Stillness…

There are many nights where I do not fall asleep,  I lay there with a parade of thoughts marching through my mind.  Sometimes these thoughts are worries or fears, sometimes they are imagination, sometimes they are memories.  Needless to say, they keep me up.  This parade, without a brass band still make noises that keep me from sleep.

Sometimes, though, I stay awake and after the parade passes by, my thoughts are distilled into prayers.  Last night was such a night.   I lay there initially thinking of how my hip was bothering me and after trying different positions trying to get comfortable, my mind went on to other things.  I once more, mentally, worked on the opening lines for my book.  These opening lines have been written and rewritten several times over the course of my life.  I am finding that they are coming into a clear rhythm and I will write them down soon.  (This is an aside to my sister who has reminded me that she has yet to receive pages to edit).

After the success of mentally writing my first few paragraphs of my book, I thought about Little Man and Little Miss and their toy room here in our home.  With help from my youngest who was here last week, the toy room is undergoing a change from toddler toys to things that will hold their interest.  I hadn’t expected them to grow so quickly, I guess this Grammy just wanted them to stay small longer.

Finally, after the parade ended and like all parades the only thing left was a bit of clutter from the confetti of thoughts.  I mentally swept it up and came to the most important part of all of this, Prayer.

I prayed for friends, for their health, for their lives, for their finances, for their families, but, I knew there was more I had to do before sleep would come to me.   I got out of bed and quietly stepped out of the bedroom, hoping not to disturb my hubby.  I walked through the living room stopping to pick up the pictures on the table.  Two of my favorite pictures, they are of my oldest and her hubby on their wedding day.  The two of them holding on to each other on the beach.  The other is my youngest and her hubby, also on the beach, but posing with our precious puppy.

I took the photos and held on to them, hugging them as if I were hugging them in person.  I went to the guest room and opened up the curtains.  I held onto the pictures and prayed.  I thanked the Lord for the four of them and then looked, for the first time out the window.

It is sometimes in these quiet moments when you think you are doing something, that something else out of the blue happens.  This was the case last night.  Although the prayer for my kids was wonderful and touched my heart, the view from the guest room window was a gift in itself.

Last night the moon was full.  The light flooded our front yard that is filled with trees.  The light filtered through the leaves and the front yard was dappled in the moonlight.  I stood for several minutes looking at the scene.  Everything was still.  No wind, no breeze, just stillness.  Our gazebo, the trees and the ground painted by the Lord in moonlight.  Peace came over me and I knew without doubt, that all the thoughts and prayers that had gotten me to that point would be taken care of.

I walked through the house, looking through each window.  The views I pay attention to in the day were now dreamlike.   Quiet was everywhere, no birds singing, no tractors in the distance, nothing, just stillness.

In Mark chapter 4 in the Bible, a part of the scripture says that Jesus commanded the sea to be at peace, be still.   The seas obeyed Him.  Last night, after the parade in my mind, I looked out my windows and heard, “Peace, be still”.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

That time of year…

As many of us here in the states know, there is a hurricane approaching.   The weather forecasters are reporting the paths that could be taken, the speed of the storm, the temperature of the water, the path of the air, the height of the waves, the amount of flooding, and so on and so forth.   I can find that I spend much of my time watching, as I am fascinated by this science of hurricanes.   They are violent storms, but they are also a visual of the power of God, as He is the One who has created it all.   I love to see manifestations of His power.  No, I am not going to engage in why all of this happens, it just does.

I see myself as a person of prayer. I have often mentioned that I love to pray and I love to see the answers our Lord gives as we come before Him.   Again, this is seeing His glory and power manifested.

Now, we just returned from a visit to the panhandle of Florida.  That is where our daughter’s family is and that is also where hurricane Michael hit last October.   Driving to her home, there was still much destruction visible.  It is going to take years for all the damage to be undone.   Tarps still cover many homes and businesses.  There are blatant reminders of the destruction a hurricane makes.  It is heart breaking to see it all.

We came home to hear about Dorian approaching.   I have seen many memes of this approaching storm.  I have smiled at many of them, I have chuckled aloud at several.   The one that keeps coming to mind, though, is a map of the southern states with a handful of cooked spaghetti laying on top of it.   That is accurate, I think.

The storm looks like it is going to hit the peninsula of Florida.  I have many dear cousins who live there.  I have friends who live there.   I really do not want their homes to be harmed, or their lives to be in danger.   But, I know that if it veers in any direction, going off into the gulf would affect my oldest daughter, and if it hits further up the eastern seaboard, it will affect my youngest and her family.

I mentioned to my cousin last night that my prayers may not do much, but, I serve a God who talks to the wind.  I pray for the protection of the people in Florida and any who may be affected by this storm.

And then, on the other side of me, there is that thought, hmmm… maybe I could see my Little Man if they have to evacuate….   There is always that side of me, the grammy side that  would just like to snuggle with my babies…

Thanks for listening to me ramble tonight…  Cathi (DAF)

And another year has passed…

Children make you old.  Not a complaint, just an observation.   When my Dad would call me on my birthday (the years he remembered it was my birthday), he would always ask how old I was.   I always thought it was strange, he may have been joking, but it was the age of rotary or push button phones, and there was no way to actually see his face, so I continued to think this man who was responsible for bringing me into the world actually did forget how old I was.   When I would tell him, he would go, “No, you can’t be that old!   When did you get to be that old?”   Each year, the same conversation.

Today, my first-born is 40.  I have morphed into my father and sit wondering how she could be that age.  It’s impossible,  I think to myself.  Must be a mistake in calculations,  I try to convince myself.   But, it’s not.   1979 subtracted from 2019 is 40.   Ouch!

I remember my 40th birthday.  I think it was yesterday.  Actually, that took place in 1995.   My oldest was a sophomore in high school, she was learning how to drive.  Life was exciting for both of us.  Her learning to drive and me learning how to not scream when she was behind the wheel!  Ahh, sweet (?) memories!

Anyhow, fast (and by fast, I mean hyper-speed) forward 24 years and we arrive at this moment.  She is now 40 and I am officially old.   The years between have seen lots of laughter, even more tears, late night fears (more on my part than hers), and continual prayers.  She is a lovely woman, full of grace and beauty.  A loving wife, a caring mother and devoted to her family.   She has grown into a woman who I aspire to be.   She made me who I am today and for that, I am thankful.

Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” (NLT)

Thanks for stopping by today…  Cathi (DAF)

 

 

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.“

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