Unrequited…

I recently read that not every person who comes into our lives brings positive and wonderful things.  That oftentimes we meet prickly people.  Although, the person I am writing about in this post is not a prickly person, he did teach me a hard lesson.

As I have written before, my Mom passed away when I was eleven.  It goes without saying that the following few years were tough for myself and my sisters.

The summer of 69 brought a fresh breeze though and it was a turning point especially in my life.  That summer, my older sister met her husband while working at the city pool.  That summer I met my first love at the same pool.

I have known for a very long time that I would one day write about him, but, so often the words failed to be cohesive and make sense to me.  I finally, after much thought and actually praying about this, am ready to write this.

We were fourteen years old.  He(GJL) was tall, dark and I thought handsome.  I fell hard and as is common with a first love, I gave my heart.  It was a brief romance, just a few weeks that amounted to a first slow dance in the living room of his future sister in law’s living room, meeting at the pool, and a day watching a soap box derby, a walk through the park and the highlight of having my hand held for the first time.  That sums up the romance, actually.  Except for the fact that a piece of my heart went to him.  His mom, had other ideas about this romance and she ended it which I found out much later after wondering why I was being ignored.  His younger brother finally told me.  So, there was no closure.  No ending.  Just nothing, and my heart broken.

We went to the same high school and whenever I saw GJL, my tummy would do flips as I would hope he would at least smile at me.   Hubby and GJL worked together during the summer and actually he is partly responsible for hubby and I getting together since I would talk with hubby during summer school art enrichment classes so I could look at GJL.

The lesson I learned from GJL is this, hearts can and will be broken.  When they break, it colors how you view relationships, both those of a dating nature and friendships.  You can adopt the philosophy of  “hurt before being hurt“, and/or you can keep everyone at arm’s length, therefore protecting yourself for further hurt.  Both of these things, I have done.  Unrequited means something is not returned, it is not reciprocated.  When things do not have a closure you cannot retrieve what was given, and therefore after almost fifty years, a piece of my heart is still missing.

Would I trade anything in the past fifty years?  No.  I would not.  Because, when I was going through all of this I turned to the One friend who has never left me, never hurt me, never led me in the wrong direction. I would pour out my heart to Him while sobbing in my pillow at night. That friend knows what a broken heart feels like.  His heart was broken for us when He died on the cross.    Luke 4:18 says in the first part, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted”  (New King James Version)  

Since that time my heart has been broken several times.  Because of that first heart-break I have learned that although it is not pleasant, broken hearts do heal. Each break brings new wisdom.  Each break strengthens you in some way.  My heart is now scattered all over, in old boyfriends (there really weren’t that many), old friendships that soured, family members who have turned their back on me. I can’t retrieve those pieces and I don’t think I would want to because with each loss, I have become who I am.

Do I think of GJL?  Not as much as I once did, but every once in a while I wonder about how he is doing and if he is happy and well.   I hope he is.  I know I am.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (The Message)  The future I got so many years ago is beyond what I could have thought about or hoped for. 

Thank you for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

 

 

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We have the same name…

I went to kindergarten in the morning.  I had a friend who lived across the street somewhat, it’s an intersection where there are actually a couple of streets merging off of one.  Anyhow, I really liked this girl and her name also was Kathy.   I remember one day another girl came to play with my friend Kathy.  She had red hair.  She went to afternoon kindergarten.  She was playing with my friend Kathy.  I immediately did not like her.  She was crowding in on my friend territory.  Her name?  Kathy.

Fast  forward through eight years of elementary school and this red-headed Kathy was at all of my birthday parties and I was at hers.  We were friends.  The other Kathy? I really have lost touch with her and don’t actually know where she is…

But, this third Kathy, this red-headed girl has become my forever friend.  We grew closer during high school.  I was at her house all the time.  We spent nights together, talking until three or four in the morning.  She introduced me to my husband, I was there when she tripped and actually fell into the lap of her future husband, smashing an ice cream cone into his face.  Yes, I was that friend who sat and laughed uncontrollably while that happened.   It was classic!

I just went online to read the definition of forever friend.  I read articles of how you know when you find a forever friend.  I didn’t need to read any of it.  The definition of a forever friend?  Kathy.

