Six years out…

Six years ago on the 28th of July, I wrote this blog post:

This will be short. I am busy watching my baby’s baby. He is absolutely gorgeous, all 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long.

He coos, he squeals, he cries, and he is the proud owner of my heart. It no longer belongs to me, it is his. His little fingers have wrapped their way around my heart and there they will stay.

That’s it for now, I am busy reveling in the glory of our God in giving our family such a gift.

Yes, it was a short post, and it seems like yesterday that I wrote it.  But, it’s not.  It was six years ago.

Tomorrow Little Man turns six.  Can you believe that?  I know I can’t!  So many little stories I have written about him and when I re-read each one, it seems like it just happened.

It has been a while since I wrote anything about this precious little guy.  My heart is still his, like my heart is also his cousin’s.  Those little ones grab your heart with that first look and they do not let go of it, nor, would I want them to.

Little Man is now heading into the first grade.  He is an avid reader, reading much more above his grade level.  He is into dinosaurs currently, he still loves his legos, and his taste in music is incredible.  He can rock out with the best of us.

He makes me smile just with a glance and when it has been a while since I last saw him, my arms ache for a hug.

So much of what I took for granted while raising my daughters, like birthdays and interests, loose teeth, and advancing in school, is now of great interest to me.  I love hearing him tell me of his adventures, those  big and small.  These little things are so important to him, and to me.   He continues to teach me things I have long forgotten.  The joy of discovering a new trick on a scooter, the fun of wriggling a loose tooth, the information on dinosaurs and how they looked or what they ate.   These are important lessons to focus on.

I am still amazed at this Little Man.  He makes my heart smile. IMG_1760Happy Birthday six-year-old!  Grammy loves you.



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)



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)


Land that I love…

I am a flag-waving patriot.  I have said this before and I will repeat it again.  I love my country.  I cry each time I hear the National Anthem.  I cry when I hear America the Beautiful, I cry at each patriotic song I hear.  I admit it freely.  And, I am looking forward to tomorrow.  Inauguration Day.  A day that happens every four years.  A celebration of what the Founding Fathers fought for, dreamed of, worked for.  It’s a great thing to celebrate.

Tonight as I was thinking of the inauguration, I remembered the first inauguration I can remember.  I was five, just about to turn six.  I was in first grade at St Joseph’s elementary school.   The date was January 20, 1961.   The first Roman Catholic president was going to take the oath of office.

It was a school day.  In January.  In northwestern Pennsylvania.  A snowy, cold day.  I took my lunch to school, so that normally meant you ate in the lunch room in the basement of the school and then you went out onto the ‘playground’ which was the church parking lot and you froze for the hour while the nuns went to the convent and had lunch.

January 20, 1961 was different though.  The nuns wanted to see the inauguration.  Somehow they managed to have the kids who brought their lunch go home with those who didn’t.  We had an extended lunch hour.  I got to go home with a girl who has ended up being one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I took my lunch pail to her house and, along with my dried sandwich, I had a bowl of hot soup.  What a treat for me.  I got to take off my shoes and sit down on something comfortable and be in a home.  I will never forget it.  I sat in the kitchen and her mom talked with us and gave us fresh cookies.

We moved into the sewing room where her grandmother stayed and we watched the president being sworn in.  I confess that the only thing I actually remember is watching a bunch of old people on the television talk.  The best thing about it all was the actual cocoa I was drinking in the middle of the day.

The soup, the cookies and the cocoa took precedence over the President asking us not what the country can do for us, but what we could do for the country.  (My interpretation).

So, tomorrow, I will watch our new president take the oath of office.  I will feel pride in my country.  I know countless others do not feel this way, and that grieves me.  I have spent time living overseas.  During those years I missed being home.  Yes, I was on a base under an American flag and I was supporting my husband as he served this country.  But, I was homesick for our country.  It is hard to put into words the longing I had for home while I was there.  Home is more than a shelter you live in.  Home is the country you are born in.  It is the familiarity of a nation.  Yes, I have disagreed with much in the past few years, but, I respect the office of the presidency.  It is an office that deserves respect regardless of who it is sitting behind that desk.  Our founding fathers fought for the right for people to disagree.  They fought for the right to have a peaceful transition of power.  So, tomorrow, I will celebrate the freedom we have.  The freedom to cry tears of joy and pride over a national anthem.  The freedom to feel pride at a new president.  The freedom to pray for the former president, pray for his continued safety and for his rest from his service.

