of celebration.

When we moved here a few years ago we were amazed at the decorations in the neighborhood.  Most of the homes have the very stately white lights, candles in the windows and lighted garland draping the porches, the doors and windows.

A few of the homes have colored lights gracing their doorways and roof lines.  There are inflatable figures of snowmen, reindeer, Santa and nativity scenes.  We have palmetto trees with lights wrapped around them.  Spotlights on wreaths elegantly decorated  hanging on the front doors.

All around this neighborhood are reminders of this season.  The season where we celebrate our Lord’s birthday.  The season of giving.  We give gifts, baked goods, help.  We spend this time aware of doing things for others.  I think we do this because we know we got the very best gift when the God of our universe came to earth in the form of a baby.  That was the greatest gift we have ever received.

The decorations in the neighborhood also give me joy.  I smile when it is dusk and the lights begin to flicker.  Each neighborhood has one house, though.  It is this house that makes our charming neighborhood become a ‘hood.  My hubby and I refer to this house as the house that Christmas threw up on.  It is with affection that we refer to this home this way.  The decorations surround the home, the front, side and back yards are all decorated.  The doors, the windows, the roof is all decorated.  There is every imaginable symbol of the Christmas season.  There is a nativity scene below a tree with huge candy canes hanging from each branch (yes the candy canes are lit).  There is Snoopy on his doghouse.  There is a teeter-totter with Santa on one end and all the reindeer on the other.  This year I actually saw an inflatable pig with a Santa hat on.  Yes, it is all this and more.  Many of our neighbors are not fond of this display.  They make comments about it.  I have to disagree though, for when I pass this house I laugh.  I smile, and I laugh and know that this family, with all of their enthusiasm have given me a true gift each time I pass this house.  They give me the gift of laughter.

So, in this season of elegance and whimsy, I pray that you will also have a time and gift of laughter given to you.  Laughter is something we don’t do enough, especially when we are buried deep in our lists of what needs to be done, what needs to be decorated, what needs to be bought and wrapped.  We have lists of what we need to do for others.  We stress that we may not get enough baked to share with others.  We lose sight of the fact that this truly is a season to rejoice,  to love, to share and most of all laugh.  May you have a season of mirth, whimsy and blessing this year.

Thanks for stopping by, it means so much to me.   DAF


“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I saw this quote last night.  I posted it on my Facebook page and this morning as I was walking my dear little puppy I was still thinking about it.

October is here!  Fall has fallen!  My sweatshirts are out and some are already in the laundry.  I am happy!

October is one of my favorite months.  I love the sky, it looks like a different type of blue.  The clouds look fluffier.  The trees move from having just a gentle hint of color on their leaves, to being clothed in reds and oranges and browns.  The leaves fall to the ground to do their dance and skip and hop across the yards and streets.  They crunch when stepped upon.  What could be more fun?

There is a house for sale down the road.  The front yard boasts two very large maple trees.  The yard this morning was filled with leaves.  I almost tied the dog to the mailbox and went into the yard to play in the leaves.  I contained myself and kept walking, just enjoying this fall morning.

My puppy loves this time of year.  He doesn’t just walk or trudge down the road.  His little Shiba  Inu tail curls tighter and he prances down the road, lifting his little head to smell the air.  It’s cooler out and easier to keep a good pace of walking.

The sun even changes to me.  It’s light is not so harsh, it is like it is tired from blazing all summer long.  It lights the day and the sky, but casts shadows that are longer and comforting.

The breeze teases you in the bright sun.  It tickles you with a slight briskness.  Not cold, but not warm, just that right amount of cool.

Oh, how I love the autumn.  I love how the world around me is turning and preparing for winter.  It is getting ready to rest from the long summer.  The birds are finding shelter in the evergreens where they will be safe.  The squirrels are scampering around finding nuts and shells of nuts to munch on during the winter days.  The air is fragrant with the remains of fires that have burnt the night before in fireplaces.

I come in from my walk and think of how blessed I am.  The house is cozy, it is home.  This week I look forward to my trip up to our nation’s capital.  I will see another side of autumn there.  I am anxious to experience the beginning of winter there.  I will see leaves die and the sky turn from the brightness of autumn to the dull gray of winter while I am there.

Changes are all around.  Fall, to me, announces the change coming.  The season announces the end of summer and beckons the beginning of winter.  I look forward to the cold, to bundling up in sweaters and coats, reminding myself that our Creator yearns to bundle us up in His arms.  Fall begins my yearly look inward to myself and I, for one, am so happy it is here.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy this day whether it is filled with fall weather, warm weather, or for my blogging friend in Australia, especially enjoy the tulips of your spring.  As always, DAF


My normal routine in the morning is to make fresh juice, enjoy a glass with my dear hubby as we check our email on our laptops.  I occasionally will pop over to see what has happened overnight in the world of Facebook.

This morning was one of those mornings.  I read a post from a friend who lives in Maine.  She mentioned children wearing jackets this morning.  Ah, jackets, will I ever get to wear one again?  That was my thought as I started on my morning walk with my dear little puppy.  Mind you, I was in my shorts and tee-shirt and was starting to sweat (err, glisten) by the time we hit the street in front of our house.

My morning walk time is my time to gather thoughts and pray for my day and my family.  I love this time.  It settles my mind and prepares me for what lies ahead of my day.

Today, I noticed how quiet it was.  The only sounds were the cicadas and lawnmowers and a distant hammering.  It was a different quiet from what I have heard in the past.  I wondered at it and kept walking.

Our walk usually ends at the neighborhood park.  As I walked through the pathway of the vines that cover the sidewalk it dawned on me.  There were no children.  No adults, no one.  School is truly in session.  The water in the pool was still, not even moving for the gentle breeze in the air.  The swings were still as if waiting at attention.  The jungle gym was standing guard, waiting until three p.m..  All the park was waiting until later afternoon, when it would all come to life again.  Waiting for the squeals of kids free from the confines of a classroom.

Waiting is something we all do.  Sometimes it is a short wait, sometimes we get bored with the wait because of its length.  It got me thinking, though, what am I now waiting for?  Cooler weather?  The holidays?  What would those things bring me?

So, now, I am pondering what is around the corner of my life?  The one thing I have discovered over the years is, there is always something.  I am glad we cannot see what tomorrow brings, for we may not accept it.   I am just curious and indeed, I think I am also waiting for the three p.m. of my day.

Hope you are having a good day and may this day be filled with wonderful surprises of life exploding around you.   As always, DAF