C.S. Lewis (one of my favorite writers) once said, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ”   This is my friend.

We have gone long times when we haven’t spoken.  We have had a distance between us.  We have been like sisters at times when we have argued and stayed mad at one another.  But, then, that melody drifts into our hearts and we know that we need to reach out to one another. We need to have that time of restoration.  To hear one another, and to listen to each other.  Those words that remind us of who we are.   That melody in our hearts that were sung as children and teens, and kept us sane as young mothers.  That harmony that now eases us into our ‘senior years’.  The song that started out as a light melody has now become an orchestral piece, rich with all the sounds of the instruments.  The deep bass of the hard and difficult times we have seen one another through, the piccolo of the happy times, the weddings and the births of grandchildren.  Those calming woodwinds that  echo with memories of times spent together.  Each movement conveying notes we carry in our hearts for one another.

Friends are truly a gift from our God.  I have been blessed with many friends.  I am honored when someone befriends me and I often wonder why they would.  The friendship with Kathy has been grown over time.  I often see a reflection of God in her.  Her faith, her giving heart, her determination, her drive, challenges me and at the same time amazes me.  There are very few people who I can be truly and honestly myself with.  I am grateful that Kathy allows me to be me, bumps, bruises, frustration, anger, tears, laughter, all of who I am, I can be.   She will listen and then, with ever so much grace she will point me the Lord and the direction I need to go.

In the Message Bible, Proverbs 17:17 says, Friends love through all kinds of weather,
    and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.”  

I am so grateful to God for the gift of that red-headed girl I met so many, many, many years ago.   I hope you have had the blessing of a forever friend.  Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

The Comfort of a Worn Quilt…

Psalm 91:4 New Living Translation (NLT)

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

 

This verse in Psalms reminds me of sitting under an old soft quilt.  You know those quilts made up of many squares from different pieces of cloth.  Each cloth has a story of its own and a different “feel” to it.  Some are more worn than others and some silky, some with a faded texture, some more vibrant in color and some that are just worn from time.  Each square is sewn together with threads of love, prayer and hope.

You sit under this quilt for comfort, warmth and security.  This quilt has been used to wipe your tears and your nose.  It is a well-loved quilt.  You cannot describe this quilt because it encompasses too many thoughts and emotions. There are too many stories that, like the squares that are sewn together, each has a history.

Bruce is married to my forever friend.  I was there when they first met (classic story for another time), I went on their first date (double date to a Billy Graham movie), interrupted their first kiss (oops!!), he was in our wedding and we were in theirs.  He is our oldest daughter’s  Godfather.

He is not a brother, not a friend; he is like an old worn quilt.  Our lives (the four of us) are sewn together with threads of faith, love, hope, disappointment, fear, trust, laughter, memories.

Spending time with Bruce reminds me of my quiet times with my Lord.  I can sit and talk, honestly and openly.  I can sit and say nothing at all.  There is no judgment.  No condemnation.  Just a peace.

Lord, help me to run to the shelter of Your wings.  There I can be safe.  There I can learn from You.  Cover me in Your perfect peace.   Amen.

Thank you for visiting today,  Cathi (DAF)

Steadfast…

1 Thessalonians 5:11 New Living Translation (NLT)

11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Marlene has been my friend since the fourth grade.  Over the years our friendship has changed many times and in many ways.  We go months sometimes, without talking, but it does not hinder either of us when we pick up the phone and begin a conversation.

This past week I was able to spend time with Marlene.  She came to visit and it was refreshing for me.  We greeted each other with hugs and the usual catching up of families.

We spent our days talking nonstop.  We laughed often and loudly.  We revisited our memories from elementary school, junior high and high school.  We cried for those we have lost along the way.  We talked about hard things that neither of us wanted to think about.  We cried, we laughed, and we relaxed in the comfort of our friendship.

Marlene has always been a steadfast person in my life.  Her faithfulness in being a friend to me is a gift.  She has shown me what it means to be steadfast.  She is unwavering in her friendship.  She has given me strength at times when I have lost focus.  She stands firm, pointing to things in my life and redirecting me to remember.