It has been a year of struggle for our country.  I pray tomorrow the struggles will start to calm down.  There will always be differing views and some loud voices raised on both sides, but, for me, for tomorrow, I am choosing to rejoice in America.  Rejoice in the fact that we can experience tomorrow, the swearing-in, the transition, the protests.  It is all American.  May God bless this country and keep it safe.

~ Cathi (DAF)

Summer Ending…

Tomorrow is the middle of August.  August is still before that magic holiday that somehow marks the end of fun days and vacation days.  Labor Day is not until September.  To me, Labor Day is the day that marks the end of summer.  It’s like the door closing on so many things.  Pools close, parks close, kids leave the streets, playgrounds empty… it all goes hand in hand.

This year, though, I have noticed that summer appears to have ended sooner than I expected.  We went to the pool today and realized there were only four more swim days left.  Our neighborhood, although always quiet, seems even more desolate.  The leaves seem to be falling already in the back yard.  (Of course, that could be from the heat and not much rain).

The stores all have back to school sales and items and signs coaxing people into buying school supplies within.

It’s not that I am a big fan of summer, I am not.  I love autumn.  I love cooler weather.  This year, however, summer seems to have slipped by, making an early exit.

A part of me wants to follow the trend.  I want to remove my wreath with its red, white and blue decorations and replace it with my wreath filled with oranges and browns.  I want to pull out my pumpkins and go ahead with autumn.  Something is keeping me from doing that this year.  I want to hang on to summer just a bit longer.  I want to complain about the heat and humidity and mosquitoes just a bit more.

Time seems to be flying by too quickly.  I haven’t felt this way since I was in school myself and didn’t want to have a schedule yet.  But, school is starting for children.  Neighbors are packing up their college age children with dormitory things filling the back of pick up trucks.  Friends who are teachers are heading back to the classroom, and I , I must let go of summer.

I know it will not hurt to let go of this season, it never does.  Autumn has so many wonderful things about it.  But, I cannot deny a small sadness within me that is sorry to see summer end this year.

 There is something deep within us that sobs at endings. Why, God, does everything have to end? Why does all nature grow old? Why do spring and summer have to go? ~ Joe Wheeler

Enjoy the remaining days of summer, have a bar-b-que, plan a picnic, enjoy the bugs and ants and mosquitoes, for soon, we will complain about the ice, the cold, the wind and having to wear a sweater or coat.   DAF


The Saga of the Four of Us….

Once upon a time there were four little girls.  They attended the Irish Catholic School in Oil City, PA..  What made these four girls different in attending this elementary school was that only one of them was of Irish descent.   That would be me.  The rest of this ‘gang’ were Polish.  They were also all shorter than myself.

We all met in first grade.  Our friendship developed over the next three years and by the fourth grade we were a tight little group.  We all lived far enough away that we were not allowed to go home for lunch, thus, we were lunch carriers.  Being lunch carriers relegated us to eating lunch in the lunch room, of course, but then we had to have an hour lunch time on the playground.  Playground is a generous term for where we had to play.  It was the asphalt parking lot the church used.  This was our ‘playground’.  No swings, no slides, no equipment.  We did have the errant ball to play with and of course no school girl would be without her jump rope, even if it was a piece of clothesline from their mother.

The playground was hot in the spring and fall and freezing in the Northwestern Pennsylvania winters.  That did not deter the four of us.  We played together no matter what.  We shared secrets, we stood together when one of us was not being treated well.  We rejoiced when one of us had a baby sister born.  We were good friends.

The four of us, Marlene, Vicki, Lorraine and myself  attended one another’s parties and called each other on the phone.  We had sleep overs (never the four of us together, our parents were smart like that!).

In eighth grade, our last year of elementary school, we each had a decision about what high school we would attend.  Would we continue onto the Catholic high school in town or go to that public high school.  Our eighth grade nun approached us one day and asked us the dreaded question.  One by one, we each answered.  We were going to go to the public high school.  We each had our reasons we gave, but actually, looking back on it, the simple fact was that none of us could afford the private school.

