Kindred Spirits…

Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.   

I Samuel 18:1 NKJV (New King James Version)

In life we all have our best friends, our long time friends, our fair weathered friends.  But, if we are truly lucky or blessed, we have a kindred spirit.  These are those friends we meet unexpectedly and bond immediately.

I have a picture of my kindred spirit.   She is sitting on a chair in her living room in Nagai Housing area in Japan.  She is in her flannel nightgown and one hand has a telephone receiver up to her ear and with the other hand, she is talking.  I look at the picture and am immediately transported back in time when I took this.  It captured Debbie.  Expressive, bubbly, full of life.

I can’t remember where we met; it must have been at the chapel in the housing area.  All I know is that we clicked in a way I never had before.  Time did not matter; it was like we had known each other all our lives.  The bond was instant.

We spent hours and hours and hours talking to one another.  I walked over to her house daily, after work, before work or instead of work.

We left Japan before they did.  When we said good-bye our husbands had to pull us apart as we did not want to leave each other.

We wrote for a while and then, as often happen, life got in the way and we lost track of one another.  I never forgot her.  My heart missed her.

Again, with the dawn of Facebook, we found one another.  We continued our conversations.  We didn’t start new, for we didn’t have to.  We caught up with each other.

Her life had not been easy; she is a cancer survivor, the wife of a dear man who has MS.  She works tirelessly for her family and grandchildren.  We are older, wiser, but, her zest for life is ever-present.  Her zeal for the Lord is still contagious.  She still talks with her hands, I haven’t seen it, but I can tell.

She is the David for my Jonathan’s heart.  David, for she loves the Lord and follows closely after Him.  She is musical as was David, and her words, like the Psalms bring comfort to me.

We don’t get to visit as often as we would like, but, when we do, we are still those young women who could raise the noise level in a room easily. (It is rumored that one of us once blew a whistle in a store to get someone to wait on us…  Of course the whistle was around Debbie’s neck.  Fortunately I was quick enough to blow the whistle and leave it hanging there so it did look like she had done it…)

Her friendship is a gift.  When I was homesick and feeling so alone in a foreign country, the Lord brought us together.  Knowing Debbie is like seeing that first daffodil of the season, it brings hope and brightness to a tired landscape.

Lord, may I be able to bring hope and brightness to someone today.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

“True friends are always together in spirit.“

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Heroes…

A few years ago we watched a movie that made a huge impact on me.  I actually think of it often and am still moved by it.  The movie was “Taking Chance”, starring Kevin Bacon.  It is about a fallen soldier being taken home and the military officer who accompanied him.  I cried through the entire movie, I really wanted to just sit and sob, but retained my composure and just let the tears fall.

All too often in recent years, we have seen videos of our military personnel who are being loaded onto aircraft.  We see the honor guard and the spouses and family standing soberly by the casket.   It is heart wrenching to say the least.  But, it truly is what these heroes deserve.

A couple of nights ago, a gentleman from our church passed away.  I confess, I did not know him well.  I knew him to see him and I loved when he would stand to pray.  His prayers were bold, and strong and elegant.  His prayers would make my heart soar.   Hubby, though, did know this man.  He had visited him frequently the past month as his health was declining.  So, the other night when we received a call that he had passed, hubby went to the hospital to be with the family.

I got a text from him an hour or so later and he said that he would be staying with this man until he was taken to the morgue.  I didn’t think much of it, it just sounds like something my husband would do.    He came home later that night and I could tell the passing of this man had touched my husband’s heart.   We knew he was now out of pain and was peaceful.  Hubby said there was almost a smile on his face in death, and we both agreed that he most likely saw the glory of heaven in his last moments and that is enough to make anyone smile.

As I started to drift off to sleep that night, it occurred to me what my husband had done that evening.  He had said when he came in that his feet were a bit tired from standing and I didn’t connect the dots until I was trying to go to sleep.   He was standing watch for his friend, who not only was his friend, but, a brother in arms.  This man who died was a combat veteran who had served in the Air Force for 20 years.  He served in Viet Nam and the military when it wasn’t fashionable to do so.  He served his country when most people ridiculed our military.  He never received  accolades given for his service like they are given today.  No one stopped him on the street to thank him for his service.  He quietly did his duty.  He was a hero.

And, my husband, who recognized this hero stood watch beside him.  To the staff at the hospital, he was a cancer patient who had most likely lived a full life.  He was older and he lost his battle to cancer.   Hubby, though, knew the rest of the story.  He knew he was a veteran.  They had shared stories of their time in the service, they bonded as only brothers in arms can.