A quiet person, for the most part, this friend has gently entreated me to see myself as she sees me.  Her encouragement is softly spoken but echoes in my spirit.  I leave her presence feeling refreshed, renewed.

She points to the direction of my heart.  She encourages me in my walk with the Lord.  She reminds me that our Lord is that gentle touch in the center of my back, holding me steady, giving me courage and urging me onward towards Him.

Whether spending time with a friend or with the Lord, it is good to be encouraged, to be built up.  To be reminded that I have done well in areas where I have doubted, areas where I feel like the Lord has been silent (or I haven’t heard what He is saying to me) is a treasure.   Marlene, thank you for the gift of your steadfast friendship.  Thank you also for building me up with your quiet grace.  Most of all, thank you for redirecting and steadying me in my walk.

Lord, keep my eyes steadfast on You.  Do not allow me to waver in my walk with You.  Steady me when I start to drift to the sides.  Thank You for Your guiding hands keeping me safe.  

Thank you for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

 

Implementing an Idea…

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write.  I have always loved the idea of putting thoughts together to somehow have an impact on another’s life.  I don’t know if I have ever succeeded in doing so, but, as you know, it has not stopped me.

As we were leaving Japan to return to living in the states, I had an idea for a book.  Obviously, that has not happened.    The book was to be a devotional of the lessons I had learned from the people in my life.  I have tried a few times to start it and each time, I reread what I had written and either tore it up (before computers) and threw it away, or, I have hit the delete button and it disappeared.

After my last post, I realized that lately I have had a theme in several of my posts that talk about people in my life and what they have meant to me.  I have suggested that you tell those you love, or who are in your life how important they are to you.    As I finished my last post, it occurred to me that this might be the time for me to at least blog about the lessons and truths I have learned along the way with those precious people who have been in my life.  So, I am going to begin sharing some things from people who have been placed in my life.  This will be my (hopefully) gift to those close to me.

So, my blog will be my observations, lessons, and love I have gathered along the way.  Life is fleeting, and I want to take the time to share my love.  That is, of course, unless something really exciting happens and I have to write about that!

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

Navy Family…

Military families are a unique group of people.  Separated from biological families, they have to make and become part of a new family with each duty station.  Their children have very little access to their real cousins, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents.  So, in the absence of having blood relations around, family units are formed and the bond is as strong as it would be if you had grown up in your hometown.

As is common in some families, though, there are times where there is little communication and days of not talking can turn into weeks, months and eventually years.  You think of them, you pray for them, but life continues and soon you realize that you have lost touch with them.  Their names are no longer on your Christmas card list, and their birthdays are no longer marked on the calendar.  You have the memories of them, you smile to yourself as you remember the duty station and the things you had in common, but, for the most part, you smile and once more tuck the memories away in the file in your heart labeled (for me) Norfolk, Yokosuka, Nagai, Bangor, Winter Harbor, San Diego.

And then…   your text notification goes off at 2:00 a.m..  My first thought was to ignore it.  My second thought, it may be one of the girls and you panic trying to figure out what happened and if the grand-babies are okay.  The third thought is, ‘Put on your glasses dummy and see who it was” .  So, at 2:05 a.m., I fumble for my glasses, and stumble into the bathroom, turn on the light and bleary-eyed read the text.  It was urgent sounding.  Prayer needed.  No name, just a phone number.    My next thought was, “poor thing.  must be a wrong number since there was no name attached to the text.”   I pray for this person and then the area code sinks into my brain.  I recognize the area code, I used to have this area code.  By now I am mentally awake.  I scroll down and realize it is a different number than the Maine numbers I have.  I pray a bit harder.

I get back to sleep after feeling like I had prayed enough.   It was a group text and honestly, I think people get up way too early on Sundays.  My notifications started to go off at 5:30 a.m..   One after another.  I finally put my phone under my pillow so it wasn’t so annoying, after all, I had my alarm set for 7 a.m.  and I didn’t want to over sleep!

In a nutshell, all of the texts and commotion through the night was for a ‘family’ member from Winter Harbor.  She is ill, and in the hospital.  She was one that had been lost for me.  It was her number that showed up on my phone.  Today I talked with her for the first time in I can’t remember how long.  We laughed and shared memories and prayed together.  It brought a smile to my face.