High school started.  That was the end of the four of us as we had known it.  Vicki went into the business course of study, which totally separated her from the three of us.  We rarely saw her.  We would catch a glimpse of her in the hallway, but she was surrounded by her new friends and we drifted away a bit.

Lorraine and I lived close enough that we walked home from school together each day.  Her mom would drive us to school, until we got our driver’s license.   We didn’t have many classes together, but we still connected daily with one another.  The commute to and from was really the only connection we had.

Marlene and I stayed in touch with phone calls and sleep overs.  We only had one class together the entire four years.  This was because Marlene is very intelligent.  She was the salutatorian for our class.  Marlene also had a big crush on my dear hubby.  When he asked me out and I went, it put a strain on our friendship for about a year.  After that, Marlene said she was glad I was dating him and all was well.

After graduation, Vicki went to work at a business in town.  She is still there.  I have only seen her once since graduation.  When my Dad died, I had to go to her work and there she was.  We talked and talked and talked.  It was wonderful.  Since then, we have exchanged Christmas cards each year, along with letters.

Lorraine went on to nursing school.  She met her husband and had her family.  She and I also exchange Christmas cards and the occasional email.  I went to her wedding, but missed most of it, since my oldest was the baby who cried all through her wedding.

Marlene went to college and became a college professor.  She never married.  She retired last year.  We see each other often.  We talk often.  She is what I refer to as my ‘forever friend’.  We have shared some of life’s’ hardest times together.  She has been an encouragement to me and my girls.  She has travelled the world a couple of times over.  I always expect to get a middle of the night phone call from her from a distant port telling me she has met someone and is married.

Marlene and I have planned on sitting together for our class reunion this Saturday.  It’s a natural thing for us to do.  A couple of weeks ago, I had an email from Lorraine asking if I was going to the reunion.  (You can see where this is going).    Yesterday, I talked with Marlene.  She is going to get hold of Vicki.  For the first time in 44 years, the four of us will be together.

I once wrote a post about friendships, (One is Silver…,  how  different people mean different things to you throughout your life.   I had often thought of the four little girls who clung to each other in friendship.  I think of where we have all been.  I never thought we would ever be together again.  I thought that I was the only one who was sentimental of those times.  Turns out, I am not.  We will be together this Saturday evening.  We will look at one another and catch up.  We will have a bond from long ago.  A part of me knows that this may be the last time the four of us are together.  In reality we know we do not have another 44 years to wait until our next visit, and our lives and families keep us busy.  We all want a picture together, a keepsake of who we once were.   A link to our past.

So, now, I go to prepare for my trip.  My first stop will be to visit my heart that the cute little bandit stole from me a year ago.  It will be good to visit my heart again,  and even better to hold that cute little guy and celebrate with him.  I know there will be stories from that.  Once I leave that place where my future lies, where my little guy is beginning his life, his adventures, I will head to celebrate my past.

It’s going to be an eventful week and I am excited!  Thanks for stopping by and staying through this saga.  I appreciate it, DAF

Passing into Autumn

This afternoon I have spent most of my time at my kitchen table.  I have poked around on the computer a bit, but mainly, I have watched the sun make its trek across the sky, changing the light in our backyard.

The temperature is still high.  The humidity is matching the temperature.  There is a nuance though, the “feel” of autumn is creeping in and subtly changing the landscape of summer.  The light in the sky is different, casting rays and shadows that make me want to slow my pace a bit.

The streets are quiet here as most of our neighborhood children head back to school tomorrow.  I know in many homes the lazy rights of summer are no longer present as the moms are packing lunches, laying out first day of school clothes and reassuring children that it will all be okay in the morning.

Each year it amazes me how subtle the fall creeps in.  It is blazing hot summer days filled with squeals of kids and scooters and skate boards and bicycles flying down the road suddenly silenced by the appearance of school supplies at the local markets.  Somehow those wonderful boxes of crayons and the notebooks, pristine in bright colors beckon these changes.

Summer flew by this year.  It may be that I was gone for over a month that it seems to have passed so quickly.  I look forward to autumn.  It is one of the best seasons.  It quiets the world down a bit, draws us inside to family times and soups and preparation for winter.

I know, it is only the middle of August, but this is what I am thinking of as I watch the golden rays of the sun pass along my backyard.

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate your visits.  As always, DAF