So, at the end of his life, he received the honor he deserved.  He was not left alone.  He had a brother standing guard, watching and making certain he was taken care of.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and ages.  I am proud I have my own hero.  A man who respects the tenants and traditions of the military.  A man who will honor the heroes that have served and gone on before him.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Cathi (DAF)

Mid-night Ramblings…

It is after 2 a.m. as I start to write this post.  I had gone to bed a couple of hours ago and lay there, tossing, stretching, trying to get comfortable.  Nothing was working and hubby was up browsing the local Craig’s List, so, I gave up and got up.

It’s amazing to me how your mind wanders while you are trying to capture sleep.  At least my mind wanders.  I go in to bed telling myself to relax and unwind and keep my mind free from thinking.

I pray for those I have told I would pray for during the day.  Then I pray some more for things that I have just thought of.

Several people have told me over the years to pray at night because it makes them fall asleep.  That never works for me.  I like to pray.  I begin, as I mentioned above, and then, before I know it I have spent several minutes bordering on hours thinking of people and praying for them.  I did that a couple of hours ago.

This always leads my mind to other things.  Before I know it there is a parade forming in my mind.  Out come the banners announcing the next participant in the parade.  The banners will have things like “Grandson” and then I will think of my precious Little Man.  I will think of the recent pictures and videos of him.  I will think of the conversations I have had with him.  I will begin to think about when he will visit next and what we could do.  I think on him until the next banner comes into view.

More than likely after grandson, comes granddaughter and thoughts of Little Miss  come tumbling into my mind.  I will remember her little laughter and the fun we have had.  I will remember her going through the obstacle course we had set up so she wouldn’t climb the stairs.  I will remember hearing her say as she is climbing, “tairs”.  So proud of her accomplishments, clapping and waving to us down below.  As with Little Man’s part of the parade, I also wonder when I get to see and hold and chase after Little Miss.

Now, this is where the parade changes for me.  The next few parts of the parade can either be filled with thoughts of what we could do with this home and gardens, which leads to what I could buy or re-purpose.  And this part of the parade could last hours.

If it is not home oriented, the following parts of the parade are people, family, friends, trying to remember names of people we once knew in our travels.  That one is good because I lay there thinking of situations we were in and hoping that a name will somehow come into view.

I dislike those type of parade participants.  The parts that either have a name of a person, or an actor, or a phrase from a movie  or song you can’t quite put your finger on.  This is frustrating to say the least.

Well, now I have taken several minutes of your time while you see how my mind actually works at night.  I do this nightly.  I envy those who tell me that they fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow.   That must be incredible!   Most nights, if I can actually fall asleep before 3 a.m., I count it as a full night’s sleep.

So, now, it is a quarter after the hour.  I hear hubby starting to get sleepy and know that he will be asleep before his head hits the pillow.  Thank you for reading my ramblings.  I am going to head back to bed and hopefully after writing this all out, the only part of the parade left will be those with the brooms that come after the horses.

Good night and thanks for stopping by,   DAF (Cathi)

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

Good-bye 2013…

I could wax on about the past year, but, having read through several of my posts from this year, I think you have already heard it from me.  So, I leave this year with a quote that I want to share with you.

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays
up to make sure the old year leaves.  ~Bill Vaughan

There is an optimist in me and I look forward to 2014… but, there is also a big pessimist in me and I think I may have a broom in hand and sweep the floor around midnight!

Seriously, though, I pray for the new year.  May it be a year of health, wholeness, enough finances to stave off worry, laughter, moments that grab the heart with joy, and love of family and friends.  This I pray for those whom I have gotten to know in this blogging arena, and for my family and friends.  My life was enriched this year by you all and I look forward to more of the same in this new year.

God Bless you with a wonderful New Year.  Cheers!  DAF

Today….

Today I have no photos or clever sayings.  I have just read some blog posts both from the United States and abroad.  They are touching tributes that make my heart ache and my mind reel.

May God bless this country today.  May those who are pondering the events and what has transpired since turn to our God to ease their troubled spirits.  To find answers to the questions that plague them.

May our Lord give comfort to those who have lost loved ones, family, friends.  May those children who don’t remember or never met parents know that their parents died as heroes.

May our Lord cover this country with peace, security and most of all, hope.  Hope for a bright tomorrow.

We will never forget.

DAF