Then an hour ago, another unidentified phone number showed up on my phone.  I answered and figured it was a sales call.  It was not.  It was someone else that I had lost touch with.  She was part of that family in Winter Harbor.  I recognized her voice, as with family, you do not have to identify yourself when calling.  You know the voice.  Your heart recognizes the voice.  We visited for a short time and the call ended.

In hanging up from that call, I realized that our adopted families are just like our biological families.  We know we are there.  We can call, or choose not to.  We can message, text, write a letter, share a post, or we can decide not to.  But, when there is an event, or an emergency,  family comes together.  We may not be as close as we once were, and we may no longer see eye to eye on everything, but, we will come together to pray, to support, to hold one another up.

I am grateful for my adopted families.  My life has been shaped and formed through knowing them.  My mind and heart are filled with memories shared with them.  When I think of them, I am transported to the housing area that had a perfect view of Mt. Fuji, rice paddies, and yakitori stands.  Or, I am immediately put on the rock-bound coast of Maine, with the sea smell and lobster traps.  Images and smells and sounds of my life.  Littered with snippets of people who have encouraged me, challenged me, supported me and laughed with me.  So, to my siblings that have been on my mind and heart today, Mike, Cindy, Debbie, Dick, Maggie, Jackie, Bob, Susie, Vance, Ruthie, Neil, Rosalee, and so many more, thank you for making me me.  My life has been so blessed by you all.  I love you.  And, to my nieces and nephews,  Janna, Wendy, Cathy, Beth, Dawn, Paige, Kelly, Kevin,  and Aimee, I love you.  You are missed and your young lives made me smile in so many ways, thank you for the blessing of being you.    (Disclaimer: I failed to mention another Vance, who started as an adopted part of family, but became family, as did his mom, dad and sister and he became Little Man’s daddy)

Thanks for dropping by today and for reading my stroll down memory lane.  Cathi (DAF)

Markers…

This week is Thanksgiving.  A time when we remember.  A time to point out things in our lives that we are grateful for.  A time to give thanks.

Many of the things we give thanks for are situations with family, friends, people.  Activities we may have had or shared experiences that have touched us somehow.  This time of year prompts us to think back, to reflect, and in reflection we respond with gratitude.

Each of us have certain things in our life that we hold on to.  Things become markers in our lives.  We keep them to remind ourselves.

Today I came in from church.  I came in through the garage and as I headed into the kitchen from the mud room I saw a blue leash hanging from one of the coat hooks.  I smiled to myself and took a breath, somehow arguing that is was now time to take that leash down.  It has sat idle for a year now.  Hanging there as a reminder.  I won the argument with myself and the leash still hangs in its spot.  It belongs there.

The leash is not the only marker I have in my home.  For most of the year I have a little ornament that hangs on my pie server in my dining room.  It’s a simple little ornament that says, “Friends are Forever”.  Most of the time I don’t even see it, it has just become a part of my dining room decor.  But, like the leash, it belongs there.

I have a mini Christmas stocking that looks like it has been through the wars.  It hasn’t, it is just old.  I got it the Christmas I was pregnant for the second time.  It hung beside the stocking belonging to my daughter.  It was full of hopes and dreams as I hung it in 1981.  It was the stocking for the child we lost just a few short days after Christmas.  A miscarriage, but somehow it was Tim’s stocking, the name we had picked out for that baby.  It now hangs each year on our tree, another marker of mine.

I have photos on my refrigerator.  They often times drive me to distraction because of the cluttered look they give my fridge, but each are markers for me.  People dear to me and reminders to pray for those in the pictures.

The markers in our life are important.  They become a landmark for the journey of our lives.  Most of the time we don’t see them.  They are there like stop signs and street signs.  We see them, but they do not stop the activities of our daily routine.  They do not cause us to cease our schedules to ponder them.  They are just there.

Until, that is, we do stop to look at them or touch them, or consciously think about them.  Today I thought about the leash.  A melancholy smile came to my face.  The leash that gave excitement to our Shugo.  The leash that held him at stay whenever another dog was walking in the other direction.  The leash that jingled when we went to the door and he would come running, tail wagging, and we waited for his house bark to go out for his walk.  It will remain there, because it belongs there.

The ornament on my pie holder will remain there, because, it reminds me of my friend Dawn.  My walking companion for years.  I will keep it there to remind me of the times we spent circling Chollas Lake, laughing , talking, crying and making certain the squirrels did not get her.  The strength we got from each other to get through her divorce, to get through my moving, to get through a rough day when walking was just not enough, but a piece of pie did help it just a bit more.

The mini stocking that makes me wonder who that child would be as an adult.  But, also knowing that the child born after the miscarriage has given me so many wonderful gifts that I can’t begin to write that all down.  A reminder that plans don’t always go the way you think, but our God is bigger and His way will give healing to broken hearts and bring us unexpected joys.

The pictures on the fridge, are a testament  of a life surrounded by people who have touched your life, some family, some neighbors, but all loved.

Markers are things we hold onto.  As I head into this Thanksgiving week I am grateful for much, but, I think that in this moment, right now, I am thankful for the markers in my life, for they anchor me to where I have been.  They are a foundation in my memory.  They stir my heart with recognition of a happy, full, and rewarding life.

What are some of the markers in your life?  I’d like to hear about them if you would like to share them.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all,  thank you for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Being with a sister…

A couple of months ago hubby and I traveled to Michigan.  It was a quick trip and a fun one.  I had driven through Michigan before, but, we had never stopped there.  I have to say I was surprised by the state.  It is beautiful, and I can see why people love it there.

The best part of the trip (although several things were right up there to the top) was the time I got to spend with my sister.

I am the middle sister.  Right now, I am perfectly in the middle, three years behind my oldest and three years ahead of my youngest.  It happens for only a few months of the year, but for some reason, I love it when I know I am truly in the middle…  no, it doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Anyhow, since I got married 42 years ago, I have not had much time with my older sister.  It is just how it has worked out.  Not exactly what either of us thought would happen, but it did.  So, having an opportunity to spend some time with her was a wonderful gift.

I thought I would write this post immediately after having that time with her, and in fact, I did start this post several months ago.  But, something happened and I just put it in with the drafts.  I thought I wanted to capture immediately the emotion and the fun we had, before it waned in my memory and it lost it sparkle.

I was wrong.  That time spent with her and her husband is etched forever in my heart.  I have frequently gone back in my mind and relived those short hours with her.  I can see her eyes shine while showing me her property, the deer stands that she feeds her deer at.  I can hear her laughter as she talked.  I can remember how much I loved being with her.    It truly was a gift being there with her.

Sisters are a strange breed of family.  They love fiercely and have a deep sense of loyalty.  They argue, disagree and go toe to toe with one another.  They can go for periods of time without talking, but when they finally have an opportunity, it is like time has no control and conversations continue, not begin again.

Such was the time with my sister.  I long to have that in person conversation continue again.  It was not long enough.

My younger sister has a milestone birthday in a few weeks.  We are hoping to have time for the three of us again.  I have thought of times when the three of us have been together.  But, mostly what comes to mind is our marathon monopoly games we would have each summer.   Those days-long games where we bent rules and broke rules and yelled at one another and gave each other deeds to help each other out.  I usually was the one that quit several times and got mad several times.  But, in thinking of those moments, I know that is what memories and families are made of.

So, to all of those out there who have siblings, I encourage you to talk with them, if you haven’t for a while.  It is like an elixir to strengthen your heart.  I know mine was touched and treated and as I hugged her and walked away, I was better for those precious moments we spent together.  Thank you Dottie, I love you.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

Grace and Mercy VS Control

One of the definitions of control is to have power over.  I once heard control described as a reasonable response to unreasonable pain.  I have lived with control before.  It is a hard life to live with, it brings out the very worst in me.  I react strongly when faced with control issues.

We each have issues with wanting to control areas of our lives.  I know I have controlled and have tried to be controlled.  When I am trying to control something the result is I am angry all the time over everything.  I try to recognize that quickly and ask forgiveness for it as soon as I can.  When I am trying to be controlled, I react strongly.  I stand my ground and I won’t budge.  I set my jaw and I look at the person who is trying to control me and I verbally resist.  It is not unlike a temper tantrum.

I have been pondering the subject of control.  I know it is something that has run its course in our family.  But, issues get dealt with and circumstances get resolved and life goes on.

The thing is, though, when control rears its ugly head, the only positive response is to act with grace and/or mercy.

Grace, as I have learned through years in church and in reading my Bible is unmerited favor from God.  Grace is new every morning, which is a wonderful gift that I am grateful for.    Another definition of grace is this, a temporary exception .

Hand in hand with grace is another concept, mercy.  Mercy is also mentioned often in the Bible and again, for God’s mercy, I am very grateful.  Mercy has this definition, a compassionate treatment of those in distress.

My thoughts today have had a ringside seat to the battle of grace and mercy versus control.  It has gone many rounds in my mind and I have seen so many views of this battle.  Arguments have been made for every side.  Reason can be made for each side.   But, personally, I think control should be ousted from the ring altogether.  Control can only bring harm and anger and disappointment.

It may not be easy to do, but, again, my opinion, is that we need to give grace and mercy a chance in our individual lives.  We need to show grace and mercy to everyone.  We need to give favor in little things, show grace in times that we want to control.

I have heard so much this past week that life is fleeting.  Things happen and life changes or you begin to see the end of your life as you know it.  How much more important is it to give reasons for joy in others.  To give someone a reason to smile, a reason to laugh, a reason to celebrate little things.    As I have grown older, I realize that too many of my memories are of the hard things.  The tears, the disappointments, the what could have been if only I had done things differently.

I now see that grace and mercy are the things I should always carry in my hands.  They are the things I need to reach out with.  They are the things I should lead with.  They are the foundation for wonderful memories.

These are my mind ramblings today.  It may be the result of a cloudy day, or a week with not as much sleep as needed, but here you have it.   I close with Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)  A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Cathi

Words…

I haven’t been on my blog much the past few weeks, but, I have been writing.  I have spent the past couple of months writing, thinking and preparing for a Bible Study that I have shared with a wonderful group of ladies at my church.  It is always an honor to speak and this time was no different.

What I have really thought about these past few weeks is words.  How we say things is as important as what we say. Wording is so very important, isn’t it?

I know I have failed miserably in the past to put thoughts into words and also writing before actually thinking things through.  But, I suppose we are all guilty of saying things to others before thinking of how they may come out and how they may sound to the other person.

We truly do not know what is going on inside another person.  We do not know the pain or anguish or stress they may be carrying, yet are not showing it to the outside world.  How we respond in words can make a person’s day or ruin it.

Several times this past year I have spoken without thinking.  I know it has caused pain, but, even after apologizing, the pain, for me, was still there.  Words can damage a heart if spoken in haste or without thought.  So, for the past few weeks, I have been cautious as to how I am wording conversations.

This experience has revealed several things to me.  First, the adage, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, should be tattooed in my eyelids so that  I can always see them.  Secondly, don’t expect forgiveness to come easily if you have harmed someone with your words.  I am the type of person who can flare up, but within an hour, I am sorry, and have recognized that I have been wrong.  I have learned not everyone is like me.  Thirdly, lack of words is worse than an abundance of words.  It is a very fine line and I am learning, unfortunately, how to be a tight rope walker.

I have thought in the past that a blog is where you can write things you may be feeling and with that you can release emotions that may not be an easy part of yourself to reveal.  I am rethinking that.  A part of my Bible Study has been to encourage women to be themselves and to not hide behind masks that are so much a part of being a human being, especially a woman.  We tend to hide and only reveal our strength, our firmness, and not allow our fragile side to come out.   Sometimes, in writing words, we reveal a soft side and it can be poked and bruised easily.

I am hoping that through these past few weeks, I have learned much about words and wording and coming out behind masks.    I have always loved words, and putting them together.  I have always loved being able to have a few close friends that I can share spoken words with.  My love of words is still a very present part of me, and I look forward to learning more about how and what to write.    Cathi (DAF)